Thursday, November 23, 2017

BEING THANKFUL

I Was Just Thinking About – BEING THANKFUL
There is a verse that reminds us when we should be thankful. I Thessalonians 5:18, “Give thanks in every circumstance, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” If we set out to prepare a list of all the things for which we should give thanks, it would (should) be long, detailed and extensive. Some hints are contained in a Hymn written in 1891 by August L. Storm – Thanks To God. The second stanza shares:
Thanks for prayers that Thou hast answered,
Thanks for what Thou dost deny!
Thanks for storms that I have weathered,
Thanks for all Thou dost supply!
Thanks for pain, and thanks for pleasure,
Thanks for comfort in despair!
Thanks for grace that none can measure,
Thanks for love beyond compare!
I have a friend whose wife died this past month. I sent him a note this morning wishing him a Happy Thanksgiving. The note included the fact that our circumstances can change abruptly, permanently, but God does not – He remains faithful and will surround the grieving soul with His presence, comfort and peace. One Hymn that was in mind – Be Still, My Soul – contains this line: “In every change, He faithful will remain.” In another stanza are these words:
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

In some situations, one is at a loss of words. A friend’s daughter suddenly abandons her husband, children and family to take up living with a stranger. What salve can be applied to that pain and heartache? The fact that there is a balm in Gilead is helpful but not easy to remember or apply. What can be said to a family who has a child who suddenly became ill with a debilitating malady (cancer) when he was 2 years of age and now have heard that he probably cannot survive? We have prayed to The Intercessor, Jesus Christ, in behalf of this child but matters seem to have gotten worse rather than better. The family may be sensing that reality and had their church representative come to the Hospital Room (Chapel) for the child’s Confirmation and First Communion. What words can cheer those troubled, concerned and desperate parents? In 1923, Thomas O. Chisholm composed the Hymn containing these words in the Refrain: “Morning by morning new mercies I see. All I have needed Thy hand hath provided; Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!”


Prayerfully – consider these things with me!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

BEING AFRAID

I Was Just Thinking About – BEING AFRAID.

Many people innately have fears of one sort or another. For instance, most children demonstrate fear of the darkness. Most people are apprehensive about the unknowns. Having to go to a new place or new environment can include an aspect of being afraid. I often think of the missionaries in remote places of this world. They are sent to learn unknown languages and different cultures so the Gospel can be made known. When doing so, there are tribal customs that can pose some level of danger – and yet – they go with a sense of mission and purpose.

It would be good to know the full circumstances of David when he reflected on his life and where he was at the moment when the words recorded in Psalm 23 flowed from his heart, soul and mind as he penned the very helpful words recorded there. As a shepherd himself in his youth, it’s easy to understand how the Psalm begins: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” Or as a paraphraser interpreted it: “Because the Lord is my shepherd, I have everything that I need.” But then, David introduces the thought (Vs. 4): “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for the Lord is with me.” The NLT paraphrases this verse: “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.”

One of the favorite songs that was often requested by a child during our Sunday Evening Service was written by Amy Grant and based upon Psalm 119:105,
Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.
When I feel afraid,
Think I've lost my way,
Still you're there right beside me.
And nothing will I fear
As long as you are near.
Please be near me to the end.
Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.
To know and believe these words should result in great comfort and confidence. To remember to implement them in one’s personal experiences with the uncertainties that come, should result in peace and contentment.

Jesus cut to the core of one’s thinking and fears when He said to His disciples who were desperate and filled with panic during a violent storm, Mark:4:35-41, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith? And they were filled with great fear and said to one another: Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” Do you wonder what He would say to you and me personally as our fears about the uncertain cause us to have a sense of desperation and panic? Read what He said to His disciples for your definitive answer.

Prayerfully – consider these things with me.




Tuesday, November 21, 2017

TWO-TENTHS

I Was Just Thinking About – TWO-TENTHS.

Life expectancy is dependent on the heart-beat of an individual. It is a simple logical conclusion that if the heart stops beating, life is ended. It’s a given that medically life is measured by the brain. When functionality has ceased, a person is pronounced dead. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention give leading causes of death. “In 2015, the 10 leading causes of death (heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, unintentional injuries, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, kidney disease, and suicide). The 10 leading causes accounted for 74.2% of all deaths in the United States in 2015. Surprisingly, there are two other causes that are often overlooked, namely, foolishness and defiance.

I live in an area where two busy highways intersect. The four-lane road has a speed reduction requirement and the two-lane road has a full stop requirement. For a variety of reasons, that intersection was the scene of several accidents, injuries and deaths. The State finally stepped in with a remedy that so far seems to be working well. The local citizens objected and the arm-chair engineers offered their solution. However, the State proceeded with their plan. The two-lane crossing the four-lane no longer exists. Safe turn-arounds are well marked and concrete guidelines, along with signs indicate where one can safely drive and turn.

That’s where this two-tenths enters, along with foolishness and defiance. Some citizens are failing to follow the well-marked guidelines. Some drive across the Median whereas others drive over the concrete. No U-Turn signs are clearly posted but that does not deter the foolish, defiant or stubborn. After all, they have their rights, don’t they? They don’t have to follow the law or conduct themselves wisely and safely, do they?

A question that should be considered is what is one’s life worth? Is it worth two-tenths. What about the safety of others? What about the cost of a fine for disobeying the Law? In context, all a person has to do to be safer and legal is to drive two-tenths of a mile out of their way. How long does it take to drive two-tenths of a mile? Maybe 15 seconds!

There is an obvious spiritual application here. Why do people push the envelope when it comes to God’s Law and instruction? James 2:10 states: “Whoever keeps the whole Law but stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” The NLT plainly indicates: For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws.” It seems as though we are becoming a stubborn and rebellious generation (See: Psalm 78:8). Nehemiah 9:29 (NLT) states: “You warned them to return to your Law, but they became proud and obstinate and disobeyed your commands. They did not follow your regulations, by which people will find life if only they obey. They stubbornly turned their backs on you and refused to listen.” Is this what the behavior of this nation is becoming?

Prayerfully – consider these things with me!
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Thursday, November 16, 2017

THE AGE OF AGING

I Was Just Thinking About – THE AGE OF AGING.

Every tick of the clock and every heart beat can serve as a reminder that our lives are constantly in a state of change. We move from infancy to old age rapidly. We notice some of physical changes when aches and pains become more of a reality. One can replace knees and hips. While that removes some pain or discomfort it also introduces one to some degree of less functionality. With knee replacement, there is less of an ability to comfortably kneel (unless one has padding on the knees). For those experiencing arthritis, fluidness in motion is irretrievably lost. There is a gradual loss of hearing and one’s vision begins to dim. The teeth and gums can become impacted and need major care. These and many other indicators become apparent as aging occurs.

The Bible addresses the subject of the life span and aging. James 4:14 expresses it: “What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” In an expanded way regarding life as a mist, Psalm 90:10 defines it: “Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.” In II Corinthians 4:16, Paul shares: “Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.

Chuck Dolph wrote an article on “Thank God for Aging” that was published in Torch Magazine and stated: “If we live long enough, we will lose our beauty, our strength, our wealth, our independence, the control of our bodily functions, our pride, and perhaps our very self. These are our idols, all the things that we trust in life to make us attractive, valuable, and self-sufficient.” How should the Biblical Christian view aging? There are some who wish they could resist and prevent it – but – they can’t. Do, what should one do and how should one deal with the reality of aging? Proverbs 16:31(NKJV) reminds us: “The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, if it is found in the way of righteousness.”

Within individual families, as well as in The Body of Christ – The Church, there should be an acceptance of the aged and treating the same with respect and dignity. Too often, the aging/elderly are tolerated rather than being viewed as a significant person with whom and for whom God has an ongoing purpose. Don’t ignore them but rather include them. 

In Isaiah 46:4 (NLT), The Lord reminds His own: “I will be your God throughout your lifetime until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.” There is also a word of guidance in 1 Timothy 5:1-2 (ESV) “Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.” I know of some who need to take these words to heart – NOW! These are God’s words that He wants us all to obey and implement.

Prayerfully – consider these things with me.
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