Friday, February 10, 2017

10 years ago

     I haven't paid close attention to the date lately. I know it's February, but my mind has been in other places, so I didn't realize the actual date. I was looking through "on this day" on Facebook this afternoon and saw all my previous posts from years past honoring my daddy.
Today is February 10, 2017. Today marks 10 years since my daddy departed into eternity. 10 years.
     In some ways it seems like a lifetime ago, in some like it was just the other day.  So many things have transpired, so many life changes. So many times I want to share things with him or think how much he would have loved being there. I think how much he would love to watch JD play football and rugby, how I am positive he would be out here for every game, even if that meant buying a second house. I think about how proud he'd be of Cora and her accomplishments. 
    I think how much he would enjoy being a great-granddaddy. My oldest niece has 3 kids now, I can just imagine how spoiled they would be by their granddaddy.  He loved being a granddaddy more than just about anything in the world. I hope my nieces and nephews and my children know that, know just how much he loved them.
     I realize it's easy to put on rose-colored glasses as the years pass by. It's easier to remember the good than the, err, not so good. I know my daddy was far from perfect, but he was still amazing. As I think back now, he was one of my best friends. I didn't know it at the time, but looking back I know for sure.  We were pretty inseparable. 
     I don't have much to say that I haven't said in the last 9 posts, but I still wanted to do it. It's become a custom, a way to honor him and take time to remember. I remember more often than I can count, but this is a time I can be purposeful, not just suddenly be hit over the head with a stray memory, invading my head uninvited. I still dream about him every night. My mind places him in at least one dream every night, and every night I'm saddened to realize it was just a dream. 
     One thing that keeps me going, even after all this time, is knowing I will see him again one day.  Daddy wasn't loud in his faith, but he was strong in it.  I remember having a talk with him on the night he passed, asking if he was ready, if he was scared, if he was sure he knew where he was going... He assured me he was ready and he knew he would be with Jesus. I was there, holding his hand, when he met him face to face. I can tell you the exact moment. He had pretty much stopped breathing, his eyes weren't opening anymore, he wasn't really responding to us anymore, and suddenly his eyes shot open wide, he inhaled vigorously, and he was gone. I knew at that moment he had met Jesus. That's what gives me comfort, knowing that he is with his Savior and that someday I will be too. 
     But in the meantime, happy heavenly birthday, daddy! I'll be seeing you. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Veil

Yesterday in church we were in John 16:5-15.

The pastor brought in a correlation that really got me thinking.

In this passage Jesus was speaking to His disciples about the Counselor, the Spirit of Truth, coming to them once He departed this world. He explained what the Spirit's role is in the world. Verse 8, "When He comes, He will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment," The Holy Spirit has the job of convicting people of their sin. (Not condemning, convicting.) This is the work of the Holy Spirit, among other things. It is not our work. It is His. It is not in the job description of humans to convict others, now please understand me, as a believer I am called, I am commanded, to call a spade a spade. I am commanded to call out sin and injustice, but not in a way where I lord myself over that person in condemnation. We are called to point out sin, but it is the job of the Holy Spirit to CONVICT that person of sin.

Scripture says In 2 Corinthians 3:14, "but their minds were closed. For to this day, at the reading of the old covenant, the same veil remains; it is not lifted, because it is set aside only in Christ." What this is saying is that the only way for people to see their sin for what it truly is, to understand Scripture for what it truly says, is through the power of Christ, not on their own. A few verses earlier in chapter 3 it talks about the Israelites not being able to look upon Moses after he had been in the presence of God. He had to veil his face to shield their eyes from His glory.

This is a scripture reference back to the Old Testament, Exodus 34:29-35. After Moses had entered the presence of God, he physically radiated the glory of God, so much so that the Israelites were afraid to look upon him and he had to veil his face. The people could not gaze upon the Glory of God, even if it was just a reflection, an after-burn if you will, of His glory.

Just like the physical veil Moses put on to prevent people from seeing the Glory of God, those who are not in Christ have a spiritual veil over them, preventing them from seeing the Glory of God. This veil can only be removed by the power of Christ.

