Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Time for God?

We are told to “pray without ceasing.” It is the air we breathe. But that will cease to be the case if there are no disciplined times set aside for prayer and a plan to keep them…A husband who says he never has special times alone with his wife because the daily air is charged with intimacy will not long breath that air. John Piper

Many of you remember the days of only three channels on television, having to use a “rabbit ear” antenna to get a signal and no such thing as a VCR! Today, we can rent and watch movies or television shows on our phones. We live in a world of instant gratification. 

Back then, you had to wait for certain special programs and movies to be broadcast. Some of those were annual occurrences, such as Christmas or Easter specials. Some movies were shown on an annual basis as well. I remember Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz and The Ten Commandments, all coming on about the same time each year. There was something magical about those nights when you finally got to see that one show that you had looked forward to all year. Sometimes the wait was hard, but it was always worth it.

Somewhere along the way, we became a world of convenience. Jiffy Pop gave in to Orville Redenbacher microwave popcorn; going to the movies gave in to renting the latest feature and watching it in bed; going to the bank gave in to the ATM and online banking; the Sears catalog gave in to internet shopping, and the evening supper gave in to the drive-thru. We just can’t seem to tolerate waiting for anything anymore.

One of the biggest problems with this is when we try to apply it to our Christian walk. We want instant answers and instant results from God. When God doesn’t answer our prayers right away, we tend to do one of two things. Either we begin to doubt His existence or involvement in our lives, or we try to fix things ourselves. Either way we are on the road to failure.

I believe that many times God answers our prayers but we don’t hear Him because we have not spent time with Him enough to know how His voice sounds. We seem to find the time to spend hours per week at football games, dance recitals, the lake, the woods, the gym, or the party down the street. However, we just can’t seem to squeeze a few minutes each day to read God’s word and speak with Him.

Many people go all week without giving God a second thought and think everything will be made right on Sunday. In many cases, Sunday morning worship has become a Christian drive-thru where we believe we can get just enough to get us through until the next week. However, we are getting no real nutrition because we are not feeding from the bread of life. We are not drinking from the living water that Jesus promised would make us never thirst again.

We believe we just don’t have time to fill our hearts and souls with the spiritual nourishment that He so longs to give us, so we run by church for a quick fix. God loves every moment we spend with Him, but He wants so much more than just an acknowledgement of His presence. He wants us to spend structured time with Him each day and then carry Him with us in everything we do.

Make the commitment today to spend more quality time with God this week. Spend more time in prayerful conversation, study His Word to see what wonderful truths He wants to show you and be mindful of His presence as you go about your day. He will be delighted to be with you and you will reap the blessings of knowing that the Creator of the universe wants to be with you!

As God’s co-workers, we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For He says, “In the time of My favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:1-2)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Good Deeds

Let each man think himself an act of God, His mind a thought, his life a breath of God; And let each try, by great thoughts and good deeds, To show the most of Heaven he hath in him.  Philip James Bailey

What would you do if you were walking down the street and someone stopped you to give you money? Would you refuse it or take it? What if the money in question was a $100 bill?

A few weeks ago, a number of people were the recipients of a man’s generosity. Richard Wright, of Prince Edward Island, Canada, was handing out $100 bills and silver coins to people who passed by in Halifax, Nova Scotia. As he handed the money out, he told the people to simply “thank God” for their windfall. He added that they should pass the money on to someone else if they could not use it themselves.

People who received the generous gift were grateful. They commented to local papers that it was good to see that there are good people left in the world and that the money was a true blessing. None of the people who got the money were upset or thought he should be stopped. However, as one old adage says, “No good deed goes unpunished.”

When Mr. Wright returned home, he was detained by the police for a “wellness check.” This resulted in him being hospitalized in the psychiatric ward at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown. Even though psychiatrists, in the nearby town of Dartmouth, had said there were no mental health issues, he was still admitted for “suspicious generosity.”
Richard Wright in his hospital room

When the story of his being detained reached the news, many people were upset. Petitions were signed, a Facebook page was posted and the telephones at the hospital were jammed with people demanding Mr. Wright’s release. Finally, he was freed with no conditions and is back with his family.

Many good deeds are done every day with no problems. Doors are help open for others, meals are paid for by strangers at fast food drive through windows and many other acts of kindness happen regularly. However, when the good deed is a large one, it is looked on with suspicion.

As Christians, we are called to do good deeds for others. In fact, we are told that it is especially good to do things for those who cannot ever repay you. God intends for His children to be the greatest example of generosity in the world, even if it means being ridiculed by the world.

Think about all the wonderful things Jesus did for people who did not know Him, who could not repay Him and even for those who hated Him. In fact, Jesus laid down His life for those who love Him and also for those who scorn Him. He was the ultimate “good deed doer,” but because of His “suspicious generosity,” the people had Him crucified. However, they didn’t know that His death and resurrection would be the greatest “good deed” in the history of the world.

Jesus died and rose again so that we would have life eternal and a better life on earth. The greatest good deed you can do for anyone is to tell them about the love that brought God down from heaven, to become one of us, that we might have new life. There may be those who think we are crazy, but God will be honored in what you do for others.

Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (Galatians 6:8-10)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Entertaining Angels

Indolent and unworthy the beggar may be—but that is not your concern: It is better to feed ten impostors than to run the risk of turning away one honest petition. Hugh Nibley

Go to most any car dealership in the country, talk to the seasoned salespeople, and you’ll find some very interesting stories. One story that seems to be a common one, is the story of the person who comes into the dealership in an old vehicle, dressed in worn or dirty clothes who wants to look at a very expensive vehicle. Usually the story concerns a salesperson who did not want to “waste time” talking to them, only to find out that the person was very wealthy and could buy anything they choose.

The sad part about this story is that in most cases, it is not an urban legend. Most of these stories are actually true. The reason they are true, is that we as humans tend to pre-judge people, based on how they look, dress, drive and sometimes how they speak.

Last week, Karine Gombeau was visiting New York City with her family. The Parisian family had eaten all they could of what she called an “enormous” pizza and were taking the leftover slices with them, when she spotted a homeless man digging through a garbage can.

The man was dressed in grimy clothes, had a beer in a brown bag and was eating a burger that he had found in the trash. She approached him and gave him the leftover pizza. She said, “I’m sorry, but the pizza is cold.” The man replied, “Thank you so much. God bless you.”

As she walked away, people began to gather around her. She was approached by a film crew that had been shooting from across the street. Then, they showed her a still shot of her with actor Richard Gere. She had no idea that she had walked onto a movie set where Gere was in character for a new movie titled, Time Out of Mind.

Jesus comes to us in many forms. He may not show up at your home wearing a white robe and long beard, but trust me, He shows up. God provides us with opportunities to minister to others each day. It may be in a kind word or a pat on the back. It may be in a good deed done or a wrong forgiven. Each opportunity that a Christian has to do good, is an opportunity to not only minister to others, but serve Christ in the process.

In Matthew 25, Jesus tells the parable of the king separating the sheep from the goats. He tells the sheep on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

They were confused and asked when they did such. He told them “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”

Never miss an opportunity to be Jesus to those who need Him. You may be the only connection they will ever have to the Savior. Share His love with someone today!

Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. (Hebrews 13:1-2)