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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

My Wife Has a Dress Just Like Yours




"New Dress"
Wearing hand-me down clothing has never bothered me. 

When I was a teen, my two cousins sent us a box of nice sweaters, and skirts they had outgrown. 

Mother was a whiz at making adjustments to fit our skinny frames, so my sister and I enjoyed a new winter wardrobe. 

Time passed and one Sunday at church, the Pastor’s wife took me aside and asked if I would be offended if she offered me a nice dress that no longer fit her.  I was very happy to say “Yes,” because at that time, my Sunday outfits were meager. 

She handed me a paper sack with the dress inside and I thanked her for her kindness.

The next Sunday, I proudly wore my new dress to church.

At the end of the service we were in line to shake the Pastors hand, and he looked at me and exclaimed, “My wife has a dress just like yours.”

I could not help it, and decided to have some fun.  I laughed as I replied, “This was her dress, but now it is mine.”

By now Pastor was embarrassed and was apologizing profusely for his slip of the tongue.

These days, I have more dresses and clothes than I need, and often find it necessary to hand-down some of my many things to our local organizations.
~ ~ ~

As I considered how this story might apply to our Christian life, I realized that when we accept Jesus as our Personal Savior, He makes us into a brand NEW creation.  He creates in us a NEW heart with new desires and goals.

Jesus places upon our shoulders,  the NEW royal robe of His righteousness and gives to us NEW garments of praise equipping us with brand NEW protection armor including NEW shoes of the gospel of peace.

In Christ Jesus our spirit is made NEW, and old things have passed away, our past sins are gone, never to be remembered by God anymore.

His mercies are NEW every morning and we are blessed.

So if you have some old spiritual hand-me downs in your religious closet, it is time for a good house cleaning.  Time to get rid of self pity, fear, reminders of abuse, guilt and oppression from the past.

Don’t hand them down to anyone else, but throw them into the junk burn pile and turn your back on them.

Face the Giver of life who offers you abundant grace to live life NEW in Him
 

2 CORINTHIANS 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have
passed away; behold, all things have become new. 


 

 

 

 

 





Sunday, November 23, 2014

Here Comes the Judge



Dividing the Sheep from the Goats
 
Pastor Jerry was reading from Matthew 25:31-46,  Jesus was giving a teaching about the final Judgment and that the Son of Man Will Judge the Nations dividing the sheep from the goats; Sheep to the right and goats to the left.

After the division, Jesus spoke about the sheep giving Him food and drink when he was hungry and thirsty, caring for him when he was sick, clothing him, and visiting him in prison. They could not remember doing this, but Jesus said unto them,

Matthew 25: 40 ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ Enter into the joys of the Lord.

Those on the left were told they had NOT given him food and drink when he was hungry and thirsty or cared for him.  These also could not remember passing Him by, and asked when did we not do this? Because you did NOT attend to the least of these, you did not do it unto me,

And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

This was a strange story and a metaphor standing for man redeemed and saved, and man condemned and lost. 
 
A casual reading might suggest that good works earn salvation, but the good works mentioned in the parable are not the cause of salvation but the effect of salvation.
 
Doing good to others, because of Jesus living inside of us, is part of our relationship experience with Jesus.  Jesus present in our lives reaches out to hurting people.

Pastor stated:  To be honest, it is harder to be compassionate to those we don’t know or those we don’t like very much.

The Jews knew about sheep and goats.  Sheep are mentioned 500 times in the Bible and goats a few times.  It was necessary at night to divide the sheep from the goats.  Goats has less fur and needed to be kept warm.  The goats are playful, independent and don’t like to be herded, and are not easily led. They are not good followers.

Sheep symbolize God’s people, and need a shepherd to care for them. 

Jesus was our sacrificial Lamb of God.  Abraham was to sacrifice Isaac, but God sent a ram (sheep) to redeem Isaac and take his place.

Consider:  How do you picture Jesus Christ?

He is the Good Shepherd and left the 99 to search for a lost lamb.

He is the healer, he stills the storm, is the tender teacher, and a friend.

We don’t like to picture Jesus as the Judge.  However we loose something if we fail to see Him as the Judge.

As parents we want the best for our children, but at times we have found it necessary to apply discipline because we love our kids.

Ten virgins were present at a wedding, five were prepared with additional oil for their lamps, but the other five were not ready and were severely punished.

Judgment is sure, we just do not know the date or the hour. Many have predicted the time with dates, but they were sincerely wrong.  Jesus said, “Don’t do that, because only the Father knows the day the Son will return.

How does God know the difference between the sheep and the goats?

He alone can look at our hearts and view our choices and our decision to receive Jesus as Lord.

If you have not done so, please make that choice today, because today is the day of salvation, and the Kingdom of God will be within you.
 
 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Rooted and Grounded


Our Oak Tree had shallow Roots
 
 
Through the night we enjoyed a light soaking rain, but what we viewed the next morning came as a complete surprise.

Our giant oak tree next to our mobile home, had toppled over and hit our propane tank. 

Fortunately it did no permanent damage, only moving it a few inches off its base.

If the tree had fallen the other way, perhaps the roof of our home would have been victim of its destruction. 

The shallow roots of our tree were dead and the tree had no stability.  The damp ground simply gave away allowing it to fall.
~ ~ ~

I was reminded that in life it is important to be rooted and grounded in Christ Jesus. 

Of central importance is allowing our Spiritual roots to sink deep into the Word of God.  Also it is necessary to become one with Christ by an intimate personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Next is the significance to align ourselves with a Bible Believing Church where we can gather and receive support.  A place where we can set down our roots of community with other believers of like precious faith.

Ephesians_3:17  That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

Colossians _2:7  Rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

 
Enjoy these Exerts from God's Word Today,

Perhaps the best-known example Jesus gave is the parable of the sower and the seed. Once again we see the importance of our connection with the Lord himself-how we need to be rooted securely in him to sustain life and bear fruit:

"Some of the seed landed on rocky ground where it had little soil; it sprouted immediately because the soil had no depth. Then, when the sun rose and scorched it, it began to wither for lack of roots" (Mark 4:5-6).

These seeds put down roots, and the roots struggled to find anchorage, but the soil was rocky. Finally the plant withered and died, because the roots found no source of water and nutrients.

As Jesus explained, "Those sown on rocky ground are people who on listening to the word accept it joyfully at the outset. Being rootless, they last only a while. When some pressure or persecution overtakes them because of the word, they falter" (Mark 4:16-17). Thus we see how important it is that we strike root deep in the Lord, being anchored firmly in faith, and sustained by our fellowship with him.

One of the most effective ways we can be rooted in Christ is to immerse ourselves in his word. When you read and study Scripture, remember that it is a lifeline with the Lord. You are striking your roots deeper and deeper into good life-giving soil and drinking from the living waters: "Happy the man who... delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on his law day and night. He is like a tree planted near running water, that yields its fruit in due season, whose leaves never fade" (Psalm 1:1, 2-3).

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Put Up Your Dukes



 

My brother was a quiet child and kept to himself most of the time. 

The boys at school would bully him regularly so one day my dad decided to take action.

“We are going to teach Allen how to fight,” said my dad.

“Come here, Hazel and put up your dukes.” 

I always obeyed my dad, so I did as I was told. 

“Okay, Allen get over here and let’s practice boxing.”

I wasn’t about to suffer getting hit by my brother, so I hauled off and smacked him a hard one, right on his nose, which began to profusely bleed.

The fight was over for that day, and I was never called back into fight duty after that. 

I think my mother must have had a talk with Dad because a stop was put on the fight lessons.
~ ~ ~
 
In life there are times when you must “Put up your dukes.”  Yes, even times when to protect yourself and your family you must fight.  Usually it is a fight of words, or a letter, or a legal battle in court.

 
In our Spiritual walk, we must also learn to fight our spiritual enemy old Satan, for he comes to lie, steal, destroy and even kill if he can.

 
Put on your spiritual armor, and especially the head gear, because the toughest battles are in your mind. 

Cover those negative thoughts with the blood of Jesus and replace them with praise that God is already at work on your behalf.


Watch yourself that you do not try to fight fire with fire, because pay back will only make things worse. 

Let God come along side of you and bring Wisdom with Him for you.

God will avenge you in ways that you have not thought of, so expect to be surprised when He steps up to fight for you. 
 
2 Chronicles  20:17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.
 



 

 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

What Do We Fear?


Fear Has Torment
 
I was taking notes on the Sunday sermon as Pastor Jerry was reading from the 25th Chapter of Matthew about the parable of the Talents; Three slaves given, Five, Two and One talent apiece.

Matthew 25:24 “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’ 30And he commanded to cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

The perplexing thing with the third slave was his fear and the terror of outer darkness.

Jesus gave this story as a metaphor about the Kingdom of God and spiritual gifts.

Each of the Master’s talent was valued at about two year’s wages, and the responsibility placed upon the servants was great.  The Master trusted his slaves to invest his money wisely.  Two servants doubled the Master’s money, but the third to be save, hid his because he was afraid.

In today’s economy we place our trust in our bank, pension systems, Social Security and our Government.  Yet the stock markets plummet, and banks fail leaving us with fear.

The disciples of Jesus had fears just to survive with no thought of pension plans.

Pastor told a story about a little girl asking her grandmother, “When bad people die do they go to the place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth? GM said, “Yes.”  The girl said, “What if they don’t have any teeth?  GM said, “God will give them new teeth to gnash.

The Jewish people had many fears and Jesus often commanded them to fear not and do not be afraid.

The Spiritual leaders were afraid of Jesus and his large following.

This Gospel text is about fears and using your talents.

The generous master entrusted his wealth to his slaves.  God is our Master and he has given us talents or gifts, to some one or two and to others a larger amount.  He trusts us to use our talents to serve His kingdom.

Jesus talks a lot about money, and we have strong fears about money especially when we are asked to part with some of our hard earned cash.

In 1999 there was great fear about the year turning over to 2000 and what would happen to the computers, but we heaved a sigh when nothing occurred. 

Two years after there was a huge financial spin in Asia and the biggest bank in the world closed.

The word ability and gift is the same word as talent.  Why do we fear? 

God entrusts each of us with precious gifts.  Sometimes throughout life there is a change and we have different gifts.  There are many Spiritual gifts and some take more “RISK” than others.

Our hope is in Jesus and he expects us to use what He has given us.  We never know when we will be called to accountancy.

We are often worry and are afraid. We’re afraid that we will offend. We’re afraid that we may be laughed at; yet we have the promise that Jesus is there with us as we use our gifts.

So worry warts, do not be afraid – let us go forth and use our talents for God.  Be willing to take a risk for God is over all.

 


Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Barren Woman


 
Why or Why?
 
Sing, O barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor. —Isaiah 54:1

Isaiah could say that about one who longed for a special touch, a breakthrough, or vindication, and that's God's word for you. Do not be afraid. You will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace. You will not be humiliated.

My friend had an angry look on her face in fact she was hopping mad. 

She vented at me, “I don’t see why those girl friends of mine are having babies and I can’t seem to get pregnant for the life of me. I hate them!”

My friend had been married for several years, and desiring a child was not a secret she kept with in her breast.

As I stared blankly at her, the Lord spoke to me a simple “message” to say to her.

With trepidation I spoke up and said with a calm voice, “You are just going to have to forgive your friends.”

She grabbed her stomach as if I had given her a gut punch.  Then she relaxed. 

“You are right, but I guess I didn’t realize I was harboring such hostility toward them.”

My friend never did get pregnant, but when her marriage failed, she later married a widower who had three young girls. 

His daughters knew he was lonely and they suggested he join a dating service, which he did. 

The way they met was not the method I would suggest, but it worked out great for both of them.

Last time I heard from her, our barren women is now a grandmother.
 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In life as we look at ourselves, are we unhappy because others are thinner than me, married and I am still single, drive a nicer car, are richer than me?

If we are embracing similar unpleasant thoughts, perhaps we need to do some forgiving of others, and then give thanks for what we do have.

Philippians 4:11  Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

Hebrews_13:5  Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
 
 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Baby Sleep Patterns



Nite Nite - Sleep Tight
 
Beginning at about 6 weeks, you can reinforce your child's biological rhythms by establishing a regular bedtime routine.
 
At about the same time every night, for instance, give him a warm bath, read him a book, and then feed him before putting him to bed. (For more ideas, see the article on bedtime routines.) Try to get your baby up at around the same time every morning and put him down for naps at the same point in the day.

Newborns may genuinely need a close warm loved one to help them make the transition to sleep.

But many parents neglect to allow their own habits to change as their babies develop. They continue to hold their babies as they fall asleep, never even giving them a chance to begin to learn how to sleep on their own.

If you’re holding, rocking, or feeding a baby while he falls asleep, the baby—guaranteed—will wake up again later that night after you sneak away. He will need you to come back and resume holding, rocking, or whatever to ease him back to sleep.

The concept here is “independent sleep associations,” referring to the kinds of things we’re used to having around as cues to help us fall asleep. It would be very hard for most of us to fall asleep without a pillow—because we’re used to having a pillow when we fall asleep. And if someone were to steal your pillow in the middle of the night, you can bet you’d wake up quick.

If your baby depends on you as a sleep association, she will not stay asleep if you leave the room. You’ve got to camp out all night. Maybe that’s what you want to do.

But if you’d like to have your own nighttime for yourself and your spouse, you cannot be a sleep association for your baby.

I’ll make it simple with some good rules of thumb: by two months of age, you should sometimes be putting your baby down when awake; by four months of age, you should usually be putting your baby down awake; by six months of age, always put your baby down while awake. If you never try, it will never work. It does not get easier to start working on these independent sleep associations as babies get older.

So what do you do when your baby isn’t falling asleep on her own? Follow the plan, and keep it simple. Put your baby down with confidence and no apologies. Say “Good night, honey, I will see you tomorrow.” Then leave.

Do not go and check every few minutes—that teaches your baby that hysterics will bring mommy in running. The lesson here is: it is night, you are in your bed. It is time for sleep. This is the way it is. Now, you cannot make a child sleep—but you can control your own reactions.

When Junior learns that this is the way it is, the crying stops, and the sleeping begins. Keep in mind that the older your baby is when you start this, the more stubborn she will be, and the longer she will cry.

There are genuinely times when tough love is needed.