Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘gratitude’

End of Your Rope?


Rope_knot : rope fastened in knots

Do you need encouragement? Read John 5:1-18. It’s about a man who seemed to be “at the end of his rope.” He had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. For “a very long time,” he had been lying by a pool near Sheep Gate in Jerusalem. The pool was surrounded by “a great number of disabled people,” waiting for the water to be stirred. Scripture teaches that healing would come only to the first person who entered the pool after the water was stirred. When Jesus saw the man, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

For most of us, that question comes across as rather strange. “Well, duh! Why else would I be lying here?” would have been a rather disrespectful answer, don’t you think? A simple, “Yes,” would have sufficed. But the man replied, “Sir, I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

Some people might read that as whining. They might interpret the man as one who lacked creativity or tenacity or sufficient faith or courage. I have even heard pastors and Biblical teachers speculate that he might have made his paralysis a way of life, and was content to just be there, maybe begging for a living or thriving on the sympathy of others. But, I think this man was at the end of his rope, and Jesus saw his tenacity, appreciated his struggle, and His heart went out to the man. He did not chastise him for complaining that he had no help. He simply said, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”

The story tells me, when I am at the end of my rope, it’s OK to complain to Jesus. It’s OK to cry to Him when there is no one to help you.

Imagine your rope is stiff jute, hanging only halfway down from the ceiling. You’ve tied a secure knot and you’re hanging on, but you’re tired of the struggle. Your grip are getting weak. By faith, you DO want to be made well. You rely on Jesus. He changes the rope to a bungee cord and it stretches to the floor where you can get your feet on the ground again. Pick up your mat (or your rope) and walk.

That was today’s message for me. Hang on until by God’s grace, you CAN walk again – or you can compensate – you can rely on other attributes that multiply in you – and make life do-able again. Then – healed by faith, count your blessings, and go out to tell your story! Radiate God’s Hope so that others can keep on keepin’ on when they come to the end of their ropes.

Here are today’s sermon notes (message from Rev. Jean Johnson, adapted – interpreted – and rendered in poetic form through my filters):

How to Get Well

Are you at the end of your rope?
Do you really want to be healed?
What are you doing to create a knot
And hang on where the knot is sealed?

What Super Glue sealed the knot tight?
Your fingers grasp at the end of straws
Looking for what solutions dangle there –
Within reach of your grasping claws.

Are you responsible for catching the clues?
Is healing a matter of finding and grasping?
If we whine and passively hang without doing,
Is this the key to healing that’s lasting?

No, firmly clasping that knot you’ve made
Requires faith and strength and tenacity.
Ultimately, healing comes from God’s grace.
Our gratitude gives that rope elasticity!

That’s the Good News! Bounce on down!
Untie the knot and let go of the rope.
By God’s grace – His goodness alone –
Walk, healed by Faith, to radiate God’s Hope!

Do you need encouragement? Read John 5:1-18. Hang in there!

Veteran’s Day


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Love one another, yes! Love especially our veterans – Yes!

It’s time to reflect on all those who served, and especially those who died, in the military. Because they served and many made the ultimate sacrifice, I have the freedom to live a life of comfort in safety today. I am saying a prayer of gratitude for all those who prevented my country from being a place like Syria where this week 11,000 men, women, and children fled across the border to Turkey. With only the clothes on their backs, they escaped the tyranny of an oppressive and unjust government – only to find themselves in a less than desirable camp-like setting. But they are alive. “Freedom is not free” is not a trite little saying on a bumper sticker. It is a reality. Isaiah 49:15-16 says “I will not forget you. I have engraved you on the palm of my hands.” The names of our veterans are engraved on my heart. God bless the memory of each one of them. May those who gave their lives for my freedom be living eternally at the right hand of God the Almighty, reaping the beautiful rewards of their bravery and sacrifice forever and ever. Amen? Amen!!

A Poem of Gratitude


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I woke this morning to the most glorious sunrise!
Up in my sanctuary, spending quiet time with my Lord,
this poem of gratitude flowed from my heart.
May it cause you to pause and Thank God, too, my friends.

Oh Lord, my God, I thank Thee
As You walk with me each day.
I thank Thee for the guidance
You provide me on the way.

I thank Thee for the love
You give me to pass along.
I thank Thee for the friends
Who point toward right, not wrong.

Oh Lord, my God, I thank Thee
For the bright new morning sun.
I thank Thee for the moments
I can praise You, every one.

I thank Thee for the trials
And the struggles that I face.
They strengthen and enrich me
As I bow to receive Your grace.

I thank Thee for the joys,
For the happiness that springs
From every living creature
That hops, flies, barks, and sings.

Your world is filled with wonders –
If I just open up my eyes
To see this great creation
That You’ve rolled into the skies.

The stars, the moon, the planets
Are not all there is to see.
You’ve made more than we’ll ever know
Until we reach eternity.

Oh Lord, my God, I thank Thee
For every breath I take.
May my life be in Your purpose.
May I live for Your Son’s sake.

Amen?

Amen!!!

Make Me an Offering


It is Stewardship Sunday.
What does that mean to you?
If you are a member of a church, you might think it is a time
when the church leaders seek to “Fleece the Flock.” 
Our sermon today was titled, “The Offering.”
As is my habit, I took notes as I listened.
Here are my internal reflections as I heard the message:

The Offering

What do I have that God needs?
He doesn’t need my money.
What do bees have that God needs?
You think He needs their honey?

What do I have that I alone produce?
My offering to God is FROM me.
What do I have that is unique to me?
It’s a gift from me that’s FREE.

What can I give to God who has it all?
He doesn’t need my $$ bills.
My offering is not FOR God;
It’s given in gratitude TO God
For a life of chills and thrills.

What do I have that God wants?
He wants my love and trust.
What do I have that’s free from God to me?
His love, my faith, and TIME. Give it to God? I must!

What does God need with my money, I wonder.
It is not for God, you see.
What does my giving mean? Is it plunder?
No, it’s a THANK YOU to God from me.

My checkbook is my stationery.
It’s how I give thanks for breath.
I’ll write my thanks, my gratitude to God,
With JOY and WISDOM until death.

What do I have that God wants?
More than anything, it is my faithful free TIME.
I can waste my TIME or spend it
In service to God. The choice is mine.

Lord God, take me
– and my time –
I am yours.

Make me an offering.

Amen?
Amen!

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