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Archive for April, 2010

How would you describe your personality and witness for Christ? Do you use high pressure and hard sell tactics comparable to a used car salesman? Do you twist the arm of a contact and demand a response? Have you decided you will not take no for an answer, and pressure those who cross your path?   

If this description fits you to a T, some may give you an A for effort, but likely few will respond to your appeals. Even our military runs more smoothly with an all volunteer recruitment than a draft system. Our freedom of choice brings resistance to any efforts to rope and brand us. We prefer to see all sides of an issue and decide for ourselves.         

Maybe you seem to fall in line with a soft approach when sharing your faith. With compassion you see the needs of others, feel their concerns and want to share how the Lord helped you in difficult times, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NAS).” Our deepest desire is that they would come to a saving knowledge in Jesus Christ. “Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation (Romans 10:1 NAS).” We may plead and share the sense or urgency; but a person can not be forced to follow. “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:20 NAS).”        

Love is a powerful force and is difficult to resist. If we love others as Jesus loves them, we will be soft, pliable and an instrument of service. When others are drawn to love in us, they are ready to receive the source of all love, “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God (John 3:17-18 NAS).” 

There is a choice for each we touch with the gospel; they must each personally decide what they believe. God holds His children accountable, for the use of all blessings He has lavished upon us. We have a story to tell; will we cram it down the throats of resisting rebels, or will we spoon feed it to those hungry for the bread of life? “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger (Proverbs 15:1 NAS).” Lord, make me a soft touch. When I open my mouth, teach me to first open my heart and draw from your living waters of salvation.

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It is fascinating to hear the names selected by grandparents today. Traditional choices of grandmother, grandfather and grandma and grandpa are still used. From that foundation our labels go off in many directions. You know who you are; enjoy your new identity.

Both sets of my grandparents were grandma and grandpa; so we also used last names when referring to them. I never thought much about choosing a classification when I would one day become a grandparent.      

When our two children were small we lived about fourteen miles from my husband’s home town. His family still lived there and we got together often. His grandparents were called Grand Ma’ and Grand Pa’ Davis, and Granny and Grand Daddy LeMasters. Our children spent quite a bit of time with their Great Granny and Grand Daddy. Though in her 60’s Granny played right along with our children. She got down on a quilt pallet and wrestled, using the pre-school version of course. Her pleasure resulted in heart-felt laughter. Granny became a role model to me for grand-parenting. Twenty years later when the blessings of grandchildren arrived, I became Granny Pam. My husband gladly accepted his role as Grand Daddy. If the name fits, wear it.

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GUEST WRITER: Victor Jasti

God said let their be light,

Dividing light from darkness, called He night.

World, He created, in an orderly fashion,

Like a master craftsman, weaving a tapestry.

Every seed, plant followed by flowers and fruit,

Animals and birds, fish and all that breathes,

Created He, just the way He wanted,

Like a master craftsman, weaving a tapestry.

Pinnacle of creation, man and woman,

Created He in His own image, valuable in His sight,

For no other part of creation can claim that privilege,

Like a master craftsman, weaving a tapestry.

Life is like a richly woven tapestry,

God the master weaver, deep in work,

Thread, different colors and hues, varied textures,

Interwoven to provide a dramatic design.

God the master weaver, created tapestry,

For us to fit in, in intricate ways,

For without us, the tapestry is not complete,

He in His glory sees which we cannot.

For the tapestry to be complete fully,

We should allow Him to do His work,

Instead of complaining of the thread,

About its color, texture and the design.

For we spoil the good work of our Lord,

By complaining of our friends and family,

In our work place and in the church,

For it is He, who weaves, the tapestry.

Allowing Him to complete the tapestry,

We give us, ourselves, a role to play,

For us to fit in, in His grand plan,

Of making the world a better place to live in.

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GUEST WRITER:Emily Swanson

In my quiet time of worship I said to God, “I want to enter your presence with praise. Sometimes I long to know what you look like. I know you are holy and attended by angels; but I long to know you!”

My Father replied, “I sent my Son that you might know me. ‘He who has seen the Son has seen the Father’, and you can see my character in My Son. Remember His commitment in the temple as a little boy; His commitment as a man when He ‘set His face toward Jerusalem and the cross’. Also remember His communion with others; His disciples, Mary, Martha, Lazarus, the wedding feast, Nicodemus, the many people who stopped Him along the way to talk. He was never too busy; neither am I.”

Healing is another attribute of God as expressed by Jesus on many occasions. The gentleness of those strong hands that made a “mud-pack’ with clay and spittle and applied it to the eyes of a blind man. See his compassion for the woman in adultery as she was dragged before Him. I see His forgiveness even to the cross as He looked upon His accusers and His own disciples who had forsaken Him. He knows rejection…the families and friends of Nazareth rejected Him; there was a moment on the cross when He felt rejection of the Father as He took on the sin of the world. Still He is rejected of men even after His sacrifice. He is the ultimate of love (AGAPE). He laid down His life willingly. He is patient and longsuffering. I see Him teaching His disciples and yet see their misunderstanding of what He was really about. (They squabbled over first place in the kingdom like children squabbling over “who’s first at bat”.)

He was gentle and kind as He took the little children to Him and as He fed the hungry multitudes. He was powerful as He called Lazarus forth from the grave and when He calmed the story sea. He cast demons out which recognized Him as the Son of God. He was concerned as He gave His mother over to John’s care at His death on the cross. He was sorrowful and compassionate…He wept. He showed righteous anger as He ran off the moneychangers from the temple. He showed grace even on the soldier whose ear was cut off by Peter. He was totally unprejudiced. He ate with publicans and sinners; communed with Sadducees and Pharisees, Roman Soldiers, Jews and Greeks. He was merciful…see the widow whom Jesus gave back her son. He was faithful to keep His promises,

The Father said, you have seen My Face in the person of Jesus. My Character is there in My Son. See ‘Family Resemblance”.

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Rainy days get a bad rap. Just the sound of those words often paints a picture of gloom. In days gone by, before clothes dryers, rainy days were a source of real frustration. Large families with piles of dirty laundry would have to postpone wash day. For children it meant being shut in the house, restless, with their nose pressed up against the window pane. A farmer knows he needs to be out in the field; nervously he keeps checking the latest forecasts. Yes, I can see why a rainy day is not always desirable. Even then it gives you a good excuse to curl up with a favorite book.

At times a rainy day is a source of jubilation, when your area is experiencing drought. Rain becomes the motivation for prayers of gratefulness. There will be rainy days, just as those with sunshine. We need both. What was that old saying, something about into every life some rain must fall? See Matthew 7:24-27. When the rain becomes a storm, having torrential rains and flooding, accompanied by damaging winds, then we have cause for alarm. Jesus teaches us a valuable lesson, about the foundation we choose to build our lives upon. If we construct upon temporary things, we will collapse, like the house built on sand.

 If our decision for the foundation is Rock, the Rock of Ages, we will stand firmly in life’s storms. One very important fact found in this scripture is a real eye opener. We all go through storms. They are not just a punishment for the wicked, though at times they face God’s judgment. We as believers are strengthened through our storms, just as the eagle flies best when fighting the winds. The next time the forecast predicts rain don’t repeat the words of Karen Carpenter, “Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.” Instead borrow the phrase from another old song, Let a smile be your umbrella!

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