Tag Archives: play

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Stops and Steps

Stops and Steps

The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.

Psalm 37:23-24

And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.

Mark 6:31

 

“The stops of a good man are ordered by the Lord as well as his steps.”  —George Mueller

With summer break it is easy for parents to disengage, to go into autopilot and to lesson expectations for their children.  Taking a break is not the same thing as being lazy.  While taking a break is good, we should still have some basic Christian and family life expectations in our homes.

Here are some ideas for students this summer:

  • Take a break from school work, but keep reading the Bible.
  • Take a break from classes, but still attend Sunday School.
  • Take a break from Physical Education, but still exercise prayer and discernment.
  • Take a break from academic teachers, but never stop learning how to live from your parents.

Here are some ideas for parents this summer:

  • Keep structure in the home. While a little more relaxed there should still be a bedtime and wake up time and normal times for meals.
  • Communicate expectations concerning chores. Each child should have several jobs in the home that help you, that add value to them, and gives them a purpose and a role to fulfill in your home.
  • Have limits on media. Vegging out in front of a TV or a small media device for hours on end is unhealthy. Cultivate real people interaction.  Give play time outside.  Try a new sport.  Take a hike or a bike ride. Have friends come over to do more than play video games.  Get a ball and enjoy the weather.
  • Get several interesting books from the bookstore or the library and except your child to read 1 or 2 books during the summer months. Ensure the mind stays sharp!

My prayer is that you will have a safe, fun, and God-honoring summer break!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Time is Busy Time

Summer Time is Busy Time

He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame.  Proverbs 10:5

Do you find the summer months to be extra busy?  With school out of session, most people are out of routines.  Some people get more accomplished, while others get less accomplished.   Some get up earlier to work or play and others remain sleeping!

I see an increase in business for sure.  With brighter sunshine mornings to extended daylight evenings, there seems to be more to do and a little more daylight to do it.

For our church, we see more opportunity to witness and take the Gospel to the households in our community.  In the winter it is more difficult to share door to door with people avoiding opening their doors to talk as it lets the cold in.  The winter is more slippery and I have fallen on ice several times out visiting.

That leaves us the warm weather sun kissed days of summer as the best time to plant the seed of the Word of God, water the fields with the Gospel and see the Lord add to the Harvest.

I encourage you to participate in giving out the Gospel this summer.  Go door to door.  Hand out some tracts.  Bring someone to church with you.

While boating, fishing, camping, hiking, 4 wheeling and more are at their peak – it is also the peak time to do the work of the ministry in telling others about Jesus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Selah

Selah

Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah. Psalm 24:10

Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.  Psalm 39:5

Let the following story sink in and may it rearrange the priorities and worries of your mind today:

“A young and successful executive was traveling down a neighborhood street, going a bit too fast in his new Jaguar. He was watching for kids darting out from between parked cars and slowed down when he thought he saw something. As his car passed, no children appeared. Instead, a brick smashed into the Jag’s side door! He slammed on the brakes and backed the Jag back to the spot where the brick had been thrown. The angry driver then jumped out of the car, grabbed the nearest kid and pushed him up against a parked car shouting, “What was that all about and who are you? Just what are you doing? That’s a new car and that brick you threw is going to cost a lot of money. Why did you do it?”

The young boy was apologetic. “Please, mister, please, I’m sorry but I didn’t know what else to do,” he pleaded. “I threw the brick because no one else would stop” With tears dripping down his face and off his chin, the youth pointed to a spot just around a parked car. “It’s my brother,” he said. “He rolled off the curb and fell out of his wheelchair and I can’t lift him up.” Now sobbing, the boy asked the stunned executive, “Would you please help me get him back into his wheelchair? He’s hurt and he’s too heavy for me.”

Moved beyond words, the driver tried to swallow the rapidly swelling lump in his throat. He hurriedly lifted the handicapped boy back into the wheelchair, then took out a linen handkerchief and dabbed at the fresh scrapes and cuts. A quick look told him everything was going to be okay. “Thank you and may God bless you,” the grateful child told the stranger. Too shook up for words, the man simply watched the boy push his wheelchair-bound brother down the sidewalk toward their home. It was a long, slow walk back to the Jaguar. The damage was very noticeable, but the driver never bothered to repair the dented side door. He kept the dent there to remind him of this message: Don’t go through life so fast that someone has to throw a brick at you to get your attention!”  (min127)

Don’t be so busy with life that you fail to let God have your attention.  The Bible term “Selah” means to “stop and think.”  We need to pause to pray.  We need to stop and read the Bible.  We need to slow down and sit with God a while.

We hustle through life to career and bank account destinations that do not matter.  We miss the joy of the journey to where God is taking us.  We don’t stop to offer help and encouragement like we should.  We may “do” much but are “being” very little in the eyes of the Lord.

May God help us live in such a way that a brick does not have to hit the car of our life so that the Lord could get our attention.  Give God your undivided attention today.  Stop running around after things that matter little and seek to arrange your life with Biblical priorities. It will change your life. Selah.

 

 

 

 

Too Much of a Good Thing

Too Much of a Good Thing

Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.  Proverbs 25:16

Hundreds, perhaps thousands of books have been written about dieting.  Eat this.  Do not eat that.  Stick with Carbs.  Avoid carbs.  Go protein.  No meat.  No bread.  No sugar.  Less starch.  Natural this.  Natural that.

In an effort, not to give medical advice but Bible advice, please note the above verse.  Finding something sweet to eat is ok, but too much of a good thing can cause pain, hurt, and suffering later.  I love Snickers bars, but man cannot live by Snickers bars alone.  It is possible to get too much of a good thing!

The best principle for what and how we eat, what we possess, and how we behave is the word “moderation.”  Having too much of something, even something good, can actually affect the quality of living in a negative way.

Moderation is a term that is unfamiliar to American culture today.  We live in a day of excess.  Excess food. Excess weight.  Excess games.  Excess work.  Excessive riches.  Excessive expectations.  People act as if they deserve the best, they deserve it now, and not many are willing to pay the true price in the present.  That is why many people file bankruptcy and rack up tremendous amounts of credit card debt trying to live a “good life.”  Most are unfamiliar with moderation and a terrible example of this is the national average of debt for the Federal Government per US taxpayer.  It is and astonishing….. $154,161!  (Forbes.com)

Words related to the term “moderation” include:  restraint, self-control, temperance, and balance.  Do these words characterize your life?  How about your relationship?  Finances?  Or even eating candy bars?  Here are three ways “Moderation” can help you today:

  • Moderation Shows –Dependence upon God. When we are not so focused on amassing “stuff” we demonstrate and evident dependence on God.  When we are able to be balanced and not excessive we show that God is able to provide, meet needs, and solve the issues we face.  Having nice things is terrific, but it is not the goal for living the Christian life.  The goal is to be more like Jesus.
  • Moderation Proves – Contentment in the non-tangibles of life. As humans we tend to place value on rare items such as gold, silver, or precious stones.  Bling and glamour are attractive to the human nature.  A person living in moderation may have gold, silver, or precious stones, but does not find these items inherently valuable in themselves.  Value in God’s economy is rooted in faith, hope, and love.  Things that you cannot touch or even hold can actually have greater value than material things.  I like the old saying : “Some people love things and use people; but we really should use things to love people.”

Peace, joy, and hope are worth more than all the things money can buy.  Contentment, fulfillment, and faith cannot be bought but can be uncovered and enjoyed by the person living with a spirit of moderation.  Fighting, longing, and working to achieve excess can actually cause the intangibles to flee away.  Some people own so much stuff, their stuff actually owns them.  Ie.  Some cannot get away from the 2 boats, 5 cars, or 3 retreat cabins and have to spend their time maintaining their stuff.  Immoderate living can be controlling.

  • Moderation Provides – Satisfaction in Spiritual, Emotional, Relational, and Physical ways. The whole person (body, soul, spirit) benefits from the perspective of moderation.  A sigh of relief, a spirit at ease, and a mind at rest are possible – with contentment.

The solution to moderation is truly finding our very contentment, meaning, purpose, and value in Jesus.  It is Jesus – Who is the cause of true satisfaction in living.

How are you doing with moderation?  Do you see balance in your eating and exercise?  Do you see temperance in how you relate to other people?  Are you restrained in finances for earthly things?  Thank the Lord for “good things” while keeping in mind that it is possible to have too much of a good thing!