November 10, 2009
November 6, 2009
It’s really hard to listen to God when there are really interesting things to think about.
Mark Galli | posted 11/05/2009 10:33AM
When I preach, I often quote the Bible to drive home my point. I think it more persuasive to show that what I’m saying is not merely my opinion but a consistent theme of Scripture. And to avoid the impression that I’m proof-texting or lifting verses out of context, I quote longer passages—anywhere from 2 to 6 verses.
When I did this at one church, a staff member whom I’d asked for feedback between services told me to cut down on the Scripture quotations. “You’ll lose people,” he said.
I understood the reality he was addressing, and so I scratched out the biblical references for the next sermon. But lately I’m beginning to question that move, and wondering, Why have we become so impatient and bored with the Word of God? I ask this not in a scolding tone, but in wonderment, not to point fingers, for I wonder at myself as well.
Dear God, are You still awake?
Have You got a minute or two?
You’re pretty good at understanding,
And I really need to talk to You.
You see, Mommy came to tuck me in,
Like she does every night.
I was trying to play a trick on her,
Since she can’t see without the light.
I was going to close my eyes
And pretend to be asleep.
But when I heard her crying,
I didn’t dare let out a peep.
She started talking to you, God.
Did You hear the things she said?
Could You hear what she was saying
As she stood beside my bed?
Why would Mommy be so sad?
I wondered just what I had done,
And then I began to remember it all
As she named them one by one…
This morning we worked in the garden,
But, honest, I really didn’t know
That if I picked all those little yellow blooms
The tomatoes wouldn’t grow!
Charlie and I were trying to be helpers,
‘Cause I know that’s what Mommy needs,
But I don’t think she was too happy with us
when we pulled up carrots instead of weeds.
Mommy said we should stop for the day,
she decided we had helped quite enough.
I sure had worked up an appetite…
I didn’t know gardening was so tough!
We had peanut-butter and jelly for lunch
and I shared too much, I guess…
But I didn’t realize until I was done
that Charlie had made such a mess.
Mommy said she needed a nap,
she had one of her headaches today.
She told me to keep an eye on my sister
and find something quiet to play.
Well, God, do You remember all those curls
you gave my little sister Jenny?
We played barber shop…very quietly…
and now, well, she doesn’t have any.
Boy, was Mommy mad at me…
I had to go sit on my bed.
She said never to cut “people hair” again.
I guess I’ll practice on Charlie instead.
We sat and watched poor old Albert,
I just knew he must be so bored
Going round and round
in the same place all day,
Wouldn’t You think so, Lord?
I didn’t think it would hurt
to let him out for a while.
I mean, mice need exercise, too.
By the way, have You seen Albert lately?
He’s been sort of missing since two.
Mommy sent us outside for the rest of the day.
She said we needed fresh air.
But when Daddy came home she told him
She was trying to get something out of her hair.
We thought Mommy needed cheering up,
so we decided to brighten her day.
But, God, did You see the look on her face
When we gave her that pretty bouquet?
We had gotten a little bit dirty,
so Mommy said to get in the tub.
“Use soap this time,” she reminded,
“and please don’t forget to scrub.”
Charlie didn’t like the water too much,
but I lathered up real good.
I knew Mommy would be so proud of me
For cleaning up like I should.
I went downstairs to the table,
but during dinner it started to rain…
I’d forgotten to turn off the water, it seems,
and I hadn’t unplugged the drain!
I decided right then it was just about time
to start getting ready for bed,
When Mommy said, “It’s sure been a long day.”
And her face began turning all red.
I lay there listening to Mommy
as she told You about our day.
I thought about all of the things I had done
and I wondered what I should say.
I was just about to tell her
that I’d been awake all along,
And ask her to please forgive me
for all of those thing I’d done wrong.
When suddenly, I heard her whisper,
“God, forgive me for today…
For not being more understanding
when those problems came my way…
For not handling situations in the way
You wanted me to…for getting angry
and losing my temper,
Things I know You don’t want me to do.
And, God, please give me more patience,
Help me make it through another day,
I’ll do better tomorrow, I promise.
In Jesus’ name I pray.”
Wiping her eyes, she kissed me
and knelt here beside my bed.
She stroked my hair for a little while…”
I love you, precious,” Mommy said.
She left the room without ever knowing
That I’d been awake all the time.
And God, could we make it our little secret?
