Tag Archives: God

Friday is for grace

Today I woke to paws standing on my chest…  my little dog whining to me for attention at five in the morning… looking to me with the assurance that I would provide what she needs… unadulterated faith….

Lord help me to have the same kind of faith… unadulterated… knowing that my needs are going to be supplied… 

This summer has been a summer of plenty… gifts abundantly supplied… grace unbounded…

Today was the day I went to my family doctor to begin clearances to have a knee replaced… a knee which has helped me learn “pain”…..  

Father, when am I going to learn not to worry… heart fine… blood pressure… perfect… lungs… clear and well….

Why, after all you have carried me through this summer do I still sometimes wonder… “Is this going to be ok?”… “What if this happens?”

Is it the lot of all who inhabit our bodies of clay to be weak in our resolve… I wonder…

Nothing I wondered about or worried about this summer came to pass…. I came out of an accident that could have killed me without any significant injury… people who didn’t know I had been in the mangled truck asked within my hearing… “Did the person in there get out?”…. But you got me out…

You supplied everything… you supplied money from places I could never have imagined… you stilled my mind so I could rest… there was only those single footprints on the beach of this summer because you were carrying me…

The mysteries kept coming… combinations of events so incomprehensible as to be impossible without you…

So what was surprising today…. all reports good… Father I know the day will come when they aren’t… that is the way of all flesh… but when that day comes let me have that unadulterated complete faith… Let me have that unquestioning faith that comes only from you….

But for now I am so thankful for unexpected grace… unexpected love… unexpected wonder…

And Father overcome my natural tendencies… let me always be kind, moderate in my responses to people, patient…. let me always have that kind of faith…

the faith that I saw in my little dogs eyes….

she knows I will provide her food…

she knows I will provide her with love… petting…

she knows she will get a treat when I tell her she will have a treat….

she knows I will let her out when she needs to go out….

Father, let me have that innocent faith, that complete faith….

Knowing that you are always there, always caring, always guiding…

So I am thankful for Friday faith… Friday grace….

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Thursdays can be for complete regeneration

Regeneration… renewal… realization of the reality of grace…..

And the symbol of it all was something as mundane as a truck… a thing… a gift…

Such worries… such fears… me… a person who tells others of the grace of God… of the protection… of the shade of his magnificent hand…

Yet, much of my summer was spent in worry… the deepest darkness… from the moment last May when I stepped out of a wreckage of twisted metal… an engine soaking me in fuel beside me… still running… electricity still sparking between bits of metal in the still running  engine…my body soaked with fuel…. and I walked away….

Suddenly I found myself relying on the kindness of strangers… thy grace of people who did not know me who I did not know… help from the blue.. human love expressed for another human being in need…

On that same day a job had ended… that I loved and needed… that made up part of my life… I had just driven away from it 15 minutes before…. and then the crash… the unbelievablility of it all… it felt like shattered light… beyond comprehension… no job, no vehicle, not enough money… A period of rest suddenly turned into nothing but questions…

Then two hours later… I drove home in a new vehicle… that I thought to have only a few days… when I got home I lay down saying “enough for the troubles of this day”… tomorrow will take care of its own troubles.. and I slept…

When I woke the next morning I took stock… not able to see how to get to the end of it… a month passed.. another month… a third… 

Endless grace… for every worry, I received a gift… I was at least wise enough to pray… and with every prayer an answer came… not always the one I thought best… but an answer… every time I needed something it came…. finally I decided to stop worrying, especially after I preached a sermon on laying back in the current, on the hands of God….

Nothing about which I worried came to pass… Money came when it was needed… this was the summer of photography… word of mouth… the kindness of strangers…

I am standing in a grocery check out line with a photography magazine… a lady behind me with four kids in tow asked me if I was a photographer… soon there was a beautiful afternoon recording the lives of a beautiful family… then another… and another… all from a smiling exchange in a grocery check out line… what are the odds… incalculable…  

Paperwork can always go wrong…  it did over and over… soon I am paying for a vehicle myself without enough money to do so.. yet, things kept coming… grace upon grace… blessing upon blessing.. 

