This is a picture looking up in our backyard. I always thought it was so beautiful how four different trees grew to such great heights. There is a Flowering Plum, a Black Walnut, an Evergreen, and an Oak. The Plum has the sweet spring flowers. The Walnut feeds the squirrels and has gorgeous lines, the Evergreen provides year round shelter for many critters, and the Oak, by far, has the greatest reach, spanning 4 yards. All different, unique, useful and beautiful in their own way. It reminds me of how we are all created by God with different gifts and talents. How we have something special to bring to our own backyards, a way to be used for God's glory.
Last February a business friend of ours, a mentor for many years, was diagnosed with ALS, which stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis but most people know it as Lou Gehrig's disease. When you hear news like this it kind of takes the wind out you. I remember feeling powerless when I found out. It's not very comfortable to think about some one you care about suffering and not be able to fix it for them. We've not seen Jim since the diagnosis but have kept in contact, mostly through email. I wanted to share Jim's story with you because he didn't just let out a big sigh and make himself comfortable waiting for what seems to be the inevitable in most ALS cases. He is a fighter and is choosing to lead an effort to find a cure for this disease. He reminds me of that Oak tree. Because of his long time role as a business mentor, he has helped a lot of small businesses reach their goals and he knows a lot of people. In honor of him I wanted to do my part to spread his reach even further and share with as many people as possible the opportunity he's created to be apart of finding a cure to ALS. Check out his website, donate if you feel led, and pray for a cure. Wouldn't it be awesome to be apart of the solution to a terrible problem?!
There is another solution that I am compelled to share as well because, really, we all have a terrible problem, we are all "terminal cases". There is only one end to this life and that is death. We don't know the form it will take for us, whether we will have warning that it's coming or whether it will be sudden. But be assured, it will come. So to be prepared for death we need to know the facts and for the facts I go to the proven Word of God. The Bible explains to us our present state, the solution, and then out come.
Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." No one is perfect, I think we all know that one! :)
Romans 3:10-18 "There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know. There is no fear of God before their eyes." We know our limitations, our failings, both personally and as a whole culture. Think of all the ways we try and try to fill our lives with the "right" things. It's just never enough. And aren't we all searching for peace?
Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." So there is a price for sin - eternal spiritual death. But, because Jesus died on the cross, the gift of grace is available to us. A way out of this punishment.
Romans 5:8 "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." He didn't wait for us to get our act together. God prepared the way of salvation for us, because he knows us, failings and all, and He loves us.
Romans 10:9, "That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." This verse tells us how to accept the gift that God, our creator, offers us.
Romans 10:13 "For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Further explanation to us of our necessary response to God. One way or another we choose what our relationship to him will be.
Romans 5:1 "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Peace with God. Peace regarding death and our future. The price for our sin had to be paid and Jesus paid it on the cross. How could I not accept a gift like that?