Seeing

Whose Side are You On?

Whose Side are You On?

Encouragment, Seeing
I’m sure you’ve had an experience similar to this -  A group of friends gathers for some sandlot baseball or some other team game. With some effort, the group is divided into two teams. In an instant, friends become rivals, sides are created, and each team begins to taunt the other. This spills over to the spectators which ask each other, “whose side are you on?” or “who do you think is going to win?”  This basic human experience of choosing sides is not only seen at the ball diamond but also in homes, school campuses, workplaces, gathering holes, churches, and boardrooms. Sides are formed and the battle is joined.   There is an exchange in scripture that happens after the Israelites crossed the Jordan into the promised land and before the defeat of Jericho.  The battle was coming. Josh
The Mirror Effect

The Mirror Effect

Encouragment, Seeing
One of Louis Armstrong’s last hits was a little tune called “What a Wonderful World.” While there is no doubt that Louis is the pinnacle king of Jazz, with a career that spanned decades, he also experienced the ugliness of the world through shady managers, Jim Crow style discrimination, and rejection by peers.  Yet Louis never lost his infectious grin and could believably sing - I see trees of green, red roses too. I see them bloom, for me and you. And I think to myself, what a wonderful world…. Louis seemed to see past the thorns of the world to enjoy its blossoms. There is a basic human trait that we all share.  I’m sure that learned men have a name for it but I call it the Mirror Effect. The Mirror Effect is part of our default presumptions and affects how we react to the world and t
Walking the Waves

Walking the Waves

Encouragment, Seeing
   At the moment of this writing, I’m on a cruise ship in Alaska with about 1900 other passengers. For most of our voyage we sailed the Inside Passage which is protected, peaceful, and calm; almost lake-like. But last night, as we near the end of our adventure, we entered the Pacific.  On top of that, a weather system was generating 10’ swells, causing our large ship to pitch and sway. Now, in the grand scheme of things 10’ seas is of little consequence to a vessel this large.  We were nowhere close to sliding dishes and the water level in our cups barely showed any movement.  Even so, it was difficult to walk in a straight line as the swells caused the ship to slowly rock side to side. Many, most in face, angled through the halls as if they had drunk just a bit much at one
For The Birds

For The Birds

Encouragment, Seeing
I love getting up in the early morning to the sweet sound of birds chirping and singing. Regardless of how stormy the night before they greet each new day with joy and cheerfulness. To hear their joy and their worship always brings joy to my own heart, reminding me that today belongs to the Lord. Jesus also spoke about birds and God’s care for them. “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” (Matthew 6:25–26, NASB95) Later in Matthew Jesus taught, “
I’m Shocked!

I’m Shocked!

Encouragment, Seeing
“And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. “The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. ‘I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ “But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ “I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”” (Luke 18:9–14
Freeze Frame: a Faulty Assumption

Freeze Frame: a Faulty Assumption

Encouragment, Seeing
Ever have this experience? You meet someone in a store, a restaurant, or out on the street. You know that you know them, but can’t quite place them or recall their name. Then you suddenly realize that it's the receptionist for a company you often visit, or the clerk at the convenience store where you buy coffee, or a teacher from a few years ago. We knew that knew them, but because they were not in their normal setting or dressed as we are used to seeing them we struggle to place them. It’s almost as if life is paused for others when we are not around. Stopped in a freeze frame like a paused TV show. Of course, it isn’t but, we often perceive it that way. This tendency spills over into other avenues. In a similar way, there is an assumption that people have no past, that they have alway