Tag: love of God

Jesus Died For All

Sitting in a local shopping mall, I began to reflect on one of the most important and profound truths ever to be revealed by the angels of God, the people of God, and God Himself.

Jesus died for all.

Friends, enemies, people I like and those I don’t give a hoot about.

Americans, Canadians, Mexicans, Chinese, and even those who haven’t a clue to their nationality.

People who think like me, act like me, vote like me, and like the same kinds of food.

But, He so loved the world He died for those who are even the exact opposite of me.

And He loves them as much as He does me.

Jesus died for everyone who’s now in Heaven, as well as those who are incarcerated forever in the place of the damned.

There are more than seven billion people on this planet and Jesus died for each and every one.

He died for the conservative, the liberal, the gay, and the straight.

Those with tons of intellectual power and those who barely have enough smarts to blow their nose; Jesus died for them.

Many say they don’t believe, can’t believe, in such a ridiculous thing. They claim mankind made up a fairytale to make themselves feel better about the hereafter.

People say a lot of things. 

Some say they used to believe, but they outgrew such nonsense. Others won’t believe because, in their minds, the gospel doesn’t make sense. Like, why would God do such things? Create mankind knowing he would fall from his position of glory. Give His Son (if He could be called that) for people who demonstrated nothing but contempt for Him. And raise Him from the grave three days later?

To those who have such a difficult time with faith (or in things they can’t figure out, explain, see, etc.), they must have forgotten all the times they have believed something they haven’t figured out, could explain, or ever saw.

Most people will follow their doctor’s advice, even if it includes going under a surgeon’s knife. Why? They certainly can’t figure out the whole procedure, nor will they be awake to assist. No, they believe because they choose to believe.

And make the necessary arrangements.

But whether or not they really believed the doctor isn’t what made the doctor’s message true or false.

The doctor knew.

The message isn’t true because it’s validated by the hearer. Nor is it false, because the majority won’t believe. Truth. Jesus lived, died, and rose again. He did.

He did it for me, you, and anyone who’s ever taken a breath of air. Jesus died for all.

Believe it? Good.

Can’t figure it out? Good.

There’s only One Person Who knows for sure, Who planned everything, and Who continually invites all to believe. God, the Father. He knows.

So why not choose to trust, even though it all seems so preposterous?

Why not yield your life to the One Who cares for you more than you or I could ever imagine?

Jesus died for all. 

That includes YOU!

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:16 – 3:17 ESV)

Weak Reeds and Flickering Candles 

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Does a person have to scream and holler to prove they’re right? Must they write in ALL CAPS to get their point across?

What would Jesus do?

“He [would] not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle…” (Matthew 12:20 NLT)

Big doesn’t spell best, loud doesn’t mean legitimate, and it’s not a sin to listen to another’s opinion.

I’ve read the verse about the weak reed and flickering candle a number of times, but never paid much attention to it.

“He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle…” (Matthew 12:20 NLT)

But the Spirit of God showed me just how important the verse is if I’m going to walk like the Savior, which includes walking in the Spirit.

If there was ever a Person Who had the right to blast away at anyone and everyone, it was the Son of God.

If anyone had the resources to prove His point, in no uncertain terms, it was Jesus.

But how did He react when questioned or ridiculed?

He held His peace. He controlled His emotions. He was led, and governed by, the Spirit of God.

Weak reeds and flickering candles can be a real annoyance. People who don’t agree with us, challenging our beliefs with their overused rhetoric can sometimes push us to react in a not so loving manner.

“Yeah, but Jesus gave those Pharisees and money changers what for!”

Yes, He did. But that’s not how He responded to everyone who didn’t believe, understand, or fall in step with His cadence the first time they heard Him.

That’s why I’m saying that maybe we should reevaluate the way we present ourselves and our Savior to those around us.

You know, people we consider to be weak reeds and flickering candles.

Paul said things just a bit different, but the message is clear.

“Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants.” (2 Timothy 2:23 – 2:26 NLT)

“The servant of the Lord must not quarrel…”

Let’s be careful how we handle the weak reeds and flickering candles.

I remember when I was one…

Why Are So Many Opposed To Love?


Love imposed on the devil’s territory, invading his lies and darkness with truth and light.

Love deposed the enemy from his place of command, subjecting him to the authority of all who call on the Name of Jesus.

Love transposed spiritual authority and activity, so those who believe may establish righteousness throughout the earth.

Love disclosed the truth about the Kingdom of Heaven, that less is more, meekness is power, and trust is essential.

Love exposed the hidden secrets of our heart, while providing forgiveness, transformation and a new life for all who receive it.

Love proposed a peace which passes all understanding, so while even in the midst of life shaking storms the believer is kept with His calm assurance.

Love posed an invitation to “whosoever will…” Whoever calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved, delivered, made whole, and snatched from the clutches of the evil one.

So why is the world opposed to such love? Why does it close its heart and mind to an eternal love so grand?

Could it be they’ve never experienced such love?

Perhaps they would if those of us who have, would show it to them.

What do you think?

Oh, by the way, God is love.

Are Preachers Ever Guilty Of Jealousy?

The biggest day of the year for church attendance has come and gone. Easter Sunday, the number one day of the year when pastors and church leaders around the globe attempt to woo the masses into visiting their church, and hopefully, become a regular member.

Although I’m no longer a pastor, haven’t been for over five years, I can still recall some of the feelings I’d have to deal with on Easter; and especially the day after.

Through the years I’ve had the privilege of pastoring two churches for a total of about eighteen years. Both churches were growing churches; one grew upward in attendance, the other, downward. Try as we might to reach out to our community, I’d many times feel embarrassed and cheated by a low Easter attendance.

So I ask the question: are preachers ever guilty of jealousy? 

Yes, they are. Is it good? No, but it happens. Has it happened to you? Is it happening to you?

Yesterday I looked at a number of Facebook posts from area churches, their pastors and members. I’ve divided them into two groups. One group told of the number of salvations, visitors, baptisms, etc. Very exciting to read. The other group posted a much more simple message; nice, but I’d hardly call it exciting. “Had a great Easter Service and breakfast”, pretty much defined the whole day.

I’m not putting anyone down for their Facebook post. Not at all. But as I read the first group’s gloriously glowing posts, I couldn’t help but think back to the days when Easter didn’t end up like I’d envisioned. For whatever reason, it wasn’t the “breakthrough service” I had prayed, planned, promoted, or preached for.

And before twenty four hours would pass, I would be filled with jealousy and resentment.

Sorry, I didn’t mean to burst your bubble.

Actually, a person doesn’t need to be a pastor, or even “in the ministry” to be guilty of jealousy. But just because a person is a spiritual leader doesn’t make them immune to those terribly sick feelings.

We need to recognize those feelings, call them what they are, and get rid of them. I know it’s hard to do, especially with the adversary whispering all the reasons why you deserve much more than you’re receiving. But something which might help you beat the jealousy demon back into its hole is to give thanks to God for the people you’re jealous of.

After all, shouldn’t each of us, regardless of the scope of our leadership influence, have just one primary focus? Aren’t you and I called to be faithful?

Faithful to our individual calling, not someone else’s.

I thought about adding a number of scriptures pertaining to jealousy and envy, but that’s really unnecessary, don’t you think? We all know it’s wrong to wish for something another person has, or maybe even worse, wish the other person or preacher wasn’t doing as well as they were. It only causes us to forget the things God has called us to do.

I remember the wonderful pity parties I used to throw for myself. I could sit for a couple hours “meditating” on how unfair ministry is; and instead of doing something creative, I’d end up wishing my life away.

I hope your Easter Sunday went well for you. I hope you were in the first group, the one with all the glorious pictures and comments. God’s good, all the time, and Jesus is still alive!

But if yesterday was kind of a drag, and all your effort seemed wasted, the Lord has a word for you, as well. He’d like you to remember He’s good, all the time, and Jesus is still alive.

Jesus is the One Who builds His church. Yes, we’re workers together with Him. Yes, it’s His desire to see everyone born again. Yes, yes, yes.

But He’s only requiring one thing from us. Faithfulness. Faithfulness to His call, direction, and everyday opportunities. Nothing more, nothing less.

So please don’t waste any part of your life giving in to feelings of jealousy. You’re part of something far greater than your own little world. You’re part of the glorious kingdom of God.

And God is just as much God in your neck of the woods, as He is in someone else’s. He’s STILL able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all you can ask or even think!

Are You Hiding In The Bushes?

I’d like to begin this post with two questions.

The first – “Are you hiding in the bushes?”

The second – “Who’s in the bushes with you?”

Not long after God created Adam and Eve, not long after He blessed them and told them to be fruitful and multiply, and shortly after telling them they had dominion over every bird in the sky, fish in the sea, and creepy-crawly thing on the ground, a certain serpent invaded their territory with a question.

“Did God actually say…?”

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1 ESV)

Notice the “serpent was more crafty…”, meaning he was cunning, conniving, and should never be trusted. We know that now, but Adam and Eve weren’t aware the serpent’s master was Lucifer, the adversary of God.

We know the devil can’t be trusted, but sometimes we act like Adam and Eve. We listen to his faith weakening, flesh enticing questions and suggestions.

And sometimes we end up in the bushes, just like Adam and Eve.

Many feel as though the serpent was crafty because he was able to manipulate the First Couple into disobeying their Creator. Yes, I’d have to agree; that was pretty cagey.

But here’s what really amazes me.

When they realized they were naked, and heard the sound of God walking through the garden, they listened to the serpent once again and jumped into the bushes. 

Hiding from God with His adversary.

Hiding in the bushes with the devil.

You may think I’m reading more into the passage than I should. I don’t think so, and here’s why.

I know the devil was standing (slouching) with them because of something Eve said. She told God, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” When she said that, I can picture her pointing to the serpent next to her.

God didn’t leave the pair to go snake hunting. He said to the serpent right then and there, “You’ve had it!” And, eventually, the devil realized he had bitten off more than he could chew.

You are probably wondering why I think it’s such a big deal, hiding with the adversary and all. So, I’ll try and explain what I mean.

It’s one thing to disobey God. Outside of Jesus, there’s not one of us since Adam and Eve who haven’t disobeyed Him at some point in our life. At least once (hah!)

Disobedience is a terrible thing, and affects so many. But there’s something even worse than sin.

What!? Something worse than sin? 

Yes. Much worse, as far as I’m concerned.

What could be worse?

Hiding in the bushes from the only One Who can forgive and turn things around. Hiding in the bushes with the one whose whole agenda is to steal, kill, and destroy. As long as Adam and Eve stayed in the bushes, they were vulnerable to everything around them. They were naked, and they knew it.

They were now subject to fear, torment, and of course, the shame of disobedience. And the longer they hid, the longer the devil controlled them. 

Are YOU hiding in the bushes? Have you, sometime in the past, either ignored or rejected the commands of God and, instead, swallowed the tempting bait the devil tossed at you?

Don’t you think it’s time to come out of hiding? God hasn’t quit calling your name. He knows where you’re at, but you have to take the first step toward Him and declare, “Here I am.”

Those three little words are enough to turn the forces of evil from you, as God draws you to His side and clothes you in His righteousness.

“Here I am, Lord. I step away from the bushes, away from my excuses, away from my habits, and into Your light and love.”

Sure, God will say, “What happened?” But He already knows. He’s asking you for YOUR benefit.

“Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13 ESV) 

Yes, I believe it’s time, past time, to come out of hiding and into the light of His glorious love.

“He is faithful and just to forgive you of all sin, and cleanse you from all unrighteousness…”

What do think?

Scared Out Of Hell

 
I remember the time, way back in 1975, that my soul cried out to God. A God I didn’t know, wasn’t sure if I wanted to know Him, and didn’t pay much attention to what people were telling me about Him. You know, all the “God loves you” jargon. 

No, I didn’t cry out to God because I loved Him or because I heard He loved me. 

I cried out to God because I was scared. Just plain scared. 

I had a revelation, realization, or whatever you’d like to call it; I knew if I died before I got things straight with God I was going to hell. 

That scared me. Scared me enough to take the necessary action.

Some people thought, and maybe still think, I was stupid. They’re convinced hell isn’t a real place, that hell is what we make of this life. Same with heaven. 

“It’s all in how you look at it”, the wise ones say. “Treat people the way you want to be treated, and Heaven becomes a day to day reality. Treat people like crap, and you’ve made your own hell.” 

However, there was this man who said a few things about hell. He talked about hell, and heaven, like you and I talk about Chicago or Detroit. Real places. 

I’ve been to Chicago so I know it is real. I’ve never been to Detroit, so I’m not so sure about that. And to hear some folks talk about it, maybe I don’t want to go there. If it’s even real. 

No, this man who referred to heaven and hell a number of times, also said some other things; things people like to quote. 

Things like: judge not, it’s more blessed to give than receive, don’t call anyone a fool, blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth, and do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Great sayings, by a great man. But can He be trusted? Can you trust Him? After all, if He’s lying about heaven and hell, what makes you think He’s telling the truth the rest of the time?

Jesus is not a liar. He spoke of hell, and heaven, because He knew they existed. Though you and I can’t see them (yet), there’s coming a day when we will. 

One or the other. 

That’s why I was scared. I had heard in order to go to heaven (and thus miss hell, the place of the damned), I had to be as perfect, as sinless, as God. At that time, I wasn’t sure just how righteous God was, but I knew He had me beat. 

I didn’t know if He’d done anything wrong, but I knew I had. 

That reminds me: why do people say, “why you’d sure as hell better believe thus and so” when they don’t believe in hell in the first place?

Anyway, like I said, I KNEW I had done plenty of things wrong, so if hell was a real place, I was in a heap of trouble. 

Fire, sulfur, brimstone, total darkness, wailing and gnashing of teeth. My friends told me they planned on going to hell so they could party. But those words didn’t describe any party I’d want to attend. 

Especially one lasting forever and ever…

Have you ever heard a person wail and gnash their teeth? I have. When I was 15 I spent 30 days in the psychiatric ward of the county hospital. While there I was entertained (?) one night by a middle aged woman crying, at the top of her lungs, in an ear piercing, hair raising scream, “My straitjacket’s too tight! My straitjacket’s too tight!” 

No, when I heard that Jesus described hell as having people like had I met in the hospital, crying day and night, forever…

I got scared. So I called on the name of the Lord. “For the Scripture says, ‘Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved'”. (Romans 10:11-13 ESV)

Call me stupid for being so fearful if you’d like. I don’t care. You see, since that time, you know, back in 1975, I’ve learned a whole lot more about the God I cried out to. 

I learned He really does love me, and proved it by sending His only Son, Jesus, to take my place on the cross, and made my payment to hell. He who was sinless died for the creep I was, and all others like me.

And God pronounced all debts paid when He raised Him from the dead that first resurrection morning. 

I’ve discovered He is merciful and kind, and is trying to let everyone know hell is not the place He WANTS to send them; He only HAS to send them when they reject His offer of eternal life. 

I’ve learned a lot about God, but even better is I’ve come to know Him personally. He leads me and guides me, providing for all my needs. 

Because of His love. 

Yes, I can love Him now because He first loved me. 

And you know what? His perfect love has driven the fear of hell completely out of me. 

I once was scared, but now I’m not, for I’ve had the hell scared out of me. 

And loved out of me. 

Poor Steve Harvey 

 

Poor Steve Harvey. Maybe he should have taken heed to the overplayed Aaron Rodgers television commercials for State Farm insurance. He should have “double-checked” the card before announcing Miss Columbia as the new Miss Universe. 

Poor Steve Harvey. 

After apologizing in front of 10 million viewers for his mistake, he got into even more trouble for misspelling the names of the two countries, Columbia and the Philippines, in his Twitter apology. 

I wonder if Pat Sajak or Drew Carey ever made a mistake? How about Bob Barker?

Yes, I feel sorry for Miss Columbia, and for Miss Philippines. 

But I ESPECIALLY feel sorry for poor Steve Harvey.

Have YOU ever made a mistake? I have. No, not in front of 10 million people. Not at a Miss Universe contest.

But I’ve said and done things that, to me, were just as embarrassing. 

I think a lot of folks are giving Mr. Harvey some slack, but there are those who love to kick a person when he’s down. 

Perhaps it makes them feel big. I don’t know. But the kind of folks who are railing on poor Steve Harvey are the same ones who enjoy finding fault with everyone but themselves. 

Oh, to be so perfect. 

“But Steve Harvey was the emcee! He should have been more careful and gotten it right!” 

True. But he was a HUMAN emcee, not a computer. The program was live, not prerecorded; therefore it couldn’t be edited. 

True, Steve Harvey has spent a lot of time in front of a camera and shouldn’t have been confused by a cue card. 

I’ve spent hours and hours behind the wheel of my automobile, but sometimes I make stupid mistakes. 

Do you? 

Did you know EVERYONE makes mistakes? 

Everyone. 

You know what I think? People who are making Steve Harvey’s blunder into a federal case are showing how much they need a savior.

Because things like “grumbling, complaining, fault finding, and having a critical spirit” are all indications of an unregenerate heart. 

Oh? Yes! 

Now I’m not saying a complainer isn’t saved; I’m just saying they don’t act like it.

