Wreath Squared

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No matter what a wreath symbolizes for you, I have not seen very many which are square and full of unusual flowers and grains as in this beauty. Some very creative person(s) created this for a small boutique store in midtown Kansas City. I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to snap a pic with my cell phone.

Generally, we consider wreaths with Christmas, although a few enterprising folk will display all manner of wreaths throughout the year. This particular wreath was presented specifically for this holiday season. It is certainly festive and well done. So, why write about wreaths, and reveal this wreath in particular? Symbolism, as well as beauty and appreciation, for that which we admire (at least I do).

There are many symbolic interpretations for wreaths, but the main idea is that the circular (or square) shape without beginning or end reflects the full circle of life. In Christianity, the wreath was introduced through the Lutheran Church in the 16th Century and was a visual tool to understand the advent and birth of Christ. The evergreen branches are the most common of wreaths at this time of year because they represent life throughout the full year, regardless of how difficult the conditions may be to survive.

I see a bit more when I view a wreath, regardless of its shape, materials or when it is presented. I see beauty and creativity. Over-simplification some may say. Droll say others. But why must a wreath be about a specific occurrence or have a particular look each year? I believe that God created all that is natural and beautiful, including giving mankind the ability to create and enhance beauty. Of course, no one can outdo the Creator, but we can certainly strive to honor Him by imitating His creation. I fully understand that one’s interpretation of beauty is extremely subjective and is a topic I choose not to tackle in this post!

What I believe and what I know are very personal, yet I select what content I wish to share and some which I don’t. Such is my prerogative of creating and supporting this blog. However, let it be known once again that I am blessed to see, touch, hear, and emotionally feel the beauty God has given mankind each and every day I live. I sincerely hope you are given (or make) the opportunity to slow down long enough to experience such sublime beauty this holiday season. Thanks again for visiting and encouraging me. Also, I am grateful for your own unique beauty! Share it…please.



Bad Company



Ever since I came up with the title of Shooting Stars for my previous post, I haven’t stopped thinking about (and singing) the song by the same name which was performed by the group Bad Company in 1975. It’s a good piece of rock n’ roll music and thought provoking lyrics which makes for a compelling song to listen to. The lead singer, Paul Rodgers, who wrote the song, did so as a warning because some of his peers died of drug overdoses. Jimi Hendrix , Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison are thought to have been on Paul’s mind when he penned the lyrics. As a possible tribute, Rodgers created a guitar finale which sounds a lot like Hendrix. Sadly, one of his band’s members died at the young age of 25, a year after this song was released. The lyrics are written below. I encourage you to listen to it, as well. Don’t be surprised if you can’t get it out of your mind right away.

Johnny was a schoolboy when he heard his first Beatle’s song. Love Me Do I think it was and from there it didn’t take very long. Got himself a guitar, used to play every night. Now he’s a rock n’ roll outfit and everything’s alright, don’t you know?

Johnny told his mama, “Hey, mama, I’m goin’ away. Gonna hit the big time, gonna be a big star someday”. Mama came to the door with a teardrop in her eye. Johnny said, “Don’t cry, mama”, smiled and waved goodbye, don’t you know? Yeah.

Don’t you know that you are a shooting star…Don’t you know? Don’t you know? Don’t you know that you are a shooting star? And all the world will love you just as long as long as you are.

Johnny made a record-went straight up to number one. Suddenly everyone loved to hear him sing his song. Watchin’the world go by, surprisin’ it goes so fast. Johnny looked around him and said I made the big-time at last.

Don’t you know? Don’t you know? Don’t you know that you are a shooting star? Don’t you know? Whoa yeah. Don’t you know that you are a shooting star? And all the world will love you just as long, as long as you are. (repeats)

Johnny died one night, died in his bed. Bottle of whiskey, sleeping tablets by his head. Johnny’s life passed him by like a warm summer day. If you listen to the wind you can still hear him play…Don’t you know that you are a shooting star? Don’t you know? Don’t you know? Don’t you, don’t you know that you are a shooting star? Don’t you know? (repeats)

How does one reconcile the reality of life with the artificial world that success and money creates? We see this dynamic played out all too often in actors, music celebrities, politicians, super athletes, and most recently in “reality” TV stars. In addition, how does one reconcile the reality of life when there is no longer a foundation to anchor to?  It takes a rare individual not to be entranced with this type of notoriety, money and meteoric rise in fame. My anchor is Christ who reminds me that all we gain is not as it seems.

