Category Archives: wisdom

the unreceived gift

Uncle Bruce was the youngest of seven children and my Mom kind of looked after him. Bruce was not always the happiest person – the word grumpy comes to mind actually. But Mom was fond of him and looked after him a bit.

Bruce had returned from serving overseas with the Army and was living with my grandmother in her house. As Christmas approached, my mother was looking for the perfect gift for Bruce. Since she owned a gift shop, she was able to shop and get whatever she chose for wholesale – what a deal! And she found the perfect gift for Bruce. It was a real sword, about three feet long, with a nice scabbard. Even at wholesale pricing, it was still expensive, and we didn’t have much money. But Mom wanted Bruce to have this sword. So she bought it and wrapped it up in glitzy Christmas paper with a big bow on top.

On Christmas, we headed over to Grandma’s to exchange gifts with extended family. Of course, the special present for Bruce came along, and we were all eager to see his reaction when he got it. (I know I would have been thrilled to have a real sword! Although I probably would have hurt myself with it…)

When the time came, Mom picked up the glitzy package, walked over to Bruce and handed it to him. We were all shocked at his reaction. He growled, “I told you I didn’t want you to get me anything for Christmas” and he refused to take the gift. My mom was rather upset that he wouldn’t accept the special gift she had chosen for him.

When we getting ready to leave that night, Mom talked with Grandma, and we left the still unopened gift at Grandma’s house for Bruce.

A few years later, Grandma passed away. Bruce had been living with her until shortly before she died. When Mom and her sisters started cleaning out Grandma’s house, they found that Bruce had left many of his things behind. And in the back of the closet, my mother found the Christmas sword, still in the box, wrapped and untouched.

Now here’s the lesson. The gift had been acquired and given especially for Bruce, it was in his possession, but he never opened it. He didn’t even know what the gift was. In essence, he had never received the gift, although it had been there for him anytime he wanted it.

In the same way, the gift of life is freely available and already given to every man, woman, boy and girl on this earth. It is Jesus’s gift, that he chose for us, and paid for with his own blood. Each one of us must decide if we will receive the gift. Choose whether we are going to take it, open it and make it our own.

If we don’t actively receive the gift, we miss out on all the benefits that come from it. In this case, forgiveness, being made right with God, being accepted into God’s family both now and forever. If we assume the gift is there and it will be ours even if we don’t accept it, we will miss the opportunity – forever.Image result for receive gift

Don’t leave the gift of God in the corner of your life, unopened and unappreciated. Don’t save it for some other day. Receive it gladly today. Make it yours. Enjoy the new life that Jesus has freely given to you!

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choose to be thankful

We have a choice to be angry at God for what we don’t have or to be thankful for what we do have!

Nick Vujicic
born without arms and legs

quote thanks to Levi Ivars Graudins


embrace discomfort

You and I should embrace discomfort for at least three reasons, whether we deliberately choose it or is simply happens to us. First, comfort is overrated. It doesn’t lead to happiness. It often leads to self-absorption and discontent. Second, discomfort is a catalyst for growth. It makes us yearn for something more. It forces us to change, stretch, and adapt. Third, discomfort signals progress. When you push yourself to grow, you will experience discomfort, but there’s profit in the pain.

Michael Hyatt, Your Best Year Ever, p. 134


real order of justice

When evil men plot, good men must plan. When evil men burn and bomb, good men must build and bind. When evil men shout ugly words of hatred, good men must commit themselves to the glories of love. Where evil men seek to perpetuate an unjust ‘status quo’, good men must seek to bring into being a real order of justice.

Martin Luther King, Jr.


love of god outlives our losses

Consider this: If you live a long life, it will tear you up to see the people who matter most to you put into the ground one by one. If your greatest source of contentment and love is your family, that will be intolerable. But if you learn to love God even more than them, your greatest source of consolation, hope, joy, and value will not be diminished by grief. Indeed, the sorrow will drive you to drink deeper from it. You will not find yourself empty, and you won’t always be hardening your heart in order to deal with how your losses tear you up. The love of God can never be taken from you, and in his love, the Bible says, you live with loved ones forever.

Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God, p. 93.


we should debate belief systems

Rather than unfairly asking only religious people to prove their views, we need to compare and contrast religious beliefs and their evidences with secular beliefs and theirs. We can and should argue about which beliefs account for what we see and experience in the world. We can and should debate the inner logical consistency of belief systems, asking whether they support or contradict one another. We can and should consult our deepest intuitions.

Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God, page 53


christianity laid the foundation for modern science

These new [Christian] views of the importance of the body and the material world laid the foundation for the rise of modern science. The material world was no longer understood as an illusion or simply something to be spiritually transcended. Nor was it just an incomprehensible mystery but, according to the Bible, it was the creation of a personal, rational being. Therefore it could be studied and understood by other personal, rational beings.

Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God, page 45


faith determines all life choices

Even if you are not a secular person, the secular age can “thin out” (secularize) faith until it is seen as simply one more choice in life – along with job, recreation, hobbies, politics – rather than as the comprehensive framework that determines all life choices.

Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God, page 3


human rights was based on biblical idea

Christianity provided not merely a general idea of equality but also the resources for an understanding of “natural” human rights. Who ever came up with the idea that a human being had “rights” not granted by the state and that could be appealed to against the state? Where did the thought come from that some things are owed to all persons, regardless of their social status, gifts, or abilities, just by virtue of their being human? While it is popularly thought that human rights were the creation of modern secularism over and against the oppressiveness of religion, the reality is that this concept arose not in the East but in the West, and not after the Enlightenment but within medieval Christendom. As Horkheimer in the 1940s and Martin Luther King Jr, in the 1960s recognized, the idea of human rights was based on the biblical idea of all people being created in God’s image.

Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God, page 44
quoting Brian Tierney


empty religion, empty churches

Some years ago I spoke to a man who had been a minister in a liberal, mainline denomination in Manhattan for four decades. He told me that when he had been trained for ministry in the early 1960s, he was confidently told by his teachers that the only religion that would survive in the future was the most mild, modern kind that did not believe in miracles or the deity of Christ or a literal, bodily resurrection. But when I spoke to him he was nearing retirement, and he observed that most of his generation of ministers presided over empty church sanctuaries and dwindling, aging congregations. “Ironically,” he observed, “they can only keep the doors open by renting them out to growing, vibrant churches that believe all the doctrines they were told would soon be obsolete.”

Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God, pages 24-26.