BaffledWe love the birds of Newtown, CT.  We bought this feeder at a moving sale a couple of years ago. The activity around this contraption has been incredible to watch.  There are so many varieties of birds that we actually bought a book and an app to identify them.

Then one day the food starting disappearing way faster than normal.  My wife Ibel told me she had actually seen squirrels and chipmunks eating the seed.  Then, I caught this critter in the feeder with the birds.  I am fortunate to have a camera with a great zoom feature and shot this photo.  Don’t you know that the chipmunk actually saw me and posed? Seems like an Alvin move to me (I hope you catch the reference).  As I moved in closer the chipmunk scrambled down the pole and into the woods.  I was impressed by its ability to do that.

I researched how to prevent these intruders and found that there’s a product sold that is called a baffle.  It’s basically an upside down cone that mounts on the pole.  Then, it hit me.  A baffle “totally bewilders or perplexes”, “restrains or regulates” (Google definition).

The things that once baffled me would often keep me from doing as I intended.  This left me with a choice.  Either walk away bewildered and frustrated or change the way I respond to that person, place or thing.  That is where the renewing of my mind came in.

As I sit before the LORD every morning and meditate on His word my perspective changes and my mind is renewed.  I begin to see things as He does.  In this season of my life I have learned that honesty, prayer and action are my best response to what baffles me.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 2 Corinthians 4:16-17


Inside Out

We Believe - Inside MattersImagine my surprise when I woke up on Saturday and saw this sticker “We believe what’s inside matters.” on my Tom’s deodorant for what seemed like the very first time.  Just the night before, Pat Goodman spoke to hundreds of Young Life volunteers and staff members about this very topic.

He helped us to see that what comes out of us is the product of the condition of our heart. What’s inside matters!  Check out this passage from the Gospel of Mark, ““What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”

Pat went on to talk about how much more we focus on our outward appearance than the condition of our heart.  He used an iceberg as an illustration that is said to have 15% of it’s mass exposed on the surface with 85% below.  We were challenged to consider focusing on the 85% since that is who we really are.

So, everyday I get ready to start my day, I’ll have a physical reminder of this eternal truth (as long as Tom’s sticks with it’s current branding).  Where are you on this?   I can’t imagine being able to clean up my heart without dying to myself and embracing the life of Jesus.  It’s for this reason that He came, that you might have life and have it more abundantly.


santa-in-fireplace-clipartEver wonder as a kid how Santa made it to every home around the world in one night or how the tooth fairy got into your room and under your pillow without anyone knowing?  Probably not, until someone decided to reveal the “secret” that neither entity is real.

There’s a billboard in Times Square that suggests that the coming of Jesus is a myth.  I guess folks are trying to reveal their “secret” to the rest of us.  Why is this so important to them that they’d spend that kind of money to post their views for all to see?

Here in Newtown the vast majority of us are praying.  We want God to be with us.  We’re not ashamed or hesitant to cry out to God for help.

I’m praying to understand how I can be of the most help myself.  The answer I get over and over is to love as I’ve been loved by God.  If the thousands of us that live in this community would answer that call I believe we will heal and be strong in the face of evil.

Jesus came to bring good news. He came to proclaim that captives will be released, the blind will see, the oppressed will be set free and that the time of the LORD’s favor has come.  He is doing those very things today by His Spirit and through His people.  Be one of His and show the world what He’s like.

Matthew 1:23
“Look! The virgin will conceive a child!
She will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel,
which means ‘God is with us.’”