Saturday, May 26, 2018

In The Storm

We all have an idea of what our lives will be like in the future - where we'd like to see ourselves. We all have a way we'd like to answer the question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" But what happens when all of our hopes and dreams suddenly change?

Sometimes our lives change based on our own decisions.  Deciding to drink and drive can lead to some pretty substantial consequences. We often do things in the dark that we would never do in the light. Bad decisions change lives in a bad way.

But what happens when we get a call from the doctor with some bad news or when a uniformed soldier knocks on the front door. Our lives can change in a second. "Why" has got to be the most often-asked question at times like that.

So, what do we do? There are no answers that pop into our heads to make life all warm and fuzzy again. What do we do? Where do we turn? Where can we possibly find hope?

Right now I am reading through the Book of Job. Now there's a guy who definitely went through the wringer. His entire family died, he lost all of his possessions AND he got extremely ill. He had it all, then he lost it all. Far from where Job thought he would end up.

Why? Why did God allow this to happen? The main reason was that God wanted to prove a point. These are things that we can take away from the Book of Job. They will help us walk through the toughest of storms.
  1. God is God. We are not. When life gets "comfortable" we humans tend to not rely on God so much. That is a mistake.
  2. God allows things in our lives for a reason. God always has a purpose or goal in mind. Sometimes God wants to get our attention.
  3. God will bless us IF we are faithful. To those who believe and follow God, He has promised to bless us. Forgiveness of sins, eternal life, no more pain or suffering.
Although Job complained and whined through most of the book, God blessed Job for his faithfulness. We need to remember ALL of these things when we struggle in life. We all have hopes and dreams but the only way we can be truly blessed in the end is if God is at the center, the focus, of those dreams.

"And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” - Job 1:21

I'm not saying that everything bad that happens is from God. What I AM saying is that, WHEN bad things happen, how we react to them defines who we are in God's eyes.

None of us knows WHY painful things happen in our lives. The important thing for us to remember is to praise God through them.

"1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging." - Psalm 46:1-3

Praise You In This Storm - Casting Crowns

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Do You Love Me?

Ever wake up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep? Ever wonder why? Something you've left undone perhaps? Or something you are afraid of? What if it's someone trying to tell you something. "Wake up Neo."

I had a weird dream the other night. I was having a conversation with two friends in a bar perhaps or in a crowded restaurant. Suddenly two men came in. One of the men reached down towards one of my friends, like he's giving my seated friend a hug, and he placed something into my friend's coat pocket. Drugs.

That was at 3:15AM.

Naturally, my brain had to figure out what all that meant . . . for the next hour or so. Thoughts bounced around in my head like a shiny steel ball in a pinball machine. Perfect. The bouncing ball finally stopped and I was able to fall back asleep but not before getting up and writing some of my thoughts down on paper. This is what I wrote.

 .......
Do You Love Me?
True obedience to the will of God
Do we love others as much as we should?
As much as He loves us?
Do we live our lives as a reflection of Him?
Do we minister to those in need of Him with passion?
OUR ministries must take a backseat to His.
OUR will, OUR thoughts, OUR hopes.
Love one another. If you love Me . . .
.......

"If you love me, keep my commands." - John 14:15

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” - John 13:34-35

"In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." - Matthew 5:16

In Ephesians 5 the apostle Paul describes the relationship between Jesus (the bridegroom) and His church (the bride). He speaks of respect and sacrifice but he starts off the chapter with this.

"Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." - Ephesians 5:1-2

Then I stumbled upon the lyrics of an old Vic Damone song that asked this question.


"Do I love you because you're beautiful? Or are you beautiful because I love you?"
And how about this verse?

"19 We love because he first loved us." - 1 John 4:19

What does all this have to do with my dream? I have NO idea. Well, I actually I do. We, as Christians, are to love one another. That seems pretty clear to me. And we are to do so unconditionally. But can we love a drug dealer? Can we love someone who is addicted to drugs? Can we love someone who is living in sin? Can we love someone who pulls a trigger and removes a loved one from our lives? Yes. Absolutely. We are commanded to!

I met a man at a local food pantry this past Saturday. Late 50's maybe. walking with a cane. Frail, wobbly, weak. I demonstrated love towards him, placed my hand on his shoulder and we talked. The man smiled and thanked me. He shook my hand. I don't even know his name. His name is not important. What IS important is that I loved, like Jesus loved, and that made all the difference to this man.

Do we love others as much as we should? No. Why not? Are we afraid? I think we are. We're afraid of how we might be perceived. We shouldn't think that way. Why? Because . . . there is no fear in love.

"Perfect love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love." - 1 John 4:18

"Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. "

Let Me Love You Tonight - Pure Prairie League

Monday, May 21, 2018

When Doves Cry

This is how it begins. This is how a story starts. Sparked by a sermon, a Bible verse, a song or a life experience. Somehow it just pops into my head and I start writing. In today's case the story comes from a rather unusual place - a song by Prince.

I was watching a video of a young man yesterday. It just came up while I was searching for something else. The young man is literally a one-man-band. He does it all - percussion, background vocals, orchestra. He does it with his God-given ability - his voice. It was amazing.

As I watched the young man perform I was struck by something. The amazing creative ability of God. He too is a one-man-band and He can also create some amazing things - mountains, stars, planets, animals, people. The list alone seems endless but then you add in emotions like anger, love and bravery and top that all off with talents and gifts and abilities of various kinds and you have a wonderfully diverse creation that screams "God is without peer, without equal and without description."

And then I looked at the lyrics. Here's the first part of the song's chorus:

How could you just leave me standing?
Alone in a world so cold? (world so cold)
Maybe I'm just too demanding
Maybe I'm just like my father, too bold


Add in Prince's favorite color purple and one could easily see the image of Christ, crying out to His Father in heaven from the cross.

"My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" - Matthew 27:46. In other words, How could you leave me?" But Jesus wasn't really asking God a question. He was quoting scripture!

"22 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?" - Psalm 22:1

And Jesus too was alone - Alone in a world so cold. The lyric reminded me of how Christ WAS left alone to die - taking the punishment for OUR sins.. His disciples had abandoned Him.

Was Jesus too demanding, asking His Father that question? Maybe. But Jesus went through it willingly. For us.

God's Holy Spirit is represented by a dove in the Bible. A dove was there when Jesus was baptized.

"and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased." - Luke 3:22

So, what does it sound like when doves cry? When the Holy Spirit cries? I think it sounds a lot like a thunderstorm or . . . an earthquake. Too bold? I think not.

"51At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split" - Matthew 27:51

This story was sparked by the lyrics in a song. What sparks conversations about God in YOUR life? What causes you to think about Him? I think our answer to that question should be . . . everything.

When Doves Cry - Sam Perry

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Hidden Treasure

Since my retirement began I have been going through all of my "stuff", weeding out things I don't need or no longer find useful. My wife calls it "death cleaning" - getting rid of stuff so my kids don't have to go through it after I'm gone. Ha ha! I call it "a treasure hunt."

It's amazing some of the things we can find when we go through our old junk. Some of it is just plan garbage but then there are things we find that are absolutely priceless. Like the hidden treasure I found yesterday in my dad's old fishing creel.

I was in Michigan last month, visiting my mother. She asked me to go through the garage and take whatever I wanted of my dad's stuff. So I grabbed his creel. My dad and I used to go fishing together. We each had a creel (the bag you carry the fish you caught in). Now I had two. I took it just to get it out of her garage.

Well, I picked it up today to put it someplace else and I felt something hard inside. "It better not be a fish!" I thought. Luckily is was just a small box, but what a box! It was my dad's fly-box. There were probably a couple hundred flies in there! Wet flies, dry flies, but they were all  flies my dad had used.

As I looked through his fly collection I found one very special fly. Nothing eye catching by any means but it was a fly that I had made him years ago. How cool and yet somehow humbling. Useless to some, yet precious to me.

In the book of 2nd Kings there is a story about Josiah. He was 8 years old when he became king. He had someone go through HIS stuff and they found the Book of the Law. Hidden treasure! He read it and found out that he and his people had been living contrary to God's wishes all their lives. He immediately felt convicted and humbled himself before the Lord.

Repentance is an amazing thing. It is such a blessing to finally be doing what is right in God's eyes. It's a relief. Being forgiven, even punished for our sins, is worth it in the end, if we are doing what God desires for us to do.

Finding my dad's box of flies instantly took me back to the Middle Branch River in Michigan where my dad taught me how to fish. He was watching me when I caught my first fish. What a blessing it is to do what is right in our Father's eyes - both our earthly father's and our Heavenly Father's.

"19 Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I have spoken against this place and its people—that they would become a curse and be laid waste—and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, I also have heard you, declares the Lord." - 2 Kinds 22:19

There is nothing like doing what is right, right there in front of your father. Hmm. Maybe it's time to go fishing again . . . and remember that simpler time, when everything was . . . well, it was perfect.

Fishing With Father - A River Runs Through It

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Oasis

We all have days that don't go the way we had hoped. Sometimes those days can string together into weeks of frustration and exhaustion. Why can't we just start over or take a break from it all? What we need is a vacation or some way to take a break from "walking through the desert." What we need is an oasis.

I've been reading through some of the more"arid" books of the Old Testament lately. Judges, First and Second Kings, First and Second Chronicles. Reading them is a lot like walking through a desert. That's why, when I came upon this verse in 2nd Chronicles, I paused and refreshed myself with its comforting words. I left that verse behind with a feeling of hope. See if you don't agree.

"14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." - 2 Chronicles 7:14

God gives us some promises here. God's promises are good. He will hear us from heaven. That's good. He will forgive our sins. That's good too. And he will heal our land. That's amazing. Those are all good things BUT before God does those things WE have to do a few things of our own.

We have to humble ourselves, we have to pray, we have to seek God, and we have to turn from our wicked ways. That can be a tall order for most of us. Impossible for some. I think this verse is where we must ask ourselves, "Do we do all of these things that God asks of us?"

They are prerequisites for God answering our prayers.

Do we humble ourselves when we pray? Do we seek God's will when we pray or when we make our decisions? And when we sin, do we feel bad about it? Is there any repentance? Read this prayer from David and see if he exhibits a humble, repentant heart, seeking God in what he asks.

“Praise be to you, Lord, the God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. 11 Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. 12 Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. 13 Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.

14 But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand. 15 We are foreigners and strangers in your sight, as were all our ancestors. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope. 16 Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you." - 1 Chronicles 29:10-16

Now, that is a prayer. David, the most powerful man of his time, is humble, as WE should be. To often my prayers are more like a laundry list of requests that I hope God would fulfill. When was the last time I asked God, "Who am I that you should send me?" or "How may I better serve you, Lord?

If God is going to heal our land (and our hearts) don't we need to do as He asks, first? If we are wandering through a desert in this life, don't we need to seek His face before He will deliver us to the oasis we so desperately need? The only prayer that God hears from a sinner is a prayer of humble repentance. THEN, and ONLY then, will He hear and heal and forgive.

What If His People Prayed - Casting Crowns

Monday, May 14, 2018

The Two Witnesses

The Bible's Book of Revelation is filled with many images. Some of them can be quite frightening while others give us reassurance and hope. One of those reassuring stories is found in Revelation 11 - the story of The Two Witnesses.

"And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” They are “the two olive trees” and the two lampstands, and “they stand before the Lord of the earth.”[a] If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. They have power to shut up the heavens so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want." - Revelation 11:3-6

Notice the [a] just before verse 5. The footnote refers the reader back to the Old Testament book of Zechariah, chapter four, to a story entitled The Gold Lampstand and The Two Olive Trees. The story in Zechariah is prophetic, a story about what will happen in the future.

"Then the angel who talked with me returned and woke me up, like someone awakened from sleep. He asked me, “What do you see?”

I answered, “I see a solid gold lampstand with a bowl at the top and seven lamps on it, with seven channels to the lamps. Also there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left.”

I asked the angel who talked with me, “What are these, my lord?”

He answered, “Do you not know what these are?”

“No, my lord,” I replied.

So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty." - Zechariah 4:1-6

So the lampstands are God's light in this world. The two olive trees are a symbol of never-ending fuel for the lampstands. Back then lamps were fueled with oil - olive oil.


In His Sermon on The Mount, Jesus says, “14You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." - Matthew 5:14-16

We are the lampstands of this world. Our "fuel" comes from The Holy Spirit who fills us. The two olive trees in Revelation 11 represents God's Holy Spirit. Our fuel that will never run out. That's so cool! The question is are our lamps lit? Are we shining our light in this ever darkening world, or have we hidden our light under a basket?

One final thought and something to consider. In the Old Testament, to tell whether someone was telling the truth of not, a person had to present witnesses - TWO WITNESSES.

Jesus is The Light of The World. He is also The Truth. He lights our lamps and fuels them with the Holy Spirit, for this world to see. Light us up, Lord, and may we shine bright for all the world to see. We shine for You and only You, Lord. Light us up!

The Word - Sara Groves
You Are The Sun - Sara Groves 

Note: This message was inspired by the teachings of Pastor Dave Goyke, Calvary Chapel - Waupaca. A link to his message will be posted here as soon as it becomes available.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Bizarro World

What if there was a bizarro, parallel universe where everyone was the opposite of who we are? Where men would be women, and the women, men. The tall would be short and all of the crazy people would be the sane ones. I should probably stop right now before I get into trouble. Too late. I have an idea! Let's read some scripture!!

"22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools." - Romans 1:22

"25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator" - Romans 1:25

Did you see the news this week about the three Americans who had been held captive in North Korea? They were set free! What a wonderful thing. Yet I saw a news report of someone (U.S. senator Chuck Schumer) condemning the president for thanking Kim Jong Un for their release saying, "They shouldn't have been taken captive in the first place." Come on man!

I agree that they shouldn't have been detained, but shouldn't we celebrate their release? It reminds me of the story of the blind man and the Pharisees. The man whom Jesus healed said, "All I know is that I was blind and now I see."

One side celebrates, the other side couldn't be more upset. Bizarro world!

"24A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.”

25He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”

26Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”

27He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?”

28Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! 29We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.”
- John 9:24-29


The Pharisees wanted the formerly blind man to tell the truth. He had. Yet they didn't believe him because it was not THEIR truth. They should have been celebrating this man receiving his sight! Instead they hurled insults at the man and ultimately kicked him out of the synagogue. Ironically it was the Pharisees who were the blind ones.

In any battle each side believes it is right. Both sides have a truth they believe, yet there can only be ONE truth.

Is it possible to cross over from one side to the other? From one "truth" to another truth? Can our opinions of what is right and wrong be changed? Yes! How do I know? I once lived in Bizarro World. Then one day I met a man named Jesus. I became changed. The same thing can happen to you, if it hasn't already. How will you know? Well, you will begin to see that the truth actually DOES exist.

The truth does not exist in our perception of the truth, the truth exists in Christ. It IS Christ. There are those who choose to embrace that truth. And that is how God changes the world.

Upside Down - Jack Johnson
The Bizarro World - Seinfeld

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Pomp's

People say there is no God. They say "there is no evidence". Yet, I see evidence of God in my daily life. Everywhere! That's why I write these stories. Today's story is based on events that happened just last week. Oh, He IS alive.

The story I am about to tell you is true. How do I know? Because it happened in my church, right before our eyes. First, some back story.

I attend worship at Calvary Chapel - Waupaca, WI. Several Calvary Chapels throughout the country sponsor a church in Caneille, Haiti - Calvary Chapel - Caneille, led by Pastor Bastia! (There is a drone video of the compound at the end if this story). And now to the story. See if you can detect a pattern.

Calvary Chapel - Caneille needed a water system to gather rainwater and purify it for use. Prayer was sent up to God, money began coming in and a water system has been provided. However, there are several month of the year when it does not rain. Water must be brought in from a local river - a 10 mile trip. The need for a water truck soon became apparent.

Prayers were offered up to God, money began coming in and a water truck was found - right here in Wisconsin. Pastor Bastia recently came up to see the truck and was very excited! However the truck needed some repairs, above and beyond what had been raised for the purchase of the truck.

A member of our church drives a truck for a living so he volunteered to get some pricing from his tire guy - Pomp's Tire. He told the sales guy the story of Haiti, the water system and the water truck. The "tire guy" told the story to his boss and HIS boss did the same. "The story" ended up on the desk of the owner of Pomp's Tire who said, "Give them the tires."

And if that wasn't enough, he also said, "Give them a spare." That's a total of nine tires at $300 each, given as a gift.

Yes, there are those who don't believe in God. There are those who dismiss such things as a long series of coincidences. They are afraid of placing credit in something they cannot feel or touch. But faith . . .

"1Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2This is what the ancients were commended for. 3By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible." - Hebrews 11:1-3

"14So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.” - Genesis 22:14

Calvary Chapel - Caneille, Haiti

Note: At the 50 second mark in this video you will see a small rectangular building with a bluish grey roof. It is a composting toilet that my friend Ken and I designed. The Lord has provided many things in many ways, not only for Calvary Chapel in Caneille, Haiti but for everyone. :)

How has God provided in YOUR life?

Monday, May 7, 2018

The Space Between

There is a space that exists between uncertainty and knowledge. Between war and peace. Between desperation and contentment. Between hate and love. That space is occupied by two amazing words - hope and faith. Those two words make all the difference in the world to someone who has neither.

In the Old testament book of 1 Kings there is a story about the prophet Elijah and a widow and her son. One could easily say that there was "a space between" them in their relationship, but it was a space that God would soon close . . . through hope and faith. Please read these few verses.

Elijah and The Widow - 1 Kings 17:7-16

Before the widow met Elijah she had little hope left. She was gathering sticks for one final fire so she could bake the last of their food and then die. There was no hope. She knew she and her son would not make it through the three years without rain.

But something led her to trust Elijah who had asked her to give HIM the last of her food. Surely she would die if she did that, yet she did it. Why? Because Elijah spoke God's Words to her. And she believed them.

14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’” - 1 Kings 17:14

She trusted that what God had said was true. She could have doubted and kept the bread for herself and her son but she didn't. She had hope first that what Elijah had told her was true. Next she had faith that what God had said about the oil and the flour would actually come true.

Do you and I have that kind of faith? That we would give up the last of our food FOR OUR CHILDREN and trust someone she had never even met before? That's either foolishness or faith! The key is in verse nine when God said to Elijah, "I have directed a widow there to supply you with food.

How does God direct people? How does He harden and soften people's hearts? He is God, that's how! The woman felt compelled to give the last of her food to Elijah. Normally she might not have but she was led by God to do so.

How is God leading you? What would He have you do for Him today? Do we exhibit hope and faith as we walk through this life? Or is there "a space between" God and our hearts?

The Space Between - Dave Matthews Band
Elijah and The Window of Zarephath

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Take It Easy

I've noticed something about retirement. It's kind of nice really. You get to do the things you've always wanted to do, whenever you want to do them. The only thing is, they seem to take longer to do them. Ha ha! Schedules become more flexible than rigid. And that's a good thing.

Somethings change while other things remain the same. I sleep in a little later. I watch TV a little more. I still go in to work, but only to visit. Not to work. It's the perfect job for me. The pay sucks but the benefits are wonderful.

One thing that's really changed is the amount of time I have to read God's Word. I try to read five chapters a day. I have been doing the with ease, sometimes ballooning up to ten chapters a day. That has been wonderful. :)

When I was younger, back in the 70's and 80's, I remember hearing phrases like "Take it slow" or "Take It Easy". "Take what?" you might think. Life! Take life slow and easy. That's good advice.

Jesus offered us the same advice about following Him. He didn't necessarily say, "Take it easy" but His advice in the Book of Matthew had a similar ring to it.

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” - Matthew 11:28-30

A paraphrase might be, "Come to me. Walk with me. Talk with me. And take it easy."

Take It Easy - Eagles
Come To Me - Aaron Shust

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The Gate

Jesus said, "anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber." (John 10:1). But Jesus wasn't talking about illegal immigration. He was talking about the religious leaders of His day. He was also talking about an alternative to climbing over the walls. Himself - The Gate.


Jesus refers to Himself as "The Gate" in verse seven of John 10.  The people shown in this picture are not entering the United States the correct way. If they were they'd be using the gate. That way they would be legal immigrants. As it is they are illegal, violating the law of the gate keeper. Things will not end well for them. The same is true for us if WE try entering by "some other way."

Everyone has their own idea of what it takes to get into heaven. That's why there are so many religions and denominations. But everyone CAN'T be right. All the world's religions are so different. Who is telling the truth? Is anybody right? Well, God is right. All of the time. Look at it this way.

God cannot sin
Lying is a sin
God cannot lie
Jesus is God
Jesus cannot lie

Jesus said, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” - John 14:6-7

If you don't believe what Jesus said then you must either believe in some other god or in no god at all. We all have a choice to make. Some will try to "climb in by some other way" but "as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15).

The thing most people don't understand about walls is they kind of make you want to use the gate. Walls can be difficult to climb. Gates are easier. Jesus wants ALL PEOPLE to come to Him - to enter by the gate. It's our choice. Are we going to climb in? Or walk in?

Monday, April 30, 2018

Well I Do

Waupaca County Suicide Prevention Walk
"Crawling in my skin, these wounds, they will not heal. Fear is how I fall, confusing what is real." Powerful words that I reflected on this past Saturday as I, and 272 other people, went walking, together, to aid suicide prevention in Waupaca County.

Suicide has touched my life several times but not to the extent it has devastated the lives of others I know. Austin, Kameron & Bill, all gone too soon, left loved ones behind. Aching, mourning, forever scared by the loss of their loved ones. So, what do we do, we that remain? What CAN we do? Anything?

Chester Bennington, the lead singer of Linkin Park, offers us a clue in the chorus of the song One More Light.

Who cares if one more light goes out?
In a sky of a million stars
It flickers, flickers
Who cares when someone's time runs out?
If a moment is all we are
We're quicker, quicker
Who cares if one more light goes out?
Well I do
Austin
We have to care. We have to be willing to actually DO something. We have to be willing to sacrifice some of our precious time when others in our lives are hurting.

A local church's elders once asked me what their youth pastor could do to bolster his declining numbers on Wednesday nights. "That's easy," I said. "You have to LOVE these kids. Not preach to them. LOVE them first, THEN talk." The same answer applies to ALL of the people in our lives. We have to love them. And they have to know it.

Kameron
Everyone needs to be loved. Who have you loved today? Who WILL you love today? God will provide someone for you to love. The question is, will you ?

We have to care "if one more light goes out." We have to! When we see a life flicker, quicker, we have to reach out a hand and let them know that we care.

34“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” - John 13:34-35

Loving each other is NOT a suggestion. It's not something we should be doing only when it's convenient for us. It's a command! According to God, we should be loving others with every breath we take.
Are you breathing?
Crawling - Linkin Park
One More Light - Linkin Park
Chester Bennington of Linkin Park