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Category Archives: Life Experiences

New Year, New Life

Rob Walters' Tombstone

Rob is dead.

He died a few days ago.  Please, no condolences, no flowers, no cards. My death is a good thing.

It’s bad enough that I gave breath to that life of mine, the LAST thing I want to do is to celebrate it in any way.

But now I’m dead, so I can finally tell the tale of how I died.  It isn’t unique, but it IS compelling and I hope and pray that it compels you to die too.

First, to understand my death, you need to know a little about my life.  When I was 7 years old, I received Christ into my heart as only a little child can: joyfully.  And I remained full of joy throughout my early teen years, but as often happens to children, I began to grow up and as I did, the joy of Christ alone was being pushed aside to make room for my self, my will, my desires and ultimately, my sins.

But it was ok (I told myself) because my sins could peacefully coexist with my relationship with Christ.  After all, I was forgiven, so what was the big deal.  Everybody was sinning and asking forgiveness, so that became the norm for me.  I didn’t understand.

The problem was, I was giving myself a license to sin.

Bottom line: it was easier to ask forgiveness later than simply to obey God.  And this was a BIG problem for me, because it would set the tone for the next 20 years of my life as Christ was slowly pushed completely out of my life.  In His place came every evil sin imaginable, and I welcomed them all with open arms.

Not all at once, mind you, but each sin that I allowed into my life opened the door to other sins that I would never have imagined I could be capable of.  Finally, I reached the point where there was no commandment of God that I was not openly breaking.  In addition to that, drugs had become my whole world and I could see no way out except to take my own life.

And that’s when it happened: God called to me while I was at my lowest point. When all of the lying and denial finished and I was face to face with the truth of what I had become, that’s when He reached out to me.

Some may question why He waited so long (I certainly questioned why He had waited so long), but I understand now: it’s because until I came to the end of myself, I wasn’t ready to acknowledge my complete and total need for my Savior, Jesus Christ.

And this isn’t a one time thing.  As life continues on, we often make bad choices that draw us back into sin.  And every time it happens, we need to come to the end of ourselves and place our complete reliance and trust in Christ again.

This is called dying to self.  It’s how and why I died a few days ago.

Galatians 2:20 (ESV) – I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

The past is behind me, covered in the blood of the Lamb.

I am dead.  I am crucified with Christ.  I no longer live.  Christ lives for me.  The life that I now have is being lived through faith in Christ alone.

I pray that one day soon, you die, too.

It’s the only way to really live.

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2012 in Life Experiences

 

The Middle Of The Night

Old Time Telephone

We all know what it’s like to get that phone call in the middle of the night. This night’s call was no different. Jerking up to the ringing summons, I focused on the red illuminated numbers of my clock. Midnight. Panicky thoughts filled my sleep-dazed mind as I grabbed the receiver.

“Hello?”

My heart pounded; I gripped the phone tighter and eyed my wife, who was now turning to face my side of the bed.

“Daddy?” I could hardly hear the whisper over the static. But my thoughts immediately went to my daughter. When the desperate sound of a young crying voice became clearer on the line, I grabbed for my wife and squeezed her wrist.

“Daddy, I know it’s late, but don’t…don’t say anything, until I finish. And before you ask, yes, I’ve been drinking. I nearly ran off the road a few miles back, and…”

I drew in a sharp shallow breath, released my wife and pressed my hand against my forehead. Sleep still fogged my mind, and I attempted to fight back the panic. Something wasn’t right.

“… and I got so scared. All I could think about was how it would hurt you if a policeman came to your door and said I’d been killed. I want…to come home. I know running away was wrong. I know you’ve been worried sick. I should have called you days ago, but I was afraid…afraid…”

Sobs of deep-felt emotion flowed from the receiver and poured into my heart. Immediately I pictured my daughter’s face in my mind and my fogged senses seemed to clear. “I think –”

“No! Please let me finish! Please!” She pleaded, not so much in anger but in desperation.

I paused and tried to think of what to say. Before I could go on, she continued, “I’m pregnant, Daddy. I know I shouldn’t be drinking now…especially now, but I’m scared, Daddy. So scared!”

The voice broke again and I bit into my lip, feeling my own eyes fill with moisture. I looked at my wife who sat silently mouthing, “Who is it?”

I shook my head and when I didn’t answer, she jumped up and left the room, returning seconds later with the portable phone held to her ear.

She must have heard the click in the line because she continued, “Are you still there? Please don’t hang up on me! I need you. I feel so alone.”

I clutched the phone and stared at my wife, seeking guidance.

“I’m here, I wouldn’t hang up,” I said.

“I know I should have told you, Daddy. But when we talk, you just keep telling me what I should do. You read all those pamphlets on how to talk about sex and all, but all you do is talk. You don’t listen to me. You never let me tell you how I feel. It is as if my feelings aren’t important. Because you’re my father, you think you have all the answers. But sometimes I don’t need answers. I just want someone to listen.”

I swallowed the lump in my throat and stared at the how-to-talk-to-your-kids pamphlets scattered on my night stand.

“I’m listening,” I whispered.

“You know, back there on the road, after I got the car under control, I started thinking about the baby and taking care of it. Then I saw this phone booth and it was as if I could hear you preaching about people shouldn’t drink and drive. So I called a taxi. I want to come home.”

“That’s good, Honey,” I said as relief filled my chest. My wife came closer, sat down beside me and laced her fingers through mine. I knew from her touch that she thought I was doing and saying the right thing.

“But you know, I think I can drive now.”

“No!” I snapped. My muscles stiffened, and I tightened the clasp on my wife’s hand. “Please, wait for the taxi. Don’t hang up on me until the taxi gets there.”

“I just want to come home, Daddy.”

“I know. But do this for your Daddy. Wait for the taxi, please.”

I listened to the silence in fear. When I didn’t hear her answer, I bit into my lip and closed my eyes. Somehow I had to stop her from driving.

“There’s the taxi, now.”

Only when I heard someone in the background asking about a Yellow Cab did I feel my tension easing.

“I’m coming home, Daddy.” There was a click and the phone went silent.

Moving from the bed with tears forming in my eyes, I walked out into the hall and went to stand in my sixteen-year-old daughter’s room. The dark silence hung thick. My wife came from behind, wrapped her arms around me and rested her chin on the top of my head.

I wiped the tears from my cheeks. “We have to learn to listen,” I said.

She pulled me around to face her. “We’ll learn. You’ll see.” Then she took me into his arms, and I buried my head in her shoulder.

I let her hold me for several moments, then I pulled back and stared back at the bed. She studied me for a second, then asked, “Do you think she’ll ever know she dialed the wrong number?”

I looked at our sleeping daughter, then back at her. “Maybe it wasn’t such a wrong number.”

“Mom, Dad, what are you doing?” The muffled young voice came from under the covers. I walked over to my daughter, who now sat up staring into the darkness. “We’re practicing,” I answered.

“Practicing what?” she mumbled and laid back on the mattress, her eyes already closed in slumber.

“Listening,” I whispered, and brushed a hand over her cheek.

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2010 in Life Experiences

 

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Happy New Year!

To all of my family and friends, may God bless you throughout 2010!

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2010 in Life Experiences

 

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Where Was Christmas?

Last night, our children participated in a “Holiday” concert at their elementary school.  “Holiday” is in quotes, of course, because of the three major holidays during December (Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa) only Hanukkah and Kwanzaa were celebrated in a spiritual or religious way.  Christmas was mainly secularized, as you might expect.

Now, I don’t have any problem with a secular school promoting a secular Christmas with Santa and Rudolph and snowmen.  But I do have a problem with two religious holidays being celebrated without any mention of Jesus as the Reason for the Christmas Season.

Unless you consider the Mexican lullaby El Rorro.  Unfortunately, like most people in the audience, I had no idea what the lyrics actually meant.  I’m still not completely sure.

But the part that bothers me the most is that the whole world seems to come alive this time of year, and yet, no one is willing to acknowledge the truth about the birth of Christ.  The politically correct crowd wants to give all the credit to Santa, Rudolph, and the abominable snowman instead of Jesus.

But Jesus is sitting on His throne as the Sovereign God of creation and He will not allow His glory to be hidden for much longer.  One day soon, the clouds will split open and Jesus Christ Himself will return to this world, and at that moment, Santa, the reindeer and every other thing on this planet will be forgotten as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords descends as the rightful ruler of this world.

“Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly!”

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2009 in Life Experiences

 

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A Mountaintop Experience

I was out walking this afternoon and I was reflecting on the majesty and beauty of the earth, at least, what I could see of it. Where there was once grass, trees, flowers, and mountains, now we have streets, sidewalks, houses, cars and trash.

No wonder we have so much trouble focusing on God and His creation! All we see when we walk outside is the work of our own hands.

God created the earth to be majestic; to be a reflection of His power and His glory. We’ve taken the beauty of the earth, which should point us to the beauty of God, and reduced it to the level of man.

At first, I experienced sadness at the loss of God’s beauty in creation, but then I was moved to seek out that beauty in the creation that I could still see: the sky, the sun, the clouds, the trees, the flowers and bushes.

But it wasn’t enough! I needed something more!

Scripture! I needed the Word of God to show me the beauty in creation!

Psalm 148

1 Praise the LORD!Praise the LORD from the heavens; praise him in the heights!

2 Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his hosts!

3 Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars!

4 Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!

5 Let them praise the name of the LORD! For he commanded and they were created.

6 And he established them forever and ever; he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.

7 Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all deeps,

8 fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling his word!

9 Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars!

10 Beasts and all livestock, creeping things and flying birds!

11 Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth!

12 Young men and maidens together, old men and children!

13 Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his majesty is above earth and heaven.

14 He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his saints, for the people of Israel who are near to him. Praise the LORD!

Take time to reflect on the beauty of creation and on the infinite goodness of the Creator!

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2009 in Life Experiences

 

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