Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Curveball

We plan for a smooth life and then hope nothing affects it. However, inevitably the curveball comes! Something disrupts life. If you are like me, it can be interpreted as a negative. Don't you
agree? But here's something I just learned about a curveball. It's a dangerous pitch to throw.

Apparently there is increased topspin on the ball so if a batter hits the ball well, it will gain backspin thus giving it much increased distance. My translation: The pitch is an attempt to "do you in" as a batter. To strike you out! But if you handle it right....home run!

So your life just got thrown a curveball? Strike out? I think not. That which seemingly has been handed to you to throw you off has the potential to propel you farther than imagined. This curveball may well be a blessing in disguise that will, in turn, not only help you but others around you.

The book of Genesis puts it this way, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." Genesis 50:20 (NIV)

I wish I could convey the curveballs that have been thrown at our family these past three months. I confess there were moments that I wanted to give in to fear and doubt and accept the malicious pitch as the end of the road sending me back to the dugout. But here's what I am learning.

Myself and my family have been leaning into God. We are finding strength and proving our faith. These curveballs are pushing us forward in God at an incalculable rate! Shocking! That which I thought was our undoing, I see God working good in the midst of it all. I am grateful and more convinced than ever that God is near those who seek Him.

batter up!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Truest Love

I just wanted you all who are reading to meet the love of my life, Lori. We have been married for 24 years and we are on this life journey together.

I also want you to know she's the finest woman on the planet with a true heart of gold. I cannot believe God has blessed me with her as a partner.

We've "seen fire and we've seen rain...we've seen sunny days that we thought would never end." We all know those sunny days do end and pesky storms sweep in. Good news! Those pass too. Sometimes those clouds linger, lighting crashes and the thunder rolls. Then. A hush. The storm passes as quickly as it can arrive and the sun breaks open again in the sky above.

May we all weather the storms of life and look to the Son....He's coming.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Dog's Life

It's been estimated that a dog's sense of smell is somewhere between 1,000 to 10,000 times better than humans. I think that's why they love to have their head out the window when riding in the car. Those smells coming into their snoot at 55mph must create quite a rush! Turbo sniffing!!!

Our dog Sam is no exception. He has an absolute passion about riding in the car. I snapped this shot of him this morning as we blasted down the road. I could only admire the thrill he was experiencing. I tried only made my eyes water!

What if we all approached life like Sam does the opportunity to thrust his muzzle into the wind? Eager, passionate and ready to take it all in! I confess, I have missed my share of opportunities to "stop to smell the roses!" Or in Sam's case, hyper smell!

I have heard it said that dogs live in the moment. Yesterday and tomorrow have little relevance. they live in the now, baby! I am learning to do this deeply. Forget the past, don't worry about tomorrow but seize this day. Live it. LIVE. I just know there is a lot more to "smell than meets the eye" in this life. It's all a matter of our choosing. I say we put the windows down and go for all the day has to offer. Rain or shine. Like Sam, with gusto.

"Wake up from your sleep, Climb out of your coffins; Christ will show you the light! So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!" ~Ephesians 5:16, The Message

life's a ruff!

Monday, September 21, 2009


Have you ever been in a place of complete dependence on another for the ability to get through a day? Perhaps an illness that required someone else to look after your most basic needs? If so, you'll understand what I am about to say.

In my humanity, I prefer self-reliance. I want to take care of things myself thank you. You know, the "I can fix it" routine. Bottom's pride!

God is leading our family through a time when we are learning what it means to count on Him each day for our daily bread. No kidding! Honest. I mean we are in a place of complete dependence on Him. Don't get me wrong, I am doing all I can do in this situation. However, my efforts are not sufficient. As I yield to this lesson, people arrive at our door, letters come in the mail, provision materializes at every corner. God is taking care of us. I am stunned.

Guess what else I am learning? God is real. You laugh. Absurd? However, aren't you like me and haven't you asked that question: "Is God real?" Even if we are "believers" I think we all have that thought in times of testing. Intellect demands proof, belief in God demands faith.

God is driving home His word to me in this hour. In particular, Matthew 6:4 which states: "Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes." ~The Message.

He has my attention and my complete dependence on Him. I am guessing there will come a day when I am "feeling my oats" and the press isn't so great. This I know, I don't want to go back to self-reliance. I feel His nearness to our family, His help amidst our trouble, His power in our weakness. This dependence thing ain't for sissies! You must be brave, courageous and have the guts to trust God for everything. EVERYTHING? Yes, everything....echo echo echo.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Night is Light

Then I said to myself, "Oh, he even sees me in the dark! At night I'm immersed in the light!" ~Psalm 139:11 The Message

When trouble comes, the night really can be disconcerting. However, with God there is no darkness. Psalm 139 goes on to say "the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you."

