Friday, January 18, 2019

WHEN STUFF HAPPENS


I Was Just Thinking About – WHEN STUFF HAPPENS.

There are many times when life seems to be going smoothly when the unexpected and unwanted happens. How one reacts to these times depends upon the reality of one’s faith and confidence in God. For those who have drifted away from this foundational and basic value, will experience being caught in a tidal wave of events one is ill-prepared to grapple with the unexpected…
  • A husband, father and religious leader suddenly becomes an accident victim when a high speed driver collides with his car…
  • A family member has suddenly been stricken with a heart attack and the coping mechanism has not been secured for such an event…
  • A young child with Cancer being treated for six years and dying at eight years of age…
  • A person faithfully seeking to do the Lord’s work is incarcerated unjustly, or killed by a native or national group that is ignorant of or opposed to the Gospel…
  • An uncontrollable fire rages – individuals, homes, churches and businesses are suddenly devoured by the flames…
  • STUFF can and will happen…


Some of the things experienced by the unprepared or ill-prepared can be lesser or greater than the above. It is how one reacts that discloses what one truly believes and that upon which a person stands unshaken. The genuine Christian – though tested - will find refuge and strength in the Lord. When calamity strikes, their thoughts will find refuge and hope in a Biblical passage such as Psalm 91:2, {especially verse 2} – “I will say to the Lord: You are my refuge and fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” These are words to which a friend of mine repairs as he faces the uncertainties of Cancer and the possibilities of it returning.

A Hymn that has often come to my mind in uncertain and crisis situations was written by William F. Lloyd in 1824 - - -
My times are in Thy hand; My God, I wish them there;
My life, my friends, my soul I leave Entirely to Thy care.

My times are in Thy hand; Whatever they may be;
Pleasing or painful, dark or bright, As best may seem to Thee.

My times are in Thy hand, I’ll always trust in Thee;
And, after death, at Thy right hand I shall forever be.

Another Hymn that occurs as I reflect on His Grace, Mercy and Will is was written by Horatius Bonar in 1857 - - -
Thy way, not mine, O Lord, However dark it be!
Lead me by Thine own hand, Choose out the path for me.

Not mine, not mine the choice In things or great or small;
Be Thou my guide, my strength My wisdom, and my all.

Daily living by that which one truly believes is the safest and best coping mechanism. I was prodded to remember this by a devotional that had these words as its summary: “People of faith do not substitute words for actions or pious discussion for personal involvement (Charles R. Swindoll).”

I hope and pray that when the unexpected and/or unwanted happens in your life that you will find your hope and confidence in the Lord alone and always.

Prayerfully – consider these things with me.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

CARING ENOUGH


I Was Just Thinking About – CARING ENOUGH.

One of the significant advertisements was a constant reminder by Hallmark Greeting Card Company – “When You Care Enough To Send The Very Best.” To be a person who “cares enough” is a wonderful privilege to demonstrate that care – not just with loved ones, family and friends – but in an extended way to those who have fallen through the cracks of life or who have been more forgotten than remembered.

I recall a couple of events where I am not certain of the emotional impact one was experiencing when I stopped by to visit. In a hospital room, I visited with an elderly lady who just beamed with gladness when she saw me and I held her hand. She had reverted back to her native language (German) and it proved to be a visit where there was a physical presence but a non-verbal communication prevailed. She was speaking and I could not verbally reply. When I was ready to leave her room, she grasped my hand more firmly and beamed more broadly. It was an incident where “caring enough” was just being there – holding her hand, smiling, and sharing in English some Scripture which she seemed to understand.

There is an important instruction about “caring enough” shared by Paul when he wrote to Timothy – I Timothy 5:3-4 (NLT) – “Take care of any widow who has no one else to care for her. But if she has children or grandchildren, their first responsibility is to show godliness at home and repay their parents by taking care of them. This is something that pleases God.” I wonder about how many – caught up in the culture of our day – pause to think about more than a brief phone call or visit and show “caring enough” to the one or ones who did their best to care for them. Somehow, there needs to be the both/and approach to this whole privilege and opportunity of “caring enough.”

