On Life and Death

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I went to a funeral today.  The deceased was a 41-year old, beautiful, vibrant, caring woman with a great spirit about her.  She was a dentist who used her professional skills to touch the lives of those who depended upon her care.  A couple of years ago, she was excited to learn that she was carrying her first child.  Because she had married late in life, this pregnancy was especially important because it was not only her first, but most likely, her last.  Shortly into the pregnancy, she began to have some medical issues…it turned out that the disturbance in her body was cancer.  The doctors urged her to terminate her pregnancy so that they could immediately begin chemotherapy.  She refused.  Instead she delayed her treatment and held on to the growing baby inside of her for 27 weeks or so—until that baby could survive outside of her womb.  Her daughter was born premature, but she was here—her mother has chosen to give her life, instead of potentially saving her own.  Mother and baby faced their health issues together.  While the baby grew stronger, her mom was growing weaker.  Chemotherapy was taking its toll.  There were ups and downs during treatment.  Some months the doctors felt hopeful, other months the news they delivered to her was woeful.  Through it all, this young woman, kept her faith in the Lord.  When people called to console her, she ended up consoling them.  She loved her baby daughter with all she had…she protected her.  She knew that she had made the right choice in allowing her to come into this world, even though her choice likely meant reduced odds in her own fight to live.  Just about 26 months after she gave birth to her child, her own life ended.  Today, she was funeralized and buried.  There had to be 1,000 people or more at her services today.  Those who spoke on the programme said that she had touched their lives in a big way.  She took time out to be a friend, a sister, an adviser, and a confidante to those who were around her.  She impacted so many lives in just 41 years.  While sitting in the church today, I thought about my life… I thought about the lives of all of us.  Life is temporary.  Whether we choose to believe it or not, we are all dying…it’s just a matter of time before we leave this Earth.  None of what we attained in this life will really matter.  We’re just borrowing it—we can’t take any of it with us.  The only thing that will matter at the end of our lives is our works on Earth, because the Bible says that we will all sit at the judgment seat of Christ and be judged according to our works; whether they be good or bad.  Today, I decided to try my best not to get distracted here on Earth.  I decided to try my best to live on “purpose”.  I want to focus on doing God’s Will, being good to others, and trying to enjoy life…in that order.  Why spend any more time in life worrying about things that won’t even matter years from now when our time on Earth is done?  Today, I realized quite simply that death is a part of life and with everyday that passes we are wasting valuable time if we aren’t doing the will of God, being good to those around us and enjoying what life has to offer.  Today, I sensed that this young, 41-year old woman, lived her life on “purpose”.  I believe she truly understood what life is all about.

Carl

Pray for Our New President

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Last night was a historical night for the United States and the World.  The election of Barack Obama says alot about the progress the U.S. has made.  Regardless of one’s political views, I think most people can agree that the leaders of this World need our prayers.  We should ask that God helps them to make good decisions on behalf of the people they govern.  We must remember that our World leaders are mortal human beings who are given much power and responsibility.  They need the hand of God on them so that they use their power wisely and are able to stand up under the tremendous responsibility they have been given.

Beware of the Company You Keep

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I Corinthians 15: 33 says that Bad Company Corrupts Good Morals.  It is the Bible’s way of giving us a stern warning about the people who we allow to be in our lives.  If you keep bad company, the Bible says that your good morals will be corrupted.  In other words, you will then become like the company you keep.  Throughout the Book of Proverbs, we are given wisdom about what happens when we keep company with ungodly people.  The result is always unfortunate.  Recently, there have been a number of high profile incidents that demonstrate the importance of keeping people who are bad company at a distance in our lives.  The more they are in our lives, the more of an opportunity they have to know us, to know our weaknesses, to know where we are vulnerable—the closer they get to us, the more damage they are able to do.  Evaluate the people in your life.  Are they good company or are they bad company?  If they are not of benefit to you and your walk with the Lord, you probably need to take a serious look at whether or not to allow them to continue to keep the close proximity they have to you and your life.

Carl

Bible Lesson Connection celebrates 1 year!

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Our site officially launched on October 7, 2007.  Today, then, marks our 1 year anniversary!  I want to first thank God for His guidance and help on this project and then, to all of you who have logged on to this site…you are the reason we continue to try our best to minister…without you, there is no BLC.  To our web developers, Matt and Jillian…I say thank you for making the dream a reality.  Here’s to many more years of creating opportunities for people to make personal progress!  Share the Word of God and invite a friend to our website.

 Carl

After the Storm

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I live in Houston, Texas.  If you have followed the news for the past couple of weeks, you know that Houston and the surrounding area was greatly affected by Hurricane Ike.  As we have dealt with the aftermath of this storm, I have looked for lessons that can be learned from what we are experiencing.  One of the many things that I got from this was the importance of putting things back in order after the storm.  Right now, as I am typing this, some people are still without power, some schools and businesses are just now re-opening, the clean-up of debris is not yet complete….but people are working hard to repair the damage.  This state of “restoration” caused me to think about our own lives as we encounter our personal storms.  What do you do after the storm in your life has subsided?  Do you pick up and go on like it never happened or do you try your best to repair the damage it did to you.  In my humble opinion, if we truly want to have a good and peaceful life, we will work to “restore” our lives following the storm.  Something significant did happen to you and if you truly want to be well again, you must address what happened and then move on.  After Hurricane Ike, we have been forced to clean our refrigerators, remove debris, and repair damage.  Can you imagine how chaotic our lives would continue to be if we didn’t clean up after the storm?  When you face the trials of your life, in the aftermath, be sure to “clean-up” and work towards the “restoration” of you.  This process, undoubtedly, should include you going to God and asking for His help and guidance.  We all want to be whole again…and we must do the work that it takes.

Time doesn’t heal all wounds…

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Recently, I realized that while the passing of time is sometimes effective in helping us to heal emotionally, that there are occasions in which time really doesn’t heal our emotional wounds.  How often have you had a situation that happened in your past creep up into your present and cause a disruption to your day?  It happens.  The reason that so many of us still deal with past hurts is that we have never resolved what we experienced back then.  For example, let’s say that you felt betrayed by a loved one five years ago.  You have tried to forgive and forget, but every now and then, you feel the pain of it and that pain interrupts your relationship with them once again.  Why does this happen?  It’s because you never truly worked through the feelings of betrayal you experienced.  You can’t expect just to pick up and move on with your life like nothing ever happened and hope that time heals the wound.  You must actively work on trying to address, resolve and ultimately heal from the wounds that have negatively impacted your life.  Some of us have experienced things as children that still hurt us today.  Twenty years or more have passed and you are still dealing with it!  If you want to be healthy emotionally, you have to reach a point where you decide that you are tired of dealing with the same ole stuff and that you want a permanent healing from it.  To resolve or address your issue(s), you might have to pick up the phone and call a loved one who hurt you or spend some serious time alone in meditation and prayer or even make an appointment to see a psychotherapist or minister to help you sort through your life experiences.  Whatever you decide to do—do something!  Life is really too short to continue to deal with the pain of your past.  Deal with it now—and after you have done what you need to do to heal, leave your past pain in the past and go forward in your life—renewed and strengthened!

Not as bad as it could have been…

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Thank God for His mercy.  Hurricane Gustav made landfall and it was far less destructive than what had been predicted.  We serve a merciful God.  For those who were affected most, I just know that He will enable them to rebuild their lives.  And for those who were spared, we thank God and hope that His kindness and mercy will lead more people to improve their relationship with Him.

An open prayer anticipating Hurricane Gustav

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Dear Lord,

We know that you are truly an awesome God.  You are the architect of Heaven and Earth, the creator of mankind, the giver and sustainer of all types of life forms that inhabit this world.  Lord, through your Word, you give us examples of natural disasters.  You speak of floods, storms, earthquakes and perilous times that are sure to come.  Because you say it in Your Word Lord, we know that these occurrences are part of Your Will and divine plan for the World you created.  Even with that knowledge Father, it is still hard for us, as mortal human beings, to understand and deal with the storms of our lives, both literally and figuratively.  Help us Lord to better withstand life situations that are difficult.  Help us to trust you in the midst of the storm, knowing that you love us and have our best interest at heart.  Father, right now we make an appeal for you to have mercy on the Gulf Coast.  We know that certain things must happen, but we know we serve a God who is in total control of everything that happens under the sun.  Lord, we trust Your Will.  If it is Your Will that the storm makes landfall, we pray that you will have mercy and that the storm won’t be as bad as the meterologists are predicting.  We pray that the damage won’t be as bad as it could be.  We pray for the lives of the people the storm will affect.  We ask that you will assist them in evacuating, getting to safety and rebuilding their lives following the hurricane.  God, we know you are in control, we know you are a good God, and we know we can count on You.  We trust that your Will is perfect and we ask that whatever your Will may be, that you will give us the mindset to accept and appreciate it…for we know, that ultimately, all things in your will work together for the good of us.  Lord we love you and we thank you.  In the mighty name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

Throw Off All That Hinders You

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Hebrews 12: 1-3 tells us that we should throw off all that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles us.  This scripture is key for those of us who are truly seeking to make Heaven our home.  Imagine yourself in a race for God.  You are running but you have a heavy load on your back, you have obstacles that keep jumping in front of you that you are allowing to hinder your forward progress.  You can’t win a race that way.  You must throw off and get rid of that which hinders you from winning the race!  What is it that is hindering you right now?  Is it a person?  Is it a particular sin?  Is it your attitude?  Whatever it is, throw it off such that it doesn’t stand in your way anymore.  One of the toughest things for us to do is to let go of relationships with people we care about, but who are hindering us.    You really might have to let that person go.  Seek God’s Word and His Will.  Pray and ask God if it is His Will that the person be removed from your life or at least put aside as you strive to run for the Lord.  Doing this will not be easy, but sometimes you have to do something hard for the sake of your relationship with God.  Evaluate your life and what is hindering you from being all you can be for God and then as the scripture says…Throw It Off!!!

Presidential Candidates Talk About Their Faith

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Last night, I watched Barack Obama and John McCain discuss their faith and its impact on their lives and how they see the world.  Actually, I was quite impressed as I watched.  It was the most interesting interview that I have seen either candidate do because it did provide some insight as to who they really are in their hearts.  I was happy to hear the interviewer, Rick Warren (author of the Purpose-Driven Life) ask a question related to the candidates’ biggest moral failure.  John McCain said it was his first marriage.  Barack Obama talked about his time as a teenager and experimenting with drugs and alcohol.  Obama included his wife and grandmother as people he felt were wise and that he would listen to as he embarked upon leading the country.  John McCain spoke of his time as a prisoner of war and how he had an encounter with a Christian prison guard who gave him some relief from physical pain one day during his time there in prison.  Seeing a glimpse of each man and his thoughts about Christianity and Christian principles like giving and being good to others really gave me a different perspective of them.  So often, I’m just used to hearing about the important, but secular campaign issues and I had grown tired of hearing them repeat themselves on the same 5 things (Iraq, national security, the economy, health care and gas prices).  While those are critical election issues, it was refreshing to see them discuss their own personal beliefs regarding God and principles that they attempt to live their life by.

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