Close to God

Alberta Herron

My old friend Alberta Herron recently passed away at the age of 93. Alberta was a wonderful Christian woman, one of the best members a church could ever have. She cared about people, and you could always count on her to faithfully fulfill her role in the church.

Alberta hated to see anything go to waste, so she took the leftover communion juice home and made grape jelly out of it. She would share this jelly with family members and church friends. If I ever suddenly felt close to God while eating a piece of toast, I suppose I have Alberta to thank for that!

Communion is a special time of remembering what Jesus did for us when he died on the cross to pay for our sins. Communion makes us feel close to God, so we should make every effort to participate in the Lord’s Supper every chance we get.

“On the first day of the week, we came together to break bread…”—Acts 20:7

 

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Similar Uniforms

The new professional football league, the AAF, is off to a good start in their first two weeks. The games have been getting a lot of attention, and the reception from fans has been strong.

However, a game yesterday between the San Diego Fleet and the Atlanta Legends caused some confusion for many watching the game. The uniforms that the teams wore were so similar that it was difficult to tell the players apart! This is an issue that the league might want to address as they continue to work out some of their problems.

It is a problem in the kingdom when observers can’t tell Christians from non-Christians on the basis of their actions. The Bible says to get rid of the soiled garments of a sinful lifestyle and put on the righteous clothing that Christ gives us.

“Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.”—Romans 13:13-14

Can people tell by your uniform whose team you are on?

 

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Doing Without

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

While on a recent cruise to the Caribbean, my wife and I met a young lady who lives and works in St. Thomas. She was telling us about how life was for her and her family in the aftermath of a devastating hurricane that hit her town. One thing that stands out in my mind is that she said that they were without water and electricity for 192 days. No water or electricity for 192 days!! We get aggravated if we have to do without one or the other for just a couple of hours!

We should learn to be more thankful for what we have.

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”—Philippians 4:12

 

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It Felt Real

Someone asked a golfer if he ever had a hole-in-one. He answered, “No, but I know what one feels like.” When asked to explain, he said, “I hit a ball on an unfamiliar course, and it rolled up toward the pin and suddenly disappeared. One of the caddies yelled, ‘It’s in the cup!’”

The golfer continued, “I jumped up and down and celebrated my first hole-in-one in more than 30 years of playing golf. But when we walked up to the green, we discovered it wasn’t in the cup after all. The ball had disappeared behind a small rise in the green and couldn’t be seen from the tee. I felt I had a hole-in-one, but really it wasn’t.”

Truth matters in golf. The man couldn’t write a “one” on his score card just because he felt so good about the shot. In fact, he missed the five-foot putt and had to record a three!

Truth matters in life. Some people feel like they are experiencing the best that life has to offer when they really aren’t. The best life comes through faith in Jesus. Any other feeling is simply not true.

“…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”—John 10:10

 

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Reliable

I once read about a man who lived in Long Island, New York, in the early 1900s. This fellow was an amateur meteorologist. He once ordered a barometer from a mail-order company and anxiously awaited the arrival of his purchase. When it came, he excitedly opened the package and removed the barometer from the box. However, his excitement quickly turned to disappointment. The barometric pressure reading was so low, the hand on the dial pointed to “Hurricanes”. Concluding that he’d been sent a defective barometer, the man prepared to send it back to the manufacturer. However, later that day an unexpected hurricane blew across Long Island. The barometer, it seems, had been accurate after all.

There will be times when you read your Bible and say to yourself, “That can’t be true!” We don’t think like God does, and when He says something that doesn’t go along with our way of thinking, some people doubt the reliability of the Bible.

However, the Bible has been proven time and time again to be quite reliable. You can trust the Word of God, even when it tells you some truths that are difficult to believe.

“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”—Psalm 119:105

 

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Who Are You Going to Believe?

A man was speeding through a small town when he got pulled over by a local deputy. The deputy approached the car and said, “I guess you know you were driving well over the speed limit. Let me see your driver’s license, sir.”

“Oh, I don’t have a driver’s license,” the man replied.

“What?! You don’t have a license? Such disrespect for the law! Well, show me your proof of insurance.”

“Sir, I don’t have any insurance,” the driver answered.

“You mean to tell me that you don’t have either a driver’s license or insurance on this vehicle? You are going to be in a lot of trouble!”

“Sir, you need to just calm down,” the driver exhorted. “If you are going to be that upset about those little things, what are you going to do when I show you the dead body in the trunk of my car?”

Upon hearing that, the deputy called for backup. In just a couple of minutes the sheriff pulled up with his blue light flashing. After a brief consultation with the deputy, the sheriff spoke to the driver.

“My deputy here says that you were driving through our town without a license.”

“That’s not true, sheriff! I have a valid driver’s license. Here, take a look.”

“So you do,” said the sheriff. “Well, I hear that you don’t have any insurance on this automobile.”

“Of course I have insurance,” the man answered. Reaching into the glove box, he pulled out his insurance information and said, “See here! My insurance is paid up! Here’s the proof!”

“OK, but what is this I hear about a dead body in the trunk of your car?”

“Dead body!? What are you talking about?” The driver opened up the trunk and showed the sheriff that there was nothing there except a spare tire.

Then the driver said, “Sheriff, this lying deputy of yours told you that I don’t have a license, but I do. Then he told you that I don’t have insurance, but I do. Then there was this wild story about a dead body in the trunk of my car! I suppose he also told you that I was speeding!”

Sometimes we don’t know who to believe. But we can always trust Jesus to tell us the truth.

“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”—John 14:6

 

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That’s What I Thought!

A speeding driver passed a state trooper who was parked alongside the highway. The trooper pulled out onto the highway and began his pursuit, blue light flashing and siren blaring. Instead of pulling over, the speeding driver put the accelerator to the floor and tried to outrun the trooper. However, he didn’t have a fast enough car for that. The trooper soon caught up to him, and the man, admitting defeat, pulled over to the side of the road.

The trooper approached the car and asked the driver, “Why did you try to outrun me? What in the world were you thinking!?”

The man looked at the trooper with sad eyes and said, “Several years ago my wife ran off with a state trooper. I thought you were bringing her back!”

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”—Proverbs 17:22

 

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Donor Needed

My wife and I were sitting in the auditorium of our cruise ship, waiting for the evening’s entertainment to begin, when an urgent announcement came across the public address system. There was a medical emergency on board. A passenger needed an immediate blood transfusion, and people with a certain blood type were asked to report to the medical station if they were willing to donate blood. Several people immediately made their way toward the exits, and we applauded them for being willing to give their blood to someone in desperate need.

The condition of the ailing person was stabilized until we reached port, and arrangements were made to take the patient to a hospital for further treatment. The story had a happy ending because people were willing to make a sacrifice.

Every person on earth is faced with a spiritual emergency. We all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God. We all need to be saved. In order for that to happen, Jesus had to donate his blood as a sacrifice for our sins. No other sacrifice would do. Those who accept his sacrifice experience forgiveness, spiritual healing and eternal life.

Thank God for the salvation he has freely offered us through Jesus!

“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”—1 Peter 1:18-19

 

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Cruise Control

On a recent cruise to the Caribbean, I saw a couple of different people wearing a T-shirt with this message—I HAVE NO CRUISE CONTROL, IT’S LIKE THEY JUST BOOK THEMSELVES!

Those who enjoy cruises and have been on several of them appreciate the humor behind that message.

However, Christian life is not without self-control. We who are filled with the Holy Spirit of God have been given the ability to make choices that will set the direction of our lives to be in line with the word of God. Let’s be careful that we don’t drift aimlessly through life.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…”—Galatians 5:22-23

 

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Small Crowd

On our recent vacation, my wife and I gathered with four other people to worship the Lord together on Sunday morning on a balcony of a cruise ship. I must admit that I was a bit surprised at how satisfying this worship experience was.

I understand that worship is not for our benefit; it is for God. However, there are often some times of worship that move us emotionally. I wasn’t expecting that to happen in such a small setting. Sometimes we think that it takes a bigger crowd to really experience the energy and emotion that often accompanies worship.

It turns out that this is not the case at all. I found myself getting choked up by the words of the songs we sang and the Scriptures we read and the prayers that we offered. A communion service consisting of only six people can be a powerful experience.

So, don’t count on the size of the crowd to make a worship service meaningful. It is the presence of Jesus that makes the difference.

“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”—Matthew 18:20

 

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