What is up with these kids’ parents today?

It could have been me this Sunday. I was the guy who accepted a drive to Memphis, Tennessee that left at midnight Friday. My budget was yelling at me again after I sat around Tuesday through Friday with no work.

I’m not complaining, just showing you what the life of a temporary truck driver is like in today’s economy.

What this amounted to was me driving to Tennessee instead of sleeping Friday night through Saturday morning. Sleeping Saturday afternoon and evening instead of having a real life like everyone else on the planet. Then driving back Saturday night and Sunday early morning instead of sleeping again.

I won’t even mention the text message I received at 3:30 Saturday afternoon while I was asleep. Some people are soooo ruuude!

Don’t worry. I fell back to sleep a couple hours later.

Skipping church is not an option for me in the summer months because I agreed to reprise my role as the toddler whisperer so regular folks can rest up a few months when it’s hotter than a Texas playground at high noon. Some people are soooo smarrrrt.

Fortunately I belong to a church that doesn’t believe you can lose your salvation if you show up late. So I cut myself some slack and snuck in after the collection plates were passed. Not like a temp truck driver has anything to slip in the plate anyway.

Besides, they don’t want us to bring hot coffee into the sanctuary while others are nodding off. If everybody leaves for their own cup it could throw the visiting preacher off too much I guess.

Trust me, coffee was definitely part of my sanctification process this week.

Second service is when I get to release my inner grandpa. It was a good thing I came in because some others sluggards called in this week. Maybe they had two text messages during the night. I can relate.

Anyway, I got moved to a room with slightly older kids, by a few months maybe. Some of them were regulars for me. Hadley was my girl-friend this week. No, not the other Hadley. This week there was only one in my room. Never mind.

So far this summer the kids have been pretty good. Maybe it’s because the fire alarm hasn’t gone off, yet. Maybe they’ve just been gooder kids.

This week more than made up for all the hitting, slapping, grabbing toys someone else is playing with and crying, for that to have been missing from normal kids in their terrible twos.

The thought that kept playing in my sleep-deprived mind was: What is with these kids’ parents to have such depraved little people like this?

Yeah, I didn’t blame this precious little darlings. They didn’t ask to be born with such selfish tendencies. They got that from their parents. I’ve been listening to enough radio preachers through the years to know that for a fact.

My best friend Jesus has a soft spot in His heart for these little tykes, too. He even wants us to come to our Father God just like they do: as innocent, selfish, sin-depraved kids in need of a Savior. Trusting God still loves us even after we made Hadley cry, again.

I told you it was one of those weeks.

I’m writing this on Sunday evening. Now that the sun is setting I think I’ll see if I can fall back into a “normal” sleep routine. Maybe I’ll sleep til the cows come home.

Wait a second, I don’t live on a farm anymore. I live in a big city. Perhaps I can sleep til the garbage truck comes by.

Reality can be so ugly sometimes.

Keep smiling.   Wade

HOUSE OF GOD

“I told you that was a bad idea, Mom.”

Rebekah shook her head. “No, God told me you would be first before you were born. This is still working out just fine. It’s time for you to marry and start a family. Go to Haran and live with my brother, Laban. He has daughters who’ll make a better wife for you than the women here. I’ll send for you after Esau has had time to calm down.”

Jacob shook his head. “Esau isn’t going to let this go. I just know it. I don’t think I’ll ever see you again.”

Tears streamed down Rebekah’s face as she hugged her son. “Never forget I love you.”

Jacob choked back tears. “I won’t.”

Rebekah turned around and dried her eyes. “I need to talk to your father. Go pack some things.”

****

When Jacob crested a hill he stared to his left. The sun was peaking through the layers of clouds in red and orange hues. The clouds overhead were yellow. The mountain ranges that were green now appeared in shades of gray. “Wow. This is such a beautiful land. Abba didn’t tell me much, but I do remember he said God promised the land we’re in to his father, Abraham. I wonder how much of this is included.”

He found a slender stone before it became dark. A full day of walking had drained his energy. He laid on his side and closed his eyes.

A ladder appeared near his head. He sat up and stared  up. The top of the ladder stretched beyond the clouds. Angels were going up and down the rungs.

A man stood on nothing near the top of the ladder. “I am the God of Abraham and Isaac. Your descendants will cover this land like the dust does for I give it to you and them. All nations will be blessed in your seed. I will be with you wherever you go and will bring you back here.”

Jacob jerked awake. The darkness startled him. He sat up and rubbed his ear to relieve the searing pain. He searched for signs of where the ladder stood. Then he looked up at the stars. “‘If you can count the stars so shall your descendants be…’ That’s what you told Abraham. This place is awesome. It’s the house of God.”

He rubbed the ground he sat on. “And this must be the doorway to heaven.”

When he closed his eyes he could still see the ladder and the angels.

When he opened his eyes his head was back on the rock. The eastern horizon was a light gray. A half moon obscured most of the stars now.

Jacob grabbed a shard of stone and frantically gashed a groove in the hard-packed ground. He stood his pillow on end in the furrow and jammed dirt around its base. He took the flask of oil that was packed for him to help heal any wounds he encountered in his journey and poured it all on the stone.

“If God shall provide my food and clothes and bring me back to my father’s house in peace, then He shall be my God. This stone will be Bethel, God’s House, from this day forward. I shall return to You a tenth of all I get.”

Jacob gathered his belongings and continued his trek with renewed vigor.

********

I wonder how many people have tried in vain to find that exact spot Jacob slept that night. Who wouldn’t want to see that ladder with angels on it?

Those people miss the point of this whole encounter. The place wasn’t significant. The message is.

Jacob could have slept anywhere that night and received the same dream.

God was real to Abraham by showing Himself and talking to him several times.

Isaac’s first glimpse of God came on an altar he was tied to with his abba grabbing a knife to slit his throat.

Jacob’s attention was focused upward with this dream and repeated promise.

These three fathers of the Jewish faith needed to know God personally. They needed something significant to pass down to successive generations.

You and I need the same type of experience in our own personal journey today.

No, I don’t mean you have to sleep under the stars using a rock for a pillow. I mean we need to know God on a personal level.

Since Jesus came as the fulfillment of that promise of Jacob’s seed blessing all nations it’s simple to do.

All we need to do is admit we can’t come to God on our own efforts because of His perfection and our filthy sinfulness.

Then we have to believe Jesus’s death on the cross was done for us. He died as our substitute in God’s eyes.

When each of us does that individually then an amazing thing happens to God’s eyes. He then sees us as if He’s looking at Jesus.

No, this isn’t a dream event. This is all God’s choice so He can have an intimate relationship with each one of us.

Two things are given as proof of this transaction from above.

First, Jesus came back to life from a tomb He was placed in after three days. Nobody stepped in to make this happen. Jesus told His followers it would happen so they’d know it was from God.

Second, God places His Holy Spirit inside each one of His children so we can experience this intimacy personally. God promises to hear our prayers and heal our wounds while helping us understand His Word written to us as a love letter and guidebook.

Although I stated this transaction is simple it apparently isn’t easy. Otherwise everybody would do it.

Pride keeps too many folks thinking they’re good enough to get into heaven without a savior.

Confusion remains a stumbling block for some to accept Jesus as God who came to earth to be our substitute.

Pray for those you know need this.

