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The Best Emotional Lifeboat

9 Aug

Life Boat drillBob Phillips, who wrote The World’s Greatest Collection of Clean Jokes (Harvest House), included this funny joke about lifeboats:

Joe: “Woman the lifeboats! Woman the lifeboats!”

Moe: “You don’t mean ‘woman’ the lifeboats … you meanman’ the lifeboats.”

Joe:  “Look, you fill your lifeboats, and I’ll fill mine.” (1)

No one thinks much about lifeboats until they need them.

Pam wrote, in Fantastic After 40 [which you can order here], “When life feels overwhelming… your best emotional lifeboat is a bigger view of God….

“…If I get news that makes me feel that life is spinning out of control, I look up verses on god as the sovereign King who is in complete control. When I am feeling all alone, I look up verses on God as my Father. When I am feeling devalued, neglected, or marginalized, I look up verses on God’s love. When I am tempted to react in anger or unkindness, I look up verses on God’s patience or kindness.

“When life feels unfair or unkind, I need to take action to keep an accurate view of God. God is still the same, no matter how I feel. ” (2)

The important thing to remember about lifeboats is that it’s always wise to have lifeboat drills, so one understands how they function and the best way to survive.

I (Dawn) like Pam’s analogy. If our best emotional lifeboat is a bigger view of God, we can’t wait until the last minute to get that view. We need to be seeking Him, studying Him, understanding how He works and how He can help us not only survive, but thrive in life.

A USA Today article by Cathy Lynn Grossman (10/7/10) noted that Americans’ (not necessarily Christians’) views of God shape attitudes on key issues. (3) The article presented four views of God that Americans have, based on research by Paul Froese and Christopher Bader, sociologists at Baylor University in their book, America’s Four Gods: What We Say about God ~ and What That Says About Us.

Grossman discusses these four views of God as defined in the book: Continue reading

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Some Things DO Stay the Same!

7 Aug

Lite-Brite pegsThe other day, I (Dawn) dropped my earring back on the bedroom floor. Down on my hands and knees, I raked the carpet with my fingers, looking for the tiny piece.

It reminded me of when children used to lose those little Lite-Brite pegs in shag carpet. Remember?

By the way, remember when “shag” was both a carpet and a haircut?

There are other things I remember from days back when… or actually, days that span four decades!

Do you remember these?

  • Blue-frosted eye shadow
  • “Where’s the Beef?”
  • Princess Phones
  • Macrame’ plant hangers
  • The smell of mimeograph paper
  • Gunne Sax dresses
  • Green stamps
  • Super Elastic Bubble Plastic
  • Fluffernutters
  • “Rubber Duckie, you’re the one…”
  • Nehru jackets
  • Auto Bingo – “Are we there yet?”
  • “It’s Shake ‘N Bake and I helped.”
  • The Brady Bunch
  • Cooties
  • Twoallbeefpattiesspecialsaucelettucecheesepicklesonionsonasesameseedbun.
  • “Beam me up, Scotty.”
  • 8-track Tapes
  • The Fonz

I could go on and on down memory lane. So much fun.

My point is, many things change in our culture. I don’t know when you or your loved ones grew up, but no doubt everyone has some memories that link to a particular decade.

Life philosophies change in the culture, too. Think about secularism, existentialism, paganism, relativism, and other “isms” that fly in the face of biblical Christianity.

I find comfort in the fact that, though everything changes around us, Jesus is the same yesterday, God's Word Stands Forevertoday, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). And I’m glad that God’s Word is timeless. Though the grass withers and the flowers face, the scriptures are alive and vital forever (Isaiah 40:8).  God’s Word is firm and established, a reliable authority for us and our children (1 Peter 1:23-25; Psalm 119:89, 160).

God’s Word is also timely ~ as relevant to me as to Moses, Joseph, Esther, and Paul. Though it doesn’t address nuclear war, electronic media, cloning, and other cultural issues, the Word of God does provide principles to teach and encourage us (Romans 15:4). And further, the scriptures promise God’s guidance when we turn to Him (Proverbs 3:5-6). He wants us to walk in light, not darkness (John 8:12; 17:14-17).

The Bible does not depend on time, nor is it altered by time.  God’s Word is “settled” (firmly fixed) in heaven (Psalm 119:89). It is truth we can rely on, because it is God’s voice to us (1 Thessalonians 2:13). His promises are true.

And we don’t have to worry about God’s Word passing out of existence or becoming irrelevant in the days to come, no matter the changes in our increasingly vulgar culture.  God’s Word will endure forever (1 Peter 1:25) and accomplish His purposes (Isaiah 55:10-11). It is inspired by God and sufficient to teach, reprove, correct, and train us (2 Peter 1:21; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).

You can have confidence that no matter what is ahead ~ no matter what you may face ~ you can count on God’s Word to counsel, guide, and strengthen you!

The Source of True Freedom

4 Jul

The preacher noticed little Billy was staring up at the plaque that hung in the foyer of the church. It was covered with names and small American flags were mounted on either side of it.

The seven-year-old had been staring at the plaque for some time, so the preacher walked up, stood beside the little boy, and said quietly, “Good morning, Billy.”

“Good morning, Preacher,” Billy replied, still focused on the plaque, and then he asked, “Preacher, what is this?”

“Well, son, it’s a memorial to all the brave young men and women who died while in the service.”

They stood together, soberly staring at the plaque. Billy looked shaken. Finally, in a voice barely audible, he asked the preacher, “Which service ~ the 9:45 or the 11:00?” (1)

Flag 1776Silliness aside, today we celebrate America’s Independence Day ~ commonly known as the Fourth of July. Many fine men and women have sacrificed for our freedom, so we can enjoy the freedoms we have in the United States.

Independence day is associated with parades, picnics, barbecues, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, and especially, fireworks. But the heart of Independence Day is the celebration of our declared independence from Great Britain in 1776. Actually, the war continued to rage for years, and was not formally ended until a treaty was signed on September 3, 1783.

We must never take our freedom for granted. As historian David Barton says, “We continue to be the longest on-going Constitutional Republic in the history of the world. Blessings such as these are not by chance or accidental. They are blessings of God. (2)

As Americans sought their independence from Great Britain, they declared their Christian worldview: their Creator, they said, had endowed them with certain “inalienable” (absolute) rights. Rights given to men by God. While it may be true that not every founder of this nation was a devout believer, our country was clearly founded on biblical values ~ Christian principles from the Word of God.

Sadly today, many of our leaders and politicians have all but thrown out these values and principles.

Lincoln's Bible

Lincoln's Bible

Our nation is suffering because of it.

The God that our forefathers looked to for guidance and protection is often scoffed at today, or simply dismissed as irrelevant. Secularism is tearing the fabric of our nation, and as a result, it is not only our foundational values that are being attacked, but also our economy, our families, and even our security.

Americans are a freedom-loving people, but today, many reject the source of true freedom. “So if the Son liberates you [makes you free men], then you are really and unquestionably free.” (John 8:36, Amplified).

President Lincoln knew the foundation for America’s freedom, and he encouraged people to reflect carefully on their relationship with God.  “It is the duty of nations, as well as of men [individuals],” Lincoln said, “to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, and to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.” (3)

It is our joy to be Christians in a free land. Many would love this privilege!

We must unashamedly embrace our freedom in Christ and our Christian heritage. Our children and grandchildren need to see the power of the truth of God. Their future may depend on our faithfulness.

(1) Adapted from “My Little Sister’s Clean Jokes,” http://www.emmitsburg.net/humor/archives/clean/clean_10.htm

(2) http://wesleysocialgospel.blogspot.com/2009/07/celebrating-independence-day-christian.html

(3) http://www.quotiki.com/quotes/12812

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