Tag Archives: comfort

Whose God is He Anyway?

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The first time I heard this unconventional song (see below for video)  it took time to process.  It had me thinking, and I had to take a step back and examine myself- my beliefs. Did I believe what I thought I believed?  Was what I believed right? Was God the God of thieves, whores, pedophiles even?  Isn’t this truth?  Why was I rethinking it?   I wanted to believe my God was also “their” God, but was I able to get beyond the “want” to the certainty of it?

When you read about the underbelly of society in the Bible the words used aren’t quite as direct as in this day and age.  They don’t feel like “pedophiles” and “whores”.  These are more uncomfortable to me.  Was I judging?  I don’t believe in judging…do I?

Biblically, sin is sin.  It’s hard to discern from reading the Bible that one sin is worse than another- except disavowing God. The consequences of sins vary greatly which may make us think some are worse than others. I have to admit at this point we may not agree. It’s challenging to fathom speaking poorly about someone behind their back is as bad as a sexual sin.  I kind of reconcile that dealing with our sin is God’s responsibility when it is all said and done.  It’s not that I don’t have to worry about my sins or those of anyone else.  There are things, though, I/we just can’t fathom here on earth.  I trust that God is omnipotent and takes care of it in His amazing way(s).   All things… work together for good… to them that love the Lord… and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

Though I didn’t recognize I had issue with this, there was something nudging me as I listened to Kees Kraayenoord’s song.  I had to reconcile myself to the idea that the God I love and who loves me, is the same God who loves people who do despicable things. My God is everyone’s God.  He isn’t just here for me.  He’s not just mine.  He isn’t the God for only those who do good or live in a way that is pleasing to me.  He is the God of/for everyone…the worst of the worst and the best of the best.  He is the God of the Moon and the Stars and I come to Him.

People do unspeakable things.  I don’t agree with the choices everyone featured in this song makes.  I don’t agree with all the choices I make.  I have awaken to the notion there is one God and He is the God of all.  He loves us all.  His forgiveness is accessible to all.

Don’t watch this for the visuals or video dynamics.  You will be disappointed.  Watch and hear this for the words it expresses.

Completely thought provoking.

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A Chapter Closed-at least for now.

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Today a chapter in my book of life closed-temporarily.  Someone who I’ve become friends with over the years succumbed to the pressure of cancer and she has moved from her life on earth to her eternal life in Heaven.  Sweet Kathleen fought a courageous battle. The odds were against her.  Sadly, dear loved ones, including a husband and two children, are facing one of the toughest nights of their lives right now.

I knew Kathleen was coming close to the end of her life among us.  Two days ago I saw two deer in the neighbor’s front yard while I was taking a walk.  My thoughts went to Kathleen immediately. I wondered if her time had come.  It made me think of Psalm 42.  It wasn’t time yet.

Today I walked again and the cloud formation above me was shaped as a beautiful cross.  I wondered again.  How is Kathleen?  Hours later I learned from a friend she had passed.  

I had to attend a meeting following the notice and my thoughts were sad; my heart aching for Kathleen’s family.  I entered the meeting place and went to the open chair at the table.  As I began to sit I noticed something on the chair.  It was the metal heart shown at the top of this message.  I have no idea why it was there, but it made me think of God’s deep, wide and everlasting love.  He will not leave us not forget us. 

I didn’t have a chance to speak to Kathleen directly before she died.  Her husband and children wouldn’t know me very well, but I knew of her pride of them.  I would want them to know Kathleen touched my life in a beautiful way.  She made me smile and laugh.  She was a lovely woman.  She was part of a chapter in my life and I was blessed to know her.

 

Psalm 42- The Living Bible

42 As the deer pants for water, so I long for you, O God. 2 I thirst for God, the living God. Where can I find him to come and stand before him? 3 Day and night I weep for his help, and all the while my enemies taunt me. “Where is this God of yours?” they scoff.

4-5 Take courage, my soul! Do you remember those times (but how could you ever forget them!) when you led a great procession to the Temple on festival days, singing with joy, praising the Lord? Why then be downcast? Why be discouraged and sad? Hope in God! I shall yet praise him again. Yes, I shall again praise him for his help.[a]

6 Yet I am standing here depressed and gloomy, but I will meditate upon your kindness to this lovely land where the Jordan River flows and where Mount Hermon and Mount Mizar stand. 7 All your waves and billows have gone over me, and floods of sorrow pour upon me like a thundering cataract.[b]

8 Yet day by day the Lord also pours out his steadfast love upon me, and through the night I sing his songs and pray to God who gives me life.

9 “O God my Rock,” I cry, “why have you forsaken me? Why must I suffer these attacks from my enemies?” 10 Their taunts pierce me like a fatal wound; again and again they scoff, “Where is that God of yours?” 11 But, O my soul, don’t be discouraged. Don’t be upset. Expect God to act! For I know that I shall again have plenty of reason to praise him for all that he will do. He is my help! He is my God!

 

 

COMFORT and JOY Comfort Dogs Help Heal Newtown, CT

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Reflections from Tim Hetzner – President of Lutheran Church Charities

Reflections from the heart from Friday, December 14th – Sandy Hook Tragedy

Since hearing of the shootings early on the 14th, to being invited out with our Comfort Dogs that same day, leaving at 6 am Saturday, arriving Saturday night with 10 LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs and handlers – it all now seems like a blur.

It was nonstop – and in many ways still is as we prepare to return for the opening of school on January 2nd. Every emotion plays in – crying, hugging, smiling, listening, being in awe. My heart bleeds for the families of those who lost young children in this way, and the loss of respected teachers and workers. I don’t know if I could ever experience what they feel. I do know this! In darkness, light always shines through! In evil acts, God’s mercy and goodness always prevails!

A close friend asked me today if I had the emotional strength to go back; we are leaving at 3 am on January 1st. My answer was NO, but we have to – it is what we do with the LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs – bringing the Mercy, Compassion, Presence and Proclamation of Jesus Christ to those suffering. To bring comfort and healing to those who suffer. To see how the Almighty Creator works through one of his creation – these golden retrievers – and to see how tired they are but how anxious they are to return – well – THEY KNOW, YES THEY KNOW, they know that they have to go back – and they are ready! God also knows where He wants us!

Please continue to keep the town and surrounding area of Newtown, Connecticut in your prayers. Everyone there are incredible people! I have learned so much from them and their love for each other and their courage! So this is my reflection, – the “rest of the story” – we’ll let the pictures of the Comfort Dogs with the children and people speak for themselves.

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To all who have supported in prayer and financially to make our trip possible – I say THANK YOU!

God Bless YOU! Please continue to keep ALL in your prayers,

Tim

Click here to donate

Click here for the photo gallery

Click here for other stories in the news 

When Depression Comes Life A Thief

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It wasn’t the best weekend.  It was long and while most people are coveting the extra time for fun and frolic I’m wondering when it will be over so I can be back to business without too much time on my hands.  That’s what depression can do to you.  It robs and steals from you.  It’s a thief.  It takes away pleasures that should be yours.  It uses your moments of peace and quiet to manipulate your mind into thinking lies about yourself.

Knowing I can be a victim I look for alternatives that soothe my spirit and make the thief surrender.  One solution for me has been reading Psalms.  They are truly works of literary art.  They tell stories from the past that are incredibly relevant to modern day life.  They are filled with nature, majesty, beauty, passion and love.  They talk about things I feel today connecting me to someone who lived thousands of years ago.  We have so much in common yet we are so far apart.

I began to read Psalm 107 and I listen to the people talking about wandering, being lost, being homeless, hungry and thirsty.  They were gloomy and miserable feeling like prisoners in chains.  They got into situations that tossed them around and made them feel uncertain and unsafe.  They were oppressed, in trouble and felt great sorrow.   Really?  This isn’t now?  It’s got to be now.  I hear stories like this all the time. Sometimes I’m the one doing the talking.

But it isn’t now.  It was generations ago.  It is all historically factual.  Each time the people got into trouble they started crying out to God to save them and help them.  These were people who never listened to what they were told to do.  Yet when they got into trouble they ran to the only person they knew who could save them.  Over and over again, God’s faithfulness returned.  This led the author of Psalm 107 to write, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever!”  I must remember that.

In the final words of this Psalm we are told if we are wise we will take this to heart- history will show the faithful love of the Lord.

One of my all time favorite quotes is, “When satan comes to knock on the door of your heart, send Jesus to answer it!”  Well I liken depression to satan.  When it’s trying to steal from me I try to remember to call upon our very faithful Father in Heaven whose love endures forever.  He was with the people thousands of years ago and He is with you and me now.   And I am comforted.