Missing in Action

Several years ago the Department of Defense announced that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, 1st Lt. Shannon E. Estill, U.S. Army Air Forces, who was missing in action from World War II, had been identified and returned to his family for burial with full honors. He had been considered missing in action for over 50 years.
Many servicemen went missing during the Vietnam conflict and it appeared nothing was being done to find missing personnel. Several famous movies were made about men who went in alone to recover their missing comrades.
There are many missing-in-action people from our churches these days, those who no longer are with us. No, I don’t mean they are dead. I mean they have quit going to church. The number one reason is that someone in the church did something to hurt them and it was easier not to go back.
Christians, look around this Sunday and think about those from your congregation who are missing. Write their name down and make a note to call them this week and invite them to come back. Sometimes all it takes is one invitation, one person who acts like she cares, that will be the deciding factor in bringing these people back to the church. If you come in contact with someone who has left their church, take that opportunity to invite them to go to church with you this Easter.
Everyone ought to go to church at least on Christmas and Easter to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and His death, burial, and resurrection. And if every person in town went to church on Easter Sunday, every church would be full.
Are you MIA? Missing in action from your church? If you just can’t go back to that church, find you a church where you can attend.
I know God’s heart’s desire is like mine—that every church in town be full and running over on Easter morning so people can hear the Good News.

The Great Guide

Our neighbor man fished all the time. He fished for crappie, bass, catfish, I guess just about every kind of fish there was. I remember the time he came home from fishing with a giant turtle, and all of us kids played with it. Some even had their pictures taken riding on the back of the turtle.
As far as we were concerned, he didn’t work. He just played around and fished all the time. As I grew up, I learned that he was a well-known fishing guide in northeast Oklahoma, maybe the best in all of Oklahoma. When people planned a fishing trip on Grand Lake, they frequently hired him to take them fishing, since he knew when the fish were biting, where they were located, what the fish were biting on.
I don’t know much about fishing but our neighbor Dutch Faulconer did, and because Dutch had fished so much in Grand Lake, he was a great fishing guide.
The way I understand it, a guide is one who has been where you want to go, has fished for what you want to fish for, and caught what you want to catch. He knows all the right places, because he has been there, lived through it, and brought back the fish to eat.
The Lord Jesus walked the dirt roads of this earth. He lived through all the circumstances of life.  He knows what we are going through. He knows the places to go, the best way to walk. He’s the only man ever to walk this earth who didn’t sin. “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses since he had the same temptations we do, though he never once gave way to them and sinned.” Hebrews 4:15 The Living Bible.
 
“I will instruct you (says the Lord) and guide you along the best pathway for your life; I will advise you and watch your progress.” Psalms 32:8
 
God is our great Guide in everything we do. Where He leads me, I will follow.

This is the Confidence

 

Every time we kids needed something, we went to Mama. Whether it was something to eat, or clothes, or something special for school, we knew she would come up with it.

When we were in school, each year we got new school supplies. When we were in Home Economics in high school, Mama always came up with the money to buy our sewing supplies. Some of my friends didn’t take Home Economics because they didn’t have the money for it, but it didn’t bother our mom. Somehow she came up with the money and she let us pick out our sewing patterns, fabric, and all sewing supplies. She didn’t even try to talk us into buying cheaper fabric.

When school pictures were taken, each of us 4 kids ordered the full school package of 8x10s, 5x7s, and even little pictures to trade with our friends. Many of my friends now tell me they didn’t ever buy their school pictures and don’t have any of those now.

Before you think that was no big deal, you should know that Mama took in ironings when we were very young, and then when we all were in school she went to work at the school cafeteria.

After we were grown, we often called Mom to pray for us, because we knew that she knew how to get hold of God. We had great confidence in her prayers until the day she passed away.

We had confidence that whatever we needed, Mama would be sure we received it. We weren’t embarrassed to ask, because we knew she loved to give us not only what we needed, but things we wanted too.

This is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. So if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have whatever we asked of Him.” I John 5:14-15 Modern English Version.

Having confidence in my mother taught me to have confidence in God. Just as my mother loved to provide for her children, how much more will our Father God provide everything we need.

 

Silver Leaf Maple

Grandmother had a great shade tree in her backyard,  a giant silver-leaf maple tree. The backyard facing east was always so shady and cool, almost like being out in the country. Grandmother’s house was just a three-room cottage, so peaceful and quiet.

I don’t recall who discovered the silver-leaf maple tree had fallen over or even which day. There might have been some wind, we aren’t sure, but the weather had been sunny. Grandmother had moved to heaven several years before and no one was living in her house.

The tree was pulled completely out of the ground, with its roots showing, an empty hole left behind. The tree trunk lay on the ground, the trunk at the base about 3 feet in diameter.  The roots were all showing– little roots, fat roots, but no tap root, not a single long root going down deep into the earth.

Jesus told a story of the farmer who went planting seed. “The seeds that fell on rocky ground are the people who gladly hear the message and accept it right away. But they don’t have any roots, and they don’t last very long. As soon as life gets hard or the message gets them in trouble, they give up.” Mark 4:16-17 Contemporary English Version.

We’ve all seen people in the church, friendly, carrying their Bible, slipping a $20 in the collection plate. They come to church a couple of times a month and always show up on Easter and Christmas, but when hard times come, they fall away from the church.

When one loses his job or problems come in their marriage or they have trouble with the children, instead of running to God and the church, they seek out the advice of their non-Christian friends.

“The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree. He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God.”” Psalm 92: 12-13.

It’s time to get planted in church and grow a deep root.

Enough Sleep

I have an app on my mobile phone named Sleep Tracker which I set when I lie down at night to sleep. It listens to my breathing and recognizes when I snore, or cough. Then when I wake in the morning I stop the tracker and it determines how much time I slept, whether it was a deep sleep or light sleep, and how much time I was awake during the night. Then the app determines an average sleep time by day, week, or month.
Sleep is vital to our well-being, but is one part of our health where we usually cut ourselves short. Most of us don’t get enough sleep. According to a study by the CDC, “More than a third of American adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis.”  I am one of those 33% not getting enough sleep. There’s always something to do instead of going to bed, such as watch TV, mess around on Facebook, read email, or even go to bed and read in bed. Of course, since I am retired now, I can sleep as long as I want.
After Jesus fed the multitudes by multiplying the loaves of bread and fish, he sent the disciples on a boat to the other side of the lake, then went up on the mountain to pray. In the fourth watch of the night, between 3 and 6 a.m., Jesus went walking on the water to find the boat where his disciples were, and Peter walked very briefly on the water too.
 
“I will lift up my eyes to the hills—From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.”  Psalms 121:1-4 New King James Version.
 
It is reassuring to know that our God doesn’t sleep even when we must.