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How Great a Love

––THE TOOTHPASTE CHRONICLES: VOLUME #5

What life events will transpire from the time of the first twist of the toothpaste cap to the last squeeze? The mundane, often monotonous, the surprising, spontaneous, joyful, sad and sometimes hurtful things of life. Our stories are diverse but similar because of our common thread, the thread of human emotions. My story is your story. We’re in this together. Whether spoken or written, our stories are meant to be shared. It takes courage and vulnerability to do so. Like love, sharing involves risk. But also, like love, the risk is always worth it. I share my stories with you in mind.

This chronicle is a break from the storytelling of volumes 1 – 4. Like my stories, I wrote it with you in mind as we approach this Christmas time of year.

How Great a Love

People beyond number trapped.
Stuck in a race; highways with no exits.
Speeding along with the flow….constant motion…
going, planning, living… another day
along the way of life’s unending flow…..
But in reality, lost – no hope beyond the now.
Caught in the crowd, too busy or proud.
Escape, it is free, the Truth is the Key,
but sadly, blind eyes will not see.

A war being waged, many battles surround,
forces invisible but real.
Weapons not carnal, the outcome eternal
our fate forever to seal.

Noise surrounds, false teaching abounds.
The enemy’s time it is short.
His methods convincing, sin’s grip unflinching.
Mankind is helpless thinking “I got this”,
not willing to give up control.
To the One Who can save, Who rose from the grave.
to show us that we can be free.

Surrender we must if in Him we trust.
Salvation is free but not cheap.
Jesus paid our debt, invites us to freedom.
Stands at hearts door not forcing His way,
free will gives us the choice.
But the world is a river, the current is swift,
loud and strong its voice.
It takes little effort to go with the flow,
but courage to rise up and say,
“True joy and real purpose I’m longing to know,
Jesus show me the way.”

Many have the answer, or so they think;
Put good on the scale when this life is through,
and hope it’s enough for you.
Be a good person and salvation is certain…
my god will do as I say.
It’s not in the Bible the things I am liable
to do as I go my own way.

Some live for now, eat, drink, and be merry,
think today is all we have.
But God put eternity in every heart.
Down deep we know when this life is over
that’s when eternity will start.

In Him, some believe with head but not heart.
Religion they follow in buildings so hollow;
it’s safe and secure, no need to stand out.
Be still and listen, follow tradition,
spout vain repetition, no meaning or substance,
and little resistance –
but pulls the multitudes in.
Some hearts say “no, it’s time to go”…
but comfort conforms, so they stay – spirits torn.

False preachers tickle ears, selling health, wealth and healing;
promises appealing.
But ignores Bible teaching, this kind of preaching –
that trials and heartaches we’ll see.
For they are what molds us, shapes us and makes us
into what God wants us to be.

Cheap grace takes the place of trials and cross.
So we bask in our glory thinking this is the story
of how things were meant to be.
Until something shakes us, storms sent to wake us…
and cause blind eyes to see.

True joy can be found, peace and purpose abound!
But the gate is narrow and the few who find it will know.
There’s work to be done before victory’s won.
Love to be shared, blessings not spared.

The enemy prowls like a roaring lion,
seeking to kill, steal and destroy.
Closing the eyes to shield from the prize
of God’s Son, Christ Jesus the Way.

How great a love we cannot fathom.
He gave His all, bridging the chasm.
The one created by sin.

We can’t earn our way. There’s a price we can’t pay,
no matter how hard we may try.

Deny as some do there’s a God, “it’s not true!”
and live for this world as it is.
Breaks the heart of the One Who sent His only Son
to save, forgive and restore.

Is He for real? I don’t know, maybe yes or no.
Not deciding’s a choice, He knows your inner voice
If not with Him against Him you are.

More than a teacher, great prophet or preacher,
God’s Son, that’s Who He is.
He died to make the way, open the door we could not enter.
Reach out, trust Him, put Christ at the center.
Invite Him as Savior today.

He rose from the grave, your soul to save.
Tell God you believe; trust and receive.
Your part a mere token as sin’s curse is broken.
The angels rejoice at the sound of a voice,
a lost sheep who repents and comes home.

One day we’ll join Him; there’ll be no sorrow, sickness or weeping…
for now our souls keeping.
United with others, sisters and brothers; mother and father we’ll see.
As we walk the new earth planned from the birth
of Jesus our Lord and our King.

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Mike Pitocco
Mike Pitocco
​Following a stint in the USAF Mike worked in retail management on Long Island, New York prior to relocating and beginning a new career with the California Department of Corrections, from which he retired after 33 years of service. Retiring as a Program Coordinator with the Division of Addiction and Recovery Services. He continued his involvement with the drug treatment initiative for several years as a consultant with the University of California, San Diego, Center for Criminality & Addiction Research. While working at the California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi, CA, Mike activated Celebrate Recovery (CR), a faith-based ministry, at the prison. Mike and his wife Sharron also activated CR at a number of other correctional facilities in the state. Mike volunteered and eventually was hired as a full-time Chaplain at the Lerdo Detention Facility (Kern County jail) in Bakersfield, CA; eventually becoming Supervising Chaplain, and earning his certificate of ordination from Prison Ministry of America. Mike was also the Ministry Director of CR at Canyon Hills Church in Bakersfield along with co-founding the Kern County Prison Ministry Alliance, the goal of which was is to reduce recidivism one life at a time. Mike considers himself truly blessed to be Sharron’s husband, the proud father of Christina, Daniel, and Sean and grandfather (aka, ‘Papa’) of Lawson, Harper, and Savvy. For Sharron - God’s instrument in knocking off some very rough edges - for family, for life and love, and whatever he may be privileged to share through writing, Mike gives glory to God alone…. Soli Deo Gloria. He is a contributing author to the inspiring book Crappy to Happy: Sacred Stories of Transformational Joy

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13 CONVERSATIONS

  1. Great rhythm in words Mike. Even better is the message in so many lines. I wish every living soul knew and understood, believed and began to live their life here on earth that will take them to Heaven where as Scripture points out “no more tears or sorrows etc. The sinful pleasures of this world won’t follow us to the gates of Heaven but they will surely take one to the depths of hell. Beautifully written. God bless

  2. Amen! Poetry of truth and hope for all who put their trust in Jesus Christ.
    Thank you, Mike!

    More than a teacher, great prophet or preacher,
    God’s Son, that’s Who He is.
    He died to make the way, open the door we could not enter.
    Reach out, trust Him, put Christ at the center.
    Invite Him as Savior today.

DAILY INSPIRATION. DELIVERED.