Tag Archives: fun

Fireworks and Service

When lighting the fire for a bonfire or cookout, as the night sky is lit up tonight with fireworks, or as your kids whirl a sparkler, think about the service that affords us the freedom you are enjoying today.  Someone served to enable today’s celebration.

Jesus, speaking in John 15:13 said, Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.  Of course, Jesus is the ultimate example of servant-hood.

Jesus served the will of God the Father.  In John 6:38 Jesus declared: For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.  If you are a Christian, a follower of Jesus, you too are called to serve God the Father.  Do His will for and in your life.  Find His plan, then do it.

Jesus also served men.  His purpose for dying on the Cross was to save us from our sin.  His mission was a rescue mission.  Our sin separated us from God, and the blood of Jesus was shed to cleans us and cover us of our sin.   When God sees a Christian, He does not see the sin of that person, He sees the righteousness of Jesus!  Amen for that.  Jesus served the interested of mankind in making salvation possible.

We too can serve other people.  The Apostle Paul knew what it was to serve the Lord and serve other people.  He said in Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

By Love.  It was because of the love of God for man that God sent Jesus.  It was because of love that Jesus died on the cross in our place.  We deserved that death.  It was because of love.  Love is the motivator for any service to either God or other people.  Service conducted with love is service that God accepts and that pleases Him.

As we celebrate freedom, take a moment to thank the Lord for His service to you in the Lord Jesus.  Then look for ways that you can serve other people too!

We are the most like Jesus, when we are serving others!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Many Benefits of SNOW!

“Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!”  Wow, with another blizzard type storm pouring snowflakes all around us, I thought it would be fitting to highlight some of the many benefits of snow.

We love the snow.  If is is going to be cold, we might as well have snow!  Here is a short list of the physical benefits of snow:

  1. Snow helps with lessening the amount of molds and pollen in the air.  Our allergy doctor is faithful to assess the amount of snow and how it has impacted seasonal allergies each year.  The more snow, the less seasonal allergic reactions for many people in the Spring.
  2. Snow helps insulate the ground.  Have you ever built an igloo?  One of my favorite things to do as a boy was to build snow forts and “igloos.”  The snow packed structures I built were always warmer inside than outside.  In fact, without snow on the ground, when the temperatures reach below zero, your water pipes are more likely to freeze.  The snow acts as insulation for the ground.  We let our plants and bushes get covered in snow (as long as it is not too heavy to break the plant) because it shields the plant or bush from the extreme cold and wind.
  3. Snow helps the water table.  People who use wells for water understand this.  A good snow fall will slowly be matriculated into the reservoirs of water under the ground.  In Winter seasons where there is not much snow and more rain, the water tables are not restored as effectively because rain in the Winter runs off the cold ground too fast and is not soaked up into the ground soil as well.
  4. Snow changes the pace of life.  Getting “snowed in” causes everyone slow down their pace of life and even stop for a moment or two.  “Pace” is an area I hope to share in another post one day.  With normal schedules adjusted or canceled for snow, it creates a new, temporary space of quiet time and rest that many do not normally factor into their hectic schedule.
  5. Snow is beautiful to watch fall.  We enjoy looking out of windows and seeing the beauty of the snowflakes falling to earth.  In addition, with the right temperatures some snows cling to the trees in such a spectacular fashion creating a “winter wonderland.”
  6. Snow can be utilized to develop a good work ethic in your kids.  When I was a teen and the snow fell, dad sent us out to shovel driveways and sidewalks for our neighbors.  We did not ask if they needed help, we just did it.  This work developed character, made friends of neighbors in the community, and was good exercise.
  7. Snow can be lots of fun.  Snow tubing, sledding, skiing and other winter sports are terrific fun and good exercise.  We normally make some time to go sledding with the kids.  The Wilton Baptist Church front hillside offers a terrific sledding slope.

There are also spiritual benefits of snow.  While the Bible uses the term “snow” 24 times, we will look at just a few here.  Besides with all the snow on the ground, I figured you would have a few extra minutes to read this.  So here are the spiritual benefits:

  • Snow reveals to us that God is in control.
    • The Lord stores up or treasures the snow:  Job 38:22 Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail…
    • The snow is part of God fulfilling His will on the earth. Psalm 148:8 Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling his word…
  • Snow reminds us of God’s deliverance.
    • When the nation of Israel conquered the Promise Land, it was not so much their ability and power, but the power of God.  He delivered them and the enemies were scattered like the wind blowing the snow in a snow storm. Psalm 68:14 When the Almighty scattered kings in it, it was white as snow in Salmon. 
    • In the next snowfall, let it remind you of how the Lord has delivered you.
  • Snow reasons to us God’s common sense.
    • It makes sense that when it snows, it is cold outside.  The snow refreshes the earth at the end of the ground season.  Just like the snow is refreshing, a faithful messenger is also refreshing.  Proverbs 25:13  As the cold of snow in the time of harvest, so is a faithful messenger to them that send him: for he refresheth the soul of his masters.
    • Snow is the summer does not make much sense.  That makes about as much sense as giving honor and prestige to a fool.  Just looking at the people who are famous today it is apparent this common sense has not been followed for a while.  Proverbs 26:1  As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, so honour is not seemly for a fool.
    • Let the snow encourage you to have God’s “common sense” for today.
  • Snow resounds God’s plan for you to “be prepared.”
    • The Proverbs 31 woman is not afraid of the snow.  She is prepared for it.  Proverbs 31:21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
    • She “readied” herself and her household – before the snow.  Having extra fuel, food, and water on hand are good ideas.  The snowblower, shovels, and salt should all be ready ahead of time.
    • The Lord does want us to be aware and prepared for the seasons.  This is also true of the everyday Christian life.  We need to be alert in every season of life.
  • Snow reiterates the forgiveness God has given you.   I love these two verses:
    • When David confessed his sin, God cleaned his life.  Psalm 51:7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
    • Then the Lord reveals how that when He forgives, our lives are viewed by the Lord as being “white as snow.”  Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
    • If you are a Christian, the Lord has forgiven your sin and you have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus.  The purity and cleanness of fresh snow should reiterate in our hearts what God has done in cleansing the sin in our life.  He made you acceptable for Heaven.  Not by your own works but by the work of Jesus on the Cross.  Let the snow remind you of this amazing truth.

So, if you are “snowed in” today, stay warm, stay safe, and stay encouraged in the Lord.  Full disclosure: I really do not like traveling in the snow, especially long trips while it is still coming down.  It is a good time to stay home!  There are many benefits to snow.  Instead of complaining or having a bad attitude, be thankful.  Snow is a wonderful thing that God has given to you today.

 

 

 

 

 

Let the People Praise Thee

Let the People Praise Thee

Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.  Psalm 67:3

Thanksgiving is such a wonderful day each year.  Lots of food. Fun family gatherings. Football games and more eating.  Christmas shopping commences. There are so many things going on that perhaps most people have forgotten what the original intention of Thanksgiving Day was.

Governor Bradford of Massachusetts made the very first Thanksgiving Proclamation in the “New World” of America. He said:

“Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, peas, beans, squashes, and garden vegetables, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as He has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience.

Now I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and ye little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday, November 29th, of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three and the third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock, there to listen to ye pastor and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings.”

Later on George Washington made a similar declaration in the new, United States.  Long before Bradford or Washington, the Psalmist wrote that we should praise the Lord.  More than just one day of the year, we are to give praise and thanksgiving to the Lord.  God is always good!  So, before being filled with food, fun, fellowship, and football, be sure to express appreciation and thanksgiving to God.  It is all because of Him that we have anything good to celebrate anyway.

 

 

 

 

 

I Can’t Wait

I Can’t Wait!

And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee.  Psalm 39:7

You have said it.  You have thought it.  Any young person you have near you has also said it – “I Can’t Wait!”  We can get excited over many things in life.  Looking forward with expectations of good things is natural.

“I can’t wait to see if the Yankees win.”  “I can’t wait for the basketball season to start.” “I can’t wait until the medicine or treatment helps me to feel better.”  “I can’t wait until school is out.”  “I can’t wait until our wedding day!”  “I Can’t wait until I see Jesus.” Or my favorite: “I can’t wait until…. dinner!”   These are common examples.

Make you own “I can’t wait” statement:  I can’t wait _____ _______ ________.

What if we changed our thinking and our perspective a little bit?  Instead of focusing on an event, situation, or outcome, what if we placed our expectation in a person?  Not a spouse (or fiancée). Not a promotion, start of a season, or outcome of a game.  What if our expectation was in Jesus?

In the 13 short verses of Psalm 39, David portrays his need for the Lord.  He declares that his hope is in the Lord.  He mentions controlling his tongue, sorrow, anger, his physical frailty, the vanity of most men, deliverance from evil, the judgment of God, praying to the Lord, and recovering strength in moments of weakness.  He covers a lot of topics in this short chapter!  Right in the middle, in verse 7 he says: “What wait I for?”  It is a good question!  If our hope, expectation, satisfaction and fulfillment is completed in Jesus, what are we really looking forward to in life?  What more can a Christian have if Jesus is truly his “All in All.”

I believe that we should have healthy expectations.  We should be looking ahead and be forward thinking in our mind.  At the same time, while we are looking forward to events and outcomes, we must realize that true fulfillment, peace, and satisfaction does not come from the Yankees winning.  Real satisfaction is not found in relationship, events, or outcomes – but in Christ.

This is what the Apostle Paul meant when he wrote in Colossians 2:10: “And ye are complete in him…”  While the “I can’t wait” things may be good, Jesus is the best.  What more can we find in life if we do not place our hope in Jesus and Jesus alone?  The answer is nothing.  Without Jesus at the center of our life, decisions, and personal satisfaction for living, we will not find true purpose or meaning for life.

The next time you say: “I can’t wait…” look ahead to Jesus for a moment and remind yourself how He is the ultimate goal we are looking for.  Find your fulfillment and completion in Him.

 

 

 

 

Where Do You Find Happiness?

Where Do You Find Happiness?

I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High.

Psalm 9:2

One of my favorite childhood songs from children’s church is called, “Happiness is the Lord.”  Lindsay Terry tells the following story as to how this wonderful song came about.

“Ira F. Stanphill was born in Belview, New Mexico, in 1914. He has written more than 550 songs, the most popular of which are “Mansion over the Hilltop,” “Room at the Cross,” and, of course, “Happiness Is the Lord.”

On any number of occasions the Lord has given a song to a songwriter when he or she least expected it. Such was the case of Ira Stanphill one afternoon in 1974 after he left the church office where he was pastor in Fort Worth, Texas.

The car radio was on, and as he rode along he listened to some commercial programs. Some were sponsored by establishments that advertised their “happy hour” and their alcoholic beverages. He also heard cigarettes being advertised in terms of how they bring happiness.

The word happiness was used several times in the ads. Ira related to me that he thought at the time that “happiness does not come with these things, but with knowing Christ.” He continued, “As this thought really took over my mind I began to sing. I sang a new song, composing words and melody as I drove along. I sang it almost as it is published today.””

The words are accompanied by a cheerful tune.  In it this song says,

Verse 1
Happiness is to know the Savior
Living a life within His favor
Having a change in my behavior
Happiness is the Lord

Verse 2
Happiness is a new creation
Jesus and me in close relation
Having a part in His salvation
Happiness is the Lord

(Bridge)
Real joy is mine
No matter if teardrops start
I’ve found the secret
It’s Jesus in my heart

Verse 3
Happiness is to be forgiven
Living a life that’s worth the livin’
Taking a trip that leads to heaven
Happiness is the Lord

(Ending)
Happiness is the Lord
Happiness is the Lord

No matter what circumstances you find yourself in today, my friend, the Lord is the Who, What, and the Where that you can find real happiness.  In poor health?  Have an overwhelming situation? Are you having a tough time coping with a loss, or a major disappointment?  In the midst of your situation, it is possible to find, peace, contentment, happiness, and gladness.  Like the Psalmist declares in Psalm 126:3, when we count our blessings we can say, “The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.”

“Then I Can Be a Helper”

“Then I Can Be a Helper”

She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.  Proverbs 31:20

Many churches all across the US conducts their own Vacation Bible School during the fleeting summer months.  Thousands of children and families are exposed to the Gospel and taught the Bible in a fun filled way.  Recently Wilton Baptist Church hosted our annual 6 night VBS.   The entire team from the check in people, to the “banker,” the teachers, game and craft leaders and our “mad” scientist did a great job!  We thank the Lord for their work.  A spirit of teamwork and excellence was evident each night.  In fact, it was in many ways our best VBS ever.

Talking to our 5th grader about VBS I suggested that she only has one more year left of VBS.  While the thought of her being “too old” to attend and participate as a student was not that exciting, she simply said: “…Then I can be a helper at VBS.”

I am thankful for her heart of wanting to continue to be involved in VBS.  When things are happening at church, you may notice in your children, they want to be involved.  Kids need to know they belong and their is a place of service and ministry for the, today.  Our kids do not have to “grow up” before serving Jesus.  Part of their “Growing up” is serving Jesus today.

Be encouraged to nurture a spirit of participation in your kids.  They may outgrow certain events, and reach “age limits” for VBS, camp, etc, but they should never outgrow an attitude of wanting to be involved in the work of God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Artificial Earthquake

An Artificial Earthquake

Recently during soccer’s World Cup, Mexico scored a goal against the reigning champion, Germany.  The citizens of Mexico City were celebrating so much that they actually triggered a measurable reaction on the earthquake scale.  The seismic monitoring officials said the celebrants created and “artificial earthquake!” What excitement?!  What earth shaking zeal?!

What if Christians were more excited about being more like Jesus than they were excited about being like the world?  That is what the Apostle Paul is addressing in Galatians 4:18 But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.

I enjoy sports; soccer, baseball, basketball, etc.  But as fun as these sports can be – they are just games.  Just temporary.  Just leather-bound balls of cork or air being chased around a field or court.  That is it. Would God help each of us be more excited about the things of God!  Paul went on to say what this zealously affect would have in verse 19, My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.

Paul wanted to see the Christians be more like Jesus.  That was his goal.  He was not in Galatia when he wrote this letter.  He wanted to be with them at church.  He wanted to preach to them personally, but he was not able to do so for the moment. His goal in his relationship with them was that they would become more like Jesus.

We should not try to cause an artificial earthquake at Bible study or in our church services; but we should be excited about being more like Jesus.  Ask the Lord to give you “zeal according to knowledge!”