Sunday, October 31, 2010

Anatomy of a Commitment

   Perhaps a better title would be 'The Importance of Being Ernest', but that one is already taken.  Following are some thoughts stirred during today's sermon about Isaac and the acquisition of his wife, Rebekah.   Abraham delegated his most beloved and faithful servant to carry out this decision making process.  
   This was more than finding a wife for his son; this commitment was preparing for the next generation of God's Covenant. The Seed of Abraham, over the course of generations, was to become God's own Son...

Calculate Abilities & Limitations  
   “Now Abraham was old, advanced in age; and the Lord had blessed Abraham in every way.”
Seek Highest Qualifications 
   “Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his household, who had charge of all that he owned…”
Firm Initiation 
   “Please place your hand under my thigh, and I will make you swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites among whom I live.”
Direct Delegation 
   “…but you will go to my country and to my relatives, and take a wife for my son Isaac.”
Anticipation of Expectations 
   “The servant said to him, ‘Suppose the woman is not willing to follow me to this land; should I take your son back to the land from where you came?’”
Clarification with Warning 
   “Then Abraham said to him, ‘Beware that you do not take my son back there!’”
Establish Authority  
   “The Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my birth, and who spoke to me and who swore to me, saying, ‘To your descendants I will give this land,’ He will send His angel before you, and you will take a wife for my son from there.”
Definition of Completion 
   “But if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be free from this my oath; only do not take my son back there.”
Documented Agreement 
   “So the servant placed his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and swore to him concerning this matter.”

Thorough Preparation
   “Then the servant took ten camels from the camels of his master, and set out with a variety of good things of his masters in his hand; and he arose and went to Mesopotamia, to the city of Nahor.”
Time/Placement Strategy
   "He made the camels kneel down outside the city by the well of water at evening time, the time when the women go out to draw water.”
Specific Submission
   “He said, ‘O Lord, the God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today, and show lovingkindness to my master Abraham.’”
Assessment Analysis
   “Behold, I am standing by the spring, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water;”
Core Objective and Action Steps
   “Now may it be that the girl to whom I say, ‘Please let down your jar so that I may drink,’ and who answers, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels also’ – may she be the one whom You have appointed for Your servant Isaac; and by this I will know that You have shown lovingkindness to my master.”

Provision within Specifications
   “Before he had finished speaking, behold, Rebekah who was born to Bethuel the son of Milcah, the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor, came out with her jar on her shoulder.”
Appeal and Quality Control
   “The girl was very beautiful, a virgin, and no man had had relations with her; and she went down to the spring and filled her jar and came up.”
Work the Plan
   “Then the servant ran to meet her, and said, ‘Please let me drink a little water from your jar.”
Observe Efficiency
   “She said, ‘Drink, my lord’; and she quickly lowered her jar to her hand, and gave him a drink.”
Sight Initiative
   “Now when she had finished giving him a drink, she said, ‘I will draw also for your camels until they have finished drinking.’”
Note Follow-through
   "So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough, and ran back to the well to draw, and she drew for all his animals.”
Big Picture Evaluation
   “Meanwhile, the man was gazing at her in silence, to know whether the Lord had made his journey successful or not.”

Establish Value and Compensate
   “When the camels had finished drinking, the man took a gold ring weighing a half-shekel and two bracelets for her wrists weighing ten shekels in gold, and said, ‘Whose daughter are you?’”
Arrange Accommodations
   “Please tell me, is there room for us to lodge in your father’s house?”
Identification Confirmation
   “She said to him, ‘I am the daughter of Bethuel, the son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor.’”
Review Requirements
   “Again she said to him, ‘We have plenty of both straw and feed, and room to lodge in.’”

Humility in Worship
   “Then the man bowed low and worshiped the Lord.”
Declaration of Praise
   “He said, ‘Blessed be the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken His lovingkindness and His truth toward my master; as for me, the Lord has guided me in the way to the house of my master’s brothers.”

