Black Friday and Cyber Monday

The day after Thanksgiving is traditionally the biggest shopping day of the year. Most retailers make most of their income from sales on that day. As online shopping became popular there began Cyber Monday. It is a big deal for most retailers. They can make most of their income for the year. If sales go bad, some retailers don’t make it to January 1st. As I looked at the financial news, they estimated that the sales were down about 10 to 15%. It is understandable why people don’t have money. The unemployment rate is up again. In our area of the country, it is about 7% of the population or about 175,000 people. I worked in retail for many years. I worked in a big box store. Over the years I watched people come and out. It is not strange at what I saw. 2 or 3 weeks before Thanksgiving, people began shopping for it. Generally people were in a good mood and smiled. After Thanksgiving, the mood of the people switched. In the 1st week after about half the people smiled. Into the 2nd week about 1/4th of the people smiled. In the last 2 weeks before Christmas, people were fussing and fighting with their family and other people shopping. In the last week before Christmas, people were downright nasty. They didn’t want anyone to say anything to them. All of this was about money or the lack thereof. When our kids were little, we bought gifts for all of them spending a lot of money. As they got older, my wife and I and the kids started drawing names out of a hat and buying gifts for that individual. Gift giving was started in honor of God’s gift to us, Jesus. It is not an end to itself. We have to keep in mind that there is only one reason for this season, God’s gift, Jesus.
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How much are you loved?

It is simple question. How much do people love you? You parents loved you enough to raise you. You know that it is estimated that parents will spend over $250,000 in one child’s lifetime. A quarter of a million dollars on 1 child’s life. By any gauge that is still a lot of money. But how much do people around you love you? Would any die for you? Would any lie for you? Would any protect you? Are your friends and family here today and gone tomorrow? You might find 1 or 2 people in your lifetime that would actually die for you. You are blessed if you have those people in your life. If you find a wife who believes in you that much, you are truly a blessed man. That is something to be protected and cared for. In my life, I could never find a person who was willing to be that close to me. One reason was I wasn’t that loveable. But still I looked and looked. Until 1 day I found a person who had loved me just because I was me. The relationship turned my life around. I was just so angry about not being loved that it made me unlovable. As I began to walk with this person, my angry began to fade away and love in my heart began to blossom. What it did was awake the love in heart not only for Him but for people. I began to care about people and what has happen to them. Of course, I am talking about Jesus. As I walk with Him, I prayed and prayed. As God changed people’s lives for the better. And all the time God was changing me.
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The Blind leading the Blind

The blind leading the blind, you have seen it more than you want to recognize it. There are people who can’t see anything because all they want is what they want. Everything else is just irrelevant. I feel sorry for those people. They have no grasp of what is really happening in the world. Sometimes these people can be very dangerous. Because they get to a point where the only way they can achieve their goals is to destroy everyone else. And they will burn the world down just to get their way. You would think that only in this century do we have these kind of people. The Apostle Paul ran into these characters in the first century. Hate starts when a person is afraid or disgruntled or is jealous of another person. When it takes root, it becomes bitterness. Do did you know that hate causes cancer? So does anger. It is a spiritual condition that moves into the physical realm. We are spiritual beings that can bring things from the next world into our own. Unfortunately people don’t take that into consideration when they hate people. The Apostle Paul talk about this very condition and how to deal with people who live in their own reality. He said that you can’t fight them with their weapons. You have to fight them with truth, God’s truth. How can we fight ideas or people in this world with God’s truth? God said if you want to change a situation, then pray. What you need to do is ask God to change the situation, then believe and stand. Standing in the knowledge that God has heard you and is answering your prayer. What happens when you do that? The world changes. It is time to do the will of God and change the world.
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Talking About

It seems that I am always talking about what man is doing on this earth. It is because man is always trying to burn this world down. I have never seen so many people try so hard to destroy everything that exist. Shall I delineate? Let us take the last 50 years. In the 1960’s, there was the counterrevolution, the Vietnam War and the Israeli war. The Israeli war went into the 1970’s. So did the Vietnam War. Then there was the plane hijackings. The bombing of embassy’s. Let’s see, oh yeh, Grenada, Panama, the Cubans in South America, Desert Storm, the Iraq war and of course the Afghanistan war. Let’s not forget the war in Syria. You may look at the world and think, why even try. They are all going to hell in hand basket. Well God sees it differently. In 1967, the Israeli’s took Jerusalem back. It was over 2000 years since the Jews owned Jerusalem. What did God do? He began to have revivals all over the world. The baptism of the Holy Spirit began to be prolific. Everyone who wanted could be baptized in the Holy Spirit. Missionaries went to every country. In the 1980’s, the United States had in 1983 the year of the Bible. Not since the times of Jesus, had a nation declared such a year. The GNP increased over a 100% in the United States. Churches began to fill up and enjoy peaceful times. When Elijah was running from Jezebel for his life. He said to God that there is no one serving God that they had all gone astray. God told Elijah that there were 7000 people in Israel that remained faithful to God. So even though you don’t see God working in your life or ours, don’t believe it. God is there before you even get there and He won’t leave until His job is done.
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Thanksgiving

Some 400 years ago, 250 people sought religious freedom. They were seeking a place where could live their lives as they saw fit. They were willing to risk their lives to obtain this freedom. They loaded a boat renamed the Mayflower. In July, 1620, the Mayflower left Southampton, England for the new world. The voyage took 3 months. The North Sea had nothing but storms. By the time they reached Plymouth, over 150 people were dead. The remaining Pilgrims prayed and fasted on whether or not they would stay. After they decided to stay, they all came to an agreement, The Mayflower Compact. They pledged themselves to each other to make the colony strive. Everybody owned everything and they would share all. They built homes and farmed the land. But it wasn’t going well. They needed help and no one was coming to help. They pray for deliverance. God heard their prays and sent an Indian. His name was Squanto. He had lived in Europe and spoke English. Squanto taught them how to grow corn and to fish for food. The Pilgrims, not like the Puritans, had made peace with the Indians. They traded with the Indians and lived in peace with them. The Pilgrims had grown enough food to survive the hard winter in Massachusetts. The following year they grew enough food to last most of the year. In November of 1621, the 53 surviving Pilgrims held a feast to thank God for the bountiful harvest. They invited their Indian friends. For 3 days they played games and ate from the bounty. Philippians 4:6 “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
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God’s Providence 2

I have seen people pray and think that God didn’t answer them. I have never seen God not answer a just prayer. God may not tell you the answer but one will come. When I was younger, I had a roommate 1 summer. He kept asking God for answers and he said he hadn’t received any. That summer he was inspired to write 25 songs. He was a musician. Take a wild guess where the answers were to his prayers. This is the 3rd story about God’s providence. This story is from the 1970s and 1980s. This story is about a young black man born in poverty. He went to a public school and excelled in basketball. His mother was raising him alone. She prayed that the inner city wouldn’t take her son away. The city was going to move the family into the projects. She knew that her son would have no chance to survive. She went to mayor of her city and asked if she and her family could stay out of the projects. The mayor knew who the young man was and agreed. Not only did he agree, he help this young man to get into a private high school. The only problem was this young man’s education was poor. He had to build his vocabulary. He had to learn 5 new words every day for a year just to catch up. He did. In his junior year, he led his high school team to the state championship. In college, he did the same. He was drafted into the NBA in 1981. He was the #2 pick in the draft. He went on played in the NBA. And final ended up coaching. Of course I am talking about Isiah Thomas. Without his mother’s prayers and God providing for his family, you would have never known about him. God takes what you have and uses it to provide for you and your family. It doesn’t matter what we think, God is always there and working in our behalf. It is part of God’s inheritance for His children.
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God’s Providence

There are 3 stories about God’s providence I want to tell. I don’t know if I can tell them all in one blog, but I’ll try. They are all true stories. My first story happened about happened about 2800 years ago. One of the preachers in the school of the Prophets suddenly died. He left a wife and 2 sons and vast amount of debt. The creditors weren’t going to take his house, they were going to take his sons as bondsmen. Literally they would be slaves unto the debt was paid. His widow went to the head of the school, who at that time was the prophet Elisha. She asked Elisha for God’s help in this situation. Elisha asked her what she had left in the house. She said all they had left was a pot of oil. It was about 1 or 2 gallons of oil. Elisha told her to go to her neighbors and borrow pots. As many as she could get into her house. Then he said, shut the door with your 2 sons and pour the oil into the pots. She did exactly as Elisha said. She filled all the pots she had. When there was no more pots the oil stopped flowing. Elisha said sell the oil and pay the debt and the rest you can live on. And so she did. God took what she had and used it to provide for her and her sons. My next story happened in the 1950’s. This was a very similar story. A young woman lost her husband. She had three young children at home. Her husband was the bread winner. She was a housewife. After the funeral was over and the family had gone home, she didn’t what to do. She was praying, asking God for help. Every time that friend or family would come over to see about her, she would bake a pie for them to eat. She was a very good cook and her pies were delicious. Friends and family started asking her to bake pies for them. They paid her for the pies. At first it was just to help out financially. But the volume of sales of the pies began to increase. Until it became a business. God had answered her prayers. God took what she had and used it to provide for her and her family. I’ll tell the 3rd story next time.
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The Song of all Songs

There are many romance novels that are read by lonely hearts looking for that connection. People want to make a connection with people to feel whole again. Some look their whole life and never find it. Some find the love they need immediately. I had a father, mother, aunts, uncles, grandparents and brothers. Yet I didn’t find that connection my heart was looking for. My heart was always heavy. I knew that there was a person out there for me. I just had to find that person. I dated all through college. There was one young women that I wanted to make my wife. But my stupidity got in the way. So I carried around a pain in my heart that never seemed to go away. One summer a friend ask my brother and I to join their business. I agreed and began going to a business meeting each morning at this friend’s business. Each morning this friend and an associate would talk about the strangest subject, Jesus. They would talk about how He helped them solve problems. They would talk about how real He was. After 3 months they asked me if I wanted to meet Jesus. I said yes. The day that I met Jesus, I knew that this was the person I had been looking for all of my life. As I began to read the bible, I wanted to find out who this person was and why He loved me. As I read I came to a book in the Old Testament, The Song of Songs. I began reading and discover it was a book about the intimate relationship between a man and a woman. I couldn’t believe God had put this love story in the middle of the bible. He put the book in for a very important reason, to show how much He loves us. And to what extent God will go to bring us home. I found the person that loves me for me. Have you found that person yet?
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In One Mind and One Accord

The people of Ancient Babylon spoke one language. It was the language of the world. Everyone spoke the same language. The King of Babylon was a powerful man because of the people he ruled. The Babylonian people were very smart and figured out how to build a beautiful city, the hanging gardens of Babylon, in the middle of the desert. They were a very advanced civilization. They were so smart they figured out that they didn’t need God at all. So they began to build a tower high enough that the king could shoot an arrow at God and tell Him that they didn’t need Him. God looked at the Babylonians and said nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined God scrambled their languages so that they couldn’t understand each other. In 1775, 77 men and boys formed their militia on the green at Lexington. 400 British Regulars marched into town. They ordered the militia to go home. But they wouldn’t. No one knows who fired the first shot. But when the shooting started, 7 militiamen fell died. The rest ran for cover. The call went out to the Massachusetts’ militia. The British had about 1500 troops and were marching on Concord. 3900 Massachusetts’ militia came out to face the British. They fought the British Indian style and chased them back to Boston. The British causalities were over 200 men. When all the British troops reached Boston, the militia surrounded the city with bonfires. It was known that the British General Gates told his subordinate that they were defeated by an idea. Being in one mind and one accord was how the American people became a nation. God was not against us being in one mind and one accord. He was against people using it to fight God. Today people need to be in one mind and one accord. It is the only way we as a people will solve the problems facing us with God’s help.
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Home is calling

Home is calling out to me. I can hear my name being called to come home. Do you remember when you were young and your mother was calling you to come in? It was time for supper and play time was over. My mom said if we didn’t come into the house she would send my father to get me. I was on a high rise building this past weekend. I was looking at the skyline in the morning sun. It was beautiful. The temperature was in the 60’s and the sun was shining. It was like time had stopped. The skies were blue. It was as if I was transported to another world. Then this world came crashing down on me. And I remembered all the duties I had to do. I am so homesick. I want to go home to my Father. But I can’t leave because there is work to do in this world. I haven’t finished the things that are necessary. This blog is one of those things that is necessary, not for me but for you. The Apostle Paul said I am torn between to 2. I want to go home, but I must stay for your sake. He stayed to fulfill God’s plan in his life. He preached the gospel to kings. In the end he was put to death for his belief. And he went home. Home isn’t a strange unusual place that no one has ever heard of. It is a wonderful place fill with beauty and people. As God says there are no tears in heaven. There is no pain or suffering in heaven. My younger brother who just died asked me about heaven. He asked was there pain in death. I told him that death was a door opening to the other side. The pain is in this world. I told him that Jesus would come to get him. He would close his eyes and fall asleep. Then he would awake in heaven. Oh that I could awake in heaven today.
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