Whore

I couldn’t possibly imagine being him.

Instructed by God to marry a woman whom he knew would cheat on him and bear another man’s child, this was Hosea’s call. The humiliation of going to another man’s house to pay him to have his wife back…I can’t even.

The stares from other’s as he approached the door of the man’s house.

Knocking on the door.

Asking for the whore, his wife.

Offering fifteen shekels in one hand and barley in the other, Hosea paid another man for his own wife, Gomer, who had no interest in returning to him.

The long walk of shame home. Holding her by the hand that had been with another.

I’ve often thought if I could do that. To go after my own wife in the face of unfaithfulness.

I always placed myself, self-righteously I might add, in the shoes of Hosea.

I pitied him.

I felt his pain.

The humiliation, the frustration, the long sorrowful feeling he must have felt taking his wife back.

How could he muster the courage and strength to search for, pay for, and then go after his wife after all she had done. Had she not realized the faithfulness she had walked away from? The unconditional love it took to call her home again? How could she do what she did?

Why should Hosea take her back?

That’s when I realized: I’m the whore.

I’m that ragged filthy whore.

In spite of all that God has done for me, in spite of all His goodness, His Kindness, His love, I walk away and choose sin.

In the midst of my sin, he comes to me.

The humiliation he must bear to call me son, in spite of my trespasses. The hypocrisy I carry…and yet He stands by me and calls me home. 

He leads me by the hand with sweet kindness and says to me as Hosea said to Gomer:

“You must dwell as mine for many days. You shall not play the whore, or belong to another man; so will I also be to you. – Hosea 3:3

How He must feel, to humbly never let go of me. Even when I can be perceived as a hypocritical Christian.

He is there, always seeking me, in spite of my adulteress ways.

This is grace at its finest.

Grace be to you.

Source: Hosea and Gomer

‘Refuse to Drown’ – Book Giveaway

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Me, Shawn and Sarah

“I did it. I killed them”

These were the heart wrenching words spoken from a son to his father.

These were the words that surrounded a nearby community of mine that engulfed the headlines locally as well as nationally. ‘Refuse to Drown’ is a story of hope in spite of devastation surrounding Tim Kreider, his family and the victims. The page-turner, engulfs the reader, as you are taken on Tim’s journey as he tells his story of being a father to a convicted murderer. The pain and the angst as well as the hope and redemption are all facets of this book.

A friend of mine, Shawn Smucker, helped Tim Kreider put together his thoughts and writings in this riveting book. Reading this book has allowed me to see that no matter what situation I face, there is always room for hope.

I am giving away one signed copy of this book. To enter, please leave a comment below. The winner will be announced Wednesday.

For more info on this book you can find a local T.V. station’s interview here as well as the ‘Refuse to Drown’ site here.

RefusetoDrownIf you want to go ahead and get a copy, click here.

Hunger Games Meets Survivor and I’m Bringing Donuts

KrispyKreme copyI recently read (here) how 200,000 people are volunteering to (essentially) play a suicidal game of Hunger Games meets Survivor. Otherwise known as an application for a oneway ticket to Mars.

There weren’t even 200,000 people signing up for Obamacare in the first month. So does that mean 200,000 people would rather die than sign up for ‘affordable’ healthcare?

I digress.

I’m still a little at a loss as to why people would travel all the way to a place where they know they will die, probably fight to the death over a dwindling food supply and run out of oxygen in a short amount of time.

Sounds fun. (Insert sarcasm)

With all these people willingly wanting to go to Mars and to never return, I got to thinking. If I was one of the few lucky chosen ones, what 10 things would I bring with me?

Boom.

Here are the top 10 things I would bring with me:

1. A dozen (fresh) Krispy Kreme Donuts. Nothing says comfort food quite like a donut when thinking about how you’ll never return to earth. Ever. Again. Just the warm glaze oozing from my lips would make me feel better. Albeit however brief the moment.  (Eat your heart out, you’re going to eventually die on Mars anyway)

2. Bacon. If I have to explain to you why this is in the top 10, I’ll just assume you were born with Ageusia. Don’t know what that weird word means? Your welcome —> Definition of Ageusia.

3. Swiss Army Knife. I grew up watching MacGyver . He fixed any bad situation he was in with this bad mamajama. I’m sure the knife could make oxygen somehow if needed.

4. Duct Tape. If it can hold a kid to ceiling (think I’m kidding? see evidence here), I’m pretty sure it can hold a lot of other things together when you’re in a jam on mars.

5. Coffee. There is no explanation needed. There is no survival without it. Simple enough.

6. Toothpick. There is nothing worse than food stuck in your teeth (especially bacon) that you can’t get out. (I know some of you will point out that the Swiss Army knife will have one, but if you ever see a Swiss Army knife, it’s always missing. It’s the first thing to go missing the first week you get one, next to the itty bitty tweezers)

7. Toilet Paper. From all the fancy pictures I have seen of Mars, the only substitute looks like a lot of red rocks. Ouch.

8. Instagram. How else are you going to share your selfie on the red planet? #selfie #onMars #redplanet #OneWayTicket #MartianPoser Want to know when not to take a selfie? —> “5 Rules of When Not to Take a Selfie” 

9. Google. Google makes everything better. How many days can a human live without food? Google it. How to know if one of your Mars travel buddies doesn’t like you anymore? Google it. How do you survive on Mars? Google it. How cold is it on Mars? You get the idea.

10. Legos. Yes. They provide hours of entertainment. Especially in a barren place like Mars. Best Lego creations here.

 

What would you bring on your oneway trip to Mars?

What Do You Want on Your Tombstone?

Tombstone

The obituaries.

I read them. A lot.

I’m not sure why I read them so much. At times I wonder if there is anyone I know of that has died recently. Or maybe I like to read the stories that goes along with each individual.

Tidy and neat are some.

It’s a shame to have someone defined in 500 characters or less. Some list all the accomplishments of there lives. Some died to young to have any accomplishments at all.

Most have a photo, name and a headline that sums up their lives.

There was a man that had passed away in his 60’s. His headline read,

“He Loved Restoring Pinball Machines”

Pinball Machines.

Seriously.

Having your life summed up by your love of pinball machines seems so meaningless.

Reading his obituary caused a little panic deep inside me.

I panicked because I realize my kids are growing older. Fast.

And so am I.

I’m panicked by the thought of how will I be defined. What will I be defined by?

What defines me now?

As we approach Thanksgiving Day, I think of the life I have now. And the life I have yet to live. I’m thankful knowing that as long as there is breath to be breathed I still have a choice to define who I will be.

I want integrity when it’s easier to do the wrong thing.

Faithfulness when everything seems hopeless.

Empathy for those that others deem as less than.

To love my wife. Well. To one day celebrate 50 years.

To father my children well, not just good enough.

To be known as someone who is kind and gracious.

To be humble, making those around me feel important no matter what their status is.

And to exude Christ.

So I end with an old commercial quote for pizza:

“What do you want on your tombstone?”

 

He is Faithful When I’m Faithless

Routine.

Every night my Dad would come in to pray with me. And every night I would pray the same thing I had prayed the night before and the night before that. It went something like this:

“God thank you for this day and all you have given us. I pray that Grandmom and Grampy will become saved and know you.”

And sometimes I would ask for other things like God was some genie to be rubbed with my words to give me things that I wanted.

I prayed the above phrase for as I long as I could remember. Year in and year out, from the time I was very little.  I remember being in high school and thinking about that prayer, for my grandparents to know Jesus. I recalled all the years I had prayed for them wondering if God had ever heard those prayers. I also recalled asking my dad when I was little before prayer every once in awhile, if they knew Jesus yet. He would shake his head no. And I would carry on wondering what was taking God so long to make this happen.

I don’t know if it was my own cynicism or something else.

But I stopped.

I stopped praying for them.

Maybe it was my fear of continuing to pray and being disappointed.

Maybe I had just given up.

In spite of my apathy and impatience, He hadn’t given up.

The Maker of all things, the For-teller of our future never gives up.

My Grandmother went to be with the Lord this past Saturday morning.

Over the past few years I had the privilege of hearing of her own love for the Lord come from her own lips. Something that would have never happened years ago.

Cancer was the sting of death.

But only a sting.

She not only saw the Lord but met with her husband, seemingly unthinkable when I had prayed for them all those years ago.

Both professing Him Lord in the winter of their lives has given me hope for things unseen and my future unknown.

God hears us.

God heard me.

As long as there is breath to be breathed, there is hope.

God hears your prayers, he knows your aching. Even when you have given up, He hasn’t.

“In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you…” – 1 Peter 3:15

Because of God’s faithfulness when I was faithless and failed in my faithfulness, He still didn’t fail me. For this, my grandparents have left a legacy for me to share why I have hope in my Lord.

Have hope.

Know that in your hopelessness, He is still faithful.