Bobby goes through a lot of preparatory stages before he puts the knife to the wood in his carving of guns or airplanes. Here is a picture of the specs of the one he is working on now. There’s no comparison with him to NASA because they, of course, go through even more preparation in building space shuttles, satellites, etc. This reminds me of a spiritual thought:
Not comparing God to NASA and Bobby…but God went through much, much more preparation in the building of His church. He prepared a nation and then a tribe for His beloved Son to come through. This Son would come in human form and have the name of Jesus…and it was prophesied that He would die upon a cruel cross in the fullness of time. It was prophesied that this would happen during the Roman empire.
If Jesus had been guilty of what they accused Him of, the Jewish Law’s penalty would be stoning. During the Roman empire, the penalty was crucifixion. It all comes together just as it was prophesied. He was born, he lived about 33 years, he told about His kingdom for about 3 years and then He was crucified for the sins of the world, because of His great love for us.
Then on the third day, He was resurrected and after He had left instructions for His apostles that He had chosen, He ascended back to heaven… and they remained in Jerusalem until power came from on high. On the Day of Pentecost after the resurrection (50 days from the Passover) the church began and 3,000 heard the apostles teaching, believed, repented, confessed Christ and were baptized into Christ on that first day. Since that day many more have been added to His church by being obedient to the gospel of Christ.
Sadly, there is another prophesy that will come true someday, stated in several places in Scripture and in different ways. This one:
(2 Thessalonians 1: 7-12) “… And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power; When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed ) in that day. Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness, and the work of faith with power: That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
TO MY GROWN UP SELF: Dear self, I don’t know how long it has been since you thought of me, your little girl self.
To my little girl self: Oh my! I think of you all the time….remembering the happy times and a few sad times. I wonder how different I would have been if our mother had not died so young. I know you don’t remember her at all being only 3. I doubt life would have been a lot different with such a wonderful dad and a grandmother who helped him out a lot…but it would have been easier on them. But I’m looking at that, not used to having a mother and that isn’t fair to her. In fact just calling someone ‘Mother’, ‘Mom’ or ‘Mommy’, isn’t in my vocabulary and I can’t remember when it was. When I speak of her I always say “our mother”.
To my grown up self: Well in growing up, I remember only one or two times envying my friends who had a mother…but I think there were more times when they envied me. LOL They seemed to want to spend the night with me and my sister a lot. They thought we had more fun at our house.
To my little girl self: One thing I regret that my dad did: Our mother was an artist and had a scholarship to go to art school and she married my dad instead. But she drew a lot on the backs of calendars etc., and Daddy let us play with them…..I know his thinking and I respect him for it. I know he was thinking that our mother was taken from us and he wasn’t going to take her stuff away from us too…But oh! How I’d like to have her art work now! I don’t remember our brother playing with her stuff because he was always making airplanes and doing boy stuff. But we would play school with them and use those for our papers. It wasn’t long until we were a little older and we remembered them but realized they were gone. Our brother can draw really well but my sister and I can’t at all. We reap what we sow…or destroy. LOL
To my grown up self: Now that you are grown up what single thing did you learn that helped you in your adult life?
To my little girl self: Well, I remember being left with a neighbor woman only once because a guy who used dirty language was going to be cutting wood with my dad that day…but all the other times, I went with him. He always made sure we were at home when my brother and sister came in from school too. My dad being a great mother/father figure made me realize that our children can and may have to…. do without one parent or the other…and if I were going to be one, I needed to try to be the best I could be for them. He had the tough part of being dad but he also had the sweet tender part, needed of being a mother. His influence went a long way into how I view a mother should be. He has been gone now for 23 years but I still feel a perpetual hug from him.
Guilt can eat you up, spit you out,
throw you down in the dirt
and stomp on you!
Besides that, it can make you feel bad! -Edna Ingram
Bobby gave a devotional one Wednesday night about our conscience. Little babies do not have a conscience…nor do they need one. They are pure and innocent just like Adam and Eve, before they disobeyed God and ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 3:1-13) He related that it feels like there is a little box inside our chest that turns.
As soon as they ate of the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve had a conscience…and wow! Did it hurt! Their conscience hurt so bad they hid from God. Most of us who are of sound mind and are pre-teen and above can relate to that hurt!
Bobby went on to say that when we do develop a conscience, it is round…like the piece of wood in the background above. It doesn’t hurt when it turns. But when we are educated to discern between right and wrong, and then…when we do something wrong, it is like the square one in the foreground. It does hurt at every turn.
The second time we do the wrong it doesn’t hurt quite as badly, because the corners are worn down a little. Every time we do the wrong, the corners are worn down a little more…until it is rounded like the first one and it doesn’t hurt at all. Scary, isn’t it? There are many who are in this predicament because they can do a lot of bad stuff and it doesn’t bother them at all.
