Welcome to 2016

It is entirely crazy that 2015 is gone and 2016 already has a week finished!!!!  I hope to do better this year in communicating through this blog.  There is certainly a lot to talk about.  As we begin anew, may grace abound in your life and our world.

With Valentines Day right around the corner, here is a wonderful video to show how deep love can be when love is the highest goal and self takes a back seat for the other person.

Enjoy–   http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=W7GLWWNX

Until next time,

Eric

 

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Why so many “why’s” in life?

Have you ever been living life in cruise control when all of the sudden it feels like the transmission fell out on the highway?  And OF COURSE it is a two lane highway and a semi truck is bearing down from the other direction!  Life’s “why’s” present us with much to think about and much to choose from.  Recently, in our family, the transmission not only fell out but the front end fell off…..you know what I mean…..both front tires broke off the axle and flew to the right and left and we were left staring down the silver, snow covered, grill of that speeding semi truck (and WHY are they always speeding when I am there!- oh well that’s for another blog!) heading right for us. (metaphorically) So there I sat wondering WHY was this happening to my family and then to me?  Haven’t we helped others?  Haven’t we prayed for others?  The answer is yes and yes.

However the thought that came to mind is how do I (we) need to answer the “why’s” of life.  I started by asking some people and they did not help me much, some shrugged and responded, “its just life I guess” or “just roll with the punches” or the world’s favorite……”I’m sorry for what you going through but it will be ok.”  When I hear that from people I often wonder how do they know and maybe that is WHY we are going through this because they obviously know way more than me.  SO I moved on……. Where can I get straight info…….after some thought and prayer I realized it was not from the world, as I was asking people who also ask other people WHY?  There are books written about Why….”Why bad things happen to good people” comes to mind.  I have not seen the book, “Why good things happen to bad people.” yet but in this world I am sure someone is thinking about WHY they should write it.  My answer to that one is that “it rains on the just and the unjust.”  That I can confidently answer “it’s just life.”

So I looked at the definitive standard, nope not the stock market, but the New York Bestseller list to see if I could find a good source for WHY this is all so.  I found a great source and one that has been on the best seller’s list since February 15, 1953; the Bible.  I know so many people appear to know what the Bible says but do they really?  So I wanted to check for myself since it has been on that treasured list for 62 YEARS!!!!  Wow, it must hold some wisdom as so many people read it.  SO off I went……..WHY? That word is used over 200 times in this bestselling book.  It appears in the Hebrew as “mah” which pertains to why being used in an interrogative form……..Why are you doing that?  “Why are you angry” is actually the first time why is used in the Bible.  (the reference is Genesis 4:6 and I will let you read the usage on your own- good practice because you should know WHY it is used).  Then the word moves to the Greek form and that is “tis”  an emphatic WHY!  The place I see that much passion in its use is Galatians 5:11; “Why do I yet suffer persecution?”  Hey that’s my question.  Were they asking the same thing in the First Century?

Everyone, which in both the Hebrew and Greek means everyone (that’s a joke!), suffers pain and sorrow in their lifetime.  How we deal with that speeding semi-truck shows our inward character.  So we have some choices to make:

1.  Close your eyes and hope that truck isn’t real…..bad mistake because at 75 MPH’s that thought will only last a few seconds before you absolutely know: bad choice as you feel that it is real.

2.  Quickly scan around you and sit and wait for the truck to hit…….that is simply not a good move as that truck is going to hurt for a long time!!!!

3.  Undo your seat belt, climb through the window which has broken out, and run, crawl, roll or whatever to safety as the truck hits the car.

Now, come with me to the spiritual realm for a minute.

1.  That is what so many do by turning from the salvation and grace that Jesus Christ provides for everyone including you.

2.  That is what so many do with their lives….let me live the way I want and then when I am ready I will look at spiritual things.

3.  This answers my WHY question.  Why has the transmission fallen out?  Why is that semi coming so fast?  Why am I sitting here?  I can’t control anything that happens around me but I can control how I react to it all!  Why does that matter; because Jesus provides the way to safety when the “why’s’ become too much.  Without His help, you are left to your own wisdom.  Some will read this and say that wisdom has done them well so far and that may be true……however in life EVERYONE will face down a speeding semi-truck sometime in life.  Some of us have already completed that task while others have not.  I am simply trying to help you answer WHY?

Happy Valentine’s Day-  http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=W7GLWWNX

 

Until next time, Eric

Does Jesus expect perfection?

Today was a wild and crazy day as I was driving around in a blizzard helping my daughter get to a surgical procedure.  As it turned out, she was the only patient who showed up but she is now better because she knows she is ok……”God is good; all the time” is a motto we use.  As I was dropping her off at the hospital and the snow and wind was howling, I grabbed her hand and we prayed together that Jesus would guide the Dr. and my daughter.  Then a small voice from the back seat (my 4 yr old granddaughter ) prayed “and let my Mommy have a good day.”  It all makes sense when coming from a 4 year old.

My grand daughter and I spent some time together, an empty Dave’s Sports store at 730am after a Super Bowl Win provided a race track for her feet as we were the only customer’s in the store!!!  After some more fun and some breakfast I dropped her off and came home.  I then started a text conversation about New England’s win  to some friends and fellow teachers and the conversation was light hearted and fun.  The text was misinterpreted by a few people and they “texted” me their concern.  It was at that time that I began to think about what Jesus wants from us.

Perfection?  No way as that is impossible……..mediocrity?  No way as He is Jesus.  When I think of Scriptures I read over and over where the One who knew no sin met with those who were embroiled in it!!!  What He would then do is teach and give lessons about a different way; but HE never forced anyone to come to Him. How do we interact with a lost world?  With the thought that they are awful and we MUST at all cost, stay away?  Or do we realize that but for the grace of God and His shed blood for our sin’s, we are lost!  While the line between the spiritual and the world is a hard one to discern at times, I err on the side of relationships.  As a human who is saved by grace, at times I go too far to the world and have to come back to Jesus and ask for grace.

In my past, I have been down a road of keeping everything away because it was “wrong”……that was a lonely place for me as most around me did not like me…….so therefore would not listen to me. What I had become was a “tinkling cymbal.”  I did not love them as I should have so they did not listen and felt what I had to say was a waste.  Since those days are gone from my life, I realize that I am not Jesus nor can I be.  I aspire to do His will and walk as He guides however I have to do that amongst those who are lost and often hate me because of Him.  But, I am told that I must love them because Christ first loved me……. that love is shown in so many different ways…….I trust the Spirit to keep me safe but I also know that until I see Jesus face to face, I am a sinner saved by grace!

Friday Follies

We, in the Northeast, geared up for a major snowstorm earlier this week.  As I was strategically planning placement of my shovels and the house generator in my garage, my eyes caught sight of the half empty bag of birdseed sitting on the garage floor.  I began to think that the birds would be cold and flying around looking for food so I filled up my bird feeder and hung it on the Rose of Sharon tree in the front.  I don’t know why I don’t fill it more in the winter anyway; isn’t that when they need it most?  Maybe I just never thought of it before.  So with my feeder filled and the snow blowing like crazy on Monday, I felt like I had done my part to support nature…… but no birds were brave enough to stop by during the storm as they were probably all huddled together “squawking” away about something or some new  “high flyer” that just wouldn’t conform to the standard rules of flight……….I made that last part up!

Anyway, today (Friday) I pulled into the driveway and had birds everywhere; on the bush, in the snow, flying to the feeder, from the feeder.  I just turned the truck off and watched.  Birds all over back and forth……flying around.  I wish I could have talked to them…….How did they find the feeder?  Did one bird invite their next door bird to come on over for some seed?  Was it a family of birds who were simply lucky enough to find the feeder and eat well today?  Is that feeder being written on a bird map now as a place to grab a quick bite in the storm?  Will they keep coming back to feed?

The Bible tells us that God cares about even the smallest sparrow so surely He cares about you and me.  So with that in mind and the idea that Jesus is the Bread of Life;  How do we find the feeder?  Did another person who was enjoying the bread of life invite you to the meal that changed you?  When you go to church do you and other believers feast together on the bread or do some squawk about what is being feed to them?  Remember the Israelites in the Old Testament complaining about the manna that God provided.  Funny thing about us people, once we get into a routine of things change freaks us out or we simply get sick of the routine…….just like way back when the manna was feed to them day after day after day.

Another question I would ask the birds, Do you get sick of the seed over time?  Do you look for other things to replace the seed that sustained you when the ground was covered in white?  Wasn’t the seed good enough in the storm?  Why is it not good enough when there is no storm?  Are the birds content with the seed or will they fly off and starve because after all, if we found that seed surely there is better seed somewhere else…..  As the Bread of Life, Jesus has provided manna and Himself as bread for the body.  As I was deep in my thought process sitting in the truck and just about to come to an earth shattering and profound bit of truth, my phone vibrated and it was my wife, who has the flu and is home.  She was texting me.  I rushed to see what she texted expecting it to be something like, “I know, aren’t those birds amazing and teaching us some really good life lessons.”  But that was not the case, it simply said, “why are you sitting in your truck in the driveway.”  Life can only be deep and spiritual in spurts because our capacity to see and understand the spiritual is limited.  So I was glad to see my wife and will look for the birds to teach me more in the days to come.  Be well.

Thoughts for a Saturday

The outside air is cold this morning, unfortunately the same is true of some people’s hearts.  Since starting this blog, I spend time thinking about it’s value to me and others.  I have rambling thoughts as I walk through my journey called daily life and think that, “Oh that would be good to blog” and then by the time I am home, I forget…….(I am getting older!)  This week I spent a few hours in all of my classes speaking to the students about why they will not be in school on Monday.  When I asked them to write what they knew about Dr. Martin Luther King, almost to the person they stated that he was the person who had the “I have a dream speech.”  I wanted them to understand the pain of 52 years ago so I created a mini-unit on his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”  If you have never read it I would suggest you do; it is a good read.  As we discussed the letter and the pain in the words and the times, some in the class began to wiggle in their seats.  Not an easy topic to discuss when we talk color of skin and racism.  But then I realized NOT talking about it is racism and worse when we, as educators, shy away from a topic because WE are uncomfortable; we are racist and controlling the path to truth of individuals under our charge.  I have seen that a few times since entering public education.   It is not spoken out loud that it won’t be taught, it just won’t be taught.  That scares me and bothers me because education is the way to freedom and truth……..plain and simple.

Way back before the Guttenberg Press in Germany, the religious elites of the day controlled the masses by telling them what “God” intended for them.  I suppose that is ok if the elite are righteous and accountable but we see from history during that time abuse of the masses……..the MAIN thought in Dr. Kings letter from the Birmingham Jail was:  “Injustice anywhere; is injustice everywhere!  I fought in Afghanistan because injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere……..It is my hope and prayer that on Monday people understand that the role of the United States is not one of wanting to be elitist but is one of compassion ……….I know for sure that there are other views and that in itself is called freedom; the ability to have other views without retribution.  Many countries do not have that.  Some want to throw away the Guttenberg press and tell people again what “God” wants from them.

For me, I can make my own decision(s).  I read, pray, read some more, pray some more, talk to people from various views (not what the elitists suggest) and look back at history to come to educated conclusions for the present.  Am I always right; nope but then that is what makes the journey so enticing……..Have a wonderful day.  Until next time.

 

The beginning of something new

As I entered 2015, I had no new resolutions until today!  I realized that after being told many, many times to write that the time had come to do so.  So this blog will become my canvas, my outlet if you will to the world.  I am a person who wants to understand all sides of an issue BEFORE saying anything.  I try very hard to be nonjudgmental and to let truth stand on its own.  That is the great thing about truth, it can and does!!!

A person or people group who deny the truth do not negate that truth by simply ignoring or denying it.  In reality, it simply makes them less likely to find the truth by closing out what they don’t want to understand!  Truth is found when one is searching for it; no matter the reason.  In my lifetime I have been told that the truth is in money, in the church, in a book, the truth is here or there…….it has been my personal experience that the truth comes in and through Jesus Christ.  One can take my experience for what it is worth…to you; it might simply be words on a blog but to me HE is the “dynamite” of my life.  The purpose of this blog is not to irritate or upset others but is a place for open and honest conversations about what is truth in a world that is moving more and more away from it.