Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Courage and bravery
Faith and hope
These aren’t easily won
In sacrifice are they born
Decisions and choice
Clarity and focus
Some ingredients for victory
The foundation for finishing
Standing here on the brink
The past haunting my heels
The future requiring a leap
Indecision weighs on heavy heart
Comes down to one thing:
It leaves us shaking
Causes us to hide
It dares us to stand
And it boils down
Coalesces into a choice
Will you walk the easy way?
Will you embrace regret?
Light and dark
Confidence or Confusion
Winning or Losing
The key has been presented
We hold it here in our hands
You’ve been gifted
We’ve all been blessed
We’ve all been cursed
With free will’s heavy burden
So we stand here
On the cliffs
Overlooking the foggy shores
Our futures clouded and unknown
Fear snapping at our heels
Doubt gnawing at our hearts
Prayers whisper up to heaven
Quiet voice speaks of hope
And this hope won’t disappoint
For it overcame more than fear
Destroyed far more than doubt
Laughing, stole away death’s very sting
So we can have this confidence
Fear is such as very small thing
When in the presence of God
And we can lift our chins
We can run towards our fears
With God’s hand at our backs
Our thoughts given wings
And the courage to take flight
So we leap into the wind
Wings buoyed by His victory
We sail up and over our fears
Leaving them lying behind
Laying there in the shadows
Of an old rugged cross
Your past self formed by lies
Its burden no longer weighs
Lightened from former façade
You rise from ashes to glory
Shining like a new risen star
His spirit carries you aloft
And from this new vantage point
The past loses its iron grip
Our fears fade into the distance
So, like eagles we rise into a new dawn
Monday, November 14, 2016
One could spare their thoughts
And spend far too much time
Weighing the value of emptiness
And this society soaked in crime
Snapchat, and Twitter
Just so much hot air
And mind numbing litter
We’re all so convinced
There’s an audience out there
Needing our two cents
But truth is they don’t care
So when I empty out my heart
And it bleeds out for all to see
My thoughts fly into vacuum
Lost in the cold so far from me
The meaning vanishes without context
The point missed by all but a few
We all long for a listener
Someone to care for our heart so blue
But we’re barking up the wrong tree
And looking for love where it’s not
No commitment and an open mic
Just the right place for a soul to rot
So many shares
So many likes and views
We value the wrong things
Wonder why we lost our muse
Comes a time where we wake
Open our eyes from longest sleep
Realize all that we’ve missed
Having dug a hole so very deep
Yet a voice of hope still whispers
Behind life’s distractions deafening
Shrinking hearts recognize the sound
And strengthened there comes a reckoning
We stop addressing our every critic
No more throw pearls to swine
Set aside unaccountable podium
Realize that we’re just fine
You see we’re all wonderfully made
Each a unique and valuable soul
And yes, we have something to offer
Because our Creator gives us each a role
So turn a blind eye to the naysayer
A deaf ear to the stealer of dreams
Commit every day to your MakerAnd overcome our enemy’s schemes
Tuesday, November 8, 2016
Something to keep your spirits up and focused on the right things today:
"Don't look to men for help; their greatest leaders fail; for every man must die. His breathing stops, life ends, and in a moment all he planned for himself is ended. But happy is the man who has the God of Jacob as his helper, whose hope is in the Lord his God - the God who made both earth and heaven, the seas and everything in them. He is the God who keeps every promise, and gives justice to the poor and oppressed, and food to the hungry. He frees the prisoners, and opens the eyes of the blind; he lifts the burdens from those bent down beneath their loads. For the Lord loves good men. He protects the immigrants, and cares for the orphans and widows. He turns Topsy-turvy the plans of the wicked. The Lord will reign forever." Psalms 146: 3-10, Living Bible
Give this day to the one who holds us in the palm of His hand and pray that our nation remembers who it is that gives them (us) life and breath.
Thursday, October 13, 2016
Sunday, July 10, 2016
Every chance I get
I’m drowning in my falling tears
Can’t stop myself
Weeping even as the sky clears
The storm clouds boil
And my fears rage
Enemy screams and devours
Can’t seem to turn this page
Want to lift my eyes
Long to see the sun rise
Raise my voice in praise
But I’m distracted by deceiver’s lies
Watch the black and blue fall
Neither deserved this end
Wonder how this could’ve been different?
