Saturday, July 25, 2015

All Lives Matter

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made, your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:13-16 (NIV) If you listen to the news or spend any time at all on social media you know about the riots and demonstrations that have happened in this country. The theme these riots center around is the mantra “Black Lives Matter.” I know I am taking an unpopular stand on this issue but the Bible clearly teaches us that All Lives Matter to Him. In Psalm 139 He tells us He knew us before we were born. He knows us this intimately because He made us.] He did not say He made only one color, or gender and rest came along because of a major boom in the universe. No He said He created each every one of us in His image and He loves all of us. Society tries to pit us against each other by telling us that all whites have something called “White Privilege.” What is this anyway? My God says we all have privilege to be alive and the privilege and opportunity to strive for a better life. I can hear some of you saying, “I don't have the opportunities to make a better life for myself. I was born into poverty and can't get out.” I say, “yes you do.” I was born into poverty and worked my way out of it. I did not say it would be easy. I said you can make your own opportunity. I have learned in my lifetime that anything worth having or doing requires hard work and sacrifice. If you have to work for something it becomes more valuable than something that was just handed to you. When society shuns people because of skin color, gender, or sexual orientation the message is sent that “you are not as valuable or important as I am.” It is not our job to judge other people. That is God's job. We are “fearfully and wonderfully made” by a God that loves us. He thinks we are all special. We are all unique but we do have one thing in common. God loves us all, and to Him all lives matter. He loves us before were were born and His love continues today. In Matthew 5:44 we are instructed to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. He did not say this would be easy but it is necessary if we are His children to do if He lives in us. I remember a song I learned as a child, I dot know who wrote it but its message is relevant to us today: Jesus loves the little children. All the children of the world. Red and yellow; black and white,They are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the children of the world. Who are the children? We are and to Him all lives matter because He loves us all. .

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

` Don't Fall Into That Trap


A heart at peace gives life to the body but envy rots the bones. Proverb s4:30

According to the Cambridge American English Dictionary comparison is defined as an examination of the differences and similarities between persons or things.

I love keeping up with friends and family through social media. In fact I should spend less time\than I do. It's amazing how fast our words and pictures can travel through space. Unfortunately, along with this convenience often opens the door of temptation to compare ourselves with other people's possessions or accomplishments.

I can read about a friend's accomplishments or see their newest possession and feel envy whisper into my ear, “You have worked harder than her for that award or look how old your own car is. You deserve a new car.” There I go getting ensnared by that trap of comparison again.

This trap is nothing new. In fact, it started with the very first family in Genesis. We read about Cain comparing himself to Abel which led to the first murder in human history. Fortunately, I have not literally taken a life because of this trap but I have injured myself by damaging my self esteem and losing confidence in my own abilities as well as damaged relationships.

No, envy is not the only result of the comparison trap. I can compare myself to someone else and hear that old sin of pride whisper in my ear, “See, you are not as bad as she is,” or “aren't you glad you have a better car that she does?” Satan loves it when we let pride step in. After all pride is what led to his downfall.

It is easy to fall into this trap but there are ways we can avoid wallowing in it. The first way to avoid this trap is be thankful for what we have and count our blessings. There will always be someone who is wealthier, more attractive, and more successful than I am. I can choose to be envious and make myself miserable. There will also be people who do not have as much and I can choose to be full of pride and let pride spoil by joy. However, the better choice is to look at what I have and be thankful for the blessing God has already given me. After all, I have a wonderful family, a roof that keeps the warm in winter and cool in the summer, food to eat, and enough money to pay our bills and buy what we need.

Next, we can focus on God and His word. When we are tempted to compare ourselves to others, remember the story of Cain and Abel from the bible. The more grounded we are in His word we will have the tools to resist the snares of comparison. Several verses from the bible deal with comparison and the troubles it can cause. These are just a couple of them.

Galatians 6:4-5 Each of you must examine your own actions. Then you can be proud of your own accomplishment without comparing yourselves to others.

2 Corinthians 10:12 We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves they are not wise.

When we count our own blessings and resist comparing ourselves to others, we are living in God's will for us. Let's not give Satan the opportunity to plant his seeds of envy and pride in our hearts. Remember God has a specific purpose He wants to accomplish through each of us and that plan cannot be accomplished if we are too busy comparing ourselves to others. His plan for me and His plan for you are not the same just as His blessings to each of us are not the same.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Beginning of Hope


When he came to his senses he said, “How many of my father's hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death?” So he got up and went to his father. Luke 15:17,20(a)

We all have problems and circumstances that may or may not be beyond our control. Yes, I admit when troubles come my way, I do not always focus on my Heavenly Father but try to work through the situation in my own strength. Like the son we read about in this parable I have been guilty of wasting my time and money and then feeling sorry for myself.. That is when I feel a nudge from the Holy Spirit, “I am here. Just trust me.”

I once read “the end of yourself is the beginning of hope.” The reason we so often keep hanging on to our hurts, still looking for the solution in our own strength and making little progress is because we haven't yet come to the end our ourselves. We are still trying to control the situation instead of getting out of God's way and letting Him work in us. If we find ourselves at the end of our rope, we should just tie a knot and hang on because that may be the place God wants us so He can strip our pride and accomplish what He wants to do in us and through us.

The prodigal son came to the end of himself when he realized the pigs he was caring for had more to eat than he did. It was then that he decided to go home to his father. Did his father turn him away?: No! He welcomed him back with open arms..That is what our Heavenly Father will do when we come to the ends of ourselves. He will run to meet us with outstretched arms. What a beautiful picture that is. I can just see it in my mind's eye. Can't you? What an awesome God we serve!


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Changing the World


Let there peace on earth and let it begin with me.

When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation. When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn’t change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family. Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.   Unknown Monk 1100 AD

We all have said at one time or another, “If only the world were different....If only this country got back to the basics of life.... I wish the city government would.....” Admit it you have said that and so have I. Well, we cannot change the world, the country or the town. Believe me, if we could we would not please everyone. We cannot even change our family. But there is one thing we can change—ourselves. If we put more time into improving ourselves and less time worrying about others, we would slowly notice the change in other people. If we spent time with God everyday our families would notice the peace that time alone with the Father brings. If we start exercising on a regular basis, we would notice out health improve and so will our families.

A woman was praying to God one day to change her husband. He was not as attentive to her as he once was. The answer was not what she expected to hear. “You cannot change him, only change yourself. Be more attentive to him and expect his behavior to change.” She decided to give it a try. She started meeting him at the door after work and even wore clothes other than her sweat pants she had been cleaning the house in. She would ask him about his day and actually listen to him. She served his favorite dinners and showed him she loved him. To her surprise, he did become more attentive to her and began taking her out more. When their friends noticed the change in their relationship, the wife explained what she had learned. This made a difference in her friends' relationships, as well. She found out that by changing herself, she did manage to change her little corner of the world.

So my friends if you want to see change, it must begin within. Once we have made that change in ourselves, we will notice the change in other people.

Friday, July 3, 2015

God Has a Sense of Humor

God played a joke on me today. I was driving down the road and thanking Him for His creations--clouds, trees, birds, but I did ask Him what purpose He had for creating bugs like spiders, flies, and roaches. Now I did drive with my window down and just about the time I finished talking with God--a BUG flew into my car and hit me on the neck. All I could do was look up and say "OK God, you made your point. You can stop laughing now