Month: November 2012

Write On

Sometimes you just can’t win. 

Some well-meaning friends have taken a portion of their time recently to provide some insight into my writing.  It’s not that I am not appreciative of the input.  Like everyone else I like to be liked. 

Some encouraged me to write the same way I have been writing for the past few years.  Short illustrations of what God is doing in my life and trying to be an encourage people to live for Christ.  They tell me to write for the sake of others who are facing similar struggles and goals for their life. 

Others feel that I write too much about my relationship with Jesus Christ.  Even a few asked me to spare them the gruesome details of the failures in my life. They say,  “Don’t hang out your dirty laundry for all to see.”  They tell me that it is self-serving and it shows that I have not truly moved on in life.

Honestly, I don’t feel that I’m doing that.  But what do I know?

So, who do I listen to? 

I see the casualties in the blogosphere.  Dead, unfinished, incompleted blogs that were started with good intentions.  People who get the idea that they want to start a blog and start writing.  Some with the delusional idea that they even want to write a book.  It starts with the premise that they believe they have something to say, something that will be a help and will be an encouragement to another person.  It is done with all the vigor and excitement that they can muster.  The ideas are just flying all over the place. They sit down and empty themselves into a post and when that first post is revised a 1,000 times they finally post it and in many examples it usually isn’t that bad.  

Then the problem starts.  It doesn’t take them long to realize that writing is hard.  They spent so much emotion and personal information in that first post that they find,as they sit at the computer, they are staring at an empty page.   If they are lucky, they may post a few more and then it happens.  They quit. 

As it does for the vast majority of those that start a blog it sits empty and eventually deleted because of inactivity.  It is like the one-hit wonder of a rock band.  They get one good song and they can’t seem to get past it and eventually the creativity is just a rehash of the original song.  They all just start sounding the same. 

If anything I struggle with that.  I am open to the fact that my writings may be repetitious on some level.  I have fallen in to the cycle of being torn between wanting to quit or being compelled to continue on.  Then just about the time I am about to quit, I ask myself,Have I caused others undue heartache and pain through my actions in this life?”   Without a doubt!  Am I pleased about that?  Absolutely not!  “Do I want to correct the pain I caused others in this life?”  Of course! I have found that the only avenue I have to try to make these crooked paths I once walked straight again is to write.

There is no doubt that my failure in my life is something that is still not completely healed.  The pain of it sits just under the scar that I carry on my heart.  Sometimes the fog of life only lifts long enough to allow me to see the face of God, the Scriptures He left to be our lifeline or even the outstretched hands of family and friends.  I am thankful for those times when I see Christ so clearly but does one’s heart or spirit ever become truly immune and insensitive to heartache?  Immune in a sense but the pain still persists.

At times I am blinded by circumstances and need God’s healing hand lovingly applied to my scars that I carry.  The evidence of a scar does not always show the true damage that was done in a person’s life.  That scar we carry on our heart and in our life is only an indicator that the healing process has begun.  It is no longer an open wound but is still a long way from being completely healed.  I fear that some of the pain I carry will be with me until the Lord calls me home.

But this I know… in my heart,  I know that for every scar I carry and the pain that sits just below the surface, I am reminded that it is just another opportunity to tell another story.  

At this point in my life, I will listen to these promptings and I will continue to write!

So here I sit, baring my soul.  Some will be blessed by my comments, encouraged to know that they are NOT alone.  Others will be critical that I have been so honest and transparent.  Some will stop reading because all I talk about is my relationship with Jesus Christ.  For those that would stop reading because of my relationship with Jesus Christ I am honestly saddened.  It is not my intent to cause offense.

Because only the sovereign God knows my heart, my struggles, my joys,  my pain, my all. 

He knows why I do what I do. 

In the end, only God will be my judge and for now He wants me to “write on”.

And so I shall…

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What Do You Live For?

“And He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who for their sake died and was raised.”           2 Corinthians 5:15

It is so easy as a Christian to embrace the Gospel, praise God for the message and promise of the Gospel and still miss the full depth of it. And I know that may seem as a huge overstatement but I know that in the different seasons and moments of my life it is true.

I thank God for my salvation, I thank God for reconciling me and changing my reality from an enemy of Christ to a friend of God.

