What does this look like?

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”  James 5:16 (NKJV)

In the modern-day world, I just don’t understand what the effectual fervent prayer looks like.  In Christian circles we like to talk about being in an attitude of prayer during the day, but is that what effectual fervent prayer means?  I feel I’m in that kind of attitude most of the day.
And if so, why then are my prayers not being answered?  Even the ones I’ve been praying about for years.  I’d certainly classify those as fervent prayers.

“Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.”  James 5:17 (NKJV)

How is it that Elijah prayed and no rain fell for over three years, and then he prayed again and rain fell?  Just like that – nothing else to it – just a simple prayer.  Since becoming a Christian, I’ve prayed for rain before, and the rain never came.  Why is it that God chooses to answer the prayers of some and not others?  Sam tells me that it has something to do with the motivation of the prayer, and the righteousness of the man.  This makes me wonder just how differently from Elijah my Christian motivation and my righteousness are before God.  Sometimes I wish I could see myself through God’s eyes so I could know what areas are keeping me from being the Elijah kind of righteous.   I want that kind of righteousness in my life.  Truly.

“Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.”  James 4:17 (NLT)

I wonder if this is why I don’t see myself through God’s eyes?  I wonder if this is what keeps my prayers from being answered in the Elijah kind of way?  If I take a good, hard, long look at myself I can see that I choose to sin every day.  Most of the time it’s not even consciously.  I can really relate to Paul’s words – I can’t stop myself from doing things I don’t want to do, and I can’t seem to do the things I do want to. What a spiritual quandary this flesh puts me in.  Some day I hope to master my flesh in total surrender to God – there’s another quandary for you – I am perfected only through surrender.  Sheesh, and some people say Christianity is a crutch…seems to me that giving up control is a whole lot harder than doing things on your own.   Well those are my random thoughts for the day.  What are yours?

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Crazy Love – a book review

I finished reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan about two weeks ago now, and I’ve spent the past ten days or so processing all the information he presented.  I originally choose this book as a possible study for the upcoming ladies Bible study season at church, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to use it.

If you’ve never read the book I encourage you to do so.  It’s an easy read with large print and wide margins.  But be prepared to have your idea of authentic Christianity shaken up a bit.   Each chapter deals with certain misconceptions Christians have cultivated over the past couple of centuries, and he uses God’s word to counter those misconceptions.

Misconceptions such as how/why/what we pray about; how we’re to really love others; what service is really all about; what God really wants you to do with your money (and no, the book doesn’t tell you to give it all to the church!); and what authentic Christianity really looks like in every day life.  In some chapters I found myself shaking my head in total agreement, and in other chapters I was horrified at how easily and blindly I’d fallen into the trap of deception.

For me, chapter 4 was the ringer.  I’ve said many times that I’m a realist, and I don’t have a problem with calling something what it is.  I appreciate honesty more than anything; even critical and hurtful honesty.  In chapter 4 Francis paints a pretty harsh and accurate picture of a ‘lukewarm Christian’.  As I read through the chapter I found myself reflecting on my own poor behavior, attitude, and complacency.  I was mortified…I fit the description of a lukewarm Christian to a T.  Yikes!!!  Chapter 5 was equally as cutting.  I discovered that I’ve been content with serving ‘leftovers’ to God throughout my Christian walk.  In some ways, after reading this book I felt like I wasn’t sure I had the right to even call myself a Christian!  Thank goodness for God’s unfailing grace.

Despite the ‘wounds’ I sustained I’m very glad I read the book.  It has challenged me to think beyond myself and our local church.  It has changed my focus from what do I need/want/deserve in my Christian life to ‘what are the needs of the lost, and how can I meet them?’  I want to be known as an ‘obsessed’ Christian, not just another Christian.  I want to serve the needs of others in a way that really shows them that Jesus loves them and cares about them; and I want them to know that He really does want a relationship with them.  I don’t want the world to see me as just another person who gets up early on Sunday mornings and rushes out the door to sit in a comfy little building and sing a few songs and then come home and forget about Jesus the rest of the week.  I want to really touch the life of someone who might not have ever had the privilege of encountering Christ.  I want to love the unlovable, and serve those who can never return that service.  I want to demonstrate a crazy, unabandoned kind of love for the lost, poor, dying, weak, and hurting.  I’m tired of being a complacent and comfortable Christian.  What about you?

Crazy Love.  It’s radical.  It’s challenging.  It’s real.  Read it.  You’ll be glad you did.

“When people make changes in their lives like this {living Christ instead of just spouting Christian ideals}, it carries greater impact than when they merely make impassioned declarations.  The world needs Christians who don’t tolerate the complacency of their own lives.” (pg. 172)

An eternal perspective

Last night after dinner, Sam and I and some friends were discussing the eternal perspective of communion and Christmas and Easter.  And all of us came to the conclusion that the eternal perspective is not a point of view that we often think about, or hear about.  Why is that?  As I finished up my tasks for the evening and headed off to bed our conversation made me that much more grateful for the sacrifice that Jesus made.  To think that the Son of God would willingly trade eternal glory for limited glory, all because of love.  I mean, think about how amazing that sacrifice had to be for him.

His father comes to him one day and says something to the effect of, “What am I gonna do about this mess on Earth?  I mean, look at all those people down there, wishing, hoping, working, striving so hard to be my people, and yet all they can seem to do right is sin.  It makes me so mad, and yet sad at the same time.  I can’t believe my creation is so hard-hearted, and headed straight for hell.  I wanted something so much better for them…”

Jesus must have contemplated these remarks for a while – who wouldn’t?   When God talks, most folks tend to sit up and listen.  After a few minutes of consideration, Jesus might have responded with something like, “I see exactly what you mean.  It’s as if their hearts are hell-bent on destruction, and they don’t even know it.  So what can we do in order to make things right?  These humans are like the Keystone Cops of all your creation – they screw everything up.  Even the simple sacrificial system you established isn’t working for them, and I thought that was a straight-forward and fool-proof plan.  What other routes can we take with these people?”

God turns away from Jesus a bit and stares out across the shores of the sea, into the distance; knowing what ultimately has to happen, but will his only Son go for it?  Will he willingly offer himself up for the job?  And how could he even consider asking his only child to become the once for all time sacrifice for this creation of his.  Truly, he could just destroy the whole lot of them and start over again with something that’s infallible.  The tears begin to well up in the corners of his eyes as he see the events playing out in his mind.  The humiliation.  The suffering.  The pain.  The beatings.  The thorns and spikes.  Even though it would only be a few hours of torture for his Son, it would feel like an eternity for them both.  And what if, at the last minute, Jesus decided he couldn’t go through it.  God knew he wouldn’t, but still that thought nagged at the back of his mind….Jesus would be fully human after all, and so often the human composure faltered under extreme pressure.  And this situation he was willing to send his Son into would be a complete pressure cooker for sure.

Turning back toward Jesus he spoke low and slow, “There is a way, but it will be too hard, too painful, too humiliating.  It will require an entire commitment – right to the very end.   And when the end comes, I can’t help in any way, shape, or form.  After the death of the body there will be darkness, and cold, and silence for several days…and I can’t be there either….”

As the Father’s words sunk deep into Jesus’ mind, he knew that there was only one Being in all heaven who could accomplish this task.  The angels couldn’t do it obviously, or his Father would have sent them already.  Even Michael, the great archangel, in all his strength could not carry this job out to completion successfully – for he did not have love for humanity.  Jesus knew there was only one way, one man, one plan.  But could he carry this burden himself?  Could he stay the course if he gave up his celestial powers and put on that same, faulty skin that man wore?  Would he be strong enough to endure the pain and humiliation that was ultimately to come?  And was this sacrifice — this human race — worth the limited glory he’d have for all eternity?  He was after all the very Son of God – God himself – unlimited Holy power, and he knew that if he chose to become this sacrificial lamb he’d wear scars forever.  He needed to think about it hard before giving his Father an answer……

To be continued……………………

As if…

Last night, over a plate of Italian food, Sam and I found ourselves reflecting on an article he’d read earlier that day on AOL (or some other “news” source) regarding the discouraging number of clergy that lose their faith in God once they begin graduate school.  Since I do not read the news I can’t point you to the exact article he’s referring to, but the fact that an article was written on it is surprising to me.  However, what was even more shocking disappointing was the fact that most of these people don’t leave the ministry, despite their waning lack of faith in God.  How does that work?!  It seems that these ‘ministers’ felt it was important to stay in their chosen profession (yes, at this point, it is just a profession for them) because the ‘idea of God is so important for people’, and they felt they were still able to help people understand that principle.  As if God needs us to help Him with anything!

As the days grow long it is becoming increasingly difficult for Christians to share the Gospel message with people.  Not that the difficulties are coming at the hands of the Government, which I’m sure will happen at some point.  And the difficulty isn’t even in the message itself, as it hasn’t changed in 2,000 years.  No, the difficulty comes now with the hearer.

In this era of relativism how does one define sin?  How does a person accept that they have indeed sinned?  There’s a fix, patch, compromise, exception, and finger to point for everything.  It is rare to find a person who truly understands the concept of taking responsibility for one’s own actions.  Sure, we still understand cause and effect at a base level – if I touch a hot stove, I’m likely to be burned.  However, that logic has been expanded much further today – instead of being a plain and simple fact, the argument seems to go like this – if I touch a hot stove, I’m likely to be burned, but I felt compelled to touch the stove because my parents sheltered me too much as a child and I needed to express my inner rage….blah, blah, blah….or some equally as ‘convincing’ argument.  And these ‘arguments’ and ‘logic’ are falsely propped up by paid professionals who’ll tell their clients whatever they want to hear.  Yes, gone are the days of morons and idiots – well, they’re not gone – just look around you, but now you cannot actually speak truth to them and call them morons and idiots.  They’re just ‘challenged’ or in need of professional help, and we must willingly tolerate their idiocy.

At any rate, the Gospel message is losing its impact because we are a hard-hearted and stiff-necked people, who are continually striving for more of the world’s things – even Christians.  I know some folks would argue against that statement, and I’m not likely to change their minds.  Sure, churches are filled on Sunday mornings with people singing and praising and worshiping God, but for every one person that comes in the front door, one is leaving through the back, or falling through the cracks.  We (as a society) are pushing God further and further from us, and eventually, he’s going to have enough and we will be utterly rejected, as He rejected his own people Israel – sending them into exile as slaves.

For the longest time I used to wonder how in the world a time would come when everyone who could hear the Good News would.  I mean, we’re talking about billions of people – not hundreds or thousands or even millions, but BILLIONS of people throughout history.  How could they all have the chance to ‘hear’.  But as time passes, I realize that time is not too far away.  You see, I thought that every single person would have to physically hear the Good News in order for the end of the world to be ushered forth.  But in reality, it’s not about hearing, it’s about the condition of the heart.  If people live in a world where the condition of the heart is relative or based on emotional experiences or on assigning blame for everything, then they won’t ever be able to ‘hear’ the Gospel message with an open heart and mind.  That’s scary to me, my friends.  If our church leaders can stand in the pulpits on Sunday mornings and ‘preach’ at us without even believing in the message themselves, then how can we expect for anyone else to accept and understand it?

The ‘wrong crowd’

I’ve almost always been the kinda girl who inevitably finds myself mixed up with the wrong crowd.  And I’ll admit that for most of my life that ‘crowd’ has created a level of stress and worry in my parents and family; not to mention strained relationships between us all.

In junior high (where it all got started) I seemed to gravitate toward the kids who came from rough backgrounds – divorced or absent parents, low-income, hard living, wrong side of the tracks kinda kids.  My friends were the ones who started fights in the hall before school – and not just ridiculous cat fights either – I’m talkin’ about knock-down, drag out fights.  It was cool.  Although I never actually got in a fight or skipped a class, my parents we generally surprised (and thankful) that I didn’t get suspended right along with the rest of them.  I guess they had the mentality that I was automatically ‘guilty by association.’

In high school I seemed to find my niche in the loner crowd.  This group consisted of an assortment of personalities, backgrounds, and ethnic origins.  Some were artists, others were musicians, some were into cars and small engines, while others joined the Latin and chess club, and still  others were just dope smokers and class skippers.  Some of these kids were smart – really smart – and others were…….well, lets just say they weren’t the brightest crayons in the box.  I fit somewhere in the middle and was able to remain a non-participating member of the group.

Once I found myself eight hours away from home at college, I once again used my keen sense of friend finding and became friends with a group of people who truly didn’t belong at school.  This was a Christian college (the only one my parents would pay for that wasn’t located in my tiny home town) and they had standards.  “We” weren’t Christians and were only there because of scholarships or our parent’s insistence.  This particular crowd was comprised of the students that skipped classes, partied all night long, smoked, drank, and had sex.  **cue the collective shutter** And unlike my former days of being just friends but not participating in any of their bad habits, while in college, I was an active, if not the charter member of the “wrong crowd” club.  In fact, I might be the only person in the history of this college who was asked to leave by the Dean!  No, it wasn’t a proud moment for me or for my parents….ah, the days of young stupidity.  Anyway….

After my short stint in college I decided to really find Jesus.  And we all know that His crowd has often been the ‘wrong ‘one – at least according to society.  For thousands of years, these authentic Christians have wreaked havoc on social standards, morals, and ethics.  We’re kind and generous and accepting to a fault.  We offer hope and an eternal promise of love and life.  The mainstream just hates that.  So they go picking and digging into backgrounds and histories; looking under rocks and piles of rubble that have long since been abandoned.  Searching like a cadaver dog for some scrap – a shred of evidence that we were all once human.  Sadly, there’s plenty of rubble to dig through and plenty of skeletons in our closets, because yes, we were all once  human; and last I checked, we still are. Sure we’ve got our problems – who doesn’t?  We can all be accused of being hypocritical, selfish, unloving, stingy, hateful, spiteful, ignorant, closed-minded, aggressive, rude, and every other unsavory out there.  It happens.  We’re not perfect –  and thankfully we don’t have to be.

Here’s the rub though – the longer Jesus tarries the more ‘wrong’ being a Christian is going to become – despite our message of hope.  In America we’ve been so fortunate to have the freedom to openly acknowledge, accept, and serve whatever God we want to.  Currently, there is very little, if any real fear of being openly persecuted on a mass scale.  Our church buildings stand proudly in our communities.  Church-goers can freely come and go from worship services with our heads held high and our Bibles in hand.  We can mail out literature, we can even hand it out to our neighbors and friends.  We can stand on the street corners and shout out Bible verses to passers-by.  We can even knock on someone’s door and share our personal testimony with them.  All without fear of losing our home, our job, our family, our freedom, or even our life.  At least not for now.

However, in the past 34 years I’ve seen a shift in the direction of society.  In just my short lifetime I’ve seen church groups go from being openly welcomed in the public forum to being pushed into the corner and told to keep quiet.  Friends, our next stops are the closet and then underground.

I’ve heard Billy Graham address millions over public radio and on national television programs – urging the listener to give their heart to Jesus.

I’ve prayed in school.  I’ve been to student-led/teacher-supported Bible studies in school.  I’ve worn Christian themed t-shirts to school and public events without being asked to take it off because it was defamatory.   And I’ve openly held Bible studies in restaurants, cafes, parks, shopping centers, and community centers.  But all that’s changing too.

No longer is it alright to carry a Bible with you, or share your personal beliefs with others who feel differently than you do.  No longer can kids wear Christian themed attire to school – mind you they can show off nearly every inch of their own skin, but don’t bring anything wholesome into the mix.  In many parts of the country kids are often denied rooms to hold Bible studies during school hours – teacher’s can’t be viewed as being supportive of that kind of thing – it might just jeopardize their tenure.

And, you will rarely, if ever, hear a preacher be invited onto national television or the public airwaves to give an address – let alone for them to say that Jesus is the only way to heaven.

I’m not one for fear-mongering, but I am realistic about how the world works.  And friends, it won’t be long before our churches lose their tax exempt status.  It won’t be long before zoning restrictions will be come so rigid that congregations will be forced to build only on the fringes of a community.  In-home Bible study groups will be closed down by the fire marshal because they will ‘exceed the capacity limit’ for the premises, or will create a parking hazard on the streets.  Christian bookstores will not be able to get business licenses.  And churches who have ever accepted any Government monies (for anything) will likely be forced to compromise their core beliefs in order to keep their doors open.  Within my lifetime neighbors will become enemies because of Christ.  American families will be estranged because of the name of Jesus.   Kids will not be allowed into schools or athletic leagues because they go to Sunday School or church.  Churches will be torn down in favor of a shopping mall or another community center – eminent domain will become a catch-all for Government overstepping religious freedoms.  Families will be denied home loans in certain neighborhoods because of religious beliefs.  And so on it goes.  Remember, we will not always be exempt from open persecution.

So as you can see, one day soon I will once again be an active part of the ‘wrong crowd’.  This time it might cost me more than just a slap on the wrist though.  How about you?  Are you willing to give it all up in order to keep your Bible and your beliefs?

What’s it saying about you?

Yesterday I mowed the grass.  I really like this task as it gives me nearly two solid hours to myself to really just think about stuff (oh yeah, and to sweat and sunburn).  Sometimes having that much time alone is a good thing, and sometimes, well, it’s not so good.  However, yesterday it was one of those days that I was feeling a bit introspective.  So keep in mind, this post is directed at me as much as it’s directed at anyone else……

I’m a Facebook user.  My beloved would probably classify me as a Facebook “junkie”.  He’s probably right, but the first step to recovery is always denial, right?!  Besides, I can stop anytime I want to!  He doesn’t understand the appeal that Facebook has for most people.  He has an account, but he rarely uses it.  He thinks of it as a “networking and marketing tool” for his various blogs, books, and the farm.  I however see it as one of my few social outlets.  It’s so sad, to be only virtually sociable….but that’s a post for another day.

What is your Facebook profile saying about you?

Every time I get a friend request (yes, I actually get them, not just send them out!), I check out the person’s profile before I accept them (and sometimes their photos if I’m not sure who they are – its been a LONG time since high school and college mind you).  I read the entire profile page, including the “groups” section.  Do you know, I can read through the bio and feel really good about a person, and then get to their “groups” or their “fan pages” and my stomach almost immediately sours.  Let me give you an example (by the way, this is not a ‘real’ example, although it might feel like some of y’all’s pages)………

BIO:

** I’m a Christian mom (or dad) who homeschools my 17 children – ages 6 months to 25 years.  We live on a farm in the middle of God’s country, and we milk our herd of 30 Jersey’s daily.  I make cheese with the  milk.  My children and I work our one acre garden and sell produce at the local farmer’s market.  We gather eggs from our hen’s each day and we donate about 15 dozen each week to the local food pantry as we want to help give back to our impoverished community.  My husband and I attend our small community church each week where I teach the 4 and 5 year old Sunday School and my husband is an elder in the church.  My life is blessed beyond measure.  I have great friends, a loving family, and I serve an amazing God who has seen fit to not only take care of my every need, but to give me some of the things I long for as well.  Praise the Lord!  **

Now after reading through that, if this were a person who has sent me a ‘friend request’ I’d feel pretty good about accepting them.  That is, until I get to their favorite pages or groups….see if you don’t agree…..

GROUPS: (Yes, I know some of these groups are real Facebook groups)

* If I had it to do all over again, I’d be a lesbian! *

* My daily Bible verse *

* Hope & Change for America *

* Yes, I’ll smile and wave, but deep down I think you’re a dirty rotten two-faced whore. *

* Mafia Wars *

* FarmVille *

* What’s wrong with having a National Healthcare system? *

* Biggest Loser *

* Glory To God Christian Church, Mytown, USA *

* Desperate Housewives *

* Bejeweled Blitz Masters: Learn all the tips and tricks for the highest scores possible *

* Curvy girls are better lovers than skinny girls *

* P.E.T.A. *

See what I mean?  The BIO looks pretty good, and this ‘person’ might genuinely feel blessed by God, but their PAGES/GROUPS speak volumes about who you really are…deep down inside…when you think no one is looking.  Even if they joined these groups because they thought they were funny.  How would I know if that’s the reason?  On the surface all I see is, they belong to these groups, whatever the reason.  Now I realize that it’s not likely that this type of person would be involved with all of these groups, but there are some of these groups that people who claim to be Christian’s are a part of, or other groups that are just as sketch.  Simply put, some of our “favorites” send very mixed messages; if not destroy our witness all together.  Remember, you might be the best Jesus some people ever see.

The internet is cloaked in an overwhelming sense of (false) security.  In and of itself, the net is a-moral (neither bad nor good), however its us that pervert and twist it.  What goes on between our fingertips and the keyboard is who we really are.  On the net, we can spend countless hours surfing websites, browsing for everything from cooking spices and ingredients to sexy lingerie to homeschooling curriculum to plastic surgery to gardening how-tos’ and  videos of people doing Lord knows what.  We can spend our alone time on message boards (anonymously, of course) for married couple’s seeking affairs, or on boards for people who want to know more about farming and livestock.  There are virtually millions of places we can go, but why would we?

The danger of too much internet time (at least for me) is becoming ensnared in the virtual world, and forgetting (or not wanting) to live  in the real world.  Through Facebook and other social networking sites we can find just about anything we want – from support groups to church groups to discount coupon clubs and old flames from high school and college.  There are games and special interest groups and political forums as well.  Pretty much, everything a body could ever want can be found online.  Unfortunately, more and more marriages are being lost to social networking affairs.  People are losing their jobs because they spend all night gaming or chatting and are too tired to go into work the next day.  Others are being caught up in the world of evil-ex bashing or co-worker bashing and forgetting that these are real people too (maybe not nice people, but my mama always told me that if I couldn’t say anything nice about someone I shouldn’t say anything at all.  And she’s been right – taking the high road is always the better option.).

Philippians 4:8 says, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

This verse doesn’t just apply to our outward life, but also our inward life (our virtual life, as it were).  I know that there weren’t computers and iPhones in Paul’s day, but it seems that this verse was written specifically for today.  We must always be fixing our thoughts on things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and worthy of praise.  It’s hard to do sometimes, especially when we’re feeling lonely, bored, tired, under-appreciated and over-worked, angry with your spouse, or a dozen other feelings that can get us all into trouble.  But if we strive to always honor God, even in our private life, we will find we’re even more blessed than we think.  Besides, keep in mind that Jesus is always right with you – He sees all you do…even when no one else is looking!

Meaningless. Completely meaningless.

I’ve recently started reading the book of Ecclesiastes.  It’s depressing.  It’s hard to understand.  It’s very philosophical.  Solomon says things like:

“Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content.” (Eccl. 1:8)

Boy, isn’t that the truth.  It seems like we’re always on the hunt to know more, to do more, to see more, to hear more, to attain more.  More, more, more, more, more.  That’s the motto of our American life.

As I read through the first couple of chapters of the book, I got the impression that Solomon; in his quest for ultimate wisdom; conducted a controlled experiment in life.  In many scholarly circles, Solomon is known as the half-hearted king.  Meaning, that when he began his reign, he was serving the Lord God; however by the end he’d become a victim of his lifestyle.  He’d amassed great wealth, power, women, and notoriety.  Despite all he had gained (at least by the world’s standards), in the end, he sums it all up by saying, this life seems so pointless – that all his searching for wisdom and madness and folly (outside of the Lord) was pointless (Eccl. 1:17 paraphrased). In his search for pleasure Solomon found none that was lasting.  He concluded that laughter fades.  Accomplishments are forgotten.  People disappoint.  Life is hard.  Inheritances will be squandered by those who never worked for them.   Justice is thwarted.  Good people suffer greatly, and evil people prosper.  Fairness is relative.  Our bodies will fail.   And on it goes.

You see, the essence of the book is that a life lived outside of Christ is pointless.  Period.  There can be no joy without the acknowledgement and acceptance of Jesus Christ and what He did for us on the cross.  Oh, we can be happy.  We can feel contented.  We can even be ecstatic over things.  But joy isn’t an emotion, it’s a state of being; and that state of being only comes when we’re truly at peace.

Solomon concludes his sad book with this beautiful and poetic proclamation:

“Don’t let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old and say, “Life is not pleasant anymore.”  Remember him before the light of the sun, moon, and stars is dim to your old eyes, and rain clouds continually darken your sky. Remember him before your legs—the guards of your house—start to tremble; and before your shoulders—the strong men—stoop. Remember him before your teeth—your few remaining servants—stop grinding; and before your eyes—the women looking through the windows—see dimly.

Remember him before the door to life’s opportunities is closed and the sound of work fades. Now you rise at the first chirping of the birds, but then all their sounds will grow faint.

Remember him before you become fearful of falling and worry about danger in the streets; before your hair turns white like an almond tree in bloom, and you drag along without energy like a dying grasshopper, and the caperberry no longer inspires sexual desire. Remember him before you near the grave, your everlasting home, when the mourners will weep at your funeral.

Yes, remember your Creator now while you are young, before the silver cord of life snaps and the golden bowl is broken. Don’t wait until the water jar is smashed at the spring and the pulley is broken at the well.  For then the dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.”  Eccl. 12:1-7

Serve the Lord now my dear friends.  Serve Him whole-heartedly – neither turning to the right nor the left.   Take hold of wise King Solomon’s advice and serve Him before it’s too late.  Jesus promises to fill your life with immeasurable joy if you’ll let him; and life will no longer be meaningless.