Monday, December 20, 2010

Respect for Mary and Joseph

I sang a song in church a few weeks ago that was in Mary's point of view. I had to stop and remind myself that her situation was indeed unique and certainly different from the others in the stable that night. The other observers could admire, adore, worship and walk away. Mary and Joseph however were Jesus' parents - they had to stay and bear the burden of rearing the Son of God.

They knew Jesus would have a difficult road ahead. They could not afford all the dreams and hopes for their child as we do for ours. They could only love him from afar - knowing that Jesus was not really theirs to possess.

When I think of the sacrifice that Mary and Joseph made, it humbles me. Although many others in the bible made the ultimate sacrifice for Christ, his parents had a special heartbreak to endure. They did not choose - they were chosen. They did the job that God asked of them. Then slipped away into obscurity, losing their child to the world.

As we celebrate the birth of our Lord, let us also take heed of the example left to us by his parents. There are lessons in obedience and humility and sacrifice to be learned from these two figures in the manger.

Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Science vs Revelation

 "Science is showing that you and I are crafted with astonishing precision so that we can, on occasion, peer into a spiritual world and know God. And rather than dispel the spiritual, science is cracking it open for all to see." Barbara Hagerty

I sometimes get discouraged at the efforts the world is making to erase God from the hearts and minds of people. We hear the negative theology shouted that man is his own creation, or that we are here by sheer accidents of nature.

The whisper of the enemy tells me that soon everyone will be convinced that God never existed at all. This is the lie of all lies.

The smarter man gets, the more likely he is to prove God does exists and that He alone is responsible for the galaxies and beyond. Man can't help it - he has a inborn need to discover. And the only real thing there is to discover is God. Behind and underneath everything is God - waiting to be exposed. It's only a matter of time before all the scientific maneuvering will make the crack that God will shine through.

We need never fear that "they" will win. We already know who holds the victory.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Whom do you fight and with what???

"Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age..."
Ephesians 6:11 & 12

I must admit that I have a hard time remembering this admonition. When people are in my face or I have been thwarted on every side when Im just trying to do good, I want to jump in and fight with someone.

But our fight is not with people, it's with the influences, powers and darkness of this crazy world we live in. Why do I continually take on battles that are not fought in the natural? And why do I not consistently put on the armor of God? Pride? Laziness?

We are distracted from out post by all the little battles in our lives when we should be standing guard where God has positioned us. What more can we ask? He gives us a commission, armor, ammunition and a cause for which to fight.

Let us answer the call to fight the right battles in the right way. Anything else is a waste of time and effort.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Can You Hear Him?

For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.  Romans 8:16

How does God speak to us? Can He speak to someone who hasn't received Him?
Do you remember as a child attaching a long string to 2 tin cans and using it as a telephone to your buddy?

Our connection to God is a Spirit to spirit one. The string that connects us to God is his Spirit living in us. He cannot speak to our flesh or our reason - they dont have God in them. But our spirit is indwelled with God's spirit when we commit to communion with Him - receiving Him into our life.

Our flesh and reason is under our command - we have the power through Christ to make them obey and come into line. But our spirit is the temple where God speaks. If we aren't in tune with our spirit, we won't be listening for his voice. We must find Him where He is and then listen.

Can you hear Him? Tighten up that string.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Are You Being Taught or Made?

"We are inclined to think that everything that happens is to be turned into useful teaching. In actual fact, it is to be turned into something even better than teaching, namely, character. The mountaintop is not meant to teach us anything, it is meant to make us something. There is a terrible trap in always asking, “What’s the use of this experience?” We can never measure spiritual matters in that way. The moments on the mountaintop are rare moments, and they are meant for something in God’s purpose."
Oswald Chambers/My Utmost For His Highest

What a profound statement this is. Many of us tend to think in terms of God teaching us rather than Him making us. Anyone can teach...only God can make.

My husband and I had a discussion last night about Christians who never do anything. By that I mean they are content to be saved and in their own little world without impacting those around them in any significant way. I find it hard to relate to people like that. There is so much to be done and so many opportunities to reach out and make a difference. If we are truly letting God make us into his image, how can we not do something?

Maybe my impact isn't as big as I would like it to be, but I cannot just sit on what I know. I don't want to just be taught, I want to be made.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Run to the Most High God

“Those who go to God Most High for safety will be protected by the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, ‘You are my place of safety and protection.’ You are my God and I trust you.”

Psalm 91:1-2

How many times have we been rescued by God? We cry HELP when we are in trouble or don’t know where to turn. He is faithful to cover us, and protect us from ourselves. I personally can’t imagine how to live without his sheltering arm.

But I’m not sure God’s children fully comprehend the magnitude of that protection. The arm of our Creator is broader and longer than our minds can fathom. The fact that He would outstretch it just for me is an expression of his loving character. All I need to do is to go to Him, trusting He will do as He says.

It’s not that God needs to acknowledge us, He does that in ways we don’t even realize. But when do we acknowledge Him? Only when we need help? Only when danger lurks? He is ready to gather us in every minute of every day. He watches and faithfully guides all who look to Him.

As a child, I knew my parents would be there if ever I needed them. When I was in danger, I would run to them. Our Heavenly Father waits like a caring, protective parent. But his power to protect is mighty. Our praise and thanksgiving should rise up accordingly, for his shelter is undeserved.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hope of Heaven

"In my Father's House are many mansions." John 14:2

I read in a devotional today that "If you have a well grounded hope of Heaven you are never really unhappy."

I had to think about that for a minute. I have always believed in my home in Heaven - since I accepted Christ as Savior. But there have been many days when I have been truly unhappy. I know of many other Christians that live with fleeting happiness, struggling to hang on to joy. So how do we fit in to that statement?

The key is the "well grounded" part. Hope of Heaven is to be rooted deep in us. We must think of ourselves as eternal beings. I know in my spirit that this earth is not my home and that God has prepared a place for me. I often joke about hoping there will be pristine golf courses to play on!

I only have to bring that hope to mind and my mood lifts. But I also know that if I had not that hope, I would be experiencing a certain kind of unhappiness that I never want to know. I need to thank God every day for my future home. That's what will keep my hope well grounded.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Be Still? Right.

When was the last time you invited God's Holy Spirit to guide your day? Too often, I forget to do it. But this morning, as I tried to start my day, I lifted my voice to heaven and asked what I was supposed to do. My project list is getting longer by the day and my ability to concentrate has been compromised lately.

Then here is the devotional verse today from an old devotional book I use. Psalm 46:10:
"Be still and know that I am God."

"But I don't want to be still, God," I protested. "I have so much writing and other things to do."

Then I read more: "How often have we thought and said 'I have so much to do, I do not know how I will ever get it all done!' But then have we analyzed what we have to do and why we have to do it?"

Ok. I got the message. It was time to be still, rest, and let God take care of my list of projects. My body is tired and my mind was feeling the effects of it. But I was obedient and didn't push the day.

It's a good thing God can make up for lost time.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Gift of Dreams

"In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you."  Romans 12:6

God has given you your gifts. You didn't choose them. Your gifts are essential to finding God's will for your life and you will find fulfillment in them.

If you are a new creature in Christ and are in communication with his Holy Spirit, you will begin to notice desires and ideas that point you to a dream. If you are trusting God, you can trust Him to point you to your destiny. Your heart's desires is what He uses to motivate you to doing what you were destined to do.

If you aren't sure what your dreams are...ask God and then listen. Be still and hear what He is calling you to. Your dream will only make sense when you have heard from Him and implemented his plan for you. Your dream is your own, designed just for you.

Stay with it - take courage when all seems for naught.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

God Sees The Heart

1 Samuel 16:7

“But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

Why is this such a hard concept to grasp? I don’t know very many people who don’t struggle with this reality on a daily basis. We don’t have to be obsessed with self to forget the importance of a clean heart. We don’t have to be overly vain or self-centered to fool ourselves into thinking the condition of our heart is under lock and key – not visible to God or anyone else.

God looks at our heart because He knows therein lies our true self. The condition of that vital “organ” is the barometer for everything else we do and say. If it is covered with layers of fear, bitterness, unforgiveness, jealousy or even indifference, the heart will be uglier than any imaginable disfigurement of our outward appearance.

When beauty, youth and robustness are the standards we use to measure our value or someone else’s value, we are dangerously missing the mark. I say dangerous because when we are distracted from the true measure of a man, we cannot meet their needs. We may miss what God is calling us to do in and for the world.

Pray every day for the eyes of discernment – the eyes that see others as God sees them. And even to see our own hearts for the condition they are in. Only then can we effectively make an eternal difference.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Lullaby CD winner......and thought for the day.

Congrats to Jeanette....I hope your friend enjoys the CD.

Thought for the day:

The path of least resistance isn't always the best way. It's resistance that builds muscle, holds the earth in place (gravity), and keeps us walking upright.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Don't Get Ahead of God

Here's what I learned today:

1.  Do not be afraid.

2.  Take your station.

3.  The Lord shall do battle for you.

4.  You shall keep still.

This is what Moses told his desert wanderers when they were ready to revolt. Waiting for God's plan for our lives can be frustrating. We want to jump ahead and make things happen. But our actions just might delay our dreams and God's call on our life even further.

I'm learning to wait...have a ways to go. How about you?

The four points were taken from a DVD by Joseph Bentz titled "When God Takes Too Long"

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


In 2008 I wrote, performed and professionally recorded a lullaby CD. My daughter had been suggesting it for several years and I finally did it.

It was a labor of love and I enjoyed every minute of the process. I especially liked it when my little grandchildren showed their approval.

God gives us all certain gifts. We may only use them for a season, or we may make a life journey of them. But they are meant to be used. My heart's desire has always been to have my gifts glorify the One who gave them to me. Even when I'm unsure of my abilities, I listen to my heart and am once again reminded of the mission He has given me. Singing is only one of the things He has for me to do, but I will be faithful to it as long as He requires it of me.

What about you? Do you have a gift lying dormant? Have to let God encourage you to use it?

If you would like to win a copy of this CD, leave a comment with your email address and I'll contact you. I will choose the winner by next Wednesday (28th). You may listen to a sample of the CD on my website:

Sweet dreams & blessings.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Plant the Right Seeds

And what you put in the ground is not the plant that will grow, but only a bare seed of wheat or whatever you are planting. Then God gives it the new body he wants it to have. A different plant grows from each kind of seed.
I Corinthians 15:37-38

I have often marveled at the amount of parables and teaching that comes out of the principle of sowing a seed. The object of the seed is used by Jesus to make many different points of great meaning. It’s a word picture that is easy for us to understand and relate to our lives.

Today, as I read scriptures about the parables of seeding, I thought about my husband and the way he farms his wheat land. He is a good farmer, and always does a great job at doing all the proper things in the proper order. It’s imperative for us to reap a good crop every year. But I wonder what would happen if by some careless mistake my husband planted all the wrong seeds?

What would he do? Would he tear up the entire field to start all over with the planting process? Cost prohibitive. Would he just take whatever plant happened to grow and make something out of it? Most unlikely. Would he have a nervous breakdown? Probably.

Seriously, I think my own parable tells us that we should be careful what seeds we are planting. They will grow, they can’t help it. But what will they produce? I want only the best and most productive seeds planted in my life. I never want my farming efforts to be in vain, producing a product that will offend, mislead, or damage someone else. I want to help feed the world with good fruit. I know you do too. Be mindful of your seeds – before you plant them.

Dear Lord, bless my seeds and make them into fruit You can use. Forgive me when I am careless.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Very Present Help

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In Christ, God has given us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly world. That is, in Christ, he chose us before the world was made so that we would be his holy people—people without blame before him. Because of his love, God had already decided to make us his own children through Jesus Christ. That was what he wanted and what pleased him, and it brings praise to God because of his wonderful grace. God gave that grace to us freely, in Christ, the One he loves. In Christ we are set free by the blood of his death, and so we have forgiveness of sins. How rich is God's grace.
 Ephesians 1:3-7

What does crisis do to your faith? Does it shake it to the core, or does it reveal to you how big your God is? If God is who He says He is, then He’s the same in crisis or in calm.

Our level of security plays a big part in how we manage our faith in difficult times. If we are secure in God and his promises, we will stand firm in the midst of the storm. When we know who hold our lives in balance, we need not run scared from a battle.

When we are insecure about who we are in God, our relationship with Him won’t be deep enough to learn to trust Him above anything else. The Bible tells us that we are loved, chosen, redeemed and blessed. He has adopted us by his choice and takes his parenthood seriously—but do we?

When a child is secure in knowing his daddy will protect him, feed him, forgive and prefer him, there is strength to take on the world. The bond that trusting brings to a relationship is a valuable thing, and God gives us every opportunity to share in that trust. Our daddy is faithful and gracious in good times and crisis. That’s enough to rest in for a lifetime.

Lord, I am grateful for the chance to be your child. Thank you for choosing me.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Watch Out for the Sneaker

" So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded."
I Thessalonians 5:6

The Bible tells us that Satan comes as a roaring lion seeking to destroy and steal. But he also comes as silent darkness, trying to deceive us and cover us with doubt, fear and turmoil. It would be nice to have a roar to warn us of his impending doom, but the truth is he knows when to slither into our thoughts and turn them away from the positive.

You may have heard the expression "sneaker waves" when hearing about certain beaches around the world. They are waves that sneak up on you and either knock you down or sweep you back into the ocean. If you aren't on your guard these silent sweeping waters can be scary.

It can be the little things we aren't paying attention to that grow behind our backs. Then when we finally turn around, it's very large--hanging like a huge wave about to crash down on us. But we have our personal alarm to sound the danger. The Holy Spirit watches even when we don't and gives us that gentle nudge when Satan is sneaking up on us. All we have to do is turn into the right frequency.

It's like the severe weather alerts on the radio. They can save your life, but you must have the radio on and your ear tuned in to listen.

Let's be watching for those sneakers in our midst. We might save ourselves some danger.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Our Nation Under God Quotes

"I now make it my earnest prayer that God would have you, and the State over which you preside, in his holy protection; that he would incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government, to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another....and finally that he would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind, which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy nation."
George Washington

"Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their only law book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited! Every member would be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and industry; to justice kindness, and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love, and reverence toward Almighty God....What a Utopia, what a Paradise would this region be."
John Adams

God Bless our nation UNDER GOD. Happy Birthday America.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Blessed is the giver

“And without question, the person who has the power to give a blessing is greater than the one who is blessed.” Heb. 7:7

Have you ever felt like your efforts to guide, counsel and love someone who needs help have gone unnoticed and unappreciated? There are times in our lives when we feel led to pour all our heart and wisdom into someone who is in a difficult circumstance – either spiritually, mentally or physically. We pray, we give, we love. We get involved because we care enough to want to see that person whole. The cost to us is not taken into account, but sometimes that cost is higher in the end than we anticipated.

But there is someone who notices our sacrifices and offerings of support. Jesus calls us to be like Him, and any time we reach out in love and concern, we are showing Jesus to the world – even if it’s just our own little sphere of influence. It still brings Him honor and glory to extend grace, mercy and love, even when we aren’t rewarded with so much as a “thank you”.

God is the One we hope to please. He understands that giving the blessing is more important than getting one. He is our supreme example. Don’t be afraid to move forward with what you have to offer others. God will see and say “well done.”

Lord, humble me to serve you better. Let me not be hindered by pride or jealousy.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Yes Lord

     In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord,” he answered. The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.” “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings an before the people of Israel.”  Acts 9:10-15

     I can just see Ananias shaking in his sandals! The Lord has just asked him to rescue the zealous enemy of the early Christian church, and Ananias was clearly apprehensive to say the least. I greatly admire this man. He was just an ordinary guy, minding his own business when out of nowhere God speaks this rather large request. He may have hesitated, but he did go.
     I wonder if Ananias realized just how important a job he was about to do. Isn’t it just like humanity to argue with God when approached with this kind of proposition? But this was a formidable foe, this Saul. I think I would have tried much harder to get out of the deal! But Ananias was obedient and did as he was told – not even knowing what this all meant to the advancement of the church. 
     Are our hearts primed to hear God’s voice? It takes spiritual awareness and practice to know that voice speaking in your spirit. And how many of us would go where He asked us to go, even though it means possible danger? Are we ready to take on the burden of doing the tough job if we are asked? If we were as in tune with God as Ananias, and we were as obedient, we could change the world.
     I would like to think I’m among the many Christians with a heart to serve God whenever and wherever. I know that I’m still learning to hear his voice and be obedient. If the work of God is to be done, we must answer “yes Lord.” He will prepare the way and stay with us through it all. Draw courage from the experience you have that tells you God is faithful. Ananias did, and see how incredibly he was used!

Lord, I want to say yes to you. Teach me how to recognize when you are calling me. Thank you for using even the meek and lowly for your glory.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Just Say No

“And He said to them, ‘Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.’ For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.”
Mark 6:31

It’s difficult to escape the “yes syndrome” in this age of busy lives and abundance of opportunities for everyone in the family. Most of us find it hard to say no, especially when it’s presented as a need that only you can fill. But it’s a discipline that must be learned in order to preserve the best of you for the things God would have you do.

Even Jesus escaped the crowds from time to time. They brought to him their pleas and requests for help. He couldn’t reach them all, and at times had to put distance between himself and the agendas of others. He said no to some good things in order to say yes to the right things. Not all good things are right for you to do. Rest is an essential element to our effectiveness.

It’s understandable to want to avoid guilt and keep up appearances to your friends and church family. But saying yes to everything that comes along may take you away from the real calling God has for your life. The devil would like nothing better than for you to be so distracted by your obligations and commitments that you forget the purpose God has for your time and energy.
Take time to evaluate your priorities and ask God to help you know where He wants your energy to go. He can make peace and sense of the merry-go-round of our lives and bring about more fruit for blessings.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

My Pile of Sticks

Ever play a game of Pick Up Sticks where each player has his own pile and the other player advises him on which stick to pick up so as not to disturb the rest of the pile. You could advise them according to what pattern works for you, but that may not work for the other person's pile. Their configuration of sticks may be designed a bit differently. It would be best to tell them to to use their own plan - especially if it is led by God. 

Most of us offer advise based on own own experiences and life configuration. The patterns of our lives may not be the same as another. God orders different paths for different individuals. Of course, some of His principles are universally applied, but some are designed with a purpose only you and God can discover.

To assume that the way you manage your pile of sticks will work for another is assuming you are as all knowing as God. The steps one takes may not be the steps ordered by the Lord for another.

Would you want to be responsible for someone else's pile to crumble? Spiritual pride can cause us to do just that. We don't see things the way God does, and we should allow grace for others to work their pile.

"The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Heart of Honor

“Love each other like brothers and sisters; Give each other more honor than you want for yourselves.” Romans 12:10

Here’s a tough one. It’s not hard to do, just hard to remember to do it. Giving others more honor than we give ourselves. Just as Jesus gave honor to the Father, we are to esteem others higher than ourselves.

I don’t believe this necessarily means just with words of praise or compliment – words can be loosely said and without meaning. I do believe it’s the attitude of the heart that overflows into honor and respect for our brothers and sisters in Christ, and in the world. And the simple truth is that it’s a commission from God, not an elective service.

I have only a few friends and acquaintances that I can always count on to have a word of praise or encouragement that I know truly comes from a genuine attitude of honor. I am usually pinched with a reminded when I see them- a reminder that I fall short of this gift. All I need to do is to ask the Lord to give me this change of heart and He will do it. The rest is up to me to develop the behavior that goes along with a new attitude.

Troubles and trials may consume us, and if we let them, will draw us back to the preoccupation of self. It is only through commitment to the vision of true love for others that will keep us mindful of our commission. When we sign up with God, we sign up for a lifelong job of caring for those we come in contact with, and the equipment we use for the job is the Holy Spirit in us and the word of God.

Yes, it’s a tough one – only because we make it so.

Dear Lord, forgive me for failing to give honor to those you have placed in my life. Remind me daily to work on changing my heart.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Miracle of the Oil

One day the widow of a member of the group of prophets came to Elisha and cried out, “My husband who served you is dead, and you know how he feared the LORD. But now a creditor has come, threatening to take my two sons as slaves.”
“What can I do to help you?” Elisha asked. “Tell me, what do you have in the house?”
“Nothing at all, except a flask of olive oil,” she replied.
And Elisha said, “Borrow as many empty jars as you can from your friends and neighbors. 4 Then go into your house with your sons and shut the door behind you. Pour olive oil from your flask into the jars, setting each one aside when it is filled.”
So she did as she was told. Her sons kept bringing jars to her, and she filled one after another. 6 Soon every container was full to the brim!
“Bring me another jar,” she said to one of her sons.
“There aren’t any more!” he told her. And then the olive oil stopped flowing.
When she told the man of God what had happened, he said to her, “Now sell the olive oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on what is left over.” 2 Kings 4:1-7

Out pastor shared this story last Sunday. There are so many lessons to be learned from this scripture. God is such a great story teller. He recounted real life to us in the Bible and it has blessed throughout the ages. Here are some key points I received from this account in 2 Kings.

1. Just like the creditor, there are powers out there that want to steal our prize possessions. Our loved ones, our comfort, our joy. We let fear consume us and forget we have defenses against our “creditors”.
2. We all have something in us that God can use to thwart our enemy. It may seem insignificant to us – a small bottle of oil so to speak. But offering it and being willing to obey God on how to use it can alter our circumstance more than we could imagine.
3. God is gracious to teach us lessons of faith. Often, he wants us to share it with someone else. Our personal miracles are great opportunities to give God glory. This widow was instructed to go in with her sons and shut the door. What a wonderful time of discovery it must have been for her sons – to witness the miracle with no one in the room to challenge it. The sons must have needed to see the working of God in their lives.
4. As our Pastor said, the oil will keep flowing as long as there is a vessel to pour into. There is no shortage of “vessels” out there that need the precious oil of the Lord. It is our job to bring them into the flow of it.

Stay in the flow of his anointing today. It may alter your circumstance, or at the most, alter the way you see God working in your life. Then share it with someone else.

Lord, make me a willing vessel and release your anointing to flow in me.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Where Will You Stand?

"For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth." Psalm 33:4

“Truth is timeless. Truth does not differ from on e age to another, from one people to another, from one geographical location to another. Men’s ideas may differ, men’s customs may change, men’s moral codes may vary, but the great all-prevailing Truth stands for time and eternity.”  From Peace With God by Billy Graham

By what standard do we want to measure our lives, behavior and thoughts? As Billy said, man’s standard will change and flex with every passing fancy. How can a secure stable life be built on that kind of standard?

I would rather stand on a mountain during an earthquake than stand on sandy soil. The mountain may rumble, but will stand firm in the turmoil. Sandy ground may be soft and comfortable, but it will swallow us up when the shaking comes. There is a term called liquefaction. It is demonstrated like this:

If you are walking on a beach of damp, firm, hard sand, you feel pretty secure – it feels solid. If you were to crouch down and pat that damp sand with the palm of your hand a few times, that solid sand would soon begin to look like jello. Because of the shaking, the water underneath has risen to the surface to destabilize the solidity of the sand.

Give me the solid rock of truth any day. I can rest on it, trust it, rely on it and not be moved. And even though it might me a rough road at times, God will help me stay true to the standard.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Satisfy Your Soul

My soul yearns for you in the night;
       in the morning my spirit longs for you.
       When your judgments come upon the earth,
       the people of the world learn righteousness.  Isaiah 26:9

Nothing satisfies our soul except fellowship with God. We were created to know Him, worship Him and learn of his character. He makes himself known to us in creation, in spirit and in all that is true.

We can avoid serving God by staying ignorant of his ways—hiding from what is seen all around us. We can refuse to commune with Him and be lacking in the knowledge that will give us life. But we will deny our hunger to the point of starvation. Our inner longing can be neglected but at a price.

Are we willing to pay the price? What will we gain by going the way of the world but losing the life our spirit longs for? We can try to push God to the back of our lives but our inner consciousness will still long for Him.

Seek Him and satisfy the longing in your soul. He waits.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Im Positive About This

Yesterday I looked up some promises in the Bible to post above my desk. I felt impressed to be speaking out faith over my heart and mind. I don't always know how or what to pray for, so I believe this will energize my prayers.

"God's Word is His promise to us, and we should speak of those things He promised us as if they already existed."  Joyce Meyer

By continually speaking the negative, we are declaring negative things into our lives. Sometimes it is best to not say anything aloud at all, lest we speak against God's will for us - his best for us. But if we can speak aloud the promises and positive words God has given, we will experience the power to believe He will do those things in our lives.

Words are powerful instruments and God will use them if you speak life, prosperity, health, peace, joy and love over yourself and others. If you look through the words of Jesus you will see he applied this principle of positive declaration when He healed the sick and spoke of the kingdom to come. The Psalms encourage us to speak positive words as well.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you,O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14
That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving And declare all Your wonders. Psalm 26:7

It's difficult to be positive when things are falling all around you. But you have nothing to lose by speaking victory - except for defeat - and that's the whole point.

Monday, May 24, 2010

It's Your Choice

“But if any of you needs wisdom, you should ask God for it. He is generous to everyone and will give you wisdom without criticizing you. But when you ask God, you must believe and not doubt. Anyone who doubts is like a wave in the sea, blown up and down by the wind. Such doubters are thinking two different things at the same time, and they cannot decide about anything they do. They should not think they will receive anything from the Lord.” James 1:5-7

Is Doubt A Choice?

Sounds to me like it is. I God said “don’t doubt” then He will give us what we need to be strong in that area.

Doubt comes to us through our thoughts. Sometimes Satan will place thoughts of doubt in our minds when we aren’t paying attention to his whisperings. This is why it is so important to guard our thinking and keep our thoughts restricted. Satan wants to destroy our faith and he will lie and plant seeds of negativity in our minds to accomplish his goal of tearing us down.

God gives faith. Satan gives doubt. It’s that simple. God may plant a thought in our minds to direct us from doing a certain thing, but if we are in tune to his voice, we will know it is direction and not doubt. The thoughts of doubt are designed to steal your faith and it takes practice to know the difference between direction and doubt.

Don’t let doubt and unbelief rob you of victories and happiness. We all have a calling. Doubt and lack of faith will only lead us off our path. What have you got to lose by being positive? It’s your choice.

Jesus, thank you for the measure of faith you have planted in me. Help me to grow it into the mighty things you have for me to do.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Jesus is Our Leadership Example

“He told his disciples to have a small boat ready for Him, so the crowd would not crush Him.” Mark 3:9

I am here in Kansas to attend the graduation of my son in law from a Advanced Military Studies school for Majors. He just bought a book that had some great stuff in it about being leaders according to Jesus’ example. I wanted to share a portion of it with you. We are all leaders - it is crucial that we are leading in the right direction by our example.

“Visionary leadership requires both a long-range view of opportunitie4s and short-range plans to advance to the next level. Measure your leadership by this. Do you have the ultimate goal clearly in mind? Do you know how to move to the next step?

Jesus’ master plan is the most brilliant, awe-inspiring one ever conceived. He repeatedly demonstrated his leadership abilities through the precision of his planning. In even the seemingly small things-from the colt that was made ready for his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, to the upper room that was made ready for the Last Supper-he made things happen by planning. Follow his perfect example. Be a leader. Be a planner.”
From The Leadership Lessons of Jesus by Bob Briner and Ray Pritchard

Sunday, May 16, 2010

It's Not Done Yet

Philippians 1:6 (New Living Translation)

6 And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

Do you ever feel like you will never achieve the level of completeness you desire? There are days when I think I shall never arrive. Just when I think I have learned my lessons well, I do something stupid. Just when I think I know enough, I find out I don't know anything. The more I learn, the more I need to learn.

What a blessing to know that the work God began in us is never done. He hangs in there with us even when we blunder, fall, and generally mess up. He has a work to continue and complete and He is no quitter.

Our journey is long and arduous, but the end is in sight. This place and this body is not our home. We have a prize waiting at the end of the race. If we remember that God cares enough to see us through to the end, it makes the struggle worthwhile. Even when we want to give up - He never does.

That makes me feel better - don't you?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Look Out Below!

"A few days later, when Jesus came back to Capernaum, the news spread that he was at home. Many people gathered together so that there was no room in the house, not even outside the door. And Jesus was teaching them God's message. Four people came, carrying a paralyzed man. Since they could not get to Jesus because of the crowd, they dug a hole in the roof right above where he was speaking. When they got through, they lowered the mat with the paralyzed man on it. When Jesus saw the faith of these people, he said to the paralyzed man, "Young man, your sins are forgiven."
Mark 2:1-5

When was the last time you had a friend like the one who lowered this man down through the ceiling? Or more to the point, when was the last time you made such an effort with one of your hurting friends?

All of us reach a point when we need a helping hand - when we need to be carried to Jesus. Our troubles and pain can bring a different kind of paralysis, keeping us from reaching the One who could heal us. If it were not for the boldness and determination of certain people in our lives, we may lay there growing more discouraged by the day.

Jesus recognized the faith of these caring friends and rewarded their efforts by healing the man. Sometimes, it takes a lot of trouble and energy to go that far for someone, but when we know it's what we are called to do, we must do it.

Consider the paralytics in your life. Do they need a helping hand?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

It Is Wll With My Soul

“When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot Thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul.”

This hymn was written by a Chicago lawyer, Horatio G. Spafford after losing one of his children. The words which Spafford wrote come from 2 Kings 4:26, and reveals a man whose trust in the Lord is unwavering.

The Spaffords were also prominent supporters and close friends of D.L. Moody, the famous preacher. In 1870, however, things started to go wrong. The Spaffords' only son was killed by scarlet fever at the age of four. A year later, it was fire rather than fever that struck. Horatio had invested heavily in real estate on the shores of Lake Michigan. In 1871, every one of these holdings was wiped out by the great Chicago Fire.

Even after all this tragedy, Horatio could still pen those beloved words.

Oh, that I might have that kind of faith. We never know what tragic things might come our way in this world. We must go deep in our relationship with Christ to anchor our hearts, minds and spirits. Only then will we know that whatever our lot…it will be well with our soul.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Cast Your Cares

“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will take care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34

I’ve really never been much of a worrier. At least not in the sense of wringing my hands and pacing the floors over something. But I do tend to have periods of feeling defeated. It’s the “what’s the use” attitude I struggle with. I like to see a purpose for everything laid out in front of me, all nice an orderly.

But both conditions come from a lack of faith. Do I trust God with my food, clothing and shelter? Yes. But the fact that I need to know the future with regard to outcome of a given task or talent is a sign of inadequate trust on my part.

I am learning to just do what I know to do…use what God has given me. The outcome is by His design, and after reviewing everything He has already done for and through me, I should know the best will be done with whatever I commit to Him.

Worry comes in many forms. It sneaks into our lives like a vapor, and is more powerful than we are willing to admit. We may think that a little worrying never hurt anyone. But the Bible tells us differently. Worry has its roots in something bigger, and a daily cleaning will keep it from growing like an unwanted vine in our minds. Take care to cast your cares upon the One who supplies all our needs.

Father, thank you for caring for me. Forgive me for not trusting You with the big and little things in my life.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Out of Town

I wont be posting for a few days. Im at a conference in Seattle.
Blessings for your weekend.

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.”- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Are You Two Sided?

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 3:26

This verse speaks to the two sided people we were created to be – strong and yet vulnerable. It sounds like a paradox, but many biblical principles appear to be that way. It’s our finite minds and worldly views that cant make sense of this kind of Godly principle.

“To be vulnerable is to voluntarily place yourself, for the sake of a larger purpose, in a situation that could bring pain.” Author Paula Rinehart

Sounds kind of like something Christ would do and did for us on the cross. He became vulnerable so that we might have life. Yet it took great strength to go through with this mind boggling plan. He was our perfect example of the dynamics of vulnerability and strength.

We can never reach the fullness of sacrifice without both of these attributes. And sacrifice is what we are called to do for the sake of the Kingdom. Dying to self and standing firm in our beliefs will call attention to the One we serve. It takes vulnerability and strength to serve. We know that vulnerability is a choice, but what of our strength? Our strength comes from God. He knows our hearts will fail us, yet He offers his strength in the portion we need for the moment. Without it we would remain in that place of failure.

Lean on Him. Borrow the strength you need. Be willing to place yourself in that situation that could help another – even at your own risk. Be sure you are acting in God’s will and He will bring success.

Thank you God for making your strength available to me when I fail.

Monday, May 3, 2010

In His Shadow

“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1

This Psalm is one of my favorites. I often counsel people to read it when they are experiencing anxiety, nightmares or just struggling about anything. It speaks hope and comfort.

I remember when my youngest son was about five years old, he began having nightmares like so many children do. I would read this Psalm over him when he went to bed. I go to it when I need to know that I have a place of shelter, a protective wing, a resting place of safety.

There is significance in the word shadow. The Hebrew meaning is shade or defense. We can relate to this in many applications. How often have we sought shade when the heat of the day is wearing on us? It’s coolness brings relief from the strain of the sun. And how well know that the shade or shadows can hide objects from view. There we can hide from our enemy and rest until we are strong enough to be out in the open.

The most profound thought however is that the shelter is the Most High God. He sits up high waiting to protect and provide a resting place. He cares about every one of us and is watching out for us. Imagine – the Most High God is always there to cover us with his strong arm of love and mercy.

Father, help me to run to You when I am weary and in trouble – always being thankful for your sheltering shadow.

Friday, April 30, 2010

My Favorite Quotes

Here are some great quotes from some of my favorite books to get you through the weekend. Enjoy.

"We cannot inherit Christianity,. We might have had a Christian father and mother, but that does not necessarily produce a Christian child. I could be born in a garage, but that doesn't make me an automobile! God has no grandchildren."  from Peace With God by Billy Graham

"Initially, we might wonder why Christ wouldn't give us a cake-walk kind of Christian experience if He really loved and cared for us. But we have to realize that the inevitability of crosses in our lives is not the result of a careless Leader who wants to make life tough. Crosses are hewn from the reality that the cause of Christ is being carried out through my life in an imperfect world that is hostile to the One I follow." from Following Christ by Joseph M. Stowell (love, love this book)

"Yes, the Father has a plan and He has ordained that every blood-washed believer in Christ be a part of His magnificent purpose. It is important to understand the Father's position and purpose in our lives, or we will be distorted in our view of who He is and what motivates His heart. When we see the Father more clearly, our disappointments and problems become steps on the path toward a closer relationship with Him." from The Father Revealed by G. Craig Lauterbach

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Three Simple Steps

“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Sounds easy enough. Three steps to fulfilling God’s will for your life. Be joyful, pray and be thankful. Three simple steps.

Simple, but not always easy. Between life’s trials, our finite mind and faltering faith, there are many roadblocks to keep us sad, non-communicative and grumpy! But if it were not possible to be and do those three things, God would not have asked it of us. He supplies the means to rise above the world and live in a realm where we can be joyful, thankful and in constant prayer.

We may not live in that state for days on end, but each time we practice the presence of God, it becomes a little more familiar. Each time we stop to remind ourselves that this is God’s will for our lives, we may be encouraged to try it again.

These requirements are not dependant on our feelings, our social status, our education, or anything else – except obedience. If we are obedient to keep pressing forward to the life we could have in Christ Jesus, He will reward us with confirmation in our spirit.

Lord, I take a moment right now to express my joy, speak to you, and be thankful for your saving grace.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Does It Feel Hot In Here?

“All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.” 1 Corinthians 6:12

Paul tells us in this scripture that because of our faith in Christ, we are no longer under condemnation of the law. But he goes on later in the chapter to explain that our bodies are members of Christ’s body. Therefore we have a responsibility to whatever we allow into our bodies, minds and spirit.

The bible is full of cautions about plunging headlong into practices that could drag us down – chipping away at our faith. If we dabble in those things long enough we run the risk of eventually going against God’s will for our lives. The old story of the frog in the pan of water is a true warning. As the heat is slowly turned up by our selfish desires and lack of awareness, we don’t even notice that we have reached the boiling over point. Then it’s too late – we have crossed the line once again. We let ourselves be deceived into thinking we could manage on our own.

This is when we find we have been mastered by our indulgence. What seemed innocent at the time now has us back into the bondage we were so happy to be rid of. And we discover that we have worn ragged the relationships of people who have tried to support us.

But there is a Savior waiting to restore us. Jesus will catch us when we jump from the fire. It takes time to heal from the burns and brokenness, but He has strong arms and a longsuffering heart – enough to get you back on track. But you must take that leap!

Thank you Jesus that you stand ready to restore me once again. Forgive me for my indulgence and carelessness.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Battle Cry

"He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins" Ephesians 1:7

Do we realize the authority we have in Christ? Do we do battle against the enemy of our soul? Do we experience the power of prayer on a regular basis?

These are questions that we should ask ourselves. In this moment in history our world boasts of freedom of speech, actions, rebelliousness, sexuality, drug use...the list goes on and on. Our children hear voices that speak of self image, doing what feels good and ignoring God. They fall prey to Satan's lure when they are not covered with the spiritual authority their parents have in Christ.  

The same blood that gave us forgiveness of sin can give us freedom from the same. How do we impart the message to our children?

These are difficult times for our young people, more difficult than any generation before them. How tragic it is when they are thrown to the wolves without a firm foundation and knowledge of God in their lives. What standard will they use to measure their actions and beliefs? The worlds?

Lord, help us to cover our children with prayers of protection by the blood of Jesus. Help us to be bold in our efforts to teach and guide.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Resting Place

“I find rest in God; only he gives me hope. He is my rock and my salvation. He is my defender; I will not be defeated. My honor and salvation come from God. His is my mighty rock and my protection.” Psalm 62: 5-7

There are times in our lives where we feel there is no resting place. Troubles and busyness cast a shadow on our spirit, leaving us in a dry, shallow place. Old memories or a repeat in unpleasant circumstances weigh heavy on us, and sap our energy.

These are the times when we long for rest in a peaceful place. For some, it may be a last cry of desperation – I need a resting place! Some of us have been in turmoil for so long that we have forgotten what real rest is and what it can do for us.

We all know how strong a rock foundation is. This is where we come to find that blessed rest. The rock of our salvation stands firm – strong enough to hold all the burdens we carry. The rock fortress is our protector and defender – holding us up on a higher place – a place where we can see far and wide. Then the face of our enemy can be seen. The quiet high place gives us the distance we need from our adversary. We can breathe again – we can trust again.

Run to your high place. Close the gate and distance yourself from the battle for a while. God will give you strength to carry on when He sees you are ready.

Thank you Jesus for a resting place. May I be ever mindful of the open invitation to run to my high place.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Can You Hear?

“Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”   Matt. 13:9 NLT

Ears to hear. Not just listen, but really hear. There is so much that God wants to tell us. His instruction is endless and He longs to communicate to us his plan for our lives. It’s up to us to listen for his voice, hear what He is saying and then do what He wants us to do.

For those of us who have children, we remember the days when we thought they would never learn to listen. I would get in my children’s face and have them look straight into my eyes while I gave instruction. Sometimes, depending on the distractions, that wasn’t even enough to make it stick. It’s very frustrating to a parent to feel they are not getting through to their little ones.

God is never frustrated, but He still desires to speak to our hearts with words of comfort, wisdom, exhortation and love. He waits patiently to reveal the secrets of the universe as they pertain to us.

Stop. Take time to listen. Hear the voice of the Lord. Let his words soak into your heart and soul.

Heavenly Father, teach me to listen and hear. Tell me what you want me to know and I will do my best to please You.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Understanding Salvation

"The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God."   I Corinthinas 1:18

New Testament references to salvation indicates an ongoing process. Christians are people who are "being saved". This is the manifestation we are to show the world. Not that we have arrived and they have not. Not that our work is complete, but that we are living through our salvation with expectation and obedience.

We are all still vulnerable to the clutches of temptation and sin - after all, we live in a world full of it. But we wait on God, persevere and pick ourselves up time and time again. It's an ongoing race that can only be finished by clinging to His righteousness and grace.

There are those that will see the message as foolish. But if we consistently live Christ in front of them, their doubts just might be dispelled. Being honest about our rescue from our sin on a daily basis will show them the validity of Jesus in our life.

We cannot take the process of salvation for granted. The word tells us to be on our guard, lest we forget our Savior's sacrifice and fall into the trap of complacency.

Thank you Lord for keeping us daily in your plan of salvation.

Monday, April 5, 2010

How Bright is Your Light?

"For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true."  Ephesians 5: 8 & 9

Living as people of light is the call of this scripture. Sounds easy enough. We just need to behave, be nice and do a good deed here and there.

This is not the definition of the kind of light mentioned here. The greek translation of this word "light" here mentions "luminousness" and "fire".

It's not enough just to not do bad things. To illuminate is to bring attention to something - to make something easier to see. And fire brings to mind an intense light, one that catches your eye. That is what we are to be - a light strong enough to call attention to Jesus. Our attraction is the fire that burns intensely enough to make others take notice. Blending in is not escaping the darkness. Only living in the light will do that.

A plant that doesn't get the proper proportion of light will not bear fruit. The world needs much more of the fruit that we have to offer through the Lord. We are called not to be Chameleons, blending into our surroundings for our own protection, but the fire that calls the world to come and see the Jesus that lives in us.

Lord, make me burn bright with the light of your righteousness that I may draw others to You.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter's Contrasts

I was listening to Chuck Swindoll on the radio yesterday. He told about how his church has a Good Friday service each year. They come into a darkened sanctuary - the theme being the dark tomb of Jesus. They meditate on how significant Jesus' death was and how final it must have seemed to those who mourned. Then the lights come on and the rejoicing starts as they celebrate the power of the resurrection - the light.

I thought that was a great idea. We don't always think about the contrast of those days - darkness and light, death and life, sorrow and great joy. How confused his followers must have been. How happy they must have been to have Him appear to them again when they thought all was lost. The contrast of their emotions would be enough to rock their world.

What about you? Do you experience the Easter holiday with intensity? Are your thoughts of Jesus in the dark cold tomb? Do you recognize the power it took to raise Jesus from the dead?

What a blessing that we have reason to rejoice.
Happy Easter everyone.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Light of the World

"The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it." John 1: 4&5

The bible talks a lot about light and darkness - the two most extreme things in the universe. The analogies you can design from these two universal expressions are endless. God created both, and has a great deal to tell us about Himself and our lives through those words.

Darkness cannot exist where there is light - even the smallest flicker dispels the blackness. When you open the door to a darkened room, even the slightest crack will illuminate the room. The spell of the dark is broken with just a spark.

So it is with our hearts and minds. When we are consumed with darkness and can't seem to break free, it only takes a flicker to begin to bring full light where we need it the most. Satan would like nothing better than to keep us bound by fear in the blackness. He cannot exist in the light. That is why it is so important to keep the candle of faith burning. We must  respect the light and the darkness, and not take for granted the power of both.

Jesus is the light of the world - and the light we depend on to survive as Christians. Seek it, treasure it and guard it.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Shrink To Fit

 “Besides, who would patch old clothing with new cloth? For the new patch would shrink and rip away from the old cloth, leaving an even bigger tear than before."  Matthew 9:16

Our church has decided to relocate. The fact is, we can no longer meet the financial demands of our building. Our congregation has dwindled over the last few years and the burden of balancing the books has become too much for the staff and board.

We have a positive attitude, even though it will be difficult to leave. A move will bring new possibilities and spark new growth. After all, the Lord himself never stayed in one place very long!

It has got me to thinking however. I read the scripture above during our church meeting yesterday. I was wondering how it will be to move an imperfect body of believers into a new structure. Or more than that, what would happen if a dysfunctional body of believers moved to a new building? I am hoping that this would be the opportunity to face our shortcomings head on and make things better. No church is without some measure of disunity or unresolved issues - ours is certainly no exception. But I know that just moving a family that has some dysfunction will not make it go away, and the dysfunction will still go on.

How important it is to make sure we have gone through the "shrinking" process before we are "sewn" into a new place. It's not the building that will make us fruitful - it's the heart of every individual in the family. The building will house any kind of believers - but effectiveness depends on how we are meshed with each other and with Christ.

Thank God, he makes the process bearable, with grace and mercy available to all who want the fit to be perfect.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Quotes for Inspiration

I am on vacation this week, but I hope to post here and there. I have selected some quotes for thought that I will be posting instead of my usual devotionals. I hope you will enjoy them and pray for our country. We have as a nation steadily let politics turn us from our founding father’s dream for the United States of America. Embracing any and all religious freedoms is the right of every American. But as Christians, let us not forget our Creator, the truths of the Bible, and the good news of Jesus Christ as the first and steadfast foundation of our faith. 

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

John Adams
2nd U.S. President and Signer of the Declaration of Independence
"Suppose a nation in some distant Region should take the Bible for their only law Book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited! Every member would be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and industry; to justice, kindness, and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love, and reverence toward Almighty God ... What a Eutopia, what a Paradise would this region be."
--Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, Vol. III, p. 9.

Patrick Henry
Ratifier of the U.S. Constitution
"It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here."
--The Trumpet Voice of Freedom: Patrick Henry of Virginia, p. iii.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Do You Hear The Instruction?

“I take joy in doing your will, my God,
      for your instructions are written on my heart.”
Psalm 40:8

Whose vision are you living by? Is it someone else’s vision, or one that God has given to you personally? Are you trying to live out someone else’s direction?

God has instruction for all of us. He speaks to us individually—writing dreams and visions on our hearts. They are meant just for us—tailored to suit our needs and personality.

How will we know his direction unless we hear his voice and answer his call? It takes practice in being still, expecting and listening. Many of us have poor listening skills and are not so good at being patient to hear God speak. Yet his words are life, and following his instructions brings joy.

Just as the compass points us in the right direction, God shows us the right path we are to take. We only need to pay attention to the teacher and guide. He will never lead us astray.

Jesus, through patience and stillness, I will listen to your direction.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Trust in His Purpose

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways says the Lord.”
Isaiah 55:8

Craig Lauterbach in his book The Father Revealed, says this:

“Yes, the Father has a plan and He has ordained that every blood-washed believer in Christ be a part of His magnificent purpose. It is important to understand the Father’s position and purpose in our lives, or we will be distorted in our view of who He is and what motivates His heart. When we see the Father more clearly, our disappointments and problems become steps on the path toward a closer relationship with Him.”

I have to ask myself if I really trust the plan of the Father even when I don’t understand it. Do I fully embrace the light of his plan, or do I prefer to sit in the darkness—afraid of the unknown?  I know in my heart that whatever He has in mind for me is for my good, but trusting Him to guide me out of my comfort zone is a true test of my faith.

He may require us to walk through difficult times and unpleasant circumstances. He may ask us to go in a direction that is foreign to us. He might stretch us beyond what we thought we could bare to be stretched. So we seek his wisdom, rest in his comfort, release to Him our will, and keep pressing forward to the end of the race.

We must learn not to interrupt God’s plan for us with doubts, fears or self-serving agendas. The road is long and hard enough without getting ourselves off track with foolish distractions. Thank God, He is faithful to wave us back on the right road!

Dear Lord, help me to keep my focus on your plan for me. Give me light to dispel the darkness of uncertainty.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

How Do I Love Thee...

This is My commandment: that you love one another [just] as I have loved you. No one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends. You are My friends if you keep on doing the things which I command you to do.
John 15: 12-14

Does the ability to love and show affection come to us by nature or by example? Considering our condition of being born into sin, I have to wonder if we come by loving honestly. We have all read the stories about humans who are left to be raised by wild animals, or seen images on T.V. about animals raised in isolation. It’s easy to see that the level of understanding about love and affection is limited in those rare occasions.

I know from personal experience how difficult it is to show affection when our own upbringing is lacking in outward expressions of it. Yet Christ commands that we not only love, but demonstrate that love by how we treat one another. We don’t have to go around looking for opportunities to literally lay down our lives, but there are other ways to show strong affection.

It doesn’t take a huge investment on our part to demonstrate love. Christ invested his very life to put his love into us that we might share it with others. He laid down his life so that we might experience the kind of love that was meant to give away. A simple smile, a warm handshake, a heartfelt hug are sometimes all it takes to relate affection to another.

We are called to be the love of Christ on earth. Contrary to what we might think, it is not an optional part of being a Christian. Even though it may not “feel” natural or comfortable, we must pass on the love that is given us. We don’t walk by feelings, but by faith and obedience.

Who will you love today?

Monday, March 8, 2010

What's Your Shape?

“Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body.”  I Corinthians 12: 14 & 15

Do you remember that kid’s toy that was a box with different shaped holes? It came with plastic shapes to teach the toddler which shape went in the right hole. I used to watch my kids progressively get better at recognizing the squares, stars and other shapes. It was very tempting to help them along as they tried to stuff a square piece into a round opening. I just had to keep my hands to myself and let them figure it out.

Many of us are trying to fit the wrong shapes together in our own lives. God has molded us to fit in a certain place, and when we try to fit somewhere else…well, we either have to force the opening to change or we rearrange ourselves to fit in a place that wasn’t meant for us. Oh, it can be done if we are persistent. God will give us over to our own selfish will. He will patiently wait for us to see that it isn’t working out so well.

We lean on our own understanding of our make up instead of asking Him first what He would have us do with our talents. When we are tired of being pinched and squeezed, we turn to God and ask why He hasn’t made things work for us. Getting into the wrong shaped hole is tough, but wait till you have to push your way out backwards!

Paying attention to what part we hold in the body of Christ will make us effective in its function. We will find peace in doing what we know we were created to do. Life is difficult enough without spending so much energy on stuffing and squeezing into a place that will never be a comfortable fit.

Friday, March 5, 2010

God's Grace in Conflict

We can say with confidence and a clear conscience that we have lived with a God-given holiness and sincerity in all our dealings. We have depended on God’s grace, not on our own human wisdom. That is how we have conducted ourselves before the world, and especially toward you.
2 Corinthians 1:12

There are times in all of our lives when we have to deal with unpleasant situations with our brothers and sisters in Christ. No one likes to confront or try to make right a wrong. It can be heartbreaking, to say the least, when conflicts arise and someone gets hurt. But some things can't be ignored, and it becomes necessary to do what you need to do.

It is so very important to preface your handling of these situations with prayerful consideration and not rely upon our own understanding of each situation. Godly wisdom is the only kind of insight that will accomplish His will in any given conflict or confrontation. Jumping in to set someone straight without the blessing and guidance of the Holy Spirit can be a disastrous mistake. It will probably make matters worse.

Going to a brother in confidence that you have surrendured all to God in the matter will give you the best chance for reconciliation when the whole issue has been addressed. That should always be our utmost goal - restoration. Otherwise the entire work of the kingdom will take a hit.

Pray for those whom you know are in the midst of disputes, that they may know what is right and do it.

Lord, go before those today who are taking a stand and leaning on your everlasting arms for strength and wisdom.