From Gary....When you wish upon a Star

When you wish upon a Star

Bible Reading - 1 Kings 3: 1-14 

Song - "I want to be a worker for the Lord"

I. Introduction

   A. The Disney channel has become part of our T.V. 
        regime (Avonlea is our favorite).

   B. This channel has all sorts of things on it though. 
        MMC, movies, cartoons, animated features.

   C. There is one animated feature(pinnocho) where a 
        cricket sings "when you wish upon a star".

   D. The concept of what we really want out of life says 
        much about our Christianity.

   E. The passage ( 1 Ki. 3:5-14 ) about king Solomon 
        provides us with a positive example.

II. Body

A. The prologue: The situation of Solomon.

    1. Solomon was King of Israel: with a political savvy.

    2. Solomon was aware of the people's sacrifices.

    3. Solomon loved the Lord.

B. The possibilities of the Grace of God. 5

   1. If you heard this--- what would you ask for?

   2. If God said this to you--- what would you do?

   3. If we asked for something--- what criteria would 
       we use?

C. The perception of God in our lives. 6

    1. Solomon saw God in his father's life & in his own.

    2. Solomon saw blessings and realized they were from 

    3. Solomon perceived God & his own life as one.

D. The proper attitude for the Godly: 
     submission. 7

    1. The song "count your many blessings is appropriate.

    2. The sacrifice of pride is paramount to leadership.

    3. The self-image of being God-dependent is 

E. The priority of the needs of others. 8-9

     1. He realized the great task before him-- he thought 
         of others.

    2. He realized HE was lacking.

    3. He realized what we need to--- place others before 
        yourself !

F. The pleasure of God for the selfless. 10

    1. What a short sentence-- with such great meaning.

    2. What a success! How many of us have tried to please 
        God and FAILED.

    3. What a blessing (example) to have God pleased with  

G. The pronouncement of the blessings of 
    God's will. 11-14

    1. Things he could have asked for... life, riches, 

    2. Thing of beauty was the wisdom of Solomon.

    3. Things he didn't even ask for were given if he were 
        to be faithful like his father.

III. Conclusion

    A. This passage gives us not only an historical account 
         of Solomon, but also an example to follow.

    B. The perception of ourselves and also of others says 
         much about our submission to God.

    C. The prayer for us: "Help us to do God's will"

From Gary... THE CATCH IS...

This is a very recent (March 11, 2013) picture of my wife, Linda.  For those who have known her for a long time, you will undoubtedly notice that she has some grey hair and some wrinkles and has lost some weight recently (32 pounds- weight watchers).  Those who are unacquainted with her will probably notice the smock first.  And that little item will be the focal point of today's post!!!  She started volunteering at a local hospital recently and excuse my pride, but I am very proud of her.  She has made a priority of caring for others in her retirement years and that is something to be proud of.  As the passage from Matthew shows, it is expected of a Christian to care for others in some (or many) ways, so this is no surprise.  There is a catch however, but, I am getting ahead of myself.  For now, please read the passage below...

Matthew, Chapter 25

 31  “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory.  32  Before him all the nations will be gathered, and he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.   33  He will set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.   34  Then the King will tell those on his right hand, ‘Come, blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;   35  for I was hungry, and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me drink. I was a stranger, and you took me in.   36  I was naked, and you clothed me. I was sick, and you visited me. I was in prison, and you came to me.’ 

  37  “Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, and feed you; or thirsty, and give you a drink?   38  When did we see you as a stranger, and take you in; or naked, and clothe you?   39  When did we see you sick, or in prison, and come to you?’ 

  40  “The King will answer them, ‘Most certainly I tell you, because you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’   41  Then he will say also to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels;   42  for I was hungry, and you didn’t give me food to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink;   43  I was a stranger, and you didn’t take me in; naked, and you didn’t clothe me; sick, and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’ 

  44  “Then they will also answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and didn’t help you?’ 

  45  “Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Most certainly I tell you, because you didn’t do it to one of the least of these, you didn’t do it to me.’   46  These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” 

Heaven or hell depends so much on our attitude!!!  It is not so much what you do, as WHY YOU DO IT!!!  Most of us have probably never visited anyone in prison, yet I doubt if that will disqualify us from heaven.  To me, the key here is caring for others, which of course is the expression of unselfish love. Now, as far as that CATCH goes-- the thing is... you get far more than you give!!!  This is evident in my darling wife, as she has perked up lately, and I know why.  When you give love unselfishly, you receive FAR MORE THAN YOU GIVE!!!  Consider what is said in the book of Luke for a moment...

