Series 14


Don't Cry for Moses

I don’t cry that hard very often. It had been a challenging day of facing the hard facts of life in Mozambique, Africa.

Not having used a wood plane in a few years, Moses helped reacquaint me with its delicate function. He knew how to make the aromatic pine curl into a lacy pile on the floor. Amazing.

Moses, with only one leg and only one finger on his right hand, used a series of make-it-work body contortions to efficiently achieve his objective. Though his occasional groans of frustration were heard while performing some of carpentry’s more delicate maneuvers, his sweet spirit remained.

That day, two carpenters built a cabinet together. Moses said, “I’m a peasant” and lives in one of the poorest countries on earth. He must manipulate his bruised body through forced efforts in a daily physical grind. And there’s me. I’m engulfed in tears long after the work day has faded to night.

The thought is overwhelming, overpowering: “God you’ve been so amazingly merciful to me.” Why has God’s wide open flow of mercy flooded over my life?  Did Moses get a drip?   

The Bible says: “The LORD’S mercies, for they have no end; His tender mercies fail not. They are new every morning.” God’s words must be relevant for Moses. So what mercies flow in his life?

He has a job in a country with extreme unemployment, soon he will be married, he is gradually constructing a house, God has given him an artistic gift and most significant-- he has the mercy God offers to all. Moses is a follower of Jesus.

So the tears weren’t for Moses. This teary-eyed revelation granted me a refocusing of gratitude towards God.

May our merciful God bless you with your own revelation.


Make Jesus Happy

Lydia still remembers hanging the picture of Jesus on her wall. A comforting, tangible token of her family’s faith. I’ve often seen her traditional rendition. Long haired, bearded Jesus stands in the subtle light in front of an arched wooden door. There dressed in a white robe with its gentle glow, He’s knocking on the door just below a small eye-level window.

Lydia was telling me about when her granddaughter Bailey had stayed overnight recently. When she left, Lydia noticed several nickel sized yellow smiley face stickers now adorning her beloved Jesus picture.

Exerting a gentle thumb-nail tug, she attempt removing them. Still her efforts left disfiguring surface blotches.

Next visit, Lydia questioned ten-year old Bailey about the smiley face stickers. Bailey instantly burst into tears. With tears still staining her face, she said, “Cause Jesus looked so sad to me . . . I wanted to make Jesus happy.”

The true value of the picture took an instant hit as Lydia pondered her granddaughter’s words. “Isn’t that how we all should be; shouldn’t we all want to make Jesus happy?”

Now stop a minute. Take a scrutinizing look at the picture.

The picture is a visual presentation of a Bible verse. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”

Look at the picture closer. Jesus isn’t sad. His gentle, caring face reflects His serious demeanor. He’s concerned. He’s hoping someone will fling that big, wood door wide open.

Bailey, do you want to see Jesus get a big grin on His face? Open the door. He wants to be with you. He wants to be that friend you anxiously anticipate dining with.


Lucky's Donut

I had already driven by the quirky Cambodian restaurant once—or was it twice. Lucky’s Donut. My thought-it-would-be-simple search for a van bench seat with seat belts was heading toward mini-expedition proportion.

God, all I need is a salvaged, You know, cheap seat. Minimal hassle please. That’s very close to what my wife and I prayed the night before. Shrugged shoulders, “no’s” and seatbeltless models were all I found.  The price?-- $350 to $600.

I needed a break to gather my thoughts. Lucky, served a favorite of mine—shrimp fried rice. So tasty. 

The Bible says: “Those led by the Spirit are sons of God.” Spirit led . . . even for a van seat? Sure. But sometimes we need to stop. Yes stop, and see how the Spirit will lead us in God’s direction. 

I asked the only other patron, “Do you know where there’s another RV salvage place?” Soon I was out the door with a new destination.

When I made my final turn, I spotted a mega-RV dealer. But they only sold new rigs. I felt compelled to keep driving.

Hmmm. What’s that sign say? “RV Surplus, Indoor Flea Market.”

Shorty, the man at the counter said, “I’ve got one left.” We walked through two adjacent rooms. He unlocked a door. Down three steps, he unlocked another door. “It’s brand new. It’s just dusty,” He said.  I got excited: “How much?” Shorty said, “Twenty dollars.”  I questioned him about its lack of seatbelts. “I’ve got some upstairs; I’ll give them to you.”

Is it difficult to tip the scales of your mind from lucky moment to Spirit led experience?

I handed Shorty the only money I had with me—a twenty dollar bill. I left the building grinning. I raised my hand heavenward: “Thank you Father.”


Bible— By Cliff?

Ten-year old Michael’s soft expressionless demeanor sparked: “I’ve got my Bible.” I noticed the name “Cliff Miller” engraved in the lower right hand corner of Michael’s second-hand Bible.

Spark two: “Can you show me Jesus?” He simply wanted to see Jesus’ name in his Bible. Before I could help, Michael said, “I’ve found Jesus.” I could see his finger up towards the front of the Bible. It was planted on the word--        “G-E-N-E-S-I-S.”

Well Michael has many things to learn. He sure is eager.

Michael’s attention next was drawn to the inscription of “Cliff Miller.” “That’s who wrote the Bible,” Michael said. “Cliff Miller.” I told him that wasn’t the case. He doubted what I said. Why would his name be on the book near the spot typically reserved for the author’s name?

Michael was heading to the right spot—a Bible study. The evening’s focus: “The Holy Bible.”

The Bible says: “All Scripture is inspired of God.” The original Greek language conotates a God-breathed creation. God breathed into Holy men’s lives as they wrote Holy messages to transform followers of His Holy Word into Holy people.

Some people need volumes of information to aid in their Biblical evaluation process. It’s available. All the scientific and historical facts any true seeker could ever desire.

Now Michael, when shown what the Bible said, instantly believed that God inspired every word found in the Holy Bible. Not a doubt. 

Sure, a person can doubtingly explore reasons why the Bible can’t be true. 

And then there’s Michael’s approach. As Jesus said, “The person who humbles himself like this child is greatest in the heavenly kingdom.”  

The Bible-- God’s powerful, life-changing Word. His Gift to humanity.

Our part in it? Choose our reading attitude. Humble, eager to learn; call it a Michael-attitude-- a show-me-Jesus attitude.


First Communion

“All the little girls get dressed up in new white dresses,” Mike said. With a few laughs, he also described the seven-year old boys in exuberance-restraining suit coats and neck ties.

I had asked Mike, “What does first communion mean to you?” Over the weekend he had attended his granddaughter’s first communion ceremony. I was actually probing for a more meaningful answer. So I refocused my question: “What’s the spiritual significance?”

Recently I had been replaying the memories of my first communion. At the initiation of communion, also called the Lord’s Supper, Jesus said: “Do this in remembrance of me.”  At age forty-one, I solemnly, with deep gratitude in my heart remembered that Jesus died on a cross for my innumerable sins.

Sacred music quietly played, my thinking had flowed to the heavenly importance of this moment as I stood in line. My wife touched my shoulder, startling my brain to take the journey back to earth. She asked me to look her in her eyes.

We held hands as we faced each other. Softly she spoke, “I forgive you for everything you’ve done to me.”

I became undone.

Fifteen years as an ungodly husband, the massive trash pile of sinful transgressions towards her was shameful.

Are there many life-challenges more arduous than forgiving people of the wounds they inflict?

Communion—Jesus said: “This is My blood . . . which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

Do you really want to understand communion, the forgiveness of Jesus in a tangible way?  Stack on the scales the sins Jesus has forgiven you; weigh those against the sins of another who you refuse to forgive.

Thump. My scale just bottomed out. I know I must forgive others, if I want to experience true in-remembrance communion with Jesus.