Oct 022016

rainLotion bottles. The ones with a pump. They always leave an inch of lotion in the bottom. My habit for years, when sweetheart requests, I cut the bottom off the bottle so she can use the last of the lotion. This morning? my last slice around the bottle slips, I make an unplanned incision in the base of my thumb, I drop the bottle and lotion splashes everywhere! Large globs adorn the mirror, the counter, the wall. An oilslick of lotion soaks into the rug.  As I start to clean up, blood still dripping from my thumb, another finger runs into sweetheart’s still hot curling iron for a nice tissue-sizzling burn! As I chill one finger and bandage the other, I’m thinking, this is a small scale version of my life right now!

Someone asked me at church last weekend how I was doing. I pondered how to answer. This year hasn’t been perfect. I have experienced betrayal and falsehood and weakness that have caused me pain. I have felt discouraged, disillusioned, disheartened, distrust.  And yet that is not all of the picture!

Early this morning, before the sun, I enjoyed the sound of the first rain of the season as it gently descended on our valley. The smell of the dust being washed from the air, the sound of a million rain drops touching a thirsty earth, the view of the cloud-enshrouded mountains from my office window, these things reminded me of one simple truth- God’s unfailing and all-covering love for me. No matter what drought I experience, no matter what trials I suffer, His love covers me.

I have been reminded of a few things this year. That [profit] Margin without a nonnegotiable Mission that drives all decisions and actions, is dead. That valuing people above all else is the example my Jesus expects me to follow. That life is not at all about position and power.

So, what is my answer to, “How are you doing, Bob?” Not everything is just right in my life, but I have so much to be thankful for.  I have a God who loves me no matter what. I have a sweetheart who thinks the best part of her day is meeting me at home after work,. Daughters who still need and love me. Men in their lives who treat them with God-blessed love and respect. Friends and family, close and far, whom I can truly trust when the chips are down. The clarity to be able to enjoy a good cup of coffee during an early morning rain. And world peace? LOL? Not in my lifetime.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  -Phillipians 4:7 NIV.

Peace that others can’t understand. Peace that makes no sense. This is the gift God gives when we learn to lean on him no matter the circumstances.

So right now, with two bandages on my left hand, I look from my window and see a stray beam of sunlight that, in spite of air still in the 40’s, is powerful enough to steam the rain from my roof. Yeah, maybe everything isn’t the way I want it to be, but I’m ready to keep taking blind steps forward in the journey my God calls faith.

Sep 042010

“Peace for our time”.

Those words were joyfully shared outside 10 Downing Street in London by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain on September 30, 1938, just hours after returning from a meeting with German Chancellor Adolf Hitler.

“My good friends, this is the second time in our history that there has come back from Germany to Downing Street peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time [emphasis added]. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. And now I recommend you to go home and sleep quietly in your beds.” 

His speech was greeted with shouts and cheers! That very next spring, in March of 1939, th rest of Czechoslovakia fell into Hitler’s hands. While the rest of the world struggled to wake up, the Second World War more formally began with his invasion of Poland on September 1 of 1939, just eleven months after Chamberlain’s recommendation that his countrymen “go home and sleep quietly in your beds.”

So much for peace. There was nothing in Chamberlain’s words to guarantee the kind of peace he was promoting.

Here’s a different question. When you  think of your salvation and the assurance that it is real, does that bring you peace? Or does it make you uneasy and unsure of your future? Does it make you focus on your sins and stress about what you need to accomplish?

Isaiah 53 is a beautiful and well-known passage of prophecy about Jesus and his life and death for us. In the middle of this chapter, a diamond is hidden. In referring to and describing Jesus’ death on the cross, a small bit of information is shared that doesn’t get enough attention.

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
       he was crushed for our iniquities;
       the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
       and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5 NIV

He was pierced, He was crushed, The punishment was upon Him.

Wait, What?

What punishment? The one that “brought us peace”. That sacrifice was identified as the one that brought us peace.  Jesus intends for us to rest easy in 0ur salvation, trusting in what He did for us. Loving Him for the way He proved His love for us. We can have peace! We can be confident in our future! Isaiah was and so can we.

Jesus, let me never forget that You meant for the gift of your life was meant to bring us peace! Let me lean on you today, safe and secure from all alarms.

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