If it doesn't count for Christ, it doesn't count.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

I'm Not Who I Was

I didn't expect to be making another post before Christmas, but this story just kind of called for one.   . . . sort of.(kind of sort of?)


We all have done things, right and wrong, that we will be remembered for for the rest of our lives. This may be his. I don't know him and I can't say. He is but one of many whose remembrance could well be determined by such things. But, some time within the next 50 years or so there will be people standing over his casket talking about the time he drowned that deer. The main thing at this point is will that particular topic end there, or will it go on to what he did with his life as a result of this.

Well, that's his business. But it is something that we all should think about. What will we be remembered for?. . . probably a myriad of things. There are always memories of long ago to enjoy or regret. But, what is the thing that defines us in the mind of a particular person? One single act in one single moment in time may well be the thing that forms another person's memory of us. What comes to mind first when they think of us, as in what kind of person am I in that person's mind?

People who met me later in life will likely have a different picture in their minds than some who knew me when I was young and foolish. What bothers me most is that there are a few people "back there" that I hurt or "did wrong". It wasn't my intention (I wasn't thinking enough to even have an intention beyond my own goals), but it was the only thing that could have happened under the circumstances. As opportunities have come along, I have tried to make it right.   . . . Well, "make it right" is perhaps a little too hopeful. There are things that you break that you can't fix. The past is one of those things.

I don't really think that time heals. It just kind of layers over. You dig down deep enough and it's still there. God heals. And I'm going to talk about one of the ways He does that. The only way? I don't know that, but probably the best way.

A sincere "I know I was wrong and I'm sorry" can go a long way. Sometimes it goes nowhere, and that's sad because it is often all we can do. We can't get defensive if it is not accepted because we messed up in the first place. And things may not be like they were before because we broke "before". We may get more, but the best we can hope for is something new. That's OK because "new" can be good, too. I can tell you, however it works out, it's worth a try.

Let me hurry to add that all this may appear to be something that we do for ourselves. And there is no avoiding the fact that, to some extent, it is. BUT, doing for ourselves is probably what caused the hurt, or the wrong, to begin with. So "all this" really needs to be attempted for that other person. I can also tell you that "That's O.K.", "Of course, you're forgiven", "I don't even remember that", etc, etc, doesn't change what happened or your desire to go back in time and do the right thing, say the right thing, be the right thing . . .

If this fits you, you'll feel better for trying. If you do this just to make yourself feel better you're probably going to fall short. But you will be better for trying. And it's the be that matters. I can't say that living with "it" is any easier, but the person it takes to try to heal is better and easier to live with than the person that caused the problem in the first place.

This is a long way from drowning a deer. But, for each of us it comes down to who we are and how we want to be remembered. To an extent, it's how we want to remember ourselves. "Did I at least try?" It's not always easy to find someone maybe even decades later and bring up something that you both would rather stay "dormant". And, again, it's not all about you. It's about trying to relieve someone else of the burden of the baggage you left behind. It's about trying to help heal a wound you inflicted, whatever that may be.

How we start is not nearly as important as how we finish. Finish well. Finish strong.

"If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." Romans 12:18  

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." Matthew 5:9

"Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it." Psalm 34:14

Just a "post thought" here. A person can forgive and be forgiven without ever being in touch with each other. BUT, I will go so far to say that you - I - owe it to that person to give them a chance to say it.

Don't forget, in this season of celebration of the arrival of our Lord and Savior who offers forgiveness full and free that He asks no more of us than He has done Himself.


Here's your videos.   MERRY CHRISTMAS!


Sunday, December 07, 2014

A Small Time Christmas: Only The Lonely

(This is not an excerpt from my next book, "Small Time". It's just a little story that offers a glimpse into the lives of a few characters. I hope you enjoy it. . . . and you're just gonna have to read Natalie with a little flair!)



                                A Small Time Christmas: Only The Lonely
                                                             by Dennis Manor 

     Pressing the back of his hand against the window in the town's Explorer, Culley felt the cold of the day seep through. "It's Christmas Eve," he thought to himself, "it's supposed to be cold." It seemed that Culley Ferris knew little of what Christmas was supposed to be like except for the weather.

     His mother had tried to make the most of it despite Grady Ferriss' alcohol fueled cruelties. Grady allowed sparse decoration in his home to celebrate the season, not that there was any celebration of Jesus. There was precious little money for gifts. There always was enough, however, for a steady supply of cheap bourbon. One scratchy Andy Williams album on the record player and a table top radio provided Christmas music for as long as Grady would put up with it.
     Finally, Delila could stand it no longer. Early in the Fall, she was working concessions at the fair grounds in town for the rodeo that was passing through. A cowboy, too old to be riding bulls and still reckless enough to pursue the local skirts, saw a lingering beauty through Delila's hopelessness.
     His mother did just what she had often told young Culley to do. "When you git your chance to git out of here, you take it, son." When the rodeo left, and the cowboy left, Delila left with him. And from the age of eleven McCollough Ferris rarely heard from his mother.
     The following December, on the eighteenth, Culley took it upon himself to go onto the neighboring farm and cut down a cedar tree. He brought it into the house and spent the next few hours decorating it and the house in case his mother happened to come home for Christmas. He put the old Andy Williams album on the phonograph . . . and waited.
     Grady arrived early in the evening, drunk, of course. Without a word he violently tore down Culley's meager decorations. He took the tree, lights, decorations and all, and drug them out to a trash pile on the back of the property. Coming back in, he raked the needle across the record album and threw Andy Williams into the fire Culley had going in their small fireplace. He walked menacingly to Culley and grabbed him by the front of the shirt nearly lifting him from the floor.
     "Don't you never do that again! We're done with Christmas around here," he barked and shoved his son to the floor before leaving the house for the night. He had been there all of five minutes.
     It didn't much matter, though. Delila didn't come home. And Culley never saw Christmas the same way again.

     He knew Christmas carried great meaning to others. Culley had given his two deputies Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off. "You got families that actually want to spend time with you," he had told them, only half-joking. "Regular shifts start back on the 26th."
     "But, Chief," Boybaby protested, "It's Christmas for you, too, ain't it?"
     Culley patted the gentle deputy's shoulder. "I got it covered. . . . probably won't have anything but a few domestics and a DUI or two. I'll call if things git out of hand."
     "O.K, Chief," Robert Warrington, known as Boybaby, said. "Merry Christmas. Say!" he added quickly, "I could bring you something to eat later on, and you can come eat dinner with us tomorrow. Mama's gon' have enough to feed us for two weeks!"
     "Thanks, Boybaby, but I'm good. Go on home now."
     The deputy was reluctant to leave, but he did, glancing back at the marshal as he pulled the door closed behind him. He didn't like the thought of leaving anyone alone for Christmas. "Lord, do a little something for the marshal," he whispered.

     Driving through town, Culley found himself enjoying the lights and decorations that so many of the residents had put up. Some houses were dark and empty, a single porch light shining as evidence that someone lived there. Others were lit up and their driveways were filled with cars and pickup trucks there for Christmas parties and family get-togethers. He made sure that he was seen enough to hopefully deter certain people from getting behind the wheel later on.
     His days as a patrol officer and a detective in Atlanta, only recently behind him, had seen crime of all sorts on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. A remnant of a memory, he supposed, drove the thought that these days should be different. Over the years, though, these two days uniquely celebrated by so many became pretty much like any other day to Culley. Still, there was this feeling . . . this feeling that saddened him just a bit.
     Now, as Marshal of his home town, he knew anything would make for a quieter couple of days than what he had known for the past twenty years. By 7:00 the stores were closed and the streets were pretty much empty. He pulled up in front of the Prichett's Crossing City Hall, which also housed the Town Marshal's Office. Standing still for a moment, he looked about him. Main Street and Railroad Street, running parallel to each other on opposites of the track, were dressed in decorations such as would have been seen in the 50's and early 60's.  The stores left their window displays on and Christmas music played quietly through the speakers hanging from the light poles.
     Pritchett's Crossing was an exaggeration of what it had been in his childhood. After the plant moved in a few years ago and brought people with it, the town worked hard to recreate and maintain its traditional appeal. That's what brought people in from the Jackson area. Enough of them were willing to make the commute to have the lifestyle a small independent town like Prichett's Crossing could offer. All this worked to bring the town back from the brink of the kind of death towns in the delta to the north had suffered. The interstate highway system killed small town America. Pritchett's Crossing, to its credit, had used that same system, in part, to revive itself.

    Culley winced as pain shot through his leg. He knew better than to stand in place for too long in this cold weather. The bullet that had helped end his career in Atlanta left him with a near constant reminder that surviving a gun fight was not the end of the battle. He limped a bit through the lobby of Town Hall and into the warmth of the Marshal's Office. He figured he would stay in until 9:00 or so before going back on patrol. He really didn't want to write any tickets or put anyone in jail tonight, but human nature made it inevitable.
     "McCollough Ferris!"
     The voice startled him. Beautiful in tone and unique in style, it was unmistakable.
     "Why am I not surprised to find you alone on Christmas Eve?" Natalie's voice lilted about the room as she walked through the door.
     "Somebody's got to be on duty, Nabs," Culley replied. "My deputies have somewhere to go. I don't. So here I am." He doubted that she was surprised at all. Natalie Jean Burton Miller Simpson was rarely caught off guard concerning anything in town.
     "Yes, you are." She stood waiting . . . for a reply? . . . an invitation?
     "Soooooo, what brings you in, ma'am?"
     "Well, sir," she played along, "I find that I share these unfortunate circumstances with you."
     "And?" Culley prodded.
     "And the preponderance of my thoughts led me to conclude that you and I should perhaps spend the evening alone together. I hope you do not think that somewhat forward of me."
     Culley looked into the greenish eyes piercing his own.  "I'm surprised that your evening is not filled with parties to attend." Surely Natalie Burton had no shortage of options on this particular evening. There were men yet to conquer, last names to add to her stationery.
     The statement seemed to embarrass her. "McCollough," she began fighting to maintain her all-important composure, "I have found that, while I have many cordial acquaintances in this town, I have not one true friend. I . . . I do not recall having experienced true friendship in all of my years." Tears began to form in her eyes.
     Instantly, regret over his own thoughts attacked Culley. Before returning to Prichett's Crossing only two months before, he had not seen Natalie since high school. She was always beautiful. Always in high demand by the other boys, and apparently in her adult life. She was always out of his league even though they had dated for a short time in the eleventh grade. Her three strategic marriages had afforded her an enviable lifestyle, but left her among peers who were very protective of their men where she was concerned. As for the men, their attitude toward Natalie was something like "pursue, but don't get caught". With broke men and broken families in her wake it was easy forget that she had problems and feelings of her own.
      "I'm sorry," Culley managed to say. "I guess you've been lonely since your aunt died."
     "These months have proven to be quite difficult. My dear Aunt Florence loved me unconditionally." A telling statement in itself. "She taught me everything. How to be a lady. How to speak. How to be myself without reservation. I so enjoyed my many years with her and now . . . Oh, listen to me ramble on. It was not my intention to ruin your Christmas."
     "My Christmas was ruined a long time ago," Culley mused. "And you had nothing to do with that." He looked at the large basket she had placed on his desk. Hoping to change her mood he cheerily said, "What's in the basket?"
     Natalie's eyes brightened. "I predicted that any effort to have you over to my home for a Christmas Eve dinner would be met with failure, so I brought the dinner to you!"
     "Well now! That's real nice of you, Nabs!"
     "McCollough! Why do you persist with that horrendous nickname for me?" she teased as she cleared an area of Culley's desk. "I have always gone to great lengths to refer to you in your proper given name."
     "It's a term of endearment." He helped her remove containers of food from the basket.
     "Endearment, you say. Well if that is the case, I will certainly strive to view it in a more favorable light." She smiled at him. "What might you be looking for?" she asked as Culley feigned a search through the empty basket.
     Culley smiled mischievously. "I was hopin' you packed a sprig or two of mistletoe in there!"
     "Why, sir! I am wondering if perhaps I was a bit hasty and too trusting in pursuing this innocent endeavor unchaperoned!" Natalie smiled slyly. "Shall I call the authorities?"
     "Have I ever told you that I love the way you talk?"
     "No more often than I love hearing it! You should thank Aunt Florence, for she would have it no other way."
     "Well, here's to Aunt Flo!" Culley smiled and pulled two chairs close together so they could sit side by side and eat from the edge of his desk. "I don't say this often, just so you know that it's meant for you."
     Natalie probed his eyes for meaning.
     "Merry Christmas, Nab . . . Natalie."
     "Merry Christmas, McCollough." She cupped his face between her hands and kissed him lightly on the cheek.

The End

PS: I picked this one for your video. The "noise" that comes through from outside at 1:56 screamed "THIS IS IT"!! Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

7 years . . . whatever

What's so powerful about prayer anyway? I've been praying for my whole life and, until recently, I've not seen any supposed power in my prayer. Just being honest. I'm not saying this to put up a premise of false humility. I haven't seen it. . . . Actually "hadn't" is a better word.

Of course, I spent forty-some years living a false salvation. It just stands to reason that a phony Christian can't send up a genuine prayer. The thoughts and words might be sincere but the launching pad is inoperable. Then there are those who say God can't, or doesn't, hear the prayers of the lost. I don't know so much about that. Any prayer directed to God is a search for God. Jesus tells us that no one comes to God apart from Him. He is the way. He's the gate, or the door, however you might understand that. So, since God's desire is that all come to Him by grace through faith in Christ we can be assured that He is certainly answering the prayer of the lost by calling them to the Way that leads to Him. He IS listening and leading. Not everyone sees and follows.

