Tuesday, August 26, 2014

How Well Do You Live Your Life?

In view of past events since the shooting of Michael Brown, the suicide of Robin Williams, the death of Lauren Bacall, and things that just happen in our life in a tragic and untimely manner, my focus on humor will be preempted for now.

     I was on a cruise to Alaska, having the time of my life, when on the news came tragedy.  The Michael Brown shooting.  The suicide of the great comedian, Robin Williams, and the death of a great legacy, Lauren Bacall.  The death of the teenager who was apparently gunned down, unarmed caused riots in Ferguson, Missouri.  Whether or not the boy was guilty or not, unarmed or armed, it still caused a family to lose a child, and an officer to face ridicule, and riots to break out.  It was sad no matter the true situation.
     Robin Williams was a funny, talented and giving man.  So much so, he didn't have time for himself.  He was lost in a world of pain and suffering and didn't know how to reach out.  He made people laugh and made them feel special but he had something missing in his own life.  He suffered from emotional conflicts and drug addiction that ultimately led him to the most extreme despair.  He had "it all" on the outside, fame and fortune, but was empty on the inside.  We all ask "why"?, but we will never know.
     Lauren Bacall died at the age of 89, of, I believe, a stroke.  She lived her life apparently well.  Her career lasted decades.  She had beauty and grace, and left a lasting legacy.  I have admired her in her films and she seemed to handle life well.  Her family was with her when she died.  God gave her a long life.  It was sad to hear that she had passed, just as it was sad to hear of Michael Brown and Robin Williams.  But with Miss Bacall it was a different life than the others.  It wasn't tragic.
     Coming back from my cruise I came home to some issues of my own.  What is called everyday life, with it's unexpected twists and turns.  How we choose to live our lives in a chaotic world is what really defines us.  Do we choose to live in violence?  Do we choose to give up so easy under pressure?  Do we live life with grace and purpose?  How do we live?  Sometimes discouragement gets in our way and we feel like it will never get any better than this.  Sometimes we vie for rights of others that turn to tragedy in and of itself.  Sometimes we look at discouragement in its face and say, "I've had enough of you, go away"! How well do you live your life?
     James 1:2-8 says, "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.  But if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, Who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.  But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf off the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.  For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways".  Trials are always a part of our lives.  They are inevitable.  You are either going into a trial, in the middle of a trial, or coming out of one.  The way in which we handle it is our choice, and will ultimately steer your life in one direction or another.  A violent life will lead to violence.  A hopeless life will lead to suicide.  A life with honor will lead to honor.  How well do you live your life?  
     Jeremiah 29:11 says God knows His plans for us and gives us hope, if we'll just accept it.  I was where Robin Williams was 8 years ago.  I came too close to giving up, but by the Grace of God I cried out to Him and am here to tell you about hope.  Praise Jesus!  I'm not trying to preach, I am just sharing that for almost 30 years I wanted to quit this life, and I have found hope.  God is amazing.  I don't always live my life well, but I have hope.  I make mistakes, get discouraged, and even get a little angry at times, but then I look up and realize Who holds my future, and I again cry out to Him.  How well do you live your life?
     These three people will stick in my mind for a long time.  The loss that occurred and how it occurred will never leave me.  One may have been at the wrong place at the wrong time.  One had no hope.  One life was long and fulfilled.  What is your life like?

Blessings to each one of you today.  May your life count as something no matter what your situation is today.


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

God's Sense of Humor

     Abraham and Sarah laughed at God.  Jacob lied.  David committed adultry and murder.  Jonah ran away.  Mary was a virgin and gave birth to Jesus.  Matthew was a tax collector.  Peter needed anger management.  Thomas doubted.  Martha worried.  The woman at the well had many marriages and was living with a guy.  Barnabus had words with a Paul.  Timothy was just a kid.  Paul hated Christians in the beginning and had them killed.
     Yes, God has a sense of humor.  He used all these people in their sinful ways and in Mary's case, an impossible way, and gave us a life--giving Gospel, despite human error.  He even illustrates us as sheep, in a round about way saying we are stupid.  Yes, humans and sheep alike are stupid.  He loves us so much though that through these men and women, we have His-story, and Jesus came through these people, so that we may be redeemed from laughing at God, lying,  committing adultry or murder, running away from God, cheating people out of money, getting angry, doubting or worrying, or being faithful to one spouse. 
     He also came so that we may not break friendships with harsh word, or not worry about being to young, and worry what others will say about it.  He came to change persecutors lives and make them powerful preachers.  The last laugh is from God.  If you say, "I can't be used".  God will use you in that area you doubt, so watch out and be careful the next time you mess up and think you're in the clear.  God'll get you then.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Lord? Where Are You?

Lord?  Where are You?
"Right here".
I don't see You.
"You're not looking closely".
I don't hear You?
"You're not listening".
I don't feel You.
"You're too far away".
What Lord?  What do You mean?  I'm standing right here.  
"But that's not where I am".
Lord?  Where are You?
"Right here".
OK, Lord, You're fooling with me (little laugh).  Playing hide and seek?
"No, seek and you shall find".
(Scratches head) I don't get it.
"Have you prayed to Me"?
Uh, no.
"Have you read My Word"?
Uh, no.
"Have you gone to church"?
Well...um, no.
"Try doing those things".
A few weeks go by and she prays, reads and goes to church.  
Lord!  There You are!  It's great that You're here!
"I have always been here.  It's great that you're here.  I've waited a long time.  Welcome home.
The Lord puts her in His arms and she is happy.