Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Missing Begins

I think just about everyone of us has lost someone we love. There is an incredible emptiness that gets left behind when people leave our lives. We can carry that weight around with us a long, long time.

That "hole" that has been left in us can effect us mentally, spiritually and even physically. It's like a vacuum, sucking anything and everything it can into the void, trying to fill itself . . to make the emptiness go away. "The hole" is on a mission to get ride of itself and, in the process, in the effort to be filled, it can take in anything, even hurtful, vengeful things. We must be careful.

There are many different ways we humans cope with things that hurt us. Sometimes we retreat and seclude ourselves. We distance ourselves from others because we have been hurt by someone we love and we don't want to be hurt by someone like that again. So we refuse to love, fully, ever again.

Sometimes we lash out at others in anger and attack. Maybe we see something in someone else that reminds us of what we do not have ourselves. Our attack is actually an attack against ourselves for the hurt we are feeling in our own lives.

Sometimes we end up filling that hole with alcohol, drugs or sexual sin, again, to find something to numb the pain or to replace the emptiness in some way, all in hope that it will actually help. It never does.

So, how to we get rid of the hurt in our lives? How do we unload the pain and get past the darkness it brings into our lives? Is that even possible?

To some extent there will always be a void in our lives when we lose someone we love. We loved them after all, and now they're gone. It hurts! But there are some things we can do to help ourselves get over that loss.

May I ask you a question? Okay, how about three questions?

When you are alone . . . who do you think of? Who do you miss the most? Who comes into your mind when you are all by yourself?

Some might answer, "My father." or "My best friend." It might be a husband or a wife or an unborn child. Regardless of the answer you have in your head right now, the only answer that can truly heal you is Jesus. Was HE the person you thought of when you were alone last night? When you are in pain do you cry out to Jesus? He is the only answer that works and let me tell you why.

What Jesus does is not "fill the whole in your heart." What happens, when you place your faith in Jesus Christ, is this incredible healing. The hurt decreases over time with the steady dose of love He pours out on us. We receive so much love from God, through the people He places in our lives, we simply can't help but be healed.

Then, after the healing takes place, as His love continues to pour into our lives, with a Christ-filled hole no longer in our hearts, His loves pours out of us onto others. We begin to love others with the same love that Jesus showed us.

There is such incredible love in Christ. When we place our faith and trust in Him, and in Him alone, the pain lessens, the healing begins, the loneliness disappears, and we will actually begin to feel joy in our lives once again. What a gift.

Life doesn't become "perfect." It's not like we will never be hurt again. But when we experience a loss in our lives and we think of God first, we will find that God has given us the ability to cope somehow. There is a confidence in us that tells us, "We'll get through this." And that knowledge can be a life-saving, life-altering truth that will guide us through even the darkest of storms.

If you have not placed your faith and trust in Jesus yet, please do so today. You will find that it will be the best decision you have ever made.

"28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly 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

Cry Out To Jesus - Third Day

This story is dedicated to Kate, Jenna and Barb . . . Michele, Travis, Bethany and Christian . . . and to the families of Kameron . . . and Austin. May the peace of Christ surround you all.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Fearfully And Wonderfully Made

I still remember the first time I heard Psalm 139. I was a new believer. I had just joined a church that I really liked. I was on fire for the Lord! It was a really good time in my walk with Jesus Christ.

What made the day memorable was that the pastor did not read Psalm 139, he recited it . . . with passion. We heard it as if David himself were speaking it. The following is a portion of Psalm 139. I'd like you to read. After you do I am going to ask you a few questions. Here we go!

"13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them." - Psalm 139:13-16

Wow! I encourage you to embrace those words and the concept of God knowing each of us before we are born . . . before we were even conceived. What an incredible love God has for us!

We contrast that unconditional love of God with today's supporters of Planned Parenthood and the selling of aborted baby parts for profit. Their doing that greatly confuses me, especially those amongst the abortion supporters who call themselves Christians.

Google Margaret Sanger (the founder of Planned Parenthood) and the word 'eugenics' sometime. You will be amazed at what you will find. Here's a sample quote.

"[We should] apply a stern and rigid policy of sterilization and segregation to that grade of population whose progeny is tainted, or whose inheritance is such that objectionable traits may be transmitted to offspring." - Woman and The New Race, Chapter 6.

There are many more such words from this woman whose beliefs and policies have played a part in the murder of millions. Now Google 'eugenics' alone and see whose name pops up. This is from Dictionary.com

Eugenics - The idea that one can improve the human race by careful selection of those who mate and produce offspring. Note: Eugenics was a popular theory in the early twentieth century but is no longer taken seriously, primarily because of the horrors of the eugenic efforts of the Nazi regime in Germany.

I encourage you today to consider any support you might have for Planned Parenthood or the practice of birth control or the use of the "morning after" pill. Consider each of those as you read Psalm 139 again, how God knew us before we were even conceived. How is must hurt God as we kill millions od his children each year. And pray. Please pray for the unborn. Each of us was the result of some loving mother who elected NOT to have an abortion.

Do we worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? Or do we worship the god of convenience, desiring that "OUR will be done" rather than the will of God?

13 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Planned Parenthood Founder Margaret Sanger

Monday, October 26, 2015

Where Are You, Norman Rockwell?

Yesterday my wife and I went to see a Norman Rockwell exhibit at a local museum. It featured many of the Saturday Evening Post covers from the 20's-60's. As we strolled through the exhibit many of those covers sparked memories from my childhood.

I found myself thinking about my parents as I strolled along the walls of the museum with my wife. My mom and my dad subscribed to the Saturday Evening Post. Life was so much simpler back when I was a kid. Sigh.

Norman Rockwell, quite simply, had a gift. I have never seen anyone who could bring scenes to life and tell a story in just one paint the way he did. Others have tried but none have come close.

The images he created speak to a simpler time when life was less complicated. There was a trust we had for one another and for our government for that matter, that has now become the exception rather than the rule.

I'd like to show you a few pictures to see if you don't agree. The first one up there represents a respect for teachers. The group could be expanded to include others who serve as well - police, soldiers, firemen. Examine the detail in his paintings and you will begin to see how each person is different, and seems to speak to us through our eyes, then into our hearts.

Here's another one of Rockwell's covers. The topic is family. Nothing says "family" like Thanksgiving dinner! Examine the people at this table. All are happy, all are looking forward to a meal together with people they love.  This represents another thing that is dwindling in our country - the family. More and more families are split up, fatherless, motherless, broken, estranged, divorced or non-existent. Why? How could something so wonderful be so depleted to the point where it has become rare. The reason can be found in this last painting.

Another vanishing part of America these days is prayer. We have become a fast food society, seldom taking time to give thanks to God for all He has given us. Our trend lately is to just forget about God and try to handle life on our own. And where has that gotten us? There is disrespect for teachers and police, "family" has been replaced by Facebook & Twitter. The core values of our once great nation have been eroded away by the ruler of this world. The Bible calls him Satan.

I invite you to take a look at Norman Rockwell's Saturday Evening Post covers. There's a link below. Perhaps you too will see something that has been lost in our society since the days when our country was a great nation. If we examine our past and examine our present we can easily determine a direction. We can also see what has been lost or forgotten and discover the things we need to make this country great again.

The recovery, I believe, begins with faith but it doesn't end there. Trust, hope, respect, honor, reverence also matter. That reminds me of another Norman Rockwell painting that can be found on the cover of the Boy Scout Handbook - circa 1964.

Inside the handbook you can find this: The Scout Law - "A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent."

What if we lived our lives like that? What if we lived our lives like God wants us to. Maybe the following Bible verse will sound familiar. It should. It's almost like the Scout Law you just read!

"22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another."
- Galatians 5:22-26

Amen to that!

Norman Rockwell Covers

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Of Course!!


For the past few days my wife and I were in Michigan, attending the funeral of my niece's brother-in-law. We had always planned on going but in the days that followed this young man's death, it became rather apparent that my wife and I were going to be the only one's from our side of the family to attend.

I had some apprehensions about going. It's a longish trip at 6 1/2 hours, driving through the Milwaukee rush hour, Chicago and then several hours through the relative darkness to Michigan.

My wife and I got turned around in a Milwaukee detour, losing about 20 minutes. We spent much of that time in frustration, raising our voices to one another, then traveling in silence. But we were both on a mission to get there. When we finally arrived, I tripped over a dog gate while walking through my mother's house, landing face down in pain on the tiled foyer floor. But we were there. Finally!

My niece's husband was who I was focused on. For some reason he and I have a great relationship. We share the same birthday (years apart), we both like the Tigers, you know, we were buds. He and my niece have two daughters. His brother who died had one son. I could easily see what God was providing for this now fatherless boy. His uncle, who had no son. A match made in heaven perhaps? Perfect.

So, I felt that I knew what my purpose was in attending this funeral - to deliver a message to the uncle of a fatherless son. Yeah, well, I was wrong. When my wife and I entered the church where the funeral was being held I began to see a different picture of what God had in mind.

There were hundreds of people there. My niece's brother-in-law was a retired professional basketball player and it took a while to wade through the crowd to find our niece and her husband. I reached out my arms to offer a hug and soon felt my niece crying in my arms.

That was the moment I realized I was wrong about our "purpose" in being there. That's when I smiled and said to myself, "You had this thing figured out from the very beginning, didn't you, God?"

It was suddenly very obvious that God wanted my wife and me to make that trip . . . to be there for our niece! Yes, we were there for her husband as well but I think our presence had  more meaning for her. As she looked through the crowd containing so many nameless faces, to suddenly see someone she has known all her life must have been somewhat comforting. My wife and I were SO glad we made that trip, to finally reach our destination . . . in the arms of our niece.

God is WAY ahead of us in our thinking and in our actions. He already knows our next move in life and I believe that things often happen beyond our comprehension, all for His glory and the sake of His name. That became very apparent to me a few days ago and it left me with this realization.

Would I make a 6-hour trip in the dark, filled with frustration and silence, to only trip upon my arrival, fall on my face and then walk with a limp for the next few days, just to hug my niece for 10 seconds?

Absolutely!!

Heavenly Father, you always amaze me. And just when I think I have you just about figured out you go ahead and prove me wrong by doing something I never suspected. The perfect way you weave yourself into the very fabric of who we are amazes me. You are the master orchestrater of ALL things. And to you we give the glory and the praise for you provide for each of your children, every day.

“7 Can you find out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limit of the Almighty? 8 It is higher than heaven - what can you do? Deeper than Sheol—what can you know? 9 Its measure is longer than the earth and broader than the sea. 10 If he passes through and imprisons and summons the court, who can turn him back? 11 For he knows worthless men; when he sees iniquity, will he not consider it? 12 But a stupid man will get understanding when a wild donkey's colt is born a man!

“13 If you prepare your heart, you will stretch out your hands toward him. 14 If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away, and let not injustice dwell in your tents. 15 Surely then you will lift up your face without blemish; you will be secure and will not fear. 16 You will forget your misery; you will remember it as waters that have passed away. 17 And your life will be brighter than the noonday; its darkness will be like the morning. 18 And you will feel secure, because there is hope; you will look around and take your rest in security.” - Job 11:7-18

A C.S. Lewis quote for you this morning:

"You don't HAVE a soul, you ARE a soul. You HAVE a body."

The Broken Road - Rascal Flatts

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Do You Believe In Karma?

Do you believe in Karma? Do you know what it is? I bet you don't. Most people think that karma is kind of a judgment against people who do something bad. Kind of like payback. Kind of a cause-effect relationship for how we live our lives. That is NOT what karma is.
 
Karma is a Hindu / Buddhist belief that says if we live our current lives good enough, our next life will be better. The converse is also true for those who believe in "bad" karma. If we live our present lives badly we will come back in our next life in a worse condition.
 
Karma's main tenant is reincarnation. If you walk down the street and ask "Do you believe in karma?" many people will answer "yes." Ask the same people if they are Hindu's or Buddhists and most of those same people will answer "no."
 
The present day definition of karma has changed from what it used to be, all predicated on an incorrect belief about what it actually is.
 
Many Christians believe in the newer definition of karma, which begs the question, are they really Christians? Karma clashes with the teachings of Jesus. Although there are verses talking about "sowing and reaping," Christianity is based on faith, not works, not on the things we do.
 
So why do people believe that karma will get someone? They talk as if karma it a thing or a person or some sort of moral police force to keep everyone in line by punishing bad behavior and rewarding good. Isn't that what Christianity teaches? No!
 
The Gospel that Jesus preached tells us that we are ALL inherently bad.
“None is righteous, no, not one;" - Romans 3:10
 
With none of us good enough to get into heaven and there is no amount of good karma that's going to get us there, what's the point? The whole point, my friends, is Jesus!
 
