God’s Dreamers: Honoring Dr. King

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Today we honor Dr. King, and in so doing, we honor his Father. A man who instilled in his son, a dream of equality, and never even a kernel of violence. If you’ve ever studied the life of Martin Luther King Senior, you know that he modeled hope to his children.

His life hadn’t been easy, but he worked to make the lives of others better. In so doing, he and his wife instilled this principle in their children. The result was a man who faced solitary confinement twice for his principles. Because they dared to dream, like Jacob and Rachel, they produced a dreamer.

An as it was with Joseph, because of Dr. King’s dream, a nation was transformed. Israel and America would face struggles after the triumph of their dreamers. Yet, both now had an example of what was possible when men pursued God’s vision.

Like Joseph, Dr. King would echo the fact that their dreams of freedom were made possible by an even greater Dreamer. They knew that man could seek a better life because of Christ’s sacrifice. God had brought life to our souls, and now man could truly live.

Today, we celebrate the sacrifices of men like Dr. King and his Father. Men who would want you to dare to follow your dreams. They may seem impossible, but God proved even that was no boundary when it came to our rescue. Dr. King’s dream of equality for all was no easy task, and yet, he changed the world.

Today, in the shadow of greatness, dare to dream, and seek God to change your world. I know it may be daunting, even scary. I imagine even Dr. King was nervous looking out at that crowd at the Lincoln Memorial the day of his speech.

Still, he knew what you and I should know. We have an even greater emancipator than our sixteenth President standing behind us. We are not alone. The Creator gave us this vision burning in our chest. With His help, our dreams can transform both our lives, and the lives of others.

You Versus The Volcano

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Isaiah 32:2 2 And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.

Last night I watched a show about building houses in Hawaii. They talked about building on top of the aftermath of a volcano. They told of how to build on lava rock. The man said that you can never get the ground completely even, instead you build pathways that are walkable. In a very real way, even after the disaster, it’s you versus the volcano.

The thing that destroyed homes, the exploding mountains that ended civilizations, can still be built upon. It was the island survivor’s choice, either relocate or reinvent. It’s your choice today.

Perhaps you’ve faced a disaster in your family, your spiritual walk, or in your life. Now that it’s over, the temptation is to run as far away as you can. The other option, is to clear a path, and to build again. It’s not easy, it’s not without obstacles, but it’s possible.

Our fiftieth state is proof of that! When we think of Hawaii, we think of a tropical haven. On one island, those born after January of 83 haven’t known a time when Kilauea’s volcano wasn’t active. For them, it’s become a way of life.

In history, we hear of a town called Pompeii. It was completely destroyed by a volcano, Vesuvius. What we don’t hear about is other towns that were also destroyed. One was Herculaneum, at some point, people returned to the rubble, and built on top of the rock that covered the ruins.

This life is filled with obstacles, with hurt, and with pain. A brave woman I know, has seen plenty of that. She faces things still, and yet, she clears a path and goes on. She knows that Our Rock covers the remains of the attacks that tried to destroy her. She doesn’t see it, but she is brave, for she keeps on building.

Whatever you’re facing, whatever horrible thing you’ve went through, take comfort in this. Every path you clear, every new timber you build on, is a step closer to turning your heartbreak into a haven. You can get there.

With God’s help, you will rebuild, and you will succeed. In the end, you’ll stand on the deck of your new situation, built on Him. All the things that tried to destroy you, will be rubble under your feet.

The result of building on lava rock, you end up building higher. The views from your personal success, will inspire others that they can overcome the things that tried to smother them. You will look and see a battle won, a volcano conquered, and they will see a paradise of hope.

Although … Elvis

Last week was Elvis’ birthday, and a thought hit me that I never remembered having before. What did the name Elvis mean? It turns out that people aren’t really sure. They do know that it is the anglicisation of the Irish Bishop’s name Ailbe of Emly. The latin for Ailbe is Albeus, which means although.

Isn’t that something? One of the most famous entertainers in history, and his name references “although”. In a way, it’s quite fitting.

Other singers had become famous, Crosby, Sinatra, although there had never been an Elvis before. A lot of singers were considered heart throbs, although no one went crazy over anyone quite like they did with Elvis.

For years it’s been debated whether or not Elvis faked his death. The facts seemed to always be followed up with an although. “Although it would be easy for someone like Elvis to succeed at it.” In the end, I don’t know, I doubt it, but that isn’t the although I’m thinking of.

Fans last week celebrated Elvis as if he was young, and they were still teenagers. Two young people in our family love Elvis, although he would be older than their grandparents. I don’t have a problem with that, you see my whole life is built on a much more precious although.

Although Adam sinned I’m forgiven. Although death reigned, you and I breathe. Finally, although hope searched Heaven and Earth for a sinless man, and came up empty. Still, I live, because although hope didn’t find a man, God became one. Christ was what we could never be without Him. He was sinless, selfless, and The Only Savior.

2 Samuel 23:5
5 Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow.

Our Pastor Denny Livingston preached a beautiful message from this verse. David looked at his life, remembered his mistakes, and still he found mercy. He had hope, not because of his mistakes, but in spite of them.

God loved Him enough to forgive Him, and He has done the same for you and I. We have Salvation, although we are so unworthy, He rescued us! Although we have made countless mistakes, He forgave us!

This world is filled with strife and heartache, it can hit us like a brick wall. Although we face problems, we don’t face them alone. Although, at times, we face an uphill battle, Christ mounted Calvary. He conquered through the pain, and so can we.

Habakkuk 3:17-18
17 Although the fig tree shall not blossom,
neither shall fruit be in the vines;
the labour of the olive shall fail,
and the fields shall yield no meat;
the flock shall be cut off from the fold,
and there shall be no herd in the stalls:

18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.

Although is considered a different point of view in an argument. Many times, a mind is made up, a course of action is decided on, until someone says although. They offer a different perspective, a lifeline, a ray of hope.

Maybe your today has started off badly, maybe you’re facing something that looks settled. Before a baby was named a conjunction in Memphis, Christ was a game changer in Bethlehem. Let Him be your Although this day.

Let God have your situation, and watch as He works. Soon, you’ll see hope where there wasn’t any. Mercy where you couldn’t see it before. His love will take you through a new door. An that fearful thing that held us, although its grip was so tight, has just left the building!

God’s Circular Office

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Isaiah 40:22
It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:

I was reading about two men who both occupied the Oval Office, and it brought this Scripture to mind. Another place refers to Heaven as God’s Throne and the Earth as His footstool. It’s an awesome image, God’s Circular Office.

Can’t you picture it, The God of All Glory, sitting on a snow white throne, sitting on the Heavens, and looking down on the Earth. It’s also a very intimidating image, and thats intended by the way. You see, in this world of catastrophe, God wants the enemy to know something.

For a time, the adversary may be able to cause trouble on this planet. For a little while longer, we have to endure the accuser of the brethren. However, where God sits should scare hell, and inspire the citizens of God’s Kingdom.

Our Savior’s Throne is high, and lifted up. He sits above the chaos, always focused on us, and our needs. One of my favorite Scriptures reassures the weary believer that God is in Heaven, He is on His throne, and He is in control.

The word circle is in The Bible once, and only once, this verse. The Oval Office is a powerful image, but God’s circular summit is one that reminds us of something. First, He is in control, second that our God is always watching us, and the third is the most powerful of all.

It states that He is stretching out the Heavens as both a curtain, and a tent. Soon, He will wrap things up, and meet us between Throne and footstool. He’s not planning on sitting alone for Eternity, He’s returning for us to spend it with Him.

That story I read, was about one of the Father/Son occupants of the White House. In it, the writer mentioned one of his greatest moments was sharing that first day with his Dad. That must have been a meeting to remember.

As great as that was, I can think of a better one. One that is soon coming for every Christian, no matter what they’re facing currently. Our Father is Eternal, not elected, and we His children, will one day soon pay a visit to our Father’s office.

Ephesians 2:6-8
6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Stilling Mountains

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Exodus 3:12
And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.

This started out as a Christmas gift, that turned into a painting, which turned into an Inspirational post. I hadn’t attempted an Oil painting in years, until my Wife bought me a new set of oils to try. I was actually pleased with the result, which we called “Stilling Mountains”. Then, much like things in this life, whether good or bad, it turned into something more.

No matter what you’ve faced, there will still be mountains to climb. Yet, know that He is still with you, even when you fill alone. The wind that fills like it surrounds you as you’re climbing, may simply be a protecting wind from things we cannot see.

At times, the stillness isn’t the mountains, because they can literally shake underneath us, especially when they’re getting ready to move. The stillness isn’t in the conditions, but in The Conditioner. He stills us for the situation we face.

Don’t allow your mind to overwhelm you, either at the foot of the mountain, or during the climb. Trust in God, and soon, all will be quiet, He will still the noises that distract us. The God that made the mountains knows how to climb, topple, or cover them with a flooding of His power. Either way, He will bring you to the summit, where like Moses, you will see the Glory Of God!

Enoch 365 New Year Post

Public Domain Image
Public Domain Image

Genesis 5:23-24
23 And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years:
24 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him
.

