Archive for category Spiritual Applications

A little dark spot on the Sun

Courtesy NASA archives

Courtesy NASA archives

The first telescope I ever had was a K-Mart Focal-24”. I remember opening the box and discovered a small disk lens that had “Sun-Filter” stamped around the edge.  I had been warned by the sales clerk, my mother, my father and my grandmother repeatedly; “DO NOT LOOK AT THE SUN! What a dilemma!  The very first thing I wanted to do was now look at the sun. With some persuasion and assurances from the manufacturers paperwork that the Sun-filter was indeed safe to use, I quickly assembled my new telescope and pointed towards the biggest star in the sky.  The filter lens was extremely thick with a deep green tint. It works in the same manner as a welder’s masks, which protects their eyes from blinding ultraviolet light. It also now reminds me of the veil that Moses must have worn to protect the children of Israel from the radiant glow of God reflected off Moses face. (Ex.34:33-35; 2 Cor.3:13) With the filter in I turned my attention to the sun and gazed with great wonderment at a large number of sunspots that covered the disk of the Sun. They are the first things that I had ever observed in the heavens with the aid of a telescope. Dark irregular shapes on a seemly perfect bright round disk. I have, at times, contemplated this as a unique comparison of ourselves (dark and irregular) swallowed up by the greatness of our Father (bright and perfect).

Upon closer examination there are some even more curious spiritual comparisons we can draw from the phenomena of sunspots. Turns out, sunspots are not really dark, they’re only perceived that way because of where there at; on the surface of the brightest thing in the sky – our Sun.  If you were to take these huge spots off the Sun and isolate them away from the glare of the sun, they would actual be much brighter than a full moon.

Compared to God, we appear dark and void. However, we are not darkness, but light, unless we choose to embrace the darkness. Luke 11:35-36 Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. (36)  If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.”  Turns out sunspots are fighting for the light.  As has been observed, sunspots eventual wane and grow brighter as the surrounding surface of the sun overtakes the magnetic flux which creates the cooler sunspot.  Emptiness is filled with energy and substance, darkness is swallowed up by light.

Sunspots are cooler than the surrounding surface of the sun. By comparison, Sunspots average 5000 F and the surrounding surface of the Sun is 10000 F.  What you’re actually looking at is more of a deep hole of cooler energy falling as hotter energy is rising, or in the case of the Sun, bubbling to the surface.  On earth, this plays out as a tornado or hurricane. Sunspots are therefore gigantic vortex’s or magnetic storms.  As on earth, storms are temporary and do not last long (comparatively speaking), they falter and give way to the greater energy which produced them.  We often think of storms as some wicked rebellion against nature, bent on destroying the calm.  Truth is, as has been observed through the magnitude of sunspots, storms are craving equilibrium or a better way of putting it; Peace!  This is actually the status of humans in the world that God created.  We are constantly struggling to find our way or come to some peace. The result of this struggle to find peace are millions and millions of little storms.  These storms have been ragging from day one and God has provided us the equilibrium or Peace.  John 16:33  I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” Submitting to the will of God is the quickest way of getting through the storm. Let Him have His way with you! Then you’ll no longer be a sunspot, but a part of His Glorious Son.

 

Darryl Fuller

The Walk

Credit: Associated PressCredit: Associated Press

I truly find those who cheat death through outlandish stunts, such as base jumping or skydiving, to be both arrogant and presumptuous.  Those who engage in such feats would probably agree and volley back that I am trite, afraid of really living and a bit of a scaredy-cat. I’ll concede to the scaredy-cat; I’m not jumping off any height, with or without a parachute!

I do however, have a great deal of curious fascination for Phillippe Petit, who on August 7th, 1974, walked on a high wire 1350 feet above the ground between the World Trade Center Towers.  I’m certainly not advocating that what he did was brilliant or morally right, but his feat does illustrate some great spiritual truths. Walking a high wire high above the ground will get you no accolades with our Father in Heaven, but faithfully walking the precarious narrow path over death will.  Consider these observations in regards to his feet and see if they don’t apply to our true calling of walking to Heaven.

Desire to Walk Across the Abyss

Phillippe dreamed of doing this crazy thing from the moment he saw a picture of the Twin towers in some dentist’s office years earlier. “It called to him,” as he put it, and from that day forward all his energy was spent in pursuing this radical idea.  The thought of Heaven with God and Christ should call to us with such fervor.  We have great pictures of this hope painted for us in His holy words, available to study and marvel at every day. Those promises and hopes are real, assured, free to take hold of for any who would dare walk the narrow path. Php 3:13-14  Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,  (14)  I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Planning for Success

It took Phillippe many years of planning and preparation to achieve such a stunt.  He spent many hours and days walking around the World Trade Center Complex.  He took measurements, photographs and interviewed countless architects, contractors and other personnel to gain the utmost knowledge in order to succeed.   For Phillippe, the thing that called to him required knowledge to understand it fully.

