Little Things

Ah the little things. The kiss of a warm breeze, the smile of a baby, the look of love in my lover's eyes, the laugh of the crow and song of the lark, the sound of children playing in the yard...

Sweet Jesus 

Sweet velvet air after the summer rain
Sweet autumn peaches and sugar cane
Sweet, sweet kisses of a mother
A smile from a sister or a brother
Sweet joyous riot pouring from the playground
Newspaper kite, geese in flight
And crickets chirping in the night

Sweet, sweet, sweet Jesus
Never was ever a sweeter than You
Sweet, sweet, sweet Jesus
No one,  not anyone is sweeter than You

Lilly of the valley,  Rose of  Sharon fair
The fragrance of Your mercy lingers everywhere
Sweeter lover than this no one has ever known
You gather up our sin and take it as Your own

Sweet, sweet world within my lover’s eyes
Sweet,  golden dance of the sunrise
Sweet, sweet honeysuckle vine
Sweet, the honeycomb sweet the wine
Sweet little bird singing outside my window
With a tweet tweet and O the deep
Calling unto deep

Sweet, sweet, sweet Jesus
Never was ever a sweeter than You
Sweet, sweet, sweet Jesus
No one,  not anyone is sweeter than You
(©lyric by j quill)

We tend to question God on the big things...things that only He can understand; things that He alone could bear on His cross. But he shows us mercies that are new every morning. He shows us things our dim eyes can see. He shows us His  little things because we can't always see His big things. He draws little pictures for His "Little Faiths" (as He calls us) because we can't really see the big picture right now. The day is filled with His little "I love You's" scattered all around us. They are there to lift our hearts if we only allow it. He whispers His love to us constantly in the little ways. And sometimes shouts it for us in ways that seem big to us.
One of my hero's of the faith said "we ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of GOD, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed."
 (Brother Lawrence) 
We can draw near to God by looking for His little blessings and leaving little love notes for him throughout our day

We Hypocrites

The life of the Christian is Jesus Christ. This morning, as the "transporter crew" sat in traffic, Margret read a bumper sticker to us. It said: "I like your Christ, but I don't like your Christians because they're so not like Christ". We all agreed that was true. Only Christ is like Christ. We Christians confess that we are, at our best, sinners that need a savior. Be our behavior admirable or despicable our gospel is still the same: Jesus Christ died to save sinners of whom I am chief. Though we do not meet the driver's standards, we remain woefully unworthy and joyfully forgiven.
Jesus was rejected for the company he kept. It appears that is still so. He is only acceptable if he does not associate with those "Christians." Can such grace be tolerated? There is just no accounting for taste.


When we value something, it does not give that something it's intrinsic worth. "One man's junk is another man's treasure," goes the proverb. I remember some characters in the old Superman comics of the 1960's called the Bazarros. On the planet Bazarro, everyone dressed like Superman except the super heros, who dressed like Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen. The citizens of the planet valued garbage over gold, and so they traded all their gold for Earth's garbage.  Who's to say what is valuable and what is not? Me? You? The wealthiest man in the world? No. Only one can give an accurate appraisal of any given thing. God. God says what is of value and what is rubbish. Paul the apostle declared, "What things were gain to me I counted loss for Christ. Yes, without a doubt, I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as so much manure, that I may win Christ." God had opened Paul's eyes to what was of true worth. And the value He puts on the shed blood of Christ is the forgiveness of all sin. The value God puts on you is the blood of Christ.

The Vulnerable

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight, but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.    
( Hebrews 4:13)

Someone once said, “What is most personal is most general.” Meaning that if I write about my most private feelings, thoughts, experiences and faults, people will recognize these things in themselves. For instance, here are some lyrics from one of my songs:

Oh the chocolate gimme trouble.
Yes the chocolate gimme trouble.
I’ll knock a devil through the wall
And dance on the rubble,
But the chocolate gimme trouble.

Every chocolate addict in the country feels that chorus. Many a sad love song tops the charts because many a sad heart has been broken. If I were to share my deepest anguish, those who share that pain could relate to what I say.
Though hyper-vulnerability is enticing, I find it easy to resist that temptation. I don’t care to expose myself to criticism and judgment. It is not useful to strip down and climb the public pyre to the burning stake of shame. There is a universe of difference between the wise courage of love and the foolish masochism of self-hatred.
In private counseling or sharing with my friends, when someone needs to know that they are not alone in this struggle, I do confess my weaknesses. There have been times, though, when those I have shared with were disillusioned with me. That’s OK. Illusions need to be dissed. They serve no good purpose.
Christ, being the first and last truth, disabuses us of our precious misbeliefs. He often leads us to reject the gods we create in our own minds. As He reveals His true Nature to us, we face our false notions about Him; by his grace, we reject the christ we create for the Christ who creates us. We die to our selves when we come alive to His truth.
As for exposure of the most personal, He hung naked on a tree, covered with all that shames us. It is impossible to overestimate such love.

