is a snake whose tongue has mastered the talk of deception. “Someday,”
it hisses, “I’ll take her on that cruise ... we’ll
have time to sit and chat ... ”
But you know
the truth before I even write it, don’t you? Someday never
comes! Wise up! Invest the time. Send the flowers. Write the letter.
Make the apology. Take the trip. Purchase the gift. Do it! The seized
opportunity brings joy -- the neglected one brings only regret!
-- Max Lucado, And the Angels Were Silent
a team for six years, minimally sighted Graham Waspe and his guide
dog Edward suffered the loss of Edward’s vision. Very soon,
Graham received a new guide dog, Opal, but he didn’t give
away Edward. Instead, Opal now leads them both -- and they all share
strong bonds of love.
Does God love us for the ways we serve him? When we can no longer
carry out the tasks we’ve long done, will God love or approve
of us less? We seem to believe so, judging by how we keep track
of our good works and those of others.
But God loves
us for who we are -- his children. Our deeds of service show our
love for God in return; they don’t earn his love. When we
become sick or disabled, God doesn’t count us worthless and
dispose of us. He keeps loving us and brings others near to serve
not only him but us, as well. Like the retired guide dog, may we
rest in that loving care.
Will They Know?
1960s song by Peter Scholtes answers an implied question: How will
others know we’re Jesus’ disciples? Not by how we understand
family values. Not by our politics or theology. Not by how many
Bible verses we’ve memorized, how often we attend church or
how much offering we give.
song’s title and refrain say it all: “They’ll
know we are Christians by our love.” Jesus put it this way:
“Everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love
one another” (John 13:35, NIV).
involves words -- teaching, proclaiming, bearing witness to God’s
presence. But if words aren’t backed by actions, they soon
fall flat. We can, as the song says, “spread the news that
God is in our land.” But if we don’t live like that,
no one will believe it.
When we declare
God’s reality but withhold kindness from neighbors, observers
rightly question whether we follow the God whose presence we announce.
But “if we love one another, God lives in us and his love
is made complete in us” (1 John 4:12).
“flash mob” musical performances have sprung up in public
places such as airports and malls. Philadelphia’s 600-member
Opera Company scattered among Macy’s crowds and broke out
in the “Hallelujah Chorus.” A university choir did the
same at a Fargo, North Dakota, food court. Groups have also performed
impromptu performances of “Silent Night,” “Amazing
Grace” and well-known secular songs.
have been called random acts of culture, but they might better be
called purposeful acts of God. Through music, we can praise God
anywhere. Whenever Christ’s disciples move beyond church buildings
and Christian gatherings to share the gospel, God is surely at work.
Dad came home
to find toys all over the living room, dirty dishes stacked in the
sink, clothes piled in the laundry room, beds unmade and kids still
in their pajamas. The house was a wreck, like nothing he’d
rushed upstairs to find Mom reading a book in bed.
okay?” he asked. “What happened?”
how you always ask what I do all day?” Mom replied. “Well,
today I decided not to do it.”
Waldo Emerson reflected on true success, he didn’t mention
fame, fortune or social status. Ponder his thoughts -- and your
own definition of success:
often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the
affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty;
to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether
by a healthy child, a redeemed social condition or a job well done;
to know even one other life has breathed because you lived -- this
is to have succeeded.”
go unanswered, we may ask if God hears. Is he listening? Is he even
there? If he hears, why is he silent? Does he really love me? Does
We may ask such
questions in moments of desperation and discouragement. But let
us consider an alternative possibility, a truth supported throughout
Scripture: No prayer goes unanswered.
As William Arthur
said, “To someone who prays in faith, unanswered prayers are
simply the evidence that the answer is much closer.”
bring a commencement, or beginning, of new things.
In 1990, Dr.
Seuss published Oh, the Places You’ll Go! This popular graduation
gift tells in Seuss’ inimitable style of all life’s
possible ups and downs, twists and turns. There will surely be excitement
and slumps, fun and loneliness, purpose and confusion. And, yes,
fear: “There are some [things], down the road between hither
and yon, that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.”
The sheer determination
of the storybook’s life-traveler moves him beyond trouble
and fear. But God’s children don’t have to go it alone.
Life cannot take us anywhere God hasn’t been first. Furthermore,
he walks beside us on every winding path and around every corner.
and all Christians -- can trust in the promise of Joshua 1:9 (NIV):
“Be strong and courageous … for the LORD your God will
be with you wherever you go.”
Which of the
following is an accurate mother-child match from Scripture?
A. Lois and
B. Rebekah and Joseph
C. Eve and Isaac
D. Hannah and Eli
Answer: A (See
2 Timothy 1:5.)
“The Gentle Gardener”
to sow the barren spots
with all the flowers of earth,
To leave a path where those who come
should find but gentle mirth;
And when at last I’m called upon
to join the heavenly throng
I’d like to feel along my way
I’d left no sign of wrong.
--Edgar A. Guest
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