Hello world!

Welcome to my blog. I feel sure you will find encouragement and inspiration here. Enjoy.

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Prescription for Peace

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

Anxiety is a tendency I have to stay on constant guard against. In fact, I sometimes wonder if I might have been a worry wart even as a baby (I sure hope not). I have to be alert to squash this tendency as soon as I detect it rearing its ugly head.

The most successful approach is to talk to the Father about what is troubling you, speaking to Him in depth, without reservation, and with thanksgiving (giving thanks in this situation and in all situations). We can respond in this way if we trust Him, and if we believe Him–that He is always working things out on our behalf, even when we don’t understand.  

When we express our needs directly to God in this way, turning them over to Him, rather than simply meditating on them in our minds, He brings peace to our minds. We get reminded that God is still ultimately in charge in all things, and nothing can slip by Him. And we get reminded of the promise He made to us long ago: “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

With this in mind, I hope you all a Happy Thanksgiving with lots of peace!

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With the Same Measure You Use

Give and it will be given to you…For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you (Luke 6:38).

This principle comes up again and again in scripture. Give generously of the good things you desire to receive, and do not give out what you do not want. Sound easy? Well, it may not be easy exactly, because we do not naturally think in those terms. We tend to think more in terms of, “hold on tight to everything you got.” At any rate, there is no time like the present time to start doing things the right way.

Consider a few more examples of the same principle:

Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap (Galatians 6:7).

Judge not that you be not judged…with the judgment you judge, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you (Matthew 7:1-2).

Therefore, whatever you want that men do to you, do also to them (Matthew 7:12).

If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you (Matthew 6:14).

So if we give to others out of the good things God has given to us, we can expect to be blessed in like manner, for God Himself will see to it. What a revolutionary idea!

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Looking for Good Customers

We hear a lot about how to deliver good customer service, but not so much about being a good customer.

Good CustomersOn the subject of good customer service, books have been written, classes offered, and training provided. Those businesses where we are treated well and feel appreciated are the ones we choose to patronize. Unfortunately, business owners don’t always get to choose their customers. They are pretty much stuck with whoever walks through the door, bad attitude and all.

When it comes to customer service, I like it when they know not only what I am talking about but also what they are talking about. We customers love getting something extra in appreciation, like an unexpected discount on our purchases, coupons for next time, or a small gift. When a company goes the extra mile, customers return.

But how do we measure up as customers? My Theology instructor related to our class a recent conversation he had with a local restaurant owner. The business owner admitted he dreaded Sunday afternoons because of how the afternoon church crowd behaves. You would think a restaurant owner would look forward to the increased income on Sundays. According to him though (and I have heard it before), church people are often inconsiderate and demanding, often leaving big messes behind along with their teeny-weeny tips. Church people of all people should know how to be great customers!

So as customers visiting a restaurant or any other establishment ( for simplicity sake, we will just talk about customers in a restaurant), we might consider spiffing up our attitudes, our manners, and our behavior…like so:

      • Good manners dictate we speak to people in a considerate fashion. You might be having a bad day, but don’t blame the poor waitress who just lucked up and got you as a customer.
      • Give your waiter a break. Remember, your server is a person with problems just like you. We all get distracted sometimes, and we all make mistakes.
      • If she delivered excellent service, compliment your waitress.
      • If your service was excellent, you might want to fill out one of their little surveys so as to register your satisfaction.
      • Another way to praise the excellent service you received and your server is to mail a letter to the manager. This step may help your waiter land a promotion. Who knows?
      • Be helpful and cooperative. It’s just plain rude to leave a big mess behind just because you can.
      • Tip appropriately. It’s okay to be generous. Don’t be like the church people mentioned above who left a $3.00 tip for the server on a table of eight.

Maybe you have other ideas about how to be a good customer. Or maybe you have something to say about good customer service. Either way, your comments are welcome.

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When a Friend Dies

Connie’s death came unexpectedly. She was only 56. When I learned of her death last week, I could hardly believe it. She always seemed so full of life.

She and my sister had been close friends for many years. In fact, our entire family had come to know Connie and to like her. Although I was not around her a whole lot, I certainly liked her. She was an easy person to like. Seldom do you run into people these day that you would describe as “easy to like.” Maybe it’s because people are more stressed and frantic than ever before.

I doubted Connie had a self conscious bone in her body–she seemed so real. She seemed to make the most of whatever life presented to her. And she seemed to love people. Those were my impressions. Although I realized impressions can sometimes be a little wrong, I felt pretty sure my impressions about Connie were correct. And indeed I would soon find out.

As the funeral service progressed Saturday morning, family members and friends–some choking up, some in tears–spoke of their love for Connie and their appreciation for how she helped them to get better and to do better when they were at low points in their lives. She helped them when they had no place to go. She helped them to get back on their feet when she didn’t have a whole lot herself. When things started going wrong in the lives of her family and friends, Connie didn’t abandon them.

They spoke of how much she loved people. She loved telling people she loved them. She was a hugger too. “Everybody needs a hug sometimes,” she would say. Connie joked a lot and laughed a lot, and she loved cheering people up. She enjoyed cooking for her friends, and she enjoyed eating. Everybody laughed when Connie’s cousin mentioned how Connie loved to eat.

Finally, Connie gave the people in her life nicknames–like “Puny, for example, and like “Whiny.” Everybody chuckled and nodded in agreement about that too.

I feel inspired by Connie’s life. I am glad to have known her. I am glad to have learned what a wonderful person and friend she was to so many, and how she loved taking care of people. She shared her life and she did not hold back. What an inspiration!

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and author–James Barker

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As in the Days of Noah

And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man. They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all (Luke 17:27).

Sorry, dear reader, this is not going to be a totally feel-good piece today. We have to remember that just as God is a God of love, He is also a God of judgment. This addresses both His love and His judgment.

In the above quote from Luke, Jesus is telling the Pharisees, when He returns to earth, it will be at a time in which people are behaving just as they had back in Noah’s day. At that time, in Noah’s day, everybody was celebrating, having a whole lot a fun, and not even thinking about God.

Then Jesus goes further and compares the time when He would return to the time of Sodom.

Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all (v. 28-29).

During the two time periods Jesus mentions, evil abounded on the earth. Man did not regard the Lord for the most part. Of the days of Noah, we read in Genesis 6:5, “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Kind of like today.

In the troubling and record setting days in which we live today, who can we count on but the Lord to tell us the truth? Are those in high places telling us the truth? Is the 6:00 news reporting the truth? Can our minds even receive the truth if we were to hear it?

In the days of Noah as in the days of Sodom, those who listened to God and obeyed His word were saved. Destruction did not come until Noah and his family had safely entered the ark. and it did not come to Sodom until Lot and his family had safely escaped to a nearby city. I believe in a similar way, God will allow His people of today to escape His wrath and judgment.

For those who continually rejected the call of God back in those days, things did not turn out well for them. And so it will be when Jesus returns. I sure don’t want to be part of that crowd. I’m sure you don’t want to be either. Thank God, as Noah and his family were saved, so can anyone who desires salvation today.

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Who Is He?

On the road [Jesus] asked His disciples, saying to them, “Who do men say that I am?” So they answered, “John the Baptist, but some say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say I am?” (Mark 8:27-29).

Today I want to write only about Jesus. I feel overwhelmed by His loveliness today. I am sure it is due in great part to the inspiring nature of a Theology class I just completed which dealt with the Tabernacle of Israel.

In studying the Tabernacle of Israel, we see how every aspect of the Tabernacle represented Jesus and His ministry. And we see very clearly the significance of Jesus’ death on the cross, and how because of His ultimate sacrifice, all of the very specific requirements of the Tabernacle were fulfilled for once and for all.

Now this post is not really about the Tabernacle per se, but this post is about Jesus. In fact, the Bible itself is all about Jesus. From Genesis to Revelation, Jesus is revealed in the scriptures. He is the Messiah, the Christ, the Savior, the Deliverer. He is the Lamb of God–the perfect Sacrifice who alone, once and for all, would restore peace between God and man. And Jesus did restore that peace when He declared on the cross, “It is finished” (John 19:30).

“But who do you say I am?” Jesus asked. Each of us must make this determination. Who was Jesus? Who is Jesus? All that He was, He still is. We believe that to be true because Hebrews 13:8 declares “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Some call Him a great teacher. Some say, a wise man–the perfect man who knew no sin. Some call Him Friend. Some call Him Brother. Yes, all of these things we certainly believe are absolutely true concerning Jesus.

Do you know though, in John 1:1, the Apostle describes Jesus as the Word of God? “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Then we read in verse 14, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Jesus was God’s perfect will come in the flesh (if I can say it that way).

“He is the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15).

“They shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, ‘God with us'” (Matthew 1:23).

And He is King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 1:5; Revelation 17:14). After Jesus arose, He said to his disciples: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). From verse 17, it is also intereresting to note that the disciples worshipped Jesus, and we do not read that Jesus rebuked them for doing so.

God has also given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:9-11). 

“But who do you say I am?” To this question, Peter answered, “You are the Christ.” In saying Jesus was the Christ, Peter was acknowledging Him as the Annointed One; the Messiah; the Deliverer as prophesied in Old Testament.

And who do you say He is?

If we don’t want to get our relationship with the Father wrong, it is important that we see Jesus correctly. He is indeed all of the names, all of the titles, and all of the offices mentioned in this post for the scriptures confirm it. And let us also never forget these words of Jesus in which He describes Himself: “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).

 

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“YOU Be a Comfort”

I feel the Lord has been speaking a very particular word to my heart, especially since last week. “YOU be a comfort–YOU do the comforting,” was the message my heart received. And this week, I noticed a group of people who seemed absolutely destitute in many different ways. Was God preparing my heart to take particular notice of this group of people?

Then Sunday in church, we were given this awesome message which confirmed for me what I thought God had been speaking. The Pastor was finishing up the Book of Colossians with Colossians 4: 7-18. I will not try to give all the details of his message in this space. But here is the take-away from the program and notes. I feel this is right in line with what God has been speaking to my heart.

  • Everyone needs encouragement(Colossians 4: 7-9, 11).
  • Everyone needs a second chance (4:10b). A second chance ought not to be wasted. When you get a second chance, use it.
  • Everyone needs to be affirmed (4:12-13).
  • Everyone needs a little motivation (4:17).
  • Everyone needs a small group (4: 7-8). Even Jesus needed a small group–He had twelve disciples. The Apostle Paul always had a small group of ministers with him in his travelling and ministering. the Pastor encouraged everyone to sign up and join a small group with the church “to do life with.”

And one of the final things the Pastor said was this (in my own words): “And when you go, you be ready to be those things to someone.”

I think I understand very clearly what God is telling me.

The Book of Colossians is an awesome book by the way. I hope you will take time to study it. Use a good, Biblical commentary as you do, and you will be blessed.

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