"For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place and you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14)
Over these past two months, I have been thinking about many things. Probably a bit too much. I came across this familiar verse from the Book of Esther. I was reflecting that “all of us” have come to our royal position for such a time as this.
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9)
That’s right, at the Cross the priesthood was transferred to us (laymen) and the ministry is now in our hands. Just before Jesus ascended to be with His Father, He left us with the Great Commission. Question: Based on the verse above, do people even know that about you? Are you proclaiming the praises of Him who snatched you from the pit of darkness? What a perfect time we are now living in to give… the reason for the hope that is in you (1 Pet 3:15). Don’t ever forget what Jesus said in Rev 22:12 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.” If that verse doesn’t give you pause, then ask God to take you to the wood shed.
About 3 weeks ago, I was staring at this monitor. Why?
I woke up very early that morning with sharp chest pain. After taking an assessment of my situation, for whatever reason, I quietly walked outside on my back patio and sat down. The temperature was perfect, a gentle breeze and I could faintly see it beginning to get light on the eastern horizon. While sitting there, the words of Paul came clearly into my mind, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” I calmly said to God that my greatest desire is to be with Your Son Jesus, for there is no greater gift than that. I also said, that if it isn’t my time, allow me to live to an even greater extent as Christ and pour my remaining time into the lives of others. During this entire time, I experienced the “peace that surpasses all understanding.” God was so gracious to me that morning. Later in the day I drove to an Urgent Care, said I was having chest pains and went to the head of the line where they called my name, triaged me and started doing what they do best. To fast forward, the doctor came in after all the tests were completed and said, other than your existing right bundle branch block, you have nothing new wrong with your heart………. But you have gastritis and abdominal issues that need to be addressed. She asked about my eating schedule (was it regular?) and if I was dealing with any stress….. whoa!
I will share more in the days ahead, but God was unfolding areas in my life that I will be addressing. I have been engaged in a lot of things, but it is becoming clear that a certain number of them may be secondary targets. And, as I get older, my capacity to do the things I have been doing, is decreasing. I have also been convicted of my spiritual pride and just how black my heart truly is. I’m starting to understand verses like Jer 17:9 in a whole new light. I am again thrust into the “valley of vision” by a loving and gracious God. I am so grateful.
I have also been reflecting on a few of our brothers:
- Alejandro Corral IV had just graduated from Loyola Marymount, proposed to his fiancée and shortly after that a switch in his brain was flipped and is now dealing with a full-on bipolar brain disorder.
- Ron Rodriguez had just given notice as a long time manager for Chili’s Restaurants, so he could go back to school at UNLV. It was not long after, that he was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme brain tumor.
- Nathan Findlay, as he shared at Zion, was productive and doing quite well and then had a ski accident that could have been fatal. Since then, Nathan has been on a medical journey with no end in sight.
- Another brother was diagnosed with Lyme disease years ago that has profoundly impacted his life. Some of the time he lives in a dark place that few understand. Again, with no end in sight.
I’m sharing just these 4 men, there are many others. They take us to a place in our relationship with God that very few desire to reflect on. Recently my wife passed on this quote by Joni Eareckson Tada:
Then I re-read this statement on Day 114 in the Blue Book:
Please pray for the men above and don’t forget, there are family members intimately involved in their care. Be praying for strength and health for those that come alongside them.
See you at noon!
New Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Summer is here and some of the kids are involved in VBS (Vacation Bible School). I will end this email on an uptick and share one of my favorite VBS photos. Here are some children from India that go through their neighborhood (Hindu) and share the love of Christ. These bold kids will put themselves in a tense situations to witness the Good News of Jesus Christ!