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Archive for January, 2010

One occupation that neglects to receive the appreciation deserved is the position of Security Guard. Many times people are even unaware that someone is there on duty. The guard just quietly does the work required, day by day, sometimes year after year. My Dad filled the role of security guard for General Electric in Syracuse, New York for nearly twenty five years. A Grandfather and Uncle were also on the guard force. In many ways it is like a military or law enforcement job, even holding ranks. My uncle became a Corporal. The uniforms were impressive, looking much like New York State Troopers. There were occasions when officers called upon Dad to direct traffic, at vehicle accident scenes. Why? People respected his uniform. It represented authority and protection.  The job is often a lonely one, working alone for many hours, and in all kinds of weather. At times his personal safety took a back seat. He worked in times of unrest, crossing picket lines during plant strikes. I am proud of the work that my father did.

Do you realize that our hearts and lives are vulnerable, and in need of guarding? See: Philippians 4:6-7. We are commanded to not be anxious, but to pray and be thankful. We are instructed to bring all our requests to God. Then in ways beyond our understanding, His peace will guard our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.God’s peace is on guard duty day and night! Many night watchmen have been known to nod off while on duty. God never grows weary. He quietly goes about His responsibilities attentively protecting us. We can be sure that Lloyd’s of London could not promise more!

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How often have you heard the expression, “He’s a broken man?” It brings to mind someone who through circumstances has lost it all, at times through no fault of their own. Let’s take a close look at the words broken and brokenness. Definitions include: fractured, crushed, pulverized, smitten, afflicted, and shattered. How would you like your life to be described that way? When a person becomes broken, they often are devastated with a loss of family, home, occupation, self respect, and even at times loss of health. To be broken appears to be a very negative thing. It is a negative, which can be turned into a big positive! Individuals, families, churches, communities, and nations benefit from brokenness.

 Remember the symbol for negative, that flat horizontal line…How does it become a positive? You add a vertical line in the center. What do you see? A cross is formed! Disease left Job broken. He suffered the loss of his family, financial disaster, and received unfair criticism from family and friends. The most crucial loss came in the sense of losing Gods’ presence. How did he respond? (See Job 17:1) Job’s life became broken by negatives, yet the story continues… (Job 42:1-6, 10) Job received a second chance!

Hannah felt crushed and broken, because of the loss of a fertile womb. (I Samuel 1:5-18) God transformed this seemingly hopeless situation into praise! (I Samuel 1:26-27) Imagine her joy! Her dramatic answer to her heart cries filled her mouth with thanksgiving. She could not hold it in!

(I Samuel 2: 1-10)

Naomi traced her brokenness to the loss of her husband and both of her adult sons. (Ruth 1:20-21)  God would display His power over seemingly hopeless circumstances. (Ruth 4:13-16) She once could only see death and grief. Now, life and rejoicing pulsed through her veins!

The sin and guilt of King David’s adultery with Bathsheba left him broken. He tried to cover up and eventually put plans into action resulting in the murder of Bathsheba’s husband in battle. David experienced the deep loss of intimate fellowship with God. (Psalms 38:8/ 51:17) David became contrite, deeply sorry, and repented. David’s negatives became positives. (Psalms 51:13) He would be used by God to be a channel of blessing!

The Apostle Peter’s life lay broken at his feet following his sin of denying The Lord Jesus. (Luke 22:54-62) Peter thought he could never be trusted by Jesus again; how could he ever face his Lord? His total failure turned into a positive! (John 21: 15-17) His Master, the Great Shepherd gave him a special assignment, feeding the sheep!

God does not want us to stay locked into sorrow and brokenness. (Psalms 147:3/Ezekiel 34:16) Picture this if you can…Your life may be hard, no longer warmed by Gods’ word. Your life may be brittle, like a piece of pottery…needing transformation. Maybe you are living for him, but he wants to use your life as a demonstration of his power and grace…..Let Him gently break you. He will put the pieces back together! Jesus is always our model to follow.  (Luke 4:18/ Isaiah 61:1-3) He has set free the downtrodden, released the broken from sorrow! Jesus offered His body as a sacrifice, becoming broken for you and me. Will we share in the power of His suffering and resurrection?  (I Peter 4:13)

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Do you feel uncomfortable when you are with someone who is grieving over the death of a loved one? Do you share with others or in self talk express, “I just do not know what to say.” We want to say just the right thing or at least not say the wrong thing. It is not easy and we feel so inadequate.

My first time to face death came at the age of twelve. My best girlfriend and I parted angrily following a childish quarrel and were not speaking. Then I learned that her father died following a stroke. I felt miserable…A neighbor called and said my friend wanted me to come to the funeral home.  Though fear gripped me I knew I must go. What should I do; what could I say? When I arrived my friend quickly came to me and let me know she understood my feelings. She offered a hand to hold, when I should have been comforting her! I now realize that God gave her grace and peace in her hour of need. She just wanted her friend to be there. I did not need to do anything or say special words. She just needed me.

Four years later my grandmother died and I took her death very hard. At the funeral home I sat with the same childhood girlfriend and her steady boyfriend. (They have now been married close to forty two years.) He sat beside me holding my hand. His tenderness and compassion is a precious lasting memory. I have shared that experience with grief many times in recognition of his great concern. He knew I needed a hand to hold and he made his available. Do you sometimes feel at a loss for words? When Job lost all of his children, his wealth plus his health, some friends came and sat by him. (Job 2:12-13) They were silent; but they were present and accounted for. Do you sometimes feel at a loss for words? That is no problem; just reach out your hand!

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