Continue in Love
There are some things we just do without a second thought –things we do just because we know that is what we are supposed to do. What inspires us to do these things? What inspired Saul converted to Paul to do the things he did? Yes, he saw a blinding light and heard a thundering voice instructing him where to go and what to do. Did he question God? No, trembling, he simply asked, “God what wilt thou have me do?” God took a cold callous murderer and changed him into a bold caring preacher who helped change the world for Christ. What was it that made Paul continue preaching the Word despite persecution? Did he continually remember the events of the day on the road to Damascus with fear and trembling? More than that, I believe Paul felt the love of God for him in such a very real way he could do nothing less than give his all to return the love he had been shown. The way Paul chose to reciprocate the love was by continually obeying the call that had been placed on his life. The call was this: to show the world the man that he had once persecuted was the true and living Christ who he now proclaimed. As we live our lives we must know there is a reason for the things we do without a second thought. Even though there was an amazing conversion moment in our lives, the conversion must lead us on to a continuance. The continuance must be grounded in a desire to reciprocate the love that has been bestowed on us. We must continue on in love as we follow the call God has placed on each of our lives. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love John 15:9.
Just For You
It seemed to be just another day as Saul walked the road to Damascus. He was doing the same thing he had been doing every day for a while. Did it ever occur to him what he was doing was wrong? We don’t know that for sure, but we do know on that day Saul saw the light and was forever changed. People who were walking with Saul also saw the light. I imagine they too were greatly affected by the events that day but were they as greatly affected as Saul? It seems only Saul was blinded by the light, as the scripture tells us his companions had to lead him on to where God instructed him to go. Also, only Saul heard the voice of God. It was for his ears only. And they that were with me saw indeed the light and were afraid, but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me. Acts 22:9 God had special plans for Saul who became Paul, who sometimes defined himself as a prisoner of Jesus Christ. He captured his heart. In our lives, many days just seem like another day. What if on any given day something totally amazing happened to one of us? What if God picked one of us out of a crowd with a special message He wanted to deliver to our ears only? Wait a minute that does happen to someone every single day. God has special plans for each of us. There are intimate moments God has planned just for you. We must be ready to look and listen and more importantly, obey the things that He speaks in our ears. Even though all didn’t hear the word God spoke to Saul, think about all the millions throughout the generations that have now heard the words through Paul’s story. By God speaking only to Him the Word spread to more than Paul could have ever imagined. On a day that started out as just another day in the life of a man with little hope of ever doing anything good - change came. Listen today for the word that God has just for you. Change is coming. Hope is here.
Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve
On the news a former candidate who didn’t win an election told what she would have done should she have been elected. She could have caused a referendum that passed not to pass. This comment came from one viewing the newscast, “Yeah, would’ve, could’ve, should’ve. Give it up! You weren’t, you can’t, and you didn’t. “ We often look back on things that might have been that aren’t. We say what if and wishfully think of how things might have been and how things will be different next time if the same opportunity should ever present itself again. However, some lose hope of ever having a second chance. To all who have lost hope, there is good news. God is a God of restoration and second chances. God’s Word is full of promises of new beginnings when all seems to be lost. Here are just a few: Job 42:10…also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. Jeremiah 30:17 For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the LORD; I Samuel 2:10 And it was so, that when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, God gave him ( Saul) another heart: God gives people health, resources, and a heart to do the things that He calls them to do. Don’t lose heart! Don’t give up! God will complete all that He begins in you. Everything that would have been will come to pass if it is part of God’s perfect plan for your life. Could you please take the time to pray and believe and follow? Do all the things you should do as God calls on you to do them in His perfect time. Don’t miss your second chance.
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 in us by others who are searching for peace. 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. John 14:27 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.
Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign
When traveling I am a sign reader, I admit it. All the billboards advertising banks and hotels and restaurants and pest exterminators interest me. I even read the little green signs that label the names of creeks that don’t appear to be worthy enough to have such distinguished names. It seems I hear a voice somewhere say, “Judge not.” If the creek has a green sign, someone deemed it worthy to be named. I love church signs too. In little towns with three or four churches all lined up on a little country road there always seems to be a competition as to who can come up with the catchiest saying to draw people in. Such was the case last week as I traveled. Sign number one said, “It is 11 AM on Sunday, Do you know where your church is?” Sign number two said, “Tis better to have gone to church and lost than never to have gone to church at all.” Sign number three said, “As you travel down the road of life, don’t be caught dead without Jesus.” And finally sign number four, my favorite, “As you pass this little church, why don’t you stop and visit; so one day when you are carried in, God won’t ask “Who is it?” These are but a few attempts of Christians with the best of intents (I am sure) to get the world to come to their church. So in your travels of life, first of all, don’t judge. Everyone is worthy because God said so. There is a world facing the possibility of dying without Jesus and then hearing, “Depart from me I never knew you.” As you sit and enjoy worship at 11 AM in your church this Sunday remember in the world out there passing by are many who are lost and looking for a sign. May we each be a sign guiding them not just to our church, but to Jesus Christ.
During the lunch rush at a diner, a waitress approached a lady sitting at a booth in the back, and asked, “Are you ready to order?” The woman said, “Yes, I will have a bread sandwich and a glass of water please.” Somewhat puzzled, the waitress asked her what she would like on the sandwich. The woman replied, “Nothing, the bread is enough, it will fill me.” The waitress said, “Ok, it’s your choice, your order is up to you.” God once rained down bread from heaven for the children of Israel. It was enough, all they needed. The bread filled them. Jesus later said in John Chapter 6 that He is the living bread come down from heaven. When we are hungry, He will fill us. Nothing needs to be added. We simply need the bread of life to complete us while we are on earth. The bread of life also enables us to possess eternal life. Jesus said though the manna from heaven fed the Israelites, it was only a temporary filling. They later died. Jesus said if we partake of the living bread from heaven, we will live forever. He is enough, all we need, He completes us eternally. However, it is our choice. It is up to us to partake of this living bread.
Cobwebs and Dust
Cleaning is a task some choose to enjoy and some dread. In high and lofty corners there are cobwebs hanging. In dark nooks and crannies, there is dust collecting. We sweep down the cobwebs and vacuum up the dust. However, in this cleaning battle, the cobwebs and dust usually win. There is a song with the title, “Cobwebs and Dust.” The cobwebs and dust in the song are metaphors for memories and mistakes. The singer, growing older, tries to cling to cobwebs which represent his youthful memories slipping away. He regrets the dust, his dark mistakes which never leave his mind. Memories and mistakes go hand in hand, much like cobwebs and dust. You can’t really have one without the other. If we cling to our mistakes, things we regret, they have a way of smothering out the happy memories which we want hanging around in our minds. As you fight the constant battle between cobwebs and dust remember, yesterday brought you to where you are today, but today will take you to tomorrow. Choose to make happy memories today which you will always want hanging around
Eleven, the second of the double-digit numerals, means many different things to different people. I recall eleven being the first number that I could not display simply with my ten fingers. The eleventh birthday, not as memorable as the tenth, still has a place in the birthday lineup. It is somewhat of a placeholder between ten, the first double-digit year, and twelve, the final year before becoming a teenager.
The eleventh-anniversary flower is the morning glory, the gemstone, turquoise, and the traditional gift to give is steel. The morning glory which spreads and climbs is known for its fast growth and new blooms that come each morning.
Steel, known for its strength, is an alloy consisting of iron and carbon. To become steel, iron must be reprocessed, removing the correct amount of carbon, and adding other necessary elements. Turquoise is a blue-to-green mineral that in its purely natural state is rare and valuable.
As we begin this eleventh year, it will mean different things to different people. It may not be as memorable as ten or thirteen, but it will hold a very special place in the history of our church. We won’t be simply taken at face value anymore. This year we will become known for our fast growth and new blooms. We will be known for our strength as we join together and reprocess ourselves, removing and adding what we need to continue to spread the good news of Jesus Christ, locally, regionally, and globally. The pure natural presence of the Spirit of God that resides in this place will be recognized by all as our most valuable resource.
Paved Roads Before Me
The dirt road, seemingly fading into yesteryear, brings many memories to someone who walked one as a child. The dirt road with many inconveniences, with many unhappy bumps and skids, paved the way for the future. If not for the dirt road, the paved road would have never come to be. Now with paved roads calling, I recall hot dusty roads blistering my bare feet in the summer as I watched butterflies flying free. In the spring I watched potholes fill with water as I played in the rain. Golden leaves covered the road in the fall. I sometimes treaded a little snow that came in the winter. As I look down the paved road before me, I am thankful for the rocky, bumpy road that brought me to where I am today. If not for the inconveniences, the unhappy bumps and skids form the past who knows where, or who I would be today. Where would any of us be? Always be thankful for the bumpy road God brought you down safely. He brought you through a little rain and you had to tread a little snow, but He has now set your feet free and given you the opportunity to someday travel only smooth, paved roads before you.
Inconsistency of Instantly
At a deli, a customer asked for mashed potatoes. The server told the customer they had run out but should have some instant potatoes ready in ten minutes. The definition of instant: Occurring at once; immediate: Wait a minute, does instant not really mean instant anymore? Instant coffee, potatoes, and rice are a few items that are not really instant but do require some preparation. These products have earned an entry under the word instant in the dictionary: A food or beverage designed for quick preparation. Quick is ok with most of us, who cares if instant isn’t instant anymore? It is quicker, we should be happy. Happily, in some instances, instant is still instant: instant messaging, instant approval, instant radar, and instant miracles. Wait for a second; instant miracles? Yes, in today’s world miracles can, and often do occur instantly. Some require a little preparation such as a lot of seasoned prayer going up. But instant miracles are still around today. God is not inconsistent. Miracles which occurred thousands of years ago still happen quite consistently-instantly.
A favorite character from a childhood movie once told her dog, Toto, “My, people come and go so quickly around here.” I tell myself on this Labor Day weekend, “My, seasons come and go so quickly around here.” Another summer unofficially is ending. Life is truly like a vapor, it comes and goes quickly. A friend told me of a prophecy this Labor Day weekend as we approach anniversary services next week. My, years do come and go quickly. Word of Life is soon to be twelve years old. Seasons have come and gone. People have come and gone. Prophecies have gone forth and some have come to pass, but we are still awaiting the fulfillment of many. The prophecy came as my friend read from Jeremiah which speaks of nesting season followed by labor pains. Nesting is defined as to create and settle into a warm refuge. Humans as well as animals, nest when the time of birth grows near. Labor pains, ladies remember all too well, come before the birth. They are painful but productive. If not for the labor the birth could not occur. Chemika pointed out Jeremiah 30 speaks of men having labor pains. She believes as a church we have been in the nesting season, warm and settled. As the twelfth year approaches, it is time for labor pains, followed by the birth of all the things God has promised us. Are you having labor pains? They are painful but will produce an abundance of great things
Isaiah 44:3 For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring:
Pour n’ Restore, stain remover, can be purchased in the 16-ounce size for only $7.99 and in the super 55-gallon size for $1497. It is guaranteed to lift and absorb stains with no scrubbing, no rinsing, and no mess. Simply pour. Pour n’ Save wine gage is a method for measuring per glass wine sales. This product, for only $145, allows the correct measure of wine to be free. Free? Not $7.99, $145, or even $1497 for super size. God’s blessings, big and small and His Spirit are pouring freely and continuously to all who are thirsty. No scrubbing or rinsing that we do on our own can take away our stains. Only the blood of Jesus cleanses completely. Whatever the mess, whether you need to be saved or restored, this is the day for you to receive your measure of blessings being poured out. God simply pours freely into ready willing vessels of any size who believe they will r