A Fleeting Kind of Splendor…

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.

(Excerpt from Holy Libido by Rod Smith, 2012)

Are You Shipwrecked Yet?

Matthew 8:24-26 “Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, ‘Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!’ Jesus responded, ‘Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!’ Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm”

Trepidation of the unknown can be paralyzing. We convince ourselves that the safe place is to remain  in the boat. We’ve become accustomed to the familiar. It is hard to imagine anything else. We gaze out from time to time at the uncharted waters…so vast and seemingly untamable. We see a storm brewing…and the angst begins to swell within us. Suddenly–sometimes without warning–the storm rises! We are jolted out of our slumber and our first reaction is fueled by fear.

But rather than seeking our Master’s orders, we take matters into our own hands. In desperation we pick up the paddles and begin to row in our own strength, attempting to find a safe harbor. From time to time we dare gaze out but quickly retreat…trembling and fearing the raging swale of the storm. We become overwhelmed and lose our focus we go off course…that path that once seemed so certain.  Finally after what seems like an eternity, our attempts to reckon with the storm prove futile. We finally lay down our paddles and look up and see our Master’s face. His resolute calm provides an undeniable comfort. We realize at that moment that He has been calling out to us all along…longing to reset our course and do life with us once again!

Ours is not to question the calling, it is simply to keep our eyes focused on the ONE who has the power to calm the raging seas…the ONE who determines our course. If we trust HIS hand…He will gently guide us out of our boats…that once safe place we settled into and stayed too long.

Are you ready to make a change? Then TRUST HIM….He will lead you into a splendorous adventure that will bring about unspeakable joy. He’s ready to breathe LIFE back into you! After all, He is our Creator–the Alpha the Omega–the beginning and the end! Let Him bring about the necessary changes to our weary souls, let him be the master of our ship! Let us finish well…having served His eternal purpose!  Are you ready to lay down your paddles and heed HIS call?  He awaits you! ~  IN HIS STRONG LOVE ~ rose

Cut it loose!

It’s a grueling scene of a man tortured by his own guilt—beyond what he could bear. He had stabbed his brother to death in a fit of rage when he found him in bed with his fiancée. The inner agony of his soul cried out for relief, but there was no relief from the pain. He would have welcomed death, even by his own hand, but he was condemned to live with the agonizing sentence of his tormented mind.

It’s a scene in The Mission. Rodrigo Mendoza, played by Robert de Niro, is a mercenary and slave trader. Its the18th century in the South American jungle, home to the Guarani Indians. Father Gabriel, played by Jeremy Irons, is a Spanish Jesuit priest who built a mission there so he could introduce the Indians to Christianity. After Mendoza killed his brother he begged Father Gabriel to impose a heavy penance for his sin, so the priest gathered all of Mendoza’s weapons and armor together in a net and tied the burden to the grief-stricken man’s waist with a heavy rope.

For what seems like an eternity, Mendoza attempts to claw his way up the Iguaza Falls, stumbling under the weight of his guilt-laden burden. But nothing will stop him. Time after time he yanks the net past the roots and branches that impede his punishing progress. Dogged determination paralyzes his face of steel as he grinds on.

John Fielding, a Jesuit priest serving under Father Gabriel could no longer stand to watch the agonizing scene so he viciously hacks at the rope with his machete. He set Mendoza free. The cumbersome net rolled back down the slope into the river. Exhausted, Mendoza goes after it, retying the penance to his waist, and sets out once again to scale the falls. It’s excruciating to watch. We want him to let it go.

If only we could see our own burden-laden net so clearly. Most of the time we forget it’s even there. The way we navigate our way through life has become awkward, but it’s a familiar kind of awkwardness. Our spirit is battered and worn out, but we’ve become accustomed to it. The limp we’ve developed in our gait is obvious to others. They see the burden of our accumulated debris. Sometimes we see it too, but we’re inclined to pretend we don’t. Otherwise, we might have to take responsibility and cut it loose. But why on earth wouldn’t we want to?

(Excerpt from Holy Libido, Chapter 13, by Rod Smith, 2012)

Francis Chan on the Balance Beam of LIFE!!

What does our life routine look like…


Hit the reset button ~

All that is wrong, I can set right! How this resonates with me today! Jeremiah 39:17 “But I will rescue you on that day, declares the Lord; you will not be given into the hands of those you fear; I will save you; you will not fall by the sword but will escape with your life, because you trust in me, declares the Lord.”  ~ So much of the time, it is difficult to see what God is doing in the lives of those we love, when we limit our vision to the physical. It is in the TRUSTING that our faith is truly tested. It is God Himself who sets our course, and it is God himself who will direct our paths.

How we realize our destiny is a matter of obedience. Choosing today to be still and to listen to my Master’s calling. To trust that in all circumstances He is working out His perfect plan to develop Kingdom people. So it has been with me and with those that He has placed in my life. It is not for me to stand in judgement or to be critical of the way I see things unfolding in the lives of those that I love. For my sight is limited and my perception is marred by my inability to see God’s grand design. Like the high priest, I can only take my prayer offering to the temple courts and it is behind that curtain that God does His most amazing work of purification! God help me today to pray without ceasing; to trust in you with all the fervor that you have placed in my soul!  Help me to walk straight and to leave my offering at your feet.

Thank you for the nugget of hope that you gifted me with last night! I see your mighty hand at work and I rejoice with YOU! Thank you for loving me the way that you do! I take pleasure in dancing in your courts!  I hear your whisper in my heart saying….”How beautiful you are and how pleasing, my love, with  your delights” ~ Song of Solomon 7:6 ~ Blessings…IN HIS STRONG LOVE ~ rose

Is your “Big But” getting in the way…

God’s Spirit often inspires pastors to preach about a common theme. It happened again this past weekend. Rose and I heard two different pastors in two different churches preach about the same thing: believing God will use our surrendered life in a way that blows past anything we can accomplish in our own power! Todd challenged us to get our “Big But” out of the way, and see what God wants to do with our 5 loaves and 2 fish. Jerome reminded us that we are in the right place at the right time, and that God wants to use our story as a change agent in our world. My heart resonated with both messages.

So I ask myself…since I believe the message, what am I willing to do to demonstrate my belief? What does my Big But look like? Is there ANYTHING I refuse to surrender to Him? Is there anything holding us back from allowing God to use our stories of failure…and redemption…to glorify our Lord?

Please pray for Rose and me as we open our minds and hearts to our next step…

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