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Colossians 1:9, 2 Timothy 1:3

There are times when we may send a “thinking of you” card or balloons to someone in a hospital or another place.  Recently, I wondered if there are any “praying for you” balloons.  An online search produced only a handful of choices, but they’re out there.  Some choices were:  “Praying for Your Recovery,” and “Our Thoughts and Prayers are With You.”

Paul cared for others.  In Colossians 1:9 and 2 Timothy 1:3, Paul wrote about nonstop prayer for others.  I think that if mylar balloons were an option in his day, he would have sent prayer balloon bouquets to uplift others.

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Ephesians 6:20, Philippians 1:13, Colossians 4:3, Philemon 1:13, 2 Timothy 1:16

Do you find it a chore to write a letter?  Paul wrote 13 letters and five of them were from prison.  He wrote even though he was in chains.  I think that the weight of the chains would have made writing difficult for Paul.

If you do a quick online search regarding letters Paul wrote from prison, you’ll soon see that only Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon are mentioned, not 2 Timothy.  But according to my NIV Bible under, “Title and Background,” when 2 Timothy was written, “…he was again imprisoned in Rome under Emperor Nero about 66-67.  He was languishing in a cold dungeon, chained like a common criminal.  Paul knew that his work was done and that his life was nearly at an end.”

Chances are you’re not in chains.  Is there some Christian good you can do by sending off some handwritten snail mail to someone soon?

 

James 1:5

While walking/biking on a path with the kids to a tennis court, a whopper, grasshopper jumped on one of their tennis rackets.  When we tried to get it back in the grass, it jumped on Emily’s bike tire.  From there, it hopped down and stayed on the heavily traveled path.  Was it wise of the grasshopper to land on a tennis racket, bike tire and busy path?  Nope.  It made unwise and even dangerous choices.

Whether you do or don’t like grasshoppers (I’m personally not a fan of the adult ones with all that swaying back and forth and spitting) we can still learn something.  We don’t always make wise choices, do we?  We might even make several unwise choices, like the grasshopper.

What’s wonderful is that we can ask God for wisdom.  He’s always willing to give wisdom freely.

John 1:1-5, John 8:12, 1 Timothy 6:14-16

Recently, I went out at night to shop.  Driving home, I saw a motorcycle with purple and blue LED accent lights above the kickstand.  I stared as long as I could, lifted by the shining light display in the dark.

Jesus’ light breaks through darkness on a much larger scale than the motorcycle.  Jesus is “the light of the world” and God is “in unapproachable light.”  It must make them laugh to see that I’m wowed by little LED lights knowing the light I’ll encounter in Heaven someday.

Deuteronomy 25:15, Proverbs 16:11, Jeremiah 5:1

I’ve been on a lot of errands over the last few days.  At one store, I purchased two mylar balloons, two latex balloons and some Hi Float to make the balloons last longer.  The total was under $15.  When I got home, I decided to look at the receipt before tossing it.  I discovered that I was only charged for the mylar balloons and the Hi Float.  I figured out that they undercharged me about $3.  It was night by that time, and, even though they were open, I decided to make it right in the morning.  Not long after their store opened, I came in with my receipt, waited in line, and when it was my turn, set my keys with a sparkly cross on the counter and explained that I was undercharged.  The clerk was surprised, but rang up my total which I paid.  She thanked me for my honesty.

There is a story told about Abe Lincoln and his honesty.  You can find it in The Book of Virtues by William J. Bennett on page 620.  It tells about Abe when he was a clerk.  A woman made a purchase that was a little over $2 and left.  Later, Abe realized that he had accidentally overcharged her 6 1/4 cents.  After work, he walked in the dark two or three miles to her house after thinking, “The money must be paid back.”

Honesty is important.  If you read in Proverbs or Deuteronomy you’ll run across verses about honest scales and weights.  In Jeremiah 5:1, it looked like an honest person was a rare find.

Abe Lincoln might have been tired from his work shift, but he pressed on in the dark, risking embarrassment, to show that customer what honesty looks like.  The lady in the story might have been timid to open her door in the dark and then startled to see Abe.  But once he explained, she could gladly receive the change and instead of feeling troubled, he could feel a positive change inside.

https://books.google.com/books?id=ljEXPcTDquQC&lpg=PA620&pg=PA620&output=embed

Luke 12:22, John 1:1, John 14:27

My family receives e-mail from Web MD and one was entitled, “Nine Ways Worrying Can Wreck Your Health.”  The subsequent slideshow revealed that worrying can “speed up heart rate” and “raise your blood sugar.”  Also, “Your body may not fight germs as well.”

Jesus doesn’t need to subscribe to Web MD health tips.  Jesus was with God in the beginning and knows what we need and don’t need.    While on earth, so long ago, He instructed others not to worry.  At one point, Jesus specifically mentioned the heart.  He didn’t want our hearts to be troubled.  If you look up troubled on thesaurus.com, a synonym is “worried stiff.”  Jesus doesn’t want us to be worried stiff.

Jesus said He can give peace.  Whenever we’re tempted to worry, let’s remember to trust Jesus for the peace only He can give.

John 14:27

While on a walk at a nearby park on Friday, I heard an elderly man from a bench call out to me, “Where’s the flowers?”  I approached him and let him know that if he veered right on the path, went over the bridge and straight over, he would find the flowers.  From his view, instead of flowers, he could see a lot of tall weeds and an area under construction.

Let’s say the weeds and construction represent stress and flowers represent peace.  If you’re at a point in your life where you’re surrounded by weeds and construction, go to God in prayer, and ask Him to show you where the flowers are.  Giving peace is Jesus’ specialty.

 

Luke 12:1, Romans 10:9, John 14: 2-3, 15

When I was a kid, my parents took my sister and my grandma to the Grand Ole Opry to see Loretta Lynn.  Mom said that the crowd was calm getting tickets, but since there was no reserved seating, when only one or two gates of all of the gates, opened, the crowd changed to a swarm, pushing to get through.  We had no choice but to submit to the momentum of the crowd.  Mom and Dad held on firmly to us and we reached seats in safety.

In Luke, there was a crowd of thousands upon thousands trying to experience Jesus.  In their struggle to get to Him, they began “trampling on one another.”  Jesus was and is famous.  If you want to see Him someday and you’re not saved, you can ask Him to forgive your sins, believe He rose from the dead, proclaim that He is Lord, and follow His commands.  Then, He will make arrangements for your reserved place in Heaven.  He already knows your name.  Place your reservations today!

Acts 27:1-26

I have been following news on Hurricane Harvey hitting Texas.  My Aunt Alice lives in Houston, so I became concerned when I got an update on my phone today.  I called my mom who let me know that the flooding is about a mile away from Aunt Alice and that her area is also in a tornado warning.

There is one mention of a hurricane in my NIV Bible.  It’s the account in Acts of Paul sailing to Rome.  In that adventure, there was, “a wind of hurricane force, called the ‘northeaster.'”

God knew about that hurricane long ago in Paul’s time and he knows about Hurricane Harvey.  God is in control.

Psalm 119:48, John 14:15

Not long ago, I was flipping through a wildlife magazine for kids.  A small picture of an elephant caught my eye.  It was standing, in what looked like an unbalanced stance, with its tail swished to the side and its trunk reaching straight up into a tree’s leaves.  The elephant looked willing to fall in its attempt to reach those leaves.

It’s good to reach for Jesus’ commands with the determination of that elephant.  And if we obey Jesus’ commands, we show we love Him.