If At First You Don’t Succeed…

Never give up Christian! You have already won!

artistdayapart

61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” 62 And he went outside and wept bitterly. (Luke 22:61-62 NIV)

TryAgain

Picture a hale and hearty Peter, with muscles bulging from hauling in huge nets full of fish.  This was a strong man with strong opinions, who was very confident in his ability to do what he set out to do.  And somehow he set out to follow Jesus with that same brashness and self-confidence.

Then his new world with Jesus began to fall apart. Yet he still remained bluff and determined.  In fact, at one point toward the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry, Peter had just said that he was ready to go to prison with or even to die for Him when Jesus predicted Peter’s denial. Before the rooster crows…

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Pastor Wrinkles: House On Fire Pt. 29

The Word of God is a bridge that connects Earth with Heaven and Heaven with Earth.- Joseph Elon Lillie

The Word of God is a bridge that connects Earth with Heaven and Heaven with Earth.- Joseph Elon Lillie

My sister is flying into Boston Logan from Schipol Amsterdam today. Even as you read this I may be on my way to pick her up for her Christmas holiday.

My own  weekend was a flurry of ministry and shoveling! But in betwixt the snowflakes, worship leading and the airport shuttle I have had time to put together this next class for your perusal.

I want to send a big thank you out to the thirteen of you who followed the last class. If anyone needs to catch up on past discussions they can be found here

http://wp.me/P39vIx-Gh

Here is today’s discussion topic from Acts 13:16-41:

16 So Paul stood, lifted his hand to quiet them, and started speaking. “Men of Israel,” he said, “and you God-fearing Gentiles, listen to me.

17 “The God of this nation of Israel chose our ancestors and made them multiply and grow strong during their stay in Egypt. Then with a powerful arm he led them out of their slavery. 18 He put up with them through forty years of wandering in the wilderness. 19 Then he destroyed seven nations in Canaan and gave their land to Israel as an inheritance. 20 All this took about 450 years.

“After that, God gave them judges to rule until the time of Samuel the prophet. 21 Then the people begged for a king, and God gave them Saul son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, who reigned for forty years. 22 But God removed Saul and replaced him with David, a man about whom God said, ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do.’

23 “And it is one of King David’s descendants, Jesus, who is God’s promised Savior of Israel! 24 Before he came, John the Baptist preached that all the people of Israel needed to repent of their sins and turn to God and be baptized. 25 As John was finishing his ministry he asked, ‘Do you think I am the Messiah? No, I am not! But he is coming soon—and I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the sandals on his feet.’

26 “Brothers—you sons of Abraham, and also you God-fearing Gentiles—this message of salvation has been sent to us!27 The people in Jerusalem and their leaders did not recognize Jesus as the one the prophets had spoken about. Instead, they condemned him, and in doing this they fulfilled the prophets’ words that are read every Sabbath. 28 They found no legal reason to execute him, but they asked Pilate to have him killed anyway.

29 “When they had done all that the prophecies said about him, they took him down from the cross and placed him in a tomb. 30 But God raised him from the dead! 31 And over a period of many days he appeared to those who had gone with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to the people of Israel.

32 “And now we are here to bring you this Good News. The promise was made to our ancestors, 33 and God has now fulfilled it for us, their descendants, by raising Jesus. This is what the second psalm says about Jesus:

‘You are my Son.
    Today I have become your Father.’

34 For God had promised to raise him from the dead, not leaving him to rot in the grave. He said, ‘I will give you the sacred blessings I promised to David.’ 35 Another psalm explains it more fully: ‘You will not allow your Holy One to rot in the grave.’ 36 This is not a reference to David, for after David had done the will of God in his own generation, he died and was buried with his ancestors, and his body decayed. 37 No, it was a reference to someone else—someone whom God raised and whose body did not decay.

38 “Brothers, listen! We are here to proclaim that through this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins.39 Everyone who believes in him is declared right with God—something the law of Moses could never do. 40 Be careful! Don’t let the prophets’ words apply to you. For they said,

41 ‘Look, you mockers,
    be amazed and die!
For I am doing something in your own day,
    something you wouldn’t believe
    even if someone told you about it.’”

As you read list five things you notice about Paul’s address. How is Paul using the Old Testament references here?

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Alone

cees-fun-foto

Cee has given us a great photo challenge this week with the word alone!

http://ceenphotography.com/2013/12/10/cees-fun-foto-challenge-alone/

My blogging time over the last two months  has been extremely limited and I have had to curtail my writing to about 10 minutes daily (it’s good  I had a bunch of material written ahead).  That said this topic was so good I just couldn’t pass it up; So I have managed to carve out a few spare minutes to create a new picture post from the topic.

"Ah, look at all the lonely people Ah, look at all the lonely people Eleanor Rigby picks up the rice in the church where a wedding has been, Lives in a dream Waits at the window, wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door Who is it for? All the lonely people Where do they all come from? All the lonely people Where do they all belong? Father Mckenzie writing the words of a sermon that no one will hear No one comes near. Look at him working, darning his socks in the night when there's nobody there What does he care? All the lonely people Where do they all come from? All the lonely people Where do they all belong? Ah, look at all the lonely people Ah, look at all the lonely people Eleanor Rigby died in the church and was buried along with her name Nobody came Father Mckenzie wiping the dirt from his hands as he walks from the grave No one was saved All the lonely people (ah, look at all the lonely people) Where do they all come from? All the lonely people (ah, look at all the lonely people) Where do they all belong?" John Lennon, Paul MCCartney

“Ah, look at all the lonely people
Ah, look at all the lonely people
Eleanor Rigby picks up the rice in the church where a wedding has been,
Lives in a dream
Waits at the window, wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door
Who is it for?
All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?…
 John Lennon, Paul MCCartney

Father Mckenzie writing the words of a sermon that no one will hear No one comes near. Look at him working, darning his socks in the night when there's nobody there What does he care? All the lonely people Where do they all come from? All the lonely people Where do they all belong? Ah, look at all the lonely people Ah, look at all the lonely people  John Lennon, Paul MCCartney

Father Mckenzie writing the words of a sermon that no one will hear
No one comes near.
Look at him working, darning his socks in the night when there’s nobody there
What does he care?
All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?
Ah, look at all the lonely people
Ah, look at all the lonely people…
John Lennon, Paul MCCartney

The idea of  being alone communicates sadness and even fear to many people. Yet in a certain sense we are never alone. Jesus said, ” I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Ma 28:20 KJV

So if we choose to acknowledge Christ’s presence being alone transforms itself from a lack to an advantage…the power of one, if you will.

“I learned that in each of us there burns a flame of independence that must never be allowed to go out. That as long as it exists within us we cannot be destroyed.”  ― Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

“I learned that in each of us there burns a flame of independence that must never be allowed to go out. That as long as it exists within us we cannot be destroyed.”
― Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

That stubborn streak many of us call independence (which I really think is best displayed as a cooperative dependence on God) is what makes aloneness a power rather than a weakness.
Don’t get me wrong. You won’t find a bigger advocate for the necessity of community but when it comes right down to it there are certain places you can only go alone.
Every man must do two things alone; he must do his own believing and his own dying. Martin Luther

Every man must do two things alone; he must do his own believing and his own dying.
Martin Luther

Ultimately it is in these alone places, where we discover ourselves separated from all other human comapnionship, that we find out just how much we have come to rely on the One solitary life that was given so we might never truly walk alone.

One Solitary Life He was born in an obscure village  The child of a peasant woman  He grew up in another obscure village  Where he worked in a carpenter shop  Until he was thirty  He never wrote a book  He never held an office  He never went to college  He never visited a big city  He never travelled more than two hundred miles  From the place where he was born  He did none of the things  Usually associated with greatness  He had no credentials but himself  He was only thirty three  His friends ran away  One of them denied him  He was turned over to his enemies  And went through the mockery of a trial  He was nailed to a cross between two thieves  While dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing  The only property he had on earth  When he was dead  He was laid in a borrowed grave  Through the pity of a friend  Nineteen centuries have come and gone  And today Jesus is the central figure of the human race  And the leader of mankind's progress  All the armies that have ever marched  All the navies that have ever sailed  All the parliaments that have ever sat  All the kings that ever reigned put together  Have not affected the life of mankind on earth  As powerfully as that one solitary life  Dr James Allan © 1926.

One Solitary Life
He was born in an obscure village
The child of a peasant woman
He grew up in another obscure village
Where he worked in a carpenter shop
Until he was thirty
He never wrote a book
He never held an office
He never went to college
He never visited a big city
He never travelled more than two hundred miles
From the place where he was born
He did none of the things
Usually associated with greatness
He had no credentials but himself
He was only thirty three
His friends ran away
One of them denied him
He was turned over to his enemies
And went through the mockery of a trial
He was nailed to a cross between two thieves
While dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing
The only property he had on earth
When he was dead
He was laid in a borrowed grave
Through the pity of a friend
Nineteen centuries have come and gone
And today Jesus is the central figure of the human race
And the leader of mankind’s progress
All the armies that have ever marched
All the navies that have ever sailed
All the parliaments that have ever sat
All the kings that ever reigned put together
Have not affected the life of mankind on earth
As powerfully as that one solitary life
Dr James Allan © 1926.

Win a FREE Autographed Copy of The Man in the Box

Take a gander at this!

adoptingjames

My book, The Man in the Box has maintained a near-perfect star rating on Amazon.com and I was 1 of 100 Kentucky-based authors to showcase it at the prestigious  Kentucky Book Fair last month (alongside mystery writer Sue Grafton, and Cardinal’s coach Rick Pitino).

Yeah, it’s kind of a big deal.

The second edition will be available to buy early next year.

And ten lucky people will receive a free autographed copy before its big re-release. Here’s how you can win:

…Wait. You’re probably wondering what it’s about.

Fair enough. It’s a suspense-charged story about an average family man who discovers a new world inside a cardboard box. The more he ventures into this world, the more he neglects his wife and kids. The question is: which life will he choose in the end? (It’s not as obvious as you think.)

Think dinosaurs, giant panthers, zombie-like monsters, rebellious kids, daddy…

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Heaven Pt. 135: Where Does Your Grief Go?

crying eye

 

And when they raised their eyes from afar, and did not recognize him, they lifted their voices and wept; and each one tore his robe and sprinkled dust on his head toward heaven. Job. 2:12 NKJV

Job’s counsellors are oft criticized for their simplistic answers concerning Job’s tragic circumstances. Yet one thing they did right.  When they saw the man they esteemed and loved in his fallen state they were grieved and the Bible tells us they raised up a lament to Heaven. They didn’t turn their sorrow immediately to criticism. They didn’t stomp around and blame the government or Job’s wife. The Bible doesn’t even tell us they blamed God. We have no record of them ever charging God with folly. They just grieved and they pointed their grief toward Heaven. For seven days they sat in the presence of God and grieved with Job.

When your life is headed down the mountain what do you do with your grief? Do you direct it in anger and blame towards your loved ones? Do you create sorrow mines that blow people out the water every time they try to get near you? Do you blame God?  If so you need to know there remains another choice. Instead of being angry with your family, the world around you or the Lord you can take your grief and present it before the throne of God asking Him to bring you the comfort you so desperately need. He will hear you and He will comfort you in your trouble. I am certain He will. Because He comforted me in my sorrow.

3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. 4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 5 For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. 6 Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. 7 We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us. 2 Cor. 1:3-7 NIV

Share Your World 2013 Week-44

share-your-world2

 

Cee is changing things up a bit this week. Instead of giving us four short essay questions she is handing us 10…count’em 10… “would you rather” questions; And here they are!

WOULD YOU RATHER:

  1. Always have the sun in your eyes, while driving no matter where you go -OR-have to use your heater, full blast, in the summer and AC, full blast in the winter (also while driving)?                                                                                                                      This is not even a contest. Who wants to use heat in the summer and AC in the winter? I am not a big AC guy even in the summer, but I desparately need my heat in the winter. My toes, and my nose are the weakest parts of my body and once they are frozen it takes me weeks to warm up. I choose the sun in my eyes!
  2. Be able to go forward in time on 3 different occasions in your life – OR- go back in time once?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This is a really good question! Since I am pretty sure that I could not change my past even if I went back into it, I think it’s best if I let the past just fade into gray. Going into the future though, now there lie some interesting considerations. I think the future is a little more fluid than the past and perhaps by knowing I might be able to better inform the choices I make today. So I choose to go forward into the future!
  3. Be considered annoying -OR- boring?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Boring is seldom effective in any circles. At least annoying has the potential of getting something done. Annoying it is!
  4. Be the last-ranked person in an accelerated high school class -OR- the first-ranked person in a decelerated high school class?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Being the least of the best is better than being the best of the worst, I guess. So last in an accelerated class is my choice.
  5. Drive 100 miles on a freeway with speed bumps every ½ mile -OR- drive 100 miles on a freeway that is completely covered with those little reflective lane dividers?                                                                                                                                                   I choose the little reflectors. At least they can be avoided.
  6. Find out the house you just bought sits on top of an earthquake fault -OR- an top of an old burial ground?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Since I fear earthquakes far more than the departed I would choose the burial ground. Still I think it would be terrible to find out after the fact.
  7. Have an itch in the middle of your back at all times -OR- an eyelash in your eye all the time?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I am an eye freak. I hate having anything in my eye. An itch I could handle… an eyelash in my eye …I think I would probably have to be committed.
  8. Have your picture be on the one dollar bill – OR – on the cover of every magazine and newspaper once?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            As long as the reason I am on the magazine covers is positive (like I saved the world or something) I would choose that.
  9. Never again be able to make a right-had turn while driving -OR- never again be able to go more than 3 blocks straight in a row while driving in your town?                                                                                                                                                                Oh! I have actually had this one happen to me!The downtown section of one of the cities I lived in became all one way for about 10 years You could only turn left! REALLY ANNOYING!!! Now, since most of the Massachusetts road system is built on a twisty curve idea (no North/ South/ East West grids in this state) I lost the ability to drive straight for more than a half mile long ago anyway; I embrace the 3 blocks idea. 
  10. See everything in slow-motion -OR- see everything at double speed?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       I think once I got used to seeing in slow motion and stopped anticipating everything I would enjoy it more than double speed. I know at my current pace there is much I am missing along the way.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Here is the link to discover what Cee’s other subscriber’s  said in regards to these very fine questions.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     http://ceenphotography.com/2013/12/09/share-your-world-2013-week-44-would-you-rather/                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

A Snowy Day Adventure – Discover the Art of Enjoying Life

This offering is from a good friend of mine. I hope it brings you peace.

joanmlegros1

A fresh snow is gently falling in the north country where we live.
Snowflakes free falling softly covering the ground with a pearly blanket of white. A new fresh covering bringing refreshing to our land.
Such beauty to see when you have the opportunity to slow down, from the rapid pace of life pausing to enjoy it’s beauty and freshness.
With all the hustle bustle of Christmas, people rushing and becoming impatient; it is lovely
to have a day of quietness and rest.
In America I believe we have lost our sensitivity to the Art of enjoying life!
Stopping to enjoy our God, His creation, our family’s, our friends. Taking time to make new friends,create new adventures in life which have been side stepped by busyness and constant work.
God gave man 6 days to work and on the seventh day rest. It is so important to enter into that…

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Pastor Wrinkles: House On Fire Pt. 28

The Word of God is a bridge that connects Earth with Heaven and Heaven with Earth.- Joseph Elon Lillie

The Word of God is a bridge that connects Earth with Heaven and Heaven with Earth.- Joseph Elon Lillie

 

Last week in our discussion on the Book of Acts we dialogued  from Acts 11 and 12 concerning the change in emphasis from the Jewish church in Jerusalem to the Gentile church flowing from Antioch. Starting in chapters 11 and 12 the focus of Acts moves from the Peter  to Paul.  Paul discusses the ramifications of this change in Romans 9-11. To see how it played out in everyday life though let’s continue on in our reading from Acts.

 

 Among the prophets and teachers of the church at Antioch of Syria were Barnabas, Simeon (called “the black man”), Lucius (from Cyrene), Manaen (the childhood companion of King Herod Antipas), and Saul. 2 One day as these men were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Dedicate Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them.” 3 So after more fasting and prayer, the men laid their hands on them and sent them on their way.

Paul’s First Missionary Journey

4 So Barnabas and Saul were sent out by the Holy Spirit. They went down to the seaport of Seleucia and then sailed for the island of Cyprus. 5 There, in the town of Salamis, they went to the Jewish synagogues and preached the word of God. John Mark went with them as their assistant.

6 Afterward they traveled from town to town across the entire island until finally they reached Paphos, where they met a Jewish sorcerer, a false prophet named Bar-Jesus. 7 He had attached himself to the governor, Sergius Paulus, who was an intelligent man. The governor invited Barnabas and Saul to visit him, for he wanted to hear the word of God.8 But Elymas, the sorcerer (as his name means in Greek), interfered and urged the governor to pay no attention to what Barnabas and Saul said. He was trying to keep the governor from believing.

9 Saul, also known as Paul, was filled with the Holy Spirit, and he looked the sorcerer in the eye. 10 Then he said, “You son of the devil, full of every sort of deceit and fraud, and enemy of all that is good! Will you never stop perverting the true ways of the Lord? 11 Watch now, for the Lord has laid his hand of punishment upon you, and you will be struck blind. You will not see the sunlight for some time.” Instantly mist and darkness came over the man’s eyes, and he began groping around begging for someone to take his hand and lead him.

12 When the governor saw what had happened, he became a believer, for he was astonished at the teaching about the Lord. Acts 13:1-13 

In this passage we read about the call or the sending of Barnabus and Saul to the work of ministry. Please note that I said ministry was a calling ( or a sending) not a chosen profession. What do think the difference is? Does the idea of a calling apply to every Christian? How?

Face the Music

Do you hear the music yet. THe band is already playing around the world. The sound will reach us eventually. Will you dance to the piper’s tune?

artistdayapart

19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual 20 and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. 22 The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, 23 and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.  Daniel 3:19-23

What a story!  At Daniel’s request, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were appointed by King Nebuchadnezzar to be administrators over the province of Babylon.  This great honor soon became a potential stumbling block as the King made…

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