While audiences long for reality in their media that is filled with aggressive, violent behavior, their own lives are becoming less real and more complacent. Now this may surprise some of you, but I don’t think this propensity toward violence is entirely bad. Let me explain: Men are warriors are heart. That is why they love their football teams, they love to watch the ball hit out of the park, or that diving save at the goal. Men in the 21st century have been tamed and reduced to mere spectators. I love what John Eldredge wrote in his book, Wild at Heart, a must read for every man: “A man must have a battle to fight, a great mission to his life that involves and yet transcends even home and family. He must have a cause to which he is devoted even unto death, for this is written into the fabric of his being. That is why God created you—to be his intimate ally, to join him in the Great Battle.” The Apostle Paul wrote in 1Co 16: “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” It is noteworthy to mention that this quote comes from a Philistine out of the book of 1st Samuel where he is challenging his comrades to step up to the plate and act like men so they don’t become enslaved to others. It is time for us to do the same…it is time to join the King of kings and Lord of lords in this Great Battle that requires our complete devotion.
This letter below is from our office director at Lamplighter. I think you will enjoy reading this! To All, First of all, we did not know that Prime Time America was re-airing the interview with Mark, yesterday. I have had a number of calls as a result of that. But this one beats them all: A gentleman that just called is 88 years old and he told me his story through his tears – he was in a foster home as a young boy in southern Ireland. They only had 3 books in the house – the Bible, Pilgrim’s Progress and Christie’s Old Organ. When he heard Mark’s story about meeting Charlie and him giving Mark Christie’s Old Organ, this gentleman was amazed – he has not heard the title of that book for many, many years and did not even know that it was in print any longer. He said that Christie’s Old Organ was the very first book that he had ever read. From the foster home he went to an orphanage in England and then came to Canada as a young man with a work crew from the orphanage to work on a farm (a program that they regularly did). He is now retired in Florida. He was so overwhelmed by Mark’s story of how he got Christie and how VERY special that book is to him – he could hardly speak to me a few times !!! What a great way to end this year of 2009 in LP’s ministry!!! So glad to be a part of this ministry with you all.
Someone did hack into our Lamplighter blog site and face book but this has been corrected. We apologize for this and we hope and pray that it will not happen again.
King and Closest Friend, Greater love hath no one than this, than to lay down ones life for his friends. John 15:13Recommended reading John 13:13-16 in the historically-based movie 300, King Leonidas leads his 300-man army to fight the Persians. His men are in awe of his leadership, character, and bravery and do not hesitate for even a moment to go to battle with him though they know it means certain death. This is because he not only guides them through the fight, but he is also on the front lines with them as a fellow soldier. As one of his men is dying, he says to King Leonidas, “an honor to die at your side,” to which the King responds, “an honor to have lived at yours.” King Leonidas was not only King of Sparta; he was a brother to its citizens. Jesus Christ is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, exalted and esteemed above all others. Yet, our King hung on a cross and gave up His life to save us from our sins. So as we praise our Lord for His majesty and power, let us also remember to thank Him for being on the front lines with us, fighting by our side, as our King and also as our closest friend. – Dr. David Jeremiah
This morning I was once again blessed at North Ridge Church in Rochester NY. Pastor David Whiting spoke on the myth of the donkey, the mean Inn Keeper, the Inn, the manger, and the wise men. What a message! If you read the two gospel accounts in Matthew and Luke you will find that it does not say that Mary rode on a donkey. Have you ever ridden on a donkey for a few miles? If you have, you would know that you certainly wouldn’t ride one sixty miles in your ninth month of pregnancy! If she did, she was probably only in her sixth month and then had the baby after that kind of ride! Not really. The next myth concerns the mean Inn Keeper who sent Mary and Joseph out in the back stable because his Inn was at full occupancy. There is no where in the Scripture where an Inn Keeper is mentioned. The text in Luke 2 states simply that Mary “laid him in a manager because there was no room for them in the inn.” The word “inn” may be better translated “guest room.” Jesus for example, during the Passover, says to his disciples to “go and find a man carrying water and follow him. When he comes to the house ask the master of the house where the “guest room” is so that I can eat the Passover with my disciples.” The word “guest room” here in Luke 22 is the same word in Luke 2. You see, most people in the land of Judea would have had a guest room attached to their homes. Because they are so hospitable, they built this additional room on top of their house or as an extension on the ground floor. There was also a third room that peasants or the lower class would have had that would have been about three feet or so below the living quarters. This room was used to bring in their animals at night to avoid theft and to help keep the home warm in the winter. Both this additional room and the one main living room where they also slept and ate would have been entirely open. The reason it would have been open is because a trough or manager would have been dug into the floor of the living room near the short wall so that the larger animals would be able to stick their heads over to drink and eat. Jesus would have then been placed in this dug out section of the floor for protection. Since there was no room in the “guest room” they were welcomed to stay in the living room of this family. To turn away a pregnant woman who was about to give birth would have been unthinkable during that time as well as today in the Middle East. Well, I think I have shared enough myth busting for today, thanks to Pastor Whiting. I can always be sure that when I attend there, I will come away quite full! If you would like to listen to this message, go to http://www.northridgerochester.org/dnn/. Oh, the reason for the message was this: Jesus the baby was not turned away. He was welcomed with open arms. A peasant family even opened their “living room” for them because their guest room was occupied. This time of year is a time of taking care of others and opening our homes. It is a time of celebration and worship because a baby 2009 years ago came into this world to save us from our sins. This is a time of celebration like no other and the world needs to see why we are so thankful.
Have you ever eaten crow? I have, many times, and they taste terrible! No not the bird, but the humiliation you bring on yourself when you hold firm to your pride and stubbornness. The phrase, “eat crow,” was birthed during the War of 1812 when a British officer gained control of the musket of an American hunter. He made the hunter eat the crow he had just shot. After taking a few bites, the hunter regained control of his musket and then made the soldier eat the remainder of the crow. The concept of eating or not eating crow really goes back to the time of Jesus. He said, “Agree with your adversary quickly.” This is never easy, but it is God’s prescribed way to end conflicts, which opens the door of your heart to be free again. To be shackled in conflict is a burden that is avoidable if we would just follow this simple step: “Agree with your adversary quickly. Listen to the whole text from Matthew 5:25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are with him in the way, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison.” You don’t have to have full-blown legal action against you to respond quickly with your adversary. And this principle of agreeing with your adversary quickly, applies in marriage, resolving conflict with children, at work, with your neighbors, and at church. Agreeing quickly will help you avoid the bitter taste of crow, and allow you to enjoy the savory taste of God’s grace. God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble
Many peoples in antiquity had throwing sticks, special weighted sticks that were designed to be thrown in a whirling motion as a weapon or as an implement for hunting game. The Australian Aborigines were apparently the ones who found that flattened, curved sticks could be thrown in an elliptical path so as to return to their point of origin. There’s one boomerang even older. It’s LOVE. It always has a way of returning to its sender; and in this way it protects us from discouragement and defeat. At the Music Hall in Royal Surrey Gardens in London on August 9, 1857, Reverend Charles H. Spurgeon preached a sermon about “Loving Thy Neighbor.” He said, “The shortcut to be happy yourself is to try to make others happy… If I would wish to be happy, I would not ask to have the wealth of this world, nor the things that men call comforts. The best comforts that I should desire would be loving ones round about me, and a sense that where I went I scattered happiness, and made men glad. That is the way to be happy… Love thy neighbor.” David Jeremiah
A frustrated mom wrote to me asking what to do with her messy teens that don’t help around the house. She has punished, threatened, confiscated toys, and nothing works. She was about to self destruct. So I wrote the following: Dear mom, it is all about getting your children’s attention. So how did Jesus get our attention? Was it Ten Commandments or outstretched arms on a cross? Did he get our attention by threats or kneeling down washing feet with a towel? It sounds like you are overbalanced on law. Remember God’s mercy is to a 1000 generations; his judgment is to the 3rd and 4th. His mercy is 1000 times greater than his judgment! Also, it is the goodness of God that leads to repentance. This doesn’t mean that your children get away with sin. It does mean that we as parents model how God treats us. His compassion is new every morning! Are your children seeing this or are they seeing a pointed finger for what they haven’t done yet? Our frustrations come from the issues of our heart. Therefore, I recommend focusing on those issues first, before you try correcting issues of neatness. We must first set boundaries for ourselves before we can set them for others. Over the past 32 years I have found that there are three words that have helped me more than anything in this world; those words are: “Lord help me!” I would start there. Then, lastly, I have found that people don’t change unless they begin to understand.
I just heard one of the cutest stories about a little girl who came to know Jesus after reading our Lamplighter story, Teddy’s Button. She was so moved by the story that she asked all of her Pre-K friends if they were ready to join God’s army. She told them that it was a lifelong commitment and a very serious matter…. She had the children sign their name on a list where they had to choose a side to write their name: joining God’s army / not joining God’s army. Now that’s evangelism at its best.
One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is Romans 4. In particular I love this section: Talking about Abraham and his faith, Paul writes, “In hope be believed against hope…fully convinced that God was able to do what he promised.” This is the essence of faith.