Monday, January 30, 2012

A Job Well Done

“After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture,said, ‘I am thirsty.’ A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth. Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit (John 19:28-30).

Probably everyone has experienced the satisfaction of completing a difficult or complicated job. Over the course of my life, I have rebuilt several automobile engines. In each case, the engine was totally disassembled. All the various parts were cleaned and measured to see if they needed reconditioned or replaced. Then came the time for putting it all back together again. Tolerances were carefully checked and bolts were tightened to certain specifications. A coat of bright, new paint was applied and the engine was re-installed in the vehicle. Fluids were added, the timing was checked, and the moment of truth arrived. The time always came to turn the key and test the results of my work. While I always have a bit of apprehension regarding something I forgot or missed, it never ceases to give me a great sense of accomplishment when the engine fires up for the first time and rumbles to life.

As Jesus hung from the cross, He didn’t have the luxury of standing back and enjoying the fruits of His labor. But I believe the sense of accomplishment was certainly there. “It has been finished!” Done! Completed! Jesus’ sole focus on earth had been to accomplish what God sent Him to do (John 4:34; 5:36; 17:4; Luke 18:31). Yes, it had been a struggle. There had been many who opposed His efforts. But now, in the midst of His greatest pain, He could breathe His last, knowing that He had accomplished what He set out to do. Thank you, Jesus, for finishing the job!

God loves you!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Distraction Can Be Deadly

“Serious injuries involving pedestrians wearing headphones have more than tripled since 2004, a U.S. study showed. Researchers from the University of Maryland found that people often were hit by vehicles because their music blocked out horns or sirens alerting them to danger. In 70 percent of cases, the headphone-wearing pedestrians died as a result of the injuries they sustained from being hit by traffic. The researchers studied the data of 116 accidents involving pedestrians wearing headphones between 2004 and 2011. The number of incidents rose from 16 in 2004 to 47 in 2011. "Everybody is aware of the risk of cell phones and texting in automobiles, but I see more and more teens distracted with the latest devices and headphones in their ears," lead author Dr. Richard Lichenstein said. "Unfortunately, as we make more and more enticing devices, the risk of injury from distraction and blocking out other sounds increases." The study, published in the journal Injury Prevention, found that young men were most at risk, with 68 percent of the 116 victims being male and 67 percent under the age of 30” (, 1-17-12).

Certain activities demand our undivided attention. Being a disciple of Jesus is one of those activities. “No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier” (2 Timothy 2:4). "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth” (Matthew 6:24). "The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity” (Luke 8:14).

A lack of focus can put you in spiritual danger. Don’t let the noise of the world distract you from what really matters.

God loves you!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Beware Of The Sewer!

Several news organizations reported a tragic story from Russia this past week. A mother was pushing her 18-month-old child along in a stroller when the sidewalk collapsed beneath them. Apparently, an underground pipe had ruptured and the resulting damage had caused the cave-in. Onlookers managed to rescue the mother but not the child. The youngster fell into an exposed section of the sewer system and was carried away by the rapidly flowing stream of raw sewage. Rescue attempts proved to be futile and the child was presumed to be dead.

My heart goes out to the family involved in this horrific tragedy. It’s hard to even imagine the grief they must be feeling. In the blink of an eye, their lives have been changed forever. Like most parents, this couple had probably done their best to keep this child safe. But how do you protect against freak accidents like this? Through no fault of their own, the precious life of their child was taken, choked out by a river of sewage.

Reading about this accident prompted me to also think about the precious children in our world today who are being exposed daily to the emotional and mental sewage present in the dark corners of our culture. In most cases, unlike the story above, this is no accident. It can happen because the parents are indifferent, not being attentive to what their children see, hear, or participate in. Incredibly, it also happens with parental approval, when mom and dad live immoral lives and encourage ungodly behavior in their own children. Either way, innocent young lives are being sucked into the sewers that lead to the cesspools of sin.

As parents (and grandparents and concerned Christians), we need to be vigilant regarding the danger that some parts of our culture present to our children. Sadly, not everyone out there has their best interests at heart. These young souls need a loving and persistent hand to keep them away from the gutter that drains into the sewer. They may not know better, but we should.

God loves you!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Do You Need A Do-Over?

When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. Straightening up,Jesus said to her, "Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?" She said, "No one,Lord." And Jesus said, "I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more” (John 8:9-11).

Do you feel like you could use a fresh start? Perhaps the past year has been a struggle for you in some way. Maybe you have been fighting a particular sin in your life and, lately, you have lost more battles than you have won. It could be that you have faced a setback of some kind that has added stress to your life. Perhaps you have said or done something that has damaged a relationship with someone else. There are any number of scenarios that can leave us wishing for a “do over” in life.

Jesus offered a “do over” to the woman in John 8. He didn’t condemn her but encouraged her to start over. “From now on, sin no more.” No unnecessary dwelling on past failures. No extra-helping of guilt. Just a reminder to her to draw a line in the dirt of life and make it a starting line, not a finish line.

The start of a new year is a great time for a “do over.” While January 1 is no more powerful than any other day, it is great time for a fresh start -- an opportunity to clear the slate and start over. While a “do over” doesn’t automatically eliminate all consequences of our previous actions or mean that future struggles will be avoided, it does allow us to make necessary adjustments and try again.

The failures of the past day, week, or year do not have to define us. “From now on” for us begins the moment we determine, with God’s help, to begin again.

God loves you!