I’m sure you all know who Gene Autry is. Most of is remember him as the singing cowboy of the movies and tv. What some may not know is he was also the owner of a MLB team. I learned this while watching a special about his life.
In this special many stories were told about Autry. The one that stuck out to me was recounted by a former baseball business associate. He said that when folks met Autry they were expecting him to be like he was on the screen: honest, friendly, and a regular Joe-type. He then said they weren’t disappointed when they met him; he was just like that. Then he illustrated the point by telling of a time when a pitcher in a big game was just getting hammered by the other team. When they pulled the pitcher from the game he was being shouted at and called names. Autry stood up and said “Well bless his heart” feeling badly for the player. Yes, he was always who he was, no putting on airs about him.
Have you ever considered how you, as a child of God, are watched by the world? Do you think they are looking to see how you act away from church and your Christian family? Sure they are. It was once said if Christian people acted like they do on Sunday mornings Monday at work the Word would have a greater impact on the non-Christian, making them to wonder just what you have that they don’t.
Psalm 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.
I’ve been reflecting on last year a bit the last few days. I know most folks do this a little closer to New Year’s Day, but it’s taken me a little longer to get my thoughts in order on this subject.
At first, I had agreed with a friend that 2009 wasn’t a banner year. I don’t recall my reasoning behind that conclusion at the moment. But that was what I initially concluded.
Over these last few weeks God has brought to mind that last year indeed held many good and wonderful things. I saw Him work in mighty and powerful ways last year in my and my family’s lives. I saw many prayers answered last year and many instances of His intervention in our lives.
Some of the things I didn’t understand at the time and some of them didn’t seem so good as they occured. But looking back with opended eyes of faith I see most of them clearly. And I realize that as the Bible promises all things work out to the good for those who love God (Rom. 8:28).
My faith was strengthened and my knowledge increased. He saw fit to used me as a tool for His purposes more in the last year than ever before, likely because I was obediently open to His will, most of the time. And doing His will has been the biggest blessing of all that I was given.
Last year He gratiously opened up a new hobby to me in my leather work/craft. In giving this to me He has allowed me new and different ways to serve Him and reach people I would otherwise not have been able to. His ways are indeed so much farther above our ways.
I pray as we go into 2010 that He sees fit to continue to work in and through me. I pray that I will be more and more obedient to His call, no matter what that call may be.
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. (Revelation 21:4)
Yes, we shall come to this if we are believers. Sorrow shalt cease, and tears shall be wiped away. This is the world of weeping, but it passes away. There shall be a new heaven and a new earth, so says the first verse of this chapter; and therefore there will be nothing to weep over concerning the fall and its consequent miseries. Read the second verse and note how it speaks of the bride and her marriage. The Lamb’s wedding is a time for boundless pleasure, and tears would be out of place. The third verse says that God Himself will dwell among men; and surely at His right hand there are pleasures forevermore, and tears can no longer flow.
What will our state be when there will be no more sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain? This will be more glorious than we can as yet imagine. O eyes that are red with weeping, cease your scalding flow, for in a little while ye shall know no more tears! None can wipe tears away like the God of love, but He is coming to do it. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Come, Lord, and tarry not; for now both men and women must weep!
Make Today count. Today – each Today – is the most important day of your life.
I found the above annoymous quote online today. It made me think about how little we give thought to the day at hand. The Bible teaches us that our days are surely numbered and that we know not when our time on earth is through. It also teaches us that at any time our Lord could return for His children and to be prepared for that Time.
With no tomorrow guaranteed we ought to treasure each day, no matter the circumstances we are in. With His help whatever we are doing or going through will be for our good ultimately (Rom. 8:28). And if tomorrow doesn’t come here, we have the assurance that we have a far better place awaiting us (see Rev. 21:4). How can we not find a way, with these things in mind, to celebrate the gift of today?
Psalm 118:24 This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
I heard my dogs barking up a storm so I stepped out on the deck to see what the trouble was. No trouble; Jack, a 2 1/2 years old Cairn Terrier, was goading Gypsy, a nearly 10- year old Terrier mix, into playing.
Soon he was running full speed from her, after a sneak attack, around our outbuilding. She was in hot pursuit. Now, when she was his age she was the fastest, most nimble thing I’ve ever seen. But age has taken just a bit of a step from her. Anyway, ever so often he’d look back to see where she was. About halfway through the second ‘circle’ he looked back to see her bowl him over.
I think we are like this sometimes, too. There is something that is ‘chasing’ us and like Jack we look back to see where it is. Before we know it, whatever was troubling us has gotten us sidetracked and is opening up new avenues for more problems. Sadly though, we will often contend with things on our own, as best we can. Finally we’ll realize if we’d just give them over to Jesus He would carry us through it all.
1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
God gives us many blessings in a multitude of ways. He gives more than we deserve in all areas of our lives I believe. But I would like to focus for a moment on spiritual blessings.
I don’t have to be in God’s House to be blessed; I imagine you agree with that. Today, though, I felt His presence so very strongly during both morning and evening services it was awesome. Often when I feel His Spirit so strongly I have to say or do something to praise Him. But tonight I was so overwhelmed with His love, hearing the praise music, the beautiful words spoken by His children, and the good biblical preaching of His Word I was rendered speechless. How great it is to feel the presence of the Living God!
1 Peter 2:3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
This is a little hard for me to admit: Yesterday I was a whinner. Okay, I said it and it’s true. I was having myself a private pity party and I’m ashamed of it now in retrospect. Let me explain:
It rained here all day yesterday. With my body, cold and rainy days equal stiff and sore joints. And I babysat my grandson who I dearly love all day kind of unexpectedly. And he was a little, well, a lot, grumpy. I ended up letting him sleep on my lap for about four hours: the problem was I dumbly chose to sit on our chase chair in a 2/3 reclined position with my legs dangling over the too short end. It was his comfort and well being I was thinking of at the time, not ergonomics. So, after he left I was in a lot of pain; my legs barely would work and I ended up in bed very early. But at about midnight I awoke with a stomach ache that kept me up till about 2:30 am. As I drifted off to sleep I was still grumbling about to myself, how I hurt, had missed church, would be tired today, etc.
As I pittied myself I thought of a testimony my friend and brother in Christ had sent me concerning his painful battle with cancer. In his worst times he praised God for whatever he was going through, not complained about it as I was. Then I recalled how dragging my feet through the house was very much like I was when I had to re-learn to walk after my first surgery. How ashmed I felt.
So I say to you now, I’m not complaining about hurting; I can feel the pain now whereas before, when paralyzed, I couldn’t. I’m not complaining about missing church; I’m thankful I have a good church and wonderful church family to go to. I’m not complaining about being tired; I’m glad I can get out on my own and go. I could go on but I think you see my point and my repentant attitude, which I thank God for showing me that I was in need of. And I also better understand what Paul meant when he wrote:
Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.
Many of you know that I used to be in sales. I remember when I told my grandfather of my new career choice he had some words of advice for me. One of the most important things he told me was this: “Son, God gave you one mouth and two ears. Use them in proportion.” In other words, listen more than (twice as much as) you speak. That short but sage advice served me well through the years. Though I must admit that as I age I tend to bloviate more than I used to.
I think these wise words also apply to our prayer life. How often do we talk and talk, petition and interceed, without stopping to listen to what God has to say to us? I know for me the answer is too often.
Our Lord wants a personal relationship with each one of us. But how personal can it be if all of the conversations are one sided? How do we expect to hear the answers we seek if we don’t stop talking and listen to His reply?
Listen to Me, you who follow after righteousness,
You who seek the LORD:
Look to the rock from whichyou were hewn,
And to the hole of the pit from which you were dug.
Service in the Christian walk, just what is it? Oswald Chambers says “Service is the overflow which pours from a life filled with love and devotion.” If we think if it in those terms, service is anything we do out of pure love from our hearts. But the love must be a love of Jesus, not for the person we are helping or the service we are doing, from a heart that is totally devotes to him. It will then glorify and be reflective of Him. What an awesome goal: To be so in love with Christ that He motivates and is glorified in every single thing we do. And it ought to be the very goal we strive for.
37Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38This is the first and great commandment.
39And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
When I was a teenager there a popular song by Stevie Nicks that was called Tell Me Lies. Part of the chorus went something like ‘tell me lies, sweet little lies, tell me lies’. As best as I remember it, the song had a sublime, kind of seductive melody to it.
We have an enemy that will try these same tactics with us: Satan. He will try to, in a subtile way, whisper all kinds of doubts to us. He will try to talk you into staying home Sunday night and from mid-week services. “Oh, no on will miss you it you aren’t there. And besides you have so much to else to do”, are a few of his lines.
Thankfully we have another Voice to guide us, in the right and proper direction. Of course there is a small catch: We have to be willing to listen for and to that Voice. The Bible and prayer are direct lines to hear God Himself speaking to you.
John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: