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Showing posts from May, 2014

Friday Coffee with PJ

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Well, I have already had my Friday morning coffee (eating breakfast out means more coffee than I probably should drink!) ... and you probably have finished yours. So ... without the coffee ... here are a couple of thoughts for your day.

1. I just LOVE the Old Testament book of wisdom, Proverbs. In fact the title literally means "instead of - pro" and "words - verb") ... so you put them together and a proverb is "instead of words." In essence a proverb offers up much wisdom in few words. And if you have done much reading in this book, you know its true. For example, one of my favorite proverbs is 10:19 which reads, "When words are many, transgression is not lacking,but whoever restrains his lips is prudent." Now that is RIGHT ON! Far too often I have gotten myself into trouble by moving my jaws before engaging my brain! More of us could stand to listen more and talk less! Another of my favorite proverbs is 25:17:"Let your foot be seldom in …

A Couple of Lessons from a Flat Tire

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Sunday afternoon, my wife packed up the minivan (I still can't believe I am part of the minivan crowd ... but it's part of the package of grandparenting!). She was heading to see her mom (who resides in the skilled care unit at the Mennonite Home). Along with a box of chocolates, she had a basket that contained a variety of miscellaneous items and a bouquet of flowers picked from our garden. She was gone no more than five minutes when my phone rang. Caller ID told me it was her. "Hmm", I thought to myself, "I wonder what she forgot." Well if she forgot anything it might have been to avoid the nail on the road. Her passenger front tire, she informed me, was about as flat as a tire could be. Grumbling and muttering, I grabbed my keys to go help. Once on site, I decided to call AAA for road service. I figured they could not be too busy given the holiday weekend. After giving my location and problem along with my membership number to the AAA dispatcher, she to…

Remembering on Memorial Day

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I trust you are enjoying today's holiday. But let's not forget to remember! Memorial Day is a holiday that was established to remember those who gave their lives in service to our country. Our freedom is not free. It came with a price. Take a moment today (3 PM is the "official: time to do so) and give thanks for the men and women of our armed services who shed their blood to keep us free! And while you are at it, thank the ONE who shed HIS blood to set us free from the penalty of sin and our bondage to it!

Check out the Denison Forum commentary on today's holiday ... right here!

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

God's Will Be Done ... Is That What We Really Desire?

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This morning as I was reading from the excellent devotional, Voices from the Past, I came across these
words,

 "One way or another, God works his children into a sweet obedient frame. At length, God brings his children to subscribe: 'What God wills, when God wills, how God wills; your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.'"  (Thomas Case)
As those words in bold print began to register in my still somewhat foggy morning brain, I slowly began to realize that all-too-often ... that is NOT me! When circumstances and situations begin to erode my comfort and convenience, instead of humbly submitting to God's providential plan for me and my life, I grumble. I complain. I look to God and ask, "Why this?" "Why now?" "Why me? "Why at all?"

The Bible makes it clear that God uses the difficulties of life to do HIS work in us (Romans 5:3-5; James 1:2-4). My friends, if we realize the breath and depth of his love for us (Romans 5:8), and …

Friday Coffee with PJ

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It's that time of the week again ... so pour your favorite cup of morning brew and join me for a few random thoughts.

1. A commentary by syndicated columnist Cal Thomas caught my eye this week. He started his piece with these words, "Once, Social Security was the 'third rail' of politics. Touch it and face political death. Now it is homosexuality. Criticize anything gay people do and you risk ostracism, fines, suspension or loss of your livelihood." I could not help but to think of Cal's remarks as I watched the media coverage this week of a judge's striking down Pennsylvania's gay marriage ban. And should anyone speak up to ask... "Hey, is it right to allow one judge to redefine an institution that has been around a very long time?" - that person will be immediately branded as a bigot and hater. Well, I for one and asking that question. And I don't consider myself either a bigot or hater. But I do consider myself one who believes in th…

A Day with Ella!

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Ever try keeping up with an excited five year old at a zoo? My wife and I made the attempt on Monday of this week. We took our granddaughter to Lake Tobias (north of Harrisburg) as part of her birthday celebration. We were no sooner out of the car when she spotted a playground by the park entrance. She immediately took off. "Slow down, Ella and wait for Papa and Grammy!" (this was a line repeated over and over again in the course of the day!). Now my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed all the animals we were able to see. And the safari ride was a boatload of fun. But the highlight of our day was to walk run in the wake of our granddaughter's enthusiastic excitement!

Oh that we would get that passionately excited about Jesus Christ! Running hard after HIM ... in all that we do! I believe a key to having a five year old's excitement in our faith journey is simply to get to know God better! And there is no better way to get to know God better than to spend time in HIS Word.…

Enriching Words from Yesteryear

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Recently I picked up the book, Voices from the Past: Puritan Devotional Readings. It has proven to be a goldmine! Here are some thoughts from the pen of Puritan Richard Baxter:

"Unbelievers seek their happiness in things of the world. Believers find their happiness in God. It is contrary to the nature of faith for a believer to seek peace in his earthly enjoyments. Our present pilgrimage is a prison, yet alas, we too commonly do this. By this we kill our comforts and then complain they are missing. It is folly to expect any stable peace or solid joy that does not come from Christ as the fountain. O that Christians would learn to live with one eye on Christ crucified and the other on his coming in glory! If everlasting joys were more in your thoughts, spiritual joys would abound more in your hearts. No wonder you are comfortless when heaven is forgotten. Alas, when will we learn from Scripture and providence to seek far more from God, and far less from the earth?"

Thanks for…

Friday Coffee with PJ

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OK ... just grabbed my cup of San Fransisco Fog Chaser (don't you just love that name!). Here are a couple of thoughts for your morning coffee.

1. My wife and I attended our granddaughter's preschool "graduation" last evening. It was cute watching all the little children receiving their "diplomas" and then posing for pictures. Jesus had some rather strong words for his disciples when they tried to prevent little ones such as these children from coming to him (Mark 10:13-16). If children matter to Jesus, then they had better matter to us! So my question for you this morning is this: what are you doing to invest in the life of a child? And I'm not just referring to your own children but also to the other children around you. They need to see Jesus in us! So let's show them!

2. Wildfires are right now raging through portions of California. Where they have been is unmistakable, as they leave a path of destruction in their wake. Large homes are consumed…

Weeds ... They Don't Just Grow in Our Yards!

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I have enjoyed driving of late. Seeing all the green grass and the various shades of pink, white, and red
blooms adorning the trees have been a welcome sight after the long barren winter we just endured. But one sight does irritate me: a lawn covered with golden dandelions. These weedy flower wanna-be's can appear as if by magic. And if left unchecked, what was once a green carpet can be littered with these golden pests.

This reminds me of our hearts. If we are not careful to guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23), all sorts of "weeds" can take root and grow. Left alone, they will spread and eventually choke out anything that the Spirit of God might plant in the soil of our hearts.

SO ... if guarding our hearts is something that is of utmost importance (read again Proverbs 4:23) . . . then what is guarding one's heart all about? If you really want a solid answer to that question, check out gotquestions.org's answer. It's good stuff!

Thanks for stopping by . . .
p…

Thirty Six Years Ago Today!

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I posted this last year on my anniversary. I think it's worth a repost. Enjoy!

The day dawned with the sun peeking through the clouds. A warm breeze was blowing. But for all I cared it could have been dark, dismal and damp. For on that particular day I was going to become a husband to the woman who had won my heart! That was thirty five years, three children and 6 grandchildren ago. But is some ways ... it seems like yesterday (note: the adjacent pic was taken on Sharon's college graduation day which was about a week before our first wedding anniversary! And yes, for all you doubters out there ---- I did have hair!!!).

So ... have I learned anything about being a husband during these 3 1/2 decades of married life? Probably not as much as I should have .... but I have learned (and am still trying to get these lessons down!) some  things. Here are just a few  ... especially for you husbands out there!

1. I am far from being the "perfect" husband. All of us as fallen pe…

Friday Coffee with PJ

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Pour your favorite cup of morning brew (mine will be San Fransisco Fog Chaser) and join me for a few thoughts to start  your day or end your day ... whatever might be the case.

1. Are you familiar with the expression, "the seven deadly sins?" Nowhere in the Bible are certain sins labeled as "deadly." In reality, all sin is deadly as Romans 6:23 states so clearly. But in the early years of the church, somehow this list came into being. The seven "deadly" sins are: pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed, and sloth. As I look at that list, it strikes me that increasingly these sins are so often seen as being more "acceptable" than "deadly." All of us would greatly benefit by examining our hearts before God, asking the Holy Spirit to reveal to us if indeed any of these sins are resident in us. My guess is that if you are anything like me ... the answer will be yes! If so ... confess, repent ... and move on, determined, with God's h…

Not Just Another Name!

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After this hard winter, it became very clear to me that I would have to get the lower portion of my driveway repaired. The cracks in the macadam had all but disappeared as the macadam itself has crumbled away. So, I bit the proverbial bullet and began calling for estimates. I ended up with three. The difference in price between the lowest and the highest was $700. So ... after considering all three bids, we chose one. In addition to offering us the best price, the estimator who came to the house seemed to be the most knowledgeable of the lot. But what sealed the deal for me was his name. Are you ready? His name is John Smith!  Ha! I knew right then and there that he had to be a good guy!

When it comes to names there is a name that stands out above all other names. It is the name of Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us that there is no other name given among men by which anyone can be saved (Acts 4:12). If we truly believe this, then we will do what we can to make his name known. So my qu…

YOU Are a Work of Art!

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My wife and I recently spent two days in Ocean City, Maryland. I must say that before I met my wife, I was in NO way a beach guy! I mean, until I crossed paths with Sharon during my sophomore year in college, I had been to the beach a grand total of one time in nineteen years!  But, little did I know that when you get involved with a Jersey girl, learning to like love the beach was part of the package. And I have bought in totally! I now love time spend at the shore, even if it is only for a brief respite!

While we were walking the boardwalk, we came across a sand sculptor busy at work. When we saw him initially, he had just started. The sculpture at that point was not much more than a big pile of sand with some pointed towers on top. But later, when we passed by, it was finished. And as you can see, it is a WOW! How anyone can do that is way beyond my understanding! 
This reminds me of God at work in us. When he first saves us, we are not much more than a big pile of tattered, broken…

Friday Coffee with PJ

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Enjoy your coffee (as I am sure enjoying mine!). As you do, here are a few random thoughts rambling through my head.

1. As I sit here at my computer, typing out these thoughts, outside the rain is falling ... probably better said "pouring" ... from the clouds. Of course, it is April and we all know April showers bring May flowers (and as someone told me recently when I had mentioned this ... "Yeah, and May flowers bring pilgrims!" How lame is that!). All this rainfall reminds me of something God says in the Scriptures:

"For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, butit shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it" (Isaiah 55:10-11).
The reason God's Word can do this is because it is "living and…