Holy Week

Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway.35For those who find me find life and receive favor from the LORD. – Proverbs 8:34-35

Holy week is upon us! I will be focusing on the meaning of Holy week and the celebration we will have next Sunday – Easter Sunday. We will also mark the saddest day in our church year as well – Good Friday. No one really feels good about Jesus’ crucifixion but it marks the beginning of the end for Satan’s hold on our lives. Jesus fulfilled his mission to save the world that day but no without extreme torture; he was sacrificed so that we might live with our Father in heaven for all eternity. On that good day, God, through His Son Jesus Christ, defeated the burden of sin for us all forever. How quickly we can forget that we are free from the penalty of sin and can look forward to eternal life. All that happened on one “good” day. However, the job was not complete. Jesus still needed to descend into hell, finish the job and rise to life once again on the third day.

Our forgiveness from sins was raised up to heaven along with Jesus and we now enjoy the freedom from the hold placed on us by the serpent in the Garden of Eden. The Proverbs verses tell us the rest of the story. “Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway.” We are blessed because we have the word given to us by God Himself and listen to the messages of Jesus Christ about how to live our lives. We watch the doors of our lives to be sure that we remain strong and keep Satan in his place by knowing and believing that we have eternal life in Jesus Christ. We wait for the day that we will be raised from the dead, like Jesus, to live eternal lives in paradise.

We can only do this through our faith in God the Father and His Son, our savior Jesus Christ. “For those who find me find life and receive favor from the LORD.” God is always with us, which means that so is Jesus. We all struggle in our lives to live as Christ taught us to and we fall short. It’s Satan who puts guilt in our minds and on our hearts he’s the one telling us it really doesn’t matter. His words are empty and his promises are lies, the one who told us to “find me find life and receive favor from the LORD” is the only thing we should be listening to. Know that your sins are forgiven, no matter what, if you have faith in Jesus Christ as our savior. There are no degrees of forgiveness or no works that do it for you, God’s grace to all of us means a life free from the guilt of sin and forgiveness of those sins for all of eternity. If that isn’t something to celebrate, I don’t know what is.

Multi-Tasking

Multi-tasking has become an acceptable part of our society today. In fact, you are viewed negatively if you can’t multi-task. What we accept today was once called being “scatter brained”. Multitasking and “smart phones” may have actually made us less productive. A number of studies have shown that the constant interruptions we have in our lives are actually slowing us down. Every time we rapidly shift from one task to another, our brains have to refocus or reset. We are truly losing our train of thought. Another study conducted with college students who claim to be “great multi-taskers” actually demonstrated that their motor skills and cognitive abilities mirrored those of someone legally intoxicated. Now that is sobering – sorry I couldn’t resist. All of studies show what us “old-timers” already know, work on one thing at a time and you will actually get more done. We have all been behind the car that is just not keeping up with the flow of traffic, only to see them on the phone or worst yet, texting while driving. Remain focused on what you are doing, especially while driving, and your stress levels should decrease while your productivity increases.

1 Peter 1:13 – “Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.”

It’s getting close to Easter and there couldn’t be more fitting verse. Reading the bible is a fascinating journey that explains how God tried to help us focus on what is important. Many of us heard the phrase uttered by our parents “don’t make me come up there”, when we were misbehaving. God finally reached that point where He had to “come down here” because we just couldn’t focus on what He was trying to teach us. God became man when He sent His son to show us the way. Peter reminds us to clear our minds, be alert and ready (sober). When we multi-task, we never really do one thing well, we do them all well enough. Peter is telling us to focus and set our hope in Jesus. Reduce the interference in our life by focusing on what is important. We don’t want our relationship with God to be “well enough”. Send your fears and worry to God not so that you can do something else but so that you can focus on the grace that He is giving to you and rest in knowing your sins are forgiven by your faith in Jesus Christ.

Education

Get ready; you’re about to witness someone turning into their father for just a moment by uttering the phrase “in my generation”. Here goes: in my generation as kids, we were always told, “If you get a good education, you’ll go far”. Now that I wrote it, I have to stop for moment to regain my composure. Thanks, I’ll continue. Getting a college degree was important to advancing yourself beyond the “blue collar jobs” that were available to those without degrees. For me, the irony about that statement was watching my dad go to work everyday as computer programmer/operator in the 1960’s. He did not have a college degree but was trained in the Army in how to use these “new machines”. I never really understood the magnitude of what my dad did until a few years ago. He was taught about computers in the early 1950’s! He never obtained a college degree but worked as a data center manager for more than 30 years. Today, we can get our degrees “on-line” using hand held net books or lap tops. College degrees today provide us with a well-rounded view of the world around us beyond the english, math and science classes we “loved”. The phrase “you’ll go far” may have faded with the punch card, a college education has become almost as important as a high school diploma. As we get closure to celebrating Easter, I wanted to focus on our spiritual education today.

Proverbs 24:3-4 – “By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; 
through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.”

