Thursday, December 30, 2010
Sunday, October 31, 2010
"Ready For Every Good Work" 2 Timothy 2:21
This fall we tore out the carpet of our Living room. Not only was it worn, but we had never used a rental cleaning machine on it during the last 2 yrs that we have lived here. All the 100+ times we vacuumed over the warm brown fuzz were not enough. I knew that this was not the best living condition for us, or any of our grandchildren to be playing on. We knew that down under the surface there was some things that not even a steam cleaning would take out. Under the carpet was a foam pad. Under the pad was a few layers of dirt. After we set all the furniture out in the front yard and rolled up the first 2 layers and swept all the dirt up, a once beautiful linoleum was revealed. We took up 3 layers of different patterns of this vinyl flooring with 1950's newspapers being the final barrier above the worn, torn, and diesel stained red fir floor. For 20 some years the original owners probably lived on the medium to poor quality, untreated wood floor with hopes of having a "new look some day." Layer after layer were installed to keep the "new look". Now we were going back to the "rustic look" and it took hours and hours of sanding to get this floor ready for normal use. Gideon did most of the work. I researched the products, rented the tools and helped with the corners and the edges. It was worth all the cleaning and elbow grease we put into an area of our house that is ready for good use.
Paul used a similar analogy of the floor removal that I just described. He described the various vessels that a great house would have in it. Some of clay, some of wood. Others of gold or silver. Some of these need to be need to cleansed out, if we are going to be useful to our Master, Jesus.
2Timothy 2:21 ESV says, "Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work."
As a follower of Jesus I have a choice to cleanse out of my life the sins and iniquities that he has called me to depart from. If I want to be useful to him, and ready for every good work this is a necessary exercise. Confession is a good start. Daily choices, and habit changes have to happen or change is not really change. Change of mind that brings about a change of action is what it means to repent.
"We sow our thoughts and reap our actions. We sow our actions and reap our habits. We sow our habits and reap our character. We sow our character, and we reap our destiny."
As a follower of Jesus, I have a responsibility to not take our Gods name in vain. To me this means that if I am going to call myself a Christian, and profess to know God, I am commanded not to deny him in my conduct. I always used to think of this command relating to swearing curse words that included one of Gods' names. The application that I just shared with you may be obscure, but a true moral principle. Don't do any thing in Jesus name that does not honor and glorify him. Don't let it be for nothing. Don't run the race 3/4 of the way and quit. These are the some of the things that I am hearing. "Pursue peace with all men" but also holiness or I won't see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14
How do we find a proper balance for this as we live out our faith? Over a decade ago I marched our whole family out of the middle of a worship service. The church we were visiting was playing the music a little louder than I liked it. What we were accustomed to in our "home birth, home school, home church" environment was hymns and Maranatha scripture songs. I felt not only compromised myself listening to these secular style love songs to Jesus, but I sensed that I needed to lead my family away from its exposure. Another time I was in a service at a church camp where a group of young adults were trying to share a few special songs. The sound equipment kept cutting out. I gave a loud cry, "God doesn't want this rock music in his house!" Then I stormed out. While attending a similar outdoor meeting with the same church group, a singer who is now a nationally known music artist, came with a visiting youth group. The artist who was at that time barely a teenager, stood up to share his talent in the rough. His special was a hip-hop style played with a custom made stringed instrument. The lyrics were rhyming rap lines. That time I did not round up all my young adult children from their various seats in the crowd. Right in the middle of song, I marched out, and left the service. I did not give ear to the lyrics, because of the music style, and the location of the situation. If it would have been on the street or in a home I would have had more tolerance for the music talent trying to be shared. I would have had more patience to hear out the faith of this young man. My preconception of "how it should be" in an organized church service, or what kind of worship our Father desires was very narrow.
Over the centuries the church as whole has seen a lot of changes. Eventually I experienced enough change in myself that my judgments and reactions have changed in relation to the way things are done or the way that other people are. Especially when it comes to worship.