Accept it as your own.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

I Saw Those Tears

I saw those tears you cried today

Your heart is broke so many ways

Another terror made the news

Someone else evil did choose

Their senseless act took many lives

You’re not the only one who cried

I saw those tears roll down your cheeks

I know you’re strong though you feel weak

That buried deep secret you had

Those careless words ripped off the scab

You thought you would be over it

Keep pressing on please don’t quit

I saw those tears you wiped away

The pain was deep nothing to say

The grief the loss you’re lonely now

Beside your bed the tears did flow

The world keeps turning never stops

Others need you to stay on top

I saw those tears My Son once knew

When death was near for others too

He knew His time was very soon

To feel the dark even at noon

He pressed on through the pain and hate

So you could be with Me someday

I saw those tears each one of them

Saved in a bottle I have a plan

One day when you are by My side

My love for you I cannot hide

I’ll wipe each tear away for good

Signed your Heavenly Abba Father God.

Okay, I Admit it. I’m OCD.

July plus Texas equals HOT! It’s a simple equation every Texan lives with. My Michigan bones still have enough permafrost in them that I appreciate the heat when I first go into it. Hydration is key to survival.

In an attempt to stay out of the heat I went for a run about ten in the morning last week. That meant I saw different folks along my route then I usually see in the late afternoon time.

There was one guy who had some stuff connected to one of the ballfield stands for his workout routine. He had apparently been watching me as I stopped to collect trash as I made my way through the park. He asked me what I was picking up when I came near him.

“Trash.” I simply replied.

“Wow. Thank you.” He returned.

I continued with my workout by running a few more feet until I came across more of others’ carelessness.

Two days later I went out during my typical afternoon routine. I was surprised to see my new friend there.

He apparently had some time to think about our encounter in the 50+ hours. This was our exchange this time.

“Okay, admit it. You’re a bit OCD. Aren’t you?”

Not sure if he was someone looking to have me committed to an institution I replied. “Apparently.”

By then I remembered what OCD stands for: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

He smiled as our conversation continued. “I tell my kids they get that from me.”

Since I didn’t want to get sucked into an impromptu group counselling session I replied. “I figure I can either complain about how the park looks or do something about it.”

He looked around. “We sure do have a clean park here. I guess you’re one of the reasons for that. Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” I said as I kept moving along. “Gotta keep my heart rate up. I’ll see you later.”

I’ve had time to think about those encounters as well since then. Mostly what OCD could stand for.

It could mean Outrageously Cute Dude. Some folks think I qualify for that.

Or maybe Obvious Common Dud. My ex-wife might chime in on that one.

Once my books come out perhaps Overly Creative Dude will surface as a possibility.

The one I most want to be known for and hope sticks best is Obsessive Christ Disciple.

I’ve lived long enough to know this life isn’t about me and my happiness. It’s about telling as many people as possible about how they can be in God’s kingdom that will be ruled by Jesus Christ.

To that end I realize I need to learn as much as I can about what Jesus expects from me. That’s the disciple part. I need to learn like His followers did when He walked this earth almost two thousand years ago.

That level of learning can come in many forms. A seminary education would be nice, but is unnecessary.

Personal time spent studying the Bible is crucial. That’s where God gives us His guidelines to live by.

The read through the Bible in a year method is like eating fast food without getting out of your car. It’ll show rather quickly.

I prefer my way of staying stuck on one passage for a long time to derive as much as I can out of it. That’s how I come up with my devotional posts.

I don’t know about you , but this Webster calls that obsessive.

So I hope that qualifies me as OCD.

Do you want to join me? We can hold a group counselling session sometime.

Don’t worry about the stigma involved. We’ll call it a Bible Study so we still fit in with regular Christians.

Keep smiling.   Wade

Our Broken Heart is Still Beating

As much as I didn’t want to do it my budget told me I had to take the through-the-night delivery beginning Tuesday night. It was scheduled to depart near DFW Airport at midnight. I was to take some mail to Memphis Wednesday morning. I pulled away from the dock with the load at 1:30 am.

I made the delivery in good time but was now late for my scheduled pick up of a return load. When they were kind enough to fit me in it took them four hours. I collapsed in my motel room after that very long day.

To make to my delivery near Tyler, Texas I knew I needed to push through with as few stops as possible. I got to the distribution center about fifteen minutes after my appointment time. That meant I was still on schedule.

The computer the receiving clerk looked at told her an estimated time of 6-6.5 hours to unload. I informed my dispatch company and waited…and waited…and waited. Twelve hours later I pulled out and headed to yet another motel room two miles away.

The news channel in the truckers’ waiting room spent all day showing congressional folks talking at the FBI Director about some important stuff he just made a decision on.

I fell asleep oblivious to anything else occurring in the world.

When I checked Facebook Friday morning my heart sank.

“Not again…”

I was only two years old the last time a sniper made news in downtown Dallas. The world stopped until President John F. Kennedy’s body was laid to rest from what I’ve been told.

This time the target was police officers…as many as possible, apparently.

The TV in the motel lobby said five officers were killed. The injured rose from six to seven as I ate my waffle. Then two civilian injuries were reported. This was definitely deliberate and evil.

Message boards along I-30 showed what roads in downtown were closed off. It was now a crime scene with fatalities.

When I drove around downtown Dallas the buildings stood tall and strong and proud. Typical of any Texan.

I’ve lived in enough places to know that a city isn’t made up of buildings. People are the real heart of any city. Today Dallas’s heart is broken, again.

As I drove north electronic billboards on I-35E told me a vigil was planned in Thanksgiving Plaza at noon. That’s the Dallas I know and love.

Fifteen hours after a disaster and we’re coming together on our knees to God.

The prayer vigil was carried live by a local TV station. I saw most of it. Men and women from several religious backgrounds, political ideologies and ethnicities did their best to say what couldn’t be said. In each person’s way we cried for God to heal our land.

The final prayer was given in Jesus’s name. I hope that covered all of the prayers that went up because He is our only hope.

Many questions will be asked now. What, When and How will have the quickest resolutions.

Who is still being determined. One gunman was taken out with a robot bomb by police after a lengthy standoff. He said he acted alone. There were too many shots fired too quickly with too many police officers hit for anybody to believe that.

This hit too close to home for any stone to go unturned in this investigation. Stay tuned.

Why? That’s always the toughest question to answer. And the hardest to resolve.

When Hosea spoke to the nation of Israel before Jesus came to this planet as the Messiah he explained “they sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.” (Hosea 8:7)

That’s where we are today, my friends.

I went with a group from our church to help in disaster clean up after the tornado devastated Moore, Oklahoma a few years back. We ain’t seen nothin’, yet.

Our current President has publicly declared that America is a “post-Christian nation.” I sure hope he’s wrong about that.

Things have sure been leading up to that during my lifetime.

The Bible and public prayer have been removed from public schools. The Ten Commandments aren’t even permissible to display anymore.

Why are those in power so belligerent about these things? It’s because they want that power for themselves.

They refuse to believe God is the real wind beneath this great nation’s wings. They are wrong. There’s no doubt in my mind.

In the 70’s we were told to question authority by our teachers. That’s where the breakdown began.

People are not only questioning them now, they’re killing them for standing in their way.

This cancer has been developing far too long to go away on its own.

Tornadoes have a life cycle. They end rather quickly.

Hatred has been around since Cain killed Abel.

I’m afraid this disaster will occur again. Maybe not on this scale–I pray it doesn’t–but it will. The tension is too high in too many places.

Fortunately, there is a resolution to all of this madness. Unfortunately, too many people have a hatred for Jesus Christ to accept it.

In John 10:10 Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

The thief is gaining a strong foothold these days. Destruction is all around us.

Jesus has overcome the evil in this world by restoring our relationship with Creator God.

The Bible repeated describes this relationship as an adoption of Father God to us as His children.

The only way to sign that adoption paper is with the shed blood of Jesus Christ. That’s the sticking point in this mess.

Since Jesus has been so vehemently pushed out of our society our answer is too far away for too many people.

We’re told to tolerate anything, until it comes to Jesus and the Bible. Then a line is drawn.

That’s the line we must cross for a full resolution of this conflict.

I pray this event in Dallas is the turning point in this evil. I hope people see the futility in this action and look deep within as to why they feed their hatred to anyone else.

I hope Jesus gains attention as the answer to this problem and many others.

I’d love to see an end to this conflict in my lifetime.

In Jesus’s name it will.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

A REPEATED PROMISE

“We can’t stay here. There’s nothing left for the animals to eat. This famine is too much to endure. Let’s move west until we find suitable pastures.”

A tear rolled down Rebekah’s cheek as she watched the dust rise from the goat herd as they walked. “I thought this was where God promised to bless your family…our family. How can this be happening?”

Isaac hugged her. “It will be okay. We’ll return after the land has restored. It will. God will provide.”

Rebekah nodded. “Very well then. Let’s move.”

The tents were folded and loaded on the camels. The herds and flocks had gone ahead in hopes of finding food before more of them died.

A herdsman met them two days later. “We found good grass among the Philistines. Abimelech wants to talk to you about arrangements for us to stay.”

Isaac looked at Rebekah. “Looks like we won’t get to see Egypt after all.”

As Isaac was pacing outside his tent that evening Jesus met him. “Don’t go to Egypt with your family. Stay here. I’ll be with you. This is the land I’ll give your descendants. I promised your father, Abraham, a blessing of descendants too numerous to count. Every nation will be blessed by your seed. Because Abraham obeyed me I’ll keep my promise through you, too.”

****

After a season of great crops Abimelech came to see Isaac. “I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to leave here, my friend. You’re becoming to strong for us. The land can’t continue to support us all.”

Isaac shook Abimelech’s hand. “Thank you for supporting us during our time of need. I won’t forget that.”

Isaac moved to the east end of the valley of Gerar and dug a well he recognized as one his father had dug. Once they began to water their flocks from it the Philistines claimed it as their own. Rather than argue with them Isaac moved farther east.

A second well was re-dug with contention. So, Isaac mover farther eastward.

Nobody quarreled over the third well they dug. Isaac spread his flocks still farther eastward.

While Isaac’s men were digging another well Jesus again appeared to him. “I am the God of your father. I will bless you on account of him by multiplying your descendants.”

Abimelech showed up with some other men the next day.

Isaac tilted his head and squinted at Abimelech. “I thought you didn’t like me by the way you chased me off a while back.”

Abimelech stood with the men beside him. “Your God is indeed strong and is blessing you greatly. We desire a treaty between us and you to insure peace. That is all.”

Isaac looked at each man, then back at Abimelech. He smiled and pointed at his head servant. “Prepare a feast for our friends here.”

After the men left the following day Isaac’s servants came to him to tell of successfully digging another well.

Isaac named it Sheba. The town of Beersheba thrived there for several generations.

********

 These are the only two times God appeared to Isaac according to the Bible. Both times He promised to bless Isaac with descendants. Neither time was it dependent on anything Isaac did or didn’t do.

The promise was stated to Isaac as a continuance of the promise made to Abraham. In other words Isaac couldn’t not be blessed by God.

To reinforce that fact God had Abimelech point out to Isaac that he was being blessed by his God.

God stopped Isaac from going to Egypt to reinforce the fact that the land he was in would belong to his descendants.

He promised a place, a people and a Savior to come through Isaac from Abraham.

The ultimate blessing of Abraham and Isaac was the Savior Jesus Christ. Because of what He did we share in a similar promise today.

Jesus said He’s going to prepare a dwelling place for us with God the Father for eternity.

People from every tribe and tongue will be in that kingdom yet to be.

It’s only because of our belief that Jesus is the only way to God that we’ll be a part of it at all.

There’s nothing we can, or can’t, do to make any of this happen.

All the work was done by Jesus on the cross of Calvary.

Once we accept that we can’t not belong to God’s family.

Isaac was far from perfect. Even after God promised to bless him and give him children he lied about Rebekah being his wife to potentially save his life.

That gives me solace for me. I know God will come through for me even when, not if, I fail Him.

I know myself too well. I talk a good talk, but I don’t always come through with flying colors so to speak.

Like Peter after Jesus’s arrest I can fall away to save my own hide. I’m selfish like that.

But I’m promised that I can’t be snatched out of Jesus’s, or God’s, hand.

Peter was used mightily after Jesus’s resurrection.

I have no idea what He has in store for me. I don’t think I’m prepared for it now, but I will be when it comes.

God has big plans for you, too. Brace yourself for it. He’ll surprise you with whatever it will be.

He’s preparing you for it now.

Isaac did have a son whose fourth son was foretold to be in the line of the Deliverer of all mankind.

Isaac’s part to play in this plan was to simply be blessed.

Jacob would have a more difficult part to play.

Both were blessed by God in His time.

You and I will be too.

It may not be as we expect, nor as we desire, but it will be good.

I know because God is good and the giver of perfect gifts.

As His child He’s the perfect Father who wants what’s best for you.

I can’t wait to see how this all unfolds.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

Where Has My Country Gone?

I love the United States of America.

I love the fact we claim the most freedoms of any country in the world.

I love the work ethic I share with most of our citizens.

I don’t like where I see our great country heading.

Our democratic society is being derailed by non-democratic power hungry liberals.

The vast majority of us still worship God through the cross of Jesus Christ. Too many of us have become silent to the detriment of all we stand for.

Enough people in the government power center are in a position to remove our best freedoms to appease a slim minority of our citizens.

American citizens still in their mother’s womb are the first ones censored of all their freedoms. The Supreme Court is maintaining that stance.

Herod the Great’s massacre of innocent babies in Bethlehem that first Christmas looks tame compared to our modern society’s butcherings.

When Satan gets another victim of his to kill several people with a gun the news media explodes with calls for removal of that basic right our forefathers set for us.

More people are killed by cars than guns. Why don’t we hear chants to remove vehicles from the roads?

The primarily liberal public education system promised an end to racial tension when I attended several decades ago.

Why does there seem to be more hatred now, especially when law enforcement individuals are involved?

Responsibility has been replaced with entitlement.

Character used to be a huge factor in determining who the best person would be for our next president.

Charisma is more the watch-word today. Any type of novelty factor only helps decide for most voting citizens.

Why do we allow stores the “right” to let mixed up men use a restroom built for women with no thought about the repercussions of who else will take advantage of such lunacy to feed their pedophilia?

Throughout history the greatest nations have been in existence an average of 200 years. Today we celebrate 240 years for the USA.

Witnessing the decline of such a fabulous governmental experiment with democracy is heart breaking at best.

I’m not saying it’s too late to bring us back to greatness. I’m not saying it’s not. Frankly, I don’t know.

The Vietnam War was going on while I attended school. I still remember seeing people being air-lifted by helicopters to ships to safety as that one ended.

I didn’t trust my government to make good decisions then. That was a huge factor to me for not joining the military out of high school.

I loved my country enough to do that instead of going to college. I wish I would have followed that loyalty now.

I only know there’s only one true hope for us. Jesus Christ.

We’re too quickly coming to the point of a loyalty to Jesus becoming a death sentence. In many parts of the world it already is.

I cannot waver from that loyalty. I never will.

A return to greatness will not come from “free” health care or an annihilation of all guns.

God is the One who determines which nations will rise to greatness and which ones fall into obscurity.

I still don’t trust my government, not the one led by people.

I only trust the coming kingdom of Jesus Christ.

My total allegiance is to Him. His government is just and right.

Jesus gave His very life just so I can reign with Him for eternity.

What that will look like I can’t say. I trust He’ll do what’s best for every inhabitant of His kingdom.

If we acknowledge our dependence on God to guide us then I know America can be great again.

I don’t know if enough of us will do that.

I only know I have done that and I cannot turn back from that commitment.

I’ll see you later.   Wade