Everybody loves a fairy tale. Everybody loves a gripping story with great conflict that draws you in...and, at the end, they lived happily ever after. We love those type of stories.
I have found, personally, that the more intense the conflict and more “insurmountable” the odds, the more I enjoy the story. The less likely a “happy ending” becomes in the story, the sweeter the ending when they live “happily ever after.”
Our life can be a little bit like a fairy tale. As we journey through life, we are faced with obstacles that seem to prevent us from achieving our goal. We come across difficult people who seem to want to drag us down. We struggle with problems that seem unsolvable.
If that is you, today, then I have some good news for you. You might be facing an obstacle, dealing with a difficult person, or struggling with a problem. But Jesus can be your way to living happily ever after!
If we will just take Jesus at His word and do those things He tells us to do, we can have the assurance of a “happily ever after” eternity.
In 1 John 5:13, John tells us: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”
If we will only truly believe (more than just a mental acknowledgement of God: the word implies obedience), then we can have absolute assurance that we have a “happily ever after” awaiting us.
This doesn't mean we won’t face obstacles, deal with difficult people, or struggle with problems (2 Timothy 3:12 tells us if we are living for Jesus, we will face persecution).
What it does mean is that when we face those issues, we can do so knowing that no matter how bad the situation, we have an eternity of joy beyond description awaiting us.
And we lived happily ever after!
I have not had the chance to play much golf of late. It seems like something is always coming up when I’d like to go out and hit the links.
But I have had the opportunity to watch a lot of golf on TV lately. I really enjoy watching how the golfer and caddie in many cases discuss what the next shot should look like: how far it needs to travel in the air, the shot shape, the amount of spin once it hits the green, the wind, etc.
While we were living in Texas, I was fortunate to attend the AT&T Byron Nelson PGA Tour event twice. On one occasion, I witnessed something I felt was rather profound.
I don’t remember the golfer’s name, but he was faced with a difficult shot and he and his caddie were “animatedly discussing” how the shot should be approached.
As their discussion drew to a close, I remember hearing the caddie say to the player: “Just be committed to the shot.”
What the caddie meant was that the player needed to forget about all the other shots that they had talked about and decided against and focus solely on the shot he was going to take.
One of Satan’s most effective weapons is getting us to lose our focus. He tries to bring up all of our past failures. He tries to get us to think about all the times things didn’t go as we had planned. He wants us to dwell on the things we should have done, but didn’t or should not have done but did. Or maybe think about all our successes, so we’ll think about how great “we” did.
Hebrews 12:1 tells us to “...throw off everything that hinders us and the sin that so easily entangles.” I really think that what the writer is telling the reader is to “Just be committed to the shot.”
Don’t worry about past failures. Don’t dwell on past successes. Don’t think about what can go wrong or other things you could do.
Instead be focused on the task at hand. Be fully committed to what you are doing right now so that you can, “...run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
So, are you fully committed to your next shot?
Several weeks ago my brother texted my sister and me. When my parents had moved out of the house we all grew up in to a smaller house in a “safer” part of San Antonio, he had asked for “custody” of the piano that had been in my grandparent’s home. The piano was a gift to my grandmother from her father after her mother passed away. My grandmother was 15 at the time...so that would make the piano new in 1918.
They ordered it from Sears and Roebuck and it was delivered on a wagon with mules. And, while my grandmother was still alive, a Sears representative came to their home and offered to buy it to be placed in the Sears museum...my grandmother declined.
Well, my brother said they were going to be downsizing and wanted to know if either my sister or I wanted the piano. Naturally both my sister and I said we absolutely wanted the piano. I asserted my rights as the second oldest and laid claim to it! (Actually my sister graciously allowed us to have it without any fuss.)
My brother had someone look at it who knows about such things and, as an antique, it is worthless. As a piano, it probably needs to be gutted and new insides put in...which will likely cost more than a new piano. So why would I want it?
BECAUSE IT BELONGED TO MY GRANDMOTHER!! It is a family heirloom that should (and will) stay in the family for the rest of time! It connects the past with the present and the future. An antique dealer says it has no value: they are WRONG!
So what are you passing down to subsequent generations? Is it just “monetary stuff”? Are you just passing down “things”? Or are you passing down something more?
In 2 Timothy 1:5, Paul tells Timothy, “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.”
What is your legacy? When future generations in your family think about you, what will they remember? That you gave them a lot of “stuff” or something with great monetary value? Is that all?
Does your family see a sincere faith living in you and being passed down to future generations? Are you striving to leave a legacy of faith?
On Tuesday night, I had a hankering for some ice cream. But, alas, the freezer was bare. So I went to the grocery store to buy a carton.
After spending some time deciding on what I wanted, I took it to the check out line, scanned it and paid for it. As I was picking up the bag to leave, I saw a guy getting in line after me...or so I thought.
He then spoke to me. I don’t know who he is exactly, but he started talking to me. But what he said was the memorable part.
He said he just wanted to thank me again for a fantastic VBS and that his kids were still singing the songs and anxious to attend next year!
The rest of his family then caught up with him (apparently he’d hurried to be sure to catch me). His kids were fairly young and didn’t seem to recognize me exactly - probably because I didn’t have my ring master hat on - but they waved at me, I waved at them and went home with my ice cream.
I know sometimes we get frustrated and feel things like VBS and Friend’s Day, for example, fail to achieve the desired result in our own eyes. Perhaps they don’t from our perspective...but maybe they do from God’s perspective.
In 1 Corinthians 3:6-8 Paul writes these words:
6I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. 7So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.
My point is that we just need to keep planting and watering the seed: that is our job. The seed will eventually take root and grow: that is God’s job. He is faithful, He will give the increase!