Dear Salvation Army, 3 Healthy Habits For Soldiers

To equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ…” Ephesians 4:12-13

crestWe as an Army are in the Kingdom building business.
Our employer…no, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has given us this great commission.
We are more than a church…
we are a movement.
We are more than just another social services agency…
we are a part of the body of Christ committed to reflect His image in the corners of the world that we are called to.

This is a tall order.
We are to be like Christ
…and yet in our own strength we cannot accomplish this calling in our lives.

In our own strength we will fail.
(Trust me, I’ve fallen flat on my face far too many times to count.)
In our own strength we will fall horribly short.
So, with that being said, what sort of attributes do we need in order to make this “reflection of Christ” visible?
What do we need to do in order to be the best soldiers for God?

Today I would like to offer just three healthy habits for Soldiers.
This is not an exhaustive list, nor are these the only healthy habits to commit to, but these will perhaps get us all on the right track if we aren’t already there.

3 Healthy Habits For Soldiers: 

pray1) Prayer Never Ends!
Make prayer more than a scheduled time in your day.
I’m not saying don’t have scheduled time, but don’t put prayer in some sort of manageable box that you keep those conversations with the Most High in.  Don’t leave the conversation.  Yes, begin it in the morning, but don’t ever end it.  Take the conversations with God with you into every moment of your day.  Obviously to be seen talking out loud to yourself might be frowned upon by some who might think you might be losing it…but instead, in your thought patterns, keep your conversations with God going.  There shouldn’t be an “on/off” switch with heart talks with God.  He has promised to never leave us or forsake us and He is always there, so why not begin to include Him in your every day routines both big and small!  Eventually, the inclusion of God in your thoughts and conversations will change the way that you see the world and others around you.

2) Feast Only On That Which Edifies! breaking-bread_650x366 (1)
You have most likely heard the term “garbage in, garbage out”.  This term implies that if you put garbage (rubbish/trash) into your life, gargage (rubbish, trash) will be what you produce in the world as well.  If you wish to become healthier in life, you wouldn’t feast on high fatty foods from fast food chains every day now would you?   No, instead you would begin a rigorous attempt to eat right and to exercise.  The same can be said of the heart and soul.  These attributes of the body requires maintenance and they require the right kind of nourishment.  If we claim to be a disciple of Christ but we constantly binge on garbage with only a sprinkling of His Word, then we are seriously starving our spiritual life!  It should be no surprise when we find ourselves spiritually dry and lacking fortitude, we haven’t been working out and staying in shape by feasting on the right kinds of things!

Listen, if we wish to walk in faith with Christ BUT we haven’t surrendered our old ways of life, then something is terribly wrong.  The old must pass away in order for this rich, new life to thrive and grow!  We just cannot hold onto both.

From the Word: 
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
(2 Corinthians 5:17)

from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. 11Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water?” (James 3:11)

Make sure that you are feeding your souls with the right kinds of things!  Don’t starve your spirit with junk food and things that will only stunt the potential growth that God has in store for you!

step3) Step Up And Out!  
When we take prayer seriously and we include God in our daily routines things will change.
When we begin to feast on the edifying fruit of God, things will change…
Stepping up and out will not always be the most comfortable thing you ever do, but it does become a true test of who God has called you to be!  It not only benefits other people, but it also improves our skills and abilities in sharing our faith!

The real the tipping point in it all is this:
Do. Not. Keep. It. To. Yourself!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Step up.
Help others along!
In the words of General William Booth – “Do something!

It is like that old Sunday School song “This Little Light of mine”:
One of the verses goes – “Hide it under a bushel, NO I’m gonna let it shine!!”
When we include God in our daily conversations and we are feasting on the things that edify this new creation within us, we can’t help but proclaim His goodness and love!

soldierWill there be discouraging days?  Of course.
Will we ALWAYS feel like proclaiming, and ALWAYS be in the mood to share?  No, not always.
Will we be happy all the time?  No way!

When we invite God’s presence to travel along with us both with the important and the less important things in our lives, we begin to see how much He loves other people around us.  This love will propel us forward into service.
We are saved to save!
We are saved to serve!

This is NOT an army of mediocre washouts and wishy-washy salvationists!
NO!  We are here to be Christ’s hands and feet!
We are here to proclaim His name in both the good days and the bad days!
We are here to serve the lost, the poor, the widow, the orphan.

