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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thankful For Little

This week I came across a proverb that goes something like this: He who is not thankful for little, will not be thankful for much.

This reminds me of the Bible verse that says,  “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much" (Luke 16: 10). 

I don't have a lot of readers, but I am thankful for each one of you, and especially for those who take the time to leave a comment and share my posts with others. I am also thankful for Thanksgiving Day so that we can gather with family and friends to enjoy God's bountiful goodness and reflect on all He has done and continues to do for us.

As the year draws to a close, I am making plans to bring about some changes to my blog in the new year. I hope you will continue to visit and be blessed by what God has laid on my heart.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Bring Potato Chips

The following is an email message that was forwarded to me by a friend. As I read it, I was reminded of this verse from Hebrews 13: 2:

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. 

Read on and enjoy

 A little boy wanted to meet God.   He knew it was a long trip to where God lived,
So he packed his suitcase with a bag of potato chips and a six-pack of root beer
and started his journey.

When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old man.   He was sitting in the
park, just staring at some pigeons.   The boy sat down next to him and opened his
suitcase.   He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that
the old man looked hungry, so he offered him some chips.   He gratefully accepted  It and smiled at him.

His smile was so pretty that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered him a
root beer.   Again, he smiled at him.   The boy was delighted!   They sat there all
afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word...

As twilight approached, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to leave;
But before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the
old man, and gave him a hug.   He gave him his biggest smile ever...

When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother was  Surprised by the look of joy on his face.   She asked him, "What did you do today  that made you so happy?"
He replied, "I had lunch with God."   But before his mother could respond, he added,  "You know what?   He's got the most beautiful smile I've ever seen!"

Meanwhile, the old man, also radiant with joy, returned to his home.   His son was
Stunned by the look of peace on his face and he asked, "dad, what did you do today that made you so happy?"
He replied "I ate potato chips in the park with God."   However, before his son
responded, he added, "You know, he's much younger than I expected."

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear,  an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.   People come into our lives for a reason, a season,  or a lifetime!
Embrace all equally!

Have you shown kindness to a stranger lately, or has one shown kindness to you? Why not share it in the comment box below?

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Loss Of Innocence

At what age do children become aware of their nakedness? Seven? Eight? It's usually around that time they begin to want to bathe and dress themselves, while a careful mommy or daddy supervises them. My youngest grandchild is seven, and she hasn't begun to try to bathe herself yet. I'm saying all this to reflect the innocence that young children have, even though the average child will hide herself from a stranger.


All of this ran through my mind during my Bible reading this morning as I read about Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. Many of you know the story.

The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die' "(Genesis 3 : 2 - 3).

Eve disobeyed God and ate from the fruit of the tree that God told them not to eat from. Then she gave some to her husband Adam and he too ate of the fruit. The result was that their eyes were opened and they saw that they were naked. In other words, they lost their innocence. They now had more knowledge than they had before, but sin had entered the world, bringing with it pain, sorrow and death. 

Knowledge is not necessarily a bad thing, but when we look at our world today, we see all the turmoil that has come about as a result of the misuse of knowledge. God wanted to keep us innocent so we would not get hurt, but man in his insatiable desire for knowledge, went against God's wishes. 

But God's story always has a beautiful ending. Even though He banished them from the garden, "The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them" (v 21). Adam and Eve had covered themselves with fig leaves. Those would soon wear out, but the garments of skin signify the robe of righteousness we will one day wear, a covering that will last forever. And, we will have free access to the tree of life.

The book of Revelation tells us, "To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God" (2 : 7).

No matter how old or young you are, you stand naked before God. He sees you, just like He saw Adam and Eve, and He knows everything about you. If you are trying to hide from Him, it won't work. But He is such a gracious God He will gently cover you and protect you, if you will let Him.

Adam caused us to lose our place in the garden of Eden, but we have been restored through the blood of Jesus Christ. Will you thank Him today? 



Monday, November 09, 2015

When They Throw Stones At You

I'm sure you're familiar with the saying, "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words may never hurt me." And, of course, we know that is not true. Words, carelessly spoken, can and do hurt. In fact, while we may get over the pain from sticks and stones, the effects of words may be felt for the rest of our lives.

This thought came to me as I listened to my pastor preach on the martyrdom of Stephen. This follower of Jesus Christ was stoned to death because some of the Jews argued with him but "they could not stand up against his wisdom" (Acts 6: 10). Therefore, they set people up to lie against Stephen and say he blasphemed against God and Moses. This godly man was killed by verbal stones as well as physical ones.

But what impressed me about Stephen is that he forgave those who were stoning him.

Then he fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he fell asleep (Acts 7: 60).

Stephen did not become angry or bitter, but instead, like Jesus, he forgave his executioners. Then the Bible says, "he fell asleep." 

When the Bible says Stephen fell asleep, it means he died, but in the context of unforgiveness or worry, we have trouble falling asleep because we keep mulling over the wrongdoing or the injustice instead of looking up to God, as Stephen did, and forgiving the other person. 

Jesus says,  "For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins" (Matthew 6: 15). 

How do you react when others throw stones at you? Do you retaliate? Seek revenge? Or do you simply forgive? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

How Do Others See You?

 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will - Romans 12: 2.

If you could be a fly on the wall and listen in on your friends speaking about you, what do you think they would be saying? Or, like a commercial of not so long ago, what do you want on your tombstone? I heard this joke about a man who was given the name "Odd" by his parents at birth. This name caused him a lot of teasing during his growing-up years and affected his self-esteem. "Odd" eventually got married and he said to his wife, "When I die, don't write my name on my tombstone, just the year of my birth and the year of my death." He died and his wife followed his instructions. When people passed near his grave, they looked at it, saw no name and remarked, "That's odd."

I hope that brought a chuckle out of you, but seriously, what do you think others say about you behind your back? Do they say you are smart, good-looking, kind, genuine, and fun to be around, or do they say just the opposite? I know there are some people who never have anything good to say about anyone else. After all, the Pharisees found a lot of fault with Jesus, but right-thinking people are usually accurate in summing up someone's character.

As Christians, our Christianity does not begin on Sunday morning and end Sunday night. We have to be circumspect at all times. I once heard a woman address a waitress at a church banquet in such a harsh manner I hung my head in shame. Remember, people are watching us. They see us all dressed up on Sunday morning, Bible in hand, getting into our cars. They also see us at the supermarket, at work and other places. But more important, Jesus is also watching. He sees everything we do, hears everything we say, and He holds us to a higher standard. We represent Him every day. Let's not make Him hang His head in shame.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Mary And Martha

In this last week of my promotion of my book Women For All Seasons I leave you with a post on Mary and Martha, two well known women of the Bible.

I believe in every church there is a woman like Martha. You know, the one you can call on when something needs to get done? She is at every fundraiser, every outreach, every celebration assisting willingly. I believe Martha in the Bible was like that. Hardworking, dependable, hospitable. Her sister Mary, on the other hand, just loved to sit at Jesus' feet and drink from His wellspring of knowledge and wisdom.

On one occasion, the Bible tells us, Jesus came to Bethany where the sisters lived, and went to stay with them, as He always did. Mary took her usual position at Jesus' feet, while Martha busied herself in the kitchen getting everything ready. When she saw that Mary wasn't coming to help her, she went to Jesus and complained, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself ? Tell her to help me!" (Luke 10: 40)

I wonder why Martha didn't address her complaint to Mary herself. Could it be that she secretly blamed Jesus for taking up Mary's time so she couldn't help her? We have to be careful not to get carried away in our zeal to do things for Christ. When we do things for the Lord, we should do them out of our love for Him, not as a duty or as a means of getting praise from others. And we should experience joy and contentment from what we do. Mary was content where she was, at Jesus' feet, but Martha, even though she was hard working, wasn't really content. 

"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things,
but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her"(v 41 - 42).

I believe Martha meant well, but her zeal prevented her from putting things in the proper perspective.  Instead of performing her task joyfully, she grumbled and complained because she didn't have help. Like many of us who are very active in church, at work or in the community, we often complain when we don't have enough help. We may be overburdened, but did we ask for help? Or did we try to do everything ourselves, only to realize that we have taken on more than we can handle? There's nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it. Don't wring your hands and say, "Lord, why me? Do I have to do everything around here?"

If you find yourself overwhelmed by your responsibilities, here are some things you can do:

1. Ask for help. As in the above paragraph, asking for help is nothing to be ashamed of. Read what Moses' father-in-law told him (Exodus 18: 24).

2. Choose the right people. Having people around you who are not suited to the task can cause problems.

3. Learn to delegate responsibility. This will take some of the burden off you, while giving others the chance to show their talents and skills.

4. Be willing to train others. You won't be around forever. You must have someone to take up the mantle when the time comes.

 5. Be content. 1 Timothy 6: 6 says, "But godliness with contentment is great gain."

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Hannah - Barren

In my last post, I wrote about Rachel, Jacob's wife, who was very unhappy in her marriage because of her barrenness. This post deals with Hannah, Elkanah's wife, who was also unhappy in her marriage because of her barrenness. Like Rachel, Hannah's husband also loved her more than he loved his other wife, Peninnah. Elkanah didn't care if Hannah had children or not, but Peninnah taunted her unmercifully until Hannah became so distraught she couldn't eat.

Elkanah tried to comfort her, saying, "Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don't you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don't I mean more to you than ten sons?" (1 Samuel 1: 8).

Hannah decided to do something about her condition, but unlike Rachel, who resorted to schemes and charms, Hannah cried out to God and made Him a vow.

 "O LORD Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant's misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head" (v 11).
So passionate was she in pouring out her heart to God that Eli the priest thought she was drunk.

But Hannah replied, "Not so, my lord," Hannah replied, "I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the LORD (v 15).

Eli blessed her, and she and her husband went home. Hannah conceived and bore a son. Hannah was ecstatic that God had blessed her with a son. She called him Samuel. Many times we pray for something and promise God that we will attend church more, or we will study our Bible more, or increase our giving, only to forget all about our promise when our prayer is answered. 

Hannah kept her promise and gave her son back to God.  The Bible says that after she'd weaned the baby, she took him to Eli just as she'd promised. Samuel went on to become one of the greatest prophets Israel had ever known. But the story doesn't end there.

And the LORD was gracious to Hannah; she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters ( v 21). 

 God rewarded Hannah for her faith. We learn something from Hannah's story. We can never surpass God in our giving. Whatever we give to Him He gives back to us in abundance. 

Luke 6: 38 says, Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."  

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