This past week, I was able to watch a little football for the first time this season. There are a couple of friends that I “compete” with in fantasy football with whom I’m in a texting group.
From time to time they will start “chatting” about the games being played...and since one of them lives in Colorado and the other in Alaska typically it is pretty late at night that these chats take place (at least here in Arkansas).
So I typically don’t reply to their chatting: first because I don’t have television service and, second, because the notification woke me up and I’d rather be asleep.
But on Thanksgiving Day, during the Saints/Falcons game one of them made a comment that was pretty thought provoking.
His comment was that, as we are pretty much older than even the oldest NFL players now, he has a greater amount of respect for those who are able to peak in late season games (especially players like Drew Brees and Peyton Manning). He also commented that their mentality prepares them to excel even when their bodies are not as physically capable as they were when they were younger.
A few moments later, he said he thought there was a sermon in there. To which I replied “Probably at least a bulletin article.”
When we were younger, maybe we could take a “big” hit from Satan’s arrows and get back up to fight again. We counted on our youthful vigor to help us bounce back. But as we get older, we understand that those “big hits” come with a price that may not be felt until well after the battle has ended.
As we age, we begin to understand that we need to avoid taking the “big hit” if we want to get up to fight another day. So we begin to mentally prepare for the battle we see ahead of us: maybe we think through how we are going to respond in a given situation before we are put into that situation or we figure out ways to avoid the situation altogether.
Temptations are going to tempt us for as long as we live. Whether we are young or old, we need to be mentally prepared to face them. Many younger football players took big hits, some unnecessarily, and did not get up from them.
Perhaps you are counting on your youth to help you take Satan’s nastiest darts...many have thought that, only to see their faith succumb to that dart.
The best thing that you can do is to avoid the darts altogether. Have a plan so that when Satan attacks you, you live to fight another day!
Greetings from Texas...
So, here it is, Thanksgiving week. Another year, another day set aside to thank God for all His goodness the whole year through.
Is that all this holiday is about, though. Is God pleased with our taking one day out of each year to thank Him for what He does for us 365 days a year?
In Luke 17, Jesus is traveling along the border of Samaria and Galilee when 10 men with leprosy meet Him. They beg Jesus to have pity on them and heal them. Naturally, Jesus does just that.
As they are on their way to show themselves to the priest, they are cleansed of the “various disease of the skin” was affecting them.
I’m certain all 10 were grateful. I know all 10 truly appreciated what Jesus did for them. I am convinced that all 10 knew beyond a shadow of a doubt where their healing came from.
Never-the-less, only one of the 10 turned around and made the extra effort to tell Jesus “Thank you.”
And, mind you, he was not ashamed to tell Jesus thank you. He was very demonstrative in thanking Jesus, “He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him.” (Luke 17:16)
Jesus healed us from a disease with far more devastating consequences than leprosy...He healed us from the disease of sin.
Please think about the example of the Samaritan leper the next time you experience a blessing from God and are tempted to just accept it without truly thanking Him.
There, right there, you just experienced a blessing from God. You inhaled a breath of air and your body processed the oxygen and you are alive! So thank God for even the “little” things in your life.
Read 1 Thessalonians 5:18. Go ahead, I’ll be here when you get back...no, wait, I’ll be in San Antonio, thanking God for my family in San Antonio. But I will also be thanking God for my family in Siloam Springs!
Have a happy Thursday...and a happy “Thanksgiving Day” EVERYDAY!
Many of you noticed that Monica was not feeling well on Sunday morning. With the aid of resting on Monday and takings some antibiotics, she is feeling better.
But guess what? Since Monday was a holiday, I stayed home to take care of her...and you probably know what that means. She was kind enough to share with me.
So it is Wednesday morning and I have a doctor's appointment for a little later this morning. Feeling bad is not any fun.
But this week has me thinking. Just through casual contact Monica was able to share what ailed her with me. I simply stayed home and took care of her so she could rest and now I’m not feeling great (but I’m too stubborn to stay home and rest).
