Freedom Founded In Benevolence

Friends gather on the banks of the beautiful Kanawha River at Glen Ferris West Virginia. They’ve come to enjoy the warm sun and the cool waters. Playfully they leap into the air for the occasional game of tag and to float on the warm air as it rises and carries them to the tops of the trees. Their lives are completely devoid of aggression and malcontent. They soar on the slightest breeze because they have no burdens to hold them down.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that good will leads to a happier place in life. It is a promise made to us by God. We all have good days and bad days. There’s days when I can get triggered by the slightest little thing and before I can stop myself I’ve said or done something that I regret for weeks. And, you know what? It takes twice as much expression of good will to free me from that regret. I might feel like I was winning a debate or putting someone else in their place but the truth is that those actions become a burden almost immediately. So, if you want to know the real secret of joy and freedom it’s benevolence.

When The Quiet One Speaks

It’s in those moments of peaceful contemplation that you really get to know the voices the speak to your spirit. We all have theses inner voices that speak to us throughout the day. The voice that tells you that you have chores to do, the voice that talks you out of doing those chores. There’s a voice of confidence. ( Be careful about this one because he can get you into trouble. ) There’s the voice of doubt. ( Also not to be fully trusted. )

I suppose that if we were to take inventory of all these inner voices that the list could be quite long. But the one I want to focus on is the quiet one. The voice doesn’t speak often. He patiently waits for an opportunity to make his point. The quiet one doesn’t compete with the other voices. He doesn’t have to. He doesn’t argue or complain. The quiet one is logical and honest without being judgemental. The quiet one is the voice of Truth. He’s that Still, Small Voice. He is the voice of God. One of my atheist friends once expressed concern ( while smirking) about people who think God speaks to them. My only answer there is that God speaks to everyone, it’s just that not everyone listens. As I said, He doesn’t compete with the other voices. He simply waits to be heard. This why in a lot of my writings I like to focus on the opportunity to sit in quiet and peaceful places. It’s why I strive to push back the world with its ads and loud voices that attempt to dominate your every thought. Because when that Voice Of Truth speaks I don’t want to miss out on what was said. His words are life that added to my day.

Between Two Skies

As a child I used dream that I could fly. The dreams were always very vivid. I could feel the inertia as I banked through the clouds. Every time I stand by this spot between two skies I’m taken back to those dreams and I know that one day I’ll hear a trumpet summoning me to “come up hither” and in the twinkle of an eye I’ll be soaring between two skies.

About Those Three Crosses Near The Highway

I remember when the crosses started showing up along the highways. The man who started this project was Bernard Coffindaffer and He was from Craigsville, West Virginia. Not too far from my home. He was certainly a man on a mission. My understanding is that the Spirit of God spoke to him and gave him a commission for the work that needed to be done. He was a six year veteran of the Pacific Theater in World War Two and as a Former Marine nothing was going to stand in his way.

I never met him personally that I can remember but I remember the talk in the county. He had a lot support from his brothers and sisters in Christ but he also faced a lot criticisms and laughter. He didn’t let negative opinions get in the way. He just stood for what he believed in and continued to work anyway. I have read that the project never ended even though Bernard passed away in 1993. I have also read that some of crosses have been planted in the Philippines and Africa. It just shows that when God gives you some inspiration you should go with it. You might not realize how far it will go or how many lives will be touched.

Sacrifice

And it was the third hour, and they crucified him. – Mark 15:25

Easter. Where do I start? Forget bunnies and ancient origins of modern Easter eggs. As a child I didn’t care about what shape the chocolate was. And that’s really all I cared for was the candy and the toys. I grew up in a Baptist church. The preacher and Sunday School teachers reinforced my parents teachings of the Passion of Christ. But the impact of the story really didn’t effect me until later in life. It wasn’t until I realized that I was in eternal debt that I began to appreciate the Sacrifice of Christ. I had to develop pride before I could understand the humility of the creator who would turn himself into a human being and suffer mortality. I had to learn what it means to be in debt before I could understand what it means to be free.

My Lord Jesus Christ was beaten beyond recognition and executed for a crime that he didn’t commit but that I was guilty of. The healing hands were pierced for my thievery. The life that flowed through his veins was spilled out so that I could live. His gift was for all of humanity and available to all who believe. What we have come to call Easter is to a Christian a time of remembrance to contemplate our faith. It’s a time of fellowship and brotherhood among believers. Long after the chocolate has been eaten, long after the last colorful egg has been removed from behind the couch cushion and the last of the fake grass has been swept away the real gift of the holiday remains deep within our hearts. It is the gift of the Sacrifice that brought salvation.

The Summerville Lighthouse

As I sat down to write to write tonight’s post the wind is howling on the ridge above my home. I can hear the wind chimes ring loudly in the front porch. There’s a storm on the way. That’s the reason why I chose the picture of our local lighthouse. Lighthouses are the iconic representation of hope in the storm. I can’t look at a lighthouse without having a sense of peace and security. (That’s why I incorporated a lighthouse in my business logo.) Finding peace during a storm one of life’s necessities. It helps to have a lighthouse to provide a fixed point to focus on. Metaphorically speaking, we know that there will multiple storms in our lives. We will need that beacon of hope to focus on and guide us through the fog and blinding rain. For me, Christ is my lighthouse. That doesn’t mean that there’s never a storm. But it does mean that I have a fixed point to focus on and find that peace again.

The Unknown Destiny

We make plans for our lives based on our desires. When I was a young man I wanted to be fighter jet pilot. I read every book I could find on aircraft and when I was 12 I went to a summer camp at Patuxent River Naval Air test station where I got to eat lunch with the Blue Angels. I was allowed to set in the cockpit of an F-18 a full three days before the press got to see it. I knew that I was going to be the next Chuck Yeager. But I was wrong. I didn’t realize which set of tracks I was on. God had other plans for my life.

I didn’t choose the image above at random. You see, there are three sets of tracks.

One set is my plans for myself.

Another set for my plans others made for my life.

And another set for God’s plans for my life.

All three sets look as though they go to same destination but along the way there will be slight deviations that change the destiny.

Now, some will say that God robbed me of my desire to fly fighter jets. But remember, we don’t know exactly where that set of tracks ends. About the time that I would have achieved my goal America went to war. My vision for myself was to do high speed stunts for the air shows but for all I know I could have been shot down behind enemy lines. Or, I could have had stunt go wrong and crashed into a crowd.

I guess my point is that just because things don’t work out the way we imagined doesn’t mean our destiny was lost. I’ve been told that Albert Einstein said “God does not play dice with the universe.”. I agree. I believe that we have free choice but God knows what our choices will be and plans according to our choices to bring us to the place he wants us to be. I believe that along the way there will be multiple opportunities to switch tracks if we recognize them. And who knows? 50 ain’t so old. I still have a few adventures left in me. And, there’s miles of tracks ahead.