Saturday, December 3, 2016

Living Risky

Wow. You're not going to believe this. I just did something really, really crazy. I'm still in shock.

Son Joshua texted that he needed a ride home from school, so I grabbed my keys and went to get him. As I was getting into the car, I came to the shocking realization that I had forgotten my phone.

My phone. My cell phone.

I looked back toward the house, and started to go back and get it when it happened: A strange feeling swept over me like a cold gust of wind on a blistery open sea, a feeling of total abandon. Suddenly I was the rebel, the non-conformist, the loose cannon. In an instant I became the wanderer craving wild adventure, the nomad in search of new lands, the pioneer facing the dusty trail to the uncertain west, the entrepreneur sweating and climbing to create his new industry, the bloodthirsty mercenary risking life and limb for the rebel cause. Yeah, I was that guy.

I lifted my head in defiance, grabbed the handle and yes... I got into the car without the phone. I fired up the engine, slid the shifter into gear, and drove away. What a feeling! I was disconnected... isolated... secluded. The solitary point of resistance against the forces of the world, facing the unknown with steel resolve... a fire in my heart... a silent voice that shouted, "I will survive!" to all creation. The sheer exhilaration was overwhelming!

And so I drove... the entire two and a half miles to the school... just man and machine against the elements. Unsure of how this might go or what outcome I may face, I pressed on until finally, at long last, I arrived to see Josh ready to board. Of course, at this point the adventure fizzled... he had his phone in hand so we once again were among the living, that safety net back in place, protected against all harm.

I know it was a terrible decision to make, a crazy thing to do, and I hope any young people who read this will see how foolish my decision was and not try to do this themselves. It's really not worth the risk. But I must admit, it was an experience I will never forget.

Whew. I am so exhausted from it all now. Must rest, and thank God for watching over me. Bless you all.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

When Guns Were Nice

When I was a kid, guns were nicer.

Sigh... Does anyone remember the good old days? You know, a few years back when life in America was simpler... kinder... less complicated? We all worked hard. We talked to each other. People could firm up a deal with a handshake.

And guns were nicer.

They really were. Guns were our friends, our playmates, part of our families. We could trust them, and they would serve us well. We could keep them openly in our house, and they never caused us any harm.

Those really were the 'good old days'.

Nowadays, so much has changed. People aren't friendly anymore. They don't trust or care for each other. We have more locks and alarms, and security cameras.

And guns have gone bad.

I don't know why, but it's true. You can't trust them any more. Guns used to be faithful friends, good for hunting or self defense. Target shooting. Fireworks and celebrations. Now, it seems they have gone astray. We hear about bad guns murdering people. They hang out in gangs, drive through urban neighborhoods and shoot innocent bystanders. Sometimes we even see one that has gone completely out of its chamber, shooting masses of people.

Where did we go wrong? We didn't raise our guns to act this way!

Our guns have left the once-familiar realms of decency and respect, and now treat people with contempt. They are aggressive, unfair and abusive. They show no concern or regard for human life. They no longer stand proud and tall, defending the American way of life. Now they lurk in dark corners, hiding from mankind like a sneaky enemy. The change is marked and alarming, and disturbing on many levels.

Who can say when the change took place, or why. It's so sad to see a simple rifle turn from a boy's first rabbit gun to a murderer, all within one generation. Even the little .22 semi-automatic I hunted with for years as a child - with never a problem - is now being called an 'assault rifle'. I still can't believe it! I loved that gun. It was my friend and we spent many an early morning or lazy afternoon wandering the woods and fields in search of a furry target... I treated it like family! Why would it turn against me now? Why?

So many others, like myself, are asking these hard questions.

Some people believe that guns are bad because of war... but most guns I have known have never been in combat. They simply couldn't be affected by that environment - they were never there. They've never left the farm or home. How did this happen, and what can we do to fix it?

It seems there are no easy answers when guns go bad.

Some might suggest gun counseling. Programs where reprobate weapons could come and attend - no questions asked - and receive the help they need. Maybe, just maybe, if we could reach out to them in the name of decency and Godly morals, we could convert them back. Maybe we could convince them that they aren't really bad, they've simply fallen into the wrong crowd. For most guns, it's the company they keep that has caused them to stray. Think about it, have you ever seen a gun perform a criminal act without an actual criminal present? I think not. If you research it yourself, you'll begin to see a pattern here. Criminals corrupt guns!

We must reach out to our bullet-laden friends before it's too late.

Will you take some time today to consider how you might help? Let's not turn our backs on these once-prized patriots of freedom. We need to rally around our lost guns, showing them the love and caring they need and deserve. Rescue the firearms! It's a call we all can herald - let's save the guns!

Save the firearms - before it's too late.

Let's show compassion and carry the torch for our lost guns. We can restore them, retrain them, rehabilitate them. Bring them back into the fold.

Just remember: Next time it could be your son instead.

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Monday, February 4, 2013

Things Unseen... In Twenty Thirteen

Ok, we're now a month into the new year, let's see how we are doing. 

First, how many have new year resolutions still hanging on? The average lifespan of most resolutions I ever made was about 30 days... pretty much the same as my attempts to raise houseplants. They both dried up and died in about the same amount of time. I learned long ago to just save the suffering and not even try.

So, resolutions aside, what about the new year... how are things going in general? I see a lot of people posting about trying to find jobs and homes in this struggling economy, as things are still tough for sure. Lots of people are sick, and bouncing between conventional medicine with its uncertainties and other more natural or faith-based methods, unsure about the best way to go. Fighting stress and pressure in this demanding life we live is a killer... relaxing is hard work.

So where do we turn? 

Here's an idea:

Every year in our ministry, we prayerfully determine a 'theme' for the new year, based on scripture. Here is our theme for 2013:

"Things Unseen... In Twenty Thirteen"

And the key verse for this year:

“No eye has seen, 
no ear has heard, 
no mind has conceived 
what God has prepared 
for those who love him - 
but God has revealed it 
to us by his Spirit. 
                          1 Cor 2:9-10

The message here is that we need something more this year... more than humanly possible. Most of us either need a special touch from God right now, or we will before the year is out. Something special. Something different. Something powerful. Something unheard of, unseen and unexpected.

Anyone here down with this?

Take a look at how that verse starts.

No eye has seen. No ear has heard. No mind has conceived. I like these verses, there is something supernatural about them. They offer hope and light in a world of deepest darkness.

There are so many unknowns in our earthly walk. The future can be exciting yet intimidating - we just don't know what is ahead. Even if we could see into the coming days we would probably hesitate, for fear of what might be on the horizon. In a world full of tragedy we pray daily for protection, provision and deliverance.

This passage offers more than hope - it gives us a concrete promise from God: He has already prepared everything we need for life and godliness. He has already seen our future, and has laid before us life and death, blessings and curses, all for our choosing. His perfect will and prepared path are there, if we will seek and choose them.

So how do we discover these preordained blessings? The key is in this part of the verse: but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The unknown becomes known, the mysteries are revealed, the unseen becomes seen. God reveals everything by his Spirit.

The secret to spiritual success lies in our choices: We can choose life or death, abundant blessings or the curse of sin. Many believers never discover the full life God has prepared because they do not seek him daily and listen to the Holy Spirit. God is the all-powerful, miracle-working supernatural creator of all heaven and earth. And we have this powerful anointing from God, in the Holy Spirit he has sent, to lead us and teach us as recorded in John. The future is open to anything we choose - it's up to us!

So the question is... as we move on into the year 2013, do we want to see a change, or stay in the same struggles, trials and challenges?  I've made up my mind, I want something better. I want to turn loose the power of God and seek His Will. Open the floodgates of heaven and get in the Holy Spirit. Be led, taught, directed and blessed. We can decide right now to follow him and see the unseen in 2013.

Look out 2013... we're coming on through!

Who's with me?

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Monday, January 21, 2013

Things I Learned In 2012

Well, we made it through 2012, and we're still here. It was an odd year... an unusual year... a different kind of year. Some good things happened, but I don't think I'd like to do it again. Much like eating native cuisine from India, it was interesting - but once is enough. So to sum it up, here's my review of the last year...

Things I learned in 2012:

• The end of the world was more painless than I expected.

For all the hype, it sure was a disappointment. You'd think the end of the world would at least tease us a little, even if it's a fake. You know, throw us something unexpected. Multicolored meteor showers. A volcano erupting in the middle of Lake Michigan. Or even a Kansas City Chiefs playoffs win. Just anything bizarre and unusual. But no... nothing. I think somewhere I hear a Mayan laughing. Their civilization didn't really disappear, you know. They just made it look like it did, and are living among us today. Having just perpetrated the biggest practical joke of all time, they're now holding secret meetings to share the laughs among themselves. It's their version of reality TV, just on a bigger scale. Well played, Mayans. Watch out for those Hollywood offers.

• The election.

That's about all that needs said about that. Politics seem to have sunk to new sub-aromatic lows in recent years, and as an American patriot I am becoming more deeply concerned all the time. Without taking sides or getting too detailed about it, I would sum it up with this: Are these really the best candidates we can muster these days? Both sides have produced less-than-stellar, propped-up versions of a 'leader' for our still-great country. I don't think I'm alone in saying I wouldn't vote for either one of these guys to sit on my local school board, much less to take the helm of this powerful republic. Can't we raise up from somewhere a powerful, genuine, God-fearing American champion with the sense and wisdom to renew our cause? Someone who can lead us back from the smoldering, tangled remains of our late night insanity to the glorious sunlight of freedom where we once soared? Purple mountain's majesties, pilgrim's pride, amber waves of grain, God blessed and powerful, land of the free and home of the brave... does anyone else miss that place? I sure do. ...Sigh....

• Tattoos and piercings.

Oh my goodness, I never thought things would go this far. Let me put this in perspective for you: When I was a teen in the late sixties and early seventies, there was some really bizarre stuff happening. We were growing out our hair and beards... wearing beads, sandals, multi-colored striped bell bottoms... and tie-died everything. We had leather headbands, wristbands and jackets with fringe. Chains and belts. Paisley shirts with bloused sleeves. For men. (Look it up, it's worth the entertainment factor alone). Peace symbols, rock and roll music, revolution and discord. We were rebels. But after a few years the aging experience kicked in. We gave up some of our revelry and walked away from it. We took off the bizarre clothes, put the crazy accessories in the back of the drawer to show our eventual grandkids and cut our hair. Well, at least tamed it a little. And that's what kids do... something different and shocking, rebellious and unique, making a statement - like every generation has done since Adam and Eve first woke up one day to the discovery of a new species on the planet called 'teenager'.

But today the madness has moved into the realm of ink and needles... and lots of hardware. Kids, and adults, are transforming through various epidermal canvases into multicolored cartoon-like caricatures and multi-surface cyborgs. Tats, rings, gauges, chains, stitches and snake bites. These are some of the most bizarre, artistic and creative expressions to date - some real eye openers as well as some shockers - but still no different than young people of any age... just expressions of individuality that help set them apart from previous generations. Nothing wrong with that... except...

This time the expression is permanent. You can't walk away from the tattoo... not easily anyway and certainly not completely. Plus, a hole in the face is still a hole in the face, no matter how long you let it heal. It will always be with you. The generation today will someday want to move on, as we all did, to the next level and a new plateau. Leave behind a memory of youth's rebellion and become the new in-charge young adult and ultimately middle-aged and elderly leaders of the times. But imagine my generation, if we had been unable to shed the striped, multicolored bell-bottoms and the wide-collared purple paisley shirt (I had both, by the way.) and had to wear that image forever. I'd say we'd look pretty ridiculous like that today, like an old rock band revue or a 3 a.m. visit to an urban Wal-Mart. Scary.

And I know none of them think so now... but someday these young people are going to wish the ink and iron they carry around now could be peeled off and left behind like we did, only it won't. They are convinced their expressions, statements and appearances will be 'really cool' when they are older... but trust us who have been there - it won't be. The next generation will have something new and yours will look silly and old to them. And the generation after that will do it again... and so on. I like the art, and some of the expressions and creativity, and even some of the rebellion... I just wish it wasn't going to be stuck there for the rest of their lives. Maybe if I wore my old hippy clothes for a few months they'd get the message. Now where is that old tie-dye kit of mine...

• The last matching date of my lifetime

Ok, this one is kind of silly and trivial, but it's still true: 12-12-12 was the last all matching date of our lives. That's it, it's over, we'll never see it again. We didn't gain anything by seeing it this time, except to say we were there. It's kind of like attending a Trekkie convention - you can tell everyone all the awesome things you saw but no one really cares, it just gives you a little warm, personal sense of accomplishment. But it's our accomplishment. So go ahead, get that 12-12-12 tattooed somewhere, to tell the world "I was there." Put it next to NCC-1701.  See which one gets the most compliments.

• The heat wave

The summer of 2012 brought record heat, and let me tell you it was hot! I have always liked the heat, but this year was crazy and it kicked me in the rear for several weeks. We had a new pool and an acreage to run and play, but there was just too much heat to endure. The pool was above ground, and the water got too hot to swim. Too hot to swim... did you catch that? The water lines feeding our house are buried about a foot deep in the yard, but the water was heated enough at that depth to get a warm shower from just the cold faucet. Didn't use the hot water all summer. It was almost too hot to ride in my Mustang convertible. Notice I said 'almost'. It's never too hot for that... but it was close. So we spent a lot of the summer inside. Bummer. Maybe this year will be nicer.

• Blessing and challenges

Even with some very tough challenges 2012 still had some of the biggest blessings. After five years on the road we bought a house again. We have a new granddaughter. Our first one is growing like a flower and they're both infinitely prettier. Our two grandsons became teenagers in 2012... look out  world here they come! Another of my children reached adult age... this time a son.

If there's one lesson 2012 taught us it's that life keeps moving, and if we don't learn to ride the waves of time we'll surely sink in the depths. Boards up!

Overall, the year was blessed, but more like the new undergrowth that comes from a spring thunderstorm. No one likes to endure the storms but that's where we grow, and like a mighty oak we are tested and strengthened in the winds of adversity. As unusual as 2012 was, there is a sense of foreboding, that greater changes and challenges are ahead. If 2012 was there to prepare and align us, I pray we learned our lessons and set our sights firmly ahead.

Goodbye 2012. Hello 2013 - may you treat us well!

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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas of '83

I will never forget Christmas of '83.

I grew up in the 1960's in the heart of the Midwest, at a time when we still sang Christmas carols in school - even the good ones that talked about Jesus. Hark the Herald Angels, Joy to the World, O Holy Night, We Three Kings... being in chorus through all my years of school I sang them every year, and knew them all very well.

The problem was, I knew the songs but not the Savior; I was not yet a Christian. Of course, Christmas was still special - that kind of special so hard to describe but clearly felt by everyone, no matter what their background or faith. The songs... the lights... the trees... the packages... the whole spirit of the holiday was glorious and wonderful, so different from the rest of the year. No one could really define why or how, it just was.

And I loved it. The winter snows brought icicles and snowmen, sledding and ice skating, all the things that trimmed out the holidays so perfectly. Caroling down the streets of our small towns was everything Norman Rockwell could have envisioned - winter mittens and woolen coats, galoshes and bright scarves with air so cold you could see the long notes hanging in the air above the mouths of the singers. People would actually come out of their homes and stand on their porches to hear the singing, that awesome singing.

It was all so special.

