Thursday, December 25, 2008

Lines and Dots

The following was written by a dear friend of mine. It is presented here in it's entirety with his permission. I pray that it touches you as deeply as it touched me.

And when I looked, I saw a stage where four men stood. There were three canvases, two men stood before one canvas and the other two men had a canvas of their own.

The man on the left, with a single canvas, was drawing vertical lines. Most were straight lines of varying widths, but a few were curved or squiggly.

The man on the right with a single canvas was drawing, what seemed to be random dots and each dot had a number beside it.

The two men in the middle stood before the same canvas. This canvas was displayed by lines and rows of dots from edge to edge and top to bottom.

Nothing seemed to make sense. There was no artistic beauty or value to any of the canvases, white canvas with black lines or dots on them. I pondered the canvases for what seemed to be hours. As the men stood before their canvases they seemed to be waiting for further instructions. My pondering brought me to a dead end.

Finally, I asked the man who stood before the canvas with the lines on it, “Sir, does your canvas have a purpose? I’m sorry but I just don’t understand your picture.”

He said, “Lines are being drawn around the earth. Some lines are wide and some narrow, some are wavy and some are slightly curved or bent.”

“Sir”, I continued, “but why are the lines different?”

The man said, “Do you see the line in the middle?”

“I can see a line in the middle that is very narrow and is actually hard to see because it is so thin”.

“That thin line is God’s standard; it is His way and His truth. The other lines around on the left and on the right are man’s “ways” his “truths”. Some lines are wide and some are narrow, those are how man has chosen to live and the laws he has set for himself. Even though they are straight, they are very broad compared to God’s. The curved lines are the abominations against God’s law. The sharper the curves the more radical man has become.

As I looked at the canvas again I saw more of the reality of what the man was saying.

I then asked the other single man standing before his canvas, “Sir, what does your canvas mean, it is so random. It doesn’t seem to make sense like the one with the lines?”

As he began to speak he began to connect the dots. “My canvas has a picture on it. Each dot has a number by it and when you start at one and connect that dot to the dot which had the number two by it and then three and then four, by the time you have connected all the dots and returned to the number one dot, you have a complete picture.”

He continued to connect the dots and as he did, I began to see some things that looked familiar. When he had finished, it was a magnificent line picture which needed no color to enhance its beauty.

At that same time the two men, before on canvas of vertical dots and horizontal dots, began to connect the dots on their canvas. Each in turn would connect one dot to another on the vertical or horizontal axis. This process went on for hours and then something happened. One of the men boxed in a square and put his initial in the square, “J”. That set off a random set of connections and as the boxes were completed a “J” was put in the box.
What I now recognized as, the opponent in this game began to make his boxed connections, was the one with the most boxes, win’s the game.

As if my thoughts were being read by the man, who had marked the “J” in his box, he turned and gave me a stern look and without words, I sensed within myself, his words, “This is no “game”.

I had thought I was having a dream and it seemed to be like “The Price Is Right” and I had three doors to open and I could choose one of them. Only I was standing before three canvases, each profound and each prophetic. Then I realized that the two men before the lines and picture dots were angels. Then I realized the one man before the canvas who were connecting the dots and marking with a “J” was Jesus. The other man was marking with an “S” was Satan.
Then I truly understood that this was no “game”.

The war is on, lines are being drawn, the dots are being connected, and the souls of men are in the offing. Are you following the thin line of God’s way and God’s truth, or are you trying to bend the line to fit your life or lifestyle?
Are you broadening the line to make yourself feel better?

If an angel were to connect the dots of your life would we see a beautiful picture that needed no color to enhance its beauty?

Your life can be a beautiful picture when you begin to live God’s way and live God’s truth. All you have to do is say something like this, “God, if You are there and You can make me into a beautiful picture, go ahead and do it. I’m tired of my life the way it is, take it and make it into a beautiful picture.

Your Friend in Christ,
Ron Eskew

Monday, December 22, 2008

About those Wise Men.....

I saw a message recently. It is the same message written on different things. Sometimes I notice it on a bumper sticker, or on a t-shirt, but the message remains the same and I believe it speaks more truth than most people realize.

The message simply says this: “Wise men still seek Him”.

And this reminds me of a story.

In the Spring of 2005, I met a fellow, named Rick L., who later grew into one of the best friends I have ever known, and he strongly encouraged me to attend a Men’s Discipleship Walk. Repeatedly. He had just gotten back from a “Walk”, and was very enthusiastic about it. I was new to our church and wasn’t too sure I even wanted to go. I didn’t know anything about it. I had been on several men’s retreats before, but he assured me this one would be different. I agreed to go since I figured that if I didn’t, this guy wouldn’t leave me alone until I went on one.

One Thursday evening, all the new “disciples” were to meet at the church to travel up to….wherever the place was, but due to work issues, I got there a little late. In fact, all the other “disciples” had already left the church and were on their way to……someplace I didn’t know. Rick was there and I thought I would just ride up with him. That’s when he told me he wasn’t going, since he’d already been on the last Walk.

Now what do I do? I only know one person in this entire church and he isn’t going! I thought about leaving and going home but someone had already taken my bags. Since I had missed out on the meal (apparently they feed you first), the guys in the kitchen were rather gracious and quickly put something together for me to eat. (It was good!)
Then they said that there was another guy getting ready to go up to ….. that place I don’t know and had never been to before….. and that I could ride up with him. They just wouldn’t let me drive my own vehicle. Needless to say, I was starting to get concerned. Rick had already left. I was all alone.

One of the guys walked with me out to the front of the church where a car had just pulled up. The guy opened the door, ushered me inside the car and said that “Don” would be driving me up to the Walk. All this talk about a Walk made me wonder of I had the right shoes packed for this weekend.

The driver turned out to be a nice fellow named Don S. Don and I had a great time talking as he drove and we got to know each other during that hour or so drive. On that brief ride, Don inspired me more than he realized, so much in fact, that I have shared his story with many others.

Don told me that he has two copies of the DVD “The Passion of the Christ”. He has one in the video player in his home, and one in the drive in his laptop computer. He has memorized the location of the exact scene in the movie where it shows the beating, the punishment and the crucifixion of Jesus. Whenever he is feeling low, when he feels like life is unfair or if he’s just having a bad day, Don cues up that scene and watches it. He says it reminds him of what Jesus went through, just for us. I agree with Don when he said that none of my problems could ever measure up to the sacrifice or the pain that Jesus went through, just so that I wouldn’t have to personally experience that kind of pain and suffering.

None of my pains, none of problems, none of my discouragements, could ever equal what Christ did for me on the Cross.

The wise men (magi) who sought out the Christ child so long ago understood who they were looking for. When they found Him, they presented Him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Those first two gifts were fit for royalty, but the third represented His death. You see, in Jesus' day, bodies were wrapped in myrrh for burial. Myrrh's pungent odor neutralized the smell of decomposing flesh. Those men were not being disrespectful, they knew the real purpose of this new born king. They understood why He came here and what would be asked of Him.

They were wise men who sought Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the Most High God. And they found Him, right here on earth.

It is my desire and my intention to seek Him every day. To walk with Him, talk with Him (sounds like a song, doesn’t it), and fellowship with Him every day. And on those days when I get so caught up in myself that I forget, He seeks me out and reminds me that He loves me through my family, my friends, and all the other blessings He’s bestowed upon me. He has proven to me time and time again that His Word is true in that He is always with me, that He will never leave me and that He will never forsake me. I kind of like that.

Just some things to think about.

Blessings to you and yours.

Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas gift for my brother

As a joke, my brother Steve used to hang a pair of panty hose over his fireplace before Christmas. He said all he wanted was for Santa to fill them. What they say about Santa checking the list twice must be true because every Christmas morning, although Steve’s kids' stockings were overflowed, his poor pantyhose hung sadly empty.

One year I decided to make his dream come true. I put on dark sunglasses and went in search of an inflatable love doll. They don't sell those things at Wal-Mart. I had to go to an adult bookstore downtown.

If you've never been in an X-rated store, don't go. You'll only confuse yourself. I was there an hour saying things like, "What does this do? You're kidding me! Who would buy that?" Finally, I made it to the inflatable doll section.

Finding what I wanted was difficult. Love Dolls come in many different models. The top of the line, according to the side of the box, could do things I'd only seen in a book on animal husbandry. I settled for Lovable Louise. She was at the bottom of the price scale. To call Louise a doll took a huge leap of imagination.

On Christmas Eve and with the help of an old bicycle pump, Louise came to life.

Delsa, my sister-in-law was in on the plan and let me in during the wee morning hours. Long after Santa had come and gone, I filled the dangling pantyhose with Louise's pliant legs and bottom. I also ate some cookies and drank what remained of a glass of milk on a nearby tray. I went home, and giggled for a couple of hours.

The next morning my brother called to say that Santa had been to his house and left a present that had made him VERY happy but had left the dog confused. He would bark, start to walk away, then come back and bark some more.

We all agreed that Louise should remain in her panty hose so the rest of the family could admire her when they came over for the traditional Christmas dinner.

My grandmother noticed Louise the moment she walked in the door. "What the hell is that?" she asked. My brother quickly explained, "It's a doll."

"Who would play with something like that?" Granny snapped. I had several candidates in mind, but kept my mouth shut.

"Where are her clothes?" Granny continued.

"Boy, that turkey sure smells nice Gran", Steve said, to steer her into the dining room.

But Granny was relentless. "Why doesn't she have any teeth?" Again, I could have answered, but why would I? It was Christmas and no one wanted to ride in the back of the ambulance saying, "Hang on Granny, hang on!"

My grandfather, a delightful old man with poor eyesight, sidled up to me and said, "Hey, who's the naked gal by the fireplace?"

I told him she was Steve’s friend.

A few minutes later I noticed Grandpa by the mantel, talking to Louise. Not just talking, but actually flirting. It was then that we realized this might be Grandpa's last Christmas at home.

The dinner went well. We made the usual small talk about who had died, who was dying, and who should be killed, when suddenly Louise made a noise like my father in the bathroom in the morning. Then she lurched from the panty hose, flew around the room twice, and fell in a heap in front of the sofa.

The dog screamed. I passed cranberry sauce through my nose, and Grandpa ran across the room, fell to his knees, and began administering mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. My brother fell back over his chair and wet his pants.

Granny threw down her napkin, stomped out of the room, and sat in the car.

It was indeed a Christmas to treasure and remember.

Later in my brother's garage, we conducted a thorough examination to decide the cause of Louise's collapse. We discovered that Louise had suffered from a hot ember to the back of her right thigh.

Fortunately, thanks to a wonder drug called duct tape, we restored her to perfect health!

(actual author is unknown, but this is still pretty freakin’ funny)