Just A Quick Update!

First, I want to thank all of you who sent emails to check on me or requested access to the website. (I had made it “not visible” because I didn’t want anyone to leave comments, etc. that never got posted or responses, etc.)

Second, all is fine here for me and my chickens. I did receive a job offer as a temporary employee shortly before my unemployment ran out. That was a blessing, even though it only paid about $1.00 more per hour that what I received through unemployment. It DID allow me to continue paying my “big” bills and fulfilling my financial pledge to my church.

In a little over a week, I will begin a permanent job with benefits and a better hourly rate. And I won’t need to be getting up at 4AM! (That’s even before the chickens are ready to get up!)

More importantly, I have learned to be much less anxious about the future. I’ve learned that I can truly trust God to take care of me. It may not be in the way that I hope for or imagine, but He is dependable. It’s a bit embarrassing to admit that it has taken 60 years to begin to learn such a basic lesson.

Oh, and my girls would be disappointed if I didn’t let everyone know that Miss Bessie has been laying eggs for about a month now almost every day! The others aren’t quite there yet, but it shouldn’t be too much longer. Two are already eyeing the nesting box curiously and wondering what goes on in there!

Finally, I’ve removed the “not visible” from the website. Who knows, there may be some who still want to read previous posts. I just can’t guarantee any responses to comments, etc. It is likely that I will pick up posting again regularly once I’ve gotten adjusted to my new job and have better, more reliable technology.

I can’t say what any new posts will be like. There are some of the old comic characters that just don’t “speak” to me the way that they once did. I can’t “hear” their dialogue in my head any more. In other words, Laser Eyes Jesus may have zapped his last zap. But that may not be such a bad thing. When I look at the statistics for “likes,” the “Some Serious” posts really do way outnumber the “Some Funny” posts even though there are more in the “Some Funny” category.

Perhaps some of that has to do with getting older. A good deal of it has to do with being concerned about how WordPress can be used as a tool to reach “Church Outsiders.” Some of the posts here did that, I believe. But most seem to have only reached “Church Insiders.” Not that I would consider that a bad thing…it’s just that more and more I feel that the world of “Church Outsiders” has turned its back on Real Life Jesus and I want to somehow be a part of the solution.

Well, that’s about it for how. Thanks again for everyone’s kind words and prayers!

John

P.S. Sorry no graphic…working from the library computer!

“Leave…Me…Alone…”

I think there is a great deal of secrecy and shame for those who hurt themselves on the outside through cutting because of the pain that they feel on the inside. Years ago, people like this would possibly have been considered demon-possessed. (They would have been compared to the Gerasene demoniac who gashed himself with stones in Mark 5 and Luke 8.) There still might be groups that look at self-inflicted pain this way, but I think that only leads to more secrecy and shame.

Cutting and similar behaviors are really, I believe, a way of coping with an incredibly tremendous hurt on the inside. This young girl desperately wants the pain she is feeling inside to go away. She just want something that really works, and this cutting of herself works, even though it is also destroying her relationships and her life.

By myself, my faith-filled heart wants to say, “Jesus is the answer to all of your painful problems. He can make the pain that you feel inside go away.” But I can’t say that so easily when I am face-to-face with someone else’s pain. Sometimes a person can get mangled inside just as much as if they have been mangled on the outside in an automobile accident. Sometimes they might even prefer to have been in an automobile accident instead. Sometimes there are no easy answers and quick solutions. I know that Jesus can move and in an instant, people are changed forever. But what do you say when that doesn’t happen?

I think this is where the Body Of Christ comes in. So often we think of Jesus as being “up there” and maybe, if we say and do the right things, He will become engaged in our lives…maybe. But the reality is if we are baptized into Jesus, then we are living members of His Body, and He isn’t “up there.” He is right here, right now, in you and in me. Sometimes it’s up to you and me ministering through His power as His Body.

It’s not often easy getting involved in another person’s life, particularly when there are no quick two or three step solutions. Sometimes we can only say, “I’ll walk with you and stay with you until…” And we can do that as the Body Of Christ.

Here is the only part that I’m putting in bold. If you can relate to this and are struggling with this or know someone who is…seek counseling. There are resources available that can help you. I’m just drawing and writing from my limited perspective. But there are professionals that can help you. Seriously. Jesus is right there with you. He was beaten, bloodied, stripped, and crucified for all the world to see. He knows pain inside and outside. He will stay with you until all of the pain is gone, no matter how long it takes. Honestly.

“Everything I Ever Wanted”

In some ways this sketch might be the opposite to the last one in this series titled “Someone Like Me” because the man there had nothing that this man has. Then I began to consider how very fleeting the answer “I’m not seeking anything” can be.

