Hey people, take your places!

Possibly you’ve heard a movie director shout into the megaphone, “Okay people, take your places!” If we’re paying attention, we’ll notice God is calling us to do the same thing. The Director of Life wants us to find our place in the story. For many of us the flow of our spirits has stopped because we lost our place in the scheme of things. How have we lost our place? As silly as it sounds, some of us have elevated ourselves to a place we do not belong. We are pretending to be God. Whoever would have dreamed up such a silly idea?

Possibly you have heard there’s a difference between you and God? Actually, there are several differences, but one of the big differences is that he doesn’t think he’s us. He’s not trying to be us; why are we trying to be him? We need to let God be God. It’s difficult to word this in a way that makes good sense because God will be God whether or not we let him be God—in the grand scheme of things. His God-ness is not dependent on whether or not we approve of him being God of the universe. He is the “I Am.” Nothing is going to change that. So a better question is whether or not we’re letting God be God in our lives.

What is SEX?

A 2nd grade boy came home from school and asked his dad, “Hey Dad, what is sex.” It was a question the dad knew might pop up. Nevertheless it took him a little off guard. But he was determined to be straightforward with his son, and since the boy was asking, he took in a deep breath…

“Well son, when your mommy and I fell in love and got married, we wanted to have children, so we began having sex. Mommy and Daddy kissed each other and snuggled, and when you get older I’ll tell you more about what happened next.” Since the dad had heard it was always a good thing to make sex answers “age appropriate,” he decided to save the rest of the story for another time.

But when he finished, his son had a perplexed look on his face. Thinking maybe he had said something that upset the boy, Dad asked him if he understood. “Ya, I guess,” the boy mumbled, “but I don’t know how I’m going to write all that in the little box on the summer camp application where it says ‘sex: M or F.'”

This story reminded me of the proverb, “Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish” (Proverbs 18:13). It’s too easy to spout off with the first thing that comes to our mind, only later to discover that we missed the point, sometimes in a big way.

In a phone conversation with Mike Fendley (Family Life Today) a few weeks ago, Mike did something I don’t think I had ever experienced in a conversation. In the middle of a sentence, he paused…long enough that I wondered if he was still there. So I asked him. He told me he was still there, and that he had paused for just a moment to be sure he was saying what the Spirit was leading him to say. As you can imagine, I was all ears. Something within my spirit was quickened in an unusual way as I listened to what Mike was prompted to say. And the conversation produced fruit, like for instance this blog ~ rodandrose.com ~ as a result of Mike’s encouragement to get on with the things God had put in my heart to do.

Apart from the leading of God’s Spirit, much of our “conversation” is nothing more than flapping lips. So we need to be still long enough to understand the need, or the question. And when we respond, let’s be still–and patient–and wait on the leading of the Spirit. Possibly those we  talk with will be able to tell our words are not our own…and may the Lord bless our conversations with the fruit of changed lives that glorify our amazing God.

The Sweet Break Through…

The storm rages, the winds blow, a blanket of darkness seems to envelope us. We enter into the valley and find ourselves desperate and alone. We thirst and hunger…our tanks are empty. Our anxious thoughts unnerve us. We make an attempt to run…to hide. We seek shelter from the storm, but to no avail. Our efforts eventually prove to be futile. The rain continues to pound…and we become weary.

We carry our  baggage around with us while we waste time seeking answers from man, rather than from our Creator. We’re burdened by our “what ifs” and “what could have beens.” We wallow in our own self-pity, wasting even more time.

But then…something miraculous happens. Something breaks through the clouds. Are those prayers we hear? Is someone interceding on our behalf? Could it be?  The Light breaks through…the SON illuminates the sky and the rain clouds part!  We fall on our knees….humbled…broken. Finally…a moment of sweet surrender! We take our burdens to the cross and fall into the arms of the One who came to rescue us! We lift our eyes heavenward and cry out…”Search me O God and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, lead me in the way everlasting” Psalm 139:23-24.

And he gently and tenderly reminds us, “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing”  Zephaniah 3:17.  He takes us by the hand…dusts us off as we rise from the ashes–and illuminates our path once again. The sweet break through! We praise God for answered prayers! Hallelujah indeed! ~ IN HIS STRONG LOVE ~ rose

Bursting into cheers!

Just want to take a minute to thank everyone for taking the time to stop by to visit our blog. We reached a milestone this week–over 2,000 views. Yea God!

