A Theft In The Night

Cursed, a city can’t get out of the way as nature steers a direct hit….


A Theft In The Night 5

 

As the gale’s howled and thunder rumbled, torrential rains inundated where fears were so fragile. You laid in bed worrying, wondering, and praying as God was the only one who would hear. Awake, the tears streamed. Feeling helpless, you wondered what the morning would bring. Looking at the clock – no electricity! The world had stopped and Satan reigned. A peaceful night’s sleep had turned into a hell you couldn’t imagine. The night was darker as the pressure closed in…

 

Preparing for another enjoyable day of work and a sunset cruise on the lake later tonight, I was unaware that a few hundred miles away Satan had unleashed his fury. Cursed, a city can’t get out of the way as nature steers a direct hit. Sympathetic, I listened to the news as a tear comes but there’s nothing I can do.

The phone rang. I answered, “Hey Sam….”

He responded, “Pack your bags! We are heading out in an hour.” My first thought, oh God protect us!

 

A Theft In The Night cover

By sundown we were the first to arrive on the scene. Now a deserted city, only the traffic lights work. We found a hotel on the outskirts of town where the first floor is flooded. The second floor is bearable; it has water but no electricity. Too dangerous to venture out in the dark, we are bedding down early not knowing what tomorrow will bring.

 

Day 1:
At daybreak, we knew it was the DMZ all over again. Firstly, and before breakfast, I walk into a hotel. The skylight on the twelfth floor is destroyed; windows in the lobby – gone! Walking on broken glass, there is nothing left worth saving. Staring at the walls, the wallpaper is peeled off by the gales and glass. Walking down the halls, all the offices show how high the waters were recently. Four feet up all the sheetrock and insulation is to be removed by our crews….

 

Day 2:
House calls, normally illegal…. this is life and death now. Breaking and entering, we look to see if anyone stayed behind. The stench unbearable, perishables ruined, all the memories of livelihood gone in a wrath. Antiques destroyed, soggy scrapbooks scattered on the floor and bookcases are turned over. Just nothing salvageable! Even the toilets are reversed – disgusting. Now, to the next house. It’s pretty depressing after eight hours.

A Theft In The Night

Day 3:
Drained, my disposition is uncomfortable. Not assured of anything, I just want to go home. Knowing it’s not just a race but a race against time, obligations prevail. Innocent victims, who never invited Satan’s hell, needs me…I’m off! Kicking in front doors, wading in water, pushing floating furniture out of my way, we feel for bodies submerged beneath our boots. Alone, we pray to God everyone is okay.

 

Day 4:
The tide is turning; some electricity, finally! It’s spotty though. Dryer roads, blue sky, and there is a God, I think to myself. Helping strained folks that can only afford a smile, “just sufficient” is enough to make our day worthwhile. People begging for water, I emptied my cooler in the first hour.

A Theft In The Night 2

God knows, it takes a catastrophe to bring people together. Though it’s the most deplorable of conditions, it does bring out the colors of some. Humanity and integrity equals dignity for your fellow man, no matter your race.
After arriving home where normal was real, I prayed for those who will never find their normal they lost again. I hugged my family and reminded them to never take life for granted. Be humble of what God has blessed you with every day…..

 

God bless all victims of Hurricanes Irma, Harvey, and Maria!

A Theft In The Night 4


Author’s Notes:

 

I was there….2008, after Hurricane Ike. It’s an image that instills forever.

A memory of helplessness…. a war against the elements.

A loss just immeasurable…..

 

Gallant Valor

August 28, 2017

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It’s Sunday evening….some are about to return to church, some about to sit down for a wonderful dinner; some may be ready to slide back in their recliners to watch the evening news or some football. But let me interject some thoughts….

“God Bless Texas”

These courageous folks…. not the police or military; but the humanitarians who launch their boats on the highways into uncharted waters. They travel rooftop to rooftop, listening for stranded victims. Unless you have been involved in search and rescue as I did, you can’t imagine the danger. The sewers flood out, alligators and snakes, and the mosquitos will carry you off. Then there are the caskets that surface.

Here is where black lives matter! White supremacists could care less what you and the rest of America thinks. This is war friends – Texans against nature’s worst. God is the only entity prayed to here.

You talk about coming together as united people? Well snowflakes, take a lesson – WAKE UP! This is how America was and will always be. People with dignity respecting those with integrity. God bless them!!!

Gallant Valor

By the grace of God, there is no color of race nor ethnic coupe. There are no boastful rednecks. They instead drive for hours to launch their boats on interstates to save those in dire straits.

Praise those who give their time! They leave their families behind to help the survived. They certainly command a medal to commemorate their valiant duty.

God bless them!

The Sandbox

Our minds are designed to create and build – not to tear down and destroy.

Sandbox top pic

Sitting in the shade, wiping my sweat, the yard is manicured once more. It’s so nice to enjoy the love that comes from looking to God and the beautiful blue sky. I thank Him for another day of gorgeous grace. In my little cul-de-sac, the concrete wraps in harmony; the blacktop sweeps in tranquility. Peace and love rings out in my little neighborhood. God abounds.

Reminiscing in the shade while continuously wiping my brow, I think back to when Kirk and I were little kids. We’d play for hours with our Matchbox toys; building tunnels and roads through the piles of sand in my little sandbox. Pretending to create a life of make-believe, we built a world where the only problem was leaving our toys outside if it rained.

With endless hours of sharing our childhood, we learned to live and get along. I guess we fought once in a while; I don’t remember anymore. But the fact remains, we got along and grew up in normalcy. Our interests grew and changed. Diversified, we lost contact. Some days, like today, I go back and sit on the edge of my little sandbox wishing for those younger days.

Today, I’m watching the parade of demonstrators marching in solidarity. They, I bet, never knew the love of God that grows from life in a sandbox. Our minds are designed to create and build – not to tear down and destroy. Memories are like a keepsake proudly displaying on the living room mantle. Framed pictures that commemorate the way things were, line the hallway. And a crucifix of Christ protects the covenant that God blesses the hearts of passed ones.

I see the innocent demonstrate their acclaimed individual rights. The fore-fathers, before them, fought for those rights. Now the monuments are all but destroyed. That which was commemorated, is now denounced. Ridiculous!

So what time is it….1967??

I’m watching the news…. fifty years too late! I’ve seen this rerun before!

I’m disgusted with the progress we are prospering – in reverse. Let’s go back in time and recreate the joy of God we found in our own little sandbox once more!

 


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But Jesus called them to him, saying, let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. (Luke 18:16)

A fool’s lips bring strife, And his mouth calls for blows. A fool’s mouth is his ruin, And his lips are the snare of his soul. (Proverbs 18: 6-7)

The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, But the mouth of the wicked conceals violence. (Proverbs 10:11)

 


Editor’s Comment:

God establishes government to be an authority, and he establishes family to teach the importance of respecting authority.

Ricochet

Love is like crystal…beautiful until its broke.


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In the middle of the quiet night, I listen to the creatures as they share a “who is right” conversation. Hearing them squabble, reminds me of you and I. Whoever has the last word doesn’t matter, wrong or right. We fight about the littlest things…you buy the milk; I’ll buy the butter. Like ants crossing a lily pad and the frog has enough of them, he jumps off, for its all he can handle.

So here we are wasting away another day that God hath made, trying to get our last say. At the end of the day, a compromise will certainly be rendered. Back and forth, love, like a ping pong ball, appears to be who serves last – that’s what matters most. Frustrated as pointless accusations hurdle across the net, we speak our peace and words ricochet through our hearts.

Love is like crystal…beautiful until its broke. Worthless in the trash, we pick up the pieces of our fragile relationship, trying to make it last. Like closing the windows after a tornado has passed, only God knows the damage.

Bits and pieces of past history lingers in our own mystery. I wonder, why is life ricocheting from wall to wall? The hurts become deflated egos and common sense lies like broken crystal. “Why?”, is the only word…. not “sorry”, nor regrets. The walls stand tall, impervious to glass being at thrown at them.

Here where faith lies in the balance, fear becomes a common denominator. And where there is fear, there is no faith….do the math. You can’t fix broken crystal.

 


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Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13: 4-7)

It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife. (Proverbs 21:9)

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. (James 3:17)

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23)

ricochet

Looking In The Mirror

….I have longed for contentment where God’s concerned


(R.I.P. Michael Jackson)


A cool breeze penetrates my soul as the warmth from above has grown cold. The summer’s heat has turned into fall as the rainy weekends set the stage for the upcoming holidays. I so love the extravagant colors! Things so green turn brightly bold in shades of brown, yellow and gold. But the shades of gray tell the story. Reflecting on my moonlit night, I sail my heart onto calm waters. Thanking God for the gift of life, I finally made it to my golden times.

The winds whirl from around the edge and gathering summer’s foliage becomes quite an obstacle. Raking up the flower beds, my little pansies are about to bloom.

Even in our darkest days, we all want flowers to warm our spirits.  Sunflower

Coming inside to escape the chill, a hot shower may thaw my weary soul. Shedding the layers, I catch a glimpse of something in the mirror. Taking a second look, it must have been my mind playing tricks on me. So a steamy resolute will resonate my body, cleansing my thoughts. My eyes closed, I ask only for forgiveness and my heart is cleansed.

Realizing this is only second best to a full blown baptismal in the Jordon River, I’m rejuvenated. God can use me for what’s next. Opening the door, a steamy mirror clearly sends me a message…

All of us, sometimes, wonder if our direction is correct.

A sense of relief has assured my intent. My life full circle, a man with many directions, had shunned religion as I followed my own path. Wronged so many, consciously speaking, I have longed for contentment where God’s concerned. And there on my mirror just one word – “Blessed”.

Looking in the Mirror


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And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing. (Ezekiel 34:26)

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His loving kindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments (Deuteronomy 7:9)

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. (Ezekiel 36: 25-27)

Engraved Hurts

Like soldiers on a battleground, our persistent thoughts are marching on….


We sit across the table from each other and the tension rises like ocean waves before a hurricane. Our hearts ache from the daily frustrations. Words fly like cannonballs across the bow. The night is lighting up from the fiery hurts and our broken souls is damforgiveness 2aging our spirits. There is not a “sorry” that can mend the fury; no kindness is coming from giving; no hugs healing the hardened hearts; just short little snippets that become too repetitive to hear. I’m asking for grace to bring some peace to the table. But when two hearts aren’t in sync, God has His work cut out for Himself. Our love is souring like month old milk.

Love, like spring pollen, carries off to a neighbor’s lawn; walls are retaining the temper and silence is becoming enemy number one. So my conscience knocks on heaven’s gates and I’ll pray for our Lord to hear my heart. But like statues in the wind, the prayers are standing guard of the present. Life, cruel at times, has no invitation. Joy, the ultimate restorer between two hearts, is waiting on the other side.

mignon mclaughlin

I’m in awe watching the tears as they flow and sorrow can’t explain the reckoning. Blame is passing like vegetables at Thanksgiving. There is no rhyme or reason. Our Lord sits at the head of the table trying to join our hearts in prayer. Stubborn though, our minds are overruling the prayers. Like soldiers on a battleground, our persistent thoughts are marching on…. I’m carrying the flag trying to surrender but our guns are still drawn.

Morning arrives and a tranquility, like the dew from the night before, is falling over the engraved flowers. Hearts are listening to subconscious minds as we cease fire. Over early coffee, our guns are holstered. An anointing brings a smile as the sun breaks through the thunder. Love is being restored and the sun is warming little petals. God, the only true peacemaker, is reigning over the battlefields of our minds. We sit in peace and the quiet sermon is coming as the gentle breeze rings the wind chimes.

I’m asking myself, could this have been avoided? Unequivocally, yes, if God is first and past hurts are left by the headstones of our deceased memories. We’re limping away, now handicapped from the wounds encountered from the night before.

