Sunday, October 30, 2011

Heading Forward While Looking Back

I read a statement recently on Facebook that caught my attention. “If you’re gonna talk, mean what you say; if you’re gonna change, change for the better; if you’re gonna leave, leave today; if you’re gonna stay, stay forever.” These words address a major problem in Christendom today. Many have become captive to the spirit of indecisiveness. They seem to be unsure of themselves in their commitment to the things of God. While they talk of dedication their walk portrays a different language. They say they want to go forward but words such as “might, maybe, or not sure” dominate their vocabulary. Such examples remind me of the occasion where Jesus said, “No man who puts his hand to the plow, and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Have you ever wondered what Jesus was thinking when He said those words? Was His heart torn and His eyes filled with tears as he thought about the temperament of His audience? Was He really saying, “Your words tell me you love me but your actions speak louder?” It is for certain that He was disappointed because He knew the struggle that exists with indecisiveness. The reason being, we can never accomplish anything by looking through our rear view mirror. If we head forward but continue to look back our lives will chart a crooked path filled with disappointment and unfulfilled dreams. Rejection was not in the heart of Jesus, but He did want His followers to mean and do what they say. There is destiny in the cross and the only way to successfully carry it is to keep looking forward.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Hitting What Comes our Way

I’m sitting here in my cozy chair watching the World Series. While I’m not much of a baseball fan I do like the season finally. There are a lot of things that could be said about the game. Each manager meticulously implements his own strategy and the players follow suit in an effort to win. With all the spitting, chewing, pawing, and groping its quite evident that nerves are on edge. But from what I can see the whole game comes down to the pitcher and the batter. It’s very simple. The pitcher tries to throw more than the hitter can handle and the batter tries to respond by hitting whatever comes at him. If proper connection is made then the game can be won. Isn’t that somewhat like the spiritual life? The enemy is constantly trying to throw more at us than we can handle and we respond by swinging at whatever comes our way. In this heated exchange we find ourselves facing the same strategy as the Series player. Just when he finds a way to hit the ball successfully, the manager changes pitchers. Isn’t that just like the enemy, always changing his scheme? If at first he doesn’t succeed he tries something else. However, the important thing for us to remember is that we have help. We are told in 1 Corinthians 10:13 “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” We may face the fast ball, the curve or the slider, but the Holy Spirit has studied every pitch and knows what it takes for us to make contact. If we trust God we will be able to hit a homerun scoring off whatever comes our way. That’s a World Saving promise!

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Split Second Decision

This past week I traveled to another city to make a hospital visit. Entering this town has become something I dread more and more because of all the traffic light cameras. My nerves are put on edge as I drive through each intersection. While it is not my intention to breach the law by running through a light that has turned red, the possibility of it happening is an ever present reality. That reality happened on Monday. Upon my approach the light turned orange. I applied the brakes but realized that coming to a stop would leave me in the middle of the street so I made the split second decision to race ahead hoping to beat the light before it changed. Needless to say my choice was not a good one. Seeing the glare of red looming before me as my car raced through left me frustrated and momentarily depressed. I knew a quick snap of the camera had captured my transgression. All that is left now is the mailman delivering the proof. However, waiting for the ticket to come in the mail has given me some time to contemplate. In doing so, some key spiritual principles have surfaced that I hope will be as helpful to you as they have been to me. First, is the realization that all of us have the potential to make quick decisions. Secondly, is the fact that when made they bring on repercussions. Even greater is the truth that they cannot be reversed. They become history only to be reflected upon. Just as important is the fact that a quick decision may lead to a bad experience but not necessarily a lifestyle. Finally, we must find the will to move on which reminds me of the words of Jesus that seem so appropriate here. “Go and sin no more.” This means, wherever your decisions lead you they don’t have to keep you. Don’t let a “split second decision” last a lifetime.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Gift of Love

Have you heard the phrase lately "I love you?" What on earth does it mean? Sadly to say these words are often used without emotion and genuineness. They are coined out of a spirit of narcissism for the sake of personal advantage. Such is true of many so called philanthropists and romanticists. However, these words can only be understood by processing the philosophy of their originating author. It was God who introduced the concept of love providing it's greatest explanation and demonstration. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes on him should not perish but have everlasting life." Herein is a love that is inclusive, untainted by attitudes of segregation and degradation. Further his love is expressive for it contains the act of giving. His gift was heaven's best for earth's worst. It is also a love that is protective. It does not request the surrender of integrity, dignity or purity. Rather it provides quantitative as well as qualitative life. When in action it's consequential nature is to help, not harm. Indeed God's love is characteristic of the poetic prose that states:
God took a risk when reaching out in love to a fallen world. Can you do the same? Are you willing to give the gift of love that carries no threat of abandonment, selfishness, or harm? If so the lonely, battered and bruised will stand at your door step anxiously awaiting the words, "I love you!"

Monday, October 3, 2011


Recently I read a quote that offered some much needed advice. “When something happens to you good or bad, consider what it means. There’s a purpose to life’s events, to teach you how to laugh more or not to cry too hard.” Little did I know that I would need this wisdom only days after reading it. Early this week I received a phone call informing me that my email account had been hacked into and a bogus message sent out to my contacts. The fraudulent message informed the readers that I had travelled to the UK and had been mugged. My cash and credit cards had been stolen leaving me penniless. Thus, I needed money to help me return home. Needless to say I was upset by the correspondence and started working immediately to correct the faulty information. Why did this trouble me so? First, I did not like the fact that someone had trespassed into my account. Secondly, I was embarrassed that my friends had been asked for money. Last of all I was frustrated that I had to take the biggest part of a day correcting the problem. Although I offered my fair share of complaints it suddenly dawned on me that I should be thankful. Be thankful—for what reason? I was home instead of stranded in some foreign country. And even though I didn’t have a large amount of cash, I had all I needed. More blessed was the fact that I had been the target of deceit rather than being the deceiver. Most of all was the assurance that I had multiple friends that reached out in concern, letting me know that they were ready to respond with help had the need been legitimate. Given these facts I ended the day realizing things were not that bad when put in the proper perspective.