Friday, April 30, 2010

Ah, The Smell Of Spring

I was sitting outside yesterday with a cool breeze blowing in my face and enjoying a plethora of spring time smells. I'm not sure exactly what all those smells were but it was an awesome bouquet of fragrances. Not only fragrances, but the colors were incredible as well. On one bush there were white and purple flowers, on another were pink flowers. There were several with different shades of red, some yellow, some orange and all of them surrounded by a sea of green. As I sat there taking it all in, I began to ponder the awesomeness of God.

Think about it for a moment. I'm not a botanist, but I'm thinking there have to be thousands if not millions of different types of plants. Each of them uniquely designed, with colors spanning the entire spectrum and fragrances that are unmatched by anything man can manufacture. I picture at the moment of creation, God's creativity being expressed like that of a master artist. A little blue here, some red here, green over there, yellow, pink, purple, and teal over there. Let this one have a sweet fragrance, and this one gets a warm, soothing fragrance, while this one gets one that'll wake up the nostrils. On and on, His unlimited creativity painted a picture that's so much more than colors on a canvas. A picture that's alive with His nature, His character, and His life. Sure, the Sistine Chapel is a pretty incredible artistic expression, but is there really any comparison? The Mona Lisa versus roses, or azaleas? Let's face it, nothing we can create even comes close.

The truth is one has to really go out on a limb to hold to the belief that this God does not exist. I mean come on, creation testifies of Him. You can see Him in every color and every fragrance. You can see him in everything we see, hear, smell, taste, and feel. All of it together, screams "There is a Creator and as awesome a creation is, this Creator is even more so!!!" I challenge you today, walk outside and just take it all in. The fragrances, the colors, the life, all of it. And as you do, pause for a minute and let it all remind you of the awesomeness of the God we serve.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Living Like You're Planning On Not Staying

I love life. Well, most of the time anyway. I mean, sure there are those things I encounter that don't just overwhelm my heart with joy. However, for the most part, I love my life. I love the family I've been given and walking through life with them. I love living in the great state of Texas, in the greatest nation in the world. For a non-morning person, I actually even enjoy getting up in the morning. Yes, I roll out of bed slowly, but I still love waking up to a new day.

I love the fact that I have a roof over my head, a car that starts when I turn on the ignition, and food in my belly. I love having air conditioning, especially with the heat during the hot summers here in Texas. I could go on and on about all the things I'm thankful for and love about my life. Yet, as great as it is, I have to constantly remind myself, its all temporary.

Last week, I performed a funeral for my wife's great aunt who was just months away from her 100th birthday. Just think about this for a minute. During her lifetime the Titanic sunk, the Hindenburg crashed, the Spruce Goose flew, and man broke the sound barrier. She lived through World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, and both Persian Gulf Wars. She lived under 18 different Presidents, went through the Roaring 20s, the Great Depression, the Golden Age of Radio, and the beginning of the age of television. During her lifetime the Yankees fielded Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Roger Maris, Joe Dimaggio, Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, Reggie Jackson, Dave Winfield, Don Mattingly, Derek Jeter, and A-Rod. She saw out-houses give way to indoor plumbing, and phones go from ones with built in generators, to rotary dial, to push button, to Iphones.

Pretty amazing isn't it? Yet, even her nearly 100 years on this planet, was still just a vapor when compared to eternity. I know its hard to fathom 100 years as being a short time, but it truly is. Whether we live to be 70, 80, or 100, the fact remains that when we leave this world behind another one awaits us. One in which clocks and watches don't matter. Its a world that knows no end. Eternity...try wrapping your brain around that concept. Forever and ever and ever and ever. And then forever and ever and ever and ever, again. Is your brain about ready to explode?

It's important to keep that world in mind while we are here. If we don't we are certain to fall in love with this world. We are certain to become attached to the things here in an unhealthy way. We will live our life as if we are planning on staying. Now, I'm not saying its bad to enjoy this life. God created us and put us on this planet and desires for us to enjoy our life here. However, He doesn't want us to become so attached to it as to neglect the world that is to come.

A rich man came to Jesus one day and wanted to take hold of this eternal life, Jesus had talked about. When Jesus told him to sell all he had and give to the poor, we are told the man leaves very sorrowful because he is unwilling to part with his stuff. I think its pretty clear that Jesus is well aware of the fact that this man is in love with the things of this world. He has become attached to it in an unhealthy way. God has no problem with us having stuff, but He does take issue with that stuff capturing our hearts.

Remember, this life here is nothing compared with the life that is to come. It's so important to keep that in perspective. Refuse to allow this world and the stuff in it capture your heart. Keep in mind that this world is temporary and determine to live in such a way that it is apparent you are living like you're planning on not staying?