Posts Tagged ‘Prayer’

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Today is a sad day for me. One of my friends from work, whom I truly respect, announced to me recently that he has lung cancer…and his outlook isn’t good. He pulled me aside and shared this news with me personally and asked that I not tell anyone because he has requested privacy as he and his family battle this deadly disease. As a result, I will call my friend Joe to protect his anonymity for the reminder of this post.

I know that cancer has directly or indirectly affected just about everyone in this world. Cancer doesn’t show any favoritism whatsoever…it strikes whom it wants, when it wants without notice…and its effects are deadly.

As I sit here and ponder the why…why did Joe get cancer when he already has Type 1 Diabetes and suffers daily simply because of that ailment? Or why does he have to be the one out of all the bad people on this earth to suffer? Honestly, he is one of the good guys. I have this idea in my head whereby I have classified people over the years as I have seen the lengths these men have gone to save their families and I simply call them my heroes. I can name them off for you right now…why? Because when I happen to be feeling sorry for myself on any particular day, I think of my heroes and what they went through and that usually brings me back to earth.

Joe is my hero.

He grew up in a very tough neighborhood in New York City and he actually had mob ties early on in his life. He talks about these circumstances very carefully…never fully sharing anything other than he feels lucky to have survived his childhood and teenage years. What he did have however were very loving parents. He described them to me as always being there when he needed them and they provided him a shelter from all of the chaos that was outside their walls…and now as an adult, he appreciates them even more.

Joe got into graphics and it turns out, he had quite a talent in this area. In fact, not only was he an artist, but he also could run a business as well. As a result, he ended up with his own agency in New York working many hours but doing very well. Then one day his youngest son was diagnosed with a very rare immune deficiency disease and Joe’s life changed. He ended up losing everything he had trying to save his son…the good news is that after years of battling the disease, insurance companies etc. his son survived thankfully due to a very difficult bone marrow transplant from his older brother.

Fast-forward 10 years.

His youngest son, for many years has had to live inside the equivalent of a bubble due to this disease but over the last few years, things have improved. He even has fallen in love with one of his nurses…go figure.

However as the situation with his boys has improved, his own health is failing and although I understand the reality of cancer as mentioned above, I am still back to the why? Why Joe? Because as I’ve gotten to know Joe over the last few years, I’ve realized that I connected with him because he is good man at his core. Deep down inside, Joe has faith. In fact, his faith is what is getting him through this challenge right now…and frankly, Joe’s demeanor is one of positivity and grace. Joe is showing me, and all of his coworkers, why he is one of my heroes…If I ever find myself dying, I pray that I can handle things like Joe…pure dignity.

Guys…I know that God does NOT make mistakes because even now I can see the way that Joe is handling his own health problems he is an example to many people. I can also see where his behavior just might be the difference in someone else’s life…In other words, how Joe handles this adversity could affect another person…that is how truly admirable he is…but is that the reason why Joe was struck with this deadly disease?

Personally, I know this truth intimately because when I went through the death of my own daughter 9 years ago…and as I listened to people explaining to me what my daughter meant to them, I felt like I didn’t know her in that way and it changed me…which meant her death had an impact on people…but is that the reason why God took her? And…Is that the reason why my friend Joe is suffering right now in order that more people might come to know Him?

Think about this…I could be the “angry guy at God” right now but after 9 years…I have come to understand that is NOT who I am…

Why does God allow things like this to happen to good people? If I had the “God” answer, I would share it with you right now…however MY opinion is very simple…

I simply trust EVEN though I don’t understand the “why” of the situation. Joe is a close friend of mine and I am very worried that he isn’t long for this earth. I pray for him everyday and “trust” that God will heal him and will spare his life. However, if God chooses not to, it is HIS WILL and I simply trust Him that He does NOT make mistakes.

Guys…what else can you do? True..you can get angry, but anger has no end or purpose here because that kind of anger is from Satan and it will only destroy you and the ones you care about.

I repeat…being angry with God ultimately has NO value because NOTHING can come of it.

Ask any guy who has been angry towards God and he will tell you that he is NOT better off now BECAUSE he was angry. He will tell you he lost his wife and kids and wishes he would have listened to the person who told him to let go and TRUST God…

I know this is probably NOT the best answer you want to hear but this is where we are…God is NOT like you and me and therefore His ways do not match ours. Once we get that particular fact…then what I said above can make more sense.

