Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Deer Sirs....

      Good friends of ours, Joe and Pat, were suddenly awakened at 2:15am last week with a lot of noise in the downstairs part of their house.  What would you be thinking and what would be your response?    
      Expecting a burglar or other intruder with ill intent, his heart pounding and nerves on edge, Joe cautiously went downstairs with a defensive weapon in hand.
      What he found surprised him.  A large deer (a doe) was in the sunroom frantically trying to escape the confining place she had somehow found herself in.
      Joe, thinking wisely, retreated to the kitchen and ventured outside to open the sunroom door from the outside to provide an escape route for the captive deer.  By the way, that might be a wise approach in helping a friend who is stuck in the confines of an undesirable place.  Although direct and loving confrontation has its place, asking God to show you a door and escape route for them might be a wise strategy.  Perhaps more important in the immediate sense is not why or how they got there but finding the way out to the place of freedom in Christ.
      The deer failed to find that escape route right away, but headed deeper into the wrong place----right into Joe's clock repair shop.  Maybe she thought it was good timing to do that.  I'm sure Joe thought about clocking her a good one for taking the time to go in there.   Maybe she thought she'd rather have hands.   There is a time for everything, but the clock was ticking.
       With the doorway open to an escape route, they waited.   They called 911 and a state trooper arrived within minutes.  As they assessed the situation together, the deer bolted out of the clock shop, through the family room, into the sunroom, and out through the broken window from whence it came.  
      It was a scary situation for about 30 minutes, both for our friends and for the deer.  There was damage done, including broken glass and blood on the carpet and walls along with other evidence that the deer was frantically trying to find a way out of the trap it found itself in.  You can use your imagination as to why the deer would jump through the window in the first place.  Trying to escape an enemy?  She saw her reflection in the glass?  Something inside looked inviting?  There are also plenty of "what ifs."
     What would you say is an application and moral to the story, deer friend?          

Saturday, September 1, 2012


In Exodus 16:36, there is an interesting final verse after a section about Manna, God's provision of heavenly bread.   Some of the Manna was to be saved as a witness, an "omer" of it as a testimony for future generations.  Then there is the parenthetical clarifying statement that closes out the chapter.   "An omer is a tenth of an ephah."  

Why that statement?  Was this for future generations of math lovers?   Some things are black and white, like 2 + 2 will always be 4?   A statement that reminds us of basic order and structure with God's sustaining hands?   An encouragement that some things are to be measured carefully?  Calculated provision can be a precise witness and testimony?

At a Harrisburg Senators baseball game last night we saw two home runs hit.   Two (h)omers.    The witness of thousands made any further measurement unnecessary.    Preset rules make the game what it is.   Not unlike God's calculated and measured guidelines for abundant living?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Starlit Nights

“He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.   Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.”  (Ps 147:4-5)

Johann Kepler (1571 – 1630) is considered to be the founder of physical astronomy.   Did you also know that he studied for 2 years in a seminary?   Kepler wrote in one of his books, “Since we astronomers are priests of the highest God in regard to the book of nature, it befits us to be thoughtful, not of the glory of our minds, but rather, above all else, of the glory of God.”  (Morris, Henry.  Men of Science Men of God.  Master Book Pbl., 1984, pg. 34). 

The heavens are amazing when you view them in remote areas where no city lights can hinder the God-made brilliance.   In the farm country of Iowa at a recent family reunion we got a taste of the bright starlit panorama accented by dark sky and highlighted by fireflies all around us.  Beautiful and glorious.

One of my favorite places in the world is along the Musselshell River in Montana.    I recall camping there one night, the nearest ranch 18 miles away, no man-made lights to hinder the stars above.   The darkness of the sky magnified the illuminating stars of the heavens without the distracting disruption of unnatural lights.    It is an amazing place.

Many false, man-made lights distract the eyes of people from seeing the majesty of God, including false religions and even self-righteous practices and attitudes which cultivate legalistic spiritual pride with its false promises.    As Kepler said it, it is the glory of God and not the glory of our own minds---no matter how smart we think we are.  “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”  (2 Cor 4:5)

I am reading a book about solitude as a spiritual discipline, and I am reminded of how refreshing it is to get away and be alone with Jesus, Light of the world, Who is building a kingdom of light(s).   Time alone with God strengthens our shine. 
And the stars are brighter when the sky is darker.  The stronger the darkness, the more pronounced His glorious light.     As we live in this dark, “crooked and  depraved” world (Phil. 2:15), we are invited to shine like stars in the universe as we hold forth the word of life.  For such we are named.

I want to enjoy and appreciate the heavens as they declare the glory of God.   And when darkness closes in and false light distracts, to shine.

“The heavens declare the glory of God.  The skies proclaim the work of His hands.”   (Psalm 19)

Saturday, August 18, 2012


My niece made a statement yesterday that caught my attention, while she was eating a very big strawberry.   She said, "This is the best strawberry ever,  in the whole world.   Really.   There will never be another strawberry this good."  

That's a great life attitude.   Because Jesus is with me right now, in this moment, this is the best moment ever.   Today has the potential to be the best day of the rest of my life, wrapped up in the present gift of the presence of Jesus..    Abundant life.   Right now.  Making the best of it and enjoying Him sounds inspiring and contagious.

