I have never done a "Not Me" posting. It's pretty much sarcasm, so it shouldn't be too hard to pick up.
Today is Christmas day. A relaxing kind of day filled with gifts and family and fun. So, I did NOT spend an hour with the doors and windows open clearing the house of smoke from something my beautiful wife did NOT do. If she did, you could read about it here. But she most certainly did not.
I did NOT have to turn off the heat, get out the fans and blow cold air through the house. I did not have to take the oven apart to scrape off burnt monkey bread juice.
Nope. It was a perfectly relaxing day with smiles and good times.
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I was walking into work earlier this week reflecting on why I am where I am. I work for a big company and do a rather complicated job. Most new hires make quite a bit more money than I do because I worked into my job instead of going to college and getting a degree. I'm still working on the degree when I can, but it doesn't fit my life right now. My children are young and that only happens once, so I am going to enjoy them. When I was in school, all I did was work and study. It was a lot of stress on my family. It's not worth it.
Now, I am not boo-hooing my station. Sometimes I do, but that's getting to be less and less. Mostly I get upset with coworkers complaining about their boat needing repair or that they have to buy another car because the high performance vehicle isn't good in the winter and the only one they can find in the color they like is $40k. I just tell them to stop blubbering or trade jobs with me...no one ever seems to want to do that. On the other hand, I LOVE what I do. It's terribly interesting and challenging. I've had the entry level jobs here too. They can be very dull. No thinking required and that makes for a long day. But sometimes I wonder why I haven't progressed further.
So, as I was walking in thinking about this I thought of 1 Tim. 6:6 "But godliness with contentment is great gain."
Yeah, ok. How to be content?
1 Tim 4:8 "...but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come."
Matt 6:33 "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things will be added unto you."
A few words on the kingdom of God. Many times in the new testament - I came up with several dozen in e-sword - the phase "kingdom of God" is used. It's used to describe Heaven, of course. But it's also used to describe Jesus Himself. See Matt. 12:28, Matt 21:43, Mark 1:14. There are a lot more. It's this usage that I think the Holy Spirit was directing me to that morning.
In order to find contentedness, I need to seek after Jesus and live the life He has commanded me to live in Matt 22:38-39. While doing those things, I will become more like Jesus and see this world for what it is - temporary. And also full of opportunity to share Christ's love. I will also begin to look forward to "that which is to come." With a view of the world through Jesus' eyes and looking forward to Heaven, I can see how one could be content. Sounds so simple, huh?
I'm not going to kid myself on that. I've been saved a long time and I don't have it together often enough. I don't spend much time thinking about Heaven. After the memorial I went to this week, it seems I need to have that more in the front of my mind.
I'm also not much of an evangelist. I like reading, studying and teaching the Bible and I don't have a problem defending my faith. I just don't tend to go up to perfect strangers and start sharing Jesus with them like I've seen some people do. I'm shy when it comes to that. But if I can look at people through Jesus' eyes, I will see how lost they are. Isn't their eternity more important than my shyness? God help me to be bold.
Eyes on the prize - eternity with Jesus. Run the Race which has been set before you.
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Last night I went to a memorial for someone I never met, that I recall anyway. My wife knew her though. After hearing everyone recount memories of Honey - evidently the perfect nickname - I consider it my loss that I never got to know her. This was a woman who absolutely lived the Bible. Mother to 8 kids, grandmother to 11, not including all those unrelated to her who had the privilege of calling her Nanny. She actually felt sorry for anyone who didn't have a big family to love.
What I took away from the memorial is that Honey believed that togetherness was everything and Love could overcome any troubles or issues to preserve that togetherness. Hebrews 10:24-25 encourages us to be together and to encourage each other in love and to love. No matter what was going on, if Honey had her family around her to love, she would say, "I had the best."
She was also an example of courage. She lived fearlessly with cancer holding on to Joshua 1:9. She understood and applied the fact that this is a commandment from God to be courageous because God is with you wherever you go.
I wish I could say I experienced first hand the love this woman spread. I will say that just seeing the hundreds of people who came to the service makes me want to live that kind of life. To have that kind of impact. I pray that God would write the verses Honey lived by and the songs that she loved to sing on my heart. That I might leave one-tenth the legacy Honey has.
Heaven has gained a wonderful treasure and this world has lost some of its shine with the passing of Honey.
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My wife and I have been struggling lately financially. In the midst of it, God has been saying to us, "Well, you don't tithe faithfully. How can I bless what you don't give?" So, we've committed that we will give as God directs (not according to what's left over.) And we've been amazingly blessed. 2 weeks ago, we found out that we qualify for heating assistance. With what was provided there, we probably won't have to pay for heat this winter. We came home from church last week to a Christmas tree and some bags of food on our patio. And I was saying to Kelli that God is really blessing us with all these things. "It's not always a miraculous check in the mail that you can't explain. God provides in amazing ways." And I really believe that. But yesterday was ridiculous. We were getting ready to go shopping. We looked ahead at our bills, etc to see what the budget would be (we need an official budget to be formulated while I'm on vacation). We included our tithe, which was painful, but pretty safe. So, as Kelli is putting the numbers into Quicken, I said put in $xxx, which was more than I had said the first time. She kinda looked funny at me and I said, please put it in. She did.
So, we go shopping, and the membership we thought we had to renew wasn't expired, saving us some money. Plus, we didn't spend near as much as I figured we would. I thought, "See, God's blessing us." I had nooo idea what was coming. Kelli was reading a bed-time story to the kids and I went to get the mail. In the mail was an envelope with no return address. Looked like a Christmas card at first glance. Inside the envelope was a short note and a check for $xxx, the exact amount God told me to tell Kelli to put in for the tithe! I just laughed. I didn't know what else to do...except pray and thank God. I gave the letter and check to Kelli to look at, without saying anything...she was equally stunned.
I don't know how God does these things. I've also never been one to test Him on it. I'm a chicken and I am somewhat controlling.
I know this post seems obsessed with money. Don't be distracted. It's about God's faithfulness and His amazing love for His children. I'm not boo-hooing my financial situation. It is what it is and some of it is my fault. But more than that, I think God knows that this is where some of His kids need to be in order to be reliant on Him. In much the same way He didn't heal the apostle Paul. He told Paul, "My grace is sufficient for thee."
I've heard it said many times that the wallet is often the last thing a person surrenders to God. And that a person's faith can be measured by their checkbook. In many ways, that is really true. My family is holding on to God because all of our efforts to make things work have failed. We really need Him and that's where He wants us, and it's becoming the place I want to be. I believe He may keep us here until the lesson is well and truly learned.
Please learn from us and take special note of Solomon in Ecclesiastes. He had everything and it was worthless to him because God wasn't in it.
GOD NEVER FAILS!
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Just some thoughts...
Ezekiel is being given instructions about his ministry to Israel. He's been given things to tell them and the Lord is telling him to go. Verse 6 is an interesting verse. It says that God is not sending Ezekiel to people who don't understand him or who he can't understand. They can converse quite well. In fact, had God sent him to a new people, they would listen and repent. In v7, God says that Ezekiel shouldn't expect them to listen either...they won't listen to God, why would they listen to him? This is a hardhearted bunch. They know the law. They've heard this before, but they will not turn.
Isn't that true for many of us? How many people do we know that don't have a right relationship with God? Yet, because they may have grown up going to church or because we are a "Christian" nation, they think they've got a lock on Heaven. After all, "I'm a good person. I've never killed anyone. Look at that guy! I'm not like him." My wife and I have that in our family. People who were maybe baptized as an infant or who received their first communion or who go to a Christian church now. The problem is if you lack a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you are NOT ok. John 3:3 says "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." It's not works, church, baptism that get you into Heaven. It's a personal relationship with Jesus. Those other things will be an outgrowth of your relationship.
It's hard, though, to tell this to people you know and get them to listen. Mark 6:4 reminds us that "a prophet has no honor in his own country." Familiarity breeds contempt? In Matthew 11, Christ rebukes three towns because He was with them all the time. They saw His miracles, heard His message, yet they rejected Him. We have it even worse...we're sinners. People see us do some rotten stuff. So, what do we do? Just keep living your Christianity the best way you know how.
Verses 8 and 9 can be an encouragement. God is telling Ezekiel that though he'll meet resistance and complacency, God will strengthen him. Remember that the results are not our responsibility. Delivering the message is (v.11).
In verse 14, Ezekiel admits he goes reluctantly.
Verse 18 warns us that if we are told to go, we had better or the blood of those we don't witness to will be on our head. That includes correcting a fellow Christian if need be (v20).
It's not about being comfortable. It's really about Love. If you love someone, why would you let them go to hell just because you might be uncomfortable? Or let a Christian continue in sin?
It's hard, though. And I've said before that I am lacking in the tact department so I might be ready to correct someone, but I offend them so badly that I have to apologize. That can be counter-productive. I also have a hard time knowing when I should say something. There are those that are unteachable. Proverbs 9:8 talks about that. Sometimes it's better to just keep living your Christianity out loud.
But when God tells you to go...go. He'll strengthen you and you will be blessed for your obedience no matter what the outcome.
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I had another of those random thoughts this week.
The site I work at is in a business complex. The building next to mine belonged to another company that built computer chips like we do. That building is now closed and is being dismantled. All the equipment is being taken out and decontaminated, etc. The other day, I was driving in and saw a couple guys with a big spool of cord. Not that I know anything about explosives, but it looked like detonation cord you'd see in a movie. So, I thought, "Are they gonna demolish the building?" That would be cool to watch. It would never happen due to the possible damage to our building. But then I thought, "IBM should have bought that building before it was emptied out. Then we could blow it up and have a whole new factory. I mean, surely if the elements could come together by chance, explode and create the whole universe, we could blow up a building with all the stuff needed for a chip fabricator and come up with a whole new one. Right?"
But then, would we have to wait for the factory to evolve? That takes millions of years. Not good for economic recovery.
I don't know. Maybe not.
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