Personal Borders

Posted by Richard Harris | | Posted On Tuesday, April 12, 2011 at 7:47 PM

As I travel the border I have passed many international bridges. I have stood in the markets and looked across the river with the ability to throw a rock to the other side. I have stood and watched people as they cross over in both car and on foot.

Let’s talk reality for a second, then ask ourselves a question, then finally apply it:

Today I sit 80 miles north of San Fernando where a bus filled with 59 men women and children were kidnapped, killed and buried. They simple went missing. Last week I was in a town where just a few miles from where I was staying Mexican pirates killed a man while on his jet ski. Just across the Mexican border is Juarez; a very dangerous place where women in particular are not safe and where gunmen have taken shots a children’s birthday parties, chaos reigns.
The government is unable to control the chaos, many of the police and government is corrupt or undermanned by the heavily armed cartels.

I have enjoyed the towns I have visited, mostly the small ones and felt very safe for much of my travels. As a matter of fact some of the towns I have visited are statistically some of the safest towns in America.

For just a moment let us take politics out of the picture; you’re not conservative or liberal, you’re not Republican or Democrat you are just a creation of God with real feelings, real families and honest emotions. By the way I do understand the implications of a border that is not secure. I deal with it on a daily bases in both Dallas and down south, but that is not the subject of the day.
Imagine you are a father in Mexico and you fear for not only your life but for the life of your family. You can’t let your children out of your site and even to put your family on a bus is a risk. You do not have police you can trust and if you do they can’t overcome the violence and crime that surrounds you. Life is hopeless, fearful, stressful, chaotic and desperate. The present is scary and there is no real hope for future change.

What would be your response? Would you say to yourself I will wait it out, hoping for the country to get its act together? Would you simply say that is just the way it is and let it go?
Or would you do whatever it took to take care of your family?

Though most who read this are on the safe side of the International Bridge; all of us have to make a somewhat similar decision about our spiritual life.

We each have to deal with our spiritual borders.

On one side of the spiritual border is chaos and fear of the unknown. We ask what will happen after we die and ask ourselves am I prepared for that moment. There is hopelessness on one side of the border. People live out their lives with no hope for the future and a negative outlook about the days ahead of them. On that side of the spiritual border the past sins haunt us and hold us in spiritual chains. It is a helpless and hopeless way of life.
That is of course the wrong side of the border; there is another.

There is a side of the spiritual border where unconditional love and hope lives. Not a life of perfection but of perfect love from a heavenly Father. There is a peace that passes all understanding, one not attained on our own. On this side of the border people live out their days not worrying about past sins; they have been forgiven and now look forward to a heavenly hope. This world still has its issues but they pale in comparison to the future hope. On this side of the border there is purpose to our life. There is compassion for others as we experience grace in our own lives.

This of course is the right side of the border.

The real question is yours and yours alone to make:

What side of the Spiritual Border will you live?

It seems like an easy question but we complicate it with our pride and self reliance. Unlike crossing the man made border crossing the spiritual one is safe and easy. You need only believe. This is not about religion or denominations; this is about the most important decision anyone will ever make.

As I stand at the physical border my heart goes out to those who have to make difficult decisions. As I stand on the safe side of the spiritual border my heart goes out even more to those living without an eternal hope.

May we be thankful God has given us a passport to the other side that will never expire; Jesus Christ. He has bridged the gap that we might live on the right side; we simply need to cross the river.

Scripture: John 5:24, “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.”

Prayer: Dear Lord, we thank you that you love us enough to provide for us though we are sinners a way to eternal life and peace in this one. Guide us to not only cross over to your side but to live our life in a way that shows other your love. We ask these things in the name of Christ, Amen.

The Mississippi/Gulf Coast

Posted by Richard Harris | | Posted On Sunday, April 10, 2011 at 6:10 PM

Over the last six weeks I have traveled from St. Louis Missouri to Brownsville Texas. These journeys have taken me from the heartland of the U.S. to the most southern point in Texas. I have been privileged to see many of God’s great creations; two of my favorites have been the mighty Mississippi and the ocean at South Padre Island. Neither of which I had seen before.

The Mississippi is the working man’s body of water. Nothing spectacular just slow and steady. As I stood next to it for the first time I was impressed to watch the water flow. Not rush and no rapids, where I was at anyway, just a steady obvious powerful movement southward. I picture the Mississippi as the person who goes to work every day, puts in their eight hours then goes home and takes care of business there. They don’t call in sick or take unnecessary days off. They are dependable, not flashy or showy, but without them work would grind to a halt in this or any other country.

They are the Sunday school teacher that stays at it for years or the teacher dug into the trenches leading our young people. You know them as mom, dad or grandma or grandpa. They are the under appreciated but absolute necessary in society.
That is my take on the Mississippi.

The gulf coast well that is another matter totally; it’s all about sizzle and making a splash. No doubt it has movement just like the Mississippi but friends, you know it. The waves pop against the shore without fail day and night. There is a noise that though it may be relaxing is inescapable. The ocean is not sneaking up on anyone and my guess is it has no intention of doing so.

The ocean is the singer with the wonderful voice, the salesman that demands attention with his personality, the speaker who speaks eloquently or the writer who tugs at your emotions with the written word. They and those like them are exceptionally gifted.

They can be depended on for entertainment, amusement, moving emotionalism and great worship. There God given gift is meant for the masses; not to be hidden. The ocean is no less dependable than the Mississippi; it has a routine, sneaks inward at night then moves out in the daytime. Yet it is more spectacular in its routine. Such is the same with the gifted, while sitting beside you in a quiet moment they may seem subdued but when their moment to speak, sing, sell or inspire comes they are in their element doing what God has blessed them to do. In front of the crowd is where they belong; it is as obvious as a roaring ocean.

The Mississippi and Gulf Coast are both bodies of water but are entirely different. That is how God made them. Such is the same with each of us; we have the same Creator, are human beings but each of us are unique.

The world is made special by the fact that we are all different yet same. How boring would this world be if we had not only the same creator but the same personality and gifts? What fun would that be?

What a wonderful God that made people who could sing beautiful as well as moms that love and sacrifice for so many. How equally inspiring is the one who day in day out gives his best in what we consider a common job as well as the speaker who moves us with their words and drives us into action.

There are times that the Mighty Mississippi might seem a little under appreciated or the Gulf Coast might seem taken for granted, may it never be. May it never be for you either; never and I mean ever take what it is that God has gifted you to do or the place He has positioned you and feel like you are less than some other.

You are a unique creation of God; steady or splashy you’re important to Him and to the rest of us as well. Keep flowing through life because much like the Mississippi and the Gulf at one point we will all end up meeting in the same place.

Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Prayer: Dear Lord we thank you that you have surrounded us with beauty and special people to make our life more meaningful. Lead us to use the gifts you have given us to not only gain satisfaction in our own life but to point others to you. We ask these things in the name of Christ, Amen.

River, Really?

Posted by Richard Harris | | Posted On Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 11:56 AM

Over the last two weeks I have driven well over 1500 miles, almost all of it new territory. As I drove into far South Texas near the Mexican border I kept running across signs on bridges that read something like this, “Nueces River”. The Nueces River is just one of the many rivers or creeks I have driven over during my travels.

When I drive over bridges that claim to be a river or creek there is one thing I expect to see; water. Here in South Texas there is a catch; no water. Sure they have plenty of signs and obviously many people spent a great deal of time naming these water ways. I am sure even some have followed the water on a map to know where it was going to intersect the bridge but somewhere the water did not get the memo.

Bridge after bridge I look with great expectation, but to no avail. After a while I became very hopeful at each bridge; just wishing to see even a drop of water. I started to feel bad for the people here with all these river and creek beds but no water, what a tease for people who live in a very warm climate. Apparently a very dry climate as well I might add.

Not only was there no water but in what should have been a creek or river bed there were trees and brush. There was not even a hint that at one time a body of water lived here. The trees looked like they were quite a few years old and the brush looked like it had never been pushed back by water.

There is a real problem here close to the border; a bridge is saying it is something it is not.
There is a real problem with Christianity; a lot of people are saying something they are not.

Or at least they are not acting the part anyway. It works like this, we say we are Christian. We wear the right clothes on Sunday, we say the right things at church like amen, God Bless you, Praise the Lord and all that stuff. We say long flowery prayers at family reunions and basically in public look like a Christian. I want you to think river bridge here; it says river bridge and looks like one, but in fact it is just a bridge going over a dry spot of land.

We say one thing in public yet when it gets down to the actions at home or behind the scenes or when no one else is looking, well there we run, shall we say a little dry. It is one thing to profess something; it is a whole other thing to let our actions do our talking.

I am not saying this is easy, apart from the Holy Spirit of God we can never walk as Jesus did. You see the world sees plenty of crosses on our necks and fish on our cars and by the way there is nothing wrong with that, but more than anything they need to see the truth of our belief in our actions.

The world is in dire need of seeing a river of love coming out of our hearts as we deal with them. They need a flood of Christ like compassion for all people, even for those that we would call our enemy. The world and fellow believers yearns for a rushing wave of forgiveness sent their way. Instead of condemnation, hate and anger the world needs to see the fruits of the spirit springing up in our lives; love, joy peace, patience, goodness, gentleness and self control.

Daily the world drives over the bridge of our life, as they do they need to not see someone who claims perfection but claims to live their life as close to He who was perfect. Will our lives run dry at times, absolutely? Those around us need to see the authenticity of our failure and the beauty of the fresh flow of forgiveness that comes from knowing the Lord.
A river with no water, a creek with nothing but brush that is only a tease and a bad one at that.
A Christian without a fresh flow of God’s mercy leaves an equally dry taste in the world’s mouth.

Today let us take a good look at ourselves and break the dam of pride that keeps us from being as Christ like as possible and let the river of life flow through our lives.

Scripture: 1 John 4:16-17, “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the Day of Judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.”

Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to lean on you daily, to represent you who we claim to belong to. Forgive us where we fail you, guide us to your truth and love. We ask these things in the name of Christ. Amen

all simple/truths are written by richard harris

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