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This little girl means the world to me. I am a pastor and a believer in Christ but I want you to know that if you would harm or even try to harm my little girl, I would absolutely bring the hammer down on you – again and again and again. You can decide for yourself whether the hammer is meant to be figuratively or literally. She is my life and I would do whatever it took to protect her. I would bet that many fathers feel the same way about their little girls as well, as they should. You see I believe with all my heart that one of the roles God has given to fathers, and expects them to fill, is that of protector.
But are we protecting her from our own inaction? Inaction is a lack of action where some is expected or appropriate. Too many times we interact with our daughters when they are little, but a strange thing happens as they get older and start to become a woman; we daddies begin to pull back and have a lack of action in their life. What kind of message are we sending our daughter when we begin to withdrawal just because “we don’t understand her anymore”? Just for the record that is a lame excuse. We cannot, we must not allow this to happen for it is during this time of their life they need us, their daddy, the most.
Our daughters need to see us as their protectors. Protection does not mean just that we protect them from harm, although it certainly includes that, but it means that we build security into our daughter’s life. Protection builds security, right? When a daughter sees her daddy fulfilling the role of protector, when she knows that he would give his life for her’s without hesitation, that he will stand for her and support her in all she does then she will become a secure woman and thrive in life.
Our daughters need to see in us what a real man looks like. Not a physically strong man or athletic man or perfect man, but a real man. In my opinion a real man is one who stands for what is right no matter if he is the only one. He stands by his convictions and not deterred just because the majority says he is wrong. He is a man who loves his wife sacrificially and is faithful to her only. As a believer he is a man who leads his family spiritually and lifts them up in prayer daily. He is a man who loves God with all his heart, soul, and mind. He is a man who loves knowledge and wisdom. He is a man of integrity in every part of his life. If we display this type of man to our daughters I believe she will not only settle for less in the man she marries, but she herself will learn to be a strong woman.
Our daughters need us to be active in their life. Notice that I said be active in THEIR life. We think spending time with our daughter means inviting her along with us while we do the things we are interested in, but that is just being selfish. Now I think it is good to invite her to go golfing with you or to go to a sporting event or go fishing and yes some girls, many even, like those things but if all you ever do is try to get her to go along with your likes and not ever make an attempt to attend events she likes, again what message is that sending? It sends the message, “I only want to spend time with you when it suits me and is something I enjoy.” Go to a football game to watch her play in the marching band. Take time out of your weekend and go to a cheerleading tournament. Go watch her sing. Go to her art show. Go watch her perform in a play. Take her out on a date, just the two of you. By the way when you are active in her life it also means you know what is going on and that is a vital part in being able to protect her.
Our daughters need us to show them love. You may have heard the joke about the husband who said “I told my wife the day I married her that I loved her and if I ever change my mind I’ll let her know.” A man needs to tell his wife time and time again that he loves her and show it. But it is equally important to let your daughter know that she is loved by you. Our little girls need to feel their daddy’s arms around them. No matter how physically fit or how skinny you are, your arms are the biggest, most secure things to your little girl. Now it is easy when they are little but for some it becomes difficult as they come into their teen years and begin to change into young ladies. They need to know during those years especially that their daddy is not afraid to touch her and pull her to himself. As I said earlier a young lady needs to feel her father’s arms around her, but if that father begins to withhold that affection because he is uncomfortable for whatever reason she will find someone who is not afraid to show affection and not afraid to touch her. Unfortunately many times she looks to the wrong kind of man who only wants her body to satisfy his needs. Embracing our daughters and showing them what true, pure love really is, is protecting them. Fathers pull your daughter close, hold her while you can because one day you will walk her down the aisle to let her go.
Lastly our daughters need us to affirm their worth. Your daughter is priceless, dad, treat her that way. Tell her and show her that she is valued by you and by God. Make sure the guys she goes out with understand her worth, (you may want to include that you will run fingerprints after their date and if his fingerprints are found anywhere on her besides her hands, then he will lose his.) Fathers teach your daughter that her worth is not found in how much skin she shows, how short her shorts are, or how skimpy her bathing suit is, her worth comes from the Creator who made her in His image. Teach her that her greatest treasure she can hold on to is her purity. Purity of mind, purity of soul, and purity of body.
Fathers let us start taking action in our daughters lives.
It is time to man up and be her Daddy.
“Happy Memorial Day!” – this statement does not really sit well with me. To me it is an oxymoron. Why are we happy that we have a day where we celebrate those who have paid the ultimate price? It saddens me actually. To know there were men and women who went and fought for me and died. Is that really something to celebrate?
Now I must admit I have never served in the military but a love for this country and the ones who have served has been instilled in me since I was a baby. I remember sitting with my Pa (that is my grandfather from my dad’s side) and him telling me a little of what he experienced in Korea. I am sure that those who have served would say that those experience of war are nothing to celebrate. They would say the losing of friends , their brothers, is nothing to celebrate. They would say seeing families swallowed up in grief because their loved ones made the ultimate sacrifice is nothing to celebrate. Yet we seem to not understand the true and great significance of what this day is all about when we proclaim on Facebook or to one another “Happy Memorial Day!!”. We do not seem to understand the true and great significance of what this day is all about when all we can think about is how we are going to get a long weekend. Try going up to a mother or father who has lost a son or daughter and saying “Happy Memorial Day!” or to the young wife who is now a young widow and single mother and say “Happy Memorial Day!” or to the children of a soldier who they never had the privilege of meeting and say “Happy Memorial Day!”. Allow them to take you to where their loved one now lies, allow them to take the folded flag they were presented with on that sorrowful day they laid them to rest and then see if you can continue to celebrate this day.
Please understand I am not saying to not enjoy this day or this long weekend. I am not saying to not have your cookouts or sleep in. I am sure those who gave their life would say they gave so we could have the freedom to do those things. But please as you do those things don’t do them in celebration but instead do them in remembrance and honor of those heroes who have paid the ultimate price. Better yet invite that mother and father, that young widow, those children and have a day of honoring their heroes. Let us stop celebrating Memorial Day and instead make it a day of teaching our children why we have this day, make it a day of remembrance and honor to those heroes.
Thank you to all those who have served, are serving, and especially to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. We remember and honor you today.
Do you hear it? Do you hear the battle cry? “Pro-lifers don’t accept the Ice Bucket Challenge!!!!”. That is the battle cry that is rising up against the ALS ice bucket challenge. But let’s stop and think about this for a minute. What is the point of this? What are we trying to prove really?
I am absolutely, 100% pro-life. I believe life begins at conception. I believe the Word of God when the Psalmist said “You (God) formed my inward parts. You (God) wove me in my mother’s womb”, that screams of the sacredness of life. I believe that every man, woman, boy, and girl regardless of intelligence, race, or religion was and is made in the image of God. With that said this is not a debate on whether or not we are pro-life or pro-choice. This is to ask the questions above: What’s the point? What are we proving by not accepting the challenge?
Are we trying to prove how godly we are by posting on our Facebook page, when we have been challenged by a friend to do the ice bucket challenge, that we cannot participate because we are pro-life? I mean really?
When we do this we are not sharing the gospel and love of Christ. We are only displaying our own Pharisaical attitude. I can assure you not one single person who is pro-choice is going to be turned from their views. I can assure you very few, if any, will come to Christ because of our “stand against this unholy, ungodly ice bucket challenge act”.
I get it, I really do. It looks great to post such a stand on our Facebook page, but is that what it is all about?
For those who take the stand against the ice bucket challenge have you really researched organizations that do ALS research and are devoted to the pro-life belief? I saw one Believer participate in the challenge and they said to donate to an organization that has a pro-life stance and does not use embryonic stem cells, that is how it should be done.
Pro-life is not just about being against abortion. Pro-life is for all life no matter what age or development.
Some questions for those who think they must post their reason for not accepting the challenge or just post of why nobody should accept the challenge: What have you done lately to prevent babies from be aborted? How have you shown love to a single mother who chose life? How have you shown grace to a woman who made the decision to abort? What research have you done regarding ALS? Why does it have to be an “us vs. them” thing? Why can’t we also use this ice bucket challenge craze to bring attention to this awful disease that many of our brothers and sisters in Christ are battling?
Here is the thing, when we as Believers post things like “I am pro-life therefore I cannot accept this ice bucket challenge.” people look at that and say “And that is why I don’t go to church.” or they say as Gandi did “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are unlike your Christ.” I believe that if Christ were walking the earth today and was challenged He would accept the challenge and laugh as they poured the water on Him and then He would go over to one suffering from ALS and heal them (just my opinion). That is why I accepted the challenge. I want to be a type of healing hand of Christ and that is why I will donate to an organization that does ALS research but does not use embryonic stem cells.
On September 16, 2009 God gave my wife and I one of the greatest gifts either of us had ever received. The gift was a son.
I sometimes just watch, silently, as he plays basketball, football, baseball or hockey. I watch as he plays with his cars or super heroes, or as he runs through the house “shooting the aliens”. I watch and think to myself “What is he going to be like as he becomes a man?” and then I realize – I am not raising a little boy, he is that now, I am raising him to be a man.
How do we as fathers teach our boys to be men? I have a few ideas that I believe are crucial for developing real men.
I want Greyson to know that being a man is not about being a male chauvinist. It is not about seeing how many women you can bed or about displaying greats acts of stupidity to prove your manliness. It is not about earning more than the next guy or getting one up on him. It is not about how much you cuss or how much you can drink. It is not about being the strongest physically, the most athletic, or the best looking. No. Those are not proofs of manhood.
I want Greyson to know that being a real man is about…
Treating women with respect and honor. This is a big one for me as my dad has always taught me to treat women this way, unfortunately many times I failed at this (one time is too many). But I do not want Greyson to make the same mistakes I did. It angers me to no end when I see a young man out with a girl and he shows her no respect. Walks in the restaurant before her, does not hold the door, pays attention more to his phone then her (that is many husbands too by the way). When I see these things, I will not share what goes through my mind as they are not very Christlike, but for the most part I want to ask him if he realizes what a great honor and responsibility he has at that moment. When Greyson begins to date I want him to understand that the father of that girl is trusting him with her life. As a man he is to protect her physically and emotionally. He is to view her and value her the same way God does. The father of that young lady has placed her physical well being and her purity in Greyson’s hands and that is only a responsibility a man should and can carry.
Integrity. Doing the right thing because it is the right thing no matter what. I want Greyson to know that God is always watching and that everything he does is for His honor and glory. When that is the mindset of any person then integrity will be a way of life.
Discernment. Greyson will have many choices in life to make and many of which are not going to be black and white. A real man will seek wisdom and guidance from others and especially from God.
Boldness. Not boldness in the way of “I will do anything to prove I am a manly man” but boldness in doing the right thing. Many things in our culture now are turning from what used to be wrong to anything from it being relative to it being acceptable and right even. I want Greyson to have a solid foundation of truth and boldly stand on what is right and what is wrong regardless of what the masses say.
Placing value on people. We are all made in the image of God. This is a sacred thing we humans have that no other created thing has. Yet when we ignore another human being, when we treat another with contempt for any reason,whether it be the way one looks or dresses, the background of a person, the color of one’s skin, their religion, or their sexual orientation, when we commit violence against someone, anytime we devalue a person in any way we are marring the image of God – and that is not okay. I want Greyson to look at every single person and say to himself “God created that man/woman. God formed them and breathed life into their lungs. God loves them unconditionally and He has placed a great value on them. I will too.”
Courage. Please don’t misunderstand and think I do not want Greyson to never be afraid. Fear is good sometimes. But I want Greyson to have the courage to step out into the unknown and into greatness even when fear grips his heart.
Sacrifice. Real men sacrifice. Whether it be for their country by serving in the armed forces or sacrificing for their family daily. A man’s life is characterized by sacrifice. I want Greyson to be a man who will give his life for someone else if ever called to because of placing that value upon them. No matter what I want him to live every day lifting the needs of others up over his own for that is where true strength is seen.
Humility. As Greyson does these things and as God does great things in his life I want him to be a man of humility. Always pointing his awards, his gifts, his acknowledgments received, his influence on others, his achievements in life, back to God.
His family. I want Greyson to learn that being a man means that he will love his wife unconditionally, staying true only to her. Loving his children and never being afraid to tell them or show. Praying with his family and leading them down the paths God has set them even if they are the only ones traveling it.
God has given me a great privilege and responsibility. That great privilege and responsibility is to raise a godly man. Ashley and I picked out a verse for Greyson when he was a baby. The verse is…
“A man’s gifts make room for him and brings him before great men.” – Proverbs 18:16
* Thank you to Autumn Mays for letting me use the picture
A very sad situation occurred this past weekend, one that has caused me to examine my own life in regards to how I help others. My children and I took my wife out for Mother’s Day since we where not able to the weekend of Mother’s Day. It was her night so she got to choose what we did. One thing she said she wanted to do was go get ice cream (actually it was not real ice cream but that frozen yogurt), so we went to an establishment that she particularly enjoys. You get to fix your own frozen yogurt however you want, like a salad bar but with “ice cream” toppings. As we were sitting there we notice a little commotion around the register, nothing serious, but one of the employees went and got the manger or possibly even the owner of this establishment. My wife was seated where she could see what was occurring and said “I feel bad for that guy at the register. His card was declined.” Now we have all been right where this guy was, whether it is a problem with our card, with the machine, or maybe we really do not have the funds, but whatever the reason it is embarrassing. I looked around and saw this gentleman who looked like he could use some “ice cream”. I decided that I wanted to and should go help so I walked up and handed the cashier my card to pay for it. The cashier looked surprised and said “Are you sure?” well, as I informed her, I absolutely was sure, this was something I needed to do but also something I wanted to do. The guy looked at me and was very appreciative and said “Nobody has ever done that. That made my day.” Wait! What?!? The simple act of buying someone some frozen yogurt made his day?? That is when it occurred to me and I thought, “God now I know why you impressed on my heart to do that, you wanted to pour Your grace into this guy’s life and you allowed me to be the vehicle of taking that grace to him. Awesome!!!”
I went back to my table knowing that God had just used me and my family to show His love. It was great and humbling….and then it happened. The part that I said was sad. The manager, or owner, came up to me and said “I just wanted you to know that that guy does this all time. He goes around to all the businesses and tries to get free stuff like that. It is just a scam. Just wanted you to know.” and with that she just walked away. Now one thing to understand is that this establishment is Christian based which made this all the more sad and infuriating. After she walked away I kind of just sat there in shock, “What just happened? Why does she care what I do with my money? I just paid for what would have been her loss and that is how she responds?” I did not care nor was I looking for a pat on the back or a “that was so sweet” comment but to make it a point to come up to me and tell me about what she thinks that guy is doing and then just walk away, floored me. What she did is exactly why people make comments like “Christians are so hypocritical”, she is the reason that Christians are looked at with a bitterness too often and that angers me.
I do not tell that story so you will think so highly of me because for every story I have like that I have twenty others where I blew it. I tell it because to0 many times we try to get around the act of helping others or giving sacrificially by trying to justify it by saying “Well they are just going to use it for beer and cigarettes”, “They are just lazy. They could work if they wanted to.”, “They haven’t looked hard enough for a job.”, “It is just a scam.”, and on and on we make excuses for not reaching out and helping lift others up. But allow me to ask you this, what if just one out of ten that you reach out to actually is lifted up from the pit they are in and they are changed? What if all they needed to get a step up in the right direction was a hand reaching down to help pull them up? Would it be worth it? What if it were only one out of twenty or thirty or a hundred? If only one is ever lifted up it is worth it.
As Ashely and I talked about the “ice cream incident” on our way back home we both believed that what we did was what Christ wanted us to do. My wife made this great statement, “It doesn’t matter what the intentions of the other guy was, what matters is the intention of our heart.” and she is spot on. When we extend our hands to lift someone else up we need to be sure our intentions are right. Who cares who is watching or who is around, that is not what matters. What matters is making ourselves available so whenever God calls on us we will always be ready to be used as His vessel to pour out grace, love, and mercy to whoever He wants us to. So what if someone is seeking a handout, let God handle that, we just need to say “God I am yours and all I have is yours so whenever and whoever You want me to lift up I will do it whatever the cost.”
Allow me to add one more point that is pretty significant. I said in the last paragraph that it does not matter who is watching, well that is not entirely true. My son who is four years old and my daughter who is almost two were watching. True my little girl may not have known what was occurring but I can promise you this – my son absorbed it all. He heard that manager/owner say what she did but I pray that seeing his parents be willing to be vessels of grace regardless soaked in his heart and made him deaf to her words. If your children see you be people who lift others up no matter the cost they too will very likely become adults and parents who lift others up and then their children will see them do it and in turn become adults who lifts others up and it will continue to extend to the generations that follow. You can start a chain reaction of grace if you are just willing to reach out your hand.
Can I tell you a story? It is a true story about how one statement affected my life. I worked at the YMCA for over six years and during that time I lived just however I wanted, actually I acted how I wanted before that and for sometime after that. I would always claim that the Bible never says this or never says that as a way to ease my conscience. One summer was especially bad, it seemed as though I was going out doing things in direct contradiction to the Scriptures every night. There was this one counselor who I believe was placed there by God. Her name was Jennifer Antal, now it is Jennifer Antal Smith. I had heard she was a Believer so I decided I was going to prove how Christians really were. I was going to show that Christians were really no different then myself, because even at that time I called myself a Christian. I started trying to convince her to come with us every time we would go out, which remember was a lot. Time after time she would graciously decline. Finally the last time I tried to get her to go out with us she looked at me and said “You know I’m a Christian, if you want to go out fine but Christ has made all the difference in my life.” that was all she said. That was all she had to say. I had no response. That has stayed with me all my life and was key in God bringing me to Himself. See Jennifer was a different kind of Christian then I had known in the past or was myself, since I wasn’t truly a Believer. Oh she never judged me or any of the other counselors. She never said things like “You know what, if you keep doing that you are going to go straight to hell you heathen!!!” Instead she was normal just like all of us. She was kind, she treated everyone the same, I never heard her cuss, she respected the authority over her, she had great work ethic, she was fun to be around, she knew how to joke around but most importantly and what set her apart is that she exemplified Christ through her life.
“…among whom you appear as lights in the world…” – Philippians 2:14-16
Now does that story prove that Jennifer never did anything wrong, like a lot of Christians would have you think about themselves? No. Does it prove that Christians don’t know how to “have fun”? Absolutely not. What it does prove is that we do not know who is watching how we live our lives. What it does prove is that it does matter what Believers choose to participate in. What it does prove is that Believers who are different yet genuine will be difference makers in lives. So there is a question I would like to ask those who claim to be Believers, not Christians in name sake, but true Believers in Christ. And I will give the direct answer as well.
Why aren’t we different? Because we choose not to be.
Let me be honest with my opinion of what I perceive is developing within the Church. Is that alright? Great. Here I go.
There seems to be a troubling trend among Believers. A trend that affects those who just come Sundays and seat in the pews and those in positions of church leadership, whether they are paid or volunteer. A trend that I am tempted to fall into and have fallen into. A trend that will not, I repeat – WILL NOT, bring people to Christ. And most importantly it is a trend that does not bring glory to God. What is the trend? Making sure that we, who claim to be Believers in Christ, aren’t different or at least not that different from our friends, our neighbors, or our family who are not Believers. We don’t want to be out of the loop or be called judgmental. So what do we do to bring the lifestyles together? We use our “liberty in Christ” card to act as though we can do whatever we want so long as we do not “cross the line” or go beyond moderation into excess. I realize this has been around since the birth of the church but it appears to me that it is gaining acceptance instead of admonishment.
Now I know some, many in fact, will say I am being judgmental (although I have not mentioned anything specific). They will say “Jesus was called a friend of sinners.” I get that, I truly do, but that is not the point. I am not advocating abandoning our friends and family and move into a commune where all we do is quote scripture and sing hymns everyday. There is a difference between abandoning our friends and choosing not to talk a certain way, go to certain places, participate in certain activities, dress in certain ways, or choose what we allow into our minds by what we watch, look up on the internet, or listen to.
I am talking about being different by the standards Christ set. What is that standard? Holiness. 1 Peter 1:14-16 tells us that we are not to be “conformed to the former lusts which was ours…” Lust actually means desire, passion, or longing. We are then told to “be holy in all your behavior” Now here behavior means conduct. So what is the standard again? That we are to be different in all our conduct and not allow our desires, our passions, or our longings that we had before we were changed to have a part of our new life. When we allow those former things to stay around in our lives it is only a matter of time before we conform back to the way we were. When that happens our friends and family will say “Yep, that is what I thought. You had a religious phase but you are back to the same old person.” Let it happen enough times and eventually you will not have any influence for Christ in their life. To be honest it will become a joke, we all know people like that.
When we let Christ change us He does not change our personalities, He makes them better! He does not give us a new nature with the same old desires, He gives us a new nature, with new desires! When we let Christ change us He does not keep us in the same old lifestyle, He gives us new life that is different! When Christ changes us He calls us to be a difference maker in the lives of those around us but in order to be that we must be different. Different in a way in which is appealing not judgmental. Different in way which is freeing not enslaving.
I thank God that someone was willing to sacrifice their rights, their freedom in Christ to show me a better way. I thank God that Jennifer choose to be a difference maker by her actions. Her difference helped in changing an eternal destiny.
“The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle.” – Brennan Manning
** A personal note of appreciation to my brother Josh who looked over a first draft and gave me reasons to pause and think. We certainly are of different mindsets but without his input this blog would be drastically different (no pun intended). Also to Jennifer Antal Smith for allowing me to share that story and for being a difference maker.**
In the movie Spanglish there is a scene where John Clasky, played by Adam Sandler, has just found out that his wife has been having an affair. As she tried to talk to him about what happened he said to her “I couldn’t hear you, there was a crack in my planet. WOW…that was noisy.”
Have you ever had a crack in your planet? I have. Now understand, this is not just a bad day or finding out a little bad news. This is something that is life altering. Diagnosis of cancer, realizing the person you have placed upon a pedestal is not who you thought they were, being betrayed by someone you trusted, hearing the news that a loved one has tragically died, finding out your spouse has not been faithful, maybe it’s a financial crack. There are many things that cause pain and suffering but to be honest few that cause a crack in our planet. Those things listed above are planet crackers. You could probably add a couple more to that list but not many.
Well what do you do when your planet has been cracked? It is not like you can put a band-aid on it or use glue to fix it, not even duct-tape will work. Let’s be honest a cracked planet is hard to fix and even if you do it will always be scarred. I am an expert in this area, the area of pain and suffering that is, and you are too. Every person on earth is an expert in pain and suffering because we have all experienced it in one way or another and some have more experience with it than others. But I wonder how many of us are really experts in dealing with it? Sometimes we try to put on a “courageous” face and say, rather bitterly inward, “It will all work out.” Sometimes we just “sweep it under the rug” or buy into the philosophy “out of sight, out of mind” – how do you really sweep a cracked planet under the rug or how do you really hide the crack? How about the “comfort” you receive from others, “God has a plan for this.” Oh really?? God has a plan for a cracked planet? I would love to hear someone who throws this in the face of one struggling from keeping the crack from spreading to also tell them out of their infinite wisdom of God what that plan is. Please understand, I believe with all my heart God can use a cracked planet. I do not doubt God one bit. I doubt the one who is acting as though they are God’s mouth piece to relay that message. Some of us get angry at the crack, or at the one that caused the crack, and we allow that anger to spew out onto the offender or many times the innocent. Sometimes we may just try to exist as the thunder of the crack echoes through out our life.
So what do we do?
(Ready for my answer. It is incredibly profound.) I do not know.
Here is why I say I do not know. Just as each of us react to the crack differently, each of us finds healing differently. I do not believe that healing comes in any of the forms of the reactions listed above. They only lead to bitterness, resentment, hypocrisy, anger, depression, etc. I do believe however the one thing every single person with a cracked planet needs to do, first, to begin healing is to acknowledge the crack. After the crack is acknowledged the next thing I believe that must happen is to acknowledge God. Now here is where the healing begins to take on different forms, because God deals with each of us in a special, unique way, so our healing, although comes from One Source, comes in different forms. Some may find healing through written form in God’s love letter to us. Others find healing as we express our worship and praise to a mighty God through song. Many find healing through God’s creation as they walk alone in the “cool of the day” and converse with God. Those of intelligence who have tried to reason out the crack and analyze it may finally find healing by saying “God I just don’t get it but I will listen to Your guidance and learn from what You teach me.”
C.S. Lewis said “God whispers in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” So again I ask, have you had a crack in your planet? If you want healing, acknowledge the crack and acknowledge God, He is shouting in His megaphone “I love you and I want to mend the crack.” God’s voice is so much louder than the echo of the crack if we just listen.
“The Lord is near the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” – David (Ps. 34:18)