Hissings of Gossip…


“My name is Gossip. I break hearts and ruin lives. I am cunning and malicious and I gather strength with age. The more I am repeated, the more I am believed. I flourish at every level of society. My victims are helpless. They cannot protect themselves against me because I have no face. To track me down is impossible. The harder you try, the more elusive I become. Once I tarnish a reputation, it is never the same. I wreck marriages, and ruin careers — cause sleepless nights, heartaches, and indigestion. I spawn suspicion and generate grief. I make innocent people cry in their pillows. Even my name hisses…I’m gossip.”

Gossip has become what I call a “winkable” sin. It’s so commonplace—so socially acceptable—we make jokes about it. It’s like gluttony and laziness, and other sins we’ve adapted to…to the point they no longer seem like sin. How quickly do we stand in judgment of the athlete who gets caught texting peep-show pictures, or the pastor who gets caught with his pants down. Do you know that when we gossip about that person, our gossip is just as sinful as the sin we’re condemning?

There’s something within us that wants to talk about the dirty laundry. So the cause is in our heart. The problem with gossip is not so much that we do it. The bigger problem is that it’s in our hearts to do it.

“A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.” ~Luke 6:45

LIFE…out of the dirt…


I’m fascinated by our Creator—what He’s really like! I see evidence of Him all around me…every day. I look often toward the mountains and am reminded of His majesty. At times I’m spellbound by what appears to be His glory hovering over the highest peaks of the Sandia Mountains. And when I look at the intricate beauty of a flower, and smell the fragrance, and realize this thing of beauty grew out of the dirt, I am amazed! Still…I am even more amazed that He loves me—and that He has a Plan for my life, and His Plan is good. In fact, it’s PERFECT! (Jeremiah 29:11)

I squandered several years of my life because of my deceptive and self-destructive ways. I perverted the precious gift of life, and I was compelled to live in the shadows of guilt and shame. I hurt people by my foolishness. I felt as though I had disqualified myself from ever finding real peace and meaning in my life.

But…God invited me to come back home to Him. And I accepted the invitation. I was given yet another chance.

By His grace He has healed my heart. And He has not only restored my life, but He has given me an Abundant Life…far beyond anything I ever imagined…and far beyond anything I deserve. That’s His Amazing Grace! And I am astounded that He has invited me to share in His Plan here on earth. I get to tell my story of mind-boggling peace…and of a purpose that is eternal.

The good news is that He loves to forgive us and restore us to a relationship with Himself. He only asks that we admit to our need for Him, and humbly ask for the gift of His grace in our life, and receive the New Life He has prepared for us–Eternal Life that begins the very moment we are set free by our amazing Creator!

The Exit Strategy ~


When your heart aches with a longing that cannot be tamed… and you know where you’re at  is no longer where you want to be….it’s time to develop your Exit Strategy!

Have you ever felt stuck in a place or in a situation you know is wrong for you? Have you told yourself over and over and over again, “It’s time to make a change…time to move on….time to get right with God?” The clock keeps ticking…on and on…and at the end of the day you find yourself in the same place you were when you started your day! Discouragement sets in and you go back to bed with that empty feeling…once again. The cycle of frustration continues as the minutes melt into hours, the hours into days and the days into months… and there you are…no further along than you were when you started.

So what’s wrong with this picture? Have you considered that you are trying to do life in your own strength? You’ve gotten into the bad habit of not waiting for instructions from theCommander in Chief! You rush into the battle unprepared, only to come out of it at the end of the day all bloody and bruised!

When will you listen! Don’t you know that the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords was there the second you opened your eyes in the morning! Yes…Christ Himself was right there with you! He is saying;  “Humanly speaking, it is impossible; but not with God. Everything is possible with God!” (Mark 10:27).

Learning to be still…to listen for His instruction…is the key that will open the doors of the impossible. Learning to pray in a new way….to wait upon the Lord for His instruction instead of rushing into the day unprepared…naked! Would you do that?! Would you go out the door naked? No! Just as you take time each morning to shower, dress, and drink your first cup of coffee, how much more important it is to connect with our Heavenly Father! He’s there…waiting in the pages of His Word…patiently longing to empower you for the tasks ahead…waiting to give you the pep talk you need…waiting to show you a better way to get things right…waiting to see if you’ll invite Him to go with you on today’s journey!

He’s there…patiently waiting. The Resource is ready! Why in the world would you set out naked! Don’t you know that “In His presence the mountains quake and the hills melt away; the earth trembles…The Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust Him” (Nahum 1:6-7). So let Him in… “Be still and know that He is God.” He has your best interest at heart. Don’t rush out the door without Him. Begin your daily exit strategy with your Commander in Chief by your side!  ~ IN HIS STRONG LOVE ~ rose

To be continued…

Aside

Being what we’ve become…in Christ!


Being what we've become...in Christ!

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It happened on a hike in New Mexico…


It happened on a hike in the mountains of New Mexico, the very first time we met after connecting on loveandseek.com. Rose had invited me to come to Albuquerque for the 2004 International Balloon Fiesta. I lived in Michigan at the time -1613.3 miles away. A “safe” distance, we thought. No chance of anything “happening” other than meeting a new friend.

Rose took me hiking in the mountains, and it was on one of those hikes I encountered the grace of God in the form of woman. As we were descending the mountain, I told her my story of moral failure, and my eventual spiritual healing. I was totally unprepared for the response I got from her as she stopped on the trail, turned and embraced me, and told me she saw a man transformed by the grace of God.  She says that’s when she first fell in love with me…in the midst of my “mess confession!” Imagine that!

A few weeks after our first encounter I traveled to Kenya to deliver medical supplies to an orphanage. When I arrived back in Detroit, Rose met me at the airport, and we enjoyed our second “date.”  A few weeks later Rose and I were married in New Mexico—the 3rd time we met. We recently celebrated our 7th anniversary.

There’s something about the grace of our Lord that creates a bond that is beyond our ability to explain. For Rose and me, our personal stories are a living illustration of God’s amazing grace–and our love story is the Divine punch line!

When Life Throws us…Parkinson’s


My younger brother Fred was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s. It’s devastating news…the kind of news we dread. He had noticed he was having difficulty gripping things, and he occasionally stumbled. Apparently he’s had the disease for a long time; the doctor told him his loss of smell many years ago was probably an early indicater.

I think we all imagine what it would be like to be diagnosed with a debilitating disease. I know I have. When we hear about it happening to someone else, we wonder how we would react under the same circumstances.

Parkinson’s attacks the place in the brain that produces a chemical called dopamine. Our brain relys on chemicals to function the way it is designed to function. Without dopamine, things begin to change, both physically and emotionally. Nerve cells use dopamine to help control muscle movement. Without it, a person experiences tremors and stiffness.

Dopamine also plays an integral part in our emotional state by affecting the reward center in the brain. Most of us do what we do–to some degree–in order to experience some sense of satisfaction…or reward. We enjoy the feeling that follows our accomplishments.

And to some extent, we all rely on our feelings–or emotions–to validate our “okayness.” Without emotional validation, we tend to doubt what we “know” to be true. Spiritually speaking, we have inadvertently tied our faith to our feelings. No one knows this better than a person with Parkinson’s, or with some other condition that affects the production of certain brain chemicals.

How well are we equipped to handle “feelingless faith?” Are we able to press on in our faithfulness, even when it no longer seems to make sense–from our perspective. Can we continue to trust the heart of our Father?

I invite you to share your experience. We help others best when we allow God to use our story to spur one another on in the truth.

My heart is heavy for my brother. We are asking God to lead us in this journey. We need His perspective, because our own perspective doesn’t sustain us through these times. Kinda weird I suppose, but I also believe we will all learn some important lessons as we travel this road together.

When Fred comes to you mind, will you please pray for him–and for others you may know who are also struggling–that the peace of God will saturate his entire being in a way that boggles his dopamine-challenged brain!

This guy is OBSESSED with the Cross…


…and I LOVE it!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8vFGp8QpJk&feature=related

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