Sleeping On A Smoldering Mattress

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On November 3rd, 1992 the following true story from American history was published. The year was 1883 and in Allentown, New Jersey, a wooden Indian, the kind seen in front of cigar stores, was secretly placed on the ballot for Justice of the Peace. It was registered under the fictitious name of Abner Robbins. When the ballots were counted, Abner won over incumbent Sam Davis by 7 votes. A similar thing happened in 1938. The name Boston Curtis appeared on the ballot for the Republican Committeeman race in Wilton, Washington. The town’s mayor sponsored Curtis in order to demonstrate that people know very little about the candidates, but they vote more from their emotions than the facts. He proved his point clearly when the votes were totaled. Curtis soundly won the election over his opponent. Oh, and who was Boston Curtis? Well, he was a jackass, a mule owned by a friend of the mayor!

Elections in the U.S. are just around the corner. November 4th is the day the United States set aside for legal citizens to go to the poles and vote. We have always considered this a sacred duty, and made our voices known by electing those who represent the will of the majority. It is not a perfect system, but it has worked well in our country for over two centuries. This is because the majority of Americans, up until now, have had a Judao-Christian world view, and this is what our system of government is rooted in. However, as that world view has been systematically replaced by other more politically correct or atheistic views, that shift has also been reflected in society as well. A very clear example of this silent but deadly shift, lifted is ugly head for me just this week.

I started the research for this blog during the time we have been in Canada on vacation. I uncovered something totally by accident when I started to use the Canadian version of google’s search engine. This is http://www.google.ca, while in the U.S. this would be http://www.google.org. In the U.S., searching for Washington’s quotes on Christianity would bring up numerous references of his Christian beliefs, his prayer journal, letters to his wife that expressed his faith in the God of the Bible, and even quotes from his presidential inauguration speeches that clearly reflect his Bible centered faith.. All of these would demonstrate his belief that the U.S. was designed to operate under the guiding principles of faith in Christ.

However, when using google in Canada I found that not one reference, not one, about Washington’s true faith was mentioned in the numerous pages of links that first came up. When trying to find a christian quote from Washington, the atheistic influence in the Canadian search engine was so blatant, so unbalanced and so overwhelmingly unfactual that it completely stunned me. All I found were dozens of anti-Christian writings that unanimously denied any concept of Washington’s faith in God, or his well documented practice of biblical Christianity. Honestly, I was absolutely shocked.

What really hit me was the clear and unprecedented effort on the part of so many, to actually rewrite American history and literally erase the foundation upon which our country was established. In that moment I realized something tragic.I saw that some aspect of Canadian life had already embraced a post-Christian world view, and few may be aware of how that will infect the whole society.

The well documented faith of our founding fathers, and the numerous christian landmarks that abound throughout our capital in Washington, DC, were completely ignored and deliberately eliminated from the “information” that google.ca had provided.. This disturbing manipulation of the truth is but the tip of the iceberg of a much bigger issues at hand. The fact is, if any group is successful in teaching a lie to one generation, it can quickly and effectively transform the entire culture of that nation.

Years ago, when I was a young man getting my college degree in psychology, I read a number of stories about the things people do that make no sense. One such story was of a man who had gotten third degree burns on half his body. While sleeping on his bed one night the mattress went up in flames. When asked by the doctors how it had caught fire, his response was hard to believe. Just before he died he said, “I don’t know. It was already smoldering when I laid down on it”. As strange and bizarre as that may sound, we have put ourselves in the same position. We have been lulled to sleep on a smoldering mattress of cultural shift and it is now starting to burst into flames. My question is, “will we wake up in time?”

I wondered what changes, other than those so evident on an internet search engine, have already been made while we were all sleeping. What smoldering mattresses have we laid down on in ignorant, politically correct bliss. I decided to put together a list of the most obvious ones for your review. These are in no specific order, but they represent a pattern of things that are pointing in the same direction. If you have any others feel free to write me a comment and I will add them to the list.

1. Multi-culturalism that promotes specific ethnicity above national unity. No one is an Italian-American or an African-American, etc…. We are all Americans who happen to have Italian or African, or other, ancestry.

2. Disrespect for our flag, our pledge and our military. When we dishonor the symbols of our nation, and those who defend it, we dishonor ourselves and open the door for our own destruction. As things like the pledge have become optional we have demoralize the nation and dishonored the blood that was shed to purchase the very freedoms we enjoy. How is it that people can be allowed to defile the very things that paid the price so they have the freedom to act that way?

3. Denial of our Christian foundation and Christian heritage as a national treasure. We are a Christian nation that believes people have the right to live free. That freedom has allowed other faiths to be practiced on this blood-bought soil. That being said, no other faith but Christianity is at the core, or has so strongly influenced the men and laws that established this nation. As we remove the cornerstone of “In God We trust”, which is our national motto, we remove the stability of our time and the future of our nation.

4. A welfare and entitlement mentality, and self-indulgent over spending that has replaced a solid work ethic, self-control and self-respect. Life long welfare, long term unemployment, life long food stamps, free phones, free housing, etc..have become a way of life for millions who can and should be working. There are those who have become increasingly dependent on government handouts and expect others to carry them forever when they have done nothing to care for themselves. We spend what we have not earned and purchase what we cannot afford. To live as “takers”, people have gladly surrendered their privacy, freedoms, self worth and independence. This has placed a massive burden on those who are productive citizens and placed massive debt on us all that will bankrupt the nation.

5. Laws being enacted by career politicians who want to protect their own interests and control the people. By refusing to enforce the current laws, which already protect our rights, leaders move to create new laws that redefine our culture under a thinly veiled lie of making society more “tolerant and safe”. Thus, marriage, gun control, education, our health system, even endless building codes and a thousand other regulations are now being defined, monitored and prosecuted by the government. Life as we know it is being stolen out from under us one law at a time.

Do you see a pattern here? How long will we sleep and slumber on this smoldering mattress? If election day comes and we fail to vote, we have ignored the problem and slumbered away our chance to put out the fire that is ready to burn us alive. If that is the case we should not be surprised when we wake up in a society that will embrace everything but the truth. Let your voice be heard, get the facts and vote the Bible, not your emotions. Otherwise, we may end up electing another wooden Indian who can’t think for himself or a braying jackass that is owned by another. Let’s face it, we have all had enough of these over the past few years. It is time to wake up, put out the smoldering mattress and make an honest change. Now go out there and vote… and make sure you encourage others to do the same. When you vote, vote the Bible so we can reconnect to our roots and see our nation restored.

A World Set On Fire

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We just witnessed the first Canadian death in St.Jean, Quebec at the hands of an islamic radical. It has been splashed over the news, and the disbelief of people on the street and of government officials is clearly evident. It seems as if the world is on fire. We have seen the same kind of events in the U.S. at Fort Hood and with the marathon bombing. However, our president embarassed himself by standing at the back of the line and refusing to lead by calling these things what they really are.. terrorism!

What has been missing from every report I have heard in the U.S. and Canada is “why” these events are now taking place with such ease. I am not refering to the attacks themselves but rather the underlying cancer in our cultures that has allowed these things to actually manifest. Nothing like this has ever happened in the history of either nation so I must ask, “what has changed in the past 50 years in Canada and the US that opened this demonic door”?

The first thing that hit me was the indefensable hypocrisy that runs so rampant in modern liberalism. This ideology has not just been developed and promoted by a few, it has been used to indoctrinate an entire generation. Through liberalism we now embrace a culture of death in north america in multifaceted forms. It has been systamatically legislated into being, step by step over the past 50 years, and that set us up for the devastation we are now harvesting. Let me give you just a few examples so you can see things with your own eyes, for what they really are.

To begin with we lost our national identity by allowing liberals to open an unrestrained door of multi-culturalism. Any time a people group is more proud of their ethnic background than they are of their national heritage, you have splintered the unity of the nation. History books are filled with examples that show how a nation divided against itself cannot stand. Then make it so that we are no longer required to honor the flag or those who serve it, or say the pledge of allegiance, and you are headed down a dark, slippery slope. This is how you redefine a national heritage in terms of individual ethnicity, and you dismantle every bit of strength and unity in the core of the nation.

Next, liberals have succeeded in getting us to save the whales and rescue poor abandoned puppies and kitties. These are good causes for sure but a side issue of distraction. They will fight to the death for spotted owls, or the killing of baby seals or snail darters, and I agree that each has it’s right to live. But, there is now massive fines and jail time for messing with a green sea turtle or its eggs and to me that is extream. In fact I spoke with a young liberal one day on these very points and he proudly stated he would financially support such organizations as green peace and would fight for anything, any time, if it was helpless and had no voice. Yet when I pointed out that he was in full support of killing helpless, voiceless human babies by abortion, he had no answer to that blatant hypocrisy. He angrily attacked me and refused to talk about it. Interesting…… don’t you think!

Liberals have successfully moved our nations away from the core principles upon which they were first established. Both Canada and the US were built upon the concepts of freedom, but freedom toward what end? Freedom to do whatever we want? Freedom to grab authority and then make others live under any unjust laws we might want to force upon them? Freedom from religion, as some now falsely suggest? No, that’s not the kind of freedom our nations were built upon, or what has kept us strong through all the centuries.

The basic freedoms of both nations were very simple. The first was the freedom to pursue God unhindered. In case you missed it that is freedom OF religion not freedom FROM religion. Please make note that the religion both our nations were founded upon was Christianity, and none other. The next freedom was the freedom to live in such a way that we could be in harmony with those around us, and be unoppressed by any government. We also had the freedom to bear arms, speak our minds, and write what would be beneficial to keep the nation strong, informed and supportive of it’s own citizens. We had the right to work and prosper based upon personal effort, personal inventivness and personal responsibility. Finally, we had the right to pass laws that protected all citizens but prosecuted and punished those who tried to take these freedoms away.

As liberalism has infected the nations a huge shift has become very evident. Christianity is now looked on with suspicion, rather than embraced as a national preservative. Governments now know better so they passed laws to rule over and control their citizens, while the rights of those who break the law are defended at our expense. Government taxes have become a massive burden that citizens are forced to carry in order to pay for a bloated bureaucracy that now over-reaches into, and tries to control every aspect of our personal lives. A welfare mentality has replaced a strong work ethic, and government entitlements have now replaced sound financial planning for the furure.

Those who have been successful because of hard work and entrepreneurial inventiveness are now attacked. They are painted as greedy, and selfishly hoarding that which should be handed over to those who want more, but have done nothing to earn it. The final stroke of death has come through the open attack on husbands and wives as they seek to maintain a Biblical foundation for the family structure. That is, one man who is faithfully married to one woman and not just living together. True marriage can produce respectful children who love God, honor their parents and live a life of service to others.

The point is quite simple, we are harvesting death because those are the seeds we have been planting in our nations for the last four or five decades. As we have turned from God, left our foundations and embraced a culture of death, so it has come to us. Why is that such a shock? We are now experiencing the outcome of our choices, and it has just begun to manifest. I know we will yet see more of the same in the news and on the internet, so we might as well get used to it. By embracing the ideology of death we have invited it in, and it is now here to stay!

The solution is here as well. When we are finally willing to repent, seek God, turn from injustice, immorality and ungodly ways, He will come and heal our land. He must first change us, then He can use us to change the nations. National revival and repentance always begins on a personal level first, and from there it spreads like wild fire. My question today is this; will you be part of the fire of revival and see our nations restored, or will you stand by and continue to embrace a culture of death and watch our nations burn? Like it or not, believe it or not, the future is in your hands! How you vote in the comming elections will make all the difference. My suggestion.. Vote The Bible!

Journey Of A Lifetime

My wife and I are enjoying a much needed rest at a resort in Lac Morency, Quebec. However, on the five hour drive to get here we had quite a time. We hit road construction in several spots and we made one wrong turn. We experienced the first snow flakes of the season and saw a lot of snow on distant mountains. We saw amazing cloud formations and magnificent golden rays piercing through heavy black snow clouds. We got confused momentarily in finding the actual unit because it was up on the second story, but we ended our night together in front of a warm fireplace. It was quite an adventure but we actually enjoyed the trip. As I pondered the days events, I had to marvel at how it really was a prophetic reflection of life itself.

Consider the following and you will get the drift of what I am talking about. Road construction is the place where improvements are made but it means that a slight detour or delay in plans may very well happen. Things get disrupted and messy for a while but the end result is worth it. Sound like anything you have been through lately? Then there is the missed turn. That’s where you get distracted for a moment and miss the road signs that would have kept you going in the right direction. It’s the place where you have to turn around, backtrack and get on the right road once again. Ever been there?

The snow flakes we saw as we headed north are a reminder of the difficult seasons of life that we all must pass through. The distant snow that fell points to the fact that others always have it worse so we might as well appreciate what we have and be grateful for who is with us. Then there was that amazing display of storm clouds and the suns rays piercing the darkness as we moved on. What comes to mind is that no matter how difficult things may get God is always there penetrating the darkness with His brilliant light.

Finally we arrived only to get a bit confused in finding our unit because we had to look up. Well, there are always those moments when we have run our race and done all we were supposed to do, only to feel a bit confused because the answer is not what we are familiar with. But Scripture says we are to lift up our eyes to Heaven and know that’s where our help comes from. However, if we press on the final outcome is that we will find ourselves together with Him in a warm, secure place of rest!

Life is a journey that is lived best with those you love. It it’s an adventure full of mistakes and detoures that can bring you to places you would have never seen or experienced otherwise. It is a road filled with potential, and at times over run by problems, but we can learn some amazing truths along the way. I am convinced we become who we are designed to be by living our life abandonded to God and unrestrained by the fears of others. Let me encourage you to go out there and enjoy the journey. It’s the only one you will ever have so be sure you make it count!

Stone Fences & Ancient Roads

road pic     I was out enjoying a beautiful Fall day today and took my shotgun with me as I hiked through a section of forest north our area. This is an untamed parcel of the Adirondacks where you can walk for miles and never see another living soul. The solitude and absence of human activity is absolutely refreshing in every way. When I want to be alone this is where I am drawn, and it never disappoints me. There is nothing here but Blue Jays, Chick-A-Dee’s, Chipmonks and Red Squirrels to scold me as I intrude into their peaceful, pristine sanctuary.

I headed back off the main road and quietly covered a few miles. I crossed Beech, Hemlock, Walnut and Birch covered hills and then I stumbled upon an old stone fence and an ancient wagon road. Miles from any sign of civilization or major river, there they were, silently waiting, and guarding their secret location since the 1700’s. The stones were covered with thick green moss and each was neatly placed in a long straight row about 3 feet high. It ran in a perfect north / south direction and pointed me right back to the highway I had left behind. The road, which was barely recognizable, hugged the south side of the fence and then mysteriously turned to the left. It abruptly ended, or I should say disappeared, into the trunks of an old growth of huge white pines.

I was captivated by what I saw. I sat there on that ancient stone fence in the cool October sun, pondering what was before me. It dawned on me that this fence, and the road that followed it for nearly a quarter mile, were not just pointing in the directions of the compass, both were pointing back to other lives and another centuries in American history. As I waited silently in that place, they drew me into a time when things were simpler and more orderly. Everyone moved at a much slower pace, the nights were spent by candle light around a fireplace, and families thrived by hunting and working the land together in order to survive. They needed one another, and they embraced the beauty of that knowledge. Even though these people were long dead and buried, they had left their mark on the land, and it now left it’s mark on me.

I was standing in the footsteps of others and felt a yearning to know about these forgotten pioneers. How had they lived their lives, and how had they died? Who were they, what brought them to this place and what did they believe? What was planted in these fields that were now filled with a full grown forest? What was the topic of conversation as they loaded these rocks into wagons and piled them in such straight rows to mark the boundary of their homestead? Where did this wagon road go and why had it not been used in over 2 centuries? Did it ever cross their minds that 250 years after building this stone legacy it would impact someone who lived in a time and place they could never, ever begin to imagine?

Then a deeper question came to mind and I wondered, “what roads and fences will I leave behind, and how will they impact lives when I am long forgotten?” It was a sobering thought that came with a personal challenge. I realized at that moment that we all have to live our lives on purpose. We have to live life with vision for generations, not just for months or years. In order to leave a lasting legacy, we must think bigger and look outside the box of what works for us in the here and now. We have to consider what must be set in place that will have lasting value. I had to ask, “What can I, what can we leave behind, that will really make a difference for those who walk through their own wilderness of life, and stumble upon what remains of ours?”

My conclusion was, and is, quite simple. My roads and stone fences are established as I live my life well and on purpose. They are left as I love God and others with all my heart and give my very best to those who need it. When I do this, I am planting seeds in a thousand fields that will ripen in a great unknown future harvest.  I am impacting multitudes for generations to come by my actions and words daily. Some are family, some are friends, some are acquaintances and some are momentary encounters. Regardless of that, all of these are important because each one carries a piece of my road, my stone fence into the future as they go their way.

The fact is, we are all leaving our mark on the world with everything we do. Our actions and our words, good or bad, are continually setting things in motion. Every moment of every day, whether we want to or not, we have left our own stone fences and roads. Others are eventually going to find them, and the question we have to ask is, “will they be better or worse off when they do?” You define the reality of that future by how you treat every person you meet. Will you leave a lasting legacy? Oh Yes you will! However, the fences and roads you leave behind that others may stumble upon, are determined by how straight and solid you build them today. Live well in the present but live with a mind for the future, so that the generations yet to come can get their bearings as they stand where your footsteps once trod.

Rescuing America

Paul Harvey published the following article in the Los Angeles Times a few years back. Each time I have read it, I find myself wanting to jump up and down and scream, “That’s what America is about”! Read on and see how it impacts you.

“One summer morning as Ray Blankenship was preparing his breakfast, he gazed out his kitchen window, and saw a small girl being swept along in the rain-flooded drainage ditch beside his Andover, Ohio, home. Blankenship knew that farther downstream, the ditch disappeared with a roar underneath a road and then emptied into the main culvert. Ray dashed out the door and raced along the ditch, trying to get ahead of the foundering child. Finally, he did the unthinkable, to reach the child he flung himself into the deep, churning, muddy water.

Ray surfaced and by some miracle was able to grab the child’s arm. They tumbled end over end in the raging water, drawing ever closer to the disastrous end that would await them both. Within about three feet of the yawning culvert, Ray’s free hand felt something protruding from one bank. He grabbed it and hung on desperately. All this time the tremendous force of the water tried to tear him and the child away to certain death.

“If I can just hang on until help comes,” he thought to himself.. and he did… with one hand… for nearly 30 minutes. In fact he did even better than that. By the time the fire-department rescuers arrived, Blankenship had managed to pull himself and the girl to safety. Both were treated at the local hospital for shock and hypothermia and then release. On April 12, 1989, Ray Blankenship was awarded the Coast Guard’s Silver Lifesaving Medal. The award is fitting, for this selfless person was at even greater risk to himself than most people had realized. Why? Because Ray Blankenship never learned how to swim! And now you know the rest of the story… Good Day!”

This is America at it’s core. No matter how weak and directionless our current leaders may be, or how corrupt many of our politicians are, that is not who WE are! We are a nation of people who will rise to the occasion when called upon, and do what it takes to get the job done. We are a people willing to do the impossible in order to accomplish the improbable. We will give with generosity and serve selflessly when the necessity of such actions presents itself. We are one people, from every nation under heaven, and every walk of life, who sees something greater than our own self-interests.

America, at it’s core, is a nation of honorable people who desire to work and make an honest living. They can see the possibilities that exist for those who live here, and know these things can’t be found in any other nation on earth. In our founding documents, and in our historical foundation, we are a Christian nation, built upon Christian principles. We embrace the God of the Bible and the standard He set that provides for the full prosperity of all who love Him. Yes, we have issues. What nation doesn’t? But within those issues we always find a way to open healthy dialogue and find a resolution. Yes, we have disagreement. What family doesn’t? But we always find a way to hear one another and find solid ground on which to walk together, and if need be, fight every enemy in order to preserve the freedom of this beautiful nation.

We are not … I REPEAT, WE ARE NOT… African-Americans. We are Americans who are blessed with African heritage. We are not Italian-Americans. We are Americans who are blessed with Italian heritage. And so it is for all the “huddled masses” who have come to these life-giving shores. Our national language is English, but we embrace the language of other nations and allow them to speak freely on this blood-bought soil. We are a light of hope in a violent world, and a thorn in the eye of ISIS and every other demonic group that would love to crush us out of existence. This Is America, and we will not go silently into the night!

I love America and all that it stands for. I hate political correctness, and corrupt politicians who promote it’s deceptive, divisive ways. America is unique among all the nations of the world, and it’s people are blessed above them all as well. The liberty we have and the freedoms we fought and died for should never be taken for granted. In order to preserve this great land, and restore it, we need to get on our knees and pray and then stand on our feet and vote. If you love this nation and want to see it rescued from the hands of those who hate it, this November is your chance to bring change.

Until we can see with clear eyes and act with a national heart, the politicians who have tried to redefine our heritage and nearly destroyed our nation, will continue to do so. My heart cry is simple and I believe all can embrace it. Be a hero, like Ray Blankenship, and jump in even if you can’t swim in the political drainage ditch that has tried to sweep our nation away. Grab hold of the truth and hold on, no matter how strong the current of rhetoric is that is flowing from Washington. I believe you and I will rise to the occasion, and with God’s help in November, we will rescue this nation from the brink disaster. Get the word out … pray and vote the Bible or suffer the consequences. The choice is up to us and we can make a difference. Now Get Out There And Tell Everyone You Meet To Vote The Bible !

The Power Of Letting Go

My wife and I were recently at the annual Maranatha Ministerial Fellowship International Fall Conference in Williston, Vermont. This is one of the highlights of the Fall for us where we reconnect with ministers from all over the world, and get to spend time with those we love and appreciate. The guest speaker this year was one of my favorites, Dr. Ron Cottle. He is an elder-statesmen and a spiritual father to many in the Body of Christ. Beyond that he is a brilliant theologian who speaks 7 languages and has an amazing ability to birth revelation from Scripture like no other man I know. I could listen to him teach God’s word for hours on end.

What hit me this year during one candid moment, was something he shared from a life experience. It was about a man he had once been very close with, and even hired to help build his Bible college. However, the man’s character had clearly demonstrated less than sterling qualities. When confronted there was no repentance and because of this breech, Dr. Cottle fired him on the spot. It was a difficult but necessary thing to do in order to safeguard the integrity of his ministry, both present and future.

Just recently this same man, now pastoring a small church near by, had written Dr. Cottle to renew the friendship and re-associate himself with the man and the ministry. However, people who came from his church were also connected to Dr. Cottle, and their report about this man was not good. It seems as if little had changed in the man’s nature, vision, methods of serving God or personal practices. This in turn prompted Dr. Cottle to write the man an honest but firm, fatherly letter.

In that letter he stated the problem at hand and that he still loved him as a brother in the Lord. However, he would not renew any kind of friendship with this man because things in him had not changed. In other words Dr. Cottle so highly valued what God had given him to do, that he refused to invest any time, or build any friendship, with someone who was not walking correctly, or was not going where he was called to go.

I have to tell you, this statement troubled me for a few moments, and then the wisdom of it hit me very hard. When we have a vision from God, and are answering the call that fulfills it, our time is like precious gold or priceless jewels. It is given to us with purpose, and God expects us to invest it in the lives of those who are going to help fulfill or support that purpose. This means they are going in the same direction, and we both benefit from what is invested in the relationship. The friends we associate with, the events we attend, the things we say and the people who get our time are all interwoven in the fabric of our life and ministry. Unless we stay focused and are deliberate with purpose in all these things, any of them can become a thread out of place that weakens what we were called by God to do.

Family will always come first on my list. They are with me forever and much of who I am is passed down through them. This is because I have invested so heavily in time and relationship with them over the years. They have my heart and hold my personal family legacy. Ministry or business associates come next since they connect the dots and provide my financial base. That means people, not business plans or five year visions, hold the key to my future. For me these are the spiritual sons and daughters I have raised up that will carry my anointing and my legacy to the next generation.

Finally there are my friends. These people are the ones I want to hang with, and they enjoy being with me. I can be who I am when we are together and we really see each other for who we are. I am especially blessed because my closest friends happen to also be fellow ministers and my spiritual sons and daughters, and that is powerful. I know that the time I invest in them is good seed in good soil and it will bring forth a huge harvest in all of us. I count these relationships as a great honor and I know it pleases God.

There is a forth group as well. These are people I meet on occasion, but we are not really connected at a gut level to anything that is significant. There is a disconnect  between us and we are not going in the same direction. It’s nice to be with them and we can get caught up on mutual friends or family. However, we are not going the same way and we have different visions so nothing of real substance is transferred. That also means there is no forward momentum or change that happens in either of us when that time is spent. In other words I know I don’t add anything to them and they have nothing to add to me. This interaction is kind of like social debris that just floats along in the river of my life. This is not an insult, it’s just the way things are and I doubt it will change.

The first three of these groups we need in our lives and the fourth is optional. Of the three, the last group holds very special significance for me. This is because these people are close enough to make a difference. I can bring them correction or challenge them in any area when it’s necessary. They listen to me, they respect me, they apply what I say and we grow together each time we meet. It is a joy when we connect because I feel a forward momentum rising up that moves us all in the right direction. This means every moment I invest in them propels us both into our future. In case you missed it, this is the real substance of life that I am after, and it is what God is calling me to nurture in this season of my life.

How, and with whom, do you invest your most precious possession? Is it squandered on those who don’t listen, and don’t change? Is it given to those who are not walking with you on the same road, but they demand your attention  and time anyway? We are stewards of this great treasure called time. How we invest it will determine where we, and others, end up. When you don’t invest it with wisdom and truth, you are wasting it on those who don’t value what you have to offer. If you don’t feel that mutual forward momentum when you are spending your treasure, perhaps it’s time to follow Dr. Cottles lead. This is the season to just let some things go.

In this concluding portion of the year, you may find it necessary to cut some relationships free. You may also realize it’s time to hold close those people who hold your future. Will it be an easy thing to do? Probably not, but in the end you will both be better off for it.  Take the time to examine how you are investing the treasure of time God gave you. My suggestion is to abundantly lavish it on those those who see you for who you are and want it. Those that value what you offer are to be encouraged and those who don’t just let them go. When you exercise the power of letting go, life becomes focused and you will find satisfaction like never before. I am convinced that now it the time to just let go, and the rest will take care of itself ! Now go have a great day!

Fence Jumpers

babe ruth    Ted Engstrom, in his book “The Pursuit of Excellence” recounted the following incident from the life of Babe Ruth. He said that Babe had hit 714 home runs during his baseball career, but the day came when he was playing one of his last major league games. It was the Braves versus the Reds in Cincinnati. But the great ball player was no longer as agile or strong as he once had been. Age had begun to get the best of him and it was showing. He fumbled the ball and threw badly during that game, and in one inning alone his errors were responsible for most of the five runs scored by Cincinnati.

As he walked off the field after the third out, and headed toward the dugout, a crescendo of yelling and booing rose up. Somewhat dejected he shook his head and began to look down, but at that moment a boy jumped over the railing and ran onto the field. With tears streaming down his face, the boy threw his arms around the legs of his hero. Ruth did not hesitate for one second. He bent over and picked up the child, hugged him, and set him back down on his feet. Then he got down on one knee, patted the boy on the head, smiled and handed him the game ball.

At that moment the noise from the stands came to an abrupt halt. Suddenly there was no one booing  and on one heckling in the massive crowd. In fact, a great hush fell over the entire ballpark as they watched the two lone figures on the field. In that brief moment what the fans saw were two heroes. Ruth, who in spite of his dismal day, still took the time to uplift a little boy; and the small lad, who cared about the feelings of his hero. For him Babe had become another human being in need of comfort. The humanity of both melted the hearts of the crowd and it changed the atmosphere of the game. When Babe came to bat he was now cheered like a welcomed hero and went on to drive home several runs.

In reading this story I realized we all can go from hero to zero in no time at all. Have a bad day, make a few mistakes or just say or do the wrong thing in a moment of frustration, and everything can change. When this happens it is important to know who in the crowd of naysayers stands apart as the one who is still able see the hero in you. We need such people in our lives. They are a gift from God. They see us the way He sees us, no matter how bad the day. They still know the message of who we are, beyond the mess we are in. More importantly they are willing to jump the fence and run to our side.

I have such people in my life. These are my wife, the people in my congregation and a few fellow ministers that my heart is really connected to. These are all amazing individuals who see me for more than what I do, or don’t do. Such people have taken the time to uncover who I am, beyond my flaws, and that is a life-changing gift. They choose to patiently wait as God turns my mess into a message. Best of all, they honored the treasure which He hides within my heart during those difficult times. Of all the people I know, these are the crown jewels that make a difference in me, and how my life is lived out.

Do you have people like this in your life? If you don’t, you need to find them and keep them close. If you do have such people, don’t take them for granted and don’t put off telling them what a gift they are. In fact, I encourage you to start jumping the fence of those who have jumped yours. This is the catalyst that unlocks great things in everyone. Yes, help those who may need it, but if you invest in those who believe in you, life becomes a wonderful adventure to be enjoyed with those who hold you in high regard. In the final analysis, this is what propels everyone into the life they were made to live. So, go jump a few fences and give a game ball to those who jump yours! If you will, the life you have and give away becomes a beautiful thing!