Have you ever been the victim of someone on a high horse? Hopefully not literally, but figuratively speaking of course. I know I have. Recently in fact. The “High Horse” mentality happens when people self elevate to scrutinize others, looking down upon them from some lofty place they set for themselves far above those they judge. That got me to thinking, were did the term “Get Off Your High Horse” originate?
I did a little research and came up with this, people of importance actually used to ride high horses. Dignitaries, government officials, higher ranked officers in the military, all would obtain the tallest stead to ride, giving them a towering position, domineering over their fellow horse riders, and presenting themselves as larger than life. When the use of horses for battle became less common people began to use the term to mean someone who elevated themselves above others in thought, deed or action to be seen as superior.
Jesus came with a completely different mentality. Here he was, God, in the flesh, and he presented himself as a humble servant, loving rather then judging. He washed the feet of those he taught to show them how they should treat others. The only people he ever spoke ill of were the religious leaders who exalted themselves above everyone else. They called themselves holy, but they were full of holes, and they were the ones on the “high horse” in his day, and he told them that they would be brought down. So weather you are the victim of a high horse rider, or the mounted one, remember the words of Christ… “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” – Matthew 23:12
Who Doesn’t want to stay on top of the mountain? It’s beautiful, The air is crystal clear, one can see for miles all around, and there is a sense of whimsy and freedom, like being on top of the world. Who wants to go back into the valley to deal with all of that mess? I know I don’t. Let the mess stay down there where it belongs.
There are times in my life I look back on with extreme fondness, usually at the mountain tops in my life, and for a moment I want to be back there. I am nostalgic for the past. I feel like, in that moment everything made sense, it was perfect, crystal clear, like being on the top of a mountain. Needless to say, life doesn’t hit the pause button, big events like weddings, and close friendships, even church groups, end. We have to move on, we have to grow, and go through the pits and valleys.
Every now and then reality creeps in, and I remember, that even in those highs things were not perfect. Like a picture, only what is in the frame can be seen. The shear cliffs on each side, the sharp rocks, the broken hearts are not visible. This picture was taken over 13,000 ft above sea level, next to Trail Ridge Road in Colorado. I definitely felt a sense whimsy, but I think that my lack of oxygen is what caused it. Even though the picture looks pristine it was freezing up there. My hands were so numb they hurt, and I could barley hold the camera. The rocks were everywhere and I was very light headed, so I had to be extremely careful because I could have easily tripped and gone splat. In the picture, however, none of that matters. Just like looking back, all you see is the good, that’s when being snatched out of nostalgia really happens, and one remembers that God made this moment too, and we should not take it for granted.
1 Thess. 5:16-18
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
The early morning frost on the delicate petals of a small purple clover flower, appears beautiful. The sunlight streams through the forest trees glimmering ever so slightly on the crystals of ice that fiercely embrace the outside of the little plant. The tiny flower, bathed in frost, looks absolutely stunning, and yet, it is dying. In a day or so, the cold of that morning will have proven it’s power, and the tiny flower will be only a memory, replaced by a brown stubble, a mere shell of its former beauty.
The truth is, death is a part of this natural world, but something about it seems so unnatural, so ugly. Most people don’t like to think or talk about death, others spend countless hours worrying and fretting about it, but that has never changed the fact that we will all die. Will our death be beautiful? Will light glimmer through the joy, the love, and the hope we left behind in the lives of the people we have touched?
When I die, when finally God calls my head down to rest, I want it to be beautiful. I want the light He placed in my heart to shimmer through a thousand tiny prisms reflecting His Glory. The only way to do that, is to live a beautiful life. Join me.
What goes through a person’s mind when the keys are missing…really missing, not just misplaced. I don’t know about anybody else but I go nuts, crazy nuts. First, it is the “retrace the steps” routine. Then I move on to going room to room and looking under every piece of furniture. After that I would move to the kitchen, where every single drawer would be opened and rummaged through. Why I would think that I put my keys with our teacups is still a mystery to me, but still I look.
Most of the time when the keys are lost they end up in some mundane, normal place. Like in the pocket of my wonderful, amazing, and loving, husbands dirty pants. Which were in the bottom of the wash pile. Once however, we really did loose a set of keys. We looked every ware, and could not find them. For months they were missing. We just assumed they were lost forever. Then, one day…a miracle, the missing keys were found. Celebration erupted, congratulations were doled out. What was lost, had been found, and we could not be happier about something that seems so small.
My simple question to myself and anyone else who might take a gander at this blog is…What are the keys in your life, that, if they went missing, you would really notice, and want to take the time to find them… Is it daily quiet time with God, Bible Reading, fellowship with friends, worship. All of these can be the “KEY” to having a life filled with joy. I urge you to hold on to them, and if they go missing, then, by all means, find them!
He was looking at us. Probably wondering what all the commotion was about. What were all those people doing, waiting in line, and the others buzzing about, busy. I noticed him watching us. The bars make it look like we were in some secure facility. Really the entire other side of the gate was wide open, and we had tons of children running about, playing soccer, and other games with the missionaries. He was intent, however, to watch.
We were in the heart of Nicaragua, on a medical mission with some doctors, nurses, and first year med students from the University of Miami. I am not medically inclined so I was given a camera and a task to take photos. My fist experience with a digital camera. I took tons of pictures that week, but this one stuck with me. This kid, just staring.
Was he an Orphan? Was he scared of us? What was he thinking?
I will never know the answers to those questions, but I do know what we are called to do with those called “Orphans”. We are commissioned to help look after them. To help those that seemingly cannot help themselves. Do we, help? do we make a difference? I think so. But we must pay attention, and search for more opportunities, because just as blessed as we are, there are those that have nothing.
A Storm rolls in off the coast. I can see it coming. Dark looming clouds push forward like powerful whirlwinds rolling toward the land, their seemingly malicious intentions unknown. Massive waves crash against the pier, making this stable, man made structure, look as if it were a child’s set of blocks that the ocean could rise up, grab and obliterate at at any moment. If a person ever wants to feel small they should stand near the ocean when storm is coming in. For me it feels like staring into an eternity of such intense power that I feel small, fearful. I feel it in my core, and I tremble.
Can you, for a second, imagine that power. Now think about the power that spoke those infinite waves into existence. The power that carved the very nature of their curve, the power that can speak with thunder & lightning.
If a person ever want to feel really small, they should consider God, and tremble.
‘Cause You speak with thunder and lightning
Your voice shakes the mountains
The foundations of the earth
All I can offer is this fragile breath
And with each one I’ll praise You
With each one I’ll praise You more
Lyrics by TODD AGNEW – THIS FRAGILE BREATH
Is there too much gunk in our hearts for them to be pure?
I definitely struggle with gunk, and junk filtering through my heart. Most people don’t know that I like just about every type of music, but one of my favorite types is Hip-hop. Something about the passion, energy, and force of the spoken poetry rhyming with the beet of of a great track, makes me want to dance. It can be so honest to what people really feel; angry, sad, powerful. I love that passionate emotion that is not held back. What I don’t like is the negative messages that are prevalent throughout many of the main stream artist lyrics. To me, it’s gunk. If I listen to it, I find myself wanting to cuss, wanting to be more angry and aggressive, even being more selfish. None of those things are reflected in a pure heart. I want to have a pure heart, even more then I want to listen to one of my favorite genres of music. My desire should be to flush out all of the grit and grime of the world and all of it’s “gunk” and focus on the things that will make me clean.
With that being said, I try my best to avoid those things that are gunky; movies that glorify evil, songs that express hatred, and anything that steals my heart away from truth. Do I always succeed? Nope! Not even close. So, I keep trying. I truly want all the things that are inside me to be clean. Having a pure heart means that I will see God…and WOW, that’s a way better place then any lyrical arrangement could ever bring me.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
But seek first the kingdom of God and His Righteousness…
I learned about perspective in my high school art class. Props to my teacher Mr VanDam. Ya, his name totally kicks butt. Anyway, basically visual perspective is that everything you see, every line, every angle, everything in the three dimensional world goes to a point in linear space known as a vanishing point. Many of the masters of the Renascence were also extremely good at understanding three dimensional perspective and how to develop the vanishing points so that the paintings had more depth.
Perspective in life is not always as easy as tracing lines to a point in a painting. Often times we get bogged down in all of the noise in the foreground, like objects that block lines to the focal points. This can be so prevalent, that we loose sight of what really matters. I recently had someone tell me, in a serious situation, that they didn’t see God in it. At first I was upset, then I wanted to get defensive, but after I thought about it, I realized no one involved, including myself, was having the right perspective. If we seek God first, Look at the point that points to Him, we will have the right perspective, and we will see that He is in and through everything, even the difficult things.
Just a cool tidbit of info, if you didn’t know, When Leonardo Da Vinci painted the “Last Supper”, he designed the image so that all of the perspective points pointed to the figure in the middle of the painting…That would be Jesus. Looks like he had the right perspective after all.
To be spiritually broken, what’s that like? In the old testament extreme brokenness was represented with torn robes, sack cloth, and ashes. That doesn’t sound very comfortable, and not easy to hide. That was the point, right? Not to be comfortable but to reflect the pain and grief felt on the inside, outwardly. That way everyone could see how broken a person really was. (Example: 2 Kings 19:1)
It stands as a far cry from today. When we are broken, even over good and Godly things we pretend like everything is OK. We go on like our broken state is just an inconvenience. Wipe those tears away, we don’t have time to have a contrite heart, we don’t want to answer when someone ask what’s wrong. Because our fear is that if we answered, my heart aches for those that have no hope, aches for those who are lost, those being sold into slavery, those who’s lives we can never seem to touch no matter how hard we try. That would be too much to tell anyone and they wouldn’t want to hear it.
That kind of truth is heavy. Too heavy for most people to hear. And so the shades go on over the puffy eyes, the walls go back up, and we hide our brokenness from the world. It’s OK to be broken. And while I don’t see many folks running around in sack cloths anymore, we could all use a heart dose of being laid bare every now and then, and sharing that heart with others.