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Ukraine Venezuela “ And you will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars; see that Syria you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that Afghanistan is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom Thailand against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. Iraq All these things are merely, the beginning of birth pangs…And because lawlessness Libya is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end Somalia he shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole Egypt world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come. “ Bahrain Djibouti “This is nothing compared to what’s coming…” Jordan Kuwait Sudan Tunisia Nigeria
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober minded, endure suffering, dot the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:3
Funny how things predicted long ago come true. We are far beyond accumulating teachers. We live in a world that doesn’t need the teachers anymore. It is every man and woman for themselves. My truth is THE truth. My opinion is truth for me. You can have yours but if it is different than mine I don’t care and it doesn’t matter. Don’t ever try to impose your truth on my truth…you don’t have that right. My truth is my truth and yours is yours. And the teachers sent everyone out to live.
That’s where it gets interesting. Don’t you dare say anything critical about the first gay football player. That’s his truth and it is his right to live it out whether you like it or not. Get comfortable with it, because it is not going away. You adjust to his truth.
Killing innocent unborn children is the right of the woman with that child. How could anyone question her right to do with her body what she believes is her truth? Get it together.
The teachers taught that after thousands and thousands of years everyone else had it wrong. Men should marry other men and women other women. It is acceptable for men to have many wives and children and flaunt it to the whole world. It’s their truth.
The teachers said that intimacy is whatever you decide it to be for yourself. Indulge in any behavior, any feeling you have to truly fulfill the inner you. Enjoy sexuality with anyone anytime because it is about feelings. It’s for pleasure and recreation. All these years the thinking has been wrong. Living with just one person is too limiting, too confining, too boring. Go out and enjoy. It’s okay to observe billions of images of others pretending to be intimate because it’s their right and freedom to practice whatever they believe. The teachers have now acquiesced to technology, now billions of searches each year for other people having sex are done anonymously, who needs the teachers anymore. It is so liberating.
Goodness man, haven’t you heard. The teachers we assembled taught us that the ends justify the means. Lying to the entire country is not wrong. In order to gain a position of status and power it is perfectly right for someone to lie to gain control. It’s his truth.
All these years the teachers have been scratching the ears of generations and now the students have left the teachers for the world. The students were listening intently. The myths sounded so promising, so enlightening, so liberating. The results of the myths are being lived out now everyday right in front of our eyes.
As for you, always be sober minded, enduring suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. Hold onto the only truth.
Joree turns 23 today. I’m not sure she has any idea that it is her birthday, nor is she too concerned with her age. Joree lives a day at a time without any cares or concerns. She has been smiling and joyful since the day we brought her home. Don’t we all wish it could be that easy. Joree embraces dependence.
It is hard to imagine that she has been with us for all but six months of her life. I remember clearly the day Jillian brought her home. It was an instant love affair. She captured our hearts and there was never a doubt about her becoming a part of the family.
I have countless memories. My favorite was when Joree had just come back to her room after her back surgery. She was incredibly uncomfortable and hooked to a dozen machines providing her some relief. The doctor said she had to be up in her chair for an hour to help with the healing. I couldn’t believe it. I had to help the nurses put her in her wheel chair for an hour. Like the champion she is she took it without a whimper, until she just couldn’t take it anymore. I pleaded with the nurse to let her return to her bed. She agreed and we gently placed her back. With eye’s red and swollen she looked up at me, and said, “Thank You.” It was the first time I ever heard her say that.
Jillian and I can tell you without any hesitation that Joree has done more for us and our understanding of life than we could have ever done for her. Celebrate with her today. If you think of her she would want you to smile…so smile and be grateful you have the gift to be dependent on the King of the Universe.
Happy Birthday Joree!!
Being a grandfather is a blast. I have six grandchildren. Each one has their own unique design so different from each other, and yet so similar. But, that’s the human creation isn’t it? No individual has ever been identical to another and yet we are so much the same.
Take Noah, for instance, my youngest grandson. Like all the other grandchildren, he demonstrates incredible intelligence and a winsome delightful personality. He is almost two. I have been observing him recently and he is becoming aware that he can do things for himself, and he likes it. In fact, he likes it so much he wants to do everything by himself, when he wants to do it. Noah is about to embark on what is popularly and correctly coined, “The Terrible Twos.” But wait a minute. Is there a switch in his little brain that alerts him to this developmental phase? Is it something he now is eating that triggers outbursts of defiant attention getting behaviors?
The “Terrible Twos” is the awakening. Noah has discovered, Independence. Isn’t that a good thing? He can feed himself, this year he will grasp toilet training, and language will take a greater leap than any other time in his life. He will improve his skills on an I-pad, take a spin on a tricycle and in Arizona, learn to swim. That’s all good, so why do we call it the “Terrible Twos”? Independence is a blessing and a curse and it is the original curse on us all and it is forever nipping at our heels.
C’mon Eve, God didn’t say you would really die if you ate that fruit. He just knew that if you did, your eyes would be opened and you’d just like Him. In that precarious moment, Eve chose Independence and poor Noah and all the rest of are stuck with the consequences. Noah is cursed to believe in his heart that he can do everything for himself, by himself and he doesn’t need your help. His language is limited right now, but his determination to communicate to you that he’s in charge is growing quickly. I pray for my children every day. They are charged with modeling for their children how we just can’t live in this world by ourselves.
You see how we are all the same. Independence is the curse. We travel along believing that we can manage, direct, manipulate, and coerce our will in our favor. If we fail, we just need to try harder. And so we bang the table and yell, “No, I won’t eat the broccoli and you can’t make me.” Noah will learn through the loving hearts of his parents, that no, he can’t do everything by himself. There will be scrapes and bruises, there will be tears. In time, he will come to know that like all of us, we are dependent. Always have been, always will be until we meet the one with the wounded hands. Then, we will never desire Independence again. In the meantime, go easy on those two year olds a little.
What a weekend! Jillian, Joree, and I shared an experience with fellow travelers in Clifton Park, New York that will rank as one of the great times of our journey with Holding on to Hope Ministries. It was the first full weekend of this type and I know there are more to come.
Daniel Johnson, the worship leader at Grace Chapel and his wife Kim coordinated the weekend. On Friday evening, Daniel shared his story along with our good friend Christa Jan Ryan. Their honesty and transparency set the stage for the entire weekend. Daniel and Kim chose music that helped everyone enter into the depth of the issue of sexual abuse with ease and peace.
As Saturday unfolded it became clear how offering opportunity for survivors to hear others speak in turn empowered them to share their stories. It was truly a blessing to witness. Jillian and Joree capped the day off sharing from the heart in music the benefit of dependence on our Lord. We have been dreaming and praying for this for a long time, and our Lord is so kind to allow us to serve in His story. It was special.
Many thanks to Dom and Jo Massaro for all their work in making the weekend such a success. Their hospitality was a gift and Jillian and I look forward to working and sharing with them again in the years ahead.
Aslan is moving in the North East and we will return to Agawam, Massachusetts November 9th at Bethany Assembly of God for another seminar. We are trusting that more opportunities will open in the year ahead to share the good news of hope for healing from sexual abuse and shame. Pray for open doors and healed hearts.
Blessings to all…
3:15 am…Day 28…Life is a marathon…for sure.
We have been in the hospital with Joree since May 1st. She started stirring at 2:30 this morning waking me out of the light sleep of a hospital night. I quickly noticed the pungent odor that signals a needed diaper change. This is good news. Joree is in the hospital because her intestines configured themselves into a compromising position. Surgery on May 3rd corrected the blockage. Now, 25 days later the road to healing has become similar to a cross-country journey without the benefit of sleep.
It seems to me that the world around us is attempting to make life into a sprint the last few decades when in truth, life is a marathon. It is satisfying to receive pleasure sooner than later. Happiness acquired in a day or two is more attractive than waiting months or even years to experience. Yet with determined fury the culture of today is sprinting in pursuit of pleasure and happiness and discovering that at the end of the short dash the happiness is just as fleeting. The burst of glee disappears as quickly as it arrived and immediately the chase is on again often at warp speed.
Once again, Joree has taught me that this is all about plodding. Of the many clichés, “you can’t rush fine wine”…”haste makes waste”…”slow and steady wins the race”. Why is it that we slough off clichés knowing as trite as they are, they are truth? Perseverance, one of the personal characteristics of a person with integrity, has lost participants. Marathons attract a small percentage of runners for the simple reason that a marathon is brutal. Ask those people right around mile 12 how much fun they are having and you hear labored breathing and a few choice words. Ask the same person how they feel at the finish line, and you hear and see joy. Not happiness, because the runners are often collapsing and or vomiting. No, it’s a sense of complete satisfaction. “I was dying out there for hours” you’ll hear, “but this moment is worth it all”.
So here we are…3:15 in the morning…day 28 of a marathon. We are tired, stinky, claustrophobic, irritated. But the end is in view and I anticipate walking through the front door very soon and all this will be forgotten. Hey friends…the end of this life journey is always in view. It’s not a sprint. It’s a long, long struggle that has so many twists and turns along the way…but if you look closely you can see someone standing at the finish line…and he’s clapping…and he’s smiling…and diving across that line will be worth it all. Keep on truckin….
I am so blessed. What a gift to watch your children blossom and flourish. The twenty years they spend in your care goes by so quickly and it isn’t until they are on their own and away that the full weight of what the days and years together mean.
Now they are doing the same. It won’t make the news but their commitment to obedience will reflect in their children and contribute to the stability this society needs to survive.I am sure you kids are great. But my kids are the best…Jaimee and Jason, Jeff and Alanna, Ryan and Julee…thank you for your love….stay the course, keep the faith…you are doing great work.