I am learning to trust God in the night. Why? Because I am learning He is with me always. Though swallowed up by the clouds, He brings comfort and assurance. Cliches? I think not. This is very real to me in an hour of great trial. I speak the truth. God is proving to me that in Him there is no darkness or trouble.

Tonight on a brief walk with my son, I made the statement that we "need a miracle." My 10 year old calmly responded, "What trouble are we in?" I said, "Are you serious?" In my mind I am thinking of all that is before our family, in particular, a battle with a serious health issue that Lori (my dear wife and amazing mother of our children) is facing. It took this old brain a second to realize what he was saying. He reminded me that "God was taking care of us." He was reminding me that the darkness was outstripped by the light of God. Therefore, there is no trouble. I felt this amazing calm. I felt God speaking through this young boy in such a way that I had to pay attention. I am grateful for a child's uncluttered communication with Father God.

In the darkness tonight, I am reminded that God is shining brightly and caring for all that I cannot carry on my own. He cares for you too.

in the light.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Sheer Gift

"Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way." ~James 1:2-4, The Message

When trouble arrives at the doorstep of life...big many of us think of it as a "sheer gift?" Sure, I'll dance a jig while the very fiber of my being is tested. Then again what is faith if it cannot be tested? What good is it to believe in God if it only remains in the realm of theory and conjecture? Is faith sufficient to sustain each of us through life's challenges?

I am learning about the "true colors" of my faith at present. Guess what? God is proving Himself trustworthy. Like I should be surprised!

It's becoming clear that in the midst of the heaviest of life's burdens, an attitude of joy is essential. I mean when the roof caves in, you don't deny reality but you learn to cling to a hope that only God offers. That produces sustainable joy.

What I share with you comes from the present circumstances of my life. This summer, many things came crashing down...a job offer rescinded, leaving us without jobs and most recently a major health challenge in our family with Lori, my wife of 24 years. I can tell you I have tried with everything in me to get out of this trial we did nothing to cause. I want to escape the pain and uncertainty. I want to say, "I believe" and be done with it. However, when I read this verse in James and it cautions to not attempt to end the trial prematurely, I find strength to surrender to it.

It is a sheer gift, for the test is proving faith. Faith in God. Faith that is unmovable. I'll take it.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

In God Alone

"My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him." Psalm 62:1

If a day could ever be "skipped" in our life, I would choose today. On a sun filled Tuesday in NY, our family received the most unwelcome medical report for my wife. I can't wish it away. I can't skip the day nor can I erase its contents. As I spoke with friends and relatives, it was becoming more and more surreal by the minute.

Now at the close of the day, we read in the Psalms the above verse. When we have nothing of self to rely on, it may well be the the best day of our lives. When all our plans have been foiled and our strength exhausted, what else can we do but find rest in God? God ALONE.

I am in over my head on this one, no answers and a hollow feeling inside. But for God, I know not where I would be. For now the trip to Atlanta is on hold. Now we prepare for a battle that God alone must fight for us.

In His Hands,

Thursday, September 3, 2009


"At day's end I'm ready for sound sleep, For you, God, have put my life back together." ~ Psalms 4:8 from The Message

It's 2:29 EST, and sleep is desired but present circumstances compel me to be awake and pray. If you are like me, spiritual eagerness can often be eclipsed by sheer laziness. So this night I deny myself sleep on purpose. I use this blog to keep focused on the mission. Now I offer what may seem a contradiction: I need to sleep peacefully.

In many ways, sleep is surrender. It's yielding to fatigue or giving up worry. On the other hand, we all know what it means to resist sleep or lose sleep because of restless emotions. When the Psalmist David wrote the words above, he was encouraging himself in a time of distress. He was crying out to God to be heard. I wonder if it was 2 AM when he wrote it? I wonder if he was awake in the night pouring his heart out to God, incapable of surrendering His fretting to God? I don't know.

In the end, he concludes that peaceful sleep comes because of God. God, who makes him "dwell safely" (KJV) or as the Message puts it, "puts my life back together."

Like David I am saying, "God, take my side! Once, in a tight place, you gave me room; Now I'm in trouble again: grace me! hear me! ~Psalm 4:1b

I wonder who is reading this? Are you like me, in a "tight spot?" Wanting sleep but full of concern and distress? After we have petitioned God, may we collapse into peaceful sleep. Resting assured, He is capable and willing to put our lives back together.