Monday, October 19, 2009

Rebuild or Retreat

One of the newest additions to the U.S. Naval fleet launched out on its maiden voyage Tuesday morning. The U.S.S. New York, an amphibious transport dock ship, left Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding's yard in southern Louisiana for its official commissioning in New York in November. While new naval vessels are built and commissioned on a regular basis, this one is different. What sets the U.S.S. New York apart is that almost 8 tons of steel salvaged from the wreckage of the World Trade Center towers was used in its construction. The ship was named to honor the victims of the terrorist attacks of eight years ago (,2933,565141,00.html).

Following the collapse of the World Trade Center towers, about all that remained was mangled and twisted piles of structural steel. Those piles of misshapen metal became a symbol of weakness and vulnerability for our nation. But now some of that same metal, re-forged and re-formed, becomes a symbol of strength and preparedness. Something useless became something useful. A painful reminder became a motivation for renewed effort.

It is possible that each of us may face times of devastation in our own lives – times with the potential to leave us standing among the twisted wreckage, staring at smoldering piles that once were our personal hopes and dreams. When such times come, we have a choice to make. We can allow the wreckage of life to become a monument that forever haunts us and reminds us of our defeats and failures or we can take remnants of the wreckage, re-forge them in the furnace of affliction, and use them to rebuild what Satan seeks to permanently destroy.

The time to make the choice is now, before difficult times come. In the heat of the moment, with tears of pain and grief clouding our vision, we may be tempted to give up. So we must determine now, with God’s help, to expose Satan for the terrorist he is and to refuse to allow him to defeat us. May we resolve to rebuild instead of retreat.

God loves you!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Secret To Long Life

It seems that the search for the proverbial “fountain of youth” has always been a human obsession. Modern society is no exception. Various ‘miracle’ treatments of all kinds are promoted as the latest discovery to slow the advance of time. But when you sort through all the hype, the keys to living a long life are really quite simple.

In a recent Yahoo! Health article, Dr. Maoshing Ni shared his insights on how to live to be 100 years old. First, he listed the bad habits that contribute to premature aging. That list included poor diet, lack of exercise, stress and worry, exhaustion, unhappiness, lack of love, toxic overload, and blockages \ congestion of the transportation highways within our bodies. Not surprisingly, the keys to living a long life are mostly a reversal of the bad habits. The 6 healthy habits that Dr. Ni mentions are: drink more water, eat like a centenarian, restore regular rest, take the stairs, manage your stress, and detoxify your surroundings (

Can I share a secret with you? And if I tell you, will you promise to share it? I know how you can live forever! There is no long list of key principles to memorize. Just remember one thing: Eternal life is a gift of grace received through faith in Jesus Christ, the son of God. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:40). “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).

The only thing that stands between you and eternal life is a living faith in Jesus Christ. Nothing more. Nothing less.

God loves you!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pondering Our Priorities

“Tickets for one Broadway play had to be purchased months in advance. One couple even planned their entire vacation around the availability of tickets. But, to their surprise, they discovered an empty seat next to them when they arrived for the show. It was the only vacant seat in the theater. “This is amazing,” the man said to a woman seated across from the empty seat. “We had to buy our tickets eight months in advance, and we get here and find an empty seat.” The woman replied, “Well, that seat belongs to me, too. It was my husband’s seat,” she continued with a shrug. “He died.” The man said, “I’m terribly sorry. But couldn’t you have invited a friend to come with you?” She thought about it a second before answering. “No, I couldn’t do that; they are all at his funeral!” Now that is a woman who has clear priorities!” (Don Humphrey, Hearts On Fire, pp. 6-7).

This humorous (and fictional!) story highlights a common human struggle – that of choosing and maintaining our priorities in life. There is much in our world that shouts for our attention. Nearly everything is presented as an urgent matter. How, then, do we discern what is truly important?

The Bible has something to say about our priorities as a child of God. Jesus had a message for some who were anxious about meeting even the basic needs of life. We are not talking about luxuries here. In context, Jesus is talking about food and clothing. Surely such necessities ought to rank as a top priority in our lives. But, according to Jesus, there is an even greater priority. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). God’s program is to have first place in our lives!

Does that mean we can safely ignore other important commitments, such as our families, jobs, etc.? Of course not. But all other priorities should be subservient to our over-arching priority – seeking the kingdom and righteousness of God.

God loves you!