Where Will I Be in Five Years

I have been involved in interviewing candidates for a couple of different jobs during the last month. One of our interview questions had to do with where the candidate did NOT want to be in the next 5 years. The responses we received varied a lot but generally led to discussions about where the candidate did plan or hope to be in that time frame.
 
Those kinds of discussions always remind me that God does have a plan and a purpose for everyone. Sometimes those plans are revealed clearly to us and other times they unfold slowly over a period of time with twists and turns that surprise us. So although I know it’s good to plan, strategize and develop resources, I also know it’s good to be flexible. The Bible says in Proverbs 20:24
 
Proverbs 20:24 Man’s steps are ordained by the LORD, who can know his own way?
 
Yes, we can and should make plans. But we must always remember that it is God who ordains and orders our steps.
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Posted in Be Flexible, Christianity, Church, faith, God, God has a plan for you, Planning, Planning for the Future, Proverbs 20:24, religion | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let Your Light Shine

I had been noticing for a while that one of the three shades in the light fixture in the guest bathroom looked different than the other two. As I am a little bit color blind I told Marta I must have accidentally picked up one that was the wrong color when we replaced those “Hollywood” lights that came with the house. She pointed out that two of the shades had regular bulbs in them and the one that looks different has a special light in it. That’s why it shines a little brighter and stands out from the others. I like that. It reminds me of Christ’s words to His disciples in Matthew 5:16 “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.”

We are all pretty much the same but it’s what we let shine through that can make a difference. Right now with everything that is going on in our state, in our country and in our world…it is a pretty good time for us to shine a little brighter.

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God Answers Prayers

I have had several conversations with different people over the last month or so about the concept of prayer.  One of the conversations was with an individual who respectfully stated that he saw no need for it and thought that Christians were wasting their time engaging in it.  He pointed to several individuals close to him who prayed for something but did not get the answer they desired.  He therefore drew the conclusion that God does not answer prayers.  I disagree and believe that such a conclusion is born out of a wrong understanding of the purpose and the concept of prayer.  Prayer is not a means where we drop off a laundry list with God of things that He must do for us.  No.  Although the Bible does say in Philippians chapter 4 that “by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let our requests be made known to God” it does not promise that we will have our requests and our wish list fulfilled.  Prayer is a means whereby we come boldly before the throne of grace “that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” And when we go to God’s throne we accept whatever mercy, grace and help God bestows upon us.

It helps me to think of prayer like this.  God is a mountain and prayer is a life line; it’s a big strong rope that we make into a lasso.  And we swing that rope and we lasso the top of that mountain.  Now we are connected and we put our hands together and pull on that rope, and we pray, and we pull.  And we invite other people to pull on that rope with us!  And when we pull on that rope, it doesn’t pull the mountain closer to us, it pulls us closer to the mountain!  The more I pull, the longer I stay at it, the more people I invite to pull with me, the closer I get to the mountain.  See, prayer helps me draw near to God.  And when I am closer to God I have a better chance of seeing and understanding how He is working in my life so that I can line myself up with His will.

At the same time, prayer pulls me closer to His comfort, closer to His mercy, closer to His grace during my time of need.  And it is true sometimes He does answer my prayers, my requests and my supplications EXACTLY as I have asked.  That does happen sometimes.  Sometimes it does not.  But what happens EVERY time is that God gives me His comfort!  What happens EVERY time is that He gives me His grace!  What happens EVERY time is that God embraces His child who draws near to Him in their moments of need.  As Paul says in Philippians chapter 4, when I make my requests known to God by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, I am blessed with a peace that passes all understanding.  God always answers prayer.  He may not give me what I want, but He shall always supply me with what I need.

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Expectations and Being or Not Being Discouraged

We had our Vacation Bible School program this past week.  A team of college age counselors came from a local summer camp and put on a program for us.  They provided music, lessons, crafts and did a great job of interacting with our kids.  It was really wonderful to meet each of them and learn a little bit about how God has been working in their lives.  It was also a blessing to hear our kids answer questions about God and share what they already know about Christ.  I can tell that our kids have been learning a lot from parents, grandparents and Sunday school teachers.  I am grateful for the way God worked in and through the VBS program in our church this week.

I thought we would have had more participation from our community; as it was only grandkids of members came.  Someone at my office asked me if I was discouraged about that.  Surprisingly enough, I was not.  Though I had hoped for a bigger turnout, I know that God is in control.  And I know that we were faithful to what He asked us to do.  Anytime we are faithful and obedient, we should never be discouraged – even if things don’t turn out like we plan.  When someone asked me why I was not discouraged, one of the verses that came to my mind was Philippians 4:8

Phil 4:8  Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Besides God being in control there were some other very excellent, honorable and lovely things that happened this week.  Some of our newest members were very involved and supportive of the VBS program.  One of our members who is 88 years old came every single night to encourage the kids and the counselors.  And while we were together we sang songs of worship and we talked about the truth of God’s word!  So although some of my expectations were not met, and although there are some things we may do a little differently next year, I know that there were lots of blessings this week – things worthy of praise!  And I know I will never feel discouraged if I choose to dwell on these things.

Until next time, stay strong in the faith.

Posted in Christianity, Church, diligence, Do Your Best, faith, Philippians 4:8, religion, Vacation Bible School, worry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Memorial Day 2017

There’ll be hotdogs, hamburgers and soda pops,
Yes, a long weekend is on its way,
But before we start the celebration,
There’s something I’d like to say.

Let’s take a moment to remember
That the freedoms we’ve all enjoyed
Have been established and secured
By the men and women who’ve been deployed.

So let’s give thanks to those still serving,
And remember the ones who’ve been laid to rest,
For all of them are deserving
Of our honor and respect.

Posted in Christianity, God, God's Love, Greater Love, John 15:13, Memorial Day, Poem, poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Prayer Breakfast


I went to a prayer breakfast the other day,
And I was the only one there,
But I decided before I went on my way,
To say a little prayer.

“Good morning Lord, I’m about to go,
The only one here is me.”
Then the Lord stopped me and He spoke,
“Tell me what you see.”

I see all kinds of people on the run,
Busy with their chores and cares.
“Yes,” He said “And every single one
Has some need of prayer.”

So I spoke to the waiter passing by,
And the lady cleaning the booth on the end.
One told a story that made us both cry
The other prayed for the health of a friend.

So my new friends and I said a prayer or two,
And no one was offended.
It was the best prayer breakfast I ever went to,
That no one else attended.

Posted in Christianity, Church, faith, God, Poem, poetry, prayer, Prayer Breakfast, Praying for Others | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let’s Take a Walk


Marta and I have been walking in the neighborhood several evenings each week for a couple of months now. I have really enjoyed the time and the talks we have shared. I look forward to going on our walks together. I know that I am not the only one who looks forward to them because every day after supper, our two dachshunds start dancing around every time they suspect that one of us may be about to put on our tennis shoes. Those pups are just so eager and excited that even on days where one of us is too tired to go for a walk the other one will still go on a short walk just to take Briggs and Princess (a name like Princess is what you get when let granddaughters name your pets).

When I see how excited those dogs get to go on a walk with us and be out and about, I can’t help but think that as Christians we ought to get that excited about our daily walk with the Lord. We ought to look forward to spending some time with Him, letting Him lead us and guide us and watch over us as we venture out into this world. And the Lord does want to guide us in our walk; His word makes that clear in several places. Psalm 1:1-3 and Galatians 5:16 are just a couple of verses that come to my mind. He wants to lead us and guide us so that we can enjoy the fullness of His blessing in our lives and be a blessing to others. Now, I will tell you, we don’t “got” to walk with Him…we “get” to walk with Him. And that is definitely a reason to get excited.

Posted in Christianity, Church, faith, following Christ, Galatians 5:16, God, God is with Me, Psalm 1:1-3, religion, Take a Walk, Walk by Faith, Walk in Love, Walk the Dog, Walk with God, Walking with God | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment