Why Four Year Olds Have Parents

What is liberty without wisdom, and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint.   Edmund Burke

My parents may have never heard of Mr, Burke's quote when I was four, but they understood the meaning of the quote every bit as much as Sir Edmund. You see Mom and Dad had a four year old that loved liberty, but who had yet to get the hang of wisdom and virtue.

We were on our way home from the worship and I was ready for my freedom. It's not that I didn't like worship and Sunday school, it's just that the clothes they put me in were quite restrictive.

Church clothes were invented by mothers who wanted their four year old heathens to look like saints. I suspect that the advertising executive who came up with the phrase, "Let's put some lipstick on the pig", had a four year old boy.

Anyway, we were on our way home from the worship and I was dying to get into my play clothes - when it hit me! I could get out of my dress clothes much faster if I got a bit of a jump on the way home. Soon, everything that could be untied, unbuckled, unbuttoned or unzipped... was. The problem was that when I got out of the car and started clunking up the walk in my untied shoes while clinging all of my loose garments to myself, my parents noticed. And, meddlesome people that they were when I was four, decided that it was time to impart another of their seemingly endless lessons on wisdom and virtue.

I didn't understand discipline when I was four, but I think I do now. I have witnessed many people through the years who seemed to have fun for a while but who, in the end, suffered greatly from their lack of restraint. It makes me grateful for parents who understood the importance of restraint, and it makes me eternally grateful to my Father in Heaven for doing the same.

You see, God's laws give freedom. However, many people look upon His instruction the same way I looked upon restraint when I was young - as something that limits freedom. It's not until we learn to appreciate our freedom in Christ, that we will ever appreciate the wisdom of restraint.

Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul. Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law.

Proverbs 29:17-18, NIV

 

Why Do You Believe What You Believe?

Any fool can believe what he wants to believe... and most do! It takes a wise man to believe what God wants him to believe.

Leroy Brownlow tells the story of an experienced marksman who was walking down a country lane . As he approached a village, he noticed targets that had been drawn all along that road. They were everywhere - on trees and fence posts and barns - and the man was astounded to see at the very center of every one of the targets was a bullet hole.

The man was so impressed that he simply had to find the person who had performed this incredible feat of marksmanship. When he got to town he was soon directed to the man who had done the shooting and he asked him to what he attributed this amazing skill. Was it continual practice? Some extraordinary, inborn talent? A new, sophisticated rifle? The man just smiled and said, "It's nothing, really. I just shoot first and draw the target afterward."

Have you ever known anyone like that? I have to admit that it's a trait far too common among those in my profession. We are all human and we all want to appear to be right, so we sometimes form the opinion and then surround that opinion with any facts that might lend their support to our way of thinking.

But, we must realize that this is something we cannot afford to do as God's servants. This is why our daily Bible readings are so important. Each day we have the invitation to sit at the feet of the Creator and receive His perfect instruction. There will be times that we don't understand a specific passage, but that's okay - just keep reading. God inspired the writers of His word, so we can be confident there are no mistakes. He loves us dearly, so we don't have to worry that He is somehow trying to trick or mislead us in any way.

So if you and I can refrain from shooting first and drawing the target later, it is very likely that we will come to understand the Gospel of Christ, rather than the gospel according to you and me. This one practice might prove to be the difference in determining whether we will live as wise men or as fools.

Have you read your Bible today? 

Seek and you will find.

Jesus, as recorded in Matthew 7:7, NIV

 

Would You Trade a Million Dollars for What You Have?

God brings men into deep waters, not to drown them, but to cleanse them.

Aughey

Harold Abbott had just lost his store due to a severe downturn. Depressed and more than a bit desperate, he was walking to the bank to borrow $100 so that he could go to another town to look for a job. On the way to the bank, he had an experience that would change his life forever. He came across a man without legs. The man pushed himself around on a cart with roller skate wheels. He had just crossed the street and was lifting himself onto the curb when he saw Mr. Abbott looking his way. Catching his eye, the man gave Mr. Abbott a beautiful smile and in a spirited voice said, "Good morning, sir! It is a fine morning, isn't it?"

