Saturday, May 31, 2014


“All gave some.  Some gave all.”
Billy Ray Cyrus

“No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.”
John Donne

“Graduations are such emotional and rewarding events in life's journey. We all stand on the shoulders of so many that gave so much in our behalf.”
Jim Rogers, wise friend

With Memorial Day and graduations, it has been a good week to remember and reflect on the people who have invested their time, energy, and lives to make a difference in my life.  Once again, I am blessed that I don’t have to make this journey alone.  Because of the sacrifices of our military personnel, and their families, we continue to have our freedom, safety, and rights as Americans.  I am grateful for family, friends, teachers (both at church and school), pastors, youth ministers, medical personnel, neighbors, and colleagues who have been shoulders to lean on and stand on along my journey.  Each one has made a contribution to who I am today.  It’s also been a week to be thankful for the people who have invested in our three sons through the years and made a lasting difference in their lives.  Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice and investment for our lives.  Through Him, we can each become the person God created us to be and encourage others to do the same. 

Every day, I also have the opportunity to invest in the lives of others.  Sometimes it may be for a brief moment while other times it may be for months or years.  When it comes time for our last breath on earth, it’s what we have invested in others that will make a lasting difference.  May our investments yield much gain this week, as well as in the months and years to come.  

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
John 15:13

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Matthew 25:40

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.  Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.
I Thessalonians 5:11, 14, 15

 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
Hebrews 10:24a

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.
Philippians 5:1-5 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Quotes, Wise Words, Scriptures and Prayers

Graduation season is upon us.  Colleges and universities held their commencements the past few weekends and high school graduations are just days away.  Along with the congratulatory words, additional gifts of love, time and value are often given.  Gifts that have the potential to bless, offer encouragement, and challenge as new chapters begin. 

Mrs. Blackmon, my Homeroom teacher my senior year in high school, gave each of the students in her homeroom class a card that had two quotes printed on it.  Apparently they made quite an impression on a soon to be college freshman, about to take a big step and major in Education, because I remember them to this day.

            “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Laozi

            “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; show him how to
catch fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” – Maimonides

Whether written, read, or spoken, words can be treasured gifts.  I look forward to reading and hearing the quotes and words of wisdom from speeches that are given at commencement ceremonies.  It’s the speaker’s chance to impart knowledge, give a challenge, and encourage the graduates.  Words of wisdom are also shared by family, teachers, and friends.  One of the many words of wisdom my dad shared as I was preparing to go to college was, “You need to spend your first semester getting your study habits established and schedule in line so you can enjoy the other 3 ½ years.  Otherwise you will spend the next 3 1/2 years making up for it.”  Whether it pertains to college, work, a project, or life, it’s worth doing your best from the beginning.

The Bible is full of scriptures that offer love, instruction, encouragement, and accountability for our graduates and to each of us as well.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.
I Timothy 4: 12

 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15

 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
I Corinthians 10:31

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.  Do everything in love.
I Corinthians 16:13, 14

I thank my God every time I remember you.  In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:3-6

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
Philippians 1:9-11

Another important gift we can give our students is the offering of prayers on their behalf.  Sunday morning as Duane Brooks, our pastor, was praying words of blessing over our graduates, he concluded the prayer with, “Lord, we pray You would make much of their (the graduates’) lives, but even more that their lives would make much of You.”  What a wonderful petition for all of us to pray and apply as we each take the next steps on our life journey.

Since life continues to be an education, we are all in the process of learning and graduating from one level to another.  What we do with that knowledge and those experiences have the potential to make a difference in our lives and the world around us.

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Draft

Mainly due to our son Brad’s interest through the years, I too watched, listened to, and read about the NFL draft during the first weekend in May.  Although I in no way claim to be an expert, or even mildly intelligent on the matter, it was interesting to make some observations along the way.  Fans are very interested in who is selected first in the first round, especially if he is from your alma mater.  If a trade for position has not occurred, the first man is chosen by the team with the worst record in hopes that he will help their team make a big comeback during the upcoming season.  Some players were selected to the team that they aspired to play for while others went to a team because they were that team’s choice during the round.  There are a few players who will be playing with teammates from their former university; some are playing for teams in their home state while others are playing for a team they may not have considered before.  Although each team added a few new players, it will take more than just those men to produce a winning season.  One man does not make a team.  Teamwork is the name of the game.  Unfortunately, not every player, with hopes and dreams of playing profession football, was chosen.  Now that the hype is over, the real test is what the players will do with the opportunities they have been given.

Unlike the draft, God’s team is chosen in a very different way.
* God offers and gives each of us a choice of which team we want to be on.
* It’s because of what Jesus did, being our sacrifice for our sins and rising on the third day, that we can choose to be on God’s team.
* God’s team is not limited to being built during the first weekend in May.  The offer can be accepted any second of the day, in any month, in any year.
* When we mess up, we do not have to worry about being traded to another team or not participating anymore.
* God doesn’t have a limit on how many can be on His team.
* God’s team will always be the winner.

Each day, whether in the NFL or in everyday life, we choose what we will do with the opportunities we are given.  The team we join will make a difference both now and for eternity. 

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
Romans 10:9-10

And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
Acts 2:21

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.
Acts 4:12

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—
Ephesians 2:8

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
Titus 3:4-7