Life from the rear-view mirror

A song that is seen… Vol 23

I began this Easter very early this morning. It’s 5:12am and soon I will get ready to go to church and celebrate with the rest of the believers at Northridge. We celebrate every Sunday… but today is special. Today, at Easter, we remember the empty tomb. The symbol that Christ is risen just like he said. We celebrate the hope of that event and what it means to believers now and for eternity. We rejoice in the power displayed, and with great wonder and thankfulness, are moved yet again to think that God could…that God would…love us this much. We are unworthy. The Bible says that we were darkness but we are now light. We were useless but now God chooses to use us to change the world for his sake. We were dead…but now we are alive. This morning all creation should shout THANK YOU and AMEN so loud and so joyfully that  it shakes the very foundation of the planet. And still 601508_466531570064943_532454639_nthat wouldn’t be enough.

But thank you on Sunday doesn’t mean much without a heart that follows after God on Monday.

A heart that desires not only to believe… but to do. Hands that get dirty doing the work of the gospel in the trenches of life. It will be easy to play my instrument and sing loud praise this morning. It is much more difficult to get up Monday and live right before my wife and kids and co-workers. To seek wholesale change in my life where I need it. To be accountable with my time, talents and money. To honor God with my life…not just my mouth.

My desire this morning is that my heartsong will be seen by others. That God would be glorified in my life every day. And that I will be quick to tell of the hope that is in me because of Easter.

John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. (NIV)

Romans 1:4-5 And Jesus Christ our Lord was shown to be the Son of God when God powerfully raised him from the dead by means of the Holy Spirit. Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name. (NLT)

Romans 6:8-11 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. (NIV)

Philippians 3:10-12 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. (NIV)

Mark got it wrong… Vol 22

twain-561ae6fb496563215077e2d258b408ac9a472b13“So much blood has been shed by the Church because of an omission from the Gospel: “Ye shall be indifferent as to what your neighbor’s religion is.” Not merely tolerant of it, but indifferent to it. Divinity is claimed for many religions; but no religion is great enough or divine enough to add that new law to its code.” – Mark Twain, a Biography

An old high school friend posted this statement from Mark Twain this morning and it really disturbed me. He has since removed it…most likely  because of my comment to follow. I haven’t been around this guy for 40 years so I don’t know where he is spiritually but the timing of the post was suspicious to me.  Here’s my response:

“That is a true statement. Sadly it doesn’t go far enough. Those of us who truly follow the God of the Bible and His teachings, scorn “religion” with its veil of spirituality and its false and contriving ways. Instead we have a relationship to God through Christ. Our mantra is to fulfill the “one anothers ” of scripture. I can’t be indifferent. It would be like me watching someone on a train track with a train approaching… And not screaming at them to get out of the  way.  I could argue that they had a right to be on the track. I could see them and say its none of my business. But love compels me to act. To help.. To warn…to teach.. To pray. Indifference is a cruel master in the end. I’m glad I serve a God who was not indifferent to humanity and their plight. I am thrilled to celebrate that great love for us tomorrow!”

I debated on writing anything. But I had to. I hope I was loving..I wanted to be. If my old friend doesn’t know the Lord, I don’t want to be a stumbling block. But he has some notoriety these days…and I couldn’t let that comment stand unanswered. Especially on the eve of the most important day in history for the life of the believer…at the completion of the most loving, sacrificial act the world has ever seen…the thought of being “indifferent” is just unacceptable…and un-loving. I choose to CELEBRATE!

Romans 4:25, Romans 5:6, Romans 5:7, Romans 8:32, Romans 8:39

 

The 5th kid… Vol 21

 

Rusty, ou387521_10200102549340951_2130133124_nr 3 year old Aussie, has transformed our lives…in a furry sort of way. Lori helped us pick him out of the litter, even though she was nearly too weak to take the ride out to kennel from hospice. We were glad she made it. It was one of the last things we did together as a family. She was able to take one more trip back to the kennel on the day we picked him up…and that included one last stop to see the house she loved and lived in for nearly 19 years before she went back the Shepards home for the final time. She passed away June 12th, 2010.

 

4538_1158601679672_6993235_n(Lori with her Dad summer of 2009)

I looked for weeks for a kennel within a reasonable distance..and then again for one that had puppies coming. Why an Aussie? I don’t know…just a whim really. We all liked the coloring but heard stories that Aussie’s would try to herd us. As an overwhelmed dad…that sounded pretty good. At least I would know where the kids were…out in a pasture somewhere running around with the dog keeping them from getting out, or getting away 🙂 Well…it didn’t quite work out that way…but better in a lot of other ways.

We picked up Lori at Shepard’s Home and headed out for the 45 mile ride down to the Finger Lakes to pick up Rusty. He was just over 8 weeks old and we were all excited and nervous to bring him home. The kids were thrilled that mom could come with us.

The dog was my idea…I thought it was a good one. However, I had tried it earlier with a rambunctious goldendoodle we named Owen. The timing was wrong. Lori was still at home and not doing well. Owen just loved to chew on her long robe…while she was wearing it. There was tripping and shouting and crying. It was a fiasco.  Brendan and I ended up driving the puppy back to western Ohio at great expense… and we had to give up our deposit. But Rusty was different. By this time Lori was in hospice at Shepard’s Home to get the care she needed, so  acclamating Rusty to the house routine was a little easier. We would bring Rusty by Shepard’s Home occasionally so Lori could see him and see how happy the kids were with him. I have to believe that gave her some comfort.

Aussie’s are very smart. Rusty house trained in no time with only one accident ever. Becky Rene, a friend from church and owner of Woof2Hoof canine training, helped with Rusty’s initial training and socialization. Thankfully (I guess…) he never had those strong herding tendencies…He just loved everybody. And everybody loved him…we still do. He is as much a part of the family as we all are. He just sheds more…is cheaper to feed…and doesn’t ask for money.

Kathy visited the house a few times before we were married last Octoboer…Rusty loved this gal. Rusty’s first moves were to lick her ears…we all think it’s a sign of affection…and she was immediately adopted into Rusty’s inner circle. To this day, Rusty is never far from Kathy when she’s in the house.

In a huge way, Rusty helped bridge the loss of Lori to trying to do life without her…Rusty was always there and he loved us all. We could count on Rusty always being in a good mood and happy to see us. He does have his little quirks…he won’t go into the basement… but maybe that’s because we gave him his first bath in the utility sink down there…) and, he does like to dig…our back yard looks like we’ve been under a mortar attack…but we couldn’t imagine life without him.

I believe with all my heart that the Lord prompted our decision to get Rusty. I’d like to take credit for it.. but I can’t. He knew what we needed. I have never been an animal person…until now. God knew what we needed to make our horrible tragedy… bearable…even healing. Rusty has helped do that.

Take a look back over your life. Maybe you never lost a wife and mother like we did…(maybe you did…) Maybe it was a dad or grandparent. Maybe it was a divorce or the loss of a job. I bet there has been some hard thing in your life that you didn’t think you could get through. How did God uniquely show himself faithful to you. How did he show how much he loved you? Please take a minute to comment…I’d love to read your story.

Romans 8:28  – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

dugz4 March 29, 2013 1 Comment Permalink

Harley and me… Vol 20

My bike is in the shop. Not because it has to be. But there were a few do-dads (Farkles in bikespeak) that I wanted to install on the bike.

The trouble was that  I had to walk through the Harley-Davidson showroom with all the shiny accessories,clothing and new motorcycles calling my name. I found myself justifying things in my mind. I really need those chrome wheel nuts…and… I’m going on a long ride and that old seat is lumpy…I need to be kind to my butt…that new seat would rock. And on and on it went until I did the math. For anyone who knows bikes…Harley-Davidson is one of the kings of marketing and their stuff ain’t cheap. I checked my pocket…yup…same 5 bucks I had in there from yesterday…that wouldn’t even buy a cup of coffee in the Harley shop. I thought about what I could sell to fund this addiction…watches, rifles, computers…just how far would I let myself go? What would I give up to get what I wanted? How many mental cycles would I waste?

I had a moment of zen. I realized that I would have sold stuff I had, to get new stuff…again. What does that tell me about my appetite? Is it wrong to have a motorcycle? No. Is it wrong to let that become an idol?…Yes. I don’t know about you….but I spend far too much time thinking about what would make me happy. What would lift my spirits from the doldrums and kick those endorphins into overdrive. For what? Well.. until that buzz wears off and I need the next “thing?” Sadly yes. And I’m not the only  one of us who struggles. Why can’t I be satisfied? Why can’t I be content? What is it about my personality that needs/wants the next thing for me?

Here’s a personal confession…”I don’t like me sometimes, and if I have something new or cool….I feel better about me” (for a while) or how about this one “I work hard…I deserve this”

We haven’t even touched on whether or not I can afford it yet? We haven’t talked about whether or not I’m giving like I should be. We haven’t talked about whether my family’s needs are taken care of. Here’s what my self-talk should be saying…”God has given me so much already..what can I give back”

But hey….It’s…all…about…me.

What a sad, sad commentary. I know better. You know better. Let’s encourage each other today to trust God to fill in the empty cracks of our lives that we try to fill with… stuff…. To “in honor prefer one another” To be responsible with the resources God provides us with.

My former pastor knew himself very well. He would routinely say…”I know God is never going to trust me with a lot of money. If I won the lottery. I would buy a million dollars worth of bubble gum”

And there’s your sign…

But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you..Mat 6:33

A brother and a diving board….Vol 19

It was just me and my brother growing up. Mom and dad wanted another child, but a scare with my mom’s health, followed by surgery, meant that my brother and I wouldn’t get a sister.

That was OK. We enjoyed a rich life. Looking back, we were told we never had much money…but we didn’t feel that in any way. We had a great life! We always had food to eat…things to do…the lights never went off and we got to go to Disney in 1970. Is there more?

Anyway…my brother and I didn’t always get along. He was younger by 3 years and we were very competitive…at everything. He had the brains and I had the brawn growing up… Today? He still has the brains…and there’s brawn enough to go around 🙂 trust me.

I don’t remember exactly how old we were… but there was a family reunion one summer and the place had a big pool with a diving board. We were in heaven. I was playing around doing flips off the board and just enjoying the time in the sun and water. I watched as my brother stepped out on the diving board. He wasn’t all that crazy about flipping around and stuff…more of a dive or jump kid at that age … but I watched him start his walk down the board, saw the jump at the end of the board and then watched him as he tried a front flip. Something didn’t look right. He didn’t jump very high or very far out…I’m thinking he’s not going to clear the board and WHAM! I see (and hear) his head hit the diving board. The minute he entered the water I saw the blood and just dove in after him. My parents said I sort of “yanked” him out of the water onto the side of the pool. I don’t remember..I just knew he was hurt and all the bickering and fighting and name-calling and ping-pong paddle throwing vanished. At that moment It was just about getting him out of the pool and making sure he was breathing and safe.

As I recall he had a nasty cut on his head…but no concussion…he was alright.

I really didn’t think much about it after that. occasionally my mother will bring it up. I’m sure we went back to normal which meant that we fought and threw ping-pong paddles at each other and the lot. We were brothers after all.

We say that love is a verb. It demands action. We see that in a large sense when Christ tells us that he was not willing that any should perish…or when he said Christ demonstrated his love for us in that while we were still sinners he died for us. I believe that with all my heart and at 15 years old put my faith and trust in Christ.  But love is also very personal and sometimes demands personal, purposeful action. Maybe it’s not yanking your brother out of a pool after he whacks his head on the diving board. But maybe it IS buying groceries for a family in need, or taking care of an injured spouse or hundreds of other things that demonstrate love in a way that’s real… in a way impacts others..In a way that changes lives. Real love acts out… Without the willingness to act out in love… love is simply a fuzzy sentiment.

The next time you tell your spouse you love them…think about what that might mean. What you might have to give to demonstrate your love. When you tuck your kids in at night and say “I love you” do you mean that you will do what love may demand of you? Even if it’s hard? Even if it hurts?

When things are great…love is easy. When the storms come…love can be hard…nearly impossible.

But nothing is too hard for God. God can love others through us. He provides the power to “act out” in love. No matter what.

They will know that we are Christians by the love we have for each other… John 13:35

A Long Trip Back….. Vol 19

My mom and dad came to Rochester this past Sunday morning to join us for church and later to see Leah in her last high school musical before she graduates this June. It was great to see them. I feel very blessed to have parents who I have always loved and respected….and even at 83, drive out to make birthdays and special events.

Leah turned 18 last month. We had a cake for her and I took her to Applebees for a birthday dinner. Then she came home and it was life as normal. In a few more months all that may change. It did for me when I was her age.

My best friend Kevin and I loved to ski so the thought of living in Colorado, working there and skiing every weekend was intoxicating. Especially when there were enough of his relatives and friends out there to make sure we had a place to sleep and an occasional hot meal. It took a little bit of the “on our own” out of the equation…but you can’t eat spaghetti-o’s every night!

Armed with just about enough money to get us there and eat for a couple of weeks …we loaded up my ’66 Buick Skylark GS and pointed her west, bound for the Rockies and lots of fluffy white powder. Our plan was to be there for a year, work a little, ski our butts off, then come back home to start college.

I didn’t give any thought to the way my parents were feeling when I pulled out of the driveway that late October morning. I didn’t notice that they hugged me a little tighter and held on a little longer than normal. I didn’t see the tears in my dad’s eyes as I drove away. Not that I didn’t care…but I was in a zone. I wasn’t leaving because things were bad at home…they weren’t. I wasn’t running away from anything.  I was leaving to spread my wings. To see some of the world with a buddy and to experience life relatively un-tethered for the first time. A chance to see if we could make it. It was exciting and a little scary all at once.

The trip out was a blast. Got stuck in the biggest traffic jam of my life in Chicago…spent the night in the Popcorn capital of the world,  then pushed  on to Denver. I remember hearing the group Chicago playing  on the radio as we crossed the state line into Colorado. And I also remember that the eastern part of Colorado was really flat…I mean really flat… and wondering if we had taken a wrong turn somewhere. And suddenly really flat became really stinky as we came up on the stockyards along the interstate 70. You could smell the place long before you could see it.

But it wasn’t too long before we could make out the Rockies in the distance. Majestic mountains cutting into the horizon. Stretching across the windshield. I was late October so there was snow already. This was going to be great!

Another couple of hours and we pulled into Denver and our temporary home where our big adventure started and stopped rather quickly.

It would be just three months later after a lot of skiing, a bad car accident, me getting hit by a car and the loneliest Christmas of my life, that we would pack up the Buick once again to go back home. Kevin had a girlfriend and would have stayed the year. But for me it was over. I was extremely homesick. For the first time in my life I literally longed for home. I wanted to see my folks…I even wanted to see my brother. I wanted to sleep in my bed and to be in familiar surroundings again.

.I remember when we crossed the NY state line in early January. We had driven straight through and we were both so tired that we were driving in 45 minute shifts. Buffalo flashed by than Rochester, Syracuse then…..home to Oneida.

I can’t describe the feeling…the knowledge that the adventure was over for now. The fun, the danger, the pain was a memory. I was home. And I was glad to be there.

I don’t know that any of my kids will have that same wanderlust that I did. I hope none of them have to experience all physical pain and trials I’ve gone through…But no matter where they go in life, whether they leave at 18 like I did or wait till much later,  I hope they feel the same way coming back home. I want them to feel the welcome and love that I felt from my parents. They missed me. They were glad to have me back…even though they knew it wasn’t for long.

As much as I loved coming home…as much as my parents welcoming me was such a comfort. It was nothing compared to the homecoming we will have as Christ welcomes us into our eternal home.

But we’re not home yet. Many adventures still wait. There will be love and laughter as well as pain and suffering for many of us. Some of our sons and daughters will go off on adventures never to return. My parents, now in their 80’s will most likely find their way to heaven before me. And I will deal with that loss and miss them more than I can imagine.

I still have a lot on my plate here and now…but I already long for my heavenly home. I think about it more and more as I grow older. Every ache and pain reminds me that this body was not meant to last forever. I’m gonna trade it in one day real soon.

This life has been and continues to be a great adventure…there is still work to do…but the lights of home are waiting. Peace and joy and….rest.

That sounds real good to me.

John 14:2 – For in my house are many mansions, If it weren’t so I would -have told you. I go to prepare a place for you that where I am you will be also.

 

 

The answer is in the SINK!… Vol 18

I brought home a fire extinguisher for the kitchen not too long ago. Not that we’d ever needed to use one before…but I thought as the kids were building their cooking skills, it was probably a good idea.

I called a bit of a family meeting and went over the operation of the new extinguisher. I showed them all how to use it, showed them where the directions were on the side of the extinguisher in case they forgot. We spent a good 20 minutes or so talking about the extinguisher…then we stored it in plain sight, in case they ever needed it.

Fast forward a few weeks….(I’m sure the way this plays out in my mind is much funnier than if I had witnessed it in real life…but then…I know my kids 🙂 )

My daughter is 18 and is awash in a sea of testosterone living with me and her three brothers. BK (before Kathy) she would do some cooking for herself as we men-folk frequented nearly every fast food restaurant in the greater Rochester area. It was some venue of charred flesh almost every night. We loved it. Leah hated it. (insert Tim Allen grunting noises!)

One day after school, Leah was trying to make some sort of ramen noodle dish on the stove and didn’t notice that the paper towels were leaning up against the back burner.

For you to fully appreciate this next part you need to understand that we live in a very modest, ok…tiny house. You can stand in the middle of the kitchen and if you stretch your arms out really wide, you can almost reach both sides of the kitchen at once. That means the distance from the stove- top to the sink is about 18 inches, as the crow flies. I mean… you don’t have to pack a lunch to get  there.

So just as quickly as Leah turned on the back burner, the paper towels obligingly caught fire. This both shocked and scared Leah who immediately went into shrieking mode. She grabbed the paper towels and held them, (now burning briskly), away from her body while simultaneously shrieking/yelling for help. (remember the part when I said the stove was 18 inches from the sink?)

Brendan was out of smelling distance of the kitchen as he can’t stand ramen noodles, but he heard the screaming… well…everyone in Summerville heard the screaming…and he knew just what to do…he ran past the screaming Leah (who was now directing her screaming AT him), ran past the sink, and ran straight to the fire extinguisher..picked it up and considered how to make it work for many long moments.  As he was diligently studying the directions, Leah was still screaming and now shouting at Brendan as she contemplated becoming a crispy critter if he didn’t hurry (again…all this happening still just 18 inches from the SINK!) (I mean if she had just dropped the paper towels where she stood, chances are they would have landed in the sink)

Brendan had a breakthrough and rushed back into the kitchen (past the sink) with the extinguisher blazing. He blanketed the kitchen (including the paper towels) in a cloud of white powder which did a couple of things. It put the fire out and.. immediately muted the volume on Leah.

When I walked in later that afternoon it looked like a baby powder factory explosion…everything in the kitchen was covered in chalky powder. But no one was hurt and the boys delighted in re-enacting and embellishing the story for full comedic value. Leah was not amused.

It really could have been a disaster then…but now… it’s just a funny story. The solution to all their problems was just 18 inches away in the sink…where the water was. But it didn’t occur to them. The situation had them paralysed with fear so that the simplest solution, the right solution, evaded them. They were too close to it…it was a… “can’t see the forest for the trees moment.”

We often lack awareness. How often do we try to find alternatives to our “burning problems” by other means instead of taking them to the Lord. Our first defense should always be to pray…it might be a quick shout-out to God, it might simply be a thought, it might be extended time on our knees. But in a time of trouble…he is our refuge…and he’s close by…less than 18 inches!

