Adversity, Bible, identity

Identity

As a pastor, I have seen one particular problem create for folks more negative issues than I care to remember. I call it SID…Spiritual Identity Disorder. If one doesn’t know her true identity then her purpose, security, and significance will always be dependent on who likes or doesn’t like her, how well she achieves or doesn’t achieve, and how well she feels about her appearance. The problem with all of these is the fickle essence of their nature. She will always be subject to their fluctuations. There is only one constant…God. The purpose we find in him will never change. The identity we receive as his child will never change. The security and significance given to us through his amazing love and grace will never change. This is why the Apostle Paul exclaimed, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”

The song in this link to YouTube is by Lauren Daigle. It’s title is “You Say.” It’s spot on regarding spiritual identity disorder. I pray the Lord uses it to move you closer to him.

At your service, Ricki.

https://youtu.be/N8WK9HmF53w


Standard
Bible

The Fall of Chicago

get up close and personal b and w

Depending on sources Chicago has had around 50 wounded by gun fire over this past weekend…with several having lost their lives. The violence we are seeing across the world and here at home is evil. It needs a spiritual solution so not only lives but societies can be transformed. Evil and the death that follows do not need guns to kill. They will always find a way. However, a hundred thousand peaceful prayer partners, ignoring Rahm Emmanuel and the chestless politicoes of both the left and right, flooding and filling the streets of Chicago, as they fuel a Martin Luther King Jr style siege of peace, may very well turn the tide. America needs a new revolution, not reformation. It needs a revolution of true Christ-like love. Love that stands in the face of hostility…arms open and receiving…sacrificial love…the kind that spends itself rather than the obstacle ahead…love that says, “Come what may, help or harm, peace or pain, life or death, here we stand we can do no other. If you need to hurt others hurt us and as we fall hear our plea…’Seek the Savior, he is your last best hope.'”

God forgive us. God help us.

 

 

 

Standard
Bible

A Road Too Easily Traveled

If you are a follower of Jesus pay heed to what you are witnessing in Portland, OR. Ask yourself, “Where does this road lead?” For that matter, “Where did this road begin?” This is not a wrong road taken in the sense of it being a terrible mistake. And, if you’ll allow me to continue my metaphor, it’s not the end of the road either. It’s merely a stop along the way toward a planned destination intended by folks who pit the left and the right against one another for their own means. This social upheavel has leaders…and not the ones standing at the front of those mobs. Please, my brothers and sisters, come out from the social morass of the so called right/left political division. There’s another way…and I don’t mean libertairian, green, or whatever. If you are a Christ follower you are first and foremost a citizen of heaven…an ambassador. You don’t represent the land you are sent to; you represent the one to which you really belong. Don’t get pulled into the local mess. There is always a diabolical unity behind the so called competing interest groups. There’s a better way…a narrow way…The Way, The Truth, The Life.

#thathideousstrength

#philippians3:20,21

#ephesians6:10-27

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/national/the-latest-police-will-screen-for-weapons-at-portland-rally/2018/08/04/6b3628e2-9808-11e8-818b-e9b7348cd87d_story.html

Standard
Adversity, Bible

Just Go For It

“Alright, alright, alright!” There are times when one’s only choice is to simply go for it. So you buck up and “get er done.” “Just do it,” because “when the going gets tough the tough get going.” They “keep on keeping on.” If others are involved there’s no use pleading, a simple “Let’s roll” or “Hoo-ah” should suffice. Ambiguity won’t do. “Cowboy up!” “Eye of the tiger,” man! Quit yer whining! Full steam ahead! Charge! “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more…(for) in peace there’s nothing so becomes a man as modest stillness and humility, but when the blast of war blows in our ears, stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood, disguise fair nature with hard-favour’d rage!” Stand in the gap. Don’t flinch. Never yield. “Never give in. Never give up.” “Press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called (you) heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Right on? Right on!

Standard
Adversity, Bible, Life's Moments

Awake…Again…’Cus the Lord Knows Me Well.

3:00am, Ricki, do you know where you are? How far have we traveled together? Seriously, oh man, the challenges we’ve stared down, climbed over, worked through, or even ignored…remember? Do you recall that time, really it was a season or should I say siege, during which you just kept wagging your head back and forth muttering “No, no, no, no?” Yeah, that’s the one. And…yup, that one too. Well, yes, that also. Now do you know where you are? Where you always are? Umhmm, you got it.

Remember when I said, “I will never leave you or forsake you?”

Right. That’s how I said it in the later Letter to the Hebrews. But do you remember how I said it first?

Yup, there you go. Moses was finishing. Joshua was getting started. Your brothers and sisters long ago needed encouragement as the time for entering the Promised Land was upon them. So, what did I have Moses say? Exactly, “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6) That was a long time ago…about 3400 years! And then again, about 2000 years ago, my people needed that encouragement , so I reminded them again. (Hebrews 13:5)

So, “Let not your heart be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:1-3)

Now do you remember where you are? Yes, yes, yes, you are with me. We got this.

Thank you, Jesus. O Lord, thank you.

Standard
Bible, Culture, Life's Moments

Memorial Day Thoughts…

Grandpa McGrath’s leggings: WW1

I am thankful I come from a long line of veterans. Some fortunate enough, like me, to never see combat. Others, not so fortunate. I am also thankful I have never had to suffer the ultimate loss of any of those who served in combat. However, for some, to whom I owe everything, the losses of those they fought with are staggering. From my Grandpa Micky on my Mom’s side in WW1, to my Dad and Father-in-law and my wife’s step-father, and uncles in WW2, to my brother-in-law and my cousins in Viet Nam, and my nephew in this long war against terrorism, the numbers are hard to even imagine. Dad and Earl stormed the beaches in WW2…Dad in the Pacific, Earl on D-Day. Both made it from basic training to the beaches, through multiple large battles, to mop-up patrols, and finally home. They literally lost 1000’s of their brothers…all around and very near them on their full assaults, behind their covers, in their fox-holes, and further to the rear and both flanks, but never their fronts…because both served with squads on point. Dad and Earl and Lee separated from service upon their returns home. Dad was recalled for Korea. He fought again. He was recalled for the Berlin Crisis. Thankfully resolution occurred before any fighting started. He was then called again. So he took up his weapon and his aid bag and fought and bandaged and splinted and removed dog-tags yet again in Viet Nam. His service spanned 35 years with 22 on active duty and 5 (possibly 6…we’re not sure) in combat. Through it all he grieved most the condition of his little brother who returned from the Korean War with what we now call PTSD. His little brother never really recovered. Family breakdown and alcohol became his partners until the alcohol consumed him and brought death far too soon. So, actually, I was wrong earlier when I said, “I am also thankful I have never had to suffer the ultimate loss of any of those who served in combat” for surely Uncle Jim’s death was the last fatality due to WW2 to strike so close to Dad’s heart.

So to those in my family who fight no more, to those still with me, to those now on active duty, call me to attention because I owe you my salute, my respect, my love, my freedom, indeed my life. To my dear Brat Family: the same salute, respect, and love do I extend to you and yours. Your Dads and your Moms, who served just as faithfully as their husbands, are just like mine. They are heroes, legends…ordinary people who rose to extraordinary heights. All my love.

Father, thank you for them all. Please honor them. For those gone by, attend them as no human hands ever could. For those still with us, encourage them, keep then, protect them, prosper them.

Standard
Adversity, Bible, Life's Moments

Josh McDowell and My Sister

Josh is one of my true heroes. I remember attending a conference back in the mid 80’s in which he was the keynote speaker. My sister, a single mom with three children, lonely, hurt, abandoned by her one true love, attended with me. I had recently penned a long letter to her. She chose to pull it out and read it again during one of the breaks. Josh saw her. Sat next to her. Asked what she was reading. After hearing it was an encouragement letter from her little brother, a young pastor, he asked if he could read it. She said yes. He read it. Then, with tears of both sadness and joy between them, he prayed for Floria. I’ll never forget her excitement as, later in the day, she told me of the encounter. She made this confirmation, “He is the same up close as he is in the pulpit. I believe I can trust him…and, like you, he says it’s gonna get better.” I’ve read his books. I’ve kept up with his ministry. I’ve seen many of his talks. And I know Floria was right. She’s with the Lord now. I miss her. Josh is still a powerful servant-leader. I look forward to meeting him one day…if not here, then in heaven…with my sister. She will say, “Y’all were right.”

I know you’ll like his powerful testimony in the following video. It’s not too long. You won’t be disappointed.

 

Standard