Precious

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Time is precious. Don’t waste it: not a second. Not a minute. Not an hour. Not a day. You may look up and find years gone, while you stand still.

  • If you love him, tell him so. Don’t worry about what he might say in return.
  • If you appreciate her, she needs to know now. We’re not promised a single day.
  • If you owe your son an apology, do it now while he still thinks the world of you.
  • If you haven’t spent time with your daughter, do so today. It’s not too late.

Whatever your dream was, chase it today. I think the greatest tragedy a person may face is looking back on a life of simple existence knowing you never dared to dream; knowing you should have lived, but chose not to. Life isn’t supposed to be simply existing. We’re meant to live it out loud until we’ve got nothing left.

I’m 45 years old, watching as the patriarchs of my family die off one by one. As I grow older, I’m becoming more aware of the importance of time. It’s truly precious. I don’t want to waste what’s left. Tomorrow’s not promised.

What would you do with your life, if you knew exactly how much time you had left? Where would you go? What would you finish? What would you say?

What If…

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What if everything you thought you believed about Christianity didn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the truth of God’s word?

Many of us attend church regularly, participate in our religious programs and functions, try our best to live holy lives, read our bibles regularly, pray consistently, etc. Despite it all, many Christians struggle with faith, because it’s intangible; it can’t be quantified or physically grasped. The tales of Samson, King David and Jonah seem like nothing more than awesome stories. We see no living examples of biblical champions and anti-heroes in our time. Some Christians even struggle to believe in Jesus, and the Redemptive power of his work on the cross. I think this is why so many backslide to a lifestyle contrary to Christianity.

If so many struggle to find strength in faith, how can they even begin to believe in John’s Revelation? When I was a new Christian, a coworker—who I had never before recognized as a Christian, due to his actions and language—said something I will never forget. I made mention of Jesus coming back whenever God wanted to send him. My coworker said, “Well, that probably won’t happen in our lifetime,” with such authority, as if he knew this to be a certainty. That bold statement was somewhat deflating. But more than that, I think it actually shaped my perception of what God could or could not do. For a few years after that statement was made, I fumbled through Christianity believing we have all the time in the world to get it right, because Jesus might not actually come back in the lifetime of my great-great grandchildren! I knew the bible spoke of things to come, in the last days. I could see instances within today’s culture where biblical prophesies were actually happening; all the while believing we still have more than enough time to get this thing (called life) right.

What if everything you thought you believed about Christianity didn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the truth of God’s word? Despite what the world might have you believe, what if the bible is true, and time is shorter than we think? Here’s what I know:

 

  • 2Peter 3:8 (NKJV) – But beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
  • I seriously do not delve into numerology. Something about searching for hidden messages in numbers rings too occult-ish for my taste. With that said, the number “3” seems important in the bible.
  • I learned that traditionally, A.D. timestamp dates back to the birth of Jesus. There is no 0-A.D. recorded in time. One year before the birth of Jesus, time stood as 1-B.C. Immediately following his birth, time jumps to 1-A.D. Hence, we have 2017-A.D. 2017 years after the birth of Jesus Christ.
  • Christians believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus. We know he was murdered on the cross (the first day), and raised by God two days later (the third day). There’s that blasted number 3 again.
  • The Lord promised to return. Jesus never made a promise he didn’t fulfill. The Holy Spirit was promised and delivered. I think we can take his promise to return seriously.

Now look, here’s my disclaimer: this isn’t some off-the-wall, weird rant-type episode I’m having. This simply put things into some form of perspective for me. It’s not prophesy or claimed fact. It’s simply…a “what if” scenario. Do with it what you will, or do nothing and tell me how crazy you think I am. Just remember: I write fiction often so…

If 1000 years are roughly a day for the Lord, well then: 1-A.D. to 1000-A.D. (through day 1); 1000-A.D. to 2000-A.D. (through day 2); 2000-A.D. to XXXX (we’re into day 3). God’s got a habit of doing some pretty extraordinary things in three days. IJS, as the kids say today.

We Christians hear about signs and wonders and events to occur in the last days, all the time. What if some of those prophesied events are happening right before our eyes, but we’re so engrossed in the times of our culture, we’re too blind to see what’s really happening? What if O.J. really did do it?

(Sorry. A little light humor)

What if we really don’t have all the time in the world, to make a decision to whole-heartedly follow Christ? That’s what this is really all about. I have no idea when the Lord will return. I have the faith to believe his return is an absolute certainty, though; and that’s good enough for me to strengthen my relationship with him.

Matthew 24:36 (NKJV) – “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.”

 

Change In Plans

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When I was a (relatively) young man, my life was naively charted toward easy success; so I thought. Instead of following tried and true methods of disciplined and consistent progression, I decided to magically become the exception to the rules. I didn’t need a plan . It was just going to happen someday. In hindsight, I was lazy; smart…but lazy. When you’re young, you’re invincible and time waits for you.

I’m a bit older now, and constantly face the consequences of my youthful mistakes. I can live with that, when I’m the only one effected by choices of my past. We all owe a debt, and time will always collect because it has a long memory. But…what’s hard to swallow is when I see the choices of my past burden my family. They deserve so much more than I can give them today. While I believe everything happens for a reason, in God’s economy, sometimes it’s really hard to fight off the demons of your past when you know things might have turned out different if you’d made better choices.

Let me digress here. Right now, my family and I are sitting on top of a hill. God’s been really good to us in providing for our needs and a few wants as well. For now, the valley is behind and below us. Lately, my prayers have been specifically for God’s wisdom. The best way for me to be a great dad and husband is to follow the Lord’s guidance in all things. That takes a great deal of wisdom to avoid repeating mistakes of the past. So, with that said, I am reminded of past choices made strictly in my flesh which led to unfortunate consequences.

I see youngsters of the Millennial age making some of the same mistakes I’ve made in the past. I just want to help them do better; stop them from chasing the same rabbit I’ve pursued year before, if I can.

“Stay in school; get an education,” I want to say.

“Don’t rush into love. You’ve got plenty of time to do it the right way,” I need to warn.

“It’s perfectly okay to let people know you don’t know. You don’t always have to be right, especially when you’re wrong,” I want them to understand.

“Don’t waste your time on silly. Time is relentless and will someday run out. What you do to make a difference, with the time you have, is all that really matters.” A lot of today’s kids need to hear that message. This idea of Y.O.L.O. is a farce.

“God is real. Jesus is alive. The Holy Spirit is still working today. Don’t let anyone convince you of anything otherwise.” The world is making real progress in convincing our youth that God is for the weak-minded. Our kids need to know better. We have to teach them.

That detour took a little longer than I anticipated, but it was good to get that out because it’s what I’m feelin’ what now. So, the consequences of decisions made in the flesh have long lasting repercussions. As I grow older and (hopefully) move closer to God, I see how blind and naive choices devoid of God’s wisdom have dictated the course of my life. But God is still good, and patient with me. I realize he’s always been there for me, through every misguided decision and ridiculous choice. He never let me fall beyond a certain point.

I think that once you see his presence in your life, from past to present–and you recognize the things he’s brought you through–you have a change in perspective. Maybe, you even have a change in plans. What once seemed so clear for insane reasons, now appears exactly how it is and was from the beginning: crazy. And what once seemed boring and square, is now the only path you really want to be on, because it’s truth.

 

*always*

Random Thoughts on Clouds

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I’ve never understood people’s fascination with clouds. In clear blue skies, they’re billowy-white. On rainy days, they blend in with the gray slate of the sky. It sucks that the last thing I’m going to see on this earth is a frickin’ puffy cloud shaped like a duck, floating directly overhead.

Where are the cops when you need them? On T.V., a guy gets T-boned in the middle of an intersection and 50 people rush to his aid. So why am I laying here, broken and bleeding, numb from the neck down, and no one’s standing over me? 

Did anybody catch the number of that truck? 

Did I turn off the coffee pot this morning?

Man, I’m glad I took a shower before getting on the bike. I’d hate to meet God smelling like a sewer-rat. 

God. I’m not ready yet. This isn’t how it’s supposed to end for me. I haven’t even proposed to Alecia, yet. 

Maybe it’s not a duck. It looks more like a…goose.

Bike’s probably totalled. I should have gone with Geico.

I probably shouldn’t have left Alecia crying like that. Should have waited. Maybe two seconds. Maybe…

I’m so sleepy. I wonder if I’m dreaming now? I wonder if she’s really right next to me, in bed? I should marry her; make an honest woman of her before it’s too late.

It’s an Eagle! Ha! No wait; it’s changing again. Clouds are stupid.

I deserve a raise, Mr. Berry. You and I both know I’m the best guy on your team. I should tell him that tomorrow.

“Oh no. He’s not gonna make it.”

“I’ve called 911. An ambulance is on the way. Buddy, can you hear me? You’ve been in an accident. Keep your eyes open. Help is on the way. Buddy?”

Why’s this guy miming at me? I can’t hear a word he’s saying.

“D…dude. You’re…blocking…my view, man.”

“What’s he saying?”

“He’s in shock. I can’t tell where he’s bleeding from the most. It’s everywhere.”

“Wait! You hear that? That’s the ambulance!”

“Thank God. Hold on, buddy. Help is almost here. Stay with me.”

He’s got bad teeth. Should probably think about seeing a dentist soon. When was my last appointment? I’ll have to schedule one tomorrow. 

It’s an albatross! Clouds are cool, I guess. Never stopped to consider them before. I’ll have to make time more often. Maybe tomorrow.

“He’s fading fast. What’s taking them so long? I can see the lights from here. Traffic jam down there?”

“I wonder if he’s saved, honey. Should we pray for him?”

C’mon, really? Now some chick is blocking my view! Who are these people? Why are they watching me sleep?

That cloud looks an awful lot like Je-

“No! Stay with me, buddy! Come on, you gotta fight!”

“Honey, he’s gone.”