Call Me Bruce

I’m Chuck Norris with a 250 pound, 5′ 11″ 59 year old body,

Look me in the eye.

If I was younger and my physique was not so shoddy,

You’d see my fists can fly.

I’m Albert Einstein and Ravi Zacharias all rolled into one,

My wisdom known near and far.

Of course today I can’t even remember

Where the keys are for my car.

I am the politician with all the answers for mankind,

My popularity is soaring,

Yet while I preach from the pulpit on any given Sunday,

I hear somebody snoring.

Here I come just a walking down the street

With a million dollar smile.

Little do the people who see me know

I can barely walk a mile.

If I could only be the man up in my head,

I would be John Wayne, Tozer, and Carey Grant,

Of course those guys are dead.

Thanks for listening to me rant.

 

The Coward Within

This morning I got a message that my Daughter-in-law’s Pastor is now the Father of a suicidal son.  I wish I could tell you he got help but instead he took his own life at just 28 years old.  This family will never be the same.  Every year when February ends they will be reminded of their son who destroyed the most precious gift ever given to them.

Suicide is so common in today’s world that it hardly registers the top ten list of bad things that happen.  School shootings, opioid abuse, meth labs, and somewhere down the list: suicides.  Pair this with a constant barrage of media reports about scandalous and earth-changing events around the world and you have the basic breakfast for the twenty-first Century mind.

This young man was afraid of something.  He may have been afraid of everything, even himself.  His Father is a preacher in a small church who I am sure had to have all the right answers and have the right clothes and demeanor.  He managed to be as perfect as possible when with his congregation.  He blessed their children, performed their weddings, and buried their dead.  He always had the right words and made everyone feel better.  He spoke out against sin and prayed for the repentant who would visit his church office.  He served communion to them, baptized them and wept with them.  Now his son is gone.

Today he tries in vain to comfort his wife of many years.  She shares his pain as she has shared his ministry all this time.  She had written many sympathy cards to parishioners and get-well cards to the sick.  She has served meals to help poor families and swallowed her pride countless times for the sake of her family.  Today she is stranded on an island and her husband is on one also.  She can see him, but his touch is too far away to comfort her.  They are alone and sick, and now will carry the disease we will call “suicide affliction” for the rest of their lives.

The church and community is also in mourning and disbelief.  Their words of comfort are appreciated but will never bring their boy back.  He went an a journey that only he and God knows where to.  The church folk talk about the tragedy around the dinner table and their children hear their commentary.  Some say he’s in Hell.  Some say he was deranged and God will have mercy.  Some say it was his parents’ fault because the preacher was too strict or maybe a hypocrite.  Young ears remember these words.  They begin to understand that for others the issue at hand was failure and someone needs to be blamed.  Someone should pay.  This is so wrong; who can make it right?  They are scared, confused and angry.  The seeds are planted, let’s just hope they don’t find fertile soil down in their hearts.

There is a pattern with us that points back to our sin nature: cowardice.  Those parents would never say those words to the family of the deceased, but behind their backs they enjoy free speech.  Have you noticed that no one in their right mind ever really says things unless he or she is joined by others in agreement?  This is why gossip, slander and back-biting are so popular.  Take a look at facebook rants: these are what is in the heart of someone sitting alone behind their keyboard with no one physically present.  The same is true for angry letters-to-the-editor in newspapers.  Why do suicidal people and school shooters post what they intend to do in a dark corner somewhere where no one can stop them?

Cowardice has met anger– extreme anger pent up for years and pushed down by society, the media, the government, religion, science and you-name-it.  A suicidal person has one thing on their mind: this is all I see, therefore that is all there is.  What they see is a darkness: a deep hole that cannot be climbed out of.  Life makes no sense and they get rid of it.  They have believed the ultimate lie: life is worthless.

The rest of the world keeps on going, spinning fear into the hearts of our youth.  The barrage of hate, evil, selfishness, greed and lies, lies, lies comes raining down like arrows in a medieval epic battle through the mouths and keyboards of people who are self-proclaimed experts on life.  Our children try new things to combat this but everything they pick up is tainted with the curse: from their video games to their vegan lives, nothing is protecting them from the vile world we live in.

So we pretend.  Why? We’re cowards too.  We pretend that guns will save us, and we pretend that guns are the problem.  We pretend that politics will save us, and we pretend that politics are the problem.  We pretend that a strong military is the answer, and we pretend that the military is the problem.  We blame drugs, alcohol, race, sex, schools, prisons, religion, food, medicine and everything we can think of except ourselves.  It is always someone else, or something else that is to blame.

But if there we no person around to pick up the gun it wouldn’t have happened.  If there were no person around to find the syringe, find the liquor, prescribe the medicine, none of this would have happened.  Of course not.  How ridiculous.

This young man who took his life may have considered all the options but behaving himself was not one of them.  In his mind the problem surrounded him, but the problem was actually within.  This is an option that few consider: I need to get things straight and own my problems like a man.  I must fix this or else I will hurt the people I love.

Behind all the lies and behind all the trouble are ten simple rules, that hinge on two larger ones: Love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself.  If you love God you won’t have any other gods in your life (just like a pure marriage); you will keep His Sabbath, you will not blaspheme His name and you won’t make images to worship (like porno, for instance, just in case you think we are too advanced for idol worship).

Then the last six commands are about how to love your neighbor, starting with honor your mother and father; don’t kill your neighbor, don’t lie to your neighbor, don’t steal from your neighbor, don’t covet your neighbor’s things, and keep your eyes and hands off your neighbor’s spouse.  These are meant for me to observe and keep to the best of my ability.  Do I fail? Yes.  But God also tells me why: I am a sinner and sinners fail regularly.  So I must stay in touch with God regularly, repent of dumb things I do and move on to improvement.  Improvement for me, my family, my community, my church, and my Country.

In the meantime we must do our best to help people like this pastor and his wife.  Their whole world has just fallen to pieces.  No one should talk of their failures (we all have them).  No one should try to judge the young man’s eternal destiny (though you may be right about it).  Words are very powerful. Be careful how you use them.  They can heal and they can hurt.  We’re made in the image of God according to the Bible.  God created by speaking.  Jesus rose Lazarus by speaking.  God will judge the world by speaking and only He has the right to do so.  You and I have His Word.  Pay attention to it, revere and obey it. You may be the only Bible some will ever read.

O God how the world needs you today.  Forgive our rejection of You and your ways.  Allow your mercy to fall upon us one more day.  You alone are our only hope.

 

A Hole In One

Out he went with his dream to make the changes

And strapped to his waist was the old 45.

The star he wore was made of tin but his heart was gold

And from that heart his dream stayed alive.

But on that day when the sun stood still and the birds ceased their song

He drew that old black powder Colt a millisecond too long.

Oh it discharged a chunk of lead alright, about 250 grain,

But after one small ricochet it landed in his brain.

The whole town mourned for weeks and weeks o’er the grave up on boot hill,

“Here lies the man with heart of gold, and head with leaden pill.”

He may have been right you know, his heart and all that stuff,

But being the fastest draw in the West does not mean you’re so tuff.

He should made the ones he loved a safe place for to lodge,

Instead he spent his days in the sheriffs office in the the city they call “Dodge”.

Dodge he did, all his life, the bullets, cursings, kids and wife.

He was was known for keeping law, but his home was always absent, “Paw”.

 

 

Feathers & Petals

Can the cardinal be a jay?  Would he want to anyway?

Then why does man in the image of God, treat his heritage so odd?

He is not pleased to wed one wife, nor lead a thankful, fruitful life.

Instead his goals so hedonistic, takes something so divine, simplistic,

And turns his love for one another to covetous-hatred for his brother.

The cities that could shine with pride have caught mans’ cancer and hence died,

Replaced by tribes who steal and kill, yet never-ever get their fill

Of satisfaction.  Tell me what is your reaction?

Observe the birds who never strive, but always seem to stay alive.

Their feathered beauty taken for granted is some of the best upon this planet.

And see the flower in the grass, it never worries about race or caste,

Though often overlooked by man, is as fragrant and colorful as it can

Ever want or hope to be.  No it is not like you and me.

The solution that restores the nations, is worship Creator not creation.

Though He’s made this wonderful place, we have forgotten to seek His face,

And while we pray and make demands – to get the blessings from His Hands,

We seldom recognize our place, like birds and flowers who know His grace.

 

 

Good Words From My Wife, Susan

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Below is a great Facebook post my wife wrote yesterday.  Like & Share!

Give ear to my tale of a boy in his youth, and a giant quite fearsome, a big old galoot! The young lad had brothers, and was bringing some lunch, a request by his father who was worried a bunch! With two nations at war, a reputation at stake, up walked the giant a challenge to make. Over 9 ft. tall all covered in armor, trepidation and fear were all he could garner. That giant he roared and taunted and gestured, defying God’s army his words how they festered. Men big and strong all ran in fright, for Goliath the giant was a daunting sight. But David, quite small, had faith in his God, he knew although bested, his God would stand tested. He picked up 5 stones, along with his sling, and started toward Goliath, intending to fling. Goliath came cursing and flailing about, “Am I but a dog!” he shouted right out! But David didn’t waver, his faith was so strong, “I fight in the name of our God!” was his song. He took out a stone with a heave it was cast, down came the giant defeated at last. Then with a great shout the Philistines they flew, with Israelites behind them, their courage renewed. The God of the Israelites had not let them down, the battle was His then, and surely is now. For David faced many giants throughout his days, he grew tired and discouraged in so many ways. But each giant he faced, each time he would doubt, he would remember Goliath, remember his shout. The bigger the giants the harder they fall, but tumble they will when on God we do call.

David did face many giants in his lifetime. King Saul’s incessant attempts to kill him, the loss of his first born son, and his best friend Jonathan, betrayal by his son Absalom, and battles galore. Unknown to many, David and his army also fought four more literal giants as recorded in 2nd Samuel 21: Ishbi-benob, Saph, the brother of Goliath, and a giant with 6 fingers on each hand, and 6 toes on each foot. He sang a mighty song of victory to his faithful God after those battles in 2nd Samuel 22.

Read This

Read this because you’re the type of person who appreciates writing. Go ahead and share it and recommend it to someone else who is kinda like you.  You know who I mean: the guy who hides behind the screen he writes on;  The girl who is secretly depressed and agitated about how small they feel in such a big writing community with its own stars.  Those people who are repulsed at the actors, writers and pontifical people who pat each other on the back with golden awards for who shines brightest.

Yup.  We cower in their shadows as they go on to fame and fortune while all you want to do is be heard and appreciated.  Don’t be disappointed, you are who you are and your work is your work no matter how the rest of the world responds to you and it. Keep creating and writing for it is an extension of yourself and you are valuable.

There’s a portion of us who think we have answers to difficult questions.  Some of us like to tell the world where we have been.  Others like to share their knowledge and accomplishments.  The reason we do is we are created ourselves, and the work of One who also desires to be noticed and appreciated.  Yet, He doesn’t need any of us to survive. He doesn’t survive at all, instead He is Life and Life is self-existent in and of Himself.  We have been told we are created in His image, so we are very much like Him, but corrupted by a sick, self-absorbed role model called “humanity.”

Some years ago a song written by a favorite artist caught my attention:

RANDY STONEHILL
Through The Glass Darkly

I heard God was at the Palace doing a one night stand
So I went out there to see Him with my hope in my hand
He was just a boy of fifteen without much to say
And when he started signing autographs I walked away

I was standing on a corner by the marketplace
When a fellow with some leaflets shoved one right in my face
Well he poked me with His Bible like it was a loaded gun
And I said whatever it is you’re selling man I don’t want none

All our superstar are suicidal casualties
And our heroes die in motel rooms and motorcades
Oh it seems like all out dreams are only fantasies
And I wonder if we’ll learn from the mistakes we’ve made

I bumped into Mr. Jimi at a London hotel
And he said let’s get together but he didn’t look well
When I woke up in the morning all the papers read
Jimi Hendrix overdosed last night in bed

All our superstar are suicidal casualties
And our heroes die in motel rooms and motorcades
Oh it seems like all out dreams turn into tragedies
And i wonder if we’ll learn from the mistakes we’ve made

Now I’m waiting at the bus stop for the bus to arrive
And I know there must be more to life than staying alive
Well I don’t know where I’m going when I climb in
But it can’t be any emptier than where I’ve been

