What the Tangerine Taught Me

 

I’m all dried up…or at least that’s what it feels like. It’s not true, though the winter drags long with below normal temperatures.

 

It feels endless…
After three days writing, I have come up with nothing but a couple of pages about a dying tree, that’s not finished, and I think I may quit this gig and get on with my life.

 

…but for a tangerine.

 

In case you don’t know, somewhere in recent decades the tangerine became a Clementine. Why I don’t know, but let’s take a look at the one I just peeled…and ate… v e r y s l o w l y.

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When life is boring-normal most days and winter the same, I have to get out into the cold, and refresh my dulled brain. I read God’s word and pray but nothing seems to “grab” me in any special way. I need a wake up!

 

I need a word from you Lord!

 

Then it comes…as I pull out a cool tangerine from the fridge and start the slow peel. My thumb bursts open the end of it, and I grab and pull back the curved skin. It comes easy and in just seconds the peel is gone.

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I pull at the little strings around each section and eat one small piece slowly, savoring the tangy juices on my tongue.

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It’s joy! And you think I’ve lost my mind. No, seriously…it was if I had never tasted a tangerine in my whole life. It was perfect sweetness.

 

I had a word…a taste from the goodness of God.

 

In the normal and the cold I forgot to wait for God. My eyes focused too much on the boring-normal and I saw nothing. I forgot to keep my eye out for the unusual, the awesome, or just small things.

 

That tangerine was a gift for that day.

 

Humanly speaking, the boring-normal feels endless, but endless is not possible except with God.

 

He is endless, never changing, and he’s faithful when we are not. How can he still be the same before earth and the stars were created, and yet He will not end?

 

There is no beginning or end to the I AM.

 

Oh, and by the way…I drove to town to have coffee with a daughter yesterday. The sun was shining as I drove over the Chenango River,and a low flying bald eagle soared with all his bold beauty in front of me.

 

It made my day.

 

In all things give thanks.

The Journey

One more day you and I wake and put on daily routine, without a thought to what is happening around us. Our American media drones on and on about what we are putting into our bodies, loading guilt on us to stop eating fast food but to take drugs to mask our symptoms of illness.

 

Images of perfect bodies haunt us and we are never satisfied with our few extra pounds, pimpled face, straggly hair, and older age frumpiness.

 

Aren’t you sick of it? Sick to death of it?

 

I just want to hear one word of kindness, one action of sacrifice…but not so for those who die for Christ.

 

Those twenty-one men who knelt bravely…those heads literally rolled away.

 

We must remember—they were not alone.

 

At their sacrifice the Savior of the world brought grace and something of euphoria happened right then. Those men were enveloped in the Holy One.  No, they were not rescued, they were martyred and Christ was there.

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Google Image

 

Surrender…they have learned true surrender to the God of the Ages. They must have known their lives were on the line.

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NY Post image

 

I cry as I pray for those at http://www.persecution.com.   What do those who suffer wonder as America pulls back?

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Does the whole world groan so that whole earth will burst apart?

 

Don’t we all continue to cry out to the Holy One, the great-unanswered questions?

 

How can You watch this anymore? Why do You hold back Your Holy anger?

 

While so many are blinded by Shades of Grey and perfect body molding, a day at the casino, a new Audi, a second house, or risking life defying gravity off some mountain in Norway.

 

What are the rest of us doing?

 

What is the church saying?

 

What am I saying?

 

The worst of all is that I question if Christ comes first in my life—ahead of my family. When it comes down to real sacrifice, real surrender—am I ready? Am I willing to kneel and let my head roll? Do I even think such a thing is possible in America? You better believe it.

 

We can put our life’s energy into family; to love them, pray over them, to keep them safe, but in the end we are helpless. Yes, helpless. Christ is every ounce of strength that comes from my body, mind and soul. He is the Life Giver, the Strength, and the I AM.

 

But what does it really mean to us that Christ comes first? Do we have any idea at all? Those of us born in America, not born a slave, not ever persecuted for race or faith.

 

We don’t have a clue.

 

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be members of his own household.

Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”


Matt. 10:34-39 NIV

 

How hard are these words Christ spoke. Did the disciples ever understand this until the end? Can we begin to understand this?

 

We see this hatred every day. Why are we still dazed at our wonder and ask—what on earth is going on? We shouldn’t be surprised, He said it.

 

The picture of twenty-one men sticks in my mind, my dreams. I fear for those I love, and maybe at the end, I will bear up under the strength of Christ.

 

The Plan is in place.

 

The victory is already won.

 

We must battle on.

 

 

“They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb

and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much

as to shrink from death.”

 

Revelation 12:11 (NIV)

 

 

 

“O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you,

my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

 

I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.

Because your love is better than life,

My lips will glorify you.

 

I will praise you as long as I live,

And in your name I will lift up my hands.”

 

Psalm 63:1-4 NIV