Live like we are dying…

Dad has been gone for a while now. Most days I recall something he said, or something I learned from him. I am grateful for the time he was here.

The other day I heard that old country song… live like you are dying. It got me thinking about something that happened back then.

One day in the midst of his battle I remember coming home and just kneeling beside dad’s chair. It was a lazy boy recliner and he spent a lot of time reading his bible and resting in it. I laid across him sideways and wrapped my arms around his frail body. My head rested on his stomach as his hand ran through my hair.

Neither of us said a word. Just silence. It was a beautiful moment.

I think sometimes when you hug someone you love and just close your eyes and let go… you find a place of rest. If only for a moment. It was peaceful.

In that place…nothing else mattered. All the petty squabbles and disagreements we had ever had tumbled away into the abyss. In this moment they had zero significance in the face of the times ahead. I do not recall if that hug lasted for a minute, or an hour, or even more. But I do remember not wanting to let go. I wanted to stay in that place.

To disappear inside of it.

Two souls ministering to each other in this time of great distress. The pretense of life had been shed and broken down to this one simple act.

I am grateful now for those moments God allowed us to have. I know that It was His plan, and one glorious day I will get to see my dad again. It is ok, really. This post is not meant to be discrouraging… quite the contrary.

The things we have learned and felt are the tools for our journey.

And instead of running from our pains and hurts I believe God wants us to face them. To work through them. I believe that is why I write about my dad so often.

A wise man once told me…there are only two things that will survive this earth. The word of God and the souls of men.

Everything else goes away.

So what are we doing about those two things?? Are we telling others about God? Are we nurturing the souls of other’s?? Because those are the only two things that really matter. And the only two things that will live on in eternity.

I know we all have jobs. We have to provide for our families. But I wonder how life would look today if we all just went out and lived like there was no tomorrow? What if we went out and loved each other that recklessly?

If we earnestly sought out those moments where nothing else mattered. Places of rest where our souls delighted. Where time stood still even if it was just for a second.

I think that love without fear could conquer the world, if only we would let it. Why do we wait till tomorrow to plan to show the light we could give today? Why do we withhold our true feelings with others when things could change in a matter of moments? Oh the games we play as life slides right through our fingers…

We hold grudges when in the midst of them is only heartache and pain.

I say today we should all go out and live like we are dying…

Because we are.

Them…

Them…

This post is for Christians. I graciously beg you to consider what I am about to say. Quit letting “them” dictate your world.

I see so much division and strife.

Dear Christian, why would you expect any less? Does not the Bible tell us that it would be this way?

A few years back Summer and I were in counseling. Vic Smith told me something that has stuck with me even until this day.

It is all just a test. It is only a test.

So now, when I encounter a situation that makes me want to run and hide… Or one that causes me great anxiety I filter it through that advice.

This life is my test, and yours. God is testing us to see if we really believe what it is that we say. If we can follow His commandments concerning this place.

The idea of “them” fuels us. It feeds our anger and our divisiveness. But who are “they” and “them”? It is the ones we see in our screens. Feeding us information about what is wrong and is right. When we have that set-in place already. The Bible is supposed to be our guide and nothing else.

We cannot control the things that happen for the most part. But we can control how we react.

Are we running to God?
Are we seeking His face in our times of trouble?
Are we spending hours on FB on useless debates and talking points? (Let him who is without sin cast the first stone right…we have all done it)

And as Christians we need to understand one imperative truth about skin color.

Eternity will make racism folly. The color of our skin in heaven will be trivial. In our glorified bodies and beholding the wisdom of God it will seem like such a minute thing. As we spend eons of time together whatever race we were will become irrelevant.

Why would I ever seek to offend someone I will be spending eternity with??

So for us, Christians. We must collectively quit weighing matters by the races of man, and the fallen nature of the world.

And focus on us. And our behavior. How are we reacting in these times of trouble? Are we listening to the world that is dying and going to hell all around us?? Or are we busy trying to prove “points” that have no biblical truth to them or that have no power to save.

The world needs Jesus now more than ever.

And when we stand before the judgement seat of Christ we will answer to and for how we handled every situation. We will be called out on whether we spread the good news of the gospel, or the bad news of this fallen world.

So let us be beacons of light and hope during these difficult times. Let us extend our arms lovingly to all our neighbors. Let us do the next right thing in the eyes of the Lord when it comes to matter of this world.

And in the end.. we must realize. It’s all just a test. This is only a test.

Be angry and sin not… (repost 2020)

Watching social media over the last few days has been disheartening. Division abounds even amongst believers. Life seems harder than ever… even though we have been blessed beyond measure.

But the Bible tells us it would be so. In the end men would be lovers of themselves more so than God.

You have to be a lover of yourself to sit with your knee on someone’s neck for nine minutes. You have to feel that you are better than them for some reason. Whether that be racial, political, or cultural.

Whatever the case it is the spirit of anti-Christ. There is one name that is above all names. That is Jesus Christ. It is the anti-Christ spirit (Satan) that works in the hearts of men and in the world today. That makes them aspire to be a god like. (Isaiah 14- I will be like the most high) to feel like they have power over others to do and treat them as they wish.

I do not have the vantage point of growing up as a person of a different color or nationality. So it is hard to say anything without appearing to be virtue-signaling, or pandering. That is not my heart.

We are all called to walk different walks. And I do not know what it’s like to walk in your shoes.

But I do know that social change will only come through a great revival. Without God there is no reason for man to “do better”

Without God there is no hope.

He is the only one capable of changing the hearts of men. I know that because He changed mine. He changed my way of thinking. It is only through Him that these things are possible.

And if you are a Christian I charge you to read this verse very carefully.

Ephesians 4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

We have a right to be angry at injustice.
We do not have the right to sin because of it. We still must hold our ground and our position, because of our position in Christ.

We must continue to humble ourselves and seek out answers God’s way. Then and only then will we see an effective change in the hearts of men.

Until then… we will continue to see evil seep and leak out of every pore of creation. The curse of sin is in full swing. The devils time is short and he knows it. He will use every agent he has to bring about discord among the brethren.

So today I urge you…be angry, and sin not. Find a positive way to use this senseless tragedy as an agent of change for this world, and ultimately… for the next one as well.

The walk of life…

As we were ordering our food the other night I noticed a guy in a wheelchair working at chick fila. He brought us our food with a smile. I said thank you and he went on his way.

It reminded me of a guy I used to know in the car business. He had cerebral palsy and used either a wheelchair or arm crutches every where he went.

One night my dad pulled me to the side, and said son count your blessings. This guy has to deal with his disability every day. You take your life, and your physical health for granted.

At the time what he said didnt even make a dent on me.

But it was not long after that my dad got the news of his cancer. A stage four diagnosis right off the bat. I am certain it had been brewing inside of him for quite some time. Probably for years.

After my dad was gone I would see that guy at the auctions. Everytime I saw him I remembered that conversation we had that night so many years before. To be honest in some weird way it would make me angry.

Like some trigger in my mind.

You were the weak one and he was the strong. Now he is gone. And you are still here. Many times I would see him and think on that night.

Later in life and after I became a Christian, I saw him one night at Blue Ridge auto auction. I walked over to him and talked to him about my dad, and about his health, and just general stuff. He said you know we are all just human with our own set of problems to overcome. No one truly knows the experience of another human being.

We all walk alone.

On the way home that night I had a thought that has stuck with me ever since. I will never “look down” on anyone. Not even with “good intentions” will I judge someone else’s walk. I am certain my dad meant nothing by his comment. I am certain he was only trying to motivate me to be more grateful.

But since that day when I pass by someone in a wheelchair or disability I will smile, and shake their hand, and be as nice as I am to anyone else.

But I will not treat them any differently, or with more or less respect than anyone else. They are on their walk and I am on mine.

And who knows…it might be them who are here one day long after I am gone.

Ecclesiastes 5: 8-9

8 If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they.
9 Moreover the profit of the earth is for all: the king himself is served by the field.

The Short Stop…

I think I was about twelve years old when the idea of my own mortality hit me. And it was a thought like I had never had before. An unwanted intruder onto the peace of my heart that came late one night. It was a thought that stole a part of my innocence and ushered in the age of accountability.

One day you will not be here anymore.

One day you will die.

And then my flesh cried out to me… will anyone 100 years from now even know your name?

It was a deep sinking feeling that came over me. An inception of a thought so deep that I believe it has ran its course in my heart even up until this day.

Will they remember your name?

A thought born of flesh, pertaining to flesh.

In my teenage years I began to search for things that made me stand out. How can you make a name for yourself if you don’t stand out?? So I looked to sports and extra curricular activities. I was a decent golfer, but I wasn’t even the best player in my group. So there wasn’t much future there.

But pool… It was different. It gave me outside validation I did not have to ask for. I did not have to convince myself I was good. Everyone around me told me so.

I still remember the first time one of the old timers at the Cue Club took me to the side. He said, “Son you are going to be a world-beater one day.” I think I was about seventeen at the time.

I liked how that felt.

Having a gift that no one else around me seemed to have. It made me stand out. I thought at the time… this is the thing. This will be the thing that they remember me for. I will carry this as far as I can go.

Yes I loved the game. But on a deeper level it was more about the inception of that thought. Making my mark on this world. I thought at the time… this is my best shot at making them remember my name.

As I aged and moved from the Cartersville area down to Atlanta, I began to get more and more validation. My circle grew as I explored and tested my skills against those in bigger and better places.

Yet as I got nearer and nearer the top of the food chain in the pool world I was hit with a real world truth. My talent was not quite good enough. My mark faded, and over the years my pool career did also. Being the best in town or even being one the best in Georgia wasn’t enough to make a dent on the world stage. In the end I was labeled a short-stop. Or one who almost had enough talent. I wasn’t quite there.

At this point in my life no one barely remembers me playing pool at all. And that is fine. This post isn’t about that life.

It’s about the thoughts of a scared little boy. That inception of a thought that I have carried for most of my life.

After I got saved God laid it on my heart to start writing devotions on my wall. Usually in the mornings after I read my Bible I will write. Sometimes I share, others I do not.

Last week I posted a picture of a fortune cookie and it said something about writing a book. Most people that know me well enough realize I was just poking fun at myself. Of course I would like to write books one day, but who knows how and when that could ever happen. But at the same time it got me thinking and examining the motives of my own heart. And that is what led to this post.

Why do you write?
Why do you share?
Are you simply still trying to make a mark in this world??
Are you simply still looking for validation only your Father in heaven can give?

It’s funny because Saturday morning I was praying in the shower when God hit me with something pretty profound. He said why do you worry so much about what you are leaving behind? Why are you not focused on what lies ahead? I then felt the Holy Spirit whisper in my ear..

“The people you meet in heaven because of the exercise of your gifts will forever outweigh the remnants of what you have left behind while on this earth. Write a book, do not write a book. But keep in mind the deepest reasons for why you do so.”

Maybe my writing, like my pool career will never be good enough to make it to the top. Maybe I am a short-stop writer, lol. Really it’s ok. God has blessed me with way more than I ever deserved. The grace He has shown me through my spiritual growth is undeniable.

But what I do think is more important than any of that is motive.

I know how deceitfully wicked my heart can be. I have been at the center of the stage with all eyes focused on me. I know the allure and intoxicating feel of people “knowing your name”.

I know what it feels like to seek attention of others to validate what you are doing.

But my focus as a Christian should always be to bring attention to the Father. To bring glory to my savior Jesus Christ and all He has done. It is a fine line between proclaiming Christ and proclaiming oneself.

My heart is to navigate it nobly.

