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March 27, 2017

Yea, that's it.

Good Morning Men,

I know I am "preaching to the choir" but it seems we can never overstate the the truth that the Christian journey is not about striving or resting but rather about finding fellowship with Christ.

When we wander too far, we strain to find the way back. When we get a glimpse of Him we try to get closer. And the closer we get to Him, the more we squint to clarify what we see. Our eyes not only want, they need to behold him, ears to hear him, hands to touch him as those disciples did long ago.

We pray, "oh Lord, show me your will." We seek the Scriptures, listen to our heart and search good counsel. But it is never enough and I can't see how we can ever be satisfied with a life of faith, because the greater the faith the greater the longing for the thing, the person we believe in by that faith.

CS Lewis said it so well in The Problem of Pain.

"There have been times when I think we do not desire heaven; but more often I find myself wondering whether, in our heart of hearts, we have ever desired anything else. You may have noticed that the books you really love are bound together by a secret thread. You know very well what is the common quality that makes you love them, though you cannot put it into words: but most of your friends do not see it at all, and often wonder why, liking this, you should also like that. Again, you have stood before some landscape, which seems to embody what you have been looking for all your life; and then turned to the friend at your side who appears to be seeing what you saw—but at the first words a gulf yawns between you, and you realize that this landscape means something totally different to him, that he is pursuing an alien vision and cares nothing for the ineffable suggestion by which you are transported.
Even in your hobbies, has there not always been some secret attraction which the others are curiously ignorant of—something, not to be identified with, but always on the verge of breaking through, the smell of cut wood in the workshop or the clap-clap of water against the boat’s side?"

In the same vein, this longing I am addressing, is not for the past or some special experience but a longing to stand before Christ Himself. A longing for faith to become sight.

I'm not certain how that meeting is going to go. I have studied Job, considered my life and realize He may have some very harsh words for me.

Honestly, if right now, He would reveal Himself (in His physical form) and with my ears I could hear Him scolding me, correcting me, rebuking me with anger. I believe I would be "undone," would be laying there, face down in the dirt, shaking in fear.............but inside?  I think there would be a part jumping for joy!

Why?

Because, like Job and all of those who love Him, I  have what I really want. My Lord, right there! Finally, "my ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you" Job 42:5

Yea, that's it.

February 28, 2017

A Deep Breath

 Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your King is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.” 16 These things His disciples did not understand at the first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written of Him, and that they had done these things to Him."
When I picture this "triumphal entry", I see it in stark contrast to the desperate human conditions surrounding it. He rides into a Jerusalem under foreign domination, inhabited by a chosen people who have wandered away and have distorted the message of its prophets. Perhaps the one thing they did not lose is hope in God. (Whom they did not, could not understand.)
Now, here is what I keep noticing. I see a confident Jesus delivering, primarily, a message of love and hope. He is rejected and yet He says to them "Fear not..... your King is coming".
For whom are you coming, Lord? Of course, it must be the faithful, the true, the obedient, the souls longing for your appearance. Fear not good people, fear not brave souls, fear not strong soldiers of the truth, your King is coming!
Well, you and I know this is not the case. 
Through sin, humanity has fallen like leaves on a cold Autumn day. We don't hang on. We can't hang on. We need someone greater than the condition and greater than the consequence of our fallen nature.
Salvation, as I consider it at the moment, is having Someone great enough to say "fear not". Someone strong and loving enough to take an angry child and pull it to His breast, take its blows and hold it tight as it spits with anger over the pain and absurdity of human experience.




December 31, 2016

Men and Dreams

Dear Lord,

I have such a strong sense of destiny and you know how desperately I want to be significant; to make a mark.

It is clear to me now, that some dreams must die or I will have no peace.

We are told over and over again how important we are but one trip to the nursing home or the cemetary speaks otherwise.

You have a purpose and a place for me some day but I'm not focused on that right now.

"Focus Carl, focus."

Thank you, Lord. I needed that.


Men and Dreams

What we thought we would find
At the end of the climb
Oh the heart of men and their dreams

Where is it? Where is it?
This dream I pursue?
The things I will make?
The things I must do?

