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A Yellow Streak

  

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, life was, simpler.   Simple?  No.  Simpler.

At least, it seemed so to me, but likely not so much to those who raised me.   Or, maybe it did.   Sometimes joy is found, or even focused, in and on the simpler things.

One of my strongest early memories is sitting in a pasture with my dad, and him passing me pieces of yellow Laffy Taffy while he hunted for dove and quail.

An equally strong memory is of Saturday mornings spent in greasy spoon diners in east Texas, watching my dad cut his eggs, prepped “sunny side up”, and watching the yellow yolk run across his plate.

Yes, a yellow streak runs through the river of memories I have of time spent with my dad.   However, this yellow streak is not of fear, but of fellowship.

Even the most casual observers of social media could tell this has been a big weekend for our brood, and it showed.   For that, I am eternally grateful.

Always be joyful. Never stop praying.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-17
 

Our youngest graduated from high school this weekend, and friends and family have blessed us with their presence, both physically and in messages via the social media realm.

While one person has been missing for us in particular this weekend, his personality and his influence have not.   As I was blessed to hand our son his diploma Friday night, a piece of the famed Laffy Taffy might have been slipped into the above pictured handshake.   The following morning, just before her graduation, my daughter and I shared some private moments over breakfast, a breakfast where she requested “some eggs with runny yellow centers”.

Yes, a yellow streak has run through our weekend, and our lives.   I hope to prayerfully and joyfully play my part to keep it moving.

   
       

Move the shuttle

  

“As you let God’s design be worked out in you, you will see its impact in others and for generations.   Let the tapestry show its beauty.   Shun the threadbare existence.   God holds the threads, you hold the shuttle.   Move it at God’s behest, and watch the making of something spectacular.”

I just finished Ravi Zacharias’s book The Grand Weaver.   Reading
it has been a humbling balm as I walk within a hurting world.  I recommend it.

  
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.” Jeremiah 29:11-14

The Commune

Once upon a time, there was a group of young people.   They selected a place of meeting.   It was a place where some lived, and a place where others only gathered.   It was a place where they shared their minutes, their meals, their joys, and their sorrows.   It  had an air and aura all its own, both literally and figuratively.   They called it “the commune”.   How fitting.

Time passed.   The callings of life mandated that the commune was no more.  And yet, the callings of true community draw those young people back, together, to a time where place is irrelevant, and relationship is preeminent.   May such love of relationship, and community, never die.

My mind and body called me into words, and The Word, very early this day.   I’ve been reading the words of Ravi Zacharias, and subsequently of the Appstle John.

In understanding the “Godhead three” there is an acknowledgement that God is relationship.   God is love.   And we, being created in God’s image, are stamped out to be just so.   We are called to relationship.   We are called to love.   We are called to be in community.

In reading Zacharias’s words from a chapter entitled “Your Worship Matters”, it all becomes more clear, crystal clear, and Communion, Holy Communion” begins to take on a new level of meaning.

In reading John’s words from a book we call “Revelation”, the same is true: “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…” (Rev. 22:1)

Amen, and amen.

   
         

  

The words came from the trail behind me.   They were words based on innocent observation, but lacked complete and full insight.   And yet, she meant me well.

  I was grateful.   You see, just a mere two or three hours prior, I laid in the land of limited oxygen and fading energy, mustering my reserves for the long journey remaining ahead.   As I continued on the trail, my young companion, my progeny, had gone on before me, leaving me alone.   My water supply was now gone, leaving me parched, if not feeling drained.

Then came her question: “Sir, are you OK?”    She walked beside me for a short while.   Her questions soon revealed that she was a nurse, and my condition was likely being assessed.   I thanked her, revealed little information, and told her I would be fine.   If she had stayed with me a bit longer, or had even thought to offer me water, she might have come to understand just how hard a time I was indeed having.   And yet, I offered the fateful phrase “I am fine” and off she went.

  
I love the analogies and metaphors life has to offer.    One of the best is that life is a journey, a sojourn spent climbing a trail, sometimes difficult and painful, but always filled with abject beauty.

And here, we find ourselves today.  We are tired.   We are parched.   The air is thin.   There are those on the trail with us who are suffering more deeply in the moment than are we.

Sometimes, all you can do is come alongside them and ask “Are you OK”. Other times, perhaps we should save our breath and theirs, and simply walk alongside them and share our resources on the trail that lies ahead.

  
Psalm 95

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
    let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
    and extol him with musicand song.

For the Lord is the great God,
    the great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth,
    and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his, for he made it,
    and his hands formed the dry land.

Rhymes, and…

  

So you speak to me of sadness and the coming of the winter…

Where does one begin to describe the turnings of the past week? And what are the reasons for something like this?   Thursday was a time of unexpected sadness.    The day seemingly began with all the promise and all the normalcy of any spring day.   But, springtime can bring unexpected storms.  Roses are a thing of beauty, but rose bushes have thorns, and thorns can make us bleed.   As my eldest daughter penned later that day, we all lost a friend on Thursday, and we grieve with friends that life’s thorns have made to bleed. And we wonder why.

