Friday, October 28, 2016

I Am Not Ashamed!

This Is Your Time

(Written several years ago)

As I drove home from work today listening to Christian radio, a song began to play. I had heard the song many times before but never really listened. You know how it is don't you? We all do it from time to time. Our minds are busy, stuck on other things. The deadline to meet, the project you had to leave half done even though things were just beginning to flow. You're so preoccupied that you just don't take time to listen. Oh you hear, but you don't listen. Today I listened. The song was Michael W. Smith's "This Is The Time". It only took a couple of seconds before it dawned on me what the song was about. It was a tribute to Cassie Bernall, the young teenage girl tragically shot in the library of Columbine High School, shot for her refusal to deny her personal faith in Christ. My mind was then drawn back to another day when I was driving listening to Christian radio. It was the top of the hour so the news began to play. There is something about the news that catches my attention, I don't just hear, I listen. The top story was of another school shooting, this time in Denver Colorado. The last one took place less than 2 hours from where I lived at Thurston High School in Springfield Oregon. One of the girl's shot was a teen in a youth group where a very close friend of mine was a Youth Pastor. That's just to close!

As I listened, I thought, "Wow, I graduated from a High school in the Denver area." They didn't identify which High School and to be honest with you I didn't give it much thought, there are a lot of High Schools in Denver. I said a short prayer for any of those touched by the tragedy and went on with my day. A couple of hours later I stopped by the local mall to pick something up. I walked past the satellite store and decided to stop for a minute to catch an update on the shooting. I was rocked by the name at the bottom of the screen: Columbine High School. Right there in the middle of the Mall I began to weep. 21 years earlier, I roamed the halls of Columbine. It was the school I graduated from. I'm sure some thought it strange, there I was a grown man, standing in the middle of the mall crying, but I couldn't stop.

The song played on:
It was a test we could all hope to pass
But none of us would want to take
Faced with the choice to deny God and live
For her there was one choice to make

Did you catch that last phrase? "For her there was one choice to make."  You and I know the choice she made, then, in a moment, the blink of an eye, she saw a sight few will ever see. She saw Jesus, standing with His arms outstretched, ready to embrace this precious child, this mighty warrior, this modern day martyr. We wept at the incredible tragedy, she rejoiced at this, the greatest of privileges.

This was her time
This was her dance
She lived every moment
Left nothing to chance
She swam in the sea
Drank of the deep
Embraced the mystery
Of all she could be
This was her time

It was as if Cassie saw her very own standing ovation. This was her time. In the New Testament book of Acts, we see another story of martyrdom unfold. Stephen was a deacon in the first Christian church. He knew the day he put his faith and trust in Jesus that it could easily cost him his life, that mattered not, he would follow Christ even if it meant a walk up the hill to Golgatha. Not much time passed before he, like Cassie almost 2,000 years later, was faced with a choice, "to deny God and live".

Acts 6:11-7:1
11 Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, "We have heard Stephen speak words of blasphemy against Moses and against God."

12 So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. 13 They produced false witnesses, who testified, "This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. 14 For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us."

15 All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

7:1 Then the high priest asked him, "Are these charges true?"

A "No" answer and his life was spared, for Stephen there was only one choice.
You and I know the choice Stephen made:

Acts 7:51-53
51 "You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52 Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered Him- 53 you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it."

You know, every Biblical reference I can think of referring to Jesus as, "the Son of Man", in heaven, near God, has Him seated at the right hand of God the Father. Check out Acts 7:55

55But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 "Look," he said, "I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God."

Talk about incredible, it was as if Stephen was receiving his very own personal, standing ovation, an ovation from none other than the very One he was dying for, Stephen made the right choice. I believe Cassie received a standing ovation from Jesus as well, quite possibly a scene only seen by those who lay down their lives for the One who laid His life down for them

I need to be honest with you for a moment. Had this scene unfolded when I walked the halls of Columbine, had I been in the library that day, had the gun been pointed at my head and the same question been asked, I'm not so sure anyone would have written a song about me. Sure, my life might have been spared, but every day, from that day forward, would have been filled with regret.

Do you remember the story of Peter in the New Testament? The cocky guy that followed Jesus. "Jesus, All these other guys might run in fear rather than follow you, but not me. I'm ready to go to the grave if I have to!” (A very loose paraphrase) Soon he heard the rooster, then came the regret. Regret he probably dealt with every day for the rest of his life.

Legend tells us that some years later, Peter was given a second chance. Again he was faced with a choice. Surely Peter had been told of Stephen's words in Acts 7:56

56 "Look," he said, "I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God."

With the sound of the rooster still ringing in his ears, Peter made a choice. Face to face with the mighty Nero, Peter made one last dying request. That he be crucified upside down, for he saw himself unworthy to die in the same manner as his Savior. I'll bet that from that cross he saw the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.

The song goes on to say:

What if tomorrow
What if today
Faced with the question
Oh, what would you say

This is your time
This is your dance
Live every moment
Leave nothing to chance
Swim in the sea
Drink of the deep

This country we are living in is changing quickly. Our eyes may see the day when stories like Cassie's are not seen by the world as heroic stories, but stories of ignorance, stories of foolish people not smart enough to know the right answer to the question. Peter was given a second chance to witness what Stephen had seen. May we never need one, may there be for us only one choice.

Desiring to make the right choice,

Jim Canady

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

"Your Grace Finds Me"

Matt Redman has been one of my favorite artists for a few years. I think it started when my sister-in-law was battling breast cancer. We were having a semi family reunion at the time. This included a Sunday morning where we all attended church at my brothers church. It was a special service that included my other brother preaching, I shared something I had written and my brother-in-law and nephew sang a duet of Matt Redman’s song “You Never Let Go”. They did an incredible job with the song and it was perfect for what we were all experiencing as we walked through my sister-in-laws cancer together as a family.

Matt Redman has a fairly new song out now that has really been hitting a chord with me. The song is “Your Grace Finds Me”. It is a powerful song that explores how far the grace of God goes in its pursuit of us.
In half of the lyrics the grace of God is readily seen. 

When you first hear the cry of a “newborn” baby, it is easy to see the grace of God! In the “light of every sunrise”, is there any doubt? The ”mountain top”, if you have been to the mountain top, physically and experiencally you know the grace of God! Sometimes God’s grace is so powerful it brings on the “dancing”. On the “wedding day”, I gotta tell you, my wedding may have been close to 28 years ago, but the grace of God was intertwined throughout the entire ceremony! It’s there for the ”rich”, for the “saint”, and it’s “in the sweetest songs of victory”. All those things undoubtedly show God’s grace in powerful ways.

But what about the other lyrics in his song? What about the “shadows”? The shadows are the dark days of life. Those who have struggled with depression know these dark days. They will tell you that they can be bright and cheerful one minute and then depression envelopes them like a dark cloud. Is God’s grace there as well?  Can you see God’s grace in the “everyday mundane”? You know what I am talking about don’t you? Those days that are just…well kinda blah. Not bad, but certainly not good. Can you sense the presence of God’s grace in those times? What about in those times of “sorrow”? The doctor uses the word cancer, your family has just experienced a miscarriage and this is not the first, you could probably add to the list. How could God’s grace possibly be there? Have you been “by the graveside”? Have you been “poor”?  “There in the darkest night of the soul”? Don’t give me your canned Christian answer, when people are going through the times mentioned in this paragraph those canned answers are of little value. I want an answer from your heart, from your life. In what ways is the grace of God present in this paragraph?

I’m interested in what you have to say, so listen to the song and leave your comment. I may add some of my own.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Rights of the Christian

Last week Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a bill that would have made sure that people of faith could not be forced to violate their religious beliefs to do business with those in the homosexual community. Last year, a family owned bakery in Colorado was sued and forced out of business because they refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple. Something similar happened to a photographer in New Mexico. In both instances the gay couples had several opportunities with other businesses not far away that would have gladly baked their cake or taken their pictures, but they were not satisfied with other business, not when they could force the hand of the Christian businesses. The bill Jan Brewer vetoed was designed to protect the rights and religious convictions of the citizens of the State of Arizona against such suits. There is a part of me that is really bothered by militant gays forcing individuals with religious convictions to go directly against those convictions to do business with them. Shouldn’t the religious have the right to say “No”? For the week leading up the eventual veto of this bill, I became upset every time I thought about it. Again my thoughts were, shouldn’t Christian business owners have the right to say “No”? Even the day she vetoed the bill and afterwards I found myself getting angry. My mind kept going back to the question of the Christians rights and being forced to do business with individuals whose lifestyles they know to be wrong. 

Right now in our country this is a huge political hot button. I believe there has always been political hot buttons. Early in our nation’s history the political hot button was “taxation without representation”, later there it was slavery, then women’s rights, then the rights of blacks and on to abortion, which is still one of the political hot buttons today. We, as Christians, can get pretty emotional about these issues, and understandably so. But can I challenge you to re-think your position? Or perhaps I should change that to, change what you think about. Move away from dwelling on what our rights are and move into what would Jesus do?

Let’s think back to the days of Jesus and see if we can come up with some political hot buttons He had to deal with. As bad as things seem to be for us, I think the Nation of Israel had things much worse. Their rights were being infringed upon in every conceivable way. Perhaps their biggest political hot button was taxes. They were ruled over by the Roman Empire and the taxes on them were significant. The Israelites hated paying these taxes and when the Pharisees sought to trap Jesus with a question about taxes His response was Whose likeness and inscription is this?” 21 They said, “Caesar's.” Then He said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.” (Mt. 22:20-12). 

Let’s stay on the issue of taxes for a moment. To a large degree the Roman government did not use Romans to collect their taxes, they used Jews (the chief tax collectors were Romans, but they hired Jews to do their dirty work). The individuals who collected the taxes were required to put a certain portion of what they collected into the public treasury, but they didn’t just stop there, no they frequently collected far more and pocketed the excess themselves. Tax collectors were considered to be religiously defiled traitors who furthered the fortunes of the oppressor out of the pockets of God's people. Let’s just say they were hated and despised. So what do you think Jesus did when he came face to face with these low life’s? Well let’s look at 3 examples. The first we seen in Matthew 9:9-10; 9As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and He said to him, “Follow Me.” And he rose and followed him.
10And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and His disciples.”

What on earth was He doing? Didn’t he realize who He was talking to? This guy was the lowest of lows, why on earth would he want Matthew to follow Him? By the way, can I point out the obvious here? When Jesus called Matthew, this tax collector, to follow Him, he was asking Matthew to be a part of His inner circle, one of His closest companions. Still Jesus said “Follow Me.” Then He had the gull to have dinner with Matthew and a few of his tax collector buddies. This didn’t go over well with the religious leaders watching!

The next example is found in Luke 19: 1-10; ”1He entered Jericho and was passing through. 2And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. 3And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. 4So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was about to pass that way. 5And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” 6So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. 7And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” 8And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” 9And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.’ Again we see Jesus welcome a despised tax collector with open arms, no hatred from Him, just love.

The last example is in Luke 18:9-14. Now in this instance Jesus is telling a parable so we don’t know that this actually happened, but His message is very clear. Let’s look at it; 9He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.’” Again we see Jesus look past the sins of the tax collector, pass on an opportunity to criticize and condemn and talk of forgiveness.  It is interesting to note that, as far as I know, Jesus only mentions tax collectors 3 times specifically and each one of them found forgiveness.

