Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Cooperation

Roberta Ursrey and her family were looking forward to a fun day at the beach on the Florida coast recently.  Little did they know that the day would nearly end in tragedy. Roberta’s sons had ventured too far from the shore and their screams signaled that they were in trouble.  Ursrey and other family members waded out to try and help them but also got caught in the rip current.  Now nine people were stuck in about 15 feet of water.  But thanks to some other quick-thinking individuals, another rescue plan was initiated.  Dozens of onlookers formed a human chain, stretching out hand-to-hand for the length of a football field, to get close to the distressed family.  When the water got too deep for the human chain, a few strong swimmers covered the remaining distance to tow those in danger back to the people in the chain, who then passed them back to safety.    Later, Roberta Ursrey was quoted as saying, “I am so grateful...These people were God’s angels that were in the right place at the right time. I owe my life and my family’s life to them. Without them, we wouldn’t be here” (http://www.newsherald.com/news/20170710/human-chain-saves-family- from-drowning).
          In a time when the news cycle is dominated by so much negativity, it’s refreshing to encounter a story like this.  Beyond the obvious blessing of the rescue of this family, I see a couple of lessons to be learned.  First, there were people on the beach that day who were willing to get involved rather than stand back and wait for someone else to do something. Second, it took cooperation to make it work.  No one person or handful of people were going to be successful.  Everyone had to join hands and work together to get the job done.
          Hopefully, the application to work in the kingdom of God is readily apparent.  When each one of us makes it a priority to get involved and when all of us join hands to work together, great things can happen.

God loves you!
Mike


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Bad Days

“We do not go through tough times simply because life is rough.  No, because these have powerful significance.  We must not waste a bad day.  What we do is turn that which attempts to shut us down on its head.  We win it into productive submission.  We use it--the hurt, the pain--to help others; just as did Jesus as he perpetually helps us.  And why?  Because all around us are awesome people who've just about had it with injury and obstacle. Even those who behave with intent of hurting us will only serve to strengthen us because we will learn how the others in our circles feel.  It is here that we will be of useful purpose.  Jesus teaches us how to make a difference....just like he did.  This is called ministry. We must not waste a bad day.  Jesus didn't.  He used the agony of the Cross and the numbing death of the Grave to wow the world!” (terryrush.blogspot.com).
I’m guessing that most of us view bad days as a waste of time.  But the Bible teaches that even bad days shouldn’t be wasted.  Bad days can strengthen our faith. “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:2-4). Bad days equip us to minister to others. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). Bad days remind us that this world is not our home. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18).
Be thankful for bad days!

God loves you!
Mike

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

PERSONAL FAVORITISM

           "In a stately church a noticeably untidy man visited the church for the first time. He was met by one of the smartly-dressed ushers who immediately ushered him to a back pew so that his unkempt appearance and foul odor would not upset the decorum of the church.
“Another first time visitor stood in the foyer. He was neatly groomed and made a striking appearance in his dark pinstripe suit. One of the ushers strode proudly down the aisle with him and seated him in the front of the church. Following the service, the president or the congregation invited the man to dinner at his home.
“As they were seated around the table, the food was passed. The visitor helped himself to the delicious looking potatoes placing them on his plate. But then he did a strange thing, he scooped the potatoes into his suit coat pocket. The family watched as he proceeded to do the same with the carrots and the meat. Unable to keep silent any longer the father asked, "Why are you pouring the food into your coat pocket?" The visitor smiled and answered politely, "Judging from where you seated the visitor who came in before me I gather that you invited my suit to lunch so I’m feeding it" (sermoncentral.com).
This story illustrates what James was trying to say in his letter to believers in the New Testament. “My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, "You sit here in a good place," and you say to the poor man, "You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool," have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives?” (James 2:1-4).
Remember -- it is a sin to show this kind of partiality (James 2:9).

God loves you!
Mike