Often, we feel either inadequate or without sufficient resources to be able to do something that needs to be done. These lines of reasoning are constantly used by individuals and congregations in relation to serving God. In some cases we say we don’t have time to serve God as we would like. Sometimes we state that we just don’t have the ability to do some good work that needs to be done. In other cases we claim to not have sufficient resources to the get the job done. While these statements can hold some validity, we must not use them carelessly as excuses to simply let ourselves off the hook. If we open both our physical eyes and our eyes of faith, we will often find that we have more time and ability and resources than we first imagined.
Everybody wants to be happy. In fact, there may be more emphasis in our society right now than ever before on finding happiness . There’s a lot of focus on having a job you can be happy with. Some people move to different locations in the pursuit of happiness . Wives leave husbands and husbands leave wives because they’re just not happy . Teenagers are committing suicide at a staggering rate because they’re unhappy . Happiness seems to be elusive to many people. But a profound question should be, “Where do you look for happiness?”
They say fingerprints serve as evidence. Fingerprints prove the presence of a specific individual in a particular setting. They’re used to prove, or disprove, criminal cases all the time. It’s also said that each person’s fingerprints are unique to that particular individual; no two individuals have the same fingerprints.
Near his treatise on the misuse of the tongue James stated, “For we all stumble in many things” ( Jas. 3:2 ). Boy, do we ever! The devil is our adversary- enemy- ( 1 Pet. 5:8 ), and he’s very skilled at leading us into sin and away from God. It’s obvious that James is, referring, primarily, to sinning by his use of the word “stumble.” The phrase “in many things” points to the fact that we find ourselves sinning in many different ways.
Ponce de Leon was a Spanish adventurer who, with the sanction of the king of Spain, set out to find the legendary Fountain Of Youth . In the year 1513 he searched the coast of what is today the state of Florida in a vain attempt to locate what he envisioned to be a source of perpetually life sustaining water. What a dream, what hope! Eliminating physical death. Of course, his efforts proved to be futile. There is no such water source.
We’ve crossed over the threshold of time, moving from one year into another. This article is number thirty seven in a line of bulletin articles I’ve been privileged to write at the beginning of a new year. Four such articles have come at the beginning of a new decade, and one served to usher in a new century and millennium. I suppose it’s common for a preacher to mull over, to a somewhat greater degree, just what he should write at the beginning of a new year. He wants to say something profound, something that will motivate thoughtfulness and action in a positive direction on both an individual and a congregational basis.
As we enter into a new year, there’s a question that ought to be up front in everybody’s mind: “How Is My Relationship With God?” At about this time every year people consider how their lives are going. They reflect on what happened to them last year and look ahead to what is realistically appearing for them on the horizon.
A crisis is defined as a critical moment, a decisive point in time, a situation or period of time in which matters are difficult, uncertain, painful, potentially dangerous. Frequently, a crisis calls for decisive action to be taken in order to avoid disaster. Everyone faces a crisis in life from time to time, some more compelling than others. One of the most profound of all crises is a crisis of faith, which can come in different forms.
Our present societal mindset takes a dim view of absolutes. Anyone who is absolutely certain of what constitutes truth and right and wrong, for example, is commonly considered to be narrow minded, bigoted, even radical. Some might also consider him to be mentally unbalanced and possibly dangerous.
Could you imagine trying to live without electricity? Probably, every one of us has had some experience with that prospect, on a limited basis. Storms of various types often down power lines or cause transformers to blow. Sometimes, heavy usage within an electrical grid will lead to a shut-down of the system within that grid. There have been a number of instances of loss of power over extensive areas of the country. While such scenarios cause problems, the resultant loss of power is usually fairly short-lived. Before long, the problem is corrected and power is restored.
Gary L. Hutchens