The Golden Phone that reaches to Heaven…

Truth and humor for your day.

Psalm 66:19,20 “But certainly God has heard me; He has attended to the
voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, Who has not turned away my prayer,
nor His mercy from me.”

The Golden Phone that reaches to Heaven…

A man in Topeka, Kansas, decided to write a book about churches
around the country. He started by flying to San Francisco, and started
working east from there. Going to a very large church, he began taking
photographs and making notes. He spotted a golden telephone on the
vestibule wall and was intrigued with a sign which read “$10,000 a
minute.”

Seeking out the pastor he asked about the phone and the sign. The
Pastor answered that this golden phone is, in fact, a direct line to
Heaven and if he pays the price he can talk directly to God. The man
thanked the pastor and continued on his way.

As he continued to visit churches in Seattle, Austin, Greensboro,
Chicago, Milwaukee, and all around the United States, he found more
phones, with the same sign, and the same answer from each pastor.

Finally, he arrived in Iowa. Upon entering a church in Marshalltown,
Iowa, behold, he saw the usual golden telephone. But THIS time, the sign
read, “calls: 35 cents.” Fascinated, he asked to talk to the pastor.
“Reverend, I have been in cities all across the country and in each
church I have found this golden telephone and have been told it is a
direct line to Heaven and that I could talk to God, but, in the other
churches the cost was $10,000 a minute. Your sign reads 35 cents a call.
Why?”

The pastor, smiling benignly, replied,
“Son, you’re in Iowa now………………it’s a local call.”

If you are reading this and live outside of Iowa please do not be offended and miss what the real message is……

Change Iowa to your state and all is well. The key is that our Lord
loves to communicate with us!!!!!!!!! How fortunate we are.

And most importantly we are saved by grace through faith with no additives required!

I Peter 5:7 “Casting all of your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.”

This one becomes more relevant daily as our world picks up speed and not in a healthily spiritual direction!!!

Gen 2:1, 2 “Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.”

Please Slow Me Down, Lord…

Slow me down, Lord.
Ease the pounding in my heart by the quieting of my mind.
Steady my hurried pace with a vision of the eternal reach of time.
Give me, amid the confusion of the day,
the calmness of the everlasting hills.

Break the tensions of my nerves and muscles
with the soothing music of the
singing streams that live in my memory.

Teach me the art of taking minute vacations –
of slowing down to look at a flower,
to chat with a friend, to pat a dog, to smile at a child,
to read a few lines from the good book.

Slow me down, Lord,
and inspire me to send my roots deep
into the soil of your enduring values,
that I may grow closer to you.

Remind them each day that the race is not always to the swift;
that there is more to life than increasing its speed.

Let me look upward to the towering oak and know that it grew
great and strong because it grew slowly and well by your design.

Phil 4:6, 7 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything with prayer and supplications, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace that passes all understanding shall keep your heart and minds through Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Handling Suffering as a Christian…

James 1:2-4 “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

James 4:13-15 “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”

Handling Suffering as a Christian

The title of today’s challenge sounds a bit strange. And if you are not a ‘born again’ Christian you have no chance of understanding and accepting it. We live in a world where many teach that health, wealth, prosperity and the total absence of suffering brings fulfillment. And of course, our human nature totally agrees with that thought. There are even teachers professing to be ‘born again’ that teach the same. They teach that to experience otherwise reflects a weak faith or sin. While it can be a result of sin the scriptures never proclaim that if we suffer for the gospels sake it is a lack of faith. Actually, it is just the opposite.

When we are drawn to Jesus as our Savior and we dig into His word to find meaning for our lives and we hear that, “”Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” Wow, that stops us dead in our tracks. Many, who never study and never grow from the milk of God’s word to being able to handle the meat of God’s word never even address this question.

Can it really be true? If I am to live for my Savior who died for me can I expect some level of persecution? The answer from scripture is a loud yes. If the world disliked and even hated Jesus and we profess what He professed then the world will not like us either. That’s a tough one to swallow. Like you my flesh prefers that people would like me. And what if I am experiencing zero persecution. Does that mean my spiritual priorities are not correct? Yes, that could be the case. Ouch! We can only know that by asking God to answer that question and then we must do something contrary to our human will. We must truly be open to the answer. Remember the answers to prayer are yes, no and wait. Yes, is not the only option God has. When I hear no or wait it does not mean that God did not answer my prayer.

There are promises in the word of God that don’t seem much like promises to many believers. Persecution is one of them. Scripture proclaims that all whose purpose of heart is to live godly lives in this present world shall (certainly) suffer persecution, as did their Lord. Maybe we contemplate such verses and think they should say something like, “And all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall be appreciated for their goodness and rewarded with approval, good health and fortune while in this world.”

The Holy Spirit through Paul said to the Philippians, “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.” We probably would be more comfortable if that were to read, “For unto you it is given…not only to believe on him, but also to be blessed with health, wealth and prosperity.” But it doesn’t say that. Reading and allowing the Word of God to change our lives are two entirely different things. Are you a reader only? Ouch, another convicting question.

So why would I want to be open to persecution??? As noted in James we are in this life but for a short time. Our lives are but a vapor that comes and disappears quickly. Our time to serve our Lord is short. This time on earth is but a grain of sand on the beach in comparison to eternity. And if you are a believer you will spend eternity with God. There is also a judgment seat or awards ceremony for believers. The judgment seat is not to judge our sins that Jesus took care of but to award us for services rendered while on this earth. I would rather hear, ‘well done’, than to hear how I missed the prize or to hear a silence because of lack of commitment on my part while on this earth.

We are to serve out of obedience. Disobedience is viewed by God as a tragic sin. Check it out over and over in scripture in both the OT and the NT. God never accepts disobedience. Our sins are washed away by Jesus blood so my salvation is secure. While works cannot save us they are very important after being ‘born again’. Serving Jesus while on this earth is now or should now be my focus! And when done correctly it will bring some level of persecution.

Remember persecution comes in many different ways including verbal, lost friendships, physical punishment, lost job opportunities, etc. In America at least for now the verbal, peer pressure and life style issues are the greatest persecution we see. So maybe all is not lost with that slap in the face that you just received, literal or figurative. Pray and think before you allow your fleshly frustration to take over. It may be that you are doing exactly what you should be for His glory!!!!!

Romans 12:1, 2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Time Gets Better with Age…

I Cor 13:11 “When I was a child I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.”

Time Gets Better with Age…

I’ve learned that I like my teacher because she cries when we sing
“Silent Night”. Age 5

I’ve learned that our dog doesn’t want to eat my broccoli either. Age 7

I’ve learned that when I wave to people in the country, they stop what
they are doing and wave back. Age 9

I’ve learned that just when I get my room the way I like it, Mom makes
me clean it up again. Age 12

I’ve learned that if you want to cheer yourself up, you should try
cheering someone else up. Age 14

I’ve learned that although it’s hard to admit it, I’m secretly glad my
parents are strict with me. Age 15

I’ve learned that silent company is often more healing than words of
advice. Age 24

I’ve learned that brushing my child’s hair is one of life’s great
pleasures. Age 26

I’ve learned that wherever I go, the world’s worst drivers have followed
me there. (Or gotten there before me)Age 29

I’ve learned that if someone says something unkind about me, I must live
so that no one will believe it. Age 30

I’ve learned that there are people who love you dearly but just don’t
know how to show it. Age 42

I’ve learned that you can make some one’s day by simply sending them a
little note. Age 44

I’ve learned that the greater a person’s sense of guilt, the greater his
or her need to cast blame on others. Age 46

I’ve learned that children and grandparents are natural allies. Age 47

I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today,
life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. Age 48

I’ve learned that singing “Amazing Grace” can lift my spirits for hours. Age 49

I’ve learned that motel mattresses are better on the side away from the
phone. Age 50

I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a man by the way he handles
these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas
tree lights. Age 51

I’ve learned that keeping a vegetable garden is worth a medicine cabinet
full of pills. Age 52

I’ve learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a
life. Age 58

I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you
miss them terribly after they die. Age 60

I’ve learned that if you want to do something positive for your
children, work to improve your marriage. Age 61

I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.
(but not often) Age 62

I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on
both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.
Age 64

I’ve learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you.
But if you focus on doing God’s will, loving your family, meeting the needs of others, doing your work with joy, meeting new people, and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you.
Age 65

I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with kindness, I usually
make the right decision. Age 66

I’ve learned that everyone can use a prayer. Age 72

I’ve learned that it pays to believe in miracles. And to tell the truth,
I’ve seen several. Age 75

Do you need a Counselor…

Do you need of a Counselor…

Where do I turn when I need help? When it seems like everyone and everything has failed me and I am lost for a solution. And yes, we all regardless of our mental state need counsel. So, where does the counsel we need come from?

Psalms 1:1, 2 “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful.”

Psalms 119:9-11 “How can a young man cleanse his way? BY TAKING HEED according to Your Word. With my whole heart have I sought You; Oh, let me not wonder from Your commandments. Your Word have I hid in my heart, that I may not sin against You|”

There is only one Counselor Who never changes His counsel down through the ages and He recorded His counsel for us!!!!!!!! So the question this morning is where will I turn for lasting and true counsel. Much counseling in our world treats the symptoms and not the root cause of the issue.

Our God and His word will search for the root cause rather than treating symptoms. If your counselor does not have Jesus as their Savoir they can only treat the symptoms because God’s truths seem foolish to them. Why is it that those who have not trusted Jesus as their Savior cannot give me counsel that will help me with my issues?

I Cor 2:14 “But the natural (unsaved) man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Why would God direct us to not listen to the counselors of the world? As with all important questions we find the answer in God’s word. Real and lasting truth cannot only be found there.

John 8:32 “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

The counselors of this world by not knowing Jesus as their Savior do not hold the word of God to be their source of knowledge and truth. So they counsel you with the best they have which can never get to the root cause of the problem and solve it. Their counsel is based on the wisdom of the world. Which is ever changing. God’s truths or absolutes never change.

Malachi 3:6a “”For I am the Lord, I do not change…”

While there are some government organizations that can offer assistance in trying times our ultimate and only pure source of help is found by seeking a loving God who wants to restore the relationship with Him that sin broke and ever recorded and protects His word of truth so that we have it.

Mat 5:18 “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one title will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.”

Enjoy your reading today and listen for its truths and directions. God’s word is our Counsel! If you need help check with your church to identify counselors who will guide you with truth that never changes and to counselors who understand where lasting help comes from. And remember, no reading or studying equals no enlightenment from God!

2 Tim. 2:15 “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

Life is Short – No Regrets…

James 4:14 “Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”

Mat 6:33 “But seek you first the kingdom of God and its righteousness…”

Life is Short – No Regrets…

If I knew it would be the last time
that I’d see you fall asleep,
I would tuck you in more tightly
and pray the Lord your soul to keep.

If I knew it would be the last time

that I’d see you walk out the door,
I would give you hugs and kisses, and then call you back for more.

If I knew it would be the last time
I’d hear your voice lifted up in praise,

I would memorize each action
and word so I could play them back day after day.

If I knew it would be the last time,
I would spare a minute or two
to tell you that I love you,
instead of assuming you KNOW I do.

If I knew it would be the last time
I would be there to share your day….
Well, I’m sure you’ll have so many more,

I can just let this one slip away.

For surely there’s always tomorrow to make up for an oversight, and we always get a second chance to make everything alright.

There will always be another day to say our “I love you”, and certainly, there’s another chance to say our “Anything I can do?”

But just in case I might be wrong and today is all I get, I’d like to say how much I love you and I hope we never forget that tomorrow is not promised to anyone, young or old alike, and today may be the last chance you get to hold your loved one tight….
So, if you’re waiting for tomorrow, why not do it today?
For if tomorrow never comes you’ll surely regret the day
that you didn’t take the extra time for a smile, a hug, or a kiss, and you were too busy to grant someone what turned out to be their last wish.

So hold your loved ones close today and whisper in their ears, tell them how much you love them and that you’ll always hold them dear.  Take time to say “I’m sorry,” “Please forgive me,”  “Thank you “or “It’s okay.”

And if tomorrow never comes you’ll have no regrets about today.

Hebrews 9:27 “And as it is appointed unto men to die once then comes the judgment”

To truly have no regrets……

Mat 6:33 “But seek you first the kingdom of God and its righteousness…”

Treating others as you would be Treated…

Matthew 25:40 “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.”

Treating others as you would be Treated…

A few years ago a group of salesmen went to a regional sales convention in Chicago. They had assured their wives that they would be home in plenty of time for Friday night’s dinner. Well, as such things go, one thing led to another. The sales manager went longer than anticipated and the meeting ran overtime. Their flights were scheduled to leave out of Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, and they had to race to the airport. With tickets in hand, they barged through the terminal to catch their flight back home. In their rush, with tickets and briefcases, one of these salesmen inadvertently kicked over a table which held a display of baskets of apples. Apples flew everywhere.  Without stopping or looking back, they all managed to reach the plane in time for their nearly missed boarding. All but one.

He paused, took a deep breath, got in touch with his feelings, and experienced a twinge of compassion for the girl whose apple stand had been overturned.

He told his buddies to go on without him, waved goodbye, told one of them to call his wife when they arrived at their home destination and explain his taking a later flight. Then he returned to the terminal where the apples were all over the terminal floor. He was glad he did.

The 16 year old girl was totally blind! She was softly crying, tears running down her cheeks in frustration, and at the same time helplessly groping for her spilled produce as the crowd swirled about her, no one stopping, and no one to care for her plight.

The salesman knelt on the floor with her, gathered up the apples, put them into the baskets, and helped set the display up once more. As he did this, he noticed that many of them had become battered and bruised; these he set aside in another basket. When he had finished, he pulled out his wallet and said to the girl, “Here, please take this $20 for the damage we did. Are you okay?”

She nodded through her tears. He continued on with, “I hope we didn’t spoil your day too badly.” As the salesman started to walk away, the bewildered blind girl called out to him, “Mister….” He paused and turned to look back into those blind eyes. She continued,

“Are you Jesus?”

He stopped in mid-stride, and he wondered. Then slowly he made his way to catch the later flight with that question burning and bouncing about in his soul:”

Are you Jesus?”

Do people mistake you for Jesus? That’s our destiny, is it not? To be so much like Jesus that people cannot tell the difference as we live and interact with a world that is blind to His love, life and grace.

If we claim to know Him, we should live, walk and act as He would. Knowing Him is more than simply quoting Scripture and going to church. It’s actually living the Word as life unfolds day to day.

You are the apple of His eye even though we, too, have been bruised by a fall. He stopped what He was doing and picked you and me up on a hill called Calvary and paid in full for our damaged fruit.

Let’s start living like we are worth the price He paid.

John 13:35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye
have love one to another.”