Will the Cycle Go Unbroken?

              It is said, “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” I do suspect sins of omission are a significant component of said road. We often have very noble intentions that we just never seem to accomplish. Time passes, passion for our goals slowly abates, and we forget until something jogs our memory.

            For some, however, the norm is defeated. For the few, good intentions become entries of exemplary progress on their journal of life. Why so few successes? Why does the cycle of business-as-usual so often go unbroken? What characterizes the exceptions to the rule?

            As acknowledged, sometimes, the whole lackluster trend of well-intended-neglect finds an exception. Every now and again people rise up to do truly extraordinary deeds (Neh. 2:18-20; 4:6). On occasion, a world slumbering in its cynicism gets a good case of the cold shivers as they see greatness. Once in a while, the unnoticed ho hum of normality actually changes into a cannot-be-missed wonderment (Acts 17:6).

            How can we be part of exceptional happenings? First, as we take time to reflect on the many good things we might pursue, let us recall God’s remembrances of our needs and offer gracious thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a great motivation for godly, personal expressions of service.

            Second, as we purpose to do good things that will bring praise to God, remember not to let good or better hinder us from accomplishing what is best. To be so hindered would be to squander an opportunity to achieve “exceedingly, abundantly beyond all we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20). Great goals sought with God’s great power to bless our efforts can excite and motivate us to consistently move forward.

            God has placed wonderful potential in our hands. The good things we purpose may well become amazing, awe inspiring blessings for our good God. There is only one way to find out. In a world of unrealized intentions leading to a cycle of repeated disappointments, will the cycle be unbroken?

Advertisements

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

We Need Heros

One of my favorite books is Harper Lee’s classic To Kill a Mockingbird. There are a number of reasons I hold the book in such high esteem, but there is one that easily rises to the top. Atticus Finch sums up my most valued attachment to the book. His character represents a challenge that continues to send chills through my soul!

In a culture whose social traditions held almost everyone in the cruel grip of racism, Atticus Finch uncompromisingly stood for justice. He towered over his cowardly peers as a man of rare courage. Atticus Finch is a hero to me; but he is a hero most especially because he reminds me of Jesus.

Jesus stood for righteousness as no man ever did or has. He stood for justice, fair play, valor, and courage. His utter indignation for every false way was surpassed only by His singular devotion to truth.

We desperately need men and women today who will dare to shun the compromise of “political correctness” and stand for truth! In 1960 with the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird, a nation torn by racial conflict paused to notice Harper Lee’s portrayal of Atticus Finch. In a time when lesser men seemed to rule the day, Miss Lee gave us a much-needed hero. Today, though the triumph of unprincipled men may be less violent and is often disguised by hypocrisy, we still desperately need heroes.

We need Christ-like men and women who will dare to make the ever-unpopular decisions of the Christ. He was willing to live a life of principle regardless of the foes He faced (Mk. 12:14). How about you and me?

TO FEAR OR NOT TO FEAR

I Picked Up Snakes

I was the kid in the neighborhood they looked for when a snake was found. The kids in the “hood” knew I would pick one up; all they had to do was do the finding. For whatever reason, I just picked them up. Fortunately, I got over that before one of them got me.

Looking back, I wonder, “What was I thinking”? I suppose a case could be made for my just not having any better sense. I did manage to do more than my share of less than smart things back in the day. I think, however, I have figured it out. The reason I grabbed the snakes up was because I didn’t really think there was anything to be afraid of.

In a spiritual sense, I think this curious fearlessness of mine can go two very different ways. First, we need to learn the things in life we truly need to fear. Scripture tells us some things are to be avoided at all costs (Matt. 5:29-30). Sin is not a game; it has a bite.

On the other hand, we must be courageous in living for Jesus (Jn. 16:33). Even death should not intimidate us when we stand for what is right (Matt. 10:28). A timid Christianity is no Christianity at all (II Tim. 1:7). The Serpent of old fears the day when God will crush him under our feet (Gen. 3:15; Rom. 16:20).

The Devil would back us off in fear. He will offer many ways for us to rationalize ourselves out of a courageous stand. At such times, the little children have it right, let us “run right over him!”