Monthly Archives: January 2015

Hang On, God is Not Finished Yet!

Last week a very difficult situation arose with one of our fellow Oklahomans. Due to some rare complications from the flu and strep throat, a precious little five-year-old girl, by the name of Emersyn (Emmy) Waddle, passed away. Emmy’s story was picked up by the news media and followed widely on social media. Truly, thousands of people, in a matter of just a few days were gripped and moved by little Emmy’s story. I was one of those touched by this story and would like to share a few thoughts related to it.

As many of you know, my seven-year-old son, Trey Freeman, went to be with the Lord on September 1, 2013. I have referenced his story a number of times in this column, but have written extensively about our journey on my personal blog site at Because of what our family has been through, whenever I hear of others dealing with the loss of a child, my heart is immediately connected with them, even if I do not know them. When I heard about Emmy, and although I did not know them personally, I began praying for her and her family. My heart was immediately connected, and I found myself weeping with them, praying with them, and grieving with them. I was following the updates on their Facebook page (Praying4Emmy) and hoping and longing with everyone else for God to heal this precious little girl.

It was not long before I saw Emmy’s mom post something that was all too familiar to me. On their Facebook page she said, “Unless God intervenes Emersyn Leigh will be in Heaven today.” At 8:57pm that night, sweet little Emmy went to be with her Savior, Jesus Christ. When I read that, I was immediately taken back to September 1, 2013 where my family and I experienced the exact same thing. We were desperate for God to intervene and bring healing, but God chose to bring a different kind of healing, a better kind of healing. With Trey, and now Emmy, our good and gracious Heavenly Father chose to heal these precious children in the most excellent of all ways. He chose to deliver them from this fallen world, a world plagued by sickness, disease, and death, and heal them eternally. The grace of God carried these precious children straight into His loving arms, and while our heart grieves, it also rejoices.

This life is hard. It is really hard. But, if you believe the Bible, then you understand why. The Bible tells us that this world is not all that there is. This world is fallen because of sin, and the effects of sin are devastating. But, God is not finished yet! One day, there will be a New Heaven and a New Earth where there will be no more sin, pain, suffering, or death. God has made us to live for eternity, and those who embrace His Son, Jesus Christ, as Lord and Savior are guaranteed eternity with Him. This is why we must live for what matters, eternal things. My favorite verse is 2 Corinthians 4:18, which says, “So we fix our eyes, not on what we can see, but on what we cannot see; for what is seen is temporary and what is unseen is eternal.” Today, make sure you know Jesus Christ and make sure you live for eternal things. Hang on, because God is not finished yet!

Be Known By Your Giving, Not Your Keeping

I have a friend who loves to say, “You find your life as you give it away.”  He takes this personal slogan from the Bible when Jesus says, “Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever wants to lose his life for Me and My sake will find it.”  Those words of Jesus reflect the very essence of the Christian life. Christians should be known by what they give, not by what they keep.

I am currently in the middle of a sermon series that is focusing on stewardship.  Stewardship is simply taking care of, or managing well, the things God gives us: things such as money, time, talents, and possessions.  These messages have been very challenging and convicting.  When we truly take time to stop and think about how we use the things God gives us, we often discover that we are using those things more for ourselves than for God and other people.  We become guilty of storing up more for ourselves instead of helping others in their time of need.

As 2015 keeps rolling along, here are four things that might encourage all of us to develop the mindset and lifestyle of being known by what we give away and not by what we keep:

First, connect with a healthy church.  Healthy churches will not be focused inwardly, but outwardly.  By connecting with a good church, you can join with other believers and truly make a difference in the lives of many people. You can do good things on your own, but together, we can do more.

Second, get involved with foster/adoptive care.  There is a tremendous need in Oklahoma related to children who are in vulnerable and difficult situations. If you cannot foster or adopt a child, you can support and help families who are. There are many in our church who are involved in orphan care, my family included, and there are great opportunities to help.  As I often tell my church, “There shouldn’t be a child in Oklahoma who doesn’t have a home.”

Third, develop a “see a need, meet a need” lifestyle.  When you become aware of a need, seek to meet it if you can.  Be looking for opportunities to assist others and, as you discover needs, meet the ones you can.  Each and every day, there are people who are hungry, hurting, discouraged, etc., and if each of us did what we could each day, we could truly make a difference.

Finally, pray.  Prayer is one of God’s greatest gifts to us.  At the very least, pray for people.  When you go through the drive-through window, pray.  When you walk in the mall, pray.  When you are at school, work, or even driving down the road, pray.  Pray for all people, in all seasons, at all times.  Prayer connects us to the heart of God, and God’s heart is to redeem people.

This year, I hope we will all seek to develop a “God first, others second” lifestyle.  I pray that we will be known not by what we keep, but by what we give.  The world is in need of people who live like this.  Join me in seeking to live this way.

Quiet Time!

My life is busy. From sun up to sun down, I am always running as fast as I can. It can be very overwhelming, and of course tiring at times. In fact, every person I meet seems to be living a busy life too. I do not think I have ever spoken with someone who said, “I really wish I had more things to do.” If that person exists, I would like to meet them and find out their secret.

In a world full of noise, instant access to each other through social media, texting, and many other forms of technology, it can be virtually impossible to find personal quiet time. Quiet time is critical though. There is incredible value in getting time to pray, think, reflect, listen, and just be still. This is an area I am ever growing in and something I have to work hard to get, but when I get it, it is worth it.

The Bible tells us in Psalm 46:10 to “Be still and know that He is God…”  There is simply something refreshing and calming about getting still before the Lord and listening to Him speak. When we get away from the noise and daily craziness of life, there is something about the quiet that allows us to refocus, reenergize, and regroup. There are many benefits that come from getting some personal quiet time, but here are four quick worthwhile reasons to do it:

  1. We listen better when we are still. As a parent of five children, nothing drives me crazier than when I am trying to talk to my kids and they will not be still. Adults can be just as bad. We live at such fast paces that we can often hear the wrong things. Getting alone and getting still before God allows for time to really stop and listen. It is amazing what we learn when we just stop and listen;
  1. We often see things more clearly when we slow down. Sometime we can get moving so fast that everything around can seem blurry. When we sit down and get still, it is amazing the clarity that comes. Sometimes the answer is right before us, but until we slow down, we do not see it. Quiet time may not change our circumstances, but it often changes how we see them;
  1. We often make better decisions when we stop and reflect. No important decision should be made without careful thought and much prayer. It is difficult to do either of those things if you never slow down. In the quiet places of life, where we listen and see more clearly, we will make better decisions;
  1. We tend to trust more and stress less when get time alone with God. I heard someone say this one time, “Don’t think about it until you’ve prayed about it, and once you’ve prayed about it, don’t worry about it.” All human beings have a tendency to worry, and when we worry, we stress. Getting alone with God puts you in a position to give Him your worries and to trust Him with what concerns you. I have discovered that when I do not get alone, I try and carry everything on my own, and that never works out well. God tells us to “cast our cares on Him because He cares for us.”

There are obviously many more benefits to getting some alone time, but the four I have mentioned have helped me tremendously, and I pray might help and encourage you. Even if you can just get five minutes of alone time each day, it will be time well spent.

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