From The Depths

From The Depths
From The Depths. 

I took this photo on a still night somewhere near 1980 in the Yaquina Bay in Newport, Oregon. In the dark it looked like a body had washed into the bay and rested near the dock.  With the flash, the photo looks quite a bit different than it did under the mercury lighting in the bay.  It’s like someone reaching to me out of space, parting a galaxy or two.

This reminds me of a text.

(2 Peter 1:3) According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:  

And (2 Peter 3:9) The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

God wants everyone to be saved…. We hear someone pray that God will save them, but he already has placed this plan in motion.  All we have to do is act on it.  Don’t misunderstand me.   We can’t do anything to earn our salvation. It is all the working of God through the death and resurrection of Jesus.  We do need to obey Him to receive that blessing.

Consider the hand.  Maybe you can picture in your mind God, reaching down to catch the hands of men on Earth to save them.  All we have to do is reach up to grab it and hold on.  If we ignore the hand , , ,  we perish.

He doesn’t want any to perish, but instead, to come to repentance.  Which is necessary for salvation.

He asks us to hear His Gospel, believe what we hear, and that He is who He is and has done, and will do what He says He will do.  Repent of our sins, Confess Him as the Son of God.

He then tells us to be baptized… (Act 2:38) Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

This is how we reach out to His hand.

 

Blessed are they that mourn.

“For they shall be comforted”    (don’t worry, I will get to the point)

Awareness is a key to any relationship.  We need to know each other.  What pushes your button or what triggers a negative emotion.  We don’t want to walk on eggshells in a relationship, so learning these things helps us to change our behavior to be in comfort with another.

Every relationship or group dynamic goes through phases as it grows.  Form, Storm, Norm, and Perform.  A couple gets together and starts getting to know each other.  Likes, dislikes, key words that cause frowns, etc.  Sometimes the learning process has some conflict involved.  (storming)

Once you know each other and have avoided behavior which is unpleasant to the other, or polished the stuff they like, you can reach an equilibrium and even work as a couple, better than the sum of two individuals.  (performing)

Hopefully, we have reached the norming or performing stage in our relationship with our God.  We no longer have to walk on eggshells, because through study of His Word and communicating with Him (prayer) we know what pleases Him and alter our behavior to conform to His will.

Sadly, many are still and will probably remain at the “forming” stage.  Many  have begun a relationship with Him, but have not invested in our knowledge of what He desires of our relationship.  Maybe there is no communication with Him.

Some have advanced to the “storming” phase and are struggling with changing their behavior to comply with His will.

Even those who are “performing” will occasionally fail.  This is when the relationship with our God is damaged by sin.  The “performing” christian will notice the damaged relationship and lament the loss of trust, then struggle to restore the relationship.

An example is Peter during Jesus’ trial.   As soon as the rooster crowed, he knew the relationship was damaged.  He wept bitterly.   Blessed are those who mourn…. Peter mourned over his failure.  He took it personally and immediately set out to fix it.

If we are able to sin and not really worry about it, then perhaps we have never cemented the relationship.  Possibly, still “forming.”

You can only sit on the edge so long.  Every relationship takes work and sacrifice. No different is our relationship to our God.

He lamented so much the relationship broken by the sin of man, that he sent His Son to make it right.  He has done His part.  Time for us to do ours.

 

The Cost of Encouragement

Many place the value of a gift in its cost to the giver.  The New Testament in the Bible gives an account where the Messiah saw a widow give her last two coins at an offering.   Others were giving great sums out of their surplus but she gave all that she had. (Mark 12:38-44)  It’s not the quantity, but the heart that determines the sacrifice.

Mar 12:43) And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: :44)  For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living. 

As we attempt to lead our families, we have a gift available to give that actually cost us very little.  Even though it is inexpensive, and we all have it in abundance, it can be a life altering gift for the one who receives.

That precious gift is Encouragement.   It often only takes a second of our time.  It doesn’t take a great deal of ability or planning.  This gift has prevented; suicides, failed marriages, failed exams, lost battles, failed self-image, lost souls.

Properly placed, Encouragement can propel an athlete above their perceived potential.  It can give confidence to a spirit teetering on the ledge of self-doubt.  It can help an unemployed husband and father continue to try.  It can soothe a young mother who is “great with child”  and feeling ugly and fat.

What a powerful tool!  

Heb 10:24) and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works;
:25) not forsaking our own assembling together, as the custom of some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day drawing nigh.

Can you imagine the effect on the world if everyone chose to encourage instead of berate?   If everyone conspired of ways to encourage another instead of plotting to beat them down by competition.

It can take the simplest form.

“I appreciate your attitude.”  “You did a great job on the customer invitations.  It’s the type of mail I would look forward to open and read.”

I was talking to a customer who had waited too long for her service to work.  She was patient but not happy.  After I took steps to solve her issue, I took a second to comment on her voice quality.  I don’t hear very well over the phone, and I noted that I had no issue understanding her.  I have never met this lady, but

Take a minute each day to encourage someone.  A simple phrase, card, note, email, text, or call can really make someones day.  Remember, tell the truth.. Pick someone who looks down, or has looked down.  Look for something good in them.  (Hebrews 10;24)

Thank You!

Practice the art of saying “thank you.”

  • It reinforces to you and the other what is valuable to you.
  • It rewards the actions of another.  (gives them value)
  • It encourages another to continue to do good.
  • It teaches others to say thank you.
  • It takes away some of the ugly pride.  (requires some humility)

How to:

  • Make it specific:  “Thank you for helping me take out the garbage without being asked.”
  • Make it sincere:  “Learn to appreciate the things others do for you.”
  • Show the value: “It helps me spend more time on other house work.”
  • Share the result:  “It encourages me that you have learned to manage your life to get the mundane things done.  I think I will trust you with bigger things.”
  • Stop with the thanks:  Avoid following “thank you” with “but . . .”  Let the thanks do its’ work.   In other words . . . don’t water down the power of the thanks.  “Thank you for taking out the trash, but you should have done that months ago.”  “Thanks for washing the car, but you missed a spot.”

Saving Your Family

As a husband and a father, I have asked myself countlessly this question; “How can I save my family?”  I realize if you read this  and don’t currently consider yourself a “saved” soul that you might not understand the context.
Please allow me to introduce my concern.

I am a Christian.  Not how the media, Hollywood, or the government defines it, but by the example and pattern left in the Bible.  No clergy, no collars, statues, or burning incense.  But people who have heard what God has to say, seen how He chose to display it, and have decided to obey it so that I may have eternal purpose in my life and wait to receive the promise of eternal life with Him after He has used me up here.

I don’t “go to church.”  I assemble with those who believe and have obeyed like I did.  The purpose of the assembly is to worship God and encourage the other believers whom I consider family.  Brethren.

I have a job… but it is to obey the command that I take care of my family stewardship.   My real profession is to teach others The Truth and guard against error and sin with my spiritual family.

My real stewardship to my family is to make sure I provide the leadership for them to enjoy eternal life with God like I plan to.

Parts of this narrative will be to express some of the barriers to fulfilling my mission.  I have learned a lot in 36 years of marriage.  I have many experiences, failures, and victories to share.

I realize that many won’t believe as I do.  Please hear me out.  I’m not here to hate any one or put any person down.  I only want for you what I want for myself and my family… to not lose my soul in eternity to a punishment that really can’t be imagined.

Thanks for sticking around this far…..