Thursday, December 9, 2010

"He knows my name;

He knows my every thought ..."

To whom do you listen?

Whom do you seek? For whom do you watch?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I once was lost ...

... but now am found; was blind, but now I see ...

Monday, November 15, 2010

He is there ...

... no matter where.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Knitted by the Father:

Aaron and Ginger's new son, William Shepard Foreman, and our new grandson.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010

"... He will rejoice over you with gladness;

... He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing." Zephaniah 3:17

He has given us so much ...

... and we deserve none of it.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A living hope

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith - more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire - may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you belive in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexplicable and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. - 1 Peter 1: 3-9

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Addicted to doing

This is a word to preachers of the Word.

Do you often wonder why the faces of so many in your congregations are slack-jawed during worship on Sunday mornings? Do you often wonder why so few come back on Sunday evenings?

Here is the answer: most of your congregants are addicted to doing, and in that addiction, their minds and bodies are exhausted every week by Sunday morning.

There are your standard, by-definition addictions: tobacco, pain-killers, anti-depressants, alcohol, gambling, 'net pornography.
Then there are these: TV, internet social networks, cyber games, children's athletics, high-school football, band, college football, Monday night football, cheerleading, cheer competition, winter guard competition, church-league softball and basketball, fall girls softball, springs girls softball, fall and spring baseball, year-around training for any serious high school sport, wrestling, athletics booster club, band booster club, work, shopping, texting, drama club, math club, Spanish club, society this/society that, hunting club, fishing, yard work (yes, it can be an addiction) ...

I could go on. So could you, because many of you preachers are as addicted to doing as the people to whom you preach.
This addiction to doing is only 50 years or so old, roughly two generations. When I was a child, baseball for boys was the only non-school youth sport readily available. It started at age 7. Now, there are youth soccer, baseball, football, wrestling, basketball and volleyball. Soccer starts at 4. So does youth wrestling. T-ball starts at about the same age, doesn't it?

For serious participants there are year-around club versions of wrestling, soccer, volleyball, baseball, basketball, cheering and gymnastics. And if your kid is really serious about a non-football/basketball/baseball sport (translated, this means mom and dad hoping for a college scholarship), club ball is necessary to get your kid noticed by college small-sport scouts. When children are involved in these highly organized activities, so are their parents: back and forth to practice, fund-raising, weekend tournaments and summer camps ...

You know what is going on. Yet you wonder why your congregants sit on their hands during preaching, why so few adults volunteer their time. They are addicted to doing, and Sunday is their day of rest from almost everything, including serious study of the Gospel. They are so tired they hear instead of listen, they look instead of see, they feel instead of think.

Idle hands and an idle mind are the devil's workshops, as the old sayings go; so, too, are an exhausted mind and body. Be still and know God. Stay too busy, and know Satan ...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A matter of vision

The art of photography is not a matter of resolution, focal length, or depth of field, or film speed, or grain, or lighting, or shutter speed, or color, or black and white; it is a matter of vision, a matter of seeing instead of looking.

We are made in His image, the Word says. We are not copies of Him, perfect in focus, in sharpness, in tone, in pose, perfect in reflecting who He is. Hardly. We are what He sees in our hearts. He does not just look at us, like He is watching an ant farm. He sees us for what we are. It is up to us to see Him for who and what He is, not just look for some kind of miraculous, clarifying, sharply focused shard of evidence in this broken world.

We cannot find Him by looking; He is not something to sought by looking under a rock, or looking through a microscope, or writing an algorithm. We can, however, see Him as we seek Him with vision. He sees our hearts. We can see His if only we will stop looking.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sunrise, sunset

There is nothing haphazard about a sunrise or sunset. I think that is something everyone can agree on.
Some say immutable physical law is the reason. Some say His plan is the reason. This is where the general agreement breaks down.
Those who hold physical law is the reason, upon taking their argument back to the beginning, then argue that such order was the coincidental result of happenstance born from chaos.
Those who believe His plan is the reason, upon taking their belief back to the beginning, then see order wrought consciously and lovingly out of chaos.

Where do you stand?

Friday, July 9, 2010

The importance of water

I have been bathing in our kitchen sink for two weeks now as our single bathroom is being re-done (Yes, I am that slow). I use a portable step at the sink to get first one foot, then in the other under the tap; other gyrations are necessary to wash the rest of me and shampoo my hair.

The novelty wore off in a couple of days, but I am managing to refrain from bodily stench - and learning again how important water is. With one foot in the sink, I am reminded that I have clean, running water available in our little shack even if we do not have a bathtub at the moment (it is sitting in the front yard, freshly painted and wearing freshly painted cast-iron clawed feet, awaiting installation). Running, fresh water in a home at all would be considered a blessing in much if not most of the world; a bathtub with running water would be considered remarkable, and perhaps wasteful, in places where potable water is scarce.

I can drink water from the tap, I can wash my hands under the tap, with contortions I can bath under the tap, I can make iced tea with water from the tap, I can get water from the tap for boiling pasta; how wonderful is the constant availability of fresh, clean water!

Yet this kind of water - a requirement more important than food for life on this world - has little importance when compared to a different kind of water, the living water that is Jesus of Nazereth. The water He offers is eternal. Anyone who knows Jesus as Savior will never run out of this kind of water no matter where on this planet he goes, whether to Death Valley or the Amazon Valley, the Gobi Desert or the Mississippi Delta.

As Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4: 1-42), "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

Consider those words the next time you draw a bubble bath, or wash your car, or pay your water bill, or drink a glass of clean, fresh water - or wash your dirty foot in the kitchen sink ...

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Judge not, that you be judged ...

This passage, so often misapplied by believers and unbelievers alike, must be understood within the context of where it came from - the so-called Sermon on the Mount. Jesus was speaking specifically to His closest disciples in this sermon, laying out for them how they were to act when He was bodily gone.
Thousands of others heard the sermon, too, but did not have the connection with Jesus that His closest disciples did.
The verse at issue seems to me the fullest expression of what is called by believers and unbelievers alike the Golden Rule, which is spoken by Jesus a few verses later in Matthew Chapter 7. But it is so often used by unbelievers to judge believers' actions as Christians, to call down the label of hypocrite - and used meanly by believers on each other as a hickory accountability stick.
Only when verse 1 is cited/read in conjuction with verses 2-14, does its deeper meaning appear: settle your own spiritual affairs with understanding and obedience to the Father before dealing with those of fellow believers.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Clean clothes

The prophet Zechariah had a vision of Joshua, dressed in filthy clothes, standing before the Father for judgment, with Satan at Joshua's right side ready to recite all of Joshua's sins. This is the same Joshua who was the Father's great general, chosen to lead the Hebrews into Canaan to take the promised land. This is the same Joshua who nevertheless sinned like you and I sin.
A crowd was there, waiting for instructions from the angel of the Lord. The instructions were these: "Remove the filthy garments from him." And to Joshua the he angel of the Lord said, "Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments."
How I long for those sun-dried clothes, made soft by the purest breeze ...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Father needs no house

I read 1 Samuel, chapters 3 and 4 today, about the calling of Samuel to the ministry, the capture of the ark, and the death of Eli, all important events in the life of the Hebrews and their relationship with the Father. I had read this passage many times before. Today, the passage spoke to me.
Consider this: Father God let the Phillistines crush the Hebrews, and take the ark of the covenant.
Sure, it was to punish a largely faithless people, and to punish Eli and his family for letting his sons corrupt the temple and the priesthood. The Hebrews, in their faithless desperation, used the ark as a totem, an idol, by bringing it to the battle with Phillistines, hoping it would turn the battle their way.
Yet the Father let the ark be captured, rather than be used as a wood-and-gold idol. He would not let his chosen people spiritually confine Him to a box, even a box built according to His very own plans.
What does this say to us today? That our church structures and campuses cannot hold Him, that any single church community cannot keep Him on a leash, that church traditions and liturgies have no hold on Him.
He wants our hearts, not our buildings, not our pews, not our playgrounds and gyms, not our vans and buses, not our altars and lecterns, not our Power Points, not our hymnals and songbooks, not our pianos and organs and guitars, not our annual budgets.
I have to wonder: what would we believers do if all of our arks disappeared today?
Would you cower in your entertainment room in the basement?
Or would you shout hallelujah, for another set of shackles had fallen away?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

"I will make you fishers of men ..."

Jesus is my consoler ...

Consider the lillies of the field ...

"For you formed my inward parts ...

... you knitted me together in my mother's womb." Psalm 139:13

Like a rose, trampled on the ground ...

A new way to witness

Passion has been renewed for an old hobby of mine - photography. For the past five months, I have been acquiring some gear, joining some forums, and shooting a lot of film. The spark for the renewal flared in April of 2009 when my first grandchild was born. My daughter - with a photo in mind I took of her as an infant 31 years ago, and which hangs in her house - asked me to shoot Zella in black and white a few days after she was born. So I broke out my old Praktica LTL and shot some bw400cn. Then came photobucket. Then came some mechanical issues with the Praktica. Then came web searches for a possible replacement. Then came the renewed interest in gear ... and the forums ... and dozens more grandchild shots ... and street shots ... and fish camp shots ... and now I see light everywhere.
Which goes along grandly, I recently discovered, with the Light of the world. He is so good, indeed. John 3:19.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

repentance and forgiveness

luke 24: 46-47 records the risen Jesus telling His still shocked apostles they are to proclaim repentance AND forgiveness. notice that Jesus said "repentance" first. this is so simple, and so difficult at the same time. we, as believers, must remember to repent before seeking forgiveness. this is hard enough for believers. yet how difficult this must be for unbelievers to grasp, especially those who revel in their sin, often not even realizing they are sinning. repent? from what? this is where the Way we believers live our lives must be clearly different from the way those who do not believe live their lives. evidence must be evident ...

finally, i think got some tight, steady telephoto shots of the sliders (turtles) that bask on the fallen, dead tree. they are so wary. i had to scoot on my rear a foot at a time, moving the camera/tripod ahead of me ...

Monday, April 5, 2010

Spring morning at Black Creek

i was sitting on the front porch a few minutes ago, drinking a cup of fresh fair trade coffee, just seeing.
i could see black creek 100 yards away. i could see almost fully bloomed dogwoods. i could see the wind in the movement of the branches. i could see new growth on the sweet gums and oaks.
i could hear the calls of at least 10 different bird species. two good little dogs were at my feet, hoping for another taste of coffee.
i thought to myself, what else could a man want other than You, Jesus. what peace came with that thought. how could a man be blessed more than me? my bride at work. two strong, hard-working sons and a strong, hard-working son-in-law. a daughter that no dad can match. a granddaughter whose smile and reach for her pappy bring a smile just at the thought. a daughter-in-law who is expecting our second grandchild.
but He is first. without Him, all these good things become just things, for all good comes from Him.
thank you, Father.

Friday, February 12, 2010

on a snowy afternoon

Clumps of snow falling
from trees too heavy with warmth;
birds bustle beneath

that's the way it has been today after the snow finally arrived, then began to melt ever so slowly as the afternoon waned. so still at times, so raucous at others, such as when the mailman wheeled quickly through - and when the birds went mad with gluttony at the feeder. got to shoot some snow photos before things turned mushy. reckon i will post some here on the blog when i figure out how to do so.

the oak grove wrestling team is doing well at state. it is wonderful to have katie's facebook reports from the tournament. how she keeps official score at one mat and keeps up with our guys is beyond me. what a woman. Proverbs 31:10 - An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.

Friday, February 5, 2010

what a sight on an overcast afternoon

after a good nap, i saw something i had not seen in years: a squadron of feeding cedar waxwings. they attacked a spray of mistleto like airborne piranhas, consuming all of the pearl-like berries in seconds. i could imagine a mist of blood in their wake, high in the water oak tree, as the waxwings flew to their next target.
speaking of blood, the sacrificial kind, here is the Word for the day from John 14: 6 - "... I am the way and the truth and the light; no one comes to the Father except through me."

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A gently rainy day ...

... and ever full of His glory. Psalm 118: 24 - "This is the day the Lord has made; rejoice and be glad in it." i surely have been glad in it despite being housebound by a bad knee for the third day. shot some more photos from the front window. discussed the meaning of art with new cyber acquaintances on a photography forum. that was a joy for this old redneck evangelical fundamentalist river rat. a greater joy was the arrival of my goodwife, home from school this afternoon. the birds were entertaining again. just a few minutes ago, a bare branch just outside the window was decorated with four cardinals - three males and a female.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Well, here goes; first post ...

... from black creek fish camp. home all day, keeping pressure off my left knee as much as possible. strained mcl. don't want to aggravate it. hated not being able to get out to take pictures. this little river bottom ecosystem is ever fascinating. instead, i screwed a vivitar 135/2.8 on my pentax sp 1000, put the camera on a tripod near the laptop, and aimed it outside. hope i got some interesting shots from the bird feeder. yesterday, a scrappy little song sparrow head butted one of his buddies who got a little too close to the first sparrow's grub. scripture for today is psalm 34:8 - "Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good." i have tasted and seen His goodness today ...