Keep in mind that Johnny could be anyone…you, me, a friend, neighbor or loved one. We are all susceptible to the allurement this type of success employs; namely, losing touch with reality. Is there any correlation between those who become rich and famous, and bad company? Johnny would say, “Yes, don’t you know?”. The next time you ‘strike it rich’ or are vaulted to the top of a pedestal, stop and think about Johnny, and leave bad company alone…they have plenty of other suckers to latch onto.



The Soul of a Coffee Shop

Tuesday's CoffeeWhile visiting a well-known-chain coffee shop during the Christmas holiday, I decided to sit for a while and enjoy my drink rather than scoot out the door to my next destination.
The cacophony of sounds which embellished this locale reminded me of an orchestra tuning their instruments prior to a performance. At first the sounds seemed like unorganized noise – and could even be considered annoying if in a grumpy mood. But since I slowed down that morning, I heard instead, a strange harmony.

As I listened, I heard eclectic Christmas music playing through the overhead speakers; steamers making hot milk and froth for lattes and cappuccinos; employees taking and repeating orders; a middle-aged man talking with a younger man about weekly events and faith (a Bible lay on the table); two men sharing stories at a perimeter table; the gentle clicking of a young woman typing away on her laptop; the shuffling of the morning newspaper; and the constant stream of people coming and going while exchanging pleasantries and orders with the staff. And, of course, continuous texting.

Most of the customers were in a hurry, but a few not so much. They seemed to be the frequent visitors known by manager and employees alike. There were somber-looking people and joy-filled souls, and preoccupied folk from all walks of life. Some ordered regular coffee, but most selected specialty drinks, custom-made to their particular tastes. Many of these specialty drinks are rather expensive, too, but this is an affluent community and the average customer wants for little materially. Nevertheless, there are needs…there always are.

As I sat listening and watching the steady flow of consumers and busy staff, I realized that this coffee shop (like most) represents a cross-section of our current culture. Some of the people I witnessed could be on the verge of a collapse: emotional, relational, career-wise, health related or possibly financial. Most, I suspect, struggle with something. I certainly do. This much I know…everyone has a story. Some are tragic while some are remarkable and inspiring. Most fall somewhere in between. Perhaps this is why we are drawn to the exceptional, the heroic, and the inspirational. Average can seem so boring.

If we are honest, the majority of us see ourselves as average – and we probably are. There is nothing wrong with that, for without average, we wouldn’t have exceptional. Those who are exceptional-who excel above most-are flaunted and often placed on precarious pedestals of admiration. To be considered the best or most popular at something is alluring. Haven’t we all thought what it would be like to be the best athlete, musician, surgeon, writer, race car driver, entertainer, etc.? And yet, if we actually achieved this vaulted status, we would become susceptible to a host of potential problems, such as loss of privacy, inflated egos, self-absorption, detachment from average people and average lives, forgetting those in poverty, and the list goes on. We’ve all read stories of celebrities and athletes who still struggle to find love and acceptance, despite having achieved fame and worldly success. So many dream of achieving some sort of remarkable status or gaining peace of mind, but, instead, find ourselves miserable, especially during the holidays.

I think most of us try too hard in just about everything we do. Whether at work, at home or at play, we push-push-push until we have nothing left to give. Life becomes a balancing act, and peace and contentment are forced out of the daily equation. We miss out on the simple act of living-of being alive. There is this constant striving for that piece of golden fruit which is just out of our reach. When we fail to secure it, we panic inwardly and ask ourselves, ” Why not me?”. When some of us do grab onto it, it soon loses its luster and we become dissatisfied again. We humans are masters at repeating this cycle.

With the world seemingly spinning out of control, we become even more anxious. This tension leads to lives devoid of hope, and ultimately, joy. I know about anxiety and striving and even self-pity. I don’t come to you as one who possesses exceptional anything or as living a care-free life. On the contrary, 2015 has been a very difficult year for many reasons. Yet, I awakened today. No chalk lines outlining my body. Inward wounds perhaps, but I am still alive and have eternal promises spoken to me by the only One who can legitimately offer and secure them. Yes, this source is Christ. His love is extravagant, and far better than any of the gifts we may receive or give.

