Friday, January 23, 2015

I WANT IT ALL

I WANT IT ALL!!! Yes, I know what the Bible says about greed -- not good. But I want it all. Not some. Not half. ALL: the whole, entire, total amount, quantity, or extent of.

So listen up. Here is what I want:

ASSURANCE: the state of being sure or certain about something

BLESSED: having a sacred nature: connected with God

FORGIVENESS: overlook fault

GRACE: unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification -- a virtue coming from God

LOVE: an assurance of affection

PAYMENT: something that is given to someone in exchange for something else

PATIENCE: the ability to wait for a long time without becoming annoyed or upset

PEACE: a state of tranquility or quiet

UNDERSTANDING: the power of comprehending;

Oh, my goodness. The list of things I want is so long you would quit reading if I listed them all.

I WANT IT ALL

I want to be certain that I am connected with God and that He will overlook my faults (aka sins). I want God's divine assistance and the assurance of His affection. I want to accept the blood that was given in exchange for my sins. I want to be able to wait for God's direction without being annoyed or upset. I want to feel the state of tranquility and have the power to comprehend all God has waiting for me.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

What about you? Are you asking God for only a few things? OR Do you want it all?

Friday, January 16, 2015

A SLICE OF LIFE

We subscribe to one daily, one five-days-a-week and two weekly newspapers in addition to the free weekly paper. Do we read them front to back? Not really but they keep us informed. They reveal a slice of life.

I was looking at the free paper and discovered:

The paper has a new editor,

the local hospital's transition to a new owner is going smoothly,

a local township's records are being "looked at",

Chester, a neutered Jack Russell would like a new home,

local twins turn 90,

a furniture store would like to sell you a new recliner so you are "ready for the big game",

candidates are registering for election,

16 obituaries were published,

there are a lot of houses for sale,

a young couple announced their engagement,

churches heralded their times of worship,

and,

if you call the right number and for a fee, the snow on your sidewalk, driveway or parking lot will miraculously disappear.

This paper is a slice of life, but it is a slice of only the local community. The other papers fill in the slices from other states and other countries. It takes all of them to make a complete picture of life.

= = = = = = = = = = = =

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" John 1:29

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Did you notice these say the world? They do not name an individual. They do not say a street. They do not say a town. They do not say a country or continent. They say the world!

My life - your life - is a slice of the world picture. And it takes each of us to make the picture of the world complete.

You are important. You are a part of the very world the Lamb of God came to save.

Friday, January 09, 2015

JESUS HAS LEFT THE TEMPLE

Sunday, January 4, 2015

9:10 AM Leave for church, Matthew 24 Sunday School lesson ready

9:13 AM On the way to church

9:14 AM An idea completely different than I expected to use for class pops right into my brain -- and stays there. Not one of those, in/out thoughts that float around but one that I knew meant the whole lesson was now going in an entirely different direction.

9:30 AM Begin the class with this written on the board:

Elvis has left the building.

Jesus has left the temple.

Yes, the class was staring at the board with the has-she-lost-her-mind look. What did Elvis leaving and Jesus leaving have in common? Or how were they different? Well, let me tell you, once they started kicking around ideas it was one of the funnest (a word created by children that works here) class ever.

Right off they said they were both "Kings" but Elvis was a small "k." It was pointed out that Elvis had fans that were always his fans, but, although Jesus had his disciples and a few followers, those around him changed from town to town.

When Elvis left, he had a destination: his next concert. Jesus, also had a destination: the Mount of Olives. A big difference is that Elvis entertained and Jesus taught.

Elvis and Jesus both left. They quickly came up with the idea that the building was different when they left. When Elvis left the building, the energy he generated left with him. "But what about when Jesus left the Temple?" I asked.

We then thought, "What would our church be like if the Spirit of Jesus left?" The word "empty" seemed to be the final description. Yes, a concert hall would be empty when Elvis left, but only for a short time. Another performer would come along and fill the hall with music again. If Jesus left, it would just be empty. There would be no one to come along and fill the emptiness. The church would just be a building. We did not like that feeling.

Matthew 24:1 begins with, "Jesus left the temple.." Do you want the really great news? WE DO NOT NEED TO WORRY ABOUT JESUS LEAVING US ! ! !

Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirt, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:18-20

We are His. We are His disciples. He is always with us. ALWAYS - TO THE VERY END OF THE AGE.

What an amazing discussion came out of one crazy idea that just popped into a little brain. Or maybe, just maybe, the idea didn't just pop in. Maybe it was placed there for Sunday, January 4, 2015, 9:30 AM, Unity Sunday School Class.

Friday, January 02, 2015

NO FOX NEWS!!!

If you are family, friend or a friend on Facebook, you know I am very outspoken in my religious and political beliefs. I post comments to articles put out by religious and political organizations. And yes, I watch Fox News. Never fear though, I also read newspapers and rely on other sources to make sure I am "fair and balanced." I must admit I know I am right and those that do not agree with me are wrong. (TONGUE IN CHEEK AND WITH SARCASM.)

We have Dish Network and they seem to have a problem with Fox News and renewing their contract, possibly due to greed on both sides. The result is that I have NO FOX NEWS!!! I ended 2014 and am beginning 2015 with NO FOX NEWS! How will I survive?

I have briefly listened to CNN. That is not an option. I tried HLN. Fluff. For the sake of my blood pressure, I know better than to even listen to MSNBC. What to do? What to do?

How will I survive without Fox News?

The answer: Just fine thank you. When Fox and Dish finally settle on a contract, I will again start watching. Until then, I am just fine. There is life without Fox News.

I can get through life just fine without Fox News but I cannot get through life without knowing God is real, Jesus died for my sins and the Holy Spirit is in my soul.

My God is real:

"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty." Revelation 1:8

I do believe my God is real. He is not some figment of my imagination. He created this world and all I have to do is look around and I see His love for me everywhere. Water to drink. Food to eat. People to love. And I am His child.

How great is the love the Father has lavished on me, that I should be called a child of God! And that is what I am! 1 John 3:1 (Personalized)

Jesus is the Son of my God and Jesus died for my sins:

For God so loved me that he gave his one and only Son, that because I believe in him I shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (Personalized)

I do believe Jesus came to earth to be my Shepherd. To lead me to the Father. To show the way. To give me eternal life.

The Holy Spirit lives in my soul:

Peter replied, “Mary, repent and be baptized, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And, Mary, you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38 (Personalized)

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved me, not because of righteous things I had done, but because of his mercy. He saved me through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on me generously through Jesus Christ my Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, I might become an heir having the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:4-7 (Personalized)

I do not deserve nor can I ever earn the love of God nor the gift of the Holy Spirit but God gave me this gift anyway.

How will I survive without Fox News? Just fine thank you.

How would I survive without God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit? I would not.

What about you? Can you survive without your favorite TV channel?

Can you survive without God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit?

My prayer for you during 2015 and beyond ---

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

Friday, December 19, 2014

CHOICES

Welcome to my day of choices.

Do I get up?

Do I brush my teeth?

What do I eat for breakfast?

Delete emails or save them?

Be polite to the scam caller or just hang up?

What do I eat for lunch?

Nap or no nap?

Dust or not?

And on and on and on.

Choices! Decisions!  

Yes.

No.

Maybe.

Whatever.

I just do not care.

Choices.  Decisions.  Does it ever end?

The list goes on.

What to watch on TV?

What to wear?

How to spend money?

Chocolate?

Coffee?

Life is one decision after another with each leading to either a wise choice or ----- disaster.  Okay.  All choices do not have earth shaking consequences but some do.

And the angel said unto them. Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. Luke2:10-11

Life is one decision after another with each leading to either a wise choice or ----- disaster.  Okay.  All choices do not have earth shaking consequences but some do.  This is one of those choices.

For unto you is born......

Believe?

Don't believe?

My choice:  BELIEVE. What is your choice?  

May your choice bring you peace, joy and the assurance of eternal life.

Merry Christmas

Friday, December 12, 2014

REAL PEOPLE. REAL EMOTIONS. REAL DRAMA.

As I was wondering what to discuss in our Sunday School class, I came up with: Christmas: Emotions On Steroids -- Then And Now. Hopefully it will make for an interesting discussion. My goal is to put life into the Christmas Story. To make it real.

We hear the Christmas Story over and over. We might not know it word for word, but could tell it pretty close. That can be a problem. When we hear the same thing over and over, we can quit listening. Our minds wander. We forget the joy! We forget the people, the emotions and the drama were real.

Just think about Mary. There she is, minding her own business, when Gabriel came to her and said, "Greetings." Now how would you react if you were mowing your yard and an angel appeared saying, "Greetings."? Don't worry about your reaction. Mary was a bit un-nerved too. Luke 1:29: Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be." TROUBLED? Mary was not only troubled, but greatly troubled.

Just think about Joseph. Joseph's day was not going exactly as planned. (Ever had one of those days?) He had found out his soon-to-be-wife was with child. Wow. Can you image the back and forth going on in his head? And his heart? Decisions. Decisions. Decisions. Enough to make anyone tired. Slumber gave Joseph the answer he was searching for. He had a dream. He not only had a dream, he remembered the dream and obeyed.

Yes, real people with real emotions and enough drama to be the lead story on the evening news. Maybe the networks will even break into the ball game with a news alert. Ok. In today's society, breaking into a ball game might be a stretch, but there is plenty of drama.

  • A walk of 70 to 90 miles, depending on who is doing the measuring, by a pregnant teenage
  • No room at the inn
  • A baby is born
  • Angels everywhere
  • Shepherds arriving
  • Wise Men headed their way
  • A very mad King Herod
  • An escape to Egypt

Real people. Real emotions. Real drama.

Do you remember my goal for the Sunday School class? "My goal is to put life into the Christmas Story. To make it real." That is my goal for all of us and we can accomplish this by not just reading about the birth of Jesus. Instead we need to close our eyes and picture each action. We need to open our hearts and feel each emotion. We need to allow the drama to unfold before us.

Take time - yes, we are all busy - and read MATTHEW 1:18 - 2:18 and LUKE 1:26 - 38 and LUKE 2:1-20

Once more read these verses by section or activity. Stop and consider the emotions each person would have been going through. Fear? Surprise? Anger? Frustration? What was going on around them? Was it quiet? Noisy? Dusty? What did the sky look like to the shepherds? What did it sound like when "a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.' "?

Position your arms as if holding a baby and ask, "What did it feel like to hold Jesus?"

Jesus does not want you to read His story every year just so you can say, "Well, of course we read it. Doesn't everybody?"

Jesus wants you to read His story and proclaim, "Mary was with child and gave birth to a son. She named him Jesus. He is great and is called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God gave him the throne of David and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."

AMEN!!!

Friday, November 28, 2014

IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks. We all are thankful for our families and friends.  For our faith. But what about the little things?

It is winter and static electricity gives us a shock.  Have you ever put your head under the covers and then watched the "lightening" as you ran your hand over the blanket?  Just a little thing.

Have you ever turned the radio on and your favorite song was playing?  Just a little thing.

Have you ever watched your grandkids get the giggles?  Just a little thing.

Have you ever --

  • wiggled your toes in the mud,
  • played in the rain,
  • finished a really good book,
  • held hands with a child,
  • snuggled with your sweetie,
  • had peanut butter stick to the roof of your mouth,
  • found a wild mushroom,
  • or
  • closed your eyes and listened to the quiet?  

Just little things.

Have you ever felt God listening to your prayers?  Oops.  My bad.  That goes in the "big thing" blessing.

I hope you had a Thanksgiving where you remembered all the "big thing" blessings, but don't forget the "little thing" blessings that make you laugh, renew the feeling of wonder and make life fun.