     Ah, yes.  Randy has nailed it.  The world looks to super-stars that always become falling stars.  We give them our ears, eyes, time and money.  We sit on the edge of our seats waiting for the next movie surprised to find out that one of the stars had to be computer generated because they perished due to reckless living.  Instead of learning from their mistakes we make them gods and goddesses.  We continue to worship at the throne of popular opinion rather than truth.
     Some of us have drawn back.  We know we are failures and keep working so others do not make the same mistakes.  We want to share the beauty of life, the wonderful & limited gift we all share in this world.
     Some have plumbed the depths and reached for beyond the stars;  some have looked inward a far as the microscope will allow and have drawn two diverse conclusions: 1) Mankind is an amazing cosmic mystery having chance as it’s origin, and we are progressing toward perfection, or 2) Mankind is the creative result of  Divine Artist and we fail to see His signature in ourselves, and hence are degenerating.
     While the media continues to generate myths and legends out of humans with smoke and mirrors, let’s continue to create the reality of life and artistry at it’s best.  Hopefully, we will be able to give the greatest worship and accolades to the One who made us this way.
     I know you may not agree with my conclusions and that is okay.  You may feel all alone in your work and believe no one understands.  Let me challenge you to have another look.  The world with its hard work and coldness has grandeur and beauty.  Stop often and be amazed.  Tell us about it.  We already know about the hatred, the death, the sickness, and degradation.  Paint your world with the Creator’s heart in mind.  Find Him and you will find faith, hope and love.  Do you really need anything else?

 

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From Here On…

Just another day you say?  I suppose for those who expect to live to see tomorrow, they can say that.  But I died, and if you’re like me today isn’t all there is.  But “here” is exactly where I am and ever since my death I have been so glad that I am here.

See, before when I was alive all I had was the moment with no guarantee I would see the next.  I would just go on living like others: doing what they do because it is what everyone does; hearing what they hear because they like to hear it; and searching, yes, ever searching to feel good, look good, be seen as one who was admired, or at the least, appreciated.

Although this sort of thing comes with the approval of almost everyone else it is simply a waste of a life meant to be unique.  Instead this day-to-day living like everyone else winds up kind of like a water jug with a hole in the bottom: fill it up and it just runs out the bottom and needs to be refilled again & again.  Madness is all it is.

The day I saw my death approaching was years ago.  I saw Jesus on the cross: wounded for my transgressions, bruised for my iniquities, chastised for my lack of peace, and scourged for my healing. Two men died that day because Jesus took me with Him up there on that cross.  He gave me His life for mine.  So I died.  He however lives in me.

Now make no mistake.  The old me keeps trying to resurrect.  Living sacrifices keep crawling off the altar.  I look around and see everyone else having things like everyone else.  I see the parties, the extravagant living, the physiques bought by hours of training, and whitetail heads mounted above the fireplaces.  I want to have them too.  But they are not mine unless my Savior wants them.

Sound attractive?  No, you probably don’t think so.  But what I have is nonexchangeable for what lies ahead now that I am dead.  Everyone wants to go to Heaven but no one wants to die.  I hear you.  You think I believe I am better than you.  I am not, I just gave up on the call of the world.

I have a family on loan to me, a church that endures me, some tools and equipment that I will leave here when I officially cross over.  I would like to take you along when I go, but that decision you must make on your own.  God has forgiven all our sins; He has prepared a place for those who give their lives to Him. You just have to receive Him and let Him live the life He died to save: yours.

“He is no fool he gives up what he cannot keep, to gain what he can never lose.”

Jim Elliot

“I am the way, the truth and the life; no man comes to the Father, but by me”

Jesus Christ

 

The Gift

DSCN2311Not ours to keep but to embrace is the earthly life we have come to know.  We do not order it, control it, just embrace it because it is a gift.  It is undeserved at any rate and at least we should appreciate it’s length be it just a day or two.  Life is full of experience that cries out for more, even if we are the richest and most well-to-do.  There is no bucket list for the thankful, just gratitude for the day we have.  Hunger, disease, war, death and all things rated evil or unfortunate are still part of the day we are lent.