Lord were you teaching me to lay back on the current… were you teaching me to lay in your magnificent hand… were you teaching me about your love… Lord, I am a miracle guy… it all has meaning to me… I see you behind the veil… though I can only perceive your shadow, I see the work of your hand…

Then all the right things came together in a way I could never have predicted… it required a change of hearts… it required a plentitude of grace…

So I have learned this summer that I can lay back on the raging current and your strong hands will be there…. not one thing that gave me worry came to pass… not one thing that caused me to wake in a sweat at night arose to show itself…

I am home now… all the financial issues are gone… a beautiful vehicle… a near duplicate of the one I had carried my mother in to her last visit to the doctor, her last visit to see her precious nieces and nephews… the relatives who loved her so much… the one I drove to the hospital when one of my dearest friends called me to say “she’s gone sweetheart, she’s gone”… the vehicle I drove home to walk through the door to the home that had been hers also… truly alone for the second time in my life… the vehicle that had carried her for the last time to visit the resting place of my father, her husband and the place she was to rest  only 34 days later her body so tired at 92…  and that I was nostalgic for because it had taken me through so much… It was something that had been such a precious part of my life that was now gone in twisted metal… important only to me… holding precious memories…

When I went to visit a sales lot to look at a car, a compromise, a substitute… the salesman said “wait, I think I have something that just came in you might like”…. I went back to wait in the office…

A few minutes later he turned the corner…. a transcendent moment…. the truck he drove was exactly a copy of the truck I lost, in color, in interior… but better….

The last few days I had been nostalgic, thinking remembering… not praying for or asking for something like this to happen… that seemed small….

But, then everything started to fall into place… I drove home that afternoon in peace… realizing that something inexplicable had happened… I am a miracle guy…. I accept it for what it is…. what are the odds that I would be given back the same vehicle… but better… right down to the color  of the markings on the gauges….

Silly…. maybe…it’s just a truck… but only the Lord could have known what that particular truck meant to me… deep in my soul I know and feel and accept a gift…. that I didn’t deserve but turned me back onto a path….

So this Thursday, I am regenerated… I am full, I am happy and at peace… not because of a truck, but because of a gift that my soul knows was God saying I care, I know you and I love you…..

Thursdays can be for regeneration…. Thank you Lord….

Tá cion agam ort, a stór mo chroí

I love you…Tá cion agam ort … ancient, beautiful,  my ancestral language… the Irish language.   

A language shared between an American boy… a French girl…  two human hearts caught in love between each other… and music… and God.

Thankfulness for a language… yes…  the language of our love and our life… not as much as the language shared between our eyes… between our hearts… our lips…  

How precious were the hours I listened to her bring life to an ancient violin…an instrument made in love several hundred years before…  love in sound… love disguised as soft music floating through the cold shimmering air above the great Puget Sound…   the golden light from inside the old cabin giving illumination to her long blond hair…  time held still

She gave me life… the heart beating in her living body each day giving me love… and in giving me love… giving me life…

I am so thankful… thankful that I had her warmth for a while… thankful that I saw the love she gave me freely in her perfect eyes… the love I knew was mine as she touched me…  for there is a touch that only those in profound, holy love will ever know…   there is a love so deep that it will never leave… I am so thankful that years and years can be lived and loved in the briefest of times… the feel of her hand as she caressed the hair from my eyes as we stood in awe of the wind coming off the Olympic peaks… as we held each other on cliffs where the massive Pacific waves crash into the headlands of America for the first time after their long journey…. Cape Flattery… Forks…  where I saw the golden setting sun glow in her eyes…

She stood with me… made me feel such strength as I’ve never felt…  made  me love as I never had before… made me love my God as I never could before…  I saw God in everything she did… the way she cradled a childs’ face…  the way she gave love to those who wanted just to be near her… to feel her presence… to touch her…

The way she worshiped God… The way she lived her faith…

The way she spoke of me… the way she held my hand as we met others… the way she came to me… how she made me feel and be so much more than I was… the fear she took from me…

Thankfulness… that I could be loved by a radiant being such as she… that I could stand in that radiance for a while… the gift she gave both of us in a little boy…

Thankfulness… for how she held Joel… for the first moment she gave him to me… a love too deep for tears… a time when I was young and and she made me feel strong to protect them both…

Thankfulness …  for time… though short… yet so long… 

Thankfulness… for a world seen in beauty with a woman who lifted me to wonder at the marvel of how such love, such beauty could be… for music made more tender and pure by love for one so tender and pure… for giving me her pure soul as she stood near me drawing music from that beautiful instrument… giving me the passion to return what she gave to me through the musicians who so lovingly let us touch each other in the music they made…  and who gave a us another way to express our love to one another.

Thankfulness… for when I first held her, I could then make music I could not begin to understand before… to have lived enough through her to be able to somehow show an orchestra or a chorus to turn a phrase just so… so the truest, purest meaning I could hear inside my heart could be sent out into the living air…  for just a moment to connect our music to the source of all music…

I am thankful to God for you, a Godly woman, the greatest gift…

And as I said on that beautiful cliff side overlooking the Pacific on that last day…

Laura, Tá cion agam ort, a stór mo chroí….

Laura, I love you, love of my heart…

Hope, like the gleaming taper’s light,
Adorns and cheers our way;
And still, as darker grows the night
Emits a brighter ray.
From The Captivity (act II, sc. 1) by Oliver Goldsmith

Living

On the last day of the school year in 2010 I survived what could easily have been a fatal automobile accident.   The engine of my vehicle was suddenly in the seat beside me throwing gasoline everywhere including on me.  I had to turn the engine off with the ignition key.  The vehicle I was driving was totaled.  I received minor injuries from the seat belt as well as a fairly severe knee injury from broken blood vessels.  There is no good reason the vehicle did not explode killing me in a fiery conflagration.  I was covered with fuel.  If the engine had ignited I would not be here today writing this blog. 

I’ve spent the time since there coming to grips with what happened.  I have been healing both physically but more spiritually and psychologically.  I do not pretend to have any clue as to why I was spared.  But, I am determined to use the time God has given me well. 

I have been forced to confront so much that has helped me grow in my faith.  This was a gift. 

I am thankful that I am alive to write this blog.

I am thankful that things seem to be working out financially.

I am thankful for everyday I have had since the accident.

I am thankful for, of all things, Facebook that has become both a ministry and a support group for me. God works in mysterious ways.

I am thankful for the kindness of so many friends and family.

I am thankful for the kindness of strangers.

I am thankful that people cared enough to make room for me in their hearts.

I am thankful that the things about which I worried and about which I was frightened did not come to pass.

I was thankful for the first few breaths of air standing soaked with fuel when I stepped out of a crumpled piece of metal with a hot engine on the front seat.

I am thankful that for some reason I was spared what could have been my fate on that day.

I am thankful for the year of teaching I spent last year with incredible teachers, administrators and kids. 

I am thankful that after a long period of being unable to write words are coming back to me.

I am thankful for the mystery that is the Lord Jesus Christ.

I am thankful for a young man who is named Aiden McGeough in Ireland who may be a relative.  He discovered me on Twitter.  His friendship lifts me up everyday.

I am thankful for Jim Lewis, the Men’s Ministry at Lakewood Church and how much they have done for me that will never know. 

I am thankful to the beautiful people of Cathedral of Praise Assembly of God and their loving acceptance.

I am thankful to the young people in my youth ministry’s who have given me a reason to go on.

I am thankful that I am here now and ready to write. 

Blessings to all….

On Forgiveness

He, our Living God, looks down at our despair.  He sees our true nature, our inmost hidden thoughts and he cries….

He cries for our innocence lost.  He cries for our disobedience.  He cries for our betrayal.  But, His love for us is eternal and beyond comprehension.  

His love for us is that of the father who welcomed the Prodigal Son with a glorious feast upon his return.   For this was the son who was lost but now returns…. who was given up but has turned around willing to do the most menial work on his father’s land. 

This Earthly father greeted his son with open arms….singing praises to God for his safe return.  

If an Earthly father will do this…how much more will our Father in Heaven do this for us.  How much more will he forgive us, remake us and remold us. 

