October 28, 2015

Trusting in God

Joel was an active member of a small country church where members of his family worshipped for decades. His sweetheart, Stephanie, was a member of the same church, and after they were married, they worshipped together, taught Sunday School and served in various leadership roles.  They considered themselves good Christians, and members of their congregation agreed.

Shortly after their first child was born, Joel was diagnosed with cancer, and within a few months, he died. Despite the loss of her husband, Stephanie continued to attend church where she received the love and support of Pastor Julie and the entire congregation.

Then tragedy struck again, and the young mother was also diagnosed with cancer. When Pastor Julie heard the news, she immediately went to visit Stephanie who asked why God allowed such suffering in one family. “I don’t blame God for my distress, but why doesn’t he help me?” said Stephanie.

“We cannot know the ways of God,” said Pastor Julie. “We cannot understand why the Creator of the universe accepts Satan’s work without interfering, but I am confident your suffering is not the result of some sin you may have committed. Jesus paid for your sins on the cross.”

“Please don’t turn your back on God now,” implored Pastor Julie. “Now is the time to grow closer to God for in Him you will find the strength to endure your pain and your trials.  Through your suffering, God will reveal himself more profoundly than ever before in your life.”

“You have heard me speak often about God,” said Pastor Julie. “Go to Him now in your time of adversity, and you will come to know God,” she concluded. 
“My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.”
Job 42: 5

October 14, 2015

Do You Have Anger Issues?

Recently, Pastor Judy of the Bluff Point United Methodist Church, had a message for the children that was totally appropriate for everyone regardless of age.

Pastor Judy invited the children to gather around her as she showed them a tube of toothpaste that was about two thirds used. Holding a small tub, she invited the children to take turns squeezing the tube of toothpaste until it was empty.

“Well done, children,” said Judy. “Now put the toothpaste back into the tube!”

Pastor Judy then suggested that like toothpaste out of the tube, words spoken in anger can never be recovered and may always be remembered.

I have had anger issues all of my life, and my outbursts have led to some of my most embarrassing moments. Though I have apologized many times and asked for forgiveness, my words may never be forgotten by those whom I offended, by the loved ones who heard my outburst and by me.

Because Nancy and I have been married more than sixty years, we are often asked for advice on how to maintain a happy relationship. Nancy always suggests that married couples should never go to bed angry.

Nancy is in good company. In a letter to the Church at Ephesus nearly two thousand years ago, Paul wrote:
“Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry”