Friday, March 20, 2009

Recession Proof

Much has been and will continue to be written regarding the recession, including Christians and the recession. Far be it from me to go against the crowd. So sit down and plug in your iPod because you will probably want the distraction while reading this. But you need a reason to continue so let me tell you that I think Christians can be (even "should be") recession proof.

You are not going to read some nonsense about Christians who have real faith in God will be healthy, wealthy, and wise. I have sinusitis, the equity in our new house dropped by $50,000 in its first year, and I do not have any idea how to change it. But I still have real faith in God…and a solution to how believers can be recession proof.

Here it is: Die. It seems that memorial services are currently my lot in life and I have noticed that every single person who dies is unaffected by the recession. As a matter of fact, those closest to the deceased remain less concerned with the recession while in mourning than they do when not in mourning. But I am not advocating suicide. I just completed "Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training" and I am personally opposed to taking your own life. But there is another way to "die".

"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no long I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20 ESV)

To shorten this whole thing way down…

Only allow eternal things - things of the Kingdom of God - to govern your life. The recession, along with most of the other things we worry about, is earthly and temporary. If you live for Jesus, with His mind in you, then the recession is something for which you will refuse to change the direction, focus, and purpose of your life.

If you don't die with Him, you can't live for Him.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Before the Sun Sets

This is from another site where I was also posting a blog. I just thought I ought to bring it all together in one spot.
I enjoy gardening and building simple things for the house and garage. The time for such things is while it is still light out. Once the sun begins its daily plunge to and below the horizon, I am forced to prioritize the remaining work and fit it into the remaining daylight

My life is like that. The sunset is becoming easier to picture than the sunrise is to remember. I have an increasing desire to know what is most important and get it done while there is time. There are consequences to such thinking. Priorities come with a price.

For all of my life, family has been a priority. When I was young, it was my parents and siblings, then my aunts, uncles, and cousins. Since 1971 it has been Cathy with Aaron, Alison, and David becoming permanently engraved as each entered our lives. Someday, I believe… I hope… I think I want… we will also gratefully and joyfully embrace our new son and daughters when our children get married. And then, joy of joys, GRANDKIDS! But that is yet to be and this is now.

Above my family I have desired, at least in word and intent, to lace my relationship with God. Yet, words and intent are vaporous if not indurated by consistent and sincere lifestyle. It is at this point that the willingness to pay the price for such a priority becomes evident to all. Talk is cheap but the cost of living… Suffice it to say that the desire to please people has too often been a barrier to pleasing God. Jacob Marely had his heavy chain, comprised of countless links. I have mine, too, with many of those links being forged from truths twisted or softened in order to make them more agreeable to others. There is no way of knowing how many people were pushed away from the cross because of my weakness. I have been in disparate need of the wisdom and insight of Jim Elliot who wrote, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."

So, now that I am closer to the grave than the cradle, I may begin to appear a bit more rigid and inflexible, particularly with regards to God's eternal truths. May the appearance reflect the reality, but may those characteristics be refined and presented in companionship with an increasing love for God and others. May I be willing to forfeit their friendship for the cause of their salvation.

Always In Him,

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I wish she could hit me again.

The picture is our daughter, Alison, and my oldest sister, Cheryl Hamilton, when the Hamiltons arrived at our house last April.

When I was growing up, Cheryl, used to enforce her will by pounding me on top of the head. The jolt sent electric shocks right down to my heels. Then, I finally reached puberty and became strong enough to impress both of my sisters that their days of physical domination had ended. Yes, growing up third in a family of five kids was special.

Last April, Cheryl and Steve came to visit us on the day we had an "Open House" so everyone could see our new home. Cheryl's ALS was steadily robbing her of more and more physical abilities, including speech. But brothers never let sisters off the hook, so, when they pulled up in their van, I went out to greet them and asked, "How are you doing?" Cheryl smiled and nodded, indicating that she was doing well. I said, "What?" She repeated her nod, smiling more broadly. I said, "What? I can't hear you!"

That was the last time she ever hit me. On Tuesday night, March 3, at around 11:20, I was awakened by my cell phone ringing. It was Nancy, my other sister. The ALS had finally won.

Cheryl is with Jesus...completely.

For Cheryl, it is a time of joy and celebration.

Yet, even though I know her smile and beautiful voice are filling heaven at this very moment...

I wish she were here to hit me again. And I wish I could take away the emptiness that her husband and daughters are experiencing and the hurt that my parents and siblings are feeling.