The tree limbs clawed at the side of the house, pushed by the ferocious winds. Lightning danced across the sky and rain pounded the windows. A flicker or two later, the power was out. Feeling his way to his bed, Mr. C climbed into his bed and snuggled beneath his warm blankets.
The front door rattled as though bigfoot was waging war against it. “Let me in, I need a dry place to sleep!” shouted a voice from outside.
“Who is it?” asked Mr. C.
“B J Black!”
“You must have the wrong house. I don’t know anyone by that name.”
“Sure you do, we meet about twenty years ago at a ballgame.”
“Perhaps but I still don’t know you, you are merely a moment in time and I can’t even remember that moment. I am sorry but I can’t let you, I never knew you!”
Being a friend is different than being an acquaintance. You recognize a friend because you spend time with them. Are you a friend of Jesus or an acquaintance?
John 14:23 Amplified Bible 23 Jesus answered, “If anyone [really] loves Me, he will keep My word (teaching); and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our dwelling place with him.
Matthew 7:21 Amplified Bible 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.
If you don’t have a true relationship with Jesus, how will you know the will of the father?
I have seen my share of struggles. I lived in a situation where there was not enough to make ends meet. One day as I was listening to a preacher, he told a story of a woman praying for God to send her some extra money and she would give it back to him since she had nothing of her own. Sure enough, a few days later she received a hundred dollars in the mail. She got so excited she went to the shoe store to buy a new pair of shoes and some other things. Heading home she remembered what she had promised God and was about to take her items back. She heard God say, “Just ask me again”, so she did. The next hundred came a few days later and she rushed to bring it to the church.
I thought, well, if she can do that I can too, so I did. Sure enough, I received a hundred dollars as a bonus and I gave it to the church. But, I forgot to take the hundred dollars off my checkbook. So I should have bounced the check for bills, but I didn’t. Eight months later the bank called me and said, “We found a deposit for a hundred dollars stuck in the night deposit. So I not only gave God his money but he let me keep his money also.
The title sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? But if you think about it, it’s true. You can spend all your time chasing fame and fortune. You can put your family on hold to gain access to chasing your rainbow. You can even tell yourself that you’re chasing that rainbow to get that pot of gold at the end, just for your family. You can work all your life to buy that million-dollar home in that gated community, but why? Wouldn’t a nice 120,000 dollar home provide you with the same comfort? A roof over your head, shelter from the weather, a safe haven. A place to watch your children grow up without sacrificing the time you have to spend with them. Time is the one thing you can never have enough of or ever get back. Just ask a dying man, which is more valuable, time or money? Let’s play a little monopoly here, let’s say you own almost everything possible. When you finally do take the time to look in the mirror, what do you see? Where did that young person go, where did all these wrinkles come from? Let’s take a stroll through the house, look at the photos on the wall. How many Birthday parties did you miss while those babies grew up? Ah, there are mom and dad, gone now for almost a decade. So many sales pitches that visiting them was always, “See you when I can.” Oh goodness sake, just look at your little sister and brother hanging on the wall, smiling sweetly at you. Now one has dementia and the other is only where God could find him. You have worked your life away and never looked at the treasures you already had in your life. The sad thing is, when you leave this world you are poorer than when you came into it. When you arrived you had your breath and that will even be gone. What I am attempting to say is this, “There is nothing wrong with nice things, but you have so many nice things already. They are more precious than gold, I’m referring to your family. Don’t get so wrapped up in making it big that you forget what the BIG picture is.
As we go along in our daily lives, how often do we stop and look around us? Do we listen to the birds singing, watch the branches of a tree swaying in the wind? While we sip on the morning cup of coffee do we consume a dose of fresh air that is provided by our maker? Have we really lifted our voices in thanks for all the simple, yet precious things in our lives? Life is filled with stress and many times that is all we focus on. Why do we do this?
God has said to cast our burdens on him. Why do we continue to do everything for ourselves? Is it because we think he can’t take care of them? Has society convinced us that he no longer exists? They have tried, that is for sure. But those who have a relationship with him know better. He is as much alive today as he was in the Old Testament. He hasn’t changed, we have! He didn’t tell us to stop putting faith in him, men told us to do this. He hasn’t stopped providing for us, we just find it easier to let the government do it. Our faith has grown weak and our time has been consumed by the constant push for our attention. Our children and their activities, our friends whom we can’t say no to. Everything has replaced God these days and for it, our world suffers greatly. Fathers are no longer the head of the household in most families. In some homes, there is no father at all.
Every ounce of God that can be taken from our children has been done so by every means possible. Every ounce of respect for others has been thrown out the door. The generation has become a “ME” generation. A microwave society where everything has to be given now instead of waiting on God’s timing. Sometimes what we want at the time, isn’t what we were able to deal with at the time. Sometimes what we want will lead to our own destruction. What then? Then society wants someone else to bail us out or deal with the problem we are in.
The Bible that sits gathering dust on a table may one day be something that is a priceless artifact. Why? Because one day, those, like many of our freedoms may be taken away and forbidden. Use it while you have it, teach your children, don’t pass up the chance to get to know the only real truth while you have the freedom to do so.
Someone said to me, well what if there is no God? I replied, would it make a difference? Is there something wrong with doing the right thing and loving each other? Wouldn’t the world be a more peaceful place if everyone were on the same page?
If you paid someone to clean your car and it came out half done, what would you think? You’d be disgusted and would have a talk with the man. No one wants half done jobs! No one wants to have to point out every move that needs to be made to do a satisfactory job. No one really wants just a satisfactory job either, they want an excellent job. When you are doing a job in the church, don’t give God your sloppy seconds. You’re not just a body doing a job you’re a reflection of Christ. If you half do your job, then everyone will say, “That person needs to be replaced.”
I ran the website for a pastor in Oklahoma. If I didn’t do as much as I was capable of, it reflected on the church and the church reflects Christ. When I first started doing Evangelist Charlie and Shelly Rogers website, he knit picked everything. He asked me one day, “ Do you ever check your work?” Now I could have taken offense to this since I did this free of charge, but I didn’t. His knit-picking made me take notice of what I was doing. Before I knew it, I found myself becoming picky about my work. I had one woman ask me for help with her site and I did, she said you can put your name on my site. I said, “No thanks, that site is terrible and I won’t be associated with it.”
In case you don’t know it, whatever job you have in the church, your name is attached to that job. Everyone is watching and expecting you to put your best foot forward. Don’t watch those beside you, don’t watch the kids, don’t play with your cell phone. Focus on your job and being the best you can be at it. God is watching you. Can’t you imagine him looking down at that second-hand sloppy job you’re doing and shaking his head? You are his only way to show others what he is about. Is he sloppy? He is not going to give you his sloppy seconds. So what are you giving him?
I’ve often been told that I need to be in church. That it’s what I am supposed to do. I agree that it is important, more so for some than others. It strengthens the spirit, being with like-minded people. But there are those who can miss a few services and still hold on to their salvation. Some people have the foundations deeply embedded in their spirit. It doesn’t take encouragement for them to keep themselves from straying. No one has to push them to pray, to make them do the things that are pleasing to God. They are strong in their belief in God and their love for him. If you only show God love when you are in church, there is a problem! He should be like your first love as a human. Do you remember that boy or girl that stole your heart for the first time? Thoughts of Jesus and praises to him should be as natural during your day as breathing. I often find myself talking with God about how does he think my flowers look if I place them here or there. He is not just someone I communicate with on Sundays. He is part of my everyday life.
People often think that if they don’t make every church service God is going to be angry and send something bad into their lives. This is attendance based on fear, not out of love. They gripe as they get dressed to do that once a week appearance and think God is happy with this? He wants you to make an appearance to better yourself, he doesn’t need improving. If you go just to ease your conscience, you might as well stay home. He doesn’t need anyone to go on his behalf. He wants you to go so you can learn his ways, so you can fellowship with believers. He wants you to go to have your spirit lifted and see that there is always hope. Hope comes before the manifestation of anything. If you have no hope, you cannot anticipate what awaits ahead.
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