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Recent Writings:

Everyone, at times, experiences the pain of love given but not returned. But, are we too quick in giving up; in turning away those who have disappointed us? Maybe we do, but God does not.

God is self-giving love.
Of himself he says, “Love suffers long and is kind.”

We see the love of Father God in the parable of the prodigal son: the son seemed to do everything wrong. Already the father has given him his inheritance.

Do we not see that even the opportunity of life is a gift from another; and inheritance not deserved, not asked for.
And the “bad” son spoils his life. Using the gift of life-his potentials-
so selfishly.

Let’s not be too quick to judge him. Are we not are looking at our selves?

Perhaps we have not gotten so caught up as did this “Prodigal,” but we are near of kin to him in many ways.

Given his set of circumstances are we so confident that we would not have fallen so deeply as did he?

Perhaps we had someone in our corner. Someone that helped us more than we realize – and this boy did not.

Yet the Father was watching. He was not judging. He was just there – watching, waiting, knowing that life must come crashing down – – – and He would be there; not to scold but rather to reassure. And the time came.

“Kill the fatted calf,” shout the Father, “my son has come to me hoping that I can help him. My son has come home!”

No confession comes from the son’s lips: nor any correction from the Father’s.

Can we do better? Surely not! Is this a picture of happiness? There is none better.

The Father had been long in suffering his son’s plight. Certainly he did not stoop to blaming. The stakes were too high for that.

Oh, dear friends do we not see that happiness can be contaminated before it is allowed to happen – if we do as we are told not to do?
“Judge not that ye be not judged.”

The difference between Father God and us is that He alone has the right to judge but chooses not to. And we, who are hypocrites to judge, do so quite easily; and destroy rather than heal those in our paths.

Buddy

“Faith in God can move a mighty mountain,” we once sang in our church located on Falls Avenue. And through our lives God moved mightily.

Falls Avenue Wesleyan Church became an icon among other churches in America where the Lord was actually answering prayers; where the people prayed expecting miracles to happen: nothing less than a mighty move of God should be expected when we pray.

How long, Christian leaders, pastors, and laymen, has it been since under your teaching: “The place was shaken!”

God is eager to touch the people for whom His Son gave His life.

Instead, the Christian movement has been stifled because many began believing that God does not immediately answer our sincere pleas to Him.

Not knowing what we are doing, we take the Lord’s place thinking that we are the long-suffering, and that the Lord is apparently not ready to come in His healing, liberating power.

Many now exalt long-praying as long-suffering and the God who says He “comes right early” to not really coming quickly to our need.

“The place was shaken wherein they were gathered together; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. And the multitude of them who believed were of one heart and soul.”

The Book of Acts has been called by some, “The Acts of the Holy Spirit;” by others as “The Acts of the First Century Church;” it is both.

We cannot be effective witnesses except that the Holy Spirit moves in accord with our speech. Nor could Jesus bear fruit except that the Holy Spirit operated in accord with Him.

“And they went forth,” we read elsewhere, “and preached every where the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following.”

“And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people – – – and believers were the more added to the church, multitudes both men and women even so much that they even carried the out the sick – – -and they were healed every one…”

This was happening within the confines of a persecuted church.

We linger on earth a short while. Our eternal home is not here. We have been saved and are now His workmanship. We are saved from the world – though we are sent back into it for a season.

Human beings always understand only in part such that the same faith described in the book of Hebrews is that faith which we exercise.
We can be assured knowing this, that the Lord has more-than-adequately revealed himself to us, given his promises to us, and will never leave us or forsake us. We will no doubt feel forsaken. The battle of faith involves taking the Lord at His word.

If we will abide in Him, boldly share Him and his word to those around us who will let us, expect that in going forth He will accompany our words.

Indeed, we must not neglect (telling others and remembering ourselves) “so great a salvation.”

Buddy

An Italian friend of mine was a citizen of Italy when his home was confiscated by the Nazis and his parent killed. “Pete” has passed now, but he had scrambled into the woods and escaped Italy finally ending up in Chicago. There, he worked as a laborer, began doing side work on his own, and ended up having millions in his estate. Chance in many ways made him. He did not whine about the difficulties he faced in America partly because he knew of much greater difficulties. Chance did not ruin him, but his time did run out.

All of us can learn from Pete’s life-experience. We have an allotted time during which many opportunities – both good and bad – will chance our way.

