You Mean You Don’t See That Mountain?

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. day, I edited this recent post. Would love your feedback:


Do you see a colorful, spiraled mountain in this ocean view? 20150323_133750

I don’t either.




But he does.







“Uke” (the unicorn) pastures by the ocean. Day after day he sees this multi-colored, spiraling mountain as he looks out toward the sea.



Hmmm. I wonder why. Could it be that he can’t see past his own forehead?

Actually, he is not so unusual. I certainly have my view of the scenery around me, and I suspect that you have your view as well. I think it is fair to say that our views are often altered by our unique “unicorn horns.”

What do you see? It may or may not look the same as what I see.

Our perspective changes everything. We view life through the eyes of our beliefs and experiences (our personal unicorn horns). It’s quite hard, at times, to see another’s view, because it doesn’t match our reality. We see that colorful, spiraled mountain in the middle of the sea and wonder why others are so blind! Can’t they see it?!!

Often, even after we have become Christians, we can be tempted to view life, circumstances, and even others through our “default” perspectives—a human and worldly perspective compiled from our past experiences and viewpoints. We can miss the fact that reality might actually be somewhat different.

(You mean a unicorn horn is not really on the horizon?!!)

Perhaps you come from a background of broken trust and/or abuse that affects your sight lines. Other views might be observed through the “horns” of poor health, suffering, or financial difficulties. Certainly, our ethnic backgrounds can affect the ways we see and process the views on our horizons.

I have learned so much from my youngest son who grew up (until his teen years) in poverty and without parents. His ethnicity has exposed prejudices and profiling–the likes of which I have never had to experience. I have never been stopped by eight patrol cars with rifles raised because I fit the description of a crime someone in a town nearby had committed. (Yes, years ago he experienced a “My Cousin Vinny” situation on the way back from teen camp.) I’ve never been “watched” while shopping. He has.

While his responses to numerous situations can frustrate me and cause me to (smh…shake my head), they make sense to him. The most loving thing I can do is to try to understand him, and learn to respect him. I know I still have much to learn.

We have grown closer and closer as I have tried to understand his views. I learn so much when I ask him what he sees and understands–and when I try my best to wrap my head around his perspectives. Our pasts, training, and experiences are far apart from each other. I have needed to learn to respect him, and he has had to learn to respect me. And thanks to God, we do love and respect each other.

How do you view family members when they don’t think the same ways you think? Your extended families? Your work associates, your neighbors, friends, or even the sharers of highways you travel? What’s your perspective as you face challenges they bring to you, or as they share their own challenges? Are you annoyed and resentful when they don’t think just like you…or do you push prejudices aside and strive to love as Jesus loves. Do you pray and work to see through Jesus’ eyes? I certainly have been (and continue to be) challenged by these questions.

Try asking someone unlike you (and who you don’t really understand) to share with you about their life…and really listen. Instead of trying to point them to your way of thinking…look to Jesus and his words. He is the only one that can bring real unity through shared convictions based on his truth, forgiveness, and will-directed, sacrificial love.

I am convicted and called higher by Jesus’ example…and the Scriptures’ call:

14  For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.
15  And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
16  So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.
17  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!  (2 Corinthians 5:14-17, emphasis added)

What an encouraging, challenging, and hopeful scripture! I am a new creation through Christ…with a new way of thinking.

I must also ask another question…along with the question of how I view others.

How do I view Jesus?


From the ways I have “pictured” him, or by who HE says he really is?  When our perspective of Jesus stems from what he says about himself, rather than who we think he is or should be..our life and perspective changes.

When we view life through “truth” as the Scriptures teach, rather than through our own backgrounds and thoughts, we can become more and more like Jesus. Only then can we see life, our circumstances, and others through the eyes of Jesus.

We all have our “unicorn horns,” but Jesus can show us his true and beautiful view.

The view from that vantage point is heavenly…in the truest sense.



Connection Correction!

I’ve learned anew, in a very personal way, just how important it is to have correct connections.  Earlier this week I found out that I had an “extra” connector inside of my heart called a bypass tract. Two days later I was in the hospital getting this situation corrected, as it was deemed dangerous.   It was successful, though a very unpleasant experience.