My Christmas wish for all is to find Him who seeks us. By doing so, all of our problems won’t vanish immediately, but our souls will be renewed, and a sense of peace and joy will eventually take residence. This world has nothing close to compete with this gift of love filled with grace. His fruit will never tarnish nor fade. Merry Christmas !

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Quote & Pic of the Day, No. 24 of 24

2-12-09 003” When I met Christ, I felt I had swallowed sunshine ! ”                                              E. Stanley Jones                                                                                                                                                                                     

Charlotte’s Web

Charlotte's Web 2 I came upon this spider and her web during an early morning outing when the dew was heavy and the sun shone through the trees. Upon snapping a few photographs my mind immediately recalled the wonderful children’s book, Charlotte’s Web, written by E.B. White in 1952. This well-renowned book of many awards and untold numbers of happy readers has thrilled children and adult alike since it was first published. Mr. White was born and lived in New York, served in WWI, attended Cornell University, was a journalist for the United Press and the New Yorker magazine (among others), author of many adult books and three beloved children’s books: Stuart Little, Charlotte’s Web and The Trumpet of the Swan. We lost E.B. to Alzheimer’s in 1985.

He was a brilliant writer who occasionally conveyed his messages in unconventional ways. Take Charlotte’s Web, for instance. As one website author stated, “She manipulates events which lead to the outcome that we read about. The story of Charlotte’s web is written by Charlotte in order to save Wilbur”. White was quite humble and he avoided public recognition despite the plethora of awards he received over the many years he wrote. In this case, he hid behind Charlotte. It is rather interesting to note that his initials are an anagram of WEB. I told you he was brilliant.

I am reminded of the parallel between Charlotte’s love for Wilbur and her ultimate sacrifice and that of Christ. Just as Charlotte gave many signs by using her web-writing ability to create affection for the doomed pig, so Jesus gave us many signs by using parables, miracles and encounters to create affection for His Father in Heaven. He, too, sacrificed his life, and just as Charlotte’s offspring continued to leave a living legacy through their births, so Christ gives those who are drawn to Him eternal life.

Unforced Rhythms of Grace

I wish I could take credit for this title because I find it so profoundly accurate to the story I am about to share in this post. Eugene Peterson, the author of The Message Bible, developed this paraphrase from a passage about surrendering our burdens to Christ whose grace never ceases, but flows continually into our lives. Rather than simply create a word picture, I have included several photos of waves I recently watched and played in off the coast of the Dominican Republic. The time spent at the  beach was as enjoyable as one can imagine!IMG_1359I really love waves. They remind me of clouds passing across the sky-an ever-changing panorama. I am in awe of surfers who navigate these fluid highways with stunning accuracy, and I thoroughly enjoy those jaw-dropping videos of waves rolling over surfers or crashing over reefs and onto shoreline rocks. Nature in motion. Breathtaking beauty. The visual and audible rhythm is soothing. At the same time waves can be extremely dangerous, especially the undertow and hidden objects below their momentous surfaces. Nevertheless, waves are awesome to behold and I count it a privilege whenever I can be near them (on or next to land, that is).IMG_1111While on the coast of sunny Punta Cana I was reminded of the words a friend spoke to me a few weeks ago. Tom lives in Florida and spends time lapping up the soft wave action of the panhandle. He often sits in the shallow water as the waves gently roll into him…repeatedly without end. He loves that. Tom discovered he has a very serious form of lymphoma cancer which devastated his body in short order. The good news is that his type of cancer is curable. However, the treatments last five months with week-long infusions, then rest and more infusions. Tom is away from his home during these treatments. His body suffered serious bone deterioration in joints and along his spine. Surgeries were necessary. It has been rough sailing for him and his wife.IMG_1134You’re probably wondering why I’m talking about Tom in the same context as waves. I’ll tell you. Before our vacation, I met with Tom for lunch and he explained the whole ordeal with cancer, treatments, etc. No pity-party, just facts. I’ll never forget the part where he talked about this journey and how his faith played a part in him keeping a positive attitude despite the circumstances. As he sat in his wheelchair, he kept motioning with his arms; he would extend them outward and then draw them inward in unison, like he was rowing a boat. He told me that God’s grace flowed into him just like the waves gently rolled into his chest as he sat in the shallow water of the ocean. Back and forth his arms moved. Then he said, ” I’m blessed, you know. I’ve been given so much and don’t deserve it all “.

Good Grief, Charlie Brown ?

Sunday, I attended a funeral service for one of my wife’s dear cousins. Joni died tragically in a house fire on December 13th. With the exception of her family and friends, the terrible shooting tragedy at Shady Hook over-shadowed this solemn event. Understandably, as a nation grieves for the loss of so many, especially the little Autumn morning 10-20-12 030ones.

As I contemplated the hallowed memorials to the slain in Connecticut and the memorial for Joni, I was impacted by the final words from her brother, Greg, while at the grave site. Greg’s insight may not be new, but bears repeating. His simple statement applies to all who are grieving. Greg said we feel so much pain because there is so much love. He said he was very saddened because of his sister’s death, but grateful that pain exists because he knows of the great love that flows from family and friends alike, as well as from his own heart. Greg’s perspective came from the analysis of his feelings and observations. I believe his conclusion to be right on.

Whether loss occurs suddenly or over an extended period of time, if we love we will feel pain. Not by accident, it is love which sustains us during these trials. Pity those who know not love. I am forever grateful for the love of family and friends. I know I shall never stand alone. Because I believe in a loving and compassionate God, I accept His pronouncement that I am the Apple of His Eye which simply means that I am greatly loved by my Creator. Many know such a love as this.

Regardless of one’s faith walk (or lack, thereof) love is paramount if we are to exist in any sort of meaningful and rational way. Trying to make sense of devastating shooting sprees or a fifty-six year old mom and grandmother dying in a fire can be an exhausting and futile search. The bottom line is that we live in a flawed world where bad things happen to good people. I wish it wasn’t so, but it is. I join a mighty chorus of hurting and loving citizens and family members in expressing my condolences, and I reiterate an oft spoken hope for peace on earth, and goodwill to all.

During this Christmas season, and beyond, may we make a point of being better lovers, not in the romantic sense, but in the intimacy of relationships where the negative effects of fear and hate, failures and disappointments, bitterness and anger, (insert nouns here) will dissipate. And, in their place, may unbridled (selfless) love abound. For as the Apostle Paul announces in one of his letters, “Love never fails”. Christ made sure of that when He gave His all for each one of us.


English: The start of the border fence between...

English: The start of the border fence between the United States and Mexico near Sunland Park, New Mexico, U.S.A. and Rancho Anapra, Chihuahua, Mexico. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Several years ago I was blessed to participate on a work related mission trip in Juarez, Mexico through AMOR Ministries. The goal of AMOR is to provide housing for the poor in cities along the northern Mexican border. Through the efforts of those who donate materials and labor, the love of Christ is conveyed to local Hispanics in a tangible way. AMOR has staff members who raise all of their support themselves, and are a dedicated bunch of folks. Another goal is to introduce Christians and non-Christians alike to missions outreach. Team building is a key component of this dynamic. Each house is built by a team of up to ten people. Sometimes there are fewer workers available. AMOR’s model is to have each house completed in three days from start to finish.

I traveled with a close friend of mine to El Paso, and then to Juarez. Jason introduced me to AMOR and invited me to go serve with him in the desert. My reasons for doing so were manifold: compassionate ministry and assisting the less fortunate have always interested me; I have been on a couple of missions trips before and recognized the value of them; my friend was very persuasive; the need was evident so I felt I could make a difference; my construction management skills could be of added benefit; and most importantly, I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me. I was reluctant to go, however, because I suffer from a chronic back condition which keeps me in pain much of the time. I knew I would be doing a lot of standing and bending which really intensifies the pain. I decided to go anyway. The conditions were a bit primitive as we stayed in tents on a field of dirt within a fenced area, worked in the heat and sun all day, and had cold showers and very basic toilet facilities…not delightful, but doable for three days.

I met many wonderful people including several staff members, strangers who became friends as we worked and worshipped together, and the families we built for. We visited an orphanage while in Juarez and I immediately saw the compassion of those who ran this facility. I became closer to my friend who invited me and I gained a greater appreciation for his heart to serve God by serving others. This trip was a memorable experience and one of great value because of several lessons that I learned.

Prior to leaving our home, I prayed that the Lord would give me a ‘reality check’, as I recognized that I was becoming too influenced by the things of the world. Business was good at the time and I lived in an affluent county where financial success was paraded around me. Although I tried really hard not to get caught up in this dynamic, I was affected by it. My fear was that I was becoming indifferent to the plight of the less fortunate and that I was becoming a bit stingy in my giving and serving. Therefore, I pleaded with God to change my heart and show me again what He valued the most so I could join Him whole-heartedly. My prayer was answered immediately upon our arrival and then throughout the three days.

My friend had an acquaintance that picked us up from the airport and drove us to a home he and his crew had just completed in a Colonia, the name of the small communities which pop up in the desert on the outskirts of border cities. It had just rained a couple of days before (unusual for this area and time of year) and there were puddles of water everywhere. We were invited into the home of the woman for whom the house was built. She spoke no English, and my friend and I very little Spanish. Fortunately, our driving companion was fluent in both languages. As I looked around the new 11’x 22’ two-room house with concrete floor and stucco exterior, I could see the pride in this mother’s eyes. I asked what she thought of her new home and as she explained, she began to cry and raise her arms towards heaven.

Anxiously, I asked our interpreting friend to tell us what she was sharing, and this is what he told us. This dear mother of three children was praising God for giving her a house with doors, windows, concrete floor, and most importantly a roof that didn’t leak. Prior to this house, the family would endure muddy feet due to wet dirt; the roof would leak and there were no windows or door in the wall openings to keep out the rain water. Tears of joy filled her face, and then mine. I was zapped with the realization that God had, indeed, revealed to me in this moment what really mattered. I had just received my first reality check only hours after arriving. I was hoping something like this would take place while I was in Juarez, but didn’t expect it so soon and so powerfully. I selfishly felt God had orchestrated this meeting specifically for me in answer to my prayer. I was humbled.

My second experience of witnessing humility, and the humbling that tags along with seeing humility in action, came when I was teamed with a group of college students from Texas A&M. I learned that every year up to one hundred or more students and dedicated adults head to Juarez during Spring Break to serve. These young adults and sponsors give up their vacations to serve others. It wasn’t merely the serving that struck me, but the spirit in which they served. These young people, full of energy as can be expected, grabbed onto the concept not only of constructing a house, but of nurturing the families whom they served. It was a common sight to see girl and boy alike pickup and play with the children of this community, and interact with the adults. The teamwork philosophy fostered by AMOR Ministries pays dividends, in that a real sense of community is developed, literally overnight. Many of these young people vowed to return in the summer to serve again. I believe many did. In addition, these servants began to learn skills not previously known to them; plus they learned the value of cooperating and being effective builders of community. Again, I was humbled.

The third experience which God placed before me had to do with the interaction I had with a small group of youth and their pastor who came from several states away to be a part of this Spring Break endeavor. Because there were not enough of them, I was asked to assist this group. Although few in number (maybe seven) and with little to no building skills, they jumped in whole- heartedly in constructing their house. The process of construction consists of mixing gravel, sand, cement and water on-site, thus creating the concrete for the slab. The concrete is leveled and finished smooth within forms placed on the dirt. The following day wood stud walls are built and then erected onto the edges of the slab. From this point the roof framing is installed. Plywood walls and roof decking are cut and nailed, and then felt paper applied. The single slope roof receives a waterproof fabric while wire mesh and stucco are applied to the walls. Three windows and one door are installed, and the exterior is painted. Upon completion, each house is dedicated to the owner, in the name of the Lord.

Working along side this church family was wonderful because they all possessed such servant hearts. They invited me and my friend to attend their evening meal and time of worship. We quickly accepted. The meal was simple, but good. The worship was pleasing to the ear and to the heart of God…like incense rising to heaven. At this point we thought we were finished and were ready to head back to our tents and get a well needed night of sleep before we left the next day. The humbling took place before we were dismissed. The most spiritually sensitive girl of this group (I can’t recall her name, but God does) read from the gospels about how Jesus served His disciples. As she read she asked us to allow her to wash our feet just as Christ had done to His disciples in the upper room (John 13:4-9). I was overwhelmed that a sixteen year old ‘kid’ would humble herself and wash my feet. I almost acted like Peter by refusing, but recalled the Lord’s rebuke to him. So, I acquiesced and had my feet washed. As she gently washed our feet (over the desert dirt) and towel dried them, this precious young lady spoke words of encouragement as she prayed over each member of our group. As you can imagine, I was humbled, again.

Jesus told his followers that when we seek the kingdom of God, we will receive that which we need to sustain us (Matthew 6:33). He also told His disciples that when we seek after the things which He holds dear, we shall find them (Matthew 7:7-8).

My seeking led me to discover that which I was looking for, and needed desperately. The greatest gift of this trip, one which has not escaped me to this day, is of humility. I was humbled repeatedly by His overwhelming love and mercy. I witnessed humility played-out through the lives of others: via the ministry of AMOR, in my friend and through the volunteers who sacrificed their time and gave their best to assist the less fortunate. Even the people we served were humble in there acceptance of us, and were appreciative of our contribution. Tears of joy flowed as each house was dedicated during the three days I was in the desert.

I gave, but I received so much more. James states in chapter 4, verse 10 that when you “humble yourselves before the Lord, He will lift you up”. Certainly, I was lifted up. Most definitely, I was humbled. Without a doubt, my faith was buoyed with a renewal in the promises of God. And, I was reminded that, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for Me” (Matthew 25:40). Without question, when we serve others with humility, we serve our Lord, and by serving Him, we become more like Him. I don’t know about you, but I need all the help I can get.


Rocks Standing The Test of Time & Water


As a student of history I find the Second World War fascinating. Tragic, of course, but irresistible to study. I wish it, and all wars, were foreign concepts to us. However, I cannot ignore the reality of this conflict where man was at his best and worst during those times of monumental struggles. While studying the early stages of both the European and Pacific theaters of war, history tells us that the forces of evil overwhelmed their opponents. It took considerable time and effort for balance to be achieved and the proportion of defeats to become victories for the allies.

I pondered the sense and reality of being overwhelmed and what it must have felt like for both sides. What comes to mind when you consider this word, overwhelmed ? It is a very powerful word with many intense thoughts and feelings associated with it.

For the athlete, watching one team dominate another team; one boxer pummel another boxer; or one individual rule her opponent, can evoke a sense of helplessness for the defeated and energy for the winner. Whether the victor or the vanquished, the concept of being overwhelmed is very real for both parties.

For the over-worked, the seemingly endless days of pressure, deadlines and fatigue – the feeling that you will never catch-up – may simply wear you down. The thought of “Not again” and the reality of added responsibilities can lead to stress and disillusionment.

For mothers of young children, the daily routine and pressures associated with caring for her children, managing the household, balancing the budget, the endless trips to stores and events and appointments can certainly lead to exhaustion and feelings of futility.

For the over-extended; be it financial, time-related or with relationships, depression can result.

And for those who have endured years of chronic pain, without the hope for a cure, life can seem pretty pointless. Some suffer from the acute pain of losing a loved one with the hurting as real as any physical pain can be, and lasting just as long or longer. Then there are those who care for others who cannot care for themselves. These are special people, but the responsibility can become unbearable at times.

The sense of being overwhelmed is, well, overwhelming. This feeling may seem relentless – like powerful waves crashing on to a rocky shoreline, wearing away the stone, one resounding crash after another.

Our inherent “fight or flight” reaction to adverse (threatening) situations, especially over prolonged periods of time with little or no hope of relief, often results in our wanting to flee the situation. When trying to stand against the onslaught of a hurricane, escape often seems like the best choice. However, impulsive fleeing can lead to harmful behaviors and drastic consequences. As we struggle to understand what is happening to us, we become confused and lose objectivity.

The sense of being overwhelmed can cause physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual damage. Because of the feelings of confusion and hopelessness, we often attempt to medicate our symptoms. There are a variety of ways to do this; most of which harm not only ourselves, but those closest to us. What are we to do? How can we gain the upper hand and triumph over such adversity without turning to those things which ultimately end up hurting us?

My recommendation, based on personal experience, is to begin the journey towards safety, healing and wholeness by expressing our vulnerability to God. This step is difficult for most of us because it is an admission of weakness and reveals our inability to overcome adversity in our own strength. But this is exactly where God wants us. We must empty ourselves of pride and the false sense of self-sufficiency in order for Him to fill us with His power and His peace.

David, the shepherd boy-turned-king, expressed regularly his vulnerability and fears to the Lord through the Psalms. David, far from perfect, was highly favored by God because of his heart condition. Even after sinning, he returned to his God time and time again in an attitude of submission and humility. David learned to trust his Maker through repeated situations when his life was in jeopardy; as he confessed his inability to overcome his foe, he sought after God’s divine intervention. So must we.

In Psalm 61, David begins, “Hear my cry O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed.” He then asks God to “lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.” David goes on to say, “For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.” If you can’t relate to walled cities with fortified rock towers then consider a different image which serves the same purpose of protection and safety…an impenetrable place where the enemy can’t reach you.

