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Terry's Blog

Wizard of Cos
Terry's Blog

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The Hole in My Pain
Posted August 9, 2018

There’s a place where fear has to face the God you know.  --Mark Hall, Casting Crowns

Life is hard. I don’t like that part of it. Maybe I’m spoiled, but maybe it is God who spoiled me a little. I have been wonderfully blessed in every area of life you could imagine so when something shows up that hurts, causes fear to rise and makes the soul to doubt God, it causes problems.

Many of my friends have been hurt in life lately. Cancer, arthritis, wrecks, lost jobs, lost marriages, loss of grandchildren, and even death fly into the face of God’s blessings. They feel bigger, frankly, than the blessings. I remember in younger days how badly I felt after losing a ballgame. The losing felt worse than the winning felt good. In hearing people's stories I don’t know whether to cry or curse. Sometimes I do both.

Many in our world would point to the problems and say, “See there is no God. Give up this religious silliness and you will find that you made the blessings in your life with good education, clear-headed reason, persistence and hard work. Make the truth that works for you.”  I have been taught it is okay to question God about things. He says "come, let us reason." Abraham questioned God as did the disciples and Paul. People of faith tell me to question God or at least my perception of him. They may truthfully point out that faith, even genuine faith, has holes in it.

I once was young, not so much anymore. The longer I live I see that blessings come and go, they are enjoyed but sometimes missed. My stubbornness, my lack of seeing what lies before me, my disobedience may cause me to miss some blessings along the way. But I also have discovered that I don’t have to live for blessings. I need them in various ways from time to time, this is true for all of us. But the largest and greatest blessing has always been God’s very Presence walking with me in the slough of despair, the desert of sameness, and the valley of the shadow of death.  He walked so quietly at times he was easy to miss. His pace was slow when I wanted speed and quick and rapid when I wanted to take it easy. He persistently kept going when I wanted to quit and he stopped when I wanted to press on. But he was there. I often missed that blessing when I was young. It is now what I crave more that any other. He is with me.

So I hope you will forgive me and all Christians for the holes in my faith and the understanding of all that faith in Christ means; I am still learning. But you also need to know that despite all the pain, sorrow, disease, and death in this world, there are other holes also. My pain has holes in it. My doubt has holes in it. Even my cynicism has holes in it. As the song writer says, “there’s a place where fear (and all Godless thoughts and emotions) has to face the God you know.”  They are imposters that will fade in the light of his eternal glory.

So despite all the hell-sent imposters Satan may try to share with me, the God I know keeps poking holes in Satan’s lies. So I keep running back to Jesus and it’s becoming a much shorter trip.

Care to join me?


The Hand
Posted July 26, 2018

For some reason an old picture from our builder guys at Chapel popped into mind. Maybe I was thinking about missions or my grandkids hands, or my own hands that no longer work very well. I don't know but the image in my mind was of a very real photo I had seen about eight years ago.

Our men used to go down to Matamoras Mexico and build casitas for some of the poorer folks there. They did this for several years until drug cartels made it entirely too dangerous. While building one of these little houses they would take a brown bag lunch from Brownsville with them and just sit down and eat when they could. One day, leaning up against the door post in the sunlight, one of our guys felt or could see in the darkness of the casita a little girl. He took a part of his sandwich and stuck his hand into the darkness and the sandwich disappeared. Soon chips and fruit and cookies disappeared into the darkness. Apparently, this repeated itself with other guys and houses. A photo was taken of a calloused, cut, and bruised, older white hand reaching into a door and a tiny, young, brown hand reaching out to receive the gift. These guys may have been a little extra hungry that day by the time dinner was served back in Brownsville. I simply cried.

I knew whose hand it was. I had seen it before. In so many ways I'd even felt that hand touch my own life. Yes, I knew that hand. It was Jesus' hand shaping the world one heart at a time.

Yes, it was Jesus' hand but be careful, I didn't say which hand was His, the little brown one or the older whiter one.  I'll let you answer that with your own heart and hands.

Cos


Clovis
Posted July 5, 2018

With so much turmoil, divisiveness, hatred, racism, fear, doubts and threats going around these days, I just have to say something. So I’m going to write about Clovis. No, not the town in New Mexico (that wouldn’t take up much space) but my old friend Clovis S.

Clovis was a member of one of my churches. When first I met her it was easy to see she was a feisty, tough ole gal. I was met with a wicked smile that seemed to tell me to get ready. If I had been some stick-in-the-mud preacher, I would have had my hands full. But instead, we laughed a lot and made fun a lot and didn’t take life too seriously.

Clovis couldn’t take life too seriously; if she did, she would go nuts. She had had polio as a child and essentially had a “dead” leg making everything twice as hard. Her husband divorced her when Christians didn’t get a divorce (then he died, which served him right, if you ask me) and of course he left her with a little girl.

When I met Clovis she lived with her sister in a modest home. Her sister, Marie, had her own heartbreaking stories, but she was more like Mother Teresa. Clovis and I would laugh at the wrong things and she had that twinkle in her eye when she thought of something devilish. I often wondered if she said some things just to see if she could get a rise out of Mother Teresa.  At that time she still drove and moved along with the help of a cane. When she got to the point she couldn’t drive, she told me to take the car and let my boys drive it, though she wasn’t ready to sell it yet. So Clay drove the Clovis, as he called it (after she passed, her daughter “sold” it to us for a few hundred bucks to pay its tax bill). She also had a wonderful thing to do with memory lapses. She would stammer and stutter trying to speak her thoughts. If it didn’t work she’d say, “Never mind, it will come back around in a minute.”

So Clovis went from driving to not driving, from a cane to a walker, and later to a motorized wheelchair.  You could say it was hard to watch but I never felt sorry for her. One, she wouldn’t let you; two, she seemed to think that her wheelchair was a gift from God to be used to run over preachers.

Every Sunday I would stand at the bottom of the church’s grand, curving staircase and greet guests. I had to do this because the darn worship center was on the second floor!  So Clovis would ride the elevator and come down. There was no escaping her. I’m stuck as her war chariot comes at me—table to my back—guests to the right—kids to my left—and Clovis drives over my toes. She never looked back; it seemed to make her day. So every Sunday Clovis ran over my toes and I yelled at her about her driving skills and she just kept going and grinning.

I bought new dress shoes one time and waited three months before wearing them to church. Clovis was no respecter of new shoes. As she went downhill in her life she couldn’t come to church and run over my toes. I missed it. Leaning on her bed one day, knowing where all this was going, I asked her why she ran over my toes every week. “It was hard to miss those big things. Besides, since you step on our toes, I figured you needed to be reminded how it felt.” The twinkle in her eyes was still there.

Clovis won’t have a wheelchair to run over my toes in heaven; wanna bet she dances on them?

Cos


No Shirt, No Shoes, No…
Posted June 21, 2018

I don’t even remember who the guy was. He was on TV pretty late one Sunday about 25 years ago just preaching up a storm. He was animated. He was moving. He was loud, then quiet. He would read a scripture and then tell us its hidden meaning and how to extract the blessings God wanted for us out of God’s word.

Then he did it. He taught the viewers how to pray and get what we needed and even what we wanted.  He said he had taught these truths for years but didn’t always follow his own teaching, until… between shows crusade meetings, he went shopping. He went to a men’s store and saw a shirt he really liked. The shirt cost $75! Now this was twenty-five years ago when a nice dress shirt could be had for $25. So the sad preacher put it back on the shelf but then heard God speak to him. God said to him, “Ask me for it.” What God?  “Just ask me for the shirt, I want you to have it.” So the preacher asked God for the shirt and just for good measure he asked God for a $200 pair of shoes. He purchased them; he wasn’t going to argue with God. If God wanted him to have them then he should buy them.

And wouldn’t you know it, after the crusade meeting a man came up to him and gave him an envelope and told the preacher this was just for him. It wasn’t for the crusade or the orphans they sponsored, just him. Afterwards the TV preacher opened the envelope and found $300 in it. So always ask God, then act on what you are asking, and then He will bless you with even more than you need.

I wanted to go to the bathroom and throw up. But then I remembered what he said. So I asked God for it. I don’t know if it was ever answered but here’s what I asked for…………

“God, please send this preacher of all things materialistic a real Old Testament prophet. Let him point a long, boney finger at the preacher and have fire come from that finger. Let its flame burn the shirt and shoes off our modern day Jabez and hang this sign around his neck: ‘no shirt, no shoes, no Savior.’”

Then I wondered how many signs the prophet would hang around my neck? Some prayers God mercifully doesn’t answer.

Cos


Now and Then
Posted June 7, 2018

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even a I am fully known.     I Cor. 13:12

I have questions. I’m told God has answers. We don’t seem to get together at the point of my questions and his answers. I’m not sure why, so I asked him. He didn’t answer, at least not yet. Still, I have questions.

I guess the apostle Paul had questions.  This verse from I Corinthians implies it, at least for me. He is writing about love and seems to take a detour right before he ends this section of his letter. What does love have to do with being a child, remembering, and poor mirrors? Mirrors in his day were polished metal for the most part. The reflection was wavy, distorted, and dim. One of the most accurate mirrors was still, clean water. Comparing that to the polished metal mirrors and one could tell it wasn’t the best image but it was something you could see.

Despite all the blessings that a God-like love brings into a life or relationship, there are still some unknown parts, some distortions, some dimness with what we can see and know. The questions remain, however. Why do little kids get cancer? Why to ancient people with no quality of life still linger? Why does it hurt so badly? Why does the timing of the accident, the illness, the bankruptcy, the suicide, the divorce seem so wrong? A few seconds here, an extra day there, could six months or even six seconds not make a difference?

We see but a poor reflection.

I can’t always make out the clear details of God’s working with the shadows of fear, doubt, and pain still abounding in this world. My own pride and its trailing sins add to the dimness and darkness. The lack of love for God and each other that is seen in injustices, prejudices, and disrespect for human life make the image of God and what he is doing hard to see.

We see but a poor reflection.

But the light of God’s grace, righteousness, and love dance around those dark shadows of life revealing them for what they are—just more shadows. Shadows that disappear when the clear light of God’s love is shown on them. Then why do I still have questions?

We see but a poor reflection.

Maybe the Light hasn’t reach all the shadows. Maybe that it’s the church’s job to share, spread, and shine the Light where it is needed. Maybe some of my questions will have a “yet” in their answers. Paul uses a “then.”

I can only see some things dimly and distorted in my time on earth. Then we shall see, Paul says, face to face. No mirror, no dimness, no distortions, no shadows, just Jesus seeing us and our seeing him.  Paul seems to say that seeing Jesus face to face without the dimness and shadows of this fallen world will be enough for our questions. Now I know in part, then I shall know fully because I see completely this Jesus up close and intimately.

We see but  a poor reflection, but still we see.  When I was little I’d ask Daddy for some ridiculous something. His answer was “We’ll see.” That meant no. When I ask my Heavenly Father questions, sometimes the answer is “you’ll see.”  And I will. And you will.

Then we shall see face to face. That is where so many questions are answered: Face to Face.

Keep looking,
Cos


Welcome to Wizard of Cos II
Posted May 24, 2018

Wizard of Cos is dead. Hold on, the Cos part is still with us but the Wizard is gone. That little blog thingy I did called Wizard of Cos no longer works. I literally can’t get into my blog to write stuff even on days when I feel like it. The host for the blog has no physical address, no phone number, and no email address to address issues. I am shut out from Wizard of Cos.

So welcome to Wizard of Cos II. That isn't eleven, it's two. I don’t even know if this will work but I have wonderful people who will try to bring WoCII to life. If it doesn’t work I can always blame them.


Sock It to Me

I needed new socks. With feet that swell with my liver disease, my socks seem to shrink. I’ve got Sunday-go-to-meetin’ socks, it’s the everyday athletic socks I wear now instead of preacher socks I need. Nearly everything in my closet and drawer doesn’t fit anymore due to a 60 lb weight loss, but I have to have socks, especially since I mostly have to wear athletic pants that will go over my umbilical hernia.  I ask Pam if she would get me some new ones. She agrees and I describe what I want. The 10-12 size doesn’t fit anymore. See if you can find 12-14 mid ankle socks, I ask her. No, she says it will have to be 14-16 and they aren’t easy to find always, but I’ll try. What a gal!

The next day she brings me a package of new socks, 14-16 mid ankle height. I start to put them on. They are unbelievable hard to get on my feet. I groan, moan, catch my breath, try again and call Pam to help. She comes and helps and we finally get them on. I was ready to send them back but once on they feel really comfy—good fit, compression, and they won’t fall off into my shoes. Great job, Pam!

Then I noticed something. There is a little red “L” on one sock and a little red “R” on the other.  “Where did you get these socks, the old man’s dementia store? I don’t need an ”R” and an “L” to tell me where to put them! It’s bad enough to have all these liver ailments with out needing socks with gps.”

“Terry, look at your feet…the R and the L…

‘’Umph! With all those surgeries and procedures I didn’t realize they changed my feet!”

The bible says to not let your right hand know what your left hand is doing. Of course this pertains to showing mercy, giving and showy worship meant to draw attention to self rather than point to God in praise. With things that are between you and God be discreet, modest in what you do.  When your heart and mind are settled on honoring Jesus, your hands and feet will follow, even if your socks are on the wrong feet.

But they are the only feet I’ve got,

Cos 


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