Sunday, July 30, 2017

We're All The Same

I once read about a group of kids who started their own neighborhood club.  They just got together and had a good time goofing off and playing around.  When they started the club, they came up with three rules.  And this is what they were:  [1]  Nobody acts too big.  [2]  Nobody acts too small.  [3]  Everybody acts just right.

It seems to me that those are rules we all would do well to abide by, even as adults.

Let's not act too big.  In other words, don't walk around acting like you're the greatest thing since sliced bread and Coca Cola.  Abstain from acting like you're better or superior to other people.  That's called arrogance.  God doesn't like that, and most people don't enjoy being around that either.

Let's not act too small.  In other words, don't walk around talking negatively about yourself.  Avoid putting yourself down and acting like you're beneath everybody else.  God didn't make you as a piece of trash or second-rate human being.

Let's act just right.  In other words, let's have a healthy perspective of ourselves.  We're not better than other people.  And we're not worse than other people.  We're all somewhere in the middle.  We all have strengths and weakness.  We all have moments of thrilling victory and agonizing defeat.  When we all strip away our bank accounts, jobs, homes, achievements, and images, we're pretty much just alike.

The truth is this:  We all are imperfect.  But we also are all created by God, loved by God, and offered salvation from God.  That means deep down, you and I, along with everyone else, are basically the same.

So don't get too cocky about yourself.  And don't get too down on yourself.  Just realize you're like everyone else on the planet:  A work in progress that is highly valued by God.

I like what my Grandaddy Richardson wrote about himself years ago inside the front cover of a book he gave me.  This is what we wrote:  "Leon Richardson.  An old sinner saved by grace."  He had a healthy understanding of himself.  And that's what it means to act right. 

Remember who God is.  Remember who you are.  And always keep in mind that as we stand at the foot of the cross, we're all on even ground.  Nobody is above us or beneath us. 

Yep, it's true.  We're all the same.  And that'll always be the case.  So act right.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Mermaids I Saw

Surfside Beach is where I was recently with my family.  We all had a great time down there.  One night, we went out to this big, all you can eat, seafood buffet.  When we pulled into the parking lot, I noticed something on the sign.  It read:  "Live Mermaids Inside".

Well, I've never seen a mermaid.  Have you?  So that kind of got my attention.  Yeah, I was mostly looking forward to the crab legs and shrimp on the buffet.  That's what really excited me.  But mermaids?  I was curious to see what this was all about.

So we all went inside.  This was a huge place.  Lots of tables and chairs.  A gigantic spread of food that was waiting to be devoured.  And then I saw it off to my left side.  A nicely decorated pool with a little fence around it.  And in this pool, were two mermaids smiling, talking, and swimming around.

Ok, I'll go ahead and state the obvious.  They weren't really mermaids.  As far as I know, those don't actually exist.  But what I saw were a couple of ladies dressed up as mermaids.  It was well done.  And their costumes were impressive, down to the smallest of details.  They pulled it off really well.  It was neat to see, and everyone seemed to be amused by the whole setting.

The ladies were just pretending. 

But they're not the only ones.

People all around the world pretend to be someone or something they're not.  I've done that before.  Most likely you have too.

We can easily manufacture this image that is not like who we really are.  Maybe we do it to impress others.  Or maybe we do it because we're ashamed of our flaws and imperfections.  Most likely it's for a combination of reasons.

But you know what life has taught me?  I've noticed along the way that it's always best to be real.  Be who you are.  And never hide behind a mask. 

It's a good thing when we are honest on the outside about who we are on the inside.  It's good because it is all about reality.  It's good because it means we're being genuine and sincere.  It's good because it allows people to know who they're really dealing with when they're in our presence.  And it's good because it means we're not playing games with God or other people.

There's no harm in a couple of ladies pretending to be mermaids at the buffet.  That's just a gimmick.  And it's for fun.  But when it comes to daily living in the real world, there's nothing gained by you or me acting like someone we're not. 

Let's be real.  Honest with God and everyone else.  Folks can far better handle us when we're real about who we are.

I'll never forget it.  In a church service here in Sumter back in 1996, my uncle, Phillip Reynolds, came up to me and gave me some advice.  And here's what it was:  "Be real, David.  Just be real."

He was right.  And that still is true.  It's alway best to be real.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

God Of The Stars

Let's just consider the stars for a minute...

A star is a heavenly body made of hydrogen and helium.  It is always burning because of a process called nuclear fusion.
As for the number of stars there are in existence, scientists tell us there are over 100 billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy, and we are just one of over 10 trillion galaxies in the universe. 
As for the size of stars, Betelgeuse is 1,000 times larger than the size of our sun.  And VY Canis Mayoris is 1,800 times the size of our sun.
As for the distance from Earth to stars, it is 93,000,000 miles to the sun from our planet.  The next closest star, which is Proxima Centauri, is 4.2 light years away from us.  In other words, we would have to travel the speed of light every day for 4.2 years to get there.  Or, to break that down even more, if we could drive all the way there from Earth, we would have to travel 60 miles per hour for 48 million years to reach it.

As you can see, stars are mind blowing.  There are more of them than we can count.  They are tremendous in size.  And they are spread way out over a gigantic universe that is impossible for us to measure or understand. 

But here's the really cool part of all this...

God made the stars.  In Genesis 1:14, we see that it was He who brought them into existance.  Intentionally and amazingly, He created each and every one of them.  That's impressive!

God knows the stars.  In Psalm 147:4, we see that He knows the exact count for how many of them there are.  And, as if that's not enough, we see that He has a name for each individual one.  That's incredible!

God controls the stars.  In Matthew 2:1-9, we see that God moves a star to guide the wise men in their search for baby Jesus.  That's remarkable!

As amazing as the stars are, they're no match for God!  He made them.  He knows them.  And He controls them. 

That really ought to be a comfort to you and me.  After all, if God is big, strong, and wise enough to handle the stars, then surely He is big, strong, and wise enough to handle us.  He can provide for us, protect us, and bless us in ways that are unimaginable. 

The next time you look at the stars, just remember what a mom once told her daughter.  They were laying out on blankets under the Colorado mountain sky one night.  As they gazed up at the stars in the sky, the daughter was saying how neverous she was about traveling to England the next day.  Her wise mom listened calmly and patiently to her daughter, and then she said this:  "The God who holds the stars holds you."  How true that statement was ... and still is.

The God of the stars loves you.  He is for you.  And no matter what, you can trust Him with your life, your needs, and your burdens.