Tuesday, February 21, 2006

1 John 5:13

Can I tell you ladies and gentlemen something? Now remember, what’s said in group, STAYS IN GROUP! Okay, here we go….I hate journaling. Please don’t tell Pastor Stephens or Pastor Mark Collins. I hate it. It is so dumb. You can wrap it up in pretty paper and tie a bow on it all you want. But in the end, it’s what it is…a diary. Girls keep diaries of how their day went; or about the boy who gave them a flower; or the boy who dumped them. Men don’t keep diaries. I don’t care what you say. I have been trying for about 2 weeks now to do it. I hate it. But, oddly enough, I keep trying. I guess I want to be able to say, "Yes sir, I sure am journaling!"

Whew. I am so glad I got that off my chest. I just wanted to let everyone know that before I launched off into the memory verse for this week. Hey, I know it's random, sorry. Anyway.....

I have this friend who was just recently diagnosed with prostate cancer. He took it pretty hard at first; and his wife was a little distraught. He has been undergoing treatments at a center in Dallas, TX. He is doing well, but the chemotherapy is taking its toll. I am trying to be a good friend for him as best as I can.

He has people from his church bringing the family meals and stuff, so you guys don’t have to worry; I’m not asking you to do that with me. He calls me with his spiritual stuff; we’re kind of developing into accountability partners. But what we both really have in common is PENS! We both LOVE different types of pens. We are talking nice pens: Sheaffer, retro 1951, Monte Blanc, that kind of stuff. I have catalogs and catalogs of pens. I have 20 or more websites saved that just sell pens and pen accessories.

My friend has a lawyer that he goes to church with that also likes pens. But he likes REALLY nice pens. We are talking about pens upward of $300-400 per pen. Some of his pens cost $1000 or more. So we are talking last Friday afternoon (2-17-06), because he has come into work for a bit, so he doesn’t just sit around the house, soaking up chemo drugs. I haven’t talked to him since he left to begin chemo, so I am catching up with him; being an encouragement.

He tells me that the lawyer friend has GIVEN him a new pen. It’s called a Sheaffer balance, and it is NICE. It had never been used, and was still in the case. It is about a $300 pen. And this lawyer just gave it to him. He told my buddy to take that pen, and then get himself a blank book and keep a diary of what he is going through so he can keep track and maybe use it as part of his testimony one day. He is kind of reticent to do this, because as most of you know, guys don’t keep diaries.

Uh oh. My forehead is beading up with sweat.....That's not AT ALL playing fair, God.

“Hey Bill,” I said. “Our church really believes in that. And I have been keeping one myself and I just started.” I tell him all about the past 2-3 weeks when I have been keeping one. And I tell him not to call it a diary, because that’s girlie. Call it a journal. That's MUCH more manly. Use it to keep track of what God has done for you. Use it as a testimony for your kids.

He feels better now, because someone he considers a friend and a spiritual advisor keeps a journal. It’s neat how I can encourage him, because God brought me to a church and to a place where I was taught about it. He knows that he won’t be alone, and I’ll be encouraging him in his daily journaling. Because it is such a good thing……

Oops. Can we start this all over again?

1 John 5:13- “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.”

God is like that, isn’t He? He takes something we consider dumb, and uses it to encourage someone else. We have a responsibility to encourage and disciple other believers. The epistles of Paul in the Bible were journals he wrote to fellow believers all over the known world. He exhorted them and encouraged them and corrected them with his writings.

Great, just great. Well guys (and ladies), get out your pens. And start journaling. You never know where it may take you.

Be blessed,

Bo J.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

2 Timothy 3:16-17

Good morning! Sorry it's taken me so long to get back into this. It's been a wild couple of weeks since I last left you with a verse. Of course, some of you know that already! I would also like to introduce a friend of mine, Dan McDonald, who is a brother I know from Washington state. I have included him on this because he is truly a friend to me, and I want him to just know that I am thinking of him and it helps me to keep him in my prayers.

Anyway, do you remember a years ago (not that many years!) when the prayer of Jabez was prominent? The passage of scripture can be found in 1 Chr 4:9-10: "Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and him mother called his name Jabez saying, 'Because I bore him in pain.' And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, 'Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!' So God granted him what he requested." (Don't panic, Linda! I'm not asking you to memorize that yet! Breathe deep! Inhale! Exhale! That's a girl! Deep cleansing breaths!)

That passage became wildly popular. There were books and lessons on how to take advantage of that passage and how to maximize your potential by meditating on this passage. There were all kinds of things you could buy with the prayer on it, and people flocked to it, hoping to hit it big with this. I had a problem with this, not because of the verse itself, but because of HOW it was used.

We all know people who like to use God's Word as a band-aid. This was just a different type or brand. They figured that they could put this bandage over their wallet and God would magically increase them and give them that Lincoln Town Car they wanted or all the money they could ever want or need. But it was short term at best. Why? Because there is no short-cut on the road to God's Kingdom.

In all the Scripture study I have ever done, I cannot find any short-cut or easy road to God, or to what He has for me. Jesus talked about the road to the Kingdom, and He inferred it was the road less traveled. How many times have we found ourselves on the freeway of life, looking for the off-ramp to Jesus? Driving along at 90 miles per hour trying to find a short-cut? I know it's easy to fall into that trap. But the road to God to me is a dirt road, not a superhighway. It's a road that you can't drive down for long, because of all the turns and places that bog down. That's just life, sometimes it goes along, and sometimes it bogs down.

God's Word is for all the time; all seasons of life. It's not for us to pick and choose, so we can get the newest fad of the world. It's not for us to to just pick up when we are having problems, get us through, and then put it back down to collect dust until our next crisis. God's Word is our standard. It's our promise book. It's our guide. Remember the acronym for BIBLE (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth)?

This week's Scripture is to help you in that thought. God's Word is a sword (Eph 6). It's a rod and staff to comfort (Psa 23). It's a lamp (Psa 119). But most of all, it's truth. It's direction for us, in a directionless world. A lot of times you'll hear me pray for God to give us each something to take into a lost and dying world. We (including myself!) need to remember that fact. This world may seem to be thriving; the economy may be doing wonders. But it's a whitewashed tomb, and it's dying. It's groaning, awaiting the return of Jesus. We need to be ready, and meditating on God's Word can help you. Take this verse, and commit it to memory. Let it encourage you to learn Who God is, and how much He loves you.

2 Tim 3:16-17- "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work."

Be blessed as you study God's Word.

Bo J.