Let me start today with a good ol' Protestant Brag.
I have attended church my whole life, and not just Sunday mornings, I often go on Wednesdays too. I accepted Jesus into my heart at age 6, was baptized at age 14, and have been married to a wonderful Christian woman for almost 34 years!
Besides going to church, I go to work, pay my bills, and drive in rush hour traffic that would test Mother Theresa's inner goodness. I aspire to be like Jesus and so I am a pretty pretty good guy, BUT.. (NEWS FLASH) I am not so perfect. I am not really any better (or worse) than those who never darken the door of a local church. Let's just say I am a lifelong member of the 'Flawed Folk Fellowship'.
The friendly members of 'Flawed Folk Fellowship' are known for their welcoming slogan 'No Perfect People Allowed' but this also could serve as a disclaimer much like you hear at the end of one of those prescription med ads on TV. CURElanta may be right for you. <pause> BUT.. some taking CURElanta "may experience tingling toes, a bloody nose, itchy ears, swollen rear, and.. in extreme cases DEATH or worse.
Our Flawed Folk disclaimer could be .. In some cases those attending Flawed Folk Fellowship experience involuntary hand raising, amen vocalizations and often the compulsive utterance of a hallelujah. On other Sundays sermon snoring may occur.
All silliness aside.. there are common themes you hear regarding us Flawed (so-called) Christians.
Truth be told I am glad to be a part of the Flawed Folk Fellowship. There is no better place to worship & give thanks to our God for the blessings 'and trials' of this life. A place to share and bring our prayers to our loving Father who cares. To become a community of other flawed believers in our sincere attempt to be a church family.. aka the body of Christ.
My prayer for each of you today is to find your own Flawed Folk Fellowship. To share, and support each other in our struggles, and to worship together the one true God of our Bibles is priceless.
2018 has started out with many challenges/opportunities for my life.
So sometimes.. like the children of Israel in Exodus.. I want to go back to Egypt. Ok, in my case it would be rural Wisconsin, but the point is I want to go back to a place and time where it was simpler and a chance to redo all that I should NOT HAVE done.
This 'Exodus' from Egypt was filled with miracles, signs, and wonders by the very hand of God was lost on them when their stomachs were heard growling in the wilderness. Their faces were long, stomachs empty, and their memories short. Oh sure God parted the Red Sea so we would not be killed, BUT what has he done for us lately?
When I was younger reading this story of God's deliverance I sometimes shook my head thinking how sad they had such little faith, and such short memories. I would NEVER be so ungrateful, BUT.. upon further review.. I think I sadly would have been among friends.
I would like to say I would be Moses right hand man, I more likely would have been the guy crossing the Red Sea wearing water wings, and a flotation device nabbed back at the Nile YMCA.
I'm so tired but I have too much to do. My trees from the forest vantage point tells me foolishly life will NEVER be better again. I am getting older, my eyesight, hearing, aches and pains, and the grey in my beard remind me of that daily.
I can't do it.. I don't want to do it. Where is God? Can't he see I am unhappy? Can't he see my pouty face? Just ask my wife, my pouty face is hard to miss.
WRITE IT ON A ROCK..
Years ago I heard a sermon at church where our pastor gave the instruction.. To take note of when God answers your prayers in both big and small ways... and WRITE IT ON A ROCK. Meaning make a permanent record of God's providence in our lives to remind us when we are in 'trees from forest mode.'
and finally ..
Trust God with all our hearts and lean not in our own understanding. In all our ways acknowledge Him and He will direct our paths. Pr 3:5-6.
May God bless each of you with his promise of provision even when you cry out "My God my God why have you forsaken me". Wait patiently, remain faithful, stay the course, don't live in the past, and .. cancel that ticket to Egypt.
A ‘Glimpse of God’ is like the sun peeking thru the clouds on an overcast day. For a moment I see the sun and feel it’s warmth, but then the clouds return. Lord I pray for more glimpses of you.
This glimpse of the sun is my analogy regarding my pursuit of God, and Is 55:9, and 1 Cor 13:12 speak to this truth.
In this life I can only in part understand the ways of my creator, but.. now and then the clouds part, and I see a glimpse of God like the sun through the clouds on a grey day. This glimpse of God's truth, and love speak to me like the warmth of the sun. My shoulders relax, there is sudden clarity and perspective .. until the clouds (our modern world) return and this glimpse is gone.
So I pursue another glimpse. I quiet myself and focus on God's Truth found in the pages of my Bible, spend time in prayer, listen to worship music, spend time with other believers, and take time to help and serve others. In these moments this glimpse of God returns.
Most weeks I find this glimpse of God during Sunday morning worship at church. The words, the atmosphere, the spirit speaks to me and for this 20-30 minutes each week the world fades away, the worries/clouds of my week, and this broken world part and I experience the peace of God that passes all understanding Phil 4:8
So no matter how cloudy your day is in this broken world of sickness, conflicts, family issues, greed, racism, and/or POLITICS (please pass the bucket).. pray for Glimpses (and more) of God and His purpose and perspective.
Get a glimpse of the Lord as your Shepherd in Psalm 23, and the live out Phil 4:8 dwelling on and pursuing what is good.
May God bless each of you this day with Glimpses of Him that pierce the clouds in your life and rest in the promise of what He will reveal to us fully someday.
Note: The Apostle Paul given a tad more than a glimpse of the sun/Son on that road to Damascus.
This is the name of a great song from Matthew West with words of truth and perspective for those traveling through life's 'valley of the shadow of death' (Psalms 23).
Below is an excerpt of lyrics from this song. Note: A link to the video is at the end of this email.
Hello, my name is regret .. I’m pretty sure we have met .. Every single day of your life I’m the whisper inside That won’t let you forget.
Hello, my name is defeat .. I know you recognize me .. Just when you think you can win I’ll drag you right back down again ‘Til you’ve lost all belief
Oh, these are the voices. Oh, these are the lies. And I have believed them for the very last time
Hello, my name is child of the one true King. I’ve been saved, I’ve been changed, I have been set free. "Amazing Grace" is the song I sing. Hello, my name is child of the one true King
I am no longer defined .. By all the wreckage behind ..The one who makes all things new Has proven it’s true Just take a look at my life
I am a child of the one true King
Video of Hello My Name is .. by Matthew West
Like most folk, I have regrets for a number of missteps, and fall on my face moments.
But for these past faux pas and for the ones ahead of me that I will still make God's Amazing Grace and perfect love relaxes my shoulders and perspective returns to me with a smile.
I am a child of the one true King.
And so are you.
The Good Wife was a popular TV show that my good wife and I got hooked on. Each week white lies, big lies, corruption, infedelities, indescretions, scandals, deceipt and other naughtiness found in politics, marriage, and in the court of law are crammed into one 60 minute Sunday night broadcast.
The Good Wife was just a TV show weaving together much of what is wrong with society for our entertainment value (not to mention they all drink A LOT A LOT) and not a model for a happy society. In contrast my wife is the Truly Good Wife!
A good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds. Proverbs 31:10
My 'very Good Wife' Mary in contrast may be armed with a honey do list and a disapproving glance at my Sunday choice of clothes, but her honey do list does prod me from my computer chair and I confess I sometimes need her help regarding my wardrobe.
Mary is all about her faith, family and friends with special focus and love reserved for our children, and grandchildren. She also loves and affirms me no matter our circumstance. Her joy and laughter for life is infectious. I am blessed.
I would encourage everyone to read all of Proverbs 31:10-31.
Hymn to a Good Wife (Msg)10-31 A good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds. Her husband trusts her without reserve, and never has reason to regret it. Never spiteful, she treats him generously all her life long. She shops around for the best yarns and cottons, and enjoys knitting and sewing. She’s like a trading ship that sails to faraway places and brings back exotic surprises. She’s up before dawn, preparing breakfast for her family and organizing her day. She looks over a field and buys it, then, with money she’s put aside, plants a garden. First thing in the morning, she dresses for work, rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started. She senses the worth of her work, is in no hurry to call it quits for the day. She’s skilled in the crafts of home and hearth, diligent in homemaking. She’s quick to assist anyone in need, reaches out to help the poor. She doesn’t worry about her family when it snows; their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear. She makes her own clothing, and dresses in colorful linens and silks. Her husband is greatly respected when he deliberates with the city fathers. She designs gowns and sells them, brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops. Her clothes are well-made and elegant, and she always faces tomorrow with a smile. When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say, and she always says it kindly. She keeps an eye on everyone in her household, and keeps them all busy and productive. Her children respect and bless her; her husband joins in with words of praise: “Many women have done wonderful things, but you’ve outclassed them all!” Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God. Give her everything she deserves! Festoon her life with praises!
Your wife may shop at Walmart instead of making her own clothes, and wear jeans instead of fine linens. Your wife may work outside the home and not just exist as solely as the happy homemaker, but this proverb paints a great picture of A Good Wife who loves God, family, friends, and cares for those in need. And it goes without saying was NOT a scripture passage referenced in creating a TV show called The Good Wife.
Ha!.. Tell that to Julianna Margulies!
May God bless all of you good wives out there. I would add a blessing for you guys but.. let's explain again.. your wives are your blessing.
note: 'Important Stuff' I have learned from watching the TV show The Good Wife
* Some say television is just wasting time and turns our brains to mush, but look at what I have learned. :)
As a Cartoon Curmudgeon I often lament this glass half empty 24/7 ENTERAIN/TEMPT me society compromises my values.
SIN is just a mouse or tv remote click away. BUT then I realize my glass is also HALF FULL, Jesus is everywhere!
In this world of countless ways to go to 'heck in a handbasket' I realize I am also presented with a 24/7 FILL/BLESS me self indulgence for the spirit. Just a click away are Bibles, studies, prayers, sermons, support groups, ministries, and worship music serving up God's Truth in more ways than I could have ever imagined.
What the Internet meant for evil against me; God meant for good, to bring God's Truth to this high tech, high speed world. Genesis 50:20 (paraphrased for all you browsers of the web).
I love using Google to enter a scripture phrase or topic and I am just a mouse click away from the links, references, and/or rescources I was seeking. This is priceless for my spirit and in turn supports my involvement in church and community.
Also I have my Bible and all the other internet resources with me pretty much 24/7 in the wonder of my smartphone. And what would it look like if Facebook and social media shared the gospel message and supported the Christian journey more instead of inundating us with political ads, personal gripes, and i love my cat videos.
So take a look for yourself. Jesus and the gospel message of salvation is everywhere. Even in the glass half empty (void of God) world of technology there is a glass half full where God's Truth is shared to a world that needs Jesus.
May God bless your life journey and your browsing habits. May you find God's truth and personal growth 'even' in the wonders of this modern world.
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson