Wednesday, December 30, 2009
I spent several hours in his house with family and just sat there. No words of wisdom offered just being there and caring.
Please pray for me as I prepare to do his funeral this weekend.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Today I came across something that I thought would encourage you today. Here it is.
**True Story of Rudolph**
A man named Bob May, depressed and brokenhearted, stared out his drafty apartment window into the chilling December night. His 4-year-old daughter Barbara sat on his lap quietly sobbing.
Bobs wife, Evelyn, was dying of cancer.
Little Barbara couldn't understand why her mommy could never come home. Barbara looked up into her dad's eyes and asked, "Why isn't Mommy just like everybody else's Mommy?" Bob's jaw tightened and his eyes welled with tears.
Her question brought waves of grief, but also of anger. It had been the story of Bob's life. Life always had to be different for Bob.
Small when he was a kid, Bob was often bullied by other boys. He was too little at the time to compete in sports. He was often called names he'd rather not remember. From childhood, Bob was different and never seemed to fit in. Bob did complete college, married his loving wife and was grateful to get his job as a copywriter at Montgomery Ward during the Great Depression. Then he was blessed with his little girl. But it was all short-lived. Evelyn's bout with cancer stripped them of all their s avings and now Bob and his daughter were forced to live in a two-room apartment in the Chicago slums. Evelyn died just days before Christmas in 1938.
Bob struggled to give hope to his child, for whom he couldn't even afford to buy a Christmas gift. But if he couldn't buy a gift, he was determined to make one - a storybook! Bob had created a character in his own mind and told the animal's story to little Barbara to give her comfort and hope. Again and again Bob told the story, embellishing it more with each telling.
Who was the character? What was the story all about? The story Bob May created was his own autobiography in fable form. The character he created was a misfit outcast like he was. The name of the character? A little reindeer named Rudolph, with a big shiny nose.
Bob finished the book just in time to give it to his little girl on Christmas Day. But the story doesn't end there.
The general manager of Montgomery Ward caught wind of the little storybook and offered Bob May a nominal fee to purchase the rights to print the book. Wards went on to print,_ Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer_ and distribute it to children visiting Santa Claus in their stores. By 1946 Wards had printed and distributed more than six million copies of Rudolph. That same year, a major publisher wanted to purchase the rights from Wards to print an updated version of the book.
In an unprecedented gesture of kindness, the CEO of Wards returned all rights back to Bob May. The book became a best seller. Many toy and marketing deals followed and Bob May, now remarried with a growing family, became wealthy from the story he created to comfort his grieving daughter. But the story doesn't end there either.
Bob's brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, made a song adaptation to Rudolph. Though the song was turned down by such popular vocalists as Bing Crosby and Dinah Shore, it was recorded by the singing cowboy, Gene Autry. "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" was released in 1949 and became a phenomenal success, selling more records than any other Christmas song, with the exception of "White Christmas."
Monday, December 28, 2009
Right now we are in the middle of what I will call a "death watch" for a man in our community. He is a believer and we know that he is ready to meet his Lord. The hardest part is we don't know when he is going to die, and it is hard watching somebody die. Let me ask you a question. Have you ever watched a loved one waste away and die?
It is difficult and as Pastor I have never gotten used to praying for those who need healing only to have to preach their funeral weeks or months later. Death is not something that I look forward to, but something in which I have made my plans accordingly. Sometimes in the midst of death we encounter heaven on earth. This happened recently.
We were all around the bed of this dear man and we began to sing songs of praise to the Lord when all of sudden the presence of the Lord filled the room. Wait, this should be a sad time, right? No, not when you know the Lord and you enjoy His presence.
Let me challenge you today to enjoy the presence of the Lord today, don't wait until people are gathered around you on your "death watch."
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
You probably are familiar with the famous Mephibosheth that was the son of Jonathan. He was the son who was lame in his legs because his nurse dropped him as she was fleeing after the news of the death of King Saul and Jonathan. He was shown kindness by King David because of the covenant he made with Jonathan. David spared Mephibosheth. But there was another man by the name of Mephibosheth.
He was the son of Rizpah (Saul's mistress) and he was not spared from death. He was executed along with six other sons of Saul because of Saul's rash violent killing spree against the Gibeonites. Now stay with me. Here is the point.
There were two "sons" by the same name, but only one received pardon and was spared execution, why?
- The 1st Mephibosheth was covered by a covenant, the other one was not.
- The 1st Mephibosheth was seeking favor, the other one was not.
- The 1st Mephibosheth was aware of his guilt, the other one was not.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
1. Be quick to listen.
2. Be slow to speak.
3. Be slow to become angry.
Isn't it interesting that we could save ourselves so much grief if we would just follow these guidelines? Think about a time where it might have saved a relationship.
I would like to challenge you to really listen to the person that is closest to you. It may be your spouse or maybe a family member. Just a note for us guys, put the remote down and turn the TV off!
Try this next time someone is talking, only talk if you have something that could add to the person you are speaking with. Resist the temptation to tell all that there is to know about you. Think before you speak.
This last one is tough. Try this, count to 10 before you get angry. It is a good way believed to give you time to pause and reflect and not react to what just happened. Gotta tell you I have been trying to do this more often lately.
Live your life without regrets and without words that you wish you could take back.
Although our spirit man does not have muscles that you can see physically, we must not neglect our spiritual health. There is a scripture in Hebrews 13:9 that says "It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace..." Wow! Our spirit man is strengthened by grace. That means that it will not profit you to follow liturgical traditions without grace. Let me explain. Sometimes we think if we just do this or that (i.e. church attendance, tithe, service) it will make us stronger spiritually, but it wont. If we want to be spiritually strong we should always do what we do with the reminder that we couldn't do it if it wasn't for the Lord.
So today be strengthened with the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and flex those muscles.
I was reading Hebrews 12:1 about the people that have gone on before us and are watching us as we run this race that is set before us. I guess I have always imagined that as a bad thing. These godly people see when I fall down, and then it occurred to me that they are watching to see me do good, not fall down. Let me share a couple of thoughts with you today
1. Because we are being watched from the stands we should lighten our load.
2. Because we are being watched from the stands we should not be caught up in sin.
3. Because we are being watched from the stands we should run the race before us.
Why do I share this with you today? Because you need to be encouraged that you are not alone in this race that we call life. Those who have gone before you are cheering you on, and one day we will run the last lap of our race, and we will enter the grandstand of heaven. Until then my friend keep running the race before you.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
My family and I are reading a good book about Christmas traditions and how they have roots in Christianity. Take for instance the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas." It seems like a very silly song, but actually it has great meaning.
I won't go into all of the meanings behind this song, but let me give you two symbols and what they mean.
- The partridge is a bird that will give its life for its young (type of Christ).
- The two turtle doves are symbolic of the Old and the New Testament.
There are many more symbols and I will give you a link to discover all of the meanings. Let me challenge you today to sing Christmas songs for they have the story of Christ. Merry Christmas.
Here is that link below:
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
There was a song written in the 80's by U2 that was entitled "40". This is a song from Psalm 40. I was reading that psalm today and was humming the melody in my head. It is funny how that was so many years ago and I can remember it the first time I heard it.
Let me share with you some things from Psalm 40.
1. Those who wait upon the Lord will have their cry answered
2. Those who wait upon the Lord will feel the Lord close to them
3. Those who wait upon the Lord will be brought out of the pit and have their
4. Those who wait upon the Lord will have a new song.
Could it be far too often we are in a pit of some kind and we complain instead of cry out to the Lord. There is a difference you know. I encourage you today to cry out to the Lord and have the assurance that He has heard your cry.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
When you read Genesis 11 the story unfolds about people led by Nimrod (what a name!) to build a tower to reach Heaven. More careful study tells us it was an attempt to worship the sun or the stars in what we call today as astrology. The building project was successful until God intervened and confused the people as they began to speak different languages. The tower was never completed because they did not speak the same thing. Now go with me to the Day of Pentecost.
The disciples have been waiting for the promise of the Father (Luke 24) and they have been praying and waiting for 50 days after Christ's ascension to Heaven. Now watch what happens. In Acts 2:1 the Bible states that there came a sound from Heaven like a mighty rushing wind and in that moment those who were gathered in that place received the promise of the Father. They began to speak in other languages that they had not studied or understood. Those who were hearing them said that they could understand what they were saying without a translator. Isn't this like God to bring back people from all languages and unite them for one purpose? Why do I mention this?
I mention this because I believe that when we really think about it we can do more together than apart. God's desire is for His people to be of one mind and one purpose to love the Lord.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
I was reading Proverbs 3:9-10 as it instructs us to honor the Lord with all of our possessions. Now, that maybe a new concept to some of you; but truth is the Lord has given you everything that you have anyway. Let me put it this way.
Let's say Bill Gates gives you a salary of $2 million a year and all he asks in return is for you to reinvest ten percent of your earnings back into Microsoft, would you do it? Now, imagine if the Creator of the universe who has supplied all that you have whether you have acknowledged this or not asks you to "reinvest" into His kingdom, would you do it?
Seems like the first scenario is a no-brainer, right? Bill Gates is worth billions and even while I am using this computer to write this post his net worth is climbing. So who in their right mind would not "reinvest" into Microsoft? Since that makes sense let me explain the second scenario to you. God is the Creator of the universe and He is asking you to "reinvest" a portion of your earnings into the Kingdom of God namely your local church. God has more security to offer you than Bill Gates, because He isn't affected by the recession and neither are those who "reinvest" into His Kingdom.
So today I challenge you to set aside a portion of your income (10% is recommended) and start living according to the economy of God and not the economy of man.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
There has been a lot of talk about climate change, and recently there has been some "experts" come out and air their doubts about climate change. It seems as though that people are not of the mind to accept what the news media reports, good for them. I want to say something that might shock some of you that know me, I believe in global warming.
Let me explain. I don't believe in the climate change that has been circulated around by Mr. Gore and most recently former President Bill Clinton. But I believe that as the Bible says there will be a global warming. The heavens and the earth will be renovated by fire. This is really the only global warming I believe that will take place.
Let me ask you are ready for that time? Do you know for a certainty that if you stood before a holy God He would allow you to go to Heaven? If you don't friend today is the day of salvation. It is a simple as ABC. Admit that you have done some things that you are ashamed of (sins). Believe that Jesus died on the Cross for your sins, and confess Jesus Christ with your mouth and believe that He has forgiven you and wants to lead you daily. If you have done this and you mean it you are a child of God. Congratulations, there is a party in your honor going on in Heaven right now.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
It seems as though there was a banquet and there was a certain style of dress required for the wedding banquet. This may not be important to some of us here in the West, but in the Eastern culture this was very important. I believe that everyone was instructed to wear a wedding garment, and this man came in without one. Listen to the passage in Matthew 22:11-13 paraphrased in the Message.
11-13"When the king entered and looked over the scene, he spotted a man who wasn't properly dressed. He said to him, 'Friend, how dare you come in here looking like that!' The man was speechless. Then the king told his servants, 'Get him out of here—fast. Tie him up and ship him to hell. And make sure he doesn't get back in.'
Listen to what he says:
- "How dare you come in here looking like that!"
- "Get him out of here fast!"
- "Ship him to hell."