Saturday, July 15, 2017

Words/Actions



The past four evenings, it thundered for over an hour, but we did not receive one drop of rain at our house.  Even though the conditions were right, the loud thunder announced the coming of rain, the weatherman said there was a good chance for rain, and other parts of the city received precipitation, our part of the city remained dry.  Disappointedly, although it sounded like rain was on its way, there was no action.  Finally, on Sunday night, the thunder rolled, the skies darkened, and the rain fell.  The grass, trees, and flowers were refreshed.

Just like the thunder, sometimes our words and good intentions fall by the wayside because we do not follow through with actions.  We can talk the talk, but it’s when we walk the walk that our faith lives, refreshes, and help others.

Last week members of the Tallowood High School Choir were on a mission trip in New Orleans.  Our students and sponsors endured heat and humidity to share with the people.  They played with kids in the park, ministered to the homeless, passed out water bottles, as well as sang.  Their words and actions spoke volumes to the people they met.  As the high school students returned, our eighth graders and sponsors headed to Baton Rouge to be part of World Changers.  They have spent their days scraping, priming, and painting houses in the heat and humidity.  Because of the actions of our high school students, junior high students, and sponsors, their words will make a believable and powerful difference for God’s Kingdom.

In the book of James, Jesus’ brother reminds believer’s that faith without deeds is dead and unproductive.  It’s when action and heart are added to our faith that God will use us to bless and make a difference in the lives of other people.  St. Francis of Assissi is credited with saying, “Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary use words.”  This week may our actions speak along with our words.

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”

Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that - and shudder.

You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?  Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.  And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.
James 2:14-24

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Wonders of the World



The summer months are prime times for vacations, excursions, and trips.  I thoroughly enjoy seeing pictures of the places friends are visiting.  The people, scenery, land features, sunrises, sunsets are amazing to see.  Some photographs bring back memories of times I visited the same places while others offer a glimpse into places I may never see in person, but can still enjoy and appreciate through their posted photos.

Recently, after studying a unit on The Seven Wonders of the World, a high school teacher had her students list what they considered to be their seven wonders of the world.   After completing their personal lists, they tallied the results.  The top seven votes in the survey were:
1         Egypt’s Great Pyramids
2        the Taj Mahal in India
3        the Grand Canyon in Arizona
4        the Panama Canal
5        the Empire State Building
6        St. Peter’s Basilica
7        China’s Great Wall

The teacher noticed that one student was deep in thought and still contemplating her list before adding her answers to the tally sheet.  When asked, the young lady said there were so many she was having trouble finding her top seven.  Assuming the class might be able to help, the teacher asked her to read her list.  Her choices were:
1         to touch
2        to taste
3        to see
4        to hear
5        to feel
6        to laugh
7        to love

The class was totally silent after hearing her results.

Sometimes it’s the ordinary, everyday experiences, places, feelings, and senses that we take for granted that are full of wonder.  So whether you are home, traveling around your neighborhood, city, state, our country, or the world, what a great season to worship the Creator and appreciate, be filled with wonder, and marvel at His creation.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.
Genesis 1:1, 31

The earth is the Lord’s, and
          everything in it,
     the world, and all those who live in it.
Psalm 24:1

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
Ecclesiastes 3:11

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.
Colossians 1:15-16

“You are worthy, our LORD and God,
     to receive glory and honor and
          power,
for you created all things,
     and by your will they were
          created
     and have their being.”
Revelation 4:11

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Prayers for Campers



This week some of our young girls at church have been to GA Camp while our junior high and high school students have been part of Camp Tallowood.  They have had a front row seat in seeing God work and move.  I have prayed for the campers, sponsors, and leaders this week.  And my prayers continue…

Praying that you will:
* Remember who you belong to and represent.
* Know that as a believer, you are a child of the Most High God.
* Choose your friends wisely.  You tend to become like those you spend the most time with.
* Continue to willingly put aside the distractions in order to hear God’s message to you.  Even though it may be more difficult now that you are back home, God still desires that time and relationship with you.
* Honor, respect, and protect your body as the temple of God.
* Find people who will help you be accountable to who God wants you to be and what He wants you to do.
* Know that God wants to work in your life and have a relationship with you every day and not just the week of camp.
* Continue to have open ears and hearts to hear God’s message.
* Live in obedience.
* Love God.  Love others.  Love yourself.

It would be wise for us older campers to remember and apply as well.

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.
I Timothy 4:12

In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:4-6

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
2 Peter 3:18