What Am I Worth

What Am I Worth?

 

 

Men are like steel – when they lose their temper, they lose their worth.”  -- Chuck Norris

 

 

I spent all afternoon Saturday moving furniture and steam cleaning the carpet in the bedroom. Then, while I was vacuuming one last time to fluff up the nap of the carpet, the puppy came in behind me and wet in the floor.

 

 

            I don’t loose my temper very often, but I was angry. I yelled at the dog and chased her out of the room and kept yelling at her, “You couldn’t even wait two hours!” Then, when I almost tripped over her, I told her in a quiet, dark, thick voice, “You might be safer outside right now.” My daughter scooped her up real quick and shoved her out the back door. 

 

 

            By the time the dog came back in a couple of hours latter, she was went right back in the room where she got in so much trouble (she’s a little ‘dense’ that way) and was just as friendly as always. My daughter, on the other hand, sat quietly huddled in a blanket until I finished cleaning that spot in the floor again and started replacing the furniture. By then I had finally calmed down enough to see that she was almost in tears. I gave her a hug and apologized for losing my temper and then the tears broke loose. She said, “You don’t like her!” I assured her that I do like the dog, at least I want to, we just have some issues to work through.

 

 

And what did I accomplish by loosing my temper? Two things: 1) I scared the dog for few minutes (not very long), and 2) I crushed my daughter. Will the dog remember? Experience with her tells me she will not. Will my daughter remember?  Always. From this point on, for a long time, whenever the dog does something wrong, she will be afrad I will want to get rid of her puppy. It will take some time to fully reassure her that I want to keep the dog as much as she does. It must have made me feel better to get that out of my system though, right? Oh, sure. I was shaking and tense, and giving up control. “Giving up” because I allowed myself to react rather than responding appropriately. And what did I give control to? A little black dog that I haven’t managed to train properly. Afterwards, I was angry and disappointed with myself for allowing myself to give up control and hurting my daughter. Yeah, I really felt great.

 

 

Getting angry accomplished nothing good. Giving up control of myself to a little dog was foolish.  Giving up control to anything that makes me fell like I felt then is foolish. Giving up control to anything that makes me do what I would not do if I took time think things through is foolish. I am responsible for what I do and how I treat people – and dogs. Will I yell and scream at them and look foolish when someone does something I don’t like, or will I respond calmly and do what is in my power and ability to do to fix the situation? I can’t control the actions of others. I can’t control very many things; but I can control me. And that level of control is a measure of who I am, a measure of my true character. Will I allow the actions of other people to control me? Will I allow circumstances or a chemical substance to control me? Or will I, with God’s help and direction, grow up and control myself?

 

 

 Larry Meissner

 

Identify Yourself

Identify Yourself

It was frustrating today, and a little embarrassing, when my bank debit card was declined.  Actually, it didn’t work last night either, but my wife’s card worked.  A ‘robo’ call from the bank came to her phone this morning asking me to identify myself related to activity on my card.  I didn’t feel quite like identifying myself to a machine, so we went to the bank latter.  There I had to show my debit card and photo ID, then the lady at the bank could not access enough information and had to call the bank’s fraud division.  I had to go through another set of identification questions before that person would talk to me.  And then, after giving him all the correct numbers, he wanted a verbal password.  It least I remembered it this time.  There had been an unusually large number of transactions on the card in a short time.  Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your perspective at the moment, the sheer abundance of activity that was causing suspicion was all mine.  While it can be frustrating and embarrassing when the card doesn’t work, I am thankful that the bank is watching out for me and wants to make sure it is me they are talking to about my accounts.

The bank knows me by numbers in a computer.  I have to give those numbers back to them in some form, either by presenting a card on which the numbers are recorded, or by giving the numbers to them verbally, in order to access the money I have entrusted to them.

Aren’t you glad God doesn’t work that way?  When I go the bank, they need all those numbers to know it’s me so I can access my money.  You don’t need any numbers when you go to God.  You can pray without an access code or password; you don’t have to go to a specific place.  God knows all about you; when you sit down, when you stand up, the thoughts in your head before they reach your tongue.  (Even things you don’t know how to say, because, as his children, his spirit dwells in us.  Romans 8:26).  There is a great transition in Psalm 139 that I strive to make a reality in my heart.  David begins with awe and fear when he realizes how much God knows about him, but that fear changes to joy and pleading for help to change and grow.  He concludes saying, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”  (Psalm 139:23-24)  Rejoice that you can approach God with a heart that is open and unafraid and that you can ask him to find and remove the things that don’t belong there.  Rejoice that God really does know you.

Larry Meissner, January 24, 2016

Where Did the Time Go

How much good can be done in 28.4 years?

 

That was the question I asked myself when faced with a stunning statistic. I have played an online pool game that allows you to play against people from all over the  world. The operators of this game run a ticker across  the top of the screen that gives real-time statistics. It will tell

you how many people are currently playing, how many have achieved “Grand Master”, how many have won using only full-powered shots, etc. One statistic stopped me in my tracks. When you count up all the time played in one day, at a rate of 63 games being played every second, human beings play that one pool game 28.4 years a day.

 

Nearly three decades of the world’s time is wasted every day with knocking virtual striped and solid balls into virtual pockets. And that is only one free internet game! I’m inclined to agree with China when it called video gaming compulsion “a grave social issue” (of course, I disagreed that electric shocks were the best treatment option).

 

Maybe video games are not a weakness for you, but I’m sure there is some other time-waster eating up the hours of your week. The danger is not that the time-wasters are sinful in themselves. Who doesn’t like to unwind after work in front of the television or computer screen? Only you can determine when the time burned away amounts to a violation of God’s command in James:

 

“So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” (James 4:17, ESV)

 

Looking back on the time spent on my own leisure, I’m compelled to admit there was a lot of good I failed to do. All the Enemy had to do was eat up my time in meaningless games. Suddenly, there was no time left to write that card or make that phone call or visit that friend. Where did the time go? How did I spend it? The better question is, where will I spend it tomorrow?

 

-Michael Casey

Was It For Him

Then the word of the Lord of hosts came to me: “Say to all the people of the land and the priests, When you fasted and mourned in the fifth month and in the seventh, for these seventy years, was it for me that you fasted? And when you eat and when you drink, do you not eat for yourselves and drink for yourselves?

Zechariah 7:4-6 (ESV)

 

That had to be a crushing “word” to hear from the Lord. These people had

 ideas about worship and they had carried out their practices on a regular schedule for seventy years. Fasting is never easy. But when God looks down on it, He knows it wasn’t done for Him. They were doing it all for themselves. Instead of fasting and mourning in repentance, they were moved by self-pity. Seventy years of fasting and mourning … wasted.

 

Far too often, we couch our faith in self-serving terms. I’m a wretch … I’m saved … I’m growing spiritually … I’m going to heaven. These are true statements for the Christian, but notice the focus. Is my faith wrapped up in what God will do for me? Do I ever take time to move beyond me and reflect on who He is and what He wants?

 

How can we know whether our lives are lived for Him or for ourselves? Zechariah has a very clear indicator:

 

“Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, 10  do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.”  Zechariah 7:9-10 (ESV)

 

Our words and actions in worship must be accompanied by corresponding words and actions in daily life. In order for our words of dedication to ring true in God’s ears, we must have our eyes open to the needs of those around us through the week. Justice, kindness, mercy, care for the marginalized, love for your brothers and sisters … these are the fundamentals of a God-pleasing life. Worship without these elements might make us feel good, but it does not reach our hearts. What changes do you need to make in order to have God look down on our worship and say, “Yes, that was for Me!”

 

-Michael Casey

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