Wednesday, May 28, 2014

"We have seen strange things today!"

"You are remembered for the rules you break." - General MacArthur

Upon meeting with the Emperor of Japan after the War had ended, MacArthur was given a certain protocol to follow:

Sit to the left of the Emperor
Do not look into his eyes when speaking to him
Do not offer to shake his hand
Do not stand in his shadow

Naturally, if you know the brash, cocky, bold confidence MacArthur carried with him, he did the complete opposite of what he was supposed to do, aside from sitting to the Emperor's left. MacArthur even  insisted they stand side to side for a photograph. Surprisingly, the Emperor agreed to that now famous photo-op.

Sometimes we need to carry that bold confidence that MacArthur had, if anything, to build up our own faith. One of my favorite stories in the Bible was when Jesus healed a paraplegic. What makes this story so much more fascinating was how the way the man was brought to Jesus:

Some men arrived carrying a paraplegic on a stretcher. They were looking for a way to get into the house and set him before Jesus. When they couldn’t find a way in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof, removed some tiles, and let him down in the middle of everyone, right in front of Jesus. Impressed by their bold belief, he said, “Friend, I forgive your sins.”
21 That set the religion scholars and Pharisees buzzing. “Who does he think he is? That’s blasphemous talk! God and only God can forgive sins.”
22-26 Jesus knew exactly what they were thinking and said, “Why all this gossipy whispering? Which is simpler: to say ‘I forgive your sins,’ or to say ‘Get up and start walking’? Well, just so it’s clear that I’m the Son of Man and authorized to do either, or both. . . .” He now spoke directly to the paraplegic: “Get up. Take your bedroll and go home.” Without a moment’s hesitation, he did it—got up, took his blanket, and left for home, giving glory to God all the way. The people rubbed their eyes, incredulous—and then also gave glory to God. Awestruck, they said, “We’ve never seen anything like that!” (Luke 5:17-26)

God wants us to approach Him in boldness with our needs and have the confidence that He will meet that need. More and more I realize how important it is to daily remind ourselves of His promises by reading His Word.

If you live in an area with no access to a Bible, click on for more of God's encouraging Word.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Money, Money, Money

If you bought a used couch and found $40,000 stuffed in it, would you search for the owner and return the money?

Or, suppose you had won $60,000 at the Kentucky Derby, would you give some of that money away?

These two questions are intriguing, and yet I find it interesting that these two stories really happened in the same week.

Three college students bought a used couch from the Salvation Army for $20 back in February. Just recently they found  the couch that they had been lounging on was stuffed with envelopes full of money. One of the envelopes had a name written on it. The kids chose to do the right thing.

One of the students had their mother search for the woman whose name was revealed on one of the envelopes. The elderly woman had been given envelopes of money to stash away from her sick husband. After a long illness, the gentleman passed away and his wife forgot all about the money they had been hiding in the couch for years. The elderly woman rewarded the honesty of the three students with $3,000.

Wes Welker, a highly-paid successful football player won over $50,000 at the Kentucky Derby. After collecting his winnings, he was found leaving the park handing out $100 bills to people. But in recent days, the Park is saying that they had overpaid him by $15,000 and they want him to return the money.
Wes Welker says he won't return the money because it's their mistake.

I am hoping he changes his tune on returning the money, because it's the honest thing to do. I do applaud him though on his generosity.

I always thought one of the most important character traits that every human being should carry is honesty.
Thomas Jefferson once said,

"Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom."

Being honest and doing the right thing is a reward in itself. And somehow God sees that and rewards us in someway for choosing to do the right thing.

The other parallel I also get from these two stories is how the poor (in this case the students) chose to do the honest thing, while the other, the rich athlete, chose the opposite in not returning the overpaid money.

Money changes people extensively. Perhaps this is why Jesus taught us,

"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

God isn't against us having money, but He wants us to choose wisely in spending that money. More importantly, by investing in the kingdom of God through love. When we give out of love, expecting nothing in return, God will bless that a million times over.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Babes in Training

Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.
- Proverbs 22:6 

Their cute when their young, but lookout when they get older! They will honk alot and poop all over your sidewalk. Nope, I'm not talking about babies in the human form, but goslings who eventually turn into adult geese. Early spring each year, we have a goose who nests on our lower office roof. It's ironic she always has her babies just before Mothers Day, go figure. After they hatch, mother goose will walk up and down atop the roof making sure the babes learn to follow her. Mother will not lead them away until they have learned to follow, which usually lasts a day and a half.

When mother feels they are ready, she will fly down from the lower roof and call them down. The goslings don't have wings yet, so it takes a little courage on their part to jump. They float down as if parachuting. You can checkout my video of this on YouTube, under the heading "Davesphotoshop".

Just recently an 11 year-old dolphin at a Chicago zoo gave birth to a baby. The mother, named Spree, was brought to Brookfield Zoo from another zoo so she could learn maternal instincts from an older mother dolphin who has had lots of experience in having babies successfully.

I find it interesting how these mothers of a different kind, closely resemble the parental guidance,training and instincts we humans carry. How can anyone say there isn't a God?

If you are a parent and have children that you've raised properly, and you feel like you've failed because they aren't walking the way you have taught them, be strong and keep praying for them. If you have taught them properly as babes, that which you have taught will never leave them. It may just take a little longer for it to sink in with them.

Pray without ceasing.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

My Dentist is Great, How About Yours?

"I told my dentist my teeth are going yellow, he told me to wear a brown tie."
- Rodney Dangerfield

Your in the waiting room at the dentist, staring blankly at the fish tank while your nerves are running up and down your spine, as you listen to the sound of a drill powering it's way inside someone's mouth. So much for the fish tank bringing you peace and comfort.

While sitting in the waiting room on a recent dentist visit (only a teeth cleaning, thank God!), I caught a glimpse of my dentist wearing a neck brace. Naturally all kinds of thoughts crossed my imaginative mind: did a patient jump at the size of the needle and scare the dentist to where his neck snapped? Or did a patient flinch heavily as the drill hit that cavity causing the dentist to fall back hitting his head on the desk? Hmmm, maybe I should just ask him when I have the chance?

I ended up overhearing his conversation while he was working on a patient:

" Thank God He spared my life and gave me more time here on earth to do more of His work, because I enjoy doing it."

My dentist is an avid outdoors guy who enjoys hunting and bicycling. He recently went bicycling on some trails and was going really fast down a hill, took a tumble, landed on his head, and broke 2 vertebrae in his neck. If it weren't for his helmet, and God, he would have died.

What is so unique about my dentist is that every year he will go with a group of dentists to Haiti and provide free dental care to those living in the impoverished country. Sometimes they will go twice a year.
 I love the fact the he recognized his life was spared so he could continue to do more of God's work. Now if only we could recognize that daily when we wake up: that God has given us breath for this new day to do good unto others and that we may continually have praise upon our lips for that new breath He has given us,

Let all that I am praise the Lord, may I never forget the good things He does for me.
- Psalm 103:2

God has given us the greatest promise we could ever receive when we choose to do good,

If you plan to do evil, you will be lost; if you plan to do good, you will receive unfailing love and faithfulness. - Proverbs 14:22

With that promise, I will continue to choose to do good unto others, and I'm glad I have a dentist that chooses to do good,too.