Saturday, January 21, 2012

Loss of a True Friend

The last few weeks have been very difficult. We lost one of our little friends, James Arkenau. He was 17 years old, in my two sons' band and also part of our family.

I've known James since he was 11. He and his family came to our church the same year that we started. He wanted to be on my praise and worship band for the jr. high kids. The band was called Stepping Stone and James was my first guitarist. He was so shy but not with me. He became one of my little buddies. James would come to our home, spend the night with my boys and my son Ryan also was one of his guitar teachers. Many times, I would go to James' school, pick him up and take him to practice with me at church on Wednesdays. He and I would talk and I felt like his big sister. Throughout the years, he became a big part of our family and I even named one of my puppies after James. We call him Sea'mus which is Irish (gaelic) for James.

My boys are in a band called 'Foreverisforever' a long with their friend Josh. James wanted to be in the band and although he was only 15 when he joined, he quickly became the lead guitarist and played beautifully. He would jump off the speakers and was a true performer. Everyone loved to see James' hair because he always had a different look.

James was an encourager. He touched thousands of lives with his message of hope through his belief in Jesus. He helped so many kids, one of them a friend of his in another state. I introduced them when they were 12 at our missions trip called JAM in Philadelphia. He kept in contact with Bethany and to this day, they remained tight friends. James touched lives in his school, church, in the outside world and on stage. At 16 years old, he got to perform at one of Washington DC's top nightclubs, the 9:30 Club along side my sons Ryan, Landon and our friend Josh. James had style and class and love for his Savior, Jesus.

Through his new life

now in Heaven, James has brought people to the Lord. By his love, encouragement and strength of character, James will never be forgotten. He left a legacy that is hard to live up to. If only we can all be like James and show love and compassion for everyone! James was true to that life.

Heaven just gained a wonderful spirit when James entered and now he's with Jesus. I'm sure he is happy and peaceful.

James Arkenau will remain in our hearts forever.....

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Judgmental Attitudes go Away!

A new year, a new outlook on life. People of every nationality, religion and background come together to focus on a new start. The beginning of a freshness that only each individual can feel in their heart. How can I start over? How can this be better this time around?

Being that I'm a Christian, means, I'm a Christ Follower. I'm in love with my Lord Jesus who died for me. It's not a religion, it's in my heart, my soul...

I love everyone. It hurts my heart if I know they don't know Jesus. Maybe it was a misunderstanding in their lives; maybe it was a judgmental glance that they received when they were young? It could of been a rejection that took place in church and can't be forgotten. I just wish that people knew that it's not Jesus who judges, it's humans. Legalism can destroy a person's soul.

Sometimes when people act 'holier than thou', they take what they think is right and correct it in their own lives,then try and force it on someone else. Someone who is a Christian may have been convicted of something and decide they don't want to do that anymore which is a wonderful change but it can only be from God. Non Christians can also want to change their lives. Everyone's decisions, their lives and the outcome of their circumstances is between them and God if they choose to want Him in their life.

My friends are from every walk of life. Some are Christians; some have fallen away from that path; some have never known that. I love them and try not to ever judge them for the life they've chosen.

For me, I just know that God sent Jesus, His son, to come to earth as a little baby, then grow up and be persecuted and killed. He was different and unique. People didn't understand Him. Just like some of us who feel like others don't understand us and our lives. He died for me and my sins. Sins are something we all have. None of us can flee from it's destruction. The only way to be forgiven is through Jesus. We can't earn it by being 'good' or working hard or anything else. It's a free gift. John 3:16

I won't judge my friends that don't know Jesus. I won't persecute them. I will only pray for them when I'm alone with God and when I'm with them, I'll let them know that I love them. Showing Christ's love is the best thing anyone can do.

If only all of us had the attitude to 'love our neighbor as ourselves' Mark 12:31, then life would be much easier. Maybe everyone would stop judging and just start loving.

My prayer for 2012 is for the ones who don't know God, to seek Him. For the ones who are lost, to look to Him. It may not happen to all of the ones out there, but it's their choice. God gave us free will. He knows the outcome of what we choose.

I just wish love went all the way around the globe and end it's course by residing in Heaven throughout eternity.