Tag Archives: responsibility

The Key to a Blessing

 So call me crazy… again. Over the years I’ve been blessed with a few musical instruments, most as gifts and some I’ve purchased. But through a couple of friends I was taught to dedicate those to the Lord for the purpose of glorifying the Kingdom. When we’d get a new instrument we’d meet with the preacher or have a time of dedication as musicians and it has always been a blessing. So scroll forward from those days to this past week and the purchasing of a new used car for myself. I realize that I could have likely purchased someone else’s problems, I am still “jump and the net will appear” Shari. I think sometimes there is a fine line between faith and stupidity with me. It is not beyond me to make a decision based on a twenty minute time frame, and for the record, God doesn’t always like time constraints. Sometime He’d like us to ponder a decision, mull it over in our minds and chew on it a while to see if the flavor is just right.

Unfortunately, that’s not how I work.

I pass by a car lot, something shiny catches my eye and I’m ready to purchase. Then reality sits in as I look at the price tag. But before I could get back in my car and off the lot the vultures have circled me and they’re pretty sure that they can hook me up with something within my price range. To top it all off, my car (which had a really bad owner, namely me) has an engine that sounds like a busload of Baptist at a housing project on a soul winning mission. It’s knock, knock and knocking and before you know it, I’m driving off the lot in something shiny. Bada-bing-bada-boom, that’s how life works.

Now I’m driving down I-79 in my Jeep Compass with slightly higher mileage than should be on it thinking… what have I done? In my defense  (I feel like you’re judging me) I’d been praying to the Lord about my car; He and I were on the same page I’m pretty sure… it needed to go. I just wasn’t sure that this was the lot it needed to go on. But so it was in true impulse buying fashion.

The Lord has provided me with a car! Thank You Jesus! An instrument of service so to speak which I’ve determined needs to be dedicated to the Lord. So Sunday morning I approach our interim Pastor and asked him if he’d mind dedicating my car that evening. I think he thought I was joking, but in true seasoned Pastor form, he caught himself before he laughed out loud and said “You’re serious?”

So Sunday evening, in a little bigger dedication service than I had planned, he dedicated my car before the congregation of the Lord. They too probably thought I’d lost my mind. But that’s okay because I knew it was the right thing to do for a number of reasons.

First – Because God knows how I take care of a vehicle. It needs blessed.

Secondly – Because that vehicle is an instrument that’s going to be used for the service of the Lord. Instruments of service are not limited to the cups and offering plates in the sanctuary of the Old Testament temple. That car gets me from point “A” to point “B” on many ventures of the Lord’s service as well as secular service. My motor oil needs the anointing of God to keep it running in top form.

Brother Dennis prayed and God poured His blessings down upon me, and my soul was satisfied that the Jeep Compass in the parking lot was now the property of God.

Micah 4:13 says  ~ Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I will consecrate their gain unto the Lord, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth.

My hoofs aren’t brass, they’re likely some other form of metal but they are consecrated to the Lord. I believe it’s biblical.

The blessing didn’t only ask for a commitment from God to take care of the instrument of service but it also put a responsibility on me to take care of the Lord’s property. Call me crazy… it’s okay. My family already knows it. But I don’t mind being a fool for Christ. That’s biblical too.

Too Stressed for Rest?

stressed

This morning found me taking a nostalgic trip back to a simpler time in my life when all the cares and weight of the world laid upon the backs of my parents who were more than capable of handling the load. My Dad went to work and my stay at home Mom labored to keep heart and home in check throughout the week. Saturday’s came, and for me it meant cartoons on the couch or an occasional chore, but for my mother it meant preparing as much as possible ahead for Sunday. The Lord’s Day. Not just any day but a day of rest. Saturday was preparation day so that after church, even Mom could rest a minute.

Today Saturday’s are filled with housework, yard work, trips to the store or weekend getaways and preparation for Sunday begins at 9 a.m. Sunday morning for most families as they rush to get ready for church, if they’re even going. I’m not throwing stones, just stating a fact (one for which I lived out for many years prior to salvation.) Sunday for me was the day of guilt. I was raised better than to stay at home on Sunday, yet the freedom of adulthood allowed me that privilege and I took advantage of it at every possible opportunity. After all, I was in the workforce now, I needed the rest; and well, Sunday was better than Saturday, because Saturday I had things I wanted to do – like play. Ahem…. I’m preachin’ now!

I’m not a preacher, but King Solomon was when he penned the words in Ecclesiastes 12:10 ~  ”The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth.”

Solomon searched to find words that would be both acceptable in the ears of man and right in ears of God that would encourage the congregation of the Lord. Words of truth. I seek those same words this morning as I write in hopes of encouraging a believer (or non-believer) to reconsider the purpose of the weekend.

I know lives are busy… hello… look at my own! I have something practically every day and evening of the week. So I get why someone, especially a young parent says, I need the rest. But the problems come when they miss the rest. The rest is Sunday, in the Lord’s house. The rest is what comes from hearing the preaching of the Word of God which puts balance into our lives. Even the babies as they go to Sunday School class and interact with other families of faith realize that there’s a purpose in Sunday. And bit by bit seeds are sown into the entire family that makes life better Monday through Saturday.

It’s my prayer as you read this, that it stirs your heart for Sunday morning and today you’ll begin preparing and determining that there will be a difference in Sunday. It will be set aside for rest for the body and soul. Perhaps you’ll even share it with someone else that you know has been to stressed for rest.

Here it is, you likely knew it was coming if you’ve ever heard the verse… Hebrews 10:25 ~ “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

Exhortation! Encouragement! Who doesn’t need it? Hope to see you in church tomorrow!

 

The New Heroes

In a conference class yesterday the story is told of a young couple, who at the age of 18 decide to marry. Not long afterwards it’s discovered that they’re expecting their first child. And then he loses his job; he can’t make his car payment so he loses their car. He struggles to get a job because transportation is now an issue. But they fight back. They buckle down and make it through. He gets another job and they barely make ends meet, but they make it. It’s the modern day hero. No superman cape flying in the wind. No rescuing the damsel in distress. Just the reality of living and trying to keep food on the table.

And such was the case in the story of the widow of Zarephath in 1st Kings 17:11-16

And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand. And she said, As the Lord thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die. And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son. For thus saith the Lord God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth. And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days. And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Elijah.

She’d all but given up on life and then a man of God stops by and things change. She didn’t win the lottery, she’s not now dining on steak and potatoes; just the meal and oil. Elijah didn’t come with a cape and whisk her off her feet, he came with provision of the Word of God and survival followed.

My new heroes.

I look around my church and I see them. Snotty nosed babies, Momma’s with disheveled clothes from her baby’s constant tugging. A daddy, slightly slumped in his seat, eyes glazed over from too few hours of sleep, and the strain of “just surviving” written all over his face. There’s not a prophet on their porch with an endless supply of meal and oil. Just the mail man with a late payment notice on their car loan. And as the collection plate is passed down the row, the closer it gets the greater the temptation to just leave their tithe out, because a few more groceries would be nice this week, and it’s not much anyway. Surely their tithe won’t break the church bank. But he drops it in, and believes… God’s got this.

They’re my new heroes.

It’s the grandmother who thought she was done raising children, but life began anew. And so did the expenses. It’s the widow who eats peanut butter and toast all week, so she can save for a ham on Sunday to share with her family. It’s the widower who has no financial issues, because there’s no one to buy for. What I’ve come to realize is that it’s not always a prophet that God sends to stretch the meal and oil. I’m not rich, Elijah wasn’t either. He had faith, the widow had faith and together God made heroes… Survivors. Look for them along your path today, they’re plentiful! Perhaps you can help them multiply the meal and oil.

Elephants and Idiots

Today is National Elephant Day. A day set aside to honor the mammoth creation of God. These gentle giants have been a favorite of children and adults for years. From Dumbo to Babar they’ve made children’s stories and cartoons come to life. One of my favorite audio books was “Juggling Elephants” a story of a man’s experience with the circus and learning to become the ringmaster of his life. I’ve spent much of my life juggling elephants, which is seldom productive. Which is why I often resort to audio books, because in my multi-tasking way it allows me to do two things at once, usually drive. But this morning my reference to the elephants and idiots, is more about the Elephant in the room, which is a favorite idiom of mine referring to something as plain as the trunk on an elephants face, and yet ignored. Welcome to America. The land of idioms and idiots.

It is by God’s immutable grace that America still exists. Our nation as a whole is ran in absolute ignorance as they spend billions of dollars on wars (not our own) and on political factions (which unfortunately are our own) and the American public sits by and chooses to ignore it as if it will magically be all better someday. We pay people for their inept running of our nations and treat them like rock stars when they come into our community and hold no one in Washington accountable for the actions, be they democrat or republican. Why?

Revelation 18:4-5 ~ And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.  For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.

It’s Sunday morning. My skirt and blouse are hung on the door waiting to be donned and my hair and makeup waiting to be strategically placed to make look like a princess and my heart is on that place that I call home, Heaven. And I hear out of Heaven this morning as I write, “Your nation needs to come out from among them,” and I don’t know how to make them understand, other than to use this very small platform as it is and tell my friends, it has to start somewhere. We can continue to ignore it, and wait for Jesus to return or we can lift our petitions to Heaven, and tell God we’re ready to take America back to the foundation of its roots and then head out the door to church.

Church? Really. I hear it being said. What can the church do? Take a lesson from the elephants. The size and strength of healthy adult elephants leavens tem less susceptible to a predating lion. They’re more apt to be harmed by a human. Their calves are vulnerable to the lion, but the larger cows heard the calves into the center of the herd for protection. Can you see the application that can be made to the church today? A healthy church is much less susceptible to the predator Satan, they’re more apt to be harmed by the people with them, especially a new baby Christian. We need to join together, and make sure our leadership is going in the direction we want. We need to protect the young Christian, and children in our congregations from what the world says is “normal.” We need to stand together as a Christian nation.

I’m not a “let’s all hold hands and get along Christian.” There are too many false religions that are taking people to Hell for me to link hands with everyone and the Bible clearly says to “Come out from among them.” 2 Corinthians 6:17. Revelation 18:4 said it again. But I believe there’s a big remnant that could be called up this morning to make a difference.

For some reason we look at our general congregation size and view that as the church. But look at the statistics.

ATTENDANCE

# OF CHURCHES

WEEKLY WORSHIPERS

PERCENT

7-99

177,000

9 million

59%

100-499

105,000

25 million

35%

500-999

12,000

9 million

4%

1,000-1,999

6,000

8 million

2%

2,000-9,999

1,170

4 million

.4%

10,000-plus

40

.7 million

.01%

TOTALS

approx. 300,000

approx. 56 million

100%

Facts from the Hartford Institute for Religion Research.

Fifty-six million people in churches across America (and yes I understand that they are not all biblically correct) but even so, 56 million and we allow the American leadership to tell us that we cannot make a difference. Hello? Does anyone else see that as ludicrous besides me?

I fully believe that America’s sins have reached Heaven. I believe God is going to get fed up with us and our lackluster attitude towards serious faith. But I believe we can make a difference. I pray you’ll head to your church this morning and think about the idiom and call your congregation to come out from among the idiots. We never belonged there.