“If our God, whom we honor, can save us from a blazing furnace and from your power, he will, Your Majesty. But if he doesn’t, you should know, Your Majesty, we’ll never honor your gods or worship the gold statue that you set up.” Daniel 3:17-18
As the banks fail, global economies collapse, and protests around the world turn into violence; we believers everywhere must cling to God and His Word and never cease from honoring our God. We must resist men who threaten to seize control over our lives and who are progressively replacing the God whom we worship, with false gods and ideologies increasingly infesting our sacred institutions.
We will never bow to a false president, nor accept fraudulent elections. We will not honor any decrees which dishonor God or the sanctity of life. We will never worship the government or live by every word from the mouth of Washington DC.
We refuse to listen to fakers and thieves, whether in Church or government, cable news, or podcasts.
So, even if our God delays, our most sincere prayers and longing for a New Heaven and a New Earth, we’ll never honor false gods or fake news broadcasts, nor will we honor their czar-gods, or worship “the golden woke programming” that they continue to force us to watch.
Why? Because the Church will be too busy caring for the lost and reaching them in the four corners of this darkening world.
Rise O’ Bride of Christ, your finest hour has dawned this year of tragedy, our window of opportunity to exploit the last rays of freedom’s daylight is closing. Otherwise, the day of our persecution and times of trouble spoken about in the Scriptures will soon provide the contrast which should have been there all along.
Our listening to glorious Sunday morning messages, talk radio; Christian branding, and marketing of worldly delights have forfeited the grace and culture that could have been ours. We’ve lost our Nation not because we adhered to our Christianity, but because we did not preach its redemptive messages outside of our pretty Church buildings and corporate structures.
We’re losing our Nation not because we’ve not read enough Christian authors, or followed each crazed Christian fad, but rather because we chose passivity and embellished ourselves on “Turkish Delights” of Worldliness, and gazed too long at the bewitchment of the Queen of Goodies and new Technologies. (For which, I too am guilty).
Because we used our freedom to form and fashion false gods of tolerance, gods of laughs and giggles; thumbs up, and “Likes” to our sins and compromises. So we branded our Golden Calf with the name “Yahweh” to ease our guilty consciences and silence the voice of God’s whispering Holy Spirit of repentance.
Our Nation’s ruin is not our failed politics, or lack of political might, but rather our refusal to preach the Gospel of a better order, and of an eternal and expanding Kingdom. A Kingdom led by the King of kings, Lord of lords, and the Presidents of presidents, that is Jesus Christ, The Righteousness of God!
But there is still Hope. And, the God of all hopes dwells within you. The time is NOW to declare the Hope which is inside of you. For how can it be hope unless you speak it out to the hopeless and the hope-lost?
Put down the false gods of our age, and thus brighten the future of America. Our liberty was won by people whose God is the Lord.
Get your faith and houses in order. Decide now, not later what you will do when the world crashes around you.
“Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night, not flying arrows in the day, Not disease that prowls through the darkness, not disaster that erupts at high noon. Even though others succumb all around, drop like flies right and left, no harm will even graze you.” Psalms 91:5-7
Face the coming firey trials like Daniel and his friends did. Obey God. Defy the false gods. Stand firm in your faith. Be courageous!
You cannot climb to the heights of joy unless you first plumbed the depths of despair. Yes even your despair can be valuable. It is the pressures of despair in the depths of your soul where something precious is being formed.
This little article should be read as road map, a map showing you the way to find joy when joy is the furthest thing from your mind, will, and emotion.
I’m a pretty optimistic guy with a fairly even-keeled personality. I didn’t choose to be this way. I am fortunate to have been born with a sense of optimism. When I was younger, I used to have surges of optimism, but now in my sixties, not so much.
How about loved ones; family, friends, and acquaintances that have the opposite? Instead of optimism, they suffer from depression and anxiety, and because of this, they’ve become pessimistic. Trying to cope with periodic or ongoing bouts of depression and anxiety can be hell on earth. I have seen what it looks like in the faces of my loved ones.
So here is the thing, as fortunate as I am to be optimistic, upbeat, and positive, I must choose joy, just as much as one suffering from depression must choose joy. There is a problem with both polar opposites. Both depressive and optimistic personalities, in their extremes, are void of joy.
You see, being controlled, or mentally dominated by optimism or depression, leaves no room for joy. Joy, real joy, is a choice. The choice is not easy for the depressed and the optimist.
But far too many people bypass joy for a new lover, new home, or even a baby, hoping they’ll find happiness.
The scriptures, more or less, indicate that joy is a command from the heart and mind to the soul, or vice versa. Even a command to our bones! Yep, I can attest to that; being sixty-something, I have a lot of aches in my bones; my bones speak to me; no, they really do, they make all kinds of sounds when I walk!
“Make me hear joy and gladness, that the bones You have broken may rejoice.” – Psalm 51:8
“The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, And a good report makes the bones healthy.” – Proverbs 15:30
“Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.” – Proverbs 16:24
Joy is medicine to our body, heart, mind, and even our bones!
Like all medicines, many of us must be reminded to take it, perhaps even forced. Ah, but when you do follow the doctor’s orders, or your wife’s, the medicine helps with whatever ails you. And so, you must also choose joy to receive all of its benefits.
I did a word study on Joy in the New King James Version of the Bible. Did you know that the word “joy” appears 192 times in both the Old and New Testaments? Just studying the word Joy, brings you joy!
But still, choosing joy in the midst of depression, worry, sickness, betrail, and even divorce seems almost impossible. Trying to reign in our emotions when our mind and body seem out of control is like trying to rope a bull elephant!
So many people suffering from depression, anxiety, and traumatic events, such as betrail, divorce, etc., show the signs of their condition in their bodies and even in their bones. Everything aches and most things lose their significance, such as food, relationships, and even life itself. But this is why joy is so important and why the Bible mentions it 192 times!
Sacrificial joy, that is, choosing to be joy-filled when things are not right, is real medicine. As I mentioned earlier, joy is a medicine that sometimes you must force yourself to take.
I had written an article a few weeks ago titled:
“My Allergic Reaction To Asking For Help.”
This is a story of my unintended flight down a set of stairs, whereby I had ruptured and shredded my quadriceps above my left knee. They snapped like a dried twig! Well, it wasn’t the painful surgery that gave me grief; it was nausea from the general aniestic!
I absolutely hate nausea. It began post-surgery and as soon as my wife took me home. The orthopedic surgeon hadn’t prescribed any anti-nausea meds. So there I am, writhing in nausea, dizziness, and fighting the urge to throw up. Toni saw how terrible I looked and felt. It was late, but I begged her to go to the pharmacy and bring home some anti-nausea meds.
While Toni was away, I was so desperate that I turned on a Christian Radio Station, K-LOVE, and listened to worship music while alone in my living room. I struggled initially, but I started to command my body, heart, and mind to be joyful. I began singing praises and thanksgiving to God, thanking him, even for the dreaded nausea. In a matter of few minutes, my nausea vanished, and my pain began to diminish.
Soon, Toni showed up with the anti-nausea meds, but when she handed me the bag, I said, “Oh, um, I’m feeling much better; the nausea is over.” She looked a little perturbed, only because I sent her on a wild goose chase for drugs that I didn’t need. I should’ve started with joy.
Early the following year, I contracted a form of the H1N1 virus. I had never been so sick. I reached a point where I got my inner house in order, so to speak, because I actually thought that I might die! While burning with fever, I again started to praise God and sing a joyful song to Him. It wasn’t at all easy or even natural to push through, but nonetheless, I did.
I lay there on my sickbed and began singing Psalms 100.
“(A Psalm of praise.) Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands…
…I will enter into His gates with thanksgiving in my heart, and into his courts with praise: I will say this is the day that the Lord hath made, I will rejoice in Him and be glad.”
Yeah, I actually thought I might be entering the Courts of Heaven that night, but God had other plans. Forcing myself to express joy helped me to triumph through that dreaded virus.
Actually, to “rejoice” is just that; it means giving joy to God until it is given back to you. To rejoice in the Lord is the worshipper becoming gladdened, exuberant, and jubilant by taking great delight in God. Heartfelt Joy is reciprocal. It is also contagious.
The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. – Zephaniah 3:17
For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights. Proverbs 3:12
God sometimes brings correction through the things we suffer because He knows that suffering can produce the precious commodity called joy. Just like an oyster and a grain of sand, which to the oyster is an irritant. From this irritant comes a pearl.
Probably one of the most impactful examples of this was on, of all places, America’s Got Talent TV show.
Jane Kristen Marczewski, known by many as Nightbird, (December 29, 1990 – February 19, 2022), on AGT, viewed by millions, and a recipient of the coveted “Golden Buzzer,” told the world the following after she sang her original song, “It’s OK”:
“You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before you decide to be happy.”
The audience, and especially Simon Cowell, were stunned. I was too.
Really, Jane’s words were so powerful because they are true, not just her truth, but right from the Bible. They are God’s truth, and that night, they were spoken by a frail and tiny but courageous woman. I think the shock of it all was profound because it was spoken over the backdrop of her story; her battle with cancer.
Jane had learned the power of joy and happiness in spite of the cancer eating away at her future.
Happiness or joy is now, not later. It’s in the middle of your darkest nights, dreariest days, and deepest despairs. Joy and happiness are choices. Yes, hard choices. If they were easy, they’d have far less value with no real healing and no inner peace. That night, Jane Kristen Marczewski, became God’s pearl.
God allows irritants to enter our life too. He does this with intricate perfection and purpose.
“Thus says The Most High, The Exalted One who inhabits all eternity, and is holy, and holy is his dwelling with the humble, and with the weary of spirit to give life to the spirit of the humble, and to give life to the heart of the suffering ones.” Isaiah 57:15
When we are at our worst, choosing joy is most powerful. The Isaiah verse above tells us The Most High God, The Exalted One, who lives in all eternity while He dwells in a high and lofty place, He is near the humble, the sorrowful, and the sufferers.
When we command our body, heart, mind, and yes, even our bones to rejoice in God, He gives life. He refreshes. He restores, and He reciprocates our sacrificial joy. “He will quiet us with his love.” “He will rejoice over us with gladness” and even “rejoice over us with singing.” Because God is not a distant deity, He is your Heavenly Father, and he is much nearer than you can imagine.
Like the oyster, we can’t see the development of beauty inside our lives. Our struggles with depression, anxiety, worry, and overoptimism distract us from the work that God is doing. Instead, we feel abandoned by God, orphaned, and on our own. The truth is that God is there with us in the midst of our pain. It requires us to believe and to trust in God’s promises. The Bible says God would rather dwell with us than with kings and queens.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3
He would have to be very close to you to heal your broken heart, bind up your wounds, and save your crushed spirit.
The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:18
Then God sends us His Son, Jesus to rescue us…
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; he has appointed me to preach Good News to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted and to announce that captives shall be released and the blind shall see, that the downtrodden shall be freed from their oppressors, and that God is ready to give blessings to all who come to him.” Luke 4:18-19
Don’t live life without joy.
“You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before you decide to be happy.” Jane Kristen Marczewski, Nightbird
Choose joy, and in a very short while, you’ll understand. Maybe you’re becoming God’s Pearl, too.
It wasn’t that prayer was taken out of our public school systems, which harmed the Nation. Rather it was prayer removed from many Churches; from our homes, and businesses that pushed our country into the depths of paganistic hedonism.
A few minutes of silent corporate prayer is no substitute for a church on its knees. Prayer must once again become the culture of the church rather than a brief moment of liturgy.
While the Supreme Court decided favorably for Madalyn Murray O’Hair’s 1963 lawsuit against the Baltimore School System that public school prayer was “unconstitutional,” the opportunity and vacuum for which this lawsuit was created were missed by the Church and Christian families.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as front-lets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and your gates.” Deuteronomy 6: 4-9
“My son, obey your father’s commands and don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. Keep their words always in your heart. Tie them around your neck. When you walk, their counsel will lead you. When you sleep, they will protect you. When you wake up, they will advise you. For their command is a lamp and instruction a light; their corrective discipline is the way to live.” Proverbs 6:21
We cannot blame a secular government for the failings of the Church and the lack of responsibility of “God-honoring” parents.
