Friday Coffee with PJ (Special Monday Edition)

Just a quick note to let you all know that I am on sabbatical leave until the end of August. Will be back (God willing - James 4:13-15) on Friday, September 1st with my next edition of Friday Coffee with PJ. Have a blessed summer as you walk with the King!

But as I go .... knowing how quickly this sabbatical will fly by, I leave you with these thoughts on life.


Living NOW in light of THEN!


Several years ago, when my son was working as an intern with the Lancaster New Era (now LNP), one of his first interviews was with a woman who was about to celebrate her 100th birthday. A couple of years ago, our church said “good-bye” not to just one centenarian, but two! Wow! One hundred years of living!  As I reflected on these women (yes, they were all women) and their long lives, I thought of my own age. At age 61, I have less than 39 years to join the centenarian club (Hmmm. Not sure I want to join that club!).

Regardless as to whether I live another 39 years or another 39 months – what is most important is that I live those years (or months) fully for Jesus Christ.  This life, no matter how brief or how long, is only a prelude to the main event.  Most of us get this all mixed up.  We think of this life as the main event and the next life as a mere add-on.  But in reality, Eternity is what life is all about. God created us for Eternity. He saved us for Eternity. We are headed for Eternity. Therefore, we had best live NOW for Eternity! (Colossians 3:1-4 and 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Since we are all heading to a meeting with God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth ... are you prepared to stand before him? If you are not sure, please take a moment to check this out ... Two Ways to Live: The Choice We All Face

Thanks for stopping by . . . 
pj


Friday Coffee with PJ

It's Friday morning again! Yes! So pour yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy a few random thoughts that I hope will help you in your walk of faith with Christ! 

1. At the end of May, I finished up a one year reading plan I was using on YouVersion Bible app. Last June I had selected their Project 345 plan. It is designed to take you through the New Testament in a year's time by reading one chapter of the NT each weekday (weekends are used for catch up). It's name is derived from the time it takes for the average reader to read one chapter of the NT. I found the plan to be very manageable and found much profit. Many days I took more than 3:45 just to reflect and pray about what I had just read. If you are looking for a Bible reading plan (and a way to keep on the plan) I highly recommend using the YouVersion app (available on both IOS and Android) and the 3:45 plan! 

As the first of June was fast approaching, it hit me that I needed another plan. Hmm. I hadn't read Proverbs in a while, so I decided to do so in June, one chapter a day (with two chapters on the 30th). As I read thru the text ... I circle a few verses that strike me and then go back and pray over them. Here are some of the verses I circled (and why I did): 

Proverbs 3:9 - Honor the Lord with your wealth . . . Now I am not a "wealthy" man in that my bank account is 7 figures. But compared to the VAST majority of earth's population, I am VERY wealthy! I never need to wonder where my next meal is coming from. Nor do it have to wonder what I will wear when I launder my one set of clothes. And if I get sick or injured, healthcare is only a phone call away. So as I read this verse I was reminded that I need to be honoring the Lord with all the material (and other) resources that he has blessed me with! Am I truly giving enough to advance his kingdom? Alleviate the suffering of the poor (Proverbs 19:17)? Am I spending too much money on selfish pursuits? These are good questions that all of us need to be asking ourselves on a regular basis. 

Proverbs 10:19 - When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is wise. This is one of my favorite realisms in the entire book! Let me ask you this - can you think of the last time you got yourself in trouble by keeping your mouth shut? Or is it easier to think of the times you got yourself in trouble for saying something that should have been left unsaid? This proverb from the pen of King Solomon is a great reminder for all of us to make sure our brains our in gear before our tongues start wagging! 

Proverbs 18:12 - Before destruction a man's heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor. Since pride is at the essence of our sin and rebellion against God (what is the middle letter of the word sin?), pride is very often taking up residence in our hearts. And as for humility .... when you think you have it you probably don't! So we must pray and ask God to give us humble hearts. One of the great steps toward humility is to remember who you are before God. He is our infinite, almighty creator ... we are merely the creatures of his hand. He is holy. We are sinful. And any and every good thing we enjoy in this life is a gift from him (James 1:17). The only thing we are entitled to from God is judgment. Yet in his grace he offers us himself in all of his beauty! And as we remind ourselves of just how far down in the mire of human depravity he had to reach for us ... that will have a humbling effect on us! 

So these are just a few of the numerous verses that jumped out at me. I trust you ALL have some sort of plan for reading the Bible. For if you don't have a plan, you will probably read a lot less of the Bible than you should (and need to) be reading! For "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable ... so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

2. Some have been asking about my wife and how she is doing. She is scheduled for her 6 month post-op appointment with the surgeon in mid July. If you were to ask her how she is doing, she would say "Compared to last year I am doing so much better!" And there is a lot of truth in that. Her leg is straight (and it was not before her revision in January) AND she has a much better bend (for a year she could not get beyond 70 degrees ... now she is over a 100 degrees). That said, she still suffers from quite a bit of pain (some days more than others). When we are planning to do a lot of walking, she takes her cane. And she is still not sleeping through the night in a bed (in fact some nights, she sleeps entirely in the lazy boy). So that's the latest. Would very much appreciate your ongoing prayers! 

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Friday Coffee with PJ

Don't know about you ... but no matter the temp outside, I still enjoy my morning coffee. Even on Tuesday when the high temperature for the day reached a balmy 95 degrees (almost 20 degrees higher than today's forecast high) I started my day with a cup of Joe! Now I will admit that on hot, hazy, humid days, if I opt for coffee in the afternoon, you can count on it being iced coffee (which I quite enjoy ... almost as much as I enjoy a frosty cup of iced tea)! But enough of my rambling. Here are a couple of thoughts which I hope will encourage you in your faith walk with Jesus! 

 Some of you might know (from my Facebook post) that on Monday of this week, my wife and I took our 5 year old granddaughter to Lake Tobias (as a celebration of her fifth birthday). She wanted her older sister (who is 8) to come along. So the four of us piled in the van around 8:30 in the morning, hoping to arrive when the park opened (we wanted to beat the heat). Well, we did well in timing our arrival, pulling in to the entrance at
10:01! But as for beating the heat ... forget it! Yet in spite of the temperature already pushing the upper 80's (eventually topping out in the 90's), we had a great time together. One of the most memorable moments occurred as the grandkids were eating their ice cream. Breaking the relative quiet of the park (being a Monday and being so hot ... the crowd was on the smaller side) came not one ... not two ... not three ... but a series of loud roars! The male lion was announcing his presence. We quickly got up and ran toward the lion exhibit which was only about 30 yards from where we were sitting. In all of the zoos I have visited (San Diego, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and a few others) I have never heard a lion roar like this lion roared! Definitely a cool moment (on a hot day!). 

As I thought of this lion roaring ... I thought of the book of Revelation. In this, the final book of the Bible, we find an animal roaring. But it is not a lion. Rather it is a lamb that roars! In Revelation chapter six, the lamb (Jesus Christ) begins to open the scroll which he had taken from God the Father's hand. This scroll
contains the final chapter of human history ... a chapter which details God's judgment upon humanity. This judgment of the Lamb is of such a horrific magnitude, that humanity responds in great fear and trepidation!

Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” (Revelation 6:15-17)

The answer to this question is simply that NONE of us will be able to stand. All of us DESERVE God's judgment ... for all of us have rebelled against him and fall short of his glory (Romans 3:23). Therefore, the wage we earn is death and after death comes judgment (Romans 6:23; Hebrews 9:27). BUT we can take a step that will guarantee our salvation and deliverance from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 5:9). This step requires FAITH. Faith in Christ alone ... trusting that when he died on the cross ... he died as your substitute. He paid IN FULL the penalty a just God demands for your rebellion against him. And as you "you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9)!

If, my friends, you have any questions about what I have just written, please take a moment and visit Two Ways to Live: The Choice We All Face. 

Thanks for stopping by . . . 
pj

Friday Coffee with PJ

Thanks for joining me today! Pour yourself a cup of your favorite JOE as I share a couple of brief thoughts (as Sunday is coming ... and since it is "the only day of the week which I work" :) .... I must get moving on my message for Sunday morning!) 

1. I apologize for being a bit late this morning. I was out of the office yesterday and did not write this post (as Thursday is usually the day I do so). One task I did get done yesterday was to pick up my lawn mower which was at the shop for repairs. A couple of weeks ago, I ran over something in the ground as I was mowing. This chipped my blade and also bent the blade. Now with a brand new blade, I am ready to once again tackle the ever growing grass that makes up my lawn. Now ... I did try to cut the grass with my damaged-blade lawn mower ... but it just was not cutting right. I made some adjustments in hopes that it would start cutting the way it was designed to cut - but to no avail!   I needed another blade. So it is with our standing before God. We can never "make enough adjustments" to gain the favor of God and thereby attain entrance into heaven. No! As Isaiah the prophet reminds us, all of our righteous deeds are as filthy rags before God (Isaiah 64:6). We require a righteousness that is not ours! Fortunately for us, there is a righteousness that is available to us. It is the righteousness of Christ. The Apostle Paul states, "For our sake he made him (Jesus Christ) to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21). So bottom line ... our salvation is based on a life we did not live and a death we did not die. Both of these are ours as a gift of our savior! Hallelujah! What a savior. Have you reached out to him for the righteousness you will need when you stand before God almighty on the day of judgment that is coming for all (Hebrews 9:27). If you have any questions ... check out Two Ways to Live: The Choice We All Face. 

2. I just want to let all of you who faithfully read my weekly post (and I know you are out there ... you tell me so!) ... I love you guys! You are the reason I write this blog. And I do so asking God to give me something that might encourage you (even if it is just one of you) in your walk with Jesus! I want to help you follow HIM! For there is no greater way to live this life than living it focused on the ONE who gave his All that we might find God! 

Thanks for stopping by . . . 
pj

Friday Coffee with PJ

Another Friday. Another edition of "Friday Coffee with PJ." Thanks so much for joining me again ... I hope I have something to say that is a worthwhile investment of your precious time!  

Last Friday afternoon we received a phone call in the church office that set in motion a very hectic series of events. The caller who worked for a bank (not ours) told our office manager that she suspected there was fraudulent activity happening with checks being drawn on our church's checking account. As soon as that phone conversation ended, we called our bank and ... to make a long story short ... the caller was right! Someone (or someones) from outside of our church had printed up fake checks with all of our info on them and proceeded to deposit them in their accounts (about a dozen checks were involved totally over $30,000). Gulp! Immediately, our bank froze our account which stopped the bleeding! And fortunately, we will not be out those funds ... in fact, as of yesterday, the majority of the money is now safely back in our account. How did this happen? We don't know (someone, somewhere apparently got a hold of one of our checks and took a photo of it and the rest is history!). It is now up to our bank's Fraud Risk department to investigate (although our bank manager told us this sort of thing "happens all the time" and that the "bad guys who do this sort of thing are everywhere!"). As a result of all of this ... we are now using a service provided by the bank that will protect us from this sort of thing every happening again (at a cost, of course). So now, I can sleep soundly at night! 

Lessons from the above? For starters, our bank manager was right. There are bad guys all over the place. People who want to take what is yours and make it theirs. And they don't care who you are (in this case, even a church was not off limits!). Yet in the midst of the bad people, there are good people (think Good Samaritans) who what to help when the scammers hit! I don't know the name the individual who called last Friday, but I am so glad she made the effort to do so. Otherwise ... well, I don't even want to consider the "otherwise!" Another lesson from this ordeal? You can never be too careful (if you want to avoid being a victim). This is not only true in the realm of our finances ... it is also true in the spiritual realm. The Bible tells us that the Enemy is targeting us (1 Peter 5:8). And so we must be alert. The Apostle Paul urged Timothy to "keep a close watch on yourself and the teaching" (1 Timothy 4:16). Certainly good advice for Timothy and all the rest of us! So, are YOU keeping a close watch on yourself? And what is this teaching Paul was referencing? The teaching of God's Word, of course! Are you keeping a close watch on the Scriptures? When was the last time you spent some quality time with God in HIS Word? 

Thanks for stopping by . . . 
pj

Friday Coffee with PJ

Friday morning means COFFEE! (frankly, every morning means coffee for me)! So why not pour yourself a cup of your favorite brew and join m...