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Posts Tagged ‘recovery’

The trail was empty as I pumped my bike as hard as I could, trying to beat the setting sun. The ride is an hour and a half, but the sun was only good for an hour. This was my eleventh day out of fifteen back at it, trying to get healthy again, and I was giving it my all. I rode over the place where I destroyed my left shoulder last year, and I thought about the scars on my shoulder from that surgery, already becoming tan from riding (sleeveless). I wanted to shout at that cursed piece of ground that had caused me so much pain, to tell it that it hadn’t beaten me, that it wouldn’t ever beat me. But I couldn’t, because it had.

It had beaten me because I had let my guard down, and truth known, it wasn’t even this piece of ground that I was talking about as I rode in silence listening to “Casting Crowns’ on my IPod. A guy at work about twenty years ago used to say to us when we were in school that it okay to be “cocky” as an operator, but if you are, you better be “real” good. What he was saying is that if you were cocky in what you do in work, you better be prepared to back up what you say. As followers of Christ, we now know that is not really a good character trait, but guess what, it is one I still fight, but not in the way you might expect.

Last fall, I was so angry at the devil for attacking my brother with the terrible disease that he was stricken with. I called out the devil and challenged him, told him to “bring it”, give me your best, and called him out for the pathetic loser he is (oops, there I go again). So there you go, that was my cockiness, not at work, humility at work and home, cockiness with the devil only. I just forgot the second part of the equation, the part about being “real good”. What happened next was tantamount to boiling a frog slow so he doesn’t know it, I slowly let my guard down, and Satan was waiting, he brought it just like I asked him too, only I wasn’t ready then, and he got me.

I came around a bend in the trail as the sun dropped below the horizon, and began my last brutal climb, sucking and blowing yet trying to keep my breathing under control as I pedaled up at a 45 degree angle. My lungs burned and my quads and calves burned too, but it was all good, I was getting stronger with every pump. The shoulder surgery had left me in more pain than I had ever been in before, even though my right shoulder had been worked on about a decade ago, it was small potatoes to this. The pain killers were a necessity I guess, but I knew they were not good for me. Little by little things started to change, I stopped hearing my beloved Holy Spirit, and that just broke my heart. I began to feel as though I were all alone in the world, it was because I was in my own little world. I became numb, and my deep connection to the Lord seemed to be a much longer distance connection than normal. He was waiting, I was no longer “that good” and he “brought it”.

I am nearing the top of the hill now, the desert is pretty as the shadows fall and darkness begins to gather, I must hurry. I catch my breath and take a drink of pure water as the sweat drips from me in at least ten places and the song “Hosanna” begins, I think for a moment, what better song could I be listening to as I pedal to the top of this mountain, picturing the scene of Jesus triumphal entry, people laying palm leaves before him. I am no longer winded as I hit the last stretch and begin the long downhill stretch that is the happy ending of the ride. During the time I was on the pain meds, he threw so many trials at my family, big things and I felt like my head was going to explode, I was so ill equipped to handle it. A fellow blogger Linda C. pointed out to me that that is what the devil does to people who are bold with their faith, he waits for a weakness like when you have to have surgery, and are not maybe your sharpest, and then he attacks you. I think there is a lot of wisdom in her statement, I am quite certain that is what happened with me.

But the Lord is faithful, and He showed me enough to know what was going on, and gave me the strength to break the chains of bondage. I threw them away and told my wife and friends I am never going to ever take them again, I always want to be sharp. The Spirit was back immediately, an old and dear friend that I had missed more than I can ever say. As depressed as I had become for over two months that I was healing, the return of the Spirits voice has placed me in a euphoria that has lasted for weeks.

As I blast down a hill that we have named “lung-buster hill” (when you are going up) the street lights are beginning to come on in the subdivisions in the valley below. I have learned a lot again I think, I have learned that I am nothing. I am not a warrior, I am not bold, I am not tough, I am fragile. There is nothing about me that I am that I can take credit for, not even this riding, I am not staying upright because I am an awesome rider, anyone can crash. I am upright because that’s how God wants me to be, I am not a warrior apart from the one God makes me into, I am not bold with strength apart from that strength which God blesses me with, and I am not tough apart from the durability God has tempered into me through life, I am yours my Lord.

I do not regret calling out the Devil, I would do it again but I do regret letting my guard down. As I blast out onto the pavement again, I shift up into high gears and push it harder, it is so great to be alive and here now. I don’t feel as though I am the same person I was last fall, I feel much more grateful I think, and blessed, funny how God is constantly re-inventing us isn’t it? God Bless-JFT

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Her hands had hurt as she had pulled bark from the trees, stuffing it into her pockets and looking around for anything else that might be edible. There was some grass in clumps beneath a tree, so she grabbed that too, and brought that home. Her children were starving to death, as was her mother and husband, to think of it, she was so weak she could barely walk herself, but they sat and ate the grass she had pulled up. It had come down to this; they were eating grass and bark, anything to keep alive.

During the summer, they had been able to catch rats, frogs, and even snakes, but still barely enough to stay alive. There had once been corn to eat, how wonderful that had been, but now that was just a distant memory. Before it was over, they had ground the cobs and husks down and made tasteless cakes out of even that. She still remembered when she had found the handful of baby mice under a rock, she brought them back home, one of her daughters was near death and needed to eat. She had boiled them, but no matter how long, they stayed together and doughy. Even her husband Jo asked her if she would eat that, but her daughter had been brave and eaten it anyway, and it had saved her life.

Jo had a nephew across the river in China, and there was food there, they knew it was a huge risk, but they had to try, or the whole family would die. They set out and snuck across the border, fording the Tumen River to China. They made it and were stunned at the abundance of food, they had never before seen a rice steamer, and there was so much food they didn’t know what to do. One week later they returned home with many bags of bulging rice for their family, they would make two more trips for provisions.

A few days after returning from their third trip, Jo was arrested, she suspects a neighbor informant told the authorities on them. The following day Han was arrested also, she never saw her husband Jo again. They kicked and beat Han with wooden rods and crushed part of her skull, then placed her hands on the hard concrete floor and stomped on them. Then, without further explanation she was released, she was three months pregnant.

She would later be told Jo died on a train after having his wrists tied above his head without food or water for ten days. She returned home to find all of the rice they had hidden had been taken by the police. The kids were hungry, and her mom had been watching them.

Han gave birth to a boy, but he starved to death two months after he was born. In desperation, her oldest daughter left to find food and never returned, they believe she was caught up in human trafficking and taken to China, and then her mother died. In less than a year, her family of eight was reduced to four. In North Korea, if someone has been arrested then the neighbors no longer trust you and they suspect you of something. One night in July 1998, two policemen came to their door, and told them to leave, and if they didn’t they would burn the house down.

On July 18th, Han, with her two daughters JinHye, then 11, EunHye, 7, and  son BoKum, 5 set out on a 100 mile walk for the Chinese border. Weak from malnutrition, Han could barely walk, and the first night they stopped at a friend’s house to lodge for the evening. She looked at Han with wide eyes, how can you do it, two high mountain crossings and the river still lay ahead? Everyone was too weak to carry BoKum and he was too small and malnourished to walk. But how could a mother leave her son behind? But if they stayed, they would all be caught. She took a night to think things over, she didn’t know what to do. The next morning, her friend said “leave him, I will take care of him”. Han agreed, and planned to return for him in five days after getting the girls safely into China, she promised to bring back food for her friend. “Why aren’t you taking me too” BoKum asked, and she explained that she was going to go get some food and bring it back, and then she would take him, then she gave him a ground corn cake, she wishes she had given him more. They walked for two nights, then crossed into china, hid in fields and stole squash to eat. Then heavy rains came and they could not cross back over, Han didn’t know how to swim, and the river was at flood stage.

Then Han heard Kim Jong Il was executing anyone who hadn’t voted for him in the election, Han hadn’t because she had been in China at the time. She got jobs in China, and earned money to get BoKum back, but it took her two months before she earned enough to hire a man to go get him. Sadly, he returned empty handed. The woman had abandoned the boy, and he was seen wandering aimlessly in a field singing “when is my mother coming”. A neighbor gave him a bowl of porridge out of pity, he died immediately afterward, common when people who are malnourished eat too fast. When she heard about BoKum, her heart was ripping out of her chest.

They spent 10 years in China, and were deported several times back to North Korea, but were always able to bribe their way back into China. The last time a Korean-American pastor paid $10,000.00 to North Korean guards to sneak them back. They went to the United Nations in Beijing and asked to live in the U.S.

After 16 months, they were given a home of freedom in the U.S., one that came at a very high cost. There are only 130 refugees from North Korea who have settled in the United States, but you never hear from them because they have families. If a defector speaks out, it will be taken out on the family they left behind, Han has no one left, they are all dead. That is why they are speaking.

Crosses adorn the walls of their home, they carry bibles with them everywhere, they are on a mission to educate the world about what goes on in North Korea. You see the polished military parades, but you don’t see the people disappearing, the Christians dying. Please take a moment to pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ, for all those suffering in that poor country. And tell Han’s story over and over to everyone you know. God Bless-Jim

This Story is True

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God loves anguish! I have come to this conclusion and it has troubled me wondering why God would create us in the way that He did, and then want us to be in anguish rather than happiness. We are often compared in our relationship with God to the relationship we have with our children, He is our father, and we are His children. Having four girls of my own, I know that there is nothing much that hurts me more than to see the wife or girls I love heartbroken and anguished, it tears my heart out. So why the disconnect, a parallel in most every way to father/child relationship except in anguish. Perhaps I should explain why I know God likes it when we are in anguish.

It all began in the garden as I see it, God built us and wanted us to be happy, he breathed the first breath to fill Adam’s lungs by blowing through the soon to be man’s nostrils. He set up a wonderful home for man, and then he created woman. He wanted to have a personal relationship with them, he could have made them predisposed to worshipping and adoring God mindlessly, but God didn’t want that, He wanted to be loved, but out of choice. So God granted them the gift of free will, he left it up to them as to whether they would choose to follow Him. Without a temptation what good is free will, there had to be an alternative to God for them to have a choice to make, so he created the serpent, and the rest is history. They were in fact tempted, and they chose disobedience over obedience, and God became heartbroken.

Our world has been at struggle since the day Adam and Eve ate that apple looking to be like God himself, believing the lies of a snake over the promises of a creator. And that process has continued on and only spun farther and farther away from Him up until today, If only we would lean on Him, worship and love Him, and make an effort to know Him, but our world doesn’t promote that.

We read books on the how to take control of our career path, how to succeed, how to make more money than we need and pull eighteen hour days trying to be all things to all people, except Him. We push our bodies and our schedules much farther than we were ever designed to go, never missing a soccer game after a twelve hour work day, and when it gets to be too much, and the stress begins to wear us down, we go to the doctor and get a medication that will help us cope better. When people ask us what is important to us, we give all the right answers, God, marriage, children, friends, etc. But if we were judged solely on our actions, what would our actions show?

Anguish comes when people reach the end of their rope, when they stand over the coffin of a loved one wishing they had one more conversation with that person, but knowing that the relationship had taken a back seat to the white noise of a busy life. Anguish comes when we as spouses do not take care to nourish one another in the many ways we need to because our schedules somehow become more important than nurturing the heart and soul of those we have pledged to have and to hold for the rest of our lives, and we find ourselves alone. Anguish comes when we realize we have no-where else to go, no one else to turn to but God, and so we do. We find ourselves on the ground beating our chests in anguish crying out to God to save us. And He smiles…..

He loves us and wants us to just love him back, but many times we don’t do that until we have lost everything we know and love, everything we have come to depend on. Every entitlement we have come to expect, when it all comes crashing down and we have no-where else to turn to, then we turn to him, and He smiles. He doesn’t smile at our pain, at our sense of loss, he smiles because He is the father of a prodigal son who has returned home, broken and wasted and begging to be taken back. But here is the great thing, when he takes us back, He doesn’t do so in the same manner that we do when a friend has wronged us and asks for forgiveness, we hold silent grudges, He doesn’t. All is forgotten and he gently begins with washing our feet, and then He washes the rest of us too, and when He is done, we are as white as snow, our sins not only forgiven, but forgotten as well.

Yes, God loves anguish, because it is the beginning of a new friendship to Him, the beginning of a new life where we realize that without Him, we are nothing. He stands at the end of the road with a purple robe of royalty, a handful of golden rings and calls over his shoulder for His servants to kill the fatted calf, His child that was lost has now been found. God Bless-JFT

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So hey, we all go through tough times once in a while, I mean it would be unrealistic to think things are going to go smooth always right? We all have to wade through a certain amount of mire in this life, and although it thoroughly stinks, we know that is where many of life’s greatest gifts come from. Gifts like wisdom, character, perseverance, humility, empathy and a host of other great virtues are usually picked up as we are walking barefoot down that sharp gravel road of hard knocks. Unfortunately, those virtues are not something most folks can pick up in a teen bible class, or a leadership seminar. They’re usually not learned but more often earned.

Walking that sharp gravel road can get really old though, and before long you can begin to find yourself asking God “what’s the deal”? How long do I need to walk this road before I get to take the easy path for a while and relax for a bit? Sometimes, even though we may never verbalize it don’t we find ourselves asking God “hasn’t it been enough already”? I know for a long time, I delighted myself in believing that I had never questioned God about such things, but had rather just always tried to accept, or even embrace everything without questioning. I can no longer say that, recently I faced a series of crises that combined left me in a cold dark place Spiritually wondering why. Even though I knew the crisis was mine, and that God had not changed, I felt so lonely and abandoned. Then of course comes step two, feeling sorry for myself. But the following passages are such a wonderful and descriptive view right into the mind and heart of God on the subject. Besides being uplifted by them, I actually also felt ashamed after I began to meditate on the following passage because of its deep truth. Hebrews 12:4   In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

I have certainly never shed any blood for my faith yet, although I have said many times what an honor it would be to die in service to my Lord, I would only hope that I would be courageous enough to stand by my faith as so many others have. But aside from that, when you compare my problems in life with those who have shed their blood, I am still a lightweight.

Unexpected Flattery

Who would have thought, that when life’s struggles began to feel as though they were more than I could bear, I would actually wind up feeling flattered by the depth of God’s love for me, shown in the trials. Hebrews 12:5-8, And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?  If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.

It is flattering to me that God wants us then to be encouraged by hardships and trials, because they are proof that God does care about us. They are proof that God sees us in a father to son relationship, and he loves us enough to discipline us with the trials of life.

I remember when I was a kid growing up, I was raised in a fairly strict household. If I got into trouble, I knew there would be discipline awaiting me when I got home, or if I didn’t hold up my responsibilities, discipline. I didn’t ever like the discipline, but in the end, it was good my parents used it. God still uses hardships and trials today as a means to guide us through discipline. When you look at it that way, you can see God working behind the scenes, using the events in our lives as a stone wheel with which to sharpen us into better tools for the kingdom. When you look at it in this light, it is much easier to make sense of things and stay on the pathway.

Hebrews 12:1-3   Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

God Bless-JFT

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Sometimes God just puts something on your heart, like a blog that you need to write,  https://blesseddad.wordpress.com/2012/02/25/be-careful-what-you-pray-for/ , and it is meant to be a sign, something to make you sit up and take notice, pay attention, but sadly I don’t. I am a study in contrasts at best, my friends would tell you I am kind, giving, generous and run a tight ship. But in my heart of hearts, I am competitive against myself to the extreme, with a sense of determination that equals the competitiveness. I come from the old school that believes if you roll up your sleeves and bust your tail and outwork everyone else around you that you will be rewarded for it. It makes sense right, at least until God steps in.

I still battle that old guy thing; wanting to move up at work, grab that brass ring that is above the next rung on the ladder. Problem is, every time you climb a step up on the ladder and reach for that ring, you find out it was actually higher, it is one step higher than you are. I know that, and have known that for years, yet I still tried to climb for that ring again, and this time I gave it everything I had. I trained on my own time with people, who were in that position, and they were amazed at my aptitude and how fast I picked everything up. As time would go on, they would tell me that I was definitely the front-runner for the position. I trained with even still more people in the job to try to get a wider range of style and experience, and once again they flattered me with compliments for asking the right questions and having the right technical knowledge. I was feeling good, this was going to be it, I was pulling 70-80 hours a week between work, training and school, I knew I had to get it this time. I memorized all the things that I suspected they would ask me in the interview, and I was ready.

There was a five-person panel interviewing me, and their sole purpose was to try to rattle me. I was ready though, I am a power plant operator, I have ice water running through my veins, right? They began with a simple question, one that I had studied and memorized without fault, but nothing came out. I sat there, I had become a deer in the headlights who could no longer remember his name, much less that the answer was “transmission operator”. So I explained it long form, in less than three hundred words painfully and waited the next assault. The rest of the interview had better points, and worse points, ups and downs. At the end I left not feeling particularly good, but feeling as though I had indeed allowed myself to be rattled. I still counted on the field reports of those who had trained with me to carry me though, they were just so confident, even if I did blow the interview.

