Sunday, November 28, 2010


We have just celebrated Thanksgiving and what a wonderful time of the year it is. On this occasion we normally stop to count our blessings. I read where a group of houswives got together and compiled a list of things they were thankful for. The list read like this, we're thankful for:
*Automatic dishwashers because they make it possible for us to get out of the kitchen before the family comes back in for their afternoon snacks.
*Husbands who attack small repair jobs around the house because they usually make them big enough to call in the professionals.
*Children who put away their things & clean up after themselves, they’re such a joy you hate to see them go home to their own parents.
*Teenagers because they give parents an opportunity to learn a second language.
*Smoke alarms because they let you know when the turkey’s done.
While this is a humorous response, there are many things we could mention that create a spirit of gratitude. For instance with all the sin, stress, and loneliness in the world I am thankful for the mercy and forgiveness of God, for my health and sanity, and for my family and friends. These things foster within me a spirit of thanksgiving. What about you? I'm sure you could generate your own list that would far exceed mine. However, the important thing is not who has the longest or the best list. No, what matters most is that we have a list that we cite often so that our lives are never void of the spirit thanksgiving nor our lips a word of thanks.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Power of Unity

Some years ago in North Carolina there was a story about two female musicians who performed together. One was black and the other, white. They called their duo Ebony and Ivory. Both of the women only had one hand. One had lost her left hand in an accident. The other had lost her right hand. Neither knew of the other, but both were brokenhearted after the tragedy they had individually faced because they would never play the piano again. But a third woman heard of their plight and put them in contact with each other. When the two one-handed pianists came together, they found that each could supplement the other. Together they could again play their beloved piano. When the black hand and the white hand were skillfully coordinated with each other, the maimed musicians could coax beautiful sounds from the instrument. God calls us together in our brokenness and with our differences because He has given us to each other. Each supplements what is missing in the other. Together and only together with our differences are we whole and ready to serve, and compliment each other--and that's the power of unity.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Getting What We Ask For

In Matthew's gospel there is a verse given that is quite refreshing. It goes like this, "Ask and it shall be given you." I don't know about you but I think that's some kind of promise. While it builds my faith it also creates questions for me. I can't help but ask, "do we always receive what we ask for?" The reason I even dare to question such a thing is because there have been times when in my asking for something it appeared that God did not hear or He gave me right the opposite of what I wanted. This could be disconcerting but the following words help me to keep things in perspective. I hope they do the same for you.
I asked God for strength that I might achieve;
I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health that I might do greater things;
I was given infirmity that I might do better things.
I asked for riches that I might be happy;
I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men;
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life;
I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing I asked for but everything I hoped for;
In spite of myself, my prayers were answered -
I am among all men most richly blest.
God in His infinite wisdom does answer. The thing I must remember is to the take what he gives me. Although it may not look like what I asked for, it will be exactly what I need.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

What is the problem?

For more than twenty years Professor Edwin R. Keedy of the University of Pennsylvania Law School used to start his first class by putting two figures on the blackboard 4 2. Then he would ask "What's the solution?" One student would call out "six." Another would say "two." Then several would shout out "eight!" But the teacher would shake his head in the negative. Then Keedy would point out their collective error. All of you failed to ask the key question: "What is the problem?" Gentlemen, unless you know what the problem is, you cannot possibly find the answer." This teacher knew that in law as in everyday life too much time is spent trying to solve the wrong problem. Could this have been the case with the miracle performed in John 6? Here we find thousands of hungry people. Jesus wants to feed them so He asks Phillip where they can buy bread so that the multitude can be fed. In mere pessimism this disciple responds by saying, "Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little." The verse prior says that Jesus "said this to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do." Jesus had the answer but he wanted Phillip and the other disciples to discover the problem. Simply stated they suffered from poor eye sight. They had the inability to see the vision Jesus had in this situation. What they saw was an impossibility; Jesus saw an opportunity. The issue was not the hungry multitude but rather their lack of vision. Could this be our story. Is it possible that Jesus has the answer for our needs, but is desperately trying to get us to see the problem? He sees big things in store for our lives. However, the question is "what do you see?"