Take the Ant you Sluggard…

II Tim 3:16,17 “All scripture is given by the inspiration of God
and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for
instruction in righteousness that the man of God may be made perfect, thoroughly furnished until all good works.”

Take the Ant you Sluggard

Taken from a note written by Dr Dewey Hodges with minor additions.

This was created mainly for the high school
students wanting to make a good impression during
the first few weeks of the new school year. But as
you will see if offers yet another piece of evidence
for those needing it that our God is real.

Science was never my strong suit, but a few
years ago I learned some fascinating things
about ants. It’s likely that you have never
heard this before, and you can share something
totally new with your class (of course, adults
can impress their friends with this as well).

Here’s a condensed version of some basic
information about ants, taken from a Web site
at the University of Arizona, entitled “Adult
Males and Females”, and from your home encyclopedia.

When ant colonies reproduce, the new queens
and males may be found in the colony. These are
“flying ants” and have two pairs of wings.

Males generally have small heads, large eyes,
large thoraces, and a pair of claspers at the end of
the gaster. Once they fly (and mate), males do not
live very long.

After mating, new queens break off their wings
and never fly again. Without wings, they can
generally be distinguished from workers by their
larger body size, larger thorax and larger abdomen.
All workers are females.

Most of us who have had the most basic science
classes in high school and college (that would
definitely include me) have heard about the
dominance of female ants over males. I don’t
know exactly when this first became accepted as
fact by the scientific community, but given the
size of an ant, it makes sense that it has been
since the advent of the microscope, which has
been within the past 300 or so years.

Now go back about 3,000 years, to the book of
Proverbs, the sixth chapter, verses 6-8: “Go to the ant,
thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which
having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provides her meat
in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest”.

At first glance, some people might say, “So?
There are verses about ants in the Bible. Big deal.”
But look at how the ants in these verses are identified.
There has been a bit of controversy in recent months over
a new translation of the Bible which removes virtually
every reference to gender. It has been well-received in
some circles and highly criticized in others.

Part of the motivation for creating this new
translation was the long-standing allegation that the
Bible has always been sexist. Of course, that is a pile
of garbage, but a look at the use of gender-specific
language in the King James Version, which I have quoted
here, is relevant to our discussion.

The pronouns she and her are used 2,442 times in
the entire Bible, according to a search engine at bible.com.
The pronouns he, him and his are used 21,182 times. That’s
a huge difference, which some might say fuels the gender
discrimination argument.

But if you believe that every word in the Bible is
important and inspired by God the Holy Spirit, or even if
you don’t, you can easily gather from these numbers that
whenever a female pronoun is used in the Bible, it is used
intentionally. That brings us back to our ants.

Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways,
and be wise …

The ant cited in Proverbs is a female ant. If the
Bible were sexist, wouldn’t it assume the important ants
were male? Perhaps, unless the Author, who is God, knew for
a fact that the females were the ones he was talking about.
And the Author inspired His scribe to record this fact. A
Creator usually would know those facts.

How did Solomon know? He didn’t have a microscope
back then. There was absolutely no way humanly possible
to find out. So he either took a wild guess, or he found
out from God.

II Peter 1;20,21 tells us that God is the Author of
scripture and those privileged to be the scribes were
actually documenting God’s word instead of their own wisdom.
Now we’re starting to walk by faith and likely making many
uncomfortable. The letters of Paul, John, Peter, etc are in
actuality not their teachings but that of God. Scripture
takes on a much more meaningful tone with that in mind and
as we also keep from giving credit for its content and power
to men versus God. And of course that explains how Solomon
knew about those ants.

And of course this further means there actually is a
God, and He may be the Creator after all. We’re getting way
beyond science now. According to evolutionists and nearly
everybody else who determines what passes for science in
schools, we’re dabbling dangerously close to religion.

Maybe it is catastrophic to remove God from the origin
teaching in our schools. Or by allowing the public school
to be the tool to educate our families on topics they are
not equipped to teach on. Better stop that right now.

On second thought, forget about mentioning this
in class, especially in a public school. There’s no
telling what the reaction would be. Or just maybe it is
an appropriate topic if we are to be the light and the
salt of this world!!?? Remembering that if the salt has
lost its seasoning power than what good is it??

II Tim 3:16,17 “All scripture is given by the inspiration of God…”
Gen 1:1a”In the beginning God created…” Amen!

How is your seasoning this morning?

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Lessons from Life…

James 2:15,16 “If a brother or sister is naked and destitute
of food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be
warmed and filled,’ but you do not give them the things
which are needed for the body, what does it profit?”

Lessons from Life:

During the waning years of the depression in a
small southeastern Idaho community, I used to stop by
Mr. Miller’s roadside stand for farm-fresh produce
as the season made it available. Food and money were still
extremely scarce and bartering was used, extensively.

One particular day Mr. Miller was bagging some
early potatoes for me. I noticed a small boy, delicate of
bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily apprising a
basket of freshly picked green peas.

I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the
display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed
peas and new potatoes. Pondering the peas, I couldn’t
help overhearing the conversation between Mr. Miller
and the ragged boy next to me.

“Hello Barry, how are you today?”

“H’lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus’ admirin’ them
peas……sure look good.”

“They are good, Barry. How’s your Ma?”

“Fine. Gittin’ stronger alla’ time.”

“Good. Anything I can help you with?”

“No, Sir. Jus’ admirin’ them peas.”

“Would you like to take some home?”

“No, Sir. Got nuthin’ to pay for ’em with.”

“Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?”

“All I got’s my prize marble here.”

“Is that right? Let me see it.”

“Here ’tis. She’s a dandy.”

“I can see that. Hmmmm, only thing is this one is blue and
I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?”

“Not ‘zackley…. but, almost.”

“Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and
next trip this way let me look at that red marble.”

“Sure will. Thanks, Mr. Miller.”

Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over
to help me. With a smile she said: “There are two other boys
like him in our community, all three are in very poor
circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas,
apples, tomatoes or whatever. When they come back with their
red marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn’t like
red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for
a green marble or an orange one, perhaps.”

I left the stand, smiling to myself, impressed with
this man. A short time later I moved to Utah but I never forgot
the story of this man, the boys and their bartering. Several
years went by each more rapid than the previous one. Just
recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho
community and while I was there learned that Mr. Miller had
died.

They were having his viewing that evening and knowing my
friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them. Upon our arrival
at the mortuary we fell into line to meet the relatives of the
deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could.

Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an
army uniform and the other two wore nice haircuts, dark suits and
white shirts…very professional looking.

They approached Mrs. Miller, standing smiling and composed,
by her husband’s casket. Each of the young men hugged her, kissed
her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and moved on to the casket.
Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one, each young
man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale
hand in the casket. Each left the mortuary, awkwardly, wiping his eyes.

Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and
mentioned the story she had told me about the marbles. Eyes
glistening she took my hand and led me to the casket. “Those three
young men, that just left, were the boys I told you about. They just
told me how they appreciated the things Jim “traded” them. Now, at
last, when Jim could not change his mind about color or size…they
came to pay their debt.

We’ve never had a great deal of the wealth of this world,” she
confided, “but, right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man
in Idaho.”

With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her
deceased husband. Resting underneath were three, magnificently shiny,
red marbles.

“We will not be remembered by our words, but by our life and
kind deeds.”

How will you be remembered?

Mat 20:26b-28 “…but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

One Sacrifice is Acceptable for Sin…

One Sacrifice is Acceptable for Sin….

Satan’s biggest lie is that we are good enough to work off the penalty we place upon ourselves when we sin. The book of Romans and other passages of scripture note that the penalty is spiritual and physical death (Rom 3:23, 6:23) The most urgent question for each of us should be. Can I atone for my sins or does it take someone other than me to make atonement for my sins?

Isaiah 64:6 “For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.”

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is Eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

The lie that we can work off our sins has another wrinkle. Maybe some organization or church can do it for me. What does God say?

Heb 10:11,12,14 “And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God. For by ONE offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.”

Another lie is that we must have someone to go between us and God when we ask for forgiveness of our sins. Again, what does God say? Who is the Mediator for me to go through to reach God to obtain forgiveness for my sins?

I Tim 2:5 “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”

The question of the ages is whether the church or my deeds can replace the sacrifice needed to wipe my sins away.

II Cor 5:21 “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Eph 2:8,9 “For by grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, NOT OF WORKS, lest anyone would boast.”

Have you first recognized your sin and then Who are you trusting in this morning for forgiveness of those sins?

Life is about Helping Others…

Better have your Kleenex handy before you start this one……………

Luke 6:38 “Give and it shall be given to you; good measure, pressed
down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For
by your standard of measure it will measured to you in return.”

Life is about Helping Others….

I try not to be biased, but I had my doubts about hiring Stevie.
His placement counselor assured me that he would be a good, reliable
busboy. But I had never had a mentally handicapped employee and wasn’t
sure I wanted one. I wasn’t sure how my Customers would react to Stevie.

He was short, a little dumpy with the smooth facial features and
thick-tongued speech of Down syndrome. I wasn’t worried about most of my
trucker customers because truckers don’t generally care who buses tables
as long as the meatloaf platter is good and the pies are homemade.

The four-wheeler drivers were the ones who concerned me; the
mouthy college kids traveling to school; the yuppie snobs who secretly
polish their silverware with their napkins for fear of catching some
dreaded “truck stop germ”; the pairs of white shirted business men on
expense accounts who think every truck stop waitress wants to be flirted
with. I knew those people would be uncomfortable around Stevie so I
closely watched him for the first few weeks.

I shouldn’t have worried. After the first week, Stevie had my
staff wrapped around his stubby little finger, and within a month my
truck regulars had adopted him as their official truck stop mascot.
After that, I really didn’t care what the rest of the customers thought
of him.

He was like a 21-year-old in blue jeans and Nikes, eager to
laugh and eager to please, but fierce in his attention to his duties.
Every salt and pepper shaker was exactly in its place, not a bread crumb
or coffee spill was visible when Stevie got done with the table. Our
only problem was persuading him to wait to clean a table until after the
customers were finished. He would hover in the background, shifting his
weight from one foot to the other, scanning the dining room until a
table was empty. Then he would scurry to the empty table and carefully
bus dishes and glasses onto the cart and meticulously wipe the table up
with a practiced flourish of his rag. If he thought a customer was
watching, his brow would pucker with added concentration. He took pride
in doing his job exactly right, and you had to love how hard he tried to
please each and every person he met.

Over time, we learned that he lived with his mother, a widow who
was disabled after repeated surgeries for cancer. They lived on their
Social Security benefits in public housing two miles from the truck stop.
Their Social worker, which stopped to check on him every so often,
admitted they had fallen between the cracks. Money was tight, and what I
paid him was probably the difference between them being able to live
together and Stevie being sent to a group home. That’s why the
restaurant was a gloomy place that morning last August, the first
morning in three years that Stevie missed work. He was at the Mayo
Clinic in Rochester getting a new valve or something put in his heart.

His social worker said that people with Down syndrome often had heart
problems at an early age so this wasn’t unexpected, and there was a good
chance he would come through the surgery in good shape and be back at
work in a few months.

A ripple of excitement ran through the staff later that morning
when word came that he was out of surgery, in recovery and doing fine.
Frannie, my head waitress, let out a war hoop and did a little dance in
the aisle when she heard the good news. Belle Ringer, one of our regular
trucker customers, stared at the sight of the 50-year-old grandmother of
four doing a victory shimmy beside his table. Frannie blushed, smoothed
her apron and shot Belle Ringer a withering look.

He grinned. “OK, Frannie, what was that all about?” he asked.
We just got word that Stevie is out of surgery and going to be okay.”

I was wondering where he was. I had a new joke to tell him.
What was the surgery about?” Frannie quickly told Belle Ringer and the
other two drivers sitting at his booth about Stevie’s surgery, and then sighed.

Yeah, I’m glad he is going to be OK” she said, “But I don’t know how

he and his Mom are going to handle all the bills. From what I hear, they’re
barely getting by as it is.” Belle Ringer nodded thoughtfully, and
Frannie hurried off to wait on the rest of her tables.

Since I hadn’t had time to round up a busboy to replace Stevie
and really didn’t want to replace him, the girls were busing their own tables that day until we decided what to do.

After the morning rush, Frannie walked into my office. She had a
couple of paper napkins in her hand a funny look on her face.”

What’s up?” I asked.

I didn’t get that table where Belle Ringer and his friends were
sitting cleared off after they left, and Pony Pete and Tony Tipper were
sitting there when I got back to clean it off” she said. “This was folded and tucked under a coffee cup.” She handed the napkin to me, and three
$20 bills fell onto my desk when I opened it. On the outside, in big,
bold letters, was printed “Something For Stevie.”

Pony Pete asked me what that was all about,” she said,”so I told
him about Stevie and his Mom and everything, and Pete looked at Tony and
Tony looked at Pete, and they ended up giving me this.” She handed me another
paper napkin that had “Something For Stevie” scrawled on its outside.
Two $50 bills were tucked within its folds. Frannie looked at me with wet,
shiny eyes, shook her head and said simply, “truckers.”

That was three months ago. Today is Thanksgiving, the first day
Stevie is supposed to be back to work. His placement worker said he’s
been counting the days until the doctor said he could work, and it
didn’t matter at all that it was a holiday.

He called 10 times in the past week, making sure we knew he was
coming, fearful that we had forgotten him or that his job was in jeopardy.

I arranged to have his mother bring him to work, met them in the
parking lot and invited them both to celebrate his day back.

