Time Capsule

Posted by Richard Harris | | Posted On Monday, March 28, 2011 at 10:52 PM

I was walking around a town square the other day and looked down just below my feet and saw a plaque, it said: Time Capsule buried 1986 do not open until 2036. I had heard of many towns doing this but had never seen one.

A great deal of thoughts came to my mind as I stood there. First of all I thought hey these people have made it half way to 2036, not long now. Then I got to thinking gosh I remember 1986 and Lord willing I have an outside chance of making it to 2036. As a matter of fact 1986 was a pretty good year.

I began to think of what has changed in just those 25 years. Laptops were not something every person had in 86, Regan was president, we were some 22 years from the first African American president, not everyone had a cell phone and they were not considered must have gadgets. No one really paid much attention to a place called Iraq and Russia was stuck in Afghanistan not the United States. Few had email and Facebook and Twitter were probably not in the dictionary.
I could go on for some time with all the changes in just 25 years and I can only imagine the changes that will take place in the coming 25 years.

If the Lord does not return there is no telling where technology and society will take us. Times change and there is not stopping it.
Here is one more thought about our time capsule; nothing in it is changing, what is in it will be the same as it was the day it was buried in the ground. That is fine for a time capsule but not for us as people of God. Yet many embrace the thought.

When we come to faith it is a time of new birth; just like a new birth that is only a place to start. God desires for us to begin to grow from that moment forward not get stuck in that current moment.
The basics of our faith should never change; that is what makes us who we are. But on the other hand as we mature as a person and seek God’s guidance we grow to be more like our Savior. Experience is a great teacher, I can relate to life far differently than when I was 24 years old in 1986.

If we are allowing God to direct our thoughts and use those experiences to help us mature that is very positive. On the other hand experience is good only if God is doing the directing not the world. That only leads to confusion and many times cripples our faith. Also ponder this; that capsule can help no one until 2036 when it is removed from the ground. With that thought in mind God uses Godly people who have experienced life, love and soaked up the wisdom of God to guide those of us who are younger. Yet if they choose to bury their faith in the ground and stay as they are what can be gained from that?

Everyone loses; the person stuck as an infant in their faith and those who come after them who need guidance in their faith. That town seemed pretty firm about not digging up that capsule; unfortunately some people are just as firm about not accepting the change that God uses to bring about spiritual maturity.

Consider where you are at with your faith; is your faith buried in the ground or actively growing.

To determine that ask these questions:

1) Are you taking the steps that help your faith grow; worship, study, prayer, and service.

2) Where is your faith on your priority list? Where was it two years ago? Where do you want it to be in two years?

3) Is your faith all over the map, believing one thing from this teacher and this from another?

Be very careful with who you listen to.
To be sure this one is okay see question number one. Perhaps we will be around when they dig up the time capsule that would be interesting. But if we are, prayerfully our faith will be 25 years richer from living and loving the Lord with all our heart for those many years. If it is going to be perhaps now would be the time to dig our faith up and give it new life.

1 Peter 2:2-3, “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”

Dear Lord, guide us to growth and help to lead us away from the temptation to get stuck in a rut with our faith. Guide us to learn the lessons you have for it and thus be able to lead others to grow in their love for you. We ask these things in the name of Christ, Amen.

Sniffing You Out

Posted by Richard Harris | | Posted On Thursday, March 24, 2011 at 10:22 PM

Last night I stood on a dark and lonely hill with the rattlesnakes, coyotes, and deer of south Texas. From our position my friends and I could see the lights of a shining city just a few miles away. Had we wanted to we could have easily gotten in our car and drove no more than three minutes and left the country. The lights were of a big city just across the border, in Mexico.

There is one thing I have learned as I have spent time on the border and this is it: I have lots of friends. They fly helicopters, they drive cars, and they work at an Air Force base and fly planes, my friend’s name; Homeland Security.

Within miles there is well documented evil and danger. Yet the American towns on the border are small, friendly and most of all safe. With all of my friends my thought is I am probably as safe here as I am when I walk certain streets in Dallas.

Early in the morning I began a drive back to where I was staying and in the midst of my journey I saw in the distance a cluster of lights. The closer I got the more I realized what was happening. It was my friends with the Border Patrol doing a little check on those of us driving late night in the middle of nowhere.

I had to come to a complete stop and when I did there were two Border Patrol officers and one dog waiting for me. When it comes to police I always get a little nervous, even when I am not guilty. I can’t say why I am that way it is just how it is.

While one officer questions me about what I am doing and what I am transporting the officer with the dog starts walking around the car. The dog obviously is sniffing for drugs or people I am not sure which, but just so you know I had neither.

While I nervously answer the questions of my friendly but very serious Border Patrol Officer for a split second my mind starts to play tricks on me. I start thinking what if someone put something in my car while I was not looking. What if my very serious and not so friendly dog sniffs something out; what am I to do!

I came back to my senses about the time I was given the go ahead to travel on. It appeared on this occasion that the sniffing dog caused me more anxiety than the conversations. There was just something about someone that could sniff out anything I was doing wrong.
I have a serious respect for a dog that can sniff things out; in reality I need to give the same respect to God.

You see the dog was trained by people to use his gifts to find the bad guys who are doing things wrong and to bring them to justice. The dog does it to please man and in return he helps to make our country a safer place.

God on the other hand is always sniffing around in our life as well. He seeks out where we have turned from Him. He is looking for our weak places. He does this not to please man or to throw people in jail or worse. No, he does it to make His world a better place by making us better people and more like Him. God is in the business of revealing to us our shortcomings not to punish us but to redeem us. See Him as I see the Border Patrol; as friend not enemy.
For some people the thought of God sniffing around our lives makes them very nervous.

Many people see God as a heavy handed God trying to catch us doing wrong then putting the hammer down on us. Reality is very different. God wants our own good; He knows when we are trying to hide stuff from Him, this ‘stuff’ is normally very bad for us. God knows the destruction caused by our addictions, our greed, our lust, our gossiping tongue, our lazy habits and our selfishness. His desire is to sniff these things out and help us rid our lives of them.

Foolish people daily try to hide things from my Border Patrol buddy’s, most are caught but some get away, for a period of time anyway.

Foolish people likewise try to hide things from God; their success rate is not so good. God knows what is going on; He sees what you are trying to hide.

My advice for you is much the same as what it would be on the border; come clean and be honest.

A confrontation with God about your sin might make some of you very nervous. Trust me though you have a very serious God that is very serious about His love for you.

Border Patrol dogs, thank you for your service. Keep your nose to the grindstone.
Heavenly Father, we praise you for always sniffing around helping to keep our lives on the right path.

Scripture: Matthew 10:26, “Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.”
Psalm 51:6, “Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part you will make me know wisdom.”

Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to be truthful with you. Guide is to seek your help and to acknowledge your presence in our life. We thank you because you care enough for us to desire our best. We ask these things in Christ name, Amen.

Hotel not Home

Posted by Richard Harris | | Posted On at 10:17 PM

Traveling is something I rarely do, but within the last month I have found myself on the road a bit more than usual. With travel comes the question of where to stay and of course unless you have family the only logical place is a hotel.

Hotels can be nice places. The people at the front desk are very friendly and seem to be very happy you are there. They tell you where you are staying, direct you to the room and even tell you all the little extras they have for you. For instance the place I am in right now is in a small town and it has homemade cookies in the afternoon for all its guest. Now how is that for making the lonely traveler feel at home?

By the way I like the way they refer to you as a ‘guest’. As if you are a long lost friend or family member coming for a visit. They make the bed, get you some extra towels out and get the room all ready for you just like you are Uncle Richard in for a visit. After all I am a guest and that is how you treat guest. Not only do they get your room ready but while you are gone they sneak in and clean it and leave you some extra towels. Goodness these hotels know how to make a guy feel at home. Never mind that they make you pay for your visit, you are still their guest.

You would think a guy would want to live in a hotel all the time; you would be wrong.
No matter how many homemade cookies they make for you or the fact you can keep the temperature at whatever you want in the room, there is one thing a hotel will never be and that is the one thing we want the most; home. A hotel is not home.

No matter how nice they are to you up at the front desk if you got in trouble they would care little. But at home if you find yourself in trouble there are people who surround you with love and care when things go badly. That is home.

What if on the other hand things went good and something exciting happened while on a trip? What if you got a new job or made a big sale? Is your first call to the people up at the front desk, no of course not, you call home and tell those who love you and will share in your joy.

People in hotels are short term members of your life. You might be in one hotel one day and another the next. Home is all about long term. We need and desire long term relationships, we like stability, we are eager for people to share our life with. Those people live at home and unless you are on a family trip that is where you long to be.

A home is not brick, mortar or glass. I have seen and even stayed in some wonderful hotels. They have everything a person thinks they need. From beautiful high rise structures to cozy resorts by the beach; they look and are nice places to visit. But still are not home.
From the smallest dwelling to the largest mansion home is the people who live in it. Homes are built by the love, care and concern that are shared with the people who live inside the walls not the walls themselves.

Home is even a place where you can disagree with each other and still sit down for a meal together. Home is a place where forgiveness is provided when needed. Home is a place where those who have failed can go and rest their soul and prepare for the next stage of life. Hotels are nice but you get none of that in one.

How is your home? Not the walls, but the spirit within those walls? Is your home in need of repair? Call on God; He is the foundation of any good home. And if yours needs some repairs, no one can do home improvement like he can!

Godly homes are not perfect but in them you will find what you need more than a soft pillow or 200 cable channels. You find His love, that’s home.

By the way; at home all cookies are homemade and the people who bake them know your favorite ones!

Scripture: Psalm 127:1a, “Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it…”

Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to take care of our homes by being lead by your spirit in how we act in it. Help us to make it a priority in our daily lives. Help us to treat those within it as precious gifts from above. We ask all these things in the name of Christ, Amen.

Being 4 One Another

Posted by Richard Harris | | Posted On Thursday, March 17, 2011 at 9:29 AM

This post was first featured on Insight For Livnig Website. By by Colleen Swindoll-Thompson

Most pastors have demanding schedules. Most churches have more needs than people to help. Most people are hurting and need a place of healing and hope. I understand.

I have a special-needs child, a blended family, and many other challenges most people will never know about. I bet you could be writing this too, discussing your own daily challenges. You may have struggles that are deeper and darker than I can imagine. If so, I am so very sorry.

But I want all of us to consider something: I have never, ever met a pastor who desired to hurt those in his congregation. I have never met a family with a disabled child who wished to offend others. I have never met a person who wanted to be misunderstood or judged or hurt or betrayed. We are all fellow travelers on this journey of life . . . a journey that is marred with difficulties, littered with mistakes, split with dreams shattered and dreams forgotten.

Let’s remember together the passage from Romans 12:9–19. The passage calls for believers in Christ to be in harmony with one another . . . not in judgment or critical or neglecting or passive or dismissive . . . NO! Paul calls us to love and care for one another.

Really commit to practicing the selections from Romans 12:9–19 (and praying for God’s help to do it!):

1) Love must be sincere.
(Lord, show me when my love is more about “being nice” than about sincerity, coming from my heart . . . as You love me.)

2) Cling to what is good.
(Lord, when I think about retaliation, when I speak heartless words, when I judge another person, I ask You to create in me a clean, good heart.)

3) Be devoted . . . honoring . . . joyful . . . eager to engage with others.
(Lord, just as You treat me with grace and mercy, remind me I am to respect, admire, and humble myself to care for other people’s needs.)

4) Be patient in affliction, faithful in prayer, hospitable to others, comforting to others.
(Lord, remove from me my focus on what I think others should do or how they should behave or how they should be “better”; remind me of Your patience with me so I may lavish that onto others.)

5) Live in harmony; be empathic, humble, and willing to care for anyone, even the socially rejected or disabled.
(Lord, show me my pride, the disgusting conceit in me; draw my heart to wash the feet of another, to disregard social status, and to reach out to the disabled, just as You humbly reach to me.)

In the week ahead, you may have some mending to do, forgiveness to seek, bitterness to release, judgment to silence, arms to embrace, tears to dry, or something surprising God is moving within you to address.

Take heart, my friend; God is for us and desires we be for one another.

For more encouragement from Insight For Living visit their website.
all simple/truths are written by richard harris

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