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Archive for the category “Connecting to Gods Power!”

The Spam Invasion

The other day I missed an important message in my email.  Part of the problem was what I call the spam invasion.  Spam in email talk is unwanted and unsolicited emails that are sent at random and find a home in your email.  In my case the spam emails were all around the important one and contributed to me overlooking what I needed to look at.  So how and why do we get so many spam emails?

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Let us suppose that you built a very unique mouse trap.  Let’s say that your mouse trap caught mice faster and could trap several of them at once.  Have you ever heard the saying that “you can build the worlds best mousetrap but if no one knows it, it doesn’t do any good?”  Well that is the case of anything even if it is a multi-million dollar idea.  Mary Kay Ash said that “ideas are a dime a dozen, people who implement them are priceless.”  I’m reminded of a commercial encouraging people to send in their invention ideas.  Someone saw the clapper which was a system attached to a light where all you had to do was clap your hands to turn it on.  “Hey, that was my idea”, they sadly proclaimed.

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People that have ideas to make money want to get them out in the public.  Usually the cost would be enormous.  That is where spam mail can help.  You send your 100 friends or people that you know their emails this email.  “Kill more mice in less time” and send it their way.  Let’s say that 5 our of 100 buy your mouse trap.  You get thinking that if you sent out 100 emails and 5 bought if you could send out 1,000 or 10,000 what would sales look like?  The only problem is that you don’t know of any more email addresses.  Good news…there are companies out there that will sell you email addresses.  You decide to pay the fee and get your addresses and you are in the spam email business.  Multiply this by the hundreds of people trying to get their idea out there at a reasonable price and it is no wonder we get so many spam emails.

Years ago there was a different spam invasion.  You see the original spam product is meat that was packaged by a company called Hormel.  Invented in 1937 it involved taking pork shoulder meat and combining it with ham, salt, water, sugar, and using sodium nitrate as a preservative.  The contents were packaged air tight in a can and the meat remained fresh.  Spam could be eaten cold or could be heated up as desired.  The need for such a product came to the fore front in World War II.  Spam became a main food for the U.S. Army and other armies.  During WWII and the occupations that came after Spam was introduced  in Guam, Hawaii, Okinawa, the Philippines , and other islands in the Pacific.  Over 150 million pounds of Spam was purchased by the military before the war ended.  Here at home Spam became a big hit too because of it’s expanded shelf life, affordability, and convenience.  3.8 cans of Spam were consumed per second in the United States in the 90’s.  Spam is especially popular in Hawaii as it consumes more Spam per capital than any other state.

What is it about the word spam that made it the description for unwanted emails.  Well let’s start with the description of Spam again.  Spam was convenient and fast.  Spam was not the best meat or the most healthy meat you could eat.  Spam was easy to transport because it was packaged so efficiently.  Spam made Hormel into a world known company that today employs 20,700 people and has annual sales of 9.16 billion dollars.  In the same way spam email has been the start of many successful companies today.

I was thinking about this spam email invasion and realized that it works the same way in our walk with God.  How many times have you wanted to have a closer walk with God but something gets in the way?  Like how spam email got in the way of my important message the enemy uses his spam to get our mind off what is really important in life.  You look at things that are top priorities in our lives that we might be ashamed to admit.  A job, a house, things, sports, money, power, admiration, and even our families are put right at the top of our list of important things in life.  All of these things I listed are temporary.  The enemy uses these things to get our eye off what we are really here for.

What Consumes Your Mind, Controls Your Life

The number one thing that we should all be concerned about is where we will spend eternity.  While all of those other concerns are here today and gone tomorrow eternity lasts forever.  Yet today the spam invasion lives in our lives.  Our mind goes from one thing to another in a quest of the temporary form of happiness.  The cheap spam ads are all around us and penetrate our minds.  The more we let in the more they take control of us.  Over time we are controlled by desires of material success, fame, or whatever else the spam ads are pushing us into.

There is an alternative to the cheap spam that comes into our lives every day.  The solution is a deep relationship with Jesus Christ.  Jesus was God but came into this world to die for your sins and mine.  He is the only way to eternal life.  While spam in our lives tries to hide the message it is there.  We need to take the spam out of our lives.  Filter it out as we would use a filter in our emails.  You know the filter that puts those emails into junk.  Even with a filter some spam emails get through.  Spammers have become efficient at wording things and disguising their emails so that our filters do not catch them.  They end up cluttering our list and important emails can still be missed.  The same is true in the messages that are thrown at us every day.

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The solution to our dilemma is to use a much stronger filter.  We need to give ourselves completely to God and let him be our filter of what to do with things that come our way.  He alone can give us peace and happiness.  He alone can give us eternal life.  His message is out there in your hearts email.  Peal away the spam that the enemy has placed in your heart and you will find it.  When you do you will see clearly the jewel in a world of spam.

Seeing Past The Air Conditioner

This whole crazy story of lost glasses came back to me because of what happened last week.  You see I was on my way to work last week when something about my sight through my glasses didn’t look right.  I wiped the lens with a tissue when shockingly I saw what the problem was.  After wiping the right lens I started to wipe the left one when I discovered there was no left one!  Somehow it had fell out and I hadn’t noticed.  When something like that happens panic sets in.  I thoroughly checked the car then made a call home.  Of course there was not a lens laying around in plain site.  When I came home for lunch I checked around for possible places the lens may have fallen.  As a last resort my wife offered to check in the couch.  We have found things in the couch before.  Something from a pocket can fall through the cracks of the couch and end up within the couches lining.  I mentioned what a long shot it was as she pulled the couch out after she had secured a flashlight.  Surprisingly her light shined right on a strange object that on second inspection was indeed the missing lens!  I happily took my glasses to a lady that works in the vision area of the unified clinics at work and she fixed my glasses and tightened the screw that apparently came loose prompting the missing lens.

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My memory went back to an episode a few years ago that may have been even more unique.  I know it sounds strange but at first I didn’t realize my glasses were missing.  You see I hadn’t had them long and for awhile I was just breaking them in.  It was only a couple of weeks earlier that I got them because I didn’t pass the eye exam for my drivers license.  I wasn’t wearing my new glasses most of the time because of depth perception problems.  After searching the house thoroughly with no success I tried to retrace my steps.  Suddenly a thought occurred to me although it seemed like a long shot.  A couple of days before I was in a store trying on shirts.  Perhaps in the dressing room I took the glasses off.    I hurried to the store and went straight to the dressing room.  Unfortunately my glasses were not there. Walking to the front of the store I noticed a bucket with reading glasses in it.  Out of desperation I started going through the glasses.  Suddenly I saw a pair that resembled my glasses!  Although I doubted seriously it could be them I put them on.  Amazingly they fit perfectly and the clear picture I saw told me that these were my glasses! I happily announced to the cashier that I had found my lost glasses!  She smiled and said congratulations and I left ecstatic and a little confused at the same time.

Wire rim glasses

I guess the ecstatic part is understandable.  My glasses were worth more than $200 as far as the value my insurance and I paid.  The confusing part is how was I so lucky?  Why didn’t anyone buy my $200 glasses for the amazing bargain of $1.00?  I imagine that the following events took place.  I probably took my glasses off and put them on the seat in the dressing room before I pulled a shirt over my head.  Since I was only wearing the glasses part time, I forgot that I had them on earlier.  After I was gone that night or the next day I imagine a store worker entered the dressing room to clean up.  I’m sure that it happens all of the time.  Someone tries on an article of clothing and instead of bringing it back to the rack they leave it in the dressing room.  When the store employee saw my glasses they must have figured they were reading glasses from their box and put them in with the one dollar glasses.

Perhaps someone came in and saw the box.  “Oh look Sherry some reading glasses.  I’ve been meaning to get some.”  Trying one pair on after another to get the right sight and fit maybe he came across my glasses.  Putting them on he notices that the lens actually makes things look smaller for him.  Quickly he puts them back in the box as definitely not a candidate for what he is looking for.  The same thing could have happened a few times as the glasses were there for a couple of days.  Unless the person trying the glasses on had the exact vision as me the lenses wouldn’t be right for them.  Putting my glasses back in the pile they may have picked up one that fit their reading glasses needs perfectly.

Property Brothers

Perhaps you have seen the show “Property Brothers”.  It is a reality show where usually a couple is interested in buying a nice home.  Every time I have seen the show the couple has demands of what they absolutely need for the house.  Usually the added conveniences are very expensive.  One of the property brothers actually does the remodeling while the other handles the real estate end of things.  The couple is usually taken first to a place with all of the added essentials that they are looking for.  The couple is always excited because the house is exactly what they want.  Then they are told what the price is which is way more than what they can afford.  They are always disappointed and are then taken to other houses where none of their essentials are included.  Of course they don’t like the houses and the construction brother explains to them how he can knock this wall out and redesign this room and that.  He has a vision for what can be, but they never can see it.  They are always looking at the things that they don’t like in the current construction while his vision is on what it will be.  Only by picturing the finished product on a computer screen can he convince them to buy the house and work something out within their budget.  At the end of the show it is amazing how the finished house is almost completely different from what they bought and how the couple’s are always happy and amazed at the house they now own!  They always compliment the builder and his vision and state that they never saw his vision until now.

Bob Weiner

Bob Weiner

Bob Weiner was in the Air Force in 1969.  He was stationed in Victorville, California but most of his nights and weekends were spent in San Bernadino.  Among other things he managed a Christian coffeehouse.  This coffeehouse featured blacked out windows, black-light rooms, Christian posters and music.  Teenage kids were entertained by music from visiting groups and Bob would get up shaking like a leaf and present the Four Spiritual Laws.  Bob was no dynamic speaker and really wasn’t sure of his own commitment to God. However he saw the good coming out of the little coffeehouse and felt useful.  Every time they opened the doors teens flocked to the place and many ended up giving their lives to God!  It was a Friday afternoon in the fall and one of the hottest days of the year.  The temperature outside reached 105 degrees.  Bob got to the coffeehouse to prepare for one of the busiest nights of the year.  They were expecting four or five hundred kids that night because some of the most popular groups would be there!  As Bob entered the coffeehouse he noticed that it was unbearably hot.  To his alarm when he pushed the button to turn on the the air coditioning nothing happened.  The air conditioning had worked so well in the past that it was almost taken for granted.  Yet this night of all nights it was refusing to cooperate.  Checking all of the breakers Bob found them all in order.  Hurriedly he flipped through the yellow pages to air conditioners and called the first number he saw.  Within a half an hour the repairman was there.  It didn’t take long before he made his diagnosis.  I’m sorry he said but this thing is completely shot.  Two of the motors are burned out and possibly a third one.  When he started quoting a bill Bob stopped him.  Whatever it was it couldn’t be afforded.  The coffeehouse was a labor of love that wasn’t bringing in money.

Air Conditioner

Bob called a second company and the repairman had a similar diagnosis but maybe a little worse.  He told Bob that this unit will never work again and was suggesting a whole new unit his company could put in.  Of course Bob sent him away too.   Bob knew that this was the final death blow.  They would have to cancel for the night and possibly have to close down the coffeehouse for good.  They were always using the air conditioner even sometimes in the middle of winter. As the second repairman was leaving Tony a local high school student who attended almost all of the events showed up.  Tony would often come by early and help out in preparation for the shows.    “Hi Bob, Ready for the big show tonight?”, Tony offered enthusiastically!  “I’m afraid I have some bad news.”  “What’s wrong?”  “The air conditioner is shot and it is as hot as an oven in there, no hotter.”  “Can you get it fixed?”  “I’ve had two repairmen come by and both said the unit is shot.  We’ll probably have to shut the place down.”  “But you can’t do that”, Tony stated.  “What else can we do?”  “Cmon”,  Bob said as he slapped Tony on the back, “You can call the bands and tell them not to show up.”

“Listen Bob”, Tony started “The Bible says that we can lay hands on the sick and see them recover.”  “Yeah, I know that.”  “Well I have faith that if we lay hands on this air-conditioning system that it will work.”  Bob started to laugh but Tony was not laughing.  When Bob was done he realized that Tony was dead serious.  “Cmon Tony…you don’t think”  “Yes I do” “Won’t you even try?”  Bob rolled his eyes up to heaven and said to Tony “OK you win.”  Finding himself behind the building where the crippled unit was he said to Tony, “OK Tony I’m doing it, See? ” as he felt stupid putting his hand on the unit.  Tony nodded his head and put his hand on the unit too.  “In the name of Jesus, I command this air-conditioning unit to work.”  That was the extent of his prayer.  Then he said “Let’s go turn this thing on and see what happens.”  Bob was thinking as he walked over to the switch, “Poor kid, this will probably hurt his faith.”  Turning the switch to the on position Bob was the surprised one as the unit roared into action and started pumping cold air!  Bob looked at Tony and Tony said “Thank you God!” and they jumped around glorifying God for what he did.  Tony had one more thought for Bob, “You see Bob, if God can heal the sick he can certainly repair a machine!”

Faith in the unseen!

Faith in the unseen!

When the one lens came out of my glasses I didn’t realize at first that there was a problem.  It was only when I started to clean them that the problem was revealed.  Likewise when my glasses first were missing I didn’t miss them.  I wasn’t wearing them often enough to notice that they were gone.  Isn’t that the way it is in our spiritual lives sometimes?  When we lose our spiritual vision tragically we may not even realize it.  Maybe it takes a circumstance in our lives that makes us really see what we don’t have.  We hear so much about having faith but what does that really mean?   Faith is a vision not what we see with our physical eyes.   Jesus said to the doubting Thomas “Because you have seen me you believe; blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed” John 20:29.  “While we look not at things that are seen but at the things which are not seen,  for the things that are seen are temporal, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”  II Corinthians 4:18.

I can see myself thinking the same way that Bob did.  Thinking that Tony was naive and that we were talking about an air conditioner, not a person.  Bob was limited to the literal interpretation of laying on hands. Yet it was the 17 year old Tony who had the faith of a child that God blessed!  You see Bob saw the obstacle and the way things were from his non spiritual view.  He saw the giants (the faulty air conditioner) as an impossible foe much like ten of the twelve spies did in the old testament story. Tony on the other hand did not limit what God could do! Tony had the spiritual vision to know that God cares about our needs even if it means healing an air conditioner!  Tony saw God and the glory he would receive past the air conditioner!  Tony had his spiritual glasses on!  The good news for you and I is that it is never too late to get our spiritual sight back.  God gave all of us our own unique spiritual glasses that we need to get used to!  By putting them on we will be able to see beyond the air conditioner and have a vision of the God of the universe where all things are possible!

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Almost!

I think I can relate a little fraction of a bit to the light that blinded Paul on his way to persecute the Christians.  I would have to say that we both took advantage of escaping with life!  Though mine was staying in this life his was a spiritual rebirth that put him on his way to heaven!

I was driving down the road on my way home about a month ago.  It was the time of day that the sun was blinding me.  The road I was on was a busy street and my next turn would be a left at the traffic light.  The sun was so bright I couldn’t see the traffic light but I did see the turn lane.  I was able to make out the oncoming traffic down the road and saw that I had time to make my turn.  With the light blinding my eyes I turned too soon.  My heart went to my throat as I realized what I had done.  I found myself almost driving into the curb.  The road I was trying to turn on was 30 feet ahead and I was in the lane of oncoming traffic.  Luckily I was able to drive quickly against traffic and take a round left turn just before the oncoming traffic got there.  As I hurriedly made the turn onto the side road my heart was racing.  I almost got killed I thought and it was true.

One of my favorite movie series ever was “Back To The Future.” It was about time travel as they went back in time in the first episode forward in the second and back further in the third.  The concept that is true in each of them is that one thing effects everything.  Decisions that we make today effect everything later on.  If you are married take for example the circumstances of you meeting your future spouse.  Maybe it was by chance that you met them.  Now consider what life might have been if that event didn’t happen.  It would effect where you live, the kids that you have, everything!  When Marty by accident interfered with the course of history it started changing events that followed.   Like the Back to the Future movies, you may say that where you are in life and the people that you are with almost didn’t happen.

Back to the Future

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I’ll bet you can think of a lot of almost things that happened in your own life.  Maybe you were almost killed like me.  Maybe you almost won the lottery or almost invested your money with a dishonest person.  Maybe you almost married someone else or you almost bought a different house.  Maybe you almost by accident burned the house down.  Maybe you almost became famous or you were sick and almost died.  There are so many close calls in life that we almost do or don’t do a lot of things.

A book was written by Roger Bruns that is titled “Almost History.”  It has information about documents for events that never happened.  Included is a speech prepared for President Nixon in case the Apollo 13 astronauts died.  Also included is an apology from General Eisenhower for the failure of D-Day.  Some events like the time that Lincoln got a letter from a young girl encouraging him to grow a beard may not make a big difference.  In this case it probably only changed the picture of the president on the five dollar bill.  Other almost situations such as Hitler almost taking over the world would have changed everything had it happened.  The thing about things that almost happened is if they did other things would have been built from them.  Suddenly everything becomes different  if the almost actually happened.

It almost happened!

It almost happened!

I think it was in March of 1971 that I went to a basketball tournament.  It was sponsored by a group called “Word of Life.”  They contacted churches in our state and had them recruit players to play basketball for a Saturday.  At lunch time a message was delivered to the participants.  I was not a Christian at the time.  Actually I wasn’t even on the team.  I was in junior high and this was a high school group. They won the previous Saturday and had advanced to this tournament in Ohio.  I was invited to go along and decided to go!  Our team dominated in the region but met much stiffer competition in this tournament.  At lunch time I heard probably the most powerful sermon I have ever heard before or since.  I did not become a Christian that day, but the impact of that sermon weighed on me a lot when I made a commitment two and a half years later.

As always the basketball players that day reluctantly sat in the bleachers as the speaker was introduced.  I remember a pro player for the Cincinnati Royals named Darrel Imhoff gave his testimony.  After that the other speaker took us to Acts chapter 26.  It was about Paul presenting his case in front of King Agrippa.  Paul had been arrested for preaching the gospel and the leaders couldn’t find evidence that he did anything wrong.  He was brought to the king to state his case and he did it very impressively.  He told of how he was an enemy of the Christians until he was blinded by a light on his way to persecute the Christians.  He told of the voice he heard “Saul, Saul why are you persecuting me?”  King Agrippa listened with great interest as Paul laid out his story.  Verse 28 states “Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.”

The speaker that day concentrated on that word “almost.”  He stated that nowhere else in the Bible does it mention that King Agrippa became a Christian.  If he never did and is now in eternity without God the speaker concluded that King Agrippa is languishing on those words “Almost, Almost, Almost.”  He concluded his sermon that we don’t want to almost become a Christian.  We don’t want to regret the day when we almost accepted Christ.  Truly we live through a lot of almost circumstances in our lives.  Sometimes things work out fine the way that we end up traveling.  Other almost  situations we regret and wish we would have gone the other way with our decision.  If you haven’t already, take advantage of God’s saving grace while it is available.  Then you won’t have to regret the time you didn’t but almost did.

Mama, Dada, Goo-Gle

I had my plans Friday night as I left work.  I was going to the Civic box office to pick up some tickets for a show they have been advertising.  Later I had a softball game and was looking forward to that!  I quickly walked out to my car to get everything started.   To my surprise the key didn’t turn.  I tried again and again and nothing.  It was locked and my key could not turn the ignition switch.  After a few minutes I called home.  My son answered the phone.  I asked him to bring the spare key thinking maybe that my key had worn down and that was the problem.  When he arrived I found that the spare key didn’t work either.  Quickly he pulled out his phone and got on the internet.  Within a couple of minutes he told me to turn the wheel at the same time I turned the key.  Remarkably that was the answer.  The key turned just as it was supposed to and I was on my way!  I haven’t been driving this car very long and I don’t know all of it’s little quirks.  It seems if the wheel is turned the whole thing can get locked up.  The quick remedy my son found was brought to you by Google Search.

Gentleman, Start Your Engine!

Gentleman, Start Your Engine!

Before I came along my mom and dad were home one day when an encyclopedia salesman came to the door.  They were in the perfect market as they had a little two year old girl.  It made the sales pitch so much easier as the salesman talked about making an investment in her future.  Those were the days of the printed word and families throughout our country were buying the Encyclopedia Britannica volumes for the same reasons my mom and dad bought them.  Years and years passed as the Encyclopedia Britannica made everyone happy including their sales force.  This was before the computer started taking over.  Wickopedia and Google started chipping into their sales.  That chipping with a pic and hammer became more like demolision with a crane and wrecking ball.  Last year Encyclopedia Britannica made a decision that many felt was long overdue.  They would not be printing in hard copy anymore because of their increasing yearly sales losses.

Encyclopedia

In a way it was kind of a sad day because personally I like books.  I like holding the specific book I am reading as it was written.  I do not own a Kindle even though I will admit it would free up my house from bundles of books.  There was something about the book volume of the encyclopedia too.  You were likely to pick it up and thumb through it finding interesting things you weren’t even looking for.  I remember the research papers we had to write in school.  One of the challenges was going to the library and going through the card catelog.  This little exercise helped me develop skills in problem solving.  Finding the book was not the end of the exercise either.  Going through the book and reading a lot of unrelated stuff was part of the process.  Suddenly finding the information that was needed to make a point for the report was very satisfying.  These days that whole process is watered down.  Finding things on the computer is fast and easy much like the fast food hamburger.  There is no need to dig for information.  It’s much like the gold is waiting to be picked up free of charge!

The picture above is almost too real to be funny!  In our computer led society I wouldn’t be surprised if this became a frequent occurrence.

One of my all time favorite TV shows was “The Wonder Years!”  I liked the show because Kevin (the main character) was about my age so I could relate to things he was going through in that time.  He described his childhood in the late 60’s and early 70’s.  One of my favorite episodes was when Kevin had a disagreement with his best friend Paul.  As kids do they started not speaking to each other and sought out new best friends.  Kevin and Paul would have spirited verbal exchanges when trading their baseball cards.  They both knew the abilities of the players on the cards.  When Kevin tried to replace Paul with this new friend Doug he found the spirited conversation missing.  It came to a head when Doug gladly traded his Willie McCovey card for an unknown player named Don Schwartz.  The challenge was gone in Kevin’s thinking and a short time later Kevin and Paul were back together.

DougDoug-Paul's temporary replacementwonderyears4

Sometimes in everyday conversation we would find that we disagreed with the other person on some trivial fact.  The conversation might have gotten interesting as we knew that what we were saying was right.  Sometimes after a week or so of research one of the parties could claim victory and report to the wrongly mistaken party their information.  The conversation came up about The Keebler Company the other day.  I knew that they were bought out by Kellogg’s and now made their home in Battle Creek.  I was almost sure that they had been in Grand Rapids at one time.  My son quickly Googled “Keebler” and it never mentioned Grand Rapids.  A quick answer with facts beyond argument and here I sat thinking how life was without Google.  There was a price to pay like “do your chores and then you can go out and play.”  These days a quick visit to Google and the chores are all done!

Sometimes we find out things in normal conversation that we never really thought of.  We were wondering why my son never wears his wristwatch so we asked him last week.  “My generation doesn’t wear wristwatches”, he told us, “if we want to see the time we just pull out our phone.”  I guess some things are generational things,  some things I have to adapt to,  and sometimes I have to accept changes going on around me.

End of the wristwatch?

End of the wristwatch?

I suppose someday probably right after a young child utters their first words of “mama” or “dada” they will be uttering “goo-gle.”   I have to admit that in my hour of need with the car problem Google Search came through big time!  I didn’t have the time or the resources to conduct a massive research study to find my problem.  I have concluded that Google (just like the internet) can be bad or good depending on how it is used.  I have also concluded that sometimes when you have to work for something it is more valuable than if it is given to you.

Goo-Gle

Goo-Gle

Years ago I was talking to a guy at work named Ryan.  Ryan didn’t seem like a deeply spiritual guy but the subject got to the question of our existance.  When the conversation and questions were going in that direction Ryan said in response “You mean the big one?”  As Ryan suggested it is the big question.  It’s a question that people have struggled with through time.  It will not be properly answered by a quick Google Search.  It may take hours and days of deliberation.  One book that will never be outdated is God’s book of the universe.  If ever there is a doubt as to if there is a God all we have to do is look around us.  Look up in the sky at the amazing power of the Sun!  Look around at all of the creation he has provided for us!  Look at yourself and your family and the fact that you and they are miracles in themselves!

I came across some information while thinking about “the big question”, as Ryan called it.  The late Dr. Arthur E. Wilder-Smith, was an honored scientist with three doctorates!  He was a former Evolutionist until his opinion shifted.  He debated many leading scientists on the subject throughout the years.  He stated that “The Evolutionary model says that it is not necessary to assume the existence of anything, besides matter and energy, to produce life.  That proposition is unscientific.  We know perfectly well that if you leave matter to itself, it does not organize itself – in spite of all the efforts in recent years to prove that it does.”  You might wonder where I got all of this wonderful information about the opinion of this renowned scholar?  I used the good side of the Google Search!

Praying During TV Time

Hey you, Yes you!  Over there on your couch or  recliner.  Don’t you realize that you are killing yourself?  The average American adult watches TV over 4 hours a day!  That is just the average and some of us are making up for those that don’t watch it much.  Hey you over there sleeping in the Lazy-boy!  Don’t you know that this is not the dreaming you should be doing?  You know God has given us all a limited amount of time on this earth.  He is keeping track of the amount of time we spend on things.  There will be an accounting at the end of the period just like in business.

If you are reading this you probably aren’t too young to make a difference in this world!  Look at the accomplishments of the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team at the Olympics!  They are proving that the youth can achieve great things!  Look at some of the accomplishments of older people in history.  Colonel Sanders didn’t start franchising his famous Kentucky Fried Chicken until he was 65 year old!  Grandma Moses didn’t become a famous artist until well over 75!  So there are no excuses for any of us!  Don’t forget that Noah was over 600 years old when the flood came!

It would be very interesting if each one of us kept a log of time spent in a day!  Would we like the way we spend our time?  Looking back to the book “The Cross and The Switchblade”, David Wilkerson decided to sell his TV and spend the time he was watching it in prayer!  First he put a fleece before God as a sign that it was what God wanted him to do.   “God”, he said “have the person call me in the first half an hour after the paper hits the streets”.  After 29 minutes nobody had called.  Then out of the blue the phone rang.  The guy on the other end said he would buy the TV sight unseen.  It was during that prayer time that Wilkerson promised to give to God that he happened to see the current issue of Life Magazine.  He tried to get away from it because he felt it was interrupting his time with God.  However every time he did he ended up coming back to it.  Suddenly he realized that he was supposed to open up the magazine!  When he did he saw a sketch of teen gang members in New York City who had killed a kid and were on trial.  As he looked at the picture he started crying.  He noticed the blank looks on their faces.  God spoke in his spirit right then and there that he was to go to New York City and help those kids.  It was the birth of a wonderful ministry that has helped millions of people over the years.  It has changed the lives of countless teens, bringing them to Christ and getting them off of drugs.  It is hard to believe that all of that started one night when Wilkerson decided to sell his TV and use that time to pray!

So my question to all Christians out there is what is holding you back?  Is it the comfort of family life that is keeping you out of where God wants you to be?  Is your time spent in things that you like doing but have no effect on the Kingdom of God?  There are many things we all like to do that we enjoy, but we need to take a look at them and see if God is in the picture.  It would serve us all well to pray about our time with God.  Devote more time to him and less for ourselves.  God may be trying to contact you.  He might have a ministry for you that would lead to souls saved in the Kingdom!  The problem is that your schedule is full and your phone is busy.  Wilkerson’s story is a lesson to all of us.  When we sacrifice our time to prayer and seeking God he will lead us in ways far beyond anything we can imagine!  When we make it a priority to spend more time with God as Wilkerson did, he will bless our steps.  We will start walking in faith and touching others with our testimony!

Hey you again over there on the couch or the lazy-boy!  Put the phone on the hook, God is trying to call!  He wants something everyone is competing for, your time!  Are you ready to be used by him to change the world?  It starts with a sacrifice!  Let’s start praying during TV time!

I Can’t, But You Can

By Lewis Hamilton
From the book “The Gardener and My Garden” c1997

Lord, I cannot live the Christian life
and run the race you ran
I cannot walk my talk each day
I can’t, but you can

I cannot love my neighbor
whose actions I can’t stand
I cannot stop and help them
I can’t, but you can

I cannot turn the other cheek
or forgive my fellow man
I cannot keep your commandments
I can’t, but you can

So why do I keep struggling
trying to live my life so right?
Don’t I understand that
it’s sinful in your sight?

Why do I in my own power
try to carry your plan through
Don’t I realize my hope and strength
can only come from you?

Live your life in me Lord,
let mine turn into yours
May what you do through me
open many doors

I will not live my life anymore
I place it in your hands
I cannot live in victory
I can’t, but you can!

I have been crucified with Christ
and I no longer live, but Christ
lives in me. The life I live in the
body, I live by faith in the Son of
God, who loved me and gave
himself for me.

Galatians 2:20

Quit Trying So Hard

Now repeat after me I started “I can’t do anything”.  The teenage boys looked a little puzzled but went through the motions “I can’t do anything’, they repeated.  Then I followed with “now repeat this”, and I continued, “With God all things are possible!”  They repeated that phrase a little more enthusiastic but not much.  I don’t know what I was thinking but I had wavered far from the script.  It was a high school boys basketball league and I was one of the coaches.  It was a Christian organization and each week there was a devotion before the game.  It was the job of the coaches or referee assigned to the game to lead the group of both teams in the devotion.  The script was written out and was supposed to be read.  It was a booklet with a story and things to think about at the end.  Most of the kids treated the talk as just a formality before they could play the game that they loved.  I went on to tell a story I shared on this blog in January.  It was about a lady in a counseling session with my pastor at the time.  She stated “Pastor, I’m going to be a better Christian, I’m going to read my Bible and pray more, I’m going to…and on and on she talked.”  The pastor told us “right there I knew that she was doomed for failure.”  His reasoning was that she was doing things in her own power.  He knew that her “I’m going to” phrase could only lead her to failure.  At the end of my little talk I had them repeat after me again.  “I can’t do anything” and then “With God all things are possible!”  I don’t remember who won the game that day,  but those words at the little devotional are and will always be true!

Sandy Koufax was one of the greatest pitchers in the history of baseball.  He is the youngest player ever inducted into the Hall of Fame.  He pitched in the major leagues for 12 years.  So you probably would conclude if you didn’t know anything about his career that he must have been a success from the start.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  For the  first six years of Sandy’s career he had a record of 36 wins and 40 losses.  The best word to describe his pitching up to that point was mediocre.  Sandy was blessed with an outstanding arm.  He had a fast ball that blazed from his hand.  His problem was that he didn’t know where it was going from one pitch to another.  He had a problem a lot of pitchers have had over the years, he was wild.

Norm Sherry was Sandy’s catcher in 1961.  In spring training he had a talk with Sandy.  “Why don’t you try not throwing the ball so hard”, Norm offered.  Sandy tried what Norm suggested and found that by not trying to throw the ball as hard as he could he actually could control it.  He also found that he had about the same velocity on his pitch as he did when he was trying to put the extra umph into it!  From 1961-1966 Sandy had one of the best if not the best six year stretches in baseball history and it came about because he quit trying to do too much!

David Wilkerson tells a story in his book “The Cross and the Switchblade” that was a big help to him in his effort to reach the gangs in New York City with the gospel.  As you may or may not know Wilkerson was a “country preacher” in Pennsylvania when he was up one night paging through a Life Magazine.  He came to a story about a gang of teens in New York City who had murdered a handicapped kid.  God started speaking to Wilkerson about going to New York City.  Wilkerson could not get the thought out of his head and went back to the city numerous times.  He never got to meet the gang members he saw in the magazine, but he was led to have a city wide crusade for teens.  For four straight nights Wilkerson preached to a small amount of gang members with little or no success.  As he was driving home totally depressed from the lack of success of his efforts, a gang member who he had befriended said to him, “you are trying too hard.”  That little message from a gang member who knew nothing about God made Wilkerson laugh.  He realized that he was trying instead of leaving it to God.  That was the turning point as the next night when Wilkerson turned the whole effort over to God the big breakthrough occurred!  In the middle of his sermon with the gangs in their usual mockery mode Wilkerson bowed his head.  “Lord”, he said, “I’ve done all I can do, if any good is going to come out of this meeting it will have to be from your power.”  While he had his head bowed the room slowly became quiet.  Now Wilkerson could feel the presence of the spirit!  “He’s here”, he said “and he’s here to change your life today.”  When he gave the invitation many of the gang members actually ran up to the altar to have their lives changed.  All of this started when Wilkerson took the advice of a homeless gang member who knew nothing about God.  He realized that he was trying too hard and stepped out of the way so God could take over!

Sometimes I have to laugh when a person with high tech knowledge talks to me about what is wrong with my computer or what they did to fix it.  When they leave my head is spinning and I’m thinking “What did he just say?”  Usually it’s the case of don’t explain how electricity works to me, just show me where the light switch or where to plug it in.  The same can be said about God.  We don’t have to know how he works, we just need to know that he does!  We cannot supply the power, but if we plug in to his power he can do great things through us!  Thinking back on it I wasn’t entirely right in what I said to those teen basketball players that day.  I said “I can’t do anything.”  Actually there is something I can do.  Like Koufax and Wilkerson I can quit trying so hard.  I can plug myself into God’s power outlet and let him use me.

The Furnace

by Lewis Hamilton
from the book “The Gardener and My Garden” c1997

The repairman was called to fix the flaw,
our house was getting cold
We blamed the man who sold it,
my best furnace, we were told

This furnace, that’s the problem,
our heat it won’t provide
He described how efficient it should be
I think your salesman lied

There’s power her that’s missing,
it isn’t worth its salt
Our house is getting colder
and it’s all your salesman’s fault

We’ll send somebody over,
you can bet it won’t be long
We’ll have your house all nice and warm
I can’t imagine what went wrong

The repairman came by quickly
with all his many tools
He had a list of what goes wrong
and all the fix-it rules

He finally found the problem,
It’s this switch he firmly said
It should be on all of the time,
it’s been turned off instead

Oh yes, on one hot summer day
I did the mentioned deed
I turned the switch from on to off,
the heat we didn’t need

We wonder where the power is
in our Christian walk, I’ve learned
We don’t see any miracles
because the power switch is turned

The power is there, waiting
if we call on him today
He’ll turn our switch from off to on
and keep it there to stay!

“But you will receive power when
the Holy Spirit comes on you;
and you will be my witnesses in
Jerusalem, and in all Judea and
Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Acts 1:8

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