Monday, December 29, 2014

The Fading Masterpiece

Years ago here in Sumter, an artist known as Blue Sky painted a masterpiece on the side of a downtown building.  We all were thrilled with the beach scene that added color and beauty to our downtown area.  He did a fantastic job with his work.

Lately, I've noticed it's beginning to fade.  The colors are not as bright as they once were.  And thin cracks are beginning to appear.  My guess is this is due to exposure to the outside elements and the passing of time.  It still looks good.  But changes are gradually taking place.

The fading masterpiece reminds me that nothing of this world lasts forever.  The beauty we see and treasures we enjoy are temporary.  What is here today will be gone in the future.

But here's the good news: We have a God who is eternal.  He has always existed, and forever will continue to do so.

We ought to be glad our God is eternal!

Because of this, we can rest assured He will always...
Be with us,
Watch over us,
Work in us,
And shine through us.

Our eternal God will forever pour out on us His grace, love, forgiveness, peace, joy, power, hope, and goodness.  A thousand years from now He will be doing this.  And a million years from now He will continue in all these wonderful ways!

Masterpieces of this world fade away eventually.  That's just the way it goes.  But our God is permanent and will always be the same.  Because of that, you and I can rejoice!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Christmas 2014 Devotional

It's Christmas morning, 2014.  The kids woke us up at 6:30.  So Lara and I took them into the living room and everyone opened gifts by the tree.  It was a blast.  Smiles were on every face.

After watching the kids dive into presents and enjoying a good breakfast, Lara and I came back here to our room.  We were talking about how blessed we are.  Then Lara looked at me, smiled, and said, "I just feel totally at peace."

She's now taking a little nap.  The kids are playing and chit chatting.  And I'm sitting here relaxing.

Peace.  It really is a wonderful gift we all can receive.  And there's nothing much better than that.

Jesus is often referred to as the Prince of Peace.  His birth in Bethlehem ushered a heavenly peace into this world.  Because of Him, we can have an inner calmness and tranquility that transcends all times and all circumstances.  Furthermore, because of Him, we can relax in knowing that all will be well in the end.

I'm blessed more than I deserve.  I have a wife and kids who love me.   I have a church family that allows me to serve and belong.  I have good parents who stand by me and pray for me.  And best of all, I have peace in my heart this Christmas because of Jesus Christ.  He is my Savior and Lord, and I am thankful more than I can say.

May God's peace fill your heart and home on this Christmas 2014.  May you feel His calmness in knowing that He loves you now and He always will.  And may you experience His serenity in knowing that all will be well in His care.

Merry Christmas, my friends. 

Peace be with you.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Deliver Us From Evil

What a week.

We've seen terrorism in Australia and Pakistan.  The stories are hideous and gruesome.  It's more than men in uniforms shooting each other.  Way more.  It's savages butchering women and children too.  In describing it, I think of words like barbaric and evil. 

How much worse can people get?

At times like this, I think about our hope that we Christians cling to in our hearts.  As bad as things are, we know better, brighter days are coming.  A perfect future awaits us with God.

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."  Revelation 21:4.

God will one day take us home with Him. An eternity of blessings, security, and comfort will be enjoyed in His midst.  There and then, all will be well.  

This pain we all feel is temporary.  It will not last forever.  One day, we will rejoice.

In the mean time...

May God comfort and soothe the hearts of those that are grieving.

May God empower us Christians to be ministers of encouragement with the gospel in this world.

May God deliver us from evil.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Best Dad Ever

I picked up my son, Emerson, from school the other day.  He seemed extra excited to see me.  When he climbed into my car, he handed me a package and told me it was an early Christmas present.  I opened it up and found a pin inside that read, "Best Dad Ever".

That really got to me.

See, I'm fully aware that I am not the best dad ever.  There are plenty of things I wish I would have handled differently along the way as a parent.  I've made my share of mistakes.

But Emerson gave it to me anyway.  That proves what a loving kid he is.  And it means the world to me.

The truth of the matter is none of us parents are perfect.  We all have shortcomings in one area or another.  When it comes to raising kids, we dads and moms are all works in progress.

Even though none of us are perfect parents, we all would do well to focus on...

1). Loving our spouse.  Kids need to see dads and moms treat each other right.  It gives them a sense of security when their parents have a good, healthy relationship.  And if we are divorced from that spouse, they still need to see us being respectful and considerate of one another.  The bottom line is this:  Sons and daughters don't benefit when their parents are at each other's throats.  Not at all.  They need to know their parents can cooperate and get along peacefully.

2).  Setting an example.  Kids need to see us loving God, working hard, demonstrating good character, being responsible, and living right.  This will show them how they should live.  It is up to us to model to them proper behavior and healthy life skills. 

3). Being honest when we fail. No, kids don't need the nitty gritty details of all our wrong choices.  But when we let them down directly, it's best to admit it, take responsibility for the blunder, and apologize for it.  

It seems to me that these three, practical steps will take each of us a long way in raising healthy children and succeeding in parenthood.

I may not be the "Best Dad Ever".  And possibly you're not either.  But, it sure is nice that many of us parents have kids who love us and believe in us anyway.

May God help us dads and moms be the best parents we can be.

Friday, December 12, 2014

What We Can Appreciate About Pope Francis

There has been a great deal of buzz about Pope Francis since he began leading the Catholic Church.  Some have even described him as a "rock star".  While I am a Protestant, and therefore have some theological differences with him, I still respect some great, practical things about his life. 

When it comes to this Pope, I think we all can appreciate the following:

First, he has avoided greed and materialism...
Rather than residing in the tremendous, papal living quarters, he chooses to make his home in a Vatican guesthouse, which is smaller and simpler.  This makes him the first pope in over 100 years not to take advantage of these great housing comforts made available to him.  Not only that, he has a humble, basic style of dress.  It's nothing flashy or extravagant.  And instead of wearing a new, gold cross around his neck, he sticks with a silver cross he got in 1992.
May we all remember that our greatest joy is found not in our stuff, but in our Savior.

Scond, he has shown love and compassion to people...
A little boy ran on the stage and interrupted a meeting he had with thousands of people, and the pope simply smiled and hugged him.  There was no reprimand from the Catholic leader.  On another occasion, he decided to let a young man with Down syndrome take a ride with him in the popemobile.  Another neat moment occurred when a man yelled out from a crowd to the pope, "Francis, you're one of a kind."  The Catholic leader responded, "So are you!  There's no other person like you."
May we all remember to treat people right and affirm their worth.

Third, he has ministered to people who are hurting...
It has been reported that he will sneak out of the Vatican some nights, dressed in plain, priestly clothes, to feed and minister to homeless people in the local community.  While doing this, he has sat with these hurting souls, eaten with them, and talked to them.
May we all remember that none of us are too important to help out those around us who are going through tough times.

Whether you are a Catholic or Protestant, I think we all can agree these are good, admirable qualities.  And I believe these are qualities that are pleasing to our Lord.  May we all be sure to...
avoid greed and materialism,
show love and compassion to people,
and minister to people who are hurting.

A life with these three characteristics is a good one.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Joseph, The Husband Of Mary

The Virgin Mary gets a lot of attention here at Christmas time.  And that's totally understandable.  Being the mother of Jesus is a mighty big deal.

But what about Joseph, the man who married her?  Earlier in their relationship, Joseph was about to end the engagement and walk away from her because Mary was carrying a child that was not his.  But an angel appeared to him in a dream, explained to him what God's plan was, and then woke him up.  Joseph's response to this shows us what an admirable guy he was.

Think about it...

Joseph was willing to change his plans, marry a young lady who was carrying a child that was not his, and join her on a grand adventure that revolved around the Savior of the world.  What an admirable guy.  Joseph simply obeyed God.

There's a hymn we Baptists like to sing, and it goes like this:  "Trust and obey, for there's no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey."  What an awesome reminder that song is.  There comes a time when we must choose between living our way and living God's way.

Because he chose to obey God, Joseph was rewarded.  He was privileged with getting to witness first-hand the birth and the early, Earthly years of Jesus.  What a blessing!  I'll bet if he were around today, Joseph would tell us that obedience is more than worth it.

Folks, we won't regret trusting and obeying God.  We'll end up getting blessed big time when we decide to live His way.  Joseph's life proves this idea:  Our lives are ultimately much better off when we cooperate with God and get on board with what He is doing.

Let's learn Joseph's lesson well.  Obeying God is a worth while exercise of faith.  Let's make that our way of life.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Forgiving Ourselves

It's not easy.  I know from experience.  And maybe you do too.

What am I talking about?  Forgiving ourselves.  Letting go of the regrets we have from the past.

It happens.  We fail and do wrong.  After this, God forgives us when we confess and repent before Him.  Over time, people can forgive us too, with a little help from above.  That forgiveness which flows our way from God, our family, and our friends is a sweet, rich blessing.  

But sometimes it's hard for us to forgive ourselves.  We occasionally wrestle with shame over those things we've done wrong earlier in our lives.  We kick and beat up ourselves.  Painful memories and shameful feelings can haunt us for years if we're not careful.

Here's what I try to keep in mind:

1). Jesus paid the debt for all our sin on the cross.  It's already been taken care of.  The matter was settled long ago, and we have been forgiven.

2).  The past is the past.  It's over.  Done.  Finished.  We can not go back in time and get a do-over.

3).  We can learn from our past and let it help us live better in the present and in the future.  Everyone makes mistakes, but wise people learn from them.

4).  Let's move on with life.  I once heard Colin Powell say in a speech I attended in Orlando, "As I drive along the highway of life, I prefer to look straight ahead through the windshield into the future rather than stare backwards through the rear window at the past."  That saying still sticks with me.  We can't effectively make forward progress if we continue staring over our shoulder at what lies behind us.

We must forgive ourselves.  Yes, let's confess and repent if we have not already done so.  Let's repair what we can.  And let's learn whatever lessons can be gathered from what happened.  Then, we must let go of the negative experience and move on.  It's a new day and a new opportunity for us to live better with our new found wisdom.

I like these words from Pastor Johnny Hunt:  "Don't remain sidelined by past regret."  He's right.  We've got to get in the game of life.  People need us at our best, regardless of how checkered our past may be.  And God specializes in using imperfect people for His amazing work.

Christian, no matter what you did, you are forgiven.  Accept it.  And get back to living.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Cut Down

This big tree used to stand tall in our front yard.  It rose high above our home.  But not any longer.  Some guys showed up the other day and cut it down.  And now it stands no more.

Just as those guys can cut down trees, God can cut down people.

Psalm 55:23 says, "But you, God, will bring down the wicked..."

God reserves the right and has the ability to bring any of us down when we defy Him and rebel against Him with no sense of remorse or repentance.  He does punish.  He does get tough with people at times when He deems it necessary.

Our modern world has tried so hard to make God it's Heavenly Buddy that it has forgotten to have a healthy fear of Him.  What a foolish, reckless mistake it is when we do this.  After all, He is a holy judge and He does have wrath.  To blatantly defy Him is to risk being cut down by Him one way or another.

Let's remember who we're dealing with when it comes to God.  And let's remember that just as sure as He blesses and comforts, He also deals strongly with those who have no regard for His righteousness character and expectations.  God most certainly has the freedom to cut us down.

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Ripple Effect

One thing life has taught me is this:  Each choice we make affects other people.  This is true with good choices, and wrong ones.  Our actions have a ripple effect that will most certainly impact the lives of people around us, one way or another.

In Joshua 7, Aachan sinned against God.  He stole some items after a battle.  The problem was that God had clearly instructed everyone not to take anything.  Because of Aachan's selfish choice, the nation of Israel lost their next battle.  Then all of Aachan's family members were killed before he too lost his own life.  See the point?  Aachan's choice had a ripple effect with negative consequences for those who were connected to him.

Selfishness is at the root of sin.  In doing wrong, we are only thinking about ourselves.  Nobody else. Then, when it's time for us to pay the price, there is collateral damage all around us.  How tragic!

May we always remember that each choice we make is far-reaching.  Everything we do is going to affect the lives of our families, friends, co-workers, and fellow church members.  This means we need to consider the wide range repercussions of what we do before we spring into action.

If our lives are morally upright, productive, and selfless, others around us will end up being blessed because of it.

If our lives are immoral, lazy, and selfish, others around us will end up being hurt because if it.

There is a ripple effect that inevitably follows our choices.  It's just a fact of life.  So let's always remember that when we are deciding between right and wrong.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Why The Virgin Mary Matters

Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, is especially celebrated this time of year.  And why shouldn't she be?  We set time aside here in December to rejoice over the birth of our Savior.  Mary had the privilege and thrill of birthing and caring for The One who would save humanity from its sin. 

That's the obvious reason she matters.  For that alone, Mary deserves our respect.  The mother of our Lord is more than worthy of honor from you and me.

But, Mary is also a big deal for other reasons.  Her actions teach us some lessons.  Let's reflect on her for just a moment...

Mary is proof that we have a powerful God, who can do anything.  She was a virgin.  There had been no physical union between her and Joseph, who was soon to be her husband.  Yet God miraculously enabled her to carry a child in her womb.  Science can't explain it, but God indeed caused this to happen.

If God can do a miracle in Mary's life, isn't it safe to conclude that He can also do extraordinary things in our lives?  I do believe so!  God can heal diseases, free addicts, meet needs, change lives, repair relationships, forgive sins, and save souls.  All things are possible with our God.

Mary is a reminder that serving God, regardless of the cost, is always worth it in the end.  This would not be easy for Mary.  Surely there would be people who would look down on her and gossip about her being pregnant before her wedding day.  Some people were (and still are) cruel about things like that.  She had to have known that there would be folks who didn't understand this miracle that was happening inside of her.  A difficult road awaited this young lady, who was most likely 12 or 13 years of age.  But Mary agreed to be a servant of God with an obedient heart.  Her attitude was good, her mind was set, and her life would never be the same.  And because of this, she will always be celebrated as a special person of high worth.

God called Mary to be the mother of Jesus Christ.  What is He calling you to do?  Maybe it's going on a short-term mission trip, working to repair your broken marriage, witnessing to an unsaved person, writing a book, or going to minister in a local nursing home.  Whatever it is, Mary's choice is a valuable reminder to just do it!  Get on board with what God wants in your life.  Say "Yes!" to His calling.  And when you do, I can promise it will be worth the sacrifices you make.  God will bless you for it.  There are very few greater thrills than carrying out God's purposes for our lives.

Mary was special.  She made the most of her life.  And she set an example for all of us.

Let's have faith and believe in our all-powerful God.

Let's faithfully serve our God, who has been so good to us.

Let's live a life that counts.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Remember The Blood

I met an old man the other night here in Sumter.  A real friendly fellow.  After we spoke a few moments, I was about to walk off.  He grabbed my wrist and placed something in my hand.  His words were "Always remember the blood of Jesus."  I opened up my hand and saw a little red button that resembled a drop of blood.

That really got to me.  What a powerful reminder.  And a true one. 

Years ago, Jesus Christ was crucified on a Roman cross.  It was a brutal form of execution.  When that happened, He bled.  A lot.

Why should we always remember this?  Well, because of the blood of Jesus...

Our sins are forgiven,
Our souls are saved,
Our lives are changed,
Our futures are bright.

Thanks be to our risen Lord!  He sacrificed Himself and shed His own blood for us.  In doing this, He rescued us from an empty life and a hopeless future.  What a Savior we have in Jesus!

Let's always remember the blood.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Emerson's Good Conduct

My son came home today with a blue ribbon.  It was an award he won at school.  The ribbon read "Good Conduct".  I was proud of my boy and I made sure to congratulate him.

His "Good Conduct" award means this:  He behaves in the right way, and he follows the rules.  Does this mean he's perfect?  No, of course not.  He's a normal young boy.  But overall, he's conducting himself properly.

You know, good conduct matters for us adults too.  God expects us to behave ourselves and follow the rules He has laid out for us.  Publically and privately, we are simply to do what Steven Spielberg's alien, E.T., told Elliot:  "Be good."

Here is some scripture for us all to remember:

Proverbs 21:3 "Do what is right and just"

Galatians 6:9 "Let us not become weary in doing good"

1 Timothy 6:11 "pursue righteousness"

1 Peter 1:16 "Be holy, as I am holy"

The common thread that runs through these verses is this:  Christians, we must behave and be good.  God expects that out of us. 

No, none of us are perfect.  You're not.  And I'm not either.  You and I have failed and made mistakes along the way.  But let's repent, learn from our mistakes, and do better in the future.  

With the guidance of scripture and in the power of God's Holy Spirit, we can grow more and more like Christ.  We can live in righteousness.  And we can reflect the holiness of God to the world.

Yep, it's true.  Our behavior does matter.  With God's help, we can do right and live right.  

So let's get on with it!

Monday, November 3, 2014

My Pregnant Wife & The World Series

13 years ago, my wife was about to give birth to our youngest daughter.  She was in labor in her hospital room and I was in there with her.  Because we had been in there for a while, we had the tv on with the volume turned all the way down.  The World Series was on.

Finally, her doctor walked in.  He was a good guy.  I enjoyed talking with him.  Anyway, when he walked in, he looked up at the tv and said, "Oh yeah, the World Series is on!  Who's winning?"  I told him the score and then we stood there for a minute watching the game and shooting the breeze.  We had a few laughs and watched a few pitches.

Then it occurred to both of us that my pregnant wife needed our attention.  She was the reason we were in there to begin with, and we were losing focus.  So, needless to say, we shifted our attention on to her and the big event that was about to take place.  It was time for our Rachel to come into the world!

Lara and I still laugh about that story today.  I'm glad she's a good sport about it.  It's one event we will never forget.

If we're not careful, we can lose focus with the important things of life.  And that's not good.  Not at all.

In Revelation 2:4 Jesus said this to a church:  "You have forsaken the love you had at first."  He reminded believers they were distracted and not focused on their Lord like they should have been.  They had shifted their eyes away from where they needed to be.

Husbands, don't get distracted by the World Series when your attention should be on your wife.

And, Christians, don't get distracted by the trivial, insignificant matters of life when your attention needs to be on your Lord.

May God help us all to set our hearts and minds where they ought to be.  Matters of spiritual and eternal significance need to be on the forefront of our desires and thoughts.  Let's seek God first, worship God first, and love God first.   Nothing in this world, including the World Series, is more important than that.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Screen Door

I visited this weekend with an older gentleman that I greatly respect.  He's a fine Christian man, and I see qualities in him that I want more of in my own life.  I just look up to him.

At one point during our talk he looked at me and said this about himself:  "You know, David, I have more faults in me than a screen door has holes."  Wow, I did not see that coming from such a great guy like him.  But I admired his humility and honesty.

Even the best people we know have struggles and make mistakes.  They're no different from the rest of us.  We all fall short and sin one way or another.

One of the many things I think we will love about Heaven is this:  There will be no temptation, no sin, and no moral failure.  We won't wrestle with wrong cravings and impure desires up there like we do down here.  Won't that be fantastic?!

Yep, we all struggle in various ways.  And sometimes we get weary from that.  It can get exhausting when the inner war rages on.  But there IS good news:  We won't battle forever.  The fight will one day end.  And better days are coming.

So let's hang in there, keep our eyes on Jesus, and live in righteousness.  When we fail, let's confess it to God and claim His amazing forgiveness.  Also, let's remember that even though we have more faults in us than a screen door has holes, God's grace is greater than our sin, and His work in us is ongoing.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

He Hears

I visited a sweet, elderly lady in the hospital this week.  As always, she was a total pleasure.  A smile was on her face because she learned she was about to be released and allowed to go home.  She looked at me and said, "Preacher, I pray daily to God.  And He hears me.  I know He really hears me!"

"Yes Ma'am", I replied.  "He sure does."  Joy filled that little room as we celebrated that wonderful truth.

Child of God, your Heavenly Father does hear your prayers.

When you ask for forgiveness, He hears.

When you express gratitude, He hears.

When you cry out for help, He hears.

When you request guidance, He hears.

Isn't that great news?!  We can pray whenever we want.  And God hears.  Always.

Find comfort in knowing that the prayers of your heart reach the ears of God.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


I could not remember it.

A lady asked me yesterday for my wife's cell phone number.  I had to tell her I forgot.  See, I have it programmed into my phone and I just hit a button to call Lara.  So it's been quite a while since I had to even think about what her number is.  When I told her this, the lady laughed and asked me, "Now, how are you going to call her if you don't have your cell phone with you?"  Good question.  She got me on that one.

I guess I do need to commit it to memory.

Many folks don't have phone numbers memorized any more.

And, come to think if it, lots of people don't have Bible verses memorized any more either.  Like phone numbers, guys and gals have to pause, scratch their heads, and try to remember passages of scripture.  If we're honest, we'll admit many of us need to do a better job with that.

I remember good ole Dr. Tom Painter.  He was a preacher that mentored me a little bit during my early years of ministry.  And he was my wife's grandfather.  That man had committed tons of Bible verses to memory.  He could quote long passages in a skinny minute.  It was impressive.

Psalm 119:11 says, "I have hidden your word in my heart..."  Can you and I say that?  Have we read and stored portions of God's word in our hearts and minds?  We should!  When we memorize scripture, we have peace ready for storms, strength ready for battles, guidance ready for decisions, and help ready for temptations.  When scripture is stored in our hearts and minds, it makes a difference in our lives,

Yeah, we would all do well to memorize important phone numbers.

But even more importantly, we would be extra wise to memorize God's Word.  That'll pay off in ways we can't begin to imagine.  And we'll be glad one day that we took the time to do it.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Me Again

At my birthday dinner the other night, my son, Emerson, gave me an envelope.  I opened it up and found a sheet of paper with one of his creations.  He said, "Dad, I listed out all the things that you love."

As I read his list, I had to smile.  This is what he had written: "Happy Birthday Daddy!  God.  James Bond.  Church.  Oregon Ducks.  Gamecocks.  Preaching.  Me!  Football.  Sports.  Mini.  Me Again!"

My boy twice mentioned that I love him.  That showed me it meant a lot to him.  And it reminded me that he is a normal boy.  He wants his dad to love him.

As I reflect on that, I realize we all ought to rejoice in knowing that God, our Heavenly Father, loves us.  He cares deeply about you and me.  We matter to Him, indeed.  And that will never change.

No matter how tough life may get, find comfort in this truth:  The Heavenly Father loves you.  Deeply.  Eternally.  Sacrificially.  Powerfully.  And He always will.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Angry Grocery Store Guy - Part 2

(This is the second half of my writing on anger.  To read the first half, just click HERE.)

Anger is not something to hold on to for a long period of time.  When we do, it ends up hurting us.  Like a cancer that eats us up from the inside out, anger darkens our hearts, spoils our attitudes, and sours our mindset.

"Let not the sun go down upon your wrath", writes Paul in Ephesians 4:26.  His point is pretty simple:  Don't let your day pass and the night arrive with anger still burning inside of you.  Why?  Because ultimately, you're just hurting yourself by holding onto a grudge.

Momentary anger that swells into long-term bitterness isn't good for you or me.  A better way to live is this:  Feel the anger, express the anger in an appropriate way to the appropriate people, then get over it.  There comes a point with our anger where we have to cut it loose, set if free, and let it go.  We can't stay mad forever.  Life has to go on.

Joy and peace are to be our constant travel companions in The Lord.  Not anger.  Let's remember that.

Don't live mad at the world.  Choose to enjoy your life in the presence of God.  Let go of that anger and walk in calmness.  That's a much better way to live.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Angry Grocery Store Guy - Part 1

I was walking through a local grocery store the other day when I saw him.  This guy was fuming!  His face was red.  His finger was pointing.  His voice was raised.  And he was verbally blasting his wife for spending too much money.  It was an awkward moment, and I was glad to turn around and make my way down another aisle.

Of course, I can't be too hard on the fellow.  He's probably a good guy that was just having a bad day. And we've all probably gotten a little madder than we should have at times. 

But still, that experience got me thinking...

Anger.  It's a powerful emotion.  And just as sure as it swelled up in the old guy at the grocery store, it can easily stir up within us.

Does the Bible say anything about anger?

Well, yes, it actually does.  Ephesians 4:26 reads, "Be ye angry, and sin not."  That's good stuff to live by!

Here's what this verse teaches us:  There will be times we feel anger.  Actually, some things such as injustice, abuse, and ungodliness should make us angry.  But we have to remain in control of our anger and manage it properly.  When we fail to handle it correctly and lash out in unhealthy ways, we are neck deep in sin.  And that's not a good thing. 

God has made us emotional beings.  And anger is one of those feelings.  So it's ok to feel anger.  It really is.  But we must keep in mind that God still expects us to hold ourselves together and behave in a Christ-like manner when our blood begins to boil.

Let's look to God for help.  He will give us a hand in this!  With His divine assistance, we can be in control of our anger rather than live with our anger in control of us.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Bobby Richardson Way

Yesterday, I attended the Richardson family reunion here in Sumter.  A great thrill for me was to visit for a few moments with my cousin, Bobby Richardson, and to get a picture taken with him.  Being around him was a total pleasure.

Bobby played for the New York Yankees from 1955-1966.  Second base was his position.  He was a seven time All Star and a five time Gold Glove Winner.  He and the Yankees appeared in the World Series seven times during his career, and they won three of them.  Bobby had an impressive, exciting career as a pro ball player.

When I look at him, I marvel at these two things:

1). Bobby has stayed humble.  We all know he has done some amazing things in his life that most people never get to be a part of.  And yet he treats people with kindness and respect.  He does not act high and mighty.  He does not act like he's too important to interact with others.  Bobby smiles, looks people in the eye, and shows a genuine interest in them.  

2). Bobby has used his opportunities to tell others about The Lord.  Being a spokesman for the Christian faith is a responsibility that he takes seriously.  He is always quick to give credit to his Lord and Savior.  In his book "Impact Player", he states the following:  "If my life is a testament to anything, it is to God's mercy and grace.  I have been blessed far beyond what I deserve."  When he autographs copies of his book, he adds in a Bible verse.  It's Romans 1:16, which reads "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ..."  Always a witness.  That's Bobby.

It seems to me that all of us would do well to follow his example.  And the good news is we don't have to be pro ball players to do it.  Regardless of who we are, what we accomplish, and where we live, if we keep the right perspective of ourselves and put the spotlight on God, we can be spiritual champions who make an eternal impact.  

Stay humble.  Tell others about The Lord.  That's the Bobby Richardson Way.  And that's the kind of life that God blesses.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Next Talk

I was at a funeral visitation recently for an older gentleman who had passed away.  One of the visitors walked by me towards the end of the night and said, "Well, I guess the next talk good ole Maynard and I have won't be over the backyard fence.  It'll be up there in Heaven instead."  I noticed a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his face when he said that about his deceased friend.

That's the way we Christians deal with death.  While we do experience normal grief, we also hold on to the assurance that we will see our fellow followers of Christ again.  We keep in mind that death is not the end.  No, not at all!  Instead, it is the doorway through which we step into the eternal presence of God in Paradise.  And it's the road we travel to a meaningful reunion with loved ones and friends.

Maybe you miss those long, leisurely talks with folks over the fence, at a table, or on the front porch.  Well, I have good news.  In Christ, you will see them and talk with them again.  Heaven will be where the next talk takes place.  And what an awesome time that will be!

Friday, October 10, 2014

My New Ministry

It is with great excitement that I write today about my new ministry.

This past summer, I was privileged to get acquainted with New Calvary Baptist Church in my hometown of Sumter, South Carolina.  For a few weeks I did some interim preaching for them since they did not have a pastor at the time.  Eventually, talk began to take place about the possibility of them bringing me on board as their new pastor.  I was thrilled at the possibility, and so was the rest of my family.

We all took our time.  I had several weeks to get to know them.  And they had several weeks to get to know me.  We all had open talks about our lives, our hopes, and our dreams for the future.  The more we all talked, the more it became obvious that this was a good match.

Finally, on September 7 of this year, I was voted in as their new pastor.  Lara, the kids, and I were overwhelmed with joy at this opportunity.  Of course, I quickly accepted their call, and began serving there immediately.

New Calvary is a fantastic church.  The people are warm and loving.  They are full of grace.  And they are extremely positive and upbeat.  I am very happy to be a part of this fine church, and so are my wife and kids.

Here's another neat fact:  My late grandfather, Rev. Leon Richardson, served as the pastor of New Calvary from 1978 to 1981.  It's an honor to walk in Grandaddy's ministry footsteps.

My focus in this new ministry is very simple:  Visitation and preaching.  That's what the church needs, and that's what I enjoy.  So it suits me perfectly.

I'm happier and more at peace than I have been in years.  God has truly blessed me with this awesome opportunity.  And it feels good to be doing what I was put on this Earth to do.

Please pray for God to bless the good people of New Calvary Baptist Church, and please pray for God to lead me as I serve in this new role of ministry.

God is good and I am thankful.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Button

I stood up to preach recently at church on a Sunday morning and realized one of my coat buttons was missing.  This was a minor bummer because I knew I'd have to find the lost button, and I had no idea where it could be.  My hope was it would turn up in my truck or office.

Well, I couldn't find it anywhere.  The button was nowhere to be seen.  I was beginning to wonder if it was gone forever.

But yesterday I was sitting on the front pew in our sanctuary.  I just happened to glance at a table and there it was!  My button was sitting there and waiting for me to reclaim it.

I was thrilled!  It was a happy moment when I realized that the lost item was now mine.  On the inside, I was rejoicing.

Then, I thought this:  If I was that glad over a lost button being found, God and His angels must be a million times more glad when a lost soul is found and saved.  I'll bet Heaven rejoices when people cry out to Jesus in faith and receive the gift of grace.  

See, God does care about that kind of stuff.  Actually, He cares Big Time.  People matter to Him.

When a lost person gets saved, He rejoices.

When a backslidden prodigal repents and returns, He rejoices.

Isn't it great to know that we matter that much to God?!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

When Criticism Comes Our Way

I attended a meeting this week of local ministers.  It was really great to be around other guys who are serving churches in our area.  During the session, several topics were discussed.  One of the main matters talked about was criticism.  As I listened to the guys honestly share from their hearts, I was reminded of this truth:  Everyone deals with criticism in one way or another.

So, what are we to do when criticism comes our way?

Well, here are a few things I've learned over the years...

[1]  When criticism comes, stay calm and don't react defensively.  Breathe.  Keep your cool.  Don't give your critic a quick, knee-jerk response.  Listen patiently and try to hear what they're saying.

[2]  Try to not take it personally.  Consider the fact that the critic may be more upset about the circumstances than he or she is about you.  Sometimes the critic may not know who exactly to address the matter with, and they may just need to blow off some steam to anyone who will listen.

[3]  If the critic is specifically talking about you, ask yourself if he or she has a legitimate complaint.  Let's face it:  Some criticisms we receive in life are deserved.  There are times when we certainly should be given constructive criticism because we are just plain wrong.  Be honest and take a look within.  If the critic is even half-way right, be mature and strong enough to take it to heart.

[4]  Learn from criticism.  There is always room for improvement in our lives.  If at least a shred of what is being said has some accuracy, we can grow wiser from it and decide to live better in the future.

[5]  If the critic addressing you is totally wrong and unfair, ignore it and remember that God will vindicate you in His own way.  People may just be completely off base when they tear into you.  God sees that and knows that.  And one way or another, God will deal with that situation on your behalf.  He will see to it that your name is cleared eventually.  And He will properly address people who treat you wrong.  So don't take matters into your own hands.  Speak the truth, let it go, and move on.  God will handle the rest.

I've received some criticism in my life.  Some of it was deserved.  Some of it was not.  And I bet the same is true for you.

Let's look to God for guidance when criticism comes our way.  He knows best how to deal with it.  And we can choose to let it serve as a growing time in our life.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Church To Cheer About

It was a church to cheer about!

Paul wrote to the Colossians and celebrated three awesome things about their congregation. 

First, he pointed out that they were a place of faith.  In verse 4 of chapter 1, he acknowledged their "faith in Christ Jesus."  The Colossians knew that salvation was found in none other than Jesus.  They trusted the Son of God to forgive their sins and rescue their souls.

We must do the same.  Jesus must be the center of our faith.  He is where our attention must be focused.

Second, he pointed out that they were a family of love.  In verse 4 of chapter 1, he mentioned "the love which ye have to all the saints."  The Colossians cared about each other.  They loved people from all walks of life, and they treated people right.

We must do the same.  There must be a love within us for people, regardless of who they are, where they've been, or what they've done.  Let's ask God to fill our hearts with love, and let's ask God to help us love people like He does.

Third, he pointed out they were a house of hope.  In verse 5 of chapter 1, he mentioned "the hope which is laid up for you in heaven."  They clung to the hope and assurance that a better, brighter future awaited them.  The truth of a wonderful future with Christ gave them certainty that all would be well in the end.

We must do the same.  People in this world are hurting.  Negativity and pessimism are both in the air.  Let's give men, women, boys, and girls the message of hope that is found in Jesus.  An awesome, eternal future with Him is what people need to hear about and be comforted with.

Hey, congregation, let's be a place of faith, a family of love, and a house of hope.  Let's follow the example of the Colossians.  That's what people need.  And that's a church to cheer about. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Army Socks

"Then He said, 'Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow me.'"  Luke 9:23

When I was a senior in high school at Thomas Sumter Academy, I received a post card one day from the Army.  They were advertising these cool socks with the green stripes on top.  All I had to do was check a box, fill in my contact information, and mail the form back in.  I wanted the free Army socks so I filled everything out and sent it back in.

A couple of weeks later, the socks arrived in the mail.  I was thrilled.  The next day I proudly wore them to school.

Then a couple weeks after that, I was sitting in the library for study hall.  Mrs. Sheridan, our Guidance Counselor, walked up to me with a confused look on her face.  She said, "David, there's an Army recruiter sitting in my office right now, and he wants to talk with you."  My heart almost jumped out my chest.

See, I just wanted the socks.  I didn't actually want to take on the hard life of a soldier.  In no way was I Army material.

During the meeting I made it clear I did not see myself entering the Army.  And that Army recruiter was probably thinking, "Thank goodness!"  After the meeting, my mom, who also worked at Thomas Sumter Academy, had to restrain herself from killing me.

I had wasted that recruiter's time.  I should not have sent in that card unless I was strongly considering a future in the military.  It was not one of my brighter moves.

I wanted the benefit of cool socks without the responsibility of being a soldier.

And that's a lot like people who look to Jesus for the benefit of eternity in Heaven without the responsibility of being a disciple.

People want to sign up for Christianity because Heaven looks and sounds great.  But they really aren't interested in Jesus Christ's call to deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Him.  Just like me with the socks, they want all the believer's benefits without any of the disciples' responsibility.

Let's remember this:  Our Savior and Lord calls us to live and die for Him.  We are to make our lives much more about Him and much less about ourselves.  This calls for us to make sacrifices and give our everything to Him.

Christianity is not just a "Get Out Of Hell Free" card.  It's a change of heart and mind which leads us to living a new life of pleasing and honoring God.  It's about responding gladly to the saving grace of God by giving Him all that we have and all that we are.

Remember that we are called to serve God.  Let's do that rather than use God for an escape route out of Hell.  He deserves way more than that.

Let's be disciples of our Savior and Lord.  Let's live for Him.  And let's remember privilege and responsibility walk hand-in-hand.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Now Instead Of Later

Proverbs 27:1  "Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring."

We really have no clue what will happen tomorrow.  Oh sure, we can hope and guess about what will take place.  But the truth is, we are not totally certain about what will occur after today.

The future is a question mark for us; therefore, let's not put important things off until tomorrow.  Why?  Because we may not have a chance tomorrow.  And we may not have a tomorrow.

Let's get right with God today.  When we ask His son, Jesus Christ, to forgive our sins, save our souls, and become our Lord, we are adopted into God's family and assured of spending eternity with Him.  Give your heart to Jesus Christ now.  Don't put it off for any reason. 

Do it today.  Why?  Because you may not have a chance tomorrow, and you may not have a tomorrow.

Let's get right with other people today.  We all have at least a few relationships with either relatives, friends, co-workers, classmates, or neighbors.  Love those people who have connections with you.  Forgive those who fail you.  Help those who need you.  Be a blessing to those who rub shoulders with you.  Don't put it off for any reason.

Do it today.  Why?  Because you may not have a chance tomorrow, and you may not have a tomorrow. 

Proverbs 27:1 is so right.  We should never get too cocky about what we can and will do tomorrow.  Only The Lord knows what is in store for us after midnight.  For us to delay in vital matters is risky business. 

Let's take care of important business now instead of later.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Feelings or Faith?

Recently I read this thought by John Maxwell: 

"If you do what you should
only when you really feel like it,
you won't keep your commitments consistently."
That got me thinking about the choice we have between living by feelings or living by faith.
When we live by our feelings, we simply make choices and take actions based on our emotions at that particular moment.  Obviously, this is dangerous, because we can not always trust our easily swayed feelings.  And yet we all must admit that some of our poorer decisions in life took place when we made decisions based on what was happening inside of us emotionally at that time.
When we live by our faith, we make choices and take actions that are based on what God says and wants for us.  This means we trust Him enough to live His way, even when we feel like living our own way.  Living by faith is happening when we live by the teachings of scripture and the promptings of God's Holy Spirit.
The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:7, "we live by faith, not by sight."  His point was simple and straight-forward:  He, along with other believers, chose to seek God and live in a way that was in step with what God wanted.  His faith led Him to set aside his feelings and trust God's plan for His life.
This is not to suggest that our feelings are bad or wrong.  Not at all!  God wired us with emotions, and they serve a wonderful purpose.  But we do have to carefully keep our feelings in check and remember that they can sometimes be influenced by things that are not of God. 
I'm glad I read that statement by Maxwell.  It really spoke to me.  This was what I was hearing:  "David, don't do the right thing only when you really feel like it!  Be better than that.  Do the right thing even when you don't feel like it.  Trust God more than you trust your feelings.  Live God's way rather than your way.  Have enough faith in God to travel the path He has laid out for you."
Let's all live by faith instead of feelings!  Doing this will keep our life moving in the right direction.  And it will protect us from dangerous traps that our feelings may cause us to overlook.

Friday, August 29, 2014

When Christians Act Like Atheists

"The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.'"  Psalm 14:1

We Christians tend to be critical of atheists.  And I guess that's not a surprise.  After all, we believe in God, and they believe there is no God.

The reality is there are times when we Christians act just like atheists.  We just don't realize it during those moments.  Think about it...

When we sin and behave like it does not matter at all on a spiritual level, we are acting like an atheist.  If we really believed God is here and is fully aware of how we are living, we most likely would do some things differently.

When we choose to worry excessively and behave like all hope is lost, we are acting like an atheist.  If we really believed in the presence of God, we would not despair with a doom and gloom, pessimistic mindset.

Let's remember there is a God, and He is here.  He has been here in the past.   He is with us now.  And He will be present for all of eternity.

Remember these words of our Lord in Matthew 28:20 - "I am with you always, to the very end of the age."  What an awesome promise and an important truth.  The accompanying presence of our God is everlasting.  He will forever be with us.  Isn't that fantastic?!

So let's live with a heart that is aware of the real presence of God.

When we face temptation, let's remember He is here.  He can remind us of what is true and righteous, and He can empower us to live by His standards.

When we face trials, let's remember He is here.  He can provide peace and strength for us to cope with the difficult seasons of life.

Yes, God is here.  Let's believe that with certainty.  And let's live accordingly.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hogging The Sidewalk

I was taking a walk down the sidewalk yesterday.  Two guys were walking towards me and talking with each other.  As we were getting closer to each other, I was waiting to see how they were going to share the sidewalk with me.  I just knew one of them would step in front of or behind the other so that a lane could be clear for me.  But neither of them did it.  They kept walking right by each other and hogging the sidewalk.  At the last moment, when we were only a few feet from each other, I had to step in the grass and walk around both of them.  Neither of them had offered to share the sidewalk and neither of them apologized.

Confession time:  I think that was a bonehead thing for them to do.  And it did bug me a little bit.  Most people know to share the sidewalk.

But as I reflect on that, I realize it's human nature.  We all can get a little selfish one way or another.  Occasionally, every single one of us can fall into the trap of only thinking about ourselves.  So the truth is, I can't get too down on those guys for hogging the sidewalk because I have also been selfish at times.

Ephesians 2:3-4 is where we find these words of the Apostle Paul:  "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others."  What an important teaching!  He reminds us to look out for other people rather than selfishly focus on the person who stares back at us in the mirror.

The key to defeating selfishness is sharing with people what we have and who we are.  Just like Jesus was selfless and cared more for the needs of others, we have the awesome opportunity every day to focus outward and be a blessing to folks in our circles of influence.  Rather than our life being all about taking, it can instead be all about giving.

On this day, let's all think about the well being of others.  Let's do what we can to make life better for people we encounter.  When we do this, we reflect the goodness of our Lord to the world, and we make life for everyone a little bit better.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Cool Breeze In Pinewood

Scorching.  Suffocating.  That's how I would describe the heat I felt in Pinewood, South Carolina over the weekend.

I was at the cemetery for a funeral.  People were gathering together as the graveside service was about to begin.  Standing there in my suit and tie, with no shade in sight, I thought to myself, "Man, it's going to be rough standing here in this heat."

The preacher took his position and began to talk.

And then it happened.

A nice, gentle, soothing breeze began to blow.  Unexpectedly, it came over us all.  And it made everything so much better.

I stood there and quietly whispered Heavenward this three word prayer:  "Thank you, Lord."

I was immensely grateful.  The breeze was just what we needed.  And The Lord provided it.

I'm learning to be thankful for the little things that God sends our way during the day.

A good meal.  A hug from one of my kids.  An uplifting song on the car stereo.  A smile from my wife.  A laugh with one of my buddies.

Yeah, God blesses us all in big ways.  But He also sends us tons of small gifts too.  Simple things, like the cool breeze in Pinewood.

Let's all pause along our journey of life today and thank God for the little pleasures He graciously hands to us.

God is good.

Because of Him, we are fortunate in big ways and in small.

Let's have grateful hearts.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

It's Your Fault! Or Maybe...

I was sitting in a school cafeteria today with one of my children.  During our lunch together, I noticed these boys started picking on a little girl.  It wasn't anything severe, but I could tell it made her uncomfortable.  After watching this for a moment I was about to tell the boys to leave the little girl alone, but a teacher walked up and quickly put an end to it.  She told the boys they were in trouble for their behavior.  Then, when the teacher walked off, one of the boys turned to the other one and said, "Hey man!  It's your fault that I'm getting in trouble!"  I laughed to myself when I saw that.  Kids will do that sort of thing at times to get out of trouble and make themselves feel a little better.

"It's your fault!"

We sort of expect that from kids.  But the reality is adults do the same thing.  People mess up and lay the blame at the feet of someone else.  It seems to be easier to blame others rather than to accept personal responsibility for mistakes and poor choices.

"It's your fault!"

Remember the sin in the Garden of Eden?  Adam blamed Eve.  Eve blamed the serpent.  The blame game has been around since the very beginning.

James 1:14 tells us "each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed."  In this verse, the half-brother of Jesus Christ reminds us all that our wrongdoings are our fault.  We fail morally when we do not manage ourselves well.

It's important to keep in mind that we are responsible for ourselves.  When it's all said and done, whatever we do is all on us.  It's because of our own foolish decisions and selfish behaviors that we suffer tough consequences.  Never can we blame other people for our sin.

When I do wrong, it's my own fault.  When you do wrong, it's your own fault.  That's just the plain truth.

When we take personal responsibility for our wrongdoings we begin the journey towards healing and restoration.  The first step in recovering from a foolish, immoral blunder is to say, "I did wrong and it is my fault."  This facing of the truth enables us to start the process of recovery.  And this proves that genuine change is taking place within our heart and mind.

I hope those little boys didn't get in too much trouble.  And, more importantly, I hope they'll be nice to that little girl from now on.  Most likely, they'll learn and get along just fine in the future.

But more importantly, I hope we all remember this:  You and I are responsible for ourselves, regardless of our circumstances and regardless of what others around us may do or not do.  Our decisions and behavior are ultimately on us.

Let's take personal responsibility for what we say and do.   

Friday, August 15, 2014

Jumping To Conclusions

I attended a school orientation today for one of my kids.  As people were filing into the building, I noticed a student wearing a t-shirt, pajama bottoms, and socks.  I couldn't believe a young person would come to school like this.  Immediately I thought, "Wow, this kid just doesn't get it."

Then the orientation program started.  Everyone got quiet and focused on the speaker.  After a little while, one of the ladies announced, "Today, we're having a fashion show to let you see what  NOT to wear to school."  One after another, students walked out in front of us all to model what was not acceptable clothing for school.  Then, I saw her.  Pajama girl walked out with a smile on her face.  We all got a good laugh as the speaker reminded everyone not to show up in pajama bottoms to school.

I sat there and realized I jumped to a conclusion too quickly, and I unfairly formed a negative opinion about someone when I didn't know all the facts.  It turned out, she was a cheerleader who was just doing what her coach told her to do.  And she was bravely standing there in front of everyone to give us all an important reminder.  What a good kid!

I could tell God was teaching me a lesson.  And that was it:  Don't be too quick to size people up and form opinions about them.  There are reasons people look, act, talk, and live the way they do.

People aren't always what they may seem on the surface.  So let's be slow to make up our mind about folks we see.  Let's get to know people and learn their stories.  When we do this, we'll usually see there's more to them than what meets the eye.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Make Today Count

I just finished reading John Maxwell's book Make Today Count.

This must-read deals with what is necessary for any of us to be successful in our lives.  It is insightful, practical, and helpful.  In his introduction, Maxwell states the following:

"...the secret of your success is determined by your daily agenda.
If you make a few key decisions and then manage them well in your daily
agenda, you will succeed."

Then, to better explain his point, Maxwell explains it mathematically:

"Good Decisions + Daily Discipline=
A Masterpiece of Potential."

The rest of the book addresses twelve areas of our lives that require daily attention and discipline.  As I read about each of these areas, I felt at times like Maxwell had written this book just for me.  It really hit home in my mind and heart.  The twelve areas were attitude, priorities, health, family, thinking, commitment, finances, faith, relationships, generosity, values, and growth.  Each chapter was devoted to one of these important parts of our lives.

Maxwell, who writes from a Christian perspective, is a master when it comes to challenging and motivating.  With a positive tone, he uses real life illustrations, inspiring quotes, and scripture to drive home his points.  And he is a tremendous source of encouragement.

I'm glad I read this book.  It challenged me to take an honest look at my life and consider what I want to do with the rest of my life.  This was time well spent!

Let me encourage you to order this book and devour it.  Trust me, you'll be glad you did.  You won't be the same after reading his inspiring message.

To learn more about this book and order it, just click HERE

Saturday, August 9, 2014

A Marriage Thought

Early this morning I was reading a great article about marriage by Gary Chapman, Ph.D.  At one point he described the two stages of romantic love.  As I sat sat there soaking up his wisdom, I realized how right he was.

Chapman called the first part of romantic love the "euphoric stage."  This is when you're dating, getting engaged, and enjoying the honeymoon part of marriage.  And this is when there are lots of strong, deep feelings in the air.  He stated this is when we're "pushed along by our emotions."

Then, things change.

Chapman called the second part of romantic love the "intentional stage."  This is when the strong feelings cool down and you come off the emotional high.  In other words, this is when reality sets in.  He explained that when this happens, "we must learn each other's love language and speak it regularly."

Wow, Chapman sure explained that perfectly.  I've seen it myself.  And so have you! 

The intentional stage of marriage is when work and effort are required if we want the relationship to thrive.  It demands understanding, communication, and serving each other.  Survival of the marriage depends on us intentionally taking steps to protect and strengthen it.

When he mentions "love language" he is talking about connecting with our spouse in a way that is meaningful to her or him.  In other words, we are speaking the "love language" of our spouse when we do things that make her or him feel deeply loved.  It's meeting them where they are, and giving them what they need.

Some married people feel loved with words of affirmation.  Others feel loved with things like gifts, helpful deeds, sex, or a peaceful home life, just to name a few.  Everyone is wired a little differently.  The key is for husbands to figure out what makes wives feel loved, and focus on that.  Also, wives need to figure out what makes husbands feel loved, and focus on that.  When both spouses focus on meeting the needs of each other and pleasing each other, the marriage gets stronger, both partners feel loved, and life in the home is happier and warmer.

I really think Chapman is on to something good here!!

Marriage is about more than just warm, fuzzy feelings, roses, and emotional songs on the radio in the "euphoric stage."  Sure, those things are nice.  Who doesn't like that kind of stuff?!  But, marriage is also about a guy and a girl happily taking care of each other's needs because they simply care about each other.  It's about looking after that special someone they married.

Husbands, make sure your wife feels loved by taking care of her needs.  Speak her language and connect with her.  Your marriage depends on it.

Wives, make sure your husband feels loved by taking care of his needs.  Speak his language and connect with him.  Your marriage depends on it.

May God bless our marriages.

And may we husbands and wives intentionally take care of each other.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Nice People Vs. Good People

Some want to be a nice person.

Others focus on being a good person.

What's the difference?

Let's think on this...

Nice people will tell you what you want to hear.
Good people will tell you what you need to hear.

Nice people will smile to your face, but talk negatively about you behind your back.
Good people will say the same thing whether you are in the room or not.

Nice people avoid confrontation if at all possible. 
Good people will lovingly work through problems with people to reach solutions. 

Nice people will compromise their convictions to keep you comfortable and happy.
Good people maintain their values to do what is best for you.

Nice people can manipulate you.
Good people can bless you.

Nice people are those you will somewhat like for a season.
Good people are those you will forever respect and trust.

Yes, there is a difference between people that are nice, and people that are good.

Of course, it is possible to be good and nice.  That does happen.  But always remember there are plenty of people that are nice but not good.

What I've been thinking lately is this:  When my life comes to an end, I want to be remembered as a good guy instead of just a nice guy.  Don't you want the same thing?!

Let's be good men and good women.

Let's live good lives.

Let's leave a good legacy.

And let's remember these words of John Wesley:

"Do all the good you can.
By all the means you can.
In all the ways you can.
In all the places you can.
At all the times you can.
To all the people you can.
As long as you ever can."