Chapter 6

31  “As you would like people to do to you, do exactly so to them.   32  If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.   33  If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.   34  If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive back as much.   35  But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing back; and your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind toward the unthankful and evil. 
  36  “Therefore be merciful, 
even as your Father is also merciful. 
  37  Don’t judge, 
and you won’t be judged. 
Don’t condemn, 
and you won’t be condemned. 
Set free, 
and you will be set free. 

  38  “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be given to you. For with the same measure you measure it will be measured back to you.” 

The CATCH, once again is blessing.  And its wonderful!!!  If you happen to see my Linda, you will notice-- I have!!!!!



Great events in history are often marked by monuments that are intended to remind us & keep them before us.

To teach future generations
For the benefit of eyes who were not present to see Plymouth Rock - A reminder of the first settlers from Europe seeking religious freedom.

In Washington DC there are many monuments

Washington Monument - In memory of the "father of our nation" and an honest man of integrity.

Lincoln Memorial - In memory of "honest Abe" & one who had faith in God - a leader
among men during dark days in our nation's early history.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier & Arlington Cemetery - Korean Memorial - Vietnam Memorial - World War 2 Memorial

Grim reminders of bravery and the price of freedom that was paid by so many.

Statue of Liberty - A reminder of freedom & its invitation to the world.

None of these monuments compare to those found in God's word.
In its pages are found a storehouse of great events - all pointing toward the central theme of the bible; Jesus Christ.

Physical death - A reminder of sin's introduction in the garden of Eden. Teach children!

Gen. 2:17 "but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day you eat of it you shall surely die."

A reminder of man's separation from God because of sin:

Rom. 5:12 "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned -"

Rainbow - A reminder of God's wrath on man's wickedness & His mercy on His faithful.  Also a reminder of God's faithfulness in His covenants. We did not see it

Gen. 9:8-17 God promised not to destroy earth by another flood. 

Also an opportunity to teach future generations.
2 Pet. 3:1-7 The earth is reserved for a final destruction by fire.

Crossing the Jordan - God provided a memorial for them to remember this event.

Josh. 3:14 - 4:7 A monument of 12 stones on the west bank of the Jordan would serve as an opportunity to teach future generations.

The Passover - A reminder of their deliverance from Egyptian bondage.

Ex. 12:1-27 A memorial of freedom to be taught to future generations.

The greatest monument in human history looks to a cross

The Lord's Supper - A reminder of our deliverance from the bondage of sin.

Mt. 26:26-29 Jesus instituted this memorial before His death. It is a reminder of our deliverance from the bondage of sin:

Rom. 6:17-18 "But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered (entrusted). (18) And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness."

1 Cor. 6:20 "For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.

Eph. 2:1-13 A reminder for future generations - "in the ages to come"

Eph. 1:3 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ."

1 Cor. 11:23-ff A memorial to be observed when assembling together. Failure to do so leads to spiritual weakness & death.

Heb. 10:1-30 Looking to Jesus' sacrifice - be faithful to remember.


The Statue of Liberty beckons the weary to come to our shore for relief:

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breath free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Jesus invites all who are weary to come to Him for relief from the burden of sin:

Mt. 11:28-30 "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (29) Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (30) For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

From Jim McGuiggan...Dancing Without Music

Dancing Without Music

"Now the tax collectors and sinners were gathered around to hear him. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them’." (Luke 15:1-2)

The famous Swiss psychologist, Paul Tournier, confounded those who came from all over the world to learn from him the secret of his phenomenal practice. He insisted he had no special secret and he also insisted that no school of thought had a corner on success. He claimed that it made little or no difference whether the practitioner was a Freudian or followed Maslow, Fromm or the Rogerian non-directional school. He swore that caring for people is what made the difference. The psychological theory was useful up to a point but in the end, Tournier persisted, if the hurting one thought they were being heard and that the person involved with them felt them worthwhile the world was on its way to being changed. It all sounded so commonsensical that the seekers waited for something more specialized and esoteric from him but it never came. To be loved, to be thought worthwhile, and truly enjoyed is better than all the drugs and the clinical assessments. To believe that someone truly likes to have you around is medicine for every part of us.

So many of us have experienced that. There were things about us that we so detested that we would have spiraled down into emotional oblivion if it hadn’t been for certain individuals who loved us. They saw us for what we were and loved us as we were and came to rescue us from painful isolation and self-hatred. They gave us the strength to go on.
But it was no easy job for them. However cranky or rude or even abusive we’ve been or are we still insist that we have our rights. We might not use the word but we certainly act on it. Everyone owes us and we expect them to come up to it or we’ll give them a piece of our mind, even if it’s only inside our own head.
If we saw it all happen in a movie on the screen we would think we would recognize immediately that our behavior was abominable. We would wonder at the patience of those who have stood by us bearing the pain of the abuse and ingratitude day after day after day.
And if we’re mistreated, or even think we are, how well we remember the details. We’re able to recall the very tone in which the words were spoken (so we think), where we were sitting when it happened and what was said just after that. Instant and complete recall! We who can’t remember where we left our keys five minutes ago can recall a six-months-ago complex scene in all its details.
Luke 14:1 tells us this remarkable thing. "One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee…" In light of how the religious leaders treated him you might think Jesus would have said, "Thank you but no thanks" when the invitation for dinner came. But no, he graciously accepted even though he knew (as the text goes on to tell us, that he would be "carefully watched"). But we mustn’t assume this was "easy" for him to do. That is, Jesus was no machine, programmed by God to run without feelings. Like the rest of us, the temptation to dismiss people was real but he decisively set it aside and did what he thought would please his Father and what was good to/for others. It’s appears that he never treated anyone in such a way that they got the impression that if they were obliterated from off the face of the earth it wouldn’t cost him a moment’s thought.
And maybe it’s this that devastates us most: When someone treats us as though our presence or absence doesn’t matter, as though our life or death makes no difference at all to them. And God help us, even if we know we’ve behaved in such a way as to "deserve" isolation we’re thunderstruck if that’s what we get. We keep mistreating people, though we know if someone treated us this way we’d surely walk off, and yet when we’re sidelined we’re devastated. Even when we know we deserve no better we wish for it.
Israel complained in Isaiah 64 that God had hidden himself from them. He hadn’t done remarkable things for them, and that he was nowhere in sight when they looked for him. In chapter 65 God finds that astonishing and says, "All day long I’ve held out my hands to a disobedient and argumentative people. I’m even found by people who weren’t looking for me." The fault didn’t lie in God and maybe, most of the time, I’d suppose, the fault doesn’t lie in others.
But in fairness, we sort of expect prolonged patience in God. He’s up to it. It isn’t right but it’s the case that we expect him to continue to work with us even though we’re consistently a mess. In some ways that makes good sense because if God were the kind of God who would gladly leave us sinking in the muck we would think we’ve got the wrong God. What makes no sense is for us to keep mistreating other struggling people, expecting them to be God!
But if the story is ever fully told maybe we’ll be amazed at how patient and loving even ordinary people have been. These are stories of such grace.
The two lead characters in the movie Awakenings are Leonard Lowe (played by DeNiro) and Doctor Sayers (played by Robin Williams). Lowe as a boy becomes a victim of post-encephalitic syndrome and is cut off from life for about forty years (though he's always aware he's cut off). The doctor discovers a drug that brings Leonard out of the dead-zone and they find life again. The now adult Lowe is astonished at the potential of life and loves it even more now having found it again than he would have if he had never lost it. While exulting in life, within the walls of the hospital Lowe meets a beautiful girl whose father is ill, and the couple are drawn to each other.
Sinister side effects of the drug begin to show. At first twitches and then jerking movements and as it progresses facial distortion and bodily behavior reminiscent of Huntingdon’s chorea. He realises he's sinking and his panic and desperation are only matched by his disgust when he looks at himself. What makes matters worse is her gentleness, poise and beauty; it only underscores his own worsening condition and though he is now head over heels in love with her he can no longer bear to be in her presence so he plans to sever the tie. Their final meeting in the cafeteria is awkward and during it he insists that he’s grotesque though she fervently denies it. Her grace only makes it more difficult for him and he says a poignant goodbye (made even more poignant because he shakes her hand in a formal way) as he tells her he doesn't want to see her any more. The truth is, he doesn't want her to see him any more. Love for her and his self-disgust mingle in that mysterious way they often do in life and it's precisely that mix that drives him against his will to walk away.
He moves from the table jerking violently, face contorted and with chaos in his soul. She follows him, turns him round, takes his hand and slowly but gently and deliberately puts it on her waist and holds the other in her own and begins to dance with him. There's no music, and they’re oblivious to the people sitting around, there’s just the two of them, he reluctantly and pathetically shuffling and she moulding her steps to his. And that’s when the magic wove its spell. Her nearness and grace gradually brought order into his chaotic inner world and what drugs couldn't do she did; the jerking and contortion took their leave and he found peace there in the arms of someone who loved him. Watching the movie is an education as well as a profound experience.
I can’t say I’ve personally seen or experienced a transformation as immediate and dramatic as that but I believe in such things. I believe that to be loved or to love someone changes the world, it actually becomes a different place. If Hollywood can imagine scenes like this why can’t we? And if we can imagine it God said he can do it. Wouldn’t it be a life-transforming experience to move up to a poor, jerking, contorted soul and begin the dance? Who knows what might happen? I wonder if I’m up to that? I wonder if I want to be up to it? It would probably be very costly. Hmmm.
 ©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.

Many thanks to brother Ed Healy for allowing me to post from his website, the abiding word.com.

From Gary... Bible Reading Mar. 12

Mar. 12
Exodus 22

Exo 22:1 "If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and kills it, or sells it; he shall pay five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep.
Exo 22:2 If the thief is found breaking in, and is struck so that he dies, there shall be no guilt of bloodshed for him.
Exo 22:3 If the sun has risen on him, there shall be guilt of bloodshed for him; he shall make restitution. If he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.
Exo 22:4 If the stolen property is found in his hand alive, whether it is ox, donkey, or sheep, he shall pay double.
Exo 22:5 "If a man causes a field or vineyard to be eaten, and lets his animal loose, and it grazes in another man's field, he shall make restitution from the best of his own field, and from the best of his own vineyard.
Exo 22:6 "If fire breaks out, and catches in thorns so that the shocks of grain, or the standing grain, or the field are consumed; he who kindled the fire shall surely make restitution.
Exo 22:7 "If a man delivers to his neighbor money or stuff to keep, and it is stolen out of the man's house; if the thief is found, he shall pay double.
Exo 22:8 If the thief isn't found, then the master of the house shall come near to God, to find out if he hasn't put his hand to his neighbor's goods.
Exo 22:9 For every matter of trespass, whether it be for ox, for donkey, for sheep, for clothing, or for any kind of lost thing, about which one says, 'This is mine,' the cause of both parties shall come before God. He whom God condemns shall pay double to his neighbor.
Exo 22:10 "If a man delivers to his neighbor a donkey, an ox, a sheep, or any animal to keep, and it dies or is injured, or driven away, no man seeing it;
Exo 22:11 the oath of Yahweh shall be between them both, whether he hasn't put his hand to his neighbor's goods; and its owner shall accept it, and he shall not make restitution.
Exo 22:12 But if it is stolen from him, he shall make restitution to its owner.
Exo 22:13 If it is torn in pieces, let him bring it for evidence. He shall not make good that which was torn.
Exo 22:14 "If a man borrows anything of his neighbor's, and it is injured, or dies, its owner not being with it, he shall surely make restitution.
Exo 22:15 If its owner is with it, he shall not make it good. If it is a leased thing, it came for its lease.
Exo 22:16 "If a man entices a virgin who isn't pledged to be married, and lies with her, he shall surely pay a dowry for her to be his wife.
Exo 22:17 If her father utterly refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins.
Exo 22:18 "You shall not allow a sorceress to live.
Exo 22:19 "Whoever has sex with an animal shall surely be put to death.
Exo 22:20 "He who sacrifices to any god, except to Yahweh only, shall be utterly destroyed.
Exo 22:21 "You shall not wrong an alien, neither shall you oppress him, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.
Exo 22:22 "You shall not take advantage of any widow or fatherless child.
Exo 22:23 If you take advantage of them at all, and they cry at all to me, I will surely hear their cry;
Exo 22:24 and my wrath will grow hot, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless.
Exo 22:25 "If you lend money to any of my people with you who is poor, you shall not be to him as a creditor; neither shall you charge him interest.
Exo 22:26 If you take your neighbor's garment as collateral, you shall restore it to him before the sun goes down,
Exo 22:27 for that is his only covering, it is his garment for his skin. What would he sleep in? It will happen, when he cries to me, that I will hear, for I am gracious.
Exo 22:28 "You shall not blaspheme God, nor curse a ruler of your people.
Exo 22:29 "You shall not delay to offer from your harvest and from the outflow of your presses. "You shall give the firstborn of your sons to me.
Exo 22:30 You shall do likewise with your cattle and with your sheep. Seven days it shall be with its mother, then on the eighth day you shall give it to me.
Exo 22:31 "You shall be holy men to me, therefore you shall not eat any flesh that is torn by animals in the field. You shall cast it to the dogs.

From Mark Copeland.... Our Duty To God And Country

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                 Our Duty To God And Country (22:15-22)


1. Teaching in the temple, Jesus was approached by the Pharisees and
   the Herodians...
   a. They came with the intention of entangling Him in His teaching
      - Mt 22:15-16
   b. They questioned Him whether one should pay taxes to Caesar 
      - Mt 22:17

2. Ever the Master Teacher, Jesus easily dealt with their question...
   a. Seeing through their hypocrisy, He called for a coin - Mt 22:
   b. He asked whose inscription was on it, and they answered 
      "Caesar's" - Mt 22:20-21
   c. His reply cause them to marvel, and to go away - Mt 22:21-22

3. The reply of Jesus:
   a. "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's"
   b. "And to God the things that are God's"
   ...not only silenced His critics, but provided important teaching
      for His disciples

4. His reply reveals that we have responsibilities to both God and 
   a. There are things that we must render to Caesar (country)
   b. There are things that we must render to God

[What is our duty to God and country?  In this study we shall review
what the Scriptures tell us about our responsibilities as citizens and
as disciples.  We start with...]


   A. PAY TAXES...
      1. This was the point of Jesus in our text - Mt 22:17-21
      2. Paul also taught us to pay taxes - Ro 13:6-7a

   B. OBEY LAWS...
      1. We are to submit to the ordinances (laws) of the land - Ro 13:
         1-5; Tit 3:1
      2. This we do for the Lord's sake, that we might silence foolish
         men - 1Pe 2:13-16

      1. We are to respect and honor those in positions of authority
         - Ro 13:7b
         a. We are to fear the king - cf. Pr 24:21
         b. We are not to speak evil of our rulers - cf. Exo 22:28; Ac 23:5;
            Tit 3:2; 2Pe 2:10; Jude 8-9
      2. Even as we are to honor all and love the brethren - 1Pe 2:17
      -- Do you notice that Paul or Peter never had unkind words about
   D. DO GOOD...
      1. We are to be ready for every good work - Tit 3:1
      2. We are to have conduct that is honorable before all - 1Pe 2:

   E. PRAY...
      1. To make supplications, offer prayers, intercessions, and
         giving of thanks - 1Ti 2:1
      2. To pray for kings and all who are in authority - 1Ti 2:1-3

[Christians are but sojourners and pilgrims in this world (1Pe 2:11).
While our true citizenship is in heaven (Php 3:20), we are to be a
blessing to those earthly countries in which we sojourn.  Fulfill our
God-given obligations, and we will be an asset to any country in which
we live!  Now let's review...]


      1. Jesus considered this the greatest commandment of the Law 
         - Mt 22:34-38
      2. Being the greatest command, I would suggest this is our
         greatest duty!

      1. If we love God, we will keep His commandments - 1Jn 5:3
      2. Even as Jesus taught that keeping His commandments is evidence
         of true love - Jn 14:15,21,23

      1. His will, His rule, His righteousness, should be our first
         priority - Mt 6:33
      2. Not only over our personal concerns, but even over our duty to
         a. Whenever there is a conflict between duty to God and duty
            to country, God must come first
         b. As stated by Peter:  "We ought to obey God rather than men"
            - Ac 5:27-29
      3. This helps to answer questions that often arise concerning the
         Christian's duty to government
         a. Can a Christian vote?
         b. Can one serve in political office?
      4. If such duties and privileges come at too high a price (i.e.,
         placing country before God), then a Christian must obey God
         rather than men
         a. In some countries, the price may be too high, and a
            Christian could not serve in political office or exercise
            certain rights as a citizen
         b. Other countries may allow for God to take precedence in
            one's conduct, permitting the Christian to participate in
            such things


1. Christians ought to be a blessing for any country in which they
   a. A source of revenue, with respect for laws, and reverence for
      those in authority
   b. Contributing to the general welfare, through good deeds and
      fervent prayers

2. Christians can be such a blessing when...
   a. They render first to God what is His due, and then what is due
      the country
   b. The country respects the priority that must be given God by its

While those in authority might not always understand their proper
place, and expect more of their citizens than what is right, may we who
are disciples of Christ never fail to "Render therefore to Caesar the
things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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