Friday, September 27, 2013

Blessed to bless

Lord today I thank you for my EVERY blessing

My husband

My Children (Josiah, Judah, Jacob)

Our health

Our church

Our Friends

Our relatives

Our house

Our Modern Kitchen- fridge, dishwasher, 2 microwaves, oven, trash-compactor,  dishes, cups, pans, silver-ware, cooking utensils, toaster, food-processor

Our furniture; 3 couches, rocking chair, dining table, kitchen table, chairs, 4 beds, 4 dressers, tv cabinet

Our “entertainment”- 2  t.v’s, Wii; video-games; IPOD, Cell-phones, 4 computers, 50 plus dvds, 100 plus CD’s;  100 plus books

Our clothing-  more pants, shirts, dresses, shoes, suits, shorts, t-shirts than I can count

Our accessories-  hats, jewelry, neck-ties

Our toiletries- soap, shampoo, detergent, lotions, body-wash, home-cleaners, hair spray, gel, curling iron, strait iron, blow-dryer

Our modern conveniences- washer and dryer, central heat and air, cold or hot food, lawn mower, indoor plumbing; garden tub and shower.

Our overflow- the garage full of junk; a bank account; a savings account

Our 2 cars-

Our Freedoms- Religion, Speech, Pursuit of Happiness, Right to bear arms,  Education

Help me to remember I am blessed in order to be a blessing; not to build bigger barns for myself!

 (all the while the world lives like this)


Now it’s YOUR turn. . .count your many blessings and name them one by one!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

God's Dwelling Place

And the Word became flesh, and did tabernacle among us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of an only begotten of a father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14)
The biblical Feast of Tabernacles begins this week and it always causes me to think about what it means that God “tabernacles” or makes a dwelling place with His people.  For the people of Israel it meant that God showed up and His literal presence (His Glory) dwelt in the holy of holies in the Tabernacle.  God gave this feast as a reminder that He is not a God who is far off and out of reach, but always near at hand when His people need Him.  As Christians we believe that God Himself put on human flesh in the person of Jesus Christ and did dwell among men.  (2 Corinthians 6:16b - As God has said: "I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.")
He dwelt among us for the purpose of teaching us how to live.  How to be Holy.  How to “love thy neighbor as thyself.”   Then He did a strange thing.  He left.  He put His Kingdom into the hands of His disciples and said:
Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.
He is leaving, but He says He will be with us to the end of the age.  How?  If He is leaving, how will He be with us?
Acts 1:8   But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
So He puts His Spirit in us.  (I suppose you could say His Spirit “tabernacles” in us).  Why?
Why do we need to have His Spirit in us?
1 Corinthians 12: 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. 12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. . . 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.
He puts His Spirit in us to make us His body here on earth!  To be His presence on earth!  Again. . .why????
Have you ever had a non-believer ask, “If there is a God then why does the world have so much evil? would a loving God let children starve; wars rage; people suffer?”
Matthew 25:42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.' 44 Then they also will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?' 45 Then He will answer them, saying, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.'
We, His Body, His tabernacle on earth; are not feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, binding up the broken hearted, healing wounds.  It is written clearly for us in the Bible; it is demonstrated perfectly for us in Jesus Christ.  I think it’s time that we became the dwelling place of God in a dark and hurting world.  Faith is active.
Happy Feast of Tabernacles!


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

In a World Gone Mad


The world today has changed.  I watch the news and hear about school shootings, Benghazi, universal health care, and the current economic crisis I wonder, “Has the world gone mad?” It saddens me at times to think my children only know a post 9-1-1 world.  They don’t know the days where schools only held fire and tornado drills and there were no lock-down drills. My kids don’t know a time when it was safe to let and eight year old ride his bicycle four blocks to a friend’s house.  They only know the world where three young girls are taken prisoner by insane sex offenders and locked in a basement for years.  They only know a world where a class full of kindergarten children are murdered at the hand of a young man who has himself 'gone mad".  I think of all of this and begin to lose hope.

I turn off the news and take my boys on a walk to our town library.  When I leave the house I feel turmoil and stress on the inside.  As we begin our walk, that slowly begins to change.  I see my neighbor out working in her garden.  Every summer she passes along some fresh vegetables as we talk over our fence. In a world gone mad, I have neighbors that still care.  We pass the square and I hear the chime of our newly restored clock tower.  I see the Rock-N-Roll soda shop alongside the hardware store.  Even in a troubled economy the people of my small town have supported the local businesses.  I begin to feel a little bit of hope.  In the summer I see people gather together for ‘Tunes at Noon’.  We all live separate lives, but stop long enough to enjoy a noon meal, and bit of entertainment with a neighbor on the town square.  I notice a group of older gentlemen seated outside the barbershop engaged in conversation, probably about old times; enjoying one another’s company.   I wonder “how many years they have been friends” and “would they mind if I joined them?”  Later in the week I attend Sunday services at First Methodist Church.  In a world gone mad our church still holds a Bazzar each fall.  We have Sunday school picnics and sing songs like,  “I’ll fly away”. 

My thoughts go to the annual Fourth of July Celebration.   It seems the whole town comes out for the fair and parade then re-adjourns in the evening to watch the fireworks at the city park.  I remember looking forward to these festivities as a child and now find it almost honoring to share the experience with my own children.  In a world gone mad I live in a place that still says “One nation under God” during the pledge.  My boys attend the same schools that I went to when I was their age.  We have many of the same teachers and staff members twenty five years later.  When I see those same teachers who greeted me as a child, welcome and care for my own children I feel blessed and secure.  In a world gone mad, my children are safe and cared for.  So when the cares of this world become overwhelming then the Lord reminds me that He has led me into green pastures and beside still waters.  On the 12th anniversary of 911 I needed a reminder.  Last Sunday at church we sang a hymn; the pastor promised we would have it in our heads all week.  Thank heaven he was right!  In a world gone mad. . .remember this:

  1. Be not dismayed whate’er betide,
    God will take care of you;
    Beneath His wings of love abide,
    God will take care of you.
    • Refrain:
      God will take care of you,
      Through every day, o’er all the way;
      He will take care of you,
      God will take care of you.
  2. Through days of toil when heart doth fail,
    God will take care of you;
    When dangers fierce your path assail,
    God will take care of you.

  1. All you may need He will provide,
    God will take care of you;
    Nothing you ask will be denied,
    God will take care of you.

  1. No matter what may be the test,
    God will take care of you;
    Lean, weary one, upon His breast,
    God will take care of you.

(Click for the song!)