Filed under: Articles | Tags: best, bread, Christ, Christian, church, encouragement, food, God, help, hold on, hope, Jesus, wonder
Have you ever had to wait for something for a long time? I sure have. I remember once, when I was younger, we were supposed to tour the Wonder Bread factory. I could not wait because a friend of mine told me that we could “sample” all of the bread we could eat. I was also curious about how the bread was made because it seemed like every time my grandmother would make bread, she would yell at me about running in the house and making her bread fall.
The trip was to be a reward for a combination of behaviors desired by my elementary school. First, you had to be there at least 90% of the time. Not many absences allowed. Second, you had to have turned in 90% of your homework. Third, you must have turned in your science project. Finally, you had to have a passing grade. The catch…this had to be done for the entire semester. When you are in fifth grade, a semester can be an eternity. Every day, the teacher would threaten all of us with not being able to go it we did not “straighten up”. It took forever! I am pretty sure I was in the first semester of fifth grade for at least fifteen years.
The day finally came to go on the trip and…
It was better than I imagined! We ate fresh bread with honey, jelly, butter, peanut butter, and even with syrup. We got to see the bread being made. We were not yelled at one single time. The bread did not fall. It was a wonderful day.
In these chapters, God continues sending visions to Zechariah to tell the people to hang on to Him and trust Him with their future. He promises that their future will be better than sliced bread (sorry, I couldn’t resist). He promises they will be cared for, delivered, and protected. He promises to bless them and to bless their leaders, but they had to wait patiently and faithfully for the deliverance to come. They had to trust Him enough to follow Him and obey Him and tell others about Him and the blessings would come. Are you waiting for God’s blessing in this same way?
Think of a time when you had to wait for something for a long time. Did that something prove to be as exciting as you had thought? Why or why not? I can promise you that God’s promises will never let you down. Hang on to Him today.
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This is one reason why wicked men are not pleased, and why good men are pleased, with the Cross of Christ. It proclaims to them that God is their owner; and it is a claim which the wicked resist, and in which the righteous rejoice.
Gardiner Spring, The Attraction of the Cross; Designed to Illustrate the Leading Truths, Obligations and Hopes of Christianity, Ninth Edition. (New York: M. W. Dodd, 1854), 245.
Filed under: Articles | Tags: Blessing, Christ, Christian, gift, God, Grace, help, hope, Jesus, mercy, present
I came across this poem in my readings and thought I would share it with you:
“The moment a sinner believes,
And trusts in his crucified God,
His pardon at once he receives—
Redemption in full, through his blood.
“’Tis faith that still leads us along,
And lives under pressure and load;
That makes us in weakness more strong,
And leads the soul upward to God
“It treads on the world, and on hell,
It vanquishes death and despair;
And oh, let us wonder to tell,
It wrestles and conquers by prayer
“Permits a vile worm of the dust
With God to commune as a friend;
To hope his forgiveness as just,
And look for his love to the end.
“It says to the mountains, ‘Depart,’
That stand between God and the soul
It binds up the broken in heart,
And makes wounded consciences whole.
“Bids sins of a crimson-like die
Be spotless as snow, and as white;
And raises the sinner on high,
To dwell with the angels of light.”
As I read this poem, I was reminded not of everything I want in life, but everything I have in life. So often, the enemy of our souls wants us to look at the 100 miles left of the journey when sometimes we would be spending our time better looking at the 200 miles we have travelled.
Take some time this week to just get alone with God and thank Him for all you have in Christ. What is that you say? You are not yet in Christ? You don’t even know what that means? Pray and ask God to reveal Himself to you and then go seek out a Christian at work, school, play, or church and ask them how you can know Him and then you will have these same praises.
 Gardiner Spring, The Attraction of the Cross; Designed to Illustrate the Leading Truths, Obligations and Hopes of Christianity, Ninth Edition. (New York: M. W. Dodd, 1854), 138.
Filed under: Articles | Tags: angry, Christ, Christian, church, Fight, get even, God, help, Jesus
I am reading the Bible through again this year for the 10th or so time. This morning, I read again about Joseph’s story and how he was mistreated, sold into slavery, falsely accused, imprisoned, forgotten, and then exalted to become the second in command of Egypt. Of particular interest is when his brothers show up for the second time to get food and bring Benjamin along. Upon seeing his brother from his real mother, Joseph is overcome and reveals himself to his brothers. Perhaps it is best to allow the Bible speak for itself:
Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence.
Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come closer to me.” And they came closer. And he said, “I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt.
“Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.
“For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting.
“God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. 
Joseph was in the perfect position to exact revenge on his brothers. He could have had them imprisoned in the very prison Simeon had just left and that Joseph had spent so many year in himself. He could have had them put to death. He could have done a number of things. He could have at least given them a piece of his mind. He chose none of that.
Instead, Joseph chose forgiveness. He chose to get better. He chose to make their relationship better. He chose to trust God and let God be God. He chose to believe that God was in control and could have prevented this from all happening, but had a plan and Joseph surrendered to that plan.
Even as I typed those last words, I feel convicted. How many times have I been offended and chose to push back? How many times have I been inconvenienced and spouted off at the mouth (or at least in my mind)? How many times has someone hurt me and I allowed myself to fantasize about them getting what’s coming to them?
Jesus said that we are to forgive, or God will not forgive us.
“For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.”
If we really believe God’s Word to be God’s Word, how SHOULD we respond to hurts? That is obvious! HOW do we do it? That is faith, relationship with Christ, learning through discipline and a focus on the glory of God instead of my own ego. Great definition. How do you live it? Let’s find out together.
 New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995.
 New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995.
Filed under: Articles
Have you ever noticed that some people can look at a picture and see terrible things and others can look and see wonder, beauty and maybe even comfort? Sometimes this is just a matter of opinion or a matter of whether or not the person is a pessimist or optimist. Some times; however, it is a matter of seeing things from God’s perspective versus man’s. One such example is found in Joshua 9:1-2.
”Now it came about when all the kings who were beyond the Jordan, in the hill country and in the lowland and on all the coast of the Great Sea toward Lebanon, the Hittite and the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite, heard of it, that they gathered themselves together with one accord to fight with Joshua and all Israel.” (NASB)
Consider the following points of view. To man’s point of view, HELP! Here are kings gathering their armies to fight against Joshua. This would mean there is a much larger army than Joshua had. It would also mean that the armies were united under one purpose: kill Joshua and run the Israelites out of the land. It would mean that the nations that knew the layout of the land and the strategic defensive and offensive advantages of the land were coming to fight newcomers to the area. It meant that a people made desperate by the potential of losing their homes and land were coming to do battle with people that had just arrived and had none. On and on it goes and the picture can get darker and darker.
Consider this same situation from God’s point of view. God was on the side of the Israelites, so that made their army greater than any the kings of the land could throw together. God had promised them the land and God always keeps His promises, so they really did not need to worry in the first place. God was saving them work and travel by bringing all of these kings to them for defeat instead of having to go and fight each one separately.
When you put the two views together, you see that God was actually making their job easier, but they did not see it this way and decided to take matters into their own hands and trust in their own point of view. Sometimes you and I do the same thing. In our day of health and welfare preachers, we are often left with a sense of dismay when difficulties arise or when trouble comes our way. James told his readers to consider it all joy when we face difficulties because these trials would mature our faith and would prepare us to hang on when even worse things come along. He also told them to pray to God for guidance when they felt they could not understand or hang on. Maybe we should pray more for God to show us what He is teaching us in difficulty than we do for Him to remove the trial. Just a thought. For more information, see James 1.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,600 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 27 trips to carry that many people.
‘Twas a week before Christmas and all through the land,
Not a creature wasn’t shopping, yes, even a man!
The credit cards were humming through machines without care,
In hopes that they could pay when all of the bills got there.
The children were whining about this and that,
Hoping Mom had forgotten they mistreated the cat.
With Mom shopping Liberal and Father at Dodge,
They both heaped up carts of quite a hodge podge.
Mom and Dad filled up their carts in a flash
And spent all of their money, yes, all of their cash.
When in the Times and Leader, there arose a reminder,
That Christmas is about Christ and being a little kinder.
When on their way home, they stopped for a rest,
They began to think of all of the ways they were blessed.
They had family and friends, cars and a home,
They had money for vacation and even to roam.
As they sat there and soaked up their reasons to thank,
They remembered contentment can’t come from the bank.
They went to their home with a new sense of glee
And gathered the children their Bible to read
They read of Jesus and angels and kings,
They read about all of the wonderful things.
They read of forgiveness, of wiping out sin,
They read about Mary and Joseph again.
And just as they started to all say goodnight,
The youngest suggested they pray if alright.
They prayed and asked God to bring to their mind.
The Reason for the Season amidst the daily grind.
As you make your way through this Christmas Season,
Don’t forget to make Jesus the reason,
The reason you celebrate is Christ, not just shop.
So let’s keep him right on our list at the top.
May God bless you as you spend this Christmas season
Thanking Him for the most important reason.
Our only way to forgiveness of sins
And an eternity to be celebrated with Him.