Beginnings, Endings, & Center

In the course of these writings, I have tried to capture what I believe God wanted me to say to you on His behalf each day. I have little doubts that my bias and perspective have influenced the words, it is difficult to write except from one’s perspective.

I know you have patiently read the words looking for the God’s thoughts through words colored by my own discouragement, depression, and a sense of relentlessness. On other days, energy, excitement, and momentum were there, hopefully in time with your own steps. It has been my goal, from the very beginning through today’s thought, to reflect what I sense is God’s word for you on that day. From my perspective, everything in life is all about God in one way or another. He is the beginning, the end, and definitely the center! read more

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Intensity

An icy hand is gripping England as we experience the first real deep freeze of the season. Today the sun is bright, skies blue, winds calm, and the air is dry. The frost covered stone tiled roofs give the one warning sign to those resting unaware in the warmth of their blankets. A brief step outside gives one an encounter you will not soon forget; the intensity of the cold permeates every corner of your body.

Last night I read several devotionals written while two friends were in Finland. They spoke of broiling saunas, inky black icy waters, pink (hot) skins, gray (extremely cold) bodies, and friendship. The intensity of each metaphor and experience struck me as something I look for in life. Casual friends establishing memories and bonds that nobody can ever break. New links in a shared journey forever intertwined. A shared intensity forged by God himself. read more

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Direction

It is easy to get lost. Snow covers the streets, dramatically changing the landscape. Distractions show up on every corner, drawing one's attention away from the things that are close and important to the heart. Pressures mount, the weight on the one's shoulders increasing to the point of breaking, making the act of stumbling seem like a positive step forward. Everything pushes one to wonder what the point of the journey really is, where the destination lies.

In the middle of disasters and problems at every corner, I do not have an answer for anyone, not even myself. There is little comfort I can offer to the person huddled in the doorway of a closed store. I find myself at a loss for words when I watch a parent, overcome by stress, verbally lash out at an innocent child. I wonder about fairness and opportunity as I participate in eliminating jobs in the community that I work and live. Are there any directions that will last in this present world? read more

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Restoration

This day is the first of the season for the small village known as Walton on Thames. Winter storms are a frequent visitor, but today is the first for the winter season. The sky is powder blue with a bright sun on the horizon setting off the contrast with white-topped roads, fences, and trees. Kids are taking advantage of the few inches of overnight snow with snowballs coming at anyone who dares to venture outside!

From the safety of the warm study window is looks peaceful and calm. I know the snow and the winter season are part of the restorative process the earth will go through to renew itself in the spring. With the hard freeze, the tulips will blossom in the future. Plants now covered in snow and ice will grow again, triggered by the warm of spring days. read more

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Timing

The lull between Christmas and New Years always seems like a twilight zone. Many have taken the time off as a holiday with today marking the transition from the season of giving to the time of celebrating. Others are getting back into the daily grind. Their bodies are present, but somehow their hearts are a long way off. We are already looking for the next break only days away!

Like many things in life, timing is everything. The opportunity to return the strange and unwanted Christmas gifts is here. The season of keeping the permanent smile on your face is gently passing. The annual window for serious reflection is opening. read more

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Open Doors

As I gaze through the study window, there are two trees in front of the house standing in stark contrast. Both are tall and majestic, well over five stories tall. The one on the left stands tall in hope of the spring to come; representing all that is not yet to be with no leaves in sight. The one on the right is standing bathed in green, living in hope of giving birth to the next generation at all times of the year.

We do not need to live in the hope of God's relationship to come at some time in the future. God's gift to us is an open door to relationship now, immediately at our request. It is true that this has not always been the case. People before Christ lived in anticipation of the Messiah yet to come, but this is not our position. We have the opportunity to accept the gift with the full knowledge of what it can mean. Even when we choose to turn away from God, the door stands unlocked before us. We can know this hope. read more

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Love Abounds

During the past twenty-four hours, the level of gentle give and take continues to amaze me. Traditionally, people focus on the tasks at hand, regardless of the others around them. Individuals shrug off gifts that do not fit, those preparing dinners do so at the expense of spending time enjoying a special moment in life that suddenly appears, and dictators honor schedules regardless of heart, motives, or results. This year, I witnessed so many examples of gentle love; I can see and feel the true meaning of Christmas. read more

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Eve

There are two recurring questions reaching their peak today. “Are you ready? Can we open presents today?” The stopwatches are running and alarms set for Christmas morning. Proposals surface by the minute, wrapped in fresh rationale that drives a possible decision that the wrapped packages should be open, enjoyed, and experienced today, the eve before Christmas.

I remember the same process, differing words and logic, when I was young. Every year we went through the same struggle. Every year my father controlled the process. I cannot remember a Christmas where I went away feeling cheated. In fact, one Christmas sticks out in my mind where there were very few presents under the tree yet the sense of family, caring, and togetherness was present. Each person received a present with their “name” on it culminating with a pair of mud-masked faces for my parents. read more

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Together

Walking alone, especially on a soft beach against the wind, is tiring. On clear days, especially warm ones with easy breezes, the journey can be light and easy – as if our souls are looking for a break. A skate through New York's Battery Park in the late spring can be a restoring tonic. Wandering through the dominating Redwoods of California on a warm summer day is taking our inner-self to a luxurious spa. However, tramping between the Wall Street towers in the winter sleet that is driving right to your core early in the morning is miserable, even if you want to be there. read more

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Shared Thoughts

Fighting the battles alone, struggling to survive when everyone's attention is elsewhere, and dealing with the demons that will not leave is a lonely position. We may not like it, but it is the reality of my day and most likely yours as well. Even if one does not succumb to the call of depression, it is a lonely fight.

Frequently, I am convinced that nobody can ever understand what it is like to be in my shoes. The situations continue to evolve rapidly around me, boiling up on the corners, and pushing the heart and emotions to precarious cliffs. I wonder if I am the only one facing these types of challenges, wondering if my fall will be noticed by anyone or thing. read more

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