I am a born-again believer seeking to write about faith and hope in my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. My hope is that in this blog that for some it will point them in the direction of their Savior for the first time. For others, I pray that it will encourage and edify. But in everything, I desire nothing less than to bring Glory to God.
Christmas is such a special and memorable time. I know most
people will be out buying presents and getting ready for some festive
celebration. Shelby and I decided years ago that we didn’t want to participate
in the commercialization of Christmas, so we didn’t buy presents.
However, the more I think about what Jesus did on the cross
and by giving His life for mine, I realize how significant His gift was to me.
The thing is is that gifts are a great thing. But it’s the kind of gift that
makes the difference. Shelby and I have everything we need. But to give our
time to someone, to help someone who is sick or in need, or to share the
greatest gift of all, which is Jesus, is far better than anything we could buy
at Walmart or Target.
I am deeply grateful for Jesus and all that He has done for
me. He has given me a beautiful and supportive wife who even helps me write
these blogs. I often don’t give her enough credit because these blog posts are
so much better because of her. And that goes for every area of my life. Thank
This post is actually meant for everyone. But as Christmas
draws near, I think of my family and friends. I don’t know each person’s heart
or where they stand with God. It’s my prayer that they all know Jesus as their
Lord and Savior. But I know from the Bible that I can’t assume that.
I would like to be bold and ask each person what they
believe. I’m just not as adept at speaking as I am at writing. These are
questions that I so desperately want to ask everyone that I know. Do you know
Jesus? How do you know Jesus? What does Christmas mean to you? Do you know for
sure that you belong to Him?
I can’t stress the significance of these issues enough.
Eternity apart from God is such a horrible thought that it’s like knowing
someone is heading toward a cliff and knowing about it but doing nothing about
it. No warning, no empathy, no nothing.
But to share God with someone is like caring enough for them
to know of the joy, the love, and the blessings that I also know and
experience. Since God loved me, He expects me to love Him and to love others. I
often fall short of these goals.
It convicts me that I’m not as bold as I should be about my
faith. But I do hope that many of my family and friends will read this. Because
it’s that important to me and to Shelby. Thank you.
The Meaning of
Every year around this time it seems that this phrase, “the
meaning of Christmas,” keeps popping up in conversations. You also hear, “Let’s
keep Christ in Christmas." There’s little question the reason behind these
phrases is due to certain people, such as atheists deeply opposed to
Christianity, trying to remove God from our culture.
It’s understandable, considering the atheists point of view,
why they are opposed to God. The definition of atheism, according
to Merriam-Webster, is “a disbelief in the existence of deity.” It could be
argued that disbelief is a belief in itself. For example, John Doe chooses to
believe there is no God versus believing there is a God. The Free Dictionary
says that disbelief
is, “the inability or refusal to believe or to accept something as true.” Point
being is that atheists, in the same vein as evolutionists, are choosing to base
their argument on faith. The sad reality is that they’re betting their lives
and that is going to end very badly.
What my concern is is that people are adamantly protesting
taking Christ out of Christmas without understanding what Christmas means
themselves. What do I mean by this? For many, my concern is that they are like
those in Isaiah 29:13. Please read this very carefully.
“These peoplecome near to me with their mouth and
honor me with their lips, but
their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is
based on merely human rules they have been taught.
Why does this concern me? Perhaps because this rang true in
my life for many years. I considered myself a Christian when I wasn’t. I had
convinced myself that because I prayed for God to save me that I had essentially
been saved. But there was something missing and I didn’t know it. Or maybe I
did but I didn’t want to admit it.
I had stopped going to church. I continued to live my life
as if it were my own. I was pursuing a sinful lifestyle and wasn’t concerned
about what God thought. But I had been brought up in a family that went to
church every week, was baptized as a child, confirmed as a young adult, and
followed many of the traditions of Christianity.
The issue is what God says in Isaiah. I honored him with my
mouth, like many do when they cry foul when someone says Happy Holidays instead
of Merry Christmas. I followed human rules such as going to church on Sunday
mornings. I acknowledged that there was a God but so does the Devil and his
2:19 says, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons
believe that—and shudder.”
What was missing? What do so many people miss? The problem is
that many people miss a very important truth. It’s not difficult to see.
Consider the Pharisees. You may think that the Pharisees were bad people and
that you’re nothing like them. Think again. The Pharisees were even more
religious than you. They “were very zealous for the law of Moses,” according to
Crown Journal, and they “had a great zeal for God.” The problem is that
just as in Isaiah 29:13, they were also strict adherents to oral traditions.
These were traditions of men, even very intelligent men.
Why were the traditions of men so wrong? In many ways, the
traditions became more important than God’s Word. The Pharisees were rebuked by
Jesus because they treated their traditions as having equal authority as God’s
laws. Like Got
Questions Ministries state, “we are not to allow our relationship with God
to be reduced to a legalistic list of rules and rituals.”
So what is everyone missing? Why does it seem that there is
a world with their hearts far from God, despite the fact they profess Him with
their lips? Ironically, there are so many people who say “Lord, Lord,” but are
going down the path to destruction and don’t even know it. Jesus
said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the
road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the
gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
What many people are missing and what I was missing is
“surrendering.” Think about it. What good is it when a person asks God to save
them and continues about his or her lifestyle without any consideration of
changing? But it’s not just that, it’s also a recognition that God is King, He
is Lord, and He is Sovereign over our lives. So am I saying that it takes some
effort on our part to get right with God? No. Surrendering is just
that…surrender. Our sin caused us to be enemies of God. Just as in war, there
is a supreme power that wins. When we surrender to God’s ways and lifestyle, we
surrender to the Supreme Power and His authority over our lives. Isaiah 55:9 says, “As the
heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my
thoughts than your thoughts.”
We all need to understand that we have sinned against God by
living contrary to His ways. The law, otherwise known as the Mosaic laws, helps
us to see what are God’s ways. Do not kill, do not steal, do not bear false
witness, and so on. Have you ever told a white lie? Have you ever taken a penny
that didn’t belong to you? Have you ever in your anger say that you hated
someone? If you have, then you’re a lying, thieving murderer. And by God’s
standard, we all have sinned against God and have come short of His glory.
Though most everyone believes that God is love, and He is,
God is also just. He cannot tolerate sin or for sin to go unpunished. That
would be like having a judge in court say to a lying, thieving murderer
deserving of the death sentence to say, “I love you and forgive you. I’ll give
you a pass. You are free to go.” Would that be a just judge? Wouldn’t every
person who witnessed such a judgment realize how wrong and inequitable that is
to a civilized society? How much less would that be to a just God who is the
ultimate Judge over our souls?
Many of these things were not explained to me early in my
life. I thought all I needed was to pray some prayer, confess Jesus in front of
others, and try to live a good life. Though that is what I believed, I didn’t
even do that well. Suffice it to say, I missed it by a mile. I didn’t realize
that to truly belong to God, or be considered one of His children, that I
needed to surrender. I needed to make him Lord of my life. Even that statement
isn’t completely accurate. Got
Questions Ministries helps explain that Jesus is already Lord. It’s for us
to submit to His Lordship.
Why is all of this so important to understand? It’s because
too many people live a life of religion. It’s just like in Memphis or
throughout the Deep South. This area is commonly referred to as the Bible Belt. However, like in
the days of the Pharisees, there appears to be traditions of men that are
viewed with higher priority. People are judged harshly and legalism becomes a
common occurrence. As a result, there are church pews filled with people going
through the motions, becoming Sunday Christians, and for the rest of the week
blending in with the world.
TrueChristians would not want to blend in
with the world. The world is antagonistic against God. 1 John 2:15-17 says that
we should not love the world but love God. And to love God is to do the will of
15 Do not love the world or anything in the
world.If anyone loves the world, love for the Fatheris not in them.16 For everything in the world—the lust of
the flesh,the lust of the eyes,and the pride of
life—comes not from the Father but from the world.17 The world and its desires pass away,but whoever does the will
of Godlives forever.
If we truly know Jesus, we would know that His desire is
relationship, not religion. God doesn’t just want us to know about Him. He
wants us to know Him personally. Think of your own parents. Don’t they want you
to identify with them as part of the family? Don’t they want you to know them
as Mom and Dad and not just know about them as some distant parental unit?
Don’t they long for you to want to be with them and love them? Doesn’t God want
many of the same things from His children? Hosea
6:6 says, “I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to
know me more than I want burnt offerings.”
So what does Christmas truly mean for the Christian? Is it
about being offended by those who prefer Happy Holidays or Season’s Greetings
to Merry Christmas? No. We should care about our neighbor and more importantly,
their eternal destination. Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus,
of course, but the miracle of the virgin birth is only the prelude to the
greater event, Jesus’s ultimate sacrifice on the cross for the sins of all the
What Jesus did was satisfy the righteous requirements of the
law and justify us before the Judge of all mankind for our sins. He took our
place and bore our sins and nailed them to the cross. But while Jesus died for
the sins of the world, it is still our individual responsibility to ask Jesus
to be our Lord and Savior. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God
is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans
6:23) We need to receive God’s gift. We need to surrender to His will.
Christmas means everything. Christmas is where Jesus humbled
Himself and became like one of us. It was such a glorious event that even Linus
of the cartoon strip Peanuts recognized the significance. Watch this video
and see for yourself.
It is every true Christian’s prayer that all people come to
know Jesus. What is the meaning of Christmas to you? I hope that for you that it
means you invited Jesus into your heart and surrendered your will for His. That
is the only way Christmas can be truly celebrated.
Everywhere you turn, you can get a sense of the world
becoming more divided and hostile. It happens locally, nationally, and
globally. Memphis is plagued by violence as demonstrated by its rank as one of
the ten most
dangerous U.S. cities. Even over the Thanksgiving
holiday, a time when people generally stop and reflect on their blessings,
Memphis still deals with violent crime as a dozen shootings are reported over
There’s the kind of violence that occurs among civilians and
then there’s the kind of violence that comes from the police force that is
supposedly there to protect and serve. That’s what happened recently in New
York City. In trying to arrest a man for selling illegal cigarettes, the
police take him down by force where later the man was declared dead at a nearby
hospital. Was the takedown by a chokehold responsible for his death? It seems
unclear through some reports but it certainly could have been a contributing
Then there’s the much publicized fatal shooting of a man in Ferguson, Missouri
by a police officer. By some accounts, which later turned out to be false
statements, the man was turning away from the police officer when he held up
his hands and yelled, “Don’t shoot.” However, the officer involved was not
indicted and was cleared of all charges. That hasn’t changed the overall mood
of the country, however, as evidenced by several protests taking place in major
cities throughout the U.S.
The world has gone crazy. It’s no surprise to anyone, or
least anyone that isn’t living in a cave or has their head buried in the sand,
to see how bad things are all around us. In Iraq, news reports tell us about
the horrors of beheadings
by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Though, apparently ISIS is small
potatoes compared to the governments
of Saudi Arabia, Iran, North Korea, and Somalia with regards to torture, persecution,
beheadings, and other forms of execution.
Then there’s another Islamic terrorist group called Boko
Haram. This militant group is so radical that to say they kill, steal, and
destroy doesn’t touch how extreme they are. According to CNN, “(they have)
bombed schools, churches and mosques; kidnapped women and children; and
assassinated politicians and religious leaders alike.” They’re widely known,
however, for recently kidnapping
hundreds of schoolgirls. In a more despicable move, the group forced these Christian
girls to convert to Islam and to be sold as slave brides, and thus revealing
their complete disregard toward the value of human life.
The atmosphere isn’t any better in Israel either. They’re
under constant attack by Hamas,
another Islamic terrorist organization. It’s not that the rocket
attacks are infrequent, either. It seems like Israel is constantly under
threat considering 11,000 rockets have been fired since 2005. And for Israel to
protect themselves, they use air strikes to target the terrorists. But Hamas is
depraved enough to use human
shields and then cry foul when civilians are hurt or killed. And to show
that nothing is sacred in their attacks toward Israel, Hamas even uses their
own mosques as terrorist facilities.
