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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Nick Vujicic -- From a Life Without Limbs to a Life Without Limits

This is the second part of this video series. The first part was mostly introduction, and I plan to show the third part next Wednesday. This man really amazes me. He is a blessing!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Through the Storms

No matter how old we are or where we are in our spiritual walk, we will face storms from time to time. In fact, sometimes it seems like we come through one storm just to rush headlong into another one. We find ourselves drowning in a sea of despair. The winds and waves of confusion toss us from side to side. The downpour of doubt chills us to the bone and makes us wonder if we'll ever make it through.

During these times in my life, I like to read two different stories in the Bible.

And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him? - Mark 4:35-42

And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God. - Matthew14:22-33

If God could calm the storms then, He can certainly calm them now. I need only to trust in Him. He will see me safely through.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Junk In, Junk Out

Someone is using my e-mail address to spam people. Yep, you heard me. Somehow, someone got hold of my e-mail address and is using it to send out spam. How do I know? Because one day at the end of last week, I opened my e-mail account and found hundreds (not an exaggeration) of “returned mail” replies and “we don't accept spam” reports. As soon as I get my box emptied, another pile comes in. This has gone on for days! Not only is the process time-consuming, but it is very frustrating to think that someone is misusing my account that way. Plus, I am irked that they are doing something wrong, and I am having to pay the price for it.

The more I thought about it, the more I saw a spiritual lesson, only in reverse. My e-mail address sent junk out, and is receiving junk in return. When we take junk in, the result will be sending junk out. The Bible says, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” (Matthew 12:34) Whatever we take in is likely to come back out. (No, I'm not talking about vomiting.) I'm speaking of filling our hearts and minds with the wrong things, whether it be from radio, television, the computer, friends, etc. Junk in, junk out! If we want good things to come out in our words and actions, then we must put good things in. Otherwise, someone else may have to pay the price for our wrong doing.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fighting for Spiritual Food

My parents were out of town last week, so their dog spent the time with us. Let me tell you, three dogs in one small house is quite a crowd. Cocoa is usually very whiny when he spends time with us. He likes us, but he misses his house and his “daddy” plus I think he knows that my dog, Mitch, doesn't like him very much. You have to understand Mitch. He's a sweet and precious dog, but he's also very protective, especially of me. He doesn't like another dog coming in and messing with his “mommy.”

Tippy, my beagle mix, is very easy-going. She'll do whatever. She doesn't care who's there and who isn't there. As long as she has her food, she's happy. All in all, I was proud of all the dogs this past week. Cocoa didn't whine, and Mitch didn't fuss. . .until the last day.

I was trying to fix dinner for all three dogs. I had their bowls on the table, and I was dishing out food for each. I went to the kitchen to get something, and the war broke out. Cocoa had sniffed at the wrong bowl. He had the nerve to put his nose close to Mitch's bowl. That was the only excuse Mitch needed to “set Cocoa straight.” (What can I say? My dog is a bully!)

My attempts to break up the fight were not working, so Jason stepped in and grabbed Mitch by the tail. Cocoa ran in the opposite direction. (Smart dog!) Mitch was given a firm reprimand for being so grouchy, and Cocoa's minor wounds were tended to.

As I explained to Jason what had happened, I was reminded of the attacks of Satan. He doesn't want us to get our food either—spiritual food, that is. Have you ever noticed as soon as you sit down to a spiritual meal (in the form of prayer, Bible reading, or worship time) he attacks? The phone rings. The oven timer goes off. The drier buzzes. Our minds wander. Our eyes grow heavy. Just as Mitch attacked Cocoa for going near his food, so will Satan attack as we near our spiritual food. The question is how will we respond to his attack? Will we do like Cocoa and run the other way, or will we stay and fight? Just some food for thought today. (Pardon the pun!)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Feeling Like a Failure

Do you ever feel like a failure? Do you ever get the feeling that what you're doing doesn't really matter? Do you ever wonder if all your work is in vain? I do.

My greatest desire in life is to serve the Lord with everything I have. I strive to glorify Him in everything I do, but sometimes that proves more challenging than I would think or hope. Sometimes, Satan comes to me and tells me that I'm wasting my time. “No one reads your stupid blog,” he whispers. “No one cares about your work.” “No publisher will ever accept your sorry excuse for writing.” “If God really wanted you to do this, don't you think the way would be easier? Wouldn't He offer a little more help?”

Satan is a liar! His words sound convincing, and unfortunately, I will sometimes take them to heart. However, his goal is to distract me. If he can get my eyes off the Lord and on myself, he's got it made. If he can convince me that my work is in vain, it's likely that I'll quit. If he can make me feel like I'm on my own, I'll start feeling sorry for myself and start dwelling on all the wrong things. He's sly, but he knows what he's doing.

During these times, I have to remember that God will honor everything I do for Him, as long as I'm acting according to His Word. No, I may not see the book sales I long to see, but I already know that my book has been a blessing to several people. No, I may not reach a large audience, but that doesn't mean I can't minister to those I do reach. God has provided the talent. All He asks is that I use it for His glory. . .not my own. He will take care of the rest.

So, the next time you're feeling discouraged and worthless, remember that Jesus thought we were worth dying for. Now, He wants us to live for Him. Is that too much to ask?

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. - I Corinthians 15:58

Monday, September 21, 2009

God Is Eternal

God has always been, and He always will be. There has never been a time, nor will there ever be a time that God does not exist. He is an eternal being.

When I think of eternity, it completely boggles my mind. I start thinking what it will be like to be in Heaven forever. How long is forever? I simply can't fathom. My head knows that forever means without end, but beyond that it can't comprehend just how long that is. The best example I have is that of throwing a rock into a lake. Try it. The rock hits the water and disappears, but the ripple effect keeps going and going. Eventually, the shore will stop the ripples, and the water will calm. But to imagine eternity, imagine that the shore is not there. It's just the lake and the ripples which will continue to go until something makes them stop. It's not a perfect analogy, but it helps me grasp the concept of eternity a little better.

Knowing that God is eternal helps me to realize that He is outside of time (as we talked about briefly when we talked about God's omnipresence). Knowing that God is outside of time helps me to realize that not only does He know my past, but He also knows my future. Knowing that helps me to trust Him more each day. I don't know the path ahead of me, but He does, so whose direction should I trust, His or my own?

Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. - Psalm 90:2

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

God Is Immutable

Probably one of my favorite characteristics of God is that He is never-changing. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. I can always count on Him to be the same God that He was for David, Moses, Daniel, and the twelve disciples. He does not grow stronger or weaker. He doesn't gain or lose wisdom. He never loves me more or less. He is completely unchangeable.

We live in an ever-changing world. Leaders change. Government changes. Clothing trends change. Toys change. Television shows change. In fact, I saw an advertisement for a show recently, and sad to say, I was embarrassed by the commercial. My first thought was If the commercial is that bad, how bad is the show? Swiftly on the heels of that thought came What ever happened to shows like Andy Griffith and Full House? Things change. Everything changes. Everything, that is, except God.

Doesn't that give you a great security? Doesn't it make you feel good to know that you can depend on Him to always be what He's always been? As I've grown older, I've found myself drifting away from some of my closest friends. Why? It's not that I don't like them anymore or that they don't like me. It's not that we've had an argument. It's simply that we've all changed and found that we don't have as much in common as we used to.

I don't have to worry about that with God. I know He won't change. I've been changing, but the great part is that the more I spend time with Him, the more like Him I become. In other words, we'll always have something in common. We'll always have things to talk about. I can depend on Him to be a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. - Malachi 3:6 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. - Hebrews 13:8 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. - James 1:17

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

God Is Holy

Have you ever tried to mix oil and water? It doesn't work too well, does it? Neither can there be a mixture of God and evil. God is holy. He is pure. He is completely separated from evil. It is this holiness that made Him turn away from His dying Son. Jesus hung on the cross dying for our sin, but God didn't see His precious Son. All He could see was the repulsiveness of our evil nature. He had to turn away. His holiness would not allow Him to look at such wickedness. He desires for us to become holy, separated from sin and even repulsed by it.

Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. - I Peter 1:13-16

In order for us to obtain holiness, we must watch everything we say, think, and do. Obviously, we won't be free from the presence of sin until we reach Heaven, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try to keep it out of our lives. I know we won't be free from mosquitoes until summer is over, but that doesn't mean I'm going to stand outside unprotected at sunset and invite them to use my body as a buffet. That would be ridiculous. I hate mosquitoes, so I try to avoid them. We should treat sin the same way. After all, isn't our goal in life to become more like Him?

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Friday, September 18, 2009

God Is Just

Okay, let's admit it, how many times have we said, "It's just not fair?" Probably too many to count, right? Honestly, life is not fair, but God is.

In the last post, I talked about how the wicked seem to prosper while the righteous seem to suffer. (That sounds a little bit like a few of the psalms, doesn't it?) Sometimes, it can seem like God is not being fair. Many times it seems like the wicked are being rewarded and the righteous are being punished. But the truth is God loves us, and He is just. Sure, the wicked seem to have everything, but they are missing the most important thing of all. Their riches won't save them from an eternity in hell. Their fame won't keep them from the burning flames. In actuality, they have so little. Haven't you ever wondered why so many of "the greats" end up committing suicide? Their lives have no joy because they don't know the Lord. Neither their money nor their fame can bring them happiness. It's sad if you really think about it.

God has a plan. It is a good plan, and it is a just plan. Do I know all the details? No, but as Roger Bennett (former pianist for The Cathedrals and Legacy Five) once wrote, "I've read the back of the Book, and we win!" That's all we need to know. God will take care of us. He will give us what we need. He will give us what's best for us even if it's not necessarily what we want. Trust in Him. He's on our side.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

God Is Sovereign

Isn't it a comforting thought to know that God is in control? It doesn't seem like He's in control sometimes, does it? When tragedies strike, we lift our faces toward Heaven and ask, "God, how could You let this happen?" I remember that was my first thought on 9-11-01.

I was dropping my kindergarten class off for music time. The music teacher was on her cell phone as tears streamed down her face. She pulled me aside and told me that her husband had just called. All she could manage to tell me was that a plane had crashed into the world trade center. I left my students in her care and hurried down to my classroom where I turned on the radio and listened. It was only moments before I, too, was in tears. What is going on? I thought. How could God allow so many people to perish? I thought of the number of lost souls that just entered hell's dominion. I was confused. God didn't seem to have control at all.

Do I now understand why 9-11 happened? No, I don't, but God has assured me over and over again through His Word that He is in control. Things will happen in this life that we don't understand. I know of several good Christians right now that are in terrible financial trouble. Because of job loss and the present economy, they are only steps away from losing everything they own. Why? These are good people. These are the people who are in church every service. These are the people who do everything they can to help others, even giving when they don't have it to give. These are the people who serve God with as much zeal as they can possibly muster. Yet they're facing bankruptcy or worse. Why? Why weren't they given the money that went to the wicked and corrupt? Why do the wicked prosper? Sometimes, it just doesn't make sense.

That's why it's important that we don't base our faith on our emotions. Instead, let's trust in what we know. Let's trust in the truth of God's Word. He is in control. No, we don't always understand His ways, but that doesn't mean they aren't right. God is sovereign. He will take care of everything. Our job is not to understand, but simply to trust.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. (Isaiah 55:8-11)

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

God Is Omniscient, Omnipotent, and Omnipresent

There are a lot of big words in today's title, but the concept is quite simple. These are three different characteristics of God, but I wanted to deal with them in one post because they are somewhat related.

Omniscient means all-knowing. Psalm 139 does an excellent job describing this characteristic.
O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. (vs. 1-6)

This passage reminds us that God knows everything we say and everything we think. Nothing is hidden from Him. This is both an assurance and a compelling thought. It encourages me to know that God knows what I need or what I'm trying to say when I just can't find the words to utter my request. However, remembering that God knows all things also compels me to watch what I think and say.

Omnipotent means all-powerful. Flip through the pages of Scripture and you'll find one fantastic feat after another. There is absolutely nothing that God can't do. He can move mountains. He can divide seas. He can kill giants with a small shepherd boy and a rock. He can command the winds and the seas. He can heal the sick and raise the dead. He can do it all. Here are a few of my favorite verses dealing with God's omnipotence:

But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. - Matthew 19:26 And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible. - Mark 10:27 For with God nothing shall be impossible. - Luke 1:37 And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God. - Luke 18:27

Lastly, omnipresent means all-present. This doesn't only mean that God is present everywhere, but it also means that God is present all the time. This can be very confusing, and to be honest, I can't fully wrap my brain around it, but time has no meaning to God. He is beyond time. Right now, God is in the present, the past, and the future. Strange, huh? Consider what He said in the book of John, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Huh? I told you it was confusing.

The important thing to remember is that God is everywhere all the time. If we go to places we shouldn't go, God is there too. He sees where we are. Psalm 139 deals with this characteristic a little too.

Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. (vs. 7-10)

There is no "getting away" from God. There is no hiding from God. Ask Adam and Eve or Jonah or Elijah? God sees where we are, whether it's good or bad. He is everywhere. Again, this should compel us to visit the right places, but it should also serve as an encouragement to know that no matter how lonely we feel, we're never alone. God is always with us just like He promised.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

God Is Love

John 3:16 says it all. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

That's love! I don't have any children, so the closest thing I have to relate this to would be my husband. I love my husband more than anyone else, except for the Lord, of course. If I were asked to sacrifice him for someone else, do you know what my answer would be? NO WAY! I love my family, and I love my friends, but Jason is a part of me. We are one flesh. To give him up would be to give up a part of myself. It would be like ripping off a part of my own body. I couldn't do it.

Yet, that's exactly what God did for us. He loved us so much that He took a part of Himself and offered it as a sacrifice for our sins so that we didn't have to bear the penalty of those sins. Can you think of a better example of love? I can't.

Some would argue that God only sent His Son to die because He knew He would be resurrected in three days. Well, it is true that God knew Jesus would not stay dead. After all, that was His plan from the beginning. But still, do you think it was easy for God to watch His Son suffer? Don't you think it broke His heart to hear His Son scream, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Can you imagine how it must have felt for God to have to turn away from His Son at the time when His Son needed Him the most? Even if I knew I could have Jason back in three days, I wouldn't be able to witness such a horrible scene. I couldn't bear it, but God did. He put Himself and His Son through that torment because of His great love for us. If that's not enough to make us want to love Him in return, I don't know what is.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Literally Fishing for Men

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Jesus, and ONLY Jesus

I was talking with a guy the other day about salvation. He informed me that he did not agree with my stand on salvation. I had made a comment to another guy that one can't be saved by baptism. This guy didn't like that. In fact, he sent me a list of verses that talk about baptism and salvation. Here are a few of the verses:

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. - Mark 16:16

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. - Acts 2:38

And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. - Acts 22:16

Now, I understand that some of these verses do sound like they're saying that you must be baptized in order to be saved, but that's simply not so. Salvation comes from faith in Christ and acceptance of His shed blood on Calvary. That's it. If you add anything to it or take anything from it, you're distorting God's plan.

I asked this guy what he thought about the thief on the cross. Obviously he didn't have a chance to be baptized, yet Jesus said, "Today, thou shalt be with me in paradise." He replied, "I think the Scriptures speak for themselves." I do too.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. - John 3:16

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. - John 1:12

Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. - Acts 13:38-39

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. - Romans 10:9-13

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. - Ephesians 2:8-9

Okay, I could go on, but I'll stop there. Did you see anything in any of those verses about baptism being a necessary part of salvation? No? I didn't either. Why? Because it isn't. The last verse spells it out very clearly. Salvation is a gift of God. It is through faith. It is not of works. In other words, it can not be obtained by anything that we do, including baptism. In my mind, if we say that salvation requires both faith and baptism, we're basically saying that Jesus' blood is not good enough or strong enough to save us. We have to be baptized to "help Him out." That's not what the Bible says.

Be careful when studying Scripture. Sometimes we will come across verses that sound like they're saying one thing when we know that it's not true. The Bible is not in error, nor does it contradict itself. When in doubt, compare Scripture with Scripture. Study the context of the verse. It is application or interpretation? If you're still unsure, talk to your pastor or someone you know who is very mature in their spiritual walk. Pray and ask God to reveal the meaning to you. But whatever you do, please don't take the word of someone just because they throw a couple of verses at you and say, "See, the Bible says so." Study it out for yourself. God will show you the truth.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. - II Timothy 3:16-17

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Spiritual Muscles

Yesterday, Jason and I decided to go cut some firewood. We are WAY behind on gathering wood for this winter. Jason was off work. The day was nice. All the makings for a good day. Right? One problem -- my body forgot how much pain was involved.

You see, it's been a while since we've done this kind of work. Sure, we hike a lot, and I do my daily exercises (sometimes), but yesterday I used muscles I didn't know I had. I hurt in places I can't even reach. My right arm is practically useless because every time I try to use it, it protests. . . LOUDLY! I thought I was in pretty good shape, but yesterday's activities reminded me that different tasks require different muscles. Therefore, if I want to keep them all in shape, I have to constantly use them to perform various activities. All the hiking in the world could not have prepared me for hauling and tossing firewood. (It didn't even prepare me for all the squatting and bending.) So, today, I'm hobbling around like a little old lady. Why? Because I didn't keep exercising my muscles.

You know, we can run into the same problems in our spiritual life. We can forget to "exercise our spiritual muscles," leaving us in a bad position when the battle comes. Satan attacks us from out of the blue, and we're not prepared because we've not been practicing. We've not been getting our spiritual exercise. Are we likely to win the battle? Probably not.

Just as physical exercise is important, so is spiritual exercise. By "spiritual exercise," I mean the practices and activities that keep our spirit in shape. Things such as prayer, Bible reading, spending time alone with God, spending time with other believers, and witnessing, all fall into that category. When we don't do these things, our spirits get out of shape and our defenses grow weak. We find ourselves hobbling through the battle instead of lifting our swords to fight.

Let's make it our goal to get both our physical and spiritual exercise every day. I know of many people who often combine the two. Go for our walk and pour out your heart to God. Listen to the Bible on CD or MP3 while you walk on the treadmill. Let's find a way to fit both types of exercise into our daily schedules lest we end up with sore muscles and lost battles.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Our Full Potential

After physicist Richard Feynman won a Nobel prize for his work, he visited his old high school. While there, he decided to look up his records. He was surprised to find that his grades were not as good as he had remembered them. And he got a kick out of the fact that his IQ was 124, not much above average. Dr. Feynman saw that winning the Nobel prize was one thing, but to win it with an IQ of only 124 was really something. Most of us would agree because we all assume that the winners of Nobel prizes have exceptionally high IQs. Feynman confided that he always assumed that he had.

If Feynman had known he was really just a bit above average in the IQ department, we wonder if he would have had the audacity to launch the unique and creative research experiments that would eventually win him the greatest recognition the scientific community can give.

Perhaps not. Maybe the knowledge that he was a cut above average, but not in the genius category, would have influenced what he tried to achieve. After all, from childhood most of us have been led to believe that ordinary people don't accomplish extraordinary feats.

Most of us fall short of our potential because of little things we know or assume about ourselves. And the most self-defeating assumption of all is that we are just like everyone else.

Bits & Pieces, September 17, 1992, pp. 7-8.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Everyone Needs Help

Laurie was about three when one night she requested my aid in getting undressed. I was downstairs and she was upstairs, and ... well. "You know how to undress yourself," I reminded. "Yes," she explained, 'but sometimes people need people anyway, even if they do know how to do things by themselves."

William C. Schultz, Bits & Pieces, December 1990.

What a profound statement from a three-year-old. She's absolutely right. People need people. The Bible tells us that it is the duty of the stronger Christians to help hold up the weaker ones. Many times we pride ourselves in this. We gratefully bear the burdens of our weaker brothers and sisters, but we forget that sometimes even the "strong" ones need help too.

Sometimes we get the impression that the preachers, the Sunday School teachers, the pianists, the song leaders, the deacons, etc. have no need for our help or encouragement. After all, they must be strong in the faith to be in the position they're in, right? To a degree, yes, but even strong Christians come under attack. Sometimes they need encouragement or prayer too.

At our church, it is common when someone goes to the altar for someone else to go down and pray with them. Being a youth leader, I always go down to pray with one of my girls, but I began to notice a pattern. No one would ever go down to pray with the preacher's wife or the Sunday School teacher. No one would kneel down with the deacon or the preacher. I always felt like it wasn't my place to pray with them because I'm not as spiritually mature as they are. But then I began to realize that if everyone feels the way I do, these poor people would be left to bear their burdens alone.

My point? Keep in mind today that everyone, no matter their level of spiritual maturity, needs to be prayed for and encouraged. People need people. How about helping someone out today? It doesn't have to be anything major. Say a prayer. Send a card. Give a hug. Be a friend. Bear a burden.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Bearing the Right Burdens

I heard an excellent message on Sunday night, and I would like to share some of it with you.

In this life, we face many burdens. A lot of those burdens are burdens that we were never intended to bear. For example, worry. I couldn't help but laugh when the preacher said that he was the type of person who worried even when everything was going right because he was sure that something bad was going to happen. I laughed because I can relate all too well. In fact, a lot of things yesterday dealt with worry. God gives us what we need when we need it, doesn't He?

Another type of burden that God doesn't want us to carry is the kind that comes from Satan. Man, he is good at throwing burdens on us. Isn't he? If you've read my book, "The Deadly Darts of the Devil," you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. He can take our feelings and emotions and twist them into something they were never meant to be. He can convince us that nobody cares, that we're all alone, that it's not even worth trying, etc. He burdens us with guilt, distraction, and so many other things.

There are a couple of burdens that we should bear daily. Those are the burden for lost souls and the burden to encourage fellow believers. It's easy to get so focused on our "to do" lists that we lose our burden for the things that really matter. We're here on this earth for a purpose. We need to tell the lost about Jesus. We need to encourage the saints who are troubled or disheartened. We have a job to do, and it helps to have those burdens to remind us what we need to do.

So, which burdens are you bearing today? The right ones or the wrong ones?

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. - Matthew 11:28-30