Crying to You as these knees bend
My hands bound by uncertainty
Know that I’m not a divine entity
And my answers are shallow
Weakened by my humanity
So in my impotence
I reach for the only one
That intimately peers into my soul
And mends this flesh and bone
On the horizon and coming into view
For beautiful America, Is this the end of days?
We’ve lost our way
Deeply divided and lost in hatred’s haze
And yet, there’s a quiet whisper
Echoing in His children’s prayerful pleas
Adopted children all singing a lovely chorus
Bringing hardest hearts to their knees
And you might ask what song they sing?
But you need a heart change to hear it
A desperate transformation is needed
There’s no need to fear it!
No reason to rage against brothers and sisters
Who like you long for freedom and peace
Trying to win the wrong battles again
We should instead ask for rain on this fleece
Yeah, the answers are just not easy
But we can have answers just the same
Our Lord and Savior longs to free us
Our chains melted away in eternal flame
Dear America rise up from your slumber
Adopted sons and daughters wake
Hear the battle cry of your Savior
Take up the chant for your future’s sake
There’s no more to say
And because calling’s crystal clear
Love one another as yourself
And there’ll be nothing left to fear
Again I cry out from the rooftops
America! There’s just one thing to do
Let your haughtiness turn to bent knees
Pledge your lives to the only God that loves you
Tuesday, July 5, 2016
With the recent mass shooting in Orlando, I (we) are being bombarded by massive amounts of information, opinion, and politicizing of this horrific tragedy. I wanted to “gently” put in my own perspective.
Unfortunately, being both a follower of Christ and a political conservative, I am finding myself frequently cringing at the ugly things being said about Christians as a whole. To be fair, there’s a lot of ugliness being slung all around towards a number of people groups and individuals in the aftermath of this tragedy, but as a Christ follower I want to address a couple of things.
First, I get that there are differences of opinion over what Bible believing Christians believe about marriage and sexuality. I get that. But, what you my readers need to understand is that for those of us who hold to scripture, there are things we cannot ignore unless what you really want is for us (me) to renounce our faith.
I personally hold to a very conservative view regarding scripture on many subjects. One of the core things that I hold to is that God does not change (ever). He is not moved by we humans and He does not have changeable opinions that are swept along by human cultural changes. He is rooted in absolutes whereas we humans are increasingly drowning in relativism, humanism, socialism etc. More and more where it concerns the modern human that does not follow Christ, the world is seen through a very changeable lens that for the most part cannot fathom any moral absolutes.
The world at large wants to label my (our) beliefs about sexuality (among other things) as hate. I take issue with that. Belief about what scripture labels as sin, is core to what I and most other Christians believe. Sin is what causes the divide between humanity and God. This is core to our belief regarding our need for a savior in Jesus, a savior that had to die on a Roman cross to pay for humanity’s sins. We may accept or reject the free gift of salvation offered by Christ as God is a gentleman and He does not force us to believe and obey which makes us the recipients of the greatest gift (or maybe curse) of all time.
So, bottom line for a conservative Bible believing Christian, sin is sin. That does not change and for others to judge me (us) for these beliefs is just as ridiculous as they seem to think I(we) am to think that they will change their deeply rooted beliefs.
The issue here is that apparently many people in society seem to think that in order for us to love others, we must agree with what they say and do as well. I sometimes think that we Christians are being singled out and outright “hated” more than the very groups we are claimed as hating. Since we often say “love the sinner, hate the sin,” I believe that society refuses to accept that tolerance and love can happen in the same space.
Followers of Christ know that we can definitely show love and compassion while still not agreeing with either people’s beliefs or their actions. We were not called to an easy life, we were called to be overcomers and that road is often rough. But, we do not have to walk it alone. Christ in fact asks us that we let him bear the burdens that inevitably come with life.
Now, the harder part. I am sadly very aware that some people out there, who unfortunately are being heard over social media as well as television, are in the name of Christendom preaching hate. And, the hate that is being vomited out by these “so called Christians,” is even sometimes being tied to scripture.
You need to understand something. Just as so many people in this world who falsely self-label themselves as being “you fill in the blank,” their actions often will call attention to their true nature. You need to hear this, as Christians, we are called out by not only the Bible, but also our brothers and sisters in Christ when we are not living out the type of life we are called to live. Real love reaches out and corrects or at least speaks truth to those who need to hear it even when it’s difficult because we don’t want that person to have to face the painful consequences of sinful actions. We do this knowing that just as Christ was (and is) rejected, we may also be rejected.
