Archive for September, 2014

Hacked

Monday, September 29th, 2014

downloadWell, I saw where Apple is saying that the way the hacker was able to get into the iCloud and download all those nude pictures of beautiful  women was that the hacker was able to guess the correct passwords for each account. I am not sure I am buying that one. But I know exactly how all those beautiful women feel. The same thing happened to me. Well not exactly I had my clothes on!  Several years ago a guy hacked into my email account looking for who knows what.  Apparently, he was disappointed with his find because he changed my password so that I could no longer access the account. Go figure! With tracking software it was pretty easy to crack the case, but I had to set up a new account. It was inconvenient, but not the end of the world. I thought about giving him a hard time but I recalled something my Latin teacher, the late Father Edward Arnold used to say at Father Ryan–“Little minds, little things”.

Jesus talked about that kind of thing when he said these words “You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also…. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven… If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect”. (Matthew 5 NLT)

If you are interested in solving many of your current stresses and even ones in the future, then tape that Scripture to your mirror because it is good stuff!

Questions

Monday, September 15th, 2014

question_head5The Foley,  Sotloff and Haines families’ hearts have been summarily ripped out by agents of Satan calling themselves “ISIS”. Obviously these barbarians have no consciences or limits to what they will do to inflict pain on those they describe as “Infidels”. After James Foley was executed I watched the heart wrenching interview that his parents gave outside their family home. They talked about what a great son Jim had been. They also gave God credit for giving them the strength to make it day by day. It was a remarkable interview and remarkable faith.

At times such as this we humans can doubt our most basic beliefs. It is normal to sometimes doubt God and to always have questions. Fortunately, the Bible clearly teaches that God understands our doubt and is full of stories that are meant to help us when doubt burrows its way deep into our souls.

Matthew 14:22-27 (NLT) …Jesus made his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake while he sent the people home.  Afterward he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.  Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came to them, walking on the water.  When the disciples saw him, they screamed in terror, thinking he was a ghost.  But Jesus spoke to them at once. “It’s all right,” he said. “I am here! Don’t be afraid.”

Yet, we are afraid. Several years ago when I was in the deepest chasm of  personal despair, I remember thinking “I’m not sure God is going to get me through this.” For a time I wasn’t sure. Yet, even as I thrashed about in the sinking quicksand of doubt, I choose to reach out to God because there was no other choice. That was when I learned first-hand that doubt and trust are not always mutually exclusive.

None of us doubt that the sun is going to come up tomorrow because we’ve seen it happen day after day.  Just like the never late sunrise God is faithful even when we are not. Doubt isn’t the big deal.  It’s what we do with the doubt that will determine if our faith is strengthened or weakened.

Something to think about

 

Hanging On

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

Hang_in_there__baby_by_dinmoneyI talked to a friend who is struggling with a major setback in his life. Right now he is up to his eyeballs in pain, confusion and doubt. Unfortunately, one of the common ingredients of all life as we know it is the absolute certainty of anguish along  life’s way.  I’m reminded of the words from the prophet  Jeremiah  in the Old Testament.   Everything I had hoped for from the Lord is lost! The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words.  Lamentations 3:19 (NLT)

At the time Jeremiah had seemingly lost it all. He had gone from a hero to a zero. I expect you can also recall a  similar feeling. Each of us has had days in which we were barely hanging on. Yet, as Jeremiah was hanging there twisting in the wind God spoke to him some of the most inspiring words ever uttered. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope”.  Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT) 

Are we going to face times of trial, difficulty, pain, and sorrow?  Yep! You can book it!  Are there going to be occasions when you doubt God’s love?  Yes, I’m afraid so.  Are there going to be stretches when we feel hopeless?  I hope not, but honesty requires me to say “yes”; some of us may experience hopelessness even today.  Does our hopelessness have to destroy us?   Not at all. I can tell you from my personal experience that hopelessness is never infinite nor does it have to kill you. And it won’t if you are willing to do two things. Do not isolate.  Talk to people, tell them how you are feeling. Tear down your walls. Let them see you; let them love you. Secondly, write that verse down on something and you take it with you everywhere you go.  And never forget it it’s a verse about you.  God has a future and hope for you!

Something to think about

Getting it Right

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

dog-balancing-on-ball-150x150Yesterday, I spoke at a parole board hearing on behalf of a young man I have known for fifteen years.  As I listened to him answer the parole officer’s questions, I wondered how he had morphed  from that cute,  five year old  wearing a Smurf shirt, running around the lobby of our church, into a twenty year old  wearing a prison uniform pleading for a second chance. The answer is I do not know for sure how that happened. The truth is it really does not matter.

A while ago at the “Y” I saw something amazing.  There was a young guy, maybe twenty, who was balanced on top of a 10” ball as he did bicep curls. I have been going to the gym for over fifty years and have never seen anything like that. It was a masterpiece of art. Yesterday, as I went through security at the hearing, I had to stand on one foot and hold the bottom of the other up so the security officer could make sure I was not carrying in contraband.  It was all I could do to maintain my balance and now I was watching a kid standing on a ball while lifting weights. For a split second I thought maybe I could do that.

When I got to my car I caught the tail end of an interview with Coach Derek Mason who laid an egg in his opening game as Vanderbilt’s head football coach. The inmate, the “ball boy” and the Coach share a common bond. They have all failed. I intuitively know that the guy fell off that ball countless times before succeeding.  Each time he hopped up and repeated the process until he got it right.  The inmate will regain his freedom. Coach Mason will lead his team again Saturday. All of us will be given ample opportunities to get it right.  But nobody will ever get it right unless we do some things differently. Will you?

 Something to think about