As children we imagined we would find the perfect spouse, the perfect job, buy the perfect house, go on perfect adventures, and well . . . have the perfect life. Somewhere along the way, however, we quickly realized we will experience many things on this earth, but perfection is certainly not one of them.
I want you to know that I am not doing this for your sake, declares the Sovereign Lord. -Ezekiel 36:32
(Note: The names and minor details of this story have been changed to protect people’s identities.)
Jose was a drug addict. Although much older now and obviously a different man, his rough, tattooed exterior and muscular build allowed for an easy visual of his former life of crime. By his own admission, he had lived a crazy existence full of violence, quick pleasures, and self-centeredness. Eventually his rebellious ways brought him to jail. It was there God found him. The prison chaplain led Jose to accept Christ and he never looked back. He even went to seminary and began a career in counseling other men who had fallen into the same traps he had.
When I was 19-years-old, a deep fear came over me that I might waste my life. I had just spent the last four years of high school goofing off, living wild, partying with friends, and basically ignoring God. In our senior class yearbook, I was voted with the best laugh. That was my legacy thus far. Thankfully, however, God was not laughing with me or ignoring me.
Everyone is unique, thus Jesus draws us to himself uniquely. While each of has an individual story of straying and thus God will reach out to us in individual ways, there are often many common themes all of us experience on the road to reunification with God. One such story that depicts the path nearly every conversion is that of Zacchaeus.
I met Michael while working at a Christian drug rehab center in Cleveland, Ohio. He was a coworker of mine, and he has one of those testimonies you’ll never forget. But there was one part of it that has especially stuck with me.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. – John 1:1
Twenty-six letters . . . who would have thought that twenty-six letters could be as powerful as they are?
With twenty-six letters wars have been started, treaties have been made, great cures have been passed on to the next generation, history has been recorded, identities are given, order is made possible, and the ability to connect with another human being is achieved.
But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.-Luke 15:31
I certainly don’t agree with everything the Amish believe. Their extreme legalism and shunning practices are not a reflection of God’s grace. But some Amish communities do have a practice which I find beautiful.
The Medal of Honor is the highest military award in all the US Armed Forces. It is only given to those soldiers who have displayed the utmost gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty.
One such recipient was Master Sergeant Roy P. Benavidez for his heroics in the Vietnam War. On the morning of May 2, 1968, a 12-man Special Forces Reconnaissance Team was inserted by helicopters into a dense jungle area west of Loc Ninh, Vietnam. Their mission was to gather intelligence information in an area heavily patrolled by the North Vietnam Army (NVA). The highly trained team began taking heavy fire, became pinned down, and called for an extraction. The only way out was by helicopter, and after three attempts by pilots, the plight of these 12 men seemed more hopeless by the minute.
Loyalty and love. Are these not one in the same? When loyal you are loving and when loving you are loyal. Love remains because it’s loyal, and loyalty exists because of love. Who can separate these two?
Sequels are usually not nearly as good as the original film or book in a series. Most sequels fail to live up to the greatness of the original story because they are trying to recreate the magic that happened the first time rather than building on the story. They try to go through the same plot progression as the first story, the characters end getting into the same trouble, and the whole point of the movie is simply to redo the first one under a different title.
Do you know that we can do that in our lives too? It’s good to look back at our past with fond memories. But there are countless dangers that come with idolizing our past.