Monday, August 27, 2007

How Deep The Father's Love For Us

How deep the Father's love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
And make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the man upon the cross
My sin upon His shoulder
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Ten Things I Learned From My Dad

MartIn the memories that come with a parent’s passing, I’ve been reminded of what my dad taught those of us who lived and worked with him.

In many ways, Dad didn’t have an easy life. Long before his problems with a detached retina, heart surgery, and Parkinson’s disease, he lived in the shadow of his own father’s colorful and commanding personality. While most people knew Dad as a strong-voiced, caring, and faithful teacher of the Bible, those of us who were close to him knew that along the way Dad also wrestled with serious and deep questions about his own abilities and self-worth.

Looking back, I’m beginning to realize how much he taught us not only by his strengths but also by the way he responded to his weaknesses. I know my three brothers would agree that Dad showed us how to:

Admit when we are wrong. We all remember Dad’s willingness to admit his faults. I’m not sure why that seems important enough to mention first. It could be that I’ve heard my wife Di talk about how that quality impressed her. When visiting in our home before we were married, she saw Dad come to the dinner table and, before sitting down, apologize to the family for his irritability toward Mom. Or, maybe I just can’t think of anything that continues to be more necessary for me than to admit my own wrongs.

Don’t try to be someone else. Dad knew what it was like to be compared to his gifted and much-loved father. Some told him he didn’t have what it would take to lead the ministry his father founded. The comparisons were hard on him. But over time he used the experience to show us how to be the person God made us to be. And as a result of what he found in the trenches of his own battle for self-respect, he gave the rest of us the freedom we needed to be ourselves as well.

Think small while dreaming big. Dad showed us the importance of being honest in little things. He’d go back to a restaurant to return change if he found he’d been given too much at the cash register. What others called “white lies” were big issues to him. He didn’t even like to exaggerate to make a point. For him, issues of urgency or cost were no excuse to forget the principle that “he who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much” (Luke 16:10). Attention to detail, however, didn’t keep him from dreaming. His vision for outreach through television and multiple teachers resulted in years of growth of RBC Ministries.

Be careful what we say about others. Dad wasn’t part of “the grapevine” that circulates news of other people’s failures. I don’t remember hearing him talk about other leaders’ mistakes. Maybe it was because he himself had felt the sting of unkind rumors and remarks. He simply took to heart the Scriptures that call us to love one another. The 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians was one of Dad’s favorite Scripture passages, and he read it often to his staff.

Read biographies with a grain of salt. Dad’s reluctance to be unnecessarily critical of others came with an interesting footnote. He didn’t put a lot of stock in biographies. Although he saw the value of “stories of great people,” he took them with a grain of salt. He knew that the real story of a person’s life is seldom published.

Relax with those who are important to you. Dad worked hard. While taking his leadership responsibilities seriously, he wrote, edited, and rewrote his messages and devotionals until they had the simplicity and clarity he was looking for. But he also knew how to put his work aside and relax. He loved walks on the beach or going for a drive in the country with Mom. He looked forward to spending time on the golf course with friends. I remember how much he enjoyed showing my brothers and me how to use a fly rod to work an orange spider into the lily pads of a quiet lake as we hunted for bluegill or largemouth bass. We also have plenty of memories of him at home with a bowl of popcorn and a board game like Monopoly or Scrabble.

Cultivate balance. Dad learned by experience to listen to both sides of an argument. In his later years he told us how, as a young manager, he’d listen to one side of an employee conflict and think he understood the problem. Then he’d talk to the other side and hear a completely different perspective. The balance and fairness he cultivated in employee relationships showed up in other ways too. In so many ways he taught us to avoid one-sided extremes in thinking or behavior.

Avoid irreverent jokes. Over the years we saw in Dad a healthy fear of the Lord. Jokes about the Scripture were out of bounds as far as he was concerned. It wasn’t that he didn’t have a sense of humor. He loved a good laugh. But he drew the line when it came to talking lightly about God or the Bible.

