Saturday, July 14, 2012

Questions and Answers

Most of us know that if we have questions about faith that we can go to the Bible and find answers. Sometimes it takes a bit of searching to find the correct answer but we know that the answers are there for us. The correct answer is not always the answer we want to find but there it is for us to deal with.

Some people are very surprised to discover that the Bible also can confront us with questions that we would rather evade. The Bible is capable of asking the kind of questions that slice through the protective veneer that we build up around us. As along as we evade these questions we remain spiritually immature and weak in faith.

Spiritual maturity and strength of faith develop out of the process of personally dealing with the difficult and often painful questions about life and faith. Do not be afraid to consider the hard questions about your faith. It is not being weak to ask any question that bothers us. It is instead the way to become stronger when we confront and struggle with our doubts, confusions, and lack of understanding.

Some people are afraid to ask questions about faith thinking that they will be showing doubt or lack of faith. God is not afraid of our questions and we should not be fearful either. For our faith to grow stronger we need to confront both the questions and answers that the Bible presents to us. A growing understanding of our relationship with God is available through constant Bible Study, Prayer and Reflection.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Anxious Thoughts

Anxious thoughts and a worried mind create troubles of their own. We live in some fast paced times that can cause turbulence in our daily living. Physicians and psychologists tell us that stress is one of the leading causes of illness. Anxiety is rampant in our society. With all the political double talk and the war in Afghanistan and tropical storms and tornado out breaks coming one after the other, is there any wonder we are anxious? There is stress in school, at home and in the work place. I even find that there is sometimes stress in church of all places.

In the Gospel of Luke chapter twelve, Jesus teaches us not to worry about our lives. Now Jesus is not encouraging sloth or living in a shiftless, reckless way. More to the point he is saying do your best and trust in God to take care of the rest. For some of us this is hard to do, if we didn't have anything to worry about, we would worry about not having anything to worry about. Life is way too short to worry about mistakes of the past so that we get bogged down and never move forward.

Jesus says to fill your soul with great care, seek first the Kingdom of God and all the things that once filled you with worry and oppressed your soul will seem small and petty and of no great concern.  Seeking first the Kingdom of God in your life puts everything else in perspective. Read Luke twelve and open your mind to trust in God and feel the love of God in your life. Seek first the will of God for your life and set aside the anxiety over past mistakes and focus on the powerful possibilities for the future. What ever we are right now is just that no more and no less. What ever we are right now is God’s starting place for what we will become.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Special Day Idea

One lady I know in Texas has a personal ministry that she calls her "FOR OTHERS DAY." She sets aside one day a week to do nice and unexpected things for other people. She knew of a boy who really liked bananas, so she bought a bunch and took it to him. It was not expected and it was a little thing, but it made that boy's day.

I have been thinking about personal ministry that offers unexpected acts of kindness to others. Some examples might be: a visit to someone in a nursing home that you do not know, take flowers to a friend or neighbor who feels down. Others could include: take this weeks magazines to a doctors office, buy a good book for the public library, mow an elderly person's lawn, visit a person who is homebound and take a small gift, or give a mother the afternoon off.

The list of possible things to do for others is endless. The important part of this adventure is that each of us is involved in a personal ministry that makes a real difference. The size of our acts of ministry is not the issue. Rather it is the love in our hearts in doing ministry that matters. Through positive acts of kindness, we give ourselves to God.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Make Two List

During your life you need to make two lists. These lists will record events in your life that involve others and how they make your feel.

The first list is of all the wrongs other people do to you. It will also include the emotions provoked in you like hate, fear, resentment, and desire for retaliation. These emotions diminish you in the eyes of God, others and yourself. Write this list in the sand where ocean waves can wash them away. Here you can let go of all the pain and feel relief.

The second list is made up of all the good things that happen to you. Note as well the emotions of joy, love, peace, and contentment. Write this list on stone and cherish these emotions. Remember that these are the emotions that increase your self-esteem and character.

How you make and keep your life list determines the quality of your living. Open your mind to Jesus who taught us to forgive forever, and say yes to His style of living.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Many ministers begin their sermons with the 14th verse of Psalm 19, "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer."

 Of course we want all that we do to be acceptable in the sight of God. You could even say that some people desire to go beyond simply pleasing God. Our whole purpose for being the church is to be pleasing to God with our worship, prayer, service, stewardship, and in reaching out to others with the Gospel. I know of no one who follows Jesus who would want to displease God in any way.

How will we please God? Will everything we say and do today be acceptable to God? As stewards of the Christian faith our actions in every part of our life is open to reconsideration of these questions. I invite you to pray the prayer of Psalm 19:14 as you are contemplating your ministry to Christ and your service in this world in His name.Live your life by this prayer.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Blond Jokes?

I get hundreds of "Blond Jokes" through the e-mail process and like all ethnic related jokes they are not actually applicable to the whole group being put down. Most of them are the same joke applied to a different ethnic group. As I am married to a very intelligent blond I can attest to the truth of that statement.

So why do we laugh at "ethnic" jokes when we know they are a put down to a whole group of people? First the jokes are often funny and we can't help laughing unless we have really good self-control. Second is that we don't take the time to think about who we might be hurting by accepting the off humor as funny. It is so easy to get caught off guard when we are with a group of people passing just jokes around. This is true for the off color jokes as well.

Jesus said: "Do unto others as you would have them do to you." This holds true for our jocularity as well as our physical deeds. Our words have both the power to bless and to curse and it pays to be careful with what we say as well as what we do.  When you hear a funny joke pay attention to whom is the object of its attention and think about yourself as that person. With the awareness that we might be unintentionally hurting someone by what we say or even by our laughter at an ethnic joke told by someone else and that will help us have our self-control.

A Christians self-control is aided by remembering the phrase, “What would Jesus do?” in any given situation. As we have proclaimed to the entire world that Jesus is our Lord we indeed need to act and speak according to the teachings of Jesus the Christ. If you must tell an ethnic joke then tell it on yourself.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Your Not God!

Divine Apparel

A five-year-old girl always hid behind her mother’s skirt at church when the minister approached wearing his pulpit robe. She would peek around her mother and then quickly hide again if the pastor looked her way. One Sunday the girl’s mother needed to talk to the pastor after worship and followed him to his study. Her daughter right behind her still hiding behind her mothers skirt.  When they reached the office the Pastor removed the black robe and hung it up. The five-year-old suddenly popped out from behind her mother and exclaimed, “Why, you’re not God. You’re just wearing his clothes!”

In a very real sense she was absolutely correct. The pulpit robe does represent a commitment to the word of God. A pastor is very much aware of what he or she represents when wearing one. It is not only pastors who put on divine apparel all Christians do.  For most of us it has nothing to do with the cloth we put on our backs but rather the spiritual covering of the name of Christ. We are all aware of this very special covering when we are in church. Most of us are aware of our spiritual clothing but some of us treat it like underclothes during the week.

Putting on the name “Christian” at our baptism is to put on the covering of Jesus the Christ. Our sins are forgiven and we become new persons. We have removed the covering of sin and put on the covering of salvation by grace. If we have been truthful with God in our confession of faith our new covering has changed our lives.  Are your Christian clothing on the outside all week long. Are you proud to wear God’s clothes?