1. This year we bit the proverbial bullet and hired a landscaping service to do our mulching for us. With Sharon still struggling with a lot of pain in her leg and knee and with my busy schedule we thought that was the best route to go. And wow! The day I came home to fully edged and mulched flower beds, I plopped into my lazy-boy and let loose a ssssiiiigggghhhh of relief. Oh did that feel good (now I haven't received the bill yet - when I do, that feeling might not be so positive!). There are many things in life we can pay others to do for us. Sometimes we do so because we lack the know how required for the task (the one and only time I changed the oil filter in my car required the services of a tow truck - but that is a tale for another day!). Other times we make the choice to hire someone to do what we can do (as we did this year with our spring yard work). We had the know how to do our own mulching. We have done so many times in the past. But this year we knew that we needed to spend our time and energy on other things ... therefore the landscape outfit. But there are many things in life that we cannot pay others to do for us. We must do them ourselves (pay our mortgages, eat healthy, obtain a flu vaccine, show up at work, etc.). But there is ONE thing that we can NEITHER pay someone to do for us NOR do ourselves: gain the favor of God that will grant us entrance into heaven once we leave this life behind. All of us have sinned against God. He placed us on this earth to live for his glory - not ours. But we have chosen to do our own thing, in our own way, for our own pleasure. This is the very essence of sIn (note the middle letter). Because we have chosen this path, we all (Romans 3:23) must face his judgment for our sin (Hebrews 9:27). But God in his grace sent the ONLY one who could pay our wage (Romans 6:23) for sin - his one and only Son. Two weeks ago we focused on the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Because he died and now lives --- we too can live (John 11:25-26). But to receive his gift of eternal life, we must repent (turn from) our sin and rebellion against him and believe in the cross work of Jesus Christ! If you want to explore this more, please take a moment and check out Two Ways to Live: The Choice We All Face.
2. Recently I had to respond to a person on a delicate matter. As I thought about how I would respond, I asked God to give me wisdom. As I prayed, a familiar verse began to bounce around inside my head. Ahhhh ... yes, that must be my guide! Here's the verse:
" Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear" (Ephesians 4:29).
This is a verse FULL of wisdom. The words we speak must be for the benefit of the one who hears them (vs. being for our benefit).
This really helped me to respond in a beneficial ... and I hope ... a gracious way! Oh if we could take this wisdom and apply it all the time! For the piece of flesh that wags between our jaws is more destructive than any wildfire (James 3:5-8). May God help us all put our minds in gear before opening our mouths. And as we think about what we are about to say - let's ask God for the words that will give grace to those who hear!
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