Petrified Wood

PetrifiedWoodPetrified Wood

It was their 50th wedding anniversary. After all the guests and family had left and the house was empty again Gertrude turned to Henry.
“Henry, how come you don’t tell me you love me anymore?” Gertie, 50 years ago today I told you I loved you! If I change my mind you’ll be the first to know!”
That doesn’t get it!
We need reminders. It’s not that we forget, but little things: misunderstood words, half heard comments, the look that meant something else, and soon we begin to wonder if we are still loved. So we need reminders- many and often- lest we descend into a pit of doubt and despair.
One reminder I have on my desk looks like wood but it feels like a rock. It is both. Over 225 million years ago a tree fell. It was covered with sand and mud. Over time, as water seeped in, the minerals in the mud and sand replaced the wood and it became a rock. It still looks like wood.
When I look at it I am reminded that when God’s Spirit lives inside us and we turn our lives over to Him, He replaces us!
We still look the same on the outside but on the inside the change is enormous. “It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community…” (Galatians 5:19-21)
Little by little, in turning our lives over to Him, different things begin to appear in us. “…affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity, Willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.” (Galatians 5:22-13)
Some days you may feel more like wood, others more like rock. As we let God change us from the inside out some days we are more aware of our godliness and on others more aware of our humanity. But every time you catch a glimpse of God in yourself or anothers, rejoice!

Git ‘er Done!

sum2007_hand_toolsGit ‘er Done!

Cleaning stalls, cutting the grass along fence lines, mowing grass, cutting down trees, putting up hay … Growing up working on the farm where my horse was kept to earn his keep was hard work! To this day it is the hardest physical work I have done. There was a lot that just had to be done. Horses were hungry. Hay could not be left out to mildew and become worthless so it had to be put up in the loft. Daily during cold winter days we had to break the ice in the water troughs so the horses could drink. It didn’t matter what the weather was or how you felt these animals looked to us for their needs, and no matter what we had to ‘git ‘er done’!

In doing my job there I had tools to get the job done: a hay hook, sickle, sling blade, bush ax, lawn mower, rake, pitch fork, gloves, sharpening file, etc. I needed to give priority to those tools because without them I could not ‘git ‘er done’.

Today in an age of unemployment, downsizing, and competition for job creation we see people as a means to an end. We use people to get things done.

God has a different way of looking at things. God uses things to get people done. From Abraham to Joseph. From Matthew and Peter to Paul the Apostle, God used family, circumstances, weather, foreign governments and even terrible injustices to shape these men and women into who they needed to be. God used things, all sorts of things, to ‘git’ THEM done.

When times are lean, or competition is great it is easy to equate human value in dollars and cents. It is easy to think of people in terms of productivity. But people are the most precious commodity in the universe. One human being was worth the price of God’s very own Child. May we be mindful of people in our lives and handle them with care and prayer.

An Old Shirt and Climate Change

old-worn-denim-shirt-6767706An Old Shirt and Climate Change

We joke about it. It is threadbare, has a few holes, a missing button or two and is faded badly. I still have a shirt from before Betsy and I were married. It has been a work shirt for a long time now but it is still hanging in the closet. But I’m not worried! I know that when I just can’t wear it anymore I will have another shirt that will serve the purpose even better.
Climate change is in the news every day, like record temperatures, record rainfall, and 2 mile wide tornadoes. Last week I saw a photo of a lifeguard on watch as the temperature in Anchorage, Alaska reached into the 80’s and on Tuesday in Talkeetna, Alaska a state record of 96 was recorded! Two weeks ago it was 15 degrees!
What’s going on here? While scientists, politicians, pundits, theologians and the ‘man on the street’ have varied opinions about all this, one thing is certain: SOMETHING is going on!
“Earth and sky will wear out, but not You; they become threadbare like an old coat; You’ll fold them up like a worn-out cloak, and lay them away on the shelf. But You’ll stay the same, year after year; You’ll never fade, You’ll never wear out.” (Hebrews 1:11)
There is no shortage of anxiety around the world from floods in India to floods in Chapel Hill! Our Bible tells us that even Mother Earth itself is wearing out. Perhaps it is the inevitable wearing out and eventual passing away of our home planet which we more evidence of with each passing day.
As I said, I’m not worried about my old shirt. In fact I have another right beside it, ready to take its place on the day it splits down the middle. Likewise, our God tells us that He has prepared another world to replace this one. “I’m on my way to get a room ready for you. And if I’m on my way to get your room ready, I’ll come back and get you so you can live where I live.” (John 14:4) We can have peace as we observe our changing world if we will remember another one is hanging right beside it ready to go…”