September 28, 2012
Recently a woman asked the prayer chain for prayers to stop the progression of a disease, but the qualifier was, “She wishes to remain anonymous, but God know who this woman is.” We sometimes use that same thought in worship services when we take public prayer requests and then the speaker adds the caveat that if you can’t express your request out loud to the congregation it’s OK because God still knows your need. Certainly we would all agree that God knows our needs, but I can only imagine what the Apostle Paul would have to say about anonymous burdens. “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Gal 6:2 NIV)
September 27, 2012
When my son was in the 4th grade his teacher suffered from Multiple Sclerosis (MS). From the very first day of class she let her students know that if she were physically having a bad day she would warn them so that they could then be on their best behavior. Not long after starting 5th grade Troy came home from school frustrated and mad at his new teacher. Apparently the entire class had gotten into trouble and through tears Troy said, “We didn’t know. He didn’t even tell us he was having a bad day!” On the Day of Judgment I suspect there will be many who look at God through their tears and wonder why He didn’t warn them that He was having a bad day. “Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (2 Tim 4:8 NIV)
September 26, 2012
With all the upheaval in the world I’ve been considering buying a small hand gun. The style I’m leaning toward is a small, light weight revolver with a laser. The salesman showed me the simplicity of turning on the laser and I was a little startled by the red dot that appeared on the wall. Somehow the gun with the laser seemed more intimidating than the same model without the laser. The salesman didn’t see the humor when I suggested that maybe all I needed was the laser to point at an intruder. God doesn’t use a visible laser when He is aiming for our hearts, but in a way I wish He would. It would be a good reminder for me that God’s sights are always set on every human heart.
September 25, 2012
In videos of the unrest in Libya there are clips where militants are attacking businesses and government offices in order to disrupt the establishment. One video clip shows a neighborhood with three torched police cars with flames shooting through the windows. As the vehicles burned a couple of the rebels were aggressively beating the cars with sticks. I was laughing as I thought, “Look, the cars are already dead…move on.” As believers Paul reminds us that we need to have purpose when we are running the race and fighting the good fight. “Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.” (1 Cor 9:26 NIV)
September 24, 2012
Last week the organizing of a church member’s funeral had some scheduling conflicts, so the decision was made to set up the family viewing area at the church. The night before the service the open casket was put in place and the flowers arranged. There was only one minor detail that was overlooked…no one remembered to tell the early morning cleaning crew that the deceased was in residence. I can only imagine that these two ladies were as shocked to find the occupied casket as the two Marys were to find an empty tomb. “The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.” (Matt 28:5-6 NIV)
September 21, 2012
There are those who recently attended a County Commissioner meeting where their whole purpose was to inflame public opinion and belittle the Commissioners. One speaker admitted that a few days before he had put in a request for public information, but he didn’t want to wait for the answers to come through the proper channels because “wanted them answered in a public meeting”. It is no coincidence that this is an election year and two of the three commissioners are running for reelection. Whether in the Middle East or in the United States, those who incite discord among the people today are no different than those recorded in Scripture, “But the Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason’s house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd.” (Acts 17:5 NIV)
September 20, 2012
My mother, bless her heart, perfected the art of never forgetting an infraction. Many years ago she was in a doctor’s waiting room for an extended length of time and she eventually left without ever seeing the doctor. She held a grudge against this doctor because he didn’t have the courtesy to at least tell her why there was a hold up in the scheduled appointment. Fast forward 20 years and this same doctor, whom she had never met before, actually saved her life by putting in her pacemaker. She admitted the doctor gave her excellent care, but she couldn’t let go of the fact that at one time he had kept her waiting. Spiritually speaking believers can fall into a similar trap when we expect the Lord to keep our scheduled appointments.
September 19, 2012
Occasionally we’ll hear of a surgeon stopping an operation in mid-surgery because his patient’s condition is worse than first expected. In lay terms we say, “They just closed him back up because there wasn’t anything else they could do.” I always think of this dire situation through the eyes of the patient and his loved ones, but I forget the role of the surgeon and the helplessness he must be feeling. Jesus is the Great Physician and I can imagine the sadness He must feel when all he can do in the hearts of some people is to close the patient back up.
September 18, 2012
It has been a year since one of our older gents from church was widowed and he continues to be somewhat at a loss and grieving. Like many others during their later years of life he says, “I don’t know why I’m still here.” We compassionately accept this thought from the elderly because after years of laboring for the Kingdom we know some of them are feeling tired and they want to go home to be with the Lord. Is it possible that when we are weary we take it upon ourselves to measure our own usefulness to the Lord? “When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.” (2Cor 10:12 b NIV)
September 17, 2012
I get irritated and feel short changed when a speaker opens his presentation with, ‘I really didn’t know what I was going to talk about, but at the last minute I came up with this thought…’ I can’t help but wonder how some of these procrastinators would feel if they arrived at the pearly gates only to learn that the Lord waited until the last minute to come up with a design idea for their place in heaven. “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2 NIV)
September 14, 2012
In my overview of the Minor Prophets I was struck by how patient God is with people and nations. I’ve always felt that if God applied corrective action sooner rather than later, most of us would learn more quickly from our mistakes. However, it just dawned on me that if God were to strike us with lightening at every sinful infraction our obedience would be out of fear, not out of freewill. My focus on God’s seeming slowness in reacting to sin is apparently misdirected. Sinful issues are all around and as a spectator I want to see God smite the offender. However, what I should be looking for and learning from, is God’s grace, patience and mercy towards the offender.
September 13, 2012
The City Council in a neighboring community finds themselves caught between a rock and a hard place over a zoning issue. There is immense political pressure from two opposing factions, one business and the other environmental. Instead of making a decision on the zoning, the Council punted and will put the issue on the April ballot to let the people decide. I was reminded of Biblical characters who also shirked their leadership duties. Aaron let the people decide whether to worship God or a golden calf and Pilate let the crowd decide who should be set free, Jesus or Barabbas. There is no doubt that we can all think of times when the Lord has put us in leadership roles and we relinquished decisions to others by asking, “So what do you think we should do?”.
September 12, 2012
Last week my brother-in-law came to worship at our church and he plans to come back next week. Ray is a believer, however he is not actively a part of any church family. A week from now Ray is schedule for cancer surgery and he knows the Lord has the power to heal, but he also recognizes the power of believer’s prayers. Jesus has told us we are the light of the world, but I’m wondering if we sometimes forget that we also give light to everyone in the house. “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” (Matt 5:14-15 NIV)
September 11, 2012
Eight of the 259 homes lost in the June 2012 High Park fire belonged to firefighters. In a fund raising event for the volunteer fire department one of the wives was talked into baking a pie to be auctioned off, but she lamented that since the fire she’d forgotten how to bake. She went on to explain that her rolling pin, pie plates, oven and her mother’s 1947 cookbook were all burned up. Over the centuries we’ve heard accounts and reports of God’s people being deprived of or even losing the Word. I can only imagine that they too woke up from their catastrophe feeling that they somehow lost the ability to worship. “I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:10-11 NIV)
September 10, 2012
In the current political environment I heard a Hispanic politician ask, “When have you ever seen a Hispanic panhandling or begging?” He went on to say that in his culture it is an embarrassment to the family for anyone to beg. I think he has a point. Hispanics may take advantage of the social services offered in the community, but I have never seen a Hispanic panhandling. I’m reminded of Jesus’ parable of the shrewd manager. The manager was about to lose his position and said to himself, “What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg.” (Luke 16:3 NIV) I’m wondering if the element of being too embarrassed or ashamed to beg has been lost in today’s society.
September 07, 2012
Founder of the Unification Church the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, a self-proclaimed messiah, has died at age 92. I have a classmate who, in her search for God, wound up spending three years in spiritual captivity under the oppression of the Moonies. In the 1980’s Deanna wrote a book, Life Among the Moonies chronicling the dehumanization she witnessed and experienced and how she escaped the cult. If I were in Deanna’s place today I would be rejoicing at the news of Moon’s death – not for the loss of his soul, but that other souls might now be saved from deception. “At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.” (Matt 24:10-11 NIV)
September 06, 2012
A 92 year-old WWII veteran shot and killed an intruder who broke into his home. The elderly man said that he had no fear because his war service gave him the skill and the right to carry a gun, “I aimed right for his heart.” Spiritually speaking I believe we can learn something from this veteran. In our attempts to bring people to Christ we often take aim at their actions, attitude or their apparent lack of salvation. It strikes me that we might be more successful if we took aim at their heart. “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” (Ro10:10 NIV)
September 05, 2012
A portion of Sunday’s sermon was about the lame excuses people make for not going to church. The congregation had a good laugh, because not only have we heard them all before, but some of us have even used them over the years. At the end of the service the preacher asked if there were any additional prayer requests that needed to be made known. A visitor in the back of the room raised her hand. “I know this was mentioned, but I have four young men up on the lake fishing right now and I told them I’d pray that they catch some fish. So I would like to ask that you pray for each boy to catch two fish.” Seriously, I can’t make this stuff up. This appears to be a classic example of a sermon failing to hit its mark. “He who has an ear, let him hear.” (Rev 13:9 NIV)
September 04, 2012
Many years ago my father-in-law (now deceased) had a blood disorder that required blood transfusions. As the transfusions increased in frequency it became apparent that the best he would ever feel would be on the day of the IV and as soon as the transfusion was complete, his energy would begin deteriorating until the next IV. Spiritually speaking the same can be said for me as a believer. The moment I’m no longer being transfused with the Word I begin to deteriorate. “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” (John 15:4 NIV)
September 03, 2012
Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matt 11:28-30 NIV)