What A Friend

Tonight the worship team practiced the song, "What A Friend" by Matt Maher. Pleasant, upbeat and joyful song.

Some of the lyrics say,

Everybody has trials and temptations
Everybody knows heartbreak, isolation

But we can lay our burdens down (our burdens down)
Lay our burdens down

What a friend we have in Jesus
East to west my sins are gone
I see grace on every horizon
And forever and ever His heart is my home

Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Jesus is your friend.  I know that it is hard to think of Him that way, but He is.  He is a close friend who cares, who will invest Himself into your life.  He will never stop being your friend, even when you fail, stumble and fall.  He will pick you up at your lowest moment, He will celebrate with you in your most significant achievement.  

He is the friend you've always wanted, always needed and always appreciated.  

Jesus is your friend. 

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, thank you for being my friend.  AMEN 

For A Moment I Was A Superhero

When I was 12 years old our family went on a trip to Washington DC.  It was one of those vacations you would never forget.  But on the way there we made a pit stop.

Of corse in those days you didn’t have cell phones or gps.  As a 12 year old you only had one thing to read, the Atlas.  I would study that thing for hours.  Somewhere in Tennessee I observed a place called Oak Ridge.  If you don’t know it was called the Secret City.  It was originally built by the Manhattan Project.  That’s right, they made Atomic Bombs there.

In Oak Ridge there Is The Museum of Science and Energy..  I wanted to go, mostly because I was tired of riding in that car and I loved to study science.  In there they had a electrostatic generator.  You know, one of the silver orbs you put your hand on that makes your hair stand on end?

They had a demonstration of this generator and I was picked to help.  There on a wood box I stood with my hand on the generator.  They flipped the switch and every hair on my head stood up.  Now I remember them telling me that there was 500,000 volts of electricity running through my body.  It might have been 5,000 for all I know.  For this 12 year old it was a lot.  But what happened next lead  me to believe this was bigger than your average science experiment.

I stood on the box and extended my fist out in the direction of  a new volunteer who was extending his fist towards me.  Sparks started flying out of my fist.  I could feel the electricity building up on my arm.  Then FLASH, a bolt of lightning flew from my fist into his.  It was so bright the audience  gasped and jumped in their seats.  To a 12 year old, I was a superhero.  I wanted a cool name and a cape.  Then someone flipped the switch and turned the generator off - it was over.

2 Cor. 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

With that generator I was invincible (or at least I felt that way).  Without it I was just a kid.  

You may feel weak and helpless today.  That you can nothing that will make a difference.  That you are just a 12 year old kid, powerless in a big world.  On your own you’re right.  But with Christ all of that changes.

He is the, “Switch” that changes everything.  In your weakness His power shines through.  Superman has his kryptonite.  His weakness can defeat him.  Your weakness is your strength, when you place your faith and trust in Christ.  The Holy Spirit empowers us to do His will in a world that doesn’t need a superhero.  It needs a Savior.  Jesus.

PRAY. Dear Jesus, I give you my weakness so you can do great things in my life AMEN 

I Lost My Wallet

I lost my wallet.  I had it yesterday.  I had it when I got home.  I went to leave this morning and . . . .

I asked my wife, Betty.  Have you seen my wallet?  "Yes, I saw it last night.  The cat was playing with it."  I don't know what the look was on my face, but it motivated everyone to find that wallet fast.  But still Nothing.  

Betty had a 10 am appointment she could not miss so we had to leave.  All the time I am thinking, "Where is that wallet?  Where is that wallet?  Where is that wallet?" I didn't have a panic attack, but I knew that wallet was somewhere.  This was starting to stress me out?  

When we got to church, I headed straight for my desk.  Nothing.  No wallet.  So after Betty's appointment.  Back to the house.  

Upon our arrival, I asked her, "Where did you see it last?"  "The bedroom" she answers.  So away we go.  We looked under the bed (for the 100th time).  We looked under the couch, again.  We looked under the chair, again.  So, the next step is obvious.  Clean the room!  

Isaiah 41:10  Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Again, I didn't have a panic attack.  If the cat ate my wallet, he would be in bad shape.  So outside of that, it's in the bedroom somewhere.  

But when I was doing research for this blog, I was overwhelmed with the number of articles about panic attacks.  While I wasn't having one, I do know what they are.  We've all had one at one time or another.  That feeling you get when life is out of control, spiraling downward and there seems to be nothing you can do about it.  The old adage, "It isn't the fall that kills you, it's the sudden stop."  begins to haunt you.  Or, "You don't bounce back, you just go SPLAT!" sounds like a real possibility.  

So what do you do? 

Don't fear.  Fear will lead you to anxiety.  Research the Bible and discover scriptures you can believe in.  You will be surprised how the Word of God will bring comfort to your need. 

Give God control.  Yes, this is the hard one.  But ask yourself this question.  How are things going now that you are in charge?  No so good?  Then you have nothing to lose by letting God have a shot. 