Stevie was thinner and paler, but couldn’t stop grinning as he
pushed through the doors and headed for the back room where his apron
and busing cart were waiting.

“Hold up there, Stevie, not so fast,” I said. I took him and his
mother by their arms. “Work can wait for a minute. To celebrate you
coming back, breakfast for you and your mother is on me.”

I led them toward a large corner booth at the rear of the room.
I could feel and hear the rest of the staff following behind as we
marched through the dining room.

Glancing over my shoulder, I saw booth after booth of grinning
truckers empty and join the procession. We stopped in front of the big
table. Its surface was covered with coffee cups, saucers and dinner
plates, all sitting slightly crooked on dozens of folded paper napkins.

“First thing you have to do, Stevie, is clean up this mess,” I
said. I tried to sound stern. Stevie looked at me, and then at his mother, then

pulled out one of the napkins. It had “Something for Stevie” printed on the outside.

As he picked it up, two $10 bills fell onto the table. Stevie stared at the money, then
at all the napkins peeking from beneath the tableware, each with his name printed or scrawled on it.

I turned to his mother. “There’s more than $10,000 in cash and
checks on that table, all from truckers and trucking companies that
heard about your problems. Happy Thanksgiving.”

Well, it got real noisy about that time, with everybody
hollering and shouting, and there were a few tears, as well. But you
know what’s funny? While everybody else was busy shaking hands and
hugging each other, Stevie, with a big, big smile on his face, was busy
clearing all the cups and dishes from the table. Best worker I ever hired.

Eph 4:32a “And be kind to one another…”

WANTED – Faithful Servants…No Experience necessary…

Mat 28:19 “Go you therefore and make disciples of all nations…”

WANTED – Faithful Servants. No Experience Necessary….
A poem by B Williams

My friend, I stand in judgment now,
and feel that you are to blame somehow,
on earth I walked with you day to day
and never did you point the way.

You knew the Lord in truth and glory
but never did you tell the story.
My knowledge then was very dim;
You could have led me safe to Him.

Though we lived together here on earth,
you never told me of the second birth,
and now I stand this day condemned,
because you failed to mention Him.

You taught me many things that’s true;
I called you friend and trusted you,
but I learned now that it’s too late,
you could have kept me from this fate.

We walked by day and talked by night
and you showed me not the Light;
you let me live and love and die,
you knew I’d never live on high.

Yes, I called you “friend” in life
and trusted you through fun and strife.
And yet, coming to this dreadful end
I cannot, now, call you “my friend”||||||||||||

WANTED – Faithful servants. Experience not necessary|

Mat 4:19 “Follow Me, and I WILL MAKE YOU fishers of men.”

Commitment is measured by Attitude…

Commitment is measured by Attitude!

Mat 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he
will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be
loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve
God and money.”

IT’S STRANGE, ISN’T IT?

Isn’t it strange how a 20 dollar bill
seems like such a large amount when
you donate it to church, but such a
small amount when you go shopping?

Isn’t it strange how endless an
hour seems when we are serving God,
but how short it is when we watch a
basketball game for  2-3 hours ?

Isn’t it strange how 2 hours seem so
long when you’re at church, and how short
they seem when you’re watching a good movie?

Isn’t it strange that you can’t find the
words to say when you’re praying,
but you have no trouble thinking what
to talk about with a friend?

Isn’t it strange how difficult and
boring it is to read one chapter of
the Bible, but how easy it is to
read 100 pages of a popular novel?

Isn’t it strange how everyone wants
front-row-tickets to concerts or games,
but they do whatever is possible to sit
at the last row in Church?

Isn’t it strange how we need to know
about an event for Church 2-3 weeks
before the day so we can include it in
our agenda, but we can adjust it for
other events in the last minute?

Isn’t it strange how difficult it is
to learn a fact about God to share it
with others, but how easy it is to
learn, understand, extend and repeat gossip?

Isn’t it strange how we believe everything
that magazines and newspapers say, but we
question the words in the Bible?

Isn’t it strange how everyone wants a
place in heaven, but they don’t want to
believe in Jesus to get there?

Isn’t it strange how we send jokes
in e-mails and they are forwarded right
away, but when we are going to send
messages about God, we think about it
twice before we share it with others?

IT’S STRANGE, ISN’T IT?

Mat 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there
your heart will be also.”

Merry CHRISTMAS – Why Jesus came to earth…

Luke 2:1-14

“And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.  So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.  And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Glory in the Highest

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.  For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

Why Jesus came to earth….

John 14:6  “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me”

John 19:28-30  “After this, Jesus, knowing[e] that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!”  Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

Merry CHRISTmas!