“Am I Really Thankful …?

27 12 2017

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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!