These beautiful words of promise are often brought to mind when, at a serious moment of need in our lives, we turn toward God for help. The Bible is filled with evidence of this truth - “God the Great Provider”.
A shampoo television commercial from the 1980’s gave millions a lesson in simple multiplication. The ad for Faberge Organics featured a single woman who loved the product so much that she told two friends. Those two friends told two friends, who told two more friends, until it continued “and so on, and so on, and so on.” By the end of the commercial, the screen had split multiple times to show a large number of women ready to tell two more friends about their favorite shampoo.
In my life, the Lord Jesus Christ's life and presence are an anchor to my soul. I treasure the times He has spoken His promises to me personally. “Yes, child, it is, I promise” (my name written in the Lamb's Book of Life.) And, “Yes, child, you will, I promise” (spend all eternity in heaven with me). And, “Yes, all your sins are forgiven, past, present, and future.” “I will never leave you or forsake you.”
I missed a call and message from a close friend during lunch. I thought I knew what it was about; I was sadly mistaken.
VBS is in full swing at GBC! Noise! High energy! Glitter and glue! Jesus would feel right at home. He loved having the children near Him. About a week before VBS began, we had 14 students signed up for our class. Not one of them attended our church. Most went to other churches, but some had no church affiliation at all. What a mission field!
My problem with action movies is that I’m never sure who the good guys are and who the bad guys are. Just when I think I have it figured out, the one I thought was good “pulls off the mask,” and we see that he is, in fact, on the wrong side. Or, he does good things with bad motives. Or, he does bad things with good motives. Either way, he’s never as good as he would have us believe. I guess if we’re to be honest, we are like that as well. Some days we are better than others -- less than 100% consistent in our behavior. But not God. He’s good all the time. His motives are always pure; His plan always perfect. Even when things don’t go our way, we need not wonder about His goodness.
Why do bad things happen to good people? I’m sure all of us have heard this asked and, chances are, most of us have asked this question ourselves. I have heard the secular world try to answer this question many ways. “There is no god.” “Maybe God exists, and He just doesn’t have the power to stop these things.” “If God exists, then why doesn’t he care or love us enough to stop this suffering.”
We are in the midst of the lazy days of summer. The kids enjoy sleeping late, staying up later, and spending time outdoors. Though there is more daylight, the minutes fly by too quickly. Suddenly, it is mid-June and nothing on the “to-do list” has been accomplished. At the end of the day, I sometimes wonder, “What did I accomplish today?”
I want to tell the world I love my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Knowing and serving my Jesus Christ is a privilege and joy beyond comparison. I owe everything to Him for how He's lovingly, graciously saved my soul. I don't deserve His gift of eternal life and salvation, and I can't ever repay Him. But, I want to spend my daily life abiding, walking and talking with Him, serving Him in love and gratitude.
As staff chaplain in a local hospital, I was called to the emergency department to console a wife whose husband had just passed away. As I entered the room, I found the wife with fist in the air - angry, and cursing God for taking her husband away from her. But in contrast, in the adjacent room, was another gentleman who had just died. His wife and children had surrounded him, and were singing hymns of praise, and thanking God for his life and legacy.
"Don't sweat the small stuff." I'm not sure who said that, but it can be an incredible challenge to remained focused on the big picture, the end goal, the desired result when managing a school or work project, a group of people, or the operations of a household.
God has such a sense of humor! When my daughter was in high school, she came out one afternoon with two young girls who had moved here from India to live with their uncle. They wanted to know if I could drive them home each afternoon. On a straight line, the school was right between our two houses, not exactly on the way. Still, I thought, since they were from India, they probably didn’t worship the God of the Bible. The drive would give us a chance to witness to them. On day two, one piped up from the back seat, “We’re Christians!”
Jesus Christ is Lord of all! He is my Savior and Lord and King, my hope, my help, my best friend. My identity is in Him. Lord, help me daily aline my life with your Lordship. I'm so thankful He loves me enough to correct me.
Harambe, a 17 year old Lowland Gorilla, was shot to death at the Cincinnati Zoo. There are few of his kind left, and his loss is a dear price to pay. Yet, we are thankful a precocious four year old did not have to pay for his mistakes with his life. As the story has unfolded, it seems this child scrambled through the barrier with well-intentioned bystanders futilely grasping at this clothing. Harambe at first seemed protective toward the preschooler, but became increasingly agitated and aggressive toward him as panic of the onlookers grew. Frankly, I was amazed the zoo had a sharpshooter at the ready capable of putting down this magnificent creature with a single shot, as a child was in its clutches. He was obviously one who had trained for such a time as this, never anticipating exactly what this may be. Our collective instinct is always to blame someone. However, things happen. Sometimes bad things. Can we possibly avoid them all? Can we possibly anticipate what they may be?
Looking back on my early childhood, I remember one particular conversation that I overheard. After church one Sunday, I heard a few older people talking about preparing for the upcoming “Decoration Day.” In my childlike innocence, I pictured a day when everyone would put new decorations in their homes. I began thinking about how I could decorate my room, and was surprised when my parents said no to my ideas.
The dictionary defines "memorial" as preserving the memory of a person. This Memorial Day we remembered the men and women who gave up their lives in service, so we might have the privileges we have. I think of the fact that we have been at war since our nation was founded, with periods of peace time scattered throughout our history. Loved ones have been lost by the tens of thousands. Right now there are families mourning losing a beloved family member in military service. We pass them all the time and don't even know it.