Today’s song comes from one of five children of Christian missionaries. Stacie Orrico’s family moved to Denver, Colorado from Seattle, Washington where she was born. This new location gave Stacie her first chance to display a gifted voice at the Estes Park Christian Artist Seminar. After receiving first place in the vocalist category, Stacie realized she had the talent to pursue her own ministry.
The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it [b]overflows), John 10:10.
The title of Stacie’s song There’s Gotta Be More to Life reminds me of Steven Curtis Chapman’s classic tune More to This Life. While the genres are completely different, the message is the same. Perhaps, Stacie was struggling with the old age question, “this sounds too good to be true,” Romans 6:23. May the lyrics and vibe of More to Life struck a chord with your soul.
Today’s song comes from an alternative rock band from Seattle, Washington. Once a popular group breaks up, you usually have some sort of reunion tour decades later. However, Grammatrain did some of their best work after disbanding in 1998. Eleven years later, Grammatrain released their third album Imperium. Led by singer Pete Stewart, I Believe is one of my favorite songs from this band.
Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting). For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind, James 1:6.
The attached You Tube video uses images of fishing and a rowboat which makes me think of the time when Jesus approaches his disciples’ boat by walking on the water. Initially, these 12 men thought Jesus was a ghost. Yet, at some point, Peter believed enough to get out of this boat and join Jesus by walking on the water too. However, it’s when you take your eyes off of Jesus when doubt starts to creep in.
There is a growing movement to remove any memorial, monument or statue that reminds individuals of America’s troubled past. Whether it’s the confederacy, slavery or sins of our founding fathers, activists are leading citizens to weekly target any statue that they find to be offensive. Following the unfortunate death of George Floyd, this process has been expedited. Every day cities across this nation have reported damaged, graffitied or removed statues in downtown areas.
Nevertheless, God was not pleased with the great majority of them, for they were overthrown and strewn down along [the ground] in the wilderness. 6 Now these things are examples (warnings and admonitions) for us not to desire or crave or covet or lust after evil and carnal things as they did, 1 Corinthians 10:5-6.
In the first century, the apostle Paul devotes an entire chapter to reminding Israel of their past transgressions. According to Paul, past errors and mistakes serve as a helpful reminder. A warning from the past to avoid repeating previous acts of disobedience. Paul highlights some of the more egregious offenses committed by Israel. Without a well documented history, individuals and nations will be unaware of the past, opening the door repeat past mistakes.
Do not be worshipers of false gods as some of them were, as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink [the sacrifices offered to the golden calf at Horeb] and rose to sport (to dance and give way to jesting and hilarity). 8 We must not gratify evil desire and indulge in immorality as some of them did—and twenty-three thousand [suddenly] fell dead in a single day! 9 We should not tempt the Lord [try His patience, become a trial to Him, critically appraise Him, and exploit His goodness] as some of them did—and were killed by poisonous serpents; 10 Nor discontentedly complain as some of them did—and were [a]put out of the way entirely by the destroyer (death), 1 Corinthians 10:7-10.
In the past week, protesters have seized a six block area of downtown Seattle, Washington. Now known as CHAZ, short for the Capital Hill Autonomous Zone, leaders have constructed a boarder wall, planted agriculture and have given local officials a list of demands. Comprised of a members from Antifa and Black Lives Matters, only time will tell what will happen to this new nation. However, if reminders of the past continue to be removed, how long will it take to Chaz to repeat America’s troubled past.
My evenings at Amazon vary as I try to fix any problems before product gets shipped out to customers. Typically, free time is rare as I am usually exploring and examining some sort of defect. However, the other night I was selected to be part of a survey, asked a series of questions by a human resource staff member from Seattle. Due to an initial technical glitch, I was able to talk to a co-worker. This five minute conversation opened my mind to the importance of listening.
Then a woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink”—8 For His disciples had gone off into the city to buy food— 9 The Samaritan woman asked Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” (For Jews have nothing to do with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew [about] God’s gift [of eternal life], and who it is who says, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him [instead], and He would have given you living water (eternal life),” John 4:7-10.
My co-worker was in her first week in a new position. When my initial phone calls failed to go through, she had to email her manager to figure out what to do. As we both waited, I discovered that this young woman had lyme disease for ten years before receiving an accurate diagnosis. Since she never had what is called a bullseye, a tell tale sign of lyme disease, doctors could not figure out what was wrong with her for a decade. I shared of my own struggles twenty years ago from this same disease. As I talked, I sensed the Holy Spirit whispering, “this is what happens when you take the time to listen.”
The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not get thirsty nor [have to continually] come all the way here to draw.” 16 At this, Jesus said, “Go, call your husband and come back.”17 The woman answered, “I do not have a husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have correctly said, ‘I do not have a husband’;18 for you have had five husbands, and the man you are now living with is not your husband. You have said this truthfully,” John 4:15-18.
When I read the Bible, it is clear that Jesus was a masterful communicator, never wasting an opportunity to interact with a stranger. Despite the political tension between Jews and Samaritans, Jesus goes out of his way to talk to a woman who has a history of bouncing from one relationship to the next. After five failed marriages, this woman was trying to love without a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. During an intense back and forth, Jesus plants a spiritual seed within this woman for faith to grow. When you take the time to listen to another person, God can use you to offer a message of encouragement, healing and hope.
A recent episode of Deadliest Catch showed the reaction of fans to Russell Wilson’s interception in the final minute of last year’s Superbowl. The crew of the Northwestern based out of Seattle could not believe the Seahawks opted to pass rather than rely on their patented running attack. When you are only one yard from tasting victory, its hard for individuals to get over this heart breaking loss.
Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled, Hebrews 12:14-15.
It’s one thing to lose a game, yet in life there are several disappointments people encounter that can linger. These scars are like bad dreams, nightmares that don’t go away. When you add emotions into this equation, human nature can be unforgiving. Thus, the next time you try to console someone who is hurting, don’t be surprised if you hear, “I can’t get over it!”
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice, Ephesians 4:31.
Storybook endings are usually something you see in the movie theater or at home as a rerun. While this feel good conclusion may bring tears of joy, the rest of the world is stuck in the past, unable to move on. Tempted by bitterness, frustration and a wounded soul, some feel better venting rather than cope with the issue at hand. Before the voices of your past drag you to indulge in another pity party, may the love of Christ help you get over it by moving on with the rest of your life.
Many folks in America are probably thinking along the same wave lengths, ” this is the strangest spring I can ever remember?” As traces of winter pop up weekly, summer can’t get here soon enough. However, in the mean time, you are stuck with a daily dilemma, whether or not to trust in the so called experts to accurately predict the weather?
As a little league coach, 7 days in a week aren’t enough to make up the games rained out and those cancelled hours in advance only to witness sunny skies appear. Despite these interruptions to schedules, there is a silver lining. Rain can slow down one’s pace in life, bring families together or provide needed ingredients for a successful garden. For others who work at airports, malls or stores, weather delays can make for some of the most profitable days of the year as well as provide shelter to take a walk inside.
The question arises, how much will you allow weather to influence your mood? Weather related depression is common for cities like Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington. Like a cruel mistress, weather can lead you on, only to crush your spirit late in the day. In the end, the choice is yours, making the best of today, James 4:14, putting worries about tomorrow on hold. Weather or not, how will you respond when another front washes out your plans?