GUEST AUTHOR: JEANNE WEBSTER
GUEST AUTHOR: JEANNE WEBSTER
Do you know anyone who uses on line dating services? We prefer to think matches are made in heaven, but some in loneliness turn to .com. Earlier outlets for finding a mate included Lonely Hearts Clubs or newspaper personal columns.
Match making goes back farther than we can prove; but the father of Leah, Jacob’s first wife, used deception to find her a man. (Genesis 29:16-28). Today she would likely be referred to as a plain Jane, with slim chances to land a man. The wedding night for Jacob and Leah goes beyond the worst blind date surprises. Seeing her in the camouflage of a bridal veil Jacob suffered from night blindness; he had an eye opener the following morning.
I find the old stories of mail order brides interesting. People corresponding by mail learned little about their prospective mate; they took the risk and arranged their marriage. Many things brought them together, including a deep desire for companionship. I’m sure the U.S. postal system offered no guarantees. The mail order arrangement brought perfect strangers together to form the binding covenant of marriage.
The Bible gives another vivid example of such blind trust. “and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls (1Peter 1:8-9 NAS).”
How good were the good ole days? We often not only look at our surrounding world through rose-colored glasses, but the past as well. Most of us have gotten pretty well accustomed to the benefits of life today, and with close examination, most would decide against a return to the good ole days.
Why do we speak so fondly of yesterday? I believe it is because we do desire the simpler life, want to be freed of the stress of the rat race. We forget that those before us also yearned for the good ole days, so it is not really a certain period of time, more of an attitude. Our children in a few years will be referring to our present time as the good ole days!
Even those in Bible days dealt with this frame of mind, “Do not say, Why is it that the former days were better than these? For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this, (Ecclesiastes 7:10 NAS).” We cannot purchase a return trip ticket. Soon these will be the good ole days!
GUEST WRITER: VICTOR JASTI
And it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His Heart. Genesis 6:6
Noah talked and walked with God,
Day in and day out, through out the year.
He and his family, the only ones around,
Amongst so many sinners and idolaters.
Moral depravity and growing sin,
Made man, the most despicable animal,
That God repented, about His creation,
Sadly deciding, to destroy mankind totally.
But Noah and his family, the only ones around,
Who found grace with God the Almighty,
Was saved from the inevitable judgment,
Along with the birds, animals, in two’s and seven’s.
Build an Ark, commanded God,
Of gopher wood, four decks high, rooms aplenty,
Noah started immediately and obediently,
Without a thought, of where to sail.
Up went the Ark, divine plan in action,
Inspired by God, strengthened by faith,
Prayer and song, drowning the wicked laughter,
Ridiculing Noah, his Ark, and his God.
Noah did not worry about how to go about,
From foundation to finish, God enlightened him,
The wood, the plan, measurement to the purpose,
God planed the little details for the great task ahead.
Animals and birds, God collected to the last,
Leaving nothing for Noah to get worried about.
Filling four decks high with forty five thousand animals,
A great and an impossible task, a lone man cannot do.
Often we do just the opposite of Noah,
Worry in details over things which we have no control,
Neglecting specific areas, like responsibilities and relationships,
That is under over control and loosing sight of the goal.
GUEST AUTHOR: EMILY SWANSON
Are you one of those “short people” who is always straining to see over the heads of the crowd? Or reaching up into a cupboard that is at least 8 inches above your reach? I am such a person and I can relate to the little fellow of scripture, Zaccheus, so very well.
As I think about the encounter Zaccheus had with Jesus, my mind goes back to the Jericho of long ago. I try to visualize the crowds that day as they waited along the road to see the itinerant preacher they have heard so much about. The chief tax-collector, the hated Zaccheus, was there and he was being squeezed out by the people. Somehow this little fellow had grown up in a “tall world”, the object of stares and much ridicule. Perhaps he grew up as the “kid who got pushed around”. We’ve all witnessed what happens to those the world labels as “runts”. Perhaps in growing up his childhood was trodden underfoot and the tender part of Zaccheus died. Maybe this made him compensate for that abuse by becoming a man of power that people had to “look up to” whether they liked it or not. True, Zaccheus gained stature in power and wealth…but no friendship…he was hated.
But Zaccheus heard stories about this Jesus who was coming to Jericho that day. He heard that Jesus was a friend…even to tax-collectors. Zaccheus longed for a look at this Jesus. His curiosity drove him to climb the sycamore tree and go out on a limb to see for himself.
All of Jericho was out on the dusty road. The business men, the housewives, the transients, teachers, bakers, holy men, were all elbow to elbow…except the chief tax-collector. (Let me put a parenthesis here. Zaccheus could have stayed home that day and avoided the crowd of people who hated him and whom he also hated.) But where did Jesus stop? He stopped right at the bottom of the sycamore tree! Whispers rippled over the crowd as people watched the Master in disbelief. Was Jesus actually asking to go home with this sinner? And He wasn’t asking for an audit or even and accounting. He was asking for the pleasure of Zaccheus’ company; the company of the chief tax-collector.
Can we even imagine the flood of repentance gushing from Zacchaus as he encounters Jesus Christ that day? Scripture bears out that he repented and turned his life over to Jesus immediately. His faith was followed by his immediate actions and life adjustments…WOW.
I think about coming-up short today in my life. Not short of stature, but spiritually short because of bad attitudes, broken relationships, broken commitments, or a critical spirit. I have to strain to see Jesus over this crowd of attitudes that crush me. But He is always there. He is ready to stop and call me to come down and meet Him, to commune with Him. What a joy.
I ask God to forgive me for trying to compensate for my “stunted spiritual” growth. Perhaps I have expected my works to increase my stature. Help me Lord, to see that I can increase only if I am willing to decrease. It is in losing my life that I find it. It is by dying that I live. It is in giving that I receive. If I am not willing to give up everything, I cannot be His disciple.
“Father, I confess to you that I am short in spiritual stature. To even see You I need something to stand on…just like Zaccheus. But I want to see Jesus; not just through the eyes of a pastor or a teacher or an evangelist. I want to hear Him; not just hear about Him on tapes and radio or TV. I don’t want a second-hand experience. I want to feel Him with my own Heart. I want to have faith that I can stand and “Look Full in His Wonderful Face”.
Lord, if I have to climb a tree to see you, I will gladly do so. Please come near Lord Jesus. I will be the one out on a limb, waiting. And as you come, overwhelm me with the awesome wonder that it is not I who seek you nearly as much as it is you who seeks me. Give me courage that I do not let anything crowd me out and lose the privilege of experiencing communion with Jesus. Amen”
What do you do when you experience a bad hair day? It can really get you off to a bad start unless you have access to a lot of attractive caps or hats. Ladies, it may not be a bad idea to keep an affordable easy care wig on your closet shelf.
This is a true experience about my worst hair day. It all began with a routine home perm. In my mid teens I had frequent perms done by my mom. My perms started when just a toddler with a Tonette. I had no reason to believe this hair treatment would have different results than all the rest.
She did the perm and then I rolled my hair on rollers for the night. The next morning I got dressed for school and began to style my hair. Something went terribly wrong! I could hardly get a brush or comb through my hair! It seemed to Mom that she must have got the perm solution and neutralizer switched. My hair was fried!
How could I go to school looking like a freak? I know Mom felt terrible. I stood before the bathroom mirror crying and trying to do something, anything with my hair. I remember nothing about going to school that day. I could not hide forever. I remember getting it cut very short, soon after and rolling it on very small rollers, which created a cute style. It eventually grew out.
My hair is not the issue. Dad is the highlight of the incident. That morning before school as I stood before the mirror crying, Dad came up behind me and started brushing my hair. He really understood the way I felt and did the only thing he knew to help; he brushed my hair. He did not have a magic touch; my hair still looked terrible. Yet, I knew that my Dad cared. That is what every daughter needs most. It does not take away all the problems of life; it does take the sting out of the wounds.
Moms are usually there to help girls with their hair, clothes and makeup. In a pinch a tender hearted Dad can really make a difference, maybe not noticeable on the outside, but in your heart where it really counts!