Friday, August 31, 2018

It’s Not Us

                                   It’s Not Us

I was really sick not long ago. Felt, as my wife would say, like “Death warmed over and left out to rot.” During that period of lying there, doing all I could to just hang in there from moment to moment, I realized that any wisdom I’d thought I could take with me across that threshold of death, and claim as my own before my maker, was total and absolute folly, just ridiculous.

One thing is clear about this salvation thing. It’s not us!

It’s right there plain as day all through the Bible. God is asking for our trust, in the face of all this craziness around us, and even our own questions.

When He visited His Creation, walking the Galilean countryside, the heart of His message was, “Believe in me.” Clear enough.

His words weren’t, work your way to heaven or, be sure to never miss church, but “Believe in me.”

As I made my way through the New Testament, I realized, this person—through whom the world was made—wasn’t interested in having huge structures and such erected in His honor.

He traveled among regular folks, the poor and the sick, healing and teaching, asking for our faith, our trust.

He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.
John 1:10 New International Version (NIV)

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Sunday, July 1, 2018



Quite a while back, my wife and I were living in West Germany where I was employed as a radar console technician. One evening during that three-year period, I was in a Christian meeting, sitting up front in a small room, holding my guitar and facing an audience of 20 people or so, all Americans from a local Air Force base. I had, for some reason, been invited to share a song and a few words. I began relating an experience.

I don’t remember any details of the story now, except at the end when I hesitated, after saying, “And, I knew it was from God because...” and the pastor seeming to lean forward in his chair in worried anticipation—waiting—as if my credibility could be headed out the window. I then completed the sentence with, “it kept on coming.” The pastor seemed to agree, in relief.

I don’t know where that came from. It wasn’t something I’d thought about. It just came out--“And, I knew it was from God because, it kept on coming.”

Well, the message that seems to be coming my way lately from many directions—and has kept on coming—is that “Home,” is on the inside, where all is well, and true. Not like in isolation but, on the contrary, with a natural connection with the outside, and those around me. God is above all, through all and in us all--is the scripture that comes to mind.

I’ve crossed paths with people in life over the years that have—with unconditional love—a drink of cool water—pointed me in the right direction.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Peace that Captures my Will

The Peace that Captures my Will

From Him
I thought
I was turning away
That day

When in fact
It was
My struggle
Being left behind

For He met me
As I turned around
And to my surprise
Great peace I found

Yet at times
I labor still
For that peace that finds me

Friday, June 15, 2018

At the Mall

At the Mall

"You are here"
A star on a map
Framed on the wall
Walking the mall

Mannequins mingling in windows bright
A reflected face in glass
Walking alone, hope deferred
A dark deceiver mirrored as I pass

But the Master is here
There’s life all around
“You are here,”
Hope profound

But how do I get there?
To this place called “Here?”
The way is hidden
The door is locked!

I won’t accept
This illusion I see
His call is to all

An Old Man’s Prayer

An Old Man’s Prayer

So where am I now?
And where have I been?
Over the decades
I have strayed

I can see the kingdom
The freedom I knew in youth
But now a rigid remnant shell
Skeletal remains of love passed

Law is where I live now
Unable to give
Of the life
That left me long ago

Show me Oh God, how to love again
Open my scaled, vailed eyes
Free me from this shadow
This sleep

Shake me from my foundation
This ship sunken in dark watery grave
In bitter sediment

Turn me around
To see you again
In timeless splendor

In the glory
Of the Unreachable
To me

I’ll not give up, Oh God
I’ll not bow my head
Weeping in sorrow
Over that which is not lost

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Friday, June 1, 2018

Inside Out

                                  Inside Out

I’m pretty sure that tuning into God is not something I can randomly do with my thoughts exactly, or strength of will. Its more a trust thing I think, and yes, a love thing—personal.

But, sometimes it seems like nothing authentic is in me, and Im at a loss. It’s okay though, I’m finding, to look toward heaven in my spirituality bankrupt state—inside out—and simply trust God.

And, His life and light can’t be captured in any way. Being a control freak, this is tough and tricky for me to grasp.

He knows my predicament, and does not condemn, but in fact understands everything 
absolutely—and loves.

The Principals Office

We are not under the oppression of law, or a guilty conscience.

When I knock on the principal’s office door in my broken state, I find not a finger pointing judge, but a loving parent there.

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What a Strange Journey

                   What a Strange Journey

Maybe it’s all part of the aging process and His grand design, but through faith, God is taking me through a transition, maybe you too, in which He is going from being something impersonal to me—a belief I carried with me like a briefcase, no matter how hard I tried to make it otherwise—to the very life in and around me.