All that said, the most powerful prayer that I have ever uttered . . . or anyone else, for that matter . . . was the one just after midnight, November 27, 2007. That was when I realized . . . actually God showed me . . . that I was lost after wrongly professing to be saved for all those years. When I admitted that and pled, or pleaded if you want absolutely correct grammar, for forgiveness and turned my life over to Jesus the most powerful thing happened. He took my sin away and filled me with the Holy Spirit. It was not my words that were powerful, it was His reaction to those words which were a reflection of my changed heart. Since that moment, the unlimited power of God to do what He calls me to do and to be who He calls me to be has resided within me. (Not that I'm so great at living that.) He abides in me! And you, if you know Him! It is so many other things as well, but there is no more powerful thing that can happen in a person's life.

So, here is found the power of prayer. When the prayer (us) is in agreement with the prayed to (Him), it's a done deal!

 "And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it." John 14:13-14

Knowing that my salvation was true, I'm thinking that I can finally get somewhere in life. My prayers will be heard and will have meaning! So, you might say I started going through my wish list all over again. Imagine my bewilderment . . . Things that had not worked out that should have worked out, that surely would work out now, still didn't work out! . . . and I even put "in the name of Jesus" on the end. So, what was up with all that???
I humbly submit that I have learned some stuff. One of the things I've learned is that there is always something new, or deeper, to learn. But, that is nothing to be dismayed over. It is a very exciting thing to be in the Word with something you've read time and time again and, suddenly, you see something, or understand something, in a way that you never have before.  Many of you know exactly what I'm talking about.  . . . happens constantly!

To speak in the name of Jesus is to speak with His authority. You might be too young to remember hearing "Stop in the name of the law!" I seem to remember hearing it more in cartoons than anywhere else. But, it was common enough to inspire the Supreme's hit song, "Stop In The Name Of Love". A law officer has the authority, and the responsibility, to enforce the law. Officer Friendly cannot arrest anyone in the name of Mr. Friendly. He, as Mr Friendly, has no such right or authority. But, as Officer Friendly, he has the authority to act in and "speak in" the name of the law. He can do what the law has authorized him to do.

Officer Friendly, under the law, has the backing of the law to carry out his duties. If he acts outside of the law, the law is not going to back him up. He may do things on his on, but he IS on his own. Christians can speak in the name of Jesus. We should! He has given us the approval, the authority, and the guidance and power of The Holy Spirit to do so.

Praying in the name of Jesus is praying in accordance with His will, His authority. And He has promised that whatever we pray in His name, we will receive! You can read all the books you want to read, recite all the written "prayers" (when it ceases to be personal it's no longer a prayer) you want to (and you will find some great suggestions to use if they match your heart), but if it cannot be offered in the name of Jesus, it is powerless.

There lies the power in your prayer. Jesus is the power in your prayer. It's not in the words you use, it's in THE Word. It's not in the question, it's in the promise. It's not in the need, it's in the name. It is not in the fear. It is in the faith.  

 Think about that. Dwell on it. Pray about it. "In Jesus' name."

And always with thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving to All.


PS: Now you gotta hear this song . . . again! There's the "little bit tamer" version, and also the "It's on now!" version. Both great!


Monday, September 08, 2014

The Good Thing About The Bad Thing Is . . .

"Everything happens for a reason." We say that and shrug because we don't know what the reason is, but we're O.K. because there IS a reason . . . isn't there? It's like we're trying to pump ourselves up and we're hoping that a Heaven sent voice will join the conversation with, "And the reason is . . . "

But, it doesn't happen that way. So we go on our way, walking in what we call faith, always wondering, but too afraid to ask out loud, "So, Lord, what's the deal here?" And if we are afraid to approach Him in that way we ask, "What did I do to deserve this?" (If I find myself thinking along these lines I can come up with an impressive list pretty fast.)

Sometimes I think we forget that, as Christians, we don't get what we deserve. Praise God for that! So, if you do, stop wishing or rejoicing about "getting what you deserve" where other people are concerned. Karma is not a Godly goal. Grace is. And Jesus paid a heavy price to extend His grace to us. We cannot be found thanking Jesus for the grace and forgiveness He has given us while hoping at the same time that He doesn't give it to someone else. 

Your trials have nothing to do with getting what you deserve. They have everything to do with grace. And, yes, there is a reason.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."  James1: 2-4

Whatever you are going through, it sometimes is because something needs to be pruned away. And that can be a painful process. But, it always is because there is something missing in your life, and your perseverance through your trial, great or small, will bring that "thing" into your life. Always.

So, even that person who wronged you or hurt you so much that your tears flow or your blood boils at the mention of their name was an instrument of God's grace in your life. I'm not saying that you should thank them. After all, he or she was probably out of God's will when they did what they did. I wouldn't thank them for their sin. Their part was in the problem or the pain. The grace and the blessing came from God. (Now it's up to you to do something that may seem impossible. Forgive. God will provide you with the grace to that.)

There are those times when our trial is dealing with the trial of someone else. It could be any number of things. It might even be a terrible illness or the loss of a loved one. "So, they had to go through that so God could give me this? . . . I don't even know what the "this" is!" When you go there, remember that it's not all about you and you alone.

"We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose."  Romans 8:28

It is beyond our understanding how God accomplishes these things, but He does. He always does. Your situation, no matter how hard or how bad it may be, is under His power.

“For as heaven is higher than earth, 
so My ways are higher than your ways,  
and My thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:9

Our sight is limited to how we perceive that one thing before us, and we are prone to think only of ourselves in those situations, but God is often using "that one thing" to work His will and His plan for more people and more reasons than we could ever begin to see or understand. 
"Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways, 
and how small a whisper do we hear of him!
But the thunder of his power who can understand?”
Job 26:14

"I cry out to God Most High,
to God who fulfills his purpose for me." Psalm 57:2

You know that God has a specific plan for you a purpose. As much as you may hope for that plan to be fulfilled, He wants it even more, and He is working in your life to do just that.

Is there a purpose for your difficult times? Yes! And that purpose is that you persevere so that you will be made mature, complete, and that you will lack nothing! I believe God says "let perseverance finish its work" so that we will do just that. Our tendency is to cry out to God to get us out of whatever it is that has caused us the problem or the pain. We just want it to be over and done and behind us. And I think that God sometimes brings it all to an end when we fail to persevere. We may sigh with relief and praise God because our trial has ended, but we've missed out on something great, something immensely more beneficial and life-changing than the escape we just made from our trouble. And, we have to go through that or something similar all over again because God has promised that He will leave us "mature and complete, not lacking in anything." We might want to skip it, but God is faithful and will work to bring His plan for us to its fullness. "God who fulfills His purpose for me" is not going to leave out any of the pieces. Persevere all the way through. Hold onto God. Don't stop it before it's finished. "Let perseverance finish its work" in you! Don't pray for it to merely end, pray for it to work! There is great gain for you and glory for God in persevering.

It may seem that time, effort, and resources have gone to waste but under God nothing is wasted.

Why do bad things happen to good people? So good things can happen to God's people. And God is glorified! Therein lies your great joy.


Here's your video. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

His Friends Are More Than Fond Of Robin

I posted this as "the Dumps" back in January of 2011. As of now it is August 12, 2014. I had started a new posting in thoughts of Robin Williams departure from this life. But, this is one of my most read posts and maybe it has helped a few people. . . . thought I would re-post it. The other one was creeping into Robin's personal life a little too much. I've updated it, and put another video at the bottom. "His Friends Are More Than Fond Of Robin" is a Carly Simon song. It's a love song, but it has always been one of my favorites and it came to mind this morning as I was recalling that I have never prayed for Robin Williams by name. Would it have helped? I have no idea of how, or if, my small voice would have changed anything for him. But . . . prayer always helps in God's way . . . always. I would call this an old Carly Simon song, but I was 18 or 19 years of age when it came out, so it's not old yet!

Psalm 27:13

    I would have despaired 

             unless I had believed 

                       that I would see the goodness of the LORD

                                 in the land of the living.

OK. I stepped off into a deep subject. This one may seem long, and it rambles at times, but I hope it helps. It is just me sharing what I believe to be biblical truth on a serious and sensitive matter. I could say more, maybe should say less, and I don't know if any of it applies to any among my small readership, but here it is. (I'm not even sure why I went here at all! This has just been on my heart.)

Different translations of scripture quote Psalm 27 verse 13 in different ways. The King James says, "I had fainted . . .".  The New King James says' "I would have lost heart . . ."  This one from the New American Standard, in my opinion, says it best. For without the hope of the Lord people can and do sink into despair.  And despair is a terrible state to live in. Merriam-Webster defines despair as the loss of all hope or confidence.

Our pastor brought a wonderful message on depression a while back. And then, the next day actually, as I was driving to pick up lunch, Joyce Meyer (gasp if you like) was also speaking on depression. She pointed out that depression usually goes like this: It may begin with disappointment, which leads to discouragement, which leads to depression, which leads to despondency, which leads to despair. In other words, it goes from bad to much, much worse.     

Depression is real and it happens.  There is depression caused or triggered by circumstances that pretty much every body is going to experience at some time in their lives. (Whether they will admit it or not.)  Depression sometimes is brought on by other illnesses and particularly by certain types of surgery.  In some, it happens in a very devastating way as it is a matter of "clinical depression", which is a physical chemical imbalance, rather than "circumstantial depression", and like so many illnesses it becomes a life long battle. I'm sure I will be corrected if I am wrong, but, I believe that the "season of depression" feels much the same whether it is clinical or circumstantial.  The thing about clinical depression is that once the depressive cycle ends, you know it is coming back and, as Forrest Gump might say, ". . . for no particular reason."

Please be assured, it is no more of a sin to enter into depression than it is to have a cold, or the flu, or muscular dystrophy, or cancer or anything of the sort.  Sickness and disease are a result of sin which entered the world through our many-times-over great grandparents, Adam and Eve. Such things are not necessarily a result of our own personal sin. They are a product of sin itself, which left all of creation, including our bodies, vulnerable to the effects of sin upon creation. (Did I just repeat myself?)

I really don't think there is anything that anyone can do to prevent depression.  You can bring it on.  You can make it worse.  You can invite it in.  But, I don't think you can stop it from coming. You can fight it at the on-set and maybe win.  But, I do believe that depression can be prevented from entering the stages of despondency and despair.  Certainly, a long cycle of depression can and will cause hope to fade. And it is during these times that you must hold to the truth. You see, depression is a liar. (It is not a lie, but it is a liar.)  Depression begins to tell you that life will always be this way.  Depression can very effectively block memories of happier times and tell you that none of that was real. ("You were putting up a front then like you are putting up a front now", Depression says.) Depression distorts the good and positive things that are happening right now by attaching a "but" to all these things, or telling you that all this is just a lie. Depression magnifies, validates, and exaggerates all things negative.  And the more one dwells upon such matters, the deeper and darker their depression grows.

So, while depression is telling you how bad things are and how much worse they are going to get, while depression is lying to you, you must hold to the truth.  You must remember that even though depression is beating you up pretty good at the moment, it is using lies to do so.  Depression is the very real way you feel for a season.  But, you must remember that it is only the way you feel. (And you might really feel real bad, dark, possibly to the point of taking your own life.)  It does not have to be the way things are, and it does not have to be the way things are going to be. And things don't have to change in order to overcome a period of depression.

Here is the truth: God is truthful. He cannot and does not lie. His Word is His promise. And not only that, His Word lives, because His Word is Christ.  And if you are a follower of Christ, then Christ lives in you, so the Word lives in you, which means God's promise lives in YOU!

God says,  "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." (Philippians 4:8-9) 

This is practical life instruction. This is God telling us that there is a "bright side". And He is reminding us to concentrate on the good things of life.  When depression says, "nothing is good anymore or ever will be again," God is reminding us that depression lies, and that His truth endures.

 " . . . we had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within. 6 But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us . . . 2 Corinthians 7:5-6 
Before I am accused of taking the scripture out of context, the truth of 2 Corinthians 7:5-6 and any part of it is that God does comfort the downcast - the depressed. In this instance He used the arrival of a dear brother in Christ, and He may do the same for anyone in the form of a brother or sister in the Lord. The point is, and the truth is, God will comfort you. 

As Bro Chris pointed out, in 1 Kings 19, God's treatment for Elijah's depression was sleep, food, more sleep, and more food, and then for Elijah to stand in the presence of God Himself.  Elijah was so down that he was ready for his life to end, but God sent instruction to Elijah, which he followed and his spirit was revived within him. 

God knows how you feel, and He knows how to lift you up.  Follow the truth, not the lie. 

Psalm 42 is an acknowledgment that things are not right mentally. And as the writer cannot understand why his state of mind is such as it is, he does acknowledge God, and seeks to praise Him yet! I won't post the entire Psalm here, but go and read it and meditate upon it.  Let the Psalmist's acknowledgment of his condition and his desire to praise God be your guide in bringing you from the depths of depression. 

I could go on and on with scripture that acknowledges and "treats" depression and despair.  Anyone who is looking for them can find them. I'm just putting my two cents in.  But, I want to get across that God knows about depression. He understands depression. Some of His greatest and strongest and most faithful servants had to deal with depression. He is not mad at you if you are going through a season of depression whether it is circumstantially based or clinically based. He can help you through it and He wants to. That is the truth of the hope that you must hold on to.

Depression is bad enough, despair is dangerous.  For when all hope is gone, all is gone.  Despair says, "God is not coming." 

With all that I know, should I look to the Lord through the the circumstance of the day and say, "He is not coming."?  Oh, God, forbid it that You should look to me and say, "He is not coming."  For it is my desire to run to you! 

Here, in despondency and despair, it is of the greatest importance to recognize the lie that brought you to this point and to cling to the truth that will lift you up from the pit of darkness you are in.  I've already said, that I don't believe depression is a sin. But, I know that Satan and his demons  most assuredly will try to use your depression against you in the worst kind of way. As in so many of the situations we face in life that are not sinful in and of themselves, Satan and our own sinful nature can influence us to sin in those situations.  Depression is no different, except that a feeling of guilt might be more intense. So, it is important to be diligent to stand against temptation, but also to remember that you are forgiven.  Satan seeks to kill, steal and destroy, and he will use whatever we leave open to him to accomplish his goals. God offers power to you, and life abundant. Again, the power of God lives within you if you are a Christian. And, again, depression lies and tells you that no such power exists for you. Hold on to the truth no matter how you feel! Live by what you know, not what you feel.

So when depression tries to tell you that God has forgotten you, and that He has no plan whatsoever for you, and that there is no hope and you have no future worth living, hold to this great truth, this promise that lives within you:

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
Again I stress, a lie may be spoken loudly, but it is still a lie. The truth is the truth at any volume.

I began this blog with Psalm 27 verse 13.  I leave you with Psalm 27 verse 14.

   Wait for the LORD;
         Be strong and let your heart take courage;
              Yes, wait for the LORD.

Well, apparently you've read this long, rambling blog, so here's Carly's song.


Monday, July 21, 2014


If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.  Psalm 37:23–24

Don't let the fear of sin or failure limit your life. Lots of us have been there . . . afraid to move because we're afraid we are going to mess up. This verse, as all other similar writings, tells us that God will be with us and support us in our walk with Him. He can't do much other than encourage us to move when we are sitting still. 

I have tried - still striving - to eliminate every vestige (look it up . . . I did) of legalism in my life as a Christian. It can sometimes be hard to recognize what constitutes legalism as opposed to what is simply pursuing a Godly lifestyle. Having grown up under legalistic teaching and with the greatest emphasis on behavior it can be hard rooting out the nearly ingrained idea that behavior matters above all else. Of course, behavior is either Christlike or not. The difference is whether actions, behavior, is dictated by "the law" as written or led by the Holy Spirit within us.

When I refer to the legalistic teachings of years past I must admit that that is just my perception. I remember some red-faced, very loud "speaking" preachers, but I really wasn't listening all that closely. I remember feeling guilty about things that I thought would send me to Hell for sure, but I have to admit that I don't remember desiring to be near to God except for however close I would be to Him in Heaven. All of my effort, though often failing, was to be good, not to be God's. That's the way I thought it worked. That's the way I thought it was.

One of the most difficult adjustments for Christians is living out the freedom we have in Jesus Christ. The law of God is certainly not irrelevant, and it is not to be flouted. (I looked that one up, too.) The law, without mankind's many additions, is God's written guide for a life on Earth that would be pleasing and acceptable to Him. The law is impossible for us to follow without fail. God knows this. Jesus paid the price for our failure, yours and mine individually, to live up to the standard of the law. He is the living fulfillment of the law, and not only our living example of true Godliness, but our ever present help in living a Godly life.

The thing is, God fulfilled the requirement for holiness in Jesus Christ. He took all of our sin - past, present and future - upon Himself. He suffered the punishment due us. He paid the total price that was ours to pay.

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit." from Romans 8

So relax and breathe easy. Your life as a Christian is not about how good you can be or how little you sin. It is about living in grace, following the lead of the Holy Spirit, becoming the person God made you to be and is pruning you into. Your life as a Christian is about God being glorified in and through you. You might think this is just a play on words, but there is a huge difference. If we are concentrating on "being good" and "not sinning" our focus is on ourselves. We are expending all of our time, effort, and energy on ourselves in the name of obeying God. Please don't take this wrong. Obeying God brings glory to God. BUT, God's glory comes from His work in us, not by our own efforts. Focus on God, not self, will allow all that He has for us to flow into our lives. It is not our place to make of ourselves that which God would have us to be. He does that.

So, don't freeze up in fear that you are going to take a wrong step or stumble in your walk with Jesus. It's going to happen. God knows that, and His grace covers you in all things. Be bold. Don't try to go before Him. Don't try to lag behind Him. Just go with Him. When you stumble the Lord will uphold you with His mighty hand.


PS: I just could not make myself use "frozen chosen" in this post. . . . Oops! I just did:/ Well, here's your video.


Wednesday, July 09, 2014

. . . Just start!

For in it God’s righteousness is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith. Romans 1:17 (HCSB)


Various commentaries and translations of this verse show it to have deep, multifaceted meanings. "Faith to faith", in the context of this passage, can certainly carry several meanings, each supportive of the others. The Word of God is built layer upon layer, meaning upon meaning, as we are drawn deeper and deeper into Him and closer to Him in the way that our life of faith is lived out as He takes us from faith to faith. Maybe that is from an Old Testament faith to a New Testament faith. It could be from faith in the natural and ourselves to faith in Him. It may well be a growing faith.

Sometimes we think we are struggling to hold onto our faith. I think it is more like we are struggling for a sense of how our faith "works" and how our faith fits into areas and circumstances of our lives. Maybe we are trying to have faith in our faith rather than in Jesus. A life of faith can be complicated and confusing when we lose our focus. We can look too closely at our problem or circumstance, and before we know it, our faith seems to be AWOL because our attention is focused on something that cannot receive or act on faith. That problem is not going to respond to faith. Jesus is!   

". . . the righteous one will live by his faith", from Habakkuk, tells us that a life of faith is just that. Faith is not something that we "muster up" when we need it. We need it every moment of every day and the presence of faith in our lives is as constant as our heartbeat and our breathing. We might be more aware of it at times, but we must never carry a mindset that our faith is not with us and within us.

Maybe you or someone you know has been so beaten down by life that there is no expectation of anything better from God. Maybe there is no asking because there is a feeling of unworthiness, or hopelessness. There may be doubt, not whether God loves, but in God's willingness or even in His plan to give what may be desperately needed. There might be a feeling that faith has flown.

If that is the case, a return to, or a beginning of, a life of faith has to start somewhere. Faith is there. Pick it up and advance against your enemy. You might find that just stepping out in faith to ask . . . just ask . . . will lead to a deeper and growing faith. God loves you. He's not mad at you or disappointed in you. He is not going to make you jump through hoops. He will bring you to the life of faith that He wants for you and that will open the windows of Heaven so that His stores of blessing will be poured out upon you so that He will be glorified - seen - in you!

You don't have to go anywhere. He is waiting to take you. Just look and you will find Him where you are. Start right there! Be led from faith to faith in ever greater ways than I have listed here. Start with one and be led to another. But start!
Faith to ask

Faith to hope

Faith to believe

Faith to expect

Faith to reach

Faith to receive

Faith to accept

Faith to give

“I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me. If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be My disciples. As the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you. Remain in My love." (from John 15)

You don't have to come up with your own faith. You can't. All . . . everything . . . you need to live the life God has planned for you is constantly provided to you by Jesus, the Vine. That includes your faith. You just have to use it. Accept that you have it. And don't let that part about not remaining and being thrown into the fire scare you if you are a believer. You belong to Jesus. He is not going to let you go. If you are not a believer, please consider our Lord's call to you. There is nothing more important and a whole new life awaits you. It's not about fear. It's about accepting the very love of God.

And please remember that most of the time when I say "you" I'm saying "me".


PS:  Your video!

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Dismissing Disappointment

I have often heard, and come to believe, to know, that God is not - never was - mad at me. And there is something else just a little beyond that that is so freeing. It's so obvious, but many times we really do not see what is right before us!

Back to "God is not mad at me." This is not a notion that I grew up with. To my way of thinking, if I did something wrong, as in sinned, even if I just "kind of messed up", God had a punishment waiting for me. And always, there was that backwards spelling of my name to remind me about myself. I was going to get what I deserved when I did wrong, and "being good" only meant there was no punishment forthcoming. Blessings . . . well, blessings came by some other way that I apparently didn't know, but I did figure out that it had nothing to do with "being good". God's blessings were meant for someone other than me. That was OK. What's His is His to give to whoever He wants. If I don't get 'em, He has good reason for it.

It took a while . . . years, decades even . . . but I did come to understand that God never was mad at me, which means that nothing in my life happened as a result of any anger on God's part. Recently, last week actually, He told me something else . . . something life changing. He's not disappointed in me either. You see, I could understand that God doesn't get mad at me, but, I had to be a disappointment to Him at times, right?

I was wallowing in some sin, telling God how sorry I was to have disappointed Him, and telling Him how sorry I was to be a disappointment in general. I went to sleep that way. The next day, as I was preparing for the Sunday School class I teach, and feeling quite unworthy of that, He showed me something that let me know that I cannot disappoint Him! It was an eye opener, a joyful moment, and, like I said, a life changer! God was not disappointed in me. He was disappointed for me!  

Nope! I can't disappoint God. If anything, He is disappointed for me. When I fall or fail, I don't fail Him. I fail myself. He has so much better for me. He wants so much more for me. And I believe that He is disappointed for me that I don't accept that and I don't get that or receive that.

Something else I discovered is that once I accepted that God will not be disappointed in me, I can't be disappointed in anyone else. Talk about setting you free! I can truly say that disappointment in other people has not been a huge issue for me. There are disappointing circumstances and outcomes. I have been disappointed in or by other people at times, but I really don't hold anyone else to standards I choose to follow. I live my life, they live theirs, and I love them just the same. BUT, there have been those times. I never realized what a weight wrongly placed disappointment was!

Disappointment in another person is a judgement that I have realized we don't get to make. Saying, "You disappointment me" is saying "You don't measure up", "You apparently are not the person I think you need to be",  which is to say. "You are not as good as me." "You are not good enough for me in this instance." If it is our own standard that we expect them to seek, then we are setting the bar too low. If it is God's standard we expect them to seek, then we are setting a bar for them that we ourselves have not achieved and is not ours to require of any other human being.

When you think about it, being disappointed in someone is rather selfish, if not just out and out self absorbed. Being disappointed for someone is selfless, maybe a bit generous. Do I want something better for me from that person? Do I want something that I can be more comfortable with and accepting of, or do I want what God wants for them? Can I make them a "better" person? Should I, under my own power and initiative, try to make them a "better" person? Should I be concerned with making them the person that God wants them to be? (As if!)  Or, is that God's job, albeit perhaps through me?

I'm not saying that I will never again be disappointed. I am saying that my decision to redirect my disappointment to a different word, for rather than in, is a life changer.    

The very next day, I suffered a huge disappointment along with a lot of other people. I tried to say how very disappointed I was in some people. I couldn't. I don't like the circumstances surrounding a certain event, but I found myself wanting something better for those involved. I had made the decision and the Holy Spirit instantly reminded me. So there you have it. Another new freedom!

There is a lot of "I" and "me" in this post. If any of this touches you then please look at it in light of you rather than me. If you are not a follower of Jesus this will probably not mean a lot to you. If you are then let me say one more thing:

Disappointment in another person, no matter the circumstances, can only inhibit your ability to offer the love of Christ to that person. Disappointment for someone else propels that very same love from you to them, no matter the circumstances.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians13:4-7


Monday, June 23, 2014

Compromising Positions

From Mirriam-Webster Online:

com·pro·mise noun \ˈkäm-prə-ˌmīz\

: a way of reaching agreement in which each person or group gives up something that was wanted in order to end an argument or dispute
: something that combines the qualities of two different things
: a change that makes something worse and that is not done for a good reason

I looked up the word "compromise" at 5 different dictionary sights. The wording may have been different, but the meaning is the same. I couldn't really find anything that paints "compromise" as the cat's meow. "Come and let us compromise" is not the same as "Come and let us reach an agreement". Conventional wisdom seems to be that compromise always results in something less than either, or any, involved party wanted in the first place. Then, I'm sure, there are those times when someone starts out with a lofty idea and proceeds to compromise down to what they really wanted. But, that's not a compromise, that's a con.

Is compromise really a good thing? Is it actually necessary?

Take marriage, for example . . . or friendship, or any love based relationship. It's not compromise that is needed, it's love. Where compromise happens the relationship is diminished. Where an act of love has taken place the relationship is strengthened. Do you feel like you have given something up? Or do you feel like you have added love?

We hear a lot about compromise in politics. I really don't know whether actual compromise takes place. It seems to be nothing more than a lot of deal making. "I will trade away my vote and my support of this if I can gain that." If this is compromise then it is easy to see honesty, integrity, hope, and promise compromised away.

It seems that compromise is never a win-win situation. It's, at best, lose-lose, but so often turns out lose-win.

Compromise as we experience it is rarely a good thing. It's only good when it accomplishes. It's only good when it strengthens. It's only good when it improves. It's only good when it supports. it's only good when it sustains. It's only good when it perfects. It's only good when it has a positive impact. It's only good when it's good. But, I really don't know if, by definition, it ever is good.

There is nothing wrong with standing firm in your convictions. In fact, that is always right . . . unless, of course, your convictions are wrong. God calls upon us as Christians to be in agreement with one another, but never to compromise.

For what it's worth, I would just say that when we are faced with the prospect of compromise, whether it be within ourselves or in some authority figure whom we support, ask the question, "Is something strengthened by this or weakened? Is something being built up here, or is something being destroyed? Is God leading in this, or is Satan, or the flesh, tempting or deceiving?"

We all have a choice:
Compromise with the compromisers . . . (that's as bad as it sounds!)
Stand with the standers.


Here's your song:

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Relationship Issues?

Does it ever seem like this relationship with Jesus just isn't working out the way you thought it would? Are you walking on eggshells, worried that you're going to say the wrong thing, pray the wrong thing, do the wrong thing, not do the right thing . . .? You get the drift.

Do you feel like you're looking for the right ratio of praying to studying to doing? And that if you could just get this right everything would be hunky dory, or you would at least feel like a qualified member of the I'm Adequately Spiritual Club?

Maybe you are just wondering exactly how it is that one goes about seeking first the face of God . . . or the ever more difficult "let go and let God".

And why doesn't it work on the few occasions when I feel that I am actually getting it right? (although admitting that you are, for even a brief moment, getting it right brings on a huge guilt complex because you just can't do that, so they say.)

The beginning of a relationship that works is not found in understanding yourself or the other person, but in understanding the relationship itself. Our relationship with Jesus is no different. We cannot fully understand this relationship. We know some of how it came about and why, and we can grow in knowledge and understanding of it, but we will not fully understand it until we are with Him in eternity, and I don't know if we'll know it all even then. But, it is a relationship that is intended to "work", not just merely exist.

 Ephesians 2:10   For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

I'm teaching Sunday School again, and I'm with a group that I would never have thought I would be teaching, and I love it - them! The material is a little different than what I am used to "teaching" in the way it is presented, and I probably would not have chosen it based on a preconceived notion of what I thought it would be. But, I'm loving this material also! MasterWork.

I learn so much when I teach. Please understand that I use the word teach in its loosest definition. (I don't think I've ever written the word "loosest". But, despite how bogus it looks it is a real word.) I am uncomfortable approaching this Sunday School teacher thing with the mindset that I know something you don't. Yeah, I might, but I might not. And, if it comes from me, it's of no good use anyway. I seek the Holy Spirit's guidance and pray that I can keep myself out of the way. Of course, there are more "new" things to be learned by us all than we will ever grasp. And if God uses me to bring new, more, or deeper knowledge to someone I am greatly humbled by that. I view my role as more to bring an understanding, maybe even a deeper understanding, of what we already know - something I so often fail miserably at - or to bring a certain perspective to it, and hopefully help someone find a way to live by it.  . . . OK. Enough of that little aside.

We just started a study on John 15. This is where understanding of a follower's relationship with Jesus begins, and if everything else you know and learn about your relationship grows out of this you will find that your "complicated relationship" becomes much simpler than the one you've been living!

It begins with “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser." A few verses in it goes on to say "I am the vine; you are the branches." These words are written in red. These are the words of Jesus Himself. He also says "Abide in me, and I in you."

The vine and the branch is a great illustration of just how "Abide in me and I in you" works. I'm not much of a gardener, and I don't remember ever grafting anything onto anything else in the plant world. But, a graft occurs when, in this case, the vine sends fibers into the grafted branch and the grafted branch sends fibers into the vine. They grow into each other, they fuse together, and they become one. This is what Jesus is talking about. This is happening in those of us who know Jesus.

Now the purpose of the branch is to produce fruit for the gardener, or the vinedresser. So, in our relationship with Jesus, our purpose is to produce fruit for God. This truth scares a lot of people, but here's the thing: just like the branch receives everything it needs to produce fruit from the vine, we receive everything we need from Jesus to produce fruit that is desirable and pleasing to God. . . . everything.

John 15:4"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me."

Isaiah 27:2-3  In that day, “A pleasant vineyard, sing of it! I, the Lord, am its keeper; every moment I water it. Lest anyone punish it, I keep it night and day;"

Our relationship is simple. We are now in Him and He is in us. Remember those fibers reaching into each other in the grafted branch? Everything we need for life and to fulfill our purpose is found in Him and flows freely from Him to us.

I can see our relationship, Jesus and me, beginning to "work better" as I think in these terms. He is the vine, I am the branch, my purpose is to produce fruit, and everything . . . everything (bears repeating) . . . He needs to produce that fruit in me comes from Him.

Your relationship hasn't been working? You want to see that change? Make it your prayer. Simply say "Father, make me a branch." Pray that daily . . . throughout the day. Of course you already are the branch, but this intentional way of thinking and purposeful speaking will begin to bring you into sync with what the Holy Spirit is trying to work within you. You will have a new perspective on who you are in Jesus. This is where it really begins.


PS -  About all that fruit . . . coming soon!


Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Of Mighty Mouse and Men

Hero is a word that gets tossed around a lot these days. Social media and pop culture "news" programing tend to water down the standards for those things that really should have a high level of qualification as they relate to our lives and the society in which we live. But, sometimes a particular set of standards affects the way we see something such as the heroes who pass through our everyday lives. Traditionally, "hero" carries a very high standard of qualification that involves an element of risk and bravery in the face of danger, either physical or in the form of taking a stand for good and right. These days, it seems everyone who finds themselves having been in a difficult situation is deemed a hero if the story is even minimally newsworthy. . . . (not to take away from what anyone has to go through to get through.)

I grew up with my own heroes. Roy Rogers was my first hero. After Roy, there is not one that particularly stands out. Well, John Wayne . . . duh! There were a dozen or so comic book heroes. I actually used to pray for super powers. There were other tv and movie heroes. . . . all people that I aspired to be, but could never be. (Elvis . . . well, he was not so much the hero as the one who always got the good looking girl. Come to think of it, though, I always considered such a move to be one of great personal risk. And that was a risk I was all too rarely brave enough to take.) It's good to have those kinds of people to look up to, those bigger than life personalities that are so appealing. But, I wonder if they obscure and block our recognition of the real true life heroes that not only cross our paths but help us along the way.  . . . those standards again.

What makes a hero a hero? There are a lot of definitions to be found, but we all know that there is a moment in time that makes the hero the hero. That is when he or she is at "the right place" at "the right time" and does "the right thing". That's the entertainment version of a hero. It's also the real life making of a hero. In simple terms a hero, or heroine, is a person who is there when they are needed and who does what is needed. . . . Simpler terms: A hero is there when you need them.  (and "the needing" is not always obvious at the time.)

