And then, today, it is supposed to be in the high 60s and there is already a light drizzle outside. The ground is wet and it looks quite misty all around. I like the cool, so I am not complaining at all!
Last week, I sent in some more paperwork for Social Security purposes. Since I just turned 62, I have filed the necessary claim to start receiving retirement checks (or at least direct deposit funds). I will get my first check in a couple of weeks. I am looking forward to that!
Last Saturday, we had a Men's Breakfast for our church and the La Sierra Baptist Church in Riverside. It is always a good time of fellowship and devotional with about 25 men who love the Lord. The breakfast was scrambled eggs, sausage and ham, hash browns and biscuits. I kidded the cooks, by letting them know I have a hard time eating biscuits without gravy!
Several of the men in our church, however, were not at the breakfast as they were on a "day trip" to Tijuana where we are helping a mission church down there. We go monthly to help with the construction that is being finished. The church parsonage is a small house which needs complete refurbishing. A little bit is done each month as we send workers down to get something done and give encouragement to the Mexican pastor and his wife there.
Yesterday, I preached on the whole book of Philemon. Of course, it is only one chapter long and has 25 verses. I spoke of the three main characters in the background of the story: the apostle Paul, a runaway slave convert named Onesimus, and the slave owner Philemon. Slavery is not condoned at all, but the real issues of this Biblical letter are love, intercession and forgiveness. It has a powerful message for us today, that's for sure.
After church, we had a wonderful lunch with some friends from San Bernardino who had come over to attend church with us. We have known these friends, Jim and Sandy Woolard, for about 35 years. We have kept up with them over the years, and it is so much fun to get back together every so often. They love the Lord, and Sandy is involved in ministry to kids who attend rave concerts. She and others go to the parking lot of the rave concerts and pass out gospel bracelets and talk with the young girls as God gives opportunity. Amazing ministry!
The rest of the afternoon yesterday was filled with helping Greg Freeman, a good friend whose dad owns our house, get things done for replacing the hot water heater. Last week, the garage floor was getting water leaks from the water heater. It was almost midnight when Greg left and the water heater was fully installed!
The issue with the water heater was minor, in relation to many other things that happen in life. Last Wednesday at church, I read from Psalm 73 and talked about "God in the Hardships of Life." There are many things we face and experience -- health issues, financial problems, family crises, death of loved ones, career struggles, addictions and other damaging pursuits in life.
Asaph, the Psalmist, basically asks the question: "If God is supposed to bless believers, why do we struggle with problems when the unbelievers around us seem to enjoy prosperity?" The question shows our misunderstandings. Our misunderstandings have become our beliefs, and they need to be challenged and corrected.
1. We have a misunderstanding of God's goodness. He is righteous and good because of who He is, not what He does.
2. We have a misunderstanding of what a "blessing" really is. A blessing is an awareness and knowledge of our worthiness to have favor with the Father in Heaven, and it has nothing to do with material possessions or positions.
3. We have a misunderstanding that a believer's life is perfect and calm. The truth is that we as believers will suffer hardships and crises just like anybody else.
4. We have a misunderstanding of what our expectations should be. Our expectations should not be focused on events and situations, they are to be focused on God's power and presence as we live daily.
5. We have a misunderstanding that all non-believers will be punished and will not enjoy prosperity here on earth. The truth is that we must not equate what happens here on earth with spiritual rewards or punishment! There will be a day of reckoning, but it may not be here or now!
Well, Sondra is off to her school this morning to help with the end-of-year testing at Garcia Elementary School here in Rialto. A few more weeks, and she will be done for the school year with her Intervention teaching. Time flies by quickly!
Here is a some humor for today, somewhere in the land of snow and cold!