Done

Here is my devotion for this Saturday before Easter. 
1 Sam 17:47 “and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with the sword and spear. For the battle is the Lords, and he will give you into our hands.”
When the voice of sin, and the shout of the darkness around us has the people of God hiding and retreating and all seems lost. We need to remember that it was the greater Son of David that has gone out before us and won our victory. He defeated them all sin, death, and hell when he slung the stone out of His way and walked out of the tomb. So do not cower when the enemy, and sinful world taunt and boast. Laugh at them and declare…Jesus said it is finished! 

Because it IS!
I will go out and declare the battle is won by walking in the finished work of Jesus Chirst!

Father…no Daddy,

I love you. I praise you for all and what you’ve done in me and for me. You amaze me, You blow me away. Your love can not be measured it can only be experienced
Amen

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It’s not unusual!

This isn’t my usual blog entry, but I felt like sharing it anyway.

Almost ten years ago my immediate supervisor was a woman. She was in my opinion one of the best department managers I have ever had. A great person, strong leader, and level headed she was fantastic to work for.

I remember though, that there was a guy on the stocking crew that had a tremendous crush on her. This was not reciprocated by her, nor encouraged because she is an honorable Godly woman. However it did become the source of numerous jokes from me. Because this guy would go out of his way to speak to her, and ask me if she was coming in, and so on.

Now I love a good laugh! I can’t help it, it’s part of who I am,  its how God made me. So one morning while helping to unload a truck I just happened to mention that she was a huge Tom Jones fan to the guy. This however was not true, but in my mind very funny!

To my great joy this guy would ride by us on power equipment during the stocking process, singing Tom Jones songs. One time it would be “It’s not unusual to be loved by anyone!” the next and perhaps the funniest; was when he sang the song “Whats new pussy cat”  complete with the “whoa! whoa! whoa!”

She new exactly where this came from and she would turn to me and say…”I hate you!” This would always make me bust out laughing! I’m laughing now just remembering it!

My point is this, when we forget how to laugh, we forget how to live. So learn to lighten up and laugh!

By the way She and I still laugh at that guy’s behavior!

 

 

My Cross is too heavy!

If you have been a christian for any length of time you’ve read, or heard read  “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”  What if your cross is to heavy? Every time you look at it you think I can’t do it, I can’t carry it, I’m to weak and wounded.

How do we face such a situation? Believe me these situations will come, pretending they won’t is foolish.  In fact you maybe there now struggling to pick up a cross that seems to get heavier, and heavier by the second. There is an answer you know. We find it in the Life of our Lord who also had a cross to pick up. His was a literal physical weight. (Though our emotional, and physical problems can be just as heavy.)

We find the answer in a couple of different places.

First here in Luke 23:26  As they led him away, they seized Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country. They placed the cross on his back and made him carry it behind Jesus.

The second is here in Mathew 11:28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Jesus couldn’t carry His cross because He was to weak and weary, so let me ask you this, why are you trying to carry yours? Jesus is our Simon of Cyrene the difference is that Simon was forced to carry the cross, and Jesus longs to carry it for you.

Why not go to Him in prayer crying out to Him when you feel the weight, and let him take it for you. Don’t try to take it back! He has strength to carry what you can’t.

One more quick thing

While writing this I remembered that David Wilkerson has already said this far better than I did so here is the link to His article.

http://www.worldchallenge.org/en/node/1349

Swallowing Camels

I wonder sometimes if we aren’t swallowing camels and straining out nats.

funny-camel--lala-4

Jesus accused the religious leaders of his day of doing just that by referring to the practice of straining wine, and other drinks through linen, or another filtration median in order to strain out small insects that might make them unclean by swallowing on accident. They would tithe the smallest amount but neglect the most important, and just like them we sometimes neglect the more important things like justice, mercy, and faithfulness. Oh sure we’ll tithe, attend, and sing with gusto, but then forget to show kindness to the store employee, waitress, or gas station attendant afterwards.

My full time job requires me to work half of the Sundays in a month, and I have discovered something about my brothers and sisters in Christ. They are extremely rude and condescending to people who work on Sundays. For example One Sunday afternoon a fellow coworker received a cussing from a person whom he knew was a deacon in a local church, then was given a gospel tract by that same man a few days later.  (Gulp, Gulp, Gag! I wonder how many calories were in the camel that the dude  had just swallowed!)

Here is what I’m driving at. You can tithe, sing, and pray all you want while in church, but if you don’t truly care about the more important things like justice, mercy, and faithfulness, your slamming the door of heaven in the face of the unsaved.

Your swallowing camels.

So quit choking them down, because camels don’t taste good, and aren’t heart healthy. I know this because just like you, I’ve choked down a few myself. So may God in His grace help us to realize that we’ve got a camel in our glass.

 

Matt 23:13 “But woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You keep locking people out of the kingdom of heaven!

Matt 23:23 “Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You give a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, yet you neglect what is more important in the law—justice, mercy, and faithfulness! You should have done these things without neglecting the others. 24 Blind guides! You strain out a gnat yet swallow a camel!

 

 

Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Mt 23:13). Biblical Studies Press.

 

Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Mt 23:23–24). Biblical Studies Press.

 

Saying goodbye

I’m not a long goodbye kind of person. I’m really more of a see ya later kind of guy. You know the type, the person who can say see ya and then leave even if you are going away for a long trip as if you were just going to the store. A long goodbye is kind of awkward for me, don’t get me wrong I appreciate the emotions, it’s just that I would rather get to the journey. I’ll miss the person, but saying goodbye for me should be quick and easy.

It’s not always the way it is though.  Right now my Brothers and Sisters and I find ourselves in what Nancy Reagan called “the long goodbye” See our Mom has dementia. So I’m learning how to be a long goodbye kind of person. It’s not always easy or fun. Though there are times that are incredibly funny, there are also times of intense deep sadness and awkwardness.

On of the funniest times happened a few years ago. See Mom was born and spent her early years in New Bedford Massachusetts. Her Maternal Grandparents spoke mostly french (they were french Canadian). So she grew up bilingual. She was telling my youngest Sister and I about how she sung the french national anthem in school along with the American National anthem.

When one of us said “really, how does the french national anthem go?”. So she broke out into song …”‘OH CANADA!”  Of course my Sister and I started to laugh because it was so spontaneous, and was not the french national anthem! And Mom being Mom just laughed right along with us.

Another funny thing happened shortly after we had to place her. I went to see her and found her eating in the dinning hall. I sat down beside her as she announced to the whole hall “Guy’s be quite, I have something to say!” “This is my son and you all better behave!” (Mom taught elementary school). She didn’t stop there though when the Nurse Aid came over to check on her, Mom introduced me by saying: “This is my Brother Dan.” I corrected her (Something I’ve quit doing!) and said “Mom I’m your son.” She then looked at the Nurse aid and said “He’s really not, he is my brother he just thinks he’s my son. He’s shy around pretty nurses.”

Yep, in this long goodbye there have been numerous times of laughter, after all it helps to alleviate the pain and stress. It’s good to laugh, Yet the sadness is there as well mingled together like a distorted image in a broken mirror, it reminds me of a verse  in Proverbs

Prov 14:13 Even in laughter a heart may be sad, and joy may end in grief.

Our goodbye isn’t over yet. So for now our laughter will will come from sad hearts, but we will laugh anyway!

Mom holding her great grandson, my grandson. One of the last pictures of her in her home.

A little blessing from Isaiah 40

Let’s gaze upon God and wonder together at His majesty!

Isa 40:12-26

12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his handor marked off the heavens with the span of his hand? Who has gathered the dust of the earth in a measureor weighed the mountains in a balanceand the hills in scales?13 Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord,or who gave Him His counsel? 14 Who did He consult with?Who gave Him understanding and taught Him the paths of justice?Who taught Him knowledgeand showed Him the way of understanding?15 Look, the nations are like a drop in a bucket;they are considered as a speck of dust on the scales;He lifts up the islands like fine dust.16 Lebanon is not enough for fuel,or its animals enough for a burnt offering. 17 All the nations are as nothing before Him;they are considered by Himas nothingness and emptiness.

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18 Who will you compare God with?What likeness will you compare Him to? 19 To an idol?—something that a smelter casts,and a metalworker plates with goldand makes silver welds for it? 20 To one who shapes a pedestal,choosing wood that does not rot? He looks for a skilled craftsmanto set up an idol that will not fall over.
21 Do you not know? Have you not heard?Has it not been declared to youfrom the beginning?Have you not consideredthe foundations of the earth? 22 God is enthroned above the circle of the earth;its inhabitants are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like thin cloth and spreads them out like a tent to live in. 23 He reduces princes to nothing and makes the judges of the earth to be irrational.24 They are barely planted, barely sown,their stem hardly takes root in the groundwhen He blows on them and they wither,and a whirlwind carries them away like stubble.
25 “Who will you compare Me to, or who is My equal?” asks the Holy One.26 Look up and see:who created these?He brings out the starry host by number;He calls all of them by name. Because of His great power and strength,not one of them is missing.
(from Holman Christian Standard Bible® Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005 by Holman Bible Publishers.)

Laying it open

It has been a while since I last posted. No reason really except.
Lately I have felt like God had been examining me. The only way to describe it is that it’s almost like the time I was being examined for appendicitis.
I could do nothing but let the Doctor work in order to find the root cause of my symptoms. I have been doing the same with the Lord over the last few weeks.
I encourage you all to do the same. Be still before him and let the Great Physician work in you to root out the infection that is causing you problems. It may be as serious as appendicitis, or heart disease, it may be a cold. Either way, we need Him to take the scalpel of His word and do His perfect work within us. I call His word a scalpel because it is sharper than a two edged sword, and can divide bone and marrow in a precise way.
Heb 4:12-13
For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as to divide soul, spirit, joints, and marrow; it is a judge of the ideas and thoughts of the heart. 13 No creature is hidden from Him, but all things are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account.
(from Holman Christian Standard Bible® Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005 by Holman Bible Publishers.)