Stored in the Store House

Fall is here and it is the perfect time to sit outside and take in all of God’s beauty. This is the only season when multi colored leaves dance about and drift slowly to the ground.  One afternoon last week I sat by trees with some of those leaves falling and watched squirrels busily running among them gathering food.  The squirrels were grabbing acorns and carrying them in their mouths. All of the squirrels seemed to be working together to reach a common goal.  Small and large, and I suppose old and young, all worked because all surely hope to eat this winter.  One very small squirrel carried an acorn almost as big as his face. It completely filled his mouth, but he didn’t bite it. The squirrels didn’t seem to be eating the acorns at all. True self discipline was being displayed - especially if they were hungry.   They grabbed acorns, carried them away and returned very quickly for more and more.  I suppose all this food was being taken to the community store house.  Squirrels are often considered a nuisance, but there are many lessons we could learn from squirrels. First of all winter is coming get ready. Secondly, if you want to eat you have to work.  Thirdly, it is smart to all work together toward a common goal.  On this first week of November may we all realize seasons change and it is smart to be prepared for the changes as best we can.  Work is good for us and work does go easier when we all work together.  Also to practice self discipline in all we do is something we humans surely can achieve as well as those hard working squirrels preparing for their future.  If you see a squirrel this week, even if you don’t really care for them, remember even squirrels can teach us important lessons that will help us achieve our goals.  Oh, and do take the time to observe all of the beauty of this season God has given.

 

Send to Ten People and Something Will Happen

It just happened again. I got another email telling me to forward within thirty seconds to ten people and ten good things will happen within ten days.  All I have to do is change the number in the subject line to 687,209, 201. “This really works,” was attached at the end just in case the demand didn’t find its way into the “take action at once” section of my brain.  Wait a minute, before I could even consider if there were ten people who I might send the email I got a text informing me that if I sent this message to seven people in seven minutes seven prayers I had been praying for seven years would be answered within seven seconds.  Wow that is fast huh?  Hold everything… new facebook message… “If you have ever loved anyone repost this and love will come to your life today.”   Decisions, decisions.  What is the answer?  Do I want seven prayers answered really fast, love to come to my life today, or ten great things (unnamed things just things) to happen in ten days?  My reply: Truth is God is the author and finisher.  He is the director of our paths. He hears our prayers and answers in the way He chooses in His time. We don’t know His time, but His time is always the right time.  His plans for us are good plans to prosper us.  Love is in all of our lives every single day, because God so loved us that He gave His Son. In this fast paced world make sure to make time for God. He is the answer to everything. Send.

 

Give of Yourself

When we watch the news the world sometimes appears not to be a very nice place to be these days. Even stories on the local news are frightening and make us ask the question, “What’s this world coming to?”  Most people in the world think it all looks pretty hopeless and think there is nothing they can do to change it. What can one person do to bring change? As the church, we are here to bring hope to people who think everything is truly hopeless.  It is important we set the example Christ wants us to set. We must learn to suck it up and smile when we feel like frowning. The church must remain positive in a very negative world.   We can bring change little by little. If we began in our little world, (our local world) change comes.  Today there are a lot of hopeless people near us who feel they are pretty much stuck where they are in life.  Yes, many of them made mistakes to arrive at the place where they are, but God loves them just as much as He loves each of us. So many of us can say we remember a day when we were at the place where they are now- lonely, sad, and feeling hopeless and forgotten.  This afternoon we have the opportunity to change the world. All we have to do is take the time to give of ourselves.  Yes, it is just a holiday meal delivered to some people we may never know, but to those hopeless people it will represent love, it will represent hope, it will represent Christ. As you give of yourself today, you are giving Christ to the world and helping to change it one boxed dinner at a time.

 

Ready, Set, Go!!!

Ready or not, here it is. What is it that we might as well be ready for?  The official Christmas shopping season began with a bang early Friday morning for a lot of bargain hunters; many of whom camped out for days at local businesses to make sure they got their bargain.  It seems every year early bird sales begin a little earlier.  Sales that once began at 6 AM are now jumpstarted at 3 AM.  Many of the early bird shoppers are not so much looking for bargains as they are looking for the  pure joy of a tradition that they have the opportunity to pass down to the next generation.  Old and young alike can be found in the cold darkness of the morning after Turkey Day in line happily awaiting the glorious moment when the doors open to Christmas treasures untold. Is it all worth it? Many say yes they do save money. Of course, I say more money could have been saved in the warmth and safety of their beds at home. But who am I to upset those early birds money saving philosophy, or those who simply aspire to joyfully uphold and build treasured traditions?  As we enter into another Christmas season may we all be ready for great things coming our way. As we practice traditions and start new ones on this holiday in which we are to celebrate the birth of Christ, may we aspire to be more like Jesus!  May we strive to see the pure joy in the simplest of things every day of our lives.  Also may we remember we are to always be ready and set for the one day, most believe will be sooner than we think, when the Eastern skies will open wide and Jesus Christ will return for all those who patiently wait for Him. Hey, I want to be in that line.  It will be worth it all as we see Jesus our treasured Savior in all His glory. I can’t wait. Can you?  Ready, set, go!

 

Listen…Peace

The dishes are all washed. The company has all gone home. Outside the dog is sleeping peacefully holding on to the last turkey bone.  As you turn out the light an image of a great big peace symbol comes to mind. Listen, all is quite, all is well; no children running, no babies crying, no adults bickering. As you pick up the sale paper and think of all the chaos soon to come, decorating, buying gifts, wrapping presents, you truly appreciate the present moment. However, we should take a moment before the big holiday rush to remember peace is not a symbol. Peace is not something we should have to listen for. Peace is not just a feeling we hope to have. Peace is a gift given by God. From the moment the angels came and told the shepherds “fear not,” peace truly came to earth.   Jesus came and brought peace. There was peace in His cries as He lay in the manger.   There was peace as He grew and walked and sat and taught in the temple.  There was peace as He became a man and performed miracle after miracle. There was peace when Jesus talked with His disciples before his crucifixion, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” There was peace when on the cross He said, “It is finished.” There was peace when Jesus retrieved the keys to death, hell, and the grave, and rose from the dead, opening the way for each of us to live forever in peace. Peace is a gift. Accept it and all will be truly well.

 

Give

We all have heard promises of gifts we can give that keep on giving long after the actual giving of the gift is forgotten.  With many gifts this is true in one form or fashion if you think of it.  Something as simple as socks keep on giving warmth long after we forget who took the time to purchase them, gift wrap them and give them to provide a cover for our cold feet.  Before we enter into yet another gift giving season, before we go purchase a lot of socks for a lot of cold feet, let us take a moment to remember gifts we have received.  On Thanksgiving we will take the time to stop and give thanks for so many things, perhaps even socks. We will thank God for family and food, health and jobs, love and peace.  God gave all mankind one very special gift that keeps on giving and giving. Jesus Christ gave His life for us so that we may live. He is our covering.  As you give thanks this year, make sure to give thanks for Christ who gave His life long ago, which is a gift we should never forget.  May we each in turn give to others and share the opportunity to receive this free gift which actually was purchased for a very high price. This gift warms cold hearts and provides a covering for all who believe in Him.  He gave His life, a very high price indeed, to purchase our salvation.   May we always be thankful and never forget all Jesus gave and continues to give daily. May we share this great gift with others this Thanksgiving Season.

 

Freedom Dance

Toby Mac and DC Talk were always one of my son’s favorite Christian bands. I remember one Kids Nite presentation about nine years ago, Matthew, his niece Mandolyn, and his friend, Bradley Duncan decided to perform the rap song, “Truth’s Gonna Set You Free.” Mandolyn sang a little.  Matthew’s performance entailed simply holding the microphone, while Bradley entertained us all, freely dancing an unforgettable dance.  Where are those Kid’s Nite rap stars now? Mandolyn still sings beautifully.

Matthew still loves rap music, but reframes from live performances, and Bradley is still interested in freedom.  Bradley Duncan is now in Savannah, Georgia working with Bradley Tanks. He has finished his basic training with the US Army and is expected to be in Afghanistan in six to nine months. When he first decided to join the army, he told his mom, Julie, he wanted to protect America.  His mother’s initial reaction - proud, but truthfully, a little scared as well.

As Veteran’s Day approaches we are usually always reminded to thank a veteran who has fought to keep us free.  This year why not thank some who are working to protect our freedom now as well. Thanks, Bradley.  We pray as you work hard you will take a moment every once and awhile to smile, think of home, and dance a little freedom dance for all of your fans here.

 

 

What's it Worth to You?

 It is likely you freely walked into this church today. You most likely would freely express your Christian faith if you were asked.  You most likely expect some sort of an appeal for non-believers to place their faith in Christ during the service. In India last week Hindu militants beat pastors and church members, accusing them of engaging in conversion activities and forced them to deny their faith. It is easy to take liberty for granted, when you have never had it taken from you. ~Dick Cheney 4000 men died in the American Revolutionary War which was fought to ensure our freedom to come together and worship. The last veteran from that war died April 5, 1869. We have enjoyed so much freedom for so long that we are perhaps in danger of forgetting how much blood it cost to establish the Bill of Rights. ~Felix Frankfurter There have been attacks on Christians in northern Iraq for years by Wahabi militants. However, the Sabeans, a Christian group, report things are now better. They have found more freedom to practice Christianity with the American presence in the country. Freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better. ~Albert Camus How valuable is our freedom to worship!  Thank a veteran today

 And why? Because  God is great-well worth praising! No god or goddess comes close in honor.  I Chronicles 16:25

 

Enter In

Please type your password to enter.  What is the most popular password? On average, the human brain can hold only five to nine "random bits of information" in short-term memory. Therefore, it's no surprise that the most common password used by those wishing to enter in is simply the word, “password.”  As we enter into the month of November a lot of human brains in this country, are randomly turning to thoughts of the Thanksgiving holiday.  Most Christian brains automatically recall familiar verses hidden in our hearts, such as “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise.”  Therefore, it should be a no-brainer for the first words that come out of our mouths as we enter into the Thanksgiving season to be simply, “thank-you Jesus.”  We should be most thankful for the privilege we have to place our faith in Jesus Christ and enter in.  Because of Christ the veil was torn. We can enter into the Holy presence of God without hesitation. Jesus cleared the way for us by His blood.  As we enter into this season of thankfulness, before we randomly start planning bits and pieces of holiday celebrations, we should simply thank Jesus for the access He provided to each of us.  He gave His life that we may enter into His joy and life everlasting. Thank-you Jesus!

 

Enter with the password: "Thank-you!"  Make yourselves at home, talking praise. Thank Him. Worship Him. Psalm 100:4

 

 

In All Things Give Thanks

Today I offer thanks to God for each thought He has allowed me to think, and each word He has allowed me to write. But today I share other’s thoughts and words about their thankfulness. “This day and your life ... are God's gift to you, so give thanks and be joyful always!”  “It isn't what you have in your pocket that makes you thankful, but what you have in your heart.” “There's always something to be thankful for. If you can't pay your bills, you can be thankful you're not one of your creditors.”   “When I'm in the bathroom looking at my toilet paper, I'm like 'Wow, toilet paper!' I don't know if we appreciate how much we have.  So the things I do have, I appreciate - like toilet paper.”   “Today God I thank you for my little brother, but what I really prayed for was a puppy.”“There's one thing for which you should be abundantly thankful -- only you and God have all the facts about yourself.”

"Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses" "Difficulties are opportunities to better things; they are stepping stones to a greater experience.”When our perils are past, shall our gratitude sleep? ”Remember to give God thanks always.

 In everything give thanks: For this is the will of Christ Jesus concerning you. I Thessalonians 5:18

 

 

Countdown

The last of the turkey has been tossed out.  Yes, Thanksgiving is gone and Christmas is on its way.  The shoppers have left the starting line to see who can shop for the most the quickest.  The first gifts have been purchased and possibly even wrapped. And oh, by the way, this countdown just happens to lead up to the day which celebrates the birth of the Lord of lords and King of kings, our Savior, Jesus Christ.  The story will be told by many of Mary and Joseph taking a journey to pay their taxes and finding no place to stay.  We will hear of a baby being born in a cattle stall, lovingly wrapped in swaddling clothes.   We will hear of shepherds following a shining star to see for them what angels told them would come to be. This year as we journey to festive gatherings trimmed with brightly lit trees, we need to remember.  This year as we follow the crowds to buy and wrap gifts, we need to remember. This year as we hear the familiar story, may we hear it as if we are hearing it for the very first time?  This season is about a miracle that changed mankind for all eternity, a celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  As the familiar story is told again this Christmas, may many counting down see the Savior very clearly for themselves this year.

I have heard of thee by the hearing of my ear, but now my eye seeth thee. Job 42:5