Friday, August 31, 2012

Lack of....

Self introspection, sometimes not a good thing, however much needed when called to follow Jesus Christ. Taken from Mark 9

"Why could we not cast him out?"
The causes of spiritual impotency seen in this chapter are obvious.
Lack of faith (all things possible...O faithless generation),
Lack of prayer (this kind cometh not out but by prayer),
Lack of humility (argument regarding who is the greatest),
Lack of love (he follows not us).

Stirred to confess carelessness and lack of concern in prayer.

(Borrowed)--although true of me

By His Side

The only sound was from the filament of the light bulb that illuminated the tiny area assigned to him.
The air in the room was thick...with horror.  Another sound springs forth as if from nowhere. Yes, it is my thudding heart inside my chest. Tears come more easily than words. His face is a minuet of pain, sorrow, fear, delirium and what could almost be described as the early stages of death.  Death. Death.  Death.   Life followed by death.  What kind of life is it when you cannot leave on your own terms?  Who gets to decide?  Some men and women grapple with an enemy that will eventually win the fight.  My only job right now is to comfort the comfortless.  He tries to form words through the incessant pain, his only defense against tears that are sure to come.  Denial, anger, fatigue.  I am not trained for this.  Why me? 
I look on as his body is wracked with spasms, pleading with him to ease the pain.  His eyes fixed on a reality that does not exist, a reality without the pain, without the stench of death and eventually his own death.  More enemies join the fight with each passing second.   "Oh, the pain." Eddie says.  Frighteningly I reach for his hand.  Maybe this will calm him some.  Eddie flinches in fear as if I were the Grim Reaper coming to claim another prize.  If only....

My voice croaks as the words, made thick with my own fears, spill out, "It's only me your trusted sidekick.  Right here by your side."  No response.  Joviality has no place here.  I began to tell Eddie about my family, namely my sister.  Even in the most difficult of circumstances and harrowing
situations, God allows pleasant memories to filter into our mind.  Memories of his provision and his grace and his love.  (Thank you heavenly father.)  With those memories I change my subject from my earthly family to my heavenly family. 

Fifteen minutes have passed by as I told Eddie about God's love for humanity and our need to be rescued from the clutches of death and hell caused by our sin.  This can only be accomplished by the acceptance of Jesus Christ' death on the cross and his resurrection from the grave three days later.  Eddie was now closer to death and prayerfully much closer to a decision for his eternal salvation. 


Eddie had not moved or said a word for what seemed like forever.  I wondered if he was dead.  At that moment his chest rises and falls ever-so-slightly.  By his side I remained (not wanting to leave at such a critical moment) with baited breath.  Eddie turns to me and says, "I would like to make Jesus my personal Lord and saviour."  I exhaled a little to loudly and saw a faint smile on his face.  Nothing could staunch the tears that now flowed with great joy from my eyes.  I reached for Eddie's hand, lifted my
my face to heaven and prayed as Eddie made known his lost condition and confessed his sins and received forgiveness.  Eddie added a few words of his own and as he finished praying to his new saviour, he also finished living on this earth.  Eddie was now in heaven with Jesus. 

More tears.  More joy.  "Thank you, MY LORD AND MY KING."
There is no greater joy because now, BY HIS SIDE, my Jesus, I now see Eddie.  

Saturday, August 18, 2012

BBD (Beautiful Beyond Description) Part One

Last week I was reading through the Yahoo news clips on my laptop and I came across several interesting articles.  The first article I read was about Kim Kardashian and her continuous need to post pictures of herself in her bikini.  I believe it said something to the effect of six days, six pictures, six different bikinis.  Who cares?
Before I continue on, let me post my disclaimer: I looked at each picture, of each day, of each bikini.  Let us crack on (British term for continue).

A couple of days later I read an article about Miley Cyrus, Ann Hathaway, Jessica Biel and the girl from Twilight, Kristin Stewart.  Not even the Olympics could escape the seedy side of news reporting.  Many people wanted to know about the woman on the arm of Michael Phelps?  Just yesterday I read an article about a young girl,14, who had plastic surgery to combat the bullying she was experiencing at school.  Add to this the constant headlines concerning Lady Gaga, Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Mariah Carey and her twins, how can today's society not be enamoured with the celebrity lifestyle and its outward appearance?  What ever happened to inward qualities being a part of what defines a person?

On any given day I can open the paper and read the headlines that speak of what some celebrity is doing, pictures of them on beaches, shopping, without makeup, working out, their beauty or style sense.  They can also be noticed by the number of hangers on, groupies and paparazzi circling them like vultures to a carcass in the desert. 
Jesus, if I can use today's vernacular, had groupies and hangers on.  One could say those days were the infancy of the modern day paparazzi.  Not too much of a stretch for the mind?  Not mine at least.  In Isaiah 53:2 (last half of the verse) it is said of Jesus, "he had no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him."  Breaking down this verse, it says there was nothing outwardly about Jesus that would cause people to follow him, much less notice him.  Would he be a candidate for GQ magazine?  Men's Health?  Probably not.  Would we read in the USA Today about some outlandish stunt he pulled?  No.  If he were to walk about in the world today would anyone know who he was?  Still no.  Are the so called celebrities of today in need of such attention?  If so, then why? 
Beyond the outward materialistic possessions, these people offer nothing to the world.  Their flaunt themselves and a vain identity to those around them, who will tire of them in a few years if not sooner.  The shock and aw will wear off.  They have their reward  Let me quote Solomon from Ecclesiastes 1:8, "All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it:  the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing."
Question: Why could we not see the beauty of Jesus?  The bible says he had the glory of God, was the fullness of the godhead bodily, was the image of God, spoke with the authority of God, the Son of God and filled with the Spirit of God.  Answer:  Our sin nature.
The manifestation of the beauty of Jesus came from within.  His was the opposite of Solomon's denotation of humankind.  Jesus did not come to satisfy the lust of the eyes, but to fulfill the longing of the spirit to once again be allowed to commune with God.  He did not speak the words that people wanted to hear.  The words of Jesus were not soft and tempered.  His words pricked the hearts so man could see its need for repentance from sin.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Book Club

A month or so ago someone in my church gave me a book to read.  From time to time people suggest books or authors for me to read and if I feel led then I will.  Most of the time I politely refuse.  Well, the someone who recommended this book was under the age of 12.  Hmm, what book could it be?  What kind of book could it be?  The children of today definitely have different views about life than I did as a child.  On a whim I said yes to the book and I have truly enjoyed reading it.  It is simple (appreciated) and funny (not overly so).  The book I am perusing is called "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days".  No, your eyes do not deceive you. I am almost compelled to go and look for the movie(s).  What a treat this has turned out to be for me to read and to see similarities in his life and mine, if all in the book can be called true?  Well, I am half-way into it and look forward to the ending.  I wonder if there is a sequel?     

Your Arms Are Too Short to Box with God

Amazing what comes into your mind when one is thinking about nothing.  For a couple of months, at least, I have had this title running through my mind.  This is the title of a Broadway play from the mid to late '70s.  Although I never had the chance to see it, I often wondered what it was about.  At the time it was running I had to have been about 6 or 7 years old.  So before I started this entry I did a little research and discovered it was based on the book of Matthew.  Now, having read the gospel of Matthew it is easy to see the correlation.  But, it also brings to mind, which side of the argument does one look to to see the reason for the title?  Would I be wrong if I chose to see it from the side of the one coming against God's plan?  Or do I go the normal route and see it from the believers point of view?  I believe the LORD would have us to look at it from all angles so we can have a true perspective and make the correct decision of yes or no.

Let me ask you, how does someone try to box with God?  This is an effort in futility.  If you can pick a phrase that would make it sound more of a waste of time, feel free to do so.

Thinking about the gospel of Matthew and my life in its current state, I am in the ring not really knowing what to do next.  Do I look to my trainer and ask him to throw in the towel?  Before the bout starts?  Do I check the medical supplies and pray that there are enough bandages to cover the wounds and bruises that are sure to come?  Maybe the  towel man should buy out the hardware store and stock up on buckets?  Surely this is going to be an eviscerating event!! 

Thinking about the title, I could see that it applies to all of us (humanity) whether we read the bible or not, whether we know or recognize God at all.  All efforts to persuade God to see it from "our point of view" have led to many a people regretting the decision. 

Isaiah 55:6-9 says,  (v.6)"Seek the LORD while he may be found, call upon him while he is near:  (v.7)Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and he will return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.  (v.8)For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. (v.9)  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."  This is spoken to the unbelievers.

Jeremiah 33:3 says, "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not."
 This is a word for God's chosen.

In everything I do, I must first seek God and in all actuality get his permission.  Secondly, I must, must wait for an answer.  The sparring match begins when I put my needs and desires before what God deems best for me and I refuse to consider HIS ways.  It is like two fighters before a match with one trying to intimidate the other by talking trash.  Trash talking will only get you/me so far.   Too bad more of us born again believers don't heed the warning of Jesus when he said (paraphrased), "before taking on any projects first see if we are able to do so and count the costs, otherwise we may find ourselves a bit short." 

During my day I have seen many fights and a lot of them have been sooo one sided, that it made me wonder, why did they go through with it?  They had no chance whatsoever to win this fight.  Would I have had a better chance against Mohamed Ali?  Or Sugar Ray Leonard?  Mike Tyson?  George Foreman?   You betcha.  But because of pride mankind often does the foolish thing.  Looking at the defeated foe after the massacre, I can say I too have felt that way after going against God.  Once in the ring it is put up or shut up.  Too bad I had not realized before the bell rung, and I got my bell rung, that 'my arms were too short to box with God.' 


Monday, August 6, 2012

Famous Quotes

"Nothing, of eternal importance, can be accomplished apart from prayer."

Jerry Falwell

Friday, August 3, 2012

Whom Have I But You

Fear and failure can lead a person to the breaking point.  In this day and age of social media and the constant advancements in technology everything IS magnified to the nth degree.  I often wonder when will it all end?  And how?  Such times do cause me to be fearful and sometimes immobile.  Imagine your every move being broadcast for all the world to see.  Everything you say and do all scrutinized in the court of public opinion? 

The people of this generation have no idea what lies ahead and if I spent the rest of my time here on the earth speaking to them about 'their' future, I would not be able to put a dent into the population around me.  If anything, it would spur action against me.

David said in Psalm 56 verse 3, "when I am afraid, I will trust in you."

If anyone experienced fears and failures in their lifetime it was David.  Yet, throughout all these constant battles from around him and within his own household, David trusted in the LORD.
Verse 4, In God, i will praise his word and trust him
Verse 9, God is for me
Verse 10,  In God i will praise his word; in the LORD i will praise his      word
Verse 11, In God have i put my trust
Verse 12, O God, i will sing praises to thee

At the end of this psalm David says something that made me chuckle and also made me rethink my view of Jehovah and how I pray to him.  Verse 13 states (paraphrased) "God has delivered my soul from hell, surely he is capable of keeping my feet from stumbling so I may walk upright before him."

To walk upright before God does not imply we will have a life without fears and failures.  These stepping stones are what gives us cause to praise God all the more.  HIS greatest work was salvation thru the Cross of Christ and there is nothing to small or insignificant for God to do for HIS beloved.  In closing I would like to say, as long as I have God, why do i need fear what man can do to me?  and what more do I need other than HIM?