Sunday, September 30, 2012

Oh, How Sweet the Sound

As I listen to the wind in the trees, I look at my son across the camper. Our eyes meet and we both smile. The cool breeze filtering through the open windows reminds us of a place far from Texas.  As we reminisce about Wyoming, we remember the old times.  
           We talk about the snowy mornings and his grandfather’s meals during hunting trips. My son cherishes the star-studded nights after extinguishing the campfire and his flying trips up and down the roads on the four-wheeler. As for me, I treasure the times taking pictures in the high mountain meadows filled with spring flowers and fishing the cold streams and fresh water lakes.
            I asked him, “If you could go back and camp anywhere in Wyoming, where would you go?”
            “The Bighorns,” he answered.
The Big Horn Mountain range is an old range but a beautiful one. It is located in north-central Wyoming from the Great Basin to Montana.  The Cloud Peak Wilderness Area, the Medicine Wheel, and the Cloud Peak Skyway are all a small part of this beautiful area.
            From Lovell to Burgess Junction, a slice of Native American history can be experienced via the Medicine Wheel Passage. The southern expanse can be experienced through the breathtaking Cloud Peak Skyway and connects the small town of Tensleep to Buffalo. The northern route can be crossed by the Bighorn Scenic Byway. This mountainous road is very scenic and links Greybull to Sheridan.
The Bighorns are crisscrossed with trails and roads. A paradise to behold for the biker, fisherman, hunter, and horseman alike.  No wonder my son wants to go back there of all places. So do I!
I sit back in my chair and listen as the wind rustles the leaves in the trees. I can smell my dad’s bacon cooking on the grill if I try hard enough. If I close my eyes, those stars are twinkling. I think I even can hear the sound of a four-wheeler’s whine down the road. The smell of spring flowers and sound of jumping fish…
Memories… Oh, how sweet the sound.
Philippians 1:3 “I thank my God every time I remember you.”
In Christ,

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Through His Eyes

       Have you ever sat on a bench in the mall and watched the multitude around you? You know? The gaggle of teenage girls after gawking at a couple of strutting boys. The power walkers who smile after every turn around the bend. The small family of four who laugh uproariously while they eat their Chinese lunch with bags of new purchases at their feet.
     Then your eyes drift across the mall. Things aren’t quite as cheerful as they seem. You see a girl, sitting at a table, alone, wiping her eyes. A mall worker grabs at his back and glances at his watch as he pushes his cart across the tile. A toddler screams in his stroller while his mother texts on her cellphone. Through your eyes, you see a mistreated friend, an injured worker, and abandoned child.
     But what is truly happening across the room? Do you really know?
John 7:24 (NKJV) “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment."
     What does that mean? Righteous judgment? Since there is only one righteous standard and that is God, we can find it through Him.
Deuteronomy 32:4 (NKJV) “He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He.”
     Truth. How do we discover the truth?
     Well, let’s see… For the girl at the table, why is she really crying? For the mall worker, why is he hurting in the first place? For the mother, who is she texting? Lots of questions to which only God knows the answers at the moment. Unless you take the time to find out the truth of the situation, a righteous judgment is elusive. Appearances only tell part of the story.
     So, if you don’t have the time to search for answers and you need to make a judgment call, remember what God says in John 7:24. Wonder how? I simply ask this question.
     What would Jesus do?
     See everything through His eyes, not your own.  You may be surprised how your perspective changes.
In Christ,

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Weak Christian

2 Corinthians 12:9 And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
     This verse has many responses in the Christian world.
     Here’s a few:
     What does that mean? Strength made perfect in weakness? Boasting in what? No way, not me! I’m supposed to be strong. After all, I’m the man of the house. I’ll get through this my way.
     I don’t have time for this. Besides, the Lord will provide. Look what I do for Him.
     Poor man. He must have done something just horrible to deserve what he goes through everyday. I’m so glad I don’t have to face what he does. But doesn’t he handle it well? The Lord will bless him, I’m sure.
     I’m sure you can come up with more if you think about it for a few minutes.  It’s amazing. I’ve noticed that if I’m not outright defying God, I’ve caught myself throwing Him at people. I do notice one common denominator in the scenarios above though. Do you see it? I’ll give you a hint. It involves the letter “I”.
     When the almighty “I” shoves its way into the place of priority in my life, nothing can compete. Nothing.  Selfishness is a very powerful thing. It hardens and blinds me to all others’ needs, desires, and goals. Instead of a spirit of service and obedience, I’m consumed with my own wants. I can justify my actions through the Scriptures but in the end, there is One who knows the truth.
     There is one more response to the verse above. Have you heard it?
     I wake up to the alarm clock, one more sunrise, and say, “No way, Lord. Not again. I don’t have it in me to do this anymore.”  2 Corinthians 12:9 rings in my head.
     I begin to realize that being weak is not such a terrible thing. I pray and the power begins to seep into my bones. The fatigue vibrates in my toes but soon it is replaced by energy from my soul. Christ works a miracle!

     Oh, I repeat this prayer daily but God is faithful. He answers it, lifts me up, and rests His power upon me to see me through the day.
     I love the Lord with all my heart and am so thankful for all He does for me. I am not ashamed to admit that I am a weak Christian. I need the power and strength of Christ to get through each day. Praise God, He gives it to me!
     Have you ever thought that there is absolutely no way that you can do it? You wake up to the alarm clock, one more sunrise, and say, “No way, Lord. Not again. I don’t have it in me to do this anymore.”
     Well, the power is at your fingertips. It’s…
     Your turn.
     In Christ,

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Back to the Basics

     Smartphones, computers, automobiles, even coffee makers… amazing instruments, all of them! Think about it for a second. Apollo 13’s mission could’ve been completed with a modern day smartphone. The evolution of the automobile is a marvel. I wonder what Henry Ford would think of all the “additions” to his creation. GPS, Bluetooth, satellite radio, digital display, and don’t forget the back-up camera; just to name a few. But the true test of any society is…coffee.
     Walk through the streets of any city or town and you will find shops, kiosks, or trailers where someone has set up shop to sell, yep… coffee. At these holes in the wall, you’ll cash in on some awesome cups of java, iced or hot, decaf or “leaded.”  Ask for a double, triple, or whatever and you just may get it! Cappuccino, mocha, espresso, frappe, soy, latte… You want it, you can find it. You want to make it? Good luck. Ever try to run a coffee pot nowadays? The manual’s thicker than my first mortgage and it’s got more buttons than my wedding dress. I’ll buy.

     Now why am I prattling on about all this? What do a phone, car, and cup of morning coffee have to do with life? I’m so glad you asked!

Psalm 33:8 Let all the earth fear the LORD; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.

     How many times do we get wrapped up in our little complicated world and lose sight of the One who really matters? We're so worried about getting to our next appointment, meeting that deadline, or beating the rush for our next cup of coffee.

     Texting on that new iPhone becomes the priority instead of reading the Bible. Symbols of prestige and position take the form of a new car and larger home but the tithe and service at church suffers as a result. Computer land is more important than the Holy Land. What do you do then?

     Examine your heart. What is your motivation? Think about it. Who are you listening to this time? Who are you talking to the most? Is it God or is it man? Who do you think it should be?

Proverbs 8:32 Now therefore, listen to me, My children, For blessed are those who keep My ways.

Next time you log on your computer, slide behind the wheel of a car, or pick up the phone, take a second and remember. The almighty Father is watching and listening. How will you use these instruments? Kind of a basic question, isn’t it?
     Maybe it will be as simple as slowing down to let that other driver in the line first, or leaving your phone at home when you leave for the church service. It may even be adding a little extra to the offering plate on Sunday night. After all, you didn’t have to fill up this week since you decided to skip that extra java run after work.

Who knows what the Lord will guide your soul to do when you open your heart and mind to His divine hand. He's waiting for you to get back to the basics. Are you ready?
     In Christ,



Saturday, September 1, 2012

Climb That Mountain

The Grand Tetons
The peak stands high above the timberline, its rocky surface glistening in the early morning sun. Glaciers of white cut different paths down the mighty massif leading to an encircling blanket of trees. Peace and tranquility abound.
     Are you searching for a little peace in your life? Looking for that tranquil place to lay your head? Or are you on that trek already? Are you walking or running? Maybe you’re hanging by your fingernails as you move inch by inch toward the top.
Isaiah 27:5 Or let him take hold of My strength, That he may make peace with Me; And he shall make peace with Me."
     That’s right. The Lord offers His strength and His peace! Look at the verse above closely. What does it say?  Think about it for a while.
     For now, let’s say you’re looking at that mountain. You want peace. You want tranquility. You’re sick and tired of it all but don’t know what to believe anymore. Things aren’t adding up in your little world. You search for answers but so far, nothing makes sense. Confusion reigns and to avoid confrontation, you settle for logic or the status quo but deep down, you yearn for the truth.
     Or maybe you’re hiking through the forest, picking your way through the underbrush, fallen logs, and across the creeks. You want peace. You want tranquility. You’re dirty and hungry. The next bend is only another trial and you grow weary, wondering if you will ever see the path to the peak. You started this journey with the thought, “I got this!” and now realize that you can’t continue. You yearn for strength
     How about the climber on the mountainside? Peace and tranquility is in your grasp. You made the decision to start this trek, knowing it was a hard journey.  You braved the dense forest with its animals and terrain. Now you hang by your fingers and toes as the wind buffets your body and look for another good hold to propel you closer to your destination. With shredded knuckles, you yearn for power.
2Samuel 22:33-24 God is my strength and power, And He makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of deer, And sets me on my high places.
     Through the almighty grace of God, the hiker finds the strength to continue and will find the path to the mountain! The climber discovers the power to find that next handhold and stand on the summit! But why would they even attempt the journey? Is this God real? Is He worth it?
Deuteronomy 32:3-4 For I proclaim the name of the LORD: Ascribe greatness to our God. He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He.
     Are you searching for truth, strength, power, or peace? I know the answer. His name is Jesus.
Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ
     So in this troubled world, if things appear overwhelming or frightening, turn to Him. Trust Him to deal with them and walk on. Remember to take hold of His strength to make peace with Him. Stop fighting His will for your life and you can do awesome things! Forge forward through the forest and climb that mountain.
 In Christ,