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

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Everything you ask for? . . . of course!

For my Thanksgiving post this year, I will just say that I am truly thankful for difficult times. ("Difficult" is putting it nicely.) It's not that I have it, but I am getting it. And I wouldn't be getting it without those hard times. I'm sorry that's what it took, and we don't always go through hard times alone, but I am glad He gave me what I needed. What we learn about ourselves in such times is almost - almost - as important as what we learn about God. Actually, if we fail to learn anything more about ourselves, we are not likely to learn anything more about God.

I have come to believe that God always gives us what we ask for. You see, He knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows that when we are asking for a "thing", what we are really asking for is a change in the way we feel or the way we perceive ourselves without that "thing". We're really asking for something to change us. Our desperation for a change in situation or circumstance is really our desperation for Him.

Our wants can be pure. They can also be a twist, or a perversion, of a real need. So, when we ask for "the thing" or "the change", we are really asking from a need sometimes so deep within us that we don't even recognize it. God has promised to meet our every need no matter how it is expressed.  . . . even if it is expressed in some frivolous, unnecessary, selfish want. That's why we should bring our every care to Him.

In His grace and His mercy, God takes care even of what we really should be asking of Him:

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God." Romans 8:26 - 27

So, yes, you get everything you ask God for. You just don't always know what you're asking!

If you would allow me to make a suggestion finally learned from my own experiences: Pray from your sincerity for God's will, including what we call God's best, for your life. Be willing to accept things that may not look like the best of anything, or that might not feel very good for a while, if that is what it takes. If it's hard to take the "you" out of your prayer, ask God to give you a clean, sincere heart for Him. You probably won't see change right away and the change, when it comes, might not look like you expected. But, when you "get it", you will know it. You will know that something has changed inside you and that change will soon begin to manifest itself in your life.

When you trust God to decode your prayer you will realize that you get everything you ask for. And when it comes to thankfulness, you might just find yourself thanking God for things you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy.

Happy Thanksgiving!!


 That's why we shouldn't hold back from asking.  

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Maybe if they heard that heart beating . . .

It was just after midnight and we were expecting our first grandchild to make her way into our world at any moment. It would be more than 18 hours later before she did. That was a memorable night. One thing I could not get over was sitting in that room listening to her heart beat over the monitor. It was just an amazing experience for me. There we were waiting for her. And there she was waiting to make her debut on her own terms. And that little heart was pumping away. It was real from day one, but that little while spent listening to her heart, her life, there in her mother's womb is an indescribable wonder. 

It was like she was in another room. Even now, it's still amazing. She was in there, living, sleeping . . . whatever babies do in there. But, there was no doubt that there was a little human being in there! And she was alive. And she was dependent on her mother for that life.

Here we are, the presidential election of 2016 just weeks away. Many are frustrated with the choices we have. But we do have a choice. One candidate claims to be for choice. She is in favor of a mother being given the choice to end that life, to put a stop to that heart beating within her. She is OK with the idea of a "medical" staff acting upon the desire of the mother to put an end to the life within her . . . the life that was depending on her above all to be protected and to one day breathe the sweet air of the life intended for her or him. She doesn't deny that there is life there. She simply says that a baby inside the womb has no constitutional right to life. It's funny, no, it's pathetic, that, when it suits her, she can step outside the constitution to declare "basic, fundamental rights of all". And, yes, there are rights that exist beyond our constitution. God given rights. She doesn't see life for developing, unborn babies to be among those. If they could vote, I'm sure she would find a way.

The other candidate (yes, I know we have third party candidates running, but they won't win, won't affect the issues, and will only skew the vote in one direction for one of the two major party candidates) states that he has evolved into a pro-life, anti-abortion stance.

I don't see ProLife as a purely Christian issue. The opposition likes to color it as a religious issue, as if that delegitimizes it in some way. Taking innocent life is wrong, Christian or not.

There are many issues to consider in this election. The future of our country as a land of the free, as we have known it, is very likely at stake. But, what kind of future does our country have when hundreds of thousands of innocent unborn babies, human beings, not lumps of tissue or Americans with no constitutional rights, are killed in the womb, or even on their way into the world, seconds away from taking that first breath. How can anyone hear, or know, that a heart is beating in there participate in any way in bringing that heart beat to a halt, knowing that a life has been cut short before it got a good start?

People wonder what our country has come to because of our choice of Presidential candidates.

People, in the most important areas of human existence, the right to life and the protection of innocent life, we passed the what-have-we-come-to watermark a long time ago.

What are you going to do about that when you go into the voting booth in November?


Post Script: I'm pretty sure that some women reading this have had an abortion, or are close to someone who has. Please know that I have nothing but love for you. More important than that, God loves you, and Jesus holds forgiveness for you. Maybe you have received that forgiveness and you know the peace that only He can give. I do not want to disturb that peace. You know better than I do why we must all work to end abortion. I pray that you constantly receive the ministering power of Christ. There is no guilt, no shame for those who know Jesus as Lord and Savior. There should be nothing but love and acceptance of you from all who love Christ just as they should receive the same from you. We have all fallen short. God bless you!   


Monday, May 16, 2016

Boxer Upper? or Box Buster?

We buy something that we know or hope someone else will enjoy having. We take it home and put it in a box and wrap it up in pretty paper and add ribbons and bows to make that box look better, more appealing. We hope they will pick up that box and carry on a bit about how pretty that box looks. Eventually, they will unwrap the box and take the gift out. And, maybe, it's just what they wanted. And they treat it as though it came from the box. We all do. The thing is, it didn't come in the box. It came from somewhere outside of the box.

I'll just say that you might like your box. It's kind of like your mother's womb. You can feel the limits of your box and it is a very secure feeling. Your whole world is wrapped up with you in your box.  You like your box, but you want more.

Everything you want, certainly everything God wants for you, is somewhere outside of your box. Just like that present came from some place outside the box, God's greatest gifts are outside of your box. He didn't create you in a box and doesn't want you to spend your life there. "Whom the Lord sets free is free indeed" carries a lot of meaning. Maybe among its most profound deliverances is that you are free to leave your box.  

"Every good thing comes from God." He lovingly takes care of us where ever we are. But, I don't see Him reaching in and sticking more and more and more in this box with us. If you feel slighted by God, or confused as to why things aren't working out, or you just can't seem to take hold of that which you know He has for you, maybe you are bound up by all the familiar things and ways in which you take your security. Maybe the prospect life in a new and uncertain territory is scary. At least you know what you have here. Going back to that gift we started with, you had to go to the store to get it. Maybe you didn't know what you were going to get until you found it on the shelf. And may be you saw it and said, "This is just the thing for . . . ."    We will never know "just the thing " God has in store for us until we go to Him to receive our gift from Him. And He has so much for us. 

 I sometimes wonder why God surrounded us with an apparently limitless universe.Well, for one thing it shows His limitless power and ability. It displays His limitless creativity. This vast created thing is dwarfed by the Creator Himself. God is all about unconditional, unlimited love, mercy, and grace. His blessings set us free from where we are and continually call us to new challenges, new faith, and new steps into His grace. Jesus said, "I am making all things new." Think about that. In this world new things grow old. That new car or truck will be old in a matter of years. That new outfit will soon be old and out of style. "New" discoveries are made daily, but this universe in which they are found is old itself. So, we are discovering old things. 

"I am making all things new." Jesus' "new" does not grow old. His work is not to make something that is going to get old. The fact that He says "I am making" proves it to be eternally new. So stepping out of that box is the beginning of a great God-ordained journey. From faith to faith. From Grace to grace. . . . always new!

Chains come in all shapes and sizes. They have all kinds of purposes. We are told that some prisons are akin to country clubs. Maybe a closer look at that box you're in will reveal that it actually is a prison of sorts. It's comfortable. It's secure. It looks nice. But it has walls, limits. It controls your way of speaking, your way of thinking, your way of living. It keeps you from being all you can and should be. You might see that those pretty ribbons you are all wrapped up in are actually chains binding you to a lesser way of life, the bows are locks that you hesitate to break. The pretty paper wraps you up in a satisfying style, but keeps you from seeing the great gift that is just outside of your box.

So, break the pretty ribbons that have you all tied up. Throw off the bows that you love staring at. Tear the pretty paper, break the tape that holds that box together and get out! Reach out and take what God has placed before you.

"How do I start?" A suggestion - What is it about yourself that has always been the same? What is one thing . . . physical, mental, emotional, material . . . that you have never been willing or able to change? What is the thing that you have never even thought about changing? It may call for some open-minded thought, but it will come to you. Well, change that! Do so as a reminder to yourself and a sign to the world that you have left your box. It might not seem to be a spiritually related thing in any way, but it does signal to yourself that a door is open. You are reaching for newness and change. You are saying in a tangible way, "OK, God, let's go!"   You're following God into newness in your life. . . . a spiritual newness and all that comes with it.

You won't find anything new sitting in that old box. And, the great thing is, you don't do this alone. He will guide you along the way . . .every step. We just have to be willing to make the step and obedient to go where He guides. We must face the truth. When it comes to breaking out of the box, getting out of the boat, breaking chains, . . . whatever you want to call it . . . we have no such power within ourselves. Where can you find such power? Watch the video.Bust that box!


And then it would be nice to take a look into God's telescope, but just remeber if you're here, He's not finished with you yet!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Too Pooped To Participate

I have this friend. Just so you know I'm putting his story in my words . . . this friend of mine. Just so you know.  

Fatigue is my enemy. Or maybe fatigue is what my enemy has brought me to. It's hard to do anything in a state of fatigue. So, as a weapon of subterfuge hauled into and willingly accepted in the enemy camp, fatigue may be the next best thing to mind control. Distract, complicate, confuse, and invalidate a mind . . . get that mind working against itself . . ., immobilize, and you are winning a battle that you are not even having to fight. . . . Clever on the part of my enemy.

Everything looks like a mountain. Everything. I get it done and wonder what the big deal was, and I look behind me to see nothing more than a molehill, if that. I think, man, if you would just do it you could get so much done. And I promise myself that tomorrow I will. I'm tired today. I'll get a good night's sleep and if the LORD gives me tomorrow I'm gonna get stuff done big time!

The thing is, when my mind and my body are in agreement to "do this" I have to do it now. And I have to finish it. If there is something, no matter how large or small the task, that someone else insists on me doing that pulls me away, I'm not likely to come back to "my task". And if I do, the thrill is gone, the mountain has risen, and I'm back climbing again. The plan, the map, the "way", left the room with me, but didn't come back. I knew just how I was going to get this done just a short while ago. Suddenly it's complicated.

If I'm not sitting still I'm climbing. That's OK. We all have mountains to climb. A little more downhill would be nice from time to time. Again, once done, I realize that it actually was pretty much a downhill stretch. Shucks! Missed it!!

So, if I look like I don't want to do something, it's probably more of a case where, for no particular reason, I can't. . . . but, I really can, so I will.  . . . in a minute. It's perplexing and potentially embarrassing. There's that notion that if I would just do something else differently this would all go away.

I know the secret, though, and it's . . . Wait! I'm gonna have to cut this short. I gotta go do something!

Or so that friend of mine says.


Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted;but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles;they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isa. 40:28-31

For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish. Jer. 31:25

Here's your video.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Do All Rock Stars Go To Heaven?

I could list the names, but I won't. I don't know who this fits and who it doesn't.There have been a good many celebrity deaths over the past week or so and many of those were from the broad tent of the world of rock and roll.

So, I’m just gonna say this. It’s the truth. I’m not being insensitive or judgmental, just truthful. Not all rock stars go to Heaven. There is no Rock 'n Roll Heaven. There is not a Hell of a band in Heaven. There is not a Hell of anything in Heaven. The two don’t mix. Good music, good acting, good art, good deeds,  . . . nothing we call good, is a highway to Heaven. There is no rule you can follow that will get you there. There is no regret deep enough to get you there. There is no fear great enough to get you there. There is no scale or list balancing good and evil that can be tipped in your favor by just one more measure of good that will get you there. You can’t wish or positive think yourself there. There is no group or church that you can belong to that will get you to Heaven. You can't go to Heaven just because you want to go to Heaven.

Eternity in Heaven is easy. You don’t have to figure it all out and have all the answers. You don’t have to earn it. You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to live up to anyone’s expectations or please anyone, even the preacher, to get there. 

You can’t do anything to get yourself to Heaven. All roads do not lead to Heaven. All religions do not lead to Heaven. . . . Shoot, NO religion leads to Heaven!

There is a long, long list of things people all over the world are doing in their quest to get themselves to Heaven and every single one is a waste of time and effort. I know. Decades of my own life amount to nothing more than that kind of waste.

The list of what WILL get you there is short, . . . just one entry. Jesus. That’s it. He is THE Way, THE Truth, THE Life. He did the hard work. He shoulders the burden. 

Maybe this fits you. Don't let nice thoughts, or nice words, or nice songs, or nice feelings send you to a place where nothing, absolutely nothing, is nice. Discover the truth and discover something that "nice" doesn't even come close to describing.

If you need help with this, there is someone near you who can do just that. Reach out. You might need to make a phone call or visit a local church. (Be careful of where you go. Remember that church part I mentioned earlier. I was not going to list any more "cant's", but you can't give, donate, or buy your way into Heaven either.) You can email or message me. I will be glad - honored and privileged -  to talk to you. But, none of us can save you. You can get your hands on a Bible, seek the answer and you will definitely find it. There is no way or answer other than Jesus. And He is easy to find. He’s the reason you’re even thinking about this! His gift is free to all . . . even rock stars! (So, yes, there are some up there!)
And then you will begin to learn that there is more to this eternal life than “just” Heaven.

I realize that most of my regular readers already know this and are on your way. Maybe, though, we can help someone who needs it.


So, this is how they got it on SNL.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

True Companions

She was very young when Amy took her in, little more than a baby. And from that moment on, where Amy went, she went, except for that year early on when Amy couldn't keep her. She was with Sharon and I then. She had visited many times before, but having her here as part of our household was a great joy. I was glad that Amy could take here back home, but I missed her just the same. Other than that they've been together, she and Amy.

They started out in Starkville when Amy was in college. They traveled to Florida and lived in Crestview, Florida for a few years before traveling further down to the West Coast of Florida to a new home together. From there, they traveled all the way up to Virginia together.

It was in Virginia that circumstances remade their family of three into a family of two. Amy was on her on, but she was not alone. She had great friends . . . wonderful friends, and she had her constant companion. It wasn't long before their family of two became a family of four! And they traveled together again, this time to Arizona.

Life has been different for her there, but good. She had a new brother to adjust to. They had their quarrels, but they grew to love one another, each in their own way. She kept that sweet spirit that went with her natural beauty. She was always beautiful. And I do believe a sweeter spirit could not be found in any earthly creature. Always she remains to our daughter Amy a true companion, and Amy her one safe place.

Amy's deep love for her shined through the difficulties of sickness and age. And Amy's husband, Michael, lovingly, whether that love is for Amy or her, or both, shared Amy's total commitment to her care and well being and quality of life. A great family, if it can be said that families are made of such. But, a visit . . . visits . . . to her doctor finally revealed that time was urgently short for her.

Amy hurried home yesterday when she got the news that her body could bear with this world no longer. She wanted to spend these last hours with her before their final trip to the doctor. They've been so many places together, but it was time for her to go on, and Amy couldn't travel with her this time. Well, it was not to be. KC, Kaci, KayCee (we never really knew how it was spelled, but it is pronounced CaSey) left on her own. When Amy walked through her door late yesterday evening Kaci's beautiful body was there, but her sweet spirit was gone.

It's sad. It's very sad. It hurts. Amy is heartbroken and I'll admit that it's hard to see my keyboard through these tears for them both. Fourteen years. They went through some tough, extremely difficult times together. Kacie may have denied Amy of those last hours, that long goodbye, that final comfort and assurance that Amy so wanted to give her. But, knowing Amy as I do, I really believe Kacie spared Amy of that heart-wrenching, guilt laden act that was to take place today. It was down to too hard or unbearable, hurt or wounded.

14 years for Amy was like 98 years for Kacie. A long time either way. I don't care who or what you are, you get to know each other over a lifetime. As hard as it is to have happened the way it did, I believe that it would have been harder as planned. For all of her life, Amy has made most of Kacie's decisions for her. For Amy, Kacie, in God's way, made her own final decision. A true companion to the end.

I just noticed on a Christmas card that Amy spells it Kacie, She's the authority, so Kacie it is.

A couple of videos you might want to watch are shown below.


Kacie was a rescue dog. Amy was her safe place.

And then there's this one. This is not Kaci, but it's a great family dog video. BTW, the song was actually written for his dog, in case you didn't know.