That may be easy to say when you have a newborn with ten fingers and ten toes and all seems wonderful, but what about when there is a cough that won’t go away? Or the baby doesn’t respond to light or sound? Or doesn’t develop as expected?

Then there is a desperate seeking for answers and cures. Illness, disease, and disaster can come so quickly and threaten to take away what we treasure the most. Then we will be seeking again, perhaps more desperately than ever before.

At times, life can feel so fragile and precarious, particularly when seeking Jesus is not part of it. Without Him, there is no steady anchor. All of our earthly desires and fulfillments can be swept away, leaving us battered by the waves. Can we be our own anchor? (I don’t think so. Can an anchor be its own anchor? Still, I know how very difficult it can be to trust anyone else, even Jesus.)

Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast… Hebrews 6:19 (KJV)

What is perhaps jarring for me to consider is that perhaps both the man in “Someone Like Me” and the man in “Everything I Ever Wanted” may be spiritual equals in the eyes of God. One shrouded in darkness, the other bathed in light. One having nothing of what he wants, the other having all that he wants. Yet this is only what our physical eyes see. We lack God’s spiritual eyes into the heart.

Prosperity of things, even good and wholesome things like a family, may not be a sign that someone is diligently seeking a relationship with God. In fact, that may be a greater spiritual danger than not having prosperity at all. Perhaps that is all the more reason to hold fast.

Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) Hebrews 10:23 (KJV)

Without a doubt, seeking Jesus is a good thing, but once having found Him, are we letting Him be our anchor? Are we holding fast?

“Someone Like Me”

You may notice this face as that of a new character introduced in yesterday’s post for “The Lloyd Servant Show.” His face was drawn beat up and his posture beat down. He’s the kind of person who makes me wonder “What are you seeking?” 

Why this man would open up in this way is uncertain, though I’d like to believe that even the roughest exterior and most hardened heart holds on to a small amount of hope that one day somehow they will be able to find what they are seeking.

I believe, or I want to believe, that Jesus can work in the life of a man like this to make him the kind of man that someone would want to have coming home to them at the end of the day, and it would be the kind of someone he imagines.

While I don’t want to believe that anyone is hopelessly lost when it comes to knowing Jesus in a real way, I think it may be possible that some of a person’s hopes may become hopelessly lost because of decisions that they have made. It’s sort of like Jesus can remove all of our sins, but not necessarily all of the consequences of our sins…things like his beaten up nose and cuts from barroom brawls and who knows what else.

Still, I can envision this man with a kinder heart and a gentler disposition created through a living and vital relationship with Jesus.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:27 (KJV)

So perhaps the hopes and dreams of his youth can be replaced by new hopes and dreams for the new creation that he can become in Christ?

Maybe sometimes we need to let go of old worn-out hopes and dreams so that they can pass away in order to see Jesus more clearly and then He can give us new hopes and dreams?

“It’s Not About Being One Of The Best”

This post is a followup to yesterday’s post and tries to fill in a few gaps that may explain why some people become who they are.

“Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so…little ones to Him belong, they are weak but He is strong.”

I don’t know when we stop becoming little ones. There are times that I want to go back to being a little one, particularly on days when I feel I have absolutely no strength in myself.

I have a feeling that there are some things that we have to resolve when we are a little one, and if we don’t resolve them then, they will confound us until we do. One of those things is the love of Jesus.

Perhaps one of the strongest senses a child has is whether or not they are loved. It may be stronger than their sense of whether or not they are warm and nourished. Children gravitate to love. They want to figure out how to receive more of it. Sometimes it’s very difficult to figure out, particularly when using just outward appearances. Sometimes outward appearances appear to be what love is all about. Who always seems to have new stylish clothes? The popular new toy? Who always seems to get picked for special privileges at school and at church? Who is “The Best Boy” in my class? Who is “The Best Girl”?

God made you just the way you are.

God loves you just the way you are.

God picked out your family just for you.

But what if you don’t look like all of the other children? You have brown skin, but they don’t. You have a twisted limb, but they don’t. You wear the same thing to church every Sunday, but they always have something new. Your mom gives you cereal for dinner, but they have a hot meal. Your dad is in jail, but theirs is playing ball with them in the backyard. Maybe that’s part of what “They are weak, but He is strong” is really all about.

It’s not always easy when you’re not one of “The Favorites,” but then there is a different kind of difficulty for those who are one of “The Favorites.” Maybe that’s a different kind of weak too.

I guess what I’m really trying to say is that sometimes we may have to help people figure out God’s love is not like the things we see that may accompany human love. It’s too easy to be lured away by those things as nice and as wholesome as they are. Then maybe they will realize they have been receiving God’s love all along.