There is a very specific, God designed way, with which the human heart is meant to pump blood throughout our bodies.  When an extra connector (other than the intended one) gets involved in the process it confuses the way the heart is intended to work.  The electricity can quickly jump from the correct connector to the errant connector.  In my case, the electricity kept wanting to jump the track, finding my available and yet wayward  connector.   This resulted in a “short circuit”, which is not good in an electric toaster, or a human heart.   

All too often in life we deviate from the way things were meant to be.  We see before us many choices of pathways to follow.   When we wander down a different path from the one God intended for us numerous  aspects of our lives get “short circuited”.  Whether it be the standard we use for sin and righteousness, the way we approach marriage or even the choices we make concerning the focus of our time and attention – we can tend to stray from the path of God’s intended track for our lives.  We may tend to make up our own instructions, or search a different road – rather than seeking out the will of God.   The result can be debilitating, or even fatal – now and eternally.  We end up short –circuited!  Though short circuits can produce fireworks for a moment and a “flash in the pan” they will not last. After the sparks die down there is no more power, life or energy.

To keep my electrical charges from further straying, the doctors  got rid of the errant path, or connection.  I suffered “true heartburn”.  They literally burned the deviant connection, in order to prevent it from being accessed and traveled again.   This was a radical, but necessary approach.

Spiritually, we can be tempted to travel superfluous or meaningless paths, different from the clear ones given by God.   How much more important to “burn these bridges behind us”, allowing us to function whole-heartedly – in the ways our God intended.

Deut. 4:39

Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.

Deut. 5:7

“You shall have no other gods before me.

Deut. 5:32
So be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left.

John 12:47-50
“As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. [48] There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. [49] For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. [50] I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”

John 14:3-6

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. [4] You know the way to the place where I am going.”

[5] Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

[6] Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Acts 4:12

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”



The Monitor Told the Truth

I felt as though I was walking into a time warp as I entered the doctor’s office.  The furniture, pictures, phone and lamps were all from the 1950’s.  At any given moment I expected Opie and “Aunt Bea” to walk into the room with Sherriff Andy Taylor.  The bathroom was tiled in pink, and behind the receptionist section of the office was a rolodex and stacks of manila file folders.  There was one very old computer.   When I handed the receptionist my credit card for my co-payment  I was informed that they didn’t accept credit cards – only cash or check.  I got nervous and almost walked away.  How could I entrust my heart to a doctor who worked in an antiquated office?  Yet, there I was.  I had received an urgent call from this cardiologist asking me to come to his office.  My monitor (see earlier post) had recorded an “event” that happened over the weekend.  I was well aware of the event, as the palpitations were extreme.The doctor was concerned with the report and called me in.

The conversation with “Dr. Sensitivity” went like this.

“I got a report from the monitoring center on your heart and you’ve got problems.”

I replied, “What kind of problems?”

To which he replied something like, “The kind that kill you. You should see these reports.”

That got my attention.  Fortunately, he quickly followed with reassurance that my “problem” was completely fixable, and that he would get me in for the needed procedure right away.  So, tomorrow I go to the hospital for a catheter ablation for supra-ventricular tachycardia. Yesterday I had no idea what these terms meant.   Now, I realize I will undergo the first thing mentioned today, and that I “have” the second thing.  And fortunately (though I think this cardiologist is a fine doctor), a specialist will do the procedure at a hospital.  I can walk out of the 1950’s and into some pretty amazing technology.

I thought about a scripture that has stood out to me for many years.   Jeremiah 17:5-10 (emphasis added)

This is what the Lord says:

“Cursed is the one who trusts in man,

who depends on flesh for his strength

and whose heart turns away from the Lord.

[6] He will be like a bush in the wastelands;

he will not see prosperity when it comes.

He will dwell in the parched places of the desert,

in a salt land where no one lives.

[7] “But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,

whose confidence is in him.

[8] He will be like a tree planted by the water

that sends out its roots by the stream.

It does not fear when heat comes;

its leaves are always green.

It has no worries in a year of drought

and never fails to bear fruit.”

    [9] The heart is deceitful above all things

        and beyond cure.

        Who can understand it?


    [10] “I the Lord search the heart

        and examine the mind,

to reward a man according to his conduct,

according to what his deeds deserve.”

I’d been walking around with a heart problem and had no idea.  My heart sure fooled me.  The facts that displayed a picture of my racing heart (compared to the normal baseline of what it was supposed to be)  left no doubt.  There was indeed a problem.

Likewise, our hearts can deceive us into thinking we are just fine spiritually – even when we are not.  When we compare what is in our heart  (as demonstrated by the way we live and talk) to the truth as seen in God’s Word  we may discover  that we have a problem – one that can spiritually kill us.

I think I would be quite foolish to refuse to undergo the procedure that will fix my physical heart.  Yet, several things are required from me:  First, I needed to understand that there is a problem . Second, I must gain the knowledge of how to get the problem fixed. Third, I must schedule the procedure where the “fixing” can take place.

In order to undergo the procedure I must offer my complete willingness and surrender to the process. For the procedure to be successful there must be a competent doctor present, and I will need to “show up” in the procedure room where the process takes place.  All of these things are needed.  To leave out any one of them will cause the procedure to be unsuccessful and my heart will continue to have a problem.

This experience reminds me of my conversion – the point in time when I had my “spiritual heart” fixed (forgiven).

I came to understand that I had a spiritual problem and then learned from the Bible what God said to do about it.  I was willing and surrendered to let God operate –  and the Great Physician was more than capable of fixing my heart.  In the procedure room of baptism this amazing “fix” took place.  It involved God’s ability and disposition to save, my surrender,  and the “procedure room” of baptism where my sins were forgiven (Acts 2:38, Romans 6:3-6)

I’d be even more foolish to have turned down the opportunity to have my spiritual heart healed. What an amazing offer.

So today I go to get my physical heart fixed, and if you are reading this  I’d appreciate your prayers for a successful catheter ablation today.  Thanks so much.

Elephant in the Living Room

The other day I was visiting a friend in Burlington, Vermont, when I noticed a small dragon in her living room.   I inquired as to the friendliness of this creature in the room and whether or not it was supposed to be “out”.   I was told it was actually sunning itself, so yes – it was supposed to be there. I guess I was relieved – and tried to find solace in the pure enjoyment this dragon displayed while basking in the sunlight.

However, often critters can make there way into our living rooms and wreak havoc – while we ignore them, tiptoe around them or pretend they are not there.    I am speaking of the proverbial “elephant in the living room”.  (Here is a concise definition I took from Wikipedia. “Elephant in the room” is an English metaphorical idiom for an obvious truth that is being ignored or goes unaddressed. The idiomatic expression also applies to an obvious problem or risk no one wants to discuss.[1] It is based on the idea that an elephant in a room would be impossible to overlook; thus, people in the room who pretend the elephant is not there have chosen to avoid dealing with the looming big issue.)

Likely, we have had elephants tiptoe into our living rooms at one time or another.  There may even be one currently residing there.

While I think elephants are amazing creatures – I don’t want one in my living room.  Yet, at times I have allowed them to be there out of fear of speaking honestly.  Several scriptures have helped me tremendously that I refer to as my “elephant busters” – (emphasis added)   They are:  Ephes. 4:15-16
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. [16] From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

John 8:31-32
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. [32] Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Mark 12:14
They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?

1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

No matter how difficult, I pray to always be honest and to not let creatures take residence in my living room, or any rooms of my heart.

If they move in and we ignore them, they will destroy our living rooms and leave a room full of elephant d.u.n.g.  In order to avoid the refuse there are several keys to be aware of.  They are: Discernment, Understanding, “Niceness” and Graciousness.  While speaking honestly, it is important to discern the best ways – including timing to approach a difficult situation.  It is also important to understand that there may be pieces missing in our understanding.  A tone of gentleness and kindness (or niceness) is also something we are instructed by God to practice.  It is also of utmost important to remember that God is a God of grace and mercy.   While he is just, he is also merciful – a God of grace and truth.  I desperately need his wisdom, power and guidance as I go through life.  May we all find the integrity, unity, freedom and love that truth produces.