Thursday, August 14, 2008

No Trouble

(Disclaimers: first, this is an outdoor only activity; second, is an athlete to carry a box of tissues?)

Had a college buddy with an old heather-gray t-shirt picturing a right index finger depressed right nostril football player. Not like Santa "laying his finger aside his nose" gently, but a nose hole pressed shut. One clamped down so the other can inflate a monstrous balloon of... snot. Yes, snot.

The shirt read, "Snot bubble. No trouble." Guy humor.

I'm an exceptionally nasaled fella. I know. Given the need a sufficient clamp & a stout blow makes the method work as advertised on my buddy's tee.

Snot bubble. No trouble. Press & blow.

So here I go... Another morning. Another run. Another nasal need. Another press & blow. A new revelation.

"If we confess our sins he is faithful & just & will forgive our sins & purify us from all unrighteousness," 1 John 1:9 states. An old truth.

Sin stumble. No trouble. Pray & ask.

Want To

Had my annual physical last week. My doctor is questioning. I'm answering. We get to my recent neck injury. Got it training for my first marathon. (Yes, I said "neck." It can happen. It just took a yeahoo like me to prove it. If you care, I'll tell you, but back to the story...)

"The human body just wasn't designed for that," he impassively states of marathoning & moves on to the next question. I restrain my urge to confront my dear doctor who I now worry may be a pessimistic heretic of the seemingly limitless capabilities of the human body. Shame.

His point I understand. It is not natural to run 26.2 miles. Many think it is not sane. Yet millions prove this wrong every year. We human-folk are astonishing. God designed us with amazing bodies capable of feats limited only by our incredible imaginations. It takes proper training. Lots of time. Self-discipline. Want to.

We human-folk can do. And me, I want to run. I love to run. I want to because I love to.

So I'm running this AM. Praying as I do. Sunrise soaked. Breeze cooled. The above comes to mind. The Lord speaks to my heart.

Aaron, is it natural for you to sin?

Sure, Lord. Hard not to. I was born with a sin nature. You know the drill.

What keeps you from sinning, Aaron?

I don't want to.

Why don't you want to? Duty? Obedience? Or something else?

Yes, Lord. You got me. I gotta confess. Sometimes it's sheer will power. Other times it's the duty. Externalized religion. I am a pastor. I'm supposed to have it together. But, Lord Jesus, would you continue to change that in me? Please. Would you, Lord Jesus, help me fall so much in love with you that I don't want to sin because... because I love you that much... because I don't won't to hurt you... because my relationship with you is of greater value than all else of life. Give me want to because I love you, Lord.

"Whoever has my commands & obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, & I too will love him & show myself to him." Jesus, John 14:21.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Forgive Me

Seth & Mary Elizabeth are like most siblings. Occasionally they let loose. SWACK! Even hit the other. Seth, being the boy, being 7, is often the aggressor. And Mary Elizabeth, being the girl, being 4, is often deeply offended. Bit-part drama princess. Bless her heart.

The pattern: SWACK; gasp; silence; one crying; other denying; one accusing; parent intervening; one wailing; other denying; etc.

Getting the kids ready for bed the other night. SWACK! Seth hits Mary Elizabeth.

Melanie: Seth, that was mean. You ask Mary to forgive you.

Seth: Mary will you forgive m... heh-heh-heh-heh. Laughing at what he's done as he dives into bed.

Parental time out. Whistle in my head. Self-conversation. What now? This forgiveness thing is being mocked. Agh. God, help me out here. Sorry is just, "I got busted. My heart's not changed," but we desire brokeness, humility, & repentance for our kids, God. Thats real forgiveness, right?

Wish I could report the wise words I spoke. How I conquered the parental conundrum, brought righteous fear to my son, instilled loving hope into my daughter, & looked like I have it all together for my wife in one stirring fatherial oration. Nope. Can't say that I did.

Can say forgive me with a laugh isn't right.

Can say I'm convicted.

"Father, forgive me. Forgive me for the times I've laughed at You. Break my heart over my sin. Make me humble. Allow me to love others as You love me. I'm not laughing now."

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord; O Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy. If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared. Psalm 130:1-4

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Blessing of Family

My family's down south. Visiting family & friends. They're having fun. Making memories. Melanie's masterfully managing three kids. John Mark's got a funny, new communicating-something-only-he-understands sound. Mary Elizabeth doesn't care to talk to me on the phone. Seth, thankfully, is keeping me informed beginning with his unique, "Hel-LO, Daddy."

I'm here in Lincoln. Lonely. Missing my wife. I want to hold her long. Missing my kids. I want to play the Wrestle-Daddy-Game. Staying busy, surely, but it's not the same.

Lord, keep them safe.

Lord, bring them home.

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of family.

The man who finds a wife finds a treasure,
and receives favor from the Lord. Proverbs 18:22, NLT

Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. How happy is the man whose quiver is full of them! Psalm 127:3 & 5a, NLT