Tag Archives: Devotionals

From “In the Eye of the Storm” by Max Lucado

     I loved this.  I thought you might enjoy it, too.
 

Abandon

Steve Lyons will always be remembered

ABANDON

Steve Lyons will be remembered as the player who dropped his pants.

He could be remembered as an outstanding infielder … as the player who played every position for the Chicago White Sox … as the guy who always dove into first base … as a favorite of the fans who high fived the guy who caught the foul ball in the bleachers. He could be remembered as an above-average player who made it with an average ability.

But he won’t. He’ll be remembered as the player who dropped his pants on July 16, 1990.

The White Sox were playing the Tigers in Detroit. Lyons bunted and raced down the first-base line. He knew it was going to be tight, so he dove at the bag. Safe! The Tiger’s pitcher disagreed. He and the umpire got into a shouting match, and Lyons stepped in to voice his opinion.

Absorbed in the game and the debate, Lyons felt dirt trickling down the inside of his pants. Without missing a beat he dropped his britches, wiped away the dirt, and … uh oh …twenty thousand jaws hit the bleachers’ floor.

And, as you can imagine, the jokes began. Women behind the White Sox dugout waved dollar bills when he came onto the field. “No one,” wrote one columnist, “had ever dropped his drawers on the field. Not Wally Moon. Not Blue Moon Odom. Not even Heinie Manush.” Within twenty-four hours of the “exposure,” he received more exposure than he’d gotten his entire career; seven live television and approximately twenty radio interviews.

“We’ve got this pitcher, Melido Perex, who earlier this month pitched a no-hitter,” Lyons stated, “and I’ll guarantee you he didn’t do two live television shots afterwards. I pull my pants down, and I do seven. Something’s pretty skewed toward the zany in this game.”

Fortunately, for Steve, he was wearing sliding pants under his baseball pants. Otherwise the game would be rated “R” instead of “PG-13.”

Now, I don’t know Steve Lyons. I’m not a White Sox fan. Nor am I normally appreciative of men who drop their pants in public. But I think Steve Lyons deserves a salute.

I think anybody who dives into first base deserves a salute. How many guys do you see roaring down the baseline of life more concerned about getting a job done than they are about saving their necks? How often do you see people diving headfirst into anything?

Too seldom, right? But when we do … when we see a gutsy human throwing caution to the wind and taking a few risks … ah, now that’s a person worthy of a pat on the … back.

So here’s to all the Steve Lyons in the world.

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From “Faith’s Checkbook” by C. H. Spurgeon

 

December 28

     If there’s one thing we Christians should never have to worry about or concern ourselves with it’s our security in our Lord’s love and provision for us.  God is above all things trustworthy, and His word can be depended on.  When He says He will never leave us or forsake us He means it.  You can have 100% assurance that He will do all that He says.  Count on it.

“Absolute Assurance ”

 

Heb_13:5

Several times in the Scriptures the LORD hath said this. He has often repeated it to make our assurance doubly sure. Let us never harbor a doubt about it. In itself the promise is specially emphatic. In the Greek it has five negatives, each one definitely shutting out the possibility of the LORD’s ever leaving one of His people so that he can justly feel forsaken of his God. This priceless Scripture does not promise us exemption from trouble, but it does secure us against desertion. We may be called to traverse strange ways, but we shall always have our LORD’s company, assistance, and provision. We need not covet money, for we shall always have our God, and God is better than gold; His favor is better than fortune.

We ought surely to be content with such things as we have, for he who has God has more than all the world besides. What can we have beyond the Infinite? What more can we desire than almighty Goodness.

Come, my heart; if God says He will never leave thee nor forsake thee, be thou much in prayer for grace that thou mayest never leave thy LORD, nor even for a moment forsake His ways.

A Thought on Anxiety

      We live in a world ridden with anxiety; people who are anxious, filled with fear, worry, and doubt, suspicious of everyone and everything, and quick to defend or take action against any perceived wrong, any questioning of our beliefs.  All searching, looking, wanting that some ONE thing that we hide in our heart of hearts thinking that if we have it then we’ll be satisfied.  We look for it in people, in possessions, in power, in money, in business, in education, in every conceivable nook and cranny in the world.  We flip over every card in the deck, buy lottery tickets for the power ball, fill casinos to the brim, bet on every game, horse race, and athletic event in hopes of hitting it big, and then when we do – if we do – it’s on to the next thing.
       Some of us – all of us – have been successful in our lives, on some level, perhaps at just one thing, at one time, but we’ve all experienced success.  Some of us have been successful at a great many things in a multitude of areas, and yet we still want more; are still anxious; uneasy, fearful, afraid, unsure, only to ready to believe that it can all vanish in a millisecond.  We live with that nagging, shadowy voice in the back of our minds that says “this isn’t enough.”  “Better work harder,” or some such thing.  
     Like the gerbil on the wheel, we keep running through the routines of our lives scarcely taking notice of the people and things around us, and then when we do stop (though we don’t really) it’s never a complete stop – just a slowing down – a switching of gears, and we call it relaxing, taking time off, but it’s really just taking away time from something or someone else.  We don’t dare stop, not intentionally at least, because to stop – to stop completely – creates a vacuum, an empty space, a place in which, just maybe, another voice can be heard, a very faint, very far off, voice that says wait.  A voice that very softly asks us in that rare undefined moment “Why are you doing this?”   That with each beat of our hearts says, “Is this all there is,” and saturates each breath we take with the rhythmic “why can’t I be satisfied?”
     We live with the “I wants,” “I have to have’s,” and the “I can’t live without’s.”  Then when we feel the pain (and there’s always the pain – though we deny, hide, avoid, and disavow it –  it’s undeniably there) we do everything in our power, use every means at our disposal, to try to kill it, to get rid of it, and yet it’s always there.  Entertainment, sports, illicit drugs, and alcohol are the great narcotics we use to deaden , dull, and desensitize our hearts and minds to it, and to the voice, the very gentle, very soft, very forceful voice that keeps repeating the questions – the ones we can find no satisfactory answer to – that haunt us in the most importune moments.
     We live in a state, a country, a world of anxiety.  We worry about worrying.  We live in, with, because, and in spite of it.  Yet we don’t do any of them well.  Why anxiety?  Why this unease, this disquieting spirit, within us?  Perhaps the answer lives in the silence of those very rare moments, in the solitude of reflective thought, in the quiet contemplation of creation, in that lone voice that speaks to us all at one time or another.  Perhaps, as gravity holds us to ground, as an anchor steadies a ship among waves, as a compass guides on an unknown path, the answer lies in the connections.  I’ve often wondered and thought of anxiety as a disconnect for isn’t that in reality what it is?  Can any musical instrument play beautiful music when it’s out of tune?  
     We look at anxiety as a bad thing, but as in so many things, definition is determined by design.  It is said that anxiety is the handmaid of creation, that all art, in part, stems from it, and I can see where that might be true.  Yet, I also believe, that anxiety serves as a herald, that it rides on our hearts and minds as Paul Revere rode through the darkness of night warning and giving notice to those who would listen that something was amiss and not right.   
     As any electrician knows the power goes out when there’s a disconnect, and I believe that’s what anxiety is to the human being.  It’s a failure to connect.  As a christian, I know that my power to live comes from my connection to Christ, and it’s in my relationship with Him that I find and am connected to the source of my strength.  

Here’s some food for thought:

The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety.

George Muller.

Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all others thoughts are drained.

Arthur Somers Roche.

An average person’s anxiety is focused on :

40% — things that will never happen
30% — things about the past that can’t be changed
12% — things about criticism by others, mostly untrue
10% — about health, which gets worse with stress
8% — about real problems that will be faced

     100% of the above can be alleviated and resolved through prayer.

From “Bits and Pieces”

     Sometimes we lose perspective, but before we deal with people we should try to regain it.  This is a good way to do it.  🙂

Many years ago a senior executive of the then Standard Oil Company made a wrong decision that cost the company more than $2 million. John D. Rockefeller was then running the firm. On the day the news leaked out most of the executives of the company were finding various ingenious ways of avoiding Mr. Rockefeller, lest his wrath descend on their heads.

There was one exception, however; he was Edward T. Bedford, a partner in the company. Bedford was scheduled to see Rockefeller that day and he kept the appointment, even though he was prepared to listen to a long harangue against the man who made the error in judgment.

When he entered the office the powerful head of the gigantic Standard Oil empire was bent over his desk busily writing with a pencil on a pad of paper. Bedford stood silently, not wishing to interrupt. After a few minutes Rockefeller looked up.

“Oh, it’s you, Bedford,” he said calmly. “I suppose you’ve heard about our loss?”

Bedford said that he had.

“I’ve been thinking it over,” Rockefeller said, “and before I ask the man in to discuss the matter, I’ve been making some notes.”

Bedford later told the story this way:

“Across the top of the page was written, ‘Points in favor of Mr. _______.’ There followed a long list of the man’s virtues, including a brief description of how he had helped the company make the right decision on three separate occasions that had earned many times the cost of his recent error.

“I never forgot that lesson. In later years, whenever I was tempted to rip into anyone, I forced myself first to sit down and thoughtfully compile as long a list of good points as I possibly could. Invariably, by the time I finished my inventory, I would see the matter in its true perspective and keep my temper under control. There is no telling how many times this habit has prevented me from committing one of the costliest mistakes any executive can make — losing his temper.

“I commend it to anyone who must deal with people.”

Bits & Pieces

, September 15, 1994, pp. 11-13.

A Thought On Standing and the Voice of Truth

     It doesn’t take a long look at the world in which we live to see that we’ve got serious problems.  To be honest, we don’t even have to look at the world.  We can just look at our own country.  All anyone has to do to see how bad things really are is to look at our government, it’s officials, and it’s policies.  Now, I’m not a fan of Barak Obama, but I don’t blame him for everything that’s wrong in government.  Government has been going in the wrong direction, in my opinion, for a long time.  Yet, it’s not governments fault for the situation in which our country finds itself.  In fact what we see in government today is only a symptom of something far more serious.  In fact, all the the things we see in our country, all the things that plague our country, are the result of only one thing.
     If you want to understand what is at the root of the problems we face in our country all you have to do is look to history, in particular the history of Israel as described in the Bible.  The reason history keeps repeating itself is because people refuse to learn from it.  The reason the nation of Israel failed and was conquered was because it’s people failed to honor the God who called them to be His own.  It was the people who failed their country, not the other way around. 
     Yes, there is corruption in our government, but the reason there’s corruption in our government is because there’s corruption in us.  In Proverbs 14:34 it says “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.”  Therein lies the problem with our country.  Our people are like the Israelites of the Old Testament in that God’s chosen people embraced the pagan rituals and practices of the people’s around them.  They turned their backs on God, and He left them to the consequences of their actions.  
     We only have to look at the history of Israel to see the root of our problem, but, so too, can we look to this nations’ history to find the solution.  Can our nation be restored to greatness?  I believe it can be restored.  I believe this nation can once again be the beacon of light and freedom that, I believe, God intended it to be.  How that restoration begins is by our people, God’s people, raising their voice in supplication to God Almighty repenting of our sins, begging forgiveness, and taking our stand upon the rock that cannot be moved. 
     You, Christian, must take your stand for Christ, and your country.  You must make a commitment to live your life as your Lord and Savior lived His.  You cannot be the Pharisee, the Sadducee, the one who sees the need and leaves it to others to meet.  You, Christian, cannot embrace the things of the world surrounding you.  Do you speak against filth and allow it into your homes?  Do you use your freedom to pursue your lusts?  You, You, and You will you stand? 
     Karl Kraus said, “Corruption is worse than prostitution. The latter might endanger the morals of an individual, the former invariably endangers the morals of the entire country.”   We, as a people, as a country, have prostituted ourselves in that we have taken our God-given abilities, talents, our names-that are to be treasured above rubies and gold, and sold them all for purposes unworthy of who God called us to be.  How long Christian will you sit idle and allow evil to have it’s way?  Do you think your Lord and Savior will be proud of you for standing aside when you see the wrong around you, for not speaking against it?  Would your Lord stand in front of a liar and a thief and say “It’s okay.  Go ahead and do what you want.”  Why do you? 
     You call yourself  a christian, are you?  Do you know what your Bible says?  Do you believe it?  It’s time to determine who you are, Christian.  Do you believe that you are called to be responsible for your life and your choices?  Do you believe that God has called you to work; to work when, where, how, and with what we have to do so?  Do you believe in Jesus?  Do you trust Him?  Do you have faith in Him?  Do you believe in the love He showed? Then live as if you do.
     You, men of God, where are you?  Why do you not stand?  It’s up to You.  Are you going to stand as Christ stood, sacrifice as he did, are you going to give your all for your God, your family, your children, and for your country who needs you so?  You, women of God, where are you?  Will you not stand along side your men?  Will you not fight for your children?  Will you not drop to your knees and pray?  
     Gandhi said, “A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.”  Will you be; will you become, the people God has called you to be?  Will you stand for your country and for your God?  Will you be the voice of truth, or will you murmur with the rest?    

A Thought on Tim Tebow and Who Am I, A Winning Combination.

     I just finished watching the last five minutes of the Denver Broncos and New York Jets football game.  The first fifty-five minutes weren’t anything special, but those last five minutes were spectacular, but as good as they were, it was the after the game review that just blew me away.  The quarterback for the Broncos is Tim Tebow, and he draws a lot of criticism.  People either love him or hate him, but the funny thing is I don’t think it’s him.  I think it’s who he represents.  Tim always gives all the credit to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and to his teammates and his coaches.  He says very little about himself. 
     Here he was sitting in the midst of a group of legends in the realm of NFL football, and yet he talked and showed his faith in God, in his teammates, and in his coaches.  I’m sure to the dischantment of a lot of people the men he was sitting in the middle of found themselves talking more about his faith, and who he was, than about football.  His witness was so beautiful, so touching, it made me cry, and thank my God and praise Him for working through this kid. 
     This is the kind of Christian who makes a difference, who turns the world in which he lives on its head simply by showing people what they haven’t seen before.  Tim Tebow isn’t perfect, and I’m not placing him on a pedstal, but I’ll tell you this.  He’s the kind of person we should want our children to know about, and to want to be like.  In a world that lives to destroy people like Tim Tebow, we as christians should pray daily for him, and for the many, many people who do the same kinds of things he does on a daily basis without fanfare, but with a sincere and loving heart.  Sometimes we forget that we are brothers and sisters in Christ, but we are.  Let’s pray for and support each other, and show our love one to another.  It’s our love for each other, and for our Lord that will draw the lost to our Lord.  Let us not forget it.
     The following is a video clip of a great song that gives a powerful message, and puts things in perspective for me.  Perhaps it will for you as well.

The Benefit of a Good Conscience

     Among the many things all people should possess a good conscience should be paramount.    If you have a good conscience then take time to praise God for it is a witness to the relationship between you and He.

The glory of a good person is the testimony of a good conscience. A good conscience is able to bear very much and is very cheerful in adversities. An evil conscience is always fearful and unquiet. Never rejoice except when you have done well. You shall rest sweetly if your heart does not accuse you. Sinners never have true joy or feel inward peace, because ‘there is no peace for the wicked,’ says the Lord (Isaiah 57:21). The glory of the good is in their consciences, and not in the tongues of others, The gladness of the just is of God, and in God; and their joy is of the truth.

A person will easily be content and pacified whose conscience is pure. If you consider what you are within, you will not care what others say concerning you. People consider the deeds, but God weighs the intentions. To be always doing well and to esteem little of one’s self is the sign of a humble soul. For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends, ‘says Paul (2 Corinthians 10:18). To walk inwardly with God, and not to be kept abroad by any outward affection, is the state of a spiritual person. Conscience is that faculty in me which attaches itself to the highest that I know, and tells me what the highest I know demands that I do. It is the eye of the soul which looks out either toward God or toward what it regards as the highest authority. If I am in the habit of steadily facing toward God, my conscience will always introduce God’s perfect law and indicate what I should do. The point is, will I obey? I have to make an effort to keep my conscience so sensitive that I walk without offense. I should be living in such perfect sympathy with God’s Son that in every circumstance the spirit of my mind is renewed. The one thing that keeps the conscience sensitive to Him is the habit of being open to God on the inside. When there is any debate, quit. There is no debate possible when conscience speaks.  

C.F.H. Henry, Christian Personal Ethics,  Eerdmans, 1957, p. 509ff