Monday, April 4, 2011

Light of the World...

The Lord calls on us to serve by being disciples of his word.  I recently had the opportunity to talk to a troubled youth – and when I say youth, I just mean one that is younger than me…which is half the population – as I transported this 20 year old kid to jail for drug related offenses.  As I spoke to him, my normal course of conversation was related to the job.  Talked about things such as how long he had been using, what he was using, how much, what affects he felt, etc. These were questions designed to increase my knowledge and experience.

Matthew 5: 14-16 ~ 14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

As I often do now, I was listening to K-Love radio on the way to the jail.  While we were talking, the morning show crew was interviewing Shawn McDonald about his life and where the Lord has taken him on his journey.  I stopped talking and listened to the interview.  I was also watching the facial expressions of the kid in my back seat.

Shawn was talking about how he started being a typical mischievous kid toilet papering houses and simple bouts of vandalism.  He then began hanging with the wrong crowd of people and his life went downhill fast.  Shawn was stealing, selling and using drugs.  Shawn then talked about how he came to find the Lord again and made a conscious decision to change his life and begin seeking the Lord.  The day before police came knocking on his door; he disposed of his drugs leaving officers with nothing to find.  Shawn had many trials and tribulations since that point, but continued to find his way back to the Lord.

During this interview, I could see the expressions changing on the face of the kid in my back seat as he pondered his life.  At the conclusion of the interview, I thought about what to say to this kid.  I could have continued with my education interview, but I chose to talk to him about the Lord.  I asked him if he listened to the interview and he told me he had.  He told me the story sounded similar to his.  This 20-year-old kid has been addicted to Oxy for the past five years and similar to Shawn, he began hanging out with the wrong crowd.

This kid had attempted to break away from the habit, going to rehab and not hanging with his same group of people.  He talked about how hard it was to give up the lifestyle, especially when he would find himself back with the same group of people.  I took a deep breath and asked him if he had ever been to church and he told me he had.  I then took the opportunity to give him my testimony.  I told him that just as Shawn had done, if he gave himself to the Lord and asked for forgiveness and help with escaping his current lifestyle, the Lord would provide for him.  I told him that it was not going to end overnight, but it would take time and perserveraence.

As he and I talked during the booking process, I could tell that he was searching for a way out.  Just prior to slamming the door shut to the intake cell, I told him to take the time to pray and ask the Lord for help and guidance.  I told him I found the Lord and so could he.  I wished him the best of luck as the heavy steel doors swung closed with a loud Thud…

We lose our way, 
We get back up again 
It's never too late to get back up again, 
One day you will shine again, 
You may be knocked down, 
But not out forever..

Toby Mac – Get Back Up

Whether or not he will take my advice is unknown to me.  Whether or not someone will change based on what you say or do, you must continue to be the Light of the World so others “may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven”.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

How many of you have without thinking about it, said a little prayer prior to making a decision?  We do not need to do it when deciding what to have for lunch, but you may want to ask whether or not we take the red pill or the blue pill (Matrix Fans).

Mady and I recently read in her bible stories, Joshua 9 regarding the Gibeonites deceiving the Israelites.  Joshua was deceived by the Gibeonites into making a treaty with them to prevent being attacked.  Joshua, based on face value, agreed to the treaty without consulting the Lord.  Joshua did not need to head up to a mountain and spend a week fasting for an answer, not that it would not hurt.  He just needed to ask the Lord for guidance.

Matthew 7:7-8 ~ “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened”

I know the Lord has a plan for us and I do not believe you or I would be able to figure out that plan on our own without asking.  Many decisions we make are based on educated guesses and decisions based on hunches or past experiences without consulting the Lord.  If we take the time to pray and ask the Lord for guidance, he will most often give you the answers you need to make the right decisions.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Reassurance of Faith

I got a little reminder about faith from Madyson early Saturday morning.  She reminded me that although we have faith in something, sometimes we need reassurance that what you have faith in is still there.

At about 4am on Saturday morning, I heard the sound of Mady’s bedroom door opening which woke me.  I then heard my door open and Mady came into my room but did not say anything.  She simply walked to the foot of my bed, touched my feet under the covers, turned around and walked out of the room.  She walked back to her room, closed her door and tucked herself back in.  That was it, the extent of her actions.