So what does this have to do with our rights as Christians? In my minds eye a lot. The rights of Jesus and His people were constantly being ignored and violated, the Roman government and the tax collector’s mentioned above were a big part of the violation of those rights. Yet Jesus doesn’t go on the attack when given the opportunity. He doesn’t criticize them or publicly call them out for their sinful lifestyle. He loves them and forgives them. As I think about what happened in Arizona last week, and what happened in Colorado and New Mexico last year, I can’t help but think that perhaps we, as Christians, are thinking about the wrong things. Instead of dwelling on our rights, let’s look at the issue from the eyes of the Savior and do what Jesus would do. So what do you think He would do? I tend to think he would bake a cake and load His camera with film.

Now just a quick note before you go on the attack. I didn’t say He would condone their sinful activity. My guess is He had some serious talks with Matthew behind closed doors. Good chance He did the same with Zacchaeus. Something had to happen with Zacchaeus because he goes on to say; “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” He never condones the sins of the sinner. He tells the woman caught in adultery in John 8:12 to “Go and sin no more.” No, He never condones the sin of the sinner; He just loves the hell out of them.

These are my thoughts. They are fresh and I have recently done a major shift on this issue. I would love to hear your thoughts.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Who is Really to Blame for Newtown, CT?

It has been just over a week since the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. Hard to imagine the mind of an individual who would break into an elementary school and brutally murder 20 1st grade students as well as the school principal, several teachers, teachers aids and other staff. All this after he 1st murdered his own mother. As you would expect, this has been a huge topic on the news ever since. It has also been the top topic on social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter. Everyone is trying to make sense of the senseless, but you know what? That can’t be done, you can’t make sense of a senseless act and any attempt to do so would be futile.

Another thing we have seen a lot of is a search for where we place the blame. Many have pointed their fingers at an American society that puts very few limits on guns. Their feeling is that if we put tougher restrictions on gun ownership, these things will not happen. Others, on the opposite end of the spectrum, believe that had the school principal been armed when she went out to confront the assailant, it could have ended right there. There are some religious leaders who point a finger at a society that has systematically removed God from the schools, from the work place, from anywhere that is considered a public place but is not a place of worship. And yes, there are many who place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the politicians. They believe that politicians that no longer seem to have any desire to work together on any front have led our country down the tubes. Nothing gets done because partisan politics in this country has died and drug this country down to the grave with it. The moral compass of our politicians on every side of the political spectrum has so decayed that the citizenship they have been charged with leading has followed their lead and thus the country, as a whole has no moral compass. There are fingers pointing in other directions as well. It seems each side has passionate arguments, and to a certain degree there appear to be valid points for each consideration.

Like much of the rest of this country, I have struggled greatly with what took place on Friday, December 14, 2012. I have also struggled with who to blame. As I stated earlier, I suppose that to a certain degree, each of the areas discussed above have some merit when it comes to blame. But could it be that the lion’s share of the blame lies somewhere else entirely? As I have thought about it over the past several days, my mind keeps going to the same area for who is ultimately to blame. Please understand that it really pains me to write this, but I believe that the church is to blame. That’s right, the church. By the church, I want to clarify exactly what I am talking about. I am not talking about any specific church, nor any specific denomination. That being said, I do want to be a little more specific. The church I am referring to is the evangelic church as a whole. That group of individuals, nationwide, that profess to be Bible believing Jesus followers. We have put our faith and trust in Jesus, rarely miss a Sunday and are even in the habit of serving in some capacity.

Perhaps as you read this you are thinking to yourself, these folks sound like they are pretty sharp individuals, how could they possibly be blamed? Allow me to answer your question with a question. What are we, as Bible believing Jesus followers called by God to do? Yes, I understand that we have been given several directives, but I would like to highlight 2, 2 directives given by God to us that, if we follow whole heartedly, have the potential to make such an impact that it may even stop our own Newtown, CT experience. So what are these 2 directives? Well let me show them to you, lets look at Luke 10:25-37. I’m pretty sure you will be very familiar with this story. It is The Parable of the Good Samaritan.

25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?”27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”

29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

While the lawyer asked Jesus “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus answer was to give him a vivid picture of what a real neighbor looks like. After giving him that picture Jesus simply asked; “Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?”

So what does this parable have to do with Newtown CT? As I am in the habit of doing, let me follow that question with another question. A pretty telling question, and in my own case a pretty convicting question. Actually the question has already been asked, it was asked by the lawyer who was addressing Jesus in Luke 10:25-37. And who is my (your) neighbor? Who are your neighbors? What do they do enjoy doing with their free time? What are they like? What are the chances they would knock on your door if they really needed someone to talk to? Ok, I get it; this wasn’t 1 question but several questions. The point is, if the majority of us were to answer this question honestly, we don’t really know the answers to most of those questions. When we arrive home from work, or shuttling the kids around, or from our errands or…….or from church. We push the button to open the garage and before we are out of the vehicle the garage door is on its way down. We relax on our back deck rather than a front porch. Sure, most of us may not have a front porch, but to be truthful, chances are even if we had a front porch we would still go to the back deck. We like our privacy. But there is a problem with this. God has not called us to be saved into seclusion. He has called us to be saved into the mission field. The “Jerusalem” Jesus is referring to in Acts 1:8 for us, is right where we live. Not just our neighborhoods, it where we work, where we go to school, the places we go for recreation. It’s where we live out our lives’ on a day to day basis.

