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Showing posts from November, 2012

Four churches in one building...sad day....

I saw a sign the other day on a church just down the street from us.  It sort of broke my heart.  It read, "Four churches call this building home".  Now you might not find this very heart-breaking, but let me explain why it tugged at the my heart-strings.  The sad thing is four groups of people have to see things so differently as to need to be four different churches all meeting in the same building.  I wonder how strong the church could be if ALL the members of each of these churches would lay down their "style" or "uniqueness" and just embrace everyone from the "other" congregations as Christ intended?

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!  (Psalm 133:1 KJV)  

You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present…

Are your receptors broken?

Back in the day, before thermometers were a common thing in each medicine cabinet, parents used to "test" their children for fever by placing their lips on the forehead of the child.  It seemed like an odd way to do it since we have seen people repeatedly use their hands laid across the forehead to "evaluate" the feverishness of another.  Yet, it was a pretty doggone accurate process!  More accurate than the hand - and the closest to the true determination of "fever" than anything other than a thermometer.  The lips have a great deal of "sensitivity" receptors which allow them to be pretty accurate at interpreting what touches them.

Post a guard at my mouth, God,set a watch at the door of my lips.  (Psalm 141:3 MSG)
The "sensitivity" receptors of our lips works both ways - affected by what leaves our mouths, and by what touches it!  Maybe this is why David prayed for God to post a guard at his mouth - the entry and exit point for many a…

Walking the Beam

Ever really concentrate on walking a straight line?  Do you know how hard it is to do when you are spending all that time and attention on doing so?  Now, before anyone thinks I have been pulled over for driving under the influence, let me assure you, I have not!  I was just thinking back to when I was in physical education classes doing gymnastics and was up on the balance beam.  Not only did I have to learn to walk "straight", but I had to focus on maintaining perfect balance, as well.  The mind is really good at completing one task at a time - add in others and the brain is capable, but it needs a lot of teaching!  

Train me, God, to walk straight; then I’ll follow your true path.  Put me together, one heart and mind; then, undivided, I’ll worship in joyful fear.  (Psalm 86:11 MSG)

Our passage today starts with our psalmist asking GOD to train him.  First, let's explore the name of God David used here when he makes this request.  The translation used here is that of Jeh…

In the thick of things?

There are certainly times in life when we just feel like we are "in the thick of things" - you know what I mean - so totally "involved" in something that you almost feel "consumed" by whatever it is.  For a soldier, the greatest opportunity for being wounded, or even killed, is when he/she is in the "thick of the battle".  It is the "busiest" or most "active" part of the battle where the soldier has the greatest risk.  The same is true for each of us in life.  The busiest, or most active part of our circumstances places us at the greatest risk.

When I walk into the thick of trouble, keep me alive in the angry turmoil.  With one hand strike my foes, with your other hand save me.  Finish what you started in me, God.  Your love is eternal—don’t quit on me now.  (Psalm 138:7-8 MSG)

Our psalmist is pleading with God, knowing that he will "walk into" the thick of trouble and the angry turmoil.  In essence, he is saying he i…

Interwoven yet?

Do you know someone this holiday season who just seems to struggle through it?  The enjoyment of the "build-up" to the 25th of December just seems to add weight to an already heavy heart?  I imagine if we all look around our circle of friends and acquaintances, we'd probably all be able to identify someone whose heart is breaking because of the extreme loneliness created by past holiday memories no longer even a possibility in their lives because of the loss of a loved one or a relationship riff.  There are those who are under the cloud of misery caused by disease riddling their bodies, and those whose homes were ripped away in the hurricane force winds or washed away in the aftermath of flooding.  We are surrounded by needs - we just need to realize they exist!

It’s better to have a partner than go it alone.  Share the work, share the wealth.  And if one falls down, the other helps, but if there’s no one to help, tough!  Two in a bed warm each other.  Alone, you shiver a…

Follow the Leader anyone?

Do you know the difference between following and leading?  The primary difference is position.  The leader is out front - the followers are moving "behind" the leader, but consistently in the same direction as the leader.  Now, this may seem a little rudimentary to some, but let me assure you, following is a lot tougher than just "getting in line" and "marching on".  If you don't believe me, ask any first grade teacher!  They will surely tell you how hard it is to keep those little one all in a neat row, especially if they are "standing still" for any length of time!  They will wiggle, move out of line, squat on the ground to explore the potato bug crossing in a crack in the sidewalk, or simply fall out of line to go do something else.  I think the same may be true with God in our lives - we line up behind him, but if he stands still for too long according to our estimation of how fast he should be moving, we get a little distracted!

Anyone w…

Jelly anyone?

Have you ever tried to make jelly?  When we look at all those various flavors, colors, and pretty jars all stacked with care on our grocer's shelves, we often forget what goes into making the jelly.  It really is a science - I've tried it!  Some of it tasted pretty good, but I had a few "flops" in the process!  Today, I'd like to share a few lesson I learned in the process.  Pretty jars were all assembled, fresh lids, stock pot filled with water to boil those jars, and sugar all measured out.  Who knew the most important part of making the jelly was not in the "prettiness" of the jar I chose, nor the shininess of the caps which adorned them?  What I learned made the most difference in the jelly was not any of the things I assembled, but the fruit that went into making the jelly!  Who knew?

If you grow a healthy tree, you’ll pick healthy fruit. If you grow a diseased tree, you’ll pick worm-eaten fruit. The fruit tells you about the tree.  (Matthew 12:33 M…

Sing with angels' voices

Every year, there are various awards given to music artists - Grammy awards, Billboard Hall of Fame, GMA Dove awards, etc.  Within each award "group" there are various divisions of honor - best album, best single, top artist, etc.  I will never win such an "honor".  I might sound okay in the shower, but to be able to stand before an audience and belt out a tune, totally on key, and with gusto - that's just not gonna happen.  Most of us fall into this category of "singers" - we sing "okay", but our ability to "make music" is not much to write home about!  Maybe what makes the song we sing so significant is not the perfect tone, but the audience to whom we sing.

Sing songs to God, sing out!  Sing to our King, sing praise!  He’s Lord over earth, so sing your best songs to God.  (Psalm 47:6-7 MSG)

Our psalmist reminds us "who" it is we sing for - God himself.  He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords - as such, we sing for his…

Feet planted - heart soaring!

Sometimes we come across a quote which just grabs us.  Such is the case when I came across this one today:  "Live as if you were to die tomorrow.  Learn as if you were to live forever." (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi)  I may not have originated these words, but they are something which really reflects my heart.  I live for today - because God never assures me I will have tomorrow here on this earth.  I learn for an eternity - because God has assured me I will learn at his feet for all of eternity.  There are certain things worth learning - such things make us stronger, giving us depth and breadth which would otherwise be undiscovered in our lives.

I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and expe…

On a roller-coaster?

Whenever we are holding onto something, or someone, for dear life, we are using a whole lot of effort to hold onto it, as if our very life depended upon not letting go.  In some cases, we are the ones doing the "holding" - simply because we are desperate to not let go.  At others, someone or something else is holding onto us - because to let go would be to experience loss of some kind.  None of us likes to experience loss - no matter how well we are prepared.  Loss is often equated with being "deprived" of something you once had, such as when we mourn the loss of an individual in our lives.  It can also mean an accidental loss of something, much like misplacing something we once were so careful to have been aware of.  Either way, the loss causes us some type of sense of "urgency" and "grief".  Loss is somehow equated with letting go - either consciously, or unconsciously.

“If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God,“I’ll get you out of any …

Seeds of Light and Joy

Seeds are unique to the type of plant from which they come.  You cannot expect to obtain passion fruit from a grapefruit seed, nor tomatoes from a grape seed.  To expect something other than what you plant is silly.  Maybe this is why scripture tells us it is reasonable to expect to harvest what we plant, and we must plant in order to harvest.  The one planting seeds is as significant as the seeds being planted - not to mention "where" the seeds are planted.

Light-seeds are planted in the souls of God’s people, Joy-seeds are planted in good heart-soil.  (Psalm 97:11 MSG)

If God is the planter of the seeds, the harvest is more likely to produce the type of growth which will edify and build us up.  He takes great care in planting just the right seeds which will grow into exactly what we need in order to dispel darkness and to increase our joy.  These two "seeds" referred to in our passage really produce fruit beyond what we may realize at the first blush - probably bec…

Fritter not!

Are you a "fritterer"?  You know, someone who sees time slip through their fingers, then wonders where it went?  To fritter means to allow something to slip away little by little.  It is unlike a glass slipping from our hand and shattering on the ground because we had wet hands when we tried to hold it. In this case, were were unprepared to hold the glass securely, so it slipped and we were full conscious of it slipping.  To fritter a glass out of your hand is kind of like dozing off with a glass of water in your hand.  Slowly, little by little, the glass tips ever so slightly.  Then it tips a little more, and a little more.  Then in the next short passage of time, the glass lays on its side, contents flowing freely from it.  We can remain asleep, unaware of the contents being spilled, or the condition of our "hand" which "relaxed" its grip and allowed the spillage to occur.

A life frittered away disgusts God; he loves those who run straight for the finish…