The Finish Line

Yesterday morning three people woke up, put their tennis shoes on, did their morning stretches, ate a light but nutritious breakfast, and headed out to be a part of the Boston marathon, not suspecting what would be waiting for them at the finish line. It is another sad story. It seems like we are hearing more and more stories like it on a weekly basis.

Just one thought for the day as we pray for the 140 injured and the families of the three whose lives were taken by this horrific event, do we know what is waiting for us? We have been told what is at the end of our race. Let us live the type of life that prepares us for the finish we desire. And let us use our lives as a light to show everyone what is at the end of our race.

Life is too short for us not to reflect Christ in all that we do (Colossians 3:17).

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All is Well

rejoiceWhat does it take to ruin a day? Maybe you woke up late, then all the red lights stopped you on your way to work, you did not get your coffee, and you forgot to brush your hair. As you walk into work and people ask how are you today all you can do is look at them with a blank stare and walk on. After all that happened to you in the morning, your day is ruined.

Too many times we let things that happen to us at the beginning of the day shape the way we look at the rest of the day we are given. Not only are we discouraged by things that happen to us on one single day but many times, if a tragic event happens to us, we let it poison the rest of our lives.

There is a true story of a man who woke up one day to find his world crumbling down. He had lost a child to fever and his business was going down the drain. He knew it was time for a family holiday so the tickets where bought and they were headed for London. He had sent his family ahead of him because he had to shore up some last minute things with his business. Waking up one morning, expecting to get a telegram telling him his family had made it safe, he receives one from his wife that read “saved alone.”

This man lost all of his children in a moment and was separated from his wife by a vast ocean. As he made the trip to his wife, going over the very ocean that had taken his dear children, he pins the words to the well-known song It Is Well with My Soul. We will let the teller at McDonalds ruin our morning because they got our order wrong while there are others who are going through so much more than us.

We as Christians should be the most joyous people on the face of the earth. The Son of God came down to earth (John 1:14), suffered so much for each and every one of us, was killed in one of the most gruesome ways imaginable, so that each and every one of us could have hope (Acts 2:23-26)! Let us not lose perspective in our daily lives but remember our hope and be filled with joy no matter what. If we are in Christ, we can be filled with peace and always say it is well with my soul!

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The Model Teacher

teachingKeeping our hearts true to God and helping others to keep their hearts true to God is a lot easier said then done. A lot of people claim to love God and claim they are spreading God’s word but seem to have a hard time getting it to stick with the people they are trying to teach. There are also many parents that spend time searching out ways to get their children involved with the congregation’s youth group in hopes that they will stay faithful after high school graduation. Sadly, many parents find out that once their children are in college, they drift away. This raises the question, what is the best way to teach people about God so they will stay faithful to Him?

In Deuteronomy 6:5 the Bible says, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” Later on in the same chapter God tells the Israelites that if they love Him they will not only teach but show this love to their children.  Deuteronomy 6:7 says “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” There is a key principle that can be found in this verse. That key is to continually and constantly love God.

The best time to teach is all the time and the best place is everywhere. God has taught throughout all the ages this principle of teaching by example. It is the best way to teach others about God and the best way to teach the next generation how to love Him. The best way to teach those you are around about God is to be a living example.

In Titus 2:7 Paul encourages Titus to be a model, an example, but he is also commanded to be a teacher. These two commands go hand in hand. One cannot be a good teacher if they are not living what they teach. We are all called to be a model. Just like parents are called to show their love for God, we must also show our love for Him not just once or twice a week but all the time. We need to remember to show and not just tell. The best way to teach is to be constantly showing our love for God by our example and our words. The question is, are we?

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What Are Friends For?

friends-forever-debra-hurd500+, that’s the number of people I have on my “friends” list on Facebook. Most of these people, at some time or another, I have meet personally throughout my life. All of these people either know me or we have dozens of mutual “friends.” If we looked at the all the people who tell us happy birthday, the pictures we are tagged in, the groups we are added to, and the events we are invited to attend, one would think we have a great group of friends. Honestly though, how many true friends do we have? Are we a true friend or are we just a Facebook groupie?

Proverbs 17:17 states, “A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity.” Are we the type of person that is going to love our friends at all times, not just when it is convenient for us? When the going gets tough are we right there with them or are we nowhere to be seen?

Proverbs 27:6 has this to say about friendship, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” Part of loving someone is not being scared to point out something that might hurt them at the time but that in the long run will bring them closer to God.

I don’t think it was easy for Nathan to confront his friend, King David, when he needed to. It might not have seemed appropriate for Paul to correct Peter to his face when Peter was not acting like he should have. It was probably awkward for Aquila and Priscilla to tell Apollos that he was wrong in the way he was teaching. But all of these people spoke out of love even if it was hard for them to do.

We do not just need to be a friend that’s there to say happy birthday. We need to be the type of friend that truly loves at all times.   We need to be the kind of friend who cares enough to correct their friends when it is needed, and also the type of friend that is not above being corrected by others.

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A Growing Thought

seedA seed, when planted in the ground and given the right soil and weather conditions, will take root into the ground and start to grow. The first thing the little seed will do is start growing a tiny little root at the bottom. A small stem on the top will start to poke through the ground, maybe even bearing two small, bright green leaves. Year after year this little seed will go on from its humble beginnings and keep growing. As long as it is getting fed by the soil and getting light from the sun, it will just keep shooting up higher and higher. One day though, it will reach a point where it can grow no more. Its top is in the clouds. It has stretched its limbs as far as they can go. When it reaches the point where it can grow no longer, it will start to breakdown and decay. Limbs will fall off. It might become hollow on the inside, still looking like a strong tree, but just waiting for the next big gust to blow it over and send it crashing to the ground.

Just like a tree, when we as Christians stop growing, we start to decay. No matter how hard we try to justify it, if we stop growing we will start to decay.  Paul urges the Thessalonians in 1 Thessalonians 4:1,9-10 to, even though they knew what they were supposed to be doing, and even though they were showing the love they were supposed to show people, to grow more and more in what they had been taught and what they were already doing.

We need to take this charge to heart today. Just because we know something or just because we are doing something does not mean that we should not be striving to gain more knowledge and to do more. I pray that each one of us tries to always be growing every day of our lives!

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Of One Mind

where_ideas_come_from_show_artToday an article was posted on Foxnews about Duke University and their science department. What I read was amazing. They have linked two rats on different continents together in such a way that they were able to share the same brain waves. These rats would have a task set before them to complete. One rat would know how to do the job and the other would decode the brain waves sent by the first rat so that he too would be able to do the job and get the prize.

These rats did not start off understanding each other. It took a lot of training for them to know how to use each other’s thoughts to complete the task set before them. When they understood how the other thought they could do things without seeing and without hearing.  They could do things based purely on what the other wanted.

Being of the same mind is not something that is just for rats in a lab. Being connected to the  thoughts of another does not take high-tech equipment.  Understanding someone without hearing or seeing them was not an idea that science brought us.

We as Christians need to strive to be united with one another ( Philippians 1:27 ) . As Christians, if we are not of the same mind, we cannot effectively complete the task that is set before us . If we are not of the same mind we are not reflecting God the way we should.

The mind we are to be united under is the mind of God. To be of this mind we have to be connect to the source of information that God left us. This is not a computer that we have to hook up to and it does not take thousands of dollars in order to receive this information. All it takes is someone with the desire to understand God’s word. Someone who is willing to study. One should not go into study with the mindset of trying to prove his own ideas by the Bible.  Our purpose for study should be to understand God thoughts and make them our own.

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Tick Tock

timeTime. It’s a concept we learn early on and one that we are constantly reminded of.  Everything is so time oriented today. In our culture we have a fast food mentality.  We want everything instantly, from our coffee to our music. If it cannot be gotten in seconds, often we will not bother with it at all. With this in mind, one would think that we have a good grasp on how fast, limited, and precious our time actually is. One would also think the reason we wanted things faster is so that we would have more time to use on the important stuff. Sadly, this is not the case.  In our lives we waste a lot of time on stuff that will not last beyond time.

We as Christians are called to use our lives for God. We all have a task to do. Serving God is not something that we should have to take time to do because it should be who we are all the time. One cannot schedule being a Christian and being a part of the church. It is who we are every single second yet there are those who still do not take their time here on earth seriously. James 4:13-14 teaches us how short life really is and how we should be striving to do God’s will instead of our own.

Every second that goes by two people die. I know this might seem dark and morbid to think about but it is something that each and every one of us needs to be aware of.  Deuteronomy 6:4-7 shows us that loving God is not just something that we do here or there but it is something that we do all the time, when we rise and when we lie down. Time is short and will not last forever. An individual life is even shorter. Let us each use the time that we have and not let those seconds go to waste.

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