Monday, September 8, 2014

He ain't heavy, he's my brother

Everyday People
by Carolyn K. Erwin

Everyday he walks the streets
head down low with no place to go
looking for life with meaning
around every corner;
but every corner looks just like the next.

What's it gonna take for him to shake
years of neglect from his clothes?
"Hey brother, can you spare a dime," he pleads
as he holds out his hand for the hundredth time.
Until he gets enough to buy the wine
that eats a hole in his aspirations
and leaves him on the street stone cold.
Just sober enough to face another day.

But for him a new day never dawns.
It's the same old day repeated 364 times,
new street corner, different part of town.
For someone going nowhere fast,
boy, he sure gets around.

I wonder what goes on inside his head?
If he keeps on living like this
he'll end up dead,
sooner than he wants to be.
But is that so bad?
At least, he'll be out his misery.

You see people like him on the street everyday
and what do you think?
Do you say, "Gee that guy sure stinks.
He should go somewhere and take a bath."
Excuse me, you can run your mouth
but not lend a hand to help
someone whose fallen so low down
he can't pick his own self up.
Instead of criticizin,' try apologizin'
for your glad it ain't me attitude.

Aren't you the one Jesus saved
from a deep, dark pit?
Put clothes on your back,
shoes on your feet
and made you Kingdom fit?

So now you walk around
eyes cast down
pretending not to see
the misery that surrounds you.

Oh what, you too cute
to give a brother the time of day?
How long would it take
to share the Good News and pray
for God to deliver him by his grace,
put him back on his feet,
in his rightful place.

He's an heir to the Kingdom
just like you.
Different strokes for different folks.
We're all just everyday people
in need of Jesus everyday.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Learn to celebrate the little things in life

"Life is a celebration of many splendid things. You only have to look to find just a few...birthdays...happy music...a cup of hot friends...a picnic in the park...puffy!...spring rain...flying a kite on a windy day...cuddly dogs...curious cats...a double scoop ice cream cone...a surprise party...colorful fish...a bright, sunny day...chirping birds...weddings...a carousel ride...holidays...a crazy quilt...peace and harmony..." Author Unknown 

When was the last time that you let your hair down, kicked your shoes off, jumped for joy, threw a party for one and really, I mean really, celebrated something? If it's been awhile or if you never have, then you're missing out on one of the greatest gifts known to humankind --- the ability to express joy through celebration.

Life can be hard, a daily grind at times. A 60-80 hour work week, working 2-3 jobs, managing a business, raising kids, taking care of sick children or elderly parents, relationship troubles, being unemployed, homeless, or incarcerated, battling a terminal health condition, a disability or mental illness. These are just a few of life's pressing realities that can leave little time or desire for celebration. And yet, never taking time to celebrate even the small joyful moments along life's journey could make you miserable and your life less than fulfilling.

Finding joy in the journey has proven psychological as well as health benefits. Thousands of years ago, King Solomon saw the wisdom of cultivating a life-long habit of joyful celebration and recorded it in Proverbs 17:22 AMP:
 A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.

Life on earth is far from being perfect. Nevertheless, your view of life determines how much joy you will derive from it. Are you that person who dwells on life's negatives or that person who sees the proverbial silver lining behind every dark cloud? And if you are one of nearly 30 million Americans diagnosed with some degree of depression, the way out may not be easy but it is possible. Authors John Van Sickel and Dr.Walli Carranza offer practical advice for overcoming depression in their respective articles, "6 Practical and Powerful Ways to Overcome Depression" and "How to Overcome Depression Naturally." Both authors agree that changing the way you think and serving others can add to your sense of contentment and joy in life.

After all, life is what you make it. You may not be able to do much about your circumstances (at least for now) but you can do something about your attitude. In spite of life's uncontrollable events and sometimes disappointing experiences, learn to filter out the garbage and savage what really matters. The power to choose is in your hands. Choose to celebrate the little things. Why not begin by thanking God for the gift of another day...
This day belongs to the Lord! Let’s celebrate and be glad today. Psalm 118:24 CEV

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The value of having a good friend

After her last remaining friend died, I can remember my 89 year old grandmother saying to me, "All my friends are gone." I was just a child then, maybe no more than eight or nine years old, but I somehow sensed the significance of her statement as well as the sadness it caused her. Instinctively, I took hold of her hand, looked up at her and said, "Don't worry grandma, you'll always have me." Unfortunately, I lost my grandmother later that same year.

Friends serve an important purpose in our lives. The popular song, "That's What Friends Are For," celebrates friendship as something that endures in good times and bad with a kind of through thick and thin attitude that makes it both durable and dependable. Would it surprise you to know that having friends is good not just for the social benefits, but they are also good for your health. An Australian research study found that people with a large network of friends, who exert a positive influence on their lives, live longer than those with fewer or no friends.

Having a positive influence in your life is key. Most people tend to choose friends for the qualities that mesh well with their own. For example, someone who enjoys a quiet, peaceable, law abiding lifestyle would not pair well with someone who's a raucous, hard-drinking, social misfit unless he, too, wants to go down that road. It's a proven fact that the company you keep has a huge influence on you:
Do not be fooled. Bad companions ruin good character. -- 1 Corinthians 15:33
How many parents have preached that sermon to their children, only to have those children later admit, "If I'd only have listened to my parents."

Might not be such a bad idea to do a  friendship audit to access the nature and quality of your own friendships or lack thereof. Is your current friend status providing what you need to be the best person you can be? Do your friends exert a positive and stable influence on your life?  Are your friendships mutually satisfying and rewarding? Are you able to be honest, open and vulnerable with your friends and still be accepted? These qualities are meant to be reciprocal, of course.

Makes you wonder if the world would be a better place, a safer place, a more socially responsible place, and so on, if the practice of nurturing quality friendships was given more of a priority in our lives. In his book, Vital Friends: The People You Can’t Afford To Live Without, author Tom Rath says:
 If you ask people why they became homeless, why their marriage failed or why they overeat, they often say it is because of the poor quality, or nonexistence, of friendships. They feel outcast or unloved.
Likewise, the philosopher Aristotle had this to say about the importance of friendship:
In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge. They keep the young out of mischief; they comfort and aid the old in their weakness, and they incite those in the prime of life to noble deeds.
The whole idea of having friends originated with God, who said: "Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness..." The first friendship ever recorded in human history was between God and the first man, Adam. Think about it. Adam was a friend of God. Not only did Adam have God's ear, he also had his trust. But we know from reading the Biblical account that friendship was broken when Adam sinned.

When a valued friendship goes awry, most people are willing to do whatever it takes to restore it. Well, God is no different. From the moment Adam sinned, God already had a plan in place to restore his friendship with mankind. It took God coming down to earth in the person of Jesus Christ and dying on the cross in full payment not only for Adam's sin, but for those of all future generations.
Christ himself carried our sins in his body to the cross, so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness. It is by his wounds that you have been healed. -- 1 Peter 2:24 NLT 
 God wants to be friends with you again. There's no better friend you could have in your life. why not accept His offer today. Pray like this:

Lord Jesus, I believe that you are the Son of God. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. Please forgive my sins and give me the gift of eternal life. I ask you into my life and heart to be my Lord and Savior. I want us to be friends again. Amen.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Peace of mind

You may have seen the TV commercial about a character who calls himself "Mayhem." Good ole Mayhem goes about the neighborhood causing all kinds of trouble for innocent, unsuspecting people. After each disaster that he causes, Mayhem is heard to say, "if you had [blank] insurance you would be protected from mayhem like me."

Like Mayhem in the commercial, there is a real life character whose only purpose is to prey upon your life and mine, and for no other reason than to do us harm. His name is Satan. You may know him by his other names --- the devil, the accuser, the father of lies, the thief or the god of this world. The Bible compares Satan to a roaring lion that sneaks around looking for someone to attack (1 Peter 5:8). Satan's influence can be seen in individuals who do bad things to hurt other people like steal, murder, lie, quarrel, bully, cheat, hate and so on.

Satan loves to stir up trouble and doesn't care who gets hurt. He hates everybody, but most of all, he hates God. He wants to get back at God by destroying everything God created, including you and me. One tactic Satan uses is to try to get you to disbelieve God by telling lies about God. He used the same tactic on Eve in the Garden of Eden, and caused her to disobey God. Eve's was the first sin recorded in the Bible. You'll find the full account in the book of Genesis. Satan hasn't changed much since then. He is still causing people to sin. All the chaos, wars, tragedies and evil in the world today can be traced back to him.

The good news is God offers a life insurance plan that provides complete protection against Satan's attacks. This insurance policy is activated by faith and acceptance of  his son, Jesus Christ. The Bible says that Jesus came for the sole purpose of destroying the devil, and anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved from Satan's grasp (Romans 10:13).

Satan has no power over those who believe in Christ. And he knows that. One of the biggest lies that Satan will tell you is that you don't need God. If you believe this, Satan's got you right where he wants you. This is what Jesus says about Satan's motives:
The thief  [Satan] comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come in order that you might have life—life in all its fullness. John 10:10
Think about it. Who would you trust? The most important decision you have to make is deciding where you want to spend eternity... in the hands of Satan, the destroyer or in the presence of a loving God? It's your choice.
For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life. John 3:16

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Have a blessed day

This day has been brought to you by God. As you go about your activities today, here are just a few things God would like you to know:

I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for. Jeremiah 29:11
When you call to me, I will answer. I will be with you in [your] trouble. Psalm 91:15
I will [send] my angels to protect you wherever you go. Psalm 91:12
I will never leave you or forsake you. Joshua 1:15
Trust in me with all your heart. Don't rely on what you think you know. remember me in everything you do, and I will show you the right way. Proverbs 3:5-6
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

Have you ever had someone break a promise to you? Not a good feeling is it? People break promises to each other all the time without giving it much thought. Not so with God. God has never broken not even one of his 3,500 promises found in the Bible. A few of his often quoted promises are sampled here for you.

Write them down. Hold them close to your heart. For those times when you feel lonely, tired or discouraged, God's promises are there to lift you up.
For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Hebrews 4:12 NLT

Need prayer? Feel free to leave a  prayer request or go to if you would like someone to pray with you.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

God bless you

"God bless you." People say this to each other all the time particularly after a sneeze. It probably never occurs to most of them that these words can unleash the power of God into a person's life. Are some people really able to command blessing on other people just by speaking it? The answer is, yes.

Funny how most people will accept "God bless you" from a total stranger without even thinking about what it means or the significance behind it? All they know is that it sounds like a good thing and makes them feel special.

But there's more behind the words, God bless you, than you think. God's blessings have power to change lives. When you say, "God bless you" to someone, you are inviting God to bestow his favor on them. Here's what that looks like:

In biblical terms, to bless is to declare God’s truth into someone’s life and to announce God as the gracious, sovereign Lord who intends to flood His children with goodness and joy. When we pronounce a blessing, we serve as witness to the truth that God’s generosity and power have by no means been extinguished. --- In-Touch magazine

Most people will admit that the thought of being blessed by God is a good thing, whether they think they deserve it or not. Few people realize, however, that God 's blessings don't depend on how deserving a person is. God blesses everyone, believers and unbelievers alike. That's just his nature. The Bible says:

The Father who is in the heavens causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and unjust. --- Matthew 5:45 

God looks upon his creation with love, and more than anything, his blessings are simply the way that he shows it. The common understanding of being blessed by God is that we receive good things from Him. People often say that they feel blessed in response to the good things that happen in their lives. Blessed because they got the job they wanted, or maybe, got out of debt; blessed because they got into the college they wanted on a scholarship; blessed because they were healed from a serious illness or maybe, survived a deadly accident; blessed that the bullet just missed...and the list goes on. 

God makes no secret of the fact that his blessings are meant to win over the hearts of everyone he desires to come to him. His blessings serve to remind us of how good he is.

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: 'I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness'. --- Jeremiah 31:3

Perhaps, the blessing behind the blessings is that God offers forgiveness even when we sin and turn our backs on him. The Bible makes it plain that Jesus came to earth to offer humankind the way back to God. That's why when Jesus was asked why he spent so much time hanging around with sinners, he answered:

 It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. --- Luke 30-33
God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8

Anyone can pronounce a blessing, but God gives those who believe in him special authority to use his name to bless others. Next time someone sneezes in your presence, smile and ask their name. If they comply, now you can make it personal, "God bless you, Carolyn." Hopefully, when you say or hear those words from now on, you'll think about the real blessing behind them, embrace the practice and share your new insight with someone who doesn't know the God behind every blessing

God, I need your blessing on my life today. I realize that my sins have separated me from you and I am sorry. Please forgive me. I accept Jesus as your sacrifice for my sins. I ask Jesus to come into my life right now and help me to live for you from this day forward.

Leave a comment if you would like prayer, or go to if you would like someone to pray with you. Be blessed.