Through faith in Christ we no longer have to worry about being "good enough." We don't have to concern ourselves with someone getting what they deserve. If that were the case, and you and I got what WE deserve? Yeah. Thank God for His precious gift of salvation. We can attain His promise of eternal life, not reincarnation, simply by believing Jesus was who He said He was, the Song of God, and that His sacrifice on the cross atoned for our sins, making us pure and holy in God's eyes, through that faith.
 
"6 Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. 7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith." - Galatians 6:6-10
 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Focus

Trying to write a story for my blog during a Packer game is not the easiest thing to do, nor the smartest. It seems like just as I get an idea or a thought about what to write I get distracted, lose my focus, and end up watching the game.

If I were sitting here all by myself, the decision about what to do would be easy. I'd turn off the television and focus on the task at hand - writing. But I am sitting here with my wife - the Packer fan in the house. She is also a God-honoring recipient of my attention. What to do? That's easy. I spend time with my wife. And I type when I can. I'll be back later . . .

Jeopardy Theme

There, the game is over. My wife is ironing. We have eaten dinner. The Packers are 6-0. Life is good. Now what was I writing about? Oh, yeah . . . . staying focused. Oops.

This world we live in has so many things that distract us from God. I personally cannot go through a single day without something distracting me from reading my Bible . . . which I haven't done for two whole days now! Yard work, taking walks with my wife, those are a few GOOD distractions but there are other things that distract us more sinful ways. Television, movies, shopping, reading (books other than the bible). I struggle devoting enough time to God in my daily life and that bothers me. God should be my number one priority and so often God gets brushed aside in our lives. It should NOT be that way. It CANNOT be that way.

It is so hard to get this world we live in out of our lives. We are saturated by it. It is everywhere. It sticks to us as we walk through it and we simply cannot get rid of it.

Whoa. That's not exactly right. We CAN get rid of it, at least the power it has over us. We cannot get rid of it on our own but Jesus can help us loosen the chains by freeing us from sin. Thank God for Jesus!!!

If we think of who were are, who we were before placing our faith in Christ, there is really no need for despair. We have been chosen, hand-picked by God, to be one of His children. Yeah, we're misfits, broken, failures at being perfect. But guess what . . . :)

There is power in the name of Jesus. He heals the sick, He raises the dead, He can make the blind see and the lame walk. There is no other name by which we are saved! So rejoice!! Place your hope in Jesus. Keep your focus on the finish line and not on the crowd. Finish the race!

"When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in their cities.

2 Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3 and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” 4 And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. 6 And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
- Matthew 11:1-6

Name Of Jesus - Chris Tomlin

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Ain't Nothin' Free

Maybe it's my amazingly keen discernment capabilities, or more likely the fact that my age is approaching that of Moses, but I have noticed a few things happening in our country that have never happened before. And it disturbs me.

Our position in the world for one. We used to be the most powerful, respected nation on the planet. Not so much anymore. We also used to be a wholesome, clean-cut nation. Now we tend to do whatever we want WITH whom ever we want, wherever we want to. We also used to be a God-fearing nation . . . a Christian nation. And now? Well, let's hear it from our president . . .

We Are No Longer A Christian Nation - President Barack Obama

Did you watch the Democratic debate? Yeah, me neither. Even without seeing it I am amazed at Bernie Sanders, a socialist, and the percentage of backers he is getting. The latest poll shows him with nearly 25% of the crowd in his favor!

Ever hear of a man named Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn? He was a persecuted Christian convert from Russia who spoke out against socialism. Read this from an article in The Imaginative Conservative.

"Born in Russia in 1918, only months after the secular fundamentalists had swept to power in the Bolshevik Revolution, Solzhenitsyn was brainwashed by a state education system which taught him that socialism was just and that religion was the enemy of the people. Like most of his school friends, he enslaved himself to the zeitgeist, became an atheist and joined the communist party."

That's just about where we're at as a country right now. But there is still hope. Later in the article . . .

"While in prison, he resolved to expose the horrors of the Soviet system. Shortly after his release, during a period of compulsory exile in Kazakhstan, he was diagnosed with a malignant cancer in its advanced stages and was not expected to live. In the face of what appeared to be impending death, he converted to Christianity and was astonished by what he considered to be a miraculous recovery."

