Why are you living at this time in history, on this spot on our planet? There must be a good reason since design and purpose are embedded in every element of our universe. Jupiter’s gravity shields us from careening asteroids. Our precise distance from the sun keeps our water from vaporizing or freezing, making life possible.
Now back to you. What can you do to make your small corner of the world better off than how you found it? If that’s too daunting, let’s dial it back a bit, shall we?
St. Paul says God chose to be your Friend because His Son Jesus took your place and mine on the cross as payment for our sins.
So, why are you alive at this time and in this place? Try this on for size. God has carefully placed you right where you are and is pulling for you to accept His love by wrapping your arms of faith around Him. And He has positioned you to invite someone else to do the same.
Could this be God’s design for your highest and best use?
Just like melting butter slithers across the crest of a steaming stack at IHOP, our days run together, unnoticed, then disappear. In a flash another week has slipped away. And birthdays, oh my, they rush up to you quicker now than an Edwin Diaz fastball.
When we were kids, time moved like a snail. There must have been at least forty-eight hours in a day! We couldn’t wait to be bigger, older and independent. Well, now we have all three, perhaps too much of each.
So, is your life today what you wanted it to be?
Centuries ago Moses wrote, “Teach us to realize the brevity of life so that we may grow in wisdom.” Considering how things are stacking up for you these days, in what area could you use a second helping of wisdom?
When and how April Fools Day was birthed is too murky to be dogmatic. It’s an occasion to pull pranks that reveal our gullibility to believe almost anything.
Clever admakers seize this day to poke fun and fuel their bottom line. Ikea is starting its own airline, naming it Flikea. Dating dynamo eHarmony, with tongue-in-cheek, promotes a new app that literally drags singles to each other with a magnet.
Silliness is honored by the annual Darwin Awards, heralding acts of utter stupidity that demonstrate reverse human evolution. It’s often presented posthumously.
We have a plethora of synonyms for the word fool. There’s cretin, moron, ignoramus, ditz, bozo, knuckle-dragger. But tempting as they are, the shepherd-boy-who-became-King opted for the less derogatory, yet sadly descriptive “fool.”
David wrote a psalm which begins, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’”
Do you know anyone who’s been April Fooled into actually believing that?
Here on the 47th Parallel the sunlit hours are increasing by the day, predictably bringing smiles to wintry-worn faces who’ve had all the soggy they can handle, thank you very much!
One out of five Americans experiences Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) every winter. A wellness expert says sunlight has a greater impact on mental health than any other weather phenomenon. You’d think hurricanes and tsunamis might top that list!
Less sun, more gloom. Not exactly breaking news. John Denver testified that sunshine on his shoulders made him happy.
Will tomorrow morning’s weather be a good barometer of your disposition that day? There’s a 100 percent chance that the One who creates the weather is reliably changeless. What’s more, He knows your name and is crazy-in-love with you! This all-weather Savior wants you to spend the rest of your existence in the warmth of His “Son-light.”
Did you know that even before He spoke the world into existence, Jesus had already taken a shine to you?
Mata Hari, the most famous undercover agent of all time, spied for Germany in World War 1. In 1953 Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed for peddling U.S. secrets to the Communists. In 1985 Aldrich Ames, a CIA operative, turned over American documents to Russia and got a life sentence.
Is it fair for God to surveil us? Many centuries ago Moses sent spies on ahead to assess the difficulty of taking possession of their promised land, today’s Israel.
In the Old Testament we find that “the eyes of the Lord search the whole earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.”
David, Israel’s king, wrote, “Lord, You have examined me, and You know me. You know everything I do … You understand all my thoughts … Even before I speak, You already know what I will say.”
Do you see God as a power-crazed hall monitor, waiting to pounce on you when you screw up? Or as a devoted Father whose love for you was willing to let His Son be crucified so that you could join His forever family?
For 200 years the stethoscope has been used to listen for an irregular heartbeat, a murmur or a clogged blood vessel. With electrocardiograms we can now see as well as hear the heart.
Early Egyptians regarded the human heart to be the source of the soul. During mummification they tossed the brain but preserved the heart. Not until the Renaissance was it established that the heart’s sole purpose is to pump blood. From Valentines, appearing first in the 17th century, to emojis, the language of the heart has become the language of love.
History’s best-selling book states, “The heart is the most deceitful of all things.” It recommends, “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and don’t rely on your own understanding. Remember the Lord in everything you do, and He will show you the right way.”
Upon what or whom are you relying to discover the right way?
Why does it seem that a disproportionate amount of today’s public discourse is devoted to disparaging others? Even the briefest foray into the mass media or a casual conversation with friends yields exaggerated name-calling and judgmental criticism of what someone said, did, looks like or stands for.
Remember the question, “Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the log in your own eye?” One guilty of this has earned the job title of “hypocrite.” The early Greeks coined this word to describe a “deficiency in the ability to decide.” Those classy Greeks took the high road, didn’t they!
Calling attention to splinters in the eyes of others but overlooking the railroad ties in our own tramples on The Golden Rule. Love does no harm. By censoring our harmful attitude and words, we eliminate foul language, laying a foundation for supportive, peaceful, productive, loving relationships.
As you wait in the grocery checkout line, corporate forces commandeer those few seconds to tease you into making an unplanned decision. Using market research, they know what visual triggers will lure you to add a tabloid or a treat to your shopping basket. You are their deer in the headlights. You are an “impulse buyer!”
Suddenly, even imperceptibly, you have incubated an unpremeditated feeling that, like the borning of a butterfly, morphed into a desire, then a decision and, finally, an action that was certainly not why you went to the store.
Our wise friend, Bobb Biehl, sees it this way. “Maturity is putting process between opportunity and decision.” So obvious but not so widely followed.
The New Testament refers to “the sin that so easily entangles us.” It’s the handy transgression. It’s said that “Sin takes you farther than you wanted to go, makes you stay longer than you wanted to stay, and costs more than you wanted to pay.”
As we embark on a new year, what guard rails have you constructed to quash unwise entanglements?
All year that corner lot lies dormant, seemingly worthless. But as temperatures drop like your holiday bank balance, that lonesome lot comes to life with purpose, value and visibility. Suddenly it’s populated with a forest of Christmas trees and signs that shout, “Don’t wait too late to decorate!”
CHRIST – mas –tree
It was “mas” – “My Awful Sins” that drove God’s Son to that cruel, cross-shaped tree where He took all our sins so that you and I can be completely, forever forgiven!
When you, by faith, accept God’s pardon, the “mas” in “CHRISTmas tree” explodes with new meaning: “mas” – “My Amazing Salvation!”
Whenever you see a Christmas tree, will you remember this? God has erased your awful sins and offers you amazing salvation.