Graduation: Another Step in Life’s Journey

IMG_0133Last week I attended two celebrations that involved two of my grandchildren; one was promoted from 8th grade to begin her high school journey, and the other said goodbye to high school and Gig ‘em as she looks forward to four years at Texas A&M.

While many students were involved in these ceremonies, many more people were assembled in the stadium seats to applaud their accomplishments and to cheer them on as the pursue their dreams. The parents, some teary-eyed, and all proud, were witnesses to the academic successes of their young graduates.

Each family member took on the role of the great cloud of witnesses of Hebrews 12. They can testify of their son’s or daughter’s accomplishments to this point, and the lessons they’ve learned along the way. The wise parents will nudge their children forward and remind them that the milestone they have just reached is not the finish line—it is a significant step in the marathon of life.IMG_0106

Most of this year’s high school graduates have expended 6,570 days of an average lifespan that is about 29,200 days long.  There’s not a single one of these grads who has lived their life exactly life one of their peers, and this is because each of them are unique.

The words of  Max Lucado are a fitting conclusion to my thoughts: You weren’t an accident. You weren’t mass produced. You aren’t an assembly-line product. You were deliberately planned, specifically gifted, and lovingly positioned on the Earth by the Master Craftsman

Q and A Session

q and aWhen you encounter a unique life experience, begin a new job, or you’re introduced to a new concept, do you find yourself with more questions than answers? If so, a question and answer session can be helpful.

Isaiah 40:28 is a verse that begins with two questions that are followed by a soothing answer: Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the whole earth. He never grows faint or weary; and, there is no limit to His wisdom and understanding.

While we’ll never know everything, there is to know about God, we do know that He is faithful and capable to meet our needs.

Think about it:

  • God is not bound by time; He’s everlasting.
  • God’s strength is never exhausted; He never grows faint or weary.
  • God is all knowing; there’s no limit to His wisdom and understanding.

Psalm 147:5 summarizes my comments, and it’s a good verse to reflect on; so, I’ll close with it: Great is our Lord and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite.

Courage and Strength

strength_-_courage_-_love_-_handstamped_solid_copper_necklace_with_sw_b6a6f3a8I started today as I do most days–with a cup of coffee and the Psalms.  As I was reading Psalms 31, I stopped to consider the 24th verse: Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord.
It occurred to me that God’s strength builds you up; His love fills you up; and His arms lift you.
Keep this thought with you today, and you’ll begin to know the power of God’s promise to Paul:  My grace is sufficient.

Alias: Who Am I?

aliasAs you live your life, do you project your true identity or are you living under the guise of an alias? Are you living your life as the real deal or a wannabe?

A case in point is the person who has never owned a motorcycle, but insists on decorating his body with Harley-Davidson tattoos.

During a time of persecution and trials, some believers were struggling with their new found identity as a Christian.  To boost their morale, Peter reminded them: You are a chosen people, set aside to be a royal order of priests, a holy nation, God’s own; so that you may proclaim the wondrous acts of the One who called you out of inky darkness into shimmering light (I Peter 2:9).

Taking a cue from Peter, I’d like to remind you of your true identity:

When your identity is challenged by some person or circumstance, remember who you are in Jesus: Paul said, We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us (Romans 8:37).

Are You Among the Wealthy?

wealthThe book of Proverbs is a pithy collection of wisdom that I read so I can benefit from its wise and insightful commentary on life.  As I was reading the 11th chapter this morning, a few verses caught my attention, and one in particular caused me to pause and reflect on its meaning:   One person is generous and yet grows more wealthy, but another withholds more than he should and comes to poverty.

Over the years of my life, I’ve worked with people from all walks and stations of life; some have been known for their wealth, and others have had very little of this life’s goods. It’s been my observation that some of the wealthiest have been the poorest and some of the poorest have been the wealthiest.

The difference between these people, is found in your answer to this question: Do you own your possessions or do they possess you?

Some people are like Abraham, Joseph, and Job; they are people of great wealth, but they are not hoarders.  On the other hand, some people are like King Ahab; they are never satisfied, they always want more, and they are willing to do anything to get what they want.

There’s a third group which seems to be a balance between the first two; these are the people who are content. They are found among the wealthy as well as the poor, and they are content because of the content of their life.

The best way I can explain this is to quote the Apostle Paul: I have learned to be content in any circumstance. I have experienced times of need and times of abundance. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of contentment, whether I go satisfied or hungry, have plenty or nothing.  I am able to do all things through the one who strengthens me (Philippians 4:11-13).

When the content of Paul’s life changed, he learned to be content.  He quit chasing after religious and worldly acclaim and learned the real treasure in life is found in Jesus Christ. This radical shift in his thinking changed his perspective and his deepest longings were satisfied.

You may never be wealthy by the world’s standards, but you can enjoy riches that pay eternal dividends. You can discover true wealth by doing what Paul did: You can invest in the lives of others by:

  • Being generous
  • Showing mercy, with cheerfulness
  • Loving without hypocrisy
  • Rejoicing in hope; being patient in affliction; and being persistent in prayer
  • Sharing with the saints in their needs
  • Pursuing hospitality.

Based on the list above, how wealthy are you?