Posts

Showing posts from June, 2012

Beyond Saying "I Do"

Image
Today on my calendar I have marked the word "wedding." Yep. I get to officiate another wedding ... something I have enjoyed doing a few times across the course of the past thirty years.

Marriage has been in the news a lot in recent months ... especially since our president has come out in support of gay marriage. There has been a lot of discussion about marriage and what it is and who it is for. So ... here are a couple of thoughts on the issue.

- Marriage is a gift ... a gift from the God who made us and who knows what is best for us. He knows that for the vast majority of us, it is in our best interest that we be married (see Genesis 2:18-24). 


- Marriage is to be between a man and a woman. From the beginning, marriage was designed by God be a one man ... one woman relationship (see also Matthew 19:4-9). 


- Marriage is also to be life-long. Jesus makes it clear in the Matthew 19 passage that marriage that from the get-go, God clearly intends that people marry for life.


Now ..…

The Power of Encouraging Words

Image
Yesterday I did something that was looooonnnnnggg over due – I cleaned up my office. That meant doing something that I would rather not have to do … file! In the process, I pulled out an old file that I have had for many years. I call it my “encouragement” or “get up” file. In it I have accumulated notes of encouragement I have received across the years. One note in particular, written by a family upon the occasion of our leaving Pittsburgh to move here to Lancaster, brought tears to my eyes. Imagine that. The note was written almost 23 years ago … yet it still retained the power to massage my heart and lift up my soul. There is power in encouraging words! (But beware; there is also power in destructive, discouraging words! But that is a topic for another day’s blog.)
The book of Proverbs tells us that “pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones” (Proverbs 16:24) and “an anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up” (Proverbs 12:25).…

A La Carte Thursday

Image
Here are my a la carte offerings for this week. I hope you can find something of note to help you in your journey of grace!

1. How do you answer someone when they say to you, "You don't REALLY believe in hell, do you?" Tim Callies offers a great response to this question (a question that is being increasingly asked in this day and age).

2. Also today, the biblical concept of marriage is under attack. Here is a great biblical definition of marriage. 

3. Francis Chan in a brief video (3:40) on aging biblically. 


4. Dads .... here's one for you ... stop stealing from your children. 


5.On a lighter note . . . 


Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Remember those Who Are Hurting!

Image
The weather yesterday and today has been quite refreshing ... especially consider the calendar reads "June 27th." Someone earlier today said they could take this kind of weather ALL SUMMER LONG. No argument from me on that! With sunshine and low humidity, it has been a delight to be outside (not to mention the delight I am feeling at keeping my air conditioner in the "off" position!).

But as delightful as it has been here, elsewhere it is a very different story. I am thinking of the flooding in north Florida and the wild fires raging in Colorado. Both of these natural disasters are just that ... disasters for those who are losing their homes and for some, their lives.

I think there is a lesson here in this for each of us. When things are going well for us ... and we are feeling quite comfortable with "life" - we must not lose site that for others it may not be so. Therefore, we need to be keeping our "radar" on .... being mindful that for many …

Judging the Proverbial Book by Its Proverbial Cover!

Image
Yesterday being a Monday was a day off for me ... well sort of. As I usually do on Mondays,  I slept in (which I did ... got up around 7:00 - AM that is, not PM!), got some projects done around the house (yep, cut the lawn, treated my trees (they needed some iron supplements) and balanced the check book), and ran some errands (did this too!). One of our errands was to head to the mall to pick up a suit I had altered (only to get there and find out that the suit had not come in yet! Such is life! And it helps not to sweat the small stuff, yes?).

On our way into the mall, I noticed a younger man sporting a beard and wearing clothes that I would not be caught dead in! In addition, he was carrying an aluminum brief case (of the likes I had not seen in some time). Oh ... and before I forget, he was wearing TWO wrist watches on each wrist. When I noticed that, I suggested to my wife that he wore a watch for each time zone in the U.S.

Now ...I know everyone has a story. And I do not know wh…

A Video Worth Watching!

Image
A friend sent me a link to a CBS news video about a WW2 widow. Her husband was a fighter pilot during the war ... a war from which he never returned. I encourage you to take a minute or two (actually the video is about six minutes in length) to watch this moving video ... that has some lessons about marital commitment (Matthew 19:3-9) and giving honor to whom honor is due (Romans 13:7). Click here to enjoy this video.

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj


A La Carte Thursday

Image
Hoping you find something here that will assist you in your spiritual journey!

1. Steve Saint (author of The End of the Spear and son of Nate Saint, missionary who, in 1956 lost his life in an attack by the Waodani Indians in Ecuador) was seriously injured last week during a test of a new device his ministry was developing. Here is a an update ... and make sure you scroll down the page and watch the video titled, "The Next Chapter." 

2. If you like rap ... here is one with great words about the sufficiency of Christ ... by Timothy Brindle.

3. How does one honor God in an unequally yoked marriage? Sarah Flashing offers some solid insights from Scripture. 


4. Nate Shurden shares 8 Simple Instructions to Share Christ. 


5. Here is a great article on laying hold of God's willingness in prayer. 


6. Here is a great list from Nancy DeMoss on 31 biblical virtues to pray for your kids!  


6. On a lighter note ... It's the Dad Life!(thanks Scott!)


Thanks for stopping by . . .
p…
Image
It's Vacation Bible School Week!!! Yesterday was our second of five days of Vacation Bible School here at Grace. And what a day it was! 211 kids showed up! We were thrilled (and a bit apprehensive). But all went well and we are looking forward to Day #3 today!

Given the busyness of this week (I am playing the role of Kam, the guide of Promise Island. We do a skit at each opening and closing), I may not be able to blog quite so much as usual. But I am going to make an effort to give it my best shot!

What excites me most about our VBS is that during the week, we have a great opportunity to introduce these little ones to Jesus Christ. We know that children have a very special place in the heart of Jesus. When parents were bringing their children to Jesus, seeking a blessing from him, the disciples tried to send them away. In their minds, the Master had far more important things to do than to bless a bunch of kids. But when Jesus saw what his disciples were doing, he grew angry with the…

Is God Really Good?

Image
Whenever something "bad" happens to us ... when the unexpected and uninvited difficulty crashes into our lives knocking us over and leaving us breathless ... it is at these times that the Enemy comes along and asks, "Is God really good? Don't you think if he were truly good ... then he certainly would not allow you to have to suffer this sort of pain, yes?"

This strategy of Satan of tempting us to doubt God's goodness is nothing new. It's as old as the Garden of Eden. For in his temptation of Eve, he implicitly suggests that God is holding out on her and Adam in giving them one (imagine that, ONE) restriction.  And so Satan says to Eve, "Listen, Eve. God doesn't want you eating that fruit because he knows that if and when you do, you will become like him. And as far as he is concerned, there is room in this universe for only one God .... and it's not you!" (see Genesis 3:4-5). Eve bought the devil's lie, and we have been paying th…

A Prayer of Thanksgiving for God's Mercy!

Image
O gracious almighty God,
How thankful I am that you are indeed
A God who is generous ... and who loves to be merciful.
I realize that I do not grasp just how desperate
I truly am apart from your mercy.

Help me this day ... as I worship you
To humble myself before YOU
As I rejoice and find comfort in your mercy.

Thank you, Father, for the gift of your Son.
Thank you, Father, for giving me life,
Forgiving my sins, for making me whole.

And thank you, Abba, for your never-ending,
Never-failing, always sufficient mercy!

In Christ's name I pray,
Amen.

It's Time to SLOW DOWN!

Image
The first automobile race in America occurred on Nov. 28, 1895. Six of these new “horseless carriages” traveled from Jackson Park in Chicago to Evanston, Illinois, about 54 miles. J. Frank Duryea won with a time of 7 hrs. 53 minutes. Now if you do the math, you will discover that Duryea averaged about 7 mph across the course of the race (which makes you wonder what the other five drivers averaged!). Today we laugh at that kind of speed (or should I say “lack" of speed!). NASCAR races feature speeds well over 100 mph with the fastest track being the Talladega Superspeedway where the record race average speed is 188 mph (and with a record qualifying lap of 212.809 mph!). Now that is fast! Far faster than Duryea’s then record setting 7 mph! 
Speed is something that we have come to expect. Life here in 21st century America is fast. And with each passing year it seems to accelerate in speed! This is why it is absolutely vital for us to regularly make some time to disengage from the p…

Seek to Overkill in the Killing of Sin!

Image
About 6 weeks or so ago, the local utility company, PPL, sent contractors to take down trees in the neighborhood of our church facility. And take down trees they did!  Their reason for doing so was to keep the 75 foot right of way of their high voltage electrical wires clear of trees.

According to PPL spokesman, Paul Wirth, "There has been a change in the way PPL is dealing with high-voltage transmission lines.Those lines are key to the electrical grid. They serve a wide region. If a tree would potentially fall on that line, it would impact potentially thousands of businesses and homes for potentially a long time. So, for the last several years, PPL has been removing more trees from rights of way than in the past (go to Lanacaster online to see more on this story)."

OK. I get that. We don't want to lose power from a tree falling on an electrical wire. But when I saw all the trees which were being removed (some not much taller than me), I just had to scratch my head as I…

Some Questions as You Start Your Week

Image
As I got to thinking this morning ... some questions about life and faith popped into my head. Thought I would pass them on to you for you to think about (I chose seven to share as seven is, after all, the number of completion!).

1. If we truly believe that God wants us to pray .... and that He will not only hear our prayers but respond to our prayers, then why do we pray so little?

2. Why are we so quick to focus on what we do not have but want instead of focusing on what we do have (much of which we really don't need and all of which we in no way deserve)?

3. If we truly believe the gospel of Jesus Christ is the best news anyone could ever hear, then why are we so reluctant to share this good news with others?

4. If we embrace the Bible's teaching that everything we have belongs to God, why do we give such a puny amount to Christ's church and other kingdom of God causes?

5. If we really believe that the Bible is God's Word, why do we spend so little time in it?

6. …

Merci pour les escargots!

Image
Two weeks ago we enjoyed a week-long visit with two very dear missionary friends. Paul and Louise Klawitter have been serving in Dijon, France for somewhere around 25 years. It is always a joy to reconnect with them when they come to the States.

Their visit with us brought back memories of January 2007. It was then that my wife and I had the joy (and I do mean JOY!) to visit Paul, Louise and their son Philip and daughter Elise in Dijon. Among the many unique experiences we had (first trip to France,  first time to eat a crepe on the streets of Paris, first time to use my limited French to ask, "Excuse me, sir, where is the bathroom?", etc.) was the culinary delight of eating snails.


I must admit that when the Klawitters suggested snails for the menu ... I was not so sure. I had never eaten snails before ... never really had the desire!  But I did know that snails (escargot in French) were a popular delicacy in France.  Paul and Louise (along with then 16 year old Elise and 1…

Thursday A La Carte

Image
Hope you enjoy and can find something you will find beneficial for your journey of grace! 
1. Here's a book review that I found compelling about a vital - yet often neglected - aspect of our Christian walk. I plan to buy (and read the book). 
2. Speaking of books ... for those of you who like to read e-books, check out Amazon's gospelebooks site. You can pick up some really great deals here (and subscribe for their regular email as the deals are constantly changing!). Today I noticed that Gracia Burnham's book, In the Presence of My Enemies is FREE! In this book she recounts her and her husband's year long captivity in the Philippines. It's a great read (I know, I read it!). 
3. My parents are gone ... but perhaps you still have one or both still living. Here we are between Mother's Day and Father's Day ... so I thought it might be a good time to think about the fifth commandment. To help you do so, here's an insightful article by Dennis Raniey, The Be…

Pray Always!

Image
If you are anything like me (and I suspect you are!), then you struggle to pray as you know you should. It is not my purpose with this post to add guilt to the guilt you may already been feeling. Rather, I want to encourage you with some encouraging words I read from E.M. Bounds this morning.

In Luke 18:1 we read the following, "And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought alwaystopray and not lose heart." Here is what Bounds wrote concerning the need (and privilege) we as followers of Christ have to pray and to pray always:



"The always speaks for itself. Prayer is not a meaningless function or duty to be crowded into the busy or the weary ends of the day, and we arc not obeying our Lord's command when we content ourselves with a few minutes on our knees in the morning rush or late at night when the faculties, tired with the tasks of the day, call out for rest. God is always within call, it is true; his ear is ever attentive to the cry of his child, but …

A Simple Prayer for Your Sunday

Image
Gracious and Almighty God,

How thankful I am today for your salvation,
So free to me, yes ... but at a great cost to You.
I am truly amazed when I think how (and why)
You set your love upon me "while I was still a sinner!"

Help me this day to think of You, to reflect on your grace,
To adore Your majesty, to seek your face, to honor your name.
In the words of Israel's shepherd-king David,
"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable to You, O LORD my rock and my redeemer."

This day . . . and every day!

In the name of Jesus, Your son and my savior.

Amen.


Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj