Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The How You Like Me Now Midyear Edition

Hey gang!

No video today as we hit the midpoint of 2009, I am looking back and looking ahead. Everything that we do in life, especially in the workplace, needs evaluation. Not all evaluation is bad. Sometimes we get told what we need to work on to make our job a better one and sometimes we are given that pat on the shoulder, the “atta boys” as I like to call them. Sometimes we’re told that there needs to be much change.

Fortunately, I don’t think One Man Revival is at a needs major change situation, but just a little tweaking here and there. One of the major good things that is happening begins tomorrow, July 1. We, meaning me and all of you that are participating (at last count it was 27), are beginning The Bible in 90 Days. There will be a separate blog for that. You can still come here and get normal everyday additions. However, if you want to get involved or just read along with the study, go to http://omr90daysthroughthebible.blogspot.com, or you can click the logo over there on the right of the screen. And if you want some occasional sports opinion, you can also click on The Real Score, or head to the website, http://therealscorebyfrankjenkins.blogspot.com.

I am praying about a direction over with The Real Score. I have considered and would feedback on this idea. Would you be interested in hearing from Christian athletes. What this means is that I send out letter requests and say, “Player (insert name here), would you like to have a place that you could tell believers something either about what you deal with or what you see as it relates to Christian life?” I don’t know how many players would go for it, but I’m curious if people would read it if I pursued it.

Anyhow, back to One Man Revival. If you read my January 3 article on We Must Pass the Flame, you know that I made some goals for me and for the website. The first two have been fails so far. Fatty McFatty (what I call myself when I break the lock on the fridge, has not done well in losing those 15 pounds so far. Actually, I’ve added 15 more. Not good. The second goal was reading the Bible this year. You guys get to be accountability from what I discussed earlier. That goal is a big check.

As far as joining with New Hope, that has been rather successful too. We’ve been there a year and a half in August and life and friendships are starting to pick up there. I’ve recently taken control of the Saturday morning get together for men at Joe Sippers’ Coffee Shop and my wife is working in the nursery once a month. That along with my involvement with the prayer and ministry teams keep my life hopping. But it is such a good hopping.

The bigger goals have been better. As far as reading to the kids, doing well. We read two books each night letting Megan and James pick out their favorites. We’ve kept the bedtime in check and they have been more receptive to it.

Working on marriage has been really good. After flailing the last two years, adding Marriage Monday to One Man Revival has helped in doses. I’ve been giving a lot of tips that I get from other sources and some of my own writing. Marriage Monday has been the second most successful thing running here on the webpage. If you wonder what is most successful, it has been Wisdom Wednesday. I love the number of people that send me emails about how good these two days have been. With Wisdom Wednesday, I try to keep the focus on the scripture, rather than trying to bring scripture to what I am going through or witnessing, and I really think that works well. I think that’s why a lot of you that read that will enjoy reading the 90 Days study. I bring the stories to the scripture, rather than the other way around.

When it comes to writing One Man Revival, I have gotten to a point where writing is happening 4 to 5 times a week. I try to have them up by noon, but that’s not always possible. I occasionally throw one in on the weekend, but I have mixed feelings about writing daily because I want to make the weekends more about my wife and kids. I will be doing the 90 Days study on Saturday and Sunday, but I’m also going to be doing that early or read ahead by Friday night so that I’ll be freer on the weekends.

So at this point, I know that I am writing with the following schedule. Daily for the 90 Days study starting tomorrow through September 27. Marriage Mondays on Monday, Wisdom Wednesday on Wednesday and topical stuff on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. We recently completed what I think was some of my best work in the 6-part Forgiveness series. In any case, I would love input on some things you think that you’d be interested in. I’ve prayed about doing a day for women and a day for men, but part of me believes that I may or may not be qualified to write in the female position. I see guys writing on women’s issues all the time and I hear them make comments that just make my skin crawl. I start thinking “How in the world are you qualified to make that comment about a female issue as a guy?” I know a lot of women, but that doesn’t make me an expert on them. Maybe that sincerity allows me to write on some issues, but not all.

I’ve also had a few interviews with writers thanks to Karen Power’s Christian Speaker Services, but most of these haven’t even gotten a warm reception. I feel bad because I think a lot of these books have been very good and if some of you have went and picked up their books, I’m sure Karen and I both would love to hear about that. The authors of these books probably would as well.

For those of you that don’t know, One Man Revival has an accountability team. What they do is keep me in check. They don’t get paid and they have to put up with me. That probably gets them into heaven by itself. “You dealt with Frank, come on in!” I’m kidding, I hope. Anyhow, a couple of them have talked to me about guest appearing now and then and I’m thinking that might be a good idea. It gives you a different perspective to hear from and allows you the readers to see who is influencing One Man Revival Ministries.

If you look at the article dated December 29, 2008, I highlighted three areas that I wanted to focus on in 2009 with the ministry. The first area that I wanted to bring to One Man Revival is a sense of community among the readers. It’s easier for those of you here in Effingham, IL with me because you talk to me occasionally about what I writing about and give me thoughts. I love that part. Three of my accountability team give me ideas all the time. My friend Dick White and I have breakfast at Joe Sippers and talk over thoughts. I consider him and Peter Brown the two guys that hold the glue of One Man Revival together and they are probably my biggest mentors since the days that I hung out with Randy Jackson at BBC. My third idea supply store is Tyler Sterchi. I sit around the guy, he opens his mouth and I get ideas. Heck, half the time, he doesn’t even realize the ideas he gives me. I just sit in ministry meeting, take a notebook and let him go. There are plenty of others at the ministry meeting that give me ideas as well, but not as freely as Tyler.

The community has picked up though thanks to the great people at Facebook. One Man Revival Ministries now has a fan page and over 150 of you are there with me. There still isn’t a lot of communication yet, but I am hoping to fix that over the rest of 2009. One Man Revival has cut down its presence a little as the Shoutlife and Livejournal pages are no more, but we are still with the two most popular friend sites in MySpace and Facebook. I know I need to work harder on both sites to help the cause. I thank Blogger for letting my blog be at home on their website. They’ve been great to me. If you have other suggestions on how to improve our position on the internet, shout ‘em out!

The second was to focus on marriage and families. So far, as I said earlier, I am very pleased with the result of Marriage Monday and I know that in August or September, I am going to talk about a series on helping our prayer lives and passing that on to our children. I think the ministry is getting there on that focus.

The third and final focus was to help build better Godly people, starting with me. Just as the song One Man Revival says, “That if I’m gonna see a change, there’s gonna have to be a change in me.” I think there has been. I honestly say this to people all the time, so if you get tired of hearing it, realize it is true. I’m just one man in this revival. God allows me to be part of it. If you’ve been reading and changing too, guess what, you’re part of it as well. For that, I’m truly thankful.

I’ve been really fortunate to talk to people all over the world thanks to this ministry. Once I found Facebook, I knew talking to Effingham, Orlando-Kissimmee-St.Cloud, and Clarksburg-Morgantown-Pittsburgh would be easy. It’s the rest of the world that has turned the fire up even more. When I get letters from Ghana, China and Austrailia, I know that I am giving it my all to fulfill the Great Commission. I’m doing it just like Jesus, one man (or woman) at a time.

Sometimes I get frustrated because I don’t see the whole world lining up to take a little of what I’m offering. It’s a feeling I’ve had since the first time Mel Allen ever let me teach a Sunday school class back in 2000. There’s an urgency to take the word of Jesus to the world. I’m always nervous in the pit of my stomach before I speak or write about what God has given me. I want it to be right and I also want it to save everyone. But what I have to realize is that I am not working alone.

There are a lot of good ministries out there. A lot of them. Which makes me more honored that you come by and take time to read the things I talk about. I love it even more when you share with me or with everyone when you comment on the page or by email. I thank you that you send me your prayer requests. That you believe enough in the work I do to let me be part of your revival.

One of the great comments that I read this morning was from a New Man Magazine article with one of my favorite people, Arthur Blessitt, a man who has carried a literal 12-foot cross to 315 countries. He said, “I faced a firing squad in Nicaragua, I was almost stoned and beaten in Morocco, I was attacked by police in Spain, an LA police officer tried to choke me in Hollywood, a man in Birdseye, Indiana tried to burn the cross, a man in Nigeria broke the cross. I learned this simple lesson a long time ago. We need to follow God’s call regardless of whether people love us or hate us. God’s call is not conditional. It doesn’t depend on favorable conditions, warm weather or good moods.” He’s right. I’ve learned that not everybody loves Frank and One Man Revival. It’s OK. The message God has given me won’t reach everybody. The only thing I can do is pray that it reaches those it was intended for.

So I think we’ve done pretty well. There’s still more journey to do. That journey will continue until God calls me home, tells me to do something different or until Jesus comes back in glory in the Eastern Sky. If you have any suggestions or comments, please give them here or email me at onemanrevival@yahoo.com. Your input is taken seriously. You are taken seriously here. So come on, a One Man Revival is never intended to stay that way, but it always begins with you.

I love you guys!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Marriage Monday: R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Proverbs 11:16 A kindhearted woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth.
Ephesians 5:33 However, each one of you must love your wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Titus 2:2 Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound of faith, in love and in endurance.
1 Peter 3:7 Husband, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

Hey gang!

To end June, I gave you a wedding song as the video of the day. I will always remember my wedding day almost seven years ago and that my wife and I danced to this song as we began our lives together.

We have talked much about love and encouragement with Marriage Monday, but today I also want to talk about respect. As we have seen in June, two governors have had to be disgraced and go on television to tell us that they had affairs on their wives. There is nothing respectful in having a press conference to tell people you messed up with the one person you’ve committed to be with for the rest of your life before God.

I’ve heard people that have been through infidelity tell me and others that I just had to love my spouse through this. While this is true, there is much more to it than that.

Solomon talks about how kindhearted women gain respect, but ruthless men gain only money or wealth. This verse talks about who your God really is. If wealth becomes your master, you tend to forget people. I’m not saying that husbands should not provide, however, if that provision becomes the goal, then everyone misses out and that is the point here. Loving hearts with kindness shows more of a value on people than on anything else.

That’s why Paul tells husbands to love their wives as much as themselves. Ladies, I think some of you know that there are men out there that really, really love themselves. Guys, we have to balance that perspective of self-love with a healthy dose of love for those around us. I’m not saying to not love yourself, but keep it in check.

Titus 2:2 is a powerful verse. I’ve always recommended (to myself) and others that you find an older couple to be accountable with. Growing in self control, faith and good temperament is not something usually in our youth. We’re often impulsive, reactionary and quick to judge and condemn in our younger years. Learning these qualities from couples that have been there help us achieve the dream of a long marriage.

Finally, Peter tells us to be considerate and realize that couples are joint heirs to a great married life. The last part is something I love to consider. I want to be a good husband so that nothing hinders my prayers. Don’t you want what’s best for you? For your families and your future? Sure you do. Some of us have some vocal and strong wives (based on what they’ve been through and some were just raised that way) and may not seem like the weaker partner. However, they still are. They have a sensitive side that wants the best and they need a leader (that hero in you husbands) to take them there.

I love you guys!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Idols in Death, Heaven Awaits

Hey gang!

Exodus 20:4 You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. (NIV)

Acts 10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.

This has been a different kind of week for Hollywood. Three well-known stars have passed away. On Monday, Johnny Carson’s long-time sidekick Ed McMahon passed away. On Thursday, original Charlie’s Angel, actress Farrah Fawcett, and King of Pop, Michael Jackson, died within five hours of each other.

Ed McMahon was loved as Johnny Carson’s sidekick for parts of three decades, the role which he will always be remembered for. Why? Because of that strong introduction, “Heeeerrrrrrrreeeeeee’s Johnny!” Ed played the perfect foil to Johnny’s comedy next to him on the couch. After his work with The Tonight Show, Ed became a pitchman. He pitched life insurance and the Publisher’s Clearinghouse. He died while in the midst of financial struggle though as his wife was spending Ed into the ground.

Farrah Fawcett hit the scene as one of three original Charlie’s Angels with Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith. Farrah left the show after one season and just like her friends, made the transition to made-for-TV movies which made her iconic status differently successful. But it was the posters to which many a young boy in the 70’s placed on his wall will be the top thing she is remembered for. Her final years were painful too as she struggled with cancer, but she came out as a hero and spokeswoman against the disease and even had a documentary made of her travails against the disease. In her final days, she was able to have the man she always loved by her side in Ryan O’ Neal to comfort her.

Michael Jackson made the scene as the little brother in The Jackson 5 in the early seventies, but his solo career hit the highest of heights in 1983 with the release of Thriller. Michael changed how music videos were made with the title cut and seven of his singles went to number one and sold over 21 million records in the United States alone. Once he hit the height, he always struggled to get back there and never accomplished that. That led him to depression and seclusion. In his seclusion, he tried to live the life of childhood that he never really had by creating The Neverland Ranch. I think the name ironic seeing that he never enjoyed that life of a child. In two highly publicized incidents that were accusing him of child molestation, Michael’s life never looked the same to the world. Instead of being the iconic singer that he had been, he now was seen as a horrible criminal and I don’t think he ever was really able to deal with that. In his death, the world will never see the attempted comeback of the man as a singer. In the back half of his life, he was seen as eccentric and thought to be crazy.

If you notice, there are things in each of their lives that I have mentioned. All three had a rise to the top of glamour of Hollywood. All three at one time were loved by pop culture. People raved about them in some fashion. But each, had a fall, be it descending into bankruptcy, disease or depression. Fame is fleeting. However, in death each one was noted for their accomplishments and shortcomings.

The differences were plenty though. Ed died still popularly loved. Even though his personal life was crashing around him, he was loved by culture. Farrah died almost in seclusion. The pain she felt was finally too much, however, she passed knowing the love of her earthly life was with her. Michael died amid controversy that will take weeks to sort out. A life that crashed inevitably on his heart.

The one thing that I have not mentioned is the spiritual condition of these three. One, I knew none of them and would not even want to think about judging where they stood. Secondly, all three will stand before God before going into Heaven or descending into the Lake of Fire. God will be their judge, not media, not Hollywood and definitely not the people that question their hearts.

They were idolized by millions and that may be the question that we have to ask ourselves. Why did we idolize them? I’m as guilty as you. I idolized all three at one point, for different reasons. I saw Michael as the cool rock star that had fame and everyone loving him at his height. How could I have that? I loved Farrah because she was a beautiful woman married to one of my favorite actors in Lee Majors. What would it be like to spend every day with another actor that you loved? That question may have been easier to answer by looking at her years with Ryan O’ Neal than Majors. I loved Ed because he was everyone’s friend. Yes, he had moments of annoyance, but everybody had something nice to say about the guy. He was Johnny’s buddy and wouldn’t we all want to have a friend like that?

I think Michael’s death being met with the most controversy and venom leads to ask the question though. Are we hung up too much on Hollywood deaths? There are some today that talk about Michael as if he were family, loving the years in which he was the pop icon. The other side talk incessantly how this man deserves hell for child molestation that we may never really know that he committed or not.

Either way, the question today is do any of them know Jesus? We will find out and find out how well when we join them at the Great White Judgment Seat after Jesus’ return. Will we find out that our sins are just as bad in the eyes of God? Will we find out that Michael, Farrah and Ed all did the same thing and asked a graceful, forgiving savior to wash their sins away? To that last question, I hope the answer is yes. It’s not about deserving Heaven, I just don’t want anyone to go to that Lake of Fire.

I’ll close with this. King David asked a question in Psalm 24 that we all want to understand as we get closer to heaven. These are verses 3-6.

Who may ascend to the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. He will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God his Savior. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob.

Have a great weekend!
I love you guys!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

For All You Who Are Weary and Heavy Burdened

This is from a band I have never heard of named Thrice. Sounds like they have a following and this song may be one of the many reasons why.

Hey gang!

I talked about being tired and weary in my Father’s Day blog and several of you sent me emails to ask what God says about being tired or weary. So today, I’ll be like the Cavaliers were to Lebron when he asked for Shaq. The readers ask, I deliver. It’s as much for me as it is for you.

When it comes to weary or tired, the most common one that I hear is Jesus’ words in Matthew 11. Verse 28 tells us, “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden (KJV)(burdened, NIV), and I will give you rest.” The first thing we need to do when we’re weary is go to God. I know that sounds simple, but think about driving. We’re on vacation driving to where we going and we get tired because we’ve been in the car too long. We need to eat or get a room. What do we say? A few more miles. We don’t want to rest. We want to get there and then rest.

Do you know Jesus got tired? John 4:6 even tells us that “he was tired from his journey, sat down by the well.” Jesus knew how to take a break. My friend Alvin used to work with this guy named Bruce. Bruce used to complain all the time on the job that he never got a break. So much so that we’ve made fun of his comment by imitating him for 20 years. “We never get a break, yep, yep.”

But amazing things happen when we take that break. A woman came to well and gave him drink. It was hot. He needed a drink and this woman was kind enough to get it for him. Because she gave him the earthly, cool, refreshing drink, Jesus told her of the eternal drink of water that would satisfy her soul. And when she got that water, she couldn’t help but tell everyone.

Sometimes though, a break just isn’t possible. There’s a job to do and it simply can not wait. Like when there is fighting going on. In Exodus, there was a battle with Amalekites and the chosen people of Moses had to go to war. Moses told Joshua to gather some men and that he, Aaron and Hur would go to the top of the hill with the staff of God in his hands in Exodus 17:9. The battle began. It was a tough battle and Moses started to get tired. When he lowered his arms, the Amalekites started winning the battle. However, when he held that staff high, the Israelites were whooping butt and taking names.

But Moses was tired and that’s when his buddies, Aaron and Hur went to work. They held his arms up high and held those arms steady and Joshua was able to successfully win the battle as it tells us in Exodus 17:13. It’s nice to have a team in place to finish the job and help a brother out. We all need the help now and then and it’s best to have a plan that works.

In the example of Jesus, we talked about water refreshing him. Water does wonders when we’re weary. In Psalm 63, David tells God that he is thirsting for him “in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” It’s a bad place to be in to find yourself without water when you are weary, especially in warm weather. Doctors tell us to replenish our water supply in our bodies to keep from dehydration because it can kill you. Five verses later, David praises God for replenishing the righteous. “You gave abundant showers, O God; you refreshed your weary inheritance.” God realizes when we are in times of the storm and gives us the shower of hope to allow us to rejoice that He is good.

Knowing that God is good helps us. Hebrews 12:3 tells us to “Consider him (Jesus) who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” When we realize what Jesus went through at the cross and in the life before and after it, it should encourage us.

Isaiah understood the importance of encouragement. He tells us in Isaiah 50:4 that “The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to liten like one being taught.” Isn’t it better when we wake up in the morning and think of a word from the Bible that God has given us? That word strengthens us to deal with the day.

