Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Pray Amidst the Challenges of Life

"Several years ago we took our children on a canoe trip. My wife, Kathy, sat in the front of the canoe holding our three-year-old daughter. I steered in back while my two sons paddled from the middle. After a stretch of calm water, the currents began to quicken. We were not scared until the canoe in front of us suddenly disappeared. It simply dropped from sight on an open stretch of water. At first, we did not understand. Then as the water began to race past us and we heard the sound of crashing water, we realized ahead-a waterfall!

The currents rushed us toward the drop, and our three-year-old began to cry. But as we approached the drop, we could see that safety lay in a narrow channel that skirted the edge of the waterfall and led through rapids to the lower stream. I shouted, "Paddle, boys, paddle." My wife screamed, "And pray."

We barely made the channel, plunged down the rapids, and made it into the lower stream drenched but upright. Howling with laughter and excitement, the boys yelled, "We made it!" Kathy shouted to the sky, "Thank you, Lord!" We had paddled hard, but we knew, as we watched canoe after canoe behind us tumble down the falls (which were really only about five feet high), that the Lord had carried us through. 

Somehow that episode has become a metaphor of life for our family. Kathy has written of it in her stories and both of us refer to it often when we address church groups. We encourage others to paddle hard through the challenges the Lord places before them, but at the same time we remind everyone and oursleves to pray to the One who carries us forward according to his perfect plan. The currents of life will sweep everyone forward, but there is peace in the knowledge that as we entrust ourselves to God and seek the glory of his Son, he grants us the power to paddle where the streams are most blessed."

-Praying Backwards: Transform Your Prayer Life by Beginning in Jesus' Name (Bryan Chapell, pgs 189-190).

Sunday, May 5, 2013


One sin can destroy you. One sin that you may not think is "that bad" has the potential to damage your soul.  Jesus says in Matthew 5:29: "If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell."

Why does Jesus seem so radical about you getting rid of the sin in your life? Why do pastors and Christian leaders of all ages seem to be so serious about sin? Simply because sin is the cause of all misery in this world. Sin is bad. Anything that is wrong in your life is because of sin.  Sin has destroyed everything. And we would be foolish to take sin lightly. Proverbs 14:9 says, "Fools mock at making amends for sin, but goodwill is found among the upright." 

To go further, it is not wise to play with sin. Even sin that may seem small to you. Sin's very nature is deceitful. Sin will say to you, "It's okay. A little here will not hurt you. And don't worry, God will forgive you." That is why Jesus tells us to make radical sacrifices to do away with our sin. He loves us and he cares about our eternal destiny. 

Some people today, however, would claim that sin is fun. Why be so serious, they say? Why not enjoy life?

Hear this: Sin may be fun for a time, but in the end sin will destroy you. In the end sin will be unsatisfying, empty, and pointless. Why? Because we were not on this earth to indulge in our sinful desires. We were put on this earth to glorify God with our lives. It's what we were made for.

Jesus is the answer to the promises that sin claims for your life. Jesus promises life and  he gives life. Sin promises life but doesn't give life. 

Jesus is better than sin. Jesus can free you from living a sin filled life, to a life glorifying to Jesus. 

You see, 2000 years ago Jesus came down to this earth on a rescue mission. He came to deliver people swimming in a sea of sin. He came full of love! He lived a perfect life for sinners and died a horrible death for rebels like us! We must turn from our sins and trust Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. 

Sin destroys. Jesus saves. Turn to Jesus.