October, 2011

Guardian angels


The exhaust fan on our electric range hasn’t worked for months. Parts for the appliance tend to be very expensive. We seemed to get along fine without the fan, so I put it way down on my to do list.

A couple of days ago, out of the blue, the fan came to mind. I put in a call to the repairman, all the while thinking I had better things to spend money on right now.

I wasn’t home when the repair man came. Rosemary described how, when he turned the fan on, the unit began sparking and smoking. The man ran for the circuit breaker. He says that he’s never seen that happen.

What if a little one had hit that switch with no one around. Or if Rose would have been home alone. The possibilities are frightening. I believe in guardian angels. In the larger sense, I believe my Father has plans for me and my family. Nothing will happen to us until it’s okay with Him. Bad things may happen but only when they are what’s necessary in his perfect plan.

Whom then shall I fear?

Be blessed.

Nick

Gumbo Weather


If you’ve spent anytime in supermarket checkout lines this week, you’ve probably notice a consistency of purchases rolling through the scanners. Most shoppers have chicken, sausage, maybe jars of prepared roux, some of those containers of pre chopped onions or “the trinity.” These signal that gumbo weather has arrived. Time to get out the pots and compare recipes. It’s a south Louisiana tradition. Make no mistake that we love our gumbo. But there is more to this tradition. The first breath of cool air means an end to the dog days of summer, high temperatures and low energy levels. There is a promise in the air of holidays, burning fireplaces and renewed energy. Gumbo weather is as much about revival and hope as it is a culinary event.

In these cooler days I found myself cleaning out my office, arranging for projects around the house that have demanded attention for weeks, months and, in some cases, years. There is a stirring in the soul.

There is a spiritual side to this: a back to work, school and church feeling that the warm days of summer sapped from us. It’s a desire to start fresh and to do things better than in the past. What’s it mean to you?

Got to go; my roux is burning.

Be blessed.

Nick


Monday I spent with the cable guy. Tuesday is reserved for the security guy. We are installing a security system. We live in a pretty spooky neighborhood, especially at night. The system is pretty standard. Obvious entry ways are covered. There is a motion sensor. If the system is tripped, a call is sent to the security company and unless someone who answers our phone can give the proper code, help is dispatched. There are also smoke detectors on both floors. It’s important that no one, or thing, gets into our home who doesn’t belong and who may have evil intentions.

We need a spiritual alarm system as well. There are forces which seek to invade us. These potential intruders rely on the disguises of numbers and familiarity. In short they are so numerous and such a constant presence that they don’t need to circumvent security systems. We let them right in.

Spend some time watching old movies. Consider the absence of nudity, course language and violence. Prime time television today contains more of these negative elements than the “condemned” movies of my childhood. But it’s more than that. Even the “children’s” channels are filled with characters who
have no concept of basic morality or respect for authority. Such attitudes have become so common, how can they be wrong? If we could adequately adjust the tolerance levels on our spiritual security systems, there would be little we would watch on tv, view at the movies, read in books or listen to on our radios or iPods.

Is it too late to try to establish an effective spiritual security system? Do we need to essentially shut out the world or can we rely on our ability to filter out the bad from the few kernels of good.

I don’t know, but each of us better be focused on this problem. The enemy is no longer at the gate. He’s in the house.

Nick

Be blessed,

M

Blessings from the Cable Company

My morning is pretty well planned. I will be hanging around the house, waiting for the cable guy. We are major contributors to the Cox Communications empire. We get almost every channel. We have high speed internet, and now we are venturing into Cox telephone with not one but two lines. It amazes me all that’s available through that little cable line. I have been involved in electronics and computers for over 40 years and I understand the theories, but the enormity of the possibilities still amazes me.
What is even more interesting is that not everyone gets everything. From basic cable types to technofreaks, all are served based on their perceived need. How much or how little we get depends on the signals aimed at us by Cox and by the equipment we connect on our end.
I was considering all of this because of the fantastic service we had on Sunday. It was Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem Sunday. We put on an awesome program with special music, dancing, and teaching. Further God threw in some powerful testimonies and a time of special worship. But I am also aware that not everyone was equally blessed. It is hard to imagine that someone got more from it than I did; but there is no doubt that some did. I also am sure than some thought it was “too long” or “much ado about nothing.” These folks not only were not blessed; they were irritated. 
Isn’t it important that we know the “why” of these vast differences. I think it’s like the cable company. From God everything is available. But He sends special signals to certain individuals according to their needs. For some the healing testimony was the highlight. For others learning more about the ways the people of Israel protect themselves was the most memorable. God uses lasers to hit and cure the exact need in each life. Isn’t He marvelous.
Perhaps of most importance is a third factor. We have to be receptive. Our receiving equipment needs to be in good working order. Some were not blessed on Sunday even though great blessing was available and even though God was aiming at their particular need.  Consider what is required from us to be blessed.
1. Show up. Some missed a blessing because they weren’t present. God called them to the service, but they fell victim to one or the other of Satan’s temptations. They deserved a bit more sleep. There was a great sermon on television. Whatever. If we want to receive everything God has for us, we have to show up at the times and places He designates. The designated place isn’t always the church building. God has a way of sending us invitations to be at a certain place at a certain time. The more we respond; the clearer these instructions become. 
2. Come ready. Some show up, but their minds and spirits are somewhere else. We have to show up ready and expectant. To fall back on the cable analogy, we have to be tuned to the right channel.
3. Come filled with worship. We need to show up already full. The success of Sunday service is proportional to the amount of weekday service. Excuse me for using “service” in two ways. Think of Sunday as that time in which God blesses us for the ways we have allowed Him to bless others through us during the week. If we have been outlooking during the week, we are better prepared for blessing reception on Sunday.
I don’t think it’s any accident that the week we had a glorious service is also the week that many decided to serve God in a bigger way. This was a very busy week at Amana. There was much prayer, sharing, re-evaluation, and service which took place. It made a difference on Sunday.
If you want everything God has for you, Show up ready. His glory is always present. Sometimes we forget to turn on our receivers, tune in the right station, and be warmed up and ready to receive.
Be blessed.
Nick

Paths and Plans

Yesterday I met two figures from forty years in my past. One was a seminarian with me at Immaculata seminary. We were there together in 1963. The other man is the son of one of my mother’s best friends when I was a child. “Sis” Chaillot was a name well known to me as a kid. I was able to share some special memories with both of these men.

Our destinies are complex and miraculous. For the three of us, our existences touched briefly forty plus years ago and now our lives are weaved together again as we train to participate in Kairos Angola #53. When I consider the marvels of science like DNA and the intricate structures of God’s creation, I am drawn to Him and the certainty of His existence is confirmed in my spirit. Similarly, when I an confronted with the marvelous “coincidences” of life paths as I was yesterday, I can not deny that His plans for us are as complex and wonderful as our intricate designs.

We are truly fearfully and wonderfully made and our lives should justify such careful and loving divine planning. How are you going to work out His marvelous plan for you today? Consider how much He has invested in you and be blessed.

Nick

Be blessed,

Nick

 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—  to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ,  to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.  In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of His glory. Ephesians 1:3-14
We have all been blessed by an excited child who is in such a rush to share some good news that he pours out everything in a gush. Call it an excited utterance. Greek experts say Ephesians 1:3-14 is one long sentence. It’s Paul, excited like a young child, pouring out the miracle of God’s amazing grace. If he had been forced to stop gushing and give us the bottom line it would have been this: “You know everything we have been trying to do on our own? Well, it’s already been done. Jesus did it.” 
For me the great struggle of the Christian walk is not to forget I’m saved. You see an unsaved person struggles to accomplish the impossible: happiness, joy, contentment, coming to an understanding, a covenant, with His God. Only Christ can do that and he has, for those who believe. But even we who believe, when things are going well, we suddenly want to grab the reins back, to reassume control, to take credit for the good. When it all turns south, we desperately look about for someone (that being Christ). “Here Lord, you drive now.” 
Contentment, peace, joy, satisfaction all can reside with us, through every storm and in every valley if we will remember just one thing: We’re already saved.  Of course, if you’re not saved or are not sure. I’d be happy to talk with you about it or point you to someone who can help
Thanks to this guy for inspiring this post. 
Please pray for our first team meeting for the upcoming Kairos at Angola. We can still use lots of prayer, money, volunteers. Is that you? 
Be blessed.
Nick
4 of 4
1234