An Empty Life

A middle aged woman died this week.  She was a friend of mine.

Her husband died 5 yrs before.  She loved him.  She wanted more than anything to be reunited with him and Jesus.

She left 2 sons behind.  One outwardly despised her.  The other, outwardly loved her.  She left what she had to the 2nd son.  She left with him a handful of requests.

When she died the 1st son went to see his mother one last time.  The 2nd son announced that he had no intention of following through with his mother’s wishes.

I came away with greater respect for the 1st son.   Although he had almost no relationship with his mother, he was open about it.  He didn’t mislead anyone.

The other son pretended to be a lover his mother, but ultimately betrayed her wishes.  All to preserve more dollars for himself.  Even when he was acting like he was the “good son”, it was to promote himself in the eyes of others.  In a word, it was selfish.

So when all the dust settles, the mother will not have any of her wishes met, the 1st son will be left with regret, and the 2nd son has the small inheritance all to himself.  It would appear that the 2nd son won.

But the reality is this:  His life is empty.  He will be right back where he was, only without his mother, in a very short time.  The money will be gone.  He will be alone.

You see a selfish life is an empty life.  Jesus said that it was more blessed to give than to receive.  It is true.  While it brings happiness to be honored with things given to us, we are fulfilled only when we serve others.  We find meaning only in helping and ministering to others.

Are you feeling empty inside?  The best prescription is to get outside of yourself.  Stop looking inwardly.  Find someone to pour yourself into.  Help someone.  Give to someone.  I promise that you will find joy and meaning immediately.  God will bless you.

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God Meant it For Good

I was talking with an old friend the other night about his daughter’s career.  She had gone into the retail sector.

She has had management positions with a couple of the largest chains.  He is rightfully a very proud father.

I asked him how she ever decided to go into retail as a career.  He told me that she was a runner in high school and

was seriously injured.  She was unable to continue running so she decided to get a part time job with JC Penney.

She worked in the bedding department and loved it!  She decided then and there that she wanted to work in retail

for her career.  After graduating from Purdue, she got hooked up with a large company and has never looked back.

He told me that, “Had she not been injured, she would never have found the thing that she really loved to do.”

God works like that.  He can take that which looks like a set back and turn it into a great blessing!

I think of Joseph, sold into slavery by his brothers, taken to a foreign land, made a slave, does time in prison (for a crime

he didn’t even commit), and ends up vice president of the most powerful nation on earth. Only God can do that!

Joni Erickson dove into a shallow lake when she was a teenager and came out of the water paralyzed from the neck down.

After a time of soul searching and struggle, she came to Jesus and found joy and purpose for her life.  She now ministers

to millions of people, focusing on those who have physical challenges.  She would concur with Joseph.  That which was meant for evil, God meant for good.

What an amazing God we serve!  He is able to turn the tables on life!  He is able to change defeat to victory.  He specializes

in using the underdogs!  He does His best work through the broken, rejected, hurting, and forgotten.

Are you in the pit right now?  Take heart!  God is not through!  Hold on.  Be faithful.  Believe.  Wait.

For He is getting ready to do something amazing in your life if you just let Him!

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Holding On

Life is a marathon, not a sprint.

I have heard it said that life is “hard by the yard, and cinch by the inch.”  I’m not sure about that.

Life is certainly hard by the yard, but it’s pretty tough by the inch as well.  Moment by moment.  Day by day.  There are new challenges that come before us on whatever road we are walking.

There are many times that we feel afraid.  Other times when we feel discouraged.

So many of these things are tests of our faith.  Some experiences are thrown at us by the enemy.  All experiences are permitted by God.

There is purpose in all of it.  God wants us to know where our faith is.  Through it all He is with us.  He truly is Emmanuel, the Lord who is with us.  He will never leave us.  He will never forsake us.  He hold on to us, even when we have no strength left to hold on to Him.  He is our strength when our strength is gone.

Did you know what Jesus is doing right now?  He is praying for you and for me!  His ministry is one of intercession.  He prays to the Father on our behalf.  He not only cares, He prays!

Don’t give up on Him.  He will not give up on you.

Keep praying.  Keep waiting.  Keep believing.  Keep holding on!  Don’t let go!  He is worth it.

So are you!

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Spring is God’s Picture of Resurrection

What a spring!  As I write this I am looking out my window at snow flying and branches bending!  Not a very enjoyable day!  We’ve had a tough winter and it is extending out into spring.
            I was working out the other morning and a fireman friend of mine said “Everything looks dead out there.”He was right.  The branches are bare.  The ground that is not covered in snow is really matted and crusty.  There are a few stubs popping up, but nothing in the way of flowers.  It is cold.  It is dark.  It is dead.
            Yet nature promises better days.  And it will happen quickly.  In just a matter of days the warmth of the sun will return.  One day soon we will awaken to a day like none that we’ve seen in a long time.  Gone will be the coat.  Even sweaters will be put away for 7 months or so.  We will dial back the heat in our cars and begin pushing the air button.  The barren branches will begin to bud and quickly be covered with leaves.
            The matted ground will begin to push up the brown blades of grass and they will turn green and be full of life—–again.  The stubs will rise up in the form of green stems and colorful flowers will miraculously burst out the top, decorating all of the countryside.  It will be warm again.  It will be brilliant.  And we will be surrounded by life.  It will be all around us.  And amazingly it will be exactly where death had been!  Same trees.  Same grass.  Same stubs.  Same place.  How? 
            I am sure that botanists could give us a scientific explanation.   They could describe the process in long words and phrases.  But the truth is this.  Spring is a miracle.  Every time.  Every year.
            As I told my fire fighter friend, spring is God’s picture of resurrection.
If you struggle believing in life after death, look around this week.  Remember.  Remember what it looked like just a few weeks ago and what it looks like now.  Be thankful that we don’t have to understand HOW all of this happened.  We just need to be thankful and believe in the One who is able to change death to life in just a moment.  He does it for the trees, flowers, and grass.  He will do it for you and me too.
             “Finally the other disciple who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.”
                                       

                         Let us worship the resurrected Christ.
                                                               Pastor Tim

Lenora Ellen Geiger Remembered

When I think of Lenora Ellen Geiger, the word “saint” comes to mind.

She was a true believer.  She and Franklin faithfully lived their lives for Jesus in our area for many years.

Their roots go back to the original church building.  Franklin and Lenora Ellen both would sit and tell me about the fire that happened so many years ago in the old sanctuary.    Both remembered Franklin and Jack Hill helping to throw buckets of water on the fire to try to put it out.

Lenora Ellen had a great heart for the church and its history.  She was the church historian for many years.  She kept records of members and happenings within the church over decades.

She gave her life to education, teaching in the public school system for many years.  She touched the lives of many people thru her talents, time, and dedication.  She revered education.  I even remember that she always gave a gift to every child who graduated that attended Sugar Grove.  She did this every year.

She always had a heart for missions.   Her children had that same passion.

She and Franklin gave unselfishly over the years to support the ministries of missionaries all over the world.

I recently read someone who wrote that the amount we give is not so much based on the size of the gift, as the amount left over.  Franklin and Lenora Ellen lived humble lives together.  They sacrificed many of the spoils of this life to invest in something eternal.

She loved the old testament.  Her favorite book was the book of Job.

She loved books.  She once gave me a copy of the first books of Moses in the bible, written in Hebrew.  I still treasure that gift!

Mostly she loved Jesus.  She believed in Him.  She served Him.  She loved Him.

Once I visited with just her in her home.  I asked her if she was afraid to die.  To my amazement she threw her head back and just belly laughed out loud, crying out “Heavens No!”

She is now home with her Lord and Savior.   Thank you Lenora Ellen, for running such a beautiful, meaningful race.

We will never forget you.

See you soon…..

Pastor Tim