Friday, December 27, 2013

Beautiful Hands

Behold my hands

Luke 24:39

"He was carried by hands that He formed."

I heard of a story of a mother who saved her child from their house when it burned.
She sacrificed herself and cared not for her safety to save him.
The end result was the child saved but at a price.
The mother's beautiful hands were horribly scarred.
For years afterward she tried to hide her hands.
She wore gloves whereever she went.
As her baby became a little boy, he saw her glowing, light colored flowing hair, her deep blue calming eyes, and her warm bright smile.
But he never noticed her hands.
Each night she went through the same routine of singing a song, bedtime story, and prayers. One night when he was four, the mother kissed her child good night and brushed his cheek.
He grabbed her hands and looked up at her.
"Mommy, why are your hands different?' he questioned with a curious look,
Sitting on the edge of his bed she began to tear up, looking at her hands she began to cry uncontrollably.
"My hands haven't always been this ugly. At one time, I had the most lovely of hands.But years ago our house burned when you were a baby, I rushed past the firemen to save you from your burning crib, Making my way through the fire I protected you from the flames with my hands. The end result is what you see." she sobbed.
The small boy took his mothers scarred hands in his and gently rubbed them.
"Momma, these are the most beautiful hands I have ever seen," he said while caressing them against his cheek.
Our Savior's hands are the same way. Do we realize when we take His hands how much love went into them for us, or do we just take them for granite?
I never took time to look at my earthly father's hands growing up. I always thought that they would be there. The time came, when he grew older, to tell him good bye. In the night while he rested, I took his hands in mine. After carefully examining them, I noticed the scars and callouses from hardwork, the age spots and wrinkles time had put there, and the roughness of the skin that a lifetime of the elements had toughened. A true realization sit in at that quiet late night hour, it was all because of me. Every scar, callous, age spot, wrinkle, and the toughness of the skin. I put there. He sacrificed his youth, health, and physical well being for me. Only now toward the end did I truly understand that.
As he awakened briefly, I leaned across to tell him my heart. Whispering in his ear
I told him,"Thank you for the sacrifice of going to work everyday, thank you for providing for me, and thank you for all that you did without me ever asking."
He just smiled and laid my head on his chest. As he gently stroked my head like I was a little boy, he spoke with a labored breath.
"Thank you for being my son."
How wonderful that feeling was to hear him say that before his passing, as he laid in that hospital bed.
Those words I'll always carry in my heart. But I anxiously await for the day when I stand beside him in front of our Heavenly Father.
On that day I long to hear these words from Him, "Thank you for being my sons and daughters."
Lance Gargus

Monday, October 14, 2013

All You Christians Will Die

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

2 Corinthians 12:10

"Against the persecution of a tyrant the godly have no remedy but prayer."

John Calvin

"All you Christians will die!"
The words carried an angry force behind it.
His eyes shifted to each person in the congregation, as if searching for something.
He was sweaty from the jungle heat and seemed tired.
Nervously his fingers twitched while holding his AK-47.
"Who wants to die today?"
"How about you?" he shouted at a sobbing woman.
"No, I don't want to die,"she pleaded for her life.
"Deny him!"
"Alright, alright. I deny him. Now, please don't kill me."
The look on his face became one of almost disappointment.
"Get out of here. Go. Leave. Now!" the rebel growled.
"What about the rest of you?"
They answered his question by running to the door.
The room became eerily quiet.
Three people remained in a corner crunched down.
Their prayers filled the room with ever growing intensity.
A presence seemed to enter the room.
"What is wrong with you? Will you die for this God of yours?"
The young man and two women stood up to face their taunter.
Defiantly they simply replied,"Yes."
The rebel dropped his rifle and dropped to his knees.
Tears welled up in his eyes.
"For too long, I have sought ones who believe as you do. Tell me of this Jesus I have heard about. The One you love enough to die for."
This is one of many stories, I have heard along the way, in my soul searching pursuits.
Lance Gargus

Thursday, August 01, 2013

The Folded Napkin Of Christ

And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.
John 20:7

Reading the Gospel of John (20:7) before, I had never noticed this peculiar point brought out to me by a friend. In this version of the gospel it tells of the napkin. This particular napkin covered Jesus face, and was not discarded with the grave clothes. The napkin according to the Bible was neatly folded, and placed at the head of the stony place where He had lain.

That glorious Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb. Upon coming to the tomb, she found the stone rolled away. After seeing this, she ran to tell the others what had happened. At once she found Simon Peter and the other disciple, whom Jesus loved. With exhausted breath she exclaimed,"They have taken the Lord's body out of the tomb, and I don't know where they have put him!" After hearing of this, Peter and the other disciple ran to the tomb to see for themselves. The other disciple got there first after out running Peter. He stooped down and looked in. He saw the linen cloth lying there but did not go in. Simon Peter finally arrived, and after catching his breath went inside. He couldn't believe his eyes. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus' head was folded up and lying to the side.

