“Didn't the LORD make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth.” Malachi2:15. My dear parents, Jan and Don Kern, celebrate 65 years of marriage today. Way back in 1947, WWII had just ended, my Dad, who had been an Ensign in the Navy, returned to marry his sweetheart, the wife of his youth. He was 22, and she had just turned 20. Wow, that seems like babies by today’s standards, but the war had caused them to grow up quickly. It comes as no secret to married people, that marriage is not easy. A man and a woman, from different cultural, educational, emotional, familial, etc. backgrounds, entering into a lifetime covenant relationship with each other and God. Pledging their lives, for richer and poorer, in sickness and health, in good times and bad, till death do them part. Can any of us truly fathom what that means? Divorce rates would prove they don’t. According to Wikipedia, “The median length for a marriage in the US today is 11 years with 90% of all divorces being settled out of court.” I know that my parents went through all those scenarios, included in their vows, and I’m sure like any normal couple, they pondered on what it would be like to not be married at one time or another. But, there was always something more, that commitment not only to each other, but to God. We must all be diligent in protecting our hearts from the arrows of discontent. Sure, there is always something or someone out there that looks more appealing, or as my Dad always said, “The herbage is more verdant on the opposite side of the barrier.”, but the gift of marriage is worth working at. Sure it’s not easy, and it’s not about being deliriously happy 24/7, (like that’s possible), it must be centered and re-centered on God alone. Today I want to thank God for gifting me with such wonderful parents, and ask that He continue to bless them all the days of their married lives. I love you Mom and Dad!! P.S. It’s also my, and my husband’s, 38th Anniversary, so please send any left over blessings our way, God…it‘s a long way to 65!!
Thursday, August 30, 2012
The other day at work, while foraging through the cabinets for a piece of chocolate, I came upon, what I thought was, the mother lode. Up on the highest self, tucked to the side, behind some soup cans, was a shiny, red foil, heart-shaped Fannie May candy box. I now know how the archeologist must have felt when unearthing King Tut’s tomb. The anticipation of biting into one of those delightful confections had my salivary glands kicking into high gear. Alas, when on tip-toes I retrieved the treasure from its hiding place, my heart and glands sunk…the box was empty. Inside, instead of luscious bon bons were 6 crimped brown papers, to which the faint fragrance of chocolate still clung. I had been longing for fulfillment, and a mere sniff was sadly disappointing. God knows the needs of our heart, and is acutely aware that only the substance He offers, will sate us. But yet, on we go rifling through empty wrappers, hoping to find even a tiny morsel. Take it from one who has been on that quest, it’s only when we place our hope, trust and lives in God that we will ever fill that “sweet tooth” longing of our hearts. Keep looking, if you aren’t convinced, but I have found what I had been desiring in Him. “And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:5.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
One of my favorite subjects was genetics. In high school biology I recall learning about Gregor Mendel, the Augustinian friar, who later became known as the founder of this new branch of science. In his experiments, with plants and flowers, he concluded that through pollination, each of the 2 “crossed” plants brought its own set of identities, to the new hybrid variety. For instance crossing a red flower with a white would produce some white, some red and, low and behold, a pink, a hybrid, or mutation of the parents. We can clearly see this in human beings, eye color, skin, height etc. The mother and father each bring unique qualities through their single strands of DNA. The two strands twist together in the newly created individual to form the DNA double helix. Now I don’t claim to be a geneticist, but this much I know; humanly speaking, I am a product of my parent’s DNA. Lately, God has inspired me to consider DNA while pondering my personal relationship with him. Yes, I am a slave to the traits I received from my parents, but God wants to make us into new individuals when we enter into intimate, saving union with him. No, we can’t eliminate frizzy hair or bad vision, instead God gives us His perfect strand of genetic material, Jesus. I imagine it being a third cord intertwined with mine, in essence making me into a new “hybrid” creation. Sure I still look and sound like the original me, but now Christ influences my speech, actions and behaviors. How cool is that!!! Not only am I totally remodeled, but I possess a supernatural strength because of that additional strand. “….a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12. There‘s lots of talk these days about genetic engineering, scientifically manipulating seed and livestock to add desirable characteristics, and eliminate the weaker ones. Well, consider me transformed by my Creator! “What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation.” Galatians 6:15.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Monday, August 27, 2012
Stiff, Stale or Silly. If you ask people, in general, to give a one word description of the church today, I think many would put it into one of the 3 aforementioned categories. Allow me to explain. Stiff: This type of church relies heavily on traditions, rites, ceremonies, clerical garments, doctrines and rules. The worship format is set-in-stone, and if there are any deviations, they are minor indeed. Worshippers sit quietly, following the prescribed formula, responding to the pastor, almost robotically, and exit in much the same way. Stale: Similar to the Stiff church, but slightly more relaxed. The members may have more say in the actual style of the service, but the presentation of the “Word” is dusty, lacking either enthusiasm or joy. Silly: This NEW style church proclaims that it is Relevant, Seeker-Friendly, Casual and Entertaining, proclaiming a warm, fuzzy, Happy-Slappy Jesus who loves and accepts everyone. No need for repentance….Come Visit Us, We Are Here For You!! At their core, I believe all of these organizations have Jesus. The problem is most of the members can’t find him, let alone experience him, through all the stiffness, staleness and silliness. Is there a perfect church? No. As long as there are humans, the church will be imperfect. Does that mean we just throw the whole thing out? Our enemy, Satan, would love that, and we sure don’t want to please him! The author of Hebrews reminds us when he wrote, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing…” Hebrews 10:25. The church that God envisioned for us, is alive, filled with his Holy Spirit, and enthusiastically doing the work that Christ began. In addition, each member is involved in ministry, continuing to grow in the Word, seeking his daily infilling, which all brings glory to God, and credence to the body of Christ. Where do you find yourself today?
Friday, August 24, 2012
Thursday, August 23, 2012
There are days when I feel like I’m losing my marbles. Mundane aggravations at work, with fiends, family or health make for a disjointed mind. I’ll be honest, there are times I try to gather up those tiny glass balls on my own instead of calling Christ in for a consult. Sound familiar? Actually, Jesus doesn’t want to be a number on our emergency, 911-call list, he wants to hard-wire himself into our frail human minds. What an “app“ that would be! Someone cuts me off in traffic, no problem, the app is enabled, and I glide though, unruffled. My husband speaks some words that are, shall I say, less than encouraging, whammo, the indwelling Christ-mind is engaged, and I speak kind, wise words back to him, rather than what my mind had planned. Is this possible? Where can I get this power? At the risk of sounding like an infomercial, yes friends you too can lose your mind and gain his, and it won‘t cost you $19.95 plus shipping and handling. One of the wonderful “perks“ of being a Christian, is the power of thinking his thoughts, and allowing him to direct my actions. It’s like turning over the wheel to Jesus. Remember the old bumper sticker that said, “God is My Co-pilot“? If that‘s the case, you‘re in the wrong seat! There will always be those who will say that I‘m a fool, and have lost my mind. My response is, yes I have! “I’m a fool for Christ, who’s fool are you?” Losing my mind to Christ has been the best decision I’ve ever made. Don’t be afraid, what have you got to lose but “your” mind! “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Philippians 2:5
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
“So anyone who eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily is guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. That is why you should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking the cup. For if you eat the bread or drink the cup without honoring the body of Christ, you are eating and drinking God’s judgment upon yourself. That is why many of you are weak and sick and some have even died.” 1 Cor. 11:27-30. No matter what your doctrinal viewpoint on communion/Eucharist is, one thing stands true, none of today’s celebrations are exactly the same as those in the earliest church, 33-150AD. Scholars agree, that when the “church” gathered for worship, the people began by sharing an actual meal, just like Christ did so many times with his friends. This agape or love-feast, brought the first Christians together in their mutual love of Christ, as well as human fellowship. After the feast, teaching, singing, worship, and finally at the end, bread and wine were shared in remembrance of Christ. Eventually, as the church grew, the feast was dropped, and the emphasis was put on the Eucharist. Paul, in speaking to the church at Corinth, strongly reminded everyone to examine themselves before partaking of the sacred emblems, for physical as well as spiritual reasons. How do we do that? What, then, is the body and blood? At the end of the last supper, a full Passover meal, Jesus took the bread and wine, blessed them, and shared the blessed food with those present, telling them to remember him whenever they shared a meal, not strictly communion. The idea of eating flesh and drinking blood, is horrendous, especially to devout Jews, to whom it was strictly forbidden. Let’s look at it this way; Jesus promises that he will never leave us, and that he longs to make his home inside our bodies, so how can this be accomplished? We all know, that no matter how filling a meal is, our bodies will take the nutrients it needs, and rid itself of the rest. When we “eat” his body, he is asking us to fully “take in”, the knowledge of his humanity. Yes, he was one of us. The blood is the precious life force of any living thing. In his blood-drinking request, Jesus asks us to assimilate his life, making it our own. This is powerful, supernatural information, dear friends, that must be understood fully before we partake. To do anything less, we risk dishonoring Christ, and calling down God’s judgment on our lives, and no one wants to go there! If we consider his human flesh and blood, as members of his body that were separated on the cross, he is simply asking us to put those pieces back together, in essence to “re-member” him. Never forget, He is alive, re-membered seated at the right hand of God, and in all those believers who truly eat, and drink him in.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
“If you should lose your life tonight, do you have the assurance that you will open your eyes in Heaven?” Many a swoopy-haired evangelist has used that baited query to entice people forward during an altar call. Some of you have been in attendance at one of those revival meetings, and heard that age old question. We all want to be sure, but are you? Is it possible to be assured a place in Heaven? While some churches will tell you that salvation is a life-long process involving works, church attendance and repeatedly asking for God’s mercy, I am here to say that if that is the case, then what good did Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension do? Either his sacrificial actions, on our behalf, were sufficient, or he was a liar! There is nothing in between!! Verse after verse of scripture confirms God’s promise to us. The one we all know, John 3:16 says, “"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Or how about John 6:47, “I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.” Did you ever stop to think what the word “believe” means? I can tell you what it isn’t. It’s not blindly following some church doctrine, and hoping for the best at the end. Believing means searching out, for yourself, who Christ is, and making a profession of faith/belief, based on the results of that search. From that point of conversion on, we are to live a life centered in Him. Will there be times we mess up? Absolutely, but unless we flat out reject him, God he is willing to forgive, just don’t make a habit of it. The thief on the cross is my favorite example. He had been watching Jesus as they nailed him to the tree. Perhaps he had even seen him heal a neighbor, or heard him preach a sermon, but he had come to a conclusion about him. He was certain that he was the son of God, and he asked him this, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." And Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." This man, who never did a good deed, wasn’t baptized, or received a sacrament, died with the blessed assurance of paradise, all because he BELIEVED. Can you say the same? Do you really BELIEVE? Are you sure, and assured of your place in paradise?
Monday, August 20, 2012
I have a little book entitled God’s Promises. It is a compilation of all of the promises that God has made to his people for thousands of years. They are categorized by needs and situations that we all find ourselves in. For example, what to do when you are discouraged, worried, lonely, confused or tempted. Perhaps you feel deserted by loved ones, or maybe you find it difficult to understand God’s ways. What about eternity, faith, the Holy Spirit and obedience? Corresponding Bible verses are cited, next to each issue, reconfirming God’s promise. There are hundreds of these encouraging entries, covering virtually every human need. I find it an invaluable addition to my Christian book collection. Promises, made by we humans, can be iffy at best. We tend to forget, lose interest or just get sidetracked. It happens. But, a promise made by our Abba father is a bona fide YES, written in blood, and completed through Jesus. It doesn’t get better than that. What are you wondering about today? Do you have questions for God, but don’t know how or where to look for answers? Go buy yourself one of these books, and start putting Him to the test. Then begin trusting in His word! “For all of God's promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding "Yes!" And through Christ, our "Amen" (which means "Yes") ascends to God for his glory.” 2 Corinthians 1:20.
Friday, August 17, 2012
Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for him. Turning to Philip, he asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do. Philip replied, “Even if we worked for months, we wouldn’t have enough money to feed them!” Then Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up. “There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?” “Tell everyone to sit down,” Jesus said. So they all sat down on the grassy slopes. (The men alone numbered about 5,000.) Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and distributed them to the people. Afterward he did the same with the fish. And they all ate as much as they wanted. After everyone was full, Jesus told his disciples, “Now gather the leftovers, so that nothing is wasted.” So they picked up the pieces and filled twelve baskets with scraps left by the people who had eaten from the five barley loaves. John 6:5-13. We’ve all heard this story many times, but when I read it again, recently, something more struck me. Jesus and his disciples had just made their way across the Sea of Galilee, about a 4 mile cruise. They had spent a full day preaching, and healing, so the enthusiastic throng pursued him eager for more. Most of them had to travel around the lake on foot, about a 10-12 mile journey, but that didn’t discourage them. In those days, people carried satchels in which they placed fruit, bread, olives or dried fish. It had been a long day, their rations were depleted, and they were physically hungry. Jesus asked Philip first, because he was from the area, where they could get some provisions. Philip surveyed the masses, checked his thin wallet, and from his flesh answered, “It ain’t possible!” And he was correct, humanly speaking. Then Andrew brought over a boy with a meager amount of food. He had his doubts, as well, but he’d just been witness to Jesus in action, so he held to the promise of increase. See the difference? Our flesh tells us something is impossible, and it is. Jesus promises us that it can be done. The conflict between the flesh and the promise, can only be overcome by faith. Indeed what happened, when Jesus gave thanks, was miraculous, filling the expectant crowd until they were sated. What are you expecting God to do? Are you stuck in your flesh? Bring what you have, no matter how small, or unattainable to Jesus, and have faith that he will accomplish the impossible!
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Years ago I remember watching a TV show on life in Communist Russia. Back then, practicing a religion, of any kind, was forbidden. However, people still retained the desire to “honor” someone, whether it was a fallen soldier or a dead political figure. A couple was filmed, on their wedding day, laying a wreath at the tomb of one such individual. As they paused in deep, reverent reflection, I wondered what thoughts were going through their minds. The narrator made it clear that these young people had been reared without knowledge of God, but their display revealed a longing to “worship” something. It has been said that God created, in all humans, a universal longing, a void in their souls that can only be filled by a relationship with him. Their action of homage, seemed to confirm that statement. God draws us to him through all that he has created. Who can be so blind not to see him in the Grand Canyon, the Pacific Ocean or a hummingbird? “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” Romans 1:20. People make up all kinds of excuses for avoiding God, however, but it doesn’t let them off the hook. The proof is there for all to see, and believe. Why honor dry bones in a tomb, when the one worthy of all honor and praise broke the cords of death, his and ours, for ever!!
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Math was never my favorite subject, but I do remember the common denominator. The dictionary definition of the term is: 1.Mathematics A quantity into which all the denominators of a set of fractions may be divided without a remainder. For some reason, God brought this term to mind, recently. As I pondered on it, He shared this with me. Christianity has been fractured into “denominations” for centuries. Different groups with varying doctrines, traditions, rules, etc. Each distinct sect, placing emphasis on certain areas, and less on others. Disputes invariably developed between churches, and even within denominations, over what doctrines should be most important. Let’s say it was possible to put together a group, comprised of one representative from each denomination, bringing with them a stack of cards on which are inscribed vital church doctrines. As God seats himself before the assembly, he asks everyone to relinquish one card they can live without. Amidst much grumbling, the process begins. A sense of unity, born from mutual discontent, develops, as one by one religious stuff is reluctantly placed on the table before Him. Hour after hour the process continues, until at last each denomination has only one card left. Exhausted, distraught and bewildered the group focuses on God, as he tenderly asks them, “What do you have left?” One by one, the participants hold up their remaining cards. Tear-streaked faces confirm that on every single one the same thing is written, JESUS. Yes, the Great common denominator is Jesus. As it turns out, we can give up every other invention of man, but never the one who holds the church together. In Jesus’ own words, let’s lay aside our differences, and unite in our common love for him. “I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.” John 17:23
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
"I believe the greatest trick of the devil is not to get us into some sort of evil but rather have us wasting time. This is why the devil tried so hard to get Christians to be religious. If he can sink a man's mind into habit, he will prevent his heart from engaging God." Donald Miller, from Blue Like Jazz. Ouch!! When I read this quote I squirmed in my seat. As they say, “The truth hurts”. Christianity was never supposed to be a “religion”, so much as a way of life. Rules, regulations and laws, didn’t make OT people better, or closer to God, their main function was to point out sin in the hopes that folks would repent of it, and ultimately avoid it. It has been rightly stated that Christians, instead of adhering to rules, should be following the person Jesus Christ. In fact the early church was dubbed, “The Way“, because believers followed the way of Christ. Somewhere along the line well meaning people intervened, deciding that doctrines, dogmas, and specific rules would be handy in controlling the growing number of members. Don’t misunderstand me, order is essential, but not when they hinder us from seeking a personal relationship with God. The law was/is the middle man, the thing that Jesus came to take the place of. Remember, he followed the law all his life, but he knew that it only separated people from the Holiest of Holies. Jesus told this to his followers, "Don't misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose.” Matthew 5:17. Jesus became the sin that had long been the barrier, fulfilling in his flesh, and shed blood what the law never could….Fellowship with God!! Do some thinking about this dear friends. Are you still under the law, or have you allowed Christ to truly set you free?
Monday, August 13, 2012
The “F” word is bantered around so freely today. It can be a noun, verb, adjective or adverb, what a versatile part of our language, indeed! Ha! While I loathe this word, it’s merely a human invention to represent a physical act. What really offends me is the casual manner in which people use Jesus and God’s name, and sometimes times it is Christians doing it! Did you know that devout Jews so honored God’s name, that when writing it on paper, they would throw away the pen that wrote it? Even today, on Jewish websites, the whole name is so precious that it is spelled G_d, for the same reason. Honoring of God, and his name, began in earnest as the 3rd commandment, (not suggestion), “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” Deuteronomy 5:11. I think that’s pretty clear! God passed this same reverence on to the name of his son. As Christians we are called to refrain from coarse language in general, but the misuse of His sacred name, yes even including the innocuous sounding “OMG“, is absolutely inexcusable. The day is fast approaching when EVERYONE will believe, falling to their knees in awe, as that name above all names is proclaimed. “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:10-11. Use his name freely, but make sure it is to bring him praise!
Friday, August 10, 2012
Thursday, August 9, 2012
Unforgiveness is like taking a poison and expecting the other person to die. What a perfect way to explain a very common affliction. We’ve all known people who count the wrongs committed against them, as medals of honor. They lament about the ongoing pain said offences have caused, as they seek out others to commiserate with them. So, what happens to the alleged perpetrator, are they suffering as well? Probably not, in fact they may not even be aware of the violation, or perhaps they have already asked, but were denied forgiveness. Either way, they are poison free and alive. Each day that forgiveness is withheld, another lethal dose is ingested. Scripture tells us, without a doubt, that forgiving is not an option, it is a life-giving command. “But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too." Mark 11:25. Think of the mess we’d be in if God hadn’t extended his forgiveness to us through his son. Get the picture? Forgiving doesn’t come naturally to many of us, but it is essential, and healthy…try it, and for goodness sake, put down that poison!!!
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
“Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to divide people against each other! From now on families will be split apart, three in favor of me, and two against—or two in favor and three against.” Luke 12: 51. This is one of those verses I don’t like. I’d just as soon rip this page out, but the Bible is a take it all, or not at all book. The worst part is the fact that it’s true. When I made the decision to follow Christ, some people were overjoyed, and others, well let’s just say, not so much. Jesus is fully aware that when we profess faith in him, and obediently give ourselves to him, we emerge as new creations. As redesigned individuals we now find themselves at odds with friends, family, in fact anyone who has not made the same decision. It may start off as harmless joking, but can quickly evolve into full-blown animosity. Perhaps it stems from jealousy or the feeling of losing a “partner in crime“, but whatever the reason, it hurts, on both sides. Changing a way of living never comes cheap, or without pain. Maybe you’ve felt this ostracism when you started a diet or exercise program, people will try to sabotage your endeavors, or call you crazy. Jesus knew this from personal experience, when his own family thought he had lost his marbles. It’s one of those dilemmas that threatens to tear apart what is most important to you on earth. But, hold tight, and be of good faith, with perseverance and love, the peace that surpasses all understanding will be ours, and we may even win over some of those naysayers.
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
You‘ve all heard this hypothetical situation before. The scene opens with an angry, militant mob breaking into your home. They are members of a new, godless regime that has taken over our country, demanding that Christians either renounce God or die. You have mere seconds to make your decision, as the leader grabs your child. What do you do? I’ve had this question posed to me many times. I’ve agonized over it, until finally I asked God, “What would you have me do?” I had rationalized that denying Him, with fingers crossed behind my back, wasn’t really a denial, only a ruse to save my, and my family’s skin. It seemed the only “logical” thing to do. God had me look at it beyond my “logic”. The implications of my action, while preserving me for a time, would come back to devour me. My home was henceforth marked as part of the enemy’s camp. I was now, one of them. Even worse, my children had just witnessed me deny God, proving to them that, despite what I had preached, I must believe that He was neither all powerful, nor sovereign. From that day on, our home would be closely monitored, and we must all preach the new godless gospel, or die. To save my skin, I had sold my soul. Was it really worth it? Even if they had killed us, we would have been freed from tyranny, and gained heaven. That’s a very harsh story, and I pray we never have to face such a dilemma, but many Christians, throughout the world, are. Even here, in the land of “In God We Trust”, do we really believe? Is it easier, or more politically correct to follow the majority, leaving Him out of our actions or conversation, in essence denying him? Sadly, for many so-called Christians, it is. None of us wants to feel like the oddball in any life situation, but the truth is, when we choose to follow Christ, we are….get used to it, embrace it! We are proud to brag about our favorite sports team or political candidate, so why do we feel so awkward when it comes to glorifying our Creator? Jesus gives us this to think about, “I tell you the truth, everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, the Son of Man will also acknowledge in the presence of God’s angels. But anyone who denies me here on earth will be denied before God’s angels. Luke 12:8-9. No need for megaphones or pom pons, but do give him the recognition he rightfully deserves.
Monday, August 6, 2012
Friday, August 3, 2012
When you hear the word, expectant, what comes to mind? I’d imagine, for many of us, it would be synonymous with the word pregnant. From the time a woman finds out she is “with child“, until she gives birth, she is said to be “expecting“. Throughout each trimester, the baby grows and develops, until it can sustain life outside of the womb. Like a promise that has been made to her, the mother knows, without a doubt, that at the end of 9 months, she will be holding a baby, a promise come true. Way back in the book of 2 Kings, we encounter an excellent example of expectancy in prayer. To get hold of his disobedient people’s attention, God caused a 3 year-long drought to affect the land. As the end of the suffering was approaching, he called His chosen man, Elijah, to start praying. He had already promised Elijah that it would rain, the man of God just didn’t know exactly when. Now you’d think that a promise made by God would be as good as gold, so why would prayer even be necessary? For the same reason an expectant mother takes vitamins, eats good foods, exercises, and prays, to ensure a healthy, fully mature infant at birth. Elijah and his servant climbed to the top of Mt. Carmel, as he waited for the sound of heavy rain. Seven times he told his servant to look towards the sea for any sign of the promised deluge. After the first 6 times, with nothing on the horizon, instead of giving up, or slacking off, Elijah continued praying, bending down to the ground and putting his face between his knees. Amazingly, this is the very same position a woman in labor took to push her “promise“, that precious child into the world!! Birthing a child is labor, and so too, in many instances, is bringing forth the fruition of a prayer promise. The 7th time the servant reported that “a cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” Elijah got up, “the sky grew black, the wind rose, and a heavy rain came on.” What are you expecting from God? Have you given up on His promise? Have you stopped praying? The church, each one of us, MUST be expectant, and earnestly laboring in prayer to birth those promises into life. 2 Kings 18:41-45
Thursday, August 2, 2012
“If whiskey had the power to cure anything, I could save the world.” Miss Kitty spoke these heartfelt words on a recent episode of Gunsmoke. Out on the Kansas prairie, in the late 1800s, fresh fruits and vegetables were hard to come by, and many normally hardy folks succumbed to scurvy. Doc Adams knew what the cure was, and it wasn’t whiskey, even though the Longbranch had plenty of it. “If” is such a small word, and yet it is similar to a key, one that will unlock a need or promise. For example: If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. Or, if I can save some money I can buy a car, home, new clothes, or an education, etc. We can “if“ our lives away, pining for things seemingly out of our reach. But are they? With some hard work, and action, Doc searched out, and found, the needed vitamin C resources. We also have the ability to save money, and accrue those necessary items. Similarly, there is an “if“, a vital key if you will, to obtaining the most valuable asset in life, SALVATION. There are those who think it can be attained in the following ways: If I do enough good works; If I attend church regularly; If I obey the 10 commandments; if, if, if . Salvation is not something to leave to chance, or to what we think that “if-key“ may be. God offers us the only “if” we need, in the form of faith in his son. It is the key that opens the door to eternal life. Are you sure you have the correct key? If not, Paul instructs us on how to find it when he says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Who doesn’t like to receive a gift, especially an unexpected one? As I get older, I find myself telling people that I don’t need anything, so skip the gift. While it’s true I may not need anything, it doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate gifts on special occasions. Of course there are always those items I’ll never use, tokens that are destined for the closet, resale shop or re-gifting. Sometimes, even those who know me well, don’t know what I can really use and love. Luckily for me, God is the greatest gift-giver ever. Everything He gives is the right color, size and style! Nothing goes in the closet. You know that he gives all his kids these gifts, custom made and designed just for you! Where do you keep yours? I hope not on a shelf collecting dust! These gifts are not meant to be stored, they are designed to be shared. Who would want to hide a fabulous pair of new shoes, or a diamond necklace? No one; we’d be showing those gifts off to everyone, and posting it on Facebook. So it should be with the Gifts of the Spirit. God gives them to each of us individually, tailor-made. What is even more amazing is that the more we use these gifts, the more they keep coming! Talk about the gift that keeps on giving…WOW. Sure beats the fruit of the month club!! Most Christians today think that these gifts are no longer available to them…WRONG!! I am here to remind you that God is still waiting to send them your way. Don’t delay, ask and you will receive!! Paul filled the Corinthians in on them, and his words apply to us as well. “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.” Don’t be afraid to open those packages when they arrive, and USE them!!