Wednesday, February 20, 2019

What if...The Answer, The Offer, The Choice

The answer occurred to me, after our very first, company prayer meeting.

It’s how God does things.
  • A meek stuttering fugitive, instead of a sleek eloquent prince.
  • A shepherd and a sling, instead of a giant and a sword.
  • A Babe in a manger, instead of a king in a palace.
  • You and I quietly united, instead of a mega-star with glitter and lights.

 His answers are so simple we miss them.

He said it so plain, so clear, there can be no doubt.

I AM The Way, The Truth, The Life. No one comes to The Father but, through Me. John14:6 

For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them. Matthew 18:20

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. Mark 11:24

The LORD watches over His word to perform it.  Jeremiah 1:12  

So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11

Did you know, Jesus literally prayed for us? It’s recorded in red & white:

“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. 

What if Jesus prayed that prayer for us; for such a time as this?

What if we decide to do our part, in answer to His prayer?

What if, today, you take my hand
And tomorrow, yours is taken by another
And then another, and another
Until young and old, rich and poor,
Every color, from every corner

What if, today we decide to pray,
Like school kids around the flag pole
One by one, day by day, we unite
Virtual hands around the nation
With one heart, one goal, one voice
 "Thy will be done"

What if, before we speak, post or tweet…we pray?
What if, we take Him at His word?
What if, we humble ourselves
Seek His face
Turn from our wicked ways

What if…
We grow, from now ‘til Easter
What if, on Easter morn
Together in one accord
We raise our hands
Our hearts
Our voice
And pray
“Lord, heal our land.”

Will He hear?

Will He listen?

“If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

It’s up to His people, not we the people.

What if, right here, and now, He’s waiting on us?

The offer:

“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.

If you are willing and obedient,
You shall eat the good of the land;
But if you refuse and rebel,
You shall be devoured by the sword”;
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken. Isaiah 1:18-20

The choice:

I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; Deuteronomy 30:19

The choice, is ours.
I choose life.
How about you?

Will you say, “I’m in, amen.”
Will you share with a prayer?
Watch, and pray
Expect and see
What the Lord will do.

‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’
Says the Lord of hosts. Zechariah 4:6

Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.  Isaiah 43:19 

As for me, and my house...we're in, amen. 

Sunday, February 17, 2019

The love of God is greater far

Could I ever write enough?

And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen. (John 21:25) 

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell.
It goes beyond the highest star
And reaches to the lowest hell.
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled
And pardoned from his sin.
O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
The saints’ and angels’ song.

When hoary time shall pass away,
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall;
When men who here refuse to pray,
On rocks and hills and mountains call;
God’s love, so sure, shall still endure,
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—
The saints’ and angels’ song.

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made;
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Good Begets Good

My wife vanished…again.
She does it all the time—but only when we’re shopping. One minute we’ll be putting a can of soup in the cart, and then—poof—she’s gone. Not just kind-of-gone, either. Not just around the corner, or in the next aisle, but, nowhere-to-be-found-gone.
I’ll walk every square inch of the store and she is no where to be found. I’ve probably wore holes in three pair of shoes walking around various stores through the years…just searching for her.
She did it again yesterday.
Eventually I found her…I always do. She suddenly reappears in some random aisle; the cart will have more stuff piled in it and she’ll be examining some list or label. Yesterday was no different, except for one thing. She had the bottom of the buggy lined with boxes. Some of the boxes were full, some were empty.
I was pushing a cart of my own. Hers was almost full—all I had in mine was a case of water and five cans of tuna. I eased up and pushed my cart against hers. “Need some more room...What’re the boxes for?”
“Soon. For Wendy.”
Wendy is a woman at our church. An appropriate name for her would be Wonder Woman Wendy. She’s a one-woman mission. One day last week I found her and my wife sitting in our living room. She was talking and my wife was taking notes.
Wendy told of how they pick up food from grocery stores to distribute to the food bank and churches. She knew what the various local mission organizations were in need of and explained how she helped to provide those needs. She has a steady stream of care packages and Christmas gifts flowing to our military. She can be seen in graveyards placing flowers at the markers of soldiers she doesn’t even know…but makes sure they’re never forgotten.
She was thrilled when my wife asked her if she needed anything that had been left over from the bizarre held in our park last weekend. The bizarre is a huge yard sale with live music, food, vendors, homemade jams, local honey, crafts, Salvation Army’s Red Bucket—square dancers, cloggers, raffles…you name it.
It’s awesome and fun…and bizarre. Whatever items don’t sell are donated to local charities, along with a portion of the profit.
Roxy wanted to know what Wendy does, and how she could help. So, she was taking notes. Wendy was sharing what she did and what was needed. The list was long. One of the things needed, on a never- ending basis…was food. Thus, the boxes in the bottom of her buggy.
 She worked to fill both boxes and buggies.
As we worked our way through the checkout lane, we kept the items for Wonder Woman Wendy separate and returned to the boxes, so it’d be easier to transfer to cars and shelves.
In chatting with the checkout girl, the lady behind us heard what my wife was doing and suddenly she was holding some cash, insisting my wife take it. “I want to help, too.”
Roxy tried to turn her down, but the lady prevailed with a smile.
I watched all this take place and looked at the faces of the women, they all wore a smile. It was just like the one I was wearing too—like the one I’m wearing now. The atmosphere had changed. It was like the best part of Christmas when everyone is smiling and saying, “Merry Christmas.”
At that moment, no one cared which way you voted, if you went to church or didn’t, at that moment we were just people, smiling people being overcome with a presence of peace on earth goodwill toward men.
I said out loud, but quiet, mostly to myself, “Good begets good.”
The money-giving lady, looked at me and nodded. Her smile grew. “I believe that’s true—I really do.”
We must’ve looked funny as we pushed out buggies to the car. We didn’t say a word, but we both were wearing matching smiles.
Our smiles never tipped when we had to stop in our tracks because a pick up was angled across the lane trying to back into a parking stall. Only problem was, another car was angled pointing toward the same stall—they both inched closer and closer. Well, that wasn’t actually the only problem, because, the two that wanted the same stall were a bit too anxious and hadn’t given enough room for the car that was trying to exit the parking stall the ability to leave. So, there they sat. One car wanting to leave inching forward, just trying to get out and go home. Two others trying to get in, inching forward, neither willing to give-in, back-off.
There were plenty of other parking spots in that great big lot. I don’t know what made that one so special. It certainly wasn’t making them happy. They weren’t wearing a smile. They may have even been saying some things that should never be repeated. I don’t know…maybe they’re still be sitting there.   
We shook our heads and found a way around the three-car stand-off. Still smiling.
I pray what we found in the check-lane is contagious.
I pray the smile we wore finds its way from this page to you. I pray we’ll see we all have something to give, a light to shine, a buggy to fill. I pray we’ll be delivered from tunnel vision thinking there’s only one stall and if we don’t steal it, someone else will. I pray our eyes will be opened to the great big parking lot with more than enough room.

“Let you light so shine before men that they may see your good works
 and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Jesus Christ Matt. 5:16)

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Imagine tomorrow you wake and the world is black and white

Imagine tomorrow you wake and the world is black and white. No color.
You slip out of bed and notice your house is cold. 
Before you get to the kitchen to make coffee, soldiers burst through the door and remove two thirds of everything you own…even the new Keurig coffee maker.
Before they leave you’re handed a piece of paper and something like a cheap credit card; solid white with only a number stamped on it. No logo, no name, just a white card and a number. “Card’s for food. The paper details your designated assignment.”
“What? Assignment? Food? Wait. That’s my stuff. Who do you think you are? I’m calling the police!”
The last one out the door turns, “We are the police.”
You look around at your black and white world. Your home in shambles. You clean up the mess. Crumple the paper and throw it in the trash…then, pick up the wadded paper and shove it in your purse along with the weird looking card.  
With a pounding head and racing heart you go back to bed thinking, hoping, praying, it’s just a dream…a nightmare.
The next morning, Monday, you head off to where you’ve worked for years, to the job you chose, you enjoy, where you plan to climb the ladder until you retire. But, when you pull into the parking lot, you see the doors are locked…with a chain and padlock.
A paper taped to the door has one word with large black letters stamped at an angle across the middle, “CLOSED.”
How could a thriving business be closed without warning?
You go to your favorite coffee shop and find it’s closed, too. That’s when you notice store after store with the same black word stamped on paper, CLOSED.
What’s going on?
You drive, slowly, down the street. Finally, you see one grocery store still open. Inside you find a cheap coffee maker, grab some coffee, donuts and a few other items.
At the checkout counter, you hand the teller your bank card.
She shakes her head. “We don’t take that.”
“Oh, really? Here try this.” You hand her your credit card.
The teller shakes her head. “Sorry, that’s no good.”
By then, you’re more than irritated. “What are you talking about? Of course, it’s good. You haven’t even scanned it.”
“None of them are good, anymore. Weren’t you given a card?”
“Huh? You mean—” you pull out the weird looking card—“but, I thought this was a mistake...a nightmare.”
She shakes her head and looks around. Then whispers. “It was a mistake…a whole lot of mistakes.”
You feel like you’re about to faint…or hit something. “I have money.” You grab a wad of cash and thrust it toward her.
Once again, she shakes her head. “Sorry, that’s no good, well not here anyway. I suppose it’d be good for starting a fire or… if you run out of toilet paper." She looks at the card and holds out her hand.
“But…but, I thought this was only for folks on welfare.”
She pulls in deep breath and frowns, “Honey, we’re all on welfare.”
Then it gets worse. Your head is pounding, from lack of caffeine, or this nightmare…or both.
The teller swipes your card and her face goes white. An obnoxious red light starts to beep. “Um, I’m sorry but your card has been, deactivated.”
“What does that mean?”
The beeping continues. The teller types in some numbers and then asks, “Did you go to work today?”
“What? why? …yes, well, I tried, but it was CLOSED.”
“Closed? Did you go to your, designated assignment?”
“My what? Oh…you mean?” You pull a crumpled piece of paper from your purse.
The teller nods. Lifts a piece of paper just like yours. “Yesterday, I was CEO of my own company, today—” her eyes gloss and a tear spills—“welcome to socialism."  

Friday, February 8, 2019

The Wretchedness of Trump...and me

You say the president has done all sorts of wretched things and isn’t worthy of respect. You point at his past and mock, how can God use a sinner such as he?
Amazing Grace how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me, sings David the adulterous murderer and Christian slayer Paul…and me, the wretch I see, whenever I hear the song.
Yet, David was king and said to be “a man after God’s own heart.”
Paul was blinded by the Light and became a missionary to the world, penning most of the New Testament.
As for me, all I can say, is that I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.
It’s not about where you stand, with Trump, the man.
But, your eternity rides, on where you stand at the last trump. Which could be before your next breath.
Where will you be when the world stops turning?
Wagging fingers like they did to the crucified Christ?
Or, walking in forgiveness; accepting God’s sovereignty to establish one, and put down another, and in so doing, receiving His amazing grace and mercy?
Dear friend, now is the time, today is the day, to lay down the stones and pray:
Father forgive me.
Please, come into my stony heart and heal me.  
I need You.
Help me to honor You…forever.
If you don’t believe in miracles, if you don’t believe in God…you will, if you utter a pray something like that, sincerely.

‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation 3: 14-22)

Thursday, February 7, 2019

The State Of The Union choice

I shuffled to the kitchen, at two. Couldn’t sleep.
Coffee, prayer, Bible.
My regular Bible reading that morning found me in the last chapter of Joshua, the fifth chapter of Proverbs, (because it was the fifth) and the third chapter of John. One from the old, a Proverb, and one from the new.
Everyday. Same way. For years.
It’s simple. It works.
Time after time after time, the timeless words, as if guided by a precision missile, find their way to the hidden center of my circumstance, bringing clarity and light.
I’ve learned to trust those words, more than circumstance, more than, much more than, the frontpage news.
I read as Joshua laid out the history and victories of his nation and then told them to choose:
“…if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24)
Little did I know later that day, I’d hear the President of the United States say:
“This is the time to rekindle the bonds of love and loyalty and memory that link us together as citizens, as neighbors, as patriots. This is our future — our fate — and our choice to make. I am asking you to choose greatness.”
Then, I read in Proverbs, “Pay attention to my wisdom…lest aliens be filled with your wealth, and your labors go to the house of a foreigner”
Those words echoed that evening when I heard, like a Trumpet:
·         One in three women is sexually assaulted on the long journey north.
·         Smugglers use migrant children as human pawns to exploit our laws and gain access to our country.
·         Human traffickers and sex traffickers take advantage of the wide-open areas between our ports of entry to smuggle thousands of young girls and women into the United States and to sell them into prostitution and modern-day slavery.
·         Tens of thousands of innocent Americans are killed by lethal drugs that cross our border and flood into our cities, including meth, heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl.
·         The savage gang MS 13 now operates in at least 20 different American states and they almost all come through our southern border.
·         Just yesterday, an ms-13 gang member was taken into custody for a fatal shooting on a subway platform in New York city.
·         We are removing these gang members by the thousands, but until we secure our border, they are going to keep streaming right back in.
·         Year after year, countless Americans are murdered by criminal illegal aliens.
·         ICE officers made 266,000 arrests of criminal aliens, including those charged or convicted of nearly 100,000 assaults. 30,000 sex crimes, and 4000 killings or murders.
·         More than 300 women and girls have been rescued from the horror of sex trafficking and more than 1500 sadistic traffickers have been put behind bars.

Excuse me for a moment…
My wife just walked in, in a bit of a panic.
“The tool room door is wide open—it’s been open all night.”
“I hope someone didn’t break in. I’ll check it out.”
“I hope some rodent, didn’t crawl in…a rat.”
As I walk to the tool room, I remember the president’s words:
“Now is the time for ending illegal immigration and putting the ruthless coyotes, cartels, drug dealers, and human traffickers out of business.”
Yep, the door’s wide open, but it looks like the grandkids simply failed to shut the door. They know better. They were simply too busy with their own agenda to get it done.
Didn’t we just hear something like that?
In the past, most of the people in this room voted for a wall — but the proper wall never got built. I’ll get it built.
 I shut and locked the door and made sure it was secure.
This really happened, just now, while I was writing those statistics above.

Now, where were we?
Oh yea, the last thing I read, was the third chapter of John.
“Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
I am also proud to be the first president to include in my budget a plan… that every new parent has the chance to bond with their newborn child.
“How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
There could be no greater contrast to the beautiful image of a mother holding her infant child than the chilling displays our nation saw in recent days.
as Moses lifted up the serpent…
Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments before birth.
even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish…
 These are living, feeling, beautiful babies who will never get the chance to share their love and dreams with the world. And then, we had the case of the governor of Virginia where he stated he would execute a baby after birth…
but have eternal life.
Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life.
And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth — all children — born and unborn — are made in the holy image of God.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Coincidence? Or, an olive branch. A call to unity, to peace, to return to our roots and our God?
You choose.
As for me; I choose to believe as Joshua Kaufman:
A second holocaust survivor who is here tonight, Joshua Kaufman, was a prisoner at Dachau. He remembers watching through a hole in the wall of a cattle car as American soldiers rolled in with tanks. “To me,” Joshua recalls, “The American soldiers were proof that God exists, they came down from the sky…they came down from heaven”

“But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”  (Joshua 24:15)

This is the time to rekindle the bonds of love and loyalty and memory that link us together as citizens, as neighbors, as patriots. This is our future — our fate — and our choice to make. I am asking you to choose greatness. No matter the trials we face, no matter the challenges to come, we must go forward together. We must keep America first in our hearts. We must keep freedom alive in our souls. And we must always keep faith in America’s destiny — that one nation, under God, must be the hope and the promise and the light and the glory among all the nations of the world! Thank you. God bless you, God bless America. Thank you very much.

I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Saturday, January 26, 2019

How's this going to play out for America?

Wednesday, January 16th, 2:00 a.m., couldn’t sleep.
Three days after returning home from a two-state trip and back to back funerals, I woke with a question; how is this going to play out for America?
This is what came to me:
They are divided.
By their lust, they’ve been led astray. They willfully follow those who tickle their ears…while slitting their throats.
Yet, I have given another warning, another term of grace; even still, they reject this last Trump, and will be granted what they crave, and the error of their ways will consume them.
Perhaps, it was from listening to the news. Maybe from mourning. Figured things weren’t really that bad. The majority of folks are good. Good will prevail. Light will outshine the darkness. All we have to do is smile and be nice and love everybody and everything will be just fine.
After all, a lighthouse doesn’t run around shouting at ships who’ve lost their way, they just stand there and shine…Right?
I let it go.
Two days later, we were sitting beside the pool at CoCo Keys Resort and some teenage boys approached us twice asking questions about the water slide. The second time one of the boys, grabbed my wife’s purse and ran. I pursued, to no avail.
Nothing like that has ever happened to us.
Maybe things are worse than I thought. Are those words from two days ago, true?
That was the same day (January 18th) the March for Life, was overshadowed by a drum beat in the face of a child who was about to be crucified.
Only days later on the 22nd, echoes of Babel were heard as demonicrats, with one voice, cheered and lit the One World Trade Center with a bloody glow at the legalization of killing babies up to the moment they’re born.
The very next day, exactly one week from when I’d heard that warning, the first mass murder ever in this area, in America for 2019, happened just down the road. One of the folks from the park where we live, had ridden his bike there to do some banking. He was turned away by police surrounding the scene. What if he'd gotten there moments before...? 
You heard about it on the news; twenty-one-year old, Zephen Xaver, shot five women in the Sun Trust bank, Sebring Florida.  
No motive reported.
This is a quiet, peaceful town. Murders aren’t part of our news.
I considered the past seven days.
  • ·         Wed. Jan. 16: Warning
  • ·         Friday Jan. 18: Wife robbed
  • ·         Friday Jan 18: Child crucified
  • ·         Tues. Jan. 22: Demonicrats cheer killing of babies
  • ·         Wed. Jan. 23: Mass murder at Sun Trust bank, a bike’s ride from our house.

Maybe things really are worse than I thought. The timing can’t be ignored. Are those words from a week ago, true?
If so, what can we do?

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

The Red Sea Crossing

I may have this all wrong.
But, from where I stand on the shore, it looks something like Moses and the Red Sea parting…in reverse.
Instead of the Red Sea parting to make way for the people, it’s the people parting to make way for the Red Sea.
Or, maybe it’s how, Native American Veteran, Nathan Phillips, imagined it.
Perhaps Mr. Phillips imagined, as he walked toward that crowd, toward the Lincoln Memorial, that the crowd would see him, and understand what he represented, and they would gracefully bow and part for him; making a sea of people on either side as he marched up the stairs to the Lincoln Memorial, and then he would turn and the sea of people below would roar with applause. 
That didn’t happen.
He bumped, and pushed and beat his drum through the sea of people that drowned the sound of his drum, rather than acknowledge his presence.
Then, alas, some boy walking down the steps with his pals from school, probably not paying attention to where he was going because he was too busy texting or looking at the girls…bumped or walked straight into the path of Mr. Phillips.
Mr. Phillips didn’t see a wide-eyed teen, but five hundred years of oppression. He saw his purpose, his march, his reason for being there, interrupted by…white.
 He focused his gaze straight into the boy’s face and pressed forward until only inches separated the swinging stick from beating the boy, instead of the drum.
The drum grew louder, the crowd grew quieter.
The teen stood frozen, backed against the steps.
It seems he wasn’t sure what to do. He tried staring down the elder. But then, he looked down, looked away, tried a straight face and lifted a smile. Nothing seemed to work. He was frozen in place.
The crowd started doing what crowds do, from grade school to the grave…they look for excitement, ache for a fight.
The media, saw red…not skin, but hat; and started a feeding frenzy.
The demonic-rats didn’t bother to check the facts. They simply saw red and their lust for trampling Trump led the attack. It didn’t matter that the victim was a group of kids from a Catholic School. Blood is blood and they wanted more, no matter where it was from.
After all, their appetites were ravenous since folks were tiring of feeding on the wall.
Perhaps, if the young man had simply stepped aside, we’d never have heard of any of this. More than likely, if he wasn’t wearing that, Make America Great Again, hat, we wouldn’t have heard of it at all.
Any thinking person should be able to see, that for the most part, the mainstream media has gone mad. Red, yellow, black or white… or blue or red, should be able to tell the difference between wrong and right.
Let’s forget for a moment the people, the person, the party, the color, and…dream.

Dream that today is the day our nation rises up and lives out the true meaning of its creed, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
Dream that today is the day our little children live in a nation where they are not judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
Dream that today is the day when all of God’s children are able to sing with new meaning: “My country, ‘tis of thee sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!”
Dream that today this is true.
And this self-evident truth will set us free.
Can you dream it, can you see it? Can you hear it?
Let’s come together, and let freedom ring.

Tick-Tock: Glenn Beck Debunks The BIGGEST Lies Surrounding The Covington Controversy

Monday, January 21, 2019

Life of a Purse Snatcher

The sun had set.
Yet, families jumped and played in the pool as if it were day.
The hotel lights lit the night.
The laughter from children, sounded like angels singing, the smiles from dads, moms, and grandparents alike, lit the souls…but not all.
My wife sat beside the pool, smiling, laughing, watching our daughter and grandkids play.
This weekend at Coco Keys Resort in Orlando had been planned long before Christmas. We planned to show our Florida grandkids that Christmas was about presence, not presents. That the greatest Gift was a Babe in a manger wrapped in skin, not a present wrapped in paper under a tree. That’s why this year there were no presents under our tree, just a promise from our hearts that we had a better gift.  
Originally the trip was scheduled for the first weekend in January. However, between the time we celebrate the birth of a Child and the birth of a New Year, my step-mom passed away.
We had made quick flight arrangements from Florida to Oklahoma, where it was spitting ice and snow.
We’d planned to fly out on Thursday and fly home on Sunday…but that all changed.
The day of my step-mom’s Celebration of Life, I had just finished writing the eulogy, when I received word that my mom, in Minnesota, had also passed away. I couldn’t catch my breath, my hands started to tremble.  
As the little Oklahoma church was filling with family and friends, I couldn’t remember anything I was supposed to say or do. My hands were still trembling.  When asked, “Are you able to do this?” I said, “No…” but then, I heard myself say, “but, Jesus can.”
After that, a peace that can’t be explained or denied, washed over me, my hands steadied, I was able to pull in an even, steady, full, breath.
We cancelled the Frontier Airlines flight to Orlando and reserved a Sun Country flight to Minneapolis.  Frontier, didn’t offer the courtesy of a reply to our request for a refund on the return flight.
Our trip to Minnesota was a weeklong whirlwind of sleepless nights and emotional days. With love and prayers, so strong they could be felt, we made it through yet another thousand tears, hugged necks, memories shared and finally landed back in our own Florida beds.
Five days later we made our way back to Orlando for a different kind of, Celebration of Life. This time it was a celebration of One who was born to die, so we could live; a belated Christmas lesson. We were still exhausted, still a little weak in the knees, but looked forward to this time, to relax, have fun, enjoy life, and hopefully, create memories that would last an eternity.
Maybe death, is angry at our back to back Celebrations of Life. Maybe, he wanted to inflict pain, and depression and division, rather than unity and love and harmony and prayer. Perhaps he hates that we quoted and spoke and believed the words:
“So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written:
 ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.
O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?’” (1 Corinthians 15: 54-55)