This chance event changed the way Harold Abbott viewed his own circumstance. A minute earlier he had been walking down the street, tired and defeated. Yet, in the time that it took for one man to greet another, his entire outlook on life was dramatically changed. He had met a man with a true handicap - a man with genuine troubles. Yet he was not discouraged, because outside factors did not dictate this man’s outlook on life.

How about you? Would you take a million dollars for your legs... for your sight... for your family... for your faith? If your answer is no, then you are rich! Instead of moping when we are feeling a bit poor, we should fall to our knees and thank the Lord for the wealth that He has heaped upon our lives. We all have countless blessings that we would not take any amount of money for, so why can’t we see it? The fact is that we are rich and we are going to Heaven, if we will remain faithful to God's plan. How could we not be thankful for all that the Lord has given us? Would you trade a million dollars for what God has given to you?

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. 

Colossians 2:6-7, NIV

 

Who Is Your Leader?

A politician thinks of the next election; a statesman thinks of the next generation. James Freeman Clarke

I was watching a news program this morning wherein the panel discussed the nation's problems and concluded that our leaders were unlikely to solve any of the country's serious woes until after the 2012 election. I hope that they are wrong since the election is over a year away, but I fear that they are not given the fact that America is, at the present time, a divided nation. It is sad to come to that conclusion, but it seems the only logical explanation for our present malaise. Still, it seems inconceivable that a nation with problems requiring immediate attention would just sit back for more than a year until a new leadership could be put in place.

This was the pathetic line of reasoning I had until it dawned on me that our political "leaders" really are not our leaders at all. God is our leader, not man, and the sooner we come to that understanding, the sooner we will be able to address our problems. The reason this world get into these messes from time to time is that its inhabitants forget what we are here for and who our Leader is.

So, what are we here for?

If we listen to the political class, we are here for social programs, wealth redistribution, human rights, animal rights, the rights of the planet, and for whatever the politically correct man of our day decides is moral and just for the times that we live in.

What a bunch of nonsense!

We are here, to serve our Lord and Savior. We are here to love God with all of our heart and soul and mind and strength. We are here to love our neighbors and our enemies. We are here to seek God and keep His commands, not the ever changing whims of political correct dogma.

When we get to the point that we have to wait for a new set of political "leaders" to come in and fix our problems, then we have failed. The only Leader who has ever been able to truly fix the world's problems is God, and we don't have to wait until next year to ask Him for the proper solutions to the woes of this world.

If we will just realize that our times are in God's hands and stop putting our lives on hold for some new leader to rescue us from ourselves, then we might just begin to be able to solve our own problems. God has never let us down - not once - and we need to have the wisdom to turn to Him when we need help. Only you, with God's help, can fix your problems, so get to work. God will help, but we have to trust Him and then get to work.

But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, "You are my God." My times are in your hands... Psalms 31:14-15, NIV  

 

Who Controls Your Life?

Many things about tomorrow I don't seem to understand; but I know who holds tomorrow and I know who holds my hand. Ira Stanphill

I wish that I had learned the truths contained in this old Gospel song many years ago. Sometimes it seems like all we do is worry about our future - and it begins at an early age. When going into Jr. High we worry if we will fit in, or be laughed at, or get beat up. Going into Sr. High we worry about the same things, plus our worries over boyfriends or girlfriends, or whether or not we will make the team or the grades.

Then we worry about college and jobs and whether or not we'll ever get married. When we are married, we worry about whether or not we'll have kids and then, when we do have kids, we worry about how we can afford them. We still worry about our jobs and now we worry about our cars holding out and the roofs over our heads holding up.

Then we start worrying about the same things for our kids that we worried about for ourselves when we were their age. And we worry about affording braces and teenager's car insurance and tuition. Then we worry about getting older and retirement and our health.  Isn't it odd how the things we worry about either happened or they didn't and we still got by? Wouldn't it be nice to never have to worry again?

The fact is that many people do live without worry because they have discovered the secret: They trust God! It's like when we were three - we didn't worry about food or cars or rent because Mom and Dad were there and we trusted them. It's when we return to that simple, childlike faith, that we begin to trust in the One who really does hold all of our tomorrows. And, it is then that life becomes everything that our Creator designed it to be.

"So do not worry, saying, "What shall we eat?" or "What shall we drink?" or "What shall we wear?"... Your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness,  and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself." Jesus (Matthew 6:31-34, NIV)