January 16, 2017

Forgive Yourself

My latest discovery on the New Books shelf at  the Penn Yan Library is 100 of 
the Worst Ideas in History by Michael Smith and Eric Kasum. In the authors’ own words, their book explores the “priceless, multifaceted jewels of misjudgment.”

One example is the deal John Pemberton made to sell the formula for a dark, sugary syrup that he claimed would cure a host of physical problems. Today, that sweet sticky syrup is the flavoring agent for Coca-Cola, the top-selling product in the history of the world. Pemberton never got a penny from the mega profits.

I wonder if John Pemberton ever forgave himself for denying himself and his family the pleasure of all the “stuff” he might have purchased with the profits of Coca-Cola sales of more than $20 million a day?  

Most people know how important it is to forgive others for our sins against them, but are we prepared to forgive ourselves for our errors, our sins and our “jewels of misjudgment?” 

In his letter to the Colossians, Paul tells us to “forgive one another.” Scholars suggest the Greek root word for “one another” refers not only to others but to ourselves!  

Are you carrying a grudge toward yourself for any reason? If so, you are turning your back on a gift God gave to you through Jesus’ death on the cross. That gift is forgiveness. Isn’t it time you showed yourself some compassion by accepting this most precious gift? 
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  
                                                                                              Colossians 3:13 

December 16, 2016

Who Needs Christ During Christmas


In 2013, Residents and visitors to New York City during the Christmas Holidays were  greeted by a new sign in Times Square displayed by the American Atheists. A digital billboard proclaimed, “Who needs Christ during Christmas?” A hand crosses out the word “Christ” and the word “Nobody” appears. 

Despite the atheists’ proclamation that Christmas is irrelevant and obsolete, over two billion Christians around the world continue to celebrate the greatest event in human history, the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.

Atheist Danielle Muscato once suggested “people don’t care about church and religion any longer. They only care about presents, fun and food.”

While everyone enjoys the tapestry that surrounds the holidays, Christians preserve and cherish the celebration of the birth of the Holy Child of Bethlehem who reaffirms the presence of God in their lives.

How ironic that atheists say Christ isn’t needed at Christmas when it was the Prophet who taught people to love their neighbors ___ even those who deny that God exists. 

May the Prince of Peace continue to bless those who believe in Christmas and those who do not.

December 9, 2016

Bethlehem

Many years ago, a magazine ranked Bethlehem, Pennsylvania  last among 300 places to live in the United States. 

If Bethlehem, Pennsylvania ranked 300th, the sleepy little town we sing about at Christmas would have ranked even lower,  for it had little to recommend it as the perfect birthplace of the Savior.

But God seems to have different standers for perfection than we have, and there is something about the story of Christmas that goes beyond perfection and logic. A virgin bears God’s son in a stable? It’s beyond our comprehension.

Years ago, Harry Reasoner of TVs "Sixty Minutes" said the following:
If God wanted to be intimately part of man, he moved correctly, for the experience of birth and family-hood is our most intimate experience. It's a story of great innocence of God the baby. God in the person of man.
Perhaps your Christmas won't be perfect this year.  Maybe . . . it will be far better than that. maybe you will see right to the heart of this sacred event . . . to the God who seeks not perfection . . . but love.






November 8, 2016

The Remarkable Human Brain

Most of us remember long tedious hours in libraries researching subjects for papers that were required in our high school and/or college courses.  Today, thanks to the marvel of technology, we type a few words in our favorite search engine, and we are offered more information than we can possibly use.

At a high school program in the late fifties, a scientist told a group of seniors that one day people would carry a small device which would enable them to call anyone with a telephone anywhere in the world. At the time, most students probably considered the prediction to be science fiction, and if the speaker had known what we are able to do with our phones today, he may have regarded that reality as beyond his imagination.

We live in a remarkable technological age when discoveries that stagger our senses are announced every day. Unfortunately, we often forget what it was that created the incredible products and services which we use daily. That marvel of biological engineering is a machine more complex than any smart device available today. It is the human brain. And who or what is responsible for our remarkable inventive minds? 

Deepak Chopra, one of the master teachers of Eastern philosophy in the Western world, has written a new book titled, God. In it he makes this observation:
"The human brain, so far as we know, is the most complex thing in existence. Was it really a product of random choice over the past 13 billion years? To believe in randomness as the only creative force in nature, one physicist quipped, is like saying that a hurricane blew through a junkyard and built a Boeing 777.”
We marvel at the human brain and what it can accomplish. Perhaps we should take a moment and recognize and give thanks to our Creator who conceived it.