I've changed. For those who know me now, its obvious when one hears what music I play myself or what you would find us listening to in our house. What happened? When did this change occur or where did it start? I have to ask myself that question as I write this article. I am sorry to leaving you hanging, but I am going to leave off writing this and call this part "A" and follow up this with a sequel. The answers to questions above will be explained in detail and testimony the next time I get share another "Soul Food" article.
The bottom line answer needs to shared now, in case I don't live to type in all the that I have scratched on my notes for this subject. What happened was I faced the fact that I failed miserably to win the hearts of my young adult children. I may have been winning some battles, but I was definitely loosing the war. The enemy was my own flesh, not a style of music. The tempter had trapped me into condemning myself in the way that i was judging. The vessel that I was being, did not point them to Christ, or attract these precious ones that I love the most to be connected with his love. It might have been my private faith, obedience, or heart felt love for God at the time. But it did not bear good fruit in the end. God declares that he can work it all together for good, and I believe that there are ways that he is redeeming what I have ruined in my own life.
The few "righteous" acts that I testified about above...along with a dozen other incidents that occurred in Mexico, Southern Oregon, and a few other places in between; may have been some good conservative food ( see John 4:34 ) but it was served on wood, hay, and stubble platters ( 2 Timothy 2:20 and 1 Cor 3:12-14 ) My heart attitudes of pride, criticism, and desire for selfish comforts of being surrounded by others who were just as like minded as myself were the dis honorable vessels that Paul wrote about.
The good work that I missed out on doing, was the call to be an intercessor for those I was among or in difference of opinion with.
May our Lord Jesus, by the Spirits power, cleanse us and help us to do our part in cleaning out of our own house any thing that dis-honors our Master. We have a great hope. As His property you have a great and noble destiny.
"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10 ESV
There is a bright future of good works to be fulfilled in and through us, despite any past or present circumstances, true? My vision is fixed on the finish line ahead of me. I see 10- 20 years of life ahead. Each day the faithfulness in the small things will matter. Each day, until final day, there will be a work or two that I need to be ready for. Peace to all who read this. Blessings to you, in Jesus our Savior and Lord. G.W.
Friday, October 29, 2010
When I read this letter from Levi, I thought of the many times that I have been feeling growth in my own life, or had steps of faith to take in service and missions. G.W.
PS: By clicking on the top or bottom half of his letter. It will enlarge to make the reading easier.
Thank you. God bless,
There are some things in the air this fall that have really helping me to keep looking up. The fresh smell after a rain. The leaves falling in the sky. the bright colors of the trees, happy humming in the kitchen, and a new puppy. What is going on around me, and what is happening with close friends and family.
Here is a picture of Judah's Buck deer he harvested this month.
There are a few vivid memories that I have over the years, of being out hunting. They always bring me joy. I am so glad to have this one joy shared with me. G.W.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Up out of bed this morning trying just to find out why
There's something wrong here, there can be no denying
One of us is changing
Or maybe we might just stop trying
And it's not too late, baby, no it's not too late
If we really try we can make it
Something inside is going to die
If we really try I know we can keep it alive.
It used to be so easy finding life with you
You were light and breezy and I knew just what to do
Now you look so unhappy and I feel like a fool
And it's not too late, baby, no it's not too late
If we really try I know we can make it
Something inside is going to die
If we keep on trying I know we can make it.
