HE SAW ME

APRIL 1

On a balcony of space stepped a pure and holy God

And in awesome solitude, He stood alone

Not one faint star to give Him light

Just endless, rolling blackest night

But somehow through the darkness, He could see.

 

He saw mountains high and lofty

He saw valleys lush and green

He saw babbling brooks, wild flowers gorw

Even heard a robin sing

Then He felt a strange compassion

As close to love as pain can be

Standing out there in His tomorrow

He saw me.

 

Chorus:

He saw me in His likeness

He saw me must like Him

Clean and pure and holy

Spotless white within

But He saw me bound in heavy chains

And longed to set me free

But He knew if I became like Him

He must become like me.

 

Bridge:

Jesus Paid it all

All to Him I owe

Sin had left a crimson stain

He washed it white as snow.

Song by Jean Ewing and Landy Ewing

 

 

 

Rev. David A. Stammerjohn, pastor of Laboratory Presbyterian Church, Washington, Pennsylvania, spent a week at the Synod school with his  two children.

The school’s theme focused on Moses and the Exodus.

When they returned home, his five-year-old daughter excitedly greeted her mother:  “Guess what, Mommy. We made unleaded bread!”

 

 

  1. How did Adam and Eve feel when expelled from the Garden

    of Eden?

  1. They were really put out.

 



LABELS

MARCH 31

They took Jesus away, Carrying his cross, Jesus went out to the place called Skull Hill (the name in Hebrew is Golgotha), where they crucified him, and with him two others, one on each side, Jesus in the middle.  Pilate wrote a sign and had it placed on the cross.  It read:

JESUS THE NAZERENE   THE KING OF THE JEWS.”     John 19:16-19, The Message Bible.

            The Cross of Jesus Christ is such a central symbol of the Christian’s faith that sometimes it is hard to find new revelations of what actually happened on that tree.  We celebrate that “our sins” were nailed to that tree in the substitutionary work of Christ.  We recognize that the pain that He bore was for our healing.  We accept the fact that God did not turn His head from His son, but from the sin of the world.  We rejoice that “it is now finished”, the work of redemption.

            But recently I have been engrossed with the sign that Pilate had placed over that cross. “Jesus the Nazarene, the King of the Jews”.  What did it mean?  Then I saw something that I’m seeing more and more in our society.  Pilate had placed a “label” on Jesus.

            Peter shared what it is like to go through life with “labels”.  “In school, they labeled me ADD/HD”, he said, “because I was always speaking out ahead of the teacher, and couldn’t be controlled.”  In business, “I was called a SUCCESS for I owned my own boat.”  “I was called STUBBORN because no one could tell me what to do or not to do”.  I was labeled BRAVE for stepping out of the boat but labeled a FAILURE because I began to sink.  Jesus called me SPIRITUAL since I was the only one who recognized who He was the Son of God. But then He prophesied that I would DENY Him.  John called me SLOWPOKE since he beat me to the tomb but then realized that I am an INQUIRER because I had to know what was inside that empty tomb.  Finally, Jesus called me SHEPHERD to feed his sheep and preach his Word.

            It is so easy to be labeled by the world. But Jesus was “labeled” so that we could be released from those “labels”.  What labels have the world or Satan placed on you?  Be Blessed today for Jesus was “labeled” for you.

      Pastor Don

           

What does the Jewish Superman say?

Up, up and oy vey!!”

 

Several years ago we had an intern who was none too swift. One day he was typing and turned to a secretary and said, “I’m almost out of typing paper. What do I do?”  “Just use copier machine paper,” she told him.  With that, the intern took his last remaining blank piece of paper, put it on the photocopier and proceeded to make five blank copies.

 



WHAT’S YOUR TONE?

MARCH 30

Luke 22:42  saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”

It makes all the difference in what tone of voice a man says, “Thy will be done.”

(i) He may say it in a tone of helpless submission, as one who is in the grip of a power against which it is hopeless to fight. The words may be the death-knell of hope.

(ii) He may say it as one who has been battered into submission. The words may be the admission of complete defeat.

(iii) He may say it as one who has been utterly frustrated and who sees that the dream can never come true: The words may be those of a bleak regret or even of a bitter anger which is all the more bitter because it cannot do anything about it.

(iv) He may say it with the accent of perfect trust. That is how Jesus said it. He was speaking to one who was Father; he was speaking to a God whose everlasting arms were underneath and about him even on the cross. He was submitting, but he was submitting to the love that would never let him go. Life’s hardest task is to accept what we cannot understand; but we can do even that if we are sure enough of the love of God.

God, thou art love! I build my faith on that…

I know thee, who has kept my path, and made

Light for me in the darkness, tempering sorrow

So that it reached me like a solemn joy:

It were too strange that I should doubt thy love.

Jesus spoke like that; and when we can speak like that, we can look up and say in perfect trust, “Thy will be done.”

William Barclay, Daily Study Bible

 

 

A LETTER FROM CAMP

Dear Mom & Dad:

We are having a great time here at Lake Typhoid.  Scoutmaster Webb is making us all write to our parents in case you saw the flood on TV and worried. We are OK. Only 1 of our tents and 2 sleeping bags got washed away. Luckily, none of us got drowned because we were all up on the mountain looking for Chad when it happened. Oh yes, please call Chad’s mother and tell her he is OK. He can’t write because of the cast. I got to ride in one of the search & rescue jeeps. It was neat. We never would have found him in the dark if it  hadn’t been for the lightning. Scoutmaster Webb got mad at Chad for going on a hike alone without telling anyone. Chad said he did tell him, but it was during the fire so he probably didn’t hear him. Did you know that if you put gas on a fire, the gas can will blow up? The wet wood still didn’t burn, but one of our tents did. Also some of our clothes. John is going to look weird until his hair grows back. We will be home on Saturday if Scoutmaster Webb gets the car fixed. It wasn’t his fault about the wreck. The brakes worked OK when we left. Scoutmaster Webb said that a car that old you have to expect something to break down; that’s probably why he can’t get insurance on it. We think it’s a neat car. He doesn’t care if we get it dirty; and if it’s hot, sometimes he lets us ride on the tailgate. It gets pretty hot with 10 people in a car. He let us take turns riding in the trailer until the highway patrolman stopped and talked to us. Scoutmaster Webb is a neat guy. Don’t worry, he is a good driver. In fact, he is teaching Terry how to drive. But  he only lets him drive on the mountain roads where there isn’t any traffic. All we ever see up there are logging trucks. This morning all of the guys were diving off the rocks and swimming out in the lake. Scoutmaster Webb wouldn’t let me because I can’t swim and  had was afraid he would sink because of his cast, so he let us take the canoe across the lake. It was great. You can still see some of the trees under the water from the flood. Scoutmaster Webb isn’t crabby like some scoutmasters. He didn’t even get mad about the  life jackets. He has to spend a lot of time working on the car so we are trying not to cause him any trouble. Guess what? We have all passed our first aid merit badges. When Dave dove in the lake and cut his arm, we got to see how a tourniquet works. Also Wade and I

threw up. Scoutmaster Webb said it probably was just food poisoning from the leftover chicken. I have to go now. We are going into town to mail our letters and buy bullets. Don’t worry about anything. We are fine.

Love,

Cole

 

P.S. How long has it been since I had a tetanus shot?



LOVE’S INVITATION

MARCH 29
 
Jesus proposed to ride into Jerusalem in a way that would be an unmistakable claim to be the Messiah, God’s Anointed King. We have to note certain things about this entry into Jerusalem.

(i) It was carefully planned. It was no sudden, impulsive action. Jesus did not leave things until the last moment. He had his arrangement with the owners of the colt. The Lord needs it was a pass-word chosen long ago.

(ii) It was an act of glorious defiance and of superlative courage. By this time there was a price on Jesus’ head. (Jn 11:57.) It would have been natural that, if he must go into Jerusalem at all, he should have slipped in unseen and hidden away in some secret place in the back streets. But he entered in such a way as to focus the whole lime-light upon himself and to occupy the centre of the stage. It is a breath-taking thing to think of a man with a price upon his head, an outlaw, deliberately riding into a city in such a way that every eye was fixed upon him. It is impossible to exaggerate the sheer courage of Jesus.

(iii) It was a deliberate claim to be king, a deliberate fulfilling of the picture in Zech 9:9. But even in this Jesus underlined the kind of kingship which he claimed. The ass in Palestine was not the lowly beast that it is in this country. It was noble. Only in war did kings ride upon a horse; when they came in peace they came upon an ass. So Jesus by this action came as a king of love and peace, and not as the conquering military hero whom the mob expected and awaited.

(iv) It was one last appeal. In this action Jesus came, as it were, with pleading hands outstretched, saying, “Even now, will you not take me as your king?” Before the hatred of men engulfed him, once again he confronted them with love’s invitation.

William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible

 

 

A police car pulls up in front of grandma Bessie’s house, and grandpa Morris gets out.

The polite policeman explained that this elderly gentleman said that he was lost in the park…and couldn’t find his way home.

” Oy Morris “, said grandma, ” You’ve been going to that park for over 30 years!  So how could you get lost ? ”

Leaning close to grandma, so that the policeman couldn’t hear. Morris whispered, ” I wasn’t lost…..I was just too tired to walk home.”

 

 

 Two men are talking at work Monday morning.

 “What did you do this weekend?”

 “Dropped hooks into water.”

 “Fishing, eh?”

 “No, golfing.”



WHICH PARTY ARE YOU IN?

MARCH 26

James 3:16 For where envy and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

The word “strife” is taken from the Greek word “eritheia”. It was used by the ancient Greeks to stand for a political party. This Greek word is often translated as a party spirit because of its linkage to political systems and political parties. Therefore, in order for us to understand why James used this word, we need to stop and think about the way political parties are formed and how they function.

Political parties are formed by a group of people who have similar values and views. After the party is formed, the participants develop a unified agenda; once the agenda is decided on, they create a platform. From that platform, the people begin to push their agenda and ideas, fighting fiercely to see that their party’s platform is accepted and eventually put in the position of ruling and calling the shots.

In the same way, some Christians become so clouded by their ambition to see their own views adopted that they have no tolerance for anyone who sees things differently than they do. These people usually gravitate to other believers who hold similar views.

Once these “like-minded” Christians find each other, they naturally begin to take sides, forming a kind of allegiance. Then they begin to form agendas and develop plans to see their views pushed, promoted and accepted. As a result, people who once stood shoulder to shoulder often end up standing on different sides of a fight with their relationships ruined and filled with hurt.

So this part of James 3:16 could be translated, “… it promotes divisions so great that people end up taking sides and forming differing parties with conflicting agendas. . . “

From Sparkling Gems from the Greek by Rick Renner

 

More Useless but interesting  Facts

  1. An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain.
  2. Tigers have striped skin, not just striped fur.
  3. In most advertisements, including newspapers, the time displayed on a watch is 1010.
  4. Al Capone’s business card said he was a used furniture dealer.
  5. The only real person to be a Pez head was Betsy Ross.
  6. When the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers play football at home, the stadium becomes the state’s third largest city.
  7. The characters Bert and Ernie, on Sesame Street, were named after Bert the cop and Ernie the taxi driver in Frank Capra’s “It’s A Wonderful Life.”
  8. A dragonfly has a lifespan of 24 hours.
  9. A goldfish has a memory span of three seconds. (Hey I’m a goldfish)
  10. A dime has 118 ridges around the edge.
  11. On an American one dollar bill, there is an owl in the upper left hand corner of the “1” encased in the “shield” and a spider hidden in the front upper right-hand corner.
  12. It’s impossible to sneeze with your eyes open.
  13. The giant squid has the largest eyes in the world.
  14. Who’s that playing the piano on the “Mad About You” theme? Paul Reiser himself.
  15. In England, the Speaker of the House is not allowed to speak.
  16. The name for Oz in the “Wizard of Oz” was thought up when the creator, Frank Baum, looked at his filing cabinet and saw AN, and OZ, hence “Oz.”
  17. The microwave was invented after a researcher walked by a radar tube and a chocolate bar melted in his pocket.


UNFORCED RYTHMNS OF GRACE

MARCH 24

“Are you tired? Worn out! Burned out on religion! Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.  I’ll show you how to take a real rest.  Walk with me and work with me — watch how I do it.  Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.  I won’t lay anything heavy or ill fitting on you.  Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”    Matthew 11:28-30    The Message Bible

            I often wondered how people could leave God and their Christian foundation and go back into a life of sin.  It was hard for me to understand the attraction of leaving the Blessings of God for a little season of perceived pleasure.

            But then I began to observe how people serve the Lord.  The key element is the word “serve”. Many are like Martha, busily preparing everything to entertain the Lord.  They spend their time in the kitchen getting everything “just right.”  And when the meat gets overcooked, the bread burned black or the desert flops.  They blame God on their failures and decide, “what’s the use?”

            Satan will serve up a good dose of temptations when things are not going well.  He will persuade us that the “grass is greener” on the other side.  His wiles are crafty and full of promises that cannot be fulfilled.  As a matter of fact, the very thing that we try to escape, will be waiting with open mouths of devastation if we follow his path.

            The true relationship that keeps us at rest and in tune with God is the relationship that Mary had with Jesus.  Just to sit at his feet and learn about Him is the key to letting Him show us all things.  Mary had just seen Jesus resurrect her brother.  She didn’t worry if the dishes were set properly.  She didn’t concern herself that the windows needed washing.  She just wanted to learn more about the man who restored her brother.

            I especially like the line, “learn the unforced rhythms of grace”.  Most of us are about “making things happen”.  God is about letting “grace” handle a multitude of sins.  Most of us are searching for fulfillment in what we do.  God is fulfilling us in who we are in Him. Don’t try to work out your own frustrations and problems.  You will only find yourselves in the heat of the kitchen, and you’ll miss the time at Jesus’ feet.

            Someone is making a bad decision to work in the kitchen today.  Be careful, for you’ll find yourself jumping out of the frying pan into the fire.  STOP and sit at His feet today.  He’s trying to tell you how to be resurrected.  He’s trying to teach you how to have restored relationships.  He wants you to relax and rest in Him.

            Pastor Don

 

A hack golfer spends a day at a plush country club, playing golf & enjoying the luxury of a complimentary caddy.

Being a hack golfer, he plays poorly all day. Round about the 18th hole, he spots a lake off to the left of the fairway. He looks at the caddy and says, “I’ve played so poorly all day, I think I’m going to go drown myself in that lake.”

The caddy looks back at him and says, “I don’t think you could keep your head down that long.”

* * * * *

“I’m prescribing these pills for you,” said the doctor to the overweight patient, who tipped the scales at about three hundred pounds.

“I don’t want you to swallow them.  Just spill them on the floor twice a day and pick them up, one at a time.”



GRACE Vs SIN

MARCH 23

“Sin didn’t and doesn’t have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace.  When it’s sin versus grace, grace wins hands down.  All sin can do is threaten us with death, and that’s the end of it.  Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us into life — a life that goes on and on and on, world without end.”  Romans 5:20-21   The Message Bible

            Sometimes we give this thing called Sin and Satan more credit than it’s worth.  We let it seem like it’s the controlling force of the universe.  I know that we are all born with that nature of Adam, rebellion against God, within us.  This self-serving desire to do our own will rather than the will of God is always a struggle within us.

            But Romans reminds us that “Where sin abounds, Grace much more abounds.”  Grace is the more potent and powerful force in the world.  And where sin is found, enough grace is found to release from the power of sin.

            Satan is a deceiver and a destroyer.  His purpose is to pull down as many people as he possibly can and destroy their lives and testimonies in the world.  Grace on the other hand, has as it’s main purpose to lift and build up the lives of those who accept that gift. 

            Grace can be defined as the “unmerited (or unearned) favor of God.”  Or as one person put it, “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.”  It is not something that we, like earth bound magicians, can whip up or earn by our own slight of hand.  It is only available from the source of God.  It emanates from Him.  Created by Him.  Given freely by Him. The only way to receive it is to come to Him.

            But the Grace that God gives is not just a fleeting moment of pleasure and good will.  It is an eternal gift that will hold us for all eternity.  Today, you are set free from the curse of sin by God’s Grace.  All you have to do, is ask and receive it. 

            How many of us have written off others because of the sin in their lives?  Perhaps we must remind ourselves and tell them, that God’s Grace is more powerful than their sin.  We are Blessed with God’s Grace, not that we should only enjoy it, but that we might tell others about it as well.

Pastor Don

 

 

 

A man lost two buttons from his shirt and put them in his pants pocket.  But the pocket had a hole, so the buttons fell into his shoe. Unfortunately, the shoe sole also had a hole, so he lost the buttons.

Since pockets with holes, holes without buttons, and shoe soles with holes are useless, the man ripped the buttonholes out of his shirt and the pocket from his pants and tossed them in the trash along with the soles of his shoes. After looking in a mirror at the holes in his clothing, he decided to toss his clothes in the trash as well.

A policeman observed all this and asked the man for identification.

The man produced a document that he was an ordained minister of the gospel.  So, of course, the policeman promptly escorted him to a mental institution.

The minister protested violently, asking why he was receiving such unjust treatment.

“Look, it’s the best place for you now,” the policeman replied, “Anyone claiming to be a preacher, but who doesn’t save souls or wear holy clothes has probably lost his buttons.”



DON’T GIVE UP, THE PEAKS IN SIGHT

MARCH 22

“We’re not giving up. How could we!  Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace…  there’s far more here than meets the eye.  The thing that we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.”     2 Corinthians 4:16,17 The Message Bible.

            We used to sing the chorus in Sunday School, “So Let the Sunshine In.”

                        So let the sunshine in.

                        Face it with a grin.

                        Smilers never lose.

                        And frowners never win.

                        So let the sunshine in.

                        Face it with a grin.

                        Open up your heart

                        And let the Sunshine in.

            John Maxwell says it best when he writes, “Your attitude determines your Altitude.”  So what is your attitude about what is happening around you today?  Are you defeated and discouraged? Or are you Mountain Climbing your way to the top?  Your attitude will determine your height of achievement and victory.

            In the summer of 1989, Mark Wellman made a promise to himself.  He was going to climb the sheer granite face of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.  The only problem Mark faced was the fact that he is paraplegic.  But Mark was determined, and before the summer was over he dared to keep his promise.  On the seventh and final day of his climb, the headlines of the Fresno Bee read, “Showing a Will of Granite.”  Accompanying the headline was a photo of Wellman being carried on the shoulders of his climbing companion.  Mike Corbett.  The subtitle read, “Paraplegic and Partner Prove No Wall is Too High to Scale.” What many people did not know is that Mike Corbett scaled the face of El Capitan three times in order to help Mark Wellman pull himself up once.

            You can make it to the top, even if you need some additional help. God is there to carry you up the last mile.  He has climbed this mountain before.  He will carry you to the peak.

 

 

A friend and I were standing inside a building of a local theme park. We were looking outside, and it was an extremely windy day. The area’s custodian, the one who had the job of sweeping up debris, was a very small woman (4’10”, 90 lbs.) and she was having a rough time trying to not be blown away.

My friend joked with the lady, telling her that she would have to put heavy rocks in her shoes when she went outside to work.

The lady looked at my friend and lisped, “You mean, … now I weigh me down to sweep?”



ADVERSITY STRENGTHENS

MARCH 25

            Stronger for the struggle: Some time ago a fascinating article appeared in The Reader’s Digest telling about a most unusual tree called the “Bristlecone Pine.” Growing in the western mountain regions, sometimes as high as two or more miles above sea level, these evergreens may live for thousands of years. The older specimens often have only one thin layer of bark on their trunks. Considering the habitat of these trees, such as rocky areas where the soil is poor and precipitation is slight, it seems almost incredible that they should live so long or even survive at all. The environmental “adversities,” however, actually contribute to their longevity. Cells that are produced as a result of these adverse conditions are densely arranged, and many resin canals are formed within the plant. Wood that is so structured continues to live for an extremely long period of time. The author Darwin Lambert says in his article, “Bristlecone Pines in richer conditions grow faster, but die earlier and soon decay.” The harshness of their surroundings, then, is a vital factor in making them strong and sturdy. How similar this is to the experience of the Christian who graciously accepts the hardships God allows to come into his life.    Don Emmitte

            Sometimes the greatest BLESSINGS of  our lives are the direct result of adversity in it….  So when troubles come….. count your blessings…  you are made stronger in them.

 

 

CHRISTIAN FOOTBALL!!

 Quarterback Sneak – Church  members quietly leaving during the invitation.

 Draw Play – What many children do with the bulletin during worship.

 Halftime –  The period between Sunday School and worship when many choose to leave.

 Benchwarmer – Those who do not sing, pray, work, or apparently do anything but sit.

 Backfield-in-Motion – Making a trip to the back (restroom or water fountain) during the service.

 Staying in the Pocket – What happens to a lot of money that should be given to the Lord’s work.

 Two-minute Warning – The point at which you realize the sermon is almost over and begin to gather up your children and belongings.

 Instant Replay – The preacher loses his notes and falls back on last week’s illustrations.

 Sudden Death – What happens to the attention span of the congregation if the preacher goes “overtime”.

 Trap – You’re called on to pray and are asleep.

 End Run – Getting out of church quick, without speaking to any guest or fellow member.

 Flex Defense – The ability to allow absolutely nothing said during the sermon to affect your life.

 Halfback Option – The decision of 50% of the congregation not to return for the evening service.

 Blitz – The rush for the restaurants following the closing prayer.



HOW TO LOSE FRIENDS

March 19

“If You Continue to Do What is Right, What’s Wrong And Who’s Wrong Will Eventually Leave Your Life. (David Blunt)”

   “A businessman had personalized letterhead that read, “Right is right even if everyone is against it, and wrong is wrong even if everyone is for it.”  James 1:12 (LB) says, “Happy is the man who doesn’t give in and do wrong when he is tempted, for afterward he will get as his reward the crown of life that God has promised those who love Him.”

   “Spend less time worrying about who’s right and take charge of deciding what’s right in your life.  Don’t let someone else choose it for you.  Your failures may be planned by hell, but your victory is planned by heaven. “And remember when someone wants to do wrong it is never God who is tempting him, for God never wants to do wrong and never tempts anyone else to do it.”  (James 1:13, LB).”

  “You cannot do the right thing too soon, for you never know when it will be too late.  You can always find the time to do what you really want to do.”

    John L. Mason,  You’re Born an Original, Don’t Die a Copy.

 

The Ticket (a groaner)

Driving to work, a gentleman had to swerve to avoid a box that fell out of a truck in front of him. Seconds later, a policeman pulled him over for reckless driving.  Fortunately, another officer had seen the carton in the road. The policemen stopped traffic and recovered the box.  It was found to contain large upholstery tacks.

“I’m sorry sir,” the first trooper told the driver, “but I am still going to have to write you a ticket.”

Amazed, the driver asked for what.

The trooper replied, “Tacks evasion.”

(Told you it was a groaner)




 

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