Scriptures: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Humans were created with a need to belong. "In America 70% of the population deals with loneliness." Loneliness is the "unpleasant emotional response to feeling isolated," the physical absence of meaningful people. Loneliness can cause depression, feelings of grief and physical problems.
There is a great treatment for loneliness: the church. The church is a model of the true community of tomorrow: Heaven. The church gives the fulfillment of belonging to something of value: a place of genuine companionship.
The church is where good news is preached, where you receive healing and deliverance, a refuge for the lonely and place to grow together.
Ready to get plugged in? Become a member of God's family: find forgiveness, get baptized and accept God's spirit. Make friendships and remember friendship is a two-way street. Find a meaningful task to do in the church. Be faithful when you are strong and when you are weak and make a personal decision to stay involved.
Scriptures: John 6:5-14
Is there some impossible task you feel God wants you to do? The disciples have a dilemma: they need the crowd. The crowd was hungry and the present need perplexed them. The disciples had nothing to feed them: they had very limited resources.
But there was a boy who offered his lunch: the boy gave what little he had. He did not underestimate his importance: he heard the need and determined to act. The boy refused to do nothing: he chose to display the right attitude even when Andrew doubted his effectiveness. He invested what he had which led to a miracle.
Jesus always has a plan: Jesus knew what He would do. First he tested Philip's faith: Jesus has a plan but someone must respond to activate the plan.
Jesus always has a good plan: the plan can never be accomplished by a human solution, but Jesus prefers to work through people. Plus, age is no barrier to Jesus: He can work through anyone! If we offer nothing to Jesus He will have nothing to use. Jesus has a plan, but it takes faith to activate the good plan.
Jesus' plan is often a very simple plan: He told Andrew "bring me what you have." Jesus has a plan but it take actions to fulfill the plan.
It's time to bring "your bread and fish," do something for God and offer what you can. Refuse to do nothing!
Scriptures: Daniel 6:1-5, Daniel 6:16, Daniel 6:20-22
Daniel lived an above average life! He was a young man that overcame many obstacles: a true Biblical hero. Daniel chose character over comfort: he had the courage to be different. He stayed on the right path.
Daniel chose discipline over disorder: it takes discipline to control the tongue. "Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people." Daniel overcame the smallness of the other leaders through discipline. He harnessed the power of the prayer.
Daniel chose love over life: his accusers knew Daniel would not stop praying. Daniel's love for God was revealed by his faithfulness. We must remember that our faith will be tested!
We are not always free from painful experiences, but God can bring us through unharmed. Choose character. Choose discipline. Choose love.