Category Archives: Recent blogs

Relationships

As I work my way through life, through marriage, through parenting, and through God’s word I am keenly aware of one thing….

ALL of life is about relationship.

Relationship with God.

Relationship with my wife.

Relationship with kids, and grandkids.

Relationship with PEOPLE! People are everywhere and if I’m going to survive well I have to deal with them, get along with them and care about them,

But there is a problem. You know the problem well, don’t you? People are selfish, mean, frustrating, prideful, hard to get along with and just messy! People make life hard!!! Isn’t that funny? People around us are our main source of joy, frustration and struggle. And it’s just plain messy!

Today I’m working on a passage of scripture I will be teaching this week and it’s all about relationships….how to get along with PEOPLE. You would think we would have this figured out by now, but we don’t tolerate each other very well. We can’t seem to get along with others well at all. The ongoing wars on our little planet tell the tale of our inability to exist together. We seem better able to kill than to care.

Anyway, the passage I’m working through is all about relationships and the key word for these relationship to work is the word “submit.” It’s this idea: “put under, subdue unto, (be, make) subject (to, unto), be (put) in subjection (to, under), submit self unto.” Now you see why we don’t do this well, don’t you? We are in a ME world with instructions from God’s word to make this an OTHERS world. It’s something that we can only do as we imitate the only one who ever did it perfectly- Jesus.

Submit to one another, in other words put others ahead of you…put them first…care about them more than you do about you. That’s the solution to our world’s problems, but it can only happen as I allow God to live it out in me. He did it perfectly and he can do it now through me….if I will let him. It would be really easy if it weren’t for all the people I have to deal with…..

Previously posted 5/10/11. Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

The 70 Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards

“Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake.” ~ Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards, one of the greatest theologians of his time, wrote these resolutions during the winter of 1722 through the summer of 1723. He faithfully resolved to read these resolutions weekly in order to help him humbly stay in the will of God.

As representatives of Christ in the world, these timeless resolutions can still be applied to our walk today.

The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards (1722-1723)

Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake.

Remember to read over these Resolutions once a week.