Let’s go back to Newtown, CT. What do you suppose are the chances that Adam Lanza had people in his neighborhood that were Bible believing Christians? Let’s not limit this to just his neighborhood. Really, shouldn’t we include others he came in contact with on a regular basis? Now let’s go back to you and me, our “neighborhood”. Could there be an Adam Lanza living near us? I would imagine that if each of us really put some thought into it, we could come up with someone who is similar in a lot of ways to Adam Lanza; quiet, a loner, sort of strange, maybe a little backward. We have seen them walk by our house a few times, usually we kind of turn the other way, or go back inside the house or garage, pretend to be busy doing something, anything, anything but smile and say “Hi” or “How’s it going?” They kind of scare us, perhaps rightly so. But is that how God has called us to react? Much of the time Jesus seemed more at home with the sinners than He did the religious. It also seemed the sinners gravitated towards Him, but not because He did what they did, not at all. It was because He accepted them, He loved them. He didn’t look down His nose at them, didn’t mumble under His breath about them or think to Himself, “What a loser!”

In our circles, you can’t be much more of a loser that The Woman At The Well. She was a half breed who had lost count of how many men she had slept with. She was filth through and through, but before Jesus was done with her she was clothed in His righteousness. Shouldn’t that be our desire for the Adam Lanza’s God brings us into contact with? I know, we may not be able to reach them no matter how hard we try, but shouldn’t we at least try? What a fool David was to go to battle against a giant who was covered in body armor, had a sword, shield and spear, when David had nothing more than a sling and 5 stones…… But you know what? David knew that the God whom he served could direct his stone to the perfect spot. He didn’t approach Goliath in fear and trembling, he ran towards him like a man possessed. Guess what, he was a man possessed. The Bible tells us that David was a man filled with the Spirit of God…..he was a man possessed. Don’t we serve the exact same God? So since we do, let’s start serving Him fully and making a difference in our “neighborhoods”.

We have got to get to the point where we stop searching for who to blame when things happen like what took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT and start, as individual believers, taking responsibility to do whatever it takes so that when Jesus looks our direction He can say of us that we have proven to be a neighbor. Who knows what God may do through our willing and available hearts? We could very well be an important tool in the hands of the Master Craftsman that changes a life destined for utter destruction into a life of eternal significance. We may be the one used of God to stop a potential Adam Lanza, not with a gun, or our religion, or our political stance, but with the unconditionally love of Jesus Christ that is flowing through us.

Jim Canady

Perhaps you don’t struggle in the areas I addressed below. To be honest, this was written as much to me as it was to anyone else. However, if what I wrote struck a chord with you. Let’s do some brainstorming now. What can we do to do better? What are some steps we can take? I know for me and my family, we need to purpose in our hearts to make a difference in our “Jerusalem”. That place where God has placed us. What about you, I would love to hear your thoughts. Jim

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Triumph In Tragedy

(Written shortly after 9-11)

We all watched in utter astonishment as that second jetliner crashed into the side of the World Trade Center. Tears rolled down my cheeks, when in horror, I saw the first of the 2 towers collapse into a huge pile of rubble. Never in a million years could you have convinced me that those things would take place in such a short period of time in a country not in the midst of war. But the sad truth is, they did. It wasn't a nightmare you wake up from. It was a reality you live through. It was a reality you weep through. It was a devastating reality such as we have never seen before, and I pray to God, we will never see its kind again. Destruction like this has the ability to bring about a demoralizing devastation that plummets those who experience it into a despair that they are powerless to recover from.

Can I ask you an important question right here? Have you ever experienced tragedy of this magnitude? I now live in Overland Park Kansas. Well over a thousands miles from New York City. While I wept at the sight, its devastation to me was not first hand, though that could be around the corner. But my 41 years has not escaped great tragedy altogether, and chances are, you have also tasted of that bitter fruit. I've wept at the loss of a child. I've watched cancer take the live of a loved one. As an 11 year old, I looked into the face of my 8-year sister and saw the devastation the teeth of a dog can cause.

Given time, you could probably add to my list, because tragedy, simply put, is a part of life. A part that we would all just as soon live with out, but most likely, we will all walk down that dark path. Having traveled that road, can I share with you what I have learned? The truth of the matter is, some of life's greatest lessons are learned through tragedy. The lessons may be very hard, but their value cannot be measured. I want to share with you the most important lesson I have learned in and through tragedy.

God is there! The path may be dark, but it doesn't have to be lonely, and anywhere God dwells, rest assured, incredible victory can be experienced. When you are in the middle of tragedies strong grip, you can't fathom victory. I, myself have uttered the words, "I can't possibly see how God can bring about victory through this tragedy." Then, I have watched as His hand has reached down and woven a beautiful quilt of victory from the threads of defeat. How He accomplished this, I haven't got a clue, but He did it. Not once, not twice, He's batting a thousand, never a miss. Not so much as a strike. He has an unexplainable ability to work about incredible victory when all we can see is despair. I've seen it first hand. I've also seen it in His Word. Almost 2000 years ago, God took, what was the most devastating tragedy anyone has ever faced and turned it into the greatest victory in the history of the universe.

Will He do anything less today? The answer to that is actually quite simple, No. We are already receiving stories of victory. A newly widowed young mother of 2 (soon to be 3) sharing on Larry King Live how her belief in Jesus has sustained her through this tragedy, then being invited back 2 nights later to do the same thing. Republicans and Democrats standing together united in heart and purpose (that's not far behind the miracle of the empty tomb). Prayers filling the halls of public schools, with not so much as a word from the ACLU (at least not yet). More than 19,000 at a fight filled hockey game pausing to listen to the words of a President and being so moved by those words that somehow, the game seemed unimportant. It ended, a third of the game still to play, with handshakes in the middle of the arena. With all my heart, I believe that we have only scratched the surface of the victories still to come. I'm quite certain that God will bring about so much triumph out of this tragedy, that we will loose track of all that He has done.

So don't loose heart my friend, thinking that all is lost, that you are all alone as you witness this tragedy, or as you go through other tragedies in life. Because God travels along side you on that road. We read in Habakkuk 3:17-19 " 17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. 19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights."

Something that proved helpful to Pam and me after the loss of our baby some time ago, was memorizing and personalizing this passage. Let me tell me how we would quote it; Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no baby in the crib, 18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. 19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights."

Perhaps for you it will be different. For you it may be though there are no sheep in the pen and the innocent die in crumbling towers, or markets crash or no husband in the home, or I've lost my job, or my health is fading, or I've been diagnosed with terminal cancer, or … you fill in the blank. Each of you can personalize this verse in your own way. Am I promising that your problems will go away? Not at all. I am merely pointing you to The Sovereign LORD who will be your strength; who will make your feet like the feet of a deer, who will enable you to go on the heights.

God is at work and He will bring Triumph in Tragedy. We serve an awesome God and when all is said and done, He will reign victorious.

Watch, see, rejoice,

Jim Canady

Monday, January 18, 2010

My Review of Magneto Trainer

Originally submitted at saris.com

Stay strong all year long.

  • The world's first and only mag trainer with progressive resistance.
  • Exclusive Power Band Technology gives you access to a wide resistance range - from easy spins to lung-burning climbs - without ever touching the unit.
  • Cam-Lever tighten...

Beats the heck out of riding below 0

By Jim from Overland Park, KS on 1/18/2010


4out of 5

Pros: Easy to Use, Durable, Lightweight

Cons: Instructions not good

Describe Yourself: Avid Cyclist

I use this for the winter months when it's just to nasty or cold to ride outside. I have enjoyed it so far. At this point in time my only con is the instructions that came with it were not very helpful at all.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

When God Closes A Door…Don’t Look For an Open Window

When God Closes A Door…Don’t Look For an Open Window

Acts 16:6-1o 6Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. 7When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. 8So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. 9During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." 10After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.”

There are times it is quite difficult to understand the plans of God. In fact, from a human standpoint there are times God’s plans don’t make a lick of sense to us. He either allows, or in some instances, causes things to happen that are baffling. While in the middle of these times or seasons we look at what is taking place and think; “What on earth is God thinking? Why would He allow such a thing to take place?” There are other times where we look and see great need spiritually, we make our plans to meet those needs, but it seems at every turn we are prevented from accomplishing our tasks. Surely God wants us to succeed with our plans! After all, the need is great, and we have the ability to meet the need. Yet it still seems as if…..well as if God Himself is preventing us at every turn. I wouldn’t be surprised if that wasn’t exactly what was going through the minds of Paul and Silas in our current passage. There was perhaps nothing Paul wanted to do more than tell everyone he met about Jesus. I believe his plan was to go from town to town, find the spot where the people congregated and proclaim the Good News. God seemed to bless their efforts at nearly every turn. Oh sure, they had some tough times, but as far as Paul was concerned it was a small price to pay. Asia was his next target, but the book of Acts makes it clear that God Himself, through the Holy Spirit, was preventing him from accomplishing his goals. If Paul was anything like me this was very frustrating! But frustrating or not, Paul had no interest at all in doing anything that didn’t have the Hand of God behind it. He had wasted way to much of his life doing what he thought was good, even in the name of God, but without the Hans of God behind him. If God was closing the door, then Paul wasn’t looking for an open window.

Just a brief side note, most of us have heard, or even said; “When God closes a door, He opens a window!” Don’t be too quick to believe that. When God closes a door, that’s it, the door is closed. If you proceed to look for an open window, it could very well be that you are more interested in accomplishing your will than you are God’s will. If He closes a door, wait on Him until He points you in the direction of His open door.

Now back to Paul and his closed door.

Once God closed the door for Paul to preach in Asia, Paul just kept going in the direction he was already heading until he made his way to Troas, a town on the coast of the Mediterranean. That night “had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, 'Come over to Macedonia and help us.'" Did I mention Troas was on the coast? Well caddy corner across the coast was Macedonia. Paul’s obedience to that closed door, put him in perfect position to further obey God’s open door and sail to Macedonia. So what’s the big deal? Ever heard of the city of Philippi? Let me make it a little bit easier for you. Ever heard of the New Testament book of Philippians? The first city Paul came to in Macedonia was the city of Philippi. Paul’s first trip to Philippi was the result of that closed door. Perhaps we would have never had the joy of experiencing Philippians had not God closed the door in Asia, or if Paul had looked around for an open window!

The point is this, when God closes a door, it simply means He, you know--- the All Knowing, All Powerful, Sovereign God--- has a better plan. Please understand, I have searched for and found open windows to crawl through. There is no joy in ignoring God’s closed doors. There is little chances of accomplishing anything of eternal significance even if you are doing a “good thing”. Forget “good things” and pursue “God things”, and may you experience your own Philippians joy! (Want to really catch my drift here, take a quick ½ hour and read through Philippians).

Ignoring open windows and looking for God’s opened doors…..most of the time!


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Lets Roll!

Knowing full well that these words would guarantee the loss of his own life as well as the lives of all others with him, Todd Beamer turned from the phone on the jet and said to the heroes present with him; "Let's Roll!" With that, the soon to be martyrs moved from their position huddled in the back of United Flight 93, stood to their feet, and rushed the cockpit. I believe that there were three thoughts firmly planted in the minds of all of them that day. The first, with the pilot and co-pilots lifeless bodies lying in the aisle, deaths powerful unyielding grip already held each of them tightly. The second, companions of their captors had already turned three other jetliners into powerful weapons of mass destruction. The third, unless they moved now and moved quickly, their own jetliner would soon pierce the side of another well thought out target. Undoubtedly, many of them committed their own lives to Him who counted it a privilege to shed His blood for them. They swiftly rushed into the cockpit and overpowered the only ones who could safely land the plane. Moments later they exploded into a Pennsylvania hillside. While there was a part of their minds that thought of those whom their eyes would never see again, in their hearts they knew that the time had come for the "Pledge of Allegiance" to move beyond a rote recitation, to a strong, undeniable fact inscribed that day in their own blood. While their voices may not have said so, their actions loudly shouted, for the whole world to hear; "I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE, TO THE FLAG, OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!"

With the perfect vision that hindsight provides for us, we see the urgency in their actions that day. We have come to understand the motives of the enemy. We know that, to a certain degree, the very lifeblood of our Nation was at stake. Their actions were not only admirable, they were of paramount importance. In a spiritual sense, we as Christians today are staring into the face of our own 911. Our enemy, who is far more powerful than the al Qaida, aims his own weapons of mass destruction at the very spiritual core of all mankind. The only thing standing in his way is a very small number of Spiritual heroes, who daily present their bodies as living sacrifices to the King of all kings. While most Christians believe that what God is looking for is those who are willing to die for Him, the truth is, what He really wants, is those who are willing to live for Him. Those who understand the power of the enemy, realize that the only chance we have of victory, is to humbly yield ourselves daily into God's all-powerful Hands, to allow Him to work in us and through us. Though there are times His purpose makes no sense to us, our allegiance is proven, when our actions take hold of His marching orders, and we look neither to the left or the right and, in faith march forward.

This battle cry goes out to all who call on the name of Jesus today… "Lets Roll!" Death has no grip on our life, and the Spirit of God Almighty has given all of us the power to shake loose the firm grip of the enemy, to put on the full armor of God and march forward claiming great victories in Jesus name. The time has come for believers today to inscribe on the very heart of God a new list of heroes to be added to the spiritual Hall of Fame in Hebrews 11. Will you roll with me today?!

This battle is for weak warriors in the Hands of a Mighty God, who will lift their eyes towards heaven and proclaim; "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Are you weak today? "Lets Roll!"

This battle is for fearful soldiers whose only courage comes from the Spirit of God who indwells them. Are you fearful today? "Lets Roll!"

This battle is for reluctant troops who will not take a step forward until they hear the voice of the commander and chief. Are you reluctant today? Listen, not just to His command, but also His plea, "Lets Roll!"

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the time has come today for all of us, young and old, male and female, weak, fearful, reluctant, every last one of us, to step out of the safety of our foxholes and to storm the gates of the enemy. God's very Word assures us, we will prevail, "Lets Roll!"

Written in August 2002
Remembering 9-11
Jim Canady

Monday, August 3, 2009

Where do you put a light?

John 4:35-38 "35I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. 37Thus the saying 'One sows and another reaps' is true. 38I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor."

Written in 2001

I've not had the opportunity to watch a lot of kids grow and develop on a daily basis, just the two God has blessed me with. We have a ten-year-old son and a three-year-old daughter and they are as different as night and day. Steven is a lot like me, his attention span is about as long as a Jamaican bobsled team win streak. Brittany, on the other hand, is the most focused three-year-old I know. If something has her attention, it's practically impossible to get her to notice anything else. Barney himself could walk in the room and she wouldn't notice.

Have you ever seen people like that before? People that are that focused can be a great asset, providing they are focused on the right thing. Several years ago, I was listening to a pastor preach and he related the following conversation he had with one of the member of the church. It went something like this;

"Pastor John, I need you to pray for me"

"How can I pray for you?"

"Its about my job. I'm really having some intense struggles there"

"Really, what are you struggling with?"

"Well, you see, I'm the only one who's a Christian there."

"Mary, where do you put a light?"

"You don't understand Pastor, It's really getting me down. It's like I'm all alone!"

"Mary, where do you put a light?"

"Pastor, I'd just like you to pray that I can find another job that has more Christians, or that He would bring more believers to my current job."

"Mary, where do you put a light?"

"What do you mean? I'm just asking you to pray for me!"

"Mary, where do you put a light!"

Finally, a very frustrated Mary replied,

"Well, you put a light where ever it's dark."

"Exactly, could it be that God has specifically put you there to be a light in a place that's very dark?"

Suddenly, the lights when on in Mary's mind and she replied,"I never thought of it that way!"Over the next two years, Mary had the opportunity to see ten of her co-workers pray to receive Christ.

You know, there are times we can be so focused on the minute details of our lives, our own little problems, or even our own big problems, that we miss the incredible harvest God has placed before us. That was the case with Mary. She was so focused on the darkness before her, that she completely forgot that she was a very powerful light, already plugged into the ultimate power-source, Jesus Christ. In a very real sense, the Pastor said, "I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest."

A few months ago we bought our son Steven a new reading light for his bed. It’s really cool. You can bend and contort the neck any direction you want. It all depends on where you want the light to go. In many ways, we are like Steven's reading light. There are a whole host of different directions we can shine our light. We are already plugged into the most incredible power-source available, but God doesn't dictate for us where we shine that light. That choice he leaves up to us. We can either focus our light on ourselves, or we can focus the light on the field ripe before us. Can I ask you a question? Can you see what God has laid out before you today? If your anything like me, it's very easy to focus so much on the day to day details of your life that you miss a field ripe for the harvest. Look around today. Could it be that God has put you in a specific place to be a light for Him and reap an incredible harvest? "I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest."

One light to another,

Jim Canady

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pats on the Back

Mark 1:1-4 1The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 2It is written in Isaiah the prophet: "I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare Your way" 3"a voice of one calling in the desert, `Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him.'" 4And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”

Prophesies fulfilled, we see this continually throughout the life of Christ as it is recorded in the Gospels. In the Old Testament book of Isaiah, written 600 or more years before the birth of Jesus, Isaiah writes of one who would “Prepare the way for the Lord”. That is exactly what John the Baptist lived for, he lived his life with one main purpose and goal; “Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him.”

The Nation of Israel had been experiencing great turmoil now for many years. If memory serves me correctly they were at the end of 400 years of silence. 400 years where they had not heard from God. No Abraham, no Moses, no David, no Solomon, no Isaiah, no one to be a spokesman for God. 400 years of silence! Oh they had their religious leaders who claimed to be spokesmen for God, but those religious leaders’ ears were deaf to the voice of God. Yes religion was alive and well in those days, but God has never been One who was impressed in any way with religion. Religion can easily be done as a ritual. What God is interested in is an individual who serves God, not from a sense of duty, but from a heart of love. That was what John lived and that is what he preached. John the Baptist preached “baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” As you watched the life and ministry of John, you find out that John’s calls for repentance were certainly not aimed solely for the sinners in the world’s eyes. He pointed his accusatory fingers at the religious leaders as much, if not more, than the “sinners”. Guess what, those religious leaders didn’t like of appreciate that and as a result they wanted him dead! They had a good thing going and were not at all interested in loosing it. I wonder if they would have wanted me dead? Would they have wanted you dead? God had a plan, a purpose for John, and John was so intent on obeying God, that he would let nothing, including his own death, stop him from accomplishing that purpose. How set are we at being obedient to God and His purpose and plan for our lives? The good news for the vast majority of us is, we really don’t have to worry about loosing our life. That being said, in some ways the plan God had for John and has for us are quite similar. The rest is up to us. John was opposed to established ritualistic religion that “does, does, does” for the sake of man’s approval. Approval from men is a momentary pat on the back. It’s here today and gone…..well it’s gone today. Simply put, it doesn’t last. A heart that serves God because of love for Him receives a pat on the back from God. Those are the pats, the rewards, the blessings that never end. Which am I working for?

Seeking God's Pat on the back,


Thursday, July 23, 2009

When Midnight Comes Early

“Cause all too soon the clock will strike mid-night, and she’ll be gone”.

As a dad, my heart has been touched too many times to count when listening to the song “Cinderella” by Steven Curtis Chapman. I have a daughter, and I have frequently rushed through the bedtime routine so I can get back to whatever it was I was doing before. Rarely is that task ever really of great importance, yet I rush her non-the-less. I have also had the privilege of dancing with my daughter, singing to her as the song played. It was a very memorable event that I have permanently locked away in the memory banks.

Chances are anyone reading this knows that the song “Cinderella”, though not intentional at the time, became quite prophetic in at least 2 ways, one beautiful, the other tragic. The beautiful fulfillment came in the engagement of Steven Curtis Chapman’s oldest daughter Emily. Chances are the future holds a beautiful and tearful daddy/daughter dance at Emily’s wedding reception. The tragic fulfillment came when 5 year old Maria Sue was killed in the family’s driveway when she ran into the path of their SUV as her older brother Will Franklin was returning home. Midnight had come and gone, and the clock struck midnight before all but One expected it to. The One is, of course, our heavenly Father. The One who holds the future in His hands, Who knows the beginning from the end, Who has written all the days of our life before we breath a single breath. He knew when midnight would come for Maria Sue Chapman. He picked out the exact moment; choose it out of the million available moments. As hard as it may be to fathom, His choice of midnight was not a random choice. He didn’t just throw a dart at the dart board of her life and where it hit midnight would strike. I don’t believe there is anything random with God. There is purpose in everything He does, a plan, and we know from His Word that His plan for use is good. In Jeremiah 29:11 we read “For I know the plans I have for you, ‘declares the LORD’, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I would have pictured those words written by a man who knew quite well, what prosperity was all about. But it is interesting to note, that the man who penned those words, had an intimate relationship with tragedy. One of his closest friends, King Josiah, died a painful death at the hands of Pharaoh Neco II. On top of that, he was chosen of God to deliver the message of God’s impending destruction to the Nation of Judah, his Nation, a Nation he loved. Then he painfully watched as his prophecies were fulfilled. Yet still he wrote “For I know the plans I have for you, ‘declares the LORD’, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”. Amazing words from a man known as “The Weeping Prophet”.

So what does this mean to the Chapman family? Well to a very large degree that story is still being written. Part of that story is playing before our very eyes. Just this morning the Chapman family appeared on Good Morning America. In an interview conducted by Robin Roberts, who herself appears to have been snatched from the clutches of death in her battle over breast cancer, the family shares of the hope they have. One of her early statements was particularly telling. She says that after spending time with the Chapman’s: “I saw a family closer than ever before, there for one another, and a family facing the future, with great hope.” Hope lived out in the day to day life of a family living in the throes of tragedy. Hope spoken from the mouth of a father to a son, dieing daughter in an ambulance heading for Vanderbilt hospital, possibly already haven taken her last breath, as he rolled down his window and shouted; “Will Franklin, your father loves you!” A father who sensed the strong possibility of losing one child and wanted to make sure he didn’t loose a second. Hope lived out in a mother for her remaining children, who at times has to, in her own words “shift her grief” because; “I have Emily who's getting married and her fiancé, Tanner, and Caleb and his girlfriend, Julia, and Will Franklin. You know, he's my baby boy. And then Shaoey and Stevey, and my grief gets shifted to making sure they’re as whole and as healthy as they can be.” Hope lived out in the lives of a bother and sister who have, in the midst of their own journey through “the valley of death’s shadow” sought to minister to their younger brother. Caleb said it so well when he said; “When you see someone hurting, and you see someone burdened. You…you want to take that burden from them.”

I couldn’t agree with Caleb more, but I have learned through life that you can rarely “take that burden from them”. However, you can walk with them through those dark valleys. In fact, that is what we are called to do. As believers we are called to come alongside one another, even if it means a trip through the “valley of death’s shadow”. This is not an easy task, but there are few tasks whose rewards are more telling, more evident, more fulfilling, more eternal. It is those stories you and I are writing today. That we will continue to write tomorrow, that we have the opportunity to live out each day God gives us breath. It has been said that “Hope springs eternal!” But I am here to tell you that there are times that hope is a distant memory so far removed that you struggle remembering what it is like. Times where it is so dark, so painful, so heart wrenching that you literally feel like you have to fight for every breath. I am also here to tell you that there is light at the end of that tunnel. Light so brilliant that it is beyond your imagination. However, when you are deep inside that dark tunnel, it seems like the only thing you have to hold on to is the assurance from God that “I will never leave you or forsake you”. One of our terrific responsibilities is to be used of God to show others the truth of that statement “I will never leave you or forsake you”. The question is what will you do? Let’s follow the lead of this amazing family and come alongside one another to speak, to minister, to live out hope. Then let’s watch as God takes the dark colors from our “valley of death’s shadow” and paints them into a beautiful masterpiece of His graciousness.

A Masterpiece in progress,


It is not often that I add to what I have already posted. In fact, outside of the comment section or minor edits, I have never done this. However, today is a different day. Last night the Chapman family, with the exception of the 2 youngest, appeared together on Larry King Live. It was a touching hour of remembering what took place. Of reflecting on how they as a family have come together while on deaths dark and winding road, and how they have all seen the Hand of God even in the midst of tragedy.

You know one of the things I love about live TV is that, to a very large degree, the hands of the editors are tied. Outside of the traditional 5-10 second delay, the editors don’t have much power. As I watched the show live last night, I rejoiced at the way the Chapman family sought to bring honor and praise to the Lord. I don’t know this for a fact, but I am guessing that there were key points in the interview conducted by Robin Roberts of Good Morning America, that never got past editing room floor. But things are different on live TV.

I wrote earlier about “Hope lived out in the day to day life of a family living in the throes of tragedy.” Last nights interview brought more of that hope to the forefront. Interestingly, I just watched Larry King do a recap of the show in his regular review titled About Last Night. His words are amazing. He said the subject of the hour last night was “Faith, and faith renewed, and faith restored.” His next statement is very telling. He stated; “I am always amazed at that. I’ve never been able to make that leap into blind faith which they have… and trust. They believe that their daughter is in heaven, watching down. I wish I had that…belief. But it was incredible to spend time with all of them, and the strength of all of them. And even though that strength may be looked at… some, looked by some as leaning…on a fence, a fence that is God or religion. I looked at it as stronger than that. They were an incredible group, I’ll never forget it!”

I have been listening to or watching Larry King since, if my memory serves me correctly, the late 70’s or early 80’s. Back in those days he was not on TV. He was a syndicated radio talk show host with a pension for attacking Christians. He has softened considerably in the years since. I am not completely certain what it is that has changed him. Perhaps he has been impacted as he has, through the interview process, walked with believers as they traveled through tragic times. Who could forget his interview with Todd Beamers wife days after she lost her husband on Sept, 11, 2001 (for more on that see my blogs titled “Triumph In Tragedy” and “Lets Roll”). In that interview she talked about how Jesus had sustained her through the tragedy. Or perhaps it was his own journey to the threshold of deaths door. I am not sure, but I pray that the day will come when he makes that “leap into blind faith”. If, or perhaps I can be bold enough to say, when he makes that leap. He will realize what I have come to realize. I do not lean on a fence that is God or religion! My feet are firmly planted on a foundation so strong and so powerful, that the gates of hell cannot prevail. Every step I take, He takes with me. When I face tragedy, it is as if His hands are resting on my shoulders, reassuring me that I am not alone. I feel his breath on the top of my head and I know that One more powerful than me, is there. My tears are seemingly met by His nail scarred hands and I know that I have a God Who understands my pain. My hope rests in a God Who has no limits, Who is surprised by nothing. Who holds the future, and even the past, in the palm of His Hand. Who gave Gideon his battle cry and guided the stone of David. Who toppled the walls of Jericho as His people watched. Who guided, fed, gave water to and preserved the clothing of more than 2,000,000 people wandering in a desert for 40 years. Who spoke “Peace! Be still” and calmed the storm.

Are you wandering in a desert today? He stands there with you! Looking into the eyes of a giant? Have faith in the God who guides small stones and topples insurmountable odds. Facing a battle you can’t possibly win? Hold high His lamp, break the jar of dependence on yourself and press your lips to the horn of His faithfulness and watch as He wins the battle for you. Look as He breaths on the mighty walls of the enemy and they fall. And listen to His voice as he speaks to the storm, in His perfect timing (His, not ours!)and then rest in His peace. My point is this. I have learned through the pages of His Word and through my own life and its many tragedies, that God is real, and He is there. If I remain in Him, rest in Him, and rely on Him. If I seek Him, follow Him, and hold fast to Him. If I grow in Him, pray to Him, and trust in Him. If I look to Him and hope in Him. My eternity is secure. He doesn’t promise me a life without problems. In fact the opposite is true. I will face sickness. I will see the ugly face of death. I may experience poverty, hunger, pain, loss, unspeakable sorrow. But I am not alone, and the Word of God is clear that:
Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff,
they comfort me.

Psalm 23:4

I am not alone! You are not alone! We are not alone. He is with us in the valley of the shadow of death. That is God’s assurance that we don’t face that dark valley alone.

That is the great hope that the Robin Roberts spoke of that she saw in the Chapman family. That is that faith renewed, and faith restored that Larry King will never forget. May others see that great hope in us as we walk through the tragedies of life. May our faith renewed, and faith restored have an eternal impact on the yet to believe world that watches us.

To God be the glory….even in tragedy,