Photo Friday: Majesty

 

Wake Up Sleeper!

Salt Lake

Last weekend I made a quick trip to Salt Lake City to ski with a friend from work.  The schedule was to fly in, ski two days and fly back.  A quick trip.  I have never been to Salt Lake City.  Along with that, I had not experienced the breathtaking beauty of the Wasatch Mountains.

We had a little time on Monday before our flight so we had the opportunity to visit Antelope Island which is an island located in the Great Salt Lake.  It was a cold morning and it has snowed overnight so the area was blanketed with a light covering of snow.

The views were fantastic!  Although the island had few visitors, we did notice visitors taking pictures of the amazing scenery.  The best word I could come up to describe what we saw is majesty.

Majesty is a unique word.  It describes something large.  Something powerful.  Something a bit overwhelming.

When I see something that I would call majesty, I think of the hand of the Creator.  The potter and the clay.  The architect and builder of our amazing planet.

There is a verse in the Bible that says that we have no excuse to be ignorant of the hand of the Father.  Creation screams His name.  I cannot believe that all of this beauty was created by chance or by accident.

I asked my friend if he felt that looking at the mountains each day would dull this feeling of majesty.  He quickly told me no.  He believed that the mountains and the beauty would never get old.  They would retain their power over anyone who looked their way.

So the key is to look!  Look for His hand.  Look at what He made.  Look at what He does in your life.  Look at the way He blesses you.

An accident, good luck or chance?  Can’t be.  Chance does not have this order.  Chance does not have this variety and beauty.  Chance does not produce majesty.  Chance is not this good.  Not even close!

LOOK and wake up sleeper!        

So what do you think?  Can you see His hand in creation?  Do you think this world was created by chance?  Click on “Leave a Comment” and tell me what you think!

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Dirty Snow

Snow is the picture of purity.  Snow white is the way you would describe this special color.  When the ground is blanketed with a fresh layer of light and fluffy snow, the view turns fluorescently bright.  Years ago, we lived in a home on a hill overlooking a nature center.  After it snowed, it was amazingly beautiful.  Like a Christmas postcard.  A silvery brilliance gathered on the branches of the trees and the ground changed to a consistent cottony blanket of goodness.  Everything is clean and white.  When the sun would shine, it would be so bright you had to squint in order to see.

Frosty Footpath - winter snow

Frosty Footpath – winter snow

As the snow lingered on the ground, it would begin to tarnish.  The brilliance would fade and become dull.  The snow turned gray with streaks of black and brown impurities.  The white was gone and what remained was dirty snow.

Then, after a period of time, it would snow again and cover the dirty snow with another blanket of pure white.  The scene was beautiful again.  Renewed.  Back to a brilliant white.

Last weekend, I attended a men’s retreat in North Georgia called Souly Business (link).  This was not my first men’s retreat.  I have attended a bunch through the years.  During the introductions, I was asked why I was at the retreat.  I responded, “Because I need to be here”.  See, I need a new coat of snow.  I need it to be all white again.

Retreats are a great way to get readjusted and reacquainted with the Father.  I felt like I have been in a good place lately, but I know that He always has more for me.  More love.  More life.

As I spent time during the retreat with the Lord, He gave me a glimpse of my selfishness and pride.  The dynamic duo!  I feel like when I humbly approach Him, and the daily noise is turned off, His love and holiness can make me feel like dirty snow.  Like Isaiah in the throne room.  Unclean.  Still snow- but tarnished a bit.   Ready for renewal.

Do you need a new blanket of white?  Some ideas-

Get Quiet- Find a quiet place and get away from the noise.  We live in a constant stream of audio and visual overload.  Break away- even for a few hours, all alone, to spend time in prayer and reflection.  He promises that He will be there.  You will hear from Him.

Find a Partner- Find a friend who can journey with you.  Someone you can share your struggles with.  Someone that can help you off load some of your junk.

Slow Down- It’s likely that He’s trying to speak to you but you are running so hard that you can’t hear Him.  Prune some activities that are overwhelming your schedule.

