Darkness is Always Repulsed by the Light

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It’s 2 am when the light in the darkened room turns on.  The darkness of the night is chased away as you immediately shield your eyes from the brightness of the light now shining in your face.  Painfully you open your eyes as they begin to adjust to the brightened room around you.  Minutes pass by as you slowly become accustomed to your new surroundings.

We live in a world of darkness and sin.  One that continually abandons its God in search of the immediate yet fleeting desires of the flesh.  As the world gets darker, those that stand firm in the faith become brighter and brighter.  Each of us is born with the light within us.  This light grows brighter and brighter as we keep God’s commandments and serve him.  The light diminishes as we sin and follow the darkness of this world.

Those in the world chasing after darkness will undoubtedly feel uncomfortable around those with whom the light resides.  Darkness will always be repulsed by the light.  Try is it might, the light always prevails over the darkness. 

As the world looks for and finds more and more ways take us deeper into the darkest abyss, the light within us can shine forth to lead us and others safely out.  The brightness of our light is directly proportionate to our commitment to Jesus Christ and our adherence to his gospel and commandments. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your father which is in heaven.”  Mathew 5:16

The brightness of your light is up to you.

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Hidden Treasures

 

A friend of mine shared with me a story the other day…  A man living in Africa spent much of his life searching for diamonds.  Each day after countless hours working on his farm he would venture off into the mountains in search of his fortune.  Fascinated by geology he continues his quest.    One day while tilling the ground this man finds a strange rock, rather large in size yet unlike most he had pulled from the ground of his crops.  The uniqueness of this rock and the size was rather impressionable so the old man decides to clean it off and place it upon his mantle as a conversation piece.

As the years go by, the old man continues his routine and each night after a long days work he would continue his search for his fortune in diamonds.  After each hard day, he would relax in his old rocker in front of the fireplace where upon the mantle sat his conversation piece.  Many visitors would seem impressed by the uniqueness of this rock, then the old man would place it back upon the mantle.

As the decades passed, the old man grew ever more tired with each passing year, yet his desire to find the hidden treasure he knew was out there drove him ever onward each day. 

One day, an old friend whom he hadn’t seen in many years stopped by to visit.  The old man pulled down the rock from the mantle and showed his friend.  Somewhat bemused and slightly bewildered his friend asked the old man if he knew what he had in this unique rock and what was inside of it..  The old man replied.. It’s just and old odd shaped rock..  His friend replied, quite the contrary.. this rock contains within it a diamond, a rather large and priceless diamond hidden under the roughness of the rock surrounding it.

This old man had spent his lifetime searching for that very rock that he had placed on his mantle decades before, yet not knowing the value of the possession he held, he left it sitting there unused except as a simple conversation piece…

This story resonated deep within me this week as I have contemplated much upon the many lessons learned from this story. We all have priceless treasures in ourselves and in our lives,  that many times we leave sitting on the mantle unable to fulfill their full potential.  Many times, we spend a lifetime searching for that which is right in front of us. 

Ghost Towns and the Ghosts of the Past

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Karla and I love to stop and see the old ghost towns as we travel.   As we visit them we often discuss what life would have been like in each particular town and imagine both the hardships and memories of living in such a town during its heyday.  Each visit brings a new perspective and appreciation to the people that inhabited these now empty towns.  Some of these ghost towns have been 100 of years old while others have only been decades.

Each ghost town shares one particular trait in common with all the others,   They each represent the end.  There is always a story behind each town, some simply faded away over time while others were vacated due to some specific event. Some towns experienced periods of great prosperity and wealth, while others never seemed to get completely started. Some feel spooky and haunted while others seem exciting and full of wonder. The more we know of the story, the less spooky each town seems. In the end, they are all simply shells of their former existence. There are some ghost towns that have much left of their history and story while others, little is known.  They each represent a specific period or events in the past.  Ghosts of the past.

In each and every town, there are wonderful stories to be taught, lessons to be learned and wisdom to be gained.  The end of each town represents a specific moment in time of change.

Our lives are much like these ghost towns.   We all have moments in our past where our lives have changed.  We each have times in our lives that we have moved on from, that are in past.  We each have ghosts from our pasts.  Much like the stories, lessons and wisdom to be gained from the history of these towns, there is much to be gained from the lessons and experiences of our own past.  If we allow those moments to die without learning from them, then like a ghost town where little is known, it can haunt us.  If we learn and study from these moments in the past we can gain wisdom, knowledge and great lessons can be learned when we can stand in amazement, awe, and wonderment at the history we see before us.