Friday, August 17, 2012

How Are You, Really?

Kristi and I had some neat interaction at the B&B with a lady from Spain.   We sat in the gazebo talking about, among other things, the English language.  In learning to speak English, she noted that one of the things she had to figure out was our standard greeting, "How are you?"   She shared that at first it was a little awkward because she wasn’t sure if she should really answer the question or just pick from the list of standard answers, like “fine.”

Wouldn’t it be neat if when you were asked, “How are you?”….that people are genuinely interested in how you are, really?   Asking it of others in that tone and then listening with intentionality could be a special gift.  

Saturday, August 11, 2012


There is a car in storage here at the B&B, out in the barn, in one of the stalls.  I noticed today that there are spider webs consuming it.

Must be some kind of lesson there.   What would you put as a caption?  Don’t park yourself or the cobwebs will invade?   Unproductive inactivity breeds invasion? Spiders like stalled places?      

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


In response to the messenger angel, Mary declared, "I am the Lord's slave"  (Luke 1:38).   Being a disciple of Jesus is to be His servant/slave (Phil. 1:1; Eph. 6:6; Rom. 6:22).  Being a slave of God opens a world of seemingly impossible possibilities.  

One thing that touches hearts about the olympics being watched around the world is seeing the victory of achieving the seemingly impossible.   Yet, it is through years of hard work and commitment that athletes get to that moment.   I'm sure they would testify about days they felt like slaves to coaches and trainers who helped them get ready for the moment of truth where victory was within their reach.

We each have a calling and victory over the impossible is within reach through Christ Jesus ( 1 Cor. 15:57).  That is good news.

The call of God for Mary, and for any follower of Christ, is an impossible demand.....which magnifies the possibilities of verses like Philippians 4:13.  Yes to hard work and commitment, but even a greater need for being a slave to Christ who makes impossibilities possibilities.

As Michael Card says it, "To become obedient to His call always means becoming a slave to the impossible."

What is ahead for you that seems impossible?

Friday, August 3, 2012


One of the things I've been amazed at in watching the Olympics is the power of team.   The synced diving was phenomenal.   The rowing competitions were marvelous.   I mean, how do they keep those boats going in such a straight path when they are looking back but racing forward?

There must be some lesson there......facing backward, identifying a point "back there"  in order to journey forward with a team of people going the same direction.   Like looking back to the cross of Christ as sufficient to chart a straight path into the future.  

The team sports intrigue me.   There is an equal level of individual participation and effort, but the best is brought out with a team.   What is not seen is the commitment and hard work behind the scenes in preparing for events.   Team building.   Not easy....but when a team of people does something together for the Kingdom, synced to the heartbeat of God, what a glorious thing.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

No Looking Back

Kristi and I spent the past few days with the folks in Cumberland, and enjoyed watching some of the olympics together. Saturday morning we watched the men's road race, a long distance route through London on bicycles. It was fun to watch, and we were captivated by the ending. Two athletes were in a neck-and-neck race to the finish line, far ahead of the pack. The man in the lead looked back for just a moment. The finish line was so close, but he was momentarily distracted and took his eyes off the end goal. In that moment, the other biker thrust forward to take the lead and win the race.

Did you see it? Did you wonder what made him look back? It cost him a win.

Here is the verse I thought of..... "But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13-14)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Discarded Regeneration

Dad  recently discarded  a Hosta plant that just wasn’t doing well where it was planted.  It was dying.  So, he did what anyone would do.  He got rid of it, throwing it into the rocky area behind some trees in the back yard.    A few weeks later he noticed that the plant had somehow re-rooted itself.  It’s like the plant wanted to prove it could survive even the toughest treatment and the injustice of being misunderstood.   The plant not only survived but thrived, like God had done a miracle of regeneration and renewal in the face of people giving up on it.  

Dad, in his mercy and grace, helped the plant.  It is now doing very well after being repotted in new soil by his generous hands.    Even after being devalued and disgarded,  it is flourishing in a new place, blossoming to God’s glory.    With new soil and a new setting it has become a beautiful plant, growing like it was totally regenerated.   It just needed a replant with change that granted renewed opportunity.
There are people and forces in the world who would like to see you deleted and discarded. You've been misunderstood.   People have sometimes given up on you, or someone you know.

Not God. 

Don't give up on yourself or others.

Be encouraged.

“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”  (2 Cor 5:16-18)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Living Dead

"Then Jesus said to his disciples, if anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."

The cross, made from some tree, represents death.

We have some beautiful trees at the B&B.   Diversity displayed by many shades of green.  Then there are dead trees with dead branches.    I'd get rid of them,  but the most wonderful songbirds seem to like the dead branches the best.   They perch on dead wood and sing to God's glory.

Kristi and I reflected about that during prayer one recent morning.   The contrast of beauty and glorious music upon dead branches.    There is something about that. 

Death to self brings forth new life.    We carry around the death of Jesus that HIS glorious life might be manifest in us (2 Cor. 4:10)....ushering forth some beautiful music.   Singing today.