The Young Boy And His Fear of Dogs

 

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Young Todd could barely catch his breath as the neighbor’s dog attempted to chase him down. He hid behind the playground wall that was just high enough to cover his entire body. Todd’s heart pounded with fear as he tearfully pleaded with his own thoughts for the dog to go away. In his mind this was a matter of his life being on the line. He was a long ways from home at this point.

The young boy had always struggled with a borderline phobia of dogs. Dogs were mean, hateful, and always seemed to chase or bark at him relentlessly. He had never even patted a puppy before for the fear that the puppy would bite him. Though his brothers would love to own a puppy one day, their parents have always opposed because of Todd’s fear.

After less than a minute of searching for Todd, the neighbor’s dog finally gave up and left. Little did the young boy understand, all the dog wanted to do was play. Still, in Todd’s head, that dog wanted to eat him skin and bones. No sense in taking chances and playing with fire.

By the time Todd made it back home his mother was standing on the porch, tapping her foot. Frustration was practically stemming from her – “Where have you been, Todd? You’re supposed to be home by 7:30 and you’re not supposed to be out alone either. It is 9:00; your brothers are already in bed and we’ve been worried sick.”

“But but Mm Mom,” stuttered Todd, “Brodie jump over the neighbor’s fence again and chased me all the way to the park.”

Remorseful, but still frustrated, “Ok Todd. Come inside. But you’ve got to eventually get over your fear. Dogs aren’t here to hurt you. One day I hope you’ll understand that.”

Todd and his mother went inside the house where there were leftovers ready for him on the table.

His mother still concerned said, “Todd, I’m going to pray over you. Heavenly Father, I thank you for my son. For his heart, his laughter, and his joy. We thank you for the gift of life. I want to ask that you take away the fear of dogs from my son. Help him see that dogs aren’t dangerous. Help him see that you created them in all their beauty. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.”

After finishing up dinner, Todd heads to bed and is tucked in by his mom.

“Goodnight, Todd.”

“Goodnight, Mom.”

That is when it happened:

Next thing Todd knows he is in a dream. Though, apart from most dreams, this dream seemed magically real. Todd starts off walking through the lobby of a building. His is the only one around but can hear slight commotion from behind the walls. Suddenly, tall, light brown double doors appeared that led to behind the walls. Oddly enough, at the moment, Todd had no sense of fear. Having nowhere else to go he opened the doors to walk through.

Todd was now in a gigantic room filled with people everywhere – so many that he could not count. Todd was a short kid anyways, so even if he could count that high he would not be able to see overhead enough to look yonder. The sea of people parted as they created a pathway for the young boy. By this point all the chatter settled and all eyes were on Todd as he naturally walked down the aisle. It was as if Todd knew where to go. On the other hand, he had no other direction to go. Still, there was a strange sense of peace in him.

Eventually his gaze left the crowded people to focus straight ahead up the aisle. What he almost saw now was a man – though he wasn’t fully a man. Todd vision was distorted a little as his eyes tried to figure out what he was looking at. He’d never seen a man like this before. He was half man, half spiritual-like, wearing a long robe. When Todd was finally directly in front of the man his eyes finally adjusted to see the angelic being in front of him. Todd was in awe. The hairs on the man’s head were white, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire. Still, Todd felt a calmness that he never felt before.

The man standing before Todd then slightly bent over to hover above him.

“Hello Todd,” stated the man. His voice threw Todd off guard. The man’s voice was not simply that of a human’s voice. It sounded similar to the roaring waters he had heard when his family went white water rafting. “I love you. I am going to put a crown on your head. Right now, I want you to see my creation the way I see my creation!”

Instantly, dozens of dogs came from behind the angelic man coming toward Todd. Though his inclination was to panic, this time he could not do so. The dogs looked different. He could absolutely see they were dogs. That did not change. What Todd sees now is “Love” in the dogs. It was as if Todd was looking at multiple real-life hieroglyphics in a 4th dimension. Todd can see his mother, his father, brothers, his favorite teacher, his favorite food, all his warm life moments, AND each dog simultaneously…all while he looks at the dogs. Todd could not believe it. For the first time he did not want to run. He wanted hug all the dogs. And that is exactly what he did. With all joy.

The man, still standing there then uttered, “You see Todd, I create Love. Nothing that I create is bad.  You view things dimly. I have the ability to open your eyes to more joy. Now wake up, and see”.

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A Pedophile’s Story in Heaven

It is the best of times. Although, in this place here, there actually is no such thing as time – There is only timeless eternity. Everyone is so filled with life and joy that tears could continually flow from our eyes – Albeit, there are no tears here. The perfection of the sun shines so brightly that there is not a single shadow created from the luminous light. Still, there actually is no sun here. We have the luxury of having the glory of God as our sun!

I rested in one of my favorite places: it has this title because I enjoy laying beside the tigers and the deer as they peacefully play together. This place is also my favorite because sometimes I can watch my daughter play football with other people. She was my daughter back on earth, but here she is ultimately and objectively seen as God’s daughter. Nonetheless, I still pleasure in proudly watching her play (especially as the quarterback). She always wanted to play with her older brothers back on earth, but was not strong nor fast enough to keep up. Here in the Kingdom, there is a removal of the physical advantages of the sexes. We all have powerful, heavenly ageless bodies.

On the last play of the game my daughter threw a bomb pass about 200 yards into the arms of her friend Josh who made a spectacular diving touchdown catch. My favorite part of his catch was that his impact did not even harm the grass underneath him. The grass here is unlike the weak, fragile earthly grass. In this place we see the true grass that God intended for creation, before The Fall. This grass is so firm that it cannot bent nor can be pulled from the ground itself! The beauty of the heavenly grass blades is greater than the grandeur of any waterfall back on earth. Goodness, it is impossible to fairly describe the epic waterfalls here in The Kingdom.

Josh and my daughter glided toward me in merriment. “Dad, did you see that catch! Josh here gets the MVP again. Show off” She jokingly pushed Josh’s arm. The young looking man just smiled and shook off the praise.

“Hey it’s almost time for the next banquet feast,” exclaimed Josh, with a sudden jolt of excitement. “If we leave now we can make the opening story given today”

The three of us headed over to the banquet feast. At the beginning of each banquet someone tells the crowd their story of how Jesus saved them back on earth. No story is ever too small. No story ever leaves us short of satiated praise of what God freely did for us. Afterwards we feast and drink in laughter.

One of the angels signaled for today’s speaker to come in front of the podium. The speaker spoke in a strong, educated English accent:

“Hello family. My name is Henry. I was once a university professor and happily married to a woman of 15 years. Neither of us knew Christ or even gave thought to him. On weekends my neighbors began asking me to watch over their adolescent son. The son was mentally disabled and helplessly mute. For 10 years I would periodically watch him. For 10 years I would sexual abuse this child. I rarely gave time to feel guilt or shame. Neither was I ever caught in my wrong doing. Eventually I earned another teaching job and we moved away. My marriage began to disintegrate and we eventually divorced.

I was left to myself. My life grew darker. A close friend begged that I should look to the Lord, but I despised the frivolity of the religious teachings that I learned in my youth. Regardless, my life reached the point where I was sinning at such a varsity level that I thought that there was no way that God could ever love me. Therefore, I dove headfirst into my sinning further and further. Until all I saw was the mirage of Hell itself.

In my 60th year, a homeless man stopped me as I walked to the store. I begrudgingly gave him a few seconds of my time. Instead of asking me for money, he went on unexpected rant about how Jesus had recently ‘saved him’. I wanted to walk away…however, his speech was curiously robust. Normally, I relate to intellectual dexterity yet he spoke with pure visceral emotion. For the first time in my life, I had heard. I heard. That day I bought a Bible and read until my eyelids were numb. I wrestled with the Lord and finally gave my life to Christ. I was infinitely lost and Jesus’ mercy grabbed me by the waist.

I prayed that God would show me my next steps. The following Sunday I joined a church family. The very next day the doctor informed me that I was diagnosed with Stage 4 brain cancer with only three months to live. After crying for hours, the Spirit reminded me that my life was already not my own anymore – but rather, it was in God’s all along. My burdens lifted from that simple truth and led me to live the last three months of my life for Christ. When my new church family heard my full story, praise for God erupted. There was a major revival in the city and everyone was coming to Christ! What I, in my past life, intended for harm….God used for good. I now see that my past life was a mirage. What I saw as blurry darkness, I now clearly see the beauty of God’s redemption.

♪ ♪ ♪ I will forever praise him. The rhythms of his grace are extravagant. You are God. You are Good. You are Jesus ♫ ♫”

The Professor then signaled for someone else to rise. Everyone turned to see Josh, my daughter’s MVP wide receiver, stand up.

“This is Josh,” pronounced the Professor. “He is the young boy that I molested for ten years. His suffered greatly on earth. Nevertheless, God graciously saved both his life and mine. We are eternally grateful”.

Josh, who was once mentally disabled and mute…who lived a life of deformity – was no longer bound in that inescapable box. He now lives in holy paradise. His new body was from God.  He radiates God’s glory along with the rest of us. We all simultaneously rejoiced to God.

To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory forever and ever!!

AMA: Attractive Mothers Anonymous

All mothers, with the exception of my mother, are gorgeous. It is a universal truth, more or less, that the elegance of a mother blinds the retinas of angels. Beauty buoyantly flows over the earth and retires downward onto the hearty lap of a mother. In similar tone, but in slight contrast … my mother is one gorgeous hot tamale!! My Karen. “Kal-Kal” – as her high school cohorts used to call her. For the record, that’s such a weird nickname for someone that won Homecoming Queen. But of course, it was the 70’s and everything was weird (The Rocky movies were so cheesy).

My mother would flourish if she grew up in this generation. She would probably have over a thousand followers on Twitter. On her birthday, a plethora of her girl friends would post Instagram photos of her on their own accounts just to give my mother birthday love. She would post new Facebook statuses and hundreds of people would “Like” it. She would experience greater educational advances, career opportunities, breakthrough technology, medical advances, and better movies. She could get on eHarmony and fall in love with my dad all over again. My bet is that Kal-Kal would have gone to a fancy university, hopefully Clemson University. In a cliché but simple tagline ….. “My mother would rule the world”.

 

When recently bringing this revelation up to my mother, she insisted that she would still prefer to have grown up in the time period of the 1970’s. She claims that today’s society has a deeper level of superficiality, narcissism, violence, and materialism. After I reiterated the powerful opportunities that she would be gaining, she still stood with the 1970’s. Her mother – my grandmother – was asked a similar question. Growing up in the 1930’s versus the 1970’s; It is obvious of the lack of opportunities that faced my grandmother. She even went on to say that her family was poor and everyone around them was poor. However, even as she is sill tangibly reminiscent of all she went through, she prefers to grow up again in her own time period. Her reasons were because the young people of the 70’s were more superficial, focused on completion, and craving material.

One may argue that past generations tends to romanticize theirs and criticize the ones after it. Here is the thing about that: My grandmother would have to be a fool to attempt to romanticize being a female AND living in the pre-civil rights era. What most of the older generations (religious or nonreligious) are trying to say is that everything – material, careers, economy, powers, fashion, money, music, tastes, health, family, friends – fades away. Life is hard and difficult and no one controls it. No one controls it. Therefore there is no sense in craving to live in an alternative generation. It cannot be escaped.

What matters is the soul. What matters is the direction the soul is pointing. A soul that points inward is useless. What matters is community that you can grow in Christ-like love with. For my mom to focus on having a thin, teenage body and being Homecoming Queen again would be a wasteful goal. What my mother, grandmother and Bible are inexplicitly stating is this:

Want to conquer social media?  It is insatiable and a psychological hindrance.

Want to escape violence?  There will always be evil.

Want a higher paying job?  Money doesn’t bring eternal joy.

Want to do hot yoga & the Paleo diet?  Your body will still inevitably betray you.

Love music?  Songs become repetitive; i.e. Pharell’s hit song “Happy”

Want more friends?  Friends will eventually let you down.

Want a spouse?  A chunk of marriage is tough and stressful.

Want to be single?  A chunk of singleness is lonely and stressful.

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To be clear, it is not that any of those things are bad. It is more so that Life has taught them that their body is the only body they’ll ever have. Their mind is the only mind they’ll ever have. Externals fade. Therefore, for the believer, the end goal is the kingdom of Heaven and eternity with Jesus. Everything else – good or bad – fall to the waist side. Life is short and our time on earth is like dwindling grass … we must realize that we do not have enough time to focus on externals (James 4:14, Psalm 103:15-16, 1 Corin. 7:29-31). Only then can we begin to attain real joy! A merriment that makes the world see Jesus in us.

The Bible will say that individual “generations” are not the problem, but that the problem is the sinfulness of man (Mark 7:20-23, Romans 3:10-12). Knowingly so, no matter when or where we live … there will always be man present. The wise people see that the world is sinful and they themselves are guilty as well. The sooner we throw ourselves onto the grace and mercy of Christ the sooner we are transformed into correctly seeing that all that we have and all that we have been given in a very very different light. Whatever season you are in, be thankful and be ALL there. We should be weary to place our hope in fleeting success, material, or physical appearance. This concept is reflective of 1 Corinthians 10:31 which can be re-worded into this context by saying, “Whether you live in the 1930s, 1970s, 2000s, or 1400s, do life to the glory of God.”

I’m traveling home for the Independence Day. I will get to see me precocious 4 year-old nephew for the first time in almost 5 months. I’m beyond excited. He is my best friend. So there will be a ton of hugging and laughter. He’s into Spiderman now so I bought him a cool Spiderman toy to make him like me even more, haha. A time is coming when he’s not going to see me as the coolest person in the world anymore. A time is coming when I’m going to look at his generation with an odd look on my face thinking, “Good gosh this new generation is too superficial and materialistic.” Ooh the misconceptions of sin. Touche Satan. Thank God for the scriptures and the revelation of Christ. #boom

7 More Funny Christian Jokes I’ve Heard (3rd Edition)

1.  A minister is driving down the road and is stopped for speeding. The state trooper smells alcohol on his breath,

sees an empty wine bottle on the floor, and asks, “Sir, have you been drinking?”

The minister replies, “Just water.”

The trooper asks, “Then why do I smell wine?”

The minister looks down at the bottle and exclaims, “Good Lord, He’s done it again!”

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2.  One day, GOD talked to Bill Gates.
“Considering your contribution to the world and also your disbelief in me, I am going to do something that I never did before. I am going to allow you to choose between Heaven or Hell”.

amazed, Bill Gates try to remain objective. He wanted to see both Heaven and Hell before made the decision.

then GOD shows him the Heaven. it’s so beautiful, so graceful, fill of peace and praises to GOD.

satisfied, Bill Gates wanted to see the Hell.

GOD shows him the Hell, full of sexy ladies, partying all time, having fun and no rules at all.

Finally, Bill Gates decided that he wanted to be in Hell. GOD have asked him to confirm because once decision made, can’t cancel it.

So when Bill Gates died, GOD put him in Hell.
After several days, GOD wonders how Bill Gates enjoy his life in Hell.

After looking for sometime, GOD founds Bill Gates crying and sulking in a corner. He cried “GOD, where are all the fun? the girls? the parties?”.

GOD responded “Dear Bill, didn’t we told you? It was all just a screen saver.”

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3.  On the sixth day, God created the platypus. And God said: “Let’s see the evolutionists try and figure this one out.”

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4.  A man arrives at the gates of heaven. St. Peter asks, “Denomination?” The man says, “Methodist.” St. Peter looks down his list, and says, “Go to room 24, but be very quiet as you pass room 8.”

Another man arrives at the gates of heaven. “Denomination?”

“Lutheran.”

“Go to room 18, but be very quiet as you pass room 8.”

A third man arrives at the gates. “Denomination?”

“Presbyterian.”

“Go to room 11, but be very quiet as you pass room 8.”

The man says, “I can understand there being different rooms for different denominations, but why must I be quiet when I pass room 8?”

St. Peter tells him, “Well the Baptists are in room 8, and they think they’re the only ones here.

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5.  One day, Joe, Bob and Dave were hiking in a wilderness area when they came upon a large, raging, violent river. They needed to get to the other side, but had no idea of how to do so.

Joe prayed to God, saying, “Please God, give me the strength to cross this river.”

Poof! God gave him big arms and strong legs, and he was able to swim across the river in about two hours, although he almost drowned a couple of times.

Seeing this, Dave prayed to God, saying, “Please God, give me the strength and the tools to cross this river.”

Poof! God gave him a rowboat and he was able to row across the river in about an hour, after almost capsizing the boat a couple of times.

Bob had seen how this worked out for the other two, so he also prayed to God saying, “Please God, give me the strength and the tools, and the intelligence, to cross this river.”

Poof! God turned him into a woman. She looked at the map, hiked upstream a couple of hundred yards, then walked across the bridge.

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6.  There was an American basketball player that had a tournament in Dublin. After one of his games he stepped outside for a breath of fresh air when he felt a gun in his back. “What’s your religion?” he heard the man growl.

Bobby (the player) had no real religion but he knew if he said he was Catholic and this guy was a Protestant he would kill him and if he said he was Protestant and the guy was Catholic he would kill him.

Thinking quickly he said “I’m Jewish.” and the man replied, “Oh Allah I must be the luckiest Arab in all of Ireland.”

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7.  Recently a teacher, a garbage collector, and a lawyer wound up together at the Pearly Gates. St. Peter informed them that in order to get into Heaven, they would each have to answer one question.

St. Peter addressed the teacher and asked, “What was the name of the ship that crashed into the iceberg? They just made a movie about it.” The teacher answered quickly, “That would be the Titanic.” St. Peter let him through the gate.

St. Peter turned to the garbage man and, figuring Heaven didn’t REALLY need all the odors that this guy would bring with him, decided to make the question a little harder: “How many people died on the ship?” Fortunately for him, the trash man had just seen the movie and answered, “about 1,500.” “That’s right! You may enter.”

St. Peter then turned to the lawyer. “Name them.”

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Our Future Wedding Feast with Jesus!

I have gotten the warm pleasure of joining this particular small group within one of the many churches I have been trying out. This is my first time being in a community of believers that has such a wide age variation- from people my age up to married couples and even grandparents. And here’s what I’ve noticed…..

It is good. There is a sweet and vivid depiction of Christ-like love in how the entire group communes together. Since Day One there has been nonstop laughter followed by deep-deep worship. One thing that has strongly caught my eye is how the young children around treat their fathers.  They. Love. Their. Daddy.  I mean, those kids absolutely adore their dads. You can see the pure admiration in their eyes, even the babies.  In the future, I want that very badly. I’m praying for it. Now, it is not that those guys did everything right per se, because there is the element of God’s grace…but I sure do want to learn from them though. I’m taking notes with a permanent mental-marker.

What is even more special is that this weekly occurrence of meeting together for fellowship happens everywhere across the globe. Believers constantly gathering together to pray and cry and eat and laugh.  This picture, when seen from a holistic perspective, is jaw-dropping. We have brothers and sisters THROUGHOUT the world, but can’t really come close to grasping or seeing the fullness of what exactly is happening. But one day we will. One day we will.

The scriptures repetitively attempt to show us this theme of eating together, sometimes partying in celebration even. In summary, those scriptures say that:

good food and good wine is to be enjoyed with good friends and an abundance of jokes and laughter because….this is how we practice for heaven.”

The big question now becomes, “what are we practicing for?”