The apostle Paul in Acts 8 was persecuting Christians and he was living under the old law at a time when the new law was in effect. He even put Christians in jail and in some cases had them killed for following Jesus. (Stephen, first Christian to die for Christ) Acts 7:54-60.Paul (Saul, at the time) didn’t know the new law was in effect and had been since Acts chapter 2, when the church of Christ began.
Paul was on his way to Damascus to seize Christians to arrest them and take them back to Jerusalem to prison. Paul’s conscience did not bother him at that time, because he thought he was doing God’s will. God got his attention in Acts chapter 9 and it tells of his conversion, after he went on into Damascus to see Ananias.
I think Bobby described the conscience in graphic detail and I remember that is what it feels like. Most of us over the age of about 6 know the pain of a guilty conscience. The rest of the book of Acts continues with the history of the Lord’s church.
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PUTTING OUR PIECES TOGETHER, By Tony Lalli
I like putting jigsaw puzzles together. It’s fun to see the picture develop as you work on it. But, have you ever been working on one and wind up discovering that one or two pieces are missing? Of course you can see what the picture is supposed to be but when you look at it there are those empty holes just glaring at you.
The church family is that way. We can see what the church is supposed to look like and, for the most part, it functions okay. But you just can’t help but notice when there are some pieces missing. Where do they go? How do pieces become lost or missing?
Some pieces get lost by neglect. We aren’t careful with the puzzle and maybe a piece gets knocked off the table. That can happen with people too. We can’t afford to neglect any of the pieces if we want a complete picture and we cannot neglect one another if we want to see the church complete.
Some pieces might be withheld by someone trying to keep you from completing your puzzle…as a joke or maybe in a spiteful way. Either way, it prevents completion of the picture as it is intended. And people see the holes,. Those holes are evident in the church too, when pieces are held back. Don’t hold your piece back.
What is your piece? Where is your piece? God has placed each of us in the church as a piece of the whole so we can grow together. (1 Corinthians 12:18) Each of us is a piece of the church. As we each put our pieces together, we present the picture of the church as God intends.
By Tony Lalli, Dewey, OK church of Christ bulletin
Sweet little baby,
The doctor just now placed you on my tummy.
Just a few minutes ago, I could have decided by law…to have you killed.
I’m wondering right now,how anyone, especially a mother
Could have the frame of mind to do that;
And how a doctor who signed the following oath,
could bring himself also, to do such an horrendous thing.
Sorry, but the modern version of the oath is scary and I wish not to put it here.
Among my fondest memories as a boy are the times I spent with my Grandpa Ingram. As we spent time together fishing and hunting and working around the place, Grandpa always had a story to tell that related to whatever it was we were doing. I probably heard them all a hundred times, but I never got tired of listening to them.
I recall one of the stories he told was about when he was a young man and did a lot of trapping for furs. Thought it was serious business because much of the family income came from the furs he would sell, Grandpa always enjoyed trying new ideas to try to outsmart the critters in the wild. He said that he knew raccoons were curious creatures and that they loved shiny objects, so one day he placed a shiny pearl button in a small knot hole in a log that lay across the creek. He knew that the moon would be full that night which would make the pearl shine and he knew raccoons had been crossing the creek on that log. He wanted to see if a raccoon would try to get the button out of the knot hole.
The next morning my grandpa got to the creek just as it was getting light enough to see, and sure enough, there sat a big raccoon with its paw in the knot hole working frantically trying to get that pearl button out of the log. The raccoon had become so preoccupied with the pearl button that he hadn’t noticed it was getting daylight nor did he notice my grandpa as he walked up to the log. Well, to make a long story short, which my Grandpa never did, he added that raccoon’s skin to his collection.
When I first heard that story as a boy, I thought how foolish that raccoon was to lose his life for a pearl button. Though that button was pretty and shiny, it was of no value to a raccoon.
Consider the words of Jesus in Matthew 16:26: “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole wold,yet forfeits his soul.” When compared to the value of our soul and our eternal destiny, this world and all it has to offer are about as valuable to us as a pearl button is to a raccoon.
And yet, it’s so easy to become preoccupied with trying to acquire the things this world has to offer. It seems this is one of the most powerful tools of Satan, seeking to preoccupy us with the things of this world, to the neglect of our souls’ salvation.
Let us never forget the value of our soul and the souls of our children, of the precious peace that Jesus has brought and the eternal kingdom that God has prepared for us.
Let us never allow ourselves to become preoccupied with the things this world has to offer, which are of no lasting value…any more than a pearl button would be of value to a raccoon.