Monday, December 30, 2013

Will I Recognize People In Heaven?

A good buddy and I were texting recently when he asked me an important question:  "Will I recognize my family and friends when I get to Heaven?"  Lots of people have discussed and pondered that over the centuries.  So let's have a little fun and explore that topic today.

Here are three quick thoughts:

Number one.  In Luke 16, Jesus tells the story about a rich man and Lazarus.  Lazarus died and went to Heaven.  The rich man was able to look into Heaven and he recognized Lazarus.

Number two.  In Matthew 17, some disciples of Jesus were allowed to see a glimpse Moses and Elijah, who had already passed from Earth to Heaven.  It was a rare opportunity and incredible experience.  The disciples recognized Moses and Elijah.

Number three. In 1 Corinthians 13:12, we read these words:  "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known."  I believe that Paul was talking about having improved senses and a heightened awareness (seeing and knowing) on the other side of the grave.

Now, let me share with you a general observation I've made after reading and studying scripture: God makes a big deal out of relationships.  He's into loving us, and us loving Him back.  He's also into us loving each other.  In the Old and New Testaments, God calls us to healthy bonds with all those we encounter.  So the idea of us being called to Heaven and not being allowed to recognize and enjoy people we have known on Earth seems to contradict the very nature of God.

I've said all that to say this:  Yes, I do indeed believe we will recognize and enjoy our family and friends in Heaven.  We will know who they are.  They will know who we are.  And the reunions will be mighty special.

Ultimately let us remember this:  While it will be special to see our loved ones and buddies in heaven, the greatest thrill will be to see Jesus face-to-face.  He is The One who loves us eternally, unconditionally, and sacrificially.  He is The One who paved our way to Heaven in the first place. So, seeing Jesus will by far be the greatest thrill of all.  And I really look forward to that.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

1000 More

My son and I play backyard football together.  A lot!  Usually I'm the quarterback and he's the receiver.  He loves running around and catching passes.

A couple of days ago, he decided to change the rules of the game.  This is a regular occurrence with Emerson.  Ha!  Ha!  As our game was drawing to a close, he suddenly announced, "Dad, the referees have decided that four quarters of football is not enough for us today.  So we have to play 1,000 more minutes!"  I had to smile.  See, the boy loves our time together.  I get the impression he is a normal kid who wants time with his father.

1,000 more minutes...

That instantly reminded me of a hymn I grew up singing in church.  Part of it goes like this....

"When we've been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun,
we've no less days to sing God's praise than when we first begun."
(From the hymn "Amazing Grace")

Just think about that.  One day in Heaven we will say to ourselves, "Wow, I've been here for 10,000 years, and the cool thing is eternity is only just beginning!"  Everlasting life in Heaven will be so wonderful that we will never want it to end.  The reason for this is simple:  we will enjoy the awesome presence of God, our Father.

As his father, I'm glad Emerson wants more time with me.  It makes me feel good.  And I can tell it's a big deal to him.  

Maybe I was being blessed with a preview of what Heaven will be like for me.  I'll be so happy to commune with my Heavenly Father, I'll never want it to end.  And the neat thing is, it won't end ... not after 1,000 minutes or 10,000 years.  It will last forever, and I think it will be amazing!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas 2013 video


Here is my Christmas 2013 video.  I hope you enjoy it.  Many special thanks to my sweet daughter, Lizzie, for filming and editing this.

From my family to yours, Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Funeral Home Flower Van

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests."  Luke 2:14

This year I worked at a funeral home in South Carolina for a few months.  Man, I loved that job.  It was an awesome experience that I'll always remember.

My boss let me try a little bit of everything.  This allowed me to get a feel for the job.  One task he let me take on was handling the flower van.

Here's how it went: When someone died, people bought flowers for the family.  The flowers would all be on display in the church or chapel when folks arrived for the funeral service.  Then, when the service ended, it was time to take everyone out to the cemetery for a graveside service.  The issue was that the same flowers in the church or chapel also needed to be displayed at the cemetery where people were about to go.  So some of us had to quickly load all the flowers in the flower van as soon as the service ended.  Then we swiftly drove to the cemetery, unloaded all the flowers, strategically placed all the flowers around the gravesite, parked the van out of sight, sprinted back to the tent where everyone was about to gather, and then stood under the tent to wait for the funeral procession to arrive.  It was a race to get everything done before the family and friends arrived.  We wanted everything looking nice, and usually we succeded.  Personally, I enjoyed the excitement that came with the funeral home flower van.  It felt good to get it done right.  And it felt good when my boss would arrive at the cemetery and give us a thumbs up!

It was vital to be in a hurry with our job.

But it's dangerous to be in a hurry every second of every day.

Bobby, my boss at the funeral home, understood this perfectly.  He expected me to hustle and give my best when I was on the clock.  But he also told me on a regular basis to get rest when it was time to go home for the day.  I always appreciated how he juggled the importance of productivity and peace.

Sometimes we all need to slow down, relax, and reconnect with God's peace.  Why?  Because He never intended for us to live in a 24/7 rat race where we constantly remain an uptight bundle of nerves.  Yes, there is a time to work hard and hurry.  Absolutely!  Especially if you are in charge of a funeral home flower van.  But there is also a time to ease off the pedal, slow down, and chill out.  Seasons of relaxation and calmness are needed in our lives.  May we maintain a healthy balance of work and rest in our lives.  A reasonable dose of both will do us all a lot of good.

My prayer is that the peace of God will cover and saturate us all during this Christmas season, and that you and I will enjoy times of rest and calmness with our family and friends over the holidays.

PS:  If you want to see the funeral home I worked at, just click HERE.

Friday, December 20, 2013

When Santa Brought Me Mr. Quarterback

10 years old.  That's how old I was when Santa left a Mr. Quarterback for me in the living room at Christmas.  And man oh man, I was thrilled!  Without a doubt it was my favorite Christmas present from my childhood.

Mr. Quarterback was this cool device that could hold and pass a football.  All I had to do was place my football in the arm, point it the direction I wanted, set the timer, and take off running.  After 6 or 7 seconds, it would make a beautiful throw, and I would try to make an amazing catch.  I used to spend hours playing ball with Mr. Quarterback in our front hard.

After a couple of years, however, Mr. Quarterback started malfunctioning here and there.  The timer was a little off, and the arm got weak.  Maybe it was the wear and tear from all those passes.  Maybe it was the occasional rough weather.  Eventually, I had to retire Mr. Quarterback.  He went up to that great toy store in the sky.

Things on this Earth don't last forever.  Our favorite possessions can be here today and gone tomorrow.  Sooner or later, their time expires and they are here no more.

I've come to realize that stuff is temporary, but God is eternal.  He has no beginning and no end.  God has just always been around, and He always will be.

So we would be wise to make Him
the foundation of our lives,
the center of our attention,
the top of our priorities,
the source of our strength,
the provider of our peace,
the Savior of our souls,
and The Lord of our everything.

Yep, God is eternal.  He will always be here.  That makes Him pretty spectacular.  And that's just one more reason why our whole life ought to revolve around Him.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Empty Bag

One of my 8th graders approached me at school the other day.  "Merry Christmas, Mr. Richardson!", he exclaimed as he handed me a gift.  "Oh man, thanx!", I replied.  Then I opened it up, looked inside, and saw ... nothing.  So I glanced at the kid.  He busted out laughing and said "I got ya!" before walking off.  I stood there and laughed too.  The ole empty bag trick is one that kids have been playing for generations.

It's not such a thrill to see an empty gift bag.  But it is mega-thrilling to see the empty tomb.  Let me explain... 

We celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas.  Then we remember His death on Good Friday.  But we ultimately rejoice over His resurrection at Easter.  

My Savior was dead.  He had been crucified and buried on a Friday.  He was still in that tomb on Saturday.  He was in the clutches of death.  But friends, on Sunday, the third day, He walked right out of that tomb alive and well.  He had defeated death.  Many people saw Him, and He then went back up to Heaven and rejoined His Father.  Today, He is alive and well.  Loving us, preparing a place in Heaven for us, and looking out for us.

The empty bag was a bummer.  But the empty tomb of Jesus is a blessing.  Because that tomb is empty, and because Jesus is alive, our hearts are filled with the Heavenly gifts of saving grace, everlasting joy, and calming peace, just to name a few.  And if you ask me, I'll tell you that those gifts are better than anything that kid would have given me in a bag.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Crying Girl

I just don't know what to do when a girl or woman cries.  The truth is, most guys don't.  We fumble through our words and lose all clarity of thought when feminine tears fall.

