"The most important of life's battles is the one we fight daily in the silent chambers of the soul."

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Symbol Of The Fish

And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

Matthew 4:19

The wind from the north stirs up the dust on the open road. The man pulls a piece of material from his robe. He wraps it around his eyes until the dust storm settles. Living in the remotest parts of the Roman Empire comes at a price. All the comforts he experienced as a Roman citizen, he has forsaken for this dusty trail. Home is just a distant memory since he started his journey. All he had ever known was gone, his family, his wealth, his prestige, his job, all of it. He forsaken it all. Upon becoming a Christian, he told his family of his conversion. They in turn scoffed at him.
"Do you really want to give up everything you've worked for? Why follow the teachings of a dead Jew? Are there not enough gods for you to worship with the Roman gods?"
With tears in his eyes he tried to make them understand.
"The gods are not gods but demons. They enjoy in our suffering. They take delight in keeping us in darkness. I have met One who has removed the blinders from my eyes. Oh, how I wish I could make you see."
Their response was bringing him to the attention of the Roman magistrate. The soldiers were coming for him, so with a heavy heart he fled.
Not sure where he was going, he left all behind.
As the dust settled, he sat down on a big stone beside the road. The weight on his mind seemed to weigh ever heavier. Looking into his food sack, he sighed a deep sigh. "Not much in here," he thought to himself. With his stomach gurgling, he checked his skins for something to drink. "Not much in here, either." Washing down the remaining piece of bread with some water, he prayed.
"The One True God, hear my plea for Your direction. I have left everything behind for Your name's sake. I wait for You to guide to where I am to go. Jesus, who first served me, let me now be a servant for You. I am emptied of all that I was. Now, I wait for You. Amen."
Leaned against the rock he began to draw with the end of his walking stick. He doodled pictures of the scenes of everything around him. The birds, flowers, the clouds in the sky, finally he felt compelled to doodle a fish. Remembering the story of the fish and loaves and how Jesus performed a miracle from this small thing. He began sketching this on the ground. He had only gotten half the fish sketched, when a tall figure overshadowed him. Glancing up from the ground, he strained in the bright noonday sun to see this person. Before he could speak the figure in front of him started finishing up his sketch. This individual sketched the last half of the fish onto the ground. In amazement, a hand was extended to him from this person. Rising to his feet, he looked into the face of this one who stood before him.
"Be glad, my brother, you are among believers. I had a dream sent from God that told me you would be here. A voice came to my dreams that instructed me. I asked how would I recognize you. The voice said that you would be drawing a fish and I was to finish the fish. This was to show that we were of like mind, always dwelling on Him."
They embraced, for the traveler had found a place where he belonged.
"Come, for we are spreading His word through out the city. The people here are very receptive to the Good News."
"Where I just left, they are not. I pleaded with my own family to try to understand. Instead they forsook me," the traveler explained.
"Our Lord was done the same way. Take comfort in knowing that he understands our suffering. Remember you are not alone. He is with us. And we, your brothers and sisters in Christ, have a purpose. We must go to the darkness and shine the light of Him, forcing the dark one to relinquish control of them."
So they sat and communed with each other. Discussing many things, encouraging each other. The traveler felt his light that had almost gone out reigniting.
"Thank you. I now know what I must do. I cannot run from the dark one. I must be on the offensive against him. His light must return to my city. What right have I to take away the only light they may ever see? I must go," came the traveler's words.
Embracing the fellow believer, he wiped away the tears from his eyes,"You won't stay for awhile and meet the others."
"No, I must hurry. Thanks to you, I too have a purpose given by our Lord," the traveler exclaimed with joy.
"I have some food and drink to take with you on your journey. May the grace of Lord Jesus be with you. So long, my brother. If we never meet again here, I will see You with King Jesus on His return."
And so the traveler returns home. No longer does he just carry a small light for others to see, but now he carries a torch.
Lance Gargus

"God, I pray Thee, light these idle sticks of my life, that I may burn for Thee. Consume my life, my God, for it is Thine. I seek not a long life, but a full one, like You, Lord Jesus."
Author:Jim Elliot

Friday, December 27, 2013

Beautiful Hands

Behold my hands

Luke 24:39

"He was carried by hands that He formed."