Violence is everywhere. Even in the United States there are
problems with anger and the use of violence. Use Ferguson, Missouri as an
example. Because a white police officer defended himself against a black man
that appeared to have been attacking him, the entire community and a large
portion of the country is experiencing civil unrest. Did the officer shoot the
young, black man unprovoked? Answering questions to get to the truth doesn’t
seem to matter much, it seems. CNN, an
international cable news network forgets that people are innocent until proven
guilty. But in their eyes, prior to knowing the truth through a trial by jury,
they declare the officer to be guilty by saying he “shot and killed Michael
Brown, an unarmed black teen.” Is that the truth? Does the truth even matter?
As it is, major cities throughout the U.S. are bracing for protests
that could potentially turn very ugly very fast.
Today we live in a culture saturated with self-serving,
self-indulging, and self-gratifying people. It doesn’t take much to see how
true this really is. We could point to the level of violent
crime in the US, which indicates on some level a selfish desire to
inflict pain on others in order to gain some demented level of gratification.
Don’t believe that statement? Consider this comment from one Memphis
teenager regarding a teen mob attack at a Kroger grocery store, “It’s
fun…That’s just what kids do.”
Violence, though, is just one of many behaviors that reflect
the reality of a selfish culture. What about a city that votes unanimously
about criminalizing homelessness? Yes, it’s true. The city council in Columbia,
SC voted to criminalize homelessness. Why? The motive isn’t completely
clear as one council member said it was a temporary measure toward “a more
sound resolution.” But like most decisions similar to these, it usually
revolves around money. Apparently some businesses are voicing concerns on how
the homeless crisis is affecting the city. (Read: Affecting sales and the
bottom line.) Instead of addressing the issues in a more humanitarian way, it’s
apparent that incarcerating, or moving the homeless to “a remote emergency
shelter” on the outskirts of the city limits and where they’re out of sight, is
a more acceptable alternative.
Another example of a selfish society can be found in Daytona
Beach, CA and Ft.
Lauderdale, FL. The law enforcement in these cities are told to enforce
ordinances that make it illegal to feed the homeless. According to the laws of
these cities, it’s up to the government to use taxpayer money to meet these
needs in the community. The penalty to feed the homeless on your own? Large
fines and even jail time. These laws seemingly run contrary in showing
compassion to those less fortunate.
This October 31, many Memphians
will be out celebrating what is today referred to as Halloween. In many
is considered a major holiday in the US, perhaps surpassing Thanksgiving and
coming in behind Christmas, which is the number one celebrated holiday. But is
Halloween a holiday that should be celebrated, particularly among Christians?
According to one website,
Wiccans see this as one of their eight major holidays, so how should Christians
According to Dictionary.com, the name
Halloween is derived from All Saint’s Day even though the Christian holiday
doesn’t have any resemblance to the holiday celebrated today. In fact, it is
more likely based on the Celtic New Year, which at that time celebrated the
dead arising for one night, among other things.
There are several aspects regarding Halloween that should
raise “red flags” among Christian believers. However, it is a matter of
disagreement even within the Christian community about whether Christians in
general should be involved in the holiday or not. While some arguments “for”
participation may have merit, there is one aspect of the argument that is completely
left out and will be discussed later.
It appears that in the era
of political correctness the error of believing “everything should be equal” is
creating a breakdown in society and creating a lot of confusion. While being
treated the same on some level is a noble thought, the reality is that we’re
not all the same. On that premise, Matt Walsh
wrote a very good blog post explaining why there is no such thing as marriage
equality. And there is a lot of truth to that.
There are a lot of reasons
why we’re not the same or should be treated the same. In society’s twisted
logic, equality seems to trump every rational reason for the order of nature
and nature’s law. Physically, emotionally, and psychologically men and women
are different. Yet society would stipulate that equality must exist in order to
promote fairness in every facet of life. While there are many things that men
and women can do that are the same and can be considered equal, there are significant
differences in the dynamics of the genders that can be and should be
appreciated. Men, if they take on their proper roles as fathers in the family, impact
their children in their psychological well-being and social behavior that
cannot be substituted by only having a mother present. They are also vitally
important in how they eventually relate to God the Father. Moreover, women are
extremely important in the influence of their children’s lives as they promote
stability, academic success, and emotional and psychological health, to name a
few. Again, these are attributes and benefits that cannot be substituted if
only a father were present in the children’s lives.
Certainly there are many
other examples that can be given to illustrate the point that equality, or
fairness, is not always the wisest course of action. Yet governments often use
this tactic of equality to advance their agenda. In this day and age, people
are increasingly falling prey to the idea that wealth ought to be equal. For
example, there is a class of people who get an education, work hard, take risks,
and are ultimately successful. They are thereby rewarded with wealth and a
higher standard of living. However, there is a different class of people who
don’t work as hard or put in nearly enough effort; but, because of envy toward
the rich, they feel slighted somehow. So, in order to bring about this idea of equality,
society pushes the government to create laws and policies that effectively
force wealth redistribution. Some may see this idea, which is termed Socialism,
as a good thing; many others do not.
Equality sounds like a
good idea on the surface. In many ways, equality works if it’s appropriate. If
a woman works at the same job and does the same work at the same level as a
man, she should receive equal pay. There are applications in life that this
principle can be proven fair and effective. However, life isn’t always fair and
is usually beyond our control. Consider how a young man who is healthy,
exercises, and eats right. This person is then diagnosed with cancer. The
cancer is so extreme, such as stage IV type cancer, this guy only has six
months to live. Within three or four months, he is given in to the disease and
dies. Now, another person comes along who does nothing to take care of herself.
She sits around all day eating junk food and is physically non-active. She is
soon discovered to have stage IV type cancer as well. However, because of
aggressive treatments her cancer is caught in time and it goes into remission.
If life were fair and everyone were treated equal, it would stand to reason that
the woman should have died as well. That would be fair.
To be certain, differences
exist in nature, and by association in the affairs of man, that we should not
only accept but appreciate. It’s a world in which God created. And if the world
is viewed through a Biblical perspective, it’s much easier to appreciate and
understand. To further illustrate this point, we could examine fairness from
God’s perspective. Take, for example, our rebellious nature and how we have
sinned against God. Do we really want God to give us exactly what we deserve,
what is fair and equitable? In Scripture, Romans 3:10-18
tell us that there is no one righteous; in fact, we’re all worthless because
there is no one who does good. This is significant because following these
verses is another passage, Romans 3:23,
that tells us that we all have sinned. Now follow this thought over to Romans 6:23,
where Scripture tells us that the wages of sin is death. Fairness dictates that
we all should die.
Ponder the previous point
that we have all sinned and should die. Understand that there is nothing
inherently good about any one of us. We sin and we do things that are abhorrent
to God, our Creator. God, being the Creator, is also Judge over heaven and
earth. He decides our beginning and our end. And it is His judgment that to sin
is to deserve death. This death is not just physical death but spiritual death.
Since being with God is eternal life, being separated from God is eternal
death. That’s what is at stake. The Bible talks about how this kind of death,
or in other words going to hell, is what we deserve. So while we’re
contemplating this idea of equality, let’s face the fact that with all things
being fair or equal, what we deserve is God’s wrath.
Now consider the notion
that instead of dooming mankind to eternal hell and separation from Him, which
the Bible describes as torment, God instead formulates a plan to save us. As Judge,
He determines that mankind is guilty. But in the process of penalizing us for
our sins, as a merciful and gracious Redeemer, He determines there is a way for
us to be justified and reconciled back to Him. From the beginning of time,
blood has had significance regarding life; as in life giving. In the Old
Testament, to offer pure, unblemished sacrifices with bulls and goats and such
was a symbolic way to show that blood was a substantial aspect in atoning for
sins. What God did was go above and beyond to show His love for us by offering as
a sacrifice His one, and only Son. Jesus was the ultimate, perfect, spotless Lamb
of God. Jesus’s blood that was shed on the cross effectively washed away our
sin once and for all. So, in referencing the other part of Romans 6:23, God’s
Word tells us that the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Interestingly, Jesus who
was perfect and sinless was offered up as a sacrifice for our sins. We sinned
and Jesus paid the price. Do you see the irony here? Romans 5:8
says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still
sinners, Christ died for us.” What exactly is fair about that? Do we demand
equality and fair treatment in regards to our sin? Do we want to demand
fairness in order to receive what we deserve, God’s wrath? Or do we dare
believe that we can cry out for mercy and receive His forgiveness, thus avoid
our “due wages.”
The unfair treatment of
Jesus is an example of why this post is titled, “What’s good for the goose may
not be good for the gander.” Who would volunteer to say that they want to
receive the same torture, punishment, ridicule, and execution on the cross that Jesus
endured that led to His death? Who would want to experience the most horrific
death imaginable, and then have the weight of their sins placed on their
shoulders and die a spiritual death? Jesus endured spiritual death and, as a
result, was separated from God the Father for a period of time; who would want
to experience that for even a millisecond?
There’s another reason why
we shouldn't think that since something works for one person that it should be
the same for everybody. In the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul writes
something about this regarding the treatment of believers within the church. He
tells us that among believers we shouldn’t assume that we’re all the same in
terms of maturity and spiritual development. Instead of arguing that we should act
as if we’re all equal, Paul assumes that the more mature Christian should take
the responsibility of caring for and being sensitive to the less mature
Maybe what Paul is talking
about in Romans is not necessarily only about maturity. It’s more about caring
for our brothers and sisters in Christ, no matter what spiritual path we’re on.
Consider what Paul has to say in these passages:
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your
mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or
sister. 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that
nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then
for that person it is unclean. 15 If your brother or sister is distressed because
of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating
destroy someone for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let what you know is
good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating
and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18
because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives
Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual
edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food
is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else
to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything
else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.
So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God.
Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But
whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from
faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.
What Paul tells us in
these passages is that the Lord God has provided everything to us for our
enjoyment. Don’t misunderstand this statement. What God has provided for us to
enjoy, man has taken and perverted it in many ways. So, for example, drinking a
beverage from the fruit of the vine is something considered good initially.
However, man found a way to take something good and use it in excess and therefore
become drunk and influenced by wine. That is not good and is not an example of
what Paul would say is acceptable behavior.
What, then, is Paul
talking about? Let’s take the example of wine as an illustration. As
Christians, is it wrong for us to consume alcoholic beverages, such as wine?
One could argue that it perfectly acceptable, according to Paul’s statement.
But what if there’s another believer that takes issue with it? That believer
may have experiences in his or her family history that the thought of consuming
alcohol causes problems spiritually and may cause him or her to stumble. Paul
would exhort the Christian that finds alcohol acceptable to refrain from
drinking if it causes division or other problems within the church. What Paul
says is that we should make every effort to be at peace with each other and do
what is edifying for the church’s spiritual growth and development.
As Christians, let’s not
get caught up in the world’s ways of doing things. Political correctness seems to
be the driving, and dividing mechanism that governs how the culture conducts
itself. But instead of thinking what’s good for the goose is good for the
gander, let’s think instead of what we can do or say that will benefit others
and bring about their edification. It’s far better to be deprived of something,
and even endure unfairness for a while, if in the end love wins out and promotes
healthy relationships among the brethren. Hopefully, this kind of attitude and
approach will help someone along their spiritual journey and draw them closer
Equality is not
everything. Unless, of course, you’re one of those who wants to be fair and get
what you deserve. Who out there is standing in line for God’s wrath?
a popular comedian was found dead in his home.
He had committed suicide. For
reasons we may not fully comprehend, he was a man who was troubled to the point
of ending his own life. It is not a
subject I take lightly so I want to be careful not to sensationalize what has
gripped the attention of the world. I
also don’t want to minimize how deeply this has impacted survivors of this
all the soul searching, I honestly cannot say I understand suicide. Nor do I pretend to. I’m not saying I don’t know what events that
often lead to the thoughts of suicide.
Most people can give typical reasons for why a person loses hope and
eventually surrenders their life. The
reasons can range from depression, terminal illness, chronic pain, alcohol and
drug abuse, loneliness, failed marriages, loss of a job, and so on. It’s typically the missing piece of the
puzzle that is the “one thing” that pushes a person over the edge.
in times like this that people search for answers. Anything to explain how something like this
can happen. However some deal with their
problems, they often don’t let on to those who really know them how close they
are to the edge.
is also a time when Christians often try to offer words of encouragement. Pastors, leaders, and Christian counselors
typically point people to Scripture and offer theological advice. Words, though, seem so inadequate. Sometimes they can come across as cold and
distant. I am certain that is not the
intention of any Christian. It’s only
that Christians understand a truth that is relevant to these discussions and
that is Jesus is the Answer.
