Sunday, May 20, 2018

Greater Love


Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

My dad was drafted in WWII but was turned down without explanation. He was drafted again during the Korean Conflict and sent to Germany as part of occupation forces. Thankfully he didn't have to give his life, but every person who enters the armed forces faces that possibility. 

Next weekend we celebrate Memorial Day, the day set aside to honor those who have given their lives for our freedom. Freedom has never been and never will be free. I personally want to say thank you to every veteran who has served this country and to those who laid down their lives for us. It is their love for freedom and for family that compels them to make the ultimate sacrifice. 

But there is another who deserves even more thanks for laying down His life for me and you. Jesus Christ came out of love for us knowing He would face death. Knowing His death would be necessary for our salvation. Through Christ Jesus, we can not only be free from the burden of sin in this life but free to live with Christ for all eternity. Not on a cloud, strumming a harp, but doing those things that most please God. Perhaps spending time in conversation, walking in the cool of a garden. Perhaps singing. Perhaps picking fruit from a tree that bears twelve different varieties. 

We grumble and complain about our lives and our government, but there is no other place on earth to enjoy the freedom and comforts we have here. I have traveled outside the US to a third world country. If you've never been there, you cannot imagine. There will be no grumbling or complaining when we see the gifts Jesus has prepared for us through His love and sacrifice. 

Thank you to all who have served,
and thank you to my Lord and Savior.
Gail

Hey Kids:
I dug out an old photo of my dad in uniform to share today.
I remember as a child he would show us this picture and tell us a little of the things he did in service. He laid telephone lines and called artillery fire. 
He also taught us a little German. I thought kartoffeln was just another word for potatoes because he would just ask us to pass the kartoffeln. When I took German in high school, I learned I had actually learned bits and pieces of another language.
Take a little time this weekend to find out who has served in your family. 
Ask mom and dad to dig out old photos and tell a few stories of your families sacrifice of love.
Don't forget to say a thank you to those still living and don't forget to thank the One who gave the greatest sacrifice of love for us.



For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

Sunday, May 13, 2018

The Best Recipe



Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6
I’ve got this pretty good pound cake recipe I like to use for Mother’s Day because it goes well with fresh strawberries. I say pretty good because it has good texture and flavor, but to make it Mad Dog Pound Cake I have to add the boiled syrup. I pour the syrup over the cake and in the middle. It sits and soaks and mmmmmmmmmmm. With the first bite, the syrup is running out the corner of your mouth and dripping off your chin. Of course, that’s an exaggeration but it sure seems that good.
Our lives are a lot like good pound cake. Most of us would say we are pretty good people, but is pretty good, good enough to get us into heaven? My pound cake totally changes when the syrup is poured over it and into it. The syrup can’t be removed and no one would want to scrape it off. No one wants the cake without the syrup once they’ve tried it. Jesus said no one comes to the Father but by Him. He is the way, the truth, and the life. We can’t get to heaven or be a true Christian without first coming to Jesus. When our lives are covered by His blood and filled with the Holy Spirit, we are totally different people, fit for the kingdom of God. Only Jesus makes us good enough. Like syrup, once we’ve experienced salvation, there’s no going back to the old pretty good person and no one would want to.
Happy Mother’s Day.

Hey Kids:
Have you ever tried to make a recipe and it "flopped"? Once I used the wrong kind of flour in my cake recipe. It overflowed into the oven and created a horrible mess. 
I just used self-rising flour instead of plain flour! Not a big deal one would think.
What would happen if I had put in salt instead of sugar? The cake would have to be completely thrown out and started over!
Our lives are like recipes. 
God has the recipe for us. We just need to read and follow His plan.
Romans 3:23 says For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
Somehow we all manage to add that sin "ingredient" into our lives.
Now, how do we fix the problem? We can't, but God can!
Romans 10:13 says Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. II Corinthians 6:17

Sunday, May 6, 2018

On Guard


Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth.
“The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,” says the LordAlmighty.
So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful. Malachi 2:15,16

Once there was a village set high on a cliff. The children were held close in the village for there were no fences on the cliff's edge. One day a man passing through the village suggested the villagers erect fences around the cliff so the children could freely play. The children would see the fence and not be afraid of going over the cliff. 
Perhaps you've heard this tale or one similar, but I think it bears telling again. So many of society's boundaries are coming down. Our children become more and more at risk of falling into step with a culture that will eventually take them the edge of life's cliff. Opioid addiction, immoral lifestyles, and teen suicide are all on the rise. Society has been tearing down the walls of morality for several decades. The voice of the church has largely been quieted by the loud voice of the media, convincing many that those who object are marginal weirdos. 
For the sake of our children, we must raise our voices and rebuild the walls. It may cost us financially and socially, but we are not forsaken. We must begin to rebuild the family, with moms and dads who put the nurturing of their children ahead of finances and society's expectations. Bond with families who are willing to share their knowledge and make sacrifices for the sake of the children. Learn skills that will save your family money. Most importantly, return to the God of our Fathers. Families that pray together, stay together. It all begins at the family altar. 
Hey Kids: 
My four-year-old class planted flower seeds for Mother's Day gifts. One of the boys asked if I had a garden. "Yes," I said.''Do you?"
"Yes, we have all the vegetables in it. We all help, even me."
Families have always worked together until jobs and stores took the place of family work. 
An old proverb says, "Many hands make light work."
Helping makes the work go faster, seem easier, and more fun.
Ask Mom and Dad to help you make a list of ways you can help your family.
Here are some suggestions to get you started.
1. Makeup beds.
2. Set the table and clean the table.
3. Wash dishes.
4. Help plant a garden. Then pick and help preserve.
5. Older kids may mow the lawn.
6. Learn to hunt and fish. Don't forget to clean and eat what you kill.
7. Learn to sew, knit and crochet. Begin simple but you may find your passion here.
8. Learn to build things and fix cars. Here again, begin small but this can become a passion.
9.
10.
What else can you do to help your family? By the way, all of this is without pay. You're helping your family, not working a job. 




Sunday, April 29, 2018

Danger

 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:11,12

As I drove around the lake this evening, a pair of geese caught my eye. They waddled anxiously along the roadside, necks outstretched. A half a dozen little fluff balls tumbled between them and the fence. The parents were trying to shoo their little gaggle of goslings under a fence away from the traffic and back to the lake. 
I thought how our heavenly Father constantly stands between us and danger, trying to lead us in the right direction. He gave His only Son to protect us from eternal destruction. As parents, God gives us the same responsibility of protecting our children from the physical and spiritual dangers they face daily. We usually do a good job with physical protection, but there is so much more out there that our children unknowingly may stumble into. How can we as parents daily monitor our children's spiritual lives at home, at school, and with friends? He has given us the instruction manual. What ways has God shown you to protect your children? Please share your insights. 
Hey Kids:
Did you know Satan tries to trick even kids into believing and doing the wrong things? 
It's easy to know fighting and lying and stealing are wrong. 
Satan likes to take things little by little and step by step so we don't notice we're stepping onto a dangerous path. 
How do you safeguard your heart from Satan's trickery?
Your friends and I would love to learn your strategies. 


Sunday, April 22, 2018

Today




Today

 This morning, a pair of hungry house finches searched
 the wreath on the door.
 At noon, a wren sang a song from the dogwood tree.
Black, against the evening sky, three geese flew in form, 
What did I do today?

Was I hungry for God’s Word this morning?
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Did I search for the Truth I need to hear?
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Did I sing a song of rejoicing at noon?
Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.

Did I work in unity with the brethren?
That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

What did I do today?


References: Matt.5:6; John 8:32; Psalms 100:1; John 17:21

Hey Kids:

April is Poetry Month.
I wrote a little free verse about birds.
Each bird I observed reminded me of something the Lord wants us to do.
What are you observing this week?
How is the Lord using your observations to direct you?

Hope my attempt at poetry inspires you to write a little too. Let me know how it turns out.


Sunday, April 15, 2018

Tale as Old as Time


But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

This weekend our school district presented four performances of Beauty and the Beast to packed out crowds. The participants were from four years old to high school seniors. The performance was outstanding!

Why do we continue to love fairy tales? Could it be we see ourselves, the condition of our lives and the answer to our struggles? Yes, Beauty and the Beast has that underlying theme of Romans 5:8, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Let's examine some of the characters and how they resemble us today and our relationship with Christ. 

The story starts with a handsome prince refusing compassion on an old woman who in reality was a beautiful young girl with the power to turn him into a beast. His true self now showed. His lack of compassion also affected the rest of his kingdom transforming them into fixtures. 

Meanwhile, back in town a sweet innocent young girl, Belle, was being harassed by Gaston, or tempted. We might say the lure of the world and all it had to offer was at work in that town. Belle's father was an inventor, a creator, rejected by the town, but loved by his only daughter. Belle would do anything for her father including sacrificing her own life when he was taken captive by the Beast. Belle also had compassion for the Beast and his kingdom, though treated rudely by the Beast.  Then there's the rose, slowly wilting, shortening the time left for the rescue of the Beast and his kingdom. Belle's first thought is always to please her father. Her second thought is to have compassion on those in need.

We are in need. A loving Son who always seeks to please His Father has compassion on us and sacrificed Himself for us. The change He makes in us gives us a compassionate heart like His and reaches those around us. (Acts 16:31 Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved and thy house). Time is short. The rose is wilting. Our lives are running out. Have we chosen Christ? Or are we still chasing the things of the world like the silly villagers always after Gaston's approval? 

Hey Kids:

We often relate to stories because we identify with a character in the story. 
What is your favorite fairy tale?
Why and how do you relate to it? 

Please share your thoughts.
Have the Compassion to make a Difference,
Gail

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Mockingbirds and Christians


And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. Mark 4:7

The mockingbird called from the abandoned TV antennae on our roof. He sang one bird song after another. He knew hundreds. Then he paused, flew up in a dance showing off the white feathers under his wings. He must have been showing out for some girl bird off in the trees. Every spring he does his song and dance. Then they build a nest in the thorny wild orange tree in our backyard. It's not high off the ground, but no one and nothing would even think about fighting those thorns for a bite of nestlings. Those little mockingbirds grow up to copy other birds and make their nests among the thorns, low to the ground. 

Christians have their own identities - our actions, but often we want to copy others so we fit in, to impress others, to feel confident. We often end up in thorny situations where our testimonies is choked by the cares of the world. Others, especially our children see our actions and imitate us. The thorns of life choke them and keep them from attaining all they might. 

Father, may we have one voice, Your words, because Your words are truth. May we rise above the things of this world that would entangle us. May we aspire to be just like Jesus. In His name we pray.  Amen. 

Hey Kids:
The birds have returned to our area this week. 
The bright yellow of the goldfinches, the red and rust cardinal pairs, and yes, the mockingbirds are all filling the trees with song and color. 
It might be fun to take a few minutes to observe the habits of the birds of your area. Watch as they bring nesting material to trees, bushes and birdhouses. 
Notice how the males draw attention to themselves. 
Watch a male cardinal feed his intended bride. 
Supplying food and water may increase your close up view of birds in your backyard. 
What thoughts does God bring to your mind while watching His creation in action? 

The weather is warm. While you're outside exploring, what has God brought to your attention?

Spring blessings,
Gail