A Child’s Restless Nights and the Answered Prayers for Help

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The late night silence was broken with faint whimpers and wheezing as my precious little one struggled for air.   Restlessly she lay sleeping on my chest as I, unable to sleep, kept a vigilant watch over her.   My wife, equally as restless lie next to us, her hand gently holding that of our daughter as we helplessly tried to comfort her. 

There had been five visits to the doctor and emergency rooms over the past two weeks with no relief in sight.  It was a virus we were told and had to run its course.  Each night as the fever would spike upwards of 102 and with her breathing more labored each day we worried more and more. 

We had experienced ear infections, strep, colds, the flu and other common illness with our other children.  This one the doctors continued to repeat that there was nothing they could do for it and it had to run its course.  My wife and I continued to pray and make our daughter as comfortable as possible as her 13 month old body struggled to fight off this “virus”.  Each night we watched as her fever spiked and her breathing became more labored. We knew that something had to be done.  Somehow the doctors were missing something and she was too small to take chances waiting for the doctors.  If it was a virus, then which one?

One of the most frustrating feelings I have ever felt in my life are when my children are ill and I cannot do anything to make them better.   As she would look into my eyes crying from pain and discomfort, watching her chest heave up and down gasping for air I find myself fighting the tears of anguish for my daughter and my overwhelming helplessness.

Finally, as we could take no more of this we headed back into the doctors office.  This time my beloved wife had taken video of my daughters labored breathing at night and early morning while attempting to sleep.  We had been telling the doctors of this for weeks and nothing, upon seeing the video they ordered a chest x-ray and surprise.  Pnuemonia!    I felt releived at having a diagnosis and also irritated that after this many visits and more than 3 different doctors why none of them would rule this out in the beginning. 

It has been 5 days since my wifes video of our daughter finally made the doctors act.  It’s amazing to see her improvement now that she is properly being treated.   I dread to think what could have been with our precious little 13 month old daughter had my wife not acted upon her impressions to record it. 

I do believe that our prayers were answered in this process.  My wife was guided in knowing what to do to get the help we needed.  After nearly 3 weeks, our daughter is back in her own bed, no fever and sleeping through the night.  I still can’t help but be frustrated at the lost time and the danger my daughter was in had it not been properly treated soon enough.

The divergence of these emotions and my gratitude for answered prayers has created quiet a conundrum for me to resolve within, yet the gratitude I feel for my daughter getting better overshadows all of it.

God’s Laws Can Never be Changed by Man

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Many friends I know feel as though the commandments are antiquated, outdated and not relevant in today’s world.  This belief seems to be prevalent in our culture,   Each of the ten commandments have become glamorized through our movies and invade our homes daily through the internet, television and music.  We are falsely led to believe that the only way to have fun and enjoy life is to break the commandments and live a life without rules or restrictions.

This is the greatest lie ever told to mankind.

Happiness, joy, and peace can never be found violating these laws of God.  The commandments are not given to us to restrict our lifestyle, they are given to provide direction and guidance that will bring about that happiness, joy and peace we long for.  Living a life in harmony with Gods law is the only way to find that deep peace that our spirits hunger for.  God’s laws are not meant to restrict us, he has given these laws to enable us to know how to bring about true joy and happiness in our lives.

Those who live the way of the world rush from one placebo to the next in looking for the happiness they long for.  These placebo’s deceive the individual into believing they have found happiness, only for it to be fleeting and without substance or staying power.

Those who do all within their power to live God’s laws find great peace and comfort in abiding these commandments. These individuals are not prone to the heartache that comes as a natural consequence from violating these laws.  They avoid the emotional roller coaster that comes from chasing after one placebo to the next and eliminate much worry and stress from their lives.  As a God who loves his children, these commandments are designed to bring about joy in our lives, God desires that we are happy and have joy, his laws are the road map leading to it.

As society tries to eradicate these laws from our lives, through countless legal actions and maneuvers there are those who desire all to lose hope and chase after these placebos instead of discovering for themselves the inner peace and happiness that can be.  Man continues its assault on God’s laws.  Making a law declaring something legal, will never make it right. Making laws declaring something right as illegal will never them wrong.

There is only one way to true happiness and joy.  All others are a deception.

The Hidden Power of Music

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I love music, I always have.  I am enthralled with the messages that can only be delivered through the power of music.  Good music speaks to our spirit in a way that nothing else can.  Over the years I have toyed with writing lyrics, some have been pretty decent attempts while others, not so much.  My desire has always been able to share a story through the lyrics that will make someone smile, or touch their spirit in a way that will move them for the good. 

Over the years there have been many songs that have spoken to me.  Many of the Christian artists have particular songs that really touch home with me, yet there are just as many songs outside this genre that have had an important and lasting effect on me in my life. 

Two songs in particular outside of the Christian music genre that have stuck with me over the years are Unanswered Prayers by Garth Brooks in 1991 and Ever Since the World Began by Survivor in 1982.

Unanswered Prayers has been truly a blessing in my life as many of the desires of my heart that I prayed for never came to pass.  At the time they were difficult to accept and it felt as if my prayers were bouncing off the ceiling and not heard.  As I look back upon those times now I can clearly see why they were unanswered..  God had something far greater in store for me than I could ever have imagined at the time.  The happiness in my life would be non existent today had those things that I prayed for been granted so many years ago.   God heard my prayers all those years ago and instead of giving me what I thought I wanted, He put in motion those things that I needed and truly desired yet didn’t know at the time.  He heard the desire of my heart and not to words that I prayed and granted me the unspoken desires.   I am happier today than I could have ever dreamed possible as a result of my unanswered prayers.  He knew better than i what I needed and gave it to me.

Ever Since the World Began is a song that has truly made me realize that our lives impact each other in ways that most of us do not even realize.  The line in the song “how one life touches the other, is so hard to understand” is for me powerful and very thought provoking.  This song also drives the message home for me that we here on this earth have been waiting for our time to come here since the beginning of this earth.  We are pieces of a grand puzzle that all fit together to form the fabric of this existence.  Each interaction that we have with one another impacts many on this earth in one way or another.  We all have a unique and very important role here on earth as part of the big puzzle.  It really drives home the concept of the Butterfly Effect.

Music is a powerful tool that impacts our emotions.  It can either inspire us to greater heights or depress to new lows.  Music can unite people together as well as tear asunder.  The music we listen to and learn to love has tremendous power in our lives and can influence so  much of how we view the world and how others view us.

Overcoming Fear with Belief

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Fear is probably the single biggest cause for failure in our lives.  It is most often accompanied by worry and doubt.  When these are present in our lives we cripple our ability to excel and thrive.  We create our own obstacles and stop our progression.  Fear will usually cause a fight or flight reaction.  More often than not, the majority of people will fly.  They run and hide from the fear instead of fighting it.  While hiding from our fear, we begin to doubt ourselves and worry about the future.  Instead of taking control of our future, we cripple it.

I understand that many of us have some real fears in our lives, these can be more challenging and difficult to overcome.  We also each maintain many fears that are not only self created, but unfounded.  We may fear for a family member and their  struggles, or a fear of losing a job that we already have.  This creates many times a self fulfilling prophecy, we fear we will lose our job, the worry and doubt in our abilities that accompanies the fear impact our abilities and performance in our job and we then create our own dismissal from our employment as a result.  We bring to pass our own fears into reality.  We may fear getting ill and the worry and doubt that accompanies it as we hyper focus on it in turn truly makes us sick, again we fulfill our own fears.  These are just a couple of examples that lead to the fulfillment of our own self imposed fears.

Conversely, hope and belief can create an opposite effect.  As we hope for a better life and believe that we deserve one, when our actions align with those beliefs we will open doors for ourselves that will lead to our own success.  The old adage, if we can dream it, we can achieve it,..  this is true yet belief must accompany the dream for us to achieve those dreams.  I have many acquaintances whom believe that they do not deserve anything better than what they have achieved or been given.  This becomes true for them as they never move beyond what they have.

I remember as a young man starting out in my career for a whopping $4.75 per hour.  I was happy because it was not the grocery store where I had been working prior for a mere $3.25 an hour.  I had taken a step forward and I knew in my heart and believed unequivocally in myself that I would excel in this career and do very well for myself.  I exceeded the expectations of everyone around me and created through hard work and my self belief tremendous success in my career.  My success in my career became an anchor in my life and a road map in overcoming obstacles and challenges.   Each time fear would show its ugly head I would fight it, face it and conquer it.  I never allowed the doubt to accompany the fear and each time worry would enter my mind, I eliminated as soon as I was able to clearly identify why I was worried. 

We can can achieve anything we want in this life with hard work and belief in ones self.  In order to do so we must eliminate fear, doubt and worry from our lives.  The future is ours to design and create.  What we choose to bring with us will determine the level of success and happiness we achieve.