Pennies From Heaven


For the past seven years I’ve done a lot of walking and biking around Northeast and Central Florida and yet I’m still amazed over the amount of coins deposited on the streets and sidewalks.  I’ve even regularly find coins strewn on rural roads as if people simply toss them out the windows in disdain like they were a bother or something to trash.  I know young people have no regard for pennies in particular while some teens are abashed about even receiving tips in the form of change.  It’s folding money only for them.  It seems Americans are so rich that loose change is to be discarded rid of and on to bigger and better things.  I estimate that millions are dollars lace our streets and that poorer countries would be appalled over our avarice.  It seems to me that the streets of “Heaven May Be Paved In Gold,” but America’s streets are imbued with nickels and dimes.  As for me, I scoop up about $1.50 a day.  I really wonder what we are coming to when we discard what others are to glean.  In a throw-away society, I’m looking forward to when tens and fives are a nuisance and start heading my way.

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How About Today?  Would This Happen again?


John 2:19

“All right,” Jesus replied. “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

Naturally, the temple Jesus was referring was about the nature of His own body, and in fact, upon His death it was raised in three days.

As Christians we all agree that the words of which Jesus said are true.  We also all believe that our God is a living God and for the living and that He doesn’t change.

And since this is all true why then do we behave as if it has all changed?

When I go to church, I go to Jesus.  Don’t you?

Yet, when we speak today of destroying the church, we are no different than those of old: we are speaking of a building.

Truly, we have it as wrong as the guys back then.

Christ is the temple and we are building blocks of that.  Christ is the head while we are the members.  Destroy any of those members, the building blocks of the church (us) and we will be raised again.

What part about this doesn’t the Christian understand?

Jesus is head of His Church and we are members. And most of the time when we go to ‘Church’ we should go outside to be with Jesus and His people.  Jesus will be with those who are suffering.  And while some suffer in the modern church, more than likely Jesus is not going to be sitting in a pew in air conditioning, walking on soft carpets.

Today, it is your body, my body that houses the temple.  Hey, friends…Jesus is in there or at least is supposed to be in there and at least we say that he is.

Kill us and we will rise again.  Tear down the building and it may take years to build.  Which one do we claim that we are?  The physical building of bricks and mortar or the living, invisible Church of God?

What Do We take, What We GIVE


Matthew 14:16
Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”

In this miracle, Jesus doesn’t ask the crowd for more, but instead utilizes and builds upon what he already has. This is reduced to a mere pittance compared to the crowd of maybe 20,000.
This is not how we do it today. Not at all. Today, we would not build on what we have, but rather would pass the plate again and again, begging for more and more.
There is NEVER enough to satisfy the insatiable thirst of today’s modern church as we fail to rely on Jesus as the head,
Look at the miracle in this feeding. Jesus didn’t do it all by himself. Instead, he instructed His disciples to participate and surely, they learned from this experience.
What is at least one takeaway from this experience? At least one is that today we do it WRONG.
Notice where with the huge crowd he didn’t ask anything from THEM. NO, not at all. He didn’t ask anything from them, yet he GAVE to those who were hungry.
Listen to the approach. It is the identical approach we should have as well. In approaching the world the church should come with the substance of what they already have and for us to GIVE, not to take.
Trust me on this one. This is NOT going to happen. No one is going to listen to this as it is counter to what the business of the church actually does. This would require actually emptying treasuries and thus, it will not happen at all. I might be charged as a heretic and accused of apostasy, but the illustration of Jesus simply will not occur. For when it comes to the modern church, it is not about the church giving: it is about taking. And the goal is to take as much from you as they can. The opposite is true with Jesus: He taught us all to GIVE.

“It doesn’t really Matter” Or does it?


In the movie Meatballs (1979), Bill Murray, playing the camp counselor of Tripper, towards the end of the movie goes into a rally cry for the campers.

“It just doesn’t matter…it just doesn’t matter…”

Concluding this rallying chant Tripper assures them that it doesn’t matter because in the end, all the rich guys will win all the awards in competition and  still get all the cutest chicks.
You see, the campers were more or less normal and somewhat sub-normal average=joe losers.

And so too is it with Christians.  Just because you are a Christian doesn’t mean that Jesus is going to be your quarterback in football.  It doesn’t mean you score any better on your algebra test or that you are going to be more popular.

More than likely life is going to SUCK just as bad before you were a Christian with the major difference is that you now possess HOPE for a better future.

Because of that hope which is Jesus Christ himself, we should no longer chant that it simply doesn’t matter.

And surely, it should matter and matter even a whole lot more as the hope within our spirit assures us that All is well because we know that the Lord loves and cares for us.

Sure.  I get a kick out of that chant in reference to the fact that the movie was a comedy and also in terms of how we shouldn’t take ourselves so seriously.

