Pain

IMG_9979Pain is funny thing, not funny haha… funny peculiar.  Try as we might, we can not say as a former president often did “I feel your pain.”  Oh, we may want to, we may try, but the truth of the matter is we simply can not.  We may want to make it better, to ease the pain, but our skills here are also lacking. Often there are no easy answers when comes to suffering and pain. It tests us; it wounds us; it refines us; it confuses us. Through it all we do have the hope and promise that God’s grace is sufficient.  #thermostat

Broken

IMG_9977When we think of beauty, strength and life, we tend to think of perfect, symmetrical and radiant.  But very often the deepest beauty arises after we have lived through the storms of life. We are all a little dented; none of us is perfect and in those scars, quirks and faults the true beauty of who we are can emerge.  Like the tree in this photo, it is broken, it is lopsided it is gangly, and it is stunningly beautiful.

Seabrook Washington Summer 2014

The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. – Psalm 52:17

Debit

IMG_9974This is a shot of my left hand.  The dogs are there mostly because when I tried to take a shot without them they walked into it. So I figured I would frame the shot with them in it and tada!

There is deeper meaning behind the word “debit”, but you can peek over at my other blog for that.

Here I am concentrating on that hand.  I fancy myself somewhat handy, a woodworker and wood carver.  I am also somewhat clumsy. One day I stopped and figured out that I have at least 125 stitches in this hand. The first were right before my 9th Grade year. The most recent were actually two years ago and this time it was super glue, seriously, medical grade.  I still carve, type, play the guitar and more.

In baptism we are given a promise, we are given life and salvation in Christ, we could concentrate on our scars or imperfections, but we are called to do what we can to love God and neighbor

Follow

IMG_9956These two don’t always do what they ought, and they don’t always listen so well either.  They will, however, follow you to the ends of the earth for a cookie (doggy treat).  They know when you have one hidden in your hand or pocket. They know very shortly if you are just faking it and don’t really have a cookie.  As long as a reward is possible they have their attention locked on you like a laser!

Knowing that we are saved by faith through grace, how do we continue to follow knowing that the reward is ours already?  That is a tricky part. Lutherans fuss over this all the time, not because God confuses good works and deeds, we do.  Following Jesus then is about following him because we can, we are not adorable little puppies whose attention is caught by the next funky smell or offer of a milk bone.  We follow knowing that all that is necessary for our salvation has been worked out in Jesus.

Trust

IMG_9942

Stained Glass at Bethe Lutheran Church, Madison, WI.

It’s Monday Trivia!  Well actually that isn’t a thing, but this is a bit of fun biblical trivia… Did you know there are unicorns in the bible?  There are!  Well in one pretty well-known translation anyway.  That translation is the old KJV. While often pretty they didn’t always translate certain things very well, so we get some odd words and odd species now and again, and the unicorn is one of those.

“Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.”

This is Psalm 22:21 from the Old King James translation.

Modern translations more accurately translate that last part this way.. “From the horns of the wild oxen you have rescued me.”

Some point to flaws like this as reasons you can’t trust the Bible.  Personally I have gotten to a place in my faith life where these kinds of quirks and stumbles in translation actually help me to trust that word even more.

Look at the way the language, our English language has changed since they first finished translating the King James in 1611.  Yet, the underlying message of the Gospel is still there.  Nearly miraculous in of itself! In the big picture, my trust is placed less in a particular translation, but rather it Word himself.

Devotion

IMG_9938Outside of basic shelter, one of the first things that sprouted up when people settled this neck of the woods was a place to worship.  Their devotion to God was central to life.  Today there are many claims on our devotion.  Most of them are good things, but they are not in the end life-giving things.  They can not and must not take the place of our devotion to God. God still calls “dibs” on us, and we are still to place our devotion to him as primary if we are to live the full life that God intends.

Serve

IMG_9929“just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”  To serve is an amazing thing.  Maybe it is because of sin, brokenness or whatever, but we often forgo the joy of serving thinking it is preferable to be served.  Soup is an amazing thing too!  People donate soup; kids donate time and effort, other people donate money, goods or time and eat the soup. The proceeds then go to send the kids to serve or to learn but mostly to grow in faith.  Who knew a little service could go so far?