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Posts Tagged ‘Blessed’

So what about life?….

February 18, 2011 Leave a comment

I was sitting in the waiting room of the hospital after my wife had gone into labor and the nurse walked out and said to the man sitting next to me, “Congratulations sir, you’re the new father of twins!”

The man replied, “How about that, I work for the Doublemint Chewing Gum Company.” The man then followed the woman to his wife’s room.

About an hour later, the same nurse entered the waiting room and announced that Mr. Smith’s wife has just had triplets.

Mr. Smith stood up and said, “Well, how do ya like that, I work for the 3M Company.”

The gentleman that was sitting next to me then got up and started to leave. When I asked him why he was leaving, he remarked, “I think I need a breath of fresh air.” The man continued, “I work for 7-UP.”

Life.  Life is precious.  Many who will read this no doubt have been on both sides of the word “precious.”  Because life is precious, it can bring both extreme happiness and extreme sadness.  Life is a gift of God.

 

Life began in the Garden of Eden.  Specifically, human life became the crown jewel of creation when on the 6th day God formed man and woman and breathed into their lungs.  They were alive.  Hearts were beating.  Blood was flowing through their veins.  Their eyes could see.  Their hands could feel the touch of God’s hand in them.  You know how it feels to walk out on a cool morning and take a deep breath.  Adam and Eve took the very first refreshing deep breaths ever.

 

God created them.  That’s where we start with the subject of life.  We cannot start anywhere else. All of our ideas about human kind have to start here.  All of our considerations towards the value of life have to start here.  God created.

 

We do, however, have an adversary that wants to alter where we start when we think about ‘human life.’  Satan would rather us start thinking and feeling with our own thoughts of humanity…based on our emotions, experiences, selfishness, and the worldly values that often seep into our hearts.  Satan would want us to forget Who it was that began life itself.

 

David, the ancient King and Psalmist, said that God knew Him before he was formed (Psalm 139).  David wrote that God formed him and watched him as he grew in his mother’s womb (Psalm 139).  Incredible insight.

 

We also see how important life is through the life of Jesus.  Christ died for humanity.  If humanity was something that could be defined by science or evolution theories, I’m not sure we’d need a buried and risen savior.  Jesus died for our very existence.  God created…Jesus saved.

 

Next…again, based on what we know and believe…there is a place in Heaven being prepared for us (John 14:2).  God Created.  Jesus Saved.  God is planning on us being with Him again.  I’m not sure about you, but through the eyes of God…human life is precious.

 

The 10 Commandments speak also of God’s feelings towards His creation.  We are not to kill one another.  We are not to lie to one another.  We are not to steal from one another.  We are to respect each other possessions and family as well as our own.  God Created…and created a life plan.  Jesus Saved.  God is planning for us to be with Him again for eternity.

 

If we base all of what we believe about human life on just these things, we see why Jesus said the greatest commandment is in two parts…Love God, and Love the others that He created as well.

 

I’m so glad there’s forgiveness when it comes to how I/we treat each other. From abortion, to lying, to hate, to selfishness, to jealousy, to adultery, to murder, to stealing…we have all fallen short of God’s plan for life.  Adam and Eve had a taste…they lost it.  We now have a chance to taste the forgiveness that will lead to a life with God again…hand in hand.  The greatest thing is that we have the privilege of being asked to participate in passing this blessing around (Genesis 12:2-3).

 

Love, Serve, Spread the Word,

ed

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What if ?’s for the American Church

October 26, 2010 Leave a comment

Here’s what’s behind this new “What If?” page.  I recently was challenged…probably by God…at a conference.  I was sitting in the back in a dark corner so I could think away from the noise of 13,000 people.  Guess what?  It was anything but quiet.  I should say it this way.  I think everyone in that small crowd of Jesus followers could hear God loud and clear.  God was not letting anyone get away to a small corner to just think.  There was a real question/challenge/gut wrenching move of God going on.  I’ve done some study since, and I’m not satisfied with something.  Below you’ll get an idea of where I’m coming from.

I did some research online recently about the American church.  I did this alongside looking into the Scripture at what God considers “true religion” as James writes.  I have to say that I’ve been feeling very guilty since looking into this stuff.  Gasp.  Cough.  Ugghhh.  This feeling is not good.  But guilt, if used right, can be a good thing.  So here are some things running through my cranium.

To begin with, there are well over 300,000 church families in America.  That’s pretty incredible!  Picture it.  There’s a ton of people bowing to remember Christ around us each week.  Oh, the number of church membership…just under 145,000,000…in America.  Let’s assume that 1/3 of them are not active. They are just on a membership card somewhere.  Let’s simply go with the number of 100,000,000.  That’s a ton of energy, muscle, dollars, dreams, talent, passion, grace, salvation, and blessing.  The number of money given to individual church families, not organizations like Salvation Army, equals near 100,000,000 (yes, that’s billion) dollars.   Lutherans alone count for 16 billion, which would put them at number 152 on Forbes 500 just above AFLAC.

Now here are some other basics to set beside those simple numbers pasted above.  There are nearly 149,000 children on the adoption roles within the USA.  What if the church decided to do something about it?  There are 300,000 congregations.

It takes about $5000 to drill a well in Africa for a village.  What if the church decided to do something about it?  We gave over $100 Billion…much of it going to infrastructure and building maintenance.

It takes between 25 and 40 dollars per month to support a child in a 3rd world nation.  What if the church decided to do something?  The Lutherans’ giving alone would take care 400 million children.  Nothing against my Lutheran friends…just a number for all of us to think about.

Habitat for Humanity, in 34 years, has helped put 350,000 new homes on the planet.  What if the more of the church, Jesus hands and feet, got behind projects like this?

About 3.5 million people experience homelessness each year in the USA.  Just imagine what the church could do if we asked and acted one the question, “What if?”

 

Just some things for you to think about.  Help me struggle with this.  It’s a good struggle.

 

ed

 

 

Oh Happiness!

October 15, 2010 Leave a comment

 

Some thoughtful and some funny one liners on Happiness.

  • Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.
  • Money can’t buy happiness; it can, however, rent it.
  • Money can’t buy you happiness but it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery.
  • If there were in the world today any large number of people who desired their own happiness more than they desired the unhappiness of others, we could have paradise in a few years.
  • To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.
  • Happiness or unhappiness is often a matter of choice.
  • Happiness is not having what you want, it’s wanting what you have.

Happiness and contentment is something that I believe every person on the planet struggles for. All of us have different levels or perspectives of happiness depending on our life situation. Someone in a 3rd world nation might see happiness as finding extra food for their family during one week. Someone in America might see happiness as winning the 20 dollar jackpot on the scratch off ticket. The Bible, however, teaches us true happiness…for everyone.

Paul address this head on in a small section of Scripture that ends with a verse that I’m sure all of us have quoted in our own lives many times over. Paul was no stranger to just about any type of life we could think of. Paul had fame. Paul had cash. Paul had responsibility. Paul was feared. Paul had power. Paul was a go-getter. Paul was successful. Paul was beaten. Paul had reason to be fearful. Paul was in jail. Paul was without food. Paul was despised. Paul was hated. Paul was sought after for both his praise and his ridicule. Paul was sought after for both his wisdom and leadership as well as to be captured and killed. Yet, with all of this, Paul, like us, still searched for well being and happiness.

I think what Paul’s whole story demonstrates is a search for Peace. The Peace that Passes Understanding. In his search, God radically uses Paul. God saw Paul’s search for Peace as one that jived fully with His endeavor to bless people with Peace. Paul explains this in verses 11-3 of chapter 4 of Philippians. He says that he can do anything through the power of his savior, Jesus.

Can we talk like that? I mean, yeah, it’s a nice motivational quote, but do we live it as a message to other people around us? Do people look at us and go, “Wow, I want what she’s got.” “I wish I could be as happy as Him.” Does your life reflect Jesus’ smile? Does your life give away peace with a capital P? Do you bleed happiness that only comes from Heaven?

If not, you’re simply on a search for more of God. Yes, I used the word ‘simply,’ because that’s what it all comes down to. God wants to give us more of Him. And then He wants us to give Him away. Then, and only then, can we start to occupy that space called contentment.

You Want Me To Do What?

March 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Obey the speed limit

Sitting on the side of the highway waiting to catch speeding drivers, a State Police Officer see’s a car puttering along at 22 MPH.

He thinks to himself, “This driver is just as dangerous as a speeder!”So he turns on his lights and pulls the driver over.

Approaching the car, he notices that there are five old ladies, two in the front seat and three in the back, wide eyed and white as ghosts.

The driver, obviously confused, says to him, “Officer, I don’t understand, I was doing exactly the speed limit! What seems to be the problem?”

“Ma’am,” the officer replies, “You weren’t speeding, but you should know that driving slower than the speed limit can also be a danger to other drivers.”

“Slower than the speed limit? No sir, I was doing the speed limit exactly twenty-two miles an hour!” the old woman says a bit proudly.

The State Police officer, trying to contain a chuckle explains to her that “22” was the route number, not the speed limit.

A bit embarrassed, the woman grinned and thanked the officer for pointing out her error.

“But before I let you go, Ma’am, I have to ask… Is everyone in this car OK? These women seem awfully shaken and they haven’t muttered a single peep this whole time,” the officer asks.

“Oh, they’ll be all right in a minute officer. We just got off Route 142.”

******

God had promised that Abraham would be the father of a great nation (and Sarah the mother). He promised to Abram and Sarai a son from their own bodies. Remember? Sarai (Sarah) laughed at the thought (Genesis 14). The promised land was going to be given to Abraham’s ‘offspring.’ Now we have Genesis 22, where God asks Abraham to sacrifice his only son, the one he thought was to be the beginning to all these promises, as a burnt offering.

I wonder if Abraham bit his lip when asked to do this and also during the grueling 3 day trip or if he just trusted God that much. Either way, his faith was huge! I would be questioning God the whole way. I would be back talking, balling my eyes out and throwing things in rage. But notice Abraham’s words to his helpers in Genesis 22:5, “WE will worship there and then WE will come right back.” Then, in response to his son in verse 8, Abraham says that God is going to provide a lamb for the sacrifice. Wow! Is that blind faith or what? Abraham knew the promises, knew his God was trustworthy, and still obeyed something that seemed way out of left field. It didn’t line up with what he thought was God’s plan for his life…or for Isaac’s life for that matter.

Bible scholars and teachers have given many a reason why God asked Abraham to do this. I’m not going to cover all of them here. In fact, I’m not going to cover any of them. Here’s the basic point as I read this section of Scripture. God asked Abraham to do something that didn’t make sense. He asked Abraham to do something very hard. He asked Abraham to give up something very important to him. Abraham obeyed.

We don’t know what God has in store for us when He asks us to do something. However, when we are controlled by fear, and that’s what it is, God can’t bless us. When we operate from the point of fear we roadblock God. Yes! We can do that.

Satan’s biggest weapon is fear. We are afraid to step out, to risk, to take a chance, to give up, to lend, to become humble, to change, to ask, to speak, to move. God wants us to step out, to risk, to take the chance, to give away, to lend the hand, to become humble, to change, to ask, to speak, to move…to love and have faith. When we do this as leaders, followers will see what God wants. If we don’t, they may never see what God can really do in their life. It’s that simple. It’s our mission to obey. Oh, and yes, we will be blessed…that’s a promise.

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