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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Uncle Remus

An amateur genealogical researcher discovered that his great-great uncle, Remus Starr, a fellow lacking in character, was hanged for horse stealing and train robbery in Montana in 1889. The only known photograph of Remus shows him standing on the gallows. On the back of the picture is this inscription:

"Remus Starr; horse thief; sent to Montana Territorial Prison 1885, escaped 1887; robbed the Montana Flyer six times. Caught by Pinkerton detectives. Convicted and hanged 1889."

In a Family History subsequently written by the researcher, Remus’s picture is cropped so that all that's seen is a head shot. The accompanying biographical sketch is as follows:

"Remus Starr was a famous cowboy in the Montana Territory. His business empire grew to include acquisition of valuable equestrian assets and intimate dealings with the Montana railroad. Beginning in 1885, he devoted several years of his life to service at a government facility, finally taking leave to resume his dealings with the railroad. In 1887, he was a key player in a vital investigation run by the renowned Pinkerton Detective Agency. In 1889, Remus passed away during an important civic function held in his honor when the platform upon which he was standing collapsed." (www.mikeysFunnies.com)

Funny how we can spin a bad situation making it look and sound so much better than it really was or is. On the surface, we can be pretty convincing and even look impressive. But dig a little deeper and reality catches up.

We try and do this spiritually too. Our conscience faithfully alerts us to our spiritual bankruptcy apart from Christ. Yet many times we just try to spin our way out of it. We crop the picture of our life showing just the parts we like, fooling ourselves that we are really OK. The problem is that not. Reality has a way of catching up with us. Even in the story, Uncle Remus still died a convicted thief.

Death isn't the end. It's just a transition from one life to the next. Like a baby "passing" from his or her world of 9 months to another life much bigger and brighter, we also pass from this life to one that is bigger and brighter; one that will last forever.

The question is "Where will that be?"

The Bible teaches that we'll spend eternity in either Heaven or Hell. Either way we'll live forever. In Heaven we'll forever be with Jesus. In Hell, we won't. In Heaven we'll experience life as God intended before sin and death. In Hell it will be perpetual pain and suffering with no relief. No God. No hope.

It's not just about missing Hell. It's about a relationship. An incredible relationship with God himself. A relationship that is so great that there's never a nead to spin it to make it look better--because you can't. It's life at it's best!

So admit to God that you've sinned. Agree with God that you've made a mess of your life. That you've stolen, hated, lied, or whatever it is you've done. Repent of it. That is, turn away from it to God. Trust him enough to follow him. Jesus died on the cross in your place so that you could live in his place. Put your faith in Jesus Christ today. Then when they write your obituary, they won't have to spin it.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Making myself Nothing

"When you make yourself nothing, you're really something." Andy Stanley

What a powerful thought. When I humble myself and make myself nothing, the God of the universe makes much of me. Whoa.

Ahhh, but the rub is the first part. "Myself...nothing." Yes, that is the challenge.

Why is it so important that I get my way in a boardgame with my daughters? Why do I resist yielding to other motorist on the highway? Why do get so upset when somebody cuts in the express line at WalMart?

Because I worship me instead of Christ.

It's a terrifying admission. But if we are honest selfishness is pride and pride is the root of all sin that says I am god and should be worshiped by all. Sick.

"God, I repent of being like this. It makes you sick and now I am too. Cleanse me from this disease of sin and self and fill me with your selfless Holy Spirit. Help me live like Christ did--putting others first no matter the cost. To God be the glory!"

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature[a] God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father
."

Friday, February 16, 2007

Thank You

As I write this I'm sitting on my Dad's bed listening to him talk to his granddaughters. He's showing us his scars (gross), describing the surgery, and asking about our church (He's a big fan). It's pretty amazing we're even sitting here.

By the grace of God my 75-year old dad has survived double by-pass, aorta valve replacement, patch-a-hole-in-your-heart surgery. He's resting at home where his recuperation continues.

God's healing touch is amazing. We could just as easily experienced a funeral. We thank God for his goodness in allowing us to enjoy "Poppy" for a while longer.

Thank you for your prayers for my dad and our family. It's been a privilege to watch God work in our midst.

God is great, God is good.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

New cow valve, 2 by-passes & a plugged hole

Thank you all for praying for my dad up to and all day today.

I'm happy to report that he is resting in ICU right now. The heart valve has been replaced (with one from a cow!) and is working, his double bypass completed and working and they even found a hole in his heart that they were able to stitch up while they were in there. I wish I could say it was 3 surgeries for the price of one but you know how that goes...

He's not out of the woods yet so please remember him as he recovers. Sat. is supposed to be particularly painful. He will be in ICU through the weekend.

It's been an amazing day. My dad had his heart removed from his chest and stopped so that they could work on the inside of it. Meanwhile a machine kept him alive. At 9:15 pm I was talking to him and listening to him joke about "Not going anywhere" before I get back the next day (as he munches on ice chips). God is so good.

"Father, I thank you for my brother and sisters in Christ. Thank you for putting it on their hearts to pray for my dad. Thank you for hearing their prayers and answering by giving us more time with him. Bless each one as they continue to be a blessing to others. Each of them has their own prayer request. Give them the faith to believe that you are ready to answer their prayers as well. In Christ's name, amen."

Thank you also for praying for Ms. Shirley's surgery (throat). It went well and she goes home tomorrow.

And lastly, thank you for praying for James and his family as they bury his dad this week. They are doing well and appreciate your prayers.

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." --Jesus, John 14:27, NIV

Grateful,

Darien & family

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Pray for my dad

Thank you for all the prayers already lifted up on our behalf. You all are precious to us.

Please pray for my dad's surgery Thurs., Feb. 8th. He will have a double by-pass and heart valve replacement. He's 75 and in very good health otherwise. Please pray as God leads. God is so good.

While I've got you praying;-) please lift up one of our members (Shirley) having surgery also on Feb. 8th. In addition, my good friend and college roomate James Cliver lost his father today after a long battle with cancer. (Donald Cliver) Please remember them as well.

"The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with." James 5:16, Msg

In His grip,
Darien