You know, just Yours and mine?
I’m sorry I was so much trouble today,
I really didn’t mean to be…
Daddy says it’s tough being a kid sometimes,
but I think it’s harder on Mommy than me.
Well, goodnight, God. Thanks for listening.
It’s sure nice to know You’re there.
I feel so much better when I talk to You
’cause You always hear my prayer.
And I’ll do better tomorrow, I promise…
Just You wait and see!
I’ll try not to be so much trouble again,
But, God, please give more patience to Mommy
……Just in case! Amen.
“But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come
unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 19:14
— Author Unknown
Philippians 2:3-4 (New International Version) 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
November 4, 2009
June 10, 2009 by Robert
People talk a lot of about the Grace of God and being touched by God’s Grace, but it’s one of the most difficult concepts for most of us to understand. After all, how can we grasp the concept of being the recipients of such an amazing and wonderful gift as the Grace that is God’s forgiveness of our sins when we are so undeserving? And what does that Grace do to change the reality of our daily lives anyway? The answers are amazing and truly reflect just how much God loves us and the great good He desires for us.
God’s Grace was given to us even before we were born, at the very beginning of time, so we know that it isn’t based on whether we’ve earned it or if we’ve done something to earn it:
“This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.”
– 2 Timothy 1:9
It’s so wonderful that God has always loved us and always will, and freely gave us this gracious, bountiful gift. It’s an unearned blessing, a gift from our Lord and Savior that we received before we even looked for it. God’s will for you is absolute good. I know this is true for myself, and I also know it is true for every person on Earth. God’s love is unconditional a Grace available to everyone, at all times and in all circumstances. No matter who we are or what we’ve done!
That’s right – you’ve already “earned” God’s Grace simply by being a precious, individual creation of God. Simply by existing as His creation, you are deserving of His Grace ! Nothing you do or do not do can remove that Grace from your life. It is present here, now and always. Through God’s Grace, you are accepted and loved in every moment. Through God’s Grace you continually blessed – and our knowledge of this constant blessing is what can change the reality of our daily lives. What could possibly bring us more joy and peace than knowing that nothing can separate us from God’s Grace? No matter how low we fall or how high we climb, His Grace will surround us.
“Let us therefore approach the throne of Grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
– Hebrews 4:16
When we need God’s Grace and loving kindness, we can rest assured that it will be there for us. We will be enfolded in it and can rely on it to carry us through no matter how difficult our trials, because that Grace is sufficient for every need. When we have God’s Grace, we don’t need the forgiveness of others or the understanding of men.
We have all that we need to carry us through the problems in our lives, and the realization that our God has showered us with His Grace all our lives and He will never withhold it should embolden us – it is our guarantee that we can do anything ! With the Grace of God shielding us, what amazing things we can do with our own lives and in the lives of others, what riches we can share ! That Grace gives meaning and glory to our lives as members of the body of Christ’s church on earth – we should share that Grace with others. It is all that we will ever need to find peace in our lives, and by sharing it with those around us, that joy and peace will be magnified to the Glory of God.
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
– 1 Corinthians 1:3
With an attitude of gratitude , we live our daily lives in the very atmosphere of God’s Grace. God’s will for us is absolute good. God’s love is unending, a grace that is for all , at all times and in all circumstances.
Robert Moment is a Christian business coach, speaker and author of newly published book, God Will Always Be There for You. Robert is passionate about empowering individuals on how to experience God’s love, power , joy, peace, and prosperity. Visit http://www.ChristianInspirational.org and sign-up for the FREE Christian Living e-course. Follow me on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/christiansfaith
New Life Ministries
Proverbs 17:22 tells us, “A cheerful heart is good medicine.” And, friend, that’s no joke! When we’re in pain or feeling sick, our sense of humor often abandons us. But it’s during these very circumstances that’more than ever’we need laugher in our lives. Consider these findings:
1. Humor has been shown to lower blood pressure.
2. Studies show humor strengthens the immune system. When you laugh, your body actually raises levels of infection-fighting T-cells, disease-fighting proteins, and B-cells that produce disease-destroying antibodies.
3. Laughter’s good for your heart! According to Dr. Paul McGhee, laughing is like ‘internal jogging.’
4. Frequent belly laughs help your respiratory system. When you laugh, your lungs empty good portions of air, producing a cleansing effect.
5. Laughter has been shown to reduce stress and even pain. Ironically, when you’re feeling stressed or in pain, you don’t often feel like laughing, but laughter actually works to reduce your pain and stress.
6. Laughter stimulates both sides of the brain, which increases learning and retention. Incorporate humor when teaching your kids and you’ll find they get the message quicker and will remember it longer.
7. Laughter results in muscle relaxation.
8. Humor is a great coping device. When the kids are driving you crazy, work seems unbearable, yet another home appliance breaks, look for humor in the situation. It will not only help you get through the situation, it’ll give you renewed focus and strength.
9. Humor relieves tension. We’ve all been in situations where everyone is uncomfortable and subsequently relieved when someone makes a joke.
10. Appropriate humor builds relationships. When people laugh together, a connection is made. Great friendships are often built when two people endure difficult circumstances only to look back with laughter. On the other hand, humor can help you understand others. Listen closely to someone’s humor and you may gain insight into his or her fears.
11. This good medicine is free! It costs nothing, yet its benefits are priceless.
“Humor and Health Journal,” September/October 1996
Philippians 2:1-2 (New International Version) Philippians 2 Imitating Christ’s Humility 1If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.
Treasures in Heaven
19“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
November 3, 2009
ABC’s sci-fi series V, which premieres tonight, tackles questions of blind faith, asking, “Would we believe them?”
In the first episode of ABC’s remake of the ’80s alien-invasion series V (Tuesdays 8/7c), a teen boy is led down the path of destruction by a powerful force: the winsome smile of a cute girl. The dark threat behind innocent flirtation illustrates not only an allegorical shift from the original V series, but also the theme of the new hour-long drama: Things are rarely as pretty as they look.
In the original V, the conquest of powerful reptilian aliens—known as the Visitors—was a metaphor for Hitler’s Germany. The Vs rose to power with Nazi-like propaganda, persecution, and overwhelming military force. But the new V isn’t about dominating with might. Led by their beautiful and diplomatic leader Anna, these Visitors attack not with guns but with hope. These aliens appear with messages of peace, love, and understanding. They arrive in sleek, elegant ships hovering over 29 major cities, and promise amazing technological advancements. They heal the sick. They raise spirits.
They come—in a desperate time of war, disease and despair—as earth’s saviors. As one skeptical character says, “The world is in bad shape; who wouldn’t welcome a savior right now?”
And the show asks: Would we believe them? “The chief allegory here is the idea of blind devotion,” said V executive producer Jeffrey Bell in an interview with Christianity Today. “If anyone is showing up and saying something too good to be true, are people thinking? Are they asking questions? Are they prepared and informed? Are you just accepting and believing what you are told?”
The show’s chief cautionary voice is Father Jack, an Anglican priest. He is skeptical of the Vs—indeed, of the existence of aliens. “I don’t see any basis for this in Scripture,” he tells his elder priest, who has quickly concluded that the aliens are part of God’s plan—not because of miracles as much as increased attendance at worship. Surely, he thinks, God is in this. Besides, the Vatican—which the show mistakenly puts at the head of the Anglican Church—has officially endorsed the Visitors as part of God’s creation. So Father Jack is initially the lone skeptic, preaching that people should fully explore anything they are tempted to believe in. They must compare claims to what they know is true: Scripture. It’s refreshing for a strong Christian character—especially one facing his own existential crisis—to speak for informed, intelligent belief.
Since the Vs masquerade as angels of light, the show feels like a sci-fi take on Christian apocalyptic fiction, especially Left Behind‘s tale of the Antichrist’s rise to power. Like that saga’s Nicolae Carpathia, Anna attains power with lies and deception—a wolf in sheep’s clothing. A desperate world is quick to embrace Anna. As one character says, “[The Visitors are] arming themselves with the most powerful weapon out there: devotion.” But Father Jack and other characters form a small band of freedom fighters who meet secretly to dissect false teachings and spread the truth.
For many readers of this magazine, the series will yield comparisons to the Christian walk, spiritual warfare, and the church. Others may see the story’s depiction of blind devotion as an indictment of the Christian faith. Others still may view the story politically—associating the aliens’ hidden agenda with recent presidential administrations.
In the end, this suspenseful alien yarn suggests a passage from 1 Thessalonians: “Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.” Whether they look like lizard aliens or not.
Todd Hertz is a freelance writer and film/TV critic for CT.