Saturday, June 12, 2010

Everyone Loves A Parade!

The annual Rose Festival Parade is about to begin--a big deal for the "City of Roses" aka Portland, Oregon. The parade is televised now so you can see it on your flat screen from the comfort of home, but there's nothing like actually being there, among the crowds, curbside.

Tension is palpable as viewers, some having waited along the route all night, strain for the first glimpse of the floats, marching bands, horse brigades, Royal Rosarians, and Rose Festival Court. Children listen eagerly for  vendors hawking hot dogs, peanuts, popcorn, Cracker Jacks. Excitement is in the air!

Believers feel that same sense of anticipation as we wait for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The wait can seem interminable, but parading before us are the signs of His coming:
  • Nations rise against nation
  • Famines, pestilences and earthquakes occur in various places
  • Believers experience persecution
  • False prophets arise, deceiving many
  • Lawlessness abounds
  • Love grows cold
  • The Gospel is preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations
  • Men love themselves and money
  • They are proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God
  • They have a form of godliness but deny its power
The signs are many--the Big Parade, the one we're waiting for, is just around the corner. If we hush, we can almost hear the trumpet blast. This is not a parade for bystanders--it beckons everyone from the sidelines. Jesus is coming again and will take us to heaven. Will you be among us when the saints go marching in?

"For God so loved the world
that He gave His only-begotten Son
that whoever believes in Him
should not perish but have
everlasting life."
~ John 3:16

Friday, June 11, 2010

Keep Looking Up--The Son is Coming

After an interminable string of gray rainy days in the Northwest, even people who don't ordinarily suffer from seasonal depression (SAD) feel the need of light therapy. Well, here's the good news. The weathermen are telling us to hang on--THE SUN IS COMING! Hallelujah! How great it will be to have unobstructed views of sunshine and blue skies. How great it will be to feel warm.

The analogy is obvious.

After an interminable period of living in a sin-cursed world and feeling the vexation of spirit that gets God's people down, we have the promise that one day we'll look to the skies and witness the return of the King. All will be made right. We will no longer look through a glass darkly. We will see things as they are. So hang on--THE SON IS COMING! Hallelujah!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Garbage In, Garbage Out (GIGO)

Today is garbage day and, as expected, our faithful garbage collectors took all our trash to the dump and recycling centers! While I'd never think of God as a garbage collector, in a way He graciously performs that function in our spiritual lives.

"As far as the east is from the west, 
so far has he removed our transgressions from us."
~ Psalm 103:17

"When we confess our sins, he is faithful and just 
to forgive us our sins 
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
~ I John 1:9

God removes our transgressions far from us and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. Furthermore, unlike the garbage company, God does not charge for his services. He paid the bill when Jesus willingly died on the cross. As the song says, "Like a rose trampled on the ground, You took the fall and thought of me above all" (Above All by Lenny LeBlanc and Paul Baloche © 1995 Integrity Music).

So what do we bring to the table? Nothing but refuse.

"All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags"
~ Isaiah 64:6

But our Savior and Lord took the fall for us and paid the price for our redemption! Let our attitude be one of gratitude this and ever day.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Patriot Guard Riders

Last Saturday, we attended the funeral of an exceptional man who died early and unexpectedly. I talked about him on this blog earlier in the week. Today I want to tell you about an amazing group of individuals who stood guard outside the church that day in a show of respect for the young man and his family.
The Patriot Guard Riders represent the best in selfless compassion. They give of their time, sometimes driving for hours, to stand guard at military funerals, ensuring the dignity and respect due those who have risked their lives for America's freedom and security. As I understand it, the group formed partially to counter the efforts of insensitive* individuals who disrupted military funerals with anti-war protests.  
I'm reminded of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, wise words--often quoted. 

"There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace."
*Surely in a free country, there's a time and a place for expressing anti-war sentiments. But the time is NOT at the funerals of those who died defending their country. The place is NOT in front of heartbroken relatives of that soldier.

For more about the Patriot Guard Riders, visit their website.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Timing is Everything

Believing timing is everything, our elderly neighbor instructed my husband never to plant his garden before May 22. With decades of experience behind him, Orville knew that if you planted too early, you ran the risk of losing your entire crop to freezing temperatures or too much rain.

This year because of continuous precipitation, the ground has been too soggy to plant. And so June 8, rather than May 22, is our planting day for lettuce, carrots, radishes, tomatoes, cucumbers, Swiss chard, squash, and pumpkins. Lord willing, we'll have a bountiful harvest later this summer.

Timing is everything when it comes to our eternal destination as well. We must make our decision in the here and now, because once we take our last breath, the die is cast. We will spend eternity in Paradise with Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord or we will spend eternity without him in the land prepared for the eternally damned. It's a clear choice that each of us must make.

I hope everyone reading this has already made the decision to side with Christ. Timing is everything. Don't wait until it's too late.

"For God so loved the world
that he gave his only-begotten Son
that whosoever believeth on him
should not perish but have everlasting life."
~ John 3:16

"And as it is appointed for men to die once
but after this the judgment,
so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many."
~ Hebrews 9:27

Monday, June 7, 2010

Blue Monday

We've had a sack of sadness dumped on us the past few weeks at the international, national, local, and personal levels. Besides praying, there's not a lot an individual can do about woes at the global level. And sometimes when it comes to tragedy at the local and personal levels, there's still nothing we can do except pray . . . pray and try to comfort those most directly affected.

This world is the devil's playground, and sometimes his shenanigans can get to you, right? (I'm sure I'm not alone here.) This morning while praying, I had a tearful desire for Jesus to come back TODAY. PLEASE COME BACK AND MAKE THINGS RIGHT.

The good news is that the One I'm praying to CAN do something. And He will--in His way and in His time. My job, our job, is to trust Him to do what's right. He will--again, in His way and in His time. As the old song says, He's got the whole world in His hands.

Even on Blue Mondays, we must keep this thought in mind:

"This is the day the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it."
~ Psalm 118:24