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    Labor's Gift

    In 1300 the word labor meant a task or project.  It came to also signify trouble, hardship, pain and fatigue.  The word entitle soon surfaced to describe the act of naming a chapter or a book.  A century later it defined giving someone claim to a possession or privilege.
     
    You don’t work free because your employer deserves your labor. You earn your paycheck; it’s not an entitlement.
     
    On a far more cosmic scale Paul of Tarsus wrote this to the citizens and slaves in 1st century Rome:
     
    “The wages of sin is death,
    but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
     
    Have you accepted that gift, God’s labor of love, which we cannot earn and do not deserve?
     
     
    “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works so that no one can boast.  Ephesians 2:8,9
     
    Posted September 15, 2019

    What's Your Question?

    WHY do we seem to have more questions than answers?  We flock to those who say what we want to hear.  We read the books they write and sing their songs.  WHICH questions do they answer for us?  WHAT do they tell us about ourselves, about our purpose for taking up shelf space?  WHO are they?  HOW does their influence affect us? 
     
    Let’s hear from one who mistook the Messiah for his menace:
     
    “For the message about Christ’s death on the cross
     is nonsense to those who are being lost;
    but for us who are being saved, it is God’s power.”
     
    Is He the One to WHOM you turn to answer your deepest questions?

     
    “God purposely chose what the world considers nonsense in order to shame the wise, and He chose what the world considers weak in order to shame the powerful. …But God has brought you into union with Christ Jesus, and God has made Christ to be our wisdom.  By Him we are put right with God; we become God’s holy people and are set free.”  1 Corinthians 1:29-30
     
    Posted September 1, 2019

    The Brush-off

    Home ownership can be wearisome.  Can’t we annihilate those rascally moles and their trail of mini-pyramids of dirt?  The rotting wooden gutters have got to go.  The roof is growing its own putting green.  We pretend it’s thatched.
     
    Then the biggie -- painting.  Another year of procrastinating and the neighbors will report us to housing’s equivalent to Child Protective Services.
     
    We bite the bullet and give a painter the green light.  Now comes the scary part.  Will he scrape off every flake of old paint or just those at eye level?  Will he power-wash with Grand Coulee force, or give it a Presbyterian sprinkle?
     
    Fast forward, and we’re handing over the final payment.  Our painter escorts us on a walk-around, pointing out extra steps he’s taken to repair and preserve our now gleaming abode.  Why so much angst?  It could not have gone better.
     
    A friend observed, “Sure, there are evil people in the world, but everybody’s doing the best they can.”
     
    Do you give others the benefit of the doubt?  Are you a trusting soul?
     
     
    “We use (our tongue) to give thanks to our Lord and Father and also to curse other people who are created in the likeness of God.  Words of thanksgiving and cursing pour out from the same mouth; my friends, this should not happen!”  James 3:9-10
     
    Posted August 18, 2019

    Dream On

    “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Bill Shakespeare’s saga of love, jealousy and marriage in Athens, boasts some classic lines:
     
    “Lord, what fools these mortals be!”  Earlier the apostle Paul wrote to Greeks in Corinth, upstaging the bard, saying, “The message about Christ’s death on the cross is nonsense to those who are being lost, but for us who are being saved, it is God’s power. … God has shown that this world’s wisdom is foolishness.”
     
    “The course of true love never did run smooth.” Jesus promised His followers, “In the world you’ll have trouble, but cheer up!  I’ve overcome the world.”

    “My soul is in the sky.”  Paul informs believers, “We are citizens of heaven. We look forward to the Lord Jesus Christ coming from heaven as our Savior.”
     
    The worth of citizenship is in dispute today, but  “Where were you born?” is not the issue. It’s “Have you been born again?”
     
    Have you?
     
     
    “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in Me. My Father’s house has many rooms … I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am.”  John 14:1-3
     
    Posted July 29, 2019

    ReUnited

    Thirty-nine years ago I was flying to the South to say goodbye to my dad. 
     
    We had not seen each other for fourteen years following my wedding and college graduation.  Divorce hit us hard as I entered high school, and Dad did not see his only grandchildren until we reconciled when they were 16, 15 and 10.
     
    Because he had lymphoma, this would be our last visit.
     
    Two years earlier I was thrilled to hear him say that as a teenager he had asked Jesus Christ to be his Savior.  The Manufacturer’s Handbook guarantees that this act of faith on our part triggers God’s promises to keep us in His care from now throughout eternity.
     
    Dad slipped into heaven before I arrived, but based on those promises, there’ll be eons to make up for lost time.
     
    What sort of reunion are you and your family planning?
     
     
    “’Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’  They answered, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your family.’”  Acts 16:30
     
    Posted July 15, 2019

    Future Tense?

    Yesterday is history.  Tomorrow, a mystery.  Today is a gift.  That’s why we call it the present.
     
    Dwelling on the past can shackle you to situations which you're powerless to improve or delete.  Sparky Anderson, baseball’s first manager to win a World Series in both leagues, said of living in the past, “There’s no future in it.”
     
    Focusing on your tomorrows can arouse anxiety or hope.  Holocaust survivor Corrie ten Boom wisely stated, “Never be afraid to trust an unknown to a known God.”
     
    Are you anxious or hopeful about the future?  Based on what?
     
     
    “The faithful love of the Lord never ends!  His mercies never cease.  Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning.”  Lamentations 3:22,23

    Posted July 1, 2019

    Why Didn't I Ask?

    We’re finally taping our memories of marriage and family events.  Perhaps we’re answering questions our offspring would never ask, but as Zig Ziglar said, “If you ask your parents these questions, you’ll be glad you did.  If you don’t, you’ll wish you had.”

    These are suggested by our friend, Bob Tiede:
    1.  What are your favorite memories of being with your parents/grandparents?
    2.  What did you discover about yourself in grade school?
    3.  What did you and your best friend in high school like to do together?
    4.  What kind of trouble did you get into at home or school?
    5.  Growing up, what did you want to be?
    6.  What was your first, out-of-home job?
    7.  What first attracted you to your life’s mate?
    8.  What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
    9.  What in life are you most proud of/grateful for?
    10.  What’s important to you about God, and how did you learn that?

    Will you look for an opportunity to ask (and record) this Q&A, and then share it with family and special friends?


    “Honor your father and mother – which is the first commandment with a promise – that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”  Ephesians 6:2-3

    Posted June 17, 2019

    A Keeper

    Truth be told, if it were up to us men to keep our planet’s pipeline populated … fuhgeddaaboudit!
     
    Never mind the pre-natal nausea and pain of delivery.  That’s easy.  Next, the child-rearing.  Call it parenting; some have other names for it.  That too is a piece of cake.  The real mountain to climb, in our case, is raising Dad.  Moi.  I’m her biggest test.   
     
    It was a Mother’s Day card from one of our children, but I took it personally.  It read:
     
    “Keep calm.  Call mom.”
     
     
    “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.”  Proverbs 31:10,11

    Posted May 30, 2019

    Yours For The Asking

    Is there no oasis of optimism where we can find refreshment?
     
    In a distant land where hateful prejudice is baked into the culture, a nameless woman stands at an ancient well in the searing, midday heat, drawing her day’s supply of water.  A stranger surprisingly asks her for a drink. She’s a woman, a second-class gender, a Gentile at that.  And he’s a Jew. 
     
    To her amazement, he says if she knew who he was and would but ask, he’d give her water that would slake her thirst forever. Without hesitation she responds, “Sir, give me that water!” 
     
    She didn’t have to look far to find Good News.  It was right there, in her dusty, daily rounds, not where you’d normally go to meet your Maker.  Meetings like this can happen anywhere, any time, even now.
     
    Have you asked Jesus for a thirst-ending drink?
     
     
    “… those who drink the water that I will give them will never be thirsty again.  The water that I will give them will become in them a spring which will provide them with life-giving water and give them eternal life.”  John 4:14
     
    Posted May 14, 2019

    Safe at Homer

    About 800 B.C. Homer wrote his iconic Odyssey about mythical King Odysseus who leaves home to fight in the Trojan War.  Mentor is the counselor’s name to whom he assigns the task of raising his son in his absence.

    This tutor’s name identifies a type of coaching said to be “the third most powerful relationship for influencing human behavior after marriage and the extended family.”
     
    Paul of the New Testament charged his young mentee, “Timothy, keep safe what has been entrusted to your care.  Avoid the profane talk and foolish arguments of what some people wrongly call ‘knowledge.’  For some have claimed to possess it, and as a result they have lost the way of faith.”
     
    Who is your mentor?  Whom are you mentoring?  What “knowledge” is being transferred and kept safe?
     
     
    “…the time is here for me to leave this life.  I have done my best in the race, I have run the full distance, and I have kept the faith.  And now there is waiting for me the victory prize of being put right with God, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that Day – and not only to me, but to all those who wait with love for Him to appear.”  2 Timothy 4:6-8
     
    Posted April 30, 2019
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