Men and dreams, men and dreams
What we thought we would find
All the paths we have walked
All the hills we have climbed

And now to look back
And say with a sigh
It was You who bid me come
And You who bid me die.

Men and dreams, men and dreams
What we thought we would find
All the paths we have walked
All the hills we have climbed

Amen

August 19, 2015

Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go

To the Reader:

The next few postings represent a twenty four hour period, in some very dark days.
No one knows, but God Himself, the kind of battles waged and lost, fought and won in the heart and mind. Truly, "A day is as a thousand years and a thousand years are as a day...."

9/26 7:00 AM

I believe in you, O Lord.

You are the Maker of heaven and earth.

You created all things.

I bow to you.

I worship you.

But I can't express how desperately I wish I could see you with my eyes.

I mean really see you, like I see the chair, the book case, the desk in front of me.

I want you here.

There is no doubt that I would drop to my knees, open my hands and submit all things to you. In an instant.

Forgive my little faith.

Open my eyes, Lord, I can't see clearly.

Open my ears, Lord, all the sounds are muffled to me.

Life is like a party going on at the other end of the hall.

I hear it but I'm not part of it.

I want to be redeemed.

I want to be free.

And yes, I will confess it, I want these more than You.

Please Lord, take over my mind and heart.

Lead me and guide me.

I don't feel ready for this day.

In the name of Jesus, Amen

9/26 10:47 AM

Lord, you see my heart.

I am full of conflict and feel utterly alone.

I am a pitiful mess and I don't know how I go on like this, day after day.

There is no sense of direction, no resolution of conflict.

I have all these plates spinning and I move constantly, from one to another.

Look what I have allowed my life to become!

I don't like who I am.

I am angry and frustrated to the edge.

Please help me.

9/26 1:50 PM

Lord, this daily, monotonous grind is killing me.

I was built to serve in a dangerous place.

I am all suited up for the fight, I'm ready to die.

I think I missed the deployment.

I show up but the trucks are gone.

I'm standing on the street and there are no men in this place.

All I see is skirts and kids.

All dressed up and nowhere to go
Miles from the opportunity to fight
Miles from the opportunity to die with dignity

So, now what do I do?

Just stand here and wait??

Dress down?

Take off the gear, put down the weapon. eat cookies, get fat, tinker till I die?

Lord, why didn't you tell me you were leaving?!!!

To the Reader:
There is a part of us that does not and cannot understand God without Him first putting us through our paces. I picture Him handling us like a trainer works a wild horse on a line. Round and round we go until we learn, until we understand.

9/27 7:00 AM

"the light shines in the darkness but the darkness has not understood it"

This is so true, Lord. You are the light and I do not understand you.

I am tethered to you but I do not comprehend you or your ways.

I know what I expected but I do not understand what I got.

I thought you recruited me to do your work, but you seem to have left me behind.

I don't remember failing to follow you. I don't remember refusing to listen.

Is this some kind of training?

But the camp is empty.
The barracks are abandoned.
No supplies come in.
No troops go out.
No one firing at the range.
No one drills.
The flag does not fly.

This is not training.

I remember training.

I got stronger every day.

They fed me. They drilled me. They pushed me to run and ordered a "lights out."

Lord, I'm not getting stronger!

I am very confused but I trust you Lord. Maranatha.

I Gotta Go

Good Morning Lord,

I'm trying to understand what's happening and hoping to find Your purpose.

How did I get to this point?

What good and bad decisions are shaping my world?

Are you punishing me or correcting me?

Did I take the wrong turn?

Should I try to go back?

Do I make a radical change now?

Was I wrong?

Was I right?

What is it, that I am missing?

Would you please just say something!

Not understanding is the greatest torment.

Questions are as prolific as mice. But answers? They are a pretty barren bunch!

Lord, here is what I want to hear:

"Carl, come here. I want you to do something for me...........right now."

At that point, all the complexity of decisions, all the competing agendas and relational demands would be pushed aside to do that one thing, right now you have asked me to do.

God, that would be a most wonderful gift.

I love you , Lord.

I Gotta Go