Fortunate people like myself do not appreciate the depth of creativity thrust upon us from our Maker.  In His hands and heart lies a plan that comes to fruition not for us but for Himself.  Those who are humble enough to submit to His sovereignty enjoy the fruit of His indefinable and merciful ways and eventually His Kingdom which is made up of those who He has called His own.

Our world is now sopping wet with the blood of human selfishness and the entire creation cries out for redemption.  We ask ourselves why God would allow for such pain and heartache when kindness and love is attainable where we have been planted?  The answer is not defined, perhaps it is because His creation cannot know His love unless they are given the opportunity to make their mind up to love Him back.

Many are born into the sorrow left to their people & land by rebellious forefathers.  Yet, through the sorrow they somehow come to know & love God.  Others with so much blessing in life rebel against His goodness and leave sorrow for their children, and of course, judgment for themselves.  I know; you don’t want to believe it.  But we better for time is of the essence.

As we continue in life we know that our time is running out like the fuel left in a wood fire which turns to ashes in a few hours.  The young ignore it until their friend is killed in an accident, suicide or a war.  The middle-age try to control it thinking that they will be able to retire soon, then their classmate dies at 51.  The old still know their days are few but few of them are careful with how they’re spent; then they die.  The gift of life is snuffed out like a candle and at every age and stage of life we deny our Creator His spot on our heart’s throne.

You’re alive?  Live, but not for yourself.  Live as though life is something given that needs to be given back, appreciated, and in the hands of God.  Get off that throne; it’s not yours.  When the King comes to sit down you will be removed.  Love your Creator as He has loved you.  If you haven’t yet discovered His love, go to the Cross.  You will see blood shed for our transgressions.  You will see it is also empty for Christ has ascended to His Father’s throne where He intercedes for those who believe on Him.

In the meantime the world in turmoil has some relief that can be given by you.  Yes, the gift of life.  Those who keep it for themselves will have only that to show on the day we give an account.  To carelessly give it away to riotous living is also a tragic loss, for it was not appreciated and wasted.  To invest it into others: the returns cannot be lost and are multiplied. But first, give it back to God.  He bought it with His Son.  You will have to give it back someday anyway.  What pleasure their will be for the one who presents it with interest.

Merry Christmas. Understand the gift.

King of Orphans

In the smile of a child, on the sunset clouds, beneath the shaded tree,

You will find it there.

In the first dandelion, with the twin fawn whitetails, and the call of an owl,

It surprises you every time.

In the quiet of the new-fallen snow, the trickling stream and fields waving in the wind:

Evidence of the Creator.

We credit every athlete, artist and musician with their amazing skill,

Yet the One who knew them before their conception gets little credit

From the capstone of His creation: man.

Willful orphans who run from their Father, Who waits at the end of the lane for

their return, refuse to be identified with His majestic sweetness,

And trade their eternal birthright for a day’s worth of soup.

Failing to see Him, acknowledge Him, seek Him, He did the one thing that just might

capture our attention: He became a man.

Walking among us we discovered there was no room for Him on our throne,

Threatened by His holiness, we hung Him on a tree to die.

He forgave us before His last dying breath.

He bought you back.  Will you come home?

 

 

 

Thanks Lord!

Giving thanks always takes us to the wonderful things and people we are surrounded with: Family, Church, Nature, Salvation, Home, God.

I am seldom aware of all the things I am not thankful for, yet are part of the life God has designed for me. Some things we become thankful for only when they are taken away.  Here’s a few:

  1. The full use of our bodies
  1. The senses: sight, smell, taste, feeling, hearing
  1. The ability to think, reason, make decisions & take responsibility
  1. Communication with other human beings
  1. Dominion over animal life, forest field & the accountability of it
  1. Water, air, soil, fire, the elements
  1. Wealth & power (in the amounts given to us)
  1. The opportunity to know God
  1. Articulation of speech & control over it
  1. Dreams, sleep, rest
  1. An eternal soul that is loved by its Creator
  1. Endurance of pain, sorrow, affliction, troubles
  1. Youth, old age & whatever is in between
  1. Hope for tomorrow when today leaves you exhausted
  1. Warmth in cold, cool when hot, relief when in pain

Now, of course this list is not extant, but should get you thinking thankfully.

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving,

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