Archive for April, 2012
I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and , I am persuaded, now lives in you also. (II Timothy 1:5)
What a great blessing to have a family heritage of faith. To have faithful parents, and even faithful grandparents, is an incredible blessing. If you are the recipient of a family legacy of faith, be thankful. If you are not, start that legacy today for your children and your grandchildren. And one day they will be thankful for you and your faith.
There is an old joke about a witness in a burglary case. The defense lawyer asked John, an elderly man: “Did you see my client commit this burglary?”
“Yes,” answered John, “I plainly saw him take the goods.”
The lawyer questioned John again: “John, this happened at night. Are you sure you saw my client commit this crime?”
“Yes” said John, “I saw him do it.”
Then the lawyer confronted the old man: “John listen, you are 80 years old and your eyesight probably isn’t too great. Just how far can you see at night?”
John replied, “I can see the moon… how far is that?”
I spent two summers in Long Beach, California, working with a church there. One thing that comes to mind when you think about that area is the traffic. Trying to navigate my way along the crowded streets was quite intimidating to this West Texas boy. Since I was spending much of my time looking for places that I had never been to, I had to concentrate on street signs and house numbers as well as deal with the traffic.
Toward the end of that first summer I realized that, if I would just raise my eyes a bit, there was a beautiful view of the mountains near Los Angeles. The view had been there the whole time; I just hadn’t raised my eyes to see it.
The apostle Paul wrote to a group of Christians in Rome: “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.” (Romans 1:20) An ancient Hebrew poet wrote in the book of Psalms: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” (Psalm 19:1)
If you’re not seeing God’s hand in the world around you, maybe you just need to raise your eyes a bit. The evidence is there for all to see.
“You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 19:34)
It’s easy to love those who are like us, those who look like us, dress like us, talk like us. If we really want to reflect the love of God, we need to learn to love those who are very different from us, the stranger among us.
When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. (Ecclesiastes 5:4)
Be careful what you promise God. When you commit to something the Lord, it is not to be taken lightly. Fools make rash promises and do not fulfill them. So when you promise God something, get to it. Fulfill your vow.
“And God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” (Exodus 20:1–2)
The Ten Commandments don’t begin with a “Thou shalt…” They begin with a reminder of who God is and what He’s done. Commandments don’t lead to a relationship with God; they grow out of that relationship. We obey God out of gratitude, not as a way to earn His approval.
Remember those people who have helped you along life’s journey? Do you remember those who helped you to know Jesus? Every time you think of them be sure and thank God for them. And if you get a chance, quote this verse to them.
“Why is the LORD bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?” (Numbers 14:3)
I’m always amazed when I see the lack of faith of these Israelites. God has brought them to the Promised Land. On the way, he’s parted the Red Sea, he’s spoken to them at Mount Sinai, he’s brought water out of rocks and dropped bread from the sky. But they want to return to slavery and death in Egypt. I’m amazed at them, until I remember that I can have many of the same doubts when faced with life’s problems. I need to remember who God is and what he can do for me.
“…do not plot evil against your neighbor, and do not love to swear falsely. I hate all this,” declares the Lord. (Zechariah 8:17)
God loves each of us but there are behaviors that God hates. This world is full of people who plan and scheme to do harm to others. Some even love to tell things that are not true. Do not be those people. Do not act in ways that God hates.
That is what the ad said: getting a motorized wheelchair for your loved one is as easy as one, two, three. Not only that but it would be cheap or perhaps even free. What my father-in-law heard was that it would be easy to get your free motorized wheelchair if you need it. He needed it, so he and my wife set out to get this free and easy chair. I am not sure how lots of paperwork, including the visit to the Doctor to get his assessment and then to a therapist to get his endorsement, is considered easy. That took several weeks and at least three appointments plus the paperwork.
The chair did end up being free. It just was not easy. And of course, if you want to transport it you need a power lift on the back of your vehicle. Not included. Not easy. That lift then requires a hitch added on to the vehicle. Again, not part of the deal. Not easy. Maybe what they meant and what we expected did not match up. It took quite a bit of time and what we considered significant expense to secure the free and easy motorized wheelchair. But Grandpa is thrilled. He is able to go places on that chair easier and pain free. Great decision; we just did not understand the cost. If we had, we would have done it anyway. The benefit is worth it. We just wish we had known the true cost in time and effort up front.
So I wonder if we Christians mean something different than what non-believers hear when we talk about the free gift of salvation through Jesus. Salvation is God’s free gift, but that does not mean it is easy. Jesus himself said if we want to follow him we must deny ourselves. He said if we wanted to find our life we must first lose it. The decision to follow Jesus is described as a death. And if you follow Jesus you will be persecuted by a world that does not know him. The Bible gives much advice on how to live in a hard world full of trouble and trials.
Free does not mean easy, but it is so worth it.
“O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.” (Nehemiah 1:11)
What sort of things do you do to get ready for a big appointment? Along with getting all dressed up, fixing hair and make-up, practicing what you’re going to say… don’t forget to pray!