Magnificent

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Have you ever stopped to just see the beauty around you? I have been thinking about this for quite some time because there are days that I walk right by the majestic, the marvelous, the monumental–the magnificent. And many times it is right in front of me and it is unrecognizable because of things that flood my mind like the Hoover Dam releasing water. Too often I miss what is in front of me.

I have a beautiful family. My wife and my two sons are everything to me. I always tell them that I would not trade them for anything in this whole world. To me they are magnificent. My wife has such a loving, caring way about her that anyone who knows her would attest to this. My two sons are just as creative at nine and four years old. They have more energy than Texas New Mexico Power Company. They just go and go. The times that we are able to just talk with one another is amazing. My wife expresses love in every word that she speaks. My two sons gush over her as she speaks to them. It is enlightening to me to just watch the dynamics between them. When my sons play outside it is lightning and thunder as they run, hit balls with bats or golf clubs, and they discover all sorts of bugs, grass and other sundry outdoor things. They are magnificent. My wife is magnificent.

I planted rose bushes last year in my front flower beds. They were beautiful last year. This year they have come back with a vengeance. The buds on each stem are numerous. The bushes themselves just look red because of how many roses are blooming. The rains have been good for them. As a boy I used to hate weeding underneath the rose bushes that my mother had, but now, it’s not so bad even if I get poked by a thorn. Even the leaves on the bushes are lush. There is new growth on the rose bushes each day, or so it seems. The abundance excites me as my front walkway is alive with color as the dawn of the day. The roses are magnificent.

Someone posted on Facebook a picture of some clouds. Interestingly, it appeared that the clouds made an “eye in the sky.” The clouds shape was as if someone from the heavens was looking down on all that He had created. It has been raining quite a bit around here. It is much-needed as we have been in drought conditions for nearly six years now. The lakes in our area are on the rise which is awesome. Fish are spawning and I think it will be a great season for fishing. Even last night the storms were raging around us. We were under a severe thunderstorm warning and at one point the weatherman was saying that tornadic activity was possible. Everything around us is green from these rains. And although I slept through all of the storm, I know that it was magnificent.

In the days after my twin sister passed away last year, I began to think of all that she had accomplished. She was a second grade school teacher for twenty-five years. That’s a long time to be in a profession. Over that period of time, she must have taught at least five hundred students. All over the world today are some of Ms. Yambra’s second grade students. There is no doubt in my mind that some are in the military, some are homemakers, some are construction foremen and engineers, some are nurses or doctors, and some are now raising their second graders. There is no telling how many students are living successful lives and my twin sister had a part in that. I have heard from so many different people who knew her and they have told me of her curriculum writing, of her creativity, and of how she was their friend. She was faithful as the head of her section at school. She loved Baylor University from where she graduated. She has not only one brick at the new stadium, but two. And although I think of all that she accomplished in her short forty-seven years of life, I think of all that she is seeing today in heaven. Today, she is magnificent. Heaven is magnificent.

There is a song that the famed band U2 sings entitled “Magnificent.” It is my favorite U2 song. Read the lyrics to the song, read them slowly and let them sink in. I think that you will find a message there that is magnificent.

Magnificent
Oh, magnificent

I was born
I was born to be with you
In this space and time
After that and ever after
I haven’t had a clue
Only to break rhyme
This foolishness can leave a heart
Black and blue

Only love
Only love can leave such a mark
But only love
Only love can heal such a scar

I was born
I was born to sing for you
I didn’t have a choice
But to lift you up
And sing whatever song you wanted me to
I give you back my voice
From the womb my first cry
It was a joyful noise
Oh, oh

Only love
Only love can leave such a mark
But only love
Only love can heal such a scar

Justified till we die
You and I will magnify
Oh, the magnificent
Magnificent

Only love
Only love can leave such a mark
But only love
Only love unites our hearts

Justified till we die
You and I will magnify
Oh, the magnificent
Magnificent
Magnificent

“Only love can leave such a mark, but only love can heal such a scar.” These words speak volumes to me. It is true that only love can leave a mark. I love my wife and children, I love my twin sister and my other siblings, I love my parents. Each of these have left an indelible mark on my life. I would not be who I am apart from them. They have left the mark of love on me. I can see the beauty of things around me and I see the Creator’s love for all mankind. It is through the beauty of the Creation that we see His handiwork expositing the majesty of their Maker. Only love would leave such a mark so that we would see Him in all of His glory. This is magnificent.

But greater still are these words: “Justified till we die / You and I will magnify / Oh, the magnificent / Magnificent / Magnificent.” To be justified is to be declared righteous or to be declared innocent. What is magnificent about this idea is that there is only One who could justify any of us and He did through His death, burial and resurrection. Jesus Christ did all of this to glorify His heavenly Father. To bring glory to God the Father was Jesus’ aim and His sole purpose. The magnificent thing for us is that we get to be part of bringing glory to God by believing the Person and Work of Jesus Christ. It is through Him that we have life that is eternal and free and abundant. This is magnificent. Jesus Christ is Magnificent.

“I Don’t Like Organized Religion!”

I have decided that I don’t like Wal-Mart anymore because they are too organized. Every time I walk into one of the Supercenters, the aisles are clean and shelves are chocked full of items that are neatly stacked. If you go to the produce section of the Wal-Mart you will find all of the lemons together, all of the avocados together, and all of the bananas nicely placed on a tiered shelf. Then, when you go into housewares you will find all of the pillows, sheets, comforter sets and various sundries nicely organized. Oh, and let’s not forget the shoe department! Are you aware that they actually have all of the shoes organized according to size both for men and women? And that’s not all! They actually have sections in the clothing departments that are organized by men, women, boys and girls. I’m telling you that I don’t like organized department stores! I would rather that they just pile everything in the middle of the store so people can just fight over whatever they find in the pile. Now that would be shopping!

After going to Wal-Mart, I decided that maybe I just need to chill out. So I went to a Starbucks. But would you believe it? Their menus are organized! They have lattes, they have frappuccinos, they have teas, and they have pastries–and they are listed on the menu! Moreover, as I was about to order my no-water chai latte I discovered that they have a display of all sorts of breads and pastries. The breads are organized in such a way that you cannot order and pay without looking at just how stinking organized the whole display is. I mean to tell you that I don’t like how organized Starbucks is! Why can’t they just think about what they are doing and mess things up and leave things messy, dirty?

But that’s not all! I took my Toyota to the dealership to have it serviced. To my chagrin, when I pulled up to the service area, a service technician (I don’t know why we have to have titles! it seems too formal, too organized!) came to me with a clipboard. On the clipboard was an information sheet. He quickly took the VIN from just under the windshield on the driver’s side. He then asked me to step inside after telling me his name and telling me that he was “my service technician”, as if I actually own the guy or something. Then he proceeded, very methodically I might add, to take my information from me so I could have the car serviced. The next thing I knew I was being directed to sit in a well-lit, well-planned sitting area. It was organized! People were sitting there, watching an organized talk show on television, drinking their coffee and soda from the organized coffee and soda bar. Then…that’s right…then…there it was! A plate full of donuts and cookies nicely organized! At that point I thought to myself, “Methinks that everything around me is organized!”

So, with all of this in mind, I have decided that I am no longer going to go shopping at grocery stores unless they decide to disorganize their shelves. As far as Starbucks is concerned, until they don’t know how to make a good cup of no-water chai latte because of lack of training and doing things according to some kind of order, I’m going to refrain from partaking. And as far as my car, oh the nerve! It is beyond me that Toyota is so organized that my vehicle actually stops and goes depending on me pressing the gas pedal or brake pedal. How in the world can this car manufacturer be so thoughtless as to be so organized? Hmm? Answer me that!

Now, when it comes to religion…wait…all of the above is ridiculous. I know that God is the God of organization.

I think I’m starting to like Wal-Mart, Starbucks and Toyota again…

LIFE: 3 Circles

If you have not visited www.namb.net, you need to! There are a lot of exciting things going on with our North American Mission Board. The picture above is what was taught this morning at First Baptist Church of Leonard. We want our people to know how they can share their faith with this easy method of Gospel sharing. You can check out this resource at http://www.nambstore.com/products/life-on-mission-conversation-guide.