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Crying

I find myself crying more these days. When I was growing up I somehow was under the impression that crying and tears were embarrassing, especially for a guy, so I worked hard at never crying. Unfortunately, or fortunately now that I have given it some thought, I tend to cry easily while watching movies (fortunately since that was something that originally attracted my wife to me before we dated, she noticed me crying while watching “The Hiding Place”). Well since then I have come to embrace my emotions more and am not ashamed to cry now. I once read somewhere that, “Tears are God’s safety valve for the soul.”

I don’t know about you, but as I have gotten older I have realized there is a lot more to cry about than when I was younger and more innocent. I guess that is neither good or bad, it just is. The good thing about it is that I am now OK with crying. Speaking of crying, I cry almost every time I hear Kim Walker Smith’s new song, “Undone.” I think the reason is because it so reflects how I feel. The utter darkness and faithless of my heart and God’s incredible, abounding love. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSdm4Llz1W0 I highly recommend it. Have a box of Kleenex handy.

John 11:32-35 “When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. “Jesus wept.”

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Reflection

Colleen S27A few weeks ago my sister Colleen suddenly passed away. The night after gathering with family and friends to celebrate her life I received a call late at night that Master Anderson, my Tae Kwon Do teacher and friend, passed away. His was not unexpected like my sister’s death. He died of cancer. My sister died while attending a quilting retreat. She was 64 and loved her children and grandchildren and they loved her. Here are a few of the words I shared at the gathering to celebrate her life.

“I write these words as I am working on the video presentation of Colleen’s life. A line from a TV series, the West Wing, comes to mind that they borrowed from Tom Hank’s Academy Awards acceptance speech. ‘The streets of heaven are too crowded with angels. We know their names. They finally rest in the warm embrace of the gracious creator of us all. A healing embrace that cools their fevers, that clears their skin, and allows their eyes to see the simple, self-evident, common sense truth that is made manifest by the benevolent creator of us all.'”

As I reflect on these two lives, people who were dear to me, I am reminded how important life, friends and family are. You only get one shot at it. Live life to the fullest. Love deeply those whom God has given you as family or friends.

Ecclesiastes 9:7-10 “Seize life! Eat bread with gusto, drink wine with a robust heart. Oh yes—God takes pleasure in your pleasure! Dress festively every morning. Don’t skimp on colors and scarves. Relish life with the spouse you love each and every day of your precarious life. Each day is God’s gift. It’s all you get in exchange for the hard work of staying alive. Make the most of each one! Whatever turns up, grab it and do it. And heartily! This is your last and only chance at it, for there’s neither work to do nor thoughts to think in the company of the dead, where you’re most certainly headed.” The Message

 
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Posted by on November 17, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Forgiveness

wax-seal-referenceThis is longer than my regular posts but I felt it should be quoted in its entirety. This is taken from Conformed to His Image – Biblical and Practical Approaches to Spiritual Formation by Kenneth Boa. I highly recommend this wonderful book on spiritual formation.

“When we forgive those who have hurt us, we acknowledge that we too have needed forgiveness and that we are not as different from the offender as we might like to think. There is a natural tendency in all of us to excuse our own faults and to blame others for their faults, an inclination to reach for grace and understanding in our own situation and to reach for justice and possibly revenge when the same wrong is committed by others. Instead, Scripture calls us, as people who have experienced God’s forgiveness, to take the place of the other person.

In Christ, we are to offer grace rather than justice to the wrongdoer (charizomai, one of the words used in the New Testament for forgiveness, means “to deal graciously with”; notice how it is used in 2 Corinthians 2:6–8). This is often a difficult and unnatural act, because it does not seem fair to those who have been wronged. To forgive others is to release them from any obligation to make up to you what they have taken from you. But as Lewis B. Smedes argues in Forgive and Forget, “When you release the wrongdoer from the wrong, you cut a malignant tumor out of your inner life. You set a prisoner free, but you discover that the real prisoner was yourself.”

Thus to forgive as we have been forgiven by God is an act of faith, since it means that we are releasing the right to resentment and that we entrust justice to God rather than seek it ourselves (see Romans 12:19). To forgive is to act on the truth that it is only God and not we who can change another person.

It has been quipped that “there’s no point in burying a hatchet if you’re going to put a marker on the site.” But when we have been seriously injured by another, we want to put a marker on the site so that we can dig up our resentments from time to time. Because forgiveness can feel like outrageous injustice, it can be a lengthy process rather than a once-for-all event. This is evident in the painful process Joseph went through in forgiving his treacherous brothers (Genesis 42–45).

Long after you have forgiven, the wound can linger in your memory. As Smedes observes, forgiving is not the same as forgetting or excusing or smoothing things over. True forgiveness is costly, especially when there is no repentance on the part of the wrongdoer. But it is the only way to release us and others from the bondage of guilt (see Christ’s gracious restoration of Peter in John 21: 15–19) and to break the vicious cycle of blame. Part of the cost is letting loose of the pride that can allow trivial things to corrode a relationship for years or decades.

As an exercise before God, take a piece of paper and write down the names of those who have hurt you over the years through disloyalty and betrayal. Offer this list to God along with all the pain it rekindles, and make a choice through faith in Christ to forgive each person on the list. Then crumple the paper and burn it before the Lord who forgave you from the cross.”

Boa, Kenneth D. (2009-12-15). Conformed to His Image (Kindle Location 911). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Marching Orders

P1630243Have you ever stopped to reflect on your life and what you are doing? I am 58 and the last few years have been some of the most difficult of my life. Recently I was reflecting on my life and ministry and asking myself, “Am I done with this stage in my life? Does the Lord have a different direction he wants me to take? Should I continue to do college ministry here in this place?” And then I felt the Lord speak to me during my Quiet Time (time spent reading the Bible and praying).

Psalm 71:18 “Now that I am old and gray, do not abandon me, O God. Let me proclaim your power to this new generation, your mighty miracles to all who come after me.” NLT

I felt the Lord say to me, “Here are your new marching orders, tell of My Power to this new generation (college students), remind them of My Mighty Miracles.”

I can do that. 🙂

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

What Really Matters

John 8:32What really matters? Do you ever ask yourself that question? I ponder that question regularly. God is easy, kinda goes without saying, people are certainly important as well and for most of us, probably all of us, some are more important than others. Truth, this is important to me but I have experienced it comes at a price. Down through history many have paid a significant price for speaking the truth, Jesus being one. Do we stop speaking the truth because of the price? It is easy to say, no way! and I certainly believe that, but I think I am more conscious of the price today than before. With God’s help I will continue to speak the truth the best I know it to be; but will try and do so with gentleness and respect. I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t. How about you?

15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 1 Peter 3:15-16 NIV

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Liam

Brianna and LiamThis is a picture of my daughter and grandson Liam. Liam is such a joy to be with. When he looks at you he smiles and if you interact with him you can usually get bigger smiles and little laughs. He brings much joy to our hearts and souls. I guess as I ponder this thought I wonder if we do the same for our Heavenly Father. As we interact with Him do we bring Him joy, do we laugh because we enjoy His presence and playfulness? Or are we grumpy, angry, bitter… and bring sadness to His heart? It is a good question for His children to ponder.

Hear what God thinks about you!

12 You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Isa 55:12

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

30 Years and counting…

Kev and EmOn September 8th, 1984, I married an incredible woman. As the years have passed I have grown in my appreciation of Emily and love for her. Back when I was single I wondered if I would ever find someone. Like many young people I was quite anxious about this. God had plans. Its interesting that my mother always thought I would marry a nice Nebraska farm gal. I don’t know why she thought this as we lived in Omaha, a city. Must have been God. You know often times we stress out about things that God has firmly in control. I think if we would just rest in Him more, and strive a bit less, that life would be less stressful and more peaceful.

James says: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17 NIV God has us covered, whether we are aware of it or not.

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2014 in Uncategorized

 
 
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