Monday, January 28, 2013

Good Forecast

Weather is a funny thing. This morning, we woke up to 60 degree warmth. In January. In two days, it supposed to be 33 - for the high. The birds in my yard seem to prefer the former. Me, too. I've never been much of a fan of cold weather. Ice and snow is the stuff you defrost out of the freezer. Those of you who enjoy the cold are welcome to come shovel my driveway.

No shoveling today, though. At 60 degrees, I even left my jacket at home. But I have it handy for Wednesday when winter returns. Such is life planning your wardrobe in the Ozarks.

It's wonderful to know a God who does not change. No matter the weather, He is still in control.

Hebrews 13:8
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Now that's a great forecast!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Lessons Learned From a Foot

            For the past couple of weeks I have been dealing with a very painful condition known as gout. It is probably one of the most painful things that I have had to deal with in my life, even to the point of having thoughts that everything would be better if I just cut my foot and ankle off. However, even in the midst of the pain, I know that my foot is a very important part of my body. Not only do I realize that a foot is an important part of a body, but a foot has also been an important part of my spiritual growth. Now I know you are probably asking how a foot could have any spiritual significance. I believe there are 3 spiritual lessons that we can learn from feet.

Lesson #1 – Feet = Love
            Feet equal love? Many people hate feet. They wouldn’t even come close to another person’s foot. However, we can see a couple of examples where feet equal love. First, in Lk. 7:36-47 and Jn. 12:1-8, we see 2 different accounts where a woman wiped Jesus’ feet with their hair and then poured oil on them. This may not seem all that significant. However, it shows an expression of intense personal devotion to Christ, and it would have taken great courage to honor Jesus in this way. It showed their love for Christ. Second, in Lk. 10:38-42 we see the account of Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to His teachings. It is the ones that we love the most who we will spend the most time with. God should be our greatest love. There the feet of Jesus is a disciple’s proper place, because we have an unquenchable desire to spend time in prayer, scripture reading, mediation, etc. However a lot of time we are like Mary’s sister, Martha who was busy, and we get distracted from our relationship with God. What changes need to happen so you are sitting at the feet of Jesus daily and loving Him fully?

Lesson #2 – Feet = Humility
            The greatest act of humility is Christ death on the cross. The second was the foot washing of His disciples. In Mk. 10:35-45, we see Jesus trying to teach his disciples what being humble and a servant is all about, but they aren’t getting it. The disciples are fighting at who is going to sit at the right and left hand of God. Jesus tells them, “Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be a slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve. (Mk. 10:44-45)” Looking at the disciples in these verses kind of reminds me of our culture. We live in a Me-centered culture instead of others-centered. If it doesn’t benefit us then we don’t care. Instead, we find in Phil. 2:3, Paul says, “….but in humility consider others better then yourself.” So as Jesus turns to wash the disciples’ feet He is teaching them humility and what it means to be a servant. What is causing you to not be able to serve others in humility?

Lesson #3 – Feet = Spreading the Gospel
            In Is. 52:7, it says “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news” (ESV). In Biblical times, messengers on foot were relied upon heavily for information and news, especially in times of war. Just as the messengers back then carried information and news, we need to be about carrying the good news of Jesus Christ to the lost. Why carry the good news? We see a couple of reasons in Matt. 9:37 and Matt. 20:28. Who is someone who you could bring the good news to this week, and how will you go about the good news with them?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Get on the same page!

It's really important when you're in my line of work, that the song that you're going to sing is the same one that the musicians are playing. Otherwise, you're headed for disaster. That almost happened this morning during our monthly senior adult meeting, The PrimeTimers.

John Fielding was singing; I was the one playing the piano. We were having a good ole time just singing and laughing and carrying on, and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. Then, I start the intro to the next song, he starts to sing, and it's not working. I'm on the wrong song, and in the wrong key. I flip to the next page, and there's nothing I can do. I just have to kinda make do with the key we're in. And, I didn't make do too well. We finally had a pause, and I made a "dramatic key change" then the rest of the song was no problem. In these sort of situations, it's incredibly important for everyone to be on the same page!

Isn't that how life is in general though--whether you're talking about church, family, work, or whatever, things just go smoother when everyone is on the same page.

At National Heights, it seems that the thing that always brings us all together is the act of reaching out to those around us. It doesn't matter what the task, big or small. If it will reach someone with the love of Christ, everyone seems to be on the same page:  Let's do it, and do it well!  Reminds me of this verse: 

1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Philippians 2:1-3 (ESV)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Off and On

I put ON a few pounds over the holidays. It was fun putting them on, but taking them OFF is not so fun!! I laughed at a comment I read where someone said they didn't want to lose weight, because they had no intention of finding it again! Those extra pounds are no good for us!

Similarly, scripture tells us to "put off the old be made new in the activity of your minds, and to put on the new self, created to be like God..." (Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV) A further look shows that God gives us 'trade-ins!' In the place of bitterness, He gives us a tender heart; instead of jealousy, He equips us with trust; rather than hypocrisy, He gives us sincerity. And, that's just the tip of the iceberg! God's gifts are immeasurable, the new never wears off, and He gives them freely--not just on special occasions! Best of all--  the Grand Prize -- God's greatest gift of all -- is the gift of eternal life:

"...the gift of God is eternal life in[ Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23 NIV)

Now THAT'S something I can rejoice about.....EVEN on the treadmill!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

I did it. First time in recent memory. I wrote a check in the new year, and I actually wrote in the correct year the first time. I have burned through more checks reliving the previous year than I care to count. I'm sure I have probably written more that way than I caught and canceled. I suspect the good folks at the bank are fairly lenient this time of year, “Oh, there's another check from that Weatherford guy. Go ahead and accept his payment. He'll figure out it is 2013 by March.”

Too many times, we are guilty of reliving our past. We get stuck, like my old LP's . When that happened, I usually had to tape a couple of pennies to the top of my phonograph needle to get it to play all the way through the record. Listening to the Partridge Family was torture enough, but hearing David Cassidy sing the same line repeatedly was more than even I could stand. (Anyone born after 1975, you can google whatever didn't make sense in the previous passage to understand what I mean.)

We all need a couple of pennies every now and then, to get us out of our rut. God doesn't want us to live in the past (he's forgiven all of that). God wants us moving forward, living for him now, experiencing the abundant life that is found only in Christ. Or as Paul put it:

Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV)
13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Happy NEW Year!