Those of you who know Rose and I personally know how blessed we are to have this opportunity to “write on paper” the thoughts our Lord brings to our minds. Someone asked recently why we write, and my immediate thought was that we’d burst if we didn’t. God designed us—all of us—to express our thoughts and feelings about what he is doing in our lives.

I love the story in Luke 19 about Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, riding a donkey. Here’s what happened:

“As he (Jesus) rode along, the crowds spread out their garments on the road ahead of him. When he reached the place where the road started down the Mount of Olives, all of his followers began to shout and sing as they walked along, praising God for all the wonderful miracles they had seen.

Blessings on the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in highest heaven!’

But some of the Pharisees among the crowd said, ‘Teacher, rebuke your followers for saying things like that!’

(This is the part I love!) Jesus replied, ‘If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!’”

Don’t you love this imagery! Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords, and he gives us LIFE! How can we not tell the people around us about the joy with us! Are you bursting at the seams with your gratitude for God’s mighty love in your life?

So, thank you for stopping by our blog to see what God has put in our hearts. And thank you for taking the time to share your own thoughts and feelings about what we write.

Bursting into cheers!

Rod & Rose

Life…at a wild speed…

Life is meant to be a fantastic heart pounding adventure. At least that’s the way it seemed to me one day when I was in my early teens. It was a picture-perfect morning in Michigan and I was riding Cheetah, my Quarter Horse, at a reckless gallop across a field of alfalfa. With the spring-fresh wind in my face the exhilaration of the moment filled my entire body with delight. It seemed natural to release my grip on the reins and lean back in the saddle, with my hands stretched high into the air. It was something I had seen in a movie and I was living it—the unrestrained freedom of such a breathtaking adventure. At that moment I determined to live my life at a wild speed with the wind in my face.

The next moment I was tumbling through the alfalfa like Raggedy Rod. I my fleeting thought it would have been better if I was holding onto something when the ring-necked pheasant flew up directly in front of Cheetah. I’m sure she was as surprised as I was when it happened. She veered to the left and I didn’t. I went straight. I think that’s called inertia—one of Newton’s laws of motion.

Cheetah circled back around to pick me up. As I was climbing back on the saddle I felt a little dejected. The reality of how fleeting these moments of elation are came crashing down on me—literally. As I rode back toward the barn with a firm grip on the reins I remember the distinct realization that the thrill of life could be easily tripped up; taken off course. The sensation of tumbling through the alfalfa has come to my mind several times throughout my wild, crazy ride through life.

But I’ve never given up on the idea we are created for something more profound than the lives we live. Knowing we are the brainchild of the One who spoke the magnificence of all creation into being, somewhere deep within me I believe we are created for something much greater than ordinary life. Possibly just knowing we were created for something more than the life we’re living today, even if our knowing is nothing more than a faint sense that something is missing, may be all we need to get on with allowing our original splendor—the splendor of God—to flow in our lives.

A “Bucket of Bolts”…

We had our annual Father’s Day auto show at Sagebrush Community Church in Albuquerque last weekend. Nobody really seemed to mind the desert sun that threatened to melt the tires into the asphalt. I watched hundreds of people meander up and down the aisles of driving machines, pausing  for a moment every now and then to get a closer look, munching on hotdogs and sipping soda.

I discovered that every car has a story. The old guys like me went back in time when they recalled their very first car. Some of the guys confessed stories about things that happened in their cars that could have landed them in jail if they’d gotten caught. The stories I enjoyed the most were the “restoration stories.”  I know this is hard to believe unless you’ve seen it with your own eyes, but some guys actually have picture albums of the whole process, much like a mom might have of her babies growing up over the years.

And it seems the more “trashed” the car was at the beginning of the process, the better. Variations of stories like, “Yep, she was nothing but a bucket of bolts when I got my hands on her,” and, “She’d been sittin’ in the barn for 40 years when I first laid eyes on her,” sometimes sprang up when I stopped to admire a particular car. (I’m not really sure why guys refer to cars with the feminine gender, but I think it might have something to do with a guy’s need to rescue his beauty…or something like that.)

As you might imagine, the whole scene made me think of God’s restoration process in my own life. I took my life off track—onto the demolition track of life—and made quite a mess of things. There were times when I felt as though I was irreparable—beyond hope. I know it sounds a little dramatic, but I felt as though I was good for nothing except the junk pile of broken down guys who were twisted and misshapen beyond repair.

But the Original Builder—the One who assembled me in my mother’s womb in the first place—went to work on me. As the guys at the car show would say, God began a frame-off restoration, right down to the foundation of my being. Every nut and bolt was inspected and replaced if necessary. The sheet metal that was banged up or rusted out was made new. And the engine was rebuilt with the finest components possible. Then God set me back on track as a witness to his amazing grace.

Now he has me on a rigorous maintenance program of daily washing with the Word, and refueling by the power of his Spirit at work within me. When I get banged up a little, he immediately goes to work fixing the damage, and restoring the shine to my spirit. And some day when I meet face to face with Jesus—the One who made the restoration possible—a part of me suspects he might have a picture album of my life. The album will remind me how his love transformed a wreck of a man into a guy with some shine that reflects just a hint of the splendor of his Designer.

Curves in Kobare…

During my trip to Kenya I had an experience which, without a doubt, revealed the hand of God in a way that blew past anything I could have dreamed up on my own. Toward the end of the last crusade I was asked to be the “Ambassador to Kobare.” I was told that if I accepted the invitation it would be my task to tell others about the wonderful things God had been doing there, and that he needed people who would “invest” in the ongoing mission of Kobare. I was told we did not want contributions, because a contribution did not require any follow-up by its contributor. An investment, on the other hand, is tracked by the investor who has a personal interest in what’s happening with his or her investment.

I accepted the invitation…it was an honor. The cost to build the church was about $3,500, including the land and the building. To be honest, my first thought was to write a check for the entire amount, and that would complete my assignment. But I ran this plan past God, and he told me this was an opportunity to see how he would bless my obedience. He asked me to trust him to provide the money.

When I got back home I began sharing the opportunity to invest in the Kobare mission with my family and friends. I received many good wishes for success, along with some investment checks. One of my friends that I shared the opportunity with, Pamalot, told me she worked for a lady named Susan who owned a couple of Curves for Women franchises. And ‘coincidentally’ she had been looking for a place to send money.

So I called Susan and told her about the work God had begun in Kobare, and about the need for a place to meet and worship. As we were talking, I remembered a picture I had taken following one of the crusades of a teenage boy wearing a tee-shirt that had caught my eye. Although the name on the shirt only amused me at the time, now it made perfect sense. The name on the shirt—Curves for Women! As you might imagine, it had the same effect on Susan it had on me, and she invested the remaining money we needed for the project. Within just a few weeks the land was purchased and the corrugated metal building was ready for worship.

We love to hear stories about how God comes through in miraculous ways. Interestingly, these stories always seem to begin with opportunities that can feel like pressure to us…pressure to “perform.” But the pressure we feel happens because we tend to forget God is the one who called us to serve. And we forget that we can rest in the confidence God will  provide the solution to every challenge he allows in our life. After all, Jesus is the Vine and we are the branches, and anything of value we accomplish is because of him…not us.

“Yes, I (Jesus) am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” ~John 15:5

A gentle touch…

Even with so many extraordinary experiences in Kenya, there’s one thing that comes to mind that warms my heart the most. I was sitting under a beautiful tree where we had set up for a Sunday morning service, and the music was playing, and the people were singing and dancing. I noticed one little girl—maybe two or three years old—standing nearby. She had been looking at me rather intently for several minutes.

Lots of little kids, and adults, had been looking curiously at me, simply because many of them had never seen a white guy. Some kids actually cried when they saw me, thinking I was a ghost.  But this little girl seemed different. In stealth mode, I held my hand palm up on my lap, slightly in her direction. I continued to sing, pretending not to notice as she walked ever so slowly toward me. My heart was warmed when she cautiously reached out her little hand, and placed it ever so gently on mine. We connected, and I can still remember the deep feeling of gratitude for such a precious and priceless moment in time.

It’s easy to miss these special moments, simply because we’re not looking for them. We’re distracted by all the activity going on around us…and within us. Today as you go about your day, take a moment every now and then to take a look around, just to see if God is offering you a special sense of his presence. There’s no telling how he might gently place his hand in yours.

“You should clothe yourselves…with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.” ~1 Peter 3:4

A guy named “Dad…”

There’s a remarkable guy who lives on a 120 acre farm in the country near Otisville, Michigan. He’s a rare kind of guy, for several reasons.

He was born premature in 1927, weighing just a little over two and a half pounds. His mom kept him warm near the wood burning stove they had in the living quarters in the back of the little grocery store they owned and operated. He got polio when he was a young adult, before the days of vaccines.

