Lead by Example

Since March many of us have been prisoners in our own homes due to information that we thought we could trust from the “experts”.  In my opinion it has become apparent that they were very wrong and that in fact COVID-19 was no worse on the population than the flu.

I will agree that we need to protect the old and very young when it comes to this virus, but those of us who are of good overall health need to get back to what we know is right; working hard to support our families and those who support us by providing the produce we depend on each and every day.

After reading a post by Marcus Pittman on FB I am of the same position                                ( https://www.facebook.com/marcuspittman/posts/10106117309026028 ); as a “Church” we must start having services again to set the example for the rest of the nation to follow.  Our fear does not reside in the virus we have been told to fear, it lies in the hands of the one and true God who is over everything, thus we should have no fear to go forward with God who provides our armor and is the tip of our spear.

We can be wise in how we congregate by keeping safe distances, not shaking hands, wearing masks, etc.  Either way we are there to worship God regardless of what we wear, how far we sit from others or if we don’t shake hands.

Let’s shake the fear off and go forward as the Christian Soldiers we know we are!  I will stand next to any Christian as we go into the fray together to fight the good fight for God’s Kingdom; His will and not ours is our marching order!

Until that day we will continue to pray for those in the medical fields or any other job that puts them up close to the virus as it stands today.  We also pray that our elected leaders do not abuse their office, but handle each situation with wisdom and clarity, rather than with panic or emotional choices.

May you find Jesus as your peace and strength during this challenging time.  With that strength I would ask you to stand with your Christian brothers and sisters as we march on for God’s glory.

There is victory in this and it will be we believers who show others how to find it!

 

The Koifish Christian

“Do You Carpe Diem?”

Throughout our lives we encounter the subject of death in varying circumstances. Sometimes it hits close to home, sometimes it is just far enough away that we brush it off as “…so glad it wasn’t someone in our family”. Either way I don’t think we take the time to appreciate the life we all have in front of us. I understand that some may take offense to that last statement and if you do; good! This means you take every day on as a gift and treat it as such.

For those who are mourning the loss of someone close there is no magic answer for making the pain of loss go away. However, there is peace found with God and the Son Jesus Christ. It is He who listens to our every groaning regardless of the severity or complexity. The hardest part of turning to God with our grieving is the “trusting” part. Simply trust as a child trusts their parent and you will see God begin working in your life. The first sign to look for is a friend or family member asking to be at your side through your mourning; just say “yes”.

By saying yes to that friend or family member who wants to mourn with you, it could very well be their prayer to be a blessing to you and God is simply answering their prayer to answer yours. Don’t deny them their prayer as it might also be a prayer about being more obedient, caring, loving, or simply trying to not be selfish. We may never know the “Why”, but that is okay, just roll with God’s plan.

Was there a time you told someone “No” and you later regretted it?

Something to try during a time of mourning might be to turn your mourning into energy for helping or reaching out to someone else. The truth is this; no matter how much we mourn it cannot bring that person back. However, we can honor that person by giving, loving and sharing more with those around us who just might need you to be a blessing for them. Simply put, don’t dig yourself into the hole of mourning and never come out.

God’s promise of life after death is also something we should take the time to think more about as it should make us appreciate the life we have now and know that we should not waste it by living like we will never die. This is a selfish way to live and not one of the directives God has given us. The first directive from Christ was to worship God only and the second, love your neighbor as you do yourself. You can’t do either if you let mourning take over.

How have do you feel inside after helping others?

God places every person in our path for a reason and if we are simply mulling through life day to day without realizing that someday those around us will not be here, we are doomed to a life full of regret. This is not at all how God wants us to live! If you think about it, the phrase; “Carpe Diem” (Seize the Day) is more than just a quote that looks cool on a coffee cup. It should be how we approach life every minute of every day as God intended.

How have you handled the hard days? Did you trust God, or did you try to just trust in yourself?

It is okay to mourn the loss of a loved one, but don’t let it take over your life. This life is the only one you have so treat it like the gift it is. God never promises an easy life here on earth, but He does promise that in the end you will be free from the burdens that you had while here. Through Jesus Christ you can accomplish all that God has planned for you so don’t waste another day. Use this day and every day after as an opportunity to simply be a blessing to others, just as they were for you when you were in your time of need.

Are you ready to “Carpe Diem”?

 

The Koifish Christian

“Walking Amongst Shadows”

As I walk through soft green grass I make no sound,

I wonder at the sun’s beauty as birds sing and flutter,

Below my feet shadows are revealed on the ground.

A soft breeze awakens their voice to be heard,

Their voices carry me quickly to the past,

It is through their stories my heart is stirred.

Standing proud the shapes are never alone,

Their shadows touch each other as if a friend,

They will never leave the other as time has shown.

Their line is disciplined, just as once in the past,

All in their finest since the day they were formed,

A simple stone tells their story and forever will it last.

With my eyes now open, I can painfully see,

I am among my fallen brothers and sisters,

Their silence begs me to pass on their story.

They have given all to take away a nation’s fears,

The only words I am able to utter, are “Thank You”,

As I walk through the shadows and wipe away my tears.

D.E. Jones

Never should the sacrifices of those who gave all be forgotten.

“Say Amen!”

     As we sit in our pew next to a friend or even a stranger, we listen to the message from the pastor hoping to glean a nugget of knowledge, hope or a simple reminder of God’s love.  While we listen and learn there are points in the message that may bring a rise in our emotion that feels like our soul wants to shout from the rooftops the Truth we know in Christ.

     In the upper Midwest there seems to be a tradition of remaining silent and stone-like during the Sunday Service in Christian Churches.  I personally do not know why this is, but in all the churches I have attended it is like this.  Since I am only speaking of this phenomena in general terms, please don’t wear this shoe if it doesn’t fit.

     Myself having attended a Baptist church for a few years while living in Oklahoma have experienced the other side of this coin.  In that church we were encouraged to say “Amen!” when the preacher said something that supported the Truth of Jesus Christ or encouragement for all to take in.  It is also a great way to give the preacher encouragement that his message is accurate and well received.

     In 2 Corinthians 1: 20 Paul makes a statement about “Amen” that I find refreshing to my soul as to why saying it is so important.  20. “For all the promises of God find their yes in him.  That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.”  When we say “Amen” we are saying that God’s will is the final answer and it shall be so.

     I believe “Amen” for a Christian is the seal for God’s promise through Jesus Christ.  Each time we say it at the end of our prayers, we are sealing our prayer with the belief and confidence that God in His time will answer it.  “Amen” can also be said when we affirm the Truth when it is preached.

     In my humble opinion saying “Amen” during the preacher’s message should be considered the norm rather than the “thing we don’t do here”.  As Christians it seems to me that it is our role to be heard and not silent when the Truth is spoken or if we need to share the Gospel to the lost.  So then the question begs to be asked; are we following the traditions of men or are we following what God is urging us to do; to whom does the glory belong?

“Where is Your Bucket?”

In my response to those of any political party or any affiliation to a group or groups who desperately oppose one another after our much disputed Presidential Election, I would offer the words of Booker T. Washington’s Atlanta Compromise Speech given in 1895 on September 18th.

His words were directed primarily at newly freed African American Slaves and the South which in some part included the white population, but in my opinion he was speaking to the America as a whole. The country had just gone through a devastating Civil War and healing was needed in every corner of the nation, regardless of the color of one’s skin.

Our faith in God will and should always be the most important aspect of who we are as a people, but more importantly we should also try to understand that we may not always be able to control the people or circumstances around us. However, what we can control are those things we are responsible for as citizens of a community.  The healing takes place in the smallest of them and begins with the hard work that is ours to do, a helping hand and a smile.

Mr. Washington was telling us then to put our differences aside and simply work together for the greater good, thereby, improving our own station in life. He never promised easy, nor has God for that matter when it comes to what He has called us to do for His Kingdom.  So I will leave you with the story and some words from Booker T. Washington that I hope will bring things into some sort of perspective for you if you are struggling to move on, forgive, befriend or simply get back to some sort of normal in your life.

A ship lost at sea for many days suddenly sighted a friendly vessel. From the mast of the unfortunate vessel was seen a signal, “Water, water; we die of thirst!” The answer from the friendly vessel at once came back, “Cast down your bucket where you are.” A second time the signal, “Water, water; send us water!” ran up from the distressed vessel, and was answered, “Cast down your bucket where you are.” And a third and fourth signal for water was answered, “Cast down your bucket where you are.” The captain of the distressed vessel, at last heeding the injunction, cast down his bucket, and it came up full of fresh, sparkling water from the mouth of the Amazon River. To those of my race who depend on bettering their condition in a foreign land or who underestimate the importance of cultivating friendly relations with the Southern white man, who is their next-door neighbor, I would say: “Cast down your bucket where you are”— cast it down in making friends in every manly way of the people of all races by whom we are surrounded.

Cast it down in agriculture, mechanics, in commerce, in domestic service, and in the professions. And in this connection it is well to bear in mind that whatever other sins the South may be called to bear, when it comes to business, pure and simple, it is in the South that the Negro is given a man’s chance in the commercial world, and in nothing is this Exposition more eloquent than in emphasizing this chance. Our greatest danger is that in the great leap from slavery to freedom we may overlook the fact that the masses of us are to live by the productions of our hands, and fail to keep in mind that we shall prosper in proportion as we learn to dignify and glorify common labour, and put brains and skill into the common occupations of life; shall prosper in proportion as we learn to draw the line between the superficial and the substantial, the ornamental gewgaws of life and the useful. No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem. It is at the bottom of life we must begin, and not at the top. Nor should we permit our grievances to overshadow our opportunities.” (Harlen, 1974)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reference:

http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/39/

Louis R. Harlan, ed., The Booker T. Washington Papers, Vol. 3, (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1974), 583–587.

“A Story of Two Bobs”

This is one story about two men named “Bob”.  In my life I have had the privilege of knowing two men who unknowingly have impacted my life like no other.  The first “Bob” I will introduce is Bob Nordeen; he was a member in the church I attended in Oklahoma and we used to visit door to door witnessing to anyone who would listen to the Gospel of Jesus or others who were Christian, but just wanted to fellowship.  Bob was a retired Sergeant Major in the U.S. Army, a Vietnam Veteran and Korean War Veteran/P.O.W.

On every trip we took each week through the Lawton neighborhoods, he would always surprise me by his patience and tender heart.  He taught me how to not only try to understand people, but to take time to understand myself.  The more time I spent with him the more I realized that life will not always be what you think it should be and when we find ourselves facing tough times we must always maintain our faith in Jesus Christ, giving God the glory regardless of our circumstance.

Bob Nordeen went to be with our Lord before we left Oklahoma and it was both a sad day and a happy day because I knew how much he wanted to be with Jesus.  Sad, because I would no longer see his smile or listen to his wisdom.  I still miss him greatly to this day, but I am comforted to know that he is doing God’s work getting his instructions directly from God and joyfully getting them done.

The next “Bob” I will introduce you to is the man I now call “Dad”.  As he is married to my mother I guess you could say that I have to, but I use it more out of respect than because of marriage.  Technically he would be my Stepfather, but I consider that irrelevant.  Bob Larson is the most giving man I have ever met.  He will do anything for anyone at a moments notice if he is able and by this example I have learned that sometimes giving will hurt, but it is nothing permanent so just do it.

Bob is always concerned for others and is not afraid to let it be known whether by his words or actions.  The other thing I admire about him is his ability to share his feelings about his family and it is obvious that these feelings run very deep.  He is also found to be gentle yet strong, wise yet cheerful and patient yet passionate.

Not only is Bob a friend, he is a Dad to my wife, a wonderful husband to my mother, along with being a loving and kind grandfather to my daughters.  So again I will say that in my life there have been two men named “Bob” who have brought such a positive example into my life, which now greatly influences me.  Both are and should be the men that other men model their lives after.

I thank and praise God for these men who have given me the example to follow.  My prayer is to set the same example they did while still walking with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.