  1. Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriad’s of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever.
  2. Resolved, to be continually endeavoring to find out some new invention and contrivance to promote the aforementioned things.
  3. Resolved, if ever I shall fall and grow dull, so as to neglect to keep any part of these Resolutions, to repent of all I can remember, when I come to myself again.
  4. Resolved, never to do any manner of thing, whether in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God; nor be, nor suffer it, if I can avoid it.
  5. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.
  6. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.
  7. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.
  8. Resolved, to act, in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings as others; and that I will let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself, and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God.
  9. Resolved, to think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.
  10. Resolved, when I feel pain, to think of the pains of martyrdom, and of hell.
  11. Resolved, when I think of any theorem in divinity to be solved, immediately to do what I can towards solving it, if circumstances don’t hinder.
  12. Resolved, if I take delight in it as a gratification of pride, or vanity, or on any such account, immediately to throw it by.
  13. Resolved, to be endeavoring to find out fit objects of charity and liberality.
  14. Resolved, never to do anything out of revenge.
  15. Resolved, never to suffer the least motions of anger to irrational beings.
  16. Resolved, never to speak evil of anyone, so that it shall tend to his dishonor, more or less, upon no account except for some real good.
  17. Resolved, that I will live so as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.
  18. Resolved, to live so at all times, as I think is best in my devout frames, and when I have clearest notions of things of the gospel, and another world.
  19. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if I expected it would not be above an hour, before I should hear the last trump.
  20. Resolved, to maintain the strictest temperance in eating and drinking.
  21. Resolved, never to do anything, which if I should see in another, I should count a just occasion to despise him for, or to think any way the more meanly of him.
  22. Resolved, to endeavor to obtain for myself as much happiness, in the other world, as I possibly can, with all the power; might, vigor, and vehemence, yea violence, I am capable of, or can bring myself to exert, in any way that can be thought of.
  23. Resolved, frequently to take some deliberate action, which seems most unlikely to be done, for the glory of God, and trace it back to the original intention, designs and ends of it; and if I find it not to be for God’s glory, to repute it as a breach of the 4th Resolution.
  24. Resolved, whenever I do any conspicuously evil action, to trace it back, till I come to the original cause; and then both carefully endeavor to do so no more, and to fight and pray with all my might against the original of it.
  25. Resolved, to examine carefully, and constantly, what that one thing in me is, which causes me in the least to doubt of the love of God; and to direct all my forces against it.
  26. Resolved, to cast away such things, as I find do abate my assurance.
  27. Resolved, never willfully to omit anything, except the omission be for the glory of God; and frequently to examine my omissions.
  28. Resolved, to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.
  29. Resolved, never to count that a prayer, nor to let that pass as a prayer, nor that as a petition of a prayer, which is so made, that I cannot hope that God will answer it; nor that as a confession, which I cannot hope God will accept.
  30. Resolved, to strive to my utmost every week to be brought higher in religion, and to a higher exercise of grace, than I was the week before.
  31. Resolved, never to say anything at all against anybody, but when it isperfectly agreeable to the highest degree of Christian honor, and of love to mankind, agreeable to the lowest humility, and sense of my own faults and failings, and agreeable to the golden rule; often, when I have said anything against anyone, to bring it to, and try it strictly by the test of this Resolution.
  32. Resolved, to be strictly and firmly faithful to my trust, that that in Prov. 20:6, “A faithful man who can find?” may not be partly fulfilled in me.
  33. Resolved, always to do what I can towards making, maintaining, establishing and preserving peace, when it can be without over-balancing detriment in other respects. Dec.26, 1722.
  34. Resolved, in narration’s never to speak anything but the pure and simple verity.
  35. Resolved, whenever I so much question whether I have done my duty, as that my quiet and calm is thereby disturbed, to set it down, and also how the question was resolved. Dec. 18, 1722.
  36. Resolved, never to speak evil of any, except I have some particular good call for it. Dec. 19, 1722.
  37. Resolved, to inquire every night, as I am going to bed, wherein I have been negligent, what sin I have committed, and wherein I have denied myself: also at the end of every week, month and year. Dec.22 and 26, 1722.
  38. Resolved, never to speak anything that is ridiculous, sportive, or matter of laughter on the Lord’s day. Sabbath evening, Dec. 23, 1722.
  39. Resolved, never to do anything that I so much question the lawfulness of, as that I intend, at the same time, to consider and examine afterwards, whether it be lawful or no; except I as much question the lawfulness of the omission.
  40. Resolved, to inquire every night, before I go to bed, whether I have acted in the best way I possibly could, with respect to eating and drinking. Jan. 7, 1723.
  41. Resolved, to ask myself at the end of every day, week, month and year, wherein I could possibly in any respect have done better. Jan. 11, 1723.
  42. Resolved, frequently to renew the dedication of myself to God, which was made at my baptism; which I solemnly renewed, when I was received into the communion of the church; and which I have solemnly re-made this twelfth day of January, 1722-23.
  43. Resolved, never henceforward, till I die, to act as if I were any way my own, but entirely and altogether God’s, agreeable to what is to be found in Saturday, January 12. Jan.12, 1723.
  44. Resolved, that no other end but religion, shall have any influence at all on any of my actions; and that no action shall be, in the least circumstance, any otherwise than the religious end will carry it. Jan.12, 1723.
  45. Resolved, never to allow any pleasure or grief, joy or sorrow, nor any affection at all, nor any degree of affection, nor any circumstance relating to it, but what helps religion. Jan.12 and 13.1723.
  46. Resolved, never to allow the least measure of any fretting uneasiness at my father or mother. Resolved to suffer no effects of it, so much as in the least alteration of speech, or motion of my eve: and to be especially careful of it, with respect to any of our family.
  47. Resolved, to endeavor to my utmost to deny whatever is not most agreeable to a good, and universally sweet and benevolent, quiet, peaceable, contented, easy, compassionate, generous, humble, meek, modest, submissive, obliging, diligent and industrious, charitable, even, patient, moderate, forgiving, sincere temper; and to do at all times what such a temper would lead me to. Examine strictly every week, whether I have done so. Sabbath morning. May 5,1723.
  48. Resolved, constantly, with the utmost niceness and diligence, and the strictest scrutiny, to be looking into the state of my soul, that I may know whether I have truly an interest in Christ or no; that when I come to die, I may not have any negligence respecting this to repent of. May 26, 1723.
  49. Resolved, that this never shall be, if I can help it.
  50. Resolved, I will act so as I think I shall judge would have been best, and most prudent, when I come into the future world. July 5, 1723.
  51. Resolved, that I will act so, in every respect, as I think I shall wish I had done, if I should at last be damned. July 8, 1723.
  52. I frequently hear persons in old age say how they would live, if they were to live their lives over again: Resolved, that I will live just so as I can think I shall wish I had done, supposing I live to old age. July 8, 1723.
  53. Resolved, to improve every opportunity, when I am in the best and happiest frame of mind, to cast and venture my soul on the Lord Jesus Christ, to trust and confide in him, and consecrate myself wholly to him; that from this I may have assurance of my safety, knowing that I confide in my Redeemer. July 8, 1723.
  54. Whenever I hear anything spoken in conversation of any person, if I think it would be praiseworthy in me, Resolved to endeavor to imitate it. July 8, 1723.
  55. Resolved, to endeavor to my utmost to act as I can think I should do, if I had already seen the happiness of heaven, and hell torments. July 8, 1723.
  56. Resolved, never to give over, nor in the least to slacken my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be.
  57. Resolved, when I fear misfortunes and adversities, to examine whether ~ have done my duty, and resolve to do it; and let it be just as providence orders it, I will as far as I can, be concerned about nothing but my duty and my sin. June 9, and July 13 1723.
  58. Resolved, not only to refrain from an air of dislike, fretfulness, and anger in conversation, but to exhibit an air of love, cheerfulness and benignity. May27, and July 13, 1723.
  59. Resolved, when I am most conscious of provocations to ill nature and anger, that I will strive most to feel and act good-naturedly; yea, at such times, to manifest good nature, though I think that in other respects it would be disadvantageous, and so as would be imprudent at other times. May 12, July ii, and July 13.
  60. Resolved, whenever my feelings begin to appear in the least out of order, when I am conscious of the least uneasiness within, or the least irregularity without, I will then subject myself to the strictest examination. July 4, and 13, 1723.
  61. Resolved, that I will not give way to that listlessness which I find unbends and relaxes my mind from being fully and fixedly set on religion, whatever excuse I may have for it-that what my listlessness inclines me to do, is best to be done, etc. May 21, and July 13, 1723.
  62. Resolved, never to do anything but duty; and then according to Eph. 6:6-8, do it willingly and cheerfully as unto the Lord, and not to man; “knowing that whatever good thing any man doth, the same shall he receive of the Lord.” June 25 and July 13, 1723.
  63. On the supposition, that there never was to be but one individual in the world, at any one time, who was properly a complete Christian, in all respects of a right stamp, having Christianity always shining in its true luster, and appearing excellent and lovely, from whatever part and under whatever character viewed: Resolved, to act just as I would do, if I strove with all my might to be that one, who should live in my time. Jan.14? and July ’3? 1723.
  64. Resolved, when I find those “groanings which cannot be uttered” (Rom. 8:26), of which the Apostle speaks, and those “breakings of soul for the longing it hath,” of which the Psalmist speaks, Psalm 119:20, that I will promote them to the utmost of my power, and that I will not be wear’, of earnestly endeavoring to vent my desires, nor of the repetitions of such earnestness. July 23, and August 10, 1723.
  65. Resolved, very much to exercise myself in this all my life long, viz. with the greatest openness I am capable of, to declare my ways to God, and lay open my soul to him: all my sins, temptations, difficulties, sorrows, fears, hopes, desires, and every thing, and every circumstance; according to Dr. Manton’s 27th Sermon on Psalm 119. July 26, and Aug.10 1723.
  66. Resolved, that I will endeavor always to keep a benign aspect, and air of acting and speaking in all places, and in all companies, except it should so happen that duty requires otherwise.
  67. Resolved, after afflictions, to inquire, what I am the better for them, what good I have got by them, and what I might have got by them.
  68. Resolved, to confess frankly to myself all that which I find in myself, either infirmity or sin; and, if it be what concerns religion, also to confess the whole case to God, and implore needed help. July 23, and August 10, 1723.
  69. Resolved, always to do that, which I shall wish I had done when I see others do it. Aug. 11, 1723.
  70. Let there be something of benevolence, in all that I speak.

Written Aug. 17, 1723

When Things Happen Suddenly

According to the dictionary here are some definitions for suddenly:  happening, coming, made, or done quickly, without warning, unexpectedly, occurring without transition from the previous form or state, done abruptly, quickly made or provided.

So often we get caught up in the day-to-day processes of life that we can lose hope and feel like things will never change.  Sometimes we hear of famous people who seem to be an overnight sensation and wonder “why did it come so easily for them”?  However, you discover from the story of their life that they had been diligently working away for years in small ventures, gaining experience and perfecting their skills, just waiting to land the right opportunity.

Looking through the Bible there are some wonderful examples of those who experience their sudden moment.  Shepherds tending their flocks, a group of people united in faith and purpose, prisoners praying and singing, and a misguided man on a journey of cruel intention – all of them experienced their appointed moment of “suddenly”.  Listed below are their stories.

 

Luke 2:13 – And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God…

God shows up to announce a fulfillment of His promise and purpose.  These were ordinary shepherds doing ordinary work.  They weren’t too busy or distracted to hear and respond to the spectacular announcement made by the angels.  Sometimes the promise has been a long time coming, but as we remain available to respond God will make sure we don’t miss its sudden arrival.

Matthew 17: 5 – While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!”

Don’t be surprised when God suddenly decides to publicly praise, reward or honor you as a result of your faithfulness.  When your praise is God ordained, you don’t have to be fearful of pride gaining a foothold.  He knows just the right way to bless and acknowledge you in such a way that you won’t become prideful.  You can rejoice in knowing that your Heavenly Father is pleased with you.

Acts 2:2 – And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.

As we wait patiently and faithfully continue doing what we know we’re supposed to do, God will show up in a big way to reveal something more of His purpose for us.  Something new and unexpected is suddenly made available to us by His gracious provision.  The key is to be patient and faithful right where you are at now.

Acts 9:3 – As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven.

Then there are those times when God encounters people when they aren’t even looking for Him.  Perhaps you have been interceding on behalf of someone else for a long time, but don’t be surprised when they share with you about their sudden and unexpected, God-orchestrated encounter.  He knows exactly how, when and where to meet people in their journey of life.

Acts 16:26 – Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.

Sometimes we feel resistance that is the same as heavy chains upon us.  But there are no chains so great that God cannot loose us from them as we keep our focus on Him.  The resistance you feel can be used as a point of growth and strengthening, but it is not meant to endure forever.  When the time is right you will be enabled to freely move on to the next thing appointed for you and ultimately celebrate success.

Sometimes what feels like a sudden change is something that has been gradually building and it just feels sudden because it has been a long time coming.  Some sudden moments have been built by the bridge of faithfulness and endurance, other times those moments have been built through life experience and preparation, and others are simply God’s grace and purpose extended to us.  Be encouraged and remember that God has not forgotten you and He knows the perfect timing for your moment of “suddenly”.

I have personally experienced an entire season of sudden moments where multiple things seemed to converge like change and crisis, leaving me both confused and in awe.  It could have been entirely overwhelming at the time, but looking back I see where God’s hand guided me and the wisdom of His timing makes so much sense in hindsight.

Have you ever experience a moment of suddenly with God?  Are you anticipating God to move suddenly in your life this year?  What can you do to be prepared for you suddenly moment?  Your comments are always welcome and are a wonderful source of encouragement for others.

 

Lightning photo by Larry Johnson

Romans Road to Salvation

We are ALL Sinners…

Romans 3 v 23

 

“For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God”

As much as we hate to admit it, there are no exceptions. I am a sinner, and so are you. Even though we do our best, we fall short.

We aim to reach a certain standard, if we set the standard ourselves we may even succeed in achieving it, but Paul tells us what the standard is. It is God’s glory. God is perfectly Holy, perfectly Good, perfectly Just, perfectly … Perfect. And we are not. We can never be “good enough” on our own to satisfy God. We fall short, often a long way short. We don’t make the grade.

So what?

The Penalty for our sins…

Romans 5 v 12

 

“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned”

Sin has consequences – death. But worse than death – death apart from God, heaven and all the glorious things there.  When the first man who ever lived decided to disobey God’s instructions and live his life his own way, the result was death. From there on death is everybody’s end in this life. Why? Because all have sinned.

Romans 6 v 23

 

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”

Death means our bodies will die. But it means much more than that. It also means separation from God forever and spending eternity in Hell. That is the wage of sin. By being sinners it is what we have earned, what we deserve, what we have chosen.

But – did you see the Good News in this verse? God wants to give us a gift – the gift of eternal life. We do not need to be separated from God forever in Hell, we can spend eternity with Him.

Notice these things…

  • It is a Gift – I cannot earn it; I don’t deserve it; I cannot work for it; I cannot do anything to make it mine except accept it – and neither can you. It’s a Gift.
  • It is God’s gift – God gives it; I can have it because He gives it; the initiative is His. It’s a gift that’s available to you too – as we shall see in a moment.
  • The gift comes through Jesus – it is in Christ Jesus our Lord. We have already seen that we an do nothing to get it ourselves. We must accept it the way it comes. And it comes through Jesus – no other way.

How much does God love us…

Romans 5 v 8

 

“God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us”

Jesus died for us. God loved us so much that He sent His only son to take our place. The wages of sin is death. Someone has to die for my sin, someone has to die for your sin. We can either do it ourselves and be separated from God forever in Hell or we can accept that Jesus died for us. God sent Jesus to die on a cross for sins that He (Jesus) had never committed, but for your sins and for mine. This is the proof that God loves us. (see John 3 v 16-17)

How do I get this gift …

Romans 10 v 9-10

 

“That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justifed, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved”.

He says ‘Confess and Believe’, or, ‘Believe and Confess’. The order is not important, the two things go together.

  • We need to believe what God has done. God sent His Son to die for our sins. Believe it!
  • God also raised him from death again to prove that He accepts the sacrifice Jesus made. Believe it!
  • Believing means more than just thinking it in our heads. It means Accept it, Trust it, Rely on it, Count on it – Believe it!

But Paul also says Confess it! Believing in our hearts should lead to action. To saying ‘Jesus is Lord’, speaking it out to ourselves and to others, living on the outside – by what we say and do – what we believe on the inside.Confess it!

When we believe we are justified – put right with God, acquitted of our sin – when we confess we are saved – from the consequences of our sin.

God’s promise…

Romans 10 v 13

 

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”

Notice who this includes – everyone!

But, what does ‘call on the name of the Lord’ mean? In Bible times (perhaps more so than today, at least in some parts of the world) names were given to show a person’s character, what they were really like. The name Jesus means ‘Saviour – one who saves’. To call on His name then is to ask him (call to him) to save us (his name). That’s God’s promise to you and me – if you will accept (believe) Jesus as your saviour (his name), He will accept and save you.

How can you call?

There is no special words you have to pray to be saved. God knows your heart. He knows if you truly believe that Jesus died for you and if you really accept His way of being saved.

  • Pray to God, just talk naturally to him.
  • Admit that you are a sinner and are lost unless he saves you.
  • Repent of your sins, that means tell God that you are sorry for them and that you will turn away from your sins.
  • Ask His forgiveness for them – be specific about which sins need forgiveness
  • Ask him to save you.
  • Then thank God for hearing your prayer (for he says ‘everyone who calls WILL be saved’). Thank Him for giving His only Son, Jesus, for your benefit.
  • Now ask Jesus to help you live as He would have you live. Thank him that He will.

No condemnation!…

Romans 8 v 1-2

 

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”

We saw earlier that sin has consequences – being saved also has consequences. The first is that we are no longer condemned. Because of sin we were condemned to death – separation form God forever in Hell. But when we believe, accept, trust what Jesus did for us on the cross this verse tells us that there is no condemnation because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. Now that is Good News!

God’s promise is that “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”. If you have just prayed a prayer along the lines suggested above then you have ‘called on the Lord’ and now you are saved! Welcome to the family of God!

