Watching From The Sidelines

Superbowl LI was the one to watch, wasn’t it? I’m not a sports fan, but I had an opinion this year. I really wanted the Patriots to win. I watched it on my little kitchen T.V. When all was despair, I left the room. It was too disheartening. But I kept going back. I’d watch, then I’d feel bad and pray to the Lord of heaven to help them, and leave the room again. Why go back? A hopeless situation is just that: without hope. Maybe I thought it could at least become not embarrassing. Not that it should’ve mattered to me.

And then . . . you know that feeling you get when what you thought could never happen happens? I got that feeling. Fist pumps and shouts of woo hoo were actually involved! I can’t imagine the ecstasy true Patriot’s fans were feeling! And I stayed to watch until the very end and watched everything after the end and I was still celebrating in my heart along with everyone else the next day.  Not that I deserved to celebrate. After all, a fair weather fan of anything is just an observer, on the sidelines of the sidelines.

On this weekend the world knows as Easter weekend, new life is welcomed. But for true followers so much more is celebrated! Jesus – the one we saw die on the cross, the one who was buried and whose tomb was sealed with a stone, the one who his enemies thought they’d gotten rid of for good and whose death friends wept over bitterly – became alive again! He rose! From death! To life! And that event – His resurrection – brings with it hope that we will not only resurrect after death, but that our sin is forgiven. Forever. Gone.

And more good news. You’re only on the sidelines if you want to be. C’mon now. Celebrate!

Image: creative commons lic 2.0 www.flickr.comphotoscoconutphotos17041243732 https://www.google.com/search?site=imghp&tbm=isch&q=empty%20tomb&tbs=sur:fmc#imgrc=0VJn5XPu51kjAM:

Spin

Who do you listen to? What are your reasons for trusting them? If your life was on the line in a very real and immediate way, would it change who you trusted? It’s a challenge to separate things – wheat from chaff, for instance. Or truth from half-truth. Spin is a word we use to describe the presenting of an incident in such a way that it leads the listener in a certain direction. Sometimes it misleads them entirely. Consider the following:

Immigrants come to the United States to escape difficulties or danger in their homeland or for a fresh start in a land of promise. Terrorists use the mantel of immigration to quietly invade a nation.

President Trump’s administration wants to pause immigration for people from 7 countries that have the most terrorist ties in order to more exhaustively vet them. President Trump’s administration wants to ban Muslim immigrants from the U.S.

Privacy of citizens takes a back seat to gathering intelligence for national security. Privacy of citizens is an important part of living a free life.

The church has lost its influence in the nation (and the world) because it hasn’t kept up with changes in the culture. The church has lost its influence in the nation (and the world) because it has succumbed to the influences of the culture.

What will tomorrow’s news declare? What will be the passionate cry of journalists and actors and preachers and commentators and the guy next door? The news cycle has become the spin cycle and just as dizzying. And while the public becomes faint and nauseated from the spin, the earth spins, too: day and night, week in and week out, season to season, and then . . . then it stops. And the spin: of news, of excuse, of gossip, of the education of all topics, and of what we, individually, say to the God who created us when we pray stops. All of the spin comes to one breathtaking halt. And only Truth remains.

Wheat/chaff reference: Matthew 3:12; Image: Earth_from_space,_hurricaneBy NASAGSFCReto Stöckli, Nazmi El Saleous, and Marit Jentoft-Nilsen [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Healing Leaves

There is a tree not far from here,
Hidden from our sight;
And in it’s shadow we will rest,
Darkness changed to light.                                                                                                        
Hardships, heartaches, sad despair,
Their vanquishing control
Will fall away and in their place
The healing of the soul.                                                                                                                   
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb

down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

I’m thinking about healing today, how there’s such a relief when there is no more pain or distress. I’m thinking about the tree that made the terrible, wonderful cross that takes our death and redeems us to life. And I’m thinking of the tree we are promised that will heal the nations. It will heal the nations. Oh, it will heal the nations!                                                                                                     
Poem: CJP; Quote: Revelation 22:1-2; Images: en.wikipedia.org_.png; Pixabay-cc-cross-78000_640.jpg

Run Free!

“Past experience should be a guidepost, not a hitching post.” Do you have something you’d be better off letting go? Is there something holding you back from the person you really, really want to be? Okay. You have everyone’s permission to change. Learn from your experiences, and move on. If you need to change, do the hard work of changing one day at a time. Those ropes tying you to a place or time or memory can dissolve more easily than you might think. Go for it! Stand tall. Believe God made you to be a strong part of His creation. Believe He loves you. He loves you. He really does. Be who you should be or could be or want to be. Run! Run free!horses-792833_960_720 Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

Quote: Jo Petty in Apples of Gold, Image: Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

One Moon

Last night I sat in my dark living room with the curtains open so I could watch the lunar eclipse, aka blood moon, from the comfort of my living room loveseat. The pictures disseminated in the weeks leading up to it made it look like it would be vivid and amazing.

From my point of view, the moon had more of an orange tinge than the red it appeared to have in those pictures. It was a full moon alright, but it’s size didn’t seem much different from what I have grown used to over half century.

Was it my vision that was off or did I just not have a close enough perspective? Was everyone who saw what I saw, but exclaimed over it just listening to what they were told without paying attention to their own senses?

The moon was eclipsed by a sure and steady shadow moving with unavoidable precision, not that we commons.wikimedia.org. creativecommons licwould want to avoid it. Natural phenomena, whether or not they live up to the hype, are pretty special, after all.

Think of it: that moon, whether appearing fairly ordinary to my unaided eye or whether viewed as the amazingly huge, beautiful orb caught through the lens of a photographer, was seen by people from all points of the earth over which it hangs. The child in Buenos Aires and the nursing home resident in Sheboygan peering out his window, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the street sweeper in India, the Pepperdine University college student and the Lincoln Elementary School third grader allowed to stay up late all saw the moon last night. People all over the world watched the moon from indoors or outdoors or affluence or austerity.

Every eye looking at that moon, every person with a happy or horrible history, every perspective, whether from comfort or constraint, saw the same light in the sky. And while they were watching, God was watching them.

Photo: commons.wikimeida.org_.-creativecommons-lic.png

A Simple Gift

The rain began around 6:30, noiseless little droplets on the pavement. I rescued the rain all-wallpapers.netnewspaper before it felt even one. Then I sat in a chair by the window and looked on as those drops gathered their courage and grew in pace and force. Thunder rumbled in the background. A few flashes of lightning pierced the air. Rain is such a gift: a refreshment to plants of all sizes and shapes; a lulling, comforting sound in sleep; an assurance that the One who set the planets in motion still waters the tiny daisy and cares for me.

Photo: rain-all-wallpapers.net_.jpg

More Than A Day Off

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Does it matter if we’ve seen their gravesites in person?

 

 

 

Does it matter if we know his name?arlington-national-cemetery-354849_640 CCO Public Domain

 

 

 

 

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Does it matter if she or he was killed a hundred years ago or just yesterday?

 

 

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Does it matter if it’s brand new out of the box or has seen years of trials and hardships and challenge and war and every kind of effort to destroy it?

The United States of America is your country. It has offered you opportunity whether said opportunity was easily accessed or hard-won. It has protected you from those who would imprison you for disagreeing with them. It has given you freedom. That freedom was protected by people you don’t know doing a job you didn’t have to do. Be grateful. Acknowledge the goodness in fighting an enemy seeking to destroy. Give them honor.

Memorial Day is more than a day off.

Photos: Pixabay, arlington-national-cemetery-354846_640-CCO-Public-Domain.jpg; Pixabay, arlington-national-cemetery-354849_640-CCO-Public-Domain.jpg; Pixabay, flowers-14207_640-CCO-Public-Domain.jpg; Pixabay, tattered-flag-432580_640-CCO-Public-Domain.jpg

You’re More Powerful Than You Think

“He who has conquered doubt and fear has conquered failure. His every thought is allied with power…”. So says James Allen in his wonderful work, As A Man Thinketh. That would be great, wouldn’t it? To conquer doubt and fear instead of them conquering us. Said and done are two different things, and you know which is easier. So much of what we do in life has to do with what we think: whether we think it’s worth the effort, if we believe we can, if we’re willing to look failure in the face and keep going. I do know this – that faith is like having a shot of confidence directly to the heart. Of course we doubt. Of course we fear. Despite our sometime claims to the contrary, each one of us is acquainted with our personal faults and failures; and because of this we know that wepixabay, CC0 Public Domain aren’t up for whatever mountain is in front of us. It’s okay, because faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen, and there’s more at work in this tired world than we can imagine. So today, I invite you to stand up to those old discouragers, doubt and fear. They’re invisible anyway. And you, my friend, are more powerful than you think.

Quote: As A Man Thinketh by James Allen, Fleming H. Revell Co.; Hebrews 11:1; Photo: pixabay-CC0-Public-Domain.jpg