Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
One day as he rode along a trail, his horse stumbled. Houston spontaneously cursed, reverting to his old habit. Immediately he was convicted of his sin. He got off his horse, knelt on the trail, and cried out to God for forgiveness. Houston had already received Christ, but God was teaching him to live in fellowship with Him moment by moment.
Her parents called for the kindhearted pastor who had befriended their daughter to handle the final arrangements. As her poor little body was being moved, a worn and crumpled red purse was found which seemed to have been rummaged from some trash dump. Inside was found 57 cents and a note, scribbled in childish handwriting, which read: “This is to help build the little church bigger, so more children can go to Sunday School.”
Our culture wants to discourage believers by dispelling the claims of the Bible. Many of the social icons within this nation are a host of blasphemers and hypocrites. Our societal norms have been adjusted to accept all kinds of behavior that only two decades ago would be ludicrous.
After preparing the necessary weapons to defend themselves, Hezekiah encouraged the Israelites by saying, “Be strong and courageous! Don’t be afraid or discouraged because of the King of Assyria or his mighty army, for there is a power far greater on our side! He may have a great army, but they are merely men. We have the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles for us!”
A few years ago, we lost some great men and women when the Columbia Space Shuttle vaporized on its reentry from space. One of those individuals was Col. Mike Anderson, the second African-American astronaut. He looked at life with a unique spiritual insight. Col. Anderson was from Spokane, Washington and attended a little local Baptist church not far from our home.
How did Jesus make disciples? He used a small group approach. He took twelve very common guys and poured His life into theirs. Christ taught by His modeling, encouragement, and providing illustrations on how to live life more fully. He connected with His followers in both attitude and action.
When Jesus came to be a man, He satisfied God’s greatest plan. This is the story of His birth, And how the brings His peace to earth. The angel came, there was a voice, “Come all nations and rejoice. It is the birth of God’s true Son, Come and worship, everyone!”
The Word (Light) was made into flesh. And unto us a child was given. The Psalmist tells us, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” Psalm 119:105 God’s word also challenges us to watch out for the ways of this world as we endeavor to walk in the light of His word. We are warned to be careful, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
One of our friends in men’s ministry has written a great book: The Intergenerational Church. This unique resource helps better our understanding about past generations and how we can begin to better communicate with younger people. I love his opening that states, “In addition to honoring the past, we are to look to future generations and take some responsibility for them…”
Then he noticed the woman walking down the center aisle. Her face was like a white sheet. “Pastor,” she asked, “Where did you get that tablecloth?” The pastor explained. The woman asked him to check the lower right corner to see if the initials, EBG were crocheted into it there. They were. These were the initials of the older lady. She had made this tablecloth 35 years before, in Austria.
After the lady finished her meal, she paid with a hundred dollar bill. The waitress quickly went to get change for her hundred dollar bill, but the old lady quickly slipped out the door and was gone by the time the waitress came back. The waitress wondering where the lady could be noticed something written on the napkin. There were tears in her eyes when she read what the lady wrote: “You don’t owe me anything. I have been there too…”
Finding joy is a challenge for me. I’m not naturally an upbeat person; I’m more of a melancholy. When I talk about joy, I’m not doing so from the perspective of a generally peppy person who never has a bad day. In fact, it’s because of my own inability to live with joy that led me to explore why my experiences didn’t line up with Scripture.
Amid the jumble of her unclean, disheveled belongings, the officials found two keys to safe-deposit boxes at two different local banks. In the first box were over 700 AT&T stock certificates, plus hundreds of other valuable certificates, bonds, and solid financial securities, not to mention a stack of cash amounting to nearly $200,000. The second box contained $600,000. Adding the net worth of both boxes, they found well over a million dollars.”
When we look at Scripture we can’t help but recognize the joy of our salvation. The joy that surrounds us as we witness God’s great creation. The joy family and close friends bring. And as we see in His word the delight God takes in loving His children. These thoughts bring special emotions and a sense of peace (and joy) to our hearts and minds.