Texas Lemonade

lemonade stand

On hot summer days, we can usually find a makeshift lemonade stand somewhere, run by children who want to make a few bucks.

They’re simple set-ups where folks can buy a cup or two of lemonade, wet their whistle and encourage some kids.

Most youngsters are content to collect some quarters in an old coffee can for two hours of work—but not 6-year-old Drew Cox.

The young Texan didn’t just set up a lemonade stand in his front yard to snag ten bucks. He didn’t just serve lemonade to quench the thirst of a few kind neighbors and strangers.

Drew erected his stand with hopes of raising a lot of money to help his father pay off the medical bills that had piled up, after Randy Cox had been diagnosed with cancer and started taking chemotherapy.

As word traveled across the east Texas town that Drew was selling lemonade to help pay for his father’s medical expenses, good-willed Texans flocked to his stand.

Drew charged the customary 25 cents per cup. Some bought cups of lemonade, while others wrote checks and made donations—including one check for $5,000.

Amazingly, young Drew Cox raised over $10,000 in one day.

That’s compassion and generosity in action—roped together in the Lone Star state—to help a struggling father and his family!

Our Savior felt and demonstrated compassion for people everywhere. Children. Parents. Lepers. Adulterers. Soldiers. Rebels. Everyone.

The Bible says, “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). First, our amazing Savior felt compassion, deep inside. Then, he jumped into action, on behalf of others.

Jesus never got stuck in the quagmire of passivity and inactivity. Instead, he dared to care—and decided to act. He got involved.

Our Savior’s heart of compassion always moved him to take action. He saw and felt something, and then he did something. Every time.

Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another.”

I wonder how we’ll respond today to what we see and feel.

 

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God’s Feat with Your Feet

Feet

Former Marine Keith Levasseur ran the 2012 Baltimore Marathon, finishing 29th with a time of 1.46.58. At first glance, his time doesn’t seem all that impressive.

But before you judge the marathoner’s feat, consider what he put on his feet. Levasseur wore flimsy flip-flops instead of expensive running shoes, and ran as fast and hard as he could.

The 34-year-old athlete—whose feet and quads were extra sore after finishing the marathon—ran the race wearing sandals in order to earn a spot in the amazing Guinness World Records for an unique entry entitled, “fastest marathon completed in flip-flops”.

If you raced through the streets in a big marathon, which popular brand of running shoes would you choose to wear? Nike. Puma. Saucony. Rebok.

If you attempted something wild like Levassor’s world-record feat, what would be your crazy alternative to running shoes? Slippers. Moccasins. Boots. Socks.

No matter what you pulled out of your closet that morning, folks would focus on your unusual running feat because of what you put on your feet.

Did you know God focuses on your feet?

Romans 10:14-15 says, “And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’”

So, if you’re a Christ-follower who’s sharing the good news of Jesus with people around you, God sees your feet—and says they’re winsome, attractive and beautiful.

In other words, God sees and values your decision to go and share the good news of Jesus with the people you encounter every day.

When God sees your heart and feet taking you from one person and one place to another so you can share the good news of our Savior, he smiles and approves. It’s as if he stops and says, “That’s awesome. Keep going and sharing!”

Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” That’s why you and I must love people and talk about our Savior. Otherwise, they may never have an opportunity to hear and respond to the good news of Jesus.

So then, let’s entrust our “average” feet to God for the “amazing” feat of lifestyle evangelism—going and sharing the good news with people everywhere!

 

Out of the Blue

Blue Lobster

Veteran lobster boat captain Bobby Stoddard of Clarks Harbour, Nova Scotia, had heard of blue lobsters, but he had never seen one—until he heard one of his men yell, “Hey, we got a pretty one in this trap!”

That “purty” lobster inside the trap turned out to be a rare catch—and one out of two million lobsters with a genetic variation that causes them to turn blue—and stay that way for life.

Stoddard wasn’t sure what to do with the uniquely blue-colored lobster, after an ocean research institute expressed no interest in his awesome discovery. He told a CNN news reporter, “It probably belongs back in the ocean, but I’d like for as many people as possible to see it.”

Similarly, our heavenly Father wants as many people as possible to hear the good news about his Son Jesus—before it’s too late. I wonder how many of us share God’s passion for lost people.

The apostle Peter wrote, “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. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:8-9). That’s patient love.

The apostle John testifies that our Father loves us so much that he sent his only Son from halls of heaven to Planet Earth so he could die on a cross for our sins. He wrote, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son …” (John 3:16). That’s sacrificial love.

Our Father sent his Son because he doesn’t want anyone to die spiritually and live eternally separated from him. He doesn’t want anyone to reject his Son. Instead, he wants everyone to repent, trust his Son Jesus and receive the gift of eternal life.

God is incredibly patient, but he won’t wait forever. When it comes to stiff-arming and rejecting Jesus, time is running out. One day, the window of time and opportunity for non-believers to repent and get right with God is going to shut—and eternity future will start.

Have you come to faith in Jesus Christ? If not, I invite you to meet and trust my Savior!

Until that day, let’s share the good news of Jesus with as many people as possible, recalling what he told his early followers, “As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no man can work.” (John 9:4).

Time is definitely running out—and one day, time will be no more. I wonder how many men, women and children will come to faith between now and then because we lovingly and patiently shared the good news of Jesus with them.

Until that day, let’s be passionate about sharing Jesus Christ and the good news of salvation, forgiveness and eternal life with as many people as possible—everywhere we go.

Friend, the eternal destiny of people we know and love—and individuals we don’t know but choose to love—hangs in the balance.

Will you tell them about Jesus before it’s too late?

 

Lost and Adrift

Man Lost at Sea

After floating adrift at sea for 16 long hours, Glenn Ey of Queensland, Australia, was spotted by an eagle-eyed first officer aboard a low-flying passenger jet.

The Australian yachtsman first got into trouble when he became stranded about 300 miles off the coast of Sydney. Hours later, as the search for the missing sailor started, Australian search and rescue officials radioed international airline pilots flying into Sydney and asked them to assist with the search.

That’s why the crew of an Air Canada 777 dropped to 5,000 feet to look for the missing man—and just as the jumbo jet banked hard to the right to continue on to Sydney, the plane’s co-pilot saw the lost yacht. Not long after he radioed in the location, the search and rescue team was able to rescue the lost seaman.

Similarly, the spiritual “safety” and eternal destiny of pre-Christians—unsaved or lost people—is at stake everywhere around the world. The Bible says it’s our responsibility to go and do whatever we can to find and help rescue lost people from an eternity separated from God.

Are you looking for lost people? When you find them, do you radio for the Holy Spirit’s help—and join in a “spiritual search and rescue” by reaching out and sharing the gospel with them?

God commissioned us to stay on alert, prepared and ready to toss a life-line of hope to others. He called us to look for people who’re adrift and lost in a sea of sin—and then help rescue them by sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, our only Savior.

Luke says of the first-century disciples in Jerusalem, “They never stopped proclaiming the good news …” (Acts 5:42). If Luke observed how you reach out and talk with people around you, could he write the same report about you?

The Bible says, “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge:  Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season … keep you head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist.” (2 Timothy 4:1-2,5).

Paul charges young Timothy—and every believer—to go and find lost people. Why? Simply put, we’re found; and they’re lost—and need to be rescued. It’s a life and death situation.

Our Savior is coming back soon to “rapture” (catch up) his Church from Planet Earth forever. Time is running out—and anyone who hasn’t come to faith in Jesus will be left behind.

That’s why we must look for lost people and help rescue them before it’s too late. That’s why we must keep our hearts soft and our eyes peeled for lost people.

Know this:  if we stop caring about the people around us, and if we shirk our responsibility to share the good news of Jesus with others, they don’t stand a chance. They may be lost forever.

Will you be a life-long member of God’s “spiritual search and rescue” team?

 

Full of Compassion

Compassion

One day, I loaded my pellet gun and took off down a dirt road to shoot unsuspecting birds.

I was a young “wanna-be” hunter who’d never tracked or shot an animal before—but I wanted to shoot birds that day. Not tin cans. Not cardboard targets. Not old toys.

So, without hesitating, I shot a small bird out of a tree. As I ran over to retrieve my trophy, I was thrilled. But when I saw the bird was still alive—and lying wounded and helpless on the ground—I suddenly felt empty inside.

Instead of being excited about my shot, I regretted my stupidity—and got sick to my stomach. I was repulsed by what I’d done. For no good reason, I’d hurt an animal.

Now, all I wanted to do was bandage the bird’s wound so it could heal and fly again. But after talking with Dad, I knew that wouldn’t happen. The bird was dying. So, with tears in my eyes and sadness in my heart, I put the little bird out of its misery and buried it in our backyard.

Before I shot that bird out of the tree, I felt no need for compassion. But when I saw the injured bird on the ground, my heart softened—and I felt compassion.

Years ago—when Jesus walked on our planet, he felt and demonstrated compassion for everyone. He always cared about the other guy—and looked for ways to help and show mercy.

He listened attentively, wept openly and spoke gently. He exuded kindness. He felt compassion for people—whether he was talking to an immoral woman by an old well—or teaching a large crowd on a country hill.

One day, a crooked tax agent named Matthew—who cheated and robbed people—hosted a large banquet for Jesus.

During that encounter, Jesus demonstrated compassion and grace—and callous Matthew changed. After he paid back the people he’d cheated four times over, Matthew left his lousy lifestyle and followed Jesus.

Years later—after watching and traveling with Jesus for a long time—Matthew wrote this about his Savior: “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:35-36).

That’s true compassion—an intense emotion inside your gut that prompts you to feel and care about what someone is feeling and experiencing—and propels you to do something about it. It’s where mercy starts—and why love reaches.

That kind of compassion is what our Savior and Shepherd feels for you and me—and everyone else in the world. That’s also why he’ll never stop caring for smelly, struggling sheep like us.

Will you follow Jesus’ example and demonstrate compassion to others?