The greatest gift Daddy ever gave Mama

We all like to receive gifts. I’m thinking today of the gift my daddy gave my mother when I was a teenager at home.

From the time Daddy and Mama married, Daddy drank. It was all I didn’t like about Daddy when I was growing up. I loved Daddy, but I didn’t like his drinking.

Mama wanted to go to worship and take me, but she didn’t drive and Daddy didn’t want to go. She told me when I got my driver’s license she would buy us a car, and I could drive us to church. We looked forward to that time. At sixteen I got my license, and mama was true to her word. She bought us a car. I drove us to worship God at the Elba church of Christ. Daddy called us hypocrites and tried to discourage us.

Three years later Daddy got sick and was hospitalized. The doctor told him he had to give up drinking if he wanted to live. Daddy gave up his drinking and asked if he could go to worship with us the next Sunday. We wouldn’t have thought of telling him he couldn’t go with us. I remember the Sunday well. When the invitation was being given, I looked over and saw my Daddy walking down the church aisle. He confessed living in sin 30 years. I knew 20 of those years at that time. Daddy stopped drinking and smoking at the same time. He later became a Deacon in the church and was faithful until his death at 78 years of age.

The story is longer and more detailed than this, but my point is Daddy gave Mama the greatest gift he could have ever given her on that day. He gave her the peace of knowing that he was a Christian, and he faithfully served God the rest of his life.

I like to think about heaven and going there one day. I like to think about the people in the Bible who will be there, and what it will be like to talk with them. But, I look forward to seeing Mama and Daddy again. I look forward to seeing Mama’s parents and maybe all of her siblings.

Yes, Daddy gave mother a wonderful gift when he rededicated his life and gave up his sinful life for a far better one in Christ. I suppose there just couldn’t be a better gift to give anyone at anytime of the year.

#christian-living, #life

Two paths we can choose

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

You lead me in the path of life; I experience absolute joy in your presence; you always give me sheer delight. Psalm 16.11

There are basically two paths that we can choose to take in this life: the path that enters through the narrow gate which is a difficult way that leads to life and the path that enters through the wide gate which is a spacious way that leads to destruction, Matthew 7.13-14. The psalmist teaches that God leads us in the path of life if we choose to follow him.

The path of life might be difficult, but 1 John 1.7 says that as long as we are walking in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin. We are not in this alone. We have the presence of God and his Son with us as well as other Christians.

The psalmist states that he experiences absolute joy and sheer delight in God’s presence. I can experience that same joy and delight today knowing that my soul is prepared to live with the Lord.

#risingjoy #Psalms #life

Follow Jesus to death

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Therefore we have been buried with him through baptism into death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too may live a new life. Romans 6.4

Paul paints so clearly here in Romans what happens when we are baptized. First of all we are buried. Immersed. We are covered over with water. Also, one normally is not buried until the person has died. To what have I died? I have died to the sinful life where I followed mindlessly after my own passions and desires. In John 12.25 Jesus tells the crowd that was around him that the one who loves his life destroys it, and the one who hates his life in this world guards it for eternal life. If we want to serve Jesus we have to follow him to death. I have to be willing to put him first and die to myself. Baptism is where it happens. Just as Christ was raised from the dead, I, too, am raised from the dead. Just as Christ was raised through the glory of the Father to live in the heavenly realm with a new body, I arise from the watery grave a new creature and through the glory of the Father I live a new life. A life that is not dictated by my passions and desires that so often lead to conflict and strife. A life that is lived to glorify the Father in all that I do. That relieves many a burden. That brings joy!

#risingjoy #Romans #life

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12-11-17     Look Back, But Don’t Re-live

 Do you “live in the past?” “Do not say, ‘Why were the former days better than these?’ For you do not inquire wisely concerning this” (Ecclesiastes 7:10 NKJV). When we have only good memories about the past, we (1) have faulty memories, and (2) probably haven’t learned much. Life is a great teacher, but lessons come from both good and bad. “Let grace be shown to the wicked, Yet he will not learn righteousness” (Isaiah 26:10 NKJV). It is important to know that “God requires an account of what is past” (Ecclesiastes 3:15 NKJV). Christians have learned that “we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles–when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries” (1 Peter 4:3 NKJV). Good people don’t want to go back!                                                       This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.        

#lessons, #life, #live-in-the-past

We fly away: Psalm 90.10 VOTD

“The days of our lives add up to seventy years,
or eighty, if one is especially strong.
But even one’s best years are marred by trouble and oppression.
Yes, they pass quickly and we fly away.”

Psalm 90.10

The title to this psalm attributes its authorship to Moses, “A prayer of Moses, the man of God.” Most of his life was one of hardship.

Jesus lived 30-plus years. He came to die for man’s sin. His years were short, but his life was full. Our time on earth is short-lived and full of trouble. In Christ, life is blessed and eternal.

#Psalms #life #VOTD

With God: 1 Corinthians 7.20, 24 VOTD

“Let each one remain in that situation in life in which he was called. … In whatever situation someone was called, brothers and sisters, let him remain in it with God.”

