Dealing with change

November 24, 2018

Here it is almost the end of November and my last blog was September. Well we have been moving. From leaving my obligations were we were at. to getting moved to our new home has taken my attention away from my usual activities.

Change can always be upsetting to a degree. But if we are still working in the vineyard and following God’s call on our life, the upset will be minor and temporary. It is exciting to meet new people and explore a new town . Especially for me, going to a new church and getting acquainted with new Christians is exciting. I am finding a Sunday School class that will be a place where I can continue to learn from members of the class as well as from the material being presented.

Maybe even if you are not moving to a new home or a new town, maybe now is a time to take a fresh look at where you are in relation to your Christian walk. If you are not going to a church regularly, may I encourage you to take that step. Meting weekly with Christian friends, just gets the week going in the right direction, I have said many times, that Church is the gas station of our souls, to get filled up for the week ahead. If you have Christ on your side, and a church to support you, this life and this world that sometimes is not very nice, can get you through each day,each week and each year.

If you are discouraged,  if you struggle with the day to day of living, turn to the Lord to walk with you. How do you do that? For one, read the Bible. Any problem you have is addressed in Scripture. Two, develop Christian friends with whom you can share your struggles. You can do this with one on one visits or in a bible class. Three, develop a prayer life. God wants us to communicate With Him. HE wants to hear our struggles,and petitions as well as giving him praise.

May you see this world in a new light, the light of Christ. He says he will bring us peace if we look to Him for guidance. May it be so with you. Amen

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Reflectiions

September 24, 2018

Every once in a while it is time to reflect on God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, and what that means to us. We all have different reflections but I have a few.

Prayer is a privilege-not a duty. It is an opportunity, a freedom, and a sacred connection to God. You cannot have a relationship with God if you are not talking to Him.

Don’t set arbitrary limits. Don’t box God into your present understanding.When we pray, we should not limit our minds to what God will answer. Faith is the understanding that God will give us answers that will guide us through this life.

The most comforting scripture in the bible is Romans 8:28-30. To know that all things that happen to us on this earth , good will come from it. Sometimes the good is hard to see but eventually the truth will come to be.

Another motivating scripture is Philippians 4:13. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Nothing is beyond my grasp if follow Christ.

IF God gives us a burden it is either for our own strength or for an activity to help someone. Think back to some of your struggles, are you now stronger to face trials than before.?

The Lords Prayer is a ;pattern for:
1-Acknowledging who God is.
2-Asking for Kingdom on earth.
3.-Feed us for a day.
4-Forgive us (as we forgive)
5- Keep us from sin.
6-Continually acknowledge the sovereignty of God

God calls us to focus on others. Not to be concerned with the worldly cares that we have-and if we do this God will take care of us.

God loved us even when we were unlovable-he did not wait until we were acceptable. He loved us at creation and there is nothing we can do to change his love for us.

Learn to call on Christ every step of your journey, He will be your guide and mentor. This life can be a challenge to try to do the right thing. Aren’t we glad we have the Holy Spirit in us to keep us out of trouble.

We sometimes label people and have an idea how they will react based on the “label” we put on them.We sometimes forget that we are all children of God, and his Spirit guides us all sometimes  we are surprised that people do things that show God’s love.

If you don’t love your fellow human beings, then you don’t really love God., or you would have the instincts to reach out to all people in love.

Listen to the Spirit who prompts you to talk to others about the Good News. You don’t know when they are ready to have Christ clarified in their minds.

