Lost The Power Forever

I’ve never read, “A Christmas Carol,” by Charles Dickens, so we ordered it. We are currently reading this short story. We’ve watched a lot of movie versions of the book, the kids’ favorite is the Muppet Version.

As we were reading it the other night, we came to the part where Jacob Marley, Scrooge’s old friend, came from the dead to visit Scrooge. As Jacob Marley is about to depart, Scrooge sees tons of spirits moving through the sky, moaning and crying. They are crying because they had the opportunity to do good for their fellow man and did not do it. Now they are dead and they have to roam the earth to see all the misery they could have helped to relieve.

Here is a quote from the book:

Scrooge followed to the window: desperate in his curiosity. He looked out.
The air was filled with phantoms, wandering hither and thither in restless haste, and moaning as they went. Every one of them wore chains like Marley’s Ghost; some few (they might be guilty governments) were linked together; none were free. Many had been personally known to Scrooge in their lives. He had been quite familiar with one old ghost, in a white waistcoat, with a monstrous iron safe attached to its ankle, who cried piteously at being unable to assist a wretched woman with an infant, whom it saw below, upon a doorstep. The misery with them all was, clearly, that they sought to interfere, for good, in human matters, and had lost the power forever.

Think about that statement, they sought to interfere in human matters but had forever lost the power. While they were alive they had the opportunity to intervene in the human suffering around them, but chose not to do so. Now it is too late for them. Sad, isn’t it?

What about us? We have today, and we have opportunity.

James 4:13-17 – Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”–yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

Grief will have its way with you

Hey guys, Aaron Kemple here. Thanks so much for your encouragement over the past few years as we sent out these daily articles. This year has been particularly challenging for the Kemple family (and also filled with many rich blessings) and I appreciate Shane for taking over the Men’s Daily Briefing and running with it. He is such a great friend to me, especially this year. Through it all, he’s been there consistently by me and by my family’s side. He’s a true friend. I look forward to see what he does this coming year with this daily blog and I am happy to be able to help by contributing articles.

May God richly bless you as 2019 ends and as we move into 2020.

Today’s article has some observations about grief. During the holidays, while we rejoice and enjoy the season, many of us also grieve. The holidays can be a painful reminder of those dear loved ones who are no longer with us. Grief will find you, whether you want it to or not. You have to face it and work through it as you move through its cycles. That’s the real point of this article today.

Grief will have its way with you, whether you want it to or not.

You can try to out-smart it, but grief is clever.

You can try to out-wait it, but grief lives on. It doesn’t have a time limit.

You can try to out-run it, but grief will eventually catch up to you.

You can try to out-work it, but when you are exhausted, it is still there.

You can try to out-eat it, or you can try to drown it with alcohol and other substances, but grief is a good swimmer. At the bottom of the bottle or at the end of the food binge, grief is there still alive and well. You have a hangover as a friend now to join hands with the pain you already feel.

You can try to out-entertain it. You can do everything in your power to distract yourself, but when the noise and flashing screens stop, grief is there staring you in the face and whispering in your ear.

You can try to deny its existence, but denying it won’t make grief go away.

Maybe you think I’m giving grief too much power here, but I would respectfully disagree. The pain is real and minimizing it doesn’t take it away, in fact it makes things worse. You have to face the grief and work through it, whenever it surfaces, because this is not a one-time battle.

I will give you a Biblical example. Isaac was 37 years old when his mother died (Sarah was 90 when Isaac was born and she was 127 when she died, see Genesis 17:17; 23:1). Isaac was 40 when he married Rebekah (Genesis 25:20). The Bible tells us that when Isaac married Rebekah he was “comforted after the death of his mother” (Genesis 24:67). It had been 3 years since his mother died. Think about that! No, really…think about that! If we think that shedding a few tears and a funeral will put to rest the grief, we are fooling ourselves. It was years for Isaac and he still needed comfort after his mother’s death. I have a friend who lost a son, and someone told him at the funeral that “in time, you’ll get over it.” It’s been 20 years – he’s not “over it.”

There’s more to come on this concept, but for now, understand that you have to embrace the grief. Acknowledge it. If you stub your toe, you say, “Ouch, my toe hurts,” and maybe add a few frills and dressings. If you hurt inside, you need to acknowledge that pain. It’s okay to say, “Ouch, I hurt.” Let it out…sometimes you have to pop the balloon and have a good cry. Scream at the top of your lungs out in the garage or in the woods and tell God how much you hurt. Talk about it to a trusted friend. It may be that you sit down and talk to a counselor – that is a good thing, not a sign of weakness. Watch the Disney/Pixar movie, “Inside Out,” I believe that movie is very helpful in teaching about the emotions in life, including pain and grief. Talk to God about your pain, David, Jesus and Elijah did. Read the Psalms. Go to worship God with others…they are hurting in their own ways, too. Look around to encourage others who are hurting like you. I’m not saying any of these things will “fix it,” but they do help along the way.

Okay, that’s it for now.

MDB Resumes

Brothers and Sisters,

I am writing to let you know that we are resuming our daily articles this week.  I am sorry for the three months of silence but we are eager to get rolling again.  I hope this effort is still of interest to you and if you have any feedback or would like any specific topics covered, please reach out and we will address your inputs.  Again, our apology for the temporary stoppage and we look forward to our work together.

Shane

No Article Today

Good morning.  I hope you are staying warm, dry and safe if you are in Michigan today.  If not, count your blessing:)  We will not have an article today but will be back tomorrow.  Please continue to pray for one another and our mutual efforts for unity, service and sharing our great hope in Jesus!

Happy New Year!

Happy 2019 to you!

We hope that you all had a wonderful holiday season with your family and friends!

Today is a new day, full of God’s grace, His promises and His provisions. What will you do with today? Don’t even think about the whole year of 2019, just think about what are you going to do with God’s grace, provisions and promises today?

If you are thinking about increasing your Bible reading / Bible study activity, then there are countless places where you can go online to help you find the perfect Bible reading plan for you. I would encourage you to keep it simple and don’t try to conquer the world. So many folks, including me, have tried to do way too much with those New Year’s resolutions only to completely blow it by February. Find a simple, easy-to-follow plan. The more complicated it is, and the more that is expected of you, the easier it will be for you to fail. Also, don’t look at yourself as a failure because you don’t read through the whole Bible in a year.

Here are some helpful hints:

  • Listen to the Bible in your car or while you are doing chores around the house. You might usually listen to the news, traffic and music, but how about taking 10-15 minutes of that time and listen to God’s word? Try BibleGateway.com

 

  • Have a close friend or friends join in with you on a reading plan. It does help when we have others joined into the mix. Not only is there a level of accountability, but there is also excitement that comes with sharing what you are reading with someone else! You can look at the BibleProject.com website and find a plan and invite others to join it.

 

  • Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day, or days. Just keep trying. If you have to readjust your plan, then do it, but don’t quit just because you missed a week. God wants us to read and study His word, but don’t look at God like He is up there with a clipboard checking off your daily reading. His grace covers a lot more than a few missed days of Bible reading. So out of gratitude for that amazing grace, just get back up and start again.

 

  • Take time for meditation, not just Bible reading. What if you release the pressure to have a daily Bible reading, and say that you are going to read a few days, and meditate on some of the other days about what you read on those few days? Bible reading is not a one-size-fits-all thing. David talked about how God’s word was his meditation all day long (Psalm 119:197). He didn’t read the Bible 24/7, but his mind was often there meditating on what he did read. Think about how many early Christians lived. They didn’t all have their own copy of the Bible, but they listened intently to the word and then went their way and meditated, discussed and prayed about what they heard.

Here is another website. Ligonier.org has a great listing of various Bible reading plans.

“Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105)

MDB Update

Good morning all.  You might have noticed Aaron’s post on Friday regarding his vacation.  In his absence, a few of us will continue to author and post articles for the Daily Briefing.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me at shaneblackmer@gmail.com.

Thank you for your continued interest in this effort.

Shane

Finding Our Purpose from the Past

This coming weekend, we are having a guest speaker, Andy Cantrell, to come and give a series of lessons around the theme:

“Finding Our Purpose from the Past”

Old Testament Images of New Covenant People.

May 6-9

South Macomb Church of Christ

18551 Eastland, Roseville, MI 48066

Click here for pdf of meeting flyer

 

Here is a link where you can listen to these lessons that Andy presented at another congregation.

If you are in the area, we’d love to have you with us!