I accept the rejection of others who judge me because of my beliefs, and I accept that they have different beliefs and so live out actions that I do not agree with. I agree to disagree with their “chosen (free-will) lifestyles.” Hear me again people: this is called tolerance. Can you say it? There you go, I knew you could.
What I cannot accept is the interference of our increasingly socialist and dictatorial government. (both here in California (Jerry Brown) and in the federal arena (Obama)) In California, we have just been made aware in the last few days that our governor has approved 6 new gun control laws, one of which added background checks for ammo!! This law will only hurt law abiding citizens. The evil criminals that would do us harm will always ignore and find a way around the law.
Additionally, in California once again, our state government (liberal Democrats) are pushing a new bill through that would force all “religious” institutions of higher learning to immediately adopt and enforce the same secular laws, codes, and expectations that are in the secular places of higher learning, i.e. our Christian colleges would have to accept LGBT lifestyles and accommodate them.
Not once were “we the people” given a chance to vote on this. These are the actions of a dictatorship run by dictators who are giving the people no voice.
Ask yourself honestly, if you were in the position of the church at large, or the Christian people in this country who hold to the truths of Biblical scripture, how would these actions by our government make you feel? I for one am angry, sad, and scared.
If we hold to our constitution, then our government is now very much in the wrong and in violation of the core values and original laws that established our rights as citizens. Our government has crossed the line and has broken the separation of church and state by dictating what we must believe and how we live it out in our daily lives.
Bottom line is this: as Christians, we can in fact demonstrate our love for people who we believe are disregarding God’s laws and doing that which He has condemned as sin. We can love people while at the same time, thoroughly disagreeing with how they live their lives.
The people in that club in Orlando did not deserve to be judged and murdered, no matter whether I disagree with how they live or not. As a Christian I am commanded to love and to be kind to those who do not agree with my belief. I try every day to live that out.
Conversely, we as American Christians do not deserve the mistreatment or character assassinations over our beliefs either. We have the right to determine how to educate our children and ourselves without persecution by those who disagree. With true tolerance, we need to make every attempt to live in peace and love with each other. We need to accept our differences and to be kind to each other while at the same time, understanding that it’s ok to disagree and to discriminate inasmuch that we can choose who we associate with, who we do business with, and who we accept into our organizations.
Our government should stay out of our religious beliefs and stop trying to assume a dictatorial role in our lives. And, we as concerned people, Christian or otherwise need to put our government back in its rightful place. After all, they are supposed to be public servants.
Let’s stop wasting time and energy on hate. Let’s pay it forward when it concerns love. Let’s defend each other whether we agree with each other or not. After all, isn’t that part of what free speech is all about? And, let’s go after the real enemies of peace: radical Islam, those who promote artificial class, race, and economic divides that sap us of our corporate strengths, and wannabe dictators.
Don’t just pray for peace, be an instigator of peace!
Seize the day!
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
"Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you." Isaiah 60:1-2
Monday, June 20, 2016
I won’t steal the thunder from our pastor and his sermon this past Sunday. However, I was reminded in his talk by something that many of us often overlook in our daily lives. What is this hidden something you ask?
It is the danger posed by our own closely held opinions, beliefs, traditions, prejudices, and rules for living.
Hidden at the core of these things is what can at times be something good, but more often than not, it is a stumbling block to forward motion, personal growth, learning, maturing, and as followers of Christ, our becoming more Christ like. This hidden thing is none other, than this: PRIDE.
What our pastor said in passing was this, that often we even take pride in things that you might not ordinarily associate with pride. And, inherent in that, we may miss that these things are stumbling us and impeding us from becoming the persons we want to become. More than that, this strange form of pride can be the thing that keeps us from reaching the goals we long to reach.
You see, our pride can lead us to wear some things like a badge of honor. As if they marked us as walking wounded, worthy of both people’s pity and also of their admiration. Visible marks not of our longsuffering ability to rise up and conquer the world mind you, but instead as our reasons for doing exactly the opposite, to stay indoors and keep to ourselves and to accomplish virtually nothing with the lives God gifted us with.
Yes… we are to be pitied, but not for our suffering, but instead for our lack of faith to grasp ahold of the strength God offers to us for the taking. Strength by which we could be what scripture speaks of as “more than conquerors.”
So many of us lament and complain about the unfairness of life and our lack of breaks, our unfortunate position, and circumstances. And, I am not even going to debate that these things could be fact for any one of us. Many of us are sadly struggling and often with circumstances that are truly out of our control. This may seem callous of me but if you knew my life story, like you, I could tell you some hard and sad tales about my own life. Many of us do not live a charmed or fairytale like existence as much as we may desire it.
Where am I going with this, you may be asking yourself at this point.
Really, I am just going to point out that God hates pride. Not the pride that comes when you are rightly warmed and happy by a personal accomplishment, a victory over sin, or a new skill learned. No, if we proudly hang onto some weakness, some circumstance, some oppressive and difficult lacking in our lives and then we use this as an excuse for not trying, for giving up, for accepting defeat, then this is the pride that we must repent of.
This is the pride that comes before the fall. This is the pride that if we are in the midst of it, God cannot reward us or accomplish His purposes for our lives. If we are living in this, He has to shake us up. If we are living in this, we may have to get beat up and end up at the bottom. For here in the depths and in the reality created not by our circumstance, but by how we face them, is where our God can begin to teach us and lift us up. Whether we are on our faces or on our knees, we can finally hear His voice and begin to shed the heavy burdens that hold us back from the victory that God has for us. We must repent of our pride and place life’s burdens on Jesus’ shoulders where He has said He will gladly bear them.
After hearing our pastor speak of this, I was reminded that like many of you I must take an inventory of my attitudes and beliefs regarding my own life and circumstances. In order for me to continue to become the man God has envisioned for me to become, I have to see my old self crucified to my pride. Pride can only hold us back.
So, shed your pride. Shed the skin of your old self. Take up the cross we are all called to bear though yours is more than likely different than mine. Take it up and allow God to show you how you can be an overcomer. Take it up and one day you can look back on a life well lived. A life lived with no regrets.
Live well and seize the new day!
Sunday, May 15, 2016
We live in one of the most connected ages in all of history. When important or urgent news happens, within moments the rest of the world can be informed. It spreads like a shot heard around the world. We can reach out to each other individually or collectively through many different platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. And on a smaller scale in one on one communications we have the same options plus the much more sophisticated versions of an old standard, the phone.
Despite the things we have available to us though, this time in history is also one of the most disconnected times in history.
Some of you might relate: You can see someone through Facebook, see that they’re online. You can see when they’ve seen or looked at a private message for example. And yet, amazingly they don’t respond to you… not even to say that they are busy, or headed out the door, or will get back with you later.
You leave a text or a voicemail and it dies there… left in limbo… forever… ignored.
There was a time, not so long ago, where that would be considered… well, impolite to put it mildly.
Once in a while I’ve even heard the… umm, sorry can’t put this one mildly…, lame excuse, that your text or voicemail was: dropped, lost, or otherwise didn’t reach its destination. Sorry… don’t buy these anymore.
Can we just agree on something here?
The reality is that for whatever reason, you chose to ignore it… to ignore the person who in good faith sent it to you.
Communication only works when it runs both ways.
If you want the communication to stop then you have to man or woman up and let the sender know that you’re being bothered.
If you think that this sounds like someone is being hurt by your lack of response, guess what Einstein: “Yah think?”
Being ignored… yeah it does hurt… it hurts both ways. Because, I can tell you, it’s definitely a lot less likely that the person who just sent you that ignored communication take that risk again with you.
Keep this in mind… if that communication was face to face, would you have actually been that rude in person? Think about it… if it’s not right to do face to face, then how could you think it’s ok to do in any other form of communication?
This generation needs to grow up in so many ways, but they definitely get a “D” on communication.
Just because the tools exist does not mean they are used properly.
I am a man of words. I am a writer and I hope an ok communicator. I wrote this piece because there are times I feel that very few of us are continuing to sharpen our communication skills. I am very far from perfect and I know that this piece will ruffle a few feathers but, well… so be it. Sometimes feathers ought to be ruffled. Comfort just like silence needs to be interrupted so that change and growth can happen. Maybe we all ought to wake up once in a while and understand that just as often as our actions can cause good or evil to happen, equally, our inaction and our ignoring of events around us can also cause unintended negative events to unravel.
Think about it…
That’s all this was about, at least if you had the patience to read this, to hopefully make you think the next time you ignore someone reaching out to you… yeah, maybe even me…
Thursday, May 5, 2016
Light leaks into these eyes
A new day dawned
Open the blinds to see
A breeze ruffling the trees
In the near distance
Storm clouds moving
Ever closer in darkening sky
My heart flutters in this chest
In fear, some lock the door
Some grow tired
And bury their heads
And accept the victim’s path
Some, despite their fear
Put on the whole armor
Slip their hand in His
Step from their door
And face into the wind
As for this soul
Though wounded and scarred
No longer do I close these eyes
My desire to thrive overrules
Though the enemy is real
And his weapons do sting
I will no longer be intimidated
His lies can’t wash away the truth
His fate already written
On his epitaph stone
His lies unable to wash away
My name from the Lamb’s book
Seeks to bind our dreams
And wound us into inaction
Turn our eyes from Savior’s
Rendering us ineffective
But we are not helpless
Don’t have to be alone
For we can be anchored
On the Rock of Christ
On this solid ground
A life formerly adrift
Can now be grounded
And stand against any storm
So this too I choose
To bury this anchor deep
Heart protected and grounded
Venturing forth in the new day
Unafraid I step out my door
The storm still rages
But my frown turns to a smile
Because I don’t travel alone
And the enemy is powerless
Wednesday, April 6, 2016
So, I know the title was shocking right? Can’t see me in that light? Oh, but Mike’s such a nice guy…
You must think this out too. Where will you sit when the changes come. Oh, and they will. You say I’m overreacting or that I’m crazy or at least a little paranoid.
I might be a little of the latter. But, I came by my paranoia naturally. It happens when you live in a land increasingly full of entitled brats and socialists in denial.
Again, where will you stand on that day.
When our rights to free speech have ended.
When freedom of religion only means that you better keep it in the closet.
When the right to bear arms means that you can wear tank tops whenever you want.
Seriously, one day if the liberal majority gets its way, what will your life be like? How will you react when you see me? Will you be one of the turncoats who turns me in to the authorities?
You say it’s a fantasy. We live in a democratic republic Mike and we get a say in how things go, right?
Some small part of me hopes you are correct.
But, what if in your naïveté, it’s you that’s wrong. Are you going to turn a blind eye when they haul me away? Will you applaud the actions of the political elite when they imprison me? When they try to “rehabilitate” me? When they decide to execute me?
You see, I saw an article today by Franklin Graham that exposed some real hypocrisy.
Those of us who the liberals like to refer as those religious people, were pigeon-holed as being every color of foolish, dangerous, deluded, misguided, pitiable, etc. “How could we be so stupid as to believe that our Savior who was/is God, was born of a virgin, etc., etc., etc.”
These same liberals applaud a company (PayPal) that haughtily pulls out of a state that approves a law that upholds the right of “religious” people to “discriminate” against those who’s practices violate the practices and beliefs we hold as not only sacred, but true. This same company gladly does business with numerous countries that instead of legislating people’s right to do business with whom they choose, chooses to turn a blind eye to the fact that those countries regularly imprison, torture, and kill people for their sexual choices. Unlike PayPal, we Christians do not condone that sort of treatment, however we do believe we have the right to our ability to associate with those we choose to associate with.
Let me be clear, there is a world of difference between a Christian who has the right to choose who they do business with when the other individual’s practices violate our beliefs, who has the right to decide whether they are comfortable with a “transgender male’s” “right” to enter into a bathroom where my daughter or wife has legitimately entered in, or whether an LGBT person has the right to enter into my child’s “Christian” school and potentially teach them things that are contrary to our beliefs. No government has the right to make that choice for us and we have every right to make those distinctions. This is not discrimination, it is the right to choose who we associate with and what we will be/will not be indoctrinated with. The LGBT community has the right to choose not to associate with us and frankly if they so choose, then we will applaud it. It is not the right of the LGBT community to force their closely held beliefs or acceptance of their lifestyle on the rest of us any more than it would be for us to force ours on them. Ultimately that is their agenda though, that we call what we consider to be evil and sin, instead as being good and acceptable. If God does not, then we in turn do not.
Let me remind you that our constitution where it defended the right to religious freedoms, was structured to keep government out of religion, and not the other way around. If a government felt it was in the rights to force by legislation how we practice our religious beliefs, does that not smack of the government overstepping its constitutional decrees about the freedom of religion?
I may not be able to in any great manner, affect change or be a great influence on our society now or going forward, but I’ll not stand by and say nothing.
Jesus didn’t stand by and say nothing. He called it as he saw it. He is often quoted as saying that people should repent of their sin, and to “go and sin no more.”
I am not man’s eternal judge, but the scriptures explain what sin is and call out any number of specific sins that humanity often commits. And God is/and will be bringing judgement on us. So when people wag their fingers at me or any other Christian for calling sin…. Well, sin, guess what? They have four other fingers pointing back at them.
God does not change like shifting sand. It says he is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He has right as our creator. And, he is not the one who when given free will, chose sin over doing what’s right. Our ancestors chose that and we often still do. The result is well deserved eternal punishment. But being a merciful and just God, he did give us a way out through Jesus Christ. It is ultimately us that will individually choose to accept the free gift of salvation through Christ or reject that gift and be condemned by our choice to Hell.
So, as our world continues to spiral into degradation and debauchery, I for one won’t go quietly into the night. I will choose to call it as I see it. If the emperor in fact has no clothes on, then guess what, I’ll point it out.
If telling the truth, calling it as I see it, not suffering fools makes me a criminal, then well… so be it.
Slap me in irons.
Seize the day!
Saturday, March 26, 2016
Thank you for this life. Thank you for each day that your Father gives me the breath to lift my head from my pillow.
Thank you for all that you have allowed me to experience and learn. Even though some of the lessons have been painful, I know that you love me because you have kept your promise to never leave my side.
Though the gifts you have given to me are freely given, I know they came at a tremendous price. And, I know that I have not always shown that I am grateful for what you’ve done. For this I am ashamed. Please accept my apologies Lord. I know that I need to continue to allow you to transform me at every level of who I am. Please cleanse me of all the sinful and wicked ways that I still harbor in my selfish heart.
Thank you Lord for taking on all of the punishment that was due for me (us) on the cross. Forgive me for so often not understanding that what you did was once for all and I have been set free. Forgive me for blindly taking the chains of my sin and bondage and putting them knowingly or unknowingly back on.
Lord, please help me (and us all) to be a person of prayer. Please act powerfully to empower me so that I might tread on the enemy’s head. May satan and all of his armies be defeated in every corner of my life and those that call you their Savior.
As we enter into a new day tomorrow, which is Easter, may we contemplate our lives in such a way that we set aside the things which hinder us. May the chains of our bondage be set aside forever and may we experience victories in every moment. May we glorify you Jesus in all that we do, all that we think, and all that we say.
There is none like you Jesus.
Religion is empty, but this relationship with you will carry me (us) into eternity.
Thank you Jesus for dying to pay the penalty for my sin, but above all dear Lord, thank you for finishing the work and rising from the dead to prove all of those who would deny you wrong. May our enemies in this world see and experience your mercy and grace the way I have. May they experience the joy of being accepted as adopted sons and daughters with their hope justified as they one day enter into heaven.
Happy Resurrection Day dear Jesus!
One of your adopted sons,
Friday, March 11, 2016
Here under billowing clouds
Sad thoughts an undertow
A new emptiness at my side
Eyes like pending thunderstorms
Walking these roads
Made easier by companions
Goodbyes come too often
Loneliness oh so frequent
Created for relationships
Islands we are not
Not created for singularity
Our gravity drawing others
Orbiting each other we share
In companionship’s strength
And warmed by friendship
In love’s bond made stronger
Weaving through our souls
The roots of friendship
Silently entwining two lives
And blossoming into love
Yoked together for a little
Combining strength and focus
Our entwined lives reach higher
Drawing us to the Son
But this life is tenuous
And ever so fragile
Our every breath and day
Written by our Creator
Our final chapter known
Only by Heavenly author
That day and hour calls
Shadowed in mystery
Our final breath comes
And for most a surprise
So we grasp for a chance
For one last embrace
Our parting leaving scars
Marks of bittersweet pain
We are parted but not separate
Living again in memories recalled
Your voices speaking on
In our hearts resurrected
The roots you placed there
Still flowering and bearing fruit
Parted from us and yet
Never really gone
When we honor you
And the seeds you planted
So faint not from friendship
Give yourself away always
Rooted deep in those you love
Flowering again in each new season
Long after you are gone
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Each day dawns
Rich with hope
Ripe with risk
And burdened with choice
Not for the faint of heart
This life given to us
And rest is not granted
Until the journey’s end
So lift your eyes
Face into the wind
Step onto the road
Leave the past at your back
No battles are won
And no victories given
When fear rules hearts
And our eyes are closed
No accidental heroes
No cowards find victory
It takes a decision
It takes a renewed mind
And we cannot obtain this
Never grasp it on our own
True strength found on bent knees
Heads bowed over hallowed ground
We, the adopted sons and daughters
Grafted into a new family tree
Draw from roots planted deep
A strength that leads to victory
So when the coming battle
Reaches our very own shores
We will not stumble or falter
For His light shows us the way
We have only to open our hearts
Listen even now with spiritual ears
Take a hammer in hand
Nail our fears to the cross
Be thankful for a new dawn
Another day of possibilities
Strap on the holy armor
And rush forward into the fray
For there are heroes
Living among us
Living within us
Just have to hear the call
So listen carefully
Today let’s pay attention
For the call is going out
And you are looked for
When today’s sun is setting
I pray your heart is content
Having fought the good fight
Your hero awakened from slumber
Tuesday, February 2, 2016
I know, I get it. I frustrate you, tick you off, embarrass you, exasperate you, or at least concern you.