Remember, the ending is good.  Paul said that if you die, then you are with Jesus.  So that's a bad deal?  Now if you die and you haven't repented of your sins and given your life to Jesus - well, your bad day is going to get a lot worse. 

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, I'm giving you control of my life today.  AMEN 

Oh!  Where was the wallet?  As we started to clean the bedroom, the first thing I picked up was the shoes I wore to church yesterday.  I saw something in them, and sure enough, it was my wallet.  Betty perked up and said, "Oh, yea!  Now I remember.  I put it in there for safe keeping."  

I'm The Problem

I was talking with someone the other day (someone smarter and wiser than myself) about a problem I'm facing.  He asked me.  "What do you think the problem is?"  I answered quickly.  I'm the problem.  His response was great.  "Well, that eliminated half the battle, and I have already reached first base."

James 4:10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.

You can accept humility or be humiliated.  They are not the same thing.  

Accepting and embrace humility is to honestly embrace your life as is, faults and all.  It is to admit that you need God and that without Him you have no hope.  Humility makes to pretense about who you are.  Humility takes a servants approach to life (notice I didn't say, slave).  You want to help others from the goodness of your heart, not because you are better than them. 

Being humiliated is the process of being exposed as a fraud in some way.  That isn't to say that every area of your life is fraudulent.  (Even though most people assume that.)  But it is the painful removal of layers of shellac (pride) that you have used to cover up the truth.  

Humiliation can be private between you and God.  It can happen in a close, personal relationship.  It can even be very, very public.  It is always painful.  

Admit you are the problem.  When you go ahead and embrace it - it can't hurt you.  

Welcome the wisdom of those willing to invest in your life.   Pray for people who have, "been there and done that."  Pray for people who will hear from God to help you.  Pray for God to give you the wisdom to grow.  

Be determined to change.  Without this determination, you will never change.  You have to be willing to make the sacrifice and even endure some pain to discover who you really are in Christ. 

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, I willingly submit my life to you today.  AMEN.  

It's Time to Laugh

Psalm 126:2-3 Then our mouths were filled with laughter and our tongues with joyful songs.

A man dies and is met by Peter at the pearly gates.

Peter says, ‘You need 100 points to make it into Heaven. Tell me all of the good things you’ve done and I’ll give you a certain number of points for each item, depending on how good it was. When you reach 100 points, you get in.’

‘Okay,’ the man says, ‘I was married to the same woman for 50 years and never cheated on her, even in my heart.’

‘That’s wonderful,’ says Peter, ‘that’s worth three points!’

‘Three points?’ the man exclaims. ‘Well, I attended church all of my life and supported its ministry with my tithe and service.’

‘Terrific!’ says Peter, ‘that’s certainly worth a point.’

‘One point? OK, well I started a soup kitchen in my city and worked in a shelter for the homeless.’

‘Fantastic, that’s good for two more points,’ Peter says.

‘TWO POINTS!’ the man cries. ‘At this rate, the only way I’ll get into Heaven is by the Grace of God!’

‘Come on in!’

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, thank you I can laugh. AMEN 

Your Brain Is Stupid

I've said this over and over, "Your brain is stupid."  No, I didn't say that you have a low IQ.  It's just that your brain does things that in the end make you go, Hmmmmm!

Think about it.  You need a watch to tell time.  Why?  Your brain has no idea what time it is.

Your brain will randomly pick something to do, even though it's something that isn't that important.

According to Parkinsons Law, if you have a 1-hour task to do, but give yourself all week to do it, your brain will figure out a way to take the whole week.

However, your brain is absolutely brilliant at doing some very important things.  It keeps your heart beating, your lungs working and it protects you from danger.

Recently, a friend of mine went through a very traumatic situation.  They are ok but shaken up nonetheless.  Later, they heard a noise that reminded them of that traumatic situation and they froze up in fear.  There was no reason for them to freeze up.  There was no reason to be afraid.  The brain did what the brain does.  It sensed danger and went into overdrive.

We like to think that we are in control of our emotions and thoughts.  But like my friend, the reality is we respond to the things that happen around us.  Building on our previous experiences, our brain assumes what is going to happen next and reacts.  Sometimes this is a good thing.  Sometimes, it leads us down a dark path.

Fear is a powerful emotion that can enslave us.  Our fears can rob us of our future, our joy, and our peace.  I know people who never got married because they were afraid of getting a divorce as their mom and dad did.

I know people who gave away their authority as a parent or spouse because someone with authority had hurt in the past.  

2 Tim 1:7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Notice that fear and self-control (or as some translations say, "sound mind") are in the same sentence.  Paul understand that fear would make you nuts.  That you couldn't have self-control or a sound mind with it.  Fear serves us well when we allow the Holy Spirit to be in control of it.  

PRAY: Dear Jesus, I do not want to be afraid or live in fear.  AMEN