Elsewhere in the Bible this is called being ‘born again’ (see John 3 v 1-21). What has happened to you is not just a single event but the beginning of a whole new life. Now you need to go on living the life of a member of God’s family.

If you have just been ‘born again’ you need to grow up, to learn, to understand who you are, to get to know God more than you do so far, to discover the future He has prepared for you. Here are a few suggestions to get you going…

  • Read the Bible every day and listen to what God is telling you through His Word.
  • Continue to pray – talk with God – ask for his help, tell him you needs, build a relationship.
  • Find a Bible teaching Church, go there and enjoy the company of others in His family.
  • Get involved in your new family, the church. The leaders will guide and direct you in your new life.
  • Tell others of your experience (confess with your mouth, remember?), share your joy.

If you have read this page and have come to accept Jesus as your Saviour, please contact us and let us know. We will pray for you and ask God to guide you in your new life so that you continue to live for Him!

 

For more information, check out our links free e-books and more on our Christian Resources page.

Praying Hands

Back in the fifteenth century, in a tiny village near Nuremberg, lived a family with eighteen children. Eighteen! In order merely to keep food on the table for this mob, the father and head of the household, a goldsmith by profession, worked almost eighteen hours a day at his trade and any other paying chore he could find in the neighborhood.

Despite their seemingly hopeless condition, two of Albrecht Durer the Elder’s children had a dream. They both wanted to pursue their talent for art, but they knew full well that their father would never be financially able to send either of them to Nuremberg to study at the Academy.

After many long discussions at night in their crowded bed, the two boys finally worked out a pact. They would toss a coin. The loser would go down into the nearby mines and, with his earnings, support his brother while he attended the academy. Then, when that brother who won the toss completed his studies, in four years, he would support the other brother at the academy, either with sales of his artwork or, if necessary, also by laboring in the mines.

They tossed a coin on a Sunday morning after church. Albrecht Durer won the toss and went off to Nuremberg.

Albert went down into the dangerous mines and, for the next four years, financed his brother, whose work at the academy was almost an immediate sensation. Albrecht’s etchings, his woodcuts, and his oils were far better than those of most of his professors, and by the time he graduated, he was beginning to earn considerable fees for his commissioned works.

When the young artist returned to his village, the Durer family held a festive dinner on their lawn to celebrate Albrecht’s triumphant homecoming. After a long and memorable meal, punctuated with music and laughter, Albrecht rose from his honored position at the head of the table to drink a toast to his beloved brother for the years of sacrifice that had enabled Albrecht to fulfill his ambition. His closing words were, “And now, Albert, blessed brother of mine, now it is your turn. Now you can go to Nuremberg to pursue your dream, and I will take care of you.”

All heads turned in eager expectation to the far end of the table where Albert sat, tears streaming down his pale face, shaking his lowered head from side to side while he sobbed and repeated, over and over, “No …no …no …no.”

Finally, Albert rose and wiped the tears from his cheeks. He glanced down the long table at the faces he loved, and then, holding his hands close to his right cheek, he said softly, “No, brother. I cannot go to Nuremberg. It is too late for me. Look … look what four years in the mines have done to my hands! The bones in every finger have been smashed at least once, and lately I have been suffering from arthritis so badly in my right hand that I cannot even hold a glass to return your toast, much less make delicate lines on parchment or canvas with a pen or a brush. No, brother … for me it is too late.”

More than 450 years have passed. By now, Albrecht Durer’s hundreds of masterful portraits, pen and silver-point sketches, watercolors, charcoals, woodcuts, and copper engravings hang in every great museum in the world, but the odds are great that you, like most people, are familiar with only one of Albrecht Durer’s works. More than merely being familiar with it, you very well may have a reproduction hanging in your home or office.

One day, to pay homage to Albert for all that he had sacrificed, Albrecht Durer painstakingly drew his brother’s abused hands with palms together and thin fingers stretched skyward. He called his powerful drawing simply “Hands,” but the entire world almost immediately opened their hearts to his great masterpiece and renamed his tribute of love “The Praying Hands.”

The next time you see a copy of that touching creation, take a second look. Let it be your reminder, if you still need one, that no one – no one – – ever makes it alone!

~Source Unknown~