One Lost Lamb

good shepherdHave been thinking about the parable of the shepherd who left the 99 to search for the ONE lost lamb. I think there are beautiful truths still left uncovered in this passage. What did the lamb do to be saved? Did he repent? If so, what led him to repentance?

Here’s what I am seeing….First he did NOTHING except run away, put himself in danger, risk starvation and loneliness. In this story, the only action I see in on the part of the Savior (Shepherd). The Shepherd left the 99 and searched for the one. The Shepherd picked him up. The Shepherd lay him across His shoulders. The Shepherd rejoiced at finding him. Sooo, again…what exactly did the lamb do??? The lamb did nothing except surrender to being carried. Nothing but submit to the strong but gentle grip of the Shepherd. Nothing but let go of the restlessness that had driven him to wander in the first place. The lamb did nothing except perhaps nuzzle in close enough to smell the familiar sweet scent of his Savior and hear His heartbeat racing with the flutter of excitement at finding His precious lamb!

And I ask you, is it not THAT very love so freely given, without merit or good works, that leads all of us to repentance?? Is it not in the sweet moment of relishing in the safety and warmth of the gentle grip of our Savior that leads us to regret our actions? Is it not in that moment when His love for us is realized that we want to make changes and start anew??
Roman 2:4

The Simple Things….Rain Washed

It is always the simple things bring the greatest joys.

When was the last time you stopped and appreciated the simple little things?

Rain Washed

A little girl had been shopping with her Mom in Target. She must have been 6 years old, this beautiful red haired, freckle faced image of innocence. It was pouring outside. The kind of rain that gushes over the top of rain gutters, so much in a hurry to hit the earth it has no time to flow down the spout. We all stood there under the awning and just inside the door of the Target.

We waited, some patiently, others irritated because nature messed up their hurried day. I am always mesmerized by rainfall. I got lost in the sound and sight of the heavens washing away the dirt and dust of the world. Memories of running, splashing so carefree as a child came pouring in as a welcome reprieve from the worries of my day.

The little voice was so sweet as it broke the hypnotic trance we were all caught in,
“Mom, let’s run through the rain,” she said. “What?” Mom asked.

“Let’s run through the rain!” She repeated.

“No, honey. We’ll wait until it slows down a bit,” Mom replied.

This young child waited about another minute and repeated, “Mom, let’s run through the rain.”

“We’ll get soaked if we do,” Mom said.

“No, we won’t, Mom. That’s not what you said this morning,” the young girl said as she tugged at her Mom’s arm.

“This morning? When did I say we could run through the rain and not get wet?”

“Don’t you remember? When you were talking to Daddy about his cancer, you said, ‘If God can get us through this, he can get us through anything!’”

The entire crowd stopped dead silent. I swear you couldn’t hear anything but the rain. We all stood silently. No one came or left in the next few minutes. Mom paused and thought for a moment about what she would say. Now some would laugh it off and scold her for being silly. Some might even ignore what was said. But this was a moment of affirmation in a young child’s life. A time when innocent trust can be nurtured so that it will bloom into faith.

“Honey, you are absolutely right. Let’s run through the rain. If God let’s us get wet, well maybe we just needed washing,” Mom said.

Then off they ran. We all stood watching, smiling and laughing as they darted past the cars and yes, through the puddles. They held their shopping bags over their heads just in case. They got soaked. But they were followed by a few who screamed and laughed like children all the way to their cars.

And yes, I did. I ran. I got wet. I needed washing.

Circumstances or people can take away your material possessions, they can take away your money, and they can take away your health. But no one can ever take away your precious memories…

So, don’t forget to make time and take opportunities to make memories everyday. To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.

I hope you still take the time to run through the rain.

Husbands and Wives

marriageI have all too often heard and read husbands quote Ephesians 5:22, “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.” as a way to CONTROL their wives…COMPLETELY dismissing how the scripture later instructs husbands to act concerning their wives beginning in Ephesians 5:25, where it states “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”…AND…”husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself”…AND…”must love his wife as he loves himself”.

Not to mention that if you really get down to it…if you say you love your wife, then you MUST define that love. Does it meet the guidelines of what the scripture says love is? Can you say that you love your wife as it states in 1 Corinthians 13:3? “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”

Remember this husbands….if we are to love our wives as Christ loved the church, and Christ is our example in everything…then our love MUST be as outlined in 1 Corinthians…OR…we are not honoring God.

“He who finds a wife finds what is good
and receives favor from the Lord” Proverbs 18:22

Science vs. God’s Existence ?

In the wake of this most recent horrible tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, so many people attempt to find a reason for such evil. Unspeakable suffering, pain, and hurting take place in lives everyday. As we attempt to understand with our finite minds something infinite, we must understand that without Faith and Hope, we will struggle to explain the existence of evil to those that jeer at a proposed “Lack of the existence of God”, they say “Where is your God? If he exists, why would he allow these things to happen?”. Jimmy’s post below on Hope, truly resonates. While we can offer up a myriad of  “explanations” as to why such things happen, or why evil runs rampant, I was reminded of this rebuttal to the demand of a scientific explanation of God’s existence, that I came across a few years ago. A little lengthy but truly worth the read……..

Consider this explanation for those void of faith and insist on a “scientific” explanation of such events. 405401_400993166629257_989873826_n

“Let me explain the problem science has with religion.”  The professor of philosophy pauses before his class, then asks one of his new students to stand.

“You’re a Christian, aren’t you, son?”

“Yes sir,” the student says.

“So you believe in God?”

“Absolutely.”

“Is God good?”

“Sure! God’s good.”

“Is God all-powerful? Can God do anything?”

“Yes.”

“Are you good or evil?”

“The Bible says I’m evil.”

The professor grins knowingly. “Aha! The Bible!” He considers for a moment. “Here’s one for you. Let’s say there’s a sick person over here and you can cure him. You can do it. Would you help him? Would you try?”

“Yes sir, I would.”

“So you’re good…!”

“I wouldn’t say that.”

“But why not say that? You’d help a sick and maimed person if you could. Most of us would if we could. But God doesn’t.”

The student does not answer, so the professor continues. “He doesn’t, does he? My brother was a Christian who died of cancer, even though he prayed to Jesus to heal him. How is this Jesus good? Can you answer that one?”

The student is silent. “No, you can’t, can you?” the professor says.

He takes a sip of water from a glass on his desk to give the student time to relax.

“Let’s start again, young fella. Is God good?”

“Er…yes”, the student says.

“Is Satan good?”

The student doesn’t hesitate on this one. “No.”

“Where does Satan come from?”

The student falters,”From God.”

“That’s right. God made Satan, didn’t he? Tell me, son. Is there evil in this world?”

“Yes, sir…”

“Evil’s everywhere, isn’t it? And God did make everything, correct?”

“Yes.”

“So who created evil?”, the professor continues, “If God created everything, then God created evil, since evil exists. And according to the principle that our works define who we are, then God is evil.”

Again, the student has no answer.

” Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things — do they exist in this world?”

The student squirms on his feet. “Yes.”

“So who created them?”

The student does not answer, so the professor repeats his question, “Who created them?”

There is still no answer. Suddenly the lecturer breaks away to pace in front of the classroom. The class is mesmerized. “Tell me”, he continues on to another student, “do you believe in Jesus Christ, son?”

The student’s voice betrays him and cracks. “Yes, professor, I do.”

The old man stops pacing. “Science says you have five senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Have you ever seen Jesus?”

“No sir. I’ve never seen Him.”

“Then tell us if you’ve ever heard your Jesus?”

“No, sir, I have not…”

“Have you ever felt your Jesus, tasted your Jesus or smelt your Jesus? Have you ever had any sensory perception of Jesus Christ? Or God, for that matter?”

“No, sir, I’m afraid I haven’t.”

“Yet you still believe in him?”

“Yes.”

“According to the rules of empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your God doesn’t exist. What do you say to that, son?”

“Nothing”, the student replies, “I only have my faith.”

“Yes, faith”, the professor repeats, “And that is the problem science has with God. There is no evidence, only faith.”

The student stands quietly for a moment, before asking a question of his own. “Professor, is there such a thing as heat? “

“Yes.”

“And is there such a thing as cold?”

“Yes, son, there’s cold too.”

“No sir, there isn’t.”

The professor turns to face the student, obviously interested. The room becomes very quiet.

The student begins to explain.

“You can have lots of heat, even more heat, super-heat, mega-heat, unlimited heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat, but we don’t have anything called ‘cold’. We can hit down to 458 degrees below zero, which is no heat, but we can’t go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold; otherwise we would be able to go colder than the lowest – 458 degrees. Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy.

Absolute zero (-458 F) is the total absence of heat. You see, sir, cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat we can measure in thermal units because heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.”

Silence across the room. A pen drops somewhere in the classroom, sounding like a hammer.

“What about darkness, professor. Is there such a thing as darkness?”

“Yes”, the professor replies without hesitation, “What is night if it isn’t darkness?”

“You’re wrong again, sir. Darkness is not something; it is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light. But if you have no light constantly, you have nothing — and it’s called darkness, isn’t it? That’s the meaning we use to define the word. In reality, darkness isn’t. If it were, you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn’t you?”

The professor begins to smile at the student in front of him. This will be a good semester. “So what point are you making, young man?”

“My point, professor, is that your philosophical premise is flawed to start with, and so your conclusion must also be flawed.”

The professor’s face cannot hide his surprise this time. “Flawed? Can you explain how?”

“You are working on the premise of duality”, the student explains. “You argue that there is life and then there’s death; a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can’t even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood, either one.

To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life, just the absence of it. Now tell me,professor. Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?”

“If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, young man, yes, of course I do.”

“Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?”

The professor begins to shake his head, still smiling, as he realizes
where the argument is going. A very good semester, indeed.

“Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you now not a scientist, but a preacher?”

The class is in uproar.

The student remains silent until the commotion has subsided.

“To continue the point you were making earlier to the other student, let me give you an example of what I mean.”

The student looks around the room.

“Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the professor’s brain?”

The class breaks out into laughter.

“Is there anyone here who has ever heard the professor’s brain, felt the professor’s brain, touched or smelt the professor’s brain? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain, with all due respect, sir. So if science says you have no brain, how can we trust your lectures, sir?”

Now the room is silent. The professor stares at the student, his face unreadable. Finally, after what seems an eternity, the old man answers. “I guess you’ll have to take them on faith.”

“Now, you accept that there is faith, and, in fact, faith exists with life,” the student continues. “Now, sir, is there such a thing as evil?”

Now uncertain, the professor responds, “Of course there is evil. We see it every day. It is in the daily example of man’s inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil.”

To this the student replies, “Evil does not exist, sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God’s love present in his heart. It’s like the cold that comes when there is no heat, or the darkness that comes when there is no light.”

The professor sits down.

~Author Unknown

In Times Like These…..

Photo courtesy of HopeinJesus.org

Photo courtesy of HopeinJesus.org

It is In Times Like These that I am reminded just how dark, cold, confused, completely hopeless the world seems.

With the devastating news of a gunman walking into an elementary school and opening fire on little children in a kindergarten class…I am reminded of just how much we all need Jesus!

Let’s face it…as much as we would like to pretend that everything is just fine, and go on about our lives as if everything is perfect…it most definitely is not! There is no way to explain why someone would walk into a kindergarten classroom and kill 18 innocent children…other than the indisputable fact that there is evil in this world.

In Times Like These…it becomes abundantly clear that our only hope is Jesus. Anything else is hollow.

The world needs light. The world needs clarity. The worlds needs hope. The world needs Jesus!

What’s an Xmas?

merry_xmas_lgA good friend of mine posted on Facebook the other day that he was out getting some xmas clothes for his son. Well…needless to say…being the somewhat funny jerk of a friend that I am, I started razzing him about his choice of the word “Xmas” instead of typing Christmas.

I must admit….the exchange between he and me was quite humorous, but we do at times pick pretty hard at each other…but we have been friends for well over 20 years, so I think we can handle it.

In his defense, though I think it’s a pretty flimsy one, he was in a store chasing around a VERY active and curious 1 year old boy, and he said Xmas was easier to type on his phone than Christmas.

That is true…Xmas is much easier to type, but it lacks something. It just looks like somethings missing. It kind of reminds me of a math equation….(you know, the whole X equals Y junk?) and anyone who knows me will tell you…I hate math!

The more spiritual or religious types may tell you that it is a shadowing of our lives. How so easily and conveniently we can leave Christ out of the conversation. I can see some validity in their argument, and I must admit….my mind did go there for a moment. Probably mostly due to my many years spent in a ultra-religious and judgmental state of mind.

However, I think for the most point….we just need to get over it.

Carlos Whitaker had a humorous post a few years ago that I wanted to share with you.

    “Top 9 Reasons Why It’s Ok to Say Merry XMAS!”
    1. I love baby Jesus too but he didn’t name Christmas…Christmas. We did.
    2. If this offends you then I suggest you change your greeting to “May you have the most joyous season of celebrating the birth of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”. It is less confusing than Merry Christmas.
    3. I find it more insulting that people get mad at Bart Millard for saying Xmas and have no idea that the pagan origins of their gift exchanges started in ancient Babylon when the feast of the Son of Isis (Goddess of Nature) was celebrated on December 25. Raucous partying, gluttonous eating and drinking, and gift-giving were traditions of this feast.
    4. I’m thinking we should celebrate Christmas when it actually happened. More or less around September.
    The shepherds were not tending their sheep in the middle of a Judean winter. I promise.
    5. I’m not taking Christ out of Christmas when I say Xmas… I am giving more attention to the word “mas” which in the true language of God means “more”
    6. I love Jesus. If you are concerned with people seeing a Christian take “Christ” out of the word “Christmas” let’s just say it Merry Jesusmas so that everybody will get it.
    7. On twitter it is a much better way of saving your character count.
    8. Let’s face it. Jesus is the X Factor! What A Better Way To Say It!!!
    9. I hate lists of 10 so I’m gonna stop at 9…Or really 8.

So….there you have it. I like it…I think I will start using that one myself. Right now as a matter of fact.

I hope you have a Very Merry Jesusmas!

What do you think of the whole XMAS vs. Christmas debate?

A bit of levity despite the madness

In a constant effort to grow in the spirit of humility and sometinesitisbesttokeepyourmouthshutness, I must share a Red letter day for a social media FAIL! Enjoy!

 

Dateline November 2nd, 2012;

So an old friend and all around good guy updates his relationship status on Facebook to “engaged”! Good stuff!

As I scroll past it, happy for him, I see a shared post praising the hope of a Romney victory. So in true form, I must contribute to the comment string, as I have grown tired of all of the banter. As I submitted my comment, I could only watch with perplexity a refreshing of the newsfeed on my cell phone screen . In just moments confusion led to horror as I saw that my comment had been misplaced into the congratulatory string of my friends relationship update, instead of the string intended, the “Romney” comment. As hard as I tried, it seemed that it could not be deleted quick enough! Enjoy the context of a comment out of place!

My comment ;

“Only if it ushers in a resurgence of our founders intent, without that any stooge will do!”