These are just a few of the gems that come from God and our relationship with the Creator. take time each day to acknowledge the blessings He gives us and realize that everything we have comes from God…….Amen

Noah 2017

July 31, 2018

Sign of the times..
In the year 2017, The Lord came to Noah who was now living the the United States and said “once again the earth has become wicked and over populated and I see the end of all flesh before me.
Build another Ark and save 2 of every living thing along with a few good humans”
He gave Noah the blueprints saying “You have 6 months to build the Ark before I begin to send the rain for 40 days and nights”
Six months later, the Lord looked down and saw Noah weeping in his yard-but no Ark. “Noah!” he roared . “I’m about to start the rain, where is the Ark?”
“Forgive me Lord” begged Noah, “but things have changed. I needed a building permit. I have been arguing with the inspector about a sprinkler system. My neighbors claimed that I violated the neighborhood zoning laws by building the Ark in my yard and exceeding the height limitations. We had to go to the Development Appeal Board for a decision.”
“Then the Department of Transportation demanded a bond be posted for the future costs of moving he power lines and other overhead obstructions, to clear the passage for the Arks’ passage to the sea. I told them that the sea would be coming to us, but they would hear nothing of it”
“Getting the wood was another problem. There is a ban on cutting local trees in order to save the spotted owl. I tried to convince the environmentalists that I needed the wood to save the owls–but no go!”
“When I started gathering the animals, an animal rights group sued me. The insisted that I was confining wild animals against their will. they argued that the accommodation was too restrictive, and it was cruel and inhumane to put so many animals in a confined space. ”
Then the EPA ruled that I couldn’t build the Ark until they had conducted an envrionmental impact study on your proposed flood.”
I’m still trying to resolve a complaint with the Human Rights Commission on how many minorities I’m supposed to hire for my building crew. Immigration and Naturalization are checking the green-card status of most of the people who want to work. The trade unions say I can’t use my sons. They insist I have to hire only Union workers with Ark building experience.”
“To make matters worse , the IRS seized all my assets, claiming I’m trying to leave the country illegally with endangered  species”

“So,forgive me, Lord, but it would take at least 10 years to finish the Ark” Suddenly the skies cleared, the sun began to shine. and a rainbow stretched across the sky. Noah looked up in wonder and asked “you mean you are not going to destroy the world?”

“No” said the Lord. ” The government beat me to it”

Applicant

June 29, 2018

I came across this the other day and I felt compelled to share it with everyone.

After being interviewed by the school administration, the eager teaching prospect said:
“let me see if I’ve got this right, you want me to go into that room with all those kids, and fill their every waking moment with a love for learning, and I’m supposed to instill a sense of pride in their ethnicity , modify their disruptive behavior, observe them for signs of abuse and even censor their t-shirt messages and dress habits.
You want me to wage a war on drugs and sexually transmitted diseases, check their backpacks for weapons of mass destruction, and raise their self-esteem. You want me to teach them patriotism, good citizenship, fair play, how to register to vote, how to balance a checkbook, and how to apply for a job.
I am to check their heads for lice, maintain a safe environment, recognize signs of anti-social behavior, make sure all student s pass the state exams, even those who don’t come to school regularly or complete any of their assignments.
Plus , I am to make sure that all of the students with handicaps get an equal education regardless of the extent of their mental or physical handicap, I am to communicate regularly with the parents by letter, telephone, newsletter and report cards.
All of this I am to do with just a piece of chalk, a computer, a few books, a bulletin board, a big smile AND on a starting salary that qualifies my family for food stamps! you want me to do all of this and
and you tell me…….

I CAN’T PRAY?”

God Bless our teachers! Amen

Verbal Abuse

June 9, 2018

“Can’t you do anything right?”; “Well I should have guessed that you would mess this up”;; I wondered just how dumb you were”

These statements provide examples of verbal abuse. Verbal abuse can take the form of threats, and insults or comments that seem like jokes, but hurt. Verbal abuse in any relationship can leave emotional scars. Verbal abuse may appear more subtle than other kinds of abuse but it can do just as much damage.

Verbal abuse can happen in any relationship. Parents can abuse children. one spouse in a marriage can abuse the other spouse. Adult children can abuse elderly parents. Although men are more likely to abuse their wives physically , women can and do abuse their husbands. Abuse of any kind arises out of a desire for power and control. Because of the control, the victim may need help in breaking the cycle.

What you say and what you don’t say are both important. Proper speech is not only saying the right words at the right time, but also controlling the desire to say what you shouldn’t
James admonishes us with these words” People can tame and already have tamed every kind of animal. bird,reptile and fish. No one can tame the tongue , though. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we both bless the Lord and Father and curse human beings made in God’s likeness.
Blessing and curses come from the same mouth; my brothers and sisters it just shouldn’t be this way”

James used a series of creative metaphors to make his point about the damage the tongue can do. Controlling the tongue compares to bridling a horse; steering a ship; putting out a forest fire and domesticating wild animals.

Churches can suffer serious harm from a poor choice of words. Gossip can destroy a persons reputation. One temper tantrum can wreck a Sunday School class, a committee or a whole church. James reminds us of the wisdom of Proverbs 17:28: “fools who keep quiet are deemed wise; those who shut their lips are smart” We are told by James that the tongue expresses what comes from within us. It actually reveals the undisciplined emotions of our hearts

Some questions for reflection:
When have you seen bad speech hurt a family, a class, a church?
What can you do heal such situations?
What do you consider the root cause of temper tantrums, angry speech and gossip?
How can we stand up to hate speech and words to intimidate others?
Take time to read James 3: 1-12 and reflect on what he is saying. We all need a lesson in elevating our faith by allowing God to discipline our speech……..Amen

Accountable Discipleship

April 23, 2018

Well, I have missed some time on my regular blog. Between bronchitis, possible pneumonia, they discovered that I had an enlarged heart. That has led to several events and changes to this point.

Back to my usual observations.
There was a survey of campers in a wilderness area of the forest. The comments and complaints tended to the lack of amenities. This indicated that the people who made them really didn’t know what it means to stay in “a wilderness area” They were looking for something that certainly didn’t fit the description of where they were staying.
In a similar way, many people do not know what it means to be a genuine Christian. There are many to be sure who follow Jesus or claim to be a Christian, but they do so on their terms not His. They do not truly comprehend the the biblical definition of discipleship.

So many people who say they are followers of Jesus are not, even though in many ways they look like true disciples. They go to church, they have a profession of faith, they read their bibles, pray and even give at offering time. But they are not living and thinking like the real deal.

George Barna wrote in “The State Of The Church” the results of his survey of self proclaimed Christians ; This is some of what he found.:
48% could not name the four Gospels
52% cannot identify more than 2 or three of Jesus’ disciples.
60% of American Christians can’t name even 5 of the 10 commandments

When asking graduating high school “born again Christians” Barna, found that over 50% of them thought Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife.!
61% think that the Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham
71% of American Christians think “God helps those who help themselves is a bible verse..Folks , this is not a laughing matter. What is wrong with our churches, our leaders, our bible studies that perpetuate the myth that being a Christian is a name you carry if you are on a church roll somewhere.

Jesus confronts the problem in Luke 14: 25-27. Large crowed were traveling with Jesus and turning to them he said “if anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children , his brothers and sisters and yes even his own life-he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple”

Lets first look at the word “Disciple” A disciple is a true follower of Jesus Christ, and committing to him as He said in the scripture passage.  In other words, what we would call a Christian. If you are not a disciple as Jesus defines it then you are not a Christian.

I know it sounds like measuring up to that definition is almost impossible. But this is what Christ is telling us…If we come to Him, committed to Him and His direction for our life, then we will be the Christian that we should be. He will guide us into our reading of scripture,, meditation, prayer, , reaching out to our fellow man in Christian love, and then we will shine our light into this sometimes dark world. That is the meaning of being a true disciple…….amen

encouraging others

February 12, 2018

We all have times where we are not very motivated or creative For most of us these pass over time. A great way to overcome these times is to focus on other people. Doing for others has proven to be a great way to get the positive energy going again.