This thought brought to mind Matthew 27, recounting the death of Jesus.

50-51, "Jesus shouted again with a loud voice and gave up His spirit. Suddenly, the curtain of the sanctuary was split in two from top to bottom..."

The curtain that is mentioned here is the curtain in the Temple that separated the Holy of Holies, where God's presence rested, with the rest of the Temple. The curtain was there for a reason, because any person with unconfessed sin, who gazed upon the actual Presence of God would instantly die. As mere humans we did not have direct access to God. But when Jesus, who is God in physical form, died on the cross, He took on every sin of the world, past, present and future. You see, a blood sacrifice has to be made for the redemption of sin, but not just any blood would provide permanent reconciliation. Only perfect blood could do that. So, God chose to come and take it on Himself. When Jesus died, taking on all the sins of the world, the curtain--the veil--was split, signifying that through Christ we could have direct access to God, not be separated by a veil. Christ's death and resurrection provided the way for the physical veil of the temple to come down, but it also provided the payment for the spiritual veil of sin to be torn away.

But what is our role in all of this? Well, I want to look back at Exodus 34 and 2 Corinthians 3 again. It says when Moses entered the presence of God he physically radiated from the experience. In 2 Corinthians it went on to say that the glory that shown on his face would fade as time passed and he was away from God's presence. Here's a few of things I gleaned from yesterday's message:

1) If you have truly encountered God, if you have truly entered into His presence, people will notice. There will be a change. It may frighten some people (the Israelites were afraid to look upon Moses). It may confuse or even anger some people. But, there will be a significant change. A true encounter with Jesus brings about change.

2) It will be a lasting change. 2 Corinthians 3 goes on to say in verses 8-11 that the glory shown on Moses' face was temporary, the reason being he could not continually be in the presence of God. However, the glory shown on the face of those who put their faith in Christ will be an everlasting glory, through the Holy Spirit. Through the power of the cross we can now have direct access to God, and once you have entered His presence, through the blood of Christ, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in you. You are continually in the presence of God. And that glory never fades.

3) Our role? To allow God's glory to radiate through us, allowing others to see what a true encounter with the Savior means. Our role is to radiate the Glory of God through our everyday, personal walk with Him. When we do that we allow the Holy Spirit to accomplish His role through us.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

He Celebrates 9 Years Today

Today is February 10, 2016.  February 10th is my least favorite day of the year.  Very early, in the wee hours of the morning, February 10, 2007, my daddy heard His Savior's voice calling him home.  I'll never forget that moment or the expression on daddy's face as he entered into eternity.  And though I hate that he was taken from me, I am honored I got to hold his hand and witness that moment.

Nine years.  Can it really be that long?  Almost a decade?  Though my thoughts during the day are no longer constantly consumed with him, he is still in my dreams every night. There are still moments, events, random things that bring tears to my eyes, remembering him.  

It has become tradition for me to write a blog of remembrance each year on this day.  My heart really isn't in it for some reason today, but here I am, tradition will hold.  I was reading back through previous years' posts moments ago.  What sweet memories were brought to mind as I read through my random ramblings.  

Daddy wanted me.  I know that.  He chose to have me, persuaded my mom to have another child late in life.  It makes me smile, knowing that I was wanted, chosen, loved.

Daddy was a hard man.  You didn't want to cross him.  He was small, but mighty.  He didn't mince words.  But he loved and served fiercely, usually behind the scenes, where no one would know.  

He loved to do things he wasn't supposed to do.  If he was told not to do something, that usually meant he was going to do it; whether that meant buying his daughter a $60 teddy bear AND the $60 Easter dress, because his wife said no, or whether it was throwing his granddaughters into the pool, in their pajamas, because one of their mothers had specifically said to him they were not allowed to swim anymore.  He loved to live on the edge of defiance. No one told daddy what he could or could not do.  

He loved to spoil those he loved.  I miss my weekly daddy-dates.  I miss the gifts he lavished upon me.  Not because I want all the gifts, but because that's how he said, "I love you," and I want so badly to feel that again.  He often had a hard time verbalizing his love, but he showed it in so many other ways.

