Thursday, January 22, 2009

New Day

You & I are witnesses of & participants in a new day every morning when we arise. The Bible tells us that God’s mercies are new every morning. New day. New choices. New you?

Each day our lives answer questions like the following whether we realize it or not... Will I live like the same old, same old or seek something new & challenging? Will I stretch & grow into new areas or will I allow circumstances, my past or other’s perceptions to dominate me? Will I choose to handle any baggage set in my lap or simply wallow deeper in my present mess?

Many of us are walking wounded or playing hurt. We don’t even want to admit it or slow down to treat it. We are a hurt people. And we hurt others.

Yet, there is hope. The Bible overflows with hope & healing. Hope for our hurts & healing for our brokenness are available if we will only choose to apply God’s Words to our lives. And those principles are found neatly in the Beatitudes of Matthew 5:3-10. Jesus offers us freedom from our hurts, habits, & hang-ups if we choose to follow him there.

Making new choices requires courage. Making new choices means change. Making new choices takes risk.

Our economy may continue to be weak for the months ahead. Our jobs may be in jeopardy as long as the economy sputters. Our bills may be higher forcing us to concessions. Our relationships may be strained due to circumstances. Our world may be in turmoil with all signs pointing toward its end. Yet we can make new choices because we have a new day, new mercies, new hope, & an everlasting, all-powerful, all-loving, amazing grace God who is the same all the time. He will lead us through. Follow with me.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tomorrow Today

I was lazy yesterday morning. My alarm went off in the dark predawn. I decided to stay warm in bed. An hour later Melanie got up & went to the gym. I stayed warm in bed.

About 6:30 I heard some footsteps. Mary Elizabeth. I could tell. She stopped at her Mama's side of the bed in the dark.

Baby, it's too early for you to be up. Come around here & Daddy will lift you up & you can lay in Mama's spot & go back to sleep a while.

She didn't say a word as she trudged around & I lifted her up on the bed & pulled the covers over her. And Mary Elizabeth who never wants to wear socks to bed because her feet will be too hot tucked her cold little toes under me & laid her sweet little hand on my arm falling off to sleep in just moments. Precious.

Thirty minutes later the sonorous walk clock strikes 7:00 & Mary stirs a bit. I was ready to get up by then. I'd been wide awake listening to her breathe & breathing out prayers of my own. It's still dark when I speak to her.

Baby, are you ready to wake up?

"Mmmmmm," comes her half-plaintive, sleepy reply.

Today you get to go to your friend's house to play. We've got to get up & get ready.

And springing up faster than she'd snatch up an offered M&M she exclaimed, "It's tomorrow today!"

Yes, it is tomorrow today.

The tomorrow my precious four year old anticipated had arrived. And so the day began.

Today, January 20, 2009 our nation welcomes a long anticipated tomorrow. The United States of America will inaugurate as our new President, Barak Obama. Our nation founded & sustained by women & men who hold these truths to be self evident, who toiled for a dream that one day, and who gave their very lives for our liberty with so much history before welcomes history in the making today.

No matter your politics or religious convictions I pray that you will join me in praying for our new President, the man God ordained. Pray for his godly wisdom & that of his advisers in a role that requires so much more than one man can perform. Pray for his daily study of the Bible & counsel of it's teachings to know the realities that truly govern our nation & world. Pray for his safety & that of his family in nation where some would seek to harm him due to the color of his skin. Pray for our nation to unite & pray that revival may come & stir us with heavenly fire anew.

It is tomorrow today.

Let us pray.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Four Footsteps

It was so cold & more windy than it was cold yesterday that even I ran indoors. Yes, "I'm not a hamster" intrepid Aaron, did time on the treadmill at the gym.

My gym's a nice place to be, although I think they keep it to warm. (Why is it that gyms where you'll be sweating are too warm & hospitals where you lay around are always way too cold?) Anyhow, it's a balmy 72 degrees in the middle of midwinter Nebraska inside there with all the shiny equipment & sweaty people. I finish my run. Head to the locker room. Dry off. Sweaty person as I was. Put on all my layers. Feel too hot walking to the door. And in the four footsteps it took me to walk through the revolving door into the subarctic blast I lost 75 degrees. It was negative 3 outside.

It is hard to describe a four footstep 75 degree plunge. Bone-chilling is too weak. Breathtaking falls short. Maybe heart-arresting. Thought-halting. Don't forget to add, or is that subtract, a windchill of more than 20 below!

I hardly remember my walk to the car. My thoughts were at full halt. Maybe my synapses were temporarily frozen. I just don't see how Canadians do it. Maybe that's why they say, "eh," so much. They just can't think of something else to say. Frozen synapses. Thoughts halt.

A 75 degree drop in four footsteps can do that.

When is the last time you were shocked like those four footsteps? Inconceivable announcement? Doctor's diagnosis? Employment termination? Death pronouncement? Relationship implosion?

God spoke into the halt, through the cold, to me.

"Aaron, if you were to see your sinfulness as I see it... this is how you would feel. I love you. I am Jealous. I am Holy God."

Four humbling footsteps.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Better Together

The unexpected--for me, the optimist--is one of the joys of life. The unexpected can bring challenge & trouble, I know, but I can trust in God's providence.

So, it's a great day for a run out on a rural trail that meanders across the rolling farmland of Eastern Nebraska. I've got my thoughts, my prayers & my iPod to occupy me for a few hours I've imagined. At the trailhead, I'm stretching in prep for an 18 mile training run. (Yes, 18 miles all at one time. And, no, I am not crazy, although I know it's been debated at times.) And appearing out of nowhere from the trail--softly striding toward me--is a geared up, 50-ish looking runner.

Want some company?

Sure. How far you going?

21 or so.

Wow. I'm going 18. Give me a minute more to get ready.

After introductions, off we went. Me & my new running buddy. For near three hours our conversation ran much wider than the 18 miles of trail we covered. My buddy had been running an average of 40 miles a week for more than 20 years. He'd run countless marathons & ultramarathons. Even 50 & 100 mile races. The best hundred-mile time he'd ever recorded was 20 hours 17 minutes. My buddy had been there & back. And again. And again. And... you get the picture. I plied him with plenty of running questions as we matched our pace, but we talked about work, family, politics, worldview, & Christianity. And the 18 miles we ran together--short for him, but fifth longest ever for me--rolled by.

We were better together.

Having a more experienced, open, & friendly buddy made all the difference for me.

How about you?

Who do you need to run alongside you?

And who is it that needs you to come alongside them?

And let us consider how we may spur one another
on toward love & good deeds.
Hebrews 10:24