- Somewhat rare to find
- Often difficult to give
- yet curiously
- they cost nothing to make
- but they may cost
- a hug or a smile
- once given away
- Cool water for a parched throat
- A dry coat to a wet man
- Warm sunrise after a cold night and
- Extra energy during a long marathon
- They are easy love
- A bright smile
- A reason to believe
- And blossoms of hope for tomorrow.
- Give a few away
- And you’ll have no less to give.
Nothing lasts forever … except us, if we hold our hope in what Christ, the apostles and the prophets taught. Nothing else lasts, however. Jobs, cars, houses, stuff, stuff and all the stuff will be gone. Forever burned away. Replaced with a new creation, uncorrupted. But we will remain.
Every person is of infinitely more value than all the stuff of the world combined … yet, we don’t typically view each other that way, at least, not in my experience. We don’t even typically view ourselves in that light.
Relationships. Relationships are the stuff of eternity. How we relate and what we do with each other have eternal consequences. Our relationships with God and with each other are the only things of ultimate consequence. What we do with the life God’s given us is determined primarily by the countless small decisions we make each day, most with very little consideration or forethought. Most of us have substantial interactions with others throughout each day. Those interactions are the component parts of our relationships. What are we doing with them?
Yet, it’s so easy to fixate on the sparkly things of creation instead of on the creator and on the other eternal souls around us. From those with whom we are in regular contact – spouse, children, co-workers, to those with whom are meetings are few and fleet, God give us the eyes and wisdom to value our relationships and interactions more, help our relationships be marked by love and encouragement.
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
– 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
I enjoy preparing for long-distances races. The training has its share of hardships, but I am always motivated by how the process makes me better: faster, stronger, more efficient, etc. There are peaks and valleys, successes and failures, elation and misery. Yet at the end, many of my best experiences have come from these training times — sometimes even better than the races themselves.
Yet every race demands personal sacrifice. I am frequently not careful about what I eat, and the junk food leaves me overweight and sluggish on my next run. A close friend repeatedly attempts training, yet he is not careful about his other activities. As a result he pays the price with frequent injuries — many of which have caused him to cancel his race plans.
The list can go on. We strive to better ourselves in the physical world and to attain to a form of greatness. In the passage above, God tells us to approach our spiritual life with the same level of intensity and sacrifice that is expected of an athlete as they prepare for a big race.
Let us pursue greatness in our physical lives, but especially in our spiritual lives!
Thanks to Don Francisco:
The gates and doors were barred
And all the windows fastened down
I spent the night in sleeplessness
And rose at every sound
Half in hopeless sorrow
And half in fears that day
Would find the soldiers breaking through
To drag us all away
And just before the sunrise
I heard something at the wall
The gate began to rattle
And a voice began to call
Must-see link: Alive!, by Max Lucado
The irony and twists of God … a happy day because the innocent Christ was brutally slaughtered. By the grace of God through his blood, we are saved if we will only place our faith and our trust in him. We celebrate the price and fact of our redemption today, our eternal purchase, and at such cost.
Excerpts from Spurgeon’s sermon The Tomb of Jesus:
[W]e will stand at that tomb; we will examine it, and we trust we shall hear some truth-speaking voice coming from its hollow bosom which will comfort and instruct us, so that we may say of the grave of Jesus when we go away, “It was none other than the gate of heaven”—a sacred place, deeply solemn, and sanctified by the slain body of our precious Saviour. …
Away, ye profane—ye souls whose life is laughter, folly, and mirth! Away, ye sordid and carnal minds who have no taste for the spiritual, no delight in the celestial. We ask not your company; we speak to God’s beloved, to the heirs of heaven, to the sanctified, the redeemed, the pure in heart—and we say to them, “Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” Surely ye need no argument to move your feet in the direction of the holy sepulchre; but still we will use the utmost power to draw your spirit thither. Come, then, for ’tis the shrine of greatness, ’tis the resting-place of the man, the Restorer of our race, the Conqueror of death and hell. …
First, I would bid you stand and see the place where the Lord lay with emotions of deep sorrow. Oh cone, my beloved brother, thy Jesus once lay there. He was a murdered man, my soul, and thou the murderer.
“Ah, you my sins, my cruel sins,
His chief tormentors were,
Each of my crimes became a nail,
And unbelief the spear.”
“Alas! and did my Saviour bleed?
And did my Sov’reign die?”
I slew him—this right hand struck the dagger to his heart. My deeds slew Christ. Alas! I slew my best beloved; I killed him who loved me with an everlasting love. Ye eyes, why do you refuse to weep when ye see Jesus’ body mangled and torn? …
Come, view the place then, with all hallowed meditation, where the Lord lay. Spend this afternoon, my beloved brethren, in meditating upon it, and very often go to Christ’s grave, both to weep and to rejoice. Ye timid ones, do not be afraid to approach, for ’tis no vain thing to remember that timidity buried Christ. Faith would not have given him a funeral at all; faith would have kept him above ground, and would never have let him be buried; for it would have said, it would be useless to bury Christ if he were to rise. Fear buried him. Nicodemus, the night disciple, and Joseph of Arimathea, secretly, for fear of the Jews, went and buried him. Therefore, ye timid ones, ye may go too. Ready-to-halt, poor Fearing, and thou, Mrs. Despondency, and Much-afraid, go often there; let it be your favorite haunt, there build a tabernacle, there abide. And often say to your heart, when you are in distress and sorrow, “Come, see the place where the Lord lay.”
Complete sermon here.
I’ve been surprised by the increasing numbers of horoscopes that friends post to their Facebook pages and FB “horoscope” application invites I’ve received. Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised. The daily horoscope is as fundamental a part of the American daily newspaper as is the funnies and editorial page. I seem to recall that many papers used to list the page number of daily horoscopes on the front page. Horoscopes are an accepted part of modern American culture.
So here’s a Christian horoscope, good for any day and any sign: Today is a day you should shout for JOY to the Lord and worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him with grateful hearts and enter his gates with thanksgiving. Know that the Lord is good and his love endures forever. Take every opportunity today to pray and to bless others with love and grace. Look for an opportunity to serve, particularly those that wouldn’t expect that from you. Tell somebody about Jesus today. You don’t have a lucky number or color. Finally, don’t be afraid to shout “God is great!”, particularly in a crowded area. If you follow this advice and place your trust and faith in Christ, a peace that transcends understanding will be yours.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: this isn’t a “horoscope.” Bye definition a horoscope is a prediction of events based on a diagram of the stars and planets. My forecast is not based on astrology but is based entirely on
The Wisdom of God
I have been reading through James lately and am being taught about the wisdom of God vs. the wisdom of the world.
Some attributes that we see from the world’s wisdom:
- Feeds our own lusts (1:14, 4:3)
- Builds within us a covetousness that develops into other sins (1:15; 4:2)
- Enemy of God (4:4)
- Jealous, bitter (3:14; 4:5)
- Has no hope (3:15)
In contrast, some attributes of God’s wisdom:
- Not what the world sees (4:4)
- Pure, peaceable, reasonable, merciful, sincere (3:17)
In the dry and weary land
Lord, You are the rain
In the sea of shattered ones
Your love comes rushing in
You hold the world within Your hands
And see each tear that falls
Through every fire and every storm
You’re Always Enough
Your love is peace to the broken
Faith for the widow
Hope for the orphan
Strength for the weak
Your love is the anthem of nations
Rings out through the ages
And You’re Always Enough for me
In the watches of the night
Lord, You are my song
Hope is in the morning light
Your love shines like the dawn
You keep my heart in perfect peace
He loved and knew you before he created you , before he created time.
To a rebellious people who rejected him and killed his prophets, he bled and died to satisfy judgment and to preserve his holiness. To those that reject his sacrifice, he still causes the sun to shine upon them and the rains to raise their crops. He calls them through his faulty saints, his word, the majesty of his creation, and the force of conscience.
He loves us patiently and is slow to anger. He calls us to return his love and devotion and to love each other selflessly. Though he is the ageless, almighty, creator of all things seen and unseen, he humbled himself to be born a child to a peasant couple in a backwater province on the outskirt of the Roman empire. To make sure we didn’t miss the point, he was born among the squalor of livestock, with no servants, not even a bed. Instead of a king, to the world he appeared a bastard child. He demonstrated what it means to humble oneself for purposes of serving and loving those that do not deserve it. He calls us to demonstrate that same love in all areas of our lives and to all people.
By this all will know
Answers in Genesis has rolled out the “I Am Not Ashamed” campaign, featuring “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ” message. It’s a media blitz – television, YouTube, blog, internet, Facebook, Twitter, TV, newspaper, billboards … it’s a massive campaign. You can see it all here. I encourage you to email the YouTube videos and post them on your FB account. At the center of it is a “living” Bible where people contribute their rendition of Biblical passages. Submit a video of you and/or your family reciting your favorite (or most obscure) chapter in the Bible. There are really cool billboards, see them here, that feature “The Bible speaks for itself on _____,” where the blank may be abortion, racism, marriage, etc. You can sponsor a billboard to include listing your church or ministry on it. All very cool stuff. Pray that this media blitz introduces millions to the Gospel and that souls are saved, and please spread the word!
“For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a mature man, able to bridle the whole body as well…for every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.” -James 3:2, 7-11
This passage of Scripture struck me as I was reading today. How often do I have something bad to say about other people when their lives interfere with my own? What will be my reaction to the driver who cuts me off on the way home from church tomorrow?
The challenge here in James is that it describes others as being “made in the likeness of God”. Note also that the audience of our words is never spoken here in James — the core issue is our own heart, not with who hears us. May we remember that about the next person who bothers or annoys us: let us remember that they are in God’s image, and may we also remember to keep our mouths shut.
Even when I am alone in my car!