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Archive for the category “Out of the Darkness”

Running Down The Street

Can you imagine running down a street aimlessly without knowing where you are or where you are going? I’m reminded of driving to my college campus during orientation of my Freshman year and getting caught in a maze trying to get off of campus. It was very frustrating as every road that I took to try to get out either came to a dead end or to another unfamiliar road. There came a point where I was beginning to wonder if I would ever find the road to get me out. Looking back now I know that there are multiple ways to get off of campus. However I knew only one which was the way I got in. Getting turned around I lost my way. I don’t remember how I eventually found my way out but it was a long and agonizing process.

Guide for new students at Western Michigan University - mlive.com

The Guess Who had a song in 1970 called “Running Down The Street.” The Lyrics are as follows.

Time after time
I played in the game
Fought in all the battles
Never once came up lame

Time marches on
And the tide reseeds
I need someone to help me
Help me fulfill my only need

Running down the street
And I think I’m going to cry
Cause I don’t think I can make it
When that look is in your eye

Show me the way
You know I’ll gladly go
Give e a head start
I’ve been moving much too slow

There’s got to be that something somewhere
There’s got to be that someone to show me the way
There’s got to be that line to follow
I can feel it coming to me any day now

Feel it coming any day now
Feel it coming any day now
Feel it coming any day now

Why the Guess Who Couldn't Play 'American Woman' at White House

The words to the song are troubling. It is someone who feels lost and unsure of where they are going. Aimlessly running down the street much like I was trying to get out of the campus prison I felt myself in. Sometimes we know we are lost and other times we don’t. When my mom and dad got married in Indiana they were trying to get back to Michigan. Mile after mile they drove and after a few hours they encountered a sign. “Welcome to Ohio.” My dad was upset and said a few choice words and mom confided that she was unsure of what she had gotten into. Happily they were married for 44 years before they both passed away in the same year. My point though is that you can think you are going in the right direction and you aren’t.

Welcome To Ohio Sign Along An Interstate Highway I Stock Photo - Download  Image Now - iStock

Just the other day I lost my glasses. They were in their case and now they are missing. It’s frustrating when I lose something. I go to the place I know they should be and they are not there. I can’t tell you how many times I have been to the familiar place and still no glasses, like something would change after a period of time. Fortunately I have a backup pair so all is not lost but not being able to find something is very frustrating as you probably know. We know that if something is lost it is not where it is supposed to be. That is the reason it is lost and you can’t find it going to those familiar places no matter how many times you try.

V.W.E. - Metal Aviator Glasses - Big Lens Spring Hinge Square - Gold  Gunmetal Old Men Grandpa Nerd Clear Lens - Walmart.com - Walmart.com

Deep inside we all know we need God. For many it is such an elation when we finally find what we are looking for. For others it is a continued search or an illusion that we are going the right way. Sometimes we are dramatically turned from our path (like the “Welcome to Ohio” sign. Other times we keep searching and aimlessly run or drive in a maze without seemingly any way out. Deep in our heart we know that the lyrics are true. We realize that there has to be that someone somewhere. Our existence is not an accident.

God wants to end our search. He sent his son to die for our sins and by a simple prayer we can receive him and have peace and joy. He will lead us out of the maze or aimlessly running down the wrong street. He will turn us around as we see the signs that we are going down the wrong road. Life begins to have meaning and purpose. The lyrics state that “There’s got to be that something somewhere, There’s got to be someone to show me the way.” That someone is Jesus and he loves you and will put you on the right road.

Please pray this simple prayer with me.

Dear God,
Forgive me of my sins and save me.
Take me out of this endless maze and going down the wrong road
Come into my heart and be my Lord and Savior.

Amen

If you prayed that prayer you are on your way to hope and freedom. You have found that someone who is out there and wants to show you the way. You have found that path to follow and you will feel strength coming to you every day!

