Yesterday I drank coffee from my mother’s favorite coffee cup. I remember the cup being around since I was a child. The handle is now broken, and a small crack runs down the front. Perhaps I should just put it away and keep it for sentimental value, but not actually drink from it daily. What good is a cup if you can’t drink from it? I carefully put it back in the cabinet where I knew I could reach for it again. Do you have anything that you think will last forever? Anything that you think everyone will want when you are gone, not for its monetary value, or sentimental value, but something that will actually be used? Today as I look at my “stuff” I don’t find anything that fits that description. I see a few things that might be useful for a while, but certainly not forever. It would be nice if my mother’s cup was a perpetual cup. Some day my mother’s great great great great grandchild could drink from it. Wouldn’t that be nice? I don’t think any amount of super glue could ensure the cup will even make it to the next generation. Perpetual is defined as enduring forever, everlasting, indefinite, continuous. Nope, this cup is definitely not that. The only thing I possibly have to pass on fitting that description is the opportunity for generations after me to drink from not my mother’s blue cup but from the Father’s everlasting cup. May each of us live our lives in such a way that generations after us will always have the Truth of God’s unending love in their daily lives. God is a perpetual God. He continually saves, heals, and delivers from generation to generation.
Purchased, Not Leased
God purchased you at a high price. Don't be enslaved by the world. I Corinthians 7:23 NLT Have you ever owned something that you wished you didn’t own? I think this happens a lot with cars. You know you buy one and sign on the dotted line to pay for it well, forever. After a while, the newness wears off and you feel trapped- enslaved by payments. You grow accustomed to the car’s dented face, squeaky brakes and the broken windshield wiper that you have to chase. Every payment you make for the once new car gets a little harder to make and you wonder how much will be lost if you just trade it in on a new one. Of course nowadays, many people are going with leasing. Lease to own is defined as an arrangement where an individual enters an agreement with an owner that typically gives the individual the right, but not the obligation, to purchase the item leased at a predefined price and time. So that is the way out! When you look at all the things that are wrong with the car, you just remember you are not obligated to buy it. One day (at a predefined time I suppose) you will just give it and all its problems back. As I thought of leasing to own as opposed to purchasing, I began to think of our owner, our purchaser. The Bible tells us that God purchased us at a high price. He gave His only Son that we, with all our problems, could be His forever. Aren’t you glad God didn’t just lease and have the option to give us back if He decided He wanted something newer and better? We know that is not true! Hallelujah! God’s Word tells us that we are the apple of His eye and He thinks we are His beautiful creations. We are not bound, but free! God purchased us because He loves us.
Born in Atlanta, Dr. Martin Luther King did some traveling in his lifetime. His education took him from Atlanta to Pennsylvania, to Boston in 1953. In 1954 he became pastor of a church in Montgomery, Alabama. Beginning in1957 Dr. King traveled over six million miles and spoke over twenty-five hundred times. He appeared wherever there was an injustice. He traveled to Memphis in 1968 and was assassinated at his hotel. As I heard of the attempted assassination of Representative Gabrielle Gifford’s last week at a Safeway Grocery Store in Arizona, I like many of you immediately thought of tragedies from the past. I remembered where I was the day I first heard of the World Trade Center Tragedy. I was at a local grocery store. When I heard of the assassination of Dr. King and Bobby Kennedy, where was I? I was at school. When I heard of the tragedy at Columbine, where was I? I was at home. Even though I was far away from the actual location, through media, it felt as if I was in the shadows watching those in tears holding flowers, and lighting candles. The memories will be forever in my mind. Throughout our lives, many of us will travel many miles, while some will stay close to home. We will all hear of, see, and even experience tragedy in our own lives. Dr. King once said, “Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see.” Even though we can’t see any reason for tragedy; God sees all. As we live our lives we know location is important. Where we are physically, as well as spiritually can determine our future in the blink of an eye. But we must not be anxious and fearful for God is in control. We must trust in Him as He watches over us. Remember, all things work together for good to those who love the Lord
Don't be stubborn and rebellious as Pharaoh and the Egyptians were. I Samuel 6:6
In I Samuel we read of a people burdened with a heavy load of plague and disease brought on from rodents which had invaded their land. The people were warned not to be stubborn as the plagued Egyptians had been before them. They were encouraged to let the Ark of the Covenant be returned to Israel so they could be released from the plague. The ark was returned the way they thought was easiest and quickest, but punishment came to the people for the time they had been willfully disobedient, stubborn, and hard-headed. There comes a time in our lives we must realize there are things we hold on to that must be let go of. Sometimes we know as soon as they enter our possession that they are not ours to hold. We stubbornly attempt to take a shortcut to solve issues. These shortcuts often lead to our demise. I am reminded of an old fable of a stubborn donkey who took a shortcut to lighten his load. A farmer and his donkey were coming down a mountain path carrying a heavy load. At a turn, the donkey saw the farmer’s house at the foot of a cliff. Jumping seemed to be the quickest way home. As the donkey was about to jump down, the farmer pulled him back. But the stubborn donkey would not give in and pulled harder. The farmer said, “Okay do it your way and meet your doom!” The farmer let go and the stubborn donkey tumbled down the cliff and died. May we all learn the quickest way, is not always the best way. May we never be stubborn, take good advice, and learn to let go of things weighing us down that aren’t ours to hold.
A Wise Woman
And Joab sent to Tekoah, and fetched thence a wise woman, II Samuel 14:2
How would you most like to be remembered? As we are exiting the Christmas Season, all the characters of the Christmas story are still fresh on our minds. Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, the shepherds and of course the wise men are familiar to us. Even though we don’t know the wise men’s names we know they were wise; that is how they will always be remembered. They were men who obeyed and followed the star to Jesus, our King. The Bible also speaks of a very wise woman, unnamed; simply called the wise woman of Tekoah. She did not follow a star, but she did follow instructions and go before King David. She wisely showed King David the importance of forgiving Absalom, who had been banished from the country and from David’s life. In Verse 14 she reminds David of God’s love for His children. For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither doth God respect any person: yet doth he devise means, that his banished be not expelled from him King David heeded the advice of the wise woman and was eventually reunited with his son Absalom. In Verse 33: and when he had called for Absalom, he came to the king, and bowed himself on his face to the ground before the king: and the king kissed Absalom. God loves us so much. He devised a plan that we would not be banished from His (our Father’s presence. I pray we are each remembered as those who loved God and wisely brought unity where there once was division.
Monday I mopped, swept and vacuumed. Tuesday I visited my sister who was sick. Wednesday I picked up the trash in the yard. Thursday I took a friend to the store. Friday I fed a stray dog. Saturday I put some air in the tires. Sunday I helped a girl at the store jumpstart her car. Doesn’t sound like an extraordinary week huh? Yes, it would be nice to say that on each day of the week I do something extraordinary that forever changes the world as we know it. However, in my life and in most everyone’s day to day life this is not the case. Day to day all of us, no matter who we are, if we wake up, get up, and walk around, we most likely perform some everyday mundane menial tasks. Are there really any menial tasks? What does menial mean? The definition I found was this: Lowly, humble, submissive, servile. And what is servile? A servile person is yielding and usually refers to one in a condition of servitude. God called each of us to be servants, servile people, and perform some everyday, seemingly, mundane menial tasks along the way. This week as you clean your house, do it with joy. Think of the people you are serving as you clean. When you visit a friend or relative do it with a servant’s heart. Make each day be extraordinary. Smile because you are able to wake, get up, walk around, serve and hopefully bring some smiles to others. This week as we pray, fast, and meditate on God’s wonderful Word, may we each take the time to think of, and thank God for all the tasks we are able to perform. Small tasks bring great rewards. Small seeds bring great harvests.
Get Over It
Last week a friend told me I might as well get over it. I knew the friend was right. Things happen usually every day of our lives that we wish wouldn’t have happened. Now, these things aren’t always big things. We might lose our keys, break a nail, forget to feed the goldfish who is now floating at the top of his bowl, say something we wish we wouldn’t have said to our best friend, or make a wrong turn that throws us way off course. Most things that we wish we could redo and change are things we do to ourselves. There is no one to blame but ourselves. The only thing we can do is get over it. If you can’t find your keys, get another one made. If you break a nail you will just have to wait for it to grow back. If your goldfish dies, you can buy another one if you want, but it wouldn’t be too wise as you would probably forget to feed it also. If you say the wrong thing apologize. If you take a wrong turn, turn around and start over. And I found this bit of advice from God’s Word about things that are lost. And by the way, your lost donkeys--the ones you've been hunting for the last three days--have been found, so don't worry about them. At this moment, Israel's future is in your hands.” I Samuel 9:20 The future of so much lies in our hands. We must get over it and stop looking for insignificant lost things and do what we are called to do each day.
Money and Friendship
As 2008 rolled in Monday at midnight, friends were made, money was lost. Money was made, friends were lost. At a New Year’s celebration, a young man was heartbroken because someone stole his coat, which contained his wallet, which contained his money. The young man who lost his money had a friend with him who happily found a new friend working at the concession stand. The place which hosted the celebration made a lot of money selling two-dollar pizza slices and soft drinks. Across town, home alone, heartbroken, was another friend who chose not to come to the celebration because she lost her very best friend that day.
Money and friendship have a lot of things in common. Everyone seems to want more money and friends, but both are very hard to hold on to. Samuel Butler said, “Friendship is like money, easier made than kept.” If one desires to keep money, or friends, a little work is required. There has to be discipline not to spend money foolishly. There has to be discipline not to end friendships foolishly.
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “He who loses money, loses much; He who loses a friend, loses much more; He who loses faith, loses all.” Keep your faith, hold tightly to your friends, and oh yeah, your wallet too.
Last week many people made New Year’s resolutions. A week into the New Year many are still resolved to keep those resolutions. However, many have already renounced them and gone back to whatever they resolved to leave behind. The words to an old hymn give the best resolution any of us could strive for this year. When we resolve to follow the words of this song, all other resolutions, no matter how worthy, dim in comparison.
I am resolved no longer to linger, charmed by the world's delight, Things that are higher, things that are nobler, these have allured my sight. I am resolved to follow the Savior,
Faithful and true each day; Heed what He sayeth, do what He willeth, He is the living Way. I am resolved to go to the Savior, Leaving my sin and strife; He is the true One, He is the just One, He hath the words of life.
This year pray we each resolve to cease to linger in delights of this world and set our sights on faithfully serving Jesus Christ, our Savior, who truly speaks the words of life
The most famous speech ever given by Dr. Martin Luther King is usually referred to as the “I Have a Dream” speech. If his life hadn’t been cut short, he would have indeed seen many of his dreams of a better world come to be a reality. Another great speech of Dr. King’s, which was actually a sermon delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church, February 4, 1968, was entitled “Drum Major Instinct.”
“If you want to be important—wonderful. If you want to be recognized—wonderful. If you want to be great—wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. That's a new definition of greatness. And this morning, the thing that I like about it: by giving that definition of greatness, it means that everybody can be great because everybody can serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love. And you can be that servant.”
As we remember the greatness of Dr. King, let us remember this great man recognized what truly defines greatness. He was a servant. Let us all strive to serve our fellow man and hopefully see more dreams of a better world become reality
Peace, peace wonderful peace. What is peace? Can you describe it? Can you feel it? Can you see it? How do you define it? Webster defines peace as this: a state of tranquility or quiet: freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions. When peace is found freedom is found from disquiet and oppression. So you can describe it and feel it and define it, but can you see it? God’s peace is more than just a feeling or a state of mind. When God gives us His wonderful peace, that He defines as passing our understanding, it can’t always be described, but it can be seen. When a person goes from a state of suffering from the bondage of oppression and disquiet immediately to a state of freedom of tranquility and quiet, it is very visible. God’s peace is something concrete that can be seen in others and that others can see in us. Pray for God’s peace to fall on this place and fall on each of us today. Pray we each take that peace with us from this place for others to see who are searching for it. We have the power within us to help the world define and find true peace, God’s peace.
One in a Million
How many prayers have been prayed this week? Do you think a million or more? It is amazing to think when a million prayers are prayed, our God hears each one. This week, prayers were prayed for others far away from us. This week others far away prayed prayers for us. The prayers reached God. He took millions of prayers and used them to connect us to Him and to each other. Never think that your one small prayer among millions is insignificant. God hears and answers. Prayer changes things.
Job's blessing and restoration of all he lost came when he prayed for his friends. Pray for your friends. Pray for your enemies. Pray for strangers. When you pray for others you will find Go will not only answer those prayers, but will also bring freedom, restoration, and blessing to your life as well.