Monday, July 23, 2012

You Can Defeat False Teachers by Setting a Good Example

          Shallow teaching is deplorable. False teaching is evil. Sound teaching is imperative if people are to understand God’s truth. It was for this reason that Saint Paul admonished Timothy to Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; continue in these things, for in doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:16).
The young church was in grave danger of being destroyed by false teaching before it even got started, and Paul meant for Timothy to oppose it with all his might.
          Paul leaves no doubt as to what sound teaching is. It is truth that came from Jesus. It is the faith that has been handed down from Jesus and which now must be guarded against profane myths and lies. It is teaching that honors Jesus Christ as the Savior of all people.
          For Paul any teaching that was hostile to the Christian movement was demonic. Opponents of the Christian faith were deceitful liars whose false teaching must be strongly rebuked. Paul would have laughed at the idea of compromising the truth for the sake of peace with these false teachers. They were not merely troublemakers; they were evildoers opposed to God.
          We can learn from the Apostle’s stringent attitude. The culture of our time, like that of the first century, is hostile toward Christianity. In the face of this hostility some people counsel Christians to give up their inflexible beliefs. Bend a little for the sake of peace. So we are tempted to water down the gospel to make it more acceptable to those who object to our teaching that salvation is available through Jesus alone.  
          Some false teachers try to persuade us that Christians should be open to a more syncretistic approach, accepting the truth of other major religions. The basic idea of syncretism is unity. The best beliefs of the major religions would be unified to create a new religion that would be more palatable to the human race. Paul would not mince words about such a proposal. He would say, “Have nothing to do with it! Let the demons take it back to hell where it was conceived!”
          Paul was convinced that the church must stay connected to the faith that God had “entrusted to the saints.” To embrace false teachings would be disastrous to the followers of Christ. For Timothy to instruct wisely his brothers and sisters in the faith would make him “a good servant of Christ Jesus.”
          Right belief affects our conduct. Paul knew it was not enough to believe the truth; we must demonstrate the truth by the way we live. So he calls upon Timothy not only to teach the pure gospel but to back up his teaching by living an exemplary life before believers.
          We cannot overestimate the value of a good example for Christian teachers. We need to “hear” the Spirit imploring us with the plea Paul made to Timothy: “Set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”
          The power of our example is extraordinary. Many people are Christians today because of the example of their parents. Drayton Nabors, Jr. is one such Christian. The former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court credits his mother’s example for his faith in Christ.
          In his book, The Case for Character, he praises his mother for her example in teaching her children the faith when they were small. He describes her as a humble, faithful, praying woman, full of patient hope, who modeled in her life the two keys to virtue – self-denial and perseverance.
          His mother read to him and his two sisters every night. She enlisted his dad to read to the children also. The result of this reading is not surprising. Drayton observes, “We heard stories about virtuous people from the Bible and from classic children’s stories and fables. These, too, modeled and engendered a desire for a morally good life.”
          Albert Schweitzer, famous Christian missionary of the 20th Century, once said: “There is one way and only one way to influence others, and that is by example.”  Would you suppose he was influenced by the character and example of his parents? Consider this: On Sunday afternoons young Albert’s devout parents sat with him on the front porch and read stories of missionaries to the lad!
          Winston Churchill was a man recognized for his strong character and Christian faith.  For decades he influenced nations by his example and decisions. I learned of Sir Winston’s strong Christian principles in a book on his life written by Stephen Mansfield, The Character and Greatness of Winston Churchill.
          Mansfield tells of the influence not so much of Winston’s parents but of his nanny – Elizabeth Everest. Churchill said he loved his mother “at a distance,” but he adored Mrs. Everest. She taught him the Scriptures. She taught him to pray. She taught him to trust God. In times of trouble as an adult, on the battlefield when his life was in danger, he found himself praying prayers he had learned at his nanny’s knee. Throughout his life a picture of Mrs. Everest sat on his desk. When he died her picture lay at his bedside.
          Little wonder that Paul urged Timothy to pay close attention to himself and his teaching. He knew that what we teach, and the way we live, will encourage others to embrace our Savior and become followers of the truth or, God forbid, persuade unbelievers to ignore the faith and our Savior.
          John Wesley abhorred watering down the gospel. He insisted that our primary source of truth is the Bible, not the traditions of the church or the teachings of its finest theologians. We shall be wise, like Wesley, to be people “of one Book, the Bible.” We endanger the church if we stray from its sacred, God-breathed teaching in our conduct or our beliefs. + + +

