“Don’t ever promise more than you can deliver, but always deliver more than you promise.” – Lou Holtz
“A promise must never be broken.” – Alexander Hamilton
Have you ever made a rash promise to God? I have heard of those who have made “foxhole” promises to God, and they go something like this: “God if you do this…. I will do this for you!” Sometimes we can make rushed, rash, and unthoughtful promises, and we ought to be careful when we direct these promises to God.
“Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction.” – Erich Fromm
“He who is greedy is always in want.” – Horace
In 1886 Leo Tolstoy wrote a short story with a timeless message about a man who, in his lust for land, forfeited everything. In his How Much Land Does a Man Need? A peasant named Pahom complained because he didn't own enough land to satisfy him. He claimed, "If I have plenty of land, I shouldn't fear the Devil himself."
“Define your values and stick to them” – Cathy Truett
“There is a difference between prioritizing your schedule and scheduling your priorities” – Jason Gaddis
I love special days. Whether they are for our nation, church, or individuals, special days a fun and exciting. Some of my fondest memories growing up were around holidays. Christmas, Thanksgiving, Fourth of July, New Year, and so much more, I love them all. Church anniversaries, Fall ‘Round up Day’, potlucks, revivals, and the like also garner excitement and anticipation. If you are like me, you love holidays, big days, and special events.
“Peace is not the absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.” – Ronald Reagan
“You cannot find peace by avoiding life.” – Virginia Woolf
In theory, people relish the idea of love and peace, but in practice not so much. Some time ago I watched a portion of a documentary on the life of John Lennon. The front man for the Beatles was very vocal in his life time about social and political issues. One striking thing I noticed about his “agenda”, if you can call it that was that it was oversimplified. When dealing with complicated and complex issues he would make statements like this, “Just give PEACE a try.” When asked to elaborate or explain he would just say something like, “peace works, it will work, just give it a try… it is not complicated.” This is not too different from politicians and celebrities today. They make claims of “love” “peace” “getting along”, but usually have no concrete ways of accomplishing such goals. Instead everything is abstract or exist on in theory. When given possible solutions, they are quick to react and say, “That is wrong or unloving”, but never seem to have anything substantial to propose.
“The voice of sin is loud, but the voice of forgiveness is louder.” – D.L. Moody
“I believe that as often as I transgress, God is more ready to forgive me than I am ready to offend.” – Charles H. Spurgeon
I want to know I am forgiven. There are so many religions today and so many philosophies out there; it can be a blur. The common man is presented many ways he may think or suppose he can have an entrance into heaven. Popular teaching insist that we can hope forgiveness will be granted by God if only we keep our nose clean and try our best. Thousands die daily with absolutely no assurance or confidence that they have been forgiven. The pass off into eternity not knowing if their sins have been paid for or if they are yet in them. They hope they will make it by the skin of their teeth. The sad reality is, they won’t make it based on their merit or good works. Forgiveness is ONLY found in Jesus Christ.
“Health is not valued till sickness comes.” – Thomas Fuller
I absolutely hate being sick. Recently, our whole family went through a bout with sickness after sickness. It is totally fine with me if the kids are sick (I hurt for them, but that is about as far as my empathy goes), but when I am sick the world needs to stop and take care of me! I absolutely hate puking, I don’t want to do it, and I will do everything in my power to prevent it from happening. Although I hate being temporarily sick, it saddens my heart to see those I love in prolonged battles with disease, cancer, and sickness. It often leads me and others to ask the question, why? Why is sickness allowed? Why do kids and good, Godly people get terrible illnesses that ravage their bodies? Is there an answer to these questions?
“We live in a changing world, but we need to be reminded that the important things have not changed, and the important things will not change if we keep our priorities in proper order.” – S. Truett Cathy
People eat some weird things. After I graduated high school, I had opportunity to travel to Tanzania. My flights got all messed up on the way there, and I ended up spending an unplanned night in Zurich, Switzerland. The hotel had a buffet that was offered to me for supper, and I was excited to try some new foods. One of these new foods was escargot (snails). I might have been served a bad batch, but they were pretty nasty, and I decided escargot was not for me! I am always up to trying something new, and have been able to try some interesting and unique foods in my life.
“A hog in a silk waistcoat is still a hog.” – Charles H. Spurgeon
“As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly” – Proverbs 26:11
We expect things to act according to their nature, and when they don’t we wonder why. A frog crowing like a rooster would turn more than a few heads. A few years ago we were at a nearby park, and some kids showed up with a baby piglet. This pig was all prettied up with a tutu and everything. The kids thought it was the greatest thing ever, but in the back of my mind I was thinking “good grief… it’s a pig”! We can pretend like something is different than what it is, but that doesn’t change its nature. You can treat a dog like a human all you want, but it will still do what dogs do. According to Proverbs, that dog will eat its vomit because it is a dog… the only way you will change that behavior is to make it something other than a dog (which is impossible).
“Debt is the worst poverty” – Thomas Fuller
“The day I’m able to be debt-free is the day I’m going to be the happiest guy around.” – Steve Garvey
There is no feeling like being free of a debt. When a debt has been paid off in full, the relief that can accompany the event is almost beyond description. This might not ever have happened to you, but it is amazing when someone pays a debt for you. While on staff at Cottondale as the youth pastor, my truck broke down. It wasn’t anything major, just the water pump, but for my wife and I we weren’t in a position to get it fixed. We went down to using one vehicle, and I left my truck parked until we got the funds to get it fixed up. Next thing I know my truck was fixed, and the bill paid. The church had decided to take care of the need for us! I was humbled, grateful, and excited all at the same time. Have you ever had someone in your life pay for your meal, pay for some medical bills, help you out with a debt, or take care of a need?
“Broken and spilled out just for love of you Jesus. My most precious treasure lavished on Thee. Broken and spilled out and poured at Your feet. In sweet abandon, let me be spilled out and used up for Thee.” – Steve Green
I distinctly remember the moment I surrendered my life to the Lord. The time I told God He could have all of me, nothing reserved, nothing held back. Complete and utter sacrifice. When I hear the song “I surrender all” it is a reminder that my life has been given wholly and completely to the Lord.