Lessons from my son , “The Werewolf”

Image

If you know me , then you know it is no secret how much I love my family . I have a beautiful wife who glows inside and out with all that is good about a woman… she is Godly first and for reasons I still can’t see – she chose me , and I am thankful. She also gave two of the most precious gifts that can be given – My kids. My daughter is well on her way to becoming the same kind of woman that my wife is ,but even before now – her very life breathed purpose back into mine when I was but a shell of a man. Between the love of her and her mother , they helped me realize my need for God and gave me the drive necessary to seek him until that drive became my own… I have told her several times that she saved my life , and when she bats her lashes and says” I love you daddy”  – she still does…

My son was a game changer in my life. When we found out we were having a boy , I was terrified… I wasn’t sure that I was going to be able to properly raise a boy and teach him to be a man… After all  , my only parenting experience was with a girl and not having much of a father figure growing up ,the word “inadequate” doesn’t even begin to describe my self-image at that time… But  , he was coming none the less and I was just going to just have to figure it out.

A good friend ,who has now passed but was the closest thing to a father to me gave me some great words for my uncertainty – he said “Have Faith , God will do the rest” ..

The rest of the story would go as you may imagine – he is born ,we adjust and begin figuring things out – life resumes.. But one thing is very different. My son , unbeknownst to him obviously ,begins to teach me.. For all the time that I am worrying about guiding him into manhood and teaching him vital lessons for life – he , with his own little life begins to teach me the simple yet powerful lessons that can’t be taught on paper , but shown through ones life – by their heart…

The next few entries in this blog will be about my son and the lessons he continues to teach me. I have Preached many sermons inspired by him , as he inspires me daily.. What I’m about to share with you just happened yesterday  – but began a years and a half ago..

It was the week before Thanksgiving  , and we had planned a family vacation to Gatlinburg Tennessee . On the drive up from Atlanta ,where we lived at the time  , we were discussing the current fad of “Vampires and Werewolves” and if they really existed , which one each of us would be due to the various powers each one possessed. My son Kole , chose to be a werewolf. He liked the idea of being a wolf and roaming about in the night howling at the moon etc..

Later in the drive , he confided in us all that  “He really was a Werewolf”. Intrigued we all replied with “Really?!!”.. You could see his little eyes light up as he could tell we were interested and excited about this. He went on to tell us with his creative little mind of all his adventures as he would climb out of his bedroom window at night and do ,as he put it -” Werewolf Stuff”. We all got a great kick out of the whole thing and it certainly made the ride go by a lot faster..

We spent the rest of the weekend playing into the idea of Kole being a werewolf as he converted all his cousins into his dark secret… other than the occasional mention over time though , the Werewolf bit ,like most childhood things seemed to fade into obscurity. I had all but forgotten about it..until yesterday.

After returning from the gym , I was greeted at my office door by Kole with a quick hug and a “Hey daddy”. I sat down at my desk and began to go through my stuff and I noticed him standing there with his hands clasped together . “Whats up bud”? I said.. He replied”Daddy , I need to tell you something”.. “Ok ,shoot” I replied.. after a second or two , he shook his head and hands and moaned “ugh , this is hard!” with a great  deal frustration and anxiety… Ok , now I’m all in –  this kind of reaction from him usually  only happens when he breaks something of MINE… , So I gently put my hands on his shoulders and quietly tell him “It’s ok son , just tell me” … He takes in a deep breath and then exhaled his confession….

“Daddy , I’m not really a Werewolf”…

Relieved  , he collapses into my arms…

At this moment , many things are going on in my head and heart. My first reaction was to bust out in laughter ,mainly because I had totally forgotten about him even making this claim of him even being one.. but I hold it back  – mainly because I don’t want to make light of what has actually happened here… My 6-year-old son has , in his own mind , felt the sting of CONSCIOUS  From his perspective , he has carried this burden for a year and a half and at some point realized that what he said wasn’t true , that he in fact was not a Werewolf! Although non of us ,his audience  took it for more than it was worth (a then 5-year-old little boy and his imagination) – he took it as he was being dishonest , and needed to come clean.

I just held him.

Now ,not only am I fighting back laughter ,but tears…

As I held him , I let him know that it was ok – that we all knew  he wasn’t really a Werewolf and that I was proud of him – not because he wasn’t a Werewolf ,but because he is well on his way to becoming  a MAN… A Godly MAN.. A man who realizes when he has error in life ,no matter how slight – and MAKES IT RIGHT. A man who teaches with his own life , through the actions of his heart…

The kind of man who I hoped I’d be able to teach him to be..The kind of man I am still trying to be… But today ,like many others before – My son was the teacher and I was the student…

Thank you Kole. Thank you for having the heart of a LION  , and not a Werewolf 😉

Our great and mighty God  shows us himself  often , if we are only willing to look. As I worried about being able to teach my son to be a good man , a friend told me to “Have faith  – God  will do the rest” … With that same faith , not only is my son going to be a good man ,but God has shown me that my son  is going to help me be one too.

Oh God , give us hearts like Lions – Strong to defend and protect ,but tender enough to be pricked by our conscious , knowing you are there with your hands on our shoulders  , whispering to us –  “Just tell me “…

We know you are faithful… Help US to be.

Hebrews 10:22

“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”

Advertisements

The Prodigal Son speaks….

Of the hundreds of people told of in the bible that I would love to talk to , to me  – one of the  most intriguing might be The Prodigal Son. His story is told in The Gospel of Luke 15:11-32 and although he isn’t named in the Bible , I’m sure that he would have had one – but  that’s kind of the point  , isn’t  it?

It’s not his name that  remember  ,but rather his story…

I imagine it might have gone something like this..

Question #1: Why did you leave your Father’s house in the first place?

It was all about the desire for freedom—the freedom to do what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it. I was ready to live it up—to have some fun, and in my case, that included a lot of time with harlots.

Question #2: What was it like out in the far country?

Not even close to what I thought it would be. I wanted to be free, but I ended up in the confines of a pig pen. I wanted to be free, but I became a slave—a slave to this so-called “free lifestyle,” a slave to those harlots who took all my money.

And I’ll tell you something else about the far country—it’s hard to find true friends in that place. When I was at my lowest point, at the point when I needed help the most, no one helped me; no one was there to give me what I needed the most. What I’m trying to tell you is that love, in its highest form, does not exist in the far country. You can find it in my Father’s house, but you won’t find it there.

Question #3: Why did you decide to go back to your Father’s house?

I finally came to my senses. I realized that the folks back in my Father’s house were a whole lot better off than me, that the life I once had was much, much better than I ever thought. I thought the far country had a lot to offer, but it was really just an illusion. There’s nothing real about it; it doesn’t last, and it leaves you feeling empty. If anyone understands the phrase, “the passing pleasures of sin,” it’s me!

People tell you, “If you really want to live, go to the far country.” That’s a lie. It’s more like, “If you really want to die, go to the far country.” Because that’s what happened to me—I died, not physically of course, but in all the ways that matter the most. My soul, the only part of me that will endure, was just as dead as it could be. I returned to my Father because I wanted to live again. I returned to my Father because I was lost and needed to be found—by someone who truly cared.

Question #4: What kind of reception did you get when you returned to your Father’s house?

Better than I deserved, I can tell you that. I squandered all my money—my Father’s money—on sinful living, yet when I went back and humbly confessed my sins, my Father received me with open arms. And let me just tell you, I’ve never seen such rejoicing in all my life. Now I know what true freedom feels like.

I too have experienced that kind of rejoicing… There is no comparison to anything this world offers …  The Joy of the Lord is perfect and complete….  –  If you haven’t , maybe it’s time you come home too.

“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a RIGHTEOUS person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were STILL sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”

(Romans 5:6-11 ESV)

Thanks to Bryan Gibson for the inspiration!

Running on Empty

It is staggering to think about , but it’s everywhere… The amount we ,  as a people  , consume on a daily basis. I’m not just relegating this to food ,although it certainly lends itself to that and Americas obesity issues – but just in general , we as a people can’t seem to find contentment until we are literally busting at the seams…and to our dismay – still unfulfilled.