I wish my children could have known him longer.  They were so young, just four and five when he died.  I fear their memories of him are fading and will eventually fail them. Grandaddy loved them so much, I hate that they may not have that memory, the memory of the love.  Besides Jake and myself, I wanted my daddy to be the first one to hold JD.  I still remember the pride on his face as he took him in his arms.  He loved that little boy like no one else could.  They had an instant bond that transcended time, space, age...

Grandaddy loved all his grandchildren to the moon and back.  Brittnee came along and he knew he was born to be a Grandaddy.  Her grandaddy.  That little girl could do no wrong. She got away with murder.  Each grandchild came, and with the excitement and pride only a Grandaddy could show, he welcomed them into the world and into our family. Alyssa, Haleigh, Kennon, Melanie, Jared...He wanted nothing more than to spend time with his grandkids and spoil them rotten.  I pray they remember that.  

I am thankful for the time we did have with him.  I am thankful, thanks to the blood of Jesus, many in our family will have the opportunity to be with him again.  
Until that time comes, I will keep on remembering, keep on loving, and today I will say, "happy 9th homecoming day daddy.  I'll be seeing you."

Douglas Cox Haynie February 26, 1939 - February 10, 2007

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Yes, He will...

One the most often quoted "scriptures" is actually not even found in the Bible.  
That may seem like a confusing statement, so let me explain.  
I hear this statement several times a week.  I see it quoted on Facebook memes.  Well-meaning people pat others, who are going through gut-wrenching times, on the back and say it.  
Someone, at some point, a long long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, twisted some scripture around and there birthed this now over-quoted saying.  But, it is complete and total hogwash.  
What is this falsehood of which I speak? Maybe you already know.
"God will never give you more than you can handle."  
No where, and I repeat, no where in the Bible does it say this.  Now, the Bible does speak of you never being put into a temptation without having a way out, and maybe this is the verse that got confused over time (?), but scripture does not say God won't give you more than you can handle.  In fact, scripture, and life, is proof that He will.
Moses, Abraham, David, Daniel...hero after hero in the Bible, their histories show they had much more put on them than they could handle on their own.
Look at life now.  Loss of children.  Suicide of loved ones.  Friends and family dealing with cancer.  I have a dear friend who just ended a four year battle with breast cancer last Sunday.  She left behind a loving husband and 3 beautiful children.  Do you think these things are "more than they can handle" at times?  Absolutely.  

But this is the point.  God doesn't want us to do this on our own.  He doesn't want US to handle it.  He wants us to give it all over to Him and let Him shoulder our cares and concerns.  We aren't supposed to lean on our own understanding, on our own strength. God doesn't want us relying on ourselves.  And by saying He won't give us more than we can handle, that is exactly what we are saying, that I can rely on me.  I don't need anyone or anything else.
Life WILL throw curveballs at us that we don't understand, that we aren't prepared to handle, that are just too much.  And that's okay.  Sometimes we can't handle it.  
But HE can. Hand it over.  
God won't give you more than HE can handle.  Truth. 
And He can handle anything, if you let Him.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Proficiency Exam