Christian, I understand that suicide is not the answer. Let me say this again because it’s worth
repeating. Suicide is not the
answer. I don’t say this to belittle
anyone who has had thoughts toward this end.
It’s not something that can be easily explained away. Anything that can drive a person to the point
of reaching the end is something that needs serious attention. The point is that in whatever situation a
person finds himself or herself, Jesus is the only One who can turn that
person’s life around.
writing this post, I’m not trying to give the impression that I know more than
Christian Scholars and Theologians. In
fact, I think there are several posts and articles written by others on this
subject that are more noteworthy. This
blog found at Bible
Gateway gives a scripturally based response to depression. It’s worth noting that God doesn't condemn
anyone for his/her feelings, even depression.
Can certain attitudes and behaviors, like anxiety, be wrong in God’s
eyes? Sure. We may be self-absorbed or focused only on
selfish wants and desires. But true
feelings of sadness, loneliness, or depression seems different. Certainly this is a multifaceted
subject. There’s no one right answer
because we’re all unique and we all have problems that are specific to our
situations. One thing that I do see as a
source of hope is God. He is the
constant that we can rely on and He can be the anchor for our lives and our
souls. One of the greatest needs in the
life of someone who is contemplating his/her end is relationship. Human relationships may help in a temporal
way. However, when God offers Himself to
us we have access to a relationship that is much deeper, significant, and
same way, at Patheos
there’s an article that backs up this idea of a relationship with God being the
answer to man’s greatest need. Or as the
author puts it, the Ultimate Christian Gift.
The author emphasizes on what a relationship with God brings, and that’s
agree with these writers that a relationship with God is a key element in
combating these deep emotional issues. I
say this in regards to those who are able to rationally think about the choices
they are making. For the most part,
that’s me. Though I can be an emotional
wreck and believe that suicide would be a quick way out, I am also still able
to rationally think about the choices before me. And I do.
I think about God and what He would think about the choice I am about to
make. Since God is my Creator, would He
be okay with me circumventing His authority over my life by taking it myself?
question, then, is what about those that do take their own life? Have they made the ultimate error and
committed the unforgivable sin? This is
a complex issue and I’m probably not qualified to answer this. But in my limited understanding about God and
Scripture, there’s a time when we become accountable for our choices and
lives. For example, a baby is born into
this world with a sin nature. If a baby
dies without being able to accept Jesus as his/her Lord and Savior, does that
mean the baby doesn't go to heaven?
There is a debate on this but I tend to follow John MacArthur’s logic on
this issue. You’ll have to read it
yourself to understand.
Now take this same argument and apply it
to mental and emotional disabilities. My
point being is that it’s possible that those who are not able to consciously
make proper choices may not be held to the same level of accountability as
someone with a sound mind and body.
Let’s say a Christian develops Alzheimer’s. Obviously, this is a debilitating disease
that leaves little doubt as to the ability of rational reason or thought. If this Christian commits suicide, is he/she
then in sin and unable to reconcile with God?
Or should we say a Christian can’t take their own life because of
Again, I point to the fact that this is a
complex issue. We’re not always talking
about people making rational decisions.
Often, there are those that are going through deeply emotional and
psychological issues. It would be naive
to think that these issues pertained only to nonbelievers. For certain, pain and sorrow and even illness
are a part of life for the Christian as well.
are sometimes diagnosed as clinically depressed. It’s a more severe form of depression. People are also diagnosed as having a wide
range of mental and emotional disorders.
With that being said, I’m not as certain to say that when a person is
sick that he/she has the full mental capacity and clarity of choice. It’s possible this person could commit
suicide. Believers and non-believers suffer
alike, go through pain, and sometimes are not aware of the choices they are
making. Can we say that one person was
more fully aware of choice than another if there’s suicide? Maybe not.
Does that somehow point to an obscure fact that this couldn't have been
a Christian? I don’t think so. In my estimation, only God is able to
is clear to me is that suicide is a problem the church and the community must
deal with together. Anyone who is fully
aware of his/her choice, it needs to be crystal clear that suicide is not the
answer. For a person struggling with
this on a conscious level needs to realize that there is a God who loves
him/her. For the Christian, the
relationship with God and knowing His Holy Spirit resides in us ought to give
us hope and strength. Relationship is
such a strong, emotional anchor that grounds us to reality. How much more impactful is a relationship
with the Creator of the universe?
For the unbeliever, hope may be
fleeting. Where can one go? You may be able to muster the strength to
make it through the drudgery of life. However,
a greater bet is to place your security in the One who holds the balance of
your life, body and soul, in His hands.
What a great tragedy it is for anyone to go through life without knowing
how much God loves and the extent to what He will go through for us. And for someone to end their life without
that hope and the knowledge of that truth is what is truly tragic.
Meme by http://www.funnymemes.net/funny-ecards-still-a-hypocrite.html
admit I do get frustrated more and more these days. I really must temper my feelings toward the
world. Read the newspapers, Facebook,
Twitter, blogs, or whatever news source you read and you can see how the world
is becoming more corrupt by the day.
Evil is running amok.
matter what position you hold toward Israel or Palestine, you probably have
very strong opinions regarding either side.
If you side with Israel, you probably think that the government there
and its citizens are completely innocent of any bloodshed or any
wrongdoing. If you side with Palestine,
you surely are incensed at the lives lost, many of them children.
is your position on the world’s religions?
Be it Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, or even atheist you likely
have a strong opinion on what you believe.
Throughout history, as I understand it, most wars have been waged
because of religion. Let me expand on
that thought. I googled this question
about wars being caused by religion and one website
states that is not the case. They
explain that wars are waged primarily because of sin. So let me just argue my opinion that religion
is still a factor because man is waging war in his heart against God. Is it religion or not? If you’re someone who’s raising his fist
against God and say you’re atheist, agnostic, or whatever, it’s a conscious
decision to follow and be loyal to that belief.
I argue that in itself this kind of belief system is religion. But I digress. Right or wrong, these are beliefs and
traditions that run deep throughout our culture.
course there’s all the political games being played out in Washington and
throughout the country. I might as well
say throughout the world. You may be one
of the few who still believe in any of the promises that President Obama
makes. You may actually like the
Affordable Care Act, want the IRS to harass citizens for political motives, and
have the EPA radically change business and the economy. However, even if you disagree with the
president and his policies, what are your options? Are you trusting in the Grand Ole Party? (I know, it’s supposed to be Grand Old Party
but I don’t care.) This party is resembling
the Democratic Party more and more. Can
any politician put the country and its citizens before his or her own
self-interests? One can become
increasingly cynical as to believe anything positive can come out of any
are only a handful of examples to get across a point. We all have strong beliefs. But while we maintain them, do we betray
those beliefs? Are we hypocrites? Let me explain. Let’s say that you feel extremely strong
about the United States being exceptional, that it’s a Christian nation and
that it defends weaker nations and so on and so forth. You’re likely to point out all the positive
aspects of the US and avoid any of the negative parts of its history. You can be very loyal, even to a fault. I consider myself to be part of that
camp. However, we should be totally
honest in that the US is not perfect. It
has skeletons in its closet. There are
the obvious moral lapses such as slavery, the slaughter of American Indians,
the civil war, the discrimination against race, the oppression of women,
etc. But what about today? My beliefs on abortion, immigration, and
homosexuality run deep. While I maintain
those beliefs, though, how are my attitudes toward those with opposing
views? I have to admit that in my anger
my behavior often is rude and antagonistic against the opposition. Obviously, these are subjects that evoke
strong emotions on both sides.
the definitions of hypocrite
is a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs,
principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, especially a person
whose actions belie stated beliefs. The
key here is “does not actually possess.”
I believe I have higher virtues and moral beliefs. And you may think you have higher virtues and
moral beliefs, even though our views are in complete contrast with each
other. In pursuit of our stated beliefs,
I think all of us at one point pretend to take some higher moral ground. We think our position is superior. In while I love to argue and debate, there
will always be someone who thinks differently and will point out obvious flaws
in my positions. And in debating, I tend
to ignore the gray areas or the parts where there is some bad truth that can be
exposed. At that point, it certainly is
hypocritical to carry on as actually possessing a higher moral ground when I’m
aware of its flaws. Perhaps we can state
there is no position that is absolutely perfect. That’s why we’re all hypocrites. No one or no idea is without flaw. That is the human condition.
There is One who is perfect and without
flaws. There is One who can say that He
is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
He is forever consistent in His actions, promises, and behavior. Jesus is the only One who can say that He
stands on high moral ground that is superior to anyone else’s. By saying this I realize that there are many
who don’t believe in Jesus as the Son of God.
Their opinion of Jesus is going to be far different. However, this is the one position I would
argue to the death. There is no one else
that can compare to Jesus. He is the
central focus in all of history. He is
the God and Creator of heaven and earth.
He is the author and perfecter of our faith. I may be a hypocrite in many ways and in
following Jesus I may do and say things hypocritical. But that does not change who Jesus is and He
is in every way perfect, without spot or blemish. The Bible says in 1 Peter 1 that it was by His
blood that He shed on the cross that saves a person. Peter says Jesus was a sacrificed lamb,
without blemish or spot.
because of this fact that Jesus is perfect, and was perfect when He was
sacrificed on the cross, that He stands alone as Judge. Jesus pointed out our hypocritical natures. But despite our sin, God loved us. Romans
5:8 says “ …God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners,
Christ died for us.” This is why we can
have hope for our hypocritical nature.
We don’t have to be perfect because Jesus was and is. Since Jesus fulfilled the law of God, He did
what we couldn't do. He died for our
sins, the penalty for sinning against a holy God. He acted as a substitute and bore our sins. He was the Judge and then became the
defendant accepting our conviction of death.
So what then? He in exchange
offered His righteousness so that we can be made holy before God, justifying us
who deserved death. Again, in 1 Peter 1,
Peter points out how we live foolishly.
But because of Jesus we can live differently. We will not be perfect, or glorified, until
we reach heaven, but we can become more like Jesus if we put our faith in Him
alone. As Acts
4:12 says, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other
name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” The only thing is is that the choice must be
a conscious decision. You can choose life
and you can choose death. In choosing
life, you must be born
again. That is, “… to all who did
receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of
God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will
of man, but of God.” (John
1:12-13) I pray you choose life.
(NOTE: I want to
thank my wife, Shelby Spencer, for being co-author with me on this blog. If it weren't for her meticulous attention to
detail and being editor of these posts, my writing would indeed be often
incoherent and difficult to read. Thank
you Shelby for all that you do. I love
Who are you to judge? That’s an interesting statement. I think it’s an overly used statement, but
interesting nonetheless. I think it’s said
too many times haphazardly and often isn't understood in its proper context.
In the same token, we often hear
people say “Who am I to judge?” in response to some sort of action or behavior
that some would say is wrong or inappropriate.
I think there needs to be a distinction between an action or behavior
that is merely a matter of preference or something that obviously crosses a
moral or ethical line.
But even when something crosses the
line, the matter should be considered in view of context. This is probably why the area of judging is
often confusing and can create a lot of resentment and/or hostility. The question for all of us is when is judging
appropriate and when isn't it?
In truth, judging shouldn't be so
confusing. I think it’s only confusing due
to the changes in our culture and the blurring of lines. In the case of stealing, it seems obvious to
most that what the person has done is wrong.
Or how about when someone takes a gun and begins shooting other
people? Nearly all of us would agree
that this is wrong (I hope). In both these cases,
we’re judging. If we didn't have some
basis, or some moral standard, how could we possibly judge these people for
their actions? As it is we do have some
standard(s) that we agree on. On other
issues, that is where it becomes a matter of contention.
There was a day and age when same-sex
marriage would never have been an area of disagreement, albeit for a handful of
people. The majority would have said
it’s wrong and shouldn't be socially accepted.
Today, however, it’s a different story.
