The Shaft of Wood Who Lacked Purpose

I sat quietly in the overstuffed leather chair. With steepled hands, I studied the shaft of wood that hovered in front of me. Smooth as silk, the grains of wood played and curled into an elegant design. Colorful notches of feathers adorned one end of the shaft. A gleaming tip looked long past ready to show that it could be of use. I was entranced to see what it would do next.

With flowing ease, the shaft of wood discovered my gaze and turned to me. “What good is an arrow if there is no target?”

The question caught me off guard. I knew not what to say.

The shaft of wood continued on. “God creates all things for a purpose. And, to see that purpose and not take the action that it deserves is an insult to God and man alike. Does it not bother you at all that I am of no use to master or servant?”

Seeing my silence, the shaft of wood turned dark and threatening. “How can you just sit there, looking like you’ll lose your head? Do you not know that the number one regret of man or beast alike is the wish to have the courage to live a life true to one’s self and not to live the life that culture demands?”

I cocked my head to one side struggling to capture at least one of the competing thoughts that plagued me.

“Good sir, you can plainly see that I am an arrow! Tell me, how can I be of any use if there is no target to aim at? Please good sir, you taunt me with your silence. Help me to be the arrow that I was meant to be. Speak to me!”

I sat utterly dumbfounded. “Good shaft of wood, you think you’re an arrow? Who said that you’re an arrow? By all means no! You are something far mightier. You are a fine pen!”

Confusion spilled out, like a bottle of ink pouring out over a desk. “What?”

“Good shaft of wood, do you want just one target? I am here to make use of you. Together, we can paint endless scenes of amazing creations. We have a world to reach!”

The fine wooden pen glowed with excitement and hope, the anger gone. “Thank you kind sir.”

I smiled. “All you had to do was ask.”

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD” Jer. 29: 11-14a NIV

Today, I Saw Your Hope

Dear Father,

Praise be to your holy name: the giver of life, the great teacher, wonderful counselor, the great I Am, the author of all things good, the giver of unexplainable joy and peace, the giver of powerful grace, the perfect judge, the giver of freedom.

I’m focusing up on the hope that you provide that fills me with the confident expectations of the care that you provide, of the visions that in the end I will win this battle because of you, and of the way you constantly teach me and make life worth living.

I’m focusing up on the amazing good that I see in the world. Today I saw a dear friend having a panic attack. My friend had just received terrible news and didn’t know where to turn. I tried to help, but I knew not the words that could bring some relief. It hurt me to see such distress. Then my friend went to an appointment that had been cancelled without notice. Bad turned to worse until my friend stopped in a store for no reason. There, in front of my friend, was the perfect person who had the perfect words to heal a broken heart. Thank you for our friends who are there when we need them most.

I’m focusing up on your perfect world. Today I closed my eyes and experienced the titanic flood of experiences that make up a world where sin does not exist. It was the briefest of glimpses. Still, I was cut through the core at how corrupt I am, even on my best of days. The more I learn, the more I know that I cannot possibly lift my head to see the confident expectations of what awaits your children. Yet, even the briefest of glimpses heals my heart and brings peace to my embattled mind. Please help me to raise my weary head into your healing vision.

I’m focusing up on your teachings. Today I was filled with so much distress. Today I spent the day pounding square pegs into round holes. If only I could get someone to listen to me, I could save my company so much time and resources. But, I was just a voice in the wilderness screaming into the burning wind. Nothing I said made any difference. Then, you sent me a podcast that explained how Jesus was a humble servant to us. I was cut to the quick. How proud and arrogant I was. As soon as I changed my attitude, my day miraculously turned around. But, we both know that was you. Thank you for your daily teachings to help me to grow,

With each step I see the power of the grace that you provide. I’ve done nothing to merit Your constant caring that I so desperately need. So, I thank you all the more. Please use my hands and my voice to let others see your relentless love for us.

Today, I saw your hope. Thank you.

Your wayward child,

1 Peter 1:13 AMP “So brace up your minds; be sober (circumspect, morally alert); set your hope wholly and unchangeably on the grace (divine favor) that is coming to you when Jesus Christ (The Messiah) is revealed.”

Focusing Up on Faith

Sucker punches crave to pulverize a life that God’s already planned for greatness. That’s why I fight to know, voice and grow my Faith.

“By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”
John 15:8-11 ESV

I choose to believe God’s promises.

What Does Fatherhood Mean to Me?

Two mugs sat quietly on the kitchen table.
Cabinets weren’t bulging at the seams to feed the bottomless pits.
The fanatical screams of happy children had long since died away.
No one wanted to borrow my car keys.
The mountains of laundry were gone.
What has fatherhood meant to me?

