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    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

    Mr. Lonely

    “All the lonely people.  Where do they all come from?”  There are 330 million of us in this country now, and thousands more each day.  Yet for many of us there aren’t enough to dispel the deep pain of being alone and friendless. Will this sinkhole ever be filled with love?
     
    Hanging there, spiked through His hands and feet, the bleeding target of heartless haters … No one came to the rescue of this, the loneliest man who ever lived. He died for our sins, taking our place on that horrid altar.
     
    Elvis asked, “Are you lonesome tonight?”  Sam Cooke mourned, “Another Saturday night, and I ain’t got nobody.”  The Everly Brothers pined, “When will I be loved?”  The answer is “You were loved, on that cross.”  Love’s ultimate gift, purchased for you with the life of God’s Son.  He knows loneliness.  Your long and winding road will take you to His door where He hands you the key of faith and invites you in.
     
    Into whose emptiness can you offer this Love and hope today?
     
     
    “The Lord Himself will lead you and be with you.  He will not fail you or abandon you, so do not lose courage or be afraid.”  Deuteronomy 31:8
     
    Posted April 14, 2019

    Freedom of Depress

    The very first addition to our Constitution grants the right to express ourselves freely without government interference.  It’s one of twenty-seven amendments upon which our freedom is established.
     
    President Coolidge said, “The more I study the Constitution, the more I realize that no other document devised by the hand of man has brought so much progress and happiness to humanity.”  But look around.  Does America seem happy or depressed?
     
    What would happen to your restlessness if you frequently recalled that while the world may seem to be out of control, nothing is out of God’s control?
     
     
    “Don’t worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking Him with a thankful heart.  And God’s peace, which is far beyond human understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7
     
    Posted March 31, 2019

    No Room

    Sometime when you’re tempted to binge-watch “The Simpsons,” reach for a pencil instead.  Jot down the names of five people who have had a positive impact on you?  How would your life be different if they had never been born?
     
    We know about the “No Vacancy” sign at the Bethlehem Holiday Inn. 
     
    When Gabriel told young Mary that she’d bear a son, what if she and Joseph had said, “No, thank you?”
     
    How would your life be different if that baby had not been born?
     
     
    “I am here with good news for you which will bring great joy to all the people.  This very day in David’s town your Savior was born – Christ the Lord!  And this is what will prove it to you:  you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  Luke 2:10-11
     
    Posted March 16, 2019

    Mad About You

    Rage has reached epidemic proportions in our country today.  We seem to have plenty to be mad about.  But, honestly, do we really expect anybody to be perfect?  Who among us is without sin?
     
    The Bible says God knows you intimately, even your every thought, before you think or speak.  He never stops thinking of you, loving you so much that, to pardon all of your sins, He had His Son crucified.  This is the most profound truth:
     
    God is mad about you, not at you.

     
    “If God is for you, who can be against you?  Certainly not God …”  Romans 8:31-32

    Posted March 1, 2019

    Young at Heart

    Their 5-year-old daughter has a hole in her heart.  Imagine her parents’ anguish as two surgeons from the University of Minnesota explain what’s next.
     
    Wrapped in a special blanket to lower her body temp to 81 degrees, she’ll need less oxygen.  The anesthetic gives the O.R. team up to ten full minutes for the procedure.
     
    The clock starts as the doctors open the chest, block the blood flow into the heart, do the repair and sew up the hole.  A warm bath returns her body temp to normal. Success!  It’s September 2, 1952 … the world’s first open heart surgery.
     
    Imagine the weight lifted from those parents.  Jesus said, “Don’t let your heart be troubled.  You believe in God the Father; then believe in me also.”
     
    Do you believe in Him? 
     
     
    “My health fails; my spirits droop, yet God remains! He is the strength of my heart; He is mine forever!”   Psalm 73:26
     
    Posted February 15, 2019

    Ten to One

    Life is filled with distractions.  Maybe even most of life. 
     
    List 10 things you want to accomplish in the next 12 months.  Now whittle that down to just 3 goals.  Eliminate 2 of those, and there’s your #1 task for the year.
     
    What could keep you from achieving it?  List 10 such hindrances. (That shouldn’t be hard!)  Shrink them down to 3.  Now delete 2.  There it is -- the landmine which, as far as you know, is most likely to spoil what you most want to happen.
     
    Would you agree that the quality of your next year depends largely on how you deal with distractions?
     
     
    "Trust in the Lord with all your heart.  Never rely on what you think you know.  Remember the Lord in everything you do, and He will show you the right way.  Never let yourself think that you are wiser than you are; simply obey the Lord and refuse to do wrong.”  Proverbs 3:5-7
     
    Posted February 1, 2019

    Graze Anatomy

    Gray clouds press in on my window.  Their soggy fingerprints blur the Olympic Mountains which, for now, are hiding across the murky Puget Sound.  I’m enveloped in grayness.  It prompts a question: 
    What lacks taste, color and shape but is the most prevalent molecule in existence?
     
    If you answered, “Water,” good on you.  The Carpenter from Nazareth transformed water into fine wine.  And He told the woman at the well, “Those who drink this water will thirst again, but those who drink the water that I will give them will never be thirsty again.  The water I give them will become in them a spring which will provide them with life-giving water and give them eternal life.”
     
    Jesus’ friend, John, was given a larger-than-Imax vision of the New Heaven and the New Earth in which he sees the Lord say, “To anyone who is thirsty I will give the right to drink from the spring of the water of life without paying for it.. … I will be their God, and they will be My children.”
     
     Here’s a question from the Good Shepherd who longs to lead you by still waters:
     
    “Thirsty?”
     
    “… Jesus stood up and said in a loud voice, ‘Whoever is thirsty should come to me, and whoever believes in Me should drink …”  John 7:37-38
     
    Posted January 14, 2019

    Fruit of the Moment Club

    In this festive season as you wrap and unwrap those colorful expressions of affection, here’s a thought.  Why not unwrap a broken relationship and re-wrap it in healing words of LOVE?  Someone you know is struggling with loss or fear.  Here’s a roll of JOY to place around their drooping shoulders.  One of your friends is overcome with stress, longing to be enfolded in a shawl of PEACE.
     
    This trio of LOVE, JOY and PEACE is packaged with PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS and SELF-CONTROL.  You may recognize these as “the fruit of the Holy Spirit.”  Harry & David ship their nutritious delights monthly, but these flavors of the very nature of God are instantly accessible for you to give to family, friends, co-workers and strangers whom you encounter daily.
     
    Could you picture yourself operating a fruit stand, freely handing out an endless array of fresh reminders of the gift of God’s love and forgiveness?
     

    “Every good gift and every perfect present comes from God, the Creator of the heavenly lights, who does not change...”  James 1:17

    Posted January 1, 2019
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