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Prayer changes us so we can change things

 Prayer Changes Things” is a common expression among Christians. It affirms the efficacy of prayer.  That is good. However, the statement seems a bit inadequate. I always feel that more needs to be said.
Actually prayer does not change anything. God changes things when people pray. And what God changes is people, and changed people then affect things or circumstances. So it would seem wiser to say that God changes things when people pray.
I learned this from Oswald Chambers who said “Prayer changes me and I change things.” Authentic prayer, Chambers said, “alters the way in which a man looks at things.”
As we mature in Christ we finally realize that we do not pray in order to get our way but to obtain the grace to accept God’s way. We do not pray so that God will do what we want him to do; we pray so that we may know and embrace what God wants us to do. Otherwise, God is merely a cosmic bellhop to do our bidding – and that he is not.
One cannot read Paul’s letters without observing the importance of prayer to the apostle. Paul prayed for his friends. He prayed, after the example of our Lord, for his enemies. He makes sure that Timothy understands that Christians should pray for everyone – including people we may not like.
It was Chambers who taught me also the importance of praying about everything as well as praying for everyone. There is great wisdom in his advice:
“Get into the habit of dealing with God about everything. Unless in the first waking moment of the day you learn to fling the door wide back and let God in, you will work on a wrong level all day; but swing the door wide open and pray to your Father in secret, and every public thing will be stamped with the presence of God.”
When we swing the door of our lives wide open, we realize the need to pray for those who are antagonistic towards us, those who have hurt us by word or deed, and those terrorists on the nightly news who want to destroy us and our way of life.
Admittedly it is difficult to know how to pray for our personal enemies much less the terrorists who hate America. Only the Holy Spirit can teach us how to pray for these persons. We can be sure that he will for Jesus promised us that the Spirit would teach us “all things.”
Only the Spirit can help us love our enemies as Jesus said we must do. Love and prayer are surely linked together for it is impossible to pray for someone without loving them just as it is impossible to love someone and not pray for them.
We are tempted to limit our praying to our family and friends – the people we feel comfortable being around. Paul insists that we widen the circle by remembering that salvation is for everyone – even the people we do not want in our fellowship.
We need to remember that God does not exclude anyone from his saving grace nor must we. A few years ago I found it difficult to welcome certain men into the church – men who wore ear rings or men with hair in pony tails, for example. The Spirit gave me an attitude adjustment by reminding me that God looks on the heart, not one’s outward appearance.
When we begin praying for people, we begin to experience the power of God at work in our prayers. We begin to have love for people we had not been able to love before. We begin to care for people who are different from ourselves, remembering that Christ died for them too.
Sometimes we are so impressed with ourselves that we pray for God to change other people. Often we need simply to pray for God to change us. This beautiful chorus says it all:
“Change my heart 0h God
Make it ever true
Change my heart 0h God
May I be like You

You are the potter
I am the clay
Mould me and make me
This is what I pray.”
          When God changes our hearts he usually helps us to see others as he sees them. It helps me to pray that the Lord will help me see people through the eyes of Christ. Sometimes I experience his power when he replaces my disgust for someone with compassion and patience. In such moments I am aware that the Lord has given me love that I could not produce in myself; it happens only because Christ is in me.
On occasion I am tempted to pray for “the unlovely.” Then gently the Lord whispers to me, “Does that mean you are lovely? Surely you must realize that to some people you are one of the unlovely.”
When the Lord says that, I ask his forgiveness for my arrogance and to change me and make me more like the Master. He always reminds me that he is more willing to change me than I am willing to be changed.
There is power in prayer because God has the power to change hearts that are willing to be changed. When we become willing to pray for everyone, we truly experience the power of God at work in our prayers. He changes things by changing people – one at a time!                                             

Friday, July 20, 2012

What I learned from a humble college professor in Kansas

We do not become authentic Christians by osmosis. A disciplined spiritual life is necessary to live as a faithful disciple of Jesus.. The serious practice of what the church has called “holy habits” is imperative.
The basic spiritual discipline is that of prayer. All of the other disciplines flow out of this bedrock relationship to God. Daily communion with God gives us both the desire and the power to practice the other disciplines.
Praying can lead to problems. It did for Daniel of the Bible. His prayer life got Daniel in trouble. With most Christians it is the lack of prayer that results in difficulty.
Daniel made the mistake of praying to the wrong God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. By doing so he violated the law of Persia that prayer should be offered to no one but Darius, the king. The penalty for breaking this law was death (thrown to the lions).
The officials of the king were smart enough to know that Darius was a mortal man, not a god. If nothing else they would have learned as much by observing the behavior of Darius’ predecessors, Belshazzar and Nebuchadnezzar. But the officials were jealous of Daniel’s popularity with the king; they did not want to share their power with Daniel. So they deceived the king into passing the ordinance forbidding anyone to pray to any god other than King Darius.
The naïve king did not realize that the ordinance was treacherously designed to eliminate Daniel. So, caught praying, Daniel was hauled before the king and thrown to the lions. Even though he expressed to Daniel the hope that his God would save him, the king went on his way, assuming the worst for Daniel.
The next morning the king found that Daniel was alive. God had closed the mouths of the lions. Darius was “exceedingly glad” and immediately decreed that all his people of Persia “should tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: For he is the living God, enduring forever.” Daniel’s courage and faith in God made a difference for the entire nation.
Daniel’s trust in God was so strong that he did not panic in the face of death. Centuries later the Apostle Paul demonstrated the same confidence in God. He kept the faith despite persecution and threats of death. Both Daniel and Paul were disciplined in prayer. Their confidence sprang from daily communion with God. Their examples inspire us to pray and trust God.
There are special people whose examples motivate us to seek a more disciplined spiritual life. God used the writing and the example of Richard J. Foster to inspire me to take more seriously the holy habits of the spiritual life. Foster is the most highly respected Quaker author of our time.
I met Foster before his books made him the best known Quaker in the world. When I arrived in Wichita, Kansas, to speak to the student body at Friends University, Foster met me at the airport. Then a professor of theology at the university, he had volunteered to serve as my host for the week. We loaded my luggage into his rundown station wagon and headed to the campus.
His casual dress, and his warm and unassuming manner, made me feel welcome and comfortable. His gracious hospitality made me feel at home in a town I had never visited before. I told him how much I had enjoyed his book, Celebration of Discipline. The book had been published about two years before and was becoming quite popular. At the time neither of us had any idea that his book would sell more than a million copies and be named one of the top ten books of the 2oth Century.
I realized later what a beautiful thing had happened to me. Foster made no effort to impress me. He put aside his own work and took the time be my host. Months later it dawned on me that Richard Foster, the most famous man ever to serve as my chauffeur, was simply practicing the simplicity that he describes in his books as one of the basic spiritual disciplines of devout Christians. His book, Freedom of Simplicity, is one of the best I have read.  And I know from personal experience the man practices what he preaches!
Foster divides the holy habits into three groups: the inward disciplines of prayer, fasting, meditation, and study; the outward disciplines of simplicity, solitude, submission, and service; and the corporate disciplines of confession, worship, guidance, and celebration.
When I read Foster’s Celebration of Discipline from time to time, I try to guard against heaping shame upon myself for my lack of discipline. Shame seldom propels us into growth. When we examine our spiritual life honestly, most of us come away feeling guilty. We feel we do not measure up very well compared to the zeal of a Daniel or a Paul.
Guilt hinders our spiritual progress if we allow it to hang around and whip us down. But guilt can help us if we let it motivate us to forgive ourselves for past failures and make a fresh start in living a seriously disciplined life for Christ.
The best way to approach spiritual disciplines is to set aside some time and get into them one day at a time. We should make sure we have the right motive – not to become more pious than other believers but to become more useful to our Lord Jesus Christ. The greatest reward of spiritual growth is a deeper friendship with God.
I know a man who runs a hundred miles a week. He wants to become as strong as he can be so he can compete well in his next marathon run. He is disciplined for a purpose. If he can practice discipline in order run well, surely I can practice holy habits in order to please my Lord and become a more effective servant of the One who died for my sins.
It makes sense to do the best we can to become the best that grace can make us. Our growth in grace honors our Lord. That makes it worth any price we must pay.
Where shall we begin? Each of us must decide. As for me, I feel the Spirit nudging me to improve the simplicity of my life. Freedom from the tyranny of things is a reward that will bless me – and make me a blessing.
Begin anywhere the Spirit leads you. Don’t wait for someone to join you. Be a self-starter. Be a Daniel. Be disciplined regardless of what others may think. For most of us the room for improvement is the biggest room in our spiritual house. Get started – now. + + +

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I remember nights when the attic fan pulled cool air across my bed

          Everywhere I turn people are asking, “What happened to springtime?” The usual answer is that we had only a few days of spring this year. The sweltering heat of summer is upon us. And the next cool spell may not show up until November.
          These are days when I battle with family members about the setting of the AC thermostat. I keep raising it and they keep lowering it. The 90-degree heat makes some of us want the house to be a cool 72 degrees. My suggested setting of 75 seems too warm. Air conditioning, I fear, has spoiled a lot of us, especially the younger generation.  
          Two things help me to feel comfortable with a higher thermostat setting. Obviously one is the power bill. It costs money to cool a house in the summertime. It makes sense to save a little by raising the thermostat. When the monthly electric bill comes in during the summer, I wish I had set the thermostat on 80 degrees.
          My memory is the other thing that helps me. In my childhood days the windows of our home had screens. We had no heating and cooling system. We endured the heat by opening the windows and the doors. Back then we had screen doors and we never locked them unless we were away from home for a spell.
          Kerosene lamps provided light at night before REA finally reached us with electricity. In the winter we heated the house by burning wood in several fire places. I recall that one of my earliest chores was cutting wood with an ax and bringing it into the house, large pieces for the fireplaces and smaller pieces for the wood-burning stove that Mamma cooked on.
          During the 1940s Dad decided to rent a Propane Gas tank and install “space heaters” in the house. One was positioned in each fire place, thus retiring the fire place and heating with wood. We felt like we were “moving on up” as a family when we began using those space heaters. We had little awareness of how dangerous they were. Fortunately we never experienced an accident with the heaters.
          Years later Dad removed the space heaters and replaced them with much more efficient and less dangerous electric heaters. They did the job until finally they too were replaced by an air conditioning system that used duct work to cool the whole house.
          When electricity became available in the mid-thirties Dad and Mom used small electric fans, usually one in each room. They were helpful but not as nice the larger window fans we secured later. The fans did not cool the air but they did move it. Moving the air provided us a bit of an indoor breeze that helped us endure the heat. They were cheap fans and the coil would burn out frequently. That left us nothing to do but sweat until we could go into town on Saturday and buy a replacement.
          Dad  finally got up the money to buy a large electric attic fan. He installed it in the hall in the center of the house. What a blessing the fan was during the summer!  All of our beds were beside a window. At night we opened the window slightly, about five or six inches. The powerful attic fan would suck the air across your bed and allow you to sleep in heavenly comfort.
That was our first air conditioning “system.” As the temperature dropped at night the air coming across our bed became cooler. By midnight we might have pulled a sheet up over us but never a bedspread. During those attic fan days we felt we were “up town;” we were really living. Never having heard of air conditioning we had no reason to feel deprived.
          In this age of “entitlements” some people may feel they are “entitled” to cool air at someone else’s expense. Those who think like that are badly mistaken. Cool air is a luxury which millions of people cannot afford. We who enjoy it should not take it for granted. Remembering what life was like in “the good old days” can inspire an attitude of gratitude.
          There are more important issues of life than the room temperature. We should not allow minor issues to become major. That I try to remember when I find the thermostat turned down so low that if my Dad were still alive, he would say “It feels like hog-killing time in here!” + + +

Monday, July 16, 2012

Stop whining and smell the fragrance of the broken

          Recently I read again about the accidental death of Maria Sue, the five-year-old daughter of Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman. That tragedy reminded me of a profound idea I had gleaned from an earlier story about this popular Christian singer.
          The idea was capsulated in the phrase, “The fragrance of the broken.” The words came to Chapman during a walk in the woods. He had gone into the woods to pray, desperate for release from a drought in his soul. Pleading with God for a breakthrough, he gathered some rocks, stacked them into a makeshift altar, and began to pray.
While praying he began to smell cedar, so strongly that it distracted him from praying. Opening his eyes he soon spotted a little cedar tree that he had snapped in half by stepping on it. The broken tree was the source of the smell that Chapman felt was a sign from God. Quickly he wrote down the words, "The fragrance of the broken."
God does provide a "fragrance" that we may learn to cherish as we wrestle with our brokenness and that of our loved ones. Like the little cedar tree, it may not be easily recognizable.  We have to look for it as Chapman did. Finding it, we begin to enjoy what may be called the "aroma of grace."
Each of us must learn to handle brokenness of one kind or another. How we deal with it determines whether we live well or merely endure life until it ends. Misfortune can make us better or bitter. The good thing is that we have a choice.
         My friend "Miss Jimmy" was a poet. In retirement she became legally blind. But she declined to complain. Instead she chose to think of her blindness as a blessing. “There is so much I would have missed had my sight not failed,” she said.
 “I had not bothered to read the Bible very much," she told me, "but when I became blind, I began to listen to the Bible on cassette tapes. Only then did I understand why it really is the greatest book every written." My wife and I enjoyed tea with Miss Jimmy many times. While we admired her poetry we admired her spirit even more. She was not a whiner.
Fanny Crosby and George Matheson were blind hymn writers but refused to complain about their blindness. Both composed beautiful songs which millions still enjoy singing. They refused to let their brokenness "blind" them to their opportunity to live useful lives.
Alabama’s famous Helen Keller became blind and deaf as a young child. Her attitude was profoundly inspiring. She regarded her handicaps as “mere impertinences of fate.” She said, “I resolved that they should not crush or dwarf my soul, but rather be made to blossom, like Aaron's rod, with flowers.” Can you say “Wow”?
         A good friend made a trip out west one summer. He and his wife drove their motor home through Montana, Wyoming, Arizona, and California to see the sights. He explained why, "I had been diagnosed with an eye disease which could result in blindness in a few years. I wanted to see all that I could see while my vision was still good."
He could have stayed home fretting about the question, "Why is this happeningto me?" Without complaining he began to adjust to the possibility of brokenness. Instead of whining he used his time to design a plan to cope with blindness if it happened.
Brokenness comes soon or late to us all. Whining about it, or asking "Why me?" gets us nowhere. Pain is inevitable but misery is a choice. As we face the pain with honesty and hope, something wonderful can occur. Character can happen. We can become finer people because we have faced our troubles with courage. Courage is contagious. Deal with your brokenness bravely, with a positive spirit, and your example is bound to encourage someone else.
Thankfully you have a choice. You can refuse to whine. You can find a way to smell the "aroma of grace" in your pain. Then the fragrance of your brokenness becomes a sweet perfume to all who savor the essence of your life. + + +

Saturday, July 14, 2012

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Forgive Me but I Do Not Want to Die in a Hospital

          Watching an older person or an older couple break up house-keeping is never easy for me. It hurts to see people uprooted from their home and placed in a nursing home even when that seems the best thing to do.
          Of course something has to be done when people get so old they can no longer take care of themselves. I just wish there was some gentler, kinder way to forcefully remove people from their home and put them in an institution. Only rarely can families find a way to allow aged parents to live in their own home until their death.
          Most of us feel about home like my friend Mary does. I asked her one day if she given any thought to moving into one of the lovely “assisted living” homes in her city. Instantly she replied, “No sir; I will never leave my home until they carry me out with my toes turned up!”
          Like Mary I want to live in my present home until I die. I do not want to die in a hospital. Hospitals are a blessing, especially in America. Nurses and doctors for the most part are wonderful. I love to hear one of them speak of their work as a “calling” from God. Surely it is. But I do not want to die hooked up by needles to four machines whose beeping signals go unnoticed by busy nurses down the hall.  
          Home has always been important to me. I was born in a home my father built with his own hands. I lived in that home until I left for college at age 18. Our son Steve and his family live in that home today; he remodeled it after my parents died. They lived in it until their death.
          Most preachers live in many houses during their ministry. My wife and I lived in more than twenty different homes during our pastoral service. Wanting during those years to have a place called “home,” we built a cabin near my dad’s place in 1960. The cabin finally became our home, and we have been remodeling it now for 52 years.
          Those of us who have a home should not take it for granted. I remind myself often to give thanks for our home. Millions of people have no home. There may be as many as one billion people in the world today who are homeless. There are more than three million homeless people in the United States, although that number is declining.
          Over the years I have visited hundreds of people in nursing homes. Without a doubt the most frequent comment made to me by nursing home residents is simply this, “I want to go home” or “Please take me home.” I would not want to live in a country that did not provide senior housing like nursing homes and assisted living homes. And we have some truly wonderful nursing homes in America. I deeply respect and admire the dedicated people who maintain and serve in our nursing homes.
          But there is evidently an innate desire in the human heart for home.
If we are not at home, we want to go home. The old saying, “There is no place like home,” has been uttered many times by anyone who has ever had a home. Perhaps God planted the desire for home in our hearts. There is a sense in which God Himself is “home.” So the human spirit is restless until it finds its way home to God.
          One of my favorite songs is “Going Home.” It touches deep places in my heart. In these days I am profoundly thankful for the home where I hope to live until I die. But the songwriter expresses feelings that I share about the home where I am going when my traveling days are done. You may like it too:
          Going home, going home, I’m just going home. Quiet light, some still day, I’m just going home. It’s not far, just close by, through an open door. Work all done, care laid by, going to fear no more. Mother’s there expecting me, Father’s waiting, too. Lots of folk gathered there, all the friends I knew. Nothing’s lost, all’s gain. No more fret nor pain. No more stumbling on the way. No more longing for the day. Going to roam no more. Morning star lights the way, restless dreams all done. Shadows gone, break of day. Real life begun.
        That is a wonderful thought: Real life begins when we get home! + + + 


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Forgiveness sets us free from bondage to the past

Cut loose from your past and enjoy being forgiven  

A backward look can be helpful or it can be depressing. It depends on how you view the past. You can recall that in the “good old days” life was lived at a slower pace. People were seldom stressed out from living in “the fast lane.” How nice life was back then.
The danger is that we tend to romanticize the past and paint too rosy a picture of the days of yore. Was life really better in the days of our parents? In many ways life was worse not better for past generations. Some of our parents, for example, used an “outhouse” because there was no toilet in their home. Many of our relatives did not even know a family that had an indoor toilet.
When it comes to our mistakes, a look at our past sometimes can be paralyzing. Some of us feel much guilt about wrong things we did when we were younger. We are ashamed to admit how foolish we once were. A just God will surely not forgive us. What we did was too bad for God to forgive.
To think like this puts us in bondage to the past. This bondage binds us to our mistakes or what the church calls our “sin.” So we are not free to enjoy life today. Guilt blocks us from inhaling the pure joy of knowing that we are alive by the pleasure of the God who not only made us but also loves us.    
Christians have the unique privilege of helping people find forgiveness for the past. Forgiveness frees us from the past and helps us overcome guilt. It puts a song in our hearts and when we start singing we begin to soar, like a kite free to enjoy the wind.
The church calls this forgiveness “good news.” It is indeed good news to discover that your sins are forgiven whether by God or by another person with whom you have been estranged. “I forgive you” are three of the sweetest words any of us can ever hear.
That is the message the church has for the world: God forgives you. Such news is not only good news; it is the best news the human mind can ever embrace. It is so wonderful that people often find it impossible to believe that God has forgiven them. So it helps to hear the amazing words, “Your sins are forgiven,” spoken by a caring friend who has personally experienced this forgiveness. Then hearing and believing that good news can become a liberating moment for the person who accepts it.  
You may be wondering how the Bible fits into all this. Well, the Bible in one sense is the “good news” Book. From Genesis to Revelation there are people much like us who are warning people to stop doing wrong and turn to God. Why? Because God loves them and has forgiven them. The world says, “What is the proof that this is true?” The Bible says, “The proof is God’s gift of his son to die on the cross for our sins.”
The people in the Bible were ordinary people God used in extraordinary ways. Today he wants to use ordinary people like us to help guilt-ridden people understand they are forgiven. We have good news for people in bondage. If they believe they are forgiven, they can be cut loose from the past and enjoy the sheer thrill of being loved and forgiven.
I will bet my last dollar that you know some troubled person who needs to hear this good news. And it might make your day if they heard it from your lips. Sharing it could be like offering a cook drink of water to someone dying of thirst.
After all, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Zechariah – all those guys are gone. They had their turn. Now you and I are up to bat. + + +