What a great way to describe our journey with God. We start to build our relationship with God by the wisdom to answer His call and establishing the structure to hear His word. We move into the next phase of our relationship by taking God’s word and applying it to our lives. We attend church services, listen to the bible verses being read and say the prayers and creeds to profess our faith. We begin to understand what He wants us to do; we follow His teachings and go about our daily lives. We think this obedience is what God wants us to do and it is here at “understanding” where most people coast though their journey. At this point the house is built and the relationship is been established, but God is telling us that something is still missing. Imagine your house – a structure (wisdom), it’s occupied (understanding) but without love (knowledge) its not really ever filled. Seek to fully develop your relationship with God with the knowledge of His word through regular devotional reading, bible study and the active application of that knowledge in your life. Use His love to fill your life with His rare and beautiful treasures.

Holy Humor. A mid-week laugh

GOOD SAMARITAN
A Sunday school teacher was telling her class the story of the Good Samaritan.
She asked the class, “If you saw a person lying on the roadside, all wounded and
Bleeding, what would you do?”
A thoughtful little girl broke the hushed silence, “I think I’d throw up.”
DID NOAH FISH?
A Sunday school teacher asked, “Johnny, do you think Noah did a lot of fishing when he was on the Ark ?” “No,” replied Johnny. “How could he, with just two worms.
THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD
A Sunday School teacher decided to have her young class memorize one of the most quoted passages in the Bible – Psalm 23. She gave the youngsters a month to learn the chapter. Little Rick was excited about the task – but he just couldn’t remember the Psalm. After much practice, he could barely get past the first line.
On the day that the kids were scheduled to recite Psalm 23 in front of the congregation, Ricky was so nervous. When it was his turn, he stepped up to the microphone and said proudly, “The Lord is my Shepherd, and that’s all I need to know.
UNANSWERED PRAYER
The preacher’s 5 year-old daughter noticed that her father always paused and bowed his head for a moment before starting his sermon. One day, she asked him why.
“Well, Honey,” he began, proud that his daughter was so observant of his messages. “I’m asking the Lord to help me preach a good sermon.”
“How come He doesn’t answer it?” she asked.
BEING THANKFUL
A Pastor said to a precocious six-year-old boy, “So your mother says your prayers for you each night? That’s very commendable. What does she say?”
The little boy replied, “Thank God he’s in bed!”
ALL MEN / ALL GIRLS
When my daughter, Kelli, said her bedtime prayers, she would bless every family member, every friend, and every animal (current and past). For several weeks, after we had finished the nightly prayer, Kelli would say, “And all girls.”
This soon became part of her nightly routine, to include this closing. My curiosity got the best of me and I asked her, “Kelli, why do you always add the part about all girls?”
Her response, “Because everybody always finish their prayers by saying ‘All Men’!
SAY A PRAYER
Little Johnny and his family were having Sunday dinner at his Grandmother’s house. Everyone was seated around the table as the food was being served. When Little Johnny received his plate, he started eating right away. “Johnny! Please wait until we say our prayer.” said his mother. “I don’t need to,” the boy replied.
“Of course, you do “his mother insisted. “We always say a prayer before eating at our house.” “That’s at our house.” Johnny explained. “But this is Grandma’s house and she knows how to cook.
THE BIBLE

Did you know that… When you carry the Bible, Satan has a headache. When you open it, he collapses. When he sees you reading it, he faints. Let’s read the Bible every day so he keeps on fainting. Maybe one day he’ll have a stroke and never wake up.

Being Consistent

We are funny creatures by nature. We thrive when we have our routines and do the same things, the same way; everyday while simultaneously complaining about the “rut” we’re in. As employees, we will complain about “not knowing where the boss is coming from” at any given time. The inconsistency kills our work routine and our morale. Employees become disenfranchised when workplace discipline is handled differently depending on who is involved or what special circumstances are being considered. You know things are bad when employees are complaining about not enough discipline or issues related to how it is being handled. As much as employees want a flexible workplace, they want consistency in how it is managed. Parenting is no different, our kids want to know the rules and then have them evenly applied. If it’s okay to leave dirty dishes yesterday and today don’t be surprised that the same dirty dish will be there on the third day. Consistency is the key to setting expectations and avoiding the “do as I say, not as I do” life. Friends, family, coworkers and subordinates will always appreciate knowing where you stand no matter what the circumstance.

James 1:17 – “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

If this verse doesn’t tell us that God is at work in our lives everyday – all day, I don’t know what does. Our problem is that we don’t view all of God’s “gifts” as good and perfect. We have no trouble celebrating the $5 lottery win or when the police officer decides to give us a warning instead of the ticket we deserve. Do we view the “hardships” the same way? We have a hard time seeing the good in a “new diagnosis” or yet another surgery. We don’t stop to think that these “gifts” may be for someone else too. Despite our desire to know everything and understand what God’s plan is, we simply do not contain the capacity to. The abilities of the “Father of the heavenly lights” and what He seeks to give us is beyond our comprehension. While we think we could love everyone on earth, we could never pull it off but our Father does. The greatest part about His love is that it available for everyone; consistently and not changing “like shifting shadows.” God’s love and guidance is with us always, day and night; He just simply asks for our faith in Him and His son, our savior, Jesus Christ. He is our good and perfect gift and gives us eternal life and freedom from the burden of all of our sins.