The Mind of Christ

 

 

 

It was meant as a compliment.

I took it as such.

A friend at work happened to meet one of my sons in a business setting a few days ago.

She told me, simply, that she could tell he was my son.

After speaking with him for some time, I suppose she had come to that conclusion.

The way he spoke?

His mannerisms?

Whatever the similarity, I truly did feel complimented.

Several hours after my short conversation with my friend this morning, I began to think about my relationship with God in this way.

After meeting me for the first time, would there be anyone who would want to say, "God, I can tell that she is your daughter."

As forgiven believers, we are all sons and daughters of God.

But do we look like Him?

Act like Him?

Talk like Him?

Do I?

                    ~Lord, please help me to respond to others in a way that reflects You.

 

 

Something to Eat

 

 

God works in many ways.

On my route to work, I decided to stop by a grocery store and purchase a loaf of bread. I hadn’t eaten breakfast and I planned on having something when I arrived.

I intended to bring the bread home after work, but I forgot about it until I was already sitting in my car in the parking lot. Considering whether or not to walk back inside my office to get the bread or to just go on home, I made the decision to leave it at work.

The next day, a Friday,  I remembered to bring it with me. I was not going to be coming in to work over the weekend and I knew it would not be very fresh on Monday.

While out, I stopped at a gas station and a store. As I was leaving the store in my car, there was a man standing near the corner holding a hand written sign. I don’t know what the entire message was, but I could clearly see, "SOOOOOO Hungry."

Taking a second or two to think, I knew that I did not happen to have any money with me to offer him. 

I glanced down to see the loaf of bread.

As I was rolling my window down, the man approached my car.

I explained that I didn’t have any change to give him, but that he could have the loaf of bread.

He thanked me and said, "God bless you!"

If I had eaten breakfast at home on Thursday morning, I wouldn’t have bought the bread.

If I had remembered to bring it to my car after work Thursday afternoon, I wouldn’t have had it with me on Friday.

In fact, if I hadn’t been too tired to go and get it from my office, I wouldn’t have had it with me on Friday.

Instead, all of these factors worked together to provide a loaf of bread for this man.

Did I provide the bread?

Not really.

God was at work all the time throughout the entire sequence of events.

I was only the one delivering it.

God loves the homeless man just as much as He loves me.

 

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

    “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

    “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’  —Matthew 25:34-40

 

 

 

Beside the Still Waters

 

I didn’t know about the waterfall until today.

The sound of the rushing water spilling over the rocks was soothing.

Something about it made me want to stay.

I determined that I would come back again.

Quiet, peaceful solitude can be found in the acreage surrounding the water.

It is the perfect place to settle down and find time to just be alone—-with God.

I am drawn to this place now; something inside me wants to just go there and have a meaningful time of reflection.

Do you have a favorite place to get away and listen for God’s voice?

 

The LORD is my shepherd;
         I shall not want.
  He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
         He leads me beside the still waters.
 He restores my soul;
         He leads me in the paths of righteousness
         For His name’s sake.

–Psalm 23:1-3

 

 

He Enables Me

 

 

There’s probably been a mountain or two in your life.

A time when you doubted if you would be able to actually make the climb.

The top was so high up.

The bottom was so far down.

The air was thin.

The days were hot and the nights were cold.

You were alone.

At first, there were trees and bushes.

Then, all that was left were rocks and cliffs.

You may have thought, "How am I going to make it?"

Yet, reaching the top, the realization that God had enabled you to stand hit home.

He had been with you all the time.

He had given you the strength needed to accomplish the task.

Because we have God, we have hope.

Are you facing a mountain today?

 

As for God, his way is perfect;
   the word of the LORD is flawless.
He is a shield
   for all who take refuge in him.
 For who is God besides the LORD?
   And who is the Rock except our God?
 It is God who arms me with strength
   and makes my way perfect.
 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
   he enables me to stand on the heights.

—Psalm 18:30-33

 

Keep on Speaking

 

 

I really enjoyed visiting the community.

It was a relaxing time off, just to be with family in a new place.

Driving around the neighborhoods, I saw several homes that I liked.

Many were built high because of the threat of storms and flooding in the area.

I knew no one who lived there.

Each street revealed dwellings of people I will probably never meet.

There are people in my scope of influence, however.

My workplace has several employees.

I do have neighbors.

I have family.

In the New Testament book of Acts, Paul is said to have stayed for a year and a half in Corinth, teaching the word of God to them.

As God brings people into my life, I have the opportunity to invest in them, sharing my faith.

I never know if I will have a day, a week, a month or even years to share.

Every moment is precious, even so.

Making the most of each one is a lesson I am continually learning.

Who does God want you to invest in?

 

 

 


  Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized.

  One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent.  For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.”  So Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.—Acts 18:7-11

 

Into God’s Love

 

 

 

 

May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.–II Thessalonians 3:5

Lately, it seems, God has allowed me to become aware of great needs in the lives of some of the people I know.

Struggles that range from a loved one in the hospital to not having a home to go to at night.

Real, gut wrenching struggles.

As He has allowed me to know of these struggles, He has given me the opportunity to respond.

A kind word.

Prayer.

Comfort.

I must admit that in the last couple of weeks, I have found myself questioning what would be best.

Do I really know what kind words to say?

How should I pray for them?

How could I comfort them?

What does God want me to do for them?

I must listen for His instruction.

Only He knows what is best for each hurting life I encounter.

Many people have such great needs.

How can I truly help them?

 

Lord, help me to be who You want me to be. Help me to say words of comfort when they are needed. Please give me a kind heart. Let me be wise in caring, pointing always to You and to Your faithfulness.

 

In the Abundance

 

 

 

God gives us so much.

Not just material things.

Wonderful pleasures in life.

Lakes and oceans to swim in.

Cool breezes to sweep past us.

Sunsets to watch.

Flowers to smell.

Birds to listen to.

The list has no end.

And it is all free.

Who charges for cool breezes?

What do we pay to hear the song of a bird?

Do we spend wages on having the privilege of watching the sun go down?

Our lives are filled with good things that God has provided for us.

Is there cause for greed?

 

 

 

 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” —from Luke 12:15

 

 

The Power of the Weak

 

 

"I can’t."

"I’m not good enough."

"I’m not strong."

"I’m just a broken person."

Do you ever feel this way?

Like trying would be a waste of time?

If so, you might find some encouragement from an unlikely creature—

a butterfly.

Not just any butterfly.

One that had suffered some damage.

One that was missing part of its wing.

On the day that I noticed it, there were other butterflies with whole wings flitting about the autumn blooms.

That wasn’t keeping him from participating.

He could fly, he could spread his wings.

Even though one side was not perfect, he still tried.

Did the broken wing make it harder to do the normal, everyday butterfly things?

Maybe.

But that apparently didn’t stop him.

On occassion, I have felt that I had a broken wing.

Spreading my emotional arms out wide only revealed the damage and the hurt.

What once was there was just gone.

Could God still use me?

Isaiah 40:29 says, "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak."

God can strengthen me—or you—even in our wearied and broken state.

We can spread out our less than perfect wings and go about doing what He has called us to do.

So what if the others flitting around us seem to be perfect?

No matter.

With God, we "can."

God is "good enough."

God is "strong."

 

Do you have a broken wing today?

 

 

 

 

Each Other’s Burdens

 

 

 

Our youngest son has a good friend.

They became buddies when when they met in the third grade.

Now, almost nine years later, they are still buddies.

From the time they met until now, they have grown through many experiences together.

Our son’s brother was killed in an accident; his friend’s father and grandfather died within the same year.

Elementary school passed, middle school emerged and now, the end of high school is already on the horizon.

Thoughts of college have begun to form.

Throughout the years there have been camping trips, mission trips, birthday parties and video games.

Football, Frisbee, summer camps.

Sunday school, Bible studies, church.

I am certain that their memories will forever include each other as they have written a good portion of their young lives as characters in a play they both shared.

Having a good friend is a blessing from God.

They are there in times of joy and happiness.

They are there in times of grief and sorrow.

They are there when nothing makes sense.

They are there when no words can be spoken.

Wherever you are, you may feel that you have not had a good friend like this in your life.

If not, I urge you to think of someone that you could become a good friend to.

Begin reaching out to that person with a sincere heart.

Rejoice with them.

Cry with them.

Invest in the life of another as Jesus guides you to do so.

 

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

—Galatians 6:2

 

 

 

Not Be Delayed

 

 

 

In the area of the country I live in, autumn colors arrive very late.

While the trees adorning the more northern regions are already a vivid mix of gold and crimson, most of the ones here are quite content to continue their summer green.

Just a week or so ago, I spotted some trees near a dock that seemed to be only giving a slight indication of color change.

Even a slight change is noteworthy to me.

I am never concerned at the delay of the fall season.

Trusting that it will come in God’s timing, it will be a display of natural splendor.

Sometimes it seems that God’s blessings or promises are delayed or even withdrawn.

We cannot see, however, His master plan.

What God has determined to occur will occur.

Even if it seems that everyone you know has their prayers answered and sees positive changes in their lives when you are not, don’t despair. 

When every "tree" is still green, continue to trust Him.

When there is the slightest hint of color in the trees of your life, you will be witnessing God’s work that has already begun.

 

 

Price

 

 

This afternoon, a very old memory emerged into my thoughts.

It was from my teen years–somewhere between age 15 to 18.

I was walking alone to a football stadium with my clarinet.

I was a member of my school’s marching band.

Wearing a very durable, wool uniform, complete with a hat, there could be no mistaking who I was associated with.

A distinct memory of how I felt that evening is still with me, though many years have come and gone.

I felt proud.

Not just anyone could wear the uniform I had on.

I had earned the privilege by hours and hours of practicing, self-discipline and commitment.

My self-worth was affirmed each time I wore my uniform in a performance.

A time came, however, when I had to turn the wool pants and coat in.

I was graduating and I would no longer be a part of the group.

At that point in my life, I did not know Jesus as my Savior.

Things are different now.

I am a member of those who are redeemed by His sacrifice of love.

I wear no specific uniform, yet my spiritual "robe" is white—-covering the stains of my guilt.

When God looks at me, there is no mistaking who I am associated with; I have asked Him for forgiveness, believing in Jesus, His Son.

I feel unworthy—-and I am—-yet He died on the cross for you and for me, anyway.

Not just anyone can wear a robe of forgiveness.

Only those who come in repentance and belief in Jesus.

I did not earn this wonderful privilege of acceptance by God.

No amount of work on my part could purchase an eternal life with Him.

Jesus paid it all.

My worth is affirmed knowing that I am loved and cherished and redeemed.

There will NEVER come a time when I will have to "turn in" my robe and become guilty again for my sin.

I will not outlive God’s saving grace.

If you know Jesus as your Savior today, neither will you…..

 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;  you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.—I Corinthians 6:19-20

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hope Does Not

 

 

 

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,  through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Romans 5:1-5

 Do you have this hope in your heart today?

 

The LORD Has Helped Us

 

Do you have anything in your home that reminds you of something very important?

An old photograph, a diploma, a marriage license.

A piece of furniture handed down a few generations.

A necklace that was given to your grandmother when she became a nurse.

Do you have anything that reminds you of God’s faithfulness?

Each one of the items listed above could be exactly that.

Individually, they could give remembrance to a particular time and how God’s presence was great.

We have an example in I Samuel of a stone being placed in order to remember what God had done:

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.”—I Samuel 7:12

You may not have an actual stone to place within your home to remind you of God’s faithfulness.

Whatever you do have, however, let it be a memory marker as you share with others what He has done.

 


 

 

The Fowls

 

 

 

Trying to be quiet, I wanted to get as close as possible to the ducks in the water.

It was a peaceful time on the lake, with no boats in sight.

Was this their permanent home or did they just come for a seasonal visit?

Whatever the answer, I’m sure their little hearts were not worried.

Centuries have come and gone and ducks have found shelter and food, provided by their Maker.

They surely trust that they will have what they need.

Right now—tonight—what does your heart long for?

What are your needs?

Whether it be a job, a home, physical or spiritual healing, God is able to provide.

Why not pray and talk to Him about your needs?

He is right there with you.

The ducks aren’t worried….

Should we be?

 

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? —Matthew 6:26

 

 

 

The Earth is Filled

 

 

 

 

 

It was a clear morning and the sun’s rays were somehow different than usual.

Instead of the normal hues of yellow, the light seemed a misty white.

I was photographing paintings of a local artist, who happens to also be a good friend.

Lugging large canvas structures outside to be placed on an easel was a bit of a chore for my friend.

I had the easy job—capturing her talents in digital form.

While waiting for my friend to emerge from the house with a painting, her cat decided to pay a visit.

Walking carefully in the dewy grass, he did not seem alarmed at my presence.

I was not alarmed at his, either.

What would life be like without animals?

God could have chosen not to create them.

A world with only people and plants.

People and plants..nothing else.

I’m glad it’s not that way.

I am continually delighted by the creatures God has made.

From puppies and kittens to gopher turtles and sand cranes, manatee and dolphins, deer and black bears, my present surroundings are filled with such a variety of life.

Life given by God to the creatures of His making.

  Lord, you have made so many things!
      How wisely you made them all! 

     The earth is filled with your creatures.

–Psalm 104:24

 

 

 

 

Guide Me

 

 

There was an interesting story in the newspaper the other day.

It was highlighting a wild animal preserve located in my county.

Wild animals, such as tigers, are living in this animal preservation sanctuary.

The newspaper included a photo of a siamang ape.

For me, this was like showing a hungry person a restaurant ad.

I want to go there.

Very, very soon.

Photographing these animals would be an enormous treat for me.

It seems unlikely that I will ever actually roam the jungles in a faraway country with my camera, so this will have to do.

I am thinking, though—what if I were in a jungle safari somewhere?

How would I feel?

Certainly, I would keep my attention on the guide for our expedition through the thick forest with hanging vines and dark shadows.

I wouldn’t want to lose sight of where he was taking me.

After all, he would know the way through territory I had never traversed.

Staying in constant contact with him would be of paramount importance.

This applies to my Christian walk, as well.

I am on a great expedition, just as you are.

Each day brings uncharted forests of life that are thick with the unknown.

Hanging vines of doubt to tangle us, branches and limbs of temptation and distraction to trip us up.

We are not alone, however.

Jesus is our guide.

We dare not let our eyes drift away from where He is leading us.

He has much to show us as we walk.

There is much to learn.

As He is right up ahead, we cannot risk turning to one side or another.

We must follow—every step of the way.

 

You are my refuge and defense; guide me and lead me as you have promised. –Psalm 31:3

 

 

In This Present Life

 

 

Driving down an unfamiliar street, I noticed an old bicycle parked near some trees.

It was clearly meant as a landscaping decoration for the property I was passing.

Taking an interest in it, I drove back for another look.

Rusted and weathered, the old bicycle stood as a testament to days gone by.

Who rode it down neighborhood streets?

What did they carry in their basket?

The laughter of past rides had once surrounded its frame.

Now, it serves only as a reminder of what has been, creating a yearning, perhaps, of simpler times.

The old bicyle has a silent story to tell, parked beside the graying wooden fence.

Good times.

Blessings bestowed on a former generation.

My own bicycle may someday be placed in the yard as a decoration.

If it is, I’m sure it will spark many a conversation about Grandma.

(But at this point, none of my children are even married yet.)

Throughout the years, I can see God’s goodness in the swift journey that has taken me to this present time in my life.

I am confident that I will see His goodness in the future, as well.

The longer I live, the more stories there will be to tell of His faithfulness to me.

 

I know that I will live to see
      the Lord’s goodness in this present life. –Psalm 27:13

 

 

Every Beast

 

 

 

 

Who is my deliverer?

Who can I call on in the day of trouble?

God alone is my deliverer.

Do I offer thanks to God?

Is my heart thankful?

He is the One who has given me life.

There is nothing that I can give Him that He has not first given me.

He owns the cattle on a thousand hills.

I can give Him thanksgiving.

I can give Him praise.

I can give Him my love and adoration.

 

 

 

For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.

 I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.

 If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof.

 Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?

 Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High:

And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.

 

—Psalm 50:10-15

The Path That Leads

 

 

Driving to and from work has been unsettling lately.

For the past year or so, a major highway in our area has been under renovation and construction. A particular area is being completely changed.

Traffic lights removed.

A new section of road where there was not.

The old way of traveling through has changed.

Permanently.

In the midst of all this, changes in which way the traffic should flow can be made frequently.

Orange barrels line the roadway as workers in big machines toil one or two lanes over as thousands of vehicles pass each day.

Recently, I was waiting in line at a traffic light.

Looking in my rear veiw mirror, I noticed two men in a truck behind me.

They were not facing forward.

They were looking to their right, very interested in what was going on.

A large machine was being run by a man in the next lane.

Since the men behind me were so captivated by his work, I thought I would watch, as well.

The machine appeared to be removing the pavement from the highway.

Big chunks of road were literally being scooped up from their place by the massive power of the machine.

Nothing would ever travel on that particular surface again.

It was time for the new–the old was being torn away.

Can we compare that to our experience in coming to faith in the Lord?

We are on a path of destruction, lost in sin, without Him.

When we hear and believe, He sets us on a new path.

One of His choosing.

Our old path is broken up and discarded by His great power.

We no longer travel on that road.

Ours in now the right path.

We could never have done it on our own.

Aren’t you thankful today that the road you travel is the new road–the road to life?

 

You will show me the path that leads to life; your presence fills me with joy and brings me pleasure forever.

 

 

 

–Psalm 16:11

 

Lamp to Guide Me

 

 

It was a perfect rainy day.

For some, that may seem to be an oxymoron.

Can rainy and perfect be in the same phrase?

For me, anyway, it can.

Several positive elements had come together; it was a rainy, lightning free, afternoon, I had some time that was not committed to anything in particular, and I was alone.

As a rule, I am a very social person, enjoying the company of others most of the hours of my day.

It is nice, however, to just take some time to think—all by myself.

I decided to explore some places that I had not been to.

Driving here and there, I just took in my surroundings and quietly contemplated my thoughts.

At one point, I drove to a park that I had visited before.

The familiar lamppost stood in vintage perfection.

An elderly couple walked alongside their dog near the lake.

A man, all alone, walked swiftly with a closed umbrella around the water’s edge, only to disappear down the only street that led out of the park, heading for town.

As the rain increased, I made my way back to my car, parked near the lamppost and the thick growth of trees draped with Spanish moss.

I can choose to visit the park anytime that I wish and the familiar sights and sounds are most likely to be found there, yet I know it is possible for them to change.

The lamppost.

The lake.

The trees.

Sometimes, even the rain.

God, however, is with me no matter where I go.

He never changes.

Always loves.

Always cares.

The psalmist penned these words:

Your word is a lamp to guide me
      and a light for my path.

–Psalm 119:105

 

 

Find It

 

 

 

 

The large, weathered pot had been turned over on its side.

As I sat in my car, waiting on my son to emerge from his friend’s home, I noticed it.

There were beautiful flowers seeming to spill from within it, thriving with color and life.

A pot that is turned over would not be functioning, by normal standards.

It should be upright, containing something—say, water, for instance.

But what if the water it may have held was spilled onto the ground, nurturing tiny seeds to grow into plants?

What if the water that pooled on its edge from rainshowers continued to overflow into the path of the flowers?

By being on its side, the pot would have taken on a completely new role.

In giving up one, it would have gained another.

If it had continued to stand upright, flowers may not have bloomed beside it.

When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we take on a new life.

A life to follow Him.

We lose our old life.

We gain a new one.

We find it in Him…..

 

Beauty blooms from an overturned life.

 

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. —Matthew 16:24-25

 


 

 

 

Go…..To All

 

 

There have been times when I have heard stories of dedicated soldiers on a mission.

Not a mission on the battlefield, however.

A mission after they have left it.

You may have heard them, too, because these stories have a way of breaking our hearts.

Filling dry eyes with tears.

Reaching down to something deep within us and pulling out compassion, love and a connection to those involved.

A brave soldier is wounded and dying or being taken prisioner.

Somehow, they are able to tell a buddy to deliver a message to a loved one in their absence.

A mother or father.

A son or daughter.

A brother, sister, grandparent.

Someone they love deeply and with abandon.

They are intrusting an important communication to a friend that they trust, be it a verbal or written one.

When I do hear these stories, it is always a complete one.

The soldier with the message does everything they can to find the one that it is intended for and deliver it safely into their hands, not knowing exactly what the reaction will be.

When delivered, the mission has been successful.

Nothing will ever be the same because of it.

When Jesus died, He rose from the grave victorious over sin and death.

Did He ask anyone to deliver a message for Him?

Jesus appeared to His disciples while they were eating.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. –Mark 16:15,16

He has asked us to tell the world about Him.

Anyone.

Everyone.

Are we doing all that we can to find the ones the message is intended for?

Those that Jesus loves deeply?

We cannot know what their reaction will be, but are we delivering the message, anyway?

Once delivered, their lives will never be the same.

Why would a soldier take so much of their own time trying to find the loved ones of a friend killed in battle?

It might seem a small cost to pay compared to their friend’s sacrifice—-especially if they had died in their place, shielding them from certain death.

Jesus died in our place, shielding us from eternal darkness apart from God, if we only believe.

We have a message to deliver.

Isn’t it time to be about our mission?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ones Who Say They Are Sorry

 

 

As I was pondering forgiveness a day or two ago, I remembered a quote from several years back.

"Love means never having to say you’re sorry.
" 1


Although I am unfamiliar with the original context of the quote, I had actually been thinking that the opposite was true: real love admits wrong and asks for forgiveness.

This being said, it would not be complete without adding, "real love accepts repentance and forgives."

I have heard many apologies through the years and I have given them, as well.

There have been times—really serious times—when the words, "I’m sorry" could have healed a grievous wound, yet they were never spoken.

The hurtful words or actions were left standing in a prominent place in my heart.

I could forgive those from whom they originated, but I could not erase opinions that others still held.

But did they really still mean the comments that were made?

Did they really still feel the way they used to?

Unless there is an apology, how could I believe otherwise?

For example, suppose an ill-tempered neighbor complains about the condition of your lawn. He states that your property is the eye sore of the community and it is because of your lazy and incompetent attitude.

After several months, this neighbor has a change of heart and no longer feels at odds with your personal choices of lawn care. In fact, he has begun to gain a certain amount of respect for you.

The problem is, your neighbor has never apologized or taken back the words uttered months before. He simply got over the incident and forgot about it. OR he is too ashamed to approach you and say that he is sorry.

So what’s the problem? Without an apology, the statements from the past still stand in authority.

According to record, you are still regarded as, "lazy and incompetent."

Gratefully, most of my neighbors through the years have been cordial and supportive.

In other relationships, however, there have been those who were less that happy with me because of one thing or another.

I have found that saying, "I’m sorry" has been a wonderfully freeing statement when coupled with my sincere remorse over mistakes I have made in word or deed.

God will forgive us of all our transgressions.

Shouldn’t we forgive others?

Shouldn’t we ask those we have hurt to forgive us, also?

 Correct any followers of mine who sin, and forgive the ones who say they are sorry. Even if one of them mistreats you seven times in one day and says, "I am sorry," you should still forgive that person.

–Luke 17:3b-4

 

 1 "Love Story" 1970

 

 

Pure In Heart

 

 

 

Do I want to inherit the earth?

Do I want to be filled with righteousness?

Do I want to be shown mercy?

Do I want to see God?

 

Blessed are the meek,
   for they will inherit the earth.

 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,

   for they will be filled.

 Blessed are the merciful,

   for they will be shown mercy.

 Blessed are the pure in heart,

   for they will see God.

—Matthew 5:5-8

 

You Have Searched

 

 

Our son has a ring that is inscribed with the Lord’s Prayer.

Taking it off one day, he simply began to spin the ring.

Turning faster than our eyes could accurately view it, all that we could perceive was a moving blur.

As I watched the spinning ring create this blurred effect, I had an idea.

I decided to photograph the ring in motion.

Without changing any settings on my camera, I simply walked up to the spinning ring and snapped a photo.

What I saw was totally unexpected.

I thought that since I could not perceive anything but a blur in the midst of the spinning ring that the camera would just record a blurry round image.

I was wrong.

Immediately after snapping the picture, I looked into my digital camera’s screen to preview the shot.

It was so different from what I had expected.

At the setting it was on, it captured the image of the spinning ring, all right, but it was not in the way I had envisioned.

The photo looked as though I had set the ring down on its edge and then snapped the picture.

Even the words of the prayer stood out in clarity.

My camera could catch a split second in time and "freeze" it, for all to see.

Life may seem like a blur sometimes, with all that we think, all that we say and all that we do.

Situations and emotions toss us into a spin that we cannot seem to control.

Yet, in the midst of all these things, God can look at us and "freeze" any split second of our existence and see exactly who we are with total understanding.

We only know ourselves partially.

We sometimes wonder why we think or act the way we do.

God knows us completely.

Every bit of us.

Whether we are spinning out of control or standing still, it is the same view for Him.

He knows.

He knows everything.

And still……

He loves us.

 

O LORD, you have searched me
   and you know me.
 You know when I sit and when I rise;
   you perceive my thoughts from afar.
 You discern my going out and my lying down;
   you are familiar with all my ways.
 Before a word is on my tongue
   you know it completely, O LORD.

–Psalm 139:1-4

 

Safe

 

 

 

 

It was at the end of the day and the evening shadows would soon overtake the last bit of the sun’s rays.

As I walked into my garage, I saw a gorgeous sight!

There, on the ceiling, was a very large butterfly, with beautiful black, yellow, orange and teal colorings.

I was concerned that it might die if it had to spend the night in my garage.

Asking God to allow me to save its life, I lifted a broom, bristles up, next to it.

It flew around just a little, from one light to the next.

All at once, it decided to hop on the broom.

Out the door I went, with the broom lifted to the sky.

Off it flew to freedom and another chance to live.

God helped me to understand, once again, that He cares about everything He has created.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blessed Are Those

 

 

 

 

 

Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation.  However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.  David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

  “Blessed are those
   whose transgressions are forgiven,
   whose sins are covered.
 Blessed is the one
   whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”

—Romans 4:4-8

 

Keep Watch

 

 

There was an estate sale in my community yesterday.

I saw the sign advertising it on the road.

When I arrived at the listed address and walked up the driveway, I saw a very familiar sight.

A yellow moped was parked on the side.

Seeing a representative working for a estate sale company, I asked if the people who had lived in that home had moved.

She told me that the gentleman who lived there had passed away…

Hearing that made me sad.

For the past twelve years, an older man would ride his yellow moped throughout the neighborhood. It seemed that he did it everyday.

At any given time, joggers and walkers can be seen in my community out getting exercise and enjoying the scenery.

This man would ride slowly down the streets, into cul de sacs, turning around and coming back down the same paths.

He must have enjoyed the fresh air and seeing the familiar houses, along with the same parked cars and the same barking pets.

Seeing him ride by was such a part of everyday life for those who noticed him year after year.

As regular as a postman, he would come quickly and be gone in moments.

Even though I did not know him personally, I will miss him.

I will miss knowing that he is somewhere riding and feeling the gentle breeze flow past his face.

As a Christian, I know that each person should be prepared for the day that we conclude our lives on Earth.

Day after day, we find that we are saying a final goodbye to family members, friends, coworkers and neighbors as we hear of their passing.

Jesus tells us in the book of Matthew to, "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come."  (Matthew 24:42)