Truth Escape- Get back into the Word and a regular prayer life and get reacquainted with His voice.  Morning, evening, even drive time audio Bible, whatever it takes to get you there.  He’s waiting.  He’s a gentleman and you need to make the first move.

I know that I need this time.  A time to unplug from this world and plug into Him.  There is power in living a life connected to Him.  Not because I’m supposed to- because I need it.  I need a fresh perspective- a new breath of life.  I need His love.  I need a fresh coat of snow.

Do you get what I mean here?  Do you have ideas that you can share that help you hear His voice?  Click on “Leave A Comment” and let me know what you think! 

Copyright © 2013. Leading by Serving- Leadership is for Everyone!. All rights reserved.

Opposites Day

When my kids were young they would often play a game called Opposites Day.  During this particular day, whatever they said was actually the opposite of what is true.  This was really just a way of trying to catch the other sibling- kind of a trap.  Really just a kid’s game.  But I think that in actuality, it is more than just a game.

Morning 003

This past Saturday I headed downtown to a ministry where Kathy and I have been serving for the past five or so years.  We get up early each Saturday and pick up surplus baked goods and head downtown to distribute food to the needy.  I can attest that it is tough some Saturdays to head downtown.  Yes, sleep and comfort are issues, but the work can be frustrating and unnerving.  We see some moments that make the whole thing question what you are doing.  The need is overwhelming and you can’t be unaffected by palpable feeling of hopelessness that hangs in the air.   We have also seen some pretty ugly situations.  Tension from actions viewed as unfair.  Deep neighborhood wounds.  Indescribable family dysfunction.  Crazy stories of pain that you struggle to untangle in your mind.  One thing is for sure.  You can’t keep score here.  It will drive you crazy.  You simply give and let God take care of the rest.

Amidst all of this, is the heart.  We have made great friends and have had the privilege of living our lives with them.  Each week we share and get updates.  Victories and failures.  We have seen it all.  Stories of success and stories of death.  Sometimes the reality is just too much to carry.  We try to help but we are not in it.  No matter how we try to step into their shoes we are not really with them.  We try to get there, but cultures and lives are so different that the gap really can’t be crossed.  So we meet in the middle each Saturday.  A circle between two circles and we do what we can.  Anything more is just cultural arrogance.  The two crazy assumptions are that we can truly understand what is going in the tough areas of the city while they can understand what it’s like to have a servant’s heart in suburban America.

This Saturday, I was leading a walk that we take each week through the neighborhood.  We carry bags of groceries and hand them out as the Lord leads us and we pray for the families and the neighborhood.  The groceries have always been the minor item.  When we approach folks in the neighborhood and start conversation and ask if they would like prayer, they will open up and share what’s going on in their lives.  This has lead to relationships as we return each week and visit with the same folks regularly.  This Saturday, I suggested that we visit a lady named Vera who lives on the outskirts of our walk, yet is always a treat.  Vera is a grandmother and takes care of her family although she has very modest means.  We knocked on her door and waited.  After a few minutes, she came out and her face lit up in delight.  We hadn’t made it to her house in a while, probably several months.  She quickly caught us up on what was happening with her and her family.  She pains for her family and their struggles.  You can feel her pain as she describes her family update.  Yet, she refuses to stay there.  She immediately turns the story to the day- this day.  She thanks the Lord for the blessing that this day brings.  She is thankful that we have visited her.  She radiates real love.  It makes you tingle.  Not the polite kind of stuff.  The deep love of the Father.

Vera loves to pray.  We generally pray as we make our way through the neighborhood but at Vera’s house we want her to pray.  So she offers and we smile and nod yes.  Vera breaks into a powerful prayer- thankful and a prayer of a grateful heart and worship.  None of this is the I want- I need kind of prayer.  This was a celebration of life.  Then she shares something new.  Vera breaks into song and sings a portion of her prayer to her Father.  The Spirit is thick.  He is here.  She finishes her prayer and a bird begins to sing.  Vera shares that God loves music.   I agree with her, sharing that even the birds sing to Him.