The issue seems evenly divided, if not more for than against. This type of “marriage” is hardly the only
issue currently being debated.
Homosexuality and same-sex marriage is only the latest in a string of
behaviors that our society has wrestled with.
Unfortunately, other areas as significantly important have been overlooked
as of late due to the increasing, intense nature of immorality in our culture.
Think about it. In our current climate, society pretty much
glosses over the heterosexual issues that used to be hot button debates only a
few years ago. There was a time when pornography
and prostitution stirred heated conversations.
A few years before that, divorce seemed to raise eyebrows. Before even that, the issue of fornication (sex
outside the parameters of marriage) would have received widespread backlash. These weren't just issues of debate where one
person merely scoffed and suggested on how unhealthy it was. These were issues that people fought or died over
because of how passionate they were in their points of view. Now?
Barely a mention is given to them because it seems that society has
deemed these issues passe and barely worth mentioning. Or, in other words, immorality has become so
widespread and people have become so desensitized that only greater immorality
garnishes our attention.
In man’s viewpoint, it seems that
what passes as something worthy of our attention wanes over time. Like the Scriptures say, there is a way that
seems right to man. The sad truth is
that what seems right one day has a completely different set of standards the next. The moral compass of man is not grounded in
anything permanent but what seems “politically correct” for that day, as it is currently
A true moral grounding is on
something that doesn't change. That
something would be, and should be, God’s Word.
If we were to take this subject of judging, what would the Scriptures
say? In regards to the body of Christ, 1
Corinthians would tell us that there is a time and place for believers to judge
another in the church. In that context,
however, I believe there’s a warning that in the same measure we judge others, we
too can be judged. We shouldn't judge
hypocritically nor should we take it lightly.
There are certain issues, major
issues that some would call non-negotiables, that were a Christian to do them
or behave in a certain way, he or she would be judged by the church. I believe that in the areas of sexual
immorality, the Scriptures give us what God’s standards are and if one were to
step outside those standards, he or she would be guilty of sin. That is when a church leader or another
believer should really pray about the situation and ask for God’s guidance in
confronting the sin issue in the motive of restoring that believer into a right
relationship with Christ.
There are other situations, though,
that are more likely to be matters of preference. That’s what I believe Romans 14:1-12 is
Do Not Pass Judgment on One Another
Romans Chapter 14:1-12
1 As for the one who is weak in
faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. 2 One person believes he
may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 3 Let not the one
who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass
judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. 4 Who are you to pass
judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands
or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
5 One person esteems one day as
better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be
fully convinced in his own mind. 6 The one who observes the day, observes it in
honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives
thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and
gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to
himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the
Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. 9 For to
this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead
and of the living.
10 Why do you pass judgment on your
brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before
the judgment seat of God; 11 for it is written,
“As I live, says the Lord, every
knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall confess to God.”
12 So then each of us will give an
account of himself to God.
believe Paul’s main purpose in this text deals with matters of Christians
relating to one another. Prior to this
passage, Paul was pointing us to a lifestyle that is reflective of the amazing
gift that Jesus gave us when He exchanged His righteousness for our sin and
nailed it to the cross. What kind of
lives ought Christians to live in light of this gift? In Romans 12 Paul said it was a life of sacrifice. Paul then gave a description of a true
Christian whose life had been changed by Christ. He pointed to characteristics and behaviors
that went against cultural norms. For
example, instead of seeking retribution, Paul called the Christian to
forgive. Instead of being haughty or
thinking of oneself as being morally superior, Paul told the Christian not to think
too highly of him or her self but to associate with the lowly and the less
Paul’s concern, and ultimately
God’s concern, is for believers to relate to one another in a way that honors
God. That’s why in Romans 13 Paul went
into detail as to how the believer is to love other believers and by doing so
fulfill the law of God. So, with this in
mind Paul added another dimension of the kind of love God is seeking from
In the passage above, Paul tells us
not to pass judgment on one another. If
that was the only thing Paul ever said in regards to this subject, we might be
able to conclude that as many say, “Live and let live. Who are we to judge?” But on the contrary, Paul spoke on the
subject on other occasions but conversely spoke about how we ought to
judge. In 1 Timothy 5:20, Paul said that
we should rebuke sin. That’s
judging. Again, in another letter in 1
Corinthians 5:12-13 Paul said judging should occur but appropriately within the
realm of the church. So, if taken in proper
context, the judging that Paul is referring to in Romans 14 speaks to the way
the believer worships God, not a sin issue that needs to be addressed.
So how do we understand judging
correctly? The issues that Paul spoke on
dealt with issues that had to do with the Jewish and Gentile cultures of that
day. But some of what Paul said can be
applied to issues of our day. For
example, a few Christians think that others should dress up to the nines when
going to church. Others might think that
only traditional music should be played in regards to hymns and praise and worship. It’s these kind of issues that believers
should allow grace. If someone thinks
differently about worship and it doesn't break God’s laws and precepts, then
that Christian shouldn't be judged. As
Paul says, we live as if unto the Lord and how we live and worship is to honor
It’s clearly evident that most
people don’t understand this issue of judging.
People either don’t care or don’t take the time to understand. If they’re not Christians, they probably don’t
care to understand but wouldn't want anyone to judge them anyway. They certainly wouldn't want to be held to
God’s standards. But for Christians, we
ought to pray that God gives us wisdom and that if judging is appropriate in a
situation that God’s principles are applied correctly. And if judging isn't appropriate, pray to
have the wisdom to know the difference and show God’s grace and love instead.
So, is it judge or not to judge? Perhaps if this question nags you
then you should take it to the Lord in prayer.
We will all be judged by God one day.
Pray that it’s in light of the sacrifice that Jesus paid on yours and my
As the title suggests, the Lord Jesus brought my brother
and friend, Tom Lamb, home recently. Tom
was ready to go home and I’m not sure any of us can be any happier for Tom
knowing that he’s with Jesus now. That’s
not to say we’re all happy not having him here with us. It’s difficult to accept that we won’t be
able to see his warm smile around anymore.
My cousin Tammy, Tom’s wife, now has to go on with life
without her loving husband at her side.
It’s going to seem strange for her trying to assimilate to her daily
routine with Tom’s absence. The comfort
she can take with her is knowing that Tom is waiting for her to join him one
day. And that will be a reunion that
will be celebrated in Heaven.
In a way, some would say morbid, I actually envy Tom. I’m not saying I’m suicidal or anything like
that, but I do believe that Tom is in a place far more wonderful than we can
imagine. In Heaven, there is no pain or
suffering. There’s no sin either. It’s a perfect place.
Some describe Heaven with no sense of imagination. They picture Heaven as being some boring
place with nothing to do but play harps.
Or something similarly. I don’t
believe Heaven is remotely like that.
With Heaven, I don’t think we can use our minds enough to imagine what Heaven
is like. It’s a place where Jesus said
there’d be many rooms. And if Jesus is
in the design of the new Heaven and the new earth, then there’s no doubt it
will be perfect.
I think we can get a sense of what Heaven will be like through
the Bible’s description of the Garden of Eden.
It was a place where God walked with man. There was everything there that man needed to
sustain him. When people think about
paradise with clear, blue waters and sandy beaches and palm trees, that’s
nothing compared to Heaven. I heard
someone say that if you were to take everything that paradise is described like
such as perfect weather, beaches, trees, and so on along with no worries,
cares, or fear, it wouldn’t even scratch the surface. Take all these things, add in perfect
relationships, perfect health, and perfect mind, body, and soul, you still
wouldn’t get close. In fact, take
everything that you ever thought of what Heaven would be like and magnify it a
hundred fold, you might then get close to describing Heaven.
And Heaven is where Tom is.
So where does that leave us? For
one, we’re left with the memories of Tom.
Tom actually did a little more than that by leaving a legacy. He began his life like many of us do such as
living contrary to God’s plan and purpose for his life. He went through rebellious and destructive
behavior. He hurt those close to
However, all of that changed when he surrendered to
Jesus. His life went through an overhaul
as God began to work and soften his heart.
Tom became more concerned for others.
He wanted to make amends and ask for forgiveness for how he hurt those
he loved. After Tom was diagnosed with
cancer, he sat down and wrote a letter with Tammy to be read at his
funeral. In the letter he made mention
of a desire to be forgiven from those he hadn’t had the chance to
reconcile. Despite facing his own
mortality, Tom was still concerned for others.
There’s probably a lot more that could be said regarding
Tom’s conversion. Trying to put it in
words, however, doesn’t seem to be adequate for how Tom impacted all of
us. I didn’t know Tom before
Christ. But I got to know the man that
God was working on and what I witnessed was impressive enough. People were always coming up to Tom, whether
it was at a restaurant, at work, at the store, or walking down the street. Tom made people feel special and he had a
gift of being able to draw them out and show a genuine interest in them. He asked questions and made them feel like he
truly cared about who they were, what they were going through, and how he could
For me, I’m going to miss one of my best friends. It would be naïve of me to think that I was
Tom’s best friend because he had so many close friends, people who loved him
very much. But I didn’t, and still
don’t, have that many close friends. That’s
one of the reasons Tom’s friendship meant the world to me. We talked many times about our
struggles. We confided in each other and
we both knew we could trust each other.
He was a true brother in every sense of the word.
It pains me to think about the future. Not that the future is something to
fear. No, I only realize that over time
my memory of Tom will begin to fade. Not
that I want to forget. I just know how
it is with me. My dad died when I was 16
years old. I’m 44 now and I have only
faint memories of my dad apart from stories other people tell me. The same will happen with my memories of Tom. I suppose one thing I can take from this is
knowing I’ll see him one day again. I
imagine all the good memories will be there when we do meet up and we’ll get to
talk and laugh again just like we used to.
I feel bad for Tammy.
I know this is hard on her. She sometimes
shares her memories using the Caring Bridge website I believe as a means to
help her through the healing process.
Already she has shared with her friends that each day and each event
brings about a set of “firsts” without Tom.
She recognizes all the things that Tom did for her and around the house
that she took for granted. Tom didn’t
let the dust settle as he was one to get things done. But now Tammy has to take on the
responsibility of making sure the work gets done herself. It saddens me to think about how alone she
might be feeling. However, I know she’s
not truly alone.
The amazing thing about Tammy is not that she’s
strong. It’s that she’s willing to show
her weaknesses and her vulnerability.
It’s in her weakness that God shows Himself to be strong. She shares her sorrow and her tears. She allows herself to feel, to mourn, and to
grieve. Often she goes back to Scripture
and shares with all of us the verses that are speaking the loudest and have the
most meaning to her in her life currently.
To some, that may not sound like much.
But in reality, it’s the one thing that is going to help keep her
going. She’s leaning heavily upon Jesus
and that’s where she’s the safest and that’s where she’s going to find the
greatest comfort. I don’t have any
reason to be concerned for Tammy. She’s
in God’s hands and there’s no better place to be.
My wife, Shelby, and I are definitely going to miss all the
fun times we had with Tom and Tammy. Tom
was still making plans with Shelby the last time we visited Iowa to see
him. He talked about riding four
wheelers (ATVs) out in east Tennessee.
We had talked many times in the past how we would get together at the
Creation Museum and even go snowmobiling up in Wisconsin. Now I suppose the next time we see Tom there
are going to be far more exciting adventures than the plans we dreamed up here
in this life. And, I know, that is yet
in the future.
But Tom’s home right now.
And all of us have to continue the journey. If there’s something to take from this that
stands out is that life is short. We’re
not guaranteed a tomorrow. Not to make a
cliché out of this but it’s true, we need to make the most out of the life
we’ve been given. The trick is to know
what that means. Tom figured it
out. I believe he knew it was “Love God
and love people.” That simple. Well, the message is simple. I have a hard time living it out myself. But that’s the goal. Love the Lord your God with all your heart,
soul, mind and strength. And love your
neighbor as yourself. All the laws and
the prophets hang on these two commands. (Mark 12:30)
I hope we all can live out our lives with that grand
purpose. Maybe, like Tom, we can finish
the race knowing that we’ve done everything we could to love God and love
people. Then maybe the memories of Tom
will not fade away so much as it will spur us on as we live purpose-filled
lives, like Tom, for Jesus.