Leave No One Behind

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I have had a few occasions to witness the friendship and bond between bikers, and this past weekend, I was even privileged to ride in a Toy Run with a motorcycle club for the first time.  I knew a motorcycle culture exists, but what I suspected was confirmed— not all motorcycle clubs or bikers are created equal. Although some bikers would not call themselves a Christ-follower, they put some of us, who call ourselves Christians, to shame.

On one occasion months ago, I watched a group of bikers getting ready to roll out of a restaurant parking lot after having had breakfast. As I watched, I noticed one of the bikers pull out onto the main road when the coast was clear. He positioned himself in the center of the lane so his fellow bikers could safely depart. Then he took up the rear.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” —Jesus

This weekend while riding in the Toy Run, one of the club member’s bikes developed a problem, so all of the members pulled over. ‘Sailor’, the one with whom I was riding, said, “We never leave anyone behind.” The members pulled together to assess and assist.

Duct tape fixes everything. Well… almost.

I don’t know everything there is to know about bikers and motorcycle clubs, but there is one thing I do know. In most cases, the heart is the same; it’s just a different face.

A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.   —Proverbs 18:24 KJV

 

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I Got Your Back

 


Let There Be Light

Rene Yoshi:

I love when God expresses His love to us in unexpected ways! Check out Gen’s image of a heart shape in the midst of storm clouds.

Originally posted on genieve celada | photography:

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. — Genesis 1:3-5

So beautiful! Did you notice the heart? :) <3

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The Prayer Journal: Aches

The latest installment of my son’s online fiction series.  If you are just joining in, click here for the previous chapters.

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Monday, December 17, 1917 – Strength

The window in May’s room rattled against the howling winter wind, a bitter, icy blast that leaked between the cracks of the old boarding house. She shivered from the cold draft as the ink dried on the crisp page of her new journal given to her by the Bransons. Taking a moment before continuing, she stared out the window at the snowy spirals spinning through the air and bouncing lightly against the glass.

My bones are still cold from being outside and my muscles ache. Mr. Branson lost one of his hired hands on the farm to the draft and hasn’t been able to find a replacement. I felt it only right to help. We all have to do something to take up the roles of the men who are gone. Besides, it’s been too cold to sell liberty bonds. May stretched her sore arm and laughed to herself. I never thought I’d miss selling bonds.

She glanced at an envelope next to her lantern that held the most recent letter from Richie. Her letters to him had been regular and on time; May wanted to make sure she was there for him as much as she could be. His letters, however, were growing less frequent, and their contents left May with an impression that something was amiss… (Read more)

 


Morning Star

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“I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.”  —Jesus

Jesus is also my ‘life boat’.  (❉◠‿◠)

 

Just in case you wondered:  Why are both Jesus and Satan referred to as a morning star?


The Prayer Journal: Fading Into Smoke

The latest installment of my son’s online fiction series.  If you are just joining in, click here for the previous chapters.

LetsGoMarines

Thursday, November 15, 1917 – Faithfulness

“Hey, Brickman, what do ya think of all that fuss going on in Russia?”

Richie was sitting on his bunk and quickly closed the journal with a snap, sliding it under his pillow next to him. He turned to the marine who had addressed him. “What do you mean?”

“You know, the Bolsheviks, they took over their government a few days ago. Read in the paper that they’ve always been against the war. You don’t think they’ll pull out on us, do ya?” The soldier’s fingers pinched the cigarette out of his mouth as he blew a puff of smoke. The cloud dissipated into Richie’s face, but he’d been around the smell so much he hardly noticed.

“Well, if they do, that’s be a whole lot of freed-up Germans headed our way,” Richie replied. “I’m sure that’s what Kaiser Bill has been hoping for, so he doesn’t have his Huns fight on two fronts. But hey, by the time the Germans get here we’ll be on the line ourselves. Less targets for the Russians means more Huns for us.” Richie felt like kicking himself; he wanted to say something that sounded tough, but it came out sounding naïve.

The solider took another deep inhale of his cigarette and then flicked the glowing butt aside; it rolled till it hit Richie’s boot. The solider breathed out the smoke through his nose. “Yeah, I guess.” With that he stood to his feet and walked away.

Richie stared at the end of the cigarette next to his foot. He used to smoke. Used to drink and cuss, too. Gave them up after going to church. Sure, it had been hard, but he was a changed man.

The marines made that change a lot harder… (Read more)


John 10:17-18 (The Trade)

Rene Yoshi:

A fantastic analogy! Thank you, Jesus!

Originally posted on :

The Trade Edit

“The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again. No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.” (John 10:17-18)

Read: 2 Kings 20:1-19, 2 Chronicles 32:24-31, Isaiah 38:1 – 39:8, 

Relate: A team of eight men, Army Rangers, are sent out on what basically amounts to a suicide mission to rescue one soldier. Captain Miller and his team are some of the army’s best. The one soldier they are sent to retrieve hasn’t really done anything. His only value is in the fact that his three brothers all died on the same day and the army wanted to be able send at least one child back to mommy. Seriously. That’s it…

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Unconditional Love and Grace Are Not Dirty Words

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A few weeks ago I heard a preacher talk about God’s unconditional love as if it was a dirty word. On another occasion, an old friend spoke of grace with equal disdain. I understand where they were coming from. One was coming from an attitude of legalism, while the other was grieving over grace being taken for granted and used as a license to sin. I am grateful that the pastors and teachers at the church I attend preach about God’s unconditional love and grace in a balanced way and without contempt.

 My daughter and I were discussing how people see truths differently depending on where they are in life and through which lens they are looking. For example, a person who truly recognizes his or her own utter depravity and the amazing grace and unconditional love of God, tends to really understand grace and is able to be gracious toward others. They see grace in a very positive way. Those who tend toward legalism and feel justified because they are able to keep certain commandments or live what they consider to be a good Christian life, tend to view unconditional love and grace with less value and speak contemptuously about churches that emphasize God’s love and grace. It is reminiscent of what Jesus said to Simon, the Pharisee, when he scorned Jesus for allowing a prostitute to wipe His feet with her hair. Jesus said:

“Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gave me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but his woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee, her sins which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much; but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.” (Luke 7:36-50)

The preacher I heard also mentioned visiting a fellow Christian, and upon finding out he had beer in his refrigerator, condemned him and questioned whether or not the man was a true Christian. Even if the man was an alcoholic, it does not mean he is not a Christian. What if he is addicted but wants to quit? What if he agrees with God that his drunkenness is sin? Didn’t the Apostle Paul himself say in the very same letter to the Romans concerning there being “therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”, that he himself does what he doesn’t want to do and doesn’t do what he wants to do? Didn’t Paul call himself a wretched man and thank God for Jesus Christ his Lord? (Romans 7 :14-25)

The attitude of the preacher reminds me of the parable Jesus told of the Pharisee and the publican (with modern claims added in italics and parentheses for emphasis):

And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, “God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. (Alcohol has never touched my lips, nor my feet entered a movie theater. I am in church every time the doors are open, and I go out soul-winning every week.)” And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. —Luke 18:9-14

Another preacher, who is full of grace, has never condemned his crack addict friend. He does not question his love for the Lord just because his friend is in church for a time and then falls back into his crack addiction. This preacher loves his friend unconditionally and encourages him to never, ever, ever give up. Which one would you say is more like Jesus?

Unconditional love and grace are, indeed, not to be used as a license to do whatever we want. If we do that, then it is fair that our love for God would be put in question. But if we hate when we sin, if we agree with God and try to turn away from doing it again…

and again…

and again,

He forgives us 70 x 7, because He is full of grace and a love that does not put conditions on us, like doing penance, before He will love us again. His love is unconditional. A person who simply dismisses sin and makes light of it because of grace and unconditional love, may need to consider the seriousness of sin, the purpose of obedience, and his/her own love for God. Likewise, people who speak of unconditional love and grace with disdain, may need to consider their own depravity and remember from what they themselves have been saved.

If I err, I would rather err on the side of love and grace.

 

If you liked this, you might also like… Love Sometimes Comes in Waves


Walk With Me

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The Prayer Journal: Le Cran

First-in-France

Saturday, November 3, 1917 – Conviction

Richie placed his pencil in the seam of the journal and lifted his eyes to the gray clouds that hovered over the French countryside. It had rained the past few days and looked like it was going to again. The days had been gray, that monotonous dullness of an earth that is undecided between a fall bare of leaves or a winter bare of snow. He missed home in Maine, although it probably looked similar.

Richie rotated his right shoulder, stretching the sore muscle from the long day of training. He had not had to do any trench exercises back in America; he couldn’t say he cared for them much. The French were lively trainers for the now small American Expeditionary Force, as rough as any sergeant he’d had yet. They seemed to fancy charges and bayonets, but he’d take any training he could get. After all, they had been the ones fighting this war for over three years now.

“Hey, Brickman,” a voice called. Richie looked over to see another private holding out a cup to him. “Tea?”

“Sure.” Richie took the cup and nodded a thanks. He had never drunk so much tea in his life. May had always fancied it, but Richie had not ever seen the appeal. The taste was growing on him, though.

Private Richard Brickman, 6th Marines, AEF. We’ve been here in France for a few weeks now. Days are long and they are working us hard. The French are trying to ready us up for the fight. They’re tough, but seem pretty well spent. Can’t say I blame them.

Actually writing in the journal was somewhat surreal. He had been spending the past months reading the entries May and her grandfather had made. Her grandfather was… (Read more)

 

The Prayer Journal is a fiction blog series written by my son.  If you are just joining in, click here to read the previous chapters.


Wisdom Wednesday: Sing, Whistle or Blow Bubbles

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One of the easiest and fun things we can do to improve our mood and health is to breathe. Have you ever found yourself breathing so shallowly that you were almost unconsciously holding your breath, especially in moments of concentration or stress? Breath equals life.

“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” —Genesis 2:7

“Fear less, hope more, eat less, chew more, whine less, breathe more, talk less, say more, hate less, love more, and all good things will be yours.” —Swedish proverb

As you may have heard or read, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine,” and while doing deep breathing exercises can help us feel better, there are fun ways to get more oxygen into our bodies.

 

Sing!

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“Singing lightens sorrows.” —Spanish proverb

 

Play a wind instrument or just whistle!

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“Breath is the music of life.” —Indian proverb

 

Blow bubbles!

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Bubbles are like wet kisses floating in the air, waiting to pop and tickle the one who touches them.

Although all these things may not equal deep breathing exercises, they do encourage a greater intake of oxygen and can create a positive mood and improved health.  Blowing bubbles is also whimsical, relaxing, and can produce fun and entertainment when children leap and run to pop them. So the next time you feel stressed, take a moment to breathe.

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If you liked this, you might also like… Wisdom Wednesday: Laughter

 


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