Empty Promises


trans amVery soon my eldest daughter will be a licensed driver. It started me thinking back to when I was her age. From middle school on, I had this obsession with a car. Yes a car, a Trans-Am to be exact.  I wanted one. It was my dream car! Every time we would see one I would tell my parents, “When I get old enough to drive, that is the car I am going to have.” Of course they just laughed at me in my adolescent ignorance. They would humor me and say, ugh huh!

Well when I was old enough to drive my parents did buy me a car. It wasn’t quite my dream car, but it was a car none the less. It was an older Toyota Corolla and in lovely shade of Rusty Orange. My parents were far from rich and at this point I had matured a wee bit and was grateful just to have a means of transportation of my own.  I had been working at a local restaurant so at least I could afford the gas and insurance to drive the car.

My senior year of high school, my dad came home one day and told me that our neighbor friend just bought a Trans Am and was willing to let us take it for a spin if we would like. My dad dangled the keys in front of me and of course my reaction was, “Really? Well Yeah, Let’s Go I said.” I thought the car was A-mazing!  It wasn’t new, but it was everything else I wanted. It was Candy Apple red with tee-tops and fast as lightning!

When we finished taking the car out for our little joy ride, I parked and handed my dad back the keys and remarked, someday.  My dad had escorted me around to the front of the car and pointed to the place where the license plate usually goes. There written on a plastic plate in magic marker was my name. I kinda tilted my head in confusion and looked at my dad and he handed me the keys back and said, it’s yours.

Well as you can imagine, I was ecstatic. I jumped up and down and knew at that point that I had the best parents ever! My dad had explained that he had placed a bid on it from a repossession auction, and never imagined he would get it, but he did. I literally couldn’t contain my excitement, I finally had my dream car.

Well after some time I was finding out the hard way that my “dream car” was turning out to be not such a dream after all.  Because the car had a V-8 engine, it literally sucked gas faster than I could pump it.  What soon became another issue was the icy snowy Chicago winters which were fierce. Driving in less than perfect conditions in the wintertime was always inevitable. What was good for a burn-out on the pavement, was not so good in the snow, the traction was horrible. The car was all over the place and was down right scary to drive on those slick snowy roads. Yes my once, I will be happy when it’s mine . . . now came crashing down to reality.

The reason I tell this story is because just yesterday I was reading the book of Ecclesiastes and once again thought of my red Trans-am.  I was reminded of King Solomon, one of the richest, wisest and most influential person who ever lived.  This is the man who had great wisdom and who tried to indulge in everything that He thought would make him happy. And what was his conclusion? All was meaningless . . . . yes, it was all meaningless under the sun. Solomon coined it as this, “like chasing after the wind.”

It reminds me of how so many people today seek after fulfillment in things, accomplishments, education, jobs or even finding the right person. Thinking that these things will bring them happiness and fulfillment, they spend their life away in pursuit of them. There are some that do attain these things only to find out that in and of themselves, are not fulfilling.  They end up losing their life in the process and don’t even have the time to enjoy their things.  King Solomon had it all, he tried it all and concluded . . .  it is all meaningless!

Just like my adolescent foolishness, thinking that car would make me happy, it was a lie.  So often we buy into the great lie of the world.  The lie that Hollywood and media is always trying to convince us of.  The big . . . If only . . . If only we could only have this or that, a bigger house, a faster car, more money, a better job, a better physique or perhaps a better spouse . . . then and only then we will be truly happy! Well my friend, King Solomon can tell you, it’s the biggest lie ever! The ruler of this world was a liar from the very beginning and he continues to deceive millions with empty promises.

So where then do we look to find fulfillment in this life? We find it in the truth of God’s Word.  God created us in his image  and made us for himself. In Ecclesiastes 3:11 it says that . . . God has placed eternity in the heart of man.  That longing for eternity is what creates the longing in our hearts.  It’s that longing for more, for purpose, for fulfillment and so often we seek that fulfillment outside of God.  Like Solomon says, apart from God it is all empty, hollow and meaningless.  Apart from God we will never have fulfillment in this lifetime. God created each of us for a purpose and has a plan for each one of us. In Ephesians 2:10 it says . . . For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

God wants us to find our purpose in Him, by knowing him and by doing the work that he gives us to do. In Ecclesiastes 3:13 it says that . . . And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God. We can gain true satisfaction from our work when we know that what we are doing is part of God’s plan for our life.  We have no certainties in this life other than death itself and in order to find our purpose, we must learn to look at temporal things in light of the Eternal things.

Solomon’s purpose was to draw us closer to God by showing us that our true purpose and meaning can only be found “In Him,” a relationship with the Eternal God. Solomon concludes in chapter 12 verse 13, “Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty.” When we put or hope and trust in God and seek him above all else, this is where we will find purpose, meaning and true fulfillment. God stands good on his Word, and that’s a promise we can say Yes and Amen to!

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Remember


twin towers

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-5

I can still remember that morning so vividly. At the time I was a stay-at-home mom of three. Typically I would wake early and spend a little time with my husband before he headed out the door to work. I don’t usually watch television in the morning, but for some reason or another, I just happened to flip on the television that morning.  Instantaneously I stood frozen in shock and in horror and I didn’t quite understand the gravity of what I was witnessing before my very eyes. I watched a replay of the footage of an airplane hitting the first tower.

I shouted to my husband who was in the other room to come and see what was happening.  I remember feeling as if it was surreal as we stood and watched the horrific events that were enfolding before us. As our eyes were fixated to the television, we watched the first tower, a section was smoldering from the flames that engulfed the wreckage.  What happened next was even more surreal, another plane plummeted into the second tower. At that moment we both looked at each other in horror and disbelief and instantly knew that our country was under attack. I remember such a feeling of utter disbelief but also a feeling of desperation and loss, and even a brief moment of helplessness.

I’m sure we each have a story of what we were doing, or a remembrance of how we felt when we first heard of the tragic events that transpired on September 11, 2001.  To this day my mind has a hard time gripping the deliberate evil that was planned out for that day. But in looking back through biblical accounts, I can also see that nothing has changed since the beginning of time.  Here in America we are so often times removed from the religious hate that transpires in the world around us. But on the morning of September 11, that hate became a reality in OUR world as we were attacked firsthand on OUR own soil and all the world was watching live as a deliberate act of evil played out its course before our very eyes.

There are so many things to be sad about when I think about that day. Primarily my heart aches for the thousands that lost loved ones. Although, when looking to see beyond the tragedy, my heart also knows hope. I am so grateful for the countless stories of the hero’s that stepped up and made a difference that day and it clearly highlights the good that is still in this world!  Jesus Christ is the hope in the hopelessness.  When our world crumbles around us, we see that God is still there in our midst and has always been. When the world sinks, He provides the solid rock on which to stand!

We war against the prince of darkness and the ruler of this world, but as believers in Christ Jesus, we are His armor of light! Just as Satan thought he would defeat Jesus at the Cross, Jesus overcame death through the power of His Resurrection! When we believe on Him we also become victors with him and his spirit indwells us to be the light in this dark world.  We can stand firm in the unthinkable because in the end we know who wins!

Thank you Lord Jesus that our Victory is found only in you! Help us to put on the armor of right living and to fight the good fight of faith. Help us to realize that the only way we will ever overcome evil is with good. Thank you Lord Jesus that you are our goodness and that our righteousness comes only from you and your finished work on the cross! Help us to shine our light in a world of ever-increasing darkness. Thank you that the victory is ours in Christ Jesus, help us always to Remember!