November 27, 2012

Accepting a Christmas Gift


A father and son had an argument over a piece of valuable property. The land was in the father's will to be passed on to the son, but the boy wanted it immediately.

When the father resisted the demands, the son broke off the relationship. He rarely came home, and when he did, he ignored his father.

Then one Christmas, the boy’s mother convinced him to come home for the Holiday. On Christmas Eve the boy opened all his presents except the one from his father. The next day when the son left, the gift remained behind.

What the lad didn’t know was that his father’s gift was the deed to the desired property.

Many of us make the same mistake. Two thousand years ago, we were given a gift of love straight from the heart of God that we can accept gratefully or leave lying under the tree. 

Life can be hard, and we may have so many burdens it's difficult to cope. But God's precious gift can give us the strength and confidence to confront any and all our trials. Receive it joyfully.


November 20, 2012

Laughter Is the Best Medicine


I love it when a friend sends me an email that helps me to begin the day with a good laugh. Here’s one from Jack Grimner, a lovable Irishman and a friend of sixty-three years.
Father O'Malley answers the phone:
'Hello, is this Father O'Malley?'     'It is!' 
'This is the IRS. Is Vince O'Neill in your congregation?'     'He is'  
'Did he donate $10,000 to the church?'      'He will.' 
In her book entitled, A Better Brain at Any Age: The Holistic Way to Improve Your Memory, Reduce Stress, and Sharpen Your Wits” Sondra Kornblatt claims laughter can provide numerous medical benefits. For example, Kornblatt suggests a good joke can lower our blood pressure, reduce stress, increase memory and learning, and improve alertness and creativity.

Many people believe so thoroughly in the benefits of laughter, they participate in a unique technique whereby they laugh for no reason. You don’t even need a sense of humor, just a willingness to laugh. It’s called Laughter Yoga, and participants believe it can be extremely liberating and is followed by complete relaxation.

God created us with the ability to laugh, even at ourselves. Then God created the duckbill platypus, the proboscis monkey and people who see the Virgin Mary in a corn chip just to give us a reason to laugh and help us stay healthy.

Laughter is indeed the “best medicine.” 

November 14, 2012

Humility


Recently, I ate lunch with a group of Mennonite workmen, and as the conversation evolved, the gentleman next to me made the comment, “You like to talk don’t you? Are you a salesman?”

His question prompted me to ask myself, “When I chat with others, am I an interesting conversationalist or a boring orator?”

One of the best tests of a humble person is in any conversation, he concentrates more on the other person than himself.  I try to be “you oriented” when I speak to others, but I’m aware that often, I talk too much, too long and sometimes, too impulsively. In the latter case, I occasionally say something I later regret.

Benjamin Franklin described best how difficult it is for some people to listen more than speak:
"In reality there is perhaps not one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive, and will every now and then peep out and show itself...For even if I could conceive that I had completely overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility."
Self-centeredness and pride are major stumbling blocks for anyone who strives for humility. It is a character trait which Jesus addressed when he ate at the home of a prominent Pharisee and noticed how everyone tried to sit at the head of the table with the host: 
“All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

November 9, 2012

God Bless America


 In Bruce Wilkinson's popular book, The Prayer of Jabez, he shares a fable about Mr. Jones who dies and goes to heaven where St. Peter is waiting to  lead him on a tour.

As they walk the golden streets lined with beautiful mansions, Jones sees a huge building with no windows and only one door. Despite St. Peter warning that he shouldn't see what's In there, Jones is much too inquisitive. He enters the building and finds it stacked with boxes marked with the names of those in heaven.

Jones rushes to find the box with his name on it, and learns it is filled with all the blessings God was prepared to give him . . . but Jones never asked for them. 

The recent presidential election indicates that our country is clearly divided along ideological lines as it was in 1863 when Abraham Lincoln was elected. The ideologies are different now, nevertheless, Lincoln's warning is still relevant today, "A house divided against itself cannot stand."

Bruce Wilkinson suggests it is God's nature to bless us. Let us pray that God will also bless this great country which was founded on the assertion that all citizens, regardless of their political persuasion, have certain rights. Those rights were established by God himself and include “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

 

November 1, 2012

Our Creator God



A famous potter, while walking along a lonely stream, discovered a bank of the purest clay he had ever seen. He immediately ran home for a bucket, returned to the stream and dug a large quantity of the clay which he placed securely in his studio.

After a brief vacation, he returned to his home and discovered the clay was gone, but in it’s place the workroom was filled with the most  colorful, beautifully shaped and intricately designed pottery he had ever seen.

The potter was confused because the workroom was locked securely. The dust on the floor was undisturbed and the kiln was not used.

Logic and common sense will not permit us to believe the pottery  made itself.  It could not have just happened. Someone was responsible.

Yet there are those who believe the delicate beauty of a Columbine, the power and bulk of a Blue Whale and all the wonders of nature are merely happenings ___ accidental structures that in some inexplicable manner without purpose or direction from some creative power just happen to come together.

The beauty and the complexity of the plant, animal and human life we see around us points to a deliberate Designer who not only created us and the world  in which we live, but sustains it as well.

Blessings from Gpa Westerdahl