Even at this juncture in my life when it would be nice to experience the “caring enough” of others, there remains the sense of Scripture that emphasizes the need to keep on “caring enough” for others. In James 1:27, is another basic instruction, “Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world (our pernicious culture).”

Another incident involved a person who had been very active and highly capable in most endeavors he undertook. He came to a point where he was in a Hospice Facility. This “manly” man appreciated that I held his hand and shared with him some promises of God, and prayed for him. He, however, interrupted a time or two by asking: “What did I do wrong? Why am I here? What did I do wrong?” I tried to reassure him that he had done nothing wrong. He was there for his own well-being but that fact is not always easy to accept.

Hebrews 6:10-11 (NLT) reminds us, “God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for Him and shown your love to Him by CARING for other believers, as you still do. Our great desire is that you will KEEP ON LOVING OTHERS as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope will come true.” Can you say that you model what it means to show others your “caring enough” commitment? This is a case that entails something more than what you do but who you are. Being there is the best way to show that you are “caring enough” in Jesus’ name.

All of us know widows, orphans, those who are overlooked, some who are unwanted, unneeded, insignificant and uncared for. You can make a difference in a multitude of ways to a cross-section of people. Why not be one who demonstrates “caring enough” for those who need to know that someone cares – and you are that someone? Can you do it? Will you do it? Jesus has loved and cared for you – can you share that possibility toward and for others? Please answer affirmatively and begin to tirelessly “care enough” to do your very best!

Prayerfully – consider these things with me.

Monday, January 14, 2019

COMMUNICATION


I was Just Thinking About – COMMUNICATION.

Any independent thinker will quickly conclude that the government of the United States is highly partisan and obviously dysfunctional. Rather than communication, there is the constant flow of talking points, narratives and misrepresentation. It appears that there needs to be a reform to occur and integrity to be returned. It seems as though the hackneyed comment about one can know whether or not a politician is lying – if one’s lips are moving – they’re lying. How very said that the hackneyed may be actual in the affairs of the nation at this time.

Some years ago, I had a Church Officer who would often state: “What we need around here is more  communication.” He said it with conviction and often. In part, he was referring to some who acted in an official way because of their allowed influence but bypassed the governing board(s) of the Church in the process.  Regrettably, this goes on in many churches. People of wealth and/or influence have become the tail that wags the dog. If anyone doesn’t like it, they are marginalized and disregarded. Integrity, submission to brethren and all things being done decently and in order are ignored by the “powerful” individual(s) and their minions.

How should this impact the genuine Christian. What should govern one’s actions, reactions and communications? In the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:37, Jesus gave the basic instruction about valid communication: “Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ Anything more comes from the evil one.” Similarly, James 5:12 repeats and emphasizes, “Above all…do not swear, not by heaven or earth or by any other oath. Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’ be ‘No’ so that you will not fall under judgment.” This summation by James of the words spoken by Jesus Christ follows a previous instruction in James 1:19-20, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteousness that God desires.”

James is indicating that everyone should be measured in terms of their verbal communications. Why? Proverbs 16:23-24 indicates a reason: “The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious and adds persuasiveness to his lips. Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”

What is the purpose of communication with integrity? What should result from careful verbal expression? Should one’s attitude, personal animus and spirit of negativity be allowed to dominate the narrative and purposeful actions that should receive positive unanimity? It appears that negative voices are like a hollow log – making the most noise. There needs to be a renewed commitment to apply and obey the teachings of Scripture.

Ephesians 4:29 instructs, “Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building up the one in need and bringing grace to those who listen.” The (NLT): “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to others.” Additionally, we are instructed in Colossians 3:16-17 the value and benefit of sanctified communication: “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Are these words descriptive of your words?

Prayerfully – consider these things with me.