Monday, March 30, 2015

Second Chances: Trinity's Story

Second Chances, aka Trinity's (and our) Story

What do you always get when you go on vacation? Gifts for friends/family back home? Memento's for you to remember your trip by? Items you found that you wanted while shopping the sales in far away stores? A dog?

What? A dog?

Yep. We went on vacation and brought home a dog. A BIG dog.

We have a dear friend, Melissa Gentry, who runs a dog rescue in Mountain City, TN called Rescue DOG & End of Life Sanctuary. She had posted a pic of a Pit Bull that was in their care and my wife saw the dog's pic on Facebook just days before we left for vacation. She was determined that she was going to see that dog and bring her home.

So we enjoyed our vacation time, getting to actually spend time with our friends both at their work and at the rescue.

Finally, the day before we leave, Sheri works it out where she can come see Trinity, the Pit Bull. 6 pm that evening we arrive at the rescue, and Melissa, her mom and another worker are in the yard, and there is Trinity bouncing around on a tie-out. It was almost like watching a slow-mo movie of an overblown reunion the way the two of them locked eyes and ran to each other. A match made in heaven. Well, we took her back to our cabin, Country Cordwood Cabin in Butler TN (shameless plug for such great people) for the night before we left the next morning to come back home. She was great. She gave a lot of kisses and loved to snuggle on the couch. Slept in the bed with us and never once tried to get up until that morning when she needed to go out and potty. We brought her home and she has done great, even adjusting to yet another new house, and more new people, and 4 other dogs that were there before her.

Okay, you did something a little different on your vacation, but what does that have to do with second chances?

Let me fill you in on the backstory of Trinity, or Trin as we now call her. (my wife is not a fan of 3 syllable dog names... don't ask … dunno.) Trin had a home and a family. She had the human family, and she had her own family, with newborn pups that she was doing great at caring for. There was a 5 year old girl in the family also, and one day she approached Trin while she was nursing/caring for her pups. Natural reaction for an animal mom who is caring for their young is to protect them from any perceived threat, and so she snipped at the girl. Did not draw blood, but most likely, she did scare the girl a bit. Trin, who the vet says may be as old as 3 years, had evidently been in the family for most of her life, was suddenly taken to the vet by the father and told to “put her down.” (We do not know what happened to the pups, only that in the fathers words “They were taken care of.” I shudder to think of the meaning that phrase denotes). Seeing that the dog was clearly no threat to anyone, the vet called Melissa at the rescue and asked her if she could take the dog. She agreed and brought her to the rescue. She was tested fully and passed every test in health and obedience (in Melissa's words .. “With Flying Colors and Better Than Most Dogs”) that is given to any dog, especially breeds that are considered “dangerous breeds.” She was updated completely on her shots and kept at the rescue in a kennel until she could be adopted. That is where we came in.

Now, I want to address how this illustrates the way God's love (and hopefully all of mankind's, especially Christians!) works.

The father handled this badly in our thoughts. Yes, he most likely overreacted when Trin snipped at the girl. She was doing what is natural to any breed, to protect their puppies. What he should have done was to use this as a lesson to the 5 year old as to how to handle any animal that she may encounter who has children in her care. But he didn't. Suddenly Trin found herself being punished for something that she didn't see as being wrong with a sentence of Death. There she was, one moment enjoying a life of ease, and the next, ostracized from everything and everyone that she was familiar with. And now she was sent to die at the hands of someone she didn't know.

Have you ever done this to someone? Have you ever overreacted in the moment, causing them to be ostracized from you and possibly family and friends over something that they didn't see as wrong, and you misconstrued in the wrong way? I have unfortunately been a victim of this very thing. But more on that in another blog, another time. And I suspect a lot of people who are reading this right now have had to suffer this very same act by someone close to them. It is devastating to all involved eventually.

But I also want to know if you've ever been given a second chance by someone else who saw you for what you are, and loved you anyway. The bible is full of such acts of love, in both the Old and the New Testament.

God's love is shown especially to Abraham, the man considered to be “Father” to the nation of Israel. Both he and his wife Sarah wanted a child. But in their 80's, time was running out and Abraham had lost hope and faith in God to deliver. So he slept with a handmaiden and wound up with a child. Now, God could have said, “You know what, you just couldn't wait until my plan unfolded and you had a son, you had to go and do it yourself. So, you're stuck with that. Forget about you and Sara getting a son by me. You're done, you'll have to deal with what you got.” Nope, he didn't do that. In the end, Sara had a son named Issac. You can read more about this starting in Genesis chapter 17.

God also allows Jonah (you can read his story in the book of the bible by the same name, or read my version of the story here), a second chance when he refuses to go to Nineveh to preach the gospel. Jonah is swallowed by a large fish (a whale maybe?), and eventually coughed back up and winds up on dry land. He goes to Nineveh, and many people are saved, and his life is spared.

In John Chapter 8 we read a story of a woman who is caught in bed with another man and dragged into the streets to be stoned by a crowd of people. The religious leaders of the day asked Jesus what should be done and in the end, the woman's life is spared because of what Jesus tells her and the angry mob at the scene. (You have to read this one! Don't have a bible, Google it, there are many sites where you can read the bible for free.)

These are just a few of the situations in the bible that come to mind as I write this where people received 2nd chances and their lives were even made better by it.

God also gives us second chances. You see, Adam and Eve really screwed things up when they decided to listen to Satan, who appeared as a serpent to them in the Garden of Eden. Because of their actions, man was condemned to death for his sins for the rest of all generations. For those who didn't believe in God and would not follow His words, their fate would be eternity in Hell. And who could blame Him. God had given Adam and Eve everything that they could possibly need and want in one place, with no work needed on their part, and all he asked was just don't mess with this one tree. Simple. Yet they chose not to listen to God and they ate the forbidden fruit anyway.

Yet, God chose to give us a second chance at living a life for Him, first when he made a way to use sacrifices in the Old Testament, and then in the New Testament when He sent his Son named Jesus to live on this earth, die on a cross for our sins, and then rise again to one day come back and take us all to Heaven. He didn't have to do it. He could have said, “Oh well, you had your chance, you ticked me off, now deal with it. I hope you die and rot in Hell” Nope, instead He watched his Son die a HORRENDOUS death for no reason that was justified, just so that we could have a chance at life with Him one day.

Now if that isn't a Second Chance, I don't know what is. And He still gives us second chances today. It is called “forgiveness” which is offered any time that we ask such for our sins, no matter how great or small we perceived them to be.

Trinity received that second chance when she was taken to the rescue instead of being euthanized at the veterinarian's office. That vet saw something in her that was worth saving, something that was worth giving her a second chance, and now she is enjoying that life with us for the rest of her days.

Now for the part that is hard for anyone. Who have you “sentenced to death” in your life previously? A friend, a coworker, a relative, a fellow Christian or church member (those two are not always the same!).

I was once given that sentence of death, then spared and I'm currently working on being restored to my original place again. Are you someone who is currently awaiting for your sentence to be carried out, or has it already been? Did you know that God will give you another chance, no matter what the world sees and says about you? I believe that this process is already happening now as I write this, and my restoration will be complete soon. I pray that yours will be too. Just get right with God, ask Him to restore you and believe that He will. I don't speak “Dog-ese”, but I'm sure that Trin asked for that very same thing also, and she received it. Did it affect her mentally and emotionally? I have no doubt. Our experiences leave scars that we all have to carry around. Some are obvious, some are hidden.

But our God is a loving God who sees all of you, your good, your bad, your scars, your wounds, and He loves you anyway. I'll close with a verse that most of you all know, but it still bares repeating, especially in times like these.

John 3:16 NIV  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

And just know to all who read this, I love you too.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

For The Love of God ....


How many of us have used that statement when we were exasperated with someone? I have used it in times where I had used all my patience and it would only be the love of God that I didn't take them and whoop their butts.
I remember singing a song when I was a young child in church: “Jesus loves me, this I know. For the bible tells me so.” I can't think of many people today who haven't heard John 3:16 (NIV). “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” Verse 17 (NIV) continues to dig even deeper into why Jesus came to this earth: “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

As Easter approaches Christians will be thinking about the cross and what it means to us when we consider the importance of Jesus dying on a cross, hung like a guilty man between two thieves. In churches we've been taught that Jesus died for our sins, rose again on the 3rd day, and he will come back for us one day, when God the Father gives the signal. 

Have you ever wondered this? “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son...” But didn't Jesus rise again after 3 days and return to his Father after spending the next 40 with his followers on earth? Sounds more like he loaned him out for a while and then got him back 33 years later. What is the big deal about that? Life on earth didn't really change for those living then, and it sure isn't getting any better for our generations now that inhabit the earth. Where is the love? Where is the gift?

Let me tackle that last question first. The gift is that once and for all a sacrifice was given. After Adam and Eve really messed things up and were kicked out of the Garden of Eden, God required that a sacrifice should be made to him, and that requirement of the Jews continued even through the time that Jesus walked the earth. As a matter of a fact, the first sacrifice that we read about in Genesis started the proof that man could not even get something as simple as this right. Genesis 4: 1-15 tells the story of how something that wasn't so difficult destroyed lives. There were times when people in the bible were obedient to God, such as Abraham and his son Isaac. A human sacrifice was required, yet in the end, a ram was exchanged and given to sacrifice. There are other incidences of sacrifice that stand out, but we will move on and cover this subject another time.

As mentioned earlier, Jesus was finally sent down as a final sacrifice for man's sins. Things had grown so chaotic that there was simply no way man could atone for his sins with the blood of an animal, or anything else for that matter. But for many people, it is still hard to grasp. Why did someone who supposedly lived a perfect life while on this earth die in such a cruel manner? I don't understand how God was able to complete it, but somehow he placed every sin that would occur from that day forward, including every one that we hadn't done yet as we weren't born, and all those who are still yet to be born this day on his son Jesus. Jesus said that through these events, we would no longer have to make a sacrifice for our sins. The game had changed now. We just had to go to God in prayer and ask forgiveness. A lot easier for many to do and a lot less animals to be slaughtered.

“Okay, I am with you so far,” you say, but you still don't get how this proves any of God's love for us. Here is where I want to get to the meat of this subject. (pardon the pun) For many the thought of the Trinity is hard to understand. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The word trinity means that they are connected, in ways that we can't understand, but they are. I talked about in a much earlier blog how we are something like a trinity ourselves. There is us, our body, our spirit. There is the parent part of us, and there is the child portion of us. You have a spirit, you are someone's son/daughter, and for most of us, you are someone's father or mother. Yet you are still in one piece as you walk this earth. God still has 3 pieces to him, but like us, he has the spirit, the son portion, and the father portion. Stay with me here, I'm still working on the back-story to get to the point I want to make.

For all of you parents out there, think on this. When a child is hurting, doesn't it make you hurt inside also? Whether someone physically or emotionally hurt them, or they fell while doing something, or their carelessness led to an injury, you still feel a pain inside when you see them experiencing a pain. And for the child it was quite a pain for them too, especially if the hurt could have been avoided.

And for you adults, how about that time you tried to help someone and instead they used your actions against you? You tried to do good, and somehow they turned it to bad? Or when you are constantly doing something for someone who you want to like/love you, yet they never acknowledge you or what you've done, not even taking the time to say thank you.
That sucks, doesn't it. You want to cry, you're all bottled up inside because you don't want them to know that they've hurt you. Yet the hurt is still there. Painful and almost crippling emotionally in everything that happens between you and this person, though chances are, you still strive to somehow receive that recognition that you desire.

Now imagine if someone you love so dearly is hurt by everyone that you know. Although they did no wrong, somehow the whole world has turned their back on them and you're watching and listening as they cry out to you, knowing that through this there will be a growth and a learning experience for all those involved. Now imagine that multiplied by quadrillion billions of trillions. Now you have a small piece of what God had to have felt. 

The disciples had run and tucked their tails, with even Peter, who was the one who swore that he loved Jesus the most, denying that he was a disciple of Jesus for 3 times before the next morning. Jesus was abandoned. Very few stuck by Jesus and accepted without denying who he was. His mother was one of the few, which isn't surprising to me. Watch any show or news broadcast. Who is the one person that they are interviewing who says that their son/daughter was a good person and would never hurt anyone? It's their mother. That's just the way they are. Fiercely loyal, loving, and most of all forgiving.

So God is sitting in Heaven, knowing all of this was going to play out, and having to watch it actually happen to his kid. Yet he couldn't do anything about it or the whole plan would be ruined, and Jesus would have been crucified for nothing. Me, I would have been so P.O.'d that I would have destroyed the world right then and there, so there would be no more worries about anyone else needing to sacrifice anything. You can mess with me all you want, and plenty of people have. But DO NOT TOUCH MY FAMILY OR I WILL WIPE YOU OFF THE FACE OF THIS EARTH! Okay, I had my rant.
But God isn't like that. 

There have been plenty of people in my life who have went out of their way to hurt me for many reasons. Recently I have dealt with the pain that 2 certain people caused me that was destroying me and leaving a dark cloud over my life and my spirit. I am done with them, now they have to deal with God on it. It can never drag me down again. And I have vowed to never deal with them again, thus opening the door again to that kind of pain.
God isn't like that though. Could you blame him if he said, “Okay you little turds, I took care of your biggest problem and in return, all I ask is that you come to me for forgiveness. That way when you die, you can have a clear conscience.” Who could blame him? Not me! Lord knows I do not deserve even that much from him.

But get this. Not only does he send his Son to die on the cross, but God is going to do something else one day. He is going to send him back. What??????? Mankind killed him off the first time he was here! Is God stupid? You know we'll do it again. Mankind always repeats his mistakes!
And the answer is ….. (drum roll) …... NOPE, he isn't stupid. This time we won't get the chance as humans to make that choice again. Those of us who have called on the name of Jesus, asked forgiveness of our sins, confessed with our mouths that he is the Son of God who was crucified and rose again for our sins will be given the final reward for those actions. Whether you are alive or already dead, Jesus is going to cause us all to rise in the air and return with him to Heaven. All of those who have refused to accept Jesus, who would still crucify him if given the chance again will perish in one of the worst possible times in history. Horrible atrocities will happen across all of the earth, culminating with everyone that was left when the rapture (as it is called) happened and spent a part or all of the remaining years on earth through the tribulation to be called to stand before God and then cast into a lake of fire that will never quit burning, relief from the fire will never be given, and their stupidity for not accepting Jesus when they had a chance will cost them dearly.

But the Christians will get to live in Heaven forever, worshiping God and living in a city that, though it is described in the bible with fairly good detail, is still unfathomable to most. And it is this detail that shows me that God truly does love me.

I was once a sinner, a screw-up, someone who was hated by many, loved by few, and who had spiraled to a point where no one wanted anything to do with me. But God still loved me, knew I would need him, and went through everything that I have described above.
Here is the proof that he loves me: God will send his Son back for me! Even though, because of me and all the others who have or will ever roam this earth, he had to watch his Son suffer humiliation and pain that we can only begin to try to understand the depth of. Yes, when I wouldn't go back with my human flesh and mind and want to have anything to do with those that have hurt me greatly, God is willing to do that and then live with me forever. That just blows my mind! Now that is LOVE! No other term could possibly describe it. L-O-V-E. LOVE. Wowser. When I was singing that song as a child, I never really understood what I was saying. It was just a cute song that made me feel good. Now I want to sing it lovingly to everyone, and as a tribute to God for all that he has done.

My question now is … Would you? Could you? Have you ever loved someone that much? Better yet, do you think that it is possible that someone could love you that much? Maybe you are someone who has lived your life so unappreciative of anything that was ever done for you. You probably even told yourself that no one has ever done anything for you, therefore you can try to justify not having to do anything for anyone else. Well, I just shot that out of the water. Before you were born, before you could have done or not done anything for anyone, someone did something for you. BECAUSE HE LOVED YOU. Isn't that why as parents we do things for our kids? Isn't that why you keep trying to gain the favor of someone, no matter if they never acknowledge your actions? We were made by God, and we are taken care of in the end by God. It doesn't matter what our actions are our entire life, the person who created us is the person who deals with us at the end of our life. God never leaves, nor forsakes you. He was there in the beginning, he is there in the end. All it will cost you to enjoy what great things God wants for you to have is to simply ask for forgiveness, acknowledge what he has already done for you, and live your life in a way that will be pleasing to God so that he will continue to want to give you many blessings on this earth and beyond.
Is it really that difficult to acknowledge the only True Love that you will ever know? Earthly “true love” will be fallible, as we are all sinners and screw-ups, but Gods love will always be true.

So it is time for you to ask yourself, “For the love of God …... what are you going to do about it?”

Monday, March 9, 2015

Oooh, would you listen now if God Could Talk

I have always loved Classic Rock and many of the artists that were popular in the 70's. You have heard me mention it before, but one of my favorites was Meatloaf. Meatloaf, you say? Wasn't he that guy that made the albums named Bat Out of Hell, I, II, and III?


Before I truly turned my life over to God, that is how I lived, like a bat out of hell. Now I guess it more closely resembles a crazed Goonie out of Heaven.

Anyway, on what appears to be his last and final album, there is a song titled, "If God Could Talk" in which he asks his lover if God could talk, what would God suggest, and what road would they take.
The last line of the song slows down tremendously as he sings it:
"Oooh, would you listen now if God could talk?"

I can't help but wonder if there are a lot of people in the world who wonder if God can talk. To many it would sound strange to consider it as they see God as this "thing" up "there" somewhere in the Universe. It is a presence that has no way of communicating with us, just a way to dangle things before our eyes that we may or may not ever get to experience. 

One problem that I find here in the "bible belt" is that the older generation takes it for granted that most everyone has attended church for a period of time and they are familiar with God and how He works. Sadly, especially in these days, fewer and fewer people attend church and those who do attend get a VERY watered down version of God, usually just the "Happy God" version. Pastors never preach about Hell and the consequences of not accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior. It's more like: Just believe in Christ and your life will change. Things will go smoother, you'll be blessed financially (especially is you keep sending your $$$ into the pockets of these TV shysters), your health will be great (don't forget to buy those prayer cloths to keep you well), and you'll never have a worry again.

I hope if you are reading this that you haven't bought into the Happy God Religion. It certainly isn't Christianity. Far from it. You Will have troubles, You Will have financial hardships, You Will experience sickness and death in your family. The difference is with Jesus Christ and God, His and our Heavenly Father, you will have a sense of peace and courage to face those trials. And in the end, when you look at how your life plays out each day, you will realize that this is the true Happy experience.

Another problem most people have trouble with is believing that what is in the bible applies to them, and could very well happen in their lives. In the book of the bible called Hebrews, Paul writes:
"God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.…"  Hebrews 1:1-2 NIV

In Genesis, we see where God is talking to Adam and Eve in their walks through the Garden. He was as much a presence that could be seen and heard as you would be if you were standing beside me today. Did you know that "God spoke" occurs 9 times in the Old Testament and 3 times in the New Testament.Now, I'm no scientist, but it seems to me that the only way we could know that "God spoke" was if someone heard it.

Sin changed a lot of things that I would have loved to experience, one of them being able to meet face to face with God when we wanted to, especially after a hard day.

God now uses Jesus Christ, His Son, to speak to us through what is called "The Holy Spirit". No, you won't experience a ghost hovering in mid-air most likely in front of you, telling you what you need to hear. What you will experience is what some people call "their conscience". It is a little voice inside that is not "audible" as most people would use the word, but nevertheless, it is that nagging feeling, those words that keep popping up in your head for no reason, that urge to do or not to do something that is before you. That is the Holy Spirit talking to you. Problem for mankind is that we refuse to listen. I WANT IT MY WAY! AND I WILL BLAST THROUGH ANYONE WHO TRIES TO STOP ME! Well, all I can say is "Good Luck With That."

Think about it for a minute. We read instruction manuals written supposedly by someone who has done a certain task and knows how to complete it successfully. We read biographies of successful people to learn how to be more successful in our lives. We search the internet for information about something from someone who is credited as an that field.

So you have someone who has been around since before the Earth was formed, who can guide you in what you need to be successful and to survive this crazy life, and yet most people refuse to listen. What the ???? It seems pretty stupid to me. You would rather listen to some guy with maybe 20 or 30 years experience at the most instead of someone with 1000's of years of experience? Really? I mean Really? (to quote that annoying guy on the arby's commercials).

Quit wasting your money to make someone else rich (why do you think he/she is so successful, it isn't because of their great knowledge all the time, it's because you keep sending them your money!) and start listening to The One Who Never Charges A Dime! 

No, I have never "heard" a voice from Heaven, yet I have been given many words of instruction from God. Take this blog for example. God gives me the wisdom to write this. I have no degree in journalism and I'm not some big lecturer in some vast circuit. Yet, the words flow from me, whether it is on a page, in a blog, or in a sermon given somewhere in front of an audience. Pay attention the next time you see me preach. I have an outline, but I do not stand there and read from a script. I study the material that I want to preach on, and then I stand up before you and bring the word that God wants to tell you. Many times I have it all planned as to how I'm going to present it, then God gives me the words otherwise and by the time I'm done, I'm hoping it was recorded because even I can't remember what all He flowed through my mind and to my lips.

So in closing I'm going to ask you again ... "Oooh, would you listen now if God Could Talk?" And now that you know that God Can Talk, will you pay closer attention to what He says? And will you take the words that God has given you, and act upon them accordingly?

Only you can answer for yourself.

In Christ,

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Voice

~(music) This Is The Voice (cue more music)~~~~~~~~

My wife and I love a show on tv called "The Voice" that is broadcast on NBC networks. In case you've never seen it, it has 4 famous singers who are looking to coach unknown singers to stardom and hopefully to win the competition each season. All four "coaches" are in high backed chairs with their backs turned to the stage. One at a time, singers come out on the stage and give a 90 second performance. At any time during the performance the coach can hit a button in front of them and make their chair turn around towards the stage. This gives the singer an opportunity to pick a coach for the season (if there is more than one) or if only one, they will be automatically assigned to them. Unfortunately, some of the singers do not get a coach to turn around until they have completed their song, in which case all four coaches are turned around to the stage and they have a chance to give feedback to help the singer with their skills.

Growing up in the 60's and 70's, I loved what has come to be called "Classic Rock". Janis Joplin was one of my favorites, as something about her gravelly voice called out to me. This season there is another singer that has that kind of voice and a power house style of performance that I think will carry her far in the competition. Sarah Potenza is her name. Her wardrobe seems to try to mimic the styles of that era, and if many people judged her by looks, (at least by the way the current pop singers appear), she would not be very popular. But "The Voice" gives people a chance to initially prove themselves by their voice alone. As it progresses in the season, they will have to be able to show that they can perform for the audience as well.

Now, let's look at God and see if there is any comparison.
The Stage: Heaven
The Singer: God
The Song: Life
The Judges: Me and You

We start out in life facing away from the stage. We are born into sin and we have no connection with heaven. There is no "permalink" as the web likes to call connections made. We are looking out into the audience, many times gauging their reactions and motions as we go about listening to The Song. Just as I have seen the judges during the show be influenced by crowd reactions to the singer, we also are influenced by what goes on with the people who surround us.

Many times we want to be a part of the crowd, and we never really listen to what is happening on The Stage. We do this in life. We're too busy with everything going on around us to really listen to The Voice that is singing in our ear. Even at church we simply choose not to listen to the pastor and instead dwell on the things that we didn't get done this past week that we now have to add to our busy schedule. Or we are there simply for appearances and we have no sincere desire to make an actual attempt to be a part of The Voice.

Something in what they are singing, or the way that they are singing, just doesn't interest us. It may not be our style. In church, they may only sing one type of music, maybe just hymns, or praise & worship music, or maybe you don't like the instrumentation or speed of the music. Too fast, too slow, too guitary (hmmmm wonder if that is even a word. but you know what I mean). And yes, just because you go to church doesn't make you a Christian. (aw snap, that is a wake up call for many).

So we go through the performance with no contract, no guarantee and no commitment to be a part of what is happening on stage. WHY?

If these 4 coaches on this show never hit their button to turn around, nothing would ever get accomplished. But it wouldn't mean that they are not great singers and performers themselves. Each artist sells millions of albums, their names are a household name and millions of people flock to their concerts every year to watch and hear them perform. So, if they never turn around, it could never mean that they are not singers themselves. It just means that they didn't want to be a part of something else that may be bigger than themselves.

There are 2 ways to view this in our world.

(1)   You have people who simply refuse to be a part of what is happening on the stage behind them. They recognize the voice that they hear as telling them something that may or may not interest them a little bit, but not enough to be fully committed. These are the people who surround you that you call "good-hearted." A lot of times they don't attend church, you've never heard them give a witness about anything that God has done in their lives. Chances are they are not saved and have not given their life to Christ. It doesn't make them a bad person. Just like the coaches that never turn around for a singer are not bad singers themselves. These people who remain facing the audience just simply choose to not completely commit to someone else, in this case Jesus Christ. That connection is never made and there will be a price to pay for it. Just like the show where the coach can't win with that artist is they don't at least turn around and offer their commitment, these people will never have a chance to live with God in Heaven for the rest of eternity.

(2)   There are those who listen to the voice behind them and like what they hear and want to be a part of it. When a coach turns his/her chair on the show, they are offering their commitment to be a part of the singers life and hopefully make a better performer out of them. When we in life turn our chairs and accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are offering ourselves to God to make our world a better place. Some do this for "fire insurance" (see a much earlier blog about this) so that they escape Hell, but they never really put their all into the mission. Some fully give themselves to help God further His mission, including becoming ministers, missionaries, or workers in a church and serving in capacities where needed. Just as a coach will reap more out of the effort that they put into an artist, we also reap more from what we truly give of ourselves to God.
Revelation 4:10-11  New International Version (NIV)
10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:
11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God,
    to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
    and by your will they were created
    and have their being.”

We will receive these crowns based on what we have done in Jesus' name, not ours. (more on that in a later blog I'm sure.)

So to wrap this up, I'm asking you, what Voice are you listening to? Each person has heard "the voice". Some turn their chairs, excited to be a part of something great, and others remain facing "the audience" or in life's case, the world and always keeping their back towards God.

Just as in the show when the coaches do not turn their chairs and the song ends, they have no way of going back and changing their mind to be a part of it. I've seen it happen many times where they try to hit the button after they are facing the stage, but it is all for naught. In life we too have a chance to listen to "the voice" and turn our chairs. Once the music and the singing stops, that choice will be over. We will only have the judgement and an eternity in Hell. You cannot get a "redo" and a chance to hit the button.

Revelation 20: 14-15
14   Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.
15   And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
So  your choice today is: Do I turn my chair while God is still singing, or do I remain facing away from Him which will condemn me to an eternity where I can never be a part of Him?

Please, turn your chair.

Here We Go Again

Okay, 2 years have gone by since I posted regularly to this blog. To those of you who were faithful readers, I apologize for my absence. My family and I have been going through difficulties but now that everything is behind us, it is time to pick up and move on.
I have missed writing. I love public speaking and the opportunity to talk to people, but there is comfort to be found while sitting at my keyboard typing and expressing my thoughts.
I have had many thoughts that I have pondered, so there will once again be an abundance that I will put on this blog.
To any new readers that may be just finding this blog, go back to the early posts and read them to get a feel for where I come from and what has brought me to this point.
For all of my regular readers,
Hang on!
With Love in Christ,