I was 20 years old, and, in retrospect, clueless.  A teenage girl started crying in the middle of a Bible study I was leading during a youth retreat in Awanita Valley, North Carolina.  While we were having a group discussion, she blurted out "I don't have any friends in this group, and nobody here cares about me."  Good grief, what was I supposed to do?  That was awkward!  All I could say is, "Ok, everyone, let's just take a fifteen minute break."  Before I knew it, a few girls took the crying girl into another room to comfort her.

After fifteen minutes, everyone came back in the room.  The crying girl was now fine, and several other girls were sitting by her side.  Things looked better to me.  "Is everybody ok now?", I asked.  Chris, one of our teen guys, quickly said, "Yeah man.  It'll be alright in the morning."  All the other kids nodded in agreement.  I had no idea what he was talking about, but I just shrugged my shoulders and went on with the Bible study.  When we finished, I pulled Chris aside and asked, "What did you mean by 'It'll be alright in the morning'?"  He quickly smiled and said, "Just check out Psalm 30:5 and you'll see what I mean."  So I went to my room, opened up my Bible to the passage, and read these words:  "Weeping endures for a night, but joy comes in the morning."  Then it all made sense.

That verse still means the world to me.  It reminds me that tough times don't last forever.  Hardships are temporary.  And in the end, God's people triumph and rejoice.

If you're hurting in any way, keep the following in mind:  It'll be alright in the morning.  This tough season of life will end.  You will get through.  And God will see to it that you smile and celebrate once more!

Child of God, all will be well.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Pocket Inside The Pocket

My classroom keys were missing.  As a new 8th grade teacher, I was panicking.  I checked my pockets, my desktop, my backpack, my car, and every other place I could think of.  No keys!  Then I double-checked all the same locations once more.  Still, I could not find them.  I was too embarrassed to say much about it because I was just starting the job, and I didn't want to look out of sorts to people.  Filled with frustration I searched high and low all afternoon.  No luck.

Later that night I was putting my clothes in the washing machine.  As I was walking towards the laundry room, I heard a jingle noise on the floor.  I looked down and saw my keys!  Then it made sense.  My jeans had a pocket inside the pocket.  And earlier that day I had unknowingly put my keys in the inner pocket.  Fortunately, they fell out my jeans when I was about to do my laundry.

How crazy was that?  I was looking everywhere for my keys, and the whole time they were right there with me.  Right by my side.

As I think back on that, I realize that at times I've done the same thing with God.  I've had moments of loneliness, fear, grief, and pain.  And while I was going through those times, I sometimes wondered "Where is God?"  He didn't seem near to me at all.  I could not feel His presence.  It was like He had vanished.  Then someone I knew or something I read reminded me that God was right there with me.  The whole time He had been by my side and I just didn't realize it.

Jesus made this promise in Matthew 28:20:  "I am with you always, to the very end of the age."  What a promise from our Lord!  Day in and day out, rain or shine, in good times and bad, He stays here with us.  He is a faithful companion through thick and thin.

If God seems distant or missing, remember His promise and hold on to your faith.  He is there.  Closer than you think.  And He does care!  One way or another, He will see you through.  That's just how awesome God really is.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

When Justin Bieber Came To Carolina

My youngest daughter, Rachel, is like a lot of girls her age.  One specific way this is especially true is her attachment to Justin Bieber.  She has his cd's and posters in her room.  It's safe to say he is kind of a big deal to her!

Now I'm a 43 year old guy.  I think a couple of his songs are pretty cool, and he is musically talented, but I really wish he'd pull his pants up and show a little more class at times.  My guess is he doesn't care too much about what guys like me think because he's got about a gazillion girls around the planet who think he hung the moon.

Anyway, Justin performed a concert in our home state of South Carolina earlier this year, and I made Rachel's dream come true by taking her to see him sing.  We arrived four hours before the show so she could see his bus pull into the parking lot.  Then I bought her some things she wanted at the souvenir table (hat, T-shirt, etc.).  Finally his show started.  My shy, quiet daughter went absolutely insane.  She cheered, cried, sang, laughed, and danced the whole night.  I had never seen her go nuts like that before.  But she loved it, and it made her happy.  That's all that mattered to me.

See, I've realized that love is selfless instead of selfish.  It thinks about other people.  And that's what motivated me to go to the concert.  It hurt my wallet and damaged my hearing for a couple days, but it was worth it.  I made my kid really happy and made memories that will last a lifetime.  Mission accomplished!

When we love other people, we will focus more on them and less on ourselves.  Actually, we will start to become a little more like Jesus when love fills our heart.  He loved us so much that He gave up His life to rescue us.  He focused more on us than on Himself.  That's pretty special if you ask me.