I heard of a story of a mother who saved her child from their house when it burned.
She sacrificed herself and cared not for her safety to save him.
The end result was the child saved but at a price.
The mother's beautiful hands were horribly scarred.
For years afterward she tried to hide her hands.
She wore gloves whereever she went.
As her baby became a little boy, he saw her glowing, light colored flowing hair, her deep blue calming eyes, and her warm bright smile.
But he never noticed her hands.
Each night she went through the same routine of singing a song, bedtime story, and prayers. One night when he was four, the mother kissed her child good night and brushed his cheek.
He grabbed her hands and looked up at her.
"Mommy, why are your hands different?' he questioned with a curious look,
Sitting on the edge of his bed she began to tear up, looking at her hands she began to cry uncontrollably.
"My hands haven't always been this ugly. At one time, I had the most lovely of hands.But years ago our house burned when you were a baby, I rushed past the firemen to save you from your burning crib, Making my way through the fire I protected you from the flames with my hands. The end result is what you see." she sobbed.
The small boy took his mothers scarred hands in his and gently rubbed them.
"Momma, these are the most beautiful hands I have ever seen," he said while caressing them against his cheek.
Our Savior's hands are the same way. Do we realize when we take His hands how much love went into them for us, or do we just take them for granite?
I never took time to look at my earthly father's hands growing up. I always thought that they would be there. The time came, when he grew older, to tell him good bye. In the night while he rested, I took his hands in mine. After carefully examining them, I noticed the scars and callouses from hardwork, the age spots and wrinkles time had put there, and the roughness of the skin that a lifetime of the elements had toughened. A true realization sit in at that quiet late night hour, it was all because of me. Every scar, callous, age spot, wrinkle, and the toughness of the skin. I put there. He sacrificed his youth, health, and physical well being for me. Only now toward the end did I truly understand that.
As he awakened briefly, I leaned across to tell him my heart. Whispering in his ear
I told him,"Thank you for the sacrifice of going to work everyday, thank you for providing for me, and thank you for all that you did without me ever asking."
He just smiled and laid my head on his chest. As he gently stroked my head like I was a little boy, he spoke with a labored breath.
"Thank you for being my son."
How wonderful that feeling was to hear him say that before his passing, as he laid in that hospital bed.
Those words I'll always carry in my heart. But I anxiously await for the day when I stand beside him in front of our Heavenly Father.
On that day I long to hear these words from Him, "Thank you for being my sons and daughters."
Lance Gargus

Monday, October 14, 2013

All You Christians Will Die

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

2 Corinthians 12:10

"Against the persecution of a tyrant the godly have no remedy but prayer."

John Calvin

"All you Christians will die!"
The words carried an angry force behind it.
His eyes shifted to each person in the congregation, as if searching for something.
He was sweaty from the jungle heat and seemed tired.
Nervously his fingers twitched while holding his AK-47.
"Who wants to die today?"
"How about you?" he shouted at a sobbing woman.
"No, I don't want to die,"she pleaded for her life.
"Deny him!"
"Alright, alright. I deny him. Now, please don't kill me."
The look on his face became one of almost disappointment.
"Get out of here. Go. Leave. Now!" the rebel growled.
"What about the rest of you?"
They answered his question by running to the door.
The room became eerily quiet.
Three people remained in a corner crunched down.
Their prayers filled the room with ever growing intensity.
A presence seemed to enter the room.
"What is wrong with you? Will you die for this God of yours?"
The young man and two women stood up to face their taunter.
Defiantly they simply replied,"Yes."
The rebel dropped his rifle and dropped to his knees.
Tears welled up in his eyes.
"For too long, I have sought ones who believe as you do. Tell me of this Jesus I have heard about. The One you love enough to die for."
This is one of many stories, I have heard along the way, in my soul searching pursuits.
Lance Gargus

Thursday, August 01, 2013

The Folded Napkin Of Christ

And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.
John 20:7

Reading the Gospel of John (20:7) before, I had never noticed this peculiar point brought out to me by a friend. In this version of the gospel it tells of the napkin. This particular napkin covered Jesus face, and was not discarded with the grave clothes. The napkin according to the Bible was neatly folded, and placed at the head of the stony place where He had lain.

That glorious Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb. Upon coming to the tomb, she found the stone rolled away. After seeing this, she ran to tell the others what had happened. At once she found Simon Peter and the other disciple, whom Jesus loved. With exhausted breath she exclaimed,"They have taken the Lord's body out of the tomb, and I don't know where they have put him!" After hearing of this, Peter and the other disciple ran to the tomb to see for themselves. The other disciple got there first after out running Peter. He stooped down and looked in. He saw the linen cloth lying there but did not go in. Simon Peter finally arrived, and after catching his breath went inside. He couldn't believe his eyes. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus' head was folded up and lying to the side.

There is special meaning behind the folded napkin. In order to understand this, you have to understand a little bit about Hebrew tradition back then. The tradition has to do with the Master and the servant, and every Jewish boy knew this tradition. The Master wanted his dinner table set up in a certain way. The servant understood to set it up exactly the way the master wanted it. The servant set the table up perfectly. The servant waited just out of sight until the master was done eating. The servant would not touch the table, until the Master was finished. Now if the master was done eating, he would rise from the table, wipe his fingers, his mouth, and clean his beard, and would wad up that napkin and toss it onto the table. This told the servant to clear the table. For in those days, the wadded napkin meant, "I'm done". But if instead the master got up from the table, and folded his napkin, and laid it beside his plate, the servant would not dare touch the table, because..........

The folded napkin meant, "I'm coming back!"

He is Coming Back!