An Oxymoron or Two

While I was drinking a cup of coffee with a friend, the subject of military intelligence was discussed.  He referred to military intelligence as an oxymoron.

Most any dictionary will define an oxymoron as a combination of contradictory words.  Let me share a few of these with you:  Silent Scream, Honest Crook, Pretty Ugly, Jumbo Shrimp, Sure Bet, and Alone Together.

Oxymoron is a form of oxymoros which is a word that comes to us from the Greek language.  The prefix oxy means sharp, pointed or acute, and moros carries the idea of that which is dull.   Joined together the word means sharp-dull.

Paul uses an oxymoron to teach an important principle of Scripture:  For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:10).  In the preceding verse, Paul received a promise from God in the form of an oxymoron:  My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.

This concept is a bit foreign to those of us who grew up watching John Wayne westerns that idealized the self-made and self-sufficient man.  Macho, macho, man was the creed of the day, and admitting any weakness was hard to do.

Paul is adamant that an honest admission of our weaknesses is the key to spiritual strength.  Only then do we find the blessings of His grace.  It is His grace that:

I think it was Kay Arthur who said:  For the victorious Christian, the one who lives as more than a conqueror, grace is more than a theological term. Grace is a reality, a fact of life. It is by grace that one becomes a Christian, and it is by grace that one lives the Christian life.

So, the next time you feel a little weak, remember this is the best time to find new strength in Christ (Philippians 4:13).

The WOW Factor

If you were to bring up the topic of the creation of the universe in a crowded waiting room, I’m certain you would find the opinions on this subject as diverse as the crowd of people in the room.  There would be some who would say they believe in a random Big Bang form of creation, others would espouse a view known as intelligent design, and then there would be some who whole-heartedly embrace the Genesis account of creation.

I find it hard to look at the intricate design of the world and believe it just happened by chance.  In Psalm 8 we find the author contemplating the role of man and his place in the world.  In the next Psalm, David writes:  I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works.  I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.

When was the last time you paused and reflected on the marvelous works of God.  I mean, what would a flower be without its fragrance?  How dark would the night skies be without the light of the moon and stars?  How different would be birds be if they were drab in color and whistled and sang out of tune?

The sunrise, the sunset, and the rainbow all act as a canvas on which the Master Artist paints in vivid colors.  The day would be much different if it began and ended in a colorless brown instead of a fire-red hues.  Speaking of fire, what would fire be without its warmth on a cold night or water without its refreshing coolness?

How about food?  What would chili be like if there was no spice or a breakfast roll without cinnamon?  And, it’s almost too painful to consider a world without ice cream!

How mundane would life be without this complicated, yet marvellous thing we call love?  Isn’t love the WOW factor in everything that God created?

When you read the book of Genesis, you see all that God created.  After He had spoken the physical world into existence, God formed Adam out of the dust of the earth and breathed into him the breath of life.  Next in line was the creation of the animal kingdom, but God wasn’t finished until He created woman.

Adam thought he had seen it all, but when he saw Eve, he saw the marvellous WOW-inducing works of God

I hope you’ll take the time, sometime this week, to consider the marvellous works of God.


A Tribute To Dad

When Father’s Day made its appearance on the calendar of 1965, I observed the day with a heavy heart.  My dad had lost his life in an oil field accident just a few weeks earlier.  As a 12-year-old boy, I could only focus on what I had lost.

Now that I’ve had 47 years to reminisce, I know how fortunate I was to have had Eddie Seymour for my father.  Dad was very involved in the lives of his three sons.  He taught us how to hunt, fish, and how to play the game of baseball.

At an early age, Dad’s appreciation for fast cars was see in his frequent race with the train as he would speed down a gravel road to beat it to the crossing.  I think Dad’s need for speed  found its way into the DNA of his boys.

I have a clear memory of each evening when  Dad got home from work.  He would hit the shower and sing.  I would stand outside on the patio and I could hear the running water and Dad’s voice as he belted out:  I wish I was an apple, a hanging on the tree and every time my Cindy passed, she’d take a bite of me.

When you’re a boy of 12, you have no idea how precious life is and how short it can be.  The meaning of family is a concept that you never really consider.

As a man of 59, my perspective on life has matured.  I know how important it is to have a loving mother and father.  I know what its like to experience the powerful emotions of loss, sorrow, grief, and joy.

Through each of these life cycle events, I have paused to think of Dad; and, after all of these years, I still miss him and I still have a great deal of love for him in my heart.

Hey Dad, happy Father’s Day.

Love You!


The Frustration of Forgetfulness

How many of you guys have been in the tool shed or garage and laid a tool down and couldn’t find it again?  Ever gone to the grocery store and forgot the shopping list and you are clueless as you walk the aisle of the store?  During the commercial break have you gone to the kitchen for something but forgot what it was you were after?   How about this one:  Man I can remember that face but not her name.

I know I am not alone in my memory deficiencies.  I know some people who make notes in their cell phones.  I know others who have tied a string around their finger or used a band aid.

I have tried many different techniques to improve my memory, but there is a common weakness to each of these:  I have to remember something to make it work!

One thing that we should remember is that God never forgets.  The prophet Isaiah (49:16) recorded the words of God:  I have written your name on my hand. 

Fast forward to 33 A.D. and the hand of God is nailed to the cross.  Why?  Because the name of His children are also written on His heart.  That is is something worth remembering.

The Trials and Trails of Life

Trials and trails and are similar in appearance, but they are words with different  meanings.  The key to understanding the definition of these two words is the location of the “I” within their context.

I have walked many trails that have been pleasurable experiences. I have also encountered several trails in my life that were full of trials.

When a person finds himself on a trail that is suddenly full of trials,  life can be rather confusing.  This was the case with King David, when he said: I tried to understand all this; it troubled me deeply till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood . . . (Psalm 73).

Remember what I said earlier about  the “I” context and how it can change the meaning of a word?  When David tried to understand the context of his life from just an “I” or “Me” perspective, his perception was sadly lacking.

David’s comprehension of the situation changed when he took an eternal perspective on the trials he was facing.  The “I” in his context became “not I,” “not me, me ,me,” but instead it became “Thee and Thy will for me.”

There will be times in our life when nothing makes sense.  The trail will seem too steep to climb and too long to endure. In times like these, we need to do what David did:  We need to turn to God.  David realized that God had already walked the trail that was before him:  When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then You knew my path (Psalm 142:3).

When thinking about the trails he had taken and the trials he had experienced, the Apostle Paul wrote:  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,  comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

If you are presently walking a trail full of trials, let me remind you of a couple of things:

1.  God never leads His children down the wrong path,

2.  While you may not know where the path will lead you, God does.

3.  Even though you may be confused, but God is never confounded.

4.  God is present in your trial and will comfort you, and if you will allow Him to do He will use  you to comfort someone else.

I hope this is enough to keep you thinking.

Jigsaw Puzzles

Most all of us have had the experience of putting the pieces of a puzzle together.  It may have been a simple puzzle as a child or a more difficult jigsaw puzzle as an adolescent or an adult.

Dumping the contents of a box on a table and then trying to piece it together, may be a form of entertainment that you do not enjoy.  It is, however, one of life’s realities:  Puzzling situations and circumstances are a part of life.

Puzzles come in the form of trying to balance a budget, repair a car, raise a child, or they can be in the form of emotional, ethical, or moral dilemmas.  Regardless of the situation, there are times that we are as frustrated as “all the king’s men” because we can’t put the pieces of our Humpty Dumpty life-like-puzzle “together again.”

David had the task of solving several puzzles during his lifetime.  One of the keys to doing this was the realization that God was walking with him.  When David walked in step with the Good Shepherd he saw the solutions more clearly.  Those times when he was out of step with God, he found life to be more painful and more puzzling.

In Psalm 23, David said:  “You are with me.”  This reassuring promise is found throughout the Bible:

Will you have hard times and heartaches?  Certainly!  Will there be times that are perplexing and puzzling?  Most definitely!  Will you have to walk these paths alone?  Absolutely not!

Remember, David said that God will be with us.  If you find yourself struggling with some puzzle, I encourage you to let the Light of the world shine in the dark moments of your life.

I encourage you think of the presence of God as you listen to the song  God Be With You .