Thursday, July 16, 2020

Spiritual Courage

It takes courage to take spiritual inventory. Looking in the mirror that reflects an accurate picture of how you are living in light of God's truth can be tough. God wants you to know how you are doing. Remember that He will never reject you or cast you aside. His truth is meant to help and encourage us.

After we have been brave enough to admit and confront the spiritual hindrances that keep us from displaying transformational love, we must look to the source of that love. As the issues that impede us are spiritual they must be dealt with in the spiritual realm. Confession and repentance are not welcome nor are they common practices in the life of many churches today. But, they are serious matters that must be dealt with in the manner God sets forth. The writer of Chronicles states it pretty plainly, "If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." So then, it is plain that God wants to heal His people and His land, transforming society.

In this time of Covid many people are afraid. They are afraid for their life and the lives of their loved ones. Their fear can certainly lead to insecurity. We fear the unknown and what might be lurking behind the proverbial corner. The questions arise. Does God really care? Does God know what is going on? Our souls must be able to resound with, yes He knows, yes He cares.

Added to this time of illness and questioning is the madness and violence overtaking the country. Violence has led to the killing of innocent people and those who took an oath to protect us. Lies have turned to truth and foundational truth has been spit upon.

One might ask if we are reaping what we have sown. We have certainly allowed the moral fabric that held us together to be weakened and shredded. Allowing 60 million infants to be sacrificed on the altar of liberal politics and thought has certainly had an impact upon the Almighty and how favorable He looks upon us.

Repenting and seeking forgiveness is the soul cleansing priority of each follower of Christ. As we draw close to Him, He will always draw close to us. When Moses came down from the mountain after meeting with God he was transformed and glowing. People know when a follower of Christ is spending time with his God, it is evident, it shows in their actions, words, and essence. Communion with God magnetizes the one communing, drawing people, as the Holy Spirit has been leading the one in need.

Open yourself to the transforming movement of God, draw close to Him in prayer, confession, praise and begging Him to use you as a source of transforming love. Do not fret about how God will do it, or what might happen, He will empower you to shine and He will bring people across your path that are hungry and thirsty for the real experience with God through Jesus Christ. An old chorus comes to mind, the author escapes me. "Swing wide the door of your heart to the King of Kings, bid Him enter for wonderful peace He brings. He will shelter you under His outstretched wings. Swing wide the door of your heart to the King of Kings."

Jesus told us that we would be the light of the world, a city set on a hill. It will not be our dogma, doctrine, creeds, hymns, nor our knowledge of God that will transform people. It always has been and will continue to be, followers of Christ who have a personal experience with Transforming Love.

Friday, May 29, 2020

God Loves Freedom

What ever possesses a man to leave everything behind and head into the darkness of the unknown? It might be the spirit of adventure. It might be the spirit of  escape. And, it might be the spirit of freedom. That is alright if you are single. But, what if you are part of a family, that changes the consequences. The cost rises with every person you include in the venture.

The stories of people escaping from East Berlin, remember that time, always gripped my heart. Some fantastic escapes took place by men and women and entire families. Ideas from hot air balloons, zip lines, to extensive tunnels, were used by very brave men and women. The images of those who died trying to escape must have been ever before them. Yet, they kept trying to escape.

Oppression is an evil power that has given millions of people the inner desire and drive to be free. There is some God-given inner voice that whispers to the soul of mankind, "I want to be free, I need to be free, I must be the one who decides my destiny." That voice, the desire to be free, has indeed brought that very freedom to millions across the earth.

I believe it was that voice that filled the hearts of the earliest settlers in this land. Many left their homeland yearning for religious freedom. Their conscious could never give in to the dictates of a government trying to regulate the voice of God within their heart. In their desire to worship God according to their own spirit they were willing to pay a very high price. Weeks and months on the high seas is taxing to the very hardiest of men. The families that took such voyages were brave to the extreme. Yet, they would never confess to bravery.

The dream of a land of freedom brought thousands upon thousand to our shores. Almost every person in this great land would find their roots in the family tree of those brave souls. I am aware of the countless who were brought here, not of their own accord. Indentured servants and slaves by the thousands were brought here, to the land of freedom. With free men and women all around them their hearts must have yearned all the more to taste the sweetness of broken chains and writs of servitude torn in half.

Our forefathers used a couple of phrases that I want to mention. The first being this land was the, Second Israel. A land of men and women who were seeking the heart of God and desiring to build a land that would honor him. The second phrase being, A Great Experiment in Self Government. They knew that it was indeed an experiment and that many things could go wrong and some things would go wrong.

The long journey across the treacherous and deadly Atlantic did not allow for the spirit of ease, nor complacency. Our journey today, I'm afraid, is filled with both evils.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Painful Lessons

The old man is lying on a dirty old metal bed, the sheets unchanged for weeks.
He lies on his side with his knees drawn up, like he did 80 years ago.
The gray on his head is matched by the gray of his life.
He has been alone now for years, abandoned by all, left to his bed and bitterness.
Life is hard and that is exactly what he taught everybody around him.
His wife, stoop shouldered by the burdens and his words, crumbled under his care.
For years she tried to please him, her efforts only gained more scorn and weight on her shoulders.
Children now gone, haven't seen the old man in years.

His son, his namesake, pledged to never see or speak to him, never to enter the house until it was funeral time.
A daughter, broken by suspicion and cursing, still lives broken, trying to make her daddy happy, five or six times since she saw him last.
He knew they needed to know that the world is cruel and the best a man could do was to work all of his waking hours.
Home, he expected all to understand his life and be content that he put food on the table and a roof over their heads.
His words, never from a warm spirit, only the ones that needed to be said, the food is cold, the chores are undone, the wood needs carrin-in.
He expects respect and obedience, cares not to know what troubles live in his home.
All homes have trouble, life is hard and you just put up with it.

On his bed his hands are shriveling and gnarled, evidence of years of toil, toil he thought so unappreciated, work ignored, sweat unnoticed.
Unaware of the words of a mother to her children, words of work by their father, toil to provide food and shelter, long hard days spent on the end of a shovel.
He looks down at his hands and realizes his heart and soul is just as bent and gnarled as they are.
He mumbles in a voice no one can understand, words that seem garbled, "God what did I do wrong? Life is hard and they had to learn, the world is cruel and unloving. I did what was best."
A message begins to move deep in his soul, he feels uncomfortable, struggles on the hard rusted metal frame bed.

His stomach churns and his legs move to curb the pain.
A voice very clearly and quietly speaks it's message of unwelcome truth.
Today you are alone, alone on your bed, waiting to die, where are your children?
You are choking on the weeds you planted most of your life.
It is now time for you to realize what you have done, and live and die with it.
Even though you lie here abandoned and scared, yes I will be with you.
I will try and help them understand your life and keep them from your pain.
If only you would have tried to reach me, tried a small amount of kindness.
Soon all your pain and ugliness will end.

Monday, May 11, 2020

The Folded Flag

There wasn't much that could stop the cold blast from the wind. There were only a few trees and an old clap board building in the cemetery and their flimsy resistance to the blast of cold was some distance from us. December in Riverview Michigan can be a mixed bag of weather conditions. Ice hockey on the local pond can be in full swing or the rain and mud can reign. That December day the ground was frozen and the wind spit balls of snow and ice.

My mother and father were seated on metal folding chairs close to the grave and the artificial turf that was trying in vain to disguise the hole. The honor guard stood at the rear of the hearse and the shinning black and chrome door swung open. The men from the funeral home were quiet, yet direct in their instructions to the honor guard. As the casket rolled from the hearse the men took their position, bearing their burden to the tent and the waiting grief stricken family members and the multitude of friends.

The flag seemed to wrap the casket like a cocoon, her colors were vivid and brilliant. I had never noticed the sharp contrast between red stripe and white stripe as I did that day. Each white star seemed to shine against the deep blue background. My family, and the others, were gathered in the presence of something sacred, dare I say, almost holy.

More words were said about the young Marine, my brother. Words about selflessness and willingness to serve were offered. The chaplain spoke words of ashes to ashes and dust to dust and then he prayed. As soon as he finished his prayer he stepped back from the casket and the honor guard stepped forward.

The flag seemed to float from the casket as expert hands moved in perfect unison and harmony and the rectangle was transformed into triangle with her stars shinning again. With fluid motions and grace the man in the dress blues bent low and placed the flag into the hands of my mother. He moved back to his position and plain and clear orders were given. The rifles cracked their salute to the Marine.

Before the wind could be heard again the mournful sound of the bugle announced, "Day is done". Most eyes were stinging as Taps brought tears to cold cheeks. The mournful sound from the bugle and the crack of the rifles is a combination seared into the soul of those who must experience it.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Risk Taking- During this Time

As a kid I used to jump at the chance to do something dangerous. I remember climbing to the top of the backstop in a park and jumping off with a parachute made from a smuggled sheet. It didn't work, but that did not stop my enthusiastic pursuit of the crazy. A Flintstone type push cart zoomed down a hill off of Valade street, only to be run into the grass and roll over. The two or three sticks designed to hold up the roof didn't work very well. The plunge into danger that almost cost me my life, according to my dad, involved stealing a rather large motor from an abandoned riding mower. The mower was in an abandoned barn on the outskirts of town. A Riverview policeman noticed two bikes in the tall grass, not well hidden, upon finding me and my accomplice in the act of removing the awesome go cart engine, he asked us a simple question. The question, "Boys what are you doing with that engine?" My reply revealed my stupidity, "We're looking to see what makes it work".

I escaped death that day, because I had an early morning paper route and every cop in Riverview knew my dad and all of my uncles. My zest for risk taking took a small vacation and I walked the boring and dreary path of complacency. Gladly the days of boredom didn't last long. Soon my brother and I were in the fields across Pennsylvania Road playing in the pond and catching frogs and germs. That is, until Todd almost cut his foot off from an old can that on the bottom of the pond and not seen. To this day he credits me with saving his life, I carried him on my back for a while. I used to remind him of how much of a favor I did for him.

Moving from my hometown to a small one bedroom cabin for my senior year was a risk the entire family took. The impact was greatest on the five of us who made the move. I left Riverview with one year of high school to go. At the time I didn't think much about it. We loved Northern Michigan and had talked often about living in the woods. So, a small one bedroom cabin with a kitchen and screen porch became home. That time of risk taking was done in ignorance and desperation.

The move to Zambia was a great risk, yet it was in a way, no risk. We were following the path that had been opened to us after ten years of waiting. A young American family moving to the bush of Zambia, facing the unknown with zeal and an adventurous spirit. Yes, there was a lot of risk. Every time you drove down the roads you were placing your life in peril. I witnessed cars driving down the roads with no windshields, doors and even rubber on their wheels. Mammoth trucks would drive at night with no tail lights. Road accidents claimed hundreds of victims each month.

Taking a risk can be costly. Insecurity lives within every risk decision. The fear of the unknown, or the known, awaits all risk takers. After our time in Zambia my desire to take risks was pretty well gone. The Zambian risk almost cost a daughter and wife to be swept away. Four years after returning to the states I took another risk, resigning from officership. The doors opened for us to buy a small apple orchard near Hubbard Lake, Michigan.

Donna and I both found jobs and I thought, "Genesis Farm" would indeed be a place of new beginnings. The fact of the matter is quite simple. I decided to resign from ministry based on a flawed institution. Isn't everything run by man flawed? My resignation did not mitigate God's call and impress upon my life, nor Donna's life. Some years after our move I stepped out of my secluded acreage and pastored a small church. That risk was richly rewarded by the blossoming and determined life of Ana. For five years that little girl caused quite a stir in Lily white Alcona County. Her basketball and track prowess brought love from her friends and families and vile statements from bigots and haters.

The time in Alcona came to a close when I was rushed into the hospital for emergency spinal cord surgery. The surgery went as well as could be expected, the recovery, well, it did not go so well. My spinal cord suffered permanent damage and left me with partial paraplegia. Seems like my risk taking days would be over. I fought that idea and want to continue fighting it. I began writing a book as part of my own personal therapy. The book, "A Mother's Heart Moved the Hand of God", chronicles the life struggle of Ana and the events that surrounds her miraculous journey.

I have sat, not really, on that manuscript for a few years. As I hate rejection I have just given lip-service to publication. I know that there is a powerful message of inspiration and challenge to individuals and the church within the pages. A number of people have told me so. I know that a major publishing house is not the route for this book. I have tons of information on self-publishing and also tons of information on how much it costs. Any and all routes will demand taking a risk. I know and understand that the risk will be worth it as the rewards will be the accomplishment of completion and the unknown blessings that would come to those who would read the pages and understand the message.

Please pray for me that I would take the risk and get off my rear, which I can't feel anyway.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

The Pine Tree

Rain drops hang off long slender needles, made brilliant green by droplets no longer clinging to cloud.
The earth beneath the living statues is soft and covered in a blanket of brown needles.
Thousands, millions, the blanket has no pattern to the eye, to the giver they tell of history, of storms and snow, of wind and sun, passing days and months, years and generations.
The scent that rises from the moist blanket mingles with living needles and bark. The fragrance is beyond description but not experience.
Breathe deeply and fill your soul with peace and tranquility as almost blinding rays of sunlight reach you through branch, limb and needle.
Warmth escapes from hidden rooms beneath the blanket as the sun heats the earth.
The blanket beckons your wearied body, go ahead, multitudes of creatures have already felt the comfort.
The blanket is thick and soft, your hand presses down and the blanket gives to your desire.
Lay back and sense the blanket give and move to your weariness.
The scent, the warmth, the moisture, they approach and beckon to lay with you.
Soon you are wrapped in comfort that fills your very soul, yea, every cell.
From your repose, looking up, the living statues reach into and then become part of the heavens.
Sleep overtakes and you dream of heaven, a land of pines, smells, and sweet comfort.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

The Seed Falls

The Seed Falls

A seed falls, earth embraces 
Time passes, 
Seed lives, breaks free.
Sun, rain, time, generations pass.
Branch, leaf, reach sunward,
Root goes deep, strength to keep.
The axe falls, death comes,
The knife shapes, post becomes.
Tide turns, world spurns.
Sinless Word suspended,
Heavens gaze is ended.
Great I AM is blind,
His Logos unable to find.
Purity runs down,
Puddles on the ground.
Scar of axe, knife,
Bring end of strife.
Post with open pore,
Absorbs sin so sore.
Post, thought dead, now lives,
Upward, Sonward, life to give.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Brow to the Sky

Feet Near The Earth, Crowned Brow To The Skies,
God's Arms Outstretched Mankind's Savior Dies.

On The Death Post and Beam,
His Precious Life Blood Does Gleam.

Three Iron Spikes Hold In Place,
Spotless Lamb, Now Dirty Sacrificial Face.

Voice, Whispering, Cracking, Groaning,
Pouring Out Life, For Sinners Atoning.

Parched Throat, Dry Lips, Mercy Please,
Cheap Wine On Hyssop, Creator They Tease.

Deep Into The Heavens Does He Gaze,
Searching, Praying Father, Nothing But Haze.

Completion Of Redemption, He Cries,
Wounded, Bruised Head, He Bows, He Dies.

Cold, Granite-Like Men, Face Death,
Watch, Remark, Christ Of God Gasps, Last Breath.

Now, Their Hearts Hard As Stone,
Strangely Moved, Even Their Sin Atoned.

For They Have Watched Countless Die,
Limp, Lifeless Bodies, Suspended High.

Men, Now Close To Post And Beam,
Ugly Truth Transformed To Beauties Gleam.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Peace, Sweet Peace.

Peace, sweet peace, flood o'er my soul,
My being, breathing,thinking, out of control.

Peace, sweet peace, come fill my mind,
I look, I search, I cry, still not to find.

Peace, sweet peace, capture my spirit,
Distractions, Illusions, fleeting and empty, never fill it.

Peace, sweet peace, Yes, Yes, in Him I find,
Arms open wide, His love is forever kind.

Peace, sweet peace, abiding in love I stay,
Holding, clutching, yearning is how I pray.

Peace, sweet peace, twill be eternal bliss,
In Jesus, my Lord, my God, never to miss.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Paradox of the Cross

These days, leading to Good Friday and Easter, the old hymn, "The Old Rugged Cross", is a favorite among congregations. And, I often wonder if we really think about the words of the hymns we sing. I believe that the cross is a paradox. I mean, there is a truth that is either veiled, or easily passed over. We lift our voices and sing, "I will cherish the old rugged cross", "I will cling to the old rugged cross." Do we really mean, cling to the old rugged cross? What about, cherish, do we really, cherish?

There are few objects that I cherish. My girls gave me a carved stone elephant from Zimbabwe, as a birthday present. I cherish that because of my girls. It is something I hold close and it is very personal. A family heirloom, a fine piece of jewelry,these are items people might cherish. To cherish is to hold close, to gaze upon, understand its value and worth, not necessarily monetary worth. To cherish the cross is to get close and personal. Experiencing the value of the cross means you have come close. Close enough to become appalled at the site, the site of blood, discarded clothing and lives.

I used to find it repulsive thinking about clinging to the cross. What person today would want to place their hands, or worse, their arms and chest, against a post used to execute human beings. The upright of the executioners tool was used over and over until it rotted. The blood of countless bodies would have run down the post and become one with the fibers of the wood. To even think of clinging to such a horrific object should be repulsive. Now, add that our faith, our belief in Christ, centers on the cross. Some would think we are rather barbaric.

If you will come close to the cross with me, if you will be open and vulnerable, you will be able to sing the hymn with honesty and an experiential truth. In order to do that we must accept the horror and humiliation of the execution. Denial will cut short the transformation. Jesus Christ, the Begotten of the Father, the Second Person in the Trinity, the Word and character of God in the flesh, was executed at a time and place recorded in history. His death was real and it was his sacrifice for the sin of mankind. Again, look past the scene and believe that his death was for you.

As you are close to the cross, you must listen to the words of Jesus. He speaks words of forgiveness for his executioners. He speaks words of comfort to his mother and a dear friend. A man, hanging by his side hears words of comfort and life as his earthly life slips away. Listen, as he speaks with parched dry lips for a drink. In his final minutes he cries to his father during his darkest hour, life spent, body broken, blood out poured, he utters his final words and dies.

Standing close, the scene of the execution and the words spoken begin to transform sensitive and contrite hearts. The truth of his sacrifice becomes your truth, the truth of redemption's cost becomes your truth. Your spirit begins to understand that what took place was  for you. Soon, the scene of death and horror seems to fade and peace moves in your heart. With the peace comes new vision, a new eyesight that now looks at the cross and rejoices in the beauty.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Sexual Anarchy part 2

The sexual revolution of the late sixties and into the seventies has had a profound effect upon marriage and the belief in its sanctity. The Pew Research Group has documented the shift in marriage statistics. Prior to the sexual revolution that began in the sixties marriage was still the recognized and accepted form of heterosexual long term relationships. With each passing generation the percentages of cohabitation relationships has increased and the number of marriage relationships has decreased.

The cohabitation rates among the religious population shows only a minor level of disapproval. Black protestants show the biggest disapproval rates and Catholics show the greatest approval rates. The belief in the sanctity or holiness of marriage is in direct proportion to the cohabitation percentages. The less people view marriage as a holy or sanctified relationship the less weight it carries in the decision making process. Simply put: If I don't believe God is involved, why should I care.

I believe there is a direct correlation between views of sanctity of marriage and the  sanctity of the unborn. When the population looses touch with God many things happen. I will elaborate on a few. First, without a conscious understanding of God he has no influence on our decision making process. A sense of shame and embarrassment has been removed from our social consciousness. Nothing is wrong unless I think it to be.

Next, the power of the abortion movement is beyond my imagination. Billions of dollars are in the coffers of those who smile at us and display their ashen marked forehead while their donors suck a living child out of a woman's womb. Never in the history of any civilized land has such barbarism taken place. Fifty years ago the church was complacent and asleep in regards to abortion. If the Body of Christ had raised their voice to protect the body of the unborn we might be living in a different era.

The next is the celebration of evil. Many of the marches and parades that the gay and lesbian population promote are dark and evil. When children are made subject to them it is evidence of utter depravity and no moral conscience. The book of Romans has very dire descriptions of our modern era. Words such as depravity, reprobate, darkened, and others are used to describe our land. The lewd and depraved have no pangs of guilt because their mind is dark.

The years from the seventies into the eighties brought another sweeping and inimitable force.The trans movement came at us like a tsunami. In my opinion transgender and transvestite forces work as one. And, that is because they are wanting to be, or pretending to be, something they are not. Genetics, biology, and common sense dictates that if you are born a biological male or a biological female that decision was made at conception.

From the Trans movement the next wave to attack our values and way of life was just a natural progression. The next opinion piece will lead us into the gender identity morass.

Your opinions and comments are always welcome.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Sexual Anarchy is Upon Us.

Anarchy- Mirriam-Webster defines Anarchy as absence or denial of any authority or established order. Today we are in the midst of an anarchy movement centered on human sexuality. I believe the end results of this anarchy will be the moral collapse of our social structure. It is already appearing and I fear it is irreversible. As in times past when society seems on the edge of collapse it has regained its foundation through spiritual renewal.

The first Great Awakening took place in the early 18th century. Reasoning began to dispel the need for spiritual enlightenment and faith. The Great Awakening is believed to be partly responsible for the early colonialist to believe God had a plan for their lives and country.

The seed of sexual anarchy was planted during a great time of civil unrest here in America. The mid to late sixties, lasting to the early seventies brought upon us the distrust of leaders and the government.Massive demonstrations and the birth of the counter-culture movement set the stage for social revolution. The Peace Movement's chant of free love found fertile soil in the minds of millions of young people.

Sexual relationships outside of marriage have always been taking place. But, those relationships were kept quiet and not celebrated. With the birth of the Peace Movement sexual relations outside of marriage were celebrated. Within the span of less than a generation cohabitation became commonplace. The sanctity of marriage vows were left by the side of the road or scorned altogether.

The societal perfect storm came together with the Roe v. Wade decision and  the assassination of Harvey Milk. Now the termination of the unborn was protected and the child living within the safety of the womb became a target of choice. Millions celebrated in the streets of every major city that now a pregnancy of inconvenience could be exterminated. Sexual anarchy decided that the sanctity within the womb could be nothing more than a glob of cells devoid of protection.

The push to celebrate gay rights rocketed out of the gates with the unfortunate death of Harvey Milk. As tragic as his death was the societal push behind his death was pure politics in favor of the gay rights movement. In a matter of a few years almost every major city was subject to the flaunting of gay and lesbian lovers. As with the changing of the view of marriage so it is with marriage between a man and a woman.

Sexual anarchy is taking a hammer to the foundations of marriage and sexual identity.
I will give my opinion more on this on my next posting.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Dead yet Alive

God Wants Me Dead- That statement sounds pretty extreme don't you think? It is a pretty extreme statement to make, and yet it is true. The statement finds its greatest truth and testing in the lives of His Children, Christians. So, God Wants Christians Dead. Even Jesus, yes, Jesus, wants us dead. In the gospels he gives some pretty sobering guidance for individuals who wants to be his disciples and follow him. That means me. I want to be known as a follower of Jesus Christ and a student of His.

In Luke's gospel Jesus is talking with the disciples about the crowds of people and who they thought he was. Some in the crowd thought Jesus was an Old Testament prophet, back from the dead. When Jesus asked Peter, "Who do you say that I am?" Peter quickly proclaimed, "You are the Christ of God."

Just moments after this confession Jesus made some of the hardest demands upon His followers. The demands that point to my statement, God Wants Me Dead. For, Jesus said that whoever wanted to be His disciple must deny himself daily, take up his cross and follow him. The cross leads to death. Jesus and the two criminals died on the cross. Their bodies were taken down, lifeless and limp.

Now what is the truth that Jesus wanted to help the disciples, and us, understand? It is very simple, yet it is probably the most difficult task in being a Christ Follower. God wants me dead to my own selfish nature. The apostle Paul reminds us, "I am crucified with Christ, never the less I live. Yet it is not I, but Christ who lives within me. And the life that I live, I live by the faith of the Son of God."

Each day I must be willing to put my own will aside. If I have to have things done my way. I must stop demanding my way. If I think I am always right. I need to admit that I am not right 100% of the time, no person is. When God calls on me to do some task I need to complete the job. If God has put upon a human heart some great burden than God expects it to get it done, in spite of how one might feel at any given moment.

The early Church turned the world upside down because they believed that Christ gave them life. They knew that the life of Christ must be lived out in an openly hostile world and they were willing to give their life for Christ. It was the blood of the Apostles and countless disciples that fertilized the barren heartlands and transformed them into flowering oasis's.

Sadly, today the western church is prosperous in property, programs and professionals, yet destitute in selfless living. Church's argue and split because of money, immorality, greed, gossip and at times physical attacks. The symptoms of the selfish church abound, in sharp contrast and contrary to the words of our savior.

Jesus made it very clear that the world judges the church and His followers by the way we love each other. And believe me, there are days that the only way I can love some of the people I deal with is to count myself dead.
I Must be Dead to the World and Alive Unto God

Tedd Galloway is the author of, A Mother's Heart Moved the Hand of God and Encounter at River's Edge. Both books are available through local bookstores, Amazon, and directly from the author.  His website is  At the site you can watch the trailers for both books, access the blog articles, read his bio, and find contact information.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

A Stone Hill

On a distant stone hill I can see,
The hatred of mankind hanging on a tree.
Won't you please come close to His cross,
The scene, His life, His touch, seem as dross.

I will cherish the old rugged cross,

The wood, the iron, the wine, and blood,
Attack my soul, my sight, like a flood.
I want to run away and flee,
For in His visage, it ought to be me.

I will cling to the old rugged cross,

I know, I cry, He hangs in my place,
He is clothed in naught but disgrace.
His head, O bloodied head, bowed low,
From wounds, brokenness, life does flow.

I will cherish the old rugged cross,

His eyes, gentle, loving, upon me gaze,
My heartache, tears, cause my vision to haze.
The death post, again I come near,
For my need, now I see clear.

I will cling to the old rugged cross,

My soul by my hands, do grip His feet,
Soul rejoice! For salvation so sweet.
The post, the beam, that raised Him high,
Can, will, transport all beyond the sky.

G. Benard- I will cling- I will cherish
tg cpy 4-5-2012

Friday, January 10, 2020

A Sophisticated Man

He is a sophisticated man. Every morning his mirror smiles at him. His white hair and beard are perfectly coiffed. Each hair is examined, snipped, combed, and smiled upon.

He is a sophisticated man. His library is the envy of friends. The patina on the one hundred fifty year old wood is an intoxicant to the eye. Soft light is cast by Tiffany lamps and solid brass wall sconces. His books line one wall. He looks upon them often and smiles. His smile reacts as his eyes fall upon his first editions of Hawthorne and Webster. The great works of literature speak softly to visitors that here lives a sophisticated man.

He is a sophisticated man. His leather chair is one of the finest. Hand crafted and covered in Romanza Leather, it is exquisite in every detail. The brass buttons at the top of each arm bear the marks of his fingers over long years. The trained eye can see the faint color change in the leather where his elbows have rested as he enjoyed his pipe and brandy.

He is a sophisticated man. To the left of his chair, his Gillow’s Pembroke Table is within easy reach. His pipe and pouch rest within an Ebony bowl, placed exactly at the far left end of the table, though still in reach. The decanter of Courvoisier brandy rest upon his 16th century silver server. The snifter sits next to the decanter, with her opening covered with appropriate sized linen. 

He is a sophisticated man. But, every morning his mirror is deceived. The visage of the perfectly groomed man fails to reveal his uninhabited soul. During the day he rests within the safety and luxury of the finest leather on his chair. His lips enjoy his fine brandy. The scent of expensive pipe tobacco lingers long into the night. He will soon sleep in his self quarantined cell.

He is a sophisticated man. With the warmth of his brandy still smooth on his lips he reaches into the drawer of his exquisite Pembroke table and rests his manicured fingers on the cold stainless steel barrel.

He Was a Sophisticated Man.