Monday, May 28, 2012

Lest we Forget!

At a commuter train station a policeman noticed a woman driver with her head bowed over the steering wheel in obvious discomfort. The police officer asked her, "Is there anything wrong?" Half crying and half laughing, she said, "For ten years I have been driving my husband to this station every morning to catch this train. THIS MORNING I FORGOT HIM!" The worst thing one can do is forget, especially when that forgetfulness concerns an act of kindness conveyed, a sacrifice paid, or a prayer prayed.  That is why we celebrate Memorial Day. Only eternity will tell the full story of those who have given themselves for others. That’s why we cannot be remiss in forgetting people! I read recently that on an average day about 750 people visit the USS Arizona in Hawaii and on Memorial Day weekend that number reaches 4,600. And on an average day some 3,000 people will visit the Vietnam War Memorial and 7,600 on Memorial Day weekend. It’s always good to think about and remember others! We take this opportunity to honor our veterans. People count, and failure to remember is to say that their lives and service were given in vain. While we know this is not true in our heart, we cannot let our actions speak otherwise.  This not only concerns our servicemen, but also our Savior. Daily we should remember the price He paid for our freedom. When no one else was available, he stepped up and stepped down, taking on the form of flesh so that He might become our veteran hero. He charged the cross, defied the tomb and defeated our enemy so that we might live in freedom. So we should set aside daily the time to remember and offer thanks, lest we forget!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Confession: A Good Thing

Have you ever heard the old statement, “Confession is good for the soul?”  While not found in the Bible it does pack a lot of truth. Maybe this is why James 5:16 encourages us to “confess our faults one to another.” Failure to do so can lead to incredible heartache and spiritual desperation. Its importance is summed up in the following story. “London held its breath in June 1987. While working on a building site, a construction foreman thought his workers had hit a cast iron pipe while using a pile driver. After picking up and then dropping the huge object, they realized the pipe looked like a bomb. It was—a 2,200-pound World War II bomb, one of the largest the Germans dropped during the blitz which killed more than 15,000 Londoners. After evacuating the area, a 10-man bomb disposal unit worked 18 hours before deactivating the seven-foot device.” Unconfessed sin, like an unexploded bomb, can rest in the heart of an individual—or in a church. Unless it is deactivated through confession, it can detonate and cause great damage. So how do you disarm this bomb within? The first key is taking responsibility. You must acknowledge your responsibility. Don’t blame your circumstances, your husband, your wife, your boyfriend, your girlfriend, your boss, your employees, or your pastor. Don’t even blame the devil. Your sin is your responsibility. We can say, “The devil made me do it” however, sin ultimately occurs as an act of your will—and you are responsible for it. Second, you confess the sin. Third, ask for forgiveness then receive it. Fourth, remember to forgive others as well as yourself. When taking these measures you will find that “confession really is good” and it definitely brings healing to the soul.  

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Honoring Mothers

We are celebrating Mother’s Day today.  It is an event that comes on the calendar once a year. However our appreciation should never be limited to a single day. As we honor this occasion, I cannot help but ask, “Who would be classified as the greatest mother of all time?” Of course my own mother should be considered as a candidate.  She was very careful in providing the proper amount of love, discipline, and care early in my life. And while I love her dearly, she would not receive my vote. My wife and the mother of our two children should not be overlooked either. She was and continues to be the epitome of dedication in the role of being a parent. In spite of my unending appreciation for her she would not be my choice either. Upon that ballot, I would have to write the name Mary, the mother of Jesus. Why would she be considered the greatest?  It would not be because of her lineage. She came from a very poor family and from an obscure village. It would not be because of her great accomplishments.  She did not offer any of the things that normally place people in the arena of greatness. She authored no books, painted no pictures, and recorded no songs.  Yet she was great!  The reason, she exemplified that incredible trait that all of us need and that is the ability to sacrifice oneself totally for God. She exposed herself to rejection, ridicule, and reprimand for the sake of submitting to the will of God. Although she did not understand everything asked of her, she humbly submitted to it.  She teaches us the lesson that greatness is not measured by what we are able to receive but what we are willing to give up. Her response should be one pursued by all, “Let it be unto me according to your word.” That attitude not only allows us to reflect upon and honor the dedication of Mary but also positions us for greatness.   

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Getting Revenge

In Romans 12:19 (NLT), Paul says, “Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord.” Have you ever wondered why we are given this admonition?  Could it be that revenge never works. Take for example the Polish dentist that recently decided to get back at her ex-boyfriend. She is facing three years in prison and is being investigated for medical malpractice after she removed all of her ex-boyfriend's teeth during dental surgery just days after their breakup. "I tried to be professional and detach myself from my emotions," Anna Mackowiak, 34, told the Austrian Times. "But when I saw him lying there I just …decided to take all his teeth out." Marek Olszewski, 45, reportedly showed up at Mackowiak's dental office complaining of toothache just days after he broke up with her. She then allegedly gave him a "heavy dose" of anesthetic, locked the door and began removing all of his teeth one at a time. When he woke up he said he felt funny and was told he was okay but needed to see a specialist. Quite a story isn’t it? There are three reasons why we should not take matters into our own hands:  First, it never corrects the problem; second it never provides lasting happiness; last of all the consequences outweigh the benefits.  It is for certain that we will all face circumstances in life that will demand payback.  Although this is a given, the issue in question is, “who will we allow to take action?”  I encourage you to step back and let God work. He knows exactly how and when to get revenge so that it benefits the offended as well as the offender.