Monday, September 30, 2013

Amber

So . . . are you as tired of the "Affordable" Health Care Act discussion as I am? Every night, and I do mean EVERY night, it has been the subject of at least ONE news story, in one form or another. The discussions, some of them quite heated at times, tend to go on and on, seemingly with no end in sight.

Recently, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) delivered a 21-hour speech in an effort to delay things in Washington. It pretty much failed but at least he made an effort. There was a time when we took it upon ourselves to take care of each other. This whole health care issue really makes me wonder.

There was a time when the people of this country didn't depend on the government to take care of us like we do now. For example, my parent's generation, who were born during the Great Depression. The following is an excerpt from an e-mail my mother wrote me. She was answering some questions I had about the Great Depression for a story I was writing a story called Joann - about helping those who had recently become unemployed).

"My father still had a job with the highway department.  But he impressed on us that we should do whatever we could to see that anyone from a poor family at least had some health essentials."

"He (my grandfather) also hired people -- a cleaning lady, and a "hired girl" to watch us kids and run errands.  He also often bought groceries for families he knew were having a rough time. [This was ingrained, because his father always did the same thing.  He took the butter or chickens he got in payment from those who could pay, added other groceries he knew were needed and took them to his patients who were needy.]  I remember hungry men coming to the door and my mother fixing something for them to eat.  Many of the out of work men traveled and lived like hobos, checking each town along the line for possible work."

Hmmm. Interesting. There was a time this country took care of each other like my grandmother did. Those days are long gone I fear. Or are they?

Recently, while volunteering at Ruby's Pantry, a local food pantry near where I live, I was introduced to a young lady named Amber. Amber's friends had brought her to Ruby's to get some food and soon began telling me Amber's story as they waited in line. Amber, you see, was a domestic abuse victim. Kicked out of the house, she had nothing. Nothing! No job, no food, no money. Nothing.

After I welcomed Amber to the food pantry I decided she needed to feel a little "loved" so I informed a few of my friends there at Ruby's and arranged for her to be . . . picked on. All in a loving way of course. She loved it.

I also asked her to give me a list of the things she needed and I told her she'd be taken care of. However, I was not prepared for what happened next - a true outpouring of love and compassion from a group of people who have never even met Amber. It truly was amazing to witness.

I work at a place called McMahon, a multi-faceted firm in the Fox Valley. I took a chance and sent an e-mail about Amber and her situation to everyone in the office. It didn't take long for the compassion to begin flowing. One guy stopped me in the hallway and handed me $40, another gave me twenty. Then the boxes began to come. Household supplies, blankets, dish towels, clothing, kitchen utensils, paper towels, toilet paper, toothbrushes, measuring cups and a vacuum cleaner! . . . dozens of items. It was amazing. By the end of the week my car was full of gifted items for Amber. I dropped them off at her "apartment," which was a dismal, dark, one-bedroom place a few doors down from Hardees in Waupaca. Despite the dismal surroundings, you should have seen the smiles!

Amber and her boyfriend Scott kept telling me, "I can't believe it!"

"All this is for me?"

There is something about adversity that creates and urge to be closer to God. It could be seen it after 9/11 when the nation's church attendance soared. But adversity also brings God closer to those in need through His church, the people who know Him and honor Him with their actions.  It could be seen through the people where I work and how they came to the aid of a young domestic abuse victim.

After all of the donated items had found a spot in Amber's apartment, I placed one last item right on top of the pile. It was the thing that Amber needed the most in her young life. A book that contains all of the answers to every question she will ever need answered - God's Word, The Bible.

Thank you God for your provision in Amber's life. May her faith and trust increase as she seeks answers to her many questions. And may YOU, God, BE the answer to every question she asks. And thank you for providing caring people in this world, who see a need . . . and fill it, without question, thereby creating a feeling of hope when previously there was none.

"42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved." - Acts 2:42-47

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Hide

Did you ever play hide and seek when you were a kid? I did. I think that's why I turned out this way. There's nothing more nurturing to an impressionable, developing mind than to have ones friends run off and totally abandon them.

When it was my turn to be "it" I counted down from 100 with my eyes closed and, when I opened them, I soon discovered that all of my friends had simply gone home and left me standing all alone, leaning up against some random tree. Nice.

Hey, have you ever played hide-and-seek . . . in the dark? Now THERE's a game!! Nothing more calming to a neighborhood than a herd of kids running around in the dark, yelling and screaming. Gotta watch our with that one though. Depending on the neighborhood you're running around in, you could find yourself shot!

Today I'd like to talk about that transitional moment, when you pull your hands away from your eyes and suddenly the darkness disappears and your eyes are flooded with light. Wonderful, colorful light.

My grandmother on my mom's side was effectively blind at one point in her life. In order to get her mail, she had to follow a rope that had been tied between the mailbox and the back door of her house. She could see shapes but small items, like a radio dial, or small print, like a letter, were undetectable to her.

One day, doctors informed my grandmother of an operation that could restore her eyesight. What?! There was something that could be done that would allow her to see? Let's do it!! And so they did.

I would have loved to have been in the room when the doctors removed the bandages and my grandmother was able to see things she had never seen before . . . like me!!

To be blind and then to suddenly see . . . reminds me of a story.

"As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man's eyes with the mud 7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.

8 The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar were saying, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some said, “It is he.” Others said, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” 10 So they said to him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” 11 He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed and received my sight.” 12 They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”

13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. 14 Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. 15 So the Pharisees again asked him how he had received his sight. And he said to them, “He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” 16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them. 17 So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.”

