Jul 30, 2010

PEEPING BOB

One of my neighbors admitted to me that he oftentimes peeps into another neighbor’s windows; he said it a way that he was almost proud of himself. He told me that he does this several times a day, and, that my other neighbor has no idea that this is happening. “Bob” (not his real name) asked me to not let our neighbor know that he was doing this.

When I mentioned this to my wife Cathy; she confessed to me that she too was also “peeping” on this neighbor without his knowledge. Oftentimes she would peep through the shades in our kitchen into our neighbor’s house without his knowledge. In fact, she seemed glad that someone else was doing this; not just her.

“Peep”; means to look through a small opening or from a concealed location.” And normally I would have been shocked at what had been confessed to me by my wife and my neighbor; for some reason I wasn’t. Instead, I found myself almost enticed to also peep on this neighbor without his knowledge. 

Before I go too far in my illustration, let me state this; I believe that it is wrong to look, leer, linger, and peep on someone; especially without their knowledge or approval in order to derive “pleasure”. There have been many lives over the ages that have been violated and affected by “peeping Tom’s” who believe that it is OK to do this.

But, in the case of my wife Cathy and “Bob”, I was almost proud of what they are doing. You see, a few weeks ago (JUNE 26, 2010), I had written a blog on how wrongly we, as a society, treat one another. Cathy and “Bob” were not peeping on my neighbor for some pleasure, but out of care and concern. My neighbor has gone from falling in his yard where we can see him and come to his aid; to falling in his house where no one can see him. Both “Bob” and Cathy had come to realize that our houses were strategically located in a way that we could look into our elderly neighbor’s house to keep an eye on him in case he fell.

“Bob” wanted me to know what he was doing so that I didn’t think that he was weird. “Bob” was being a good neighbor; a great neighbor who was willing to risk reputation to help out an elderly neighbor. This elder had spent many years with “Bob” when he was active and could work outside on his own house and now was at a point in life where he could no long do everything on his own. “Bob” had taken this neighbor under his personal care and was telling me not in order to brag, but so that if I saw him peeping into the elderly neighbor’s house, to not think that he was doing something that was wrong.

We ask; “What is wrong with people?” Today, I tip my hat to my neighbor “Bob” for taking time to lay down his life for his neighbor and his friend. 

Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13 New King James Version)

Jesus also said; “And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. ‘This is the first commandment. 31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31New King James Version))

Thanks “Bob”.

Jul 24, 2010

One to Make You Laugh

Ok, I will admit my blog isn't very spiritual today. But, every time I see this video clip, it makes me laugh or at least smile. I shot the video of a neighbor up at our cabin. He spent about 3 days setting up this "rail" and only used it a couple of times before he took it down. This was one his better runs. So, if today you need a smile or a laugh, then this one is for you. Enjoy!

video

"A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones." (Proverbs 17:22 )

And one more to make you laugh:
"Things You Don't Say to Your Wife" – Video by comedianTim Hawkins http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpFD-kgQxnI

17 Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls—
18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
19 The LORD God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills. (Habakkuk 3:17-19 (NKJV))

Jul 17, 2010

You Are For Me

One of the downsides of being bi-vocational is that at times it can seem like I have too many people needing something from me. On most days, I can handle my daily load. On other days my load can seem to be too much. This has been a particularly full week for me in that on some of the days my mind was “over-loaded” by 2 o’clock in the afternoon and I still had things to do in the evening.

Most of the time I believe that Jesus wants to help me or that He is for me as I go through times of great stress; and if I look, wait, and listen I am reminded how true it is. I say ‘most of the times’ because I, too, can at times question His love for me.

As I observed in my own life this week, sometimes the stress of too much crammed into 24 hours can crowd out times with God and I can hear a nagging voice in my head questioning whether or not God is really for me. It is what I do next that makes all the difference in what happens next. Will I continue the downward spiral of my thoughts in thinking that God just doesn’t care; or will I cry out to God and cast all my cares upon Him, knowing that He cares for me (1Peter 5:7)?

Whether you came from a large family or a small family, at times it is possible to feel as though no one notices that you are there. There are approximately 6.8 Billion people in the world and similarly, it is hard to believe that anyone notices you, let alone that God would notice you.

As I went through this week, I discovered (once again) how true it is that He cares for me (and for you). Every time (I’m not exaggerating), I listened to the radio, the same song came on. It didn’t matter whether I was in the car, in my office, or my home, or even my garage (I have a radio always on), the same song was always on!

The song was; “You Are For Me” by Kari Jobe. The chorus goes:" “I know that You are for me, I know that You are for me. I know that You will never forsake me in my weakness. And I know that You have come now even if to write upon my heart. To remind me who You are”

Pretty simple lyrics, and yet God spoke, dare I say “screamed”, to me that “YES I AM FOR YOU!” And through the song a flood of scripture passages called out for me to come to God in my current state. Passages like “… come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16) and where Jesus said “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28). And the “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4). I believe that God was trying to let me know that no matter what is going on in my world, He is still for me. And I heard Him.


My Friend, I’m writing this today to let you know that you are loved and that God is for you. Do you really believe that God notices you; that God thinks good things about you? Do you really believe that God is there for you and that He will never forsake you in your weakness? Have you ever stopped and asked Jesus to be your Savior and the Lord of your Life; or are you still trying to figure it all out? 

One reason that you may feel distant from God is because you don’t really know God; not the God of the Bible and who He really is. Another reason is that when we are in sin it is hard to hear His voice gently calling out. Do you realize yet that the reason God hates sin so much is because it separates us from God and we no longer hear that He is for us? The Bible says that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5:8) and that where sin abounded, grace abounded much more (Romans 5:20-6:4).

Today you, too, can call out to God and He will let you know that He is for you and will help to turn to Him. He will let you know what you are doing wrong so that you can confess it (agree with what God calls sin) and repent (change the way you are going and change the way you think), and He will help you to follow Him (Read John 16:6-15 in the Bible). John 3:17 tells us “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” 

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.  Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “ For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:31-39)

You Are For Me by Kari Jobe
So faithful, so constant and so true
So powerful in all You do
You fill me, You see me
You know my every move
You love for me to sing to You

I know that You are for me, I know that You are for me
I know that You will never forsake me in my weakness
And I know that You have come now even if to write upon my heart
To remind me who You are

So patient, so gracious, so merciful and true
So wonderful in all You do
You fill me, You see me
You know my every move
You love for me to sing to You

Lord, I know that You are for me, I know that You are for me
I know that You will never forsake me in my weakness
And I know that You have come now even if to write upon my heart
To remind me

Lord, I know that You are for me, I now that You are for me
I know that You will never forsake me in my weakness
And I know that You have come now even if to write upon my heart
To remind me who You are
To remind me

I know that you are for me, I know that You are for me
I know that You will never forsake me in my weakness
And I know that You have come now even if to write upon my heart
To remind me who You are


Psalm 27:3-6
3 Though an army may encamp against me,
    My heart shall not fear;
   Though war may rise against me,
    In this I will be confident.
4 One thing I have desired of the LORD,
   That will I seek:
   That I may dwell in the house of the LORD
   All the days of my life,
   To behold the beauty of the LORD,
   And to inquire in His temple.
5 For in the time of trouble
   He shall hide me in His pavilion;
   In the secret place of His tabernacle
   He shall hide me;
   He shall set me high upon a rock.
6 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me;
  Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle;
  I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD.

Psalm 116:3-8
3 The pains of death surrounded me,
   And the pangs of Sheol laid hold of me;
   I found trouble and sorrow.
4 Then I called upon the name of the LORD:
   “O LORD, I implore You, deliver my soul!”
5 Gracious is the LORD, and righteous;
   Yes, our God is merciful.
6 The LORD preserves the simple;
   I was brought low, and He saved me.
7 Return to your rest, O my soul,
   For the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.
8 For You have delivered my soul from death,
   My eyes from tears, And my feet from falling.



