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Excerpted from PIECES OF MY HEART by David L. Wood.  Copyright © 2011 by David L. Wood. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher, Healthy Life Press.

*Unedited version from the book, “Pieces of My Heart”*
The book is available on the following sites as well as other online retailers online worldwide.
Healthy Life Press    eChristian    Amazon    Barnes & Noble

Frank was my next door neighbor at the house my family lived in for nine years.  Frank never liked me from the time I moved into that house.  Actually, to be more truthful, Frank did not like me from before I moved into the house.

The first time I met Frank was when the realtor was showing my wife, Denice and I the house for the first time.  We were around the side of the house in between our future house and Frank’s house and were gazing at the backyard.  Frank was in his yard and I said hi to him and complimented him on his very nice looking grass in his yard.  Our future yard was not so nice and in need of some serious attention.  Frank’s response to my compliment was, “If you would take care of your yard, it would look nice too”.  I remember thinking geez buddy, I don’t even live here yet and that was pretty rude.  To make things ruder, later I found out that Frank had come into some money and had recently had new sod installed in his whole backyard.  So not long before out meeting, his lawn had looked much like mine.

But still we moved in and Frank lived up to my first impression of him and continued to be rude day after day, year after year.  I am a pretty friendly guy and can usually make at least casual friends with just about anyone, but Frank was a tough cookie. Actually, if Frank was a cookie, he would have been one of those cookies that had sat out on the counter for an eternity and had gotten so stinking hard that you could have thrown it and it would have stuck in the wall like one of those cool metal thingamadoogies that ninja’s throw.  They would be referred to as the Frank Throwing Star by General Foods.  It’s a throwing star, it’s a cookie…two great things that go great together! (cool jingle plays)…anyway. Time after time I made my attempt to become friends and time after time he shot me down like the Red Baron shooting down opponents in a dog fight.  Over time, I had to resort to considering a head nod a huge victory with him.

Then one day, something strange happened that changed everything between us.  It was a very small “something” actually and really, it was not for him at all but rather, just something to make my life easier, which affected him indirectly.

There was this area between our houses that was long and skinny and really a big pain in the butt to water.  To water this area I would have to move a single head sprinkler from one spot to the next and gauge the water just enough to get the grass but not enough to water the side of the house.  This was a time-consuming chore to which I did not like, so I set out to solve this once and for all.

I ended up designing a long and skinny PVC sprinkler that had multiple sprinkler heads all in a row that allowed full coverage of this area in one sprinkling.  It was an ingenious idea to say the least.  All you had to do was lay it out, screw a hose to the end, adjust the water flow and let ‘er go.  It was probably the best invention of the past 100 years and it very possibly could have single-handedly brought about world peace and yet I remained extremely meek, lowly and humble.

One day as I was using this, I noticed Frank had gone into his garage.  I boldly, like Captain James Kirk going yet into another uncharted territory, went over and asked Frank if he had a minute.  He must have had one because he came out of his garage and followed me.  I showed him my “Wonder Waterer” that I had painstakingly designed for our area between the houses.  He was obviously in awe, shock and wonder at first but eventually recovered enough to nod his head as I showed him how it worked.  I’m sure it took everything he had to keep him from oooing and ahhing throughout my very meek and humble presentation.  After my last graph and Pareto chart was presented, I knew Frank was sold. When I was finished, I simply told Frank that he was free to use this anytime and it would be right here up against the house.  From that moment on, Frank began to worship the ground I walked on…um…I mean…from that moment on, things changed between Frank and me.

Frank used this miracle device and as our grass grew, so did our friendship.  He would now just talk to me for no reason at all.  He would make eye contact with me, chat me up without me begging him, offer me things to drink, offered me his extra weed barrier and even would even run by and scream high-five as I was mowing my lawn. Ok, I made that last part up.  He did not high-five me when I was mowing the lawn, most of the time it was as I was getting my mail.  Everyone knows that it is too dangerous to “high five” someone who is operating a lawn mower.  Even a weed eater is risky.  But that’s for another story.

So my point in all this is that for approximately 7 of the 9 years I lived in this house, I was dead to Frank.  And then one day, one random act of kindness cracked him like…um…cracked him like a…a well…like a thing that gets cracked a lot, after a very long time of not being able to be cracked.  Yes, just like that!

Frank died about a year after our big break through.  I remember that Denice was out of town and we were talking on the phone and I was telling her that something had happened next door.  While I was on the phone with her, they brought someone out on the gurney covered in a white sheet.  Frank’s wife told me he was sitting in his recliner and never came to bed.  When she got up the next morning, Frank was still sitting in his recliner but was not with us anymore.

When I think back on the event that changed the relationship between Frank and me, it is amazing that something so small was the device that changed it.  After all, I had spent years and years trying to become at least consistent head nodders with Frank and to no avail. Then when I was not even trying something changed the situation.

I think God works like this.  I am reminded by Jesus that we are to love our neighbors and further even love and pray for our enemies.  After all, everyone cares about people they like and that like them.  It is the people who rub you the wrong way or snub you for no reason at all or just plain mean people who are the real challenge.  And yet, that is exactly what Jesus was asking and “is” asking us to do.

I am glad that the door of opportunity finally opened between Frank and me.  I wonder, how many more Frank like people are out there just waiting for someone to consistently reach out to them no matter what they get back.  I think God has plenty of them and I would encourage you, challenge you or maybe even triple dog dare you to show the love that you have been shown to anyone God puts in your path.  Whatever works with you, that is what I am doing.  Isn’t this really what Jesus did?  God, please help me to remember that it is only Your love that makes me presentable to You.  More specifically, it was only through the sacrifice of Your Son that I can stand spotless and blameless in your presence even as I write and pray to You this very moment.  Please help me to pursue everyone that You put in my path in the same way that You have pursued me.  Help me to show them the value that You have shown that You have for me.  Thank you for never giving up on each and every one of us.  I love You.

Love, David

David L. Wood 5/9/2010 (c)

Mark 12:28-31 (New International Version) The Greatest Commandment

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating.  Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”  “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no commandment greater than these.”

Matthew 5:43-46 (New International Version) Love for Enemies

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.  He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?  Are not even the tax collectors doing that?


Excerpted from PIECES OF MY HEART by David L. Wood.  Copyright © 2011 by David L. Wood. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher, Healthy Life Press.

*Unedited version from the book, “Pieces of My Heart”*
The book is available on the following sites as well as other online retailers online worldwide.
Healthy Life Press    Createspace    Amazon    Barnes & Noble

Random acts of kindness…acted on when presented to you…I believe could change the world.
Just don’t be surprised if the one that is changed is you.

You couldn’t miss him. I came from the far end of the store after hunting down a bag of lettuce and there he was in front of me making his way very slowly towards his goal. This was the picture. With his left frail arm that was stretched straight out in front of him, he pushed the shopping cart. His body literally leaned at best 60 degrees to the right and at worst close to 80 degrees. He was walking at close to a right angle which had to put tremendous strain on his right leg, not to mention the pain it must have caused the rest of his body to be that way. In his right hand he held a cane that had four legs at the bottom with rubber tips to help stabilize him as he walked. Hanging from his neck and resting on his left hip were two things, a purse like bag and a portable oxygen generator. The tubes from that ran up around the back of his head and into his nose supplying him with what he needed to make his frail, contorted body move.

After he was down an aisle I moved on to buy some chocolate ice cream for my guests that were coming for dinner. Ok, yes I did have a little too if you must know, just so I would not appear rude by making them eat it alone. When I got back to the front of the store the man was now at the checkout. I purposely went behind him. In his basket was a lot of one thing that he must have enjoyed a lot to make the journey worth it. It was all for five large bags of Cheetos…five large bags of Cheetos…and all the same flavor. I like Cheetos though I don’t eat them often but this seemed like extreme love for sure to me. For some reason this struck me as funny and brought a smile to my face. As he started taking the bags from the cart and putting them on the counter I quickly said, here, let me help you as I lifted a bag or two and placed them on the counter. I was hoping to get at least three of the five before him because I can be a little competitive but he beat me fair and square to get the win. He said thank you very much and I told him you are welcome. I put my few things behind his five bags of Cheetos and watched him as he did not let his condition detour him from living life.

I watched him pull out his wallet and dig around through his wallet and then pull out his Albertson’s card. This took some time to accomplish. I found if funny that no one else came in our line probably thinking it would slow down their life too much. But slow down my life, observe and learn was exactly what I wanted to do. This man was a warrior and people were too busy to notice. All they saw was a bent over old man moving way too slow. When he found his card, he held it up so the lady could scan it then put it back in his wallet and brought out his checkbook. He was bent over so far that he could not even put it on the little ledge to write but instead just wrote it from his lower angle on life.

When he was done the lady asked him if he needed any assistance and I don’t think he heard her. I could see by her face that she had been a little uncomfortable with the situation and when he did not answer, she did not ask again. And off he went in the same stance I described earlier but with his five large bags of Cheetos and probably a smile.