There are a lot of ways to reach out to others but one way that can really benefit a person and give you the satisfaction of being someone who thinks about others rather than self… I call it being an ENCOURAGER.
An encourager can can help others by doing the following:
1- Call people. Show your interest by calling and talking to people, asking them about their
life and if there is any way you can help them.
2-Text, Email or facebook people- again showing that you care about them and their life.
3-Write a letter- (some of us still do that!) If you want to walk a person through a tough time, writing an letter, having a hard copy, so that they can refer to it can be helpful.
4-Complement others-notice looks, behavior, ideas that you appreciate, and tell them, complement them.
5-Pray for them- God hears our intercessory prayers. He cares about all of his creation. Let them know you are praying for then.
6-Give them your time- There is really no better gift than being there for them. Best way is face to face but any way you can connect with them and hear them is important.
7-Point them to scripture-I am not waving the Bible to people as a final solution to their problems. But you can show them scriptures that will help them understand Gods love and help for them.
8-Fill a need-Sometimes the best thing you can do is take care of something that the person really needs. Find out what burden you can take off of them.
9-Be forgiving- Jesus tells us time and time again to forgive others. Holding a grudge blocks any truly honest help you can give them.
10-Finally, be a good example- God says to shine our light in this world. How we act, how we love, how we handle life’s challenges, is an example for others to follow.

God bless you in your reaching out and being an encourager, Amen

The 12th day of Christmas

January 2, 2018

We have celebrated the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, we know that His birth brought God into human existence. When that took place Jesus was celebrated by the Jews as the long awaited Messiah for which they had waited for generations.
We now follow the 12 days of Christmas which started with Jesus birth and ends on the 6th day of January .Also this is the day of the Feast of the Epiphany. The word Epiphany means to reveal. It is when the Wise Men came to honor the Christ Child who as the Son of God was revealed to have come to save both the Jews and the Gentiles.
This is also the celebration of the Baptism of Jesus. This is when the Holy Spirit descended on Him like a dove and God said, “this is my Son who I  love and whom I am well pleased”

Contrary to what some Christmas stories relate and some visuals of Mary, Joseph and the baby show, the Wise Men, the Magi saw a star in the west announcing the birth of the Messiah to the Gentiles . They started out following the star and arrived at the house where the parents had taken him. Researchers estimate that it took them 1 1/2 to 2 years to make the journey.

Until the arrival of the Magi, all the characters of the Christmas story are Jewish. Jesus himself is a Jew and his arrival which was foretold by Jewish prophets , was the fulfillment of the promises God had made to the chosen people , the Jews. But the Magi are not Jews and their coming to bring Him gifts and pay homage to Him was the first indication that Jesus’s message was universal. Jesus had come to preach the message to the whole world.

One of the most appealing Christmas stories is that of Amahal and the night of the visitors.The three Wise Men are on their way to Bethlehem and came to the home of a poor woman who had a little boy named Amahal. He was crippled and could not walk without a crutch. One evening their normal existence was interrupted by a loud knock on the door. The woman told Amahal to go see who was there. He came back and said “Momma, there is a king at the door.” She was upset at his response and told him to again go to the door. He came back a second time and said, “Momma, there are two kings at the door.” She said go back and find out who is there. He came back a third time and said ” Momma, there are three kings at the door. She finally went with him and saw that he was right. She invited them in but said we are poor and I have nothing to give you. Amahal sensing that his mother was embarrassed , said , I will give them my crutch.
The one thing that was indispensable to him, he was going to give it away.So he lifted it up and gave it to the Wise Men.
He gave what he had, gave it personally and gave it completely. Then a miracle happened. His mother noticed it first, he could walk! The giving away of his most valued treasure, was the very thing that freed him from having to use it.

This story gives us a glimpse of Christ’s desire for us.-to give what we have for God’s glory. What gifts do you bring to the King? Not only during this season but every day of your life? The Magi brought gifts of incredible value. God has placed gifts of incredible value inside each one of us. Our calling from God is to share whatever gifts we have to bring light to this sometimes dark world through our outreach and sharing of the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Epiphany truly is a message of how God has blessed us and how we can in turn use those gifts to bless others. Amen

Dealing with todays world

December 23, 2017

I know this is the Christmas season and we are close to Christmas day and we should focus and shout for joy that our Savior came to earth to save us from our sins. But I want to help us understand what Christ taught us in getting along in this world.
I am using Dr. David Jeremiah to help us understand. I think it is important tor us to be renewed in being firm in our Christian commitment.
The first is to be Faithful-Honoring God and His world every day can be the best way to influence those of this world.. Philippians 2:15
Second is to be Gracious. Showing restraint and respect for authority even when it is in conflict with our values. -James 1:19
Third be Vigilant.Pray for Gods intervention in matters that seem beyond our control.
James 1:5
Fourth Be Steadfast Trust in God and have the faith that He is in control and will deliver the ultimate victory.Proverbs 3

Fifth be Strong Ask God to give us the strength and resolve to deliver Gods message in truth with grace, love and compassion. I Corinthians 16:13-14.
Sixth Be Consistent Changing our culture will not be a short term result but will take time.
Daniel was consistent and we should be too. Daniel 1:21

We should in our personal walk with Christ and in our bible and study groups review these
guides to making a difference in this sometimes dark world. We are called to make disciples of all the world baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. By following these guides our light will shine in the world and people will be attracted to us by our Christian behavior.

Yes we celebrate God in the flesh and we should celebrate Gods word that moves us in faith through today’s world. Merry Christmas!

How is your prayer life?

November 13, 2017

We are in the midst of a study put together by Dr. David Jeremiah It is a detailed look at the Lords Prayer. This has given me new insights in praying.

Charles Spurgeon the famous British preacher had an encounter with a young man that concerned the power of prayer. The man was on the street cussing a blue streak. Spurgeon went up to him and said “can you pray as well as you cuss?” The man laughed, but the preacher pulled out a valuable coin and told him he could have it if he never prayed. He took the coin but eventually he and his wife were bothered that prayer was so valuable that maybe there was something to it. Eventually they found Spurgeon and gave him back the coin and wanted to know more about this prayer thing. Eventually the two can to know Jesus and Spurgeon had two more converts!

The story raises some questions for us. Has prayer become such a taken for granted part of our Christian life that we forget the truly great worth that it is? Would you sell your privilege to pray, for a valuable coin? The one sin that hurts almost as much as all the other is the sin of not praying and communicating with God, the one who created you; the one who loves you; the one who wants you to have all that this life can give you. God has give us the Holy Spirit to giide and direct us on our life journey, But how can we get that guidance if we don’t speak to the Holy Spirit? We do that through prayer.

I want us to understand why prayer is important. Here are four reasons…1- we pray because Jesus prayed. Jesus was constantly in prayer-communicating with his father God.If he needed to pray don’t you think we should too? 2-The second reason we pray is that prayer makes a difference! When we pray , things start to happen. The bible is full of storues of men and women who prayed to God and their prayers were ansered. 3-The third reason we pray is that prayer is to our spiritual soul as breath is to our physical bodies. 4-The fourth reason is that God cannot answer prayers that haven’t been offered. In Bruse Wilkersons book The Prayer of Jabez he tells of a man who went to Heaven where he was escorted around to all the wonderful places to see. As they were touring the man asked about a big building that looked like a warehouse.  St. Peter said you really don’t want to know what is in there. Long story short, he finally convinced  Peter  to take him into the building. What he sees is rack after rack of white boxes tied with red ribbon. There seemed to be a name on each box and  the man asked Peter if there was a box with his name on it. Peter said yes and the man ran down the aisles seeing that the boxes were in alphabetical order. He quickly found a box with his name on it.He opens it up and gives a deep sigh. For in the box were all the blessings that God had wanted to give him but he never asked.

Examine your prayer life… being in communication with God feeds your spirit, guides your life and answers those requests that you do make. As you become more comfortable with praising God,  living in His Kingdom, you will be able to ask for the things you want. What is it they say about answered prayer…. it is either yes, no, or not now. I close with this quote:

“prayer is not a spare wheel  that you pull our  when you are in trouble,but is a steering wheel that directs the right path througout the journey”  Amen.