Being a Parent
As parents, we’re responsible to teach our children to do the right thing, in spite of the consequences. One of our daughters had a friend in high school that would sneak off to have dangerous liaisons with strange guys. When we requested our daughter tell the girl’s parents, she got upset because she knew the girl would ostracize her at school. She did do the right thing, but paid a heavy price. Years later the rebellious girl wrote our daughter and said, “My life’s a mess, and you were the only true friend I ever had!” We compromise our children’s future, when we lack the love and backbone to do what’s right. Sure, we lost our daughter’s approval for a little while, but we gained her respect and eternal gratitude by teaching her how to love even when it hurts.
God Cares About Little Things
God cares about little things. It is He alone who holds every molecule in the Universe together. God cares about little things, and He asks us to do the same. Jesus said, “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own? (Luke 16:10-12, NLT) The answer is: you shouldn’t. The success of each of our lives will come down to being like Jesus, and that will always involve how we respond to the seemingly insignificant circumstances and unimportant people in our lives.
Choosing Light Over Darkness
Is your life empty? The beginning of the Book of Genesis says that when God created the world, “The earth was empty, a formless mass cloaked in darkness. And the Spirit of God was hovering over its surface.” (Genesis 1:2, NLT) That reminds me of my own life before I surrendered to Jesus: formless, cloaked in darkness. But as in the creation account, God’s Spirit hovered over my empty life. “Then God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” (Genesis 1:3, NLT) Choosing light over darkness is always our choice, for without a choice there can be no true love. God wants a Bride who desires Him, not a shotgun wedding! When I was a suicidal atheist God was hovering over my life. Even now God wants to fill our emptiness, but it will always be our choice to choose light over darkness.
Value of Tough Times
Have you ever noticed, no matter how much you have, it seems like it’s not enough? Consider this? Which is worse: being overwhelmed because you have too much, or being underwhelmed because you have too little? Ever heard the expression, “spoiled rotten?” The truth is, the lean seasons in our lives are not an accident. They are divinely prepared by a loving God to produce the most growth and lasting fruit. Each of us needs to experience tough times in order to appreciate abundance when it comes. God’s not stingy, He’s just a good Dad who knows the future before it happens, and differentiates between what we want and what we really need. “…the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:3-4, NIV)
The Only Light People See
What do people see in us? The Bible says, “…God made two great lights, the sun and the moon…” (Genesis 1:16a, NLT) Jesus, like the sun, is the greater light that doesn’t reflect…He imparts. On the other hand, we are the lesser light, the moon. We merely reflect the light of the sun. We have no light within us! Without God, we reflect and impart nothing of eternal value. Yet, Jesus encourages us, “You are the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:14, NLT) If Jesus is our Lord, then we are called to be a light in a world lost in darkness. As moons, we can only reflect the light of the sun, Jesus. In a world full of darkness, we are even brighter than distant suns. We may be the only light people ever see.
My #1 Responsibility
In our hectic, stressed out world, most of us are probably deprived of one thing more than any other. It’s called rest. Yet, even God on the seventh day, having finished creating the heavens and the earth rested from all His work. God didn’t need to rest because He was tired. He didn’t have to rest to catch His breath. God rested in order to show us how we need to live as well. Good fathers are constantly modeling how to live for their children. I don’t have to wait until I’m tired before I rest. Part of our destiny is to learn how to rest in Jesus. I’ve come to believe that my #1 responsibility is to be so at rest that when people see me they feel like they’re looking into the face of Jesus.
The first time God mentions something “not good” in the Bible is when He says, “It is NOT good for the man to be alone.” (Genesis 2:18, NLT) So, how does God solve this dilemma? The next verse tells us, “I will make a companion who will help him.” We all need a companion, whether a spouse or a friend, it’s not good for us to be alone! It may not surprise you to hear that the most violent, sociopathic men in history have all been loners. None of us were created to be alone. Whether by marriage or in social settings we’re not designed for isolation. Psalm 68 says that “God places the lonely, the solitary, in families.” (Psalm 68:6, NLT) The only way to fill the loneliness we all face is to have a personal relationship with God and healthy companions.
In the Sweet By and By
A dear friend across the country had someone we both loved struggling near death. As we shared about why God would allow those we cherish to suffer so, we considered this comforting thought. Because we love so deeply, and are so attached to loved ones staying with us, we need to be made willing to loosen our grip. Seeing them suffer makes us finally release them into the arms of Jesus and into eternity. The Bible says, “Precious in the sight of the LORD Is the death of His saints.” (Psalm 116:15, NKJV) As the songwriter wrote, “There’s a land that is fairer than day, and by faith we can see it afar; for the Father waits over the way to prepare us a dwelling place there. In the sweet by and by, we shall meet on that beautiful shore.” (Sanford F. Bennett, 1868)
Never Give Up On Anyone
Memorial Day is about those who gave their life for our country. Tragically, over the past few years, more soldiers are taking their own lives at home then have died in combat. There seems to be an epidemic of post-traumatic stress disorder and other war-trauma conditions afflicting those who have seen too much of war. It’s no wonder the occupation Forbes Magazine calls the “most stressful job” in America is service in the military. One of my mottos in life is, “I never want to give up on anyone.” I have it because I’ve experienced others giving up on me. If you know of someone who’s been ravaged by the trauma of war, do all you can to help him or her. Pray for their families and remember what Proverbs says, “A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” (Proverbs 17:17, NLT)
Are You Spoiled?
There’s an epidemic that’s gripped America’s children over the past few decades. We used to call it being spoiled, but the term coined today is “entitlement.” Let’s see if you’re infected by it. Do you follow rules and cooperate with suggestions? Do you respond to “no,” “stop,” or other commands? Do you protest everything? Do you know the difference between your needs and wants? Do you insist on having your own way? Do you make unfair or excessive demands of others? Do you respect other people’s rights? Do you try to control people? Do you have a low tolerance for frustration? Do you frequently whine or throw emotional tantrums? Do you complain about being bored? If you’ve said “Yes” to many of these then I would challenge you to reevaluate your life, to humble yourself, and to ask God to change your heart.