SPIRITUAL FOG

APRIL 15

Matthew 7: 9.  Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?

When you read this passage of scripture, you assume that the son is a good son to his father, and he is making a perfectly good and certainly appropriate request that his father provide him with some food.  Who else would the son have more right to ask for such a request?  Certainly, it is the father’s duty is to provide for the needs of his family. 

On the other hand, we talk as if God hears our prayers regardless of our relationship to Him.  If you suspect that God in not answering your prayers, question yourself as to your motives.  Intensify your search for a possible reason and examine your attitude.  Is your relationship right with your spouse and your children, or perhaps your fellow students?  Have you been “good child?”  Can you really ask your father for blessings, when you have been irritable and cross with your family closest to you.  Perhaps it is time for an “attitude check.”

Have I been asking God to provide me money for something I want, while refusing to pay someone that I owe?  Have I asked God for something that I withhold from others?  Do I refuse to help someone, because I do not like them?  Have I been living as a child of God among my relatives and friends? (Matthew 7: 12).  Am I a child of God only by virtue of being “Born Again” or am I really “walking in the light” daily. 

Prayer should not be just a trivial religious expression or a matter of mystical or emotional fellowship with God.  We are all very good at producing spiritual fog that tends to blind no one but ourselves.  Examine the evidence.  Is there an unpaid debt, or an improper attitude?  Clean your slate, clear the blockage, now pray as a living “Child of God.”

Today’s inspiration from Jack,

 

 

* The majority of HMO plans I’ve seen can be likened to hospital   gowns — you only think you’re covered.

* There’s one big advantage in being over 50 — you don’t get a lot   of calls from insurance salesmen.

  Two men were down on their luck and decided to paint houses to earn some extra money.  To start their business they asked the pastor of a local church if he would be interested in their service.  He agreed and the men went out to buy the paint.

 As they drove to the paint store they decided that they would mix half paint and half water to try to increase their profits.

  When they finished the job they called the pastor outside to look at their work.  “It looks wonderful,” the pastor said and as he started to hand them the check a small raincloud appeared.  All at once it started to rain and washed the paint off the church.

  As the three of them stood there in disbelief, a voice from heaven said “Repaint and thin no more.”



SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS

APRIL 14

Luke 24: 16, 31.  Their eyes were restrained so they did not know Him…  Their eyes were opened, and they knew Him.

Jesus said, “Come to me… and I will give you rest,” that is to say, I will  put you in the place where your eyes are open.  Jesus seems to be saying,  “Stop and smell the roses.” 

Oswald Chambers in one of his writings says, “Jesus will cause you to notice lilies and sparrows and grass.  Who in their right sense would bothers about such things!  We are more interested in the cares of this world because they demand our attention, while other things do not.  …One can see for the first time the handiwork of God in the petals of a flower.

A dear brother sent me this to use as needed.  Please consider this in the light of spiritual blindness that we all seem to suffer from time to time:  “Jesus never met a disease he could not cure, or a birth defect he could not reverse, or even a demon he could not exorcise. But he did meet a lot of skeptics he could not convince and sinners he could not convert.”  Philip Yancey

 

I live in Texas. I have two friends that are sisters. One day, they approached me and asked where the lighthouses were.

When I tried to probe a little bit, I was told, “Yeah, they’re good paying jobs and have lots of ads in the paper, but we don’t know where the lighthouses are to apply.”

I told them, “There are no lighthouses in Texas. Let me see that newspaper.” 

Sure enough, there were ads for . . . “Light Housekeeping needed. Apply in person.”

 

A musician who joined an orchestra on a cruise ship was having difficulty keeping time with the rest of the band.

Finally, the captain said, “Either you learn to keep time or I’ll throw you overboard. . . . It’s up to you, sync or swim.”



MARVELOUSLY MADE

APRIL 13

“Oh  yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb.  I thank you, High God – you’re breathtaking!  Body and soul, I am marvelously made!  I worship in adoration – what a creation!”  Psalm 139:13-14 The Message Bible

 

            Growing up we used to build all sorts of castles, forts, play houses and structures.  They were made with any old scraps that we could find and fasten together somehow.  Each time we would finish a masterpiece creation, we would daydream about what it would be like if we had some “real” materials, you know those “store-bought” kind.

            Aren’t you glad that God took the very finest materials and formed you within your mother’s womb?  He took the cream-of-the-crop stuff and put it all inside and outside you. He fashioned it carefully and made a marvelous creation.

            But how often we devalue what God has invested in us.  One of the most hideous description of this kind of treatment was announced on the news today.  A 21 year old woman in Canada was given a suspended sentence and put on probation for two years because she killed her own baby at birth.  It seems that she gave birth in a tub filled with 18 inches of water. When the baby was born, she just drowned it, wrapped in a trash bag and put it outside her parent’s back yard.

            But even though we never have or never will do such a crime, we still a responsibility that we are God made Creations every time we are born. 

            Those forts, etc that I mentioned at the beginning. The one unique thing about them is that they were the perfect size for our needs.  We tend to build things relative to ourselves.  But God’s breathtaking plan included the provision that planet earth would be the perfect proportion for our marvelous bodies.  The mountains are not too high, nor the ocean too deep that man is in perfect reflection of it all.

 

Johnny had been misbehaving and was sent to his room.  After a while he emerged and informed his mother that he had thought it over and then said a prayer.  “Fine”, said the pleased mother. “If you ask God to help you not misbehave, He will help you.”

“Oh, I didn’t ask Him to help me not misbehave,” said Johnny.

“I asked Him to help you put up with me.”

 

“Information? I need the number of the Caseway Insurance Company.”

“Would you spell that, please?”

“Certainly. C as in sea. A as in aye. S as in sea. E as in eye. W as in why. A as in are. Y as in you.”

The operator pauses. “Just a minute, sir. I’ll connect you with my supervisor . . .”

 

A couple of weeks after hearing a sermon on Psalms 51:2-4 (knowing my own hidden secrets) and Psalms 52:3-4 (lies and deceit), a man wrote the following letter to the IRS:

I have been unable to sleep, knowing that I have cheated on my income tax. I understated my taxable income, and have enclosed a check for $150.00.

Sincerely,

Taxpayer



OUR RIGHTS VS HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS

APRIL 12

“Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners… and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us.  Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself.  A pure gift.  He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be.  And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.”  Romans 3:23-24  The Message Bible

 

            As a pastor, it always amazes me to see how an individual can come to Christ in the midst of a crisis in their lives, and as soon as the crisis is over, you never see them again until the next crisis.

            Now don’t get me wrong, it is exciting to see someone come to Christ, even as a result of having a crisis in their life.  Jesus is truly the answer to ALL of life’s problems and crisis’s.  It is so wonderful to have a person like Him in the midst of those crisis’s.  And the awesome part is that He never turns anyone away from His loving care.

            But I find the fact that HE is always there a comfort and a pleasure to enjoy my life with Him. I mean, He has given us, as the Message says it, “A pure gift” the gift of His Righteousness.  I heard someone talking about our “Me” generation reception of Christ as Lord and Savior like this:  “HE takes our RIGHTNESS and replaces it with HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS.”  All we want to do is what is “Right” for me, what “feels” good at the time.  God wants to replace that with the cloak of His Righteousness or His “right standing” with God the Father.  So when we stand before God, it is not because of our correctness or strength,  It is because Jesus has made access to the Father through our salvation.

            So no matter what the past holds against you.  No matter how big a mess you’ve made. Jesus Christ has made it possible for you to stand before an Omnipotent God to receive your Blessed Life in Christ.  So walk in it and BE BLESSED!

 

Nostalgic

A 17-year-old girl had just gotten her driver’s license and offered to take her mom’s car to the gas station. She pulled up to the full-service pumps, and the attendant asked, “What grade, miss?”

            “Eleventh!” she replied.

 

Do you suppose that it occurs to the power company that they are making a double pun when they send their bill commanding “Please Pay Current Charges” ?

 

A Columbia Doctor’s secretary called an old farmer out my way and said: “Your check came back.”

The old man replied, “So did my arthritis.”



HARD TIMES COMPANIONS

APRIL 9

            “All praise to the God and the Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah!  Father of all mercy!  God of all healing counsel!  He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.” – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 , The Message Bible

Probably all of us are quite familiar with the prose entitled “Footprints”, where the author finds that through the hard times, God often “carries” us.  Several years ago, I heard a sermon preached by Anne Gmininez, on Psalms 23 where she stated, “God intends us to go “THROUGH”.  Not camp in. Homestead new territory. Or set up residence IN the Valley”.  The complete thought of going through, is that we WILL get to the other side.

But here Paul reminds us that we do not go through alone.  God comes alongside us to walk hand in hand.  God will never leave us, nor forsake us. Just remember, He is walking alongside you today, no matter where you’re walking. He intends to stay with you until you get THROUGH.

But Paul also exhorts us to walk “alongside someone else who is going through hard times”.  It is by our experience with, God at our side, that prepares us to walk alongside others. 

I challenge you today, to think of someone going “through” a hard time, I doubt that you will have to search very far, and reach out and walk with them until they get “THROUGH”.  Make the commitment to stay with them until they are on the victory side.  And then you and they will be Blessed.

 

 

Patient: It’s been one month since my last visit and I still feel miserable.

Doctor: Did you follow the instructions on the medicine I gave you?

Patient: I sure did. The bottle said “keep tightly closed.”

 

 

On the first day of school, the Kindergarten teacher said, “If anyone has to go to the bathroom, hold up two fingers.”  A little voice from the back of the room asked, “How will that help?”



REVIVAL IS FOR EVERYONE

APRIL 8

Isaiah 55: 6-13.  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,  (for) my ways higher that your ways and my thoughts (higher) than your thoughts.

            Aren’t you glad that God doesn’t think the way that we do….. boy would this world be different if I had my way about it.  Why only the righteous would be Blessed. Yet, in Matthew 5:45, Jesus is saying that the sun will rise and the rain will fall on the just and the unjust.  In life the trees, the grass and the vegetables are all watered, but so are the weeds. 

            I do believe that the Lord is calling his church and the world into a great Revival. But during every religious awakening, the good and the bad, the right and the wrong, the false and the true are all prospered?  This is an aspect of God’s truth that we ought to remember.

When you are praying for revival to come into your church or into your family,

you must be aware of the fact that there may be a great deal of thunder and lightning before the peace and the calm.  A movement of God may bring peace, but it can also spawn a storm of chaos in its approach.  When you see the Spirit of God moving in your mists, it is not the time for rejoicing, it is the time for fasting and prayer. For God’s Word is melting the lives of believers as well as unbelievers, and the bands around many hearts are being broken.  It is not time for celebration until the fullness of God’s blessings are allowed to flow into all the right channels.  Do not become complacent until God has had His way.

 

 

Who Killed the Construction Worker ?

A workman was killed at a construction site. The police began questioning a number of the other workers. Based with past brushes with the law, many of these workers were considered prime suspects.

The electrician was suspected of wiretapping once but was never charged.

The carpenter thought he was a stud. He tried to frame another man one time.

The glazier went to great panes to conceal his past. He still claims that he didn’t do anything, that he was framed.

The painter had a brush with the law several years ago.

The heating, ventilation and air conditioning contractor is known to pack heat. He was arrested once but duct the charges.

The mason gets stoned regularly.

The cabinet maker is an accomplished counter fitter.

The investigation is continuing

 



DON’T JUST DO SOMETHING, STAND THERE

APRIL 7

            Ever feel like you’re racing downhill on a runaway bike and you don’t remember how to brake?  Ever feel the wheels of your life racing faster and faster as you speed past the people you love?  Could you use a reminder on how to slow it all down?

            If so read what Jesus did during the last Sabbath of his life.  Start in the Gospel of Matthew.  Didn’t find anything?  Try Mark.  Read what Mark recorded about the way Jesus spent the Sabbath.  Nothing there either?  Strange.  What about Luke? What does Luke say?  Not a reference to the day?  Not a word about it?  Well, try John. Surely John mentions the Sabbath.  He doesn’t?  No reference?  Hmmm.  Looks like Jesus was quiet that day?

            “Wait a minute.  That’s it?”  That’s it.

            “You mean with one week left to live, Jesus observed the Sabbath?”  As far as we can tell.

            “You mean with all those apostles to train and people to teach, he took a day to rest and worship?” Apparently so.

            “You’re telling me that Jesus thought worship was more important than work?”  That’s exactly what I’m telling you.

            For such is the purpose of the Sabbath.  And such was the practice of Jesus. “On the Sabbath day he went to the synagogue, as he always did, and stood up to read,”  Should we do any less?

            If Jesus found time in the midst of a racing agenda to stop the rush and sit in silence, do you think we could, too?

                        Max Lucado, And the Angels were Silent

 

 

Political Correctness For Teenagers

No one fails a class anymore, he’s merely “passing impaired.”

You don’t have detention, you’re just one of the”exit delayed.”

Your bedroom isn’t cluttered, it’s just “passage restrictive.”

These days, a student isn’t lazy. He’s “energetically declined.”

Your locker isn’t overflowing with junk, it’s just “closure prohibitive.”

Kids don’t get grounded anymore. They merely hit “social speed bumps.”

Your homework isn’t missing, its just having an “out-of-notebook experience.”

You’re not sleeping in class, you’re “rationing consciousness.”

You’re not late, you just have a “rescheduled arrival time.”

You’re not having a bad hair day, you’re suffering from “rebellious follicle syndrome.”

You don’t have smelly gym socks, you have “odor-retentive athletic footwear.”

No one’s tall anymore. He’s “vertically enhanced.”

You’re not shy. You’re “conversationally selective.”

You  talk a lot.. You’re just “abundantly verbal.”

You weren’t passing notes in class. You were “participating in the discreet exchange of penned meditations.”



THE MAJESTY OF OUR GOD

APRIL 6

Can anyone truly look at a sunset and say that there is no God.

Or gaze into the heavens on a starry night and not know that we have been blessed by the Presence of an Almighty Creator.

And then there are those billowing cloud formations we lay staring at as a child.

Could this be an act of chance?

Or listen to the melodious tune of a babbling brook as it sings on its merry journey.

God’s handiwork is all around us and His signature is on each of His masterpieces.

And the greatest masterpiece He ever created was YOU and ME!

Because He created us in His Image. To say that we have tarnished that image is certainly an understatement.

But just like all His other Masterpieces we are not complete until He signs His work.

God puts His signature on YOU and ME the day that WE receive Jesus Christ as

OUR personal Savior and Lord.

 

They Call it As They See It!

A three-year-old went with his dad to see a litter of kittens.

On returning home, he breathlessly informed his mother there were 2 boy kittens & 2 girl kittens.

“How did you know?” his mother asked.

“Daddy picked them up and looked underneath,” he replied, “I think it’s printed on the bottom.”

 

Another three year old put his shoes on by himself. His mother noticed the left was on the right foot She said, “Son, your shoes are on the wrong feet.”

He looked up at her with a raised brow and said, “Don’t kid me, Mom, I KNOW they’re my feet.”



FOOL

APRIL 5

(Proverbs 17:12 NIV)  “Better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than a fool in his folly.”

            I don’t think that many of us would care to meet up with a mother bear who has just lost her cubs.  Something tells me that it would not be a pretty site.  But think that it is much better to meet one of these angry beasts than it is to spend time around a “fool”.

            There are several types of “fools” mentioned in the Bible.  We are warned to stay away from all of them.  But some are more deadly then others.  Now, now, I know what you’re thinking…..  I know the “fool of fools”.  LOL…..  well it is best to just let the fool lie in his folly.

            My favorite advice is found in Prov. 17: 28  “Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.” In the more vernacular term,  “It is better for people to think you a fool, than open your mouth and prove it.” 

ON this day, you may have children and friends play an April Fool’s joke on you.  Take the writers advice, and let them think you a fool.  Don’t open your mouth and prove it……

 

  1. Save the whales. Collect the whole set.
  2. A day without sunshine is like, night.
  3. On the other hand, you have different fingers.
  4. I just got lost in thought. It was unfamiliar territory.
  5. 42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.
  6. 99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.
  7. I feel like I’m diagonally parked in a parallel universe.
  8. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be misquoted, then used against you.
  9. I wonder how much deeper the ocean would be without sponges.
  10. Honk if you love peace and quiet.


WHERE ARE YOU LOOKING?

APRIL 2

“The angel spoke to the women:  ‘There is nothing to fear here.  I know you’re looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross.  He is not here.  He was raised, just as he said.”

Matthew 28:5-6  The Message Bible

 

            Many people are looking for Jesus in the wrong places.  Some are looking for His calming spirit in drugs and other addictive things.  Some are looking for His power in climbing the corporate ladder or by abuse of those around them.  Some are looking for his wisdom through education and other resources.

            When we do look for Jesus in the wrong place, fear is surely a close reality.  Anxieties cause most of the suicides in the world today, and the anxieties come from not having the confidence of Jesus.  It is amazing that so many “lottery” winners end up with less than they started and with tons of anxieties that they never meant to have.

            It is hard to think that the Jesus we seek was found on a cross.  Not exactly the image of corporate or political correctness, that is where we first find him.  It was here that He becomes us, and takes ALL our problems, pains and disappointments upon Himself.  It is here that we can only find healing and deliverance from our sins.

            When we look for Jesus in the right places, we are not always expecting what we find.  After all, the women thought they would find the body of Jesus, but instead found the empty tomb.   It wasn’t what the world expected but it was the power of God working.           So where are you looking for Jesus?  He may just be where you least expect Him.

 

 

“The Postal Service announced that the legendary Secretariat will be honored with his own stamp. “That shows you how strange life is for racehorses. You win the race, you wind up on the front of the stamp. Lose a race, you wind up on the back.” (Jay Leno)

 

A preacher was completing a temperance sermon: with great expression he said, “If I had all the beer in the world, I’d take it and throw it into the river.”  With even greater emphasis he said, ” And if I had all the wine in the world, I’d take it and throw it into

the river.” And then finally, he said, “And if I had all the whiskey in the world, I’d take it and throw it into the river.”  He sat down.  The head elder then stood and announced, “For our closing song, let us sing Hymn 365, “Shall We Gather at the River.”

 

 




 

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