A Friend in Need: An open letter

Dear Christian Brother,

Just a short note to thank you for your hospitality and for accepting our “drop-in” this week-end. Thanks too, for the cool Dilbert book.

Sometimes, friends who have been friends a long time can do things like that and it hardly breaks the routine of the other person. As you are aware, you guys are always welcome in our home as good friends.

The last time you were at our place it appeared that at last God had answered our prayers, that God would give you victory over your violent temper, so we were anxious to spend some more quality time with you. Alas, it was not to be, for we had to endure more of your verbal abuse toward your wife.

My heart aches for you, Bro, because you have such potential as a man of God. You have a knowledge of the scriptures that is hard to match. You have a talent for debate and a memory like an elephant. But, I keep asking myself, “What value is all that if it does not lead others to the Prince of Peace?”

Think again about I Cor. 13

Paraphrased by Strawn it could read:

I could give arguments for the Gospel, and what is “right” until I’m blue in the face, but if I cannot emotionally “lift up” my life’s partner, and reflect God’s love to her, my life is just so much noise pollution, and it rings as true to God’s purpose for me as a hollow shell.

Even if I sacrificed my life for the betterment of humanity, but could not live a day without belittling my wife, how could God forgive me?

The love God gives us makes us patient and kind. We will not be rude, proud, or irritable. We will not demand our own way. That kind of love never gives up, but lifts up others to God in prayer. It never rejoices in the faults of others, but drives us to our knees in prayer.

Brother and Friend, I’ve done a lot of stupid things in my life to hurt my wife and the Spirit has lead me to repentance and my life is changing. I’ve also wronged you two, and for that you say you have forgiven me, why can you not forgive your wife? Is it because she is a constant “thorn in your flesh?” If so, be a “Paul,” suck up your gut, accept it and get on with your life, and have the faith that God will fix the problem in his own time. Until then you should consider Paul’s admonition to “be content in whatever circumstances you find yourselves.”

If you find this impossible, separate yourselves to find your own peace. But for heavens sake, don’t spend the rest of your life being a bitter, complaining, old man with a chip on your shoulder so big that you can’t see what your “Christianity” is doing to your wife.

We, individually, make up the body of Christ. Somehow, I can’t picture Christ talking your way to the Samaritan woman, let alone Mary or Martha.

For a good many years your “admonitions” have done nothing but make her despise your God (and probably you). Have they really helped the situation? If they haven’t, why not try a different tact? Let the love of God flow through you with the same passion that the Devil has been able to use you!

She seldom says anything about how your actions make her feel, but I can see it in her face and body language. It couldn’t hurt me any worse if you were slapping the crap out of my own sister.

I want to believe that you are my brother in Christ, and I would like to believe that you want to reflect Christ, so please brother, let it begin at home.

Your friend and brother,

Don

Forgetfulness: A Godly Trait

Let’s face it, we all have a streak of forgetfulness, but how many of us consider it a Godly trait? I certainly hadn’t until a few days ago. I ranked my forgetfulness right up there with senility! But I’ve come to believe that it is a mark of progress.

“Progress?” you ask.

Sure. Think about it. What kinds of thing stand out in your memories the most? Those hair-raising adventures with your cousins or best friends? The time you dropped your wallet down the outhouse hole? Or maybe when your new iPhone went for a swim in the toilet? Or maybe that time you were “just fooling around” with a guy you liked and became pregnant? Or how about all those times you and your friends teased and tormented one of your classmates until they cried? How about those times your started shoplifting … just for the sport of it? All those times you have been telling or living lies… either to make yourself look better in the eyes of others or to get out of impending trouble?

The time (s) of flat tires in lonely places? Running out of gas? Car wrecks? Life-threatening surgeries? Battles with cancer? Oh, don’t forget about that annoying person that “did you wrong” with whom you wanted to get even. Socially destroy or even… (help me)— “KILL”, if you thought you could get away with it? Or all those women you lusted after?

These are some of the bad things that are common to mankind. These are the things that we seem to never forget. Some of them become the centerpiece of our bragging conversations with our friends or people we try to impress. Others we regret having participated in. Some may be sins that we have tried to forget. We’ve asked God for forgiveness… over and over, but we can’t forget them.

Times when we least expect it they will pop up in our life like spam on our screen to haunt us. Distract us. Taunt us. Annoy us. Remind us that we are sinners needing some kind of punishment.

Yet, we too often forget the little kindnesses in our life. Those acts, that, in our eyes, were “nothing special.” Those things, that when others try to thank us, we brush off with, “Oh, it was nothing. Forget it!”

Those are the things that God remembers, because the prompting to do those things came from Him. There is nothing inherently good in us, except when we are following those little prompts of God.

God says He has, “removed our sins from us as far as the east is from the west.” (Ps 103:12 NLT) Yet, how many times do chase them down to do again and again?

Through Ezekiel He warns Israel, “Again and again you remind me of your sin and your guilt.” (Ez. 21:24 NLT)

He tells Micah that He will “cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” (Micah 7:19 KJV)

“ I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” (Heb. 8:12 KJV)

There it is “remember no more” or FORGET! God forgets, why don’t I?

So, why is it that we tend to either hide the bad things in our life, or we tend to brag about them? Or why do we let those bad experiences pop up when God has forgotten them?

I believe that, just as there is a good God, there is an evil tempter. It is he who brings these things to mind trying to get us to forget the good things that take place in our life.

If we remember the bad things in life without recounting the way God has turned it to good, then we are doing God an injustice and giving the evil one the upper hand in our life.

When we have done something good for someone and they want to thank us, don’t try to brush it off, but remind them that it was not you who thought of it, but God was directing you, and you dared not ignore Him.

Psalm 2014:7

What’s in a Leaf for Life?

You bud to life in spring.
As with life you’re cool and clean,
A lovely, tender green.

What’s in a leaf for life?
Enough green to make hearts sing
Of God and His everything!

What’s in a leaf in Fall?
When by red and orange tis blushed;
When by rain its rustlings hushed?

Were a leaf to think,
Would he ever know
That God rules all below?

Were a leaf to choose,
Would he still choose death
That he might give breath

To another leave in Spring?
A leaf as lovely still as him
To bud, as he, on yonder limb

To catch my roving eye
Next Spring to yonder bough?
Will I wonder again, as now?

Suppose he’s thinking now,
Of men in life
And all their hurried strife.

Is he, like I, wondering
Why men here on earth
Have so little regard
For men of fellow birth?

Does he ever ask his fellow leaf,
“Will men ever learn to think?
Will man, at his troubles wink?”

Will  he, the face of God discern;
And being soothed by me, sing
Of God and His everything?

Of His works for men on earth?”
But leaves don’t act that way,
Only our imaginations play.

They live together, though as we,
But still they have no strife.
So, what is in a leaf for life?

A leaf lives only to give –
Give food, give life, give shade,
Give repose to the lovely meadow glade,

And calmness to beast and bird.
And to man, gives rest
Where he can think his best.

Think of God, and man
Of man and strife …
Of what’s in a leaf for life.