Pulling Weeds

The girls came over the other day and they helped me weed the garden.  It was a good time to do it; the sun was going down soon and the garden was in the shade.  They pulled out several little sprigs of clover and runners of Bermuda grass that were in a place they shouldn’t be.  They even helped me pull one really big weed that had grown in the corner of the garden hidden from sight by some hedges.  Hidden that is, until it grew even taller than the hedges in front of it.  We had to go get some gloves so they could pull it without getting stickers in their hand.  Once its roots finally turned loose, the girls held it up and that weed was taller than me.  We talked about how weeds are like problems.  It’s a lot better to take care of them and get rid of them while they are still small.  Left unchecked, they can soon get out of control.

It is that same way with our physical health, our financial health and is especially so in regard to our spiritual health.  In 2 Corinthians 13:5 Paul reminds the church to “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!”  Paul wants believers to remember that on their own, untended and left to their own devices that weeds will spring up.  We need to examine ourselves, our lives, our attitudes and our behaviors to see if we are walking according to the way and the will of the Lord.  We are to prayerfully check in the corners and look in the hidden places of our hearts and uproot those things that should not be there.  I like how David asked for God’s help with this task in Psalm 139:23 – 24

Psa 139:23  Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; 24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.

We should be so grateful that we receive God’s help in regard to this task.  We should be grateful for family and friends who encourage us and edify us in regard to our faith.  We should be grateful for those who help us pull weeds.

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Love Endures

I was talking to a man the other day at the senior living center who told me that this year he and his wife would have celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary.  He spoke of the wonderful times they enjoyed together throughout the years.  He said the secret to a long marriage was two simple words… “Yes dear.”  We both laughed and then he went on to say the secret was really three words…  “I love you.”   I have visited with widows, widowers and various couples at the center who all speak to the importance and significance of those words.  All of them have born witness to the fact that loving one another through good times and bad times is the key to a successful and happy marriage.  When talking with those who may be reflecting on the love of a spouse who has already passed or when visiting with those whose spouse is still by their side, I am reminded of the great truth of 1 Corinthians 13:7

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Posted in 1 Corinthians 13:7, A Long Happy Marriage, Being Blessed, Being Thankful, Christianity, Church, faith, God's Love, God's Strength, growing older, Love Endures | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Know I’m Blessed

I was sitting here today in my office at home, reflecting on this morning’s service, praying and thanking the Lord for all of His blessings that He has poured out in my life.  One of the greatest things He has done for me has been to provide me with a wife who loves me, who loves our family and who has helped me grow in regard to my faith.  For over 33 years she has been by my side, loving me, helping me with ministry, and being my best friend.  As I was reflecting on the way the Lord has used her to bless me, I was reminded of some words from Proverbs 31.  Solomon speaking of an excellent wife’s love for her husband says in verse 12:

Prov 31:12   She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

I am so grateful the Lord brought us together.  Marta has been so good to me and so good for me.  I know how much she loves me and I hope she knows how much I love her.

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Making Plans

Marta and I went walking with the girls the other day and they were excitedly talking about the trip to Florida that our entire family has planned for this summer.  Haley who is 6 has been doing a daily count day of the number of days remaining until our trip for at least a month.  “80 days left Papaw… 70 days… 58…” and the count continues.  While we were walking, Haley was telling Avery how many dresses she was going to take, which shoes and which swimsuit.  Avery who is 8 wasn’t as concerned about the clothes but she did talk about the snorkel gear that she was going to take.  After they talked about the trip for several minutes, I told the girls that I loved hearing about their plans.  Then I shared with them that the Bible says God has plans for each of us.

Jer 29:11   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.

I asked them how they thought that could be and Avery responded, “Because He knows all about us.  He knows exactly what we will be doing.”  Haley joined in, “He even knows what we are doing right now.  He knows we are walking the dogs!”  The girls are right, God knows all about us.  He knows what we are doing now and what we will be doing tomorrow and what we will be experiencing in the future.  He knows how much I enjoy these walks with Marta and the girls.  Yes, He has plans for each of us, plans for our good and our well-being and He wants to give us hope.

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Write Something New

Took this picture of the granddaughters last weekend when we went to the mall. They ended up spending the night with us and we had a great time.  At one point we played a game called “Finish the Story.”  One person began a story and then we each took turns adding to it.  The girls had fun and we had some pretty good stories by the time we were done.

As I reflect on that game, I am reminded of Hebrews 12:2 where we are told to “fix eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.”  I love that verse.  No matter where our story begins, no matter what twists and turns it may include, Christ is the ultimate author.  He can rewrite our story, He can turn things around.  He can provide us with a happy and glorious ending.  Give Him the pen and let Him write a new chapter today.

Posted in Christianity, Church, Don't give up, faith, God has a plan for you, Hebrews 12:2, inspirational, religion, Write a New Story | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

People of the Light

This past week I posted a video on the church Facebook page from Wednesday night’s message on Matthew 5:16. I have also posted it on YouTube so that I can make it available on a larger scale. I am not accustomed to making or sharing videos, as a matter of fact, I don’t know that I really like it. I have given people manuscript copies of sermons before and almost every time they tell me, “I could hear your voice while I was reading it.” This always prompts me to apologize due to the fact that I have a pretty strong North Texas accent. You can take the boy out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the boy. The truth is that it can be hard to look at oneself and hear one’s voice on tapes and videos. But I understand that videos and pictures are a good way to reach some people. I am reminded of the fact that in Luke 5:3 Jesus got into Simon’s boat and pushed away from the shore a little so that He could teach from that boat. Though this had not been done before, it gave all the people on the banks of the shore an opportunity to hear His words.

As a minister,  this story from Luke 5:3 reminds me that I need to push out from my comfort zones as I look to share God’s word.  I need to be willing to try some things that I have never tried before and I may need to be willing to try some things again.  I need to let the Lord lead me and guide  and help me share His word so that more people may have an opportunity to know and experience His love and His grace.

 

Posted in Be Flexible, Christianity, Church, discovering spiritual gifts, faith, God Still Speaks, Luke 5:3 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let It Show

In our Wednesday night Bible Study we have been looking at the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 5.  This past week verse 9 really resonated with me.  Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”  This verse comes in a section where Christ is letting His followers know that they should treat others with gentleness, kindness and mercy.  He says His followers should seek to bring about peace.  They should demonstrate His love in all they do and seek to overcome evil with good.  As a result, others will see their actions and behaviors and “…they shall be called sons of God.”

Christ goes on to say in verse 16, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”  I love the exhortation and the expectation that the Lord gives to those who follow Him.  We are to act in such a way that people know that we belong to Him and that He has made an impact on how we live and how we love.

Posted in Being Blessed, Blessed are the peacemakers, Christianity, Church, doing the right thing, faith, Let Your Light Shine, Loving Others, Matthew 5:9 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment