Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Filthy lips!!!

About 9 years ago, a man was crushed between his car and a dumpster.  A stranger came out and placed his lips on the filthy man hoping to breathe life back into him.  But that life had already drifted away to an unknown destination.  And all that was left behind were questions.

What was his life all about?
Why did he have to go now?
Where is he?
How do I let go?
Will I end up like this too?

This man was Rory Bahr, my wife's "father".  I put that in parentheses because he really wasn't ever around for her or the rest of the family.  Instead, his life's pursuit was found inside of a bottle.  And after chasing that bottle for over 4 decades, the end of his race came with Vodka on his lips and emptiness in his heart.

I'm thinking about this today, because I've come across Proverbs 16:9, which says, "The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs His steps." 

Rory's mind planned to drink another 40 ounce that day which would help him to escape the loads of regret which piled up on his soul.  He was homeless and didn't work much, but don't mistake that for a lack of zeal.  Oh no.  Rory had zeal.  But it was misplaced zeal.  All of his pursuing went to the convenience store liquor door.  And he died a sad and pathetic death.

Here I am today thinking about my own life.  And I can self-righteously tell you that I don't drink....don't even like the stuff.  And you might think that I really have it together then.  But that same problem that Rory had, I have too.  It just has assumed a different form to fit my own idolatry and selfishness.  And this is my problem.....I pursue ME!

Sometimes I get angry thinking about how Rory wasted all of his time on alcohol when he had access to an incredible daughter and sons all of the time.  How could he be so blind?  What an ignorant thing to do!  Trading time with your precious kids for time with drunks at the bar?!  Trading the best for something, anything less than the best!

And I find myself doing that ALL the time.  Let me explain it like this.  What is the best thing in the whole universe?  Riches?  A great job?  Even family?  No.  Not even close.  If they were, then poor people, or jobless people, or single people would be utterly hopeless.  And that's not the case. 

James 1:17 says that "every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights." 

The gift is NEVER more important than the Giver!  In fact, the gifts are there to remind us of how good the Giver is and how much the Giver loves us.  And how the Giver is the Best!  So, I see my wife and I'm reminded of the God who gave her to me.  Same with my kids.  Job.  House.  Food.  etc, etc, etc. 

If I pursue me, what I am saying is that I think I am the best thing I can possibly pursue.  Or, put another way, I'm better than God.  Well, I know that is not the case! 

God's grace is truly amazing!  And everything is meant to point me to Him because He is the best!  God wants us to have the best.  And He Himself IS the best!  Anything less than God is a lesser pursuit which can never fulfill us. 

And I've pursued my own plans, my own sins, my own thoughts, my own ways far more than I've pursued God.  And in so doing, I am settling for less than God's best. 

Being a Christian is a matter of letting go of you and pursuing Him.  And today, I am struggling with that.  What with my working a minimum wage job wondering how I am going to support my family.  And wondering what kind of job am I supposed to be doing.  And looking at the check engine light on my old car come on wondering how long it can hold out for me.  And even feeling my own body fall apart with the severe pain of a kidney stone which I cannot control. 

But maybe, just maybe, each of these things in my life is designed to remind me of my dependence on my God.  My utter helplessness and His endless wisdom.  My failure and His success.  My chaos and His steadfastness.  My weakness and His strength.  My finiteness and His limitlessness. 

And in that realization, I can find rest from my worries, my doubt, my shame.  In the cross of Christ, I can enjoy what Rory died without.....Peace!  I have peace with God!  Not only that, but I have peace with God BECAUSE of God!  "For He rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." (Col 1:13-14) 

And thinking about this, I realize that I have something in common with Rory.  A man who was once a stranger to me humbled himself and stooped down to my filthy and lifeless lips and breathed life into them.  And while I died to myself, I was raised to walk in newness of life with His breath, His Spirit.  And even if my life might not be what I had planned it to be, it is the Lord who directs my steps.  And I know I can trust Him. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


I'll get the weight update out of the way up front.  Having moved and being in the process of adjusting to a new way of life, I didn't think I would have lost any weight.  But lo and behold, another couple of pounds is off.  Admittedly, I would like to be losing weight a little faster, but it's kind of like my spiritual life.....not where I want to be, but not where I used to be either.  We're still heading in the right direction.

Also, I want to take a little time to remind everyone why I'm doing this.  First, I am taking pledges for every pound I lose to go to the Wilson family so that they can adopt Peyton (an international special needs child).  It bothers me that the only thing separating this child from a loving Christian home is paper (paperwork to be completed and money).  So, continue emailing and messaging me and getting the word out about this drive to bring Peyton home and let's watch what God does. 

Second, selfishly it helps me to stay accountable for losing weight where I have previously tried to do this on my own.  Last time I checked, gluttony is a sin too.  And the best way to fight against sin is to bring it into the light.  So, I'm bringing my fat (and the sinful motivations for it) into the light and asking you to help me to stay in the light. 

Lastly, I just think it's neat to be reminded that we are all part of something bigger.  Not only am I involved in the life of the Wilson family in some small way, but you are all involved in my life too.  And doesn't this point us to our omnipresent God who is always there?  This tiny little mission that I'm on (tiny in the sense of the scope of all of eternity) is important because there is a God directing and in control over the whole thing.  And as He arranges the pieces of my life, I find peace in the fact that there's something bigger than me and NOTHING bigger than Him.  My life actually counts because God made me and empowered me and regenerated me to make it count. 

I'll just close with these profound words that you may feel free to meditate on......I love God!

Less of me, more of Him.