Words Can Fail

Words can fail:

When a marriage ends.

When betrayed by someone you considered a friend.

When you bury a child.

When you face a life threatening illness for yourself, your family, or your friends.

When you face unexpected financial setbacks.

When you lose a spouse.

When you are disillusioned, depressed and defenseless.

When mental illness, dementia, bipolar disorders, and alheimers strike the ones you love.

When people disappoint you.

When you try and reason out why this stuff is happening to you or your loved ones.

But God’s love never fails.

Advertisements

Everyday Counts

The average American born in 2012 will live 78.8 years. That translates into approximately 28,782 days.

U.S. life expectancy hits record of 78.8 years — for those born in 2012 – The Washington Post.

If you were born before 2012 your life expectancy is even lower.

Statistically, I have lived over 60% of my life. I could live longer or I could die before this article is posted.

Too many of us live as if today doesn’t really count.

We are so focused on the pursuit of our goals that we fail to recognize that everyone of our days is ordained by God.

” In your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them”(Ps. 139: 16).

It’s not just the days we get a promotion.

Or the day we got married.

Or the day we came to saving faith in Christ.

Or even the birth of our children.

Yes these days are a gift from God and they are wonderful.

But the difficult days are also to be treasured. Every day is a gift.

Even the days that we’re out of work or looking for a better job are also ordained by him.

So are the days when we face death and tragedy.

The days we find love and the day we lose it.

Every one of these days is special.

Every day counts and has meaning.

Every day is filled with opportunity, especially the difficult days.

On the difficult days we have the opportunity to fully be aware of our need for God in our lives and the need for family and community.

Today is a precious dwindling commodity, how are you going to spend it?

Melted Ice Cream and Milkshakes

I still can’t eat melted ice cream or a milkshake, but one day I will.

At the age of 11 years old I had several baby teeth pulled. My adult teeth were already pushing forward and I was getting braces. I lived on a diet of milkshakes, for a couple of weeks, while my new teeth settled in.

I discovered two unintended consequences of having my teeth pulled out and drinking milkshakes.

First, I actually grew tired of the taste of milkshakes and longed for a hamburger and fries. Even vegetables were starting to look good.

Secondly, my mouth had bled so much that I began to associate the taste of ice cream, milkshakes and blood together.

I know it is psychological, but I can still taste blood when I eat melted ice cream or a milkshake.

This is what I conditioned myself to believe about the taste of milkshakes. It is a conditioning that is hard to break.

It even sounds sillier when I write it down on paper.

Yet, I find that many people suffer from this same faulty logic in other areas of their lifes.

They have dealt with a strong habit or sin pattern for so long that it feels impossible to consider their deliverance.

Or they have heard such negative comments from others that their belief in themselves has been destroyed.

I have discovered that what we believe about ourselves and our circumstances can directly affect our outcomes.

However, what God believes about me is truth, and ultimately more important than what I believe about myself.

No matter what my taste buds say, melted ice cream does not taste like blood. 

Shake Up Your Bible Reading Routine

It is easy to get into a  rut in Bible reading. Familiarity can lead to complacency
.

Let me suggest some possible solutions that have worked for me.

Change WHERE you read your Bible. If you have been reading at home go to a public place or vice versa.

Change WHEN you read.  If you normally read in the morning then try reading right before bedtime or vice versa.

Change WHAT you read. If you normally read the NIV switch to a different translation.

Change HOW you read the Bible. Switch from text to an audible version. Or read a Chronological Bible that reorganizes the contents.

Change WHY you read. Are you reading to learn? Then emphasize a devotional approach. If devotional minded consider an in depth book study for a change.

Volunteers

Volunteers are the lifeblood of any healthy church.

They do setup and teardown before and after services, regardless of the weather.

They joyfully greet people as the arrive creating a “come as  you are” environment.

They provide childcare for newborns, and toddlers so the parents can go to the service.

They teach our children and lead age appropriate worship.

They stop, listen, cry, and pray with people who are hurting and rejoice when God answers those hurts.

They direct our traffic and keep us from automobile accidents.

They help us find the bathroom, coffee, and a place to sit.

They lead our small groups – building relationships that matter.

They participate vocally and instrumentally in worship.

They take up and count money.

A church with a thriving volunteer base can survive in difficult times.

A church with a withering volunteer base is headed to decline.

Volunteers do it because they love the Lord, his people and his work.

But volunteers can get discouraged and feel unappreciated.

Slowly, that smile can turn into a frown. Joyful work can turn to duty.

So consider taking the opportunity this week to thank a volunteer.

Call them or send an email or text thanking them for their service.

Or this weekend thank them in person for what they do.

Or volunteer to serve alongside them to show them your appreciation

Tired.

Even Jesus got tired. There were times he had to pull away from the crowds, from his followers – even his inner circle for a break.

His withdrawal from the crowd was not for his own benefit, but for those who followed him.

Jesus knew that to be effective in ministry he needed time to recharge.

So he would withdraw to spend time with his Heavenly Father. Then he would return to meet the needs of those seeking him.

There are times we need to temporarily withdraw from ministry. To take a sabbatical and refresh our own batteries so that we might be effective in ministry.

Sometimes the most spiritual thing we might do is to take a nap.