I am so thankful for mistakes that teach….

I am thankful for the rock at the bottom that hurts savagely when we fall there…

I am thankful for the depression that follows for it brings us close to him, we turn to him for comfort…

I am thankful for the humiliation and the opportunity to humble one’s self before Him…. to tell him how wrong we have been…to tell Him how terrible we have been.

And to ask his forgiveness yet again….

I am thankful for the sinners prayer that allows us to rejoin with Him… the creator of all things.

I am thankful that he knows how fallen we are… how weak we are… how much help we need…

I am thankful that he loves me just as an Earthly father loved the prodigal son… for I have surely been that prodigal son….

I am thankful for his enduring grace that he always allows us when we turn back to him…

I am thankful for the experiences that frighten us back to him…

I am thankful that there are men who are willing to help others in spite of their sin…

I am thankful for good men who will lift you up, helping you regain your feet…

I am thankful that honor, honesty and truth are rewarded…

I am thankful for a good God who knows when we can’t do it ourselves.

I am so thankful for a Heavenly Father who disciplines with love. 

I am thankful that the Father gave me ears with which to listen…

I am thankful that the Father gave me a heart that can break…

I am thankful that the Father gave me a soul that wants to be with him….

I am so thankful for the things in life that sometimes pull us up short and humiliate us so we can be healed. 

I am thankful for people who will stand with you in fairness and respect…

I am thankful for good men who do not judge. 

Amen

Listen quietly for the Holy…

Sometimes when you just stop…. you hear the almost silent whisperings of the Holy Spirit…

Jesus Christ doesn’t speak loudly, or brazenly…. He speaks softly, lovingly…. He isn’t forceful with us..

If he made us love him our love would be meaningless… our love for him would be false… He desires our real, honest love.  

And when we do turn to him, accepting him, bringing him into our lives… he speaks to us softly still….

He is always there… all we need do is listen…

After Despair

And so I awoke today…. after despair…. I didn’t know how it was going to happen…I felt I would have an answer today.   I did. 

Today I found the words… I found the actions… I found the passion… What I think I understand now more than ever is the value of letting go… letting go of our own attempt to create our own power…. our own words… our own actions…. our own passion…

For it will be supplied… in a way we could not imagine… One word, one small action… brings a moment of sincere, clear as crystal attention.. when out of nowhere comes a question then another,  and answers we never thought we would ever have are just there… out of the ether the words come flowing like water… we know just what to say…

And we realize that which went before had to be for the words to come… the events which lead to despair set up a series of thoughts, events, mystical things that happen leading to …. the words….

Had yesterday not happened in the way it did, today could not have been the way it was….   words that could not be said yesterday were absent so they could be there today when they would be heard… when the eyes look into eyes and see understanding….

Had yesterday not happened as it did there could not have been the passion that existed today… the eternal urge to help, to heal, to provoke, to inspire thought, emotion and plant the seeds of wisdom and humility…

God provided several pivotal moments in my life… moments that are written in my memory as the finger of God wrote in the rock of the Holy Mountain… words spoken by someone dear to me… words that were passionate, even angry with a me… a boy who needed to let go of my dad… to stop holding onto his death as a way to get through the world gathering sympathy, crippling myself as I went…

That voice still rings in my ears… it still gives me comfort, strength and courage…

That voice of that teacher saved me… I can still hear the words today…  I can still smell the room, see the light, feel the temperature… and feel the anger I felt until the angels of my better nature spoke to me as well…   and I had learned a part of life that would carry me on into the future… that would give me the courage and audacity to do things I could never have done had I not heard those words that were probably given to that teacher at that moment…

I may have served that role for three kids today who broke my heart yesterday… Each one listened today… each one acted responsibly… each one looked into my eyes and heard… and one said yes….

I am thankful for surprise gifts

for words that come when you don,t know what you will say,

for remorse on the part of a kid who wanted to talk today,

for sorrow,

for love,

for the desire for life…

for the placement of a mustard seed in good soil…

There are good days… this was one of them…. because I gave up.

I am thankful for the grace that allows us to say what must be said with force, but also with love and forgiveness.