If you are reading this today, chances are you long to improve your soldiership as well!
If you are reading this today, you, like me, believe God is calling us to a deeper service and a deeper understanding of the sin-sick world we serve.
We all have room for improvement.  We all have room to grow.  We can all reflect more of Christ and less of ourselves…but only through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit!

Do you long to be a healthier Solider for Christ?

Perhaps these three healthy habits can help you on your way to becoming the Soldier Christ has called you to be!

-Something more for this Army to ponder today!
To God be the glory!

A Pondering On Injustice…

You know what I have trouble with?

Those moments in life when,
both big and small injustices take place.
It is mind boggling that there are people in our world who
truly do not care about other people at all.
It goes far beyond being inconsiderate.
It’s about self-preservation over anyone else’s needs.
These injustices are fueled by greed.
These injustices are fueled by selfishness, power, anger, covetousness…evilSometimes I get so angry at these injustices…
If I were truly honest
I get more angry at the people who perpetrate these injustices.  revenge
much so that I want to exact my own kind of justice.

So much so that I sometimes imagine watching them regret their decisions
fighting fire with fire
a tooth for a tooth.

Sometimes, in my mind
I take on this role of judge, jury and executioner.
sometimes, I let this fantasy taint how I see other people…
And within that lens
I am better than them.
I am the pious one.
I am the perfect one.
Then I realize that I am a

I have become a  ——pharisee

So busy looking for
the flaws in others
that I have neglected
to look at my own Heart.

How dare I do such a thing…and yet it’s done every day.
Am I the only one in this —-
boatAm I the only one?
I don’t think so.
Are there injustices in this world?  absolutely_whiteShould we fight against these?
but then I am reminded of another verse:

And I am reminded how lost some people are.
I am reminded that despite our hopeless situations
Christ STILL died for us.
Despite our evil ways.
Despite our ignorance and selfishness
He still died for us.

Then another thing strikes me
like being struck across the face.
I.  am. not. the judge.
I am. not. the. one. who. exacts. ultimate. justices.

Can I fight against injustices in this world?
But first…I must contend with my own heart.
But first…I must pluck out the board in my own eye.
But first…I must practice sacrificial, Christ-like love for my enemies.

It is here at this cross roads that I continue my journey…journey

How about you?

Could Communion Be Overshadowing Something More Important?

Sometimes, perhaps, Christians become so focused upon one aspect of the Jesus’ teachings that it nearly overshadows another important teaching – humility and service.
What I mean is that Jesus breaking the bread and pouring the wine was not the only aspect of becoming like Christ for His disciples.  The act in and of itself was not mysterious, but it was significant.  Jesus spoke to His disciples and the crowds using Rabbinical parables to illustrate and to teach.  Is it really much of a stretch then to consider He was using the Passover bread and wine to do the same here?  Of course not!

The Path To Sacrificial Love:
In order to become like Christ in every way, Jesus does something more significant for His disciples at Passover – He washes their feet.  Towards the end of the meal, as recorded in John 13:13-15, Jesus gets up takes off his outer garments and puts a towel around His waist.  He then pours water into a basin and does the unthinkable.  He stoops down low, kneels before His students, in essence becoming a servant or slave to them and washes their feet.  Talk about significant!  Jesus illustrates for His disciples how to serve others.  Isn’t that the path to sacrificial love?  Shouldn’t this become our focal point more often in our living rather than a monthly or weekly ceremonial breaking of the bread?

But Get This…
What if one of these things lead to the other?
What I mean by that is this: What if by serving your fellow parishioners, neighbors, even enemies led to holy communion with one another?  I don’t mean simply going to the nearest church and participating in a communion service, I mean literal fellowship…holy fellowship with one another because we are willing to place each other before ourselves…what if?
What would happen then?  Do you see what I’m saying?  It is so much harder to do than a ceremony.  It is so much more strenuous to “get along” with others let alone serve one another…but isn’t that the path to sacrificial love?

The Cart Before The Horse…
Sure, it’s most likely assumed that these two elements of Christ’s teachings go together, but do they really in today’s “Christian” world?  I mean it’s simple to follow through the motions on a simple ritual week after week in church, but is it really that simple to become like Christ by becoming the servant and serving those around us?   I would contend that it is not.  It is much easier to say the words than to live out the context of those words.  Could it be that before holy fellowship (as I described it above) can be performed one must take off their outer garments, place a towel around the waist and serve?
Jesus said, “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt 6:21)…what would happen if our treasure was two-fold (1) Christ and then (2) others?  Would we have to look very far to see either?  NO!

John 13:12-17 – “When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

Something more to ponder today.
To God be the glory!

Something to be thankful for? Let’s change that!

What if
is less about thismoney

more about this –

what if we actually


Like it?

What if this –buy

Became less important…

and this….mom

Became one of our priorities…

became, not something

“over there”…

but instead,
something right here….


Could we actually


this out loud?

could we actually


In this way?

I wish I could stop being so


But I keep seeing the way

that we treat one another


And I wonder
will it ever end?


But I hope it ends soon…

How about this….
Let’s  – love1
-Not hate-image

Let’s stop the

And turn it into this….feet

Just something else to ponder.
Do YOU have something to be
Thankful for?

Dear Salvation Army, A Salute To Veterans Of The Spiritual War…


In Flanders Fields
by John McCrae
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place, and in the sky,
The larks, still bravely singing, fly,
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead; short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe!
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high!
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Today many salute veterans who did not come back and those who simply endured the horrors of war.  I do not wish to cheapen these remembrances today.  It is not my intent either to draw any parallels…but there is a spiritual battle in this world still today that is ongoing.  There are many who have fought the good fight and have been “Promoted To Glory”.   I honor these dear soldiers today as well.

Some Salvation Soldiers have been sent to some very difficult places in our world to help share the love of Christ.  Some of these salvation soldiers have given their lives for the cause of Christ.  We honor you as well, you have fought this good fight.
We do not honor death.  
We know that death holds no power over Christ and His followers.
We know that death has been defeated.
We know that true victory lies in Christ Jesus, the conqueror of sin and death.
We know that the dead in Christ shall arise…we are confident that no matter what evils that we may face, we know in whom we have believed and we can overcome through His name!

We honor life.fight2
We honor the fallen who have gone on before us and have set an example for us to follow.
We honor the faithful who have exemplified holy living as their legacy and we have witnessed Christ through them.
We honor the martyrs who stood upon this faith despite the certainty of death.
We honor the lives of countless soldiers and friends who would stand in the gap for the poor, the hungry and the hurting.
We honor the doctors and nurses who have gone into villages and townships wrought with the AIDS epidemic and have cared for the sick and the orphaned.

Dear Soldier,
though today commemorates fallen soldiers and veterans of war, we too honor the soldiers of this army of salvation and that of the Christian world who have walked the path of selflessness and given up everything for the cause of Christ.

We do not celebrate death.  We celebrate life, new life given to all of us through Christ.  We celebrate the path blazed by the saints who have gone on before us.  We celebrate as kingdom people declaring that kingdom to be here and now.  We celebrate that we do not have to look forward to heaven “someday” but can help bring heaven to our world here and now.

I will fight on, dear soldier…will you?
I will fight to keep the banner of Christ held high through acts of love, grace, peace, hope, compassion, charity and reconciliation.  I will fight to bring these qualities to those who have not heard or are unable to through their hardships of life.  I long to fight along side you…if you will remain at my left and right.  We cannot move forward into the fray without unity of this body.  We cannot proceed onward without soldiers willingly equipped for the battles ahead.

goodWill you fight on?
Will you stay strong?
Will you stand firm?

Today we do not just remember…but we fight on!
Something more for our Army world to ponder today.
To God be the glory!

Dear Salvation Army, Supercharge Your Ministry With Just One Word!

I once had an Officer, whom I greatly admire, tell me the secret to a successful, healthy corps.  Do you wanna know what he said?  Let’s see how long I can prolong the suspense…  okay, suspense over: He told me that there is one crucial ingredient in any ministry that will either make or break you.  That one crucial ingredient is this:  Love.

(Someone cue the Beatles singing “All you need is love”)

Okay, that felt better!

Do we love those with whom we have been placed to lead?
This is important…pay attention!
(this may be the only question to truly consider today)

The Dilemma:
The Salvation Army ministry as a whole is an often transitory process.  Officers come and go and this isn’t only difficult on the officers who are moved (sometimes faaaaaaaaaaar too quickly), but it is also difficult on the corps leadership as well as the soldiers and adherents.  I might even go out on a limb to say that it has some longer lasting impacts on the corps ministries than it does on the officers who were farewelled and/or recently appointed there.

The dilemma then becomes how can we love something or someone that is transitory?  How can love exist within this plain of ever shifting views, and an ever shifting leadership structure?  Even within divisions and territories when leaderships leave and a new one enters the fray, the vision and plan set forth changes.  So, that being said, how can we love within such an ever changing ministry dynamic?

I will be bold enough right here and now and say that we can’t.
We are not equipped to love so blindly at times, especially when we feel as if the last “move” was not God’s will but rather done politically or out of convenience sake for “the Army”.  Pardon my cynicism here.  Yes, we cannot love enough to replace the hurt and disappointment in our hearts sometimes.

We can’t love…by our own volition.  That being said, we CAN love by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Our own love, at times, might take time to become whole again.  Our own love, might come along with us like our transported furniture does sometimes – bruised and broken (thanks movers!).  Our own love will sometimes leave us defeated and lacking enough in the reserves to give anything more to our families, let alone others.

To the counselors out there – don’t tell us to pray more.
don’t tell us that maybe we need to read the Bible
don’t tell us that it’s just a “dry spell” spiritually
don’t tell us that we aren’t doing enough

Supercharge Your Ministry With Just One Word: LOVE…
No one ever said it was going to be easy.
In fact it may be the toughest thing you ever do.
It would be easier to operate from a place of “like” or even just “get the job done”, but it will never be as effective as it would if we fell in love with those we serve and lead.  I mean the kind of love Jesus had for His disciples.  I mean the kind of love the Apostle Paul writes about when he writes to Timothy and other leaders of the faith.

What would it take for us to love those we lead?
What would it take for our hurts to be replaced with healing?
For the broken pieces of our hearts to be put back together?  (The cracks might still be visible for years to come)   What would it take for our wounds to be transformed into healing scars?  You see, these bruises might take time to fade.  What would it take to supercharge our ministry?  Perhaps even that word “supercharge” implies something that we’re not even comfortable with.  Would it take a miracle of the heart?  Would it take a transformational power only the Lord could provide?

Don’t Be Jaded!
It might be easy to become calloused, hardened and cynical.
No one human leadership entity is perfect.  Things will be done to you that were not done with the “Lord’s will” in mind…But at the same time can we still be effective?  Can we still lead with that one word – Love?

Can I be honest?
There are days when I simply don’t know.
There are days when I shake my head at decisions that have been made and can’t help but feel betrayed.  That’s raw, but genuine.

The Truth Is: 
I will never let the Army define who I am.
I serve the Lord first.
I know in whom I have believed!
The things of this world, even the systems in which we serve in are imperfect and sometimes people make mistakes.  But you know what?  I won’t let those mistakes, those “political” decisions, those wrongs that were never reconciled define who I am as a child of the King.  Now don’t get me wrong, there are some very wonderful blessings along the way as well that we cannot over look either!  Sometimes there are blessings in disguise and in order to discover them we have to place our all on the altar again and live by faith.  (I know that this is very hard to do)

Can I supercharge my ministry with this one word – Love?
Not by own volition.
But I will through the power that strengthens me, which is the Holy Spirit.

Words of Wisdom Passed Down To Me: 
*  Don’t let anyone, other than the Lord, define who you are or give you a sense of self-worth.
*  Be strong in your convictions and yet, don’t be so convinced of your own self-righteous need to be right all the time.
*  Take time to listen and not just talk.
*  Love those that God has given to you to lead…and when your love isn’t enough, ask for more love that can only be provided through His supernatural power!
*  There is love in healing.
*  Relationships are important crucial to cultivate in a lifetime of ministry.

Something more for this army to ponder today…To God Be The Glory!

Who is good enough?

“Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill?” (Psalm 15:1)

Are we ever “good” enough?
Are we ever holy enough?

The short answer: No.

The long answer: Yes.

If we set ourselves apart for God.
If we strive to live for Him.
If our hearts are bent towards the sustainer of life – God himself.
If our eyes are focused/fixed upon the Savior of our souls – Jesus Christ.

