Monday, July 18, 2011


I get a message from my emergency phone number. Someone calling The Handymen. Not just leaving a message but calling the special number. They need help right away!

It's my neighbor. The power is out in half of his house. He wonders if I have the name of an electrician. He sounds desperate. He has done what he can; no help there.

It's not the kind of problem you want to leave or wait for tomorrow. The refrigerator is out and it's getting hot in the house. I know his wife is going through chemotherapy and the heat is hard for her to bear.

I tell him who I know about and hope he can get help soon. I'm then reminded to say a prayer. God can help in these type of situations too.

I'm reminded of one of our recent emergencies. The furnace quit working and freezing weather was on the way. I was glad to pay to get it fixed.

It seems in many emergencies we need other people. Wisdom and help come if we ask. It's not a time to keep to ourselves and try to take care of it alone. Even moral support goes a long way.

Maybe that's the gift in some of these situations. A certain bond us formed when you share your emergencies with someone else. Out of the terror comes a memory. Some pleasant and some we don't want to recall. If there us someone else to share that memory with, joy is doubled or sorrow is halved.


Sunday, July 17, 2011


I heard the car drive by and two sounds that were not good. Was it a small gun or a rock? Was it a drunk driver who clipped two cars?  I looked out the window and then noticed it was around 3am. I made a note in my mind (which was quickly misplaced) to look around in the morning.

Well since I forgot about it, it wasn't until later in the day that the kids noticed the back window of our car was shattered and glass spread around the seats and interior of the car. It was probably a rock that did the damage.

Aside from thinking about how much it was going to cost to replace the window, I started to take it personal. I felt a sense of violation. Why did someone do this to our car? Were we a target or was it random? I tend to think random because the second sound I heard made me think the same happened down the street.

Some years ago my work van was broken into. It happened in a church parking lot during a Bible study. Several thousand dollars of tools were gone and my ability to make a living. I remember how violated I felt. I spent hours thinking about what tools were in each tool box so I could buy replacements. Just yesterday, when I was helping my son repair his faucet, I was reminded of some parts that I had before the break-in that would have made the job easier. I find that you never recover completely from these things either mentally or physically.

The biggest loss from the break-in was that I no longer had some tools that my dad gave to me. He was a plumber and had given me many tools for obscure jobs that you may only use once in ten years, but without them the job is much harder. I'm sure when my tools were pawned, those items were worth nothing as the criminals both behind and in front of the counter would have had no idea what they were or their value.

So the sense of violation comes not from the loss of the tool but that I lost a part of my dad. And in this latest incident the sense of violation comes from feeling that our street is not safe. Those same vandals or others may come down the street on any night and do the same or worse damage. I woke several times last night to strange sounds, wondering what they were.

In all of this I think of God. I know he is here and I know he was there when each of these crimes were committed. I know enough of his goodness so I don't ask the question, "Why did you let this happen." I also know that in my humanness, even without that question asked, I will feel the sting of these signs of a fallen world for a long time.

God is good; all the time! I long for the new heavens and earth where only righteousness dwells.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Change is Hard

A friend lost a lot of weight very quick on one of the latest fad diets. Now she is depressed because she gained it right back.

It made me think about change. Change can be very hard. I sometimes think we look for the easy fix because we don't want to travel the hard road to lasting change. Other times it takes a crisis to force change. After a heart attack the doctor almost demands change. The person on the edge of diabetes is told of needed diet changes “or else”.

A friend of mine, Nate Larkin, said this, "Most of the time we will not change until it’s less painful to change than to stay the way we are." I find that to be true. I could quickly make a list of areas that need to change in my life. I fear the work involved and progress is not made; it's not even started. I'm waiting for a crisis.

Sometimes I think we avoid change because we fear what will be different. We fear what we will lose. As I thought about losing weight the biggest thought in my mind was the loss of eating what I wanted when I wanted. Did I really want that?

Sometimes we look at the huge list of changes we need to make and that scares us. How about taking one at a time?

I don't have an easy answer on this change thing. Most of the time it's going to involve some hard work and things will be different after. But one encouraging thing is it seems after the dust settles that we find the changes that were necessary to bring change are okay and sometimes great.

It could be that we sometimes avoid change and the work involved because of lies. The devil and others want us to stay in our old, messed up condition. All sorts of dire things go through our mind as we ponder change. It will be too painful, it will cost too much, or how will I live without my favorite drug or my favorite addiction.

And the biggest hindrance to good changes is we forget God. We think it's up to us alone. We forget that grace is amazing. We forget what can be accomplished with his help and power. We live like atheists.

Many times the voice we hear pushing us towards change is the Holy Spirit. The challenge then is to agree, to admit, to confess to God and others and to take the first step. Think about Peter when he walked on the water. He had to step out of the boat and then something amazing happened. His miraculous experience was then cut short as he looked around and let his fear take over. He forgot that Jesus had told him to come and that the miracle was from God, not him or nature.

Facing the need for change? Have your own ideas and ways failed? Are fear and discouragement about past failures or the unknown paralyzing? Well it's Jesus calling. He says come. Look straight to him and take that first step. Then keep your eyes fixed on him. The change will be amazing.


Monday, July 4, 2011

Sunshine, Storms and Fears

A day starts out good - really good. Then out of nowhere things change; from bright sunshine to stormy clouds, thunder and lightning.

Later in a book I'm reading, I come across some information on the almost complete failure of long term weight loss. Don't we all know people who always seem to be on a diet? Weight is lost and then soon or over time it comes back with even more.

This is particularly concerning to me. I lost 70 pounds in the last year. I knew I didn't just need to lose weight but needed to change my lifestyle. That is what I did but it’s scary to think that old behaviors and habits could return.

Sometimes it seems we control very little about our life. There is so much external stuff that comes along that pushes us in all the wrong directions. Pity the person who thinks it's all a matter of willpower. If it is, then most of us are sunk. I can hardly control my moods let alone the rest of my life.

The only consolation I have is that I belong to the one who holds the world in his hands. He is working to accomplish good in my life. He can do the stuff that needs to be done so moods don't rule my life, so other people and all their junk done mess up my life and so I can continue in the good changes he has brought to my life.

Rambling thoughts but that's what is up with me today.


P.S. Otherwise a very nice day.