That’s Beside The Point

irrelevant

According to Vocabulary.com, “if a rock star becomes irrelevant, it means people are not relating – or even listening – to his music anymore.”  Such can be said for the current irrelevant conversations regarding Planet X, Nibiru, and the Annannaki on one hand; and David Meade, along with many other biblical prognosticators, who proclaim in their loudest voice to date: “The END is NEAR!”  People who are caught up in all this chaotic nonsense are not listening to the voice of truth, or they are completely ignoring what the Bible says in such a way as to completely misinterpret the concepts they hold in such high esteem.  It’s like they are shouting, “don’t confuse me with the facts, those things are irrelevant!”  It even seems to me that many people want these things to be true, so they can usher in the Kingdom of God.  They act as if wishing it true, would make it true.  Then, being true, they would have the last laugh on all those unfortunate souls on earth who don’t have their eternal destination as heaven.

Is that what Jesus meant by telling us to go make disciples?

Did He give His life on the cross, demonstrating in the most relevant way possible how much He loves us, only to have us be judgers and haters of the world?

In fact, for arguments sake let’s assume September 23rd, (today), is the day that marks the beginning of the end.  Imagine the catastrophic events actually do begin in 9 hours and 39 minutes (as I write this).  According to Slooh.com, it all begins at 8:00 pm EDT.  You can go to this website and watch it happen live, like those would-be revelers who stood at the top of the building when the aliens came to town in the 1996 movie Independence Day.  The truly relevant question here might be:

“Who would you want to convince to trust in Jesus as Savior before the end comes?”

My question to you is: “If this is the end, shouldn’t you be working on that?”

Christians around this globe who are living as God want them to live, see the “end of the world” as irrelevant.  Whether near or far, that is not the focus of my daily life goal.  The daily goal is to live in such a way, every day, that those seeking to know God may find Him or know Him through me, or my life.  We seek to experience God’s grace every single day, and extend God’s glory to the end’s of the earth, until it is the end of the earth.

We really do need to listen to the voice of reason, the biblical voice, interpreted clearly through the apostle Paul, because everything else is irrelevant.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you.  For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.  While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape.  But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.  For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night.  But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.  For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him.  Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.

 

Irrelevant

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As in turning over a new…

leaf

A new start, a reformation, behaving in more responsible ways… is this ever entirely possible?  As humans, on our own, do we really have the wherewithal to accomplish such a thing?  Some would argue with me until they are blue in the face, that “yes” of course humans can change.  But really, how many have you known who have done so, as I said, on their own, without any external help?  I am human and have tried most of my life to overcome some nagging negative traits or characteristics that seem hard-wired into my own DNA.  Just about when I think I’ve got things under control, I either slip up, slide back, or just quit trying for awhile.  Then I realize, I can’t do this on my own.  I need help.

A tried and true, non-invasive way to control one’s vulgar speech habits, is to wear a rubber band on the wrist.  Every time you speak without thinking, falling into the old habit of using selected words not suitable for little ears (or old ears for that matter), you pull back the band on your wrist and feel pain associated with that language.  While over time your language may change for horrible to not-so-bad most of the time, the outside action of snapping a rubber band against your wrist was the external source causing an internal change.  It’s basic re-programming, not necessarily change at the core of who you are.  That’s the real problem isn’t it?  How to really “turn over a new leaf.”

The prophet Jeremiah asks Jeremiah 13:23

Can the Ethiopian change his skin
            Or the leopard his spots?
            Then you also can do good
            Who are accustomed to doing evil.

See?  God knows us better than we know ourselves.  And He knows we are not capable of doing the very thing we want to do… turn over a new leaf.

So, how to accomplish such an enormous task?  What’s really required if we want to commit to the process of starting over, and changing our behavior, to less volatile and damaging activities?  How do we curb these vitriolic attitudes spoken freely every day in a world divided by condescension and hatred?

David of the Old Testament was only too aware of his sinfulness, and rebellion against God’s ways.  Basically, he said (over and over and over), “I need help!”

Psalm 51:10-12
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
            And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
And sustain me with a willing spirit.

David also wrote…

Psalm 121:1-2
I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
            From where shall my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.

Even David in the Old Testament, declared that if we are ever to turn over a new leaf, it will come from the outside supernatural forces we invite into our lives, that remake us from the inside out.  We cannot do it alone.  We need help.

Jesus was talking to Nicodemus late one night because ole Nick knew he needed help, and sought out the only One who could help him.  Nick says to Jesus,  “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”  To which Jesus replies, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Nick’s response:  “Huh?”

For the whole narrative read John 3:1-21.  But for the point I’m making here, Nick new only too well that he couldn’t change on his own.  He went to Jesus to find the answers, and Jesus gave him the instruction needed to make a real change, to turn over that new leaf.  You must be born again.

Those who believe in Jesus to transform them into a human who glorifies God, will be completely satisfied with their metamorphosis.  This faith/trust doesn’t just change your speech, or your behavior, but your desires and attitudes as well.  Every person who every locked eyeballs with Jesus (in the New Testament) went away changed.  Either for better… or worse.

If they understood and believed who Jesus claimed to be, trusting in His salvation by stepping over the line of faith, their whole lives took on new meaning and purpose.  Those who listened to his teachings, saw him act in miraculous ways, and still weren’t convinced they needed “His brand” of teaching or salvation… they walked away unchanged… or saved.

We all make the choice to believe or not, to be changed or not.  But we cannot change ourselves into what God wants us to be.  That requires the outside spiritual grace offered only in Jesus.

Want to turn over a new leaf?  Run to the One who made the leaves!  He will transform you’re life.