May Jesus help us love people the same way He loves people.  May we serve and bless them more.  And may we obsess over ourselves less.  

So I'm glad we went.  It was a special night.  I enjoyed making my child happy in good ole South Carolina.

P.S.  I still wish Justin would buy a belt and pull up his pants....  

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Don't Be A Fan Of Jesus

I've realized Jesus is not interested in us being a fan.  Not at all.  He is much more interested in us being a follower.

What helped me understand this?  Kyle Idleman's book "Not A Fan".  I finished reading it this morning, and I can honestly tell you it blessed my soul.

The author states early in this awesome volume, "The biggest threat to the church today is fans who call themselves Christians but aren't actually interested in following Jesus.  They want to be close enough to Jesus to get all the benefits, but not so close that it requires anything from them."  (Page 25).  This reminds me of the times Dad has talked to me about people who want all the benefits without taking any responsibility.

A fan of Jesus is someone who admires Him and thinks He is really special.  A follower of Jesus is someone who worships Him as Lord, and is willing to live and die for Him.  See the difference?  Fans are casual, while followers are committed.  

I absolutely loved how Idleman wrote this book.  He has the heart of a pastor and the mind of a scholar.  He takes deep truths and presents them in understandable language.  He speaks in layman's terms and shares practical, fascinating stories to make his point.  This book made me laugh at times, and made me reflect deeply and seriously at times. 

I can honestly tell you this is the best book I've read in quite a while.  God spoke to me while reading it, and my relationship with Jesus is different because of it.  This was time well spent.

Do yourself a favor:  buy and read "Not A Fan" by Kyle Idleman.  You'll be glad you did.  I guarantee it.

P.S.  To learn more about this book and how to order it, click HERE.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Past That

My son, Emerson, recently got in a little trouble at home one Saturday morning, and I had to have a "come to Jesus" talk with him.  He was fine in the afternoon.  But that night he got in trouble with me again.  I said "Son, you already messed up this morning, why on Earth are you doing it again tonight?"  He thought a second and said, "Well Dad, as for this morning, I thought we were past that."  I had to admit, my boy had a good point on that one.

See, our family believes that when we forgive, we leave the wrongdoing behind us, and we do not bring it up again.   It stays in the past.  God does that.  And so must we.

Do you remember your sin from your past?  Well, God has forgiven you.  He's left it behind and moved past that.

Do you remember how someone wronged you a while back?  Let God help you forgive them.  Then leave it behind and move past that.

I appreciate my son reminding me of a great truth!  When forgiveness takes place, the wrong deed is buried and not brought back to the surface again.  And most importantly, we must move past that.

Thanks, Emerson.  You're a smart little boy.  And I sure like being your dad! 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


I used to keep this picture on my phone.

Whenever I had a few free minutes, and when I would lie down at night, I would look at it.  While doing this, I would think to myself, "Man, I wish I was there right now.  I'd love to leave everyone and everything behind and go start a new life!"  I wanted to escape the stress points and challenges I was facing.

I wanted a small room of my own in this cozy little mountain town.  Also, I wanted a quiet, easy job that demanded very little of me.  Finally, I wanted a new group of people in my life.

Some fantasy, wasn't it?!

Now, I think a little different.  Actually, I have changed big time in how I think and feel.  It's funny how God has a way of transforming us from the inside out, isn't it?!

I've realized that regardless of where we go, and who we are with, life sometimes gets a little complicated, messy, and, yes, even stressful.  Even life in mountain towns that have beautiful scenery and a slow pace can get difficult.  It's really not possible to escape the normal stresses of life.  It comes with the territory.

So the best thing we can do is deal with where we are and who we know.  We must trust in God and learn to work through challenges rather than run from them.  In doing this, we grow stronger and wiser.  And we get to experience the thrill of overcoming obstacles.

Yeah, I still love the mountains.  And one day I hope to take Lara and the kids there with me on a vacation.  That would be so nice.

But I don't want to escape anymore.  I don't want to leave behind my family, friends, and responsibilities.  Not at all.

I want to live where God put me.  I want to love the people God has placed in my life.  I want to succeed with the responsibilities God gave me.  I want to dig deep, work hard, and overcome the challenges God allows me to face.  That's how I think and feel now.  And I'm filled with much more joy and peace because of it.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Dusty Rhodes In The Airport

Let me tell you about a very brief encounter I had with Dusty Rhoades, The American Dream, in the Charlotte Airport about 30 years ago.

In case you don't know, he used to be a big time professional wrestler.  He was on television about every week.  Dusty was a huge name in the business. 

Anyway, I spotted him walking towards the terminal I was leaving.  He had on a long fur coat that reached his ankles.  And he had one two gorgeous women with him.  One woman was on each of his huge arms.  All eyes were on him as he strutted confidently towards his destination.

After one of my buddies confirmed that it was indeed Dusty, I walked up to the giant of a man and asked, "Mr. Rhoades, can I please get your autograph?", as I held out a notebook and pen.  "Not right now, son," he said without even stopping.  And off he went with his expensive clothes, pretty women, and massive confidence.

As I look back on it, I can't be too down on good ole Dusty for that.  He probably was in a hurry to catch his flight.  And maybe he was thinking he would have to give every other kid in the airport an autograph if he gave me one.  So I guess it's understandable.

But the older I get, the more I realize we all need to slow down and make ourselves more available to people.  This big world we live in has a lot of hurt, loneliness, and fear in it.  If there is one way you and I can make it a little better, it is to make time for people and show them we care.  We can comfort the hurting, befriend the lonely, and protect the defenseless. 

I suppose Dusty gets a pass on refusing my autograph request.  After all, an autograph is not a life-or-death matter.  But it's not ok for us to spend our whole life hurrying past the hurting while only thinking about ourselves.

May we never say "Not right now" when someone really needs us.  Let us slow down and be there for those who are hurting.  That's what Jesus does for us.  And that's what we should do for each other. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Wife And Me

Here is a picture of my wife and me from yesterday morning.  It was taken before our family went off to school and work.  Right after this was snapped, we raced out the door in various directions.

She and I teach at different schools, with different colors and mascots, in different towns.  We have different levels of teaching experience.  And we work with different groups of people.

Isn't that marriage in a nutshell?  A guy and a girl get together, and even though they have different personalities, habits, tendencies, experiences, and mind sets, they still have a connection.  And this is a connection of love, understanding, patience, and forgiveness.

In some ways, Lara and I are different from each other.  We just are!  And I guess we always will be.  But I'm realizing that's ok.  Maybe it's a good thing we aren't just alike.  We balance each other out and we both bring something unique to the relationship.  

I've learned to just celebrate the differences.  Also, I've come to understand that in marriage we're different, but the same.  We are the same in loving God, each other, and our kids.  And since we are the same on those things that matter most, I'm thinking we will be just fine.

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Sound Of Music

Confession:  My favorite movie of all time is The Sound Of Music.  I first watched it in my grandmother's home as a child, and it instantly hooked me.  Julie Andrews blew me away with her singing and acting.  The kids were enjoyable to watch.  The Nazis were the ultimate bad guys.  And who can forget the Nuns?  They were humorous, wise, and loveable.  When I look back at this film, I have to say the music was amazing, the plot was captivating, the scenery was beautiful, and the overall experience was unforgettable.

Last night I watched the live stage presentation of this story on NBC.  Carrie Underwood proved  once again that she can really sing.  For a stage production, I thought it was well done.  We must be fair here:  there is no way a live presentation can compare to a movie.  Comparing the two is like comparing apples and oranges.  But I tip my hat to Mrs. Underwood.  She showed a lot of courage to take on the challenge, and I think she did just fine.

Back to The Sound Of Music movie:  I wish more films were made like that today.  The actors had talent, class, and professionalism.  And the movie did not have to resort to profanity, sex, and violence to hold our attention.  It was just good entertainment.  Really good!

Yes, there are some great movies being made in our time.  I don't want to sound like a snob who can't appreciate the entertainment of his own generation.  But the fact remains that very few films come close to being even half as good as The Sound Of Music.  It's a classic that will be remembered for the ages.


Take a look at this word:  sin .

What letter is at the center of the word?  I .

 When we sin, we are selfish.  The only person we are thinking about is ourselves.  Me, myself, and I.  That's our only focus when we do wrong.

When we are tempted to sin, we would be wise to think about the following...

How will this sin affect God and His work?

How will this sin affect my family? 

How will this sin affect my friends?  

How will this sin affect the church?  

How will this sin affect people who look up to me?  

How will this sin affect people who have supported and helped me?

The point is obvious:  we must consider how our sin would affect the cause of Christ and the well-being of others before we do something foolish and wrong.

I'm learning that life is not about me, myself, and I.  And friend, life is not about you either.  Life is about living for God and being a blessing to other people.  There's no room for selfishness in that.

May God help us to get over ourselves.  And may God help us to look upward and outward rather than always inward.  When this happens, we will be more likely to make wise choices instead taking selfish, destructive steps in the wrong direction.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tricking Santa

Christmas morning had arrived in our South Carolina home.  My two brothers and I were buzzing with excitement as we ran into the bedroom where our parents were sleeping.  Once our dad opened his eyes half-way, we all asked "Can we go see if Santa came?"  He and Mom slowly got up and finally agreed for us all to head to the living room.  Like race horses at the Kentucky Derby, my brothers and I took off down the hall.  Our pajamas had the old school footies on them, which enabled us to slide down the hardwood floors with glee, nearly crashing into the wall.  It was thrilling.

We turned the corner and barreled into the living room.  Santa had come!  Presents for Wyman, Condy, and me were neatly set up and waiting for us.  Diving into the gifts, we slung wrapping paper and bows everywhere.  Shouts of excitement filled our home.

After a few moments, my youngest brother Wyman said this:  "I can't believe it.  I tricked him.  I tricked Santa!  I've been bad all year and I don't deserve any of this stuff.  But I tricked him at the store and told him I was good."  I was just a clueless little kid and didn't know what he was talking about.  But I remember Dad and Mom looking at each other and smiling for some reason.

The truth is this:  Wyman had not tricked "Santa".  And neither had Condy and me.  We were just fortunate to have someone look at us and love us despite our flaws.  Even though we all had been a wild as bucks at times, we were blessed with gifts anyway.

My friends, that is called grace.

On a deeper level, God sees us inside out.  He knows when we are good.  He knows when we are bad to the bone.  But through it all, He still loves us and offers us the riches of His salvation.  We haven't tricked Him.  We've just been blessed with His undeserved goodness.

What a Father we have in the Lord!  And what a love He has for us!  Let's be thankful and rejoice in Him on this day.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

First Class At 30,000 Feet

Once I was in Miami's airport.  I was about to catch a flight to Atlanta.  While sitting there, I thought about how cool it would be to fly first class that night, but I couldn't afford the extra charge.  So I just walked up to the counter and talked with a lady who was working.  I asked, "Ma'am, I have a ticket for this flight in coach, but I'd like to fly first class instead.  Can you upgrade me at no extra charge?"  She smiled and responded, "I'll be glad to check and see what I can do."  After a few moments of clicking away on her computer's keypad she looked at me, smiled again, and said "Ok, Mr. Richardson, you're all set to fly to Atlanta tonight in first class at no extra charge.  Enjoy your flight!"  You know what?  I sure did enjoy that flight!  I soared back home to Lara and the kids at 30,000 feet in comfort and peace.  Man, I'll never forget that flight through the nighttime sky.

Ok, I realize that flying first class is probably more of a luxury than a necessity.  And I must admit it was the only time in my life I've ever done that.  But my story has a point, and here it is:  something good happened to me because I simply asked for it.  I didn't demand it.  I didn't feel entitled to it.  I just asked for it.  

James 4:2 tells us "You do not have because you do not ask God."  That verse has me thinking we may be doing without some things in life because we have not asked God to provide them.  Our refusal to pray and humbly ask Him to come through for us may be the reason our lives are lacking in one area or another.

Perhaps you need a job.  Maybe you need healing from a sickness.  Possibly you are in a relationship that is in need of restoration.  Why not ask God to meet your need in these or other areas?  

Know these things about God:  He is good.  He is in control.  And He is a proven provider.  Throughout the history of mankind, God has come through for His people.  He has demonstrated His ability to meet needs, heal infirmities, and fix relationships.  
No, God is not a Heavenly vending machine that gives us everything we request.  He is not our celestial Santa Clause that lavishes us with all our wishes.  There are times God tells us "No" for one reason or another.  But that does not mean He is apathetic or disinterested in what we are experiencing.  It just means that He has a plan that sometimes may be a little hard for us to understand at the moment.

What is it that you need?  Why not just ask God for it?  Go to Him and pray about it.  Ask Him to bless you and meet that need.  After all, there is no one better to talk with than Him, and there is no one better equipped to provide for you than Him.

Just ask for it and give God a chance.  You may be surprised at how one way or another He comes through on your behalf.  And what a blessing that will be.