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Peter Makes a Splash

“Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.  He called out to them, ‘Friends, haven’t you any fish?’   ‘No,’ they answered.   He said, ‘Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.’ When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.   Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’  As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, ‘It is the Lord,’ he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water” (John 21:4-7, NIV).   This event marks the second occasion in which Jesus has provided the disciples with a miraculous catch of fish.  The first was when a younger Simon Peter was called by Jesus into ministry.  Much has happened in Peter’s life since that occasion three years ago, including his recent denial of Jesus, his Lord and his friend.   This second catch of fish is so important, especially for Peter.  The once dead, now risen Jesus is showing that, just as Peter had been called into the ministry, he is now being reinstated to serve.  And where before Peter had been called to follow, now he is being called to lead.  Jesus will soon ascend into Heaven, leaving Peter and the other disciples to carry-on all that Jesus has taught.   (Continue reading at www.chuckkralikauthor.com)
 

The Doubting Disciple

“…But (Thomas) said to them, ‘Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe’ ” (John 20:25, NIV).   Thomas was never one to receive top billing as one of Jesus’ disciples.  His name is mentioned only a few times in the New Testament, usually in a who’s who list of the twelve.  Thomas isn’t even present when the resurrected Jesus first appears to the other disciples as they hide behind locked doors.  No, Thomas’ claim to fame, rather his claim to infamy, is found in his disbelief concerning Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.   To Thomas, the news that Jesus was alive was just too good to be true and too difficult to believe.  And so, Doubting Thomas, as he would come to be known, needed proof that Jesus had accomplished what he said he would do - live, then die, then rise again.  For Thomas to believe, he had to literally see the scars where the nails had been driven into Jesus’ hands and feet.  He had to physically place his hand in Jesus’ side where a Roman soldier’s spear had penetrated Jesus’ body.   (Continue reading at www.chuckkralikauthor.com)  
 

The Art Of Forgiveness

By Victor Remes You have forgiven the iniquity of Your people; You have covered all their sin.
Psalms 85:2 NKJV   Forgiveness the dictionary definition is to stop feeling angry or resentful towards (someone) for an offence, flaw, or mistake.   I know many of you including me do struggle with forgiving others that have done wrong, and whoever it is and whatever they have done I know forgiveness isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. To be honest with you; writing this piece has been prompted by my own experiences with forgiving others including myself.
Let me be straight and honest with you all; this post was the hardest piece I’ve ever written. The last few weeks I have been through some tough and painful challenges even the people that truly know me don’t even know.   This season God brought me through has shown me that I have been holding grudges since I was a young kid. It could be grudges about myself or about people that have done me wrong. But I never actually let it go; all I done is slip it under a rug and literally forgot about it and carried on with life. How many of you are doing this?   In the New Testament, the bible reminds us that God has forgiven all of our sins through Christ’s death. And time and time again; Christian are commanded to forgive as well. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. - Ephesians 4:32 NKJV   What I found is the grudges I have been keeping were holding me back and if this was holding me back its also holding you back as well the reason I say this is because some of you may have thought that holding a grudge against somebody makes you strong but it doesn’t it makes you bitter; and that forgiving makes you weak it doesn’t it sets you free.   God showed me that forgiveness is important, because when we truly forgive that’s when healing starts to happen inside us. The thing is ‘nobody is prefect’ we all make mistakes; we all know this saying very well but we all say this and still expect perfection from the people that are in our lives, the ones we speak so highly about but then they disappoint you, they hurt you, break your trust and abused the love you gave them. Well if we truly want to LOVE we need to FORGIVE.   Christ died on the cross for me and you. Why? because He loves us knowing that we may not even love Him back. Reading the story of Jesus before He died on the cross. He didn’t expect anything back from the people that He shared His Time, Love and Trust to. They either praised Him or accused Him but He still loved them and forgave them. Jesus Himself forgave the people that done wrong to Him and why shouldn’t we forgive the people that have done wrong to us as well.   I found that some of us are blaming ourselves for the lost of others, even the people that we know that have passed. Stop blaming yourself for the things you did bad and good or didn’t do while they were with us. You need to forgive yourself because really those that left have gone to live their life and the ones that have passed their death, their pain has been lifted and they are free from the world and its struggles. You shouldn’t take the responsibility for their passing, you can’t carry the weight of their death on your shoulders like a lead blanket dragging you further and further down.   There is way more to forgiveness than this but I just want to say to truly release yourself from the painful burden you need to forgive just as Christ Jesus forgave you. You may feel like that you’re the problem to everyone’s pain at times but you are not. Forgive yourself and let yourself be free from the pain and find the truth about the true love through Christ Jesus. Now to those that are reading this now knowing that I may have done something against you; I ask that you forgive me. Not for me to feel better but that you find peace in your heart. To those that have done wrong to me I forgive you all, I’m done with feeling this pain and being disappointed in myself for holding onto this. I’m letting go of the things that have been holding me back. I pray that this will help you to let go and forgive.   Prayer: Jesus! thank you for forgiving me, thank you for dying on the cross for me, you have shown your love to me and I thank you for it, I pray that you will show me how to forgive myself and those that have hurt me a lot as well and start your healing in my heart with your love. In Jesus Name Amen.
 

A Tomb in the Garden

“At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid” (John 19:41, NIV).   Death had made its return to a garden.  Perhaps, it was a fitting scene, as a garden was the place where this entire spiritual dilemma had begun.  Thousands of years before Jesus occupied Earth, Adam and Eve lived in a garden.  The Garden of Eden was Paradise, but its perfection didn’t last long.  A seductive serpent and an appetite for forbidden fruit led to Adam and Eve’s banishment from the garden.  Paradise, literally and figuratively, was lost.   (Continue reading at www.chuckkralikauthor.com)
 

Getting In Shape

I try to go to our local Y at least three times a week to respond to the cries of an out of shape body.  The treadmills, elliptical mechanisms, bikes, free standing and attached weight machines, plus all the other instruments of torture invite me to test their resistance.  Just getting ready to accept “their” invitation is challenge enough.  Changing into correct apparel is a test of physical fortitude.  Finally dressed as an ESPN sports figure, I ascend the 18 steps to the chamber of horrors, ready to show the machines that I am a force with which to be reckoned.  Finding an available treadmill, I attempt to mount the belt to “nowhere” only to stumble and fall. Sweating profusely, I notice that those on the adjoining treadmills are looking down at me with a sense of sorrow, but are flashing a smile of sympathy in knowing that I am at least attempting to get my body under control.  Instead of trying to remount the pathway to an endless finish, I look for the nearest water fountain to hydrate a body which is already fatigued.  I was told that it is imperative to drink plenty of water.  The trainer said that water is essential to not only losing weight, but it also helps tone the body. What we go through to get in shape is nothing short of insanity.  What causes us to create such an abnormal physique in the first place?  I worked long and hard to build what I have now, but to what purpose?  Now I am working even harder to remove what I joyfully created!  This is madness!   Just as our bodies need hydrating, so does our spirits.  What determines our spiritual activity is the continual drinking from the “rivers of living water.” (John 7:38)  The problem is that our minds have the power to cap the well.  When the things of the world begin to dominate our thoughts and actions, the “river of living water” will face resistance.  Everyday that we neglect our Bible study and prayer time, we are building a “dam” that will hold back the “river.”  When we allow the things of the world to occupy our attention, we substitute other beverages for the “living water,” but tragically those only lead to a further spiritual drought.  Jesus told the Samaritan woman, “Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst.”  The water will become like a fountain that will carry one through to eternal life. (John 4:14)    So many Christians today look spiritually dehydrated.  The Church used to be alive with spiritual energy; people were continually opening their Bibles as well as their ears to the Truth, and being fully hydrated, they would exhibit God’s Word wherever they went.  There are assemblies of Believers that are continually drawing from the “fountain” and are living proof that the Kingdom is alive, but they are becoming the exception rather than the rule.  The Holy Spirit is the pump that keeps the living water flowing through the spiritual center of man. (John 7:38)  What is surprising to me is how many are ignorant of the Holy Spirit’s role in the Believer.  Christians spend so much time centering on Jesus’ earthly ministry that they neglect to understand how the Holy Spirit is involved in their lives.  There is also a reverse to this, in that some give so much attention to the Holy Spirit that the historical Jesus is neglected.  Acts and the Epistles becomes the flagship of the “Dove” centered ministries.  Let me take it one more step; we are so focused on Jesus and the Holy Spirit that we neglect the reality that everything centers on God’s Grace and Love.  I believe that the reason so many denominational churches are drying up is because of spiritual ignorance.  If they do believe in the Holy Spirit, it is a dispensational belief in which the Holy Spirit only worked in the New Testament Church.    The Holy Spirit wants to flow like a river within us, but until we recognize our need and are willing to acknowledge our complacency, the drought will continue. For those who are spiritually hydrated, let us reach out not in judgment, but in love, and help those who are having a hard time getting back in shape!
 

Walk Faithfully

“They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’ ” (Luke 24:32, NIV).   Imagine walking with God.  What would it be like strolling alongside the God who created you, the One who knows you most deeply, the God who is for and not against you?  Perhaps it would be intimidating to recognize that God knows your every thought.  Or maybe it would be comforting to realize that God cares about your every concern and desire, that he is genuinely interested in you and what you have to say.    In Genesis we read that Enoch and Noah, each “…walked faithfully with God…” (Genesis 5:22, 24; 6:9, NIV).  The idea conveyed here is that these men of faith enjoyed an intimate and meaningful relationship with God, that their faith walk was in step with their Creator.   Following his resurrection on the first Easter morning, Jesus walked with two other men as they trekked toward the town of Emmaus.     (Continue reading at www.chuckkralikauthor.com)
 

Nonsense

“…they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense” (Luke 24:11, NIV).   When Mary Magdalene and the other women shared what they had witnessed on the first Easter morning, the disciples must have thought the women were out of their minds.  A couple of Scripture-quoting angels, a huge boulder mysteriously set aside, a grave with no body - it was all too much to make sense of.  Their leader and friend, Jesus, had been put to death on Friday.  There was no doubt about that.  But now, on this Sunday morning, these women were claiming that he had risen.  How preposterous!   (Continue reading at www.chuckkralikauthor.com)         

Chuck Kralik

Chuck Kralik

 

Friday

It’s Friday afternoon.  Jesus’ body hangs limply upon a Roman cross which stands center-stage in a gruesome scene.  Jesus has been beaten and scourged and spat upon.  His nail-punctured wrists and feet still hold him securely to the cruel device of the cross.  A crown of thorns impales his bloodied brow, and a just-for-good-measure side-piercing spear sits idly by.  Things are quiet now, with the exception of the thunder that rumbles in the distance and the sobs of those who have stuck around.  As an angry sky spits upon the scene, the small drops of rainfall mix with the tears of on-lookers.  The themes for today are darkness and despair, defined by the crucifixion of an innocent man.  Make no mistake.  Jesus is dead.   (Continue reading at www.chuckkralikauthor.com)  

Chuck Kralik

Chuck Kralik

 

Village Peace

A quiet Friday in the little village. Shops closed, but a couple of cafés are still open. Espresso tasting good. And more sun is coming.

Josh Morris

Josh Morris

 

Heaven - Part 2 of 2

“ ‘My Father’s house has many rooms;  if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am’ ” (John 14:2-3, NIV).   These are some of the words Jesus used to describe Heaven.  Referring to his “Father’s house”, one with “many rooms”, Heaven is the place Jesus himself went ahead of us to prepare.   Likely, as Jesus spoke about Heaven, he was thinking about the Jewish practice of marriage.  According to custom, the newly married husband and wife would move into the family home.  This required the addition of a room to accommodate the couple.  Depending upon the size of the family, several rooms would be added to the house over the years.    (Continue reading at www.chuckkralikauthor.com)  

Chuck Kralik

Chuck Kralik

 

Holy Cow

The people had recently received the 10 Commandments, spoken by God himself.  “You shall have no other gods before me.”  “You shall not make any graven images.”  All the way to “You shall not covet.”  Ten simple, easy to understand laws to help them better love God and love man.  The people had responded that they would do everything that God had said.  Moses had then been called up on the mountain, and he had been gone for weeks and weeks (40 days in Bible terminology).   The people became impatient.  They didn’t know what had happened to Moses.  Perhaps he had left them and wasn’t coming back.  Perhaps he was dead.  They went to the brother of Moses, Aaron, and asked him to make a god to lead them.  Aaron asked for their ear rings, and he melted the rings and formed a calf.  This wasn’t quite a god.  In Egypt, a calf or cow or bull was not a god, but was the seat of a god.  The calf would not have been  worshiped, but they would have worshiped the figure seated on the calf.  Aaron didn’t go so far as to make what he thought was a god; he only make the seat for a god.  But it was a significant compromise anyway.  He tried to move the people’s thoughts back to God by building an altar in front of the calf and telling the people that tomorrow they would hold a festival to worship God.   But the people could not see past the calf, and they worshiped, not God, but…a chair.  Holy Cow!   They forgot how God had lead them during the past several months.  They forgot the way he had protected them from the ten plagues in Egypt.  They forgot how he had made a way through the Red Sea, so they could leave the Egyptian army behind them.  They forgot how he had miraculously fed and watered them—how miraculously he was feeding and watering them every day.  They forgot the 10 Commandments.  They forgot their promises to God.  They forgot God.  In forgetting God they became stupid and started inventing their own gods. When we lose sight of God, what will hold us true to him is the memory of what he has done in the past for us.  He certainly died on the cross for you and me.  He was certainly raised from the dead to give us the hope of an eternal future.  He certainly has sent the Holy Spirit to comfort us and guide us through life.  He certainly is preparing a place in heaven for each of his children.  He certainly loves you and me.  Let us continue to focus on God’s blessings so that we can avoid becoming stupid and worshiping something of our own invention.
 

Music and Pancakes

I heard this story on K-LOVE radio.  A woman had the devastating experience during Christmas of having her husband announce to her and the rest of the family that he was planning on divorcing her.  Nice guy!  A week later she had done little more than lie in bed and cry.  Her four-year-old finally decided to act.  He opened her bedroom door and said, “All right, mom, that’s enough!  It’s time for music and pancakes!” She was so surprised that she stumbled to the kitchen, turned the radio on, and there was a song waiting for her with just the message she needed to hear.  She baked the pancakes, added plenty of syrup, and she and her four-year-old ate pancakes and danced to the music from the radio.  She made the difficult decision to move from existing to resuming living. During these holiday seasons, many people are depressed by reminders of their past losses.  Lost family members.  Lost relationships.  Lost friends.  Lost jobs.  Lost pets.  Lost property.  Lost self-respect.  Lost opportunities.  So many losses.  Few people have managed to avoid loss.  Some of these losses may be recent, while others may have occurred years ago and are still acting to prevent one from living a vibrant life. Whatever season you find yourself in, whether the holidays or winter or a particular time of life, it is time to move beyond the losses.  Refuse to just exist, going through the necessary daily chores, but finding little joy in life.  Make the difficult choice to seize life and make the best life possible for yourself.  Stop waiting for the concert to come to you; go to it.  Cook a fancy meal just for yourself and use your best china.  Go to the salon and get your hair or nails done.  Wear your best clothes.  Plan activities that help you look forward to the future.  Make new friends.  Buy yourself the gift you’ve wanted.  Actually spend time looking at nature and listening to it—a bird, an animal, a sunset, water running over rocks.  Pop the question.  Take time for “music and pancake” moments.  These little acts will become treasures that fill your mind with good memories rather than sad thoughts. Above all, remember the two anchors to a steadfast life.  Anchor one is knowing beyond question that God loves you unconditionally and is your friend.  Anchor two is daily committing to loving God and being his friend.  With these two anchors firmly grounded, you will no longer exist, but you will truly live.  Today, choose life. Category: Uncategorized  
 

The Greatest Escape - 2

Airey Neave was a British officer who was wounded and captured in France during WWII.  After several unsuccessful escape attempts, he was sent to Colditz Castle, the supposedly escape-proof POW prison.  In early 1942, he escaped from Colditz and made his way home to England.  He was the first British officer to successfully escape from Colditz.   He was almost immediately assigned to MI9, a very new and small office of military intelligence.  MI9’s purpose was to assist prisoners of war in escaping.  They worked in occupied countries to set up escape routes for downed pilots and escaped prisoners.  They found ways to smuggle escape materials into prisoner of war camps.  These items were things like maps, compasses, radios, and money.  They questioned escaped prisoners who returned and taught classes to pilots and soldiers on escape and evasion.  Neave would work with MI9 for the remainder of the war. After the war, Neave, also a lawyer, was a member of the prosecution team during the Nuremberg trials.  He spoke perfect German, so was given the responsibility for reading the charges against the Germans on trial.  He would go on to become a Member of Parliament.   His war duties following his escape were a perfect fit for him .  As someone who had escaped, he had valuable knowledge of the escape process.  He would certainly have been interested in aiding others to escape.  Motivation and knowledge working together can accomplish a lot.   How motivated are you to help others escape the captivity of sin?  Are you content to just come together with others weekly and celebrate your freedom, or do you have compassion for those still not free?  Do you take the attitude that you escaped, so they can escape if they want to, or do you have a mission to assist them?  Every church member who has been freed from the enemy’s control needs to see himself/herself as a member of God’s MI9.  Mission:  help others escape to the freedom of forgiveness.
 

Heaven - Part 1 of 2

“…I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look!  God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them.  They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away’ ” (Revelation 21:3-4, NIV).   The Bible Book of Revelation can be difficult to understand.  Its writer, John shares visions and images that are often foreign to the reader and at times downright scary – seals and scrolls and trumpets, a dragon and a beast, the abyss and the apocalypse, just to name a few.  Still, in Revelation we find beautiful images of Heaven.  And, whether taken literally or figuratively as metaphors of truth, these visions can provide comfort and peace to troubled and hurting souls.   That we would be the people of God and that the Deity would be our God makes me think back to stories from the Old Testament.  Time and again, God made covenant promises with his chosen Israelite people.  God looked over them.  He protected them from harm.  He made his presence known among them.  Yet, time and again, God’s people failed to live up to their side of the deal.  They rebelled.  They sought after false gods.  They sinned.    In the New Testament, God chose an even grander strategy and actually became one of us.  He came in the flesh, in bodily and infant form, as Jesus, who lived among us and died for us.  Still, we struggle with temptation and sin, with unbelief and lackluster faith.  Eventually, our flesh simply fails.   But in Heaven, all is made new and right.  There is no death, no crying or mourning, no disease, no sin.  And God dwells with his people once again.  Really, I think that’s the best description of Heaven, the place where God is with his people.  In the meantime, we live and die, knowing that Heaven awaits us.

Chuck Kralik

Chuck Kralik

 

Fearless

“In God, whose word I praise— in God I trust and am not afraid.  What can mere mortals do to me?” (Psalm 56:4, NIV).   I’m amazed when I hear of Christians who, for at least a moment in time, seem to be fearless.  The Bible is full of such heroes, individuals whose faith was stronger than their fear.  Daniel stood toe to toe with lions.  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego kept their cool, and their faith, even while inside a fiery furnace.  A stammering Moses found his voice as he faced Pharaoh.  And the boy David took down one giant of a man.   Then, there are the Christian martyrs who made the ultimate sacrifice for their faith.  The author of Hebrews speaks of those who “…were put to death by stoning… sawed in two.. (and) killed by the sword…” (Hebrews 11:37, NIV).  Each of these individuals exchanged the worldly comforts of this life for an eternal reward in Heaven.   Even today, there are Christians who put their lives on the line for their beliefs.  Some worship in secret places, because the Word they share is forbidden in public.  Missionaries are called to remote regions with no guarantee that they or their message will be received kindly.  All over the world, preachers preach and teachers teach the good news Gospel message of what Jesus has done.   Christians throughout the ages have had the courage to stand-up for their faith.  May God make each of us fearless as well.                 

Chuck Kralik

Chuck Kralik

 

Numb

The moods today remind me of a moment in Italy, when we lived in Florence 2013-14.   numb as the room
fills
with intense sunlight   From the poetry collection "Droplets of Time".

Josh Morris

Josh Morris

 

Meta-Writing, words, and venice.

Here are two different types of meta-writing about words, inner experience, imagination, and the relationship between imagination and senses.   Italo Calvino wrote this, in the opening from "If on a winter's night a traveler":   "The novel begins in a railway station, a locomotive huffs, steam from a piston covers the opening of the chapter, a cloud of smoke hides part of the first paragraph. In the odor of the station there is a passing whiff of station café odor. There is someone looking through the befogged glass, he opens the glass door of the bar, everything is misty, inside, too, as if seen by nearsighted eyes, or eyes irritated by coal dust. The pages of the book are clouded like the windows of an old train, the cloud of smoke rests on the sentences."   And here, from my own writings:   "Maurice would then return to the poetic contrast and see the curves of an Ionic volute in his letters, and feel the sound and colors of the words as they were finding their way down to paper and having attached to them an imaginary world hidden in their shapes. The magic of a blue sky in a sentence, carefully hanging over the two words, and the tones from a harp dancing through the letters in a harmonic little melody.   The curves of the letters would then transform into the arches of the windows on the Doge's palace in Venice, with the beauty of the complexion from the evening light reflecting into the conversations in the square, and on the dinner tables of old friends and families as the day was slowly blending into the dark night."   There is an effort here to build on the emotion and detailed nuances in Proust, but with a separate "voice". And this little passage, is one of the moments in the book that best expresses what we tried to do in this respect.

Josh Morris

Josh Morris

 

Sunlight

Streams of sunlight through the windows, filling the room. The nature of being feels so different.   And Easter is starting to enter and influence the mind, too. Outside the window, a tree.   Then another stroke of brighter sunlight on the floor.

Josh Morris

Josh Morris

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