A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (2)

And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.  – Mark 2:22

So much of what we read in Scripture is what my grandpa called common horse sense.  Aren’t we thankful for that?  What if God’s Word was completely over our heads?  Wouldn’t that be fun during devotion time?  I’m glad that I don’t have to consult with Franklin Graham about every portion of Scripture I read, aren’t you?

I’m the first to admit my knowledge of wine is limited…  that is to say, you could fill a thimble with what I know about it.  I know there are red ones and white ones, and I think I know that red is for pasta and red meat, and white is for fish.  I think I know that – don’t quote me.

Back in Bible times, wine was what they drank – I always heard it’s because the water was not fit to drink.  We’ll go with that.  I just don’t drink because – well – for one thing, those drinks at restaurants are expensive – it’s frankly not a huge religious rule with me – more of a financial one.  Water is more healthy and it’s free.  There ya go.

Why is it important for us to know about new wine and new wineskins?

The new wine represents the spiritual freedom of the gospel of Jesus Christ – with its fermenting energy and new life that has the power to truly transform a heart and life.  The old wine represents the old ways – the old ceremonies and rules of the Law.  This was a time when the old legal ceremonial ways were about to pass away.  It would prove fatal to try to weave the old with the new – or to put new wine into old wineskins.

In addition…  the new wine also represents a brand new baby Christian – filled with zeal and excitement about the new life they’ve been given by our LORD.  They are so driven with a desire to please the LORD…  and sadly, the older wine in the church is all too happy to dump every JOB that has to be done in the church – on their heads.  Are they ready for it?  Um…  NO!  Why do we do that?

New converts MUST be treated with gentleness and consideration.  We need to stop misinterpreting their eagerness and willingness to jump in and work for a sudden qualification to do so.  They’re not ready for the tasks that we “old wine peeps” have taken on for ions of time.  The fastest way to burn out a brand new baby Christian is to throw them into a bunch of jobs all at once.

I love the idea of new Christian classes.  I’ve not been to one, but I know they are very effective.  By the time folks are finished with that, they are usually ready to do one thing – not a whole list of stuff – just one thing – and do it well.  And just as it should be – they will progress to more things as God opens the door.  I’ve seen great new ministries begin that way.

I know the old saying – and it’s true…  10% of the people do 90% of the work.  I get it…  I really do.  But let’s think before we load a new Christian – or even a new member – down with a list of jobs.  May we pray that God will impress on us what ministries He wants for us to be a part of.

At twelve years old – after I was saved and baptized in the church, I was immediately given a Sunday School class to teach, asked to be church pianist, and play piano for the choir and for the youth group.  It’s not a complaint, for all of this prepared me for the work and ministries I’d be involved with later.  It’s more of a reflection about how we’re all quick to share the workload… and I suppose they shared it with me because I grew up in the church.  But seriously…  we need to be careful with the brand new baby Christians.

They drink milk…  they have to ease into red meat.  🙂

 

 

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NATIONAL SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHER APPRECIATION DAY

TL 10-19 NATIONAL SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHER APPRECIATION DAY

USE YOUR GIFTS(1) HAPPY SUNDAYSHOW THEM JESUSGOD CHOSE YOU3

Today is NATIONAL SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHER APPRECIATION DAY!  I started teaching Sunday School when I was only 12 years old, about the same time I began playing piano for church.  Believe me when I tell you it’s not for wimps!  God gives us what we need, and most of the time we need a sense of humor!

I appreciate those times when you have worked all day Friday, come home to fix supper for your family, get your Sunday School packet out and begin to organize the lesson in your mind – and put together all the fun games included in the lesson packet.  Hey, we do laundry and cook-ahead on Saturday, so the lesson plan has to be done on Friday night.

I appreciate the moments when you realize that there’s no way you’re going to teach this lesson on a level that is going to be understood by your kids.  Sometimes you literally have to take the words used in the lesson book and re-write them.  It’s a definite waste of time for you, but the kids will benefit from it  because at least they will get something out of it.

I appreciate the days when you smile even though you walk into your Sunday School class and Tommy has already spit gum into Suzie’s pretty brown hair.  See what I mean about praying for a sense of humor?  You handle this rather sticky situation with grace and finesse – you send Suzie to her mom and set Tommy in the corner for a time out.  Yep – all better now.  Of course, the first bell has now rung and you haven’t gotten around to doing any teaching, but hey…  stuff happens.

I appreciate the dedication you have for your kids.  They are a charge given to you.  When you walk in ready to evangelize to them and let them know they are loved not only by their Savior, Jesus Christ, but by you as well, it’s a very good and productive day.  Well done!

I appreciate the time you take to teach children.  In our church we had a lot of bus kids – kids whose parents didn’t think it was important to bring their kids to church, but they could ride our bus.  One little girl will be in my mind forever – Virginia.  For some reason, Virginia decided I was her favorite person on the planet.  She never wanted to go to Children’s Church after Sunday School.  She wanted to go into BIG CHURCH with me.  I think she would have come home with me if she could get away with it.  I’ll tell you a little secret – I would have let her!  That little girl is not so little anymore.  She’s probably a mother herself now.  I pray for her every day.  I pray that the words she heard in Sunday School (and in BIG CHURCH) stayed with her and that somewhere along the way, she accepted Jesus into her heart and life.  ❤

BRING YOUR BIBLE TO SCHOOL DAY

TL 10-16 BRING YOUR BIBLE TO SCHOOL DAY

TAKE YOUR BIBLE TO SCHOOL

These days when kids take their Bible to school, it’s more than likely not the large family Bible with elaborate illustrations inside.  More than likely it is an app on their phone – and that’s okay!

Sit in any airport lounge and look around at the number of people who are hunched over, looking at a device.  The machines have already won – just in a way that the Terminator films didn’t imagine.  – James Cameron

When I was in school, mama kept our family Bible in the center of our coffee table. She wrote down the entire family tree, every important event (weddings, funerals, baptisms and every time I sneezed). As years went by and memories got fuzzy about details, we found ourselves opening the family Bible more and more to get accurate information. Now that my family has gone on to heaven, that Bible sets on my coffee table with my mama’s beautiful handwritten notes inside.

Well, times have changed. You know, it’s been a while since I was in school, but I remember when the Gideons came around to our classroom and gave each of us a pocket New Testament. So many things were just accepted back then as part of being in school. The Christian faith was respected and in many cases embraced in our little elementary school. We said a pledge to our country’s flag, then said a prayer in assembly every morning before going to our classroom. We learned from books instead of computers and thought just as much of art and music classes as we did of math and science classes.

My friend Karla was a Christian too. She was part of a congregation that did not believe in watching films of any kind – so she was given permission to go to the office or take her desk out in the hall when the rest of us watched educational films in the classroom. Some days I wished I could go with her instead of watching the film, to be honest.

I’m sure as technology  advanced it has left her congregation behind. I think about her often and wonder how she has faired in the world with just her faith and her sweet disposition to lean on. I wonder too if I’d be better off if I would lean more on my faith in God and less on technology. I don’t think complete ignorance is the answer, but I do think there is a simplicity in her world that is lacking in mine.

Today is BRING YOUR BIBLE TO SCHOOL DAY! Whether you come from a background that shuns technology or embraces it, you have the opportunity to carry God’s Word with you today. Our Bibles, whether electronic or an actual Book, are the road map we read as we travel through life. It’s where we gain wisdom and knowledge for the difficult days ahead. It’s not supposed to be a huge Book that sets on the coffee table and is only opened to find out what year something took place. It’s to be used and held close to you at all times. Don’t be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, but carry God’s Word to school with you today. You don’t have to wave it around and act all goofy, but it shouldn’t be something to hide from everyone either. ❤

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

TL ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY (10)

POTENTIAL I TEA
The price of greatness is more than you want to pay.  The world’s most legendary athletes are usually the ones most wildly out of balance.  Michael Jordan had to crush you, whether you were an opponent or a teammate…  Enjoy your heroes, but don’t envy them.  – Rich Reilly

On this day in 1912, Jim Thorpe won the pentathlon at the fifth modern Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden. At the time, Thorpe, a Native American who attended Pennsylvania’s Carlisle Indian School, was only beginning to establish his reputation as the greatest all-around athlete in the world.  Did he have potential – well, of course!  But guess what?  In God’s eyes we all have potential!

I want you not only to hear this, but to claim it. GOD LOVES YOU! He smiles on you and He wants to help you become the very best person you can be! Half of communication is listening. I’m doing my part – I’m talking (well, writing)… now, you do your part, and listen!

Because we know God loves us eternally, we know that we will be protected from harm, and we will receive special blessings from Him. He will withhold no good thing from His children. We love Him because He first loved us.

We love because he first loved us. – 1 John 4:19

In my life, the hand of God has been obvious! There are times when I get ready to speak, or rather misspeak. The Lord has been so gracious as to let me hear something or intervene in a way which would stop me from speaking. I praise Him for those private “saves” He provides! It’s happened oftentimes, and I’ve learned to speak more slowly and listen more as a result.

The many “teas” I talk about in the poem are blessings from Him. God sees so much more in me than I see in myself. Keeping this blog is a perfect example of something I would never have done without His help. I’ve been blessed beyond measure since beginning this blog! I’ve met people I would not have met otherwise and this has given me an opportunity to share my faith in God through His Son Christ.

It is the first of all problems for a man to find out what kind of work he is to do in this universe. – Thomas Carlyle

God has blessed me time and again with inspiration and purpose. I love my life because the purpose I have is not the same one every day. My purpose in life varies, at least in degree, every day. He’s given me countless opportunities to serve Him. ❤