Where to find, Phone Information Please….

Proverbs 18:24 “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

WHERE TO FIND, PHONE INFORMATION PLEASE…

When my parents were young they actually had a person who helped direct their phone calls. Yes, hard to believe but you can look it up on the world wide net.for a complete description.  My father had one of the first telephones in our neighborhood. I remember well the polished old case fastened to the wall and the shiny receiver on the side of the box. I was too little to reach the telephone, but used to listen with fascination when my mother would talk to it.

Then I discovered that somewhere inside the wonderful device lived an amazing person and her name was “Information Please” and there was nothing she did not know.
“Information Please” could supply anybody’s number and the correct time.
My first personal experience with this genie-in-a-bottle came one day while my mother was visiting a neighbor. Amusing myself at the tool bench in the basement. I whacked my finger with a hammer. The pain was terrible but, there didn’t seem to be any reason in crying because there was no one home to give me sympathy. I walked around the house sucking my throbbing finger, finally arriving at the stairway. The telephone! Quickly, I ran for the footstool in the parlor and held it to my ear. “Information Please” I said into the mouthpiece just above my head. A click or two and a small clear voice spoke into my ear.
“Information.” “I hurt my finger” I wailed into the phone. The tears came readily enough now that I had an audience. “Isn’t your mother home?” came the question. “Nobody’s home but me,” I blubbered. “Are you bleeding?” the voice asked. “No,” I replied. “I hit my finger with a hammer and it hurts.” “Can you open your icebox?” she asked. I said I could. “Then chip off a piece of ice and hold it to your finger,” said the voice.

After that, I called “Information Please” for everything.  I asked her for help with my geography and she told me where Philadelphia was. She helped me with my math. She told me that my pet chipmunk, which I had caught in the park just the day before, would eat fruit and nuts. Then there was the time Petey, our pet canary died. I called “Information Please” and told her the sad story. She listened, and then said the usual thing grownups say to soothe a child. But, I was inconsolable. I asked her, “Why is it that birds should sing so beautifully and bring joy to all families, only to end up as a heap of feathers on the bottom of a cage?” She must have sensed my deep concern, for she said quietly, “Paul, you must remember that there are other worlds to sing in.” Somehow, I felt better. Another day I was on the telephone. “Information Please”, “Information,” said the now familiar voice. “How do you spell fix?” I asked.

All this took place in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. When I was nine years old, we moved across the country to Boston. I missed my friend very much. “Information Please” belonged in that old wooden box back home and somehow I never thought of trying the tall, new shiny phone that sat on the table in the hall.

As I grew into my teens, the memories of those childhood conversations never really left me. Often, in moments of doubt and perplexity I would recall the serene sense of security I had then. I appreciated now how patient, understanding and kind she was to have spent her time on a little boy.

 

A few years later, on my way west to college, my plane put down in Seattle. I had about half-an-hour or so between planes. I spent around 15 minutes on the phone with my sister, who lived there now. Then, without thinking about what I was doing, I dialed my hometown operator and said, “Information Please.” Miraculously, I heard the small
clear voice I knew so well. “Information.” I hadn’t planned this, but I heard myself saying, “Could you please tell me how to spell fix?” there was a long pause. Then came the soft-spoken answer, “I guess our finger must be healed by now.” I laughed, “So it’s really still you,” I said.
“I wonder if you have any idea how much you meant to me during that time?” “I wonder,” she said, “if you know how much your calls meant to me. I never had any children and I used to look forward to your calls.” I told her how often I had thought of her over the years and asked if I could call her again when I came back to visit my sister. “Please do,” she said.
“Just ask for Sally.”

Three months later I was back in Seattle. A different voice answered, “Information.” I asked for Sally. “Are you a friend?” she said. “Yes, a very old friend,” I answered. “I’m sorry to have to tell you this,” she said. Sally had been working part time in the last few years because she was sick.
She died five weeks ago.” Before I could hang up she said, “Wait a minute. Are you Paul?” “Yes.” “Well, Sally left a message for you. She wrote it down in case you called. Let me read it to you.” The note said, “Tell him I still say there are other worlds to sing in. He’ll know what I mean.” I thanked her and hung up. I knew what Sally meant.

Never underestimate the impression you make on others.  Whose life have you touched today?

 

Author Unknown

 

As we make that impression hopefully they will see where our focus is…..

 

Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

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CHRISTians look Strange to our World…Why is that…

In our world today if you are a true Christian you will be seen as a strange bird and even viewed as hateful and narrow minded. First we must understand that the worlds definition of a Christian and God’s definition as recorded in His word the Bible differ greatly.

The world sees a Christian as anyone attending a church with the name of Jesus in its teachings. Many do not proclaim the whole word of God. The bible says a Christian does not involve the denomination you attend. Check it out for yourself by doing a word search of the Bible and you find not one of the denominations of the world. God’s definition is anyone from any country or race who is ‘born again’. For help in understanding what it means to be ‘born again’ check out the following;

  • The Gospel of John where Jesus tells a religious leader what it means
  • Ephians 2:8-9, Titus 3:5, Galatians 2:16-21 where God tells us how many of our good deeds are requird to ‘born again’. Just of few of God’s thoughts on our lives and our deeds needed to be ‘born again’.
  • So, why are CHRISTians seen as strange to this world?
    • Rom 1:21-23 “…because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man–and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.”
    • John 3:19 “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”
  • What is the ministry of Biblical Christainity while on this earth?
    • Matt 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.”
    • Matt 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
      • Salt seasons and points out sin. Darkness does not like to be exposed.
    • We are to be different understanding the vast majority of our world will choose the ways of the world in an attempt to restore the broken relationship with God that sin causes;
    • Matt 7:13-14 “”Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
  • Our world will consider Christians ‘Strange’ if we point out sin for what it is and do not do the same.
    • 2 Tim 3:12 “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”
    • Prov 14:12 “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of ”

So, do not feel bad this morning if our world hates or persecutes you when you stand up for Jesus and His truths. It very well may mean you are a true ‘born again’ disciple of Jesus and suffering because of it. Be of good courage because;

Romans 5:3 “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;”

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.”

Then comes eternity……

John 14:1-3 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also”

HE IS RISEN……..

God’s eye is on the Sparrow and me…

Psalm 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

The SPARROW at STARBUCKS – The song that silenced the cappuccino machine.

It was chilly in Manhattan but warm inside the Starbucks shop on 51st Street and Broadway, just a skip up from Times Square. Early November weather in New York City holds only the slightest hint of the bitter chill of late December and January, but it’s enough to send the masses crowding indoors to vie for available space and warmth. For a musician, it’s the most lucrative Starbucks location in the world, I’m told, and consequently, the tips can be substantial if you play your tunes right.

Apparently, we were striking all the right chords that night, because our basket was almost overflowing. It was a fun, low-pressure gig – I was playing keyboard and singing backup for my friend who also added rhythm with an arsenal of percussion instruments. We mostly did pop songs from the ’40s to the ’90s with a few original tunes thrown in during our emotional rendition of the classic, “If You Don’t Know Me by Now,” I noticed a lady sitting in one of the lounge chairs across from me. She was swaying to the beat and singing along.

After the tune was over, she approached me. “I apologize for singing along on that song. Did it bother you?” she asked.

“No,” I replied. “We love it when the audience joins in. Would you like to sing up front on the next selection?” To my delight, she accepted my invitation. “You choose,” I said. “What are you in the mood to sing?”

“Well. … do you know any hymns?” Hymns? This woman didn’t know who she was dealing with. I cut my teeth on hymns. Before I was even born, I was going to church. I gave our guest singer a knowing look. “Name one.”

“Oh, I don’t know. There are so many good ones. You pick one.”

“Okay,” I replied. “How about ‘His Eye is on the Sparrow’?”

My new friend was silent, her eyes averted. Then she fixed her eyes on mine again and said, “Yeah. Let’s do that one.” She slowly nodded her head, put down her purse, straightened her jacket and faced the center of the shop. With my two-bar setup, she began to sing, “Why should I be discouraged? Why should the shadows come?”

The audience of coffee drinkers was transfixed. Even the gurgling noises of the cappuccino machine ceased as the employees stopped what they were doing to listen. The song rose to its conclusion.

“I sing because I’m happy; I sing because I’m free. For His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.”

When the last note was sung, the applause crescendoed to a deafening roar that would have rivaled a sold-out crowd at Carnegie Hall. Embarrassed, the woman tried to shout over the din, “Oh, y’all go back to your coffee! I didn’t come in here to do a concert! I just came in here to get something’ to drink, just like you!”

But the ovation continued. I embraced my new friend. “You, my dear, have made my whole year! That was beautiful!”

“Well, it’s funny that you picked that particular hymn,” she said.

” Why is that?”

“Well,” she hesitated again, “that was my daughter’s favorite song.” Really!” I exclaimed.

“Yes,” she said, and then grabbed my hands. By this time, the applause had subsided and it was business as usual… “She was 16. She died of a brain tumor last week.”

I said the first thing that found its way through my stunned silence. “Are you going to be okay?”

She smiled through tear-filled eyes and squeezed my hands. “I’m gonna be okay. I’ve just got to keep trusting the Lord and singing his songs, and everything’s gonna be just fine.” She picked up her bag, gave me her card, and then she was gone.

Was it just a coincidence that we happened to be singing in that particular coffee shop on that particular November night? Coincidence that this wonderful lady just happened to walk into that particular shop? Coincidence that of all the hymns to choose from, I just happened to pick the very hymn that was the favorite of her daughter, who had died just the week before? I refuse to believe it.

God has been arranging encounters in human history since the beginning of time, and it’s no stretch for me to imagine that he could reach into a coffee shop in midtown Manhattan and turn an ordinary gig into a revival. It was a great reminder that if we keep trusting him and singing his songs, everything’s gonna be okay.

The next time you feel like GOD can’t use you, remember, Noah was a drunk, Abraham was too old, Isaac was a daydreamer, Jacob was a liar, Leah was ugly, Joseph was abused, Moses had a stuttering problem, Gideon was afraid, Samson had long hair and was a womanizer, Rahab was a prostitute, Jeremiah and Timothy were too young, David had an affair and was a murderer, Elijah was suicidal, Isaiah preached naked, Jonah ran from God, Peter denied Christ, The Disciples fell asleep while praying, And Lazarus was dead!

No more excuses now!! God can use you to your full potential. Besides you aren’t the message, you are just the messenger.

Mat 11:28-30 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

REQUEST FOR TRANSFER to Commander of Spiritual Armed Forces…

John 15:20 “Remember the word that I said unto you, the servant is not
greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also
persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

REQUEST FOR TRANSFER to Commander of Spiritual Armed Forces…

To: Commander and Chief Spiritual Armed Forces, Jesus Christ

Dear Lord:

I am writing this to You to request a transfer to a desk job. I here
with present my reasons:

I began my career as a private, because of the intensity of the battle
You have quickly moved me up in the ranks. You have made me an officer
and given me a tremendous amount of responsibility. There are many
soldiers and recruits under my charge. I am constantly being called upon
to dispense wisdom, make judgments, and find solutions to complex
problems. You have placed me able to function as an officer,
when in my heart I know I have only the skills of a private. I realize
that You have promised to supply all I would need for the battle.

But Sir, I must present You a realistic picture of my equipment. My
uniform, once so crisp and starched, is now stained with tears and blood
of those I have tried to assist. The soles of my boots are cracked and
worn from the miles I have walked trying to enlist and encourage the
instructed troops. My weapons are marred, tarnished and chipped from
constant battle against the enemy.

Even the Book of Regulations I was issued has been torn and tattered
from endless use. The words are now smeared. You have promised You
would be with me throughout, but when the noise of the battle is so loud
and the confusion is so great, I can neither see nor hear You.

I feel so alone. I’m tired. I’m discouraged. I have Battle Fatigue. I
would never ask You for a discharge. I love being in Your service. But I
humbly request a demotion and transfer. I’ll file papers or clean
latrines. Just get me out of the battle–please, Sir.

Your Faithful, but tired, Warrior.


To: Faithful, but tired, Soldier, Spiritual Armed Forces
Location: The Battlefield

SUBJECT: Transfer

Dear Soldier:

Your request for transfer has been denied. I here with present My reasons:

You are needed in this battle. I have selected you, and I will keep My
Word to supply your need. You do not need a demotion and transfer.
(You’d never cut it on latrine duty.) You need a period of “R&R”
–Renewal and Rekindling. I am setting aside a place on the battlefield
that is insulated from all sound and fully protected from the enemy. I
will meet you there and I will give you rest. I will remove your old
equipment and “make all things new.” You have been wounded in the
battle, My soldier. Your wounds are not visible, but you have received
grave internal injuries. You need to be healed. I will heal you. You
have been weakened in the battle. You need to be strengthened. I will
strengthen you and be your strength. I will instill in you confidence
and ability. My Words will rekindle within you and renewed love, zeal
and enthusiasm.

Report to Me tattered and empty. I will refill you.

Compassionately,

Your Commander-in-Chief, Jesus Christ

Author Unknown

Luke 9:23 “And he said to them all, if any man will come after me, let
him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”

I did it my way, the I Disease…

I did it my way, the I Disease!!!

We tend to think that our ways will lead to happiness in this world and some think that doing it our way may even lead to eternal happiness. Listen to what God says about our ways versus His ways.

Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.”

That being the case we need to be extremely careful about thinking of doing it our way and not listening our seeking to understand God’s ways and thoughts. An eternally foolish perspective is being controlled by the ” I ” disease. The following is an example of doing it, ” my way “, and the result!

Jer 16:12,13 “You too have done evil, even-more than your forefathers;
for behold, you are each one walking according to the stubbornness of
his own evil heart, without listening to Me. So I will hurl you out of
this land into the land which you have not known, neither you nor your
fathers; and there you will serve other gods day and night, for I will
grant you no favor.”

The first example we have of, ‘I will do it my way….’ is;

Isaiah 14:13-15 “For you have said in your heart; I will ascend into
heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit
on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the North; I
will ascend above the height of the clouds; I will be like the Most
High. Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of
the Pit.”

Our ways are always visible to God and sooner or later we reap what we sow.  And sadly, those around us are affected by our selfishness or as God calls it, sin.

Gal 6:7 “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

Jer 16:17,18,21 “For My eyes are on all your ways; they are not hidden
from My face, nor is their iniquity concealed from My eyes. I will first
– doubly repay their iniquity and their sin, therefore behold, I am
going to make them know — This time I will make them know My power and
My might; And they shall know that My name is the Lord.”

Exodus 34:7 “Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and
transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty;
visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the
children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

Do it God’s way and reap the blessings today!

Luke 9:23 “If anyone will come after Me, let them deny themselves, take
up their cross daily, and follow Me.”

It is never too late to confess and forsake our sin and start a new course in life!

Have a great day serving the King of Kings!!

What Church should I attend…

What Church should I attend…..

Most Religious organizations are man made. Did you know that none of the denominations you hear of today are ever mentioned by name in the Bible? The early CHRISTian Church is called “The Way” but the current major denominations you and I know of are not mentioned in scripture.

