Friday, December 30, 2022


A gift is given. Accolades are shared. 

        Warm and genuine. 

                Even profound and precious.

The moment descends upon you, bringing a warm smile. 

        And, too, a responsive tear. 

                You will cherish these words, this gift, for years to come.

In an instant your world is joy-filled,

        your world is happy.

Weeks later a tangible reminder is stumbled upon, 

        handled and touched, 

                and you smile all over again.

You realize that as quickly as the moment descended it also disappeared, 

        as all moments are wont to do, 

                relegated to a memory file somewhere 

                        to be jostled to recollection from time to time. 

Gone. Over. Completed.

Stirred by a piece of wrapping paper, 

        a reference made, 

                even the gift itself, 

                        pleasant recollections bring again a smile. 

And, often enough, a wistful tear, 

        knowing the moment has passed, 

                as all moments are wont to do.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Thankful Hearts

 Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God.

Psalm 50.14  NLT

The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul.

Psalm 19.7

Psalm 50 calls the Christian to bring to God thanksgiving. 

Here is an instruction that academic communities have studied, measured, and categorized. The results of cultivating appreciation have proven to be enormously positive. As a result medical researchers have developed exercises to foster true appreciation. The clear, consistent benefits discovered as a result of practicing of thanksgiving are bountiful.

Amazing. God's Word is true! 

While I am always thrilled that studies underscore the benefits of God's Word, how much more thankful I am for the WORD itself! For untold generations Christians have trusted His Word and practiced thankfulness without the studies from Harvard or Berkeley. We are a blessed people! We walk in truth because of His great goodness and are not left waiting for scientific studies to catch up!

Thanksgiving is a wonderful thing. Bring a sacrifice of thanksgiving to Him - every day, all day

His heart in this instruction is to see His people prospering and blessed. It isn't for Him, it is for us. We are His absolute delight. 

He is not in need of our thanksgiving. He is not lacking without it. His ego does not require it. He is thoroughly deserving of it and our hearts turned toward Him is a delight to Him. But the practice of maintaining a thankful heart is of great benefit to us, His beloved. 

Our good is always at the heart of His instruction. Such instruction is not merely to benefit Him, but us. He loves us continually, always, in every way, in every instruction. 

We serve a God whose care and concern for us is boundless. If you're wondering where to start, how to bring a sacrifice of thankfulness, just begin right there. Today.

Monday, December 19, 2022

Soul Revival: His Instructions

 Psalm 19.7 

The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul.

My soul has been weary as of late. More than just a bit tired, achy, and bruised. Sad. Just worn down. And very sore.

So, like a sweet, tender, fragrant balm were those words. The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul. And immediately upon reading such promise came to mind this clear instruction from His Word:

Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, Rejoice! 

Phil. 4.4  

And just as immediately an inner smile tugged at me, but then my face crumpled as tender emotion flooded my sad, weary, bruised soul. He loves me and is caring for me, bringing revival even through His profoundly simple instruction.

The instruction to rejoice is not intended as a heavy burden, a cumbersome or difficult act of obedience. I knew instantly His heart of love that longed for me to have joy. Deep joy. His genuine concern for my well being and the health of my soul was at the heart of that very instruction. It is at the heart of every instruction.

Psalm 19 served as a reminder and clarification. His instruction is perfect, reviving a weary, broken soul like mine.

Do you need revival today? Look to His instruction; trust and obey. There is balm to be found, sweet, tender, and fragrant. It will restore and revive your wounded, aching, tired soul like nothing else can.

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Skilled Craftsmen Entrusted with Vision

My heart leapt a bit this morning as I read Exodus 31. In this passage, the Lord is hand selecting two artisans, skilled and equipped with expertise. 

Why? Because He had commanded Moses to build the Tabernacle, the Ark, all of the furnishings, the beautiful priestly garments, the incense and altar - all with clear and precise instructions. And God had given ability and skills to these two individuals to get the job done.

I googled (such a new verb -- is it even fully acceptable and if so, should it be capitalized?) these differnt items and found numerous images of each. All of the depictions I discovered included the various detailed instruction and yet none of them were exactly the same! I found myself asking, "Which one looks exactly like what God was envisioning? Is it possible none are?" (Or perhaps they all are, given that God is not limited as we are.) 

I concluded this: I am confident that He delights in our creativity. It does not frustrate Him nor does it worry Him. It delights Him.

Art and its creation is a fascinating thing. As each individual is unique, so is the art they create, even when given the same exact descriptive instruction.

If you tell ten musicians to take a specific melody and harmonize it in the style of Bach it will result in ten different pieces, even when they all fulfill the required instructions.

When ten high school students are asked to write 4-5 paragraphs in the style of Dylan Thomas telling a story from their childhood, you have ten very individual stories.

Give ten different actors the very same script and ask them to prepare it for performance. You will be treated to ten various interpretations of that writing.

Ten graphic artists, when given the exact same task, will bring forth ten unique designs, each including the requirements.

And if you've watched American Idol, you know that every singer has their own rendering of any given song.

We are all so unique, so individual, so "made in His image" and the arts makes that clear. 

Interesting -- and possibly frustrating if we don't anticipate correctly -- that vision or imaginings in our own mind's eye, when imparted with detailed instruction, will be borne in a way unique to that individual.

A song is a great example of a creator's imagination (or vision) carefully written out with detailed instruction even down to the smallest nuance at times, and yet, each individual performance is unique. I wonder what Paul McCartney thinks of the many renditions of his beautiful song, Yesterday. Surely some bring a smile of pleasure and others make him groan a bit. 

Did those craftsmen I read about in Exodus, selected and chosen by God Himself, create exactly what God had envisioned in His mind? Or in fulfilling the instruction did their creation somehow reveal a unique interpretation of that instruction? I am confident that if the instruction was heeded God was pleased, even if the finished garment or statue didn't look exactly like His imagined design. 

In Exodus we learn something about the Master Creator. God entrusted specific design ideas and even detailed instruction to skilled craftsmen. Their final interpretation would be unique to them, but He delighted in that. 

He still does.