French Toast, Fireworks and Freedom

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It is a reasonably warm morning in Capon Springs, WV, site of many an extended family vacation since 1994. The kids’ Fourth of July parade has wound its way down to the Main House. A costumed dramatic proclamation of Independence has been Declared. The stars and stripes have been raised to a rousing hand-to-heart rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. And last night’s fast has been broken by eggs any style and Wednesday’s French toast.

With a gob of hard-fought, dearly won (others’), grateful (mine) patriotism, with the anticipated retinal after-images of sparklers and fireworks bursts and their post-boom concussive ringing in my ears, with the smoky airborne bouquet of chicken, burgers and dogs on the grill only

a few hours away, and wearing my red, white and blue ensemble, I hail you all, my family and friends near and abroad.

Happy Independence Day!

Portions, Lots, Lines and Pleasant Places

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Psalm 16:5-8 — The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;  indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

Portions, lots, lines and pleasant places. You may be picturing generous arable, fertile expanses across which homes are built, families are born, callings are heard, livings are made, and histories are written. Yet not all terrain is gently sloped. Some is more extreme. Frigid. Rocky. Wind swept. Dry and dusty. Some homes are Surveyor Crewnot happy. Some of us are isolated. Some callings are cloudy. Calamitous. And history can be hurtful. Single? Family? Single again? Healthy? Sick? Wealthy? Poor? No matter.

For no matter our lot, parcel or no, short straw or long, steps wrong or right, in ease or the most difficult of circumstances, God makes His saints heirs to His promises and gives them counsel, instructs them in the night, is at their right hand, and steadies them.

Have recently seen this in Abraham’s, Isaac’s, Jacob’s stories. They were flawed and rough, but God patiently herded and prospered them. In Joseph’s abandonment and rise to great civilization saving power and influence. In Job’s hard, hard account. He was upright, yet suffered unimaginably. Great men in great swelling, steaming, surging swaths of flawed messy human history. History whose divine prime mover was no more engaged than He is today, even if more visibly apparent.

Draw near to Him and He’ll draw near to you. Trust in Him. Look to Him. Lean hard upon Him.