Mandrell

So, here we are off on our busy day….people to meet, bills to pay, and our Lord is holding down the fort. We are marching off, alone, to fight our own personal battles…

 

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EDITOR NOTES:  Did you ever hurt the person you loved?  Did you say unwanted things?  If you have hurt someone you loved, it is not easy to repair this mistake.  It is time to seek forgiveness.  You may have to go to great lengths to win over the trust once again.

Watch your words in a fit of temper and weigh the pros and cons of every word you utter. If you want to express your anger at an event, target the incident and not the person.

Be truly repentant…

 


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A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; … (1 Corinthians 13:13)

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.   (1 Peter 5:10)

 


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Almighty Child

Children that perceive such miraculous perception ought to flatter themselves in Holy water. Parent abuse is common….

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The word spread and men came bearing gifts. Animals grazed out in the meadows…. we all know the story. A child was born by miraculous conception. There is no other miracle greater than a child that two parents have been blessed with from God. Ah, yes. But most of us have experienced the blessing of your child’s birth. Then our kids grow up and they have the misconception they can do no wrong …

Too many times, I find friends being scolded by their children. It’s as if the child inherited permission from their grandparents. I sat outside in a refreshing breeze last night and listened to how an adolescent can run their lives better than their parents. Though some have never had the pleasure of bearing a child, the Almighty Child can do no wrong. A legend in their own mind, they believe you won’t find fault with their lifestyle. They wander unto this world having more knowledge and skill than those twice their age.

I believe we have created a new class of people – not rich, nor poor – but the self- righteous. They are perfect but only in a mirror, maybe. I hear the sins of these children that proclaim their innocence. Oh, don’t you wish you could return to the righteousness of youth where you could be as perfect as the children are today??

Telling parents all their faults they have made, it’s as if when they achieve enough demerits they will disown their parents. Somebody needs to shake them and remind them that wisdom comes from failures. If parents were as perfect as Christ, there would be no need to reluctantly remind them how irrelevant they are. When someone passes away, the child waits for handouts!

I remember my dad always said, “Those who live in glass houses ought not pitch the first stone”. I believe he was smarter than me. Children that perceive such miraculous perception ought to flatter themselves in Holy water.

The Ten Commandments are written in stone and now you know why. Children, today, will pay for their raising opinions. It’s as if you haven’t witnessed that rodeo played out before. Oh the roulette wheel your children spin. They gamble their life and all you can do is pray for them.

I wonder how many kids ever took the time to understand the Bible? I pray… not for them but for the parents that have been so badly damaged by their children’s immaculate conception of the philosophical washing – not by holy water but by the storm drains of the world.

 


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And they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This our son is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones. So you shall purge the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear, and fear. (Deuteronomy 21:20-21)

Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him. (Proverbs 13:24)

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)

Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol. (Proverbs 23:13-14)

Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. (Exodus 20:12)


 

Editor’s Notes:  Verbal abuse towards parents or other family members by young people is more common than many people think. It is an attempt to control and have power over you or others in the home.  It can happen in families of any culture, religion or situation in life.

Abuse can be a sign of:

  • The children hasn’t learned to control or manage feelings, especially anger. They act out their feelings without using any self-control.
  • The child hasn’t learned to deal with the stresses of life, to solve problems or cooperate.
  • They don’t value or respect other people.
  • They see a parent, often the mother, as weak and powerless.
  • The children are affected by alcohol or drugs. Some drugs can trigger psychosis (being out of touch with the real world) and violence.
  • A young person might act aggressively if they have problems with their mental health.
  • They may be anxious and lash out because they start to think they can’t trust those around them.

Whatever the reason, it doesn’t mean you should put up with it. It is important to get professional help! Many parents find that acting early helps them feel like the parent again. When you do make changes, things seem to get harder before they get better, so make sure you have support. It is important to:

  • Believe in yourself – it isn’t your fault and it doesn’t mean you are a bad parent
  • Learn to remain calm and find ways to deal with stress. Go for walks, have coffee with a friend or do other things that relax you.
  • Build your confidence by patting yourself on the back for each small step you take
  • Talk with someone who can help. Your doctor is a good place to start.
  • Join a group with other parents who are dealing with this too.

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