I believe this is the spirit of Isaiah’s words in verse 12:2 when he said:

    I will trust, and will not be afraid;

Life is continually unfolding I guess. And, like the bumper sticker says—what a strange journey it’s been.

Absolute is the rock of Zion
Freeing all who believe
Who fall there and are broken
With the natural eye—unseen

The condemnation of judgment?
Its power is lost
Exposed and defeated
By His light at the cross

By faith we stand joyfully free!
Filled in the inmost part
He is Life
Salvation of the heart

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Friday, May 25, 2018

Cards on the Table

                         Cards on the Table

While I was attending my career launching computer service coarse years ago, out of our class of around 30 people, there was an older Christian lady, age of 60 or so. She was a really nice lady, sound in every sense of the word, straight up, honest. While a few of us were talking during a class break, about hearts, not the physical type, she stated matter-of-factly that her own heart was, “Deceitful and desperately wicked,” taken from the Bible, Jeremiah 17:9. One young fellow there was pretty shocked and said that He had a good heart.

Not everybody will own up to having a “Shadow self,” or a dark side, maybe not everybody does. I know that having a good heart is not what redeems us. And, I believe it’s absolutely necessary to have an—all cards on the table—relationship with that fellow from Nazareth, in trust.

I don’t think one necessarily has to announce to the world that they are deceitful and desperately wicked. But it’s a relief to know that I need not have any cards of any kind up my sleeve with God, or myself, when the one sitting across the table is perfect love itself.

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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Who Does He Think He Is?

                Who Does He Think He Is?

He came to the lost sheep of Israel
The religious crowd of the day
Saying clearly
In words irresistible
You know me
I am the way

The perfect reflection
Of love unseen
Not contained
Not controlled
Freely walking
On earth bold
As if it were His
Of all the nerve

We can’t let this go on
Said some leaders of the day
We must silence this man
Else He take our place
Then where will we be?
We must put Him away

Neatly tucked in a cave
A grave
A drawer
Where we’re in control

Not running loose
Outside our purview
Claiming He is the way

But it seems this story
Which played out
On the scene back then
Is a work in current progress
In our world today—again

It’s an old old story
I’ll stick to it
Like a cross
Without it
Where would I be?
Wandering in the kingdom of men

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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Cool! I’m dead!

Cool! I’m dead!

I was standing at the sink in a men’s room, and another man was at the sink beside me, waving his hands under the sensor on the automatic water faucet trying to get it to come on. He looked up and indicated in a semi frustrated tone, that maybe he didn’t exist, and was therefore undetectable. Thinking back, at that point I should have pretended He wasn’t there. But, I just laughed.

The waters of this world - the rule book, can’t clean. I can wave my hands under that faucet all day, it just won’t work - frustrating.

For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

Colossians 3:3 King James Version

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Quit While Ahead

Quit While Ahead

This one might sound a bit coarse right off the bat.  The word "Beer" is used a lot. But anybody who “Strayed” in high school might like it. It’s sort of a composite of events, but they are true, fairly innocent and only slightly embellished.

Quit While Ahead
As a teenager, age 17 or so, one night after purchasing a deeply discounted case of beer out of an open car trunk in an empty lot—from an off-duty A&P employee—a gang of us piled into a car and headed for the city: Washington DC. Back then it was not illegal to literally drink and drive. And, that’s what we did—unwisely.

So, the memory is pretty hazy, but not too long after crossing the 14th street bridge into the city, we decided to relieve ourselves of some of the huge amount of liquid we’d consumed. So, we pulled into an alley—a dark alley—on gang turf.

As they appeared behind us at the alleyway entrance following us in, I heard somebody say quietly something like, “We gotta get outta here!” We scrambled like we never had before and managed to get back in the car, floor it and roar away, unscathed. Really lucky for us the engine didn’t stall, and the alley was open on both ends.

Then it was off to The Hayloft, our favorite club in Georgetown, car rocking and voices wailing to the blaring sounds of “Susie Q,” by Credence Clearwater Revival; where we did some more rocking to a live band—while drinking even more beer—before heading over to Old Ebbitt Grill. I found it necessary to get out my fake ID this time. Which, like the discount beverage purchase in the vacant lot, was easily obtainable for any high schooler with the right grape vine contacts.

I made a grand total of 74 dollars that summer, playing rhythm guitar in our rock-and-roll band: The Henchmen. I couldn’t believe somebody would actually pay me money to play my guitar at parties—and yes—drink beer. Life was good that year. Things did darken later, but how many 17-year-old kids have the sense to quit while he’s ahead? Some may—not this one.

So, the moral to this story—I seem to always have one—is quit while you’re ahead. Walk away. Just do it. Find a tether. Something to believe in. Something true.

Believing the man who roamed the Galilean country side—with a gang of ruffians—would be a good plan in my opinion. You won’t have to join the Christian culture or get a bumper sticker or anything. Pick up a New Testament and just start reading from the beginning, which happens to be the response I had—the step I took—after hearing the still small voice of God in my life. Do it.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The Wounded Soul

The Wounded Soul

Ashamed of their open wound
Turning away
Some among us
Feel leprous

Broken in spirit
Sobbing at heart
Fighting a battle
They don’t understand
In a strange land

Oh God
Go with them
Let them never give up
Encourage them with peace
Help them go on

They need only you
Be their song
Fill them with hope
Tell them that to you
They truly belong

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Sunday, April 15, 2018

Weird Drama

                             Weird Drama

A few years ago, while at a church function, I saw something written on a ball cap worn by a middle-aged man. It said, “The more people I meet the more I like my truck.”

And, recently I heard a TV interview in which a teenage girl who was hiking with a small group in a designated wilderness area, said that out there, her problems were much more basic, and there was no “Weird Drama.” I think there’s a sermon in there somewhere.

Jesus of Nazareth stuck with us until the end, taking our all our “Weird drama,” with Him when He died. That darkness inside that makes life so hard.

Then He came back without it.

It’s our turn to stick with Him now.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Home - Beyond the City Gate

                Home - Beyond the City Gate

A tenuous walk
For one prone to wander
Holding to His hand
Not veering from the path

Authenticity required
But not easily found
For the wayward heart
On shaky ground

Yet solid is the rock in Zion
Undergirding all who believe
Who fall there and are broken
Support unshakable
Source unseen

For if I live and wander
Only in the city of man
Never leaving my human boundaries
Or passing beyond the city’s gate
I’ll never find my wedding garment
And I’ll never find my path to home

So I’ll meet him there
Outside these winding streets
At a place called home
I can see Him now
Holding my garment as He greets

When strength I need
this place I’ll find
I’ll go without fear
And wait for Him here
Beyond the city gate

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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

It’s Fear

                                  It’s Fear

Anyone who in normal everyday life gets what may be little panic attacks, can probably relate to what follows.

They seem to occur at random, and in my case usually went unnoticed by anyone standing by. They varied in intensity, with kind of a grip, squeeze and release scenario. Time, seemed to be the only answer to recovery.

I’ve always compared it to what happens to a small puddle of water, when suddenly out of the blue, a great big boot comes along and stomps in it, sending the water, (you) scattering everywhere. And, it takes a little while, an hour or two, for you to re-gather yourself as your wits slowly seep back into place.

My little “Momentary seizures” weren’t debilitating, in as much as I could still function fairly normally afterward, so I managed to do OK by just going with the flow. I’d fret a little, analyze a little, surrender at times, but in a while the water always seeped back into place, and all was back to normal.

Years ago, my parents told the story about how that once when they came home from a night out, and asked the babysitter how it went with me, a toddler, while they were gone. The young lady responded, “No problem at all. He spent the whole night standing there behind that door!”

In my late twenties, while in Germany working as a civilian at a military base, a strange thing happened. An older friend, a lady whose family I was visiting, was leaning over her kitchen sink, facing away from me when she said once, then confirmed it by saying again, “It’s fear.” It was as if she was answering a question that I hadn’t even asked out loud. I think the question was, what is the elephant in the room? That crazy thing that I just couldn’t figure out.

I dealt with this “Elephant” throughout mid-life using the “Tough guy” approach, gritting my teeth and pushing through. It worked, but the root problem went unattended. I believe we have to find, or more aptly put, be found by Divine Love, at our very core, which requires faith and trust on our part. Pretty much what it’s all about I guess. Strange that after having been a Christian for forty-two years, I feel like I’m only now beginning to scratch that surface. There’s always more I guess.

Lead us oh God, to trust from the heart, and to move freely without fear, knowing that when in your hands, there is nothing to fear.

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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Basic Trust

                               Basic Trust

One of the few college level courses I completed was Psychology 101, where I learned that “Basic trust” is formed in early childhood and is the foundation of the human psyche.

I believe God helps us with insecurity, by direction us to “Behold,” the fact that our true foundation is found in Zion.

I think it’s safe to say, that the foundation laid by the hand of God, is far greater than anything my mind can contain. I’m beginning to realize that the foundation He provided is present and real—more real than I know.

This is hard to grasp when one is in the throes of a trial of some kind. But, I know in my case, when I think back over the last few years—and I know I can’t begin to grasp God’s ways in my life—but those “Sink or swim” trials seem in my simple view to have been at least partly about removing from me whatever false floatation device I was grasping for, as I  flailed around in the open water for a while there, before finally beginning to trust in my true foundation. Which was there all along. I guess that’s why God lovingly says “Behold.”

Some things I just have to learn the hard way I guess.

I wonder, is it just me or was my experience part of a bigger picture? a sociological domino falling. Or is God maybe taking His church into deeper waters, nudging those of us that need it, out of the boat, teaching us each personally—to trust?

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Alternating Current

                        Alternating Current

In a Church service I attended a while back, the speaker said that our thinking is like alternating current. The direction of flow constantly alternates between negative and positive. I believe that contained there-in is a gift from above: seamless open passage from the negative to the positive, no conflict, no judgement, no questions asked. As natural and necessary for health and life in this world for me, a fallen human being, as is the relaxing in-and-out nature of breathing.

I’m so grateful that because of the life changing nature of the cross, there’s not a scowling face of some kind there, with folded arms and tapping foot, waiting to hinder my passage at the gate, as I begin to look up, feel the sun, and breath the fresh clean air of new life.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Apart from Human Effort

                    Apart from Human Effort

I and the crazy bunch of kids that I ran around with years ago, attended a church meeting back then, in which a leader stood up and announced that, “There is a reality apart from human effort.” That memory has surface in my mind from time to time over the years, and I believe it to be true.

Another time, just a few years later, a military pastor who was speaking to a small Sunday school sized group of us said, “We’re like a light bulb, the filament burns best in a vacuum.”

And again, from and elevated glossy oak pulpit, in a giant stained glassed urban sanctuary, I heard, “Reality is something we grow into.”

And, how about this from a district overseer of a well-known evangelical denomination, “Make a space, and do what you see.”

And, I could come up with other examples of things said just a few short decades ago, by mainstream Christian leaders, that today I think may be to “Mystical” sounding for us.

All that was just to get you ready for this:

A Brighter World - Musings in the spirit of laying under a late-night canopy or stars, looking up.

What if our psyche, or our soul, stood between our core being, or our spirit, and the wide world around us. And, what if, in the course of life, like a lens, it gets damaged, darkening our perceptions, and affecting how we relate to the world.

I’m finding that this shoe often fits, and when I slip it on, by keeping in mind that my take on reality is not always to be trusted, the lights begin to come on.

Childlike Faith

Somehow young children manage to live life and have their being, without the need to insulate, isolate, or protect themselves. I’m finding that it’s OK to let the defenses down with God and allow faith to fully be the mystery that it is, with that indescribable gift from above, a clear conscience.

About That

But, about that “Letting the defenses down.” Sometimes I need help with that. And, I supposedly have given God control of my life. But it’s no fun when the protective walls I’ve built around myself, that separate me from God, begin to come down.

Though I functioned OK until then, I’m thinking the deeper healing process didn’t even begin in my life until this began to happen.

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Monday, January 15, 2018

The Physics of Light

                        The Physics of Light

Not too long ago, I watched a 6-part series on TV called, “The Physics of Light,” mind blowing. The world around us is truly not as it seems.
So, if you leave earth, traveling at 99.99 percent of the speed of light, on your return, what will seem to you to have been 5.2 days, will have in reality been a year, earth time. This is called “Time dilation.” And, is calculated with something called the Lorentz Factor. Who’d have thought!

I had an instructor with the medical instrumentation company I worked for, whose favorite expression when explaining some electronic anomaly was, “All bets are off.” If certain variables all occurred at just the wrong times, he’d say with absolute finality, “All bets are off.”
Life brought me to a place where I found myself having to take a second look at pretty much everything. All bets were off, we’ll lots of them anyway. I did have an established base. Wife, family, and last but not least, a basic faith in an all-powerful God. If you’re a fan of the movie, “The Matrix,” the experience, (less intense now but still ongoing), was similar to Neo’s, just after he chose “The red pill.” Or, maybe it’s like being rebooted like a computer, after having several debilitating viruses removed.


There’s something going around in Japan called Hikikomori. People, mostly younger people, are simply locking themselves in their rooms.

For years.

Some say, it’s due to perceived social pressures to conform, and perform.

I think that for some of us, the new star we’re called to hitch our wagon too, may not feel at first to be nestled safely in with all the rest of the stars in the galaxy like before. And, all that open space is a really scary prospect.

It’s so easy for someone us, maybe with a fragile interior, to allow our connection to people, especially with those in authority, to interfere with our personal connection to God. I believe that if you are properly yoked with the later, the former will follow automatically. And, all will be in undistorted proportion, in proper perspective, and without inner conflict, or anxiety. His yolk is easy, His burden, light.

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