Monday, April 30, 2018

God's Mercy

“But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’  For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
–Mt 9:13

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 Jn 1:9

Saint Teresa of Avila (1515–1582), a Roman Catholic Carmelite nun and Spanish mystic wrote, “I had many friends to help me to fall; but as to rising again, I was so much left to myself, that I wonder now I was not always on the ground.  I praise God for His mercy; for it was He only Who stretched out His hand to me.  May He be blessed for ever! Amen.”  And Winston Churchill (1874–1965), prime minister of the United Kingdom was sure: “All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.”  Luke 6:36 reminds us to be merciful, even as your heavenly Father is merciful.

Richer Fruits

A president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865) remarked, “I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.”  Joyce Myer (b. 1943), a Christian author and speaker said, “God’s mercy is fresh and new every morning.”  While Pope Francis (b. 1936), of the Catholic Church affirmed, “A little bit of mercy makes the world less cold and more just.”  People can therefore say like 1 Peter 1:3 blessed the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has surely caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who rose from the dead.


Charles Spurgeon (1834–1892), an English Baptist preacher said, “I think that is a better thing than thanksgiving: thanks-living.  How is this to be done?  By a general cheerfulness of manner, by an obedience to the command of Him by whose mercy we live, by a perpetual, constant delighting of ourselves in the Lord, and by a submission of our desires to His will.” 

Still as people live in this world they should be aware of the role nature plays.  Neil deGrasse Tyson (b. 1958), an astrophysicist and author wrote, “Even with all our technology and the inventions that make modern life so much easier than it once was, it takes just one big disaster to wipe all that away and remind us that, here on Earth, we’re still at the mercy of nature.”  These circumstances in the world are unpredictable, so people have to put their faith in a loving God, who provides for us, and keeps us safe.   

But how can people be recipients of God’s grace and mercy?  Why do we often turn to the things of this world to solve our problems?  Often we’re misguided when we find they aren’t the answer.  People though ought to submit their lives to Christ.  Such an act brings grace, mercy, peace, and love – the foundation of true fulfillment.    

Monday, April 23, 2018

Your Special Gifts

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.  If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
–Rom 12:6-8

“You are the light of the world.  A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
–Mt 5:14-16

Leo Buscaglia (1924–1998), an author and motivational speaker said, “Your talent is God’s gift to you.  What you do with it is your gift back to God.”  John Wooden (1910–2010), a basketball player and head coach agreed with Buscaglia, but amplified on his saying when he wrote, “Talent is God given.  Be humble.  Fame is man-given.  Be grateful.  Conceit is self-given.  Be careful.”  Undoubtedly people must use their gifts wisely and not be conceited.

Erma Bombeck (1927–1996), a humorist, cast further light on talent when she commented, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.’  In order to accomplish such a feat people must live their lives to the fullest.

The Role of Persistence

A president of the United States, Calvin Coolidge (1872–1933) observed, “Noting in the world can take the place of persistence.  Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.  Genius will not: unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.  Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts.  Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”  Stephen King (b. 1947), an author however echoed Coolidge’s sentiments when he said, “Talent is cheaper than table salt.  What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.”  And Will Smith (b. 1968), an actor concurred when he stated, “I have always considered myself to be just average talent and what I have is a ridiculous insane obsessiveness for practice and preparation.”
A Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist Thích Nhăt Hanh (b. 1926) reasoned, “When we recognize the virtues, the talent, the beauty of Mother Earth, something is born in us, some kind of connection: love is born.”  So people ought to share their talent with love.

Corruption in Society

A vice president of the United States, Joe Biden (b. 1942) saw, “Corruption is a cancer: a cancer that eats away at a citizen’s faith in democracy, diminishes the instinct for innovation and creativity: already – tight national budgets, crowding out important investments.  It wastes the talent of entire generations.  It scares away investments and jobs.”  Therefore for nations to benefit from the contributions of its citizenry having ethical standards are imperative. 

Monday, April 16, 2018

Persevere with Inspiration

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
–Rom 8:38-39

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.  For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
–Heb 12:1-2

An Italian Roman Catholic preacher Francis of Assisi (1181/1182–1226) said, “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”  Kevyn Aucoin (b. 1962), a make-up artist followed this up when he stated, “Today I choose life.  Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain…To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today.  I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.”  That’s why people will turn to the Bible when they look for inspiration, motivation, and reassurance.

The Best Things

A political activist Helen Keller (1880–1968) wrote, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.”  An essayist and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882) agreed with Keller when he said, “What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.”  We’re assured that God can work miracles when we believe his promises.  Christians yearn for this ultimate blessing in Psalm 27:4 when they hear, “One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.”

The Right Choice

Steve Jobs (1955–2011), an entrepreneur and inventor wrote, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be fully satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.  And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.  If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking.  Don’t settle.  As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”  Maya Angelou (1928–2014), a poet and civil rights activist was clear:  “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”  According to Psalm 34:8 that’s when people “taste and see the Lord is good; blessed the one who takes refuge in him.”   

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Living in Confidence

“Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
–Josh 1:9

The Lord is my light and salvation – whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?
–Ps 27:1

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
–1 Jn 5:14

Ann Landers (1918–2002), a Chicago Sun-Times advice columnist wrote, “Love is friendship that has caught fire.  It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving.  It is loyalty through good and bad times.  It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses.”  That’s why Romans 8:28 says that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love him, and for those who are called according to his purpose.  

But how can we do these things?  Lao Tzu (604 BC–531 BC), a Chinese philosopher stated, “Kindness in words creates confidence.  Kindness in thinking creates profoundness.  Kindness in giving creates love.”  So let us draw close with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy, and find grace in the time of our need (Heb 4:16).

Lilly Singh (b. 1988), a Canadian actress said, “Love who you are, embrace who you are.  Love yourself.  When you love yourself, people can kind of pick up on that: they can see confidence, they can see self-esteem, and naturally, people gravitate towards you.”

Don’t Be Afraid

A first lady of the United States, Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1962) remarked, “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.  You are able to say to yourself, ‘I live through this horror.  I can take the next thing that comes along.’  John Paul II (1920–2005), former head of the Catholic Church agreed with Roosevelt, but added, “Have no fear of moving in the unknown.  Simply step out fearlessly knowing that I am with you, therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well.  Do this in complete faith and confidence.”

Believe in Something

Marie Curie (1867–1934), a Polish and naturalized-French physicist wrote, “Life is not easy for any of us.  But what of that?  We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves.  We must believe that we are gifted for something and this thing must be attained.”  Proverbs 3:5-6 encourages us to trust in the Lord with all our heart.  We mustn’t lean on our own understanding, acknowledge him, and he’ll make our paths straight.  But Helen Keller (1880–1968), a political activist noted, “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.  Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”

Thursday, April 5, 2018

True Happiness

Then the Lord your God will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands and in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your land.  The Lord will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your ancestors, if you obey the Lord your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
–Deut 30:9-10

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.
–1 Tim 6:17

Saint Augustine of Hippo (354–430 AD), a Christian theologian and philosopher wrote, “Every man, whatsoever his condition, desires to be happy.”  But from where does this happiness come?  How can we find such happiness?  Charles Spurgeon (1834–1892), an English Baptist preacher explained, “Those who are ‘beloved of the Lord’ must be the most happy and joyful people to be found anywhere upon the face of the earth.”

Desire of Happiness

Thomas Boston (1676–1732), a Scottish theologian and philosopher remarked, “Consider what man is.  He is a creature that desires happiness, and cannot but desire it.  The desire of happiness is woven into his nature, and cannot be eradicated.  It is natural for him to desire as it is to breathe.”  In Jeremiah 15:16 it’s written that to be called by your name, O Lord God of hosts gives joy and delight to our hearts.

George Whitefield (1714–1770), an English Anglican cleric questioned, “Does [Jesus] want your heart only for the same end as the devil does, to make you miserable?  No, he only wants you to believe in him, that you might be saved.  This, this, is all the dear Savior desires, to make you happy, that you may leave your sins, to sit down eternally with him.”  

C. S. Lewis (1898–1963), a British theologian said, “It is a Christian duty … for everyone to be happy as he can.”  Lewis further explained, “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday by the sea.  We are far too pleased.”

Believe in Jesus

James 5:11 tells us that we should count those blessed as the ones who endure like Job.  We have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings because he is full of compassion and is merciful.  Johnathan Edwards (1703–1758), a preacher and theologian wrote, “There is no man upon the earth who isn’t earnestly seeking after happiness, and it appears abundantly by the variety of ways they so vigorously seek it; they will twist and turn every way, ply all instruments, to make themselves happy men” For Christians the answer lies with knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.