To have a little child run up to you and throw their arms around you.
Seeing the sparkle in their eyes when they learn something new.
To sing Winnie the Pooh with your toddler for everyone to hear.
To watch your children being sent away to war.
To sing at the top of your lungs in the car during a road trip.
Seeing the sparkle in their eyes when they turned 5.
To walk your baby girl down the aisle to get married.
To see your daughter in tears after breaking up with a boyfriend.
To read their first report card.
To see you daughter in that first beautiful prom dress.
To watch your children become parents.
Seeing the sparkle in their eyes when they turn 21.
To see your son salute a commanding officer.
To get a text message from your daughter that makes you laugh out loud.
To have that father-daughter dance at her wedding reception.
To watch the wonder in your children’s eyes as they discover new worlds.
To see your son in a tux.
To hold your children’s hands.
To sit beside your children’s beds and read them a story.
To listen to their first prayers.
To listen to their billionth prayer.
To wake up one morning and have the sugar in your coffee be salt.
To see your children on stage singing and dancing and being free.
To look back on the controlled chaos and know it made perfect sense.
Making good memories for every today that we have.
Having successful children living a happy life.
Making good memories for all of us.

What has fatherhood meant to me?
Dear Child,
No matter where you go,
No matter what you say,
No matter what you do,
I will always love you,
No matter what.

 

The Stranger

With a briefcase tightly grasped, the stranger ran besides the off-duty taxi and pounded on the trunk. The traffic was slow and he was persistent. Eventually, the taxi stopped – for the red light. The driver jumped out with blazing eyes and teethe bared.

The stranger said nothing as he jumped into the back seat.

The driver looked as if he was getting ready to throw the stranger out. He leaned into his door and asked, “Just where do you think you’re going?”

The stranger flashed a wad of cash. “To the mayor’s house, please.”

Suddenly the driver was very interested in giving him a ride. The traffic crawled as the taxi traveled to the suburbs.

The stranger must have checked his cell phone a thousand times.

The driver kept a close eye on him, but said nothing.

After a time, the mayor’s house appeared on the right. “You want me to wait for you?”

The stranger checked the meter. “No thanks. Here, keep the change.”

The driver smiled at the healthy tip. Then, he looked up and into the eyes of the stranger who was watching him. The driver smiled. “You just made a really bad day a whole lot better.”

The stranger smiled back, then turned and hurried up the walk to the front door. His breath was short and fast. Beads of sweat gathered on his forehead. The stranger’s excitement was palpable. “I have just what the mayor’s been looking for. He’s been searching for this for years. He’s spent so much time and resources on his quest. Oh, I have it right here!”

The stranger knocked on the front door, bouncing with excitement. He could hear the mayor inside, but no one answered the door.

The stranger knocked and knocked and knocked.

He waited for an eternity, but the mayor wouldn’t open the door.

With shoulder’s hunched and a tear stained shirt, the stranger slowly walked away.

Too many people won’t open the door.

Too many people won’t take the time to look.

Too many people don’t realize that He’s not a stranger.

“I came to set you free. That you may have life and have it abundantly. Behold, I stand at the door and knock.”

Rock Gardens

Our lives are like rocks:
Some are like granite; They are strong, self contained, and ready to be used.
Some are like limestone; Made of shells, they are soft and easily broken apart.
Still, all rocks have their special purposes.
What kind of rock are you?

Our lives are like rocks in the world:
Some rocks are buried; They are the foundation that supports creation.
Some rocks sit on the beach: Letting the waves of life’s challenges beat on them.
Some rocks have been formed into works of art; They inspire us.
Still, all rocks have their place in the world.
Where is your place?

My life is like a piece of granite sitting on the beach:
I welcome life’s challenges to beat upon me; I am strong, skilled and confident.
Life’s challenges will erode me: But, the eons that I will survive inspire me.
Some say that I am flawed; Where is the folly of my actions?
Still, I can learn that the beach will erode from underneath me.
Where can I go?

My life is like a piece of limestone sitting on a shelf:
I am weak and I beat upon myself; My words are bitter and cold and relentless.
Life’s challenges fill me with fear; Fear makes me angry and it turns into depression.
Some say that I am not observant; I do not see the good with the bad in me.
Still, I can learn that the touch of the master’s hand helps me to see.
Who will teach me?

My life is like an old brick building:
Pieces are slowly falling away; How can I be of use if I’m falling apart?
My heart is breaking; I want to give up. My best days are in the past.
My old eyes don’t see the desperate need for the things that I take for granted.
Still, I can learn that my worth to God is not found through my deeds.
Who will show me God’s faith and hope and love?

My life is like an underground stone city:
I create my own air; Through the marvels of knowledge I supply my own needs.
I create my boundaries; Through the marvels of my skills, I form my own world.
Some say I recognize God’s all powerful skills, but I miss how much he cares.
Still, little by little, I can learn to trust in God and experience real love.
Who will teach me to submit?

“I am the vine, and you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me… My Father’s glory is shown by your bearing much fruit; and in this way you become my disciples. I love you just as the Father loves me; remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.
(John 15:5, 8-10 GNT)