Whatever your foe is at this present time, confess it, and your powerlessness to overcome it. Tell God the Father, who knows you and your circumstances intimately, that you need Him. Ask Him to help you, protect you, and to be near you. Call out to Him and ask Him to lead you to Christ the Lord. As you affirm Christ as the true Lord of your life, the sense of feeling overwhelmed will begin to dissipate. Sometimes the heaviness leaves immediately, and sometimes it takes awhile, but don’t give up.

Adjustments in lifestyle and circumstances will need to be made to reduce or eliminate the causes of your life feeling out of control, but one must be rescued before one can be free! As balance returns to your life, meditate on the words of David spoken in Psalm 62 when he said, “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my Rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”

May that become our proclamation and our reality.


Some people have a song, you know? They are the sweet ones, the talented ones, the sensitive ones. Sometimes, they are even the strong ones. Their songs burst forth as the brilliant rays of a majestic sunrise peaking over the horizon. Their songs are loud and clear and, oh, so wonderful to behold.

I just listened to some songs from a Rich Mullins CD. He had a song, and he shared that song through music. The words he penned, and the melodies he created bring glory to God and cause the listener to take stock in his own life. Of course, there are all types of songs…many of them aren’t music at all. There are songs of encouragement from special people who have overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. I had a friend who lived out his song even though he was a paraplegic. He was an artist and shining star of encouragement. Others have songs that inspire through art, prose, dance and athletics. Martin Luther, and Martin Luther King had beautiful songs; similar names and similar messages, but ‘sung’ at different times and in different ways. Yes, there are many types of songs, and they are all unmistakable when seen or heard. Songs are much more than mere talent, though. The two are not to be confused.

I believe I have a song to share, but I can’t seem to proclaim it. Sometimes, I can crack open the door so my song seeps out. Occasionally, some hear my song, but mostly just I do. And God does. I contemplate what it is that holds me back from flinging the door to my heart wide open so my song will burst forth. I sabotage my efforts by allowing the trivial to replace the important. The temporal overcomes the eternal much too often. Sometimes difficult circumstances consume all of my energy. It is frustrating. I have identified some of the distractions, and am striving to overcome them. No doubt, there are a few I am not even aware of. Perhaps sharing my angst will assist me in opening the door.

Oh, how I want my song to be pure and uninhibited-to be free. I desperately want my song to be a blessing to others. I believe our songs are not about us; not really. We are given these songs to guide and encourage and uplift others, especially those who don’t have a song, but need one. Our songs are gifts from a gracious God who gave us the greatest song ever through the life, death and resurrection of His son, Jesus Christ. Forget religion and consider the man. Jesus came into this world-not because He had to, but because He wanted to…He needed to…for us. While He walked upon the soil of a turbulent Middle East. He taught us how to pray, and how to graciously treat one another. He taught us how to worship a Holy God, and to care for the less fortunate. Jesus did more than teach-He redeemed.

What or whom did Jesus redeem? God’s greatest creation and joy: His children. The need for redemption came as a result of our self-righteousness and pride. We needed to be rescued, and that is exactly what Jesus did. Many find this unbelievable or offensive. I find it remarkable. So amazed am I that He would suffer and die so that I could spend eternity with Him and the Father, simply blows me away. I could never deserve such an honor nor could I ever earn it. It had to be given to me by the only One who had the authority and power to do so.

My song-our songs- are like gifts of gratitude to the One who created us and rescued us from a life of meaninglessness. When I started to write this piece, I had no idea where I was going. I didn’t plan on talking about God or Christ or salvation, but that is where my mind was lead. I feel a bit more at ease after penning these thoughts. Maybe, I just learned a little more about my song. Maybe.

And, maybe I will begin to remove the hinges from the door that I can’t seem to open very wide, and instead, remove it. Why should the door exist, anyway. Who do I want to keep out, and why do I want to stay in? To be honest, I don’t know. However, I seek to find out. What of your song? Will you share it? Will you remove the door (at least start by opening it)? Others near and far need to hear and see and feel your song. I have never been disappointed in another’s song when I knew it was genuine and selflessly given. That is how I want my song to be- an offering of love. The Lord knows, and we all know, that our world could use a heap more of unconditional love. Please join me. I want to hear your songs as much as I want mine to be heard. Enough said.