He walked with God through every season of His life, 365 years of them to be exact. We all recognize the number, especially on January first. Today is day one, it’s the beginning of something new.

If you’re walking with God, you’re beginning a new year together. If you’re not, today is a great day for a beginning, or to begin again. Maybe you’re walking, but your struggling in a battle. Look at today as a new phase in that battle, yesterday’s mistakes do not decide today’s response.

Perhaps you’ve got dreams for this year, new projects you want to pursue. We want to see you succeed in each of them, but to do this, start by walking, not running. Pace yourself, don’t burn out in January what you want to complete in December.

Leaps are important, they can be great, but first, take the steps to prepare for those leaps. Before the tight rope walker walked across Niagara Falls, he made sure that the rope was installed properly. He didn’t just check the one side, he inspected the post on the other side as well. Before you leap, check your landing space.

To do this, takes time. You’ve been given a new year, don’t try to finish everything in a month. Set smaller goals that can be completed periodically, but make them part of a bigger vision. Don’t make a resolution, resolve to live differently.

First, spend some time in Prayer, find out what His plans for you this year are. Then, align your goals accordingly. A righteous man’s steps are not only ordered by The Lord, a righteous man steps in pace with The Lord.

Naturally all this year holds won’t be revealed to us, but the direction can be. We can chart our course through prayer and God’s Word. Some things, like a closer relationship with Him, are always on God’s list.

Another on His list is improving the relationships that matter, including family, friends, and those we seek to reach this year. Our commitment to these precious people must be maintained and enhanced over time. We do this, not to benefit ourselves, but to make their lives better.

Much like a plant needs water, light, and attention, relationships, and goals need nurturing in order to grow. That is really what Enoch spent his 365 doing, getting closer to God, and ministering to those around him. I pray at the end of 2015’s 365, you and I will be able to say the same.

Enoch’s 365

Public Domain Image
Public Domain Image

Genesis 5:23-24
23 And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years:
24 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him
.

He walked with God through every season of His life, 365 years of them to be exact. We all recognize the number, especially on January first. Today is day one, it’s the beginning of something new.

If you’re walking with God, you’re beginning a new year together. If you’re not, today is a great day for a beginning, or to begin again. Maybe you’re walking, but your struggling in a battle. Look at today as a new phase in that battle, yesterday’s mistakes do not decide today’s response.

Perhaps you’ve got dreams for this year, new projects you want to pursue. We want to see you succeed in each of them, but to do this, start by walking, not running. Pace yourself, don’t burn out in January what you want to complete in December.

Leaps are important, they can be great, but first, take the steps to prepare for those leaps. Before the tight rope walker walked across Niagara Falls, he made sure that the rope was installed properly. He didn’t just check the one side, he inspected the post on the other side as well. Before you leap, check your landing space.

To do this, takes time. You’ve been given a new year, don’t try to finish everything in a month. Set smaller goals that can be completed periodically, but make them part of a bigger vision. Don’t make a resolution, resolve to live differently.

First, spend some time in Prayer, find out what His plans for you this year are. Then, align your goals accordingly. A righteous man’s steps are not only ordered by The Lord, a righteous man steps in pace with The Lord.

Naturally all this year holds won’t be revealed to us, but the direction can be. We can chart our course through prayer and God’s Word. Some things, like a closer relationship with Him, are always on God’s list.

Another on His list is improving the relationships that matter, including family, friends, and those we seek to reach this year. Our commitment to these precious people must be maintained and enhanced over time. We do this, not to benefit ourselves, but to make their lives better.

Much like a plant needs water, light, and attention, relationships, and goals need nurturing in order to grow. That is really what Enoch spent his 365 doing, getting closer to God, and ministering to those around him. I pray at the end of 2015’s 365, you and I will be able to say the same.

Dec 30

 

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Public Domain Image

Today, I wanted to talk to you about today, December 30. People look at this day differently. It can be an odd day. To Rudyard Kipling, Tiger Woods, Matt Lauer, and Bo Diddley it means birthday candles. To other’s it’s a memorial.

Wayne Gretzky won’t forget it, it’s the day he set a new NHL record. In 2011, owing to a change of time zone, Samoa actually skipped the day. The government declared that their citizens would go to sleep on Thursday, and when they woke, it would be Saturday instead of Friday.

A day is memorable because of the events attached to it. Somewhere a person stood up and said this is happening today. They purposed to accomplish something on this day. What will we set out to tie to today’s memory?

Will it be the day we remember doing a, b, or c, or will we, like Samoa, skip the day? Maybe not physically. Oh we’ll breath through it, existing the hours away, but what we’ll we accomplish today?