Lurking from shadow to shadow, dark souls spied and despised the laughter, the light, the life. Hiding in the shadow of death, they circled the fringe like wary wolves, these walking dead…afraid of the light.
I was sitting with our eleven-month old granddaughter, splashing on the top step of the pool, when I saw them approach my wife. I carried our granddaughter, the few steps to where my wife was sitting and heard them ask if the water slide was open.
“Not until tomorrow, from eleven to five” I said as I walked toward them.
They stepped back, “ ‘leven to five?”
“Yep” I said.
They walked away.
With the baby on my lap, I wrapped her in towels, until she was dry—except for her diaper, which must’ve carried two pounds of pool water.
I had just handed the baby to my wife when one of them, appeared again.
“So, do you need a pass or something?” he said.
I remembered the green wrist bands we were given when we checked in. The ones needed for entrance to the water park. Just when I opened my mouth to explain, he grabbed my wife’s purse which was on the ground at her feet.
I was in hot pursuit as he bolted through the gate and out of the pool area. I hit the gate, pulled the latch, pulled the gate, it wouldn’t budge, I pushed the gate and it swung open. I shot through the gate and hollered and continued hollering, at the top of my lungs, “STOP HIM.”
Where was everyone? It was me and him and the whole world vanished. He rounded the corner and slithered into a waiting red car. They pulled out of the stall. I headed straight toward them.
From time to time folks have said I resemble Chuck Norris. In that moment, I imaged I was him, kicking out their windshield…but before I had a chance to do something that stupid, they turned and sped down the parking lot toward the street. I continued the chase on bare feet, still hollering, hoping someone would hear and stop the car and then I’d catch them and then I’d…I can’t repeat the thoughts of what I’d do when I caught them. Things that shouldn’t be said or done or even thought. Deathly things. But I thought them, just the same. If death only knew what I was thinking then, he’d have been laughing.  
I chased all the way to the street where they swerved around a car entering the parking lot and sped off down International Drive.
Only then did I notice how my tender feet stung from beating down concrete and pavement. Only then did I realize I couldn’t catch my voice or my breath.
It wasn’t until that night when I tried to sleep that I realized and replayed the awful thoughts that went through my head. How I wanted to hurt that punk. How could they steal, uninvited into our precious time and violate our lives?
I tossed and turned as death slithered and spewed its deathly venom of hatred and revenge and distrust for mankind…it wasn’t until it spilled an accusation so vile that I came to my senses. God doesn’t love you or care about you. He’s mad at you. That’s why this happened. You’re on your own. Everyone is evil You can’t trust anyone—especially God.  
Only then, through that sleepless night did I pray for them. Those thugs, those walking dead, those arrogant punks that stole into our lives and violated our time, our lives…those lost souls, wandering in darkness, seeking light, longing for a family to wrap a band around their wrist, a hug around their neck and sit beside a pool and laugh and love and enjoy the light, even in the night…those precious, hurting, lost and crying boys.
I remember my wife had said, “If only they’d have asked, I’d have given it to them.” If only they’d had sat down and had a chat with us, we’d have given them much more than anything that purse could hold.
I never realized how easy it is to fall into the victim mindset. So easy to follow the path of least resistance and float down the river of blame. It’s everyone’s fault but mine. The victim mentality is a vicious downward spiral. It’s the hotels fault. They had no cameras. The gate opens for anyone. There’s no security. The self-centered victim mindset is fueled by thoughts of entitlement. The hotel owes me. On and on it goes, until everyone is to blame, but self. Everyone is responsible for my irresponsibility. This mindset makes the world dark, bleak. The media seems to feed this frenzy.
 It’s hard to rise against the tide and stand as victor not victim. Yet, when we do, we’ll see there’s so much more life out there than death.
Life is winning.
Light always causes darkness to flee.
The people, the amazing, loving, kind people far outshined that shaded moment. Kind folks for the rest of our stay would stop and offer encouragement. One sweet lady named Gwen asked if we needed money, she provided her phone and room number and said to let her know if we needed anything.  
Sure, the slaves of darkness showed up.
Yes, God allowed it. He could’ve stopped it. Perhaps He even warned us with a thought to not bring a purse to the pool. Maybe we weren’t listening.
But the bottom line is that even though God hates what they do, He loves them, too. Perhaps they needed to come in contact with the Light and Life we have in Jesus.
Without their intersecting our lives, without us postponing our trip, we’d probably never have encountered these lost children. We’d never have uttered a prayer for them. Now we have. Now, whether they like it, or know it, or not...we’re praying for them. Before we ate, my twelve-year-old granddaughter prayed for them. We’re believing for them that they won’t continue walking in death, but will be swallowed up in victory.
Even now as I write this my wife is bouncing that precious grandchild and singing “Hallelujah…” not a trace of the trembling and fear remains.
I prayed and still pray that they all get caught. Get stopped. I still pray for my wife’s purse to be returned. That not one thread will be missing. But, most important, the reason I pray for this, is for them. So those boys will be changed. So they will stop slithering around in the dark and step into the light and experience a real, Celebration of Life.
Lord God, we pray and believe that You’ll intersect the lives of those dear children and bring them to Life.