How much does it cost?

I have some friends in Las Vegas for a conference.  They are in direct sales with a company called Nerium International.  (They are Jolynn Sullivan, Joy Appel, and Emily (Appel) Grogg.)  My wife Diane was in direct sales with Partylite for many years and did very well.  The friends who are in Vegas right now are being pumped up to go home and sell and get their friends selling.  They can do that only if they believe in their product, and they do.  Diane believed in the quality of the candles she sold, and likely still thinks they are the best candles on the market.

My friends in Vegas are asking their Facebook friends if they would be interested in a product that decreases their stress by 70% and decreases fatigue by 79%.  One person asked how much it costs.  When I read that, I had an epiphany… a light bulb moment.  We always ask, “How much does it cost?” While that is a valid question, there is another question that is just as valid: “How much is it worth?”  How much is it worth to you to have more energy?  How much is it worth to you to feel less stressed?  Keep in mind I am not selling Nerium, but as I always do, I am about to take you deeper.

One of my favorite parables from the Bible referencing the cost and the value can be found in Matthew 13:44:

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure, buried in a field, that a man found and reburied. Then in his joy he goes and sells everything he has and buys that field.

There was no concern about what the cost was.  The man found something so valuable that he was willing to give up everything to gain it.  If you can have the kingdom of heaven, is not the cost irrelevant?  Missionary Jim Elliot wrote in his journal in 1949: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” This was five years before he lost his life (on this side of eternity) in the mission field.  What Elliot gained through following Jesus was far greater – so much so that the cost was worth it.

I do not know how well the new Nerium product works, but I have no doubt that whatever the cost of following Christ, it is worth it.

*

*

*

*

 

Advertisements
Posted in Opportunity, salvation | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who you are

Last night Diane and I went to a church camp outside of Moorefield, WV.  It was youth night and young person after young person got up in front of a crowd of 150 people to sing and speak and dance about their faith.  There must have been 25-30 young people who stood with a microphone, many saying it was their first time to stand in that position.  It was beautiful the way everyone would shout encouragement to each other and cheer.  For those who stood before the 150 people and admitted to fighting depression, words were often few and far between as they intermittently broke through  silence.  When the pauses were long, cheers and shouts of encouragement erupted.

I am not a therapist.  I do not know what is happening that so many people, especially young people, suffer from depression.  I do not want to do any harm through my blog and offer any bad advice or cause guilt.  But I know this much.  The answer is not found in Facebook or illegal drugs or alcohol or wealth or fame or sex.  The answer is not found in anything this world has to offer.  If the answer were in any of these things, we would not have so many people battling depression.

I think the best I can do in this short space is to quote something I wrote in a 2012 blog post:

…helping others is the miracle cure for almost every one of our ailments! Depressed?  Go help someone, you’ll be uplifted.  Got pride?  Go volunteer at a homeless shelter or prison and you’ll be humbled and grateful.  Is your heart broken?  Go visit a children’s hospital and you’ll see and hear about faith that moves mountains that will help your broken heart be mended.

God knew what He was doing when He told us to visit the lonely, clothe the naked, feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, etc.  Not only are we gaining an eternal reward, but there is a side-effect.  (It’s not gas or bloating, and it does last longer than 4 hours.)   Serving others makes this life so much more meaningful and is exactly what “THE Doctor” ordered to relieve the ailments in our own lives.

Finally, I wish you could see yourself as God sees you and believe what He says about you.  I invite you to listen to this new Lauren Daigle song:

*

*

*

*

 

Posted in depression, Hard times, Opportunity | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Nothing can separate you from the love of God

Last week the church had the air conditioners at the parsonage and the church serviced for their yearly maintenance. The AC company found a very dirty filter in the parsonage (the parsonage is another word for the pastor’s home provided by the church).  For the past few years I have been very faithful in keeping fresh filters installed.  However, the past 8 months or so I have obviously not been so diligent.  And just so we knew what size we needed, somebody put a note on the embarrassingly dirty filter that said “parsonage filter – 20 x 25 x 1” and set it outside the door of the church.  I got a clean filter, put it in the house, and got rid of the dirty one as soon as I saw it.  It was obvious that I had wrongly neglected changing the filter.

Most of the time, our wrongs are not put out for all to see.  Most of the time, very few people know about them, and we try to keep them hidden.  It is one of the problems with trying to help people with their addiction problem.  Too many people try to keep it hidden.  What we must remember is we all have our baggage.  We all have our wrongs.  We are all sinners.  We must also remember that Jesus loved and still loves sinners.  That is good news for everyone.  1 John 1:8 says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”  We are all sinners.  Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Some of us have no problem believing we are a sinner.  Our sin is ever before us and we are constantly condemning ourselves.  Our problem is not believing we are a sinner, but our problem is believing that Jesus could know everything about us and still love us, and even go so far as to forgive us.  Today I want to remind you that nothing can separate you from the love of God.  He loves you and wants you to pour out your hearts to Him.  He will surely forgive you, and help you forgive yourself.

On the other hand, we must never look upon another’s sin as worse than our own or judge anyone because of their sin.  We must never point out sin to condemn the sinner, but that through the acknowledgement and confession to Jesus of the sin, the sinner may be forgiven and saved… and freed.

It does not matter how well we keep our wrongs hidden or if we shout it from the rooftops.  It does not matter if nobody knows or if the whole world knows.  All that matters is that we take them to God and receive forgiveness.  And only then can we be set free.

