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Archive for the month “October, 2018”

I See My Time Is Up

There used to be a radio sports talk show I listened to in the 1970’s from Cleveland., Ohio.  Cleveland had a huge radio signal from 1100 on the dial they called 3WE which was WWWE.  It would normally  come in fine to my home in Michigan at the time of his show which was 7 pm til 11 pm on week nights.  The host named Pete Franklin would spend a lot of the show badgering his callers if they disagreed with him.  The calls of people in agreement were somewhat boring, but the disagreeing calls were why I tuned in.   Pete had an advantage in his arguments because he could get loud and dominate the conversation.  If the argument got too fierce he would many times just hang up on the caller.  I listened not only for the sports but for the entertainment of the whole thing.  At that time Cleveland sports teams were at a low point as far as wins go.  Pete would criticize the management, explain how things could get better,  but his heart was always with Cleveland sports. He would say that his biggest thrill would be if the Indians won the World Series.  Unfortunately they never did.  It was always an entertaining show because it was hard to believe what Pete could get away with.  At the end of the show he signed  off with words very humbling and thought provoking.  He actually appreciated all of the calls both good and bad and his listeners.  “I see my time is up”, he would state, “Thank you very much for your time.”Image result for pete franklin cleveland talk show

That little statement brought back to mind as a listener the importance of time.  I had spent a few hours listening to his show and he was actually bringing it to my mind.  We all spend time which can be compared to spending money only more important.  By observing what someone spends their time on we can discover what is important in their lives.  Most people will tell you that they spend a lot of time at work.  Well that must be important to them then.  Sometimes the important conflicts with the have to.  We see bumper stickers on cars that say stuff like “I’d rather be golfing” or “I’d rather be in Hawaii” or things like that.  Still they are driving their car in Michigan spending their time not really doing what they are dreaming.

I-039-d-Rather-be-Fishing-Window-Decal-Sticker-Vinyl-Truck-Car

This spending time thing gets me thinking about a very low time in my life.  It was a time right after the tragedy of losing our daughter.  Naturally we were hurting and my mother in law suggested we see a counselor.  At first my wife went alone as I tried to deal with the pain on my own.  Finally I decided to go with her.  I don’t remember if I went to one session or two but I do remember one very well.  We were talking about things that were very hurtful but I felt like that maybe some good was coming out of it.  At the very peak of our feelings when things were getting out that were held in he looked at his watch.  “Well I see our time is up”, he announced.  At that moment I looked at him completely differently.  He had given the image that he really cared about us and our hurt.  Sadly I realized that he was there just for the money and it was because it was his job.  I realize that there is a time frame for anyone in that profession, but the way that he left us in that moment told me that his time frame was more important than us.  We never went back and that image of him looking at his watch is what I think of when I think of him.

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Why do we have to go to specialists to help us with our problems anyway?  Could it be because the people around us don’t care to get involved?  The counselor guy didn’t give any advice out of the ordinary.  Basically we just talked and he listened.  Why can’t the Christian people in our lives take the time to listen to their neighbors in need?  Recently I noticed that a friend wasn’t himself.  I couldn’t place my finger on what was wrong but when I saw him one day I could just tell.  He was quiet when he usually is very out going and he was sad when he is always happy.  I found out that his wife had left him and he was totally devastated.  He loved his wife very much and it took him completely by surprise. I made it a point to take the time to try to comfort him one day.  I put my hand on his shoulder and said “I heard what you are going through and I want you to know that I am praying for you.”  That took a few seconds of my time and obviously I was glad to spend it.  I didn’t realize what an impact those caring words meant to him until I talked to other friends later.  Apparently he has been going around telling people what my little talk did.  He had been holding everything inside and now whenever he talked about how much better he has been he always mentions me and the words I said.

These experience have helped me in my Christian walk to answer the question of why.  Is the person being nice or trying to give advice because they want to or because it is their job?  Are we free with our time or are we stingy when it comes to helping others?  God wants us to love our neighbor but what does that mean?  Does it mean to love them at our convenience and if it doesn’t fit our schedule to brush them off?  Some day we will all have to account for the limited time we were given.  Did we spend it wisely helping others or did we spend it on our selfish desires?.  Without Jesus in our hearts it will always be the latter.  With his love there and our constantly seeking his will we will find our time being spent more wisely.  We will look for people we can help not because we have to but because we want to.  Hopefully in the end we can say “I see my time is up, thank you Lord for helping me to spend it wisely!

Eternity

by Lewis Hamilton
from the book “The Gardener and My Garden” c1997

Where should my thoughts
and actions be,
on worldly things
or eternity?

One is passing
the other one lasts
One never ends,
one goes by fast

I often wonder
when my life is done,
will I be rewarded
for souls I had won?

Or will I just carry
what satisfied me,
with no lasting value
for eternity?

But store up for yourself
treasure in heaven, where
moth and rust do not destroy,
and where thieves do not
break in and steal.

Matthew 6:20

 

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I Did It For The Lord

I have a friend who had car trouble one day.  He was in the middle of a parking lot and his car battery was dead.  Luckily for him he noticed a Christian guy he knew of who was getting into his car.  My friend told him about his dilemma and asked if he would be able to jump his battery for him.  He had a set of battery cables and it would really help him out.  The Christian man had a sour look on his face.  It was like it was such an imposition to him to help my friend.  He did however agree to the process but not without more complaining.  It didn’t take long before my friends car was started and running fine.  Seeing how much his problem had affected the man who helped him out he offered to pay him.  The man looked at him with that sour expression still on his face and said with a voice that seemed to pain him “no, I don’t need your money, I did it for the Lord.”

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What powers the Christian walk is not a sense of obligation or need to follow rules.  It is the love that is in our hearts.  Jesus recognized the lack of love in a young rich ruler who came to get his favor.  In Matthew 19 verses 16-26 the encounter unfolds.

16 And someone came to Him and said, “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?” 17 And He said to him, “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” 18 Then he *said to Him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, You shall not commit murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; 19 Honor your father and mother; and You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man *said to Him, “All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be [a]complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” 22 But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property.

23 And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, “Then who can be saved?” 26 And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  It wasn’t that the rich young ruler had not kept the commandments.  His problem was that love was not in his heart.  In his case he loved his riches more than he loved God.  He obeyed the commandments from knowledge rather than what was  really in his heart.  Jesus talks about this when he was asked what the greatest commandment is.  37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”Image result for rich young ruler photo

Some of us fail to realize that it isn’t obeying rules that pleases God.  It is the love of his son Jesus in our hearts that pleases him!  When we love him with all of our hearts we will automatically have the right attitude with our neighbors.  We will help them with a song in our heart not because we have to but because we want to.  We will fellowship with our church and be a light to others not because we have to but because we want to.  What we see in Christians too often is that they try to please God in actions rather than with their heart.  The rich young ruler thought that Jesus would give him his total approval and tell him what a good guy he was and that he was doing everything right.  Jesus saw the same thing in him that he saw in the Pharisees of his day.  They worshiped God with their mouth and their actions but their hearts were far from him.  The Bible talks about cleaning the inside of the glass first.  Too many times we are trying to look the part of Christians instead of having the love of Jesus in us.

Unlike the parking lot experience that my friend had, Christianity isn’t about suffering to do the right thing.  It is doing the right thing out of love.  With love in our hearts it is natural to do good.  We should always listen to the spirit within us and help our neighbors out of love and not duty.  Instead of saying “I did it for the Lord”, we should say “I did it because of the Lord!”  There is a saying that goes “follow your heart.”  In our Christian walk it is so important!  When we allow Jesus to not only come into our heart but be our Lord and Savior, he will always give us a desire to love.

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