Here's a guy who found faith in Christ that lived under both socialism and communism, denounced both, and now here WE are as a nation, embracing that same socialism more and more. I find this amazing and saddening. It reminds me of when Joshua lead the Israelites into the promised land. God directed His people to build a monument so they wouldn't forget what God had done for them. But then . . . guess what . . . they forgot. And so have we.

The "monument" that reminded us about what God did for a people was these United States. We have forgotten whose we are as a nation and become a people who have turned to ourselves for help instead of turning to God.

Solzhenitsyn not only faced cancer and won but he also faced socialism and communism and persevered. We need to learn from men like Solzhenitsyn, not only in our politics but also in our faith lives. We need to stand up and fight instead of tolerating and acquiescing. We need to seek God above all else. He is still on His thrown. That's something we need to remember as we watch the future come at us.

It has been said that those who do not remember the past are bound to repeat it. And so we have . . . and so we shall.

"21 And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22 then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’ 23 For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, 24 so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.” - Joshua 4:21-24

Alexsandr Solzheniysyn: The Courage To Be Christian

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

"What Is Thy Bidding, My Master?"

As we learn and grow in our faith there comes a time when we are required to make some rather difficult decisions. In order to make those decisions we often have to extricate ourselves from the entire decision making process and really focus on what is right . . . in God's eyes.

I have made a few of those decisions in my life. Perhaps you have too. Experience tells us that, when we make the wrong decision, we end up going over and over things in our mind - not only doubting our decision but doubting ourselves in the process. When we make God-honoring decisions however, decisions that are right in God's eyes, the doubt seems to be absent more times than not. There is no second guessing our thought process when we have excluded ourselves from it and deferred to the will of God.

"This is what God would have us do," we say. And that is how all of our decisions should be made. The only problem is, we seldom say that. We seldom think that. We seldom even bring God into the conversation, let alone the decision making process. And that . . . is where . . . we fail.

If I might borrow a line from another repentant sinner, Darth Vader, we should be more like him in our prayers, asking God, "What is thy bidding , my master?" Oh, if we were only to ask that question more often than we do.

What Is Thy Bidding, My Master? - Darth Vader

To often our prayers sound like someone who is reading a honey-do list rather than a humble servant begging for consideration from Almighty God. I am guilty of this very thing. Feeling pressed for time I often offer up requests in rapid fire succession. No more. I need to take the time I need . . . no, I need to take the time GOD needs, to hear an appropriate prayer. Not a fast-food, instantaneous one.

One of my favorite prayers, an example of what I should be praying, can be found in the movie Bruce Almighty. As you listen to it, notice the sincerity of heart and the reply God gave to the kind of prayer He seeks from each of us.

Now That's A Prayer - Bruce Almighty

“And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. 2 And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. 3 Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. 4 Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. 5 Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. 6 Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out." - Deuteronomy 28:1-6

The promises of our God to His people, Israel.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Broken? Betrayed? Abandoned? - Is This You?

There are days when I feel like nothing is going my way. Do you ever feel like that? We get frustrated with life and we feel like the whole world has left us behind. If that is you, take heart. There are people in this world who are going through far worse things than us.

I don't mean to be mean, but there is definitely a tendency, no, a desire, deep within us to have the world to take pity on us and our current situation . . . whatever it is. We have a need, I think, to be significant or noticed in some way, so we can find some meaning in our lives. Social media has got to be the number one place where people unload all their built up drama and put on display everything "we" find important. Do you know what that's called? Jesus spoke against it many times in His teachings. It's called pride.

"3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves." - Philippians 2:3

There is a story in the Old Testament book of Genesis that speaks about someone who was REALLY oppressed. High school drama pails compared to what THIS guy went through. Instead there was hatred, attempted murder, abandonment, being sold into slavery, falsely accused of a crime and thrown into prison. How do those things compare to your common everyday high school drama? This is the story of Joseph.

"3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him. 4 When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him." - Genesis 37:3-4

If you are discouraged lately or feeling betrayed, persecuted and alone, there is great encouragement we can take from the example of Joseph's life. The story of Joseph (Genesis 37-50) is one that is filled with lies, deceit, hatred and betrayal. But is also filled with encouragement, honor, justice and mercy. And incredible, unconditional love. If one looks closely and meditates of this story and its meaning, it is easy to see a foreshadowing of Jesus, the Christ, in Joseph. I encourage you to read it.