Living on the farm as a small child, I know we had some tough years. We were not what you would consider 'poor', but sometimes we were probably as close to poor as we could get without actually being there. My parents worked hard. Dad had a full time job in the city, plus worked the farm all the other hours of the days and weeks. Mom took care of the family, the household, and the farm too. We all had chores to do, caring for the animals and crops, building fence and working the fields, everything that makes a farm come together. It wasn't uncommon in those days for rural homes to still use outhouses, and for people to carry water to the house from a well somewhere. We installed our first bathroom when I was twelve, before that it was a long winter walk to the back yard facilities, and warm baths in a washtub. Life was very different from what we have now, but we didn't think anything of it, we just lived it. We were a family - we had birthdays and hot summers and an old black and white TV.

And we had Christmas. That chilly old farmhouse with the oil stove and snow-filled winds whistling outside the windows just made it more special - we had Christmas. We always had a real tree - my dad always liked real trees - and Christmas morning was everything a child could want. The awesome feeling was there all those years, that special holiday feeling.

Now fast forward... past my childhood in the sixties into the tumultuous seventies, and on into the uncertainty of the eighties... to that wonderful moment in my life in 1983 when I accepted Christ and became a Christian. The miracle change took place - the Bible describes it as being 'born again' - where we devote our lives to Jesus and become a new creation in Christ. It was an amazing event for me, opening my eyes to so many truths I had never seen, and real answers to questions I had asked for years. My life was genuinely turned around - I had become a Christian!

As wonderful as that time was, the transformation beginning in March of that year, I was in for yet another surprise as the months wore on. My new life was wonderful, glorious, and blessed - I knew I had finally come home and found in Jesus all that I needed for life and love. My life began to blossom that year, and grew more blessed as the year passed.

Christmas came. The trees, the lights, the glitter and festivities. Shopping, presents and bows, and family dinners. And we sang.

We sang.

We sang the songs of Christmas, the sleighing songs, the snowing songs, the winter songs... and the Jesus songs. And that's when it happened - something exceptional took place in my heart.

The songs came alive! For the first time in my life, those wonderful songs were not only special and seemingly magic, my eyes were opened up and I saw the same Jesus in them that I now had in my heart. They made sense now! It was like a whole new revelation, a brilliant new flash of light that came on and stayed forever, the truth of Jesus! The same songs that were always so special were also now even more beautiful and personal - songs of the birth of the same Savior I had come to know earlier that year - Jesus the light and life of God.

And it was wonderful.

Although I didn't hear the voices of angels, I very clearly heard the message. "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:10-11

That was Christmas of 1983, the year I finally understood that special meaning in Christmas, that wonderful feeling that sets it apart. Just as there is nothing like the feeling we experience around the holiday, there is also no feeling like we experience when we receive Jesus as Savior. If you're reading this, and you want to feel Christmas all year, the good news is that you can. Call on this Jesus, the baby born in a humble manger, this Savior who paid the price for our sins on the cross, this risen Messiah who now sits at the right hand of the Father interceding for us, and who dwells in our hearts through faith. Jesus - the answer to all our problems.

Come. Let us adore him, today. Yes, come, let us adore him - Christ the Lord.

Yep, I'll never forget that special Christmas of '83. 

And it just gets better every year. 

God Bless!

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Preparing for Tomorrow's Disaster

Preparing for disaster. 

Tomorrow is the big day, so I have taken the precaution of preparing a guide to assist with those who may have procrastinated to the last minute. Don't panic, I'm here to help. Simply follow this step-by-step guide to have everything ready for the end. No worries, I'll walk you through it.

First, handle your tangible assets. Since we don't have a lot of information about how the end will come or who may be left behind, it's important not to allow any kind of flagrant misappropriation of funds or material goods by whatever zombies, mutants or country & western singers may remain. The best way to secure your assets is by relocation - move them from their current money accounts, banks or other stash boxes to a previously defined 'secure area'. Since most of you reading this article probably have not created a suitable location, simply send them to my accounts and I will make sure they are safe and sound. By preparing well ahead of the pending disaster, we are equipped to receive up to several million in assets and will assure they are disposed of in a safe, hygienic manner.

Second, release all real estate. Who knows what kind of chaos will erupt in the aftermath of the end of the world? The last thing you want is your good name dragged into the madness, simply because that pesky property has your name on some of the original documents. Again, thanks to some unusually amazing foresight, there is a solution. Grab your deeds, titles, etc. for your property and quickly sign them over to me for safe keeping. You sure don't want to look back from your eternal home and wish you weren't affiliated with whatever reprobate activity could be taking place there after you're gone: A castle for an evil king, a breeding ground for some kind of intergalactic four-headed creatures, or possibly even a used car lot. You just can't take that chance, especially when you can get your name off it easily and quickly now while there's still time.

Third, educate yourself to understand the possibilities. The best preparation is education - find out what may be the likelihood of certain scenarios playing out. How can the world end? What types of natural disasters may in looming on the literal horizon? Where can we learn more? Tough questions, that deserve quality answers. To execute some last-minute end-of-life cramming, grab some reading material and lock yourself in a quiet, private room with few distractions. You need to focus. Get some science fiction, some doomsday magazines, several copies of USA today and a Bible. Put on some blues to set the mood. Start studying. Let your fears build, get stirred, troubled and ultimately panicked. See how bad a person you are for neglecting this for so long, and that now it's too late. Work through those tragedist predictions, coordinating the events with modern day news. Finally, grab that Bible and start in.

Well, actually, at this point you may begin to experience a bit of an intellectual mood swing. Once in the Bible, you will eventually discover that in the Word of God things are explained a bit differently. The doomsday predictions are quickly shot down, replaced with the truth of the second return of Christ - an event filled with glory for all who believe, not tragedy. You'll see that God has prepared for your eternity in a perfect paradise. Sorry, no zombies or aliens. No asteroid collisions. No nuclear holocausts or solar meltdowns. Just good news. Sorry about that, hate to disappoint you but there it is.

So I guess the bad news for everyone is that God is in control and there isn't going to be a tragic end, unless of course you neglect to accept salvation and risk eternity in hell, but that's a whole 'nother topic. For today, it's just the disappointing realization that the world isn't ending tomorrow.

But what? You already completed steps one and two? Oh dear, now we have a mess. Well, I'll sort it all out, and get your property back to you, as soon as I can. But, what's the rush?

It's not like it's the end of the world.

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Ah, Facebook...

Ah, Facebook.

First of all, you have to know that I love Facebook. LOVE it. I've been involved with the Internet since before there was an Internet, back in the 80's and early 90's when we ran local Bulletin Board systems for local callers to get email, download files etc. We would dial into a bigger provider, the beginnings of the 'net, retrieve mail and files and post our uploads. Cludgy, expensive and slow, but it was the beginnings of a worldwide network.

Then came the actual Internet. Providers had a bank of phone lines for callers and a small trunk line into the network. Email improved, a new invention called a 'web browser' came along and suddenly everyone was surfing websites worldwide. No one really knew what they were doing, but it was huge and we all knew the potential was staggering.

Then came more... online game sites, huge listings of downloads, forums and newsgroups, and text, voice and video chats. There was so much information out there it was difficult to find and sort through it all - so the search engine was popularized. Better algorithms, more knowledgeable tags, and soon we could find just about anything we wanted.

Except people.

Finding and communicating with people was still a challenge. You might find their name in an article, or a mailing address and phone number, or even an obituary, but to really communicate with people you had to locate an email address or some kind of chat group... and it just wasn't effective.

Enter social networking. The concept of everyone signing up at one site and able to chat, share stories or photos, and follow each other daily was exciting and daring. Several possible ideas came and went. Forums were too sparse and slow. Chat rooms too limited. MySpace was a joke, a kids toy with lots of flashy nonsense but little mainstream attraction.

Then there was Facebook. Determined to keep the interface simple and usable yet full featured, it quickly became a favorite for both the young tech-set and the old timers trying to saddle up to modern times. You could find family, classmates and neighbors. You didn't have emails piling up to sort out from all the spam, no annoying messages with thirty layers of forwards, it was simply there whenever you wanted to check and see what was going on within your little circle.

And so we come to the present. Facebook, ever growing and changing, has captured the hearts of Internet users all over the world as the place to connect up. And it works. My family is huge. I have hundreds of cousins, and it seems a new generation comes along about every five minutes. Most of them I have never met face to face, yet on Facebook I have not only learn their names and see their pictures, I also get a glimpse into their lives, their activities, and their passions. I meet their children as they are born, follow their careers, experience their struggles and dreams, share their hearts and laugh, cry and pray with them daily. Facebook has traveled across impossible miles and cultural boundaries, and brought us together again as a family.

And I love it.

Of course, there are negatives, but you can get that at any family reunion. The differences, the gossip and slander, the morality arguments and the politics. Oh goodness, the politics. But at least on the Internet it's a little easier to scoot the chair back and walk away for a break, let the dust settle and cool some heads, and return with some love and caring that just might stop the battles. Or so we would like to think anyway, sometimes the battles get bloody and people get hurt in spite of the best intentions. But we're still family, and that can't change. As they say, 'you can pick your friends but you're stuck with your family.' So true... but when it comes down to basics, we love 'em anyway. And with Facebook, we get to share with each other better than we ever have before, and I love it.

Ah, yes. Facebook...

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

When a Child Passes

Dealing with the loss of a child can be traumatic, crippling and confusing. Not only heartbreaking, it is also in most cases unexpected, forcing the parent into a situation they are neither equipped nor prepared to handle. It is an unspeakable, mostly forbidden topic, dealt with only by those who find themselves thrust into it.

It is every Christian parent's desire that their children go to heaven - just not today.

How should we, as believers, handle the loss of a child? As born again Christians, we have placed our faith and trust in the truth that Jesus died for our sins, paid the price for our penalty, and redeemed us from the curse of this world into the blessed glory of the presence of God. Our passing is not a loss, but ultimate gain. We leave a place of sin and misery, and enter into a realm of perfect paradise, with no more tears, crying or pain. Heaven is real - more real than the dark deceptions and spiritual chaos we wrestle through down here. We sing of heaven, we talk of heaven, we happily look forward to heaven.

And yet, we are reluctant to release our most precious treasures to this blessed place of perfection and glory. Why? Because we love them deeply, deeper than anything in the world can reach. Our affection for them is intertwined with the most vulnerable components of our being, a fabric woven of goodness and life, called by the creator himself "family".

Tearing away from them is to shred that fabric. It uproots from a place more personal and painful than any other connection we experience. The bond with our child is greater than any other, as it should be. Releasing is pain.

And even though we all know these truths to exist, we somehow skip over them in our day to day thinking. Life is short. What is our life, but a mist that is here today and gone tomorrow. Children are like the flowers of the field that grow, bloom and pass all seemingly within the blink of an eye. We are not guaranteed days, months or years - in fact, we are warned to be prepared at any time, that we do not know when we die, or when the Lord returns. The simple truth is: Be ready.

Be ready.

Ready to go home. Ready to suffer loss. Ready to let go. It's hard, but inevitable. It may seem tragic, but in proper perspective it's glorifying, blessed and beautiful. Trust the Lord with your life, your treasure, your heart. As much as we hate to admit it - they were his children first, chosen in Christ before the creation of the world. Trust him. He will care for them, and we can look forward to that great reunion day, when all is said and done, and we're all back together again.

Come, Lord Jesus, come.

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Tragedy in Connecticut

This is so tragic. I can't even function I am so broken inside. I can't see the computer monitor for the tears in my eyes. 

I hate the devil. I hate the sin of man, led by the powers of darkness, into the evils we fight every day in this world. It hate that the devil always targets children & families, and everything good and loving that God has given our hearts.

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Eph 6:12

Come quickly, Lord Jesus. Come now in the comforting and healing power of your Spirit to these families and this community. Come now to our nation and spark a revival in our broken hearts, through our tears and in the midst of our madness, and restore us once again to a place of comfort and peace in your perfect presence. God bless and care for those in this desperate need right now. In Jesus name, Amen

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