The gate has fallen and the outer wall is breached, my friends. We have been in a desperate war against evil in this fallen world since time began, and the enemy has broken our defenses. Today’s society is the product of my own generation’s sad misconception of ‘how’ to raise your children. Now those children are almost grown and preparing to take key roles in running our great nations and they have a skewed sense of what is right and what is wrong. Respect is an old fashioned way of thinking; an idea that really has no meaning now what so ever. Oh, there are still a few small bastions holding out, but even in those the poison of the enemy has seemed deep into the veins of our families. I think that is exactly how it started too; with disposable families. I’m not sure exactly when, but somewhere along the line family became a ‘fad’ or ‘fashion’ instead of a ‘responsibility’ and ‘privilege.’ There are kids out there now, as I write this that have no role models, and have no idea of how or even why they should show people respect. And it is all of our faults. We let it happen. We are still letting it happen. I think we may still have a slim chance to force the enemy back. There is a slim ray of hope that still glimmers in the dark. We have to lead by example now. Show people respect, because little eyes are watching and learning from your actions and reactions. They will remember how you treated others and they will emulate that as well. It all resides with us, so do what’s right. Be a role model.
I sat here tonight trying to come up with a blog entry to write, and my mind became a perfect blank. The first sentence I tried to write was wrong. I could feel it. So I thought some more, and still ‘got nothing’. As a fall back I looked back through my past blogs to try and give me some ideas, and I came across ‘Memory Lane’. I posted it back in 2009 and as I read through it, I relived what I was thinking when I wrote it. That was a good thing, and I thought it was worth reposting. So here we go; revisiting Memory Lane.
Memory Lane: Originally Posted the week of November 29, 2009.
Today I found myself taking a walk down memory lane. I don’t do that often. There are tender spots back there and I don’t particularly like who I was back then. I’ve been saved since I was eight or nine years old. I don’t remember exactly because I have been away from God far enough that I doubted my salvation. Thanks to a merciful God, He gave me the time I needed to realize how bad I could screw up. He stood there waiting patiently until I needed Him, and then He led me back to where I needed to be. All of that was before I actually had a relationship with God. I’ve heard people say that over and over, and I never really understood it until these last six years. My God was the Fire and Brimstone God, the God who waited for you to mess up. The God that you served out of fear. I didn’t know the other side of God. The encouraging God, the gentle God that wants you to succeed. The God that stands there waiting for you to return to Him. The God who waits for you to realize you can’t do it on your own, because sometimes the child has to touch the stove to realize what ‘hot’ means. He is not a vindictive God. He doesn’t wait with the hammer poised above your head for you to mess up like I believed in my youth. I don’t regret all those years of floundering about out in the world, because I realize that they were a necessity for me to become the man I am today. I had to travel that road to help form the tool that God could use to do His will. Yes it is tender back there on Memory Lane, but pain is a teacher I am well acquainted with. I know that I was really blessed all those years but was too blinded by pride to see it. I let the Devil mesmerize me with shiny baubles and parlor tricks. All the while my God stood waiting for me to call out for Him. All he needed was for me to call on Him and He was right there with me, showing me the way back. Memory Lane IS still a little painful for me, but I still stroll down it on occasions to remind myself of the lessons I’ve learned, and that I am not who I once was. My relationship with God began a scant six years ago even though my walk with God began when I was eight or nine. I still make mistakes. I am still just a man. I still fight with carnal side as much as any other human being, but I am not blind to the fact that I am not alone. I see the miracles God works for me everyday. I see the blessings He pours out on me as I journey through this world of tears. It gives me hope that I can be what He always planned for me to be. I don’t have to look far into the past or future. I can be content with what I am at this one moment in time. So don’t worry about the past. Try to be as perfect in this one moment as you can be. Practice this. Just try to be as perfect as you can be in this one moment, and before you know it you’ll have a string of those moments. You will mess up, but all God asks is that we try.
I read a mime (I think that is what they are calling them now) the other day that said; A man asked a Christian what he had gained by praying to God. The man replied ‘nothing, but let me tell you what I’ve lost; anger, ego, greed, depression and fear of death.’ I like the thought behind it to an extent. It didn’t really completely convey what I thought it should. I think it should have read more like; The man replied ‘that is yet to be seen, but I know what I’ve lost…’ I’ve heard people say that a Christian is crazy because he/she believes life starts after death. Every time I see that I try to correct it. We do not believe life starts after death, only that it gets better. Can I tell you what I’ve gained? Eternal life I know, but what shape will that life take? I can only imagine, but I do know all happiness comes from him. If you don’t have Him, then what you have is a pale imitation of happiness.
