Have you ever read Jesus' advice on real estate? They say that the three rules of real estate investment are: location, loation, location. This isn't new. Jesus told a story about two men who built houses. One built on sand, probably waterfront property. The other guy built on rock, that was me.
I used to think that I could find favor with God by going to church and reading the Bible. Many times I tried to live a good life, but eventually I would fail and not live up to my expectations. I wanted to do good, but was not able to be consistent. I could not change the person I was, although I really tried.
I hit the deck of the aircraft carrier fearing for my life as a US Navy jet slammed into the ship.
I grew up feeling insecure and afraid. My father was either away from home or drunk. My mother was also usually gone. She had to work long hours to make enough money to take care of four children and pay the rent. I often feared that something horrible might happen to my parents and that I would be left alone. I wanted to be sure that I was a good child so that they would not leave me. I wanted everyone to think that I was a good boy and worth loving.
I was afraid I'd be a SINGLE school teacher of other peoples' kids with none of my own... if I really gave my life to God!
When I was only seven years old, it became clear to me that I could have Jesus as my own Savior-not just because of my parents' faith. Though young, I really knew He was in my life because of His promise in the Bible: "The Lord goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." (Deut 31:8, Heb 13:5)
In High School, I realized that life was passing me by. I became determined to change things, to find fulfillment. I looked to people who I felt were successful and started to imitate their ways. I changed the way I walked, I learned the "in" things to say and jokes to tell, and I got myself a girl friend. Still, deep inside me, I knew that I was missing out on something.
I knew all the best hiding places on our family farm. If my father found me, he would put me to work doing chores that often demanded more physical and mental endurance than I had as a young boy. It should have been a positive experience working side-by-side with my father. But it wasn't. I felt like an absolute failure when I didn't live up to the daily expectations I felt he had of me.
Hiding was my escape and my place to find rest and solace. Even today, I treasure time alone and away from the demands of work and parenthood. Time alone is when I think most about God.
On an overnight train from Vienna to Warsaw, I found myself face to face with the Polish border guard. With his right hand raised and with his eyes turned upward, the man uttered one single English word--- “LIBERTY.” That was the initial response from the guard when he realized that I lived in America. The word “liberty” was one of the few English words that he knew, and to this man it was a word that well represented America and its freedoms. Surprisingly, a second response followed.
After a long pause on the telephone, the nurse finally said, "I will need to have the doctor call you back in a few minutes with the biopsy results."
I knew by her response that I did have cancer and that my life would be now going in a completely different direction than I had planned. It happened in a moment.