Checklists!

27 03 2018

CHECKLISTSMy wife is very meticulous in making a “To Do” List for her day, and very studiously checks it off as she completes each task.  I admire her for doing it, even though I tease her about it.  The checklists I make are few and far between, and only when I have some small boring (?) tasks that I might keep forgetting.  My life must be boring, because I just keep to my routine!

I was thinking of checklists this morning, because I was reminded of the verse in Philippians 1:6 where God says that, ” … He will COMPLETE the Good Work that He has begun in me …”!  That means He is working in me and is not done with me.

This is a comforting thought to know that the God who is the creator of the Universe, and who put me together in my mothers womb (Psalm 139), is continuing to do a work that will bring honor and glory to Him. Because we see that in Genesis chapter 1 he steps back and looks at the work that He has done at the end of each day, and says, ” … this is very good…”!

And as Mahalia Jackson, the gospel singer is supposed to have said, “God, He makes no junk!”  So when God steps back after He is done with me, He is going to say, “Yes, what I did with Ted (_________insert your name___) is good, it is very good!  He brings me glory!

The other thing is that whatever, I might be going through as God is working on me, I know that God is very close to me.  I might not feel His nearness, but He is there!  He is just a whisper away, and He is there to love me and provide for me and heal my hurts and …!

So, as you look at your list today, remember that you are on God’s checklist to work a good work in you!  Allow Him to love you and to make a masterpiece out of your life!

Ephesians 2: 10 says: (New Living Translation)

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

 





“Am I Really Thankful …?

27 12 2017

IMG_0869

I woke up this morning and walked into the kitchen, turned on the faucet and filled my coffee mug with fresh water, placed it in the microwave to make my first cup of coffee. As I reached for “my condiments for my coffee”, I casually glanced at the indoor /outdoor thermometer sitting on the kitchen counter, and a conversation that Linda and I had even yesterday, came back to me!  The difference in temperature between the inside of the house and the outside!

This morning it showed a 63 degrees on this outside wall, and the outside temperature was minus 9 (-9) degrees, that was 72 degrees difference.  The thought that ran through my mind was, I am taking this for granted!  Standing inside a warm house, even with a sweater, and bathrobe and a throw blanket, to sit in my easy chair, open up my Tablet to read my Bible in YouVersion, with about 50 translations to choose from, and a nice cup of coffee to warm me!

And I read the story that Jesus told in Luke 16: 19-31 in “The Voice” translation:

“19 There was this rich man who had everything—purple clothing of fine quality and high fashion, gourmet meals every day, and a large house. 20 Just outside his front gate lay this poor homeless fellow named Lazarus. Lazarus was covered in ugly skin lesions. 21 He was so hungry he wished he could scavenge scraps from the rich man’s trash. Dogs would come and lick the sores on his skin. 22 The poor fellow died and was carried on the arms of the heavenly messengers to the embrace of Abraham. Then the rich fellow died and was buried 23 and found himself in the place of the dead. In his torment, he looked up, and off in the distance he saw Abraham, with Lazarus in his embrace.

24 He shouted out, “Father Abraham! Please show me mercy! Would you send that beggar Lazarus to dip his fingertip in water and cool my tongue? These flames are hot, and I’m in agony!”

25 But Abraham said, “Son, you seem to be forgetting something: your life was full to overflowing with comforts and pleasures, and the life of Lazarus was just as full with suffering and pain. So now is his time of comfort, and now is your time of agony. 26 Besides, a great canyon separates you and us. Nobody can cross over from our side to yours, or from your side to ours.”

27 “Please, Father Abraham, I beg you,” the formerly rich man continued, “send Lazarus to my father’s house. 28 I have five brothers there, and they’re on the same path I was on. If Lazarus warns them, they’ll choose another path and won’t end up here in torment.”

29 But Abraham said, “Why send Lazarus? They already have the law of Moses and the writings of the prophets to instruct them. Let your brothers hear them.”

30 “No, Father Abraham,” he said, “they’re already ignoring the law and the prophets. But if someone came back from the dead, then they’d listen for sure; then they’d change their way of life.”

31 Abraham answered, “If they’re not listening to Moses and the prophets, they won’t be convinced even if someone comes back from the dead.”

The Voice (VOICE)The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

What was I to do with a story like this?  I was also reminded of the small post-it-notes, I had been writing each morning, 4 things I am thankful for, including the friend (from Facebook) that I was thankful for.  I had over 1460 tangible things, people, places that I was thankful for!

I am RICH!  God has blessed me with much!

How will I respond to Jesus TODAY?

 





There Has Been A Change of Plans!

23 12 2017

Emmanuel -God With Us

I had been planning a Bible Study for our church Senior Adult group on the Christmas Story, with the title “A Messy Christmas”, when I saw a title, which caught my eye and imagination, as a much better title for my thoughts, than “A Messy Christmas”.  It was the title of a Message preached by Pastor Steven Furtick at Elevation Church a few years ago, “There Has Been a Change of Plans”.  (I am sorry Pastor Steven, that I cannot say, I have heard this message, but I promise I will go back and listen to it this Christmas Season.  I appreciate your preaching!)

So the Christmas Story starts at Galatians 4:4, “… But when the set time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman …”  The set time, and there was a coordination of people, lives events and History all culminating to fulfill the plan of God’s Master Plan, and the major characters in the plan were unaware of the vital part they were playing in the great story.

First, there was Zachariah and Elizabeth, devout godly people who had lived their whole lives following God and yet not having a child, even in their old age!  They receive the news that their world is going to be turned upside down, by the birth of a son, who was going to be the Forerunner to the Messiah.  From a quiet priestly life to cribs and diapers and baby toys – when they should be grandparents, instead being a Daddy and Mommy to a little boy John (the Baptist).  There has been a change of plans for you, Zechariah and Elizabeth!

Then there was Mary, a teenage girl, engaged to be married to Joseph a young carpenter, dreaming of her wedding and a humble but happy home and starting a family, when she is visited by an Angel, who announces to her that she is going to have a baby imminently, and the baby is going to be the long-expected Messiah, the Saviour of the world.  The baby was not going to be born with her union with Joseph, but supernaturally!  Yes, as a virgin!  Mary, there has been a change of plans for you!

Joseph, you are a just and righteous man and you are looking forward to your marriage to Mary, and to be a good husband to her, and to raise a family and provide for them with your carpentry business in Nazareth.  But Mary is going to have a baby, and she has not committed any sin against you, but is fulfilling God’s plan to be the earthly mother of God’s son, the Savior of the world.  Joseph you can be the earthly father of Jesus.  Joseph there has been a change of plans for you!

Then there were some shepherds watching over their flocks by night, in a field in the Judean hills, with no other thought than keeping themselves awake and warm, and keeping their flock safe from the predators and any thieves who would try to steal their sheep.  An Angel announces that they need to go and see a little baby that was born that night, who was laying in a manger, in a stable, much like the ones that their sheep would use.  A very familiar place!  But the baby was going to be the Savior of the world!  (He would be their Great Shepherd – a thought I had, free to you, no charge!)  This is not going to be another boring night, because, Mr. Shepherds, there has been a change of plans for you!

Finally lets look at another group of people.  They were not even living in Judea!  They were in a far of foreign land,  They were Astronomers, studying the movement of the stars and planets, and their significance to the times and seasons!  They see a unique star appear in the sky, which as they study carefully, they recognize it is heralding the birth of a King, a King of the Jews!  They feel compelled that they must make their journey, long and arduous to see this King and worship Him.  The preparations and the explanations to their families and friends and then the long trip to Bethlehem and back!  Wise Men, Magi, there has been a change of plans for you!

To each and every person involved in the First Christmas Story, it was not a “Holly Jolly Merry Christmas”!  It was Messy!  But they knew that Emmanuel – “God With Us”, was the One who was changing the plans for them!

To me, to you Christmas 2017 might be Messy, might be heart breaking, confusing and a lot of “Why’s” and “Why now’s” and “Why me’s”!  But we can know that Emmanuel – is God With Us!  Yes our plans may have changed but God is with us this Christmas – December 2017!   May you know the Blessing of HIS Presence with you this Season!





A Landmark for me!

22 11 2017

IMG_0871November 22nd remains as a landmark in my life, and so my memory  goes to the first November 22nd that made it a landmark!  It was 1969, that would be 48 years ago, when I first arrived in the United States of America, landing in Seattle, Washington around  6.00 am on a NorthWest Airlines (presently Delta Airlines) from Tokyo, Japan (now called Narita).

I was met by Brother Sam Smith ( to friends from Seattle Bible College) our Dean, and friend with his towering figure and disarming smile!  And the rest becomes History!

Forty eight years of God’s Goodness, Grace and Love!In all these years, then the promise that God gave to Abraham has been my foundational verse, and mainstay!  He has never failed me yet!  The verses read from Genesis 12: 1-3

12 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

“I will make you into a great nation,
    and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
    and you will be a blessing.[a]
I will bless those who bless you,
    and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
    will be blessed through you.”

What A Great God we serve, and how great is His goodness, to us, and not one word of His promises has failed me, as Joshua said in his farewell address to his people in Joshua 23: 14,

“You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.”

I would encourage you TODAY to look back thankfully on ALL that God has blessed you with, and in thankfulness, bless those whom God has placed in your lives right now.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!





Sixth Sense or Divine Guidance?

21 11 2017

Image result for Feeding the Five Thousand

Every students nightmare is to hear the words, “Today we are going to have a quiz!  It is only one question but it will be towards half your final grade for the quarter!”

Jesus seems to do this in John 6, when we read the words, “Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do.”  (NKJV)

“… Jesus looked around and saw that a large crowd was coming to him, so he asked Philip, “Where can we buy enough food to feed all these people?” (He said this to test Philip; actually he already knew what he would do.)…” (GNT)

Here in this story, it seems like Jesus is addressing Philip but the story goes on to say, that Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was already “working the crowd”, as he was one of these people that “did not know a stranger”, and found this little boy who had a picnic lunch, with five loaves and two fish.

And Jesus, now goes about getting everyone seated, so that they can enjoy lunch together.  So when everyone is seated, Jesus takes the little boys lunch, prays and feeds the multitude – 5000 men plus women and children- over 10,000 people with the five loaves and two fish.

So, the conversation was started between Jesus and Philip, but it is prefaced by the statement, ” he was testing Philip (and the disciples), but He (Jesus) already knew what He was going to do.  What does this mean?

My mind with its fertile imagination, sees Jesus having His time of devotions, and talking to His Father in prayer and looking at the lesson plan for the day!  He is on a crash course of Training the disciples in a three year program to become “Men Who Turned The World Upside Down”  (Acts 17:6 NKJV)  or as some say turned it right side up!

So, according to the plan, the lesson is:

Trust and faith in God to provide for our needs, as we surrender what we have in our hands, into the hands of Jesus, and He will take the little we have and multiply it to bless the many.

He wants the disciples to see, that however insignificant the person is (a little boy) and however little what is handed over to Jesus is (five loaves and two fish for over 5000 men plus), when we totally surrender to God all that we are and have, “Little is Much When God is In It”!

The take away for me is that, Jesus sets us an example of how to order a productive and successful life.  As we spend time with God and ask Him, what God’s priorities are for us for the day, we hear God prompt us through His Word and strong impressions on our heart, His plan and His purpose for the day!  This is the way we will know what we will need to do when we come face to face with a problem – financial, health, social or emotional!

What a practical lesson for us to cultivate into our daily lives.  Quieten our hearts, speak to God, listen to him and follow God’s leading given to us in our quiet time!





Following an Impossible God!

12 04 2017

IMG_0176Just this morning I woke up with the thought, “God Is Crazy”!  Before you say that I am sacrilegious, and tune me out, please hear me out!  Yes I believe in a God who specializes in the Impossible and in the crazy!

Easter has always been my most favorite celebration of the Church Calendar!  I have memories of many different places where I have celebrated Easter! Colombo and Kandy in Sri Lanka!  Camrose, Alberta in Canada!  Seattle, Grand Rapids, Minneapolis … !  Yes the list goes on, and they are significant to ME, because of what God has done in my life!

I think back to my High School days in Colombo, Sri Lanka  and think of sitting in a class room, with only about three others who even called themselves Christians, while the others were Buddhists and Hindus and Muslims, and to think that God reached down and touched my life, and gave me a new life in Christ Jesus!  He changed me and put the Spirit of God in me, the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead!  Wow!  Okay, how can it get better than that!

And so I start to think of this God, and the Easter Story!  That was God’s crowning moment, in raising Jesus from the dead, and He is going to do this for all of us, who believe in Jesus, use His mighty power to raise us from the dead, to an eternal life with Him in Heaven!

He starts His career by taking all the chaos that was this world, and creating form and order out of it, “Yes, I have an App for that”, He must have said!  He calls a man called Noah, and gives him a blueprint to build this huge big boat, to take his family and animals of every form and kind for the “cruise of their lifetime”!  He sends a flood of epic proportions, and recreates the structure of the early human tree!

He calls a man called Abram, and tells him to take his wife and leave the security of the business he has built with his Dad, and his home and lifestyle, and go on a road trip, camping along the way, to a better place, that He (the Impossible God) has prepared for him.  And Abram and his wife Sarai, leave all to follow this Impossible God!

The stories continue throughout history as they are recorded in the Bible, (see the Book of Hebrews chapter 11 for a sample), and also throughout the ages!  Have they stopped?  Has the number of Impossible things stopped?  I am sorry to say, they have not stopped, but they are multiplied today, as Jesus promised in the Gospel of John 14: 12 –

       “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.”

Yes, and God wants us to experience some of these Impossible Things this Easter, as we see the Resurrection Power working in us, 

The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you. (Romans 8:11)

May I invite you to experience this Ressurection Power in the Easter of 2017, with Christ followers from around the world!

 





The Caravan Chronicle

2 04 2017

(Read Joshua chapters 1:9 , 2: 1-24 and Matthew 1: 5,6)

Pearl in the Sand: A Novel by [Afshar, Tessa]Joshua sends two spies into Jericho, just like Moses had sent twelve including Joshua and Caleb!  They are to spy out the land that “God had given to them”!  (1:9)

They enter the brothel that Rahab (see “Ten Women of The Bible” by Max Lucado) was running, so that they could get the town gossip, and Rahab fills them in on what the people in Jericho were feeling and thinking!  They were scared spitless because of the Israelites who’s God was working on their behalf.

Rahab said that they had heard, through the grapevine, the reporting in the Caravan Chronicle, that God had parted the Red Sea for the Israelites to cross over on dry ground, and how they had defeated the kings on the way, and now they were camped outside Jericho, causing fear in the hearts of the citizens of this city!

Rahab had believed what she heard and placed her trust in God, evidenced by the fact that she was willing to help the two spies!

Her faith is rewarded, and her life is spared, and she later gets married to Salmon, the Israelite … what a story that is (Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar), and they have a son … Boaz (Matthew 1:5-6), who marries Ruth (see the Book of Ruth), whose great grandson was King David, and is the lineage of Jesus!

How do we fill in the blanks of this story!  WOW!

What impressed me, was in the reading of the story of Ruth, and seeing what a “gentleman”, Boaz is, that Rahab, instilled some real godly characters into her son!  So what is the story of Rahab!

What is the GRACE of God, and what is the hilariousness of His provisions for us, who live in the 21st century and are His chosen for “such a time as this?

How would YOU fill in the blanks?