Here in Nevada the high school students have to take proficiency exams.  It doesn't matter if they made straight A's, if they can't pass the exam, they flunk. No matter how good they were.  These tests mean the difference between moving on or staying back.  Passing or failing.  Effort in the class means nothing if they can't pass this test.
Now let's say those high school students are in a class with a teacher who is not only an expert on the subject, he actually IS the subject (think William Faulkner being the teacher in Faulkner English or William Shakespeare being the teacher in a class on Shakespeare).  But not only is he the subject, he truly wants his students to pass.  He doesn't want a single student to fail.  Not one.  So, he decides to do something completely radical.  Since he's the one who wrote the test, he decides to give out the answers ahead of time.  He doesn't do it in secret or to just a select few, he readily gives them to anyone who is willing to listen.  He puts out an invite, "Answers to the proficiency exam will be given the next 3 nights at 6PM.  Anyone who comes will be given the answers to the test."
He waits.
A few people start to trickle in.  Most people think it's a joke at first, or a trick.  Surely the author of the test wouldn't readily hand out the answers to the test.  But it's no trick.  He tells them exactly what will be on their proficiency exam.  Exactly what they have to know to pass.  The exact questions and the exact answers to those questions.  And then he does something even more amazing.  He says, "Now go tell everyone else who didn't show up."
Now the ball is in those students' court.  They have a choice to make.  They can choose to keep the answers to themselves, after all, they were the ones who made the effort to come listen, the others chose not to, right?  Or, they could do as the teacher asked, they could tell their fellow students.  Most chose to go tell the other students.
The ones who went out to tell others the good news got mixed reactions.  Some people were really excited.  Seriously?!?  You have the answers to the final exam?  If I just do this I'll pass?  Nice!  They took the answers and even helped spread the word.
Others scoffed.  Yeah, right!  Why would the teacher just willingly hand over the answers to the test?  It's too easy!  It's a trick!
Still others said, "that's nice, but I don't like those answers.  I've been studying and I've come up with different answers.  I think mine are better.  Why can't there be multiple answers?"  
You try to reason with those people.  "It's no trick."  "Yes, it's easy, but that's the way the teacher wanted it."  "No, there cannot be more than one answer." "Why?  Because the one who wrote the test said this...this right here was the answer.  See, he had me write it down.  It's in black and white."  "No, I didn't write it down wrong.  I didn't hear incorrectly.  He said this was what was on the test, and this was the only way to pass."
Still some chose not to listen.  They went into the test unprepared. Every single student who didn't have the answers the teacher had given out flunked the exam and by extension the class.  They failed.  

"For God so loved the world He gave His one and only Son, that anyone who believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world might be saved through Him.  For anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he does not believe in the Name of the one and only Son of God."  John 3:16-18

"Jesus told him, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through Me." John 14:6

"If you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."  Romans 10:9

"For the Lord does not delay in His promise, as some understand delay, but He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish but all to come to repentance."  2 Peter 3:9

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word WAS GOD."  John 1:1 (my own emphasis added)


Friday, May 8, 2015

OM...please don't go there

     So, I am writing this blog specifically to those who call themselves followers of Christ. Others are more than welcome to continue reading, in fact, I hope you do, but this entry is geared towards "Christians".  
The reason I say that is I am going to call you out.  You, yes you.  The one who may or may not realize you are taking the Lord's name in vain on a regular basis.  
It has become so commonplace for people to use the phrase "OMG".  I hear it and see it more times than I care to count each day.  It has become a simple statement, like LOL and BFF.  I hear and see it everywhere, and though I hate to hear it from anyone, it is the believers in Christ I am going to call out on this.
     You see, it's not just a simple statement, because what it stands for isn't just "laugh out loud" or "best friends forever".  It actually means "oh my God."  Now, many of you will say, "well, when I say it, I am thinking 'oh my goodness' in my head."  But that's not what the world hears/sees, and that's not what it means.  I can make up any personal statement for any set of letters, but that doesn't mean that's what they mean to the world.  
     But it goes farther than just OMG.  I hear those who profess to be believers in Christ actually saying "Oh my God."   I hear little kids say, "Oh my God" all the time, just mimicking what they hear from the world around them.  I actually heard a pastor and someone else in ministry use this term a few weeks back.  This tears my heart to pieces.  
     As believers we are called to be set apart.  Not only that, but we are specifically told NOT to take the Lord's name in vain.  There was a very good reason for this.  Today we use names very flippantly.  Some names are almost just made up words at this point.  But in Biblical times a name equated the person, it literally equalled the very essence of who the person was.  By taking the Lord's name in vain you aren't just using His name out of context, you are cursing Him, His very essence.  Do we realize this?  Can we let this sink in for a few moments?  When we flippantly use the Lord's name, saying "OMG", "Oh my God", or worse, we are in essence cursing the Creator of the Universe.
Now, I don't know about you, but to me that's not only profoundly disrespectful, but decidedly a scary thing to do!
     Let us be aware of what we allow to come out of our mouths, or typed onto our keyboards.  I am calling on believers to guard you hearts, guard your minds, and tame your tongues.  As it says in James 3:10, "Praising and cursing come out of the same mouth.  My brothers, these things should not be this way."