“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1 KJV)

“Do all things without complaining and disputing…” (Philippians 2:14 NKJV)

“Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.” (1 Peter 4:9 NKJV)

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2 NKJV)

Poor Steve Harvey. 

No, I don’t know anything about him, other than what I read on the internet or see on television. 

But I think he’ll be alright.

At least he apologized.

At least he demonstrated remorse for his error.

At least he didn’t try to blame the mistake on the person who gave him the card. 

And he didn’t try to hide the card, burying it among thousands of other cards. 

Besides, his was merely a mistake; though a mistake seen by people all over the world. 

AND…HE’S not running for president.

Ritzy Lunch Experience 

Some people might call Ritzy Lunch an old hotdog joint, while others may label it a dive.  

It’s not fancy enough for some, and too old fashioned for others. 

Ritzy Lunch is clean, but its tiles, walls, and clock are stained from years and years of patrons, and cooks, puffing away on their favorite smoke. Of course, smoking isn’t allowed any longer, but 70 years or so of nicotine haze has given the place a special look you don’t get anywhere else.

I realize I’m just one guy, and my opinion may not mean anything to you, but there’s something very special about Ritzy Lunch. 


To me, it’s an experience that’s worth the drive. 

Though we live in Iowa, we make regular visits to West Virginia. We spend time relaxing at North Bend State Park, in the Harrisville vicinity, and visit family who live about a half hour away. 

A tradition has developed over the last 7-8 years, one that I can blame (or thank) my brother-in-law for. We make the trip to Ritzy (about a 45 minute drive from his house) one time during our W.Va. visit. 

What do we have to eat? Two hotdogs in steamed buns, chili, onion, cayenne pepper, and french fries, served in a plastic basket. Add a Diet Coke, and we are set for the hour.  

 

The first time I visited Ritzy, its owner, Hotdog John, came by the old wooden booth we were seated in and began jabbering about his hotdog chili. I had already been warned not to call it “sauce”, but I didn’t know his feelings about mustard. 

So when he heard me order 2 dogs with chili, onion, and NO MUSTARD, you’d have thought I had just hit him below the belt! 
“What?! You can’t do that!”

After he finished razzing me a while he winked, thanked me for coming in, and walked over to the next booth to give his other patrons the same friendly service.  

People have been dining at Ritzy Lunch for 82 years; a family owned and operated business in downtown Clarksburg, West Virginia. Easy to find, on Pike Street, just a few blocks off of US Highway 50. 

Remember that old television commercial for Master Card? It went something like this:

Hotdogs (2), Fries, all the fixings – $7

Downtown Parking Meters – $1 for a few hours 

The whole Ritzy Lunch experience – PRICELESS!

Sure, a person may POSSIBLY find a hotdog that compares with a Ritzy Lunch dog. And perhaps the fries are like the ones found in other restaurants. 

But you will NEVER find anything else that compares to the Ritzy Lunch experience. The ambience, the friendly service, the old counter and wooden stools, cayenne pepper shakers; I’m talking atmosphere! 

While I was preparing to write this blog, I started thinking about the similarities between the Ritzy Lunch experience and the Kingdom of God. 

As I’ve mentioned, fancy isn’t a word that describes Ritzy. But it IS a place where everyone is accepted and appreciated. 

So with the Kingdom of God. 

The ONLY requirement to enter the Kingdom of God is you and I must enter through the door. Anyone who goes through the door is welcomed and fed. 

I’d like to see more churches with the atmosphere; the warm, welcoming atmosphere found at Ritzy Lunch. 

 

The door to Ritzy informs those interested in the Ritzy Lunch experience the hours of operation and the need to wear a shirt and shoes. 

Jesus is the door to the Kingdom of God, and He has stated His requirements in the gospel of John (not to be confused with Hotdog John). 


“So Jesus again said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.'” (John 10:7-10 ESV)

Another couple of passages from John, only these are from his first letter.


“Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” (1 John 4:15-16 ESV)


“Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:12 ESV)

A person may stand on the sidewalk, there on Pike Street and look through Ritzy Lunch’s window for hours, but never experience what I’ve been writing about. 

You see, to thoroughly understand the Ritzy Lunch experience, one must open AND walk through the door.

It’s the same way with God and His Kingdom. Going to church, reading the bible, and telling everyone what you’ve heard and read is all very nice. But you must go through the door to experience the Kingdom and eternal life.

And Jesus is the Door.

Please take a few moments to read the newspaper article I photographed and posted below. It gives the history of one of Clarksburg’s finest. More than a hotdog joint, more than a quaint, downtown diner; it’s the Ritzy Lunch experience!

While you’re at it, please read more of the Apostle John’s writings, especially John chapter ten. It provides you with the incentive and the necessary information on how to enter the Kingdom of God. 

And if you’re ever in the Clarksburg area, make sure you plan a trip for a true, Ritzy Lunch experience. 

And tell them Jan sent you!

 

Good Things Happen To Bad People

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The question has been asked millions of times.

“Why do bad things happen to good people?”

Some, in an attempt to demonstrate their deep understanding of things beyond their comprehension, only make matters worse with their pat answers.

Here’s a classic response: “Well, you know God works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform.”

Of course He does, but that doesn’t answer the question.

Through the years I’ve pondered that question, and have even asked it a few times. My conclusion?

Life happens.

Sure, I understand this world is a fallen world, that there’s a devil on the loose, and all that.
I get it.
There’s also the spiritual warfare element, the principle of sowing and reaping, and living with the consequences of terrible decisions.

Yes. I get it.

But here’s what I don’t understand about the question.

What makes us think we deserve good things to happen to us? 

Are we really THAT good?

Who among us is incapable of thinking evil thoughts?

Who can say they have NEVER done anything wrong?

Who has the gall to stand and refer to themselves as good?

Even Jesus said, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” (Luke 18:19 ESV)

The Apostle Paul, quoting the ancient writings of the Old Testament, wrote, “as it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one'” (Romans 3:10-12 ESV).

And…“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 ESV).

Jeremiah had a word from God regarding the condition of a man’s heart, or soul.

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly perverse and corrupt and severely, mortally sick! Who can know it [perceive, understand, be acquainted with his own heart and mind]?” (Jeremiah 17:9 AMP)

So you see, maybe the question we should be asking is:

“Why do good things happen to bad people?”

How could God ever love such a wicked person as I?

Why would He be concerned about my life when all He ever got from me was rejection and hatred?

How could such a holy God offer His Son as a ransom for my sin?

Why would He shower my life with good things, even though I’ve lived much of my life focused on my pleasures and wants?

Though it’s beyond comprehension by use of simple reasoning, and we can’t just sit down and figure it out because it doesn’t make “sense”, the answer IS available to those who will seek God by faith. 

“Why do good things happen to bad people?”

Love. God’s love.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:4-7 ESV)

If it’s good, it’s from God. If it’s from God, it has to be good.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17 ESV)

A Precious Little Life


Today I had the privilege of holding my brand spanking new great niece.

Maddie Lewis. What a pretty name.

What a pretty little girl.

I was the one rocking her as she celebrated her 12th hour outside her mommy’s tummy (pictured above).

All I could do was stare at her, with tears in my eyes, thanking God for such a precious little life.

I just love her little nose.

Admiring her little fingers (and beautiful, tiny nails), I thought about when our son was born almost 37 years ago. How young his mom and I were, and how little we knew about raising children. Yet God entrusted us with a precious little life to care for.

Imperfect parents with a perfect little life to nurture and protect. 

Wow.

Holding this precious little life, I thought of her parents. Perfect? No. But that’s never been a requirement. If it was, I’d never have become a dad.

Her parents have flaws like every other human being. Gosh, her daddy is even a Minnesota Vikings fan! Gasp!

But I do know one thing, and that for certain. This precious little life was born into a family that loves her. I mean, REALLY loves her. 

God can help her parents navigate this life experience we call parenting, and I know He will. There will be plenty of teaching moments as Maddie grows into the person God created her to be.

Kind of like on the job training.

Time has a way of speeding up with each passing year, and soon Maddie’s mommy and daddy will wonder what happened to their little girl. Even as they enjoy watching her grow, they’ll be a little sad, I’m sure.

I know.

But right now, a precious little life has graced the Lewis family, and all those who are blessed to be called family. She has no hidden agenda, no political viewpoint, and probably doesn’t care if she watches Fox News or CNN.

Yet, just by looking at her, holding her, and seeing the way she scrunches up her nose and reaches her arms over her head to stretch with all her might, one can’t help but realize she has a message for us all.

And that is, life is precious. From the time it starts until it finally is no more. So make the most of it, and get to know the One Who is the Author of life itself.

Precious little Maddie, your message is certainly clear to me.

“Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.” (Psalm 127:3 NLT)

“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” (Proverbs 22:6 NLT)

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