Easter - 2018

Sunday, August 30, 2015

What do you turn into when the heat is on?

A young woman went to her grandmother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her – her husband had cheated on her and she was devastated. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as soon as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her grandmother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out into a mug. Turning to her granddaughter, she asked, ‘Tell me what you see.’

‘Carrots, eggs, and coffee,’ she replied.

Her grandmother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The grandmother then asked the granddaughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg.

Finally, the grandmother asked the granddaughter to sip the coffee. The granddaughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma.

Her grandmother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened, became weak and compromised. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened and tough. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had not changed, but changed the water.

When we are in God’s presence… God changes the circumstances. “Which are you?”  “When troubles and hard times knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Ask yourself: Which am I?  

Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity? Do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor.

For the follower of Jesus, His presence is in our lives. We are like the bean, when things are at there worst, Jesus gets better and changes the situation. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, we go to His presence and He is with us, He is along for the ride, and He brings purpose to the struggle.

You know I love ya, Don

Sunday, August 9, 2015

A principle for survival - integrity!!!

            “A storeowner interviewed a young man for a job. He asked, "If I hire you to work in my store, will you be honest and truthful?" The young man answered, "I will be honest and truthful whether you hire me or not."

Daniel 6:10 Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.

Daniel...was a man of integrity. Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness. Daniel was not just known as a man of integrity, he lived his life on unshakable ground because he was a man of integrity. He was honest and demonstrated strong moral principles...he lived those principles and he made them his habit… he walked with integrity.

Is integrity a habit in your daily life?
 You know I love ya, Don

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Building a restance to temptation and sin!

Sabbath (renewal and rest builds resistance) is a day in which all other days have no claim. It is both time on a calendar and an attitude of the heart. Sabbath is for rest, but it is also an opportunity to point our restlessness heavenward (Mark Buchanan). It is a time when God makes us lie down in green pastures and leads us beside still waters. It is a time to build of strength so that you can flee from temptation when it comes. It is a time when God works the most in your life.

James 4:7 states: “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
Our attitude toward the Sabbath reflects our attitude toward God. How we regard the Lord’s Day also raises a signal to our community that above our work, hobbies, interests and pursuits, there is God, Who has supremacy, first claim on our lives. How we treat this day shows whether we take God and His purpose seriously.

“People who keep Sabbath live all seven days differently” (Brueggemann). The Sabbath is a transformative tradition, an antidote to anxiety. We are restless till we find our rest in God.

You know I love ya, Don

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Steps to avoiding temptation : Renewal and Rest

The Sabbath Renewal is both a commandment and a gift. It is a day of freedom and release from labor. It is described by Jews as a visiting queen to be greeted with festivity and on going Shabbat, “joy of Sabbath.” At the arrival of the Sabbath, the home is transformed into sacred space, and the meal becomes “a glimpse of human life as it should be, in the design of God” (Harvey Cox).

Rabbi Abraham Heschel describes the Sabbath observance as a cathedral, constructed not of brick and mortar, but of time. The Sabbath helps us escape the tyranny of time. Heschel says that “Judaism tries to foster the vision of life as a pilgrimage to the seventh day; the longing for the renewal all the days of the week,” and a taste of the world to come… “Six days we wrestle with the world; on the Lord’s Day we care for the seed of eternity planted in the soul.”

A believer and follower of Jesus defy disobedience by observing a day of renewal.

St. Augustine stated; “Our hearts are restless, until we find rest in Jesus.” The Sabbath Rest sanctifies time through rest and inaction, a “sacred stasis.” We don’t “keep” the Sabbath; the Sabbath keeps us. Work is a gift from God, but work is not our God. The Sabbath is a day to recover from the stresses of the week. However, weekend leisure without the worship of God is not the plan! We worship because we need it, God deserves it, and Scripture commands it.

By observing Sabbath, we are no longer slaves to the “tyranny of the urgent.” We set aside our anxieties and busyness, our pursuit of more, and we recognize that our refuge is God alone. We are not alone, or on our own.

There’s a danger: We can externally observe a day of rest while remaining restless. I know of people who sit in church taking notes, not on the sermon, but for tasks they need to accomplish. They’re unable to disengage from the work-week, and they’re watching the clock; they can’t wait till Monday to fret over their work. Such an inauthentic Sabbath provides no rest. All the while 
God says in Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Even thinking about work should be avoided. We need to rest from the very thought of labor, and relax without guilt.

A believer and follower of Jesus defies disobedience by observing a day of renewal and by resting. You Know I love ya, Don