Leaf

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Who is this King of Glory?

mighty

Earthly kings, if you believe the writers of Game of Thrones, is the male ruler of a realm, or monarchy.  Each of these men usually have this position because they inherited it by their position in the family at birth.  Each rules as king until they die, or they abdicate their right to be king.  Aegon the Conqueror and Robert Baratheon became kings through conquest.  The consort of the king is a queen, but a queen can also mean one who rules in her own right.  Daenerys Targaryen claims to be Queen Regnant of the Iron Throne as her own right as the daughter of King Aerys II Targaryen.

If none of these names mean anything to you at all, that’s ok.  It’s just a book series now turned into a TV show.  The books were written by George R.R. Martin with book one (Game of Thrones) published in 1996, with the Winds of Winter (#6), and A Dream of Spring (#7), yet to be released. The headline from TheVerge stated that 16 million people watched the premier of the seventh season, 10.1 million viewed the live broadcast, and another 6 millions on streaming services.  So, maybe you do know who all these kings are.

But, do you know the King of Glory?

No, He doesn’t star in an upcoming episode of GOT.

Let me give you a clue.

Psalm 24:1-10,  A Psalm of David.

The earth is the LORD’S, and all it contains
the world, and those who dwell in it. 
For He has founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.
 
Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD?
And who may stand in His holy place?

He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood
and has not sworn deceitfully. 
He shall receive a blessing from the LORD
and righteousness from the God of his salvation. 
This is the generation of those who seek Him,
who seek Your face– even Jacob.        Selah. 

Lift up your heads, O gates,
and be lifted up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in! 

Who is the King of glory?
The LORD strong and mighty,
The LORD mighty in battle.

Lift up your heads, O gates,
and lift them up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in! 

Who is this King of glory?
The LORD of hosts,
He is the King of glory.

Selah.

Mighty has to do with holding great power or strength, and possessing colossal or mammoth proportions of influence.  Mighty men in the history of mankind have been powerful, violent, and relentless at times to seize their power and hold on to it.  Some were glorified for their efforts, others were known in infamy.

The Bible speaks of a coming ruler, one who arises from nowhere to great power and influence.  He will be loved by all at first.  He will conquer nations not by military power but with cunning language and negotiating peace.  He will have kings, presidents, and despots all scrambling to seek his favor, as the world falls prey to his deceptive powers.  Hitler, Stalin or Conan the Barbarian are all meek and mild children compared to the mighty influence of this coming Son of Destruction.  Here is how Paul describes him.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-4
Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.
Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.

The man described here as “the son of destruction” will only do these things after he has come to power all over the world.

But is this the end?  … The end of all things good and right and holy?  Not so much.  For this man is only a prince of darkness, a son of destruction, he is not a king.

The King of glory, the King who is coming, is holy, righteous, and full of grace and mercy for those who take His name.  He is not a mythical king of old like King Aerys II Targaryen, or no!  This is none other than the Christ of Heaven, the Living God, the Creator of all things.

John 1:3
All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

This mighty King is coming, soon, but don’t get tied down by that.  It’s not the timing He would have us focus on.  It is the fact of it.  The truth of it, that is important here.  So listen to the King of Heaven’s own words we should hear and heed:

Revelation 22:12-13
Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.

These words were not written for entertainment.  These words were written so that those who read them should understand them, and act in ways that line up with the truth held in them.

Are you ready for the coming King?

Who is the King of glory?
The LORD strong and MIGHTY,
The LORD mighty in battle.

Lift up your heads, O gates,
and lift them up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in! 

Who is this King of glory?
The LORD of hosts,
He is the King of glory.

Selah.

Mighty

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Life Giving Breadcrumbs

crumb

Bread is my weakness.  Rhodes Dinner Rolls are my favorite, for several reasons.

First, the dough making part of making rolls is time consuming, and I really don’t want to do it.  If I get in the mood to make bread I have a bread maker which will make the dough and bake it if I want.  All I have to do is make precise measurements and dump the ingredients into the mixer/baker.  Or it will just make the dough, and I can cut and shape it how I desire.  But if I want rolls, why would I go to all that trouble, when Rhodes has labored so hard to provide me these delicious morsels ready to bake?

Second, these rolls remind me of my mom’s cooking.  She made dinner rolls that tasted as good as these or better, and I loved ’em.  Each time I take the time to bake some of these goodies, I think of her, and it’s like life-giving breadcrumbs to me.  I miss her still.  I’m hungry for her bread, and thirsty for her sweet iced tea, but she’s no longer here to make these for me.

When the hunger and thirst for such things as these rages into cravings, nothing else will do.  This truth is why Jesus taught:

Matthew 5:6
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

John 6:27
Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.

John 6:35
I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.

I freely testify to you today, it is not my mother’s sweet iced tea that quenches my soul’s thirst, nor her succulent bread rolls which feeds my soulful longing for satisfaction in this life.  Only the LORD of heaven – the bread of life, the living water – can do this for me… and for you.

People struggle along in this life on the crumbs of the world’s offerings, and they are starving and thirsting to death spiritually.  However, today, you can know true satisfaction deep in your soul.  You can experience the answer for hungering and thirsting after the fulness of life, and be satisfied.  But only if you look in the right place.  Don’t settle for the crumbs when you can have the whole roll.

Psalm 34:8
O taste and see that the LORD is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!

Crumb

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Hollywood: You’re Not So Glorious

glorious

I suppose the illustrious and celebrated, those famous for being in front of a camera spouting other people’s words, believe they have every right to foster hate, and further divide our nation, while they hand out little statues that mean nothing.  I wonder sometimes if in their spectacularly blind way of engaging their 1st Amendment right, to say whatever they want on public television, if they would defend my right to write these words?