The prescription for “Good Enough”

Is there a road map to this better life?
Is there a way to thrive instead of just survive?
Is there a means to put to death our mediocrity and take upon ourselves a mantel of excellence in holiness?

This isn’t about human perfection.
These pursuits can lead to pride, arrogance and judgement. Perfection is not the same as Holiness. We do live within a flaw body, a flawed world…sin and temptation are real.

But… We do not have to live there anymore. We do not have to dwell in that pig slop when we have a Heavenly Father who anxiously waits for us to return to Him.

The prescription?
“He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellow man, who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the Lord, who keeps his oath even when it hurts, who lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken.” (Psalm 15:2-5)

Did you catch that?
This is prescription for “good enough”.
This is the remedy for mediocrity.
This is the remedy for holiness in our physical living.

It isn’t an easy walk…it is the right path!
It isn’t always a rewarding walk…but it does lead to the MOST rewarding walk one can ever walk.
It isn’t always the most glamorous or popular walk…but it is a walk wrought with humility, sincerity, vulnerability and sacred holiness because it resembles the walk of Christ and we adopt His identity.

Do you want to be like Christ?
Do you long to walk this rugged path that is often lonely and difficult?

That doesn’t sound like a good sales pitch does it?

Truth: we will never be the same!
We will no long look the same!
We will realize the burdens that we’ve been carrying for far too long will be lifted.

What path are you on right now?
Do you long to live a far better, more rewarding (long-term) life?

It’s time.
It’s time to grow.
It’s time to dwell in God’s sanctuary.
It’s time to live on God’s holy hill.

Are you ready?
Are you prepared?
Is it your desire?
Can we travel this path together?
Will you walk with me?

Something more to ponder today.

Dear Salvation Army: Why Quality Is Better Than Quantity

dusty-feetJesus had more than 12 disciples…yet many left Him. (John 6:66)
Did Jesus call each one of these “AWOL” disciples?  No.
Some joined the band later during the rise of Jesus’ popularity.  But Jesus wasn’t looking for popularity.  He hadn’t come to be lauded and complemented.  He hadn’t come to start a Roman incursion.  He came for so much more.  He taught that purpose to His disciples, those with whom He confided in and hand-picked for such an important calling.

soldiers4Dear Salvation Army, why is it that we feel it necessary at times to place quantity of soldiers and officers above quality?  I don’t think anyone intentionally does this.  I do not think we rush out and pick people off the street and throw uniforms on them just so we have “numbers” the next time the General or anyone else important in our Army comes to town.  But we do see success within our Army as something of a quantitative thing don’t we?

uturnHave we been going about this all wrong?  
Could it be that instead of sheer numbers and all of these “Corps growth” initiatives we must first focus on the ones we already have in our pews who are undiscipled and unequipped for the battle?  We serve many individuals who are marginalized and wounded by life.  Some might be incapable of ever achieving the standards of  “Christianity” that other churches expect of their parishioners. I have heard it said that the church is an emergency room for the sinner.  It should be a place of triage and shelter for the broken and the imperfect.  We serve many in our Army who not only need the spiritual emergency room but also long-term spiritual care!  Some may never walk upright within the spiritual realms of leadership.  Some may only crawl towards incremental spiritual achievements in their lives because they have been crippled by sin, shame and/or other spiritual, emotional and physical wounds in their lives.  Can we accept them for who they are, where they are and mark these limited steps of growth?  Are we patient enough to develop these wounded soldiers with grace, love and at times looooooooooooong-suffering?   Or are we so focused on getting “others” more “capable”, desirable people into our corps buildings?  We, unintentionally, stick up our noses at the uneducated, spiritually inept and broken cases already before us.

I don’t mean to make this an indictment because I too would wear a crown of guilt in this witch-hunt of pointing fingers.  I too have walked the fine line of measurable growth and statistically accomplishments while unintentionally leaving the spiritually crippled of the corps in my dust.  Shame on me.  Forgive me.

What I’m Not Saying:
I’m not saying don’t seek out others to bring into your corps.
I am not saying don’t work to improve the spiritual conditions of your corps.
I am not saying don’t preach holiness and hold the standards high for all who come to the corps.

What I am Saying: 
-Don’t forget those that God has already placed in your corps and on your ministry pathways.

-Don’t lose the emphasis on teaching and discipling your vital few who come week in and week out.

-Don’t lose heart when you look at statistical sheets and only see the same numbers associated with the same faces.

-Love your corps members even if they are incapable of loving you back (as hard as that may be).

-Be the very best representation of Christ to your corps, in your leadership and in your living examples.

-Don’t wait for more educated, better looking and polished people to come through your doors.  Focus on the ones that God has placed within your ministry right now to love and to lead.

Why Quality is Better Than Quantity?
When we become satisfied and confident with loving and serving the few we take off the burden of false success driven ministry concepts.  It’s not about packing your corps building to the brim every Sunday morning.  It’s not about attempting another evangelistic ploy to rope the unchurched into your doors.

binocularsWhen we begin to love and to focus our attention upon those we already have within our corps (the “quality“, no matter how far from quality we may view our corps members) we will begin to truly love them, appreciate them, long to better disciple them, and serve them as Christ would the Church.   When we focus our attention on the “few” and feed them spiritually, the love and “curb” appeal of our corps will become all the more evident in our communities.

We get it all wrong some times in our attempt to become like other churches.  We look over the ministerial fences and long to be like “that” church that boasts 400 or more members on a Sunday.  But the truth is we aren’t THAT church…we were never called to be THAT church.  Our ministry and mission as the Army is very, very unique.  Our mission will contain more elements of serving wounded soldiers day in and day out and maybe, just maybe we will see incremental or phenomenal life improvements both physically and spiritually.  I am not discounting the work of the Holy Spirit here, He can and will perform miracles, and we must  be diligent and faithful to His calling.  Yet in other occasions we must also not give up on soldiers and corps members who never seem to move from their one position of initial conversion.

We know there is more to be had within the realms of spiritual growth and holiness for our corps members…but sometimes it may take a lifetime for that corps member to achieve this understanding as well.  DON’T GIVE UP ON THEM!  DON’T QUIT OR LOSE HOPE!

**Yes, fight for the weak, the hurting, the lost.
**Yes, keep up the evangelistic methods within your communities.
-But don’t forget to employ quality love, support and leadership to the few as well!

Just something more for our Army world to ponder today.
To God be the glory!

What If We Carried The Stretcher Of Others?

I’ve been thinking about a bible story recently.  The about a paralyzed man (it doesn’t say how he became paralyzed) and how he is carried to Jesus by his friends.  They get to the house where Jesus is supposed to be and discover the house party is standing room only.  There is no way to haul some guy on a stretcher to Jesus in that crowded house…there’s no room.

I can almost imagine his friends who have carried him for a few village blocks. They breathe heavily, trying to tap some reserves of strength as sweat drips from their arms and faces.  There is a purpose for this burden.  There is a reason for this journey.  They want their friend to be healed.    Anyone else might have given up at this point.  Anyone else might have said, “well we tried, I’m sorry but there’s just no other way.”  Yet these friends don’t give up.  These men find another way to bring their paralyzed friend to Jesus – They tear a hole in someone else’s roof.  Talk about persistence.  Talk about determination.

It makes me wonder how persistent we are with our friends in need.  There are times when we must carry the burdens of others.  There are times when we must bring broken souls to Jesus only to discover the house is full.  How far will we go to carry that stretcher?  How far will we go so that others will find the healing that they need?  We can be a healer in the ways that we serve and love those who are hurting.  We can provide a means for others to find Jesus, but we may have to go out of our way to do so.  We may have to exert a lot of energy and time.  Are we willing?  Are we available?

stretcherCarrying the stretcher for those in need isn’t about our glory…it never was. Carrying these burdens and sharing the load for those who have succumbed to life’s challenges is a purest example of love and self-sacrifice.  Are we still willing to pick up that stretcher?  Are we still available when it cuts into “me” time?  Displaying authentic care and sacrifice will cost us something.  Are we prepared for the consequences of authentic care and love?  I hope our answer is “yes“, because if we talk about evangelism yet we not willing to step up and carry the stretcher then action speaks louder than our fickle, shallow words and promises.

Give of yourself.  Carry the burdens of others.  Walk beside them and encourage them.  Don’t quit and walk away.  Be willing to give sacrificially without any thought of personal gains or returns…after all, isn’t that what Christ did for us?

-Just something more to ponder today.

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