Rest I need, yes sleep….

YodaThose words come from an old Jedi teacher in “Return of the Jedi”. But we all need sleep and rest. Not the sleep of death or oblivion or becoming one with the Force, but restful sleep each day. It is given to us by our Heavenly Father just as it was given to Jesus when He walked on this Earth so many years ago.

Restful sleep is sometimes a fleeting think in our world today because of the sedentary lives that many of us have. Sometimes our brain just doesn’t seem to crave a shut-down period and we keep the neurons firing so much that we can’t get to sleep without medication of some kind. Yes, God intended for us to rest at night to begin the day refreshed and ready for what may come in it. So…why is it so hard at times to get our brains to hibernate for a few hours?

We have too much technology around us could be part of it. The blue light from screens on phones and Kindle’s and computers interrupts our brain’s perception of night. Most of the research that has been done on this says that our screen time should be shut off at least four hours before bedtime, the problem is that our flat screen TV’s emit just as much blue light and many of us have those in our bedroom. We are deliberately sabotaging our own sleep by watching TV until bedtime or even in our beds.

Can we wean ourselves from this technology which interferes with our rest? Not willingly I fear. Consider this if you are having problems with sleep and try to limit late night viewing of screens. I will be doing this myself and hopefully we can find a way to limit our use of medication to sleep while possibly getting better sleep. Amen.

Advertisements

Why worry?

It seems that the media is worried about all of us who live in “rural” areas of the country. Why? For most of our country’s history, those of us who live in the country, outside of city limits, were the one’s who fed the rest of the country. Now, all we want is to get away from most of the violence and other crime that seems to happen every day on the news.

I am not saying that crimes aren’t committed in the country because they are, but most of them involve stealing something easy to get away with. Very few murders, car jacking, or rape happen outside of city limits. I am sure that some of these do happen in other places, but they aren’t reported because it is a very local crime and limited in how many people were involved.

Am I saying that living in the country is completely safe? Absolutely not. I still lock the cars and the house and any storage area that we have. Thirty-five or so years ago, we didn’t lock our doors, but people have changed and so have the culture around us. Why worry about it?

I don’t really. I pray about our life and our home and ask God to give us protection from those who may do harm to our family and friends, then I hand the problem over to Him and leave it there. It is a learned skill and I have learned it over the past twenty or so years. It is not easy to let go of your anxiety and worries, but Jesus said that “today has enough trouble of its own”. Meaning that we shouldn’t worry about things which we cannot change and specifically about things which we have no control over at all!

God loves each of us, far more than we will ever know until we get to Heaven. We can’t understand His love and mercy toward us because His ways are not our ways, nor are His thoughts like ours. We can’t be perfect in all of our ways because we are human, but with the Holy Spirit living inside your heart, you can strive toward that calling of becoming more like Jesus. We will not be able to finish the course and be like Him until we stand in His Presence, but the race of life is the one we have to finish and trying to be like Him is the best that we can do.

Just as an old master Jedi once said, “Try not, do or do not there is no try”. Strive still toward the finish of your life when you will attain the goal of being like Jesus. Live as much like Him in this life as you can and let the rest fall to the side. That doesn’t mean that we have to be poor and penniless, it just means that we must walk through this life with our eyes turned toward Him daily. Not weekly or when its convenient, but from the moment you wake until night comes and you need rest for tomorrow. He will guide you on your path.

Fear, anxiety and depression

These are the “monsters” which young people today have to deal with. But, they aren’t alone. You aren’t alone because many of us older folk also suffer with these same demons, monsters, feelings, whatever you want to call them! We may “deal” with them in different ways from how you handle them, but we do handle them. But, sometimes they are victorious against us too.

I am coming to you as one who has battled with depression and anxiety. I have had feelings which drove me to seek to end my life, but I sought out Jesus and my faith in Him! Even though my “demons” tried to tell me that I wasn’t worthy of His love, I wasn’t good enough to be His child. They would tell me in dreams and in what I call “mind voices” that I should just stop trying to be something that I am not. Give up trying to bring a revival to this community and accept that they don’t want one!

