09 April 2013

Faith Sees the Savior

Excerpted from "When God Whispers Your Name" © 2001 by Max Lucado

"I stand a few feet from a mirror and see the face of a man who failed... who failed his Maker. Again. I promised I wouldn't, but I did. I was quiet when I should have been bold. I took a seat when I should have taken a stand.

If this were the first time, it would be different. But it isn't. How many times can one fall and expect to be caught?...

Your eyes look in the mirror and see a sinner, a failure, a promise-breaker. But by faith, you look in the mirror and see a robed prodigal bearing the ring of grace on your finger and the kiss of the Father on your face...

Your eyes see your faults. Your faith sees your Savior.

Your eyes see your guilt. Your faith sees His blood."

07 April 2013

A Heartbreaking Purpose

Last Friday afternoon, in his Southern California home, Matthew Warren, the 27 year old son of Saddleback Church pastor and author, Rick Warren, took his own life.

As a parent, I can't even imagine this kind of grief. My heart breaks for Pastor Warren and his family. I pray they find comfort that only The Holy Spirit and the love of their church can provide. I pray they have the faith to know that salvation is forever, and that nothing a believer can ever do will cause God to default on the "down payment" Jesus gives us at the moment of redemption.
"And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit" - Eph 1:13

A thousand years ago and a million miles from here, my church back home went through The Purpose Driven Life in small groups. I still have one of their little cardholders on my desk at work. While I didn't always agree with Pastor Warren, God absolutely has a purpose for every single one of us, and no one, no one, can thwart that purpose.
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand" - John 10:27-29
Not even me.
"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." - Romans 8:38-39

May the Warrens take comfort in knowing Matthew now has the peace that eluded him in this life.

05 April 2013

The Mountain (A rerun from 2011)

I paused on my trail up the mountain vale

and looked back at the valley below

all the days I’d seen when eyes were keen

and the things I’d come to know.

I saw glints atop the places I’d stopped

where a life I'd tried to build

of hardships borne and hopes betorn

and promises unfulfilled.

Back then the end seemed far round the bend

I’d no thought for what I might find

whence came the days when I surely faced

fewer steps ahead than behind.

I saw rocks a’hewn and rubble strewn

where I’d struggled and where I fell

their imprints there and everywhere

each with its own tale to tell.

I saw a few sweet springs of dew

and joys I’d thought would last.

Never once did I fear those things so dear

could become part of ages past.

The mountain crest seemed at its best

foggy and unclear.

Too late I turned to lessons learned

until ‘twas too late for fear.

Now I can see with eyes that be

growing dim at an e'er quicker pace

that the paths I tried in foolish pride

left scars naught can erase.

The mountain looms with unknown dooms

though I know not what may befall.

Will I die so weak on that summit peak

still looming so grand and tall?

Or will I fall short, with no resort

by chance or pain or choice?

Will evil’s lure reach premature

to silence my wondering voice?

I’m rested now more, though my burden sore

lie heavier than I could have dreamed

when the mountain tall seemed almost all

ahead of me unseen.

But shouldering my pack, with one last look back

I set out on the trail once more

for no power of man can change the plan

that drives me on as before.

I cannot go back, though there’s no lack

of good intentions and regrets.

Nor can I lie and wait here to die

and loose life’s cruel fetts.

No, my only choice is to make my voice

more determined than before

to say what I must, to do what is just

and continue my climbing chore.

I can only host the trailing ghosts

that trod my long worn road

and make small amends, and where I can, make friends

to lighten each other’s load.