Give and Take: Can we make it?

Good evening readers;

I hope that you are all ready to celebrate Christmas.  I’m finally done with my shopping and am looking forward to seeing my boys faces as they get their gifts.

I want to talk about something that has been on my mind for a few days.  Can two souls far apart actually co-exist together?  I’m not talking about living separately.  I mean separately together.  Friendships, real friendships are hard to come by these days so, that being said, can two souls that have gotten close over the years, exist together yet be apart?  If so, can they or do they really appreciate what’s at stake?  True enough, the distance can cause an issue but, can they get past it?  What about when one needs the other to be there not necessarily in person but, there in the instance of a voice, a virtual shoulder to lean on, mental support, etc?  I know these are some questions that some of you can answer right away.  I still want you to think about them for a second.  I have some lyrics that I want to share with you from a band called Dream Theater.  The name of the song is called Endless Sacrifice.  Take a look at them and I will come back on the other end and give you my thoughts:

Cold
Lying in my bed
Staring into darkness

Lost
I hear footsteps overhead
And my thoughts return
Again

Like a child who’s run away
And won’t be coming back
Time keeps passing by
As night turns into day

I’m so far away
And so alone
I need to see your face
To keep me sane
To make me whole

Try to stay alive
Until I hear your voice
I’m gonna lose my mind
Someone tell me why
I chose this life
This superficial lie
Constant compromise
Endless sacrifice

Pain
It saddens me to know
The helplessness you feel
Your light
Shines on my soul
While a thousand candles
Burn

Outside this barren room
The rain is pouring down
The emptiness inside
Is growing deeper still

You’re so far away
And so alone
You long for love’s embrace
To keep you sane
To make you whole

Try to stay alive
Until I hear your voice
I’m gonna lose my mind

Someone tell me why
I chose this life
This superficial lie
Constant compromise
Endless sacrifice

Moments wasted
Isolated
Time escaping
Endless sacrifice

Moments wasted
Isolated
Time escaping
Endless sacrifice

Over the distance
We try to make sense
Of surviving together
While living apart

Striving for balance
We rise to the challenge
Of staying connected
In spite of circumstance

All you’ve forsaken
And all that you’ve done
So that I could live out
This undying dream

Won’t be forgotten
Or taken for granted
I’ll always remember
Your endless sacrifice

Moments wasted
Isolated
Time escaping
Endless sacrifice

Moments wasted
Isolated
Time escaping
Endless sacrifice


So what do you think?  What do you think the writer was saying?  Apparently, to me, he was definitely hurting.  He’s going through some serious issues with the person on the other end of this song.  He also notices that they are going through some things as well.  Whether they are the same things is uncertain but, they are definitely going through it.  He does, however realize that the other person has gone through a lot and still has something left over to try to be a friend.  This is one of my favorite parts of the song:

Over the distance
We try to make sense
Of surviving together
While living apart

Striving for balance
We rise to the challenge
Of staying connected
In spite of circumstance

This dude meant what he said right here.  He lets his friend know that he is aware of what is at stake and what they are facing.  Not everyone can do that.  Here’s the rest of it:

All you’ve forsaken
And all that you’ve done
So that I could live out
This undying dream

Won’t be forgotten
Or taken for granted
I’ll always remember
Your endless sacrifice

Again, he is showing his appreciation for what the other is doing.  After looking at this more carefully, I can conclude that since this is a song, he is probably writing this to someone special for their sacrifice for him being away on tour.  However, we can always use this for what ever situation.  Those of us who have served in the military can really understand.  What about you?  Go back and ask yourselves the question, read the lyrics, and then answer.

Until Next Time…

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Hungry and Thirsty…You have to stay that way

Good evening readers.  I thank you for being so patient with me over the last few months.  I have been meaning to post something for you but, time has gotten away from me on several occasions.  This is not an excuse; just an observation.

I hope and pray that the holiday season is treating you all well and I am praying that we never EVER forget the reason for this season.  Without this reason, we would never EVER have the right to live in eternity.  Remember, Christ was born so that he would give His life.

Yesterday I was blessed to speak to the Youth of my church.  I have been polling them and they have all said, in so many words, “the reason why we never really pay attention is because we feel that you all are not talking to us…”  I asked them if they are at least trying or putting an effort in and they do tell that they try (That’s really all we can ask; even for us grown ups).  Well I assured them that I would be speaking to them directly so that they will  not feel left out.  Let’s face it, they have just as much right if not more to hear the Word of God and, if that means that we have to sometimes, “break it down in their language”, then so be it.  There was nothing in the Bible that told me how to preach and who to preach to.  Last I checked, we are all in need of a fresh Word so, I gave the youth what they asked for…

 

 

 

6Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

The dictionary gives the following definitions to the word hunger:

1.  a compelling need or desire for food.

2.  the painful sensation or state of weakness caused by the need of food: to collapse from hunger.

3. a shortage of food; famine.

4. a strong or compelling desire or craving: hunger for power.

 

Also, in the same dictionary, there are several meanings for the word thirst:

 

1. a sensation of dryness in the mouth and throat caused by need of liquid.

2. the physical condition resulting from this need, in any of various degrees: They almost died of thirst.

3. strong or eager desire; craving: a thirst for knowledge.

 

If you notice in these two examples, each definition goes hand in hand with the other.  In other words, definition one for hunger goes hand in hand with definition one with thirst.  That being said, let’s take a look at definition three for both hunger and thirst.  If we carefully examine these definitions, we can see that both have the words STRONG and DESIRE in common.

 

As we look at chapter 5 in Matthews Gospel, Jesus is going to the mountaintop and when he gets set up there he holds a church service.  The main thought for this sermon was The Beatitudes.  We’ve all heard these before and some have even committed them to memory.  However, today we want to look at verse 6.  “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness:  for they shall be filled”.  When we think about being hungry and when we think about being thirsty, sometimes we go back to images of infomercials and pictures of people in other countries that are without food and without clean drinkable water.  We also see one person posing as an advocate for these people encouraging us to send just $0.50 per week so that some young child can eat for entire week.  They also make it very clear that we can “adopt” this child as if he or she was our very own.  While some are compelled to send donations to help these children which, is not a bad thing by the way, the fact still remains that there is something more than just being hungry and thirsty for the things of this world.  We see, all the time that, in commercials, the business owner makes it their mission to try to sell us on getting our share of that piece of the American Dream.  BMW’s “The ultimate driving machine” and Lexus’ “the relentless pursuit of perfection” are all gimmicks to see just how hungry and thirsty you are for what they have to offer.  When we see billboards showing large luxurious houses in elite communities that are away from “other folks”, the seller is trying to see just how hungry and thirsty you really are.  However, what’s most important, what’s really the cure for your hunger as well as your thirst, the one place where you can take care of all of you craving in one shot, is located right here in Matthew 5:6.

 

Jesus said that you will be blessed when you hunger and thirst after righteousness and that you will also be filled.  I can recall many times when I was growing up, Mom or Dad would be getting food ready for me and my sisters to eat.  During the preparation, the mind will play tricks on you to make you think that you are hungrier and thirstier that you really are and, therefore, you will want to get something to “tide you over” until the meal that was being prepared was ready to be served.  I would always try to sneak in the kitchen to see what was on the menu as well as sneak into the cabinet for some sort of snack to eat so that I keep myself from passing out, or so I thought.  Of course, I was never clever enough to keep myself from being caught so, I would always get the same directive from both Mom and Dad.  “The food will be ready in a minute.  You don’t need any junk right now”.  In other words, if you fill up on junk, you won’t be able to appreciate the good food that is being prepared for you right now.  You may think that you are on the verge of starvation and dehydration now, but when it comes time to sit down and eat what’s good for you, you won’t be hungry enough or, thirsty enough to eat and drink what’s really better for you.  What Jesus is really trying to say here in verse 6 has already been said in Zephaniah 2:3:

Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’s anger.

What’s He’s saying in verse 6 has already been said in Amos 5:4:

For thus saith the LORD unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live:

What’s He’s saying in verse 6 has already been said in Matthew 6:31-33:

31Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

32(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

33But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

I’m not saying that you can’t enjoy some of these things, nor am I saying that you should not provide a living for you as well as your family.  I’m just saying don’t get so caught up in the theory that, “the one who dies with the most toys wins” because, truth be told, there will come a day that this body will cease to function and there will come a day that you soul will be required of you and, when that day comes, stop worrying about Jack and Jill’s business.  Yes, they went up the hill and it was in a great community, and the water they went to fetch was Perrier and the pail they went to fetch it in was platinum and covered in diamonds but, evidently, they forgot where their help comes from because, the hill was pretty steep and, when Jack fell, that expensive crown he had on his head couldn’t keep him nor Jill from rolling all the way to the bottom will no water and no pail.  I bet they’ll know better next time!

 

When you’re hungry and you’re thirsty, things seem to be a lot farther away than they really are.  Going back to the dinner scenario, when I was hungry and thirsty for what was being prepared in the kitchen, it seemed like it was taking an eternity just to get a chicken leg to cook all the way through.  I would always ask, “What time will dinner be ready?” or “Is the food almost done?”  I would always get the same response, “Dinner will be ready shortly.  I know you’re hungry but, just hold your horses.”  I know that was easier said than done but they really didn’t understand my dilemma.  I’m hungry NOW and I’m thirsty NOW and no amount of “hold your horses” was going to make either one go away.  We get like that sometimes when we are hungry and thirsty for all of the wrong things.  “I have to have this thing right now because I can’t miss out on the opportunity to have this thing in my hands” or “He or she is SO FINE, that I need to get with that right now because who they’re with will not treat them the way I’ll treat them because I know I’ve got what it takes…”  Only to find out that whatever it was you were so hungry and thirsty for didn’t quite taste so good once you got it or being with him or her wasn’t really all it was cracked up to be because, well, I didn’t know he or she had all of those problems and because they looked too good to have problems.  If you take one thing from what I’m saying, remember this:  IF you fill up with junk, you’ll be full of junk.  What’s good to you may not always be good for you!!!

 

When you’re hungry and you’re thirsty, the best things to take in provide the best nourishment and that will sustain you a lot longer than things that are just a quick fix.  When the chicken was finally cooked all the way, there was always something extra on the plate.  You can rest assured that there was some rice, and there was definitely some sort of vegetable along with some juice or water to drink.  After thinking I was on the brink of starvation, after all of the hunger pains, after all of the wondering if I was even going to eat that night, dinner was served and let me assure you, it was good!  The food that I ate was a whole lot better tasting and a whole lot better for me.  It gave me the nourishment and all of the nutrients I needed to keep growing.  It provided me with the vitamins to keep me from getting sick and, to keep it real, was so good I had to ask for seconds!  Momma and Daddy knew I needed to have the good things in my system in order for me to survive.  The same holds true when it comes to being hungry and thirsty after righteousness.  Jesus tells us that we need to be hungry and thirsty for these things because, not only are they good for you, they’re so good in fact, that when you eat the Word and you thirst for the Word, you want more and more of it.  It’s so good that you’ll ask for seconds and thirds.  Yes there are some things in the Word that you will not like and they may not taste as good to you.  That’s the stuff that is convicting you when you know you’re doing wrong but, like my Daddy used to tell me, “when that’s all that there is left, when you’re hungry enough, you’ll eat it…”