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Are you familiar with the concept of Pastor Appreciation Month?
The month of October has been designated as pastor appreciation month. Pastor Appreciation Day falls on the 2nd Sunday of October. Our pastors deserve special recognition. They need our prayers, support and encouragement.
“And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 NKJV).”
Why not make every day a pastor appreciation day?
photo credit: Lars Plougmann <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/75062596@N00/36425009134″>Leonora Christina’s final resting place</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>
“A good name is better than precious ointment,
And the day of death than the day of one’s birth;
Better to go to the house of mourning
Than to go to the house of feasting,
For that is the end of all men;
And the living will take it to heart.
Sorrow is better than laughter,
For by a sad countenance the heart is made better.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
But the heart of fools is in the house of mirth (Ecclesiastes 7:1-4 NKJV).”
It may take a few readings before the scripture passage above sinks in. At first, it just doesn’t seem logical.
The day a person dies is better than the day he is born?
Families rejoice when a baby is born; they mourn when a family member dies.
You find a key phrase in the words ‘For that is the end of all men; and then the living will take it to heart.’
When grieving the loss of loved ones and friends we reflect on our own lives. Are we prepared to die?
If not, it is time to set our house in order.
Have you surrendered your life to Christ Jesus.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16 NKJV).”
Who you gonna’ serve?
Many people are slaves to sin and self.
“For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin (Roman 6:5-6 NASB).”
What will it be?
We have a choice.
A slave to sin or obedient servant to the Master?
“Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:16-23 NASB).”
photo credit: cseeman <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/7702423@N04/31707776518″>Boat Watching Street Sign from Beautiful Stratford, Ontario, Canada – September 1st & 2nd, 2018</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>
At intersections… before crossing, stop-look & listen.
At train-tracks… before crossing, stop-look & listen.
Crossing over into new adventures… before crossing, stop-look & listen.
God speaks words of encouragement.
“Then Moses went and spoke these words to all Israel. And he said to them: ‘I am one hundred and twenty years old today. I can no longer go out and come in. Also the Lord has said to me, ‘You shall not cross over this Jordan.’ The Lord your God Himself crosses over before you; He will destroy these nations from before you, and you shall dispossess them. Joshua himself crosses over before you, just as the Lord has said (Deuteronomy 31:1-3 NKJV).”
He crosses before you.
“And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed (Deuteronomy 31:8 NKJV).”
As a Montana schoolmarm, I fight melancholy. I’m from one of Boston’s most aristocratic families, meaning nothing to people who have never traveled more than fifty miles from their birthplace. I’m an outsider with no one in which to confide.
Yet, I cannot renege on my pledge to God to instill knowledge in impressionable young minds. As Mr. Hankins, owner of the mercantile, would say, “By cracky that’s just what I’m gonna’ do!”
“Children open your McGuffey Readers. Today we will continue our study on the proper use of accented syllables.”
Twelve-year-old William rolls his eyes, stretches lanky legs under his desk and slowly reaches inside for his tattered book. Placing it atop the desk, he leafs through pages and looks upward at instructions on the blackboard.
“Turn to page thirty and copy the list of words onto your slates. After completion of that task, divide the words into syllables and underline syllables that you would accent. You have twenty minutes to complete your assignment. After you have finished, turn your slates over.”
I will never adjust to the irritating squeaking of chalk on slate. The class of fifteen does their work hastily. I announce recess and they head outside for swinging, jumping rope, and games of ball or marbles.
Collecting slates, I stack them on my desk and begin to grade student’s work. As a fledgling teacher, I find satisfaction in seeing how many have accurately worked with syllables.
Deborah, a strawberry-blonde in ringlets, with brown eyes and freckled nose, peers through an opened window.
“Teacher, can I ring the bell when recess ends?”
“Yes, you may now ring the bell.”
I view her standing tiptoe to pull the bell’s hemp rope. Smiling like a Cheshire cat, she watches classmates scurrying past her. Freddy, the class bully pulls her hair, as he kicks up dust, before coming inside. Wincing, she drops the rope.
“Freddy, I saw you pull Deborah’s hair; apologize this instant!”
He shuffles his feet on plank flooring as he approaches Deborah. In humiliation, he gruffly says, “I’m sorry I pulled your hair.”
“Class, I’m dismissing you early today because I have a meeting with the school board. I will see you Monday morning.”
Hearing the surprise of an early end of class time, boys and girls join in unison.
“Good bye, Miss Dunster!”
The room empties as my mind fills with anxiety.
Have parents complained? Will school board members terminate me?
Trembling, I gather my books and place them inside Grandmother’s tapestry satchel. I straighten my gray brocade suit and reach back to adjust braided hair. Sitting rigidly in a straight back chair, I hear footsteps coming up outside stairs. I rise.
Three school board representatives file through the opened door, and down the aisle.
“Good afternoon. Please take a seat.”
Mr. Griffin, spokesman-standing, wrings his wide brimmed straw hat with calloused hands.
“Miss Dunster, sorry ta’ bother ya’ Ma am, but we been talkin.’ Towns folk just can’t ford’ to pay ya’ a full months’ pay. Drought’s got ranchers in a fix.” He studies his scuffed boots, and then slowly looks up, searching my eyes.
Smiling, I warmly address the concerned gathering of country folk.
“Don’t fret; I have a small amount of money set aside from my last birthday.”
Tense muscles in necks begin to relax, as I move from behind my desk, to stand directly before them.
“I am willing to fill this teaching position, one month at a time, if that’s agreeable.”
Nodding heads of approval and extended hands to shake mine seal the agreement. I walk outside with them, lock the door, and meander to the mercantile.
I hope to receive long overdue letters from family and friends. Inside, I notice Mr. Hankins handing a pouch of pipe tobacco to an impeccably dressed man.
“Apple-blend, sir, you have made my day,” said the stranger. He pays with current exchange, turns towards me, and tips his Derby. “Good-day, Miss.”
I detect a Boston accent; heart aflutter, I search for a way to query his reason for coming to Montana.
“Hello; please don’t think me forward, but I’m far away from my home in Boston. I believe I detect a marked Boston accent.”
“Indeed! I’m Jonathan Loughton, here to research Chippewa for the Gazette newspaper. You would be Miss Dunster, the daughter of my editor and friend!”
With a steady gaze, he looks into my tearful eyes.
“Oh, for goodness sakes; you know Father!”
“Yes, and he sends his love!”
photo credit: Onasill ~ Bill Badzo – OFF – 63 Million Views – Me <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/7156765@N05/46609274665″>Toronto Ontario – Canada – Allan Gardens Conservatory – Toronto Tropical Garden – White Lily Macro</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a
Faith is only as firm as the foundation upon which it rests.
Easter faith is Rock solid.
Resurrection power is not fable sentiment; there were hundreds of witnesses to Jesus appearances in His resurrection body. (1Corinthians 15:3-8) I’m thankful for the accounts recorded in the Gospels and forever in His debt for revealing the redemption story to me.
We look back to Calvary and the empty grave; Job looked forward and sealed his future.
“I wish that my words were written down, that they were recorded on a scroll or were inscribed in stone forever by an iron stylus and lead! But I know my living Redeemer, and He will stand on the dust at last. Even after my skin has been destroyed, yet I will see God in my flesh. I will see Him myself; my eyes will look at [Him], and not as a stranger. My heart longs within me (Job 19: 23-27 HCSB).”
Jesus is ALIVE and kicking’!
He defeated Satan and triumphed over the grave and death. “Now since the children have flesh and blood in common, He also shared in these, so that through His death He might destroy the one holding the power of death – that is, the Devil- (Hebrews 2:14 HCSB).”
Yes, Job knew that his Redeemer lives; he witnessed in Rock solid faith.
Jesus made His triumphant entry into the City of Jerusalem.
I’d think that some in the crowd were likely disinterested bystanders.
Others may have been curiosity seekers.
Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Matthew portrayed most of the crowd favorably. The people gave homage to Jesus. They shouted out praise!
“When they had approached Jerusalem and had come to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, ‘Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied there and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to Me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.’ This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
‘Say to the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold your King is coming to you,
Gentle, and mounted on a donkey,
Even on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”
The disciples went and did just as Jesus had instructed them, and brought the donkey and the colt, and laid their coats on them; and He sat on the coats. Most of the crowd spread their coats in the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in the road. The crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were shouting,
‘Hosanna to the Son of David;
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord;
Hosanna in the highest! (Matthew 21:1-9 NASB).”
Shouts of praise soon became cries for crucifixion…