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The Enemy US

Greetings:

 

            The phrase, “I have met the enemy and he is us,” first appeared in Pogo comic strips in the 1950’s. Since then, it has been used to describe many situations humans sometimes find themselves in. We are, in many times our own worst enemy when it comes to conducting our lives. We seem to self-destruct making decisions contrary to our own good interest.

            The Church of God is no different; it’s not immune to human failings unfortunately, mainly because its composed totally by humankind.  We find the enemy behind every podium, sermon, or offhanded remark. The enemy is recognizable by slight nuances barley detectible by the outside world. Things like: hair length, dress, makeup, and jewelry makeup the physical characteristics, but it’s the little differences in our beliefs that make us ugly or stupid to one-another.

            We can’t have someone in our congregations who say Yahweh instead of Jesus, nor can we have someone who thinks it’s not okay to say amen after a prayer. We must be clones of one-another in order to understand each other and be comfortable. The enemy within our walls is ignorant and stupid and can’t have different views; they cannot be unique. If they are different they must attend somewhere where people think like them. They have their subtle differences and we have ours, and we are right and they are WRONG!

            We have met the enemy, and it has been us for a longtime. Isn’t it time to stop this looking under every chair to find a cause to rally our troops around, building armies to fight one-another? Isn’t it our job to spread the Gospel to the world, not blast away on social media about bothers we don’t like or agree with? In fact, don’t we weaken the church by our abusive words and actions?

            How will Christ respond to all of this? Will he see an enemy when he looks at us? Will Christ meet the enemy, and only then, we find ourselves on the wrong side of the battlefield. Will our resolve to be the right be greater than Christ resolve for us to be one church? Maybe it’s time we sat back and take a long look in the mirror, and see if it’s a friend or foe looking back.

 

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Endeavors

Greetings:

 

            When Fiorello La Guardia was mayor of New York City (1933-1945), he hung above his desk in City Hall a pronouncement by Abraham Lincoln. Interestingly, General MacArthur had a copy of it hanging over his headquarters desk during World War II, and Winston Churchill had a framed copy of it on the walls of his study at Chartwell:

            If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how-the very best I can, and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what is said against me won’t amount to anything, If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.

            We sometimes forget this life is temporal and what standards we set for ourselves is the standards we are judged by. If we give the best we have and fail, we know within our hearts we did our best. If we don’t do our best and fail, we know in our hearts we were lagging. If we don’t give our best and yet succeed, are we satisfied with our honors?

            Looking at the words that sat above these great men’s desk, hung upon their walls, which gave them daily inspiration in times of great trials; tells us all, they lived by conviction. Their decisions affected the lives of millions in time of War and conflict, in times of turmoil and disorder. Yet, they stay the course, and continued the fight, determined to the bitter end. They were less concerned about what folks said behind their backs, than the outcome of their endeavors.

            You might be thinking we’re not in a grand battle for the sake of humanity, so all this really doesn’t matter. You couldn’t be more wrong if that’s what you’re thinking. God’s people are in a battle with the spiritual realm each and every day. You are the men and women on the front lines of the War to end all Wars. Each decision we make affects the lives of perhaps millions and just as the masses were mostly unseen by the leaders of great conflicts, they’re unseen to us today but it doesn’t change the fact.

            Scripture tells us to put on our big-boy pants and drop our phony façade of religion and get real with Christ. Time is short, the battle is here, it’s time we become the true leaders we were selected to be. If we’re wrong, ten angels saying we were right, won’t amount to anything, but If we stand behind Christ, we can’t go wrong.

 

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Bored

Greetings:

 

            Growing up in Texas in the 50’s and 60’s, we had plenty to do, I was rarely bored. From the time I was five years old until I left home, there were chores I had to do every day. If the work was done and I didn’t have something to do, mom would find something to occupy my time. So, I learned at an early age to avoid getting in my mothers way. As children we spent little time in the house, we were outside if it wasn’t raining, that was standard operating procedure. But that wasn’t punishment, I loved being outside. There was always plenty to explore and do on a farm as a young boy.

            There was little time to get into too much trouble, but I managed to squeeze it into my daily schedule. My misbehaving was met with quick justice and little sympathy. There were no appeals and no higher authority to stop the sure retribution coming my way.

As it was with most kids in those days, I was a multiple offender in children offences. The charges ranged from: hitting, scratching, lying, breaking things, not doing chores, including a whole list of other infractions. But in contrast to the offenses children are committing today, mine were minor.

            It seems being bored today is a whole lot different than it was in my youth. This week, three young men who claimed they were bored, decided to occupy their time by shooting a total stranger. By all accounts, there is little remorse within the three by their actions. Because of their boredom, a young man will never go home again. A young mans family will never spend another minute laughing, crying, celebrating, or enjoying one more minute with their loved one.

            The media has been at a frenzy trying to rationalize the actions of these young men, but are left with no-good explanation. Blame is being spread like peanut butter covering any and all reasoning’s in order to quail outrage. Some are trying to point the finger at cultural upbringings, but injustices can’t be undone by injustice. We, as a society can’t seem to derail our thinking when it comes to these societal issues; it seems we have few solutions.

            It’s no more complicated than the fact; we’ve taken any kind of religious structure away from the home of millions of young children. It’s been replaced with gangster rap, gangs, and an outlaw mentality. When young people get bored today, because of societal influences, they may commit murder, theft, and violence. When will this attitude change? When we have God back in the whole society, and sadly, that won’t happen until Christ returns.

 

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Christ · Hope · Imperfect World · Love · Uncategorized

Imagine

Greetings:

 

            In 1971 John Lennon, formerly of the band called The Beatles, wrote and preformed the memorable song, Imagine. It became a number one hit selling millions of copies around the world in just a few short months. It also has become one of the 100 most preformed songs of the 20th century.

            In the song, Lennon asks the listener to imagine a world without war, without borders in countries, and without prejudice of the color of mans skin. In the song is a plea for consideration of a utopia socialistic society unfettered by materialistic possessions. Lennon envisioned a world without hunger, where murder was non-existent along with mans greed. He claimed in the song he was a dreamer, seeing in his dreams the perfect physical world.

            We are asked to imagine a world without religion, unchained by religions dogma. “Imagine there is no heaven or hell” the lyrics cry. In addition, the lyrics say, “Imagine all the people just living for the day.”  What kind of world is it, when there is no hope for tomorrow or a life beyond our physical existence? Our days as man are all but whispers of time, and our lives brief at best. If we live for the hope of eternity, we will live honorably for the day.

            I would also like for you to imagine, a world without crime, a world where you don’t need keys. Imagine a world without hunger, food for anyone willing to work for it, and supplied to those who can’t help themselves. Imagine a home for everyone, a roof over the head of the most innocent, built by the hands of neighbors, family, and friends. Imagine all nations without borders, dictators, or government corruption, where leaders are servants instead of tyrants. Imagine a world without disease, cancers, and the horrible physical death we someday suffer.

            Imagine no religion, as we know it, but imagine there is a God. Imagine knowing all the mysteries of his kingdom, an universe built purely on love.  Imagine a safe place for man, women and children, inspiring imaginations to come true. Imagine the world we dream of, we’re seeking to become real. That dream is a promise made by Christ, and will become real one-day in the not so distant future, when the real Christ returns.

 

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Knowing Everything

Greetings:

 

In a construction company there was a foreman who always worked hard and was very conscientious, but he never received a promotion. A younger employee noticed this apparent breach of justice after working under the man for several years. He bravely asked his foreman why management treated him so unfairly in the area of advancement. The wiser and more mature foreman explained, “Many years ago I had an argument with my supervisor . . . and I won.” Winning an argument can have very grave consequences.

We all like to be right when we say something or give advice to co-workers or friends. We like to impress others with our intelligence in subject’s we’re familiar with. It makes us feel accomplished and gives us small sense of importance.

Trivia has become a huge market in the game industry because folks need to have answers to the most insignificant facts no one else has. As a culture, we spend billions of dollars every year on ways to heightened our capacities to come up with the most impressive answers at just the right moments at parties, work, or social events. We as a society are full to gills as they say, with useless facts that garner us nothing but a sense of pride.

We do this at the expense of our friendships and working relationships, because many friend and co-workers become annoyed by our seemingly know-it-all attitudes. There are only so many useless facts others are willing to put up with. We can gain a reputation of being a know-it-all and acquire the persona of someone having the black plague. No one wants to come near you in fear of being bombarded by menial facts about the mating habits of frogs.

What if all those folks who like to have it right when it comes to everyday events, or trivial facts, would put that type of energy into learning about Christ? Wouldn’t it be a wonderful blessing to have all these folks walking around teaching bible trivia to co-workers and friends?

The only problem I can imagine is; the same problems we’ve had for thousands of years. These men or women would give their interpretation of facts instead of the actual teachings of scripture. They would tell us what they thought the scriptures meant instead of what they actually say. Folks, who like to be right all the time would tell us to pay no attention to what we see or read, just listen to them.

But wait…. we already have that situation in today’s Christian world. We already have that same class of folks. They like winning the arguments with made-up facts, they enjoy being the great debaters on the side of tradition, but it makes you wonder. Like the fellow who won the argument over his boss, is it really worth trying to win, when it comes to the one who wrote the bible?

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Sing

Greetings:

A man once complained to the minister following church, “I don’t like the hymns you chose today.” “That’s okay,” came the reply. “We weren’t singing them to you.”
Singing seems to always bring out the best in most folks, even if they aren’t doing the actual singing. A song brings joy to the heart and a smile to the face. We sing in the shower, driving down the road, and in the privacy of our homes. Marilyn Penland once said, “Sing out loud in the car even, or especially, if it embarrasses your children.”
She makes the point singing is fun when it’s spontaneous and impulsive, and at the cost of embarrassing those around us.
As humans, we sing because it’s built into our spiritual DNA, and its one joy that makes us happy costing nothing but a little pride. Bad voice, good voice, no matter, we sound good to ourselves. The more private surroundings, the louder and the more vocal many of us become.
It’s said, “God loves a joyful noise.” In many instances, one might make the case, it’s just that, noise. God loves our attempts to sing, especially when it’s to him. It’s also said, the universe is designed in tune to musical harmonics. If that is true, God surly does love beautiful music. The angels sang at the creation of the universe, they sing around the throne of God at his glory and magnificence. We are told to sing to one another with joy in our hearts and the lord in our thoughts; we worship God through these actions. We may not carry the best tunes, we may sound like two pieces of rusty metal grinding together, but we make the most wonderful music in God’s ears. Honor God next time your in your shower, in your car, or by yourself, sing loudly and unabashedly, but sing, it will make you smile.

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Light or Dark

Greetings:

 

            I stepped out on my porch this morning enjoying the early morning air; I noticed the sun isn’t rising as early as it had been. It’s a sure sign summer is drawing to a close bit by bit. Reminders are all around us in nature and many other ways the days are getting shorter. Even though the heat of the days’ hasn’t subsided, you can sense a change is on the horizon. Many children will begin school this coming week, others will follow suite the following weeks ahead, and a sure sign fall is closing in fast.

            I was also reminded of a conversation I had with a man who said God wasn’t in darkness, he was only the God of light; therefore, we only have twelve hour days. I began to ask myself question on this hypothesis; If God is only God of light, is he watching over us when we sleep? What about children getting on or off school buses in the dead of winter; can god protect them or does he have to wait for the light of day?

            Does God exist only on one side of the world and never ventures to the opposite side if it is dark? Can darkness truly be an enemy of mankind full of demons, ghost and goblins, a place where evil lives? Is darkness something we should fear and protect ourselves from its dangers because god can’t help?

            We can see where Christ created the day and the night; darkness is an iatrical part of a day. Without darkness we can’t decipher when a day begins or ends. We couldn’t count the days bringing us to the Sabbath each week. We wouldn’t be able to count the months or the years. And, we wouldn’t know who our savior truly was, because Christ said he would be in the grave for three days and three nights. It would be the only sign he would give as to his identity.

            If God is only in the light, the days becoming shorter must mean, God is with us less and less each day, but we know that isn’t true. Christ is the creator of the Universe, there’s nowhere he can’t be. He was even in the outermost darkness for three nights and rose into the light of life as a promise to us. Christ is with us always, light or dark, he is our savior.

            Join us for Sabbath services at 10:30AM or 1PM at http://www.hgwaco.com