18 The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight 19 and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” 20 His parents answered, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. 21 But how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” 22 (His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.) 23 Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”

24 So for the second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, “Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner.” 25 He answered, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” 26 They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” 27 He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?” - John 9:1-27

Each of us has a choice to make in this life, whether we will follow Jesus or not. It is a very similar decision to the one my grandmother made for her physical eyesight. She chose to see. Doing so changed her life. The same life-changing opportunity awaits us all. When you arrive at that point in your life, when you hear about Jesus and wonder if the same life-changing power can work in YOUR life, read verse 25 from this passage once again. "I was blind, now I see." Then, make a decision for Christ. It will change your life forever . . . and ever. Amen.

Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) by Chris Tomlin

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Stretch

Much to my dismay, we have two cats living in our house. It's not really all that bad. They both catch mice when the opportunity presents itself. They both provide my wife with companionship and act as a recipient for her love and affection. For me though, the main enjoyment I get from our two cats is from watching them fail.

For example we have a leather couch in our living room. It's a nice couch. It's cool and comfortable on warm summer days. The cats like to climb up on the back of the couch and sun themselves in the morning while they look out the window. However, the cats have claws, so my wife has placed a blanket on the back of the couch to protect it. And that my friends is where the fun begins.

The leather couch can be rather slippery and when a sleeping cat decides it's time for a big stretch, funny things can happen. More than once a cat has fallen off the back of the couch, taking the blanket with it. When the cat emerges from behind the couch it always acts as if nothing has happened. Gotta look cool you know.

As much as I laugh at our poor cats, I do many of the same things. I can catch mice too, I just don't use my teeth. I like to sun myself on the couch and I love to stretch. Stretching is good. Except when things go "crack!" Has that ever happened to you? Right in the middle of a good stretch I've heard a sudden "pop" in some aging joint of mine or in my back and then I'm rather stiff for the next few days. Maybe I stretched myself too far.

Have you ever been stretched in your faith? I have. My wife has. Many of my friends have. We ALL have at one point or another. The question is, how have we responded? How have we been able to bounce back? We are much like tall trees going through a storm. They get stretched too. Sometimes they go "crack!" But it is the wind in the storm that actually makes them stronger. And so it is with us.

I prayed with a group of brothers at a Christian men's conference back in February. One of the guys actually prayed for more trials in his life because He knew they made him stronger and he knew that during those trials he would grow closer to God. He knew his faith would be stretched, but he also knew it wouldn't be broken. That's the big difference.

"13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." - 1 Corinthians 10:13

I don't think we should ever go so far as to say that God is our "personal trainer" but that is kind of what He does. He wants to see all of us grow in our faith. He wants us to develop our character. He wants us to be strong. He is the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2)

"5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." - 2 Peter 1:5-10

Jesus said that we WILL have trouble in this world (John 16:33). However in the same verse He also said, "But take heart! I have overcome the world!"

A short video of cats doing stupid things

Rise Above It by Switchfoot

Monday, September 23, 2013

Vision

I am grateful for my vision. With my vision I am able to see things, beautiful things that God has made. With my vision I am able to work and doing what I do to earn a living. Thanks be to God! With my vision I am able to read God's Word, which has truly been a blessing and has been essential in my growth as a follower of Christ. With my vision I have been able to see both of my children being born and, come this November, I will have seen both of them get married. Having vision is a wonderful thing, in most cases. In some things however, vision can be a BAD thing.

Have you ever heard of something called "casting visions" or "vision casting"? I have. Larger companies like to "vision cast" when they are trying to figure out which direction they want to go as a company or when they are searching for ways to achieve a specific goal. That's good I guess. It's good to have a plan anyway.

Lately I have seen those same visioning terms appearing in church bulletins and on church schedules all over the country. "Apparently churches want to have visions just like the big companies do. But why? Isn't everything we need "visioning" for already in the Bible?

There are lots of visions in the Harry Potter movies. Harry had a vision of Lord Voldemort killing his parents and attacking some other guy character. There were all kinds of "spiritual" things in his visions. Of course, Harry Potter practises witchcraft, not Christianity.

If you were to Google "witchcraft visions" for example you can find all kinds of books and articles on "Magic, Witchcraft and Dark Shamanism" but is that the kind of "visioning" that's appearing in our churches? Well, I certainly hope not! But when witches and churches use the same words to describe what they do, it can be confusing. Perhaps instead of "vision casting" we could substitute another word that might be better suited to what we need. How about . . . prayer.

I think there is something wrong with "vision meetings" in our churches. Here's a couple of questions that keep going through my mind as I ponder this issue. Isn't the only "vision" that is required already appearing in God's Word? And doesn't God already have a vision for His church? Of course He does! ! I read it every day!! It's called the Bible.

I imagine proponents of these vision meetings would say something like "Well, we need to plan for the future, we need to chart out our course as a church and have a focus for the congregation to follow."

To that I would respond, "God already has a perfect vision, and no matter how hard we might desire to come up with plans and visions of our own, we never will. Here's an idea. Why don't we just follow HIS plan? It's worked pretty good so far and for thousands of years. Why try to improve or redefine it now? Did we just all of a sudden learn something new?

If you Google "casting visions" the first link that appears is entitled Rick Warren and Vision Casting. Hmm. That's weird. Let's read. Here's a quote from the article (which is actually just one person's blog. Kind of like mine). But this is a quote from Rick Warren.

"I know my leadership style. I am a big-picture, vision-casting leader. . . . There is nothing inherently right or wrong about being a vision-casting leader. It is simply the way God wired me." - Rick Warren

So . . . Rick Warren is an admitted "vision casting" leader. Hmm. I wonder if Rick's congregation places their faith in Him rather than God? "Don't be silly Bob! He merely has a plan for his church. He's not leading anyone astray." Really . . . When people go to these meetings do they hear from Rick or do they hear from God? Are they listening to visions from God? Or are they listening to visions from men?

I think there is too much similarity between "casting visions" and "vision casting." People are getting confused. When a church tells its people they are holding a visioning meeting, whose vision are they coming to hear? Well, they're going to hear the pastors vision or the vision of the elder board. They are going to a vision meeting to hear MAN'S vision for their church. What about God's vision for His church? Don't we already have that written down for us somewhere? I thought only Jesus has the authority and the power to cast visions for the church.

In the Book of Acts there is a vision of what a church should do? They had a plan for the future. It was provided by Jesus (God) and implemented by His disciples . . . preach the gospel of Jesus, his crucifixion, death and resurrection. Preach the gospel of sin and repentance to all nations. Perhaps instead of "Vision" meetings churches should conduct "implementation" meetings. That's an awesome idea!!

But just in case churches still want to follow a corporate example, here's a nice little vision casting idea, It's from a large corporation (Nike). We could used in all of our churches today . . .

Preach the Gospel . . .
"Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie." - Revelation 22:14-15
 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Sara

I wish I wasn't writing this post today. I wish I could have slept in (it's Saturday) and enjoyed a lazy beginning to this first weekend of fall, but I can't. I just HAD to write this new post and not use the one that was already written and ready to go.

As I look back on the events of the past 24-72 hours it is very easy to see what God was orchestrating. It is very easy to look back and see all the events and all of the opportunities God created. It seems as if God was trying to get a message delivered. And THAT is why I am up at 5:00AM on this Saturday morning. I'm delivering the message.

This story is directed at teens and young adults mostly, but if you don't know Jesus, if He is not Lord of your life, I pray you would pay attention and heed the warning I am about to relay to you. Here we go.

It must have been a month ago I guess, when I noticed a Facebook post from a young friend of mine. Her name is Sara (Sara is the daughter of my best friend, the person God used to call this lowly sinner to Himself). The Facebook post went something like this, "Feeling distant from God, I need to make some changes in my life."

There are a few types of Facebook posts that will spark a private message from me. A message about "feeling distant from God" is one of them. So I reached out to my young friend and asked if she would like to talk about it. She did and so we set up a time to meet - a nice, casual dinner at a local sports bar.

If you are reading this and happen to be a Facebook friend of mine, you saw the post I put on there this past Wednesday. This is what it said. "Had a wonderful visit with a friend last night. We talked about our lives, our families, but mostly we talked about God."

And Sara and I did just that. Most of our conversation was about God. She asked a few questions or expressed a few doubts. I tried my best to answer. As I look back at the conversation we had, all I can say is thanks be to God that His Word flowed freely from this too-often ineffective mouth.

It was a wonderful talk. I love Sara very much. There is nothing I would rather see more than for Sara , or any other person in my life, commit themselves 100% to Jesus and become an obsessed follower of Christ. But sadly, many young adults and teens today as torn. They know ABOUT Jesus. They have heard the stories. They've tried reading the Bible but it's "too boring." But they never commit fully. They know OF Him, but they don't KNOW Him. Know what I mean? Jesus put it this way in Matthew 15:8

"These people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;"

Sara's heart is not as "far from Him" as most people I know. She is close but is still learning, still holding back in some ways. But there is a desire in her to know Him. That's why we were having dinner after all. But the commitment, the 100% I'd-do-anything-for-Him faith that God desires is not quite there yet - not for Sara, not for most people and not for me. It's being blocked by two things that we are all exposed to everyday of our lives. The two biggest weapons Satan uses to seduce us and to keep us from following a life of Christ. Those two reasons are "the world in which we live" and "our selves."

The morning that the phone call came from the police, her mother and I had already prayed for Sara and for many others. For as much as I would like this awesome young lady commit herself to Christ in everything she says and does, I think her mother would like to see it even more. A parents prayer for their child has got to be THEE top prayer of any believing parent, that their children would come to know Jesus and make him Lord of their lives.

"Sara's been in an accident," were the words her mother spoke to me on her way out the door at work yesterday . . . on her way to the emergency room. Before Sara's mother had left the parking lot I was already contacting all of the prayer warriors I could think of, asking for prayer. Today I am happy to report that Sara is resting at home, rather uncomfortably I imagine, but she is alive and recovering from being hit by a car while simply crossing the street.

I post this picture of my young friend 1) because it's already on Facebook. If you are a friend of Sara's you have probably already seen it, and 2) I hope it serves as a reminder of just how fragile we are as human beings, and just how close we are to actually getting to meet Jesus, face-to-face, at any point in our lives.

Sara was blessed yesterday, protected by God I think, perhaps because He wants to use her to speak into someones life on His behalf, as her mother spoke into mine. Who knows. All I can say is Blessed be the name of the Lord!

To all my young friends out there, or to anyone for that matter, who does not have an intimate relationship with the Creator of the Universe, PLEASE, make that happen today! You do NOT want to leave this world and meet a just and holy God without Someone to stand FOR us in heaven. Jesus endured death on a cross so that, through our faith in Him, we might have life. God's offer of immediate and total justification for all who come before Him is laying on the table . . . for you, for me. Let's not brush it aside. It's for you! Pick it up. Accept the gift! Call a friend, call your pastor, but PLEASE, don't be afraid to call on the Name above all names - Yeshua (Jesus).

Do you now what the name of Jesus means in Hebrew? It is from a verb meaning "to rescue" or "to deliver." Please, let Jesus rescue you today and let Him deliver you from evil . . .

"For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever and ever."

I love you Sara. Get well soon. :)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Shoes

Everyday, when I am getting ready for work, I sit down in our big, overstuffed recliner and I put on my socks and shoes. Gotta have something on my feet! If I didn't, my feet would get cold, especially on mornings like today . . . when is was 36 degrees outside!!

Do you put both socks on first and then both shoes? Or do you put one sock on and then one shoe, then the other sock and the other shoe. Reminds me of an All In The Family Episode. See the link at the bottom of this post.

Shoes are good. I wouldn't suck on them like my grandson does but I wouldn't take a walk on a gravel driveway without them! Although, I DO remember doing just that . . . walking on a gravel driveway that is. How come, when we walk across stones or something else that hurts our feet, we lift our arms up, like it will take some of the weight off? Weird.

Did you ever walk across seemingly "safe territory" in your bare feet, like a kitchen floor, and then step on something that was really hard with your heel? Youch!!! Man, I'd rather be on the gravel driveway! At least I would KNOW what was coming.

I don't have many shoes. I have a black pair, a brown pair, some casual shoes (brown) and some sandals. I have a couple pair of old, ratty tennis shoes in the garage - one for mowing the lawn and one for hiking, but that's it! My wife has WAY more shoes than I do.

My wife's shoe collection used to cover the floor of her closet. That was a lot of shoes! But apparently it wasn't enough. She bought a triple-decker shoe rack this summer. Now her shoes crawl up the wall, three-high, and they STILL cover the floor of her closet!!

If you think it sounds like my wife has a lot of shoes . . . have you ever heard of a woman named
Imelda Marcos? Her husband was the president of the Philippines until the mid-eighties. That lady had a lot of shoes - over 3,000 pair!!!

I have been thinking a lot about shoes lately and I have a question. But first, let's open up our Bibles to a couple of passages, the first one being in Exodus, the third chapter.

"Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. 3 And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.” 4 When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” 5 Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” - Exodus 3:1-5

Now, for the second reading, I would like you to turn to the New Testament. The Book of Matthew.

"18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” - Matthew 18:18-20

And now for my question. My question is this . . . if, when two or more of us are gathered together and Jesus, who is fully God, is with us in spirit . . . why don't we take off our shoes? Wouldn't the place upon which we are standing be "holy ground"? God is there with us . . .

Or do we not think that God is really there at that very moment? When He has told us that He would be? And at the very least, why don't we act like God is standing there with us whenever we pray? I would think that we would pray differently, more reverently, if we truly believed that God was amongst us.

So that is my question for you today. If we knew we were going to be in the actual presence of Jesus later in today, how would we act? How would we behave before hand. Would we be trembling in fear because of all of the things we have done? What would we even say? Would we fall face down at His feet in total brokenness. And, if we truly believed that God was with us in church, because we are all "gathered in His name" . . . why do we not see row upon row of shoes on the floor outside our sanctuary doors?

John the Baptist once said about Jesus, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, 27 even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” - John 1:26-27

Shoes are part of our everyday wardrobe. EVERYBODY wears shoes. Perhaps we should "put on" Jesus before we set "foot" out there in the cold, dark world. Maybe we should act as if Jesus were walking with us because . . . . perhaps He is. Would you let Jesus wash our feet like he washed the feet of His disciples? That would be hard for me to do. He is our King! But he lowered Himself and became OUR sin. One could say that "he put on OUR shoes," exchanging our unworthy sandals for His so that we could walk with Him . . . forever. Think about that when you put on your shoes and socks tomorrow morning . . . and as long as you have your head bowed to tie your shoelaces . . . :)_

Shoes and Socks - All In The Family

Imelda's Shoes - a brief documentary on Imelda's shoe collection

Monday, September 16, 2013

Curtain

It's rainy here this morning. The only sounds are coming from the rain drops on the hydrangea plants outside the partially open sun room windows and from the chickadees as they fly back and forth from the feeder to our apple tree. If I was a coffee drinker, this would be a good morning to wrap my hands around a warm cup of java. There is a slight hint of fall in the air.

Yesterday was different. The sun was shining and there was a nice breeze blowing as I waded through the crowd of people at a local cheese and sausage festival. I was on my way to hear a friend of mine who was performing at a Christian music stage.

I had no idea where I was going really - just kind of following the crowd. It's easy to get lost in a crowd. Everyone kind of blends in with one another and everyone feels safe - kind of like a school of fish swimming in the ocean. Kind of like . . . church, in many ways.

Eventually I came upon a tiny park tucked off to the side. A Christian radio station banner flapping in the breeze. The stage faced the street and all of the people as they went walking by. What a perfect outreach opportunity. Maybe some of the "fish" swimming out there in the street would come into the "pool" for a look see. Maybe. But more likely it would be the words of the performers that would be interacting with the people in the street.

When I first came to believe in Jesus, I told my friend, the one who had led me to Christ, that I felt as if I had stepped through a curtain upon receiving justification through my faith in Christ. It was as if someone called my name and I stepped out of the crowd and into God's family.

Looking out at the crowd from the area of the stage that day, it was as if I was seeing the image of my conversion experience come to life. We were separated from the crowd by an invisible curtain - the curtain between those who believe and those who choose to simply walk on by. Sadly, it was almost as if were weren't even there.

So how does that curtain get breached? How can we get the attention of an unbelieving world? Some suggest that if we just live out our "beautifully perfect" Christian lives that others will notice and want to be like us. Really? Why would they change THEIR lives so they could be like someone they've never been? That strategy might work but don't think it works as much as we think. No, it's God's Word, the gospel and the Holy Spirit that do the changing. We are the ones who must venture out, beyond the curtain, and deliver the gospel.

Having the music there was good, the lyrics were encouraging and uplifting for the believer but what did it do for those walking by in the crowd. Sorry to say this but my guess would be that it did little or nothing. Maybe Jesus popped into somebodys head for a second but . . .

So what can we do as believers to reach out to the lost - to get the attention of those who are perishing? I believe we have to get up off of our butts and interact, one-on-one. We have to get involved in someones life, take somebody a meal and pray for them, buy someone lunch and tell them about Jesus. WE must deliver the gospel. That's it! God can do the rest. But we need to be His willing vessels, making a difference, one person at a time.

I'd be willing to bet that there is probably someone you know who is desperate to hear the good news of Jesus Christ. Jesus has COMMANDED us to go and make disciples. How long are we going to sit in our comfy chairs and ignore a direct order from Almighty God? Frankly? I am frustrated with myself for doing exactly what I am preaching against. I am typing this from my comfy chair. But God WANTS us to do this for Him. So how are you and I going to respond to that command today?

"16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” - Matthew 28:16-20

The following is a song by my friend and her band. Please listen to it and may it encourage you to complete your share of our Lord's Great Commission.

He Wants To Believe by Tammy Borden

Tammy Borden's web site

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Rims

My friend and I were out walking at lunch on one of the few warm, summer days we have left here in Wisconsin, when we saw an SUV stopped at a traffic light. "That's the ugliest thing I've ever seen!" my friend said. I was just about to say the very same thing. The SUV itself looked normal enough, but the rims . . . oh, my goodness . . . the rims!

What would possess someone to put such incredibly gaudy rims on their daily driver? Isn't it enough that someone drives a gas-guzzling SUV and spends hundreds of dollars on fuel each month? Why would somebody want to to blow MORE money on rims like these? Only a fool would spend thousands of dollars to make their car look like a Warner Brothers cartoon?!? Right? Right?? Hmm.

"19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." - Matthew 6:19-21

The rims we saw the other day are only one example of people storing up earthly treasures, the ones that Jesus talked about in Matthew 6. There are other examples.

Have you seen the latest iPhone? This is the iPhone 5s. It's gold. It's expensive. And in my opinion, it serves the same purpose as the rims do, it's like "rims" for the human ear. No wait, that's what earrings are. Argh! They are both simply a means of storing up earthly treasure for ourselves.

I would be willing to bet that they guy in the SUV with the austentatious rim had an earring or two as well. Does it sound like I an stereotyping people? Yes it does. That's because I am. I would also be willing to bet that the guy with the fancy rims and the diamond stud in his ear doesn't know Jesus. Why?

We in this country love to spend money on ourselves. Unfortunately, we tend to spend it on "wants" rather than "needs." Custom rims, iPhones and earrings are "wants." Food is a need. Water is a need. GOD is a need.

I met a kid about a year ago after the death of one of his friends. He a nice enough guy but he was really affected by that loss and ever since that day this kid has been angry at the world. Actually, that kind of normal in a secular society. We go out and get drunk, we might dabble in drugs, our relationships fail more often than not. We as a people can make some really bad choices in life. Can anyone among us say they haven't? Did I ever tell you about the Corvette I once had? 100 MPH on the freeway? Really? Mhmm. Bad choice. Been there, done that.

One recent Facebook post by my young friend brings us back to the title of this story. He has a hot little car that he loves. He is planning to get some new rims for his little toy. My friend "wants" a lot of things.

He WANTS the pain caused by the death of his friend to go away. He WANTS to deal with it himself. He WANTS someone to love him but he wants that love to be on HIS terms. What he really NEEDS is Jesus. Hey, that's all ANY of us really need! Plus the food and the water thing. But I would submit to you that we don't really "need" that either.

If we self-centered humans can only replace our earthly, selfish "wants" with a healthy NEED for Jesus, our whole life will begin to change. When our insatiable NEED for Jesus finally becomes fulfilled we soon find out that our WANTS begin to change. We no longer want rims for our cars or expensive phones. We WANT to do God's will. We WANT to serve Him. We WANT to follow Him for the rest of our lives. Pretty soon, all we want . . . is Jesus!

Rims? Who needs them? We've got Jesus! Or do we? Let's take a closer look at ourselves. Let's get REALLY close to the mirror and see what we can find out. Yikes!!

"I really want to sleep in tomorrow. I've worked hard all week, getting up at 4:30 every stinking day. I want to sleep in!" Well, I might "want" to sleep in but I "need" to get up and get going because I "need" to give the cat a shot (he's diabetic) and I "need" to exercise (I'm diabetic too). And, quite honestly, I "need" to spend some time in prayer and reading my Bible. We all need that, but often we don't want to.

If all of us were to focus our wants and needs on Jesus and on others, do you think the world would be a different place to live in? Hmm. Maybe we should begin thinking and acting that way today. God WILL provide our every need.

"18 . . . I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. 19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20 To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen." - Philippians 4:18-20

I Need - a short video clip of Bill Murray from the movie What About Bob?

Lord, I Need You by Chris Tomlin

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Dike

Have you ever been to a drive-in theater? There are a few of them still around our state. I remember going to them when I was a kid. My mom and dad would load us into the old '53 Ford and off we'd go. They even put the baby crib mattress in the back seat so my sister and I would have someplace to lay down, watch the movie and ultimately fall asleep.

My dad would position the speaker on his driver's side window and we would watch the latest cinematic adventure stream in through the cars windshield. Life was good . . . except for the mosquitoes. Those pesky little things could get in through the smallest cracks! They often wrecked the entire movie experience with their invasive presence.

One of the movies I remember watching when I was a kid was Hans Brinker. It's a wonderful story with many good life lessons contained in its plot and should be required viewing for ALL children, everywhere.

Within the original novel (written by American Mary Mapes Dodge) there is another story of "a Dutch boy who saves his country by putting his finger in a leaking dike. The boy stays there all night, in spite of the cold, until the adults of the village find him and make the necessary repairs." The young man saw a problem, a leak in the dam, and he addressed the issue as best he could. He plugged the hole with the only thing he had, his finger. The dam was eventually repaired, saving the town from total destruction.

The story of that boy and the dike reminds me of a couple of things. It reminds me of how "the line" between what is acceptable and what is NOT acceptable has changed. Little by little a crack opened up and darkness seeped in. Gradually, the crack kept widening and, bit by bit, things changed.

I am also reminded how this country of ours once felt so safe. Now it feels uneasy from acts of terrorism. Today is the anniversary of 9/11 - the day our once-safe lives changed - forever.

The boy and the dike also reminds me of our churches today. There are about as many different beliefs and denominations and interpretations of what God believes, what His will is and what is right and wrong that it's like there are multiple cracks forming within the church and it's going to take all of us, and our little fingers, or standing up, to stop the bleeding.

One of the signs of the end times is a great falling away.

"3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." (The Anti-Christ) - 2 Thessalonians 2:3

Jesus' promised return will not happen until there is a great falling away from Christianity, from God. It sure seems like that is happening right now. There are many "shepherds" who are not shepherding their flocks. Instead their minds are focused elsewhere. They're focused on the number of people in the pews, the bottom line on the spreadsheet. They become so obsessed by trying to win people to Christ that they change the message of the Gospel to make it more "appealing." They forget to tell their followers about sin and repentance, they begin questioning God's Word, they begin to believe that Jesus is not the only way, even though that is exactly what Jesus told us!

This can be a very depressing time for those of us who truly believe. We see our brothers and sisters being deceived by those we should trust. We see them on a path that leads to destruction instead of the one that actually leads to Jesus. The path HE told us to walk on.

So what can we do? We must stay on the path set for us through the words of Jesus. He is our one true shepherd. We must listen to HIS voice and not the voice of man. That means we must pick up our Bibles and read them. Read God's Word to us and learn from the greatest teacher of all time. It is only in Him that we should place our trust.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." - Hebrews 12:1-2

Here is a good article on apostasy in the church.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Wabbit

I was sitting in our sun room the other day, trying to stay cool, and typing another story for my legions of followers - all five of you. ;) It was supposed to be rather warm that day, in the 90's, and my wife and I were scheduled to go to an outdoor wedding. I wasn't really looking forward to sporting those always-attractive arm pit stains for everyone to see but I had resigned myself to the fact that it was going to happen anyway so I was trying to get over it.

My wife came out to visit me, a cup of tea in her hand. Everything was normal up to that point. It was just another "normal" day until, out of the corner of my eye, I saw something move in our back yard.

We get lots of animals wandering through our acre-sized lot. We live in the woods near a state park so we are "blessed" with lots of wildlife. I say blessed with little quotation marks because, although the animals are fun to watch, they love to eat my wife's plants . . . and she has lots of plants.

What my eye had seen that morning was a rabbit, not all that unusual out where we live. Rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks and deer are normal fare for us who live by the state park. We get LOTS of critters. But this rabbit was different. This rabbit was black.

A black rabbit?? Most of the rabbits we get around here are grayish-brown. This rabbit was clearly a different kind of rabbit. We figured it was either a) somebodies pet that had escaped from its cage or b) somebody abandoned the one time cute little bunny out in the country where it could "be free."

Being free sounds wonderful . . . until one remembers that out here in the country we also have coyote, fox and unchained dogs running around lose. A rabbit would make for a wonderful meal on a hot summer's day. Not the friendliest of places for someones pet rabbit. So, my wife and I tried to "save" it. Tried, and failed.

At one point we thought we had it. It had crawled under our sun room, which is open underneath except for some screening around the base. I blocked off every possible means of escape and got into my car and drove all the way into town to purchase one of those live traps - a wire cage with an open end and a door.

I'm sure I broke a few traffic laws trying to get back home as soon as possible so my wife and I could catch the rabbit and still make it to a wedding we had been invited to. Well, that didn't happen. The rabbit was out and about by the time I returned.

I wish someone was recording and documenting our efforts for Animal Planet. It would have made for a VERY funny show. Two grown adults walking around in the back yard, one in shorts, the other in pajamas, the former armed with a fish net and untied tennis shoes. My wife kept talking to it in a voice she normally only uses on our grandson.

At one point I nearly had it when I snuck up behind it back by our shed. I lunged at it with my fish net only to come up empty. I KNOW I heard the rabbit laughing at me.

Our back yard is now littered with dried up carrots and wilted leaves of lettuce. Even a pie tin, once filled with water, is out there . . . somewhere. We tried everything to save that rabbit . . . and we failed.

So, why do we Christians fail to make the same kind of effort when we encounter an unsaved soul in our daily lives? Why don't I go out of my way to tell someone, who is clearly perishing, about the saving grace of Jesus? How come I don't jump into my car, speed into town and spread the Gospel? Good question. And one I could easily hear Jesus asking me when I stand in front of him in heaven one day.

There's this kid I see on Facebook every day. Most of his posts are very frustrating to read. "Getting drunk tonight" or making some disparaging remarks about women and their body parts. He's had a lot of pain in his life so it's hard to be TOO condemning of his actions. Still, if there was someone who needs Jesus on his life, this guy is the guy. This guy is that black rabbit. Elusive, yet incredibly in need of being saved.

So what have I done? I have reached out to him. I do have open lines of communication established but I haven't hopped into my car, driven over to his house and said, "We need to talk."

In my opinion, the status quo is no longer acceptable. Time is growing short. It's time for a new normal. It's time to get up off my blessed assurance and do something. Because the black rabbit in our backyard? It's gone. Long gone.

"Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. “Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” - Matthew 9:37-38

"but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” - Acts 1:8

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” - Matthew 28:19-20

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Face

Do you have a best friend? I mean a super-close friend? Maybe it's your spouse or someone at work. Do you have a go-to friend like that? I do. What an incredible blessing these special relationships are! Sadly, relationships like those seem to be getting harder and harder to find these days.

Have you ever been separated from a close friend or relative for a while and then, when you see them again or when you even think of them, you break into a big smile? Why is that? How can a simple thought create joy? I think there's something else to it. Perhaps the thought triggers a pleasant memory. Or maybe it was a touch - a hug when you were feeling down, or a kiss from that special someone in your life.

My immediate family triggers smiles for me - especially my brother and my sister. We'll get together, like we did last month for our family reunion, and it's like we were never apart. We always start off our reunions with a hug. But it's not long before we begin lovingly picking on each other or trying to gross-out each other. It's amazing. But the best times are the memories . . . the "remember whens."

"Do you remember when Tom was little and he (fill in the blank)." or "Hey, Mary, what were the lyrics of that Ricky Nelson song?" Time spent with family & close friends is irreplaceable and the relationships are priceless.

As I think about my earthly relationships today, I wonder if I have the same relationship with God. Is He some far-off authority figure in our lives? Or is he a close friend, someone we can tell anything to? When we think about Jesus, does He make us smile?

While it is true that we should all have a healthy fear of God, and by that I mean a deep respect and knowledge that He is in charge and is Lord of our lives. Yet, despite all that, I think there needs to be a friendship of sorts. Let me show you what I mean.

I'd like to introduce you to my grandson. I took this picture of him and my daughter this summer. I would invite you to examine his face. Look at his eyes and how they are looking lovingly, transparently, unconditionally in his aunt's eyes. And the smile.

He is not concerned that he is being suspended five feet above the ground and that he could accidentally be dropped and injured. No. He trusts. He is not concerned whether or not his diaper is wet or that his grandpa is taking his picture. No. He is totally focused on the face in front of his eyes. Total . . . focus . . . and love.

Is that how our relationship with Jesus is? Is he someone we totally trust in situations when we have every right to doubt or fear? Do we come before Him in prayer with the same longing in our hearts that my grandson has in his eyes? I pray we do.

Yes, we should have a healthy, drop to our knees, submission to the will of our Almighty God. But let us not forget that He longs to gather us to himself like a hen gathers her chicks under her wings (Matthew 23:37). Let us not forget the kind of faith we must have if we are to enter into His kingdom. We must have the faith of a child. We must yearn to look into His eyes, fearless and childlike, our sins forgiven and "cast as far as the east is from the west" (Psalm 103:12). Let us not be afraid to run to Him and jump into His arms when our eyes fix upon His face. He is "the author and perfecter of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2). May we continue to grow in His wisdom and in His grace but may we do so with the heart of a little child.

"13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them." - Mark 10:13-16

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus by Alan Jackson

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Longing

Life is not easy. I probably don't have to tell you that. If you're reading this, you have probably figured that out already. It's only becoming more apparent to me during these past few years as I have grown in my faith and God's Holy Spirit is doing "his thing" inside of this old body. Conviction, frustration, accompanied by an intense longing. A longing to be . . . with Jesus.

It seems that, with every passing day, this longing, this . . . feeling of not belonging in this world, increases. The nightly news gets more and more frustrating to watch so I have stopped. Instead, I immerse myself in His Word and try to lose myself in the scriptures. Some days are better than others but most find me frustrated and wondering . . . when are You coming back!?!?

But turning off the news doesn't help anything. Evil still exists. People will still kill other people whether I am watching the Ten O'clock news or not. Storms come whether we are in the basement taking cover or standing outside holding a golf club up into the air.

Now don't worry. I'm not thinking of leaving this planet anytime soon. I have not purchased a ticket on a rocketship or held a bake sale to raise funds for rocket fuel. I just can't wait to see Jesus! I long to be in His presence one day. And what a glorious day that will be! :)

So what do I do in the meantime? I mean, I want to be with Jesus and all but what do I do until then? Do I just hang around until He comes back? Nobody knows exactly when that will be. I might ve waiting a really long time. What should I do?!?

"Well, BOB. Take a look at God's Word for your instruction. Mmm, how about 2nd Peter . . . "

(Did anyone else hear that besides me?)

Okay. Let's read it . . .

"11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

Did you catch that high-lighted part? That's the question I just asked a couple paragraphs ago!! And it contains part of my answer too - live "lives of holiness and godliness." Hmm. Well? That's going to be tough to keep. Thank God for Jesus! Let's keep reading.

14 Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. 15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. 17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen." - 2 Peter 3:11-18

I need to remember these things. There is good teaching to be found in God's Word. To summarize:
  1. Live a life of holiness and godliness. Let's face it, no one is going to live a perfect life. But I think we who believe should try our best to do so.
  2. Be diligent. Keep fighting the fight. Never give up hope. We are to stand firm in our faith and stay true to our God.
  3. Don't get carried away by lawless people. There are many people in our lives who will try to make us slip up. There are many false teachers who think they have found a new way to heaven. Don't believe them!!
  4. Don't lose your stability. I guess I mentioned standing firm already but we REALLY need to do that. It's so easy to be led astray in this world.
  5. Grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus. We can grow in grace by being in God's Word, by reading and learning about Him. Grow into what God wants us to be. And that takes us back to verse 11. Living "lives of holiness and godliness."
We must be patient as we wait for our Shepherd to gather His flock and take us home. Until then we press on, trying our best to live in holiness and godliness until the day of His return. We must turn our longing into patience and our lives into examples and as we go about our daily lives, spread the Gospel to everyone we meet.

"20 Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen." - Hebrews 13:20-21

I Can Only Imagine - MercyMe

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor

Boy, it sure felt good to sleep in this morning! It's an official holiday here in America! And, more importantly, it's a paid day off!! Woo Hoo!! I get paid for doing absolutely nothing!!

[I will pause here and reflect upon the temptation to discuss our government and it's seeming obsession to make us ALL dependent upon itself so we all can be useless . . . full time!]

No, instead I think I will write about The Sabbath Day, another day of rest, and how we are, or aren't, keeping it holy.

"2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation." - Genesis 2:2-3

There's a bunch of different religions (Puritans, Roman Catholics, Orthodox faiths, etc.) that observe the sabbath on Sunday, the first day of the week, to coincide with the resurrection of Christ. Others (like the Seventh Day Baptists and Seventh Day Adventists) observe it on Saturday.

When I read the verse from Genesis 2 it clearly stated that God rested on the seventh day. When I look at my calendar, the seventh day of the week is Saturday. Sunday is the first day of the week. So should we be resting on Saturday instead of Sunday? But then, when I remember that our calendar was created by the Romans, I become even more confused. So which is correct?

You know, let's just say we should observe one day, one entire day, be it first or seventh, and keep it holy. So, how are we doing with that? Not very good I'm afraid. For example, on a typical Sunday, most of us start out well. We go to church. After that? Mmmmm . . . not so good.

For us here in Wisconsin we have our Green Bay Packers. We tend to worship our team instead of  our God. Fail. Well, that's two of the Ten Commandments . . . broken. Most of us in this country, and around the world for that matter, would be condemned to eternity in hell if we were to be judged by the law (the ten commandments) alone. News flash. We ARE judged by the law alone! We are all deserving of death. But there is good news - the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Even Jesus got into trouble with the Pharisees when he did things on the Sabbath. He healed people on the Sabbath. He made the lame walk and the blind see. Jesus and His disciples even got into trouble for picking and eating grain as they walked through a field! Wow!

What I understand about The Sabbath and "taking a day off," is the last part of the commandment. Most of us don't have a problem resting. Where we tend to fall down is in the "keep it holy" part.

How do we keep the Sabbath "holy"? Going to church is a good start but what do we do after that? Here are some suggestions.
  • Read God's Word. The Bible is how God communicates with us. As we read, the Holy Spirit nudges us and makes certain verses pop out at us. Listen to God speak through His written Word.
  • Pray. That's the biggest way we communicate with God. Talk to Him! You'll be glad you did.
  • Use your gifts. God created you with gifts and talents. Use them to bring glory to God. What better way to honor Him by using the very gifts He gave you!
  • Serve Him. Volunteer some place. Take someone out to dinner who could use a break or who could use the company.
  • Sing. Put on some worship music and fill your house with words of praise.
  • Remember. Think of all the things that God has done for you, all the things He has provided in your life, and give Him thanks and praise.
  • Repent. Tell God you're sorry for the things you have done or left undone and begin anew. Make a fresh start living for Christ and in Christ.
There are plenty of things we can do on a day off. Our highest priority should be doing them for God, not in spite of God. Remember the Sabbath Day, or any other day for that matter, and keep it holy.

"23 One Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. 24 And the Pharisees were saying to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” 25 And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: 26 how he entered the house of God, in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?” 27 And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.” - Mark 2:23-28

Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy, always doing what is right in the eyes, not of man, but of the Lord.