Posts Tagged With: God

Just an observation…


Most of us, if not all, would agree that we can demonstrate the existence of love even though it is intangible in and of itself. Our relationships reflect it. Our behavior is motivated by it. Certain types of love even have financial implications. But it cannot be held in your hands, bought from a store or traded on the stock exchange.

Yet, we know it exists.

Nevertheless, we cannot accurately measure love’s depths or variations by any benchmark or standard of behavior established by mankind. For we have seen both the most beautiful and horrendous things occur in its name. There is no way to anticipate its affect from one person to the next. Nor does everyone define or describe it the same.

Yet, we know it exists.

Some people embrace it. Others fear it. But we never question its functionality or how deeply embedded it has become in our everyday lives. We accept that it is because of the preponderance of evidence that supports it. And when I think about all of these things, I come back to the same simple conclusion…

God is.

Categories: personal, religion | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Gentleman’s Curse?


There’s an old adage (or aphorism? I never get those right) that goes “nice guys finish last”. It’s the belief that being nice is a terrible liability when it comes to things like romance or business. We’re told that girls prefer bad boys over gentleman. Or that in order to have any success in business, you have to be aggressive and shark-like with a “take no prisoners” attitude.

Crazy thing is, for most of my life I believed that statement to be a load of crap. And by “crap” I mean “an often repeated untruth that slowly becomes accepted as truth simply by the sheer volume of people who choose restate and quote it as fact”. But come on, there couldn’t possibly be any drawbacks to being considerate and full of compassion, right?

Wrong.

Like I said (only a short two paragraphs ago), there was a time I believed that to be true. That is, until I better understood the reasoning and truth that underlies this oft-quoted saying. Which is to say that I watched as the truth of it manifest in my own life. I finally understood that there was more substance to this than I originally thought. Having been a participant (victim?) of this truth, I have since dubbed the phenomenon the “Gentleman’s Curse”. Let me explain…

I’m pretty sure I’m what some would call a gentleman. There are at least a handful (read: 2 or 3) who could attest to the fact that I am patient, generous, transparent, chivalrous, and emotionally supportive. These are all traits generally associated with being an overall “nice guy”, if you will. **DISCLAIMER: I don’t describe myself this way simply to toot my own horn, but to provide the basis for what follows next. What follows next is that I’ve come to whole-heartedly believe that sometimes (and only sometimes) being nice was the worst choice I could have made. My “nice guy” nature has contributed to some pretty awful outcomes and circumstances over my lifetime. I know that sounds terrible. But as I’ve also learned over the years, the truth isn’t always pretty.mr nice guy

See, the thing is, it’s not that I can really help being a “nice guy”. It’s in my nature to be this way. My overall personality, typical responses and individual inclinations are hard wired into the fiber of my being. The problem is that some people can often be perceived (and at times, accurately so) as a bit of a softy or even a pushover. People take advantage of the fact that they know you probably won’t behave in ways that would make them feel awkward, uncomfortable or afraid.

Still, I don’t want this post to come across as all “bah humbug” about being nice. I’m not saying people shouldn’t be nice or even that I need to change who I am. I’m saying that I am exactly who God created me to be. I am fashioned by His hands and He is a master craftsman! I am neither a mistake, nor am I a failed or aborted process. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. And with that understanding and acceptance, comes freedom to not feel pressured to be anything other than who I am.

I am NOT the one to rail on Time Warner Cable over their gouging practices (6 month undisclosed customer retention pricing that tripled in cost and won’t go down unless I call and complain). However, I AM the one who understands that as I love my enemies, bless them that curse me, do good to them that hate me, and pray for them which despitefully use me, and persecute me, God will bring both vindication and justice. I find rest in that promise.

Potters-ClaySo I will continue in my “nice guy” ways with the power of the knowledge that what I originally thought was a curse, was actually… a blessing. 🙂

Categories: commentary, personal, religion, stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fair Trade


For the last few weeks, I have been… heavy. REALLY heavy. It hasn’t been a normal kind of heaviness either. This is an unfamiliar variety of encumbrance that I’ve never before experienced. I have been feeling the weight, not of the world, but of a life consisting of my multitudinous responsibilities, ongoing obligations, personal goals, interpersonal connections and work expectations, coupled with my undisguised exhaustion and noticeable (to me at least) vulnerabilities…  all on my recently more developed shoulders. :-/

As I was openly lamenting my burdens, my amazing wife (no seriously, she’s amazing) reminded me of the following scripture from Matthew 11…

“28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

And as we were praying together last night, I was overcome with gratitude for the invitation to shed this weight. To let it fall away. Not looking back at it. Not caring about its size, color or shape. But just knowing that once I’ve put it down, I can begin to walk away from it, in exchange for the Lord’s lightness and ease. It was in the immediacy of this moment I realized that as unbalanced and disproportionate as this may seem to me, as far as the Lord is concerned, it’s a fair trade. I really had to take it in… Jesus Holds

  • Giving him all the things that feel as if they will crush me under their collective weight = Fair Trade
  • Unloading all of my feelings of guilt, regret, unworthiness and insignificance = Fair Trade
  • Yielding those areas of my life over which (if I’m being honest) I have absolutely no control anyway = Fair Trade
  • Accepting the inequity of my load in exchange for His = Fair Trade
  • Salvation simply because He loves me = Fair Trade

I have been liberated.

 

“Lord I’m undone. I come to You. Show me Your face, Your spirit and truth. That I might worship free from my sin. I just want you.”Something New, Transparent

Categories: personal, religion | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Grateful


I am deeply saddened when I hear about tragedies like the one recently at the Navy yard. I hear about people going on a rampages and shooting crowds of innocent people and my heart breaks. I’ll get into conversations with people about the How’s and Why’s behind such heinous acts and it’s always the same questions…

How on earth was he able to buy a gun??

Why didn’t people see the signs??

How did he get through the background check and gain access to the location??

Why didn’t the authorities respond sooner??

What really bothers me about this line of questioning is the assumption that only terrorists or schizophrenics are capable of harming others. But sometimes… sometimes it’s your neighbor… sometimes it’s the kid you used to babysit… sometimes it’s the guy you knew from basic training.

We’re completely caught by surprise when we learn about those who perpetrate such crimes and we immediately try to justify the behavior by attributing it to some mental illness or ties to a terrorist cell group.

“Oh, well no wonder… he had an abnormal fixation on the Middle East and Iraqi culture.”

“He had previous run-in with the law and he liked guns. So I can see how this would be something he would do.”

It’s almost as if our minds can’t seem to comprehend the fact that someone “normal” could do such a horrific thing. But honestly, what is normal? Most people I’ve met have experienced tragedy, are struggling with some type of distress or depression, or have been affected by some degree of trauma. So… WHO is normal?

Friends and family of a suspect will say things like, “I never saw this coming.” or “He was such a nice guy.” or “Something must have happened because he would never do such a thing.” The fact remains that he DID do such a thing. And you know what? I’m never surprised. I’ve come to the sobering conclusion (and this may be an unpopular opinion) that the only thing that restrains any of us is the hand of God. If it weren’t for the fact that He holds your mind, body and soul in His capable hands, you could be just as capable of this type of behavior.

And it makes me eternally grateful… every. single. day.

Categories: opinion, personal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

MIRACLES: The Many Lives of Dove


I was inspired to write about my own miracles. The indisputably tangible evidence of God’s hand upon my life…

Circa 1975: As a toddler, my mother said that I was rambunctious and curious about everything. My mother would tell me later that I was a very active child and she could often tell what I was doing by the amount of noise I was making.  Well, one day while playing in the house in another room, I all of a sudden fell silent. When my mother looked over at me she saw me convulsing violently on the floor. This was the beginning of my battle with idiopathic epilepsy. A battle that included multiple daily doses of penicillin and blood tests at least 3 times a week. A battle that was frightening and complex, being told that I could die. A battle I would continue to fight until the age of nine when, after telling my parents that he was tired of seeing me suffer these frequent grand mal seizures, the pastor of our church took me to his home for a few days saying he was going to God in order to finally put an end to this. I honestly do not remember what he did. Because of my seizures, I don’t remember much before the age of 9. But I can tell you what God did. I was taken off medication and never had another seizure after that day.

God: 1 The Devil: 0

September 1984: My father owned an old blue Ford pickup truck that looked like a replica of the one driven by Fred Sanford. It didn’t have seatbelts, because apparently prior to 1975, passenger safety wasn’t a top priority. So one Sunday evening after church service was over, I followed my father and older brother out to the truck which was parked just in front of the church. As we got in, I was sandwiched between them with my hands folded across the bible on my lap. No sooner had my father turned the ignition than BAM! Some guy rear-ended us. HARD. The jolt threw my head forward and banged it against the dashboard. Back then, those trucks were built like tanks with all metal construction and none of the current plexiglass metal alloy. Damage to the truck was minimal. Thankfully, the dashboard had a padded leather covering and although my face was definitely bruised, the paramedics said it could’ve been a lot worse. Like brain damage or death…

God: 2 The Devil: 0

December 1984: One week prior to this incident, I’d been released from the hospital after having my appendix removed.  I was again following my father out to the truck after choir rehearsal. This time, the truck was parked across the street. I looked both ways down the road before starting toward him. Again, seemingly out of nowhere, a car comes barreling around the corner and, yep, you guessed it… BAM!! He hit me dead on. The following details were relayed to me later… the same brother that was in the truck with me the first time, was standing on the sidewalk when this all happened. He started screaming hysterically, running back into the church. My dad runs over to me and my mom comes out to see what happened. I’m in the street. Broken. The force of the impact tossed me into the air and threw me a good 50 feet. When I hit the ground I was out cold and my brother thought I was dead. 15 minutes had passed before I regained consciousness. The paramedics were already there. I woke up crying and disoriented. I glanced at my right leg to see it bent in a place it shouldn’t bend. The bone was exposed and the pain was excruciating. This of course, is a compound fracture. I wound up back in the same hospital room I’d been released from a week ago. I would not wish this kind of pain on my worst enemy.  But the pain let me know that I was still alive…

God: 3 The Devil: 0

There are many other experiences in my life I could share, but I think these illustrate my point. Sometimes it seemed as if the devil was determined to kill me.  Which was strange because I never considered myself significant or special. But the facts remain. I would not be alive if not for God’s mercy and intervention.

Categories: personal, religion, stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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