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

Monday, September 25, 2017

A Good Soldier

The lonely dark night with its mysterious sounds;
The cautious tread of the sentry making his rounds.

The distant sounds of the "big guns", their echo in the night.

The mellow full moon, hazy clouds, the twinkling starlight.

The silhouette of army tents, in a staggered "ghostly" line;

Lend themselves to the nightmare of reality and the fear in the mind.

Exhausted warriors' sleep with their dreams of their homes far away;

While at home their loved ones are also dreaming, but awake they pray.

The sentry's mind cries out in anguish from heart and from soul;
Not from fear of loss of life or other dismal prospects of the soldier's role;
But of the terrible heart wrenching thought, of not seeing loved ones again.

"Lord, please, hear me.
You know I'm not afraid of death or pain, but just one more time let me be again in my mom's embrace.
I know you will "Lord", same as you kept me thus far by your benevolent grace.
As you know, Lord, I didn't start this war nor did I want it to begin,
But I've done my duty as best I could, now help us to win.
You've kept us out of bondage by protecting us and guiding us in thy way.
Now help us to return home to walk in thy paths, therein to stay.
Bind up the wounded, relieve the oppressed, and ease those in pain.
Help us, O Lord, to always guard against the things that would lead to war again."
by
James Gargus

Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
2 Timothy 2:3

I am sure that these are thoughts that occurred to my father during WW2, serving as a young soldier so far away from home. This, also, I feel refers to other times in his life serving as a soldier of Christ.

One thing I know, his war is over and he's at home with the Victor.

Mine, though, continues on as I do my own soul searching.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Teach Me How To Let Go And Let You



Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil:the Lord reward him according to his works.



2 Timothy 4:14





Paul never mentions what exactly Alexander did to him. But he described it as Great Evil, so I take it must have been really bad. Paul was human like the rest of us, and I'm sure he became angry in his heart over this. The differences between Paul and I diverge right here. He simply states for God to deal with him. He puts it in God's hands. No more is mentioned after this in his letter. Paul I'm sure prayed for him and would probably shown him kindness if he needed it. Paul though put this all into God's care. God would deal with this situation, one way or another, he must have thought. In other words, he let it go.





We have the tendency to hold grudges. Those who have wronged us or hurt us, they stay with us as we reopen the wound so many times. Those individuals aren't hurting in the least bit by our bitterness. The only person we are hurting is ourselves. In doing so, our hearts are filled with poison. One quote I have heard is,"Holding a grudge is like taking a poison and waiting for the other person to die."




How often I feel like the lament in Lamentations 3:1-6,"I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of his wrath. He has driven me away and made me walk in darkness rather than the light; indeed he has turned his hand against me again and again all day long. He has made my skin and flesh grow old and has broken my bones. He has besieged me and surrounded me with bitterness and hardship. He has made me dwell in darkness like those long dead."




The truth is I can't let it go. I can't let go of the hurt inflicted on me by others. He knows this, if we would only be honest with Him. I can't forgive in my own strength. Only when I lay it down at His feet everytime it pops up can I get past it. Sure I may try lugging it around for a long while, but it finally wears me down.




I must look like my little 3 year old boy to God. He will pick up something real heavy and lug it around until he just can't move anymore. At that moment, I hear,"Dada, help me." I had been watching all the time. Waiting for the right moment to assist. If I helped without him asking, he would become angry. Only when he came to the realization that he couldn't do it alone, did I come to his aid.




God is patient. Letting me wear myself out. Till I come to the point I look up at His strong arms and say,"Father, help me. I can't carry the load anymore. Teach me how to let go and let You."

by


Lance Gargus

Friday, July 21, 2017

What Is Love?

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.


Psalm 51:10




I lie in my bed soaked with sadness. Recalling the thousand upon thousands of times I've failed you, just today alone. I can't hear my one true friend anymore. This is like death to me. My tearful eyes sees that I can't do this life without you. I feel my soul within weep for you, oh, Lord. It seems as though my sadness has no end. I try to pull myself up, but I keep falling in. This downward spiral of despair tugs at me.




I wander in the wilderness with no way out, not knowing where the paths lead. The sun is going down soon. My insides shake to my core. My strength is almost gone.




As my heart breaks and shatters on the floor, I mutter a desperate plea. "Won't you come lift me?"




In times past, you lifted me up with my soul soaring over mountains high, lifting me in your own strength whispering to me your perfect word.




Now I'm down here in this valley. My soul wants to fly to you. "I can't Lord cause I have such feeble wings."




Only in this valley where you allow me to remain, do I realize a truth. "I need you, oh, Lord, I need you. I love you more than life."


by


Lance Gargus

Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Wooden Bowl Story


Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
Exodus 20:12


A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and a four-year old grandson. The old man's hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered. The family ate together nightly at the dinner table. But the elderly grandfather's shaky hands and failing sight made eating rather difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass often milk spilled on the tablecloth. The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess. "We must do something about grandfather," said the son. I've had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor. So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There, grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner at the dinner table. Since grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl. Sometimes when the family glanced in grandfather's direction, he had a tear in his eye as he ate alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food. The four-year-old watched it all in silence.

One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, "What are you making?" Just as sweetly, the boy responded, "Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and mama to eat your food from when I grow up." The four-year-old smiled and went back to work. The words so struck the parents that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done. That evening the husband took grandfather's hand and gently led him back to the family table.

For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled. Children are remarkably perceptive. Their eyes ever observe, their ears ever listen, and their minds ever process the messages they absorb. If they see us patiently provide a happy home atmosphere for family members, they will imitate that attitude for the rest of their lives. The wise parent realizes that every day that building blocks are being laid for the child's future.

Let us all be wise builders and role models. Take care of yourself, ... and those you love, ... today, and everyday!

Author Unknown


We can't expect our childern to show love, honor and respect to us, if we don't display it to our elders, no matter what our age.

by

Lance Gargus

Sunday, June 04, 2017

What Is Soul Searching?

What is Soul Searching?

The act of facing one's inmost self with courage, determined to bring every ulterior thought, emotion, and motive to Light.


by

Lance Gargus



"There is within every soul a thirst for happiness and meaning."
Aquinas, Thomas




"I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait, And in His word do i hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than the watchmen for the morning; Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning." Psalm 130:5,6

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Clean Blood



The day is over, you are driving home. You tune in your radio.
> You hear a little blurb about a little village in India where
> some villagers have died suddenly, strangely, of a flu that has
> never been seen before.
>
> It's not influenza, but three or four fellows are dead, and it's
> kind of interesting. They're sending some doctors over there to
> investigate it.
>
> You don't think much about it, but on Sunday, coming home from
> church, you hear another radio spot. Only they say it's not
> three villagers, it's 30,000 villagers in the back hills of
> this particular area of India, and it's on TV that night. CNN
> runs a little blurb; people are heading there from the disease
> center in Atlanta because this disease strain has never been
> seen before.
>
> By Monday morning when you get up, it's the lead story. For
> it's not just India; it's Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and
> before you know it, you're hearing this story everywhere and
> they have coined it now as "the mystery flu".
>
> The President has made some comment that he and everyone are
> praying and hoping that all will go well over there. But
> everyone is wondering, "How are we going to contain it?"
>
> That's when the President of France makes an announcement that
> shocks Europe. He is closing their borders. No flights from
> India, Pakistan, or any of the countries where this thing has
> been seen.
>
> That night you are watching a little bit of CNN before going
> to
> bed. Your jaw hits your chest when a weeping woman is
> translated from a French news program into English: "There's a
> man lying in a hospital in Paris dying of the mystery flu."
> It has come to Europe. Panic strikes.
>
> As best they can tell, once you get it, you have it for a week
> and you don't know it. Then you have four days of unbelievable
> symptoms.
>
> Then you die. Britain closes it's borders, but it's too late.
> South Hampton, Liverpool, North Hampton, and it's Tuesday
> morning when the President of the United States makes the
> following announcement:
>
> "Due to a national security risk, all flights to and from
> Europe and Asia have been canceled. If your loved ones are
> overseas, I'm sorry. They cannot come back until we find a cure
> for this thing."
>
> Within four days our nation has been plunged into an
> unbelievable fear.
>
> People are selling little masks for your face. People are
> talking about what if it comes to this country, and preachers
> on Tuesday are saying, "It's the scourge of God.
>
> "It's Wednesday night and you are at a church prayer meeting
> when somebody runs in from the parking lot and says,
> "Turn on a radio, turn on a radio." While the church listens
> to a little transistor radio with a microphone stuck up to it,
> the announcement is made,"
>
> Two women are lying in a Long Island hospital dying from the
> mystery flu."
>
> Within hours it seems, this thing just sweeps across the
> country.
>
> People are working around the clock trying to find an antidote.
>
> Nothing is working. California, Oregon, Arizona, Florida,
> Massachusetts.
>
> It's as though it's just sweeping in from the borders.
> Then, all of a sudden the news comes out.
> The code has been broken.
> A cure can be found. A vaccine can be made.
>
> It's going to take the blood of somebody who hasn't been
> infected, and so, sure enough, all through the Midwest,
> through all those channels of emergency broadcasting, everyone
> is asked to do one simple thing:
>
> "Go to your downtown hospital and have your blood type taken.
> That's all we ask of you. When you hear the sirens go off in
> your neighborhood, please make your way quickly, quietly, and
> safely to the hospitals."
>
> Sure enough, when you and your family get down there late on
> that Friday night, there is a long line, and they've got
> nurses and doctors coming out and pricking fingers and taking
> blood and putting labels on it.
>
> Your wife and your kids are out there, and they take your
> blood type and they say, "Wait here in the parking lot and if
> we call your name, you can be dismissed and go home."
>
> You stand around scared with your neighbors, wondering what in
> the world is going on, and that this is the end of the world.
>
> Suddenly a young man comes running out of the hospital
> screaming. He's yelling a name and waving a clipboard. What?
> He yells it again! And your son tugs on your jacket and says,
> "Daddy, that's me."
>
> Before you know it, they have grabbed your boy.
> "Wait a minute, hold it!" And they say, "It's okay, his blood
> is clean. His blood is pure. We want to make sure he doesn't
> have the disease. We think he has got the right type."
>
> Five tense minutes later, out come the doctors and nurses,
> crying and hugging one another some are even laughing. It's
> the first time you have seen anybody laugh in a week, and an
> old doctor walks up to you and says,
>
> "Thank you, sir. Your son's blood type is perfect.
> It's clean, it is pure, and we can make the vaccine."
>
> As the word begins to spread all across that parking lot full
> of folks, people are screaming and praying and laughing and
> crying.
>
> But then the gray-haired doctor pulls you and your wife aside
> and says, "May we see you for a moment? We didn't realize
> that the donor would be a minor and we need. . . we need you
> to sign a consent form."
>
> You begin to sign and then you see that the number of pints of
> blood to be taken is empty.
>
> "H-h-h-how many pints?"
> And that is when the old doctor's smile fades and he says,
> "We had no idea it would be a little child.
>
> We weren't prepared. We need it all!"
>
> "But but..."
>
> "You don't understand. We are talking about the world here.
> Please sign. We - we need it all, we need it all!"
>
> "But can't you give him a transfusion?"
> "If we had clean blood we would. Can you sign? Would you
> sign?" In numb silence you do. Then they say, "Would you like
> to have a moment with him before we begin?"
>
> Can you walk back? Can you walk back to that room where he
> sits on a table saying, "Daddy? Mommy? What's going on?" Can
> you take his hands and say, "Son, your mommy and I love you,
> and we would never ever let anything happen to you that didn't
> just have to be. Do you understand that?"
>
> And when that old doctor comes back in and says, "I'm sorry,
> we've - we've got to get started. People all over the world
> are dying." Can you leave? Can you walk out while he is
> saying,
>
> "Dad? Mom? Dad? Why - why have you forsaken me?"
>
> And then next week, when they have the ceremony to honor your
> son, and some folks sleep through it, and some folks don't
> even come because they go to the lake, and some folks come
> with a pretentious smile and just pretend to care. Would you
> want to jump up and say, "MY SON DIED!
> DON'T YOU CARE?"
>
> Is that what God is saying?
> "MY SON DIED. DON'T YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I CARE?"
>
> "Father, seeing it from your eyes breaks our hearts. Maybe
> now we begin to comprehend the great love you have for us.
> Amen "
>
> ~Author Unknown~


For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.


John 3:16



>

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.

by

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.

by

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.

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