Yet the cure is not to politic or legislate but to dedicate and dictate God’s Word beginning from our homes and into our Churches, and out into the public square. To reinstate prayer, true repentant prayer, into our Churches, from our Temples, and our closets to family rooms and boardrooms.
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 (KJV)
I don’t see any mention of school prayer here!
To blame our Nation’s moral tragedy on our children not praying?
This can only be because Churches and homes have lost their moral courage to do what is clear and accurate; humility, prayer, seeking God’s face, and repenting and turning from our wicked ways. Don’t blame the children or the ungodly and the unrighteous for our failure as a People of God. Just get it right and do the things which God has commanded and Christ has taught.
The prayerless Church creates a vacuous people, void of conscience and the heart of God.
Cry out to God so that prayer everywhere will be heard once again.
Before a nation collapses, the family collapses. Before a family collapses, the father collapses. Therefore, the fall of nations is the failure of fathers.
After a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic, Toni and I finally went to a movie theater in Angels Camp, California, to watch the sequel, “Avatar: The Way of Water.” We watched it in 3D at 48 frames per second. Wow!
The movie’s subtitle should have read, “The Way of Fathers.”
While the cinematography, special effects, action, and acting were all superb, the portrayal of the father’s role was unmistakable and powerful! Matter of fact so was the mother’s role. The importance of parents and family is something we rarely see in movies produced in Holywood.
While James Cameron wrote a fantastic story and script, the importance of fathers taking responsibility for their children was something to behold. Just like in the world of Avatar, our world needs strong, uncompromising fathers to survive!
I see the role and importance of fathers in the Bible, from the first chapter of Genesis to the last chapter of the Book of Revelations. From the last book of the Old Testament, the final chapter, and the last two verses, and to the opening of the New Testament, in the Book of Luke, chapter one, verses fifteen through seventeen.
Malachi 4: 5-6 (Last Old Testament Book)
“Look, I am sending you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the Lord arrives. His preaching will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise, I will come and strike the land with a curse.”
Luke 1: 15-17 (One of the First New Testament Books)
15, ff “…And he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even in his mother’s womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to their Lord God. 17, And he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the unbelievers to the wisdom of the just men: to make the people ready for the Lord.”
John the Baptist was the second Elijah spoken about in the Book of Malachi. It was his job to stir the hearts of fathers to their sons and daughters. Otherwise, the mission of Jesus to reconcile the lost sons and daughters of Israel to his Heavenly Father would have met hardened hearts.
Our roles as fathers are not only the most significant societal and cultural role; it is the single most important relational/spiritual role our children can have here on earth. Malachi is pointing out that a father’s estrangement (absence) from his children has the potential of cursing our land and creating avenues of destruction throughout our cities and towns. Estranged and absent fathers make ungodly and rebellious children. It also hardens the children’s hearts against the love of God, his Heavenly Father’s role, and ultimately His plan of salvation for them.
Do you fathers understand your role and responsibility in God’s plan of salvation for your children? You will be held to account. Do you want to stand before God as a deadbeat dad?
There can be no more significant failure in a man’s life than to turn his back on his marriage and children.
The career is not worth it. An affair is not worth it. Money is not worth it. One more drink is not worth it. Your girlfriend is not worth it. Even your “ministry” is not worth the sacrifice of your children.
Suppose you’re on the fence about your marriage and your responsibility for your children. Suppose you’ve walked out of your marriage and your kids’ lives. Suppose you’re in an affair or about to enter one. Even the promotion in work or ministry could take you away from your wife and kids. Consider the impact on their lives and future and our culture before you walk off the cliff of selfishness. It is not worth it, men!
Go back home to the wife of your first love. Go back home to the family you’ve left behind. Go back home to the most extraordinary life a man can live. Rescue your wife, save your children and save your legacy!
Reconciliation becomes possible when fathers turn their hearts back towards their children, taking responsibility and becoming accountable for them. To reverse the curse, which is undeniably present in our culture, we fathers must turn back to God and walk in His ways so that we can again point our children to a greater Father to embrace, love, and walk with throughout their lifetime.
The success of marriage and unconditional commitment to our wives and children must exceed the failure rate of broken families and absent fathers. If this tide cannot be turned, then as Malachi has prophetically declared, our land will indeed become cursed and worsen rapidly.
Repair the breach, men! Turn your hearts back towards your sons and daughters. Repair your marriages and live up to your commitments. Turn your hearts back to God and walk with Him as your True Father and listen to His advice and wise counsel. After all, He is the Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Wonderful Counselor, and Prince of Peace. God is everything we need as men to become the fathers our sons and daughters need and our land requires.
To those sons and daughters that have lost their fathers due to death, you can still turn your hearts back towards him. Forgiveness is your most significant path to a new life, to a new future, and to become healed from your heartache.
This is the only path to a cure; to reverse the curse and restore our great Nation through restored families! Get it done, men!
…It may only take “20 seconds of courage.”
Make this your New Year’s Resolution, a Revolution For the Love of your children.
Have you ever considered that your wounds may be a perfect gift from God that can serve others in profound ways?
“In a futile attempt to erase our past, we deprive the community of our healing gift. If we conceal our wounds out of fear and shame, our inner darkness can neither be illuminated nor become a light for others.” - Brennan Manning
It is not the breaking of our bodies that should be our focus, not the illnesses we may suffer from time to time, no matter how severe. It's not our sicknesses we should buffer or how broken we may become while here; there is something else to consider, something other is near.
It’s not the betrayals or deceptions we may encounter, even if our hearts have been shattered. Our souls are emptied and filled only with fear, but the Life that remains in us, which may be covered by grief, pain, and despair, like snow-covered green grass in winter, shall be unveiled when spring again fills the air.
For even the faintest heartbeat and most shallow of breath, there lies hope. Life does not come easy, even for the most wealthy, yet life is a choice to be made. And if we so choose to believe it, beauty shall be our reward each new day and each new year.
Authentic living shall bring forth such brightness to dispel and vanquish such desperate despair.
Our most gloomy nights filled with impatient anger can be transformed into powerful meekness and care; such sweetness to our bitter sorrows are waiting; such eternal wealth for our poverty is near, and such fullness to satisfy all hunger to our hungry souls shall there be the grandest affair.
All for those who shall be rewarded of mustard seed faith to compare; of glories unknown to the healthy and sick such treasure laid bare; for beauty and ashes shall be traded, but none for the self-righteous to spare.
So kiss your chains, which bind you to all sorts of suffering, and thankfully say: "Good morning" to the pain, which lingered throughout the night and, yet, remains into the days, weeks, months, or perhaps years, because, in all things, even the bad and ugly work out for our good by God's care, which does not add to his glory, for He is complete in all the attributes he bares, but it does add to your ultimate healing and refined glory to credit to be shared.
We who believe, and are true sons and daughters of God, are broken to be given and to become children who bear a lesser yet increasing glory of the Most Glorious Father of our hearts and souls.
So let's not waste our suffering on complaining and blaming, but rather let us all rejoice in our transformation, which is to follow if we endure and not despair!
Your brokenness is making you beautiful and a wellspring of Life for other sufferers to drink from, and that, my dear sisters and brothers, is the Christ of all Healing, The God of all Comfort, and the Everlasting Father of all fragile Hopes.
The Greatest gift that God could give required his only Son to suffer an ignominious and terrible death so that through Christ's suffering, we would have everlasting life.
My business takes me to people that have lost their homes and sometimes their loved ones to fire, flooding, or earthquake. Knowing this, I've added the following words to the reverse side of my business card: Living a scarless life is not living at all...
…Sometimes, our greatest triumphs lie in our most significant defeats. In all things, I am a child of God and never a victim. I do not, therefore, interpret tragic circumstances as mishaps but as a divinely scheduled trip to God’s beauty parlor.
Did you know that our lists of unforgiven people become building blocks for an inner stronghold where hatred will fester and thrive?
We become deceived into thinking that our unforgiveness is justified due to the seriousness of the offense against us.
When we refuse to forgive, we end up owning the offense, or more accurately, the offense owns us. The offender, well, they, may have moved on, yet we are the ones that are needlessly imprisoned because of our own stubbornness.
Maybe you’re not aware, but you’ve always held the keys to your own prison.
Your forgiveness is the only key to unlocking your prison door. It is the only way in which you, yourself, can be forgiven.
“Your heavenly Father will forgive you if you forgive those who sin against you, but if you refuse to forgive them, he will not forgive you.” Matthew 6:15 – Jesus of Nazareth
In Jesus’ Name, let it go; forgive them, and set yourself free!
Your inner peace expressed outwardly is a greater force than a sword or spear.
Inner peace equals outer peace. You can’t have one without the other. The world’s peace is fragile and flimsy. You’ve not been given worldly peace.
Jesus’ Gift of Peace
“Peace, I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful.” John 14:27
Jesus tells us that his peace transcends the world’s concept of peace. So much so that our hearts must not be troubled or fearful. To be troubled or fearful means that our focus on Jesus has been compromised. We’ve allowed something other than the peace of Christ to work its way into our hearts and minds.
This doesn’t happen overnight. A slow and steady diet of false peace that the world offers; that is, peace in persons, places, and things, is nothing but empty calories, so to speak. We think that if we live in the world that we must act like the world. But honestly, we are no longer of this world. Our hearts and minds should be in heaven, the same place our treasures ought to be.
It’s the world’s trouble and fear which makes us think that way. Closeness to Jesus, resting in his authority, his Holy Word, and abiding in the Holy Spirit (The Comforter) is how we have peace when the world and our Nation are in turmoil.
Are you aware that turmoil and chaos are just around the corner?
Are you ready?
Will your peace weather the storm?
The world has its warriors, but you men and women are sons and daughters of The Most-High God. Heirs to Christ and possessors of the Holy Spirit. You have no trouble like the world has and nothing to worry about.
I’ll repeat it; you have no trouble like the world has and nothing to fear. Instead, quiet the world with the peace of Jesus Christ.
Your Savior is the Prince of Peace, and he resides in you! But you also must live in the Words of Jesus, in his promises and commands.
What can make your trouble troubling is when you forget that Jesus has made you an overcomer. Jesus never said if we believed and belonged to him that, we’d have no problems. On the contrary, here’s what Jesus has said:
“I have told you this so that through me you may have peace. In the world you’ll have trouble, but be courageous—I’ve overcome the world!” – John 16:33
Your inner peace expressed outwardly is a greater force than a sword or spear. If you have faith, trust, and obedience, your true enemies will know of your qualities well before you arrive — well before you pray and before you speak. You will be known as God’s Peaceful Warrior.
Being a peaceful warrior devastates the devil and his wretched plans. It reminds him of the Messiah’s resurrection, and he scurries away, instantly defeated.
“Finally, my brothers, be strong in the Lord and the power of his might.” Ephesians 6:10
…And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7.
“For unto us a child is born, unto us, a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6
Rest in the Peace of Jesus, and join the army of peaceful warriors.
With long days and even longer nights, I have written more and have done a great deal of thinking and searching. Each time I do, more memories and tears bubble up. But these are good tears because what was once tragic is now increasingly becoming a blessing.
So, I’ve added more stories and more insight. It’s been the hindsight, coupled with new understanding, which has been revealing the fingerprints and mastery of a loving Father-hearted God, who, by the way, took all my days of good and evil and is progressively showing his artistry through all of it.
His color palate contains far more colors than just “black and white,” which is what many cold and lifeless religions preach to us. He is an unlimited God, with shades of an eternal spectrum yet to be discovered, and a profoundly intimate God, motivated with an ever-expanding Father-heart. He is filled with grace and wisdom. His love utterly humbles me, and if you can believe it, speechless at His unconditional Grace and Mercy towards even a guy like me.
Thank you all for your prayers and kindness. I genuinely hope and pray that whatever you may be battling or struggling through that, it too is woven into something beautiful, no matter how difficult or painful. God loves a “stacked deck,” the more complex your life may be, the more impossible for a solution or cure, the more grace will appear — for our God loves, absolutely loves to come through!
So then, in our weaknesses and fragility, we can boast about God’s grace and that we’re also co-siblings with The Great Overcomer, Jesus Christ. We are children of The Father-hearted God. We are vastly wealthy and greatly loved!
So, notify your soul and face, and show the world how great our God is. From your sick beds to your busy offices and lives, from your living rooms to the dressing rooms of Macy’s and Kohl’s — in every shopping line, and especially at Walmart, For our God is a great God, 24/7!
He loves to reveal his Father-Heart to broken and lost people. Our God would rather hang out with the despised and rejected than dwell with kings and queens…
…That’s just how special you are!
No need to be anyone else than you. No need to be with anyone else than with The Father-hearted God.
You may agree that the three most powerful words are “I Love You.”
Can these three little words indeed be so powerful and significant?
After all, for many, these words fall from our mouths so casually and regularly that we miss their true meaning and worth. But what happens if, for some of us, we’ve never heard those words from our moms or dads; or the most important people in our lives?
Well, that was my story…
I lived through nearly four decades of silence from my father. I hated my father because of his silence and uninvolvement in my life as a boy. His career and extreme work ethic took him from me when I needed him.
When I heard that my dad was dying from esophageal cancer, I initially refused to visit him. My anger held me back for a little while until my siblings ganged up on me.
Four days before my father passed, I had the opportunity to stay overnight with him at the VA Hospital in Martinez, CA. (My father was wounded in action by a missile attack during the Korean War on September 19, 1951). He had served in the Army as a Private, 1st Class Medic.
After the lights went out in my dad’s hospital room, courage rose within my heart, and I spoke the three most important words that I could say to the most important man in my life:
Dad, …I love you!
It felt like an eternity of silence orbited the darkened hospital room…
…Then, from my dad’s weakened condition, I heard what my heart and soul had so longed to hear during the 39 silent years I had lived:
“I love you too, son.”
Suddenly, unspeakable joy filled my heart, and tears rolled down my face. I called out to my dad several more times that night, saying:
Dad, …I love you!
“I love you too, son.”
I heard my father say he loved me, which washed all the years of hurt, anger, and loneliness from my body, soul, and mind. My father’s words were a healing balm that would change my life from that day forward.
My father’s words also helped me to accept my Heavenly Father’s love for me.
“I am my beloved, and he is mine; his banner over me is love!” Songs of Songs
“See, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreaded day of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest when I come, I strike the earth with a curse.” Malachi 4:5-6
Jesus came to me late on October 8, 1998, at night in that VA Hospital room in Martinez, California. He bound up my wounds and healed my broken heart. He freed this captive and released me from a prison of loneliness, despair, and anger. He lifted the curse from my life, and by becoming my father’s beloved son, I became God’s also!
“Come away with me, my love, my lovely one, come. For you, winter is over and gone. The snow has melted, and the flowers are in bloom; the cooing of the turtle doves can be heard throughout the land. Come away with me, my love, my lovely one, come. Your face is beautiful; your voice is sweet. Come away with me, my love, my lovely one, come.” Songs of Songs
My Dad became my hero and went away to be with the Lord of Life on October 12, 1998. I stood at his right side, holding his hand until he breathed his last breath. He looked up to the ceiling, smiled, and then was gone. We all wept so loudly as a family that our cries could be heard throughout the hospital wing.
A few moments later, I stretched my hand over my father’s face, and I closed my father’s eyes.
Yes, words do matter. Be brave, be courageous, and allow your heart to speak its words before it is too late. The “I love you, dad,” unlocked my father’s heart, which echoed those desperately needed words from him into my hungry and hurting heart and soul.
There is unspeakable power in the three simple words; “I love you” or “please forgive me.” While these words are simple, it takes great courage to say them. Please, don’t be stubborn and don’t be afraid, dare to speak and listen for the reply; “I love you too.”
Scripture says, “If you hear God’s voice today, don’t be stubborn. Don’t be stubborn like those who rebelled in the wilderness.” Hebrews 3:15
Don’t let silence kill your life, joy, or your future. Speak from your heart and live!
“Reconciliation Starts Here – Forgiveness Starts Here …This is Why it is Such A Powerful Weapon.”
Christ came to reconcile our past and future so that we may live real and abundant lives in the present. Time and forgetfulness cannot heal old wounds; this is why Christ announced his anointing through the reading of Isaiah 61:
“The Sovereign Lord is upon me and has anointed me to preach good news to the spiritually poor and impoverished, to heal the brokenhearted, setting captives free, and proclaiming release for the imprisoned.”
Yes, he came for our salvation, but he also came for our healing, to release us from our captivities, and to set us free from our bondages. All of these things are from our past. The above list is most often what has happened to us, and Christ is ready to go there with you.
I was the guest speaker at a men’s retreat a few years ago for a men’s group from a Church that I had not visited or was familiar with. At the opening of the retreat, I was introduced to all the men in the group, and one of the men was familiar to me. I introduced myself to this gentleman, and I immediately recalled that this man had molested me as a child some forty-seven years earlier.
What ended up happening was nothing short of a miracle and the beauty of the Kingdom of God — peace between the lion and the lamb was about to occur.
God had given me the message of reconciliation and forgiveness a few days before the retreat. But before God would allow me to preach on it, he asked me to reconcile with this man now and at that moment and to forgive him before I do anything else.
So, with God’s grace and power, I cooperated with His Spirit of forgiveness and mercy. I had kept this man’s offense to myself and proceeded with the rest of the retreat. I walked with God into my past. Christ Jesus brought us peace, healing, freedom, and release. Chains fell off that weekend, and a new friendship was born.
Later I learned that this man had become a Christian shortly after he had molested me so many decades ago. But, until I had forgiven him, I was buried under a mountain of shame and hatred.
Through Christ Jesus, God reconciles the world back to Himself, including our past. Sometimes his Spirit of Grace brings us backward to negotiate past hurts, captivities, and imprisonments. Whether it’s us behind the bars of hatred and unforgiveness or whether we’re the jailer holding the keys to someone else’s past offenses. We have divine weapons against fear, hatred, and unforgiveness, but we must use them.
Through the Men’s Retreat, God had shown me that we could only stumble over our past if it is left in a state of unforgiveness and left unreconciled. Because God is eternal, the Alpha and Omega, he exists in our past, present, and future. The works of Christ, destroying the works of the Devil in all the areas and seasons of our lives, are both completed and ongoing in a multidimensional way, unhindered by time and place.
All governments are upon his shoulders. The expanse of his Kingdom shall know no end. He is the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Wonderful Counselor, and the Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6. He is there all the time and in every area of our lives, past, present, and future, but you must believe and obey Him and listen to His voice.
I cannot stress how significant the voice of the Lord is and how important it is to listen, follow, and obey. Read the Bible as though it is written to you first before anyone else. You’ll then know what to do and how to do it.
“He has shown you, O child, what is good; and what the Lord requires of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.” Micah 6:8
We can enter into our future with triumph because Jesus Christ has triumphed over our past. If we work with him, he will bring us to forgiveness, even forgiveness for our past enemies, abusers, and those who’ve betrayed our hearts. It worked out for me, and it can work out for you too!
Forgiveness is such a powerful weapon for good. It “liberates the soul.”
God presented me with the opportunity at that retreat — God did not force me to forgive; he set up the circumstances. I could’ve gone on hating the perpetrator, exposing him to public shame, condemnation, and ridicule. But hatred, condemnation, shame, and self-ridicule were the same mountains on top of me.
God softened my heart, and Jesus gently led me to the cross, and there, at His cross, miraculously, both of our mountains were removed, our hearts softened, and forgiveness was granted to us both.
Journey with God as he leads you, and do not dismiss your past, but have the courage and faith to follow Him wherever he leads you.
Maybe the circumstance that you’re presented with here and now is your opportunity also to give and receive forgiveness.
I can promise you this when you forgive; it’s because God is already there, showing you the way; he wants you to be free.
“Reconciliation Starts Here – Forgiveness Starts Here …This is Why it is Such A Powerful Weapon.”