The lady rung up my few things and when I had them in hand I went the opposite way from my car so I could walk with the man again. As you can imagine, he had not gotten very far. Everything inside me wanted to do something but I was not sure exactly what that “something” was so I just pushed myself past the uncertainty and asked him the obvious. I asked him if I could push his cart for him. He responded with gratitude and said, yes, thank you very much. So I let him lead and just slowly followed him. I could see in my peripheral vision that people were staring but at this point I did not care.

As we got outside the store and only half way across the road he stopped much to the dismay of the people waiting to go by in their cars. Ha. I stopped with him and asked him if he was doing ok. He said yes and he was just kind of turning in a half circle and said I am looking for the car. It made me smile and he said there it is and off he went again.

As we got to the other side of the street, a guy that appeared to be in his 30’s got out of his car and yelled, “Dad, over here”. Ha. I looked over and saw this healthy looking guy standing outside the car and an older lady sitting in the passenger seat that I assumed must have been my new friend’s wife. We made our way to the car and I gave the five large bags of Cheetos to this younger man and he thanked me. I told him it was not a problem at all and turned and told my friend to take care and went on my way to my car.

Truthfully, I was a little mad at the younger guy at first and wondered why he had not been in there shopping for his dad. But then it occurred to me that maybe he would have been but it was his dad who wanted the adventure. To go on the big hunt to bag five bags of the illusive Cheetos. I’m sure at least one of the bags is now mounted on the wall in his living room over his recliner along with various other spoils from previous hunts.

Anyway, as I was driving home his determination and zest for life was an encouragement to me. I was thankful that I could walk and run and even just stand up straight. I was thankful that I could breathe without assistance and in general…I was just thankful for life. There is so much in this life that we just take for granted. Thank you my friend for the slow and gentle reminder that everything in this life is a gift…every single breath. If we will just stop for a second, turn off all the distraction and look and listen, we will see that we have much to be thankful for.

Please God, open my eyes to the things that I am blind to in this life that I need to see to make me into who You want me to be. Further, please blind me to the things that I see in this life that I do not need to see because they keep me from seeing You clearly and what You have for me. And loving Father, thank you so much for life.

David L. Wood 6/20/2010 (c)

Excerpted from PIECES OF MY HEART by David L. Wood.  Copyright © 2011 by David L. Wood. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher, Healthy Life Press.

*Unedited version from the book, “Pieces of My Heart”*
The book is available on the following sites as well as other online retailers online worldwide.
Healthy Life Press    Createspace    Amazon    Barnes & Noble

WeedpleSo over the weekend I went on a walk on a route I take often. The first part is just on the street but then it takes a rabbit trail off to the right and has a path between a beautiful subdivision that runs parallel to an attractive irrigation canal that appears more like a pretty stream because of how it is designed. The path goes on for a while and then opens up into a nice park called, “DeMeyer Park”. Then the path continues and goes back in between more houses the back recreational area of a HP plant that is here in Boise.

You have to watch your step while you are walking this path because many people walk their dogs on this path and it always seems to be loaded with poop bombs which keep you paying close attention so you don’t step on one of these land mines.

So when I was walking the other day I noticed something that I had not really paid attention to on all my other previous trips. This path is made of asphalt and it pretty thick. But as I walked I kept noticing all these bumps in different places on the path. In some places the bump was bigger and the surface was broken. Everywhere there was a crack there was a weed pushing up through in all its weedy glory.

As I observed this, I thought what a feat this was for these down trodden weedple. Some time ago, these weeds or seeds of weeds were squished down flatter than a ribbon under this asphalt. I’m sure there was a time when the weeds were just out there doing their own weed thing in their own weed time, minding their own weed business. Then along came this idea and the plans for this path to disrupt these weed’s lives was set into motion, none of the weeds the wiser.

People just arrived one day and starting dumping this hot black sticky black stuff over them and it seemed in an instant, everything changed forever. After they finished dumping they came and they pushed big heavy rollers over them to compact the asphalt even more so it was nice and dense. If that was not enough, in some areas they even used these stomping machines that further packed and shaped the asphalt into place. Meanwhile, deeper and tighter the predicament of the weeds became and the future looked pretty bleak for our weed friends.

I’m sure when the path was done and they packed up all their toys and went home, they did not foresee the time when these weeds would rise up again. It did not even occur to them that the weeds could someday overcome all that had been put upon them.

But these weeds were tenacious and refused to give up. They knew that this is not what they were made to do. Every waking moment of every day these weeds pressed and pressed up and on while they sang their down trodden song. And as they sang their song day after day and cried out to their God for strength to grow on, one day there was a bump on the surface of the asphalt. Each day they continued to put one root in front of the other, refusing to accept their circumstances and they pushed with everything they had. And as they pressed up and on, on the surface the bump got larger and larger and larger until one day…one day…there was a crack on the surface and something hurt their little weed eyes. That something was beautiful, sweet, sunlight and it warmed their cute little weed faces for the first time in what had seemed like forever to them.

As the weeds squinted their little weed eyes and adjusted to the brightness, excitement sprang from the very top of their weedy heads to the bottom of their little weedy toes and they began to dance and sing for joy. They danced and they sang a new song about what God had done for them and brought them through. They sang with everything they were from the very depths of their weedy little hearts because they had been delivered out of their captivity and overcome what their enemy had meant to keep them under forever. Some more sassy pants weeds were striking a pose and saying, “Whatta think of me now?” as they flexed their little weed muscles…but most did all the other stuff I mentioned. There are always a few of those in every crowd. You might say they are hard to weed out…or not.

Sound a little familiar? No, not the weed part, we all are familiar with those guys for sure and know how tough they really are. But the story…is that familiar? Can you think of a time when you were just perfectly happy the way things were? You were just doing your own happy thing on your own happy time minding your own happy business only to have something or someone so rudely interrupt your happy dance of life? You didn’t do anything to provoke it, most certainly didn’t deserve it but still you found yourself buried under a mountain of hot asphalt, so to speak?

I’m afraid this happens to us all only a few times if we are lucky and more if we are not. You may have one day found yourself on the unemployment line or maybe you received some really bad news from your doctor. It may be something with your children or with your spouse or other loved ones. Someone near and dear to you may have been taken from you. There are tons of things I could list here but I think you get the picture. And you get the picture because each and every one of us has been there in their own personal way. All of us have our own story. Some of us can look back at what we have been through while some of us are going through the middle of it right now with no light in sight.

It is for those people who this story is really for. The people who have been through a rough time know that you eventually do come out of the other side if you just keep trudging through. Those people can look back and maybe even see that they are better for what they went through. That maybe they have a new perspective that they did not have before they went through their dark time. But for the people in the middle of it right now the good is not easy to see and the sun and Son seem far away.

In my opinion, there are a few things that cause us to go through things. And sometimes understanding a few things helps me when times are hard.

First I think many things we go through are just the consequences to our own choices…the reaping what we sow thing. A no brainer example would be eating like in the guy in the movie “Super Size Me” indefinitely. If I did this, I would bring on health issues and eventually I would croak from eating so poorly. Would that be God’s fault? It would be no surprise to God but in this example, I did not do the best I could have done with what I had been given and faced the natural consequences for my choices. You see, I have been given free will and God does not intervene with what He has given us.

Another thing I see is that sometimes God brings trials on us to test us and to make us stronger or show us where we are weak and need work. What is crucial for us to understand is that the ultimate outcome of anything that God brings our way is for our good and it is always to make us better in some way in the end. Nothing God brings us is meant to keep us down or harm us. It is to refine us and make us more like we need to be, even if we don’t know or think we need it.

Then we have an enemy and the Bible tells us that he comes to kill, steal and destroy. But before you run away like a little girl…it also says that we have a Savior that came to give us life and not just life…but life to the full…an abundant life…life to the most…a fulfilling life…a super duper extra ordinary life even.

So consider these things for a moment. Jesus came that we might have a full, abundant life. Nothing happens to us that God does not allow. If something gets dumped on us, it may be our own dumb choices, an attack from the enemy or something God wants us to go through, but God still knows about them all. In other things that don’t seem to fall into those categories, still nothing that is happening to us is a surprise to God and He is right here with us. All things if we don’t give up…have the potential to make us stronger and grow us closer to the surface, making us more like who God made us to be…if we will let them. All of these are true statements in my experience.

If you are in the middle of something right now, if it feels like you are being packed down and things are closing in around you, don’t lose heart. The sun will shine again. Take an example from what God taught the weed and press up and on with everything you’ve got. Know that God is right there with you and even if you don’t understand anything, the One who gave everything understands it all and is for you and loves you more than you can ever imagine. His word tells you that He has plans for you. His plans for you are to prosper you, not to harm you and to give you a hope and a future. Those sound like plans that will carry us all through any hard time that this life can throw at us.

Father, would You wrap Your love around all the people who are going through hard times right this very moment? Would You comfort those who mourn and give strength to the ones who are weary from their fight? Would You heal the wounds of the ones injured in their fight as they have tried to fight on their own strength? Would you give hope to those who have run out of hope and joy to the ones who do not remember the last time they felt You shine on them? And would You let them feel You closerthanthis to them this very second?

David L. Wood 7/25-26/2010 (c)

Isaiah 40:29-31 (New International Version) He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles…they will run and not grow weary…they will walk and not be faint.

Jeremiah 29:11 (New International Version) For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

John 10:10 (New International Version) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Excerpted from PIECES OF MY HEART by David L. Wood.  Copyright © 2011 by David L. Wood. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher, Healthy Life Press.

*Unedited version from the book, “Pieces of My Heart”*
The book is available on the following sites as well as other online retailers online worldwide.
Healthy Life Press    Createspace    Amazon    Barnes & Noble

So a few years ago I bought a motorcycle.  I have had several motorcycles throughout my life so this was not new for me.  I ended up buying an older Honda 650 for $1200.  It needed some work but nothing too extensive and I liked the bike.  It was nice to be out on a hog again, the wind blowing through my flowing Fabio hair and occasional bug smashing against my face shield.  Ah, the joys of the biker life.

The last time I had a motorcycle in Idaho was when I had bought a bike from our gang leader and rode with them for some time.  Sure, we didn’t wear the leather jackets with a cool logo or have our bodies covered in tattoos, but Ken, his wife Kris and I were as tough of a gang as you might hope to not come across.  But that is for a different story and not for the faint of heart.  The main point was that back then, Idaho did not require you to have a separate motorcycle license, just a valid driver’s license.  But now, that law had changed and you had to pass a written and driving test before you were able to get your license and again wreak havoc on society.

First I passed the written test and got my permit that allowed me to drive everywhere except on the freeway for up to six months.  Any time in there you could go and take your driving test to get your license.  It was really up to you and you alone as to when you felt ready.  I would drive around the freeway looking longingly at it and in my mind and sometime out loud on accident say, “Soon freeway, soon.”

The day finally came when I was ready and went for my driving test.  There were about a dozen people there and I watched as they worked their way through the different tests set up for them.  It seemed to me about one in three would not make it.  They didn’t die or anything, they just did not pass the test.  I was up very close to last.  I figured they had heard of me or had at least seen me driving around town and didn’t want everyone to see all the right ways to do everything.

As I maneuvered my way through the course as smooth as a hot knife cutting through butter, I heard the roar of the crowd as I waved and tipped my head down in humility.  Ok, fine then.  What really happened was that I had messed up on one of the obstacles and the crowd noise was coming from a replay of a gladiator movie that was running in my head.  I had one more obstacle left and if I messed up, I failed the test.

Beads of sweat the size of bowling balls poured off my forehead and hit the ground with a steady thud and then rolled off to either side of the runway.  My job was simple it appeared.   I needed to quickly get my speed up to between 15-20mph and after passing one point painted on the ground, I need to quickly turn the bike to the left or to the right and avoid the next set of printed lines on the ground.  That should be easy enough for such an experienced road warrior such as me…or so I thought.

Now you get two tries at this part of the test and it was a good thing because the first run had ended in miserable failure, my tire clipping the white line.  This was it, my last chance and as I repeatedly cranked the throttle, bringing forth a loud roar from my engine, the crowd fell deathly silent.  You could have heard a pin drop had I not been making all the noise with my engine…plus you wouldn’t want to be dropping pins there anyway because they would get stuck in tires.  Then I was off…past the first point…swerving to the left…NOOOOOOOO… I clipped the white line once again.

You could hear a large gasp from the audience and many mothers covered their children’s eyes to shield them from the ominous failure they had just witnessed.  Lucky I am not a cussing man or they would have had to choose between their eyes and their ears.  But anyway, I had failed…miserably failed.  The mean man told me I could come back next week and try again.  I asked him how it is even possible to move your motorcycle to one side or the other so quickly, it had to be some kind of a cheap circus trick.  He said you have to push the side of the handlebars forward that you want the bike to go towards.

I was like…what???  It’s bad enough I failed the test, now the guy wants to kill me.  What he was saying is that if you want to go to the right, you have to turn to the left and vice-versa.  That did not make any sense to me and it just did not compute in my brain.  How could that be true???

But as I re-read the motorcycle manual I found a section that said exactly what I had been told.  And even though it did not make sense to me and I really did not believe it, I had to go and try it.

The first time was a little scary and I really did not push the one side forward with much force but rather just a little to check out this heresy and prove it wrong, oh me of little faith.  But what I found was even a small push caused the bike to jump to the opposite side.  And as I tried it more and more as I got more brave, what I found was that if you turn the tire to the right or left with the bike straight up, the bike will quickly fall to the opposite side and you go along with it.  And when you get it back straight again, you have moved over way to one side.  And that was the skill I was missing.  That “crazy thing” I had never heard of and truly did not see how it could be true…in testing showed me that everything I truly believed about it to be absolutely incorrect.

I practiced that course during the week when no one was there and when I went back the next week, I passed with flying colors, similar to what you would see in a Lucky Charms commercial.  This was only possible because I was willing to step out of my box of understanding and try something I did not believe was true just one week before.  After I brought my passing paper to the DMV and had my license in hand, I rode my bike off into the sunset and took my rightful place on the freeway.

So do any of you see any parallels to anything else in your life?  It makes my mind go crazy so I will only share what I am skimming off the top for now.  You’re welcome in advance.  Hopefully this will cut this entry down a bit and give your eyes a break.

The first thing that comes to mind is that we as a society, as humans, as people think we have a lot of things figured out.  As a country we have decided where it is best for us to allow God and not to allow God.  Each one of us has an idea what God can do and what God cannot do.  And with the nuances of that thought we all have a picture of who or what God is and is not.  Those pictures range from, at the far end, showing just how great God really is and so far beyond our imagination all the way down to the other end where we have a nice little God that fits nicely in a box for when we need Him.  What we believe matters in how we view God.  Not what we “say” we believe but what we actually and truly really believe.  Not what is in our minds but rather what is in our hearts.

Reading back in the Bible, the Pharisees thought they had it all figured out.  They had their rules upon rules upon rules and that gave them their security in their religion.  But wow, that guy named Jesus did not seem to agree with them.  We have this picture of kind, gentle and humble Jesus.  Somehow when He was calling them white washed tombs filled with dead man’s bones or challenging them at every corner I don’t think they thought those things of Him.  I imagine they did not like how easily Jesus unraveled their logic and the fallacy of what they believed.  I imagine they thought of Him as a hotshot and trouble maker and in the end thought it was best to kill Him.  It was the right thing to do after all because this Jesus was obviously a madman.

You know, I think just like the Pharisees we sometimes think we have some things all figured out.  And I wonder if Jesus walked among our lives, just how many things would He find and turn upside down?   What is it that He would challenge and shake up in each one of our lives?  Would we be open to the change or would we fight against it as hard as the Pharisees did?  Hard questions and since I am speaking rhetorically, you can relax, take a deep breath and just reflect in your heart.  Because really, this is personal between you and Jesus, each and every one of us dealing with our own issues.  And really, the truth is Jesus does walk among us every moment.  And the Holy Spirit lives within us and guides and challenges us if we are listening.

In Isaiah 55:8-9 it says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.  “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

We are never going to “figure God out” and if we could, would He really be much of a God?  Some of the things I read in the scriptures hit my mind but are hard for me to sear in my heart because they are against what society and sometimes what I think logic is, just like my motorcycle steering lesson.  We read things like if we want to be greatest, we must be the least…the last will be first and the first will be last…we must die to live and we must love our neighbors as ourselves.  And then there is the whole love and pray for your enemy thing.  We are to shun pride and strive for humility, serve others not considering our needs more important.  It’s hard stuff people. Easy to say and read but not always easy to live.

It seems like in many areas I do not have it all figured out because I struggle with many of these things.  God says “to”, I say “fro”…God says, “frick”, I say “frack”…God says, “potato”, I say “po-tah-to”.  I think the lesson is clear, I have much to learn and I am stubborn and hard-headed and at times even attempt to tell the Creator of “everything” what is best for me and others and His plan.  Wow, I guess I don’t have much figured out at all do I?

Daddy, I am again, greatly humbled as I often am when I consider the love you have for me.  Why do You love me enough to put up with me?  I could not do it…just sayin’…but I’m glad You can.  Please soften my heart in all the areas that need to be changed.  Please till those areas with any method you see fit, taking out the bad and wrong ideas and beliefs I have nourished for way too long.  Please plant Your truth in me in a way that it would flourish in me and bless others and make You proud.

I love you,

David L. Wood 9/5-6/2010 ©