Memorial Day

Exodus 12:14 And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.

We often make the trip to our lake cottage in Indiana over the Memorial Day weekend to “open up the place.” It’s a family tradition that dates back to around 1910. And if things follow their normal course, I’ll take Mother, who still lives in my birthplace, Montpelier, Ohio, out to Riverside Cemetery where we’ll place flowers on the graves of our loved ones. Homegrown flowers–peonies and irises–were the bouquets of choice when I was growing up, because they usually came into bloom about this time of year.

At my father’s grave, Mama will point to the vacant space next to his, and remind me again that that is where she will be laid to rest. She won’t say it forebodingly–her Christian faith is too strong for that–but matter-of-factly. I think she wants to prepare me. I’m prepared. Only a few yards to the east are some plots reserved for my family.

Not long ago I stopped in Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, and visited a cemetery said to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. There, three young women–Emma Hunter, Sophie Keller and Elizabeth Myers–began the custom of decorating soldiers’ graves in 1864, while the Civil War was still being fought. They wanted to recognize the contributions of villagers who had paid the ultimate price, and they did it with what was at hand, some homegrown flowers.

The idea of decorating graves caught on, and today, because of the thoughtfulness of Emma, Sophie and Elizabeth, millions of people across the nation this Memorial Day will remember with deep affection those whose lives once touched theirs.

Teach us, Lord, the best way to pay an unpayable debt is to show with our lives that we didn’t forget.

from ourdailybread

Memorial Day: What We Can Do for Our Country

Exodus 12:14 And this day shall be unto you for a memorial;

In honor of the veterans of the Civil War, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., who had been wounded three times during that war, said the following in a Memorial Day Address in 1884:

“It is now the moment when by common consent we pause to become conscious of our national life and to rejoice in it, to recall what our country has done for each of us, and to ask ourselves what we can do for our country in return.

Patriot’s Prayer:

The greatest thing I can do for my country, Lord, is to honor You. If I hold You in the highest regard, I will do my civic duty with pleasure. Let me do service to my country and to others with a genuine willingness. Guide me to do those things that will make a difference for You.

Patriot’s Promise

In 1 Samuel 24:6, David had a perfect opportunity to kill King Saul — who was, after all, out to kill David. But David acknowledged to his men that the king had been anointed by God and that no one should stretch out his hand against him.

Also, in 1 Chronicles 16:22, David credited God with commanding, “Do not touch My anointed ones.”

We must hold our leaders in high regard and pray for them every day.

Because David honored and respected King Saul, God honored David, and He will keep that promise to us as well.

God Cares About Justice

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by Max Lucado

A mother says, I’m so sorry for abandoning you—could we possibly get together?

Her daughter thinks to herself, That’s it? She wants to get together and I’m supposed to just forgive her?

Seems too easy. Doesn’t mom need to experience what she gave? Spend a few years wondering if she’ll see her daughter again? Some pain-filled nights? A bit of justice? Isn’t some vengeance in order? Of course it is. God cares about justice more than we do.

In Romans 12:17, Paul tells us to never pay back evil for evil. Leave that to God, for He has said that he will repay those who deserve it.

We fear the evildoer will slip into the night, unknown and unpunished. Not to worry. God will repay—not He might repay. God will execute justice on behalf of truth and fairness. Fix your enemies? That’s God’s job. Forgive your enemies? Ahh, that’s where you and I come in. We forgive.

Friday Funnies

One Liners

 
 
Don’t let your worries get the best of you;
Remember, Moses started out as a basket case.
 
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Some people are kind, polite, and sweet-spirited
Until you try to sit in their pews.
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Many folks want to serve God,
But only as advisers.

 

 
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It is easier to preach ten sermons   
Than it is to live one.
 
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The good Lord didn’t create anything without a purpose,
But mosquitoes come close.
 
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When you get to your wit’s end,
You’ll find God lives there.
 
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People are funny; they want the front of the bus,
Middle of the road,
And back of the church.
 
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Opportunity may knock once,
But temptation bangs on the front door forever.
 
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Quit griping about your church;   
If it was perfect, you couldn’t belong.   
 
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If a church wants a better pastor,
It only needs to pray for the one it has.
   
 
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We’re called to be witnesses, not lawyers or judges.
 
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God Himself doesn’t propose to judge a man until
he is dead. So why should you?
 
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Some minds are like concrete   
Thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.   
 
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Peace starts with a smile.   
 
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I don’t know why some people change churches;
What difference does it make which one you stay home from?
 
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Be ye fishers of men. You catch ’em – He’ll clean ’em.
 
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Coincidence is when God chooses to remain anonymous.
 
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Don’t put a question mark where God put a period.
 
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Don’ t wait for 6 strong men to take you to church.
 
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Forbidden fruits create many jams.   
 
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God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.   
 
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God grades on the cross, not the curve.
 
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God loves everyone,
But probably prefers ‘fruits of the spirit’ over ‘religious nuts!’
 
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God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage.
 
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He who angers you, controls you!   
 
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If God is your Co-pilot, swap seats!
   
 
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Prayer:
Don’t give God instructions, just report for duty!
   
 
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The task ahead of us is never as
great as the Power behind us.
 
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The Will of God never takes you to where the
Grace of God will not protect you.
   
 
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We don’t change the message,
The message changes us.
 
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You can tell how big a person is
By what it takes to discourage him/her.
 
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The best mathematical equation I have ever seen:
1 cross + 3 nails = 4given.

Bible Study

Entitlement 2 Thessalonians 3:6-12

The Bible is always relevant and our text for clarifies questions concerning welfare and entitlement. 
We live in the day of “Entitlement.”   Such is the cracked foundation of a socialistic governments.  I called it “Robin Hood Economics.”  The character, Robin Hood, robbed the rich and gave to the poor and became a hero to many people. 
The act of taking away from those who have rightfully earned (it matters not what you think about rich people, if they earned it or inherited it, it belongs to them!) and give to those who refuse to earn!  You have the “makers” and the “takers” in a perpetual war with one another. 
Let’s see what the Bible says about the subject.  Why is it so important to us in our day?  Because we have been given the same ideology through the years. 

Entitlement defined:  the condition of having the right to have, to do, or to get something.  The feeling or belief that you deserve to be given something.  A type of financial help provided by the government for members of a particular group.  (Merriam-Webster)

Socialism is a slow, creeping plague that begins slowly but brings a nation down quickly in the end. 

1.  Why, because a “welfare state” cannot work.  Fully socialistic nations have proven this beyond a doubt.  We have a hybrid “capitalistic-socialistic” state or nation.  While a little more stable for a while, it will eventually become unsustainable.  I do not want this to become a political lesson but the subject matter is important enough that God dealt with it. 

2.  As the dependent population grows, the productive population begins to decline and you end up with more takers than makers.  You must begin borrowing money to feed the poor who will not work and, at that time, you have crossed the line.  Eventually, money must be borrowed to sustain the economy and the economy begins to collapse. 

Now, let us take the text to its context: Paul is writing to a local church.

1.  I watch a local church in our city who has a “food bank” giving out free groceries all the time.  On a certain day of the week or month, they bag up free food for all who come.  The church parking lot is full of people who will not attend that church.  It is also full of people who live off welfare and food stamps!

2.  People call the church all the time asking for money for food, gas, utilities, etc. and I question them thoroughly.  Very few ever get help because they have family or other sources from which to get help.

What does the Bible say about entitlement?  Nothing! 

1.  We have seen the bumper sticker that says that the Christian’s “retirement is out of this world.”  Heaven is not going to be saved people sitting on the bank of the River of Life with their feet dangling in the water while talking or just doing nothing. 

2.  I have often said that heaven will be a busy place and this eternal earth will be busy also.  God did not make man to just do nothing but eat and sleep.

F.  What does God have for us?

1.  God established the principle of labor before the Fall.  In Genesis, chapter 2, before the fall, God gave Adam a job!  Genesis 2:15  And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.  (In the perfection and innocence of the Garden of Eden, God established the principle of work.  Adam did not get a “free ride.”  I do not know exactly what needed to be done in the utopia called “The Garden of Eden,” but Adam had a specific work to do.)

2.  The Command of Labor.  In Genesis, chapter 3, after the fall, God gave commandment that a man is to work for a living.  This was not the establishment of a Biblical principle but a clear Biblical command to work.  Genesis 3:19  In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.  (Not only was the man to work, he was to work hard [sweat] and long [till thou return unto the ground].)

3.  The Satisfaction of Labor.  Psalms 128:2  For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.  (Someone said that if you work a job, in about two weeks, you will suddenly come into some money.  I can honestly say that all that we have ever had came through hard and continual work.)

4.  The Sleep of Labor.  Ecclesiastes 5:12  The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.  (You do not have to rock hard working men and women to sleep at night!)

5.  The Mindset of Laziness.  Proverbs 26:13-16  The slothful man saith, There is a lion in the way; a lion is in the streets.  (14)  As the door turneth upon his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed.  (15)  The slothful hideth his hand in his bosom; it grieveth him to bring it again to his mouth.  (16)  The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason.  (A man who will not work has more excuses for not working that “Carter has little pills.”  Constantly turning in one’s bed is because he/she has slept enough and needs to get up and go to work.)

6.  The Curse of Laziness.  Proverbs 24:30-31  I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding;  (31)  And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.  (A lazy person takes no pride in their home!  The condition of what they have is a reflection of their character.)

7.  The Poverty of Laziness.  Proverbs 24:32-34  Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction.  (33)  Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:  (34)  So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.  (Poverty comes slowly but surely to those who are too lazy to work a job.)

8.  The Cure of Laziness.  Proverbs 20:4  The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.  (He may beg but deserves to go hungry!)

1 Timothy 5:8  But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

2 Thessalonians 3:10-11  For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.  (11)  For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.

Wade’s Wednesday

When Death Becomes Birth

by Max Lucado

You live one final breath from your own funeral. Which, from God’s perspective, is nothing to grieve. He responds to these grave facts with this great news: “A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth.” (Eccles. 7:1).

Now there is a twist. Heaven enjoys a maternity-ward reaction to funerals. Angels watch body burials the same way grandparents monitor delivery-room doors. “He’ll be coming through any minute!” They can’t wait to see the new arrival. While we’re driving hearses and wearing black, they’re hanging pink and blue streamers and passing out cigars. We don’t grieve when babies enter the world. The hosts of heaven don’t weep when we leave it.

Oh, but many of us weep at the thought of death. Do you? Do you dread your death? And is your dread of death robbing your joy of life? Jesus came to “deliver those who have lived all their lives as slaves to the fear of dying”.

Your death may surprise you and sadden others, but heaven knows no untimely death: You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

Dread of death ends when you know heaven is your true home. In all my air travels I’ve never seen one passenger weep when the plane landed. Never. No one clings to the armrests and begs, “Don’t make me leave. Don’t make me leave. Let me stay and eat more peanuts.” We’re willing to exit because the plane has no permanent mailing address. Nor does this world. But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.

Why don’t you do this: give God your death. Imagine your last breath, envision your final minutes, and offer them to him. Deliberately. Regularly. “Lord, I receive your work on the cross and in your resurrection. I entrust you with my departure from earth.” With Christ as your friend and heaven as your home, the day of death becomes sweeter than the day of birth.

Tuesday With Karen

by Karen Icenhour

Put It In God’s Hand

Put it in God’s hand, in everything you may face,

Rest assured, you’ll be lead by His amazing grace;

So when you are weak with things going wrong,

Just His holy presence will make your spirit strong!

Put it in God’s hand, whatever life brings your way,

You’ll find peace as He leads in what to do & say;

There are no errors in anything He has done,

No mistakes in God’s handiwork, no, not one!

Put it in God’s hand, when you have a special need,

There’s nothing God’s able hand cannot meet;

Our heart may get concerned, then worry & fret,

But there’s not one need God hasn’t answered yet!

Put it in God’s hand, & leave it there to stay,

We are so much wiser to let Him lead the way;

Yes, we’ll see our life go so much better,

If we let Him have His way altogether!

 

J.H. Jowett’s Daily Meditation

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THE HANDFUL OF MEAL

WHAT marvelous “coincidences” are prepared by Providential grace! The poor widow is unconsciously ordained to entertain the prophet! The ravens will be guided to the brook Cherith! “I have commanded them to feed thee there.” Our road is full of surprises. We see the frowning, precipitous hill, and we fear it, but when we arrive at its base we find a refreshing spring! The Lord of the way had gone before the pilgrim. “I go to prepare … for you.”

But how strange that a widow with only “a handful of meal” should be “commanded” to offer hospitality! It is once again “the impossible” which is set before us. It would have been a dull commonplace to have fed the prophet from the overflowing larder of the rich man’s palace. But to work from an almost empty cupboard! That is the surprising way of the Lord. He delights to hang great weights on apparently slender wires, to have great events turn on seeming trifles, and to make poverty the minister of “the indescribable riches of Christ.”

The poor widow sacrificed her “handful of meal,” and received an unfailing supply. And this, too, is the way of the Lord.

“Whatever, Lord, we lend to Thee, Repaid a thousand fold will be.”

Be Angry And Sin Not

By Adrian Rogers

Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” Ephesians 4:26

God’s Word tells us to be “slow to wrath” (Proverbs 14:29, James 1:19). There’s nothing that will do more damage to your relationships than unwanted, unwarranted anger. If you are given to anger, let me tell you a couple of things the Bible says, and it won’t be flattering.

First, the Bible says you are foolish. Ecclesiastes 7:9 says, “For anger resteth in the bosom of fools.”

Second, you have a weak character. Proverbs 16:32 says, “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.”

Uncontrolled anger is like throwing a rock into a wasp’s nest.

Do you have a short fuse? If so, confess it to the Lord. Don’t let Satan get a stronghold in your life. If you get angry today, ask yourself, “What need is not being met?” Give that need to the Lord

The call to holiness is easy to ignore in a world which lives by much different standards. Satan gets us to compare our lifestyle with those around us, deluding us into devaluing our sins in comparison to others.

But the issue is not comparison shopping our sin; the issue is a thankful heart that has been cleansed by the Holy Spirit and saved by grace.

Ignoring, or toning down, the Spirit’s call for holiness is rejecting God. Let’s be passionate about holiness in our lives, both because it is what God wants and also because it is what we should seek.

From the messages of Adrian Rogers.© 2015 Used by permission of
Love Worth Finding Ministries  PO Box 38300  Memphis, TN 38183-0300

KINDNESS

Daily Deeds of Kindness

By Max Lucado

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”Matthew 5:16

In the final days of Jesus’ life, he shared a meal with his friends Lazarus, Martha, and Mary. Within the week he would feel the sting of the Roman whip, the point of the thorny crown, and the iron of the executioner’s nail. But on this evening, he felt the love of three friends.

For Mary, however, giving the dinner was not enough. “Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment.” (John 12:3). . . .

Judas criticized the deed as wasteful. Not Jesus. He received the gesture as an extravagant demonstration of love, a friend surrendering her most treasured gift. As Jesus hung on the cross, we wonder, Did he detect the fragrance on his skin?

Follow Mary’s example.

There is an elderly man in your community who just lost his wife. An hour of your time would mean the world to him.

Some kids in your city have no dad. No father takes them to movies or baseball games. Maybe you can. They can’t pay you back. They can’t even afford the popcorn or sodas. But they’ll smile like a cantaloupe slice at your kindness.

Or how about this one? Down the hall from your bedroom is a person who shares your last name. Shock that person with kindness. Something outlandish. Your homework done with no complaints. Coffee served before he awakens. A love letter written to her for no special reason. Alabaster poured, just because.

Daily do a deed for which you cannot be repaid.  (from Great Day Every Day)

Precious Savior, we pass people every day who need a demonstration of your love. May we search for ways to show extravagant gestures of gracious love, and outlandish acts of kindness. Make us people who set a goal of doing daily deeds for which we cannot be repaid. Set our hearts on fire for people who do not know you. Consume us with compassion for the desperate and downtrodden. Let us pour our lives out in love . . . just because, amen.

Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart…I Peter 1:22

From He Chose the Nails by Max Lucado UpWords from Max Lucado (©2016 by Crosswalk.com)