It can be as simple as making someone smile. A moment making another’s day better, is one worth remembering. Purpose today, not to change the planet, but to improve someone else’s world.

Whatever your plans today, plan to do something for someone else. I know it’s a strange time, not quite the end, and not yet the beginning. Still, it’s a day given us by God. It is worthy of greatness, not in the sense of our own ego, but in the significance of making this day memorable for another.

When you go to bed tonight, your event won’t be reported on the news, Samoa might skip talking about it, but the life you benefitted will remember it. They won’t forget that, on December 30, you made it a day they’ll never forget.

It Doesn’t Have To End

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Wikimedia Commons Image

Matthew 2:23
And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene
.

It doesn’t have to end you know. Oh sure, the torn paper will get thrown away, and the tree will come down, but those are just outward things. Christmas, that feeling of awe and wonder, doesn’t have to end.

I know it seems hard to hold on to in this mundane world, filled with trials. You go into survival mode just to get through the week. Mary and Joseph understood it, not long after Christ’s birth, they were fleeing to Egypt.

It’s very easy to allow the constant beat of life’s drum to drown out the wonderful things. It’s a very human thing for you and I to do. However, even, while struggling to survive, The Wonderful One’s heart was beating in Mary’s arms. We don’t have to rely only on ourselves, Emmanuel, God is us!

That renewed sense of hope, that smile, that joy at Christ’s gift to us all, hold it tightly in your chest. Christ’s heart now sets the pace of our own, no matter what we face, it can’t be silenced.

The little drummer boy is more than a Carol, it’s a battle cry. A young drummer used to go out with an army into the heat of the battle. Whether life’s chaos, or Christ’s Quiet assurance, both armies had drummer’s, we get to choose which pace we follow.

Jesus knows the problems we face, and how very real they are. He spent thirty years in obscurity, facing the mundane in Nazareth daily. The Lord also knows though, how very real the hope of the next life is. He secured it for us on Calvary through a cross and an empty tomb.

God was wrapped in flesh to die for us, they tried to throw away the wrapping then as well. The trouble was, He came back, scarred for you and I, but whole. He kept them as a witness of His love. The lights on our fake evergreen may be unplugged, but The Tree Of Light will never be extinguished.

So don’t look at today as the day after, or even starting the countdown to the next. Look at it as an extension of the joy, the awe, and the wonder of Christmas. For the real present is that He is ever with us, and we’re just a heartbeat away from seeing His face!

Being Interpreted

 

Wikimedia Commons Image
Wikimedia Commons Image

Matthew 1:23
Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

“Being interpreted …”, we brush past those words because of the phrase that follows, “God with us.” Who can blame us? Those three so powerful words are enough to captivate the soul! I submit to you today, on Christmas Day, that the ones leading up to it are just as powerful.

Interpret means more than to explain the meaning of something. It also means to translate orally or into sign language the words of a person speaking a different language. We spoke a different language than He did.

Ours was a dialect of dirt, sin, dust, and ashes. His was a conversation of the Heavens, perfection, and the stars. How could we understand Him? The only way, was an interpreter.

God, wrapped in flesh, to interpret His will to us. Jesus did this by living each day, sinless, in a sinful world. He did this by ministering to a flawed people. Most of all, He accomplished it by dying for His creation.

The third meaning of interpret is to
perform a dramatic role or piece of music in a particular way that conveys one’s understanding of the creator’s ideas. He knew that we could only comprehend The Master’s love through the music that was His life.

Like a performance, it began softly, on a dark night in David’s town. We watched Him grow as He sat in the Temple, opening men’s eyes, while still a boy Himself. We saw the impact of His ministry, the miracles yes, but more than that, Christ’s message. Man could lift their head above the dirt, higher than this plain of sin and mortality.

The climax of the piece was Calvary. Did you know that the words being interpreted are also in Mark and John? In John it appears, being interpreted Master and Christ. He explained what it meant to trust in Him. In Mark, it refers to Golgotha, being interpreted, the place of the skull. He explained that death didn’t have to be final.

Most commentators believe that the stable was in a cave. That means His life began in a cave, and returned to a cave in death. Of course, three days later, He left it never to return! The point is, God, the speaker of the Heavenly, came to the most Earthbound thing on the planet to communicate with us.

At His birth, and in His life, He interpreted God to man. In His death, He interpreted Salvation to sinners, and translated our sufferings. God knew how it felt to be forsaken so that we would never be alone.

He spoke our language so that we could learn His. He cried so that we could laugh. He died so that we would be free of death, and was born so that we could be born again.

On this Christmas Day, “God with us” is Awesome. Still “being interpreted”, God walking our world so we could fly to His, is pretty incredible too!