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”  Psalm 91:2

The Valentine’s day card that wasn’t…Vol 17

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So Kathy had an office day…partly to get her driver’s license changed over to NY from WV (more about THAT in a later post.)  I called her while she was enjoying the wildlife at the beautiful Irondequoit DMV, and asked her to come down to do a Valentine’s day lunch with me…which we did…at Fox’s Deli…and it was delicious.
We bid farewell… and being that it was Valentines day and all…I decide that I will create a card for Kathy rather than spend the five bucks…(as these days all my money goes directly to Leah, my 18 year old daughter)

I diligently search the web and find a design I really like. I make a hundred trips to the printer to make sure it’s going to align correctly and print right. I re-write the verse on the inside and re-position the graphics to make sure the white space is right…
I finally have it just the way I want it…I’m doing a final read through…it’s beautiful…it’s just what my heart wants to say…tears are welling up in my eyes as I think about my wife and all she means to me…until I read the last line…”I love you…Jenny!”  What the…?  Apparently this so-called “Jenny” must be the girlfriend of the froofie dude who wrote the card in the first place…and while I’m sure Jenny is a cool chick…she is NOT Kathy.

I could have scratched Jenny’s name off the card…but Kathy would have eventually noticed that the crayon colors didn’t match.
Time to shut down the computer, peel my pride up off the floor, and pick up a real card at Wegmans…

What a bungle! What If I hadn’t caught the mistake and Kathy opened my heartfelt card that was seemingly meant for someone else. I would have hurt Kathy’s feelings and maybe wrecked Valentine’s day for both of us. Maybe even left her wondering if the card had really been for Jenny….It could have been a mess!  And…I would most likely have been apologizing far into the future instead of being able to safely poke fun at myself here.

I read a saying a while ago that went something like this. “I have never had to apologize for things I didn’t say.” That’s strong medicine right there. In context, the writer was challenging the reader to censor himself. Think through what you communicate. The message…its impact on the reader…and the possible downstream damage. We are too often ready to press “send” on a scorching email retort…when if we had just relaxed, re-read, and maybe re-wrote…the delivery might be well-accepted.

Listen…words do matter. When they take flight off the end of our fingertips or the tip of our tongue… we can’t often get them back.

These days I still rant because people still occassionally tick me off. I still write the response I want to and get it out of my system…but I never send a response to a negative email without a cooling off period. A chance to re-read and re-think.  People, all people, matter to me because they matter to God. Oh I’m just boneheaded enough so that I’ll still have to write some embarrasing apologies…but my heart really is to communicate carefully and truthfully…to be salt and light…to be what the Bible calls a “sweet smell” (something well pleasing to God) (Phil 4:18)

Ephesians 4:29 – Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths,(or from an email :)) but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

 

 

Memories…Vol 16

Memories are powerful.

The right set of circumstances … The right emotional petri dish and you can be transported back to a moment in time… in a heartbeat…in a heartbreak.

It’s 2:38 am and I’ve just pulled into the Wegman’s parking lot… Why? The circumstances were right and I was  emotionally ripe, I guess.

Kathy and I had a great dinner tonight with one of her work colleagues. Nice conversation. Good meal. Relaxing evening. Then, back home to the family where it was low key….winding down for bed. I fell asleep watching one of my new favorite shows on TV.

For whatever reason 2:30 am rolled around, and I was up. Rusty was crying to go out for a little private time… But when I opened the slider and the 24 degree air hit him in the nose … He decided he could wait. I decided maybe a nice cup of tea would help relax me and maybe I could salvage the rest of the night.

I rustled through the basket where we keep the herbal teas and found “sleepy time” …perfect. I filled up the mug with water… dropped a couple bags in the mug… popped it in the microwave and waited the two minutes. Pulled the mug out of the microwave ready to add the honey but the smell of the tea, just a whiff really…took me back to 2007 and a home/clinic in Redwood, CA…. and cancer.

When Lori and I first walked into the home this same tea was brewing. In fact the tea was available 24/7 so the smell of it permeated the home. It was meant to be welcoming…even comforting … and it was…then.

Tonight, it was just a vivid memory of three and a half years of suffering, pain, death, loss and loneliness. It didn’t matter that just a few hours before I had been laughing and enjoying rich conversation with Kathy and Ryan. Right now I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t bear the memories. And I couldn’t shake the feeling…I had to leave. I had to try and change focus. I had to remind myself of what God has done recently … even today. So I’m here at Wegman’s sitting in my car…writing.

God has wired us all differently. We all have an ability to deal with stress… but not in the same way. Regardless of how you have to deal with it, or choose to deal with it,  God’s  promise remains. That He will be with you. For me, that promise is tattooed on my left shoulder (really) and it just says “Never Alone” Hebrews 13:5 tatoo

I would never wish the loss of a loved one on my worst enemy. Especially the loss of a mom. Yet God demonstrates His love so much that while we were yet sinners and far from him, he allowed his only son Jesus to die on a cross for our sin… paving the road to heaven for us with God’s supreme sacrifice… God’s most painful loss…all for you and me.

If you’re not dead…God isn’t finished with you! Vol 15

There was a time back a few years ago when angels were the cultural rage. There were angel TV shows and books on angels…angel sightings …it was the “thing.”

It’s amazing how this phenomena spread across the US. People wanted to believe in angels. Angels were fun! Angels were interesting! Angels were cute! Angels were powerful. But this God and Jesus stuff? People weren’t so sure about those characters …they really just wanted to talk about angels! They wanted to feel good about spiritual things…not convicted.

The word angel from the greek simply means messenger…and that is mostly what we read about angels in the Bible.

We do know some things about angels for sure:

Angels are definitely incredible beings…but they would point all worship and praise back to God the Father and God the Son. (Rev 19:10) …just as we should!

It was back around Christmas in 1979. I had just finished out a tour with Re’Generation, a gospel/patriotic singing group… and had signed on with a new group that traveled with Doug Oldham out of Nashville. We were on a Christmas tour and were heading to a concert in Bend, OR. We traveled by Custom Coach in those days. As I remember, we had stopped along the side of a busy highway to get some things at a convenience store that couldn’t accommodate our big bus.  All of us piled out and waited for an opening in the traffic. It came and we sprinted across the 4 lanes of traffic. About half-way across I remembered that my wallet was up in my bunk and without thinking I stopped, turned around and started running back towards the bus. It was as if someone had stiff-armed me to a complete stop…and in that instant a truck roared by. Had I been able to continue to run…I surely would have been killed. The truck was moving so fast that I would simply have been a greasy spot on the highway. At the same time I felt what I thought was a stiff-arm on my chest, I felt that electric feeling you get in an adrenaline rush. I knew God had spared my life. I knew I had a guardian angel. I knew God wasn’t finished with me yet.

I only told a couple of others on the bus that day…but have never forgotten the incident. There are some defining moments in life that shouldn’t be forgotten. Now let me include a few other things to un-romanticize this story. There was no golden light from heaven. The air didn’t smell like cookies(maybe that’s Santa’s workshop…) and I didn’t hear any bells ringing. Or feel the need to buy angel trinkets. Or rent “Michael.”  I simply knew that God had something else for me to do…and I was going to be able to do it now that I wasn’t squished like a grape.

There is undeniably a mystery that exists in our relationship to and with God. There are some things we won’t know this side of heaven. Even though God tells us that in plain english…some people spend all their time and energy trying to know the unknowable. When they can’t know it…we often get what they “feel.” Sometimes that resembles truth…more often not. I choose to focus on what I know to be true. What I can prove in scripture.

Entertaining angels unaware. It’s a sobering yet exciting thought. That thought  should keep us on our game. That should keep us in the fight!

Hey… if you’ve ever wondered if God had you on a shelf…welll…He might.

You better check out I John 1:9.

But if you and God are on speaking terms…check to see if you can still fog a mirror. If you can…God is not finished with you yet!

Phillipians 1:6   – being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

 

dugz4 March 19, 2013 1 Comment Permalink