On Medium

Catching Up!

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Since I’m working on a couple of book projects and other things, I thought it good to catch y’all up with some posts I’ve done in Medium including two haiku poems (my first attempts).

Enjoy and thanks for reading!


© Ed Henderson Photos (IG– ed_henderson619)

© Ed Henderson Photos (IG– ed_henderson619)

Starry Wonder

A child’s wonder

lost in nighttime starry gaze

endless universe

https://medium.com/@tkbeyond/starry-gaze-4f162167d911


Out of the Ashes

Beauty for ashes, gladness instead of mourning

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denny-muller-1260019-unsplash.jpg

Fire!

“Sir, Ma’am…fire!” We popped out of bed disoriented and pumped with adrenalin. In the early morning darkness, somewhere around 4 am, Susan and I ran out of our room and saw the fire’s glow at the other end of the building where 24 children under our care slept soundly.

I grabbed the fire extinguisher as I ran to the back bedroom and began spraying at the flames. I could almost hear the fire laugh out loud at my feeble attempt to put it out.

I threw the emptied extinguisher on the floor and helped grab the babies in cribs closest to the fire. It was chaotic…intense heat…overwhelming.

We brought the babies and children out to the lawn in front of our building. As I ran back to rescue more children, I could hear the circuit breakers popping and cracking as sparks lit up our kitchen area.

My wife cried out with desperation, “Leanna!” Our teenaged daughter was trapped in her upstairs bedroom. “Go! I’ll keep getting the others!”

Susan dashed up the stairs. As she took hold of the doorknob, she cried out in anguish to our daughter over the roar of the flames and as the doorknob seared her hand.

They stumbled and crawled down the stairs through the smoke to where we gathered the children on the lawn.

A wrenching reality

As we counted the children and staff, a sickening realization wrenched our gut. We hadn’t gotten all the children out!

As Susan started to run back in, the intensity of the heat and spectacle of flames made it clear—no one else could be rescued. As she cried out, “My babies!” I restrained my wife from a desperate attempt to save those missing.

Some of our staff woke three of the older children but they fell back asleep. Two of the babies were consumed by the fire before we could reach them. We were stunned and in shock—mesmerized by the raging fire and tragic reality.

Thankfully, someone—a neighbor, a friend? We don’t know. But they backed the only vehicle we owned away from the building. It was an old car built to hold six to eight people.

We piled ourselves into and onto the car—nineteen babies and children and a few staff and our family.

As we drove into the darkness of the early morning, the firetruck arrived—too late to be of any help but to douse the twisted ruins of our children’s home.

As we drove out our driveway, dodging the firetruck and weaving through the onlooking neighbors, we headed to the only place of refuge we knew. All we had was each other and what we wore to bed.

We were stunned and in shock — mesmerized by the raging fire and tragic reality

Continue reading… Out of the Ashes


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Refreshed

fresh spring wildflowers

splashes of color refresh

reviving my soul

https://medium.com/haiku-hub/refreshed-92dbf48641b6


A Maligned Gift and Enduring Memorial

What do you have to offer Jesus?

Mary-anoints-Jesus Julius-Schnorr-von-Carolsfeld / Photo thanks to–  povcrystal.blogspot.com

Mary-anoints-Jesus Julius-Schnorr-von-Carolsfeld / Photo thanks to– povcrystal.blogspot.com

I read two posts a while ago about kindness and it got me thinking about how we may have differing personal views on kindness. This personal view involves our motives and intents — how and why we value kindness and perhaps what we consider as kindness.

A simple story found in three of the four gospels — Matthew, Mark, and John — reveals at least two different views on kindness. It also reveals the heart and character of two people — known for very different reasons.

I’ll give a synopsis of the story below but you can read it for yourself here — Matt 26:6–13Mark 14:3–9John 12:2–8.

A story of two hearts

Following the Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, at the beginning of the week and before the Passover Feast, a woman named Mary comes to anoint Jesus with an expensive ointment as He reclines at a meal given in His honor.

Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead only a short while before this, reclined at the table with Jesus at the home of Simon the leper. Martha, the sister of Lazarus, is busy serving the guests as her sister Mary anoints Jesus with fragrant spikenard.

As the fragrance of the oil filled the room, it prompted a complaint and caused some dissension.

Why the complaint?

It was seen as a waste of money. Who complained? None other than Judas who would soon betray Jesus — the focus of this act of pure love.

Mary understood who Jesus was and expressed her love and devotion by sitting at the feet of Jesus as her sister Martha served. Once again, her devotion to Jesus caused some dissension. This time with her sister, Martha, who complained to Jesus about her workload because of Mary (Luke 10:38–42).

When Mary poured her oil on Jesus, it was an expression of love, a picture of true worship.

It’s as if she poured her soul out to honor Jesus. It was true kindness.

Continue reading… A Maligned Gift and Enduring Memorial


Spiritual Talk

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Can someone really hear God speak?

When you hear people say things like, “The Lord told me…,” do you wonder how this happens or if they really hear from God?

Do they have some mystical connection with God or are they just hearing voices? Or, is this just some spiritual sounding talk?

I’m really skeptical of anyone who says to me, “The Lord told me to tell you….” And yet, throughout the Bible, we read of God speaking to people.

This is a test…

Years ago, when I took courses to be certified as a substance abuse counselor, I needed to take the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI). Several questions dealt with hearing voices and God speaking.

The clinical bias of the test was that if you heard God speak, or heard any other voices, your mental stability was in question.

Since I understood this, I carefully picked my way through the test. And if you’re wondering — yes, I passed the test and my courses.

So, how is it possible to hear God’s voice and be in your right mind?

Continue reading… Spiritual Talk


3 Approaches to Cultural Shifts

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Finding a better way to approach cultural change

Culture is dynamic. Fluid. Fickle. Culture changes over time. Sometimes with extreme pendular swings. Popular culture is reflective of shared beliefs, values, and social norms.

Each swing of culture has its own trends like currents within an ocean or sea. These trends are movements within the larger cultural context.

People tend to respond in one of three general ways to pendular swings in culture — to reject, embrace, or engage each swing. Only one of these approaches is effective in bringing helpful change or productive dialogue.

These pendular swings have one fixed point — human nature.

Though these swings may be wide or wild extremes, it all pivots on self — our basic nature. Not our identity but our being — our innate essence which centers around self-preservation.

Cultural swings have one fixed point — human nature


Continue reading… 3 Approaches to cultural shifts

Lane-Locked

So locked in you can’t see beyond

I do a fair amount of driving and there are a few routes I take pretty often in and out of town. While driving I’ve observed a common behavior. At first, it perturbed me but then gave way to some pondering.

I noticed how people would line up in a lane, sometimes miles before necessary, to exit onto another road or offramp. This seems to hold true for right or left-hand turns. This impedes traffic and causes unnecessary congestion along the way.

A similar pet peeve I have about drivers are those who insist on driving in the fast lane—you know, the farthest left lane (in America) intended for traffic that moves faster than those in other lanes.

These drivers hold to their speed and resist moving over regardless of the speed limit or line of cars backed up behind them.

When it’s time for their turnoff they drive across two or three lanes of traffic to get in the right lane—where they should be already!

But this is not a post about traffic habits nor a rant about frustrating drivers. It’s an observation on life — and faith.

An observation

It’s easy to get so locked into where we’re going we don’t see any other possibilities than what’s straight ahead in our view of things.

Continue reading this on Medium—click here– Lane-Locked

Why? — The Perennial Question

Moving beyond the dark cloud

I just couldn’t shake the heaviness.

It seemed to hold on to me no matter how much I prayed or read my Bible.

Why?!

This was my continuing question of God as I endured a dark spiritual fog. It’s the perennial question we all ask when things don’t make sense or seem to go crossways to what we believe.

I was a young believer and recently married. We were very involved in our church and I served in various ways each week. We were doing all the right things. So, why did this heaviness stay with me?

I sought the counsel of others older in the faith and the answer was the same. It’s just a trial—a time of testing me and my faith. Just keep praying, reading the Bible, serving, and stay in fellowship. It was good advice.

But the dark heaviness continued.

This perplexed me and I kept trying to figure out what was wrong. Was I doing all the right things in a wrong way? No. It didn’t seem to be that.

This time of testing went on for weeks. Much longer than I expected or been told trials like this should go on.

More questions

Perhaps it was an intense spiritual attack?

So, I read about spiritual attacks and how to battle them. I would envision putting on the spiritual armor Paul spoke of in Ephesians (Eph 6:13–18 NIV). I would pray earnestly and claim victory over the enemy of my soul!

But the heaviness prevailed…

Continue reading this post on Medium—click here– Why?—The Perennial Question

Those People Are Us

Those people!

Are there people in your life who only seem to come around when they have some need? Then they act like they’re your BFF?

They may want to borrow some money, need a ride, or be rescued from some crisis. They come to you when they need help but when the need is met, they’re gone again. When another need arises they’ll be back for more help.

In my roles as pastor in the US and later as a director of two ministries overseas, this was a common occurrence. I found some people to be in chronic need of help. Little time would pass when some new crisis hit their life.

But there were some people who needed assistance but once it was given they seemed to be stable and able to move forward on their own.

Some people just blurt out what they need or want right away. But for some, it takes a while to build up the courage to ask for whatever it is they need.

One lesson my wife and I learned over the years is there is not enough money or time to fill the needs of those who came to us for help. We had limited resources and limitations on our capacity to help.

So we did what we could with what we had to offer.

We are those people

The thing is—we are those people with God. You and me. All of us. Think about it. Be honest.

Continue reading this post on Medium—click here– Those People Are Us

Wise Counsel

What is your source of wisdom?

How can anyone resist the pull of peer pressure? It’s easy to say, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything!” But resisting the influence of others is not so easy.

At times, the forcefulness of other people intimidates us. Some people sound so convincing when they present an opportunity or plan as an adventure or a sure bet we need to get in on.

Sometimes, we don’t want to be left out of a group of people who seem to have something special. These are some of the ways we get pulled along in a way we should not go.

Here’s where wise counsel comes in but where to find it? God’s design is for parents to be a source of wisdom and guidance for their children. But not all parents are suited to do this nor do all children have parents present to do so.

The Proverbs of Solomon provide one source of wisdom, often given as a father to a son or in the figurative sense of a woman calling out to anyone who will listen. Here is a father’s admonition to an older son—

My son, listen to your father’s discipline, and do not neglect your mother’s teachings,

Continue reading this post on Medium—click here— Wise Counsel