9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. Heb 1:9 (KJV)
13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. John 17:13 (KJV)
11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Psalms 16:11 (KJV)
The cartoon character steps forward on to the end of the rake. His weight on the head of the rake causes the handle to catapult upward, smacking the character in the face. This in turn causes him to stumble backward onto the head of a hoe, resulting in a hoe-handle to the back of the head. Said character stumbles forward into the rake again. And so on and so on. We’ve all seen it. It’s a common gag used in slapstick comedy, and it’s funny. Except maybe for the character caught in the middle of it. Sometimes I feel like I am that character, bouncing from one catastrophe to the next. Or even worse; because I am focused on the last catastrophe, I cause the next one. Trust me, it’s not quite as funny after two or three whacks with that hoe handle. At those times, the only thing I’ve found that works is not to dwell on them. I just switch over to damage control and deal with what’s directly in front of me, and let God take care of the rest. I’ve found that if I do that, I have a lot better chance of spotting that rake lying hidden in the leaves.
Good luck and Godspeed. It’s a phrase you may have heard before. It basically means “may you have success in the endeavor that you are embarking on.” The phrase has been bouncing around in my head since this past Sunday. We had to make an unexpected trip to Auburn and it was short noticed. I didn’t get off work at the as early as expected and thus ran short on sleep in order to accomplish all that we needed before a deadline. My wife drove down so that I could rest and I would drive on the way back. The day was overcast, and while a little on the warm side not overly so (the AC is not working on our vehicle). As we traveled, the sun would break through the clouds and when it did it was a very noticeable increase in temperature. The trip was comfortable for the most part because a cloud kept us in the shade most of the way, but at one point I saw the leading edge of the cloud and we were traveling fast enough that we were overtaking it and the shade would be gone for a while. “We should slow down and just ride with the cloud” I thought to myself. This is when the phrase Godspeed occurred to me. You see, a lot of time I get rushed and in a hurry and don’t think much about God’s timing I’m too busy trying to work to my own schedule and trying to make things happen. I didn’t need to be in a big hurry that Sunday, and by pushing it to meet MY schedule we passed out from under the shade cloud that God had provided for us. The result was uncomfortable, the same as it always is when we forget and try to force life to meet our schedule. Had we slowed down, we would have ridden in comfort for a while longer, and I’m sure the trip would have still been just as successful. There is a plan. You play an important part even if you don’t know how. Don’t cheat yourself out of your blessing by trying to rush the journey. Good luck and Godspeed.
I remember a sermon I once heard while attending Welcome No. 1 Baptist Church. It was quite a while back, and I don’t recall who the preacher was (I was really young). The preacher said that he had prayed for a message to bring to the congregation and the Lord had granted him one on the unrepentant going to hell. This can’t be right, the preacher thought. Everyone that attends church has been saved. I know them all. The preacher brought the message that the Lord had given him, and no one moved. The Spirit that had given him the message was at peace, so he knew he had obeyed as he should have. The following week the preacher prayed again, and again got a message on the lost going to hell. Again he preached the word and the Spirit was at peace. A third week went by and again another message on hell. After that the weeks that followed were the normal messages one would expect to be preached in a Believing Church. It was many months later before the reason for his messages were revealed. A man came up to the preacher and introduced himself.
“Preacher, you don’t know me, but I live by that little church where you pastor, and I just wanted to say thank you for preaching God’s Word. You see, I was in the field next to that little church one Sunday, and God convicted my heart. He dealt with me for three weeks. Three weeks I was in that field every Sunday, dreading hearing the Word, but knowing I had to hear it. On the 3rd week I was saved out there by an old stump. I just wanted to say thanks.”
I will remember that message to my dying day. It has given me strength at times when I thought I had none. Remember, sometimes God may ask you to do things that do not seem normal to you, and keep in mind you may never know why in this life, but God knows. And your actions may be the only thing that helps that ‘lost soul’ find His Way.
I am an artist. I have been working with 3D art for the past year or so, and I have to say I’m getting pretty good at it. When working with my art, I save a lot of different versions of the same pictures. This one may have a different colored building, that one might have an added reflection or signpost. It’s usually the same picture with just a few added details. But sometimes I mess up (calm down. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen from time to time.), and save a picture with a mistake in it. Some people might not see the mistake, but I would every time I looked at it. This was the lesson I learned in Bible Study Sunday morning this week. I have read through the Bible and there have been versus that I didn’t understand. I took it on faith that God would reveal their hidden meanings when I was ready. One such verse is in the very first book, Genesis.
22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: 23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. 24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. Gen 3:22-24 (KJV)
Verse 22 was very confusing to me until Sunday. I kept wondering why? Why would God not want us to live forever? Now the answer to this question may seem obvious to some, but that is the way the Lord speaks. It doesn’t matter how many times you show someone something, they will not understand it until they are ready to receive it. Anyway, Sunday I realized why. We were a flawed image because we had chosen to sin against God. Had we been allowed to eat of the fruit of eternal life, yes we would have lived forever, but it would have been in the sorry state that we are now, flawed and imperfect. So people may actually think that God banishing us from the Garden of Eden was a punishment, but in reality He was saving us from ourselves. This is the secret hidden in those lines of scripture. He denied us eternal life in a corrupt shell. After seeing this, I now look back and wonder why I didn’t see it before. Sometimes the knowledge is in plain sight, you just have to wait for the right time for your eyes to be opened.