Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Jesus in Skin in the Neighborhood

"From ancient times the God of the Bible stood out from the gods of all other religions as a God on the side of the powerless." --Tim Keller
Our mission (if we receive God's amazing grace and walk in His truth) is to hang out with the powerless like Jesus did - the lame, the blind, the outcast, the deaf and many others who were broken physically and spiritually! Our mission straight from our Father's heart is to show them Jesus in skin in their neighborhood!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Heart for Love and Life by God's Amazing Grace!

Our 38-year-old son fell in love in February 2010 to God's "perfect" answer to his need and hers. Both have journeyed a long, lonely, rugged road to find each other! They married last August 2010. Yesterday was their 1st wedding anniversary. July 24th 2011 their first "together" child was born - our 7th grandchild!
Our God who loves to surprise His children has been busy doing so for them and us! Even the "mistake" of a "botched" reservation last August charged and paid last October turned into an anniversary celebration at just the right time!
It's a beautiful beginning of two hearts loving each other and loving God and their children together in a pretty incredible story of how God puts broken pieces together into a beauty of restoration and grace!

Friday, August 19, 2011


Tim Keller tweeted yesterday:
When you forgive, that means you absorb the loss and the debt. You bear it yourself. All forgiveness then is costly.
Of course the cost of forgiveness was most costly for Jesus especially because He forgives with ALL the expense on His side and all the offense on ours! To not see forgiveness as costly for us is to diminish its significance both for us and from our Savior!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

An Alaska Cruise - A Picture for My Heart!

My 90-year-old parents left last Tuesday AM on a 10-day Alaska cruise. I wrote something about it last week. Each day my brother has sent an update on their day. I can only imagine what a great time they have had watching whales, seeing glaciers and happening on a school of otters floating by!
My dad was the captain of a Navy ship many years ago during WWII. My brother described his (my dad) peeking out the portside balcony door to watch the ship dock around 6 AM - peeking carefully so the light didn't wake my mother. What a picture for my heart!
My brother has gotten up 5-7 times a night with one or both of my parents to ensure their safety as they trek to the bathroom. He vaults over the balcony from his room and says he can be there in 15 seconds from their "doorbell" call. (He took doorbell wire and other connection stuff along for this purpose - to string communication between their staterooms. He had to buy more in Vancouver as our ever diligent Homeland Security at the airport confiscated his first stash as it was too much like bomb-making parts. My parents don't look even close to terrorists especially in their present feeble state wheelchairs and all. One of my dad's meds was also carefully tested in case it was some kind of explosive. AND my brother is a recently retired Major General, USMC! REAL terror types!) What a picture for my heart!
They have eaten in their room as they gazed off their balcony. They have eaten in formal attire in the dining room. They have eaten shrimp, lobster and steak. They have had breakfast "in bed" with room service. An incredible gift from my dear brother and his wife for two incredible parents! What a treasure for my heart!
My dad gave this trip to my mother for her 90th birthday gift. This is the fulfillment of a long-time dream! What an example for my heart!
I can't be there but I can picture it all and store up the treasures of this wonderful adventure that would never have happened without my father's great love for my mother OR for my brother and wife's great willness to be servants for ten wonderful days! May my heart learn and yearn to be like them in love and service!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Greatness Comes from the Heart

At the luncheon following his ordination as Bishop of Liverpool, England, Bishop Chavasse described his predecessor (who was the first bishop of Liverpool) Dr. J. C. Ryle as "that man of granite with the heart of a child." What a legacy! J. C. Ryle was a man of firm, resolute principles backed up by the simplicity and honesty found in the heart of a child. J. C. Ryle's greatness imminated from his childlike heart.
Jesus told Nicodemus one dark night (John 3), "Unless you become as a little child you cannot enter the Kingdom of God."
John Piper suggests we should pray, "Lord, give us such brokenhearted backbones of steel."

Friday, August 12, 2011

Wise Words to Take to Heart Today!