 


All Scriptures from New King James Version © 1984 Thomas Nelson

Jul 11, 2010

Happy 27th

Today is a special day; my oldest daughter Elizabeth turns 27 years old. She was child number two; my first child is Jonathan who affectionately called her “Rizabay”. Elizabeth has turned out to be a great woman who has not lost the gentle smile that met my face when I first held her 27 years ago; she still lights up my world.

Elizabeth has been through a whole lot of changes in the past 27 years; just this past year alone. She was married last September and this coming November she will give birth to her first child. (Did I tell you that I’m going to be a grandpa? Oh that’s right, I did. See APRIL 17, 2010 posting “A SECRET”).

I’ll admit, I really didn’t know what I was doing as a dad when she came into my world; but that didn’t seem to matter to her! Through her unconditional love I learned that I could love in return; something that I didn’t think that I had the capacity to do. Each night when I got home from work, she greeted me with a hug and a smile and a drawing for me.

And her birthday becomes a good time to remind myself that God has been faithful to me as a dad all of these 27 years. Any success or part that I had in raising her up has to do with God working in my life and being faithful to a young dad who had no idea what he was doing. (Pretty cool beard though! Can you tell that it was the 80’s?)

God has shown me how to teach, correct, discipline, and raise her. He has shown me how to be there for her when the call came in the middle of the night during a bad storm. He has shown me how to pray for her when she called on her cell phone, as she was driving through tornado-like high winds, dogging the falling trees so that they didn’t hit her car. He taught me how to trust Him to get her through a tough time in her life.

So today I say “HAPPY BIRTHDAY ELIZABETH!”

May God Bless you with many more.

Have you celebrated your New Birth Day yet? Have you been ‘Born Again”? Jesus said; “Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' (John 3:7 NKJV)

How do you do that? In the Bible, the Apostle Paul wrote to a church in Rome; “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame”12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For "Whoever calls upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:9-13 NKJV)

Still not make sense? Go to these links for more help:
http://www.harvest.org/knowgod/

http://www.riverofhopeministries.org/getright.php

Jul 5, 2010

A SPECIAL TREASURE

How was your week? Have you gotten out and enjoyed life; enjoyed time with friends? I just came back from the cabin after spending a much needed time “away from it all” with some friends and family.
(Hey, if your friends and family come with you, are you really getting away from it all?)

One of the things that Cathy and I like to do at the cabin is to take the kayaks around the lake shore to visit the other people on the lake; I joke that if we were in Florida we would be using golf carts instead of the kayaks to go “door-to-door”. On these daily trips, we love to collect fishing bobbers and fishing lures that we find along the shore. When we get back to the cabin, we display them on a shelf in a large jar as part of a larger collection of fishing items that we have picked up over the years.

How about you? Are you a collector? Do you like to take someone else’s discarded items and proudly display them in your home as though they were “special treasures”? I know that you do; I’ve been to some of your homes. I’ve seen the items that you have pulled out of the trash, dug up in your yard, picked up at a rummage sale that are now proudly displayed. 

Special treasures; it is said that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.

Do you know that you are God’s “Special Treasure”? In the book “You Are Special”, Max Lucado tells the story of Punchinello, the wooden Wemmick who believes that he isn't good enough because of what others say about him.

You Are Special is a beautiful story that reminds us that we are precious to God just the way we are. It is through spending daily time with Him that we begin to see ourselves through His eyes. This is an important truth that children and parents need to know: God loves us even though we make mistakes and have flaws!

The Bible is filled with stories from cover (Genesis) to cover (Revelations) that show how much God loves us. Moses recorded in the book of Deuteronomy that God said; “For you are a holy people to the LORD your God, and the LORD has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples who are on the face of the earth."  (Deuteronomy 14:2)

God has sent Jesus Christ to pay for us as His Special Treasures. Jesus said; 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (John 3:16-17 NKJV)

In fact, Jesus was considered “rubbish” and was rejected by the religious leaders of His day. But God had other plans; Jesus was God’s Special Treasure:

“10 Let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. 11 This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:10-12 NKJV)

Do you know that you are God’s Special Treasure? check this out: http://www.billygraham.org/specialsections/graffiti/graffiti.asp

*NKJV = New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.