Monday, October 28, 2013

Jesus' Recipe For Popcorn - Part 1

Jesus has a special unique recipe for POPCORN – and it involves us!


Jesus has a deep desire – to set us free from the constraints of our own pasts, to transform us into His own image, both individually and corporately, and to make us more usable for His Kingdom purposes while taking us forward in fulfilling our true eternal destinies.

In order to do this, He has poured out His own life, and in the end every drop of His blood, to perfectly fulfill all the requirements of righteousness on our behalf, and to ransom us completely.
Jesus initiated this pouring out of His life at His incarnation, literally fulfilling the eternal decrees of the Triune Godhead, by leaving behind His pre-incarnate existence as God the Son, and entering into physical reality and human history, as the divine Son of Man, to be birthed and live a fully human existence like each one of us! 

John’s Gospel so eloquently describes this ultimate spiritual reality for us in his 1st chapter. Capping that beginning section of the chapter, John tells us:

JOHN 1: 16 For out of His fullness (abundance) we have all received [all had a share and we were all supplied with] one grace after another and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing and even favor upon favor and gift [heaped] upon gift.17 For while the Law was given through Moses, grace (unearned, undeserved favor and spiritual blessing) and truth came through Jesus Christ.18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

Jesus’ perfect, pure, sinless life on the earth, His completed work on the cross, His glorious resurrection victory over death, and His ascendant supremacy to His eternally exalted position at the right hand of His Father, are the fountain of all supernatural blessings, the only sure foundation for our salvation, His sanctifying graces to us, and His power given to us for His eternal purposes in and through us.

Out of this same sure foundation, we receive the ongoing present-day work of His continued heavenly intercession for each of us, as well as His release of all the necessary enablement and empowerment for any of us to walk with Him each day in triumph.
Neil Uniacke
Executive Director

Monday, October 21, 2013

A Cherished Gift

Have you ever received a gift from someone after they were long gone?

When we were cleaning out my parents house after my dad died, my sister found a diary that my mom had kept for the first half of the year of 1992. Recently, she gave it to me to read. My mother died in 2006 and we had not known that she had ever kept a diary. As I began to read through it, I was at first swept with a feeling of sadness, not because of anything my mother had written, but because I realized it was just a mere two years before she was struck with that awful stroke that changed the rest of her life. She was so active and busy and each day was filled with ordinary things that she would have never guessed she would soon be unable to do. As I continued to read, my emotion changed from sadness to thankfulness. What a blessing it is to have this memory of my 66-year old mother instead of the difficult last 12 years of her life that usually come to my mind. This was truly a gift from her  that I received seven years after she died.  It has brought back wonderful memories of a time when she was uninhibited by the physical and mental obstacles that took over her life far too early.

Her first entry of the year reads:

January 1, 1992 Wednesday. The Lord privileged us to greet another year, asleep of course, but that's a blessing too when I sometimes have near sleepless nights. We enjoyed the day quietly at home, watched most of the rose parade on TV from 11 to 1, and ate pork and sauerkraut for dinner. Delicious! The weather was balmy enough in the afternoon for us to take a hike on the boardwalk. (She refers to the wooden steps going down to the park area on their property as the "boardwalk")
On her birthday she writes:

February 3, 1992 Monday. The Lord gave me still another birthday, and it was a good day. I had several phone calls and an invitation to supper at the Clymers (my sister’s family). I was working on the comforter most of the day. We enjoyed a good supper and then played several rounds of Rook. It was a very enjoyable evening!  Soon after we got home, Glen (my brother) called and we talked a long time. It is such a blessing to have a telephone.
And on my parents wedding anniversary she journals:

March 11, 1992 Wednesday. This is our 44th wedding anniversary. That's a milestone we didn't even think about 44 years ago. Although neither of us have had all our expectations met, they have been good years and we thank God for them and for each other.
The end of April and early May she and my Dad took a trip to Florida. I’m pretty sure this is the last time that my parents made this trip by car to visit my brother and his family:

April 30 - May 7, 1992We drove to Florida. It was a very good trip. Enjoyed our time with Glen's family, met an interesting couple from Manitoba, Canada, who also stayed at Weaver Villa, and spent several hours with Duane (my nephew) and the V.S. Unit at John's Island.
Several days later she ends with:

May 12, 1992 Tuesday. I'm tired writing in this Diary now, so I'll just be sporadic for awhile. Too much work piling up on me.
 And that is pretty much it.  Except for a few random entries in the next couple months, Mom stopped writing in her diary. Two short years later, her life as she was used to it ended. Although she made some recovery from her stroke, never again could she walk and talk easily or do other activities that she had enjoyed doing with ease. I am grateful for this little glimpse into Mother's world (pre-stroke) and I love the memory that it brings back of days long forgotten.

I like to think of the Bible as a gift as well. Words that were written so long ago, speak to us today. The words often meet a special need in our life just when we need it most.  I have been reading through the Bible this year. Through the first part of the Old Testament I loved the stories about long ago. When I reached Psalms and Proverbs, a song or proverb often encouraged me and I would ponder on it throughout my day. As I move into the New Testament, I know that I will read about the biggest gift of all that God gave to us—His Son and how Jesus gave us the gift of salvation through his death on the cross. If not for the written word how would we know any of this?
I am thankful that my mother and God both left me “diaries” to read.

Mary Lehman

Friday, October 11, 2013

A Wake-Up Call

Philippians 4:6,7 tells us "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." I know these verses and say I believe them, but I have been worrying over details at work. The Community Closet Thrift Store is part of the Best Kept Secrets Tour in Lancaster County. We need to open early and stay open late. We have no idea how many extra customers we will get and I was not sure we had enough help for the first couple of days. I was worrying.

I woke up the first day of the tour going over those details I still had to finish. Then the rain came--HARD. I got a call from one volunteer that she would be late because the roads were flooded. I worried more.

Then, my son called, "Mom, I'm okay. I was in an accident, but I am okay." After I finally figured out where he was, I put up a sign that said we would open the store late and went to pick him up. On the way, I had to remind myself that the four students who were in the car are way more important than the store opening on time, or than being on a tour.

When I got to the house where the kids had made their phone calls from, there was an ambulance in the driveway with four cold and shaken up students. I was able to take my son home. Daniel already had a scheduled doctor's appointment for that afternoon. God knew he would need to be seen.

As we drove home, I found out the car had flipped and they ended up in a stream. With all of the rain, the driver had lost control on a wet spot. They had to break a window to get out of the car, but they were all okay. They had all had their seat belts on. So, why do I worry about those day to day details? Why don't I let God's peace guard my heart and mind? I trust so little sometimes.

After I got back to the store, the details of the tour no longer overwhelmed me. My son and his friends were all okay. I don't always like how the "wake-up" calls come, but I hope I hear God's voice when He does try to remind me what is important and what is not. Our God is indeed a patient God when we mess up. He lovingly calls us to admit our shortcoming and ask for His forgiveness. He forgives me and tells me He loves me. God's love for me is so very patient. How blessed I am.

Deb Riddell
Closet Manager