The Church Mask

January 28th, 2015

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As you leave your residence on Sunday morning to go to your place of worship, do you take your church mask off the hook by the door and place it on your face? When you walk through the doors at church are you hoping those you encounter will believe you are righteous as you pass them by. Are you just pretending to be someone you are not? If so, you are living a lie.

mask

James 2:18James 2:18
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

18 Yea, a man will say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith apart from thy works, and I by my works will show thee my faith.

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states “But someone will say, you have faith; I have deeds. Show me your faith without deeds and I will show you my faith by my deeds.”

Does your life during the week mirror your actions and words while in church on Sunday? Are you confessing your belief in a risen Lord but those watching you would not be able to tell? Oftentimes you know the buzz words to use and the appropriate actions to display while at church or around your Christian friends but falter when that “church mask” is removed.

A little refocusing on living a Godly life and finding ways to bless others will eliminate the need to wear that mask. Throw it away now!

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The Reset Button

January 13th, 2015

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The new year has already begun. What a great time to set goals, re-evaluate priorities and make plans for the future. We embrace this yearly ritual because our mind is stimulated by the thought of starting over again. This symbolic process of hitting the “reset button” in our mind has value in that it helps in the process of renewing our commitment to creating a better year than the previous one.

As we mentally press the “reset button” we are attempting to return everything back to its original status. This is not possible but it can jumpstart our efforts to make the most of what lies ahead for us. Our reaction to an adverse situation is often the catalyst in determining its outcome.

Isaiah 43:18Isaiah 43:18
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

18 Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.

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– 19 NIV tell us “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

Do not dwell on what happened last year. Change your focus. Start looking ahead. Seek a new vision in your life in the current year. With God’s help we can accomplish much for Him.

The Lord says

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One Size Fits All

December 3rd, 2014

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christmas packageA gift is something given willingly to someone without payment; a present. We are not forced to give to someone nor are we compelled to give anything back in return.

 II Corinthians 9:15 tells us to give thanks to God for His indescribable gift. What is that gift? Romans 6:23Romans 6:23
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

23 For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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tell us “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Hence, eternal life is God’s gift to us.

Have you ever received a gift of clothing that did not fit? In that case, you are hopeful the person giving it to you has kept the receipt so it can be returned for the correct size.

God’s gift to us (eternal life) fits everyone no matter the size of your heart . Here is an admonition from Ephesians 3:16-18Ephesians 3:16-18
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

16 that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, that ye may be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inward man; 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; to the end that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be strong to apprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,

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: “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.”

Jesus Christ was born in a manger on that first Christmas day so that we might receive this free gift that is available for everyone through faith. It is the perfect gift that manifests itself through the love of Christ. Indeed, one size fits all!baby Jesus

May you have a Merry Christmas!

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Attitude of Gratitude

November 12th, 2014

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It seems the custom of expressing thanks is slowly diminishing. In recent years I have sent any number of gifts to individuals for weddings, birthdays, graduations, etc. and have not received any sort of thanks. Even though the idea of sitting down and writing out a thank you now seems to be obsolete, the idea of saying thanks should never become outdated.

I have seen recent posts on social networking sites of individuals listing on a daily basis things they are thankful for. It is amazing the uniqueness of these posts in expressing thankfulness. I am sure as a person sits down and begins to list those people and things they are thankful for, their hearts swell up with an “attitude of gratitude”. Oh, how blessed we are!

That would be my challenge to you. Although it is not necessary to post it on line, begin to make a list of everything you are grateful for. I am sure after you only have a few items on your list, you will begin to realize the magnitude of your blessings. As the old hymn states, “Count your many blessings, name them one by one.”

Here is a link to the hymn, “Count Your Blessings” by Mia Padua

The scripture admonishes us to “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:181 Thessalonians 5:18
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

18 in everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus to you-ward.

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happy thanksgiving

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Within the Covers

October 29th, 2014

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Ronald ReaganPresident Ronald Reagan once made a very profound statement, “Within the covers of the Bible are the answers for all the problems men face.” What a timely statement even for today.

It seems there is so much unrest in the world. Wars, rumors of wars, major global illnesses, disagreements on all types of social issues – and the list goes on. What should be my reaction to these?

A person recently told me she was conservative in her way of thinking. I responded that I didn’t know if I was conservative but rather I was “biblical”. She had a strange reaction but I told her that, since God’s Word is my measuring tool, the answer to all my decisions are found in the Bible.

Psalm 18:30Psalm 18:30
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

30 As for God, his way is perfect: The word of Jehovah is tried; He is a shield unto all them that take refuge in him.

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NIV states, “As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.”  Since God’s Word is flawless, why would I look for the answers anywhere else? Some people try to make the Bible say what they want by making their own interpretation but as the lyrics of the old song goes, “if God says it, I believe it, and that settles it for me!” I am not going to change God’s Word to suit my own needs or so I will be socially accepted.

I am going to look “within the covers”!

Following are the lyrics to the song “God Said It and I Believe It” as sung by Del Delker.

God Said It and I Believe It

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The Piano Keys

October 15th, 2014

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The series of student books I am currently using to teach beginning piano lessons has a series of songs where the student plays only on the black keys. Although this is probably not the way I would start teaching a beginning student, I went along with the lessons as outlined. At the onset of learning piano, a person does not realize the importance of the black keys in making beautiful music and it is difficult to explain to a new student the concept of “flats” and “sharps” in a music selection.

Keyboard Keys Close UpTo me the white keys denotes the good things that happen in life and the black keys represents the bad. What would the piano be like with all white keys but no black ones? How would the music sound?

It is possible, as I stated above, to play a musical selection on all white keys or all black keys but oh the beautiful music that is generated when both are played together?

That is similar to our daily lives. We will encounter both the good and the bad. Learn to appreciate those delightful things but know that along your journey there will be those black keys that step in your path. In the end all things will work out.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28Romans 8:28
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

28 And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose.

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The Six Whatevers

October 1st, 2014

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With so much negative things happening in the world, in our country, in our state, in our hometown, in our church and even in our family, how do we maintain a Christian thought life? How do we protect ourselves from dwelling on all the bad things happening? After all, that is what the media thrives on.

There is a favorite verse of mine, which I refer to as the “six whatevers”. This scripture can help us reflect only on what is positive, encouraging and uplifting. It is Philippians 4:8Philippians 4:8
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

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and states, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things”.

TRUE means being in accordance with the actual state or conditions; conforming to reality or fact; not false. God himself is the only final test for what is true. We should assess everything according to God’s Word.

NOBLE is that which inspires reverence or awe; dignified, worthy of respect. We need to realize that our life is short and therefore should take Godly things seriously.

RIGHT means that which is morally correct, just or honorable. To think on what is right means to think on God and model our behavior after Him.

PURE means free from anything of a different, inferior or contaminating kind. We must say no to anything that will defile our bodies and keep our focus off of moral purity.

LOVELY means to be pleasing, agreeable, attractive. In spiritual terms this means we should only think on our beautiful Savior and His Godly attributes.

ADMIRABLE means to be deserving of respect and approval. It is better to believe the best about someone than to believe an evil report. To sum up, we should think on the above qualities that stem from Godly behavior, attitudes and actions. If a deed or thought is not excellent or praiseworthy, we should avoid the temptation to journey down the “negative road”.

Practice the “six whatevers” daily. You will be exposed to the undesirable on a consistent basis, but only spend your time on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely or admirable.

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Pastor Appreciation

September 17th, 2014

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Although it is not an official holiday, October is generally considered “Pastor Appreciation Month” in many churches with the second Sunday designated as “Pastor Appreciation Day”.

Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you.  Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.I Thessalonians 5:12, 13

pastorA pastor’s role is to equip people in the church and encourage church members to reach their Godly potential. There are times when a pastor can feel disappointment and discouragement. Yet there are even more days the pastor understands how important the ministry is in meeting the needs of parishioners and also in pleasing God.

Begin now to think of ways to minister to your pastor during “Pastor Appreciation Month.” However, the greatest present you can give him/her is your unconditional love, support and prayer. Conjure up unique ways to show appreciation to your pastor not only during the month of October but every day of the year.

I have attached a link to Focus on the Family’s guide for “Clergy Appreciation Month”. Check it out for ideas.

http://media.focusonthefamily.com/pastoral/pdf/CAM_Guide_2012.pdf

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One Single Bit

September 3rd, 2014

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man looking in mirrorWhat is your perspective on life? Are you obsessed with creating an image of popularity, wealth and being famous? Through today’s social media sites it is definitely possible to do just that. However, if we live in the reality of our own mortality, we should accept the fact that these material things are only temporal.

You often hear someone quote from the Bible that “only what you do for Christ will last.” Although there is not an actual verse that states this, the concept is taken from 2 Corinthians 5:9-102 Corinthians 5:9-10
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

9 Wherefore also we make it our aim, whether at home or absent, to be well-pleasing unto him. 10 For we must all be made manifest before the judgment-seat of Christ; that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

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: “So we make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”

The message of the verse if that we, as believers, should focus our time and talents on pleasing the Lord because in the end, only what is done for God will have any eternal value. The mature Christian does not cling to the things of this world. Matthew 6:33Matthew 6:33
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

33 But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

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tells us to seek first His kingdom and righteousness.

We need to focus our thoughts and energy on Godly matters. Heaven should be our ultimate goal. Without this spiritual purpose in life, all our material accumulations and fame will not matter “one single bit”.

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A Friend Request

August 20th, 2014

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One of the common processes on our favorite social networking sites is to send a friend request. Have you ever gotten a request from someone you did not know? Have you sent a request to a person you were interested in befriending but they did not accept it? Their lack of response often makes us feel a little bit rejected.

acceptedGod does not refuse us. I am so glad that He accepts our friend request. He was just waiting for us to ask. Proverbs 18:24Proverbs 18:24
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

24 He that maketh many friends [doeth it] to his own destruction; But there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

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states, “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

Jesus is our special friend because He knows us better than anyone else. He knows all about us. He loves us just the way we are. He wants only the best for us. He always has time for us.

God indeed is a friend that sticks closer than anyone else. Other friends may fail but God never will.  I am reminded of the old hymn, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”.

Click on the link below to listen to the song by the Oak Ridge Boys.

What a Friend We Have in Jesus

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