Pickle-Down Economics

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble.  2 Corinthians 1:1-3 

This past June, Hunter Hostetler was working at a McDonald’s restaurant in Scottsburg, Indiana, when an older woman came through the drive-thru and decided to pay for the customer behind her—a man with four children in the van. The woman told Hunter to tell the man and his children, “Happy Father’s Day.” The woman’s spontaneous act of kindness caused an amazing chain reaction. The man in the van paid for two cars behind him; and they did the same for those who followed them. One customer after another passed along the blessings. By the end of the day, 167 drivers had paid for the orders of the vehicle behind them.

Make a conscious effort to pass along kindness to someone today.

(This thought is from David Jeremiah’s Turning Point daily devotional)


Healing For A Broken Heart

There is a saying that even Christians take comfort from during times of  tragedy, “Time heals all wounds.” But unfortunately, that is not true. Time has no inherent healing power. Only God has healing power! I know people who are just as bitter and angry today as they were ten years ago. Time hasn’t healed their souls. I know people who are playing the blame game louder today than they were 30 years ago. 

Only Jesus has healing power and so if you have a broken heart Psalm 147:3“. For the Lord comforts (For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.”) his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. No one can mend a broken heart but the Lord. Other people’s words will encourage you and bring a measure of healing but the ultimate healing is always from the Lord.  He has the power, love and divine skill to actually cure you of the extraordinary pain that you are going through.

God is able to restore your soul (Psalm 23:3)  and perform a spiritual heart transplant [Ezakiel 36:26]  if that is what it takes to move you into health and hope again. This seems impossible when you have a broken heart but it is not impossible to God! The will of God is always restoration and healing.

If you have a broken heart, friend, I know Someone who has the expert skills to easily and perfectly mend it. Not only is He able to repair your broken heart, but He has the desire to do it.

Fresh leadership

No one can say that this newly elected President is “business-as-usual.” One of the reasons is that he is not a career politician; therefore his approach to problem-solving is totally foreign to those have been entrenched in the government system. His Cabinet nominations have caused a lot of anger and criticism. Our senior statesmen point out that the people he has selected not to have the “experience” necessary to run that office. Really?

If experience equals success, then how can they explain that every government agency has failed, though lead by ‘experts’ in their field?

Department of Energy has had 43 years to free us from dependence on foreign oil. How are we doing?
Social Security has had 77 years to correct all their problems. Failed.
Veterans Administration has had 86 years to provide care for our veterans. Failed.
Our Postal system has had 45 years of a constant bailout from the Federal Government.
Department of Treasury has been in existence since 1789. Over two centuries and today we are 20 Trillion dollars in debt! Failed.

Our experts have not solved our problems. It is time for a new approach and I think that people who have had proven success in their field may bring us a solution.

Success or Failure?

There is no question that our culture worships at the altar of success. We love rags-to-riches stories. We swallow the world’s lie that the person with the biggest bank account, largest mansion, most expensive car and who is the CEO of a Fortune 500 company is a success. 

In the “religious” world, the church with the largest congregation and the most elegant campus is considered a success. Churches compete with each other for recognition. TV evangelists [some, not all] pride themselves with their ratings. Pastors from the small, country churches feel inferior to the “big-city” pastor. 

While I don’t believe that churches should compete against one another, I do believe we should do and be our best. We are told to be faithful not successful. Matthew 25:20  Sometimes faithfulness and “success” run on the same track but not always. Missionaries and pastors sometimes labor years without seeing the fruit of their labor. 

As Christ-followers, we must remember we are part of something bigger than ourselves. Each of us have our place of service in the Kingdom and it all works together. “The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor.  For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.” I Cor. 3:5-9

Christmas Fears

There are a lot of emotions experienced at Christmas: excitement, depression, even anger but on that first Christmas the predominant emotion was fear. It surprised me how many people experienced fear on the most glorious event in all of history!

Mary experienced fear at the angel’s announcement that she, a virgin, would conceive! In our culture, an unwed pregnant teen is not a real “big” deal but in Mary’s world, it could be the reason for execution.

Joseph  too experienced fear at the news, that his espoused wife would have a child. What would people think? What would this do to his reputation? 

Herod was alarmed at the news of a new-born king. He was afraid he would lose his power. 

Shepherds trembled at the presence of heavenly beings.  Angels are not soft, fluffy, winged beings, but majestic beings surrounded by the glory of God. 

But what are the fears people experience this Christmas?

  • Fear that they can’t find “the” gift that their grandson wants.
  • Fear that the money runs out before all the gifts is bought.
  • Fear that the kids won’t be able to make it home. 

Friends do not allow the pressure of the holiday cause you to fear. Jesus came to earth that we might experience hope, peace, and joy.

He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.”              Roy L. Smith

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 I just watched one of my favorite movies; Shadowlands. It’s the story of  C.S. Lewis, one of the greatest Christian authors. [C.S. Lewis is played by Anthony Hopkins, who gives one of his best performances.]  Allow me to share how Lewis faced the  prospect his wife’s struggle with cancer.

At one point his wife started to get better. His minister commented that God was answering his prayers. Lewis replied, “That is not why I pray. I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I am helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God. It changes me.

Your Storm

Peter was a risk-taker. When Jesus asked him to walk on water. he stepped out of his boat and his faith was rewarded; he actually walked on water! He was on his way to becoming a super-disciple! The hardest part was behind him; getting out of the boat. Right? Then reality set in. He suddenly realized just how bad the storm was and he began to sink. Matthew 14:30

The same thing happens to us. We begin a new job, start a new relationship, go to college, or begin a family. In the beginning we are filled with hope and excitement; then the reality sets in. We see the wind: Our plans go wrong. People we were counting on let us down. Unexpected conflicts arise. Now, what do you do?

People usually respond to serious problems in one of two ways:

  1. Many simply are defeated by their circumstances
  2. Some choose to face the situation and overcome.

I see two life-lessons in this story that will benefit us all.

  • Storms have a way of teaching us when nothing else can.
  • Sooner or later, you have to turn and face the situation. Sooner or later, you have to run to God.