But outside that movie in the real world, all that we say and do does matter.  And if it doesn’t matter we should realize that somewhere along the line we are doing it all wrong.  Jesus matters and that should be our new chant for all things great and small.

“A TOUGH OLD BIRD”


“A TOUGH OLD BIRD”

My neighbor’s boss is only 60 years old, but harbors more folds in his skin than a Sear’s Catalog.  I don’t know him directly, only indirectly when he drops of my friend each evening.

This tough ole buzzard named Bill is the receiver of a heart transplant over 18 years ago. Aside from that, Bill sports a steel leg where he accidentally shot himself several years ago and thus is an amputee.

If this were not astounding enough in itself, this man works as a carpenter six days a week and while he doesn’t drink, smokes like a chimney.

Without so much an 1/8 inch layer of fat on his body, this man drives himself hard during this extremely scorching days and even harder on others.

I write about this miraculous man as he represents or at least should represent the extreme resilience of a determined man to live.

While I don’t know if he is saved or not, he still leaves a message for those of us who despair and give up under far less circumstances.  Bill is an example of a person who has favor with God and who lives only because the hand of God is on him.

This tough old Bird should remind us to hang on: to never give up and to believe in God for our lives and salvation. This is a man who does NOT complain, who finds a way to get to work and work hard and otherwise live a normal life.

The question becomes:  How many of us would fit this description and would serve as a model.  As for me, I know I would fail as that type of greatest is not in me.  However, there may come a time when I rise to the occasion and then it is my turn  who comes as a tough old bird.

A Curse in the Blessing (You have to have sense enough to use it)


There’s an old saying, “Watch how for what you wish for as you might get it.” And so also we should be mindful of our prayers.

All of us have read accounts of lotto winners and the misery brought with it.  At first, the winner thought God had really answered a prayer, but soon it was discovered that with the blessing came a curse.

We have seen similar here in the states with three severe storms.  All of this was in the wake of dangerous droughts that had plagued the lands, so much so, we prayed for rain.  It got so bad I remember one church sign that read:  “For those of you who prayed for rain.  You can stop.”

On another post, I wrote where a young girl was given the keys to a new car on her prom night.  That same night the girl lost control of the car, landed in a ditch and was paralyzed from the neck down. Was the car a blessing or a curse?
At least weekly we come across the death of a celebrity who in all their fame and money—dead from an overdose.

It may be that we really don’t have sense enough to know what really to ask God for when we use our blessings, it generally leads to our very destruction.

This should not surprise us for Jesus instructed us on how to pray and more often than not, we ignore his instructions.

Perhaps the answer lies in permitting God to choose what blessings we should have.  Perhaps He knows best what we truly need and not us to tell Him.

The lesson here should be easy and clear.  We can ask and God indeed may give it to us, but in the end, we need to have enough sense to use it.

 

In the Darkness of a lifetime (Do I see the rays of life or death standing at my door?)


Have you ever wonder how we might come across to others by our mere presence when they see us?  While visiting them at their home they may be experiencing the darkness of a lifetime and we fail to know it.

We all know that whenever we hurt that the pain is forever. At least it seems that way to us at the time.

And so then when you come to visit me who am I going to see?  Will you appear as the rays of life to offer me comfort and present to me our Jesus?  Or will your silence grant me death?

As you are standing there, will you be the pauper of Christ the man who saves the world, or the force of darkness that aggravates my pain?

For we are no longer children.  We don’t listen to you by what you say: No.  For we listen to you by what you do.

And what is it that you do?

While the poor souls of this world wrestle with agony, how do we come across to them?  How is it that we stand at their door with the good news of Jesus? Do we present them words upon words, or do we demonstrate the very love of Jesus that he gave to us.

Some of us would probably come across as arrogant, holy monsters. Our image is supposed to be one of our Lord.  Our words probably convict and beat down when our person should be one of Jesus.

Which person within us will loom at that door?  How many of us will even bother to attend to that door at all?  How many of us will remain home?  We say that we have light, yet throw the switch to darkness in our absence.

This is all a tall charge:  we are to preach the good news to the four corners of the earth.  And it continues within our own backyard.

And when I stand there for you I would hope you’d see my hand out to you.  I would hope you could see the love in my heart, the praise for our God in my voice and comfort and patience in my feet.  I would hope you could experience that small part of me that maybe, just maybe represents the Jesus I say that I know.

I would hope that I bring forth light and that the light illuminates over the darkness in your life. And I would pray that the light stays with you for an eternity.

And if I fail at any of these virtues I will only carry back with me even more darkness for it will be clear that I lost you. For it is that radiant sunlight that dwells in you that carries me far into the next day and in that long journey where at some point I’ll stand in the doorway of God’s kingdom.

In the Silence of Confusion


How often are we caught up in prayers only to realize that we were busy instructing our Lord on the day-to-day operations of this world?  I think it is moments like that when we have fun our mouth in prayer that between the gaps produced by our own confusion we recognize the fact that:

We don’t have a clue about what we’re talking about

Wow  Can you imagine all those stupid prayers that God listens to? What if they were on a SD card and played back in order for us to listen?  So much boredom.  In fact, I don’t think I would be able to take it.

So then we see that we have two sets or types of words:  we have the words that we said and then again secondly, we have those unsaid.

And for all the words unsaid—those that should have been for the good that would have elevated you—I am sorry.

For all those nasty words, those that chipped away at your spirit and wounded you—for those—I am also sorry.

When harsh, howling screams blazed away at your gentle person, we remain in sorrow and then turn to God to wipe away the tears.

This silence goes in between the roar of our thunder—the thunder of our useless words. I call it the silence of confusion.

For it is in times like that when God is finally able to speak—when he is granted a forum within the confines of our minds.

When we reach that point where we listen and hear God.  The confusion stops.  Once again we can pray.

Filthy and Unclean


As a student of history I read where those In the 1500s did not have access to baths.  One kind, for example only possessed two pairs of clothes. Imagine that:  even as a king he only had two lousy pairs of clothes.  Wow.

Most Americans enjoy a bath at least daily.  Anything less, including clean laundry would be socially unacceptable by today’s standards.

And some of us can envision Jesus as he walked the streets.  Certainly his feet would be grimy: his face teeming with sweat and replete with all the rest of daily grime. In short, Jesus was dirty.

Yet, we are told what true dirt really is and the grime that plagues us as people and all of it originates within the regions of our hearts. For it is out of the heart Jesus tells us that our desires spring forth to all types of wickedness and sin.

Notice here Jesus did not point to the Devil.  Here, Jesus does not blame an exterior force beyond man to claim the bounty of sinfulness.  No, he focused internally within the mind and heart of man as the creation of sin.

Elsewhere Jesus also spoke of dirt and it wasn’t what we were wearing. Always Jesus foretold of our very nature which in itself is NOT good.

This should be of no surprise yet when it comes to us milling around with good company the first thing we do is preen and spruce our self up to make our self presentable. We want to at least make a show of purity.  We even come up with stupid slogans like ‘cleanliness is next to godliness’.

No matter how we come across or what we say, the truth lies in our heart. Standing next to God in the finest Robes we are nothing but dirty.

Yes, we are hideous when our spirit is compared to any other than other contaminated spirits such as ourselves.

Being clean is only in JESUS.  He is clean and is merely a substitute for us.  Consequently when we are around those we believe are filthy from the day’s toil, we should reexamine our self.  The real dirt, the real toxic environment will be contained inside of us.  Thus, none of us are clean.

WHERE IS YOUR HOME? (You may not have one.)


Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in. Robert Frost
For those of us Christian sojourners here on earth we know our home is eventually with Christ on earth. In the meanwhile most of us, unlike our Lord have a place to lay our head.

Most of us have great times and some horror stories associated with family life and growing up.  Some of us have experienced nightmares with mates and seen dreams explode and disappear.

In all of that:  Has your sense of joy and goodness gone with it?  Has your spirit, your back been broken so bad that you no longer can smile at the thought of good times and celebration?

Have you come to the conclusion that people can no longer be trusted and we say we trust in the Lord and go no further? Has it come to the point where we don’t know what day it is, what time of day it is or what day of the week it is as it is all so very pointless and doesn’ t matter?

In short, have you given up on God’s creation of which He said it was GOOD?
Have we come so hardened that we only depend on our self and see others as an obstacle to our own self achievement?

If all those questions are true then I have news for you…

IT WILL GET WORSE !

No one is spared from the tribulations of this world.  Nothing is right nor will it be until HE RETURNS.

As Christians we are supposed to declare those things which are unseen. We call this FAITH.

Think about it. We are to say something is when our own logic, our own senses dictate to us otherwise.

This is an impossible task but our task nonetheless.

Remember we are declaring victory about a common man who died on a tree.  We are saying we have power from one who was brutally murdered.

Face it.  Jesus is NOT here to dispute the claims of the world.  We are here alone to say our pledge and who we follow.

All that we have is each other.  All that we can embrace is the Church that Jesus left for us until HIS return.  The only way we can really experience the true nature, the true spirit of Christ is by engaging in his spirit that dwells in US.

Things can be bad enough and that is true.  It will get worse and greater than that so much so that it will seem impossible to bear.

It is our job as the church to encourage others to remain here with us in HOPE.  Our hope is for Jesus to return one day and make things right.  Until then, many events will truly suck.  They will be horrible.

And these horrible things will be made durable because of people like you who insist on that hope that is real. And it is with you that we have our present day home which is a home away from home until that glorious day when we are finally called way to be with our Lord at HOME.