February 25, 2015

Source of Joy

Christian writer, Max Lacado, tells about meeting Robert Reed whose hands and feet are so twisted he can’t feed himself, brush his teeth or comb his hair. Robert’s shirts are held together by Velcro and his speech drags like a worn recording.

Robert Reed has cerebral palsy.

But cerebral palsy didn’t keep him from graduating from college. It didn’t keep him from teaching in junior college, and it didn’t keep him from becoming a missionary in Portugal.

Despite his disabilities, Reed is quoted as saying, “I have everything I need for joy.”

This real life story of one of God’s special saints clearly demonstrates that our source of joy has nothing to do with the events in our life. It has everything to do with our attitude.

The Apostle Paul wrote that we are to “rejoice in the Lord regardless of our circumstances.”

Robert Reed can’t drive a car, ride a bike or take a walk, but he discovered the joy  that comes when a life is centered in God.

What is the source of your joy?

 Note:  Originally posted on September 17, 2009, this is one of the most popular Parables.

February 18, 2015

Judging Others

Bill Crawford was a janitor for the U.S. Air Force Academy back in the late 1970s. His job was to empty the trash, buff the floors, clean the toilets and keep the building tidy for the cadets who lived in his dorm.

Bill was a shy man and he did his job well, so most of the time he just blended into the woodwork. In a military school where officers with silver or gold on their lapels were a common sight, you might say Bill Crawford was “just a janitor.”

All that changed one day when a cadet, reading a book about the Allied campaign in Italy during World War II, learned that as a result of his “conspicuous gallantry” ... “above and beyond the call of duty,” Pvt. William “Bill” Crawford had been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

The fact is the old man, who labored in a young person’s world of future warriors, was not only a courageous patriot but a national hero as well.

Despite Jesus’ commandment to love others as he loved us, we regularly make critical judgments of others based on their appearance, vocation, ethnicity, sexual preference, or other personal characteristics.

Yet Jesus demonstrated the scope of his love in events or parables when he chose to associate with those we might judge to be “only fishermen” or “only janitors.” May we always look at others in a spirit of love as Jesus commanded. 

Originally published February 1, 2012

February 8, 2015

My Father’s World

When Nancy retired from teaching in the Penn Yan Central Schools, we bought a 23-foot trailer, and with no predetermined schedule, set out on a tour across the country. We avoided four lane highways as much as possible and  frequently found a surprise or an adventure waiting for us over the next hill.

What we found most often as we traveled from Acadia National Park in Maine to South Padre Island in Texas or from the Everglades National Park in Florida to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming was a land of incredible grandeur and beauty, convincing proof that This Is My Father’s World.

In the first chapter of Paul’s letter to the Church at Rome, we read;
“For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and  sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible  qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse  for not knowing God.”
Thomas Aquinas referred to our natural world as “the first book of scripture.” and Franciscan Priest Richard Rohr refers to nature as “our first and final cathedral… the one song of praise that never stops singing.”

How can anyone witness the glories of nature and deny the existence of a Creator?

February 1, 2015

God and the Sons of Liberty

The recent three-night, six-hour Sons of Liberty series on television received much criticism from knowledgeable scholars because of the numerous inaccuracies leading up to the Declaration of Independence. 

No one should have been surprised by the fabrications, because the History Channel made it clear from the start the production was, “a dramatic interpretation of events that sparked the revolution.”

There is an element of Sons of Liberty that makes all the half truths and falsehoods completely irrelevant to everyone but historians and history buffs. In one of the concluding scenes, General Washington reads to his troops from the Declaration of Independence.
“We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
The fifty-six original Patriots signed their names to a document that makes  four references to a Deity: “Nature’s God, a Creator, the Supreme Judge and divine Providence.”  

Clearly, it was the Founding Fathers faith in God that gave them the courage to proclaim independence and take on the British Empire and the world’s most powerful military force of that time.  

I wonder if those who lead our country today still believe God has blessed this great nation?