That about covers it right.
But, you have to admit it, at least this one time.
At least I have an opinion. At least I’ve taken up a side. At least I’ve made my camp and decided to defend it.
Some of you could take a lesson in this. As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realize that most people either don’t really give life much thought, or at least they just let it happen to them, rather than being actively involved in making choices. Right or wrong, but a choice just the same.
I am a follower of Christ and though I know I am so very far from perfect and I know I often have made decisions that were less than perfect, at least I took a side. God says in the Bible (which, yes, I do believe that it is the one book we really need to be reading above all others and yes, we need to do what it says) that we are either for Him or against Him.
Folks, this is a no brainer… Stop trying to overthink it… If you follow Christ and call Him your Lord and Savior, then do what He says and you shall show through your obedience that you are His child.
If you otherwise choose to turn your back on Christ and will not do what He says, then you are in fact “an enemy of the cross of Jesus Christ.” An enemy. I did not say it; I am not the one who is your judge. You will stand or fall to Christ alone.
In other words, if you choose to take up a “neutral position,” let me be maybe the only one to tell you, there is no neutral ground when it comes to God. He already tells us that in the Bible. Whether you are an atheist, a humanist, or a “fill in the blank-ist,” I’m telling you, you have taken a side.
But, so many of you who won’t state your side clearly like the examples above, you have inadvertently chosen your side and now you stand on the enemy side of the line. I may be tolerant of you, I may be kind to you, I may even love you, but in God’s eyes you are an enemy. Not a good place to be.
And, I still don’t really get it nor do I actually buy it, when you see these atheist types throwing their weight around to enact laws or in so many ways to outlaw the outward demonstrations of those who do acknowledge their following God, that they don’t believe in God. On the contrary, I think by the very acts of trying to legislate that there is no God, they demonstrate that they actually must believe He exists because if you believe He does not exist, then exactly why are you always so angry at Him and at those who purport to believe in Him.
If God does not exist, then why not just be content to let us make (in your opinion) fools of ourselves?
When you say that you don’t believe in God and that in your opinion He does not exist, you have chosen to be God’s enemy.
I know that probably that does not scare you. And, I am not really trying to scare you per se. But, I hope you will one day reconsider your choice for in fact I do care what happens to you and so does God. I actually do pray in my heart that one day you will hear that still small voice of the Holy Spirit, whispering that God does not hate you, but in fact loves you. He does not want anyone to have to suffer an eternity in Hell (yes, it is a real place, and it will be no party) or have to live apart from Him and all those that we love.
There is no hope for us apart from the redemption offered by Christ’s death on that cross so long ago. None of us has upheld the laws of God and none of us can buy or way into heaven. We must be purified by Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf. Without this, we would all suffer an eternal punishment.
My love is imperfect and so is my call for you to accept Christ and His message of hope. But, I know that Christ’s love is perfect and His call to your heart can penetrate your defenses. If you seek God out and truly go in search of answers that only He can give, then I know that one day He will lead you to the right conclusions. One day He will lead you home.
It is in this hope that I write this and ask that you at least consider that God exists, that He loves you, and that maybe those of us who keep imperfectly trying to tell you about Him, might actually be trying to lead you a truth that can lead to something beyond this short and challenging mortal life.
May God find you right where you are at. On life’s front lines, or in its margins.
Friday, January 29, 2016
Ok, so this morning as I was reading and contemplating, I felt it. Maybe you sometimes have felt it as well? At first, just the tiniest tug. You know, at our heartstrings. We often just shove it down, but persistently it presses into those soft spots in our soul. A still small voice that calls us to fervently, urgently pray.
This morning was such a morning.
Before I knew or could comprehend it, I was weeping.
If you have not experienced this, I hope as my fellow brother or sister in Christ that you do.
You see, sometimes I believe that the Holy Spirit pricks our conscience and urgently asks us to pray. You know as well as I do that God already knows the things that lay heavy on our hearts. You know what I’m talking about. Often we are aware of so many deep needs around us. They may be of great concern to us but being human we often let our business distract us from these things.
Some things are just so much more important than our busyness, our distractions, our wasted time, our priorities. There are things of eternal importance right within reach, but so often we put them at arm’s length because they can be so heavy with emotion that it’s just easier (we think) to avoid dealing with them.
I won’t go into the details, but somewhere today a family that I know is facing the toughest decisions you can imagine. Somewhere, there is a family that though they were not prepared for it is having to let go of that which is precious beyond measure. Somewhere a family is having to say goodbye to one that they love and no matter what clichés we may know, no matter what platitudes may come to mind, the pain is unavoidable. Grief is real and it must be faced.
It’s never convenient.
And often it won’t wait.
I had priorities today. I had a game plan. But then, grief came knocking. And, my day changed.
So, I wept. And I poured my heart out to the only one who can not only hear our heart cries, but actually turn them to action, to purpose, to redemption and healing.
There is only one person who can hear our grief and make something of it. His name is Jesus.
I am not here to tell you that once I poured my heart out to Him, that all the grief is gone. Nor am I telling you that all is now right with the world. I am not telling you that He will fulfill my heart’s desire in this situation. (though I know that there are at least just a few others today that wish that same thing that I do) What I am telling you is this: God hears your prayers. He knows our grief intimately and He weeps with us.
When I prayed this morning, I was reminded of the day Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. I was reminded of Jesus’ weeping over His friend and the grief of those who loved Lazarus too. I am thankful that God understands and He does not mock our pain.
Some of you may question why I have written this piece and maybe you don’t understand it but I know some of you definitely do. You simply cannot understand this unless you have had to let go of someone you love. All of us eventually will cross this bridge.
Life on this place, well, it’s terminal. And we have but one life, so we must live it to the fullest.
So what am I ultimately trying to do here?
I am letting you know several important things:
First is this: Never take life for granted. Again, we are only given one. If you are a sometimes procrastinator extraordinaire life me, there is one thing I ask you avoid. Never forget to ensure that those you love know just how much you love them. Every day!
Second: Take care of the most crucial things in your life to ensure your family will be okay tomorrow if God calls you home today. You know what I mean if you think about it a little. Plan ahead. None of us knows the day or the hour God will stop our race with His eternal stop watch.
Lastly: If you feel the tug at your heart by the Holy Spirit to act. Whether it is to pray, do an act of service, listen to a hurting friend, etc., don’t let the moment pass without acting on His leading. If we ignore these moments, I believe the one we hurt the most is ourselves. God can accomplish His perfect will without us, but what a tragedy when we are asked to join with Him and we choose to ignore His call. In so doing, we quench the Holy Spirit’s voice and may find it so much harder to hear Him in the future.
Grief visits all of us in our lifetimes. It is unavoidable and inevitable.
In time, we may find healing. In time God may fill the hole that has been left by our loss. We will find peace, joy, laughter, friendship, and love again, but the scars remain. It’s ok for us to mourn them. God hears our heart cries and if we let Him he can help us to remember the good times, the precious memories, the gifts given by those who have gone before us into eternity.
And, for those of us who have asked Jesus into our hearts, we have this joy, we have this anticipation, we have a day to long for. A day when we will joyfully see those we love again and fall into their arms in a warm embrace. What a fantastic, joyful reunion that will be!
I thank God that He not only sees our grief, but that He has compassion on us and will bear this burden for us if we’ll just place it on His strong shoulders.
Don’t let this day go by without going to the Lord in prayer over the things that are weighing your heart down. Look up into His loving eyes and share your tears with Him. He longs to comfort you and bring you joy once again.
Find a place and time today to be still and quiet. Listen carefully and I know you will hear that same quiet voice that called to my heart this morning.
Sincerely, in Christ,
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.