Archive for May, 2011

The irony that many Americans have a hard time remembering what Memorial Day stands for may be telling. The fact that the date was changed to accommodate the vacation plans of  workers might be even sadder.

Most make plans to get to water, a park, a grill, family or all of the above. But who really wants to visit a cemetery? Particularly, who want to relive war? It sort of spoils the BBQ.

Yet, this is the one duty of the day off. To remember is to honor those who loved us enough to die for us. By brushing aside the meaning of the day in favor of brushing mesquite sauce runs counterpoint to the selfless acts of the countless fallen heros of our nation.

It might serve us good to stop by a graveyard and raise from the dead our consciences and memories with regard to Trenton, Saratoga, Gettysburg, Belleau Wood, Iwo Jima, Normandy, Pork Chop Hill, Khe Sanh, Baghdag, Kabul and the rest.

The purchase price for American freedom was high. But, not as high as it gets.

There’s a hill that was taken by one Man who disarmed the worst foe ever faced. People still visit His gravesite today only to report that He’s not there.

Let’s always remember who paid for our BBQ.

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I lost count of the tulips! Magnificent.We should all open up like this to His light.Paultry and Wisteria should not grow togetherClimbing to or descending from heaven?

Rick Warren introduced the parallel tracks theory of the ups and downs of life. To badly paraphrase, he said that life isn’t just mountains and valleys. It’s more like two trains on parallel tracks whereby one is good and the other is SIMULTANEOUSLY bad.

It has rained for forty days and nights in upstate. It has also affected vegetation. To my great distress, the wisteria vine, though lush, that covers our well house roof shot blanks this week. It’s my favorite. First, for sentimental reasons, wisteria takes me back to my youth when a lavish vine intermingled with our Victorian porch’s spindles that created a purple prose that the bumble bees couldn’t resist and which made my poetic adolescence smell all the sweeter. Secondly, in the final days of our never-ending remodel of this house this time last year, the wisteria came out like a parade and it seemed to be a confirmation from God that this was our new home. I hadn’t realized the vine over the well house was wisteria until they blossomed. I cried. It had been a terribly long winter and the remodel almost wore my soul out – not to mention my pocket book. Third, their shape is beautiful and reminiscent of a cluster of grapes. Fourth, their lavender coloring does something extra special for my purple heart. Lastly, one waft and you feel like a teenager all over again.

This may be melodramatic for some of you, but all through this long and cold winter, I had my heart set on seeing that well house absolutely covered with wisteria.

But there is a parallel track. A good friend was over recently and ran out my front door exclaiming, “You’ve got to see this!” I followed him to the tree that is directly in front of our driveway. It was a Liriodendron…a tulip tree with hundreds, maybe thousands of budding tulips all the way up the eighty-foot tree. I’d never seen anything like it.

My friend is a gardener and picked up on what I might have missed. Sometimes, either through the prodding of a good friend or by pro-active discovery, we need to switch seats and move to the other side of the train.

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I was talking to someone who is very close to me about those endless days of waiting… waiting for finances, waiting for an emotional or physical health turnaround, waiting for kids OR adults to finally grow up, waiting for a recurring sin in our life to get licked, waiting for a vacation or, well, just fill in the blank.

It all sounds rather simple until the bus doesn’t stop and you forgot your umbrella and everyone is looking at you and you haven’t a clue as to how exactly you are going to get where you are going.

No, it’s no simpler than boot camp where the only way out is through it.

I call this the ‘weight of the wait.’ Some people call it ‘the desert.’ If you’re reading this on your commute at the bus stop, you may call it just that.

One of my favorite Psalms in the bible was written by a guy who didn’t miss the bus, but who did have to wait in caves. David penned some of my favorite words with regard to the weight of his literal desert.

“Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass…Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret – it only causes harm…the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way…depart from evil and do good; and dwell forevermore…wait on the Lord and keep His way, and He shall exalt you to inherit the land…but the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their strength in the time of trouble. And the Lord shall help them and deliver them.” Psalm 37 (in part)

The thing about boot camp is that there is a defined end. Unfortunately, we have entered a seemingly endless war between the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light. I don’t know the dim-lit cave that life has brought to you. And you can’t know mine. But I do know what David did during his wait: he done good.

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Welcome to the blog.

That word always reminds me of a bog, which makes me think of trudging or muddling or the Redcoats struggling through the American woods and… well, let’s flip it to an exciting acronym like … Bob: Lover Of God… or how about redefining it all together: Beloved Lover of God. Yeah, I’ll go for both. You can just call me “Beloved Blogger.”

Excuse the informality and simplicity, but I simply hope to download what God and I are talking about and copy you in on it – like social networking with the heavens. Definitely wireless.

It’s the most exciting thing I can think of: talking with God and experiencing His love just like when John referred to himself as the “disciple whom Jesus loved.”

Isn’t that what we all want?

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I was trying to hold my five-month old granddaughter in my lap during a ballet recital only to find out that she’s hooked on dance already. Up and down and up and down sprung those chubby little legs.

Whether it was the lights on the stage or the music or the ballerinas, I know not. I couldn’t help think back to when her mother was younger and in these same recitals.  I remember beaming as I filmed and shot pictures and grew older with each passing year.

Now, as a grandfather, I have no children in the recital. But I did get to hold “a tiny dancer in my hands.”

Each season in life has its advantages. Makes you feel like, well, dancing.

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I was taking a good Sabbath walk around my property yesterday and it was probably as good as any devotional time I could have had with God. It’s Spring and soaking in its beauty was as restful as soaking in a tub.

The scents and colors of the budding lilacs, the hope of the apple blossoms, the explosive crabapples and even the promise of the wisteria conspire to take us down the road of grace.

Just several weeks ago, all of these same trees, bushes and vines seemed lifeless. Much was invisible thanks to persistent snow. But today, you need a machete just to walk through their boisterous growth.

We can’t move south in our spiritual lives. There is no escaping the ‘lifeless’ seasons. It happens to all of us. Perhaps God is graciously dealing with one or more particular issues in our lives and the lessons keep repeating themselves like a good professor. These winter tests never seem to end.

But someday, the cooperative pilgrim will be able to take a Sabbath walk around that same part of life and be enthralled by what The Good Professor had in mind all along. Winter seems so long that its hard to imagine the snow melting, no less the intoxicating visual and aromatic cacophony that’s displayed after that same Teacher filed those harsh exams.

The clincher is that other people will be drawn to take a stroll around our ‘grounds’ as well.
“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren.” Luke 22:31-33

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