Who Is This Uncircumcised Virus?

Today during the message at church, a thought occurred to me I have never had before. Thanks to my Pastor, Paul Daugherty for such a great message, but most importantly for bringing this little bit of insight to me, by way of the Holy Spirit. When I wasn’t a Christian, just a small boy in the Methodist church my parents attended, I knew the story of David and Goliath. I paid extra close attention I’m sure because we share the same name, and I often wondered if I could have done what he did when facing down the giant.

What I never thought about until today however, was what the people around David were really thinking prior to him actually confronting Goliath. I know what his brothers thought when he showed up to bring them food and find out for their father Jesse how the war was going. They were mad at him, saying he’d just come to see a battle, of course at this time there hadn’t been any battles. It had actually been forty days, and on every single one of those days, Goliath came out and taunted King Saul and his army saying, “Come out to fight us. If you defeat us, we will be your slaves, but if we defeat you, you become ours.”

David showed up one day just as Goliath was making his usual speech, and what he saw was the Israeli army running away from the battle lines, saying things like, “Have you seen him? He’s a giant!” But an interesting thing happened as well, they also reported to David how the king had promised to give his daughter in marriage to the man who defeated Goliath, and making his family free from having to pay any taxes. When David heard this, he went to another man asking what would be done for the man who killed the giant, and it was reported to him the same thing. David’s response was different from that of every other man, he said, “Who does this uncircumcised Philistine think he is, that he is allowed to defy the army of the living God?” It wasn’t too long before this was reported back to King Saul, and David found himself standing in the king’s tent.

What I hadn’t seen until today, was how the army of Israel had been watching Goliath spew his taunts in their direction for forty days straight, and not one of them had enough faith to face him, including King Saul. It was probably easier to believe the report of how they were all going to die because of this giant looming before them, with each passing day. Talk had to be about how big the giant was, and what a man of this caliber could do to each and everyone of them. By the fortieth day, Goliath was probably like Superman to them, invincible. The difference between the army and David however was in the reporting. David didn’t know who Goliath was, but the army did, because they had been focusing on the problem before them for forty days, instead of on the God who had saved their nation time and time again.

What struck me today was how the year 2020 with it’s Covid virus fear inspiring pandemic was an awful lot like Goliath standing before the army of Israel. I’m not denying the fact people contracted this virus and some of them even died, just as David never denied the fact Goliath was a giant, he just properly called him what he was; an uncircumcised Philistine. The use of the word “uncircumcised” is covenant talk. This meant Goliath did not have an agreement with God like each and every one of the Israeli men in the army did, so he was subject to the man who did have a covenant with God. David even went on to say he had killed a lion and a bear while watching his father’s sheep, and this Philistine would be no different; God would help him in this battle just like He had in those others.

One thing about David however, he did listen to the reports of the older wise men in the room, respecting his elders. He even tried wearing King Saul’s armor to face the giant. But ultimately told the king he had never worn armor and it would just get in his way, opting to stand against his enemy with the clothes on his back and a sling in his hand. It’s interesting he felt he had to face the giant with what he knew, and not with what man thinks is important. I think we should listen to the reports, just not make them our focus. But when we’re told we have to do something which goes against what we know and believe to be right and true, we have to stand up and say, “Thank you very much, but who is this uncircumcised virus? I’ll face it head on with God, that’s what I’m going to do,” and then go and do that.

One thing you should know however and be ready for, is when you stand in faith against a giant, the crowd around you will ridicule you. Standing in faith goes against what the crowd says and does, if it didn’t, then everyone would stand up in faith and defeat the giants in life. I’m sure you’ve experienced it at least once in your life, being ridiculed for saying or doing something the world around you will not do because of fear. People who are operating in fear instead of faith get mad at the ones who are using their faith, and will do just about anything to make you feel like you’re the one who is in the wrong.

I believe it is time for us to stop being like the army of Israel, walking in fear every time the media reports something about Covid or any other media filled frenzied event. Then, we need to go down to the stream, find some smooth stones to put in our shepherd’s pouch and be ready to sling stones back at the enemy who is trying to keep us Christians quiet. And it’s definitely time for those of us who are Christians to stop being timid (play awe inspiring music here) and to stop running away from the problems, but run towards them, facing head on whatever is set against us, with a tenacity that is written about in our instruction manual (the Bible). I think if more of us would stop listening to the crowd and focus on hearing God, we would see amazing things happen just like did in the Bible.

Well, there’s that…for the Kingdom and the King, shalom!

Do You Really Think They Care?

The definition for the word cynicism is as follows; an inclination to believe that people are motivated purely by self-interest; skepticism. Viewing the world we live in, and the way things are going in the United States right now, I guess you’d have to call me a cynic. In 57 years, I’ve seen my share of elections and have been on both sides of the winning column. So please understand me when you read what I’ve written here, I’m not at all bothered by the fact that my guy didn’t win the election. I’ve had this happen enough times to understand there has to be a winner and a loser. Whether I like the guy who wins or not, I can deal with it. As we prepare to move into what I feel personally is the darkest time in our history, I can do so with the knowledge that I am an adult and will continue to act like one.

When I say I feel we are moving into the darkest time in our country’s history, I truly believe this, and here is why. There have been too many “coincidences” surrounding this election to believe there was anything other than an all out assault on the conservative ideals and people running for office who believe in those. I don’t say this because my guy lost, not at all. I applaud the other side for the masterful job in manipulating the Covid-19 situation into something to be played against President Trump with the help of the news media. And using fear as their weapon convincing the population it was in their best interest to stay home and instead vote by mail.

The biggest reason I feel like a cynic is the pure unadulterated hatred for Donald Trump. Honestly I just don’t get it. I mean, I didn’t like Bill Clinton or Obama, but I didn’t hate them like people hate Trump. I didn’t believe either of these guys had the best interest of the people of the United States in mind when they led, and I still don’t. But I got the impression Donald Trump does care about what was best for all Americans. Now before you go on a tirade about the personal life, beliefs and actions of Donald Trump, I’ll save you some time. I think more than half of what the man said was stupid at times, and didn’t agree with his personal assessments. But just because I don’t like what someone says, doesn’t mean he can’t do a good job and make some headway.

Watching everyone clammer around and talk about how great this upcoming administration is and how they are going to be the saviors of the United States makes me chuckle. Every time I heard Joe Biden talk about how he was going to bring in great paying jobs and change the course of the economy, I wished someone would have asked him where the money was going to come from? You see, when you have everything handed to you, and taken care of for you, you lose the ability to understand what’s really going on with the common man. Make no mistake, these people who tell you they have your best interest at heart, look into their past and see what they’ve done back there.

Therein lies another thing about this upcoming administration, if Joe Biden hasn’t done anything in his 47 years of public service, why do we think that now all of a sudden he will? See it just doesn’t add up for me, so therefore I feel like a cynic. Will I protest the new administration? No. Will I state what I believe? Absolutely! One thing I love about the United States of America is free speech; you know that little thing called the first amendment to the constitution? It simply says this:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The greatest thing about the first amendment is it means I can say what I believe and you can say what you believe. Without fear of being persecuted for it. What I think the real issue is around free speech is that people are unwilling to sit down and listen to each other. You are entitled to your beliefs, and I need to be polite enough to let you share them without acting a fool, and I should be treated in the same manner. The problem comes when you close your mind to a person just because they believe different than you.

It’s still the beginning of 2021, what’s say we all try to get along, and maybe even do something for your fellow man without hope of any type of return. Honestly, we don’t need the people in Washington to live our lives and be good citizens, we just need to do what is good and honest and true. Really if we all ignored the politicians and news media and just got to know the people in our communities, all of our lives would be so much better. I think it’s the people in Washington who need us, not the other way around. And this goes for the media too. Without us giving ear to all their commentaries and horse pucky, they really wouldn’t have anything to do.

Just my take, thanks for taking the time to read an old stuck in the mud guy’s thoughts. For the Kingdom and the King…Shalom!

My Manhood Is Offended

To start with, I’ve not been watching a lot of media coverage of what happened in Washington this week. Most of it has just been snippets here and there, but from the little I’ve seen, there is one thing which has bothered me, and it is the politicians who decided to pull their support from the President at the first sign of difficulties.

I should say here too, this blog is my opinion, and at this time in America I’m still entitled to it, just as you are entitled to yours. I’m not hoping to change your mind, I’m just stating mine. I also don’t care if you disagree with me. Another great thing about living in America, is we can have disagreeing opinions and still be civil towards each other. It is a choice we can and must make however.

The thing which bothered me so much this week, was seeing Republican men who I had admired from a distance back paddle and start acting like Democrats. Their actions looked more like people drowning in the water, scrambling for the last floatation device; not caring who they pushed under in their attempt to save their own lives. There are some words I could use to describe these men, but I’m working on doing better with my use of language this year, trying to keep my French at bay.

One thing I have always tried to do is be a man of my word. Psalm 15:4B says that good men keep their promises even to their own hurt. Basically this means, if you say something to someone, you are to own up to what you’ve said even if it costs you something. The men who pulled the rug out from under President Trump, and for that matter the people they are supposed to be acting on behalf of, took a chance to save their own political necks and ran for the hills. It disgusts me!

One of the main problems in this world, is men do not honor their word any longer. Talk is cheap as they say, and unless your actions meet up with the words you say, they don’t mean anything. And herein is the biggest problem in politics today, it’s not about governing well and helping Americans, it’s about sucking the tit of big government for as long as you can and trying to stay in office for as long as possible.

Men who do not honor their word; saying one thing and doing another need to be horse whipped. Of course that doesn’t go with the kinder/gentler world everyone wants nowadays. But then I’m old school and think we need men who are not afraid to do what they say and stand up for what is right and good and true regardless of the consequences. These pantywaist men in Congress, whose only claim to being men is they have a penis but not a backbone need to move on down the road.

We need real men again. Not those men who were degrading to women and thought because of their sex they were entitled to do whatever they wanted without consequence. No we need men who love God, their families and working to make the world a better place than they found it.

In his book Wild at Heart, John Eldredge stated;

There are three desires I find written so deeply into my heart I know now I can no longer disregard them without losing my soul…I search the pages of literature, I listen carefully to many, many men, and I am convinced these desires are universal, a clue into masculinity itself. They may be misplaced, forgotten, or misdirected, but in the heart of every man is a desperate desire for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue. ~ page 9

If we are to make it as a society, and at times I wonder if it is possible, we are going to have to get back to being men, real and authentic men who embrace these three values deeply and live them out. If not, and we continue to see these men who are supposed to lead us take the easy way out, capitulating to the opposition in order to line their own pockets and make life easier for themselves, then I’m afraid we might be doomed as a society.

So come on men, step up and do what men are supposed to do, stop being liars and mean what you say and say what you mean. It’s not always easy, but then when is anything worth having easy?

For the Kingdom and the King, shalom.

Living Outside My Default Settings

Why is it my mind automatically replays over and over offenses I have received? It’s almost as if I don’t even have to be thinking about the thing, it just pops into my mind and before I know it I’m reliving the whole event over and over again. Why does my mind do this? Am I the only one this happens to? If so, does this make me a freak? All valid questions, and ones I really want answered, because it is really difficult to walk as a Christian when these scenes from my life are on replay in my brain.

The Bible teaches we are to forgive those who sin against us, and if we do not, then our Father who is in Heaven will not forgive us our sins. (Matthew 6:12, 14-15) This is a huge deal because it is conditional. This means in order for God to forgive me, I must forgive others. Yeah, but how do I do this when my mind seems to be replaying the sins directed at me?

I love the phrase on the picture I chose for this blog, it says, “There are people who live their whole lives on the default settings, never realizing you can customize.” ~ Robert Brault. This brings hope to me, because it makes me believe there is more to life than just allowing things to happen to me and being forced to live with them. One of the things God has done for mankind is to give us the ability to choose how we are going to respond to things. Just because something bad happens to us, it doesn’t mean we have to allow this thing to change our perspective on life. We have been given the tools to choose how we are going to see any given situation; good or bad. It’s up to us how we respond when something happens to us, not the situation’s. And this is great news!

One thing I’ve learned in fifty-seven years walking this planet, it’s we live according to what we believe and the words we speak. It’s a spiritual principle which works for any human on this planet, saved or unsaved. If you believe something in your heart, and do not doubt, but believe the things you say will come to pass, you will have whatever you say (Mark 11:23-24). And interestingly enough, in verse 25 Jesus went on to say, “But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.” Hmm, interesting, we’re back to forgiving people for sinning against us.

Even as I’m writing this, I’m beginning to see a pattern here. One way to keep these things from replaying themselves in our minds is to immediately forgive the person who sinned against us. And listen when you are forgiving the person, you’re not saying what they did to you wasn’t wrong, it may have been. What you are saying, is that you are releasing them from your mind and heart and refusing to hold their sin against them. We never forgive someone for their benefit, but for our own. Holding onto the offense is like drinking poison and hoping it will kill them.

Won’t you join me in this new year and begin the process of changing the default settings in your life and truly forgive all of those who have sinned against you. Forgive them, and let it go.

For the Kingdom and the King, Shaom!

“Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!”

Today is the 244th birthday of what has been called the greatest nation on earth. I don’t know who actually coined this phrase, but I do whole heartily agree with it. Being a sometimes student of history, I found it interesting to read Patrick Henry’s speech to the second Virginia congress today. Something spoken 245 years ago still has truth in it for today’s America.

So many protesters and rioters (and I know it’s not all of them, but these are the ones who seem to have the airwaves now) have claimed they are on a mission to change America, and this is the new war to be fought. It seems the way they are choosing to fight it however is by destroying our past. Ironically, Patrick Henry spoke about this in his famous speech. I loved the following paragraph so much I felt it needed to be added to my blog.

I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided,” Henry said, “and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging the future but by the past.

I am appalled at what I’ve seen on television in the past several weeks. Truthfully, never in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought to see this. Protestors tearing down statues and working to rewrite our nation’s history. Before I go further, I do not think everything that has been done in our past is good or should be glorified, but I do believe it is part of who we are as a nation. I don’t glorify my own sordid past, but I do remember it so I don’t repeat the things I am ashamed of. If I just pretend they never happened, changing the narrative, I’m doomed to repeat my past mistakes. And we, as a nation, if we are not careful will fall into the same trap. As the old saying goes, “If we don’t learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it.”

One thing I admire about the protestors, the real protestors, not those who are being bussed in and paid to agitate the crowd. (Nothing new here either, the Pharisees did the same thing to Jesus, look it up Mark 14:55-60), is their zeal to see change happen. This is a good thing, and believe it or not is not something new to this current generation, there has always been people who wanted to see change happen.

Most of the dialogue today is about change and how bad things have been for the minority class in America, and I totally agree that in my America everyone should have the same rights; life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, as stated in our nation’s declaration of independence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Every man, woman and child in the United States should be treated as equals without ever looking at the color of their skin.

As he spoke, Henry held his wrists together as though they were manacled and raised them toward the heavens. “Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty”—Henry burst from his imaginary chains and grasped an ivory letter opener—“or give me death!” As he uttered these final words, he plunged the letter opener toward his chest, mimicking a knife blow to the heart.

Men and women from our past gave their lives for the most part in standing up for what they believed in. Many of the founding fathers of our fledgling country actually died penniless and broken because of their belief in a better way of life for everyone. I wonder how many of those protesting now feel this passion and have this conviction? I mean it is easy to give lip service to your ideals, but when it comes right down to it, are you really willing to die for what you believe in?

I’m not asking those who are protesting for change to actually kill themselves, that would be horrible and no one should do this, and for the record I don’t want anyone to lose their life. But I ask you this, if you are so willing to destroy our nation’s history and change the narrative for your beliefs, are you also willing to lose everything you have in the process? It’s an honest question and one only you can answer, it cannot be answered for you. Happy birthday to the United States of America, and God bless you!

Strength and honor for the Kingdom and the King!

Where’d That Come From?

I don’t know how many times I’ve been driving in my truck, listening to some music and drifting off in thought when I arrived at my destination only to realize it wasn’t the place I was aiming for. I remember when my bride was pregnant with our third child Noah, she was plagued with kidney stones and we went to St. John’s hospital so many times my vehicle knew the way almost as if it were on autopilot. I had to physically restrain myself from taking the exit off the highway for years afterwards.

The thing is, in my life, I almost feel as if I’m on autopilot a lot of times when I arrive at something I wasn’t intending to find. I think God uses these times to reveal things to us perhaps we weren’t able to see, or perhaps have blocked from our lives. I know for me, grief is this way. It just kind of sneaks up on you from out of nowhere. And if you’re not familiar with grief, then it can be quite a shocker.

In the past ten years I’ve lost three people who were important to me; my youngest son Noah, my best friend Terry Scott and a mentor, Craig McConnell. I’ve grieved for each of them, but sometimes I don’t think we’ve fully reached the closure we need in order to continue on in life for years and years. The only thing I know about grief is it’s a real pain in the butt. I mean it may help us in the long run, but I’m all about getting things done, so I want my grief to fit into this mold; three weeks and we can move on. But unfortunately this doesn’t seem to be the case.

I was having dinner with my bride and friend Linda a few weeks ago when this topic came up and I made a statement about losing these three people and how I’ve not completely recovered from it. It just popped out of my mouth in the course of conversation, and truly wasn’t something I have given much thought too. But as I thought about the comment, some things began to fall into place. Not bad things mind you, but situations and the way I’ve been handling things for the past several years.

When something happens in our lives, we either enter into it or we pull back and wall it off. A lot of these things we wall off because of the pain or discomfort they cause us. And who wants to be put into a place of discomfort? So we wall off that area which brings with it things we may not want to directly deal with, sometimes it’s even an unconscious decision our soul makes which we aren’t truly aware of. I think this is why it takes grief so long to get out of our system.

When my youngest son committed suicide in 2010, to say I was shocked is an understatement. But I leaned into the presence of God and stood strong for my family, after all, someone had to. I’m not saying my family wasn’t strong, they were and thankfully we were all there for one another. I remember the first night lying in bed when the tears overtook my ability to hold them back. My bride’s hand on my shoulder and her softly praying for me helped so much. And for the next few weeks I was able to step back and see from the outside in, I thank God for that ability.

As write this, I do so in the room where my youngest son took his life. I transformed this place into a place where I could write words of healing and freedom to help others. This is my call, my passion and everything to me. And to do so in this room helps me to reconcile the loss of Noah, even though there’s hardly a day which goes by I don’t think about him and the man he would have been. I’m not sure it’s actually grief still, but his presence is there with me every day.

One of my mentors in becoming a more true and authentic man of God was Craig McConnell of Ransomed Heart Ministries. Even though I had only interacted with him once at a men’s weekend in Colorado, the words he shared through his blogs were like food to a starving man for me. Whenever he spoke through a podcast or video or his all too few blogs it was as if he “got” me. I understood where he was coming from and it appeared he knew me as well.

When Noah died, I reached out to the Ransomed Heart community of men I knew for prayer, and it was Craig who actually found the phone number for my business and left a voice message for me. To this day, it brings tears to my eyes when I think about it. When Craig contracted cancer it was a shock but I knew God and believed he was going to kick it. After many years of fighting it, he seemed to be on the mend, when things took a turn for the worse and the cancer aggressively took him out in a few weeks. I remember watching the memorial service online and mourning the loss of this man who had helped so many.

Within a few months of Craig’s death, my best friend Terry died unexpectedly while on a mission trip overseas. I think of him often, because you see Terry and I had this love of pop culture which we shared with each other; almost daily. We were especially fond of living out what we called “Seinfeld Moments”; these are little things we would experience which had been the subject of a Seinfeld television episode, and would text each other immediately when they happened. One of my favorites was the time we were in Hong Kong on a trip and saw an actual Kenny Roger’s Roasters restaurant. We stood in front of that sign hollering, “Kenny!” as loud as we could while people looked on. I’ve always laughed at that moment.

Grief for Terry reared it’s ugly head a few months ago, when my phone crapped out and I lost a voice mail Terry had left me on a day I was having a really difficult time. I had gotten in a habit of going back to that voice mail message when things were difficult in my life and losing it was just like losing him all over again. It was a kick to the gut, and this time I felt even more alone. Grief for the loss of my best friend is still pretty fresh and every time I see a show he would have enjoyed it makes me realize how alone I am.

Maybe you have faced grief in your time on this planet, and perhaps you’ve had better luck with it than I have, but if not, understand this one thing, when something causes it to show up, don’t add bricks to the wall, ask God what He’s wanting to do with it and move through it. As a motivational poster I saw stated, don’t run from the storm, your victory is on the other side of it. Grief is a difficult landscape to navigate to be sure, but if we will allow the Holy Spirit to work through those difficult times, we will still miss those we’ve lost, but we will end up better people able to help others who are on the same journey we’ve taken.

For the Kingdom and the King, shalom!

I Was Bullied For Liking Star Wars

 
I was on a mission trip in the Philippines for the past 2 weeks and while there we traveled to the island of Marinduque. As I sat on the beach I scanned the horizon and saw this building. 

I immediately thought it looked like the little droid BB8 from the new Star Wars movies and quickly snapped a picture anxious to share it on a Star Wars fan site on Facebook that I follow. 


I pointed it out to my wife and friend Linda and explained what I saw. I was met with the typical response I usually get from my wife and friends; disinterest. Not because they are mean, it’s just they aren’t Star Wars fans like me. So their reaction to what I had found wasn’t surprising or upsetting to me, I’m actually used to this from people who just casually watch these movies.


When we got back to the hotel and WiFi, I eagerly posted my picture with the caption “Only Star Wars Fans Will See It” and waited for my fellow fans to enjoy what I was sharing. I checked my post a little while later and found that most of the people who had posted didn’t see what I saw. I thought that was odd, but kept going back to see what others were saying about my picture.


I was shocked to say the least, when I saw mean things being posted about me in the comments section. Several people were downright ugly about it, calling my fandom into question. I’ve been a fan since 1977 and a big one at that. To be told I shouldn’t share anything, and maybe rethink being a fan because obviously I wasn’t, was very hurtful.

I haven’t been the victim of bullying since I was in Junior High, (I’m 55 now) but it hurt, and quite a bit. Now as I said, I’ve grown accustom to my wife and friends shrugging their shoulders when I talk about Star Wars, but this was a fan site with tens of thousands of fans of the franchise. To say I was not expecting to be vilified was an understatement. It actually felt like I’d taken a punch to the gut.


As I sat there stunned into silence, I didn’t know exactly what to do. I mean these were supposed to be people like me; fans of the most awesome sci-fi story ever told. And yet, I felt as if I were an outcast, a nobody, someone who just didn’t belong. I posted about how I felt, and that it was uncalled for to treat a fellow fan this way, saying goodbye and unfollowing that account. It was better for me if I just didn’t see what anyone else said; good or bad at this point, because my feelings were hurt.

Later, as I was waiting to speak to a group of students, I was telling my wife and Linda about how I had gotten an idea of what I was going to talk about because of the way I was treated about the picture, they laughed. I had to explain, with tears in my eyes about how much it had hurt me to have been bullied like that. I told them, I was used to people who didn’t like the franchise as much as me acting as if it didn’t matter, but to have been so excited to share my love of Star Wars with other Star Wars fans and then be shot down like that was devastating.

I’m sure this is nothing to other people, but to me it was a difficult day to say the least. I know bullying happens every day, I’m sure at some point in my life I’ve even probably been seen as the bully. All I know is it was hurtful and there was no reason for people to say the things they had said. Like my mother always taught me, “If you can’t say something good, then don’t say anything at all.” This hasn’t hurt my love of Star Wars, there is nothing that will ever change that, it has been too important to me for too long, but I will always remember the day I was ridiculed by other fans and bullied and will do my best to never be like that to anyone, because it doesn’t feel good.

If you have been the victim of bullying and don’t know who to talk to, click this link https://www.cybersmile.org/advice-help/category/who-to-call there is someone there who will help you out. And if you love something, don’t let anyone ever tell you how you are supposed to feel about that, if you love it, then love it with all your heart.

For the Kingdom, and the King!


“May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.” ~ Tolkien

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I (Jesus) have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” ~ John 10:10

If I was to to tell you I had a life verse, this would be it. For as long as I can remember any time I saw the numbers 10:10 on a digital clock, ClockI would say this passage out loud. And it was these very words of Jesus which held despair and darkness at bay on the worst day of my life. I call this passage a defining Scripture; one which helps you know what is going on in your life at any given moment. It’s pretty simple too; if you have been stolen from, there is death or destruction in your life, then it is from the thief, aka the devil. If your life is rich and full, then it comes from Jesus. John 10:10 shows you who is behind every situation you face in life.

On April 6, 2010 my youngest son Noah in a moment of weakness took his own life. There were no warning signs, he made a decision (albeit a dumb one) and ended his life. In the hours following Noah’s death, I was faced with a choice; to turn from God or towards Him. It was during this time, standing by the trampoline my kids had spent countless hours on, I began to question God. As my questioning turned quickly into anger, I began a downward spiral into an abyss of darkness I had never before experienced. Doubt, confusion and anger began to fill my mind. It was just then as my thoughts were becoming darker, that a sliver of light broke through and I snapped out of it.

Recognizing the voice of God in my spirit, He brought John 10:10 back to my mind. As I stood there in my pain pondering it, the realization came to me about who was actually to blame for my son’s death; it was the devil and not God. As the light of this knowledge flooded my mind pushing back the dark thoughts of the enemy I stood up straighter and thanked God for saving me in that instant. From that moment on I was able to move forward and lead my family down the path towards recovery in the way He wanted. It’s taken years for my family to move from tragedy to healing but we would never had made it this far without God’s Word guiding us.

I’m nothing special, God doesn’t like me better than you, He wants to use Scripture the same way in your life, but you have to want it. You can do it, all you have to do is start reading the Bible, putting His Word into your heart. Had I not quoted John 10:10 to myself for so many years, I would never have been able to hear God speak it to me so clearly when it really mattered. You can do it, don’t wait, get into the Bible today and see how far God takes you!

Living in a story much larger than my own…won’t you join me? You Can Do It!

 

The Uncharted Waters Of My Wife’s Soul Terrifies Me

It was our monthly John Wayne movie night, and as I sat watching “The Cowboys” with some of the guys from my church, my phone rang.  Answering it, I heard my wife sobbing as she asked me to hurry home because our little dog Midge had been carried away by an owl.

Being the man in charge, I asked one of my friends to finish the evening for me and to lock the church when the movie ended.  My kids were babysitting the kids of some of the men watching the movie, and I went to tell them what had happened before leaving to go be with their mom.

This night came a few months after the death of our youngest son, and the loss of Midge was more than my bride could bear at the moment.  As I entered the living room, Cheryl was in tears, and quite beside herself.  I did my best to console her, not really knowing what to do, I hugged her, telling her it would be alright, but my words felt hollow and ineffective.  I felt I should’ve done more, but didn’t have a clue what it should’ve been.

Truthfully, I’ve felt this way on more than one occasion.  For all the years we’ve been married, I still don’t know how to respond to my wife when she is upset.  My initial inkling is to get in there, identify the problem and fix it.  But when I do this, it usually makes matters worse.

There is a term in sailing called “uncharted waters”; which just means an area which has not been recorded, or located on a map, or plan.  There is an area in women’s souls which this perfectly describes.  It’s this need for you to hear what she says, listening to her heart and supporting her without trying to fix anything.  And navigating these waters can be treacherous and scary, regardless of how many times we enter them.

I’ve had this discussion while leading small groups over the years, and all of the ladies I’ve talked to have told me the same thing; we don’t want our husbands to fix our problems, we just want them to be present and to listen.  Jason Headley made a great video which illustrates what I’m saying, check it out:

It’s Not About The Nail

Believe me; this one thing about women baffles me.  I mean I really have no clue about understanding this process they go through, nor why it means so much for me to just listen.  For me, I want to isolate the problem, and then fix it.  I am learning however, regardless of how I think the situation should be resolved, now I try to just keep my mouth shut and let Cheryl talk, really listening to what she is saying.

The bottom line here is if something is important to her, then it should be important to me.  Even if I don’t understand why it’s important, it’s her heart I’m trying to care for, and if this means listening to her talk about the nail and not trying to figure out how to fix it, then so be it.

Really guys, if we are going to love our brides the way they need us to, we have to go into these uncharted waters from time to time, even if it terrifies us.

Living an honest and transparent life…