Can These Bones Live?

He’s Lost His Way.

Last month, forty-four year old Jaye entered a treatment facility for drugs and alcohol. I have loved and prayed for Jaye since he was a little boy. He lost his way a long time ago. 

I’m reminded of the bible story of Ezekiel and the valley filled with the dry bones of people who had been dead a long time.

First, God asks Ezekiel, “Can these bones live?” testing Ezekiel’s understanding. When Ezekiel answers, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know ,” God asks Ezekiel to prophesy, to speak his belief that God can give those bones the miracle of life.

As I read the story, I hear my doubts. Can Jaye actually stay for the entire year-long program? Can he stay clean once he leaves? I asked the question of God,

“Can these bones live?”

Jaye didn’t make it. He was gone in less than two weeks. The prophesying by the leaders in the facility had barely begun. I’m disappointed.

I wanted the miracle.

The difference of course between Jaye and the valley of dry bones, is the gift of free will. Unlike the people in the valley of dry bones,

Jaye is alive and thus has the God-given choice between life and death.

Tonight I pray for Jaye and his parents.

Ezekiel said, “Sovereign Lord, only you alone know.” (Isaiah 37: 3)

Accepting some of the choices that our loved ones make can be the toughest thing we do in life.

Eventually, we have to let go of our dreams for them, and our responsibility. Eventually, we have to entrust our loved ones to God.

 

God alone can bring new life.

 

God alone knows when and how our loved one will choose to be transformed. 

How Do I Share My Faith?

Games Are Fun

Last month, my granddaughter and I celebrated our birthdays together for the first time. For this one precious year, she is living in Canada, one hour from us. Her gift for me, chosen by her and offered with a huge smile of satisfaction, was a tiny angel made of polished rose stone.

This is the second time in her short twelve years of life she has given me a gift of faith. Christianity is not practiced in her home. Still, she has learned that I treasure my faith. For that I am truly grateful.

We want to offer the invitation of faith to our grandchildren. We would like them to experience the joy of being a Christian and belonging to a church family. 

As Christians we know that God loves everyone unconditionally. We want each and every child of to know in the depths of their hearts that he or she is God’s precious child, loved no matter what.

Each day, I remind myself that Jesus issued invitations.

We accomplish nothing when we moan about our loved one’s lack of faith, or rejection of God. Treating their thoughts with contempt drives them away.  Our role is to pray for wisdom, patience, and a focus on invitation.

When we push too hard, we get in God’s way.

The best invitation of faith we can give is to live our faith and celebrate the joy of being part of a church family. Beyond that, we give our precious loved ones to God. We can trust that God will care for them.

 

Let us all remember Jesus’ invitation, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (NIV)

 

 

Are Fathers Necessary in Teaching the Faith?

I love you both.

 

When the elephant herd at South Africa’s Kruger National Park grew too large for the park to sustain it, park managers transported some mothers and babies to a game park nearby. A dozen years later, several of the young elephants, now teenagers had become dangerous. They were attacking the game park’s herd of white rhinos.

The park managers brought in some mature male elephants, hoping the bigger stronger males would bring the youngsters under control. It worked. The young bulls actually started following the Big Daddies around and learned proper elephant conduct from them. The assaults on the white rhinos ended abruptly.

Today, Mothers are doing an amazing job of teaching the faith. Like the bull elephants, Father’s also have an important role. Many Moms have heard, “If Dad doesn’t want to go to church, I don’t either.” Dad’s influence extends beyond their presence.  Children watch, listen and learn from Dads as well as Moms. 

As a teenager on the family farm, I remember the stress caused by inclement weather. The first sunny Sunday after several days of rain tempted my father to spend the day in the fields. As he loaded us into the car for church he would say, “If I skip church this morning, it’ll rain tomorrow or the tractor will quit. 

My dad said, “I want to start my week with God.”

On Fathers’ Day, let’s celebrate the men among us who have accepted their unique privilege and responsibility of planting seeds of faith in the next generation. They have answered God’s call and I am grateful. .

I Love My Dad

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.  Exodus 20: 8-10

 

How Much Persistence Do I Need?

How Many More?

 

Warm weather draws us to our gardens. The weeds of course, have managed to get there ahead of us. “It doesn’t matter what I do,” a friend declared. “The weeds persist. If weeds can’t get through the layers of gardening cloth I’ve laid down, they grow sidewise until they are past the barrier. Then they poke their heads up and thrive.”

Today’s world encourages us to give up on living with integrity. Often the work is piled on so heavily, it’s almost impossible to do our best job. Media reports on cheating by elected officials and people in leadership have led us to think it’s the norm to cheat at least a little.

It we truly want:   

  • to live in a better world,
  • to ensure that all people have enough to eat,  
  • to promote peace,

we need to have the same persistence as the weeds in our garden.

We cannot succumb to the messages given by today’s society. We cannot let the immensity of need defeat us.

We can do it. We can be the hands and feet of Christ.

The weeds persistence comes from their drive to survive.

Our persistence comes from God. Step forth in faith. God will give you the strength to build a new world.