Wait for the Lord

“What God does in us as we wait is as important as what it is we are waiting for.” John Ortberg

“I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning.” (Psalm 130:5-6)

God’s timing is always right; by waiting we participate in his work. More than patience, we to learn trust and hope. We learn anticipation. Waiting is a disciplines our spirit.

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Those Who Mourn

“There are gifts you get from God in the midst of grief that you would never have had the bandwidth to receive if everything was going as planned.” Levi Lusko

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)

Loss opens us to comforting which, in our days of joy, we could not recognize–certainly not desire. Mourning expands our hearts.

Words of Grace

“He plants the words [of scripture] full of actual graces as we read them and suddenly undiscovered meanings are sown in our hearts … reading with minds that are at prayer.” Thomas Merton

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Have you sometimes noticed that a verse you’re read many times seems to jump off the page with new meaning? When we read the Bible with minds that are at prayer, we meet God. A message he hid there through the ages comes alive in you. God loves you that much.

The Real Cost of Living

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Cost of living may be defined as the amount of money needed to sustain a certain level of living, including basic expenses such as housing, food, taxes and health care. As reflected in the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price, it’s a measure of what typical consumers pay for retail goods and other items.

But the real cost of living is far higher. Beyond our teen years, few of us our live our dreams. Our aspirations. Our goals. That symphony you conceived. That killer app you thought up. That design. That song. That marathon. That painting. That book. That achievement. Even that trip or nest egg.

The 99th percentile are not just the hyper rich. More often they are the hyper focused. The ones who shed family and friends on the way toward their goal, be it success, money, or fame. The rest of us–we compromised.

Allen Saunders wrote, “Life is what happens to us while we’re busy making other plans” more than twenty years before John Lennon put it into a song. (Typical. Someone famous gets the credit.) Because paying the rent, changing the diapers, mowing the grass, washing dishes, even hanging out, solitaire or Facebook or Snap Chat all come first.

That dream, that image, that goal fades farther and farther away. Eventually we lose sight of it amid the clutter of life. We settle for … less.

The cost of living is your dreams.

President’s Day

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The more I know of American history (and it has been my lifelong study), the more I marvel at George Washington, born February 11 or 22 (depending on which calendar used).

He was untypical for his day, which was a time of extraordinary people. America would not have progressed this far had another man been our first president. And, except for his military stubbornness against an overwhelming foe, we might never have had a first president.

He wasn’t perfect; no man is. But his role reverberates over the centuries, resulting in good even today. I’m sorry we no longer recognize (nor teach) his uniqueness.

 

We Veterans Thank You

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In 1973, GIs returning from the Vietnam War landed at Travis AFB, CA. From there most of us were bused to San Francisco for connecting commercial flights to home or our next duty assignment. Before we left Travis we were warned about the treatment we’d receive in San Francisco. Public opinion was greatly against the war in Southeast Asia, and we would be cursed, ridiculed and even assaulted by people who found us to be convenient targets for their dissension. And we were.

Today thousands of us veterans enjoyed a pleasant free meal–in my case at a Texas Roadhouse restaurant in Glen Allen, VA. As I ate that fine steak, I remembered other wars and other homecomings. And of course those who didn’t come back or who have since died.

War is an unpleasant business. Some wars are necessary; some are not. Regardless, Continue reading

Struggles Will Come

“The purpose of our struggles is twofold: to develop God’s character in us and an opportunity for Him to show forth His power. If there are no struggles, then there is no character or power of a living God, and no witness of either. Embrace the struggle with faith in His power!” Kristin Davis

“Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. … because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.” (Hebrews 10: 32, 34-35 NIV)

Struggles will come. They cleanse you of the world, and in your victory they show God to the world. Nobody gets out of life alive.

Our hope, our goal is not in this world but in the life that emerges in us now.

Life in Him.

Happy Solar Eclipse Day

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Today many millions of you will see a total eclipse. For many it’ll be the only total solar eclipse you ever see. Enjoy.

The younger among you will have the opportunity to see three total solar eclipses over the next thirty years. Enjoy.

While solar eclipses happen every eighteen months, supposedly total eclipses repeat for a given spot on earth average only every 375 years. We’re about to blow that theory out of the water. The 2017, 2024 and 2045 eclipses will give Americans lots of opportunities to see an eclipse. Since the 2024 north-south route bisects the other two (which are essentially parallel east-west), folks in two areas may see two eclipses without leaving home. Enjoy.

If you happen to be in the eclipsed area, don’t just look at the sun. (Don’t look at the sun at all without special eye protection.) Look around. As the eclipse gathers and fades the light will change. It’s like sunrise or sunset, but will look significantly different. Enjoy.

Here’s why: As the sun sets or rises it passes through more of the atmosphere, shifting the observed colors toward the red. During an eclipse, there’s no such shift. The colors stay true, but saturate. It’ll look like an over-Photoshopped pictures. It’ll look like magic.

Enjoy.

I Lied Today

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I lied today. About my age.

As I waited to get a haircut, the other men bragged about how old they were. The oldest was 87, and the youngest, but me, was 81.

I told them I was 71. Which I am … almost. They complemented me on looking younger. I felt bad.

What possessed me to do that? Felt like a child saying he was almost seven.

Not a bad feeling–not the fib–the childishness.

 

My Seven Wonders of the World, #7

My Seven Wonders of the World, #7: Walls of Osaka Castle

Osaka Castle is an interesting construction in its own right, and is surrounded by gardens and dry and wet moats making it a pleasant park in the center of Japan’s second-largest city. My focus in this designation are the fitted-stone walls surrounding the enclosure and central tower.

Almost five hundred years old, the walls are dry stacked of large square stones, some at the corners and gates huge, with smaller stones fitted to add stability. A rigid wall construction would not serve in earthquake-prone Japan. Must be seen (as we did in 1985) to be appreciated.

What we see today is a re-construction of the ancient walls and castle, which was destroyed several times over the centuries. The layout of the walls, moats and gates facilitated defense in the age before effective long-range artillery.

This last wonder is a place holder for the great stone works of ancient Asia. Elsewhere in Japan I saw similar stacked stone walls. In addition to their function as rock chutes for defense, the curves pull the eye upward, contributing to the wonder of their sites. I have not seen the Great Wall of China (itself mostly a re-construction), but would like to.