A friend of mine was telling me about a song he was playing repeatedly. The lyrics seemed to fit the story of Joseph. What do YOU think?

"Surrender"

I am tired
I am broken
Unsure at every turn
Though You told me where to go
I lost the road
Been a while since I have heard You
And doubts are creeping in
How can I continue walking on my own?
I need to know you’re here
With me
Cause I become a desperate soul
When Your unfailing love feels far
I need to know You won’t let go
Through it all
You can have my broken heart
Everything that’s left in me
And I will surrender
Surrender, surrender
Your promises feel distant
Though I’ve followed them this far
What is there left to hold on to
When You’re gone?
And it’s hard to keep on breathing
As the question tears my heart
What if I am left to fight this on my own?
I’ve seen the way You love me
I’ve heard the things You say
I’ve felt the way You held me in Your arms

Surrender - Nine Lashes

Saturday, October 10, 2015

My Cup Runneth Over

Want to have some fun? There is something you can do to others that will immediately cause them to slow their pace. It will totally change someone's focus. It even has the power to shift the eyes of a teen away from their phone! Wow! What is it?

Fill their coffee cup right to the brim and have them walk across the living room carpet! Ha ha!

"5 My cup runneth over." - Psalm 23:5

Walking with an extremely full cup of hot coffee changes a lot of things. How we walk. Especially over white carpeting! It causes us to slow down. After all, we might spill hot coffee all over us, or the rug. Or both! That would be bad. I'm surprised the government hasn't required warning labels on all coffee cups! Even taking a sip of super-hot coffee causes us to be extra cautious and to take a tiny sip at first.

Hot coffee is HOT! Just ask McDonald's who lost a law suit because they didn't have a warning label on their cups telling people that their hot coffee was . . . hot. We humans can be really dumb. We need warning labels on just about everything we come in contact with. Remember the mirror on the Jeep in Jurassic Park? I rest my case.

It's too bad life doesn't come with warning labels.

What if people came with warning labels? Would you treat them any differently? What would YOUR warning label say?

"Warning: This person will break your heart one day."

"Danger: One more doughnut and the button on your pants will explode."

"Caution: What you are about to eat will make you spend the next 24 hours in the bathroom."

Mine would read, "Beware: Writer. This man enjoys boring other people with his stories. Can cause drowsiness."

Yeah. We never seem to know when life throws us those little curve balls that change our lives forever. Those sudden things that get our attention and make us wish we had done something earlier to change the outcome. Maybe I should have poured my coffee in a bigger cup . . . or not filled my cup so high. Maybe I should have invested more time in my children and told them I love them more often than I did so they wouldn't be on probation right now.

There is a book you can buy that is absolutely FILLED with life's warning labels - those little bits of advice to help you make it through this life. It's called The Bible. Here's a few warning labels that will change the way YOU walk in this world, with or without coffee in your hand.

"2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." - Romans 12:2

"Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience." - Ephesians 5:6

"You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you, for the LORD your God in the midst of you is a jealous God; otherwise the anger of the LORD your God will be kindled against you, and He will wipe you off the face of the earth." - Deuteronomy 6:14-15

Those are definitely some warnings to heed!

The thing about God I really like is that, despite all the warnings, God loves us. That is why He gives us warnings. Sadly, we often chose to ignore those warnings and . . . we end up staining our once-white carpeting. And only Jesus can get THAT stain out.

Woman Burned By McDonald's Coffee - The New York Times

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Two-Dimensional Thinking

My wife and I are currently logging all of our radio activity for the Nielsen Radio Ratings company. We're getting paid $10 for logging time and duration of out listening activity. Why anyone would want to know what we listen to and when is beyond me but SOMEBODY wants to know.

And it's not just rating companies. EVERYONE wants to know what we think, what we like, what we're interested in. That's why Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pintrest are so popular. Not only do people wonder what we think, we also love telling them!

Why do we care what other people think? Why does it matter so much. It's as if out human interactions are more important than our relationship with God. He doesn't care what we look like, if we wear the right clothes or have a good complexion. God cares about our souls. Shouldn't we?

I think we spend far too much time thinking "horizontally" instead of "vertically" . . . thinking about God. Try observing your interactions with humans today. How many people are thinking about themselves or their appearance? How many are thinking of themselves? How many are thinking about money? Compare that to how many people are thinking about God in your Facebook news feed.

I conducted a survey of my own today. I scrolled down through Facebook and took a quick survey or people's posts - God vs. man. Here are my results. 75 posts about man, 5 posts about God. Of those five posts about God four were from pages I like. They were not posted by "people." Only one Facebook post offered something about God. Thanks Allex!

Why don't we think more about God than we do? I think it's because we can't see Him and because none of us can totally understand who He is. We think two dimensionally because that's is the world we live in for the most part. Thinking vertically requires faith and we tend to believe in only what we can see. One day we WILL see Him, whether we want to or not.

"10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad." - 2 Corinthians 5:10

I will lift up my eyes to the hills - From whence comes my help? 2 My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth" - Psalm 121:1-2


"Unto You I lift up my eyes, O You who dwell in the heavens. 2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, So our eyes look to the Lord our God, Until He has mercy on us. 3 Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us! For we are exceedingly filled with contempt. 4 Our soul is exceedingly filled With the scorn of those who are at ease, With the contempt of the proud. my help? 2 My help comes from the Lord,Who made heaven and earth" - Psalm 123

Think Vertical!!

Two-Dimensional Thinking - Star Trek

Monday, October 5, 2015

Love Letters

[Please, click this link first, then begin reading this blog. Thank you.]

These Honored Dead - Luke Richards

When someone we love dies their memory can remain with us for quite some time. We never really get over the loss of someone who was such an important part of us. It seems as if they are still with us in many ways - through our memories, through old photographs . . . and though letters. Oh, to have letters, written by the very hand of the person we love . . . the person we have lost.

I remember reading love letters from my girlfriend as a young man in college. I would read them and re-read them dozens of times. The words were a part of her . . . and she sent that part of herself . . . to me. I loved receiving them and reading them over and over again. Those letters helped ease the pain and anguish in my heart caused by the distance between us.

These days people don't write many letters any more. They tend to send instant messages or e-mails. The personal-ness, the meaningfulness of the written word is being lost to a generation that has grown up entirely without it. They are not even aware they are missing anything. Perhaps that is why so many young people find it hard to read their Bibles these days. Not enough interaction perhaps. No smilie faces or emoticons. A sad an tragic loss not to read the letters of someone who loves them so much.

I'd like you to read a very special love letter written to especially for each of us . . . 2,000 years ago.


A Father's Love Letter

As you could tell by all of the Bible verses used, the person who wrote those love letters loves you very much. Perhaps, if you are willing, you might consider writing Him a love letter . . . with your heart. He would love to hear from you. He will read your letter over and over again.

P.S. - He loves you.

"Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man." - Proverbs 3:3-4

[Please share this message with others and help spread the Gospel wherever you are. Thank you.]

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Tale of The Woolly Bear

The days are getting colder now. Even if you don't have a thermometer it is easy to tell based on the signs we can observe in nature. Tree leaves are beginning to turn colors, there is frost on the grass in our yards and there are woolly bears wiggling across our sidewalks.

Woolly Bears are interesting things. When we see them they are usually on their way to "somewhere" with great determination. They are on a mission!

Have you ever picked up a woolly bear caterpillar? If you have then you know what they do. They roll up into a little ball. Why do you think that is? Here is my theory. God gave them a desire and a means to protect themselves. When they feel threatened they curl up so all of their bristles are pointing out. It's their defense mechanism.

If you hold a woolly bear in your hand and are really still, they will begin walking again, trying to find their way to that distant destination. What a perfect example of Christian behavior.

The Christian is on a quest in this world. To make it through to their ultimate destination - Jesus. When Satan tries to distract us or cause us to deviate from our journey we must curl up and protect ourselves. Once he has moved on we can begin our journey again.

We live in this world that is run by Satan. He flies trough it using any means he can to distract us from our ultimate destination - God.

"2 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air (Satan), the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience (that's us), 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind." - Ephesians 2:2-3

Just like the woolly bear, there are many of us who become totally lost or die on their journey. It's a sad thing to see. There are many temptations to distract us. But success awaits those of us who "bristle" at these things of the world. We cast off the sins that long to entrap us or devour us. When the danger or struggle has passed, we must return to the task of reaching our destination. Our whole purpose in this life is to complete the journey. To "earn our wings" so to speak and to arrive at the promised land.


" 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing." - 2 Timothy 4:7-8

A Woolly Bear's Journey To Become A Moth