There is special meaning behind the folded napkin. In order to understand this, you have to understand a little bit about Hebrew tradition back then. The tradition has to do with the Master and the servant, and every Jewish boy knew this tradition. The Master wanted his dinner table set up in a certain way. The servant understood to set it up exactly the way the master wanted it. The servant set the table up perfectly. The servant waited just out of sight until the master was done eating. The servant would not touch the table, until the Master was finished. Now if the master was done eating, he would rise from the table, wipe his fingers, his mouth, and clean his beard, and would wad up that napkin and toss it onto the table. This told the servant to clear the table. For in those days, the wadded napkin meant, "I'm done". But if instead the master got up from the table, and folded his napkin, and laid it beside his plate, the servant would not dare touch the table, because..........

The folded napkin meant, "I'm coming back!"

He is Coming Back!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Husband and Wife, Love God, Then Love Each Other

Check Spelling

Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
Ephesians 5:3

The downpour is letting up as I sit observing the display. Lightning and thunder still let their presence be known in the distance. Street lights is the only illumination I can see from my front porch. Rivers of last remaining rain flow from the top of my house. I enjoy the cool of the night. I struggle everyday to find this peaceful feeling that I now feel after the rain in her arms.
In the worry and fast pace of the days, we as a couple don't even seem to find the time to enjoy the quiet moments. Life's demands seem to eat away at our time.Constraints leads to stress. Stress leads to anger. Anger leads to hateful and hurtful words. When we get in such a rush and don't pray these feelings boil over burning everything it touches.

C.S. Lewis talks, in his book The Four Loves, about couples forgetting God in those moments and what it lead to. He referred to the couple's Love without God turning into something that is like,"mecilessly chaining together two mutual tormentors, each raw all over with the poison of hate-in-love, each ravenous to receive and implacably refusing to give, jealous, suspicious, resentful' struggling for the upper hand, determined to be free and allow no freedom, living on in "scenes." The lovers old hyperbole of "eating" each other can come horribly near to the truth."

This paints a vivid picture of the death throws of a marriage when we take our eyes off God as the center of it. When we take our eyes away from Him, the true source of love, we can't love ourselves or others. Self loathing ensues, manifesting itself by finding fault with all around around us, while pining away about our own. Spouses argue with each other over the situation, instead of looking at the one your going through it with; I mean truly looking at it with God's eyes of love.

They say that we all have a soul mate, and that the eyes are the windows to the soul. I say God matches us up pretty good with our mate, if we seek Him first. And to truly look into her eyes through His love brings me peace. So I guess those sayings are true. God's interpertion of love is different than mine and yours. I have slowly come to a realization of that fact.

C.S. Lewis talks of many kinds of loves in his book. But all these loves only come true and are of pure nature, when they are built upon the love God gives. This is the love upon which all others rest. When God is at the center of your marriage, nothing on Earth can break those bonds sworn before Him.

When the years have ravaged you and your spouse,then one day you look at each other, and if your eyes are open, you may come to a realization. His book puts it in these simple terms,"suppose you are fortunate enough to have "fallen in love with" and married your best Friend.

I like that thought.

I like it alot.
Lance Gargus

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Hem of His Garment

What's so special about the hem of Jesus' robe in the first place?", I asked myself. One believer at work lead me in the direction of a another hidden truth. We conversed about this story in

Matthew 9:20-21

And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment:
For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.

She explained to me that she had pondered this question in her heart. Why not his heel or back or anything else? Why the hem? There is always something symbolic in every story. Something to discover and understand the deeper meaning of. The answer came to her, and she said she felt like shouting for joy from the response. As she drove on her way home, a voice whispered, "Because the hem made the garment whole just as I am whole. " The look on her face as she told the story was truly amazing.

The hem completed the garment, just as Christ had completed God's plan.

Looking further I found more truth. In the Jewish tradition, the males wore a prayer shawl, called a talit. Attached to the talit is tassels. The English word hem is a translation of a Greek word meaning a tassel of twisted wool. In Hebrew, these tassels, which are attached to the corners of the prayer shawl, are called tzitzit. In Deuteronomy 22:12 and Numbers 15:37-41 God lays out the biblical command to wear these tzitzits to remind the people of His commandments. So this is what she touched but there is more hidden truth here.

These tassels are also called the border, edge, corner or fringe. In Numbers 15:38 the word translated border is a Hebrew word which can also be translated wings as it is some seventy-six times in the biblical text. Because of this, the corners of the prayer shawl are often called wings.

During the first century there were several traditions associated with the tzitzit concerning Messiah. One was that these knotted fringes possessed healing powers. This tradition has its roots in the prophecy of Malachi 4:2 where the Messiah is said to be coming with healing in His wings.

Certainly the woman with the issue of blood knew of these traditions, which would explain why she sought to touch the corner (the wings) of Jesus' prayer garment. It also becomes clear why this woman was instantly healed. She was expressing her faith in Jesus as the Son of Righteousness with healing in His wings and declaring her faith in God's prophetic Word.

And still another truth is found in how the tzitzit was made. As the maker tied the knots, it was made in such a way that it had the names of God in it. Each twist and turn of the strands was significant in representing God's name being formed into the tzitzit. So when the woman touched the "hem" of Jesus garment she actually touched the very names of God!

Awesome isn't it to know how our understanding of God is ongoing. As I try to understand more of who God is, I'm drawn into an ever deeper meaning of the word-truth.

"Where I found truth, there found I my God, who is the truth itself." Augustine


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