Having said that I do want to say that Jesus does mention His worldwide Church and the importance of placing yourself and your family under a doctrinally sound local church. The structure of the church is actually designed by God in the Bible. Sadly the reasons that many use to choose a local church have nothing or very little at best to do with sound doctrine from the Bible. Many times people choose a church based on the size of the congregation or newness of the church building or the programs it has available to every member of the family or where their family has traditionally attended. While those items offer value they are not the reason Jesus wants to place you and your family in a local church.

Doctrine very seldom receives much or enough value in the decision making process of where should I and my family fellowship. Nor does the decision take into account that maybe the reason a program is missing is because I have not yet started to serve using my spiritual gift(s). Maybe that church that is missing something is exactly where I am to be…………so that it is not lacking that ministry. What a change of thought in the decision making process. As God reminds us in Isaiah 55:8, His ways and thoughts are not our ways and thoughts so we dare not depend on what we think is best while not seeking God’s wisdom.

We are by nature a selfish people and it carries over into our decision making as to where we fellowship. What matters to Jesus is that the decision must be based on where He wants us to serve not where am I most comfortable. And of course that first means you must have Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

First and foremost in our local church selection process is what doctrine a church practices. The cornerstone of doctrine is “what must I do to be saved?”. False and manmade religions teach a doctrine of works plus Jesus for salvation. Check out  (Acts 4:12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”) on that one.  The name is Jesus. Many have the name of Jesus in their church but attach works such as Church Membership, Attendance, Giving, Baptism, etc to the Gospel to be saved or  ‘born again’ (John 3:3). While those are all good things and spoken of in the Bible none are ever added to the doctrine of salvation in the Bible. Attaching anything or any activity to Jesus sacrifice for our salvation means His death was not sufficient and as scripture says is, “another Jesus and another Gospel”. It is not of God.

Gal 2:21 “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”

For where I will spend eternity is not about the church I attend but about who is my Lord and Savior.  Eternity with God and not satan comes down to what do I believe about Jesus and what He said. Jesus made one Church. To be a member you must…

John 3:3 “For truly I say unto you, unless a man is born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

 John 14:6 “And Jesus said unto them, I am THE WAY, the truth and the life, no one can come to the Father, BUT BY ME.”

Our first requirement is to align with a local church that is professing the Gospel with sound doctrine and then to let the Holy Spirit use us with the spiritual gift(s) He has given us in that setting. Once again the local church must be doctrinally sound. We must use the correct motive for serving there and that motive is to serve Jesus.

Luke 22:26,27 “ But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.”

So, what is the doctrine of your church and more importantly what are you and your family trusting in and being taught? And is your focus on where you fellowship to be entertained or to serve? If you are not sure ask those leading your church one question and listen for the answer.

The question is; WHAT MUST I DO TO SPEND ETERNITY WITH JESUS.

The answer should be;

John 3:3 “For truly I say unto you, unless a man is born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

 John 14:6 “And Jesus said unto them, I am THE WAY, the truth and the life, no one can come to the Father, BUT BY ME.”

NOTHING MORE AND NOTHING LESS!!!!!

Sin, does it still exist…

Sin, does it still exist!

Do you believe that sin is still alive and active today? A good way to tell is to ask yourself when is the last time you recognized a sinful habit in your life.

The ugly truth is that sin is as active as it has ever been and that makes release from its bondage a must if we are to have peace! Woe, did I say bondage?

Yes, that is what sin does to us whether a ‘born again’ believer or not it can control our lives.

Mal 3:6a “For I am the Lord, I do not change;

Our world has tried to avoid this topic starting with Adam and Eve who tried to run from God. The truth is that God and His truths do not change over time.

And we are never able to run from God. He is all knowing and everywhere all at once.

There can be no hiding from His eyes.

Sin today is the same as sin of the past and the wages of our sin is death both physical and spiritual.

Heb 2:14, 15 “… He Himself likewise shared in the same that through death He might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”

Are you in bondage or in release? How about your family and/or friends?

The solution to the problem!

I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Take them to the Savior! There is no one else who can help and there is only One Who can be our Mediator with God the Father.

Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame, and hath sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

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