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milky wayLook up to the skies above, and gaze down on the earth below. For the skies will disappear like smoke, and the earth will wear out like a piece of clothing. The people of the earth will die like flies, but my salvation lasts forever. My righteous rule will never end! 

My younger brother had a thing for garage sales. Every weekend would find him scouring through other people’s cast offs for ‘bargains’. When his life on earth ended suddenly as the result of an accident, those of us left behind had the task of going through his things. Apparently, my brother had a thing with shoes, tennis shoes in particular. All of us has that pair of shoes that are full of holes, worn out, and…comfortable. You know the kind. The kind you hate to throw away. My brother had boxes of them. We can only imagine that the shoes that many wives finally convinced their husbands to sell at a garage sale ended up in my brothers garage!

Nothing lasts forever, right? We outgrow that favorite sweater; get tired of the shirt grandma gave us; walk one too many miles in that pair sandals, or spill on that Easter dress. What’s true for clothing is true in other areas of our lives as well.

The flame in our marriages gets drowned out by bills, kids and familiarity until the honeymoon is a distant glow on the horizon. The new job becomes as full of monotony and drudgery as the old one. Our mid-life crisis car becomes the victim or cancerous rust.

Nothing keeps it glitter forever, right? But what about our faith? As I write this, I’m looking out my window at a Maple tree blazing with fall color. I’m reminded of the seasons and how they never change. Tonight the stars will shine brightly just like they’ve done for centuries and tomorrow morning the sun will rise above the horizon…just like always.

And, one more thing. God’s love for me will be the same for me tomorrow just as it was yesterday and will be for me for eternity. Eternity never grows dim. Eternity never loses it’s luster. Eternity never says, “I’ve had enough.” God’s love for us is eternal. So, while our love wavers from day to day and circumstance to circumstance, one thing, and only one thing, remains the same. God’s love will never fail.

Lamentations 3:22-23 says, “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” That favorite pair of shoes in the closet? You’re going to have to throw it someday, but you’ll never lose God’s love for you.

PRAYER: Father, there are so many times I take you for granted. So many times this temporary life clouds my realization of your eternal love for me. I just want to say thank you. Thank you for loving me so well. Amen.


Foundation 9.28My son, the blessings I give are better than the promise of ancient mountains or eternal hills. Joseph, I pray these blessings will come to you, because you are the leader of your brothers. Genesis 49:26

Someone once said “A promise is only as good as the person who gives them.” Unfortunately, that is all too true today. Politicians make promises of  a better tomorrow and then turn around and blame others when those promises aren’t met. Preachers often make promises too. Promises that if you do ‘A-B-C’ you’ll be blessed with untold riches. Parents make promises too.

I remember sitting down with my ten-year-old son and drawing up plans for an elaborate ‘tree house’ on stilts. That was 30 years ago. The plans are long lost, the promise (hopefully) long forgotten by him, but not by me. Not that the fort was that big of a deal. It’s simply a reminder of all the times I made promises as a parent with great intentions but lacking the time or ability to fulfill those promises.

Broken promises can destroy relationships faster than anything. A spouse can forgive unpaid bills, messy garages and grass that has been un-mowed for far too long. But breaking the promise of fidelity, even if it’s a one-time event, destroys trust at best, and all too often the marriage.

Jacob gathered his sons around him shortly before his death and gave them his final blessings; the final words that would be with them for the rest of their lives. There was Reuben (who was guilty of incest); Judah (who suggested his brothers sell Joseph into slavery) and the list goes on. Jacob himself was no saint!

So how could this man who lived by deception and passed that on to his following generations make a promise to Joseph that “My son, the blessings I give are better than the promise of ancient mountains or eternal hills. Joseph, I pray these blessings will come to you, because you are the leader of your brothers.” (Genesis 49:26)

The reason was simple. Jacob was making this promise built on the character of God, not himself. That’s the key to living in integrity. If we base our actions on our own ability we will surely fail because we are human. If we base our trust and identity on what others tell us, we’ll be disappointed. When we put all our trust in God, through Jesus Christ, we’ll find those promises to be as dependable as a mountain and as long-lasting as time itself.

Prayer: Father, we fail you so often in what we say or what we do. Often our promises are based on the hope we will be able to carry them out. Our intentions are strong; our ability is weak. Thank you that even when I fail myself or others, I can know you will never fail me. In Jesus name, Amen.



RELOADED...

firstUnless you’re a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ style parent, we all want our kids to learn from us, follow our lead and to do the good things we’ve taught them to do. I’ve learned over the years however, as both a ‘youngin’ and a parent myself, that intentionally or not, there are only two ways we lead others… in love or by fear.

Leading and motivating others by instilling fear in them only produces unhealthy, results driven relationships that create immense anxiety over seemingly unmet expectations. But leading and encouraging the best in people through love produces a life-long bounty of integrity, kindness, honesty and respect in others. The young man who sees his father as his hero and role model does so because his Dad first loved him.

Follow God’s example in everything you do just as a much loved child imitates his father.’…

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Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. Romans 8:18

I remember family reunions at Thanksgiving. Gathered around the table with bowls of delicious food.  We kids would eat well, but always left room for grandma’s pie. The food was great. Dessert was better.

Looking back, I didn’t realize how truly blessed we were as a family. At that time no one we knew was touched by divorce, cancer or had been lost in the war. How easy it is when times are good to lose sight of the way things are for others.

Those who are born into wealth never have an inkling of what the rest of the world has to deal with. Their security has never in jeopardy. Yet those of us born in relative poverty struggle and strive for something better. For some of us we toil and spend, running up a debt we can never repay to have toys we will never fully enjoy. Others work a lifetime to build up a retirement account that gets washed away in illness or political and financial collapse.

What’s true in the financial world is true in the spiritual world. Some of us live with our debt hanging over our head. Even in the good times we are constantly aware of possible impending doom. In our physical lives we live paycheck to paycheck; in our spiritual lives we live sin to sin, always focusing on our failure, rarely living in the victory Jesus already fought to give us. Others of us run headlong into life, living on grace but never realizing the ultimate cost. We enjoy this life but fail to realize the full benefit of living wisely.

Those who live with eternity in mind are well aware of God’s benefits. Though the struggle now is great, they endure and enjoy the struggle and wait in eager anticipation for what comes ahead. Time and again I am amazed at the joy some have in the midst of sickness and poverty. They live a secret we often forget: ‘It gets better’. While we walk this earth we may never experience the comforts of the wealthy, but we are children of a king and someday we’ll receive our inheritance and the memories of the struggles here on earth will be washed away in the glow of Jesus’ face.

PRAYER: Father God, there are so many times we get distracted by the ‘wants’ of this world and fail to remember that this world is not our home. Help us to live as citizens of heaven and not as slaves of this earth. In Jesus name, Amen.

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