Sky Mall and the Things We Buy

February 10, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Humorous

By Peter Lundell –

On a recent flight I browsed the Sky Mall catalog, which exists to showcase things every satisfied person ought to have. My favorites:

A showerhead that lights up with different colors, which “can feel as enjoyable and relaxing as being in a spa.” Oh, really?

A toilet seat with a sensor that automatically raises and lowers the seat and lid, because “some men have a hard time remembering to put the toilet seat down after use.” Humph. Men.

The world’s largest CD storage towers that can hold my “2,262 CDs” or “936 DVDs.” But there are only 365 days in a year.                                                                                                                            

A cherry wood luxury showcase for my “24 watches. Over 4 million sold world-wide.” Guess I should have one too—after I buy another 23 watches.

A portable staircase to help my older dog get onto its favorite bed or sofa. (So I don’t have to lift my pet.) Lucky me.

Then there are the skeleton gnomes (midget skeletons with red caps), along with statuary of zombies, and replicas of King Tut’s Egyptian Throne and the Peeing Boy of Brussels. How inspiring.

Oh, how happy I would be if I owned all these things. How happy many people seem to think they will be.

By design, our consumer culture keeps adults thinking and buying like insatiable children.

Then Jesus comes along and tells us to give things up, even our lives. Who would want to follow Him? Seriously, Jesus is not attractive to materialists—which is one reason so many reconfigure Jesus as a palatable religious icon in their own image.

Yet the human heart—whatever it believes—still yearns for something deeper and more enduring. No one can adequately fill the vacuum inside it except the God who put it there in the first place.

So, how filled is your vacuum?

PRAYER: Lord, keep my heart on Your Kingdom, my eyes on the unseen, my mind on the eternal. And let me not be seduced by the allure of possessions.

“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 NIV).

Seize Your Day

February 4, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Peter Lundell –

I paid close attention at my daughter’s promotion from middle school to high school. The student speeches were good, and I was struck by these thirteen-year-olds talking about how “time flies.” Oncey they’re adults, they’ll find out how fast it can truly go.

I reminded myself of the commitment I made almost ten years earlier: When my kid’s name gets called to receive her high school diploma, I will NOT sit here and wonder where all the time went.

If time flies, each of us is a pilot. We choose how it flies. Whether we actively decide what we do with it, or passively let things take their course, we determine how time flies—or doesn’t.

But let’s get real, time doesn’t fly at all. Every minute, hour, and year is a set length (even leap year). The “flying” part is entirely our perception. Ask someone in a penitentiary or someone with a terminal illness if time flies. We all have time when it drags, even if temporarily.

So what should we do with these conclusions? The same thing writers have said for centuries: carpe diem—”seize the day.” But in a way that is more life enriching rather than just living for the moment.

Seizing the day is something we consciously decide every day—otherwise the day’s potentials vanish like mist. We make choices deliberately, and fully engage in what we do, rather than drift through life letting things happen to us. We engage meaningfully with people and events around us, and we nourish a caring heart toward them. We live for each moment rather than wallow in the past or pine for the future. We refuse to live in perpetual busyness, and as in the Luke 10:38–42 story of Martha and Mary, we focus on what is most important.

How will you seize your day?

PRAYER: “Lord and Master of my life, each day I live is a gift from You. Lead me to seize it as a zealous steward of time and experience. Open my eyes to see Your hand in all of it. . . .”

“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:14 NIV).

Becoming Rembrandt

January 19, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Peter Lundell –

With my brother and sister-in-law, I visited the famed Getty Museum. I was struck by two paintings by Rembrandt van Rijn. One was a scene of people beside a river, dated 1632. It was good, but not remarkable, no different from other artists of that period. If Rembrandt’s name weren’t beside it, I never would have known it was his.

The one next to it was a portrait, classic Rembrandt, and exuded his signature style of brush strokes, color choices, expression of light, and overall composition. His emotion and unique mastery of style came through. It was dated 1661.

Aha.

I saw how one of the greatest artists in history was not always distinctive. Surely he had greatness within him, born of natural talent. But his abilities had to be developed through years of practice. Rembrandt didn’t become an extraordinary painter overnight. And he surely didn’t do it without endless days of effort. Twenty-nine years separated those two paintings.

As with Rembrandt, we are all pushed to be like other people. Yet we all have the opportunity to live and work beyond average, to grow over time and become extraordinary, positively influencing others in our own way.

What is your potential? Your gift? Your passion?

What could God do in your life?

If you focus and pursue that to the best of your ability for two or three decades (or however much time you have left), who would you become? What could you accomplish?

I am realizing, somewhat late in life, the power of focus. Could it be that if you focus your efforts as Rembrandt did, you might become more than you dream of? I hope you do. I hope I do too.

Could this not be God’s intent for each of us?

PRAYER: Lord, You have made me for more than being just like everyone else. I commit my life to being and doing what You’ve called me to be and do. No more and no less. Show me how and inspire me to be a unique blessing to many.”

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21, NIV).

Self-Destruct Burgers

December 18, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Humorous

By Peter Lundell –

Recently a man suffered a heart attack while eating in a restaurant called—and I’m not making this up—“Heart Attack Grill.” No surprise that it can be found in Las Vegas.

The man was eating a “Triple Bypass Burger,” not to be confused with the even larger “Quadruple Bypass Burger.” People actually eat these burgers with three and four huge meat patties each. The slogan of this place is, “Taste Worth Dying For.”

Their front doors have big signs that say, “Caution! This establishment is bad for your health.” And they really bring in the customers. The owner of the place, whom they call “Doc,” wears a doctor’s white coat with a stethoscope around his neck. And the waitresses, whom they call “nurses,” are dressed like sexy nurses. Customers can even wear patients’ hospital gowns while they eat. If you weigh more than 350 pounds, you eat for free.

When the guy had his cardiac arrest, others thought it was a publicity stunt and snapped photos. The man is reportedly recovering, thankfully.

This place gives a new level of meaning to the idea of destroying yourself.

What drives us to self-destruction? Beyond the Heart Attack Grill, there’s smoking, drinking, drugs, or any addiction. Or how about socially accepted habits like chugging soda, eating unhealthy foods full of fat, sugar, and chemicals, then wallowing for hours in front of the T.V. Some self-destructive habits are less noticeable, like overworking and overspending.

If I’ve made you mad, well, sorry.

If we have a grasp of how our bodies are living temples of God’s Holy Spirit, or if we have a vision for a purposeful reason to live, we’ll tend to take good care of our bodies.

What are your self-destructive tendencies?

And what vision or reason to live leads you to care of yourself?

PRAYER: Lord, I am a living, walking temple of Your Spirit. And in You I have a reason to live and worship You and bless others in Your name. Lead me to honor You by taking good care of myself through all the days I live to serve You.

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” (1 Cor. 6:19-20, NIV).

Every Survivor Dies

December 10, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Peter Lundell –

On February 4, the world’s last surviving veteran of World War I died.  Florence Green signed up for the Women’s Royal Air Force 98 years ago at age 17. Ironically, she was afraid of flying. She worked as an Officer’s Mess steward.

Before passing away at age 110, she had been in a nursing home for fewer than three months. Previously, she lived at home with her daughter, who is 90! By every account, Mrs. Green was a wonderful lady.

My Great Uncle Carl also fought in World War I. When I was a boy I visited him and felt as if I were touching history in the flesh. This man who held my hand had been in the trenches and fired a gun. Until he died, his physical presence connected me to an otherwise faded past.

Now there is no one left from that war, or any war before it. Every last survivor eventually died. And every war from now on will have its last survivor die.

I think of the unspeakable horrors World War I unleashed. And now, all of those involved are gone. Every last person. It no longer matters what side they were on in that senseless conflict. Nor does it matter whether they died on the battlefield or years later in a nursing home. They are all in eternity, for better or worse.

How they spend eternity has nothing to do with which uniform they wore, but with the condition of their hearts. So many things seemed important back then, just as so many things seem important right now. But eventually, even the survivors eventually surrender to death.

If we can truly grasp this, what would it do to us and the way we face conflicts, whether as a nation or in our own lives?

“You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:
‘”Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?’” (Acts 4:25 (NIV).

PRAYER:

“Lord, You see beyond every world conflict to that which is of your purpose and plan. Open my eyes to see beyond conflicts in my own life to that which is of Your purpose and plan.”

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