Even though he was the baby of the family, he grew up quickly, working hard on his father’s farm from the time he was a kid. He learned to hitch the horses and work the fields at an age when most kids these days are watching cartoons and playing video games.

Since I didn’t know him when he was in high school, I can only make assumptions about what he was like back then…but I assume he was quite the ladies’ man. My assumption is based on the nickname he was given ~ Romeo. Of all the girls that caught his eye, there was a gal by the name of Ruth that captured his heart. Romeo chose Ruth to be his life mate, and to be the mother of his children.

He was eventually hired by Buick to protect the manufacturing plant, and he bought his dad’s 90 acre farm in 1954. When he finished his shift at Buick, he would rush home and change into his other work clothes. There was always lots to do on the farm: 3,000 chickens, 80 sheep, horses and ponies, and acres and acres of strawberries that all needed attention.

But even as remarkable as all his accomplishments are, more impressive is the man behind the accomplishments. I’ve never personally known a man with greater character, or a more consistent walk with God. I’ve never known a man who is more eager to lend a hand to a person in need, with a heart of compassion as big as they come. And no one I know is more eager to set out on a new adventure than this man.

I’ve never known him to lose his cool, or curse, or drink or smoke, or chase other women. He’s never carried a grudge because he’s a peace maker and a problem solver. He’s always looking at the positive side of things. And he encourages others to do the same.

Our world would be a better place if there were more men like this man. Wives would know they are secure in the love of their husband. Children would know their dad has got their back, and there’s nothing they can do that’s too foolish to be forgiven. And his friends would know they can always count on him to pitch in and help with their needs…no matter what.

So, I guess this is a good place to say, “I love you for the man you are, and for being a servant of God. You make me proud to be your son. And you’ve provided an example that keeps me pressing forward in my own journey to become a man of God, and a better husband and father, just like you. I love you Dad…happy Father’s Day!”

When Fools Rush In…

“Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:13-14).

I woke up with some heaviness in my heart…too many thoughts…anxious thoughts….the little frets that overcome me when I don’t see quick results to my prayers. It was pre-dawn…the usual time I begin my day with Papa God. I took my usual place on my window seat, the Word at my side, coffee cup in hand, iPad and laptop poised…not knowing if I would have anything to journal this morning.  Starring out the window, looking eastward in anticipation of the sunrise, I petitioned my Father….opening my heart to Him. Then I sat back and allowed His Spirit to awaken in me, listening intently to what He had to say. I began to read His Word.  The clarity of His voice in the passages He gave me resounded one distinct theme, “Patience…wait on the Lord’s timing”.

He took me to Acts, chapter 27. There I read the story of Paul’s warning to the officer in charge of the ship that was headed to Rome. “Men,” he said, “I believe there is trouble ahead if we go on – shipwreck, loss of cargo, and danger to our lives as well.” But the officer did not listen. As the story unfolds–as you may have guessed–Paul’s intuition is proven to be right. The storm raged to typhoon strength and the ship was blown out to sea. The Word continues…“The terrible storm raged for many days, blotting out the sun and the stars, until at last all hope was gone. No one had eaten for a long time.” Finally, Paul called the crew together and said, “Men, you should have listened to me in the first place. We could have avoided all this trouble and trial. But there’s no need to dwell on that now. From now on, things are looking up! I can assure you there’ll not be a single drowning among us, although I can’t say as much for the ship – the ship itself is doomed…but don’t give up!”

Wow! Not only did Papa God say “wait patiently” in His Psalm, but also in the Book of Acts, He painted a clear picture of what to expect if I don’t wait patiently. Trouble ahead….a shipwreck of unparalleled proportion! Hope would be blotted out because of disobedience. And I would suffer from a lack of strength to resist the enemy if I didnt’ eat.

My Spirit smiled wide…the anxiety lifted and joy took its rightful place in my heart! The necessity of spending time in His Word…the need to daily “eat” the divine portion of His truth that will lift my doubt and carry me through any storm, penetrated my soul! And the blessings that He will pour out if I simply OBEY…and wait patiently!

Oh how I love you Papa! I love spending time with You…listening to Your voice!

As the sun rose and its rays warmed my skin, I began to praise Him, thanking Him for His everlasting presence in my life! O how HE loves me….how He loves me so!  Be blessed today…allow HIS SON to warm your heart….eat…be still and hear His voice! ~ IN HIS STRONG LOVE ~ rose

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: