Tuesday, January 30, 2007
They say that the average, "Change Saving," you know, lying about in jars and what not, is about $30. Put that together and it would be estimated that Americans, as a whole, would have about or upwards of 7.7 billion dollars, just in change.
What good could be done, with that vast amount of money? If we saved, simply for charity, instead of a rainy day? What great things, could be accomplished with the gift of that simple amount of change, from every household.
Much like this change, some of it shiny and new, some old and tarnished, is also our "Body of Christ," the people. Much like the money, we have so much worth in that Body of Christ, to ourselves and one another. Often, the Church is referred to as the body of Christ, isn't it?
"all the members of that one body, being many, are one body." (Corinthians 12:12)
Every single one of us, is the essential and valuable part of that body of Christ. Every single one of us, as individual as an old penny, or a brand new dime, are simply, just that, without the collective value. Put you, the dime, with a old penny, add a nickel and on and on, you have a valuable resource, not only in a monetary sense but of a biblical proportion. As individual person/parts, that make up the whole, each of us is so needed (vv15-22). See yourself as valuable, as a whole in that body of Christ. Use your resources to do good works, show good stewardship, even a nickel at a time. Equate that with making that phone call to the woman, you know, who is widowed and lonely. Even if it is to cheer her up and let her hear that someone actually cares, you have done a wonderful, Christ like thing. Give your change to the church or charity of your choice. Change that change, into $1 bills and when you see that homeless person, offer to buy him lunch, by handing him a couple ones. He can then buy a hamburger from the Dollar menu at McDonald's. It may be the only thing he's had to eat in a couple of days.Don't pass judgment upon that homeless person, as to why he is in that situation but instead, see him through God's eyes and show him Christ like behavior. Help that neighbor kid, knowing his Mom is a single Mother, to pump up the tire on his bicycle and on and on. "Krazy Kindness" will allow you to have the best nights sleep, you've ever had. When you see that change, on the dresser think of all this and the skies the limit!
Sunday, January 28, 2007
In the mountains near the church there lived a retired Bishop. It occurred to the pastor to ask the Bishop if he could offer any advice that might save the church. The pastor and the Bishop spoke at length, but when asked for advice, the Bishop simply responded by saying, "I have no advice to give. The only thing I can tell you is that the Messiah is one of you."
The pastor, returning to the church, told the church members what the Bishop had said. In the months that followed, the old church members pondered the words of the Bishop. "The Messiah is one of us?" they each asked themselves. As they thought about this possibility, they all began to treat each other with extraordinary respect on the off chance that that one among them might be the Messiah. And on the off, off chance that each member himself might be the Messiah, they also began to treat themselves with extraordinary care.
As time went by, people visiting the church noticed the aura of respect and gentle kindness that surrounded the five old members of the small church. Hardly knowing why, more people began to come back to the church. They began to bring their friends, and their friends brought more friends. Within a few years, the small church had once again become a thriving church, thanks to the Bishop's gift.
Stewardship in a Christian context refers to the responsibility that Christians have in maintaining and using wisely the gifts that God has bestowed.
Now, caught in this whole definition, one of my efforts here has been to try to describe what it means to be a disciple using as little churchish language as possible and trying to break it down in to the real basics so we can really get our arms around it. To inhale it, breathe it in and allow it to become us and second nature. And yet, right in the middle of this definition is this word stewardship. What does that mean? Well, a steward is an old fashioned word, but this is the definition;
Someone who manages the property, finances or household of another.
You, as a Christian, quite frankly, do not own a thing. The heavenly Father blesses us, he giveth and he taketh away. I realize now that, the Lord blessed me over and over, through out all these years. I squandered it, abused it, did not appreciate it and when it came to money, I was extremely irresponsible. I think the most important gift, given to me by God, were my children. We often, do not realize that our children are not ours. They are God's children, we are entrusted with them, to practice good stewardship upon and to ingrain within. In this day and age, we have, most certainly, distorted the American Dream. In our quest for money, big cars and big homes, most families require a two income source. More and more, women, are working to make this "Dream," happen. I don't care how good, of a parent, you believe you are being, something is sacrificed, in the name of progress and this dream, we are fixated upon. We are not practicing good stewardship, when we allow our children to be raised by T.V., video, video games and the internet. Often, we are just happy they are amused, giving us a moment to breathe. Everything is rushed and the family unit, values and our belief system, as we knew it, is slowly disappearing. All in the name of this false American Dream. I call it... "Drive-by Parenting."
God is our provider, in all things. Often times, we become spoiled, confusing the things we "want," with what we actually, "need." Do we really need, that brand new car? Do we have to have, that expensive home with the latest model appliances and furnishings? More importantly, we lie to ourselves, saying that we want what's best, only the very best, for our children. The very best thing, you can give your children, is surely not to be driven to school, in a brand new SUV? Surely, it is not important to provide them, with a huge home and all the electronics, cell phones and the likes? Drive-by parenting, is the best you can do, when you must work late, prepare dinner, do the laundry, pick up the house, mow the lawn, do the shopping and drive the kids here and there . When, is there time to nurture and teach? When, is there time to plant all the seeds, that need to be sewn concerning, God, values, beliefs, not to mention education, as a whole?
Is it good stewardship to allow the media to mentor your children and the school system to be their only education? I think not and I truly believe that we do not see these things, these blessings, we receive from The Almighty, as gifts. Do we respect our children and in turn, teach them respect? Do we teach them about real love and respect for our fellow man? These children are our future and I have to believe that our world, our lives, our very Nation is in, the tumultuous times it is in because of these simple applications of Stewardship and their lack thereof. Watch as we single handedly ruin every good thing, every gift, we, undeserved, have received.
Are you practicing good stewardship?
I can not think of a better way to honor my Father, Angus Wootten, on his Birthday, than to let him know, that, his life lessons, his teachings, make perfect sense to me now. A talented speaker, my Dad, often speaks of good stewardship. In fact, as I thought of what I would write here today, "good stewardship," rang out, as his personal words to me. Of course, in my youth, I scoffed at the very mention of those words. I want what I want, when I want it and personal responsibility, was not in my vocabulary. Often, when my heavenly Father blessed me, I scoffed at my Dad's corrective suggestions of good stewardship, especially in a monetary sense. So many times, he gave advice and so many times I didn't listen. I had to learn the hard way. But I am grateful for the seeds of perception sewn, by my Dad. God's good grace, allowed the scales to be removed from my eyes on so many things, it took maturation to finally see. The very concept of good stewardship and the understanding, that we must see all things as Yahweh's gifts to us, was sewn more than 30 years ago by my Dad. I am grateful for his good stewardship, he has done his job, as a parent. He has been a good Father.
Lt.Col. Angus E.Wootten
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me....
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.
T'was Grace that taught...
my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear...
the hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares...
we have already come.
T'was Grace that brought us safe thus far...
and Grace will lead us home.
The Lord has promised good to me...
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be...
as long as life endures.
When we've been here a thousand years...
bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise...
then when we've first begun.
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me....
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.
May God bless you!
Friday, January 26, 2007
A man nearby told him to stop saving the scorpion that kept stinging him.
But the Hindu said: "It is the nature of the scorpion to sting. It is my nature to love. Why should I give up my nature to love just because it is the nature of the scorpion to sting?"
Don't give up loving.
Don't give up your goodness.
Even if people around you sting.
Don't shut the door of your heart, especially those in addiction. Do not enable them but pray for them. Continue to plant the seeds of salvation and earnestly pray. This was done for me. My family and especially my Grandfather Bill, prayed non stop for me. It is a struggle and I am a unique plant in God's garden. But had the seeds not been sewn, especially in my childhood by Grandpa and my Mother, Batya and my Father, Angus, the field in my soul may have been devoid and HaSatan may have won. But the seeds took hold, the living Word slowly began to root and then blossom. His Spirit watered me, I was drawn to my heavenly Fathers light and the Messiah braced me to deal with life on life's terms with His love and forgiveness. I've struggled but with the Lord's love, I can weather any storm.
Keep planting those seeds, they will give you a beautiful flower.
Happy Birthday to my Mommy who must have had a green thumb!
Thursday, January 25, 2007
If you feel trapped in any way, you might want to ask yourself if you are acting like a monkey with a box...
There is a unique way that the natives use to trap monkeys in the islands of the
Monkeys also can be used to help people find water. They know where the water is in their environment, so Africans sometimes give monkeys salt. When the monkey gets thirsty from licking the block of salt, he heads for water and the native follows him to the water source.
