Category Archives: Death

Fireproof

I was looking at the gun in my hand at the shooting range the other day and a thought came to mind: guns have safety features that prevent most, if not all, spontaneous firings. Without effort on the part of the operator, like me pulling the trigger, the gun is no more harmful than the monitor in front of you. But point it in the wrong direction, push the right buttons, or mishandle it in any way, and it can become a deadly weapon.

I wish I had some of the same safety features on my mouth. I’ve been known to shoot off at the mouth a time or two. I have learned that words can be as harmful to one’s self-esteem as guns can be to one’s life. Words have the capability to shoot down aspirations, hurt feelings, and kill the dreams of many well-intentioned people. And just like the gun, my mouth is harmless apart from my own actions. Don’t I decide what comes out of my mouth and what direction my words take? If I am as careful and responsible with the words I fire out of my mouth as I am with the shots I fire from my pistol, then no one should get hurt.

Here’s the great paradox: Words have as much potential to generate good as bullets have to create danger. They can be used to speak hope into hopeless, desperate situations; possibility into impossible circumstances; potential into powerlessness; victory in the midst of overwhelming odds; life into a miserable, mortal existence; and light into darkness. Words can be affirmative ammunition to penetrate and ignite a weary soul. Words have power, the power to butcher or the power to nurture; the power to annihilate or the power to stimulate. The power does not rest in the words themselves but in the people using them.

The takeaway:

Words don’t kill, people do. How will you use your words today?

The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell . . . but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. ~James 3:6,8

The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. ~Proverbs 18:21

He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity. ~Proverbs 21:23

The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. ~ Luke 6:45

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. ~Ephesians 4:29

No one will ever remember what you say or what you do but they will never forget how you made them feel. ~Unknown

What if we related the Gospel to people on the basis of how awesome they could possibly be in Christ more than how screwed up they presently are without Him? ~Pastor Steven Furtick

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Old Habits Die Hard (And So Does Sin)

For thirty plus years, my parents kept the kitchen trash can in the pantry. After remodeling the kitchen a few years ago, they moved the location of the trash can. That hasn’t stopped me (even years later) from going to the pantry to throw something away at least once when visiting. It’s maddening! It does make it easier to see why we sometimes continue to struggle with the same sins over and over again. Just like old habits, sin becomes almost ingrained in us. Romans 7:17-19 says, “ As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.”

I do manage to find the trash can. Actually, it even seems to get easier to take my garbage to the right place the more that I do it. Old sins die hard, but they do die! Do not be discouraged––your sins of yesterday cannot defeat your Savior of today!

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. ~Galatians 6:9

Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.  And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. ~2 Corinthians 12:8-9

Jesus saves me all at once but he changes me little by little. ~Pastor Steven Furtick

It’s better to break out little by little than to stay in chains for eternity. ~Pastor Steven Furtick

6 Minutes to Impact

It was kind of ironic––on Tuesday, the local Christian radio station here in Charlotte mentioned that the last two years had been one of the safest stretches of time for commercial airline travel in the US and then, of course, two days later, Charlotte-bound flight 1549 plunges into the Hudson River. Astoundingly, everyone survived and there were no serious injuries.

Can you imagine though?

3:24:00  You’re 1 of 155 passengers sitting in a plane on the tarmac waiting for a routine flight to take off.
3:24:54  On the intercom, “This is the pilot, prepare for takeoff.”
3:27:01  At 3,000 feet in the air, you hear an explosion on one side of the plane and feel a jolt followed by another with the plane beginning to go down.
3:28:05  On the intercom, “This is the pilot, prepare for impact.”
3:30:30  Your flight impacts the Hudson River.

Life can change drastically in 6 minutes. Friday, the same radio station interviewed Mark, a listener that was on that flight. He said that he had determined that “this was it” and that he was ready to die. The DJ asked him what was going through his mind. “Regrets,” was Mark’s response. Would that be your response? Sure, Mark has been given a second chance to turn those regrets into results but most of us wouldn’t be so lucky.

If you knew that you were going to die in 6 minutes, what would be your regrets?

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

What will you be doing 6 minutes from now? Loving on your spouse. . . playing with your kids. . . pursuing your dream. . . calling a friend or family member that you haven’t talked to in a while. . . living a life worthy of your calling. . . eliminating your regrets.

Don’t go back to idle, casual, regrettable living. Live a life with intensity, intentionality, and fulfillment. Live a life where your regrets are laid to rest long before you. THIS is your second chance. Start now––who knows what might become of you in 6 minutes?

Casualties of War

Since 09/11/01:

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8.1 million lives lost

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That number has floored me. These are causalities of war since September 11th, 2001; American lives lost to a battle that we are losing. Except this war is not overseas but being waged right here on our own soil, on a daily basis, under our own noses, is completely legal, and is entirely preventable. It’s the war on abortion, responsible for more American deaths than all wars combined. And we talk about a timeline to pull out of Iraq. When are we going to withdraw from this war?

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*Sources of abortion statistic: The Guttmacher Institute (research arm of Planned Parenthood), The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, and The Centers for Disease Control.
3,700 abortions per day performed in the US with late-term (>15 weeks) accounting for about 5.6% (about 450,000 since 09/11/01).

This is a test and only a test…

Anyone who watches any amount of t.v. is probably aware by now that as of February 17, 2009, analog t.v. signals will be history. This week, a few local channels actually killed their analog signal for 30 seconds as a test for people to see whether a converter box would be needed to pick up a digital signal.

What if you could lose your earthly signal for 30 seconds in order to see if you get a heavenly signal? I’m not talking about Near-Death Experiences–that’s clinical death. I’m talking natural death, deader than a doornail, “the soul has left the building” never to return kind of death. What would you find? Heaven? Hell? Static? The end of your existence, human and spiritual?

Wouldn’t that make answering the question of God’s existence a lot easier? How would this experience change you, especially if you found yourself in the “wrong place?” If it proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Heaven and Hell are real, would faith even be required anymore? Would evil cease to exist if everyone got a glimpse of Heaven or Hell? Or, on the other hand, what would happen if there was nothing, no signal, no evidence of a soul outside of our human existence? Would the world fall apart? Which would prevail: good or evil?

I do know “the answer.” I’ve got me a “converter” to pick up the heavenly signal for when my earthly signal is no more. The only “test” I have is the “testament” of Christ in the Bible, to which some would say, “You’d bet your life on a book?” To which I’d respond, “You’d book your bet on a question? ‘No answer’ is a bigger gamble. I’d rather believe in something good and find nothing than to believe in nothing and miss paradise.”

There is a test. Unfortunately, there are just no retakes; no 30 second trials like in the DTV example above. In my heart, I have found faith in something greater than myself, a God who loves me enough to send His son to pass the test for me. Come to know “the answer” for yourself.