Welcome to the October Archive. You are welcome to read the entire archive, or find a topic on the list below that is of interest to you. Just click the link, and you will be taken directly to the day it was written. Enjoy, and may you know God's peace as you read His Word.
All rights reserved.
When writing, I used the New International Version of the Bible. Due to copyright restrictions, I have not included quotes for the scriptures, but highly encourage you to open your own bibles to read the scripture passages for yourselves.
A WORD FOR TODAY, October 1999
Read Ecclesiates 3:1
Potatoes There are specific times when farmers do certain jobs. In the spring, they plant crops, which are watered and grow. In the fall, they harvest the fruits of thier labour. Some crops need to be planted early in the season, some later. Some crops may have two or three growing seasons in one year. The farmer knows which crop needs to be planted at which time, and when they need to be harvested.
Take potatoes. A potato farmer knows exactly the moment a potato needs to be put in the ground, and when those potatoes need to be uprooted. Too early, and the crop will not be fully developed. Too late and the crop will go rotten. There is a time to uproot.
Read Ecclesiastes 3:2
We like to set our own time for things. We plan our lives down to the minutest detail, scheduling time with our kids like appointments with the doctor. We keep calendars which are jam packed with meetings and activities, leaving no room for the unexpected encounter with a friend. We like to think our time is under our control, forgetting that God has a time and a purpose for everything.
The agricultural cycle has been in existance for as long as man has domesticated the land. The Jewish festivals and feasts revolve closely around the cycle, showing God's hand even in the mundane task of growing food for the people. When man tries to change the cycle to fit his desires, the crops do not prosper.
When we witness the Lord Jesus Christ to people, we like to set the time. We think, "I will plant the seed now, watch it prosper and harvest it in my time." We forget that God's hand is involved in witnessing. God sets the time for His children to be born, physically and spiritually. God sets the time for death, of self and flesh. God sets the time for seeds to be planted, and He sets the time for the harvest to be taken. Listen to the Spirit, and work according to God's time, the harvest you see will be plentiful.
Read Ecclesiates 3:1
PennDOT The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has long been the object of ridicule and scorn. The roads in this state are constantly under construction, and there never seems to be any improvement. Potholes little the roadways like ice cream wrappers after a carnival. The Driver's Licensing Bureau is a place dreaded by the bravest souls.
It was to this place I headed yesterday morning. I needed to replace my driver's license which was stolen several weeks ago. I expected to be at least an hour and to leave frustrated and angry. I was well aware of today's verse from Ecclesiastes, and savoured the opportunity to focus on the negative.
Much to my surprize, relief and delight, I was wrong. The workers were courteous, pleasant and efficient. In twenty minutes, I was though this great trial with a brand new driver's license. Even the picture was acceptable!
Read Ecclesiastes 3:3
I was prepared to kill PennDOT, through words and jokes. Instead what was destroyed was my low opinion of this government entity.
Sometimes it is necessary to kill. We kill animals for food. We kill in self defense. We kill relationships when they are bad for us. We kill our egos, our desires, and our false knowledge -- in His appointed time. We often need to kill off the negative things in our life for healing and building to occur.
I've approached this subject with a great deal of humour, but the jokes do not cover up the importance of this subject. The next time you are focusing on the negatives in your life, your relationships or the events which around you, take a moment to focus on what could happen if you killed those negative thoughts and saw the situation with different eyes. You may find that you need to remove youself from that situation. But you may find that you need to kill your own perceptions and see it through Christ's eyes. Turn the negative into positive.
Writer's note... My sincere apologies to any government worker.
Read Ecclesiates 3:1
Family Night The other night we went out to dinner. Rather than choosing a stuffy old restaurant, we went the club which was having "Family Night." This is a special deal where kids eat for free and the parents get a decent meal for a decent price. It is a buffet style, with an adult buffet that has a wonderful array of hot foods, and a children's buffet with chicken nuggets, french fries, and other kid favorites. They have a DJ playing fun music and games for the children, and the kids at heart.
During dinner, our children kept looking over at the dancefloor, rushing through their food so they could go play. We had decided they needed to eat dinner first. At one point, though, a great song came on, and I gave up.
"Go dance. Then come back and finish your dinner," I said.
They did. They had a great time with that dance, then came back for more food. For the rest of the evening, we let them eat and play as they wanted. It was a great time.
Read Ecclesiastes 3:4
Human beings are emotional. It is a gift from God that we have feelings. Happiness, sadness, anger, fear, excitement, love... We have ways of expressing all these emotions, and these are very important when it comes to our relationships. If we could not cry, how would those we love know we are sad? If we could not laugh, how would they know we are happy?
There are times when we think we must cover up our emotions. We think we have to be strong, when we really should mourn. We think we have to be serious when we should laugh. There is a time to share our emotions. Do not hide. Share. God has appointed this time, just for this.
Read Ecclesiates 3:1
Hugs A friend imparts this story:
It was my son's first day of preschool. I took the day off, planning to spend every minute with him. I wanted to make it a very special day. I was going to stay with him in his classroom, helping to ease him into the school experience, and to share with him the joy of learning. When we arrived at the school, I could not stay. The teacher sent all the parents away so the children could get used to being in school on their own.
Read Ecclesiastes 3:5
The moments we remember are not the ones when we are giving each other gifts, or taking each other out to eat. It is when we share the love of Christ in a very real way. My friend had shared her love with her son to such an extent, that even when separated, he knew she was there. God is always with us, and has shown His love in such a way, through His Son, that we can be assured of His presence. Embrace Him today.
Read Ecclesiates 3:1
Moving Day Everyone needs to move once in a while, if only to discover how much junk they have. When we move, we have to empty closets, and we discover stuff that's been buried for as long as it has been in there. We find clothes that are out of style, or no longer fit. We find toys the kids have outgrown. We find books and papers and gadgets and linen and cosmetics and... Well, the list goes on and on. As we discover these long lost treasures, we need to decide if they are worth packing, carrying, unpacking, and reshelving. Or, are they just clutter in our lives.
Read Ecclesiastes 3:6
Have you ever helped someone move house? Have you helped them to pack and unpack, or to organize, clean and settle into their new home? It is quite difficult to help someone set up a home. As we empty box after box of stuff, we see things that are meaningless: old bills, crumpled receipts, tacky nic-nacs. We think they belong in the rubbish bin. Yet, those things are important to the person keeping them. We cannot throw their things away.
The same can be said spiritually. We are called to share the Gospel of our Lord. Those words often bring conviction to those to whom we share. We see the things they need to throw away, like bitterness, hatred, anger and other negative emotions. Yet, they have to decide what to do with the stuff. You can help them unpack a few boxes, give them support and encourage, but especially share the Love and Word of Christ Jesus. Then step aside. God has a time for everything, even for putting our stuff in the rubbish bin.
Read Ecclesiastes 3:1
Evangelism I'd had a particularly good day. My spirits were high, I was smiling, and I knew the joy of the Lord. At the post office, I found a card in our box for a parcel pick up. This made my mood even better. After all, it is quite exciting to get surprises in the mail. When I went to the window to pick up the package, the workers noticed my good mood.
That's when I blew it. I could have taken that moment to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and given him a piece of what I had. Instead, I walked away.
Read Ecclesiastes 3:7
There is a divinely appointed time to be silent or to speak. During the Passion, there were specific moments during which Jesus remained silent. This was foolishness to those persecuting Him, but it was according to God's will in the situation. There were other moments when Jesus said things that cut deeply into the hearts of men, convicting them of their sins. Jesus spoke God's Word in His time.
We are called to share the Good News of Christ. Sometimes that means we have to speak words before men. The Word spoken according to God's Will does incredible things. It comforts, it protects, it heals and it convicts. We must take advantage of every opportunity to share this lifesaving news.
We must also remember, though, that sometimes silence speaks louder than words. Do not be defensive when it comes to your faith. Do not join in words and actions that are not Christ-like. Do not judge according to the thoughts of men, but allow the Word of God to convict. There is a time to be silent and a time to speak. The Holy Spirit will be your guide. Hear Him and do according His Will.
Read Ecclesiastes 3:1
The Crusades Christians have, out of a sense of duty to the Gospel, killed in the name of Jesus Christ throughout the millennia. The Crusades, a series of religious wars in the 11th-13th centuries, were fought to regain control of the Holy Lands for the Christian Empire and to rid the world of the enemy of the cross. Unfortunately, those who waged the war had political and financial motives. They just used the Gospel as an excuse to get good Christian men to fight. As we look back upon that history, we can see that the Crusades were wrong.
In 1995, 900 years to the day after Pope Urban II called for the First Crusade, a group of Christians began Reconciliation Walk. This is a movement of western Christians attempting to repent and apologize for the atrocities of the Crusades. They walked from Cologne, Germany to Jerusalem, taking the same journey as their ancestors did in the 11th century, not stopping to loot and murder along the way. The walk took three years, culminating on the 15th of July with a public apology. Throughout the three years, message teams traveled around the country, sharing the message of apology to those cities the walkers visited.
Read Ecclesiastes 3:8
The time for peace has come. All over the world, Christians are repenting of the wrongs done by our ancestors in the name of Christ: the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the Holocaust. We cannot repay those hurt by these events, but we can be reconciled with those estranged by the hatred of the past.
Yet, even while groups are making great strides at peace around the world, there are still Christians who battle in the flesh to share the Gospel message. They forget the message of Christ that we must love our enemy. Instead, they spread a message of hatred by fighting their neighbors with words and actions, which are not Christ-like.
This is a time for peace among men, for the battle we are to fight is of Spirit, not flesh. Let us repent of past failures, love our neighbor, and pray. The battle has been won through Jesus Christ. Peace of the Lord be with you always.
