Eternity Echoes

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What we do matters.

What we say is important.

Who we impact echoes into eternity.

Too many today attempt to play the nonchalant card.

They try to act as if they can do what they want, you can do what you want, and no one pays any rewards or consequences.

It’s just living life.

But oh. How wrong we can be.

If I always do me, and you always do me, all we create is two spheres full of selfishness and self centeredness.

If I’m focused only on me, and you only on you, we become consumed on our own desires, our own requests, our own demands.

And eventually, no one else matters.

Yet, it’s supposed to matter because after all, my expectations are highest priority to me.

And your expectations are highest priority to high, and then, we’re both at an impasse.

Because if it’s all about me, and it’s all absolutely you, then, you don’t matter to me, and I don’t matter to you!

What wretched and lost souls we become, and what wrecked havoc we leave for those behind us.

All kindness, and love and harmony is expected for me (and for you), but it sucks the life out of all those who are impacted because they are seeking the same.

And what about the children racing toward the edge of a knife?

What about those innocent souls who cry out to be loved, nurtured and directed?

Our self consumption depleted their hope for tomorrow because all they can see is our command for the now.

What we do in life does echo in eternity.

It is a repeating anthem across the chasms of time.

What will your reverberations be?

A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.

Proverbs 13:22

So these nations feared the Lord, yet served their carved images; also their children and their children’s children have continued doing as their fathers did, even to this day.

2 kings 17:41

Get Busy Livin’ or Get Busy Dyin’

Robert Herrick wrote a poem that had this verse,

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.

And in the movie, Dead Poets Society , Robin Williams implores the students to live life to the fullest, to reach beyond the complacent living that is so tempting and make their lives extraordinary.

I wonder how often we actually wake up and purposefully make our lives extraordinary.

Seriously, this about your day today.

How did you wake up?

What did you do in the first 30 minutes?

What did you do in the last 30 minutes?

What about all of those tiny seconds in between?

Do we work hard to live our lives to make an impact,

Or do we simply impact our lives hard to live for work?

Each one of us have the opportunity to rise above the norm, to stretch beyond the comfort, to strive above to greater heights.

It is up to each of us to choose what influence we will have,

And it is up to us whether we choose to live for dyin’ or die trying to live.

Which will you choose?

Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even avapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.

James 4:14

Callings Will Change You

I do not own this picture. Art by: Klein

I read something recently that began, “Your calling is going to crush you.”

If I weren’t a Christian, and I’d never heard of a calling, or hat statement might intimidate me.

If I weren’t called, that quote might make me wrinkle my forehead and wonder why someone would be liking be crushed by something they chose.

But that’s where information and revelation alter your perspective.

See, when you have no revelation, you might not understand why I do the things I do.

When you have no revelation, you might not grasp the importance of my choices, if my sacrifices, of my disciplines.

Oh, but when you have a revelation, your eyes are open, your heart is refreshed, your soul longs for one more moment, one more taste of that living water you’ve found.

And you’ll do anything to maintain it.

You’ll do anything to keep it.

You’ll do anything to remain in it.

You’ll lay down desires, and expectations, demands and wishes.

Just for another moment.

It’s like finding a new love, but it’s so much more.

It’s like recognizing a new craving, but it’s beyond that.

It’s like getting a glimpse of paradise, but it’s to a greater extent.

If you’ve never experienced the moment, it will be difficult to explain it.

For it’s not a simple piece of knowledge that can be spoken or read about.

You have to fast it.

You have to feel it.

You have to experience the revelation.

Then, you’ll never be the same.

Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”

John 4.10

As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God.

Psalm 42:1

Stretch

How’s your stretching today?

If you’re growing, you’re going to be stretching.

If you’re learning, you’re going to be expanding.

If you’re progressing, you’re going to be changing.

You can never become without growth.

You can never advance without change.

You can never develop without pruning.

When a seed bursts into a plant, the seed pod breaks.

When the sprout grows, it has to break through the ground.

When the stems reach for the sky, they have to stretch and move.

And if the tree is to one day flourish and bear abundant fruit, it has to be pruned.

Growing is never easy, and sometimes, it’s definitely not fun.

But if we are to be what we are called to be, we must embrace it.

We must look for opportunities to learn, to progress, to change.

If we are to succeed, we must learn to love the stretch.

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do,forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:12-14

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Faith Based or Religion?

Drafted this on August 17, 2019 after reading several articles of pastors and Christian leaders who had decided to “leave the faith.” This may be old news, per se, but the truth remains the same…

After reading a few articles over the past few weeks, I would like to scream this question to the world… or maybe just make a big billboard for every pastor, lay leader, worship leader, church member and just any person who calls themselves a “Christian!”

What or Who is your faith based upon?

There have been two major articles presented over the past two weeks and countless counter-articles about two Christian leaders who have “fallen from their faith” and have decided the world needs to know it.

Let me give a disclaimer as I begin this post… I understand each of these authors’ claims of feeling doubt, confusion, temptation, anger and loss. I understand their struggle to understand, their struggle to succeed, and their struggle to appease and receive admiration and approval from those around them. So, please, do not read the rest of my post with the perception that I am being cold, calloused or apathetic. I promise you, I am not.

Yet, each time I read these articles, I become amazed, angry, in anguish and eventually, driven to my knees. I am amazed that their “faith” brought them to these conclusions, and I am convinced that each of these men may never have had true faith to begin with, or they have chosen deliberately to walk away from the revelation of their first love.

Please understand, this is not a statement of judgment, but rather, a statement of truth.

If your “faith,” or Christianity, is based in the approval of men and not in the love of Jesus Christ, it really is no faith at all.

If your faith is based in the success that relies on the formulaic affirmation of your pastor, your department leaders or your members, rather than the instruction, wisdom and obedience to the only audience that should be made the main focus (Jesus), than your success has been built on a religion and a group of people whom should never have had rights to that foundation.

This is why I feel so angered by these articles, not necessarily by the faltering of their faith, but more because they have painted a picture of what faith truly is not!

Faith in Christ is a relationship, or at least it should be. It is not all of these things of which each of these men spoke.

It is should never be founded in people, a church, a method, a tradition or an expectation of a performance.

And EVERY time it is, a person will lose his or her faith! Not one time in either of their articles, statements or tweets did they say, “Jesus failed me. Jesus is an awful Lord. Jesus can’t save me, and that’s why I’m falling.” And I believe it’s because they know that wouldn’t be true!

Each of them have forgotten why they got in this thing to begin with, or at least have forgotten For Whom they began. And honestly, I’d like to ask if they actually ever fell in love with Him and the Word He gave us.

Our Christian faith doesn’t come from some man, Some organization, or even from the people who attend that organization, namely the church. If our faith is any faith at all, it comes from the inner struggle of flesh vs. spirit, and our feeding that spirit more. It comes from our seeking scripture, and following up he instructions it gives.

And now, these men have made public statements for all to hear, and many who may be listening will believe because they have similar struggles and feelings and are in a state of confusion, that their faith is nonexistent as well.

 There are so many hurting people in this world and so many people who need direction, encouragement, and just simple discipleship in their faith, and scenarios like these only add to the confusion and miss guidance they already have.

THIS is why I feel so anguished when I read articles like these.

When leaders are deceived and either fall into “blatant sin,” as we watched happen to so many television evangelists in the 90s, or simply “fall away from their faith,” as we are seeing in this current age, it creates a domino effect for those following and/or whose lives simply intersect at that moment in time.

It is disheartening and almost discouraging to watch as, one by one, more struggling Christians choose to follow these falterings either out of agreement to the confusion or out of surrender to, what appears to be, a release of inner tension to keep on the narrow path they have constructed.

I suppose this is what Christ told us would happen.

I suppose, I really should never be surprised, but my heart is still broken every time I read of a great leader falling from their faith, because a leader is someone who has followers, and those followers always suffer in the fallout.

Those followers may even have more followers who suffer, and what about their own families, especially the children who are all impacted?

It is just heartbreaking and, honestly, can become overwhelming, if we do not focus on Him and remember He is still in control!

He is still on His throne, and He still desires us to deepen our relationship with Him, carry on the purpose He has given us, and fill in the gaps where these leaders may leave a void.

This must remain as our ultimate goal, regardless of which leaders fall into temptation and deception.

Instead of staying in my moments of amazement (shock), anger or anguish, I must be driven to my knees in prayer.

We must all be. We must pray for these who have fallen and who are deceived.

Pray for their realization of the blinders they have chosen to put on, because without this revelation, they will never come back to repentance.

Pray for their removal from those who will stumble and fall behind them.

Pray that these followers will receive new leaders who can guide and help them through this storm.

Pray for the indirect impact on those who are already struggling with a faith that is made to cause us to have wonder, amazement and unanswered questions, because of the Author of this faith is Someone of such Deity that He is altogether wonderful and incomprehensible!

Pray for the children of these men and women, of those impacted, and for those indirectly hit and even those who don’t yet believe. Pray that these children find love that is undeniable, grace that is indescribable and an unfailing hope for tomorrow that can only be found in Jesus Christ!

My apologies for the long blog today, but sometimes, things need to be said, and I do hope it might help someone…

Here are just a few Scriptures I have found that might help us along this journey of leadership and faith…

2 Timothy 4:2-4, “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage —with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

Acts 20:28, “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.

Proverbs 4:23, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it springs all life.

Matthew 18:6, “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

James 3:1, “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

Luke 12:48b, “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.”

1 Timothy 2:1-4, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—  for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

RED

This draft was written a at back on December 27, 2015. In that year, there was a “cultural war” going on concerning Starbucks’ red Christmas cups. Remember that?

The circumstances may have changed, but the wisdom here still remains the same…

It’s quite the topic as of late.

It’s quite amazing what a color can create.

It’s quite incredible what a simple choice can become.

…It’s really quite ridiculous…

…on both side of the fence….

Yes, Christians are fired up over the color, believing more should be said…more should be written…more should be done. They have a point, too often, Christians are expected to simply swallow whatever ‘tolerance pill’ society is currently handing out, and it is implied, if not outright spoken, that they just need to “shut up and realize, ‘This is the way things are going to be. If you speak out, you’re just a bad witness, a bad influence and definitely a bad Christian!'” After all, they’re sick of being silenced.

Yes, quieter Christians are fired up over the cup, believing less should be said, less…less should be written…less should be done. They have a point, vocalizing, “Christians, more often than not, ‘major on the minors’. They make major fusses over the little things that are petty, insignificant and unchangable, and they minor on the important, life-altering, transforming things of this society.” After all, all the fuss is offensive to the world; a kinder, gentler approach is best. A more loving voice to this world will reach more and save more.

Honestly, I’ve been on both sides of the fence. I’ve made my own mistakes, and I’m trying to find my way back to Center. Neither side looks pretty, and, frankly, neither side looks completely like Christ. Yeah, that’s a shocker, I know. However, let’s look at a few things to see if that’s true…

Jesus spoke in parables to the multitudes.

Jesus called the Pharisees “sons of snakes.”

Jesus fed the 5,000, not including women and children.

Jesus took a whip and cleansed the temple.

Jesus told the rich young ruler Truth, and he went away sad.

He said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan,” and Peter loved Him anyway.

Jesus told the adulterous woman she was forgiven; yet, He ALSO told her to, “Go and sin no more.”

Too often, we as Christians, tend to lean too far toward grace (=tolerance) or too far toward judgement (=intolerance).

You will always lean more to one side or the other. The key is to (1) recognize it, (2) pray for wisdom and love, (3) Find what The Word says about it on both sides. We need to learn to lean more on the Truth of God, rather than our own opinions, feelings and intuitive interpretations of what we think He means.

Too often, we seek out what makes us comfortable not changed.

We share what relaxes rather than what confronts.

We long for tranquility rather than transformation.

Yet, when Christ walked this Earth, He loved, challenged, comforted, confronted, taught and changed lives.

His truth neither caused relaxation nor condemnation.

His Truth brought about true conviction which brought about TRANSFORMATION.

His Truth also, eventually, made them want to kill Him…

Shouldn’t we be trying to be more like Him and less like them? Shouldn’t we be fighting more in prayer and less on Facebook, Twitter or even face to face?

Shouldn’t we be seeking the manifestation of His presence rather than the exaltation of those around us?

But I tend to wonder if we’re more afraid of the crowd than we are the cloud…

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Matthew 6:33

If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

John 15:18-19

Committed Crazies

(Yeah. Somebody spelled it wrong, and my grammar self is going crazy inside!)

Some people don’t really have to be crazy.

They’ve just committed themselves to being a certain way, and their stubbornness will not relent.

Others have lived undisciplined for so long that they have convinced themselves this is a good life.

Still others, have fully embraced their crazy, and they want everyone else to embrace it as somehow normal.

If you find yourself in one of these three categories, and you’re living life believing everyone is just giving you a hard time, or they’re all just so difficult to be around , or they never give you a break to be who you are, please hear me screaming at you across the cosmic divide.

STOP!! HALT!! RELEASE!! RELENT!! END NOW!

Stop right now, in your tracks, and listen a moment to reason.

Open your ears to wisdom calling to you.

No one accidentally becomes the “crazy one.”

No one stumbles into the pools of insanity.

It is a choice. And you make it everyday.

So, make the right decisions.

Choose the correct outcomes.

Your spouse will thank you. Your children will sing your praises. And friends will begin to visit again as you walk away from the crazies and embrace life!

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do,forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.

Philippians 3:13-16

But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

1Corinthians 9:27

Everyone’s Crazies

The holidays always bring with them interesting family dynamics and semantics.

For some, it’s just simply dealing with the edges of uncomfortable scenarios and conversations, but nothing real out of the way.

No harm. No foul.

For others, it’s complete removal from the dysfunction and toxic environment which accompanies family, celebrations and traditions.

Survival of the Fittest or Crabs in a Barrel.

For most, it can just be learning to navigate between the two extremes.

The Journey to the Center of the Earth.

Wherever you find yourself during your yearly festivities, strive to do better.

Better yet, don’t just strive to survive.

Learn to thrive!

Your thriving isn’t going to look like another’s.

So, do what you can do to succeed.

Their crazies aren’t yours, and yours aren’t theirs.

They don’t have to understand.

Happy Crazy Holidays.

The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree,
He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God.They shall still bear fruit in old age;
They shall be fresh and flourishing,
To declare that the Lord is upright;
He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.

Psalm 92:12-15

Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider thatthe longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they doalso the rest of the Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, since you know thisbeforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.

2 Peter 3:14-18

Be Good To You

Too often, we work so hard to be kind to others that we forget to be kind to ourselves.

Sometimes, our focus is so laser set on what everyone else needs that shut our eyes to our own.

Frequently, we are so set to serve and fulfill everyone else’s wants, that we deny all of our desires.

Many times, we are so overly in tune with everyone else’s demands that we simply ignore as our body, our mind, or even our family is crying out to wake us from our oblivious yes.

Be good to you doesn’t mean you have to be selfish.

It doesn’t translate into having to be rude.

It doesn’t even suggest a response to be petty, mean and self-centered.

It only interprets and communicates:

“I am a person of value and worth just as much as you.”

Speak kindly to yourself. Balance it with truth.

Be honest with yourself. Balance it with compassion for all things broken.

Respond with the overwhelming grace that only He can bring.

Listen attentively.

Watch conscientiously.

React respectfully.

Both for you and for them.

And above all, let Christ rule and reign in your heart, in your mind, in your soul.

And let His will become yours.

Let His heart consume yours.

Let His eyes and ears become yours.

Let His voice speak through yours.

And only then, can your world become the peaceful paradise it was meant to be.

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things arejust, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:8-9

Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:11-13

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father beglory forever and ever. Amen.

Philippians 4:19-20

Survival Guides Were Meant for Sharing

*I do not own or have rights to this pic.
Google search/Fb repost*

You weren’t made to stay in the valley.

You weren’t made to remain stuck in the mire.

We all feel pain.

We all have heartache.

We all experience tragedy.

The brokenness of life was never meant to be a trophy we wear nor a badge we frame for the wall.

The hardship didn’t come for you to create a fortress around and hail the crisis as king.

We all feel the rain.

We all have tornadic seasons.

We all experience death, sorrow and grief.

You weren’t made to linger in the basin of despair.

You weren’t made to hover in canyon of defeat.

Look up. Cry for help. Claw your way out.

Write your survival guide and pass it along to the next to-be survivor.

Your destiny is waiting, and your little ones are watching.

Thus says the Lord to His anointed,
To Cyrus, whose right hand I have held—
To subdue nations before him
And loose the armor of kings,
To open before him the double doors,
So that the gates will not be shut:
‘I will go before you and make the crooked places straight;
I will break in pieces the gates of bronze
And cut the bars of iron.
I will give you the treasures of darkness
And hidden riches of secret places,
That you may know that I, the Lord,
Who call you by your name,
Am the God of Israel.
For Jacob My servant’s sake,
And Israel My elect,
I have even called you by your name;
I have named you, though you have not known Me.

Isaiah 45:1-4

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

1 Peter 2:9-10