Tuesday, February 26, 2013


There are times in life when winning is not the goal as much as just finishing. I wasn't much of an athlete in high school, and the time I got the most applause from a crowd was when I did my worst. I was running the low hurdles on a cinder track, and halfway through the race lost my balance and fell down. I got up, cleared a couple more hurdles and fell down again. I limped across the line to a surprising amount of applause. I know it was because I finished, but they were probably relieved they wouldn't have to see me fall again. My trophy that day was the cinder in my legs.
Being a winner in life may only be getting up when you fall or keeping going when you are behind. Itzhak Perlman, maestro violinist, once had a string break in the midst of an orchestral solo, but he finished the piece anyway, playing with only three strings and adjusting notes as he played. He later said, "Sometimes it is the artist's task to find out what music you can still make with what you have left." That's a great thought from a man who has never walked normally due to childhood polio.

Sometimes it is our task to do our best with what we still have left. Perhaps you have taken a fall in life in the form of a huge mistake, a terrible decision, or a time when cinders got into your legs. Then it was up to you to get up again, admit your mistake, take responsibility for your decision, and keep on going. If so, then you were not a failure. 

We all fail in life, and God knows we do. He sees us fall, hitting the track on our face or tripping over our own feet. Then He is there to pick us up again. He doesn't usually stop us from falling, nor does He promise it won't happen again. But if it does, He will be there for us. 

Jesus said, "Come to me, all who are weary and tired, and I will give you rest." His rest will really refresh us, for with it will come a new start. Jesus loves us no matter what. His love will never fail us. 

Today may you find the strength to get up again and the joy to know your Good Lord will help you get going again. 

"Find out what music you can still make with what you have left." 

Monday, February 18, 2013


(This WEEKLY MESSAGE is taken from my new daily devotional e-book, DAILY WORD FROM JESUS. It was Sunday's message for February 17. DWFJ is available on both Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble Nook Books by typing in my name in their search box.)
Matthew 6:21 - "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Where is your treasure in life? If you don't already have that treasure, what would it be? Jesus is talking primarily about money and possessions here, and He's telling us that what we value is what we will think about and contemplate. That's good if our treasure is knowledge or noble attitudes. However, if our treasure is money or the goods we can acquire in life, then that's where our heart will be also.

It's hard not to think about money if you never seem to have enough. It's hard not to think about love if you feel unloved, or contentment if you don't have it. We tend to think about things we don't have. If our health is poor, we wonder how we can become healthier. If we have a poor relationship with someone, we long for it to be made better. If our children or other loved ones have disappointed us, we focus on how we can improve that situation.

Where our treasure is, there our heart will also be. Jesus is not saying that if we value something highly in this world, that is always wrong. But He is saying that our heart will be in what we treasure. If we treasure Him and our relationship with Him, our heart will be in a more peaceful place, a place of safety.

Hearts are frail. If we hope for something desperately, we risk a "broken" heart if it does not come. A broken heart means sadness and pain from not getting what we believe is important. But Jesus can replace what we didn't get with something even more precious - faith in Him, and a trust that won't be shattered by broken dreams. 

Today, consider what is truly important to you, and ask yourself why it is important. Then ask Jesus to give you a contented heart.

Dear Lord, today help me treasure You and the forgiveness You earned for me, amen.

Monday, February 11, 2013


Ecclesiastes 3 may be familiar: "To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven, A time to be born and a time to die..." The circumstances that follow in this chapter describe life. Much of life is deals with birth and death, war and peace, laughter and sadness, and other situations. I'd like to add a further thought: "There is a time to tackle a problem and a time to let it go."
This has been made clear to me with my hearing. About fifteen years ago I began noticing a shrill ringing in my inner ears that soon grew worse. My doctor said it was tinnitus, a condition that can be caused by medication, neurological damage, infection or even heredity. All people have ringing in their ears now and then. Tinnitus is the constant, uncontrollable inner ear noise that is heard in loud environment or quiet. There are a few advertised treatments, but none remove the sound, only mask it.

Severe tinnitus usually results in hearing loss. Hearing aids help a little, but they don't reduce the inner ear sounds which may increase. There is a recorded case where tinnitus became so bad the patient asked to have some nerves severed. Surgery made the man totally deaf, but the ringing still did not stop. Imagine spending the rest of your life hearing only the ringing in your ears!

A person can know what a problem is, what causes it, or even what may happen to it in the future. But some problems never seem to go away. That's when we need to deal with them by letting them go and giving them to God. I have some methods to help with my tinnitus, but I have found giving it to God works best. "Let Go, and Let God."

As I said, "There is a time to tackle a problem and a time to let it go." There are some things in life we can do nothing about, so why spend time worrying about them? It is better to commit them to God in faith and let Him deal with them. 

I am not saying we should deny a problem exists or not try to find a solution. Perhaps someday a cure for tinnitus will be found. Meanwhile, since I can do nothing to stop it, I need to let it go and let God handle it. Some days I don't think about the ringing, but I always know it is there, and my best solution is to ignore it.

Matthew 19:26 says, "With God, all things are possible." God can fix anything, so we need to "Let Go, and Let God." If possible, we should try fixing it, but there's a time when we must "Let Go and Let God." This is especially true in dealing with people. We cannot control the behavior of others, whether in business, government or relationships, so we must stop thinking it is all up to us. It is far better to "Let Go, and Let God."

"With God, all things are possible," including healing our hearing.

Monday, February 4, 2013


A man went to a barbershop to have his hair cut and beard trimmed. They struck up a conversation on various subjects. But when the customer mentioned God, the barber said: "Sorry, but I don't believe God exists." 

"Why do you say that?" asked the customer. "You only have to go out in the street to see that God doesn't exist." said the barber. "For example, if God existed, why are there so many sick people? Or poor people? Why are there abandoned children? If God existed, there should be neither suffering nor pain. I can't imagine a caring God who would allow such terrible things."

The customer didn't respond, paid the barber and left. As he did, he saw a man walk by with long, dirty hair and a scraggly beard. The customer went back into the barbershop and said to the barber, "You know what? I don't believe that barbers exist." "Now what do you mean by that?" asked the barber. "I'm here, and I'm a barber. And I just cut your hair!"

"Nope!" the customer exclaimed. "Barbers do not exist because if they did, there would be no people with long, dirty hair and scraggly beards, like that man who just walked past your shop." "Ah, but barbers do exist!" said the barber, "What you saw happens only when people don't come to me."

"That's my point!" said the customer. "We know barbers exist because we can see evidence of what they do. The same is true about God. We know He exists because we see evidence of what He does. Much of the trouble and tragedy in this world happen because so many do not go to God and do not look to Him for help. If more people went to God for His help, there would surely not be as much pain and suffering in this world."

I am sure some reading this will think it is a weak case for proof of God, and it probably is. Others will say we don't know that there would be less tragedy if more people prayed, or that suffering is simply proof of sin and our need for God. But without Christian faith and the prayers of God's people, our world would surely be a far worse place in which to live.

In Psalm 50:15 God tells us, "Call upon Me in the day of trouble. I will deliver you and you shall glorify Me." That's God's promise and I believe it. However, a growing number of people in our world believe we'd all be better off if denied the existence of God and banished Him from government, schools and just about all other places, including churches.

What do you believe? What are you doing about it?