Do you wonder, as I do, why we continue on those man-made collision courses, repeating the same mistakes time and time again? I was thinking about that when I read a little story by Chris Eddy.
“I was making Play-Doh animals with my four-year-old niece, Chris, and her three-year-old brother, Neil. While Chris was clearly molding a crude but recognizable dog, figuring out what Neil was making was a bit more challenging. ‘It’s a cat,’ he told me. ‘But a truck ran over it.’
Sometime later, Chris had made another simple animal shape, but Neil had a rather flat slab of dough on the table in front of him.
‘What happened to this animal?’ I asked.
Neil shrugged and said simply, ‘Same truck.’ “
(READER’S DIGEST, JULY 2001, P. 95)
GospeLines Prayer:Father, deliver me from “same-truck-itis.” Help me to see clearly that life’s mistakes need not be repeated. Lead me by Your strength, not mine... and push me out of the pathway of speeding blunders. Amen and amen.
In the end, generous self-appraisals of our goodness won't matter. Our obituaries, epitaphs and eulogies will be built on what we did with our talents and resources and how we touched lives.
In the hurly-burly of everyday living, it's hard to keep perspective. Money, position, pride and power seem so important—until they're not. In the end, all our possessions, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else and the wins and losses that once seemed so important will be insignificant.
What will matter is not how many people we knew. What will matter is how long we will be remembered, by whom and for what.
Life is too short to be little. We make our lives little by filling them with jealousies and grudges, self-righteousness and self-deception, shallow or dysfunctional relationships, and work without purpose or meaning. Life is enlarged by giving and receiving love, by parenting and teaching, by encouraging and supporting, by charity and service, and by expanding our knowledge and exploring profound truths.
So if we care about our legacy, we need to be more strategic about how we live our lives. Just think about what you want people to remember about you after you die. Will you leave behind anything positive that will worth remembering?
While we are living let us make at least our little corner of the world a much better place. Believe it or not, through God you may just leave behind an example that will inspire generations to come.
Our lives are not just about what we have done. They are also about what we have chosen not to do. Let us through the power and the gifts of the Holy Spirit seek to make God honoring changes for the good of others. We never know what a ripple effect the Lord may work through us to start.
In the last hours of His life, historians say that Jesus climbed twenty-eight marble steps in the praetorium of Pilate to reach the throne of his accuser. Roman Catholics claim this stairway, sanctified by the feet of our Lord, was taken to Rome in 326 AD. It was considered an act of discipline, honor, and self-denial to be allowed to climb the Scala Sancta.
Martin Luther went to Rome to prove that no one in the world deserved heaven more than he. Seeking the merit of the church and favor of God, he made his way to the top of the great sacred stairway on his hands and knees. It was there that he heard the voice of God say, “The just shall live by faith.” No works of penance, no acts of self-torture could do that. He knew then and there, once and for all, that men were saved by grace not by works!
Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live but Christ lives in me...” (Galatians 2:20). Not by works, not by the law, but by the grace of God do we find peace in this life. It is when we cease the struggle that pride makes us think we can win, and when we submit ourselves to the forgiving love of God that peace finally comes! Amen and amen.
Driving home from picking up dinner for myself the other night, I hit a patch of road that was still a little icy from a recent snowstorm. Out of instinct, I immediately placed both hands on the wheel, at 10 & 2. This reflex immediately struck a thought in me: "I'm trying to control something that involves elements I cannot control."
And the sad thing is that this practice has become so commonplace that we don't even realize it. We try to control things that we honestly have no control over, be they something minute as a color choice of an article of clothing or as radical as choosing a profession for our lives. What we do when we feebly attempt control of our lives is focus on our immediate surroundings, rather than the bigger picture.
I knew that just beyond the patch of ice was clear road, and yet I attempted to maintain the utmost control of the situation. Even knowing that things would be easier in just a moment, I wanted to be in complete control of that moment. What I realized soon after was this: if the Lord had wanted me to lose control around the turn and wreck, it wouldn't have mattered how perfect of a driver I may or may not have been, I would've wrecked.
Anyone that would have been in the vehicle would have just chalked up my actions to being a responsible driver, but this small moment has sparked a much greater realization. The fact is that we can be so content with our lives, and even numbed by them, that we take the Lord's job out of His almighty hands without even realizing it.
In essence, we are turning up our noses to the Father and saying, "I've got this" or "I can do this better." The Father knew all along that on January 19, I would pray to Him, dedicating my life to His glorious ministry. However, I did not. And even though I did not see it, every time I chose a profession that I liked, I was hindering the blessings that He could have bestowed upon me by stepping outside His will for me. Now, many of you may say, "Well this isn't me... I'm not over-content or numb with my life." Want to test it? The next time a situation comes around the corner, leave one hand off of the wheel. Take the step of faith that He will protect, and follow through.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, help us to understand and realize that You are in control. Lord, help us in times of trial to hand over the reigns to You and give you control, rather than taking control ourselves. Give us the strength to reject our own selfish desire to control our lives, and allow You to unfold Your divine will for us.
Thanks! S.I.C. Ryan McCammon
≈ Devotional for Friday, February 25, 2011
"By the Grace of God"
A man dies and goes to heaven.Of course, St. Peter meets him at the Pearly Gates.
St. Peter says, "Here's how it works.You need 100 points to make it into heaven. You tell me all the good things you've done, and I give you a certain number of points for each item, depending on how good it was.When you reach 100 points, you get in."
"Okay," the man says, "I was married to the same woman for 50 years and never cheated on her, even in my heart."
"That's wonderful," says St. Peter, "that's worth three points!"
"Three points?" he says."Well, I attended church all my life and supported its ministry with my tithe and service."
"Terrific!" says St. Peter. "That's certainly worth a point."
"One point?!!""I started a soup kitchen in my city and worked in a shelter for homeless veterans."
"Fantastic, that's good for two more points," he says.
"Two points!?!!"Exasperated, the man cries. "At this rate the only way I'll get into heaven is by the grace of God."
"Bingo!100 points!Come on in!"
If you are accused of a crime, you may have the opportunity to go before a judge and jury of your peers to prove your innocence.The Bible teaches that mankind is guilty of sin, and Romans 6:23 says that the penalty for our sin is death.
Furthermore, God is our Righteous Judge, and He said the price for sin must be paid.Jesus paid the ultimate penalty for our sins through His death on the cross.
Now, it gets better!When Jesus bore our sins on the cross, it didn't make us any less guilty!Unlike being accused of a crime we didn't commit, and having the opportunity to prove our innocence, we remain in our guilt!ALTHOUGH WE ARE CONVICTED SINNERS, JESUS RECKONS US TO BE RIGHTEOUS… That's salvation by GRACE!Hallelujah!!
GospeLines Prayer:Righteous God, I don't get it!The world says that the law is in place to punish the wicked.But YOU say that I am guilty of sin, yet You treat me as though I am not.I will always be amazed that GRACE is free, and SALVATION is forever.Amen and amen.