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2 years, 2 months ago 14

Last night I had a dream about a phone call from a friend.

 

The story starts a long time ago.

 

Almost three decades ago I worked for a coal company in Eastern Kentucky.  I met a man about my age who was very wealthy.  His family owned a successful coal company and he was one of it’s officers.  He lived in, what passes for a mansion, in our area and drove the first S Class Mercedes I’d ever seen. He had a beautiful family and everything a man could want, except a relationship with Christ.  As we got to know each other I witnessed to him many times, and though he never accept Christ, he was tolerant of my efforts. As time passed we got to know each other much better and he became more open to faith.  One night he called  and asked me if I would come to his home and pray with him.  It was the night of a major snow storm and I drove for thirty miles to his house in blinding snow.  We prayed togeth, but he couldn’t get past his fear that he could not be forgiven for all his sins.  I drove home still in blowing snow, but without a victory.

 

Time passed and we drifted apart seeing less of each other as a few years passed.  I hear that he and his wife divorced and that he had had health issues, but was never able to reach him. Then more time passed.  Then I found that I needed to reach him and called his family to find out where he had moved to, away from our area.  They gave me a phone number and I called him.  When we talked on the phone he sounded different but we were both older and I didn’t think that much of it.  He gave me his address and I drove the 2 hours to where he lived.  When I pulled up to the address I was shocked to see that it was an assisted living facility.  It turns out that he had been diagnosed with MS and was in such bad shape, physically, that he needed constant care.  We visited and he was amazingly up beat!  When we talked further he told me that when he had to go to the facility, where he lived, shortly after that, his father died and it all came crashing down on him.  He finally reached out to God and asked him to come into his heart!  I don’t think I’ve ever see a person more at peace, in spite of what had befallen him.  When I left, I went out to the car and wept, not for him, but for me!  I was so ashamed of how much more dependent he was on God than myself, I could see clearly what real dependance looked like.

 

For years we renewed our friendship and he ministered to me in our many visits.  Then a few years ago his body finally gave out and he went to be with the Lord.

 

Last night I dreamed that my phone rang and when I answered it I knew his voice immediately.  I said, ” I didn’t think you could make phone calls from up there!?”  He laughed that wonderful, warm laugh of his, and said, “You would be surprised all the things we can do up here.”  I told him that I missed him, and asked if heaven was as wonderful as we have been told?  He said, “You have no idea!”  The he said,  ”I have to go, but I wanted to tell you, thank you my friend!”  I said, “I look forward to catching up someday, please say hi to everyone for me!”  He simply said a phrase I’ve heard him say so often, “Will do.”

 

I have no idea whether or not Ronnie called me last night, only God knows for sure.  What I do know is that I would drive through another blinding snow storm, anytime,  to plant seeds that might result in a man’s finding his Heavenly Father.   “Ronnie if you did call, thank you for all you taught me, see you soon my friend, and thank Jesus for both of us….”   I’m pretty sure he said, “Will do!”

 

the pilgrim

2 years, 2 months ago 1

I’m looking forward to being someplace else.  Enough said!  The His Light Workshops have been some of the most exciting times in my life.  The fellowship has been a breath of fresh air.  Working with Jim Begley and the rest of  our team has been wonderful.  Having great friends like Dr. Charles Stanley and Ricky Skaggs drop into our events has mad them all the more special.  As great as all of that is, that is not was has me the most excited.

 

The opportunity to gather photographers together that really want to worship as well as make great photographs has been heaven on earth for me.   I’ve been running workshops for the last 25 to 30 years and it has all been great, but this new company is taking my joy to an all time high level.  The fellowship has been genuine and resulted in truly deep friendships, even more than that, more than once, a participant has share with us that their lives have been changed because of what happened and His Light.  Please don’t misunderstand, Jim or I, neither one, would ever suggest that we are changing people’s lives, only God can do that.  The incredible things is He is doing just that, and we get to be there when it happens.

 

I must confess that I’ve been like everyone else, self serving, self ingratiating, prideful, and selfish.  My greatest reward for deciding to follow Him is that I can walk away from all of that, and 99% of the time, stay away!  We all slip and fall, but the longer you walk with Him to quicker you see that your walking dangerously close to trouble!

 

Everyday I’m thankful that I can be experiencing my best years on this earth and I owe it all to Him, Thank you Father, I don’t deserve all the blessings you’ve bestowed on me, my family, and my precious friends,

 

In case you were wondering, there’s a lot more of those blessings on the table!

 

the pilgrim

 

2 years, 2 months ago 4

 

What are you doing?  What are your goals?  Naturally, we all are working, raising a family, maintaining a marriage, keeping the house standing upright, and cutting the grass!  But aside from the maintenance side of life what are you focused on. I would dare say that for almost everyone it falls in several broad catagories;

 

1.  Getting what I want for myself.  Security, health, recognition, love, possessions.

 

2.  Helping others get what they want.  Serving others, watching over others, attempting to protect others.

 

3.  Doing what God has planned for me.  Listen and say yes!

 

All of our lives are a combination of those categories.   I think it is normal to have a little of each in your make up, however to have your life heavily weighted in the first category is very dangerous.  When we invest in just ourselves and our wants and needs, we build a wall around ourselves.  Eventually that wall becomes so think and tall that people can’t get in.  What we own will soon own us!  Long term peace and joy never comes from the physical weight of your possessions or toys.

 

Number two, serving others can be rewarding and to a certain level a very good thing, however we must always test our motives for why we are doing it.  Selfless service to others can be a wonderful way of blessing others, but if done with a strong motive of what I may get back, it can become destructive.

 

Only number three, serving Him, can lead to a joyful life filled with true contentment.  A heart that is truly turned over to God, will seek what is best for others and themselves.  It’s not wrong to want nice things, it’s a mistake to think, in the long view, they mean all that much!

 

Be blessed,

 

the pilgrim

2 years, 2 months ago 2

I  know I came down a little hard yesterday on working an event like the Derby, but I had a reason, it was a set-up, I set you up!  God has taught me some very valuable lessons over my life.  Maybe one of the most important is that no matter how bad you think things are , they could be much worse.  The photo above was made of me early in my career when I worked in Eastern Kentucky for a coal company.  My job required me to go into the mines quite a lot.  I will be very honest, I didn’t like it a bit.  I was scared down in the mines, and for good reason, it was a very dangerous environment.  I saw more than few men die during those times I was working in and out of the mines.

 

When I finally left that industry, I never looked back, but I never forgot how thankful I was to work, above ground!  God lets us experience things sometimes that may not be pleasant, but leads us to an understanding of just how fortunate we are, and how much He has blessed us!  Do I want to go back into the mines?  No way, but I’m glad that I had that experience, it reminds me often that my worst day is nothing like as bad as those days, five miles back under a mountain with only 32 inches from top to bottom to crawl around in.

 

Don’t curse God for your circumstances, ask Him to show you what He wants you to learn from them.  Know that He never allows anything to come into our lives that will not help us in the long run.  If you’ve given Him your life, you can trust Him with it!  And the next time you think you’re having a tough day, stare at the photograph above for a few minutes!  I bet you will feel better!  If I endured it for no other reason than to make you thankful you’re not in the picture, it was worth it……

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim