Saturday, June 19, 2021


There was once a day when my older brother got…tired.  I think that it was mostly due to the fact that I ran over his face with my bike. He is entirely to blame.  Yes, it was my idea to race down the hill, but it was his idea to take a head start.  He crashed in front of me as he looked back to measure how quickly I was gaining on him.  He went down…and I went over him.  He got tired.

Now 35 years later, I often feel like my brother, only it is my children who are running over my face with proverbial bike tires.

“Dad, I got a fishhook in my finger!”

“Dad, I dropped a knife and chipped the floor!”

“Dad, I ran into your truck with mom’s car!”

“Dad, all of the water is running out of the pool!”

“Dad, the washing machine is making a funny noise!”

“Dad, I just spilled Coke all over the floor as I was secretly trying to sneak a drink before you saw me!”

Seventeen years of parenting has certainly left “tired” tracks all over my head and face. 

I remember that first year of parenting.  My wife and I had so much energy then…now it seems like too much work just to go to bed!  When our oldest daughter was born we would religiously apply SPF 250 sunscreen on her delicate skin 20 minutes before heading outside on a cloudy day, only to reapply within 5 minutes of the sun peeking out from behind a cloud.  Now, we grunt and say…“Hey, you better put some sunscreen on.” We are usually ignored…which gives us no choice but to insert an, “I told you so,” after they burn their delicate, now incredibly tender skin.

Let’s be honest.  We get tired.  Parenting will wear people out.  That is why parenting is for the young.  The more kids that one has…the more tired that person becomes.  Then, the next thing you know, your 4th child is putting your socks on for you and telling you that you should drink water and put on sunscreen before you go outside.  Little do they know that a parent of 4 children (or more) has no intention of leaving the sofa.

Revelation 14 gave us a contrast of rest.  We read about how the followers of Satan will find NO rest, while the followers of Christ, though persecuted and even killed, will find a REST from their labors and struggles. Now in Revelation 15-16, we see God’s final wrath against sin and evil is poured out upon the earth and the enemies of God. Yet, in these chapters I am struck with God’s relentless, never ending, and tireless pursuit of people.  He is constantly drawing people to himself, desiring that they repent and turn to Him.  He never seems to get tired of calling us…He never seems to get tired of loving us and pulling us in. 

Oh, to find the rest in Jesus…whose yoke is easy…and His burden is light.  May we come to respond to God’s call…to repent and step into that rest!

Saturday, June 12, 2021

 Cut Down

The intense heat of this past week has left my lawn looking like the blotchy, scaly skin of a confused chameleon. The timing of the powerful heat and lack of rain wreaked havoc.  In addition, we were gone to Nashville during the week which left the formerly green lawn unattended and vulnerable to the deranged effects of the relentless 99 degree heat.  This has cut my pride in lawn care deeply…which was already fragile.

We don’t see these temperatures often in Minnesota.  Yet, it left me reminded of my childhood.  Not just because of the heat that I often experienced after my backside had been lit up due to my disobedient choices…but also because it seemed that the sweltering heat of summer would make the already miserable childhood house chores that much more unbearable.  As you may recall from past blogs, my dad had an affinity for planting large gardens and then employing 4 underage workers to cultivate the 2 acres of miserable vegetables. 

At one point we attempted to unionize and go on strike. With signs in hand, we began to picket and chant, “Oh no…we won’t go…we won’t weed no po-ta-to.”

The strike lasted about 2 ½ minutes when threats of having our supper withheld, led to my other 3 sibling leaving me standing alone amongst the much despised onions and peas.

Admitting defeat, I dropped my sign and went in to eat my supper…of meatballs with onions, (which I hated), boiled potatoes and peas, (which I also hated). Incidentally, I love them all now…oh how I have grown.

Each day before dad went to work, he would lay out the day’s expectations. “I need you guys to mow the lawn and weed the garden. Specifically today, you should hit the potatoes and the onions.  It would be a good idea to get it done early…it’s going to get pretty hot out there today.”

In protest, I would sit and watch Bugs Bunny cartoons until after lunch. “I’ll show him,” I thought…“Won’t he be regretful if he finds me dead of heatstroke while doing the chores.” Sadly…I lived…but barely.

As the hot days endured…my work ethic failed.  Whether from dehydration or frustration from the heat…or lack of care…or perhaps a combination of them all…I mowed over all of the newly planted pine trees, and cut down nearly all of the onions with the hoe and uprooted half of the potato plants.

One thing that I have learned when gardening…once you cut something off…it doesn’t come back, (except perhaps for grass and weeds…and warts).

We lost most of the onions that year, many potatoes were not worth harvesting and the pine trees didn’t even make a nice hedge…just flat, low evergreens about 12 inches wide.

It is harvest time in Revelation 14.  This is the chapter where everything is getting cut down…in some very gruesome ways.  This cutting is a signal for the end.  Once the cutting takes place…the time is done.  There is no recovery from the cutting.  What scares me the most of this passage, is thinking of those who continue to reject God, and the hope of Jesus Christ.  I don’t relish the day of the cutting…I have come to dread it.  When the cutting occurs, it will be too late to turn to the hope of Jesus. 

May we ALL be drawn to the hope that only comes from Jesus.  The Lord will cut down the evil…he will cut down all that is sinful and it will be burned up and consumed.  But…for those who have their hope in Jesus…they…and they alone will be saved.

May we find our hope in Christ!