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.

I’ll Fight!


In the years that I have lived, loved and groaned

I have never known the hunger pangs of children

I have never witnessed a child dying from the curable

because resources and money was lacking.


I have never found pleasure in a single morsel of rice

because this was all I would eat in a week.

I have never been witness to the slaughter of my parents

because they believed in Jesus.


I have never had to watch as my brothers and sisters

were sold into slavery on the human trafficking market,

loaded up in boxed trucks by the dozens like animals

heading to market…


Yet I know it exists.

I know that many still today find grace in one ray of sunshine

in the midst of hell and fury of hate.

I know children go hungry as militant leaders steal

their wealth and resources and make child soldiers out of them.

I know Aids has killed and will kill entire generations in Africa

leaving orphans in its wake.

I know human slavery hasn’t been eradicated

but is extricating the innocent still to a shortened life of horror.


I know.

But how can we end this?

How can we bring food to the hungry,

safety to the threatened

and cures to the dying?

My heart yearns to help.

My heart groans to give aid.

I want to fight this.

I want to stand in the gap for those who cannon for themselves.

I want to bring the light of Christ into darkened places.

To be a place of safe harbor to the lives clinging to death.

Lord how?


How can we fight this?

How can we go?

How can we soldier on?

How do we shine when all we want to do cry and weep over

the evils of man?

This fight must begin and end with You!

Your strength.

Your peace.

Your discernment.

Your empowering arms of love.

Father, we cry out to You in a world

sin sick and broken.

Be our salve.

Be our shield.

Our fortress.

Our deliverance.

Our Victory.

I’ll fight!

I’ll fight on!

I’ll fight on into your victory!




“He said to them, “Do you bring a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed?  Instead, don’t you put it on its stand?  For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open.  If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” -Mark 4:21-25

Okay, let’s get it over with…”this little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.  This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Jesus spoke to His disciples and to the crowd that had gathered there.  He spoke wisdom and truth to them and in the midst of these parables He begins to speak about a lamp.  What does a lamp do?  It illuminates a room doesn’t it?  When someone walks into a dark room the first thing most people do is switch on the light so that they might see.  The same principle is applied any place that is dark.  One would never venture into a deep dark cave unless a flashlight was lit.  Does one go into places that are dark without prior preparation?  Of course not because that would be dangerous and foolish!

Similarly the Light of Christ is never to be hidden from the world!  To do so is dangerous and foolish.  Fellow Christians who play church on Sunday yet keep the truth of the gospel to themselves like some sort of private VIP only club are foolish and narrow minded…but if I were truly honest with myself there are times that I have treat the light of Christ this way.  I have been one of those ‘members only’ Christians.

Yet if we look at how God works, does He need us to shine the light?  Yes and no.  Yes God wants us to share His good news to the world and yes we are partakers of His kingdom but does He need us more than we need Him?  Of course the obvious answer is ‘no’!  So why are we called to be ‘Light bringers’ into this world of ours?  The short answer is; so that we can be Christ’s faithful ambassadors to those still in the darkness!  He could clearly call someone else, and if we’re not careful He will call someone else.  But He wants us to be the torch bearer.

Exposed by the Light:

This world is a dangerous and dark place.  Christ brought the light so that everyone might see.  What is it that we see when His light is shone upon us?  For starters we see how lost we truly are.  It is easy to wander in the darkness and to ignore the filth that we have allowed to blemish us.    But when His light is cast upon us we find ourselves wanting, dirty and guilty.  The prophet Isaiah was given a vision of heaven and in the Light of God and all that he saw, he knew that he was unclean and marred by sin.  The light of God does that to His people; exposes the sins.  Nothing is hidden from God.  Nothing is kept locked away and private.  He light shines upon us so that we might finally be free from this life sucking filth which is sin.

When Christ spoke of the light, He was talking not only about Himself but about the truth of God.  Everything in this world both hidden and dirty will be exposed and known.  We, as His ambassadors are to be faithful to Him.  The good news is this world can be freed from the enslavement of sin and death!  The good news is that darkness is just the absence of light.  The good news is that God is the light that will shine upon all people here on earth.  The amazing news is that Christ has come to set us free from these bonds that keep us in the darkness!

This good news must be shared to the world!  This amazing light will deliver us all…and in so doing we are then called to pick up His light and share that good news to those still in the darkness.

“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…”

Some Say…(Poem)

Some Say

that these moments 

will all fade away 

like the waning of the seasons

never to return again. 

Some say 

there is no turning back

no joy in the journey

no rhyme and no reason.

Some say

all we are is now

nothing waits 

nothing begs us for more.

Some say

our dying breath

each staggered step

leads to nowhere.

Some say…

but fools maybe,

I don’t buy the lie

there’s too much

to fathom that I cannot


Some say

but they don’t

sway me.

I know that I 

have been set free.

That’s what 

saves me, 

This Savior at Calvary

Some Say, 

I Say Believe

He is the way.

This Old House…Peeling back the paint


Sometimes recalling certain memories can be like peeling the paint from an old weathered house.  You know the old house needs it, it’s crying for it and yet the whole facade will change.  Peeling back the paint will remove the years of character and sometimes charm, but underneath it all you know the walls need to breathe, to be set free, and sometimes the old paint holds moisture in, green and molding smelling ripe like mildew.  All unseen by the naked eye without the begrudging labor of the paint peeler.

Withholding our memories, holding them at arm’s length, quivering like a lost puppy who whimpers and shies away from everything including a loving hand, we fear what we will find underneath it all!   We fear that others will be horrified when the truth is revealed…memories are like prison bars and razor wire fences.  We’re a captivated audience of one, too afraid to move…to make a break for it.  Too afraid of our own shadows lurking within corners that we’ve created.  Memories that we avoid do not fade, but rather they deepen in their staining.  And we within our self-made prisons peer out at them from behind our bar windows, clutching fragments of sun light instead of basking in it.

This old house needs a new, fresh coat of glossy clean paint that sparkles in the sunlit day and gleams when the stars in the night sky comes a callin’…but first this old decrepit brown weathered tinged paint must be peeled back…we must reveal our hurts, our wounds, our heartaches, we can’t just paint over the old for the old with infect and deflect the new.

So with weapon of choice in hand we, knowing it to be the right thing to do, must embrace the mess, confess to the wrongs, embrace what it is now, relish the opportunity to begin again.  Peel back the pain that harbors itself beneath the paint.  Let it breathe free and when the sun has baked its cold moisture away…this old house can take on a new creation.


How often I lose my way…(Poem)

When I have exhausted all of my words

when each phrase I utter sounds the same

waning on like some sort of warning siren…

when the motions go out without a shout 

of purpose, and all I do with these hands

is caress sweet longings for tomorrow, 

when constant sighs replace the frequent ‘amens’

then I will know I am lost again.

When strength of spirit evaporates 

faster than moisture in the desert, 

when the hallelujah’s pack their bags 

and leave on the eve of morning 

then I will know that I’m lost again.

When my prayers fall short of the ceiling 

when each word on the pages of scripture

fail to capture glimpses between the blurs 

and the worry…then I will know that I am 

lost again.

Seek me and find me Lord…

for how often I lose my way

how often do I take back my burdens

again and again 

when only then do I realize

I’ve picked them up from the place 

I surrendered them to you…

How often do I pick up the hammer 

and nail every time that I fail 

casting my eyes on the storms

rather than the storm tamer? 

How often do I try and try 

in failing strength to do it my way

then each day facing my own 

dejected spirit, broken and hollowed out…

Seek me and find me Lord…

for how often I lose my way

how often I need deliverance anew

refinement and renewal 

restoration and recompense…

it all makes sense now dear Lord

every word that you say to me

encouraging me, delivering me 

Seek me and find me Dear Lord…

for how often I lose my way.



An Angelic Prison Break


Jesus had told him that he would go where he didn’t want to go and be led to places he never wished to be…but Peter wasn’t quite prepared for the violent onslaught the seemed to never end for his fellow apostles.  Stephen had seen a horrific end, though many had believed.  Now, sitting in prison in chains, surrounded by guards Peter considered that this might be the end of his journey too.  After all, just hours ago Herod had executed James the brother of John by the sword and Peter though full of faith, wept for his family.  In a very small corner of his mind he ponders just for a brief second what may have taken place had he left Jesus when he had had the chance.   Yet, Peter quickly pushes that thought aside as an overwhelming warmth of love fills his body when we remembers the master’s face.  He remembers what forgiveness felt like on that beach after he had denied Him three times.  His love poured out undeservedly upon Peter.  “No I would not change a thing”, Peter says to himself.  No second guessing, no self-pity, no turning back!

The chains jingle as Peter, a little bruised and tender, shifts position in the dingy rank cellar of a prison.  The guards are positioned all around him, as if Peter were some sort of Samson-strong man who could take down a regiment of soldiers with just a jaw bone of a donkey.   The guards eye him carefully as he shifts in his chains, King Herod had been explicitly clear that this man had to be watched and that if anything happened to him they would pay the price with their lives.  King Herod was a vicious man not to be trifled with or taken lightly.


Minutes pass that seem like hours, as the torches on the walls flicker casting shadows on the molding green stones of the cell.  Peter, slumped and weary, closes his eyes intent on praying but too emotionally drained falls quickly into a fitful sleep.   It seems like a second passes when someone strikes him on the side to awaken him.  At first Peter thinks it’s one of the guards and he wonders to himself, “is it time?”  Looking up he finds not a solider dressed in military garb, but rather an Angel luminescent and powerful to behold.   As Peter looks at the angel, sleep blurred and groggy, the angel looks fiercely back at him and says, “Quick, get up!”  Thinking it a vision, Peter doesn’t hesitate or ask any questions and as he moves to pick himself up off of the damp floor, the chains fall off of him as if they had never been clasped tightly around him at all.  Bewildered and yet unsure of what this was real or a vision, Peter stands before the Angel.


Put on your clothes and your sandals Peter!”   The angel continues his instructions to Peter, “wrap yourself in your cloak as well!”  Peter doesn’t waste any time in protesting, he’s learned long ago not to question but to obey.  After dressing and putting on his cloak, the angel instructs him, “Follow me.”  Again Peter, thinking this to be a vision, does what the angel says and puts one foot in the front of the other and walks right out of the prison.  He walks right past the guards who had been keeping a careful watch over him and they do not even respond to his passing.  He follows the angel through the metal doors and past the outer door that leads into the city.  The door even opens by itself.  After Peter has walked with the angel for about two city blocks, suddenly two things dramatically occur: The angel disappears, vanishes completely from sight.  The second thing that amazes Peter is that this isn’t a vision at all.  This is very real…and he is now free!  What started out as a death row vigil has become a divine prison break!

Full of joy and renewed mission, Peter makes his way to the house of Mary, mother of John Mark.  His fellow brothers and sisters in Christ were gathered there earnestly praying.  And as Peter knocks on the front door, a servant girl answers and is shocked to see Peter there in front of her.  She is so shocked by his appearance there that she shuts the door on him and runs off to announce his arrival.  A fugitive, by the name of Peter, is standing outside in the open air while the small house church is made aware of his escape and arrival!  At first they don’t believe the servant girl, “how could this be?”  One apostle asks.  “She’s just making up stories!” Another voice calls out from the back of the room.   Then another Christ-follower offers another conclusion of who it might be; “It could be an angel” He says.  Now curious what or who has caused this commotion, they all rush to the front door and find out for themselves that it is in fact Peter who is still knocking at the door.  Peter is standing there and he is free!  They are amazed at this miracle!   For hours they had been gathered in a small room made sacred by their continued prayers.  Their faith, love and intercessory prayers had been answered!


Peter, though prison weary, recounts the miracle and the angel and all who hear rejoice and are amazed!  Knowing he is now a wanted man who is an escapee from prison, Peter leaves their company quickly and without delay before the sun even has a chance to crest over the city walls.

Does God answer prayer?  In the midst of our deepest struggles and in the midst of our trouble lives the answer is a resounding ‘YES’!  Though there will be times that He doesn’t answer the way that we think He should, what we are called to be is faithful!  Will the dangers be lifted from us?  Not always.  We may still have to endure the valley of the shadow of death a time or two…but know that we never walk these paths alone!  God really means it when He says that He is our shepherd and we are under His care!  Believe it and received it today!


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