Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Goal Post And The Goose Egg

A few days ago, I was throwing passes to my son on a local football field.  We were having a fantastic time!  My throws were long and on the money.  His catches were really impressive.  My 9 year old was running routes and making catches left and right.

Then, it happened.

Emerson made an amazing catch in the end zone.  But he was running fast and his momentum carried him to a world of hurt.  He ran head first into the goal post.  I was standing about 20 yards away and could hear it.  He fell down, grabbed his head, and cried out in agony.  I sprinted as fast as I could and took him into my arms.  Within 30 seconds, a big goose egg appeared as his forehead began swelling up.  I sat there with my boy and watched him hurt.  Fortunately, I could see that he was not passing out or throwing up, so I quit thinking as much about a possible concussion.  But my heart still ached as I watched my boy cry in pain.

With tears rolling down his face, he looked at me and asked, "Daddy, is it going to hurt like this forever?"  I held him close and assured him that the pain would soon go away and all would be well.  That bit of good news put him at ease.  And, soon enough, he was just fine.  A full recovery followed.

Maybe you're hurting right now emotionally, financially, physically, professionally, or spiritually.  Life's been painful for you lately.  You might be looking at God, your Heavenly Father, and asking, "Is it going to hurt like this forever?"

If so, then remember these truths...

God loves you more than you can imagine.

God will comfort your mind and heart through His Holy Spirit.

God will not let you hurt forever.

God will one day welcome you into Heaven, where He will wipe every tear away from your eyes and shield you forever from sickness or suffering of any kind.

I've been where you are.  There have been some tough days in my life too.  The good news I can tell you is this:  God has looked out for me and seen me through.  So you can rest assured He will do the same for you.

Friend, I am sorry you hurt.  I truly am.

Let me assure you, better times are ahead.

You will not hurt like this forever.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Where Our Hearts Should Be Set

I was talking yesterday with a good buddy over a chicken wing lunch about something I've been learning lately.  And it's helping me in my life.  This is it:

The Christian life is about so much more than avoiding sin.  Far more!  It's actually about loving God and enjoying His presence.

See, I think it's possible to become so obsessed with moral uprightness that we fall into this works based religion that is all about performing for God and trying to earn His approval, which really is not possible.  When we travel this road, we run the risk of becoming moral hypochondriacs who always fear we are doing something wrong.  I just don't think that's a healthy way to live, and I really don't think that's how God intended for us to spend our years on this Earth.

Please, I beg of you, don't misunderstand me here:  YES, we are to be holy, pure, and righteous in word, thought, and deed.  NO, we are not to live evil, rebellious, immoral lives.  Our heart should be set, however, first and foremost on this:  Loving God and enjoying His presence. 

I'm noticing that when I focus primarily on my relationship with God, obeying Him tends to become something I more naturally want to do.  If I'm close to Him, I don't want to offend Him.  See what I'm saying?  I'm operating more out of a love for God than simply some sort of duty or fear.

In Matthew 22:37-38, Jesus said, "You shall love The Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and foremost commandment."  More than anything else, He wanted us to focus on loving the awesome God who already loves us.  That was (and still is) priority number one.

Perhaps some of us need to set our hearts more on bonding WITH God instead of performing FOR God.  

Maybe we need to focus more on a grace-filled relationship than a performance-centered religion.

That's what God is teaching me these days.  And it's making sense to me in a new and fresh way.  I think it's what life is really about.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Zack's Safe Spot

My son has a teddy bear he has named Zack.  He is a soft little guy with camouflage skin and a South Carolina Gamecock shirt.  Emerson sleeps next to him every night.

Yesterday my boy and I were about to walk into another room when I saw him put Zack under the covers of a bed.  Then he said, "Dad, I always put him under the covers so that if anything goes wrong, he will be safe and hidden."  I smiled and told him that was just fine with me.

Zack's safe spot is under the covers.

Christians, our safe spot is in The Lord's hand.

" ... no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand."  Those words are recorded in John 10:29. And they remind us of  our security in Him.

Nothing and nobody can snatch or steal us away from our Heavenly Father.  His grip on us is firm.  Our soul is safe if we are in His hand.

No matter who you are, where you are, or what your circumstances are, just remember this:  There is an awesome God who lovingly wants to hold you tight and keep you secure.  Find your protection and peace in Him.  

I'm glad ole Zack is ok under the covers.

But I'm way more glad we are secure in The Lord.

There's just no better place to be than in His almighty hand.

