Our Children Are What They Eat, So Feed them the Word

Followers of Christ we need to stand up and take charge of the lives of our children.  Not only is it a Biblical command that we raise them to know God, but if we fail to do so the vacuum left within them will certainly be filled by confusing and harmful worldly messages. We need to be responsible about how we, and our children, feed from the trough of public information. We need to ensure that the Bible is part of the daily diet of our entire family so that Truth is never far from us, helping us discern the message of God for our lives from the false message the world offers.

Fitness experts for years have said that “you are what you eat.”  It is certainly true that our physical health  can be influenced by our diet.  Too much fatty foods can lead to heart disease.  Too much alcohol to liver damage, sugar to weight gain and tooth decay, and so on.  Similarly what we choose to hear and see and focus on with our minds will influence how we act and speak and think.  I do not have to provide footnotes to prove that pornography and images of violence can lead to destructive behavior.  What we feed on, and what we feed our children, can have a profound impact on our spiritual health and theirs as well.  Chose wisely.  Christ said, “I am the bread of life, he that comes to me shall never hunger, and he that believes in me shall never thirst.” John 6:35

Pray with me today:  Lord open my eyes to your Truth.  Help me to recognize the difference between the gourmet food laid before us on your banquet table, and the fatty, sugary, dangerous food offered by Satan through this world.  Help us avoid the distractions that prevent us from reading your Word and sharing it with our children.  Open our hearts and minds so that we will know you, know your plans for us, experience your transformative love, and enjoy your shroud of protection over our entire family.  We ask this in Jesus’ name, AMEN!

There Must Be A Foundation for Morality and Secularism Doesn’t Offer It!

I can find no logic in the thinking of those who seeks to eliminate the Judeo-Christian Ethic from our culture. No society can long stand without a basis for morality and ethics. In a world of moral relativism, everyone loses and chaos is embraced.  Is it no wonder that average Americans are frightened and dismayed by all attempts to make secularism the official religion of America?  Is it no wonder there is so much corruption, adultery, cheating, stealing, violence, and utter disregard for human life? The Ten Commandments are the most concise description of basic human values ever written.  The “new” commandment Jesus taught, to love God and love your neighbor, is likewise simple and enlightening.  If we all feared a higher moral power and loved one another, would the world be a better place for all?  Is faith in God the problem or the solution?  I think I know the answer to that question!

Fighting Fear and Giving Thanks in Times of Uncertainty

We live in fearful times.  We face terrorism, natural disasters, unemployment, political tensions, threats of war, financial pressures and a seemingly unending series of events that are slowly eroding any sense of civility, honor, compassion, personal responsibility and moral discipline.  Who could blame anyone for wanting to crawl into a safe corner and hide from the World?  How do we give thanks in an age of thankless, self-centeredness….where a sense of entitlement reigns and where “I, Me, Mine” is more than a song title?  Do not let your hearts be troubled.

Fear is man’s greatest weakness, and the enemy’s greatest weapon.  Yet the Bible talks about overcoming fear and giving thanks in the face of fear 365 times…one for each day of the year.  God speaks to us through his Word reminding us that faith in Him will overcome fear and bring peace and comfort, for which we must give thanks.

The Bible also reminds us how easy it is to fear, even for those who love God.  Many times the disciples, men who walked with Jesus and personally experienced Him and His works, also feared.  The Lord oftentimes rebuked them as “ye of little faith.”  Yet He loved them and gave them hope and courage to become great evangelists and teachers and miracle workers, all in His name.

As we join together today to celebrate Thanksgiving with our families and friends, let us take heart in God’s promises that he will care for us.  The hairs on our heads are counted and numbered, all things are under His watchful eye.  Nothing we face now, nothing we see happening around us is too big for God, nor unaddressed in His greater plan for us.

Pray with me:  Lord, today I will look upward, up to you.  I will look to you as my confidence, my rock and my salvation.  Help me to be bold today and everyday.  To have quietness of heart and a peaceful spirit.  No matter what I face today I give thanks first and foremost to you, the creator of the universe.  I am thankful for eyes that see and ears that hear, so that I have greater understanding of who I am and your purpose for my life.  As we gather today for Thanksgiving, let us thank you first, and remember that all we have ever had, all we have today, and all that await us in blessings flow freely from you to us with love.  As your servant Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 3:4-5, our confidence comes not from ourselves, but from you God.  Bless our families and our food.  Give sustenance to those in need not with us today.  Show us the way each day to have Thanksgiving year round, and to give testimony of Your love and mercy to save the lost in a broken world.  AMEN!

Thanksgiving Visitor: An Original Short Story

The man walked slowly up the long driveway, his hands trembling from the cold, he had no gloves, and his head was uncovered. He had forgotten how cold it could get in November in Kansas.

His mind raced as he trod heavily, avoiding patches of ice, ice that had formed the night before with a biting, wet rain. He wondered whether he would be welcomed, or remembered, because he had been away so long and people tend to forget those who no longer fill their lives, even those who they have loved, because time changes things.

He noticed the long row of oak trees, ancient now, yet still sturdy, their branches coated in ice and snow, bending, not breaking from the weight of a cold, hard winter, and he smiled at the tenacity of nature. The barn had a new coat of paint, bright red, and the color burst through nature’s billowed cotton drape, the blanched whiteness stained and shocked by the scarlet structure rising above the pasture.

He continued along the road, over the small wooden bridge that covered the narrow creek which fed a small pond behind the smokehouse. There ducks and geese frolicked in warmer weather; he had fond memories, feeding those birds and making idyllic life plans while the sun set in the Western sky.

The old bridge creaked and moaned as his bulky frame, added to the week’s worth of snow and ice, stretched the load capacity for such a fragile platform. Small patches of ice and snow cracked and dropped from its sides into the freezing, winding waters below, disturbing a blue jay resting nearby.

An old wood-framed house was in view now, just in time as his hands were nearly numb and his face was reddened by the sharp winter wind. He noticed that the Christmas wreaths were already up, on each window, hand-made of course, and the old horse-drawn sleigh that was stored in the barn was out and ready, should anyone want a ride through the neighboring woods. Many of the neighbors were always ready to take that long and joyous ride, and the plow horses never tired of that long round-trip either.

The house was quiet, and the man suspected no one was home, maybe everyone had gone into town for one thing or another, as there is always one thing or another that needs to be done the day before Thanksgiving.

As he approached the door he sensed the aroma of roasted turkey, although he was not certain it was real or his imagination taking him back to Thanksgivings years before, when he was young, and naïve and life was simple. He had not seen a turkey, let alone tasted one in a long, long time. He rapped lightly on the screen, in nervous anticipation that someone may actually be there and see him, and in response he heard the sound of footsteps across the floor.

The front door opened slowly and an awkward period of silence took place, as each of them, the visitor, and the mother who had given birth to him, nursed him, raised him, and stood by helplessly as he was shipped off to war in a far off, distant place, struggled to comprehend the reality of the moment. The silence was shattered by her scream, and his loud laugh and cry, “I’m home, mom, just as I promised!” The man, still dressed in a sharp, desert colored uniform, flung open the screen door and gathered up his mother in his brawny arms and lifted her high. The commotion brought his sisters and his father running where they came upon the poignant scene. Each one, in turn, expressed the sentiments that had been so long delayed and denied by the soldier’s absence.

A man, who left home as a boy only four years ago, returned home, to his family, and the holiday joy that had only existed as a cherished memory while he lived and fought as a soldier, in the dry and deadly mountains of Afghanistan. No matter how far, no matter how long, he knew that one day he would see the old barn, cross the bridge, and weather the long, cold walk towards the home he missed and the family he loved.

Twelve hundred miles away, another man, once a boy, rode anxiously in a yellow taxi cab through the streets of the Bronx, New York City. Unsuspecting family gathered at the same moment to toast the Holidays, and the hope of seeing their son, once again, alive and well and back home.

THE END

With God in Control, We Can Walk with Confidence

I have to constantly remind myself that I’m not in control, He is…that my steps need to be locked in step with His, that my thoughts need to be like His, that my words need to sound like His, that my focus needs to be on Him and not this world.  God grant me the strength and courage to reject what the world offers and embrace what you have for me, you do not want to decrease my life, you want to increase it!

How often I have relied on my skills, my way, with my limited knowledge and understanding.  How often have I trusted men, fallen men, who have disappointed me.  Father God offers promises that are never broken, He offers a way for each of us, designed especially for us, to lighten the burden of living in this world.  Trust not in your own ways or the ways of men, trust only in God and the path of success in your life will be made clear.  Selah!

Pray with me today:  Father God, I am weak and you are strong.  I do not always understand what is taking place in my life, why I stumble and fall, and why I face what seems like giants in my path.  However Lord, I trust in you and your plans for me.  I proclaim that I will not lessen my faith but strengthen it.  I will not shrink from you, but rather get closer to you. I will let you direct my path because as you have promised in the Gospel of John, “If you are in me and I am in you, ask what you will and it shall be granted.”  We ask Lord, but we sometimes forget the first part…today I will be close to you all day, listening as you guide my steps and thankful that you are there for me and will never forsake me as long as I seek you with an open heart.  Amen!”

True Faith Requires Courage….so Hang in There!

True faith requires courage.  It requires persistence, commitment and unwavering trust in things that cannot be seen, yet nonetheless can have a significant impact on our lives.  The 24/7 information highway has created such a wall of noise that sometimes I think the Internet is the Anti-Christ….we are so distracted and truths are so distorted and faith-followers are under so much pressure to conform, to reject absolutes, to embrace everyone’s feelings, no matter the motive or consequence, that life can become vanilla, listless, meaningless, so flexible and changing that no one has any foundation on which to build happy and peaceful lives.  Love becomes hate, hate become love, pain is pleasure and pleasure is pain in an upside down world where nothing has any real meaning except what each person gives to it.  Yet we as humans were created longing for a central purpose, for absolute boundaries of right and wrong, for love without conditions and peace that is everlasting.  The only source I have ever found for these things is the Bible and a relationship with God. I am not perfect.  I make mistakes daily.  Its not about my being perfect, its about God being perfect and if I focus on what HE has to offer and what HE sets as truth, I can taste the type of loving, joyful, peace-filled existence that I will one day find overflowing in heaven.  Without that hope, that promise, I look around me and have to say “is this all there is?”  The answer, which I know in my heart, is a resounding NO!