Father of the Century

“As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him”
Psalm 103:13

Today being Father’s Day, I wanted to share the following inspiring story of a father and son and their relationship.

Fifty-five years ago, Dick Hoyt’s son experienced a tragedy at birth: he was strangled by the umbilical cord, leaving him brain-damaged and unable to control his limbs.

Dick was told that his son, Rick, would be non-responsive all his life and should be put in a home. Dick didn’t believe it; he noticed how Rick’s eyes followed him around the room.

As early as 1972 — long before the digital age — the Hoyts developed a system of communication that enabled Rick to control a computer by tapping a curser with his head. One day Rick told his Dad that he wanted to participate in a five-mile charity run for an injured class mate.

To do this, Dick would need to push his son in his wheel chair,
running behind him. Dick was not in any shape to run five miles, but he tried. Later, his son told him, “Dad, when we were running, it felt like I wasn’t disabled anymore.”

Dick decided to do all he could to give Rick that feeling as often as possible. They began running in races and marathons — they even qualified to run in the Boston Marathon together.

Now, forty years later, they’ve completed more than a thousand races and more than 200 triathlons, including four 15 hour Ironmans and 30 Boston Marathons. All these were done with Dick pushing and/or pulling his son along during the event.

Amazingly, they finished the Boston Marathon one year only 35 minutes away from a world record. (Keep in mind, as Rick Reilly at Sports Illustrated notes, the world record was a set by a man who wasn’t pushing a wheel-chair while he ran.)

“No question about it,” Rick Hoyt types on his computer, “My dad is Father of the Century.”

Happy Father’s Day!

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Biblical Perspective On Giving

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7

I once heard a story of a traveling circus which featured a strong man who performed a well-known trick of placing a lemon inside the bend of his elbow and flexing his bicep until every single drop of lemon juice was gone. He would then ask for volunteers from the audience to see if anyone could get another drop out of that lemon.

One day, three men came to the front. The first man was average size, but couldn’t get a drop out no matter how hard he tried. The second was a huge man, but couldn’t get a drop out either. The third man was a scrawny fellow. He began to squeeze and drop after drop began coming out of the lemon.

The strong man was amazed. “I’ve never seen anything like that,” he said. “Tell us about yourself. What do you do?”

The little fellow chuckled and said, “Well, I’m a church treasurer. I do this all the time!”

Whether you believe it or not, most churches aren’t after your money. Yes, there are some churches and ministries out there just looking to make another buck. But the vast majority of churches simply want to do the ministry to which they’ve been called with the resources God provides.

Sometimes people will ask how they should give to a church or ministry. How much, what percent of their income, weekly/monthly, etc. The above verse in 2 Corinthians 9:7 speaks to our motivation when giving to God’s ministry here on earth.

  1. It’s a personal decision, no one should dictate how much you should give or to whom.
  2. It’s a willing decision, you should not give out of guilt a feeling of compulsion.
  3. It’s a cheerful decision, when the first two points are covered, both God and the giver are blessed.

So, when it comes to giving to any church or ministry, do whatever the Spirit leads you to do. Give cheerfully as an act of worship and you’ll partner with churches and ministries to boldly advance the Kingdom of God.

GIVE CHEERFULLY AND PARTNER WITH CHURCHES AND MINISTRIES TO ADVANCE GOD’S KINGDOM.

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WHERE YOU ARE MATTERS!

“You have been traveling around this mountain country long enough. Turn northward.” Deuteronomy 2:3

God’s plan for your life always involves your gifts, His timing, and being in the right place. But three things can keep that from happening: fear of failing, unwillingness to leave your comfort zone, and being swayed by the opinions of others.

There came a point where in order to enter the Promised Land, God said to Israel, “You have been wandering around long enough; turn.”

When you reach this point it’s crucial that you say yes to God and be willing to step out in faith.

During a famine God said to the prophet Elijah:

Depart from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” So he went and did according to the word of the LORD. He went and lived by the brook Cherith that is east of the Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook. 1 Kings 17:2–6

God’s plan for your life is always connected to a place. Jesus had to go through Samaria (John 4:4). Why? To meet a woman who was destined to reach that city with the Gospel.

You can’t just go where you like, God will honor you when you’re where He wants you to be. God has promised to bless you, but sometimes He has to reposition you in order to receive His blessing. It was when Ruth moved to Bethlehem that she met Boaz and married him. It was when Bartimaeus went to where Jesus was that he received his sight.

Where you are matters!

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WHAT’S YOUR HEART-MOTIVE?

“By Him actions are weighed.” 1 Samuel 2:3

The story’s told of a lady who answered the knock on her door and saw a man with a sad expression. “I’m sorry to disturb you he said, but I’m collecting money for an unfortunate family in the neighborhood. The husband is out of work, the kids are hungry, the utilities will soon be cut off, and worse, they’re about to be kicked out of their apartment if they don’t pay the rent by this afternoon.”

With great concern the woman said, “I’ll be happy to help. But who are you?” He replied, “I’m the landlord.”

Clearly, this man was more concerned with his own interests than with anyone else’s. What he was doing was not illegal, but it was wrong. Under the pretense of serving, he was self-serving. Hello!

What’s your heart-motive?

The Pharisees prayed, fasted and gave money to the poor, but they did it to impress others. So Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount:

“Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired…for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven…When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them.” (Matt. 6:1,5).

Then Jesus said, “Let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father” (Matt. 5:16).

 You’re supposed to make God look good-not yourself. Check your heart-­motive; are you doing a good thing with a bad motive?

“The Lord is the God of knowledge; and by Him actions are weighed.” 1 Samuel 2:3

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THE IMPORTANCE OF SOUND DOCTRINE

“Teach…sound doctrine.”  Titus 2:1

 Today “sound doctrine” is being replaced by “feel good theology,” and we should be concerned! Too many churches today are setting aside sound doctrine and theological teaching and preaching for story telling based upon the most recent movie release or book published. “Doctrine” is defined as a belief or set of beliefs held and taught by a church, political party, or other group.

Stop and consider the following with me. Pilots fly by fixed laws. Surgeons operate by fixed protocols. Aren’t you glad they think doctrine is important?

The story’s told of a psychology student in the army who was given kitchen duty. He decided to test the response of different groups of soldiers to apricots. First he took the negative approach: “You don’t want apricots, do you?” Ninety percent said no. Then he tried the positive approach: you do want apricots, don’t you?” Over half said yes.

With a third group, he tried the either/or technique: would you like one dish of apricots or two?” In spite of the fact that most of them didn’t like apricots, forty percent took two dishes and fifty percent took one dish.

Be careful; when you have no fixed belief system of your own, you’ll fall for somebody else’s.

Paul instructed Timothy:

“preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” 2 Timothy 4:2-4

When your feelings won’t sustain you, sound doctrine will, for one rests on emotion and the other rests on the eternal Word of God. Which would you rather rest upon?

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Mom, Nobody Does It Better!

So today is Mother’s Day so I would like us to look at a great mom from the Bible. Her name was Hannah. This woman and the few chapters that describe her life give us a couple of wonderful insights into what it means to be a great mom. We find her story in 1 Samuel 1-2. Life wasn’t easy for Hannah. Just as life is difficult for moms today, life was difficult for Hannah too.

Some observations from 1 Samuel 1-2.

  • She was childless – That was a horrible social stigma, it was a scar, you see in that culture whenever a woman could not conceive a child, they never even thought of the fact that it was the man’s fault, it was always the woman’s fault. And further, when a woman didn’t have a child, she was considered cursed by God.
  • She was ridiculed – For her role as the woman, she was being belittled by her culture and the other woman who lived under the same roof. When they would go to offer sacrifices, the one woman would jab the other, Hannah and say…what are you doing here, God doesn’t have favor upon you, if He did you wouldn’t be childless.
  • Hannah was criticized – She was a woman who childless, she was ridiculed by her culture, even the priest, and she was criticized.
  • She was loved by her husband – If you read thru the first 2 chapters of 1 Samuel you see that this man really loved this woman.

5 WONDERFUL PRINCIPLES MOTHERHOOD

Principle #1 – She was a woman of faith. Hannah was a woman of faith.

She was a woman of worship. Every year, year after year she would go into the house of the Lord, she would go there and fulfill all religious rituals that were common in her day.

Principle #2 – Your children are on loan to you. Hannah knew that, that’s why when Hannah said, God just give me this child, I’ll give him right back to You. She didn’t have to say that because the truth is that child was His. And our children are only on loan to us.

Principle #3 – Prioritized mothering. Look at verse 1 Samuel 1:21.

When the man Elkanah went up with all his family to offer the annual sacrifice to the LORD and to fulfill his vow, Hannah did not go. She said to her husband, “After the boy is weaned, I will take him and present him before the LORD, and he will live there always.”

You see mothering was a priority for Hannah.

Principle # 4 – Teach them. Moms, nobody is going to teach your kid but you, guaranteed, its your responsibility. With that being said, Dad you ought to help whenever you can.

Principle # 5 – Let them go. She let him go, at 3 years old she took him to the house of the Lord and she said you’re on your own kid. She let him go.

For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the LORD. As long as he lives, he is lent to the LORD.” And he worshiped the LORD there. (1 Samuel 1:27–28)

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Removing Obstacles From The Track

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize?
So run that you may obtain it.
– 1 Corinthians 9:24

The writer of Hebrews reminds us all too well that we need to lay aside every weight and sin.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1–2)

Runners not only need to untangle themselves from weights that may slow them down, but they need to also remove things from the track that may trip them up!

As a Christian, the good things in life may slow us down, but sin will stop us dead in our tracks–it will trip us up. You had better learn to treat sin as sin would treat you! Sin will be merciless to you, and you need to be merciless to sin.

2 Timothy 2:19 says “Let every one that names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”

Is there any unconfessed sin in your life that is tripping you up today? We should learn to pray Psalm 139:23-24.

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! (Psalm 139:23–24)

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The All-Sufficient One!

“I am the Almighty God! Walk before Me and be perfect.” Genesis 17:1

Abraham was now grown old; he had known the Lord for many years; he had endured many trials — but many more lay before him; and the Lord appears to his aged servant, and reveals Himself as, “The all-sufficient One.”

God, being identified and defined as self-sufficient, means He possesses within Himself every quality, ability, and supernatural command with never-ending measure. Every attribute or mighty and wonderful power is His endlessly. God wants for nothing and lacks nothing; He is complete.

This was to comfort him amidst all the infirmities of old age, and to cheer him in the winter of life. The God who had always sustained, directed, and comforted him — now manifests peculiar sympathy and tender love. Aged believers should especially mark the kindness of the Lord, and look to Him for sympathy and grace in the decline of life. 

“I am the Almighty God!”

The title was intended to strengthen the faith of Abraham; he had wavered, the Lord intended to try his faith yet more; a promise was given — but everything appeared to oppose its fulfillment; yet the all-sufficiency of God was to be the stay and support of his faith. “Is any thing too hard for the Lord?” Look at His wisdom — it is infinite! Look at His power — it is omnipotent! He is the all-sufficient.

Christian, see what the character of your God is: He is Almighty — and will you fear? He is all-sufficient — and will you give way to gloomy foreboding? Christian, see what He requires of you:

1. That you walk before Him, as always beneath His eye, in His presence, and under His gracious protection.
2. That you be sincere, open, upright; be just what you profess to be.
Your God hates deception. He abhors trickery. He will punish hypocrisy. Let your life be the faithful index of your heart. S
ay just what you mean — and do what you say.

Live each day for His glory!

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Avoiding The Trap Of Popular Opinion

And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word. 1 Kings 18:21

Years and years ago, men looked out across the ocean. They saw the sun setting in the distance and they wondered: Is there anything beyond? Is there anything out there? And for most of human history, the consensus was, “No, there’s nothing beyond. If you go to the edge, you fall off into oblivion.”

But over 500 years ago, there was a young man by the name of Christopher Columbus. In 1492, he sailed west with the Nina, Pinta, and the Santa Maria. He boarded with a small crew and they sailed off into the distance, beyond the sunset. And while many figured they would never see Christopher and his crew again, Columbus discovered the land we today call America.

It’s interesting how the general consensus on an idea is very often wrong. That’s why you can’t base what you believe to be true solely on the opinion of the population at large… because that opinion has a track record of being proven incorrect.

Jesus Christ is Lord regardless of what most people may say. So stop worrying about the status quo and trust what you know to be true. And one day when your faith is made sight, you’ll rejoice as you see your Savior face-to-face.

DON’T LET POPULAR OPINION SWAY YOU FROM WHAT YOU KNOW IS TRUE – THAT JESUS CHRIST IS LORD OF YOUR LIFE!

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Our God Reigns!

We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again;
death no longer has dominion over Him.
Romans 6:9

How sad that we have so quickly forgotten the true meaning of Resurrection Sunday. Our God reigns! Jesus Christ died, yes. But even more importantly, He rose again and is now seated at the right hand of God the Father. Jesus Christ literally defied death. But He did more than just a Houdini move. We “ooo” and “ahhh” over the narrow escapes by magicians like David Copperfield and others, but eventually even those daredevils will face death. Their power is limited. But Jesus Christ was greater — He defied death FOREVER. Jesus Christ lives and reigns for eternity, whether you or I believe that fact or not. And He has reclaimed life for all those who believe in Him. This is the second miracle and implication of the Resurrection.

Through God’s work on the cross, we have access to eternal life as well:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16-17).

Whosoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven (Matthew 10:32-33).

Please consider today the wonder of God’s power and His love for you. He knows you. He knows what you have done. He knows what you are going to do. But He is waiting for your response, my friend. God doesn’t need your praise or your service to Him; He desires it. It is not what we do for God that gets us into heaven and gives us a right relationship with God. It is only by faith in Jesus Christ.

Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. (Galatians 2:16).

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9).

The message of Resurrection Sunday is clear. God loves us and has provided a way for us to be reconciled to Him. I encourage you to acknowledge and turn from your sin before God and trust in the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ. In this you will experience the forgiveness of your sin. You are promised the new life offered to us through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Won’t you cry out to Him today, Lord, be merciful to me a sinner.

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