My Morning Walk With Doggie
The one thing I do like about the time change is that it is now daylight when the doggies and I go for our morning walk. I have spent most of the dark winter and gray spring trying to make myself visible to drivers. One of the kids bought me a hat the flashes a bright light, I usually wear florescent or reflective colors, just to alert sleepy drivers that we are around.
I suppose in many ways I have become more cautious with age. I keep telling folks that is because, as I grow older, I know all the bad things that can happen to person. I have one friend who has been in a wheelchair for almost 40 years since being hit on his bike by a hit and run driver. I’m aware of several walkers who have been badly injured or hospitalized because of brushes with cars. I am always astounded , especially by young folks who walk wearing dark colored clothing or hoodies, or with their backs to traffic, or who have earphone plugged in making them unable to hear oncoming traffic
I keep thinking “If only these young people could know!” But they are young people. They are bold, filled with adventure, and not concerned about risk taking. This is exactly the way youth have always been. In reading the stories of the young church following Easter I see exactly the same kinds of behaviors. The disciples are bold, fearless, out for adventure, and unconcerned for the risks. The disciples thunder against the temple officials, “We must obey God and not man!” (Acts 5.29). The apostles tell the story of the risen Christ and display, at every opportunity , the transformed lives they are called to live. In one of our recent books I read the phrase, ‘… we must not self-deter…’ (the author means when we talk ourselves out of trying new things, taking risks, or hold back because of problems, difficulties, or antagonisms.)
My suspicious is that faith is supposed to call forth from us an adventuresome spirit. The apostle Paul tells his young friend Timothy, ‘For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.’ (2 Tim. 1:6-7)
Let us not quit too quickly , our future is always in God’s hands.
April and Easter
The word “holy” means to SET APART, or to LAY ASIDE and dedicate to God. In the Bible we often speak of God’s people as a holy people, or a holy nation. But what is it that sets us apart for God? In what ways ought the church be set aside, or holy, for God? I can think of 4 perhaps you might add others!
- We should be committed to building each other up. The world is much too effective at putting people down, finding fault, and assessing blame. The church ought to be different. As my mother always said, “If you can’t find something good to say, don’t say anything at all.”
- The church ought to be a place where the value of each person is recognized. God gave us life, Christ saved us, the Holy Spirit guides and encourages. People are unique. We come into the world completely helpless and dependent upon other people. We learn to walk and talk and do everything else by seeing other do it first. People need people.
- The ONLY way to stay holy is to stay focused on what is important. Every morning our hopes and dreams come rushing at us like a wild mob. We need to hear that quiet voice of God speaking to our hearts to put direction to our activities and priorities.
- We limit our freedoms so as not to give in to every impulse and thought. We discipline our lives, our bodies, and our minds to conform to the image of Christ.
In this April Easter season, join the journey with us. Rediscover the life of faith. Open your hearts in prayer. Worship with others. Walk and grow in faith. From Good Friday (7 p.m.) to Easter Sunday (10 a.m.); the church takes this 3 day walk every year because it was believed that one couldn’t understand the JOY of Easter until one had experience the depth of the sadness and the great sacrifice of Good Friday. Let us do this together!
Yours in Christ,
When Lent gets difficult.
Sometimes about midway in the Lenten Season, when my prayer life drags, when my good intentions sag, and when busyness begins to crowd out devotion, prayer, sometimes even hope, I just want to cry out to God for more faith!
The boy’s father said to Jesus, “… But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” “If you can?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:22-24)
Is it possible to be filled with faith and doubt at the same time? Yes!
Here’s some Good News: You can have faith that God wants you to do something and still be scared to death! Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is going ahead and doing what you’re called to do in spite of your fear.
We must start all our activities where we can, that includes our walk in faith. We must begin with the faith we already have; it may be just a little, but we have to start there. A great example of this is the story of the man who brought his sick son to Jesus in Mark 9. Jesus looked at the man and said, “I can heal your son. If you will believe, I will heal him.”
The father then makes a classic statement: “Lord, I do believe. Help me overcome my unbelief.”
Have you ever felt like that? “Lord, I have some faith. But I also have some doubts. I want to believe, but . . . ” This man was filled with faith and doubt, yet despite his honest doubts, he went ahead and asked Jesus for a miracle. And he got his miracle – Jesus healed his son.
No matter how weak or how frail you think your faith is, it is enough.
Everybody has faith. You had faith this morning when you drove to work or school — faith that the people driving in the other lane wouldn’t come over into yours. You had faith when you sat down to read this — faith that your chair wouldn’t collapse.
Everybody has faith; the difference is what you put your faith in.
Take your little faith; “Lord, I believe! Help me with my unbelief!” And you put it in our big God, and then God will show you huge results.
Yours in Christ,
January has been very cold and brutally snowy. I keep hearing people say, “It’s just one of those winters.” Trying to think “warm thoughts” I was remembering years ago someone saying that half of Hawaiian homes have no central heating. It is unnecessary in a place where it is mostly 80 degrees year round. Hawaii is a series of islands, separated from each other by a few hundred miles. One can only travel between the islands by plane or boat. These islands seem separate and distant but that is an illusion. Under the water each is the top of a large mountain chain which rise up from the sea floor. The islands that we can see are only the smallest part. The big island of Hawaii is the top of the largest mountain on earth, almost 2/3 of the island is under the water, hidden from view in the dark of the oceans depths.
I was thinking about how our Christian faith may be similar. We tend to think of ourselves as individuals, personalities, and characters of which no two are alike. Sometimes we feel separated from each other, and sometimes, especially these past two years , when we have suffered from the virus , we feel separated from each other and sometimes we feel even separated from God. We know this is an illusion. Most of our spiritual life and health goes on in places we cannot see: in prayer, in devotion, in fellowship, in caring. I like to remind myself in these difficult days that our lives are only the smallest visible part of the passing parade of saints held up by all that has gone before and all that will come after us.
We are connected by our roots and none of us remains alone. So Christ brought us this message to share and he called this binding together with the name LOVE. 2022. It feels funny to write it, it feels funny to see it in print, and yet this is another year of opportunity to see where this source of all love, which binds us together, will lead us now.
Hope you are up for more of the journey,