We didn’t watch the Emmys.  My wife and I spent the evening reading together and talking.  You know… that interpersonal engagement skill that few seem to pursue today.  We didn’t text, or snapchat, or look at our mobile devices.  We didn’t have any music playing, and the background noise was the a/c unit modulating on and off.  It was just the two of us, and our little lap-dog, Sugar, spending close to three hours enjoying life and each other. And I’m pretty sure my life is not diminished in any aspect, having not tuned in to the “bash President Donald Trump” show.

Here’s one brief quote from Alec Baldwin, noted Donald Trump impersonator/basher:

“When you die, you don’t remember a bill that Congress passed or a decision the Supreme Court made or an address made by the president. You remember a song, you remember a line from a movie, you remember a play, you remember a book, a painting, a poem. What we do is important and for all of you out there in motion pictures and television, don’t stop doing what you’re doing, the audience is counting on you.”

It’s sad though, isn’t it?  That what was once a celebration of “craft” has turned into a political machine.  Every Hollywood, or Broadway, or media award ceremony is now really only so much cannon fodder for the elitist Alt-left to stir the pot of condescension, all the while behaving like two-year-old children, rather than full-grown adults.  Using sly and carefully crafted words, the “attitude” behind their tiny-minded speeches comes through in their faces, and posture.  How would I know this if I didn’t watch, you ask?  This morning, two of the three web-sites I read were inundated with material in video clips about this so-not-newsworthy event.  I viewed a couple and had enough.

At times like these, I think on the words of God as He looked down at the human race and the mess that was made by them of His creation.

Genesis 6:3,5
Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years… Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Perhaps one of the saddest verses in the whole Bible is what follows in verse 6.

Genesis 6:6
The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.

Perhaps it’s audacious of me to say, but I think God may have wept last night as well, as those blind, dark minds, used the only platform available, to continue to spread seeds of hate.

What to do?  What to do?

Today, approach God’s Word with an open heart and mind, and search for truth regarding what is ahead.  What is ahead?  The promise of the Spirit, and the Day of the LORD.

And now, a final word to Hollywood, or for those who want to see the GLORIOUS Truth, from the ONE who is in control, has the authority, and is ever present with us.

Spend some time reading the second chapter of Joel, which ends with this verse…

Joel 2:32
And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD will be delivered; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be those who escape, as the LORD has said, even among the survivors whom the LORD calls.

Glorious

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Recreate or Re-create?

recreate

Like so many other human beings in the world, I find many different ways to amuse myself when I have down-time. This is the very definition of “recreate”: to amuse oneself in some activity.  Anyone who’s been reading this blog for awhile knows that my primary recreational activity is golf.  So when I read the “Daily Post” word of the day, from which I get my springboard for writing, naturally I was confused about which word I was supposed to write about. Recreate or re-create?

To re-create means “to create again,” which may indeed be a recreational activity for artists and such, but the two words do not mean the same thing.  You can see my dilemma, right?

I really like the picture above, and the implications of new life coming out of old dead things, in this case a tree stump.  The vivid green plant life juxtaposed against the cracked, old dead wood, was a great creative idea by the photographer.  I wonder if as he shot this graphic whether he was amused with the activity.  I did it again didn’t I? I re-created the dilemma.

David captured the idea of being re-created from the inside out, in response to his own sinfulness, which was killing his spirit on the inside.

Psalm 51:10
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

David’s desire was for God to re-create, not recreate.  David saw it as his only option to sustain a purpose for his own existence.

Paul captures the same idea for the church in Corinth, and for us today.

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

When a person steps over the line of faith into Jesus, then God does what only HE can.  He re-creates us once again in His image, placing inside of us His own Holy Spirit, which results in a complete metamorphosis in our existence.  We are still human, but now we are saved, redeemed, and delivered from darkness – people.  We are His children.

We are re-created.

Recreate

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Ambrosial Acts

flavorful

My Weber grill and I have had a good time this summer.  Between the ambrosial aroma of steaks being seared, and the bouquet of smells proffered by grilling corn on the cob, asparagus, carrots, and other assorted vegetables, we’ve had quite a flavorful time.  The combination of smells and tastes complement the sheer joy in cooking for friends and family, and sharing life together.  In Greek mythology, “ambrosial” pertained to something worthy of the gods.  No, I’m not saying my skills on the grills are god-like, far from it.  Sometimes I over-use the spices (too heavy on the lemon-pepper last time).  Sometimes I over-cook the whatever… I’m not perfect in any sense of the word.  Still, I love to keep trying and experiment with new techniques and new recipes.  I also believe this is the key to life.

See, I learned a long time ago, you just have to not be afraid to fail.  Because you will.  Whether it’s golf, or grilling, or going all-in with a full house in Texas Hold-em’, there are going to be those times you’re going to be beat by a “flush.”  You’re going to fail to make the putt.  The grilled chicken is going to be dry and overcooked.

Do you really want to know what an “Ambrosial Act” is?  We’ve seen the stories over and over for a couple of weeks now.  People who act in self-less ways to help those who are ravaged by life, perform ambrosial acts… they act in ways that are pleasing to God.

And folks, let me assure you, there are many more opportunities for God to use you in this recovery process.

Did you know there is a whole group of people both in Texas and in Florida which will receive no help at all from FEMA?  Churches will not be eligible for recovery money from FEMA (either for their own damage, or for the costs of being a shelter for those fleeing for their lives from the storm).  FEMA categorically “excludes houses of worship from equal access to disaster relief grants because of their religious status,” citing buildings that provide “critical service” or “essential government services”; if over half their space is used for religious programming cannot participate in the federal aid program.

Were it not for all the religious institutions and churches that have offered aid, and which will continue to do so, FEMA would fail miserably to provide all that’s needed in the recovery process. We need a new recipe, a new technique to solve this problem.

The clear reality is, churches were lost in this storm too.  People who attended these churches lost their homes and possessions.  Pastors and staff members who served these congregations, lost their homes and possessions.  Harvey is gone and the weather is clear in Texas along the coast again.  However, it is anything but business-as-usual.  It will take months and years to get it all back in place.

How will it happen? It takes all of us folks.  It takes being willing to fail.  My Uncle Wylie used to say, “Don’t just stand there, do something!  If it doesn’t work, try again!”  I feel like God is looking down on us, saying, “See the marvelous opportunity you have?  Do something!”

Last week in worship our Pastor presented the idea that our church “partner” with another decimated church in South Texas and stand with them in the rebuilding process.  This really resonates with me as an ambrosial act.  It’s full of flavor and sweet smelling aroma in the palate of God, as He views His people doing what He called them to do.

After the flood, Noah built an altar and made an offering to God, for God’s provision and salvation.  It was an ambrosial act.

Genesis 8:21
The LORD smelled the soothing aroma; and the LORD said to Himself, “I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done.”

God recognizes we are going to fail.  Isn’t it about time we recognize it too?  And in this understanding, should we not simply do what we can do to help in the rebuilding and recovery of life, for those less fortunate than ourselves?

Don’t forget, this isn’t done yet.

Flavorful

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Like Wrestling With A Porcupine

thorny

The long, sharp quills that cover a porcupine’s body can sometimes reach up to a foot long.  The animal uses the quills as a defense by shaking their bodies to make the quills rattle.  They can charge backward against their predators.  Some mistakenly think the quills can be projected into their attacker, but according to Animal Diversity Web, that isn’t true.  The quills release from their bodies, and have scales or barbs which make them difficult to remove.  Once a quill is lost it regenerates over time.  Some porcupines have 30,000 or more quills, and grow up to 3-feet long.  Porcupines are herbivores, and live in pretty much all different terrains, including deserts, mountains, forests, and grasslands, some living in trees, and others on the ground. To look at them, they aren’t really cozy and cuddly animals.

Being on social media today is a lot like wrestling with a porcupine.  There is so much nonsense and fake news that gets perpetrated from maladjusted individuals who tend to come at their problems by charging backward with their pointed quills.  In so doing they are a perfect image of our current political systems where barbs are bristled and rattled, and posturing is everything.  I don’t know about you, but I’m kind of tired of all the thorny rhetoric and attitudes.

I’m looking forward to a new world.  I’m ready for some relief.  I need the healing that only comes from a restoration of the soul, and the balm that soothes the pain inflicted by those who only hate.

Today I need direction, guidance, and wisdom in how to charge ahead.  Do You?

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.

Thorny

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Kind Compassion and Commiserations

sympathy

It’s wired into all of us, the capability to demonstrate sympathy for those who have suffered misfortune and loss.  It’s in our DNA.  Some have just suppressed the emotional stimulus of sympathy for others for so long, their “sympathy” seems re-routed to include only themselves.  Case in point, what would possess dozens of looters in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and other cities to break into stores in these evacuated towns and just take whatever they want?  A complete abandonment of moral thought and sympathy for their fellow man.  There is no other explanation.  The darkness invading the minds of men have increased lawlessness, and their hearts have grown cold… just as Jesus said they would. (Matthew 24:12)

But it’s hard isn’t it?  To be so bombarded with tragedy in the news week after week and not become a little de-sensitized to the present crisis.  It’s clear that those who’ve lost their homes and possessions in the fires in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana are just as devastated as those affected by Harvey and Irma.  But we’ve lost sight of them, because we focus on what is right in front of us at the time.  Right now it’s Irma and the southern United States.  Most of us haven’t given more than a second thought to the folks to our south affected by an earthquake in Mexico.

Sometimes it’s not even about focus, sometimes it’s about remembering.  Today is a good example.  Today is September 11, 2017.  16 years ago our lives we’re changed forever.  We watched in horror as thousands of lives were lost when the twin towers came crashing into the earth in rubble.  Terrorism became real for everyone around the world in an instant, and it hasn’t let up since.  Here’s a question for you though.  I wonder how many people in the world today would even have thoughts of this tragedy, or those who were lost, except that a commemorative event was planned, specifically so that we don’t forget?

Too often it is all too true:  out of sight, out of mind… and out of our memory.

I’m convinced some folks have the spiritual gift of sympathy.  It seems they have an unlimited supply, and regardless of how many tragedies occur, they are instantly capable of recognizing needs and organizing aid.  I recognize this as a special gift from God, because while I’m not unfeeling or uncaring, I find myself stretched these days to have enough sympathy to go around.  I would like to think I’m a kind man, who cares, who demonstrates compassion, and will commiserate with those in need.

Yet, when in the ensuing chaos of one tragedy, after another, after another, in a seemingly endless list of tragedies, both my heart and my mind become numb.  I end up asking myself, “How can our world survive much more?”  Then I think about those in the crisis itself, while I watch the incessant video streams of death, damage, looting; it’s hard to balance all that with the fewer stories of strong willed people who drive from another state to demonstrate their sympathy in tangible ways.

Perhaps the answer is simple: pick a battle, don’t try to win the war on your own.

By becoming pro-active and choosing a place where you personally want to go, help and make a difference in the recovery process, you set aside those paralyzing thoughts and in action begin to make a real difference to those who do need our sympathy.  Sympathy won’t cut it though, if that’s all we have.  We must act.

And you can’t get bogged down by whatever else might be coming our way in the next few weeks or months.  Just focus on the choice you made, the people or group you’ve decided to support and keep on.  Pray for all the others certainly, this is something we all can do.  But engage somewhere.  Demonstrate your own kind compassion and sympathetic commiserations by actually doing something to help someone in the middle of these tragic days of misery and loss.

