Friday, October 31, 2014

Trick or Treat?

Today being Halloween, children will be going from door to door, dressed in their costumes doing something they would never do any other night of the year: going to the homes of strangers asking for candy.  And, their request will come in the form of a very strange phrase, “Trick or Treat!” 

Of course, our children today (and their parents) don’t really know the roots of that phrase or what it really signifies. For them it is innocent enough.  But, by using that phrase the children are actually doing two things: (1) begging for the candy they wish to receive; (2) threatening some kind of mischief if they don’t get what they are asking for—although today the threat is an idle one.  In a sense, it’s a shame that the children can’t just ring the front door bell and politely ask, “May we have some candy, please.”  I’m sure that most people would just as willingly fill their bags with candy. 

But, I’m reminded today of the fact that, as one of God’s children, when I am in need of something and thus come to God, I do not have to beg or threaten—or cry or prove myself or do any number of tricks or good works.  All I need to do is come to him with a humble heart and ask of him.  The promise of scripture is that God, as our good heavenly Father, is attentive to the needs of his children and more than willing to answer their prayers.  Thus, he invites us to come to him as children with our requests. 

Jesus said, “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11 – NIV)  Just before that he said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7 – NIV)   The writer of Hebrews penned these words, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”  (Hebrews 4:16 – NIV) 

I want to remind you today that, when it comes to your needs and your relationship with God, there is no need to beg, demand, or threaten.  No matter what your need might be today, you are invited to knock on his door, tell him what you have need of, ask of him, and then entrust your needs into his hands. He loves you and will always do what is best for you. 

Have a great day! 

Pastor Tim Harris

Friday, October 24, 2014

Engaged!

So here’s our latest family news: Last weekend our oldest son Jonathan got engaged!  His fiancĂ©e Danielle Baily (or “Dani”) and he have been dating for about three years, since Jonathan’s junior year of college.  They will be married next summer. I’m very happy for him and Dani—Kim and I both are. At the same time, I am still trying to process the fact that my own son is taking such a huge step in his life and will soon be setting up his own household independent from ours.   

For Jonathan and Dani, all kinds of changes will be taking place in their lives and relationship during this year, and over the next few years.  But, there will also be all kinds of changes for us as parents.  Even now, we have had to begin to accept the fact that our roles are changing. Whereas once we gave instruction and expected to be obeyed, now we give counsel and advice, hoping that our experience and “wisdom” will be taken into consideration. Whereas Jonathan’s primary relationship has been found within our household, we must begin to accept the fact that soon his primary relationship will be within his own household—i.e. in relationship with his wife.  And, the list can go on.  None of it is easy, but it is necessary as he, Dani, and we move on through life. 

Kim and I both know that this is really only the beginning for our family.  With Nathaniel and Joanna away at college, and Jonathan at grad school, we are already living most of the year, as “empty-nesters.”  When at 10:00 pm, the TV station asks, “Do you know where your children are?” we have to answer “No!”  That thought in and of itself can cause in us a bit of worry. 

So, what can we do as we watch our children become more and more independent from us and even begin to move towards marriage?  I believe, the answer is found in Jesus’ words,  Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.  Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. (Luke 12:6-7 – NIV) Somehow, I have to release my children and their futures into God’s hands, believing that God loves my children more than I do, and that he will watch over their lives. 

In fact, such is the case for each of us.  God sees us, loves us, and has promised to care for us! So as we move through all the changes that life brings our way, let’s  remember that God is there to watch over us and help us each step of the way. 

Have a great day!

Pastor Tim Harris