We all have a period of time, of opportunity that is, and every choice we make can be seen as a risk – or was it an opportunity?

We were raised in a land of opportunity. Some of us ended up with careers; but many of us found comfort in working in factories where good wages were paid and late-life benefits were offered. Only a generation before the Lynden Johnson’s idea of a
”great society” offered Americans the so-called “social security,” either citizens helped the poor or the poor faired – – – poorly.

Just a generation before Lyndon Johnson was president a great many American children were orphans, we had orphanages; old folk’s homes: job security in factories was greatly desired: university education was not common among us. Time and chance were issues quite meaningful and opportunity was seized – thankfully seized. When the word got out that John Deere was hiring, for instance, hundreds of us would gather every day and hope that our name was called.

John Deere had joined the United Auto Workers union whose contracts with Deere & Company brought astounding increase in wages, benefits, and worker protection. Laborers at John Deere, simply according to chance and opportunity, once hired could live at a scale of luxury in comparison to less fortunate citizens. An argument against leaving one factory job and going to work at Deere when they were hiring focused on job stability and layoffs. It was a risk-choice in the minds of many, to choose being a laborer at Deere & Company.

That opportunity has passed: the times are different. Times have always been different in different places. So it is that time and chance does happen to us all. Life circumstances will change; and even if we have prepared for certain employment potential, it could be that the job will not be there when we get there. Planning does not guarantee success, but a person who takes the risk – the opportunity to prepare himself; qualify himself – will more likely take more risk at opportunities and find ways to be self-supportive. It’s who he is, who he has become: we try, we make decisions based on the available information; the available opportunities; and we become problem solving people.

We are being taught that time is endless even though that is meaningless, actually irrelevant because it is not visibly endless to us. We are not being taught to heed the fact that our individual lives are short on earth. We are being taught that life is a journey and that on that journey it is the government’s job to assure us equal opportunities in life. But, we are not being taught about equal effort on the part of individuals. We are not being shown any equality concerning a right to be born. We are being taught of a right to die when we choose to die.

But who has for us a correct law book? Who correctly defines for us what behavior is right and what is wrong? As we ponder and debate, the clock is ticking; and our choices are impacting our world – and other’s worlds.

All of us know that we exist: we think and plan and this we know is life. But our presence is unexplained by the processes we see. “Things that are were not made by things that appear,” and no scientist can without speculation challenge that truth. The Bible explains that time exists for us between beginnings and endings, that eternity past and eternity future do not know death; that choice must be honestly made and with it confession – we have all sinned.

The Bible teaches us what we know in part concerning good and evil. Almost everyone believes some form of the saying, “What goes around, comes around.” India’s historic idea on this is called the laws of moral duty – dharma; and of consequence – karma. The Bible states “God is not mocked, that which a man sows, he shall also reap.”

But something most wonderful, the Bible also teaches: and that is divine mercy and divine forgiveness. Who raise a family with kindness will innately know the value and treasure of mercy and forgiveness – and the need for one coming clean so that forgiveness is transactional: it works wonders.

We have the opportunity in life of making right choices, of turning from the way of wrong ones, of studying God’s word before we allow ourselves to be convinced that it is not His word, of hearing and heeding in our hearts – the same place that love sprouts – the urgings of the Holy Spirit. We have the opportunity to risk and live by our own urges – usually thinking we can escape the consequences – common sense and the Holy Spirit ignored.

Time and chance happen to us all. We can’t avoid that; but we can all seek excellence. We can all be thankful for the help that comes our way. We can admit that we are not entitled – as though we are a special class either incapable; but at least in part lazy or ungrateful. Help is everywhere.

Although time and chance may present difficulties to us; even though we are unsure over opportunities, even when we struggle fully knowing right or wrong, we can know from life-stories that God can give us courage and encouragement, that He will wipe away our stifling guilt and shame – bringing us new hope – being for us the Fountain of new beginnings, that “He is for us” and He is over our lives – there for our faith in Him – directing us through His word.

Although time and chance played their roles, God guided us through them to Him. In a way, they made us what we are; but in a more realistic way, He made us what we will be forever.

Our difficulties turned us to the only sure answer in life and no religion thought of it: it is revealed to us from His word. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him shall not perish, but hath everlasting life.”

Time and chance were useful elements as we lived, out of which only one answer was sure: Yes, Jesus loves me – the Bible tells me so.

Buddy