Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Foolish Flyer

hi·jack   \ˈhī-ˌjak\

a. To stop and rob

b. To steal from

c. To seize control of, especially in order to reach an alternate destination

Sometimes I hijack God. 

a.  I stop God’s work in my life when I rob Him of the glory He deserves and  give it to myself instead.

b.  I steal honor from God by using Him for my advantage—wanting His benefits and His power—but caring little about knowing Him personally. 

c.  I seize control of my life—the life that I told Him was His—when I refuse to submit to His Lordship and run towards myself and my goals, not Him.

When I do these things, I hijack God from His rightful place.  I use and abuse the Creator of the Universe when I go to Him only for the sake of getting personal peace and joy.  I defame His name when I  want things from His hand, but don’t desire to have an intimate relationship with Him. If my primary objective with seeking Christ’s protection is to secure a peaceful retreat from this messy world, then I don’t fully understand Jesus’ request when He prayed for me-- before he suffered for me—saying,

I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity.Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17:22-23)

God has generously poured the glory of His Holy Spirit upon us, His children, so that we may be unified with Him and with one another.  When we strive for this unity, we show the world Who God is.  But, when we selfishly pray for God to fulfill us, to make our lives satisfying and to make our joy complete in ourselves—not in Him--we are missing the point.  And we are missing the opportunity to point people back to Him. 

God wants to be the Goal, not just a catalyst to meet our goals.  He wants our joy to rest in Him and His Person, not in our circumstances or our relationships or our success. 

He wants to be the Supreme Satisfier of our souls.  He wants this because He knows only He can satisfy—the world can never do this.

He wants the joy of the Lord to be our strength (Nehemiah 8:10) because His joy is solid and sure.  If we choose to make our own joy and strength our aim, we will quickly become aimless and weak. 

God loves us.  He wants us to initiate a relationship with Him—just because we love Him--just because He is our true Father…our Abba…our Daddy—and not because we want what He can give us. He formed us and made us, for goodness sake, and he taught us to walk in His ways.  We must stop seeing God as a means to an end and start seeing Him as the End himself—the End of our searching souls, the End of our hungry desires, the End of our sinful selves.  He is worthy of our clumsy adoration and our inept attempts at praise.

He is all things great and glorious. 

He is of utmost value.

He is valuable because He is God. We are only valuable because we are sinners saved by His Grace. We gain our righteousness not through the things we have done, but only by Jesus’ death and resurrection.  Through Jesus, God sees us wearing a “robe of righteousness”—complete, perfect, clean.

 It’s a pretty awesome trade-off.

And He’s a pretty awesome God.

And it’s only when we truly fall in love with HIM that we can sit back and enjoy the flight.


“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools…”

Romans 1:21-22

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

In the Doghouse

Hey Y’all!  I’m back.  I’m back from backpacking.  I’m back from backpacking with my wonderful family and my fat, stubborn dog, Neo.  And speaking of Neo, he’s in the doghouse.  Let me tell you why…

Since we all are working folks now, and the children have commitments to their prospective employers, we decided to do our 7th annual backpacking trip over the 4th of July holiday when we had  extra days off—thus reducing the need for everyone to take excessive “vacation” from their jobs.  Knowing that we had just a short time, we decided to go explore a section of the Superior Hiking Trail (North Shore of Lake Superior) that we had not traversed before.  Having been to this trail two times previously, and having taken our dog to it one time previously, we were prepared for amazing scenery, great campsites with “latrines”, and nasty mosquitos. What we weren’t prepared for was our dog’s bad attitude.  Seriously.

Neo used to love hiking but I don’t think he loves it anymore. I don’t think he loves it because he is overweight and out of shape.  In fact, I think that Neo would count this year’s hiking trip as one of his all-time worst life experiences. 

Why do I think this?  Well, it might have something to do with him trying to shirk off his doggy backpack in the bushes…

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or his insistence on walking at his own pace far behind the family… 

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or his refusal to move his massive 140 pound body after he found a cool, muddy spot on the trail… (notice we were carrying his pack for him by this point)

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or his trepidation at walking over bridges.

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Maybe his paws were sore and he really wanted some of these doggy boots.


But I guess we will never find out since WE ARE NOT BRINGING HIM NEXT TIME.

He seemed pretty exhausted at night when we fed him supper.  And his manners at dinnertime were awful.

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I guess it could have something to do with the 15 miles we made him hike the first day—with lots of rocks and mountainous terrain like this…

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or the 23 plus more miles that looked like this…

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and this…

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and this.

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or the fear of falling into the rapids that looked like this…

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or maybe he just resented looking like one of the famous Beatles in photos like this.

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Regardless of the reason, we had to cut our hike short. We were bummed to miss out on more fun times like these…

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and these…

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and these…

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but we were afraid that we might kill Neo, or at least permanently disable him.  And we weren’t sure what we would do with him if he died on the trail.  He wasn’t looking good, so we gave him lots of water and NSAIDs and tried to balance mercy, “Come on, you can do it Neo!” with insults, “Kick it in the hiney, you fat mutt!”  After a few too many tugs on the leash, several kicks in the rear, and some partially successful tempting techniques with an entire summer sausage, we came to the conclusion that we might not get our dog out of the mountains.  So, Brent hitched a ride for the existing 14 miles of our planned hike so he could pick up our car and the the boys decided to take things into their own hands, literally. Within a matter of hours, we saw them emerging from the trail like this:

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Yes, what you see is true.  Luke and Cole discarded their packs at a trail head (and got them later), picked up the dog in a fireman hold and carried his lazy self down the mountain.  Here’s a better view of this embarrassing debacle:

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And that, my friends is the way our hiking trip came to a close.  And this is what our naughty Neo looked like when we got him in the car:

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He was a lot exhausted and a lot in trouble.

But we forgave him eventually because he looked so pitiful.  And we were all pretty tired as well.  This is what we looked like—dirty but happy that our dog didn’t die:

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And now that we are home and back to our real life, he seems to be his normal, albeit slightly elderly-acting, self.  And also, he seems to be skinnier. 

And we still love him even though he was difficult.

And we still had a good trip because we were together.

But next time, Neo is staying home and staying alive

but he probably will forgo the white suit.