"The most important of life's battles is the one we fight daily in the silent chambers of the soul."

Sunday, August 12, 2018

God Of Second Chances



And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once,
Judges 16:28
O God of second chances and new beginnings,
Here I am,
Again.

That prayer sticks out in my mind. As I recall the conversation held earlier in the Critical Care Unit with my friend, I realize that God is a God of second chances. I was expecting his condition to be quite dire from all the stories at work. A car accident on the way there had resulted in massive internal bleeding, a ruptured lung, and a broken pelvis. Yet, here he was sitting up right and talking to me. Revealing his new scar that ran along his chest, I wondered how this was possible. A year earlier, he had suffered the loss of his mother in a car wreck. Tragedy seemed to have followed him. But now he sat before me in bed carrying on a conversation. I prayed with him before I left. Not sure what words to say but God did. I ended my prayer with the God of second chances, for that is what he had.

He had been heading down a road that would have lead to his own self destruction. Now he had the opportunity to embark on a different course. This opportunity I don't believe had fallen on deaf ears. Shaking my friend's hand I started to leave. I looked back to see tears in his eyes. "Thank you for coming by and what you prayed," he said. " Praise God for this moment not me," was my response.

Leaving I felt a little choked up. I thought of how Samson had failed our Lord, Jonah had ran from Him and Peter had denied Him. How much worse am I than they? How many second chances had God given me in life?

A second chance when my life was shattered. A second chance when my heart had become hardened. A second chance to do the right thing. A second chance after failure. A second chance to walk in God's power. A second chance after death for a new life.

Lord,
Thank you, for all the second chances you have given me. At times, when I become angry at my children, help me to be a father like You, filled with second chance for His children.
Amen..


by Lance Gargus

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The Story Of The Three Trees


Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice


Psalm 96:12
Once upon a mountain top, three little trees stood and dreamed of what they wanted to become when they grew up.

The first little tree looked up at the stars and said: "I want to hold treasure. I want to be covered with gold and filled with precious stones. I'll be the most beautiful treasure chest in the world!".

The second little tree looked out at the small stream trickling by on its way to the ocean. "I want to be traveling mighty waters and carrying powerful kings. I'll be the strongest ship in the world!".

The third little tree looked down into the valley below where busy men and women worked in a busy town. "I don't want to leave the mountain top at all. I want to grow so tall that when people stop to look at me, they'll raise their eyes to heaven and think of God. I will be the tallest tree in the world."

Years passed. The rain came, the sun shone, and the little trees grew tall. One day three woodcutters climbed the mountain.

The first woodcutter looked at the first tree and said, "This tree is beautiful. It is perfect for me." With a swoop of his shining axe, the first tree fell. "Now I shall be made into a beautiful chest, I shall hold wonderful treasure!", the first tree said.

The second woodcutter looked at the second tree and said, "This tree is strong. It is perfect for me." With a swoop of his shining axe, the second tree fell. "Now I shall sail mighty waters!" thought the second tree. "I shall be a strong ship for mighty kings!"

The third tree felt her heart sink when the last woodcutter looked her way. She stood straight and tall and pointed bravely to heaven. But the woodcutter never even looked up. "Any kind of tree will do for me" he muttered. With a swoop of his shining axe, the third tree fell.

The first tree rejoiced when the woodcutter brought her to a carpenter's shop. But the carpenter fashioned the tree into a feedbox for the animals. The once beautiful tree was not covered with gold, and not filled with treasure. She was coated with saw dust and filled with hay for hungry farm animals.

The second tree smiled when the woodcuter took her to a shipyard, but no mighty sailing ship was made that day. Instead the once strong tree was hammered and sawed into a simple fishing boat. She was too small and too weak to sail to an ocean, or even a river, instead she was taken to a little lake.

The third tree was confused when the woodcutter cut her into strong beams and left her in a lumberyard. "What happened?" the once tall tree wondered. "All I ever wanted was to stay on the mountain top and point to God..."

Many many days and nights passed. The three trees nearly forgot their dreams.

But, one night, a golden starlight poured over the first tree as a young woman placed her newborn baby in the feedbox. "I wish I could make a cradle for him.", her husband whispered. The mother squeezed his hand and smiled as the starlight shone on the smooth and sturdy wood. "This manger is beautiful." she said. And suddenly the first tree knew he was holding the greatest treasure in the world.

One evening a tired traveler and his friends crowded into the old fishing boat. The traveler fell asleep as the second tree quietly sailed out into the lake. Soon a thundering and thrashing storm arose. The little tree shuddered. She knew that she did not have the strength to carry so many passengers safely through with the wind and the rain. The tired man awakened. He stood up, stretched out his hand, and said, "Peace." The storm stopped as quickly as it had begun. And suddenly the second tree knew he was carrying the King of heaven and earth.

One Friday morning, the third tree was startled when her beams were yanked from the forgotten woodpile. She flinched as she was carried through an angry jeering crowd. She shuddered when soldiers nailed a man's hands to her. She felt ugly and harsh and cruel.

But, on Sunday morning, when the sun rose and the earth trembled with joy beneath her, the third tree knew that God's love had changed everything. It had made the third tree strong. And everytime people thought of the third tree, they would think of God. That was better than being the tallest tree in the world.

Author Unknown



God often uses the most insignificant things bring about His will. Only at the end is that reason fully understood. May my soul searching lead me to that purpose.

By Lance Gargus

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Empty This Vessel


Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Matthew 5:6
My Creator,
I know how far I can stray. Seeking the ways of man. Trying to fill myself with this world. But it always leaves me wanting more. It's never quite enough. The father of lies leads so many prodigals away. He whispers words of vain ambition. Allowing myself to be filled with selfishness inside. As the poison of my pride slowly kills me, separating me from You.
The vessel that I am becomes filled with his lies. God, empty it and fill it with your truth.
Amen.


by

Lance Gargus


"There once was in man a true happiness of which now remain to him only the mark and empty trace, which he in vain tries to fill from all his surroundings, seeking from things absent the help he does not obtain in things present. But these are all inadequate, because the infinite abyss can only be filled by an infinite and immutable object, that is to say, only by God Himself."
Pascal, Blaise

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Life On The Train

Even to your old age and gray hair I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

Isaiah 46:4

(NIV)
A while back, I read a very interesting book that compared life to a train ride or a series of train rides.

Life is like a train ride it read. We get on, we ride, we get off. We get back on and ride some more. There are accidents and there are delays. At certain stops there are surprises. Some of these will translate into great moments of joy, some will result in profound sorrow.

When we are born we first board the train, we meet people whom we think will be with us for the entire journey. Those people are our parents.

Sadly this is far from the truth, Our parents are with us for as long as we absolutely need them. They too have journeys they must complete . We live on with the memories of their love, affection, friendship, guidance and their ever presence.

There are others who board the train who eventually become very important to us in turn. Those people are our brothers, sisters, friends and acquaintances whom we will learn to love and cherish.

Some people consider their journey like a jaunty tour. They will just go merrily along. Others will encounter many upsets, tears, losses on their journey. Others still, will linger on to offer a helping hand to anyone in need.

Some people on the train will leave an everlasting impression when they get off. Some will get on and get off the train so quickly, they will scarcely leave a sign that they ever traveled along with you or ever crossed your path…

We will sometimes be upset that some passengers whom we love, will choose to sit in another compartment and leave us to travel on our own. Then again, there is nothing that says we cant seek them out anyway. Nevertheless, once sought out and found, we may not even be able to sit next to them because that seat will already be taken.

Thats okay everyones journey will be filled with hopes, dreams, challenges, setbacks and goodbyes.

We must strive to make the best of it no matter what…

We must constantly strive to understand out travel companions and look for the best in everyone.

Remember that at any moment during our journey, any one of our travel companions can have a weak moment and be in need of our help.

We too may vacillate, or hesitate every trip hopefully we can count on someone being there to be supportive and understanding.

The bigger mystery of our journey is that we don’t know when our last stop will come. Neither do we know when our travel companions will make their last stop Not even those sitting in the seat next to us.


I know I will be sad to make my final stop. My separation from all those friends and acquaintances I made during the train ride will be painful. Leaving all those I am close to will be a sad thing. But then again, I am certain that one day I will get to the main station only to meet up with everyone else. They will all be carrying baggage…most of which they did not have when the first got on the train.

I will be glad to see them again, I will also be glad to have contributed to their baggage… and to have enriched their lives, just as much as they will have contributed to my baggage and enriched my life.

We are all on this train ride together. Above all, we should all try to strive to make the ride as pleasant and memorable as we can right up until we can make the final stop and the leave the train for the last time.

Author Unknown


The day of my father's passing, I heard a train whistle off in the distance. He spent his entire working career on trains. Maybe this was one small sign of God's reassurance that all is well on The Heavenly Express.

by

Lance Gargus

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