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A Sacrificial Life

May 26th, 2017

Squandering life is wasteful. Sacrificing one’s life is noble

“If you give up your life for Me, you will save it.” Luke 9:24 CEV

My thoughts and comments today are about,

“A Sacrificial Life.”

This weekend our country will observe Memorial Day, remembering and honoring the men and women, and their families, who have served our nation and the lives sacrificed for the freedoms we enjoy. I live in a military city with multiple military bases and hospitals. A significant number of the families of our community are either veterans or active duty military. When I meet veterans or see the faces of young soldiers serving bravely in far-flung reaches of our troubled world, I am humbled by the courage of the men and women who pledge their lives for the safety and sake of others.

They do not regard life as expendable or to be cheaply sacrificed. In contrast, more than most, they clearly see the incalculable value of life and yet are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for others. Only the person who would willingly sacrifice their own life has truly realized how precious life really is. Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 NIV.

A few months ago, I received treasured, family heirlooms from my cousin – faded news clippings and the Purple Heart my uncle received while serving with the United States Marine Corps in WW II. Like so many young men, my Uncle Ralph was wounded in battle in the Mariana Islands, and after months of recovery was then a casualty in the assault of an enemy island, and was ultimately listed as, “missing in action.” He was my Dad’s older brother. For his sacrifice, he was revered in the Randolph family and his loss impacted my Dad, grandparents, and my uncle and aunt for their lifetimes. I only knew him through his picture as a Marine, displayed in a place of honor in my grandparents’ home.

If men and women will sacrifice their lives for freedom, love of country, and the safety of their families, should we who are called by His Name and redeemed by His sacrifice not give our lives in His service and the advance of His Kingdom? Squandering life is wasteful. Sacrificing life for God and others is noble. “I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.” Romans 12:1 NIV.

Jesus’ call to discipleship remains the same today, “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?” Luke 9:23-25 NIV. Those last words pose a haunting question for every soul. The reward of your sacrifice in His Name by far exceeds the cost. Jesus was clear and His promise certain, “Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for My sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” Matthew 19:29-30 NIV.

Jesus issued a monumental challenge that still resonates within hearts where He dwells. Sacrifice means living for something, and Someone, greater than yourself. In Christ’ name, we are all asked to lay down our lives in service to others. This weekend, as you recall the price others paid for your freedom, remember the price the Savior paid for your salvation.

Today, I pray for you to value your life as a gift to be given back to God and others.

Christian Communications 2017

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Wise Or Wasteful?

March 12th, 2010

“Teach us to use wisely all the time we have.” Psalm 90:12 Contemporary English Version

“It is tragic to ignore a future for which you must prepare.”

My thoughts today ask, “wise or wasteful?”

This weekend, our country changes to Daylight Savings Time, turning clocks forward – seeming to lose one hour. That leads me to think of today’s verse: “use wisely all the time you have.” Time is something you may not think much about until you don’t have enough of it. What are you given that is any more valuable? The busiest person with the most to do and the idle person who wants little or nothing to do both have the same number of hours in a day to “git ‘er done.”

Time is far too valuable to misuse by wasting it. Once wasted, instead of being useful and valuable, that time is now gone, worth nothing – nothing produced, nothing accomplished, and nothing left to show for the time spent. Right now is the most important time given you – not yesterday, not tomorrow, right now – don’t waste a minute of it.

Now, don’t confuse deliberate moments with wastefulness. Time is well spent in rest and simple reflection or wisely taken for planning and preparation that results in more efficiency and greater effectiveness. Luke 14:28-30. Time is profitably given to be a friend to someone, to hear their story, to lend a helping hand. Such time is never wasted; it is invested.

But how do you know if you are using time wisely or wasting time needlessly? Jesus told marvelous stories that were true to life, and taught practical life-lessons. Learn them well; it’s time wisely spent.

You waste time living only for the moment without valuing what lasts and endures. Jesus told of two men who built houses. One took time to choose wisely where and how to build. He planned a house that would last. The other built more quickly, but foolishly, but his house ultimately collapsed. Matthew 7. 24-27. Jesus’ point is this: take time to wisely build a life that matters and lasts, or you foolishly waste time building your life on stuff that of little or no value. 1 Corinthians 3:10-13 NIV.

You waste time for pleasure or profit here and now without recognizing what is truly valuable and eternal. “Lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven . . “ Matthew 6:19-21.

You waste time ignoring a future for which you must prepare. A successful farmer built bigger barns for his growing wealth. He looked into his future, but not far enough.He foolishly reasoned, “I have much stored up for many years. Take it easy. Enjoy yourself, “ not knowing his life would end that night. With no time left, he would stand before God. “It is appointed unto man to die once, but after this the judgment.” Hebrews 9:27 NKJV. He presumed he had more time than he did; a lot of people make that tragic mistake.

You waste time living to please yourself and others while failing to please God. Nothing is of greater reward than pleasing God? “Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord.” Colossians 3:23.  That sounds like time well spent.

My prayer for you today is that you will use your time wisely, and profit eternally.

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Be Yourself

November 24th, 2009

“Having then gifts . . let us use them.” Romans 12:6 NKJV

“Take inventory of your interests; consider your experiences; serve others in your giftedness.”

My thoughts today are, “be yourself.”

It is sad, and a real waste of time, energy, and God-given uniqueness, when anyone tries to be someone other than themselves. You gain nothing by being a second-best copy of anyone else. If it were possible that two people are just alike, one of them is obviously unnecessary. You are an original, an individual similar in some ways to others, yet wonderfully distinct in most. Do not depreciate or hide your distinctive traits and talents, but rather identify and celebrate them for the common good.

It is a good thing to take a personal inventory. During college, I worked after classes at a drug store. Once a year we took inventory, carefully accounting for everything that we had in stock. From that, the business learned three things: what we had that we needed, what we had that was no longer necessary, and what we thought we had but didn’t.

That strikes me as the same information you need in order to be successful, as well as comfortable about who you are and what you can do. Do you realize what you are good doing? Take inventory of your interests; consider your experiences; utilize your education and training; observe where you succeed and feel fulfilled; evaluate your skills; serve God and others generously with your abilities. Everybody is good at something; no one is best at everything. Find your place and be yourself – to the glory and service of God. “For everything comes from God; everything exists by His power and is intended for His glory. To Him be glory evermore. Amen” Romans 11:36 NLT.

Wanting to do what someone else does well and being unsuccessful and unsatisfied would seem to me to be counterproductive and a tragic waste of time and talent, when there are many wonderful things that you are capable of doing well and making a real difference while doing so. Know your giftedness and appreciate your own God-given magnificence by serving God and others with the best of what you have been given. Invest yourself in what you are best at doing.

“God has given (you) the ability to do certain things well. So if God has given you the ability . . take the responsibility seriously.” Romans 12:6/8 NLT. Talents, skills, and abilities are God’s gifts to be used for the glory of God and the benefit of others. Use them well and use them wisely.

My prayer for you today is to honor God with the abilities and opportunities given you.

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