The Humiliation of Christ – Tom’s Post # 3

Below is the third post by Tom Carpenter which I referenced in Why I started writing lyrics.” Tom would die 3 days later (First Post, Second Post).

I think you will find humor, yet be humbled by his words. May we never forget what Christ has done, and what He went through on our behalf in taking the punishment we deserve.

“For those of you who have ever been in a hospital for any extended period of time, you quickly learn that there is little opportunity for modesty.  I have not worn a diaper for a few decades, but, regrettably this has become part of my new normal routine, since my recent difficulties have overtaken me.  I have learned to get over whatever humiliation this has caused me, however, in pretty short order, present circumstances dictate, that this is my situation.  I hope this will soon change.  It’s funny, not really so funny, but I find myself asking God to just let me keep my diaper clean for a while.  Right now I am involved in the titanic struggle to ward off the bedsore.  If we try we can find some humor even in difficult times.

However, I am also reminded that our Lord and Savior, before He was ultimately crucified was afforded no dignity and was humiliated in all kinds of ways.  We all know the barbaric and inhumane acts that He was subjected to.  He was not even regarded as a human being.  He was stripped of everything.  He wasn’t even afforded the ability to cover Himself.  So whatever brief indignity I may be subject to, simply because I at the moment may not be able to take proper care of myself is of no consequence.

When Christ was pushed, pulled and dragged to that place of sacrifice He had no dignity, no earthly dignity, but He did have the dignity of His Father and the Holy Spirit and it was the supernatural dignity that covered Him and honored Him, even as He suffered and died naked on that horrific cross.

So whatever brief embarrassment or humility we may encounter in this life, is of not much consequence when we truly meditate on what Christ went through on our behalf.

May you all be richly blessed as I have been and continue to be.”

Tom Carpenter 1958-2010
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Time Well Spent – Tom’s Post # 2

When launching this blog with why I started writing lyrics,” I referenced three CaringBridge posts by Tom Carpenter (who wrote them days before he died). Below is the second of three from Tom. To read His first post click here.

I hope you’ll consider Tom’s words as “time well spent” because they are a great reminder for us. May we not waste the time God has blessed us with.

“For we are wonderfully and fearfully made.  God knit us together in the midst of our mothers’ womb.  God knew the unique blend of our individual DNA.  God knew everything about us before we were ever even thought of.  I am thankful God allowed me to be born.

I am also thankful for the time God has blessed me with.  Time, however, is something I have often squandered in my life.  There have been so many instances where I have not used time wisely.  For the most part, I took time, a precious gift of God and used it selfishly to my own frivolous ends and purposes.  God forgive me.  None of us know how much time God will give us.  What I have often failed to realize is that it is not my time at all.  Time, like everything in this life, belongs to God.  Of course, God is mindful of the time we must dedicate to our families and our livelihoods.  God does not begrudge us time to take pleasure in this life He gives us.

Ultimately, however, we must realize that time in the here and now is finite.  So let us spend more time with God.  Then, however many seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months or years God may give us, that time will be blessed and not wasted.”

Are you over scheduled? When do you spend time with God? Are you an early morning, or late-at-night person? What can you adjust in your daily routine so you can spend more time praying and meditating on God’s Holy Word?

Nothing takes God by surprise – Tom’s Post # 1

When launching this blog with why I started writing lyrics,” I referenced three CaringBridge posts by Tom Carpenter. Tom wrote them days before he died and below is the first one in its entirety.

I pray that his words will exalt Christ and be an encouragement to you.

“I am so thankful that nothing takes God by surprise.  God knew what was going to happen to me and set in motion all of the components that led me to deliverance from my most recent desperate circumstances.

I found myself in the dark of an early Friday morning crying out to God to help me.  If I said, ‘God help me’ once, I said it a hundred times.  Half of my body was dead weight to me.  I could not drag myself out of bed, and I was much afraid.  I could not bring myself to have the attitude of St. Paul to be ‘thankful in all situations.’  I only knew I needed help and I was alone in the dark.  But, then I realized that I wasn’t truly alone. God was right there with me and knew everything that was going on in my life right then.  My human emotions still overtook me because, regrettably my faith is often weak.

God did help me when friends, who are like family, got me to the hospital.  God helped me when doctors and nurses almost immediately began to minister to my needs, and learning as fast as they could what was wrong with me and how they could cure it.  God helped me when caring, learned physicians quickly realized that surgery was necessary and most imperative.  God helped me by allowing me to be put in the hands of the most skillful and able doctors to perform surgery at the exact moment when my life could be dramatically and irrevocably changed.  If not for the insight and precise abilities of the surgeon I would be a victim of paralysis.  I did not know how truly desperate my circumstances were, but God did.  God heard my cry and He did help me.  There are still struggles ahead for me, and I do not know how I will bear up under them.  I only know that God will be there with me in pain and in pleasure.

God will be with me in spirit and in faithful friends to encourage me, pray for me, and help me along the way, wherever it may lead.  That way, that path, that road, if it leads to eternity with God, no matter how hard or difficult the journey may become, will be worth it if we keep our eyes on the author and finisher of our faith.  I do not present myself as a source of great biblical wisdom, or a practitioner of prodigious faith.  I am, at the heart of it, a wretched sinner saved by grace who is only worthy of God’s great mercy through the willing sacrifice of his son Jesus Christ.  Why God has such great love for us, only He knows.  It is beyond human comprehension.  God is with us in our joy and in our pain, when we rejoice and when we suffer.  It is hard when life goes against us and we cannot see God’s greater purpose in allowing some hardship to come upon us.  But God has not forsaken us, and his greater purpose will always be revealed to His eternal glory.

May I, or none of us who claim the name of Christ, (not) lose sight of or forget that all things work together for the good of those who are in Christ Jesus.  May God be forever praised, amen.”

Have you cried out to God in desperation? If so, how did He strengthen you?

Why I started writing

Very similar to how our church started, I began writing in 2010 after God used a man named Tom Carpenter to inspire me. Tom was the custodian at Grace Fellowship for many years. In January 2010 he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and died a short three weeks later on February 16, 2010 at the age of 51.

This was a very moving experience for me, my family, and our church. Tom was always behind the scenes, always seemed to be at the church serving in some way, and was so familiar that he almost went unnoticed…until he wasn’t able to be there. Tom was single all his life and faithful in his service to the Lord. He was loved by all.

Our family visited Tom several times before He died and we would sing him Fighter Verse songs to encourage him, but I think he encouraged us more by how he handled his final days.

The families in our church rallied around Tom. We even threw him a Super Bowl party while he was in the hospital that was quite the logistical challenge of moving TVs, moving Tom and his bed in the lobby, and getting “approval” from the staff and security guards.

Before Tom died he wrote three CaringBridge posts that so moved me that I felt compelled to write myself. (I’ll post them in full on this blog in the future).

The first song I wrote was titled “Wretched Sinner Saved by Grace (Tom’s song).” Being my first attempt at songwriting, I must say it was definitely a “first attempt.” I’ll probably post those syllables to the blog one day as well.

Here’s a quote from Tom’s first post and why I chose the song title above:

“God will be with me in spirit and in faithful friends to encourage me, pray for me, and help me along the way, wherever it may lead.  That way, that path, that road, if it leads to eternity with God, no matter how hard or difficult the journey may become, will be worth it if we keep our eyes on the author and finisher of our faith.  I do not present myself as a source of great biblical wisdom, or a practitioner of prodigious faith.  I am, at the heart of it, a wretched sinner saved by grace who is only worthy of God’s great mercy through the willing sacrifice of his son Jesus Christ.”

Below is another (longer) excerpt from Tom’s second post on not wasting time:

“I am also thankful for the time God has blessed me with.  Time, however, is something I have often squandered in my life.  There have been so many instances where I have not used time wisely.  For the most part, I took time, a precious gift of God and used it selfishly to my own frivolous ends and purposes.  God forgive me.  None of us know how much time God will give us.  What I have often failed to realize is that it is not my time at all.  Time, like everything in this life, belongs to God.  Of course, God is mindful of the time we must dedicate to our families and our livelihoods.  God does not begrudge us time to take pleasure in this life He gives us.

Ultimately, however, we must realize that time in the here and now is finite.  So let us spend more time with God.  Then, however many seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months or years God may give us, that time will be blessed and not wasted.”

I’ve since spent many hours with God, digging in His Word, writing syllables of grace and shedding tears because of His overwhelming greatness. I pray that these syllables will long out live me, but if not, it’s been time well spent with God.

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