For what will you be rememberer…

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Blue Hair

 

Our grand daughter Allison decided to make a fashion statement this week… She had the lower half of her hair died bright blue. This morning when I picked her up for school I told her I had a song I wanted to sing for her. I sang (to the tune of Blue skies and rainbows)…. “Blue hair and rainbows the beauty that surrounds her are what I can see when my grand daughter is riding with me.” To be honest she didn’t seem impressed, but I told her that now she would think of me anytime she heard the song….

rainbow

I believe that all of us have a desire to be remembered or at least thought of in a good light. Perhaps that desire strengthens as we age and realize that we will not always be here to interact with people’s lives. Psalm 90:10 gives this general comment on men’s lives. “The measure of our life is seventy years; and if through strength it may be eighty years, its pride is only trouble and sorrow, for it comes to an end and we are quickly gone.

Kevin R. came up with this list of things to do in your life if you want to be remembered. 7 Ways To Be Remembered After Death: Give Generously, Have Time for Others, Be Helpful, Respect Everyone, Develop an Open, Loving Attitude, Be Genuine, and Show Compassion.

Scripture

Those seem like pretty good suggestions and they go along with scripture also. The first things that popped into my head was 1 Corinthians 13:4-7: “Love is never tired of waiting; love is kind; love has no envy; love has no high opinion of itself, love has no pride; Love’s ways are ever fair, it takes no thought for itself; it is not quickly made angry, it takes no account of evil; It takes no pleasure in wrongdoing, but has joy in what is true; Love has the power of undergoing all things, having faith in all things, hoping all things.

If you want to be remembered long after you have died, try living as the scripture instructs us.

May you live long and prosper in this life!

Vulcan Salute

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God Knows Your Name

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God knows your name…

Book of Names

 

You may have noticed that I haven’t been writing lately. That is mostly because of the unexpected event with my heart a few weeks ago. I am on the mend and very slowly regaining my strength and hope to be writing more once again.

Heart Attack

I recently ran across a saying that spoke to me and hopefully it will to you also. It goes like this: “The devil knows your name but calls you by your sin… God knows your sin, but calls you by your name.”

There is so much truth to that saying isn’t there? Everywhere we look and in everything we hear Satan is calling us isn’t he? Even in the smallest things can be a temptation can’t they?

Wedding Band

This week I went to the Dollar Store and as I was walking up to the store, just in front of the curb I spotted something shining and round. I picked it up and it was a gold wedding band small enough to fit onto my little finger. I thought to myself, “As doubtful as it is I’ll find the manager and give it to them and maybe someone will come to claim it.” I did my shopping and had the thought,  (the devil whispered in my ear…) “it is most likely that no one will claim it anyway, maybe I should just take it home and give it to Melody.”  However, when I got to the checkout, I presented it to the cashier, an older lady. She took one look at it, looked down at her finger and cried out, “Oh my, it’s mine, I didn’t know I had lost it.” With tears in her eyes she told me she had been married for 43 years and it meant so much to her.” It made me feel good about myself and my decision, but what if I had listened to the devil’s whispers?

 

Father of Lies

John 8:44 has this to say about the devil: … because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yes, he truly calls us by the sin that will most entice us at that moment in time, he tells us it is a good decision… but he lies. He lies, because he wants us to come to him, to serve him to eventually live with him.

Yet, our most holy God calls us by our name as one of his children. He loves and will never tells us a lie, never mislead us, will always set us on the path that leads to the right things. Isaiah 43:1 tells us:But now, says the Lord your Maker, O Jacob, and your life-giver, O Israel: have no fear, for I have taken up your cause; naming you by your name, I have made you mine.” (BBE) That is what I want! I want a relationship with my God who knows me by name.

In John 10:14 Jesus says: “I am the good shepherd; and I know mine own, and mine own know me,” (ASV) I want to know God in that way and to realize I am truly know by him.

God knows us, he has always known us. God said this to Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1:5  “Before you were formed in the body of your mother I had knowledge of you, and before your birth I made you holy…”

Who do you want to serve? Who do you want a relationship with? The choice is yours, either the devil or our most holy God who calls you by your name?

 

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Celebrating Easter

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Cross at Sunrise

Recently we were watching some of the old 8mm movies my parents filmed while we were growing up. I noticed something while watching them, that was they were almost all special occasions. Things like Christmas, birthdays and many years recorded of us celebrating Easter. You could always tell it was Easter because my parents would line us kids up to show off our “Easter cloths,” (at least while we were little kids). My sister Janet would be dressed up in a frilly dress, usually with a hat and my little brother and I would be wearing ties and jackets. We would pile into the car and head for church and have our regular worship assembly. Normally we would gather with extended family for a carry in lunch meal at my grandparent’s home. Of course the traditional ham and potato salad, etc. and I even remember my aunt Lorene making a cake one year in the shape of a lamb with fuzzy coconut in the icing. That was how we celebrated Easter.

Now what does that have to do with the traditional Easter the world celebrates? Just that we see it differently than much of the world. Melody has shared that when she came into our family that was one of the things that surprised her, that is: “Why we don’t have special Easter services in our church.” Of course it didn’t take her long to figure it out as key to our beliefs is at remembrance of the death, burial and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ.  The difference of course is that we celebrate this every week rather than just once a year. That is really what the Lord’s Supper is all about, isn’t it?

Paul reminds us in with these words in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26: “For I received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which he was betrayed took bread; and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, This is my body, which is for you: this do in remembrance of me. In like manner also the cup, after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood: this do, as often as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink the cup, ye proclaim the Lord’s death till he come.” (ASV)

Did you notice the phrase, “as often as ye”? That seems to indicate that it is more than a once a year event. Acts 20:7 shares this understand, “And upon the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread.” The purpose of them coming together each week was to “break bread” or “partake in the Lord’s Supper” with each other. While 1 Corinthians 16:2 indicates that the first Christians met “every first day of the week”.

So, is it wrong to “celebrate Easter”? No, it’s never wrong to remember the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. However remember His Word, the Bible, tells us to do it each and every week. I hope you still enjoy dressing up special and the special family meals, I do!

Living The Dream: Our Life and Adventures in Africa (Traveling and Adventures in Kenya Book 1) by [Lawson, Russ]  A book full of the love of God and the adventure of living a Christ filled life… Follow along with the authors adventure as missionaries in Africa and understand what it means to trust fully in God. 

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Angry Wife….

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ANGRY WIFE

Angry Wife

A husband and wife returned from shopping and were not pleased with their experience. In one of the shops they were disappointed with both the product and the service. The wife said, “You should complain to the management!” The husband said, OK, he would.

Dutifully the husband went to the company website and filled out their customer satisfaction survey detailing the problems they had encountered. When he finished he told his wife, “Be prepared if that company contacts you.” “Why” she said. Because I filled out the information and signed it “Angry Wife”. “Why in the world did you do that, I don’t want to talk to them”, she replied angrily. “Well,” he said, “You were much angrier than I was.”

Now the husband truly knows what it is to deal with an “angry wife”. (By the way the guy that told me this story, notice I did not give her name, so Gail will never know!)

Should we Confront Wrong?

OK, in all seriousness now, why is it so hard for us to confront wrong in this world. Not all confrontation is bad! The question is  however, whether is it a shopping experience or a moral issue in our world why is it hard to stand for what is right? Our world is under attack by Satan and his minions, they are seeking to destroy every blessing God has given us… what are we willing to do about it?

God Said to Confront Wrong

I was reminded of a passage of scripture that kind of speaks to us about this problem. This is the same problem that was encountered several thousand years ago in Israel in Ezekiel 22:29-31.

“The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery; yea, they have vexed the poor and needy, and have oppressed the sojourner wrongfully. And I sought for a man among them, that should build up the wall, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found none. Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I brought upon their heads, saith the Lord Jehovah.” (ASV)

I kind of like the way this paraphrase put it too: “Your preachers cover up for the politicians by pretending to have received visions and special revelations. They say, “This is what GOD, the Master, says . . .” when GOD hasn’t said so much as one word. Extortion is rife, robbery is epidemic, the poor and needy are abused, outsiders are kicked around at will, with no access to justice.’ “I looked for someone to stand up for me against all this, to repair the defenses of the city, to take a stand for me and stand in the gap to protect this land so I wouldn’t have to destroy it. I couldn’t find anyone. Not one.” (MSG)

The Final Decision Is Ours

Don’t look at the other guy, what about you? Are you ready to take a stand wherever you see Satan trying to destroy our world and take away our freedoms?

Penetrating the Darkness: Discovering the Power of the Cross Against Unseen Evil by [Hayford, Jack]          

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Happiness

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True Happiness   

Children Laughing

The other day our 11 year old granddaughter Allison was with us. She was watching a video and giggling and laughing as only a little girl can do. She was a picture of happiness! A scene from the movie Annie popped into my mind where the evil Miss Hanigan heard her wards laughing and singing and said, “Do I hear happiness in here?” To which they would reply, “No, Miss Hanigan.” So, in my best authoritative grandfather voice I said, “Do I here unauthorized happiness in here?” Of course having learned my ways, she promptly ignored my inquiry and kept on giggling.

Satan is against true happiness  

Father of lies

Doesn’t it seem that many times Satan, through his use of the world, tries to squash our happiness?  We are having a good day and some says, “How are you doing?” You say, “Great!” and they respond with a negative, “What’s so great about it?” I saw a skit one time where a little boy had a balloon and was enjoying it immensely. A grumpy old man came along and saw what was going on, pulled out a pin and popped the balloon. Of course the child started to cry and the man smiled and walked away. That’s how Satan creeps around like a lion seeking those he can devour. He steals their happiness and causing them to lose faith, (1 Peter 5:8).

Satan tries to control our world  

Roaring Lion

It’s sad to say, but that’s the way it seems to be with many folks in our world. If they can’t be happy, they don’t want anyone else to be happy. I’m blessed to be surrounded by so many positive Christian friends, but especially by my wife. She often reminds me to smile when I’m having a tough time. Sometimes we need to be reminded of that don’t we, because no matter what happens in our lives God is still on the throne.

God encourages happiness   

God wants you to be happy

As some know, one of my favorite verses is Hebrews 3:13 where we are reminded, “But give comfort (encourage) to one another every day as long as it is still Today; so that no one among you may be made hard by the deceit of sin.” Honestly, I don’t do enough of this in my life. Sure, I do some, but not as much as I would like to do. I am determined to do better at first being happy and second encouraging others to do the same thing. How about joining me in this challenge? A note, a call, a visit, or a kind word means more than you will ever know those who are being circled by Satan.

Happiness sometimes has to be learned  

I am content

Paul wrote in Philippians 4:11, “…I have learned to be content in whatever state I am.” I’m still working on having that attitude, but with the help of you, whoever you may be, I’ll succeed and I’ll try my best to help you get there too.

The Happy Christian: Ten Ways to Be a Joyful Believer in a Gloomy World by [Murray, David]https://amzn.to/2sSG6Mg  James: Guidelines for a Happy Christian Life (MacArthur Bible Studies) by [MacArthur, John F.]

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Winter Snow Storm Advisory

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Winter Snow Storm Advisory

snow emergency

This weekend we have been under a Winter Snow Storm Advisory. The headlines proclaim “Winter Emergency, 6-12 inches of snow possible.” For days, people have been glued to their televisions and radios listing for the latest update and warning. The power company is even warning people to expect power outages. People swarmed the grocery stores stocking up on food and other essentials, but this is pretty normal for us I guess.

The possible or positive…

What amazes me is that all of the things said by the weather gurus they use words like “it is possible” or “It is probable we may receive” or even “we won’t know until the event actually hits”. Yet people change their whole lives, (at least temporarily), because of these words of warning.

Be Prepared!

emergency Checklist

I’ll admit that at our house we checked all of the batteries in the flashlights, electronic candles, etc. We made sure we have fuel for the kerosene lamp, dug out the space heater, etc. We are set, we are prepared, and we have done our best to get ready for the worst possible weather.

Isn’t it amazing the extremes to which we will go to get ready for a catastrophe that is only temporary and yet we often fail to prepare for the destruction which will be eternal?

Because God Said It!

God’s Word

Peter reminds us in 2 Peter 3:8-11:But do not forget one thing, my dear friends! There is no difference in the Lord’s sight between one day and a thousand years; to him the two are the same. The Lord is not slow to do what he has promised, as some think. Instead, he is patient with you, because he does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants all to turn away from their sins. But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief. On that Day the heavens will disappear with a shrill noise, the heavenly bodies will burn up and be destroyed, and the earth with everything in it will vanish. Since all these things will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people should you be? Your lives should be holy and dedicated to God,

thus sayest the Lord

Did you especially catch the sentence that said: “Since all these things will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people should you be?” Did you notice that the words, “possibly” or “probably” or “it may happen” never appear! It is dead certain that this will happen we just don’t know when.

The decision is yours to make…

So, what kind of person will you be, A God fearing, bible believing, righteous living Christian or something else? We still have time to prepare, but how many of us actually will?

 

Is God mad at me?: Why is bad stuff happening to me? Did I do something to make God mad? Am I really a bad person? Why do bad things happen to godly people? by [Lawson, Russ]

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We must be broken before we can shine

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A shared story about broken glow sticks…  (author anonymous)

Glow Sticks

The Story…

The solid truth about live is that we often must be broken before we can shine before the world.

“I was in Dollar Tree last night, and there was a lady and two kids behind me in the LONG line. One was a big kid, and the other one was a toddler. The bigger one had a pack of glow sticks, and the toddler was screaming for them.

Crying Child

The Mom opened the pack and gave him one which stopped his tears. He walked around with it smiling; but then the bigger boy took it, and the toddler started screaming again. Just as the Mom was about to fuss, the older child bent the glow stick and handed it back to the toddler. As we walked outside at the same time, the toddler noticed that the stick was now glowing; and his brother said, “I had to break it so that you could get the full effect from it.”

How do we react…..

I almost ran, because l could hear God saying to me, “I had to break you to show you why I created you. You had to go through it so you could fulfill your purpose.” That precious child was happy just swinging that “unbroken” glow stick around in the air, because he didn’t understand what it was created to do – which was “glow”. There are some people who will be content just “being,” but some of us that God has chosen… we have to be “broken.”

Broken People

We have to get sick. 
We have to lose a job. 
We go through a divorce.

We have to bury our spouse, parents, best friend, or our child…

Do you glow???

In those moments of desperation, God is breaking us. But… when the breaking is done, then we will be able to see the reason for which we were created. So when you see us glowing, just know that we have been broken but healed by His Grace and Mercy!!” (Anonymous)

Shining

I wish I had written this story, but I didn’t, but I couldn’t help but be touch by the message. My prayer is that you will understand that sometime the light will shine through you because you have been broken.

Shine for God

Russ Lawson

   

 

Is God mad at me?: Why is bad stuff happening to me? Did I do something to make God mad? Am I really a bad person? Why do bad things happen to godly people? by [Lawson, Russ]

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The New Year

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Life isn’t permanent

Life isn’t permanent

I opened up a magazine this morning and an advertisement for a wall hanging caught my eye. On it were these words, “Don’t take life so seriously… it isn’t permanent!” I read that and thought, “WOW! That’s a great concept!”

We tend to forget the important stuff…

Important stuff

Important stuff
It’s too bad that we forget that concept far too often! We take our problems, our lives, and ourselves so seriously sometimes that we leave ourselves no room to enjoy living. Some folks I know seem like they go through their whole lives upset about something. Do they really need to be that way? This has to be a serious problem in our society, because we have developed several other sayings that have similar messages. Saying such as, “this too shall pass,” “life is too short to sweat the little things and they’re all little things,” “In one hundred years what difference will it make.”

It’s a matter of perspective…

Perspective

What all of these sayings deal with is our perspective, our viewpoint or our perception of life! It’s about how we see the world and our place in it, it’s about our priorities! If we get our priorities right, then we begin to be concerned about the right things, perhaps the really important things. When we do, people saying hurtful things, people taking advantage of us, being upset when things don’t go as planned just are not as important any longer. We gain a new perspective on life and begin to enjoy living.

God tried to tell us…

God Said it

Two scriptures come to mind concerning this concept. First, Ecclesiastes 12:13, “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” The other is Philippians 1:14-16, “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life— in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.”

Adjust your priorities…

adjust your priorities

What should our priorities be? Simply put, living in accordance to God’s commandments and not just for the pleasures of the world!

How about setting some new priorities for the coming year? Some folks call it “making New Year’s Resolutions.” Whatever you may call it, isn’t it time for you to do it? After all, “this life isn’t permanent,” the one to come is…

May God grant you the strength to resolve to commit to the right things!

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When I remember….

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Child singing in church

I remember Early Blessings

I remember when, unlike many, I have had a secret blessing in my life, the blessing of having godly parents. My mother tells me the first place I went after my birth, (just a week and a half old or so), was to a church meeting with them. So, I literally was raised in the church as the saying goes.

Things Change

Things Change

As I remember when, I remember of course that, “Things were different,” back then, as they always are. But as our young people look back in 60 years or so, they will say the same thing, “I remember when”. That “things change,” is one of the universal constants isn’t it? Yet at the same time, some things don’t change  and one of them is the need for committed members of God’s church.

How do we train today?

Recently the young men of our congregation led our evening worship period. I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to be there because of illness, but thanks to the marvel of the Internet I was able to see pictures and video of some of what went on. The elders of our congregation recognize the need to train men, the young and not so young to participate in leading God’s church and we are thankful that we have those who can assist in doing that.

Memories fuel the fire to do God’s work

Leadership

As I “remember when,” I remember a group of young boys at the Vandalia church of Christ in Vandalia, OH. I remember sitting in a class and learning the basics of public prayer, public reading of scripture, public speaking, serving at the Lord’s table and other things. I remember the first time I stood before the congregation passing the emblems for the Lord’s Table, then reading a scripture and reading a prewritten prayer. A couple of us went on to be preachers, others elders or deacons, some, (much needed), faithful members who continue to serve God’s church today.

I remember that it worked then and still works

This is the same learning system we still use today. First we learn our self and then train others. One of our senior Christians, James Bolen told me recently, “I remember the men’s training class we had in your basement. That was the first time I had ever spoken before people,” that was around 45 years ago.

We need to keep on training men in leadership…

The point is that it is important for us to try and help men, young or otherwise to learn the skills they need to become leaders in God’s church. You see, I remember that we weren’t blessed with programs like Lads to leaders, but we were blessed with faithful men, faithful fathers and mothers and grandparents, who helped us learn what God could do with our lives and then do it. That is what we need to bless our young men with today also.

God directs us in this….

God’s Word instructs us

If you haven’t done so, give these young men, (as well as all who serve), a pat on the back and encourage them as they serve God in whatever gift they have to use. Paul wrote to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:1-2:Therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit the same to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” That example still stands before us; let us continue to follow it.

 

Developing Leaders for the Church: Biblical Principles of Leadership Empowerment by [Campbell, Lattis]

Elders and Deacons in the church: A study of God's direction for leadership in His church by [Lawson, Russ]

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Trying to resolve email problems

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I found out that my posts have not been sending out email notifications. I am working to try and repair this problem. Please have patience with me.

Russ Lawson

 

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