If only I could run..

If only I could run…

2017 Lynn caneThere is something wrong with my right leg.  I can’t run.  I’m going to see a doctor this week.  If he makes it better will I be grateful?  I think of my leg every time I wish I were running.  Would I think of him every time I get to run because of what he did to heal it?

I’m not sure what will happen with my leg but this morning I have been pondering what has been done for me that hasn’t sparked nearly the gratitude that it should.

The forgiveness Jesus gave me.  The older I get, the more I’m aware of the deep damage I’ve caused over years and years.  He forgave everything that hurt Him and everybody else; whether I caused it by willfulness, accident, or insanity, He forgave all of it.

The generosity Jesus shows me.  He keeps making a way and providing far more than I could deserve.

The patience Jesus has for me.  I know that I am less focused on His purpose for me than a two year old is focused on getting dressed when you are putting clothes on him. I am often oblivious or even at odds with what He is trying to do.

The purpose Jesus has chosen for me.  I settle for less every day.  I often run hard after the opposite of what He created me for.  I am often running in the wrong direction and undoing what matters to Him for me.  He doesn’t compromise or settle for less than the remaking of every fiber of my mind.  He has purposed that I will become like Him and that means He has purposed that I will think exactly like Him.

His forgiveness, generosity, patience, and purpose will solve all of the rest of my problems.  It’s only a matter of the time and the means but they all get perfect resolution in Him.

As I get more in touch with what Jesus has already done and what He is doing, I will be propelled by Jesus.  I will run into freedom and joy instead of limping along tolerating a problem filled day. And maybe every time I run in that freedom and joy, I will remember Him.

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Becoming grateful

If I could run again

2017 Lynn caneThere is something wrong with my right leg.  I can’t run.  I’m going to see a doctor this week.  If he makes it better will I be grateful?  I think of my leg every time I wish I were running.  Would I think of him every time I get to run because of what he did to heal it?

I’m not sure what will happen with my leg but this morning I have been pondering what has been done for me that hasn’t sparked nearly the gratitude that it should.

The forgiveness Jesus gave me.  The older I get, the more I’m aware of the deep damage I’ve caused over years and years.  He forgave everything that hurt Him and everybody else; whether I caused it by willfulness, accident, or insanity, He forgave all of it.

The generosity Jesus shows me.  He keeps making a way and providing far more than I could deserve.

The patience Jesus has for me.  I know that I am less focused on His purpose for me than a two year old is focused on getting dressed when you are putting clothes on him. I am often oblivious or even at odds with what He is trying to do.

The purpose Jesus has chosen for me.  I settle for less every day.  I often run hard after the opposite of what He created me for.  I am often running in the wrong direction and undoing what matters to Him for me.  He doesn’t compromise or settle for less than the remaking of every fiber of my mind.  He has purposed that I will become like Him and that means He has purposed that I will think exactly like Him.

His forgiveness, generosity, patience, and purpose will solve all of the rest of my problems.  It’s only a matter of the time and the means but they all get perfect resolution in Him.

As I get more in touch with what Jesus has already done and what He is doing, I will be propelled by Jesus.  I will run into freedom and joy instead of limping along tolerating a problem filled day. And maybe every time I run in that freedom and joy, I would remember Him.

Full disclosure…the cane is just a prop. , I can walk fine.  I just have a badly sprained calf muscle that will keep me from running for a few months. But at the time that I wrote this blog I wasn’t at all sure I would ever get to run again.

Where does your sex drive take you?

A One-hundred year perspective of the pursuit of intimacy

Memaw and brothers and Max      We celebrated my mother’s 90th birthday along with her brothers ranging from 81 to 98. The next day I went for a run in Nashville. My running route included a stretch through the hard drinking party district downtown and a trail through a park where parents were interacting with their little children.

The memory of Memaw’s very senior family mixed with the images of drunken partiers and tender parents.    Ironically that led to a few miles of pondering the pursuit of sex. Let me help you connect the dots that connected for me on that run.

God designed the intimacy that would give these little children from the park the security and sanity to flourish. These same children would one day provide the joy and ultimately the protection for increasingly fragile parents.

What drives sex?   What drives at the beginning does much to define the end

  When sex drives to take…

  1. The drive to get what you want from the other person.  You come up empty and they end up angry
  2. The drive to cling to the other person.   They get to play god. You get to find out that they make  lousy gods.  They get to find out how badly you treat gods.

 

When sex drives to give…

  1. You each inherit the needs, weaknesses, and fragile dreams of the other. You give yourself to protecting each other for a lifetime.  It’s not just a momentary feeling. It is a lifetime commitment.
  2. You give yourself to partnering and completing. You move beyond appreciating, accommodating, and forbearing to carry out the hard work you are assigned to accomplish together. Then even as some of the appealing features fade and slip away, or are set aside by the hardships of the seasons, the partnership continues.
  3. In the end you are not alone. It was never good for man to be alone.  Toward the end,  the normal course of life moves us all toward being alone.  We aren’t at work.  We aren’t raising a family. We aren’t that desirable.  We don’t go out so much.  We find ourselves somewhat home alone.  In the end the intimacy of a lifetime gives us the tender place and time with each other as we come to that end together.

If we knew the end, who would be driven to TAKE only to bitterly lose the intended irreplaceable belonging that can only be received by GIVING?

Who is that baby at the top of the picture on this blog?   The picture of Memaw and brothers includes a reminder.   That’s Max, the newest of the tribe just beginning his 100 years. The giving of 100 years will shape the drive of his life.

90 Years later

2017 Memaw 90th.jpgMemaw’s 90th birthday

March 18th, 2017

WWII was in the unimagined future.  The great depression was more of a dark cloud than a violent storm.  Virtually everybody had a job: 3.3% unemployment.  The first full-length talkie came to movies.  The big bang theory was proposed for the first time as just an idea. Golfing on Sunday could get you arrested for violating the Sabbath.  The Model T Ford was just 19 years old and the Model A was a few months behind her arrival when Memaw was born 90 years ago as the youngest of five children.

Memaw teen on horse Memaw came into a very different world than the one she has so deeply influenced 90 years later. Joyfully working with all her might, along with Pa has accomplished what few people on this planet have done.  Through hard work, generosity, contentment, and the refusal to hold grudges for offenses they have created wealth that doesn’t poison the generations to follow.  As fruit of their lives, they have children and grandchildren who love to joyfully work; who live in thriving marriages; who are content with what they have, even while producing more;  who are raising the great-grandchildren that share the values that have been passed down through what Memaw & Pa have said and done.
Memaw teen  Through nine decades of living, Jesus has been given the first and center place.  Memaw and Pa have given careful attention to what He says and joined Him in what He does.   Even while church, culture, economies, and circumstances have changed profoundly through the years, His words and His companionship have remained consistently the definer of their days.wedding day

Two children, nine grandchildren, and as of 2017…thirteen great-grandchildren carry this rich heritage with deep gratitude.       Happy 90th!

Mad at you…

 bossSo what’s the problem?

Next week someone will frustrate me. I can count on it.

Next week I will frustrate somebody.  If it’s not you, just wait your turn.  It’s going to happen.

If you frustrate me, it’s what happens next that matters.

I was pondering an intense meeting with an employee. I’ve had a few and I’ll have a few more.

If I’m mad at him…that means I think he is the problem

In my eyes he has become a set of bad behaviors or disappointing results.  BUT in God’s eyes he is a son with a broken past and the possibility of an amazing future.  He will never be just a problem to the Father who created him.  He cannot be just a problem to me either.  Love doesn’t do that.

If I’m jealous for him … that means I think the problem is the problem.

When I see through the Father’s eyes I may still see behaviors or results that have to change.  BUT my perspective and my solutions include a fierce commitment to the best the Father is doing for this son

AND the best the Father wants to do for this business full of His sons and daughters.  I don’t just want to fix or get rid of this problem person;  I want the problem to stop getting in the way of the greatness the Father has in mind for him. That’s what love does.

If I’m only jealous for him when I’m mad at him, that means I’m the problem.

When I only give attention to the person if he gets in the way, I fail to notice that at least for a little slice of eternity, the Father has entrusted me with favored sons and daughters.   I fail to appreciate that he has allowed me to partner with Him while He is redeeming, restoring, and completing these sons and daughters.  Love people not just behaviors and results.

Don’t let problems interrupt love.

So who ticked me off?    I don’t remember.   I wrote the outline for this blog a long time ago and didn’t get to complete it until this peaceful morning watching the sunrise over the bay.  Inspired by praise from Isaiah 12.

Who ticked you off this week?

It’s a pain

 

pain

When pain remains…

“And even in our sleep, pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, even if against our will, comes wisdom to us from the awful grace of God above.”    Aeschylus

Pain falls drop by drop even in our sleep.

Pain brings with it the opportunity to focus attention and to be stilled, even stopped dead, to listen to what God has always been saying.

Aeschylus was wise to see the possibility, but quite wrong that wisdom could come to us against our will.  We will always have ears that have the ability to refuse to hear.  We will always have hearts that have the ability to refuse to receive.

Isaiah 6  “ever hearing, but never understanding; ever seeing, but never perceiving.

Determine not to waste a drop of pain today.

Consider the connection between the pain of this moment and the potential connection to what you have done

Consider the connection between the pain of this moment and the potential connection to what God is preparing you to do.

Living to the Max

Life to the Max

2017-max-first-dayI considered my youngest grandson Max, just beginning his second week of life. I considered my oldest grandson Max, just beginning the turbulent and often distressing days of adolescence. I considered my father-in-law Max, nearing his 90th birthday.
max-billingsleyEven at three very different stages of life, their futures are equally important. Each minute of this day is valuable beyond comprehension.
And perhaps most surprising; max-k-howardevery single day ahead of them is more profound than anything behind. There isn’t a day that is too early or too late or too hard to be blessed by Jesus or to be pronounced unimportant.
These treasured people in my life are a reminder to me that I want to live this day to the max. I want the same for them, and for you.