There is another interesting way that monkeys are caught. First, the native makes sure a curious monkey is watching him. He then puts some nuts, berries, or other food into a hollowed out log or rock. After a while, curiosity gets the best of the little monkey and he just has to know what’s in the hole. The opening is just large enough for the monkey to put his hand in. When he grabs what is inside, his fist is too big to pull it out of the hole. He's just too stubborn to let go of his prize and pull his hand out. The native can simply walk over and tie the monkey to a tree.
Many things can be learned from these little truths. I cannot find the text from which I first read the story about the monkeys. I have it somewhere in the boxes of stuff I save from my time in prison. They are filled with things that I cannot and will not bring myself to throw away. They serve now as God's gift to me. I read many things as I sat in my cell, day after day, night after endless night, and the story about the monkeys always stuck with me. It applies in many respects to facets of my life.
Am I like the monkey? Is my problem that I will not let go of my sin? Is my hand caught in a box, a snare that was once set for me?
The principle behind the story of the monkeys can teach us many things. For example, as a Believer in the Messiah, Jesus Christ, I might ask, “If I believe that with true repentance I am forgiven, yet I still mourn my sin, am I trying to be saved by my own faith and by my own intelligence?”
Sometimes I wonder if this is what I am doing. Whatever my problem, I go through this type of self-examination all the time. And I know where the idea of not letting go comes from: Satan, or HaSatan, the Accuser of the brethren. He would love to bring me down. So he throws my sin in my face, violently, repeatedly. When he does, I must remind myself that I have already gone to my heavenly Father and really asked for forgiveness. I am forgiven, yes, I am forgiven. How wonderful is a repentant soul when the almighty gives him the free gift of forgiveness. But still, I have to ask myself, am I like a monkey who has stuck his fist in a box and will not let go of its precious addictions? Do I keep memories of them clenched in my little fist?
I was once guilty of so many sins, and I do have my convictions about my faith in God, and yet, HaSatan is always there, lying to me, doing his thing: accusing me. I am often tormented by my oppressor. He figuratively places a bag of heroin in a box, and I put my hand in the box, grab the proverbial bag, and hold on tight. Like the monkey, I cannot, will not, let go, even to get my own hand out. In my past, I was often fooled by the lure of the illicit drug that Satan kept putting in the box. It had the ability to take away all my pain, hurt, anguish. It had the ability to make me feel all “warm and fuzzy,” as though I did not have a care in the world.
Heroin is illegal for a reason. Because once you start it, even from the very beginning, it is becomes like Satan coursing through your veins, owning you, destroying you, killing you slowly, physically and in spirit. You stop caring about anything else, or about anybody, even yourself. You need more and more, just to get that cozy feeling again. Then, when you don't have it, you get so sick. You get sick beyond words and you'll do anything to get the supposed cure: Heroin. You take it, and your very soul begins to darken. It makes you sometimes wonder why anyone would do this to themselves, but then you want more, and you want it more than the little shred of sanity that is trying to reach you in the recesses of your mind.
I once did it all, and to this day I continue to taunt myself. I often forget the pain it caused me and in my mind, I find that I am often still mentally holding onto a bag, placed neatly in the box....
The truth is if you look inside that box, you see lies, hate, maggots, oppression, hurt, pain, and more maggots. I must learn to leave it all in the box. I must learn to recognize that HaSatan is a liar, sent to deceive and even kill me. I must focus on the light of Jesus Christ, Messiah Yeshua. I must seek to walk in His light.
How do I do that?
I now realize that my nightmare's ceased when I began to read the Word of God before going to bed. I fed my soul with the satisfying Word, and in turn it blessed me with calm assurance. I began to see that if I would feed my soul during the day, by reading the Word, especially the Psalms, the living words I read would sustain me. They would take on a redeeming quality in my life. I realized that if I took a certain part of my day, to pray and just talk with God, He would comfort me. I realized that if I was thankful in all things, He would allow me to keep those things and would provide me with even more.
Now, when my car starts, I thank Him. As I am using sharp equipment and I pray for Him to bless my hands, I am not cut. I am grateful for so much now. At one time, I lost everything. I had it all taken from me. In my mind, I sometimes grieved the loss of my worldly things. It was sometimes like another prize in the monkey box. I walked out of prison with a plastic spoon and a cup. And then I learned to appreciate every single thing I was given. I especially learned to appreciate things I had worked for. I learned to let go of the old stuff and to embrace the new. I became truly grateful for all things, including my freedom.
I have also since learned that freedom is only a state of mind. I learned to appreciate my time spent in prison. Sometimes, I feel like I would highly recommend prison for some people I meet. It's a shame more people can't go one the “sabbatical retreat” I went on. No, you do not lie around in prison and play cards or watch T.V. Oh no! You work, starting at 18 cents an hour. If you do not have people that will send you money, you learn to appreciate the little things you get. In prison you are provided boots with a 1/8 inch heel, so a pair of $30 shoes becomes a treasured blessing. I know. I saved for 3 months to get mine.
If you are not counting your blessings, you need to think about what it would be like to do without. You need to stop taking everything for granted. In the blink of an eye, my friend, it can all disappear... Poof! Don’t try to hold on to earthly possessions, instead, always be thankful and grateful in your heart for the things you do have. His eye is on the sparrow, and it is on you too. He will take care of you and provide for you.
So, what is in your box? Are you a monkey with your fist clenched around something?
If so, it’s time to let go and let God.
What are you grateful for?
By Babs Moore
Edited by Batya Wootten
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
A BEAUTIFUL PRAYER
I asked God to take away my habit.
God said, No.
It is not for me to take away, but for you to give it up.
I asked God to make my handicapped child whole.
God said, No.
His spirit is whole, his body is only temporary
I asked God to grant me patience.
God said, No.
Patience is a byproduct of tribulations;
it isn’t granted, it is learned.
I asked God to give me happiness.
God said, No.
I give you blessings; Happiness is up to you.
I asked God to spare me pain.
God said, No.
Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares
and brings you closer to me.
I asked God to make my spirit grow.
God said, No.
You must grow on your own! ,
but I will prune you to make you fruitful.
I asked God for all things that I might enjoy life.
God said, No.
I will give you life, so that you may enjoy all things.
I ask God to help me LOVE others, as much as He loves me.
God said…Ahhhh, finally you have the idea.
May God Bless You,
“To the world you might be one person, but to one
person you just might be the world”
“Even the word ‘IMPOSSIBLE’ says ‘I M POSSIBLE’ ”
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Monday, January 15, 2007
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
In this great city that has no end,
Yet the days go by, and the weeks rush on,
And before I know it a year has gone...
And I never see my old friends face,
For life is a swift and terrible race,
He knows I like him just as well,
As in the days when I rang his bell,
And he rang mine if, we were younger then,
And now we are busy, tired men...
Tired of playing a foolish game,
Tired of trying to make a name...
Tomorrow; I say, I will call on Jim
Just to show I am thinking of him...
But tomorrow comes and tomorrow goes,
And distance between us grows and grows...
Around the corner!-yet miles away,
Here's a telegram sir, Jim died today...
And that's what we get and deserve in the end...
Around the corner, a vanished friend...
Remember to always say what you mean... If you
love someone -- tell them...
Don't be afraid to express yourself... Reach out and tell someone what
they mean to you, because when you decide that it
is the right time, it
might be too late. Seize the day, Never have regrets...
Most importantly stay close to your friends and
family, for they have helped make you the person you are today.
Sunday, January 07, 2007
I dreamed I had an interview with God.
"Come in" God said. "So, you would like to interview Me?"
"If you have the time," I said.
God smiled and said: "My time is eternity and is enough to do everything; What questions do you have in mind to ask me?"
"What surprises you most about mankind?"
"That they get bored of being children, are in a rush to grow up, and then long to be children again.
"That they lose their health to make money and then lose their money to restore their health.
"That by thinking anxiously about the future, they forget the present, such that they live neither for the present nor the future.
"As a parent, what are some of life's lessons you want your children to learn?"
God replied with a smile:
"To learn that what is most valuable is not what they have in their lives, but who they have in their lives.
"To learn that there are persons that love them dearly, but simply do not know how to express or show their feelings.
"To learn that money can buy everything but happiness.
"To learn that two people can look at the same thing and see it totally different.
"To learn that a true friend is someone who knows everything about them...and likes them anyway.
"To learn that it is not always enough that they be forgiven by others, but that they have to forgive themselves."
I sat there for awhile enjoying the moment. I thanked Him for his time and for all that He has done for me and my family, and He replied,
"Anytime. I'm here 24 hours a day. All you have to do is ask for me, and I'll answer."