lightenload

Come with me on a spiritual Journey!

Archive for the category “Out of the Darkness”

Houston, We Have A Problem

“Houston, We have a problem” was originally uttered by Jack Swigert, an American astronaut, after he turned a switch on a routine procedure only to hear an explosion throughout the module.  On April 11, 1970 Apollo 13 launched.  It’s mission was to be the third time that men would land on the moon.  Interest in this particular mission waned as most thought it would be boring.  After all we’ve done this before and it was getting to be a routine after 2 successful trips.  All of that changed with one flick of a switch.

Jack Swigert.jpg

Originally Swigert wasn’t supposed to be on the mission at all.  He was a back up until Ken Mattingly was hurriedly replaced after he was unwittingly exposed to the German Measles.  Now seemingly something awful had gone wrong and Swigert was blaming himself that somehow he didn’t do the procedure right.  Mission Control was in a scramble as their controls were showing that the command modular was losing power.  They would have to act fast as not only the original mission was in danger but the lives of the three astronauts were suddenly at risk.  After putting their heads together Miission Control was guided by one of their top officers.  He persuaded the commander that instead of trying to land on the moon they needed to bring the astronauts home safely. The decision was based on the fact that they were losing oxygen and they had a limited amount of time before it would run out.

Everything was up in the air as they were making their decision of what to do next.  Meanwhile the interest on the ground was at a high level.  What had been originally thought of as a boring mission was now on the front pages.  It was decided that the original module would be discarded and the backup ship the undamaged Aquarius would be used even though it was only supposed to navigate the moon.  They would power it up as a lifeboat to get them home. Through the whole movie problems came up.  They had to power down all unnecessary conveniences so that they could have some power left.  That included the heating and they ended up in a very very cold place.  Through it all they solved problems.  One time the original ship was losing all kinds of oxygen.  Mission control had to simulate their situation.  Ken Mattingly who did not end up with the measles was called in.  He got in the simulator ship which was an exact model of what the astronauts were in.  The mission was to make something out of their supplies that they had to plug up the hole where oxygen was escaping.  Brilliantly they were able to do it on the ground and translate the information to the astronauts so they could make a similar piece.

Image result for apollo 13 movie pictures

All of the problems faced created an interesting and thrilling story.  When I watched the movie for the first time I tried to remember if things worked out.  Because it was based on the true story I knew they couldn’t wander too far from the truth.  I remembered one mission where they got killed at takeoff but obviously this wasn’t it. This particular mission did not stand out in my brain.  However I had a feeling that everything might turn out alright..  Of course I found myself cheering inside as problems that could have killed them all were conquered.  It was a story of guidance, love, and the spirit to survive.

Isn’t that the same spirit that we have as we live our lives on this earth?  There are going to be problems and we have to get through them.  The good news is that we can have communications with the Master of the Universe!  He knows how to get us through our problems and bring us home in victory!

At the end there was one final test.  Would the ship survive re-entry into earths atmosphere?  They always talked about the angle that the ship had to come in. The angle was a little off and it was feared that it could burn up.  That fear was kept from the astronauts because there was nothing they could do about it anyway.  They had it timed that once they lost communications they should gain it back in like 2 minutes.  If they didn’t hear from them by then the chances they wouldn’t increased.  Two minutes came and went and Mission Control was a somber place. They kept trying to communicate but no words were coming back.  There was fear all around as the time went over 3 minutes and ticking.  When everything seemed lost the static in the radio started to clear. “Houston, This is Aquarius”, Tom Hanks the actor said as he brilliantly portrayed Jim Lovell the astronaut.  Cheers rang up in Mission Control and all over the country!

Image result for apollo 13 astronauts getting rescued

I have watched this movie many times.  It is one that when I see it is on I get involved with again.  Each time it brings tears to my eyes as I see their struggles and ultimate victory!  I don’t think I would be so apt to watch it if it ended in disaster.  Since it is such a good ending I am always rapped up in seeing it again.  That is how it is with your life and mine.  We are going to have problems while we are here but rest assured God is bigger than our problems.  We can be comforted to know that our story will have a happy ending.  We can go through our problems knowing that they will come to pass and that we will make it through our fiery tests.  Are you going through trials and tribulations right now?  Remember that this is what is making your story interesting.  The saying goes “Without a test there is no testimony!”  Be joyous in your tests knowing that everything turns out all right.  How do we know?   We know because we have been told the glorious ending of our movie!

Image result for apollo 13 astronauts getting rescued

 

Advertisements

#2 Dane’s Pain and Gain

This is a story about Dane.  Dane grew up in my neighborhood and had a very different experience after high school than most of the rest of us.

https://lightenload.wordpress.com/2018/05/27/danes-pain-and-gain/

Image may contain: 1 person

#4 In The Silence

In the silence is when we hear from God.  Read about the astronaut who was truly in the silence!

https://lightenload.wordpress.com/2018/11/11/in-the-silence/

#9 Peace In The Storm

It’s nice to know that the storm is here to strengthen us!  https://lightenload.wordpress.com/2018/06/07/peace-in-the-storm/

https://i1.wp.com/mypages.iit.edu/~ahutches/images/thunderstorm.jpg

Days Of The Living Dead

In 1978 I got a call from my sister.  Apparently my cousin had two tickets she wasn’t going to use for a movie called Dawn Of The Dead.  My girlfriend and future wife ended up going to the movie which proved to be a chilling experience.  This was actually a continuation of a story that was written in 1968 called Night Of The Living Dead.  Anyway they are both movies about dead people coming back to life and becoming flesh eating Zombies.  Apparently the only way these Zombies could keep living was to eat living people or to put it simply people who were not Zombies.  Of course these Zombies were hard to kill probably because they were already dead.  They moved around slowly in a very deliberate and snail like zombie walk shuffling in a forward path.  They had no purpose except to find people who were alive and eat them.

Painted theatrical release that includes various credits, an ominous zombie looking over the horizon, and the words "Dawn of the Dead" in military print below.

These movies were stories of surviving created by George A. Romero.  The first one Night Of The Living Dead followed living people taking refuge in an old farmhouse trying to stay safe from the blood thirsty Zombies that had caused panic throughout the nation.  The one we saw Dawn Of The Dead had the same theme except we followed people who took refuge in a mall that had been abandoned probably because of the Zombie dilemma.  So we are placed in the middle of the Zombie invasion.  We don’t really know why it is happening we just see the results.  There is plenty of time to speculate as we are taking refuge in these buildings.  Let’s make no mistake about it.  When watching these movies we become the living characters in the movie.  What would we do in these situations they find themselves in?  This is the intended feeling that Romero wants to portray.  This is why they are called horror films.  They don’t really have to make sense.  There is really no explanation needed for why the Zombies exist.  Although there is a lot of speculation the fact is they are there and they are threatening our lives and our survival.

Dawn of the Dead original VHS box cover art.

In each of the films the Zombie invasion is a growing enemy.  You see when the Zombie bites a living person that person eventually dies and in a little while becomes one of the Zombies.  I’m not really sure how long it takes.  We see people getting attacked by Zombies and later those same people are Zombies themselves.  So obviously it is a growing problem.  If the Zombie invasion was a few random Zombies they could be destroyed and the movie would end.  However with this growing problem it is almost hard to keep track of if we saw a person die first before they became a Zombie.

It’s interesting to analyze the characteristics of the Zombies in each of the first two movies.  The Zombies have no purpose other than to eat living people.  They move slowly but are able to keep moving and never tire out.  They are devoid of any real personality although they can think.  They can keep going even after being gravely injured as long as their brain remains intact.  They never quit in their pursuit of the living.  They have learning experiences similar to that of a toddler.  They only show emotions after a long period of experience and training.  The other thing about Zombies in the first two movies was that they feared fire.  It was never really explained why they feared the flame but it was a way to make them retreat.  Most of all they could only live at the expense of others.  By tearing living people down they got stronger as they destroyed the living and converted them into Zombies like them.  The movie ends with the two main living characters escaping in a partially fueled helicopter to an uncertain future.

George A. Romero

Did you know that most people in the world today are Zombies?  Oh you might think I have jumped off the deep end but let me explain.  Of course we don’t see them moving in the Zombie walk physically but what about spiritually?  John 10:10 states (and this is Jesus talking) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.  I John 5:12 tells us Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.  Jesus said in John 7:37 “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! 38 Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’”  but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14

The Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 2 verses 1-10 states  As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

So what can we learn from the Bible verses above?  We see that Jesus is the giver of life and apart from him we are dead.  We see that if we drink of the living water (Jesus) we will thirst no more.  That thirst he is talking about is something in every person.  It is a desire to have purpose in life and a reason to exist.  Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”  John 18:12.  John 3:19 tells us that “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.  The same is true today.  Like the Zombies fear of fire many don’t want anything to do with the light of the world that Jesus is.  They would rather reject the light and walk in darkness.  Instead of living in the darkness there is a way to escape.  Unlike the helicopter escape the characters in the movie did this escape instantly transforms us from dead to living.  This escape gives us peace and takes us to a certain future.  That future is eventually a heavenly home full of love!

If you have not accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior you are literally spiritually dead.  You are walking around with no deep purpose in life.   If you would be honest you would admit that you are totally empty.  You would admit that spiritually you are dead and are a walking Zombie.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  Jesus came to give life and give it more abundantly.  Accept him into your heart today with this simple prayer.

Lord Jesus, Come into my heart and save me.  Forgive me of my sins and be my Lord and Savior.   Amen  It’s a simple prayer but if you are sincere he will come into your being and give you life and purpose!  Your escape from a dead meaningless life will be propelled by the God of the Universe who has the power to set you free and give you victory and peace forever and ever!

Peace In The Storm

We’ve all been through big storms.  The rain comes down hard, the thunder is loud and darkness is all around.  The sun is nowhere to be found and the only light that we see is periodic lightening brightening the sky.  If the electricity is still working we hear news of thunderstorm or tornado warnings.  We may be directed to enter a safe place in our home until the system passes us by.  All of these factors can be very alarming.  Yet I have been through numerous storm warnings in my life and I am sure you have too.  The best way to get through the storms is to get to a safe place, and stay there until the storm passes.  The main thing we must remember is to stay calm because then we can think straight.  We won’t panic and make decisions based on our panic state.  Knowing that we have been through hundreds of storms before and each one went away helps us to live through yet another one.

https://i1.wp.com/mypages.iit.edu/~ahutches/images/thunderstorm.jpg

In our Christian walk we are going to go through storms.  Nobody said that once we become a Christian storms will automatically pass us by.  The disciples of Jesus were in a boat one time and a sudden storm hit.  All of the sudden they were fearing for their lives.  The waves were beating heavily on the boat and the boat was rocking from side to side.  In the midst of the storm Jesus was in the back room of the boat sleeping.  Scared out of their mind the disciples woke Jesus.  “Jesus”, they said “Don’t you care that we are going to parish?”  Jesus got up and the first thing he did was admonish them.  “Oh ye of little faith”, he said.  Then he commanded the storm to calm and the storm was no more.

It’s interesting the words ye of little faith that he used.  In our daily lives when the storms hit us we tend to panic like the disciples did.  Just like in their case where Jesus was in the boat he is in our boat too if we have asked him into our heart.  With Jesus on board there is no reason to fear no matter how scary the storm is.

Image result for jesus calms the sea photo

So I ask you this question today.  Do you have little faith or big faith?  Little faith is faith that everything is OK as long as everything is going well.  Big faith is faith that everything is OK no matter what the circumstances are.

When Jesus comes into our hearts he gives us a peace that passes all understanding.  The problem that we have is that we don’t always live in that peace.  We can be like ten of the twelve spies in the Bible who came back and reported that the enemy was too big.  They were looking at the problems instead of the promise.  Isn’t that what we do when we get all upset because all we see is the obstacles?  So how do we keep the peace even through the tough times?  How do we go through the storms with big faith?

We will keep the peace if we are honest with everyone.  We cannot be at peace inside when we are not truthful.  II Corinthians 10 verses 4 and 5 tell us to Cast down imaginations and everything that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.  When we don’t believe that God will get us through a situation aren’t we not casting down these imaginations?  Have you ever heard that 95% of the things we worry about never happen?

When you are in the storm remember who is on the boat with you.  Remember all of the storms that you have been through in the past with his help.  Find the peace that only he can give.  Lean on the Lord and seek his peace above all else.  Remember that whatever you are going through will pass.  After it is over you will have a story to tell.  You see without a test we have no testimony.  The weather in our heart can be sunny and warm even when the storms on the outside are at their worst.  Always remember who is the center of our peace with this saying “No Jesus, No Peace—Know Jesus, Know Peace!”

The Weather of My Heart

by Lewis Hamilton c 1997 From the book “The Gardener and My Garden”

We call the weather line
it’s such a big concern
will rain ruin our weekend
or will the weather turn?

Is there a storm brewing?
It’s very important to me
Turn the TV on right now
and switch to channel three

The weather alert is flashing
there’s a “W” on the screen
The “W” stands for warning
what kind of warning could it be?

We plan our daily activities
from data we have found
wanting to make good decisions
from information that is sound

Do you ignore the weather
that goes on inside?
Is the river of your heart at peace
or is there a high tide?

Are your insides dark and cloudy
and is there always strife
from winds racing out of control
every day of your life?

You can see the forecast on your TV
the screen’s within your eyes
Are they raging from tornado winds
and seas about to rise?

Do you ignore the inside storm
denying that it’s there,
or should you take some action
to show you really care

The Lord saw my stormy inside
and said he’d calm my sea
He’d make my sun shine all the time
his peace he’d give to me

Now my inside weather’s peaceful
although outside it may rain
I’ve discovered who can control
my inside weather vane

I know now just as I’m concerned
what the weather report will be,
It’s more important what the weather is
deep inside of me

For Jesus spoke to my sea that day
He called, Peace be still
There is sunshine every day for me
as I live now in his will

Let There Be Light

You may be surprised to know that Thomas Edison didn’t invent the light bulb.  Edison came out with his patents in 1878 and 1879 but the light bulb was in the works since 1802.  Many inventors sought to improve the light bulb.  The trick was to make a bulb that would light and also last.  While many attempted this feat through the years it was Edison who came up with just the right combination.  He had to find the right filament and have it vacuumed just right so that it would sustain light.  Edison’s pursuit of making the light bulb work was looked at as strange.  Someone once asked him “Aren’t you discouraged that you tried 1,000 different times to make the light bulb work and each time you failed?”  Edison’s answer was on the contrary.  He found one thousand combinations that didn’t work.  In his mind it was a process of eliminating what wouldn’t work which led him to what would.  So Edison did not create the light bulb but he did create the first one that would shine brightly for a long period of time. Original Edison Bulb

Today we take the light for granted.  We walk into a room and without thinking we turn on the light.  Only when the light does not come on because of an electricity outage or a burnt out bulb do we give it a second thought.  It’s not like it was when the electric light was experienced for the first time.  Can you imagine the first time someone attempted to read a book under their new electric light?  I’ll bet they were used to reading under a kerosene lamp.  You’ve probably seen them in old movies and how the light would flicker.  It had to be just a little better than reading in semi-darkness.  “What a miracle”, they must have thought.

In the same way Edison was a miracle for bringing physical light God wants us to be spiritual light to all we see.  Jesus said in Matthew 5:15-16 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.  We may ask How we can be a light to others? 

I have a friend who stopped to buy gas a couple of weeks ago.  He went into the gas station after pumping his gas to pay.  There was a feeling in his heart that he should talk to the lady behind the counter about Jesus.  Right away doubt started to creep in to his mind.  The lady will probably think I am weird, he thought.  Still he decided to listen to that small voice within him.  He started talking small talk to the lady and then asked her if she liked to talk about spiritual things?  When she commented that she did he went further.  He asked her if she were a Christian?  He got her to talk about what she thought a Christian was and found out that she had not actually asked Jesus into her heart.  He led her in prayer to receive Jesus Christ as her personal savior.  When they finished praying the lady surprised my friend.  He was happy that she came to know Jesus but what she said made him do a double take.  “You are a miracle!”, she exclaimed.   “For the longest time I have been so depressed and down”, she admitted.  “Then you came in and brought light to my life”.  “You are truly a miracle!”  Image result for gas station worker

Like Edison we have something to share with the world.  However our gift is far more valuable than his.  He only made light in a physical sense.  We have the power through Jesus to give people light for their soul.  That lady that my friend talked to is not an isolated case.  There are millions of people out there who do not know Jesus.  The Bible states in 1 John 5 verse 12 “Whoever has the son has life, whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

I’m afraid that many of us take God’s miracle in our lives for granted.  We have lost our excitement and desire to share our light.  We don’t even think about people living in darkness.  We’re glad that we are in the light and condemn others who aren’t.  God is calling us to be a light in the darkness.  He is calling us to be that miracle that enters someones life and brings hope.  We can only be that miracle if we are connected to the power source and desire to share his light.

When Edison and his team finished the first light bulb he asked a young boy to carry the bulb up the stairs.  The boy was super careful knowing how precious the bulb was.  The boy was too cautious as he climbed the stairs.  As you probably guessed he tripped and dropped the bulb and it tumbled down the steps and smashed.  It took Edison’s team 24 hours to re-make the lighting miracle.  When they finished Edison asked the same boy to take the new bulb upstairs.  That is the kind of forgiveness God has for us.  If we mess up he is always willing to give another chance.  Too often we don’t do anything because we don’t want to take a chance.  In the spiritual realm if we follow the Holy Spirit’s voice we always carry  a bright light.  The light he gives to us shines on forever and instantaneously replenished if we get tripped by the enemy.

Image result for calendar of 2019

As we begin this new year I challenge you to do something different.  Instead of making New Years resolutions that soon will be broken try this.  Pray every day for an opportunity to spread his light to a dark world.  Look for opportunities and ask God to lead you.  Listen to his still small voice within you.  The Holy Spirit will speak to you if you are willing to take the time to listen. This will feel strange just as Edison was looked at for being strange.  However, if we are persistent we will realize that we are not alone.  The Holy Spirit will be working with us.  Edison’s gift of lighting up a room was rewarding, but God has a reward far greater to those who are willing to shine his light in someone’s inner darkness.  Don’t hide his light, let it shine, let it spread, and become a miracle in someone’s life today!

2 Corinthians 4:6
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Genesis 1:3-4…Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.…

A Missing Light On My Computer

Yesterday throughout the United States people were looking up at the sky with special glasses on.  The glasses were designed to block the rays of the sun that the moon didn’t block.  It was one of those events that doesn’t happen often.  The moon was lined up between the sun and the earth for a limited time.  In some places it was close to a 100% blockage.  To others like where I live it was closer to 80.  Still it was a sight that people were lined up to see with glasses in place.  Some places went dark in the middle of the day.  Others like mine became dull and reminded me of the darkened horizon before the sun sets.

-c8f08eb35ac5e929.JPG

 

-bae81899615e8f8c.JPG

This past week I have noticed a bright light missing from my computer.  I discovered the light a couple of years ago when a skinny lady from Kenya with a huge smile and a joyous attitude entered my computer world.  Her name was Lydia Jeritoch although I noticed that many people called her Jeritoch.  I wasn’t sure if I was calling her by her proper name but she assured me that either was acceptable.  One day someone shared one of my stories with Lydia and the next thing I knew there was a request on my Facebook page to accept her friendship.  Not knowing her I sent a message asking why she wanted to be my friend?  I don’t remember how she responded but I’m thinking she told me she read a story and that she was a Christian.  However it happened she became a tremendous blessing in my life, an avid supporting friend, and an enthusiastic supporter of my writing.  Although our initial meeting was somewhat dim in my memory, the light she shined since has lit up my computer screen for the last two years.

10245588_10202842215370012_6732441824334915889_n.jpg

Many months passed since that delightful time.  Lydia was thrilled when at the end of 2015 her story was the lightenload story of the year!  Since she was in Kenya and our time zones are so far apart we didn’t always see each other online.  However there were times that I woke up in the middle of the night and there she would be.  She posted about how great her God was often and I could always feel the joy in her heart.  At the end of 2015 I was having my own health issues.  They wanted to do a bunch of tests on me that left me wondering if my time here was limited.  One night I saw Lydia and asked her to pray for me.  Lydia was only too happy to and I knew that she was a friend I could count on and really cared!
A few weeks later the tests were done and I was pleased to tell Lydia the happy news that after much testing nothing was found!  If it were possible I think she was even more ecstatic than I was!  She mentioned that she was weeping with joy!  My story link is listed below.
About a week ago I happened to get on Facebook and Lydia’s picture was staring at me.  Someone was breaking the news that Lydia had passed away.  From the details I could gather she had been in the hospital for only a couple of days.  It seemed that she was having heart issues again.  Just the day before I had seen a post that Lydia made in which she was glorifying God in her typical way.  Nothing was mentioned about any discomfort she was going through.  It was obvious she had her sights on encouraging others and not complaining about her own problems.
The eclipse yesterday to me is a reminder of her.  Though her light may have seemed to diminish much like when the moon got in front of the sun it found a way to shine through.  Eventually the moon passed from the line of the sun and we realized what a wonderful beautiful gift the sun is.  That is how it is with Lydia’s light to me.  Without it being present I notice that a true friend has departed.  Although it was never going to work out where I would actually meet her in person, someday I will.  Until we meet again I will never forget the light that she gave which shined for her God to a hurting world.  Her light is physically gone now and Facebook is much dimmer, but Heaven is a little brighter.
DHmO-ukUIAAp475.jpg
10628347_10204407072370459_121967790040081283_n.jpg

Focusing On Our Future

I’m sure that this is dating me but I can tell you that we used to use cameras to take pictures.  I’m not talking about the camera that is part of your I-Phone.  I’m talking about an actual camera.  When we used up all of the pictures on a roll we would take it in to a place to have the pictures developed.  Normally it took a few days before we got to see our pictures.  In the time delay we might have forgotten the pictures that we took.  Sometimes the picture’s we got back were way out of focus or someone’s head accidentally got chopped off.  In the old days that was just too bad but later it was something that we didn’t have to pay for.  The film company would forgive us for our flawed pictures that didn’t come out the way we wanted and didn’t charge us for the bad ones.

"antique & vintage cameras make great decor accessories especially for that well traveled collected look - great way to repurpose old cameras especially paired with old maps & old books (maybe 2 mismatched as a "pair" of bookends)" Carolyn Williams, Antiques Dealer, Atlanta

The problem that we have today is that multiple things are coming at us all of the time.  With social media running rampant and 24 hour news always in our face it is harder for people to stay focused than ever before.  We may not have trouble focusing short term on an upcoming test or plans for dinner but we have a terrible time with long term focusing.  Of course that is where service industries have grown in recent years.  Services like retirement planning, wills, and supplemental insurance try to make us focus on things that may affect us or our families in the future.

https://cdn.andertoons.com/img/toons/cartoon7036.png

We have lived in our house a long time.  The other day we had a roofing salesperson  come to our door.  It seems that a house across the street had been re-roofed by this company.  They mentioned that new shingles should be put on a house every 20 or 25 years.  Ours were last done 23 years ago.  Yes it is probably time for us to make the plunge and have the work done.  However it is hard to focus on the future. The roof is not leaking and it looks fine.  Re-roofing a house is very expensive.  There used to be a car repair commercial that I have always remembered their little slogan.  Unfortunately for them I have long since forgot the name of the company.  The slogan went like this “You can pay me now, or pay me later.”  It is talking about dealing with a little problem before it turns into a bigger one.  Long ago Benjamin Franklin had a quote that dealt with the same issue.  His quote was “A stitch in time saves nine.”

https://i2.wp.com/c8.alamy.com/comp/C4DH1P/three-men-roof-of-house-roof-stripping-off-old-tiles-re-roofing-acis-C4DH1P.jpg

We are told to plan for the long term and are encouraged to have a plan for when we are not around anymore.  It is basically a plan for who gets which part of our assets.  It is important to think about these long term situations because life is not guaranteed for any of us.  Yet many people neglect the more important question.  That question is “What happens to us after we die?”  It’s a basic question that has been asked as long as humans have lived on the earth.  With Jesus in our heart’s we don’t have to worry about our long term future.  In fact we can look forward to a time when we are re-united with our loved ones that have went on before.  We can look forward to eternal life and joy unspeakable.  You see Jesus came to earth to take the unknown and make it known.  When we are sorrowful for our sins he throws them out and doesn’t hold us accountable much like the company did for the old photo’s that didn’t turn out!  He tells us to fear not because he is with us!  He gives us the Holy Spirit while we are here to guide and teach us!

Just like we should plan for the future do not neglect the Jesus plan for our eternal future.  With Jesus the plan becomes crystal clear.  The picture is always focused because Jesus has made it that way!  “In my fathers house there are many mansions”, he states in John 14:2.  “If it were not so I wouldn’t have told you”, he continues.  “If I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am there you may be also.”  Jesus has made securing our reservation for eternal life simple.  He has already paid the price for our sins by dying on the cross.  He wants to bring our eternal future into focus.  If you would like to secure your future repeat this simple prayer, believe it in your heart, and receive him in a child like way.

Lord Jesus,

Forgive me of my sins, come into my heart and save me.

I want to live forever with you in heaven.

Thank you for saving me

I give you my life while on this earth.

In your precious and holy name

Amen

 

 

Leaving Me Lonely Still

Have you ever listened to the lyrics of a song and totally related to the singers feelings? Those songs are the deep meaning emotional songs I enjoy so much.  They are the songs that you say “I feel exactly the same way that they do!”  If the emotion is loneliness perhaps I am not quite so lonely.  There is comfort knowing that someone else has the same kind of feelings that I do.  Maybe the song is so powerful that it brings tears to my eyes as the lyrics pierce into my heart.  Neil Diamond had a song he wrote over a long period of time in his hotel room.  The song was named “I Am I Said”, and from it’s popularity it is obvious that he struck a chord as to how countless people feel.  It speaks of a lonely feeling that grips deep inside.

During a lifetime it is perfectly natural to go through seasons of feelings and emotions.  We have all experienced extreme highs and lows if we have lived long enough.  It is normal for us most of the time to live on an even keel with an occasional swing from one end or the other.  There are times when we have extreme emotional highs.  Maybe everything seems to be going our way and the world is a great place.  Sometimes something very good happens that causes such elation it takes days to come off of the mountain.  Sooner or later though we invariably slide off of that peak.  After an emotional high it is not unusual to have a very emotional low.  That was the case for Chris Evert the famous tennis player after she won a major tournament at a young age.  “When I won Wimbledon in 1976,” she recalls, “I beat Evonne Goolagong in three tough sets, went home to an empty hotel room and was depressed an hour after the match.

It’s easy to think that these famous people we see so frequently haven’t a care in the world.  How often do we think “That person really has it made!”  What we fail to realize is that these celebraties are people too.  They have the same problems (and maybe even more) than you and I.  Bad things can happen to them too.  They get depressed just like we do.  Neil Diamond is telling us a story about himself.  It relates to so many people because in some way it is their story too.  For whatever reason he is very unsatisfied and not at peace with himself.  He has lived on that emotional mountain top where everyone has told him how great he is.  Living up there in the adulation of people is such a high that it is addicting.  Something happened that made him reflect on his purpose.  He had tried out for a part as Lenny Bruce the controversial comedian.  He didn’t get the part and for whatever reason he crashed into a funk and his emotions came out in his song “I Am I Said.”

I Am… I Said Lyrics
Neil Diamond

L.A.’s fine, the sun shines most the time
And the feeling is “lay back”
Palm trees grow and rents are low
But you know I keep thinkin’ about
Making my way back

What Neil seems to be saying in his initial wording is that physically he is in a good place.  The sun is shining and he is comfortable.  His financial situation is good and he had economical living.  It doesn’t seem to coincide with his desire to make his way back.

Well I’m New York City born and raised
But nowadays
I’m lost between two shores
L.A.’s fine, but it ain’t home
New York’s home
But it ain’t mine no more

Now we see the true picture.  He is feeling low because he doesn’t feel he has a home.  With all of his fame and fortune he realizes that there is something missing.  He has surrendered a base as a price for his fame. Is this really where the root of his feelings are or is it what he thinks is the problem? It may be something gnawing within him that he hopes will be solved by moving.

“I am”… I said
To no one there
And no one heard at all
Not even the chair

It seems that he states “I am” as a cry out.  He seems to be wondering if anybody really cares that he exists.  Sure there are many people who seem to care but when it gets right down to it he is sitting in his room alone.  How many times have we talked to ourselves in such times?  That is exactly what he is doing and the echoes of his own voice tell him that he is all alone.  The chair seems to represent the people who seem to care so much about him and yet they are only there as a symbol in his mind.

“I am”… I cried “I am”… said I
And I am lost and I can’t
Even say why
Leavin’ me lonely still

I am lost and I can’t even say why can be pretty typical.  Something isn’t right and you know in your spirit that it isn’t and yet you can’t pinpoint the problem.  When you sink into the depth of despair like he did it is hard to find your way out.  It’s hard to solve a problem when you can’t diagnose the problem that you have.

Did you ever read about a frog
Who dreamed of bein’ a king
And then became one
Well except for the names
And a few other changes
If you talk about me
The story’s the same one

Now he is talking about starting out as a nobody and having his wildest dreams come true!  It is the all American dream of fame and riches that he never expected.  The world sees him as happy and content but he has a different story.

But I got an emptiness deep inside
And I’ve tried
But it won’t let me go
And I’m not a man who likes to swear
But I never cared
For the sound of being alone

Even though he had everything in the worlds view that should make him happy he is miserable as he laments about the emptiness deep inside that won’t let him go.  Like all of us there is a little place deep within him that only God can fill.  The Bible talks about this dilemma.   In Mark chapter 8 verse 36 Jesus asks the question “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?”

“I am”… I cried “I am”… said I
And I am lost and I can’t
Even say why
Leavin’ me lonely still

If you can relate to this song like I can you are not alone.  Millions of people throughout the world love this song because it exemplifies so much of their circumstances.  You don’t have to be lonely.  Wherever you are God can be there too!  He loves you and wants to fill that empty space that only he can!  When you are in the deepest darkest cave know that God is waiting to rescue you.  Whether you are rich or poor, famous or unknown he will not leave you lonely still!

The Cave

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

It’s lonely in the cave tonight,
it’s cold and damp and gray
I’m hungry, thirsty and so run down
I’ll die in here they say

My friends come and see me here
I beg them all to stay
Oh no, they call as they retreat
We know a better way

I’ve blamed the church, the pastors too,
for helping me to fall
I’ve blamed my friends and enemies
Oh Lord, I’ve blamed them all

When I ran out of people
to point my finger at
I pointed up to heaven
He was the dirty rat

But in that cave I cried one day,
Lord if you really are,
how can I feel so forsaken
and why are you so far

Away from me in all my trials
and troubles here below?
My life has no meaning here
I’m empty as you know

I heard the wind a howling
the earth began to shake
I said, Lord are you really real
or is this all a fake?

In all of the commotion
when I thought he could be near,
I waited as it thundered
but my God did not appear

As I sat in that damp, dark, cave
without reason and or rhyme
A still small voice spoke oh so clear,
I was with you all the time

You will on some days stumble
and crawl along the way,
but I will pick you up again
until you’re home to stay

And yes, there will be valleys
that you will wander through,
but take my hand and hold on tight
and I will see you through

Then he took my hand and led me on
right out of that cold place
I looked and there I saw the Son
with a smile upon his face

Now go and tell the world out there
about the place you’ve been
How you’ve been raised from the dead
and brought to life again

Tell them when they die like you
and they’re at the place you’ve been,
I will touch them with my hand
and raise the dead again.

Jesus, once more deeply moved,
came to the tomb. It was a cave
with a stone laid across the entrance.
When he had said this, Jesus called
in a loud voice, “Lazarus come out!”

John 11:38 & 43

The Little Place

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

There’s a little place in each of us
that only God can fill
Though this seems very simple
it goes fully against our will

We try to fill this little place
wth things that we can see,
with fame or with fortune
but these just won’t fit the need

We place our relationships
into that little place
becoming so dissatisfied
when they blow up in our face

We place our little idols there
be it sports or family
They cannot fill this little place
where only God should be

We force our job where God should be,
maybe that will satisfy
Then when we feel so empty
we know that it’s a lie

We judge the success of others
by nice clothes they wear,
thinking we are far better
when we see their long hair

Sometimes we see other’s worth
by their body size
We see someone overweight
and think they aren’t too wise

We’re good at putting people down
because of their bad sins
When we don’t have God in his place
we’re no better than them

The definition of success
needs to be redefined
We need to look past what is seen
and have a change of mind

It’s not through wealth or fame,
success is only through God’s grace
It doesn’t start from things we see
but how we fill that little place.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy
and peace as you trust in him,
so that you may overflow with hope
by the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

Post Navigation