Follow Me on Pinterest

Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Three-Wheeled Cart Part II

Following on last week's post, I have to admit that three-wheeled carts can come in either gender. Ladies, we too may project an image to the world that is way different from who we really are. When we find ourselves in a relationship, we should not pretend that all our wheels are intact only to tip over once we're sure we have snagged that man. No, we ought to be faithful and dependable just as we expect our men to be.

Whenever I think of faithfulness in a woman, my mind turns to the book of Ruth. For those of you who don't know, this is a story of  a young widow named Ruth who sticks with her mother-in-law Naomi after her two sons had been killed in battle. Naomi advised her daughters-in-law Ruth and Orpah to go back to their own families where they may be able to find a husband and make a new life for themselves.

Orpah cried, kissed her mother-in-law good-bye and was on her way. Ruth said, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God" (Ruth 1 : 16).

And she was true to her word. Ruth proved not only to be faithful, but hard-working and obedient to her mother-in-law. The end result was God rewarded her with a good husband, a man named Boaz. They had a son whom they named Obed. He became the father of Jesse, the father of David, from whom Jesus is descended.

God can and will do great things in and through us if we will have all our wheels in place. As women, the world is looking at us. We are the vehicles God uses to bring the next generation into this world. That's a heavy responsibility. You may not have all your wheels in place because of things that happened to you in your childhood, or even in your adult years. But God can fix those wheels. He can make you whole again. He said, "Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear" (Isaiah 65 : 24). Call on Him now, and He'll equip you to carry your share of the load. God bless. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Three-Wheeled Cart Part 1

The management of my condo building has placed a few shopping carts in the ground floor stairwell to make it easy for us to take our parcels up to our apartment when we come home from shopping. I usually carry my own folding cart in my car so I don't have to make use of that convenience, but this Friday I realized I had left my cart upstairs. I went to the stairwell, bypassed the cart that was nearest to me and reached for a smaller one which seemed to be just right for the number of parcels I had. 

I placed my bags in the cart and parked my car. Then I returned and began wheeling the cart toward the elevator. As I turned a corner, the cart almost tipped over. I righted it and continued on my way. When I turned it to get into the elevator, the cart almost tipped again. It was only then I realized the cart had only three wheels. I laughed at myself for not having checked it before putting my parcels in it.

But who would expect the cart to be missing a wheel? It stood upright just as the others did and ran well as long as I was going in a straight line. I thought there must be a lesson in that. How many times have we looked at someone or something and thought he/she/it would be perfect for us, only to find out later how mistaken we were? A man may look good, have money and say all the right things, but unless he fears the Lord, one of his wheels is missing.

Psalm 128 says, Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways.  You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.  Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your sons will be like olive shoots around your table.  Thus is the man blessed who fears the LORD.  May the LORD bless you from Zion all the days of your life; may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem,  and may you live to see your children's children. Peace be upon Israel. NIV

I needed a cart that would not only run straight but could turn the corner without tipping over. Ladies, can your man navigate the corners of life without tipping over? Can he be relied on to perform his role as head of the home during challenging times? Will he bail out on you when the going gets rough? Does he look to God for wisdom and strength to fulfill His God-given role? Examine the cart well before you place your 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

What Does The Ideal Father Look Like?

I once heard a man say that people make far more fuss over Mother's Day than they do Father's Day. Well, according to statistics, Father's Day spending seems to be on the heels of Mother's Day figures by around five billion dollars. And Dad is not just getting neckties and socks anymore. He is getting high end products like ipads, cell phones and golf clubs.

That is all very good, but what do we want from Dad? When I listen to a lot of men speak, they don't seem to have had much of a relationship with their fathers. And that's a shame, because fathers are, or ought to be, the backbone of the home - the one who keeps it from falling apart. It is no secret that children from homes where the father is absent, physically or emotionally, are more likely to drop out of school and/or end up in jail or on the streets. Sadly, a disproportionate number of African American homes fall into this category.

So what does the ideal father do to keep his home strong and stable? As always, the answers are in the Bible. The ideal father:

1. Builds his house upon the rock. Jesus said, "Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock" (Matthew 7: 24 - 25).

What was Jesus referring to? He was referring to the storms of life that we all inevitably experience. The father who builds his house on the foundation of God's word does not have to fear the storms. His house will remain strong, no matter how much the storms rage.

2. Demonstrates love. Not just to his kids, but to those around him. He treats his wife like a queen; he does not abuse her or speak harshly to her, but loves her "as Christ loves the church." When his sons see that, they will follow his example. The ideal father demonstrates love to his children by the way he disciplines them - with love. The Bible says, "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath : but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6 : 4).

3. Gives. The ideal father gives to his family, his community and his church. He is not mean or stingy, but gives liberally of all that he has. He works hard to provide well for his family, but he also gives of his time. No amount of toys or gifts can replace the time a man spends with his family. The father who takes his sons fishing, his wife and/or daughters to the mall (yes, to the mall) or just hangs out with them on a weekend is more appreciated than the one who lavishes them with expensive gifts and then disappears until Sunday night. 

Being a father is no easy task, neither is it to be taken for granted. In order to be a good father a man needs to be equipped. There is only one training manual for that - the word of God. Fathers, read it daily. Feast on it day and night. Pray to God; He is the only ideal Father, but if you ask Him, He will give you the wisdom and strength to fulfill this exciting role. Call on Him today. Happy Father's Day! 

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Are You Concerned About Your Appearance?

I would hazard a guess that most people would reply 'yes' to the question above. After all, it's the culture we live in. Every minute of the day we are bombarded with ads showing us how to be more beautiful. We spend a small fortune on everything from gym memberships, cosmetics and diet products. Even the women of the Bible must have looked like supermodels. Ruth caught Boaz's eye the first day she worked in his field; King Xerxes fell in love with Esther the moment he saw her; Rachel was "beautiful and well favoured". Even ninety-year-old Sarah was so beautiful, when she and her husband Abraham were traveling through Egypt, she was taken into the Pharaoh's house because of her beauty (Genesis 12 : 11 - 15).

Beautiful people seem to get the best breaks, regardless of the culture, but how much attention should you give to making and keeping yourself beautiful? Does God care whether you are beautiful or not? Well, He made you in His own image and likeness, therefore you will always be beautiful in His eyes, no matter what you or the world thinks.

Saul, king of Israel, was described as "a choice young man, and a goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people" (1 Samuel 9 : 2). However, when Saul disobeyed God, He sent the prophet Samuel to Jesse who had eight sons to anoint one of them king. Samuel looked at Eliab, the oldest, and thought he must be the chosen one. But God said to Samuel, "Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth ; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart" (1 Samuel 16 : 7). In the end God chose David, whom he later referred to as "a man after his own heart."

There is nothing wrong in being careful about your physical appearance. After all, if you are representing "the fairest of ten thousand", then you should try to look fair yourself. David was "ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to," ( v 12), but he did not count on his looks to get him what he wanted. When he went to fight Goliath he said, "Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts ..." (1 Samuel 17 : 45). Queen Esther fasted in order to find favor with the king; Ruth obeyed her mother-in-law's instructions and secured herself a wealthy husband. Looks alone will not get what you want.

If you find yourself spending unnecessary time and/or money on your looks, consider the examples above. Being beautiful may get you where you want to go in this world, but it won't get you where you ought to be with God. If Jesus Christ lives in you, His beauty will shine through you and others will see it. Remember, you are made in His image and likeness. You are beautiful.


Sunday, June 02, 2013

Which Gods Do You Worship?

A week ago I returned from an exciting cruise to the Adriatic. Our ports included several places in Greece, Croatia, Ephesus and Venice, Italy. The tour did not disappoint. I joined throngs of people exploring the wonders of the ancient world which, in some cases, have been excavated and preserved for our benefit. It was wonderful to see my history books, and the Bible, come alive.

Part of Poseidon's temple, Athens, Greece

Many of us chuckled as our guides recounted some of the stories of the gods who have graced the pages of Greek mythology. There is the popular story of the contest between Poseidon and the goddess Athena after whom Athens is named. She defeated Poseidon in becoming the god of the city by creating an olive tree  as a symbol of peace and prosperity on the earth.  Poseidon's gift of water, which later turned salty, was rejected by the king. Poseidon was known to be moody and bad-tempered, often seeking revenge on those who crossed him. The ruins of his temple can be seen in Athens, Greece.
Here I am standing in front of one of the gates of the Acropolis

Then there was Zeus, the supreme god, ruler of mankind, worshiped by Greeks. Zeus, unlike Poseidon, was usually fair in his dealings, but even he had his moods. In a good mood he would bless the world with beautiful weather; in a bad mood he would send rain, lightning and thunder. He must have been in a bad mood when we visited the ruins of his temple in Olympia, for it was raining when we got there.

What did I tell you about the rain? Near the temple of Zeus

But why am I telling you all this? Because as I said before, the Bible also came alive for me on this trip. Our guides in Ephesus and in Athens each mentioned the apostle Paul's work in those cities and how he was able to convert many people from paganism to Christianity.

Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said , Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.  For as I passed by , and beheld your devotions , I found an altar with this inscription , TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship , him declare I unto you.  God that made the world and all things therein , seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;  Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; Acts 17: 22 - 26.

The Greeks, zealous as they were in their worship of many gods, were only too willing to hear about another god,  made an altar to the UNKNOWN GOD who, perhaps, might excel over their gods.  But Paul explained that the true God is not man-made.

Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device.  And the times of this ignorance God winked at ; but now commandeth all men every where to repent : (v 29 - 30).

After Paul's teaching the Bible says,   "And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked : and others said , We will hear thee again of this matter.  So Paul departed from among them.  Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed : among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them (v 32 - 34).

So, I ask you, which gods do you worship? Do you worship gods made by hands, as the ancient Greeks did, or do you worship the gods of this present world? Money, power, beauty, possessions? History has taught us that the gods of the ancient Greeks were just myths, invented by the minds of men who erected monuments to make them seem real. The God we worship requires no monument; in fact he forbids it. Exodus 20: 4. Neither is He moody. He is the same yesterday, and today and forever. Hebrews 13 : 8. He wants us to love Him and worship Him by faith in His Son Jesus Christ. Then one day we will see Him face to face. But until then, let's worship Him and only Him.