Joel Bridges' personal blog

Archive for December, 2008

The Good Shepherd

“He was the most balanced & perhaps the most beloved being ever to enter the society of men.  Though born amid most disgusting surroundings, the member of a modest working family, He bore Himself always with great dignity & assurance.  Though He enjoyed no special advantages as a child, either in education or employment, His entire philosophy & outlook on life were the highest standards of human conduct ever set before mankind.  Though He had no vast economic assets, political power, or military might, no other person ever made such an enormous impact on the world’s history.  Because of Him, millions of people across almost twenty centuries of time have come into a life of decency & honor & noble conduct. 

Not only was He gentle & tender & true but also righteous, stern as steel, & terribly tough on phony people.” 

from A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by W Phillip Keller

Thanks Randy

The Delight Song

I am the crest of the new fallen snow

I am the colored leaves in fall

I am the whisper of the windy breeze

I am the swish of silent water

I am the petals of a flower in spring

I am the music of the world

I am the soft cloud in the blue sky

I am the still bright moon

I am the warm golden sun

I am the noise of rain

I am the pitter patter of little feet

I am the artist who paints the earth

At the death of a parent

Yesterday Roye shared some beautiful words from a local pastor, who got to know my dad in the last few years of his life.   He spoke very highly of my dad & the positive influence he had on his ministry…how they would meet regularly, kneel down & pray with tears for his church.  He wanted the church to adapt & do whatever it took to reach the lost.  It made me very proud to hear this, almost 9 years after his death.  My father gave me a tremendous example to follow.  I can only pray that I can be such an example to my daughter &  honor his memory with my life. 

My wife lost her mother when she was a teenager.  She lost her father a few days after our daughter was born.  Her daddy was also a shining example of a true man of God.  He spent his life helping & serving others, giving his blood, sweat & tears for his church, but he was also his daughter’s best friend, her rock & her inspiration.  She found this prayer on an index card stuck in a file, hand-written by a friend at college, so many years ago, but it seems to have found it’s way back into her hands…

“Father, I have so much to be thankful for today.  My father lived long enough for me to know him.  Strengthen me now for the responsibility that I inherit today.  If in your Providence, I am ever entrusted with a high & honorable title of parenthood, may I live that I may be an unfailing source of wisdom, security, & encouragement to my children.  Remove the guilt of my grief today.  From this loss, I find that I could & should have done more.  But I am not perfect.  You know this, & my father knew this.  I thank you for flooding this moment of my life with divine forgiveness.  You are righting every wrong & I thank you.  As the fruit of the love of my father & mother, I shall live on.  I dedicate & commit myself to live honorably & respectfully so that the remainder of my years brings no disgrace to my family’s name.  I rejoice & thank you for Christ’s promise of eternal life.  “He who lives & believes in me shall never die.  In my father’s house there are many mansions.”  I am strengthened now by your Word:  “When my father & mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up”  I know that sorrow never leaves us where it finds us.  I remember it is not what happens to me in life, but how I react to what happens to me that is supremely important.  Now God, you will be constantly my heavenly parent.  “Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning”.  Amen

From Positive Prayers for Power Filled Living by Robert Schuller

All The World’s a Stage

Am I telling God, “Put me up on a stage under the spotlight & let all the world see my wonderful gifts”  or am I asking God to place me on the altar so I can go through the fire to burn, purify & separate me…?

The Ocean Blue

Man has looked up at the sky with wonder & amazement for eons.  He’s seen the ocean’s waves crashing on the shore for centuries…it’s nothing new.  But when he sees the world through the eyes of The Spirit, he sees it all from a different perspective.   The Holy Spirit in us confirms the beauty of God’s creation.   The world was created by His Word & upheld by the power of His Word.  We see the ocean blue with new eyes;  God’s handy work, His artistry painted in the skies. 

After my daughter was born, it seems like all the hostility in my life has evaporated.  This new life has brought my entire family into a beautiful place, where we can all focus our love & attention on this little girl, & it causes us to see each other in a different light…the way it should be.

That’s what the Holy Spirit can do in our lives.  He can melt away all the hostility & bitterness, so the walls dissolve & everything comes into brilliant focus.  We find it easy to show our love & give ourselves to each other…the way it should be.

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky

Taken from The Love of God

By Frederick Lehman

What is this?

This isn’t struggling to stay afloat

This is catching the top of a wave & riding it all the way to the shore

This isn’t barely making it to heaven by the skin of your teeth

This is living life abundantly, to the fullest

This isn’t sinking lower in the mud

This is taking another step higher on the Rock

Not just surviving, but triumphing

Not a barren desert, but rivers of living water

Not how much you can get away with, but how much you can give

Not boring & cold, but alive & on fire

Not bread & water, but His Word, His body, & His blood

Not getting a buzz or getting high, but getting forgiveness & getting peace