As we wandered through the afternoon that day, my youngest daughter retrieved an old CD in the car and began to play the music of John Denver.  The song “Rhymes and Reasons” was both painfully haunting and stunningly beautiful, just like a rose bush, and as many who loved him will say, just like the life of Joe.

So you speak to me of sadness and the coming of the winter,
The fear that is within you now that seems to never end,
and the dreams that have escaped you and the hope that you’ve forgotten,
and you tell me that you need me now and you want to be my friend,
and you wonder where we’re going, where’s the rhyme and where’s the reason?
And it’s you cannot accept: it is here we must begin to seek the wisdom of the children
and the graceful way of flowers in the wind.
For the children and the flowers are my sisters and my brothers,
their laughter and their loveliness would clear a cloudy day.
Like the music of the mountains and the colors of the rainbow,
they’re a promise of the future and a blessing for today.

Though the cities start to crumble and the towers fall around us,
the sun is slowly fading and it’s colder than the sea.
It is written: From the desert to the mountains they shall lead us,
by the hand and by the heart, they will comfort you and me.
In their innocence and trusting they will teach us to be free.
For the children and the flowers are my sisters and my brothers,
their laughter and their loveliness would clear a cloudy day.
And the song that I am singing is a prayer to non-believers,
come and stand beside us we can find a better way. 

 The world we inhabit is one that has been broken, indeed, but like the temporary blooms of beauty found in a bush full of thorns, there is joy and there is hope
for tomorrow.  

  

I found an old toy school bus in our attic yesterday, and it served as a reminder of how much our kids are growing and changing before our very eyes.    There will continue to be blooms of all too fleeting but always recurring beauty amongst the thorns, and our God will come and stand beside us, and we can
find a better way…

http://youtu.be/7Yb0QMEktDE

Resolute?

As stated earlier, much earlier, I’m not one big on making and keeping New Year’s resolutions. Especially the keeping part, I must admit.

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1985 was the year Howard Pope passed from this life. He taught me many things, one of which was through observing him reading God’s Word on numerous occasions.

The next new year after my maternal grandfather died, beginning my 20th year on the earth, I resolved to read the entire Bible, not in a year, but within 6 months. That was a year in my life when many things changed in dramatic fashion. New relationships came, and some relationships left. I tried, in vain I might add, to begin exercising regularly.

But my ability and resolve that year to read the Bible each day persevered. I recall sitting at the table in my college apartment at night while my 3 roommates (relationships that have survived the subsequent years, I happily add) went about their business, reading for often 30 or more minutes to digest the 10 chapters or more it would take to accomplish my six month goal.

I recall sitting at a small writing desk in my upstairs bedroom in Shreveport that summer as those final chapters in Revelation were completed on June 30. I prayed something as I closed The Book that day: I wish I could recall exactly what, but I know it involved calling on our God and Father to help me live a life consistent with what I had just finished reading.

The next day, July 1, I started reading it again. Sadly, my resolve and perseverance was not as strong then, and I don’t recall completing it again that year. That year, and sadly, any year following.

Which brings us to today. While I love God’s Word and read portions of it every day, I’ve not gone “cover to cover”, from “In the beginning, God created” to “The grace of our Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen” in over 28 years.

2014 was the year Dean Bingham passed from this life. He taught me many things, one of which was through observing him reading God’s Word on numerous occasions.

So, it is now January 2nd, and I’ve finished my two “assigned” readings both yesterday and today. And I must admit, I’ve had a new insight or two. While I do not resolve to share new insights each day, be they small or be they large, I do resolve to read and let the Word wash over me as it may each day. If I do glean something I’m moved enough to share, I will do so here.

The thoughts to come and be expressed here may be old and taken for granted by you.

Or, maybe not.

Either way, I’m looking forward to the mental journey ahead, and seeing what I pick up along the way. I hope someone encounters me from time
to time, both in the current day and in days yet unborn, Lord willing, along the way.

The grace of our Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.

Resolutely

jbingham89:

While these thoughts are now three years old, the words ring true for 2014 and the days ahead that life may provide.

Originally posted on Bing, Jeffrey Bing:

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As the time drew near for him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. Luke 9:51

res·o·lute/ˈrezəˌlo͞ot/

Adjective: Admirably purposeful, determined, and unwavering.

Synonyms: determined – firm – decided – resolved – decisive

I’ve never been much for new year’s resolutions, at least in the last decade or so. It seems, in actuality, in the years when I made them that they were too hard to stick with. But, is there value in setting goals, only to see them fall short? I think so. I hope so.

My recently proclaimed FB fast only lasted a week or so. No, I did not lose desired pounds or read a certain quantity of books before returning to the SocMed circuit, but there was some value and learning in the exercise.

And, not every goal falls short. In 2011, I did actually finish a half marathon after vowing to…

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