Monday, February 8, 2016

Oh, Be Careful Little Fingers What You Type!

When I first began this blog, I started with a "series" of posts using the song, "Oh Be Careful Little Eyes", then went to other body parts.  While they are all important, in this day and age of technology, our fingers may be the most important of all.  Why?  Because you and I can sit behind a screen and say whatever we want to say - and a lot of the times, that's just not good!

Yesterday, my preacher brother-in-law talked about using our time wisely.  The passage was one we will be using for our "scripture of the week" for our family. "Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is." Ephesians 5:15-17

Something else was said in Bible class yesterday about a former minister who had been buried here the day before. When he talked he would say, "Now, remember if you think I'm pointing fingers, I have three coming back at me!"  Ouch. That is sometimes painfully true!

It matters how we live. It matters what we do. And, as another brother-in-law said in his message as one of our Elders, it matters what we type and post on social media, and sadly it occurred to me that I put something a little bit rude concerning a professional athlete hinting at his arrogance, but was it something that needed to be said? Was it rude? Was it sarcastic?  No. Yes. Yes.  :(  I deleted it, but shouldn't have ever posted it.  I went against my own rule of, "Never post negative."  So I will strive to do better and be better and be careful with my fingers.

There's so much posted with "our little fingers" that just doesn't need to be said.  Think of doctrinal issues or political sides. We have to be careful, as Christians, that we don't build a barrier by the views we hold and publicly want to share. When we get angry and defensive, we may have great thoughts about the issues - even true ones, but our anger will not and does not draw anyone to Christ.  It actually may turn people away from the church - away from Jesus.  And on the political side, I'm doubtful anyone has changed their minds because of rude and sarcastic, and just plain mean, memes!

Public debating isn't helpful.  People block other people’s comments, holding grudges for things that have been said, hide certain people - even Christians - and sadly, even may get to where they can't even speak to one another in public. Some have said that they cannot take the conflict and they've become frustrated with what they see.  Am I part of the problem or part of the solution? I used to be part of the problem. I used to like to debate.  If I had been on social media years ago, I would have enjoyed the political stuff, too.  Now I don't.  I think it's hurtful.  

Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?

I hope you will realize that as a Christian, your Facebook page/posts and Twitter "tweets",  Instagram, etc.,  is not “personal,” it’s an arm of the church, a reflection of Jesus, and is to be an example as to the character of Christ. Be careful what you share and communicate to the world! 

Is it being done with the heart and mind of Christ? Let’s humble ourselves and make sure that neither our private life nor our public life on social media are in conflict with our Father and Savior's message and our calling as one of His ambassadors.

OH, BE CAREFUL LITTLE FINGERS WHAT YOU TYPE!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Breath of Life

Our youngest missed the first three days of school this week. His asthma, which is rarely active, was acting up in full force.  He had a cold/sinus infection, plus an ear infection.  He did breathing treatments, we used essential oils in the diffuser, cough medicine, allergy/cold oils and meds, then finally resorted to going in to the doctor for a prescription.  It had been a long time since he had to have prednisone for his breathing, but when you're having a hard time breathing, you are willing to take the nasty stuff!  You have to!

I was thinking yesterday how that, for those who don't ever struggle to breath, it's hard for them to imagine.  I understand the struggle because I have it, myself, but some of my family member's children have it and the mommas can't understand it because they don't have asthma.  It makes it much harder for them, though they do the best they can to help their child.

The breath of life is important for our physical well-being, but the breath of life....THE breath of life...in our spiritual lives is even more important.  And maybe, just like in the physical sense, someone may understand the importance of it a little more, but the reality is that it's just as important to those who don't.

When humankind was created, God gave him life. "Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being,"  Genesis 2:7.  Our very breath came from the Lord.  But it's even more than that.

The word soul in Hebrew is nephesh, meaning “an animated, breathing, conscious, and living being.” Man did not become a living soul until God breathed life into him. As a physical, animate, rational, and spiritual being, man is unique among all living things upon the earth.  No other living thing has those qualities.  God did that!  We are uniquely made!

Thus says God the LORD, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread out the earth and its offspring, Who gives breath to the people on it And spirit to those who walk in it. Isaiah 42:5

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:23

The breath of God is the life and power of God, given to man to animate him. The Hebrew word for spirit is ruach, which means “wind, breath, air, spirit.” Our physical bodies will die.  That physical breathing will end, but the soul, the spirit, will live on for eternity.  The question will be - where will you spend it?  That's what matters.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Jesus - Believing in Him With Strings Attached

Probably the most recognized and popular scriptures in America is John 3:16.  And it's a wonderful verse, so it's great that people do recognize it!  The problem is that America, for the most part, probably doesn't know the rest of the scriptures around it that put it in context with the thought.

“God loved the world this way: He gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but to save the world. Those who believe in him won’t be condemned. But those who don’t believe are already condemned because they don’t believe in God’s only Son. This is why people are condemned: The light came into the world. Yet, people loved the dark rather than the light because their actions were evil. People who do what is wrong hate the light and don’t come to the light. They don’t want their actions to be exposed. But people who do what is true come to the light so that the things they do for God may be clearly seen.” John 3:16-21

And the end of the chapter goes along with it:

The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them. John 3:35-36

You see, it's really easy to believe in God.  I can say I believe in Him and mean I believe He is in Heaven, even believe He created the world and believe Jesus is His Son.  The Greek word is πιστεύω pisteúō, pist-yoo'-o....which means to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing), i.e. credit; by implication, to entrust (especially one's spiritual well-being to Christ):—believe(-r), commit (to trust), put in trust with.  (From blueletterbible.com).   It is more than just believe He is there.  There's faith, trust, and commitment involved.

Many want Jesus and His salvation, but they don't want the whole package.  The whole package includes Jesus' promises with strings attached.  "Then he said to them all: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me," Luke 9:23.  And Matthew 7: 21: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

See how believing includes obeying?  You can't have true faith in Him without having both.  It isn't possible.

14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. James 2:14-17

Reading the very first passage above, it says, "Yet, people loved the dark rather than the light because their actions were evil....they don't want their actions to be exposed."  When I want my way and do things my way, without regard to God's Will or His Word, then I'm "loving" the dark.  When you and I act in ways that aren't in accordance with the fruits of the Holy Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control - Gal. 5:22-23), I am "loving" the dark.  When you or I lie, gossip, slander, steal, cheat....any of those things you and I are "loving" the dark.  And dark separates us from the light.  JESUS is the light.  Sin separates us from Him.  We still BELIEVE in Him, but our actions say otherwise.  Thankfully, God is full of grace and love and He will forgive us when we ask Him.  There's a difference in messing up sometimes and deliberately choosing to walk in darkness.  Our lights may dim, but they are still shining.  We can get back on track and shine brightly like Jesus!

So believe in Him - YES! Absolutely!  But believe in Him enough to not only accept Him for who He is, but for what He has done for YOU.  And be willing to believe enough to allow the Spirit to change you and mold you into who He knows you can be.  Believe in Him with the strings attached. It's worth it.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Happy 1st Birthday!

We have five little ones in our congregation who have celebrated or will celebrate their birthdays in the past few months.  Joe and I decided it would be fun to have them a 1st birthday party all together with the church family.  The planning was spur of the moment, although we had talked about it for several months.  A circus theme fit both the four girls and the one boy, plus I had a good start on the decor from events in the past.
An aunt to one of the birthday girls decorates cakes. She did a fabulous job on this adorable circus cake!!  I didn't want to see it cut into because it was so cute!! (Ha ha!)
The hard plastic balloons are ones that helped inspire this theme.  Those balloons have been and will be used for many occasions!  What a great investment!
The circus theme is a Fisher Price brand. I ordered items from a few different places, based on available products and the best price.  The little party hats were given to each birthday girl/boy.
The older siblings enjoyed playing in this little tent as much as the birthday kids!  It was a fun addition to the party!  We also had our PTO Bounce House set up in the garage for bigger kids.
We recently closed in the back porch and it will soon be part of the kitchen area.  It sure was nice to be able to set up several tables and chairs out there!  I teased that maybe we should just leave it as an "event center"! (Tempting, but no....)

I loved the bright colors of this party!
Here's another reason I chose the circus theme - this hanging tent.  I've had this thing for many years, but it sure makes a great addition to a party!
Most of these circus supplies were from past events, as well.  I love the real looking popcorn! I first bought that as a Bible class game.  You toss the popcorn into the little cups that are stacked together on the top shelf.  It makes a great decoration, too!

Our prayer for these little one year olds is that they continue to grow up and be healthy and strong and that their families continue to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4 ) We know that they will and we are thankful that they will.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Aggies for Christ

A group of Texas A & M "Aggies for Christ" come work every January at Tipton Children's Home.  Usually we are tied up with basketball games, but this year since our youngest isn't playing, we had a free night.
 
We hosted the Aggies in our home for Mexican food and boy, was that a special treat for us (and for them, I think! They love Mexican food!).  
 We had each of the 21 young adults go around and tell us where they were from and what they were majoring in. A few had already graduated, but just came back to work with the group.  I can't remember now, but there are approximately 250 of the "Aggies for Christ" group that were working at 10 or 12 different places during that last week of their Christmas break.
 We were so impressed with these fine young people! They were so polite and loved working here, but they especially like the fact that they are building relationships with the children here at the Home.  It is a blessing having them come, for sure.
One thing that impressed me was that the group didn't have their cell phones out. That's pretty amazing this day and age! I'm sure their college minister and group leader lays down guide lines for the trip, but it was still nice to see - or NOT see!
 One girl was celebrating her birthday. We were out of candles, but quickly found a skewer and lit it on her dessert for an impromptu birthday celebration!
We played a few games, heard their stories, and got to know them...and got to know some of them better.  I think we would have adopted them all :).  What a great group!

Thanks, Aggies for Christ! We look forward to you being back here next year!


 
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