Awkward Gracefulness

duck---a-waddle-and-a-quack-a918While I was fishing a day or two ago, I startled a duck that was sleeping on a boat dock.  I smiled at its awkward waddle as it hurried down the ramp and into the lake.  I smiled again when I saw how fluid and graceful its movements became as soon as it entered the water.

God created waterfowl to be more at home on the water than on the land.  Like that duck, we’re also the creation of God.  Paul described God’s creative gifting in an interesting fashion.  Depending on which translation you read, the believer is described in Ephesians 2:10 as God’s workmanship (NKJV), masterpiece (NLT), or handiwork (NIV).

In The Voice, it says, “we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on lives, created in Jesus to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago.

God created you to be you and to be a masterpiece of His creative endeavors.  He has gifted you with the talents and abilities you need to accomplish His purpose.

When you live within the framework of His will, you are as graceful as a swan on a pristine pond of water; however, you’re as awkward and clumsy as a waddling duck when you reject the plans He has for you.

As Max Lucado said, “You are the only you God made… God made you and broke the mold.”  So, thank God for the uniquely magnificent manner in which He designed you and then dedicate yourself to sharing your gifts with the body of Christ.

Blending In or Standing Out

01hunter-girl-buck-wear-realtree-pink-shirt-3I’m not sure how they have been success in doing it, but many retailers have convinced the consumer to pay high dollar$ to purchase their goods and then become a walking billboard advertising their wares.  The clothing  companies are a good example:

  • Under Armour: Earn Your Armour
  • Nike: Just Do it
  • Reebok: Because Life Is Not A Spectator Sport

On a recent trip, I noticed the many different messages emblazoned on the clothing of people as they walked past me: I noticed their behavior as well.

When I thought of the contrast between their messages and they were actions, I was reminded that Jesus said we are known by the fruit we bear.  He also said: “Let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).”

Some of these walking billboards were advertising their faith.  Sadly, many of them were in violation of the truth in advertising laws.  Their shirts made bold statements declaring their allegiance to Christ; however, their words compromised the integrity of the message.

The incongruity between their walk and their talk, reminds me of James homily on the tongue:

It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.

This is scary: You can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue—it’s never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth!

My friends, this can’t go on. A spring doesn’t gush fresh water one day and brackish the next, does it? Apple trees don’t bear strawberries, do they? Raspberry bushes don’t bear apples, do they? You’re not going to dip into a polluted mud hole and get a cup of clear, cool water, are you? ~James 3

One of the reasons people are so conflicted today is they’re more concerned with their reputation than they’re their character.  You may coast through life with a good reputation; however, character flaws made of sand eventually crumble like a weak foundation in a massive earthquake.

Our Loss is Heaven’s Gain

Today is one of those days when memories flow through my mind like a river flowing through the narrows of limestone bluffs. I’ve run many such rivers in my canoe, and they, like my memories, are scenic and soothing.

This morning I awoke with memories of my dad and the times I spent with him. These are memories of baseball, wading creeks, hunting and fishing, and Sugar Loaf Hill, and Sallyards.

These memories are always present, but they are more fertile the first of November for two reasons: Prairie Chickens and Quail! This is because Dad started taking me hunting with him as soon as I could walk.

My dad enjoyed life—even though his was much too short. He taught me to love and respect everything Mother Nature has to offer; to play and enjoy the game of baseball; to hunt and fish; and to see the beauty of the Flint Hills—when your early years are spent in Sallyards, the Hills leave an indelible mark on your soul.

Whenever we lose something, our memories act as an anchor, and we often turn to them for a sense of comfort and normalcy. Such is the case with me this morning.

On Thursday of this week I stood at the bedside of a dying woman. Her life of 91 wonderful years was coming to a close. I quoted Psalm 23 to her, and I said: “Aunt Catherine, I’m happy for you. In a few minutes you’ll be with Jesus. Remember to tell my Dad hello for me. I haven’t seen him for a long time and I still miss him and still love him.”

Catherine Beedles has been the best aunt anyone could ever want. She loved her nieces and nephews like they were her own children. Most importantly though, she loved Jesus, had embraced the hope of the resurrection, and she had claimed Him as her Savior.

Over the last week, I’ve spent quite a bit of time with Aunt Catherine. We’ve reminisced and I’ve expressed my gratitude to her for all she has done for me. Every time I left, I left with a prayer and the words: “Aunt Catherine, I love you.”

As I think of this kind and caring woman, I think of Paul’s greeting to Timothy: “I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience as my ancestors did, when I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day. Remembering your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy, clearly recalling your sincere faith that first lived in your grandmother Lois, then in your mother Eunice, and that I am convinced is in you also (2 Timothy 2:3-5).”

Like my dad before me, I’ll be hunting this November morning with my son. I hope his future Novembers will be as full of memories as mine.