I care a lot about Joe and pray that his outcome will be positive…but if it Gods will to take him home…Then Joe is in a better place and NO longer in pain and even though I will miss him…I’m ok with that…

Because I get to see him again…

I know this has been a much longer post than normal and for that I am sorry…but please listen to what I am saying to you…

Don’t get angry when you don’t understand what God is doing…

Just trust…

Until next time guys…

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I happened upon this article recently and it brought a smile to my face because I am one of those Dad’s who was blessed with boys. Now, please don’t get me wrong, I also was blessed with a girl for a time and she was truly a joy in my life but today…this post is about little men. If you happen to be blessed with one, two or more, then you will understand this next statement…

It’s NEVER boring with a little guy around…

In fact, sometimes life can kind of be downright chaotic with little guys around…however, I don’t know about you, I wouldn’t have it any other way…But I digress…

The article I found are from a sunday school classroom of little guys explaining who they think God is and why they believe in Him…completely from their “little man”vantage point.

I hope you like it…

A LITTLE MAN’S EXPLANATION OF GOD:

 

 

‘One of God’s main jobs is making people. He makes them to replace the ones that die, so there will be enough people to take care of things on earth. He doesn’t make grownups, just babies. I think because they are smaller and easier to make. That way he doesn’t have to take up his valuable time teaching them to talk and walk. He can just leave that to mothers and fathers.’

 

‘God’s second most important job is listening to prayers. An awful lot of this goes on, since some people, like preachers and things, pray at times beside bedtime. God doesn’t have time to listen to the radio or TV because of this. Because he hears everything, there must be a terrible lot of noise in his ears, unless he has thought of a way to turn it off.’

 

‘God sees everything and hears everything and is everywhere which keeps Him pretty busy. So you shouldn’t go wasting his time by going over your mom and dad’s head asking for something they said you couldn’t have.’

 

‘Atheists are people who don’t believe in God. I don’t think there are any in San Diego. At least there aren’t any who come to our church.’

 

‘ Jesus is God’s Son. He used to do all the hard work, like walking on water and performing miracles and trying to teach the people who didn’t want to learn about God. They finally got tired of him preaching to them and they crucified him. But he was good and kind, like his father, and he told his father that they didn’t know what they were doing and to forgive them and God said O.K.’

 

‘His dad (God) appreciated everything that he had done and all his hard work on earth so he told him he didn’t have to go out on the road anymore. He could stay in heaven. So he did. And now he helps his dad out by listening to prayers and seeing things which are important for God to take care of and which ones he can take care of himself without having to bother God. Like a secretary, only more important.’

 

‘You can pray anytime you want and they are sure to help you because they got it worked out so one of them is on duty all the time.’

 

‘You should always go to church on Sunday because it makes God happy, and if there’s anybody you want to make happy, it’s God!

 

Don’t skip church to do something you think will be more fun like going to the beach. This is wrong. And besides the sun doesn’t come out at the beach until noon anyway.’

 

‘If you don’t believe in God, besides being an atheist, you will be very lonely, because your parents can’t go everywhere with you, like to camp, but God can. It is good to know He’s around you when you’re scared, in the dark or when you can’t swim and you get thrown into real deep water by big kids.’

 

‘But…you shouldn’t just always think of what God can do for you. I figure God put me here and he can take me back anytime he pleases.

 

And…that’s why I believe in God.’

 

 

Until next time guys…

Every now and then I run across a poem/ story that really speaks to me. Some of them are kind of old-fashioned, like this one, but others are just good stories told well.  This one is an instant classic to me because it reeks of the cliché:

“Don’t judge a book by its cover”

All of us, at one time or another, have met someone and came to a conclusion simply based upon the way someone looked. Don’t deny it…because we ALL do this. The question is, when we find out we were wrong in our judgement, what do we do then?  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did…

 

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I showered and shaved and I adjusted my tie.

I got there and sat in a pew just in time.

Bowing my head in prayer as I closed my eyes.

I saw the shoe of the man next to me touching my own and I sighed.

With plenty of room on either side I thought, ‘Why must our soles touch?’

It bothered me, his shoe touching mine. But it sure didn’t bother him much.

A prayer began: ‘Our Father’ I thought, this man with the shoes, has no pride.

They’re dusty, worn, and scratched. Even worse, there are holes on the side!

‘Thank You for blessings,’ the prayer went on. The shoe man said a quiet ‘Amen.’

I tried to focus on the prayer but my thoughts were on his shoes again.

Aren’t we supposed to look our best when walking through that door?

‘Well, this certainly isn’t it,’ I thought, glancing toward the floor.

Then the prayer was ended and the songs of praise began.

The shoe man was certainly loud-sounding proud as he sang.

His voice lifted the rafters his hands were raised high.

The Lord could surely hear the shoe man’s voice from the sky.

It was time for the offering and what I threw in was steep.

I watched as the shoe man reached into his pockets so deep.

I saw what was pulled out what the shoe man put in.

Then I heard a soft ‘clink’. As when silver hits tin.

The sermon really bored me to tears, and that’s no lie.

It was the same for the shoe man for tears fell from his eyes.

At the end of the service as is the custom here.

We must greet new visitors and show them all good cheer.

But I felt moved somehow and wanted to meet the shoe man.

So after the closing prayer I reached over and shook his hand.

He was old and his skin was dark and his hair was truly a mess.

But I thanked him for coming and for being our guest.

He said, ‘my names Charlie I’m glad to meet you, my friend.’

There were tears in his eyes but he had a large wide grin.

‘Let me explain,’ he said, still wiping those tears from his eyes.

‘I’ve been coming here for months and you’re the first to say ‘Hi.”

‘I know that my appearance is not like all the rest. ‘But I really do try to always look my best.’ ‘I always polish and clean my shoes before my very long walk’.

‘But by the time I get here, they’re dirty and dusty and just like chalk.’The_old_Man_and_the_Sea

My heart filled with pain and I swallowed my tears as he continued to apologize for daring to sit so near. He said, ‘When I get here I know I must look a sight.’ ‘But I thought if I could touch you then maybe our souls might unite.’

I was silent for a moment knowing whatever was said, would pale in comparison. So I spoke from my heart and not my head.

‘Oh, you’ve touched me,’ I said ‘and taught me in part; ‘that the best of any man is what is found in his heart.’ The rest, I thought, this shoe man will never know.

Like just how thankful I really am that his dirty old shoe touched my soul

 

Until next time guys…

Guys, I have been writing to you on this Iron Man Strength blog now for almost two years and during that time, I have worked to encourage and provide support to you as you walk down the path of being a Dad and a Husband. As we all know, this path is not an easy one but through Gods amazing grace, we all have access to power through Christ Jesus…all you have to do…is believe.

But I have a sense of urgency now that I need to begin to share in this blog that some of you may or may not appreciate but I must press on. This blog will never be political, but only encouragement about our lives and our relationship to our God, but I tell you now that we are living in an extraordinarily turbulent time now in America and there are powers at work that you and I cannot control but through prayerful persistence. We are told in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to pray without ceasing and my friends, now more than any time in your life, I pray that you heed my words.

We learn back in the Old Testament in the book of Daniel, that there are powers and principalities that are unseen that you and I must consider as Christians. I am not trying to scare you or blow your mind with crazy talk but yet the truth is the truth and I ask you to listen. There is an unseen battle going on right now in America and the unrest and nervousness that you and your neighbors are feeling is because of that battle. It is not just simply we are struggling to make ends meet or the economy is bad, look at what is happening around you…people are reacting by killing one another all over the world. I find myself afraid not for me, but for my children. What does the future hold for them in this world? How will they live and support themselves? You and I…well…we can only pray and pray and pray and while you are praying, please consider this…

In Daniel chapter 10, we learn that Daniel had been fasting and praying for 21 days and had not received any word from the Lord. At the end of that time, we learn from an Angel who came and met with him that during the time he was praying, there was a battle like I am referring to above, going on which prevented Daniel’s answer from getting to him. Only when the Archangel Michael, a really large and powerful stud Angel squashes the Prince of Persia, does the answer reach Daniel.

So what does this story mean to you and me? Believe it or not…Satan was able to hold up that answer to Daniel’s request for 21 days and he can do the very same thing with our prayers. Read 2 Corinthians 2:11 where Paul tells us:

In order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are NOT aware of his schemes.

Guys, he seeks to devour and thwart our efforts when we are seeking a relationship with Christ and if you are an, on-again off-again, inconsistent, I’ll get around to it eventually kind of guy, you may not realize that your prayers maybe held up or slowed before they reach Him. Jesus tells us in His own words in Luke 18:1-8 about persistence in prayer…He says in verse 7, “and will not God bring about justice for His chosen ones, who cry out to Him day and night?

My advice to all of you is very simple…If your relationship with God is good or not so good…I urge you to continuously and persistently seek God each day and pray to Him for both yourself and your family. Gods desire is to have a relationship with you that is eternal but the only way that will happen is through YOUR efforts while here on earth…so right now, while things here are more turbulent that ever before, seek God with all your heart because I assure you…

When you seek Him, He will find you…and that my friend will have very Heavenly implications…

Until next time guys…I leave you with this…