Just Faith

Faith is a gift from God. Faith can move mountains, even the mountain of addiction. Ending a life of self abuse caused by addiction will happen when you trust God to lead the way over, around and even through the mountain. God's "Twelve Step Program" begins with one easy step-believe in Him. Your steps want be easy, but remember the words of the Apostle-
"These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold which perished even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed." 1 Peter 1:7

Sunday, July 24, 2016

I am not black...

I am not a black man. I cannot know what you must have thought when you watched me cross to the other side of the street after seeing you coming my way. I am not a black man; I cannot know how I made you feel.
You are not a white man. You cannot know why I felt compelled to cross the street after seeing you. You cannot understand my despair. Because I cannot understand it.
I am not a black man. I cannot know your fear when you saw a police officer approaching you, knowing you had done nothing wrong, not knowing what the next moments may bring.
You are not a white man. You cannot understand the relief that came over me when I saw the same police officer walking down that street, walking towards you. I knew you had done nothing wrong. But I knew that the next few moments would safely carry me off this dark street, carry me away from you. But you are not a white man, so you cannot understand my eagerness to flee.
We were on the same street in the same town at the same time.
And yet-
You are a black man...I do not know your name.
I am a white man...you do not know my name.

So what do we do now?
We are different. Not just the color of our skin, it is more than that. The world wants to tell us that all is equal and all is fair, but you and I both know that is not true. Because we are different. We come from different places and different pasts. Our futures are different, because you are black and I am white. Yet the world says, all is equal... all is fair.

So what do we do?
I could try to understand how you feel. But I am not a black man, so my understanding would only be imagined. You could try to understand how I think. But you are not a white man…another masquerade would prevail.

So what now?
We are different. Let us understand that.
We come from the same God. Let us understand Him.
We walk on the same soil, the soil of a country blessed by God, bought by blood, the blood of blacks, whites and so many others. A country healed by understanding.
Christ Jesus razed a path for you and I to walk. He shoved aside prejudice and in its place he sat good will. He kicked away fear and in its place he offered comfort. He took hatred to the cross and in its place he showed us love.
You and I could walk this path with Him. We would forget our fears and prejudices, our differences and our hatreds. We could talk about our pasts and hope for our futures. I would tell you about my children and you tell me about yours. We could make plans for our families, our town, our country. We could rejoice and sing songs lifting Him on high...

But the street is not the path.
The street is dark.
You are on one side; I am on the other.
I am not a black man. You are not a white man.

So what do we do now?

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Restore Point

I was innocently walking through the parking lot of my local grocery store, minding my own business, pushing the aged wire cart with its proverbial crooked wheels back to my truck. I stopped for just a moment when two fresh oranges came rolling towards me, having escaped from another cart, this one overloaded and carrying much more than my meager purchase. I stooped, picking up the rolling fruit and returned them to their elderly owner. She smiled and thanked me.
As I continued on the path towards my destination I heard someone call out my name. An old co-worker/friend was on his way into the grocery store when he saw me. We spoke for just a few moments; friendly greetings and of trivial matters, before both continuing to our destinations.

Her car was parked across from mine. I heard the gravel crunch beneath the wheels of her over-priced coup just as I was arriving at my truck. I turned my head towards the sound, and saw her over-priced coup on a collision path with my aging wired cart with its crooked wheels. Through the driver-side window I could see the car’s owner yapping away on her cell phone, oblivious to the world around her.
I pulled the cart hard to the right, hoping to avoid the inevitable. I am neither strong enough nor fast enough anymore to accomplish this feat. The chrome bumper of her car slammed into the rusty front grill of my cart, spinning it around. The cart’s handle collided with my hip, knocking me to the asphalt. I stuck a perfect 10- point- landing right on my butt. But not before the cart’s crooked wheels ran over my shoe, leaving a mark and a small tear.

I sat there for just a moment. My hip was lamenting its participation in this unexpected skirmish. But more than that, I sat on the dirty asphalt, embarrassed and  totally amazed. As the driver climbed half way out of the car,  still on her cell phone with hand over the mouth piece, she asked me, bordering on what one could call a whisper, “Are you okay?”

In the few seconds that had passed since impact, I had already conjured up a number of things I wanted to say to her…instead I waved her off with a shake of my head and a smile on my face. And just like that she was back in her chariot and driving away. I took note of her license plate, but forgot it before I was back in my truck. However, I will never forget the "I -heart-Hillary" bumper sticker sneering at me as she exited the parking lot.

I managed to get both myself and my groceries into the truck. I just sat there, taking a quick inventory of bumps and bruises. Thankfully there seemed to be a minimum of both. Next, I replayed the bumper car incident over and over; reassuring myself that the Hillary fan was completely at fault. Not that it really mattered for I knew that things could have turned out much worse.

My mental replay began to rewind, going backwards to a point before the car-cart battle—I saw myself walking backwards, back across the asphalt lot, being hailed by an old buddy, stooping to fetch some runaway oranges, through the double glass doors. Backwards to the checkout lane. This cerebral cinema slowed its motion as I watched the ghostly vision of myself looking up at the sign above a check-out lane that read “15 Items or Less”. I watched as the previous me counted the items, 1,2,3…16. There was only one person in this speedy lane and I, (I reasoned) was only one item over the posted limit. But…I have a pet peeve about shoppers doing the very thing I was reasoning. So I didn’t jump in that line. Obediently I traveled to an adjacent lane, one with no limits.

Back in my truck. I thought, how cool it would be if we had a “Restore Point” in life’s CPU. What if we could just point to a time, a Point, click a button and go back.

What if I had ignored my vexation of too many items and checked out in the speedy lane. I would have been in my truck, maybe even gone from the lot before the Hillary fan had a chance to run me down.
What if I had not retrieved the wayward fruit of some lady I do not know and will likely never see again. I may have been past the Point of impact.
What if I had just waved to the coworker/friend, continuing on my way, never stopping to talk. I would have already loaded the few groceries and would be sitting in the comfort and safety of my truck. The Hillary fan would never have this story to tell. Life's moments, oh that we could change them!

Ah, but we don’t have a Restore Point.
Or maybe we do. We just might not recognize it for what it is.

You see, when God created you and me, before we took our first breath, we were perfect. Yet without form, we existed at a perfect point in time. And then we come screaming into this world...at that point, our deterioration from perfection begins.
I am not being overly critical; I love little babies. The way they smile and laugh and smell…their innocence. But that doesn’t last very long, does it?
We each deteriorate differently, some faster than others. It is all about the life style we choose, but in the end we all have moved further away from that perfect point in time.

But you see, God knew the choices we would make long before we did. So in all His Wisdom, He provided a Restore Point. We call this point, Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior.  When we believe, when we have faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus, God moves His divine mouse over our Restore Point and clicks. Just like that, we are restored to our perfect state!

Now, the same as when we are forced to Restore our computers, when everything else has failed, we do not see all the changes the powerful Restore accomplishes. In fact, we usually only see the changes we were looking for. But so many other files, and programs and bits and bytes have also changed. But we don’t see that.
We don’t see our perfect state when we accept Jesus as the Lord of our life…but God does.

That is how He sees you. Perfect. Restored!
Amen!