Suppose there are ten…

Jesus asked the question, “But when the son of man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

I was reading, again, about when Abraham negotiates with God for the sake of Sodom and Gomorrah.  It went from fifty righteous ones down to ten before the negotiations ended.  If there were only ten righteous people in the city, it would be spared.

I think Abraham knew he had pushed it as far as he could.  And there is some evidence that he still knew it would not be enough.

Life is good right now.  I’m enjoying a renewed sense of purpose, a refreshed relationship with my wife, and the unexplored territory of a stronger faith in God.

But, will it be enough?

When I come to the desert, the battle, the place of testing and fear, will my heart remain true?

I believe it will.  But, sometimes I’m not sure.

The nature of man tends toward wanting our own way.  Our hearts seem bent on selfishness, on fear, on hatred.  We run from God, not to Him.

And the church is much the same.  We don’t want preaching the convicts us.  We don’t want to hear about tithing, sexual purity, deep commitment to following God’s word.

What if, when Jesus comes looking, He can’t find us, find me.

I’m here God.  I’m coming after you.  I want more of you.

And when it’s dry, or I’m lost, help me!  You’re my only hope.


Where does my help come from?

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from?”‭‭
Psalm‬ ‭121:1‬ ‭NIV
Something about being on the edge of the Rockies changed the meaning of these verses for me.  As I climbed Seven Falls and walked through the Garden of the Gods, it changed my perspective.
A person running down a mountainside to come to my aid would be nice.  An army of angels rushing to my rescue would be great.  But that is not what I have available to me.

“My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭121:2‬ ‭NIV‬‬

My Hero, my Savior is God Almighty.  He not only rushes to rescue me, He made the mountains, the ground, the air, the planet that carries me everyday.

This Psalm goes on to say that God doesn’t sleep, He’s never caught off guard by the things that come against me.  He will keep me from harm.

As worry threatens and life bears down on me, finances overwhelm and something else breaks down or starts to leak, it is good to look to the mountains, with all their might and grandeur, and remember what kind of God I serve!

Is That the Best You Can Do?

It feels like I want to just be alone now. It feels like I don’t want to hear one more criticism, see one more condescending stare, sense one more moment where I just wasn’t good enough. The problem is that I can’t get away from it by being alone. I don’t measure up to my own expectations.

So often, the things that I write come from a place of resentment, a place of criticism, of others, their weaknesses, their failings. I see the holes in their logic, the flaws in their ideas, and I want to point them out. It has been a way to come out from underneath the unbearable weight of all the stupidity I have displayed.

I’m grateful to all who have read and commented on my posts. It appears that there are other like-minded people. And so, I will say to you what I believe God is saying to me.

You are good enough. You, as Christians, are accepted under the purifying blood of Jesus. You are holy and wholly loved, just like you are.

John 3:17 says that God didn’t come to condemn us, though He knows every human and every blackness that our hearts contain. He has every right to be disappointed in us, but He isn’t. It is freeing to know that His expectations for us are perfect. He can’t be surprised or shocked by how we perform.

This should not allow us to give in to our sinfulness but, if taken to heart, to free us to function under His grace, His love, His peace.

I need that now. Maybe you do, too.

Where do we go from here?

He walked alone from the shop in that part of town that no “good” people talk about.  He watched the movie, looked at the magazines, stared at the pictures on the walls.  And now, he walked alone.  He walked in shame.

Where would you go if you were him?  What would you do now?

I talk to so many people, so many well meaning people, that have a thousand answers for what he should do.  He should give up, it’s just what guys do.  He should find a new relationship that “satisfies” him more.  He should go to church, join a group, pray a prayer, listen to music, think about what he’s doing.  And that’s just a short list.

There are good and helpful things on this list.  There are things that need to be done.  And this doesn’t just apply to guys addicted to porn.

In Exodus, the people of Israel were told to go into the promised land.  But then they heard the spies report.  “There are giants.  We’ll all be killed.”  And the people rebelled and refused to go in.  Then God rebukes them and says they will all, all that rebelled, die in the desert.  Then they’re sorry.  Please forgive us, they say.  We’ll obey you now, they say.  But God told them no.  They went anyway and many died in the battle that occurred.

The long and the short of this problem is that they, and we, are trying to fix ourselves.  Jesus died on the cross to set us free from the power of sin and death.  He came to give us life, “and life more abundant.”  We go our own way and the only solution to the problem is to stop going your own way.

Couples divorce because they fight and there seems no way out.  Teens run away because they hate their parents control and there seems no way out.  And people remain bound to sin because they can not fix themselves.

“if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

Stop making your own decisions.  Stop finding your own way.  Stop listening to every voice that shouts in your ear.  Seek His face.  Seek His will.  Find Him again and let Him choose your paths.  He can heal.  He can restore.  He will help you.

And you’ll know where to go.

A Cry for Help

I walked through the halls of my barracks, a Pepsi in my hand.  At the time, I usually either had a Pepsi or a beer.  Out of no where two guys jumped me.  You have to realize, I knew both of them.  It is still strange to me that they would attack me, knowing that I knew them.  And it is more strange to me that they would attack me over a can of pop.  But, attack me they did.

“Give me that.”  The one in front said, while the one in back grabbed me.

That was enough for me.  I did two smart things in the next moment.  First, with my free hand, I reached down and grabbed the leg of the one behind me, pulling up hard and sitting down hard.  The second thing I did was yell, “Schrantz!”

Now, my attackers were both bigger than me, stronger than me.  But they weren’t bigger than Schrantz.  And Schrantz, for reasons I will never understand, was my friend.  At the sound of his footsteps pounding down the hall, both guys disappeared.  It was magical.  I don’t even remember how the one underneath me got free.  I just remember that the next minute found them gone, vanished into thin air.

I thought of this during a time where I am struggling once again with attackers who seem bigger, more powerful, than I am.  I remember this just in time as I face, again, my greatest enemy.

It is not a guy thing.  It is not even particular to any one ethnic group or geographical location.  One problem so many of us face is the unwillingness to cry for help.  We view it as weakness.  We don’t want others to know our sins, our failings, our humanness.  So we try to fight on our own.  Even in churches surrounded by people we attempt to overcome satan and his forces, our flesh, our surroundings all by ourselves.

This is ridiculous.  It needs to stop.

In the Army, we each had our “Ranger buddy”.  The guy who we knew had our back.  The guy who, when everything went bad, stood beside you.  You covered them too and jumped in whenever they were in need.  There was no thought of convenience or time, no consideration of what might happen to you.  Because we worked under the knowledge that we would all face situations that were bigger, meaner than our ability to cope with, we just helped, we stood for each other, we survived.

Don’t go it alone.  Find that brother, that sister that will cover you, that you can cover.  They ARE there.  Don’t listen to the lie.  Don’t be afraid of the burn, the betrayal.  Find someone and stand together.

Cry for help!

Brothers in arms
Brothers in arms (Photo credit: John Wang Photography)