Fight The Good Fight

Yesterday afternoon Lori and were on a walk and for some reason the words “fight the good fight” came to mind. Not sure why they would pop into my head but they were there. And while I could not recall the larger context at that time, I did remember to look them up this morning.

“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
— 1 Timothy 6:12

Wow! Okay! Now I’m being flooded with thoughts of “fights” friends have shared recently. Our lives are full of struggles against our sinful nature, with battles against illnesses of all types and sizes, challenges in relationships with friends or families…to name just a few. Struggle. Struggle. Struggle. It can be seemingly endless and overwhelming.

Then the words from Paul to Timothy pop into my head again. And not just those words but the simple confidence that He is with me. With you. With all those who call on Him as their Lord and Savior.

And then the words BE OF GOOD FAITH. Which I then Googled (thinking maybe they were from scripture) and found this song on YouTube…OH MY GOODNESS. I encourage you to listen to the words and be encouraged. Be of good faith.

So, this morning I am reminded again in God’s miracle. It obviously has been a while since I’ve written. January it looks like. Yet in my wondering, my questioning, God led me to a beautiful song I would not have otherwise found. Our God is an awesome God.

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Let Not Your Hearts Be Troubled

“He who listens to truth is not less than he who utters truth.”
– Kahlil Gibran, poet and artist

Upon reading this I wanted more. My immediate thought was of John 14:6 – “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” I want that. I want to be with God. With Jesus. Who among us who call on his name doesn’t want for that daily or even hourly?

Like a good little student I reread verse 6 and see Jesus is answering a question. Aha. Context.

John 14:1-5 (NIV)

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

While I could spend hours on these verses, I think the reality this morning is God used a round-about way to get me to the first words of John 14:1 – “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”

No matter our circumstance let us not be distressed. Though we fight against illnesses, emotions, and incredible evils let us not forget this place is not our home. We were not created in order for the evil to triumph over us. We were created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27), for the glory of God (Isaiah 43:7) and that we would commune with God (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Jesus has prepared a place for us. Let us rejoice in that good news…always.

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Eyes Wide Open

“Faith is a way of waiting—never quite knowing, never quite hearing or seeing, because in the darkness we are all but a little lost. There is doubt hard on the heels of every belief, fear hard on the heels of every hope, and many holy things lie in ruins because the world has ruined them and we have ruined them. But faith waits even so, delivered at least from that final despair which gives up waiting altogether because it sees nothing left worth waiting for.”
– Frederick Buechner, Secrets in the Dark

NOTE: I wrote what follows BEFORE I came across this quote this morning. God’s timing is…God’s timing. Think I found my next book to read.

I awoke this morning at 3:00am. The why one wakes up in the middle of the night (or the middle of the morning) isn’t always important. Sometimes it’s what one does AFTER the wakeup call that carries weight and substance.

So, I looked out the window. I mean, how often am I up and 3:00am? I wanted to see what was happening out in the world. And what I saw were stars sprinkled in the darkness. And oddly, strangely and almost immediately, I felt free. I didn’t reach to turn on a light, but soaked in and contemplated the darkness. It was weird to think about the darkness as this thing that frees one. It seems wrong to write about the darkness as freedom for one who calls himself a child of God. God of light. And, yet, in the darkness this morning, alone with just the stars, I felt freedom.

In the darkness there are no boundaries, only possibilities. No visual boundaries telling me where to stop, or directing my movement. Aside from the stars there are no signs or queues telling me what do to (assuming the dark is accompanied by silence). All things are possible. Hope springs eternal. So, in the darkness of this morning I just…was. And it was sort of cool. The nothingness. Until I began to fill in the blanks.

It’s like my mind doesn’t like the nothingness. The not knowing. The infinite possibilities. Probably why the concept of meditating seems foreign to me. Slowly my darkness began to be filled with ideas. And as soon as I did that the stars began to fade. Freedom, faded. Ug. In my mind those two things seem to fight a battle where neither wins. My freedom, my darkness began to be replaced by possibilities and options whose boundaries are defined by what I know. Definitions began to take shape where there once was undefined possibility. With my eyes wide open I felt loss. I know, weird. Not sure words capture it right.

Now, as I look out the window, I can see the sky growing slowly brighter. The stars no longer shine as they did hours ago. Somewhere out there the moon is still visible, I am sure. But my mind has shifted from what could be to what needs to be. The darkness has been replaced by my list of things to do.

Today, with my eyes wide open now, may I boldly seek out God and observe His glory. The Light of the World.

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Rivers Know This

flowing-river-2“Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.”
– A.A. Milne

And so will the children of God. And on that day, when we get there, what a glorious arriving it shall be. As Milne brings to mind though, there is no hurry here. God has things for each of us to do, to see, to be. We need first and foremost to be His reflection onto this world, bringing light where there is darkness, warmth where there is cold, a smile where there is only a frown.

One other thing about rivers came to my mind. They can tend to meander, at times going where their surroundings “tell” them to go. While at other times they make their way through seemingly solid rock, over time wearing away objects that stood in their way. Rivers are also great messengers and delivers and deliverers, taking objects from one place to another.

Okay, never really thought to compare my journey to a river, but thanks A.A. Milne for a wonderful start to the day.

Ah, and for probably my best all-time Milne scenes via Winnie the Pooh –

Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh?” he whispered.
“Yes, Piglet?”
“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s hand. “I just wanted to be sure of you.”

I re-read that this morning and I have a vision of me and the Holy Spirit. But in my vision I can’t tell whether I’m Pooh or Piglet. I like the vision either way.

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