A man had just had his annual physical exam and was waiting for the doctor’s initial report. After a few minutes, the doctor came in with his charts in his had and said, “There’s no reason why you can’t live a completely normal life as long as you don’t try to enjoy it.”
I see a lot of Christians who must see that same doctor. They are trying to live out their faith each day, but they certainly are not enjoying it. In fact, I’m not sure they believe they can. Many Christians must believe that if something is Christian it can’t possibly be fun or exciting or anything else other than dull and boring. Why else do so many in the church look like they are drinking lemon juice.
The telling words of the doctor’s statement are “normal life.” Too many Christians are trying to be “normal” instead of Christian. They are trying to fit in with the world around them. They are trying to get by in life and coast along. Or perhaps they are trying to hard and not trusting. They have either forgotten or never learned that the Christian life is a life of trusting Christ’s and not trying to get Him to let us into heaven. We need to remember that God loves us, so stop working so hard to get Him to like you.
We will never experience the full joy of Christ until we are willing to drink deeply of his grace and trust in Him.
The choice is ours: we can live a normal life or we can live a life we can enjoy.
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” – John 10:10 (NIV)
David Casstevens of the Dallas Morning News tells a story about Frank Szymanski, a Notre Dame center in the 1940s, who had been called as a witness in a civil suit at South Bend.
“Are you on the Notre Dame football team this year?” the judge asked.
“Yes, Your Honor.”
“Center, Your Honor.”
“How good a center?”
Szymanski squirmed in his seat, but said firmly: “Sir, I’m the best center Notre Dame has ever had.”
Coach Frank Leahy, who was in the courtroom, was surprised. Szymanski always had been modest and unassuming. So when the proceedings were over, he took Szymanski aside and asked why he had made such a statement.
Szymanski blushed. “I hated to do it, Coach,” he said. “But, after all, I was under oath.”
Most of us have trouble when it comes to talking about ourselves. We tend to be overly modest and even self-effacing. We are definitely too hard on ourselves.
But what if the truth could be known about you? What if the person was under oath? Well, God has recorded in His Word the truth and nothing but the truth about you. In Psalms 139:14 we read:
Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God – you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration – what a creation! (The Message)
You are a treasure to God and that’s the truth!
There’s an industry in the job market that is growing. It is the position of Data Mining. What’s Data Mining? It is people sitting at their computers and looking for information. They are looking for information about you and what you are doing. These are not people who are trying to steal your identity or your banking information. In fact, they are not stealing anything. They are just looking at the information you are giving all of us.
Why this segment of the job market is growing is because corporations, banks and colleges are hiring these Data Miners to look for information about you. And the main place they are looking is in the social network sites.
They look at what you are writing about yourself and about your activities. They are looking at what you write about your current employer and your friends.
Some of this information is compared to statistical data to determine if you are a good candidate for a loan or a job. One example I found was this: you write how good friends of yours got a divorce. Statistics show that if your friends get a divorce, you are more at risk of getting one. If you get divorced, then you’re more likely to default on a loan. Therefore a bank might scrutinize your application more thoroughly than it would have.
However, many companies and schools are looking at your character. Does this person complain frequently? Are they critical of co-workers or other people? Does this person give out too much information about their employer, their friends? Is this person negative? Would what this person does after work impact their work habits? Would this person’s lifestyle reflect poorly on this company or school?
Basically, it comes down to this: what we say (or type) does matter. What you type does reflect who you are.
The heart of the godly thinks carefully before speaking;
the mouth of the wicked overflows with evil words.
Proverbs 15:28 (NLT)
Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious,
but fools are consumed by their own lips.
Ecclesiastes 10:12 (NIV)
Martin Niemoeller, a World War I hero in Germany, was imprisoned for eight years by Hitler. He spent time in prisons and concentration camps, including Dachau. Hitler realized if Niemoeller could be persuaded to join his cause then much of his opposition would collapse, so he sent a former friend of Niemoeller’s to visit him, a friend who supported the Nazis.
Seeing Niemoeller in his cell, the onetime friend said, “Martin, Martin! Why are you here?”
Niemoeller replied, “My friend! Why are you not here?”
As we approach Memorial Day, let us remember those who stood for what was right. Let us remember those who were willing to undergo hardship and suffering and even death, so that right would triumph over wrong and evil. Let us remember those men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we might enjoy the freedom we have.
Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them.” We must remember that everything we enjoy in this life was provided by someone’s blood.
Many shed their blood so that we might live in this great country and enjoy the freedom it provides. Many have died to keep that freedom strong. We must remember that though our freedom is ours to enjoy, it was purchased at a great cost. It was purchased by the blood of the patriots who envisioned something far greater than themselves.
Let us also remember that our freedom as God’s people was purchased by the blood of Christ. The freedom from our sin and shame was bought with great sacrifice and with much suffering.
So, whether it is the freedom of our great country or the freedom of souls, let us give thanks for those who sacrificed their all.
The man replied, “Well, judge, I’m biased. One look at that man convinced me that he is guilty.”
The judge scowled and replied, “That man is not the defendant, he’s the District Attorney.”
Did you know that the same sort of situation happened to Jesus? He had every right to be the prosecuting attorney, but He chose to be the defendant. The one who had no sin had every right to point our transgressions out. He could have convicted us of all of our failures and disobedient actions, but instead He chose to take them upon Himself and bear the guilt and shame that were really ours.
During this time of Lent, when we think about Jesus’ death upon the cross, we need to remember that He died for OUR sins. He took OUR place and He died OUR death.
I am glad that we have such a God who would give us such a Savior.
A certain man was not much of a handyman, but he decided to save some money by changing the oil in his car himself. He prepared very carefully. He went to the store and bought a pair of vehicle ramps to drive his car up on. He bought a “creeper” so he could roll under his car easily. He also bought a special flat oil pan, a super special drip free, oil can spout, a special oil filter wrench and the oil filter. He took all of his stuff and headed home. He drove the car up on the ramps. Got on his creeper and rolled under the car where he took out the oil plug and drained the oil in the special flat oil pan. He unscrewed the oil filter with the special oil filter wrench and replaced it with the new filter. Grabbed the special drip free oil can spout and realized that he had forgotten to buy any oil. No problem, the store wasn’t that far away. So, he jumped in the car, backed it off the ramps and drove to the Store. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it. Cars don’t run very well without oil. Now along with everything else he bought, he had to pay for an overhaul.
He had everything right, except he forgot the part of an oil change, but tried to go on as if it didn’t matter.
I know a lot people who treat Christmas the same way. They have all the right decorations. They trim their tree beautifully. They spend too much money on all their gifts. But when Christmas comes, they still feel empty.
Perhaps they need to remember the main reason for Christ is Jesus. Without Him, everything else is just trimming. Without Him, everything else is pointless.
All the extras take their meaning, their purpose from Him.
So don’t forget what you are doing this Christmas season. Don’t forget Jesus. He’s the one that makes everything else work.
An elephant was thoroughly enjoying himself as he splashed about in the river. A mouse was perched on the sandy shore. It was obvious that he was disturbed about something.
The mouse yelled at the elephant, “Come out of the water at once.”
The elephant laughed and said, “Why should I come out?”
The mouse was not about to be humiliated by this mountain of flesh. He kept yelling and yelling.
The elephant realized that if he wanted any peace and quiet he had better come out of the water. Slowly the elephant lumbered out of the water and stood towering over the mouse. “Now, why did you want me to come out of the water?”
The mouse looked up and said, “I wanted to see if you were wearing my bathing suit.”
I love this story. My wife gives me that “Remind me why I married you” look whenever I tell it. But this story, because it is absurd, reminds me of just how absurd it is that God could fit into human flesh. I think it would be far easier and more easily understood for an elephant to fit into a mouse’s bathing suit.
But that is the mystery of the incarnation. God did become flesh and dwell among us. He wrapped our sinful wounded flesh around the body that the universe cannot contain and became a baby. The all powerful, nothing-is-impossible God became the most vulnerable helpless creature on the face of the earth.
And He did it just for me … and you.
How He did it, I cannot comprehend. Why He did it, escapes me. But that He did it, amazes me. And though I cannot figure it out, though it is easier for me to believe that an elephant can wear a mouse’s bathing suit, I am thankful He did.
“The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish. ” (John 1:14, The Message)