Making A Tough Choice…

Donald TrumpIt's a tough choice Pictureww borden

There are things in this world that are alluring. Things that we dream about.

Give me financial independence, a ’67 Cobra and an outdoor kitchen and I’m good to go.

Some want a lot more. They want: a lot of Wealth…a lot of Power…a lot of Fame…or all of the above.

And they’ll spend a lot of energy and resources to get them.

The Presidential Race…

Presidents RaceTake the current Presidential Race.

Campaigns are spending hundreds of millions to achieve something as temporary as my outdoor kitchen. Even more temporary when you look at term limits.

But they will achieve something I can’t get with barbeque or driving 160 mph. They get to control government and brand their legacy.

They tend to make plenty of promises to get there, but history tells us few will be kept.

What About Us…

Voters

We, the electorate, are as much to blame. Most use the “what’s in it for me” mindset when casting our vote. Could care less about community and country, it’s all about… “Where’s mine?”

And the cycle goes on…

This is not new. It’s as old as mankind. From the fall in the garden, to the conquerors of ancient times, greed is prevalent. From revolution to revolution, right to our current presidential campaign, it’s a struggle for the biggest prizes of this world.

Power, Wealth and Fame.

A tough choice…

What happens when someone says no to the world and yes to a life committed to Jesus Christ?

What kind of legacy could we have if we set our ambitions aside and looked to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith and future?

Unfortunately, too many choose the prizes of this world.

The Rich Young Ruler…

Rich Yourng Ruler with car

In Matthew 19, a  Rich Young Ruler approached Jesus.

He asked what good thing must he do to obtain eternal life. In other words, what is it that he can do to have the ultimate.

He had his youth and his whole life ahead of him.

And Oh yeah… he was rich!

In a time that most had to scratch out survival on a daily basis, this young man had more than enough.

He was a ruler also.

Perhaps he ruled an estate with many servants. Perhaps a small community depended on his leadership for survival.

Regardless he had influence and respect. He had the ear of the powerful, and likewise had power himself. He was a man of reputation.

His response to a question from Jesus reveals that this young man was obedient to the commandments.

He was honorable.

An honorable young man who had influence and wealth!  This guy was son-in-law material!

So why did he come to Jesus? Why did he ask the question of eternal life?

He Wanted More…

To his credit he was not satisfied with his wealth, power and fame. He wanted more. He wanted it all.

Or was he confident the answer was a forgone conclusion. Was he so confident in his good works that the question was just a formality… that he had already achieved eternal life?

Sometimes the truth hurts…

Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Matthew 19:21)

Give it all up and follow Jesus. Leave your position, your wealth and your influence and follow Jesus.

Upon hearing the answer, this Rich Young Ruler went away very sad because he had a lot.

One could say he kept his earthly treasure in lieu of a heavenly one.

Now let’s look at a different story.

William Whiting Borden…

Borden clippings

William Whiting Borden was born into wealth and privilege.

His father was a prominent business man in Chicago. The elder Borden accumulated massive wealth from silver mining in Colorado.

In 1894, William’s mother gave her life to Christ. He was six. Her influence led William to do the same and  he was baptized at Chicago Avenue Church (The Moody Church).

After graduating from High School, William’s parents gave him an incredible present: a trip around the world. It was during this trip that he was called by God. He was called to be a missionary.

He was called to walk away from Wealth, Power and Prestege and become a Servant to the Cause of Christ.

No Reserves…

When friends and family expressed disbelief about his life choice, claiming he was “throwing himself away as a missionary,” he wrote in his bible, “No Reserves”.

In 1904, William enrolled at Yale. He showed that he was a remarkable student, but more importantly he showed he was a remarkable Christian.

Every morning he started his day with prayer and Bible study. These devotionals started with a friend. By the end of his freshman year, there were 150 students involved. By the end of his senior year, 1,000 of the 1,300 students at Yale were participating.

Yale Hope Mission…

Yale Hope Missions

His outreach was not just to students. It also went to the lower parts of the city. Here William helped and prayed with the homeless and disenfranchised.

He founded, funded and served at the Yale Hope Mission. This ministry catered to orphans, widows and the disabled, along with vagrants and drunkards.

He was constantly seen helping in acts of kindness and evangelism, such as feeding a skid row resident while trying to lead him to Christ.

No Retreats…

After Graduation, William was offered many high paying jobs. With an eye still on Missions, he refused them all. He confirmed that decision by inscribing in his bible, “No Retreats”.

Instead he enrolled at Princeton’s Theological Seminary where he focused on Missionary training. It was here that he decided to serve Muslims in Northern China.

Soon after graduating from Princeton, William embarked on his missionary journey to China. He stopped off in Egypt to learn Arabic, the Muslim’s language.

But he couldn’t wait to evangelize. While in Egypt he started a missionary work of distributing Christian Literature to win the local residents to Christ.

No Regrets…

While in Egypt he contracted spinal meningitis, which took his life at the age of 25. After learning that his illness was terminal, he again went to his bible and wrote, “No Regrets”.

A short life? Perhaps. But one that was full.

When news of his death was cabled back to the United States, every major newspaper covered the story. The story of a man that not only sacrificed a privileged life of wealth, power and prestige, but in the end, also sacrificed himself.

A wave of missionary fever swept the country. Young men and women were flocking to the mission fields, inspired by the life of William Whiting Borden.

Now that’s building a legacy.

What is your legacy?

Will it be like the rich young ruler, hanging on to the things of this world? Will it be like the political candidates, trying to attain power and fame?

Or will it be like William Borden’s:

no reserves no retreats no regrets

  • Meeting your call with no Reserves?
  • Striving in your purpose with no Retreats?
  • And in the end, looking back at your life with no Regrets.

In Christ,

Will

P.S.

A man in Christ

He arose and forsook all and followed Him, Kindly affectioned with brotherly love, Fervent in spirit serving the Lord, Rejoicing in hope, Patient in tribulation, Instant in prayer, Communicating to the necessity of saints, In honour preferring others, Apart from faith in Christ, There is no explanation for such a life.

-Epitaph of William Whiting Borden (1887-1913)

 

When Men Meet

 

The other night I met with a half dozen men.

Men's Group

There was no sporting event on TV, nor did we have a case of beer cooled in the ice chest.

We were not planning a hunting or fishing trip. We were not holding a fantasy football draft.

The fact is, we meet weekly as a small men’s group. We meet for friendship and with the goal of becoming better men. Better men for our home, our church and our community. Better husbands, fathers and citizens.

We share what’s going on in our lives: good things and bad; victories and defeats.

We seek and receive encouragement and practical advice from the experiences of others. We band together in an attempt to be the best man each of us can be.

On this particular night, we had quite a meeting. None of us, as was shared by all, is immune to trouble. Physical illnesses and family issues were discussed. Severe, gut wrenching problems were revealed and not a little sympathy was doled out.

Yet I noticed, while we shared trouble, there was hope. Hope in the fact that we are not alone. Not on this night or at any other time. We have each other and the knowledge that we are favored by God.

Trouble Met With Hope…

It was inspiring to me to see a lot of trouble met with a lot of hope.

One man was dealing with his mother being diagnosed with breast cancer. Another, his wife recovering from a double mastectomy and himself recovering from major surgery. Still another dealing with the prospect of adopting his sister-in-law’s children after Human Services took them from her home.

There were problems with adult children behaving badly, financial problems and unemployment.

I know these problems are not unique to this small group. I know that problems like these are common in all walks of life.

They are problems that can stop us in our tracks. They are problems that can destroy our hope and our joy.

But the amazing thing about last night is that there was an understanding that these burdens are not ours to overcome. They are, in fact…God’s.

The question was raised of how can someone go through these problems alone without a relationship with Jesus Christ. Where else could we find hope? Where else could we find the joy?

You might be asking, how can a relationship with Jesus Christ bring me the joy you are writing about.

… think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. (Romans 12:3)

From the strongest Christian to the staunchest of atheist, each of us is given a certain amount of faith. Faith that is distributed to deal with the uncertainties of life. Faith that is designed to get us through the tough times so we can get on with our future.

Now I know that is easy to write about because there are times when trouble can catch us unaware.

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. (2 Peter 3:8)

We might be caught unaware, but not God. He is all knowing and nothing surprises Him.

Our problems do not catch Him off guard. He knows what happens before it actually does.

You Have Faith For This…

So if He understands what will happen before it happens, and He distributes a determined amount of faith to each of us; then we have the faith to deal with whatever trouble comes our way!

  • When your mother suffers from a prolonged illness…you have faith for this.
  • When your wife is dealing with cancer…you have faith for this.
  • When you have to step in to adopt and raise your nephew and niece…you have faith for this.
  • When you are unemployed and financial security is at risk…you have faith for this.

To sum it all up, you have faith for whatever life throws at you and in the midst of it, you have an opportunity to please God. (Hebrews 11:6)

I want to encourage you dear reader, that whatever life throws your way, you have insurmountable faith to overcome it.

You have faith that was given to you from the God of Creation, who knows all, loves all and has all power. He will not leave you in your dilemma, but be with you to encourage you. To show you that at the other end of your trouble, you will find joy, peace and patience.

So, where is this faith I am talking about?

What Is Faith…

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)

The reality of trouble is that it blinds us to our God given destiny.

No matter what we believe, we were designed for a fantastic life. We were designed for a great purpose.

Before you were born, before your mother was the apple of your father’s eye, God had a plan for your life. He created you for something specific that only applies to you.

Now trouble is a two edged sword. It hides God’s plan because it shifts your focus from His plan to your situation. You are more focused on your trouble and less focused on your destiny.

Faith is understanding that no matter what trouble you find yourself in, God’s plan will succeed. It focuses you on your destiny and allows you to navigate through your trouble.

It puts the burden on God’s power and deviates it from your worry!

Where Do I Find Faith?

Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the one Israel praises (Psalm 22:3)

You find faith from its source…God.

So where do you find God?

We can find out about Him in His Word, the Bible. It tells us of His nature and His essence. It tells of His desire to have a relationship with you.

But we find Him in relationship. We find Him in prayer and we find Him in praise.

There is an old axiom associated with Psalm 22:3, it is “God inhabits the praises of His people.”

So if you truly want to find faith, if you truly want to find its source, then simply praise Jesus Christ.

You don’t have to be a theological scholar or a PHD in Biblical Studies. You don’t have to fully understand Him, you just need to take the measure of faith that you already have, and seek Him through praise.

I dare you…I double dare you.

If you don’t believe me, then give it a shot. You don’t have to go to church to find him (although you probably will). Just go to a secluded place, with an open mind and an open heart and say…” God if you are real, come into my presence.”

Maybe put on some worship music, like Jesus Culture or Hillsong United and sing the lyrics out loud.

What you would be doing is activating this measure of faith that God has already placed inside you. He is eager to respond.

I am confident that something will happen. God is not slack concerning His promises to us, he wants all of us to have a relationship with Him.

And a relationship is not just believing what we can’t see, its understanding that when we need Him, He’s there.

In Christ,

Will

P.S.

Please respond if this touched you in some way. Your response can be more powerful than this Post.

They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony (Revelation 12:11)

 

 

 

 

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