Category Archives: Christianity

Dream. Pray. Live.

dream pray live

Don’t give up on dreaming. Don’t give up on praying. Don’t give up on living.

For when you have done any of those three, your life has become a mechanical nothingness.

Original image: Beautiful Pictures on Google Circles. I don’t own the rights to this picture, and I’m not making any money with it.

Just drop your work and play soccer

photo (7)I had things to do, but my oldest son suggested we play soccer. He’s almost 17, almost off to college where I won’t be seeing him.

When we were missionaries in Guatemala, I was almost always too busy to spend much time with him. The tyranny of the urgent destroys what’s truly important.

Sons and daughters need dad more than money. God wants me to win my family to Christ before winning others. If I am so busy winning others to Christ, if I am something of an absentee father, I will have failed in my mission in life.

So I closed my laptop and changed for a quick-moving game of futsal. In soccer there are piano players — those who have delicate touch and quickness — and piano movers — hulking player who bust through defenses. Rob’s both.

The teams are always my younger son and I against Rob. Even though we are two against one, Rob always wins.

Then a friend, Lisa, came along. Since we were losing, she came on our team. Still Rob was winning. But we kept fighting. My recent trips to the gym have helped me develop more leg muscles and I can keep up with Rob’s starts and stops, his spins, the jukes. Just stay goalside and block the shot. Don’t try to take the ball from him.

Hosea and I are playing better than usual. We are actually passing and combining nicely with Lisa. Oddly, we conjure some decent finishing. It is tied 8-8. It is growing dark.

Finally, another quick one-two pass and the ball slides through the chair legs (our goal). We are winning 9-8.

“It’s too dark to keep playing, Rob,” I say. “Let’s get dinner.”

Ha! This is how I win! I call the game off right when we are in the rare moment of being up one point! I take a shower and get ready for Spanish service. I am exuberant. I can’t remember the last time Hosea and I beat Rob.

Sons need a dad. Drop your work.

Keep praying

Just because you don't see anything happening, doesn't mean nothing is happening.

Just because you don’t see anything happening doesn’t mean nothing is happening.

Jesus described the Spirit like a wind, which, in his day, no one knew where it came from or where it was going. So too, we can never know the answers to prayer that are occurring in ways we never imagined, in places we never imagined, to people we never imagined.

If we just keep praying.

Original picture: Beautiful Pictures on Google Circles.

The best and the worst

Beautiful Pictures on G+The best and the worst can be found in the people of God. When Christians love, there is nothing better. When they reflect Christ’s love poorly, it hurts badly.

If you are a Christian, this is my appeal for you to love. If you are not a Christian and you have been hurt by one, this is my appeal to you to forgive us and to keep trying to find love from Christians.

Original image from Beautiful Pictures on Google Circles.

Pregnant from rape, Jennifer decides to have the baby

should I abort?

She was accosted in January 2014 while staying at a small hotel in a college town. There on business, Jennifer never realized she was being followed until she turned around to close the door to her hotel room.

“It was so snowy and windy that I wouldn’t have heard his footsteps even if he had been stomping,” writes Jennifer Christie in a first-person account of her ordeal in Lifesite News. “It happened so fast. I got the door open, turned around to close it, and he was there – a huge man.”

Her first reaction was confusion. She never had time to process the danger and feel fear. The monster punched her in the face. Apparently he dragged her into her room and raped her. Mercifully, she doesn’t remember that part.

Later she was found in the stairwell. “I don’t know why I was there – maybe I was trying to go for help,” she notes.

In the post-rape treatment, she tested negative for HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphillis, herpes and other STDs. But they didn’t check for pregnancy.

A month later she was scheduled to work on a cruise ship. Two days into the trip she came down with dysentery. After antibiotics did nothing to cure it, she checked in at the local hospital while docked at Cartagena, Colombia. An ultrasound revealed she was expecting a baby.

Back on the ship, doctors and health care workers tried to reassure her. It would be easy enough to fix and resume her normal life, they said – if she aborted her baby.

“I spent the next week listening to a team of very well-meaning doctors and nurses console me with how “easy” it would be to “take care of it” — to kill the child.”

But Jennifer is a Christian who holds a firm conviction that the baby forming in her womb is a human life. One doctor in particular, though well-meaning, was “more vehement” than the others in pushing abortion, she recalls. Read the rest of the article.

The loco church

flying chanclasThey’re not aiming for American Idol, a recording contract or a nationwide tour. They call themselves the Flying Chanclas (flipflops in Spanish), and their ambitions are much larger. They have their sights set on souls.

Yesterday, the Flying Chanclas from the Pacoima Potter’s House Church and a smattering of other Christians “invaded” Santa Maria, CA, a small town not far off the coast, to pass out flyers and do a concert in the evening to get people saved. I brought my drama group.

In an age where droves are crowding churches so big they’re called “mega,” others prefer — myself included — decidedly small churches where you can do more than sit and watch professionals deliver Emmy quality ministry. You can get involved with your own rickety performance. You can DO something more than just applaud others. I’m part of a group of churches called Christian Fellowship Ministries.

While all the hype is about the mega ministry, many Christians get their kicks by carrying out the Great Commission quietly, anonymously, one soul at a time. (After all, Jesus’ chosen successors weren’t the masses; they were individuals.)

You may not see this in mainstream news outlets, but the local loco church (as in, we are loco for Jesus) is thriving. If you were with Jesus 2000 years ago, would you want to partake of the multiplied loaves and fishes or serve them?

But as for the Flying Chanclas, you’ll have to ask Pastor Matt Sinkhorn of the Potter’s House in Sylmar, Services are held at Hubert Humphrey Park at 12560 Filmore St. in Pacoima 91331 on Sunday at 10:30 a.m.

There are also Bible studies at the pastor’s house Sunday night 6:30 and Wednesday night 7:30 at 12107 El Dorado Ave. #11 Sylmar CA 91342

You only live twice

you only live twice

Make this life count for eternity.

Photo: Pinterest. I don’t own rights to it, and I’m not making any money on it.

And is there no God?

girlWell I guess some of us evolved. That’s how we behave pursuing instinctual, animalistic desires with no restraint.

I realize that many personify animals to believe they think like humans, but I don’t think they are capable of admiring beauty, of feeling such deep love, of identifying nobility.

When I look at this picture, a rush of admiration floods my heart: the innocence, the poetic grace, the delight of children playing. Animals are not capable of this because God created man different — with an intellectual and emotional level far superior to animals, levels that make no sense coming out of biological evolution, the crass survival of the fittest that we see in dangerous nature.

But, you become what you believe.

Picture source: The original comes from pinterest. I’m not making any money on it. I don’t own rights to it.

The thrill of defeat

Lighthouse Church School My middle school soccer team got spanked 0-7 yesterday. It was so incredibly satisfying.

Why? Because forming soccer players disciples of Christ makes my heart hum. Because challenges make you grow. Because you have to lose in order to learn how to win.

The Lighthouse Church School players hemorrhaged goals because they were out of position over and over again. With a gaggle of beginners, with little guys, what else can you expect? I told them where to be and what to do, but did they get it?

They got it yesterday — by losing.

So now, we are expecting better results.

Hopefully more kids will be “in the zone” too. Some of the kids appeared to spend parts of the game thinking about the snack at the end. Other kids looked like roots were growing out of the soles of their feet and into the ground. They were stationary.

And if we can find at least one player who can handle our goal kicks (and not pass it directly to the opponents at 15 yards from goal), that would be most helpful.

As for the Brentwood School’s B team, they positioned themselves well enough and passed the ball proficiently. Thankfully, the “B” team’s finishing was “B” in quality. Otherwise the score might have been 14-0.

I love it.

God will never leaf you alone

God will never leave youA lot of people wish to kick God out of their lives (by denying His existence, for example). But such is the love of God for you that He will never stop pursuing you.

People who blame God and march off in the opposite direction, often wind up in His embrace.

Keep praying for the “rebel” whom Jesus loves.

You’ll never be abandoned by God.  If you doubt that anyone cares about you, God is waiting by you for you to cry out to Him. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age  — Matt. 28:20 NIV.

If you’re running from God, you can never get away from Him. If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there — Psalm 139:8 NIV.

Don’t give up on yourself

God never gives up onIf God has ever intersected with your life in the remotest way, He will never give up on you. So don’t give up on yourself.

His mercy is ever-lasting. Be confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus — Phil. 1:6 NIV (syntax modified).

Picture credit: shannon van valin morgan on pinterest. I don’t own the rights to the original, and I’m not making any money on it.

Think on the positive

think positiveThe world and worries will drag you down. Make a concerted effort to focus on anything positive, no matter how small. A spark of light shines brightly if all is darkness. Thinking positive is also a part of faith.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. – Phil. 4:8

Photo: From Pinterest. I don’t own the rights to the original, and I’m not making any money on it.

God’s thoughts about you are always only good

God thoughtsBanish from your mind the frowning severe face of God that you imagine is angry at your for your sin. His anger was already spent on Jesus, who took your punishment. So He is happy with you and thinks good about you.

You have multiplied, O LORD my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you. — Psm 40:5 ESV.

Tinkering is like prayer

stealth fighterWhen he was kid, my dad turned on his model airplane engine in the garage to let it run a while and unwittingly splattered oil all over the walls. His dad, my grandfather, bawled him out.

The maiden flight was a failure. My dad was discouraged but kept tinkering. Eventually, he graduated from Berkeley and worked at Lockheed’s super secret skunkworks in Rye Canyon. He worked on the now-outmoded stealth fighter, which crashed in test flight and very nearly killed the pilot.

Eventually, the engineers got it right, and the strike plane was used against Iraq, its radar-evading technology confounded enemies. Tinkering won the day.

Tinkering reminds me of prayer, which people view as a waste of time. True, we Americans are very busy. But time spent with God is never wasted.

Prayer is like research and development, cutting edge change, because you are consulting the all powerful God.

An Egyptian who converted to Christ is persecuted

BishoyAn Egyptian Muslim who converted to Christianity in 1998 after he found God’s love began a hunger strike in prison this week to protest his mistreatment, persecution, and “illegal” sentence, his lawyer said.

Bishoy Armia Boulos, 32, is the first Egyptian to legally attempt to change his religious identity from Muslim to Christian on his official ID, which rankled the 90 % Muslim population.

In 2007, when he filed the lawsuit to change his religion, he said he wanted to raise his children as Christians, which is illegal if the father is registered as a Muslim. He was the first Muslim in Egypt to file such a suit, and it sparked a national uproar that caused his lawyer to stop representing him. Bishoy changed his name from Mohammad Hagazy after his conversion to Christ.

In January 2008, a Muslim judge denied his petition.

Hardline clerics called for his execution, and he received death threats by telephone, prompting Bishoy to go into hiding for months. His apartment was burned.

But as the years wore on, Bishoy grew in courage and he itched to bring change to his nation. He approached a Coptic Christian television station news producer and offered to work as a journalist, but the station turned him down.

After hardline Muslim President Mohamed Morsi was ousted in July 2013, Bishoy began documenting abuses against Christians – a practice that led to his arrest in December of that year.

Bishoy’s own father condemned him for his conversion in 2008. “I am going to try to talk to my son and convince him to return to Islam” he was quoted in an Egyptian newspaper. “If he refuses, I am going to kill him with my own hands.”

In response, Bishoy issued the statement: “I would like to send a message to my dad. I saw what you said in the newspapers. You say you want to kill me; to shed my blood in public. But I love you so much because you are my dad and because Jesus taught me to love. I accepted Jesus Christ willingly and nobody forced me. I forgive you. No matter what decision you make. No matter what you do. To my dad and mom, I say Jesus Christ died to save me.” Read the rest of the story.

Pawn of fate?

pawn of fateNo matter how much Oedipus and his parents try to foil the oracle, what Apollos has determined for him cannot be avoided: he is destined to kill his father and marry his mother. And then for such a heinous crime, he is to be punished, as determined by the “gods” — even though he is an unwilling victim of gods’ predetermined will.

By contrast, the Christian God grants ample room for human decision. You can realize a great destiny of blessing, happiness and even ministry if you decide to serve God. If you choose fleshliness over and over, however, you will lose blessings of God in your life both now and in the afterlife.

There are no pawns of fate in Christianity but each man falls prey of his own bad decisions.

If you pray, you change the future.

Art from Zach Smithson on Deviant Art. I don’t own the rights to this picture, and I’m not making any money on it.

Jesus brightens families

The photo before I worked on it.

The photo before I worked on it.

Ok, so I’m just a beginner with photoshop. I guess I’m having fun. Maybe I can get a job at Target. They don’t seem to have very good photoshoppers.

fam2014revisded

I tried to lighten our faces.

Jesus does the best job of bringing light to our families.

Ex-Pacoima tagger turned his life around with Jesus

Junior Cervantes in Guatemala

Junior Cervantes preaching the gospel in Guatemala recently.

Born into a family beset by drugs and gangs in Pacoima, California, his future prospects seemed dim. Junior Cervantes displayed athletic promise on the soccer field, but depression dragged him down. His uncles were shot in front of the house. There were family arrests, fighting, and chaos.

Junior decided to run away from home and drop out of his beloved soccer. He opted for hanging out with friends, robbing houses, smoking marijuana and tagging.

“I was a stealer. I was a liar. I was angry. I was depressed. I was lonely. I was an outcast,” Junior recalls.

His uncle, Edgar Cervantes, kept insisting that Junior move in with him in Santa Monica – about 25 miles away — and straighten up his life. In and out of jail for most of his life, Edgar had two “strikes” under California penal law and was scared of getting the third, so he turned to Jesus to clean up his life. He worked a restaurant job in Santa Monica and preached on the Third Street Promenade every week.

It was through Edgar’s influence that Junior prayed to receive Christ as his Lord and Savior. But because of Junior’s background and some of the influences swirling around him, he faced a rocky road to maturity in Christ. Read the rest of the story.

If you’re facing criticism

facing criticismdon’t despair. You’re probably doing something right.

Consider Joseph. For having a call of God on his life, he was reviled by his brothers and rebuked by his parents. Eventually the brothers sold him into slavery, after very nearly killing him.

And in the end, God raised up Joseph to great leadership in Egypt. He was the catalyst for enlarging Israel in the incubator of Egypt. He was the man for the plan, but the plan was unrecognizably from God. How did Joseph not spiral in depression from such rejection from his loved ones?

The importance of WE

the importance of weYou can’t just wall humans out of your life. It is unhealthy. It should amaze you what love and acceptance to bring to your heart. It will bless your mental and even physical health.

Finishing strong

In the video above, my son makes the tying goal in the last minutes of the game against the first place team. It was the last game of the Fall 2014 season. The fact that they could come from behind 0-3 and equal the best team was significant.

It is important as a Christian to finish strong. Too many of my friends have been meteoric, a bright light for Christ that burns out. He who perseveres to the end shall be saved, Christ warns in Matt. 24:13. It’s only a 15-second video.

Even rich people can be saved

easier for a rich manJesus’ warning is so troubling that (rich) commentators have claimed it was a gate in Jerusalem that required a camel to hunch down to make it through. But this explanation originated in the Middle Ages when scholarship wasn’t too good. There is a gate in Jerusalem called “the eye of the needle,” but it was built 1,000 years after Jesus walked the Earth, so He couldn’t have been referring to it.

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. — Matt 19: 24.

But really the eye of the needle is just that: an eye of a needle. It turns out that Jesus loved hyperbole — a rhetorical device of extreme exaggeration to highlight the importance of the saying.

So what is Jesus saying? First, riches can make it very hard for you to make it to Heaven. Second, if rich people are particularly difficult to get saved, God can save even them.

With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. – Matt. 19:26.

So the stern warning is also a herald of how wonderful Christmas is, how wonderful salvation is. The rich king (wise men) came to see Baby Jesus bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

We evolved from snowflakes!

evolution

from the Comical Conservative on Facebook

Love is not rude/ does not dishonor others

Love is not rude.

pic from Google Circles. I don’t own its rights, and I’m not making any money on it.

The Greek word in 1 Cor. 13:5 that most versions translate “is not rude,” gets translated in the NIV “does not dishonor others.” The ASV spills it “doth not behave itself unseemly.” It is some sort of offensive behavior.

What’s clear is that love is being on your best behavior around those you love. How many times have we hurt with “rude, dishonoring, unseemly” words? Forget about putting your napkin on your lap, words are the things that kill marriages.

If we had truly evolved from animals, words would not have the power the do — for good or for bad.

Today to your family, praise the good and forget about the bad. Don’t let it even enter your conversation. Speak gently, not roughly. Be considerate, not selfish.

Here’s every element of the series:

Image

God is waiting to hear you

God is listening

Love does not boast

love does not boastLove puts another first. Pride means me first.

When you are boasting, you are wanting the world to pay attention to you. Love pays attention to another.

Here’s every element of the series:

Love does not envy

love does not envyEnvy hates because another has. This comes from an evil heart. We should rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn, but those who are given to feeling superior when they make comparisons also tend to feel envy when they feel inferior in any way.

This is the opposite of unity. So if you envy your spouse, your relationship is adversarial. You should make it partnership.

1 Cor. 13: 4 says: Love does not envy. You should shield your spouse, not leave them exposed to abuse.

Here’s every element of the series:

Love is kind

love is kindMarried couples fall into the trap of expecting their spouse to be kind and reserving any show of kindness until then. This is path to divorce.

Remember when you were in love? No mountain was too high, no sea too stormy. You spent time thinking up new and fantastic ways to be kind to your beloved.

People tend to “let their hair down” around family, which means they’re mean. Oddly, with strangers they’re nice. Reverse this and be nice to family. Be tender to your spouse.

If you will simply be kind (even if your spouse “doesn’t deserve it”), you could set your marriage onto a path towards renewed happiness.

1 Cor. 13:4 says: Love is kind.

Here’s every element of the series:

Don’t despair over problems

problems God's way something betterProblems are God’s way of leading you to something better.

If you are in God’s kingdom, He leads you. Sometimes His leading is through painful circumstances. We don’t like it, but we’ll like the place where He brought us. Adversity is a path to bliss.

Job first suffered, then he was blessed. Joseph was a slave and then in jail, then he was blessed. Daniel was exiled from his homeland and forced into the king’s service, then he was blessed. Before he became king, David was a fugitive in the desert.

Don’t be caught off guard (as I have). Feel God’s peace in midst of the turmoil.

To serve Jesus is to serve people

serve JesusIn the Middle Ages, if you REALLY wanted to serve God, you went off to a cave where you could be touched by no worldly temptations and lived with no human contact.

While there is value to the contemplative life of prayer, true Christian service is rendered unto needy humans. Jesus congratulates some for feeding the hungry, the sick, the imprisoned, for giving clothes to the poor. They are incredulous. They don’t remember doing this to Jesus: Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?

Jesus responds: Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. – Matt. 25:37-40 NIV.

Jesus inseparably identifies himself not with the pope, not with the saint, not with the pastor, but with the poor and abject.

There are all kinds of needs. There are suicidal kids, dying marriages, gospel-ignorant peoples. The picture is of remote modern hermits in Ethiopia who follow the the hermit model. I don’t criticize anyone’s efforts to serve Christ. I’m sure they’re making an impact in the world through prayer. But I wish to say here: Serving PEOPLE of any need is serving Jesus.

Love is patient

love is patient

Extremely contrary to the world’s concept of love, the Bible says that love, first and foremost, is patient.

A centerstage in scripture is Paul’s poetry on love. And the first thing he says is: Love is patient.

Here’s the rest of the passage:

Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. — 1 Cor. 13:4-8 NIV.

It makes a wonderful inscription at a wedding. But DOING IT after the wedding — years after the wedding — is what’s needed. What’s needed is we be patient with each other. I bet there wouldn’t be so many broken homes if we would practice true love (patience).

Here’s every element of the series:

The most advanced fighter was made by crashing

success through failureWhen my dad was young, he made a model plane. It crashed on its first flight. He went home discouraged.

But he kept tinkering with planes and eventually became and engineer at Lockheed’s secret skunkworks working on the F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter. The project was dubbed “hopeless diamond” because fly-ability was made extremely difficult by the separate small faces of its surface that didn’t reflect enough radar to register on a screen.

The non-streamline surface made it so un-fly-able that it crashed on its first flight. I remember my dad couldn’t sleep for like a week from the stress. At the time, I of course had no idea about the ultra-secret project.

On this Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for my dad’s example. How is success achieved? Through repeated failures. Failure is a stepping stone.

‘Through’ is the operative word

through failures and disappointmentsWe face innumerable failures and disappointments in life. Youth sometimes can’t see beyond the momentary difficulties and turn to cutting. It’s important to conceptualize a brighter day ahead.

Maybe you’ve been down and out for years and years. Maybe it was not all your fault, or maybe mostly it was. No matter. God has a brighter future for you. Seek Him and wait patiently.

Failure and disappointments are NOT a final destination. They are the waystation towards success. Don’t stay there. Keep moving. Bonanza lies ahead.

Christian identity

Christian Identity

Original image from Google Circle. I don’t own the rights nor am I am making any money on it.

I get hung up too much on me. That is a ghastly confession.

Why? Because I should not be so important. I am a CHRISTian, and Christ is my identity. I must represent Him.

Of course, I want comfort. But Jesus is principally interested in souls, in getting others to Heaven, into relationship with him.

It’s not me that matters. Only Christ matters. Let the light shine.

Persistence beats resistance

Peristence

This photo titled “Curves of Time” comes from Leanne Cole Photography. I don’t own the rights to it, and I’m not making any money on it.

Water is exponentially softer than rock. Yet it carves a path with its gentle flow.

A man who sets his sights on a woman can wear her down with loving, gentle gestures. After 100 little attentions, she will marry him.

We give up too quickly — on God, on each other, on church, on friends. We have need of learning persistence.

The beauty of nature is…

nature God

pic. from Google Circles. I don’t own the rights to this photo, and I’m not making any money on it.

God’s kiss to mankind.

And God kissed the Earth and beauty sprang up everywhere. And the Lord God blessed the Earth for man to enjoy because so great was His love for man.

The way to maturity is to become like kids

Jesus joyJesus says plainly: Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven – Matt. 18:3 NIV.

US researcher Robert Provine has found that kids laugh 300 times a day. It sounds to me like Jesus wants us to have more joy (I confess I myself am overly serious).

What’s surprising is that 1 Peter 2:2 exhorts Christians to “grow up” in their salvation. So it’s clear that Christian maturity involves becoming like children: they don’t harbor grudges, they love freely, they laugh.

Don’t ya just love infighting?

infightingThe toughest trial for Job is when his friends turned on him. They accused him of some unconfessed sin, based alone on the evidence of the “curse of God” falling on him. He defends his integrity. It is the only thing he has left. But eventually, they drive him over the edge. He challenges God. When God shows up, it’s not pretty for Job. But it’s not any prettier for Job’s friends.

Too often the church looks like Job’s friends. Instead of encouraging they guy who’s down, the kick dirt on him.

Instead of joining forces to fight a common enemy (the devil), we fight each other.

The gift of God cannot be purchased

giftofgodSimon becomes a convert for awhile, but judging by the negatives given about him in Acts 8, he ultimately became an enemy of the cross. He started turning bad when he offered money to have the power to impart the Holy Spirit with the imposition of hands. Peter rebuked him sharply: May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! – Acts 8:20 NIV.

One thing is clear: you can’t possibly buy anything from God. You can’t buy your way into Heaven even with million dollar donations. Only Jesus could the insanely huge ransom for your and my soul. You can receive it freely, just like you receive freely the Holy Spirit. It is a gift.

With the world at his feet but friendless

alexanderIn Oliver Stone’s biopic Alexander, the Great Greek conqueror rules the world but despairs when his only friend dies and then willingly imbibes poisoned wine.

His mother’s boast that he would rule the world due to her conniving (she arranges the murder of her husband when he gets a second wife — which threatens Alexander’s chances at the throne). But having the world proves hollow for the successful general. He can trust no one.

It’s lonely at the top.

Friends are better than riches and accomplishments, which all remain here on Earth and convert into dust when our immortal souls pass into eternity. Friendships alone remain.

Make the journey home

journey home

Jacob so longed to be in the Promised Land that he order his bones be carried there from Egypt, which was done — incredibly — 400 years later!

It’s time for you to go home. To your spouse and children. Like a bird that strays from its nest is a man who strays from his home — Proverbs 27:8 ESV. Happiness is NOT in the wild life, it’s in the hearth.

It may be difficult to work out lasting relationships. It’s easy to throw it all away and believe the the lie that you’ll find something better elsewhere.

Kids need mom and dad at home. That’s where the greatest joy is, not with the “guys” doing guy things in the world. Don’t think the settled life is boring. God’s design brings the greatest and most lasting happiness for everyone.

This holiday season, don’t just go home in your car. Go home in your heart.

Go ahead, have an affair (with your spouse)

rekindle romanceOnce the rush of falling in love, the anxiety and thrill of finding out its shared, once it’s gone, if you’re human you may be tempted to feel it again.

Go ahead. Just feel it again with your spouse.

I lavished my fiance with 1,000 little details to show her my love. Once she was conquered, I turned my energies to other conquests. I didn’t mean to abruptly turn off the romance. Actually, I thought she would understand. Actually, I thought she would be proud of my next achievements.

Women, it would seem, don’t work that way. After 1,000 signs of affection, they want a steady diet. And that’s sometimes tough for us men to remember. Please try to understand: most men turn into ogres out of ignorance; honest, we’re not con men. It’s just our hardware. Once a trophy is attained, we look for the next trophy: in business, sports, wherever.

Guys, we need to do what we first did when our wives were girlfriends or fiances. Ladies, do the same: those oooo’s and ah’s you rained down on your man, bring them on again. Complaining and b witching won’t get anything good. A couple where both sides refuse to take the initiative to rekindle romance is headed for troubled waters.

So take the initiative: Strike a match. Don’t be surprised if your spouse doesn’t automatically warm up with just one. You may need to strike matches repeatedly before the fire rekindles. Give it time.

Oedipus Rex and Wreck-It Ralph

Wreck-It Ralph and Oedipus RexWreck-It Ralph, a child’s movie teaching the mature theme of empathy, has everything to do with Oedipus Rex. The Theban tragedy explores human’s lot in life. Are helpless pawns of cruel fate?

Oedipus

A minor theme however can be find in how the the townspeople have compassion on their hapless king. Oedipus unwittingly murders his father and unwittingly marries his mother. I say “unwittingly,” but in reality Oedipus did everything he possibly could to UNFULFILL the ill-boded oracle.

He left (what he thought was) his hometown and his parents. He went far away from Corinth to Thebes. On the road, he was attacked, and defending himself, he killed a man. He arrived at Thebes and delivered the town from the evil Sphynx. In gratitude, the city makes him king, and he marries the queen, recently widowed under mystery. It progressively is revealed that Corinth was NOT Oedipus’ hometown and his “parents” there were adoptive. His real parents were in Thebes.

Oedipus gouges out his eyes and exiles himself. He is horrified by his heinous sin. The populace is more forgiving. They feel empathy.

Wreck-It Ralph is a video game bad guy. At his game’s 30th anniversary party, he’s not invited (because he’s the bad guy). In a quest for acceptance, he decides to get a medal and invades “Hero’s Duty” by cruising through the power cables. Things don’t go smoothly because a Cybug blasts off with him and the fly into girl race-car game “Sugar Rush.”

In this candyland, a snotty girl calls him a hobo and waltzes off with his medal. Despite this, he defends her from the witchy “most popular girls in school” other racers. He has compassion on her. She becomes his first friend.

Eventually, Fix-It Felix — the good guy counterpart to Ralph — learns to feel Ralph’s pain. He acquires this highest of human virtues: empathy.

Christianity is empathy. God felt humanity’s pain (the fall and death from sin) and alleviated this pain (He sent Jesus to take the hit for us). If we receive Jesus, we can enjoy right relationship with God.

Note: Oedipus and Wreck-It Ralph seems to me to be the perfect comparison and contrast.

Have an honest moment with Jesus

honest moments with JesusWe affect behavior in front of others and worry too much what others think about us. When have we taken a moment to be honest alone with Jesus? Drop the appearances, be yourself, ask for help.

Do you have time for Jesus in your life? Can you set aside the internet, the news, the funny videos? Read your Bible and pray a bit? Don’t be surprised if He responds.

How much more beautiful will Heaven be?

waterfall

Have nothing but have it all?

Having Jesus is having it all.Must be Jesus.

How much faith do you need?

enough faithDon’t agonize over whether you have enough faith to receive an answer from God.  Just keep praying because all you need is a tiny amount of faith. Just enough to go to prayer.

Friendship is the bomb!

friendsThis side of eternity, the greatest thing is having friends.

Apathy is not the answer

apathy

Turning off your emotions, just because you’ve been disillusioned, solves nothing. We are emotional beings. To try to NOT feel is probably not going to work. There are those who grow bitter, who grow cynical, who numb the pain with drugs, alcohol or another form of hedonism.

Only Jesus will heal your heart.

Which side of the tapestry

life tapestryIf you look at the backside, there’s a mess of loose threads, and you can’t make anything out. But if you look at the front side, the picture can be so astounding that you could understand why nobility paid a small fortune to hang them in their castles.

Many times, we’re on the backside of the tapestry. God is weaving, but we can’t make anything out. Not until many years later do we see the beauty emerge, when we get on the other side of the tapestry.