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Monday, July 8, 2013

Three Things God Can't Do, If You Believe Him

       Do dates and times mean anything? Well the 22nd of January, 2004 will be important to me as long as I continue to draw a breath of air.  It was literally the first day of the rest of my life.  If one has been dead and managed to come back, that tends to get your attention. Actually, this was one of the last major events in my life.  Is it right to start at the end?  It doesn’t really seem to matter. Lots of dates seem to be important to us. Our birthday, the day we got married, and the day we got out of the Army could all be important to us.

        When you wake up and don’t really know where you are,  with a doctor you don’t know from Adam leaning over you and listening to your heart with a stethoscope, it might seem a little strange.  When he asks you how you are feeling, the only witty answer you can come up with is, “I feel like I have a six hundred pound gorilla on my chest.” It really gets strange when the doctor starts talking about being lucky to be alive. Then he says something about having lost you twice and putting some kind of things in your heart. The doctor then asks you questions like you are some kind of computer. “Do you drink?” “Do you smoke?”  “When did you quit?”  “How much did you smoke?”  “You need to lose some weight,” he says. Finally, here is, something I can give a positive answer to. “I have lost eighty pounds over the last six months,” I say, trying to smile. “That’s good,” he says, “If you hadn’t, we probably wouldn’t be having this conversation.” I am thinking, “I thought that was the whole point of losing weight.” My attitude is starting to get a little sour when all of a sudden the light comes on to what he is saying.  Having lost all that weight actually did help save my life!  All of a sudden, I feel a little bit better about all this.  However, the gorilla returned to his seat, and I went back to sleep.

     The next time I remember waking up my wife and daughters were standing by my bed. I don’t really know how long I slept, but it was about eight or nine in the morning when the ambulance took me to the hospital in Baltimore. So, considering my family came from Indiana, it must have been awhile.

      Who am I that I am writing a book about my experiences and my understanding of them?  Very simply, I am nothing and nobody. So, what makes me feel I have something to say that may interest you?  How about a common bond, in that we are both seeking to know the will of God in our lives!  At least it is my hope that is our common bond.

        Why start with a testimony?  Well, first, it gives you an insight about me and where I am coming from.  It is not my desire to have you waste your time reading something you think is just a nice story.  However, I will try to tell it in such a way that you don’t have to use toothpicks to hold your eyes open. Yet, I want you to know that everything said in this book is the truth to the best of my knowledge. If you begin to believe what I am saying is not the truth, then I encourage you to quit reading this and spend your time more productively by truly seeking the presence of God in your life.

        Millions of people have heart attacks every year. What makes mine so special or different? Maybe it was the circumstances. One thing is that only by the grace of God, did I have the wisdom to ask the people at the business where my situation occurred to call an ambulance for me, because more than once in my life I had shrugged things off physically till I literally woke up in a hospital.

       Initially, I had broken out in a cold sweat.  That happens to people who have hypoglycemic attacks because they do not eat properly. Your sugar levels get all out of whack.  Driving a truck and eating regular meals sometimes is not easy to do. Often you are not near a place to get something, and you wind up spending longer than you intend waiting to get loaded or unloaded. However, that morning I had eaten a normal meal. Thinking it was still just an imbalance issue, I went to the cab of my truck and got a swig of pop and some soda crackers which usually worked.

         Upon returning to the inside of my trailer, it quickly became apparent something else was wrong, as I could not get my breath.  I mean, I could breathe, but it was like I was not getting any oxygen.  Finally, things started into a slow spin, and the urge to go to the bathroom became overwhelming. With much effort, somehow I managed to get the couple of hundred feet to the office and asked the people there to call me an ambulance. It was a just a matter of minutes till the ambulance arrived.  The ambulance was on the way back to the hospital from a previous run and was only a couple of blocks away when they got the call. Much of this I found out after the fact.

        One of the things I do remember is how nice the ambulance crew was upon their arrival.  Getting on the cart was the last thing I remembered till a doctor at the hospital asked me to sign a paper and told me he was performing a procedure to help me, because I was having a heart attack. If I signed the paper, I do not remember.  The next memory I had was the doctor standing over me with the stethoscope.

        Coincidence number two was that I had only been about a mile and a half from Saint Agnes hospital in Baltimore. If you are going to have a heart attack, that is a good place to be.  The reason is that Saint Agnes was the first hospital in America to come up with the idea of a specialized cardiac care facility.  They also have some of the top people in the field of cardiac care.

       The third thing that saved my life was that the actual cardiac arrest did not start till I was in the emergency room at the hospital. The doctor informed me that if I had not been where I was, when I was, we would not have been having our conversation. He said if the attack had started in the warehouse, they could not have gotten me to the hospital in time to save my life,  even with the short distance involved.

     Supposedly, the final thing that saved my life was that, during the emergency, they had to hit me with the defibrillator paddles. They lost me twice.  As I understand it, the first time they brought me back with a single hit.  However, the second time they hit me twice, and I did not come back.  They thought I was gone; and someone said “Third time is a charm,” and they hit me again.  Fortunately, it worked.  The burn marks from the paddles were one of the worst side effects of the whole ordeal.  However, if you consider the alternative, it was not that big of a deal.

       Several days later, my family and I left Baltimore and flew into Louisville, Kentucky on our way home.  This small part of my life came full circle to me as I looked down at the C-130 airplanes on the tarmac at the airport. The C-130 had been central to several of the main events in my life.  It was almost as if I heard an audible voice say to me “You have had your time; now it is my time.”  God had given me fifty-seven years of life, and now He was calling a promise I had made due.

         Why me; why now; why at all?  God does not have to answer to anyone, especially a man who has run from Him most of his life  He has spoke through the mouth of a donkey. That is in Numbers 22.  He has used people who were the epitome of evil to get “His will” done.  Also, just as I know, I could die before I get this done; God will get His message out with or without me.  It is vanity and pride to think God needs us to do anything.  However, I believe the things I have come to understand and see speak to this day and age in a special way and with a special purpose. Yet, God’s Word has always been special.  Soon and very soon, mankind will come to a very vivid understanding of that.

      Yes, I believe we are in the end time.  The next part of my testimony will test your ability to accept things as they are. Some will discard what I have to say quickly and say God does not speak to people anymore. That is their privilege.  However, when I read the Bible, I find that Jesus marveled at two things while He was here on earth.  He marveled at total blind, unquestioning faith, and He marveled at unbelief.
     First, I would like to say something about unbelief, because I think it is the most deadly thing that can happen to someone. When someone rationalizes why they do not believe something or why God cannot do something, they are treading on very, very thin ice, as far as I am concerned. Yes, there are some things God cannot do. Before you write me off as nuts, at least read the next paragraph and see if you do not agree with me. Only a faithful person will agree.

     First, God cannot lie. If God says it, that makes it truth. Second, God cannot steal, as everything in the whole universe belongs to Him to start with.  Thirdly, and finally, God cannot cheat, because He is the One who makes the rules to start with. So there are three things God cannot do.  That may be playing with words, but it is the truth as far as I see it.

     That is as good of a place to start in my estimation as any. When asked what truth was, Jesus replied, in John 8:32  “I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”  If one comes to understand that Jesus was God’s Word made flesh, then you also know that without knowing Him, God’s Word, you cannot know God.  John 17:17 makes it clear we are “sanctified through the truth, and His Word is truth.” To many, that may sound adversarial, but if you are seeking God and if you hope to find Him, it will be on His terms.   If you are not willing to meet Him on His terms, you are suffering from vanity and pride. Those are two of the things He hates most so your chances of success are slim unless you discover a little humility along the way.  You do not even have to ask to get a big dose of humility.  It is one of the reality sticks with which he opens blind eyes.

    All that being, said I must admit, yes, I have lied and occasionally still do.  However, nowadays, it is more from senility than intent. The testimony I am about to give though is the truth.  It is still as fresh in my mind as the moment it happened. Reflecting on my past, I would say one of my biggest problems was that I was a “the grass is always greener” person.  The only good places in life were where I had been and where I was going. It took me many years to get over that.  Once you learn to be happy with where you are, God will open the gate and put you where He wants you to be. However, it will be on His timetable, not ours.

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