Try To Take A Moment

 

I received a letter from someone last week. It was a hand written letter. In this age of word processors, computers, and emails, a written letter has become a rarity indeed. And that was one of the things that struck me about the letter.

It was a wonderful letter in regards to its content. Most of the communications that I receive are…actually very nice. (I do receive communications that are not so nice, but I try to handle them with a sincere sense of maturity…which is why I shred them immediately)

But what struck me was that the author…“took the time” to write his thoughts out and share them with me. He committed something that people don’t often give up these days: Time.

And the simplicity and the tone of his letter was a source of encouragement. But it was even more encouraging that he cared enough to communicate in a format that is labor intensive.

I know that it doesn’t seem like a lot, but Romans 12: 6-8 says: We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

Without being too spiritual, this person took the time to write out a letter. And the results were that God used him (unknown to him) as a gift of encouragement for me. So…Slow Down! God will use you to be a blessing to others. If you take the time…

3rd Excerpt from Section: “My Testimony”

CHURCH DISAPPOINTMENT? HIS APPOINTMENT!: Why God’s Plan for You…Involved a Painful Church Experience by David Spoon

3rd Excerpt from Section: “My Testimony”

The greatest thing I remember about that, besides three hours of Hebrew and three hours of English a day (enough to drive any kid to drugs, which we’ll get to in a minute), is that they didn’t have a gym; they had a blacktop. Our gym was a blacktop. Do you know how much fun that was? Going from a school that cost millions of dollars with a beautiful gym, landscaping, and facilities, and then switch to Hillel… and their gym was a blacktop? There was no grass or anything; it was tough.

When I went to go for my bar mitzvah, it just so happened that a rabbi came in from Great Britain at the same time, so the place (Shari Zedek) was packed. When I did my haftorah (which was my reading of the portion), there were hundreds upon hundreds of people. My first time ever speaking in public, when I’m doing my haftorah, there was like… a bazillion people present (Okay, not a bazillion… but it sure felt like it). By the way, when you are a Jewish kid growing up in Hebrew School, all you hear about are the kids who faint when they do their haftorah. The warnings go around school for years, like legends echoing across generations. “You don’t want to faint. You don’t want to faint.”

Well…That's Good!

 

God brought all of us to the gospel. The word “Gospel” means good news. That’s what God brings to us. Good.

Take a look around you. If you watch television, listen to the radio, search the Internet or read magazines, the one thing that you will notice is that there is very little gospel or good news in the world.

In fact, there is fear, terror, anxiety, doubt, and doom from the world. Here is the kicker: If we are experiencing these dis-eases in our lives, then it is very likely that we are allowing the fowl influences of this world to affect us.

But Jesus brought us a different slant on life. In John 14:27, He said “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid”.

When we live our lives more freely from trouble, it means that we are walking more closely with the King of Kings. He wants us to be free from fear and trouble. So the question is…how are our hearts doing? Are we free or are we in bondage? Jesus came to set the captives free.

In Psalm 112:7, King David writes; He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD. We need to be free from troubled and fearful hearts. We need to be under the influence of the Gospel. We need to be under the influence…of God. That’s good!

2nd Excerpt from Section: “My Testimony”

CHURCH DISAPPOINTMENT? HIS APPOINTMENT!: Why God’s Plan for You…Involved a Painful Church Experience by David Spoon

2nd Excerpt from Section: “My Testimony”

I grew up in Southfield, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. We lived on a street called Catalina. Our house was a typical four bedroom with a classic basement. The basement was where we played for hours and hours. It had a hard floor with four different rooms, including the laundry room. We would roller skate, play “Adam-Twelve” with our guns, and throw stuff down the laundry chute from the top level and watch it collide with the floor. I had friends living in houses all around ours. It was a clean neighborhood with “quality” people and little crime. Initially, I attended a new elementary school called “Adler.” I started my educational endeavors the first year that it opened and was in the first graduating class that went from kindergarten all the way through sixth grade.

4th Excerpt from Section: “The Compassion of God”

CHURCH DISAPPOINTMENT? HIS APPOINTMENT!: Why God’s Plan for You…Involved a Painful Church Experience by David Spoon

4th Excerpt from Section: “The Compassion of God”

God knew my heart at that moment. It was not one of pride, but one of resoluteness. I was determined to finish this Christian journey that I started, but not with the spirit of Saul, Laban, or Judas. My name is David, and I will follow the example of my name’s sake. The Lord is my Shepherd.

After the phone call, my head was spinning. I had to evaluate what my life had been so far and seek God’s wisdom for what my life would become. But there was a stumbling block. I was mad at God. I know I’m not supposed to be, or even allowed to be. But I was. Me and Job! Yes, he did great for two chapters, but then fell in the commode from chapter three to chapter thirty-one. He cursed the day he was born. I did not do that. He wished he had been a stillborn child. I did not do that. He was mad because he felt that he was just and justified. Okay, so I did do that. But I didn’t curse the day of my birth; I cursed the day I met Ken.

Is It Just Me?

 

Have you ever felt like God will do something for others before He will do something for you? I have. In Bible study, I was sharing with everybody how earlier in the week, I had prayed for my leg. For some unknown reason (Like jogging on Sunday morning) my leg was sore on Sunday afternoon and into the evening.

I decided to rest my body until Tuesday. During my devotional time on Tuesday, while I was in the midst of enthusiastic prayer, I shouted at my leg “Be healed”. And …it wasn’t.  So, I asked God why I didn’t get healed.

I believe in Hebrews 13:8, Galatians 3:5, Mark 16:16-20, and James 5, and I have participated in prayer for the sick with incredible results. But that didn’t matter because there I was. Sore leg and all. Not healed.

I believe the Lord was trying to teach me something that morning. But I am a stubborn student. Sorry God. I’m not in the habit of “receiving”. I’m not sure how it is for everyone else, but I can really muster up faith to believe that God loves people and wants to touch people. Other people.

But it’s harder to believe that same truth…for myself. I’m a poor receiver. Why am I a poor receiver? Because just like many of you, I let the enemy condemn me as an unworthy receiver. And being unworthy translates into “nor happening for me”.

Here’s the funny thing. No one is worthy. And God heals people to confirm His love and His truth. Not a person’s worthiness. Ain’t that something! I need to believe God’s Truth, and nothing else.

1st Excerpt from Section: “My Testimony”

CHURCH DISAPPOINTMENT? HIS APPOINTMENT!: Why God’s Plan for You…Involved a Painful Church Experience by David Spoon

1st Excerpt from Section: “My Testimony”

Below, you will find my humorous take on what must have occurred in heaven on the day of my entrance into human existence.

There was a great stillness in the throne room. The time was approaching. No angel dared speak above a whisper.

The Master was watching carefully. Months of waiting were coming to an end. It was December 3rd, 1961… almost 9:19 AM.

Noelski spoke softly to his closest companion, Lopchiver. “It’s almost time.”

He nodded in agreement, adding in a fatigued tone, “Yes. This has been one of our tougher cases.”

“Why do you think these ones are so stubborn?”

“It’s in their nature.”

Holy …And Holes Too!

 

In the gospel of John, chapter 14, verse 30, Jesus made reference to the prince of the world. He said “he has no hold on me”.

One of the greatest characteristics of Jesus was his resistance and opposition to Satan and his sinister activities.

Many of us who have been walking with the Lord have been challenged to walk more like Jesus on an ongoing basis by the Holy Spirit. This includes taking a stand against the enemy in our lives. (2Corinthians 3:18)

Jesus had no “holes” in His life in which the enemy could manipulate Him. He didn’t give the prince of the world an “opening” of continual sin or rebellion in His life.

The reason was simple. The enemy manipulates us by entering through these areas of sin and darkness in our lives that we leave open. And tears us.

Jesus came to destroy the works of the enemy. (1John 3:8) If we have “holes” or “openings”, Jesus can plug them up and heal us from them. (John 10:10)

We are challenged (everyone) to be set free from the issues in our lives that keep us in bondage. Bondage makes life hard, but Jesus said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light”.

3rd Excerpt from Section: “The Compassion of God”

CHURCH DISAPPOINTMENT? HIS APPOINTMENT!: Why God’s Plan for You…Involved a Painful Church Experience by David Spoon

3rd Excerpt from Section: “The Compassion of God”

And He has promised (although we seem to fail in seeing this) that He will never leave us, nor forsake us. No matter how it looks or feels. He is true. And He will never lose what He has determined to choose, and that’s you. You are in an eternally loving relationship that cannot die, ever! No matter what stupid thing we do, say, think, feel, from whatever or whoever! God will not tolerate separation between Him and His kids any longer. That’s why most of our grief drives us back into His loving arms. Because He knows what it will take for you and Him to stay connected. And He wants that. Above all else. This whole concept of a Christian life is not about a perfect, holy existence. It’s not about rules and regulations. It’s about a living relationship with a living God. It’s about restoring what was lost in the Garden of Eden. It’s about hanging with God. Forever and ever.

That’s His plan. To spend eternity with people who love Him. And for Him to spend eternity with those He loves… And likes. Likes too? Let me ask you, would you spend eternity with someone you didn’t like? That would sound a lot closer to Hell than to Heaven in my book. How about yours?

It’s time to get back to the happening…

Running On Empty

Tell me if you can relate to this:

Jonah believes in God. Jonah is called by God. Jonah knows his mission for God, but instead of facing it, he runs away.

Running. It’s great if it involves exercise. Jogging can be good for you physically and psychologically. But most of us use running in a different fashion. And we are in good company.

King David was defined as “A man after God’s heart.” But he too wanted to run away from time to time. Psalm 55:6 says “Oh that I had wings like a dove. I would fly away and be at rest.”

We all feel this way, depending on the month, week, day, hour or second. The question is…why do we want to run?

For some people, the answer is laziness. For others, the answer is fear. (Fear of failure or fear of success, either one) For others, the reason is a lack of being in personal control.

But for most of us, the answer is…we are looking for a Fresh Start.

A “Do life over” opportunity.

What we are sadly too unaware of is that …every morning that we wake up is a potential “Do life over” opportunity or a Fresh Start day.

And we don’t have to move to another country to get it going.

We have to move our thinking.

All we need to do…is use the truth. In Revelations 21:5, God says “I am making everything new!” The key is be connected to God in order to participate in the newness of life He promises. And the promise…is in the perfect present tense. The continual action of: Now. Wow!