In a book that brother Bill Stewart wrote a few years ago, called “The Road Less traveled,” there is a chapter that deals with things I should have done. Brother Bill will be here this summer along with his wife Pam for our lectureship. I am looking forward to their visit.
Here are some of the things we should have done, and for sure when I write these things down, I have three fingers pointing right back at me.
I should have taken better care of myself.
I should not have made that last comment.
I should have studied the Bible more in my life.
I should have mentioned Jesus to them before they died.
I should have been a better example to my children.
I should have gotten my children more involved in church.
I should have showed my mate that I love him/her more often.
I should have told my family how much they meant to me more often.
I should have listened to Jesus and what He says to me though His Word.
I should have spent more time in prayer.
I should have controlled my anger better.
I should have given more to the church.
I should have given more hugs.
I should have given more compliments to others.
I should have listened twice as much as I spoke.
And the list goes on and on and on, I should have.
Wait a minute. I’m still here. It’s not too late. I do have the opportunity to make changes.
This is a song that has been sung with our pew packers for many years. The idea is to put Jesus in their hearts for the rest of their lives. This song has so much meaning in it. Now true as it may be a song for our little ones, just maybe all of us should sing this little song in our hearts every day. If we look again at what this song says: I’m all wrapped up, I’m all tied up, I’m all tangled up in Jesus. Then we can sing the rest of the song: This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine, let it shine all the time. The people who we are around in this world should see the Light in us that comes from our Savior. Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
When I am wrapped up in Jesus, it means my thoughts are on our Lord. When we do that, it should mean that our God comes first. When I am tied up, it means my actions show Jesus and what He would do. When I am tangled up, it means I have a close relationship with our Lord. How beautiful is that. When we look at the last part of Acts chapter two, we understand the very thing that this song brings to mind. Acts 2:46-47, “Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
The whole song is so special. Don’t only put the first three parts of the song into action but remember to put the whole song into action, let my light shine, let my light show our Savior and all that He has blessed us with.
Yes, I want to be wrapped up, tied up, and tangled up with Jesus, so my light can shine.
Note: This is an edited article that I wrote a few years ago. Despite the fact that our country, and its culture, still celebrates a great day of love - Valentine’s Day - we (as a country), it seems to me, are moving further and further from the Biblical love that we really need. Even in the religious communities, there are so many compromises made with the Truth, that God is dishonored. Given the current attitude of much of our society, now, probably, more than ever, this story needs to be told over and over again, remembered, and fully appreciated!
The Greatest Love Story Ever Told
If someone were to ask you "What is the greatest story of love you've ever heard?" how would you answer? Would you immediately think of one of the great classics by Shakespeare such as "Romeo and Juliet"? If you are an American history buff, you might suggest the legendary story of Pocahontas and John Smith. Some might even consider a more modern story from literature, such as the fictionalized Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler. Also, it’s recorded that the love between the married couple of science, Marie and Pierre Curie, was truly inspirational. Truthfully, a member of the military who does some super extra-ordinary act that costs his life but saves comrades is, in reality, an act of love. While I am not an expert on love stories, factual or fictionalized, I do admit to knowing about some of these and of some acts of valor in combat. However, I say with certainty that none of these is the greatest story of love!
For us believers, the greatest love story ever told is found within God's scriptures. "Which one?" you may ask. Is it the great love that Abraham had for God that he was willing to offer up his only son as a sacrifice (Gen. 22)? No doubt, some would say the immense love that Jacob had for Rachel is truly inspiring (Gen. 29). How about the great love Ruth had for Naomi? (Ruth 1-4) Joseph must have had great love for Mary, his betrothed, to act to preclude her from being scorned by society (Matt. 1&2). None of these, however, can match the ultimate love story that can be found within the Scriptures!
I believe we can all agree that the greatest love story ever told is that of the great love that God, the Father, and God, the Son, have for mankind! The Gospels record the events of, and the reasons for, God permitting Himself to become flesh, to walk on this earth as an obedient Son - Jesus the Christ - and, then, unselfishly, sacrificing Himself, redeeming man from the consequences of sin. "For God so loved the world…” (John 3:16) tells us why God did what He did. "Greater love has no one than this…" (John 15:13) speaks to the ultimate act of love — which Jesus performed! Jesus prayed that all believers would have in them "…the love with which You loved Me…" (John 17:26). He also said, “…I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (John 13:34) “And there is salvation in no one else…" (Acts 4:12) Irrespective of any command (Matt. 28:18-20&Mark16:15-16), let’s all resolve that we can't help but tell all with whom we come in contact that:
THE GREATEST STORY OF LOVE EVER TOLD IS THE STORY OF JESUS!
19th Psalm: The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of his hands…The law of the LORD is perfect (blameless), restoring the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether. They are more desirable than…much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them your servant is warned; In keeping them there is great reward…Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.
Psalm 111: (Hallelujah! I will) Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart… Great are the works of the LORD;...Splendor and majesty is His work, and His righteousness endures forever. He has made His wonderful acts a memorial; the LORD is gracious and compassionate…He will remember His covenant forever…The works of His hands are truth (faithfulness) and justice; all his precepts are sure (trustworthy). They are upheld forever and ever; they are performed in truth (faithfulness) and uprightness. He has sent redemption to His people; He has ordained (or commanded) His covenant forever: Holy and awesome (inspiring reverence) is His name…
1st John 1:7: But if we walk in the Light as He, Himself, is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin.
1st John 3:23: This is His commandment, that we believe in the name (believe the name) of His Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us (gave us a commandment).
1st John 4:7ff: Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God…In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another…if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us…We love, because He first loved us…the one who loves God should love his brother also.
May God continue to bless us in our striving together to do His will and as we demonstrate our love for one another in everything we say and do! To Him be all the praise and glory for everything!
Most of the time when we think, or speak, of “home,” we focus on that place where we live and eat and spend time with our physical family. For many, it is the place of escape from the hustle and bustle of work or school or the other activities that make up our day. In our later, or “retired”, years, home is where we spend more of our time as it becomes the central place of most of our daily activities. Whether in our earlier or later years, home is the place we go for refuge, comfort, refreshment, and to relax or rest. We express this sense of home as the place where we live with our family group.
Home and family can also be thought of in two other ways. Family can be defined, also, as a group of people united by certain convictions or a common interest, affiliation, or fellowship. In this sense we usually think of home in a social setting; this family can be for the purpose of recreational activity, such as a sports team. Family can also be a gathering for a common spiritual or religious interest – a church family. The common interest of the church family is to help each other reach the goal of the ultimate sense of “home” – Heaven.
The Ripon Church of Christ is, truly, a family of God that is rooted - fundamentally and unequivocally - in Christ! We are a family that loves and supports each other as we strive to please Him in our worship and other works of service. When we assemble for worship we honor, praise, and glorify God and our Savior, Jesus Christ. Our endeavor is to encourage and help each other to remain faithful to The LORD and His Truth as revealed in His Scriptures (Eph. 3:14-19 & 4:1-16; Heb.10:19-25). We know that our God will continue to bless us, as He has in the past, far beyond our ability to imagine or understand! (Eph. 4:20-21)
To our guests: Whether you are with us for the first time or returning again or are in an assembly after an extended absence from “church,” we want you to feel “at home.” We are honored by your choice to be with us and pray that you will experience and feel the love that this congregation of Christ’s church shares – a common love for THE LORD and for each other – and that you, also, will be encouraged and edified (built up). (1st Cor. 8:1)
13397 West Ripon Road, Ripon CA 95366