Choose Your Crowd Well

    Sunday, January 30, 2011, 4:24 PM [General]

    Recently, as I was sitting at my computer, my attention was drawn to the headline of an advertisement that said

    "It pays to follow the crowd; especially when it leads to great rewards".

    Such an interesting statement! To follow something that can lead you into great rewards sounds like a very smart thing to do. I spent a while thinking that thought over. I wondered, what if you got in behind a wrong crowd, and then found you had wasted much time time and money, and your reward was not to be seen. It's quite possible to be led down some paths that go nowhere, even though there is a promise of success given. I've sure been there, and done that. We find as we go a true fact of life. There are all kinds of people who desire to lead crowds, and all kinds of people who are looking for something they consider worthwhile to follow. There is another true fact we should consider here. We can get in behind people who are confused about where they themselves are going.

    Some of what I am seeking to illustrate was portrayed in a humorous but true way in the plot of the movie "Forest Gump". In this movie, a thread of the words of wisdom taught him by his mother, played by Sally Field, was woven though the story line. This nugget of wisdom was "Forest, stupid is, as stupid does." The main character, Forest Gump, played by Tom Hanks, began as a young boy being often encouraged by various friends and enemies, to "Run, Forest, run!"

    On one of his famous runs, as he ran, people, one or two at a time, got in behind him and started following him. It became a very large crowd, and he kept peeking around at the people over his shoulder, seemingly very bewildered. It seemed to me that he might have known within himself that he did not have the foggiest notion where he was going, and wondered why in the world they were following him. Even so, he just kept running, and they just kept following.

    So, why were they following him? Give it some thought. Do those you are following know where they are going, and are they able to reward you when you follow them?

    The truth of Mrs. Gump's wisdom seems to shine through. "Stupid is, as stupid does"

    Psalms 94:8...

    Pay heed, you senseless among the people; and when will you understand, stupid ones?

    There is a lesson to be learned here. We all have a desire to connect with other human beings, but wisdom is desperately needed by all who are seeking leaders and crowds to get in behind. Wisdom sought and applied in seeking worthwhile leaders and crowds to follow can most certainly lead to great rewards.  So how do we apply wisdom to judge what is worthwhile?


    Proverbs 8:32-35

    Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the Lord.

    I suggest that we may all set our hearts to learning how to seek the wisdom of the Lord. We want to follow crowds who have a proven track record for fulfilling rewards promised. Will you consider the great crowd of witnesses in the word of God? Have you heard of Abraham, who set his heart to following and obeying the voice of the Lord, and became the Father of God's family in the earth? Many generations of family and friends got in behind him, and still follow his examples today. For the sake of this one man, nations and people groups are still daily receiving blessing. He began the lineage that produced the Lord Jesus Christ, and that lineage daily brings salvation to the world. Or how about the faith giants from Hebrews 11? Common human beings who have all been commended by the Almighty God as worthy of praise. Men just as you and I, who left a glorious inheritance for their children following behind them for generations?

    It might be that you are not called to be as an Abraham, or as a KIng David. But these great examples of godly leaders all had faithful men who served and followed them and were richly blessed for that faithful service. All are called to learn to honor and to follow those who follow Christ, with the promise of rewards. God is faithful to his promises as no man can be. He said if we give one of his anointed ones so much as a glass of water because they are his, we will not lose our reward! The blessing of a glass of water would be a small beginning, but it is a beginning.

    By setting the heart to God's promises and his leaders who demonstrate the fruit of being Christ followers, great rewards will certainly get in behind you and chase you down, and also your descendants. God's promise is to you, and to your children, and to your children's children, both in this life, and in the life to come.

    Pray without ceasing that you may be found too wise to get in behind the Forest Gump's of this world. Stupid is, as stupid does!

    Romans 8 14

    For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

    God's Promised Everlasting Love

    Romans 8:31

    What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

    Scripture Source / Holy Bible

     

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    A Story From The Past, For The Future

    Friday, January 28, 2011, 12:14 PM [General]

    This parable is a short story of some of my own early memories. I do hope it will encourage someone who may relate to these life experiences.

     

    Once upon a time there was a child who knew a large amount of love. She was one of two children of a very young mother, a child bride. This very young mother and her much older husband had hoped for love and a life of security together. But, very soon, the large stretch in age difference and maturity along with the normal trials of the responsibilities of marriage and family began to take their toll, and dissapointment brought division. Soon, divorce brought traumatic changes. The young mother was faced with consequences which were beyond her capacity to deal with wisely. As a result of this the children were often given into the care of grandparents. Although this was a difficult challenge to this couple who had already raised four children, they took on the new responsibility with love.

     

    We were very fortunate to have loving family members who were willing to sacrifice much for the good of their needy children. Many laughable memories come to mind as I recall those early days of innocence in childhood. I recall that Grandad was a fun loving man who laughed a lot. And I think of a time two little girls thought it would make him laugh if we would hide in the back of his panel truck before he headed to town with a friend, and our surprise at his reaction when we made our presence known as he was driving and talking with his friend. He did not enjoy the adventure as much as we thought he would! As i got older, I thought often of how I so admired him because he was smart enough and able enough to build the houses they lived in

    I think of Granny cooking such good biscuits, or working in the garden she loved. Many happy memories of her sparkling eyes as she would go about her day singing hymns about Jesus, and of her love for the things of the Lord. Christmas memories of two little girls secretly looking for and discovering beautiful blue velvet matching dresses hidden, waiting for the visit of Santa Claus.These are just a few of many experiences of the years spent in their care which were to build up treasured memories that would last a lifetime

     

    As I reflect back on the early years. I am thinking that the lives of all of us are built by the memories we have stored up in our hearts and minds. It's wonderful to have such a foundation of love in childhood, even through the memories of early years became clouded with some not- so- good things as we grew older and began to experience the sad results of lives disrupted by division. While it is true that all the adults involved in the care and raising of these children truly loved them and wanted what was best for them, they were very often at odds about what the best for them might be. The separation of this mother and father from these children was traumatic for all involved. Strife and argument over custody issues caused some bitterness and hurt in relationships over time. But the good things of childhood certainly outweighed the no-so-good things.

    After some years of suffering the same disruption of peace and love in my own adult experience, advancing years brought more wisdom about past memories.

    Ecclesiastes 4:1

    So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.

    Foolishness resides in the hearts of the child, and very often even the grown and married child. All human beings have a need to learn to put away childish things.

    What is the lesson here? Imperfect human beings make mistakes and pass some of the consequences of those mistakes on to their offspring. From one generation to the next.

    The wise man will learn how to overcome the powers of negative experiences with the mercy and forgiveness of the Lord. As we finally begin to outgrow our childhood hurts, we grow into maturity with the strong help of God's grace. Then, by hindsight, we will have a different view of things we lived out.

    Bitterness is as a burdensome stone, it corrupts happiness and the blame game has no winners. Let go of the stones!

    Song “Let Go Of The Stone” by John Anderson…..

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYfPlznUjlY

     

    Thankfully, grace comes to those who seek it. Merciful forgiveness can cause the sweet to conquer the bitter.

    Although this is my story, I believe the story is common to the lives of many. You could be the child, the child bride, the lonely father, or the grandparents trying to help a son or daughter going through difficult times. You may have family experiences of lives built on memories of generational traditions, stories of their successes, and failures.You could even have much more hurtful things to recover from, but I want to give you hope. There is no hurt God cannot heal!

    My purpose for writing this story is to pass on some seeds of truth for further thought. Such life experience can teach us all that the love and support of family members is vital to the well being of young children. There is no substitute for love and kindness as a firm foundation for the lives of families. The precious memories of these acts of love never die, they serve to give us comfort when times are hard, to be a small seed of hope that there can be a brighter day.

    Many of the adults in this drama have gone on to their final reward. However, the memory of their struggles and the grace given by God to survive their trials and tribulations with a large twinkle in their aged eye has never left me. Memories are treasures,. I encourage you to enjoy yours and do all within your power to make good and treasured memories for those you share your space in this world with.

    Philippians 8-9

    Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.

    Song “Precious Memories” ……Laughing

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0zb5IxMoAA

     

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    Remember When It Was Reported That The Music Had Died?

    Wednesday, January 26, 2011, 9:21 PM [General]

    Please join me as I go on a journey into the heart of song and songwriters. I have an interest in the musical giftings of various artists, and I am continually amazed at how music is such a powerful force.

    I often just browse and listen to the music that has been very popular over the last few years. I listen for the questions of the hearts of the writers. We can take the pulse of a generation by a sampling of it's music. Songs often reveal the deep need of the human being to know and understand themselves, and often their creator. Songwriters seem to be gifted with a healthy curiosity about the world around them and the great and small things that life is made of. They look into many subjects with a deep longing to seek wisdom and then to share what they are observing through their musical giftings.

