June is Rose Month, Iced Tea Month, and Rivers Month. Special days this month are Best Friends Day, Flag Day, Father’s Day, Go Fishing Day, and Sky Day. If you are looking for a reason to take a vacation, there are a few. Many people take a break from their daily lives and journey away from home. Often when we leave home we can’t wait to get back. We long for the comforts of home but still try to make the most of the journey. Sometimes a pillow or a coffee cup from our house brings some comfort, but we still long to reach the destination we journeyed from in the first place - home. This week I heard, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” As we travel through this life we need to realize we are on our way to a final destination. We will reach it one day. Life was given to each of us by God our Father. Someday we will return to Him. While we are here, there are comforts of home available to us. Jesus, the Rose, makes available to us rivers of living water. Jesus is our best friend. God sent His Son to fill our cups and quench our thirsty souls. Jesus sent the Holy Ghost to comfort us and wants us to each be fishers of men. This June when you see flags waving against a bright blue summer sky, as you sip your iced tea, remember life is a journey, not a destination. Make the most of your journey.
Basic training is required for each individual entering the service. This is because the Army believes that no matter the soldier's specialty, they should all be taught the basic skills of combat so they will be ready to properly defend themselves (as well as their fellow soldiers) when and if necessary. Once this training is completed soldiers move on to individualized training concentrating on the specific field they are entering into. It would be a waste of time to repeat basic training over and over, never allowing soldiers to grow to their full potential utilizing each individual's specific skills. Once soldiers get the basics down it is time they fulfill their purpose. As Christian soldiers, there is basic knowledge of God’s Word that is essential before we go into battle. There are important basic skills we must learn and practice such as daily prayer. Once we get the basics down, we can’t expect someone to lead us through everything step by step over and over. This is a waste of their time and ours. We cannot reach our full potential until we decide to move on to utilize the specific skills, talents, and gifts God has placed inside each of us which He wants us to use for His glory in this battle. May we all move forward to further understanding of God’s basic plan. So let us stop going over the basics of Christianity again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don't need to start all over again with the importance of turning away from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. You don't need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding. Hebrews 6:1-3 (NLT)
Call to Prayer
Prayer is an incredible thing when you prayerfully consider the simplicity with which we have the ability to communicate with the God of the whole universe. With childlike faith, we simply call His name and He hears and answers us. Amazing ain’t it? How do we pray? How do we address Him? Some say Dear God, some Dear Heavenly Father, some say Dear Lord and my personal favorite…. Jesus. There is something about that name. I can imagine Him hearing that name, smiling, and pausing to listen to every word. He loves us and He loves for us to call. Today I read Luke 6:46. It says, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” I checked every version and almost all versions say the exact same thing as King James. It is a pretty simple message from the Lord. What right do we have to call Him Lord, if He isn’t the Lord of our lives? If He is our Lord we will obey Him. We must learn to trust in God, not ourselves completely at all times. God wants us to humbly ask, yet fervently believe with all that is within us that we will receive from Him. Jesus is always ready and waiting for us to call on Him. As a parent isn’t it nice when a child just calls for no reason, just to say hello and I love you. I think Jesus is like that. Why not just call on Him this week just to tell Him you love Him? Obey His commands and let Him know without a doubt He is the Lord of your life. When we call out to Him in prayer, whatever we call Him, we can have the assurance of knowing, He will never say, “Who is this?”
On a Mission
As soon as we hear of Christ, and become Christians each of us, even if we aren’t fully knowledgeable of the fact at the time, go on a mission. Anytime we have any type of good news in our lives we want to go and tell someone. If we get a better job, a better car, a new baby, or just a new pair of shoes we usually tell. If someone new comes into our lives and changes our lives, we usually share that news as well. Jesus Christ coming into our lives and changing us completely is really good news. We want to tell someone, even before we may have the knowledge that Christians are called to do just that. Last week many of us heard some news that wasn’t good news about a young Christian man who was doing exactly what Christ had called him to do. He died on a mission trip to a foreign land to go and tell of, and do the work of Christ. Seventeen-year-old Marshuan Braxton died on a mission trip but was on a mission for Christ every day he lived. His friends and family speak of his generosity, gifts, and faith that
he shared with others. The purpose of the trip to Costa Rica was to help build a new sanctuary for people to worship Christ who is The Good News that Marshuan often shared with others. The young man died, was swept into the ocean, while simply standing observing God’s beautiful creation. Today I think of near misses I and many have had of dying suddenly as Marshuan did. If any of the near misses had not been misses how would I have been remembered? Could anyone have said that I died on a mission for Christ? May each of us be on a mission for Christ every day of our lives wherever we may be. We must go and tell.
Who Loves You Best?
It has been said, “It is not flesh and blood but the heart which makes us fathers and sons.” I believe this Father’s Day we could add mothers, daughters, sisters, and brothers to that quote as well. It is truly a blessing from God that family and love for one another is not limited to “blood kin.” Throughout our lives, we make room in our hearts and add to our families: fathers, sons, mothers, daughters, brothers, and sisters. God places people in our paths and we, just as God adopted each of us into His family, are adopted by those we need, and we adopt those who need us. No, we all don’t have flesh and blood dads, but most of us do have or have had someone we look up to as a father figure. It is much easier to become a father than to be one. Sometimes we hurt those who love us best and fell to appreciate them. This poem should remind us to be thankful to the men who have loved us as true fathers should. There's one sad truth in life I've found while journeying east and west -The only folks we really wound Are those we love the best. We flatter those we scarcely know; we please the fleeting guest and deal full many a thoughtless blow To those who love us best. ~Ella Wheeler Wilcox Also, remember, our Heavenly Father loves us more than any man ever could. Tell Him you are thankful and love Him on this Father’s Day as well. He loves you best.
The Green Shirt
In 1967 two sisters went to town in search of the perfect Father’s Day gift. Between them, they had a total of $11.65. They paid the East-West City Bus a quarter to carry them from East Tupelo to Downtown. At TKE’s lunch counter they bought two burgers, two fries, and two Cokes from the fountain for one dollar each (a true value meal.) With $9.40 in hand, they set off to the block containing their favorite stores: Shainberg’s, Kuhn’s, Graber’s and Kent’s. Halfway to their destination, the oldest sister realized all the money was gone except for forty cents. After many tears and retraced steps, the money did not reappear. In Graber’s, the sales clerk questioned the young girls about their dilemma. She took the sisters to a “special rack” and helped them find the perfect gift for only fifteen cents. On the rack was one very bright lime green shirt with a dark green stripe running vertically down the left side. It boldly shined as it hung amidst many plain white shirts. What the green shirt lacked in beauty was made up for by it being the right size and of course the right price. The sales clerk carefully gift wrapped the green shirt as if it had cost $11.65. The girls took their quarter bus ride home broke and happy, and carefully carrying the treasured green shirt. Even though many years have passed the memory of the green shirt remains fresh in my mind. It is a happy memory of a happy day that I treasure. The memory cost me nothing, but it is worth millions. This special day or a special gift you give is not what you will be holding in forty years, but the memory of this day. On this Father’s Day go out and make yourself a happy green shirt memory to treasure for years to come
Peace in the Twilight
Tired and weary I come. My work is now all done. No more sweat, no more sun. I see peace come beautifully in shades of purple, pink, and gray. .I hear twilight softly whisper, “Rest it is the end of the day” Twilight is defined as the time between dawn and sunrise, and the time between sunset and dusk. Howard Thurman said, “Twilight - a time of pause when nature changes her guard. All living things would fade and die from too much light or too much dark if twilight were not.” Twilight is a peaceful time for all who take the time to notice the peace. We search everywhere for peace and sometimes forget to look in the most obvious places. To get peace inside we have to let the peace soak in that surrounds us. When we become quite we can see it, smell it, hear it, touch it, and taste it. William Gladstone said, “There will come a time when the power of love will replace the love of power then will our world know blessings of peace.” God is love and gave us Jesus Christ who said, “Come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest.” He also said, “My peace I leave with you, my peace I give.” Psalm 34 tells us to taste and see the Lord is good. May we find the peace of the One who created every twilight sky that softly whispers to us, “Rest.”
Sing It Again
II Samuel 22 is a prayer David sang to God after He saved him from his enemies. The war was over. He found peace. He praised God for the victory. In later years David still had the song in his heart and probably written somewhere as well. He was older and looked back on all God had done for him throughout his life. He saw all the love. He saw all the forgiveness. He saw all the deliverance. He saw all the victories. He took the old song, and as one commentator says, “David polished it up a bit.” He took the song to the temple and it became part of the Book of Psalms. It was sung over and over by God’s people. The same song of victory can still be sung today over and over by God’s people. It is Psalm 18. It would be impossible to ever grow tired of the beautiful words of the Psalm. The major difference in II Samuel 22 and Psalm 18 is the first verse. In the American Standard Version the first words are “I love you God.” David added his love for God to the song at the very beginning. Perhaps he realized the most important thing before thanking God, before proclaiming the mighty victory, was to simply tell God he loved Him. As you praise God today for the victories He has brought in your life, remember to first tell Him how much you love Him. Sing it again and again. I don’t think He ever gets tired of hearing those words
A four-year-old walked on the creek bank by his dad’s side. With his first rod and reel in hand, his dad began the age-old tradition of a father teaching his son to fish. The baiting of the hook was a breeze. All four-year-old boys love putting those slimy, wiggly worms on the hook. The next big challenge was teaching the ins and outs of casting out. The release button must be pushed at just the right time or the line will not be cast out but simply remain where it started from. After a lot of practice, the rhythm of pushing buttons, releasing and casting out becomes a beautiful thing shared by fathers and sons. It becomes as natural as a heartbeat. Rhythm is important. Many times in life everything has to come together at just the right time in order to produce beautiful results. Our Father in heaven orchestrates our lives to a perfect rhythm when we learn to follow Him. In His time He releases us to go where He wants us to go. If we don’t go at the time He chooses sometimes we end up just hanging around where we started. Learn to walk side by side with your Father in heaven. Let him show you the rhythm He has for your life. It is a beautiful thing.
Ah, Do I Have to Go Today?
Sunday morning a mother woke her seventeen year old son and asked him would he please go to church with her. The son pulled the cover over his head and said, “Not today, I don’t feel like it, I will go with you next week.”
Wednesday night the same mother asked her ten year old grandson would he like to go to Bible class with her. The grandson looked up from his video game and said, “Not today, Mom said she will take me to the mall.”
Thursday the mother walked with her grandson distributing fliers for VBS at a low-income apartment complex. It was 1:30 in the afternoon. At the mailboxes, a young girl named Angel sat in the June heat. The woman asked the girl was she waiting on the mail. Angel said, “No, I am waiting on the church bus to come and pick me up for Bible School.”
The woman told the young girl the bus would be there at six. Angel said, “I know I have a watch so I will know when it’s time for it to get here.” The woman and the boy cried. The world is waiting on us, what are we waiting for? There are a lot more Angels out there waiting for us to come and pick them up
Go For It
Upsize your value meal? Hot or mild sauce? How long does it take you to decide when you are asked one of these questions? Maybe a minute at most. Some decisions take minutes, and some only a split second. When a traffic light is yellow, do you stop or do you go? What about when you hear a train signal? There are times we make lightning-fast decisions. Hopefully, we all stop, but truth be known we sometimes take chances and go for it. What about decisions that require a little more of our time? Sometimes we must make hard decisions that affect what we do or do not do for God, for the rest of our days. He sometimes places two paths before us and trusts us to choose the right path. This is when we must stop and seek His direction. When we allow Him to guide us in these dark days of indecision; He honors our trust In Him and His light shines on our ways. When we face dark days of indecision we must allow God’s wisdom to guide us to the light. Stop. Seek God. Pray. Decide. Go for it. His light will shine on all our ways for all our days. Job 22:28 You will decide on a matter, and it will be established for you, and light will shine on your ways. RSV
Even though the biggest responsibility of working in a fast-food restaurant may be asking for the choice of fries or baked potato, the job has to be taken seriously. What days one will work is usually a surprise until a weekly schedule is posted. You know you have arrived in the here or to go world when you are given a “permanent” schedule, working the same days every week. The permanence of the permanent schedule is soon forgotten as you move on with your life to another job and another. So how permanent is permanent? There are times in our lives when we are so sure whatever situation we may be in is going to last permanently. Truth is nothing here is forever. Have you ever filled out a form that asked for your permanent address? All addresses and jobs and friends and situations and circumstances, good or bad here, are temporary. We all will move on from this place to another. We won’t stay here. We will go. The only thing we can count on as being permanent is eternity. We will spend it in one of two places, our choices, heaven or hell. We must take the responsibility of our salvation seriously. We can all count on being at a permanent address when we leave here, it is best not to be taken by surprise as to where we end up permanently.
Sing A Little Louder
Where were you in the summer of ’69? If you were here in Mississippi you were paying thirty five cents a gallon for gas to get you where you needed to go. Milk for your cereal was $1.10 a gallon. Keeping milk cold in the hot summer months was important. How hot was the summer of ’69? The high recorded for August in our state was 107 degrees. I was ten years old that summer and spent a lot of time with my aunt who sold portrait coupons over the phone for a photography studio. After the sales, she had to deliver the coupons in a very hot car without an air conditioner. I specifically remember being along for the ride on August 18th for that was the day Hurricane Camille came our way. My aunt and I were delivering between Nettleton and Amory when the rain came and cooled off that hot car, but the storms the system produced here were frightening. I remember how my aunt reacted to my fright very well. There was a complete calm about her, something I had never before experienced from anyone around me in the middle of a storm. She didn’t even acknowledge the storm, but just turned the radio up and sang louder than the thunder. I can remember her asking me to sing Build Me Up Buttercup with her. The song had an echo effect on just about every line. I was the echo. My aunt truly built me up and calmed my fears that day by simply refusing to acknowledge the storm or display any fear or doubt. So where are you in the summer of 2011? A gallon of gas is $3.57 today, milk $3.89, it is currently 91 degrees and thank God my air conditioner is working. Today in the middle of this heat you have the opportunity to help someone make a memory that will last a lifetime. The memory you help produce can be good or bad.
You can help build someone up, or bring someone down. Sometimes when storms surround you it is best to simply sing a little louder than the storm.