Some of my favorite imagery in Revelation is that of the future “Wedding Supper of the Lamb.” The possibilities of what that will look like are endless.  Fortunately, Revelation 19-20 gives us some details. During the second coming of Jesus, after the Judgment, there will be a great multitude of joyful singing and music leading up to the millennial reign of Christ. There will be epic shouting of praises because we finally see God in his fullness and to our shock He has chosen us to be with him.  It will literally sweep us off our feet.  No seriously, it literally will…because what directly follows is the Marriage of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7,8). This will consist of us, the corporate members of the church, being made ready for our impending event with Christ. Just try to imagine the feeling of what that’s going to be like. The excitement of our full consummation with Christ, all that we’ve hoped for and prayed for has finally arrived. Our emotions will be running high. We are talking about ALL the believers past, present, and future. ALL, together.

Finally the moment arrives, as it is now time for the highly anticipated Wedding Supper Of The Lamb!!! Our delicious feast with Jesus Christ! Jesus alludes to this gigantic family meal at certain times during his earthly ministry, namely in Luke 22 and Matthew 8.   Image

He tells his disciples that they will all “eat and drink again in the Kingdom that God has granted.” He also mentions that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will be at this table with us.  In Revelation 15:3, John says that there will be songs sang of Moses and of the song of the Lamb. Many theologians believe that these passages give us key hints into how this feast will play out.

This scene is interpreted to describe a dinner “toast.” In this scene, believers from around the world and from different time periods on earth will be telling their individual stories of how God saved them and did tremendous things during their lives…all to the glory of God. So Moses will stand up and tell the story of Pharaoh and the burning bush. He won’t be stuttering as he did in his earthly body. When he gets to part of the Red Sea parting, the apostles Peter and Matthew will interrupt him and joyfully shout for him to “act” it out again. And Moses will do it and we’ll all laugh and worship about what God did there. People will glance over at Jesus as to say, “ Wow, you were in control of that too?!?!!”

Then Abraham will speak. Then Elijah. King David. Mary Magdalene. The Samaritan Woman. And so on. Then it will be our turn to speak and tell our stories. I would contend that the most epic stories told will be those told by the smallest, most unheralded of people.

-The surprising stories will be those similar to the little old lady that lived in the 1840s risking her like to teach Irish immigrants the Gospel as they arrived in Manhattan.

-It’s going to be the millions of Africans that were martyred for coming to Christ in the early 1900s, but never hesitated as their brothers and sisters were killed in front of them.

-The heart-wrenching story will come from the physically/mentally challenged kids that died at young ages because their health completely failed them. For the record, scripture is going to say that these kids will be in perfect, new spiritual bodies at this supper. And they will clearly speak to us all with power and purpose.

-Some of the most glorifying stories will be that of the guy that struggled with depression and spiritual warfare his entire life….but kept praying and kept pushing into the Lord.

This feast will have some very crazy, awesome-filled moments. What is tough is imagining someone standing up and bragging about how easy and lukewarm their Christian life was. Not directly after John the Baptist talks about the awesome times he had baptizing people, lets be real. See, it’s very tough to give glory to God when your praise is to health, prosperity, and ease; but not to the giver of all things. We must remember to give glory to God always. Especially now, today, together, because this is our practice for when we get to Heaven.

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Other verses used: Hebrew 10:25, Ecclesiastes 9:7, Exodus 24:11, Daniel 12:2, 2 Corinthians 5:10, Revelation 20:1-5, 1 Corinthians 15:35-49, 1 John 3:2, Hebrews 10:25.

Pure, Unadulterated Joy Seen in a Simple Surprise.

Confession: Some late nights I like to get on youtube and watch video clips of soldiers coming home & surprising their loved ones with a visit. Most times they hadn’t seen them in over 8 months.

The tears. The smiles. The hugs. It is contagious to watch. It’s weird, I do not know these people by any means…..but still, their emotion is so genuine that my heart resonates with them every time. Like clock-work. This clip happens to be one of my current favorites. There is no measuring the amount of love a mother has for her child.

When Christ returns and makes all things new again….I’m going to sprint towards him, most likely with this teary and emotional reaction.