I love nothing more than to capture early morning thoughts, well before my mind is cluttered with the urgency of opportunities that come with each new day.

As I age, it becomes apparent that life is cumulative, both in its rewards and in its consequences. Yet, the grace provided for each day is a marvelous thing. The errors of our past pay dividends but the mercy of the Lord brings the capacity to withstand all consequences. In fact, the growth that comes from within those consequences, often seems possible only because of the pain of those consequences. Where sin abounds, that is, the moments where we personally perform far short of the glory of God, grace does much more abound. When we cry out for mercy, our very need for mercy enhances our ability to then show mercy. The pain of felt injustice only strengthens our very commitment to justice!

This has been quite a challenging past few months and probably in hindsight should never have been scheduled as tight. A re-entry into a political fray for the sake of a long withheld community conversation; a trip to a battle torn country to encourage those far more committed to others than I; on top of several very intense real estate opportunities, makes for tired bones! I find myself crying out for strength, mercy and wisdom, yet thrilled by the opportunity for learning, as I face a future now more challenging than ever.

In the margins of my bible is a statement “Yes, Lord 1/13/04” with an asterisk beside of John 21:18b: “when you are old you will stretch our your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Though this verse sounds like the traditional path for “old folk” in America, often led to some retirement community with “appropriate” long term senior care, my agreement was intended solely as spiritual.

That is, as I age, may my hands never find themselves lowered beside of feeble knees, but raised in victory and obedience to a marvelous savior, who now dresses my soul with mercy, clothes my spirit with humility and emboldens my life for justice; walking me daily into doors that no one would rightfully want to go.

Having now experienced forty years of family leadership (I bow to my wife for her endurance of my dreaming); the same number of years in the institutional church; with a professional bent toward education, serving both in public and private; and now having served fourteen years in political leadership, my desire for speaking truth in love has never been greater.

This morning as I prayed for those in the war torn areas of Lebanon, with whom I have spent the last week, I see their faces fixed in my mind, as they describe a mission to share the deep love of Christ, while both their heads and hearts knew the reality that each day could be their last. As well, the beautiful eyes, the winks and smiles of a young Syrian child, held in her mothers hands, oblivious as to why she was in a place so far from home, I now realize how blessed my last few months have been.

Yes, I have grown in my endurance while more broken of my own will; been renewed with fresh compassion, while finding deep consoling joy that too readily bursts forth with tears and laughter.

I have been dressed for a new day, in a place I might never have gone had His spirit not led me and His grace afforded the courage to follow my heart. I am blessed.

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