Sunday, October 25, 2015

The King of Halloween

Halloween is just a week away. In most of the communities around the country, it is a time to decorate homes with dark and frightening images. Ghosts, witches, skeletons, and monsters are the order of the day. When the sun goes down on October 31st, many people believe the forces of darkness rule the night. They feel evil is at its most powerful, especially at midnight. The common belief is this, God and His righteous angels control the daylight hours, and the devil, with the fallen angels, have dominion over the night. Certain days are thought to be more holy: Good Friday, Easter, Christmas for example, and a day like Halloween is considered the devil's unholy day. If those thoughts are indeed true, than all men, christians included, should fear the night, and walk timidly on Halloween. 
What is the truth? 
Does our Mighty God's power and dominion only manifest itself in the daylight hours. Does our Lord share His rule with the devil? Do we really believe that Jesus' powerful influence is hindered by the hours on a clock? Are there really days of the year that only belong to God, and a day like Halloween is owned by the Enemy? 
What does the Word of Truth say?
In the book of Psalms, the psalmist writes, "EVEN THE DARKNESS IS NOT DARK TO YOU, AND THE NIGHT IS AS BRIGHT AS DAY. DARKNESS AND LIGHT ARE THE SAME TO YOU" (Ps. 139:12)
So, if I am understanding this verse correctly, it means, The Lord God of the Bible, the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, isn't intimidated by any man, or demon. This verse in Psalms is saying, God is King of the day and Lord of the night. This passage is unquestionablely stating that Jesus Christ rules every day on the calendar, and every hour.
It is time for the Body of Christ to march with boldness and fearlessness into the day, and into the night. Our God is as much a King at Midnight on Halloween, then He is at daybreak on Easter Morn. "DAY AND NIGHT ARE THE SAME TO YOU"  
This is what I believe. I believe the forces of darkess should, and do fear the Light. I believe, that our Holy God definitely do not run from the dark.  "THE LIGHT SHINES IN THE DARKNESS, AND THE DARKNESS COULD NOT EXTINGUISH IT" (John 1:5)  
So, if you ask me, that scripture settles it. 
Whether you are worshipping at a Christmas morning church service, or if you find yourself alone at midnight, on a stormy Halloween night.   Your God Reigns in Power! 
"I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD, HE THAT FOLLOWS ME SHALL NOT WALK IN DARKNESS, BUT SHALL HAVE THE LIGHT OF LIFE." (John 8:12)

Friday, October 23, 2015

Herding Cats

For those who have ever heard me preach, you know how much I enjoy using 'expressions' in my sermons. When I am frustrated, one of my more commonly used expressions is this one, "It's like trying to herd cats." Cats are not known for being the most cooperative animals. They tend to be very independent, and like to go their own way, usually scattering in all directions. Felines would not move smoothly along like a herd of cattle. Now try to imagine a herdsman attempting to move a herd of a thousand cats from one place to another. Can you see it? Crazy cats running every which way. Cats going in every direction, except the direction the herdsman wanted them to go.  Pure Chaos!
I'm sure anyone in Church leadership can relate. In the Scriptures, the people of God are often referred to as Sheep. But, more often then not, Christ's disciples act more like cats than sheep, running in every different direction, rather than moving together. It is a daily challenge to corral  independent, opinionated, talented, but busy christian people together. As I said in the beginning, it can be frustrating being a leader. If I had lived Two Thousand years ago, and a man had come up with the idea of the Church, and its success would be dependent on people working in unity together, I would have cynically said, "It will never work. People!, working unselfishly together? No Way!"  It would be as successful as trying to herd cats.
But, It was not a man's idea. It was God's.
The work of the Kingdom, and the success of the Church, is not totally dependent on Man. Jesus is the Good Shepherd. "I AM the Good Shepherd, and the sheep hear My voice... and they follow Me."
(John 10:1-4)         He knows how to herd cats. Thank God.
Two Thousand years later, the Church has reached every corner of the globe, and billions of people, people of every tongue and nation, know His story.  He definitely knows how to get 'cats' working together and moving in the same direction.
Christ proclaimed, "I will build My Church, and the gates of hell will not stop it."  (Matt. 16:18)
And crazy cats can't stop it either.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Lessons in a Leaf Pile

I have always had a vivid imagination, even as a young child. I can remember one occasion in particular, when I was around 8 years old. On that day, I really let my imagination run wild. Behind my house was a very large open field. It was a late autumn Saturday afternoon, and no kids were around to play with. The trees were losing their leaves in abundance, and the wind was blowing pretty strong. Hundreds of brown, yellow and red leaves were swirling and rolling across the ground. Most of the leaves were gathering in piles against the fences at the edge of the lot. As I watched this beautiful sight, I noticed that many leaves had become stuck, or entangled on rocks, or debris as they blew along the ground. Like I said, there were no friends outside to play with, so I decided to invent a solitary game. In my mind, I imagined that all the leaves were consciously trying to reach the fence rows. It was the goal and desire of each leaf to get to the fence line, and pile up there for a long winter's sleep. Therefore, It became my mission to release all the entangled leaves, and help them join their friends at the end of the field. Sounds pretty silly doesn't it? Well, I had a blast.
 I ran to and fro setting leaves free. If the wind was not blowing hard enough, I even helped individual leaves, by kicking them along until they reached their destination. I was out there for hours. To anyone watching me from their window, They must have thought,  "Look at that crazy kid out there. He must be nuts." Nope, I wasn't nuts, just an 8 year old boy having fun. Ok, maybe CRAZY fun.
I think it is important to tell you what I believe was at the core of my game those many years ago. Although, I might not have realized it back then. Deep inside, I think what I was feeling was this. Everything continues to have purpose, even when it seems like its usefulness is now over. Sometimes we just need a push to remind us. Even as a child, I never liked to think, that when leaves turn brown and fall off the trees, that there purpose has ended, and they are no longer important or useful. In my silly game, I imagined that when Spring returned, all those leaves would now go back to their tree homes and turn green again. They just needed to rest by the fence for a season.
For us as Christians, there is not retirement. There is never a season when we become useless and without purpose. Yes, there are different seasons in our service to the Lord. And yes, there are times for a momentary rest, But we never, never lose purpose. God always has a job for each one of of us in the work of His Kingdom, no matter what age we are. God makes this point very clear.
"Even when I am old and gray, O God, allow me to be used, give me time to tell the next generation about your wonderful works." (Psalms 71:18)
O God, please help us 'stuck' leaves. By your Holy Spirit release us and help push us along. Give us all fresh vision and purpose. Strengthen us, and empower us for service, until that time you call us home. We look forward to that day, when we all are made new, renewed like the leaves of Spring. Amen

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Time to come running back

Are you mad at God? Was there something you wanted from the Lord, and He gave you a clear No. Maybe it was not a no, but The Lord told you, "Not yet, You need to wait."  Are you confused about how God is dealing with you, and His answers seem unclear? So, because you did not receive the answer you wanted, you are now upset with God.    Is that you?
God continues to amaze me on how He teaches us about Himself, by using the simplest things in this world. Many of you know that Mary and I own a small Cairn Terrier called, Toby. You also may know how much we love our little furry companion. Since our children are now grown, and have their own families, like all dog lovers, these friendly pets become like a second child to us. (Although Toby definitely takes a backseat to our amazing grandchildren)  Pets can teach you quite a lot about yourself, and about God as well. We love Toby, but he is not a perfect pet. He is not always obedient. He is stubborn, sometimes refusing to come when called. He jumps up on the furniture and onto people, even though he has been commanded multiple times to stay down. He has an annoying habit of taking his food in his mouth, carrying it into the Living room, and dropping it on the rug to eat. When our patience finally runs out, and we grow tire of his rebellious behavior, we are forced again to correct him.
He definitely does not like to be disciplined. He cowers when we raise our voice, and does not like the gentle smack with a newspaper. I'm sure no one likes to be corrected, not man nor beast. You can tell by our dog's lowered eyes, and humble demeanor, that he is sad. After being corrected, he usually goes off into a corner of the room somewhere to pout.
However, Toby, or any dog for that matter, can teach us a lesson or two about love and forgiveness.
Even after he has been disciplined, even after he has been harshly reprimanded, he instantly, and I mean instantly, is ready to come running back. All we need to do is look his direction, catch his eyes, and just calmly call his name and he comes running.   Instant forgiveness!
 All Toby wants, is to be loved, and to hear the tone in our voice change, "Come here Toby, it's OK, we still love you. Come here boy." Instant re-connection , instant forgiveness, no stubborn grudge to stop him. It is like I can hear his mind saying, "They are not mad anymore, yippee! They want me back. If they are not mad at me, I'm sure not going to stay mad at them."
Are you holding a grudge against God? Did he correct you? Did you not get what you wanted, and He said, No, or Wait? Are you stubbornly refusing to come back into intimate relationship with your God?  Your Master's Voice of love, forgiveness and restoration, is gently calling you back.
If a dog can so quickly forgive, and run back to the one who had just corrected him, why can't we?
Why wait stubbornly in the corner, cowering away from God's embrace. He is calling you back. You are forgiven!   I guess the bigger question is this. Have you forgiven Him?
Thanks Toby, for a needed life lesson. Maybe you can teach a dog, (me,us) new tricks.

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Next Great wave

Was it a vision, or just spiritual mediation? Maybe it was my sermon preparation becoming imagery within my heart? I am not sure. But the things that went through my mind on friday, were powerful just the same. For those who were not in Church this past Sunday Morning, I would like to share what I said to the congregation of Walnut Grove Assembly of God.
As I was putting my final thoughts, for my sermon down on paper, these images developed clearly in my mind. 
I saw a river, with many people standing in its midst. They were energetically slapping and stirring the water with their hands. There were other people on the shore, intently watching, yet making no move to enter the river to join the others. I wondered in my mind, "Why were they not going out into the water?", even though they seemed very interesting in what was happening. 
Suddenly, a great wave of water rushed down the river, sweeping those who had been previously stirring the water along with it. Those who were being caught up in the great wave were not afraid, on the contrary, they were filled with joy. Again I looked at those on the shore, to see how this sight was affecting them. Many on the shore were now attempting to join those in the great wave of water, but they were unable to move out into the river.
I thought to myself, "Why can't they move?" My eyes were then directed to their legs. I now understood why they did not move. They all had chains binding them to the ground, making it impossible for them to reach the water.
This is when the images in my mind ended, and I and found myself focused again on finishing my sermon notes. 
What did it all mean? This is what came to my heart, as I pondered the question.
The People in the water, are those who are presently involved in service to the Lord. These are they, who are trying in their own strength and abilities, to make an impact in this world for Christ.
The Great Wave, is the next great Revival of God's Spirit throughout the Land. God's Anointing is going to sweep over those who are already serving Him, enabling them to make a far greater impact then they could in their own strength. When this next move of God hits, those faithful servants will be filled with excitement and joy. 
The others, who I saw standing on the riverside, I believe to be, those who desire to see the next great Revival. The type of revival they had only read and heard about in Church History. Yet, they are waiting to see the power and miracles first, before they are willing to make a decision to get actively involved in the work. 
But what are the chains? The chains are the same excuses, obstacles, and procrastination's that keep people from service now. Even when the next Great Move of God arrives, it will not be any easier to jump in the wave. Many will miss it. Just as they are missing what God is doing now.
(Matt. 7:24-27)  (Matt. 25:1-13)   (Lk. 16:24-31)



Friday, October 16, 2015

No Robots needed

Let me make this clear from the start. God does not need us
I'm not saying God does not love us, nor am I saying He did not have a plan to create Man from Eternity past.  Mankind has always been in the heart and plans of God from the beginning of time. The Heavenly Father is deeply in love with us. The fact of this love was clearly displayed in the giving of His Son, as a sacrifice to save us. But I want to state again, God does not need us.
So what I am I attempting to say here?
The Scriptures make it very clear that God is complete in Himself, and has need of nothing. He dwelt in perfect joy, peace and contentment, long before Adam and Eve were even created. He existed in pure love and fellowship within Himself, the Godhead: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. To say that the Lord needed someone to love, so He could be fulfilled, is to say He was incomplete without Man. Sorry, but to say that God of the Bible was lacking something, that only man could fill, is to lessen the Almighty God described in the Word. 
He didn't need us to be complete, but we sure do need Him to find complete purpose and fulfillment. We were the ones with the empty spot in out hearts, or as some have called it, 'that God shaped hole' in our soul.
I have always loved science fiction stories. I'm sure you already know that fact if you've been reading any of my other blogs. When I was ten years old, one of my favorite Sci-Fi movies was a futuristic space drama called, "The Forbidden Planet'. In that film, one of most fascinating characters to me was a robot, called Robbie. I was truly amazed by this robot's abilities. He could speak hundreds of languages, lift tremendously heavy objects with ease, protect against intruders, and even cook and houseclean. I wanted my own personal Robbie the Robot soooo bad. 
The real truth as to why I wanted a robot like Robbie, was not because of all the awesome things he could do, but I simply would have just loved to have had him as a friend. How great would it had been to be able to say to other kids, "This is Robbie. Isn't he cool? and by the way, He's my best friend."
In the book of Genesis, the Godhead proclaims, " Let Us make man in Our Image, according to Our Likeness" (Gen. 1:26) 
God did not need man, to fill some void of relationship. God has always processed complete relationship fulfillment. We are the one's who have the void, longing to be filled. Therefore, since Mankind is made in His Image and Likeness, there resides within our spiritual DNA as you will, Man's need for relational love and fellowship. 
God did not need us, but we desperately needed Him. He became Creator to the formless, Father to the fatherless, Husband to the the widow, Rescuer to the hopeless, Pardoner to the condemned, and Savior to a lost world. God is not looking for robots to mindlessly follow Him. He is looking for son's and daughters to willingly walk with Him.
How great is it to be able to say to others, "This is Jesus. Isn't He awesome. and by the way, He's my friend."

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Beware of Whirlpools

I don't often tell people about my dreams, let alone write about them. But last night's dream was so different; I thought I would share it.
I was walking along, what looked like an ocean beach. There were quite a crowd of people there, and they all seemed to be enjoying the water and relaxing on the shore. Suddenly my eyes noticed a large churning whirlpool close to the shore. It was so close to the water's edge that you could walk out, in what seemed like shallow water to reach it. No one seemed surprised, and all behaved like it was a normal, common occurrence. Even thought there were no signs posted, everyone in the dream knew it was a dangerous area to be avoided. Yet people calmly continued to walk out into the water, and stood very close to the edge of the swirling circle.
In my mind I was thinking, "these people need to be careful, don't they realize how dangerous that thing is?" Everyone acted oblivious to the danger. All of a sudden, a young girl who was leaning down to take a closer look in the whirlpool, lost her balance and fell head first into the hole. Without even thinking, I was able to quickly catch her by the foot and began to pull her back. As hard as I tried, I did not have the strength to pull her free from the tug of the watery pit. I thought to myself, "if I don't get her head out of the water she is going to drown."
 If my dream was not strange enough, it soon got even stranger. Even though I was in this life and death tug of war, no one around me joined in to help. Matter of fact, those looking on at this drama didn't seem concerned at all. The dream was so real, that I could literally feel my muscles straining and growing weaker. I was losing the battle, and time was running out for this poor girl, so I cried out, "Somebody please help me!" Finally one person grasped hold of her leg and began to pull with me. Slowly, very slowly, we began to make some headway, but it was still taking too much time. Would we get her out in time?
Sorry folks, but this was when I woke up.
I have been thinking about this dream all day. Was it just a, 'Pizza Dream', the kind you get when you eat too much before bedtime? (but I hadn't eaten any pizza) Was it a dream that had a natural, subconscious source? The writer in the book of Ecclesiastes says, "Dreams come when there are many cares" (Ecc. 5:3) Sometimes the cares and worries of our life, end up in our dreams.
Or was it more?
As a Pastor, I can see many parallels between this dream and my work for the Kingdom of God, and the struggles I face, sometimes it seems so hard and lonely trying reach the lost before it is too late.
For my blog today, rather than telling you what it meant to me.  What do you think? What is God saying to you?

Monday, October 12, 2015

Temple Builders

Just got finished watching the most interesting documentary on the country of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma).
In the documentary, one of the cities that was highlighted, was a city called, Mindat. Mindat is famous for containing the largest concentration of Buddhist temples in the world. The part of the report that particularly caught my attention, was this interesting, historical fact. When the king of Burma, in 1200 A.D. converted to Buddhism, he desired to honor his new found religion, by building as many temples as he could in his lifetime. Of course, he could not accomplish this great work without help. So the king recruited his people, specifically his best craftsmen, and set them to the task. What was the result? In the the city of Mindat, there now stands, in what was once inhospitable jungle, over two thousand ornate temples. Temples that were built because of the desire of a king, a desire fulfilled, by the help of his people.
Does this story sound familiar to you as a christian?
Paul writes in his letter to the church at Corinth these words, " You are the temple of the God, and the Holy Spirit dwells in you." (1 Cor. 3:16)  When a person gives their heart to Jesus Christ, they become like a temple to Him. A living temple of praise, worship, service, and witness to God. Along with that fact, we became servants to the King, and workers in His Kingdom. It is the work of a servant to carry out the desire of their King. His goal becomes our goal. We now join in the work of the King to carry out His desire.
And what is the desire of our King, Jesus Christ? 
His desire, is for his servants to go into the world, sometimes in the most inhospitable places, and build more temples, Living Temples.  "You are as living stones, being built up like a temple, a spiritual house of worship to God." (1 Pet. 2:5) 
Paul again writes, "We are co-laborers together with Christ... and with His help, I will be a wise builder, laying new foundations for Him." (1 Cor. 3: 9,10)


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Time for a Recharge

If you have any experience with electronic devices, you know they need periodic recharging. There are two ways, batteries in these devices lose their charge. The most common way a battery runs low is by use. The more you use your cellphone or tablet, the quicker it runs out of power and needs a boost.     Since I have begun to regularly blog, my tablet needs recharged almost every day. I don't mind though, it just reminds me that I'm being productive. 
The other way a device's battery loses power is by lack of use. I wonder how many people know this fact? If you let a cellphone or laptop sit unused for an extended period of time, the battery's power supply slowly dissipates. The same thing can happen to a flashlight sitting idle in our glovebox or kitchen drawer. When an emergency arises where you would need them, they have no battery power left to help. 
This brings me to the subject of church. I have always believed one of the main purposes for going to the House of God, was to get recharged. That is the comparsion I am attempting to make. The more you are actively engaged in daily serving God, the more you need those refreshing boosts of the Holy Spirit. Ministry is challenging, and wearying. As we pour out the Living Water into thirsty people's lives, we also need a continued re-filling from the Lord. I have found joining with my brothers and sisters in corporate Word and Worship, to be a perfect recharging station. (Heb. 10:25)
What a strange paradox concerning batteries and believers. 
The more you use and regularly recharge a battery, the battery actually holds a charge longer.
The less you use a battery, it will damage the battery over time. 
And I am no even counting all the work you are accomplishing by using a device, as opposed to it doing nothing and letting it just sit on a shelf.
The more a believer is active for God, and plugs into a church body, for those needed hours of fellowship, the more energy and joy is revived for the next task.
For the christians who remove themselves from a local church, they are removing themselves from an important place of usefulness, and a God ordained power station. If that is you, don't sit on the shelf any longer.
Come bring your giftedness, and add your light to the other flashlights. (Matt. 5:14,15)
So when the Lord calls on us to shine into darkness for someone, we will be charged.



Friday, October 9, 2015

Warning Signs

I'm sitting here in my office just typing away, preparing for my Sunday sermon, when I begin to notice some subtle changes in the room. The natural light in the room slowly, almost imperceptibly begins to dim. The temperature starts to drops a few degrees. The background noise from outside seems to drop off. The birds which were singing all morning have suddenly ceased. What is funny, my brain had already tuned them out, but now I suddenly noticed they had stopped. So, I pull back my curtains and take a peek out the window. Yep, it's what I suspected. A storm is coming. No need for a weather report. I have enough life experience to forecast what is coming, Rain. And in a few minutes there it comes, darkness, wind, noise, and a hard, heavy downpour.  Am I a prophet or what!
No, none of us need a prophetic gift to tell the signs of a storm. They are easy to see. We all have lived through them, watched them, and when we were little, taught by our elders what to expect.
Jesus told the unbelieving crowds that followed Him the same thing. They should be able to perceive the storms ahead. They had been taught from the Scriptures from childhood how to recognize God's visitation in Jesus Christ, lest they miss their Messiah. (Matt. 16:1-4)   But they refused to take a peek out the window. (Jn. 5:39)
Jesus also taught His Disciples the importance of recognizing the signs of the times, and to be prepared.
(Mk. 13:22-29)
When the signs of a rainstorm begin reveal themselves, we are thankful for the warning signs, and we quickly make preparation. (close windows, take in items from outdoors, protect our children)
Storms always announce themselves first. Thank God, for the natural warning signs of an impending storm.

Spiritual Storms always announce themselves as well, whether in our personal lives, or in God's dealing with the World at large. Each one of us needs to take a peek out into the World's Spiritual window, or better yet, inside our own heart's window. (Matt. 6:22-23)

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Follow the Road

It was a really foggy morning today in Pittsburgh. The weather reminded me of the fog I used to experience when I lived in central California. It would get so extremely foggy, you literally could not see beyond the hood of your car. The only way to safely navigate was to follow the reflectors in the road. You could not stop, or even slow down for fear of being hit from behind. You did not dare follow the car in front of you, because it may be running off the road because of the fog. You could not risk pulling over either, since you did not know where the side of the road was, or someone might be follow you over a ledge.
As I said, it was a really foggy drive into the church this morning.
Christians today are encountering the same dangerous foggy conditions, but in a spiritual sense. The Road of truth, morality, values, and who God is, have become an extremely treacherous  road to travel. The clear skies of the right and wrong, truth and error, have become increasing obscured by the fog of Man's opinions. What is the Believer to do, to safely navigate through such times? We do the same thing I did in California.
We follow the lines in the road.
"Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, a light unto my path." Ps. 119:105
We follow the reflectors, set in the road by the designer.
"I Am the light of the world, they that follow me shall not walk in darkness."  Jn. 8:12
We don't slow down or stop, because someone is following you.
"I have set you as lights to this world, that you would show them the way to safety." Ac.13;47

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Family Reunion

I did not have to preach today. This allowed Mary and I to attend church with her mother, at her church. Mary's mom has been a long time member of St. John's Lutheran Church in the North Hills of Pittsburgh. It has been a very long time since I have worshipped in any other church besides an Assemblies of God church. I must admit, I did feel a little uncomfortable in a different church setting. I should not have felt so uncomfortable, but I did. 
The songs were unfamiliar. The order of service was different from my home church. The preaching was not my style. Even the way Communion was served was new to me.
But there it was AGAIN! That same feeling, the feeling I had experienced in my son's church this week in Arizona. That emotion I can only explain as a sense of belonging to a 'Family'. 
The enemy of the Church desires us to feel small and powerless. The devil wants us to stay divided and weak. He takes pleasure seeing the Body of Christ broken, and separated into little, competitive communities. That is his strategy, to keep us fearful and disconnected.
The children of Israel felt that same intimidation when they spied out the Promised Land. The Bible records their heart emotions, "there are giants in the land... and we are like grasshoppers in our own eyes" Nu.13:33   But the real truth was, Israel was the giant, a giant to be feared by the enemies of God. 
God's Church is HUGE. The Body of Christ is a mighty army. We are all part of a family that can be found everywhere. Where is my church? My church, your church, is in West Mifflin, the North Hills, Arizona, Mexico, China, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, everywhere. 
Paul's epistle to the Corinthians says it very clearly, "The Body of Christ has many members, but is one Body..." 1 Cor. 12-14 
I just needed to go on vacation to be reminded.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Where is the 'Pause' button?

Life can be filled with unwelcome distractions, like those annoying T.V. commerials that suddenly, abruptly, increase in volume. It is at times like that when I hunt for the mute button. I confess, I'm a hopeless channel surfer. In a day where the average person has hundreds of programs to choose from, my fingers are constantly switching from channel to channel. If I see something I don't like, I just quickly remove it from my view. I don't like to watch or listen to anything that makes me feel too sad or uncomfortable. 
Wouldn't it be great if we had a mute, pause, or change channel button for life. If such a button existed, we could simply avoid some of the pains and uncomfortable situations that suddenly pop up in life. I believe one of the saddest moments in life are connected to this phrase: "Good Bye". That word pops up in so many heart wrenching events in life.   Can I change channels please?
Today, I again said the word "goodbye" with a big lump in my throat. This was our last day visiting with our son, daughter, and grandchildren in Arizona.  With hugs and kisses, we said our goodbyes at the airport. I will not see them again until Christmas. Goodbyes can stink sometimes. Where is that pause button?
Life is filled with goodbyes. Goodbye to our childhood. Goodbye to our parents. Goodbye to college friends. Goodbye to our children. Goodbye to our health. And ultimately, Goodbye to our lives. As I said, "Goodbye is a depressing word."
Praise be to God, there is a day coming when the phrase , "goodbye", will no longer be needed. The Scripture in Rev. 22:4 says when we are in heaven, "He will wipe away all our tears.." To me, that means no more good byes. Every day with Jesus will be an eternal, "Hello" day. Hello to God, in person. Hello to eternal health. Hello to eternal youth. Hello to eternal relationships. No more good byes, only everlasting Hello.  Heaven is the ultimate Pause Button!  Can't wait!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Shouts in the desert

The Bible is full of references to Nature expressing itself. Isaiah 55:12 states, "the hills shall break forth with singing, and all the trees of the fields shall clap their hands." 
In the Gospel of Luke, the writer records the words of Jesus, " If these keep silent, the very stones shall cry out." Lk. 19:40. 
Paul, writing to the church at Rome exclaims, "all creation groans, and waits in earnest expectation for the return of Jesus Christ ." Ro.8:19,22 
So Nature can talk.
Today, I escaped the sweltering heat of the Phoenix desert, to spend a day in the cool mountain air of Northern Arizona. Nice change, from 107 degrees to 75 degrees.
Along with the pleasant respite from the heat, came an unexpected surprise. I was told that today would be a little more windy then normal. Believe me, I was not complaining about the breeze. It felt better than the still, dry, desert air below. But, it was more then the cooler temperatures that made the day enjoyable.
Up in this higher altitude, the wind joins in concert with the forest of cypress trees, to sing their special songs. As the breezy currents moved back and forth along the treetops, conducted by their own mysterious rhythm, to my ears it sounded like a crowd cheering. 
I mean cheering at a playoff game. The type of excitement that happens at a football game, in that moment when the Home Team runs out onto the field, that is what it sounded like. The Wind, and the Trees, ROARED!
For a moment, just a moment, it was as if they were cheering. And who did I imagine they were cheering for, you might ask. I'm sure you already know the answer. 
They were cheering for the Home Team, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. What were they cheering?    VICTORY!