Thursday, July 14, 2011

Simplicity In Christ

Several months ago I thought I smelled something burning in my bedroom. I was pretty sure it was the light fixture. I climbed a ladder and took the glass cover off the fixture. I unscrewed the light bulbs and didn't smell any odor of anything burning. When I tried to screw the nut onto the screw that held the cover up, it turned along with the nut and I wasn't able to get the nut tightened over the glass cover. The screw went through a plate that was fastened to the ceiling. I put the glass cover on a table in my living room, thinking that I needed to get up in the attic to tighten the entire fixture. Several days later, I crawled around in my attic trying to find the mounting bracket for the light fixture. There is no floor in my attic, so I had to walk on a small piece of plywood that I dragged over the two by six beams. I moved along the attic by standing on the plywood that I laid on top of the two by six beams. When I walked to the end of the piece of plywood, I stepped off it and onto the two by six beams and then pulled the plywood out ahead of me. Then I walked on the plywood from the rear of it to the front it. I continued to do this for about forty feet, until I got to the place where I thought I would find the mounting brackets for the light fixture. I have cellulose insulation that covers the beams and the sheetrock ceiling and that made it difficult to locate the light fixture.

A couple of weeks later, I called my neighbor's son Payton and asked if he would come over to help me. I had him stand under the light fixture and tap on the fixture so I could find it as I crawled around the attic for the second time. He kept talking to me and tapping on the fixture and I was able to locate the electric box that the light fixture is connected to. However, there weren't any mounting brackets for the light fixture. I came down from the attic and observed the fixture for the second time. I realized that the tin plate somehow must drop down from the ceiling so that I would be able to tighten the nut behind it.  I called my cousin Mike to confirm this. He told me that everything that is holding the fixture up is below the ceiling. So yesterday I unscrewed the two screws that hold the tin plate that is mounted to the ceiling. I dropped the tin plate down from the ceiling and was able to tightened the nut that screws onto the stem and holds the glass cover in place. It took me about fifteen minutes to repair the light fixture.

After I put away my tools, I started thinking about my relationship with Jesus. Paul reminded the Corinthians that our relationship with Jesus is simple based on faith and trust in Him. Jesus Christ is everything that we need to stand on. He is the Rock that is under our feet. Our salvation is in Him. Paul wrote to the Corinthians:

But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3 NKJV).

Paul was defending the gospel of grace from those who wanted to make it complicated thinking that faith in Jesus wasn't enough. Three different times the Lord spoke to Paul and said to him:

"My grace is all you need" (2 Corinthians 12: 9 NLT).

The gospel is grace by faith in Jesus Christ. We need to keep it as simple as that.

Oh yeah and the burning smell that I thought was coming from the light fixture, turned out to be a plastic bag that I had in the room which had the smell of garlic in it.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Clinton Tuck, "Keep Hope Alive"

You wouldn't think a guy who has had two strokes would have much hope, but Clinton Tuck not only has hope, he is excited about his life. (See the link at the end of this story to read more about Clinton's journey). Last week, during my visit to Shady Lawn Nursing Home, Clinton asked if I would take him with me to Trigg Manor Nursing Home to participate in their weekly prayer service. So yesterday, as I was preparing to pick him up, I thought that as long as he was going to come with me, he might as well be given the opportunity to talk to the residents and share the love of Christ with them. I know that Clinton loves Jesus and loves to encourage others.

It's not easy for Clinton to get around. I pulled around to the back of Shady Lawn Nursing Home to pick him up. He refused any help from me choosing instead to push himself forward with his left arm and left leg. I watched as he plodded along in his wheel chair. His right side is mostly paralyzed, so it takes a great deal of effort for him to get from his room to the exit ramp at the back of the building (approximately seventy-five feet). He rolled his wheelchair alongside of the front passenger door of my 1998 Toyota Camry, then I helped steady him as he lifted himself up from the wheelchair. He held onto the front door of the car while I packed the wheelchair in the trunk. Thankfully, it collapses almost like an umbrella and easily fits in. Even though the front seat of my Camry was pushed all the way back as far as it would go, I still had to help him lift and twist his legs to get them into the car.  

Trigg Manor Nursing Home is only a few miles from Shady Lawn and when we arrived there, we went through the same procedure, only in reverse, to get Clinton out of the car and into his wheelchair. I don't know that Clinton will ever get use to his struggles, but he certainly isn't a complainer.

Every Thursday we meet for prayer. All the residents at Trigg Manor are invited. On the last Thursday of the month, we also have a Bible Study. After our prayer time,  Clinton spoke to about twenty residents. Here is a summary of what he said:


I had two strokes but I didn't give up hope. We need to keep hope alive. God supplies all our needs. I was on a feeding tube, I couldn't walk-it was God who brought me where I am today. I am so thankful. We need to be thankful. We all have so much to be thankful for. We are so blessed. God loves everybody. Tell people about God and don't be ashamed of Him. Tell people about how He loves you. We all have a different story to share. Your story is different than mine.

Take one day at a time. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow isn't promised to anyone. We need to start with our children. How many of you have children? We have to leave them an example. It starts in the home. You can't blame the principal.  We need Jesus.

I am so thankful that I met Clinton Tuck. He is an inspiration to me. Sometimes it takes great hardship and suffering to recognize that all we really need in life is right before our eyes. Don't let another day pass before you come to this realization. Take what my friend Clinton says to heart. And be reminded of what the apostle Paul wrote:

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Rom. 8:18 NKJV).

Monday, July 4, 2011

God Is An Infinite Supply Of Love

Are you receiving enough love? Are you looking to fulfill your desire for love by trying to find it in another person? We as human beings crave love.

I have repented from trying to obtain love from human beings. Although I have some great friends and family members who love me, I know that the love that they have to give is limited. They cannot satisfy my most intimate need for love. How do I know this? Because they are human beings just like me. No human being can meet our need for love. God created us to need Him. In Jesus Christ, God became man so that He can share this love. He is forever united with us. God loves you and me and every human being that has ever lived.

As human beings we have expectations and sometimes we expect to receive from another person only what God can give us. Only God is an infinite supply of love. Only He can meet our deepest need for love. He is the source of love. There is freedom in understanding this truth. It helps us show grace to others who fall short of our expectations and it helps us point other human beings to Christ.

So on this Independence Day, why not experience true liberty. If you haven't done so already, why not ask Jesus to give you His love and to live His life within you. His love will meet your innermost needs and your deepest desires and will truly set you free.