Tag Archives: light

Little is Much

Standing in line this morning waiting to prepay for the limited gas at the pump, I listened to those around me talk or shuffled their feet in silence. The sign on the gas pump read, “$20 limit Pre Pay Inside.” Quietly listening to those voices around me, my thoughts turned to how this moment may have been prepared in advance – the unlikeliness of being in the presence of others that normally would not be possible yielding the opportunity to witness. Yet, still finding myself waking up, there I stood in calm repose, not saying a word. It was enough just to watch the lone cashier hurriedly ringing up each person, as most had come in for the same reason. It would have been easy to have been upset that we had been required to come inside to pay before pumping. In fact, the whole issue of why this had happened could lead to a myriad of political to social topics that would only inflame and agitate the parties in close proximity to the discussion. As human nature had advanced itself to the degree of manifestation of greed upon self-preservation, many had begun hoarding gas. The viral videos of people pumping gas into Walmart and trash bags were nearly incredulous. Had people lost their minds? Instead of focusing on the disparaging images of a society gone mad, my thoughts purposed toward how this moment could be used to share God’s love in a world that seems to spin out of control more each day.

When it was my time to pay, I told the attendant which pump, and then she said only, “Okay, now it’s ready,” meaning the card reader had been ready to receive my $20. “Have a blessed day,” I said after the transaction was complete. She quickly replied, “Thank you.” And that was all…

Was the opportunity to witness to others verbally wasted?

Did my sparse, if nonexistent words make a difference in anyone’s day?

Scripture tells us in James, “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” It is not always necessary to speak a volume of words to reach those around you. Sometimes, as the saying goes, “simplicity is elegance.” Likewise, as Paul wrote in his letter to Colossians, “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without.”

Sometime later, as my car rounded the bend on 321 heading into Blowing Rock, the sky was ablaze with a brilliant red-orange sunrise. The light from the weekend campfire at the Denton Bluegrass festival splayed into my thoughts. There, the scripture from Colossians had first hit me. Although my brothers and I were there to enjoy the music, there was another purpose we served as we walked among so many that were lost. As the same sun hit the horizon, the view from the campsite was no less breathtaking. The morning rays poured over the Word of God that lay before me, and it was as if the voice of God spoke. From the chill of the air, the warmth of the words poured over my heart and warmed me within.

Morning Sunrise on the Word of God

Too often, we feel that the mission field is in some far-off land, not there is anything wrong with missions or those who serve in them abroad. We overlook that very thing before us – that need of our family, neighbors, and friends. While enjoying the music and fun of this past week’s festival, it quickly became apparent that there were many, even friends of mine, that were not fully vested. One must promptly remind those reading this, that I do not put myself above others, nor do I consider myself more righteous than any, for there is no not one righteous, no not one. Yet, as we desire to become more Christ-like in our daily walk, it quickly becomes apparent the differences in who we have become versus those around us.

We need not be great orators to reach those with whom we seek to help. Our actions often speak louder than words. From the choice of our attire to the music we listen to or play on, our instruments represent the walk we profess to tread.

As we return to our daily lives, let us be mindful that there are many, too many, who are lost and need a beacon of hope and light. A simple kind word summonsed from a pure heart is far greater than an enlightened speech from the loftiest podium. Let us then share God’s love in all that we do and be ever grateful when we say, “Thanks be to God.”

Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” – Col. 4:5-6

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts; and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”    – 1 Peter 3:15

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A Gathering to Remember

by Timothy W. Tron, Nov. 2020

As the coming holidays approach, Thanksgiving and Christmas, there seems to be a sense of melancholy that has begun to permeate through the din of the incessant roar of this tumult our society has become. In my mind, there is a desire to reach back in my memories and dwell upon a time when life was simpler when the so-called advances in technology had yet to be developed. Because of the threat of lockdowns restricting these beloved reunions, those distant memories have become even more cherished. One such date that comes to mind coincides with a memory that our family holds dear to their heart.

It was the late 1960’s. Back then, we survived without non-stop news coverage, without updates from our social media accounts, and without the fear of dying from a virus, let alone anything else that existed at the time. It’s not to say there wasn’t death nor dying, for there had yet to be the advances we have today in the fields of heart disease and cancer. Both of these maladies took many lives before their time, and still do today, but not nearly as severely as in those days. No, we feared not because we had a faith that was the bedrock of our existence.

That faith was taught to us through our elders, passed down from one generation to the next – a thread of belief that was built upon an unending truth – Christ is indeed the Savior of the world. So, it is in this vein that once more my heart reaches for a well-worn story that is based on an actual event whose legacy has lasted for many years in our family. It is like the cup of an instant drink, void of the liquid to make it real – once the hot water is added, the story being recalled becomes the sustenance that warms our being. Like that beverage, the Spirit enters into our soul, and we are warmed from within to that which is without. Herein lies the beauty.

Looking back through the shadowy fog of time, those distant memories are like the passing clouds overhead. They are here but for a moment, and then cross over the mountaintops before we realize they are gone. As we near the season of holidays and family gatherings, it seems that those ancient days of yesteryear are ever more treasured. Like the value of a tattered cloth that once was held in the dying grasp of a loved one, its price to most would be nothing, but to those who knew its connection to the soul of the other – it becomes a priceless object.

That year when the snow fell around Christmas would become one such moment in time for me.

The classic event which unfolded is still known to this day, by all that attended, as the Sled Hill Christmas. Of all my childhood holiday experiences, it will forever be the most memorable in my mind. To read the entirety of the original story, you can find it online at https://timothywtron.dreamhosters.com/sled-hill-life-more-abundantly/ But this article looks at that event from a different perspective; one of how the warmth of a loving family and faith carried us through what may have been considered just another dark winter.

Like a revival, a truly epic event can only unfold when it is least expected. So it was that overcast December day so many decades ago. Several of us grandkids were staying at Grandpa and Grandma Tron’s house, there on the outskirts of New Harmony, Indiana. The town itself was in the season of slumber. Farming was still the driving industry, and the fields were now silent in their winter sleep. The hay had all been stored in the barns and the silos were filled to capacity with grains and silage to last until the next growing season began.  A feeling of hibernation overtook one’s soul, making those opportunities to warm by the woodstove or to huddle close around a cup of hot chocolate all the more permanent upon the creature within. Gathering with others was the only natural thing to do in a time such as this – it was who we were, it was what we were. In those precious slices of time, we fellowshipped without knowing that’s what it was called. Visiting with others when the work in the fields slowed was just as natural as splitting your firewood by hand – we all did it.

Tron House, New Harmony, Indiana.

When those first few snowflakes began falling the night before what would become the day to remember, we went to bed not expecting anything more than just a typical Midwest December dusting. When we awoke the next morning to the sounds of someone rattling around downstairs in the kitchen, it was as if Christmas had come early. Jumping from underneath the multiple layers of quilts, which weighed nearly as much as another cousin, we raced down the icy narrow stairs from the unheated upstairs bedrooms down to the kitchen where the pot-belly woodstove in Grandma’s kitchen was already red hot. We shivered and shook the remnants of chill from our bones, as our bare feet fought to find the warmth emanating from the scant linoleum floor by the stove. Excitedly, we peeked through the threadbare kitchen curtains that hung over the sink. The window faced grandma’s kitchen garden. Outside, the world was no longer the muddled gray of winter, but instead, was a brilliant whiteness, even in the pre-dawn, early morning hours.

About the time we had settled down around the table, after getting out of our bedclothes, Grandpa came in from the morning milking. We could hear the creaky old porch door slam behind him as he walked down the long back porch, from the barn end, up to the door of the kitchen, where he paused and took off his boots. The confines of that narrow passage clothed in clear plastic, a feeble attempt to thwart the cold winds of winter. The repurposed material was clouded with age, giving off a soft sheer grayness within the tomb of the veranda’s confines. The oft sound of rippling plastic slapping the screen made thoughts of warm summer nights, fresh tomatoes, and fireflies come to mind. Needless to say, those were but a distant rumor as the snow continued to fall.

With all eyes upon his entry, the vacuum of anticipation cut the air, like the cold wind that followed him inside. Snowflakes fell off his outer coat confirming what we already knew. Before he had time to take note of his unexpected audience, the questions began to roll off our lips.

“How deep is it grandpa?”

“Does it look like more’s coming?

“Where are the sleds?”

“Were the cows cold?”

He turned and smiled, looking toward grandma. Victor Tron never was a man of many words, So, when he replied with, “It looks like it’s gonna be good,” rest assured, that was all we needed to know. Grandma already had his breakfast ready, along with ours, and we sat down for an unusually early start of our day. We all instantly grew silent when grandpa bowed his head and reached his hand over to grandma. She grabbed his outstretched weathered hand with hers and we all joined hands and bowed our heads as grandpa said the blessing for the breakfast meal. In my mind, I can still hear that strained voice, barely above a whisper, thank God for what grandpa said was an abundance of blessings. Before us was a meager meal by worldly standards, but to us, it was Heaven sent. For we knew, even as children that every bit of it was from those two pair of withered hands that grasped one another in a love that never ended, even upon their death.

Victor Tron Sr.

 Grandpa’s first milking was at 3:00 AM and he usually finished up around 5:00 AM. His second milking was at 3:00 PM, every day of his life. He never took a vacation that I could remember. Usually exhausted from rising early, he would routinely drift off to sleep no matter where he sat, so finding time to talk with him was rare. He milked the cows until that night he died peacefully in his sleep, never to milk again. What we didn’t know as children, was how precious those few moments were with him when we were able to visit, especially that snowy morning on a cold December day so many years ago.

As soon as we were able to clear the table and bundle up, we were headed out the door. Eventually, someone asked if we could check out sled hill. An okay was given and like a herd of young calves heading for new pasture, we bolted out the back gate. Past the woodpile where grandpa’s ax and splitting log were shrouded in snow we raced. Heading for the opening to the lane, we quickly found ourselves wading through the knee-deep snow toward the iconic destination; Sled Hill. Past the milking barn, the bullpen, and Ms. Wolf’s house we trudged. Each one of these structures held a plethora of memories and stories that one could sit for hours and share. Like a life of living, their collections, like the holdings of stockpiled hay for the winter, waiting for one to return and use for the giving.

The bushes along the Labyrinth were blanketed in a sweet frosting of white. Our panted breaths billowed before us and were quickly whisked away in the falling snow.  In our rush to find out how well the sledding was going to be, we didn’t realize how hard the snow was continuing to fall. Nor did we realize how deep the snow had already gotten since sunrise. In the overcast grayness of the day, it all seemed like a dream, even when it was live.

Labyrinth, New Harmony, Indiana

As the story, “Sled Hill: Life More Abundantly,” conveys, the rest of the day was a multitude of adventures and excitement. With each passing moment, the tempo of the day’s delight reached a fevered pitch. The enthusiasm of the children soon bubbled over into those of the adults, igniting in them the feelings of youth. Gone were the aches and pains of age. The adrenaline of living purged those boundaries of limitations that had kept them hostage. Soon, parents, Aunts, and Uncles were joining in the merriment of sliding down the hill so aptly named.

As the sky began to darken as night approached, the thrill of the day and the feeling of being one with something greater than ourselves overwhelmed us. Fearing that it would end in darkness, the men created torches on the fly from used old tin cans (which we also used as drinking vessels), nailing them to poles and placing them along the sled run, all the way to the top of the hill. What started out as child’s play quickly turned into a major production. In essence, a cow pasture had turned into our own ski-slope far removed from any mountaintop.

When the last vestiges of daylight gave way to darkness, there along the sled run was a perfect row of home-made flaming lights shedding an ambient glow of warmth. Off to the side, a pile of wood was set afire and a massive bonfire became the gathering spot between runs down the hill. There we regained strength to carry on from food and drink the family had brought in at a moment’s notice. There, the entire family that was able to make it collected. The sentinel image that remains with me to this day was seeing both grandpa and grandma’s faces glowing in the reflection of the firelight. To know that grandpa had a milking coming at 03:00 AM, and yet, he was here foregoing precious sleep, standing alongside us kids around the bonfire said something more that than words could fathom. Even then, the whispers of the children could be heard, “Look, even grandpa and grandma are here.” The statement was a confirmation of the significance of that moment in time, one that made a profound statement on all that were present.

That night, once our bodies had been worn to a frazzle. There was barely enough strength to make it back to the house. As we pulled off our wet, nearly frozen clothing and briefly warmed by the fire, a numbness of exhaustion began to overtake us. The enormous featherbed never looked so welcoming. Shortly thereafter, after our bedtime prayers were said, there was little more than the sweet, “Goodnight children,” from grandma as she tucked us under the pile of quilts before we fell asleep.

For once in a lifetime, there was no sweeter sleep.

As the snow continued to fall outside that night, there was a warmth within that was more than physical – a love that transcends all understanding. There was something created that day that would last forever in the hearts of those who had been privileged to experience it. It became an inexplicable thread of life that would weave its way into our souls which would become part of who we were. The similarity of a feeling such as this can only compare to that of Christ’s disciples.

Like those followers of Jesus who had walked and talked with Christ after his resurrection, they too had a story to share. One that was so inexplicable, so earth-shattering that they would live the rest of their lives pursuing the mission to share it with all that would hear, even unto the point of death. It was who they were.

As we go forward in this holiday season, let us come together as a family, and may the hope of Christ, and Christmas be with you, until the end of time. May it someday become who you are as well.

Thanks be to God.

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To Catch a Shooting Star

by Timothy W. Tron, Nov. 2020

C.S. Lewis wrote, “A blind man has few friends; a blind man who has recently received his sight as, in a sense, none. He belongs neither to the world of the blind nor to that of the seeing, and no one can share his experience. After that night’s conversations, Robin never mentioned to anyone his problem about light. He knew that he would only be suspected of madness. When Mary took him out the next day for his first walk he replied to everything she said, “It’s lovely – all lovely. Just let me drink it in,” and she was satisfied. She interpreted his quick glances as glances of delight. In reality, of course, he was searching, searching with a hunger that had already something of desperation in it. Even had he dared, he knew it would be useless to ask her of any of the objects he saw, “Is that light?” He could see for himself that she would only answer, “No. That’s green” (or “blue”, or “yellow”, or “a field”, or “a tree”, or “a car”). Nothing could be done until he had learned to go for walks by himself.”[1]

Appalachian State University, November, 2020 – photo by Timothy W. Tron

Walking aimlessly about, yesterday found me wanting to breathe spiritually, to take a break from the self-imposed incarceration – chiseling away at the stone within the rock quarry of intellect. In that temporary reprieve, a young man of interest crossed my path. He is a true savant, and at the same time, he’s a broken being, by the world’s standards. For sake of privacy, I will call him Ephraim.

Ephraim is only a high-school-aged student but is attending ASU. His disability, if you can call it that, is Autism. While he is on the high-functioning end of the spectrum, it’s effect upon his countenance is obvious. In his daily walk, he is as one that has just received his sight – he has no former friends and has yet to make new friends in this new world in which he has been thrust. It doesn’t help that he walks about often talking to himself and exhibiting the quirks of his gift to the extent others stand off to the side and make comments to one another, reprising the scene before them, thankful they’re not in his shoes. Yet, his burden, as some would suggest, is his blessing. Ephraim flourishes in the world of numbers, and analytical paradigms. In this environment, he is in his element. He has a drive, a hunger unmatched by his rivals. The enthusiasm which he exudes is like that of a burning, shining comet – flaming across the heavens. We observers of this glorious creation are reminded of the double-edged sword for which God often uses us in his life – one is the obvious blessing, the other is the hidden meaning.

For, as a new believer, Ephraim goes forth with much eagerness to seek that which is pure. To him, all the curriculum through which he is presented each day are as flashes of light. To his peers, they are an unending continuum of procedures, methods, and programs. If one were to tell Ephraim otherwise, they would only hear him evoke how marvelous their purpose and what other variations they produce in his spinning world of intelligence. His mind, like that flashing comet in the sky, races from one idea to the next. All we can do is try to grasp the tail of the phenomena and for a moment, feel the magnificence of God’s glory, even upon one so challenged in this world.

Ephraim was looking for the lost and found. Yea, how relevant was this statement at that moment, for as we walked, one had to ask, “Is he a believer, or is he seeking – is he lost or is he found?” Not knowing the answer to Ephraim’s question, I offered to join him in searching for the physical “Lost and Found.”

“It’s near the coffee shop, someone told me,” he said as we began to walk with purpose toward his assumed destination.

“Oh, ok. I’ve never seen it myself, so I guess we’re going to learn together.”

Therein the statement of profoundness overwhelms me as the words slip through my fingers onto the keyboard and onto the screen before me. Being content to, “not think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith,[2] should be in our forethoughts each second of every waking moment of our daily lives.

As we walked and talked, Ephraim mentioned a paraphrased quote from C.S. Lewis that had impacted him recently. To one seeking for other believers, there are certain keywords that offer clues as to the mind of those around us. The words, “C.S. Lewis,” instantly gave me hope that Ephraim was either a believer or was seeking answers. As God would have it, earlier that morning I had read the passage presented earlier in this piece. As my mind began to grasp that meaning and its relevance for the moment, a sudden dawning washed over me; Ephraim was possibly as one with the blind man – either from the natural perspective or as the spiritual, each imploring the beauty in the endless opportunities with which to rejoice in the creation around us, which so many of us take for granted each day, to that which we have consoled our minds to accept as the accepted description rather than the unspoken name for which only God knows the answer. To people like Ephraim, the instantaneous revelation of light, that inspirational spark of the moment, excite them and encourage them without need for an end. They are lifted up so that they are unable to understand the discouraged amazement of those in their presence.

As Ephraim listened, which was somewhat unaccustomed to his demeanor, I began to expand upon the Lewis passage. It is important to note that his professors find him challenging as a student since because of his gift, he cannot curb his joy and speaks incessantly. As one may imagine, this also puts him at odds with his fellow classmates. However, at that time, my thought was as only God would have it, toward another meaning of the passage that impressed upon me – the obvious allusion to light and color, and how this can speak to us through a faith lens. As Ephraim listened while we walked back to my office, my presentation included the science of light and how it relates to that of the Computer Science realm of study; an attempt of mine to keep things relevant to Ephraim without scaring him off. Mind you, at the moment, and still, do not know the true nature of his mind. So, with caution, my seed planting ensued. It was in my office, as we shared drink and crackers, the words of John 1 slipped from my lips – “Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.”[3] Ephraim accepted the word without flinching, which was an encouragement, and we continued onward as he responded with his own account of the resultant destination, that of programming in a linear format, moving the memory pointer as needed, without using registers or stacks. In other words, he was framing God’s words with a memory location of his own, so that through a serial aspect, he would recall that someday and move his pointer to its location and recall it as needed. Looking back at the moment, it was almost surreal watching God work through Ephraim’s beautiful mind, allowing this child to understand like no other.

In all, the verse, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God,”[4] resonated once more. While we cannot anymore control the future, we must be prepared to change and adapt to be ready to give a witness to them around us. The youth of today are not of the same as our own generation. We must understand their perceived meanings of God’s word are as varied as our own, and in this manner, we should not be dismayed or distracted. Isaiah 29:14 says it like this, “Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.”[5] As our generation passes from this world into that of eternal life, we must find those whom we may pass on the word, for as the psalmist wrote, “the truth endureth to all generations.” In that manner, our own words, our individual understanding may be at odds with them that come afterward. We must find a way to speak to them so that they can relate without putting them off at the same time. Likewise, we must be prepared to hear interpretations that might not be from a perspective of our own. Yet, as we listen, we should also be prepared to direct as God would have us. In another way of speaking, we should ready our minds to hear their perspective of what we know, and through that, guide them to the truth, lest they become lost in the weeds.

Once in a great while, we happen upon something in this world so remarkable, so breathtaking, that we are literally dumbfounded. Sometimes that beauty is a cascading waterfall, roaring a thousand voices as if it were a host of heavenly beings. Other times, the glory emanates from the face of a newborn child, whose innocence and purity remind us of one who knew no sin but died for ours. And then there are times, when we meet that individual that, not by any fault of their own, exhibits an unnatural ability with which only God could ordain. In all, it should remind us that we are aliens herein – only passing through.

Those flashes of light, those shooting stars, those brilliant rays of hope are here but for an instant and then they are gone.

With them, those child prodigies, take our breath away, and in that instantaneous vacuum, we can feel the presence of God. It is in these fleeting opportunities, like the passing of two ships in the night, we must be prepared to give an answer to them that ask, a witness to them that seek, and a light unto the world. “For he that doeth truth, cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest which are wrought in God.”[6]

Thanks be to God.


[1] The Dark Tower: And Other Stories. Copyright © 1977 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

[2] Romans 12:3 KJV

[3] Psalm 63:3

[4] Romans 12:2 KJV

[5] Isaiah 29:14 KJVß

[6] John 3:21 KJV

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Full Circle…

that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both[a] which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him.” -Ephesians 1:10

All I can remember was the journey, the trip back in time.

The farther we traveled, the more mountainous became the terrain until it was obvious we had mountaingraveyard2reached a point high above the tree line. My guide was a younger man whose demeanor evoked a strength no mortal could match, but yet, he carried himself in such a manner that I felt more than comfortable in his presence. His clothes were those of an ancient warrior, tunic across his broad, massive chest, with a leather strap around his waist that could have held a broadsword at one time. His hair was long and black blowing in the high-altitude winds lapping at his shoulders. If I didn’t know better, I could sense him being something more than human, something of a higher power, yet not willing to use that force unless called upon.

I followed him past large dark foreboding boulders whose shadows gave me a chill and then onward past cliff faces where the depths beyond their fragile edges were bottomless blue vistas of certain death. Yet, as we traveled this pathway of terror, I did not fear for anything as he comforted me in a way his countenance embodied that of an angelic being. Effortlessly up the steep climb we hiked until we rounded a turn in the trail that came upon a cleared but hilly pasture. The ground was punctuated with objects strewn all around us. At a glance, I thought them to be large rocks. In this field stood a woman of later years, dressed as the warrior, in an ancient wardrobe unlike any I’d ever seen. Her age could not contain the inner beauty which shone through the physical years; yet when she spoke, her beauty was matched only by her wisdom. Although she evoked a loveliness, her face was shadowed from the sun so that I could never get a clear view; shrouded as if in secrecy.

My escort introduced me to her and then left us, vanishing before I could thank him for his efforts. 2014-05-06 20.31.20The woman then began to explain to me why I was here and what it was we were to do. It was then I realized the rocky cleft of a field was littered not with rocks but with aged tombstones, all wrapped in cloth, as if ready to be shipped away. The lady then explained that we were transporting all of these back to where I had come from, to return them to the present; this was my mission. She explained that we would be loading each of the headstones into a trailer. Then she asked what seemed to me to be an odd question. She wanted to know if I thought we should use a closed trailer, sealed off from the air or if I thought an open trailer, one that could breathe and have air flow through it would be better; for some reason, I chose the latter, unbeknownst to me why. She smiled and agreed that I had chosen well.

There were others there, yet they never became bright enough to shine more than mere shadows. These beings helped us load the heavy stones into the tractor trailer, and when we had finished, I too climbed in. Before I departed in the trailer with the tombstones, the woman spoke to me and said, “You are the first to have come full circle; thus, you’ve been chosen as their escort back in time,” and with that, the trailer was off, flying through the air. The clouds and sky shone below the wire mesh floor upon which I stood, speeding past as we flew. Above me, through the wire mesh ceiling, I could see more sky, filled with deep shades of Prussian blue dotted with the sparkling lights of distant stars. How long we flew and where or if we landed I don’t know.

I awoke and turned to look at the clock; too soon, too soon.

My life has become a passage in time where the clock becomes merely an observation, not a limitation. To understand it all, or to even attempt to grasp the reality from whence we have come to now is an attempt to grab the wisp of a cloud in the distant sunset; futile. The only thing that belies a steady keel of comfort is the Word and the truth therein.

As fall gently slips into winter, I sip from my mug the bitter, dark brew each morning by the light of the fire and embrace every sentence with reverent awe. Coming full circle in life at times with the voices of those gone on before is the sweetness for my drink.

These are my days as we walk down this new path. Every step another page in the journey.

My paradigm shift has brought me back to so many beginnings that only the recognition of God’s hand at work can fathom the interworking of this story.

Someday, when we are gathered around His throne, we’ll be able to understand the how and why. For now, we should not tarry but carry on, His mission for us is yet to be fulfilled.

These and many more blessings are just a few of things for which we can be thankful this November.

And as always, Thanks, Be to God!

 

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Finding the Light…

Subdued tones of gray, black and white surround us today as we walked in the woods.20160124_133944~2

Snow blanketed the quiet world around our pathway creating shapes and images that haunted your vision and questioned your motives.

My life takes on a similar quality as the work turns inward. My research into the antiquity of truth, the search for connections in time that have been obscured by men’s aspiration for their own truth, often foregoing the sanctity of their positions in order to gain an edge over their perceived adversary, only failing those who will follow centuries later. Some divisions are over such seemingly minor articles that from a distance they seem harmless, yet beneath the surface lurks a dark force that seeks to destroy all that surfaces toward the light.

There is but one Truth, the Word of God.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light,” echoes Paul in his letter to Ephesians.

The distractions of everyday life can cause us to falter, lose our way and be swayed away from the truth, the light.

As we learned in Art Appreciation 101 during my days in the pursuit of becoming a Commercial Artist, the color black was the absorption of all light such that nothing could escape; the emptiness of color so to speak. White, on the other hand, was the reflection of all colors. Stage lighting professionals know that the brilliant white light used in theater productions is the result of multiple colors shining at once on the same object.

Light, in another sense, is everything coming at you at once. Thus, in the gospels, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God. The Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things made were made through Him. In Him was the life and the life was the light of man. The light shone in the darkness but the darkness comprehendeth it not.”

The light was God in the flesh, everything coming at us at one time. It was so incomprehensible that our meager minds could not handle it at one time. As C.S. Lewis once wrote, not in these exact words, “If man could but understand an iota of what God knew, our heads would explode.”

Imagine Jesus walking up to you and asking you to throw down your net, your hammer, your laptop and follow him. Could you? Would you?

It should be no surprise that even though we may share the gospel with the world around us, many cannot fathom the meaning of the Word, nor feel the presence of the Holy Spirit when it comes upon them. Their world is bleak and filled with shadowy objects; demons lurk behind every turn waiting to destroy the shallow world they have built their lives upon. Each day they struggle to make meaning of why they crawl out of bed to face the world. Each day, they walk without Christ, they become more lost in the darkness, lost in the woods of life.

Today as we followed the trail of brilliant white all around us, the glory of the Father shone brightly and we rejoiced, for we know that He is within as well as without. Our shadows are only because of the light that shines before us, allowing us to see the obstacles in our path before we hit them head on. Without our guiding light, we would become lost and stumble.

This week, find a way to become the spark to light the way for someone in your path. Share the Word of God and become the lamp unto thy feet, sharing the multitude of all that is, and just maybe, just maybe one more soul may find the light within, saved by His grace.

Go ahead, light that match.

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Reflection of Faith…

f7fbe5b871a811e3859712a851556c4a_8It is the time of reflection.

This past year like all those gone before seems to have been a blur, yet when I think about each event, each moment, there are pieces so many that they become like the sands upon a beach, too many to tell individually; they have all become my collective memory. Tonight as the sun fell into the horizon, we strung temporary lights in my daughter’s tree house so that we could clean out the seasons of debris, storms and corpses of beloved pets that found the refuge of the lofty manner their last resting place on earth. The artifacts we unearthed along the way provided me memories far beyond the past year and into the childhood days of my now preteen daughter. Given time, the tree house would have become like those pets, decayed, forgotten and melded into the wood to become one with the world around them; their beings long ago passed. As her childhood passes, so do the same fondness for playing in the old wooden structure built aloft in the trees just outside our bedroom window. Like each of us, with time we change and so do our passions for things of this world. However, as we age, we find that the things that matter most go beyond those earthly abodes we so often adore and hopefully we find what is most important in life.

While cleaning, we found leaves and old toys in all manner of dried and faded states scattered about the nearly forgotten play house. It had become an oasis for the pets of the farm, a safety zone where they could find shelter from the storms and the scent of their master whom they cherished to the bitter end. The outsides of the structure were painted by happy children, eager to decorate their new home away-from-home. Dinosaurs, trees and a single bright sun adorned the bare wood of the single room cabin in the bows of the stand of trees. The house was built so that the trees could still move and allow the structure to float on their braces underneath, thus giving it the ability to withstand even the most violent storms. Hence, to this day, there have been little signs of wear from being a home in the trees. Vines have begun to grow through the boards making the house even more one with its surroundings. It is not an air tight structure but was built to give the feel of such a dwelling. As we stood outside and admired the lights within it reminded me of the time I had just finished the cabin in the woods near our current home and would stand outside of it too at night, looking inward at the lamp light burning its soft warm glow through the windows and door into the black abyss. The same warmth and comfort from that light made you feel like this was home, and so it was once again. The creation of something from nothing, only to have the connection of creating life from death echoes back to ancient times.

The feeling it invokes brings to mind the following scripture:

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” – John 5:23-25

My journey this past year began early in the throes of late December 2012 when I wrote in my journal about the path that was only about to begin; the one I had yet to travel and its pathway I had no idea where it would lead. I had put my manure spreader on the market and was selling it the next day in order to help pay for the publishing of the first book. I was literally turning farm equipment into a manuscript. I wrote sarcastically in my journal that night that my book may merely be a bunch of manure but like the spreader I was selling, I had to also spread the Word, so that the journey could begin. To be fair, I had to at least try; I had to begin an evangelistic mission of sorts, one I had never planned when I first put pen to paper and began writing the first book. But like all things Heaven sent, we seldom know where they will lead us until we find ourselves already there. That night I also began writing in my sequel, one year from today and once more, I went back and reread those words, the start of another journey, another turn in the roads of time for the characters in my first book, “Bruecke to Heaven”. Like me, they had no idea where they were going but put all of their faith in God, for they too had passed from death to life in order to believe in the Word. No longer are we confined by the law of sin, but rather we are given the choice to believe and to accept Christ into our lives, and for that I am eternally grateful.

The past year I have met and spoken to countless wonderful people, each with their own story, each leaving their impression upon me in one way or another. I have been places, seen things and performed acts I would have never imagined. Some of the most significant things were hearing of my children winning second place in the first ever Jr. Bocci tournament in Valdese as part of their annual Waldensian Celebration. Had it not been for the journey of the book, we might never have been there for them to enter. There was the time the woman was moved to tears during my radio interview on the Truth Radio Network after hearing my song and reading the cover of my book; her story involved recovering from cancer surgery and how the words from the cover had spoken to her. Then there were the countless times when speaking to someone for the first time, I could feel the Holy spirit move through me and into them, a sensation indescribable but its reaction on the one to whom I was speaking priceless. Another moment was seeing my book on the shelves of Barnes and Noble; something years earlier I would have never imagined and still find it humbling to see. I could only imagine what grandpa and grandma would say or even what Aunt June would feel knowing she had been responsible for getting the ball rolling. She never lived to read the book but passed the day of my first official public book signing; something I will never forget. Like life from death, I carry on the memories and the journey continues.

As we prepare the tree house for a new life, one with lights and a new purpose, we take with us the memories of those pets found absorbed into its floor, our family and all the trails that faith takes us and with it we must continue on into the darkness. We now have the light, the Word and we shall forever be changed.

May your new year involve something blessed, a tale of faith, a journey of life and a moment in time you will never forget.

God Bless, Have a Happy New Year and Lux Lucet in Tenebris for All!

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“Don’t No”…Sermon delivered on June 16th, 2013 at Cumnock UMC

Luke 24: 36-39  Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” 37 But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. 38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”

cumnock UMCThis past week I came to the realization that we often overlook the Heavenly connections in our real world; they pass us by and we don’t even know. Too often we are too busy to take the time to reflect on the moment.

“Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness! Tremble before Him, all the earth.” – Psalm 96:9

Take for example the time of evening when the world around us prepares for dusk; birds calling to one another as the night owls prepare their flights, the choruses of frogs in the nearby ponds begin their chants and the occasional cry of the foreboding call of the coyote. The sky transitioning from the day to night, when the low hanging sun causes the horizon to be painted in hues no earthly artist could conceive. Beauty so overwhelming in every sensation that too try to recreate it would be utterly impossible; and we don’t even know.

It was during the funeral of Ms. Frankie Harris on Tuesday that I became overwhelmed with the idea which I speak to you about; how things happen and we don’t even know.

A couple years ago, before John Harris passed, I would go over to the Harris house and help sit with Ms. Frankie. She was suffering from the advance stages of Alzheimer and would require someone to be with her 24×7. So, Ms Frankiemembers of our church would go and sit with her while members of her family would take her husband John to the hospital for treatments. It was during this time that I found out Ms. Frankie loved to sing. When I would come for my visits, I would bring my guitar and we would spend my time with her singing old hymns, one after another. Boy how the time would fly. I would need my song book to read from but I found Ms. Frankie was singing her songs from memory. It was then that I realized something special was happening with the music. It was an avenue for her to step back in time and recall memory that was otherwise blocked by her illness. It was then that I realized our connection through music was Heaven sent.

Sometime after John passed, we would still find time to get together to sing on odd occasions. So it was one Sunday that I asked Ms. Frankie if she would do me the honor of singing one of my mother’s favorite songs, “In the Garden”. Ms. Frankie responded happily, “I’d Love to”. So Ms. Frankie, her son Jody, who helped her out on the occasional memory lapse and myself sat up in front of the congregation and did our best rendition of, “In the Garden.” We used it for the special song that day and unbeknownst to me, Denise filmed it on her phone. What started out to be us simply having some fun honoring God, turned out to be a legacy of Ms. Frankie. They played the video during her funeral this past Tuesday and I can’t be sure but I doubt there was a dry eye in the house. Personally I couldn’t watch; the tears were streaming from my eyes so much I couldn’t focus on the screen. As I sat there with head bowed listening, watching the waterfall running off my cheeks, I realized I was hearing myself sing with an angel.

Ms. Frankie Harris Singing

At the time of the filming, I didn’t even know…but I could have said “No”.

You see, I didn’t have to spend the time sitting with Ms. Frankie in the beginning. I could have easily said I’m too busy, and that “No, sorry but can’t do it”. But I didn’t.

Like my time with Ms. Frankie, we could have easily skipped the special song that Sunday and simply said, “No, don’t think we can do that, we’re just not good enough. But we didn’t.

How many times in our lives had we had the opportunity to do something to honor God, but we found it easier to just reply, “No, sorry, can’t do that now,” so we didn’t?

As I was driving to work the night Denise contacted me to ask me if I wanted to deliver the sermon today, I began thinking to myself about what I would talk about. My first response to her was that I had to work both nights prior to that Sunday and that I had a book signing on Saturday at B&N and would barely get two hours sleep, if that. I pretty much said ‘No”, but in a round-about way. She replied that was ok, she understood. But then as I continued to drive to work, God began to work on me. The scripture from Ephesians came to mind: “Be very careful then how you live, for the days are evil. Make the most of every opportunity.’

The story about Ms. Frankie had been bugging me all week and the fact that I had put off writing it down until now had kept nagging at me until I just about couldn’t take it any longer. You know, that voice that keeps saying to yourself, “When are you going to do it?” Sometimes God can be more demanding than my dear wife with an overdue to-do list. So I began thinking about Ms. Frankie and the fact that I had heard myself singing with an angel, and the question came to me, “How many of us could even recognize an Angel if we were in the same room with one?”

As I drove up 540 toward work, with the question still on my mind, a car drove past me with the license plate that read, “Don’t “No””.

I nearly choked.

At the next traffic light, I messaged Denise back that I would do the sermon since God had just given me one.

“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” – Hebrews 13:2

But it goes beyond that, beyond being able to recognize and Angel in our midst. It goes beyond being able to recognize a Heaven sent sunset. It goes beyond realizing that the newborn child in your arms is the face of God.

The words “know” and “no” are Homonyms; words that sound the same but have different meaning. When I hear homonym it makes me think of an egotistical grit, one who’s head swelled so much even his friends don’t know who he is….but then that would be hominy.

Back to the work “know”

We don’t know:

  • The future of Cumnock United Methodist Church
  • How the bypass will affect the town
  • Then new preacher at Goldston
  • The Fracking underneath us
  • Will there be new subdivisions pop up from the bypass?

You see, if would put our hope in the world and not in faith, then the unknown becomes scary. There are so many unknowns that we could quickly become overwhelmed and become frozen with fear.

We can’t Know everything.

Yet, we must continue to move on, putting our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

You see, before we can “know” Him, we have to stop saying “No” to Him.

No matter how many times we say “No” he eventually finds a way for us to “Know” him more. To know him is in a sense to be exposed to him, here then the scripture:

“13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. 14 Therefore He says:

“Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.”

15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Eph 5:13-15

A couple years ago I set out on a journey I had never expected to make. I accepted Christ into my life when I was thirteen, but it was only when I decided to trust in him for everything that the real journey began.

I was in a sense; rising from the dead…Christ was beginning to show me the light.

Eventually I found myself writing a book about a people that not only typified the embodiment of Christ, but also lived Apostelitic lifestyles; amazingly enough, they were my ancestors.

Not only did they keep the Word of God alive for centuries by memorizing it and verbally passing it down from one generation to the next, but they also eventually evangelized to the world, which was against the law of man at that time.

You see, they didn’t live by man’s laws, but rather, they lived by the Word of God. They felt their obligation to faith was to God, not to man.

However, today, do we not find the rules and regulations of the church so daunting, so demanding that at times it clouds the reason for why we even come to these respective institutions to start with? Has man once again placed so many barriers to what God had intended that we are losing sight of what is most important.

Let’s not forget verse 15:

15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

Satan waits for us to begin questioning our faith, he waits for us to falter and lose sight of what are faith is about. He relishes in our despair and encourages us to stray. He waits for us to become so overwhelmed with the fear of the unknown that we start to accept the lies he tells us.

Other times, we can be a stubborn as an old mule, of which I am guilty as well. Being stubborn and refusing to accept what God asks of us allows Satan to step in and take control.

Satan wishes nothing more than for us to allow him to control our lives.

Sometimes we find animals that seem to embody that very attitude.

There was this farmer named Virgil who once had a mule who he just knew was possessed by the devil himself. One bright spring day, after having returned from town, Virgil put on his new coat and climbed atop his Farm-All A model tractor and happily began tilling up his garden. Not long into his task he realized he had not eaten dinner, so climbing down from the tractor, he took off his coat and placed it on a lever on the side. He knew he wouldn’t need the coat inside the house and besides, it was warming up to be a nice day. Once inside, while sitting at the kitchen table while looking out upon the barn yard, Virgil saw that mean old mule come from behind the barn and walk toward the tractor. For lack of nothing else better to do, Virgil and his son continued to watch the demonic mule as it walked up to the tractor, sniffed Virgil’s coat, then suddenly grabbed the coat and muletook off running behind the barn. Virgil was so mad, he jumped up from the table and took out after the mule, with his son in tow. They found the old mule behind the barn with the coat still clinched tight by his teeth. They chased that honery mule around and around the barn lot until they were so tuckered out, all they could do was stand with their hands on their hips panting for their breathes. As they stood there winded and exhausted, the old mule walked up before them, a few safe paces away, and dropped the coat on the ground. Virgil took a step toward the coat to pick it up but before he could retrieve his new jacket, the mule stepped on it with a heavy hoof, then with his teeth, reached down and grabbed the edge of the jacket and gave it a mighty yank, ripping Virgil’s brand new coat in half.

Had Virgil not been a God fearing man, the mule would have died that day.

But unlike animals, we and Virgil honor our Father in Heaven by adhering to his Word.

“To know God is to Love God.”

Like those ancient Waldensians, they knew the Word of God and knew that they had to answer to a higher authority than man. At that time, the laws of man condemned owning a Bible or evangelizing the Word of God. Someone found guilty of either was either imprisoned or more often that naught, put to death.

To avoid capture and death, they would hide the written Word in loaves of bread, which they would give to persons to whom they had witnessed. This way, once the Waldensians had departed, their hosts could consume the bread and still have the Word of God to continue to live by.

I try to continue on their legacy in some small way, by telling their story through my writing and speaking. Another part of my ministry is that I also try to continue to spread the written Word; the Bible.

breadA couple weeks ago I brought several loaves of Ms. Tina’s bread for you. With each loaf you should have found the gospel of John. But today, like those disciples so long ago found, the bread of life, the body of Christ, are perishable. They don’t last forever. Hopefully you ate your bread or shared it with someone who ate it. But like the gift those ancient Waldensians left for their hosts, long after the bread or body was gone, the Word lived on.

Today, we will once again experience receiving the body and blood of Christ through the communion. This will be a special communion for us today, since this will be Linda’s first official communion having recently received her licensing. She will be able to “officially” share the body and blood of Christ with us. Although the physical nature of the act is obvious, we must not forget that it is meant to signify the sacrifice Christ made for our sins and that like the bread and wine, long after they are gone, the spirit within us will live on.

You see, it’s through the Word that we can also receive the spirit. Once we accept the spirit of God into our lives, then we can once again make that spirit a reality; a reality in how we walk each day with Christ.

With the Word, we can become one with the spirit and we can know him.

As Jesus told his disciples:

Luke 24: 36-53  Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” 37 But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. 38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”

 

40 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.[f] 41 But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?” 42 So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb.[g] 43 And He took it and ate in their presence.

Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.

 

46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise[h] from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And you are witnesses of these things. 49 Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem[i] until you are endued with power from on high.”

50 And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. 51 Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple praising and[j] blessing God. Amen.[k]

How can you NOT get excited about that!!!

How can we even stand to sit still when God tells us point blank, to know Him until you are endued with the power from on high!!….AMEN!!!

The disciples were guilty as we are today of ignoring the obvious.

Do you know him?

We go through our world, not knowing if there are Angels in our midst, not knowing the sunset before us is Heaven sent, not seeing the face of God in the newborns smile.

You see, before we can “know” Him, we have to stop saying “No” to Him.

We must learn to say to ourselves,

Don’t say no to know,” or in short…. “Don’t No.”

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Poetry: Whispered Memories…

whispered

Sanguine utterances of rhythmic prose,

beleagering thoughts of dawning rose,

in shadowed light we whisper errant memories

as padded footsteps from behind emerge,

not to startle,

only to reassure.

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