LOST

The last episode of LOST ran on May 23, 2010. I know many hated it, but I loved it…and loved the entire show. It captured the imagination of so many people…including those who made fan videos.  Here are some of my favorite fan videos.

Addicted to LOST

Stop Crying Your Eyes Out

What Hurts the Most

My Immortal

Jack and Kate I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing

EVERYTHING you need to know about LOST in 8:15.

There are so many great fan videos out there…a great tribute to an awesome show. I’ll miss LOST. Until I pull out my DVD sets to start all over again!

John

The Sequatchie Valley

This article is from my files. It is an article from the Gospel Advocate dated September 4, 1980 by Guy N. Woods. I hope you’ll enjoy it as a warm reflection as we approach Mother’s Day.  JD

 

 


The Sequatchie Valley by Guy N. Woods

Recently it was my honored and happy privilege as it has been for more than thirty years to preach in a week-end meeting for the Mt. Airy congregation in Tennessee’s lovely, inspiring and breath-taking Sequatchie Valley. There towering mountains rise to meet the sky. At night the stars appear to nestle in their craggy heights, and the moon, along its pathway of gold, seems to pause in wonder as it moves over their airy peaks. For this magnificent valley, the majestic mountains which overshadow it and the sturdy and stalwart saints who live there I entertain the highest appreciation. Its most distinguished inhabitant, long since gone to be with the Lord whom he so well served, Theophilus Brown Larimore, once said that the Indian word “Sequatchie” most likely meant “land of many waters,” but added that were an angel from heaven to stand on some towering peak among the mountains which surrounded it, and see it as Moses saw the promised land the angel might call it “Paradise”!

….

On this most recent trip through the good offices of a dear friend, Tom Mosley, I saw the house where brother Larimore lived and the creek he crossed when the evening shadows gathered and this pitiful little boy wearily returned to his mother from the fields in which he had toiled all the day long, in an effort to provide food so desperately needed by his mother and sisters. When only ten years old he hired out to plow for $4 per month and so weak and frail was he that often the plow handles were covered with blood from his nose and, weak and dizzy from its loss, he reeled and staggered between the plow handles like a drunk man.

It was always dark when his day’s work was over and along his path were deep shadows from the tall mountains nearby and he was often afraid. His mother, knowing this, and also afraid, nevertheless always came to meet him in the ravine’s darkest spot and, when she heard his footsteps would softly say, “Is that you, my son?” When the little lad heard her words which were to him as sweet as the words of an angel, his fears were gone and he joyfully and gladly accompanied her home no longer timid or afraid. Long years after when he had become the brotherhood’s most loved and dedicated preacher, possessed of an eloquence unequalled by the ablest speakers of his day, he was to recall this incident, recite its details and say, “I sometimes wonder if, when I come to cross the valley of death, I shall hear my mother’s voice on the other side as she waits for me to come. I know she will be there, if she can.” Is it any wonder that in his later years, tears always appeared in his eyes when he mentioned his mother? 

Thank God for our dear sweet mothers! 

Grieved By Trials

If you are a Christian and you’ve suffered significantly, then you know what it’s like to ruminate on that question. Yes, the one that hangs on a permanent nail near the door to your heart. 

God, why did you let that happen? 

Or maybe it is more like…

God, are you even there? And if you are, could you take a look at what’s happening to me right now?

When I was reading through some of 1 Peter a few days a word jumped out at me that I had not noticed before. 

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials…

Grieved. It’s in the English Standard Version. Other translations use words like suffer and distressed and struggle. But the ESV uses the term that has found such a place in my life. Grieved. Grief is a term of sorrow, loss, even bereavement. We can experience grief at the loss of a loved one, but also by the loss of important things, pets, relationships, or even our health. There are various things that can cause us grief.

The first readers of Peter’s letter were in extreme circumstances, having lost homes and jobs, forced into a dispersion throughout the known world due to persecution. They did what they were supposed to do – what we still try to encourage people to do today. They gave their life to Christ! Does anyone doubt that in the quietest part of the night someone didn’t contemplate…

God, why did you let that happen? God, are you even there? And if you are, could you take a look at what’s happening to me right now?

When we lost our son many people said to us, “I don’t know what to say.” I could relate. I didn’t know what to say either. I’m sure if I knew the depth of your grief and sorrow, disappointment and heartache, abuse and recovery, I wouldn’t know what to say. But Peter does have something to say. An encouragement for us to think about what we are becoming through the crucible of our troubles.

…So that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

I wouldn’t go around quoting this to hurting people. But if you will hang on to Jesus, when you are a sufficient distance from your loss you will be able to look back and see the extreme value of your faith. In your sorrow you found out that it wasn’t just words or nice ideas. Faith became for you more precious than gold. By not letting go of God when the trials were at their hottest … causing enormous grief … you find out your faith is genuine.

Oh, it gets ragged. Sometimes you might not even think it’s there. You’re not alone in your dark night of the soul. If it were all up to you it wouldn’t be. But it’s not all up to you.  God is near and He’s not letting a single tear go to waste.

God, why did you let that happen? God, are you even there? And if you are, could you take a look at what’s happening to me right now?

So, it’s no secret. The Apostle Peter wrote it down to believers who were scattered by persecution throughout the known world. Having lost everything that resembled security and hope he acknowledged the grief that they were experiencing due to losses. Then he encouraged them that their trials were giving wealth and value to their faith.

I doubt they could see it any clearer than we can. But faith keeps our eyes to a coming day when Jesus will be revealed. At that time I believe we will know fully how God took the worst thing that ever happened to us and made it the most powerful thing that ever happened to us. So don’t give up when various kinds of trials grieve your heart.

Questions for Contemplation

*If you’ve blamed God for your various trials, have you ever considered that there is an Enemy who can bring trials as well?

*When Jesus said that faith as small as a mustard seed was acceptable to Him, do you think he had in mind times when our faith would be barely there?

*If I have a friend who is going through various trials that have brought grief, how can I best be a blessing to them … without words?

*How do I feel about having questions for God about my trials and at the same time having faith that He alone can answer them?

*It’s hard for us to have perspective in the midst of our trials. Have I sought out the perspective of some person of faith who has been through the same thing some time ago? 

*Remember that you are not alone in your grief and struggles. What persons in the Bible can we find who went through the same kind of pain and how did they respond? What did they write about it? Maybe those stories and words are preserved for us so we would know we were not alone.

Thanks for reading. JD

 

 

 

Turn My Eyes Away

Worthless things. I wonder if we had an inventory of everything we looked at today whether it was online or in our non-digital world … how much of our vision was held captive by worthless things? 

Oh I know you’re thinking about pornography or the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition (which is pornography, in case you haven’t figured that out) or some other lust-fueled imagery. Yes, those are worthless things from which we need to turn our eyes. 

But there’s more. 

What things are you looking at that make your blood boil? Is that steam coming from your ears because you didn’t like someone’s latest political comment or you were offended by an inappropriate joke?

What things are you looking at that are merely gossip fodder? Stalking someone’s Facebook page to find out what they’ve been up to so you can talk about it with your friends? Worthless.

Maybe some things are ‘worthless’ because they are not helpful or because they betray a prejudice or because they expose a hateful attitude.

Worthless things would include the things that take our attention away from God and experiencing his presence. 

The world is full of beautiful things and beautiful people to observe and enjoy. Why do museums and art galleries exist? Because there are things that are not worthless but enriching to look at and gain from. Why is it when we enter a restaurant or coffee shop the chairs at the table face one another? So that we can look at people we like and learn from and encourage. Why can we set our vision on a sunset or a campfire or a waterfall and contemplate the greatness of God? Or maybe just remember our blessings? Those are not worthless things. 

Turn my eyes away from vanity [all those worldly, meaningless things that distract—let Your priorities be mine], And restore me [with renewed energy] in Your ways. ~ Psalm 119:37, AMP

Each of us will have to think about and identify the worthless things that capture our vision, the things that appeal to our vanity and self-focus.

I was thinking about some of the healings in the Bible, particularly blind Bartimaeus. 

And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way. ~ Mark 10:51-52 (ESV)

If you had been born blind and Jesus chose to heal you, I wonder what you might consider the Psalmist to mean when he appeals to God to “Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.” Maybe you would just look at everything you could see, or maybe you would search out the things of God. I don’t know if we can imagine seeing for the first time, but we start each new day in the renewed mercies of God. If you ask God the same request to be found in this Psalm for tomorrow, what would be different about what you decide to look at?

“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting — a wayside sacrament. Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Search out the valuable things of God, and turn away from the worthless things. Then we can find the life that God promises.

Thanks for reading, JD.

 

Broken, But Not Trash

Our lives have a way of accumulating broken things because most things can be broken. Even things that are marked unbreakable can be broken if enough pressure is placed in the right location. I like to sift through antique stores. Not the the ones with imported European furniture pieces, no, I can’t even imagine affording their offerings. My kind of  antique stores sometimes have the word junktique on a sign in the window. Inevitably there are shelves of mismatched glassware of all kinds. If I want to look at something I almost have to force myself to pick it up, afraid I’ll drop it (and have to pay for it!).

People are among the most breakable things we can touch, even those that seem to be marked unbreakable. Unlike the stores I like to haunt there are no junk people. None. Am I the only one who has to keep reminding myself of this truth? Did you just think of a certain kind of person or someone who has done certain things and wonder if maybe they are junk… broken… trash? God forgive us and help us to see as He sees. I wonder how many people who have been regarded, and treated, as broken trash end up thinking that way about themselves? In my friend’s book, Identity Crisis: 21 Days of Discovering Who God Says You Are (Amazon Link), is a simple but valuable sentence:

Even if we feel broken, God believes we are valuable. – Michael D. Perkins 

No one should feel like trash, even if everything about their lives is broken. Even if all the people they care about think very little of them. What does God see within that no one else can see?

Humans can only see the…

Broken lives.

Broken families.

Broken faces in the mirror.

Broken hearts.

Broken by addiction and bad choices. Broken by choosing to follow our own path instead of God’s. Broken by our idols. Broken by our stubborn resistance to learn from others. Broken by grudges and walls built around our hearts. Broken by rejection of the One who loves us most.

Broken but trying to appear unbreakable. God sees through it all to the real person inside. And He is deeply in love with the one He sees. A mysterious person I knew for a brief while when he was still on this earth was someone I only knew as Brother Sean. He taught me what I want to say to the hurting people I meet:

The Christ in me sees the Christ in you, and you matter to me.

I don’t think I’ll ever forget that. It reminds me that when we get ready to come back to God in our own lives He never looks at us with sad eyes and shakes his head at the broken mess we’re trying to offer to Him. No, when we turn to Him with all of our mess clearly on display and let Him know we’re sorry…we’re ready for Him to clean up this junktique of a person we’ve become… He doesn’t despise us. In truth, nothing makes him happier.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;  a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. – Psalm 51:7

The truth is we’ve all been broken at some time or another. The junk of sin accumulates around us. We can start to identify more with the trash that surrounds us than the treasure God sees within us. We’re all broken, but none of us is trash.

Thanks for reading, JD.

Follow my friend Michael D. Perkins on Twitter here. Check out his website here.

Unseen Footprints

During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.

It is doubtful that there are many people who are unaware of the famous (although unattributed) poem Footprints in the Sand. The closing line (above) reminds us that when we feel alone, we are never truly alone for God is with us. That single set of footprints belong to God who carries us. 

I was reading through Psalm 77 today, though, and there’s an even more startling teaching about faith that caught my attention. The Psalm is not one of David’s, but rather Asaph. It is a Psalm for troubled hearts. It begins…

I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, that he may hear me. In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearing; my soul refuses to be comforted. I think of God, and I moan; I meditate, and my spirit faints. (Psalm 77:1-3, NRSV)

Who hasn’t had a sleepless night calling out to God? We can identify with this immediately. The rest of the Psalm continues through the night as the writer ruminates over his questions about God. He thinks about the mighty things that God has done, concluding…

You are the God who works wonders; you have displayed your might among the peoples. With your strong arm you redeemed your people …. (Psalm 77:14, 15a, NRSV)

Then a moment of faith … 

Your way was through the sea, your path, through the mighty waters; yet your footprints were unseen. (Psalm 77:19, NRSV)

It’s one thing to look back and see that single set of footprints in the sand. It’s another to look forward and backward, and see no footprints at all. In the writer’s remembrance of the Exodus and particularly the crossing of the Red Sea one cannot help but see the amazing works of God. But no footprints…

Maybe God has been at work in your life in amazing ways, but you’ve been so busy trying to fight your way through your troubles on your own that you failed to notice. Have you called out to God throughout watches of the night only to hear …. nothing in return? Are you looking around for evidence that God is near but there’s not a single footprint to demonstrate that He is?

Faith calls us to continue on in our walk with God, even if we cannot see (for now) what He is up to. It’s encouraging to see the footprint in the sand; it’s disconcerting when it is not visible.

…We look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18, NRSV)

Whether you see the footprints of God … or not … trust that He is there. 

Thanks for reading, JD