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One of my favorite movies is Apollo 13. An unseen hero in the movie is Ken Mattingly. Mattingly was pulled from the mission at the last minute as a precautionary measure due to exposure to the German measles. While he didn’t get to go into space, Mattingly played a huge part in the mission by helping NASA figure out a power sequence that helped save his fellow astronauts. His efforts behind the scenes were instrumental in saving lives.

There are times in each of our lives when our efforts may go unnoticed by the majority of people. That doesn’t make them any less important. Our efforts won’t all have the same magnitude of Mattingly’s heroics, but doesn’t make them less important.

The other night I stopped for gas at a local convenience store. A young man from a car next to mine approached me. It was a frigid night here in NW Wisconsin. It was late. He asked me if I’d give him a jump if he paid me. I smiled and said “No, but I’d do it for free.” He was startled but grateful. Later, after his care was running, he offered again. I smiled at him and said, “You know, Jesus loved me for free. I figure I can show some love for free too.”

My act wasn’t heroic to the world, but it was to him. I didn’t make the news that night, but my Heavenly Father saw it. Too often we may feel like our actions go unnoticed by people, and they may. But never let that stop you from doing the good thing, the loving thing. Never ever give up showing Jesus’ love! Others may not notice, but Jesus will.


We live in a culture that comes just short of ridiculing anyone who implies they need help. We like our independence. We like to be able to say “I did it! And I did it my way!”

Ironically, at the same time, Psychologists tell us that we are a ‘lonely people’. A recent study showed that nearly half of the people interviewed felt isolated and alienated from their peers.

I wonder if Solomon was thinking of loneliness and alienation when he wrote these verses in Ecclesiastes. Certainly as king of Israel he needed no one, and if he did, they were at his beck and call. Yet there was a loneliness there. A realization that no one is an island regardless of their political, social or financial stature.

While there are exceptions of course, generally speaking people who reach out to help people are generally those that others are willing to help. Jesus story of the Good Samaritan teaches us that everyone is our neighbor and so, each of us has a responsibility to reach out a helping hand. The help we receive isn’t a reason to help, it’s a side-benefit.


I remember the conversation well. He’s a personal friend who happens to be a billionaire as well. One day in conversation he said to me, rather sheepishly, “I don’t even know how much money I have. But God has blessed me to I can bless others.”

What a stunning statement. In a way it reminded me of King Solomon. He, like my friend, could have had anything his heart desired. Solomon sought all the earthly things. Gold, kingdoms, women, but none of them brought happiness. Finally in exasperation he confessed that there is nothing of any true value in earthly possessions. True value comes only from God.

Are riches bad? Of course not. Is it wrong to have a happy home, a good retirement and a whole bunch of friends? Of course not. But when those things take precedence over your relationship with Jesus, trouble is bound to happen!

Now, before you read this and smugly sit back and say, I got this covered, BEWARE! The enemy of our souls loves to deceive us into complacency and apathy. I have started the practice of trying to start my day with a prayer to ask God to use me and end my day with a prayer to ask God to search me, to dig deep into the words I say and the attitudes I have to make sure my life is in tune with him.

True blessing comes from the heart set on Jesus.


Those who have been bruised know pain like no one else. They’ve experienced the rejection. They have endured the guilt. They have wandered the wilderness of loneliness. No two bruised reeds handle pain in the same way. Some explain it away; some hide it under denial, chemicals or pseudo relationships. Some wear it as a badge and look for some sort of comfort in letting others know about their pain. This works for awhile, until people get tired of hearing about it.

The smoldering wicks of our world die a thousand deaths every day. The unmet expectations of others constantly remind them of their failure and guilt. The constant attacks of their inner being shame them into the realization (in their eyes) that they will never amount to anything; that they were some sort of cosmic mistake.

Jesus brings justice if we will listen. Unlike the justice of our society, which is based on man’s external assessment of the situation, the justice Jesus brings is truth. Not truth based on societies standards. Not truth which will come at some point in the future, truth that is here today. Jesus tells us the real truth about us. He knows a thing or two because he’s seen a thing or two. He’s seen every bruise. He knows every crushed dream. He’s gentle with your past failures (including the self-inflicted ones) and seeks to fan into flame the potential he gave you when he created you in his image to be a masterpiece.

Jesus knows the truth about you and loves you passionately.


If you’ve ever walked through a swampy area you’ve seen them. Some are trampled down. Some are bent over. Virtually all of them are at some level of being wounded. Reeds of every size and shape standing vulnerable to the elements.

Life can be like that swamp. We go through life and get stomped on, damaged, and wounded. For some it’s broken relationships. The person we once thought a soul mate is suddenly gone, and with their departure, there’s a gaping hole in your soul.

For some it may be shattered dreams. You’ve worked hard towards a goal, only to have the rug pulled out from under you and you are left holding a thousand different pieces of a puzzle you know you will never get back together again.

When life heads south; when we go through some life changing event, we become extremely fragile. The slightest breeze can break us. The brush of a passing situation can be our undoing.

Jesus showed throughout his time on earth that he had the soft compassion that would heal the most fragile of lives; that would move so gently that even the most bruised reed would not be broken.

You can come to Jesus with your fragile heart. You can come to Jesus with your bruised heart. You can know that his gentleness will help you through the pain. He’s the great healer.

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