Thirty-Something Flavors

 As a boy, I remember going to Thrifty’s five & dime for ice cream. It was a nickel a scoop. Someone could have a cone with four scoops of ice cream for less than a quarter. Of course I was not that greedy, and would get two, or occasionally three scoops, under parental supervision of course.  Can you have too much of a good thing? I had opportunity to learn that lesson when I saw a kid with a quarters worth of ice cream towering above his cone. Five stories of goodness passing by made my mouth water with a bit of jealousy. However, a child’s hand, is not a stable foundation for faulty towers. Clean up on isle 5 please! O the tears that follow fallen dreams of more!

Now godliness with contentment is great gain. (I Timothy 6:6 NKJV)

Then someone thought we needed more flavors, thirty-something flavors. It’s exciting to have plenty of options. In fact, it is portrayed that those with many options have achieved a degree of success. I’ve stood there, for hours it seems, at the counter, looking over the various flavors, where vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry, seem so passé. There are miniature spoons to taste the new concoctions. How do you choose between them all?

 

When we came into the world, we brought nothing. And when we die, we can take nothing out. So, if we have food and clothes, we will[should] be satisfied with that. (1 Timothy 6:7, 8 ERV)

I see the same desire for MORE in the eyes of my children. And I’m a part of the reason it’s there. It seems to be part of the American Dream – to want more for our children than we had. The difficulty with more is that we wind up with more to take care of, more to protect, more to spend time with. In our home that can sometimes sound like this – “you’ve got your junk strewn all over the house! How many times have I told you to pick up this mess! No wonder we never have time to do anything as a family!” And the kids are just as bad as I am. 

Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. (1 Timothy 6:6, 8 NLT)

I think the Devil enjoys seeing the desire for more so well developed in God’s children. After all, he wanted more. He got Adam and Eve to want more. I’d say he’s masterful at breeding discontentment so that we are so carried away with our desires that we no longer have time for the things that are most important; time with God and family.

Time to weigh in the balances; the things that lead to heaven we’ll keep, the things that lead away, we’ll let go of!

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Redeemable

Redeemable

I remember collecting used, empty bottles as a kid. We’d take them to the corner store, hand them to the clerk, and get money to buy gum, candy, or more soda. Sometimes we needed to buy regular stuff like bread, or milk, cause we didn’t have much money. I thought it was pretty cool that someone decided that empty bottles had value.

What’s better, is that God has decided that my empty, and used up life has value.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, (Romans 3:23, 24 NKJV)

I’m redeemable! So are you! And he doesn’t want us for junk food. He wants us for good stuff – salt and light.

The empty bottles I turned in were washed and refilled and put back in the soda machine. Because they could be used again, they had value.

God wants to wash away the grime of sin in my life, refill me with refreshment, and put me back out there to refresh . . . you, maybe? This is exceedingly great value – as we refresh each other, we now have meaning, or purpose. We get to serve others, over and over.
Redeemable is pretty cool!

Money back, or ahead? (from our church news letter)

TESTIMONY
Money Back – or
Ahead?
As a businessman who believes in
the Biblical principles of stewardship, I’ve been used to retuning what I
thought was a faithful tithe. Each year,
after the accounting is done, I’ve corrected the amount of the tithe that I
had contributed and was happy in the
thought that I was faithful.
But a sermon by our pastor changed
my thinking. In essence, the pastor described a money-back offer: If we had returned our tithe in faith and found that
we couldn’t do without that tithe money
in our budget, he would see to it that we
got it back after a period of time. That
offer really got me thinking.
Was I really living on faith, trusting
my needs to God, or was I just returning
a dividend on what God had given me?
That month I decided to find out.
I decided to return my anticipated
next year’s tithe for the whole year in advance and see what God would choose
for my income. I added a fourteen percent increase over the previous year’s
tithe and put the check in the tithe envelope. In April I changed my business
from a sole proprietor to a corporation
and started receiving a monthly salary.
On this income I returned tithe also.
A year went by: my business gross
sales for that year were up fourteen
percent, and so was my faith. My warehouse is now full to overflowing.
– Jack McNeilus

Why All The Delays?

Why All The Delays?
If a train leaves Fort Worth, heading west . . . And another train leaves Oregon, headed south . . .
These kinds of math riddles had a way of making me feel completely inept. Falling for the lie, you’re dumb, I struggled with so many math concepts! I like what Bob Goff says in his book, Love Does, “Jesus plus nothing. . .” Even I can figure that one out. It reminds me of what Paul says to the people of Corinth, ” . . . Only when you are weak can everything be done completely by my power.” So I will gladly boast about my weaknesses. Then Christ’s power can stay in me. (2 Corinthians 12:9 ERV)
Here’s how things can work out when you trust. We, Love Doers, planned to leave for Napa, Ca. Sunday morning, May twelve. Friday, May ten, Sammy got sick and didn’t recover till Tuesday. Saturday, May eleven, the air conditioner in the van went out. It was repaired Wednesday afternoon. Wednesday evening, as Becky and I were packing the van, we heard the siren and warning to seek shelter immediately, “this is a tornado warning!” Thursday morning, May sixteen, we gathered our family for prayer and to seek direction. It was clear that we should go do all we could to help our Granbury neighbors. We unpacked the van and repacked with everything Becky could think of that would be useful. Friday, May 17, we pray and consider the possibility of a twenty-seven hour drive to be at Erika’s wedding. We decide to make the journey and stop to look at a bus in Wichita Falls that may fit our family for the work ahead. Becky took the wheel at about three pm. Several pit stops later, in Albuquerque, I took the wheel at four am. Several more pit stops brought us to Bakersfield, Ca. 5 pm. Aaron was passing by the front of our car. He looked at me hesitantly. My smile must have encouraged him to ask for help. So very timidly, he asked for a “little” help. Boldly I told him, “that’s exactly why I’m here!” He looked gratefully surprised. The relief in his eyes erased the fatigue in my body. “How much do you need,” I asked? Twenty dollars worth should get us home,” was his reply. I had him put in forty. “You need enough to allow for other things once you’re home,” I said. He made sure to hit forty exactly. As we talked I told how it was that we had arrived at the exact time they needed help – when a family van leaves Fort Worth, traveling at . . . NOT! I explained how God had placed us on an intersecting path because he knew we were listening. I shared all our delays but that God used it all to connect his kids in need – those who needed help, and those who needed to help. I also described the invitation to come home, He was extending to everyone. “We will be heavenly neighbors,” I volunteered. Our family prayed over Aaron And his family. As he walked away, Aaron said, “God sent you as angels.”
The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. (Psalms 32:8 NLT)
So now that you know God (or should I say, now that God knows you), why do you want to go back again and become slaves once more to the weak and useless spiritual principles of this world? (Galatians 4:9 NLT)
Knowing we are all family sets us free to be Love Doers.

In Light of What Happened At Granbury.

Morning Watch 5/17/13
We Have Hope
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 NLT)
. . . Oh, we’ll be walking on air! And then there will be one huge family reunion . . . So reassure one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:17-18 MSG)
We have this hope!

Tests!

Morning Watch 5/16/13
Tests!
Lord, you have tested me, so you know all about me. Lord, you know what I want to say, even before the words leave my mouth. You are all around me—in front of me and behind me. I feel your hand on my shoulder. I am amazed at what you know; it is too much for me to understand. Your Spirit is everywhere I go. I cannot escape your presence. (Psalms 139:1, 4-7 ERV)
Wherever you go, God is with you.
Like ceaseless waves at the ocean, waves of doubt wash over me. Again and again I’m tempted to trust myself over my maker. My mind reels with thoughts of how this cannot work, and how to find solutions.
In the background I hear a small voice, a childlike voice, singing, “when I am afraid I will trust in you. I will trust in you. I will trust in you.
I begin thinking of all the things that have brought us here. I look at my children and see how they have no concern for today’s needs- mommy or daddy will care for them.
Where is my faith in the one who promises to more perfectly provide for me; to guide me?
When I am afraid I will trust in you. I will trust in you. I will trust in you.
I choose HOPE! God! Help me believe the promises! I need your hand on my shoulder!
We were supposed to leave Sunday. Sammy got sick on Friday. Our van lost AC on Saturday. Sammy was all better by Tuesday. The van was fixed Wednesday afternoon. We started to pack the van Wed evening. Sirens signaling a tornado warning began sounding at 8 something. We are finding we don’t have room for so many of the things we believe we need to do the work we are set out to do. We would like to be in Albuquerque before sundown today.
Really, I just want to remain in God’s hands!