09 April 2013
Excerpted from "When God Whispers Your Name" © 2001 by Max Lucado
"I stand a few feet from a mirror and see the face of a man who failed... who failed his Maker. Again. I promised I wouldn't, but I did. I was quiet when I should have been bold. I took a seat when I should have taken a stand.
If this were the first time, it would be different. But it isn't. How many times can one fall and expect to be caught?...
Your eyes look in the mirror and see a sinner, a failure, a promise-breaker. But by faith, you look in the mirror and see a robed prodigal bearing the ring of grace on your finger and the kiss of the Father on your face...
Your eyes see your faults. Your faith sees your Savior.
Your eyes see your guilt. Your faith sees His blood."
07 April 2013
Last Friday afternoon, in his Southern California home, Matthew Warren, the 27 year old son of Saddleback Church pastor and author, Rick Warren, took his own life.
As a parent, I can't even imagine this kind of grief. My heart breaks for Pastor Warren and his family. I pray they find comfort that only The Holy Spirit and the love of their church can provide. I pray they have the faith to know that salvation is forever, and that nothing a believer can ever do will cause God to default on the "down payment" Jesus gives us at the moment of redemption.
"And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit" - Eph 1:13
A thousand years ago and a million miles from here, my church back home went through The Purpose Driven Life in small groups. I still have one of their little cardholders on my desk at work. While I didn't always agree with Pastor Warren, God absolutely has a purpose for every single one of us, and no one, no one, can thwart that purpose.
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand" - John 10:27-29Not even me.
"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." - Romans 8:38-39
May the Warrens take comfort in knowing Matthew now has the peace that eluded him in this life.
05 April 2013
I paused on my trail up the mountain vale
and looked back at the valley below
all the days I’d seen when eyes were keen
and the things I’d come to know.
I saw glints atop the places I’d stopped
where a life I'd tried to build
of hardships borne and hopes betorn
and promises unfulfilled.
Back then the end seemed far round the bend
I’d no thought for what I might find
whence came the days when I surely faced
fewer steps ahead than behind.
I saw rocks a’hewn and rubble strewn
where I’d struggled and where I fell
their imprints there and everywhere
each with its own tale to tell.
I saw a few sweet springs of dew
and joys I’d thought would last.
Never once did I fear those things so dear
could become part of ages past.
The mountain crest seemed at its best
foggy and unclear.
Too late I turned to lessons learned
until ‘twas too late for fear.
Now I can see with eyes that be
growing dim at an e'er quicker pace
that the paths I tried in foolish pride
left scars naught can erase.
The mountain looms with unknown dooms
though I know not what may befall.
Will I die so weak on that summit peak
still looming so grand and tall?
Or will I fall short, with no resort
by chance or pain or choice?
Will evil’s lure reach premature
to silence my wondering voice?
I’m rested now more, though my burden sore
lie heavier than I could have dreamed
when the mountain tall seemed almost all
ahead of me unseen.
But shouldering my pack, with one last look back
I set out on the trail once more
for no power of man can change the plan
that drives me on as before.
I cannot go back, though there’s no lack
of good intentions and regrets.
Nor can I lie and wait here to die
and loose life’s cruel fetts.
No, my only choice is to make my voice
more determined than before
to say what I must, to do what is just
and continue my climbing chore.
I can only host the trailing ghosts
that trod my long worn road
and make small amends, and where I can, make friends
to lighten each other’s load.