Posts Tagged ‘nature’

churchTo make it possible for everyone to attend church this Sunday, we are going to have a special “No Excuse Sunday”:

Cots will be placed in the foyer for those who say, “Sunday is my only day to sleep in.”

There will be a special section with lounge chairs for those who feel that our pews are too hard.

Eye drops will be available for those with tired eyes from watching TV late Saturday night.

We will have steel helmets for those who say, “The roof would cave in if I ever came to church.”

Blankets will be furnished for those who think the church is too cold, and fans for those who say it is too hot.

Scorecards will be available for those who wish to list the hypocrites present.

Relatives and friends will be in attendance for those who can’t go to church and cook dinner, too.

We will distribute “Stamp Out Stewardship” buttons for those that feel the church is always asking for money.

One section will be devoted to trees and grass for those who like to seek God in nature.

Doctors and nurses will be in attendance for those who plan to be sick on Sunday.

The sanctuary will be decorated with both Christmas poinsettias and Easter lilies for those who never have seen the church without them.

We will provide hearing aids for those who can’t hear the preacher and cotton wool for those who think he’s too loud!

imagesTeach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.Psalm 90:12

Well it’s the 2nd day of the year, and most of us are off to work and ready to put 2012 on everything we sign…:) As we all start off on our new resolutions and a fresh spring in our step, I wonder how much thought we really give to each day. How much planning do we do to make sure that each one is given it’s full worthiness to the Lord? How much indeed.

According to a statistic published some time ago, the average life span of people in the United States is 25,550 days (70 years). Some of us are already past that number, while others may never reach it. My calculator tells me that as of today I have lived 18542 days. Maybe you want to check just how many days you have already lived (Or maybe you don’t…lol).

As we count our days, we are reminded that they are limited. As someone once put it, “Life is a temporary assignment.”

That’s why the author of today’s verse asks the Lord to help us number our days—so we will realize we have been given only limited time here on this earth, so we need to make the best out of each moment. The psalmist wants us to remember that what really matters is how we use the days he gives us.

And that raises some important questions: How will we use the remaining 364 days of this year? Will we use them in the way the Lord wants us to? Will we use them to serve him and to serve the people God places on our path? Are we willing to use our gifts and talents, our resources and our time to build his kingdom in whatever place he puts us?

We are not given another year simply to take up space. Wherever we may find ourselves, God wants to use each one of us. Ask yourself today, “How does God want to use me?”

52This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands.
1 John 5:2

The rustic town of Frankenmuth, Michigan, is known for samazing German cooking and Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland. Bronner’s is always decorated for Christmas and sells ornaments, bows, and trees year-round. Since Michigan usually has snow at Christmastime, it is weird to see the store on a hot July afternoon, but it fits the alpine look of the town.

In a way like Bronner’s, we don’t need seasonal snow and icicles to celebrate Christmas. The birth of Jesus is a life- and world-changing event, so it should be possible to celebrate it anytime and anyplace. It should be possible to stretch the generosity and goodwill of the season into spring, summer, and fall.

John’s letter gives us clues on how to stretch the season. We celebrate Christmas all year when we stick to the basics of “loving God and carrying out his commands.”

And these “commands” are not complicated. The central command is to love God and neighbor. For example, says John, “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar.”

So, as we take down the Christmas tree and store the lights and decorations, we should keep celebrating the birth of Jesus by loving others as he loves us. “Peace and goodwill to all” must be a year-round labor of love.

Just for Today …
.. smile at a stranger
.. listen to someone’s heart
.. drop a coin where a child can find it
.. learn something new, then teach it to someone
.. tell someone you’re thinking of them
.. hug a loved one
.. don’t hold a grudge
.. don’t be afraid to say “I’m sorry”
.. look a child in the eye and tell them how great they are
.. don’t kill that spider in your house, he’s just lost so show him the way out
.. look beyond the face of a person into their heart
.. make a promise, and keep it
.. call someone, for no other reason than to just say “Hi”
.. show kindness to an animal
.. stand up for what you believe in
.. smell the rain, feel the breeze, listen to the wind
.. use all your senses to their fullest
.. cherish all your TODAYS

I have been working hard over the last couple of months to get our pool in tip top condition. A few months ago, the filtration pretty much stopped, and the pool became stagnant, and in the hot desert sun, soon turned green and thick as syrup with algae. In short, it became an eye sore and a gathering place for mosquitoes. Something had to be done.

With not much enthusiasm, I rented a sump pump and spent the entire weekend draining, scrubbing, cleaning filters, and refilling the pool. If you’ve never done this, I cannot tell you how hard of work this is, especially in the hot sun. After the water had filled the freshly scrubbed pool, I proudly turned on the pump with a big smile and a sense of pride. NOT, as I looked at the pool skimmer, I was so disappointed. For some reason the pump just wasn’t doing it’s job and I didn’t have the money for a repairman. I had to get it working, or I would be back in the same boat again.

My brilliant wife came up with an idea after looking the problem up online. It may be the pump impeller clogged. So I took the pump up, and sure as anything the impeller blades were full of debris. I cleaned them out and put the pump back on, and lo and behold, the skimmer started filtering the pool better than I had ever seen. As I look at my pool, and how clean and inviting it is for me to jump into, I wonder if Jesus wants to jump into my heart.

OK, that was a weird question, but here’s why I wonder that. It’s been 2 months since I cleaned that pool and it is clearer than any pool I’ve ever seen. But, as I looked at it with pride, I noticed it was so clear that I could see things at the bottom that I would never notice if I hadn’t cleaned it so well. Now the things I’m referring to were small, like a few small leaves, some dirt, and a couple of twigs blown in by the strong desert winds we get. However, even though they were small, they bothered me, and I didn’t want to get in until I had vacuumed the pool and it was COMPLETELY clean again. this is the perfect example of how God must look at our hearts.

Our hearts like the pool, can be drained of sin, scrubbed with the brush of righteousness, filled back up with the Holy Spirit, the Bible (Our filtration) can be up and running again, but unless we maintain the bottom of the pool as well as the water, is it clean enough for the Lord? If we want a life filled with God, then we will make sure our hearts are clean and pure, a place where He would want to dwell. Now our hearts, like my pool will start to get dirty again with time, but we need to stay on top of our sin, constantly keeping an eye out for it gathering at the bottom of our hearts, often out of sight, like the bottom of  a pool. We want our hearts to be like that pool now, clean from top to bottom. Making the Lord WANT to jump in and make Him proud.

OK, so I know this is a different analogy, but our lives can and should be a reflection of our relationship with the Lord. Is yours?

 

Northern part of the Great Rift Valley as seen...

Northern part of the Great Rift Valley as seen from space (NASA) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are two seas in Palestine. One is fresh, and fish are in it. Splashes of green adorn its banks. Trees spread their branches over it and stretch out their thirsty roots to sip of its healing waters. Along its shores the children play, as children played when He was there. He loved it. He could look across its silver surface when He spoke His parables. And on a rolling plain not far away He fed five thousand people.

The River Jordan makes this sea with sparkling water from the hills. So it laughs in the sunshine. And men build their houses near to it, and birds their nests; and every kind of life is happier because it is there.

The River Jordan flows on south into another sea. Here is no splash of fish, no fluttering leaf, no song of birds, no children’s laughter. Travelers choose another route, unless on urgent business. The air hangs heavy above its water, and neither man nor beast nor fowl will drink.

What makes this mighty difference in these neighbor seas? Not the river Jordan. It empties the same good water into both. Not the soil in which they lie not the country about.

This is the difference. The Sea of Galilee receives but does not keep the Jordan. For every drop that flows into it another drop flows out. The giving and receiving go on in equal measure.

The other sea is shrewder, hoarding its income jealously. It will not be tempted into any generous impulse. Every drop it gets, it keeps.

The Sea of Galilee gives and lives. This other sea gives nothing. It is named The Dead. There are two kinds of people in the world. There are two seas in Palestine.