Friday, May 29, 2015
Have you ever had what we call, “one of those days?” Actually, for me the past couple of days have been one of those days. Not that there has been any major crisis. Rather, it has simply been just a bunch of little things that have stacked up to make life a bit miserable.
It began Wednesday morning when I looked in the mirror and realized my upper lip was double its normal size from cold sores (I had failed to put sunblock on my lips on Monday when I was out in the sun for most of the day). Not only does it look bad, it is painful. Next, came the broken air conditioner in one of our cars. After getting it refilled with Freon and thinking it was working, as I was driving to Queens, the car began blowing warm air once again. Driving on the Cross Bronx Expressway with your windows open is absolutely no fun—especially as the tractor-trailers pass by pouring their exhaust into your car.
Once I got to the office, it turned out there was no Internet connection, making it impossible to answer and send out emails and do some of the other work I needed to get done. So, I went to a nearby Panera Bread for lunch and to use their Wi-Fi. As I left Panera, I switched to my sunglasses, stopped outside my car to send a text message, and then, without realizing it, drove off with my eyeglasses in their case sitting on the trunk of the car. Needless to say, when I returned about 45 minutes later, they were gone. Oh, did I tell you that yesterday, not only did I end up without a car all day, as I was walking our dog, I stepped into a hole and twisted my ankle? I ended up on the couch icing my foot for about a half an hour before having to get ready to go do a wedding rehearsal. Yes, it was just one of those days!
I know that there are a lot of people with situations much worse than anything I have faced these past couple of days. I am not trying to minimize anyone’s pain or exaggerate my own. But, I am reminded that life doesn’t always go the way we want it to. We are constantly facing challenges big and small. Life is rarely a “stroll in the park.” More often than not we find ourselves facing, one of those days!
But, today as I was reading my Bible, I was also reminded that, no matter what we go through in life; no matter how great the joys or painful the sorrow, “…the Lord is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King.” (Jeremiah 10:10 – NIV) It is during our times of difficulty that God says to us, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10 – NIV)
I want to encourage you today to remember that, no matter what you are facing, God is still God. He is still the God who loves you, is with you, and is able to help you when you are having one of those days!
Have a great day!
Pastor Tim Harris
Friday, May 22, 2015
A few weeks ago, I was having a particularly hard day. Even though the sky was a bright blue, it might as well have been clouded over as I found myself a bit overwhelmed by situations in my life and worrying about the future. I know you know what I mean when I say, it was just one of those days!
That afternoon I stopped into the local dry cleaner’s to drop off my dirty dress shirts and pick up the clean ones. As usual, I greeted the woman who owns and runs the store (in Korean!). She asked about my family and what my children were doing. We chatted for about a minute. Then suddenly she came out with a statement that practically knocked me over and turned my day around. She said, “God always takes care of your family.” I smiled and nodded almost not knowing what to say. But, when I left the store her words rang through my head. I said to God, “Yes Lord, you have always been faithful. You have always taken care of my family.” I looked up and the sky seemed so much bluer and everything a bit brighter. A weight seemed to have been lifted. (I know that sounds corny but it is true!)
In Psalm 77, the psalmist describes a hard time in his life, a time when he had begun to question God and be overwhelmed by the situations of his life. But he then writes these words: “Then I thought, ‘To this I will appeal: the years of the right hand of the Most High.’ I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds.” (Psalm 77:10-12 – NIV)
The old hymn put it this way: “Count your blessings, name them one by one; Count your blessings see what God hath done; Count your blessings name them one by one; And, it will surprise you what the Lord hath done!” (Johnson Oatman Jr.)
Take some time today to remember what God has done in your life. Let’s remember his faithfulness, goodness, and kindness. As you do, I know the sky will turn a bit brighter and your load feel a little lighter!
Have a great day!
Pastor Tim Harris
Friday, May 15, 2015
I want to use this vehicle today to ask my readers to please pray for my good friends’ daughter, Rachel Siegel. Rachel graduated from Berkley School of Music in Boston last Saturday. Late that night, Rachel was in a major car accident. As of now, she is yet in a coma, in Albany Medical Center, with head trauma and broken bones throughout her body.
Just a few years back, in July 2011, Rachel’s brother, Ben was killed in a motorcycle accident. Their parents, Pastor Ralph and Maria Siegel, lost their only son in that accident and now their only other child and daughter has been in this terrible accident. They are trying to hold onto hope and keep faith, but as you can imagine, it is difficult.
Yesterday evening the Siegel’s got word from the doctor that they need to prepare for the fact that, from a medical standpoint, Rachel may never recover. The news was shattering to her parents. But, we know that with God all things are possible. He is still a God who intervenes, who heals, and who responds to the prayers of his people.
Will you join me in prayer today for Rachel and her family? Please pray for Rachel’s brain to heal and for her to begin to respond. And, pray that God would strengthen her parents, filling them with his grace, hope, and peace.
“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26 – NIV)
Pastor Tim Harris
Friday, May 8, 2015
This week I am thinking a lot about my father for two reasons. For one, yesterday, May 7, was the one year anniversary of his death. Secondly, May 10, which is Sunday, was his birthday (and also the date of his funeral). Every few years, because his birthday was on May 10, it would happen to fall on Mother’s Day (as it does this year). Thus, it was not uncommon for our family to celebrate Mother’s Day and our dad’s birthday together.
One year during my college years, such was the case. That week I went to a little card shop in the Bronx to buy two cards, one for my mom for Mother’s Day and one for my dad for his birthday. What I stumbled upon in that little shop, filled mostly with cards written in Spanish, amazed me. Of the few cards that were written in English, one said, “Happy Mother’s Day, Mom & Happy Birthday, Dad!” It was a two-for-one greeting card! What a bargain! What an incredible find! (Believe me, it was not produced by Hallmark or American Greeting!) It was as if the card had been printed especially for my parents and me! Of course, I bought the card and that weekend, to everyone’s amazement, gave the two-for-one greeting card to my parents.
I’m not sure who came up with the idea to produce such a card. Maybe someone in the card company faced the same situation in their family—i.e. their father’s birthday falling on Mother’s day. Or, maybe someone just thought it would be fun or even funny to produce such a card and then wait and see how many would be sold. But, it almost felt as if someone had been peaking into my life and decided to come up with something specifically for me.
Now, I don’t want to give the impression that I think God was involved in the producing and then my finding of that card. But, what I do know is that, the feeling that I felt regarding that card is true of God. He is always peaking into my life. And, he often works in a very personal way in my life—taking care of me in ways that are often quite amazing.
Jesus said, “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.” (Matthew 6:31-32 - NIV) And, “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)
Jesus taught us that God is very much involved in our lives in a very personal way. He sees what is taking place in our daily lives. He knows what we need. He sees, he knows, and he supplies.
Today, let’s trust God with our lives, believing that he will take care of us. Who knows, maybe he does supply two-for-one greeting cards?
“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19 – NIV)
Have a great day!
Pastor Tim Harriswww.pifny.org
Friday, May 1, 2015
This past week we’ve all seen the incredible and terrible images that have come out of Nepal, following the earthquake there. We have seen people sitting on piles of fallen material where once stood a building. There are the images of thousands of people sleeping in the streets. We have seen the photos of those working around the clock to rescue those who have been trapped. And every so often, we get to see a picture of someone being rescued from the rubble—the most striking of which has been a four month-old dust-covered baby, who, after having been covered by the rubble for 22 hours, was being held up by a rescue worker.
Unfortunately, many more people have died in the rubble than have been rescued. As the death toll continues to climb, we are all saddened to see so much suffering. Especially at this point, I am sure it will become more and more rare for the rescue workers to find someone yet alive underneath the massive amounts of debris. Yet, they continue to search and to dig—just hoping that maybe they will be able to set one more person free and thereby rescue them back to life.
The unfortunate truth is, the pictures such as are coming out of Nepal, are in many ways a reminder of what life is really like here in this world. Ours is a fallen world. It is a world filled with constant pain and suffering. Thus, whether we are facing a massive earthquake or a terminal illness or a broken heart, we so often find ourselves feeling like we are covered by rubble—in need of someone to rescue us from that rubble.
I’m thankful that God has been very much like those rescue workers in Nepal who refuse to give up and who continue to search for just one more person to pull from the rubble. Through Jesus Christ, God came into our world to “seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10) He came to rescue us, to set us free, and to give us new life. God would not leave us buried by the rubble of this world. Rather, through Jesus, he came to minister salvation, healing, and deliverance.
Jesus applied these words to himself: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19 – NIV)
Whatever your need is today, if you will trust Jesus with your life, he will save you, set you free, and minister his healing power into your life. Jesus came to rescue us from the rubble!
Let’s continue to pray for the people of Nepal and give towards the rescue efforts.
Have a great day!
Pastor Tim Harris