1000 Years on the river Jordan…

I was praying the other day and thinking on some things when something struck me. Genuinely in my heart there are people that I wish I got to spend more time with. People that have moved on out of my life, and people that I have moved on from. People that simply run in different circles.

Sometimes I miss them.

As I sat in silence I felt God ask me… why?? Are you not certain I have you where I want you?

And then He opened up a thought that I had never considered. He said when you get to heaven, why don’t you spend 1000 years on the banks of the river Jordan getting to know __? (there are many on my mind today, to list one would detract from the others)

He said and when you are there, there will be no awkward silences.
There will be no wondering if you are saying or doing the right thing.
Just pure fellowship and desire to fully know one another.
There you will be known as you are known here, but so much more. Sitting on the banks of the river Jordan with a cool breeze in your hair and not a care in the world.

You will be home.

When we think about it, the kingdom of heaven is a vast place in an inconceivable amount of time. We cannot fully fathom it. I mean how do you perceive perfection in an imperfect mind?

But if we can try to look at our lives from an eternal perspective we can set things straight about who we are and what we are called to do. The mission of telling the world about Jesus Christ has to trump our feelings about where we are in the world in this moment. About who has been called to another ministry. Or why they left. Or why you left.

Of course as Christians we should seek fellowship with other believers.
We should seek times of encouragement. We should seek strong ties.
We need our brothers and sisters to lean on and lift us up!!

Yet I believe a lot of us carry this weight or guilt when we get called away, or when they get called away from us. Our emotions get the best of us.

But it should not be this way. We should not grieve temporary assignments when we have God’s assurance that we will all be in His permanent residence one day.

So let us not think on the things that grieve us about our mission, yet let us look at our lives through the spectrum of eternity and what is to come.

1 Corinthians 13:12

12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Jesus… king of all time zones

Just a book??

I get in a lot of conversations about the Bible. Reasoning with people who are non believers helps me study about my beliefs and strengthen my faith by studying the Word of God. As Christians we should not shy away from conversations simply because they make us uncomfortable. We should try our best to rely on the Holy Spirit to say what needs to be said. It should never be about “winning arguments” though.

And I realize there are things about faith I can never put into words. Or explain. Because not everything that God does is rational to the human mind.

But there are some things that you see in the word that make you think wow!! GOD had it right way before man ever did.

At the end of the book of Matthew, written some 2000 years ago, Jesus tells us that He will return to the earth one day.

Matthew 24: 27

27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

So it will be instantaneous. It will happen as a surprise and catch many “off guard” so to speak. Let’s read further about how it will happen…

Luke 17: 34-36

34 I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.
35 Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
36 Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

So where am I going with all this??

Jesus comes back in an instant.

Three different sets of people are talked about here and they are all in different parts of their day. Some are asleep. Some are grinding their morning meal, and others are out working in the field.

Who told the writers of Matthew and Luke that there was a thing such as time zones 2000 years ago?? Would not everybody from that time period have agreed that the world was flat and we were all under the sun at the same time? Without the technology that was yet to be developed how could they understand that the people of the earth were not all experiencing time, at the same time??

Who told the writer that something could happen in an instant yet affect people differently because of where they were situated on the earth???

Jesus God did… through Jesus’ own words!

The problem with being Lot…

There are many interesting accounts of human history in the Bible. It is full of fallen men and how they lived their lives. Most are simply a warning to us. And I believe to show us how little the heart of man has changed throughout time.

These verses tell us a lot, about Lot…

Genesis 13:10,12

10 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.

12 Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.

One of the first thing’s the Bible tells us about Lot, was that he “lifted his eyes up.”

The pride of life.. what he saw, he wanted. And then the Bible tells us, He pitched his tent toward Sodom.

In modern day terms that would be like saying, he wanted to be close, “to the action”.

Sodom was a happening place! But it was here that this man of faith lost everything. Because eventually this place drew him in, and nullified his witness.

By the time it got bad enough for God to destroy the place, Lot had made peace with it. He was perfectly happy living there. As a matter of fact when the angels came the Bible tells us that Lot was waiting for them at the gate of the city.

You think he was really concerned about God’s mission?? Or was he preoccupied with preserving his own way of life?

He told the angels of the Lord that it wasn’t as bad as they thought. Which immediately was proven false as the people’s unbridled sin crashed down around them. The men of the city had rushed to his door to demand relations with the Angels of the Lord.

Lot’s prescription for this?? He decided to offer up his two daughters instead.

How disgusting. How could he??

But I believe it was for a different purpose than most think. It had nothing to do with their value as women or daughters.

Even as a lukewarm believer he knew who the Angels were. He knew the mission they were on. They were here to destroy the city. His faith had hit an intersection with his lifestyle. And this was the wreck that had ensued.

I believe he was so enamored by his way of life that he would have bartered anything to preserve it.

In the world today, we are living in the new Sodom. And internet and tv are the new Gomorrah. We make peace with them as we quietly offer up our sons and daughters to preserve our way of life. To not “rock the boat” when we see something not quite right.

How many times have we clicked or gone to, or allowed our children to watch things we know they shouldn’t??

I mean that was a great movie!! But that one part.. I mean why did they put it in there? Simple.

To condition you.
To test you.
To see if you would allow those little eyes and ears you say you worry so much about to partake in it.

We will stand in line for hours for a flu shot or a physical need. And then hand our children supercomputers and never bat an eye. Never think about what they are looking at.

It’s sodom.. Inching in closer to our most prized possessions. Satan is a conquerer who moves a millimeter at a time. He knows my soul is secure but if he can lull me to sleep my children will be the next best thing.

Yes, I realize there is grace!! But I find myself being too good a lawyer with God these days. So occupied by my own agenda that grace gets cheapened and trampled underfoot.

We are always justifying ourselves and our ways before Him.

I believe one day we will be so close to Sodom that our children won’t be able to see the difference between us and them. And then in one solemn moment the answer will occur to them… Why be us (Christian’s) at all??

I realize this is a harsh message. But in my opinion the American Christian has made peace with this world, and we are serving our children up to it on a silver platter.

The symptoms will keep getting worse until we either do something, or fade out into the sunset. Face it, no one looks forward to heaven. We are all to busy wrapped up in our lives down here.

We read about Lot and wonder how could he…As we sit and do the same thing on a different level.

So what is the problem with being Lot??

Nothing…. for him.

No Expectations…

I have been taking some discipleship courses online. Something one of the instructors said has been rolling around in my gut for a few days now. He said, “We are all called to be servants of Christ… and a servant has no expectations.”

On the surface it seems to be a stark contrast of… well God has a wonderful plan for your life! Or any of the other common American Christianity myths we seem to try to sell these days.

If I look back at a lot of the heartbreak of my life. Some would boil down to this simple thing. Me… placing a load of expectations on someone. Only to have the rug pulled out in front of me, or to be let down in some way. But why?? Because I had placed a host of unrealistic expectations on them.

At times without them even knowing it!

And it’s not that we shouldn’t hold people accountable. By all means yes… let’s all be accountable and work together for the good of Christ!!

But we cannot let our trust, nor our expectations of our fellow man surpass the trust we have in Jesus Christ. Or the trust we have in HIS Word.

People will let you down.

People will hurt you.

But as a Christian your expectations of them are not to be source of your strength or happiness. If they fall or let you down…go to them with a servants heart. Be close enough to the people around you that they will want to talk to you and open up about their problems.

And I think the funny thing is… if we can learn to take the load off those around us with all our expectations, instead of letting us down all the time they may start to surprise us.

We may start to see all the ways that they shine.

So keep low expectations of your fellow man, and high expectations on Christ. He alone is the supplier of the contentment we can find in our lives here on earth.

He alone is the source of our strength and happiness.

2 Corinthians 3:4-6

4 And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward:
5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;
6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life

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