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

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Shattered Heart


"Son, what have u done?!! That was a very special vase your mother had...her mother gave her that vase. Now it lies shattered on the floor in a million pieces.
We will sweep it up so noone gets cut on it. You need to tell your mother. I'm not mad but it just meant alot to her. And it's irreplaceable."
That moment I remember from my childhood. As a young boy, I felt so devestated. The shatter pieces of that beautiful vases that once held roses.
Roses that my dad had bought my mother for valentine's days, birthdays. and anniversaries.No glue, tape or anything could put that beautiful,antique vase back together.
It may have held roses my grandfather had given in love to my grandmother, too. Now it lay shattered with pieces thrown everywhere.
Nervously, I swept with the broom. I held big pieces in my hand and looked. Wondering how many shelves had this vase sit on.
Each big piece still had the shape
of a red rose pedal showing through. And I sobbed holding the shattered piece in my little hands. I thought I would have no vase to put my flowers in one day.
I recall that passing memory. I've been shattered like I've never been before.
 The life I knew lies in a thousand pieces on the floor.Everyone wants to tell me what to do or how to feel.
 And words fall short in times like these. This world has drove me to my knees.
 I believe I'm never gonna get back to the person that I used to be.
"Heart... beat again." Nothing.
 I close my eyes and breathe in.
 Shadows fall and darken the way.
I want to leave the darkness. I want to feel the sun.

God in these moments doesn't allow me complete relief. But always speaks like a cool drink.

" Let every heartbreak
 And every scar
 Be a picture that reminds you
 Who has carried you this far
 'Cause love sees farther than you ever could
 In this moment heaven's working
 Everything for your good."

"But God everyone expects me to hold it all together.
Everybody needs me strong.
You don't understand, Father, life has hit me out of nowhere
and barely left me holding on.
I'm tired of fighting.
God, I'm on my knees and answers seem so far away.
I feel so alone. My whole world's falling apart."

I remember my dad picking me up from sobbing. He lifted me up to his powerful shoulders. I laid my head on his broad chest. His strong arms embraced and just held me.
My little heart beating so frantically. It would stop at times, it seemed. But I could hear the calm beating of his heart. He stroked my head.
Running his hand through my hair, stroking it. Trying to calm his child. Allowing me to cry my heart out. Until my heart started to beat in time with his.
My heart and
his heart seemed to beat together as one. It felt as if my heart that had been beating so frantically and had stopped, now beat in a calm steady rythem
with his.
He started to set me down. "No, dad, please, just hold me just a little while longer."
"Always."
I never wanted him to let go that day. Oh, the peace to a heart to just be held.

"God, do you love me?"I asked.
He whispered to my heart.
"If you keep your eyes on the storms of this life,
You'll wonder if I still love you. Look to my cross. Keep your eyes on me there.
And you'll always know I have and I always will love you still.
Not one of your tears is wasted. I've held each one that your heart has shed. Before life made your heart cold and dead, I formed it. I was there to start the
first beat in your mother's womb. And I will be here when your ready to start it beating again.
In time, you'll understand. Ashes is all you feel is left of your heart once life has scorched it.
But I'm painting beauty with the ashes. And the masterpiece will be done in time.
Your life and heart have always been in My hands."


So I hold shattered pieces of my heart...and know that He restores life to the dead. And causes the shattered hearts of the dead to live again.
And His promises are never broken or unfaithful. He finishes what he started. And as I hold a piece of a cold, dead shattered heart; just as I held the piece of the
broken vase as a boy and sobbed...tears stream down my face now as I look at the scars and heartbreaks.
Those words try to breathe life into my shattered heart.

And as my soul searching continues in this life...I lift my hands. I lift my eyes in the storm where I find myself. God says, "I hold your heart. I am the God who
won't let go. Rest. Rest in the arms that will not let you go."

So I place my shattered heart into the hands of God. Cause God is the Master Designer and He can build out of the most shattered heart...something Beautiful.
"Lord, heal my heart."
"The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit."-Psalm 34:18
by
Lance Gargus

Saturday, December 12, 2015

This Too Shall Pass

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen,since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
2 Corinthian 4: 17-18

"And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”
Haruki Murakami

One day Solomon decided to humble Benaiah ben Yehoyada, his most trusted minister. He said to him, "Benaiah, there is a certain ring that I want you to bring to me. I wish to wear it for the Sukkot festival, which gives you six months to find it."
"If it exists anywhere on earth, your majesty," replied Benaiah, "I will find it and bring it to you, but what makes the ring so special?"
"It has special powers," answered the king. "If a happy man looks at it, he becomes sad, and if a sad man looks at it, he becomes happy." Solomon knew that no such ring existed in the world, but he wished to give his minister some added humility.
Spring passed and then summer, and still Benaiah had no idea where he could find the ring. On the day before Sukkot, he decided to take a walk in one of the poorest quarters of Jerusalem. He passed by a merchant who had begun to set out the day's wares on a shabby carpet. "Have you by any chance heard of a special ring that makes the happy wearer forget his joy and the broken-hearted wearer forget his sorrows?" asked Benaiah.
He watched the elderly man take a plain gold ring from his carpet and engrave something on it. When Benaiah read the words on the ring, his face broke out in a wide smile.
That night the entire city welcomed in the holiday of Sukkot with great festivity. "Well, my friend," said King Solomon, "have you found what I sent you after?" All the ministers laughed and Solomon himself smiled.
To everyone's surprise, Benaiah held up a small gold ring and declared, "Here it is, your majesty!" As soon as Solomon read the inscription, the smile vanished from his face. The jeweler had written three Hebrew letters on the gold band: Gimel, Zayin, Yud, which begin the words "Gam zeh ya'avor - This too shall pass."
At that moment Solomon realized that all his wisdom and fabulous wealth and tremendous power were but fleeting things, for one day he would be nothing but dust.

One early reference comes from the Old English poem, Deor  (c. AD 10th century). In the poem, the ex-minstrel Deor, laments recently losing his position of poet to the king. In his lament, he compares himself to a number of heroes from Anglo-Saxon folklore who experiences some trouble or other, always ending with the saying  “Þæs ofereode, þisses swa mæg!”—which means something like “that was overcome, this may also be” or “that passed, so too may this.”

My soul searching lead me to this ancient parable. The Persians spoke of this king, so wise was Solomon. But even he, like us, is stopped in our tracks by something so profound. I continue my journey, as I seek out the giver of all Truths. I ponder recent events in my life. We want the trouble times to pass and the good days also pass. But I feel the words of reassurance spoken hold true to us now as then. And the shadows will pass in time. But until then, I continue on with the soul searching of my life...... 

by
Lance Gargus

Friday, December 04, 2015

Masquerade


Entering the church I wonder if I am the only one that feels out of place, like I don't belong. Times like this I feel so small cause everyone else seems to have it all together. So I swallow down my self doubt, while tucking it all away, to play my part again. Hoping they will see me, the way I see them.

The stage is set and the masquerade begins. The performance is so convincing, and we know all the words by heart. We sing our hymns, listen to the preacher, and talk briefly to each other. Do we really look into each other's eyes or do we just look away?

Do I dare to let you see, the truth behind who I really am or do I wait to I get home to fall apart?


What would you do? Would your arms be open or would you walk away from me? What would make you stay? Would the love of Jesus make you stay?

We smile to hide our pain, while building up walls around our weakness. We have in essence become mannequins, made of plastic in a plastic building with a plastic steeple on top.




We all fail, we all fall down, we all are broken goods, yet we put on our masks.




We play the part to the hilt. Shielding ourselves from each other. We all really want to cry. We all want to fall down at the altar. We all want a sympathetic ear. We all want an understanding shoulder of a brother or sister to lean on. We all want our Father to see how much his children love each other.


Maybe then we can close the curtain on our masquerade.


Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
1 Peter 3:8

We must feel toward our people as a father toward his children; yea, the most tender love of a mother must not surpass ours.
Richard Baxter

by

Lance Gargus

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Hand Pointing To Heaven, The Hand Of God Descending From Heaven



And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them.

Matthew 8:15
"Few are they who by faith touch Him; multitudes are they who throng about Him."

Author: Augustine
Lying on his bed and with a weak hand he tries to communicate. Lifting his hands, making them into a fist I watch. A index finger is extended with great effort. The hand now making a point. Raising his pointing hand, he directs it towards heaven. His face smiles with a reassuring look. He shakes his head up and down with a nod of yes. Lowering his arm, he moves the still extended finger toward himself. Guiding my eyes to him. As I observe his finger directed at him, he makes a motion toward his other hand. Putting the outstretched finger into a point that touches the palm of the other hand. With his voice gone from the illness, this simple gesture spoke volumes. The look of Love had overtaken him.


I believe my father's hand gestures was his way of communicating what he was seeing. God was revealing His hand to him. As he was pointing toward heaven, I believe he was touching God's fingertip. The Savior's hand directed back at him with an outstretched index finger. He could witness and experience this. Through his hand gestures, he was disclosing this fact to his family. Showing God's blessing and grace being transferred from God's hand to his.


Pointing symbolizes trying to show something to someone. Pointing it out, so to speak. But like before my little boy could speak good, he pointed at things he wanted. Oh, how my Dad pointed, longing to be with his Lord.


This reminding me of Michelangelo's image of God touching Adam in the sistene chapel painting. In this image he bestows life to Adam. My dad had eternal life bestowed to him by a touch.


Our hands seem to speak the truth even when our words don't, and perhaps they reveal secrets, too.


May I point to You, Christ, enough in my soul search.

by

Lance Gargus

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Fall Rain

I listen to the raindrops pour off the tin roof, as the sound of plopping water hits the ground. My heart feels like the rain in the autumn. Everything has died on the ground, preparing for the winter. The rain has fallen to the earth, only to bring forth no new life. It's kind of pointless I believe. Just like my teardrops that fall to water this same soil. Nothing grows in this season of my life. No amount of rain or raindrops can awaken the green shoots of life. It just makes everything wet. People avoid it to keep themselves from getting drenched. Just as friends avoid your troubles, in the believe that your sorrows will rub off on them. They just slog through the mud of your life and comment about how muddy it is. Basically, what a mess your tears have caused.

As you try to stop the teardrops with the things of this world, you can no more stop it than the rain that falls from the sky. You can seek shelter in your house, use an umbrella, or a raincoat. But the rain still comes. The teardrops still come.

Why are we the only creatures that shed tears? We do in physical pain, yes, but emotional pain the most. We seclude ourselves from others to cry, wiping each one away as another takes its place.
And just like the rain, it eventually stops. But in the autumn, the dark clouds remain. Cold winds blow across the landscape, chilling the body and the heart.

And so we bury the teardrops, as the autumn buries the rain. Hiding it away. Hiding it away for what? Is the rain ashamed it came in the fall instead of spring? Are we to be ashamed to feel loss, pain, or loneliness?

The rain remains deep in the earth until needed for the springtime of your life. Just as the teardrops remain deep in your heart. I cannot say when that time comes, but I feel like the tree in the fall loosing my leaves and pulling inward for the coming winter. Hoping for and remembering the days of spring, the days of life. But those days are behind me. So I prepare for the road ahead. And the rain will come, and tears will be shed, to help me prepare for the days of winter in my life.
By
Lance Gargus

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The One

they shall be one
Genesis 2:24


In my life,I could have taken so many different roads.These roads could have wound up with such different results. As a child, I read Choose Your Own Adventure books. Reading the stories lead to a crossroads in the adventure. The chapter ended, and you had to answer a question. The question forced the reader to become actively involved in the storyline. Choosing one answer lead to one page and another lead to another page. For example,the question posed maybe,"Should Jack go into the cave? Choose page 24 if he should and page 36 if he shouldn't." You had time to shut the book and think on it. If you wanted to cheat, you could look ahead to where it lead. Either way, the choice lead to the character's demise or lead to another decision futher up the road.

Life is alot like those books. Everyday is filled with choices. Choices we either regret or glad we made. Sometimes those past choices come back to confront you from time to time. A road not traveled and still left unresolved. Memeories are funny things. A song, a place, a date, a thought can bring old feelings, past things, and long ago dreams rushing back. I've moved on and alot of water has went under those bridges,but I'm still trapped there at that moment in time. My former self still holds on to what might have been. The other person who has touched your life in an intimate way has taken a different way too.

Still a part of who you are stands on that bridge waiting. Waiting for that person. That piece of you waits hour after hour, day after day, year after year, for that person. All the time unaware that person never comes. Emotions that ran deep and left you vunerable took on a life of its own in your mind and soul. How can you leave yourself so exposed and not realize that it takes on this life? Past loves will leave the heart bleeding and longing. When you see them, you realize that a piece of you still stands on that bridge looking up at the stars. I spent hours looking up at those stars and praying that God would send me the love my heart so desperately needed.

As each time I held someone and then they left, they chose their own adventure just like the books. A different version of me was left standing on that bridge wondering about the heavens. I went away like a wounded animal to lick my wounds and left that part of me there. Only to be reminded of them when these past loves passed by. Whether bumping into them in the store, talking through a friend, or meeting their new spouse and find out who their married too. A conversation can start about current events on jobs, family, or homelife. But sometimes it turns to what happened to us, and what went wrong. No answer ever fully resolves it. I walk away and see that part of me staring at the stars. Him still believing the past love is still standing beside him. He's oblivious to my words. He refuses to take his eyes off the heavens. I try valiantly to get his attention but with no results.

I scream,"Get over it." But he doesn't even realize there is anything to get over. I touch them, everyone of the many different selves standing on that bridge. Each one is of various ages. Younger to older, each one has an intense stare at the sky. I can't get them to look down. I touch each one on the shoulder and feel the pain and anguish of a soul left raw and exposed to the cold. Yet,they are forever optimistic that God hasn't abandoned and the true love God has sent still stands beside them. Never realizing no one stands beside them but a phantom. A mirage of a past that might have been but wasn't meant to be.

Only one can speak to them and get their attention. The one God had promised to me underneath those stars. She stared at those same stars in someone else's arms then and how the substitutes I held pained me. I refused to believe they were substitutes for her until she arrived. I tricked myself into believing they were the one. Now only the one, can break through to them and the lies I told them. The one has to take them by the hand and look at the stars together. Telling them in her small,tender voice,"My love, the one you have been waiting for has arrived. The one who will laugh with you, cry with you, dream with you, and live for you. I have come to pick up the petals that have fallen from your hands. And restore the blossom of love to you."

Only a soul mate can take the broken pieces of her lover's longing soul and make them whole again.
 

"There is no feeling more comforting and consoling than knowing you are right next to the one you love.”

by
Lance Gargus

Monday, October 05, 2015

Light In A Window

O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.
Psalm 43:3


Childhood, night-time play,

whither around the house, or barn or meadow

the light in a window was a beacon,

to guide our way.


We didn't have the electric light in those times,

just a kerosene lamp, flickering, but rich and mellow,

the flickers of light, beckoned us home,

not unlike the church bell chimes.


As time went past,

the light never dimmed or died,

boyhood excursions call us to distant points of fun and pleasure,

from those loved ones at home,

when thoughts of home prevailed,

to that light we hied.


When grownup and wander-lust captured our minds,

The world was, a wonder-world to simple country boys,

The sights were marvelous, but unfulfilling,

leaving room for the yearning,

for the old home and light left behind.


The pure sweet, honest, simple love and family ties,

were so satisfying and comfortable,

relaxing the worldly tensions,

that the crowded throngs brought,

the withdrawal was a heritage we shared at home and fireside.


Dad with the Bible ever at hand, shared the words of love,

Mother in her apron, the smell of fresh bread,

the old tom cat by the hearth, the light at the window shining,

always twas paradise below a picture of Heaven above.


The light still shines from that same window,

though times has erased the forms of the loved ones so dear,

the light will ever shine in our minds and hearts.

The light is brighter now as the cold science has replaced the lamp,

but we're guided by that light from above,

comforts us below.


We visit the old homestead,

the shadows and influence of lost loved ones still linger there.

We're still going home, twill ever be so,

we've so much invested there,

remembering the love, the comfort, and care.


Dad's old Bible is still on the table by his chair,

Mother's checkered apron folded neatly upon the arm of her rocker-

the memories are so heavy,

the old tom cat,

gone long ago,

his padded mat still there.


It seems in our experience, our sentiments,

are little shared,

(by the world)

by the masses of get and gain,

I don't believe they have been blessed by a home of love, caring,

or a window of welcome by loved ones whose very souls were ever honestly bared.


Our hearts desire is to remain true to that promise,

that all the darkness of dismay or night dark,

can never blot out the wonderful, thought filled rays,

of love displayed by a family dedicated to each other and neighbors,

the entire length of days-


A window of love, hope, welcome,

of refuge from cradle to grave,

we must keep this spirit alive.


by

James Gargus


Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Psalm 119:105

Monday, September 07, 2015

scabs





Scabs
Acts 9:1-19
2011-
Lon Caldwell


Saul Becomes a Believer
His Call on the Road to Damacus
1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus, and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven;
4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest; it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
7 And they who were journeying with him saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him who spake to him.
8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man; but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.
9 And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.


Saul’s Baptism by Ananias
10 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.
11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus; for, behold, he prayeth,
12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.
13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem;
14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.
15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way; for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel;
16 For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.


Saul's Sight Is Restored
17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales; and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.
19 And when he had received meat, he was strengthened.



I recently banged my hand on a piece of farm equipment and as a result I had a nasty looking sore and then a scab. Now, scabs aren't something I usually talk about but today I will talk about them to make a point. Scabs, for me, are usually brown, red, dark red, even black and the vary in size usually getting smaller as healing takes place.
I have never liked them but years ago I came to the realization that they are a necessary part of healing. They cover up open flesh to keep out dirt and germs and they help prevent infection. So, you see, scabs are necessary. I sometimes put a band-aid over them to hide them and to protect myself but more than likely I just leave them to do their own job.
When Saul had his 'ah ha' moment and took on the new name of Paul, he had a huge problem or scab to overcome. His problem.... his reputation! He was well known to the Christians as a man of trouble for them. And while Paul would have loved to be able to just cover up, hide, and forget about his reputation it just couldn't be done. Paul had to work out his problems and demonstrate to the Christians that he was sorry for his past deeds and that, in fact, he was a new man; that he too was a follower of this man Jesus. This wasn't easy and, like scabs' it took some time to heal the wounds that he had caused. It took time and this 'time' was necessary for him to gain the trust of the people and for him to learn about this Jesus that he had so ardently persecuted. So, time here had a dual function of 'showing' and 'learning'.
In our lives we often make mistakes. Sometimes they are so large that others obviously know about them like a big scab. And it takes time for all wounds to heal. Sometimes others can help us to heal, sometimes we just have to work it out with God's help. Maybe we should take a lesson from Paul that with time, persistence, genuine love, compassion and God's help... wounds will heal.
This week, take some time to consider the 'scabs' in your life that may not be completely healed and therefore may still be a barrier in your life and to your ministry. Maybe with a little concentrated love and forgiveness for self and for others, these areas of life can finally become small or disappear completely.
Remember... don't scratch or pick at 'em. Let God do His job!
~~~~~~~~~~

Saturday, August 22, 2015

A Paradox of Romantic Love


I hate you, and I love you.

I despise you, and I long for you.

You make me angry, and you bring me peace.

You are my worst enemy, and my best friend.

You drive me crazy, and you restore my sanity.

I want you to leave, and I want to pull you near.

You are a constant source of irritation, and you are a constant source of calm.

You are a well of confusion, and a well of understanding.

You are my greatest opponent, and you are my greatest champion.

Your words lash out at me, and your words soothe me.

You confuse me, and you intrique me.

You hate me, and you love me.


You are a paradox to me, and you are the only one for me.

By

Lance Gargus
 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Storm Clouds







Storm clouds they come and hide the sun,



My life seems completely undone.






Here comes the rain and tragedy came,



I just won't be the same.




Waters rise and hope takes flight,


Despair consumes my sight.






Sun and rain, joy and pain,



My heart feels the strain.






Holy Spirit, never let go,



Bring comfort to my soul.






Ever faithful, ever true,



Is the love brought by You.






How my soul overflows,



Now filled with hope.






by



Lance Gargus



I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.

As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me.

He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me:

Psalms 55:8,16,18

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Yes, There's So Much To Write



Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart.

Proverbs 7:3


Yes, there's so much to write, many stories to tell, of love, of hate, of wars, and rumors thereof, of politics, and politicians, but I find myself just wanting to write about You, Lord.


by


James and Lance Gargus

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