Tag Archives: random thoughts

Prayer is a journey from pain

tree tunnelIf we didn’t feel pain, I don’t suppose we would pray. Not until we hit anguish do we remember our limitations and God’s limitlessness. So prayer, then, is a journey from pain to pleasure, from bruises to blessings, from hits to happiness.

If pain is the starting point, however, the journey doesn’t have to be painful. After all, we leave pain behind.

We need to see prayer less like instant answers and more of a pathway. Some hikes are short and easy, others long, still others strenuous. I don’t know about you, but I like hikes of all sizes and shapes. In fact, I haven’t met a hike I didn’t like yet.

Regardless, it is the destination that makes you forget about the process of getting there. Once you reach happiness, all previous pain is pretty much forgotten. Part of knowing how do I pray is staying on the path towards happiness.

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Sprinkles of delight

sprinkle cakeQuite unexpectedly I fell in love with sprinkles on the Christmas cake this year. There’s something delightful about the crunch on the soft white frosting.

I usually run AWAY FROM treats. I run TO the gym. But it’s Christmas, a time of celebration of Jesus’ birth. So I’m letting myself go a little bit and enjoying things I usually avoid.

The problem with America’s obesity is the problem with America’s morals. We want too much too often. We can never say no. We cannot stay with what is good for us. God made sex for marriage, for example. And we want sprinkles on everything and all year round.

Here’s the message America needs: we need to enjoy God-given pleasures within God-given limits.

Would it be rude?

too much Coca Colato suggest that you might want to stop drinking Coca-Cola? Not everything that tastes good or feels good is healthy for the body or the soul — even though calling sin sin is not popular.

*Original image: Pinterest.

My peace I give you

forest

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. — Jesus in John 14:27 NIV.

Love is supreme

love is supreme

You could have incredible prosperity, fame, power, and if you don’t have love, you would be unhappy.

You could be dirt-poor and humble and anonymous, but if you have love, you are the richest person on the planet?

Jesus extends His love to you continually. It only remains for you receive this live.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. — 1 Cor. 13:13

Once you become a Christian, growing in maturity means growing in love — loving the unlovable. This is what Jesus did, and it’s what we must learn.

The devil’s a pawn shop owner

pawn shopAt the price of your life, he gives cheap thrills.

They’re not even the true value.

Then Jesus comes, if you want, and buys your life back at the full price.

But what’s even harder is to lose self

losing youself

I’m not talking about “losing yourself” in love. That’s easy.

I’m talking about getting rid of self-importance, putting others first, giving of yourself and not minding if no one takes note. Yeah, not standing up for your rights.

Perhaps this is the hardest. Satan’s temptation to Eve and Adam was to put themselves first: God was being a killjoy not letting them “become like Him knowing good and evil.” Wow, that’s alluring, to be like God!

Don’t degrade the human race’s father and mother though. We all do it every day.

LOL! This picture is so funny. Thanks: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+Sanitaryum/posts “I wish I could lose weight as easily as I lose my keys, my pen, my cell phone, my temper and even my mind.” That’s a good laugh.

But it’s sobering to think about losing self. Help me, Jesus.

Off to Africa

Social scientists can’t understand altruism.

Africa medical missionsMost of them chalk it up to “wanting to feel important.” This makes me laugh. If I just wanted to feel important, why wouldn’t I make a lot of money and be important? There is more to altruism than they want to recognize.

A number of us are going to Africa Thursday to participate in a medical mission. By any measure, it’s not tourism. It’ll be a whole heck of a lot of inconvenience, uncomfortableness, hard work, sweat, and endangering our own health. So why are 50 people WANTING to go on the Lighthouse Medical Mission’s trip this year to Gambia and Guinea Bissau?

I was packing vitamins last week with Dal Basile, whose self-effacing service to humanity inspires me. She’s the nicest lady, but she’ll turn feisty if you so much as drop one vitamin on the floor. They cost 20 cents each, she says. Donations cannot be wasted at all. Thankfully, I didn’t drop a single pill.

If you wish to donate to Africa medical missions, feel free to go to this webpage.

Winners and losers

winner or loserWe divide people into winners and losers.

But in Christianity, we are all losers (because we are all sinners), and Jesus invites us to join the winning team (His).

Jesus was the only Person who was without sin. He triumphed over sin, over Satan and over death.

So we Christians MUST not view anyone as “losers.” Because that’s what we all are. We have been made winners not by our individual accomplishments but by what Christ did for us, adopting us into His kingdom.

To anyone who has not yet become a follower of Christ, I invite you. It can be frustrating trying to be a “winner” in this cruel world. Somebody is always better. Sooner or later, someone will always beat you. Jesus accepts all “losers” and makes them a valuable part of the winning team.

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You’re a genius

grassroof

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That awkward moment

awkward moment

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See people differently

eyes of eternity

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True love

true love

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Strive for the prize

Prize in Jesus

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Wouldn’t you open it?

Bible

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Merry CHRISTmas

emptytomb

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Prayer is best in the morning

prayer getting dressed

The ultimate hack

ultimate hack

Originally, a “hack” was an alteration of a program or an intrusion into an otherwise closed system. But the word downgraded to mean any trick to get something done easier than the standard process.

To get into Heaven is no small thing. There are those that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches. But none of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him. For the redemption of their soul is precious. — Psm 49:6-8.

A lot of people fail to appreciate just how great a thing Christ did. He achieved for us what none of us could achieve for ourselves: the forgiveness of sins. He is our hack into the otherwise impenetrable system of Heaven.

Appreciate Him.

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Thanks

thank

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Live for self?

livingforself

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Listen2God

Listen2God

Work your way down in the organization

be humble

With Zach (at right)

Ha! The last three years have been the humility lab class for me. I went from being general pastor of four churches and principal and founder of a school to… nothing. Criminals forced us to flee the mission field and return to the home church.

cleaning ministry

With my aunt on the East Coast

At the home church, I longed to serve and I yearned to make a difference, to help stoke the fires of revival. But so many missteps of mine only stoked the fires of resentment. I was asked to give up ministry and look for a secular job. Ouch!

It seemed like every ministry position was already filled by someone who was more qualified than myself. I tried Sunday school. I tried teaching in the regular school. I tried publicity. I thought my experience could be a boon for the church.

After floundering for a couple years, I finally found a ministry where I was heartily welcomed, where I didn’t step on any toes, where I could satisfy my hearts longing to simply be useful. I don’t want to be important but to do important work.

It was not my first choice of ministry. It was cleaning.

serving

With my family at Niagara Falls

I kept secretly admiring the main cleaning guy, who unpaid got up early and stayed up late assuring that schoolkids and church members alike could enjoy spotless environs. Zach Scribner had a vision for  cleaning and saving the church money. I had zero vision for cleaning.

But I wanted to help where I could make an impact. Zach never got a day to rest in — until now. He is overjoyed to finally get a day off. And that makes me happy.

Chatting, a brother said, “Working your way up in an organization always works.” And that’s when it hit me: I haven’t worked my way up, I’ve worked my way down. Serendipitously, I fell into Mark 10:44: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. Aim not to be chief but to serve.

Kneeling before a toilet bowl, I reflected that I was doing it for my God. I thought of many who would despise such labor, some of whom also kneel before a toilet bowl, not to clean, but to throw up… for their god, alcohol.

In any other organization, expect to work your way up. In the church, look to work your way down.

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Forgiven

forgiven

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Come back, son.

Come back