It is Time

“Let ever living, breathing creature praise God!” Psalm 150.6

A year ago, I could not think of today. I carried doubts about my answer to God’s request to write these letters to you on his behalf. I wondered aloud about my relationship with him and fitness for the task. I struggled with my inability to rest in the Spirit.

Everyone around me is getting ready to celebrate the New Year. This morning, I had a whole train car to myself, trains ran on time, people stepped a little bit more crisply, and final preparations were underway. London likes to party, especially at the New Year. People started this year early, looking to erase the hassles and pain of the past and hope for the brightness of a new day and year. Every movement says, “It is time”! read more

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Party Agenda

“Let them [us] praise his name in dance; strike up the band and made great music!” Psalm 149.3

London is gearing up for a big party. Invitations are all out, roads are closed, firework barges are in place, and the “river of fire” just about ready for the big event! The range of parties is truly amazing! Raucous discos, formal cruises up the Thames, traditional big bands, and jazz nights are only the beginning. Everyone has a plan ready for action. Even the trains shut down for a few hours to celebrate! read more

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Party Participants

“Robust men and women in their prime, and yes, graybeards and little children. Let them praise the name of God – it’s the only Name worth praising.” Psalm 148.12,13

“Invitation Only” parties are objects of desire for many people in London. People strive to get on “the” list, gossip flies if you make it, and most of the daily newspapers have dedicated people following the events. Sports figures, actors, and politicians are vying for the top spot!

I know that I am not on a single list for the weekend celebrations. I was not invited, I did not work to get on a list, I am sure nobody will miss me, and I do not expect that anyone will even think of reconsidering. The fact that I am and will not receive an invite is ok. I probably would not enjoy the parties, I would not know anyone there, and I am not into socializing with the elite. read more

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Party Preparation

“Hallelujah! It’s a good thing to sing praise to our God; praise is beautiful, praise is fitting.” Psalm 147.1

The New Year is only a few days away and party preparations are in full swing. Parades, train schedules, work coverage, film crews, and “invitation only” parties are all part of the big event. Preparation is a key part of the experience to come.

I want desperately to prepare with the same intensity for God’s coming. God is the key to experiencing the most life offers. God is the one thing in my life that makes a difference, a real difference in the decisions moment to moment. My worth, my being, and the special things that make each of us unique, all comes from God and God alone. I know my true home, my mentor, my only Abba, is the God of Daniel, Paul, and the father of my birth. Being in His presence, walking with the Spirit, and living as Jesus would live is the highest purpose and priority of my life. read more

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Lull

“God’s in charge – always. Zion’s God is God for good! Hallelujah!” Psalm 146.10

The period immediately after Christmas is always very mellow, slowly stretching and filling the time between the two big days. The Christmas lights still sparkle at night but they do not carry the same anticipation. We still play the carols, as if we are reaching backwards to something already gone. New clothes brightly dot the walks, fresh as a new summer wash.
Work for most is relaxed to nonexistent, with the glaring exception of the retail trade. In general, a reflective time for all but the most hard hearted. read more

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Impact

“God sticks by all who love him, but it’s all over for those who don’t.” Psalm 145.20

The Christmas fire is growing dim, torn wrappings bundled into the trash bin, special dishes clean and dried, and I wonder what we will remember of this Christmas in time to come. Will the special time together shopping in London be the marker? Is there a special present that will etch itself into a special place in our memories? The unusual whipped yams could be a regular family dish.

Any of these events, or even something I cannot imagine yet (disaster) could make its mark, but I know that this is not what I will remember most. This year is the year that I began an eternal journey with God. You have been an integral part of the walk – and you will forever be part of the link. This year I discovered the heart truth that God is our one and only hope, period. The definition of your life and mine today is our relationship with Him. Our only light for tomorrow is the acceptance and grace He offers to you and I. Any value we have to the world and people in it is because of what God did for us at Calvary. Living like God is the key to happiness now. read more

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Christmas Mystery

“I wonder why you care, God – why do you bother with us at all? All we are is a puff of air; we’re like shadows in a campfire.” Psalm 144.3,4

Every aspect of Christmas carries a mystery in its wrapping. The knowledge of presents under the tree, but are they what they appear to be? Stockings stuffed and hanging over the fireplace or in our case this year windows, anticipating eager children that will hold and caress briefly before tearing the wrap from the small packages huddled inside. Listening to the storms raging outside which make the stillness and quietness inside more tangible and reflective. Midnight Christmas mass with young boys singing majestically in the midst of towering pipe organs, stain glass, and echoing chants carrying a story from centuries gone by. Everything points and teases us towards the greatest mystery of all, God’s love for each one of us. read more

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Christmas Wish

“Keep up your reputation, God – give me life! In your justice, get me out of this trouble! In your great love, vanquish my enemies; make a clean sweep of those who harass me. And why? Because I’m your servant.” Psalm 143.11,12

Everyone has a view of God; some hold an excess saccharin view, others see a sadistic judge toying with individual lives. Then there are those who picture is muddy beyond comprehension. This time of year finds everyone taking a moment to reflect, if only to question the blatant consumerism that marks the birth of someone claiming to be God’s Son. read more

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Position

“Do what’s right for me. But don’t, please don’t, haul me into court; not a person alive would be acquitted there.” Psalm 143.2

It is the story of my life. I almost make it, but not quite. I get 90% of the stretch goal but never an easy 100%. I deserve something or do I? My efforts are worthwhile, or are they? My efforts with some results count for something in the scheme of things, at least this is what I hope.

My position is so, so wrong. I believe my efforts should count, that making progress is important, and any good thing accomplished on my watch should be on the right side of the scales. The facts are quite simple and yet so difficult to accept. I failed before I realized the magnitude of what was at stake. I am self-centered from the core of my being. I lace my acts and decisions with efforts to look better to everyone including myself. I am in it for me, no matter what I might otherwise suggest or even think! Even if I could do a day’s worth of selfless acts there are the other days of my life that are automatically against me. I am doomed if the scales of justice are applied without mercy. read more

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Unexpected

“Listen to this prayer of mine, God; pay attention to what I’m asking. Answer me – you’re famous for your answers!” Psalm 143.1

I asked, no I demanded for weeks, and after I gave up hope, the unexpected positive answer came rumbling in. Wow.

I have been on a campaign to reward my team for the outstanding work they have done during the past year. When we looked out at the coming year, we saw incredibly daunting challenges and hurdles at every step. The experts said that there was no hope of change much less winning. The team optimists felt that if we accomplished 50% of the task we should consider ourselves successful. I would not, did not, accept either view. In the end, with help from God and many unexpected places, we accomplished everything and more that we set out to do. Teamwork, trust, and a willingness to walk in faith are cornerstones of our success. read more

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