Our Church Meetings

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In response to all He has done for us, let us outdo each other in being helpful and kind to each other and in doing good.

 Let us not neglect our church meetings, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of His coming back again is drawing near.

—-Hebrews 10:24-25

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church meetings

To Be With Me

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It really needed to be done.

It was definitely time to throw some things away, straighten up, clean and rearrange.

The “office” room is where my computer lives, along with two bookshelves that are packed and a host of other important (to me) items.

Things like old photo albums, camera boxes and a microphone stand.

A hard hat that I wore while on a tree logging tour. (What????)

A wooden back scratcher given to me while staying at a cottage on the Gulf of Mexico.

Even a hand made (but not functional) shofar used in one of the musicals I directed years ago.

You know…..stuff like that.

While going through a stack of papers, I found a little Polaroid photograph of our second son as a young child.

As I recall, there was an event at church where children were supposed to dress up as animals.

One of the men at the church dressed as Noah.

Each child could have their portrait made with Noah.

According to the sign on the wall in the picture, portraits were available for 50 cents each.

Years later, our son was killed in a car accident as a teenager…..

As I picked up the old photo of our son and the “pretend” Noah, there was a split second of grief shooting into my heart.

Following right behind it with lightning speed, these words came to my mind:

“He’s with the “real” Noah, now.”

Yes.

That’s right.

My son knew Jesus while here on Earth, and God has given me assurance that he is in Heaven right now.

I don’t think I’ve ever considered that my son is able to see Noah and talk to him.

It just hadn’t crossed my mind.

What was the cost to be with Noah in Heaven?

Much more than all the money in world.

It cost the death of Jesus on the cross.

My son is with Jesus today, along with Noah and countless others.

Now, when I look at that picture, joy springs forth.

Thank You, God, for bringing comfort out of pain. Thank You for salvation and the promise of Heaven for those who believe.

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Jesus said,

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in Me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am.  You know the way to the place where I am going.”

—John 14:1-4

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the place

The Lord’s House

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Standing on the lawn of my church, the clouds were forming a beautiful backdrop.

I have spent many hours in this church, learning about God, and listening for His voice.

Through the years, it has been a meeting place for those who trust in Him.

People have come and gone with the decades, each having been part of a fellowship of believers who strengthened one another in the Lord.

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I was glad when they said to me,
    “Let us go to the Lord‘s house.”

—Psalm 122:1

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i as glad

The Streams of God

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You care for the land and water it;
    You enrich it abundantly.
The streams of God are filled with water
    to provide the people with grain,
    for so You have ordained it.

You drench its furrows and level its ridges;
    You soften it with showers and bless its crops.
 You crown the year with your bounty,
    and Your carts overflow with abundance.

—Psalm 65:9-11

You crown the year with Your bounty….

2015.

A new year.

The first month of the new year.

What will we see in the coming days and weeks?

I have faith that we will see the bounty of God.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines bounty this way:

“good things that are given or provided freely and in large amounts”

Everywhere we look, even in difficult situations, there are blessings from God.

Things given.

Things provided.

Things that are bestowed willingly to us.

Things from the loving heart of God.

2015.

A new year.

The first month of the new year.

What do you think you will see in the coming days and weeks?

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streams

To the Throne of Grace

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Below are some of the lyrics to a popular Christian song:

Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You’re the One that guides my heart
Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord, I am free
Holiness is Christ in me
Teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You
Jesus, You’re my hope and stay

(from “Lord, I Need You” by Matt Maher)

Lately, the words, “And when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You” have gone to a special place in my heart.

How precious to even consider that during our greatest weakness, God is there for us to fall on.
In recent weeks, several people that I know have faced extreme circumstances.
In fact, some of them are still facing these trials today.
This song, when changed to an intercessory prayer, is a comfort to me concerning them:

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Lord, they come, they confess
Bowing there, they find their rest
Without You they would fall apart
You’re the One that guides their heart
Lord, they need You, oh, they need You
Every hour they need You
Their one defense, their righteousness
Oh God, how they need You
Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord, they are free
Holiness is Christ in them
Teach their song to rise to You
When temptation comes their way
And when they cannot stand let them fall on You
Jesus, You’re their hope and stay
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My heart is solemn as I yearn for healing of every situation in the lives of my each of my friends who are facing troubles.
God is the only One who can take care of each of the needs.
What a precious privilege to have the gift of prayer.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.—Hebrews 4:16

 

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Throne of Grace

Troubled, Neither Let It Be

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Jesus said,

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

—John 14:27

Jesus is able to to give me peace, even when those I love are ill.

My cousin is in ICU tonight.

Jesus is able to give me peace, even as I realize that I am not in control of others’ lives.

Those I love must make decisions for themselves.

Jesus is able to give me peace, even when I realize that I cannot know the future.

God alone knows the future and the past in its entirety.

In the passage above, Jesus told His disciples not to have troubled hearts or to let their hearts be afraid.

Instead, He wanted them to have peace.

I think this is what He wants now, for me and for you.

Does your heart need His peace tonight?

Are you troubled and afraid?

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peace

Blessed is the Man

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He was all alone on the boardwalk.

Just a single black bird, visible through the opening in the deck rails.

The lake below him, the blue sky above him, and a couple of trees growing nearby.

No other birds.

Just him.

Psalm 1:1-3 reads,

“Blessed is the man
    who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
    nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
 but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree
    planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
    and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.”

Sometimes, in order to keep from walking in the counsel of the wicked, we have to choose to walk alone.

Sometimes, in order to keep from hanging around people who indulge in sinning, we have to choose to be alone.

Sometimes, in order to keep from being with people who enjoy scoffing at others, we have to choose to be alone.

Even if we are alone, we can be blessed by God.

We can think about what God would want in our lives.

We can pray day and night and He will always hear us.

Pleasing God is what’s important, even if it means we are far away from the crowd.

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blessed is the man

What You Will Eat

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Walking along the sidewalk of the park yesterday morning, I saw a squirrel not far from me.

Securing an acorn in his paw, he began to eat without fear of my presence.

The trees in my own yard yield a great many of those same acorns.

On any given day, I can see squirrels scampering in my yard, enjoying life.

God provides them with the food they need.

He can provide for us, as well.

Jesus said,

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on.”

Matthew 6:25

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eat or drink

And All the More

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It was very, very crowded.

Every year, the town hosts a craft festival on a weekend.

I would guess that thousands of people come to browse items like artwork, handmade jewelry and pottery.

The festival is held downtown, just blocks from the church that I attend.

People were parking anywhere they could and walking sometimes quite a distance to get to the festivities.

Watching the groups of people walk by the front of the church on their way to peruse the various booths and displays, I had a thought.

What if all these people were walking up and down the street in order to get to a church service?

Besides the church that I attend, there is another church located diagonally across the street from it.

What if parking lots were filling up and people were parking their cars along the streets and walking briskly to church?

Sadly, I have never seen that many people coming to church on a Sunday morning.

Hebrews 10:23-25 reads:

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,  not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

It’s important to go to church.

To study with others.

To worship with others.

To talk about the concerns of our hearts.

How about you?

If you haven’t been to church in awhile, why not go this Sunday?

It’s important—and all the more as we see the day that Jesus returns is drawing nearer.

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drawing near

Entrust to Faithful Men

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Visiting the city which is the oldest European settlement in my country, I was interested in photographing some of the unique buildings that I saw.

Driving in the heart of the city, I passed by a tall, ornate church.

Getting out of the car, I walked around the magnificent structure.

 

It’s comforting for me to see churches when I visit a new town.

When I see a church, I know there are those who meet within its walls who love the Lord.

The existence of these centers of worship is due to legacy and the blessing of God.

An ancient sanctuary reaches into the future with a history of faith within the hearts of those living long ago.

Even a new church stands because someone in the past related the good news of Jesus to the members who constructed it.

My heart’s desire is to leave a legacy that is pleasing to God.

All churches have a story of legacy and trust.

When I am gone from this earth, every investment I have made toward God’s kingdom will be used for His glory.

Every Bible story I told my to my children.

Every offering I made of time, talent or funds.

Every prayer.

Every discussion about God’s love and forgiveness.

And what will become of that?

A legacy.

A transferring of faith—-

from one generation to another.

 

And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

—2 Timothy 2:2

 

 

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teach others