This time of the year seems to bring out the best in most people. Perhaps they modify their behavior because they don’t want to be associated with a “Scrooge” type personality. Although it is wonderful to see kindness demonstrated, unfortunately, it is not as common as it once was and should be - the world actually needs more. What the world really needs to see is something greater. Something more profound. Something beyond the norm. Something beyond expected - they need to see God, and the only way that will happen is through those who know him.
Recently, I read a story in the news of a Texas State Trooper who stopped a vehicle for a moving violation. It was during the stop that he came to realize the family had just suffered a loss and was grieving. This left the officer with some options. He could let them go (considering their circumstances), he could let them off with a warning, or naturally he could give them a citation. Any of these would be appropriate, and the judgment of the patrolman would be supported (after all he is only doing his job). Fortunately, for this family, the officer did more. He looked beyond the expected, the anticipated, the feared, and boldly asked the family a question that completely caught them off guard. In his mind, he totally dismissed the traffic issue, looked beyond it, and saw what they really needed. It was then that he asked them to “pray” with him. That’s right. You read correctly, he asked them if he could pray for their circumstances, for God to relieve them of their grief. Naturally, they were shocked, but they agreed. As they drove away, I wonder what was going through their mind? Perhaps in their distress, they reasoned this as God’s way of comforting them by letting them know at this painful time, they were not alone. As for the officer, I’m sure he felt he was just doing his duty. Not only as an officer, but as a child of God who knew what that family really needed.
This is the way the world will come to know God - through the hearts of his people. As you enter this new year, look for ways to help those around you to see God, in a most wonderful way.
Blessings to you in the coming New Year.
I want to thank all who have faithfully read my “From the Heart of Lamar” blog. It has been an interesting year. We faced adversity, heartaches, disappointments, setbacks and joy among other things. It is by God’s grace and mercy that we are still here as 2019 begins to roll up, and a new year is ushered in. We have much to be thankful for. My prayer is that your house has undergone a refocused change, as we camped out amongst our 2019 theme, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
The question of the hour is, just what does 2020 hold in store for us? What we do in the new year, and who we are, prayerfully, will reflect the God we serve. A better question for 2020 is “What can I do in 2020 to serve God in a greater way?” How can I lead my family, as its head, into a stronger & more vibrant relationship with Jesus? What selfish ways must I give up that stand between me and God? What sins do I harbor in my heart that prevent me from being all that God created me to be? There are many questions to be asked concerning 2020. God knows our hearts and intentions. My prayer is that we as a family will put our hand to the plow and do all we can in the vineyard of our God. We have done some good work that we all should be very proud of; however the work isn’t over; there is still much to be done. So, let us labor for the master until our work on earth is completed.
I believe and am convinced there is what I consider “a best kept secret in Port Huron,” and that is our congregation. It is time to remove the wraps and let the city get to know us and experience the love of Christ through us so they too can join us as together we all offer ourselves to God in worship. I pray you will join our mission to reach the city with whatever talents God has given you. It can be done. It will be done, and God has placed us all in this time and space to fulfill his will. So, let us be about our Father’s business in 2020. The city is crying for our help and compassion, let’s do all we can to answer. Have a blessed Christmas with your family, and a Happy New Year.
If there is one personality characteristic in short supply in society today, humility would be among those at the top of the list. We live in a time where aggressiveness is taught, and the thinking is perpetuated, that the only way to get what you want or make it to the top, is by forcing your way there. Perhaps it is for this very reason it is so important to God that his children exemplify a “spirit of humility.”
The challenge of humility is that it is often misinterpreted as weakness, when in fact, to be intentionally humble takes more courage, self-discipline, and strength than a mean aggressive personality could ever muster. Humility is the guide of our attitude and offers restraint in moments when we, as believers, begin to come unraveled by external circumstances. Humility quiets us and refocuses our attention on the will of God in our lives, and our service to HIM. Did I mention this is not particular easy? Neither was being beaten and hung on a cross, but Our Example did this and exhibited an air of humility. As I sit here, it is still hard to believe he did all of that for US.
Just by its definition, we can see the destruction of a life unguarded by humility. One of the definitions of humility in the dictionary says it leads us into a freedom from arrogance and pride. Could the silver bullet in the wisdom of God (by demanding humility from us), be to save us from being overtaken by arrogance and pride? No doubt it’s that same pride that Proverbs 16:18 says comes before a fall. According to James 4:10 if we want to be lifted up, we must “humble ourselves” before the LORD, and HE will lift us up. We’ll talk more about this next week. This week, as we go about our life, let’s be mindful to do it in a spirit of humility, and honor our Heavenly Father.
So often in Bible class we walk across territory that speaks to us through a megaphone. As we look at the landscape of America, it is easy to see the degradation everywhere. Just recently the beloved Hallmark channel announced future broadcasts will include homosexual relationships. For all the Hallmark watchers, this is a huge disappointment. One of the main reasons for watching Hallmark for me has been, although the plots were “shallow,” the content of the shows were “G-rated.” Now, Hallmark is selling out and jumping on the bandwagon with the rest. This is just another example of the shift in society. Little by little the broad way to hell widens, as the gate to heaven seemingly narrows.
That brings me to what began this discussion; the impact of the world pressing into the church- or so it seems. As we discussed it Wednesday, Paul (doing an excellent job teaching) brought up that perhaps we are not looking at the picture correctly. After he explained his thought, it was easy to see why the church looks at this issue the way we do. If we accept the root cause for what is happening in the church is the degradation of society, we get to place the blame on someone else. Paul (Bush not the apostle) was quick to point out the fallacy of that thinking and challenged the class to take another approach to the problem. Paul called out the church, or more succinctly the lifestyle of those professing to be Christians and pointed the finger at US. That’s right. It is not the world pressing in on us, but our reluctance to rid our lives of the immorality, and evil of the world. In our own quiet way, we are attempting to have one foot in Christ, and the other in the world. This especially comes to light when the secret door is opened, lives are exposed and truth falls out. Paul (the apostle not Bush) admonished the church over and over again against these things, saying ”these things should not be.” We will never please God with the type of attitude that produces this life choice. Constantly, we seek to fool man, but in the end, we end up only fooling and embarrassing ourselves, because regardless how hard we try we cannot fool God. It’s time we all took a hard look at who we are in Christ, and FULLY surrender our lives to the one who died to save us.
As we enter the final month of 2019, traditionally, this is about the time when I sit down and ponder what I accomplished this year. What went well, what didn’t quite go so well. The heartaches, frustrations, and disappointments. The victories and the defeats. One thing is consistent, is that each year contains all of the above- it is just the number of each that changes. In the end, I always conclude the same. Life is never the way you plan it. Along the way there are many unforeseen events, diagnoses, and actions that were never considered when the plan for the year was being formulated. All of these things once again remind me, there is a God and I am not he. All the things that constantly change are the things of this world, while the things of heaven that we read about, never change. Only God knows what will be, and when it will be- we are powerless over such things. Therefore, it is important that we learn to follow HIM, seek HIS ways, and to focus on the lasting things that HE says to focus on. The one fact that constantly stares me in the face is James 4:14 that reminds us, our lives are but a vapor- how true. I guess that is why I struggle to see why so many live their lives as though there is no eternity, and that they are going to live here forever.
So what did I learn from 2019? That it, like every other year that preceded it, is unpredictable and we MUST trust God in ALL things.
What about you? What are your reflections of this year? Did you accomplish the goals that you set out to accomplish? Did you do anything that required a sacrifice from you beyond your comfort zone, for the benefit of the kingdom of God? Did you set spiritual goals for yourself this year? Did you reach those goals?
As you reflect on what the year meant to you, I want to encourage you to spiritually challenge yourself. To use whatever time you have on this earth to make a significant difference for the kingdom of God, to bring others to Christ, and lastly to ensure when your time on this earth is up, that others will see the great spiritual legacy that you left behind. We still have four more weeks of 2019, do something wonderful; there is still time.