Tag Archives: Inspirational

Divine Intervention and a Lesson in Logic

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A recent conversation with a friend concerning my blog post about anonymously receiving a large bouquet of balloons reminded me of a joke I had once heard from a preacher. The friend asked if I really believed the gift of balloons was the result of divine intervention as I had expressed in the post.

“Yes,” I confidently replied, then told him the joke.

There was a Christian lady who lived next door to an atheist. Whenever the atheist overheard the lady pray, he would mutter to himself that there is no God, and sometimes he would argue with her.

One day she ran out of groceries, and the atheist overheard her praying. “I’ll fix her,” he thought to himself, and he went out and bought bags of groceries, set them on her front porch, rang the doorbell and hid to see what she would do.

When she opened the door and saw the groceries, she shouted, “God did it! God did it! God did it! Thank you, Jesus!”

He jumped out and shouted, “God didn’t do it! I did! I bought those groceries and put them on your porch! See? There is no God!”

The lady started laughing and dancing and praising the Lord.

“Didn’t you hear me?” the atheist asked. “I bought those groceries!”

“I heard you,” she said. “I knew the Lord was gonna provide, but I didn’t know He was gonna make you pay for ‘em!”

Something recently said by a different preacher made me think of another joke. Well, not so much a joke as a cute analogy. The preacher had quoted the first part of James 4:8, which says, “Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.” Unfortunately, he made a logical fallacy by stating that the contraposition must then be true— that if we draw away from God, then He will draw away from us.   So here’s the analogy:

A young man asked a girl out on a date. She accepted, and when he picked her up in his pickup truck, she sat as close to him as she could. They eventually got married, and they continued sitting close together. As the years went by, a space developed between them until one day, the wife lamented that they didn’t seem to be as close as they once were. The husband replied, “Well, honey, I ain’t the one who moved.”

The story reminds me of the parable of the prodigal son, who asked for his inheritance ahead of time, moved to the city, squandered it, and sought to return home as a servant and no longer as a son. All the time he was away, the father prayed and waited for his son’s return, and when he finally did, the father threw a huge party.

The father didn’t move.

It also reminds me of Romans 5:8, “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

If God draws away from us when we draw away from Him, He never would have pursued us nor sought to reveal Himself to us so that we could have a relationship with Him. Divine intervention? Yes!!

 

If you liked this, you might also like… Love Sometimes Comes in Waves

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Happiness Isn’t Free

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A recent conversation with a friend about being happy reminded me of a quote I had saved years ago, because I thought it was so profound.

“To be free to sail the seven seas, you must make yourself a slave to the compass.  Every freedom has a corresponding slavery.  We can be free from the toothbrush and a slave to cavities or a slave to the toothbrush and free from cavities.  For everything we want, we must give up something else.” —Quiet Walk Daily e-Devotional

Just as freedom isn’t free, happiness isn’t free either.  Sometimes sacrifices must be made in order to obtain both freedom and true happiness.  Oftentimes we have to give up one thing in order to have what we ultimately want.  Is it worth it?  Sometimes it’s not a matter of having to give up one thing entirely in order to have another, but it may just be a matter of moderation and setting boundaries.  Both moderation and boundaries have to be maintained, and that takes both time and energy, so it’s still a trade-off.   As my friend, Scott, would ask, “How badly do you want it, and what are you prepared to do?”

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” —Thomas Jefferson

 

If you liked this, you might also like… Wisdom Wednesday: Freedom

Photo credit:  Luca Zaninoni - www.sxc.hu/photo/1330210


The Prayer Journal – A New Road

The final installment of my son’s online fiction series.  If you are just joining, click here for the previous chapters.

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May stepped out from the schoolhouse into the summer sun, tipping her sun hat to shade her eyes and avoid the blinding transition from inside to out. She breathed deeply the early fall air and savored the fresh scent. Her body had finally recovered from the Spanish flu after having been imprisoned on her bed for weeks. Now being in the open outdoors, she relished the life that had come back to her body, savored the smell the warm breeze carried from the wooded hills. “It’s a beautiful day you’ve made, Lord.” May smiled and headed home.

“May I join you?”… (Read more)

 


Where Heaven and Earth Meet

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“Behold, He shall come up as clouds, and His chariots shall be as a whirlwind.”  —Jeremiah 4:13 KJV

 

If you liked this, you might also like:

Wings Like Eagles

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Unconditional Love and Grace Are Not Dirty Words

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A few weeks ago I heard a preacher talk about God’s unconditional love as if it was a dirty word. On another occasion, an old friend spoke of grace with equal disdain. I understand where they were coming from. One was coming from an attitude of legalism, while the other was grieving over grace being taken for granted and used as a license to sin. I am grateful that the pastors and teachers at the church I attend preach about God’s unconditional love and grace in a balanced way and without contempt.

 My daughter and I were discussing how people see truths differently depending on where they are in life and through which lens they are looking. For example, a person who truly recognizes his or her own utter depravity and the amazing grace and unconditional love of God, tends to really understand grace and is able to be gracious toward others. They see grace in a very positive way. Those who tend toward legalism and feel justified because they are able to keep certain commandments or live what they consider to be a good Christian life, tend to view unconditional love and grace with less value and speak contemptuously about churches that emphasize God’s love and grace. It is reminiscent of what Jesus said to Simon, the Pharisee, when he scorned Jesus for allowing a prostitute to wipe His feet with her hair. Jesus said:

“Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gave me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but his woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee, her sins which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much; but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.” (Luke 7:36-50)

The preacher I heard also mentioned visiting a fellow Christian, and upon finding out he had beer in his refrigerator, condemned him and questioned whether or not the man was a true Christian. Even if the man was an alcoholic, it does not mean he is not a Christian. What if he is addicted but wants to quit? What if he agrees with God that his drunkenness is sin? Didn’t the Apostle Paul himself say in the very same letter to the Romans concerning there being “therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”, that he himself does what he doesn’t want to do and doesn’t do what he wants to do? Didn’t Paul call himself a wretched man and thank God for Jesus Christ his Lord? (Romans 7 :14-25)

The attitude of the preacher reminds me of the parable Jesus told of the Pharisee and the publican (with modern claims added in italics and parentheses for emphasis):

And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, “God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. (Alcohol has never touched my lips, nor my feet entered a movie theater. I am in church every time the doors are open, and I go out soul-winning every week.)” And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. —Luke 18:9-14

Another preacher, who is full of grace, has never condemned his crack addict friend. He does not question his love for the Lord just because his friend is in church for a time and then falls back into his crack addiction. This preacher loves his friend unconditionally and encourages him to never, ever, ever give up. Which one would you say is more like Jesus?

Unconditional love and grace are, indeed, not to be used as a license to do whatever we want. If we do that, then it is fair that our love for God would be put in question. But if we hate when we sin, if we agree with God and try to turn away from doing it again…

and again…

and again,

He forgives us 70 x 7, because He is full of grace and a love that does not put conditions on us, like doing penance, before He will love us again. His love is unconditional. A person who simply dismisses sin and makes light of it because of grace and unconditional love, may need to consider the seriousness of sin, the purpose of obedience, and his/her own love for God. Likewise, people who speak of unconditional love and grace with disdain, may need to consider their own depravity and remember from what they themselves have been saved.

If I err, I would rather err on the side of love and grace.

 

If you liked this, you might also like… Love Sometimes Comes in Waves


Reflecting God’s Image, Even His Winsome Side

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Image source: Kevin Benn via Free Images

Although God does have a very serious side, it’s good to be reminded that part of reflecting His image means reflecting His winsome, loving, creative side, too!  My daughter shared an excellent article with me yesterday called Lighten Up, Christians: God Loves a Good Time.

 


Watermelon Love Note

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“We love Him, because He first loved us.”  —1 John 4:19


“If It Ain’t Rainin’, It Ain’t Trainin'”

“If green grass is in your future, God will lead you there, and he will take you down your own path. The path could very well be a dirt road, and all Marines know “if it ain’t rainin’, it ain’t trainin’.” When it pours, we must learn how to be content in the mud.”  —Jason B. Ladd

“If green grass is in your future, God will lead you there, and he will take you down your own path. The path could very well be a dirt road, and all Marines know “if it ain’t rainin’, it ain’t trainin’.” When it pours, we must learn how to be content in the mud.” —Jason B. Ladd

Jason B. Ladd, a fellow blogger and U.S. Marine fighter pilot, recently published a blog post called The 1 Big Lie That’s Stressing You Out.  He addresses one of the biggest issues that causes stress here in America.  If you’re looking for peace and ways to de-stress, I hope you will check it out.

 


Reflecting God

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“The more tranquil the water, the more accurate the reflection. We are made in the image and likeness of God.  As with the water, the more tranquil we are, the better we reflect God.”  —Jim Finfera, photographer

“For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.  But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.  And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.”  —James 3:16-18

 


Wings Like Eagles

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“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” —Isaiah 40:31

I took this photo almost five years ago from a bus while on a road trip to see Sight-n-Sound’s production of “In the Beginning”. The Lord blessed me with His presence in many ways that day and renewed my strength. I hope you are blessed and strengthened as well.

Edited to add the link to the original blog post from my old blog, which goes into more detail of how the Lord blessed me that day:  The Spreading of the Clouds


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