Morgan Plus-8 1969...

Morgan Plus-8 1969…

Remember when…
In one of my former lives when I was younger and full of vigor (having retired from pro soccer at 38 due to a knee-wrenching encounter with artificial turf) one of my great passions was traveling the world (more or less) and setting up international branches of the gift company that I was part of. Between visits to business agencies in foreign lands, and manufacturing plants, and sales agencies, and product development activities, it was a vocation of constant action, even barely getting home to spend time with what eventually turned out to be two growing families, before heading off yet again to develop and secure more business. To this day, there is still a part of me that regrets having allowed the “world” to intrude into my personal relationships, and yet, looking back, I can be truthful and honest about doing it for the “betterment” of both.

Which is exactly what Satan expects, as he forever attempts to lead you away from the important aspects of life.

In his book that has permanent residency on this very desk that I am writing from, “Billy Graham in Quotes”,  the section headed “Billy Graham on the World”  is one of the longest passages in the book, and no wonder. Yours truly could write a whole book based solely on this one chapter. But there is one short quote that pricks my conscience every time I come upon it: “Worldliness is actually a spirit, an atmosphere, an influence permeating the whole of life and human society, and it needs to be guarded against constantly and strenuously.” 

“And no marvel;” as the apostle Paul avers, “for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” (II Corinthians 11:14)

One of the most revered pieces of Real Estate on the Planet .. ManU Players Area

One of the most revered pieces of Real Estate on the Planet .. ManU Players Area

Remember when…
You see, what I have learned over the years is that this “pull” of the world is insatiable, exciting, challenging, freely available, and totally accommodating to those of us who accept its enticements. Money, fame, fortune, access to pleasures of all kinds, laudatory pronouncements and accolades, elevation of “self” over others, stepping “up” to the pedestal of recognition, rather than kneeling “down” at the altar of servitude and forgiveness, is a plague of the devil that has permeated society since he beguiled Eve in the paradise of Eden. My personal turning point I have written about extensively (with more to come in books 2 and 3) in “Cloud by Day/Fire by Night” in which I juxtapose my being raised in a Christian environment; to abandoning it; to then experiencing the consequences of separation; and to being drawn back under its auspices of my own volition, not by outside exhortations of damnation and hellfire. Au contraire – God and Jesus Christ are no arbiters of distinction, simply welcomers of “all who desire to be saved” through the aforementioned Paul yet again who exhorts: “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” (I Timothy 2:3-4)

And you will be very happy ...

And you will be very happy …

In last week’s Part One of Remember When… I related such a story of redemption from a long-ago time when I was literally “betwixt and between” being saved or going to hell, when life was lived “for the moment” and not for the consequences of societal behavior; when the spirit of the world encouraged “if it feels good; do it.” Remember “Angels Unseen” falling to her knees in 1990 crying out to God to heal her marriage, to strengthen her relationship, to show her the way ahead, and God coming forth and doing exactly that. And then the miraculous re-acquaintance through fellow-travelers whom God never forgets, allowing for her to share her testimony to the world.

Which is exactly what Satan doesn’t want, strong, successful believers and spiritual warriors of Jesus Christ overcoming the wiles of the devil.

Remember when…
Last November on the occasion of my turning 70 and entering “Moses’ territory” I revealed the secret of my (now) enduring faith which comes from a biblical guiding principle that runs “So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12). It is no coincidence either, that two verses prior to that clarion call towards a lucid understanding of life, Moses was led to bring forth the underlying reason for seeking such wisdom, when he evinced “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” 

October 13th 2012 wedding

October 13th 2012 wedding

On one of those many international trips I describe up above, I was in Hong Kong and heading across this very wide boulevard towards the harbor front walkway for my evening  stroll before bed, when, halfway across said boulevard I thought I heard a voice calling out “Dennis! Dennis! Dennis!” Needless to say I kept walking, since who would I know here in Hong Kong of all places? Nevertheless, “Dennis! Dennis! Dennis!” Lo and behold, a guy I hadn’t seen in years (from England no less!) and how he recognized me in that brief moment of crossing, who knows? Only God knows, and as I explained last week, who are we to question God’s involvement in the minutiae of our lives? In this particular instant, it was a reminder to yours truly, that we are never really “invisible.” We can be far, far away from home and free to participate in anything we desire, but we cannot hide from God.

The older we get, the wiser we become (or so the saying goes) but in the Circle of Life we talked about last week, the more we understand that God is the weaver of the very fabric of life, the better understanding we will have of his intimate involvement in our very destiny.

His golden locks Time hath to silver turn’d;
O Time too swift, O swiftness never ceasing!
His youth ‘gainst time and age hath ever spurn’d,
But spurn’d in vain; youth waneth by increasing:
Beauty, strength, youth, are flowers but fading seen;
Duty, faith, love, are roots, and ever green.

From George Peele’s Sonnet: A Farewell To Arms, 1590

70th Birthday Macaroni Grill ..

70th Birthday Macaroni Grill ..

Remember when…
humbled that even in my wildest years, God had the audacity to have Jesus Christ come knock, knock, knocking on my spiritual door to redirect me into his plan for my life. And even throughout the barren years, when I kept rejecting his insistent advances, I’m humbled that the Shepherd, who is now my companion and friend, chose two wonderful mothers for my sons, one who birthed Andrew (now enjoined by his beautiful bride, Leslie) and the other who brought forth Kyle and Bryce. Without them, I now wouldn’t be extolling the blessings that they have been in my life, and the joy abounding from witnessing three sons accomplishing mighty things.

No man is an island entire of itself; every man 
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; 
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe 
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as 
well as any manor of thy friends or of thine 
own were; any man's death diminishes me, 
because I am involved in mankind. 
And therefore never send to know for whom 
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
John Donne, No Man is an Island, Meditation XVII, 1624 

Who then (Romans 8:35-39) “shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom …
~ Psalm 90:12

References: Psalm 90; E.W.Bullinger:Number In Scripture; Matthew 24:44-47; Marty Goetz; Luke 12:42-44;

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Face of Jesus by Richard Hook

I will not leave you comfortless…