Bye-bye for Now

To my Blogging friends

Just a short post tonight to say I will be taking an extended leave from blogging. Thanks to those who have responded, encouraged or even just liked one of my photos or daily readings. The response to this site seems to have tailed off to near zero and the time dedicated to writing, editing and photography seems better invested in other areas. Blessings to my wordpress friends. I will continue to give occasional updates as our ministry team prepares special programs for the nursing home but I need to say so long for now here. Thanks, God bless and who knows maybe I’ll be back in Summer.

Pete

The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

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Service With a Smile

Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served.  John 12:1

At the first time when Martha had Jesus in her home and she began to complain about her sister Jesus corrected her. Yet Jesus didn’t say, “Stop what you are doing and sit down with Mary!” Jesus said, “Stop being anxious in the midst of all your activity.”  Each of us have different days that lie ahead. Some will have a quiet day listening. Some will have pain, problems and unanswered questions to deal with. Some of us simply feel like we are drowning in busyness.

At their second encounter Jesus meets Martha outside of Bethany. She had sent for Him when Lazarus had been sick. Lazarus had grown weaker and weaker then died and Martha had buried him and wondered why Jesus had not come. In her grief-stricken state she met Jesus as He after He finally showed up saying what many of us tell God today, “If you had been here my brother would not have died!” But there in her sorrow, her brokenness and even a touch of anger Jesus gave her the words, “I Am the resurrection and the life!” Those words were given only to Mp1030030artha. They were the special message Jesus had just for her! So if you wish you could be more like Mary or Lazarus and even your best efforts seem a failure don’t give up. In each of our lives Jesus comes with the words we need. Mary hears them at the feet of Jesus. Lazarus listens quietly at His side and Martha smiles and remembers them as she sets the food on the table, filled with gratitude for all He has done!

 

 

Serving the Master’s Table

Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served.  John 12:1

Mary gets all the good press in most of today’s Bible teaching but we need to remember that Jesus also loved Martha and Lazarus. Lazarus the faithful silent brother, Mary the quiet and shy listener, and Martha the enthusiastic servant, each held a special place in the great heart of our Master. If you are one who speaks their mind without pause and who wishes others would help out more because you are overwhelmed by your activities then you need to know that you are greatly loved by Jesus Christ.
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Just two days before the last supper and the cross Jesus was given a banquet apparently hosted by Martha though the Gospel of Mark tells us it was at Simon the leper’s house. Martha seems often to have been at the hub of activity.  Remember that it was she who first invited Jesus to her home in Bethany and served him while her sister Mary sat listening. Jesus lovingly takes us each as we  are. He doesn’t expect us who are like Martha to suddenly change into an eager listening Mary or a silent Lazarus. Yet in His acceptance Jesus does begin a sometimes painful work of transformation.

Stones To Bread

 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin Hebrews 4:15

When I have struggled with temptation or when I have encouraged others who are facing a struggle with sin I have often thought of and quoted this scripture. It says that Jesus was in all points tempted as we are. The English Standarbreadd Version renders it “In every respect” and I in my first understanding of this issue thought that any temptation I face, Jesus also faced. However; that is not exactly what the Bible is telling us though the underlying truth .gives us a great hope

 

To cover this subject let’s look back to the temptation which our Lord experienced while fasting in the wilderness after His baptism.

And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”  But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:3-4

We need to see that Jesus was not so much tempted with every exact sin every person has ever faced. The scripture says that he was tempted in every respect, in every manner, every way. What ways could there have possibly been to tempt the only Son of God? They are common to us all so let’s look at temptation number one – command stones to become bread.

Matthew tells us that after forty days Jesus was hungry (who wouldn’t be!) The devil showed up at the weakest physical moment to tempt him but it was not the bread that was the sin. If Jesus had simply pulled out a loaf of bread and begun eating it would have been both natural and holy for him to do so. The temptation Jesus came face to face with was to provide for his needs outside of the Father’s will for his life.

Providing for our needs outside of God’s will is like commanding stones to be bread. Stones are not bread! They have no nutritional value. They are hard and would break our teeth, not to mention what they might do to our digestive system. There is nothing good about stones that could be used as food! Now stop to think how many times we have tried to command stones to be bread. We took a second job to buy things but we sacrificed our time with our family. We were able to pay for our vacation because we cheated on our income tax. We did something for money that involved surrendering our will to something we knew to be sinful. See the same temptation we face in all of these activities is just a faint reflection of what Jesus was being asked to do. He was being asked to cease trusting His heavenly Father’s provision. Jesus was being asked to take control over his own destiny for temporary gain no matter the eternal consequences. These were all the very things the devil himself had already done in the vast eons of the past when he no longer was satisfied with what God had given him and he reached out to take what was never to have been his. But in response Jesus gave to us the words we can hold to in every battle with this sinful direction. “Man does not live by bread alone!” Our life is more than just what we make of it, what we have or what we can experience. Our life comes from a source that is unchangeable, immovable and unceasing. Our life is in hearing and obeying every word that God has spoken. Every other word is just a stone!

Tad and Candle

Several years ago I wrote a series of children’s stories about a little lamb named Tad. Tad got into all kinds of trouble but through each story He learned to make friends, trust His shepherd and become a little more grown up. To the Tad stories which I developed for a class of young boys I have now added three more stories. These new stories are about Tad’s new friend Candle. Candle is a firefly and He has his own set of adventures, dangers and exciting rescues. The Complete Adventures of Tad and Rad is dedicated to our grandchildren and is now available in paperback on Amazon.com. You can follow the link or look it up yourself on Amazon. Be blessed and enjoy!

The Complete Adventures of Tad and Candle

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On a Donkey!

 Then Jesus, when He had found a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written: “Fear not, daughter of Zion; Behold, your King is coming,Sitting on a donkey’s colt  John 12:14-15

The fact that Jesus chose the most humble animal to ride gives me hope today. I am not powerful, wealthy or amazingly smart. I am just an ordinary person in an ordinary neighborhood with common everyday problems. Why would God, the universe creator, the King of Glory, the awesome, glorious and Holy ruler of all life be accessible to me? Why would I dare even think I could bring my needs for daily bread and forgiveness for my mean-spirited sins to him?

Because according to scripture our king is coming, but not to harshly conquer us who by nature are His enemies. He is coming not to imprison us and cast us into prison or worse. He is coming humbly to take His throne and righteously rule over the life of anyone who will welcome Him into their gates. He knows we are afraid but He is not angry. He understands the feelings of our infirmities and He has shared inimage our weaknesses. He has been through every temptation we have faced, yet without sin. He has tasted death for every man and woman who has ever lived. He is coming, according to the Father’s plan, to be our king, seated on a donkey, so we will not be afraid. Today is the day to greet our king with palm branches along the path He is coming to our city and He has chosen to give His life for us again today!

Thirsting for God

As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?

Psalms 42:1‭-‬2 NKJV

My friend hunts for deer every year on the farm I manage. Before the season opens it is not unusual for him to spend hours scouting for markings and paths. One sure magnet which draws deer is a clean accessible source of water. Deer can and do sometimes survive many days with only a little food but water they need every day.

In the same way God is hunting for our soul. But he is not lying in wait to kill us or to bring us back to put on his trophy wall. God is seeking for us to rescue us and to lead us to springs of living water where we can drink and be satisfied in His presence!