You think I've offered up a watered-down version of a hero?

As much as I wanted to ride with Roy . . . shoot, I wanted to BE Roy . . . because that life was fun and adventurous and each story had a happy ending punctuated with a song, it is the true life heroes that made the difference in my real life. There are people who were right there with the words or the deeds that I needed for that moment. And many times, most often actually, that heroic act had little immediate effect on me, but great effect when I needed it most.

Looking back on life, there were acts, kindnesses, words of encouragement, acknowledgement, notice, . . . a rare few stand out in my memory. Some are merely impressions left in the moment, some involve a season of time. One, the second greatest for me, I think, happened when I was 6, maybe 7 years old, and made for a proud moment at the time, but came back to me in my mid-twenties and changed my life. It could have changed my life when it happened. I wish it would have, but that was my failure. Whether it was meant to be a life changer or was just a simple act of kindness, I don't know. As it turned out, it was both . . . both times that I needed it.    

I'm not going to reveal the whole thing here. For one thing, I don't want you to measure your experiences, or your heroes, with mine. For another, it's very personal and hard to put into words. I will only say for now that it has to do with a seed of worth.

Again, I don't want to diminish the many heroic deeds of those in our military, law enforcement, fire protection, search and rescue, . . ., and every day people who rose to the occasion when the occasion called for extraordinary courage and action. But, if a hero is one who "saves the day", take a look at your own life. Go back to that moment when something changed, or something was preserved (saved), and see if you find someone who was there, that you may have given little notice to at the time. He, or she, just might be your hero. They might be the one who made the difference. Maybe it seemed a small, near insignificant thing then, but made all the difference at some point in your life. When you find them, you should tell them. They should know.

Of course, all this is really to say that maybe you've been there, maybe you haven't yet, but please don't miss any opportunity to pour yourself into another's life in even the smallest way. It might not be such a small thing after all. God put us here for a purpose, and He puts people into our lives to help us be the person He made us to be. He put YOU here for the same thing. You may never know how a simple act on your part today will change, or maybe even save, another life years from now. 

Heroes? Perhaps not by Hollywood's standards, but for all the make believe "people" Roy made me want to be, one caring man with one simple act pretty much told me of the real person I was. . . . and I achieve that from time to time.

Maybe you feel small and insignificant and powerless when it comes to the idea of being anyone's hero. Well, just adapt the attitude of Mighty Mouse. Step out and sing.  . . . "Here I come to save the daaaaaaayyyy!" . . . Just like somebody did for you.



PS: A couple of videos for you. One for a little inspiration. One just for fun:

Friday, April 18, 2014

You Can't Always Get What You Want . . . But, Actually, You Can!

"As I pray, I will measure your compassion by the cross, and your power by the resurrection."

Every once in a while I get to teach a Sunday School class. I actually started this blog when I had a class "of my own" as a way to communicate and encourage and supplement what was going on in that class, but the blog pretty much took a direction of its own. That class no longer exists so my teaching, and I use the term "teaching" in its lightest application possible, takes place as an occasional substitute or fill-in these days. So, anyway, the quote above was the theme of a class I "taught" this past Sunday as we looked at "But, if not", as in "but, if God says no . . . or delays His answer."

To be asked to take the class on this particular day with this particular subject material was a true God-send to me. I picked the book up Wednesday evening, Masterwork, got home and opened it up to see what we were going to be looking at, and my reaction was, "I don't need to be teaching this, I need to learning this."

As Christians we all deal with this question many times over in our lives. I have been dealing with it "hot and heavy" of late. I'm thankful that God reaches out to us to change our way of thinking - renewing our minds -  and bringing new insights and understanding to matters that seem only to grow more and more confusing the more we try to figure them out on our own. Sometimes we just have things out of order. We can get so focused on our need, or our want, and we naturally question ourselves and our standing before God when things don't come the way we want them to or a situation is not resolved in the way that seems best to us. We focus on and act out "the why". "Why didn't God do this? Why doesn't God answer my prayer? Is it God, or is it me? What have I done to deserve this? Have I gone too far? Have I lived my life in a way that God simply is not going to do for me? What do I have to straighten out in my life before God will act? Have things gone too far? Is it hopeless now? How can even God turn this around at this point?" These are just a few of the questions we can find ourselves asking.

The simple, and true, answer is found in the quote I started with.

He has already done the single most compassionate thing He could possibly do for you by sending Jesus to the cross. Nothing you could want or need will ever approach the level of compassion it took for that great event. God's compassion for your cause? You're covered!

He has already exerted the greatest amount of power on your behalf through Christ's resurrection that any matter of your life will ever require. God is infinitely powerful, so there is no comparison to be made. But, if there were, following the resurrection, the power required by any of our wants or needs would be like God lifting His little finger by comparison. God's ability to accomplish your cause? You're covered!

In short, God has all the love and compassion for you that it takes to do anything you want or ask. AND, He possesses all the power it will take to accomplish anything you ask of Him.

So, if you don't get what you are asking for, or if it is delayed, it is not due to a lack of love or compassion or ability on God's part.

God's answer to our prayer is less about the object or the situation than it is about what He wants to do in our lives or how He wants to use us in His great master plan. If we have paid more than lip service to our pleas - "Father, all I want is what You want." "Take me, mold me, make me into what You would have me to be." "Use me." "Bless others through me." "Bless me." "BE GLORIFIED IN ME!" - He IS going to do just that. He IS DOING just that.

If we turned our wants and needs and desires, our will, over to Him, then He is using us, or fitting us, for His glory - so that He can be seen and honored in our lives. It doesn't always feel that way and certainly doesn't always look that way. I have actually asked - loudly - "God, where is Your Glory in all this? How does THIS glorify You? Is THIS what You really want?" ( and it is always where my own wants have led me)  

2 Corinthians 3:18  "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord." 


We have to spend a lot of time in the transformation process, so we are being taken "from glory to glory". We may, in a sense, be between glories, but God's character, His glory, will emerge as we emerge transformed by His work in, and on, our lives. In every situation we will get what we ultimately want - God's will and His glory to show through - even if it turns out not to be what we asked for in a moment or a season of worldly want or need.

 "As I pray, I will measure your compassion by the cross, and your power by the resurrection."

Acknowledge this in your conversations with God. Repeat it in the midst of your greatest difficulties. All we need is there in Him, and by the cross and the resurrection, has been freely offered to us all. When we accept His greatest gift, what is "there in Him" is suddenly here in us as His Holy Spirit moves in. All is fulfilled, and we are living it out.

I wish I had said all this in Sunday School last week.  . . . glad to say it now as we begin a weekend set aside for observing the cross and the resurrection. Celebrate it!


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