*

*

*

*

 

Posted in Obstacles, Opportunity, salvation | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Loving like Jesus

My wife and I probable agree 80% of the time.  (She may disagree with that figure).  I have two sons with whom I do not agree 50% of the time.  But I also am reasonable enough to admit that I am not always right.  Some people will not admit they might not be right.

Some issues are important to one person and not another. Some people see abortion as women’s health care.  Some (including me) see it as the death of a life.  Some people are for more open borders, some are against any type of border enforcement, and others are for a more strict border enforcement.  I am more of a border enforcement believer.  I understand Biblical arguments that could be made for more open borders.  I understand Biblical arguments that can be made for border enforcement by arguing that we are to obey the laws of the nation.  I understand arguments that allow for civil disobedience (such as in the book of Daniel).

I also understand the love of Jesus, even while admitting I do not understand it completely.  I understand the love of Jesus when I am with those with whom I disagree most, or who disagrees with me most.  I sometimes remember that I am to love them like Jesus.  Sometimes I do not love them as I should.

I best understand the love of Jesus when my son wants to make his arguments to me about politics.  Honestly, sometimes I want to act like Archie Bunker.  But I love my son too much.  I do not care how much we disagree on any of today’s hot button issues.  I love our sons.  I love my wife.  And whatever our disagreements, that will never change.  That is a love like Jesus.

Jesus loved people without agreeing with them on everything.  Jesus loved people who did not love Him.  That is how He has called me to love my neighbor.  And all I can tell you is that I am working on it.

*

*

*

*

Posted in Hard times, Opportunity, Walking the Walk | Tagged , | Leave a comment

A better view

You might see today’s blog post as morbid, but there is a great lesson.  This morning I was talking to someone who flies helicopters.  They said they often get called in for searches and rescues.  During their searches, sometimes they find people alive and sadly sometimes they do not.  They can be hovering 200 feet above a lake and see a body at the bottom of the lake when the water is clear.  The people in boats on the water cannot see the bottom of the lake, so the helicopter will radio the boat and tell them where they need to go.  It is a strange conversation, I know and sad to think about, but it is such a great parable.

In a way, we are like the boat on the water and God is like the helicopter.  God has a view that we do not have.  He knows things we do not know.  He can see things we cannot see.  It is important to remember this when we question what He is doing, which for me is quite often.  I hope you remember this the next time you wonder what He is doing.

*

*

*

*

Posted in Hard times | Leave a comment

What are you expecting?

Last week we had a mission team staying at our church.  They went to Washington, DC on a day off from their labors on Thursday.  On the way back they stopped at Roy Rogers for dinner.  The kids had done fund raisers for their mission trip and were allowed to order whatever they wanted to eat so nobody was paying that much attention to what they were ordering.

A ninety pound, thirteen year old young man placed his order and thought he was ordering an eight piece chicken tender meal.  You and I would have seen the description and price and we would have known it was not an eight piece chicken tenders meal, but an eight piece chicken dinner for four people with sides and biscuits.  One of the adults was passing out the food as it came out of the kitchen and was set on the counter for the group.  The adult was befuddled when they said, “8 piece chicken meal, is this ours?”  I had to get a picture of the young man who unknowingly ordered the 8 piece chicken dinner.  He did not realize what he had coming to him.

Sometimes as followers of Jesus, we misunderstand what we have coming to us.  We pray for salvation and commit to follow Jesus and we think we have peace and security coming our way.  We think we can go on living the same exact way we were living before, the only difference being we have added Jesus to our life.  I do not know why we think that.  A life of truly following Him turns our world upside down.  A life following Him angers the enemy of God.  Acts 26:18 says followers of Jesus will, “…open their eyes and turn from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God…”  How do you think the enemy of God will react to that change in you?  You are going to be in a struggle.  The struggle is real, but remember the battle belongs to the Lord.  So stay close to Him.

This is a good word for us all, but I have on my mind today those from North Lewisburg UMC as they return to their normal lives after serving Jesus in such a mighty way last week.  Last week they were ships sailing together in an armada.  This week the enemy will have a chance to get them alone.  When you are vulnerable, double down on your Bible study and prayer time.  Do not let the enemy get you alone.  Stay close to God.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. ~ Ephesians 6:12

*

*

*

*

 

Posted in depression, prayer, Walking the Walk | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

A Healthy Humility

Someone I know has to give an answer on a job opportunity today.  It is their dream job, but it would require them to pack up their family and move.  In their communication with me they worried that it might just be pride making them want to take the job and the humble thing to do might be to stay in their current job in their current community.  I am in prayer for their decision.  I am obviously not able to tell them what they should do.  But I did tell them one thing I know.  If they take the job, it is not because of their lack of humility.

Humility is the fountain through which a life of following Jesus flows.  It takes humility to believe in a power greater than ourselves.  It takes humility to admit you need a Savior.  And it takes humility to follow Jesus.  Yet, serving Him is a topsy turvy life.

  • The first will be last. (Matthew 23:12)
  • Whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (Luke 14:11)
  • A man’s pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor. (Proverbs 29:23)
  • He has brought down rulers from their thrones, but has exalted the humble. (Luke 1:52)
  • Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you. (James 4:10)

It is good for my friend to wonder about his/her humility.  It is a good thing for us all to keep a check on our humility, just as we check our fluid levels in our vehicles.  I believe one of the most difficult things in Christianity is the ability to stay humble.  Sometimes God really does exalt the humble and that makes it that much harder to maintain a healthy humility.

He who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory, but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is a man of truth; in Him there is no falsehood. ~ John 7:18

*

*

*

*

 

Posted in Opportunity, prayer, Walking the Walk | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment