April 29, 2011
I watched a segment of Dog the Bounty Hunter, which interestingly took place in our community. One of those arrested was incensed with his bondsman who had set up the sting that led to the capture. Handcuffed and speaking through a back seat car window the fugitive said to the bails bondsman, “What’s this all about? Why’d you do this to me man? This’ll be the last time I’m going to use you to bail me out!” Sort of reminds me how we believers sometimes plan ahead for our next sin.
April 28, 2011
I’m learning to identify my enemies and Scripture is helping me find my footing on how I should respond and how the Lord will deal with them. Even though my current enemies have recently done some dastardly deeds, I’m convinced that the Lord loves them and will show them His love “…because the Lord disciplines those he loves…” (Proverbs 3:11-12 NIV)
April 27, 2011
When talk show hosts allow their guests to talk over one another I usually hit the mute button on the remote. Recently during one shouting match, rather than the full screen showing guests sitting across from one another, they were displayed on a split screen. I muted the talking heads and then I watched two sets of lips moving simultaneously. It was obvious that even the deaf would have had trouble grasping the talking points. Maybe talk show hosts should take a page from Paul’s instructions on orderly worship. “And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged.” (1 Cor 14:30-31 NIV)
April 26, 2011
Easter Sunday we had lots of visitors and our attendance topped out at 222 – the highest we’ve ever had in our three year history. One of the guys quipped, “I call this the semi-annual meeting of Saints and Sinners.” We may not see some of these folks again until next year, but I’m always interested in their motivation for attending on Easter. Years ago we might have thought going to church only on Easter was for showing off an Easter bonnet or maybe being guilted into attendance by Grandma. However today people are such an independent lot that they show up in jeans and a tee-shirt and Grandma has lost her power of persuasion. I think the credit for the Easter Sunday swell belongs to the Spirit. Hopefully His prompting will have some of these folks back next Lord’s Day.
April 25, 2011
Last Saturday my husband was helping another man fill the Communion trays for Easter Sunday when they ran out of juice. Bill made a quick trip to the grocery store where he started to pick up Welch’s Grape Juice, but then he noticed Grape Juicy Juice was $2.00 cheaper. Thinking he had a bargain he made his purchase and returned to the church. Right away the two guys noticed the juice was somewhat anemic. Reading the label they discovered that the Juicy Juice is mostly apple juice with a hint of grape juice. Although the meaning of the elements did not change, I couldn’t help but think about how there are times that we unintentionally water down the sacrificed blood of our Lord.
April 22, 2011
Years ago there was a Life Cereal commercial featuring three young brothers contemplating whether or not to eat a healthy cereal. The two older boys conspired to make the youngest boy the taste-test guinea pig. “Let’s get Mikey to do it.” It’s amazing how manipulative we are when it comes to getting someone else to do what we can and should do ourselves. We want someone else to ask a question…someone else to organize an event…someone else to go early or stay late. Somehow I think Mikey is going to have more bling in his crown than some of the rest of us.
April 21, 2011
Once when my children were in middle school I attended a public meeting where the topic of discussion addressed problems in the school district. I struck up a conversation with the man in the seat next to me and found out that we shared the same views. Unfortunately he had another meeting to go to, so I offered to put myself in a leadership role and tell the officials what ‘we’ thought. He wasn’t rude, but he firmly said, “No, I can speak for myself.” I felt somewhat put-in-my-place, but I learned a valuable lesson. Whether it is in the world, or in the church, it really is presumptuous of us to think we speak for others.
April 20, 2011
We all have friends, acquaintances and family members who do things that seem to defy logic or common sense. Normally we don’t demand an explanation from them, unless of course their action (or lack of) directly impacts our life. More often we determine that what they are doing and how they are handling situations really isn’t any of our business. Isn’t it interesting though, that when it comes to God, we barrage the gates of heaven asking ‘Why?’ Why do good things happen to bad people? Why is the life of a faithful servant cut short? Why do the innocent suffer? I recently read a commentary by Larry Richards, “We do not need to know why He [God] acts as He does; knowing Him is enough.”
April 19, 2011
I find myself in many situations where I’m called to stand and say The Pledge of Allegiance. I normally put my gaze on the flag itself, however there are times when I sneak a peek at other participants. As folks put their right hand over their heart, it’s been interesting to see where people think their heart is located. Some hands are placed high toward the collar bone, low toward the stomach, close the center of the ribcage and then others are almost under the armpit. Jesus tells us where to find our hearts, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 12:34 NIV)
April 18, 2011
I have to admit I like TV crime dramas that use profilers to catch the bad guy. The most recent real life drama is now being played out in New York State where authorities have discovered 10 bodies on or near the beach. The media says that they are likely looking for a serial killer. I should hope so. The alternative is that there could possibly be 10 separate murderers at-large. When I think of the multitude of data and case studies that are needed to come up with a working profile, it brings home the stark reality of what a fallen world we live in.
April 15, 2011
Recently my husband joined the DAV Honor Guard and now participates in performing the 21 Gun Salute at funerals of deceased Veterans. There are seven members on the team and in unison each member is to fire his rifle on command three times. Although they practice before each funeral, you can’t expect this group of retired volunteer Vets to be totally professional. At the most recent funeral service one of the guys joked as they got in formation, “Put me at the end so I can fire the last shot.” With his own faux pas, Bill came home shaking his head and shrugging his shoulders because his second round blatantly outpaced of the other six shots. This so reminds me of believers. We may be loaded and ready to go, but sometimes our delivery of the Gospel is just not quite synchronized.
