What did I do wrong?

English: Saint paul arrested

English: Saint paul arrested (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My failures and disappointments often move me to question God. Nevertheless, I never do. I am a man of faith and I have learned not to blame or question God. I heed the advice of the apostle Paul instead: “Count it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when face with trials of various kinds. Take comfort that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. So let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

If anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach. However, let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that the wind drives and tosses. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:2-8).

Still, when I am face with disappointments, I engulf myself in the mire of my failures and short comings. I keep asking myself, “What did I do wrong?” I have dotted all my I’s, and crossed all my T’s, yet there are times when I feel hopeless and incompetent and unworthy. Even a sense of emptiness creeps up on me when I least expect. What did I do wrong? Could it be that the old cliché, “What goes around comes around,” is catching up to me?

I need answers and fast. So I fall on my knees before the throne of grace and have a little talk with Jesus. He turned to me and said. “Son, I know why you have come”. You need to make peace with your guilty conscience. “For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me nothing to drink. I was a stranger, and you did not invite me in your house. I needed clothes, and you did not clothe me. I was sick, and in prison and you did not look after me”.

“Then I say to Him, ‘Lord, when did I see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

“He reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me’. (Matthew 25:42-45)

Do you neglect the poor and needy? If you do, the Bible says in Matthew 25:46 you will go away in everlasting punishment.

Do not be afraid!

There was a time when the disciples of Jesus were traveling by boat to the city of Capernaum. It was night, and to their dismay, a strong wind started blow upon them as they rowed. The storm made their journey difficult, and they were afraid.

Capernaum, Sea of Galilee

Capernaum, Sea of Galilee (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Suddenly, Jesus appeared in the midst of the storm and spoke to them. “It is I; be not afraid.” As He spoke, Jesus gave them a reason not to be afraid. His reason was not that they would instantly be at their destination when He got into the boat, even though that is what happened. The reason Jesus gave to His disciples was that He was there, in the midst of their situation.

Are you going through a storm today? Jesus’ words to you are: “Do not be afraid,” His presence with you is the reason. Trust Him. He knows what to do to calm your storm and bring you safely to your destination.

Do you have what it takes to meet with the Bridegroom?

Patrick Ewing, John Stockton, Carl Malone and Charles Barclay are among the 50 Greatest Basketball Players of All Times. However, not one of these gentlemen have ever won a Championship. They have had their chances, but none of them had the necessary pieces in place to push them over the hump.

As I look back on the illustrious careers of the afore mentioned gentlemen, I think through the story of the ten virgins. Five were wise, and five were foolish. The sage virgins put all the necessary pieces together that would make sure they are meeting with the Bridegroom at the banqueting Hall, but the shortsighted virgins were superficial in their preparation. They did not pay attention to details, and as a result, they overlooked an extremely critical component—they did not have enough oil for their lamps.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, not everyone will meet with the Bridegroom when He comes. Some of us will be out shopping for things we knew we needed well in advance of His appearing. Now is the time of Salvation. This is the time to plan and prepare. For if we do not have all the pieces in place when the Bridegroom comes, we will hear a voice say, “Depart from me, I never knew you.”

Do you have enough oil for your lamp?

The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins: Matthew 25:1-13

“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.

 “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’  Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.

 “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’

 “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.

How to be happy with who you are?

Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means you’ve decided to look beyond your imperfections. -Unknown

The recently concluded Olympic Games were a success, but that depend on who you talk to. There were tears of joy and tears of disappointment.

Many Olympians spent most of the last four years training—training really hard to get to the games. Some set their expectations very high. Anything less than a gold medal is considered a complete failure–a bust, and a letdown. Still, many were satisfied that they got the chance to compete.

One such athlete is Oscar Pistorius, (or Blade Runner, as he is also called) of South Africa. He was elated that he finally got the chance to compete at the Olympics; to show off his talents. Pistorius spent the better part of eight years fighting weighted red tapes and barriers designed to prevent him from competing against world class able bodied athletes. Barred from competing at the Beijing Olympics, Pistorius kept fighting, and in the summer of 2012 he got the chance to fulfill his life long dream.

The Pistorius story is singularly fascinating and inspiring. We will remember it for many years to come. He was born without a fibula in either leg.

Both of his legs were later amputated below the knee when he was eleven months. But Pistorius learnt to look beyond his imperfections and be content with who he is.

“I grew up in a household with my elder brother, Carl, where my mother didn’t ever mention my disability,” Pistorius says.

“She didn’t treat me any differently. She was probably harder on me because of it and she never let me pity myself.

“She said to me: ‘Carl puts on his shoes in the morning and you put on your legs, and that’s the last I want to hear about it’.”

“People ask why I want to run in the Olympics, what am I trying to prove,” Pistorius says.

“Well, I just want to prove to myself that I am the best I can be.

Oscar Pistorius of South Africa (or Blade Runner, as he is also called) did get the chance prove to himself and the world, that he is a world-class athlete. He silenced his critics when he ran in the men’s 400-meters race as well as the 4×400 meters relay in London, making history as the first double amputee to compete in the Olympic Games. And though Pistorius did not medal in his events, he told reporters that his experience in London had been “phenomenal.

Embracing the beauty of God’s creation

God has made everything beautiful in its time; also, He has given human beings an awareness of eternity; but in such a way that they can’t fully comprehend, from beginning to end, the things God does (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

There are a lot of incredible things on this earth that God has given us to enjoy. We live in a beautiful world full of gorgeous trees, breathtaking mountains, immense oceans, fabulous sunsets, and so on. Nature is beautiful. Bright, sunny mornings, with the birds singing; and dew sparkling on the grass; are truly a gift from God. It is when we look at the world through the eyes of God that we come to appreciate just how fantastic it is.

Wisdom is the principal thing, therefore get wisdom; and with all thy getting, get understanding. Proverbs 4:7

Real wisdom is the knowledge of God and all His handiwork. We have been given life so that we may enjoy it. It is a gift from God. When we seek God and a deeper knowledge of His will, we are seeking a greater understanding of all creation. There is nothing greater that anyone can desire than to see this world of ours through the eyes of the creator.

In God’s creation, we can catch glimpses of God Himself. In prayer, we need to remember to ask God to help us become wise as He is wise, and in doing so, we will see beauty like we never knew existed. We will appreciate life in a new and exciting way.

Claiming the name of Jesus with pride

You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:13-16

Whether we know it or not, we are being watched. Whenever we claim to be something, people will watch to see whether we live up to it. For example, an athlete is judged by his or her performances. And an investor is valued for his ability to make substantial amounts of money; while a police officer is judged by his ability to perform well under fire.

What is it that Christians are judged for?

When we call ourselves Christians, we are claiming to be mirror images of Christ for all the world to see. We are presenting ourselves as examples of what God had in mind when He put men and women on this earth. It is a presumptuous claim we make, and one that carries with it a considerable amount of responsibility. One of the greatest sins we can ever commit is to call ourselves Christians and then act in ways, which are unacceptable in the sight of the Lord. We must continually study the Word of God and follow the instructions God has given us, devoting ourselves to imitating Christ in all ways possible. When we fail to do so, we bring dishonor not only on ourselves but also on the entire Christian church.

What’s wrong with the world?

As the world tries to make sense of the tragedy in Colorado, many people are asking, “Why did this all too familiar drama that has terrorized places such as Columbine, Virginia Tech, Tucson, Arizona and Fort Hood, happened in Aurora?” This quiet suburb neighborhood is one of the most unlikely places one would expect a massacre. Nevertheless, evil has no discretion. It could spring up anywhere.

For answers, authorities turned to experts of all sorts for their theories on what kind of person would slaughter innocent strangers and then calmly surrender to the police. But so far nobody has uncovered anything in the shooter’s background that would suggest he was capable of committing such a heinous act.

Still, the killing of innocent people is not an uncommon occurrence. This horrible, despicable act happens all over the world, on an almost daily basis. Which leaves one to wonder. “What’s wrong with the world?” The answer to this question can only be found in the Word of God.

To help me explain, here is a sermon given in Charlotte by Rev. Billy Graham in 1958. Many of us were not born then, but this message is relent now just as it was relevant then.