My first reaction, like most would be , is disgust…this graduates to irritation and then the most common reaction – Apathy , the unwillingness to care…But with apathy also comes  silence , and in that silence I hear something else…however faint , I hear a cry for SOMETHING.. So my apathy changes to sympathy , and then to interest… This then graduates to caring and now I AM ALL IN..

So I listen harder…

In the feeding of our over active appetite to fill ourselves , we completely ignore that real problem – We just can’t seem to ever be really FULL – … But why ?… Why can’t we be filled by all this stuff? Why do we constantly crave and consume MORE and still wind up EMPTY?

Why?

…and THAT’S what I hear.. I silent cry of “why?”.. “Why do I have everything my heart desires and yet I am STILL so unhappy”..

Maybe , your heart is desiring the wrong things? Maybe , YOUR conscience is trying to tell you something that YOU don’t want to hear? Maybe , just maybe  … you KNOW what is right,but are not willing to do it because of what it will COST you????

Speaking from personal experience – NOTHING will cost you MORE in your life than SELFISHNESS.. I can’t think of ONE good thing that the sin of selfishness EVER brought me – not ONE thing…

Don’t allow another moment to be stolen from you – break the cycle…

Empty yourself of YOURSELF …and fill it with the ONLY thing that wont leave you EMPTY.. ,but still desiring MORE of it –
The LOVE of GOD..

Mathew 5:6 says “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” …

Only in Christ will you ever be full…Only in Christ will you ever be satisfied… –  Because only in Christ can you be truly Justified  and Sanctified (1 Corinthians 6:11)

The Lord beckons you all to come and be filled … won’t you?

If not , WHY NOT?

The invitation to study the bible is still open.. 😉

read Hebrews 13:1-19

Through the Eyes of my Son…

J. Oswald Sander was quoted saying “Eyes that look are common… Eyes that see are rare.” … Rare indeed , except through the eyes of a 6 year old boy…

Since he was born, I have preached many sermons inspired by my son. His honesty and innocence have helped me to remember how to see the world that I have forgotten how to see and quite often , I am completely humbled by the most simple of gestures… This morning as my nephew Carlos came out for coffee , Kole threw  his arms around Carlos and said “I love you Carlos ,sometimes for NO REASON”…Once more , my son has been the teacher and I have been the student.. Do we really need a reason to love each other ?

1 John 4 :7-8 says” Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love”…

There is no question – my son KNOWS God as he also KNOWS LOVEAnd I have been joyfully reminded of how we ALL should be  – once more through the eyes of my son…

Study the Bible with me , the invitation is ALWAYS open... 😉

Read 1 John 3:11-24

Peace ,Perfect Peace… Some random thoughts on Peace

Peace , perfect Peace…

The Personnel Journal reported this incredible statistic: since the beginning of recorded history, the entire world has been at peace less than eight percent of the time! In its study, the periodical discovered that of 3530 years of recorded history, only 286 years saw peace. Moreover, in excess of 8000 peace treaties were made–and broken.

True peace..complete and perfect , can only come from one source – its Author… Our Creator.

This time of year the phrase ” Peace on Earth and Good Will towards all Men” is used quite a bit (although not as much as it used to be). Taken from Luke 2:14 , it is meant to be used as a sentiment of gesture , implying that we should all be peaceable towards each other… While I don’t disagree with the sentiment , that’s not actually what the scripture says. Its says “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”…

Who exactly is he pleased with? – Those who love him…those who obey him… Those who TRULY try to know him…

The truth is , the peace that is being talked about here is not that of war between men ,but peace between a disobedient creation and its creator. Being reconciled to God through faith ,love and obedience to his word can one only REALLY ever experience TRUE peace…

I for one , can testify to this truth.

Even then , the peace that we have through God doesn’t ensure us a pain-free life ,but rather one of testing.Peace is not a life without trial ,but rather the quiet place you find among the noise … safety in the midst of harm…. Comfort in the throes of utter turmoil and anguish….Peace that Jesus gives is not the absence of trouble, but is rather the confidence that He is there with you always.

I had read a short story of a man who sought the perfect picture of peace. Not finding one that satisfied, he announced a contest to produce this masterpiece. The challenge stirred the imagination of artists everywhere, and paintings arrived from far and wide. Finally the great day of revelation arrived. The judges uncovered one peaceful scene after another, while the viewers clapped and cheered.

The tensions grew. Only two pictures remained veiled.

As a judge pulled the cover from one, a hush fell over the crowd.

A mirror-smooth lake reflected lacy, green birches under the soft blush of the evening sky. Along the grassy shore, a flock of sheep grazed undisturbed. Surely this was the winner.

The man with the vision uncovered the second painting himself, and the crowd gasped in surprise. Could this be peace?

A tumultuous waterfall cascaded down a rocky precipice; the crowd could almost feel its cold, penetrating spray. Stormy-gray clouds threatened to explode with lightning, wind and rain. In the midst of the thundering noises and bitter chill, a spindly tree clung to the rocks at the edge of the falls. One of its branches reached out in front of the torrential waters as if foolishly seeking to experience its full power.

A little bird had built a nest in the elbow of that branch. Content and undisturbed in her stormy surroundings, she rested on her eggs.

With her eyes closed she spread her wings to cover her little ones…

She manifested peace in a place where there was none… A Peace that transcends all earthly turmoil. …True peace.. Because safety consists not in the absence of danger but in the presence of God.
We are living in dark times .. and dark times don’t require dark measures ,but rather – The Light ….I’ll end this with the poem that inspired this thought tonight ,in hope that it will leave you with the same “Light” it left me..
” I rest beneath the Almighty’s shade,
My griefs expire, my troubles cease;
Thou, Lord, on whom my soul is stayed,
Wilt keep me still in perfect peace.”
– Charles Wesley.

Windows…

“But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”
(1 Samuel 16:7 ESV)

The human eye is incredible. The fact that there are actually 2 of them working together for the same purpose yet independently of each other is even more so…If you take in to account all the sequences that are firing off at this instant while you read this , it’s just plain staggering… There is no question ,given the complexity of these organs that they were carefully created with much thought and care.. They are often called “The Windows to the Soul”..

But for all their grandeur , they are still limited as to what they can do..

You will never be able to see your own face with the exception of the tip of your nose without the aid of a reflection..nor the back or top of your head ,with out the aid of some sort of reflection or mirror..I think we all would agree that we don’t leave the house to go anywhere without first checking our reflection first..but have you ever considered what it is we are checking?

You see we have set a standard in our minds that we check against, and depending on how the reflection looks we make adjustments – in other words we are looking for flaws… And when we find them, we make the corrections to our satisfaction and then we go about our business but regularly taking advantage of any reflective surface we pass – to just “be sure” that everything is still in check…

With all of our care and personal honesty we attack the flaws in mirror with conviction..yet what do we do about the inside?…how do our eyes see in there?… This is another limitation to the eye- it can’t look inward without a reflective surface…

So have you ever looked intently into a mirror…into your own eyes? Even then ,you can’t see whats in your heart… you can’t see the side of your self that no one else knows.. But God does – after all , if he put that much CARE into your EYES , how much more then did he for your SOUL?…

He created it.. He gave us his words to nourish it… and when we have broken it , he gave us his son to SAVE it…

Would he not also give us a way to CARE for it?.. A mirror of sorts to check for the flaws and make adjustments?… A standard to set our minds on?…. yet for many , that standard sits on a shelf and NEVER gets looked into…For all the beauty we take in with our eyes, nothing compares to the beauty and majesty The God who created us…The very least we can do is look in his book written for us so that we can come to know him. By this and this alone, we can then know ourselves and see our TRUE reflection..

For all of our complexity and beauty – we are flawed and fragile creatures…If eye sight is considered to be the most valued of the senses , how much more then is the soul and the ability to look inside and see your own – and be CONTENT with what you SEE?

The invitation to study is still open…

Read Psalm 139 ,all verses.

Do it – it will be worth it 😉

This Little Box…

This little box contains 2 things essentially -Thoughts and Time ,both mine and yours. For me , time is spent typing my stream of consciousness in an attempt to share something relevant with you that may be useful to you. For you , time is spent reading and considering what has been put before you for your  consideration and to hopefully provoke thoughts of your own..Therefore , given  the fact that I took time to write these things down and you have given YOUR time to read them  , then we are connected in this little box …. Here –  we share a moment in time and what I share with you MUST be worthy of your time or I have wasted both of ours…

Time is an extraordinarily complicated  facet of our lives. It was created by God to put forth life into motion , and to help us keep track of that life and its events and ultimately  , To give order and purpose… It was set in motion by Him and will only be stopped BY HIM when the TIME of HIS choosing has come.. Our great God in his wisdom didn’t give man the authority to rule over time ( imagine the mess we’d have if he did!) but rather gave him the ability to think ,reason and act on each moment as it’s presented to us. You see, we can never get a moment back once it has come , you only have 1 shot at it while its new … As soon as it comes –  because as quickly as it comes , it also goes and becomes the past . Even as I type this , and you read it – these small fragments of time are gone.. So let me get to my point and not waste the most precious commodity we have since we don’t really know how much of it we have been afforded…

We all have people that we care for and love in our lives. Our family…our friends…. I dare say that we have many people who we fight for or even die for if necessary . With that thought in mind , given only 1 hour of time left with them – how would you spend it?  I can t speak for you , but for me , it would certainly not be spent bickering over the trivial things  …nor would it be filled with “fluff ” or words that sound pretty and just take up “time”.. That last hour would be spent with them sharing with them, especially if I had not shared with them ,  the Gospel of Christ – This would be the PRIORITY. There is nothing more important than THIS…. NOTHING. You may be reading this and if you also believe that to be true or not , either way I urge you to consider one or both of these questions –

If you are a Christian already , you know that there is no other way to God  than naming the name of Jesus Christ proclaiming your faith in him, repenting of your sins and then dying to your old self in Baptism ,rising again  from the water a new creature in HIM  and living faithfully and obediently as possible for the rest of your life ( John 14:6 , Mark 16:16 ,Acts 2:36-42 , James 2:14-26 , 1 Peter 1 :13-25 and I could go on..) And so being a Christian you also know besides the importance of this message ,  the urgency of it because of TIME.. It says in Proverbs 27:1 that we are not promised tomorrow …

So why then? Why do we not tell our loved ones TODAY of this message? Why do we avoid  telling those closest to us that haven’t obeyed the Gospel of Christ about it? Are we afraid that it will end the friendship or make things “weird”?  Are we embarrassed or ashamed of it?…

A better question might be , do you REALLY love them at ALL? If you believe the Gospel is the most important thing to share with someone and yet you don’t share it – what does that REALLY say about your LOVE for them… A better question yet might be, How much do you have to HATE someone NOT to share the Gospel with them?…

It’s a harsh thought and my intention is not to offend or accuse ,  but  only to make us think while we are inside this little box together , so that we can ACT outside of it….

People are going to die without the Gospel of Christ. People are dying right now with out it. Don’t let it be people you LOVE , much less anyone you come in contact with… ” Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”(Matthew 28:18-20 ESV) …. This doesn’t say “Preacher Go” … it simply says “GO” and the implication is “NOW” because time is limited as I have already stressed…. If you are a believer ,  then you have work to do…

IF you are NOT a believer , then now comes my second question that I spoke of earlier –  Why Not?

I have just briefly just shared the  Gospel of Christ with you in a very small and simple sense…Much more can be expounded on , but would need to take place outside of this box. IF the evidence I presented is enough, please consider what has been shared between us and please , I beg you act upon it… IF you require further study then please  ,please contact me either by message here or email or phone and allow me the pure privilege of sharing more with you the Good news about Christ and how much he loved and still loves  us all ..  I promise not to waste ANY of your , or my time…..All of my contact info is available  –

I have used the space inside this little box for quite a while to engage in a moment in time with anyone who may read my ramblings , in hopes of  encouraging  some , provoking others just to think but always to offer an invitation to study the bible with me. While a few have accepted that invitation ,by the worlds standards I have been a failure…but its not about numbers.. It’s about LOVE.

God loved us enough to die for us , so we can spend eternity with him…  Because I love HIM I also have an unfeigned love for all people  –  so I will continue to offer the same invitation to study today , tomorrow  and so on…as long as time allows … From this little box

The invitation to study the bible is STILL open  😉

Read  Ephesians 5  , giving strong attention to verses 15,16 and 17.