April 14, 2011
We have a leash law in the City and I had to smile when I saw a dog dragging his leash and his master walking 10 paces back. Not quite the letter of the law, but I had to admit that the dog was on a leash. Sometimes the Lord keeps me on a short-leash, however in a safe environment and if I’m obedient, He may let me off-leash. Oh the freedom! Come to think of it, the dog dragging his leash had a smile on his face too.
April 13, 2011
It is amazing how nasty local politics can be. Working together, associating with one another and living in the same community means nothing when it comes to throwing someone under the bus. Actually I’m learning that some good can come out of being thrown under the bus…another few trips under there and I’ll be a certified mechanic. It’s hard to imagine the amount of thought that goes into planning, plotting and scheming. Or the energy needed to seed an audience with naysayers, rebel rousers and dissenters. I’m especially intrigued by questions that are planted which are intended to trap others. I’d like to believe that this type of corrosive behavior never occurs in people of faith…and then I recall the Chief Priests, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law. They plotted ways to kill Jesus, they asked questions to trap Him and they enticed the crowd to ask for Barabbas. Sounds like local politics to me.
April 12, 2011
Last Sunday was our first service with the floor being raised to all one level. While most everyone seemed pleased with the changes, one elderly widow was not a happy camper. Stella’s* previous seat was in the front row in a semi-balcony area overlooking the congregation. With the raised floor, she is now sitting in the back row with no overlook. She was so disgruntled that she was saying she just might leave our fellowship and go somewhere else. While I might have tried to placate or reason with her, one of our leaders simply put his arm around her shoulder and said, “Well now Stella, why would you want to do that when all your friends are here?” “A man finds joy in giving an apt reply—and how good is a timely word!” (Proverbs 15:23 NIV) *name changed
April 11, 2011
Most of my adult life I have half-jokingly told others, ‘The Lord gives me just enough to pay bills and get by…He doesn’t seem to ever let me get ahead.’ My seven year-old grandson David brought me up short when he prayed over his breakfast of Cocoa Krispies, “…and thank you God that we can buy things we don’t need.”
April 08, 2011
Last Monday our men began raising the church floor, which originally was an octagon shaped sunken dance floor in our restaurant-turned-church. They had professional contractors, experienced handymen, jacks-of-all-trades, and more supervisors that you could shake a stick at. There was supposedly one foreman, three teams of men and a plan that was drawn out. The demolition was fast, furious and focused. Next came the knee walls, subflooring and head scratching. I understand that there was a lot of that male-bonding stuff going on. However, as I listened to the tales that were told throughout the week, I had to wonder how the Tower of Babel came into existence.
April 07, 2011
I have a friend who has struggled with a weight problem all her life. A couple years ago Becky had a surgical procedure that restricts food intake and the last time I saw her she had dropped over 50 pounds. She looked great, but still had a few pounds to go to get to an ideal weight. Becky explained the surgery and the forever-regiment of eating small meals. Somewhat somber she said, “Knowing what I know now I could have done this without the surgery. At the time I didn’t think I could do it on my own, but now I have to do it on my own anyway...simply eat smaller portions.” Spiritually speaking believers are often in the same situation. Jesus said if our hand, foot or eye causes us to sin it would be better to cut them off, than to be thrown into hell (Matt 18:7-9). For some of us cutting of the offending body part actually sounds easier than making our lives obedient to Christ.
April 06, 2011
Every week I interview and write about someone at church and then with the help of other family members we proofread, publish and print a newsletter for the congregation. Last week a fellow believer said, “I am so glad the church does this. It helps us get acquainted and means so much to all of us.” Instantly the Pharisee inclination of desiring credit took shape and I wanted to say, ‘Well, it really isn’t the church’s idea. It’s my idea, my service and my contribution.’ Thankfully I took the thought captive and at least it didn’t come out my mouth. However the Lord knows my thoughts so now I’m asking His forgiveness…and confessing!
April 05, 2011
I came across some interesting trivia that our tongue is the only muscle in our body that is attached at only one end. James says, “…no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” (James 3:8 NIV) I can just picture a kid at the playground on a winter day being tricked into licking a frozen flagpole. That’s what you call an attached and a tamed tongue.
April 04, 2011
Last week I received a political call asking me to contact my State Representative and encourage him to support a specific legislation. The caller offered to give me my Representative’s phone number and she was somewhat taken back when I told her I already had the number. When it comes to Biblical principles, it’s not unusual for a seemingly more mature believer to offer suggestions on interpretation and implementation of the Word. I love it when I’m well versed enough in Scripture to say, ‘Thanks, I’ve already got His number.’
April 01, 2011
One of my fellow Toastmasters brought her mother to a meeting and at the conclusion the guest said, “This has been interesting and I’ve learned a lot this morning that I’ll be able to use.” My initial reaction was that her comment was merely a compliment to the club, our interaction and instruction…she then told me she was 92 years-old and lived in a retirement community. No doubt her attitude and willing spirit is something our preachers would like to hear from all elderly believers after the Sunday sermon, ‘…I’ve learned a lot this morning that I’ll be able to use’.