Thursday, August 22, 2013
hunting boots, waders and outdoor gear of all kinds. Staring at the mess,
the wife sighed, "I hope I die first, so I don't have to get rid of all
"Look on the bright side," the husband said, "If I go first, you can
put an ad in the paper. When all the men come by to check out the gear, you
can pick out a replacement for me."
Looking at the pile the wife said, "No, any guy who would want all this
stuff would not be my type."
It's true that we can learn something important about a person by
paying attention to what that person is interested in. It's critical that
single Christians understand this. Whatever captures the interest of the
person you are dating, whatever they spend their time and their money on,
will tell you a lot about that person (and, whatever you do, don't go into
marriage thinking you can change that!). Decide early on what "type" of
person you are looking for in a spouse. If you meet someone whose interests
obviously lie in areas that are ungodly or unspiritual, keep looking until
you find someone who's "your type".
And I believe that God is looking for people who are "his type". I
don't mean by that that God is looking for people who are perfect. But God
is looking for people who have a passion to be with Him just as He has a
passion to be with us. I think that's what James meant when he wrote:
"Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?
Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy
of God." (James 4:4)
When we focus on adopting the attitudes of this world -- such as
selfishness, pride, and materialism -- and when we show by our actions that
we want more than anything else to be a part of this world, God says,
"Anybody who would want all this stuff would not be my type."
Rather, here's what He's looking for -- "Draw near to God...Purify your
hearts...Lament and mourn and weep...Humble yourselves in the sight of the
Lord." (James 4:8-10). That's God's type!
Thursday, August 15, 2013
A group of dinner guests were sitting around a table discussing life.
A CEO decided to explain the problem with education. He argued, "What's a
kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in life was to
become a teacher?" He reminded the other dinner guests what they say about
teachers: "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach."
To stress his point, he said to another guest, "You're a teacher,
Susan. Be honest. What do you make?"
Susan, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness, replied, "You
want to know what I make? I make kids work harder than they ever thought
they could. I make a C+ student feel like the winner of the Congressional
Medal of Honor. I make kids sit through 40 minutes of study hall in
"You want to know what I make? I make kids wonder. I make them
criticize. I make them apologize and mean it. I make them write. I make
them read, read, read. I make them show all their work in math and perfect
their final drafts in English. I make them understand that, if you have the
brains and follow your heart, and if someone ever tries to judge you by what
you make, you must pay no attention because they just didn't learn."
Susan paused and then continued. "You want to know what I make? I make
a difference. What do you make?"
It was James who wrote, "Brothers and sisters, not many of you should
become teachers." (James 3:1, GOD'S WORD). He points out that teachers will
be judged more severely. He could just as easily have said that teachers
have a greater responsibility, a greater challenge, a greater opportunity to
affect the lives of people in a negative way. It is impossible to teach
without using words, and with greater use of words comes a greater danger
that the words will do harm.
But thanks be to God that there are those who face that challenge and
assume that responsibility and make a diligent effort to use their words as
an opportunity to affect the lives of people in a positive way. Those of
you who are teachers -- who can begin to measure the tremendous effect that
you are having in the lives of the children (and adults) in your classrooms?
You may not see the results of your efforts for years. In fact, you may
never get to see the results. But you do make a difference.
Those of you who are schoolteachers are teaching not only the basics of
education, but you are teaching values and character. Those of you who are
Bible class teachers are filling the minds and hearts of our children with
stories of faith that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
Those of you who are preachers are strengthening the family of God and
bringing salvation to the lost.
So, my hat is off to all of you who are teachers because I know exactly
what you make. You make a difference!
"We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's
gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is
serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach." (Romans 12:6-7)
Have a great day!
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
How heartbreaking! As the announcers said so well, Meghan Rutledge went "from the pinnacle of joy to the depths of defeat" (ibid). The worst part about the whole situation is that it was completely her own fault. She let pride step in the way before she had actually achieved victory.
In 1 Kings 20:11, the king of Israel responded to his prideful enemy with a wise taunt, "Let not him who girds on his armor boast like him who takes it off." In other words, one should never claim victory before he has achieved it. In battle, those who had the privilege to take their armor off were typically the victors of the war. Meghan Rutledge was boating of victory and it ironically caused her defeat. In this case, pride literally came before the fall (Proverbs 16:18).
Jesus said in Revelation 2:10 that those who are "faithful until death will receive the crown of life." These are people who finish the race and live godly lives until the end. Some feel their place in heaven is already secured and arrogantly try to coast in with their remaining time in life (1 Corinthians 10:12). It only takes a moment for our pride to get out of check and cause us to fall. May we never think we have won the spiritual race before we cross the finish line.
Let's learn from Meghan Rutledge's mistake. Let's always keep our pride in check and never celebrate any victory before we have actually achieved it.
Thursday, August 1, 2013
It happened this summer near the summit of the ninth highest mountain on earth, Pakistan's 26,660-foot Nanga Parbat. More than a dozen people were at Base Camp. Late on a Saturday night, gunmen, local villagers, dressed in military uniforms invaded the camp. They spared three Pakistanis in camp who, though of a different dialect and locale, convinced the attackers they were of the same faith. Then, in what the shooters called revenge for the death of Osama bin Laden, they shot 11 people-3 Ukrainian, 3 Chinese, 2 Slovaks, a Nepali, a Pakistani, and a Lithuanian. Not one was an American. It was something even more than brutal. It was completely misguided (via news.national geographic.com).
These deaths were tragic no matter what, but the perpetrators were so blinded by anger, grief, and revenge that they took it out on the wrong people. Eleven families are left to grieve, a mourning made worse by knowing their deaths were a case of mistaken identity. What a tragic story!
While we would never don assault rifles and senselessly fire upon innocent people, we can cause innocent victims of our own "misfiring." When we allow our anger to get away from us, we can take it out on perfect strangers (e.g., road rage), the wrong people (e.g., misplaced anger), or even a person who happens to be in the line of fire when we are in a bad mood. Christian influence is scarred and tainted by the Christian who cannot control his or her temper, whether in the privacy of the home or a more public forum. James tells us man's anger doesn't accomplish the righteous life God desires (1:20). Solomon writes that anger rests in the bosom of fools (Ecc.7:9). Proverbs 14:17 says, "A quick-tempered man acts foolishly." Repeatedly, God tells us to get a hold of ourselves. We can assault with rapid-fire words, fierce body language, and outbursts of anger (Gal. 5:20), severely wounding others but threatening to cause our own spiritual death. May we remind ourselves of the power of our reactions. Let's not just keep the gun on safety. Let's remove the rounds!
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