I am torn between the two, I long to depart and be with Christ–which is far better–but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.
~Philippians 1:23, CSB
Our greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.
I cannot lie, I have had a blessed life. I should not and will not complain about any circumstance or situation that affects me but as a pastor, I deal with the hurts and heartaches of others. There are times when all the bad news–an 8th grader with cancer, a small child with a brain tumor, children in foster care because their delinquent parents are on drugs, abortion on demand, Hollywood blaspheming the name of Christ, the fake news bashing our president and on and on I could go but you get the picture–all these things leave me feeling like Paul, torn between going to be with Jesus which is infinitely better or staying here in this sin-cursed world. I have attended four COLS services this week and three of the four were tragic is some sense of the word. Autum’s service yesterday was uplifting I admit but all the pain she experience in her brief 45 years troubles me. When a child loses their mom at age 9, I consider that tragic. To lose a 3 year son is just as tragic. I am well aware that I can’t fix this broken world but all the pain and misery that I encounter as a shepherd takes it’s toll on my heart. When I come in at night, I don’t want to hear anymore bad news but invariably it happens. I don’t watch TV news for this very reason. I have told several people and I am telling you: if the LORD takes me, don’t grieve for me. I understand perfectly if you grieve for yourselves and others who are left behind. I don’t have a death wish and I dearly love my family and friends but this world has nothing for me.
Speaking of family and friends, I am a rich man. I have good friends whom I love dearly and some who have no grand children while June and I have nine. I do love my grands and my grands-in-law. My wife and my children are good to me; I don’t see how any man could ask for more. I sat with friends yesterday after Autum’s COLS and we talked and laughed about old times. I do love my friends and I am a wealthy man in that department. Again, let me say that Autum’s service was special: Joe David shared from his heart; John read Autum’s prayer, they played I CAN ONLY IMAGINE…wow, the SPIRIT was awesome. My son is not perfect but he is real and trust me: you want your pastor to be real. The boy loves Jesus and he loves people and I just want to thank John and Cindy for giving him so much moral support. Some shepherds are just hired hands, they run when they see trouble coming, but a good shepherd stays with his sheep because he loves them.
God bless you: I didn’t mean to dump on you but my emotions ran wild last night when I put the blog together. Mylee listened to country music when she was tiny. One night in her prays she prayed [innocently] Billy Currington’s country song…”God is great, beer is good and people are crazy.” Bless his heart, Billy got two out of three but he missed it on the beer. I have a sermon entitled: God is Great, Jesus Saves and People are Crazy. Tonight I want to rewrite this: “God is great, friends are good and people who love this world are crazy.”
- Praise the LORD for the rain! Praise Him for His grace and mercy.
- The Kids threw me a birthday party last night and I got showered with more gifts including a 22 Rifle for coon executions.