|The Good Stuff
|Thursday, October 05, 2023
Sadie is seven and thinking about heaven. And to focus on heaven is to fuel your curiosity--regardless of age.
Recently, Sadie peppered her mom with questions about the end times. Turns out Sadie wanted to know the exact date Jesus will return. When her mom confessed she did not know, Sadie was flummoxed. Her response: “Welp. I guess you aren’t as smart as you look. Grownups do NOT know it all!”
Sadie is right, of course. Grownups do not know it all. In Matthew 24:36, Jesus said, "But about that day and hour, no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone."
Another conversation found the two of them treading in the deep waters of predestination. Sadie's question: "Did God make me a Christian, or did I really get to choose?"
Her mom responded, “You absolutely get to choose. But He always wanted you. Always.”
Sadie nodded, concluding, “I sure am glad I chose the good stuff.”
The Bible is clear: salvation always involves a choice—yours. Romans 10:9 declares, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Have you done that—confessed Jesus as Lord? Have you chosen to believe that God raised Him from the dead? Have you chosen “the good stuff?”
Don't dawdle. The moment will come when it's too late.
|Save Them All
|Thursday, September 28, 2023
I saw an advertisement at the airport that rattled me. The headline read, Save Them All.
Immediately, I thought, what a great way to encourage believers to reach out to their unsaved friends.
Instead, this slogan was for an organization trying to shut down puppy mills. Now, I'm all for treating animals humanely—that's decidedly biblical. But I found myself asking, why aren't we Christians at least as bold in rescuing souls as animal lovers are in rescuing dogs?
If others can get worked up over puppies (I love them, too), shouldn't believers get much more excited about the eternal destinies of our friends and loved ones?
Save them all.
Isn’t that what you want for your family members?
Isn’t that what you want for your friends?
Isn’t that what you want for your neighbors?
Do you merely “hope” they make it to heaven?
Or are you desperate to see them there?
Save them all.
Powerful thought. But it won't happen if we keep living the way many of us have been living. We're too afraid of embarrassing ourselves, too fearful of being "outed" by our friends, should we explain the gospel.
But that’s not the Jesus way. His desire?
Save them all.
Two questions for you:
#1 When did you last share the simple saving message of Christ verbally with a friend or loved one?
#2 Would Jesus be okay with your answer?
P.S. Thanks to my dad, who, at the age of 90, still cares about lost people and inspired me to write this blog!
|Thursday, September 21, 2023
At first glance, it cracked me up.
Cruising the streets of Brookline, Massachusetts, we encountered a store named Restorers Without Borders. For a price, they take in furniture of all kinds and rebuild or refinish it.
Cracked wood, missing table legs, scratched tabletops—they handle it all. And when they return that heirloom to you, it looks like new (or old, if you prefer).
Not to be missed—their slogan. It's splashed on not one but two windows: "You'll adore what we restore."
At first, I smiled. Then it struck me—isn’t that a perfect description of Jesus?
Everywhere He went, Jesus restored: people, relationships, dignity. He was a “restorer without borders,” as evidenced by His conversation with the Samaritan woman.
Yet Christ's most profound restoration work was done as His nail-pierced body hung on the cross. There, He died to pay for our wrongdoing, our sins. In this self-denying act, He made it possible for every one of us to experience the ultimate restoration—peace with God.
Have you asked Jesus to restore your soul by forgiving you of your sins and taking charge of your life? (He adores what He restores!) What’s stopping you?
|Don't Think He Will Hurt You
|Thursday, September 14, 2023
My heart rate surged.
I'd been walking alone on a country road, enjoying the early morning. And then I wasn't alone.
A dog resembling a Doberman Pinscher turned the corner and headed right for me. With a cornfield on one side and a yard on the other, there was no place to go—and no stick to grab for self-defense. I was entirely exposed.
Seconds later, the dog's owner rounded that same corner. "Nick!" She called out to her dog. But Nick blew her off and kept coming. "Nick, get over here!" This time, he paused, looked back at her, but kept walking toward me.
I stopped, not wanting to upset the dog in any way. That’s when the lady shouted, “I don’t think he will hurt you.”
I shot back, "It's the 'I-don't-think' part that bothers me!" Nick approached, sniffed my hand, and eventually, the not-too-obedient dog caught up with the lady who passed by with a smile—but no apology.
Free of threatening dogs, I resumed my walk, pondering that this incident was an imperfect metaphor for the showdown that temptation brings. We can be minding our own business when around the corner—bam!—temptation shows up, headed right for us.
But rather than a Doberman or Rottweiler, temptation is usually disguised as something cuddly and soft. Think Pomeranian or Bichon.
If you linger, you'll invariably hear a voice calling, "I don't think it will hurt you." But it does. Every time. Then, having done its damage, temptation leaves you with a smile—and no apology.
Oscar Wilde once famously quipped, “I can resist everything but temptation.” While it’s true temptation is inevitable, falling is not. The Bible assures us God will make a way of escape from every temptation we face. Let’s remember that!
|Wisdom in the Waves
|Thursday, September 07, 2023
At Junkanoo Beach in the Bahamas, the turquoise ocean hue is so intense, you swear it’s been Photoshopped, and so clear you can see down at least 30 feet.
What fun to zip my iPhone into a waterproof pouch and slip beneath the waves to capture images of underwater life. After years of watching Discovery Channel shows, it was intoxicating to experience it personally.
Needing to come up for air, I wondered about shooting some different camera angles. What if I put that iPhone on the sand and clicked the shutter just as the waves collided? I scrunched my body down low and clicked away (onlookers concerned for my sanity?).
After reviewing the pictures in our hotel room, I was intrigued to discover a bubbly look we don't usually "see." We tend to focus on the height of the surf or the curve of a wave. Or perhaps the splash of the impact on a rock. But the pictures on the phone showed a vast assortment of teeny bubbles—all frozen in an instant.
It was a simple exercise—and I’m probably more intrigued with the results than anyone (who gawks at pictures of waves?) Yet I saw things that morning I had never noticed before. All because I lowered myself—and tried a different point of view.
If only we could apply that lesson to the "problem people" in our lives. If you're like me, you find it easy to make assumptions and snap judgments about folks different from us: street beggars, homeless people, the perennially unemployed.
It’s easy to pigeonhole them. But maybe to properly understand and genuinely love them, we need to lower ourselves and try a different point of view.
Stop labeling them and start knowing them.
Stop dissing them and start hearing them.
And try a different point of view.
Who knew there was wisdom in the waves?
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