Question our own use of Scripture. Because of Dad’s reverence for the Word of God, he also taught us to second-guess the way we quote the Bible. When critiquing manuscripts written by his staff, he would repeatedly write in the margin, “Does the Bible really say that? Really?” He showed us that if we really want to trust or teach what God has said, we need to be willing to doubt our own interpretations and motives.

Trust in God and do the right. Since Dad’s passing, many of his friends, co-workers, and family members have agreed on one central focus that seems to best represent his life. Much of the legacy he left us can be summed up in the words, “Trust in God and do the right.” We remember those words as they are repeated in a poem written by Norman Macleod that Dad often read to his staff. —Mart De Haan

Trust In God by Norman Macleod

Courage, Brother, do not stumble,

Though your path be dark as night;

There’s a star to guide the humble,

Trust in God and do the right.

Let the road be rough and dreary,

And its end far out of sight,

Foot it bravely, strong or weary;

Trust in God and do the right.

Perish policy and cunning,

Perish all that fears the light;

Whether losing, whether winning,

Trust in God and do the right.

Trust no party, sect or faction,

Trust no leaders in the fight;

But in every word and action

Trust in God and do the right.

Simple rule and safest guiding,

Inward peace and inward might,

Star upon our path abiding;

Trust in God and do the right.

Some will hate you, some will love you,

Some will flatter, some will slight;

Cease from man, and look above you,

Trust in God and do the right.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Stranger Than Fiction

It's amazing how a movie one just grabbed from a rental store by accident would turn out to be exceptionally terrific. It's the type of film that I would certainly watch over and over again.

It's so profound that I'd rather just post some of my favorite quotes from the movie than give it a wordy review. And since Will Ferrell plays the main character, there's a bit of comedy in it. Enjoy!


Kay Eiffel
: [narrating] This is a story about a man named Harold Crick and his wristwatch. Harold Crick was a man of infinite numbers, endless calculations, and remarkably few words. And his wristwatch said even less. Every weekday, for twelve years, Harold would brush each of his thirty-two teeth seventy-six times. Thirty-eight times back and forth, thirty-eight times up and down. Every weekday, for twelve years, Harold would tie his tie in a single Windsor knot instead of the double, thereby saving up to forty-three seconds. His wristwatch thought the single Windsor made his neck look fat, but said nothing.

Dr. Mittag-Leffler: I'm afraid what you're describing is schizophrenia.
Harold Crick: No, no. It's not schizophrenia. It's just a voice in my head. I mean, the voice isn't telling me to do anything. It's telling me what I've already done... accurately, and with a better vocabulary.
Dr. Mittag-Leffler: Mr. Crick, you have a voice speaking to you.
Harold Crick: No, not TO me. ABOUT me. I'm somehow involved in some sort of story. Like I'm a character in my own life. But the problem is that the voice comes and goes...
Dr. Mittag-Leffler: Mr. Crick, I hate to sound like a broken record, but that's schizophrenia.

Harold Crick: Am I OK?
Doctor Mercator: [with facial indifference] Well, you're not dead. On the other hand, it looks like you cracked your head, you broke three bones in your leg and foot, you suffered four broken ribs, fractured your left arm, and severed an artery in your right arm, which should've killed you in a matter of minutes, but amazingly, a shard of metal from your watch obstructed the artery, keeping the blood loss low enough to keep you alive... which is pretty cool.
Harold Crick: Wow.

Harold Crick: [after his wall has just been demolished by construction workers] Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey hey hey hey hey hey! What're you doing?
Construction Worker #1: Holy crap and hell!
Construction Worker #2: What the hell is that?
Construction Worker #1, Construction Worker #2, Construction Worker #3, Construction Worker #4: [repeating after each other] Stop the crane!
Construction Worker #1: Hey!
Harold Crick: Hey, what are you doing?
Construction Worker #1: Us? What are YOU doing?
Harold Crick: I was watching TV!
Construction Worker #1: Well, we're demolishing this place.
Harold Crick: Are you nuts? I live here!
Construction Worker #1: Is that a TV?
Harold Crick: Yes, that's a TV! It's MY TV!
Construction Worker #1: Well, what's your TV doing in there?
Harold Crick: I said I live here, stupid! It's where I keep my stuff! My name's on the goddamn buzzer! Harold Crick, Apartment 2B eighteen ninety-three, McCarthy!
Construction Worker #1: [pause] Did you say eighteen NINETY-three?
Harold Crick: Yes!
Construction Worker #1: [another pause] Oh. Woops.

Kay Eiffel: [narrating Harold's thoughts on the guitars in the shop] Unfortunately, THIS guitar said, 'When I get back to Georgia, that woman gonna feel my pain.'
Kay Eiffel: THIS one said something along the lines of, 'Why yes, these pants ARE lycra.'
Kay Eiffel: THESE said, 'I'm very sensitive, very caring, and I have absolutely no idea how to play the guitar.'

Harold Crick: [Ana has just brought out a huge box totally stuffed with a mess of papers] What's this?
Ana Pascal: [Very pleased with herself] My tax files and receipts for the last three years.
Harold Crick: [Horrified] You keep your files like this?
Ana Pascal: No. Actually I'm quite fastidious. I put them in this box just to screw with you.

Ana Pascal: [Hurt and annoyed that Harold refuses to just take the cookies and has offered to buy them] Go home Harold.
Harold Crick: Okay.
[starts for the door and realizes he's dissappointed her]
Harold Crick: Did- You made those cookies for me, didn't you.
[She looks at him sadly]
Harold Crick: You were just trying to be nice, and I blew it.
[reaches into his briefcase and retrieves the little black book where he's tracking his comedy vs tragedy tallies, and there are a lot of marks under tragedy. Sadly]
Harold Crick: This may sound like gibberish to you, but I think I'm in a tragedy.

Harold Crick: [Runs to Ana the baker with a box of 10 paper bags in it] I'm glad I caught you. I wanted to give you these
Ana Pascal: Wait, you can give presents, but not receive them? That sounds awfully inconsistent, Mr. Crick.
Harold Crick: Yes, but...
Ana Pascal: Wait, I know, I'll purchase them! Yeah, I'll purchase them.
[Reaches into her bag to grab her wallet]
Harold Crick: No, no, no, no.
Ana Pascal: [With wallet in hand, stops to actually look at the box] What are they?
Harold Crick: [quietly] Flours.
Ana Pascal: What?
Harold Crick: I brought you flours.
Ana Pascal: [See the sweetness of the gesture, then realizing he's carried 10 bags of flours] Wait, you carried them all the way here?
Harold Crick: Miss Pascal, I've been odd. I know I've been odd, and I know that there are many forces at work telling me to bring these down here to you, but I brought these for you because... I want you.
Ana Pascal: [a bit taken aback, and ready to be really offended] Excuse me?
Harold Crick: I want you.
Ana Pascal: You want me?
Harold Crick: In no uncertain terms.
Ana Pascal: [realizing that he's really not being a creep and just a guy who's not used to saying what he feels] But isn't there some... I don't rule about fraternization...
Harold Crick: Auditor / Auditee protocols, yes, but I don't care.
Ana Pascal: Why not?
Harold Crick: Because I want you.
Ana Pascal: [Contemplates him for a second, and looks back at the box] Can you carry those a little bit further.
Harold Crick: Okay.

Ana Pascal: [to cast-covered Harold] So what happened?
Harold Crick: I stepped in front of a bus.
Ana Pascal: What? Why?
Harold Crick: There was a boy I had to pull out of the way?
Ana Pascal: What?
Harold Crick: There was this boy, I had to...
Ana Pascal: You stepped in front of a bus to save a boy?
Harold Crick: I had to. I didn't have a choice.

Dr. Jules Hilbert: Because he's real?
Kay Eiffel: Because it's a book about a man who doesn't know he's about to die. And then dies. But if a man does know he's about to die and dies anyway. Dies- dies willingly, knowing that he could stop it, then- I mean, isn't that the type of man who you want to keep alive?

Harold Crick: It says, in the file, that you only paid part of your taxes for last year.
Ana Pascal: That's right.
Harold Crick: Looks like only 78 percent.
Ana Pascal: Yep.
Harold Crick: So you did it on purpose?
Ana Pascal: Yep.
Harold Crick: So you must've been expecting an audit.
Ana Pascal: Um, I was expecting a fine, or a sharp reprimand.
Harold Crick: A reprimand? This isn't boarding school, Miss Pascal. You stole from the government.
Ana Pascal: No I didn't steal from the government. I just didn't pay you *entirely*.

Harold Crick: Miss Pascal, you can't just not pay your taxes.
Ana Pascal: Yes, I can.
Harold Crick: You can if you want to get audited.
Ana Pascal: Only if I recognize your right to audit me, Mr. Crick.
Harold Crick: Miss Pascal, I'm right here auditing you.

Ana Pascal: Listen, I'm a big supporter of fixing potholes and erecting swing sets and building shelters. I am *more* than happy to pay those taxes. I'm just not such a big fan of the percentage that the government uses for national defense, corporate bailouts, and campaign discretionary funds. So, I didn't pay those taxes. I think I sent a letter to that effect with my return.
Harold Crick: Would it be the letter that beings "Dear Imperialist Swine"?

Harold Crick: Miss Pascal, what you're describing is anarchy. Are you an anarchist?
Ana Pascal: You mean, am I a member of...
Harold Crick: An anarchist group, yes.
Ana Pascal: Anarchists have a group?
Harold Crick: I believe so, sure.
Ana Pascal: They assemble?
Harold Crick: I don't know.
Ana Pascal: Wouldn't that completely defeat the purpose?

Harold Crick: How are you?
Ana Pascal: I'm lousy. I'm being audited.
Harold Crick: Of course.
Ana Pascal: By a real creep, too.

Harold Crick: Dave, can I pose a somewhat abstract, purely hypothetical question?
Dave: Sure.
Harold Crick: If you knew you were gonna die, possibly soon, what would you do?
Dave: Wow, I don't know. Am I the richest man in the world?
Harold Crick: No, you're you.
Dave: Do I have a superpower?
Harold Crick: No, you're *you*.
Dave: I know I'm me, but do I have a superpower?
Harold Crick: No, why would you have a superpower?
Dave: I don't know, you said it was hypothetical.
Harold Crick: Fine, yes, you're really good at math.
Dave: That's not a power, that's a skill.
Harold Crick: Okay, you're good at math and you're invisible. And you know you're gonna die. Dave: Okay, okay. That's easy, I'd go to space camp.
Harold Crick: Space camp?
Dave: Yeah, it's in Alabama. It's where kids go to learn how to become astronauts. I've always wanted to go since I was nine.
Harold Crick: You're invisible and you'd go to space camp?
Dave: I didn't pick invisible, you picked invisible.
Harold Crick: Aren't you too old to go to space camp?
Dave: You're *never* too old to go to space camp, dude.

Harold Crick: IRS agents, we're given rigorous aptitude tests before we can work. Unfortunately for you we aren't tested on tact or good manners.

Kay Eiffel: [narrating] Little did he know that this simple seemingly innocuous act would result in his imminent death.
Harold Crick: What? What? Hey! HELLOOO! What? Why? Why MY death? HELLO? Excuse me? WHEN?

Kay Eiffel: [narrating] And so he did what countless punk-rock songs had told him to do so many times before: he lived his life.

Ana Pascal: It was a really awful day. I know, I made sure of it. So pick up the cookie, dip it in the milk, and eat it.

Ana Pascal: Apology accepted. But only because you stammered.

Dr. Jules Hilbert: Little did he know. That means there's something he doesn't know, which means there's something you don't know, did you know that?

Harold Crick: This may sound like gibberish to you, but I think I'm in a tragedy.

Ana Pascal: Did you like the cookies?
Harold Crick: Yes. Thank you for forcing me to eat them.

Dr. Jules Hilbert: Let me ask you this. On a scale of one to ten, what are the chances that you'll be assassinated - one being highly unlikely, ten being you're expecting it around every corner?

Dr. Jules Hilbert: Let's start with ridiculous and work backwards.

Dr. Mittag-Leffler: You have a voice speaking to you.
Harold Crick: About me. Accurately... and with a better vocabulary.

Penny Escher: And I suppose you smoked all these cigarettes?
Kay Eiffel: No, they came pre-smoked.

Dr. Jules Hilbert: It's been a very revealing ten seconds.

Dr. Jules Hilbert: Hell Harold, you could just eat nothing but pancakes if you wanted.
Harold Crick: What is wrong with you? Hey, I don't want to eat nothing but pancakes, I want to live! I mean, who in their right mind in a choice between pancakes and living chooses pancakes?
Dr. Jules Hilbert: Harold, if you pause to think, you'd realize that that answer is inextricably contingent upon the type of life being led... and, of course, the quality of the pancakes.

[outside, Harold gets very exasperated by the voice]
Harold Crick: SHUT UP!
Kay Eiffel: [voice only] Cursing the heavens in futility.
Harold Crick: [extremely annoyed] No I'm not! I'm cursing you, you stupid voice so SHUT UP AND LEAVE ME ALONE!

Kay Eiffel: As Harold took a bite of Bavarian sugar cookie, he finally felt as if everything was going to be ok. Sometimes, when we lose ourselves in fear and despair, in routine and constancy, in hopelessness and tragedy, we can thank God for Bavarian sugar cookies. And, fortunately, when there aren't any cookies, we can still find reassurance in a familiar hand on our skin, or a kind and loving gesture, or subtle encouragement, or a loving embrace, or an offer of comfort, not to mention hospital gurneys and nose plugs, an uneaten Danish, soft-spoken secrets, and Fender Stratocasters, and maybe the occasional piece of fiction. And we must remember that all these things, the nuances, the anomalies, the subtleties, which we assume only accessorize our days, are effective for a much larger and nobler cause. They are here to save our lives. I know the idea seems strange, but I also know that it just so happens to be true. And, so it was, a wristwatch saved Harold Crick.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Something good to read....

#1: Say a Prayer

I was taking my usual morning walk when a garbage truck pulled up beside me. I thought the driver was going to ask for directions. Instead, he showed me a picture of a cute little five-year-old boy.

"This is my grandson, Jeremiah," he said. "He's on a life-support system at a Phoenix hospital."

Thinking he would next ask for a contribution to his hospital bills, I reached for my wallet. But he wanted something more than money.

He said, "I'm asking everybody I can to say a prayer for him. Would you say one for him, please?"

I did. And my problems didn't seem like much that day.

____________ _________ _________ __

#2: Pickup in the Rain

One night, at 11:30 pm, an older African-American woman was standing on the side of a Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rain storm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped to help her-generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxi cab. She seemed to be in a big hurry! She wrote down his address, thanked him and drove away. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a giant combination console color TV and stereo record player were delivered to his home. A special note was attached. The note read:

Dear Mr. James: Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes but my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband's bedside just before he passed away. God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others.

Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole.

____________ _________ _________ __

#3: Giving Blood

Giving Blood many years ago, when I worked as a transfusion volunteer at Stanford Hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liza who was suffering from a disease and needed blood from her five-year-old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, "Yes, I'll do it if it will save Liza."

As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away?"

Being young, the boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give her all his blood.

____________ _________ _________ __

#4: The Obstacle in Our Path

In ancient times, a king had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the big stone out of the way. Then a peasant
came along carrying a load of vegetables. On approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his
burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. As the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the king indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many others never understand. Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve one's condition.

____________ _________ _________ __

"Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away..."


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Playing with Fire

“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’ ” John 8:31-32

No doubt you’ve noticed that people around you are not into absolute truth these days. When it comes to matters of morality, the prevailing philosophy is a multiple-choice view, with competing thoughts and perspectives on what is right and wrong listed as A, B, C, or D. And although these perspectives are often contradictory, prevailing pop philosophers today have added choice E: “all of the above.”

While many people are comfortable with such ambiguity in their personal choices, very few would want their material world to be this arbitrary. Everyone affirms that there are some basic, absolute physical laws that govern our experience and shape our behavior. Take, for example, the reality of heat and fire. I first learned about this when playing in my Dad’s car as a 5-year-old.

I was mesmerized by one particular feature in this new car—the cigarette lighter. I can remember not only discovering the lighter, but pushing it into the socket. I was enamored by the glow of the red circles on the lighter when it popped out. But I pushed my curiosity a little too far when I pulled the glowing lighter out and pressed it on the tip of my index finger. I still can’t explain exactly why I did this, but I quickly realized that it was not a smart idea!

In that moment I discovered that the physical laws governing heat and fire are not arbitrary. The circular lines branded on my finger were powerful evidence to convince me that fire burns and that I needed to keep a healthy distance. Understanding the absolute nature of gravity, mathematics, blood pressure, and other physical realities is essential for living life safely and successfully.

But isn’t it interesting that even though we all believe it is important to respect and submit to physical laws, many of us now believe that moral laws are up for grabs! Unfortunately, believing and living by that philosophy inevitably leads to disastrous consequences.

And the most dangerous outcome of all relates to our eternal destiny. If we live in a morally multiple- choice world where nothing is always wrong and nothing is always right, then there is no sin. No sin means no need for a Savior. If there’s no need for a Savior, there’s no point in the cross. The empty tomb means nothing, and there is neither hell to be shunned nor heaven to be gained. Our Bible becomes at best irrelevant and at worst the scheming work of ancient men designed to oppress and deny us the privilege of pleasure. Yet God has made it clear—some things are right and some things are wrong. There is sin, and we need a Savior. There is a hell to be shunned and a heaven to be gained. To ignore the reality of moral absolutes is to play with a fire that you don’t recover from.

In fact, it isn’t just eternal consequences that should concern us but the impact on life as well. The breakup of homes, the increasing violence on our streets, the alarming rise of sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS, and the general unraveling of a sane and safe environment all testify to the destructive impact of ignoring God’s laws.

Thankfully, God is not a multiple-choice God. Jesus came to assure us that there is truth and that if we know and live in the realm of His truth we are truly free! Free from the inevitable consequences that come when we live to do whatever we want to do.

No wonder the psalmist wrote that those who delight in the law of God are “like a tree planted by streams of water,” and that those who scoff at the truth are “like chaff that the wind blows away” (Psalm 1).


  • Why do you think that people are willing to accept the absolute nature of physical laws, yet willing to deny the absolute nature of God’s moral laws?
  • How have you seen multiple-choice thinking in action around you? What have been the consequences?
  • Has multiple-choice thinking, even in small ways, begun to infect your life? What specific steps can you take to joyfully live in the truth today? Make a specific plan.
  • Read Psalm 1 and reflect on which category describes your life—a watered tree or worthless chaff?
  • What would it take for you to “delight” in God’s law?
Taken from Strength for the Journey dated 15 January 2007.

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Out of Our Minds

"Do you not fear Me?" says the Lord. --Jeremiah 5:22

Why would a prison inmate escape from prison the day before his scheduled release? That's what a Rhode Island prison spokesman wondered as he answered questions from reporters. He said, "For the life of me, I don't know what possessed him to leave with only one day of his sentence left to serve." Once captured, the escapee would be arraigned on charges that could land him back in prison for up to 20 years.

Most of us probably would wonder about the shortsightedness of this inmate. But we might not be as conscious of our own nearsighted approach to sin. We might not see the absolute mindlessness of pursuing a few moments of selfish pleasure in exchange for lasting regret.

Jeremiah pointed out the folly of such actions. In the 5th chapter of his prophecy, he reminded us of how much we should respect God's power (v.22), and that short-term pleasures will bring long-term losses (vv.28-29). Sin thrives on self-deception and doesn't look ahead to the result (v.31).

Father, forgive us for being so stubborn and blind. Thank You for making a provision for our forgiveness. We realize that without Jesus we would have no hope. Help us to do what makes sense—for today, and for tomorrow. Mart De Haan

We can't afford to play with fire
Nor tempt a serpent's bite;
We can't afford to think that sin
Brings any true delight. —Anon.

Sin sees the bait but is blind to the hook.

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