Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Abraham Lincoln once said, "Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be."

Here in America we are spoiled, as we take for granted the simple things in life, such as: running water, even hot water, heat, food,electricity,and safety. Yes, safety. I often think about taking safety for granted while crossing railroad tracks, with the gates up,obviously. Who says there couldn't be a train barreling down those tracks toward me and the trigger mechanism not working on those gates.

A couple of Sundays ago a tornado hit the small, central town of Washington, Illinois. Tornadoes in mid-November is uncommon for Illinois and to the Midwest in general. With most of this town wiped out, the death toll was limited to just one soul. What's so amazing is that the death toll was so low because most of the town was in church. None of the churches in Washington were hit by the massive tornado.

Like Abe Lincoln suggests, we can make up our mind to be happy when we dwell on those simple things in life that we have each day. In many countries hot water and electricity is not available, if it were, it would be considered a luxury to them.

This Thanksgiving, us Americans should be grateful for the simple things in life that we have. And if you see someone in need, bless them, for in return you shall be blessed.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Take A Stand

“Isn’t it peculiar, Charlie Brown, how some traditions just slowly fade away.”
–Lucy, after she pulls the football away from Charlie Brown, just as he's about to kick it.

 I find it interesting that A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving originally aired in 1973, to which this quote derives from. Perhaps Charles M. Schulz, the Peanuts creator, was prophesying the future.

As we approach Thanksgiving here in America, there is much ado about how are culture has drastically changed. Black Friday (where stores open at the wee hours of the am to throw sale prices our way for Christmas) has now been pushed to one day earlier, Thanksgiving Day, and pulling Americans away from their families.

On behalf of America, I apologize to all my readers from other countries. These new standards in our culture here in America doesn't reflect all of us.  There are quite a number of us who are taking a stand and rejecting the option of shopping on Thanksgiving Day just to save a few bucks.

As one of my friends put it quite bluntly,

"If we go out and shop on Thanksgiving Day, we are saying to that person behind the counter that we don't care if you are being taken away from your family on this holiday."

Henry Ward Beecher once said,

"Pride slays thanksgiving, but a humble mind is the soil out of which thanks naturally grows.
A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves." 

This holiday season my hope is that all true Americans will take part in spreading hope and love where it's needed. And may we put away our selfish pride.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Great Metaphor of Wisdom

"I used to work in a bank. We were taught about real money, not counterfeit."

This, from a wise elderly woman at my church. She was metaphorically speaking about the church in America today. We fell into this conversation after a church service last week. The woman had visited a relative's church in Iowa a week ago and said she felt uncomfortable there, as the service seemed more along the lines of entertainment than spiritual.

It's unfortunate that there are churches in America today that have become seeker sensitive; aspiring to fill the wants and needs of the congregation rather than deliver what's really needed, the Gospel. Their vision is all about filling the people's lives with programs and filling the pews, rather than letting the Holy Spirit have control, to where people are being set free from addictions and afflictions.

"Without the Holy Spirit, Christianity is reduced to religion." - Richard Bonnke

With so many Americans struggling with unemployment and unable to provide the basic necessities for their families, the church's responsibility has increased. If you've ever gone through something and saw your life take a downward spiral, then you know what I'm talking about. The reality is that only Jesus can fix what's broken.

A great example of how the Church should be is found in Acts 14:

Paul and Barnabas went to the Jewish synogogue and preached with such power that a great number of both Jews and Greeks became believers. Some of the Jews, however, spurned God's message and poisoned the minds of the Gentiles against Paul and Barnabas.
But the Apostles stayed there a long time, preaching boldy about the grace of the Lord. And the Lord proved their message was true by giving them power to do miraculous signs and wonders.

I like the fact that Paul and Barnabas chose to stay and boldly preach about the grace of God.

Whether you live in America or in another country, if you find yourself in a church that isn't boldly speaking the Word of God and it's truths, pray that the Lord will direct your steps to a new church. One that isn't afraid to boldly claim all the truths in God's Word, A Word that God Himself would want you to hear.

If you live in an area with no access to a Bible, click on: www.biblegateway.org for more of God's encouraging Word.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Love to the Rescue

Johnny Depp once said that the only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure love are dogs and infants. Sometimes I think he is right.

This past weekend while in a deep discussion about dogs, yep, deep discussion, the following true story came to mind:

A young lady would take her 4 year-old daughter for a walk everyday through the neighborhood. On some days she would be met by the next door neighbor walking her Rottweiler. The woman with the dog would wait in the driveway until the stroller tracking mom passed by; in fear of what her dog would do to the innocent child. Each day this happened, the little girl would wave to the dog; so a good rapport from a distance had been developed between the two.

This went on for a few weeks and then one evening an unfortunate accident happened. The home the little girl lived in caught fire. The Rottweiler living next door came to the rescue. Somehow the dog found an escape route from the backyard and found a way into the burning house and pulled the little girl out. As dramatic as a Hollywood script, this story may sound hard to believe at first, but thankfully it's true.

Now, about that Rottweiler. They are one of the most misunderstood breeds of dog. They may appear ferocious at times and look like they want to rip your leg off, but some can be harmless and loving; of course that depends on their handler. Which leads me to this, about us humans:

Sometimes we may carry a grudge on someone, or dislike a certain type of person or race, but God's greatest commandment is this:

So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’” (Luke 10:27)

As we approach the holiday season with more stores choosing to be open on Thanksgiving Day, prying Americans away from their families, I believe it's the common people that deal with the public on a daily basis that need a word of encouragement or a simple smile. 

Show some love this holiday season!