    One great example of these giftings is this song written in the 1970's which opened up a curiosity in me. I began to seek the Lord for some answers . Who knows the things of a man except the spirit within the man? He alone has the answers to the questions we all ask. I wondered "What exactly does this song say? " The writer exhibits a remarkable talent for capturing the spirit of the times and events he lived through. We who were of an age to remember these times will recognize this gifting by our own recollection of the things he spoke about in rhyme, and we wonder at the skill he demonstrated. The song is called an American classic.

    "Bye Bye Miss American Pie" by Don McLean

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=4l6RlWes3QM

    Excerpt from Wikipedia article about the song;

    ""American Pie" is a folk rock song by American singer-songwriter Don McLean. Recorded and released on the American Pie album in 1971, the single was a number-one U.S. hit for four weeks in 1972. A re-release in 1991 did not chart in the U.S., but reached number 12 in the UK. The song is a recounting of "The Day the Music Died" — the 1959 plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper (Jiles Perry Richardson, Jr.). The importance of "American Pie" to America's musical and cultural heritage was recognized by the Songs of the Century education project which listed the song as the number five song of the twentieth century. Some Top 40 stations initially played only side two of the single, but the song's popularity eventually forced stations to play the entire piece. "American Pie" is Don McLean's signature song."

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bye_bye_miss_ameri...

    The song is most interesting! I don't believe this writer had any idea that this song would become world famous. But it did, and it planted some seeds of thought in the minds of very many. What deep things to come from this songwriter who was touched as a child by the tragedy of a plane crash! The shock of the death of the very young seems to have an effect of making one review life a little more closely. But, sadly, the song declared "A day the music died" That seemed to me an extreme thing to declare because of the tragic deaths of three well known and loved singers of the time.The song goes on to say that the devil was singing Bye bye to "miss American Pie" and that the church bells stopped ringing and the Father, Son and Holy Spirit left America.

    As I was considering these things, the Lord began to explain some things to me. The spiritual climate in our nation at the time was very serious. Rebellion was becoming honorable. The 1960's had ushered in a great decline in the respect for life, morality and godly authority. This nation fell into a sad moral decline. As just one proof of this, these are statistics on marriage from then to now.

    In 1964, 93% of babies born in our country were born to married
    parents. Today 59% of babies born in the United States have married
    mothers.

     

    The "Hippie" generation and the "free love" revolution among the nation's youth was in full swing. There was a great falling away from family unity and purity. It was a time when men were even declaring "God is dead!"

    Excerpts from a Wikipedia article on the :death of God" based on a book written by Germanphilosopher Friedrich Nietzsche

    "The death of God is a way of saying that humans are no longer able to believe in any such cosmic order since they themselves no longer recognize it. The death of God will lead, Nietzsche says, not only to the rejection of a belief of cosmic or physical order but also to a rejection of absolute values themselves — to the rejection of belief in an objective and universal moral law, binding upon all individuals."

    The cover of the April 8, 1966 edition of Time and the accompanying article concerned a movement in American theology that arose in the 1960s known as the "death of God". The death of God movement is sometimes technically referred to as "theothanatology"

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_is_dead

    Now, as an individual who has sought and prayed and received some understanding, I want to share some news. God never died, except possibly in the lives of many who laughed with the devil at the decline of godly goodness. But God is world famous as one who resurrects the dead! Truth is prevailed over the rumors of the devil about God dying and leaving man to live any way he chose to. American society, "Miss American Pie", is on the rise and a revival of respect is in full swing. What mercies the Lord has demonstrated over this nation during these trying times!

    Truth in song: His Truth Goes Marching On, "Battle Hymn Of The Republic"

     www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjnbxF0-iPA

    Truthfully, and thankfully, the music did not die. God has always used music to communicate with man, and scripture teaches that God sings songs of deliverance to his children. The Father who loves us uses song to teach us his right ways of life and good success. Many anointed ministers of music are writing great songs and singing out the great truths in songs which bring life and hope! Satan also uses the power of music. Music can be made a positive life giving gift, or a negative one which is instrumental in sowing lies and gloryfying evil.

    We who have a love for the musical giftings will always prosper if we seek to know the creator so that we may use his giftings for his glory and for the good of mankind. He is the giver of every gift and has the answer to every question for any who will set their hearts to know him and seek him.

    Jeremiah 33:6 Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth.
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