Don't Go To Church

Of course I like football. Fuuuuhbaawh! But my day is not ruined if my Seahawks lose. I don't go through withdraw symptoms if I miss a game or two. What makes watching the game so much fun is the time I spend with my son. Sunday after church we go over to his house for an afternoon of high fiving and shouting at the TV.
This last Sunday I was scheduled to fill in as preacher for a local congregation at the same time the “Elliot bay Birds” were playing The Detroit Lions. I acted like a pouty little boy. “Aw Mom. I don't wanna go to church.” It felt like an obligation; a duty; a chore. My wife drove as I mumbled over my sermon notes. When we arrived, I dragged myself up the entry stairs, through the church doors and into the foyer where some happy music met me. I walked to the back of the sanctuary to listen and watch. There in the front of the church were four of my favorite people. Kris sawed away on the fiddle, Gordon and Tom strummed guitars and Elsie rattled the ivories. My heart perked up. It was so good to see them. In my whiney attitude I had forgotten one very important point. This wasn’t just some dry ritualistic event. These were my friends. I loved these people and this was gonna be fun. I danced across the back of the room to their 6/8 time. It was one of my favorite hymns.
 Some through the waters,
Some through the flood,

Some through the fire,
But all through the blood;
Some through great sorrow,
But God gives a song,
In the night season and all the daylong.
What a wonderful time I had singing, worshiping and sharing the Word of God’s love with my friends.
Here’s what I learned. Next time you don’t want to attend Sunday (or Saturday, or whatever day) services, don’t go to “Church”. Instead, go meet your friends at the church building. Enjoy a morning with those rare and precious people who love you and share your love for Christ. The Quakers have the right idea. They call their gathering “The Society of Friends.” If you don’t have friends at church, go make some. If you do, you’ll never have to drag yourself to “church” again.
Oh yeah…the Seahawks lost…but I won.

The Good Thing That Is In You

If we are to walk in His virtue it is essential to understand and acknowledge that the virtue is present in us in Christ. We must believe it is there if we are ever to use it. Acknowledging what God has done in us is key to so much of our faith. Acknowledging the King’s mercy, the wicked servant would forgive a fellow debtor. (Matthew 18) Acknowledging God’s mercy, suggests Peter, keeps God’s virtue flowing in us. “But he that lacks these things … has forgotten that he was washed from his old sins.” (2 Peter 1:9)
Acknowledging God’s love, Paul tells us, instills a “peace that surpasses understanding that guards our hearts and minds.” (Philippians 4:7P
Acknowledging God in our ways, Solomon says, keeps us on the right path. (Proverbs 3:6)  In this letter to Philemon, Paul refers to acknowledging our gifts in Christ Jesus. He told his friend that he was praying: “That the communication of your faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.” (Philemon 6)
Forgiveness is a communication of our faith. It will take effect as we recognize it in the indwelling Christ. We forgive by first confessing that in Christ Jesus, we have forgiveness. It is there because He is there. No one bothers to look in the fridge if they think its empty, but if they know there is pie in there, the door utility light turns on. We open to forgiveness as we acknowledge the love that is in us in Christ.
As we take stock of what He is in us, let us also consider what we are in Him. 

All You Need...

I’m thinking of the lyrics of two popular songs from the sixties. “What the world needs now is love, sweet love.” And one by the Beatles: “All You Need Is Love.” Sounds good. I suggest there’s a problem with it, though. Love that is all we need is the unattainable ideal. At least the love necessary to heal America is beyond human capacity. Just because a virtue is absolutely beautiful does not mean it is absolutely achievable.
Love is the law. It is the foundation of the Law of Moses. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The human race dabbles in this commandment, but one need not look far to see our failure to implement it satisfactorily. “By the Law comes knowledge of sin”(Romans 3:20). It let’s us know how sinful we are-how unloving we are. Sure, all we need is love…but where do we get what we need. God is love. By faith in Jesus Christ, that Love comes to live in our hearts through the Holy Spirit.
The church of Jesus Christ is the temple of this Love on earth. America needs now what resides in the community that confesses Jesus as Lord. To many people, that sounds like bad news. For sure they see some love flowing from us, but everyone senses that it should be more than it appears. Where there is a babbling brook there should be a raging river.
So what’s blocking the flow? Unforgiveness–specifically, unforgiveness between members of the body of Christ. It stagnates the love that needs to cascade over the spiritual desert of America. Resentments great and small, offences deep and petty choke the flow. The scriptures instruct us to forbear one another. Forbearance is living in the attitude of forgiveness. It is to exhibit the character of God who is always “Ready to forgive and plenteous in mercy” (Psalm 86:5).
I believe the main reason the church lacks in forgiveness is ignorance. We’d all like to forgive, but we just don’t know how. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). If Christ is in you, (and by faith He is) then you have the love. Knowing how to forgive is to know how to use that love. It is understanding how to get out of God’s way and let Him do what He does best: love and forgive. When the Christians of America get hold of this, there will be a great revival.
I have written a book about this. It is titled, “How Shall We Then Forgive.” Read this book. You will be delighted to find that not only can you forgive but you will experience joy and peace in doing so. You are made for this. You will even come to enjoy it.