Everyone’s favorite subject

This was very hard for me to write. I want to start off by saying that by my even speaking about it I do so hoping you understand that I am just speaking of my limited understanding. I do so with a heart that is aware and sensitive to those who have very real hurt in their heart because of the loss of someone. Hopefully something I write will bring some understanding if not some healing. So here goes:

Death
The word brings to mind inevitability, finality, the unknown. It is one area (of many I believe) where followers of Christ see things dimly. Jesus wept at Lazarus death. There is something real here. God feels our pain. So if God was brought to tears, what do we do?

For the Christian we are fortunately left with some answers.

This same Jesus who wept over Lazarus later conquered death and rose again. Jesus rose from the dead. We also will. Paul writes: But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 1 Corinthians 15:12-15.

“If only for this life we have hope in Christ,” writes Paul, “we are to be pitied more than all people” (1 Corinthians 15:19).

If we say we believe in Christ then we must trust him to walk along side us as we journey from this life to the next. He promises us that I am the resurrection and the life. He who comes to me will live, even though he dies.

To our earthly perspective we can not conceive what lies beyond. And that’s ok. We want to hang on here, to what we know. But there is so much more.

2 Corinthians 5:2-5
Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly
dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For
while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish
to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that
what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned
us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit,
guaranteeing what is to come.

The mortal will be swallowed up by life – real life. The life that we were made for.

Let us look back to Lazarus. Jesus said “this sickness will not lead to death”. He called out to Lazarus and Lazarus heard his voice. He’s calling out to us as well, even in our greatest need – Trust me. Know that there was one before you who was victorious over death. Your best friend, lord and savior.

Random thoughts

Working on a few things for some future posts, but in the meantime, I have a few short random thoughts. The first two are recent, the rest are from the archive of my brain.

The man you are today, is the man your son will someday become.

The Way Things Are
Sometimes things are the way they are, until God decides to change them.

The flower blooms, then dies off, only to bloom again. Are we any different?

Every doorway I’ve crossed
Every corner I’ve turned
Every path I’ve taken
In life I’ve found you
With a smile on your face
And your arms outstretched
To embrace me

The more I know you
The less I understand

I sometimes wish I could know what people really think of me so I could see myself without the lens of self. Then I could change the things in me that need to be changed. But then I think that the truth might be too crushing to deal with.

What have I done with the first 49 years of my life? I haven’t fed the poor, gave aid and comfort to a sick child, stood up against injustice. Sometimes I don’t even love my neighbor. Have I even made a difference in anyone’s life?

Some sins will get you killed or put you in jail. Other sins seem to have no immediate consequences. In God’s eyes, are the two really any different?

I can taste the bitterness of my sin on my tongue like some kind of caustic acid. It’s like I’ve eaten too many fruit pies and am left with a major bout of indigestion and stains all over my face and hands. Will I ever tire of this gluttony? Most amazingly I am cured and saved by a grace that I have yet to comprehend.

Connections

Two events happened recently to remind me of the importance of reaching out. A friend of mine had a distant relative that he did not talk to a lot, but knew somewhat well. This friend called this young man, but did not reach him, but left a message on voice mail. Through the weeks this young man was often on my friends heart because the relative had some hard times in his young life. He debated with himself back and forth about calling him, but figured his relative was busy with school and would soon return his call. My friend went to this young man’s funereal this month. He had unfortunately had taken his own life. The second story has a much more positive outcome. I follow a few people on facebook. At least as much as you can follow and know someone through these means. One person I read about that intrigued me was my cousin Christina. She does the usual things a 20 something person does, school, work, sleep in, run marathons. I did also notice she went on a mission trip a few years ago. Now I’ve never really talked in depth to her and only have seen her maybe six times during our lives. I had not spoken to her in over 3 years, but God kept telling me to call her. We ended up having the most wonderful conversation. I was blessed by hearing her life’s journey so far and her strong faith. We both left the conversation energized and committed to stay involved in each others lives. Reach out to someone. They may be reaching back to you. Be ready for the connection God has in store.

Where’s God?

Where is God?

In the light of the events of Syria and other wars upon wars, along with the addition of countless other tragic events we hear of daily, I find it hard not to feel despair. I ask where is God?

I know the question has been asked many times before, by minds much greater than mine, but the question bears re-examining.

I believe the fundamental parts of the issue are the following questions:

1. Does God exist?
2. Does God care?
3. If the answer to #2 is yes, why does He not stop it?
4. What do we do?

I believe that the answer to question #1 is yes. This issue should be left to address, more in depth, at a later time. Let me just say that I believe that we cannot have any meaningful answers to life’s hard questions without seeing them through the perspective of something greater than us. In other words, life has no meaning without an eternal creator.

The second question, at least for me, is easier to answer. I admit for some reason, faith in God’s plan has never been much of an issue for me. I feel extremely blessed. In comparison to most people, God’s plan has worked out pretty well for me. Like anybody though, I have had my share of problems, pains, trials (chronic illness, over 50 hospitalizations, dreams dashed). Yet I believe that if we are honest (and realistic) with ourselves, we will see that there is much more light, hope, love to be found than pain and despair. I have found this in my life and history is full of others who have discovered the same thing. Many people in concentration/p.o.w camps, prisons have found God’s love and provision despite unspeakable suffering. I think that we often feel that God doesn’t care when life does not turn out the way we think it should have. First of all, much of what we would say is negative about our lives is there because of something we or others have done or not done. In other words we have free will to harm ourselves and others. To create us to be “robots” is not loving. Those without free will do not have the capacity to give or receive love. Secondly, much of what we perceive to be negative in our lives we often realize later on to be a positive.

Question 3 to me is for me the hardest to deal with/answer. As stated above in order for us to be free, we must have some autonomy. We cause many of the worlds problems. As far as the things that happen that seem so random and out of our control or influence, such as natural disasters or illness, God may be intervening more than we believe. Why we exist on this big ball 3 planets from the sun is a mystery. Why things work out even half as well is a miracle. I am grateful for every moment I have on this earth, even in times of great hardship and sorrow.

Which leads to question four. We must never give up hope. Hope for change, in our lives as well as others. Hope that things are not as bad as they seem to be. Despair must never cause us to become bitter and hopeless. For if we do no further good can come. Seek justice for the abused and neglected. Help those who are worse off (and there are many). Love others around you. Believe that answers exist, both here in this life and in the next. Believe that change is possible. Seek peace, hope and love. Seek God.

Becoming a better father.

The key to becoming a better father is to have your children see less of you. Become an absentee father. Become MIA so that Christ can increase in your children’s lives.
While we may tend to think we are setting a good example, we are really leaving our children with a flawed vision of how to become all that God intended us to be. Romans 7:15 NASB says “…for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.” We fail, every day. Despite our best intentions our standard falls horribly short. But take heart there is hope. One man came to this earth to give us a living example of perfected living. The more we model Christ in our lives, the less our children will follow the copy. “He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30 NASB