The Light

As the holidays approach I am reminded of so many people who have faced tragedy this year. There are several people I know personally who lost loved ones — not to mention the national tragedies that plagued our land.

This poem is for them:

The Christmas season is upon us.
There are gifts tucked safe under a tree.
Little hearts anxiously wait
For what seems like eternity.

People are rushing; excitement is bustling
All is merry and bright.
But someone is mourning this season
Because everything is not cheery or right.

Perhaps you lost a child this year.
Perhaps you lost your dad.
Perhaps you lost your home
Or everything you had.

The world didn’t stop
Because tragedy struck.
It spun in its cycle without care.

And Christmas arrived
Though you are broken inside
With hurt that’s incredibly hard to bear.

It is for you that the Christ child
Came from heaven above.
It is for you that He still opens
His arms with mercy and with love.

It’s okay to weep over heartache.
It’s okay to weep over loss.
That is why God sent his son-
To take your pain upon the cross.

He longs to give you hope
In a world full of fear and despair.
To give you peace unlike the world
That doesn’t remember or care.

And in the midst of your chaos
I pray that God holds your hand.
That you find the comfort you long for.
That you know HE still has a plan.

The merriment of the holidays are blaring
You may want to ignore it all.
But I pray that you feel God’s presence instead.
And He answers your heart when you call.

The Christmas season is upon us
All may not be merry or bright
But He can shine in the midst of your mourning.
Follow the star, He’ll be your LIGHT.

Amen and God bless.

 

 

 

 

 

To those that are broken

Twisted – broken,
Out of control.
Spiraling- falling
Deep in a hole.

Confused – Bewildered
Not sure what to do.
Lost – Alone
Can all this be true?

The life I shared
Is now in the ground.
The joy that we had
Has turned upside down.

I cried to the Lord
In my despair.
Did you not know?
Do you not care?

I cried to the Lord
Did you not see?
There was nowhere to run
To hide or to flee.

Why all the hurt?
Why all the fears?
Why all the sadness?
And constant new tears?

I heard him reply:

Dear Child
What you say is true
I know of your anguish
It hurts through and through.

I know there is hurt.
I know there is fear.
I want to hold you close
I won’t abandon you; I’m still here.

This world is broken
Chaotic and lost.
I know the pain.
I know what it cost.

It cost the life
Of my son on the cross
To break all the sin
To heal all the loss.

It wasn’t me
That took the life
It was evil consumed
With hate and with strife

When this world’s sins
Meets its final hour,
The demons that kill
Will flee and will cower.

Until that time comes
My arms will remain open
Its a safe place to heal
A heart that is broken.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

 

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Water and Fire

The howl of the wind, the rush of the water, the urgency in the air causing anxiety in the south. Or the roar of the fire, the sunless sky, the smell of smoke in the backyard, causing panic in the north. Our nation has seen so much anger, violence and hostility and now it seems mother-nature is as angry as the political unrest. There seems to be a shaking in our country; a shaking in our world.

Are these incidences just coincidences? Is it “climate change”? Is it just life in a planet that is forever changing? Or is it a compassionate wake-up call to a nation from an Almighty God, reminding people that he is ultimately in control? Or perhaps an “end time” announcement?

We have seen horrific earthquakes, tsunamis, mudslides and famines in other countries from a safe place. In fact we have experienced our own earthquakes that rocked the land plus horrific hurricanes and tornadoes and even volcanos that have affected personal lives. Life on this earth, inclusive of weather anomalies and change have occurred since the beginning of time. Yet it seems, from my perspective and others I have spoken with, that our nation is being bombarded by mother nature.

Was the solar eclipse that was nicknamed  “The Great American Eclipse” that crossed the contiguous United States a sign of things to come for America? You might ask why one would think this?  The Bible mentions signs in the heavens. Jesus warned of the days before his return.

Luke 21: 25-26 states: “There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the seas and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” (NASV)

Also in Acts 2:20 “The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.” ( NIV)

If you have grown up in church you may have heard it preached that we are living in the “last days”.  In fact you might remember the “Left Behind” series by Tim LaHaye that became popular videos in the Christian communities in the early 2000s.  Before that there were many street prophets. Some stood with signs on the street corners that stated that the end was near.  Often you see these type of people portrayed in movies labeled as crazy or mentally unstable.

But calling out to masses about coming events is not a new concept. John the Baptist could have been considered one of those crazy people. He wore garments of camel-hair with a leather belt around his waist. His food was locust and honey. He often was heard saying, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 3:2 (ESV) Yet he was actually sent by God to announce the coming of Jesus and was humbled that he was allowed to baptize Jesus before he started his ministry.

Science fiction thriller movies have taken end time theories and made millions at the box office. In these movies the entire world is almost destroyed by some kind of climate change or world war 3 or a massive nuclear bomb or aliens that attack. But just at the last moment a hero saves the day or the world  People leave the theater thankful that it was just a movie.  And they carry on with their lives.

The concept of “end times” is old and perhaps heard so many times that it is portrayed as ridiculous. That message can get to the point of being overdone. Eventually people get tired of hearing it and roll their eyes. It took so long for Noah to build the Ark that people became weary of the sight of the ark or his lunatic racings, as well, and simply mocked him. They lived as they had always done, eating, drinking and getting married. Suddenly destruction came upon them.

Today people have become immune to the possibility of any truth those words may hold. “Seriously? We have been hearing those “end times” warnings for so long.” And then they will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from beginning of creation.” 2 Peter 3:4 (ESV)

Some people have gone as far as try to predict the return of the Lord. I remember a book in the 80s that was titled “88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will be in 1988” by Edgar Whisenant.  When it didn’t occur the way he assumed, the author continued writing more books that expanded on his explanation. He died without seeing the “rapture” take place in his lifetime.

But Jesus warned, “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son but only the Father.” Mark 13:32 (ESV)

Still Jesus forewarns that though we do not know the hour, there will be events that occur before that time. His message was to always be prepared. He even told a parable (or story) that has since been titled “The Parable of the 10 Virgins”. Five people were ready for the coming of the bridegroom, while five others had not been prepared. (Matthew  25:1-13)

Today we have many scoffers, even in the Christian community. In fact the Christian community is divided in many areas. I viewed some testimonies online from individuals that have shared dreams regarding what is taking place in America. Some said that they had already seen these events taking place in those dreams. One that really caught my attention was the proclamation that someone made regarding these two hurricanes. Afterwards they state that there will be a huge earthquake that will rock our nation. All these catastrophic events will devestate the American economy.

Regardless if these events are from the hand of God for judgement or if we are in the “last days” these events can transform each of our lives to help us to grow, if we allow them. They can cause us to trust God in the midst of chaos, create a greater prayer life, grow in our faith and relationship with our Savior and teach us compassion for those around us. Remember 9-11? It drew our nation together. Of course in the midst of positive transformation there will always be the scoffers and those who continue to harden their hearts, becoming bitter. And there will always be those that are bent on the destruction of others and themselves.

Yet heartaches can be used for good. The verse “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NASB) becomes even more clear. It is the through the hardest times in our lives that God’s grace and the glory can shine.

Still I join with the disciples who waited earnestly for Jesus’ return in their days and know that the day of his ultimate return grows closer. And I pray for those who have been affected by the latest hurricanes, those who have lost their property and lost loved ones. And I pray for those who are being affected by the fires that still rage. So many hurts and so many loses in this world. God have mercy on each of us.

To each of you I leave this verse:

“When you pass through the water, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Isaiah 43:2 (NIV)

 

 

Tragedy

Recently a tragedy happened in a place that I use to call home. I know tragedies happen quite frequently in the lives of many people throughout the world. You hear about them so often on the news that sometimes you forget how violently it many have shaken an individual, family or at times even a nation. But for some reason this particular tragedy hit too close to home and yet I never knew the people personally.

June 29th, while I was busy about my day, the fishing boat Miss Destinee capsized in the frigid waters of Kodiak, Alaska. Two of the crew members were immediately rescued while the other two were listed as missing. I watched the episode unfold on social media as family members and friends hoped and prayed for the best. Despite the best efforts of the Coast Guard and others, the two young people: a brother and sister ages 18 and 22  lost their lives as the unforgiving cold waters rushed quickly inside the capsized boat.

The news gripped my heart as I sat on my cozy couch reading the social media posts and the news releases. I prayed and I wept. I didn’t understand why this particular event stirred me to the core. Maybe it was because they lived in the town I use to call home or that they were friends of people I knew closely or the fact that I had just been there at the church a few weeks earlier joining the young lady and her older brother as they led worship.  (I know in my heart that they are now worshiping our Lord…live!) Or maybe my heart ached so furiously because I was sure their parents and remaining older sibling were being crushed with incredible heartache and loss. As a parent I cannot even begin to understand that pain. Whatever the reason for my personal heartache, I had been impacted by the loss, though indirectly.

Life is precious. Each life is precious. To have a life snuffed out so early and so senseless is heart wrenching. It fills the minds of those left behind with questions that have no answers.

Recently, it seems I have known more people who have passed on to eternity. Perhaps that is because I am older and have lived long enough to witness tragedy or perhaps it is because I see it more clearly. Though I have not been impacted by war as some of my friends around the world have, nor gone into war as my son experienced, I hear the echoes and vibrations of its influence. From the terrorist attacks abroad and on our soil,  or murderous acts of selfish rage, or horrible accidents to an incurable illness; death is real. Lives are lost and mourning begins.

I do not have any expertise regarding the pain these individuals are going through. I have friends that have lost close loved ones.  I’ve attended several memorials and funerals. I’ve cried with those in mourning. I’ve prayed for those left alone. But I cannot give a word of comfort from a deep place of experience. Still I want to somehow reach out and tell the world that someone precious is gone from our world. Someone precious in the sight of the Lord has passed on.

I use to wonder what the scripture meant that said:
“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants.” Psalm 116:19 (NIV)

But I have come to believe that he sees each life individually as valuable.  Jesus even wept when Lazarus died, knowing he would come back to life on this earth and live in eternity with him.  I believe that he considers the death of his followers, his children, as precious because he knows how unique each life was on this earth!  And he has a specific place for them in heaven, created just for them — for you and for me — that he is saving. It is like when a friend saves your seat at a particular event. HE is saving our place, with our name already written on it. And when we arrive he welcomes us with open arms and gets excited to see us!

He said: “If I go and prepare a place for you, I am coming again and will receive you to Myself, that where I am you may be also.” John 14:3 (NASB)

God is powerful, yet God is tender. He is wiser than us and his ways are higher than ours. If God knows the number of hairs on our head, and knows the number of days we will live, we must each be extremely important to his heart. I believe that he values your life and my life, the lives of those that have died before us, and the lives of those not yet born more than fine costly gold or increasing strength and power.

He loved us enough to send his son to DIE.  It was a costly death. It was a death that left Jesus alone carrying the heavy weight of all the world’s sin and illness. It looked like defeat. But He died so that we…you and I…can LIVE with him in eternity. Otherwise there would be no hope and we would die a second death into the darkness of hell.

I cannot understand why an early death happened to the two young people or why good people suffer. I know that God never promised us continued days of happiness in this life. He did, however, promise that there will be many trials in this world. But he added to that statement saying that he will give us peace through it and we were to be of good cheer for he had already overcome the world.  (John 16:33)   Thank the Lord.

One of my life versus is: “Trust in the Lord will all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5 (NIV)

So I trust him though I don’t always understand.  And I pray for those that are mourning a loss of someone who was extremely special in their lives. God is wiser than we are and loves us more than we can comprehend; only wanting the very best for us. Some of the tests that we have to go through seem impossible! But God will make a way. He said in the book of Luke that what is impossible with man is possible with God.

Whatever you may be facing today. I pray that “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 (ESV)

God Bless.