I saw her email, she wanted me to call her when I got in, this must be it, so I called right away hoping/expecting the best. She was kind as she told me that she was not pleased with my interview, and was surprised because the field reports were all so positive, but that I should focus my efforts elsewhere. I folded the phone shut and tried to process what I had just heard, didn’t that mean, “you need not apply here again”? How could that be?

I stumbled around through the motions that day, doing my best not to reveal to anyone what I was feeling, but inside I was falling deep down into an empty well of despair, I had just been told I wasn’t good enough, and I would never be good enough. Everything began to cave in on me then, every little perceived failure in my life, how I had never felt like I was a good enough son, or brother, or husband, or father, or even a friend, but certainly never a good enough follower of Christ. As the week went on, my despair only increased as I began to really not even want to get out of bed every day, I just really felt as though I was a loser. It wasn’t about the job, the job was just the straw that brought everything crashing down on me, all I know is that wherever I was, it was a bad place.

There is no mistaking that God has been at work in my life, and that of my wife’s in the past few years, He has put us where we are and we are grateful for that. I am attending school now taking ministry courses, I know He steered me to that, I know He sent me on a mission, I know He wants me to spread the word, I know God loves me. But still, when it came to this job that “I” wanted, I pulled out all the stops to get it myself, and gained confidence in my own abilities, not stopping to ask if that’s what God wanted me to be doing. God has placed me on a course of some sort, one that I still have no idea the outcome, and I need to stay the course and follow His leading.

Yesterday I was talking to a friend who is going through a hard time also, and he asked me what he should do? My only answer for him was that he needed to take it to the cross, I told him that I knew it even sounded lame, but that I knew it was the true answer. I haven’t been able to ride my mountain bike because of my shoulder surgery, so that is frustrating. Today, As I was out and about, I was drawn to the mountain behind our church where they have a hiking trail to the top. I hiked up there, and there is a cross about the size of the one I imagine Jesus hung on mounted in the ground right at the top. I sat at the foot of that cross and opened my heart up to God, I gave it all to Him and asked Him to help me trust in the path that He has in store for me. I asked him to lift this black veil that has been over me so that I may begin glorifying Him again in all I do, and I left every other problem I could think of at the foot of that cross. When I hiked back down, my burden was much lighter, I am sure I left them on that cross. I didn’t feel as though I were deep in the well of despair anymore, but as though someone had just dropped me a ladder, disguised as a cross. God Bless-JFT

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Trust in God, He will never let you down, ever! Love always, Tina. I smiled at the note as I placed it back in my fabric Scooby-Do lunchbox I carried in my briefcase and zipped it shut. Today was the day, they were going to make the announcement within minutes now, and I just had a feeling my ship would dock this time. It had been many years of hard work and waiting, and watching people like Stu pass me up, but sometimes God uses situations like that to stretch us, to grow us into who he wants us to be. Stu was a, well, there is just no other way to put it, Stu is a suck up. He would sit around the office with his feet up doing nothing, but he would jump to the bosses beacon call, he was quite the pet. We were all on to him, all of us except the boss that is, and a few of the pretty secretaries in our office. When it came time for promotions, I was passed over; Stu was selected for the job. Since then, Stu is making a hundred grand more, and he left his wife and kids for Steph in reception.

I smile and shake my head as I remember how angry I was when I hadn’t gotten the job, all I could see at the time was how a man I saw as inferior to myself was selected over myself. Stu had been divorced twice since he had divorced his wife, bringing the total to three. He wasn’t dating anyone these days, he had gained about 100Lbs and was now referred to as “beef Stu” behind his back, I actually felt sorry for him these days. There was a ruckus outside of my office, so I mentally prepared myself for the big moment. There was cheering and clapping, I quickly sat at my desk and straightened my tie in case someone had brought a camera, but no one entered. The longer I sat there, the laughing and cheering faded. I heard a chime indicating I had received an email as I looked down at my computer and the subject line read “organizational announcement”. I grabbed the mouse then stopped myself and quickly said a prayer, asking God one more time to please bless me with this job, then I clicked.

Without thinking I threw the small ceramic cup my son had made me for fathers day that said “worlds best dada” at the wall behind the door and it exploded. Then, I quickly masked control and grabbed my briefcase and strolled out the door with a huge fake smile on my face. I told the pool secretary I would not be returning today and kept walking as she fired off a flurry of questions that I ignored. I had to make it out of here before someone wanted to chat about the woman they hired from outside the company that had been in the email. I hopped into the elevator as my phone began to buzz and I ignored it, I was too busy cursing in four different languages to realize it was ringing. How could this happen, this was worse than when that idiot Stu had gotten the job. This time they passed me up to hire a total stranger.

I turned into the park and stopped at the small magazine kiosk that bordered the entrance. I bought a cheap cigar and lit up as I continued on, I hadn’t smoked a stogie in years, but I was just so upset, I think I deserved one if I wanted it. I walked around the lake as joggers and mothers pushing strollers walked and ran by, some gave me “looks” as I puffed away angrily, I knew Tina would be disappointed, right now I didn’t care. I found a park bench at the far end of the lake and sat down by myself as a breeze began to blow. What would my wife think, what kind of un-promote-able loser had she married, I could not seem to get past the place where I was, I had prayed to God until I was flippin’ blue in the face, trying to do things right, yet here I was.

I was distracted by the sound of heavy breathing as I looked up to see a jogger cooling down and looking at his watch, obviously checking his heart rate. Hey man, mind if I share that bench with you for a few, he asked? Uh, sure I said as I moved my briefcase to the side. He was a young guy, no more than 22, with tattoo sleeves. His arms were completely covered, every square millimeter from his shoulder to his wrist, both arms. He wore a beanie stocking cap over a thick mop of curly black hair, and had a weeks worth of beard stubble on his face. Thanks man, he said and he sat right down, then quickly remarked “not to be nosy, but dressed in a nice suit as you are, I would think you could afford a better cigar than that”. I began to respond, and found my tongue tied as I noticed a slight grin on this guys face, he was messing with me, he didn’t know me and he was messing with me. He had the strangest eyes, they were a lavender/purple hue, a color I have never seen before. I was about to tell him to mind his own business when he stuck his hand out and said pleased to meet you, names Jay. I hesitated a moment, and then I finally gave in and shook his hand and told him my name was Todd. Before long, I had begun to actually confide in him about the events of my day. He would just nod and listen, and so I continued and told him about my faith and how my family and I were Christians, and how we had built our lives around God. This young guy with the beautiful eyes and the many tattoos was a great listener, he would just sit, and listen, and wait.

So I finally cut to the chase, I didn’t really know what to think of God anymore. I had prayed fervently to God, asking Him to bless my labor that I may advance. I had worked long hours at the office sacrificing where others hadn’t, I had tried to set a good example for others, I didn’t cheat on my wife, I didn’t drink to excess, I deserved that job. Jay was nodding with emphasis at every point I made, doggone right you do, and you deserve more than that to boot, now I was nodding, I liked this guy.

He looked at me and asked “so when you pray, do you pray for like, a “BMW”, or maybe a boat or motorcycle, his face taking on a mischievous smile. What about a summer home in the mountains huh, you could pray for that. No, no  I said, that isn’t the kind of thing you pray for I said as Jay sat there with a quizzical look on his face listening to me. When you pray, you don’t pray for things that are luxury items like cars, boats, motorcycles and cabins, those are not needs, but rather wants. He looked at me seriously and said “what is different about that job you want, how is it different from praying for a BMW”? His face had taken on a whole new look, and I felt as though I had just been blindsided, “it is completely different Jay, you don’t know the situation so you shouldn’t be making judgments” I said. He just looked back at me and seemed a little older now, then he looked down and slowly shook his head. How much money do you make Todd, he asked? None of your business I said, as I stood up hotly!. He looked up and said one hundred seventeen thousand dollars, and change, that’s how much. My jaw sagged as he continued.

You have a nice house in a better neighborhood, Tina is a stay at home mom, you have a warm place to sleep, comfortable furniture. Did you know that once He started His ministry, the Son of Man never had a place of His own? You have cars, a house, furnishings, a great job, yet you are not satisfied, you want a better job, because you want to further glorify yourself, because no one appreciates you enough. Well, I say there is no difference between that and praying for a new car when you already have a great one, there is no difference. Who are you I asked really? Jay, I already told you, Jay See, actually those are just my initials though. J.C. my mind raced as he stood to leave, wait I asked and he turned and smiled kindly at me. Todd, just relax brother, just relax and realize that true rest lies in surrender. Realize that there is a larger plan at work, then He placed a hand on my shoulder and jogged past me. I turned to watch Him run but He was gone, there was no one there, the sidewalk was empty. I began to make my way back to work, tail between my legs. God Bless-JFT

 

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He now knew he had two flame-outs, the engines were toast since he had flown through that flock of geese and sucked a few of them through each turbine. He had a plane full of souls over a city full of souls, every second counted. He didn’t have time to think, there literally was no time for thinking, but only time for acting, if he hadn’t paid attention during all of those hours of training, then it would show, because it was all pure instinct now baby. He called out orders in the cockpit as the co-pilot Jeff responded quickly. The flight attendants also jumped as he issued orders and fearlessly prepared the passengers for the worst. They had to announce the one thing over the PA system that every flight attendant hopes they never have do, “ladies and gentlemen, please prepare for a crash landing”.

The pilot had located a place to set the big bird down that would have the least amount of impact (literally) on the crash zone, and would also suit their needs the best, it would be a water landing on a wide river. As he brought the plane about and fought the controls with no power, the big jetliner was effectively nothing more than a glider now as he lined it up over the river and began to feather the flaps as the plane started its descent.  He knew the river was plenty wide and long, now all he had to do was watch out for watercraft, but it was midwinter, so that should minimize things a lot. As the big plane neared the water, the pilot and his co-pilot Jeff braced for impact and gripped the controls with both hands firmly. As the plane hit the dense water, he feared it would break up, but he knew he needed to stick with the procedure for a water landing and follow it to the letter. They held on tight as the huge airliner skipped smoothly across the water like a flat rock thrown across a pond, not near as bad as he had suspected. The crew, even the passengers held it together like you wouldn’t believe, courage and professionalism ruled the day. The Pilot looked down and saw the big plane had stopped moving altogether, they had survived, and it was a miracle. He wanted to shout from the rooftops and tell the world, but their work was far from over, it had just begun.

Emergency doors were opened and the cool inflatable slides deployed and were then pulled over so that they slid out onto the wings. As Sully watched the last of his passengers deplane, he began to walk the cabin of the plane looking for anyone that may have stayed behind or been injured. Sully kept going as the water in the cabin was first an inch or two, then soon ankle deep, after checking the lavatory, Sully looked out the window at the evacuation progress and noted that they were about two thirds finished. A coast guard cutter and a white boat that had just pulled in and started taking people aboard had already rescued most of the passengers. Sully had already decided that he would be the last one to be rescued, because that is how it is when you are the captain of a vessel. He turned and made another full sweep of the cabin, restroom, attendant’s area and the water was getting deep now. He had one more thing to do; he retrieved the captain’s logbook, placed it in a plastic bag, and left the plane for the last time.

I was recently reading in Luke 6:46-49,    “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?  As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like.  They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.  But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

This reminded me of Sully, because after this incident occurred, sully became a trainer for other pilots, and the thing he talks to them about is being prepared. In my job, we are trained similarly to the way Sully is trained, we run big turbine engines that cost hundreds of millions of dollars too, but we are not trained to monitor them when everything is going well, but to respond with lightning speed accurately when everything goes wrong. We are trained to act with fast reflexes, superior (right the first time) decision making, to not get rattled, and to be able to put everything back together when things go terribly wrong. That is why I know when Sully landed that plane in the Hudson and not a soul was wounded, Sully was a remarkable man. He is a man who was committed to training, he took his job seriously, if you had run in his circles, he probably would have been the one ridiculed by the others for being too much of a bookworm. When the guys were going out to let off steam and have a few beers, Sully would have passed because he would have been studying a bit more than the rest.

The same is true of us as followers of Christ; the level of our rooting is going to be determined by the level of our commitment. It is great to go to church, to take the little study guide that they give out each week and follow along with the pastor, writing down notes as you get to the key points. It is great to sing praises to God, raising hands in worship to him and to commune with him when the cup and the bread are passed, but does it go further, how deep are your roots? If Satan came and tried to pry you away from your faith like we do a weed in springtime, would it be a chore, would he have a hard time, or would you just pop right out. “But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. The foundation on bedrock is simple, do you know the word, do you know the stories of the Old Testament, or do you know the stories of the New Testament? The word holds the answers to this life that we seek, that we need, the covenant that God made with us, it is the bedrock on which we build our house. If we build our house there, what can stand against it, what can rail against the power of God? Nothing, so in my opinion, Sully showed us a great example of what can happen if you are prepared. So I ask you, are you prepared for a crash?

God Bless-JFT

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