David C. Hughes, Writer

“For the LORD your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your JOY will be complete." –Deuteronomy 16:15

Archive for the tag “Jesus Christ”

No Fair! (Part 1 of 2)

I beg your pardon,

I never promised you a rose garden.

Along with the sunshine,

There’s gotta be a little rain sometimes.

             —Lynn Anderson, Rose Garden


One evening while I cleaned up the kitchen after dinner, Hannah obediently swept the living room floor with the dust broom, pushing around the dog hair and dried mud that had accumulated over the past few days. Sweeping the living room was the last task on her chore board left to be done, and once she finished pushing the detritus into a pile, she’d be free to add 15 more points to the total score she’d accumulated so far that week.

Her sweet little voice, a bit tense, broke the silence of concentration. “It’s not fair, Dad,” she said. “You just work in your office all day, Mom just sits around and drinks coffee and I do all the chores.” If I’d have had milk in my mouth it would have shot out of my nose onto the newly-cleaned counter top.

I’ll show you what’s fair and what’s not, I thought. I’ll load you up with so many chores it’ll be the only thing you do all day! But I refrained from the impulsive spewing and responded to her observation like an adult. “If I didn’t work,” I explained, “we’d be living under a bridge in a cardboard box.” So there. “And besides, Mom doesn’t just sit around and drink coffee all day,” I clarified. “She also drinks wine at night.” Ha! Actually, she works just as hard as I do, maybe even harder, but I guess Hannah doesn’t think teaching homeschool, herding eighteen four-year-olds twice a week, running our business, cooking, and keeping the house in tip-top shape is work. Hence the wine.

At seven, it seems nothing in life is fair to Hannah. One morning, after breakfast, I busted a butter cookie from the Royal Dansk tin and popped it into my mouth.

“No fair!” Hannah yelled. “Dad gets to eat a cookie in the morning.” Nope, no fair.

Shortly after Hannah learned how to feed herself, she also learned how to negotiate the amount of food she had to eat to “earn” dessert. Just as quickly as Hannah figured out how to negotiate, Mary and I figured out how to bribe Hannah into eating more substantial food before allowing her to ingest the traditional after-dinner bowl of pure carbs. Over the past year or so, the post-dinner sparring match has gone something like this:

Hannah: Dad, I’m full. Did I eat enough to get dessert?

Me: Ask Mom.

Hannah: Mom, I’m full. Did I eat enough to get dessert?

Mary (irritated): Well, if you’re full, how do you have any room for dessert?

Hannah (pointing to her plate): I’m full of this food, but I still have room for dessert.

Mary: What do you think, Dad?

Me (to Hannah): Eat five more bites of chicken and half of your rice.

Mary: And all of your broccoli.

Hannah (arranging her rice into two uneven piles on her plate): How about three more bites of chicken and this much rice?

Me: Okay. And all of your broccoli.

Most of the time Hannah will comply with the negotiated caloric intake, earning dessert, which, in most cases, is a bowl of Mary’s heavenly homemade vanilla ice cream, which outdoes Blue Bell hands down. I usually eat two scoops, and I give Hannah one scoop if she’s not topping it with a cookie, or a dollop if she is. Nine times out of ten these are the words emerging from Hannah’s mouth after I set her bowl on the table: “No fair! Why does Dad get two scoops and I only get one?”

My response: “Because I weigh five times as much as you do.”

It’s a fact of life that life’s not fair, and no matter how much Hannah whines and moans about my getting more computer time than she does (because I work) or I get to eat a whole biscotti while she only gets a quarter (because I’m the dad), it ain’t gonna change. The Bible is very clear that God never promised us a rose garden. Life’s not fair. Even Jesus said so.

“‘You have heard that it was said, “Love your neighbor and hate your enemy,”’” he proclaimed during His Sermon on the Mount. “‘But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous’” (Matthew 5:43-45 NIV®, emphasis added). “No, it’s not fair,” wrote novelist Chuck Palahniuk. “but what makes earth feel like Hell is our expectation that it should feel like Heaven.” Nope, life’s not fair.


Copyright ©2014 by David C. Hughes


The Memory Tree (Part 2 of 2)

Good or bad, joy-filled or tragic, we are all the sum total of our pasts, the product of our memories and experiences. As humans we can allow these memories to bind us with the straitjacket of guilt, shame and depression rather than free us with the lightness of joy. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, the Bible is very clear that, as believers, our past behaviors, habits and experiences no longer have to define us. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest,” Jesus said. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV®).

Shedding the soiled garments of our past lives, no matter how restrictive or burdensome, is a requirement to serve effectively in the Kingdom: “‘No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God,’” Jesus warned in Luke 9:62 (NIV®). And through Isaiah, God clearly called each one of us to open our spiritual eyes to the wonders of moment-by-moment renewal.


“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

—Isaiah 43:18-19a NIV®


Through the saving grace of Jesus Christ, each one of us can “forget the past,” be freed from sin and put on the robe of salvation. Like Lazarus, we can be shed of the burial cloths and allow God to clothe us in the garments of new life.

But what about the good memories, the memories that bring us gladness, faith and renewed hope in the path we’re walking? Must we shed even those to move closer to God? No, quite the opposite is true. As long as the memories don’t become a hindrance to moving forward in our faith, good memories can clarify our vision, empower us and reinforce our faith walk. “Finally, brothers and sisters,” the Apostle Paul urged in his letter to the Philippians, “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8 NIV®). As Rosa Parks, the “first lady of civil rights,” once said, “Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds will continue in others.” Goodness triumphs everything, and good memories can be the balm that soothes the weary soul, especially during this hectic time of year.

And memories, both joy-filled and tragic, can become a tool for the salvation of souls. We can bring the good, the bad and the ugly to the altar of the Most High God and sacrifice them to the One Who has the power to redeem those memories for the greater good. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship” (Romans 12:1 NIV®). If we truly embrace God’s redemptive power and allow Him to restore us, to bring us into right standing by believing in the healing grace of His own Son’s sacrifice, we are renewed and made whole. By the sacrifice of faith we are freely given the gift of the forgiveness of sins and the glory of eternal life. That is the promise. That is the power of Jesus’ act of obedience. Through Him our lives can become a testimony—the good, the bad and the ugly can become a chapter in the greatest story ever told. “Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story –/” the Psalmist wrote in Psalm 107:2, “those he redeemed from the hand of the foe” (Psalm 107:2 NIV®).

As each ornament on our family’s Christmas tree tells its own story, so it is with each ornament adorning God’s tree of life: His children. Yes, we all are products of our past, but it’s what we choose to do with our past that creates a meaningful present and a hope-filled future for not only ourselves, but for others.  As Bob Hope once said, it’s the simplest things that give off the greatest glow of happiness. This Christmas, let your glow shine brightly in a world sorely in need of some good news.


I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!

—Ebenezer Scrooge


Copyright ©2014 by David C. Hughes

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: