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The world thru His eyes

John 4:35 – “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.”

What if for one minute you could see the people around you as Jesus sees them? What if you could see their pain, their sin, their fears? How would you respond? Would you ever be able to look at them the same way again?

My kids are going to church camp today. Now, this is camp. No hotel. No linens. No nice bed. This is rustic. And beautiful because of it’s simplicity. There will be kids there from all over. So that means there will be situations, thoughts and beliefs from all across the board. All of them have a past and all of them have a future. But that future depends upon the decisions they make after hearing the Word of God preached boldly to them. 

If we could see a person as Jesus sees them, I think our perspective and priorities would be a lot different. I think that our petty problems that seem overwhelming would be nothing more than a minor inconvenience when compared to the heartaches that some people face. 

Our challenge yesterday from the morning service was to be burdened for the lost souls of the world around us. A burden is a weight that you carry around. It is something that is not easily removed. What if we had that for the lost? What if we truly saw them for who they are and was never able to let that vision go? Would we be different?

This week, I want to challenge you to think about this when you see that person across from you at the gas pump. I want you to think about this when you are walking down the hallway at work. What if you could say something to the next person that you saw that would change their eternity? Would you take time from your deadline to tell them or would you put it off to another time that might never come? 

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The Perfect Recipe

Psalm 34:12-17 – “What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good? Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.”

I love to cook. If you could see my bookshelf for my recipe books, the claim would be confirmed. I love the joy on a person’s face when they taste something super yummy. I love the gentle sounds that people make when something is oh, so good. Typically, that doesn’t happen without just the right recipe. 

Hence the thoughts for today…

When David wrote this psalm, he gave us a fabulous recipe, a recipe for life. Here’s my take on it: “You wanna have good, long life? Don’t gossip. Don’t lie. Don’t create problems. Watch your mouth. You walk away from things that even smell bad. You look for things that will honor and glorify God, and you run after them with all you’ve got.” 

Life provides us with so many opportunities to chase after things that have pushed God out of the picture. Things that don’t bring peace are easily found. And my, oh my, there are so many opportunities to run our mouth. Isn’t life pretty much summed up in those three bad choices? Poor attitudes and selfishness are easily captured. 

It takes work to keep your attitude in check. It takes effort to keep selfishness far from you. It takes a muzzle, sometimes, to keep negative things from flying out of your mouth. 

Now that I have hashed through some of the negatives of life, let’s see if we can determine some positives. 

God’s eyes are on those who pursue a right life. He hears their prayers. He is attentive to their needs. He never leaves them alone. 

Jesus Christ was the only One to make it off this earth with no sin. Praise God for that! The rest of us need to have His commitment as our goal. We should strive to be like Him. That is the “life…and love of days” to “see good” that David is speaking of here. 

The new year is just around the corner. People will soon be contemplating goals that, more than likely, will never be attained in the upcoming year. So why wait? Start today. Wednesday is a great day to start living the perfect recipe. Oh, it will be hard. The devil will throw trials and tribulations in your path. But who cares? You know the end of the story. Keep going. The “oohs” and “ahs” are just up ahead in Heaven. 

Eternal

1 John 5:11-12 – “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”

My husband and I were at the mall this weekend. We saw a shirt hanging in a window that said, “We are eternal.” I had to stop and get another look. My husband said, “Sure we are eternal. But what eternal are they talking about?” He was thinking heaven or hell. 

It seems that our society thinks it is above reproach. Somehow or another, they think they will never die and never be held accountable for anything they do. I have heard songs about that “we will are never getting older” and songs about doing something “anyway”. 

No thought for consequences. No thought to anyone else other than themself. 

Eternal. Do people realize that is a really, really, really long and never ending time? Do they realize that their eternity will be spent in a smoking or non-smoking place? They have the choice of everlasting love or everlasting fire. They have the choice to accept Jesus or reject Him. 

So yes, we are eternal. But which eternal will you choose – eternal love or eternal damnation? It seems like such an easy choice. Choosing love means allowing Jesus to lead and guide you. Choosing damnation means leading yourself and trusting that you can make all things good. For me, I choose to let Christ lead my life. I choose eternal love. 

Hope. 

Revelation 21:4 – “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

I woke up yesterday morning with something I have I never experienced before – severe pain in my shoulders and upper back. I turned over to turn off my alarm and felt like someone had stabbed me in the shoulders! And it nagged me all day. 

And then I saw the news – a plane full of soccer players went down in Central America. Six people survived. Three were on the soccer team. My son came home and informed me that one of the men who died had just learned he would be a father. My heart broke. 

So much pain. So much sorrow. So many tears. So many fears. 

Bummer. Right? Geesh, Melissa. You sure know how to throw on a wet towel!

But wait! There’s a bright side!

My God, MY GOD!, shall wipe away ALL tears. Not some tears – all tears. All the tears from losing a loved one. All the tears from physical pain. All the tears of the broken hearted. All tears. They shall be wiped away by the hand of the tender and loving God. 

I’m looking forward to that day. It has been a wild and wacky year filled with uncertainty and confusion and anger and frustration. But it has also been a year of hope and laughter and joy as well. 

But one day, when Jesus returns, He will set all things straight. He will make all things new. He will take all the yuck out of the world and make it so much better. 

I’m looking forward to that day. I’m ready for it. And as much as I enjoy the twinkling lights of Christmas, I look forward to the everlasting Light of the world shining for all to see. 

Hope. 

Shoeboxes


Luke 11:9-10 – “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”

It was a beautiful day. We went yesterday to create our offerings for the Operation Christmas Child shoebox drive. We have participated in this event for three years now, I believe, at our church. Our little youth group pigs out at a local pizza place and then heads across the street to the One Dollar Store to fill our shoeboxes with goodies of all sorts. 

At first, the kids packed their boxes with toys and candy. Then we talked about where the boxes would be going – places where food was a premium and they had absolutely nothing. The perspectives changed. They removed most of the toys and candy and replaced it with bowls and spoons and soap and toothbrushes and tooth paste and wash clothes – things we all take for granted. 

Our youth groups looks forward to this each and every year. In fact, when we plan for the year, it’s the first thing that’s mentioned that we HAVE to do. 

So, I’m sure your wondering what these verses have to do with all this information. When we create these boxes, we ask that God guide our hands and help us to provide whatever the recipient of our box will need. Each box is different. Each box has character. Each box has a story and a memory behind it. 

We pray over our boxes before we send them on their way. We know that before a child will receive our gift, they have to go through a series of lessons and learn about Jesus. They hear the plan of salvation. They are offered THE MOST WONDERFUL GIFT – salvation. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. The batteries in the flashlights we send will run out. The pencils will become nubs. The soap will disappear. But salvation will never disappoint or disappear or run out. No, this gift that only God can give will last throughout eternity. 

And all they have to do is ask. 

How beautiful is that?!

So let me encourage you to participate in an opportunity to present the plan of salvation to someone somewhere in the world through Operation Christmas Child- https://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/

It has truly blessed our hearts. I know it will bless yours as well.

Life after today

Revelation 22:1-5 – “And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.”

I was driving along the other day and I heard a guy on the radio make this statement. Now, the guy that said it, I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him. But, the statement in and of itself is really good. 

How will you live life after today? You have no idea what today holds. You have no idea if you will even wake up tomorrow, let alone follow through with the plans you have made. Yet, all week we think and plan for the weekend. It’s our time off (for some). It’s when we are “free”. 

Do you ever stop and consider eternity? Do you think about what it will look like, who will be there or what you will do? Some of my family is already experiencing eternity. They are living life after today. 

I don’t have a ton to say on this today. I’m just planting seeds. 

Let me encourage you to take some of that “free” time and consider eternity for a bit. If you don’t understand or know where you will spend eternity, go check out my other page for the plan of salvation. It’s so easy and so worth it. Don’t think about life after today without Jesus in it. 

Hmm…how about that?

John 12:42,43 – “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”

When I read this the other day, I though to myself “Hmm, how about that?”

Many people believed on Jesus but they were afraid to confess Him because of the fear that they had in what others would think. 

Sound familiar?

How many of us today keep Jesus tucked in our back pocket for emergencies and fail to put Him in the spotlight? It’s all well and good to express our gratitude and thanks and praise when we are in the walls of our church building, but what about when we survived a tough commute to work? What about when the weather miraculously changes in our favor? What about when we somehow have more than enough money to pay the bills this week? What about when we go into the doctor for something terrible and somehow or another it is gone?

Jesus said in Matthew 10:32,33 – “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.”

Don’t you think that Jesus meant that just as much now as He did then? 

This is serious stuff. We are neglecting to share Jesus with others because we don’t want to offend or we are afraid. And I am just as guilty as the next person. I have a tough time with this. But do I, for one minute, think that those lame excuses will fly at the Judgment Seat? Nope. They won’t. And I know that. 

So what is to be done? Be brave. Don’t be a scaredy-cat when it comes to Jesus. Don’t hide Him in your back pocket. Wear Him on the front of your shirt where everyone can see Him. Hey, I’m speaking as much to my heart as yours. 

Just look around you. Do you see the wind moving the trees? God is doing the same thing to our hearts today. He is stirring and churning and trying to poke us into service. He wants us to share. He wants us to brave. He wants us to, at the very least, try. Let’s never let it be said of us that we loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.