Archive for June, 2007

The River of Life.

Rivers are full of natural life and illustrative of our Spiritual life. 

Yesterday I floated and fished two sections of the Yakima.  In the morning I floated the river north of Ellensburg for 5+miles, Linda picked me up, we had lunch and then I floated a section starting in the city, floating south for about 5 miles.  The fishing was much better in the upper section than the lower one, though not really worth talking about. 

What was fun was seeing all the life intimately connected with the river.  Trees grow best along rivers, the grass is greener all along it’s banks and the deer, elk, mountain sheep, cows and domestic goats and sheep all find food in it and around it.  Geese, ducks, grouse, chuckers and all kinds of smaller birds make the river their home.  I saw a family of ducks with 7 ducklings swimming along a bank and when they saw me they literally ran upstream.  It was fun to see.  I saw a small family of grouse with babies (any one know what baby grouse are called) no bigger than sparrows and geese with goslings no bigger than robins.

Then there is the life in the river.  Fish grow because there are bugs of all sorts that live on the bottom of the river and float up through the water as nymphs, pop out on top as emergers, get their wings and fly away.  Fly fishermen know these stages of bug life and try to match this life cycle of the bug in order to fool fish.  Dry fly fishing is the most fun, because as the bug gets wings and tries to fly, fish are feeding on the surface.  If you have matched the hatch well you can use your imitation to fool the fish and watch them take your bug.  That is a lot of fun.  But if you want to consistently catch fish you have to know about the nymphs that are under the water, because fish feed about 80% of the time underwater.  Life cycles of bugs teem in the river, fish know it and flyfishers who know it, catch them.

The Yakima River has a number of species of fish that swim its waters.  Rainbow and cutthroat trout, more than one kind of whitefish, and at various times a couple of species of salmon.  The Tribes are working to reintroduce salmon to the river and you often see them floating the river counting salmon for their studies.  I think Bruce Selleg’s first fish on a fly, from the Yakima was a big King Salmon. He almost fell in trying to land it.

The Yakima not only naturally supports life it is also what makes the Yakima Valley the worlds leading producer of apples and multiple other kinds of fruits and vegetables.  During the summer months the Yak is a big irrigation ditch sending millions upon millions of cubic feet of water every day to water the crops the world consumes.

Without the water from the Yakima River the valley is nothing more than a desert.  Life flows in and from the river.

Floating along yesterday I started singing songs about rivers and believe me there are a lot of them.  I could list them here but that would take too much space.  Can you think of any?  If you do put a comment on this post and I will put them all together in another posting. 

One that popped into my head was from the 60’s, when Christian songs other than hymns, were first being written.  We thought it was pretty cool back then as it had motions and participation I think might not fly today.  It went like this:  I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me.  Makes the lame to walk and the blind to see.  Opens prison doors sets the captives free.  I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me.  There is more to the song, but as I sang the song and the words filled my brain, I wondered why I had never stopped to think about what it meant.  There is a river of life that flows, somehow, out of me, with the capacity to heal and set people who are in bondage free.  We would sing that song with great enthusiasm but I, at least, never thought about what it meant.

The song comes from these verses: Whoever believes in me, the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.  Knowing his readers would not understand what Jesus was saying,  John adds this explanation: By this He meant the Spirit, whom those who believed on Him would later receive.  Up to this time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus was not yet glorified. (John 7:38-39) 

Rivers, streams and any other body of water or well were known to be life giving to anyone who heard what Jesus had to say.  In much the same way I described it earlier, rivers to those in Jesus day meant life, abundant, life giving and life sustaining.

In Matthew 10, Jesus gives Believers their marching orders: Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with leprosy, drive out demons.  Freely you have been given, freely give. (v.8)

The writer of the river song I was singing yesterday put those two verses together because he rightly understood when we were given the Holy Spirit there would be a life giving river in us,  when allowed to flow out and on to those around us, some spectacular and amazing things would happen.  People would be healed, people would be set free from all kinds of bondage, and those thought most despicable in the culture would be washed clean and restored to their full life giving potential. 

