Thursday, April 29, 2010

Is a dog chained to a pole really a pet?

The dogs are chained to a pole, run in circles and they never stop barking.

Several of our neighbors have dogs that they claim as pets. I'm puzzled that they keep the dogs on chains tied to poles. One has a little rickety looking dog house and others have nothing. There is a trench in their yards where the dogs have run in circles, barking and pulling against their chains. I wonder if the dogs feel like pets? Their food is thrown to them on the ground, they are rarely walked, never experience a day without chains and even spend winters and rainy days outside.

Some tell me that they are dogs and being chained to a pole is not unusual or even cruel. I wondered about that. If I were a dog, would I consider myself a pet if I were kept chained to a pole?

It seems cruel to me because my idea of a pet is someone or something special. I thought pets get special favor and attention. If being a pet means being chained to a pole, you can have it.

Did you know that often God treats believers let pets? He doesn't keep us chained to a pole and ignore us. He doesn't keep us caged up and tied to a bunch of archaic rules either, but he favors us with enormous blessings on a daily basis; especially those who strive hard to please him.

In fact, God blesses us so much that the devil gets jealous. Once the devil saw how God favored a believer named Job and he said in Job 1:10, "Why, no one ever had it so good! You pamper him like a pet, make sure nothing bad ever happens to him or his family or his possessions, bless everything he does—he can't lose!"

Now that's a pet.

I don't mind being God's pet anytime.

The dogs pull against the chains and bark all through the night. Somehow, I can't believe that they are barking because they are happy.

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Friday, April 23, 2010

I used my cell phone at a funeral

I confess; I pulled out my phone at a funeral.

A few years ago it was a distraction to see people manipulating their cell phones during worship services; that's changing. I know it's true because I carry my bible, and over 200 study guides, dictionaries, concordances, and reference books on my phone. It's quick, convenient and efficient for me.

When I was a child I was taught the bible in the old fashioned bible drills The idea was to learn how to find bible scriptures quickly.

I was fast then, but today, I find them on my phone using my thumb even faster.

I have a library of study books, maps and translations that I paid thousands of dollars for over the years. I now have nearly every one of those books on my phone. I probably paid less than $200 to get them there; most were free.

So, recently when I attended a funeral I felt the stares of people in the audience when I pulled out my cell phone to read the passage and tapped on it to take notes during the eulogy. On second thought, it probably looked disrespectful to those from another generation.

There is a thought in Malachi 3:6 that says, "For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed."

God does not change, but the technology that allows us to know him, study his word and feel his presence has changed. Same God, different day-different way.

The times are changing.

I wasn't the only one at that funeral with a cell phone. Sitting behind the speaker, I noticed that he read his scripture from a cell phone, too.

I rest my case.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

I forgot to fill the bird bath

There was no water for the bird.

I stood in my yard and watched a blue jay come to a birdbath we sat up in our front yard. The bird pecked around the edges but seemed to twitch strangely and suddenly flew away. Usually, the birds flit for a moment then pluck their heads into the water for a quick drink and fly away. After it left I realized the problem. There was no water in the bird bath. It was dry. I went into the house, grabbed few pots filled with water and refilled it.

The blue jay didn't come back, but others did.

It's it good to know that God always keeps an eye on us. Unlike my management of a dry birdbath, there will never be a time when God neglects to check on us or provide for us.

There is a passage in Luke 12:24 that says, "Luke 12:24 Look at the ravens—they don’t plant or harvest or have barns to store away their food, and yet they get along all right—for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds!

As for the water in the birdbath. I keep an eye on it now, but it's good the birds don't depend on me.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Somebody's listening on your phone

Somebody's listening on your phone!

I watched a movie called Eagle Eye yesterday. It depicted a government security network that spied on the conversations of citizens. The system listened to cell phone conversations, tracked the movements and recorded the activities of millions of people. It targeted those considered threats for elimination by causing auto accidents and other seemingly unsuspecting maladies. From a satellite, the Eagle Eye monitored everyone, everywhere.

A similar idea is projected in Will Smith's Enemy of the State-somebody up there is watching you.

While it is science fiction; it is scientifically possible for everything in both movies to happen. It could be happening right now. Someone, somewhere is monitoring your web posts, purchases, and the very pages you read online.

There's somebody up there watching! Hmmmmm

The bible says there is somebody up there watching, but it's no machine. God watches us and he also watches over us every day. That is reassuring and it is also a warning if we consider straying.

There is a bible passage that refers to this. It's Psalms 139:2-5 "I'm an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I'm thinking. You know when I leave and when I get back; I'm never out of your sight. You know everything I'm going to say before I start the first sentence. I look behind me and you're there, then up ahead and you're there, too— your reassuring presence, coming and going."

Just like the movie Eagle Eye, God hears our cell phone conversations; and more.

He can hear us even when our cell phones are turned off!

Need help? He heard your thought; it's on the way!

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

They shot back!

I promised not to throw rocks any more!

As a child I enjoyed throwing rocks; sometimes at other boys. Once I was disciplined for doing just that. It seems that I threw rocks at them and they threw rocks at me. I had to promise not to throw any more rocks, so I did. However, I didn't promise that I wouldn't use my sling shot and I popped all of those guys one more time.

I thought about that when I read about President Obama's efforts to reduce the number of nuclear weapons in the world. Russia has approximately 2,780 deployed strategic warheads, compared with around 2,100 in the US. Each country is promising to stop using nuclear weapons, but each one plans to keep 1,500 on the side just in case.

It only takes one big nuclear bomb on each side to wipe us all out but we'll keep 1,500; Russia will keep 1,500 and the Iran and North Korea are busy trying to get one bomb each that could blow the whole world asunder.

We are struggling trying to achieve it, but the day of peace is coming. The prophet Michah prophesied it in Micah 4:3 "and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."

I never threw rocks at those boys anymore. They didn't throw back either. I shot at them with my slingshot.

..and they shot back!

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Monday, April 12, 2010

You preach like my daddy!

He said I was like his daddy!

My grandson spent the weekend with me; it's always interesting to listen to three year olds. After worship yesterday he played in the yard for a spell and for a short time afterwards intensely watched a video clip of me preaching. He seemed to study every word. At the end he said, "You preach just like my daddy. He says, 'Yeahhhhh' and 'Yeahhhhh." I smiled.

There is an old saying that the acorn doesn't fall far from the tree. I guess that means that if you find an acorn, look acorn because the tree it fell from is not far away. In many ways we emulate the characteristics of our parents; not exactly or intentionally; it just happens. I suppose its in the genetic makeup of each family.

John 14:9 Jesus said, " he that hath seen me hath seen the Father.."

I guess that means that in an ideal situation there is not much difference between a father and a son. Sandwich a grandson in between and there is amazement if they are similar in many ways.

As far as my grandson is concerned, I preach like his father. So, when I grow up, I'm going to be just like his father!

He doesn't know it but when he grows up, in many ways, he will be just like his father, too.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

It wasn't new but they thought so

He thought he had something new, but it was old school.

Two men had an exchange on my Facebook page yesterday. One announced that "It takes a fool to learn that love don't love nobody." The other chided him for stealing his lyrics. The latter styled himself as someone who was original. Both of them thought they came up with the idea. I could not resist spoiling their conversation by noting that in actuality, before they were born, the Spinners produced the song. It has been recorded several times since even by Eric Clapton. Neither of them answered.

It's hard to think of anything new. Many of today's big music hits include samplings of the hits of yesteryear. New fashions are based on old ones. How many ways can we style our hair until we make it full circle to something that was fashionable 40 years ago, but we didn't know about it.

There is a bible verse, Ecclesiastes 1:9 that says, "That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun."

The only new thing that is really new is the mercy and love that God showers on us everyday. Lamentations 3:23 says, "They're created new every morning. How great your faithfulness!"

I'm ready for today's blessing; it won't sample yesterday, but It'll be brand new.

Monday, April 05, 2010

I said my Easter Speech, 55 years later

I said my Easter speech Sunday, 55 years later.

Yesterday, the children of New Tabernacle continued a long standing tradition of reciting Easter speeches. They ranged from two word speeches, ("Easter Easter") to elaborate poems all presented to a receptive audience. To just about every one's surprise, I gave the last Easter speech.

When I was about six years old I somehow remember attending a small church in Atlanta, Georgia in which I was given an Easter speech to recite. I had a small bunny rabbit that I carried with me as I stood on a box and recited my Easter speech, loudly and with confidence. Afterwards there were plenty of adults who praised me and said, "That boy is going to be a preacher one day."

Four years later, in Monroe I stood on a box to say an Easter speech at Tabernacle. Eight years after that the box changed; I stood behind the pulpit at Tabernacle to preach my first sermon. Two years later I was named the church youth minister. Six years after that I was installed as pastor in the same church. I've been standing behind that same pulpit for 34 years.

Sunday, to every one's surprise I stood on a box at Tabernacle and recited my Easter speech from 55 years ago. (without the bunny rabbit).

"Easter after Easter the message is the same
Easter after Easter God's word to proclaim!
Happy Easter Everybody!

The surprised congregation applauded and the children rolled with laughter

A bible verse in Proverbs 22:6 that says, "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it."

That definitely proved true for me. I've been one soapbox or another most of my life.

I wonder what happened to that bunny rabbit?

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Saturday, April 03, 2010

I won't get my I-Pad today

I won't get an I-Pad today!

I have been waiting patiently to get the new Apple I-Pad. There will no doubt be lines in stores all around the world as millions anxiously struggle to their hands on the new device. Those who will plunk down about $500 or more today for the gadget apparently didn't read the advance material. What they read is what the gadget can do; they didn't want to read the other part, or they ignored it. The I-Pad is a light weight e-machine that will allow reading of books, browsing the Internet, operation of of I-Phone apps and scores of other things.

However, the ones being sold in stores today will only do what consumers want done with a Wifi connection. To enjoy it they must remain close to a wifi source; otherwise the gadget is a downer. Later this month Apple will release a version that contains a 3G universal Internet connection. Those who buy today, probably won't be able to upgrade, but will want to. Many will buy another, more expensive unit two weeks from now. (Of course that's probably the marketing plan anyway).

Life is like that sometimes. We can't wait for what we want; we must have it now. In the urgency of the moment what we get often limited. We soon see that we need more. We sense that we need to be universally connected to something greater than ourselves not just a temporary "hot spot" connection.

Sometimes it's better to wait for opportunities, adventures; even for love. What we need comes from God. Only He can provide that kind of 3-G (Father, Son and Holy Ghost) connection. We should not settle for a temporary hot spot, but connect with Him.

This truth is noted in Isaiah 40:31 "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

I pre-ordered my I-Pad a month ago. I'll patiently wait until the real one arrives; I think I'll enjoy it more.

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Thursday, April 01, 2010

A flooded living room-April Fool!

It was a good joke! I was really fooled.

I left home early this morning for some quiet time and meditation. As I read several passages of scripture and thought on them the phone rang and my wife, in a very excited voice, started telling me how the living room of our home was covered with water. She said the hot water tank must have burst; water was everywhere. I envisioned a living room full of water, mop buckets, ruined furniture and the whole works. Then she said..April Fool!

We laughed. Not to make it any better,I used our automated caller and called every member of our church and told them that President Obama had declared today a holiday and no one had to go to work- then quickly followed it with...April Fool!

She played a joke on me. I played a joke on all of my members and everybody will probably be playing jokes on each other all day today.

Everybody gets a good laugh, but they don't get the day off.

There is a verse in the bible that when taken personally becomes a confession for each of us. It's in 1 Samuel 26:21 "behold, I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly."

At one time or the other the devil has prompted all of us to play the fool. We have played the pitiful joke of faithlessness on ourselves and on others.

The truth is, God is good all of the time.

And that's no joke.

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