Living To Serve
“The Son of man came not to be served, but to serve” —Jesus True life is ministry, People tend to think that they rise in this world by getting away from service, but the opposite is true. No person really begins to live at all, in any worthwhile sense, until selfishness dies. We should not be asking ourselves how we can use other people to advance our own interests and...
Be A Happiness-Maker
Stay at the feet of Christ until your heart overflows with love for everyone — even people whom you do not like. Then begin to think about them and live for them. Christ was always making people happy. You too can scatter happiness and grace as a flower scatters fragrance. It is a wonderful thing to put gladness and joy into the heart of another person.
Appreciation Too Late
We should not need night to come before we see how wonderful the day was. We should not need sorrow to fall upon us before coming to appreciate the joy in our lives. But it is true that too often we come to learn the true values in our lives only after they have been lost. Too often an empty chair teaches the worth of friendship. O that we could learn to appreciate our good things while we...
Comfort In Prayer
Though many Biblical editors choose to leave out the sentence, it is one which teaches us better than any the depths of human sorrow, and how to find comfort in times of deep sorrow and pain. There was a tremendous amount of “grief” which lay upon Jesus the night of his arrest. As he prayed in Gethsemane, we watch his agony and bitterness leave, and peace take their place. What we...
If We Knew
We should look at the faults of others only through love’s eyes — with charity, patience, and compassion. We do not know the history of people around us. We do not know what scars mark another’s soul. We do not know the pains which make life hard for some with whom we are tempted to be impatient. If we knew all of the secret burdens, and all of the hidden wounds which are...
Love's Pure Moments
Love, in its best moments, does not stop at doing a little. It does not calculate what it will get back; it does not analyze the pros and the cons; it does not measure what it gives against what it receives. It simply thinks the highest and works for the best of another. If our love for Christ was stronger, deeper, richer, and truer, we would not calculate so closely how much we can afford to...
People are tempted to be jealous and upset when viewing what other people have, as compared to themselves. If you tend to do that, think of Jesus. With all of his great power and his rich life, he never lived anywhere, or possessed anything which fit his “exalted character.” If you can do nothing but live a true Christian life — patient, gentle, kind, pure; whether in your...
God May Forgive, But...
Though our sins are forgiven by God, the penalties imposed by this world for our sins may afflict us through life. God may choose to remember our wrongs no more, but the effect we have on those who surround us in this world, and the effect which the world has on us in return, are things which may be borne by us to the end of our days. Christians often believe that if our sins have been...
Living The Life
“How do we win others for Christ?” is an old question. The answer is surprisingly simple — by being Christ to them. By showing others Christ in ourselves; by living so that others may be attracted to Christ; by carrying self in such a way that someone else may be attracted to Christ by what they see in you. Words are powerful, but what is seen speaks louder still.
People can lose their health, their money, their social standing, and even their friends through no fault of their own. But when they lose the best within themselves — truth, honor, integrity, principles — then they have lost the best themselves. These virtues are never taken, but always surrendered. What happens then to self-respect?
Every thought which flies through the mind is heard in heaven. God hears wishes, yearnings, aspirations, hungers, and desires. Don’t worry if the words to tell God something are not found. Don’t be concerned if hungers of the heart are not spoken in well defined phrases. When words, and even thoughts fail, pray in silent yearnings, in unutterable longing, and God will understand...
Question: What is the chief end of man? Answer: To glorify God and enjoy him forever. -Question 1 of the Shorter Catechism The central law of the Christian life is ministry — serving others; blessing them, loving them, doing good toward them. We are in debt to Christ, therefore we owe grace toward other people. He loves us, so we owe love toward others; he served us, so we must serve...
Being A Friend Of Christ
Has Christ’s friendship been to you as close, personal, tender, and constant as the human friendships which you hold dearest? The close friends of Christ find no other influence so strong as his transforming their lives. In all of its purity and spotlessness, its strength and heroism, its gentleness and beauty, its grace and trust, his life shines a pattern for you. No one who has had...
Christianity is not an art or a science — it is a life. It is not learning and following a set of rules — it is growing into the fullness of a Christ-like heart. It is setting the Kingdom of Heaven inside of you. It is following the rule and authority of Christ. It is recognizing the supreme rule of love — “that you love one another, even as I have loved you.” ...
More than anything, the world needs people who bring happiness — there is too much sadness and anxiety around. The Bible is a book which can make people happy. The angel’s announcement of great tidings of joy; the story of the love of Christ changing darkness into light, despair into hope, tears into laughter, and sorrow into rejoicing. The Christian is to bring happiness into the...
The Gift Of Speaking
Is any stinginess so mean as withholding a gentle, loving word from people when our words could feed them the joy and grace they are starving for? Words are for comfort, cheer, and hope to all who surround us. They are to encourage the disheartened, warn those in danger, inspire the lazy, and turn the weak toward heaven. Speech is a gift, it is to be used as one.
Blessing In Sorrow
Do we trust God only when he is bringing us good stuff, and not also trust him when bad things happen in life? Is God good only when he causes things to happen which make us happy? Is God not just as good when pain and loss enter life? If we believe God, and take pain with the same confidence as the pleasures of life, then the darkness will be as rich with blessing as the light, and sorrow...
Fight The Good Fight
Things come at the Christian daily which present the opportunity to behave in a most un-Christlike manner. But then that is part of the truth of Christianity, and part of the growth. A soldier can only learn to be a soldier when practicing war, and honors can only be won in battle. If a person wants to grow into the beauty of the Master, then conflicts must be accepted and battles must be...
A game which we humans like to play is feeding the distrust or the anger which one person has toward another. We like to approve or justify the person with whom we are speaking. But Christ calls us to be peacemakers. Christ tells us to fill the chasms and narrow the gulfs between people. None of the other beatitudes hold more radiance than that of the peacemaker because “they shall be...
Saying What You Think
There are people in this world who say whatever they think and laugh about it because they “are being honest,” regardless of where the words land or whom they hurt. We have no right to say whatever we think, unless what we are thinking is in love. If we must express ugly thoughts, then go off somewhere that no one can hear. But otherwise, our neighbors heart should be filled with...
Owed In Love
If Christ is truly in us, then we will see everyone we meet as someone to whom we owe a debt of love. Every person is sent into our life to receive comfort, strength, inspiration, a touch of beauty, a bit of cheer, or a quiet benediction. We may never do one thing which the world would consider great, or report in the news, but every word we speak, every act, every influence we have “in...
We all need sympathy, kindness, smiles, fellowship, and a thousand other little acts of love as we travel along the dusty roads of life. These are the little acts of friendship which brighten every life. It is some of the daily bread which our heart longs for. More than great gifts, what strengthens our being is the inspiration, comfort, hope, and smiles seen on the face of a friend.
The old preachers used to say that we will stand before the judgment seat of Christ, and give account of our lives. If so, then we will not just defend the wrongs, the mistakes, and the bad decisions, but also the lost years, the discarded moments, and the times we wasted. God gave us gifts to use on his behalf, not to use them or work to develop them further, is to say you have no use for what...
Share Our Words
“It is not the want of love for which we are to be blamed, but the penuriousness that locks up love and will not give it out” -J. R. Miller We learn very well the art of keeping quiet — never giving voice to the kind and gentle words which we are thinking. Words of love, grace, and appreciation which were never given voice in life, are poured over the deceased at a funeral....
Blessings Through Mistakes
The mistakes we make, the wrongs we commit, are more often devastating to ourselves then they are to other people. But when we admit them to Christ, he can give birth to a new life inside of us. Christ can cause our misdeeds to yield blessings, and our misbehavior to be stepping stones on which a better life is reached. This is one of the true mysteries of grace, it can make all things work...
Faults In Others
No doubt, it is easier to see other people’s faults than it is our own. We tend to be much more troubled about the way our neighbor is living than we are ourselves. Our friends are held to a higher standard than self. But the truth is, we will not stand before God and be called to answer for the actions of others. There is only one person for whose every act, word, feeling, and...
Living The Faith
It is not a true act of the faith to have compassion for people in far away countries, and then disregard the person next door. The true Christian is the one who forgets self in his or her own neighborhood. The same sweet, patient spirit of Christ is carried wherever the person goes. The hands are gentle as an angels, and forever reaching out with a blessing. Words are filled with sympathy and...
God Will Supply
The Bible never promises grace in advance of need. God does not give strength for a battle while there is peace and the battle is in the future. But when conflict comes, then strength will be given. God did not divide the Jordan until the Israelites stood on the shore needing to cross. This is a constant law of divine help. As we come to the need, the supply is ready. Too many people worry...
The Beautiful Life
A life does not need to be great in order to be beautiful. There may be as much beauty in a tiny flower as there is in a majestic tree; a small gem can be just as great as an entire mountain; or the littlest animal as delightful as the mightiest of elephants. A life may be very beautiful and yet very insignificant — in the world’s eyes. But a beautiful life is one which fulfills its...
To read about the life and the death of Jesus is to see a life at peace. Christ was at peace with who He was, what He did, and even His own death. How was such a life of peace obtained? It resulted from doing the Father’s will. Such is the case for any Christian. Peace in life and in death can only be had from following the Fathers will.
Thinketh No Evil
Love “thinketh no evil” the old King James Bible says. It does not suspect unkindness in kind deeds. It does not imagine an enemy in every friend. It does not fear insincerity when hearing statements of appreciation. It does not impugn motives or discount actions. On the other hand, it does overlook weaknesses, failings, and hides the multitude of faults which belong to every...
Everything In His Name
All that Jesus wants from any of us is what we have the ability to do. He never asks anything impossible from us. He accepts any gift of service from us if it is our best, and offered in love. If we are faithful to the full measure of our ability as it has been given to us by God, then Christ will approve and bless what we do. Perhaps the old Ordination service says it best: “Whatever...
How to Grow Into
An old minister was once asked, “What is repentance?” He replied, “The first turn to the right.” If a person wants to begin growing into the “fullness of the measure of the stature of Christ,” then he or she must do the first right thing which is seen. Stand in a busy store; walk through a shopping mall; sit in a doctors office; God will show you so much to...
Beneath the Snow
As the tenderest grass, and the most delicate of flowers continue to live beneath the cold, snow packed winter ground, so our hearts are to remain tender, loving, and joyous beneath the snow of life’s trials, burdens, and sorrows. Life will come upon us, but in Christ is found a calm, a peace, and the simplistic trust of a child.
“If God sent two angels to earth, one to rule an empire and the other to clean a street, they would each regard their employment as equally distinguished.” Some people are given big things to do, and some are given little — but no task given by God is unimportant. Many people grow discouraged because praise and recognition go to the big and mighty. But to do the small things...
We talk about the laws of nature, and say that they are fixed. While that is true, it must also be remembered that God created those laws, and they are no more than his way of working. We also tend to say that they are amoral — what they do is neither right nor wrong, they just exist. But in saying that we tend to forget that the heart of love which created them, is the same heart which...
The Beauty Of Christianity
While the Christian life is to be constant in its integrity and morals, it is at the same time beautiful in its friendship and graciousness. The changeless principles of honesty and fairness are covered with tender vines of grace and charity. The Christian religion was never meant to dry up a life — to make it cold, dead, or incapable of having fun. It is meant to bring out ever new...
Is there pain inside of you, growing into something more than you can bear? Is there the shadow of a sorrow resting over your head? It well may be the shadow of God’s wing, and therefore it is safe. The most gentle thing we know is the true love of a mother; but God’s wing that folds down upon you is gentler still. It holds you close to the heart of the Divine Father. You need to...
Dear readers and followers, I am away from my computer this week, but will return to my regular postings on Monday. Until then I leave you with this verse by George MacDonald Might I but scatter interfering things— Questions and doubts, distrusts and anxious pride, And in thy garment, as under gathering wings, Nestle obedient to thy loving side, Easy it were to love thee. But when...
The day may come when you cry to Christ and he does not seem to hear you. At such a time it is hard to remember that the silence you hear is not his refusal. Rather, there may be some hindrance in yourself, some work of preparation which you need to do, before the answer can come. Instead of doubting and blaming God and Christ for not answering your prayer, you need to first look within...
The greatest people in this world are but fractions of a whole person. No one is given all gifts by God. Every person has his or her own particular abilities. The lowest and the humblest is just as important as the more fully endowed. The great life, in God’s sight, is not the conspicuous one, but the life that fills the place which it was made to fill, and does the work which it was...
Having seen your morning, I come to you, O God. I come to you and lay my life before you. I come to you just as I am - beaten up, battered, disenchanted, and disenfranchised - from a world more in love with itself than it is with the One who made it. Certainly a world more in love with itself than with those whom it is charged to care for. But still I come. Receive me, O God, and place upon...
Today V Tomorrow
Certain things need to be done now — or not at all. Today a sick friend needs your visit — tomorrow he or she might be well, or dead. Today someone needs sympathy — tomorrow it might not be of any use. Today another needs your strength — tomorrow that person might be defeated and the battle lost forever. Tomorrow is a fateful word — millions of lives, and...
There are many ways to lie besides directly stating an untruth. Statements can be structured in such a way that they leave a false impression with the listener. Even people who might never speak a lie will act them out through deceit, concealment, pretense, insincerity, and dishonesty. Be true in your inmost soul. Be true in every word, act, look, and feeling. There are no little or...
The quality of love is measured by what it will do, what it will give, and what it will suffer. God so loved the world that he gave — gave his only Son, gave all, held nothing back. We say that we love, but what are we willing to do? If we love like God, then we must be willing to…
There is in our culture a respectful, almost honorable, view of sin. This view says that since we try to be virtuous, we are good people. We do not need to be noble, moral, or worthy, we just need to try to be and say that we are trying. Christianity has come to be equated with this respectability — good Christians try. Really? How cheap can we make grace? Dietrich Bonhoeffer had...
It's A God Thing
Religion is when humanity tries to get right with God. Christianity is when God acts to make you right with him. Most world religions have this in common: we are not what we should be. Most faiths agree that we must take the initiative to either: restore something which has been lost; or, pursue a course to make ourselves better. Christianity says that God took the initiative. “while...
We Must Cross
It would be nice if there were no pains, no trials, or no hardships in life. But is it possible that the great qualities of character — goodness, honesty, nobleness, and purity — cannot be had without struggle and self-denial? Every promised land lies beyond a deep, turbulent river, which must be crossed before the land can be entered into. To not cross the water, is to not enter...
It has been said that the beginning of wisdom is the ability not to take ourselves too seriously. If that is true, then perhaps humor is the first lesson which wisdom teaches. The lighter side of life has the ability to put into perspective the hard truth of so much serious business. Each day has the capacity to hold within its confines frustration, agitation, confusion, complication,...
The Present God
So much of people’s conversations about God sound as though they come from the starting point that he is absent. There are problems in the world because God is absent from the world. Problems with health; problems with relationships; problems with governments; problems with societies, are all attributed to God’s absence. God set up the laws of nature and the laws of morality, and...