"...and I will dwell in the House of the LORD forever!"

Monday, May 30, 2011

Message in a Bottle?

Children have crazy ideas. Through their innocence and ignorance of life, they come up with hopeless tasks they believe are feasible. On this list of "cute" ideas, right next to digging a hole to China lies sending a message in a bottle. Children idolize the concept of placing a message in a bottle, dropping it in the ocean, and seeing who finds it. Now, little do they realize that oceans cover 71% of the Earth's surface, and the only "recipient" of the message is probably a whale looking for an afternoon snack, but it's the thought that counts! However on the Curonian Spit, a 60 mile stretch of sand running through Lithuania and Russia, a child's dream came true.

Danill Korotkikh, a 13 year old Russian teenager, saw the bottle glistening in the sand when he was walking on the beach with his parents. He opened up the bottle and read the message, "My name is Frank, and I'm five years old. My dad and I are travelling on a ship to Denmark. If you find this letter, please write back to me, and I will write back to you." The letter dating back to 1987 even included a return address in Coesfeld, Germany. Daniel looked up the address and found the "author", Frank Vesbeck, who is now 29 years old. Several weeks ago Korotkikh and Uesbeck met each other for the first time over an Internet Skype session. Uesbeck was amazed that the letter was actually found, and thrilled that he made a "positive impact" on a young person so far away. Uesbeck even said, "Who knows, perhaps one day we will actually be able to arrange a meeting in person."

It's a neat story, but it really opens our eyes as Christians. The media went to great lengths to cover a story of a message in a bottle. After the connection was made, the author gloated, "I made a positive impact!" How? Did he include godly advice? Did he offer solutions for the problems of life? No, he simply said "Write me back!" Not necessarily "life changing" counsel. As Christians, we've received a message in a bottle called the Bible, and this message truly makes a positive impact; it paves the paths to salvation.

With excitement, Uesbeck said, "Perhaps one day we will meet in person." For followers of Christ, we wait with faith for that day when we will meet the author and editor of the Bible face to face. But before that "meeting" takes place, make sure to open the "bottle" and obey the message!

Monday, May 16, 2011

"You're an Easy Target!"

Since the beginning of time, theft has been a common aspect of life. Humans love to take what isn't theirs. This week I read an interesting article that discussed ways we become "easy targets" for thieves. Some of the ways are very common and easy to solve, but the statistics are alarming. The article said that 50% of "break-ins" aren't "break-ins", but "walk-ins". 43% of American households don't lock their doors! Something as simple as keeping all doors and windows locked will cut down on half of the home robberies. Also, leaving the garage open is a huge detriment to keeping your possessions safe. Obviously, thieves can steal your possessions in the garage, but since the theives can't be seen from the street, they wait for the opportune time to break in the house. However, the article mentioned one of the biggest causes of theft I had never considered, Facebook. That's right. When you inform the world "What's On Your Mind" with exciting vacation plans, theives read them and can't wait for you to get out of town! The article recommended leaving inexpensive kids' toys on the lawn and sharing news of your vacation when you return.

But Satan, the wisest thief who steals the Christian soul, can view us as an "Easy Target" if we aren't extremely careful. If you're guilty of these poor spiritual "habits", you're inviting Satan into your life to take whatever he wants.

1) Failing to study the Word (When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by Satan, each time Jesus combated Satan's schemes with "It is written." Do you know what's "written"? If you don't, Satan will come right in and steal your salvation.)

2) Forgetting to pray (James wrote in James 4:7-8, "...Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you." How can you resist the devil and come near to God the Father if you don't communicate with Him? Through the name of Jesus Christ, speak with Almighty God multiple times a day!)

3) "Forsaking the assembly" (One hour a week is NOT enough to fight the power of Satan. EVERY time the church opens its doors you need to be there. If you don't surround yourself with God's people, Satan will surround you!)

It was Peter who said, "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8) Satan is searching, and Satan is ready to steal. Make sure you're not an "Easy Target!"

Monday, May 9, 2011

"The Longest 40 Minutes of My Life!"

Have you ever wanted to be a "fly on the wall"? I'm sure it would have been an experience to be in the White House last week when President Obama ordered the Navy Seals to take out Osama bin Laden. When Obama was interviewed on "60 Minutes", Obama said, "It was the longest 40 minutes of my life!" He used words like "Nervous" and "Tense" to describe his feelings at the Command Post. It's understandable why he was so anxious--lives were at stake! Obama was dead on when he said, "...there would have been some serious consequences..." if the mission was a failure.

For some reason, Obama's comments about operation "Geronimo" made me think about the Day of Judgment. Will that promised "Day" seem like the longest 40 minutes of our lives? Just like the song says, "Many will meet their doom!" Should this make us nervous? Should we feel tense? We don't know how long our "Day in Court" will last on the Day of Judgment, when we stand before God and Jesus speaks in our defense as our mediator. I can only imagine that it will last longer than 40 minutes! However, for faithful followers of Jesus Christ, washed in the blood of the Lamb, it should be a day of excitement and peace. When the trumpets sound and Christ descends on a cloud of glory, it won't be the longest 40 minutes of our lives, because our lives will truly begin!

Are you ready for that day? If you aren't, there will be "serious consequences." And make no mistake--these consequences will last much longer than 40 minutes!

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Mother's Love

Mother's Day is a very special day. Children remember their mothers with homemade art, breakfast in bed, precious cards, and priceless memories. But as children remember their mothers on this day devoted to them, mothers remember their children with love only mothers can feel. They remember the first day of school; the first t-ball game; for some, when their children crossed the stage and received a diploma, or walked the aisle and entered into the joys of holy matrimony. However, there are a few details every mother remembers just like it was yesterday. She remembers the smell of the delivery room; the texture of that cheap hospital gown; the nerves in her stomach when the doctor said, "We're going to have this baby today"; but most of all, that moment when time stood still, when she heard that first cry, held that bundle of love in her arms and said, "I will love you forever." When I was searching for the love of my life, I desperately wanted to find a partner who would do just that. As I continually fall deeper in love with Natalie day by day, I see her love for our child and it's indescribable. She's already an exceptional mother.

A mother's love never dies. It doesn't matter how old or independent a child gets, a mother's child is always her "baby." But what's a mother's greatest gift? It's not the hours spent cooking or cleaning. It's not the willingness to always offer a hug or kind word. Make no mistake, these acts of love are building blocks that build great mothers, but they're still not her greatest gift. It's her faith. It's her confidence in the God of heaven and earth and in the word of the Lord that stands forever. There are many ways to diagnose a loving mother, and many books to aid good parenting, but none compare with a mother who feeds her family with faith!

Mothers, are you giving that gift? Your children are waiting!