Thursday, April 9, 2015

A Question Posed

     A question was asked in our Bible study last night.  Jake and I love when people in NorthStar's congregation are truly seeking and wanting to grow and learn.  People often feel like they need to apologize for asking questions.  Maybe they feel they are the only ones who don't know the answer.  Maybe they feel it isn't the appropriate time.  Whatever the reason, let me say this, if you are honestly wanting to learn and grow and seek the truth, then questions are always welcome--well, maybe not in the middle of a sermon on Sunday morning, but if you have them at that time, write them down so you don't forget, and seek out the pastor or a trusted church leader after service, I know they will be more than happy to answer your questions.  
     How else are any of us going to learn or grow in our faith?  We must all continue to seek, to ask, to listen and learn.  If we aren't willing to ask how will we find the answer?  I think it's a sad state of our society where we feel we have to pretend we know all the answers, pretend we don't have any questions or doubts or concerns.  Not one human being has all the answers.  Not one.  Anyone who says he does is lying, to himself and to you.  All of us are searching and striving to find truth, even if we go about it in different ways.  All that being said, I want to applaud the person who opened up to the vulnerability of asking a very serious question last night.
     We were asked if Satan is the brother of Jesus.  Unfortunately this is taught in some religions, and it is wrong.  I'm not going to beat around the bush or mince and words here, saying that Jesus and Satan are brothers is a lie.  It is the same lie he has tried to spin for millennia, that he is equal to God.  
     There are only 2 possibilities if this were true, and both are catastrophic. 
The 1st option is that Satan is also then God.  If Jesus and Satan are brothers, and Jesus is God, it stands to reason that Satan is too.  But this cannot be, as he is not omnipotent, omnipresent or omniscient.  Thank goodness!  He doesn't not have the power God does.  He is not God's equal.  He is just as much a finite being as you and I are.  He had a beginning just as you and I did.  He was created, just as you and I were.  
The 2nd option may be even more disastrous.  If Jesus and Satan and brothers, and Satan is not God, then Jesus cannot be God either.  The reason this is a completely and utterly gut-wrenching statement is because if Jesus is not God, His death on the cross was in vain.  You see, a mere man dying on the cross would do nothing more than simply die.  Thousands of men have died that way, two on the same day and time as Jesus.  Their deaths meant nothing to society or to the world.  Their deaths meant nothing to the souls of men.  If Jesus is simply a man, then His death was pointless.  The only way His death could have any power over sin--past, present, and future--is if He is God Himself.  
It had to be the perfect blood of the one and only perfect Creator, taking the place of His creation.  
If Jesus isn't God, we are all helplessly and hopelessly damned.  

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!" 
1 Corinthians 15:57
     The TRUTH of the matter is this:  Jesus is God.  Jesus and Satan are not brothers.  Satan was created as an angel and chose to fall.  Each and every day he deceives people on this earth, blinds them into believing lies about God, about themselves, about him.  You see, he knows the ending.  He knows that ultimately God wins, and like every prideful, sore-loser, he wants to take as many people down with him as he can.
     He doesn't get a second chance.  We do.  Right now.  Now is your chance to accept Christ's forgiveness.  The Bible says for ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  Every.Single.One.  But it doesn't stop there.  It's not hopeless.  "The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."  There is the hope.  There is the Truth.  
     Will there still be questions and wonderings and doubts?  Certainly.  But of this you can be sure, He who promised is faithful.  He will never let go.  He will never grow tired or weary.  It is by His GRACE we can be saved, nothing else. Grace alone.  The only pathway to that grace is faith in Jesus Christ.  Oh, won't you reach out and grab hold of that grace today?!? 

Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin!