Archive for the 'community' Category

Blind Dates

Nobody likes blind dates….Nobody!!! What if he picks his nose, or wears his pants up to his chin? What if he takes one look at you, and ducks out the back door?  So you’re not Keira Knightly…but he’s not Orlando Bloom either. Or even worse–what if you sit down at the table, and make awkward conversation over cold pizza all evening. The sweetness of intimacy only happens when you make the effort to invest your life in loving someone else. You go through stage one-asking questions. What do you do for fun? How many brothers and sisters do you have? Do you have a pet? What do you want to do in your spare time? then stage two arrives. You can sit in the same room and talk about shared experiences–the dinner you had last week-the ball game you watched together. At stage three, you even can perceive what the other person is thinking and anticipate their response. You know which TV shows they watch. You know whether they want Doritos or Potato Chips. You know when to talk and when to be quiet. In Hosea 6:3 the prophet Hosea writes:”Let us acknowledge (know) the Lord, let us press on to acknowledge (know) Him. As sure as the sun rises-He will appear; He will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that cover the earth.

How do you really get to know someone?

  1. You spend time with them.
  2. You listen and learn their wishes, their preferences, you enter their world.
  3. You have shared experiences-easy (good) and hard (difficult.)
  4. You work toward a common goal.

Exodus 33:11-The Lord would speak to Moses face to face as a man speaks with His friend. Moses spent time dialoguing with God, sharing in His plans. He actually saw God’s glory while he was still alive on the earth. He received ten commandments on the mountain. He grieved with God when Israel worshipped the golden calf. He was disciplined when he struck the rock at Meribah. God buried Moses himself.

What are some practical ways we can know Him?

  1. Set aside time each day to spend with Him.
  2. Journal and listen to Him speak through His word.
  3. Pray through scripture.
  4. Obey His voice-follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

Listen to the people who listen to God.

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Oprah puts her money where her mouth is…

Well, Santa looked cheap this year. Sure, he hit Walmart and finished his naughty and nice list. But Santa gave the goods to the little pipsqueaks who had been nagging him for weeks. Another Wii, another radio-control model airplane…all for kiddies who often would be bored of their new stash about two hours after the wrapping paper was picked up. But Oprah saw some little South African girls who asked for nothing. One hundred and fifty-two impoverished preteens who had suffered illness, rape and heartache received a chance for an education and a better life. Now that’s what I call class! Of course, it’s not Oprah’s first philanthropic gesture. She built a six-million dollar Boys and Girls club in Mississippi, twelve million dollars in scholarships, eighty homes for Katrina victims, and 1.25 million for Afghan orphans. And of course there were the free cars for the unsuspecting audience members on her show…..Two thousand years ago, a man gave a gift to a heartbroken, lonely woman standing beside a well in the middle of the day. Jesus engaged her in conversation. No one ever approached her. She was poor, rejected and despised. She was a Samaritan half-breed, just about as esteemed as the little South African girls Oprah befriended. Jesus asked her for a drink of water. His request blew her away. Jews don’t talk to Samaritans…especially women of ill-repute.

“How can you ask me for a drink?” Jesus answered her, ” If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and He would have given you living water. Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”: John 4:7-14. You see, everyone needs hope for a better life. Oprah may not be around to provide it for you, but Jesus promised to never leave or forsake you. He scratches the itch to live a satisfied, fulfilled life here and now, and a home in heaven forever. But make no mistake, this gift to us was costly. He suffered an agonizing death on a cross, and He did it for you and me. The water of life He promises will fill us with joy and peace. We don’t earn it-He lavishly gives it to us for free!

Paws and Reflect

Why do dogs have paws? Don’t their feet get chilly? What about stickers, hot concrete, dog poo, and mud? Why not wear doggie booties, platforms, pumps, or loafers? (Although I know a few dog owners who subject their reluctant canines to such footwear…) The dogs seem annoyed with the whole clothing thing. But paws protect our furry friends. For some reason, God designed Doggie pawpads to be tough and durable. We live in Cactusville, so they have to learn to step lightly…Although this is a really bad pun, pawsing to reflect on our lives also protects us. As we begin a new year, it might be nice to spend some time quietly asking ourselves a few questions.

How much do we enjoy our own yard, or how often do we spend our time longing for the green grass of a neighbor’s? How quickly are we ready to throw poo at the other doggies in the neighborhood? Do we scratch and bite, or do we cuddle and paw? Do we ever take time for a nap on the porch, just watching the clouds go by? And finally, do we love and follow our Master, or do we tug at the leash? A great Bible verse says “Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and your neighbor as yourself.” That’s great advice for puppies and people. It’s the “paws that refreshes!”

Honeymoon’s Last Resort!

As females, we must often train the males of the species in basic relational skills. For example, the hubby thinks to himself-“I need to say something about her trip to the beauty shop” so he yells, “Hey Babe, what’s up with your hair?” Another really wise male maneuver is to never ever answer your wife’s question-“Does this make me look fat?” I met a pastor-husband last week who gave his wife a bathroom scale and a set of hand weights for her birthday. I am almost sure he had a death wish. Even traffic safety signs are written with some decorum-“Please drive slowly, we love our children.” Not, “Gun it, we’ll make more!” If God had given King Solomon more wisdom than anyone on earth, he would have certainly bestowed some empathy on the dynamic monarch. Solomon never would have survived the estrogen onslaught of his bloated harem without a touch of savoir-faire. And here’s a little secret–You don’t have to be a MENSA member to have successful people-skills. In fact the opposite can be true. If you look at the left brain human capacity for engineering, math and science, you will find that those individuals (most of them male) have less relational skills than right-brained people. The abstract-random creative, touchy-feely right brainers can’t find their way out of a parking lot, but they can read the body language of a friend in distress. If you are very, very high on the left-brained end of the spectrum, you may have autism or asberger’s syndrome. These people cannot read the emotions of those around them. In fact, successful long-term relationships are almost impossible. But these guys are the ones you want to balance your checkbook and fix your computer. The right-brainers can sniff out hurt, pain and fear a mile away, but please don’t ask them to carry a watch or work a Blackberry.

Solomon, in his fatherly moments, had a great deal to say about relating to others with sensitivity and kindness. His wisdom would serve us well in our everyday lives with our families, our friends and our neighbors. Let’s start where the rubber meets the road-honesty. Proverbs 27:6-“Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” Proverbs 26:23-26 “Like a coating of glaze over earthenware are fervent lips with an evil heart. A malicious man disguises himself with his lips, but in his heart he harbors deceit. Though his speech is charming, do not believe him, for seven abominations fill his heart.” Sine cera is a stamp that appeared on Middle Eastern pottery in Bible times. If a pot was cracked some shady merchants would fill the cracks with wax. The pots looked spiffy on the outside, but they fell to pieces when grandma started cooking her favorite matzo bread. A pot that was all one piece was given a badge of honor that read “without wax.” Sincerity is a powerful part of a successful relationship. What you see is what you get.

 

Otis Lee

Bronwyn Lea, our youngest daughter, had three treasured possessions in her young life: the first was the “animal blankie”-a multi-colored mini-quilt pock-marked with farm animals and handed down from her older sister, Brianna. One tear-filled afternoon, we jumped in the car, peeled out and frantically drove to El Paso’s Motel 6 to retrieve it.The second treasured possession was a blue taffeta dress with a built-in jingle bell petticoat. It never left her sweaty body between the ages of three and four without a fist fight. The third, and by far the greatest, was a bald Cabbage Patch doll named Otis Lee. Otis appeared as the trophy toy from her three-year-old Christmas bounty. None of the other gifts mattered. It was Otis that stole her heart. Otis had a hard life. Besides the smelly task of living under Bronwyn’s armpit day and night, Otis had many brushes with death. Once Becky, our faithful Border Collie, fancied Otis as a chew-toy. Besides dragging the plastic heartthrob through dog-poop, several teeth-marks had actually penetrated Otis’ skull. After major surgery and some duct tape, Otis survived. We’re not sure whether he had brain damage. The worst catastrophe of Otis’ and Bronwyn’s lives came when older sister, Brianna Lynn had finally taken all of the pestering she could stand from her little sister. Being the bright, yet sneaky seven-year-old that she was, she watched the weather channel to find a rainy night in July. After dark, Brie slipped Otis under a very deeply planted rosebush and waited for the mud to bury Otis alive. Brie’s act was ruthless, pre-meditated dolly murder.Much to Brianna’s chagrin, Otis was found. Bronwyn was in hysterics. In desperation, I threw Otis in the washer on perma-press. Although the rubber body parts were slightly deformed, Bronwyn didn’t mind. Otis slept in her bed for years. One day she was forced to give up Otis for another. Otis was exchanged for Richard , the man who captured her heart. Bronwyn loved Otis, but as long as she held onto him, she could never receive the precious treasure she received in her loving husband. Besides that, Richard is washable. We hold onto many things in this life-journey. Most of them are made of plastic. However, if by faith we choose to invite Jesus Christ into our lives and receive His gift of eternal life, we are forever transformed. All the playthings of this earth seem to fade when He captures our hearts. This little devotional guide is for the hungry heart who longs for a lover that will last. We do not carry Him under our arm, as Bronwyn toted Otis. We carry Him in our hearts. And when He draws us with His love, we will never be the same.


RSS Living Proof with Beth Moore

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RSS Precepts for Life with Kay Arthur

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RSS Great Commandment Radio

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Casas Church Sermons

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