Saturday, July 25, 2009

Bugs in Abundance

I'm riding down the highway on my motorcycle and noticed the amazing number of bugs there are. I mean, there are many more than I EVER noticed before! Bugs in my headlights, bugs hitting me in the face....bugs everywhere. I had to drive slowly to prevent them from literally coating my glasses. Then a car passed me.

It was then I thought about how many bugs that car, whose front end was much wider than mine, was taking out. You would think one big car, at a very high speed would pretty much clean out the majority of the bugs on the highway. I looked ahead of the car in front of me and there was a line of cars in front of that car. I began to wonder how many bugs each car and truck for miles ahead of me was catching. Then one has to be reminded there are about 24,000 cars a day that drive this highway. Suppose 24,000 cars a day wipe out 2000 bugs each. Now multiply that times the three summer months or approx 45 days of bug production.

I don't know about you, but my calculator starts blinking when considering bug numbers that big. Suffice it to say there are a lot of bugs out there and they must have an amazing source to keep replenished a rate necessary to overcome the constant wipeout of their relatives along the highway.

Sometimes I think of the struggles of life in terms of these pesky bugs. No matter how many trials a person overcomes, there are always a few thousand more waiting to smack you in the nose, and blur ones vision. We have no choice but to press on, to keep moving ahead. There will always be bills to pay, set-backs to overcome, temptations to endure, tears and disappointments, struggles and the list is as endless as the insects splattered on the windshield. Although we can't stop the bugs, we have the assurance that none of them will be able to knock us off the road.

God is with us and that is a comfort. When we get to the end of the journey, He will wipe all the 'bug juice' from our windsheild and there shall be no more tears.

Keep the hammer down!


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Amazing Grace

The title may incline you to think I'm about to blog about the most popular Christian hymn of all time. While I love the song, I want to write about this theme as it pertains to you and me.

Grace is the bridge that spans the gulf between our inadequacy and the demands of a righteous and holy God. With our best efforts, religion, worship, lifestyles...we fall dreadfully short of really pleasing God. So it is grace, that grace of the amazing variety, that presents us faultless before God.

I will be first to admit there are many who think they can 'use' grace so that they can willfully live in sin. This is so unfortunate as these people both, sell themselves short, and they fail to please God. Pleasing God is threefold. 1. Do your very best to live above any reproach at all. Strive for perfection. Treat people right. Keep your heart free of bitterness, unforgiveness, lust. Pray and seek the Lord. Study His Word. These are the things we must do. 2. Realize that our best is insufficient. 'Our' righteousness is as filthy rags! The very best you can produce in your own human efforts is so weak in light of the Holiness of God. 3. Depend upon the Grace that has been provided. Like a cripple leans on a crutch for support, we lean hard on the grace given us through the cross of Calvary! It requires faith to do this. Faith accesses all that Jesus has provided for us with His sacrifice. Therefore we are saved by grace through faith!

I'm so glad that Amazing Grace is more than a song. It is an actuality in my own life. Grace is the safety net that caught my falling soul and it is so much more than a hymn.

Tell me what you think of the Grace you have found.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Strength for the Day

As a boy I used to 'sleep in' on summer days and on the weekends during the school year. It was no problem to keep sawing logs until at least 10:00 am. Even now I marvel at how my children can hang with the covers until the morning is gone. However, it is not the same for me anymore.

Perhaps it has something to do with getting older, but I find it very difficult to 'sleep in'. I just can't do it anymore. My back hurts and I get to tossing and turning so I may as well drag my hide out of the sack. What really prevents the extra snooze is when my mind kicks into gear. If I start's all over!

There is plenty to think about too. In fact sometimes I get overwhelmed before I get out from under the blanket. My mind goes to situations in the personal lives of people to whom I am trying to minister. I think of the pain that many are in...people sitting in hospitals with loved ones, friends who are sleepless b/c of some bad news they may have received, decisions that some are making concerning their career, their marriage or both. These weigh heavily on my mind and drive sleep far away.

Then I think of all that I need to do that day. There are always chores around the place that are prevelant. Horses need to be wormed, the garden needs to be tilled, the grass needs to be cut, there are bag worms in the evergreen, one of the cars won't start, the switch went out on the dryer, etc. So in my mind, while laying there trying to force myself to rest, I am mowing, tilling, and twisting wrenches in my mind. Good thing thinking doesn't make noise or my poor wife would never rest either.

The church and its present position is perhaps the thing that is at the fore of my thinking early in the morning. There is forever an issue to deal with, a bill that needs to be paid, a worry about a parishoner that hasn't been at church for weeks, etc, etc. I hope and pray for successful sermons, for our departments to jell and to continue growing, for people to mature and take responsibility for 'their' church and not leave it to the dedicated few. So the wheels of grey matter turn over and over until my body follows suit...and my feet hit the floor.

Just this morning I lay there thinking...."I could sleep in a few minutes today." Then I began to think of all that would be done before I leave for a trip this evening. I would finish yard work, till the garden, make a list for the church, decide who would be in charge of what, pack a suitcase, prepare a funeral sermon, check in via telephone with about 10 people, be certain all the animals were cared for during my absence, be sure everything is in place at the church, preach a sermon and then drive eleven hours. So....soon the sleeping in was out voted by the 'to do ' list.

One other thing I think we all should remember while preparing for the day is to talk to the One who knows it all and sees it all before it even begins. We should pray for strength for this day. As Jesus taught us, "Give us this day our daily bread." Today will take care of itself if I will take care of me. I do that by asking Almighty God to be my source of strength and He is always ready to help me. When I lay my head down tonight in Alabama, my chores of the day complete, it will be by the loving strength of God that I made it.

Take a moment and ask for a little strength for yourself.

P.S. And....I need to update this blog too. :)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Simply Put...The Bible Saves

I attended a funeral this week. Since I work at a funeral home part time, I attend and assist at many funerals. This funeral was really cool and I'd like to share it with you.

The service was for a World War 2 Veteran. These men have a special place in my heart b/c my grandfather served during that time and they truly carved out a niche in world history by standing against Hitler's evil military machine. The gentleman who had passed away was decorated with three bronze stars and a purple heart for being wounded. In his array of medals on display was a small bible. On the Bible was a piece of tape with these words written in the handwriting of the deceased man, "Saved by the Bible."

These words had dual meaning. Of course we all know the truths of the Bible, God's Word, proclaim clearly the way of salvation. The gentleman had evidently followed this Spiritual journey during his life. But there was more to the little Bible on display. This Bible had a metal cover. Once during the war....I think it was 1946, this man was caught in fire of a German machine gunner on the side of a hill. Men were being hit and finally took cover on the ground. At that moment an artillery round landed nearby and drove this man, Virgil is his name, to his knees. The shrapnel from the shell had struck him in the chest. The cover of the Bible had deflected the metal which otherwise would have killed him. The metal cut Virgil around the collar bone. He crawled to an old shed, laying there until he could be tended to by the medics.

Stories like these are many on the battle front. In this case, the Bible was indeed a most critical book. It literally saved his life.

You know what? The Bible has saved me many times. I have looked to it for direction, instruction, passion and understanding. It has saved me too, only in a different way than the man we buried this past week. Keep your Bible is a life saver.


Pastor Tim