Dealing with the day isn’t always easy. I love when people tell me on Tuesday that they wish Friday was here. At that point, you know you’re having a bad week. Paul tries to encourage us in Galatians 6:9. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

When the going gets tough, all we can do is call on God. Why? This final bit of encouragement will get you through. Isaiah 40:28-31 tells us, “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not be weary, they will walk and not be faint.” As Alison Durham Speer says, “There’s an answer for those that will wait.” If we’re patient in those tiring times, God will supply all the strength we need to get the job done. Glory to God!

I love you guys!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wisdom Wednesday: Fear, Another F-Bomb To Rid Ourselves Of

Hey gang!

Today marks one week on the countdown until we begin another fun project here at One Man Revival Ministries. On July 1, we will begin The Bible In 90 Days series. So that we don’t make too much reading material for those not interested in the course, I have set up a webpage for the 90 day study. If you want to join us, you can go to http://omr90daysthroughthebible.blogspot.com or join the One Man Revival Ministries Fan Page on Facebook and enter the event of The Bible in 90 Days there. This should be fun and will be going on July 1 through September 27.

Again, you can go through the entire study with us or you can follow along as you wish. I’ll be blogging each day with the thoughts and points of the lesson and my own personal thoughts. So come and join us for the journey.

And now, on to Wisdom Wednesday.

I’m sure that in your lifetime you have heard the phrase, “Dog is man’s best friend.” I used to never feel that way. When I was three years old, my mom and I were out on Halloween and I was raking in candy like I always did. There was always this house that had a doberman pincher. He was never tied up and ran free. Whenever you walked by the house, you were always supposed to be on the alert. Well, my mom was not that night. She thought what everyone would naturally think on Halloween. The dog would be tied up or inside. The dog came charging into the street and my mom went into self-preservation mode and tossed me in front of her. The dog bit me. I know you’re surprised.

Nine years later, I was selling tags for the local school patrols and went by each neighbor near my aunt’s house to raise money. A family had just bought a new dog and he was bought to make sure no one stole from this family. I didn’t know about the dog. I walked into the yard and you guessed it, he bit me. Not once, but about a dozen times. I still have a tiny scar on my left arm right below my elbow.

So I was terrified of dogs. If I heard barking, I would jump. A few friends of mine, mean as they were, took advantage of this little terror of the mind. They would hide behind trees and bark as I went by. Kids can be cruel. But any dog that wanted to jump on me scared me to death. My friend bought a little dog and I was in his house eating Subway one night. The dog went nuts. He wanted some food. He didn’t know about my fear. He jumped up on me and I stiff-armed him across the room. I didn’t mean to. I didn’t want to hurt this little dog, but he bounced off the wall and laid there for a minute. I thought I killed him. The dog jumped up, yelped and ran upstairs to my friend’s mom.

Let’s just say that trying to explain my fear didn’t make the situation much better. But fear causes us to do things. Crazy stuff. Like smacking a little dog across a room. It was years later, when I went to visit my dad in Alaska that I got over the fear. Dad had two huskies. Really loveable dogs. But those first couple days were really tense. They smelled my fear. Once I got used to them and knew they wouldn’t hurt me, it got better. Thankfully, I spent 30 days with these huskies and learned not to think that every dog was going to take a bite out of me.

All of us have fear. Fear usually brings stories like the one I just shared out. Something bad happens, we never forget it and it stays with us like baggage until we somehow overcome it. In all, the Bible mentions the word fear 258 times (New International Version). It’s something that even people in history dealt with.

Proverbs 3:25-26 tells us to, “Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared.” Do you worry about being overwhelmed by today’s life. Crazy economy, unemployment, businesses closing, stock market going up and down, gas and food prices rising again. You get the idea. But verse 26 tells us to let God be our confidence, meaning that he is with us in the storms of life and will help us weather it.

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe,” is Proverbs 29:25. Do you live in fear that others are trying to bring you down? My wife does this sucking noise when people begin to get on her nerves. She’ll say, “I can’t believe this person is acting like this. They are sucking (followed by sound) the life right out of us.” People can suck the life out of us if we are not focused and trusting in the One that takes care of us.

However, some fear is healthy. In Proverbs, 15 of the 19 times the word fear is used with discussion on “Fear of the Lord.” The most famous usage is Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs 1:7 strengthens this verse with, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”

These two verses teach us something. Some fear helps us get smarter. Fear also helps us understand where the boundaries are. My fear of dogs helped me understand not to walk right up to a dog as if nothing will happen. Sure, I took it to an extreme to not let nice dogs play with me, but I and the dogs had to learn how much play there should be.

The Lord gives us wisdom in areas when we operate with this fear. The Lord tells us not to be wise in our own eyes and shun evil (Proverbs 3:7), this fear adds to life (10:27), this fear is better than great wealth (15:16), and it allows us to rest content, untouched by trouble (19:23).

In Proverbs 8:13, “To fear the Lord is to hate evil. I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.” In this verse, God reiterates four of the seven things he hates from Proverbs 6:16-19. If you want to look back to April when I talked about these things, you can look at the article on hate there. But these four things, they are put in pairs meaning that they usually travel together. Pride and arrogance, if someone is being prideful, they usually are walking with an arrogant attitude toward others. And if someone is acting out with evil behavior usually the perverse speech is part of it. I once had a friend that used the F-bomb in every sentence. One night, this little girl overheard him in a restaurant and asked him who this person was. One of my friends spoke up, “Yes, he’s gonna change his name to it legally since he uses it so much.” Out of the mouths of babes.

The best of the verses may have been an encouragement to the man of wisdom. Proverbs 16:6 tells us, “Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the Lord a man avoids evil.” I often wonder if God was imparting a little of the future in those words that Solomon wrote. Maybe he was telling the wisest king that ever lived that there would be a King that would come, and through his love and faithfulness, going to a cross and dying, that sin would be atoned for forever.

I love you guys!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Father's Day 2009: Yes, Men, You Are Good

Hey gang!

I know it’s taken me an extra day to get this one written, but with my little buddy in the hospital, his sisters are keeping me on my toes. They miss him and it’s the first time that any of the kids have been away from home since after he was born. So if you’re upset, please forgive me.

Anyhow, as I said on my Facebook page, I did have a truly great Father’s Day. It ranked up with the first one. Sade may say that it’s never as good as the first time, but I think it tends to get better instead of worse. I didn’t get a ton of presents. My kids bought me a four pack of pens that I like and a Mickey Mouse card. The card was nice, but the things that my daughter Megan told my wife to put into the card were even better. It wasn’t the best dad line (even though that’s nice), but it was the one that said thanks for taking the time to play with us when you’re working so hard. My wife doesn’t get that, but my 4-year old does. That meant the world.

My wife did make two great meals, usually I do a lot of the cooking, and I got a good sized nap. Those were great. Last year, Van preached on being able to take time out and getting time to do the things I wanted to last year. I felt that really never started happening until recently. So to see my time be somewhat more valued this year has been fantastic.

I went to Sunday service and my kids love going to the church nursery and the BLAST group, so they are eager and ready to help get me there only a few minutes late. Have you ever seen Jerry McGuire? Remember when Cuba Gooding’s character laments that he won’t cry if he gets interviewed by Roy Firestone. I tried to make that commitment when Van preached Sunday. He gets me every Father’s Day. He’s sneaky like that.

This year, I knew he was finishing up a series of Rhymes With Reason with the story of Little Bo Peep. The moral of the sermon was to not let your guard down while doing whatever you are doing for God. No nap times in the ministry. So for me, I thought, “Man, I’m by him this year. He ain’t getting me in 2009. I mean, I’m even on the ministry team so I knew what his sermon was saying. But he always has that little chat with God about how to do the closing. Normally, I love the magic that God brings to it.

I still loved it Sunday, but he stops at the end and asks fathers to stand. I’m thinking, OK, honor the dads with some applause, let us look around at all the other dads, give the mental high fives, sit down and get ready to close. Noooo! What’s he do? I want to pray for dads that are a little weary. I want them to know that it’s OK to get weary. I want to you all to realize that there are men in the church that are making a difference in their homes, their church, and in their community. That the work they do is good. Sure, they get tired, but they do a good work.

And that got me. I was thinking earlier on Sunday morning how tired I was. I was feeling wiped out. I’m like, “Lord, help me understand what I’m doing here. That what I’m doing has some meaning.” Simple prayer, delivered.

I think as men, we tend to forget that what we’re doing is affecting more than us. We know deep down that it affects our family, even though there are days we look at them and go, “Hello, is God or any semblance of him in there? Why do the things you do drive me so crazy and make me feel like you have no clue what I’m feeling inside.” They get it. They just try not to always act on it or your expectation level might go up a little. You know, more understanding equals more responsibility.

There are times we feel as if the church doesn’t get it either. We’re trying to take what they (preachers, teachers, etc.) give us and live it out. Sure, there are things we’d rather not do. Don’t buy that lottery ticket. Say Jesus Christ in the correct way and not in vain. Pray before a meal rather than woof it down. Take time to recognize God as he is rather than the box you might like him in. You can have the version 1.0 box of God for $19.99. Just kidding, but you get my point. They are paying attention. They may not give you the “atta boys” you need, or you think you need, but they are watching.

There are so many times our community doesn’t get it. I could go on and on about the community. Park board passes an ordinance that people can’t take pictures at ballgames. People go nuts thinking they can’t take pictures of their kids, yet the ordinance only keeps the pro photographers and weirdo freaks out. People get bent out of shape because too many cops come to see a communities’ finest students graduate. They should be honored, but all they can think about is how this infringes on graduation. Perspective can clear a lot of things.

So guys, remember, you are making a difference. Sometimes I struggle with it too. You get beat down and you think the world has gone to hell and a handbasket. It has, but you, yes you and yes me, can make the difference that matters. It may be the 4 year-old that reminds me to pray when I’m in a hurry or the 70 year-old man that tells me as crazy as society has become, that it ain’t all that bad.

I love you guys!

Defying Autism author Karen Mayer Cunningham joins us

Hey gang!

Today we are joined by Karen Mayer Cunningham to tell us about her book Defying Autism, A Miraculous Story of Hope.

You have a real mix of talents in addition to being an author. Will you please tell us about yourself?

I am a stand up comic and speaker with a passion to impart truth and hope to people and to remind them that God is still purposed to have them move into their destiny.

Your new book, Defying Autism, is about your son, James. Will you tell us a little about him?

James is my first born, the apple of my eye. He was born right on time, perfect in every way. He progressed and hit all of the appropriate markers ahead of time. He was one of those vey easy babies that you could pass to anyone and he was still a happy baby. He was pointing and babbling at a year, and into everything!

He sounds adorable! At what point, did you start to notice that something was wrong?

We took James in for his 18-month check up and shots, after which his behavior took a dramatic, turn for the worse. When we brought him home, he would run to the same spot in the hall and stand with his back to the wall and slam his head backwards into the sheetrock. To say this was upsetting was an understatement, but then I thought maybe this is the dreaded terrible twos, or little boys are rough. So we would redirect him and send him on his way. The redirecting stopped working; it was though he could not stop behaving this way. He had many other strange habits, obsessive behaviors that began to appear. He would eat the little pieces of sheetrock, where he had actually put a hole in the sheetrock, he pulled the wallpaper off and ate it, he pulled up the corners of the carpet and ate the foam underneath it, he ate the rubber lining out of our car doors, he watched videos for hours standing in front of the TV.

What did you do? Who did you go to for help?

First we went to other parents of children. I owned a salon so I had the free advice every hour from women who had “already been through it”. I wanted to believe as they all said, that this is a phase, this is the two’s, little boys do strange things. We then went to professionals, pediatricians, speech therapists, ENT specialist, pediatric specialist, state agencies, MHMR and of course our church for lots and lots of prayer.

What can you tell us about autism?

Autism is a severely handicapping disorder that begins at birth or with in the first two and half years of life. For many years autism occurred in 5 out of 10,000 births, however since the early 1990’s the rate is now calculated at 1 in 150 births. Most autistic children are perfectly normal in appearance, but spend their time in disturbing behaviors, which are marked differently from those of normal children. They may stare into space for hours, throw uncontrollable tantrums, show no interest in people including their parents, and pursue strange repetitive activities with no apparent purpose. They have been described as living in a world of their own. Some autistic children have remarkable giftings in certain areas such as music or mathematics, and all need help.

What was your greatest fear?

My greatest fear was losing my child at five or ten years, or as an adult, to an institution. I would watch the movie Rain Main over and over again and assume that would be the best outcome for my son.

What was a typical day like for you and your family?

A typical day for us would be James up before we woke with a video in and grunting for what he wanted. He would only eat a few foods, several times a day he would throw up to let you know he didn’t want or like something.

Crying, tantrums and fits filled the day from sun up to bedtime. His fits had no beginning and sometimes it felt as if there would be no end. In the spring of 2000, when he was almost 6, he was still in a diaper, on a bottle and only spoke 20 words.

Did school help James?

School did help James; he did much better with a strict structured environment. The opposite of that however, is that it is hard to duplicate that environment at home with a family. School helped James academically, but not emotionally or socially.

Did church help James, or you?

Unfortunately, church did not help James at all. My husband and I were music ministers and would fill-in at churches that were looking for a fulltime staff person. This meant a lot of changes every few months – new locations, new staff, and new strange glares inferring what a bad mother I must be for my baby boy to behave in such a way. Church turned into a place I dreaded and had been such a place of family and belonging before.

What was the turning point for you in this journey?

Having heard the weekly cry of my heart for help for my child, one of my clients recommended a ministry team, a deliverance team, Gospel Revelation Ministries. I didn’t know what deliverance was, but I had no doubt I needed some. I went through personal deliverance and then followed with James in the spring of 2000. I was terrified but they said that God said he was going to be healed, so I stood with their faith. As we brought James into to the room for deliverance, he began to thrash and point to the door to leave, he was ready to go. The team prayed and laid hands on him. They said that the first demonic curse would have to go in Jesus’ name to the dry places. With that, my son reached his hand out and screamed, “come back, come back, come back, come back!!!” He was calling out for the demons that were leaving him. That was the turning point!

So, what was next?

The first thing I did was the most difficult. I changed my mind.

I changed what I believed that God could –and would – do if petitioned. I changed what I thought about the stories in the Bible. I changed my belief in what is available to us, TODAY, by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

When I began to be open to the truth of the scriptures, and not just what someone else said I should believe, or someone else’s interpretation of the scriptures for me, then…the Word of God began to truly be a light unto my path.

That was several years ago. How is James today?

James is wonderful! He is 15 years old going in to the 9th grade. He’s six foot tall and an amazing athlete. God’s promise is that he will restore our minds daily and James has caught up with remarkable speed. He is still about 2 ½ years behind academically, and in three resource classes, but is making up lost ground daily. He is completely healed from the oppression of autism.

What do the professionals say?

Doctors say it is something, maybe higher than what they have in the medical field. It is nothing short of a miracle!

What can families hope for who have children with autism?

Families can believe and stand for their loved one’s healing. Jesus is in the miracle working business. He healed James.

James’ story could be anyone’s story. I was not the “good” Christian, but I stood, no matter what, believing for my child’s healing. Your healing may be through diet, environmental changes, behavioral changes, or even the way James was healed. However it comes, do not waver from the promises of God. Exodus 15 says, “I am the Lord your God who heals all of your diseases.” He is Jehovah Rapha, our God who heals. If it is in His name, it is in His will!

Karen, where can our readers get a copy of your book, or find out how to have you come and speak for their group or organization?

They can find out more about my book and speaking information on my website at KarenMayer.org. I would love to hear from any of you who are dealing with autism in your family or among your friends. I hope you are encouraged by our story – that there is hope, healing, and freedom for your situation.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Marriage Monday: 10 Ways To Please Your Wife

Hey gang!

I know that yesterday was Father’s Day and I hope to write about how great mine was later today. The above video is a shortened version of what I believe is the greatest Father’s Day song I’ve ever heard, Phillips, Craig and Dean’s I Want to Be Just Like You.

In today’s edition, I want to give you a list of 10 things to make your wife see you as more attractive. These come from an article in New Man eMagazine. The article is written by Doug Weiss and is called Top 10 Ways to Please Your Wife. These are the 10 things below with a little commentary from me on each.

1. Put the kids to bed. I’ve been doing this for most of my children’s lives and it has become ritual that she reads them a book on the couch and then I put them in bed. Especially taking Maggie up the steps to her room so that she doesn’t have to has made her happy.

2. Do the laundry. This job is bigger than it sounds. This does not just mean throw it into the washer and leave it there. It has to dry. Big note here: DO NOT leave clothes in the washer for more than a day, really try to move them ASAP when they are done. They get a whole new funky smell that you don’t want them to have if you don’t.

3. Say kind words. It’s more than complementing “the girls” and not so much about what she wears. The way to a man’s heart may be through his stomach, but for the ladies, to hear they are special for doing the simple things make her day.

4. Skip TV for a couple days. This is easier in the summertime because everything is in rerun. Praise God for TIVO or DVR’s, whichever you have.

5. Don’t finish her sentences. You may know what she’s thinking, but don’t tell her. Women hate that. Let them have a thought now and then and give her credit for it. They let us look smart more than we deserve.

6. Do at least two “honey dos”. Does your wife like lists? Mine loves them. If she couldn’t make lists of things to do, the world would end. Instead of tossing them, doing a few things really makes her think you are her strong and wise man!

7. Share a couple of feelings with her, except feelings like arousal. There are misconceptions out there that women like the strong and silent type, but sometimes women get happy about a man that can share his vulnerability with her.

8. Give her a few compliments early in the day and not right before sex. Kind of like number 3, but this is where you can tell her about her eyes, outfits and such.

9. Don’t grope her, hold her hand. We’ve been married almost seven years and she loves to go to Wal-Mart and have me hold her hand. It’s something that women never get over. I know you like your pockets, but take the hands out once in a while, guys.

10. Look her in the eyes when she is talking to you and don’t walk away in the middle of her sentence. Every once in a while, my wife talks to me as I am typing. The night she tried to close my laptop on my hands fixed that little mistake. When women like to talk, they want your attention, not your afterthoughts.

I love you guys!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Forgiveness part 6: The finale, Forgive and Be Forgiven

Hey gang!

Today is the last of the forgiveness series. We’ve answered why we should forgive, realized that we aren’t the worst treated, that we must forgive so God forgives us, we must forgive God and we do need God’s forgiveness for the sins in our lives. What we’re going to look at today is how to get forgiveness and what happens when we are and aren’t forgiven by the person we’ve done wrong.

I know the first step of the process of forgiveness may sound simple, but sometimes it isn’t. The first step is acceptance that you did do something wrong or appear to have to the offended person. Ever feel like you don’t know what someone is talking about when they tell you that you have wronged them. Me too. Occasionally, we do wrong and don’t even know it. We’ll say something and mean something totally different and yet the person gets offended. It’s even easier to do that in writing because people read into your intent rather than take it for what’s on the paper.

Which brings us to the second step. You realize in some shape or form that someone has been offended and we need to be forgiven. Step two is simple as well. Take it to God. When you do wrong, it’s easy. “God, I’ve wronged someone and I’m sorry. Help me with forgiveness from this person.” In other circumstances, it isn’t so easy. Like when we don’t know what we’ve done. We have to ask for clarity and real help with how to approach forgiveness. However, don’t be disingenuous or fake about it. Be sincere. You want to make it right.

Usually, step three is simply to ask forgiveness from the offended person. Normally, simple apologies finish a disagreement. The person is just waiting for you to come to them like a mature person and say the hardest word, sorry.

But, I’m not sorry. I don’t even know what I did. Well, if you don’t ask, you’ll never know. My wife loves to play mind reader. I’m walking around upset and she loves to just think about what I could be mad about. She waited four hours one night. I had said something dumb and I couldn’t figure out a good way to say sorry. I just happened to be reading 2 Corinthians at the time, so I read this to her. I’ll start in verse five, “If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has all of you, to some extent-not to put it too severely. The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.” The verses prove one thing. Not obtaining forgiveness is usually more painful on you than the offended one. When I read that, my wife laughed and gave me a hug.

Paul even went on into verse 10 telling the Corinthians, “If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him.” A lot of friends forget that. You get into a difference with someone and you talk to your friends and the other person talks to their friends. All of a sudden, you’re hearing all this stuff that the other person did to you five, ten years ago. You let go of it back then, but your friends are still holding that against the person. Then you get mad, think that all that stuff justifies what you did and you stay mad. You have to gently remind your friends that you forgave that and so should they. Usually doing that helps you focus so that you can end the current dispute.

OK, so I asked for forgiveness and now they won’t forgive me. They said no. Well, I could say, “They have to live it. It’s on them. You’ve done your part.” Not only will I not say that, but it also isn’t true. While it is true that there is a burden on them, now that you have apologized, you still have work to do. This is where you go back to God and let him know that you have asked forgiveness and been denied. But it doesn’t stop there. You let go and let God. You place it back in his hands.

How? Pray for that person. Phillippians 2:4 talks about being humble and that “each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” I always remember a story of two of my favorite students. They were the best of friends. They did everything together, including giving me a nickname. One day, they had several disagreements and it blew up. One friend didn’t want to forgive. I remember the pastor taking them in and talking to them about their differences. They spent a lot of time crying and hurting over things that had been said. They agreed on forgiveness, but also agreed that they would part that way. Both moved on to other friends and years later, I can tell you that having that time to clear the air was what was needed. They are both God-serving adults and have met great, wonderful men in Christ. Their lesson learned in friendship taught both of them how to be better friends to the people that have followed in their lives.

They have lived two verses that I present to you now and how sometimes it has to end. Paul tells us in Hebrews 12:14-15 to, “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy, without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God, and that no bitter seed grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” God wants us to get along, but if we can’t , to be able to separate without a hate that causes hurt to grow. Ephesians 4:32 drives the point home, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ forgave you.”

One final note on forgiveness. Some of you may ask, “What do I do if that person has gone on to be with the Lord? How do I approach forgiveness then?” I would go back to the paragraph about letting go and letting God. I’ll say this is how I believe on this. I don’t have a verse, but I will say it this way. When we pray, we constantly have Jesus as intercessor between us and God. I also believe that Jesus is the intercessor for us and the dearly departed. I think Jesus gives them the comfort of knowing your heart. I won’t say that they see your prayer or your thoughts about them, but I think that Jesus handles those differences in his way of letting people know. On our end, we just have to trust God that our releasing it to him is enough.

I’ll share one final story to explain this point. My grandmother died of stomach cancer near Christmas of 2004. There are friends of my mom and of mine that believed I should have been there, either at her death or at least at the funeral. For a while, I let those thoughts really beat me up. Anyone that knows me knows that the bond of my grandmother and I was as tight as if she were my mom. However, a two-foot snowstorm graced the areas in between me here in Illinois and my grandmother’s body in West Virginia. There was no way I was getting there. I trusted God and the fact that my grandmother knew our love to say that I was OK with that. It took a while, but those that had a problem were able to forgive. I also know that grandma is doing fine and we’ll be able to share a lemonade on the porch of her mansion someday.

So in closing, let me say this. If you are holding something against someone, today is the day to forgive. If you are the one that is afraid to ask for forgiveness, please talk to God and let him tell you how to proceed. Finally, if you feel like you can’t let go of the forgiveness already granted, please let loose today. Pray to God to help you leave that behind. Talk to a friend and let the love of fellow believers guide you back on the road of sweet forgiveness.

I love you guys!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wisdom Wednesday: Some more about Righteous

Hey gang!

Last week, we started looking at some words about being righteous. Today, we’ll finish up what the Bible says in Solomon’s words of Proverbs.

Proverbs 12:3 tells us that “A man cannot be established through wickedness, but the righteous cannot be uprooted.” Even in the storms of life, righteous people stand strong.

A righteous person is aware and caring for his surroundings. Solomon says, “A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.” It’s almost amazing sometimes that people take better care of their pets than they treat people.

I find this verse of Proverbs 12 interesting. Verse 26 tells us, “A righteous man is cautious in friendship, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten more selective as to who my friends are. I make acquaintances with everyone, but letting someone in to the inner circle of my friendship, that’s harder than it used to be. Part of me may be skeptical of people. Some people might call that wisdom though.

Proverbs 13:21 is one of those verses that the “name it and claim it” people grab for. “Misfortune pursues the sinner, but prosperity is the reward of the righteous.” I think this is more about being smart with the money, gifts, other things of life that God gives you rather than the, “Hey, if I am righteous, I can have what I want.”

“When calamity comes, the wicked are brought down, but even in death the righteous have a refuge,” is Proverbs 14:32. Have you ever been to a funeral of a righteous person? Even though the talk always turns to how the Christianity of a person was, you get the feeling that this person was a hero to some.

If you’ve ever known a person that “shoots first and asks questions later,” this verse is for them. Proverbs 15:28 says, “The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil.”

Proverbs 16:31 tells us that, “Gray hair is a crown of splendor; It is attained by a righteous life.” So what does white hair mean? No hair? Just asking.

“The righteous man leads a blameless life; blessed are his children after him,” is Proverbs 20:7. The verse doesn’t say perfect life, but it is a man that knows how to apologize and then live on in peace.

I often think of Bob Carlisle’s “We Fall Down” when I read this verse, Proverbs 24:16. “For though a righteous man falls down seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity.” We fall down, but we get up!

Do you ever notice that evil people get caught in their own traps? I know it happens to Wile E. Coyote that way. Proverbs 29:6 says, “An evil man is snared by his own sin, but a righteous one can sing and be glad.

Proverbs 23:24 says that, “The father of a righteous man has great joy; he who has a wise son delights in him.” I really hope that my dad (both earthly and heavenly) can say this about me.

I love you guys!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Forgiveness Part 5: Why Should I?

Hey gang!

We’ve answered the questions on how to forgive yourself and God. This week we’re going to look at forgiveness when we mess up with others. Messing up is done in two ways. First, there is the accidental kind. These kind of mistakes are usually easier to forgive. The second type is just outright doing someone wrong. These never go well and there are probably more steps in forgiveness for these type things than the accidental kind.

Wrong has been done to people all the way back to Genesis. We’ve shared the story of Joseph being sold into slavery by his brothers and how he was reconciled to them after many years (Genesis 35-50). Even unto the end, his brothers were worried that Joseph would not forgive them. At their father’s death, the brothers sent word to Joseph some final instructions starting in Genesis 50:16, “So they sent word to Joseph, saying, ‘Your father left these instructions before he died: This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly. Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.”

When their message arrived, Joseph wept. The brothers even offered themselves as his slaves in verse 18. In verse 19, here is Joseph’s response. “But Joseph said to them, ‘Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.’ And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.”

Let’s be honest. Joseph is a better man than most of us. Being handed into slavery because your brothers didn’t like you probably wasn’t very easy to get over. I can sit here and say that time passes and so did the pain, but I think it was Joseph’s keen sense of perspective that had more to do with forgiveness. He saw the end result. He helped save a nation and his family. He also probably remembered the dream he had that said his brothers would bow down to him.

Forgiveness isn’t always that easy. Sometimes the complete picture doesn’t have time to develop like it did for Joseph. Let’s think about Stephen in the book of Acts chapter 7. Stephen had just finished preaching to the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin did not receive the message, or at the very least, didn’t receive it well. They began to stone Stephen to death. The soldier handling coat check duty that afternoon at the stoning was a young man named Saul.

Saul will probably never forget Stephen’s last words in verses 59-60. “While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he (Stephen) fell on his knees and cried out, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ When he had said this, he fell asleep.” That was Luke’s nice way of saying that poor Stephen had met his demise. Saul would move on to continue persecuting the church until that fine day in the desert on the road to Damascus where he was blinded, led into the city, baptized and renamed our hero of the faith, Paul. Stephen’s forgiveness did not go lost on Paul, it just took a while. Again, I’m not sure any of us would really want to forgive people that are throwing boulders and rocks at our person, especially in an effort to kill us.

I think that we tend to think of forgiveness as a one time act. That may have been true for Stephen, but probably not for Joseph. We know that the thought of being dropped in a hole and sold off into slavery had to go through Joseph’s mind once in a while. Like every minute while he was being taken to be sold. Every day he spent in jail for wrong accusation by Potiphar’s wife. Every minute while his brothers were off getting Jonathan to bring him back to see.

It was years later and I’m sure the hurt returned over and over. Isn’t that how it is with us sometimes? The pain of the wrong keeps coming back like a bad movie every time you see that person. A boss that fired you for no reason. A friend that did something wrong to where your friendship isn’t ever the same. Spouses where one spouse cheats on the other. We could give many examples.

I think a real answer to forgiveness comes as Jesus talks to his disciples at the end of Matthew 18. Peter asked Jesus in verse 21, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” I’m sure Peter had thought seven was a good number. C’mon, how many times can a person mess up before you write them off, right?

But Jesus was not impressed with Peter’s thought process. Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Now that ladies and gentlemen is a lot of messing up. I don’t know if I have a friend that’s messed up to anybody that many times. Some versions even say that sentence with “seventy times seven times,” or 490. Know anyone that’s that messed up?

I might be taking liberty here, but I think Jesus meant that not just that a person had that many times to mess up, but that in our memories, we would still have to forgive that many times. Jesus knew how the brain worked. He wasn’t a doctor, nor did he play one on TV, but He is The Great Physician. He knew that every time we have a down moment that we’re going to mull over and think about what that person did. And we’re going to have to end that thought process the same way every time, “I Forgive.”

Need encouragement to know why? Here are a few verses that tell us to forgive.

Matthew 6:12 “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Yes, that is us asking God in the Lord’s prayer to forgive as we do.

Matthew 6:14 “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Jesus is speaking here telling us that if we want forgiven, we must forgive too.

Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ forgave you.” Paul is speaking here leading into how we should be children of light.

But Frank, you don’t know what that person did to me! It was wrong, evil, mean, hateful and it shows how lousy a person they are. You’re right. I don’t have a clue. But God does. His Gospel tells us to forgive so that he’ll forgive us. I don’t think he would mention it if he wasn’t serious about it.

OK, I forgive. But what if the person that needs to be forgiven is me? What do I do? I’m glad you asked. On Thursday, we’ll investigate what the Bible says and we’ll close out this series on forgiveness.

I love you guys!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Marriage Monday: Date nights can teach

Hey gang!

It’s already the middle of June and we’re almost through half of another year. On July 1, we start the second half of the year with The Bible in 90 Days blog/Bible study series. Yes, you can join the journey. You can buy the NIV Bible that goes along with us or use your own Bible. I’ve made a chart on the accompanying website that is only found on Blogger (http://omr90daysthroughthebible.blogspot.com) I’ll still be doing regular blogs here, but The Bible in 90 Days stuff will be there.

Life has been good here at the Jenkins’ household lately and Saturday night was another reason. After going through a marriage class at our church, one thing we were encouraged to start and have done better with is an idea called Date Night for married couples. This past Saturday night, we got a babysitter and headed to Marion, Illinois. I learned a few things from the date.

The first thing is that we need more date nights. Sure, we had plenty of time in the car. But we had a chance to regroup ideas that I thought were long dead. It was also good to sit down at a meal, have time to eat it and just chat with my wife. And it wasn’t all about the kids. The concert we went to was great, but the talk was the highlight of the night. It gave me insight to the two other things that needed tweaking in our marriage.

My wife is taking a class and I have been working real hard on improving the website and that led to more time that we were individually with the kids. It is hard enough to raise kids together, but it gets harder when both are missing more than the average working hours. She was out two nights a week and I was out two other nights a week (between writing and ministry), so collectively we weren’t working together very much.

I actually have had older men give me an attitude because I help so much with my family. Guys, it’s hard to give up the ideas of the time before the sixties where a man came home from work and just grabbed his paper, sat on the couch and waited for dinner and whatever else the wife was supposed to do. But those days are over. Every once in a while, as guys we think, “Hey, we’re entitled to a day off!” I think we are, but it also goes for the ladies of this generation. They work as hard or harder than we do.

So with her class ending and me needing only one night a week the rest of the summer, life is returning to normal and we got to talk about a new plan for both of us. So getting focused on the kids and on nightly time for each other to just talk about how it’s going help.

The last thing is something that I really don’t think about. It’s not a machismo thing, but I tend to pray alone. I just always have. We talked about how important it is becoming to pray together to line our hopes and dreams up. Most of the time when she hears me talk, it is about the website and when she talks, it is about her work, but we’ve stopped dreaming together. When we don’t pray with our spouses about the needs, hopes and desires, we lose our number one prayer partner. It’s great to pray with our buddies, but it’s even better to pray with a spouse that is sharing the dream.

So couples, I recommend a date night. It will give you time away from other distractions to talk to the person you committed to at the altar however long ago to tweak things and make your marriage a happier, more open place to be.

I love you guys!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Flag Day! What represents you?

Hey gang!

It’s the second Saturday of June and that means it’s Flag Day here in America. It’s where we pay homage to that beautiful flag that Betsy Ross made over 230 years ago. The flag has changed a little since that first flag. There were 13 stars on the original and now has 50 of them.

The flag has become one of the pieces that represent the American people. Back in 1812, when Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner, what was left of the flag meant that we survived and won a battle with the French. It may not have been it’s finest hour, but it told the standing spirit of a young country.

The finest hour recently for the flag was after the events of 9-11. As painful a time as the terrorist attacks were, Americans began to put their flags on their cars and anywhere else that told terrorism that acts like these were knocking down what Americans have stood for since 1776. It felt defiant to be able to put out that flag and say, “You haven’t won! We will stand strong together!”

It made me start to think as I sat here with my cinnamon roll here at Joe Sipper’s this morning. What stands and represents us as Christians? I think the answer is obvious. It’s the cross of calvary. That symbol of the act that Jesus gave his life to save ours. It was kind of like that flag back in 1812.

Elton John had a song called I’m Still Standing in the eighties that talked about how it may look like we’ve been beaten, we are still strong. Satan thought he had beaten Jesus at the Cross, but the win was temporary. Jesus then rocked through hell for three days and beat death. After that, he rose and took his rightful place next to God. He had won.

It’s interesting to think that symbols of us as people are sometimes from the hardest of tragedy. It tends to say we survived. We have overcome. Aren’t you glad Jesus overcame?

Jesus always knew he had overcome. Everyone else has to figure it out. Even the disciples were confused by it in the book of John. He closes the 16th book of John ending his explanation to the disciples with these words, “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” So can you. Begin living in the belief today.

I love you guys!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Forgiveness part 4: God Says "I Forgive", Do You?

Hey gang!

Over the past couple weeks, we have been talking about forgiveness. We’ve shared a few areas where forgiveness is necessary, that we need to forgive God so he can love and bless us, and that we’ve all been wronged at one time or another. To scope out the rest of the series for you, because some of you have asked me where this all leads, we have a few more items in forgiveness to look at. Next week, we’ll be looking at forgiving others, asking for forgiveness and what do we do when we get it, or not.

Today, we are going to look at one story in the Bible to show us that we must forgive ourselves. While it may be easy to forgive others, especially when they love us, it is not so easy to turn that blessing inward. The old saying that we tend to be our own worst critic is true. For some reason, when God made us, we were made with a brain. The mind is like a tape recorder. It records everything, without tape and usually in conditions that are better than hi-def. So when we mess up, we can replay it back in our minds over and over. That is usually what paralyzes people.

I’ve talked about today’s story before and for a clearer picture than what I write, please look at 2 Samuel chapters 11-12. King David is considered one of the legends of the Bible, so much so that he is considered a man after God’s own heart. But David wasn’t perfect. He made mistakes. Lots of them. We’re just going to look at one. King David was taking some time off of the battlefield and decided to hang out in his castle and admire all that he had. He went upon his rooftop to look around and saw a woman taking a bath. Instead of turning his head, he kept looking. He thought she was beautiful. So he sent a messenger to find out about her and found out that she was the wife of one of his top generals. He sent for her anyway and slept with her. You might ask, we’ll she should’ve protested. She didn’t have to do the act. I’ll make two comments to that. The Bible never says that she didn’t protest. She probably did. However, think for a moment that this guy was the king. Ruler of all he surveys. Yes, she sinned, but she was put in that situation by her king.

She ended up pregnant and instead of telling Uriah, her military general husband, David cooked up another scheme. Let’s put him in the front of the battle. Then, have the rest of the men pull back and he’ll be killed. And as Pinky Dinky Doo says, “That’s exactly what happened.” He then took Bathsheba as his own wife and then they had a son. David was happy and thought he had gotten away with it, but as you know, when you sin there are two that know the sin, you and God. God knew what happened and he had to get repentance from David.

So chapter 12 of 2 Samuel begins as Nathan, David’s trusted advisor came to see him. Rather than call David straight out, Nathan uses a parable. The parable upset David and he told Nathan that the person that did such a thing deserved to die. Nathan then shares that the man was David. He tells him the sin that he has committed has displeased God. David was caught and he knew it.

How many times does it happen to us that way? We think we get away with hurting someone and that it will just go away? How many times do we get creative to think of ways to make the situation disappear? We sin first, then try to hide the sin.

The third part of sin are the consequences. We want to avoid these no matter what. Nathan told David the first set of his consequences in verses 10-12. Nathan said that the Lord will never remove the sword from David’s house, meaning that people in his family will die the same way Uriah did. Nathan then reveals that someone before David’s eyes will take his wives and lay with them in broad daylight. What David had done in secret would be done to him in public. Welcome to the National Enquirer, King David.

The fourth part of sin is the repentance. David repented immediately asking God to forgive. Once we’re nailed, we do the same. We ask God to forgive us for messing up. God, whatever I did wrong, I’m sorry.

The fifth part of sin is God’s forgiveness. God forgives David, but Nathan has more bad news. More consequences. In verses 13-14, Nathan says, “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the Lord show utter contempt, the son born to you will die.” That’s heavy consequences.

The sixth part of sin is pleading with God not to deliver on the consequences. Oh please God, don’t make me have to do this or that. In David’s case, he spent days fasting and praying that God would spare the child. In verse 18, we learn that on the seventh day, the child dies.

The seventh and should be final part of sin is that we face the consequences. The son was not spared. At the end of verse 19, David realizes that his son is dead and he asks his servants to tell him. They do. The consequences have been served.

Verse 20 begins with David immediately washing himself, changing his clothes and going to the house of the Lord to worship. He then went home and ate for the first time in seven days. This confused his servants. They even asked why he fasted and wept as the child was alive and as the child lay dead, he got up and ate. David answered that he was hoping that the Lord would be gracious to spare the child, but once he was dead that there was no changing the mind of God.

This is where we struggle. David understood that the consequences had come. He went and worshipped a God that had been true to his word. David understood that the sin and its consequences were sealed. He worshipped and moved on.

I’m not saying, say a little prayer and forget about your sin. I am saying that David saw the sin and its consequences through. He realized that it was done. We tend to play the sin in our minds and stay in it. We lay on the ground and say, “Well, that’s all I can do. There is no future after this.” That’s the lie Satan wants us to believe with all our hearts.

David continued to reign as king for God. He still did the work that God gave him to do. He ran the country as king. Today, God wants you to get back up. He wants you to say, “Yes, I messed up.” But he also wants you to say, “My God has forgiven me for my sin.” Then he wants you to go back to work. He wants you to continue to strive to be the best Christian you can be. He wants his will to still be imposed and wants you to give everything to him. Let him carry the burden of your sin. Because he already carried it; At Calvary. He died on a cross, one time, for all sin and it is finished. As he told the woman caught in shame, Go and sin no more. Forgive yourself today. God does not want you to live to your death feeling as though you cannot recover from sin. You can. Let it begin today.

I love you guys!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wisdom Wednesday: Some Thoughts on Righteous

Hey gang!

Tomorrow, we’ll continue on in the forgiveness series with part four. It will talk about how forgiving yourself is needed after you mess up. All of us mess up. It’s unavoidable in this body. But for Wisdom Wednesday, we are going to talk about being righteous, our best attempt not to mess up in the first place. Proverbs alone mentions righteousness 64 times in the New International Version. Today, we’ll look at some words from Solomon on being righteous.

The first stand alone verse is Proverbs 3:33. “The Lord’s curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous.” You’ve seen this picture before. All the neighborhood kids standing in the street huddled up looking at the house of the old cranky lady or mean man that just yells when the ball rolls into the yard. Sometimes if we just listen to our kids, we can know what is evil.

Proverbs 4:18, “The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.” This might be one of Solomon’s most beautiful word pictures. If you’ve ever watched the sun come up before a day’s work, you just know it’s going to be a good day when you see that rising sun. It’s even better when you meet a new person and you know that they are following God. You can’t wait to get around them just to see how great the day is going to be.

Proverbs 9:9, “Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning.” Righteous people are always smart people. They think out the world around them.

I’ve always thought this one was a funny one. Proverbs 10:3 says, “The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.” As a diabetic, I often have the itch for something sweet, a lot of times that I don’t need it. I find it amazing that when I want a Peanut Buster Parfait from the Dairy Queen across town that I am always broke or without a car.

Proverbs 10:7, “The memory of the righteous will be a blessing, but the name of the wicked will not.” All of us know people that we love to be around. We also know people that are a pain that we’d rather live without.

Proverbs 10:21 tells us, “The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for the lack of judgment.” I’ve always found this an interesting proverb. I think of scary movies when I come to the second half of the verse. Comedian Eddie Murphy once made a great observation about a haunted house. “Why are people so stupid? If a ghost told me ‘Get out!’, I’d be like, ‘Baby it’s a beautiful place, too bad we can’t stay.’ I’d get out!”

“The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom, but a perverse tongue will be cut out,” says Proverbs 10:31. There is a law for that in some middle Eastern countries. Imagine how many politicians would be out a tongue if that happened in America.

I think we forget that justice will be served when it isn’t served immediately. Proverbs 11:21 tells us, “Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished, but those who are righteous will go free.” This might explain our fascination with crime dramas. We love to see how justice is figured out.

I heard Dave Ramsey quote Proverbs 11:28 the other night, “Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.” In this crazy financial time, Dave even gave advice against buying gold right now. He said, “Gold has not been the commerce of choice since the Roman Empire.” Very interesting since most of us are told that we ought to stock up when we feel the end is near.

I’ll close this piece with the next to last verse of Proverbs 11. Verse 30 tells us, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.” I hope that you’re a tree filled with apples. Keep winning souls for the end could be at any time.

I love you guys!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Forgiveness Part 3: Are you mad at God?

Hey gang!

I thought about saving this part, but I got a couple emails and life takes interesting turns.

Recently, my wife lost a friend. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but my wife works in a very difficult field. She is a radiation therapist at a cancer center. A lot of the people she sees don’t make it. However, there are some triumphs that the staff and the patients have. Some are cured and live long lives. Some go into remission only to have cancer rear its ugly head again later.

This is what happened to my wife’s friend. Even after the cancer came out of remission, the friend kept saying that she would get a miracle and be cured. My wife kept praying that she was right. The friend had hope to the very end.

I never know how each person’s passing will affect my wife. This one hurt. The friend was younger than most patients my wife takes care of. My wife had to admit something. This was unfair and it really made her mad. Mad at God.

On Sunday after service, she confessed to me that her heart wasn’t into it. She was upset that God would take a woman that had such faith and hope for a miracle at such a young age. She could grieve easier over people that had the chance to live a long productive life. But this was different. It wasn’t fair.

Mindy was right. It wasn’t fair. I think of another family I know in the community and their son had been a sinner of great magnitude. He finally straightened up, got his life right, met a nice girl, was living the good life. Then he got sick. He laid in a hospital ready to die. A friend asked me, “He got his life right and was doing what God wanted. It ain’t right. Why now?” The friend later admitted that he was also mad at God over this.

So why is God supposedly so unfair? Why would God take people that were so young? Why would God take people that are trying to live right? I could say the short answer that I hear most of the time. That God is God and God does whatever he wants. While that may or may not be true, I think there is a whole lot more to it than that.

The verse I often get quoted in times like these is Romans 8:28. Let’s look at it. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” So how is God working by taking people like this? Truthfully, I don’t know. Sometimes he works in the people around that person. This other person sees that this person really had gotten their stuff together and seeing that they’ve left early inspires them to get their lives together. Sometimes we never quite figure it out until we meet Jesus on the other side.

But I want you to keep in mind that we are not the only ones who have dealt with the unfairness and have gotten upset with God. The entire book and story of Job show this emotion throughout. If any man in the Bible had a right to gripe, it was Job. God even tells Satan that Job is a blameless man before Satan tests Job. Here’s what Satan did. He had the Sabeans attack and take all his oxen and donkeys then kill all his servants but one. That guy escaped to tell Job what had happened. Then fire fell out of the sky, killing the sheep and all the servants with them, but one. Then, the Chaldeans came in and took his camels and killed all the servants but one. Finally, a mighty wind came in and collapsed the house that his sons and daughters were celebrating in and they were all killed.

Now that was a bad day. Job kept his cool. In verse 22 of chapter one, the Bible even tells us that Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. Does that allow us to blame God every time something happens. No, but in verse 21 he also praised God through the trial. Job knew that God was still with him. These verses tell us that we are allowed to wonder what happened and even ask the question if God had a hand, but remember that he is also with us and will bring us through the trial.

Satan wasn’t done with Job. In chapter two, he even gives Job painful sores all over his body. So as Job is sitting among the ashes scratching himself, his wife got involved. She tells him to let go verbally and curse God so he could die. He responded that she was talking as a foolish woman and that we must accept troubles along with the good. I think all of us know people that debate that notion, especially those in the name it and claim it congregation. Only good is supposed to happen when we are Christians. Sorry, that’s not the way it is. Jesus tells us this in Matthew 5:45 as he says, “He (God) causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

But Job does get into trouble as he debates these trials with his friends over chapters 3-37. The Lord comes and speaks to the situation in chapters 38-41. Don’t all of us wish he would do that for us sometimes? Maybe? Maybe not? Because once God speaks, Job comes to an understanding. There are angles and answers that he has not figured on. God is infinitely wise and we, as humans, are not.

Job does repent for listening and contemplating “things he did not understand or too wonderful for him to know.” As people, we don’t always get it. We are left confused and wonder why. But God always, always, ALWAYS has a plan. Nothing gets by our Lord.

God had a plan that day for Job. He restored and doubled Job’s possessions including family. What plan does he have for us in suffering? I don’t know, but it begins with you sitting where you are and opening your heart to a loving God that wants to hear from you and heal that heart, so that you will be able to do all he intended.

I leave you with a verse that I got in my email this morning that was perfect in this lesson. Psalm 30:5 tells us, “weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” God knows you may be hurting because of an unrighteousness that you don’t understand, but he wants to come and rescue you, restore you and love you. The explanation may not be clear now, but trust Him, all will become clear in time.

I love you guys!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Marriage Monday: A totally non-scripture based list

Hey gang!

Another weekend has come and gone and that makes two more weekends until Father’s Day (June 21 this year). Last year, my church’s senior pastor spoke a great Father’s Day message. The aspect I’ll talk about today is a man’s need to disconnect.

Don’t take me wrong. Men still need to step up and be responsible, but there are times that a man needs to do his thing. For the past few weeks, I’ve been speaking about how women have needs. Well ladies, this is a need that a guy has.

I don’t think either spouse should be tied to the house. I think the ladies need to get out too. But I will also be honest. Over the last couple generations, men are getting used to the idea of doing more around the house. They are being more helpful. If you look back to the 1950’s and before, when a man came home, he did two things. He sat down and then he propped up his feet to read the paper and/or watch the television. Most men don’t even get to sit down when they come through the doors nowadays.

So ladies, to make your man’s Father’s Day a little nicer, and maybe a few more days through the year, uncle Frank is gonna give you a few tips on how to make your man happier.

1. Does your man have a hobby? Maybe it’s stamp collecting or woodworking. Maybe it is going to the donut shop in the morning hours to talk to the boys. If it’s not against the precepts of God and it isn’t totally breaking down the house, let him have some time to do these things. Sure, not every available minute, but give him some time.

2. Does he like to watch ESPN Sportscenter or some other show without interruption? Can the chores wait a half hour? Then please let them. Ralphie May describes men being happy during these times. He calls it “tard happy”. Men get the goofy look and just want to sit there and let loose for a few minutes. The only way it can get better is if they are on the couch and you sit down and just snuggle with him and watch. Just watch. He may get suspicious at first, but after a while, he will just hold you in love because he’s allowed to relax.

3. Buy him a gift. I know this sounds obvious, but I want to add a few pretexts here. First, nothing says that you didn’t think of him like a Wal-Mart gift certificate. Ladies, in this economy crunch, men think practically. We’ll end up buying groceries or diapers or something for the family and that will feel like no gift at all. If you must buy a gift card, buy it for a place he likes. If he fishes or hunts, get him a bass pro shop card or that Gander Mountain place. If he likes sports, get him an MLB or NFL.com card. But better yet, figure out what he likes and get him something cool.

4. Some guys will swear I’ve gone to the other side, but some men like to get flowers. Ladies, we know this is one of your gifts of choice, but we like the smell because it reminds us of you. Sweet, loving and sexy.

5. Make a date and let the babysitter watch the kids. Ladies, the real truth is, especially those of us that have kids, we want to spend time with you like we used to. We totally realize that both of us are busier because we have ball games, dance class and the chess club to go to. On top of that, there are clothes to be washed, trash to be thrown out and dinner to be made. We miss just you. Take us to dinner so that we can look into those eyes we fell in love with. Please no McDonald’s. Do us good like TGI Fridays or Lonestar or Cheesecake Factory! You get the idea. One rule, discussing the kids for more than 10 minutes means you have to do it again.

I know today’s Marriage Monday had nothing of scripture to it, but sometimes we need common sense. Spouses, we love you and we want more time to be the individuals we’ve always been. Yes, we love the kids, the dogs and even the parents, but we love you and we love us. Be good to each other!

I love you guys!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Forgiveness Part 2: You think you got a raw deal?

Hey gang!

The video for today is from a band called Pray For Rain. Well, actually it is a fan made video of the song. Goldie’s Last Day is what it says; it is the last day of a poor dog. The funny part of the video is the bridge where they intend to make it a murder mystery by telling us that poor Goldie met harm in not so nice a way.

What does the video have to do with forgiveness? I hear all those brains thinking. C’mon Frank, this is pretty lame. It’s pretty hard to forgive death that’s not an accident, as the song says.

But haven’t we all had days where bad things have been done to us and we say, “No way. I’m not forgiving that.” You already have the thought in your head of a time it has happened to you. You know you do. Think it’s pretty bad. Think that we’d agree that it’s unforgivable. I have a story for you. Here are some pretty unforgivable things that happened.

There was this boy. He was the youngest of brothers. You know how babies are. Idolized by their parents because they're the last in the family. Especially dads and their boys. Dads are really bad about showing favortism, at least that’s what my wife tells me. The boy was pretty special. His dad loved him so much that he made this jacket for him. No, not that cool letterman’s jacket I drooled all about in high school. No, not that leather jacket “The Fonz” wore that made him cool like James Dean. This was a coat of many colors. We might have not thought much of it. But the boy wore it like it was the greatest thing. He bragged about that jacket every day to his brothers. “Man! Look at this jacket!”

That wasn’t enough for this little guy though. He was so into his little universe with him being the sun that he had a dream that he was the sun and his brothers revolved around him and bowed down to him. His dad tried to stop him. “You know son, telling that story probably isn’t a good idea.” He just wouldn’t shut up. This got his older and bigger brothers pretty mad.

This little boy stayed home with his dad while the brothers worked out in the fields. He went out to them one day with some lunch wearing that jacket and the brothers devised a plan. Probably at first, all they wanted to do was scare him. You know, drop him in a hole and let him cry like a little girl for a while. They’d laugh and laugh. He’d learn his lesson. Then instead of learning his lesson, he’s like, “You wait until I tell dad!” That scared the brothers a little. Dad was mean when he was angry. They couldn’t let him go run off and tell dad.

So this traveling salesman came by looking for slaves to take to market. The older boys thought, “Hey! This is how we’ll get rid of him!” One brother thought it was a bad idea. Surely, dad would find out. The salesman assured them that he was going far away. The boys thought and went, “OK, but just so dad doesn’t go on a search for him, we need a piece of that jacket to take home.” The salesman is like, “Sure!” So our salesman takes him away into a far country and sells him off.

The boy was sold off to a high ranking official. He wasn’t “the leader”, but he was pretty high up. The boy lived in this house and was pretty smart and so his master thought the boy showed promise and eventually put him in charge of taking care of everything for him. The master had nothing to worry about. The boy was good. But then, something happened.

This boy was a good looking young man by now and it isn’t just men that go through middle age crises. This leader’s wife thought the boy was hot and she did pretty much everything to try to get the boy to take a bite out of her apple, if you know what I mean. He was like a lot of other people. He was terribly afraid of having his first time be with an older, married woman. She had pulled off his loin cloth and he ran, letting her keep it. Since she was rejected, she did what any mean, vindictively scorned woman would do. She lied her butt off. She told her husband that it was the boy that was trying to pluck her flower and that she screamed to resist him. His master did what any man that thought one of his "boys" was cheating with his wife. He threw the boy in jail.

He was upset to be in jail, but he didn’t wallow about it and finally was put in charge of all those held in prison by the warden of the jail. The warden didn’t have to worry. That boy was still a great worker.

Eventually, he made some friends. They were talented guys. One poured drinks real well and the other was a great chef who made great meals. As talented as they were, the master was a tough guy to please and one day they gave him a bad soda that fizzed in his face and got all over his clothes and the food got ruined and tasted horrible. So they got tossed in jail too.

They were all tired one night and both men went to bed and had dreams. Messed up dreams. Stuff you wake up from and go, “What in the world was that about?” They asked their friend, who just so happened to be able to interpret dreams (you pick up things like that in jail) and he told them what they meant. So before they got out, the boy told them not to forget him.

About two years later, the guy that poured the drinks started talking to his new boss, the leader of the country, after the boss had a bad dream and said, “Hey, you know that boy, the one who interpreted my dream, he could do the same for you.” He called for the boy and sure enough, he interpreted the dream. The leader gave him control of everything but his throne.

The dream was that the land the boy oversaw would be very prosperous for seven years followed by seven years of famine. He ran the country like a champ. He stored up for those seven years of hard time and once they came, everyone from all around came to the land to get some help.

Everyone including those loving brothers of his. Yeah, the ones that threw him in the pit and sold him. They came to town and right up to the boy. They didn’t even recognize him. He remembered, so like any brother that had been thrown in a pit and sold, he tossed them in jail for being spies.

After three days, he was feeling merciful. He told them to go home and bring the new youngest boy to him to verify they weren’t spies and he would believe them. But they had to leave another brother in jail in the meantime. The brothers thought they were being punished because the man knew of what they did to their brother. But they did as they were told and were given provisions for the trip and for his dad.

Once they returned, he had his silver cup put in the little brother’s sack and kept him as a slave for this. After a discussion, he lets them know who he is, the long lost enslaved brother that they were wrong to. He commanded his brothers to go get his father to come to him for safety and preservation for the remainder of the famine.

That boy was Joseph of the Bible. You can read his story for yourself in Genesis 37-50. He saved the nation, but had to go through all the trials to make it happen.

Think you’ve been wronged. I’m not lessening the wronged feelings that you have. I’m not telling you that it’s OK for people to wrong you. But sometimes the wrong is part of God’s plan. As much as you want to put the slice and dice of life to the people that wrong you, we have to learn to remain calm and continue to work for God so that he continues to be a part of your life as you are going through the trials. You will be blessed, eventually. How? That’s between you and God. I don’t have the answers, I just know that you have to remain consistent during these times. You can’t take the attitude of "people have done me wrong, so God, you owe me. Make it up to me, NOW!"

Is it easy to remain consistent when you are down over being wronged? Do you think it was easy for Joseph after he got sold off by his brothers? This was family that was supposed to love him. Are your family and friends not loving you right right now? Stay calm, be consistent and continue to wait until the windows of heaven open.

I love you guys!