Eleven And Not In Heaven

When you are eleven years old you should be happy.  The world is new and your future is all ahead of you.  There is not the pressure of life problems that come when we get older.  Unfortunately I found myself at eleven in a very dark place.  I was very depressed and the guilt was unbearable.  I would go to my room and cry.  I was suffering from enormous guilt about something I did.  At the baseball clinic that summer I had taken a baseball that didn’t belong to me.  I put it in my glove instead of the ball bag thinking that my friends and I could use it.  The ball was one of those rubber coded balls they used to make them last longer.  This baseball was nothing special because the ball bag probably had 100 balls that looked the same.  If I had asked the instructor would have surely laughed and said go ahead and take one home.  But I didn’t ask and that brought the guilt to me.  So here I was going to my room alone in a depressed state and only wanting to cry.

Image result for a rubber coded baseball picture

My mom was such a caring person.  When something was bothering her kids she was someone who always wanted to get to the root of the problem.  She came to my room and wanted to know why I was so down.  I’m glad that I shared my problem and guilt with her that day.  Although she didn’t condone what I did she didn’t condemn me either.  She had a way of just making me feel better.  I don’t remember her exact words but I am sure she mentioned that what I did was what anyone might have done.  This was before we had both became Christians so there wasn’t a prayer involved.  It was just straight counseling and caring about her son.  She knew I couldn’t go on in that dark state and she talked to me as a counselor would only with undying love added in.  Our talk that day got me out of the dark place.  I started looking forward to the baseball clinic that next Summer where I would return the ball to it’s rightful bag.  In the meantime that ball was stored in my room and not played with.  The first day of the next Summers clinic I placed the ball in my glove and put it in the bag of like balls.  I had left my Winter guilt behind and was ready to enjoy the Summer!

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Guilt is a very powerful thing and can lead to depression which in turn can send people to the dark place.  The dark place is a place where we feel there is no hope. Whatever we are going through gets to be such a weight it is impossible to get it off of our chest.  It is in these dark times that people sometimes decide that life isn’t worth living anymore. Depression is a real thing and it’s consequences can be deadly.  We all go through dark times in our lives.  As the proverb states for everything there is a season.  The problem is when the season of depression takes over all of the seasons.  It’s like having Winter all year long.  Now I realize some people like Winter and that is not a good example.  However in my thinking that would be the ultimate of what depression is like.

I worked with a lady years ago who was in the dark place a lot.  She would be fine one day and the next she was calling in to tell me she wouldn’t be there.  Instead of the normal sick day however she was crying as she was sorry she couldn’t handle it that day.  I don’t remember the details but I think she was eventually let go.  I get that a business is out to do what is best for them but this lady was a good worker when she could.  I don’t know what her demise was but I googled her a few months ago and read her obituary.  Her donations were going to an organization to help people with depression.  Of course that is a worthy cause but it is unfortunate she wasn’t able to overcome it.

Handsome depressed man near window, closeup

I was working a side job years ago and we were trying to recruit people to work with us.  An acquaintance  recommended this very sharp guy I should meet.  I called him and got an appointment to come and visit him at his house.  At the appointed time I knocked on his door. When he finally came to the door I could tell that something was terribly wrong.  His eyes were red and wet from crying and he was very somber.  He told me he just wasn’t interested and shut the door a quick minute later.  I found out a couple of days later that this guy I had just talked briefly to had killed himself.

My mom left us way too soon and I never really told her how much I loved her.  She had been diagnosed with cancer and they couldn’t operate.  Our only hope from the cancer doctor was that they could try to shrink it with chemo.  Before she could even start chemo therapy the cancer blocked off her kidney function.  I came over that morning and mom was laying on the living room floor. My sister and I thought she was still sleeping and I went to the store to pick up something she needed.  Suddenly the store intercom voice was calling my name and telling me to head right back.  When I got there I asked my sister what was wrong and she pointed to moms bluing face.

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I had a dream about mom the other night.  Maybe my dream was caused by her sudden and quick departure.  Or maybe it was remembering that dark place I was in as a kid.  I dreamed that the doctors all knew she was going to die and they had her in a hospital where they were sedating her.  It seems like the room had many people being administered to at the same time.  When I entered the room I didn’t know where she was.  I yelled “mom”!  Suddenly I saw her and she was taking off the mask she had on and calling for them to let me come.  When I got to her bed she sat up and I gave her a big hug.  I told her how thankful I was that she had taken the time and loved me in that time of my depressed state as a kid.  I let her know that because of her love I was able to get out of the dark place I was in.  She didn’t say anything but her hug was firm and I woke up with a warm feeling that I knew was the Holy Spirit.

To anyone who is going through the dark place know that God loves you!  Seek his love and pray for peace in your heart and mind.  Send for a caring relative or friend and let them know what you are going through.  Do not keep it inside.  Share and talk about your feelings and let them help you.  If anyone knows someone who is in the dark place know that your caring and loving attitude will greatly help them.  Give them hope and let them know how much you care about them.  Do it not only in words but more importantly in actions.  Listen to their problems and find a way, like my mom did, of making the guilt, pain, loneliness, hurt, or whatever else the cause go away.  You will never know how much your words and actions can bring someone into the light.  Give them a hand to grab on to. Pull them out of their dark Winter state and into the Summer season of warmth and love.

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“If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.” —Fred Rogers

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Getting The Brush Off

It could only happen to Kevin.  That was my initial thought when he was telling me the story.  It was like a repeat of past experiences when he expected one thing and got the opposite.  To understand  the significance of the story let me tell you a little about Kevin.  Kevin and I were friends in our teen years.  Kevin had a car and he was our ticket to get to school during my junior year.  He was the bridge between riding the bus which nobody liked and getting my own car.  After high school we both went our separate ways.  I went to college and Kevin joined the Navy.  We lost touch with each other for over 40 years.  One day Dane Kevin’s brother friended me on Facebook.  It wasn’t long after I was talking to Dane and naturally Kevin’s name came up.  Surprisingly one day after work there was a message on my machine and it was Kevin.  He mentioned that he didn’t know if this was my number but if it was he wanted me to call him.

sprau tower

Black and White US Navy Uniform Photograph

The phone call that ensued lasted about 2 hours.  We talked about what happened to us after we had last seen each other.  From two other experiences that I have had re-kindling friendships after many years apart unexpected things happen.  I’ve found that even though we are much older we basically haven’t changed.  Oh we have changed with the experiences that life has dealt us but we are still the same people.  What I am trying to say is in my experience it is easy to find the things that you originally liked about someone even after years have passed.  Kevin’s likeable traits included the fact that he is responsible, loyal, friendly, and he can laugh at himself.  These traits served him well in his position with the City Water Department after his stint in the Navy.

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We’ve talked quite a lot about his many years at the Water Department. We’ve talked about technical things involved and people that he worked with.  The most humorous thing that he told me was that it seemed that whatever the situation he was the one that received the unexpected surprise.  For example if the office was getting gifts from the boss his got the one that was broken.  If they ordered out for lunch his order would be the one missing.  If there was a paycheck issue his was the one that was likely to be wrong.  It got to a point where Kevin’s boss was feeling sorry for him for the apparent black cloud that seemed to fly over his head.

A little over a week ago I was at an indoor flea market.  I got talking to one of the sellers about some of the old record albums that he had.  He was a big guy probably like 6 foot 8 and 270 pounds.  He was also standing up which strained my neck a little looking up as we talked.  I asked him if he knew that Alice Cooper (one of the artists that we talked about) was a Christian?  It seemed like such an unlikely scenario that the man who wore wild outfits and had the painted face was now living for the Lord.  The seller offered several other former rock stars who were now Christians.  He seemed to have an enormous amount of knowledge on the subject.  That is when I asked him the ultimate question “Are you a Christian?”  Immediately his answer was “NO.”  As I tried to witness about the Lord to him he was seemingly trying to find ways to interrupt, dispute, or simply complain about how the world and his situation was.  When I handed him my website card he accepted it but I could tell he probably would never use it.  I had the feeling that I was getting the brush off.

My friend Kevin had me laughing so hard the other day that I was crying.  I had asked him where he would recommend me going to get my car washed.  He told me he had always had good luck with Bob and Kay’s Car wash except for one time.  Naturally I wanted to hear about the one exception.  It was about a year ago that Kevin took his new to him car for a wash.  To his happy surprise the car wash wasn’t very busy that day as he was the only one going in!  With his next in line service he was thinking about what other errands he needed to do that day.  He followed the instructions that the big sign at the place electronically posted which ended with “put your car in neutral and don’t use the brakes.”  As he sat there going through the spinning brushes something very strange happened.  About halfway through the wash the entire power system shut off.  The brushes stopped, the car stopped,  the lights went out, and there was Kevin trapped in his car in the midst of brushes.

Image result for inside a car wash

Sometimes in the middle of a crises instant action is needed.  Kevin thought about the situation.  What could he do?  He couldn’t get out of the car because he was blocked in and he couldn’t try to drive through the wash for fear that his car would be damaged.  All he could do was nothing.  Sometimes the best thing we can do is nothing.  Kevin kept his fears under control.  I’m sure the memory of the black cloud days entered his mind.  However he was able to not panic and wait for the situation to get better.  After about 5 minutes a sudden noise was heard.  The lights came on, the brushes started spinning and his car started moving.  Within a couple of minutes he was out of the car wash and his car was sparkling clean as though nothing had happened.

I took Kevin’s advice and took my car to Bob and Kay’s.  I pulled into a long line unlike Kevin’s experience on that fateful day.  After paying at the drive through window I followed the car in front of me and obeyed the instructions.  I thought about Kevin’s experience as I went through the wash.  When we do something like ride an elevator, go through a car wash, or drive our car we don’t imagine things will go wrong.  Usually they don’t and we get the belief that nothing bad can happen.  When it does it is so much out of the ordinary that we might panic.

black cross under blue sky

When we talk to people about the Lord we must realize that they may not accept the truth we are sharing  The big man at the flea market is a good example.  I have learned to throw something out there much like throwing seeds out in a field.  The ultimate results are completely out of my control.  Many times we will get the brush off treatment because they don’t want to hear about it.  Their hearts are hard and not ready for the seeds.  At these times we may be tempted to try to do the Lords work and force them to accept it.  If we push the issue we could do permanent damage much like what could have happened to Kevin’s car.  What we need to do is wait on the Lord to take that seed that was planted and do a good work to soften their hearts.  We are not called to produce results.  The good Lord is the only one who can change people.   Our call is to show the light of Jesus within us.  By showing his light we can let him use his power to take their darkness state and transform it into a sparkling clean bright light.

A Fly In The Eye From The Rooftop

The title of the sermon was called “God Already Knows.”  Of course we all think well of course he does because he is God.  Yet we sometimes pray like God doesn’t know anything and we have to explain everything to him.  There was a story that happened to him that week that he was almost hesitant to tell us.  He was thinking that it was kind of gross and he let us know that he may or may not include it.  The sermon went on and the point kept coming back to however big or small our problems God already knows.  To add to that it was stated that not only does he know the problem he already has the solution.  Jesus instructed in the book of Matthew to not say vain Religious prayers repeating the same things over and over.  In Matthew 6:8 he states that “Our Father knows what we have need of before we ask him.

The sermon was concluding and my pastor had been waiting for the spirit to tell him whether to include the story.  The answer that he got was yes so he proceeded.  This past week he was riding his bike with his son.  He often rides his bike as a way of exercise and the fact that he just enjoys the process.  Suddenly without warning  he felt a sharp pain in his right eye.  Right away he knew what happened.  A fly had literally flew into his right eye.  Not only was there the initial pain but the fly was trying to get out but was trapped behind his eye.  They were not far from the church so they stopped there and he flooded his eye with water from the sink sprayer.  He tried repeatedly to wash the fly out but to no avail.  He was tempted to go to the emergency room but he felt that God had the answer.  He prayed “Lord, I don’t know why this has happened but I believe that it will work out for my good.”  He quoted Romans 8:28 which states that all things work for our good if we love him.  It took a couple of hours of waiting but suddenly little pieces of the dead fly began to come out of his eye. 

Finally all of the fly was gone but there was another problem and potential fear.  First of all his eye was swelled up like someone had punched him.  Secondly there was a thought that some damage to his eye had been caused.  Again he went into prayer.  “Lord”, he said “I ask you to take this swelling down and make this eye just like it was.”  A couple of days later all of the swelling was gone and his eye was perfectly normal.  I was glad that he told us this story.  It illustrated the point that God knows and he already has the solution to our problems.  Most of us would probably had gone to the Emergency Room and tried to solve our problem that way.  We might not even think about praying and trusting God.  I don’t know what the purpose of this happening to him was.  However I can tell you that it made a big impact on the congregation when he was able to give God the glory over his recent trial.  God looks down almost as if he were on a rooftop and see’s our needs!

This eye thing was kind of a big problem.  God is interested in our big problems and our smaller ones too.  Sometimes we might think that God is too busy to care about the smaller things and that we should only pray for bigger problems.  The fact is that God is interested in our whole lives, the little as well as the big.  The roof on our house was 25 years old.  It had not given us significant trouble but it was time for a new roof.  This spring I started exploring what the price of a roof would cost.  Naturally this was not a job that would be cheap.  Besides that we needed someone who would do a good job.  I made some phone calls and mostly got answering machines.  After leaving a few messages that morning I took my son out for lunch.  We stopped at a place called Taco Bob’s and as we were done ordering and had sat down Adam from our church walked in.  We were surprised to see him and quickly let him know that we were there.  He happened to be doing work in that area that day and was glad to sit down and eat lunch with us.  I asked him if he knew anyone that he would recommend doing my roof?  I told him I had been calling around this morning.  He said he had the perfect guy for us that did great work!Image result for rooftop worker picture

I ended up hiring this guy after I had gotten another quote from a bigger company that was far more expensive.  The guy did a fine job and even replaced face boards on our house that were rotting.   I was so happy with his work that I have been telling others  I took a picture of my new roof and let people see the before and the after.  It is truly an amazing difference!  Now I know that my situation wasn’t of the fly in the eye variety but it was important to me.  God truly wants to be a part of our lives whether it is a little thing or a big thing or nothing at all.

I was talking to Adam at church the other day.  I showed him the picture and told him how great of a job his friend did!  “You know”, Adam said “I never go there.  I just happened to be working in that area on that day.”  Could it be that he was placed there for my benefit without even knowing it?  Could it be that God had the answer to my problem before I asked?  When God blesses us we are to shout it from the rooftops.  In my case I haven’t been literally climbing up on the roof to do so but seeing the new roof every day reminds me of how much he loves us!

Matthew 10:27 (NAS) “What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops.

Planted By The River

There are many mysteries in the Bible and one that comes to mind is found in Mark 8:21-26.

Jesus Heals a Blind Man at Bethsaida

22 They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. 23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”

24 He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”

25 Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. 26 Jesus sent him home, saying, “Don’t even go into[a] the village.”

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The question is Why didn’t Jesus heal the man right away or did he?  One of the answers that is interpreted is that he was healed gradually basically for his own good.  It was like going from total darkness to the bright sunlight.  Many times it is compared to salvation and how God let’s a little light in to draw sinners to the righteous path.  When they see some light he reveals more light as they seek him.

The other interpretation that I heard recently was that perhaps the man was given a vision in the spiritual realm.  We see things in the natural with our natural eyes but behind the scenes there is a spiritual world.  It’s like our computer system at work.  We are operating on what we see on our monitor.  Behind the scenes things are happening inside that computer that we don’t see.  Sometimes we concentrate so much on what we are seeing that we forget that there is the unseen world.  It’s only when things go awry with our computer that an expert has to manipulate things behind the scenes to make what we see go back to normal.

It is interesting that the man saw figures like trees but they were walking around.  We aren’t told how he lost his sight but he obviously could see at some earlier part of his life because he knew what trees looked like.  The Bible talks about trees many times and how we are like trees.

Jeremiah 17:5-8 New International Version (NIV)

This is what the Lord says:

“Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
    who draws strength from mere flesh
    and whose heart turns away from the Lord.
That person will be like a bush in the wastelands;
    they will not see prosperity when it comes.
They will dwell in the parched places of the desert,
    in a salt land where no one lives.

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”

Image result for picture of a tree by the water

We all know that to live trees need water and sunlight.  The sunlight part is usually the easy one.  Very rarely will a tree die from lack of the sun.  What could kill a tree is if it isn’t planted in the right place and is unable to be deep rooted/  Deep rooted trees can extracts water from the ground that it needs to live.  Ideally  a tree with deep roots that is planted by the water has everything it needs.  The verse mentions that these trees never fear the heat.  It’s leaves are always green.  Why?  Because it is drawing water from the water of life.  It also mentions that it has no worries in a year of drought.  Why?  Because the weather may be dry on the outside, but there is living water that it draws from!  It never fails to bear fruit.  Why?  Because the tree is lacking nothing.  It is operating as normal in good times and in bad because it is connected to that living water.  Like the computer example it is operating well behind the scenes.

Growing up we had a big tree in our front yard.  To this day that tree is there living a healthy life.  It is much bigger than it was back then and it was big then.  The reason I know it is even bigger is because we used to climb it as kids.  There was one branch maybe 5 or 6 feet off of the ground that we would jump up and grab and start our climb.  I know the tree is bigger because that branch is now about 12 feet off of the ground.  There is no way even now that I could i get started climbing that tree.  My sister and I would climb that tree all of the time.  Now kids are probably discouraged from climbing trees. This was before the video game rage.  Back then kid had to entertain themselves.  It never entered our minds the danger that was there.  That tree provided enormous pleasure and a lasting good memory of growing up.  One famous picture that we looked at for years was taken by my mom of the tree with both of us in it.  We were way up in the tree and that picture became a find the kids in the tree game.

That tree was definitely in the right place for us.  It was far enough away from the house where it could grow long roots to extract water deep in the ground.  Unlike our tree there are some trees that grow wild.  We have had many experiences around our house of trees that just start sprouting up.  It is important to keep these wild growing trees under control or they could cause damage to the house.  Trees can be a great benefit if they are planted in the right places for the health of the trees and the enjoyment they can provide.

I was reading about the benefit of trees.  Here are eight reasons we need well planted trees.

!.  Trees cool down neighborhoods

2. Trees fight air pollution

3. Trees and greenery may boost lifespan

4. Trees ease depression and stress

5. Tree loss hurts health

6. Trees reduce Asthma’s toll

7. Trees support better sleep

8. Trees offer heat stroke protection

When the blind man first got his sight could it be that he saw people the way God does in the spiritual realm?  Like a tree we need water to survive.  In the spiritual world that water is the Holy Spirit.  By being deeply rooted and well planted in him we get all of the nourishment we need.  Just like the trees when we are deeply rooted in the Holy Spirit there are benefits for our neighbors and people we come in contact with.  Our presence can cool down situations, fight evil ways of thinking,  help to give depression and stress relief,  give our neighbors peace of mind and help them see things in a different light.  The most important thing we can do is show them the reason for our health and hope.  We can show them how they too can be like trees planted by the water of love, strength, health, and happiness!

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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.

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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

 

Thinking With Your Heart

When I was in Elementary School we had a gym teacher named Mrs. Remynse.  Each year one of the things that we needed for school was a pair of tennis shoes.  We would hang our tennis shoes on the bar that supported our seat on our desk.  It was with great pleasure that we put those  shoes on when we were told to do so before going to Mrs Remynse’s class.  I don’t remember anyone not liking gym class.  It was a time to get out of our seats and move around.  Mrs. Remynse was a short Indian lady with a strong accent.  She had many fun games for us to participate in but first we had to do our exercises.  Most of the time she had this record that she played and we did our exercises by what the record said.  I remember the record had a catchy tune with lyrics for pushups, sit ups, and other things.  This is a small part of the old lyrics.  If you are my age you might remember the song.  It is part of President Kennedy’s physical education program that he felt was so important for our youth.

“School Version”

Touch down
Every morning
Ten times!
Not just
Now and then.
Give that chicken fat
Back to the chicken,
And don’t be chicken again.
No, don’t be chicken again.

Push up
Every morning
Ten times.
Push up
Starting low.
Once more on the rise.
Nuts to the flabby guys!
Go, you chicken fat, go away!
Go, you chicken fat, go!

Chicken-Fat-by-Kimbo-Educational-CD-Ships-W-O-Case-OR-W-Case-use-Expedited-Shi

Sometimes Mrs. Remynse wouldn’t play the record.  Instead she would line us up in a circle and do a game called “Do as I do.”  This game had us all take turns going into the middle of the circle.  There we were supposed to do an exercise and everyone making up the circle was supposed to do the same thing.  One kid might jump on one foot, another might do pushups, another might swing their legs awkwardly.  Whatever the middle person did we all had to do the same.  Being kids 7 or 8 years old there was always someone who hadn’t made up their mind what to do.  When entering the circle they might put their finger on their tooth as they contemplated what exercise to perform.  The kids making up the circle would invariably put their fingers on their tooth to  jokingly do exactly what the leader was doing.

From an early age we learn how to do things by copying other people.  Skills in the physical world are passed down from generation to generation.  Think about all of the things you can do now and things you don’t even think about the beginnings of.  Do you remember first learning how to tie your shoes?  Think about learning to walk or ride a bike.  Every day in life we are repeating things that we were showed how to do.  We learned that by doing exactly what someone else was doing we could acquire the exact skill that they have.  All of these new skills are brain things.  We finally succeed in doing them and we remember what we did.  We remember what our instructors (usually our parents or teacher) did as they were teaching us and try to copy them.  From our earliest memories we have continuously learned skills through demonstration. Think about learning to talk.  There is a continuous growth from words that we hear and  remember.  Then we learn what the words mean.  Finally we remember the words, their meaning, and how to form the words with our mouth.

Years ago a new bracelet came out.  A youth group leader at Calvary Reformed Church came up with the WWJD bracelet to help her group remember the phrase.  The movement spread and the bracelets became popular to wear.  With that bracelet on people might watch their actions.  Instead of just doing something because they wanted to it was now put to the question “What would Jesus do?”  It is an interesting question but it is the wrong question and here is why.  The disciples who lived with Jesus every day and observed everything that he did were told a truth by him one day.  In John 16:7 he said..Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.  You see while Jesus was on this earth in human body form he could only be in one place at a  time.  With the Holy Spirit we can all have him in our hearts. 

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The What Would Jesus Do bracelet sends the message that we are to think about what Jesus would do in a situation and make our decision accordingly.  The truth is we don’t have to think of what Jesus would do.  It is already in our hearts if we have been born again.  As a result of us accepting him as our Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit comes in and lives in our being.  He discerns what is right or wrong in our heart.  If we listen to his small voice he will lead us through the spirit.  It is no longer a brain thing.  Many times we do not go down the road that gets us into trouble.  We do not have to think about what Jesus would do in given situations.  One thing that Jesus always did however was to never do anything without an agreement in his spirit.  He was always led by the spirit in everything he did.  Like us he was in a human body.  That body had hurts and temptations just like ours does.  For instance Jesus had a struggle with going to the cross.  He knew that was the reason he was here but when it came time he struggled with completing the mission.  He overcame by relying on the spirit that was within him.  That is what we must do as Christians.  We need to get out of that thinking with our brain in spiritual things.  God may call you to do something that makes no sense in our traditional way of thinking.  The Bible asks us Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? I Corinthians 1:20.

At an early age we learned to do as I do.   Unlike the exercises we used to do as kids we are all not supposed to do the same thing.  The spirit might be telling you to do something completely different than me.  God uses what we have to offer for his glory.  When we are led by the spirit we take our hands off the the wheel and let him drive.  We do that by not thinking with our brain but thinking with our heart.  Thinking with our heart works because we are led by the spirit in all things.  It is time everywhere for Christians to walk in the spirit and obey his voice in all things.  If you want to know what Jesus would do that is it!

#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/

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#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

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