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

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Praying Hands

Back in the fifteenth century, in a tiny village near Nuremberg, lived a family with eighteen children. Eighteen! In order merely to keep food on the table for this mob, the father and head of the household, a goldsmith by profession, worked almost eighteen hours a day at his trade and any other paying chore he could find in the neighborhood.

Despite their seemingly hopeless condition, two of Albrecht Durer the Elder's children had a dream. They both wanted to pursue their talent for art, but they knew full well that their father would never be financially able to send either of them to Nuremberg to study at the Academy.

After many long discussions at night in their crowded bed, the two boys finally worked out a pact. They would toss a coin. The loser would go down into the nearby mines and, with his earnings, support his brother while he attended the academy.

Then, when that brother who won the toss completed his studies, in four years, he would support the other brother at the academy, either with sales of his artwork or, if necessary, also by laboring in the mines.

They tossed a coin on a Sunday morning after church. Albrecht Durer won the toss and went off to Nuremberg. Albert went down into the dangerous mines and, for the next four years, financed his brother, whose work at the academy was almost an immediate sensation. Albrecht's etchings, his woodcuts, and his oils were far better than those of most of his professors, and by the time he graduated, he was beginning to earn considerable fees for his commissioned works.

When the young artist returned to his village, the Durer family held a festive dinner on their lawn to celebrate Albrecht's triumphant homecoming. After a long and memorable meal, punctuated with music and laughter, Albrecht rose from his honored position at the head of the table to drink a toast to his beloved brother for the years of sacrifice that had enabled Albrecht to fulfill his ambition. His closing words were, "And now, Albert, blessed brother of mine, now it is your turn. Now you can go to Nuremberg to pursue your dream, and I will take care of you."

All heads turned in eager expectation to the far end of the table where Albert sat, tears streaming down his pale face, shaking his lowered head from side to side while he sobbed and repeated, over and over, "No ...no ...no ...no."

Finally, Albert rose and wiped the tears from his cheeks. He glanced down the long table at the faces he loved, and then, holding his hands close to his right cheek, he said softly, "No, brother. I cannot go to Nuremberg. It is too late for me. Look ... look what four years in the mines have done to my hands! The bones in every finger have been smashed at least once, and lately I have been suffering from arthritis so badly in my right hand that I cannot even hold a glass to return your toast, much less make delicate lines on parchment or canvas with a pen or a brush. No, brother ... for me it is too late."

More than 450 years have passed. By now, Albrecht Durer's hundreds of masterful portraits, pen and silver-point sketches, watercolors, charcoals, woodcuts, and copper engravings hang in every great museum in the world, but the odds are great that you, like most people, are familiar with only one of Albrecht Durer's works. More than merely being familiar with it, you very well may have a reproduction hanging in your home or office.

One day, to pay homage to Albert for all that he had sacrificed, Albrecht Durer painstakingly drew his brother's abused hands with palms together and thin fingers stretched skyward. He called his powerful drawing simply "Hands," but the entire world almost immediately opened their hearts to his great masterpiece and renamed his tribute of love "The Praying Hands.

"The next time you see a copy of that touching creation, take a second look. Let it be your reminder, if you still need one, that no one - no one - - ever makes it alone!

Author Unknown

I look at my own scarred hands from a life of work and worry. Do I really thinks that those scars came from the ability of my own hands? I would only be fooling myself to think such a thing. The One who's hands are more broken and scarred than mine gently puts my hands in His. He tries to take my hands and fold them together into praying hands, if I would just let Him.


Lance Gargus

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Pride vs. Humility

Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
Proverbs 16:18

A man's pride shall bring him low
Proverbs 23:11

"If pride turned some of the angels into demons, then humility can doubtless make angels out of demons."
John Climacus

The definition of Pride is a high or inordinate opinion of one's own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.

Pride is always considered the most serious of all sins, in any list. It is the original sin that caused Lucifer to fall from heaven and to become Satan.

It plagues us carnal creatures just as bad.

My thoughts drift to two people I know. One, gave up going to church and fully embraced his work. Determined to climb the corporate ladder. Seeking to achieve a certain level and position. His wife continued to support him in his endeavours. Maybe even driving him towards it. I don't know. The stress had already caused him one heart attack. His nerves strained causing him to chain smoke. Still he continues the pursuit, no matter the cost.

The other, gave up his career and good money to pursue the Lord's work. Though he makes barely nothing on his preaching job and has a family to support, he walked out on faith. Because the company would not allow him to be off on Sundays and Wednesday nights to worship His Lord, he left. Not knowing what was around the corner. A small congregation, with few people, he stepped out to attend to their needs.

Both men, chose a path. Both men worked for the same company and had the exact same start. Two different directions was chosen. Two different ends. One sure of where he was going, and one unsure of where the Lord would lead him. One stressed and one with inner peace. One chose pride, the other chose God.

When we become too full of ourselves, God humbles us. Sometimes we draw closer to Him, sometimes we just blame Him. I am guilty of more of the latter, than the former. With all the troubles I have faced down and all the fires I have walked through, only One has walked the path before me. He blazed the trail. I want so much to blame God, instead of blaming myself. When things are going good, I think it's all my doing. When things go bad, I think it's all God's doing. What a foolish child I have been. A spoiled child would be more like it. God gave up everything and humbled Himself for me. He came as the servant. I want to be the master. I am no more the master of my fate than my car is. If my car could think, it might think I want to drive myself. Refusing to believe he needs a driver, only to coming crashing into something without him. If God leaves my driver seat, I'll come crashing into my own tangled mess I made.

The longer I live, the more I've come to that realization. Unlike the angels, we can be humbled in these temporal bodies. These bodies have limits built in. And thank God they do. We're arrogant enough, me especially. Sometimes you have to lose nearly everything to see what's important in life.

He holds life and death in His hands. He extends His hands out before us and bids for us to choose. We all choose each day with the choices we make. How many times when I started to choose death, did he jerk His hand back from me. Saving me once again from myself.

The truth is I am not a god. All the pride makes one think you are and have control of your life. Don't believe the lie of pride from the dark one.

In my soul searching, Lord, may I seek not my will but Your will be done.


Lance Gargus

God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.James 4:6

The tranquility and overwhelming presence of the spirit of God humbles even the greatest of men.

Monday, December 05, 2016


Why did God make the woman from man's rib? Not from the heelbone to trounce her down nor the head. The rib like Christ's side was pierced to create the church. Woman always next to the man's side and with his loving arm around her. Under the arm to be protected and next to the heart to be loved.

Genesis Chp 2:

18 The Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."

But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

23 The man said,

"This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of man."

24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

The word rib....means in Hebrew means side. It is a feminine noun.
It also translates into: boards, chambers, hillside, leaves, one...another, rib, ribs, side, side chamber, side chambers, sides, walls

The Hebrew word is Tsalah.

Rib also means curved. As a woman's body has significantly more curves than a man. God made her to be curvy. This is just one of the many perfections of His creation.

1 Kings Chp 6: vs.5 and 6 refers to enclosing God's holy temple like ribs. Showing a woman's strength standing together with other women for God. They stand side by side enclosing and protecting God's Holy Temple. Just as a rib, woman, brought forth the Messiah...carrying him in her womb. Protected Him as He developed. Mary now carried God's Holy Temple inside her.

1 Kings Chp 6: vs 15 refers to ribs of cedar or fir in the Temple Walls. Cedar and Fir is the very best building material they can find back then and still is. It's know for its sturdiness and durabilty. Just as ribs are know to be tough and hard to break. You can break a rib, but they heal up fairly well compared to other bones and will be tougher next time. Just the same as a rib, or Godly woman is. The cedar was used for the wall and the fir for the floor with planks. Cedar ribs were used for the walls because cedar is highly rot resistant since it contains natural preservatives and resistant to pest. Cedar will resist shrinkage more than other lumber varieties. Cedar is also resistant to warping and twisting and responds well to high humidity. Cedar has a pleasant aroma and attractive appearance.

So God's temple walls were made of cedar. A Godly woman, rib, has all those characteristics....of being resistant to age and wear if she lives a proper lifestyle, and this comes naturally to her. It's in  her true nature. Her nature helps her resist the pest of this world that try to steal her joy. She resists warping and twisting when the elements of this life blow against her. Lastly, this toughness doesn't make her less pleasant to be around or less attractive. Just like cedar ribs she has an air about her, of kindness and gentleness that people want to be around. And she like cedar is beautiful to behold, especially to man. He's amazed that something so stunning can stand so tall and not move by the things of this world. A Godly man is in awe at the help mate God has brought to him.

The curves and flexibility of a woman are more than a man. God made rib, woman, this way to bend and dodge the darts of this world. To help protect her help mate.

Just like ribs protect the internal organs. The ribs help protect the most important one, the man's heart. But its not just one rib but several. A man has several Godly women that protect his heart. Grandmothers, sisters, daughters, mother and the wife...God made them to work together to make up the ribcage. One by themselves does little good. But together the ribcage, the Godly women network as I like to call it, does so much more. It provides vital support as part of the skeleton and, simply put, breathing wouldn’t be possible without it. All this means is that the ribcage has to be flexible to allow for the miracle of breathing.

So, without you, rib, man could not breathe. Gives new meaning to a woman taking a man's breath away. Cause breathing, the very act, wouldn't be possible without her. A woman's love supports this network.

Her act of prayers strengthens the man. And the prayers are like calcium to the ribcage, strengthening it.  Allowing him to grow stronger while protecting him.

Fir ribs were used for the Temple floors cause of its stiffness and strength. Used alot for bridges and railroad ties. It can withstand high winds or earthquakes. The stiffness quality makes it good for flooring. Wow! God sure knows what He's doing. A Godly woman is a foundation that can be stepped on, stomped on, and ran on, but will not break. These women are the ones all newer Godly women stand on cause they came first and the rest were built upon them. These fir rib women can hold up the heaviest weight like childbearing or caring for an elderly parent or a sick child. And the high winds and earthquakes of this world will not and cannot shake their faith. But they must stand together to protect the man's heart they all love....son, father, brother,...husband. Without them he can not accomplish God's purpose...they must work together.

Lastly,...1 Kings 6:34...She is used as the columns of the door and the hinges of the door. The ribs of cedar held up the door space to enter in. Just as the rib, woman, is the passage through which we all pass through into this life

1 Corithians Chp 11

vs 9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.

vs 11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.

vs 12 For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.

She, the rib, is how we come here. But all this is God's doing. He made it this way to teach us about true Godly love for each other.

The woman, rib, is also referred to as the leaf...the part of the door, the hinges...that controls who enters and who doesn't. Or the ease at which one enters a room or space. A Godly woman protects the man's heart and who enters into it. She is the gatekeeper. She only allows those who truly love him, like her, to come near the vital heart lest they stop it from beating. So being a rib, at his side, under his arm, she has special access to his heart and his lungs. She can keep it beating and breathing, being his air and beat, or she can choose to be un Godly with her words and actions. Thus, shaking his faith and killing the heart and smothering the lungs like a broken rib that didn't do its job and pierced the heart or lung causing its collapse or dysfunction. Killing him, whom trusted her.

But if she holds up. He will protect her with his muscular girdle of his torso. The muscles he builds will protect her. He will use his powerful arms to fight the enemy and still use them to caress her when she's hurt. Cause she is now bone of his bone, flesh of his flesh.

Ephesian 5

25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

He will protect the ribs, that protect his heart. He will all his muscles, strength, and agility to protect her. And she protect who enters his heart....cause....ribs also means chamber or cells.

Chambers, means a private room, where we go to sleep, pray, or make love. It's a private space away from everyone and everything. Not just anyone can enter in. Just like the temple had a private chamber. Only certain priest, who were totally trustworthy, who loved and obeyed God above everything were allowed to enter in. They had to be cleansed and proved to God this, otherwise the chamber could become defiled, just as the heart can become and thus die. So it was to be protected cause of the importance of this. A woman, a rib, enter into the man's private chamber, his heart, with hopefully good intentions...to be alone with him as his wife to share love together and rest in each others arms as protectors of each other. A love relationship is born and nourished here. And from this love children are born. Walking, talking embodiments of the love that came from that chamber. Love in the flesh of both. One flesh coming from two. And they enter the chamber they share to mulitply the love neverending. God dwells in this inner chamber as they pray together.

But if the rib allows a stranger in...the love dies and so does it all.

Proverbs 4 NIV

23 Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.

And what leaves out of that chamber of the heart, the rib protects is the blood that flows to every vital part of the body. The children flow out into the community and either magnify the love expressed in that inner chamber or the hate and anger that stops a heart.

So ribs must guard the heart....for the children that flow out from it are the result of this.

So be fruitful and multiply not just children but love. Be fruitful and multiply love. God's love that flows thru their little beating hearts. For everytime a child sings Jesus Loves the Little Children of the World. A rib, a woman, taught them that. Love put to music, flowing out from a heart, protected by ribs, that started it all beating.

The area in the center of the ribs is made up of bone marrow, which produces new red blood cells. Just as the woman, the rib, produces children that flow out into the world. Making life sustaining blood. Making life, itself, sustainable. God is the sternum, the center of the ribs, upon which the ribcage is built. Each Godly woman, connected to the Source, to create the structure upon which the protection and lifegiver is built. The love of the heart and rib form the body but God, the giver of life, the creater of the blood, give the baby Life. Otherwise, its just stillborn.

During exhalation ribs downward motion aids in expelling air from the lungs. Thus, getting rid of the bad air. So ribs together help remove the bad stuff. Women, ribs, who love their family remove the bad stuff. The stuff that can hurt the heart. Breathing in the smoke of this world so suffocate you. So the ribs help you cough to remove the smoke before it harms you. It may seem painful and unpleasant to you, but its for your own good. How many mother ribs have said that to a child before spanking them? But its true. The rib is trying to protect it before it gets in the bloodstream, the child's heart. For the more smoke breathed, even over time, it wears the ribs down. So, children, be kind to your mother rib. And it will be kind to you.

A rib is also referred to as a curved arch. Arches are uniquiely shaped for support. Without arches, ribs, the catherdrals of Europe could not have been built.The Aorta, arches, like a rib, and is the largest artery in the body. It's unique structure allows it to give off branches that go to the head and neck, the arms, the major organs in the chest and abdomen, and the legs. It serves to supply them all with oxygenated blood. The aorta is the central conduit from the heart to the body. Thus, relieving the heart of some of the gravity loads of moving blood. The rib, arch design, relieves the heart of the a burden by its shape, just as a woman compliments a man by her shape. They entwine perfectly when joined together. My hand fits perfectly in yours quote so to speak. Reliefing his heart of the stress of the day when he sees her, his rib, his help mate.

So, the rib, the woman, the women, are protectors of the man's heart. Life sustainers...givers of life flowing out from God. And he in return protects the one with his muscular frame and shape. In a relationship, that only God could design, right down to the minute characteristics of the wonderful woman....the rib of man and the complementary completion of man to be made whole.

Proverbs 31

10 A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.




Saturday, November 19, 2016

Teardrops of the Summer Rain

Some people feel the rain, others just get wet.

The summer rays heat my skin causing a feeling of just dry. The dust blows at me as I try to finish the last of the fields mowing.
The tractor's pto bogs down under the weight of the thick grass. I push on feeling the wind picking up cooling my face. I lick the
sweat off my lips....muscles ache as I try to hold on over ridges and gullies. "Oof!" She drops down a sharp drop off shaking my teeth.
Summer rain is coming. I hear the rumble in the distance drawing closer. My hair stands on end from the static electricity.
Gray clouds darken the sky.....taking almost macabe shapes. Going from grey to black...lightening flashes in its arcaic way
across the sky...touching cloud to cloud. I push on. How many times have I been? Trying to outrun the summer rain.
I stop. Getting off the tractor the downpour begins. Drops of cool water rivulets run down my skin. Refreshing me of the heat. I raise
my face to feel it washing the dust from my eyes. I stick out my toungue to taste fresh taste of rainwater God has provided.
I turn my hands palms up to feel the droplets massage the pain of work from my hands.
But mostly I sense the water run down my cheeks. Can't tell if its rain or my tears. Noone can see u crying they say when its
raining. I try to remember who I once was as a carefree youth and who I have become as jaded adult. So jaded that I feel
all who come into contact with me, I cut. What I become? I've cried these tears in moments of joy and in moments of great pain.
I cried them at my birth, and will cry them at my death. But now they are enveloped in a collage of teardrops. These rainwaters
at one time were part of the oceans but, also teardrops of someone who once lived. Someone who felt the same emotions I feel
right now. So it would seem the tears of the ages fall with this summer rain. But it does little to silence thunderings of
my hurting heart. Love they say heals this pain. The love of a woman, the love of a child, the love of a parent...but ultimately
they all go away in the end. Leaving you standing alone searching the skies for answers.
I remove my soaked t-shirt to wipe my face. The smell of the summer rain leaves a fresh odor to the air.

 Then I hear it...the birds calling. Calling out sounds of happiness. For they are
receiving what they need.And I remember the verse from Matthew 10:31...."So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."
I know I needed to be reminded of that.
But I am afraid. Afraid that I can't love. That I've forgotten how. I pick a pink flower from the bush. Each bulb has opened
to take in the life the summer rain brings. The white center is surrounded by a darker pink giving it a kalidescope look. Turning
the blossom I just picked, I notice the colors moving in and out as I spin it. How beautiful! No man could ever make something
this exquisite and unique. One of a kind in its loveliness. How I wish that I could love and unclench my fist. To let the blossom
bulb of my heart be opened. The summer rain opened the pedals but alas, the tears of my jaded heart fall to the ground of
bitterness and stay.
"God, my prayer is that one day you will let loose all the tears I have for the one I will love. So it becomes a downpour so strong
that the blooms of love can once again be seen by all. Until that day, Father, save them in your bottles of rememberance. Amen."

Lance Gargus