Read Ecclesiastes 3:9-14
I went home this past week. It was a wonderful trip, filled with parties, shopping, friends and family. It was much too short. I love living in England, but I miss so much about home. When the time came to fly back to England, I found it difficult to get on the airplane. I do not understand what I am to accomplish here, and I sometimes feel that I need to be in America to accomplish His Will.
As we consider our lives, we often wonder "Why?" In the midst of trouble, we ask, "Why me?" When we are in a place we dislike, we ask, "Why here?" When something happens at a time that is inconvenient to our plans, we ask, "Why now?" We do not understand the will and purpose of God, so we try to take control and do things our way. We do not seek the counsel of the Holy Spirit and step out in our own direction.
There is certainly a time for everything. As we focus on God and His good purpose, we no longer question those things that we do not understand, but endure them for His Glory. The night before I was to leave America, I had several good friends remind me that God does have a purpose for my being here. I need to rest in Him, and continue on this path, knowing that everything He does is beautiful in its time. In His time. God sent Abram out of his homeland to an unknown land, and thus He sends us. We are blessed so that we might be a blessing. This is a gift from God, and is for His Glory.
Felix Felix is our cat.
I sat here searching for the word for today, my bibles and resources scattered all over the desk. I opened a drawer to hold my open bible, since it did not fit on the cluttered desk. The drawer I was using is where we hide some of Felix's toys. Felix knows this. When he heard the drawer open, he ran, hopped up on the desk, and sat on my bible, sniffing through the drawer in search of his toys.
I could not accomplish anything with Felix on my bible. My immediate response is normally to push him off the desk, give him the toy and send him on his way. This time, however, I enjoyed watching him patiently sniff every item, searching for just the right toy. When he found the item he was searching for, he carefully maneuvered things to put it in a position to pick it up and carry it away.
Read James 5:10-11
There are two lessons about patience in today's story. First we hear about the patience of Felix, carefully searching for what he wants, working to achieve his goal. We are reminded to carefully do our work for the Lord, persevering until the task is complete.
We also hear of my own patience, allowing the work to be done, waiting patiently. We often get frustrated watching someone struggle to complete a task, so we step in and do the work. We want them to get out of the way so that we might get on with our own work, and it seems much easier to do it for them. Yet, the Lord has great patience with us, allowing us to complete the task set before us. Sometimes we must just sit and wait for others to do their work before we can move on to ours.
Testimony We often think of the word testimony in legal terms. A witness is called to testify at a hearing. The witness is expected to be honest and trustworthy to provide the information asked. The witness cannot testify to something with which they are unfamiliar.
Christians often use the word testimony when discussing their own faith journey. This use of the word conjures up images of some fantastic, life-changing event. Some Christians do have one moment in time to which they can point as a moment of salvation. Many people, however, have spent their lives living a simple Christian life, learning and growing in God's grace. These Christians, who do not have a dramatic story to tell, think they have no testimony for Christ Jesus. They are unwilling to speak about their faith, thinking there is nothing worthwhile in their story.
Read 2 Peter 1:16
You are an eyewitness to His majesty and your life is your testimony to the power and love of God. You have been called to testify to His life in you; to glorify Him in all you think, say and do. Your story does not have to be exciting, filled with bright lights or flashing neon signs. You simply have to let the message of God shine through your life.
To be an effective witness, you must be familiar with your subject. You must know Jesus Christ to be able to witness for Him. Study the Bible, reaching deeply into the Word, so that you may be informed. Be in prayer daily, speaking and listening to Him, to keep the relationship alive. Be aware of your audience. The better you know those to whom you are witnessing, the better you are able to speak to them in a language they understand. Most of all realize that your story is worthy to be shared. Speak your testimony, in words and in the way you live your life.
To read my testimony, go to My Spiritual Journey
Christopher Columbus Today we celebrate the life of a man whose story has often been confused with untruths. We learn in school that Christopher Columbus discovered America. He discovered many of the islands in the Caribbean, as well as Latin America, but he never set foot on land that now belongs to the United States.
His goal was to find a way to the West Indies, to save shippers the long, dangerous journey around the tip of Africa. His goal, that vision he set in his mind, was to prove that the world was not flat. Along the way, he colonized the New World, became governor of those lands and set up trading posts. The living conditions of these new communities were horrible and the people became discontent with Columbus. They sent complaints to Spain, Columbus was removed from his position as Governor. By the time he died, Christopher Columbus was poverty stricken and nearly forgotten.
Read Genesis 11:4
We often set out upon a journey or task with one vision in mind. Christopher Columbus set out to show the people that the world was not as they believed, but he got caught up in the fame and fortune, which came with the discovery. The people in Babel set out to build a city, but they got caught up in the idea that they could reach toward heaven.
We serve the Lord, but often get caught up in the secular rewards that can come from such service. Our vision no longer is of God but of what we can gain from our service. We take upon ourselves leadership roles, accept the accolades, and get puffed up in the notion of all we are doing for the Lord. Let us always remember the keep our hearts and minds focused on Christ Jesus. Complete the task placed before you, without reaching for the heavens. God will provide the reward in His time.
Medieval Fonts It was Antony's first baptism. The conscientious new vicar prepared the sanctuary well in advance, making sure every detail was perfect. With water in the font and everything in its place, Antony was ready for the service.
The service was going well, until it came time for the baptism. As he came to the font, he discovered the water had disappeared. Medieval baptismal fonts are made of porous material, and the water drained away during the service. A member of the congregation, aware of the problem, brought a bowl and water, and the baptism went on without anyone realizing there was a problem.
Read Luke 4:11-14
We live in this world, and God has given us the resources of this good earth to accomplish the tasks set before us. We must remember, though, that the things of this world pass away, like the water in the medieval font. Our reliance must be on Jesus Christ, the living water, which will produce lasting fruit in our lives. Ask Him to give you His living water and you will never thirst again.
Broom She was working the evening shift at the garage. An intruder armed with a knife entered, and tried to steal the money in the cash register. Determined that the thief would not succeed on her watch, she grabbed the push broom that was at hand and forced him to submit. The broom she used is not considered by the world to be a more powerful weapon, and yet she was able to use it to win the battle with the criminal.
Read 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
Our strength is God Himself, living within us, working through us to accomplish His good purpose. The criminal in our story laughed at the woman, thinking that a broom is not a weapon, and yet she won that battle. The weapons we are to use are the fruits of the Spirit but the world sees that as foolishness. We are the object of ridicule, depending upon an unseen God. So, as we walk our walk, we think we need weapons of strength to accomplish our goals. We fight with strong words. We arm ourselves with hell and condemnation, thinking that it is the only way to win this war. We live in the world and often think we need to do as the world does to win.
Remember that you are backed by the divine power. You have the strength of the living God as your fortress. He gives you the weapons to fight this war on His terms; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The battle is won through Him, for He has already won the war.
Josiah Today's Old Testament lesson comes from 2 Kings 22:1- 23:30. Josiah walked in the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left (vs 22:2). During Josiah's reign, Hilkiah the high priest found the Book of the Covenant, which had been lost, in the Temple of the Lord. When the words in the Book were read, King Josiah realized that Judah had turned away from the LORD. He called the people together to hear the book, and renewed the covenant in the presence of the Lord. He had all the altars and high places, which were built for other gods, burnt and desecrated.
Read 2 Kings 23:25
We live in a time of fear over many things. Today the news is filled with concern over the state of affairs in Pakistan. A military coup has taken over the government and threatens peace in that region. The political leaders around the world are speaking out against this action, calling for the democratic process to be restored. We wonder if this might lead to war. In our own countries, we are dealing with violence and hatred. We face fear of war on the streets of our cities because of drugs, gangs and broken homes.
How have we allowed this to happen? We have turned away from the LORD. Our gods today aren't Molech, Asherah or Baal. Rather, we worship our careers, our material possessions, or our families. We focus our thoughts on the things of this world, trying to solve our problems with laws that bring attention to the negative.
We need to destroy the things that turn our attention away from God, and spend more time in prayer and study, perfecting our relationship with Him. Turn to the LORD with your whole being, your heart, soul and strength.
Spouse Day Life as a military wife is not easy. We must often see our husbands off to unknown places, for unknown reasons, for an unlimited amount of time. Our children live in single parent homes for much of the year because Daddy is in some foreign country doing his job. We barely get settled into a new life, home or job, and we must move on to the next base. Friendships are difficult to establish because the people in our lives come and go so quickly.
There are many programs offered around the base, which are meant to make our lives more manageable. The military spouse is often recognized as being a vital link to the moral of a soldier or airman. Spouse Day is one of the fun benefits we are offered. We are given tours around the base, airplane rides, and briefings about the jobs our husbands do. It is an opportunity for us to understand why they work 12 hours a day or go to foreign lands at a moment's notice.
The last time I was able to attend a spouse day, I had the opportunity to ride a cargo plane. As we flew over the English Channel, just off the southeast coast of England, near Dover, the crew opened the cargo door and allowed us to peer out. At first, I was hesitant. After all, we were hundreds of feet above the water, and it is a really big door. They suited the other ladies with a safety harness, and were protective of each one as she took her turn. Finally, I said yes. They strapped me to the harness, and I edged toward the door. It was very exciting, and has become one of my most precious memories from our time here in England. As I lay on the edge of that opening, and watched Dover castle disappear, I was so thankful that I had the courage to try.
Read Proverbs 28:1
Sometimes we are called as Christians to step out into a place that is unknown. We must trust that God will hold us from danger and protect us from all harm. Be bold in your faith! Step out to the edge, you never know what you might miss if you don't try.
Safety Devices Yesterday was another Spouse Day. It was my second opportunity to fly on a cargo plane. This time, I stepped out on to the edge without hesitancy. We sat on the deck, watching the White Cliffs of Dover pass by, with the wind blowing in our hair. Throughout the flight I watched the crew very carefully, and I found several concepts I will share with you over the next few days.
As we went to the airplane, we were briefed on safety procedures. Since we would be flying over water, it was necessary for us to wear a life preserver. The floaters were in two small pouches, which could be opened if we had to make a water landing. As our guide instructed us on the use of this device, he told us it was very important not to pull the cord until we are out of the plane. "If you do it too early," he said, "you won't fit through the door."
Read John 7:6-9
Jesus' brothers had suggested that he should go to the Feast of the Tabernacles and show Himself, telling him that no man becomes a public figure by doing things in secret. Jesus knew the time had not yet come, so went to celebrate the Feast in quiet anonymity. When the time was right, Jesus began to teach in the temple.
We often rush into tasks, trying to accomplish things before their time. We pull the cord too early, and are unable to fit through the door. We are unprepared, or the things necessary for the task are not available. Be patient, wait for the proper time. The task will be more easily accomplished because everything is ready.
Ear Protection We arrived at the airplane, and were loaded via the open cargo door. We found our seats, not typical airline seats, but rather canvas seats that can be folded away when more space is needed for cargo. We were given earplugs, with the instruction that the engines were about to start, and that these would protect our ears from the noise. The engines were loud and you could hear the muffled sound through the earplugs.
During the flight, there were moments when it became necessary for the crew to give us instruction. It was important that we hear what they were saying, so that we would have a safe flight. Even though they were yelling loudly, it was difficult to hear and understand. We needed to focus on them as they spoke to really know what we needed to do.
Read Matthew 13:14-15
God speaks His Word loudly and clearly and it is vital that we hear and understand. Yet, we have blocked our ears. Just as the earplugs on the plane were necessary to protect our ears, sometimes the things that block our hearing are necessary to protect us from the noise of this world. We need to learn to distinguish between the noise of the world and God's Word. To hear the crew, we needed to focus our whole attention on what they were saying and doing. When we focus on God and His Word, we will hear the instruction. We hear and obey, and God heals.
Exhaust When everyone was aboard the plane, seated and buckled, with earplugs in place, the pilot started the engines. The crew was carefully checking all the systems to make sure everything was properly set for a safe flight. The cargo door was still open, and they often looked out to check the engines and tires to be sure everything was in working order. As I looked out the door, I noticed the grass in the field one hundred yards away from the plane was doubled over. The engines were creating such an intense wind with the exhaust that the effect was far reaching.
Read James 5:16
We do not realize how much our lives affect the lives of those around us. When we sin, the consequences of that sin reach beyond our own life. If we drink too much and drive, we could kill someone in an accident. That death will bring suffering to the families of the victim. When we lie, cheat or steal, we touch the lives of those we sin against. Even those apparently victimless acts of sin, such as impure thoughts, touch the lives of our family in ways we do not expect.
The joy of the Christian walk is that we also know that we can have an effect on the lives of those around us, in a very positive way. When we serve God by serving our neighbor, the benefits go beyond those we touch directly. We have heard how contagious a smile can be. Just one smile can spread from person to person and bring a little bit of sunshine to what may have been a day filled with hatred and anger.
Another way we can impact the world around us is prayer. When we spend a moment interceding for others, we can make a difference. We may not see the effect our prayer has, but we can rest assured that God hears and answers our prayer. Take a moment today to pray.
Torches In America, we call them flashlights. These hand held devices emit a beam of light, which can be directed at a specific point to illuminate a desired object.
A cargo plane does not have many windows. There were plenty of spotlights shining on specific areas, but even these lights do not provide the necessary brightness to see clearly. Each member of the crew had his own flashlight, and as we prepared to depart, they used them frequently to look upon the wires, tubes, fittings and equipment. They were constantly checking for loose fittings or leaks, providing the safest possible flight for us.
Read Psalm 4:6-8
We look upon our lives and consider them to be pretty good. We are blessed in many ways. We have jobs, families, friends, food on our table, a roof over our head. We live the Christian life, attending worship, serving the Lord in many ways. It is even possible that those around us see goodness in the way we live our lives.
But our systems can fail. We buckle under the pressure, doing what is necessary at work to succeed. Or we let stress affect the way we treat our family and friends. Church sometimes becomes a place to network, using it to further earthly enterprises rather than to worship the Lord. Sometimes our sins are more noticeable, such as adultery or drunkenness. Not all our sins are so apparent.
When God shines His light upon us, we see those places where we are failing. When brought into the light, we can do whatever is necessary to fix the problem, so that our systems do not fail. God provides the light so that we might know His joy and peace, so that we might live in the safety of His presence. Praise the Lord.
Motion The cargo door was closed, we were seated and buckled, and the plane was on the taxiway. It seemed as though we were moving for a long time, as though we were driving to Dover. All of a sudden, the pilot put the plane into forward motion and we were jolted by the change. I thought we were in motion, but in reality we were standing still. Since there are not many windows on a cargo plane, I could not focus on a stationary object outside the plane, which would have indicated movement.
Again, we seemed to be moving along the taxiway for a long time, yet when the pilot did put the plane into motion, we were jolted into reality. This happened several times as we waited our turn to take off. It occurred to me that in our lives we often think we are moving ahead, when in reality we are standing still. I found myself watching the window, looking for a point of reference so that I would know if we were moving.
Read Luke 9:59-60
This man's statement seems to speak some desire to follow Jesus. Burying one's father is a noble task, giving honour to his father. Yet Jesus told him to go proclaim the kingdom. The man was standing still, although he thought he was doing something good and right. Jesus jolted him into reality.
How often do we continue to sit on the runway, thinking the tasks we are doing are moving us forward, when in reality we are sitting still? We spend a great deal of time serving the Lord, by being on committees or cooking for potlucks. Yet we never find time to pray or study the Scriptures. We volunteer our time and our resources, and yet we never seek to have a closer and deeper relationship with God. We are surprised by the moment that comes when our pilot, God Himself, moves us and jolts us back into reality. Move beyond where you are today. Move toward the goal, a closer, deeper relationship with the Father.
Wires A commercial aircraft is designed to cover all the systems equipment. Along the outside of the airplane, neatly covered with a nice wall, are wires and tubes. These wires and tubes take electricity and fluids to the different areas of the plane, and are hidden from view. If one of the fittings should begin to leak, none of the passengers are able to see it and panic.
On a military aircraft, these systems are not covered. When building these planes, no money is wasted on making them look nice for the passengers. Everything that is hidden on a commercial airplane is left exposed. Not only is this a money saving scheme, but the planes are built this way so that the crew is able to see everything they need to see to keep the plane safely in the air.
As I watched the crew carefully checking each wire and tube, I thought to myself how much more peaceful it is on a commercial aircraft, being unable to see the guts of the plane. By seeing the inner workings of the airplane, I came to have a greater respect for the crew, knowing how difficult a job they have to keep the plane in the air.
Read Mark 4:21-25
When we study the Bible, and dig deeply into the Word, the things of God are revealed to us. The more we know, the more we desire to dig deeper. The hidden things of God are meant to be revealed. He wants us to know Him so deeply, so personally, that He gives us what we need to see and understand His mysteries. We just need to take the time to see and hear.
Home I have had several people comment about how brave I was to fly on the plane, and to walk on the deck. I was asked numerous times if I was afraid. I was not afraid, because I had confidence in the crew and those on the ground that work to keep the plane in top shape for missions. I was not afraid, and knew that the plane would return to the base safely, so that I could return home.
A story is told of a young girl. The path she followed each day from school meant she needed to walk through a cemetery to get home. One day an older woman was standing along her path. She said to the little girl, "Aren't you afraid to walk through a cemetery?" The little girl said, "No, my home is just on the other side."
Read Hebrews 2:14-15
Fear is a part of our life. We face dangers each day, and some of these dangers create the physical, emotional and mental reaction, which is known as fear. In America, a great deal of preparation goes into a holiday called Halloween that seems to have as its sole purpose the bringing of fear into the hearts of those participating.
There are times when fear is normal and healthy. When we are being attacked, fear brings out the defense mechanisms that cause us to react to save ourselves. We fear for our children, teaching them the things they need to survive in this world, and keeping careful watch over them.
There is one thing, as Christians, that we need not fear; that is death. Our beloved Savior Jesus Christ came in the flesh to overcome death, so that we might be free to live. The next time someone asks you if you are afraid to die, remember the words of that little girl and say, "No, my home is just one the other side."
Lunch Do you remember what it was like to eat lunch in the cafeteria as a first grader? We compared food, we traded food, we threw food, and we mixed food. We did just about everything with food, with the obvious exception of eating it. The noise level in the cafeteria generally set the Richter scale through the roof. The food was horrible, and our neighbor's lunch always looked better. Either they had a bigger piece of pizza, less peas or their mom made them the best bologna sandwiches.
I was able to relive that experience. I ate lunch with Zack in the cafeteria, seated at a table with six 6-year-olds. The children were delighted to have a mom as a dining companion, and they fought for my attention. Each had stories to tell, reminding me of the stories we told when we were children. Kelsey shared how her sister eats worms, which brought a long discussion of the bizarre creeping animals their siblings eat on a regular basis. The usual exchanges of food and jokes occurred. As a mom, I looked upon the meal with a whole new perspective.
Read 1 Corinthians 13:11-12
It was fun being a six-year-old, but the time comes for us to grow up. Do you remember what it was like when you were a new Christian? As you grow in your knowledge of Christ Jesus and in your faith, do you see things with a new perspective? The time will come when you will meet your Savior face to face. We have been invited to a grand banquet. Will you appear as a six-year-old in the cafeteria? Or as a mature child of God, knowing Him as He knows you?
Fog It is a foggy day. You get in the car and start the engine. The fog seems particularly bad today; it is very hard to see. You grumble about having to drive in this kind of weather, but you put the car into gear and start on your way. Then you realize that your windows are fogged up, and you need to turn on the defrost. As the windows clear, you realize the poor vision was due to your own failure.
This often happens in our lives. We look around us and see a fog. We are surrounded by misinformation, miscommunication and misunderstanding. We get angry because people do not understand what we have to say, and we claim they are blind to truth because they do not agree with us. Of course, they believe the same thing.
Read Matthew 7:3-5
This particular scripture is an overused verse, but an underused concept. We are quick to jump at others when they disagree, thinking them to be blinded by a fog of misunderstanding. We need to be reminded that our understanding of things is dependent on many factors, such as our financial status, gender, religion, age, or education. Societal influences, such as language and culture influence our thoughts and actions. Our own personal histories will greatly affect the things we believe.
The next time you are ready to jump to the conclusion that someone is blind, consider several things. First, why do you believe what you do? Where is the scripture to back up your belief? Next, listen to the evidence they present. As always, reach to God in prayer and ask Him to intercede in your life, to give you His Truth. Once you've cleared the fog from your own windows; if the world is still foggy, there is one final thing to remember. Truth comes from God alone.
Sole The Gospel reading for the day was Matthew 22:34-46. Jesus was facing the questions of the Sadducees and Pharisees. He was asked, "Which is the greatest commandment."
Read Matthew 22:37-40
The point of the message from this Gospel reading is that we are to love God with everything. The heart is considered the centre of a person's being. The soul is the whole person. The mind is their will and emotions. So, we are to love God with everything we are.
During the message, the vicar asked the children to approach him and point on his body to where they would find his heart, soul and mind. Thomas approached to point to Antony's soul, and with great confidence pointed at the bottom of his shoes. The congregation broke out in laughter.
Thomas' answer seemed funny, but it was filled with truth. When we love God with our heart, soul and mind, that love is manifested in our thoughts, words and deeds. If we love God with our whole being, then the things we think will glorify Him. If we love God with our whole being, then we will speak the words that glorify Him. If we love God with our whole being, then all we do will be for His glory. You've heard the phrase, "Walk the walk." Perhaps our souls are not located on the bottom of our feet, but we witness to the work of Jesus Christ in our lives by the way we walk the walk. When we live according to the first commandment, manifesting the second commandment comes naturally.
Accent We may not think we have an accent, but to someone, we do have an accent. When we are in a new region or country, our voice pattern stands out as different. People conform to the language around them, picking up certain words and pronunciations, as well as the local accent. Those who move to the South of the United States, often begin to speak with the drawl, which is so commonly known. This phenomenon is more noticeable in children. American children who attend British schools often move back to the United States with a changed voice.
I have noticed my own speech has been affected by living in England. I now write with a British flavour. During worship this past Sunday, I even noticed that I conformed to the accent of those around me as we recited the prayers.
Read 1 Timothy 1:8-11
It is not always valuable to conform to the speech patterns around us. In some places, slang is introduced into the local dialect, which often leads to misunderstandings. Those people who speak with a heavy accent find it difficult to communicate with those who do not recognize the words they use. Language is vital to communication.
We speak a sort of language in the Church. Throughout the ages, there have been false teachers who have introduced slang into the doctrine of the church. Very often, these ideas sound great and we find it easy to conform. But we must be careful to avoid those ideas that are contrary to God's Truth. Trust only in the Gospel of our Lord, conforming only to His word.
Encouragement Julia Jarmin is a writer of children's books. She tells her beginnings.
Her daughter Josie was getting into trouble at school. Julia was fed up with the phone calls form the Headmaster. One day, when Josie came home, Julia was so angry that she began to yell. She yelled until Josie cried. And cried. And cried. Julia asked her to stop crying, to no avail. Josie was crying so hard, that Julia began to feel horrible about being angry.
In an effort to make her feel better, Julia said, "When I was a little girl, I did bad things, too." She went on to tell the story of what she did to Patsy.
"Mom, that is the most interesting thing you have ever said. You should write it down. You have always said you wanted to be a writer."
Read Hebrews 3:13
At 35 years old, Julia went on to write her first book, When Poppy Ran Away, which describes the story of her adventure with Patsy. Her one hundredth book was recently published. By opening her life to her daughter, Julia encouraged Josie to turn her attitude to act better at school, and Josie encouraged her mum to begin a new and exciting career. During this exchange, two lives were made better.
We often find ourselves in situations that change our lives. God puts special people in our path to help guide us down the road He would have us travel. We can help each other. We are called to encourage one another so that we do not live in hate and fear. His Will for us is to live according to His Word, a life filled with love, joy and peace. We walk that road by using the gifts He has given us.
Remember that wherever you live and work, God will put before you people who need encouragement to live the life He has called them to live. In the process, your life may also be changed.
Assembly The children were gathered to listen to the guest speaker. They were sitting on the floor lined up neatly, facing our guest. Each child knew the rules. They needed to be quiet, sit still and remain facing the front at all times. Things were going well because the storyteller was mesmerizing the group as she spun her tales.
In the back of the crowd, a teacher decided to photograph the assembly. When the flash went off, one hundred heads turned to the back of the room, away from the speaker. For a brief moment, the children were not obedient to the rules and the focus was disrupted. The teachers directed the children to return their gaze to the front of the room, and the assembly continued. Had the children remained disobedient, the teachers would have had to remove them from the situation.
Read Deuteronomy 17:11
Teachers are chosen to fill their positions. The Levites were chosen by God to be the ministers of His Word. He directed the Hebrews to obey what they taught. The Law was given so that the Hebrews would always be focused on God, moving in the right direction. The punishment for those who diverted from the right course was death.
God appoints people in leadership positions to teach and guide us along the road we are called to travel. He has also given us the Holy Spirit, so that we might discern the true teachers from the false teachers. Listen to the Law of Jesus Christ, that which says we are to love God with everything we are, and our neighbors as ourselves. Focus on God Himself, and do not turn from the Truth. Otherwise, you may find yourself on the wrong path.
Dirt Day after day, the cleaning ladies at Lakenheath American Elementary School sweep the floors. They sweep the dirt from the lobby, the halls, and the stairways. It is an endless job.
I noticed the other day that the woman with the broom was pushing a great deal of dirt down the stairs. I wondered how that much dirt could possibly get inside the school. The next day, I was climbing the same stairway, and I noticed a trail of mud. It was shortly after recess, and it seemed as though the children had brought in half the playground with them. The ground stays soft and damp due to the large amount of precipitation we receive. When the children run through the playground and fields, the mud fills the cracks in their sneakers. This dirt is brought into the school, and falls along the path to their rooms. Shortly after recess, it is necessary for the ladies to begin cleaning all over again.
Read Hebrews 10:11-12
Day after day, we try to clean up our act. We see the dirt and try to sweep it away. We barely get it swept, and we need to start all over. We go to church, do acts of service, and read the Bible, thinking these things will make us clean again. Then, the next day, the dirt is back, needing to be swept again.
The writer of Hebrews reminds us that we no longer need a priest to stand daily to offer sacrifices for our sins. Jesus Christ was the Great High Priest who offered the final sacrifice, Himself. He no longer has to stand to work, because the work has been complete. We are made clean, not by the sweeping we try to do in our lives, but by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Money Imagine what it would be like in America if every state had a different currency. We would have to exchange our money at the border of every state, so that we could purchase things in that state. A cross-country trip could mean ten or more different types of money. This is the case in Europe. Each country has its own currency, such as the French Franc, the German Mark and the British Pound Sterling.
I am preparing for a trip to Germany. As I reached into our treasury of foreign coins, I found a handful of German marks to use on that trip. The rest of the money is virtually useless to me right now. The money from each country has a different value. Ten British Pound Sterling is worth approximately seventeen U.S. Dollars, but ten German Mark is worth about eight U.S. Dollars. The value of money changes daily, and is very unreliable.
Read Psalm 119:9-16
It is important to give money the proper place in our life. It is perishable and unreliable. Yet, it is an important tool to use not only in our day to day living, but also in our relationship with God. We have been called to be good stewards of the gifts we've been given. We must remember that everything we have comes from God, and we should use those gifts for His Glory.
How do we keep our way pure? We need to focus on God's Word and walk in His way, for when we focus on Him, our life and the use of our gifts will be a reflection of His life in us.
Halloween Halloween was one of my favorite holidays. I loved to dress up and go trick or treating. Tic Tacking, the adolescent activity of stealing corn from a farmer's field and throwing at houses and cars to annoy the occupants, was a favorite fall pastime. Haunted Houses were such fun, being scared and scaring others. I was never personally involved in pagan or real witch activities, I didn't think they existed in the real world. I didn't see anything wrong with one day a year of fun and mischief, even though I was a Christian.
Until recently. My reasoning is not the normal Christian response to this particular holiday, which is to emphasize the pagan roots and 'other worldly' aspects. I see far more real problems with this and other holiday celebrations.
Read Galations 5:19-21
Besides the obvious vice of witchcraft that is listed in these verses, there are several that are particularly appropriate to discuss on Halloween. Perhaps our children have nothing to do with sexual immorality and drunkenness, but let us study three of these vices.
The word that is translated 'debauchery', is aselgeia, which means, "lack of self restraint." How many times have we watched children push each other out of the way to get to the door of the next house first? Even at the Harvest Parties, which are planned around the country as a Halloween alternative, children act according to their desires for more and better prizes.
Hatred is from the Greek word, 'echthra', which means hostility, in opposition, or hateful. We spend Halloween dressing up as evil characters, doing nasty things to one another, bringing people to a state of fear. Even in good humour, this is a hateful thing to do.
The final word I'd like to study is 'and the like.' This covers just about every other example of acts by a sinful nature. How about gluttony? The children stuff their faces with candy. Greed? "Just one more house, Mom, please?" Pride? "My costume is better than yours."
I like to have fun and to pretend. As we celebrate this day, Halloween or Harvest Festival, let's teach our children that fear and excessiveness is not the appropriate way to have fun.