I lay in bed for a little thinking about what she had done and then went and checked on her.  She was back asleep as if she had not made the venture into my room.  I am sure Madyson knew I was home, but for whatever reason, she was questioning her faith.  She needed some reassurance that I was home and ventured out not to wake me, but just to reassure herself that I was there.

Hebrews 13:5 ~ "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

Many times we need reminders that that although we cannot see the Lord, he is always there.  This need for a reminder does not mean we lack faith, it merely means we are human.  The Lord knows we are human and are prone to make wrong decisions, lose our way and question his existence.

One definition of faith is “a firm belief in something for which there is no proof”.  Although this is true to some extent, there is proof all around us that the Lord exists.  We do not have to look far to see the miracles the Lord provides to us every day.  The sun rises and sets, the waves crash and the wind blows, there is birth and there is death.  Many of us take these daily miracles for granted, but they are constant reminders of the power of the Lord.

If we look in Exodus, Moses provided many examples of the Lords presence to the Israelites as he led them out of Egypt.  The Israelites were witness to many of the Lord’s miracles, from the parting of the Red Sea, food when they were hungry and he even presented himself to them at the base of Mt. Sinai.  Even with these miracles, some lost their faith.

2 Corinthians 5: 6-7 ~ “Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight.

Even in times of despair, when all hope is gone, there is a reason why the phrase “Have Faith” is often stated.  We are here for a purpose, part of the Lord’s plan.  The Lord is constantly working miracles around us, we just have to be open to seeing those miracles to help give us the reassurance we need to believe and have Faith in the Lord.

"Would you dare, would you dare to believe
That you still got a reason to sing?
'Cause the pain that you're feeling
It can't compare to the joy that's coming."

Josh Wilson – Before the Morning

As Madyson knew I was there, but needed reassurance, Christians sometimes need reassurance that the Lord is also still there.  We do not need to touch the feet of Jesus to believe, we just need to be a witness to the miracles around us, and recognize they that happen around us.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Eight Years Ago Today...

Eight years ago today at about 1650 hrs, I received a telephone call from David. He was surprised I answered the phone as he thought I was in the mountains snowboarding. I informed him I went up the day before and I was back at work. I did not think anything of it and he asked if I would do him a favor. I did not hesitate to tell him, yeah, sure…but what he asked was strange, but again, thought nothing of it.

David told me he was going to call me back and leave a voicemail on my phone. David asked me not to check it until later that night when I was home, again strange, but thought nothing of it. He called back and I let it go to voicemail. Ok, there is brotherly love, then there is curiosity, and so I did not wait until I got home and checked the voicemail.
1 Thessalonians 4:9 – Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another

I began to listen to the message that according to the time stamp said it was five minutes long. I began thinking to myself, what kind of voicemail is this that is five minutes long. He started talking about sending me a package and it would arrive on Friday. At about the two-minute mark, I began to understand what it was, especially when he began telling me to tell mom he was sorry and that he loved her very much. I have heard and read many suicide notes over the years and realized that was what this was.

The technology savvy person that most of you know collapsed under the pressure of hearing this, and instead of saving the message, I inadvertently deleted it. To this day, I have never heard the full message he left for me.

The next several hours were excruciating for me. I immediately tried calling David back and it went to voicemail. I learned during this time when my coworkers called Milpitas Police Department to send an officer by his house to check on him that he no longer worked for them. David was released from his Field Training Program just after Christmas.

David told me he completed his Field Training Program and took a couple of weeks off at the end of his training. This was his explanation to me as to why he planned a trip to Hawaii the first couple of weeks of January. I just figured…he worked for them for a year…he earned vacation time so he was taking it. Again, I did not think anything of it.

I was sent home because there was nothing more I could do. I continued to call his cell phone repeatedly until I got home. The next thing I had to do, which was one of the hardest things in my life, was to tell my mom and dad what happened and what I suspected the outcome would be. To this day, I cannot remember how it went, what was said, I have blocked it out of my mind. The rest of the evening was fielding phone calls from Milpitas Police Department, friends and family.

I am not sure of the time, but I think it was about 9pm when a co-worker came over and told me they were able to track David’s phone to the San Luis Obispo area. I sat at the foot of the stairs as he told me this, I thought, maybe they would find him and he would be all right. He then told me they found him and apparently, I missed the “found him dead” part because I had this sense of relief. He then repeated it and I lost it…completely lost it.

David loved Hawaii and the beach. I was told David was found in the rental car (Said in his letter to me he did not want to soil his BMW) parked on the beach itself. He most likely watched the sunset as it was about that time of the evening.

It is often said the number of friends who attend your funeral (that is of course unless you outlive your friends) often measures the legacy you leave behind. The outpouring of support I received the next several weeks and months was amazing. It showed how much my friends and family loved me.

The next several weeks were very difficult, but as the days passed, so did some of the hurt. However, these were also the crucial days, which tested my faith, and I succumbed to the Devil. I allowed the Devil’s thoughts to win and I blamed the Lord for David’s death. I began to hate David for being so selfish, and the Lord for allowing this to happen to our family. I began to wallow in sorrow, anger and hatred. These feelings grew even more when I was told about two weeks after David’s death that I needed to snap out of my funk, move on with life because I had a family to take care of.

Psalm 37:8 - Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret - it leads only to evil.
I did just that, I moved on, but I continued to hate and was angry at everything. Most of it directed towards David, my job and Stacey. I began to see the demise of my marriage, issues at work and a change in my overall character.

Anyway, I digress. I wanted to give a little insight into that day, eight years ago.

Because I was full of anger and hatred, I missed the Lord talking to me on several occasions in the month following David’s death.
Proverbs 1:33 – But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil.
I was driving home from work one day and I felt this presence in the car with me. It was so strong, I actually looked around the passenger compartment feeling there was someone lurking inside with me. I felt this calm and heard a voice telling me it was David and he was all right. This was not enough for me and I dismissed it.

Exactly 30 days later, I was at work heading back to the station from the Court House. I remember pulling up to the intersection of W. Las Positas Blvd and Hopyard Road and I got a voicemail notification on my cell phone. It was one of those random voicemails without the phone ringing. There was no cell phone law at that time, and I checked the voicemail. There was a message but no content, as if someone had called, heard the voicemail prompt and hung up. Instead of deleting the empty message, I pulled up the envelope information.

This is what I heard. “You received a call from an outside caller, ‘David Harnish’”. The David Harnish was in David’s voice. I had to pull over and I began to cry. I again heard this voice telling me that David was all right and that I did not need to be so hard on myself because I had deleted David’s last voicemail. Again, even though I heard the voice, I did not listen and dismissed it.

The following is an excerpt from my eulogy to David. I had not read the Eulogy since David’s funeral services in its entirety. As I was writing this entry, I found the eulogy on my computer and read it.

My Aunt Esther sent my dad a letter after David died. The following is an excerpt from her letter. She stated some people say that the victims of suicide are cowardly and selfish. Nothing could be further from the truth. They are self-centered because they are so overwhelmed with problems, but they are not selfish and they are not cowardly. In fact, they take their own lives because they feel they have nothing to contribute to those around them, that they have no right to breathe the air or eat the food that could be eaten by others, and that they should take their own lives because they have no right to live any more. They believe that their living hurts those around them and the only way to take away that hurt is to take away their own lives. Jesus said, "Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for those precious to him." That is exactly what David was trying to do.
As I read the last passage again, I could not help but begin to cry as I had come to realize several years ago that David’s death saved me on several occasions, one night in particular.
John 15:13 – Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for those precious to him.
After much prayer and soul searching, I know in my heart David’s death was part of the Lord’s plan. The Lord knew of David’s troubles and decided it was time for David to return to the Lord’s Table and wait for all of us. David's death helped to save my life, and someday other than the few I have confided in, I may be able to tell that story.
Psalm 23:6 - Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I WILL dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Life is but a blink of the eye, but to the Lord, it is an eternity as he waits for all his children to return to him.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Simple Faith

The recent tragic events in Arizona have made me take a step back to reflect on how “Faith” has gotten me through many rough times in my life. Even when I turned on the Lord, considered myself Agnostic, I still had faith in something out there watching over me.

Webster’s defines “Agnostic” as A Person who holds the view that any ultimate reality is unknown and probably unknowable; broadly: one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a God.

Generally speaking, “An Agnostic does not deny the existence of God and heaven but holds that one cannot know for certain whether or not they exist.” ~ Word History

After the death of my brother, I did turn on the Lord. I questioned who he was and if he was in fact my Savior, how could he let this happen to my family? Fortunately, with my religious background, I did not become an Atheist, or one who completely turned and did not believe there was a God in Heaven.

This Agnostic view I took was not me saying there was NO God, but a view by a person who had LOST HIS faith and questioned whether there was an existence of a God and Savior.

Sunday’s sermon (1/9/11) was based on Mark 5: 21 – 34 – “A Simple Faith”.

The passage is a long one, but verse 34 states:
“He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
A young woman who had been suffering an ailment for 12 years is healed by barely touching the garment of Jesus Christ. Nothing more than her faith in the healing powers of Jesus Christ was needed to be healed.

When tragedy hits close to home, we tend to have our faith shaken, sometimes to the core of who we are. When we are not on solid ground, we tend to lose our faith very easily and sometimes quickly. My faith leading up to and during this time was not on solid ground. I allowed many things to negatively influence my life up to this point; I had built my faith on sand and not on solid rock.
Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
I read the following Passage I found online while researching articles related to losing faith:
“There are times in a Christian’s life, maybe because of hardships or disappointments that causes us to question God. We may ask God why did he allow this or that to happen. “Why God did you not help me when I needed it, or someone else needed it?” Some may lose faith so much that they allow Satan’s influence on the world to cause them to even doubt if God is really there.” ~ ttp://

Life itself is based on Faith. Even an Atheist has to have faith that when they go to sleep the previous night, that they will wake the following morning and the world will not have ended. The basis of our relationship with the Lord is that of Faith. The faith that he exists, that he sent his only begotten son Jesus Christ to die on the Cross to SAVE us, faith that he loves each and every one of us.
I believe in God as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else." ~ C.S. Lewis

I wrote before that I saw this quote many times in the past several months, but never understood or “heard” its meaning. To me, this quote tells me our relationship with the Lord is based on Faith for what we cannot see as well as what we can see. Although we have never seen the Lord, his work is all around us, in nature, in people and in life. All we have to do is open our eyes, our hearts and our soul to him.

Throughout my life and career, I have experienced things many people go through their lives never experiencing. I have become all too familiar with tragedy, death and sorrow; however, I have also had many occasions to come in contact with happiness, joy and life. I have seen both the good in people as well as seeing the unimaginable. Other than the wonderful birth of my children, I have been present at the beginning of life to being given the opportunity at making the last attempts to keep the life from slipping from a person.

I recently posted on my Facebook status that I was talking with a friend how with all I have seen and experienced that it’s surprising “I haven’t lost it over the years”. This is true not just with the personal issues I have faced, but with the work related issues I have dealt with.

At the age of 23, within the first six months of my career, I stopped a car in the Oakland Hills that carried the body of a 16-year-old girl in the trunk. Fortunately, I had literally made this stop minutes before she was going to be killed and dumped into the woods. The things I later learned about what her assailant had done to her prior to placing her in the trunk of her own car made me sick to my stomach.

Within the same six months, I attended my first of many funerals for a slain Police Officer. The only difference was I had spent six months the year before with Oakland Police Officer Keith Konapaseck in the Police Academy. The first time you hear Amazing Grace on the bagpipes at a fellow Officer and friend’s funeral is one you will never forget.

After Keith’s death, as a 23-year-old rookie cop, I lost it mentally. I made stupid mistakes at work that put myself in danger, put my co-workers in danger and put the citizen’s I was tasked to protect in danger. Fortunately, I had several supervisors who saw my abilities and had the “Faith” in me to become a good officer and send me to mandatory counseling.

These are just two examples of what I have experienced the past 16 ½ years in Law Enforcement. Even with my experiences, if I did not have faith in the Lord, I do not think I could have continued to do my job without “losing” it. Everyday I put my life into his hands and went out doing my job knowing that I did not want to fall, but if I did, it was his plan and he would provide for my family. I knew that even though I had made mistakes, he still loved me.

After David died, I did lose my faith because I was not on solid ground and I allowed Satan to influence my life even more than he already had. I did not care what happened to me. Once you lose your faith, or your faith is shaken, it takes a lot to regain that faith, especially if you are not living God’s plan and by the teachings of Jesus Christ.

My cousin Andy told me last month, I needed to humble myself, give up my pride, and seek forgiveness from the Lord. My pride cost me a lot over the years and took me on a path I should not have gone on. Since humbling myself and giving up my pride, I have opened my heart and found the path the Lord was trying to get me back on all of these years. I have truly seen the blessings bestowed on me in the last month and a half because of my Faith. As I have opened my eyes to the Lord, I look back and see the blessings that have always been there.

Life is full of bad days;
FAITH in the Lord says he will provide you with many good days.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Happy 38th Birthday David

I wanted to give some of you a little bit of insight into my brother.

38 years ago today, Lee David Harnish was brought into this world. Roughly, 20 months apart in age, he and I were almost inseparable growing up and acted like twins. Maybe part of that was that my mom felt the need to dress us identical, or maybe it was just and Asian thing.

1 John 2:9 – 10 ~ Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling.

David and I were born in Vietnam and came over to the states just after he was born. We started off on the island of Oahu and then migrated to the Big Island. David loved the islands but for me, I felt a longing for travel. I wanted to explore and not go in circles around the island.

My dad chose a supervisor position with his company in 1985. The only problem was that it was in California. At first, I did not want to move. I had good friends and was just going to be starting high school. The thought of High School in a new state was extremely scary. For David, moving to a new state from one that he truly loved was hard for him.

Once we got here, he never really felt in and always had a desire to go back. After moving to California, David and I grew apart. He was more of a rebellious kid who tended to be more popular.

When David got to High School, he and I were completely different from the two kids growing up in Hawaii. I cannot remember doing much with David while at school, let alone away from school.

When David was 15 years old, David and his best friend at the time decided to run away, stealing his friend’s grandmother’s car and leaving a note about driving off a cliff. The next call we received was that David, while driving the car, took a tree head on and was in a Coma in a hospital in Salinas. For the next 19 days, my parents were at his side for most of the time. Thanks to great friends like Manuel Dela Cruz who drove me back and forth countless times, I was able to spend time with him.

David came out of his coma and for the next 6 months, worked at his physical therapy and school. His goal was to walk across the stage with his class. David was determined and he in fact walked across the stage with his graduating class. I think when that happened, I felt he was all right.

David went on to San Jose State University, a 4-year college. Something I could not manage to do, get into a 4-year college. He completed his degree and became a Physical Therapist, something he aspired to do after his many hours with several Physical Therapists during his recovery.

The relationship between David and I grew further apart as he moved down to the San Jose area and we maybe saw him a couple times a year. Some of this was to my fault, as I did not make the effort to go and see him. David was dating a wonderful person who had a wonderful little girl. Our family fell in love with Catie and Serina. I cherish the times we all spent together and loved seeing the pictures of the three of them together.

Unexpectedly, David comes to me and tells me that he wants to become a Police Officer. I later learned from his roommate Kelly, that he always looked up to me and the career path I had chosen. Something he never told me.

The next two years, David and I became closer than we had in years. We were having lunch together, talking on the phone and talking about strategies for the hiring process. David was hired by Milpitas Police Department, we continued to grow closer as he and I would talk about the Academy.

David and I began snowboarding together. He wanted me to go skydiving with him, but because of work and family, I never got around to going with him.

David graduated from his academy and I have regret when that happened. I was a rule follower and did not have permission to wear my uniform to his graduation. I wish I had a picture of David and me in our uniforms. I was truly honored when he asked me to pin his badge on him.

David began his FTO program and began having problems. Part of the issues had to do with David, but I believe part of his problems had to do with and FTO that did not feel he “earned” his way into the career because he had a relative in Law Enforcement. For whatever reason, David, the perfectionist began to come down hard on himself.

David was eventually let go from the Field Training Program, but told me he was demoted from Police Officer to more of a Transport Officer. The next thing I knew, David was telling me he was going on vacation after completing his FTO Program. I thought it was weird and but did not think anything of it. David spent a week and a half in Hawaii a place I came to learn he loved very much and never wanted to leave.

David spent his 30th birthday with our family celebrating Madyson’s 1st birthday, which happened to fall on the 21st, a day after his. This was the last time I saw David.

The next part of the story will be told on the 30th of this month.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Don't Judge a Book by Its Cover

On the way to work this morning, I was listening to Lisa and Eric, the morning show crew on K-love. They spoke about picking one word for the year for 2011. I had already made my New Year’s Resolution, but this dealt with picking a one-word resolution as to how you see your life and how the Lord wants to work through you in 2011.

As I thought about it, I chose the word “SERVICE”.

1 Peter 4:10 – 11 ~ “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever, Amen.”

I have been in a Service Career for the past 20 years, but haven’t really thought about serving with the Lord in mind. How you serve others can be one way to show your testament as to your love for the Lord.

Today at work, I met Mr. Jones. Mr. Jones was hanging out at the local hospital and not wanting to leave. The person who called felt he was a drunk and needed to go to jail because he smelled of alcohol and would not leave.

I went to the call with the mindset of arresting a drunk at 0730 hrs in the morning. I arrived on scene and met Mr. Jones. Mr. Jones was a 62 year old transient and smelled of alcohol. As I have come to learn though, most transients smell like alcohol. Based on my initial observations, yes, I could have probably placed Mr. Jones under arrest for being drunk in public.

I talked to Mr. Jones and learned he was brought to the hospital last night because he was having seizures related to his lack of getting affordable medication to treat complications related to a job related injury where his left arm was amputated just above the elbow. So unless the hospital gave him some alcohol, Mr. Jones still probably had residual alcohol on him, but was not drunk.

I asked Mr. Jones what he needed and he told me he wanted to get to the BART station so he could take the train back to Piedmont/Oakland. Mr. Jones was grateful when out of the blue I offered him a ride to the BART station. He was not used to this level of “service”.

I placed Mr. Jones in the back seat of the car, and as I normally do now, I had K-Love playing on the radio. On the radio at the time was “Open Skies” by David Crowder Band. Mr. Jones immediately told me I had good taste in music and liked this song.
Chorus: “Praise him under open skies, everything breathing praising God, in the company of all who love the King”.
Mr. Jones told me he was a Christian and we talked about his life and how he got to where he was. Mr. Jones was a former Oakland Police Officer back in the 1960’s and had a change of heart after he and his partner had a gun pulled on them while talking to a suspicious person. He decided that there were special people who could do the job, but he felt he could no longer do it.

Mr. Jones said he went back to Cal Berkeley and got his BA and Master’s degrees in Communications and Journalism. He worked in the Communications field and went on law school, but decided against becoming a lawyer because he could not stand them.

Mr. Jones then suffered an on the job injury and lost his left arm. He then sunk into depression and began drinking heavily. Mr. Jones then lost everything and found himself on the street.

I learned all of this from Mr. Jones in a drive that took less than 5 minutes. As we got to the BART station, Mr. Jones who told me he had money for a ticket told me he did not have the money. Whether or not Mr. Jones had the money for a BART ticket, I told him I would buy one for him. So, I bought Mr. Jones a BART ticket and sent him on his way wishing him the best of Luck and told him I would pray for him.

Luke 6:37 ~ “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven”

While I did not compromise my Officer Safety, I handled the call without judging Mr. Jones and learned a little about a stranger.

I have met many people over the years and I’m not saying that I haven’t talked to them or learned a little about them. Many of us go through life and look at homeless and transients and judge them without getting to know them. Although not everyone has a story like Mr. Jones, many of them are lazy, have drug additions or don’t want to help themselves, but you will never know unless you take the time to not judge them from the outside until you know what is on the inside.

Stopped at the red light, looked out my window
I saw a cardboard sign said “Help this homeless widow”
Just above that sign was the face of a human
I thought to myself, “God, what have I been doing?”
So I rolled down the window and I looked her in the eye
Oh how many times have I just passed her by
I gave her some money then I drove on through
in my own little world there’s
Population two, woah

2nd Verse – Matthew West – “My Own Little World”.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Your Love is all I needed

As this year ended, there is one word that sums it up for me…LOVE.

I was able to continue sharing my love of the outdoors with my children. I had the opportunity to take my children to one of my favorite places in the Sierras…Yosemite National Park. We went there with the knowledge that we would probably be snowed on. In addition, we got about a foot and a half dumped on us over night. However, like I know my kids are, they were troopers and they fell in love with the outdoors even more.

Later that year, a co-worker invited us to camp with her family at Pinecrest Lake. Pinecrest Lake? I had heard of it as a party spot, but did not know it was located right below Dodge Ridge, a place I had found about four years ago. As soon as we drove into the campground, I immediately fell in love with the place. My kids and I took our bikes and rode down to the lake. It was beautiful, the way the mountains crossed on the backside of the lake at the inlet. The shoreline lined with cabins tucked into the trees. I had found another place in the Sierra’s I was not familiar with and was hooked. I immediately began planning our trip with their family for next summer.

As things would happen, I found someone who loved the outdoors as much as I did. Her love and knowledge of the Sierra’s was very impressive to me. For a person like me who has spent a lot of time in the Sierra’s, including a 50+ miler, she had spent more time there than I could ever imagine. The romance was a whirlwind relationship that appeared perfect. However, as the relationship went on, it was not perfect, there was something missing.

Proverbs 3:11-12 – My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.

The relationship was missing a mutual relationship with the Lord. An earthly relationship is one that is fraught with difficulty and intrusion by the Devil who seeks to destroy relationships and marriages. Relationships not only need the love of each other, but the love of others and the love of Jesus Christ.

“The greatest gift you can give to your [relationship] is for you to develop a real relationship with Jesus Christ.” ~ John Eldridge

As I read another book by John Eldridge and his wife Stasi Eldridge, I thought about my marriage and my past relationships. I always lived my relationships in fear. The fear of loving, the fear of not being loved, the fear of abandonment, the fear of being chastised if I talked about an issue or just fear in general.

A typical issue was addressing an issue brought up by the other person. If there was an issue that needed to be discussed, the first thing that came to my mind was; there was something wrong with me or with us. I thought ignoring the issue or putting it on the backburner would make the issue “disappear”. I was the master of deflection and putting up my walls to protect myself.

Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you, they are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

As I look back on my life, there has been a lot of pain and suffering I have endured. But for some reason I have not responded well to that pain. Maybe it was part of the outer shell I have developed to cope with my job. Maybe it was “another brick” in the proverbial wall that I have built up over the years. For whatever the reason, the Lord was trying to teach me that I needed him in my life, but I was not listening.

Lamentations 3:32 – 33 ~ Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to any human being.

One of the most painful experiences in my life was when I received the last phone call from my brother. David was surprised that I answered and thought I was up in the mountains snowboarding. He asked me for a favor. He told me he was going to call me back and asked that I not answer the phone and allow it to go to voicemail. “Brotherly Love” is sometimes unconditional and I told him I would not answer the phone. He also asked me not to listen to the message until several hours later that night. Some parts of “Brotherly Love” you question.

Many of you know that that was David’s suicide voicemail to me. To save that story for later, but I did not turn TO the Lord until sometime later. Instead, I did the opposite and turned AWAY from the lord.
Looking at my current situation, the Lord wanted to correct my brokenness. Again, although the Lord does not want to resort hurting his children, I just plain was not listening. My pride and stubbornness was in the way. The Lord brought someone into my life that was helping me to break down those walls, but I was still broken inside. I had personal issues to contend with that did not help with the mend my brokenness. I was still dealing with a contentious divorce, and trying to heal myself and my children from the anger of that relationship.

The Lord then did something and I finally listened. I knew the Lord was always there, I just never “found” him. Over the years I never got it right and kept chasing dreams that were earthly and not on a spiritual level. I have found that the Lord’s Love is all that really matters and all I ever really needed.

I felt it first when I was younger
A strange connection to the light
I tried to satisfy the hunger, I never got it right
I never got it right
So I climbed a mountain and built an altar

Looked out as far as I could see
And everyday I'm getting older, I'm running out of dreams
I'm running out of dreams

But your love, your love

The only thing that matters is 
Your love, your love
Is all I have to give
Your love is enough to light up the darkness
It's your love, your love 
All I ever needed is your love

You know the effort I have given

And you know exactly what it cost
And though my innocence was taken, not everything is lost
Not everything is lost, no

You're the hope in the morning

You're the light when the night is falling
You're the song when my heart is singing
It's your love

You're the eyes to the blind man

You're the feet to the lame man walking
You're the sound to the people singing
It's your love

Your love is all that I needed

All I ever needed is your love
All I ever needed is your love
Your love is all that I needed
All I ever needed is your love
Your love is all that I needed
It's all I ever needed
Brandon Heath – Your Love

My New Year’s Resolution for 2011 is:

“I will NOT love someone with the fear of losing them. I WILL love with all my heart with the desire to HOLD onto them and not self-destruct the relationship. I will LOVE with the LORD in my Heart and by my side.”

Whether or not I find my true love in 2011 is part of God’s plan, this will be my resolution for years to come as to how I plan on living my life and loving the person the Lord has in store for me.

God Bless all of You and I wish you all the best in 2011.