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Monthly Archives: January 2012

I heard his voice yesterday. I opened the package from my cousin and it was a cassette tape of his mother’s funeral years ago. In the service my dad spoke for a few minutes and then prayed. It was the first time I had heard his voice since he passed away two years ago.

Seeing what it was, I went and got my wife’s cassette player, took a seat in my recliner, and listened to the tape by myself. I cried. I cried again as I thought about the experience earlier today. I am crying now as I write this. His voice was comforting. His voice took me back to a time in my life when my dad represented stability and security. He was larger than life and in him I could find no fault. He shared with me absolute and unconditional love. For a long time he was the most important person in my life.

I call my wife a couple of times each day. Sometimes I think it bothers her but usually I just want to hear her voice; to know she is there and that all is well. I call my kids, usually for no reason at all, other than to hear their sweet voices and know that they are alright. I call my mom nearly every day just so she will know the comfort of a son’s voice. And after all these years, I wish I could call my dad and hear that comforting voice on the other end of the telephone.

Who do you need to call today? Whose voice is precious to you and represents all that is good in your life? Don’t neglect those voices. Make the call because someday the only way you will hear that voice is on an old cassette tape.

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So many people have made a difference in my life.  So many have left their mark on me.  So many have made me better.  No one more so than my parents.  Others include pastors who fired me, teachers who inspired me, coaches who invested in me, friends who were patient with me and held me accountable, and an incredible wife who challenges me each day to be better.

A couple of years ago God challenged me to make a list of extraordinary men in my life.  These men had to have lived lives that had passed the test of time.  And, I had to have relationship with them.  They could not be men who I merely knew about.  After much thought my list ended at four.  I did not cheapen what “extraordinary” meant.  The dictionary defines extraordinary as “beyond what is ordinary or usual.”  It seems to me that it is much more than that.

The four men include my dad, Judson, who passed away a couple of years ago.  No one has left as big a mark on my life as he did.  He will forever be my hero.  Kent has been my friend and mentor for many years and is the best example in my life of a successful businessman who ministers in the workplace.  Steve is a business owner and one of my clients.  He is passionate about discipling men and running a business that places a high value on making successful employees.  Tom is character defined.  He is a man of great vision and is leaving a legacy of great godly character.

None of these men set out to make a difference in my life in particular.  Making a difference is what sets them apart.  Pleasing God in all that they do is what makes them so extraordinary.  Are you leaving a mark on the lives of people around you?  Are you making a difference or just wasting your life?

I recently listened as a man explained what it meant to truly forgive someone who has wronged you in some way.  He defined forgiveness as a decision to release a person from the obligation that results when they injure you.

Years ago one of my closest friends betrayed me in our relationship.  He shared information from our conversation with another person.  Doing so nearly cost me my job.  I had assumed we were speaking in confidence but he obviously felt it was necessary to share the conversation with another person.  It nearly destroyed our relationship.  It impacted our families in a hurtful way.  It made things very awkward with mutual friends.  It was not a positive experience in any way…until forgiveness took place.

Eventually he called and asked to see me.  We met over lunch and he humbly asked for my forgiveness.  With some degree of reservation I forgave him.  But it was still rather awkward around him and I struggled trusting him.  But that was years ago and the decision to forgive him has nurtured a renewed and precious friendship.  Not until I released him from the hurt he caused did we move forward in our relationship.  Today we enjoy time together and I count him among a group of very special and old friends.

If you are choosing to withhold forgiveness then you are holding yourself captive along with the one who wronged you.  Forgiveness brings you freedom.  It gets you out from under the heavy burden of unforgiveness.  Forgiveness is a decision you make and can result in restored relationships.  Make a decision today to forgive!

“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”  Matthew 6:14