Not of the 99

sheep3Matthew 18:12-14 (NASB) – “What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying? If it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray. So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.

I was thinking this morning about this passage. Interesting how I felt twinges of arrogance to imagine Christ so loving me that he would seek me out individually in my need to help me, uniquely. Change the 99 to 99 million – or 99 billion – and the truth of his unique respective-soul-love still applies. C’mon … who among us feels so confident in this truth? Who feels comfortable in embracing the magnitude of such individually focused love? Yet – that is exactly the love God has for each of us. To God we each are not merely one of many. To God, we are each one of a kind among all of creation. One of a kind to aim his love and blessing upon – uniquely. I can imagine no more comforting and encouraging truth than this.

Little Forgiveness

ForgiveThis morning I read from Luke chp 7. The passage where the woman washes Jesus’ feet always moves me deeply. I know this woman – at least I know her heart. I know the overwhelming flood of grace that is God’s forgiveness and I am bathed in his glorious love and mercy whenever I reflect on this.

Verse 47 concludes thus: “… but whoever has been forgiven little loves little.

I have always considered myself a very forgiving person. It just isn’t my nature to hold past offenses as many might; especially if someone sought my forgiveness. By God’s grace, my response is pretty quick, cut and dried. Yep – I forgive you, let’s move on. As I read Luke 7:47 again this morning, I’m struck with the realization that there is no magnanimity in my quickness to forgive. On the contrary – I realize that my propensity to forgive much stems directly from a deep understanding that I have been forgiven much. I am awash in beautiful gratitude even now as I type this, at the amazing, awesome, healing, lifting, saving forgiveness of God, as He pours his grace over my life in his glorious freeing forgiveness.

A Living Cinder

“And when I could no longer look,
I blest His grace that gave and took,
That laid my goods now in the dust
Yea, so it was, and so ’twas just
It was his own; it was not mine
Far be it that I should repine”

– Anne Bradstreet – From: “Upon the Burning of our House”

… and I am His – and I will remain in perfect peace as I stay my mind on Him. I will remind myself of this granite perch at every need. For though I surely bear my needs – He is my very present help in such needy times, as these.

Think Big, Go Long

lemonade painting bWhen life gives you lemons make lemonade; so the adage goes. Such sayings often epitomize over simplification but the simplicity of heart is oftentimes spot-on. There are a great many relative particulars involved in ‘living the good life’ – but we all agree a good life is desired and desired by all. Thus, it is attainable at least in theory. What comprises a good life differs from soul to soul but the base desire is the same among all; the great common denominator of happiness. The things that make me happiest are seemingly simple basic things. Things that many take for granted. I like having money but have never really cared much about it. I’ve never been a material guy. I have even tried at times to cultivate such interest thinking perhaps I wasn’t giving it a fair shake, as it seemed to be so high on many others’ happy list. I like Corvettes but in all honesty have no real desire to own one. If I were rich, I might have a cool car to just enjoy driving at times. I am however, content to drive my Honda Ridgeline. The things that always melted my happy-butter were things like relationships of love and sharing. These are among my very top-most desires. I am deeply moved by the beauty and good these relationships were designed by God to offer. Drawing us out of ourselves to love and grow with others is genuinely my cup of tea; or perhaps, lemonade. With all that life has thrown at me, I am more than comfortable in asserting I remain a deeply hopeful and happy soul. I have every experiential reason to have given up on any prospects of good that I might imagine enjoying via relationship – truly any type of close relationship. Yet, by God’s grace, I haven’t. The appetite is still wholly whet, present and powerful. I still hold the strongest desires to love and share life with others. The desire is so strong that I completely embrace the lemonade adage with one exception. I have no desire to just make lemonade from my life-lemons. I dream of a lemonade stand. Where goodness is poured in tall glasses, refills are free and a fresh pitcher is being made frequently from the mountains of circumstantial lemons. That is a gift from God to me. A very deep well of hopeful optimism, as it pertains to sharing life with others. One day will be my last. I will then awake to eternity. But until that day arrives, I will give myself completely to loving those that desire it. I will love them with a whole heart. Whatever the best of me might be, I joyfully extend to them. I still pour with complete abandon and without reservation to hearts that thirst. That is the best lemonade stand I might ever imagine building atop all of life’s lemons.

mama gorilla groove

buttery blondie wonder, wiggles giggles and shakes
penchant to ponder, thought filled flakes
flakes like snow the powder grows to cloud and blur and blind
buttery blondie wonder, wandered his mind

sexy chickeny yellow fluff-puff
i-ism’s duck-hut stuff-stirred
momma-gorillados turtles soft and round and smooth
groped, grabbed, petted and purred

mama gorilla all wrapped in sweet
pressed her heart to his to meet
aimed her words in one smooth move
mama gorilla found her groove

– as told to papa gorilla by mama gorilla

– t.e. davis

for naught

two seeds cupped in palms held high
raised aloft in prayer
plant the seeds for both must die
to grow through hope and care

one seed lay deep, planted poor
the weight of life too great
too deep to reach the forest floor
their life with us would wait
another seed there sweetly placed
laughter wrapped his soul
love poured out full to cultivate
the goodness they might know

naught treesoil to shelter, watered well
named them loved through nurture, taught
love and life infused through light
grew just pain; thus, how they wrought
bled again through bleeding, brought
all in vain, all for naught

– t.e. davis

Cultivating Care

Cute yellow baby chickWe’ve all known happy souls. We’ve known the stoic, angry, and thoughtful. Others that had particular aspects of their character and makeup that lent much towards defining them. I’ve known an inordinate number of unusually selfish souls and they have always fascinated me to some degree. The main reason for such interest is the inherent obstacle to their personal growth in good. Someone that contends much with anger can still be a very empathetic person; thus, able to move in that care for good – towards growing beyond their shortcomings. The same is true for most elements of personal composition. However, selfishness – self-absorption – ironically prohibits a soul from caring about such growth. It is a broken malaise that precludes them from giving any value to care for others, in any real manner; as they are ultimately only really concerned about satisfying self.

I have watched selfishness, argued with it, wept for it and been sliced and diced by it. It is cold and numbing and the very worst of ugly among humanity. Where we all have our moments of selfishness, there is an unnerving chill that emanates from the self-focused soul. Knowing them well means being aware they only see you as a commodity to use and benefit from. The selfish soul only sees others as a means to their personal profit. Selfishness is the tepidness of personal substance. It is why Christ said he would spew the lukewarm from his mouth – as they were neither hot nor cold. For being at least hot or cold is a place of posture that can be impacted for change. A cold soul can feel the heat of circumstance and be ignited to life and good. A hot soul can be impressed in redirection of their passion. The selfish soul faces the almost impossibility of being prompted to move from their tepid lukewarm personal wants to care for good beyond themselves. A deeply pitiable soul indeed.

Poem – Soulless Some

Yellow Puff

billowy soft, little yellow light
bouncy bounding puffed with fright
wee bedroom condor spry and quick
feathery fellow peck and pick
beautifully fearsome, proud and smart
made your nest a home in our hearts
songs to sing, chorus to call
charley horace headbrief the breath to sing them all

 … for charley horace – you will be missed

– t.e. davis