Saturday, January 25, 2014

I wish...!

I can remember when I was younger "wishing" for time to move faster.  "I wish it were Friday and it was time to play basketball!"  My mom, usually would respond with: "don't wish your life away."  That was the point!  I wanted time to move beyond where I was because where I was, wasn't where I wanted to be!  Now, I find myself wondering: "how in the world did I get here?" 

We are already almost one month through 2014.  With the way the weather has been lately, I have found myself saying: "I wish it were May!"  But do I really want to skip 4 months of life?  No.  I want to capture each day and fully live in the moment.  So, I guess I'll put my boots back on, zip up my coat, and trudge back outside reminding myself that there will be a day not too far off in the future where we'll be talking about the "heat."  Until then, don't miss out on what today may bring!

Shalom,

Marty

Friday, January 17, 2014

Zombiemania

There seems to be an increasing interest or obsession with Zombies.  The idea that the "undead" will some day take over the earth can been seen in movies, TV shows, commercials, even on Facebook.  There are times I wonder if I may have a little bit of zombie-ism in me.  Not that I have an insatiable urge to walk around moaning & groaning (but sometimes I do complain about life), take over the world, or want to eat things that wouldn't be on a menu at Applebee's.  (okay, sometimes I do want to take over the world, but only for the good of everyone) At times I am so disconnected from the reality of God's Kingdom coming to earth...like a "dead-man" walking!

In John 11 Jesus deals with what some would say is a near Zombie-like encounter.  Lazarus a dear friend of Jesus had died and Jesus in his divine power and authority calls Lazarus out of the grave.  Lazarus emerges with grave clothes and all...fully alive!  Not a Zombie but fully alive.  There are a couple of questions I've had to ask myself recently:  What's died in me that needs resurrecting?  A dream? An awareness? Or a sin I've yet to confess?  Whatever it is, If I don't answer the call of Jesus and let it resonate into my soul, I'm no better off than a Zombie!  Sometimes, my tendency reflects more of a Zombie than someone who is called to New Life in Jesus.  This leads me to the next question: Am I less responsive to God’s calling than a dead man?  Lazarus immediately responded to the call of Jesus on his life.  Do I respond like that when Jesus calls me to forgive, confess, repent, encourage, or serve? Or do I relapse into a Zombie like trance trying to make sense of life while ignoring the voice of life?  Jesus said in John 10:10 "...I have come to give you life to the full..."  Wow, I don't know about you, but I want that, more life than I can live (that's the actual translation of the phrase: to the full). 

So, the next time you see a reference to Zombies ask yourself: Am I fully alive or am I moaning and groaning, trying to control that which I can't control- life, while turning a deaf ear to the One who gives me life to the FULL?   

Be fully alive,
Marty 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Signs of Life...the Value!


Do I value life?  If so, how do I demonstrate it?  One of the most troubling commercials I've seen over the last month has been put out by the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).  In the commercial the announcer says: "Right now somewhere in America there's an animal being beaten and another being locked in a cage alone and left to die.  These scared innocent animals don't realize there is any hope for a better life.  At the ASPCA we are committed to searching every dark corner to find them and help heal the deep physical and emotional wounds that have been inflicted on them.  But we can't reach these animals without your support...."  The announcer goes on to ask for you to join the cause and commit to give 60 cents a day.  What happens next?  You receive a T-Shirt and a picture of an animal.  No doubt, some of the money goes to rescue and care for neglected animals.  Now don't get me wrong, I am not an animal hater or believe in treating animals cruel.  I have had pets since I was a young boy.  Dogs are my favorite and cats, well that's another story.  What cut to my heart about this ad wasn't the agonizing pictures of dogs and cats who have been neglected but the desperation to which the announcer spoke of the immediate need. Now before you jump to either side of the fence on this issue, hear me out.  Contrast this ad with the following video that presents another desperate need: 

video


Life is precious and is to be highly valued.  People should matter to me.  But here's the question I started this post with: how do I demonstrate the fact that people matter? I must confess I have gotten so used to my suburban, middle class, first world life, that I have conveniently pushed aside the grim reminder of the desperate conditions around our planet.  Where do I start in a world with such desperate needs?  Do I respect, preserve, and advocate for life whenever and where ever I see opportunity?  Or, am I consumed with ME?  Do I feel the "desperateness" in my life for hurting, starving, and dying people as is the tone of the ASPCA ad for animals?  In some way I am grateful for the ASPCA commercial because it has jolted me into the reality of what really matters PEOPLE.  Again, I am an animal lover and hope to one day have another dog of my own.  This really isn't an either or issue: do we care for animals or people?  But it is a both and.  However, if push comes to shove, I must default to the care, dignity, and respect of people.  Why?  Because it is in the fabric of every human being that has within them the indelible image of God!   

Just my thoughts,

Marty

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Signs of Life


This morning it was 3 below zero F.  From the inside of my house I could see the glistening of the ice crystals in the trees.  It’s beautiful from the inside looking out.  But once I stepped outside the beauty was quickly forgotten as my survival instinct to stay warm kicked in.  There are not many signs of life outside on days like this.  I’m not concerned at all about mowing the lawn or caring for the landscaping. But life is still pulsating even when I can’t see it.  Underneath the layers of snow and cold there are creatures and plants still alive. 

My view for life needs to begin as I did this morning, from the inside out.  Sometimes I get so caught up with the “outside” of life, I neglect the real place where life comes, deep inside of me: My Heart for it’s the wellspring of Life.  So, on this cold January day I need to look to the originator of life to fill me with his breath to carry on another day.