If I understand at all what rivers are about and what a powerful force for life they are, I cannot accept the premise of many evangelicals that Jesus meant the Spirit was to be in us just for sustaining our salvation, comfort in time of trouble, assistance in acting and thinking appropriately and conviction when we are going the wrong way, as wonderful and good as those gifts of the Spirit are.

Rivers flow, they give life, they cannot be contained and if they are dammed up with no release point they get stagnant and the life goes out of them. The writer of the song got it correct.  The River of the Spirit is in us to flow out of us bringing healing and life to sick, addicted, lost, broken, hurting, outcast, dead people. 

Rivers are life giving, life sustaining and life changing.  By this Jesus meant the Spirit whom believers have NOW received.  I’ve, (you’ve) got a river of life flowing out of me (us).  It makes the lame to walk and the blind to see.  It opens prison doors and sets the captives free.  I’ve (We’ve) got a river of life flowing out of me (us).

If we understand about rivers we understand something really important about the Spirit. 

Do we get it?

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June 30, 2007 at 11:57 am 5 comments

Yakima River Memories

When we moved to Washington, 18 years ago from Wyoming, what I missed the most was the trout streams and rivers so abundant in the mountain west. I had grown used to a day or more a week on a steam or river within 15 minutes to an hour of our house.  There was nothing like that in Western Washington.

Then I discovered the Yakima River, exactly 3.25 hours from our house and for the next 16 years I travelled over to Ellensburg an average of 10 times a year.  The Yakima, with it’s 5-700 fish per mile did not compare to the rivers in Wyoming and Montana where there are as many as 10,000 fish per mile but there were fish and I learned to love the river even if I didn’t catch the same number or size of fish I was used to.  The Yak can be maddening at times.  Trips with lots of fish and then 2-3 trips with very few.  Fickle river.

The best time to fish the Yakima is during spring and fall.  During the summer I think of the river as a big irrigation canal for the farmers down stream.  During the spring and fall you can have flows of 750-1200 cubic feet per second (cfs) where as during the summer the flows are around 3500-5000 cfs.  That is the way it was yesterday.  When the water is up the trip goes faster just because the water is moving at a faster rate but worse than that, for the fly-fisher, is the places where trout hold during the spring and fall are not there.  The fish are against the bank but without someone to row for you or a way to anchor in the fast water it is pretty tough fishing.  That is why I can count on one hand the number of times I fished here during the summer.

As I was floating and fishing (not really catching) yesterday I started to think about people I had fished with over here.  Here is the list I came up with: Don Knox, Duane Carver, John Butler, Kennan Butler, Brad, Brandon, Bruce Selleg, Glen Keeffe, a guy named Larry who was a pastor in Tacoma, several people I met over here and floated with to help row and Linda floated with me one time.  She read a book.  I thought there would be more.  Maybe I am forgetting someone. 

Here are a few memories.

Duane Carver was the best fishing partner I ever had and since he grew up fishing the Yakima, though he was a spinner fisherman, he really knew the river.  He wanted to learn to fly-fish and he had a boat so we came over here together dozens of times and I tried to help him learn.  He was easy going (at that point in his life) and loved the river, so we had some wonderful floats together.  Duane and I made several trips to Alaska and Montana together to fish, so we had a lot of good times together.  My favorite memory of Duane is his first fish on a fly.  I know exactly where it was and how big it was.  He was so excited and it seemed all the fishless days were erased by that one fish. Duane passed away a few years ago and his family spread his ashes on the river.  I really missed him yesterday but in a way I felt he was there.  While I have enjoyed fishing the Yakima since Duane left, it isn’t the same

Kennan Butler had never fly fished before he came to the Yak with us, probably 10 years or more ago.  On his first cast with a fly he hooked a huge white fish (not the fish of choice) and was so proud of his catch and how easy fly-fishing was.  I don’t think he got another fish that day but the first had to be fun.  I wonder if he remembers it.

If you know Don Knox you know he does not do anything slowly.  I don’t know how old he is but I would guess he is in his 80’s.  He does everything with the intensity of a man who is afraid he will miss something fun, if he slows down.  Don and I borrowed George Valley’s double-ender pram to float the river and neither of us had ever floated it before. Not a good combination.   Within 100 yards of the put-in we were in trouble.  Don wanted to go down a side channel that was, as we discovered, virtually impassible and full of white water.  Don lost his rod in there and we almost lost everything else.  What a rodeo.  Don was a great fishing partner but not the greatest catcher of fish.  He didn’t seem to care. I miss him too.

Bruce Selleg had a drift boat and liked to fish so we came over several times.  He was new to fly-fishing so it was his turn to learn to fish and mine to learn to row.  I did catch the two biggest back-to-back trout I ever caught on the Yakima while with Bruce, but mostly I tried to help him learn while I learned to row.  He caught fish eventually and I learned to row, eventually.  If Bruce had not been paying attention and moved fast I would have tipped the boat over in a narrow section just above the old farm. I got the boat sideways on a rock and he climbed up the high side of the boat to get weight there so the boat would slide back down.  Otherwise we would have gone in, lost the boat and everything in it.  The words George Valley told me came back quickly that day and they have never left.  “When you see something dangerous you need to row around, point your bow at the danger and row backwards.  It works every time, if you do it.  Thanks Bruce for thinking and acting so quickly.  Thanks for some really fun trips.

Brad and I had some really good trips with a guide on the river.  Brandon came for one of them as well.  Using a guide on this river, or any river for that matter, greatly enhances the chances of catching fish.  We had great guy time, caught fish, and made memories, at least for me.  I think they remember too.  The first trip Brad and I made was one of those really hard days on the Yak.  Days that make you think you know nothing about catching fish on a fly.  I have had lots of them but Brad hadn’t and was a little frustrated that even a guide couldn’t have him in fish all day long.  The next time we went, he did.  I would love to fish with the guys more, but at this point in their lives it is pretty hard to find time.  Good memories of great times with great sons.

I have fished with a lot of people who fished hard but none harder then Glen Keeffe.  He is the most tenacious fisherman I have ever been around.  He was new to fly fishing when we started going together but he picked it up really fast and often caught more fish then me.  We had one really great day with our pontoons, standing in deep water all day, catching big fish and lots of them.  He was not afraid to get into positions I found a little too scary but he didn’t seem to mind and so he was rewarded with some good fish.  He fishes hard and fast and I had trouble keeping up. I thought I was teaching him!  I miss fishing with him, too.

They shall speak of the memory of your great goodness, and shall sing of your righteousness. (Psalm 145:7)

My days on the Yakima River are full of wonderful memories of the Father’s goodness.  Re-creation and relationships are perhaps the best gifts the Father has given to me.  It saddens me that some of the men with whom I fished I no longer have a relationship with, but I am expecting one day the Father will restore them. 

If you like to fish, ski,  paint, run, play music or whatever, invite someone along and build a friendship and a partner in the pursuit of God’s goodness.  Memories are waiting.

June 28, 2007 at 9:43 am 6 comments

Thoughts that make me go “hmmm”.

We are in Ellensburg, WA at a nice but a little noisey park called E&J RV Park.  I plan to float the Yakima River and catch a few trout on a fly while Linda relaxes after a really intense close out to her teaching year/career.  It is supposed to be an overcast day tomorrow which usually makes for good bugs and feeding fish.  Linda will run the shuttle and enjoy some time to herself, something she hasn’t had too much of lately.

I haven’t done a Thoughts that make me go “hmmm” in a while so here is a good one.  No comment necessary on my part.

The things that will destroy us are: politics with out principle; pleasure without conscience; wealth without work; knowledge without character; business without morality; science without humanity; and worship without sacrifice.

Mahatma Gandihi

June 26, 2007 at 9:21 pm 1 comment

Monday meanderings.

Several items for todays first edition of Monday meanderings:

Item one.  If you are baseball fan and especially if you are a Seattle Mariner’s fan, you had to love this last weekend.  Ken Griffey Jr.’s return to Seattle was nothing short of a love-fest.  Our kids were in grade school when Ken first came to Seattle as a 19 year old rookie and we had front row seats for dozens of games during those first few years.  We loved him and had great family time watching him dazzle us with his one of kind skills. 

But what to make of this weekend?  We were tuned into Friday night’s welcome home like most of the NW and I was even moved to tears by the proceedings.  I think for me it was more about Paul and memories of taking him to the Kingdome for Mariner games than it was KGJ.  However, are we so short of heroes in this country that we nearly deify someone who has been gone for 8 years and left here with not so much as a thank-you?  I can’t say I understand it but it does speak, at least something, to how important it is to have people to look up to these days and how few there are who are worthy of our adulation.  There certainly is no other human being in this area who would have evoked the kind of response KGJ received here in the NW.

Item two.  We probably have had more comments about our season of simplification then any other issue.  Selling everything and moving into a fifth wheel struck a cord with a several of you and with good reason.  As we get older we begin to realize that acquisition of stuff and taking care of stuff gets old and we want more out of our lives then we find we now have.  Baby boomers are making lifestyle changes in droves, seeking more fulfillment and less stress.  My friends at RV-Dreams have a large following, not just because they are nice people, which they are, but because they have struck a cord with the boomer crowd.  One of the blogs I read has a great quote on the subject of simplification and the more eternal purpose for it. It is short and would be worth your time to read it.

Item three. Linda is at the school today closing out her room and her career as a full time school teacher (at least for the foreseeable future).  Thanks to all who read my piece on her life as a school teacher, especially to those of you who wrote such great comments.  It isn’t too late to write a congratulatory comment to her, either on the site or at gregandlinda06@yahoo.com

Item four. We are leaving in the morning for one of my favorite destinations-the Yakima River.  We will relax together, I will float the river a few times hunting trout with a fly and Linda will get some rest and enjoy her quilting, reading, learning about her new computer and whatever else she chooses to do.  We will be gone for several days, then back to Mason County for a few more days, enjoying our kids and all the grandkids, then a few days in Idaho for our friends Colby and Jill’s wedding, then back here for a week at Belfair State Park, our favorite Washington State Park.  Finally we will be off to follow the sun for a year or so (actually the purpose is more than that but I will write more on that subject another time). 

We don’t officially leave the state until the end of July but we are officially not living here anymore–tomorrow.  I know some of you are smiling at that thought!  You can keep up with our travels regularly, if not daily, on this site.

Item five.  If you have made it this far, on a more serious note: Several years ago, a friend of mine, who is gay, told me he found the evangelical phrase “hate the sin and love the sinner” to be condescending.  He felt, since being homosexual was an integral part of who he was, hating the sin was the same as hating him. We who claim to be followers of Jesus are not as good at demonstrating our love for the “sinner” as we are our hatred of the sin so since that conversation I have tried to not even use or think the phrase.  All of that to say, another of my favorite blogs has the best writing on this subject I have ever read, and it would be very much worth your time to read it.  You can check it out here.

Linda found this great quote somewhere, with no author given.  Let us know if you know who said it.  Worry is the misuse of imagination. 

Happy 60th birthday to my brother Mike!

June 25, 2007 at 1:06 pm Leave a comment

Linda’s 16 years of excellence.

When Linda and I were married in 1972 we were both students at Oregon State University.  While we fully intended for both of us to finish at OSU, for various reasons she took a break and helped me to finish.  Then our daughter Traci was born, seminary years intervened, Brad and Paul were born and her “break turned into almost 20 years.  Finally in 1991, just before turning 40, Linda graduated with highest honors in elementary education from St. Martins University in Olympia, Washington.  It was a great achievement for her to finish her degree while being a mother to 3 very busy children and a wife to a pastor of a growing and thriving church.  Linda is tenacious, hard working and never one to give in to pressure or time constraints.  She just does what needs to be done and does it very, very well.  We were all very proud of her when she took the walk to get her degree.

That fall she was hired at Evergreen Elementary School in Shelton, where she taught 4th and 5th grades, sometimes “looping” which means she would start with a group of students in fourth grade and stay with them through fifth.  There were many changes during her years at Evergreen.  A move to a new school, curriculum changes, something called the WASL, a state test to determine student competency as well as the teacher’s.  When her colleagues would complain about having to teach to that big test, Linda simply said “it is what we have to do, so that is what I will do”. 

Along the way, with the influx of students to our area from Spanish speaking countries, Evergreen adopted a very creative and thus controversial dual language program across all the grades.  It was not a bi-lingual program as many schools have, but a program where half the day is taught in Spanish and half in English, to both Anglo and Hispanic students.  Again probably not what she would have chosen at that point in her life, but a new challenge, one which she accepted the way she always does and she made not only the most of it, she made the best of it.  She took Spanish classes and worked hard to support a program when others around her were not.  That is just the way she is.  Whether she liked something or not she did it because that was her job and responsibility.

Her greatest challenge came during Christmas break of 1994 when our son Paul was killed while hiking with his brother Brad in the mountains near our home.  The last day of ’94 changed everything about her life and of course affected her teaching career as well.  She did not return to the class room for several weeks and then only half days for several more.  But return, she did.  Dealing with her pain and grief in ways that were an inspiration to her students, their parents and her colleagues.  There are a number of young adults in the world today with a better picture of how to face loss and grief with faith, hope and courage because they had Mrs. Scandrett for their teacher during 1995 and 1996.

When we determined there was real value to sending our children to private, Christian colleges for their higher education, Linda was not going to work 9 to 5.  She was not too good for it, she just wanted  more.  Knowing she was going to “have” to work if our kids were to enjoy a private school experience at 25-30K a year, she would need to pay for it and so she became a teacher.  Both Traci and Brad graduated from good schools and without Linda’s effort it would not have happened.  But she never saw it as just a job to pay tuition.  She gave it all she had.  She went early and stayed late.  She worked almost every night at home and all for the kind of money some recent college graduates get in entry level positions in the computer industry.  She gets great satisfaction from doing something well, whatever it is and teaching was something she not only did well, she excelled in it.

Her greatest enjoyment in teaching these last few years has been her relationships with the younger teaching partners she was paired with.  While she was certainly a mentor to them and I’m certain they looked up to her, she never saw them that way.  They were like her kids, there to invest in and she took great pride in their growth as teaching professionals.  When she talks about what she will miss, which she hardly ever does because she is not one to look back, she talks about these young teaching partners, her friends. 

Linda is a great teacher.  She is organized, careful, diligent, responsible, confident, purposeful and determined that each student leave her classroom with the skills they are supposed to have.  Most of them do.  Lately she has enjoyed some older students returning to tell her she was the best teacher they ever had, not because she was their “favorite” teacher necessarily, but because she taught them discipline, hard work and other skills necessary to “do” life.  She had high expectations for her students and higher ones for herself.  She was a model teacher, the kind people can’t be thinking about when they speak poorly of education and educators.

When she started teaching we thought it would be till the kids finished college but she liked it and we enjoyed and invested the money, so we thought 15 years would be a good goal for completing her teaching career.  She missed that goal by one.  Today she completes her 16th and probably final year of full time teaching.  Perhaps she will teach again in some other setting but for now she has earned her “retirement”.

I am so proud of her and thankful for her.  Proverbs 31 says: Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is worth more than precious rubies.  Her husband can trust her, and she will not hinder him but help him all her life.  She is energetic and strong, a hard worker.  She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs with no fear of the future.  When she speaks her words are wise, and kindness is the rule when she gives instructions.  Her children stand and bless her.  Her husband praises her.  There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all! 

That is my Linda and today I, along with her family, celebrate her and her accomplishments as a teacher of excellence.

June 22, 2007 at 10:35 am 10 comments

How was preaching?

I have been asked so many times how it was to be back preaching again last Sunday I thought I should write about it.  Actually maybe 2 people asked me but I still thought I should write about it.

It was a special and fun morning. The crowd was great and I guess, it is like riding a bike, you don’t really forget how.  There were some nice comments but the nicest were the ones that said “it was good to hear you again”.  Thanks to all the family and friends who came and backed me up.  It really meant a lot.  A big thank you to Pastor Mark Sartori and the Shelton Alliance Church for giving me the opportunity.

What follows is a synopsis of the message I shared.

The words of Jesus in John 10:10 are fascinating words.  They tell us He not only came to give us life but to give us an abundant life. 

Would you say your life was abundant?  If not, why not?  If Jesus said He came to bring abundance to our lives, why don’t we have it?  Since we don’t feel our lives are abundant we often explain these words away by calling them a millennial promise, or we make them metaphoric, or define them in spiritual terms.  Maybe we give them a financial definition or see them relating only to salvation and in that way we explain them away and never really believe them.  But either Jesus was offering abundance or He wasn’t.

My text for the morning was Isaiah 55, a wonderful prophetic invitation to a life of abundance and prosperity.  There are several verses in the chapter that are read a lot, for instance the verses about God’s thoughts and ways being higher than ours and the exciting closing verses that tell us the trees of the field will clap their hands as we go out with joy.

My focus was not on those more familiar verses but on the first 3:

“Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.  2 Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And let your soul delight itself in abundance. 3 Incline your ear, and come to Me.  Hear, and your soul shall live;

Here are a few bullet points on these verses:

  • The invitation is to come and buy milk and wine, a picture of abundance. But the invitation is to come and buy without any money.  If you don’t spend money for this abundance what do you spend?  You spend yourself.  It’s an invitation to “way more than enough,” the definition of abundance.  Come spend yourself to gain over the top abundance.
  • Gates Foundation was formed because the Gates family realized the amount of money they had was way, way more than could ever be spent, even if you worked at it 24/7. So what did they decide to do?  Give it away.  This is a prophetic picture for the Father’s kids.  We have so much abundance/prosperity available we can’t begin to use or contain it all so we must give it away. 
  • Abundance for the emotions frees us from guilt and shame.  Abundance for the mind frees us from negativity and opens us up to creativity.
  • v.2 reduces everything down to what satisfies.  We are given and obtain through our efforts great things all the time but we all know no matter how great the dinner was there is always another to be cooked tomorrow.  No matter how great the new car is and how much we longed for it, it doesn’t bring near the satisfaction we thought it would.  There is a cry in all of us for eternal purpose.  Something that lasts beyond time.  If you want to buy this kind of satisfaction you have to use a different currency.
  • Listen carefully v.2 says and eat what is good.  There is something available for our lives that will satisfy, that will last past the end of the meal, the life of the car.  There is something that does last.
  • Listen carefully, listening of course has to do with hearing.  The food that satisfies, the food we are hungry for is only released when the Father talks and we listen.  The thing you long for, the thing of fulfillment, the thing of desire, the thing of whatever, that thing is only satisfied when the Father speaks.  Listen carefully.  Jesus said it, A person does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.  Do you see the connection?  This whole abundant life is connected to one thing-hearing the Voice.
  • In this country we are about production.  We are fixers, achievers, accomplishers,  problem solvers so we think about relationships in terms of purpose.  I listen to the Father for the prophetic Word, the life changing promise, the answer to the problem, the equation that will fix whatever it is that needs fixing.  Abundance flows when we listen to the Voice simply because He is speaking to us.  Hearing the Voice is what releases the abundance.
  • So we listen not just for answers.  Not just for the promises.  Not just for the Word.  Not just for answered prayer. Not just for dreams and visions but just for a desire to hear the Master’s Voice.
  • When the Father speaks, He creates.  He speaks things into existence.  The abundant life is created in you when you hear His Voice.
  • To listen carefully is to block out everything else.  When we are listening carefully we don’t allow our minds to wander or others to interrupt.  We focus on the Voice.
  • v.3 tells us to incline our ear and our soul will live.  How many of us have lived our lives with damaged emotions?  How many go through life with an emotional limp?  On the outside things look good but we know that deep inside in our “souls” things are broken, we are damaged.  Perhaps through abuse, disappointment, loss, betrayal or abandonment, shame or guilt, we were damaged inside and though it may not be visible to others, we know it holds us back from the abundant life.  This is the prophetic Word for those of us who know we are broken inside-Hear me and your soul will live.
  • What the doctors can’t fix, what your friends can’t reach, what the chemicals or the addictions don’t salve, can be washed over with abundance when we hear the Voice.  If you hear me your soul will live.
  • Question:  What would it be like to live, right now, having never sinned?  What would it be like to live in the Garden with no sin history?  To start fresh without the baggage of a past life, without all the hurt, the pain, the loss or the fear, what would that be like?  That life of real abundance is available through the blood of Jesus.  Don’t make the blood covering some theological treatise, don’t make what Jesus did for you only about some future event, don’t allow it to be just about the Atonement, celebrated once a month during communion.  Celebrate it every moment of every day. It is good for right now, good for what is broken right now, good for the guilt and shame right now.  It is possible to live as if you never sinned, right now.  (this is not sinless perfection it is the full removal of all record of wrong to the point of living just as if I had never sinned)  Either the blood of Jesus covers our sin, removes our sin or it doesn’t.  The Father says it does.
  • My history, my past, my failure, I have no attachments to any of that junk.  I am so forgiven.  I live as if I had never sinned.  No shame from the past, no fear of exposure, no guilt, no baggage.  All gone.  Hear Me, He says, and you will live!
  • This place of abundance is available for every one.  The story of the four lepers in 2Kings 7 is a great picture of the purpose of abundance.  They wander into the enemy camp to discover the enemy is gone and there is abundance like nothing they had ever dreamed of.  After literally starving to near death they gorge themselves on the “way more than enough” they find in the deserted camp.  When full up on abundance they realize what they have is way too good to keep to themselves and so they go back to the people who had abandoned them and let their abundance over flow on to them.
  • That is a Word for us.  We have been way too blessed, way too freed up, way too forgiven to keep it to ourselves.  We need to let our joy spill over on others, let our freedom run out on to those around us.  We have to find people in need and let our abundance over flow on to them. 

Why would the Father give us this abundance, this way more than enough, if He didn’t expect us to let it over flow?

June 21, 2007 at 2:59 pm 3 comments

So, what did you do today?

At the risk of what Linda refers to as TMI (too much information) I will answer the question: “So, what did you do today?”  Today, I had my annual physical.  It was scheduled last week but the doctor had a death in the family and so I was rescheduled for today. 

The doctor is a good friend which makes it both better and a little weird.  It is one thing to have an anonymous person asking you personal questions and poking places where no one should poke and quite another to have someone you have sat with at the dinner table, discussing fishing and kayaking doing things to you that are, well, invasive.  He is very professional and has a way of not making anything a big deal and gets it done without making you feel any worse then necessary.  I was glad it was someone I knew rather than just another doctor.

He checked carefully to make sure there wasn’t anything in me that didn’t belong and made sure nothing had moved to some place it wasn’t supposed to be, had me cough while turning to the left and the right (while doing things that really are TMI), looked in all the openings, apparently found nothing unusual, and did the reflex thing till I kicked him in the chins.  Whew!  At my age you do kind of wonder if everything is still doing what it is supposed to and I guess it must have been because he didn’t say anything unusual.

As he was listening to my heart I found myself wondering what I would do if he pulled his stethoscope away and said, “that doesn’t sound right”.  Or if after looking in one of those openings, mentioned in the casual way they do, “we probably should have a closer look at that” what that would be like.  It was on my mind because on the way to the clinic I had listened to a story about a football coach in Indiana, who died yesterday of a brain tumor, and I thought about how a visit to a doctor had given him information that changed his life forever.  Sometimes these simple annual physicals turn into life changing events and I thought to myself, how would I take an unpleasent diagnosis.

I am apparently in good or at least normal health for my age group and after the usual, lose some weight, get some exercise and relax, he sent me on my way.  It was all good, normal and what you want when you visit the doctor.

Driving home, I thanked the Father for good health and I prayed for the family in Indiana, beginning the process of learning to live without a husband, father, grandfather, friend and coach.

Nothing is ever certain in life so it seems important to let the doc look in all the openings each year and take better care of myself.  But most of all to make an effort to be more thankful for each day of good health and enjoy each one of those days a little more.

There really is not enough time to spend worrying about what was, what is, or what might be.  Today is all we have, we might as well enjoy it.

If you haven’t had the openings searched lately, better make that appointment.

June 20, 2007 at 2:11 pm 2 comments

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