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Trust!  It is a beautiful thing!  When one can trust completely it is the most freedom one can feel or live out!

This past Thursday (6th of June), it was one year to the date that I was informed that I had Stage IV cancer (non-small cell adenocarcinoma) both in the lung and in the brain.  I later found out that this was one of the most aggressive types of cancer and the % of survival is not so good!

Although stunned and heartbroken for my beautiful wife and family; my first true reaction and question was:  “Okay God, what are you up to?”

Over the next couple of days he answered me through conversations, prayer, and reading; and his response to me was this – “Do you Trust me?”

During that week our life passage really sealed the deal for me in this matter and that passage from the bible is Romans 8:28 –

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, whohave been called according to his purpose” or said another way –

That all things work together for good to those who love God, who; or that in all things God works together with those who love him to bring about what is good”

See folks, this is an all in passage!  You either believe it or you don’t!  You either TRUST that God will work together for good ALL things (both the good and the bad) or you don’t!

Well.., I chose to TRUST!

So.., this past year has been just a real season of growth for me with respect to this issue of trusting God completely!  Totally realizing that I am His and He is and must be in control of my life!  Can you now see how liberating that is?  When you know that the creator of all things has your back no matter what – then what truly is there to fear?  Is this what is meant by “Perfect Love casts out all fear”?  I do believe so!

So.., thus far, what has Trusting in God allowed me to see?

–      Such an outpouring of Love from people and from above that has humbled me beyond my wildest dreams!  I cannot thank all the folks who have prayed; raised funds; and have just been so encouraging and loving over the last year!  My love for you all is beyond words or thought!

–      Healing and life are still happening and thus far – I am beating the odds beyond all of my doctor’s expectations!  Nothing is impossible for the Jesus I Trust in!!

–      My beautiful bride and I are more in Love with each other than we have ever been – despite her having to put up with me for over 36+ years now (33 married).  God has truly blessed me with a woman of Grace and Mercy and I am forever grateful to Him for putting her in my life!  She is just another example in my life that I can TRUST Him completely too!

–      Trusting God has allowed me to hold our very 1st grandchild in my arms (Jordan Griffin Merritt was born on the 31st of May)

–      Trust has allowed me the health, energy, and passion to continue my Godly calling of sharing the Epic Love Story with folks in the Lehigh Valley and beyond!  My story intertwined with His story – and He is using it for His Glory to hopefully allow folks to be intrigued and amazed; and possibly listen to the story for the 1st time ever really!  So.., stoked to be part of Legacy and its calling to reach those far from God!

–      I would be remiss if I did not mention also that God blessed Legacy, Karen, and I with the DeSelm family (Nicole, Michael, Brie, Gabi, and Xander) and a plethora of great volunteers and leaders to carry on the mission this last year when my fatigue and illness just wore me out a bit!  They are all true warriors for the advancement of the Kingdom of God!  My Love for them cannot be measured!

There is much more on my heart – but these are my initial reflections on a year of living out a life of complete and utter TRUST in God!  My hope and prayer is that this post will help you to ponder the same kind of TRUST in Him in your life!

Until the next post – Peace and One Love!  :-)

So.., as I was watching the Superbowl halftime show, I was remembering the days of old when we didn’t have half-naked women performing stripping moves without poles. I also found myself wondering what young children (7-12 yr olds & even teenagers) who are watching this right now are thinking? What dreams will these young men now have that they cannot control; what will young ladies think is appropriate behavior and dress in public.

Having dealt with many young and old folks who have been affected by sexual addiction; pornography; etc…, I just find myself wondering where we are going as a society/culture? Trust me I am not being judgmental – it just saddens and breaks my heart for these young folks being influenced by the mixed-up sexual messages our culture sends out without blinking an eye as to the eventual consequences on our culture/society!

How many will end up in counselor’s offices or my office; with messed up marriages because they want their wives to be Beyonce’ or husbands to be the Calvin Klein guy in their heads? I guess I am just wee bit hyper-sensitive about this because of the many I have lovingly helped along the way in dealing with issues of the heart/head with respect to sexual issues. Those of you that know me personally, know that I am not some sexually repressed or sexually biased bigot; I just don’t understand what the NFL or Hollywood is thinking is all?

Sorry…, I just call’em as I see’em; and I’m just venting! Thoughts?

#1 – REST IS A MUST! LEARN TO LISTEN TO YOUR BODY AND LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU. MANY TIMES THEY KNOW WHAT IS BEST FOR YOU!

#2 – CANCER AND DEPRESSION SUCK! – YES, I SAID IT! THANK YOU LORD FOR BLESSING ME AND RAISING ME UP THROUGH BOTH!

#3 – THE CHURCH IS THE LORD’S – NOT MINE AND NO ONE ELSES – PLAIN AND SIMPLY – HE IS THE LEADER! THANK YOUR LORD FOR PROVIDING WELL EQUIPPED WORKERS IN THE FIELD TO CONTINUE THE HARVEST AND THE WORK THAT YOU PERSONALLY HAVE PUT INTO PLACE! MIKE AND NICOLE DESELM ARE THE BEST TEAMMATES IN THE WORLD FOR US AT LEGACY (WWW.LVLEGACY.ORG)

#4 – WE ARE BLESSED TO HAVE SUCH GREAT VOLUNTEERS AT LEGACY! WE HAVE FOLKS COMMITTED TO THE VISION OF REACHING OUT TO AND SHARING THE EPIC LOVE STORY OF GOD’S LOVE FOR THE LEHIGH VALLEY AND BEYOND, WITH THOSE WHO DO NOT KNOW GOD OR HIS STORY! THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART!

#5 – ADVERSITIES WILL COME AND WE WILL HAVE TROUBLE IN THIS WORLD! THE LORD JESUS HIMSELF WARNED US OF THAT! THE QUESTION IS WHAT WILL WE DO WHEN IT HAPPENS? THE LORD HAS TAUGHT ME A HUGE LESSON ON HUMILITY IN THE LAST TWO MONTHS AND I AM SO VERY THANKFUL FOR THAT!

#6 – THE HEART IS FICKLE AND THIS IS WHY WE MUST DIE TO OURSELVES DAILY! ONE DAY YOU MIGHT BE ON THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN TOP AND THE NEXT FIND YOURSELF FALLING OFF A CLIFF INTO THE VALLEY OF DRY BONES! BE PREPARED FOR THAT ALWAYS!; AND BE READY TO HOLD ONTO HIM WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH AND MIGHT. STAY PLUGGED INTO THE EPIC LOVE STORY BY READING IT DAILY AND PRAYING INTIMATELY EVEN WHEN YOU’RE NOT FEELING LIKE YOU WANT TO! “JUST DO IT!!”

#7 – PEOPLE WILL DISAPPOINT YOU – PLAIN AND SIMPLE. JUST REMEMBER WE ARE ALL BROKEN AND MESSED UP. NOT ONE OF US IS CLEAN – REMEMBER TO BE HUMBLE AND ACCEPT OTHER’S BROKENESS AS YOU LOOK IN THE MIRROR.

#8 – RELY ON THE WISDOM OF OTHERS! I WANT TO THANK MY FRIENDS WHO HAVE SHARED THEIR HEARTS AND WISDOM WITH ME IN THE LAST COUPLE OF MONTHS. WITHOUT THEIR SUPPORT AND HELP, THIS JOURNEY WOULD HAVE BEEN FAR MUCH HARDER TO ENDURE! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!

#9 – SMILE AND LAUGH EVERY DAY – EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT FEELING IT! LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO GO A DAY WITHOUT SMILING AND LAUGHING! ESPECIALLY LAUGHING AT ONE’S SELF AND THE SILLY PEOPLE WE CAN BE!

#10 – LOVE COMPLETELY; FULLY; & UNCONDITIONALLY! IT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT OF THINGS TO DO EVERY DAY – SO PRAY EACH MORNING AS YOU AWAKE THAT GOD GIVES YOU THE STRENGTH AND POWER TO DO SO! GOD HAS BLESSED ME PERSONALLY WITH A FRIEND FOR LIFE WITH THE BEST WOMAN IN THE WORLD! THANK YOU KAREN MERRITT FOR THE WAY YOU WORK DAILY TO LOVE ME LIKE THIS!

PEACE AND ONE LOVE TO YOU ALL!!

It’s NOT the End of the World as we know it, and……,

I don’t feel fine!

Why?

Truth be known, I was a bit disappointed in our Mayan friends because secretly I found myself wanting my world, the world as we know it to end. Huh? “Whatchyou talkin bout Willis?” (Richie)

Well…., there are over 7 billion people on this planet and although prosperity, technology, medicine, and science are astounding and ever-changing – this world still lacks common sense and compassion. Couple that with the fact that many are living with the mentality of “Eat, Drink (and medicate), & be Merry!” in hopes of making things in their minds and their own little worlds appear to be hunky-dory! And.., I see it as a big set-up; because…, there is this looming darkness that is slowly creeping across the landscape of earth and men’s hearts; and its goal is to engulf any light and love that is left in this world.

Imagine if the world as we know it would end…., Imagine a world where….

– People truly did Love God and Love People – not with words but actions!
– Love prevails over anger and hate!
– Poverty and starvation are mere memories of lessons learned on how to provide for our fellow humankind.
– Greed did NOT drive the hearts of humankind wild to lie, steal, cheat, and kill.
– Boys, Girls, Men, and Women are not sold into sexual slavery.
– Lust did not drive humankind to buy others for sexual slavery or their own self-gratification.
– Every person could walk any street without fear of hurt, harm, or death.
– Folks treated each other with compassion and mercy.
– Folks were less selfish and more selfless.
– Folks walked away from disagreements on faith, politics, social issues, etc.., and agreed to disagree in and with Love.
– The Lion would lie with the Lamb (without fear of being eaten).

And…, I could go on and on and on. Can you add to this list? How do you want your World to end?

Imagine…..

Interesting thoughts on yesterday’s sad events from Peter Enns blog post (author, scholar, professor). Whether you agree or disagree – this is very thought provoking. Having lost a child of our own and now being struck with stage IV cancer; on top of witnessing tragedy everyday from all over the world, where children, men, and women everyday are being killed by and through evil in the world; well.., I can state that Karen and I both have certainly traveled this road of thought, and have asked these questions for sure.

Self doubt is a creeper right? One minute you feel like you’re in tune with the Spirit and then all of a sudden – you get thumped in the chest, ya know blindsided and then here it comes creeping in. It causes you to question; causes you to cry out; causes you to doubt not only yourself but even if God is on your side? Been there?

Listen…, read Romans 8:28-37 – never, ever, ever let that punk along side you again. Will it happen (doubt)? You betchya! But…, when it does – hold on to that scripture and this below; and prayerfully it will help you through:

God believes in YOU! So.., if the world and others around you don’t want to believe in you – then know HE does and make sure YOU believe in YOU because He does! Remember the war is for your heart! Selah!

This coming year at Legacy Church, we’ll be talking a lot about our heart and living the Kingdom life here on earth.  If you’re in the Lehigh Valley, come on by and visit – party time is at 10am each Sunday!

After a wee bit of a hiatus.

Actually a long one, I have determined that I will return to this venture called blogging.  At a minimum I will commit to posting once a week, but I do not want to post lame junk.  So.., If I don’t have anything good.  Oh well…, then I will have to re-think this strategy.

I first must determine in the next day or two, what the purpose for this medium shall be.  Will it be about the adventures of being a church planter for the last 2 years?  Will it be about the amazing people God has placed in my life over the last year?  Will it be about who or what God is doing and saying to me as I walk through this journey called life? Or will it be all the above?

Either way, I want this to be a good medium or why waste the time right?  So.., I will be working on a post tomorrow for next week.  For those that have checked this thing in the past month or so, thanks for your patience with me; and so.., let’s start anew!

Peace and One Love,

Richie

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