Opportunity Answers

Hope Stands —  October 5, 2014 — 2 Comments

opportunity answersMy friend was reminiscing about her grandchildren.  She had a hard life, to say the least, and was marveling at the opportunities her grandchildren were experiencing: excellent schooling, trips to world-class museums, traveling sports teams, a wonderful church and friends.

Thumbing through their school yearbook, she said to me, “I can’t help but think how my life would have turned out if I had been given all of these opportunities.”  When she was growing up, she didn’t have any of these opportunities.  As I said, her life had been really tough; but she grew to be a loving and faithful mother.

So I looked at her and said, “Maybe you were not the one to be given the opportunity, but maybe you were the one to give the opportunity.”

Looking at her face and seeing the love she had for her grandchildren, I knew that she wouldn’t change that for the world.  Giving opportunities to others is far greater than just getting opportunities for ourselves.

God forms us through all the trials and hardships of life to be the kinds of people who will give blessing and opportunity to others.  This is your calling.

Jesus said in Matthew 10:39 that we must lose ourselves in order to find ourselves.  This means that the greatest opportunity we have is to give opportunities to others.

Instead of worrying how you can get yourself ahead in this world, why not pause and look around, to see how you can be a blessing to others today?  There is so much freedom in forgetting to put ourselves at the center of it all.

The center belongs to Jesus Christ and he wants to use you to reach those that are far from him or in need.  Don’t look for opportunity to knock in your life, but find out how you can be the answer to someone else’s knocking.

(from Soul Tattoo: A Life and Spirit Bearing the Marks of God)

No Ordinary Weasel

Hope Stands —  October 1, 2014 — Leave a comment

weaselToday, Sam tells a story about a weasel and an eagle.  He encourages us not to let go.  This was first heard on the Moody Radio Network.

Click the player below to listen.

Jesus Can’t Do Anything

Hope Stands —  September 30, 2014 — Leave a comment

Jesus-Christ-Pictures-2509“I can do nothing on my own.”  Who do you think said this?  Some washed up teen with low self-esteem, groveling in the misery of his most recent failure?  How about a bedraggled mom, just trying to make it through an average Tuesday, between soccer practice and the grocery store?  A blue-collar man, scraping to get by?  A business woman, who hasn’t yet caught a break?

You might be shocked, but it was Jesus, the Son of God.

The very Son of God said, “I can do nothing on my own” (John 5:30).

If Jesus Christ couldn’t do anything on his own, then what hope is there for us?

Answer: none.

Unless, of course, we do what Jesus did.  He depended on God, every moment of his life.  That’s how he made it through each day, whether doing mundane chores with his dad or raising the dead.

This is a simple, yet profound definition of what it means to be a Christian.  In case you think that being a Christian means you have to be religious or righteous or a certain temperament, let Jesus set you straight.  To be a Christian simply means that you live your life in dependence on God, just like Jesus.

You depend on God both for life and for eternal life.  You depend on God for your sense of purpose and worth, for security and provision.  You admit that you can’t do anything on your own, so you live like it.  You know you can’t do anything right or change your behavior, so you depend on the power of God.  You refuse to be arrogant and you recognize that you don’t have what it takes.

This is the beginning of humility.  Humility is not thinking bad things about yourself, but having the courage to get over yourself so that you can get to depending on God as quickly as possible.

It takes guts to admit, “I can do nothing on my own.”  But I can anticipate what might happen.  You might admit this, but then you’ll never push through to depending on God.  If you do this, it reveals that you never believed in the first place, but were just having a pity party.  The one who truly embraces this reality will subsequently embrace the power of God.

(Be sure to check out Soul Tattoo: A Life and Spirit Bearing the Marks of God, now available at your favorite bookstore.)



materialismDriving to work today, I saw two guys in an expensive, luxury car.  Sitting in my beat up Scion XA, I was embarrassed.  I was embarrassed because I am so rich and well-off.  I watch the news.  I see how the rest of the world lives, the struggles they endure, and I get embarrassed in their proverbial presence.  Billions of my fellow human beings live content lives with far less.  It’s embarrassing to have the privilege of owning a car at times, isn’t it?  Even an average one.

It’s embarrassing to have nice clothes, too.  And good food.  And running water.  I’m so spoiled.  It feels like this to me:  Imagine you’re at home on the second floor.  During the middle of the night you hear a strange noise coming from downstairs.  Instead of going down to check it out yourself, you send your three year old downstairs to face the bugler alone.  Meanwhile, you stay upstairs, safe in your comfortable bed, while your child struggles below.

That’s what gets me.  Most of the time, we get embarrassed when we don’t have the nicest car, latest phone, trendiest clothes, etc., but I think we ought to be more embarrassed if we do.  We ought to be embarrassed to drive our nice cars, wear our expensive clothes, and mess around on our fancy phones, all the while, billions are dying on the first floor in the fight called life.

Isn’t it embarrassing to be the kind of person who’s constantly worried about appearance and the opinions of others?  About “keeping up with the Joneses?”  Isn’t it embarrassing to be such a shallow kind of human being?  I know it’s embarrassing to me.

It’s embarrassing that I require so many nonessentials just to keep happy.  It’s embarrassing that materialism and culture have such a grip on me and that the opinions of others are so potentially devastating to me.

Many are embarrassed to admit that they believe in God or Jesus Christ; but what’s even more embarrassing is not to believe him, giving more credence to Hollywood rather than Heaven.