Genesis 24:1-27

Saturday, October 30, 2010


His desire is for
All men to draw near to Him, for He so
Loved the world that He gave his Son.
Lift up His Name as you go
When He
Entered this world as an infant, He
Emptied Himself, then God bestowed on Him the
Name above all names, that every knee should bow.
Philippians 2

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Knight Time Story

     Once upon a time in a land not so far away, there lived a great king who reigned o’er his kingdom with wisdom and authority.  His subjects all adored their mighty king and they felt that theirs was the choicest of all the lands.
     The king had a very large round table which had twenty-five strong wooden chairs.  The reason for so many chairs, of course, was because he had chosen twenty-four knights to be his advisory committee, fellow conquering staff and sword-carrying riding buddies.  The king’s own chair sported a comfortable purple seat cushion, embedded semi-precious jewels and a vibrating foot rest.
     The contented subjects worked and played, ate and slept, laughed and talked with each other.  No one argued, no one fought, and no one overate.  All was well in this peaceful kingdom
     One day, an enormous elephant walked through the entrance of the kingdom and lumbered along the streets until he came near to the royal fountain in the center of the royal courtyard.  There the elephant stood in all his great size and overwhelming cumbersomeness.  He simply stood there for all to see and wonder, “What shall we do?”
     The kingdom bells rang out summoning the twenty-four knights from their very large round table, who valiantly, although somewhat cautiously, approached to within a close enough distance to the massive beast to constitute bravery.
     The king, sent word from his royal throne, for his noble knights to assess the situation:

“This is our lucky day!” cried Sir Rendipity
“I imagine so,” sighed Sir Real
“My, but he’s round!” said Sir Cumference
“We have plenty of room in the barn for him,” noted Sir Plus
“He must work if he wants to eat,” demanded Sir Vitude
“Let’s take a poll,” suggested Sir Vey
“Um… I just remembered my dental appointment,” mumbled Sir Comvent
“My saddle might fit him,” thought Sir Ket
“His small intestines must be thirty miles long!” whispered Sir Jickle
“There’s only one way to find out,” replied Sir Jury
“I wouldn’t want him to step on me,” said Sir Pent
“The curve of his nose is quite interesting,” observed Sir Penteen
“I’ll bet he sings bass?” asked Sir Optimist
“He looks good to me,” quipped Sir Fess
“I wonder what he needs,” thought Sir Vant
“It’s just a guess, but I have a theory he may bite,” cautioned Sir Mize
“I don’t trust him one bit!” grumbled Sir Lee
“Eh!  My uncle usta have one ‘o dees!” commented Sir Acuse
“Perhaps we could train him to work,” suggested Sir Viss
“We’d better put him down.” insisted Sir Inje
“Is he wearing any identification?” questioned Sir Tifye
“Check his teeth,” instructed Sir Ka
“Run!” cried Sir Render
“No!  We’re still alive!” shouted Sir Vivor
     Without warning, the elephant slowly turned his enormous body with considerable ease and sauntered back through the entrance gate of the kingdom, never to be seen again.
     ~The End~

Author's Note:  This might be a true story… then again, it might not. 
Sir Call.

Daddy Magic

     Our Daddy plays three songs on the guitar and one song on the piano, tells future stories, takes the kids out to breakfast, makes Daddy McMuffins, buys little cereals and Jiffy Pop popcorn on camping trips, lets the kids drive in WalMart parking lots, takes the kids skiing, goes four wheeling, dresses up as Cowboy Bob or Pioneer Pete or Diligence Dan, leads the home budget committee, sings and dances in the grocery store, shouts statements from the audience at church and at banquets, teaches the kids to drive, fills the freezer with elk meat and venison, shops at GoodWill and Salvation Army, leads family devotions, wiggles his toes in patterns, reads aloud to the kids, takes the kids and their friends fishing, growls loudly when he stretches, loves to read God’s Word, takes kids to work with him, gives the kids quarters to get gumballs, gives the kids a quarter when they answer the phone right, shouts loudly from the soccer field sidelines, writes notes throughout an entire Bible for each kid, builds campfires, shops at Costco, buys and sells cars and trucks, preaches dynamic sermons, leads Bible studies, asks everyone “What are you thankful for?”, asks people hard questions, and is an encourager to many.
     We think our Daddy is the best Daddy in the world.  He is God’s gift to our family.  

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Audience of One

     The apnea monitor went off, the signal to let me know that our foster baby had stopped breathing again.  But this time, his mother was holding him and this was the first time she and I had met.  Tears of desparation and fear gathered in her eyes as she looked at me, her whole being frozen and unable to help him.  Reaching over her lap to take the baby, I massaged his back and followed the procedures to stimulate his little lungs into action.

     My painful toothache had quickly developed, requiring a root canal.  We were new in town, and had only been to church twice.  I needed someone to watch my six children, but I really didn’t know anyone well enough to request such an enormous favor.  The moment after I hung up the phone to confirm my dentist appointment for the following day, my phone rang.  It was a lady at church calling to welcome us to the community and to ask if we needed anything.

     “If you’re ever in that area, you should meet my sister.  I think you two would really like each other,” a friend told me.  A month later, I dug around in my purse for the little piece of paper with a phone number on it, and twenty minutes later, was standing on a doorstep introducing myself to a perfect stranger.

     What do these three seemingly unrelated experiences have in common? 

     Friendships are supposed to begin with a cordial introduction followed by a lunch date or meeting at the park to chat while the children play together happily, aren’t they?  Maybe.  But many of my deepest friendships began with a crisis, a desparate need or a very random and spontaneous decision.
    Catastrophes, emergencies, calamities, predicaments or disasters are the stage for opportunities to step into their role as encouragement, trust, integrity, hope and friendship.  And as each scene is portrayed, there is thundrous applause from the Audience of One.

"Therefore, when we could endure it no longer, we thought it best to be left behind at Athens alone and we sent Timothy, our brother and God's fellow worker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith, so that no man may be disturbed by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we have been destined for this."  I Thessalonians 3:1-3


job well done
many see and hear
words of affirmation flow
glory seeks a home in which to rest
each compliment received becomes a flower
blossoms are gathered throughout the day
evening holds a vast bouquet
lifted to the Lord


The Power of Prayer

I gazed at the mountain,
A haven of peace,
Yet hope seemed illusive
As troubles increased.

My body was weary
From writhing, from strain,
The fits of convulsion
Left me in such pain.

A “something” within me
Had been in control,
Its presence had certainly
Taken its toll.

One day I awoke
To find faces of men
Hovering o’er me
And praying again.

Oh, why did they do this?
It had no effect!
Yet father implored them
To cure my defect.

“Bring him to Me!”
Someone mouthed a command.
His eyes held mine captive;
I reached for His hand.

Instantly, my soul
Exploded with rage,
Seething as never
Before in my cage.

Voices within me
And voices without,
Growling, snarling,
Leaping about.

More powerful still
Were His words so plain,
“I command you, come out.
Do not enter again.”

Its grasp began slipping
From sinew, from bone.
With one final spasm,
‘Twas gone.  I was stone.

A hush… Silence…
Completely at rest.
So fully content,
So incredibly blessed!

Aware of His presence
My hope had returned.
My life in His wholeness
Was all that I yearned.

Then feeling His almighty
Life-giving hand
Clasp firmly in mine,
He drew me to stand.

Such strength to cast demons!
His pow’r came from where?
‘Twas my Lord, with His Father,
Communing in prayer!
~ae   08/30/2000

... read Mark 9:17-29

My Dear, Youthful Student

Oh, what is the purpose of Algebra II?
And how many history reports must I do?
Is science so vital?  Must I know these terms?
And grammar… ugh, grammar… I’d rather eat worms!

My dear, youthful student, look beyond the drill
Of circles your #2 pencil to fill.
Algebra sharpens your logic and reason;
Two valuable assets for every life season.

Wise and discerning stewards are admired.
To whom much is given, much is required.
With the future at hand, we must recall well
The cyclical patterns, His story to tell.

We learn, we discover, the evidence stands;
All nature bears witness of God’s mighty hands.
Now then… What of grammar, you say with some mirth?
What is the connection to God and His worth?

My dear, youthful student, we’ve not far to look.
Please join in review of your own grammar book.
Plain common nouns, like lamb, door and bread,
Are worthy of praise when made proper instead.

The simplest sentence conveys complete thought,
And consistent usage of tense must be taught.
But God, in His fullness, makes each tense the same
In one grand simple sentence; “I AM” is His name.

Next, take the object of the preposition.
Does this speak of God and His hand of provision?
“I am thankful.”  Wait!  Finish… am thankful to whom?
The prepositional phrase has no room.

My dear, youthful student, please give up your pride.
For though it’s not written, His Name is implied.
His Being pervades everything that we see,
For in all, above all, and through all is He.

Let His mind be in you, let His knowledge impart
Understanding and wisdom and softness of heart.
And when studying loses appeal and glamour,
Focus on Jesus… Yes, even in grammar!
~ae   11/26/2000
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”
~Phil. 2:5

His Open Palms Extended

What is my hope?
What can I give?
Why do I breathe?
Why do I live?

     I am deceived
     When I lose heart,
     Perceiving hope
     Will soon depart.

          Hope is not based
          On how I feel;
          Hope must remain
          Steadfast and real.

               Lest I forget
               He guides me still,
               His beacon shines
               On every hill.

                    When I am low,
                    I lift my eyes
                    And see the Hope
                    Of the SonRise.

His Opulent Promise: Eternity
His Open Palms Extended
Heart Of Problem Extinguished
Heaven Opened, Providing Everything
He Offers Peace Extrordinaire
Hearts Of Praise Exalting
Hear, O People, Enter
                        … into His HOPE!
                                                                ~ae   10-08-2001

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Lame Excuses

Lying, deception, resentment, uncontrolled rage, refusal to submit or admit weakness…  When false courage is conjured, then armed with self-justification and a loose tongue, lame excuses seem to spew out unhindered. 

Aaron:  “I said to them, ‘Whoever has any gold, let them tear it off.’   So they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf.”  ~Exodus 32:24

Cain:  “I do not know.  Am I my brother’s keeper?”  ~Genesis 4:9

Laban:  “It is not the practice in our place to marry off the younger before the firstborn.”  ~Genesis 29:26

Balaam:  “Because you (donkey) have made a mockery of me!”  ~ Numbers 22:29

Elders of Israel:  “No, but there shall be a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.”  
~I Samuel 8:19-20

Saul:  “Because I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the appointed days and that the Philistines were assembling at Michmash, therefore I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not asked the favor of the Lord.’ So I forced myself and offered the burnt offering.”  ~I Samuel 13:11-12

Herod:  “Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him.”  ~Matthew 2:8

Peter:  “But he began to curse and swear, ‘I do not know this man you are talking about!’”  ~Mark 14:71

Pilate:  "I am innocent of this Man’s blood; see to that yourselves.”  ~Matthew 27:24

Invited Guests:  “I have bought a piece of land and I need to go out and look at it; please consider me excused.”… “I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please consider me excused.”… “I have married a wife, and for that reason I cannot come.”  ~Luke 14:18-20

I must admit, I had a good chuckle at Aaron’s expense.  But upon examining these Biblical examples, with the advantage of hindsight to offer a whole perspective, it is sobering to see the collection of devastating costs as a result of these lame excuses.

Unfortunately, lame excuses are still a popular practice.  So once the words are out of the mouth or the deed is done, how can things be made right again? 

God saw the obstinate people and was angry, but Moses had not yet seen the golden calf.  Moses pled with the Lord for His people by reminding Him of His promises, of His covenant, and of His kingdom 
(Exodus 32:11-14). 

Lame excuses are not a surprise to God, nor do they please Him.  We, also, are in desperate need of His mercies.  As we praise Him for the gift of His Son, we must not take this precious gift for granted.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Efficiency vs. Effectiveness

    As I watched my son slowly and methodically poke his fork into the side of his breakfast bagel, I thought it best to suggest a more efficient way. “Would you like to cut it in half with a knife?”
   “No.  This is the way Daddy does it,” was his reply.  
   It took longer, but actually worked well.  Daddy wasn’t there with us at breakfast, so my son must have remembered observing this on a previous occasion.
   A valuable lesson was to be learned this morning.  The bagel was not the issue, nor was the efficiency in dividing it.  The value of this event rested in the fact that my son had been closely watching his father, and when he saw the bagel, his mind was able to recall by association the solution his father had demonstrated.
   If he would have simply cut the bagel in the most efficient manner according to his own or someone else’s estimation, the bagel would have been cut more quickly and eaten sooner.  But he would not have revealed that he cared about his father and desired to emulate his ways.
“Come and see the works of God, 
Who is awesome in His deeds 
toward the sons of men.”  
~Psalm 66:5

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Justus in the Arms of Grace

One afternoon, quite recently,
Grace sat in Daddy’s chair.
She asked to hold the baby
With a vow of tender care.

Into her arms went Justus,
Where he snuggled, quite content.
There sat a perfect picture
Which revealed God’s intent.

For Justice needed to be served,
Demanding such a price
That only God Himself could pay,
Not by our own device.

Indeed, He served His Justice
With an elment unfair;
His Grace, complete and undeserved,
His only Son not spared.

Now resting in the arms of Grace,
Upon the Father’s throne,
Is Justice.  And with tender care
God’s love is now our own.
~ae   01/08/2002

“A battered reed He will not break off.  
And a smoldering wick He will not put out, 
until He leads Justice to victory.  
And in His Name, the Gentiles will hope.”   
~Matthew 12:20,21

How Do I Love Thee?

Bring her flowers, bring her leis
On plain old ordinary days.
Plan an extra special date
For time to be with just your mate.

Call to let her know you care.
Scratch her back or brush her hair.
Kiss her forehead, simply hold her.
Put your arm around her shoulder.

Look into her eyes and smile.
Take some time to chat a while.
Put kids to bed, move the cars,
Lay on the driveway, watch the stars.

Together read the Word and pray.
Ask her what she needs today.
Speak kindly of her to others.
Write a note to thank her mother.

Buy her favorite things to munch,
Like purple grapes or Captain Crunch.
Express your love in all these ways,
And she’ll respect you all your days!

Having Ears Attentive; Resting, Trusting

Having Ears Attentive; Resting, Trusting

Some say that you have problems
with your heart, and that you should
be careful how you treat it
and eat only food that’s good.

When your monitor beeps loudly,
little numbers you write down
in your little heart-rate record book,
then bring it into town

to show them to the doctor
who will hum and haw, then say
you should take your heart pills daily,
and your salt he’ll take away.

Well, your heart might not be pumping
just as smooth is it once did.
And your body’s slowly aging
from your feet up to your lid.

But in reference to God’s kingdom
and the fullness of His grace,
your heart has been made perfect
and it shows upon your face.

As your heart keeps spilling over
onto those whose lives you touch,
you refill your heart each morning
with the Word you love so much.

Some say that you have problems
with your heart…  Isn’t that odd?
How could there be a problem
when your heart belongs to God?
~ae  11/09/2001

“Blessed are they that keep His testimonies, and that seek Him with their whole heart.”
 ~Psalm 119:2

Dreams Come True

When opportunities arise,
Dreams suddenly step into shoes;
Seems every window holds surprise,
Each conversation bears the news.

Fun-filled exciting times ahead,
Anticipation counts the days,
Working with purpose, not with dread,
Eyes filled with laughter, hearts ablaze.

Stepping into a life so new,
Leaving behind a cozy next,
Pondering a rich and glorious view,
Matched with enormous peace and rest.

Traveling vacation is the cause?
Perhaps… but more importantly,
This tells what life in Jesus does
As we embrace eternity!
~ae   1996

Funny Accents ~ Foreign Coins

Funny accents, foreign coins,
Beggars in the market place,
Colors of a different race,
Feeling small and out of place.

  Miles of driving, sultry heat,
  Busses full of sweat and dirt,
  Wishing for a change of shirt,
  Guess a shower wouldn’t hurt!

    Endless walking, cracking jokes,
    Tense emotions running high,
    Some, in sheer exhaustion, cry,
    Going on, remembering why.

      Drinking water, munching snacks,
      Carrying the girls things,
      Wishing for a pair of wings,
      Joining as everyone sings.

        Bug repellant, taking pills,
        Different noises in the night,
        Waking with the early light,
        Heart is throbbing, throat is tight.

          People waiting, open hearts,
          Face to face with dreaded fear,
          Suddenly His voice I hear,
          And I know that He is near.

            Reaching, sharing in His Love,
            Speaking out the Message bold,
            Stories, gone thus far untold,
            To the young, the weak, the old.

              Wordless book, New Testaments,
              Toothbrushes, small toys and clothes,
              With our guide where’er he goes,
              Telling them that Christ arose.

                Watching as a church is born,
                Learning how to be a part
                Of the work that God did start,
                All the while with aching heart.

                  Feeling overwhelmed and weak,
                  Wishing hurts would go away,
                  Facing suffering each day,
                  Yearning for the words to pray.

                    Funny accents, foreign coins,
                    Beggars in the marketplace,
                    Colors of a different race,
                    I feel the warmth of His embrace.
~ae   05/09/2001

“Abide in Me, and I in you…. 
I am the Vine, you are the branches; 
he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; 
for apart from Me you can do nothing…”  
~John 15:4,5

Abide in Me

.....……Ding!  Dong!
Aloha! and Welcome!
Come in, I implore.
…Yes, thank you for leaving
Your shoes at the door.

Please do have a seat
In this comfortable chair.
A glass of cool water?
I’ll put it right there.

Now, how may I serve you,
My dear precious friend?
…Why, yes!  I’ve been longing
For what you intend.

Your smie in My home
Fills My heart, and beyond,
As a tropical rain
Turns a puddle to pond!

…Ah!  Laughter!  ‘Tis good
For the heart, that is sure.
Now, allow Me to guide
As we take a house tour.

Beginning right here
Where I have received you,
Is My great HONOR Room.
Step this way into TRUE.

In TRUE, as you see,
Are a Bible and lamp.
In this room, I’d prefer
That you pretty much camp,

For the time you spend here
Will determine your day.
Shall I show you the room
In which you are to stay?

The first door on your left
Is the room I dubbed RIGHT.
I prepared it for you
To repose in each night.

O’er here is your bath,
There, a closet to dress.
These small rooms are entitled

I hope you will join Me
When you hunger or thirst
In EXCELLENCE, your senses
Will be immersed.

Then, when all is prepared
In such excellent ways,
We’ll share at the table

Feel free to go out
For a bit of fresh air.
GOOD REPUTE, the Lana’i,
Seems to lift every care.

I’m so glad you have chosen
To live here with Me.
This home’s built to last
Throughout eternity.

You’ll get to know Me
As we spend time together.
We have all we need here,
No matter the weather.

…What’s that?  …Oh, there, there…
Come, let’s sit over here.
I'll use this soft tissue
To wipe every tear.

Now remember, My child,
That I AM the Way,
The Truth and the Life;
I’ll not turn you away.

I will never leave you.
Now come, let us dine.
…Oh, you’re very welcome!
The pleasure is Mine!
……….Ding!  Dong!
Aloha!  and Welcome!...
~ae  3/23/2001

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, 
whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, 
if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, 
let your mind dwell on these things… and the God of peace shall be with you.”
~Philippians 4:8,9