So what happened?  It was Opposites Day!  We set out to help bless others and instead we were blessed.  We left Vera and we all were visibly uplifted.  This is what we needed.  A refill.  A reminder that He is always there and He is always faithful.  The Bible says that he sings over us.  He knows every hair on your head.

Thank you for the song of our lives.  Thank you for the birds singing each morning.  Thank you for Vera and her heart for her Father and her family.

Remember to sing today.  No matter how hard it is.  It’s Opposites Day!

Have you ever had an Opposites Day?  Please click on comments and tell your story!              

Stuck in the Mud?

My son and I love offshore fishing.  We have had some really memorable fishing trips that will always be special to me.  One of the components to bottom fishing offshore is dealing with the anchor.  At the end of a long day fishing, there is a real tendency to get to the wheel first so that you didn’t have to pull up the anchor.  Pulling up the anchor in 150 feet of water is a real job, and at the end of a long day of fishing it was not something that you really feel like doing.

I can’t pull any more.  I have tried so many times and I just can’t make any progress.  I am so tired.  I just can’t do it…

A fluke-style anchor

While fishing with a friend, my son discovered a great little device to get the anchor up with ease.  The anchor ball is an inflated ball about the size of a volleyball with a small section of rope and a ring that attaches to the anchor line and helps pull up the anchor.  So, you attach the ring to the anchor line and slowly drive the boat in the opposite direction of your drift.  The anchor ball is really not very big, so it’s not brute force, but constant pressure.  Just like magic- up comes the anchor and all you need to do is pull in the line with the anchor floating below the anchor ball.  I can tell you that at the end of a long day the anchor ball is the greatest thing in the boat!

I’ve tried everything.  There just seems to be no end to this.  There has to be something I am missing…

The problem with pulling up the anchor by hand is that the harder you pull, the deeper it digs in.  Don’t you feel like that sometimes?  Stuck in the mud and the harder you try the more stuck you get!

Gosh, don’t I know this!  The harder I work at it, the deeper it seems to get.  There’s just no way to get freedom…

The real key to the anchor ball is direction.  By changing direction opposite of the boat drift you simply need to apply a small but constant pressure.  Change direction and it becomes pretty easy.  The ball will lift the anchor up to the surface.

A little change in direction and gentle pressure.  Really?  That’s all it takes?  Why didn’t I try this years ago.  It seems so simple…

We are really brainwashed that it always takes brawn to get something done.  The anchor ball is a great example of this.  Sometimes it’s not about work.  I have so many friends who struggle with thinking that they don’t measure up.  They aren’t good enough. They continue to work at problems in their lives and can’t seem to make any progress.  They are stuck- and the harder they work, the deeper the anchor digs in.

I make it harder than it really is.  I seem to make it bigger than it really is.  I seem to complicate it.  Why do I do this?

Not only does it seem to dig you in deeper, but when you are tired you can get paralyzed.  You feel inadequate.  Unable to make a difference.  You marginalize your impact  You feel like this will be with you forever.  You will never shake this.  You become resolved to continue to fail.

I know that there must be an answer here.  I know that there must be more…

I know Believers who really think of themselves as despicable sinners.  They feel like they will never measure up.  They say that they understand grace and what Jesus did on the cross, yet they work so hard at trying to measure up.  And they fail- as we all do.  So they become stuck in the mud.  Unable to be used.  I feel like they are stuck in a works based pursuit.  They don’t feel good enough to do Kingdom work.  So, as they try harder at their vision of holiness- the more frustrated they get.

I get it now.  Change direction away from working harder towards a real relationship.  Fill up my life with Him and everything else gets pushed out.  I need to get over myself!  It’s not about me…

The Bible is full of knuckleheads like all of us.  God uses the weak to be the strong- He gets the glory.  Once we believe what He did is final and complete and we believe the amazing depth of His love for us, we can enter a new world of really being used by Him.  Being stuck in the mud is no good.  God has an amazing plan for you- a plan that only you can do.  The anchor ball is His love.  Let His love lift you out of bondage so you can step into a new and exciting life.  You have nothing to prove.  He wants your heart.  Go to Him!