Help for the Spiritually Scattered

Maybe if you’re a parent, you’ve heard the term bandied around — “executive functioning.”  It’s a set of skills that some of us, well, lack — the ability to be efficient, be organized, Get It Together.  It comes up in conversation along with words like underperforming, procrastination, and Attention Deficit Disorder.  It’s my nemesis.  And as I was researching how to help my sadly saddled child, inheritor of my weaknesses, I got to thinking about how this scatterbrained tendency impacts people spiritually.  Where does a person start a project that huge, a lifetime of walking with God?  How can you whittle down a thousand page book to a do-able daily goal?

That’s where this article was born, and I hope it offers some of y’all a breath of fresh air.  “Ten Verses for the Spiritually Scattered”

Photo on Visualhunt

Thankful

for the small things: light on water, shaded forest, laughter ringing

clear my mind to see your beauty

make me thankful, Lord

for the moments gone forever, conversations, love so fleeting,

give me power to remember,

make me thankful, Lord

all the gifts declare your kindness, 

joyful Father, loving Friend,

make me long for you, my portion

sweeter, higher, without end

 

for the shocking incarnation, setting glory to the side,

Jesus, King come as a baby

make me thankful, Lord

for the shocking death you suffered, love propelling Love to die,

Jesus, King killed as a pauper

make me thankful, Lord

all the gifts declare your goodness, 

humble Savior, loving Friend,

make me long for you, Redeemer,

sweeter, higher, without end

 

for the breath of God upon me, blowing through me, to renew me

in my weakness, grace unstinting,

make me thankful, Lord

for the suffering, give me vision of your purpose, of your wisdom

tease out meaning, comfort me

make me thankful, Lord

all the gifts declare your mercy, 

tender Spirit, loving Friend

make me taste your kind compassion,

sweeter, higher, without end

 

for the final destination, journey ending, sailing home

rest and healing, joy and beauty,

make us hopeful, Lord

for the moment we will see you, hear you calling, “welcome home!”

feel your arms in love surround us,

make us hopeful, Lord

all the gifts declare your brightness, 

glimpses in the dreams you send,

make us thankful for a future

sweeter, higher, without end

Billy Graham is 99

My husband can do a mean Billy Graham impersonation.  His voice drops an octave, his eyes start to twinkle, and in his best Southern accent, he implores, “Come on down, just come as you are.  Come on down.”  Billy, as you’ve probably heard, hit 99 today — 99 years on planet Earth.  The man was born in 1918, between two world wars, before polio was eradicated, before Twinkies or Elvis or NASA.  He lived through a tumultuous century of wars and scandals and Al Gore inventing the internet.  He was friends with 12 presidents of the United States and spoke in all the far-flung corners of the world, from a divided Berlin to backwater outposts of Africa — topping 185 countries in all.  Pretty good globetrotting for a guy who was born in the days of the Model T.

But how in the world did Billy Graham catapult onto a world stage?

How a gangly Southerner speaking the same old message over and over again could powerfully rivet stadiums full of skeptics is a mystery — the mystery of the gospel.  At bottom, it is a simple (nevertheless astonishing) story of a murdered Jewish carpenter and his subsequent rising again.  Crazy.  And Billy never tried to improve on it, he stuck to the facts.  Come on down, Billy said.  “Believe that Christ died for you. He suffered for you. He won the battle over sin for you. He rose from the grave and was victorious over death so that you can live forever.”

In honor of old Reverend Graham and the faithful, inspiring life he’s led, I give you a dozen great Graham quotes.  Seems Billy and I like to natter on about the same subjects; these quotes all hit on a topic from Thirty Thousand Days.  I think that’s fitting, since Billy has lived exactly 36,160 days today.

Seeing Eternally

“I often wonder if God, in His sovereignty, allows the eyesight of the aged to cast a dim view of the here and now so that we may focus our spiritual eyes on the ever after.”

Worshipping Wholeheartedly

“The highest form of worship is the worship of unselfish Christian service. The greatest form of praise is the sound of consecrated feet seeking out the lost and helpless.”

Walking Purposefully

“Strengthen your commitment to Christ—now. Don’t wait until the storms of temptation, or sickness, or old age threaten to blow you off-course; now is the time to strengthen your faith.”

Caring Passionately

“We should be about our Father’s business by pouring His compassionate love into aching and parched souls that have nowhere to turn, no one to love, and no one to care. Let them see Jesus in us. That is a living testimony.”

Giving Generously

“God has given us two hands – one to receive with and the other to give with. We are not cisterns made for hoarding; we are channels made for sharing.”

Holding Loosely

“…we are dissatisfied. We want more, more, more. But Jesus said, ‘You cannot serve God and money.’ He said that a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things that he possesses. Adolf Berle, in his study of power, points out that riches often make people solitary and lonely and, of course, afraid. Many times a rich man knows loneliness and fear, because when he makes wealth his god, it leaves him empty. You see, without God life loses its zest and purpose and meaning.”

Loving Deeply

“The greatest need in the world is the transformation of human nature. We need a new heart that will not have lust and greed and hate in it. We need a heart filled with love and peace and joy, and that is why Jesus came into the world.”

Standing Firm

“I feel sorry for the man who has never known the bracing thrill of taking a stand and sticking to it fearlessly. Moral courage has rewards that timidity can never imagine. Like a shot of adrenaline, it floods the spirit with vitality.”

Choosing Light

“No matter how dark and hopeless a situation might seem, never stop praying.”

Rest

“Humanity wants comfort in its sorrow, light in its darkness, peace in its turmoil, rest in its weariness, and healing in its sickness and diseases: The Gospel gives all of this to us.”

Unhooked and Unhindered

“A real Christian is the one who can give his pet parrot to the town gossip.”

Home

“My home is in Heaven. I’m just traveling through this world.”

A man who has lived nearly forty thousand days exceedingly well is a guy we should all be asking how to live.  As Mr. Graham so eloquently put it, “The legacy we leave is not just in our possessions, but in the quality of our lives. The greatest waste in all of our earth, which cannot be recycled or reclaimed, is our waste of the time that God has given us each day.”  I’d say he used his time pretty darn well.

Eternal Perspective Excerpt

From Thirty Thousand Days!

“We are very, very small. Consider for a moment that there are over 100 billion stars in the Milky Way alone, and that the Milky Way is only one of billions of galaxies. Try to fathom for a moment the unfathomable distance between each of these perpetually exploding balls of gas — perhaps 20 million million miles between stars — then head out to your front yard and look up.  Reel, dizzy, under that spinning disco-ball — do you feel appropriately humble?”  Read more at crosswalk!