Because Jesus was strong for you, you're free to be weak.
Because Jesus won for you, you're free to lose.
--quoted by various bloggers including Tullian Tchividjian

The Gospel is that we are FAR worse than we can ever imagine and that God's grace in Jesus is far greater than we can ever comprehend! God's grace in Jesus frees us to be weak and to lose for the sake of the Gospel! That's the Gospel we all need to preach to our own hearts every day as it frees us from a performance based mentality in our relationship with God and others!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Grace and My Heart

Grace works into you a new heart to obey [God] while it gives you everything you need to do the new things your heart is now moved to do. --Paul Tripp

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Two Hearts - Love for a Lifetime!

He is 90. She is 90. They are in Vancouver, British Columbia today being wheeled in their chairs onto a cruise ship for 10 days. 15 days ago he was in intensive care hanging onto life by a thread. She has dementia. They are both frail in mind and body.
On her 90th birthday he gave her the cruise. They love Scrabble and played daily for years. In spite of 3 broken ribs from a fall, he insisted he had to go to the store and personally pick out the appropriate card. He put Scrabble cubes in the card. The cubes spelled "Alaska cruise."
When she opened the card she needed some help putting the words together but when it finally dawned she threw up her hands and yelled. A little later he was sitting in his chair with his legs crossed. She toddled over and told him to uncross his legs. He said, "What in the world is the matter with you?" She said, "I'm gonna sit on your lap." And she did. He looked up with a little smile at four grown children and their spouses and said with a twinkle and little smile, "Don't you all have something you need to do or somewhere you need to go?"
These two have served each other and their Lord for almost 70 years! After the fall of the Soviet Union when they were both 70, they went to Ukraine for three separate missionary commitments. They have served the Lord together in their home, in business, in church leadership, in friendships and mentoring relationships, in responsible stewardship of time and money and in raising a pretty spectacular family for almost 70 years. These two wonderful people have 6 children (12 counting spouses which they definitely count), 21 grandchildren (all but three married or engaged for a total of 39 and counting) and 24 (and counting) great-grandchildren.
My brother and his dear wife (my sister) are along for the "ride." They will be serving him and her 24/7 for the 10 days of the cruise and the air transit to and from York, SC where he and she live.
I surely wish I could have gone along or snuck into a suitcase because I think this is going to be the adventure of a lifetime for two people who still love each other and Jesus passionately!
We - his and her children - all decided that even if they don't come back from this trip and just go to heaven together that it's okay. That's how they want to go anyway! They would love for a fiery chariot to show up along the Alaska shoreline to whisk them right up into the presence of Jesus! And hard as it is to say so from my heart - it WILL be okay if that happens!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Heart Songs

Accused and tried in a Kangaroo court, whipped many times, beaten, thrown into prison, put into stocks on the floor of the inner prison - ALL that and probably more Paul and Silas endured in a first century Philippian jail! They had every reason to have a serious pity party!
SO what does the historical account of the the incident in Acts 16 describe? They were singing; the other prisoners were listening! Then there was an earthquake so every thing was shaking with enough force to open the doors of the prison and loose the chains and stocks.
Singing in jail and sleep deprived at midnight? WOW!
Lord, give me a heart that will sing praise to you after a beating in prison at sleepless midnight! (John Piper tweet)

Monday, August 8, 2011

That Achy Breaky Heart!

Billy Ray Cyrus achieved fame singing "Achy Breaky Heart." This country western song is all about the girl who left him and isn't coming back.
I'm singing "Achy Breaky" blues today but it has nothing to do with lost romance. I have this achy breaky feeling in the center of my chest. No, my heart is beating just fine and in no particular distress, thank you.
My heart problem is of another kind: too much life, too much pain, too much loss! My heart aches and breaks for what might have been because of what is. What can I do?
What I'm gonna do is the ONLY worthwhile thing to do: preach the Gospel to myself today - probably many times just so it sticks where I'm aching and breaking. I'm gonna tell my achy breaky heart that Jesus "knows all the trouble I've seen." I'm gonna tell my achy breaky heart that Jesus came to fix achy breaky hearts like mine (and yours).
Louie Armstrong is famous for his rendition of the African American slave spiritual, "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've seen." It goes like this:

Nobody knows the trouble I've seen

Nobody knows but Jesus

Nobody knows the trouble I've seen

Glory Hallelujah!

Sometimes I'm up and sometimes I'm down

Yes Lord, you know sometimes I'm almost to the ground

O yes, Lord!

The Gospel is for my heart when it's achy breaky "when I'm almost to the ground" AND when I'm not! The Gospel is where I plan to camp out today! It is the ONLY safe place to be! It is absolutely the place for achy breaky hearts like mine (and yours)!

Sunday, August 7, 2011


I am impressed that my friends who don't know Jesus yet don't have a clue about the wonder of forgiveness. It breaks my heart and compels me to model and share the Gospel as God gives me strength and grace!
Martin Luther spoke the truth when he wrote, "To be convinced in our hearts that we have forgiveness of sins and peace with God alone is the hardest thing."
The Gospel is the ONLY hope for the world of hurting people who don't know Jesus and haven't a clue about forgiveness!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Be Heart Healthy! Forgive!

"To be convinced in our hearts that we have forgiveness of sins and peace with God by grace alone is the hardest thing." --Martin Luther

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Gospel Grace for the Heart!

From depths of woe I raise to Thee the voice of lamentation;
Lord, turn a gracious ear to me and hear my supplication.
If Thou iniquities dost mark, our secret sins and misdeeds dark,

O who shall stand before Thee? (Who shall stand before Thee?)
O who shall stand before Thee? (Who shall stand before Thee?

To wash away the crimson stain, Grace, grace alone availeth;
Our works, alas! are all in vain; in much the best life faileth;
No man can glory in Thy sight, all must alike confess Thy might.

And live alone by mercy! (Live alone by mercy)
And live alone by mercy! (Live alone by mercy)

Therefore my trust is in the Lord, and not in mine own merit;
On Him my soul shall rest, His word upholds my fainting spirit;
His promised mercy is my fort, my comfort and my sweet support;

I wait for it with patience! (Wait for it with patience)
I wait for it with patience! (Wait for it with patience)

(Martin Luther penned these words. Indelible Grace sings them. Thanks to my nephew John Franklin for reminding me of them today on Facebook!)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Heart Medicine for Today

"Life is a fabric, woven by God out of the threads of His choice for us. Some threads are sorrows and some are delights. If we pulled out all the threads we didn't like, the fabric would be quite shabby." --Author Unknown

Monday, August 1, 2011

What's Happening?

    What's happening to you?

  • Do you have financial trouble?

  • Have you been cheated and lied to?

  • Have you lost your home?

  • Has your mate walked away - chosen someone else?

  • Has someone you love very much died?

  • Have you been an absolute fool and are now mortified by what you did?

  • Are you losing your hearing or your sight?

  • Are you fighting depression that has you and your life all out of kilter?

  • Do you have a terminal, chronic or crippling disease?

  • Are you standing on the threshold to death?

Here's the unimpeachable truth! Here's the assurance of the Gospel! All these and a host of other life circumstances may seem like the end BUT THEY ARE NOT! You may wish it were the end BUT IT IS NOT!

God alone determines the end and we're NOT there yet!
If you think your circumstance is the end then either ... or ...

  • ... either - you are not listening to the still, small voice of God which means you are listening to lies rather than living in the light of the truth of the Gospel!

  • ... or - you are listening to a lie generated in the pit of hell!

Your heart may be broken by any combination of these circumstances but remember: IT'S NOT THE END! The last chapter in your story is still being written! The last act of the play in which you have a starring role hasn't finished!

The One who pulls the curtain and cuts off the lights on the stage is God and God alone! He alone is the end of all things! God alone is the One who promises, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call on Me and go and pray to Me and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart!" (Jeremiah 29:11-13)

So search for God with all your heart and THAT'S what is happening no matter what! He promises to listen, to give a future and hope and to be at the end of our search! It's not a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow! God is at the end of the rainbow which is STILL the promise after the rain!