Sunday, November 25, 2012

Does More Stuff Make for a Better Life?

English: Santa Claus with a little girl Espera...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do not be overawed when others grow rich,
    when the splendor of their houses increases;
17 for they will take nothing with them when they die,
    their splendor will not descend with them.

Psalm 49:16-17
New International Version (NIV)

          "Black Friday", the biggest shopping day of the year in the U.S., has come and gone.  Over the next few weeks consumers will be spending billions on material goods to be given as gifts to others or bought for themselves.  A boon for the economy, but perhaps a detriment to the soul.  

           Though touted as a season of good will toward others, it's difficult not to see a bit of the greed in this event that is meant to celebrate the birth of a Savior.  Companies are focused on the profits.  Employees clamor for bigger wages and more benefits.  Children are making their lists of what they want Santa to bring them.

           Sometimes Christmas seems more about the goods than about the good that we can find within us and others.   It doesn't take long for much of that stuff we've received at Christmas to end up stored away in closets, cluttering room space, or even ending up in the trash heap.  Can all of this increase really be considered gain?

            Perhaps it's time we think less about the presents and more about the Presence.  Life is short and passes quickly.  Enjoy the presence of family and friends and most of all, the presence of God.  The real reason for this season is not seeing how many more possessions we can accumulate.

But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.

1 Timothy 6:6-7

New International Version (NIV)

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

When Miracles Are Not Enough

With all my heart
    I praise the Lord!
    I will never forget
    how kind he has been.
The Lord forgives our sins,
heals us when we are sick,

Psalm 103:2-3

Contemporary English Version (CEV)

        Recently I have been dealing with the death of my step-father and trying to comfort my mother concerning her loss of someone she loved dearly.  Many prayers were sent his way when the doctors discovered his cancer.  He had hope that healing might come.  We all had hopes.  But we were also aware of the reality of the situation.

        Sure, we were hoping for a miracle, but there are certain miracles that are just not usually going to happen.  Defying the odds of the most devastating types of maladies is one of those types of miracles.   Healing can come in some cases, but the inevitability of death exists for all of us.  When our time comes then it's time to accept what awaits us.

          I think my step-father had dealt with a lot of tough times in his life, but his last sixteen years with my mother were probably the best times of his life.  He had the experience of having a family which is something he had not previously had.   He had the joy of love and being wanted.   They were good years.

          Since I didn't live near to them, I didn't have as much time to delve as deeply into all aspects of my step-father's life as I might have been able to otherwise.   I guess I always thought I'd have time for that someday, but then that day was lost.  I don't know what his standing with God was in his life, but I think he was a spiritual person from what I did know about him.   I hope that he made the peace that is necessary for him to be with God for eternity.

           So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

John 8:36

New International Version (NIV)

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Election Year Thoughts

The Holy Spirit depicted as a dove, surrounded...
The Holy Spirit depicted as a dove, surrounded by angels, by Giaquinto, 1750s. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
 Do not put your trust in princes,
    in human beings, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
    on that very day their plans come to nothing.

Psalm 146:3-4

New International Version (NIV)

          Just a thought I've been pondering over the past few days.  For the most part we trust in people everyday for our basic survival and provision.  We trust that the airplane pilot or the bus driver will get us to our destination safely.  We trust that the people who packaged our medicine or food products did so according to industry standards.  We trust that the drivers around us on the freeway can drive at least as good as we can if not better.

           We'd be greatly distracted and probably go nuts if we didn't have a basic trust in everyday things.  However when it comes to world leaders and the powers that affect our destinies our concerns can blow up to much bigger proportions.   It can be difficult to know which promises are true and who will truly take us along the path that will be best for all concerned.  Feelings of depression can even set upon us if we worry about it all too much.

          The bottom line is to participate if you can and want to, but don't let the process consume your thinking.  This is all a temporary situation.  Whether times here on Earth be good, bad, or miserable, there is always our promise of something better to come.  Trust in that hope and not in the words of politicians who may or may not be sincere or working in our best interests.  

            There's not much you can do about yesterday or today, but you can at least plan for tomorrow.  And the long range plans don't include politics.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

New International Version (NIV)

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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Blessing Our Children's Children

He stilled the storm to a whisper;
    the waves of the sea were hushed.

Psalm 107:29

New International Version (NIV)

        The recent storm Sandy has been a trying and difficult ordeal for many.  Three of my daughters who live in New Jersey with their husbands and my two granddaughters fortunately escaped harm.  They're all still young and I suppose this will be another adventure for them to remember in future years.  But you can believe than I was praying for them.  God is good.

        In a few passages of the Bible there is mention that the faithfulness and righteousness of earlier generations will bestow protection and blessings upon the generations that follow.  I think my family has experienced that blessing.  My father was very close to the Lord and I know he prayed for his children often.  There have been many members on both sides of my family who were very Godly Christians and I think that I and my offspring are all reaping the benefits of that faithfulness.

        My life has weathered many storms of physical and a spiritual natures.  I have always managed to come through them safely--sometimes seemingly miraculously.   I give thanks to God first and foremost, but I'm glad that someone in my past was blessing the future.  May those blessings continue.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

John 14:27

New International Version (NIV)

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