The Happy Boy Who Never Had a Toy

I got to give him his first toy.

On my first trip to India I encountered a happy boy and learned about joy. It was a missionary trip in 2000, when we stayed with a widow who had a nice home and a shack out back. In the small hut lived a family of three: mother, father and a boy of about 4 years old. They cared for the landscaping and house, and cooked their food over an open fire beside their small hovel.

The happy boy who never had a toy.

I had thrown into my suitcase a toy I thought some child in India might like, although it was a reject by my own boys who lived in America and had too many toys. When I gave it to the young Indian boy, his face lit up and he hardly knew what to do. After a little inquiry, I found out that it was likely the first toy he had ever received in his life and that he would likely receive for a long time.

Reflecting on that experience, here are 3 lessons I learned from the happy boy who never had a toy:

#1. Virtually all westerners are well-off compared to the poor in many countries.

Here in California, we have a lot of people who stand at traffic intersections and hold up signs saying things such as:

The bad news is time flies…

…the good news is you’re the pilot.

The bad news is that time flies and sometimes it seems to move quickly, while at other times it seems to move more slowly. But, the good news is we are the pilots and that means we can choose how we spend our time.

This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net.

This quote reminds me of when I was in my teens and 20’s and how I piloted my own life. I was in control, charting my own course and spending my time chasing selfish pursuits. I lived a self-directed life and as a result, I spent time doing things I now regret. But, God in His mercy, changed my life when I accepted Christ at the age of 27.

I remember my Pastor giving me a short essay called: A Tandem Ride With God, to explain how God wants control of our lives when we receive Christ as our Lord and Savior. It’s an analogy that describes new believers and at first, they are usually the ones pedaling and sitting up front on a tandem bicycle with Jesus sitting on the back seat. But, then Jesus suggests that they switch places and let Him be the driver. As a result, life becomes a thrilling adventure with Him in control and leading the way.

Will Christians Escape Judgment in the End Times?

Here’s what the Bible says.

Many Christians think that they will escape judgment in the end times. They are sadly mistaken—the Bible is very clear that Christians will be judged. But how they are judged must be understood.

Here’s what Scripture says about judgment for Christians: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” (2 Corinthians 5:10 ESV)

The word translated “judgment seat” in this verse is the word “bema” in Greek. Thus, this judgement of Christians is often referred to as the Bema Seat judgment. All Christians will stand before the Bema Seat of Jesus Christ, and we will give account for what we have done.

This judgment is not to be confused with the Great White Throne judgment where unbelievers will be judged and sentenced to hell. (see Matthew 8:12, 25:41, 46; Luke 13:22-30; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9; Jude 7; Revelation 20:11-15)

Here are 3 very important things to know about this Bema Seat judgment of Christians:

#1. If we have NOT been faithful, we’ll be ashamed.

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble…

…and surround me with songs of deliverance.

Life is full of trouble and lately, there have been so many disasters and tragedies. Do you ever wish you could hide when trouble comes? This verse reminds us that the Lord is our hiding place.

This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net.

This past week, I received a frantic phone call from my daughter that her computer hard drive had become encrypted. In other words; her computer files were inaccessible and irretrievable. She had spent the past 24 hours searching the Internet for help and trying various remedies to retrieve the files, but without success. She was now panic stricken and understandably distraught.

She lost her college projects, art work, resume, portfolio and photographs were missing and she had not backed anything up. Those files represented countless hours of hard work. The loss was too staggering for my words to be of any comfort.

Finally, I said something that seemed to help. I told her that even if the files were lost forever, that God could help her to start over. We prayed and later she phoned again and was much calmer. She had spoken with a professional who could determine if any files were recoverable and possibly help her. It was a small ray of hope, but she felt better.

It’s your attitude, not your aptitude;…

…that determines your altitude.—Zig Ziglar

This quote about your attitude by Zig Ziglar is so true. While you may have no control over many things, including the innate abilities that you are born with; you do have control over your attitude. A good attitude can take us far and can help us with achieving success in life.

This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net.

Last year I was asked to recruit, coordinate and lead a small team for a women’s ministry event. However, I was only given one week to prepare. I felt hurt, slighted and overwhelmed. I was upset that I wasn’t given more notice and I complained.

However, the thought that God will reward believers for service came to my mind. I realized with God’s help, that I needed to change my attitude because I was about to miss an opportunity to serve, bless others and be blessed in return.

God changed my perspective and He helped me to humble myself and obey Him. God brought everything together beautifully and He used us to minister to hurting women that day, but I nearly missed out because of my bad attitude.

A good attitude is worth cultivating and it can make all the difference in how we relate to others, whether we receive career and other opportunities; and even impact our service for the Lord.

The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.

The Bible tells us that even though the grass withers and the flowers fall, the word of our God endures forever. Life is fragile and the things of this world are temporary and perishable, but the word of God will last forever.

This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net.  

I’m so grateful that the word of our God endures forever. God’s word has sustained me through many dark and difficult times. For nearly 30 years, it has been my light, compass, strength, hope and joy. Through times of sickness, loss of loved ones, financial hardship, and heartbreak; the word of God has been my anchor in the storm.

The Lord has spoken to me through His word and counseled me in making decisions. Over the years I have underlined, highlighted, dated and memorized Bible verses. I have defended the Bible and depended on the word of God; even when I despaired of losing everything else.

The Lord loves righteousness and justice…

the earth if full of His unfailing love.

The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of His unfailing love.” (Psalm 33:5 NIV). I have to admit that I started getting discouraged when I started thinking about the first part of this verse and how the Lord loves righteousness. That’s because I know how sinful I am and I know that I can’t measure up to His perfect standard.

This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net.

Later in the day, I realized that I was feeling badly because I was only focusing on His righteousness and justice. I neglected to consider the rest of the verse about His unfailing love. I had temporarily forgotten about His mercy and grace. As I contemplated the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross which satisfied God’s righteousness and justice; my hope was restored.

Then I went to Walmart and as I approached the checkout lady, I noticed that her name tag said Mercy. I was quite surprised but, I think that God led me to this checkout line at Walmart to remind me of His mercy. I remarked on what a beautiful name she had and that her name reminded me of God’s mercy for us through Jesus Christ. She agreed and said,

“Yes He is merciful.”

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

This Bible verse is a great reminder that the Lord has made each day; therefore, we should rejoice and be glad for each one that He gives us. However, there is one specific day that I think should make us rejoice and be glad above the rest.

This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net.   

There are many special days that the Lord has given me to rejoice and be glad. These are significant days in my life. Some include, the day of my birth, my wedding day, the days my children were born and the day of my salvation.

January 1, 1989, is the day that I prayed to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. This was the day the Lord made for me to rejoice and be glad because He planned that I should hear, understand and respond to the Gospel message.

3 Shocking Biblical Statements About Your Tongue

Why your words are one of the most important things about you.

The Bible talks about the tongue as a symbol for the words we speak. Our words and the way we use them can make a lifetime impression for good or evil. I can still remember saying words in high school that I regret over 40 years later!

Over the decades since then, I’ve said many more regrettable words. Sometimes I’m shocked at what’s come out of my mouth! It’s no wonder the Bible book of James has some strong things to say about our tongues and the words we say.

Here are 3 shocking statements about the tongue from James 3:

Shocker #1. Your tongue is the most powerful part of your body.

Our tongues are small, but what a powerful punch they pack!

Here’s what James says:

Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said,…

…rivers of living water will flow from within them. John 7:38

This Bible verse contains a wonderful promise from Jesus for whoever believes in Him to have rivers of living water flow from within them. But what does that mean?

This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net.

Before I became a Christian at age 27 I tried many things to fill the void in my life. I pursued peace and contentment in all the wrong ways. I always came away feeling dissatisfied. It was like I was drinking up everything the world had to offer but my thirst remained unquenched. I was parched and I didn’t know what to do.

But, as I look back I am thankful that the things I believed would help left me feeling empty. I am so glad that the Lord didn’t allow me to be satisfied with anything less than what He wanted to give me. I am so glad that He gave me living water.