Happy To Welcome You To The Hallelujah Chorus

I will exalt you my God, the King, I will praise your name forever and ever. Every day I will praise you and exalt your name forever and ever. Psalm 145:1-2

Saturday, June 26, 2010

SAD NO MORE

Not long ago I visited the massive MD Anderson Hospital in Houston. My brother and close friend has been a regular there for over seven years as they have successfully treated him for a form of cancer. During the hour or so that he was with his primary doctor I went down to the cafeteria to wait for him to join me. As I sat and drank my coffee and watched the several hundred people of all ages who were there in wheelchairs, on crutches, some accompanied by nurses others by family, many attached to containers of medication with needles in their arms, I was struck by how much joy there was on nearly all the faces.
One group of men especially attracted my attention. There were seven of them gathered at a large round table quietly talking about life. I sat down near them to see if I could pick up on the conversation without being too obvious. These were working men who had taken time off from work to come for treatment. They seemed to all know each other so I assume they have been doing this for a long time, like my cousin Doug. All of them were dressed in jeans, boots and work shirts as though they worked in some type of construction or the oil industry. Just a group of everyday, lunch pail type guys doing what they had to do to survive. BUT, I heard no hint of self pity, anger, or even angst. They were sharing about their families and the great support they consistently received from the medical staff, their loved ones and even their employers. They were talking about regular "guy" stuff, sports, fishing, golf, and three of them shared about their men's Bible study group.
As I sat there spellbound by all I was seeing and hearing, I was reminded of one of David's songs, "To you O Lord I cry, and to the Lord I plead for mercy; What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness? Hear O, Lord, and be merciful to me! O Lord my helper! You have turned my mourning into dancing, you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever." PSALM 30:8-12 HALLELUJAH!!!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

HAPPY FROM THE INSIDE OUT

How tragic, how utterly sad and depressing life must be for the millions of good men and women who live along the Gulf Coast. To have to wake up every morning and deal with the horrible mess that has now made their once pristine beaches a place to watch your step and hold your nose, must make life seem almost pointless. For many, they now have had their income stream destroyed by a disaster over which they had no control. Others are having to cope with the loss of someone they loved and depended on to provide for their family. Now, their life has been radically altered, forever.
Then there are all the politicians, television and radio people with their cameras and microphones and their constant stupid questions, and all the experts speculating on this and that, each one with an opinion about who is to blame. But most of all are the normally hard working people who have depended on those waters for sustenance for many generations, now working alongside a growing army of volunteers from everywhere doing their best to help salvage life on many fronts.
All over the world there is more to be angry and depressed about than there is that inspires a sense of happiness, of well being, of confidence in the future. Among the many critical lessons I have learned in my nearly 7 decades of living is this - ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN TO ANYONE, ANYTIME ANYWHERE! Any one of us can lose our trusted source of income or our cherished dream house or someone we love, literally in the blink of an eye. Our future can become a virtual "black hole" with no source of light. Well, unless you look in the right place.
I like the way Paul states the stark reality we all must face up to at some point in our lives - "God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness', has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God, not to us. We are afflicted in every way, BUT not crushed; perplexed, BUT not driven to despair, persecuted, BUT not forsaken; struck down, BUT not destroyed." 2 Corinthians 4:6-9 ESV
People of true faith are always looking ahead because we know that the power ultimately belongs to God our Father, not men who only think they have power. To be sure any man or woman who thinks they have the power will always seek to flex that muscle for their own benefit. And very often they achieve their self serving goal at the expense of others. But any advantage they may seem to have gained, is short lived at at best.
Today may be a black hole, don't give in to despair. You may have to alter some things in your life to have a better future, but you do have a future, God will see to it.
David wrote: "The wise counsel of God gives me when I'm awake is confirmed by my sleeping heart. Day and night, I'll stick with God; I've got a good thing going and I'm not letting go. I'm happy from the inside out, and from the outside in, I'm firmly formed. You canceled my ticked to hell--that's not my destination. Now you've got my feet on the life path, all radiant from the shining of your face. Ever since you took my hand, I'm on the right way." Psalm 16:7-11 MSG
For me that is a huge HALLELUJAH!