Likewise God does not call to us and expect us to blindly follow what we do not know.  It requires of us to study and be prepared.  2Pe 1:3,5   His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence… For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge…

Being prepared with God’s truths is essential in successfully crossing the void between us and God.

Trust the Path

Once the wire was strung and anchored to both towers, Phillippe carefully inspected his side of the wire.  However, he had no way to know if the other side was anchored securely!  He had no choice but to trust his partner (who would not be walking on the wire).  Our path to heaven is so much more trustworthy because it was laid by the creator of the universe.  It was bought and paid for with His Blood! (Acts 20:28)  It was tested, proved, and assured by the One who died to get it to the other side and anchored there,  steadfast and sure. (Heb.6:19)

Focus on Him, who’s on the other side.

Eventually, the moment arrived, after all those years of planning and dreaming the young Phillippe would finally walk the walk.  Afterward he would proclaim that looking down never entered his mind. He stayed focused on the objective 150 feet away from him.  So far was the walk that the wire actually faded to the point of vanishing.  Once, near the end of his walk he dared to look down, and it almost was his undoing. He nearly fell at that moment because he lost his focus on the prize.  Now, consider the wire that Jesus has strung for us.  It is narrow but walkable.  It sometimes fades in the distance, but it is there!  We are given ample balance by his strength. We are able to focus by the power of His Words.  We are not buffeted by winds of Satan because we are sealed and protected by the Holy Spirit.  The path will not fall away because Christ made it eternal.  An unlike the towers that fell on that terrible morning so long ago, the tower our path is tied too will never fall. All we have to do is focus on Him, and take a little walk. (Col.2:6-7)

2Co 5:5-7  He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.  So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord,   for we walk byfaith, not by sight.

Darryl Fuller

Call the Man

A leaking copper pipeWe live in a wonderful age in the timeline of human kind; the age of running water in our homes.  It has not even been a hundred years since most of our relatives did not have this luxury.  I can remember as a child, visiting my Uncle Tank and Aunt Arabell’s farm in rural Crenshaw County, Alabama and the running water was a pump you had to prime at the sink.  The other facility was of course an outhouse covered in cobwebs and kudzu, with a dirt floor, plenty of ants and spiders, 100 feet from the back door.  Yes sir, in my lifetime, we have come into the Age of Aquarius, which now I understand to be the age of water in the house. However, with this opulence comes a new set of maintenance woes called plumbing.  The origin of the word “plumbing” comes from the Latin term “plumbum” which had to do with finding the depth of water or exploring and delving into a subject.  Today, plumbing, in my sense of the term is all about directing water from its source outside the house, through its circuit into the house, to its terminus outside the house, without leaking. I have some disdain for plumbing, as do most, but oddly, I’ve grown to appreciate the skill of containing and directing water without breaches.  Water is a chemical bond between two different elements, Hydrogen which contributes two atoms to this trio and one atom of Oxygen.  Together these three atoms require a very impregnable conduit to flow through, for even the tiniest hairline fracture in the pipe will result in a leak.  One drop of water roughly contains 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 H2O molecules. Plumbing is all about keeping the hordes of water molecules from coming through the fortress wall.

Now, the first thing one does with a plumbing problem is look for the quickest fix.  You know in the back of your mind that you should go get all the tools necessary, spare no expense in getting the best material, and tackle the problem far away from where the leak actually occurs.  However, the front of your brain says, “Just slap some silicone to it and get back to your football game.”  Quick fix!  No time to consider the ramifications of letting the army of water droplets find a way around the silicone and/or create new leaks.  You know what you must do, but the other part of your brain  refuses to comply, and soon, because water is tenacious, you’ll pay a greater price for not listening to your wiser half.

I don’t know if Paul knew anything about plumbing, but he did make a similar argument about our propensity to ignore that which we should not ignore.  Rom 7:19-21  For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.  (20)  Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.  (21)  So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. The jest of Paul’s argument in Romans chapter seven is not, “I can’t do it,” but rather, thanks  to Christ, I should now be led by my Spirit (Rom.8) and then, “I can do it!”   Christ has come to pave the way, to show us through His love and sacrifice that if we want, we too can handle the hordes of Satan’s lies and deceit.  We can stop the breach that lets in the evil thoughts and deeds.  When we see evil begin to leak into our homes and know we should fix the problem, don’t slap silicone to it!  Get out the manual (Bible), go and get all the good tools (prayer, brotherly support, meditation, Jesus Christ), and find the source of the problem, not just where the leak is occurring.

Many a person has used Romans seven as an OK to create a bigger problem or for giving up. They may say, “What difference does it make? I’m a sinner, there’s nothing I can do about it.”  They really don’t care about making things right or trying to fix the real problems.  Most of the time their remedy is a quick fix or cover up.  Their thinking may be, “If I can’t see the problem, maybe it’ll go away.”  Paul’s solution to the problem of sin in His life; Jesus Christ!

Andy Griffin once gave Aunt Bea some great advice when their freezer was broken and her solution was to “kick the can down the road”. She wanted to do everything but fix the problem and Andy said, “Aunt Bea, just call the man.”  When you’ve got a leak in the house, call a plumber.  When you’ve got a spiritual leak, call on Christ and fix the problem right.

Darryl Fuller

The Ugly Little Ewe Lamb

(The following story is fiction.  Although the characters names and places are real, the events are purely conjecture on my  part.  David tells King Saul of his experience with a lion and bear in 1 Samuel the 17th chapter, but that is all that God chose to reveal to us of such events.)

It frustrated him to no end, having to trek across the barren hills in the dead of winter, cold and tired from too little sleep, but here he was again, chasing after that ugly little ewe lamb of his father’s.  It was only last week, while feeding them in the sparse, grassy knolls of his father’s ancestral land northeast of Bethlehem, that the odd little lamb wandered off, again! The meek little creature had a way of trying young David’s patience, and tonight was the last straw.  Winter was already a hard time to keep all the sheep together since they all tended to wander further from each other in search of tender grass.  Nighttime was especially hard, since looming just out of sight in the thick cover of darkness were wolves and lions!  Nightly, eerie cries echoed across the hills and vales, reminders of terror that could strike at any moment and take the life of the young sheep or goat. These cries brought forth memories of stories Grandfather Obed told of lions dragging poor shepherds off, never to be seen again.

                It was bad enough to let the predators get to the herd and take one of the flock, but it was a different kind of bad to let his father’s beloved lamb fall prey to the wild beasts.  It was not uncommon for a shepherd to lose three or four animals during the course of the winter months, and it cost the shepherd just about all he made watching them if he lost that many.  During the 3rd hour watch, David climbed out of his cozy bed   and made his usual head count; ninety-nine and one missing!  The ugly little ewe lamb, his father’s favorite.  David gathered his cloak, his staff, his sackcloth, a slingshot, some fig cakes and a few olives.  He quickly filled his worn out wineskin with fresh water from the well, put out the fire and then got his bearing by marking the stars against the hills in the distance.  He hoped that the rest of the flock would stay together for the remainder of the night. Perhaps the lamb had not wandered too far away.  There was no true method to finding a lamb lost in the dark of night, just instinct.  David headed west, further up into the hills, where he hoped to find the animal and keep an eye on the rest of the flock as the sun would come up in a few hours.  Just before sunrise, David stopped to rest.  He had traveled at least an hour with no sign of the wandering animal, and he began to come to the realization that the lamb was lost and he would have to face his father’s wrath.  As with all young men, David liked idleness and playing more than work.  He preferred practicing with his slingshot or bow and arrows, killing small game for food and their skins, rather than tending sheep.  His brothers were off fighting in King Saul’s army, battling the hordes of the wicked barbarians, the Philistines. He longed to be there instead of chasing some ugly, little, ewe lamb.  David knew his father was giving him a lot of rope, seeing his other boys were off fighting a war.  In Jesse’s eyes, his son was merely learning, but his carelessness was beginning to add up. He privately wondered if the boy would ever grow up to be a strong and mighty man like Eliab, his oldest.

              Just as David set down his staff and wineskin and was about to rest under the limbs of a sycamore tree, he heard a deep huffing noise behind him.  David whirled around to behold something he had never seen before.  There in the dim light of the dawn, stood the most enormous beast his eyes had ever beheld, Ursus Syriacus, or Dobe in the Hebrew tongue, a large brown bear!  It was mad! It pawed the ground and swaggered back and forth several times. It grunted and hissed, barked and bellowed every horrible sound imaginable.  Foam and gooey salvia flowed from the around its mouth.  What might have at first been a warning quickly became an assured gauntlet thrown down by the monster.  His fur was as thick as all the rugs in his mother’s tent.  The smell rolling off him was more horrible than all the goats and camels from the caravans in Hebron.  His teeth were huge and ferocious like a cobra but hinged from both top and bottom.  It pounded the ground with both front feet, leaping into the air with his back feet rooted to the ground.  With each pounce he made the ground shook and vibrated with the force of a hundred chariots and horses.  David was truly and visibly frightened.  Nothing in his short life had prepared him for this.  His great grandfather, Boaz, told stories of such animals, beasts who lived in the caves of Mount Hermon far to the north, who could shred a man to pieces with their huge paws.  He told the story once of a man from far away, who ventured into the den of a she-bear with her cubs.  His companions found him the next day, mauled and pulled to pieces, strewn across the mountain he had wandered to close to.  Now, not less than a stone’s throw away, David stood in the presence of such a beast.

                The great bear stopped its rant for a moment and began sniffing the air. Just like that, the raging creature appeared to be calmed.  He took in the scene like a deer raising her head up from the grass to figure out what strange new smell has entered her sphere. Quietly and methodically, the bear swayed back and forth, sniffing the air, seeking with his nose the scent that had so enraged him. David took a deep breath in this moment of calm.  “Perhaps,” he thought, “The trouble is over. The beast has been quieted by the hand of Jehovah, to protect me from destruction.” David grew bold, smiled and laughed to himself.  He was awed by this magnificent sight.  His growing confidence foolishly urged him to stand up and show the beast who was the true champion of all of creation.   It was David who now stomped and pawed at the ground, who kicked the dirt, flayed his arms and yelled in a deep voice, “Who are you? Who are you that defies my father’s fields?  By what strength and might do you come before me, David the son of Jesse? And what have you done to my father’s little ewe lamb?”

                It was not however, the words of David that caught the bear’s attention, but the wind which had reversed its direction and brought with it David’s smell.  The great beast stood up now, and beheld with his poor vision what he had begun to smell earlier.  Unbeknownst to David, he had walked uphill, straight to the bear’s den. As he walked, a slight breeze had blown across him heralding the news of his arrival. Now, standing erect, a little over 9 feet tall, the bear could clearly smell and see this unwelcome trespasser. Fear returned to David’s brain. His breathing increased two-fold, sweat poured from his forehead, his mouth and throat felt as dry as if he had swallowed sand.  His knees began to buckle, his heart raced, his hands trembled.  The great beast made no noise. It merely dropped to all four and made a straight gallop forward, aiming to rip, claw and maw the intruder until it intruded no more.   In a flash David saw the one thing his father said he was truly good at! His sling! He quickly grabbed the sling and ran.  He needed more distance between himself and the beast, and he needed ammunition.  The sling was only as good as the object it was slinging.  In his haste of finding the lamb, he forgot to gather smooth stones for the sling. Now he was running for his life with a weapon but no arsenal for it.  The bear was gaining fast!  How could such a large animal, that seemed to lumber about, be so quick? Its name, Dobe, meant slow, but it was quickly drawing near, and still David had no rock.   As David ran for his life, his thoughts raced,   “I’ll only get one shot at this at best, so I’ve got to make it good on the first shot.”   Suddenly, David stumbled over something on the ground.  He fell over and landed in blood, lots of blood. There in the blood was the perfect stone, about 1.5 pounds. It was perfectly smooth, without the jaggedness that could make the sling fire awkwardly  and miss its intended target.  He picked it up, scrambled to his feet, and resumed his sprint, but the beast had gained considerably.  The bear paused now, the scent of the man had changed because of the blood that now covered him, and this confused him.  However, as soon as David began running again, the bear caught sight and pursued his chase.  David spotted his destination, a huge outcrop of rock 50 yards ahead.  With the bear a scant, few yards behind him, David leaped to a pedestal rock, slipping as the bear closed the gap. He managed to regain his footing and pulled his way clear and up the remainder of the rock face, standing about five feet above the ground.  The bear was briefly taken aback. David knew the bear would soon learn how to climb the rock pile and scamper up, cornering him against the cliff at his back.  David had maybe 7 seconds, ten at best before the bear would get to him. He quickly buried the stone deep into the pouch of the sling, unraveled the leather strap and twirled it around his head three times before letting one leg of the strap loose behind him.   The centrifugal force of momentum carried the stone around in its arc and out of the pouch in front of David.  What seemed like an eternity was actual only a fraction of a second.  The smooth, blood-stained rock found its target, just above the left eye of the beast, the same moment it was about to leap on David.  The bear never knew what hit him! At the foot of a little shepherd boy lay the body of a dead 1100 pound bear.

                David had no knife or sword to skin the beast. Who would believe his story?  After gathering his strength and thanking Jehovah for his victory and life, young David gathered himself and headed back to retrieve his belongings.  As he traced his steps back, he encountered the place where he had stumbled. His elation soon turned to agony, for the object he had stumbled over was the little ewe lamb.  It had been killed by the beast, clawed and ripped open. The small creature’s lifeless, wool body was covered in blood.  David realized that the blood that he was covered in was the blood of the poor little ewe lamb. This blood had covered the rock that he used to kill the bear.  How would he ever tell his father?  His father would never believe he had killed a bear trying to rescue the lamb from its mouth.

                A few days later, David returned to his father’s home with the other 99 sheep. He humbly bowed before his father and with tears recounted the story of the bear and death of the little ewe lamb.  David thought surely his father’s wrath would be more than he could endure, but to David’s surprise, his father cried aloud and held him tightly.  Bewildered, David asked, “Father, you are not angry with me for losing your beloved ewe lamb?” “No, my son,” Jesse said, “Although I truly adored that little, ugly lamb, I adore you even more. Now I know that Jehovah God is truly great and longs to save us of our wrongful ways.  For on the day, when you set out to rescue the ugly little ewe lamb that I so adored, that beautiful little ewe lamb poured out his blood on the stone, that saved you.”

 

Darryl Fuller

So Far Away

new_horizons_050901_02 (1)On July 14th at 7:49 a.m., a tiny spacecraft called New Horizon will fly within 7,700 miles of Pluto.  Pluto, which is now considered a dwarf planet, is some 3 billion miles away, so far away, that it takes Pluto 246 years to make one revolution around the sun.  It has taken 9 ½ years for this probe, about the size of a grand piano, to travel that distance at an amazing break-neck speed of 31,000 mph.  How far are 3 billion miles?  Consider this; it takes 4 ½ hours to send a signal to the spacecraft and then 4 ½ hours for the reply.  Imagine calling a friend on the phone and asking the question, “How are you?” and then 9 hours later receiving a reply, “Not very well!”.  At 31,000 mph, one could travel from Birmingham, Alabama to New York City in 1 ½ minutes and around the world in 46 minutes, but to get to Pluto it took 9 ½ years! That’s far away!

                How far are you from God?  Since God is eternal, time and distance are really irrelevant for Him.  2Peter 3:8  But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.  When Hezekiah learned of his life-ending sickness, he sought God in prayer.  Isaiah the prophet had just given the news to Hezekiah, and before he could leave the next room God answered his prayer and gave him fifteen more years.  He demonstrated the truth of His promise by making the shadow go backwards on the stairs, or in other words- God altered time.  (2 Kings 20, Isa. 38).   God did the same for Joshua, by making time stand still in the Valley of Aijalon. (Jos.10).

However, God’s promises to Abraham were not completely fulfilled until Christ died on the cross.  (I Co.1:30, Gal.3:16, Gal.3:28) some 2000 years later.  In Peter’s day, Christians were getting impatient, believing the second coming of Christ was not going to happen.  Doubters cried out, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”2 Pet.3:4.  Peter addressed this error with the following response, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” 2Pe 3:9.  

                Since that was penned, 2000 years have passed. We are still waiting patiently for our Lord’s return and scoffers are still scoffing.  If we could have traveled at the speed of the New Horizon Spacecraft (31,000 mph) over that period of time, we would have traveled 630 Billion miles.   That’s only 10% of 1 one light year, not even a quarter of the way to our nearest neighboring star!  If one were to observe such movement from say the other end of the Galaxy, it would look as if we had not moved at all.

                How far away is God?  If you love and obey His voice as did Hezekiah, He is only a few steps across a room.  If you scoff, doubt, or disbelieve; He is further than you can even imagine.  Remember these words of James, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  (8)  Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” James 4:7-8 

 Darryl Fuller

Out of Control

raging fireFive months have elapsed since the beginning of my garage construction project.  Shortly after the project began, a small debris pile accumulated some distance away from the garage. Each day the pile grew with leftover material from that day’s construction.  The heap has grown exponentially since the end of the project some three months ago. What started out as a small pile now encompassed an area 15 feet by 6 feet by 5 feet tall.  It contained both treated and non-treated lumber, cardboard boxes, felt paper, plastic, sheetrock, sawdust, roofing, etc.  I thought about hauling it off, but dreaded the work, so I determined that on the right day, I would incinerate it to oblivion. I knew this was going to be an intense fire, not only because of its size, but also of its contents! Indeed was I right! This fire at times scared me a little.  At the apex of the conflagration, flames leaped upwards to a height well above 20 feet.  I kept a stream of water around the perimeter and you could actually see the water dry as the intense heat radiated out in waves.  I thought I had picked a day free of wind, but once the fire started, every slight breeze bellowed the flames as if they were being driven by a hurricane.  I prevailed in burning the pile without burning my house or half of Shelby County, but truthfully I should have picked a rainy day and enlisted help. The fire was a raging beast, that by God’s grace, was controlled and eventually quieted.

We often forget that our tongues, likewise, can be this raging inferno! James 3:5 So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!  Usually too, it’s a fire set ablaze of all the waste and junk that we’ve accumulated over time in our hearts.  We set about to light the fire, not thinking of what is in the pile that will burn or how we will be able to put it out until it’s too late! The fire begins, it consumes and just when we think we can control it, Satan blow his fierce wind across it and souls are scorched. Perhaps we should employ some methods in which to deal with this raging blaze that is our tongues.

                First and foremost, don’t ignite!  Prov.21:23 says, The one who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps his life   from troubles. The rule of silence is always best. Often, I’ve thought of saying something, when my conscience said, “Don’t say it!” but my mouth spoke it, and my heart hurt from speaking it.  There are better ways of dealing with the pile of garbage we accumulate. Hauling it off on the dump truck of prayer is best.

                If you must burn, clean and clear the area around your fire.  It takes a great deal of work to tidy up around your pile, but making sure the fire has no escape is prudent. Prov.12:18 There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, But the tongue of the wise brings healing.  By cleaning and preparing, one has time to reflect and think carefully about next steps.  Before you light the fire, think about the ways the fire will spread. Think about how it might escape. Ask, “What will happen if it gets out of this area? Can it jump from here to there?” 

                Be prepared for the worst!  I learned many years ago, (when I let a brush pile get out of hand), that when I light a fire, I must be able to put it out! I try never to light a fire unless I can run a water hose to it. I never start a fire unless I’ve got fire breaks between it and other flammable material.  Call me overly cautious, but with a fire, even when you’ve taken all the precautions, things can go wrong quickly.  So it is with our speech.  If we are not prepared for the inferno that can rage, we best not play with it at all. Prov.18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.  

                We are exhorted to love our fellow brothers through words of encouragement and at times words of chastisement.  This can be a warm and comforting fire.  It should not be a blast furnace that can melt steel.  Either way, lighting a fire is a serious thing.  Take a lot of precautions before you flick the match.

Darryl Fuller

Life in the Slow Lane

biker slow

 On the road this morning I met a man riding his bike into Columbiana.  Some of you may have encountered this young man, who bikes everyday from Shelby to Columbiana and vice-versa. He is usually packing what appears to be a guitar strapped across his back, slowly pushing his bike up hills with laborious effort. He minds the right of way, always staying on the proper side of the road, near the shoulder, but his wobbly movement is a bit troubling.  I offered him a ride once, but I think all I did was frighten him, for he kept his head down and made no gesture to stop.  Usually I’m passing him, along with others who have got caught behind and are anxious to move around. Some people are patient and clearly make an effort to give him a wide berth while others are terse and come frightfully close. I so desperately want to advise this fellow how dangerous it is for him to ride on such a busy highway, and warn him of the impatient drivers that he can’t see behind him. Then, this morning, I saw something that changed my mind, or at least got me to not be so anxious for his sake. He was trekking his way into Columbiana with at least 6 cars in tow. He was smiling from ear to ear! He had not a care in the world, and was not concerned that those behind him were being held up or troubled by their impatient countenance. It’s hard not to take in that scene and smile. One man working as hard as he can to get where he wants to go on a bike, in the heat, with a load, smiling; six others, in the ease of their vehicles, seating comfortably in their air cooled compartments, trying to get somewhere important, in a hurry, with frowns and grimaces. Perhaps I’m anxious and concerned for the wrong person(s).  Better to be in danger with a sunny disposition, than in relative safety with a pout. He at least had a helmet on, both feet at work, both hands on the handlebars, concentrated on the task at hand. We may think we’re safer in a car or truck, but we are closer to the yellow line, that invisible barrier that separates us from the other impatient, uptight, frowning motorists.  We don’t wear helmets; we’re distracted by the slow traffic ahead, or the fast talking and texting going on in our head.  His music is tucked away safely, turned off until he gets where he’s going, and then he’ll make his own music and probably enjoy it even more. Our music or talk radio is usually loud and conducive for high blood pressure. He’s at work, going uphill and happy. I’m at ease, going downhill and worried.

As Christians in this world, we should see ourselves as that fellow on the bike, always on the go, never in fear of what is behind us, ever pedaling, striving, pushing to get to our destination. We should take some precautions, like wearing a helmet made to protect our heads (the helmet of salvation!). Above all else, in whatever our circumstance, be happy and smile.  After all, our Father is waiting on us to get home, where we can rest and make beautiful music together with Him, forever!  Deut. 33:29  Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD, the shield of your help, and the sword of your triumph! Your enemies shall come fawning to you, and you shall tread upon their backs.”

Darryl Fuller

 

 

 

Smells Soooo Good!

For some unknown reason, breakfast at my Grandmother’s house still holds the blue ribbon. Breakfast is good just about anywhere, but according to my memory banks, it resonates strongest from a little farmhouse hidden from the world by 120 acres of orange trees at zip code 33805 (Gibsonia, Florida). good smells The aromas are the triggers.  The combination of several smells usually brings back the full experience. My grandmother always squeezed fresh orange juice, and it filled the whole house the moment she sliced one in half. Soon after, came the smell of fresh flour and buttermilk for the biscuits.  She would retrieve a huge jar of fig preserves and dip out a large amount into a bowl, the smell of which was delightful  and extraordinary when properly applied to a hot buttered biscuit.  Then the coup d’état over all others, the smell of bacon! No greater smell hath mortal man than the aroma of bacon frying in a pan. In addition, last but not least were the coffee and eggs, butter and cheese.  It’s the smell of these farm delights coupled with the aroma of that house.  The different blends of pine, oak and cedar and the orange trees wafted through the open windows.  Grandpa’s tobacco and leather boots, Grandma’s kitchen bowls and towels and metal utensils. Everything had a smell, most of them pleasant and to this day it still wafts its way into my nostrils.

A great gift from God is our sense of smell. More complex than sight is our ability to register quantum amounts of information via our noses. Good or bad, smells trigger massive data storage within our brain to help to determine if we should fight, flight or feast.  Anosmia is the inability to perceive  odor or a lack of functioning olfaction.  Although it is not fatal, the inability to smell is very dangerous and can lead to death or severe injury.  Smells warn of impending dangers such as toxins and poisons.

In the grand arrangement of God’s creation, almost everything emits some kind of odor.  This crucial building block, the ability to smell or detect smells, is also helpful to us spiritually as we look to grow to be more like He is.

2Co 2:12-14  When I came to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ, even though a door was opened for me in the Lord,  (13)  my spirit was not at rest because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I took leave of them and went on to Macedonia.  (14)  But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. From these verses we learn a couple of things;

1. Paul wanted to preach the Gospel in Troas, but not having Titus with him made him uneasy and so he left.

2. Although he didn’t preach in Troas(at that time), His presence was so strong it had the saving effect anyhow.

Although Paul is instrumental in bringing so many to Christ and establishing churches throughout the Roman Empire, it is not Paul but the fragrance of Christ that won men over. In the case of Troas, that aroma was so powerful, that Paul did not even need to spend time there for there to be success.

                Now this odor we emit can be pleasing or it can be foul.  When we present ourselves before the world, is Christ truly in our lives? Do the sweet smells of Christ emanate from us or the stench of hypocrisy?  Will our fellow man be gifted with the sweet aroma of the Gospel by the things he sees and hears from us, or will he hide his face from the foul smell of apathy, lukewarmness or shameful activity?    Through us, is the fragrance of the knowledge of Christ being spread?  Odors trigger memories.  Maybe the scent you leave will trigger a fond memory and bring someone to Christ.  Let us all make sure we’re wearing that wonderful fragrance.

Darryl Fuller

 

Entangled

The surreal and ominous thing about sin is its ability to draw us into it, and the minute we’ve committed whatever trespass, we long to be freed from its tentacle grip. Like a moth drawn to the luminous foreboding of a light bulb, caught in its grip, until the heat of the light or the spider which takes the opportunity given it to devour those that come so close. SW15God warned Cain in Gen. If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” (Gen 4:7) Once Cain sinned, he was caught in its web. Listen to his predicament:Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the Earth and whoever finds me will kill me.”(Gen 4:13-14).  Cain’s sin of murdering his brother, Abel, has dire consequences. God warned Cain not of the consequences but the overall condition of sin – enslavement and separation! “Its desire is for you”, was God’s warning to Cain. Satan wishes nothing better than to trap you in his web. His desire is to have you and hold you there in misery for all eternity. The serpent of old doesn’t care for your soul; he only wants you to react to circumstances that trouble you now. Someone is making you feel unhappy, unwanted, less than you think you should be, over-shadowing your potential, making you to feel unappreciated? The Devil says react, don’t let them do you that way, get even, get back at them, slander them, curse them, hurt them, leave them, do anything that you can because it won’t matter. God says, you must rule over that feeling, you can and you should rule over sin! Cain didn’t listen to God; he listened to Satan and was caught in the web.

David faced the same circumstances in life by giving in to the voices of lust and envy. David moved further into this spiral, attracted to the false light (Bathsheba), mesmerized by her beauty, hypnotized by want and desire, captured by lust, trapped forever in the sin of adultery, bound by chains to the guilt of innocent blood (Uriah).  When these terrible sins are made visible to a blinded King David, by Nathan, David’s sorrow and enslavement has just begun. Once caught in this vicious entanglement, happiness and joy are no longer:Make me to hear joy and gladness, that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.(Psa 51:8)

The guilt of his trespass is forever there: For I know my transgressions; and my sin is ever before me. (Psa 51:3)

The fear of separation from God looms:Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. (Psa 51:11)

The garments of dirt and shame are worn daily:Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. (Psa 51:2)

For David, life would not be the same. Death and sorrow plagued his household, murder, rebellion, rape, incest to name a few. Once he crossed that threshold, he was no longer in control; he had sold that over to Satan. David knew who could purge him from this guilt and with tears and much petition he went to God and begged for mercy. God, of course, heard his prayers, forgave his sins and saved his soul, but the scars of guilt and sorrow would forever be there. Our Lord has paid the price to ransom our souls from Hell. He has freed us from the enslavement of sin with the price of His blood.  And being made free from sin, ye became servants of righteousness. (Rom 6:18)

Since He paid such a dear price, we are forewarned! Don’t get near the web, don’t even think about it. For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more a sacrifice for sins, (Heb 10:26).

Darryl Fuller

More than all the books

library-stacksA little over two years ago, I took up a new adventure by learning to play the guitar. What began as an expression to Beth about how I would like to play the guitar, led to her buying me one and encouraging me to try it. From the beginning I’ve come to appreciate how huge a learning curve there is to playing such an instrument. There are literally hundreds of chords and variations of these chords in triads and many different scales. There is the training of your fingers, the coordination of your hand and mind, learning how to keep time, etc. It is a whole new language that requires a lot of practice and patience. It is unbelievable the amount of knowledge one must obtain in order to master the guitar or really any musical instrument.

The great thing that God has provided us is the capability to learn and add to our knowledge banks with even more knowledge. If we are willing to spend the time and energy, and discipline ourselves to learning, there is not much that we can’t learn or gain.  Now comprehend what He has done for us through Christ. “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith–that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.“ (Ephesians 3:14-19)

The very power that made the universe can and will reside in you if you have accepted His son. Now with this power is the capability of limitless possibilities. Look at what Paul says, “To know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge”. The capability that I have to learn and gain knowledge here and now is actually limited. There is something however, that is not limited, and that’s the love of Christ. God gave me the ability to learn and know about Christ, and when I believe and obey Christ, God gives me something greater. He gives me the power to comprehend the fullness of Himself. Gaining knowledge is not the answer, gaining Christ is.

Now it would be great if one could say, “I’m going to learn to play the guitar,” and then play like an expert once you have sat down and read all there is about it. However, one key ingredient is left out of that scenario, practice! Hours of practice! Days on end of practice! Most of the people that I’ve talked to that can play really well, have been playing the guitar their whole life. The same holds true to being masters of His divine nature (2 Peter 1:3-4). In order to partake of these great blessings we’re going to have to be disciplined and practice. “Asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” (Colossians 1:9-10)

Partakers of His divine nature, filled with all the fullness of God, having the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge! What power, what glory, what blessings we have in Christ. All this is freely given, we just need to accept His love, obey His command and discipline our lives to walk as He walks, and talk as He talks. “Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress.” (1 Timothy 4:15)

Now the possibilities are limitless! Through Jesus Christ we truly can do all things. “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

Darryl Fuller