Sunday, December 18, 2005

Mary Had a Little Lamb

Mary Had a Little Lamb

Mary had a little Lamb,
He was born on Christmas day.
She laid him in a manger bed
To Sleep upon the hay.

Angels filled the night-time sky
And they began to sing.
Shepherds heard them all proclaim
The birthday of a King.

Wise men saw a blazing star
Up in the sky that night.
They followed it until they found
The King of love and light.

Mary had a little Lamb,
But He wasn't hers, you know,
He was the very Son of God,
The One who loves us so.

The Father of this little Lamb
Loved the world so much
That He sent his only Son to earth
So we could feel His touch.

He came to give us joy and peace
And take away our sin.
So when He knocks on your heart's door,
Be sure to let Him in.

Why do I love this precious Lamb?
What can the reason be?
The answer is quite plain to see,
It's because He first loved me!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Don't Miss Christmas!

Don't you just love Christmas? I do! I love the Christmas trees with their blinking lights, ornaments, and tensil. And that's not all! I love the beautiful music and the delicious Christmas candy and cookies. I love Christmas dinner of turkey and dressing with all of the trimmings. I love all of the parties -- and visiting with family and friends. And, of course I love the presents -- both the ones I give and the ones I receive. Especially the ones I receive! Hmmm... Can you think of anything I have left out? Oh yes! It's someone's birthday, isn't it? Whose birthday is it? That's right! It is Jesus' birthday. You know, sometimes we get so caught up in all of the decorations, lights, parties, and presents that we miss the real Christmas.

That reminds me of a story I heard about a little boy who had always wanted to go to a circus. One day he was walking down the street when he saw a poster in a store window. The poster said that a circus was coming to town and that a ticket to the circus cost one dollar. The boy ran home and asked his daddy if he would give him a dollar to go to the circus on Saturday. His daddy told him that if he would work hard and get all of his chores done, he would give him a dollar to go to the circus. Saturday morning came and the boy got up early and did all of his chores.

"I have all of my chores done," the boy told his dad.

The boy's father gave him a dollar and the boy headed into town filled with excitement about seeing wild animals, trapeze artists, and all of the things that come with a circus. Since he arrived in town so early, he was on the front row when the circus parade started down the main street of town. The boy was thrilled when the animals and other circus acts paraded by him.

At the end of the parade came the clowns and following the clowns was the ringmaster. When the ringmaster passed by where he was standing, the boy ran out into the street, took his folded dollar bill from his pocket, and handed it to the ringmaster.

"Thanks," mister, said the boy, "that was a great circus!" Then he turned around and walked home. He never knew what he had missed. He thought he had been to the circus, but he had only been to the parade.

This year, I hope that we won't be like that little boy. I hope we won't get so caught up in all of the celebration of the season that we miss the real Christmas. I hope we wont miss the birthday of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

And she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7 (NIV)

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Weeds in the Garden

I have weeds in my garden. I made sure that I planted my garden in good soil, and yet, I still have weeds. As you probably know, one of the biggest enemies of a good garden is weeds. Weeds will rob the soil of the nutrients that help your plants to grow and many times they will choke out good plants. What can you do? Well, you could take a hoe and chop down the weeds, but if you do that, you will probably chop down some of the good plants by accident.

Another way to get rid of the weeds is to buy some weed killer. This stuff will really kill the weeds. The biggest problem with weed killer is that it doesn't know a thistle from a tomato plant. It kills every plant that it touches. Sometimes, it is best just to leave the weeds alone until it is time to harvest the crop. Then you can separate the weeds from the good plants.

One time Jesus told a story that compared his church to a garden that was infested with weeds. Sometimes there may be people in the church that don't really belong. They do things that aren't very loving and they don't seem to believe what the Bible teaches. They sometimes say hateful things about the other members of the church and try to hurt them. They are like weeds in a garden.

We have to be very careful about trying to remove those people from the church. In his story, Jesus said that we shouldn't worry about pulling up the weeds that grow around us. If we do, we may do more harm than good. He suggests that we leave the weeds for God to take care of - and concentrate on doing what he wants us to do - which is producing good fruit.

Whenever you see someone in the church that you don't think should be there, before you grab your hoe or your weed killer, remember the advice of Jesus. Just leave it up to God to separate the weeds from the good plants. If we try to take matters into our own hands, we will probably do more harm than good.

Dear Father, help us to love one another and leave the matter of judgment in your hands. Amen.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

What Is Love?

I don't know about you, but when I see a heart, the first thing I think of is love. We think and talk a lot about love, don't we? We often say things such as, "I love ice cream" or "I love to play baseball." We also say to our parents or special friends, "I love you."

A group of professionals asked some children from age four to eight, "What does love mean?" Here are some of the answers the children gave.

"Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other." -Kari, age 5

"Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs." -Chrissy, age 6

"Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it every day." -Noelle, age 7

"Love is when mommy gives daddy the best piece of chicken." -Elaine, age 5

"Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day." -Mary Ann, age 4

"Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK." Danny - age 7

If I were to ask you to tell me what love is, what would your answer be? I think if we really want to know what love is, the best place to find the answer is in the Bible. God not only told us what love is, he showed us.

The Bible says, "God showed how much he loved us by sending Jesus to die for us, even though we were sinful." Wow! That's real love! God loved us so much that He sent His Son to die for us even though we did not deserve it.

You know that list of answers that children gave to the question, "What is love?" Well, here is one more.

"God could have said magic words to make the nails fall off the cross, but He didn't. That's love." I think that really says it all, don't you?

Thursday, June 02, 2005

God Cares for You

When I was a little boy, I would sometimes go into a store and see a large jar filled with beans. There would be a contest to see who could guess how many beans were in the jar. The one who guessed the nearest to the correct number would win a prize.

Wouldn't it be amazing if someone could take one look at a jar and tell you exactly how many jelly beans are in the jar? That would be pretty amazing, but let me tell you something more amazing than that! The Bible tells us that God knows exactly how many hairs are on your head. Look around you, some of us have a lot of hair and some don't have very much. It doesn't matter how much or how little hair you have, God knows how many hairs are on each person's head!

The Bibles also says that God knows exactly how many birds are in the air and if one of them dies and falls to the ground, God knows it! If God cares when a little sparrow falls to the ground, can you imagine how much he cares for you? Well, I'll tell you how much God cares for you -- He cares for you so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus, to die on the cross so that you could have everlasting life. Now, that's amazing!

Saturday, March 12, 2005

The Happy Puppy

Theme: Happiness is not brought about by what happens to us, it is brought about by what happens within us.

Scripture: Matthew 5:1-12 (The Beatitudes) and Happy is he who trusts in the Lord. Proverbs 16:20 (RSV)

I heard a story about a little puppy that noticed that whenever he was happy, his tail wagged, so the thought he had found the secret to happiness. One day he shared the secret of happiness with an older dog. He said, "I have learned that the best thing for a dog is happiness, and that happiness is in my tail. So I am going to chase my tail; and when I catch it, I shall have happiness!" The old dog replied, "I too, believe that happiness is a marvelous thing for a dog, and that happiness is in my tail. But I have noticed that when I chase it, my tail keeps running away from me; but when I go about my business, it follows me wherever I go."

The Bible has a lot to say about being happy. It doesn't say, "Happy are they who have a lot of money" or "Happy are they who live in big houses and drive fancy cars." It doesn't even say, "Happy are they who only have good things happen to them." What the Bible does say is, "Happy are the merciful, happy are the peacemakers, and happy are the pure in heart." The Bible also says, Happy is he who trusts in the Lord. Many of us are like that little puppy chasing his tail -- trying to find true happiness that is always just out of our reach. What we need to do is learn that if we will just go about our business and trust in the Lord, happiness will follow us wherever we go.

Dear Lord, help us to place our trust in you so that we may experience the happiness that only you can bring. Amen.
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