Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Silver, Gold and Rust

Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other is gold.

-Just beware of the rust.....

Friends are wonderful gifts from God. They help us to form strongly knit units and communities. They help encourage us and keep us accountable. But, there are some people who would try to make us believe that we are their friends simply for their own gain. These are the kind of friends that I refer to as rust. They take, take, take. They are only in it for themselves. They eat away bits of you until they are satisfied or until you stop them. Then they are gone and you see their friendship for what it truly was.

Making new friends is important. You never know who you might befriend. As Christians, it is important that we are friendly people. Even non-Christians can have a role in our lives as ministry friends. One of the best ways to fulfill the Great Comission is to be friendly and reach out to our lost world. This does not mean that we shouldn't address sin, but we should do so in love, as someone who genuinely cares for their soul. 
God places different friends in our lives at different times and for different reasons. Some will come and go, but there will always be the couple of true golden friends that stick with you through thick and thin. You can share your pain, your joy, your problems, your triumphs, and so much more because you know that they will help strengthen you in the Lord. And the best kind of friendship is where this works vice versa. In the same way that you rely on them, they rely on you. You can lay hands on one another and pray, outloud and unashamed for each other. These are the best kind of friends.

But let us not forget rust...
More importantly, let us not forget the rust in our own lives.
When someone that I considered to be a friend suddenly turns on me, or starts giving me a cold shoulder, it hurts. Even though it is uncomfortable, it gives us a good oppertunity to evaluate our own lives and see if we also are being selfish in our friendships.
Ask yourself, "Am I in this just for me?"
"Am I encouraging this friend in the Lord?"
"Am I being a giver or a taker?"

Friendship is a wonderful thing. Don't abuse it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


1 Corinthian 13:4-6
"Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;"

In today's culture, we seem to have a very wrong view of love, as is seen simply by reading all of 1 Corinthians 13. Since today is Valentines Day, when most people celebrate "love" I wanted to look at a couple different way that we can show true, genuine love to those around us. I am only going to touch on a few points from the above verse in each category, so hopefully you won't feel like you're reading a book. :-)

(1) Siblings
Siblings are some of most wonderful and yet some of the toughest people you will ever have to be with. So how can we demonstrate love to them? "Charity suffereth long, and is kind..." I look at that and say, "Yea, you definitely suffer long with your siblings." But then it adds, "and is kind."
I have to suffer long (which in practical terms means to be patient with them) and be kind to them in the process. Being kind and praising your siblings is one of the best ways you can show love to them, especially if you are older than your sibling/s.
"Charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up."
Do not place yourself on a pedestal above your siblings. If they look up to you in anyway it is ONLY because of Christ. It is NOT because you are something great. Christ is great; we are sinful. If you boast about yourself to your siblings you will only tear them down.
" not easily provoked, thinketh no evil..."
Boy, if anyone can make me mad in 0.5 seconds it would be my siblings. But, that's not right. We need to be calm, contained and even if we feel the match being lit within our hearts, we need to ask God to extinguish it, not feed it. Believe me, coming from a large family of many children, if you don't want your siblings to provoke you, don't be easily provoked. It's not fun to taunt and annoy if the one you're taunting doesn't get upset.

Remember to show love to you siblings. They really do love you.

(2) Parents 
I just want to start by saying that one of the best ways to show love to your parents is by honoring them; at home, out in public, where ever you, are go out of your way to show honor to them.
"Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own..."
I think that this is a huge one when it comes to showing love to our parents. They have a HUGE job in raising us. And that job is added to all of the other jobs that they have to deal with. If we only focus on ourselves, always doing what we want to do, and never taking the time to notice their needs we are only adding to their work load. Believe me, I am the worst offender of this. So often I find myself living only for myself and not even giving a thought to the sink full of dishes, laundry room filled with smelly towels, phones calls needing to be returned, forms to be filled out, books to be shipped, shelves that need to be alphabetized, bathrooms in need of dire get the picture.
Taking time out of your day and your activities to bless your parents by taking some of their work load is an excellent way to show love.
And of course, I could go on and on.

(3) Friends
Many of the things that apply to siblings also apply to friends, just in a different way. Typically, we have much more patience with our friends, but are we willing to suffer with them? There is no perfect person other than Christ. We all struggle. Are you willing to take the time to comfort and pray with your friends that are struggling. Sometimes this may feel uncomfortable, but WOW does it show love.

I am so blessed to have a couple of very dear friends who have set such an awesome example of this in my life. Whenever I share my struggles with them they will ask if they can pray for me, and then they will ask how they can pray for me in the future. What a blessing!
"Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;"

This can be a really tough one sometimes, but a good way to show love to your friends is to keep each other accountable in the truth. Pray for each other. Be honest with each other. Sometimes that means humbly addressing tough issues which sometimes results in lost friendships, but if you truly love your friend you will not want to see them fall into iniquity. Humility is the key though. Without humility they will simply feel judged.

Okay, that's enough. These are just some different ways that you and I can use to show love to those around us. Let's go out of our way to display love to those around us.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Who Will "Be Mine"?

Tomorrow is that classic hallmark holiday that you love when you're little, love when you're married, but during that in-between stage, you basically only celebrate it for the sake of others. On this day, many young ladies will sigh, and start to daydream about their Prince Charming, Mr. Darcy, Mr. Right or whoever he is. Discontentment will easily and quickly slide into their hearts, creeping up to their heads, leading them to believe that they are somehow less of a person because they do not have that special person to call their own. (Sorry guys, I have to use girls here because I have no idea how you feel about Valentines Day. :-)

I remember last Valentines Day being the first one that I acutely noticed my lack of a "valentine." Somehow, it never had bothered me until then. We talk about spinsters and being single for the rest of our days like it's a silly joke, but deep down inside many of us young ladies secretly fear such titles. The thought of "being alone" brings chills down many spines and many hours of useless worrying.

But really, what's the point of all this worry? All we do to ourselves by worrying on Valentines Day - or any day for that matter - is show that somehow Christ is not enough. Now, I don't know who all the perfect guy figures from novels and movies are. I only know of a few, and I made a mental comparison of them in my mind last night.

Mr. Darcy (whom I personally can't stand) was extremely wealthy and saved the Bennett family from disgrace.
Jesus Christ is the King of Heaven and earth and He gave His own life to save us from eternal damnation in hell.
Gilbert Blythe was a loyal friend and comrade.
Jesus Christ remains by our side through the dark and weary times as well as the times of joy. He is more faithful than any earthly being.
Edward Cullen is a vampire - I really don't know anything else about this guy.
Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
Willie Lahaye was a manly, tough, hard working, cowboy husband.
Jesus Christ gave everything He could give on our behalf's. He fights for us and shelters us under His wings.

I know there's more, but do you see what I'm getting at? Jesus Christ is SO much more than all of these other fictional guys. He is the only One who can truly satisfy your heart whether you're married or not. So wouldn't it be better to spend Valentines Day, basking in the light of our Saviors love rather than dreaming of our special someone?

I think so.

Tomorrow, how about we singles focus on Christ. He's asking us, "Won't You Be Mine?" Are you going to reject that one?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


This is a quote from the book, "Presidential Praise," about Theodore Roosevelt's love for singing hymns.

Since the president enjoyed singing so boisterously in church during his era, this joke circulated:
"On T.R.'s first day in heaven, he told Saint Peter that the choir was quite weak and should be reorganized immediately. Saint Peter quickly assigned the task to T.R.
'Well,' said the former president. 'I need thousand sopranos, ten thousand altos, and ten thousand tenors.'
'But what about the basses?' inquired Saint Peter.
'Oh,' said T.R., 'I'll sing the bass.'"

Okay, so maybe it isn't a theologically sound joke....but, I thought it was pretty funny. :-) All you basses out there beware; Theodore Roosevelt just might give you a run for your money.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

God's Providence

I shouldn't be here right now.
I should be at a hospital emergency room.
I shouldn't be smiling.
I should be crying and feeling terribly guilty.

But I'm not. Why? Because of God's providence.

We ate breakfast together as a family this morning - we always do. Many of us were concentrated on petty things, some of us argued, you know - a regular family morning. We did devotions and split ways. Most of us kids went into the living room to sing. I decided that I needed some peppermint tea to help clear my throat which was rather groggy. I filled the tea pot with water, turned the burner on and walked away. A few moments later my mom left the kitchen, followed by my sister Sarah. We started to sing when CRASH!!!!! There was a HUGE explosion from the kitchen. I looked over and saw glass shattered from one end of the kitchen to the next, and I mean shattered - big pieces, small pieces...shattered. When I turned on the stove burner I accidentally turned on the wrong burner. I turned on the one that our 13x9, thick glassed pan was sitting on. The burner heated up and the pan exploded.

Not one person was in the kitchen.
Why? Because of God's amazing providence. In our house there is always someone in the kitchen. It seems to be the most popular room in our house.
Not even the cat was in the room when the glass exploded.
If anyone had been in there they would have ended up in the emergency room. It took us almost two hours to clean up the mess. There were huge chunks of glass even on the other side of the room.

There were angels in our house this morning. I think they were pushing us all out. There were arguments and disagreements going on, there were people worrying about silly things, but it really doesn't matter now. God used even those annoying arguments to save lives. I am not exaggerating when I say that I have never seen glass shatter the way that pan did. (Though we usually don't blow up pans in our house.)

I am so thankful for God's protecting hand. He wanted us to live today. He wants us to glorify Him. We were all given another day to glorify Him and enjoy Him. Don't miss it.

Each day is a gift.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Things We Miss: A Violin Virtuoso Plays A DC Metro Station

You MUST read this article. It is such a good reminder of how easy it is to walk through life blindly. It's the little things in life that usually count the most. Don't miss them!

The Things We Miss: A Violin Virtuoso Plays A DC Metro Station

Friday, February 3, 2012

A Painting That Speaks

             With a swift, soft flourish he painted the last detail on the paper before him. It was a beautiful masterpiece, the best he had done yet. The portrait had perfect eyes, a dainty nose and a smile that caught your eye. The background was magical and the people in the distance were just as beautiful as the one he had just finished. Leaning back in his chair he sighed. It was such a wonderful feeling to create something so breathtaking. Suddenly, the face on the page turned and looked directly at him. The lovely smile turned downward and the eyes changed into a scowl. “Why did you make my nose look so weird? And my hair, you painted it completely wrong for my complexion.  The background you gave me is so not flattering and I hate the color of my eyes! I don’t want to wear a smile all the time. What if I feel like frowning? I don’t like these people you put by me in the picture. They are so annoying. Why couldn’t you just make me the way I want? Why do I have to be your creation? I want to be my own!”

            While this tale may seem ridiculous to some, it is not as fictional as it may appear. The paints and paper are unreal, but the creation and the creator are not a myth. The creator represents our Heavenly Father, and the painted lady represents those of us that complain and whine about who and what God has made us to be. We, the creation of God, often complain about the way He made us, the place He put us and the things around us. This sin is part of our human nature, but it is wrong. In Philippians 2:14, we are told to do all things without complaining. A complaining spirit leads us to discontentment and forgetfulness of God’s blessings. (Psalm 106:7) When we lead lives of ungrateful complaining we miss out on the blessings of Godliness and righteousness that God blesses the grateful heart with. (1 Timothy 6:6)

            God blesses those that are grateful, and so being a just God, He also punishes those that live with complaining, ungrateful hearts. Just as the artist in our story must have been appalled by the gross dissatisfaction of his artwork, our Heavenly Father is disgusted by our whining attitudes. Psalm 78:21 tells us that the wrath of the Lord is kindled against those that do not trust in Him. Those that complain are showing that they do not trust the Lord and thus, His wrath will be kindled against them. He punished the Israelites with plagues and 40 years in the wilderness because of their complaining, (Numbers 21:5-6) and He makes it clear in Scripture that He will destroy those that murmur against Him. (1 Corinthians 10:10)

            While the way of complaining leads to destruction, the way of gratefulness to the Lord reaps an abundance of blessings. Those that are merry or cheerful reap the benefits of happy, joyful hearts. (Proverbs 15:13&15) In a world filled with people living depressive lives, a little joy and happiness are a wonderful blessing. A person who lives their lives void of complaining and whining sticks out and shines brightly in this dark world. Philippians 2:14-15, also tells us that we will be blameless and pure without rebuke. We will be able to rejoice in the works of the Lord and remember with gratitude the works in those gone before us. (Exodus 12-13, Deuteronomy 16:9-15)

            The Bible is filled with stories of people who lived lives of either gratitude or complaining. Ruth is a wonderful example of a woman who lived a life of gratitude. She was thankful to Naomi for all that she had done for her and remained faithful to Naomi even in the most difficult times of her life. God greatly blessed Ruth because of her gratefulness and loyalty. (Ruth 1:10-17, 2:19-20) Rahab, the harlot who helped the Israelite spies was grateful and did not complain about hiding the spies and the Lord saved her and her family. (Joshua 6:22-25) The Israelites expressed their thankfulness to the Lord in Exodus 15:1-21, after he led them through the Red Sea.

            Although the Israelites had moments of gratefulness, they are also one of the greatest examples of a complaining and whining people.  Various times in the Bible the Lord did great and mighty works on behalf of His people and yet they repeatedly complained about the situations they were placed in. (Exodus 14:11-12, Numbers 20:2-5) Rachel, the second wife of Jacob, complained bitterly because the Lord had not opened her womb but had opened the womb of her sister Leah. (Genesis 30:1) Jonah, a prophet of God’s, complained that the people of Nineveh had repented from their ways and the Lord had mercy on them. (Jonah 4)

            It is easy to judge people in the Bible and in our lives who are avid complainers, but we are so often just the same. Even if we don’t verbalize our complaints, the Lord knows our hearts and He knows each time that we are ungrateful for who we are, for what He has done and for what we are going through. The Lord will punish those that complain and whine, but He blesses those that are grateful unto Him. Don’t be like the painting that chided its painter. Live a life of gratitude and thanksgiving.