Often times we think our faith is much like a cold or other health related ailment. We figure it will spread through casual contact to those around us. We think we really don’t have to put much effort into sharing our faith...it will just, sort of, well, happen.
Unfortunately such is not the case. If we are going to share our faith, we must make an intentional effort to share it. Just being near or with someone is not likely to lead to their conversion.
Yes, “casual contact” is a good first step towards reaching out to a friend with the gospel message. But we have to take the outreach up a notch or two if we are to be successful in evangelism.
Jesus said to “GO into all the world…” (Matthew 28:19). The word “go” implies action and effort. The world (even if they are our friends) is not going to come to us, we have to make the effort to “go” to them.
Now, I’m going to the doctor and I might just stay home and rest this afternoon.
CONGRATULATIONS! WE DID IT! What did we do that deserves congratulations? Why we survived yet another “political season.”
One thing I enjoyed about no longer having TV is that I missed a lot of the political commercials this time around. There was plenty of information on line to allow a person to make an informed choice as to how to vote; but I didn’t have to listen to the 30 second to 2 minute mud-slinging of “PACs.”
Here’s the kicker...it is now Wednesday morning and, well, it is Wednesday morning. From the sound of some people, if their non-favored outcome or candidate was the winner yesterday the world would end. But the sun rose and it is a beautiful day (in Northwest Arkansas, anyway).
I exercised my right to vote yesterday. Did things go the way I voted? Not entirely. But, just after midnight on November 6, 2018, November 7, 2018 arrived!
Psalm 118:24 reads: “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Just as the Lord made yesterday, He made today. Just as we looked with hopeful anticipation towards today yesterday, so we can look with hopeful anticipation to tomorrow today.
No matter who is going to Washington D.C. or Little Rock or to City Hall...God is the one in control. God is still sovereign (whether or not the politicians want to admit that or not).
So what happens now? Now we pray for those who were elected (see 1 Timothy 2:1-4). Whether you voted for them or not. Whether you agree with their political platform or not. We pray for them: that they govern wisely and as God would have them.
Then the political season starts all over again in six months!
The other day as I drove home from Rogers, I noticed something rather odd...to me, anyway. As I was driving, I was looking at the beautiful fall colors and admiring the beauty of God’s creation.
Then came the oddity: 12 cents! 12 cents? What 12 cents? Well, that was the difference in price for a gallon of unleaded gasoline at two stations probably less than a mile apart!
The stations were not the same company, but they were selling just plain old, ordinary, everyday gas (FYI, ethanol content was not a factor in the price).
This struck me as so incredible: why would anyone pay 12 cents/gallon more for the same thing? Why wouldn’t they drive a mile or so down the road and get the gas for 12 cents/gallon less?
Could it be that the station selling gas for 12 cents/gallon more is where their parents and grandparents have always bought gas? So that’s just where they always buy gas...they have never even thought about looking elsewhere.
Perhaps they don’t appreciate the savings potential. If your car holds 20 gallons, and you fill it up from close to empty, that’s a savings of $2.40. If you save that much each week over the course of a year, that’s $124.80...not chump change!
Or could it be that they are unaware that the other station exists? If they knew it was there, then they would go there and save...but they just don’t know about that other place.
That’s how many people look at churches. Some attend where they attend because their family has always attended there. Others are so comfortable that they really don’t care if their church is teaching what the Bible says: they are too comfortable to care about the difference.
Still others just don’t know that other churches exist or they see churches as all the same. They don’t see the difference...all of them do the same thing.
Unfortunately many in our brotherhood are trying to make us like everyone else. They see us in “competition” with every other church, so they say we have to change and be more like every other church.
I believe we need to stand in stark contrast to other churches. We need to stand out from every other church. When people look at us, they should see something different. They should see a group of people gathered together for the purpose of pleasing God, not man.
Do we stand out or do we blend in?