Where’s the Fire?

You’re late.

You have a sense of urgency that is compounded by the multiple loud distractions in the back seat, unexpected road construction, and certain aged people that simply shouldn’t be on the road.  It is only by the grace of God that you have kept some sense of sanity and refrained from letting loose a barrage of profanity that would be instantly implanted in the vocabulary of the young minds sitting the car seats behind you.

Deep breath.

But now on the open road – an opportunity to make up some lost time.  Faster than the limit on the signs that whiz by, but within the “grace period” of miles per hour over the speed limit.  At least, that is what you tell yourself.

But of course, the state trooper hidden over the next hill has a different opinion.

“Where’s the fire?!?”

“Well, Officer……”

You feel an impending sense of guilt.  You are overwhelmed by the reality of God’s grace and forgiveness in this life and the promise of Heaven in the next.  Yet, you know inherently that you have failed in the primary task of the great commission to take the gospel to your neighbors, and beyond.  

Deep breath.

This remorse propels you to act.  You desire to make up for lost time.  You must be bold, unashamed.  An overwhelming sense of love for others, compassion for their souls and their eternal destination without Christ causes you to be persistent, even reckless with sharing your faith.  Praise of Jesus is always on your lips.  You know we are living in a “grace period” before the Lord returns and it will be too late.

The world frowns at this overt Christian “proselytizing” and incessant references to Jesus, the Bible, and especially sin and Hell.

“Woah!  Slow down; put on the brakes with this Christian stuff.  After all what’s the rush?  Where’s the fire?”

The fire is closer than you realize.  It is already whipping at your heels.  In the twinkling of an eye, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord.  By then it will be too late.  Today is the day of salvation.  Jesus is watching and waiting…

Poem:


I Should Burn


I can already feel

the embers growing

the oxygen blowing

the flames destroying


I can already taste

the choking smoke

the ashen dust

the pillowing soot


I can already see

the fiery pit

forever lit

human torches

in writhing fits


Now I am running

like an antelope from the flames

to the only

firebreak that remains


And I bow before the

Cross of my beloved Lamb

who smothers the flames to death

and applies the healing balm

to restore life again

im·per·ma·nence

casey02 casey01

{One of the most important messages I have ever set out to write}

We focus so much time on things that will be dust, and comparatively little time on Scripture and souls – the only things on earth that are lasting and eternal…

Impermanence.

Of late, this word has been ringing in my mind.  I hear and see it everywhere.  It emanates from passages of Holy Scripture that emphasize and distinguish the temporal from the eternal.  I see it all around me in the ordinary items we all take for granted, as well as those we hold close to us as precious heirlooms.  It has been hammered home forcefully in the passage of time and inevitable change that accompanies it.

The year 2015 has been one of monumental change in my family, but inevitable to all of us who remain on this earth.  Our parents because of age and cognitive issues now reside in an Assisted Living facility.  It has been a struggle for them, especially for Dad – who has always been in control.  And an adjustment for us kids as well.  Nothing stays the same.  Impermanence.

We now face the task of going through a lifetime of accumulation at my parents’ house.  Not that my parents were greedy materialists, hoarders, or anything of the sort (maybe borderline hoarders in certain cases).  But all of us can have the tendency to hold on to things, to wrap and box things up for some later date.  Maybe with the thought of passing on to future generations.

We recently went through a project to clean up the basement in my parents’ house, and many items were ruined and could not be saved.  Including many items that Mom or Dad had fastidiously stored away, for years [wrapped in newspapers from the 1970s and 80s].  But mold and moisture found a way to get through.  Impermanence.

This was a lesson for me.  Do not hold on too tightly to things that will eventually pass away.  No doubt I will try to hold on to at least a few items, but I had to ponder this question, not only about things from my childhood home, but things from my own home:  What if my child, my grandchildren have no interest in keeping these items?  And even if they do, what’s most important is enjoying God-given family relationships while we still have these cherished people with us.  I am ever so grateful that I have Mom & Dad still with us, even if they can be a challenge some times.

We are or will be tempted to hold onto things that often have great memory or intrinsic value for us.  And I am not condemning that practice wholesale.  But let us remember that (1) we cannot take these things with us and (2) the things that last – people/family/souls, the Word of God – are where we should focus most.  All else is… Impermanence.

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. Mat 24:35

Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.  1 Tim 5:8

So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.  Mat 24:44

Limited Time Offer

Blink – and you’re ashen dust

Set to expire like the rest of us

Reserve your mansion

before time rolls up

05/06/13

{Artwork by the talented Jeff Casey, high school classmate; framed artwork proudly displayed in my home]

Zombie Euphoria

No denying it.  I had heard the frequent buzz about the hit show, The Walking Dead [AMC], but always from the periphery.  Not much into television drama, my viewing runs from sports to World War II documentaries.  That about covers it.  Finally I decided to check out a recent episode, but I didn’t watch long.  Too violent for my taste.  Perhaps it was this particular episode; I will leave that to the show’s devotees to confirm or deny.

Still, I was interested in the name of the show.  It reminded me of an idea that I had been cultivating for several years.  It began with the concept of convicted prisoners on death row.  Such are often labeled as “dead men walking.”  Although still breathing on earth, these prisoners are yet condemned to die.

I believe that a parallel exists in describing the state of unbelievers.  There are many all around us who have not accepted Jesus Christ as Lord, Savior, Redeemer.  One might accurately state that these individuals are dead men and dead women walking.  Breathing daily the earthly atmosphere.  To all outward worldly appearances, many of them are models of prosperity.  Secure, successful, and strong.  Others have made trainwrecks of their lives through a string of poor choices, with disastrous consequences.

Yet all have this in common.  If any of them died with their next breath, they would face an eternity in Hell.  The Bible is unambiguous about this.

If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.  [Heb 10:26-27 NIV]

One might say today that the “foolishness “ of Christianity is trumpeted more loudly than ever, although it’s probably been prevalent throughout the history of two millennia.  God is mocked, Christians are mocked [or much worse depending on the spot on the globe], and hedonism and evil have their way.  For a while at least.

For argument’s sake, suppose the atheist or unbeliever is correct.  There is no god, no heaven, no hell.  This life is all there is, and when we die the body, mind, and spirit are simply annihilated and disappear.  Believers in Christ such as myself are fools.

If the above is true, then my life (although considered foolish) would have been on balance a fairly decent one where I attempted to serve my fellow man, love my family, and leave a legacy of selflessness for my grandchildren.  The downside if the above were true – believing in an eternity that doesn’t exist [i.e. a victim of a sham].  But I would rest uneventfully in non-eternity just as everyone else.

Yet if I am right [and I firmly believe that I am], the downside for the unbeliever is not only probable lack of peace in this life but eternal and everlasting torment in Hell.  It is a bad place to be.

I pray for any and all who do not know Jesus as their personal and eternal Savior.  Those who are the “walking dead” and seem not to know it.  Lord, convict them of their immediate need.

Never forget:  there is forgiveness, peace, love, mercy, and joy in Jesus the Messiah.  Freedom from guilt, anger, and the many side effects of sin.  Just believe in Him!

Zombie Euphoria

Not a clue, or at least not a care

of the coming judgment and

    Holy wrath

None spared, save those saved

    by Christ and His death

The remnant gone in a flash

the wider highway awash in walking dead

Blissfully unaware of what lies ahead

05/30/13