Sunday, June 29, 2014

Worship God!

Sexta/Viernes/Friday-POSER-Deus - Dios - God
Sexta/Viernes/Friday-POSER-Deus - Dios - God
 (Photo credit: Caio Basilio)

My tears have been my food
    day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
    “Where is your God?”

Psalm 42:3

New International Version (NIV)

      I think a good many people believe that God, if He exists, is aloof and doesn't care about us.  We often hear the scoffers say things like, "If God really cares so much then why does he let bad things happen to the world".   Maybe it's time to stop blaming God for the bad things and start recognizing the bad choices that people have made since the beginning of time.

       We can question the goodness or the aloofness all we want, but it still doesn't make us any better or absolve us from taking responsibility for the wrong things that we do.  Evil, pain, and natural disaster are all part of a process that started with our first rebellion against God.

        Bad things will always happen in the current order of the universe.  God is good. The future is good and we should rejoice in that.

But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.  God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

John 4:23-24

New King James Version (NKJV)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Where Can I Find God?

Gods Own County
Gods Own County (Photo credit: tricky (rick harrison))

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
    When can I go and meet with God?

Psalm 42:2

New International Version (NIV)
           I'm not quite ready to leave this life.  Not that I'm so in love with the things of this world that I'd never want to leave, but I see life as a wonderful gift that God has blessed me with and I'd like to make the most of it.   Special times with family and friends are something I treasure.  Watching my children and grandchildren grow and flourish is a great reward to me.

          I know that God is here with me, but I want that absolute presence.  Heaven waits, but how long must I wait?   It would be comforting and joyous to walk with Jesus, to talk to him, and to sit at his feet listening to his teachings.

         But God has not abandoned us.  We have prayers and meditation that can bring us closer to him.  God speaks to us through His Word in the Holy Bible.  Comfort comes through the Holy Spirit.   God's presence is all around us in nature and the vast universe.

           Wait patiently.  God is here and our time in eternity is coming if we are receptive to God in our life.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

Revelation 3:20

English Standard Version (ESV)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Father's Love

Father's Day 1984
Father's Day 1984 (Photo credit: -will wilson-)

As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him...

Psalm 103:13

New International Version (NIV)

        On this day I offer my salute and solidarity to all fathers.  It's easy to father a child, but it can be a tough job to be a father to that child.   To be a good father requires time, patience, and a great deal of sacrifice.  Fathering is not just a matter of putting money into hands in order to relieve oneself of the responsibility of actual fathering.   A truly good father gives himself.

          A head of the household should provide support in the form of finances or in some cases the actual full-time care and nurturing of the children.  We live in times when roles are sometimes reversed, but no man who helps to bring children into this world should in any way consider himself absolved of any the responsibilities of caring for those children.

           Even if you are a hard-working dad who has little time at home, you should make your presence known as the father.   Love your kids as best you can, as strongly as you can, and as tenderly as you can.  Your children are an investment in the future.   What you put into their upbringing is the return you will get later.  Invest wisely.

            The father as head of household should use God the Father as a guide and behavioral model.  Even if you feel that you've been shortchanged in life, don't blame God.  He wants you to have all that you need in life.  Live as though God has provided everything for you because in actuality He has.  If you don't believe that then it may be time for a life reassessment.

             Set an example for your children.  Spend as much time with them as you can.  Get them involved in spiritual activities.   Read the Bible to them.  Pray with them.  And pray for them.

             God will provide your needs.  It's up to you to bring your faith.

 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?   Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?   If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Luke 11:11-13

New International Version (NIV)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

How Well Does Self-Reliance Work?

Rock Gap Rd, West Virginia
Rock Gap Rd, West Virginia
 (Photo credit: D.Clow - Maryland)
As the deer pants for streams of water,
    so my soul pants for you, my God.

Psalm 42:1

New International Version (NIV)

        We are often encouraged to be self-sufficient, to rely on no one for help.  In one sense this concept is a good one.  Other people can be notoriously unreliable at times.  Government and society often allows those in need to slip through the cracks.   The world of big business can be very accommodating when trying to gain new customers, yet suspiciously silent if the customer's needs outweigh the company's profits.  

         A certain amount of self-sufficiency is not a bad goal for which to strive, but in our world it is a rather impractical idea that mostly exists in the realms of idealistic dreamers.  Few of us want to retreat on our own to live alone in the wilderness to subsist on what the Earth can provide and what our own ingenuity can muster.  I know that I'm not ready for that kind of lifestyle.  I enjoy civilization too much.

        But no matter how well we can sustain ourselves whether it be on our own or within the parameters of societal living, there is more than the comforts of our physical well-being to take into consideration.   We cannot neglect the spiritual needs that dwell innately within us.  We may think we are fine without God, living comfortably with others and believing that our mind holds all the answers and the power to a happy life.  However there is always an empty spot that can only be filled with that one thing necessary to having a complete life--God.

        God will provide.  Will you acknowledge that you need Him?   When the ultimate emptiness that is within you becomes evident to you, will you concede to letting God carry you to the life-giving Stream of Salvation.    When your body thirsts, you seek water.  When you are spiritually empty, what will you do?

 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.   I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.   I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:11-13
New International Version (NIV)

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Sunday, June 1, 2014

Revelation by Flannery O'Connor

Everything That Rises Must Converge
Everything That Rises Must Converge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He gathers up the poor from their dirt floors,
    pulls the needy from the trash heaps,
And places them among heads of state,
    seated next to the rulers of His people where they cannot be ignored.

Psalm 113:7-8

The Voice (VOICE)

        This past week on my main blog Tossing It Out I celebrated the highly influential author Flannery O'Connor's short story Revelation.  If you're not familiar with this great writer of Southern Literature, I encourage you to read some of her stories.  They're dark, cynical with doses of twisted humor.  The characters of these stories are typically racist people who are self-righteous and bigoted.   Most of them have ill-conceived ideas of God's grace and the salvation of Jesus Christ, but usually someone sees at least a glimmer of light during the life episodes we read about in the stories.

        Revelation provides an illustration of the verses I've featured in this week's A Few Words post. This is a story that you might enjoy taking the time to read if you enjoy good Christian fiction.   You can find the story online here.   I would rank O'Connor as one of the best writers of Christian Fiction.  Be forewarned that since her stories were written and take place during the 1950's and early 60's they may come across as offensive in terms of racial prejudice, but this is a realistic depiction of some of the people in that era.

          If you do read the story, I hope you will visit my post at Tossing It Out to let me know your thoughts.

So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

Matthew 20:16

King James Version (KJV)

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