Three Things to Remember
The older I get, the more often I hear the question: Don’t you remember how it used to be?
This question was repeated several times this morning in a conversation, and it reminded me of a tender scene in The Lion King when Mufasa challenges Simba: “Remember who you are. You are my son, and the one true King. Remember who you are.”
Like Simba, there are times we need to remember who we are—We are children of the King. This is not some simple mantra to be repeated; it is a truth full of practical applications when, like Simba, you lose your way.
When you truly realize you are a child of the King, you can:
As a child of the King, God speaks to you and says: I will hold your right hand: Fear not, I will help you.
If you could look inside your head, would you find the thought center of your mind dotted with the warts of worry and the ulcers of anxiety? If so, you might find some comfort in the potent promise of Isaiah 26:3: You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
Here’s the simple truth of this verse: If your mind is not staying on God, it’s straying from Him, and it’s easily disoriented by the worries of life. Undisciplined thoughts leave room for unfounded arguments that foster fear; however, Christ-centered thinking augments your faith and smothers the fires of anxiety.
Billy Graham has said, Historians will probably call our era “the age of anxiety.” Anxiety is the natural result when our hopes are c entered on anything short of God and His will for us.
Worry and anxiety are expressions of fear and both can be attributed to a sense of lacking or loneliness. The next time your mind begins to agonize over thoughts like these, mobilize by taking these steps:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
Hi Dad. I think about you every day, but it’s been quite some time since I last wrote. I’ve never been much of a fan of greeting cards—Hallmark would go broke if they depended on me.
Anyway, since today is July 7th, and your 88th birthday, I thought it was time for a little talk. A lot has happened since May 25, 1965—our last goodbye. You walked out the door and headed to Cities Service for another eight hours of work in the oil patch, and you never came home.
You were about two months shy of your 36th birthday, and I was 12 and in 6th grade. I thought you were old, but now that I’m 64, I know how young you really were—perspective is a strange thing.
I’m thankful for the memories that I have of you. They were formed through the things you taught me, and I’ve passed those lessons on to my kids.
Speaking of my kids, there’s a little bit of you in both of them. I coached Wade throughout little league, and he learned to hit, catch and throw the same way you taught me; and he’s now coaching his daughter and son.
I remember how much you loved to whistle and sing. Jennifer has your appreciation for a good song, and a beautiful voice. You would enjoy listening to her sing.
I never told you, but when you showered, I would sit outside on the patio and listen to you sing: Mocking Bird Hill, Red River Valley, and Get Along Home Cindy were your favorites.
Whenever I drive East towards Eureka, my thoughts still turn towards Sallyards, and your mom’s chicken and noodles, cherry pie, and singing while she played the piano; and, I can’t forget Grandpa standing on the piano bench. He would have Uncle Jim and Harold Dale standing back to back to see who was the tallest.
By the way, Jim called Monday. He’s the last of the 6 Seymour siblings, but I guess you know that because the rest are with you.
I hope Uncle Kenneth and Aunt Catherine kept their promises to me. I spent quite a bit of time with both of them while they were dying, and asked them to tell you “hi,” and to let you know that I still love you.
Well dad, I better wrap this up. I’ll stop by the cemetery a little later today with a yellow rose; they were your favorite—I still remember.
Happy Birthday and I Love you!
I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live. ~John 11:25
Tuesday morning, I was driving west towards Wichita and I was blessed with the beauty of a double rainbow. As the dazzling colors shone brightly against the distant backdrop of dark and menacing clouds, I was reminded that life is much like that storm.
Throughout a person’s life, he will experience the highs and lows; the sunny days and the threatening storms; and times of crippling sorrow as well as abundant joy. Through all of these moments, there is always a rainbow: the promise of God’s presence and providence.
It was the promise of God’s presence and the hope of His providence that sustained the Apostle Paul in the many heartaches and trials that he endured:
I am at peace and even take pleasure in any weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and afflictions for the sake of the Anointed because when I am at my weakest, He makes me strong. ~2 Corinthians 12:10 The Voice
When the tough times come, and they will, remember to peak behind the clouds—God has a rainbow-full of promises just for you.
. . . when I form a cloud over the Earth and the rainbow appears in the cloud, I’ll remember my covenant between me and you . . .
Genesis 9:16 The Message
When I was a freshman in college, one instructor required his students to memorize a motto of his. I did, and I have never forgotten it: It’s not what I can remember, but what I can never forget that constitutes knowledge; therefore, drill, drill, drill, and review, review, review.
Over the years I have been able to memorize many Bible verses, because I drilled and reviewed them until they were tucked away in my mind. One of these is Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
When I meditate on a particular verse of Scripture, I focus on the individual words within the verse so I can understand the specific meaning of each one of them. The word “through” caught my attention this morning, so I reflected on some verses that use this word:
There are times when life seems like a roller coaster and you are tormented by a series of bone rattling, and hope shaking ups and downs. These are the times that you need to kick the “I can’t” thoughts in the seat of the pants, and focus on the “I can” of Philippians 4:13.
The you should review its truth and drill its meaning:
When you live your life through the strength of Christ, you will be thoroughly blessed:
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you. ~Isaiah 43:2
When I was a kid, Mom made birthdays special by allowing her children to pick the menu for supper. A few days in advance, she would ask: “What do you want me to cook for your birthday?”
I knew if I asked for Mom’s special chocolate cake, I would receive it for dessert. Asking with the hope of receiving is part of life’s journey, and it’s one of the themes of the Bible:
A wonderful promise found in Psalm 55:16 encourages you to call out to God: As for me, I will call upon God, and the Lord shall save me. This verse is evidence of God’s desire to have a relationship with you. When you call to Him:
Why limit yourself to just one special day out of the year, when everyday can be a special day with God?
Yesterday was the first day of 2016, and it’s the day that many people announce their resolutions for the coming year. I you read this blog yesterday, you know that I encouraged you to “join me in making at least this one resolution for 2016: I will be a disciple who glorifies the Father by abiding in Christ.”
I based this resolution on John 15:7-11: “If you remain in Me and My words remain in you [that is, if we are vitally united and My message lives in your heart], ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified and honored by this, when you bear much fruit, and prove yourselves to be My [true] disciples. I have loved you just as the Father has loved Me; remain in My love [and do not doubt My love for you]. If you keep My commandments and obey My teaching, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love. I have told you these things so that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy may be made full and complete and overflowing.”
When I was studying this Scripture, I read the Amplified version, and it offers some interesting concepts related to our resolution:
When you think of the 4 points above, I hope you realize that joy, not happiness, is the focus of each of these. Jesus said, “I have told you these things so that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy may be made full and complete and overflowing.”
The Bible only uses the word “happy” or “happiness” about 30 times, while “joy” and rejoice” are found around 300 times. You will never find true contentment in the contents of merchandise that has been neatly packaged and gift wrapped. It is not the result of the final score in one of the many football games played at this time of the year, and its not found in the empty promises of politicians.
Joy can’t be purchased and it’s not the victim of circumstances; it’s the fruit of a genuine relationship with God that perseveres.
Even though Paul had been arrested and jailed, he had learned to be “content” regardless of his situation, and He said: “Rejoice in the Lord always.”
I hope you use these 4 points throughout 2016, so you can be “disciple who glorifies the Father by abiding in Christ.”
Many people, and especially the kids, are counting down the days to Christmas and know that it is just a couple of weeks away. A much smaller number of people are eagerly counting the days to another event that will happen eight weeks after Christmas.
In about 72 days, the umps will shout “Play Ball,” and baseball’s Spring Training will begin. Each of these talented players caught the eye of a scout because he was an All Star during his high school or college years. When he steps across the white chalk line to play America’s Game, he joins the best of the best and the cream of the crop on a finely manicured field of dreams.
Aren’t you thankful that God didn’t scout you and make you prove your worth before He chose you? He selected you just like He did the Hebrews:
“It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.” ~Deuteronomy 7:7-9
Even though there’s nothing special about you, Moses says that God has chosen you and made you the special object of His love. If the two verses above were a book, the four chapter titles would be:
He doesn’t love you because you are good, smart, pretty, wise or because you have great faith. God loves you because He is love; and, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (I John 4:10).”
A parody by Stephen Colbert reminded me of a project that projected great benefits to potential investors. On a recent show, Colbert mocked the Vessyl smart cup. The designers of the cup claim that it can distinguish between a cappuccino or a black coffee with the added benefit of tracking your caloric intake and how much sugar and caffeine you are ingesting.
This full-of-potential-cup has hit the market half empty of promise: It only tracks how much water you are drinking and sells for $99.
This hoopla and hype reminds me of a crowd funding project that cost me somewhere around a $100 to get 3 or 4 tracking devices. It sounded like an inexpensive way to track an expensive or important item. After syncing the device to a smartphone, you attach it to whatever you want to track and then monitor the location on the screen of your phone.
Since Hank, my dog, is a prized companion, I attached a chip to his collar and said, “Alright,” which Hank interprets as, and “I’m free to run.” I watched the blip on my phone for about 10 seconds and then it disappeared.
After I whistled Hank in, I contacted the company. I was informed that the device was for finding things like a lost set of car keys in your house, and could only track items within a short distance—10 to 15 feet not a block or two.
Projects like these offer the hope of riches, wealth, and an easier way of life, but they can be empty promises. When I read the story about the Vessyl, it reminded me of the wise words of Solomon:
The safest investment you will ever make is not going to found on Wall Street or in in a crowd funding project, it will always be Jesus:
“I assure you,” Jesus said, “there is no one who has left house, brothers or sisters, mother or father, children, or fields because of Me and the gospel, who will not receive 100 times more, now at this time—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and eternal life in the age to come. But many who are first will be last, and the last first (Mark 10:29-31).”