Who Really Has Who

I saw a guy this week wearing a hat that read "Got Jesus?".

Then this brief conversation took place:

Me:  "Hey man, that's a cool hat."

Hat guy:  "Thanx!  Glad you like it."

Me:  "I've got Jesus in my life.  But I'm really glad He has me."

Hat Guy:  "Amen!  I know exactly what you mean.  I'm glad He has me too."

We shook hands and parted ways.

I'm sure glad Jesus gets a hold of us.  He loves us when we sure don't deserve it.  He forgives us when we fail.  He calls out to us when we wonder off in the wrong direction.  He intercedes for us.  He provides guidance for us when we are clueless about what to do.  And, best of all, He leads us to our eternal home.

Ultimately, it's Jesus who has us.

We are like little sheep.  And He is the Good Shepherd who is always looking out for us.  What a blessing it is to belong to Him.

Does Jesus have you?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Aunt Eva's Pond Warning

My Aunt Eva is a wonderful lady.  I've always liked her and enjoyed her company.  And I've known her for years.

When I was a child, I once stayed with her and Uncle Steve while my parents were out of town.  We were visiting her parents in Sumter, South Carolina after going to church.  There was a pond across the road from their beautiful home.  So I asked Aunt Eva if I could go outside to see the pond.  "Sure," she warned, "but be careful.  Don't get too close to the water.  You're wearing a suit and I don't want you to fall in."  I assured her I would be safe as I walked out the door.

Across the street I went.

By the water I stood.

And, yep, into the pond I fell.

I'll never forget walking back to Aunt Eva.  I was so embarrassed that I didn't consider her warning.  She was (and still is) a sweet lady.  So she didn't fuss at me or anything.  Actually, she smiled and laughed about it.  But I knew I should have listened to her.

See, Aunt Eva warned me because she understood things I didn't.  She knew that boys can get reckless and not be careful.  She probably knew that the soft ground by the water could easily fall into the pond.  There were reasons she warned me to be careful.

Her warning was issued because she was looking out for me.

God issues us warnings too.  And He does it for the same reason:  He lovingly is looking out for us.  He cares about us as His children and wants to protect us from falling into sin.

He warns us about things like laziness, bitterness, pride, dishonesty, greed, infidelity, gossip, and impurity for good reasons.  An obvious reason is that He is holy and does not want any of His people in sin.  But I really think there are additional reasons He warns us.  For one, God knows that getting close to those morally unhealthy things will only cause us problems and pain.  The consequences can be far more severe than just messing up a Sunday suit.  Ultimately, God warns us because He loves us.  We matter a great deal to Him, and He wants us to avoid all the problems that inevitably will come with stumbling into sin.

Let's listen to warnings that God gives us.  He knows best.  He knows things that we often fail to consider.  And He is only looking out for our best interest.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Stereo From Vietnam

I recently visited with a family who was grieving the death of a man they loved.  As we were talking, they told me about his return from Vietnam years ago.  As his military service in the war abroad was drawing to an end, he found a stereo over there he loved.  He could play all his tunes on it, and the sound was perfect.  The problem was he did not have much room in his bag for the flight back to America.  So, here is what he decided to do:  He left his clothes in Vietnam, stuffed the cool stereo in his bag, and brought it home.  

He had to choose.  He picked the stereo over his clothes.  And he felt good about it!

We have to choose.

Here is the choice:  Do we live for ourselves or for Jesus?

We can't have it both ways.  Either we selfishly live for the person who stares back at us in the mirror and only please him or her.  Or we selflessly live for the risen, living Son of God and please Him.

If we live for ourselves, we possibly can have temporary happiness.  But if we live for Jesus, we certainly will have eternal joy.

If we live for ourselves, we may can have partial satisfaction.  But if we live for Jesus, we definitely will have complete fulfillment.

If we live for ourselves, we might accumulate treasures on Earth that could last a few years.  But if we live for Jesus, we absolutely will lay up treasures in Heaven that will last forever.

That cool guy in Vietnam had to choose.  Stereo or clothes.  He picked the stereo and never once regretted it.

We have to choose.  Living for ourselves or living for Jesus.  Let's pick Jesus with the assurance we will never regret it.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Red Convertible

It was one sweet ride!

The red convertible pulled up beside me at the four way stop light a couple of days ago.  The top was down.  The engine was sounding mighty fine.  The stereo was cranking out good tunes.  I looked at the cool, shade-wearing driver and thought, "Man, life is treating you right!"

How should we respond to people like the red convertible guy who seem to have things going their way?

(1). Be happy for them.  It's a healthy practice to congratulate others when things go smoothly for them.  A loving heart wants what is best for other people.  Also, celebrating successes and victories that others experience will help our attitude stay positive and our hearts stay free from jealousy.

(2). Be thankful for the blessings you already have.  Sure, good things happen to other people.  But if you look closely enough at your own life, you too have gifts from God that you can enjoy and celebrate.  If you have a family or a friend, you're blessed.  If you can get out of bed and walk on your own two feet, you're blessed.  If you are saved by the grace of God, you're blessed.  So count your blessings and rejoice in them.

I'm happy for the red convertible guy.  That's a cool car.  And I hope he enjoys it for years to come.

But I'm also happy about the good things God is doing in my own life in different ways.  His grace and love are blessings that will never wear out or shut down.  Yep, God is good and I am grateful.

Let's be happy for others.  And let's be thankful for what we have.  Life is too short to live any other way.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The 100 Year Old And Me

I met a family today who had some flowers they wanted to donate to a local retirement community.  Now I don't know anything about flowers, but I enjoy watching people smile, so I volunteered to take them where they needed to go.  With great excitement, I drove to my destination and carried them inside the front door.  The young lady who worked the front desk was thrilled to see the arrangements.  She told me where to put them, so I followed her instructions.  While she was thanking me for delivering them, another lady walked up.  She was obviously older than the young lady who worked the front desk.

The older lady asked me what I was doing.  I told her a family had donated the flowers to them and I was just the delivery guy.  Then she proceeded to tell me what she did not like about the arrangements.  She was not a happy camper.  I could tell this was not one of her better days.  So I tried a few different types of responses, but nothing seemed to appease her.  Finally, she blurted out to me that she recently turned 100 years old.

I stopped and looked at her.  "Did you say you are 100 years old?"  She replied, "I sure did."  "Well then, congratulations.  And you sure do look great!"  Finally, a smile appeared on her face.  "Thank you.  I really appreciate it!", she said.

A breakthrough happened.  Peace prevailed.  And we ended our conversation on a positive note.  Man, I sure was thankful!

As I sit here reflecting on this experience, the following scripture comes to my mind:  "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."  Those are the words of Proverbs 15:1.  The point of the verse is that we can use peaceful, gentle words to make conversations calm, or we can use rude, aggressive words to make conversations unpleasant.  The choice is ours to make.

I'm so glad I met the 100 year old lady.  And I bet she is a fine person who is loved by her family and friends.  But most of all, I'm glad God reminded me of the high value in being a gentle peacemaker who gets along with others.

Let's choose our words carefully.

Let's turn away anger by handling people with a Christ-like love.

Let's live in peace with our fellow man.

Monday, July 14, 2014

A Special Delivery

Emerson, my son, made a special delivery recently.

He and our daughters spent a few days with my parents and other relatives in Callaway Gardens, which is outside of Atlanta.  They had a great time.  Lara and I were not able to join them, so we stayed back.  

When everyone came home, Emerson handed me a white box.  I opened it up to find leaves, pine cones, rocks, and sticks.  Also, he had drawn a smiley face under his hand written message which read as follows:  "Now you can see Callaway Gardens.  From Emerson.  To Mom and Dad."  

What an awesome, special delivery that was!  Since we had not experienced Callaway Gardens ourselves, he decided to bring it to us.  It really touched my wife and me.

As I sit here, I realize we Christians have a special delivery we can make to others.

When we encountered the gospel and were saved by grace, we entered into an eternal relationship with God.  Our sins were forgiven.  Our souls were rescued.  What a blessing that was, is, and forever will be.

But others have yet to experience that.  We rub shoulders with people who have not encountered the gospel or the saving grace of God.  Their sins are not forgiven and their souls are lost.  

We must deliver to them the good news of the gospel.  It is imperative that we enable them to see the wonder of God's grace, like Emerson enabled us to see Callaway Gardens.  Since they have not experienced salvation themselves, we need to take the good news of God's grace to them.  

How do we do this?  Well, here are two ways:  (1) We can show them what the Bible says.  (2) We can show them what difference God has made in our lives.

Any son or daughter of God can do this.  All that's required is a willingness to make the most special delivery.  So you can do it!

I thanked Emerson many times for what he gave us.

And there will be people in Heaven who thank us countless times for caring enough to deliver to them the saving truth of the gospel.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Something New From My Father

My dad can fix about anything.  Over the years, he has impressed me with how he comes up with ways to make things look and function better.  I admire him for it.

He has this table in the back yard.  A few years ago, the legs under it were rotting away.  It was no longer stable.  Around that same time, Dad was walking into a hardware store in the lower part of South Carolina when he noticed four table legs that were laying on the ground.  The store owner agreed to let Dad have them.  Then he brought them home, attached them to the table, and all was well.  

My father added new legs, and things got better.

On a far greater note, our Heavenly Father can add a new heart into our lives, and things really get better!

"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh."  Those are the words of Ezekiel 36:26.  And those words give us a little glimpse into the awesome work of God.

The idea of God giving us a new heart means this:  Our Heavenly Father can give us a new way of thinking and feeling on the inside.  Also, He can add strength, life, and durability to our mindset and emotional state.  Finally, He can swap out that which is rotting and decaying for that which is alive and beautiful.  In short, God can give us a new life from the inside out.  

I'm glad my earthly father gave the back yard table new legs.  But I'm far more glad that my Heavenly Father has given me a new heart!  That will last far longer and have greater rewards.

Don't give up on people.  God can give them a new heart.  Pray for that to happen.

Don't give up on yourself either.  God can give you a new heart.  Pray for that to happen.

Our Heavenly Father can fix broken lives and make them masterpieces of beauty and wonder.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Waiting Patiently On God

"But while most of us are in a hurry, it seems God is usually not in a hurry."
-   Eric Speir, 'Relevant' magazine, September 30, 2013. 

My name is David, and here is a struggle I have:  I am not nearly as patient as I should be at times.  Waiting is something I need to get better at in my life.  And I'm not just talking about dealing with people.  At times, I need to be more patient with God.

Maybe you've been there too...

I've gone through seasons where I've prayed for God to intervene or help me in one way or another, and it seemed to me like God was doing nothing.  Things were just not happening.  And I grew frustrated as I wondered more and more, "When, if ever, is God going to do something on my behalf?"

But lately God's been dealing with me on this.  A lot!  And I'm sure He will continue to do so.  His teaching, molding, and shaping is a life-long process, after all.

A few moments ago, I read the following Bible verses...

"Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for Him"  Psalm 37:7

"I waited patiently before the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry."  Psalm 40:1

The scriptures tell us to "wait patiently" for God.  It reminds us that God does not operate on our schedule.  After we talk to Him about the situation we are going through, our job is to stay calm and just wait for Him.

God has been reminding me of these things:
[1]  He sees things I don't see.   
[2]  He knows things I don't know.  
[3]  His concept of time is different from mine. 

These three truths combine to make one mega-important truth:  I have to trust God's awareness, wisdom, and timing while waiting patiently for Him to act in the way He knows is best.  And friend, you need to do the same thing.  We all do!

You and I must lift our prayers of petition to God and express our needs, Then we must wait.  And maybe wait some more.  We have to trust Him and keep calm instead of freaking out, flipping our lid, and erroneously accusing Him of being too slow or disinterested in our moment of crisis.  What will help us during this waiting time is reminding ourselves that He has awesome, perfect reasons for His timing being what it is.  We have to keep in mind that God knows what He is doing, and He will respond to our situation at the right moment, in the right way.

May God help you and me to be more patient with Him and to trust His timing.  He has a perfect schedule for His flawless plan.  Let's just keep calm and wait for Him to make His move.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Break This Ground

 "God is a prayer answering God."  Pastor Jim Cymbala

"God always answers the prayers of His children."  Dr. Charles Stanley

Tim came into my office one day.  I already knew he was under a lot of stress.  He was building a new home for his family.  And it required a lot of time and labor.  As he sat and talked with me, I learned about how he was struggling in his effort to have a working well on his property.  Problems kept arising, and it seemed that having water was going to be a major difficulty.  So we bowed our heads together and prayed.  I'll never forget Tim prayed with his voice breaking and tears running down his face, "God, please break that ground.  Please make my well work so we can have water on our property!"  He prayed with specificity and passion.  I could tell it was a heart-felt, desperate plea that he was voicing to his Lord.

Fortunately, Tim's prayer was eventually answered.  God broke the ground.  Water became available.  And the well worked perfectly fine.  It was a happy day when Tim and his family moved into their beautiful new home.

Tim had a need, so he prayed about it.  He poured out his heart to God.  And God responded.

What is your greatest need right now?  Most likely it's not for ground to be broken.  It could be something totally different.  Perhaps you need healing in an important relationship.  Possibly you need a different job.  Maybe you need a better income to meet your financial obligations.  Whatever the case may be, try this:  Go to God in prayer and ask Him for help.  Just do it.  Pray about it!

Keep this scripture in mind:  Matthew 7:7 - "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."  What a comforting truth!  God does answer prayers.

Yes, our prayers must be prayed within the confines of His will.  No, God is not telling us prayer is a means to manipulate Him like a Heavenly vending machine.  The Bible does not say that every item on our "wish list" will be granted to us just because we prayed about it.  After all, there is a difference between a need and a want.  But the Bible does clearly teach that God hears our prayers, and He does respond accordingly.  And the Bible does clearly teach us that amazing things can happen when God's children pray to Him.

God can do anything.  And God knows everything.  Quite simply, God is amazing and worthy of our trust.  So do what my friend Tim did.  Talk to God through prayer about what is happening in your life.  When you do, be ready to see God at work in you, through you, and around you.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Possum In The Closet

I first met Mama Dot and her husband, Dewitt, in 1999.  And I can promise you this:  I'll never forget what happened to them late one night.  So far, I have not met anyone anywhere who has experienced the same thing.

Mama Dot heard some clatter in a closet in her room.  Something was in there!  Dewitt was sound asleep.  The sound grew louder, so she walked up to the door, grabbed the handle, and slowly opened it up.  There, inside the closet, was a possum.  It looked at her and hissed.  And Mama Dot quickly slammed the door.

"Dewitt!  Dewitt!" she exclaimed.  "Wake up!  There's a possum in the closet!  You gotta get him out of there!"

Dewitt was in a deep sleep.  It took a few moments for her to wake him up.  Finally, he opened one eye and looked at Mama Dot.  She enthusiastically told him what was going on.  Dewitt looked her right in the eye and said this:  "Possum got in the closet, and possum can get out of the closet."  And then good ole Dewitt rolled over and went back to sleep.

My buddy just wasn't interested in dealing with a dirty, angry possum.  He figured the problem would fix itself.  So he didn't do anything about it.

If you ask me, that's a funny story!  I doubt I'd be interested in dealing with a possum either.  That's not anywhere on my bucket list.

But that story also has me thinking about something serious...

How many times in life do we have problems arise, and we choose not to deal with them?  It's kind of like we hope, for whatever reason, the problem will either go away or fix itself.  In our minds, we choose not to go through the hassle because we are too scared or too lazy to handle them.

Look, the possum did eventually go away through a hole in the wall.  But other problems in life don't.  Some things in life only get worse over time if we don't deal with them.

Relationship problems only get worse if we don't deal with them.
Financial problems only get worse if we don't deal with them.
Addiction problems only get worse if we don't deal with them.
Work-related problems only get worse if we don't deal with them.
Spiritual problems only get worse if we don't deal with them.

There comes a time when we have to roll up our sleeves, have some honest communication about the matter, deal with the messy circumstances, and handle what is making our life difficult.  We can sit there all we want and just wish problems away.  But that usually accomplishes nothing.  We have to exert energy, take action, make sacrifices.

Let's not procrastinate any longer about the possums in our closets.  May this be the day we deal with problems that have been plaguing our lives!  And when we do, peace of mind will be restored, and we will rest much more easily at night. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Lacking Patience In The Drug Store

Lara and I were at the counter of a Rite Aid drug store yesterday when I overheard a mother with young children walking in the front door.  Her tone of voice let me know she was frustrated.  She said this to one of the little kids:  "Boy, if you don't walk faster, I'm going to walk right over you."  Ouch!  That was awkward.

Now I'm not here to judge or criticize a young mother.  She probably was just having a tough day.  And she probably regretted saying it as soon as the words came out of her mouth.  We've all said a few things out of frustration that we now wish we could take back.  But her words did remind me of this important truth:  We must be patient with each other.  

People sometimes move, talk, think, drive, work, and dress very slowly.  They are just plain slow in how they carry on their daily lives.  And some people are mighty slow in learning lessons and making necessary changes.  It can be frustrating watching people like this, and it can try our patience at times.  In lots of ways, we want people to hurry up and get a move on things.  Now!

But we must be more patient with people.  With God's help, it is possible for us to relax for a moment and give folks more time.  And if we need others to pick up the pace for important reasons, we can gently and creatively encourage them to speed things up a little bit without blowing our stack and saying mean things.

When we are impatient with each other, we live in frustration and tension.

When we are impatient with each other, we say and do things we later will regret.

When we are impatient with each other, we are being totally unlike God, who is more than patient with us.

May God help us to be more patient with people today.  May we keep calm and give slower folks the time they need.  Finally, may we remember 1 Corinthians 13:4, which teaches us "Love is patient".

Let's live in patience today.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Retelling Of The Ten

***  I wish to share with you today a poem I have written.  It is my attempt at creatively explaining the 10 Commandments, which are listed in Exodus 20.  Hopefully it will be a little helpful in reflecting on that important scripture.  ***

Retelling of the Ten

God gave commandments numbered ten.
Why don't we list them once again?

"No other gods" is first for you.
To our Lord, be faithful and true.

"No idols" means to worship wood
Or man-made objects is not good.

Number three says "Honor the name."
Don't cast upon it sinful shame.

"Honor the Sabbath" means to rest,
Since God in Heaven found it best.

"Honor parents" we are told.
Obey when young - respect when old.

"Do not murder" says life means much
Since it was made by God's own touch.

"No adultery" tells man and wife
Sleeping around will wreck your life.

"You shall not steal" says number eight.
Eat only what is on your plate.

"Bearing false witness" deals with words.
Lies and rumors are for the birds.

"Do not covet" means watch yourself.
Quit wanting what's on neighbor's shelf

To sum these up the best we can:
Love your God and fellow man.

(By David Richardson)

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Unconditional Love

My old car is beat up.  The air conditioner currently does not work.  The window on the driver's side does not stay up long, and I have to pull it up by hand.  The hatchback does not open.  It's not in the best of conditions.

But you know what?  I really like my car.  So I plan on keeping it.  Along the way, I will continue working with it and fixing it up.

We all are a little bit like my car.  Rough around the edges.  In need of repair and improvement.  Not in perfect condition.

But God loves us anyway!

Despite our flaws and dents, God still treasures us.  He plans on keeping us.  He will continue working with us and fixing us up.

Unconditional love.  That's what God has for you and me.  Our imperfections do not change how He feels about us.

I like my car.  But God LOVES us.  Let's all thank Him for loving us. And let's love Him back.

Friday, July 4, 2014

A July 4th Thought

Today is July 4, 2014.  A big day for us Americans!  Why is that?  Well, on July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, which stated that our country will forever be free from the rule of Great Britain.  The reason July 4th is such a big day for us is that we pause to celebrate our freedom as a nation.

We owe a huge debt of gratitude to our American forefathers, who stood strong and won our freedom from foreign rule.  They were willing to risk it all because they believed in liberty.  May we never forget their work that still blesses us over two hundred years later.

Yes, July 4 is the day we celebrate our national freedom.

But every day we Christians can celebrate our spiritual freedom.

Jesus Christ did not sign a document for our liberty.  He sacrificed His own life and allowed Himself to be publicly executed on a Roman cross so we could be free.  And His work still blesses us all centuries later.

"Christ has set us free", says Galatians 5:1.

"So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed", says John 8:36.

When we place our faith in the resurrected, living Jesus Christ and confess Him as Lord, He declares us free!  Free from the penalty of sin.  Free from an eternity in Hell.  Free from guilt, worry, emptiness, dread, and other dark oppressors that can hold the human heart in bondage.

Say "Yes!" to Jesus Christ.  Accept His gift of freedom today.  Watch those cold, hard, heavy shackles fall to the ground.  And enjoy the liberty that only He can give.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A God-Sized Job

John Maxwell's book Make Today Count contains a neat story about something his wife once said at a conference.  She was asked in front of a large crowd if John made her happy.  Margaret Maxwell thought for a moment and then replied, "No, he doesn't."  John couldn't believe what his wife had said.  Then she continued, "The first two or three years we were married, I thought it was John's job to make me happy.  But he didn't.  He wasn't mean to me or anything.  He's a good husband.  But nobody can make another person happy.  That was my job."

That story alone was worth the price of the book I continue to read!

I like to summarize Margaret's point this way:  Only God can make us complete and happy in our heart.  No person can do that like God can.  It's not a job meant for men or women.

We all want to be happy and enjoy our lives.  But it's not fair to expect any person, no matter how wonderful they may be, to make that happen for us.  Nobody is capable of doing that in the truest sence.  That is a God-sized job.

Don't put an unfair burden on people you know by requiring them to make you happy.  You take care of that yourself by enjoying a relationship with God, through His Son, Jesus Christ.  Let God be The One who makes happy.