1 Corinthians 7.20, 24

Paul addressed the human tendency to want to be somewhere else, to be somebody else. Sin of course must be abandoned, but with God any life situation provides meaning and fulfillment.

What do you find unpleasant about your life situation? How can God bring redemption and joy in it?

#life #1-Corinthians #VOTD

Withered like grass: Psalm 102.11 VOTD

“My days are coming to an end,
and I am withered like grass.”

Psalm 102.11

This psalm is “the prayer of an oppressed man, as he grows faint and pours out his lament before the Lord” (superscript). He appeals to the Lord who rules forever, v. 12, and whose “years do not come to an end” v. 27.

The rigors and strains of life take their toll, as well as suffering for the faith. How do saints remain encouraged and strong in the Lord?

#prayer #life #VOTD

Time to die: Ecclesiastes 3.1-2 VOTD

“For everything there is an appointed time,
and an appropriate time for every activity on earth:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to uproot what was planted;”

Ecclesiastes 3.1-2

Solomon apparently believed there is a fixed order of events determined by God. Humans are not independent of God. Just as he set the heavenly lights to determine seasons and years, so he determines the times for human activities.

If there is an appointed time to die, and that appointed time is not known to us, then now is the appropriate time to prepare for the moment of death.

#time #death #life #VOTD

Outlook: Romans 8.6 VOTD

“For the outlook of the flesh is death, but the outlook of the Spirit is life and peace.”

Romans 8.6

In this section the apostle Paul contrasts life according to the flesh and life in the Holy Spirit.

How do we live the life of peace in the Spirit?

#life #peace #VOTD

Reflect on holiness

The Scripture teaches that Jesus gave up His life for us individually. That is, He gave up His life for all those who love the Lord and call on His name (John 3:16; Acts 2:21). Paul wrote to those of Galatia, “who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father” (Galatians 1:4, ESV). Reflect on this for a moment: Jesus gave up His life, that we might have life. We should respect this gift of life given to us in such a way that our lives are changed, changed in the direction of holiness. “…but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:15-16, ESV). RT

#holiness #life

Phases of life

Phases of life are as natural as phases of the moon.

Each phase of life is meant to be used to prepare us for the next (1 Corinthians 13:11, Ecclesiastes 11:7-10; 12).

A good tip for parents is to keep in mind what life was like for us during the phase that our children are currently in. The same could apply for grand-parents and grand-children.

At this point in time, I remember clearly what it was like to start kindergarten, and to spend time with my parents, grand-parents and great-grand-parents. I keep this mind when it comes to my child. I remember the memories that I want to create for her – memories that will be beneficial for as she goes through the different phases of her life.

Life is different through the perspective of a child. Backyards are huge! Bills are incomprehensible. The necessity of learning is something that mom and dad emphasize. The toy-isle is a slice of paradise. Slides, swings, wading in a creek, walking in the woods and watching cartoons stick with you for a long time. Each learning experience (and memory) allows a different experience (and memory) to be built.

It is easy to forget about the way others go through phases in life … especially a child. But remembering the importance of these phases will help to govern the way we deal with others as we go through our own.

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to gain, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NKJV)

#life, #parenting, #preparation

VOTD: John 4.10 ‘If you only knew’

“Jesus replied, ‘If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.'”

John 4.10 NLT

Jesus turns the attention of the Samaritan woman to spiritual realities and benefits.

In what ways do we fail to recognize the gift that God has for us?

#VOTD #life #salvation

Counsel for Young and Old

1. Hear & Heed (Romans 10:17)
2. Seek & Anchor (Colossians 3:1)
3. Hide & Prevent (Proverbs 4:23)
4. Bless (Matthew 5:16)
5. Preach & Live (2 Timothy 2:15)
6. Rejoice & Value (Philippians 4:4)
7. Meditate & Direct (2 Corinthians 13:5)
8. Resolve (Colossians 3:5)

#counsel, #life, #wisdom

‘Does the church have electricity?’

church-lightA brother in Florida mentioned Saturday that the electricity in his home was supposed to be restored in a few hours, after Hurricane Matthew swiped the Atlantic coast headed north. A person asked, “Does the church have electricity?”

The person was referring, of course, to the building where the church met. That’s unfortunately language, but you figure out how to get people to change their vocabulary.

Her question, however, invites reflection on the state of our congregations. Continue reading

#church, #enthusiasm, #life, #zeal

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5-9-2016 Graduation Skills

When people graduate from High School or University, they should be looking ahead at life. Solomon made it simple in Ecclesiastes 9:9-11.  Plan to: 1) “Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life”—i.e., be in a close, stable marriage; 2) “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might”—i.e., work hard at honorable work; 3) “I returned and saw under the sun that-The race is not to the swift, Nor the battle to the strong, Nor bread to the wise, Nor riches to men of understanding, Nor favor to men of skill; But time and chance happen to them all”—i.e., everything is not under our personal control-live with it.  One is not alone in marriage; diligent work is rewarded and appreciated; life levels the “playing field” for everyone. Good advice!

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#graduation, #life, #marriage, #time-and-chance, #work