Category Archives: Life Lessons

Just Keep Painting, Painting, Painting

Ah, Dory. Totally clueless for the most part, but totally and perpetually the optimistic swimmer. She barely had an idea where she was going, but she just kept “swimming, swimming, swimming.”

Sometimes that all I can do when it comes to painting. When I barely know what I’m doing, I just keep painting, painting, painting.

Every painting I start, doesn’t matter what it is, I have this gut feeling that I won’t be able to finish it. It’s like every project I set out to paint seems more than I should be able to do. I mean, I haven’t been painting all that long (less than 2 years), and already the expectations people have of me are far greater than I consider myself able.

But what do I do? I just keep painting. For eventually, with enough trial and error, I end up with a piece of art.

The painting I’m showing you today is one that I did yesterday for my brother-in-law, Carlos. My sister asked me if I could do a portrait of his late dog Cosmo (originally a Romanian stray, I think). At first I was excited to do so, but then I remembered how that I’ve done very little painting of animals, and they weren’t that good.

However, upon accepting the request, I decided to give it my best, take my time, and see what I could do. And to be honest, the moment I sat down in front of a photo of Cosmo, I was intimidated. Unlike static structures, living things have a lot more shades of color. On top of that, when you change something very minor, a familiar face can become a stranger. Therefore, I was nervous.

But then, once I got started, all I had to do was take one step at a time. The first thing was to do a preliminary pencil sketch, which included determining where colors would be divided. After that, I started with light washes of neutral colors on which I would add darker and darker shades. Then, when all that was done, I would start “fine tuning” the details like blending and edging. All it really took was time and patience.

Herein lies a lesson for life. When there are times we feel incapable of the task that has been set before us, most of the time, if we will just keep swimming, not only will we finish, but we will often learn something new along the way, something we can use next time to make the harder challenge attainable.

So, if you feel like you can’t do whatever it is you need to do, don’t give up. If God has called you for something specific, He’s already placed inside of you the talent. Trust Him, and just keep painting. It will turn out beautiful in time.

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Filed under animals, art, hobbies, Life Lessons

I Went to Pakistan (Part 5): Toilets Without Paper

There must be a list somewhere in the blogosphere that keeps a record of the least-covered or strangest topics. If there is, I am almost certain toilets would be at the top of the list – or should I say bottom? See what I did there? HA!

Well, before you flush this post, let me get to the point: I think the Pakistanis have the right idea when it comes to toilet hygiene. And considering the fact that 99% of all eateries there would never place on a “restaurant report card,” much less pass, that’s saying something!

So, what’s so special about the toilets in Pakistan? The spray nozzles!

You see, the only thing they use toilet paper for in Pakistan is drying your tush, not wiping it. And when you use the toilet paper, you don’t flush it, either; you put it in the trash.

When I was first told what to expect, that I wouldn’t be flushing my toilet paper, it disgusted me! My immediate response was imagining stinking, poopy paper beside me in some trash can. But in reality, it was nothing like that. Thank the Lord!

Actually, beside every toilet – unless you go to where people only have a hole in the ground – is a spray nozzle attached to a long, metal hose. In most cases, it is attached to the wall beside the toilet paper, but not always. Sometimes there was no paper, only a nozzle.

An “executive” restroom in Pakistan

At first it was a little awkward. I mean, it was like taking the spray nozzle from your kitchen sink to your behind. But let me tell you, I got used to it really quickly!

Just the other day I saw a commercial for a particular toilet paper brand, the one that uses animated bears. It talked about how that specific brand of paper had ridges that left you cleaner . . . cleaner than the competition, that is.

But tell me, how to we call something we’ve simply wiped with dry paper “clean”? Does that really make sense? When you wash your hands, do you simply rub them with a dry paper towel until nothing shows on the paper? Would you call that CLEAN?

All this leads me to another thought, one that might not be the safest to contemplate. How did our societies develop such different ways of summing up number two? Europe and Japan are far closer to this way of cleaning one’s rear end than America is. Why? Is there a toilet paper cabal? A cardboard tube syndicate?

So, what’s the moral of this story? How can we benefit from what we’ve learned?

Don’t assume your way is the always the best way. Somebody may nozzle more than you. See what I did there? Know/nozzle … HA! I crack myself up! Ahh! I did it again!

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Filed under General Observations, Life Lessons, Countries, Pakistan

Sometimes All You Can Do is Ride the Pieces

Photo by Nadine Biezmienova (free Pexels)

Have you ever thought you were doing well, only to find out you weren’t?

Here’s another question… Have you ever tried to improve yourself, only to find that the improvements you thought you were making were actually counterproductive to your end goals?

Have you ever had the best intentions and done everything right to the best of your ability, only to find yourself making one mistake that dominoes into a pile on the floor?

Believe me, I’ve not just been there, I’m here . . . and I’ve got the t-shirt ordered.

So what now? Question myself even more? Wallow in self-pity or succumb to the darkening clouds of doubt and depression?

What do you do (if, of course, you’ve ever experienced something like this)? How do you deal with it?

How do I deal with it? That’s a great question!

There are times when there’s nothing you can do to fix a problem. We humans – especially men – are all about trying to fix problems. Nevertheless, sometimes the problem is too big to fix, at least by us.

These are the times that I mentioned in a sermon just this past week. These are the times I spoke of (generically speaking) when I outlined the times when Satan will take advantage.

These are the precise times of brokenness, weakness, sadness, futility, and resignation that our Enemy, per his usual mode of operation (the “wiles” of the Devil), attempts to make things even worse by turning our eyes away from Christ and onto the waves about to sink our frail boat.

There are times when it is difficult to say, “Hold on through the night.” No, about the only thing one can do at these times is commit to holding on just beyond the moment we think we can’t hold on any longer. These are the times when we HAVE to depend on God’s strength, His mercy, and His grace.

Friend, you may think all is lost. The truth is that it may be. Yes, that’s what I said. Sometimes all WILL be lost. But that doesn’t mean God is done and everything is over.

There was a time in the life of the Apostle Paul when, as a prisoner, he was aboard a ship that was bound for destruction. Even though everything was done to lighten the ship and keep it afloat through days and days of an unrelenting storm, God told Paul to tell those on the ship that yes, it would eventually sink and be a total loss.

Except – and this is a biggie – no lives would be lost. The only catch was that, at the news the ship was going to crash, no one was to abandon ship. Those that abandoned ship would die. Only those who stayed on the ship till it broke up would survive.

In an attempt to escape from the ship, the sailors let the lifeboat down into the sea, pretending they were going to lower some anchors from the bow. Then Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved.” So the soldiers cut the ropes that held the lifeboat and let it drift away.

Acts 27:30-32 NIV

Crazy, isn’t it?

But that’s what happened. They all stayed on the ship until it ran aground and broke into pieces. The pieces are what they were able to use to float to safety.

But the ship struck a sandbar and ran aground. The bow stuck fast and would not move, and the stern was broken to pieces by the pounding of the surf. The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners to prevent any of them from swimming away and escaping. But the centurion wanted to spare Paul’s life and kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land. The rest were to get there on planks or on other pieces of the ship. In this way everyone reached land safely.

Acts 27:41-44 NIV

I get it! I understand exactly what you are going through! Satan will try to get us to jump ship, throw in the towel, give up the mission, abandon the post, or simply walk away into the dark never to be seen again. I mean, what’s the use, right? If the ship is sinking anyway, why ride it into the rocks?

Listen, as one wreck-in-the-making to another, it may be scary, and it won’t be easy, but keep sailing – stay in the ship for a little longer. . . just a little longer than the moment when you think you can’t go on . . .

Because God may have a plan for the pieces of wreck that an intact ship couldn’t accomplish.

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Filed under Depression, Life Lessons, Struggles and Trials

Good Morning!

green trees under blue and orange sky during sunset

Photo by Lisa on Pexels.com

Good Morning?

How often do you say that? How often do you hear it said to you? “Good morning!”

Funny thing is that those same two words can be spoken in so many ways. How many of the following do you think express the true meaning of the salutation?

  • “Good morning.” – as spoken by a husband to his wife after waking up sore, sleep-deprived, and just slightly damp after a night camping under the stars.
  • “Good morning!” – as expressed through the sinister grin of a drill seargent on the first morning after arriving at boot camp.
  • “Good morning.” – growled by a teenager the morning after being threatened with the loss of her cell phone if one more disrespectful word spewed from her lips.
  • “Good morning!!” – as exclaimed by a “Karen” the first morning on the job after being hired as a quality control manager with the business at which she had recently voiced her disapproval of employees’ customer service.

Correct, none of the above examples express the intended (or at least commonly understood) meaning of the greeting.

So, what is saying “Good morning!” supposed to mean?

Unless I’m sorely mistaken, when you say “Good morning” to someone, what you are doing is one of two things:

  • a) stating a fact; or
  • b) wishing for, or blessing another with a desire that their morning actually be a good one.

Based on the above definition, I want to wish you a “Good morning!” I also want to say that it IS a “Good morning!” This is the day that the Lord has made, remember? Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Sure, I know you might have aches and pains, but you woke up! You’ve been given another day to do something with those talents God has intrusted to you. Invest them!

Yes, you may have lost everything in a bankruptcy, a divorce, or a tragedy of some kind. But you survived! You’re alive! Now’s the moment when you can start seeing the miraculous hand of God work! You might have been so caught up in other things that you failed to see how good God is, but now you can better focus on the grace and mercy of the One who clothes the flowers and really does care about you!

The Bible says that “weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning”! This is a brand new day. You may have really, without a doubt, messed up yesterday. But, you know what? If you are a born-again, blood-washed, redeemed child of God, the Cross means that what Jesus did has already atoned for your mess up. You’re forgiven! Now, walk in forgiveness and grace while giving God the glory!

Instead of reading this, you COULD be in eternal torment, separated from the loving presence of God. begging for just a single drop of water to cool your tongue, but you’re not! It’s not a matter of luck; there’s a reason.

So, I’d say, without a doubt, no matter who you are, it is … and I bless you with these words …

Good morning!

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Filed under Christianity, Depression, Divorce, Life Lessons, salvation, Thanksgiving, worship

You Might Be a Fool If…

April 1st

Happy April Fools Day!…or, happy Atheists Day!…whichever you prefer.

You know, even though atheists think we are being smug and “snarky” by quoting Psalm 14:1, I believe the one who insists there is no God really is a fool.

But what I think matters little in the scheme of things. What matters is what God thinks.

That is why I came up with this list.

Defining a Fool

What is a fool?  Believe it or not, Scripture lists several characteristics of a foolish person. The following is not an exhaustive list, but it’s a good start.

So, why not do this Jeff Foxworthy-style?  

You might be a fool if…

  1. You are always right in your own eyes (Proverbs 12:15).
  2. You despise instruction (Proverbs 1:7; 15:5).
  3. You are unteachable (Proverbs 17:10; 23:9; 26:11)
  4. You’re always running your mouth, getting into trouble (Proverbs 18:6-7; 29:11).
  5. You are always trying to find yourself (Proverbs 18:2).
  6. You make fun of sin (Proverbs 14:9).
  7. You’re always meddling in other people’s business (Proverbs 20:3).
  8. You are a shame and a burden to your parents (Proverbs 17:25).
  9. You deny the obvious because the truth is inconvenient (Romans 1:18-22).
  10. You deny Jesus because you think the cross is foolish (1 Corinthians 1:18).

Don’t be a fool.

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Filed under Christian Maturity, General Observations, Life Lessons, Preaching

Hitting the Brakes

Lots of Deer

If there is one thing about living down here in middle Georgia, it is the abundance of deer. Rumor has it, if you’ve never destroyed at least one vehicle by hitting a deer, then you’re probably in cahoots with them.

No joke, on any given evening there are so many deer out nibbling road-side grass and conversing with each other across the street that it’s nearly impossible to travel a quarter-mile without seeing several.

To give you just one example, last night I was driving home from a neighboring town and saw (there could have been more) 13 deer on an 8-mile stretch of road. I saw probably double that amount on the previous twenty. That’s a LOT of deer!

Locked Down for Deer

All this talk about deer leads no leads me to the story I want to tell you about last night’s trip home.

Like I said, last night there were a lot of four-legged bumper bashers getting reacquainted in the moonlight. Because of this, I was very careful to maintain a slower speed – even slower than the speed limit – in order to give me a longer reaction time.

All of a sudden I saw a family of 4 or 5 (it could have been a club, a harem, or a dance crew…I don’t know) standing and facing each other from both sides of the two-lane road. Then, after a quick glance at me, then back at his/her crew, then back at me the dear decided that the best time to cross the road was right at the very moment I was passing him.

Incidentally, cats do the same thing. They wait until the very last second to cross the street right in front of you. Why do they do that? Why can’t they just wait till we pass? Why does it have to be RIGHT THEN?? It’s like for some reason they think they will never have another chance ever again – EVER!

“Now! Do it NOW, Puss!” cries a flea-bitten rat chaser from across the road. Puss sees the bright lights approaching and realizes he’s already on his 8th life – he can’t die on this side of the road, not tonight! There’s more life to be lived and lost on the other side with Kitten, Mitten, and Tabbytha. So, terrified and desperate, with all the speed he can muster Puss bounds across the street to meet up with his friends and lovers.

But I was no dummy, I tell you! I could tell what Bambi was about to do, so I applied pressure to my brake peddle. Then, just as I expected, he waited until almost the last second to jump in front of me!

I stood on my brake peddle and the 2-ton 1995 Mercury Grand Marquis’ anti-lock brakes did their job flawlessly.

And everything in my front and rear seats, including everything UNDER my seats, came to the front floor of my car.

That’s when I made a surprising discovery! I found my lost coffee mug!

Sudden Blessings

What’s the moral of the story? It’s pretty simple, really.

Sometimes it takes a sudden, unplanned, emergency-slamming-on-of-the-brakes kind of stop to help us find things we thought were lost forever. 

I’m thankful I didn’t hit that stupid deer. But I’m also thankful that I now have my favorite mug back on my desk and doing its job.

All it took was hitting the brakes for just a moment, slowing down, and re-evaluating the circumstances, such as was this trip really necessary?

Have a great day, guys! Be safe. Stay faithful.
Anthony

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Filed under animals, Humor, Life Lessons

My Leg Was Broken?

Not So Funny

Let’s begin with the not-so-funny part of this story, shall we? My right leg hurts.

Yes, it hurts, and it’s been hurting for a while. As a matter of fact, it hurts to cross my leg over my left knee, rest my right foot over my left, and even to walk. Generally speaking, my right leg – most of my tibia – aches.

That is why I went to an Orthopedic, yesterday. I wanted him to discover the source of the pain and to tell me whether or not I can go back to walking. Come to find out, the pain is muscle and ligament-related. The muscle that lies deep behind the tibia, along with the tissue that attaches to the side of the bone, is inflamed.

The sad part is that had I gone to a doctor about this pain a long time ago, it wouldn’t have had to get this bad.

The Funny Part

But here’s what I find amusing (I hope you do, too). When the doctor pulled up the x-ray, he pointed to some cloudy images on the bone. He asked, “Do you remember any trauma to your leg?”

“Uh, no, not really. Why?” I asked.

“Well,” he began, “do you see these two cloudy-white areas on the bone? This is evidence of a healed fracture. At some point, you broke your leg.”

Yep, you read that correctly – I broke my leg and didn’t even know it, or at least I couldn’t remember when I did it. Either that or I didn’t think much about it at the time.

Who has their leg broken and doesn’t remember it?

Now I Remember!

After a few minutes of discussing the pain in my leg, how to fix it, and such, a memory popped into my head. Totally changing the subject, I interrupted the doctor and exclaimed, “I think I know when it got broken!”

Back in the late ’80s, I was heavily involved in martial arts (the real-life Cobra Kai kind). I remembered this one time when I was doing drills with a new student, a BIG guy, who knew nothing of “control.” To keep the story simple, he did a round kick the same time I did, except with a good amount of power. Our shins locked with an audible “whack,” and for several days I walked with a limp.

it's only a flesh wound - it's just a flesh wound | Meme Generator

Imagine that! I fractured my leg and didn’t even know it! Well, I felt it, for sure! However, I didn’t have a clue of the severity of the injury – I just kept working out.

Eventually, I healed.

Time, Tibias, and Trauma

Before I say anything else, time does not heal all wounds. However, most wounds do heal over time, even the painful ones.

Only a fool discounts the severity of an injury, whether it be physical, emotional, or spiritual. And when it comes to trauma, what is terribly painful for one person might not affect another the same. Every trauma, every pain, every wound, though very similar – like one snowflake is similar to another – all are unique.

But the discovery of my long-forgotten battle wound has led me to ponder some encouraging truths.

  • Time can heal memory. For some people, the wounds of the past are as fresh today as they were 30 or 40 years ago, therefore the pain never goes away. But when we learn to focus on moving forward, given enough time, most of our hurts will heal and the pain, even the cause, will be forgotten.
  • Some trauma NEEDS to be forgotten. My broken leg incident probably happened between 1984 and 1985. If I had been talking about it, rehashing it, trying to figure out the why and how it happened, the trauma inflicted on my right leg would continue to afflict me, and others.
  • I’m so glad that, because of the blood of Jesus, God has chosen to remember my sin no more! Can you imagine what eternity would be like if the wounds inflicted by us were never put as far as the east is from the west? Yeah, it would be Hell.
  • Sometimes we are more broken than we realize. Fact is, my leg was broken and I didn’t even know it. It wasn’t broken in two . . . there was no bone sticking through the skin . . . but imagine what might have happened if I’d locked shins again in a tournament? What kind of life-threatening situation might I have faced? …and without a Mr. Miyagi!

Better than an Orthopedic

I’m sure we could go on and on with analogies and comparisons, but the fact is that all of us are broken in one way or another. Some know what complete healing is like, while others are still wiping away the initial tears.

Ultimately, Adam’s sin was the ultimate trauma inflicted on mankind; it left ALL of us broken. Unfortunately, though the healing balm has yet to be applied, many, many, many broken people don’t even realize their brokenness.

Then finally, there are those – praise God! – who are pleasantly surprised to be reminded of how God healed wounds that were once so painful the future, even survival, looked insurmountable. Sadly, some of those broken legs were brought about by our own rebellion . . . NOT the Shepherd.

Yet, isn’t it wonderful how He rescued us, picked us up and carried us until we healed, and never even brought it up again? Or did you forget?

Thank you, Lord, for this pain. I needed to be reminded of some things.

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Filed under Depression, fitness, Life Lessons, Struggles and Trials

The Hilly Straight and Narrow

Working Out

As many of you know, I have committed to exercise and to lose weight. In other words, I want to look like Tom Cruise.

But even more important than looking like Tom Cruise (because he still looks awesome as an old man – like he’s never aged! …which is a little creepy when you think about it), I want this body that the Lord has given me to be the best “temple” it can be for His glory.

However, remodeling this temple of the Holy Ghost has not been easy.

Walking and Riding

I’ve been doing two kinds of exercise, walking and riding my bicycle. Each has it’s benefits, and each has it’s drawbacks.

For one, it takes longer on a bike to burn as many calories as walking, if, that is, the walking is fast-paced in sync with a song from Building 429. Riding, though, is more fun.

Last Saturday morning, with rainy mist in the air, I rode a 13-mile circuit around our little community. It was an enjoyable, scenic ride with very little traffic (I only saw 4 cars in the first hour). It took me 1 hour and 58 minutes to complete.

Today (a Tuesday), I rode 8.23 miles, and I did it in 1 hour and 3 minutes. The only thing is that I was less tired after the 13-mile ride than the one I did today!

I think I know the reason.

The Straight and Narrow

As I was riding this morning, I came to a point where I had to peddle in 1st gear for what seemed like an eternity (maybe 5 min.). You see, although the road I took was a straight shot from our community to the next town, there were some places where I had to ascend over a period of time. These inclines didn’t look like hills, yet what I rode added up to 196 feet in elevation.

While pacing myself, and while reminding myself of heroes like Marcus Luttrell (Navy SEAL) and all he went through to survive, I peddled in 1st gear until I reached the point where I could finally coast. It was then that a profound thought managed to form inside my brain, despite the 146 heartbeats per minute.

“The straight and narrow is not always the flat and level.” 

Yes, much like the “straight and narrow” path of faith (loosely based on Matt. 7:14), the road I traveled was straight and free of any hidden obstacles or traps. Yet, “straight and narrow” should NEVER be interpreted as “flat and level.” No, there were more ups and downs than I could count! It took more energy to finish than the longer, more curvy road I was on last week!

If you’ve never heard it said, the Christian life is a joy, but it’s not easy. As a matter of fact, if you want an easy-peasy life, stay a tool of Satan; he’ll keep you comfortable till your dying day. But for the true follower of the One who carried a cross up a hill, why should we expect a road without those slow, aching, 1st-gear inclines?

God bless! Keep peddling! 

 

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Filed under Christian Living, Christianity, fitness, Life Lessons, Struggles and Trials

I’ll Stay Where I Am

“The righteous man wisely considereth the house of the wicked: but God overthroweth the wicked for their wickedness.” – Proverbs 21:12

Envy

A sin “that doth so easily beset” us is the sin of envy. In other words, envy is something most humans battle with on a regular basis, especially when they live paycheck-to-paycheck. Envy is an ever-present danger.

In a world where most people do their best just to get by, it is hard not to envy the rich and famous with their Hollywood “cribs,” their sports cars, their exotic vacations, the best clothes, and the best-looking friends and temporary spouses. If given the opportunity, many of us would exchange our house for theirs in a heartbeat. On the surface, which is all we normally see, everything seems better on the other side of the fence.

Envy, however, is a blindfold over the eyes of wisdom.

Seeing Clearly

See with discerning eyes and “consider” the house of the wicked. Is it really all it is made out to be? Is it really worth desiring over a life filled with suffering, sacrifice, and want? What do the wicked have that should entice the righteous?

My favorite Shakespearean sonnet is number 29. It speaks of a man feeling sorry for himself, hating himself, and wishing to be like others “more rich in hope.” Yet, in the end, he sees the truth: that love makes one more wealthy than the richest of kings.

shakespeareWhen in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man’s art, and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts my self almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

Love Possessed 

No one knows for sure to who’s “love” Shakespeare was referring. I am thankful that he did not get specific, for when I read Sonnet 29 two different loves come to mind: the love of my wife and the love of God.

When I consider the house of the wicked, as Solomon suggests, I see a lot of “stuff.” What I don’t see is love without lust, peace without prescriptions, or comfort without consequences. Why would I exchange the unconditional love of a godly wife for conditional, revolving-door relationships that evaporate the soul?

But even more, when I remember the love of God, I would rather be a pauper than a king. His love brings everlasting wealth, the likes of which the wicked will ever know. Why should I desire to leave the house of the Lord for one which will be “overthrown”?

I think I’ll stay right where I am.

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Filed under Christian Maturity, Life Lessons, poetry

Don’t Waste Your Tears

Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

Tearful Verses

If you ever want to a word study through Scripture that will break your heart, do a word study on tears. Just a quick glance will reveal painful examples such as the following:

  • My friends scorn me: [but] mine eye poureth out [tears] unto God. – Job 16:20
  • I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears. – Psalm 6:6
  • Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people! – Jeremiah 9:1
  • And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. – Mark 9:24
  • Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. – Acts 20:31

But just as there are heartbreaking verses, so are there ones that offer hope for the hurting, hope for the ones who cry.

  • Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: [are they] not in thy book? – Psalm 56:8
  • For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, [and] my feet from falling. – Psalm 116:8
  • They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. – Psalm 126:5
  • And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. – Revelation 21:4

Don’t Waste Them

A while back I met with a young couple for pre-marital counseling. During the two hours that we sat and talked, I took the opportunity to share with them some some painful experiences from my past. I thought it would be helpful for them to hear from someone who knew what consequences felt like, what it was like to shed tears.

wedding picture fourYou see, even though my wife and I have been married for over 26 years, we have had our share of pain; we’ve shed our bottles full of tears. And precisely because of those times, I was able to look into that young couple’s eyes and say with all authority, “Do it God’s way! It’s worth it!”

King David knew what it was like to experience God’s chastisement, but he also knew something good would come from it. He said, “weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5). Part of that joy, I believe, is when we see the fruit of yielding ourselves to the Father and seeing Him use our tears to water the seeds of wisdom we sow into others.

Tears are inevitable; everyone will shed them. The tragedy is when no lesson is learned, God is not trusted, and what could have been turned into joy sours the pillow of hopelessness.

Without God, tears are spilt; with God, no tear is wasted.

 

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