I truly am grateful for that, but at times my flesh and my faith can be so weak, that I can quickly revert to living this life  with my focus on my own desires and plans without much consideration for the price He paid for my sins.  I can quickly put my desires and plans in the center of my world instead of His will and desires for my life.

I must focus on the fact that Christ died not to make much of me, but to make much of Him and of the Father.  I want to make sure that I do not ask for anything from Him.  I want to simply say thank you for all that He has given me.

I must stay focused on the fact that Christ died so that my old life would be crucified thru Him and my new life hidden in Him as well. I must set at the forefront of my mind that Christ died so that I in turn would live for Him.

Living for myself is what was leading me to a road of destruction, living for myself is what caused me to feel empty, living for myself is what open the door for failure, living for myself is what tainted every thing in my life, and yet while I was consumed with that type of living, God demonstrated His love towards me by sending His Son to die on the cross for my sin and for my life.

There is no joy or freedom in living for myself.   Truth and peace is found in being hid in Christ and living for Him and Him alone.

I am praying that God would lead me to not to distort the Gospel, but actually walk in the fullness of it. I pray that His Spirit will continue to illuminate my heart and mind and convict my heart of the times when I put myself in the center of God’s universe instead of His glory.  The Gospel is the good news and it’s purpose is not to promote me, but to promote God and His righteousness. 

So this Thanksgiving and Christmas Season I am challenged to live for Christ in a manner that would bring honor to the Christ that lives in me.  I am indeed thankful for the price He paid on the cross for me and for my sin.  

I am challenged to make sure that everyone I know or come in contact with will see Christ living in me.  I am not here on earth to promote myself but to promote the One that died for me.   I am challenged when I see other believer’s live their life so flippantly as it pertains to being an example of Christ to others.  I am challenged when I see so many people who do not know Christ and live their life with no concern or regard to others.  What about you? Where do you stand at this point in your life?

What are you living for right now?

Are you living for yourself?  Do you know Christ as your personal Savior?  If so…How are you representing Christ and your salvation?  Can others see Christ in you?  What would your children say about your walk with Christ? What would your spouse say about it?  More importantly… What would God say about your relationship with Him if you stood face-to-face before Him?

You may not want to answer these questions too quickly.

 Before you give the typical quick answer, it maybe good just to take a moment to ask God to show you in a real way the honest answers for you to give.  If you do not know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, I have a link in the header of this blog that clearly gives the Plan of Salvation.  If you would like to talk to me directly about any of these issues please feel free to write me at “thelegacybuilder@aol.com”.  I would love to discuss your questions with you.

This holiday season could be the best you have ever experienced if you truly do an evaluation of your life and make things right with Jesus Christ.  My prayers for you as you honestly seek God for the answer to these questions for your life.

The Promise

I am an early morning person.

It is something that I love to do… get up early and just enjoy a quiet time in my life.  When I was younger I could sleep in for hours but now I have changed and it is my favorite time of day.

Often, during this time of year, I am leaving the house while it’s still dark.  As I get to the car, I often look up at the early morning stars with awe.  In the silence of the early morning, while no one watches, I look up and I am amazed with wonder of God’s creation.

Yesterday, I was looking up into the sky in the early morning and saw a bright morning star.  From my research, it is not a star at all but it is Venus and its very bright against the black sky this time of year.

As I drove to work in the morning darkness, only lit by the headlights from a passing car, I  looked up at God’s beautiful handiwork.  This planet / star was so bright and in focus.  It was if I could reach up and touch it.  As I looked upon the wonder of God’s creation, I realized the beauty that I see in His creation is not just a random, “by chance” happening.  It was designed by intent and with purpose.  God focused on the job when He created the Universe.  He had a plan and He carried that plan out and we see the wonder of the stars in the morning light.

This reminded of  something that I am working on.  Something that is going to be one of the hardest things I have ever done.  Something that is going to require me to work harder at and focus on than I have for anything for a long time.  I have a plan and I am focused on the goal and the hard work it will take.  I am not ready to announce what I am doing  just yet but it will be a radical change in my life.  It will change everything and make many things right in my life.

My life is an example of caution… because I know what it is to lose focus on what is important in life.  I know how easy it was for me to lose focus when I was younger. I have to say that during those periods of my life I paid a serious price for my lack of concentration.  Times when I took my eyes off the those things that are so important.  God has given me the ability to stay focused as I have grown older and have grown in His grace.

Like no other time in my life I am in a place where the important things are so clear and in focus.   Sometimes in your walk with God your feelings are intense.  Sometimes they are not.  As I was thinking about this God said look out the window again.  I looked and the sun was breaking through the sky and it was a pale blue. I could not see the morning star anymore.  It was no longer visible.   An entire world blotted out.  

One minute ago it was so clear.  The next moment it was gone.  But I knew it was still there.  It was just covered by another beauty.  It was covered by the morning sun that would shine light on more beauty of God’s creation. 

God’s Word and God’s Love is like that. 

We can believe it even if we don’t see it.  I can look up at the sky in the daytime and even though I can not see the stars or the planets I know they are there.  I can’t see them in the day and if I could they really look really small in the light of the day.  These stars and planets are greater and larger than the earth on which I stand, but the sun and the blue sky hide them from our view.  However make no mistake, they are there as sure as anything.  It is part of God’s plan and part of His promise.  His promise to always be there for us.  In times of strife and trouble we may think we are alone but He is there and will never leave.

The Promise

God never said that He would give you silver or gold
Or that you would never feel the fire or shiver in the cold.
But God did say you’d never walk thru this world alone
And He did say don’t make this world your home.

God never said that fear wouldn’t find you in the night
Or that loneliness was something you’d never have to fight.
But God did say He’d be right there by your side
And He did say I’ll always help you fight.

‘Cause you know God made a promise that He intends to keep.
His grace will be sufficient in your time of need.
God’s love will be the anchor that you can hold on to.
This is the promise, this is the promise He has made to you.

God never said that friends would never turn their backs on you
Or that the world around you wouldn’t see you as a fool.
But God did say like me you’ll surely be despised
And He did say His ways confound the wise.

God didn’t say you’d never taste the bitter kiss of death
Or have to walk thru chilly Jordan to enter into rest.
But God did say He’d be waiting right on the other side
And He did say He’ll dry every tear you’ve cried.

‘Cause you know God made a promise that He’s prepared a place
And someday sooner than you think you’ll see Him face to face.
And you’ll sing with the angels and a countless multitude
This is the promise, this is the promise He’s made to you.

So just keep on walking don’t turn to the left or right
And in the midst of darkness let this be your light.
That hell can’t separate us and you’re gonna make it thru
This is the promise, this is the promise He’s made to you.
Oh, this is the promise, this is the promise God has made to you.

God is faithful.  He is faithful at all times.  It is the witness to a faithful God who holds all things together and witnesses to me each morning that he is unchanging as I look up at the planets and the stars…still in their places…just where they are supposed to be, just where they were the day before.

Your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. – Psalm 36: 4-6

Faithful and true to His promises.  What a great thing to know about God.  Ever the same, showing his power and faithfulness to us by the early morning sky that is always there and whispers in the quiet of the cool morning air that a faithful God is caring for the universe he has made.   He is there with all of us as we make our way through this journey called life.

Thank you, Lord.  I often take your promises and faithfulness for granted, but I’m so grateful for it. Thank you.

Thankful For Life

It’s two weeks to Thanksgiving.  A great time to focus on God’s blessings and provision.  Many immediately think of things, but I would like to focus these two weeks on the more permanent, but often intangible stuff of life.  I don’t talk about material things much because that would mean there might be some who might read these words and think they are not blessed because they don’t have this or that.  So, let’s talk about what we can all celebrate and give thanks for.  Let’s talk about what’s really important!

Today I’m thankful for life!  I’m thankful that God has allowed me to be part of His amazing creation and witness His work around me.  I’m thankful for the life he has given me to enjoy.  I am so appreciative of what God has allowed me be a part of.  I love my life and the ones in it.  Daily there are pains and problems, headaches and backaches, heartaches and forgotten memories, but each day I get to be part of God’s amazing creation and live to see His handiwork.

It’s a great time to be alive!!!

Be Not Afraid

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.

    Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you.

    I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

–  Isaiah 41:10

A friend posted this verse on another site this morning.  It’s always encouraging to be reminded of truth that touches your life in a moment, truth that resonates with your very soul.  This is one of those verses.  

“Don’t be afraid…”  Why not?  And here is God’s reason not to fear, “for I am with you.”  You are not alone. God himself walks with you to comfort you, protect you, to be with you.  That is the most important thing you will read all day- if you are God’s child “He is with you“, you are not alone, it’s not all on you to win the day, beat away the dragons, defeat the enemy.  God is with you.  

Dwell on these four words for a moment… “I Am With You”   How would your day change if you lived like that were true?  

“Don’t be discouraged…”  Why not? Once more, here is God’s reason for this admonition,  “for I am your God.”  I don’t know about you, but discouragement is one of my plagues.  I fight it off frequently.  I don’t think I’ve ever spent a moment to let this truth sink into me that the reason I shouldn’t let discouragement win the day is because God is MY God.  The only God who exists is MY God and the result? I don’t have to be discouraged.  

In the moments that tempt you to fear or discouragement pause and read this passage.  It’s the words of a loving Father calming a distraught child.  It’s the love of a parent holding the broken one sobbing from pain.  It’s the loving hand of the Father reaching out to hold my hand and calm me.  It’s my Father telling me, “It’s ok, I’ll take care of you.”  

What more could we ask of our loving Father?

My Hope is Built on Nothing Less

I am so thankful that this political season is coming to a close.  I am so tired of all the commercials and all of the hype and all of the lies.  It almost makes me not want to vote. 

But I know better.

I’d really love to not care nor talk about politics and focus on what’s really important, like my grandson and how I love the latest  picture of him with food smeared all over his face or a long-winded complaint about the Cleveland Browns or my work schedule for the week. 

I would love to talk about these things…but I can’t.

Because most things in our life are based upon politics.  Politics affect the safety of the food that I bought and is pureed for my grandson.  Politics affect how much time I get to take off work. Politicians decide which roads will be repaired, how much to pay the traffic police to clear up accidents and what kinds of cars are safe for driving in.   Politicians have control over the air quality that I breath and they have control over the resources available to rescue workers if I get in an accident.

To pretend that politics has no role in our lives is to be blind.  Democracies work because everybody gets to have a say in the direction of their country and that direction shapes every aspect of our lives. The person I am today would be very different if I had grown up under different leadership in our country.  There is no me without politics.  There is no social media without politics, because there is no social fabric.

To think we can act like we don’t care who wins this election is to fool yourself.

Not caring seems cool in high school, but twenty years from now, many of you (who didn’t vote) people are working 60 hours a week just to make ends meet may make you re-think your perspective. 

Being vocal about not caring about politics and not voting might garner you some “yeah! I’m so sick of it too!” comments, but politics matter

What kind of a country do you want to live in?  What kind of regulations do you want, what kind of services do you want, what kind of economics do you want, what kind of – everything – do you want?

Being above politics and not voting means that in twenty years, your world will have passed you by and you have nobody to blame but yourself.

So take the responsibility and vote.

Now don’t get me wrong… I do not hang all of my hopes and dreams on who is elected.  Far from it… I am confident of this very thing… That my hope is built upon nothing less than Jesus’ blood and His righteousness.

I am reminded of these words:

“Jesus Christ, is the same yesterday, and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

I love how the Word of God can bring such encouragement and clarity right when we need it.

In 10 words, my heart was gripped with the fact that we serve and worship a God that does not change.

I cannot put my trust into any politician.  They will change…Jesus Christ never changes.

We have a God that is absolutely sufficient in Himself and a God who is never caught unaware, off guard or lacking in anything. The reminder that our Savior, who conquered sin, death, hell and the grave over 2000 years ago, is the same everyday…regardless of how this election turns out.

What a great encouragement for the child of God to know, that we can rest in the faithfulness of our unchanging God.  The outcome of this election will not change God.  I am not sure what you may be facing or what uncertainties may have you feeling trapped in fear, but may the circumstances that you are standing in not overshadow the fact that your God, revealed to you in Christ and in His Word has not, and will not change!

Be encouraged that in a world that continues to change and in a world that is so uncertain, ONE thing never does, and that is Jesus Christ. Take a moment today and celebrate that fact and may the Spirit of our unchanging God awaken us to recognize how awesome our God is. God bless!

May this be your prayer for your life… that your hope is is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and His righteousness.  Now… GO VOTE!!!