What’s New?

Isn’t it amazing how some words get our immediate attention?  Words like FREE! Or HELP! How about SALE END TOMORROW! Madison Avenue advertising companies know the importance of using just the right words to attract consumers. Probably the must overused word in advertising is the word NEW!

I am not actually sure why that word has such an appeal on us. Sometimes when we greet someone we have not seen for awhile, the question usually surfaces, “Well, what’s new?”

Usually we associate “new” as being positive or a good thing. In a few hours, we will begin a New Year. No one knows, except God, what the upcoming year has in store for each of us. But God does give us these promises:

“…but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” Psalm 34:10

“…no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” Psalm 84:11

As we look forward to a New Year, let’s remember this verse throughout the year:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

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Don’t Forget To Remember

As we approach the end of another year, I guess it is natural to look back and reflect on the events of the past year. It occurred to me this morning that remembering must be an ability given to us by our Creator. I know that you are probably saying, “There are things I my life I wish I could forget!” (Me too!) But even those hurtful, unpleasant things can be beneficial if we see them in the greater scheme of things. Romans 8:28 Personally, I think that not being able to remember is what makes Alzheimer so painful.

The reason I say remembering is a God-given ability is the fact that God’s Word repeatedly commands us to remember. I guess He sees how easy it is for we humans to forget.

  • be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt… Deut. 6:12
  • “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy” Exodus 20:8
  • “Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers…” Hebrews 13:2 

As we come to the end of this year:  Don’t forget to remember.

In Times Like These…

funeral-nypd-po-michael-williamsYou must understand this: In the last days there will be violent periods of time. 2 Timothy 3:1

I am sure that many of you are concerned as I am about our country’s future. The recent events has caused tensions between whites and Afro-Americans to rise to new levels. Some would use this time to incite more hatred and division. I can only speculate their motives.  They do not understand that violence is never the answer. [An angry person doesn’t do what God approves of.” James 1:20 NOG

Violence is not the same as justice. While the mobs are crying out for justice; their actions [burning police cars, looting, and calling for the death of law officers]  are in direct opposition for their call for justice. I guess their definition of ‘justice’ is doing what they want without any consequences for their actions, Their actions portray the prevalent attitude toward authority. Many people do not respect authority of any kind: School; business, church and of course law enforcement.

It is not surprising that God has a different view of law enforcement that our culture.

Romans 8 ” for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.  For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good.

Enough Said?

A Great Age

“Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age… “And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.”Acts 2:36-38

Many of a godly characters in Genesis –  Noah, Abraham,  and host of others, did their best work in their senior years. Moses and Joshua were in their eighties when God called them to a new work. In Luke 2, Anna was in the temple serving and the Bible says she was “of great age.”  Remember when our kids were growing up and at some point in their lives we would comment “what a great age” to be. Translated we mean that they have accomplished some  milestone and their future is full of possibilities and promise.

But how can Anna be described as “of great age” when most of her life is behind her? It’s great because the years help us mature in love, thoughtfulness, and wisdom. We have accumulated experiences of a lifetime and a history in our walk with God.

In God’s sight, old age is a great age. As I come to the end of life’s race, I want be life to count.

Do What He Says

“Then Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph; whatever he says to you, do.” Genesis 41:55

During a national crisis, Joseph knew what to do, and everyone looked to him for answers. When the people cried to Pharaoh, he simply replied, “Go to Joseph, whatever he says to you, do.” In John 2, the wedding party in Cana faced a similar crisis—though far less serious. They ran out of wine during their festivities. Mary the mother of Jesus took things in hand. Speaking of her Son, she echoed the words of Pharaoh: “Whatever He says to you, do” (John 2:5).

We all face shortages at one time or another. It might be lack of funds, lack of energy, lack of answers, or lack of wisdom. When problems come, we must refocus on our Lord Jesus Christ. We must go to Him. Whatever He says, do it. He will meet the need.

What Did You Say?

People from other countries say that the English language  is very difficult to understand.  For example: ” don’t make waves around the office.”  Meaning – do not cause trouble . You are completely nuts if you think I will go with you. Meaning – You are crazy. Working on a computer for me is a piece of cake. Meaning – Easy to do. There is even a “language” for different sub-cultures. Teens use words that only other teens know what they are saying.  Your occupation may use words that  only people in your profession understand. listening

You have probably heard the expression , “I know what I said but I’m not sure  what you heard.”   Many personal relationships are strained because of what someone said vs. what someone understood.  James  wrote theses words, “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.”​ James 1:19   

It is vital that husbands understand their wives. “Husbands, in a similar way, live with your wives with understanding…  so that nothing will interfere with your prayers.”  “Understanding” speaks of being sensitive to your wife’s deepest physical and emotional needs. In other words, be thoughtful and respectful. Unfortunately, most husbands do not take the time nor energy to understand their wives.

Remember, God gave you two ears but only one mouth.

Christmas Contrasts

vacancyEvery Christmas we hear pastors preach a sermon about there being no room for Jesus in the inn. The sermon is usually concluded by encouraging everyone to make room for Jesus in their lives. I have preached that message myself.  We SHOULD make room for Him.

But as I thought about making room for Jesus this year, a verse of Scripture came to my mind, a verse that tells us to put a “No Vacancy” sign. Ephesians 4:27 says, “…and do not leave room for the devil.” In our home, we have a bedroom that has been designated as the ‘guest room.’ This room is for people that are invited or welcomed to stay with us. Setting up a room for the Devil sounds like a bad idea. But that is exactly what we do when we allow him to focus on other things instead of Jesus Christ. Tell the Devil there is no room for him in your life. No vacancy