Back to the Basics

Some days, I wake up and I do good to remember my own name, much less any one else’s. For me in the early morning, I have to remember whem I’m getting dressed that pants go on first, then shoes. I know most of you take that for granted, but for me at 5:30 am, it’s not a given.

Some times you have to remind yourself of the basics. Sometimes when life gets hard or confusing or just plain weird. Most of these are not original with me, but I’ve picked them up over the years.

1) God is for you. God’s not up there, wherever “there” is, waiting to smite you or cast a lightning bolt at you or give you acne. He’s not. He’s on your side.

2) Don’t sweat the small stuff, and most of life is small stuff. Most of what you get so hung up on and stressed out over is small stuff. You probably won’t even remember most of those things that got you so worried today.

3) God never said He wouldn’t give you more than you yourself can handle, but He also said He Himself would take care of you. Quit trying to figure everything out and handle it all yourself. Be the child Jesus talks about and let God be your Father and get you through your trials and tests and other stuff.

4) Life is short. Choose family and friends and relationships over work and getting things done, because no one on his death bed ever laments about not having spent enough time at the office.

5) The only opinion of you that matters is what God thinks of you. The people you spend so much time wondering what they think of you are just as paranoid over what you think of them. Only God knows you completely. He made you. And He likes you.

6) You can’t do whatever you want or be whoever you want. I will never dunk a basketball on a regulation goal, no matter how much I really want to. You and I can’t be whatever we want to be, but we can be who God made us and meant for us to be.

That’s all I have. Other than maybe pants go first, then shoes. But like the song says, there are two things I know: 1) that God is good and 2) that He loves me.

No matter what else will happen to you, those two things will always be true. Always.

Redemption (It’s Never Too Late to Come Home)

For my 50th blog, I wanted to talk about something close to my heart. That something is the subject of redemption. Especially since I and all those who trust in Christ have been redeemed.

Some definitions I found of the word redeem are: “1) to recover ownership of by paying a specified sum, 2) to pay off (a promissory note, for example), 3) to turn in (coupons, for example) and receive something in exchange, 4) to fulfill (a pledge, for example), 5). to convert into cash: redeem stocks, 6) to set free; rescue or ransom, 7) to save from a state of sinfulness and its consequences. 7)  to make up for: the low price of the clothes dryer redeems its lack of special features.8)  to restore the honor, worth, or reputation of.”

But it’s one thing to know about redemption in an academic sense and an entirely different notion to know experientially what it means to be redeemed. To know that Jesus can take something worthless and turn it into something priceless is cause by itself for worship. To know that no one is beyond His reach is cause for eternal devotion.

The thief on the cross proves that no one is ever a lost cause or a hopeless case. Not even in his dying moments was he too far gone to be saved. Such is the case for anyone in my life (or your life). No one is too depraved to be forgiven. There is no one who has left the path who can never come back.

If you are the one who has crossed every line and blown every chance, there”s still hope. You can never stray so far away that there is no way to get Home again. If you aren’t the one who has lost his or her way, but know someone who has, know that there is never a time to quit praying and reaching out and believing in faith for that person.

I love this quote from John Newton, who himself was a slave trader who was redeemed and became a great hymn writer and leader in the abolition movement in England. As he lay on his death bed, he said to a minister friend, ‎”True, I’m going on before you, but you’ll soon come after me. When you arrive, our friendship will no doubt cause you to inquire for me. But I can tell you already where you’ll most likely find me–I’ll be sitting at the feet of the thief whom Jesus saved in His dying moments on the cross!”

Remember it’s never too late to come Home. Even if you’ve lost your way, Jesus knows how to get you Home. After all, He is the Way. Don’t lose hope for that loved one. Even in his or her last breath, there’s still a chance for redemption.

As always, I believe. Help my unbelief.