The Faces of hunger

Have you ever been hungry? I’m not talking about missing a meal every now and then and I’m not talking about planned fasts. Have you ever been unable to provide a meal when you wanted?

Worse than this, have you even been in the position that you could not provide a meal for your children? No money, no hope and no resources?

What do you do when your child tells you that they are hungry and you literally have nothing to give them? When you don’t even have a place to live? Or a safe place to sleep.

I’m calling this post the faces of hunger but I could call it the faces of homelessness. The pictures I’m posting are all Americans. They may be in your city or town. These children and single moms didn’t ask for this. They don’t want to be living on the street. The fortunate ones have a car as their home, but that’s not good enough.

You see, I’ve been there myself. I know what it’s like to have to tell your children that there’s nothing to eat. I know what it’s like to see your wife crying in frustration and despair. I know what it’s like to have to beg. It’s not a pleasant experience.

Yes, some people choose this way of life. These are not the people I’m talking about. How about the single parents whose partners are gone? How about the parents who have mental issues? Maybe they made some bad choices in the past and now they are living with the consequences. We all have made poor choices from time to time. Some worse than others.

How about the families that just aren’t making enough money? They have to choose between rent, utilities and food.

Looking at this picture you have to ask how anyone can live like this? No one should ever have to and these are the lucky ones. They have a roof!

It is estimated that there are over 209 million adults in America. Can you imagine if half of these people were to give just one dollar to help this situation? ONE DOLLAR. That would be nearly $105,000,000 toward the hunger crisis in America.

There are programs that can help. The government has welfare programs and churches have shelters and

feeding programs. But what about you? Are you a Christian? A follower of Jesus? Remember, Jesus took compassion on the crowd and fed them because they missed one meal! How can we not feel compassion for these who live beside us? The Pharisees asked Jesus who they should consider their neighbors. We have literal neighbors who are hungry and we do nothing to ease the pain. How can we, as Christians, just sit and let them go hungry?

There are places where you can donate food, money and your time. Donating you time is vital. Food banks and shelters need volunteer help so they can stretch their food dollars to feed more families. Every dollar they pay toward wages is money not going to food. Homeless shelters also need your help, physically and financially. Look up places near you. I know they are there. We often ignore these facilities until we need them, but they are there. I’m going to list a few but these are by no means the only ones. Do your own research. Some of these are Christian organizations and some are secular. There are also local shelters and foodbanks that you can find with a quick internet search. Your church may also have a benevolence fund or organizations that they sponsor and/or support.

Feeding America

Meals For Good

The Hunger Project

Feed The Children

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Prayer – WHY?

Prayer is effective

Why should I bother to pray? Why should you bother to pray? As the title of this blog says, prayer is effective.  It works. But first let’s back up a bit and ask another question. What is prayer? Before we can be convinced that prayer works we need to know what prayer is and how to pray. Maybe I should have done this blog before the series on The Lord’s Prayer but we can catch up.

So, what is prayer? The dictionary lists prayer as a noun and defines it as “a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or an object of worship.” Asking for help or thanking Him for His help are certainly two aspects of prayer that the Bible tells us to practice. But prayer is so much more than this.

God is our Father and we should talk to Him as we would our earthly fathers. I told this to someone many years ago and very quickly was told that his earthly father wasn’t someone that anyone would want to talk to. I know, some of us don’t have a good relationship with our earthly fathers for various reasons. I was actually in that same position myself so I understand. But our Heavenly Father is GOOD! We need to talk to Him frequently just as we would talk to any loved one. Cultivate the habit of prayer. One way to do this is to realize that every thought, word and deed is in His view. God sees and knows all about us, so why not address all of our thoughts toward Him? (This is also a good way to help keep your thoughts from straying into area they should not stray.) Live a life of prayer! 1Thessalonians 5:16 says, “pray without ceasing.” I believe this can be done as we begin to understand that through the Holy Spirit God lives in us and He knows what we think and feel.

He also understands. Jesus was born an infant, became a toddler, a teenager and a young adult just like all of us. He lived with peer pressure, changing hormones and adolescence. Yes, Jesus is (was) God, but He was also fully man. And Jesus prayed! In fact, He prayer a lot. Jesus believed that prayer worked and He modeled that belief for us.

One thing that Jesus made very clear was that prayer was not like rubbing a magic lamp to get whatever you wanted. He said, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, then you will ask for anything you wish, and you shall have it.” (John 15:7 GNB) Notice that He said “if you remain in me AND MY WORDS REMAIN IN YOU…” Living a life of prayer as I described above will help us to keep His words in us. We cannot expect that Jesus will make us millionaires and help us to live a life of frivolous debauchery. While some believers are blessed with finances it is their gifting to finance the kingdom work. They live a life of prayer and it shows. (Here I need to say that not all who call themselves Christians are actually true believers. They live a material life seeking money and fame and they use Jesus name in vain. “By their fruits you will know them”.)

Remaining in Jesus words isn’t that hard. Spend time reading the Bible and praying. Your efforts will be rewarded. If you are sincere Jesus will guide your readings, give you insight and understanding. So talk to the Father today. You don’t need fancy words or formats any more than you would need to talk to your earthly dad. God WANTS to hear from you and you NEED to talk to Him.

I will continue this study on prayer but don’t wait for that. So start praying and reading the Bible now. Most people find that as they spend more time talking to God that they will find more meaning and richness in the Word. God speaks to us through His Word and the Holy Spirit will certainly direct you to the readings you need.

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Cheyenne

Once again I have found something on Facebook that I just had to repost.

“Watch out! You nearly broad sided that car!” My father yelled at me. “Can’t you do anything right? “Those words hurt worse than blows. I turned my head toward the elderly man in the seat beside me, daring me to challenge him. A lump rose in my throat as I averted my eyes. I wasn’t prepared for another battle. “I saw the car, Dad. Please don’t yell at me when I’m driving. “My voice was measured and steady, sounding far calmer than I really felt. Dad glared at me, then turned away and settled back. At home I left Dad in front of the television and went outside to collect my thoughts…. dark, heavy clouds hung in the air with a promise of rain. The rumble of distant thunder seemed to echo my inner turmoil. What could I do about him? Dad had been a lumberjack in Washington and Oregon .. He had enjoyed being outdoors and had reveled in pitting his strength against the forces of nature. He had entered grueling lumberjack competitions, and had placed often. The shelves in his house were filled with trophies that attested to his prowess .The years marched on relentlessly. The first time he couldn’t lift a heavy log, he joked about it; but later that same day I saw him outside alone, straining to lift it. He became irritable whenever anyone teased him about his advancing age, or when he couldn’t do something he had done as a younger man. Four days after his sixty-seventh birthday, he had a heart attack. An ambulance sped him to the hospital while a paramedic administered CPR to keep blood and oxygen flowing. At the hospital, Dad was rushed into an operating room. He was lucky; he survived. But something inside Dad died. His zest for life was gone. He obstinately refused to follow doctor’s orders. Suggestions and offers of help were turned aside with sarcasm and insults. The number of visitors thinned, then finally stopped altogether. Dad was left alone. My husband, Dick, and I asked Dad to come live with us on our small farm. We hoped the fresh air and rustic atmosphere would help him adjust. Within a week after he moved in, I regretted the invitation. It seemed nothing was satisfactory. He criticized everything I did. I became frustrated and moody. Soon I was taking my pent-up anger out on Dick. We began to bicker and argue. Alarmed, Dick sought out our pastor and explained the situation. The clergyman set up weekly counseling appointments for us. At the close of each session he prayed, asking God to soothe Dad’s troubled mind. But the months wore on and God was silent. Something had to be done and it was up to me to do it. The next day I sat down with the phone book and methodically called each of the mental health clinics listed in the Yellow Pages. I explained my problem to each of the sympathetic voices that answered in vain .Just when I was giving up hope, one of the voices suddenly exclaimed, “I just read something that might help you! Let me go get the article…”I listened as she read. The article described a remarkable study done at a nursing home. All of the patients were under treatment for chronic depression. Yet their attitudes had improved dramatically when they were given responsibility for a dog.I drove to the animal shelter that afternoon. After I filled out a questionnaire, a uniformed officer led me to the kennels. The odor of disinfectant stung my nostrils as I moved down the row of pens. Each contained five to seven dogs. Long-haired dogs, curly-haired dogs, black dogs, spotted dogs all jumped up, trying to reach me. I studied each one but rejected one after the other for various reasons: too big, too small, too much hair. As I neared the last pen a dog in the shadows of the far corner struggled to his feet, walked to the front of the run and sat down. It was a pointer, one of the dog world’s aristocrats. But this was a caricature of the breed. Years had etched his face and muzzle with shades of gray. His hip bones jutted out in lopsided triangles. But it was his eyes that caught and held my attention. Calm and clear, they beheld me unwaveringly. I pointed to the dog. “Can you tell me about him?” The officer looked, then shook his head in puzzlement. “He’s a funny one. Appeared out of nowhere and sat in front of the gate. We brought him in, figuring someone would be right down to claim him. That was two weeks ago and we’ve heard nothing. His time is up tomorrow.” He gestured helplessly .As the words sank in I turned to the man in horror. “You mean you’re going to kill him?” “Ma’am,” he said gently, “that’s our policy. We don’t have room for every unclaimed dog.” I looked at the pointer again. The calm brown eyes awaited my decision. “I’ll take him,” I said. I drove home with the dog on the front seat beside me. When I reached the house I honked the horn twice. I was helping my prize out of the car when Dad shuffled onto the front porch. “Ta-da! Look what I got for you, Dad!” I said excitedly. Dad looked, then wrinkled his face in disgust. “If I had wanted a dog I would have gotten one. And I would have picked out a better specimen than that bag of bones. Keep it! I don’t want it” Dad waved his arm scornfully and turned back toward the house. Anger rose inside me. It squeezed together my throat muscles and pounded into my temples. “You’d better get used to him, Dad. He’s staying!” Dad ignored me. “Did you hear me, Dad?” I screamed. At those words Dad whirled angrily, his hands clenched at his sides, his eyes narrowed and blazing with hate. We stood glaring at each other like duelists, when suddenly the pointer pulled free from my grasp. He wobbled toward my dad and sat down in front of him. Then slowly, carefully, he raised his paw…Dad’s lower jaw trembled as he stared at the uplifted paw. Confusion replaced the anger in his eyes. The pointer waited patiently. Then Dad was on his knees hugging the animal. It was the beginning of a warm and intimate friendship. Dad named the pointer Cheyenne . Together he and Cheyenne explored the community. They spent long hours walking down dusty lanes. They spent reflective moments on the banks of streams, angling for tasty trout. They even started to attend Sunday services together, Dad sitting in a pew and Cheyenne lying quietly at is feet. Dad and Cheyenne were inseparable throughout the next three years. Dad ‘s bitterness faded, and he and Cheyenne made many friends. Then late one night I was startled to feel Cheyenne ‘s cold nose burrowing through our bed covers. He had never before come into our bedroom at night. I woke Dick, put on my robe and ran into my father’s room. Dad lay in his bed, his face serene. But his spirit had left quietly sometime during the night. Two days later my shock and grief deepened when I discovered Cheyenne lying dead beside Dad’s bed. I wrapped his still form in the rag rug he had slept on. As Dick and I buried him near a favorite fishing hole, I silently thanked the dog for the help he had given me in restoring Dad’s peace of mind. The morning of Dad’s funeral dawned overcast and dreary. This day looks like the way I feel, I thought, as I walked down the aisle to the pews reserved for family. I was surprised to see the many friends Dad and Cheyenne had made filling the church. The pastor began his eulogy. It was a tribute to both Dad and the dog who had changed his life. And then the pastor turned to Hebrews 13:2. “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.” “I’ve often thanked God for sending that angel,” he said. For me, the past dropped into place, completing a puzzle that I had not seen before: the sympathetic voice that had just read the right article… Cheyenne’s unexpected appearance at the animal shelter… his calm acceptance and complete devotion to my father… and the proximity of their deaths. And suddenly I understood. I knew that God had answered my prayers after all.

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The Lord’s Prayer (vs 13)

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil (vs 13)

We just prayed that we would have our sins forgiven and now we are asking that we be guarded from falling again into sin. This is not saying that God tempts us but rather that God protects us from allowing Satan to be let loose upon us.  David once prayed, “Keep me safe, also, from willful sins; don’t let them rule over me.”  (Psalms 19:13 GNB)

Later in Matthew, Jesus said, “the spirit is will but the flesh is weak” and that we should continue to pray that we do not fall into temptation. (26:41) I want to note that it is not a sin to be tempted. Jesus was tempted. Everyone is tempted. The devil wants us to sin and stray so that our witness will be weakened and so that we will not be effective for God’s kingdom. The issue is when we give in to that temptation. You’ve heard the expression, “Just say no”? So when Satan sends temptation our way, just say no!

Deliver us from evil is often translated as deliver us from the evil one. Both are possible interpretations of the Greek text and the meaning is almost the same. Yes, deliver us from evil. However, delivering us from the evil one (Satan) will be delivering us from evil in general. The devil is real and he is constantly trying to get us to fall. As believers, we have the ability, through the Holy Spirit, to resist these temptations. James 4:7 says that we are to “resist the devil” then he will flee from us. Why? Because it is through the Holy Spirit that we are able to resist and the devil cannot stand up to God’s Spirit.

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The Lord’s Prayer (vs 12)

Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. (vs 12)

Debts, here, is rightly translated as “sins”. Yet “debts” is the right word. Jesus was talking to Jewish people and before Jesus was the Sacrifice there was a debt owed to God for these sins. The payment owed was punishment. Every Jew knew this which is why they were so careful to observe the Temple sacrifices.

While the Jews sacrificed daily and annually in the Temple so as to be forgiven, we know now that there is no way that we can ever make up for our sins; or our Sin. When we pray “Father forgive us our sins” we are asking that the Blood of Jesus be applied toward the debt that we owe. Jesus made the payment, once and for all, for everyone’s Sin and all we have to do is ask and God is faithful to forgive us. (1John 1:9)

Jesus also said that we are to forgive our debtors. Again, this is talking about sins. In this case about people who have done us wrong. It’s easy for me to ask God to forgive me. I know that I am a sinner. The apostle Paul claimed that he was the “chief of sinners” in 1Timothy 1:15. I’m not trying to contradict Scripture, but often I feel that I hold that place myself. I know that I have an accumulation of debts that would be owed if not for His forgiveness. It is also easy for me to want to exact justice from anyone who wrongs me or my family. And this is wrong. It is yet another debt that I must ask to be forgiven. Because we are to let these things go and let God deal with them.

The Bible has thirty-three Vengeance is mine, says the Lord that specifically tell us that it God’s job to repay people, not ours. I have linked to openbible.info where you can look up these verses if you choose.  We are to turn the other cheek rather than insisting on punishment. The prayer that we are studying also says that we are to ask that God forgive us as we forgive others! This implies that if we don’t forgive than He won’t forgive. I tried looking this up and scholars disagree on this. Having said that I still want to do what Jesus asks us to do. We know that He wants us to forgive, so I try. And yes, it’s hard. So let me suggest that you also pray for the grace (strength) to forgive.

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The Lord’s Prayer (vs11)

Give us this day our daily bread.  (Vs 11)

Jesus tells us here that we are to ask for our immediate needs, not worrying about future needs or about wants and desires above our needs.  When I point this out to people some are quick to bring up the verse in Psalms that says God will give us the desires of our heart. And, yes, it does say that. However you need to read the whole verse.  “Seek your happiness in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desire.” If we are seeking our happiness in the Lord then our heart’s desire will line up with His will. If we are looking to do His will and that is our utmost desire, then His granting our desires is giving us what we need to do His will.

A few verses down in this chapter Jesus expands on this beginning with verse 25. We are told not to worry about tomorrow and not to be anxious over things that we need.  In verse 33 He says to “Seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  What things? Food, clothing and shelter. God knows what we need. He created us and who knows better how to care for the creation?

I know, this is easier to say that it is to do. I am struggling with this daily. The Lord has not given me wealth, but I’m not going hungry either. I have been homeless but I have always had a roof over my head even it was a car or a tent. I do not wear Armani suits but I have warm clothing and coats. Would I like to drive an expensive luxury car? Sure I would. But I have a twenty year old Toyota that gets me to church and back with no problem. And it’s comfortable! The radio, heater and air conditioner works and it doesn’t leak. It is what I need. I am learning to be satisfied with His provision.

The Apostle Paul talked about this as well. In Philippians he says, “I know how to live in poverty or prosperity. No matter what the situation, I’ve learned the secret of how to live when I’m full or when I’m hungry, when I have too much or when I have too little.” (Philippians 4:12 GW) what is this secret that Paul has learned? The secret is to ask God for our daily bread and to have the faith that He will provide for us as the Good Father He is.

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The Lord’s Prayer (vs 9)

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Matthew 6:9-13 KJV

WOW! I did a “quick” internet search for “Lord’s Prayer” and what I found surprised me. I’m used to reading this in Matthew and hearing the song. I discovered differing versions of the prayer based on the Scripture. I found additions to the prayer. I found different prayers based on denomination! And this was all on one web page.

I know that the prayer is given by Jesus twice. Once, in Matthew, He tells followers during the Sermon on the Mount how to pray and once, as recorded by Luke, He is asked by one of the disciples how to pray and His response is the Lord’s Prayer in a slightly different format.  I had hoped to do a study on the prayer itself so I’m going to go with Matthew 6:9-13 in the King James Version of the Bible. If you are interested in the other versions or denominational renderings feel free to look check the link I have above.

Jesus starts out,” After this manner therefore pray ye.”  While I’m not condemning our repeating this prayer, it should be noted that this was not the Master’s intent. He did not say repeat after me rather He said “after this manner” or, as the Good News Bible puts it, “This, then, is how you should pray.”  There’s nothing wrong with saying or reading the prayer either personally or in a congregation as long as it is meaningful and heartfelt. Jesus was very clear not to pray in “vain repetitions” the same thing over and over.  You could say that Jesus was saying something like, “Here is an idea of the basic format that you should use when you are praying.” (Personal paraphrase) So let’s look at this prayer format.  

“Our Father which art in heaven” directs our prayer to Almighty God above.  John Wesley, in his Notes on the Bible says, “The preface, Our Father, who art in heaven, lays a general foundation for prayer, comprising what we must first know of God, before we can pray in confidence of being heard. It likewise points out to us our faith, humility, love, of God and man, with which we are to approach God in prayer.”

We must understand that He is God Almighty. He loves us and wants us to seek Him for help and guidance, but we can never forget where He stands and where we stand.  This is emphasized in the next line, “Hallowed be thy name.”  This means “may your name be kept holy.” Again, positioning God above us.

I’m going to break here. Be sure to like and follow so that you don’t miss any of the following posts as I continue this study.

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Christmas

I copied this from FaceBook. Not something that I usually do, but this touched my heart. I have no idea if this really happened. I do know that this is what being a Christian is about. Jesus said that we are to love our neighbors and this shows Jesus’ love.

This is a long one but it’s worth reading.

About a week before Christmas, Mom bought a new nativity scene. When she unpacked it, she found two figures of the Baby Jesus. “Someone must have packed this wrong,” Mother said, counting out the figures. “We have one Joseph, one Mary, three wise men, three shepherds, two lambs, a donkey, a cow, an angel, and two babies. Oh, dear! I suppose some set down at the store is missing a Baby Jesus because we have two. “You two run back down to the store and tell the manager that we have an extra Jesus. Tell him to put a sign on the remaining boxes saying that if a set is missing a Baby Jesus, call 7126. Put on your warm coats, it’s freezing cold out there.” The manager of the store copied down Mother’s message, and the next time we were in the store, we saw the cardboard sign that read, “If you’re missing Baby Jesus, call 7126.” All week long we waited for someone to call. Surely, we thought, someone was missing that important figurine. Each time the phone rang, Mother would say, “I’ll bet that’s about Jesus.” But it never was. Father tried to explain there are thousands of these scattered over the country, and the figurine could be missing from a set in Florida or Texas or California. Those packing mistakes happen all the time. He suggested that she just put the extra Jesus back in the box and forget about it. “Put Baby Jesus back in the box?! What a terrible thing to do,” said Mother. “Surely someone will call. We’ll just keep the two of them together in the manger until someone does.” When no call had come by 5:00 on Christmas Eve, Mother insisted that Father “just run down to the store” to see if there were any sets left. “You can see them right through the window, over on the counter,” she said. “If they are all gone, I’ll know someone is bound to call tonight.” “Run down to the store?” Father thundered. “It’s 15 below zero out there!” “Oh, Daddy, we’ll go with you!” We began to put on our coats. Father gave a long sigh and headed for the front closet. “I can’t believe I’m doing this,” he muttered. We ran ahead as father reluctantly walked out in the cold. Tommy got to the store first and pressed his nose up to the store window. “They’re all gone, Daddy,” he shouted. “Every set must be sold. Hooray! The mystery will be solved tonight!” Father heard the news still a half block away and immediately turned on his heel and headed back home. When we got back into the house, we noticed that mother was gone and so was the extra Baby Jesus figurine. “Someone must have called, and she went out to deliver the figurine,” father reasoned, pulling off his boots. “You kids get ready for bed while I wrap mother’s present.” Then the phone rang. Father yelled “answer the phone and tell ’em we found a home for Jesus.” But it was mother calling with instructions for us to come to 205 Chestnut Street immediately, and bring three blankets, a box of cookies and some milk.. “Now what has she gotten us into?” father groaned as we bundled up again. “205 Chestnut. Why that’s across town. Wrap that milk up good in the blankets, or it will turn to ice before we get there. Why can’t we all just get on with Christmas? It’s probably 20 below out there now. And the wind is picking up. Of all the crazy things to do on a night like this.” When we got to the house at 205 Chestnut Street, it was the darkest one on the block. Only one tiny light burned in the living room, and the moment we set foot on the porch steps, mother opened the door and shouted, “They’re here! Oh thank God you got here, Ray! You kids take those blankets into the living room and wrap up the little ones on the couch. I’ll take the milk and cookies.” “Would you mind telling me what is going on, Ethel?” father asked. “We have just walked through below zero weather with the wind in our faces all the way.” “Never mind all that now,” mother interrupted. “There is no heat in this house, and this young mother is so upset, she doesn’t know what to do. Her husband walked out on her, and those poor little children will have a very bleak Christmas, so don’t you complain. I told her you could fix that oil furnace in a jiffy. My mother strode off to the kitchen to warm the milk while my brother and I wrapped up the five little children who were huddled together on the couch. The children’s mother explained to my father that her husband had run off, taking bedding, clothing, and almost every piece of furniture, but she had been doing all right until the furnace broke down. “I been doin’ washin’ an ironin’ for people and cleanin’ the five and dime,” she said. “I saw your number every day there, on those boxes on the counter. When the furnace went out, that number kept goin’ through my mind. 7162. Said on the box that if a person was missin’ Jesus, they should call you. That’s how I knew you were good Christian people, willin’ to help folks. I figured that maybe you would help me, too. So I stopped at the grocery store tonight, and I called your missus. I’m not missin’ Jesus, mister, because I sure love the Lord. But I am missin’ heat. I have no money to fix that furnace.” “Okay, okay,” said Father. “You’ve come to the right place. Now let’s see. You’ve got a little oil burner over there in the dining room. Shouldn’t be too hard to fix. Probably just a clogged flue. I’ll look it over, see what it needs. “Mother came into the living room carrying a plate of cookies and warm milk. As she set the cups down on the coffee table, I noticed the figure of Baby Jesus lying in the center of the table. It was the only sign of Christmas in the house. The children stared wide-eyed with wonder at the plate of cookies my mother set before them. Father finally got the oil burner working but said, “You need more oil. I’ll make a few calls tonight and get some oil. Yes sir, you came to the right place.” Father grinned. On the way home, Father did not complain about the cold weather and had barely set foot inside the door when he was on the phone. “Ed, hey, how are ya, Ed? Yes, Merry Christmas to you, too. Say Ed, we have kind of an unusual situation here. I know you’ve got that pick-up truck. Do you still have some oil in that barrel on your truck? You do?” By this time the rest of the family was pulling clothes out of their closets and toys off of their shelves. It was long after our bedtime when we were wrapping gifts. The pickup came. On it were chairs, three lamps, blankets and gifts. Even though it was 30 below, father let us ride along in the back of the truck. No one ever did call about the missing figure in the nativity set, but as I grow older I realize that it wasn’t a packing mistake at all. Jesus saves, that’s what He does. Author Unknown

Truth

Truth

What is truth? The popular belief today is that what may be true for you isn’t necessarily true for me. It’s called relative truth, and people love it. It relieves them of responsibility for their bad behavior.  They don’t have the need to learn right from wrong because it’s not their “truth”.

What they don’t realize is that this way of thinking is placing them in bondage; literally making them slaves. Of course, they don’t realize this any more than the Jews that Jesus was speaking to realized it. When He told them that the truth would set them free they got all indignant and huffy saying, “We are the descendants of Abraham,” they answered, “and we have never been anybody’s slaves. What do you mean, then, by saying, ‘You will be free’?” (John 8:33 GNB)

People today can’t accept that they are slaves, or in bondage, to sin. They refuse to believe that continually living in sin shows that they are children of Satan. Yes, this is a strong statement, but Jesus made it, not me. He told them, “You are the children of your father, the Devil, and you want to follow your father’s desires. From the very beginning he was a murderer and has never been on the side of truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he is only doing what is natural to him, because he is a liar and the father of all lies.” (John 8:44 GNB) Yes, it is a strong statement, but it is a true statement. It is a statement that the world will not, and is unable to, accept because the truth is not in them.

So, what is the truth? Or, more specifically, what is the Truth? The Truth is: Jesus was born of a virgin and the Holy Spirit. The Truth is: He lived a sinless life. The Truth is: He died for OUR sins, never having committing sin Himself. The Truth is: He rose from the dead and ascended to Heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father.

The TRUTH is: Jesus is the ONLY way to salvation. This is not relative. This is not flexible. While you may not accept this as your truth, it is, in fact, the Truth. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one goes to the Father except by me.” (John 14:6 GNB) I didn’t make this up because I want more people to go to church. Jesus said this because He wants more people to go to Heaven!

If you can accept this message then you are blessed. Repent, proclaim Jesus as Lord and be baptized. Follow His teaching and commandments. As He said, His yoke (burden or harness) is easy and His load is light because He helps us carry it.  

© 2021 Tim Lehmann. All rights reserved.

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Blessed are the Peacemakers

I am seeing a lot of news articles about so called Christians fighting, cursing and causing trouble against people or groups that aren’t Christian. This is WRONG! Jesus never promoted violence. As the Son of God, He cleansed the Temple, but no where does the Bible call for us to do violence against anyone, ever.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.” Peacemakers. Not rioters, not fighters, not rabble rousers.

We cannot, in love, let people continue in sin without warning, but never should our warnings be hateful or arrogant. Point to the scripture and lovingly show how the Holy Spirit can lead them into a path of righteousness. Calling names is not right.

I know most of my friends don’t need this reminder, but please repost this so that those for whom the Spirit intended this message will see it.

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