It Is Raining Cats and Dogs

As the rain falls in sheets of water outside my window, I was reminded of an email that had a lot of sayings we have formed through history.  This one seems appropriate for this day.

Where did the saying, "It's raining cats and dogs come from?"

During the 1500's, houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence the saying, "It's raining cats and dogs."

Now we are all smarter :)  What popular sayings do you know the history behind?


Learning How To Help Those We Love From A Sled Dog

Being a dog lover makes me very "sensitive" to stories about how they help others like law enforcement, fire services and individuals with disabilities.  I saw this title in my news feed and it grabbed me.  A sled dog that helps his brother who is blind to continue doing what he loves, "pulling a sled".  Please remember that there are always people in our lives, maybe even right beside us that need help and encouragement   We should look at areas of weakness in their lives in order to compensate for them rather than only expose  or exploit them.

This is My command: Love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends.


The Importance of Remaining

As we attempt to live our lives to have a positive impact on the world around us, it can become tiresome and discouraging if we are not attached to the proper power source. We must gain perspective of what we can do, more importantly what we cannot do and where to go for help. Our lives depend on it as well as those closest to us. We get older. Our lives begin to get stuck into a pattern of daily events that become routine, religious and habitual.  We wake to eat breakfast, go to work or school, come home, rest, begin our evening regiment of activities with our family, watch a little television and go to bed only to get up the next morning and do it all over again.  The benefit of having a routine keeps us focused and disciplined, unless the routine is destructive.  The pattern of our lives produce a fruit in our lives that not only help sustain us but impact those around us.  Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit because you can do nothing without me.” - John 15:5 (HCSB)  The word “remains” three things:

1.  Jesus gives us a place.  Do you remember the last time you had a family dinner? From an early age I was taught how to set a place setting.  Put the fork on this side, make the blades of the knife face this way, fold the napkin like so.  I was preparing a place for me and my loved ones to sit, eat, and fellowship.  God has set a place for us at His table.  Jesus pulls out the chair and asks, “Will you dine with (remain) with me?  Let me feed you.”

2.  Jesus gives us a time.   Remaining in the place that God had set for us is not a one time sitting.  Too many times we treat God with the same importance of an item on our to-do checklist.  We say to ourselves, “I went to church today, check!  I read a Bible verse today, check!  I said a prayer today, check!, I was a good person today, check!”  God did not send Jesus to die for our sins to be “one” of the items on our daily list.  Jesus was sent to be our entire life, not for a place to visit but to dwell.  Jesus asks, “Will you let me walk with you?”

3.  Jesus gives us a state. God knows that our minds are often set to wander and stray from Him.  Our daily routines and commitments that are against Christ pull us away from Him.  God’s presence gives us a state of mind that is set on peace. Philippians 4:6-7 (HCSB)  Time spent away from Christ moves us into being self-reliant.  By turning away from Christ we are left to our own limited understanding which can make our state of mind very unstable.

As we move into a new phase of growth in our individual lives and a church, continue to REMAIN in Christ!

In Him,

Pastor James


The Gift of A True Companion

Baxley is our 11 year old black lab and beagle mix. We got him out of an add in paper when we first arrived in Wilmington  NC.  I remember getting no sleep the weekend we brought him home and also that being the weekend of Easter with a "sunrise" service.  We lived in the youth building at the time so he was used to seeing crowds of kids.  We were blessed in many ways during our time in Wilmington and Baxley was certainly one of those.

In the process of moving we have had to find another vet. We met his new one last week and he restated what I already knew. With Bax being a senior dog his eyesight is going. He has cloudy eyes but still seems to be seeing fairly well, by this I mean not bumping into things. When I look at him it brings me to tears to thinks about the times Donna and I have shared with him. He has made me laugh, encouraged me to play when I did not feel like it and simply lay beside me as I have cried. I know a lot of people will say he is just a dog but to Donna and I he is so much more.

Nothing can take the place of, or be as special as having children. Donna and I came to terms long ago with the fact that children of our own were not in the cards for us. We knew we were free to love the teens and families God places in our lives through our ministry even more. Along the way, God gave us a precious companion to journey with us. Luckily, he is still with us and I pray that we have many more years together. I am not sure why I posted this but I guess it is because many "professionals" say that social media should show the whole of a person, not just what they want people to "think" they are.  God has showed me a lot through this little dog. Dependence, unconditional love and the excitement of seeing someone you love.  Maybe we would all do well to show the same to others.


Be The Monkey

Some days you feel like the monkey, other days you feel like the banana. Be the monkey! 

God's word always provides perspective.  It allows us to see ourselves from the outside in like a mirror for our soul.  Life is full of trials, disappointment, evil, difficult people and tasks that seem to big to handle. The blunt truth is that they often ARE more than we can handle this showing our need for God.  He uses those times of struggle to remind us that there is only one God and we are not Him.  He invites us to call upon Him for His strength in the big and small. As the apostle John is finishing up his last letters he takes time to remind us that:

  • 1) We who believe in God are His children
  • 2) He has already done the heavy lifting for us.
  • 3) There is one (Satan) who is in the world plotting against us.

You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

To know God and be a Christian is to have His strength to handle all that life throws at us. Our good and bad experiences all drive us to a greater understanding of God's love for us.  We must chose to take advantage of what He freely offers.  Here are a few steps to take.

  • 1) Admit you cannot handle it in your own strength.
  • 2) Pray for God to help you as He has promised.
  • 3) Do what you can and faithfully watch God work.

You do not have to be the banana, through God you can be the monkey.

What has God taught you in relation to handling struggles?