Friday, August 20, 2010

There is Coming a Day

The time is at hand.

Soon, alarms will sound and people will be startled to a state of wakefulness. Moans and groans will echo from every direction. Some will stumble. Some will complain. Some will try to hide. But all will awaken. What is this dreaded event? What is coming that would cause such a stir?

Is it an air raid?

Is it a natural disaster?

Is it the end of the world?

No, it's the first day of school! My children have spent the last two weeks getting ready. Bookbags have been packed with supplies. New shoes and clothes have been purchased. Schools have been visited and teachers introduced, and come Monday morning, my kids will roll out of bed, bright and early, in order to greet another year of academic achievement.

They are not nearly as excited as their mother is. She has spent all summer, entertaining them, keeping them busy and keeping them out of trouble. She has been in 'mom' mode 24-7 for three solid months. Monday she will have her much needed, and much deserved, R & R. But as I said, the kids are not so enthusiastic. Morning will come early for them (Ellie has to catch her bus at 6:30am), but they will wake up, get ready, and LEAVE! They know it's coming, so they are prepared.

I often wonder how prepared we as Christians are. We know the day is coming when Christ will return for His bride, the Church. How many of us are living like it could be today? I wonder if our spiritual bags are packed. Are we fully supplied to meet the savior, and judge, of the world? My fear is many who should be ready won't be. Just like a student showing up without pen or paper, they will be without excuse. The 'supply' list has been made available, yet they chose to ignore it in the name of pursuing their own pleasures.

On that day, there will be two reactions from those in the 'church'. There will be those who will rejoice at the sound of the trumpet. Their knees will bow out of love and reverence, and with eyes blurred by tears of joy they will look upon their King. But there will be those who are caught by surprise. The trumpet blast will strike fear in their hearts. Knees will bow, not out of love, but out of fear. They will groan, and complain and try to hide because they are unprepared to meet their Creator.

Which camp are you in? Are you looking forward to the day of His appearing and working to prepare for that day, or are you living like it is a distant reality that won't need your attention until later in life? Unlike the first day of school, we don't know the time of Christ's return, but we do know it can be any time. We need to live like it could be today.

The time is at hand.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cast of Characters by Max Lucado

Everyone loves a good story, and the best story tellers are those who can take a familiar story that's been heard a hundred times over and tell it in such a way that it feels like it's the first time you've heard it. That's exactly what Max Lucado does in his newest release, Cast of Characters: Common People in the Hands of an Uncommon God. As someone who has read most of Lucado's books, I was familiar with most of the selections in this work, yet I found that I still could not put the book down. The array of stories ranged from the shores of Galilee to the banks of the Nile. Criminals, kings, fishermen and pharisees all told the story of how God used them, and changed them. Woven throughout the book was a great unity of theme: God can and will use anyone to accomplish His purpose.

If you have never read a book by Max Lucado, this would be an excellent start as it offers samples from a wide array of his previous writings. But even if you have read everything from the pen of this prolific author, you won't be disappointed by this collection. A definite 'must have' for the bookshelf!

Friday, August 6, 2010


The carpenter rubs his hands over the surface of the table. He's looking, feeling, seeking for any imperfections. His hand comes across a rough patch. To the eye, it looks fine, but the hands know better. Out comes the sandpaper to rub away any imperfections.

I wonder if the wood minds. Does it complain when the tooth of the saw cuts? Does it gripe when the lathe turns? Does it rebel at the sight of a chisel? And what about all this endless sanding? Does the wood wonder when enough is enough? When is close enough good enough?

To the carpenter close enough doesn't cut it. He seeks perfection. His sharp eyes and expert hands seek out even the most minor of imperfections in order to correct them.

I don't think it an accident that Jesus was the 'son' of a carpenter. I can see him in Joseph's workshop watching his step-father ply his trade. Building. Fixing. Repairing. Rebuilding. Major problems required major tools. Smaller problems required a gentle touch. Some woods were hard and unyielding, requiring brute strength to work with. Other woods were as pliable as a bruised reed, and only the softest of touches were required. But both types of wood needed the carpenter's touch.

How is Jesus shaping you? Will you allow Him to chisel you into an image of His liking? It will hurt. Removing the rough spots of sin always causes pain. And for those of you who think you have arrived, there's still some irritating sanding to endure. But let the Carpenter do His work and you will be astonished at a beauty you never knew existed within you.