Last summer, I was going through this and I found that by reading the Psalms and praying about my depression every day I was able to find a little more strength every day. Just enough to get me through that day, then do it again tomorrow and the next day until I came out of that “funk” and felt that I was able to raise my head up without feeling that it was just too much to do!

God hasn’t given up on you and you shouldn’t listen to those words which Satan is putting in your mind and your heart! They are lies from Satan and that is all that they are! God LOVES you dearly and compassionately! He hasn’t given up on you and you should not give up on this life that He gave you to live!! Why do I say this? Because it is true and because He does have a purpose for you and your life! I don’t know what your purpose is, but I’d bet that it is something that we haven’t thought of yet!

He made you special for one purpose and that was to be a witness to others who have been or will be in this position tomorrow or maybe a few weeks or months down the road. The fact is that you are the only person who can help someone else in this condition or having these problems! That is your calling!

You may be a singer or a dancer or a basketball player, but to God you are His ambassador to those people who are feeling the same fears and problems that you had until you decided to cling to the only Physician who can help and that is Jesus! Seek Him out in your hurt and your fears and anxiety because He was rejected by all of His countrymen, I think that He could understand your pain. The only ones who didn’t reject Him were His disciples and they numbered only 11 after He was risen.

He can give you the strength that you need to get through the rest of today and tomorrow and the next day…if you will let Him come in and share your life and your heart. You will be a new creation and old ways will pass away because you are changed.

So much, yet so little…

We have much to be thankful for in this life and in America. Those things are not because of who sits in the White House, but because of the One you serve in your house and your life. God gives each of us a measure of faith, some have mustard seed size faith and some have mountain-moving faith. Jesus said to His disciples that even if your faith is as a mustard seed, if you believe and do not doubt, you can say to this mountain or tree “Be thou removed and cast into the sea” and it would be done!

We have a doubt problem though, just as Thomas did when they told him that Jesus had been raised from the grave. Belief is not our problem, seeking God in our daily lives is not our problem, but when it comes to asking Him for something which we need, not want, in our lives. We ask but then Satan throws that doubt dart into our minds and we walk away thinking that God isn’t going to answer our prayer.

God loves us and He will do many things in your life and mine, if it is His will for us and if we can conquer that doubt that creeps in almost every time we pray about something. Seek His will through prayer and study of His Word, learn about His ways and His will for your life. Then the doubt will fade and your prayers will be more effective and powerful, not only in your life but in the lives of those that you pray for too.

Some people seem to think that we are not blessed, but your blessing came with waking up this morning. Nothing that you do is because of just your strength and power. Your grades in school are because of the intellect that God gave you. Your stamina in sports and other areas of your life is due to His power and His design of your body for those things. If God weren’t in control of the universe, down to the smallest particle, we wouldn’t exist!

We have been given much more than we deserve, yet we don’t acknowledge the One Who gave it to us for being the provider of it! We live in a time which is coming to the end of what is called “the church age” and there are many prophetic changes which are happening every day. Keep your eyes open, read the Bible, specifically Matthew 24 and pray for God to protect those that you love. He is coming back and it won’t be much longer, then all of those who have doubts about Him will have their unbelief proven to be false because He will be seen by all!

Amen.

Loss and living

We look at life as a journey many times. It has been compared to a road or a trail or just a long walk. When you have walked that road with someone for a long time and then they detour into eternity, leaving you here, that trail becomes lonely and not very inviting at all. As the song says, “you will never walk alone”, which is referring to having a relationship with Jesus. He will always walk with you, even into eternity.

The problem that we have with our walk through life is that our partner, spouse, friend, lover is here physically with us. We can touch them, talk to them, feel their embrace and just know that they are there. Walking with Jesus takes faith. Walking with Him daily takes more faith because you have to acknowledge Him for waking you today and giving you the ability to go on, even if your spouse or significant other isn’t there. This is something that He will do for you, but you have to depend on Him for it.

Don’t give up on life just because someone who you love isn’t there. Don’t quit because you feel as if your life is over, even if you feel like quitting. Those feelings are trying to make you give up and they come from Satan and his followers! Don’t let them tell you how to live or how to stop living! Your life is full, abundant and free in Jesus! Claim it, follow Him, read the Psalms which are mostly about Jesus anyway, His Word will give you the strength and the purpose to carry on when you don’t feel like it at all!

If your partner was a Christian, you will see them again. Eternity is a long, long time and when we enter into it we will find people that we never even knew in this life. But, they know us because they are part of our family even if we didn’t meet them. God loves us all, so the only thing that we should do is return that love by living our life for Him until we are called home.

For Mom

Do you visit her as much as you should or call her once or twice every week? Mothers give so much to each of us when we are children and as teens and they are valuable when we become parents too. So, why don’t we pay attention to their aches and pains and problems?

Usually when they get old enough for us to notice their infirmities, we are so busy with out lives until their problems are overlooked until an illness or some other problem arises that we can’t ignore and maybe she needs our help with. Sometimes, even those aren’t enough because she is too proud to ask for help, unless it is offered first. Why do we treat our mothers and sometimes our fathers too in this manner?

Because we have grown up and now we are parents and grandparents and time just gets away from us, we seem to not notice the time that we spend away from home. Even when they are asking for us to come visit or to bring our children to see them. They deserve to be able to see their grandchildren too.

Mother’s day is the first in the year that honors one of our parents and then there is father’s day. Why can’t we honor them both no matter what day of the year it is? Just a thought.

He is special

Children are special to their parents and grandparents, but have you ever wondered how God felt about His Son? He was part of the Trinity of course and God knew that, but Jesus was more than that too. He was:

The seed of the woman in Genesis and after the fall; He was the Passover lamb in Exodus; in Leviticus He was the High Priest; in Numbers He was shown as the water from the rock, as the Fire by night and the Cloud by day; in Deuteronomy He was the “prophet like Moses”; He was typified by Joshua and the Captain of the Lord’s Host in Joshua; in Judges He was the Judge and Lawgiver; in Ruth He was the Kinsman Redeemer….

Jesus was all of these and more. To Mary He was her son and the Son of the Most High. To His disciples He was their Rabbi and Teacher and Master, to us He is our Savior and Lord. We have no counterpart which would equal what Jesus was to God the Father so we can’t say how that relationship was or what it typified

Why do I say that? Because God’s ways are so much higher than ours until we can’t understand His love for a world full of sinners, a love that allowed His Son to give His life to pay the debt for all who would believe in Him and for those who would not. We can’t understand it because we wouldn’t allow our child to die for one person’s sins, even our own! Jesus was and is special because of Who He is and because He is still King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

You can say that you don’t believe in Him if you wish but you are placing yourself in a dangerous place when you do. You can say that you don’t believe that a place like Hades or Hell exists and that is fine, but if you should go there because of your unbelief in Jesus, you have been warned! Not believing in them will not save you from them, but believing in Jesus and accepting Him as your Savior will save you from them.

Living today and tomorrow

So much is happening in the world today. We see it and hear it on the news and on the radio. We read about it in newspapers and on the Internet. Some of it is true, some of it is blown out of proportion, and some of it is just made up to look like news.

Can we believe it? Some of it but not all.

So, what are your goals for life and living today? Are they similar to other people’s goals of losing weight or getting a degree? Do they have anything to do with making lots of money and building a nice (big) house? When I see goals like this or hear about them and then drive into Flowood or some other town and see these big homes that all look like they are duplicates of each other in size and shape I wonder what is the purpose?

It seems that we like to be individuals and we like to have things which others don’t have, but when it comes to our houses and cars we are stuck with copies of everyone else’s likes. There are no real unique homes or cars. Yes, you can paint the outside of a Camaro a different color from others, your home may have a different floor plan than the one next door. But the shape of the car is the same. The shape of the house is mostly the same.

Everything in our lives, for the most part, is the same. Wouldn’t it be great if we could customize our living space the way we want it to be? I know we are at the mercy of cost and that the companies which sell cars sell the cars which their research tells them that we want. Life is different today than it was, say one hundred years ago. They didn’t have phones, many didn’t have cars, most lived in what we call a shack today. But, I never heard my grandmother say that they didn’t have a roof over their head or food on the table.

Life today is very different from what it was then. Life today is very different from that of just forty or fifty years ago. It seems that we have forgotten how to be kind to one another. We don’t seem to try to help each other when there is a need. Mostly we just sit around and wait for someone else to help, when we have the ability to do it ourselves.

We also spend way too much time reading comments and things from social media sites. Yes, it is fun for a while but it is like sitting in a rocking chair, you are doing something but not going anywhere. Reading those comments is funny and sometimes it is educational but if you don’t get up and do something about those causes that you “like”, nothing will get done!

It is like saying “Amen!” with all the gusto that you can muster, then going out the door of the church and not having a clue what the Preacher said!

God put each one of us here for a purpose and a reason and it doesn’t matter where you live or how much money you have. You can do something for God’s Kingdom. It may be nothing more that offering up a prayer for someone in China or India, but God can use a heartfelt and sincere prayer and do something with it. It is true that there are many who don’t believe in Him and may never believe in Him, but prayer can make a difference in someone’s life. It made a difference in mine.

God loves you and He can work with you and through you to make a difference in someone’s life. A hug or a prayer or even just a note or an email letting them know that you are thinking of them and that you are praying for them in whatever situation they may be in. Seek Him out and thank Him for getting you up this morning and use today for something that Jesus would do if He were here. Then, repeat tomorrow and the next day until He calls you home. I promise that the outcome from small things will have an impact when you see its results in Heaven.

Choose…

We seem to be all about choices today. We choose a mate or a lifestyle to live by. We choose which school to attend and which major to take. We, sometimes, choose which religion that we will follow or not. Choices are part and parcel of life, particularly in America, but also in other places around the world.

Some of those choices in other countries are unpopular and bring hardship into the lives of those who make choices that are against the majority. At times our choices are so numerous that we can’t seem to decide what we want. What can we do in these instances?

Choose…

Your life’s religion is a choice, sometimes it isĀ one based on culture or family tradition. But, if you found out that your religion is false or that it will not lead you into an eternity of happiness, what would your choice be? If that choice is going to be an unpopular one with your family and friends, what would you do? Would you choose to follow the crowd and go into an eternity with everyone else just because it was acceptable to them?

These are answers and questions which each of us need to ask of ourselves and our friends and family. Why should we bother with asking these questions? Because that is what Jesus told us to do…go into all of the world and preach (tell) to them the gospel. If you are a Christian, this is your mandate. It is not a question of if we can tell, it is more like when will we tell them?

Your life in Christ is secure in Him, if you believe in His atonement for you and accept Him as your Savior. God, the One God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, loves you far more than you can ever realize. He has a purpose for your life, not only here but in eternity too, but you won’t be able to enjoy it unless you follow Jesus and give your life to Him. This life is a puff of smoke compared to eternity, no matter how long you may live. Consider this and turn to Him while you are here because the chance to give your life and heart to Him is only available while you live. There are no second chances or do-overs later.

Tell me how he lived….

We each know someone who was an inspiration to us while they lived and in the way they lived, yet somehow when they are gone there are times that we can’t remember. Some remember the good times, some remember the not-so-good times, some remember the smile or the laughter or the way they held their cigarette if they smoked. Many things about those who are important to us, while they still live, they don’t seem so important. But, when we can’t call them or go see them…each little bit is precious…at least to those who loved them. Who will remember how you lived or what you said? Think about your life now and the impact that it will have on those around you…while you live, because once you are gone the imprint and influence that you had in this life will live on.

It is important to remember and never forget the things that we loved about a person that we can’t see anymore, so make your memories good while you can.