Monday, September 27, 2010

A Picture Worth 393 Words

"Sometimes you just gotta do it, cuz you know it's the right thing to do!"

I think we can all relate to the fact that even when we want to be left alone, for one reason or another, sometimes we just have to give in and let that someone special get close to us. Whether that other person is seeking comfort,solace,peace,or just wanting to feel safe; it is the right thing to do.

This picture says a lot about feeling safe and secure. It is hard to figure out momma gorilla's demeanor because gorillas are not known to smile. But somehow I get the feeling she is content in giving in to the little one.

Last week the Dallas Cowboys Jay Ratliff lost his grandparents in a tragic house fire. The firefighters couldn't get to them in time due to the intense flames and smoke. Jay's grandfather was a WW2 Veteran and a double amputee who was in a hospital bed at the home. A distraught Jay said,

" They found my grandparents, and my grandmother was, I guess, holding my grandfather. She climbed back in bed, like if they can't get him, she's not leaving him."

There is something to be said for feeling safe and secure in someone's arms, and for Jay's grandparents it truly was "till death do us part".

Within the most widely used scripture, Psalm 23, King David writes:

Yeah, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff,they comfort me

The Greek word for "comfort" here is "nacham" which means: not casual sympathy but actually weeping with those who weep, or sighing with those who sigh.

The majority of the psalms that David wrote, 73 to be exact,deal with God bringing comfort and peace to those who need it, or simply, being safe in His arms.

Those that have chosen to follow and walk the Christian walk can rely and trust on God in any situation. Oswald Chambers once said,

"Worldly people imagine that the saints must find it difficult to live with so many restrictions, but the bondage is with the world, not with the saints."

And that is because the saints have a comfort and peace that they can run to:
into the arms of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

An Unselfish Act of Submission

Brian Wood, a 33 year old video game designer, is called a hero by his wife. But I would also call his heroic act a submission to love. Last week they were heading home when a car driven by an intoxicated young woman was in their path and going to hit them head on. Brian swerved his car so it would only hit the drivers side in order to protect his wife and unborn child on the passenger side. Brian was killed but his wife and soon-to-be child were unharmed. Two passengers in the backseat of the other car were also killed. The police say if not for Brian's unselfish act, his wife and child would've died also. Hopefully many men will take note of this unselfish act of heroism.

Submission is an act of love.

Today our society has more children living without a father(and not due to the likes of this unfortunate accident) than at any other time in history. Mans role as fathers has diminished in our society because of the lack of one simple word:submission.

In the documentary film March of the Penguins we learn submission through the reversal of roles of the penguin.In the Arctic, after the initial mating takes place between the male and female, and once the egg is laid, it is the male penguin who will tend to the unhatched egg for more than 3 months. The male penguin will go without food for more than 125 days, while protecting the egg through harsh winter temperatures of minus 80 degrees. And for warmth all of the males will huddle together to protect those eggs from the bitter winds and cold.

While they are enduring all of this, the mothers will have traveled over 70 miles to sea for food, then trek back to their partners to feed nourishment to the babies who have hopefully been hatched successfully.

The male penguins then begin their journey to sea for food, and will no doubt be hungry, for they will have gone an astounding 4 months without food.

Submission is an act of love.

Submission is more than just yielding or surrendering ourselves to the will or authority of others. It is submitting ourselves to responsibility, choosing to go that extra mile for that friend in need, providing food to that brother or sister who may need it.

Submission is an act of love.

And the single greatest act of this love was Jesus dying on the cross for our sins.
Jesus submission is an example each of us should follow. Not just a submission to God, but having that unselfish act of love toward each other.

Thank God for people like Brian Wood today, to remind us what submission is really all about in a world filled with selfishness.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hope Springs Eternal

The waterfall was non-existent. No crashing sound of rushing water. No gurgling sound of the creek as it once rolled through the rocks and pebbled shore.

This was what I came across as I began my usual after work run the other day. Part of the creek below the dam was kind of dried up. I used to be able to hear the crashing of the waves, but this day it was silent. It made the surrounding area feel empty, deserted; kind of dead I guess you would call it. When this usually happens it means the area has been in a drought.

Once I started my run on the beginning of the trail I only made it about a quarter of a mile when all of a sudden I was stopped. A very visibly pregnant woman and her young daughter, who had been walking the trail, had stopped me so I could enjoy the same view that they were being captivated with. A fawn was nestled within some thicket eating shrubs.

So, what was once a dead feeling in the area, had now sprung up hope.
Life in the form of a new born animal appeared.

And so here I was, standing and watching this great scene with a woman who was also about to bring new life into the world herself. Finally, a sense of hope and peace had taken the place of the empty dryness that filled the air.

When you think about it, sometimes each of us kind of find ourselves in a dead, dried up situation within our daily lives. Or our soul is dry and needing a touch of life. We know that life is not perfect, there will always be ups and downs, but there's also hope within those valleys of darkness. A hope and peace that only comes from God. The Lord says that, "He who comes to Me will thirst no more". What an awesome promise that is!

If you're feeling tired,lost,impatient in waiting for God to do something,or your soul is feeling dried up; all you need to do is rest in Him.

Colossians 1:27-

Christ in you brings hope of all the great things to come.

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Great Answer to that Burning Question

This passed through my eyes via email a couple of months ago, a little ditty that answers the question, "Does God Exist?":

A man went to the barbershop to have his hair cut and his beard trimmed. As the barber began to work, they began to have a good conversation. They talked about so many things and various subjects. When they eventually touched on the subject of God the barber said,"I don't believe God exists."

"Why do you say that?" asked the customer.

"Well, you just have to go out in the street to realize that God doesn't exist.
Tell me, if God exists, would there be so many sick people? Would there be abandoned children? If God existed, there would be neither suffering or pain. I can't imagine a loving God who would allow all of these things."

The customer thought for a moment, but didn't respond because he didn't want to start an argument. The barber finished his job and the customer left the shop.

Just after he left the barbershop, he saw a man in the street with long,stringy, dirty hair and an untrimmed beard. He looked dirty and unkept. The customer turned back and entered the barber shop again and said to the barber:

"You know what? Barbers do not exist!"

"How can you say that?" asked the surprised barber. "I am here, and I am a barber. And I just worked on you!"

"No!" the customer exclaimed. "Barbers don't exist because if they did, there would be no people with dirty long hair and untrimmed beards, like that man outside."

"Ah, but barbers do exist! That is what happens when people do not come to me."

"Exactly!" affirmed the customer. "That's the point! God, too, does exist! That's what happens when people do not go to Him and don't look to Him for help."

Another favorite comeback of mine when someone says to you that God doesn't exist:

"Sure He exists. I just spoke with Him this morning."

Have a Great Weekend!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Big Fish

Did you ever wonder if it is actually possible to be swallowed up by a large fish and survive just as Jonah had done? In the last few weeks the mens class at my church has been studying the Book of Jonah, and one of the men brought up some actual evidence of strange occurrences similar to that of Jonah. Naturally this peaked my interest and I did some research and found this:

The large fish that most likely swallowed Jonah was a sperm whale which can reach up to 80 feet in length. Some of these whales have been captured and skeletons of entire sharks have been found inside of them. These monster size fish have 3 stomach chambers. One is called the fore stomach; they use this stomach to store food for later.This is most likely where Jonah was inside the fish.

In 1891, the crew of a ship off the Falkland Islands spotted a sperm whale. They sent out two rowboats of sailors to capture the beast. Amidst their struggle after harpooning the whale, one of the men fell overboard and the crew thought he had drowned. Six hours after capturing the fish the sailors started to remove the blubber from the beast. This lasted till well after midnight so the crew decided to get some sleep and resume their task in the morning.

Then low and behold, that next morning they discovered some sounds coming from the whale's stomach, and there they found the missing sailor James Bartley.

The sailor later recalled being hit by the whale's tale and had been encompassed by great darkness, and he felt he was slipping along a smooth passage that seemed to move and carry him forward. His hands would come in contact with a slimy substance, which seemed to shrink from his touch. He said he could easily breathe, but the heat was terrible. His face, neck, and hands had been bleached white, but he survived.

So the moral to this story and that of Jonah would be: if you find yourself near a large body of water and God is asking you to do something,it's best not to think twice about it. Just do it!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Change is Inevitable, Growth is Optional

Have you ever been entrapped in anything for any length of time? Or maybe just stuck in a tough situation where there seems no end in sight? And through it all your mind is racing with fear,doubt,and anxiety. Then when you do get out of that what you are entrapped in, a big sigh of relief comes over you. But have you been changed?

It has been said that you learn from your mistakes and your faith grows the most through trials. The one constant we all know is there will always be change in our lives. A change of workplace, a change of living quarters, a change in direction of life, a change in relationships and friendships. Change is all around us and is a part of life. And what we do within those changes can make a difference that will last a lifetime.

When I give the dog more water in his bowl I sometimes have the choice of either just topping off what's left or I can dump what's left and give him fresh water to drink. I think this is similar to the changes we go through in life. We have a choice. It is up to us to be willing to grow within those changes and make a fresh start.

The dictionary defines the word "grow" as: develop, become bigger.

So if we can take advantage of the situation we may be in and choose to become a bigger person, not in the physical sense, but greater in faith and spirit,this will only strengthen us for the next battle we may face. Sometimes our biggest challenges in life are needed to prepare us for something greater.

Jonah was stuck in the belly of a fish for three days and those hours spent inside that fish pretty much changed his attitude with God and possibly his outlook on life.

"If they make it, if they get that hole drilled, when they come out of there, they'll feel like they're being born again."

This was quoted from a miner who survived 3 days in a mine shaft a few years ago and was speaking of the 33 Chilean miners who have been trapped since August 5th.
These men are stuck in a shelter underground and it may take until Christmas to get them out. The rescuers drilled 3 holes 2,200 feet underground in order to send them water, food, medicine, and special clothing to keep them dry.

I can't even imagine what these miners are going through not only physically, but mentally and spiritually. The shelter they are in is large enough for them to walk around in, so their chance of survival is good as they are not cramped in one position or another.

The media really hasn't given much detail on these men so we don't know what kind of character or spirituality they carry. But I do have to say that when they do come out and are able to look to the sky and see the sun, clouds,the stars and the moon,and they're families, they're lives will be changed forever. Changes on the outside and on the inside.

And may we all keep them and they're families up in prayer until that happens.