It’s not just about sympathy.  It’s also about action.

Jesus also said, [John 13:34]
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

 

Daily Post: Sympathy

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Strange and Unexpected

Daily Post: Peculiar

peculiar

Could I ask you to pray for me?  Would it seem peculiar to you if I did?  Allow me to briefly share my need.  I don’t need money, food, water, shelter, clothes, or donations of any kind… so please, please keep reading.

It was a strange, peculiar feeling for me as the reality of how the message was getting out around the world finally settled in my mind.  According to a simple Google search, there are 193 countries in the world today, or 195 if you count the Holy See and the State of Palestine [United Nations classification].  Depending on the criteria used, “Stratfor” in their June 2017 article  suggests there are 204-207 de facto sovereign states.  The total of IOC-recognized Olympic nations is 206, and FIFA countries eligible for the World Cup Soccer trophy numbers 211.

What was the strange and peculiar feeling I had, and what was the reality I discovered?  Using the United Nations criteria of 195 nations, this blog has almost reached the half-way point around the world.  As of yesterday, September 9th, 2017, there were readers from 80 different countries, the most recent being Guatemala. The map above shows the origination point of readers around the world, the clear countries have no readers.  I was ecstatic to learn that the message of the gospel was being delivered to these highlighted countries through this blog.

Technology is a wonderful thing.  It has allowed me to continue to have a voice even now, while not being associated as a staff member/pastor of any particular church or denomination.  This means I can write and the message of God’s Word can be used around the world in ways that I will never see or know.  It is the true meaning of several different Scriptures.  Here are just a few that keep me going every day.

Hebrews 6:10
For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.

Isaiah 55:11
So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.

Acts 1:8
but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.

So here is my prayer request:

Would you please pray for me as I write?  Pray that I would write with wisdom to reach people with the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Pray that I would be a true witness of the faith in Flower Mound, in Texas and the United States, and to the remotest part of the earth.

I’m not sharing this map with you, or my stats with you for you to praise me, or for any regard in any way.  Please don’t do this.  Instead, I’m sharing this to hopefully inspire you to just be you.  Be the you God designed you to be, and you too can reach your world with the truth.  Be the witness for faith that makes a difference in someone’s life who really needs to see it, hear it, and experience it for themselves.

One last thing.

If you will pray for me in my endeavor to reach the world with the message of truth please consider this final request.

On any given day you may not relate to my topic, the thoughts I convey, or the image that I use as a platform for my message.  That’s ok, it’s a broad-spectrum blog.  But please keep reading.  Then, when you find that one article that touches you, that you relate to in ways I’ll never know about, would you do me the great honor of sharing it with your friends, or reposting it with a link to my blog, or on your Facebook page with all those hundreds of other readers…?

Above all, if you don’t feel like sharing, then don’t.  But please, please pray for me as I write, that God would send out His message in these words, and they would not return to His throne void, but will accomplish all that He sends them to accomplish.

Thanks for reading!

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An Overwhelmed Conqueror

Daily Post:  Overcome

Roman Soldier

Hours away now, folks in Florida, and folks from Florida who have found a way to safe haven somewhere out of the path of Irma, might best be described as an overwhelmed conqueror.  Some are staying behind to face the brunt of whatever this hurricane has to offer.  In some ways, I feel overwhelmed for them, and for those broadcast journalists who will give their hourly, or “minute-by-minute” updates when Irma’s fury is unleashed. Those who stayed are still grappling with their emotions, fighting to overcome the urge to flee.  The rest, traveling North to shelter, have overcome the danger to themselves, but have placed all their earthly possessions in the hands of the Creator in charge of the storm.  In this way, they too have overcome.

We watch from a distance, mesmerized or paralyzed by the streaming video feeds on our computers and mobile devices, or from the large screen displays hanging on the wall, detached from the pain, still not knowing what the final outcome will be.  We’ve had a glimpse, as Harvey spread devastation, pain, and loss across the gulf coast area.  So we know what to expect, it’s all too fresh in our short-term memories. Nevertheless, even that story isn’t finished yet.  Like a mystery novel where the solution is not revealed until the final chapter, we don’t know just how bad Irma will be for folks along the Florida coast line.  Regardless of East or West, all will be affected in some greater or lesser degree.

Romans 12:21
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

When Paul wrote to the Christ-followers in Rome, he knew they would face persecution and some of them death, yet his words were still filled with encouragement to remain strong and focused.  The word overcome here, when literally translated from the Greek, is “I conquer” or “I overcome.”  It is the greek verb nikao (nik-ah-o) from which we get our English word “Nike.”  So, here’s the thing…

Irma is not inherently evil.  It’s a hurricane.  It’s fueled by water and wind, both of which are natural elements designed by God for specific purposes.  Scientists believe they understand what causes hurricanes, but they don’t portray them as “evil,” because they aren’t.  Powerful, yes.  Evil, no.  So let’s not confuse the issue.  To conquer, sometimes you do have to turn and flee the coming storm.

1 John 5:4-5
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world– our faith.  Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

As men are poised to blow each other’s brains out, as fire spreads across the fruited plains and majestic mountain ranges, as the earth moves literally under our feet, as the wind and waves crash unmercifully into our land… how will we ever overcome?

We will suit up, just like the warrior in the image above and stand strong against the forces which would destroy us.

Folks it’s time.  Time to get busy.

It’s not time to whine or moan or be sidetracked by “I can’t do this,” thoughts.

It’s time to be a NIKE.  It’s time to battle back.

It’s time to overcome.

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Crescendo Happens

Daily Post:  Crescendo

cresccendo

First, hurricanes Harvey and Irma (and maybe Jose), and now this morning an 8.1-magnitude earthquake in southern Mexico, has rocked our world.  When tectonic plates collide, one riding up and over another, orogeny, volcanoes and earthquakes happen.  When earthquakes, volcanoes, and hurricanes happen in rapid succession, this may be the very definition of crescendo.

Does it have to mean the end of the world?  Not for the whole world perhaps, but it does for some.  Some human beings in the wrong place at the wrong time through no fault of their own lose their lives and it is the end of the world.  Other’s whose homes or businesses are destroyed, literally wiping out their previous life from existence, have to start over, and the world is changed forever.  For those looking in from the outside, whose lives may have been affected negatively by these disasters, each makes a choice to join the fray of helpers, or in the ultimate act of self-indulgence, turn a blind eye.

Texas has survived, and lives will go on.  But Irma is almost upon us, and it is not time for us to stand down saying “we did our best.”  It is time to kneel down, and declare, “God we need you still!”  Then, after we’ve once again declared our dependence on Him, we need to beat the drums and blow the horns, and rally once again for the coming need which will be felt in our neighboring states when Irma finally hits.

The president of Mexico, Enrique Pena Nieto says there hasn’t been an earthquake this size in Mexico in over a century.  You know what this means.  The death count today may be 5, but it’s just the early hours of discovering what lies beneath the rubble.  So we beat the drums and blow the horns again, we send out the rally call to all the world, “help!”

Remember, this is not the end.  It is only the birth pangs.

Matthew 24:6
You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.

Oh no, my friends, this is not the end.  It is the crescendo that builds to a roar in our ears that helps us understand in unique and startling clarity, we are human, and subject to the God of Heaven.  As the crescendo builds in your heart, trust Him not just with your soul, but with your very life.

We pray today for those in recovery, for those in depression, for those who’ve lost it all.

We pray for those who are hunkering down.

We pray for those who dig through the rubble.

Pray!

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A Limited Understanding

Daily Post: Finite

finite

No, this is not the latest image of Hurricane Irma.  While it may have a similar look, two notable differences are obvious.  First, the rotation of this body (if it is indeed moving) is clockwise.  Hurricane Irma’s rotation is counter-clockwise.  Second, the image above is a photo of the Milky Way Galaxy taken from space.  Our tiny home, the Planet Earth, would be virtually impossible to locate in this image since our Sun is represented by only a tiny dot just north of the second band away from the center of the image.  These are known facts, representing limited or finite human knowledge.

Regarding Irma, every meteorologist in the western hemisphere is trying to predict Irma’s course, strength, and what will happen along the way.  But none of them have infinite knowledge or understanding which would enable them to be perfect in their predictions.   This storm is governed by the hand of God, and will yield only to, and in accord with, the commands of God.  In just the same way, the Milky Way Galaxy has been in place, and will stay in place because of God’s command.

Psalm 147:4
He counts the number of the stars; He gives names to all of them.

Psalm 8:3-4
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained; what is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that You care for him? 

Think of it this way, “creation” is God’s act of bringing everything into existence, described for us in the Genesis 1 narrative. Scripture says God made the world “out of nothing,” ex nihilo.  So, before “the beginning” of Genesis 1, there was nothing but God himself.  There was no Milky Way Galaxy, there was no light to separate from the darkness, there was nothing but God.  He is infinite.  We are finite.

Our knowledge is finite.  Our understanding is finite.  We challenge the limitations of our knowledge and understanding daily, but we will never attain infinite wisdom and knowledge.  Those are attributes of the Creator, not the creature.

Why is it so important to yield to this awareness of exactly how finite our existence really is?  Because in the depraved darkness of an unyielding mind, there are those who see themselves as gods.  As though they had the ability to speak and sun, moon, stars, and planets would come into existence.  Or worse, that they can understand how these heavenly bodies came into existence without the help of a Creator, and tend to wax eloquent regarding the ignorance of those who believe the Genesis narrative.

It’s important to understand our finite understanding, knowledge, and abilities in order to recognize our need for a Savior.  If we think we are not lost, we have no need to be saved.  If we think we can save ourselves, we have no need for a Savior.  If we think we have all knowledge and understanding, we are infinitely out of touch with reality.

Today, we should pray to the Creator of the Universe to spare those in the path of Irma, even as we pray for His providential care for those who have suffered through Harvey.

Today, we should pray for enlightenment to come to those who think they need no saving grace, that they would come to know they do.

Today, in our finite understanding, we should give glory to the Infinite Creator who loves us, and gave Himself to save us.

 

 

 

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Predicting the Future

Daily Post: Anticipate

Businessman holding a glass ball

Crystal balls, 9-23-2017 conspiracy theories, sooth-sayers, shamans, the Anunnaki, and the Bible all compete for prominence in terms of which of these can accurately predict the future.  Even now, as the next Category 5 hurricane (Irma) bears down on the state of Florida, it is impossible to know which way she will turn, which route will bear the brunt of her angry winds and tirades of rain.  One thing we can be sure of, Irma will be just as deadly and devastating as Harvey, if not more so.  What are we to do?  And how many more tropical storms are out there somewhere, just waiting for that perfect wind which stirs the ocean waters in a special way spinning up into another hurricane.  Can Jose be far behind?

Then we also have the doomsday scenarios from which science fiction has made a fortune.  Armageddon was the 1998 movie starring Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thorton, and Ben Affleck who are sent to space to destroy an asteroid the size of Texas, before it can impact the earth.  Today there are those who are suggesting that in just a few weeks, we might be experiencing the destruction of the world by asteroids at least this size or larger.

Beyond that we have well-educated folks like Ray Kurzweil, Director of Engineering at Google, who say things like, “Within a few decades, machine intelligence will surpass human intelligence, leading to The Singularity – change so rapid and profound it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history.”

Humans have always been enamored with predicting the future, and anticipate what will come next for them.  It wasn’t any different in the first century when Jesus said he was the Messiah, not just to the Jews, but to all the world.  His closest followers thought that meant He would set up an earthly kingdom, ousting the Roman Empire, and establishing God’s kingdom on earth.  They believed this so completely that right before Jesus ascended back to heaven, they asked Him, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” [Acts 1:6].  The answer He provides should also be heeded today.

Acts 1:7
It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority.

Like it or not, it has never been easy to predict the future.  We can make intelligent guesses, and anticipate certain results of events if their status doesn’t change, but that really is the gist of it.  Scientists use MODELS to anticipate the path of the storm.  Christ-followers use the Bible as their MODEL for anticipating when God might act from Heaven in a final and conclusively redemptive way.  But can we know the when and the how?  Can we anticipate a certain day, month, or year?  Not hardly.

Since there are multiple options for self-destruction in our world today that wreak havoc on our senses, our emotions, and our spiritual existence, one has to wonder “… is it at this time?”  But hear me clearly.  Wondering is one thing.  Becoming completely paralyzed from any and all normal activity of life is another thing altogether.  I know only too well how easy it is to be consumed by dreading and anticipating what awful thing might happen, and the chaos ensuing after that event.  Since we cannot see or know the future, we must balance our thoughts with something other than paralyzing fear.

So, here’s an idea.  Don’t be scared, be prepared.

John 14:1-3
Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. 

Translation:  Don’t be scared, be prepared.

The chaos in your life can be turned into patient watching and waiting, if only you are prepared to believe these simple words, this simple promise of Jesus.  In these words “time” or any concept of time is irrelevant.  Either you believe the promise is true, or you don’t.  Either you accept that this life experience on earth is a temporary stop-over to an eternal dwelling place, or you don’t.

If you do, don’t be scared by those wielding crystal balls, anyone shouting 9-23-2017 conspiracy theories, sooth-sayers, shamans, or the Anunnaki.

Instead, be prepared by submitting yourself to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and doing His work that He commanded us to do, with however much time you have left.

A good form of anticipation would be:

Revelation 22:20
He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

Enlightenment or Indoctrination?

Daily Post: Educate

englightenment

During the 17th and 18th centuries humanity began to celebrate the powers of human reasoning, took a more direct interest in science, accepted and embraced religious tolerance, and desired to develop governments free from tyranny.  These are historical facts based in actual events.  It is referred to as “the Age of Reason,” or “the Enlightenment.”

On the other hand, indoctrination is primarily about control.  Indoctrination is the “process of teaching a person or group to accept a set of beliefs uncritically.” (according to https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/indoctrinate)  The clearest example historically, might be  how Hitler believed the German youth could be raised in such a way, indoctrinated through education practices, that they wholeheartedly supported Hitler’s ideals and agendas.  So Hitler set out to achieve these beliefs by transforming the school curriculum, and create organizations like Hitler Youth.  In 1932 the membership was 107,956.  By 1933, when the Nazis came to power the membership had gown to 2,300,000 in one year. By choice or by force?  History dictates, mostly by force.

Today across America, and around the world, we continue to see movements or shifts in how people think.  Some might say, we’re not thinking at all.  When a reporter shows up at a demonstration and asks the demonstrators to give reasons for their participation, and they can’t respond in a reasoned or rational way, I suggest it’s indoctrination not enlightenment that sent them there.  It’s a sad state of affairs, in light of the really important issues that our world faces today, that people simply quit thinking and start blindly following their favorite actor’s, or favorite politician’s opinions.

Freedom of belief, and free expression of those beliefs, has been twisted and perverted. Perverted to such an extent, that even as a conservative if I say, “I believe you have the right to have a different belief,” the alt left more likely responds, “fine, but you don’t! because your’s is just wrong!”  When I disagree, I’m painted as fascist, supremacist, insane, or religious fanatic.

What our world needs is another enlightenment.  The one the world, along with true Christ-followers, has been waiting for.  And by the “world” I mean the Earth itself, because clearly humanity as a whole has not pursued or desired the enlightenment only God can give.

Matthew 24:9-14
Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name.At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another.Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.

The voice of reason is being drowned out by the tyrannical insanity of mindless followers indoctrinated in the paradigm of hate.  Revising history to suit a political agenda, our land suffers at the threat of annihilation from within.  The words of Jesus give us pause, because we must continue to ask, “at what point will God’s own word become a fulfilled prophetic word?”  To be more clear,  when is “this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world,” going to be completed?  Because, according to Jesus, it seems this is a trigger point which starts the beginning of the end.

I’m not now, nor have I ever been one to set timetables for the return of our King.  I’m just saying the streets and paths of our nation have become filled with lawlessness, and people have grown cold and contemptuous toward each other.  I’m not trying to indoctrinate you, I’m actually just inviting you to open your eyes, and reason with your own mind, regarding the things you see in our world today.

If you don’t know the facts, then educate yourself.  Find out the truth.  Read some history for yourself, not someone else’s interpretation of those events.  Discover, reason, and look for the enlightenment that comes from truth, not fake news.

You’re still breathing, you’re still here, that means there is still time.

Start now.

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Cost vs. Price

Daily Post: Priceless

priceless

When these orange and gold circles appear on a credit card, a word is often associated with that card: “priceless.”  Mastercard took us to a whole new level in pulling the heartstrings in their commercials.  First it was Hallmark, and those infamous “send your mother a card” type commercials.  But “priceless” really gets us where it hurts.

While I didn’t enjoy it so much, I did spend time in college taking a couple of economics courses.  I remember spending a lot of time on different economic principles and trying to understand them.  One in particular was “Cost vs. Price.”  It can be complicated at times but here is the simple version.  The cost is what a company pays to produce and sell an item.  The price is the purchase amount of the item sold.  The difference between the price paid and the cost to manufacture and sell the item is the company’s profit.  Pretty simple stuff huh?

This morning the Daily Post suggestion of the word “priceless” just jumped off the page to me.  Because worldly economic principles are one thing, while spiritual economic principles are totally different, and sometimes foreign to us.  Let me show you what I mean.

First, let’s talk about “cost.”  What does salvation cost?  Most people will immediately think I’m asking what their cost is to be saved (“what’s it going to cost me?”).  Wrong.  We think this way because we’re “me” oriented from the time we’re born, it’s in our DNA.  However, the cost of salvation is described for us perfectly in Philippians 2.

Philippians 2:5-7
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

Do you see it?  What salvation cost, was Jesus stepping away from His heavenly throne, removing Himself from His divine position, and taking on the form of a bond-servant, in the likeness of humanity.  This is indeed a great cost, and one too many of us can’t even get our heads around.

Next, let’s talk about “price.”  What is the price of salvation?  Once again, in our limited spiritual mindset, the answer often given is, “all those things I have to give up that are fun, but I can’t do anymore if I want to be saved.”  You’d be surprised how often I have heard this said out loud.  We’ve made salvation all about our contributions and costs, and completely missed why it should be called “salvation” in the first place.

Philippians 2:8
Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

The “price” of salvation was Jesus death on the cross.  Jesus had to empty Himself (cost), come to earth as a human, live a perfect life, then die on the cross (price), before the purpose of God (profit) could be achieved.  So what is the “profit” to God?

Philippians 2:10-
… so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

In God’s spiritual economic model, WE (all of humanity who will call out to Him) are the profit gained, because Jesus bore the cost and paid the price for our salvation.  We contribute nothing but our faith and trust in Him as Savior.  I can’t be good enough.  I can’t be rich enough to buy my way in.  But take a breath, and think about this for a moment.

Do you know how much you’re really worth?  I do.

You and I both… we’re “priceless.”

 

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The Hardest Thing

Daily Post:  Continue

continue

When you’ve just hit your golf ball from the tee, while you and your buddies watch it sail 250 yards, but on a giant arc to the left out of bounds, it is hard to continue.  According to the rules of golf, you don’t go up to where you think your ball went out of bounds and play from there.  You don’t say “mulligan” and re-tee another ball as though the first one didn’t count.  You don’t ask your playing buddies for mercy.  What you do is re-tee another golf ball, and courageously say, “hitting three,” and swing away, hoping for a better result this time.  The hardest thing to do at that moment is to continue. At times golf can be relentless and brutal, but you must continue. I know, because I’ve been there.

Life can be just as brutal, don’t you think?  Being persistent, maintaining the course, carrying on, is just hard to continue at times.  But life is not at all a game like golf.  If you really want to, you can quit playing golf, and take up knitting.  In the long run, that might be best for some of the golfers I’ve known through the years.  In life however, we continue, even when it is hard, and the future is uncertain. Hurricane Harvey has changed many people’s lives, thousands and thousands, and changed them forever.  Their former homes are gone, along with possessions, or animals, or loved ones.  Harvey was brutal and un-abating for hours and hours, even now dumping rain along the southern U.S. gulf coast, continuing it’s impact on human life.

It is in moments like these that well-meaning people offer well-worn phrases in the attempt to bring comfort to those who have experienced loss.  I know only too well, after 30 years of pastoring and teaching that there are no words.  What speaks loudest, what comforts most, what brings healing, is time.  You must continue.  Someone who desires to aid the victims of life’s tragedies must also be willing to put in time.  We can say, “just let go, and let God handle it,” or “God has a plan for all of this,” or “God still sees you in this pain.”  We can say it, but it doesn’t mean these words bring comfort or resolution to those who are in the middle of a tragedy like Harvey.

Sometimes, I think we need to re-think what we say.  Sort of like, re-teeing an out of bounds tee shot…

Maybe we should be asking questions instead of saying things that don’t help.  Asking, “what is your greatest need right this minute?”  Asking, “do you need food, water, shelter?”  Asking, “why don’t you come stay with me, until this gets worked out?”  It’s been heartwarming in ways to see how many people have stepped up to help find and rescue the hundreds left stranded in their homes by floodwaters.  But isn’t the rescuing from death just the beginning of starting over?  It would be easy to just throw up our hands in frustration and confusion because we don’t really know what to do next.  It would be easy to say, “I’ve done my part, but I can’t keep this up, I’ve got my own life and concerns.”  It isn’t time to quit, it is important to continue, after all, they do.

About now you may be thinking, “That’s what all those emergency services are for! They don’t need my help, and I would just be in the way.”  The reality here is that every single one of these emergencies services will be tasked for months if not years, just getting to all the people who have been affected by Harvey.  It is time for someone, perhaps you and me, to stand in the gap for those in such dire straights.  For some of you, that will mean physically or financially getting involved in the rescue, or rebuilding processes.  For others it will mean doing what we can – which is praying for God to intervene in miraculous ways to comfort, encourage, strengthen, and bring aid to those in need in the wake of this horrific storm.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

If you have had to continue on through dark days of trial and angst, and have been comforted through those times by God’s hand of grace and mercy, then you are well-equipped now to offer this comfort to those who need it most this minute.

Sometimes the hardest thing… is just to continue. Continue anyway.

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