Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The True Value of Diamonds

Diamonds. They're the stuff dreams are made of. The star in Hollywood's biggest movies. Countries go to war over them. They are the fixation of many a miner and pick. They are relativly small, yet they always draw a crowd. From the world's largest (512 carat) in the Crown Jewel of England, to the tiniest chip in a bride's band, it is considered the nearest thing to priceless we have.

However, the Bible tells us of four things of greater value than a sea of diamonds, river of gold, or mountains of jewels.

Wisdom! Solomon tells us that it is worth more and is more precious than gold. Nothing we desire can compare with it.

God's Words! The psalmist said "More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold. Sweeter also, than honey and the honeycomb'".

An Excellent Woman! Solomon said that her price is above rubies, and her children rise up and call her blessed.

Personal Reputation! The Bible says "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches and favor is better than silver or gold".

Most of us have been blessed with some of these. We are a blessed people. Much of everyday is spent protecting these treasures and with good reason. They are of infinite worth. May we spend our days seeking to enrich our lives on that which God values. Jesus said "What would it profit a man if he gained the whole world and lost his soul?"

May I encourage you to set your affections on things above, not of this world. Please know I value you very much and pray God's favor will be yours.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"Serve us" to "Service"

Most of us remember the old full service gas stations. I worked at one the better part of four years. You could stop and have someone pump the gas for you, check your oil, wash your windshield and all with a good attitude.

We would all get excited at the Texaco station whenever the bell would ring and we could go to work. If things were slow we would even check the tire pressure. Check this out, if one was low we would put air in the tire. And are you ready for this - for free!

That was a long time ago. Very few exist today. Basically, you are on your own unless you go to a $40 an hour mechanic.

In that vein, there was a time when many served this country. It seems a while ago, but many were more interested in serving than they were in being served. It seems that everyone now-a-days is more interested in what they can get, rather than what they can give. President Kennedy said "Ask not what your country can do for you; rather ask what you can do for your country". That needs to be asked again and again; and what is true with the nation is true with society. We have developed a "serve us" mentality. "What have you done for me lately?" is the mantra of many people. Our churches, schools, families, and neighborhoods have become "serve me" zones. I think it would be good for us to return to service.

Personally, I think it is a lack of committment for the greater good which is producing this mentality. That is what made this nation great! Our forefathers had it and we had better get it or we will lose something very valuable as a people; freedom! Let's move away from this "serve me" mentality towards a "service" mentality.

Our church also must have people who serve! But some of us are more interested in what the church can do for us. I think we need to flip the script on this selfish, self-centered, sinful thinking. Somewhere in the journey of faith a transition must begin. Somewhere, as Christians we must find ourselves moving away from "serving us" to service. James, in his epistle, said it best: you say you have faith, show me your faith by your works.

Thank you for the multitude of you who work like there is no tomorrow. God bless your service!


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Walking the Tightrope

Have you ever been to a circus or watched one on TV? One of the most thrilling events is the high wire act. First of all, a ladder is scaled. Then, the strong man or woman walks on this tightly strung cable out and back. They often put someone on their shoulders. At times they ride a unicycle and juggle while on the high wire. And always with a smile on their face, while inside they're sweating bullets. Personally, heights are not up my alley. I could never do what these dare-devils do every night.

However, being a Dad in this age is like walking on a high wire. You're walking a fine line, trying to balance everything for fear of the consequences of extreme mistakes. And often, you're carrying unpublicized burdens on your shoulders, while juggling a job, a family, and a personal life.

One thing I've learned these past 34 years is being a Dad is no easy task. It is at times a delightful experience, but there are times it is a difficult excursion.

Parenting is not without its rewards, but it also has its responsibilities. It has its thrills and also its tears. It has its proud moments and also its painful trials. It's a balancing act that is difficult and even impossible without divine intervention. Frustrating as it is at times there is no greater joy. I love being a Dad. I want my gang to know I love them. I hope I have balanced, juggled, and shouldered my share. If not, please forgive me. But most of all, let me say thanks for the opportunity to get on the high wire. It's been the greatest thrill of my life. Thanks for making me proud.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Graduation Gift

Dear Abby recorded a powerful story. A young man from a wealthy family was about to graduate from high school. It was a custom in their affluent community for parents to give their children a new car. The boy and his Dad spent several weeks visiting one dealership after another. The week before graduation they found the perfect car. The boy was certain it would be in their driveway on graduation night.

On the eve of graduation his father handed him a small package. The father said the package conatained the most valuable gift he could think of. It was a Bible. The boy threw the Bible down and stormed out of the house. He and his father never saw each other again.
Several years later the news of his father's death brought the son home again. After the funeral, he sat alone one evening going through his father's possessions that he was to inherit, when he came across the Bible his Dad had given him. Overwhelmed by grief, he brushed away the dust and cracked it open for the first time. As he did, a cashier's check dated for the day of his graduation fell out. It was the exact amount of the car they had chose. The gift had been there all along but he had turned it away.

At this graduation season, gifts are certainly in order. One is to be commended and rewarded upon the completion of a job well done. However, the greatest gift to any of us is the Word of God. In its pages, a graduate commencing life can find the answers to the most perplexing problems!

Graduates - Congratulations! Job well done! Now you must remember this is just the beginning. The how,when,where and why's all lie before you. But you're not alone. Open the Book and in it you will find the keys to a happy life.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

You Can't Outgive the Lord!

Today I would like to share a testimony from one of our dear church members on the subject of giving.

Our God is SO good! When I was asked to share a testimony about "tithing", I was thrilled! For many years I have been a regular tither; very careful to present my 10% of my gross income regularly, and additional "offerings" frequently. And God has shown His faithfulness in a unique way to me!

Several years ago, at the encouragement of my daughter, I began having my nails "done" on a bi-weekly schedule. The cost didn't affect my giving, and the pampering made me feel wonderful. I say this to affirm that I don't believe there is anything inherently wrong with doing things to improve your appearance and self-confidence. HOWEVER, one day the Lord spoke to me very clearly-in my heart. He asked me,"Are you aware of how much you are spending on your hands? Have you thought about those you know who are having serious financial problems while you are spending money pampering yourself?

To me it was a "no-brainer"! I immediately began to look around me to see whom the Lord would have me bless with the money I was previously spending on myself. I had no problems identifying numerous precious people who were struggling. I decided to send food store gift cards anonymously to families in need, using "Jesus loves you" as a return address and sending the cards from post offices other than our own so that only God would get the glory. I was having an absolutely delightful time being on the Lord's team and having a part in His ministry! But now comes the true "God Sighting!"

At the same time that the Lord was convicting me, my Dad, who lived with us for the past 10 years, had asked me to help him try to recover some of the investments he had made with Enron (the collapsed company). I filled out the forms he requested, being very sure it was wasted time and energy. However, much to my surprise, he did recieve a repayment for some of his losses. I was pleased for him and the pleasure it gave him to know that he hadn't lost it all. So, what does this have to do with my tithing testimony?

When Dad recieved his check from Enron, I (as usual) did his banking for him and cashed his check. When I came home, he insisted that I take a portion of his"new found money". Over my protestations, he insisted, and I gratefully accepted. That very day I was driving to another town, absolutely giddy to be part of God's plan, to postmark one of my anonymous food card mailings when it suddenly struck me; the amount that my Dad had given me that day was exactly TEN TIMES what I had been sending!! TEN TIMES!! What an amazing God we serve!! We can NEVER OUT-GIVE God!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Principles of Excellence

There are many principles that are paramount in life, one being the principle of excellence. Some describe excellence as "an inordinate attention to details". Some call it going beyond the call of duty. Our Lord called it the second mile.

Not everyone can have a life of opulence. Not everyone can have a life of affluence. All of us can have a life of excellence.

Living a life of excellence is the difference between mediocrity and magnificence. Going the second mile takes you from the middle of the pack, to the top.

Think of all the roles you play in life; father, mother, husband, wife, athlete, musician, teacher, farmer, doctor, lawyer, salesman, etc.

The sad truth of life is many do just enough to get by. The story is told of a woman who sat down to eat dinner with her little boy. She told him she wanted him to eat his spinach. The boy said "How little can I get by with?" That is how many live their lives. As little as possible is their lot in life. Just what I need is their creed!

A surgeon was operating with a young intern at his side. The soon-to-be surgeon noticed how intricately the doctor operated. He closed the wound with three sutures when two would have been enough. The intern asked "Why three?" The surgeon said "That's my sleeping knot". When I get home at night and slip into bed I go over every step of the operation. When I begin to worry about my surgery, I remember the 3rd knot and I go off to sleep.

We can all make a difference in our homes, our business and our nation by being second-milers. As Americans, as Christians we are blessed. The reason is because those before us were excellent second-milers. That is the difference. May we carry their torch.