Monday, April 7, 2014

"The God Who Sees Me"



"So she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, 'You are a God of seeing,' for she said, 'Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.'" -Gen. 16:13

Today I didn't just talk to God. Today, I cried out to El-Roi, "The God who sees me". I was driving into work, thinking of a young girl who just found out she is pregnant. I was thinking of three little ones...very special to Julianna and I...But with all this going on in my head, I wasn't praying. I was simply thinking. And I certainly wasn't crying out to El-Roi.

Then, my mom called and informed me that my very pregnant sister-in-law had a seizure and was on the way to the hospital. In that moment, all I could do was cry out. All I could do was beg the God who sees all of it.

I begged God on behalf of His mercy. I thanked Him for His faithfulness to my family but then quickly asked Him to not forsake us now. I clung to my only hope for mery; the cross. I spoke of the blood spilled. I spoke of the wrath that He already poured out on His perfect Son. I begged for mercy... Then, as humbly as I could, I told Him that my head understood His will is always best, but that my heart wasn't ready, nevertheless, His will be done.

El-Roi saw...and He answered:

 
One day Callen Ambrose Ryan will hear of this day. On that day he will hear of El-Roi. The God who saw him, formed him, and then protected him. He will hear of the perseverance of the many who cried out on his behalf. And I hope, on that day, he will then know El-Roi for the rest of his days. Praise to El-Roi! The God who, in His mercy, sees all!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

To the One Considering Suicide

 
 



Dear Hurting Soul Considering Suicide:

I am writing you today because I am for you. In the midst of emotion I would want to say, "It's the cowards way out." But it's not cowardly to be so desperate that you are willing to face death, the one thing that can scare the most courageous of people. I want to say, "You are being selfish" but for some, you consider it only because you see it as the least selfish thing you can do to remove yourself as a "burden to others".

Friend, please don't. Whatever it is that makes you think suicide is your best option, it's a lie. You may have heard that it will end your suffering, but for some, it would only send you to a place of even more immense suffering. You may have heard that it will cause all that have hurt you to collapse in sorrow over what they have done, and it will...But then what? There will then be no opportunity for reconcilliation. There would be no opportunity for them to hear your heart and tell you and SHOW you how much they want to make it right. Don't believe the lies. Suicide is no solution.

To those Who Don't Know My King:

Are you considering suicide and yet you don't know of Jesus? Friend, suicide will only cause more suffering, but beyond that...please, let me just tell you some good news. What can it hurt? Let me tell you why there is REASON TO LIVE! Maybe you have heard of a Jesus who allows you to be forgiven if you attend church. Or maybe you have heard of a Jesus who forgave you when you were younger but that's because you told him you were going to shape up. Maybe you have heard of a dissappointed Jesus; a frustrated Jesus; a quiting Jesus.  FRIEND, that's not Jesus...

You see, Jesus is the one in whom there is LIFE!  He not only created all life, but then He humbly became one of us! You may have heard of God's wrath? And, yes, it is a true, and good, and righteous wrath. It is a real wrath.  But JESUS took that for you. Oh and He didn't take it so you would go to church. He didn't take it because He knew if He did that for you, you would finally act right. He did it because before the earth was formed He knew all your thoughts and all the wrongs you would commit...and He knew you would even be willing to end your own life. He did it because you can't. He did it so you wouldn't have to... All you have to do is BELIEVE and that life is yours! Your free! You free to love and to laugh and to LIVE! You are then adopted as a SON or DAUGHTER of the KING. Seen only as righteous! NO MATTER WHAT! You are then, finally, seen as perfect because you are seen as one who was bought...ransomed...redeemed.  Please, don't consider suicide without first considering the cross. Suicide is a lie, but there, at the feet of Christ, is life...

To Those Who Do Know Our King:

Brother, sister, have you forgotten how much He loves you? Have you forgotten that He knows all and knew everything you would do when He died and not just the things you did before you believed? Have you forgotten that one day He will return and that there is actually a chance that we have all seen our last sun rise as he could return any second now?  Have you forgotten that there is an enemy who wants nothing more than to kill you? Have you forgotten that despite being in a battle, we win? Cling to it! Write it on your mirror! Tell people! Do whatever you need to do to cling to your savior in times of dark desperation! He will not forsake you...he has walked through the darkness too and has overcome it! He stepped into the path of the wrath of God for you! He has redeemed you from the pit! Even if the world may fail us, friends fail us, family fail us, boyfriends and girlfriends fail us...HE HAS NOT! NEVER! He is a good king.... Cling to the fellowship of believers and let them always remind you of that!

Today, I am praying for you friend. I am praying for relief: r
elief that only comes from a loving savior, guiltless freedom, and a promised victory. Your days may continue to be hard, but I pray that you will begin to see some of the lies that have been thrown at you and cling to the truth. I am for you. We are for you. Don't hide from us but definitely...please don't hide from Jesus.

Your friend and brother,
Eric

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Loyalty

Well, it's official, after almost thirteen years of good times and some pretty funny memories, my dad and I are going to go home and take our Golden Retriever to the vet for her "final visit".

When my mom told me it's time, I didnt really know how to react. Honestly, I still dont know what it will be like to say goodbye to a dog I have had since I was in 6th grade, but I do know that I am thinking about it a lot more than I thought I would. Why is that? Animals of all kinds, come and go all the time. More than likely, I will have another dog in a couple years and it too will die, but why is it that dogs are such a prized possession. Certaintly, we spent lots of time and money getting them trained and paying for all the things they destroyed one way or another, but somehow they feel like a important part of our family. Ask a young kid who is in his family, and most likely he will list his dog. Again, why?

If I had to sum up the character of Goldie in one phrase it would be, "anoyingly loyal". That dog ALWAYS had to be around us. Sorry, that was false statement. She always had to be BREATHING on us! Literally, the second you sat down on the couch, she was sitting ON your feet, leaning her full body weight against you, and tilting her panting face back just enough so you could smell the poop she ate just minutes before. I would get up from the couch to escape and go into the basement, and sure enough, seconds later I would hear something that sounded like a stampede coming down the stairs, followed by that sweet aroma once again.

She was definitely all Golden Retriever too. If she wasnt right next to you, her ball was. She loved to play! At the lake, she refused to come inside until the sun went down. She loved the water and most of all, her balls. Again I ask, why do they mean so much to us. I believe it is because they are SO LOYAL.

Goldie was the sweetest dog ever, but if you came in the door unexpectedly, she would bark at you like she was a 150 pound Rottweiler. She knew she was a part of our family and she was going to protect that with all she could muster.

Sometimes I wish I was as loyal as Goldie. I wish I would defend the Kingdom the way Goldie defended our house. To be so loyal that I never talk about my fellow believers behind their backs and always defend the dignity of those whom others are trying to hurt.

Dogs are magnificent because no matter how much you yell at them, they will always be loyal. I wish I was that loyal to Non-believers. What if when people "yelled" at me, I continued to pursue them relentlessly? What if when we sensed their hurt and pain, we just sat with them? Goldie never gave me advice, but she often just layed down at my feet and waited for me to move. It was all my timing, not hers. What an incredible way to love people.

One of my favorite characteristics about Goldie, that I pray I can train in my next dog is she NEVER left the yard. We would litterally open up our front door and let her out to enjoy the sunshine. What if we never "left the yard" of those who we want so desperately to give up on? My prayer is that I will be so loyal, that those I love would know without a shadow of a doubt, that I will never give up on them. I will never "leave the yard".

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fascinated?

Writing about just how mind-boggleing grace is, has left me thinking about all the other things in my life that I have become too familiar with. This time it's Christ and the unfathomable impact He had on EVERYTHING. Think about history. Think about all the wars that were fought over whether or not He is who He said He is. Think about all the families who have split over His life. Then, think about all the believers who lost their life because they refused to deny Him. Whether a Christian or not, there was something about Him that grips us. Einstein once said this:

"I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene...No one can read the gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life."

Why have I been thinking about the incredible magnitude of the impact Christ's life has had on us? I believe it's because, lately, I have seen Him at work in a big way. It's probably because He is still alive! I believe it's because Christ is changing our world through life on life ministry. There is an incredible impact that is being accomplished by Christians who are ministering with their hands and their feet a lot more than their mouth. It's not all about passing out a trac and walking away anymore. It's about listening to them, finding out their need, and walking through life with them. Amazingly it's about ministering the way Christ did! Finally! Finally, people who call themselves "Followers of Christ" (Christians), are FOLLOWING Christ!

So, when you think about all the wars that have been fought and families that have been split, don't forget to think about all the victims who have been helped, starving families that have been fed, and houses that have been rebuilt because Christ LIVES.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Grace

I was talking to one of many counselor friends yesterday and he was telling me all about his walk recently. His main "struggle" was, in my words, the ability to forgive himself. He mentioned that he was learning a lot about not being so hard on himself for his "mistakes". While I never asked him to go into detail on what he meant by "mistakes", I found it interesting. I have now come to believe that the Grace of God is far more unfathomable than we realize.

It's crazy to me that the main focus of my vocation is to tell as many people that I can about this "amazing grace" and yet it's a grace that I am so reluctant to apply to myself. I can talk to countless men who feel like they have committed the most unforgiveable sins, and tell them, with complete faith in what I am talking about, that Christ is standing there, 100% ready to forgive them, and yet, I fall and suddenly God's grace isnt enough! What the heck?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Transitions

Transitions in life are always interesting times. Sometimes you feel uneasy, sometimes you are excited. There are even those times when you are flat-out scared. If I were to describe transitions in my own life, I would say that they are the times when I am least comfortable and God is most evidently working. I think His work is most evident because I am most uneasy and therefore constantly looking to Him for answers.

I am currently in the midst of a lot of transition. There are two contributing factors. The first of which is I just got engaged! Everyone who is married knows that the engagement is a crazy time. Not only are you discussing what you want your marriage to look like and how you will live together, but you are trying to figure all the legistics of where to live and where to work. As a man, there is that deep desire and even drive to provide for your family, so it can be scary knowing that your residency ends 3 months after your wedding and you dont yet know how God will provide.

The second transition is at work. We just finished our summer of camp and this week is our first back after a much needed vacation. Now is when we begin to prepare for preparing in a sense. We write reports, organize our desk and all the files from last year, and get ready to mentally rip apart the previous summer in order to dominate the next summer. During this time I am constantly thinking. I think a lot about God's call on my life. I believe we all have a call. I think God gave us all gifts and talents to use to bring glory to Him and His kingdom, and so now is a time when I think hard about what He has for me to do. I also think about last summer and what I did well and what I definitely did not do well. It's a time I both love and hate at the same time.

If you think about it, the Bible is full of men and women in the midst of transition. I think about Moses who went from "son of Pharoah" to running away into the wilderness, to being called to lead a nation out of captivity. I think of Job, who went from wealthy and comfortable to broken and confused. Then there is David who went from shepherd to mighty warrior and king. There are countless stories of God bringing men and women through transitions that cause them to cling to or sometimes even turn back to Him.

It's sad isn't it. We get comfortable and it's like we forget. We forget who got us this far. We forget that we will mess things up on our own, and we forget that He knows what is best for us. Then something happens. Whether a tragedy or a transition, we get shoved out of our comfort zone. Then we freak out, not knowing where to go until we finally remember that the king of the universe loves us and cares about us and has actually been waiting for us to come back the whole time. Why don't we just stay close the whole time, then when the scary times of transition come knocking on our door, we can let Him go first with us clinging to the hem of His robe.

In Him, for Him
Eric

Monday, March 23, 2009

Matt: 26:32

Early on this week, I was reading in the book of Mathew where Jesus and His disciples are in the Garden of Gethsemane. The context is they have just finished the “last supper” and when they first arrive, Jesus has the bulk of the disciples “sit”. Then He takes Peter, James and John and continues to walk. Now remember, the other time, that we know of, when Jesus took His three close friends away from the rest of the group? It was when He was TRANSFORMED right before their very eyes. So, they have to be getting excited with anticipation. They must be EXPECTING something! Right?
Next the Bible says, “…and he began to be sorrowful and troubled.” Now, the Bible doesn’t say, but my guess is Jesus didn’t get “sorrowful and troubled” very often, especially while walking with these three. I would hope that when I saw Jesus full of sorrow, my senses and my awareness of what was going on would be heightened. Wouldn’t it?
Now, listen to what Jesus says next, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Okay, if my blood is not pumping with anxiety before He said this, it is now! His soul is overwhelmed to the point of DEATH! Not, only that, but he has asked me to keep watch. That will be easy! Right?
Do you remember what happens next? They fall asleep THREE times! Your closest friend and GOD has asked you to KEEP WATCH and you fall asleep? No way I would do that! Actually, truth is, we all would do that. As sad as it is, we all DO that. How many GREAT things has God done in our lives, and yet we go on, expecting, but then “fall asleep” Or even worse, we don’t expect great things at all.
Even when Peter, James and John KNEW of His sorrow, they fell asleep. How often does our heart not break, when His heart is already broken?
As a team, let’s check our heart for two things: 1. Are we coming to God EXPECTING Him to do great things this summer? 2. Are there things that we know break His heart that we have fallen asleep to?
Think about it….

In Him, For Him
Eric