There'll be good times again for you and I
The right thing to do, is to stay together,
I'm glad for what we have and that our love is still alive
And it's not too late, baby, no it's not too late
IF we really try we can make it
Something inside is going to die
If we keep trying I know we can make it.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Five Smooth Stones 1 Samuel 17:40
Have you ever tried on some clothes that don’t fit? It’s not even a question to buy it or keep it if don’t fit. Then you have to like it. The color and the style. Is it you, the look? Saul’s armor may have fit David, but it was not comfortable, like a shoe that would make you sore if you kept it on for an hour or two. That is how our faith in Jesus needs to be, we need to know that it is just right for us, the only way to live, and no other. We cannot inherit it. There are no second generation disciples. We cannot run with the faith of someone else. Each of us is in our own lane on the track of life. Most young adults get to make their own decisions in life. Who we marry, where we live and work, world view and moral values will be big important decisions that will be made whether carefully planned or by omission. David decided to pass on the armor offered to him. What can I offer to my family, other than, “ The Lord be with you, and may it be according to your faith.” ? There are many giants that we face in this life, and most of us have enemies. Here is what David decided to do in his quest to gain a victory for his people:
Then Saul gave David his own armor—a bronze helmet and a coat of mail. 39 David put it on, strapped the sword over it, and took a step or two to see what it was like, for he had never worn such things before.
“I can’t go in these,” he protested to Saul. “I’m not used to them.” So David took them off again. 40 He picked up five smooth stones from a stream and put them into his shepherd’s bag. Then, armed only with his shepherd’s staff and sling, he started across the valley to fight the Philistine.
You may only have time to pick up two or three of these weapons, but if you have a good source, it might be good to grab them on your way in the fight of faith. David passed by a brook on his way to face his enemies, I suggest we do the same. Find the streams of living water and get what you need there. Gods promises are like a sword that attacks doubts, fears, or even our own pride when we need to stay humble. Can you think of a few of his words to you?
Good memories are worth making also. I built a lot with legos when I was a kid, I mean a lot. I tried to build a tree house that never got off the ground, but our boys built a deluxe one with a window in a big oak. It takes work and planning to make a good memory, but they are like the 5 stones David had, good ammo, when one is thinking of others or recalling the past.
Keeping traditions and making good memories is something that I would put more emphasis on if I were able to try the first 28 yrs of parenting over again. Today is fathers day, and we hope to make a memory feeding some ducks. It is going to give us joy to see DT watching them eat some bread we toss them. At 2 yrs old Master Wilke won’t remember this day, only the telling of it, if God allows us to get to the ponds and really do it. Do you remember the times by the camp fire? I don’t remember specific nights, but just the general experience of it in the gypsy camp. The owners coming down to play music or friends coming over to visit around the fire. May be you recall playing a foursquare game or something.
Often times just one phrase that was said to us sticks, and is like a compass that holds true in the experiences of life that lie ahead. Our landlord, who was like an uncle to us all, once said that he had heard of a proverb that he was finding true in his own life. “ You better enjoy the progress, because you may not live to see the results.” He has lived on 15 yrs since he retired and got busy than ever fixing up his place and doing the business ventures of his dreams. He has lived to see his grandkids, even great grand kids, and a lot of enjoyment in the things he has built. But he also found a treasure each day that he started out on. He was completely enjoying each of those things that he was involved in, because he knew there was no guaranty that he would be living 10-20 yrs more to see the longevity of those projects.
Well, I have written very little in my life time, and most of it has been newsletters, but I hope that this is personal, especially to the Wilke’s. Whoever else can read this, I hope you can take time to tell a story or write one paragraph or two that causes them to thank God for someone you know. How many stones would you grab if you were facing Goliath? I would not have the faith to only take one, but that’s all it took for David to bring down a man who was defying the living God. David’s purpose in taking down his enemy is made known in the eternal words that we have in writing: “That the whole world may know that there is a God in Isreal” 1Samuel 17:46
One day Juan Lira and I stood in front of the Tortilla factory in Sarabia. We had a quest, “to know Jesus and make him known”. Handing the owner a tract that day, was like throwing a stone. The battle on that front was a whole lot more complex than passing out one tract. We had Marianne and Clementina in the pickup, and 1500 miles away there were 8 more arrows in the quiver. We needed to find a house, a yard, and everything that it takes to keep a godly family growing and going in a new frontier. My giant was timidity and fear of what that business owner might think of us. Taking down Goliath was not the end of the battle for Sauls army, it was only the beginning of a victory. G.W.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
This cloud was captured in photo on a trip Marianne took to Mexico last July. Isn't it amazing? Without any edits or "doctoring" there is a glow up there. Sometimes life is that way, and we see something supernatural happening, but most often we don't. We can marvel at the ordinary, small details, if we are able to see that it is the Creators' hand of love for us. Its very hard for me to write about the mundane, minutia, every day life. That's about all you would have heard from me during this prior month of silence. Life as not been all work,eat,and sleep, but almost. Do I have to wait till something sensational comes along before I start typing some lines? Well, this time I did. Meanwhile we were enduring lots of cloudy days, and rain, grizzly depressing rain and wind, harsh bitter face biting wind. Also, for the last few weeks I have been working, like 3 jobs, literally. We also started Spanish services at our church, which has added another activity to our busy schedule. I still do really want to keep writing and have reminded myself often for the last month of the purposes that I started this blog. One was to communicate my heart with my adult children. Even the teens in our house, may read this and get something out of it, something of temporal joy, or eternal value, I hope.
What I did take time for the last couple weeks is any chance to stay connected with the 2 girls and the 2 young adult men still living in our home. This included a couple of fishing trips. The first trip was just Levi and me, standing in 35 degree cloudy windy weather catching trout, while trying to keep our fingers from going numb. I would not trade that day for any other I have lived. Despite the elements we caught fish, enjoyed views of the mountains, stayed warm by the fire, and did some target practicing on the way home. The second trip both boys and I caught fish and camped out for the night, making another good memory that will last....and yes, it was a record catch for this particular Wilke clan.
Another purpose of this blog is share thoughts from what I am hearing from above. What if I am not hearing much, just trudging through the pages that I read? In reading through Galatians and Ephesians I did not want to have the "Teachers" view with these timeless truths. It is important to stay in a mode of learning and growing personally. It would not be good to just pull something out of the hat, and magically have food on the plate for this blog. Your not going to hear, " And now presenting, Greg, with the latest greatest twist on the same message" We are called to point to the one who is faithful and true. He is enough, even if I am not hearing much during this season. I will not be disappointed or offended in him when most of my days are gray or blue. I trust in his eternal purposes in every relationship and circumstance HE allows in my life. G.W.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7
As I read the passage above, I thought of how temporal our bodies are, and the various weaknesses we all have. God places his Holy Spirit in us, fallen humans, sons of Adam, with delight.
“See what I can do, in you and through you,” he says. He calls this his treasure, the deposit of the Holy Spirit that guarantees our resurrection from the dead and the eternal life to come. The Scripture declares "that where a mans treasure is, that is where his heart will be also." Our Fathers heart is in us, where he has placed his spirit, that our inward man can be “renewed day by day.” 1 Corinthians 4:16
When we lived in Mount Vernon, Oregon, a mobile home burnt to the ground in our neighborhood. I remember seeing the older couple standing in their yard being thankful just to be alive. They mentioned that they had a fireproof box, full of money, but the heat was to great and it too was lost. They had the greatest thing remaining after the fire, their lives and each other.
What do you treasure? Where do you keep your treasures? I think of a chest, up in an attic, full of treasures. My folks had an attic, and I have a few memories of seeing a bunch of old relics and various things, very unused, like an old violin up there. Marianne has several little jewelry boxes, that are full of pretty rocks, and ornaments, memorabilia and keep sakes. We take these kinds of things out every once in a while and hold them in our hand, appreciating their beauty. Some times we set them on a shelf for display, but often we just put them back away till another rainy day comes along and we re-discover these little treasures again. Some of them are tied to good memories, others are just rare items that you cannot just run down to local “Five and Dime” and replace.
Last week was very long for me. Many occupations were before me. Working for the U.S. Census Bureau, Tree service and construction, then on Saturday our janitorial duties. Thank God for one day of rest each week! I treasure this day of rest that we are given, one in seven is very good for me, and it helps to set aside a day or a time to worship. I also treasure the rest of Hebrews 4, ceasing from my own works for righteousness.
The scripture declares that the “unseen things are eternal” 1 Corinthians 4:18 This is where our attention should be drawn to, each day, as we go through our work and play. Out of this circumstance or relationship, what has lasting value? Do I love? Does this glorify God?
A friend of mine has often testified, “I have peace.” This was his treasure, and joy. He was referring to the right standing that he knew he had with God by faith. Romans 5:1
One of the most valued treasures that some people have is their family. Many are missing this security and love. May we all know our Fathers love for us, and how much he has invested in us. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is working in us! See Ephesians 1:18-20
Many are searching to fill up in themselves, the void God designed to fill with himself. I had sought for security or fulfillment from a peer group, or pleasures from alcohol, drugs or sex, and even video games. Sports enthusiasts live for the burn or the rush. May our identity as Gods sons and daughters be so strong in knowing him and his care for us that we are not lost, or searching in the wrong places. May we enjoy all the good things in this earth, and in this life, even sports or horses, with a sound mind and without making it an idol. G.W.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
This is a Song and video that I have enjoyed this week. I really appreciate and respect the creativity. The Song is by Kieth Green and is put to some photos and a recent sunrise from Mexico, by Mentalatious - Which is Levi's Utube handle.
On his utube site there are other videos that you may enjoy also. I really like the time lapse sunrise, that Levi posted but Gideon was the one who filmed it.
Easter Song Video link
A song by Greg Wilke
The moon rose over the mountain,
just as the sun went down.
Water flowed from the fountain,
and within the vision,
love was found.
Like a rainbow 'round the moon
Like a rainbow 'round the moon
your promises are forever
The clouds have faded away,
and I can see your love shin'n on me.
Like the drops of fall'n rain
Like the drops of fall'n rain
Your mercy surrounds me
Like the water fall'n down
Like the water fall'n down
your blessings are abundant
The moon rose over the mountain,
just as the sun went down.
Water flowed from the fountain,
and within the vision,
love was found.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
About 27 yrs ago I remember being startled that some Christian sisters talking about how they bought a lottery ticket and won. Growing up in Oregon and Nebraska I did not know that such things existed. In the Evangelical circles that Marianne and I fellowshipped in, this was equivalent to drinking alcohol or smoking. How many today are playing the state lottery and hoping to win? Recently I've seen many folks getting tickets or turning a few winners in. Many are hoping for a way out of their dilemma's financially. Others are dreaming and talking of what they would do, "if I win the big one." Some of it is justified as entertainment, and for a good cause, like a fun way of paying voluntary taxes. Many fall into depression, by not seeing their expectations met. This is an illness that the scriptures talk about.
A hope that is not fulfilled can make the heart sick. But a longing that is fulfilled is the tree of life. This is a truth that we can live by from from Proverbs 13:12
Have I been fulfilling my longings and finding life, but only in the temporal things that will perish?
Having a vision and goals in this life are not wrong. Its the priority that we hold those things that we need to consider. At what cost will I obtain this thing? If it will mean loosing my soul, and life eternal in Gods presence, I need the grace to say,"no, this is ungodly, and against God."
God promises a hope of being raised from the dead, and He promises us a life after this one that will last forever in His presence. Here is a couple references of this hope:
" By his power God raised the Lord from the dead and he will raise us also." 1 Cor 6:14
"Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears,we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure." 1 John 3:2-4
How much do I hope for the day when I shall see Jesus face to face? Is my hope for the life after this one keeping me on the straight and narrow?
I read this week about temptation and how God is Faithful to provide a way to escape offending him, or a way to resist the temptation to rebel against him. I fail so often to look for the escape when the temptations come, and I just let my flesh and the sin rule. The foundational verse to memorize is 1 Corinthians 10:13 This is a weapon for us to wield when temptation comes. Gods promise is there for us to claim. Verse 14 spoke to me also, flee idolatry. We in America have no idea how idolatrous we are. I am asking the Holy Spirit to convict me where I am grieving him, and practicing any kind of idolatry. My compromise has been with watching movies. I love to sit and watch a movie with the family, or with Marianne alone. Many of the "PG" and "R" ones compromise the morals that we would never practice in our home. I have let Hollywood tell their stories in our living room with swear words, or demonstrating other immoralities that we never dare to do, or have not wanted to see our children ever do.
We have been bought with a price. We are not our own. Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, we dare not defile Gods Temple. We are called to honor God with our body and do not commit sexual immorality with it. Are we able to name sin as sin and call it what it is? Fornication = pre martial sex. Adultery = sleeping with some one elses wife or husband. Homosexuality = sex with some of our own gender. Any of these activities entertained in our minds is sin, not just the action.
Marianne and I suffer depression at times. We have had our hopes deferred. Lately we have had goals and not been able to meet them. When we have reached high points in life, valleys have followed soon after, why? Were we hoping to find life in the accomplishments we made, or expectations we had of others? One friend of mine said his life goal was, "to be a humble servant and finish well." I have not forgotten his testimony and his steady attitudes and actions which are still on track today. Paul stated his life goal, or hope in Philippians 3:10-12 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. May each of us have this hope, and not be distracted from obtaining it. God will raise us from the dead just as he raised up Jesus. G.W.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
“...being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one beginning at the eldest, even unto the last. “ John 8:9
I have often wondered why the eldest left first. In recent years I have have observed a pride among the young single men in the church. A blinding pride. The young adults have learned to judge. Their parents have faults and have hurt them. They see injustices in the world, but how many have realized their own shortcomings? As elders, we should be all the more humble, realizing Gods mercy over us for so many years. Being aware of so many of our own faults, we should learn to not judge, lest we we be judged also. Matt 7:1 Whatever measure or standard we use on others will be used on us, true? If so, why judge at all? We are only condemning ourselves when we point the finger. Jesus said, “ I judge no man.” John 8:15 In another place it is written, “ The Father judges no one but has given all judgment to the son. So if Our Father is not judging, and Jesus is not condemning any one, why do we pass judgment on others?
This is the enemies plot to trap us into condemning ourselves. This is the temptation to not help another person. Most of the time, judging a person will not help. Let me give an example. I worked in the woods falling timber with a wise man, Dale Norling. We worked on the buddy system falling timber for a large company run by a compassionate man who would, at times, hire “low rents” and drug addicts to run his equipment. Dale showed me an example of imparting truth and wisdom to these young men just by asking questions. Out there hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment could be damaged, and our lives could be hazarded every day by operator error. Rather than yell at them “Hey, you could get killed doing that!, or its gonna break if you keep doing that.” He would ask them questions, several questions, to make a point about their attitude, wrong conduct, or to offer a better way to operate the equipment. As I noticed his way, and complimented him, he said, “ If they can't get it and figure out the answer for themselves it won't do any good to tell them what to do.”
This is true in parenting. At a toddlers age, you just command them, “don't touch the hot burner!” With a teenager, coaching not command is more appropriate. With young adults, and especially my married and grown children, counsel, when asked for, is the most common way of bringing a correction or insight to one that may be bringing harm to themselves or others.
There is a time for discipline, and correction and consequences must come if parents love their children. I tried to make it clear that the spankings were only correction for getting off the path, not condemnation and punishment.
Employers and legal authorities all have the responsibility to uphold the standards and civil laws and pass sentences and fines on those who break them. In the church there will be times that determination has to be made when some one has crossed moral lines and we need to expel them from the assembly. This is a grave and sober decision that elders and Pastors must make, for the health of the body. Amputation is a severe trauma to a body, but often necessary or a life will be lost. We must consider the parameters of 1 Corinthians 5 and follow what is written in the whole cannon of scripture. Jesus could have said, “Yep, the law says stone her, but lets get the man here also, and any and everyone else that we know that deserves this sentence.” If he could not have differed these teachers of the law, and the stoning would have occurred , Jerusalem would have been cleansed of one adulterer. In pardoning her, and extorting her to sin no more, how many more lives may have been saved by her living testimony?
May we practice discernment, even in our own life, if there is any thing infectious to the body of Christ. Not only sexual immorality needs to be cleansed but greed, drunkenness, idolatry, rebellion, and swindling. How many of us need cleansing in one of these areas? May God give us grace to keep his church clean. Paul said, “ I don't even judge myself, but I let the Lord judge me.” Start with me Lord. You are the only law giver and judge. You are able to save and destroy. James 4:12 Give us grace to quit judging and be occupied with interceding with you for others. Hebrew 7:25 G.W.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Les Miserables sounds Spanish but it’s a French title to a book that was made into a musical. Some of our family went to see this live drama this last week. I photographed the cover of the program to share with you because I like the image of the child and what the quote directs my attention to. “ To love another person, is to see the face of God.” Love others and seek Gods face. What makes him smile? What makes him frown or angry? Do I want to know what he thinks about the poor, or even more how he wants me to treat them?
In English we could draw an equivalent of miserable, and find an unhappy feeling of a person, or a run down and neglected item or building. In this case the French word is defining an economically poor person, who would be deserving of ones pity.
Hannah’s prophecy in 1 Samuel 2 describes how our Creator relates to such a person:
7 The LORD makes poor and makes rich;
He brings low and lifts up.
8 He raises the poor from the dust
And lifts the beggar from the ash heap,
To set them among princes
And make them inherit the throne of glory.
Last week I was able to pick up a hitch hiker, and his dog. After offering him a short ride and a cup of coffee, we were able to talk about life. “Drifter Joe” said he believed in God but had a hard time dealing with Jesus. I shared with him the Jesus I know. I invited him over for a shower, some breakfast, and come along to our Sunday morning meeting. His countenance fell, as he calculated the decision. I could tell he wanted to go, and he said he knew it would do him some good. He could not figure out how to deal with his dog, having never left his side for a year and a half. He also said he did not want to get stuck another night in our “one horse cowboy town” ( emphasis mine). I understood, and showed him respect for his decision. Passers by showed a lot of interest in “Pirate” his dog, giving him treats and compliments. Was the dog an object of compassion that Joe needed in a generation where hitchhiking and drifting is almost extinct? I have noticed how pets have been elevated in value in our society, nearly as much children. I did not tell Joe that we have already had a lady bringing her little weaner dog to some of our services. His half German Shepard, half Coyote would have been just to much, although I was confident that its behavior would have been well qualified as a guide dog or a service dog in a public building.
May we know Our Fathers heart for the poor when they cross our path. May we have His eyes to see what to do when some one is in our life and needing help or compassion. Discernment and discretion are needed when relating to someone that we really don’t know off the street. When some who is less fortunate comes into our life, how do we treat them? . I am talking about a handicapped person you know, some one that is less attractive, or some one that has less sports ability, or musical talent. May we have wisdom that is “considerate and full of mercy”. G.W.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
What is the biggest blessing that you have received from God? Paul wrote of this to those who were loved by God and called out as saints. Today as I read these words, Holy Spirit speaks to us, about having my measuring cup full of this blessing. Not only are we to be blessed to the full for ourselves but we are to share this blessing with others.
Earlier in this same letter Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write of the blessing that comes through Abraham's covenant with God, a covenant that can only be received by faith, not our works. This blessing is described in Romans 4:7,8 as forgiveness. When we have had our offenses, and rebellions, and shortcomings against God and others completely forgotten and never counted against us, this is foundational to all of the blessings of being in Christ.
The main common denominator between believers should be Christs sacrifice for us, and by this, we have right standing with Thee Almighty Creator. I have learned over time to not make our particular doctrines, or standards, or special interests be the bond of fellowship. This is why Paul wrote; “ I am determined to know nothing among you, except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”
Are you secure and confident that you will be blameless on the day of Christs return, the final day when all things will be brought into the light? 1Corinthians 1:8 says you will be. Many veteran Christians that I have met have said to me, “ I need to do better in my walk.” “ I need to pray more... I need to read my bible more.” Some have stated their denominational affiliation when I ask them of their faith in Jesus. Others have testified of a prayer that they prayed, or that they got baptized, or joined a church. If our logistical reference to where we are or where we are going is primarily based on what we have done we may be offending the one who has come to save us. He has come to fill us up with a satisfaction of a right relationship with our Father in Heaven. Needless to say, we should all strive to do better, to learn and to grow in maturity and bear good fruit; but in a motive of gratefulness for what HE has done, not because we need to gain a better standing before God.
May we never forget that the Son of God has bought us , sanctified us and made us holy in Gods sight. By what JESUS did for us, we are in right standing with our Father. 1 Corinthians 1:30 Is this the principle blessing that you have, and will rely on when the final judgment day comes? When each one is raised from the dead, some will live eternity in Gods presence and others will go into outer darkness. Receiving and keeping the blessing of Christ will make that determination, true? G.W.
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Jesus asked Peter this question, as they were eating fish and bread that Jesus had been cooking before the disciples. We must realize that it was a hungry fisherman that was being asked this question. An almost 3 yr graduate of Jesus’s discipleship school, gave up, and said to the gang that same day, "I am going fishing." This implies that they had not a clue to the next step in their ministry, or their life’s purpose. Is this what I resort to, the stand by? I would go and cut fire wood, just to stay busy on the days at home that I did not have a certain work plan. Even this year I have been inclined to look for trees to climb and trim just to make some quick cash. When I have a lack of vision, or I am ignorant to what lies before me as Gods plan, it is tempting to resort to what I know well. In this occasion, providence had it that no fish were caught. For me, a recreational fisher, that has a very poor record, this would be no big deal, but for these professionals, this would be a sign, “what are we doing wrong here?” The fact that they counted 153 fish shows that it was a phenomenon that they landed that many without the nets breaking. This same Jesus who commands the fish and the seas has eyes for you and I and he asks this question for our hearts today. Do we love him more than our career or our record catch? If we do, he has an occupation waiting for us. He wants his word delivered to his sheep. We can demonstrate our love for him in obeying his command to be instructing his lambs and sheep. Sharing all that he has commanded. Jesus takes this love even a step further than throwing out some teachings or lofting the feed over the fence, He says, “ take care of my sheep”. This means stepping out from behind the pulpit and rolling up our sleeves. Changing diapers, washing feet, and even carrying those who are down and not able to walk.
Is this the love that shines so bright in our generation? May our love for Jesus be genuine, and may Jesus sheep be well fed. G.W.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Jesus told the woman at the well that a change had come to the world. For Jews, for Samaritans, for you and I. To bow or give honor to God is no longer a location, but a matter of heart. Many today have told me that they don’t need to attend a church meeting. Being out in nature and their personal private worship is enough for God. The scripture says not to neglect the activity of gathering together. I say, if your truly a worshiper, why wouldn’t you want to gather with others? Thomas bowed before Jesus and confessed, “My Lord and My God.” Peter and John, on their way to worship in the temple, gave a lame man something that they had received, by living a life of worship. Our Father is still looking for these kinds of worshipers. May Holy Spirit lead our hearts to be broken and soft before the Lord Jesus. The Samaritan woman had an encounter with Jesus and found out the truth of her own life and more importantly about who God is. May we each have our own encounters with the one who wants us to know what and who we worship. Like this woman, who was a great witness to her community, we also, are called to proclaim that the hour to worship is here and now. G.W.