YOU’RE MINE TWICE ! (A Parable)

A twelve year old boy had learned wood carving from an Uncle.  He was pleased with a boat he had carved from a solid piece of wood.  He sanded it smooth, painted it a beautiful white with red trim and now wanted to see if it was balanced enough to float. The next afternoon after school he took his creation to a pond nearby that opened into a stream that ran through his town.  He carefully placed the little boat in the water…it was balanced perfectly.  You can imagine how proud he was of his creation.  The string he had attached to it guaranteed that he could always bring it back at will.  The boy had many happy afternoons sailing his boat.

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One day the string attached to the boat got tangled in a branch and broke free from the boys’ control.  A wind came up and blew the little boat across the pond and down the stream. The boy ran after the boat, but lost sight of it.  Because there were three days of torrential rains, he never found his little boat that he had carefully carved into a beautiful creation.

Several months later a toy shop owner saw the bow of a little wooden boat sticking up out of the mud along the banks of the stream.  He picked it up….saw that it was finely made, took it home, washed it, brightened up the paint and put it in his toy store window for sale.

As the boy who made the boat was walking down the sidewalk in front of the toy shop, he saw the boat in the window and recognized right away that it was his craftsmanship! Oh, how excited he was to know he could finally get his little boat back!  He went into the shop…told the shop owner that he had carved the boat himself and he wanted it back.

The shop owner said..NO!   It’s mine now and if you want it you’ll have to buy it!

The boy ran home…broke open his piggy bank and took the money back to the shop owner.  It was just enough to buy the little boat!!!   He hugged it to his chest and said, “YOU’RE MINE TWICE!!!”

Just imagine how God feels when He sees you, whom He has made and breathed life into, go your own way. God sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross and rise again so that when you accept Him as your Savior He exclaims…”YOU’RE MINE TWICE!”

I Corinthians 6:20  “You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”

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Count the Cost

When I was younger, I would make decisions based on what I “wanted” without properly counting the cost. I would estimate what I thought it might be, but would not take the time or counsel to consider all the added expenses that may accumulate over time.

A vacation.

A fish tank.

A hot tub.

These are three reasons I created debt. I wanted what I wanted, and I did not want to wait long enough to save up for them.

When I was 23 I decided I’d like a fish tank. So, I went to a place that made custom tanks. I told the designer I’d like 100 gallon tank. He got to work. Then I realized I’d need a cabinet. The tank turned out to be 102 gallons, making it just slightly short of fitting in a standard one – so, I got that custom-made. Then there had to be a sump tank and all the parts for that. Then, I decided on salt water – so I had to buy live rock to help keep the water perfect for the fish. I discovered that salt-water tanks are very delicate and that the fish are hard to keep alive if the water changes more than a 4 degree variant in temperature. I also discovered that I had to drive across town to refill 5, 5 gallon jugs of salt water every few weeks to do a partial water change. This water change took well over an hour start to finish. Then there were the lights, the heater, the thermometer. The list goes on….

So, I had my fish tank. But, what started as a $400 custom tank turned in to over $2,500 to get what I needed upfront. Add to that all the time and cost to maintain it…. and the many fish who perished along the way. Most of them were between $40 and $100 each! I kept this tank functional for 5 years. I can’t imagine what I spent in that time.

I failed to count the cost before I jumped in. This was the beginning of my credit card debt. I repeated similar decisions several times. I did not find out enough information to know exactly what I was getting myself into, or I just chose to ignore the consequence of creating debt for myself. I was young. I thought I had plenty of time. I am still working through these consequences 17 years later, paying my accumulated debt slowly. This has been a tough lesson – and I am sure it is one that many can identify with.

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Counting the cost does not just go for monetary things – it also goes for spiritual and emotional things, as well as time commitments.

There are people we should not associate with because they end up sucking us dry. We should carefully count the cost to decide how much to invest in these people. There are things we should say “NO” to because the cost will be too great and we do not have the time to sustain all our commitments.

Jesus even told us that we must count the cost before we can be his disciple. He wants every part of us, completely. This is what he said in Luke 14:28-33:

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’ 

Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.”

We should remember always to take the time to count the cost before we make major decisions, purchases, commitments and relationships.

I am still working on this! Who is with me?

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The Ultimate Sacrifice

Today we remember the many heroes who have sacrificed their lives for our country. Who have left their families and friends behind for the sake of our freedom.

We remember and we thank them for their service, dedication, and loyalty to our country.

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But I want us to also remember the ultimate sacrifice given on the world’s behalf; God giving his son over to death in order for the world to be free. We are free in Jesus’ name, by the blood that was shed.

Jesus was beaten, bruised, ridiculed, tormented, and put to death for you. You didn’t do anything to deserve the freedom in Jesus you have, but God gave it to us because of the unconditional love he has for his children, all the children of the world.

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You know what it feels like to live in a free country, but do you know what it feels like to be free in Christ?

He forgives us for our wrong doing. He wipes us white as snow. He loves us unconditionally.

Let’s not only remember those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom in America, let’s remember the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our freedom in him.

GOD Bless America

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S w e e t !!!

This is an expression that is used in today’s vernacular. “That’s sweet” means we like something. On the other hand we may say “that stinks” about something we don’t like.

We all like a sweet aroma. We apply fragrances to our bodies….spray air fresheners in our homes. Some have become sensitive to fragrances because of allergies, but for the most part we enjoy aromas that are pleasant to us. And, our memory of places and people often are vibrant because of the sense of smell. The memory of my Daddy’s coffee with cream and sugar is still up front in my memory of him. With Mom, the smell of pies or cookies baking in the oven is sweet in my memory.

In the Bible, the entire book of Leviticus speaks of the sacrifices that were a pleasing aroma to the LORD.

But when Christ came and gave His life for our sins as a sacrifice once and for all, those burnt sacrifices were not necessary any more.

Now, we are to live our lives as a sweet aroma to God’s nostrils.

Ephesians 5:2 “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children, and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

II Corinthians 2:14-15 “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.”

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We live in a foul-smelling world and no amount of costly perfume will cover the stench. So, it’s up to us to be a sweet fragrance of Christ to those around us.

Stay s w e e t !!!

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