Monday, January 31, 2011

Total Makeover - January 31, 2011

1 Corinthians 15:48-49 (New International Version, ©2011)
48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man.

I am sure all of you have seen the television show "Extreme Makeover", about a group of TV personalities, a home building company and sponsors, tearing down and rebuilding a home for a deserving family. The stories of those chosen are always heartwarming, and by the end of the program the viewer is cheering the fact that this family has been given a new home.

You can almost compare this makeover and the many other makeover shows with what happens to our spiritual house when Jesus Christ gets a hold of it, only problem is that we are not that deserving of the makeover. Our sinful, earthly "man" self has separated us from God, and all we really deserve is to let our "house" burn down.

Thank God for His mercy and goodness, because He has offered us a "total makeover" for our spiritual house. He has given us His unmerited favor and grace and allowed us to receive something totally undeserved. The heavenly Man, Jesus Christ, died on the cross and tore down the wall of separation between man and God and rebuilt it with a bridge to the Father.

If we accept this offer of redemption, we too can find ourselves the fortunate receipient of a new house, only this one is a reflection of Jesus.

Photo "Time Moves on 4" by Eastop, 6-1-2010 from stock.xchng

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday Praise! - January 30, 2011

Psalm 147 (New Living Translation)

1 Praise the Lord!

How good to sing praises to our God!
How delightful and how fitting!
2 The Lord is rebuilding Jerusalem
and bringing the exiles back to Israel.
3 He heals the brokenhearted
and bandages their wounds.
4 He counts the stars
and calls them all by name.
5 How great is our Lord! His power is absolute!
His understanding is beyond comprehension!
6 The Lord supports the humble,
but he brings the wicked down into the dust.

7 Sing out your thanks to the Lord;
sing praises to our God with a harp.
8 He covers the heavens with clouds,
provides rain for the earth,
and makes the grass grow in mountain pastures.
9 He gives food to the wild animals
and feeds the young ravens when they cry.
10 He takes no pleasure in the strength of a horse
or in human might.
11 No, the Lord’s delight is in those who fear him,
those who put their hope in his unfailing love.

12 Glorify the Lord, O Jerusalem!
Praise your God, O Zion!
13 For he has strengthened the bars of your gates
and blessed your children within your walls.
14 He sends peace across your nation
and satisfies your hunger with the finest wheat.
15 He sends his orders to the world—
how swiftly his word flies!
16 He sends the snow like white wool;
he scatters frost upon the ground like ashes.
17 He hurls the hail like stones.
Who can stand against his freezing cold?
18 Then, at his command, it all melts.
He sends his winds, and the ice thaws.
19 He has revealed his words to Jacob,
his decrees and regulations to Israel.
20 He has not done this for any other nation;
they do not know his regulations.

Praise the Lord!

Photo by lumix 2004, 8-10-2006 from stock.xchng

Saturday, January 29, 2011

He is Good - January 29, 2011

Psalm 84:11-12 (New International Version, ©2011)
11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.

12 LORD Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you.

Every weekend I get the privilege to spend a little "corporate" time with God. To me there is no better time spent in the entire week, than when I can praise and worship God along with my family in our church. Jesus tells us in the Book of Matthew,18:20"For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” YOu can feel the warmth of God's love and presence as we raise our voices in song, and there is nothing better than the opportunity to lift our combined prayers of thanksgiving to God.

We are many of God's children in one special place; there are no age barriers or challenges of race, because we are young and old, black, yellow, brown, red and white. This is one place and one time where everyone is equal in the sight of God and each other. God is so good to allow us to be part of the church, the very special bride of Jesus Christ!

If you don't have the opportunity to feel the warmth of God as your "sun and shield", if you haven't felt that God has given you His favor and honor, if you feel that He has not given you the blessings that you need, maybe its time you turned from your walk away from Him, and instead walk into His goodness. He will not hold back His love for you, but you have to place your complete trust in His Son Jesus.

Make this weekend, this Sunday, the day that you give your all to Him. Take the time to spend time with Him and those who are called His children. It is the one place and the one time where you will be totally accepted just as you are.

Photo on the beach in Carmel, CA, 2007.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Janitor - January 28, 2011

Psalm 84:1-4;10 (New International Version, ©2011)
1 How lovely is your dwelling place, LORD Almighty!

2 My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.

3 Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young— a place near your altar, LORD Almighty, my King and my God.

4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.
10 Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

Before I truly accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord, I had a very limited understanding of what God and salvation was all about. Sure I believed in God, but at the same time I was trapped in the thought that what I did, earned my way into heaven. With this mind set, I would often fall into sin, and when the guilt would really burden me, I would throw up a prayer to God pleading that He would forgive me, and allow me to at least be a janitor in heaven.

Nothing wrong with janitors, but I had a true fear in the knowledge that what I was doing angered God, and this was my plea for Him to somehow look away from my sin and accept me. It made me "ripe" for any works based religion where my own actions would be the final determiner of whether or not I would go to heaven when I died. Let's face it; I was totally lost with no clue of what would happen to me if I died.

The Psalter expresses his anguish of being kept out of the house of the Lord, and in the same psalm he makes a plea that he would do anthing meanial in the courtyard of the Temple, just to be near God's presence. He even shows some jealousy in the ability of the birds to get closer to the altar, the presence of God in ancient Israel, than he was able. In the same way, I was standing outside of the "Temple of the Lord", His kingdom in Heaven, jealously looking in, without a clue of how to get closer to God.

Thank God for His mercy and grace that allowed His Holy Spirit to clearly show me my wrongdoing, and the way out of my situation. He showed me that Jesus Christ was the bridge between my sinful self and a Holy God. Only with the shed blood of Christ could I be cleansed of my sins and allowed access into God's kingdom. That was a beautiful revelation that lifted the burden of my "junk" and brought me the relief of salvation. God no longer saw me as a "janitor" kept outside of the kingdom, but He now welcomed me as His son.

We all can become sons and daughters of the King. There is no reason to stand outside and just look in. Surrender yourself, find salvation from your sins by accepting the work of Jesus and be welcomed into His kingdom.

Photo "Clean Well" by nazreth, 5-4-2006 from stock.xchng

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Looking for Paradise - January 27, 2011

Philippians 3:18-21 (New Living Translation)
18 For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth.

20 But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. 21 He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.

Having lived in California for some time, and now that I live in Texas, I love to read a magazine called Sunset. This magazine is all about California and "Living in the West", and when I read it it reminds me of the times that I enjoyed living and vacationing there. I can get all kinds of tips on places to see, foods to prepare eat, ways to garden, and other things that I really enjoy. I really look forward to getting this little reminder of the West each and every month.

One thing struck me a little differently as I was reading the new issue I received. What struck me is how the magazine tries to promote "paradise on earth" for its readers, and the thought came into my head that "everyone's looking for paradise". California is probably one of the most sought after places to vacation or live, because to many it is a piece of "paradise on earth". In fact on this month's cover it highlights "37 Best Towns to Live Your Dream", featuring many California towns in the article, and as you turn to the article it states, "2011 Best Towns...Places to Make You Happy".

Also in the issue are "The Top 100 ideas, people, places, and things that are making life in the West better right now". This is an assemblage once again of things right here on earth that can create your own little bit of "paradise", as long as your lucky enough and have the financial wherewithal to do and meet and see all the things the article suggests. I would love to be able to do all of this, but I can't really see that happening in this lifetime.

You see, all of us are constantly being bombarded by the world's attractions that really leads us to distraction. There simply is no way that anything here on earth will ever match the ultimate destination of true Paradise, Heaven itself. The things of earth are constantly breaking down and being corrupted. Yes, God did create these places and things for us to enjoy while we are here, but we should never let it take the place of the "real thing" in the heart of a believer.

What Jesus Christ did for us is serious stuff; our acceptance of His work on the cross allows us to know that someday we will be in a new heaven and a new earth that will be as God initially intended for His creation before the fall. Our focus should not be on what is here on the earth, but on what we will ultimately attain through Jesus in eternity. He provides all of the blessings both here and in eternity, but don't get too caught up on what we will eventually leave behind.

So enjoy the life that God has given you, and the opportunity He allows you to partake and enjoy the beauty of His creation, but be certain that each and every day you remember to yield you heart to the Giver and make your main focus to serve Him while we are here. In doing so we can be assured of the fact that "we ain't seen nothin' yet"!

Colossians 3:2 (New King James Version)
2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

Photo of "Big Sur" from my trip to Carmel, 2008

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Comfort In Troubles - January 26, 2011

2 Corinthians 1:3-7 (New International Version, ©2010)
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.

6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

Times have been tough for many of us. There has been job loss and economic stress, shattered relationships and divorce, sickness and death. We all seem to be going though it, and the hurt and pain seems to tear at our very soul. Everyone I know has been touched by some kind of trouble. At least if we have God in our lives it seems much easier to handle.

I was especially touched by this e-mail I received, where the person was overcome by dispair. "I feel like I'm falling off a cliff and don't know where to grab," was the statement that really touched me. How do you respond when your faced with such desparation? How do you provide comfort during times when others are extremely troubled?

I thank God that He has allowed me to have a relationship with His Son Jesus. He has allowed me to connect with the extreme hurt and pain that Christ went through to be able to bring me salvation from our sins. I have been made aware that because Jesus went through it all for me, that I no longer have to dispair. Each time that I go through trouble, He brings me comfort and peace in my distress, and let's me know that everything will be okay.

My response was this; I learned long ago that contrary to what many think in this world, it is not about religion but relationship. Jesus has promised that he "would never leave me or forsake me", and that I "should not be anxious about anything, but through prayer, with a thankful attitude, ask God for what I need. He will give me His peace about all of my concerns". Ultimately "He will supply all of my needs".

Those promises sustain me and my family, no matter what our circumstance. I try not to be overly concerned about everything and turn it over to Him.
It isn't always easy, but I learned long ago that the trouble that I have gone through has allowed me to bring comfort to others. I have learned as Paul did, that our God comforts me through Christ to in turn bring comfort to others, and pass on the blessings that He has given me.

Photo of "Looking at the Sea" (Sad young man gazing at the sea) by SSPIVAK, 5-17-2010 from stock.xchng

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Everlasting - January 25, 2011

Isaiah 40:12-14;28-31 (New International Version, ©2010)
12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,
or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?
Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,
or weighed the mountains on the scales
and the hills in a balance?
13 Who can fathom the Spirit of the LORD,
or instruct the LORD as his counselor?
14 Whom did the LORD consult to enlighten him,
and who taught him the right way?
Who was it that taught him knowledge,
or showed him the path of understanding?
28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Tonight marks the night when the President of our country speaks to both houses of Congress and the nation. He delivers to all what all the Presidents before him have, which is the State of our Union. George Washington gave the first State of the Union address on January 8, 1790, fourteen years after the founding of our nation, and this has gone on every year for the 220 years since.

By the grace of God, the Presidents in future years will continue to do the same, but as compared to time eternal, our nation has only been around for a brief time. It really makes us seem small and petty, as all nations and countries have been before us. Man tries in his ways to govern himself (or enslave others), but try as we might, each experiment at our own governance, whether it be the first Kings of Israel or the one we currently call the United States of America, will someday pass from existence.

There is only one real hope for mankind. It is not our governments or institutions, it is the grace and mercy of our holy God. He alone is everlasting, while all things of man will ultimately fail. Because of this truth, we need to fully place all of our hopes in our Almighty and Everlasting God.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Miracles - January 24, 2011

2 Peter 3:13-14 (New International Version, ©2010)
13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.

14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.
17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

For those who are believers in Jesus Christ, we have been given an incomprehensible gift; I mean that there is no way in our finite minds that we can truly understand what has been done for us. We are living almost 2000 years removed from the events and times that the apostle Peter is writing in. All we can do is accept it in faith as being true. For many around us, that is just too much to ask, so how can we be sure that if we go through living a faithful and righteous life that God will indeed bless us by sharing His kingdom with us?

I believe that for us the best way for us to know that what we believe are the existence of miracles. What do I mean by miracles? Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines a miracle as "an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs, or an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment". I would add that these events occur without natural explanation.

Yes, there can be false miracles, but usually these will be found out, because we know from the experience of our own lives that anything but the truth will be revealed as a lie in time. In our country we don't hear much about miracles, because we live in a land on cynics, and anything attrubuted to being a miracle of God is quickly supressed as something else. Contrary to that are the amazing things happening in third world countries, where there are documented cases of many miracles that are bringing many people to belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

That doesn't mean that they are "cornering the market" on miracles. Last week I spoke with a friend who had just been released from being in the hospital for almost two weeks. He had a auto-immune syndrome that had left him paralyzed and unable to walk. For several days the doctors could not determine what he had. They tested and tested him and filtered his blood, but they still couldn't find his problem. Finally days later, they discovered the link to his paralysis. The news was dire, because my friend was told that they could not say when if ever he would walk again.

During this time, many people in my friends church were praying for him, and as he tells it, the news was not getting any better. Once the really devastating diagnosis was revealed, although many hearts sank at the news, it only led his church to pray for him even more. Finally one Sunday evening, many church members showed up at his bedside to pray. Joining hands they prayed for healing and a miracle in the name of Jesus. God heard their prayerful plea, and much to the amazement of the hospital staff, my friend regained his ability to walk. He is now a walking, talking testimony of the grace and mercy of God, and a real-life miracle.

Now this is a long story, and for some no matter what kind of miracles God might provide, they will never believe. It has been that way since Christ walked the earth and it will continue to be so. But for us, God reveals himself daily in the changed lives of those who reach out to Him and accept His gift to us. The true miracles are those once lost souls who are now walking, talking testimonials to the radical change of life found only in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ and his gift of salvation is real; since we know that, it is only fitting that we live lives that are testaments to it.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Storm Warning - January 23, 2011

2 Peter 3:10-12 (New King James Version)
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.[laid bare]

11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?

Have you heard that mariner's warning, "red sky in morning, sailors take warning"? It means that if the sky is red in the morning, the day will have bad weather. It's just one of the warnings that we are confronted with on a daily basis.

We have warning signs and warning labels, and warnings on our clothes. We have tornado warnings and ice-storm warnings, and warnings about all kinds of weather. We are warned about fats and warned about cholestrol, and we are warned about the fact we need to lose weight. We are warned about drugs and alcohol, and warnings about all kinds of dangerous living. It seems that everywhere we turn, there is a warning about something.

As we read the Bible, we come across warnings as well, as God tries to show us what we need to do to be right with Him. What we read in its verses either stands as a testament to right living, or a warning against one's sin. But everything we are warned about culminates in a warning about the coming of the end. In several books in both the Old and New Testaments, we are warned of a coming storm, and we are warned of one fateful day, called the Day of the Lord.

The Day of the Lord will be a time when God judges mankind, and His judgement will be either a time of blessing or terrible curse. That time will spell the end of things as we know them, and the Bible is very vivid and clear about those events. That coming day will be a time of great distress and anguish for those who have not accepted the provision God has made for people. As we are told in 2 Peter, all the works of man will be burned up and destroyed. This will truly be a terrible day for those who don't believe in Jesus Christ as God's provision of salvation.

Warnings are everywhere in our lives, just in case we come too close to something that we are being warned about. They are there to keep us safe from harm. So too are God's warnings in His word. God has given us time to be saved from the coming destruction, and we are truly arrogant if we ignore them. Since we do not know "the day or the hour", what changes will you make in your life to make sure you take part in His way of escape?

Photo "Sunrise 6-7-09" by cempey, from stock.xchng

Saturday, January 22, 2011

God's Forbearance - January 22, 2011

2 Peter 3:8-9 (New International Reader's Version)
8 Dear friends, here is one thing you must not forget. With the Lord a day is like a thousand years. And a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow to keep his promise. He is not slow in the way some people understand it. He is patient with you. He doesn't want anyone to be destroyed. Instead, he wants all people to turn away from their sins.

As I read through this chapter in 2 Peter, I was trying to come up with a word that described what is taking place; what God was doing through His actions towards us. What came to my mind (and I know it was through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit), was the old word "forbearance". It is not a word used much in our everyday language today, and when I read the definition and its synonyms I understood why.

The word "forbearance" is defined as, "a refraining from the enforcement of something that is due; the capacity to endure what is difficult or disagreeable without complaining; kind, gentle, or compassionate treatment, especially towards someone who is undeserving of it; patience, long-suffering, tolerance, charity, clemency, leniency, mercifulness."

This is hardly a word that describes most of us today. We are quick to react whenever we are wronged or unhappy, or if someone does something that we don't like. Driving the busy freeways and getting cut off and you'll know what I mean. How about our attitude with work? How do we react when we feel that someone is trying to "steal or show"? And our kids are another thing; what happens when we are in the car talking on our cellphone and the kids are fighting in the back? No, I don't think "forbearance" is our best character trait.

But for God, this word describes his actions perfectly. He has delayed the return of Jesus for His people because of His "forebearance", His patience, long-suffering, tolerance, charity, clemency, leniency, and mercifulness; His love, mercy and compassion for us. The adjectives can't sufficiently describe His compassionate treatment, towards someone as undeserving as us. Year after year, century after century, God patiently waits until the last person that would accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, does.

I have often heard it said that "God is waiting for people to get on the bus"; for us to take the step to admit our shortcomings and get on board with Him. ...He won't wait for you forever. Isn't it time you took advantage of His "forbearance", and gave your life to Him right now?

Photo "Waiting Passenger" PKS in Krakow, Poland, by malpec 7-13-07 from stock.xchng

Friday, January 21, 2011

Our CNN/BBC World - January 21, 2011

2 Peter 3:3-7 (New International Reader's Version)
3 First of all, here is what you must understand.In the last days people will make fun of the truth. They will laugh at it. They will follow their own evil longings.

4 They will say, "Where is this 'return' he promised? Everything goes on in the same way it has since our people of long ago died. In fact, it has continued that way since God first created everything."

5 Long ago, God's word brought the heavens into being. His word separated the earth from the waters. And the waters surrounded it. But those people forget things like that on purpose. 6 The waters also flooded the world of that time. It was destroyed.

7 By God's word the heavens and earth of today are being reserved for fire. They are being kept for the day when God will judge. Then ungodly people will be destroyed.

On any given day, you can hear about things about the daily lives of the the inhabitants of our modern world. We live in a "CNN/BBC World", where minute by minute we can see the whatever is happening on this planet. People going about their lives, going to work or school, on vacation or play; those being born or those who have died, the good and the bad; we can see everything, anywhere, anytime.

The world goes on, day after day, totally oblivious to the fact that for all of us, our days are numbered. Our frenetic pace of life blurs the fact that there needs to be more than the daily march toward the end. But by the looks of those who report to us what is happening or happened, it is all smiles and laughs, and lines of script. To those hustling and bustling about their day, it is just another day, another dollar.

There are times when an event stills our pace and causes us to pause. There are those situations where we slow down to briefly stop and think about what is actually going on, but soon the trials of life, the needs of the moment, overshadow that brief moment and we are flung right back into the tempo of life. Once again unconcerned about anything but the trials of our everday lives; an unspoken story on the evening news.

For many the thought of eternity, the thought of our own demise is a long long time in the future, and why worry about it? Were all good and much better than the next guy! Surely God will understand why we do what we do!Why be concerned? People have been talking about you better do this or that for years, and everything is pretty much the same as it has always been. So we get up and go about our daily business, and we let the future worry about itself.

In our CNN/BBC world, there really are many cultures, and many different people, and many ways of doing everything; many ways to God and many ways to show for it. Its day here and night over there; people having fun here and hurting each other there. There is no right or wrong only what you feel is right for you. Be careful though or you'll make the evening news!

So what am I trying to say about our world today? Its really not what I have to say, but it is what would God say if He were to show up today, in our CNN/BBC world?

Photo "Times Square" by Guikkiko, 7-1-2005 from stock.xchng

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Carved to Perfection - January 20, 2011

Psalm 138:8 (English Standard Version)
8The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Psalm 138:8 (New International Reader's Version)
8 Lord, you will do everything you have planned for me.
Lord, your faithful love continues forever.
You have done so much for us. Don't stop now.

When a wood carver looks to carve a piece of art, he goes through a number of steps to create a piece of art that can be enjoyed. First he visualizes in his imagination what he wants to carve. Then he usually will draw our what he has in mind. He selects a piece of wood that will fit the project, and then he begins. During the carving, he will often look at his drawing, but along the way, he will usually count on his mental image as he guides the chisel.

Sooner or later he will just let his mind and hands take over, and allows the inspiration within carve out what he has envisioned. Many times he will move around the object, taking off the rough pieces of wood, bit by bit. Only when he is finished can he stand back and admire what he has done, and have the satisfaction that he has created a thing of beauty.

In speaking to the prophet Jeremiah, God said, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”Jeremiah 1:5(NIV)God had a place and a time that he would be born, and a specific task that Jeremiah would do. He was made to fulfill God's purposes, and the words penned by prophet still speak to God's people over 2600 years later, testifying to the reason why every unborn life is precious.

God had a vision of what he you to be and what He wanted you to do. He has envisioned that all He has created would fulfill His divine will, and accomplish God's purposes. Just as a wood carver first envisions his work, God knew the beautiful work of art that you would be. The Bible tells us in Philippians 1:6,"that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus". God has a plan to finish the work that He has started in you.

Perhaps something you will do, or write, or a child that you will have or inspire, will have an amazing spiritual impact for God many centuries from now. The only way is if you are obedient to His call, and you listen to His direction, and one day you will stand before Him, and He will admire that He has truly created a person of beauty.

Photo from Popular Mechanics Instructables website "Wood Chiseling"

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Blessed - January 19, 2011

Psalm 32 (New International Reader's Version)
A maskil of David.

1 Blessed is the one whose lawless acts are forgiven. His sins have been taken away. 2 Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord never counts against him. He doesn't want to cheat anyone. 3 When I kept silent about my sin, my body became weak because I groaned all day long. 4 Day and night your heavy hand punished me. I became weaker and weaker as I do in the heat of summer.

5 Then I admitted my sin to you. I didn't cover up the wrong I had done. I said, "I will admit my lawless acts to the Lord." And you forgave the guilt of my sin.

6 Let everyone who is godly pray to you while they can still look to you. When troubles come like a flood, they certainly won't reach those who are godly. 7 You are my hiding place. You will keep me safe from trouble. You will surround me with songs sung by those who praise you because you save your people.

8 I will guide you and teach you the way you should go. I will give you good advice and watch over you. 9 Don't be like the horse or the mule. They can't understand anything. They have to be controlled by bits and bridles. If they aren't, they won't come to you. 10 Sinful people have all kinds of trouble. But the Lord's faithful love is all around those who trust in him.

11 Be glad because of what the Lord has done for you. Be joyful, you who do what is right! Sing, all of you whose hearts are honest!

Photo "Sunrise & Sunsets" by nancynator, 9-2-2010

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pursuing His Likeness - January 18, 2011

Romans 8:28-30 (New Century Version)
28 We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him. They are the people he called, because that was his plan. 29 God knew them before he made the world, and he chose them to be like his Son so that Jesus would be the firstborn of many brothers and sisters.

30 God planned for them to be like his Son; and those he planned to be like his Son, he also called; and those he called, he also made right with him; and those he made right, he also glorified.

As parents, we are always mindful of who our children are looking up to. When we were growing up, there were plenty of heroes and it was easy to find an example of someone we wanted to be like. It's not as easy today, because many of the atheletes or politicians or movie stars tend not have the character traits that we would like our children to exhibit. In most cases, the best heroes for our children are their parents. We need to lead by being the best example of holiness that we can.

That was part of God's overall plan for the lives of those who would believe in Jesus. He gave us the example of His Son, so that we would know what character traits would be pleasing to God and good for His people. God wants us to be like Jesus; our behavior, habits, and how we treat others need to be a reflection of Jesus Christ. God planned what would happen in our lives in advance for us to be able to be so, Everything that happens in our life has the purpose of making us more like Him.

With this in mind, we need to make sure that our pursuits in life are to be more like Jesus Christ. We need to try to reflect Christ in every thing we do, and to everyone we come in contact with. It isn't always easy, and there are many times when behaving like Jesus is very hard to do, but we need to be always intentional in our actions to try to be more like Him.

Photo "Just Watching" by emuman, 7-21-2008 from stock.xchng

Monday, January 17, 2011

Symphony - January 17, 2011

Romans 12:4-8 (New International Reader's Version)
4 Each of us has one body with many parts. And the parts do not all have the same purpose. 5 So also we are many persons. But in Christ we are one body. And each part of the body belongs to all the other parts.

6 We all have gifts. They differ in keeping with the grace that God has given each of us. Do you have the gift of prophecy? Then use it in keeping with the faith you have. 7 Is it your gift to serve? Then serve. Is it teaching? Then teach. 8 Is it telling others how they should live? Then tell them. Is it giving to those who are in need? Then give freely. Is it being a leader? Then work hard at it. Is it showing mercy? Then do it cheerfully.

Most everyone has been to a symphony performance. When it comes to the listening experience, the worst time for the ears is when all the performers are tuning up prior to the beginning of the concert. There is a myraid of sounds, from the woodwinds, horns, percussion and strings. Each readies themselves by playing their notes and scales. Then, just before the conductor walks onto the stage, the first violin plays a long drawn out note, and everyone in the orchestra tunes themselves to that one note.

The conductor walks on, the audience applauds, the orchestra stands...they all sit and as the batton comes down the music begins. Then for the next hour or so, the rooms fills with glorious music. All seperate, yet all together, each instrument lending its own sound, as each performer plays, and together they piece together a vision of sound written down many years or centuries before. It all follows the lead of the conductor as he brings out the sound and emotion that the composer wished for all to hear.

Just as a symphony orchestra has many different performers and instruments that combine to play beautiful music, so too the church of Jesus Christ has many different people, gifts and talents, that combine to do the works of God in the world. Each is important to the whole, and all perform their particular task at the direction of the Master. All are important and all must be in unison, for the master work of Christ to be done in the lives others.

God has created all of us to play beautiful music in the symphony of life. It is up to each of us to pick up our instrument and play.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Good Book - January 16, 2011

Romans 1:16-17 (New International Reader's Version)
16 I am not ashamed of the good news(Gospel). It is God's power. And it will save everyone who believes. It is meant first for the Jews. It is meant also for those who aren't Jews.

17 The good news(Gospel) shows how God makes people right with himself. From beginning to end, becoming right with God depends on a person's faith. It is written, "Those who are right with God will live by faith."—(Habakkuk 2:4)

On cold, dreary outside, for some nothing beats curly up in a chair and reading a good book. A good book allows you to excape into a whole, other world. It allows the reader to get outside of themselves, and become the main character. Probably the best thing about a good book is when, although the there may have been difficulties, there is a happy ending. It makes reading the book all worth it, and it brings a certain satisfaction.
For the time that the reader spends with the book, everything seems right with the world.

God has given us such a "good book". It is the Gospel, written in the first four books of the Bible. It is the story of God's gift to us and all of mankind. It is a book that we can place ourselves into as the main character, because what is being done is for us from beginning to end. It is a story about us, and with God, although there are difficulites, it offers us a happy ending. If we will accept the gift that is offered in Jesus Christ, all will be right with our world.

There is only one thing that is required of the reader, and it is that we need to have faith. We need to believe what is written in the book, because it is much more than mere words on pages. It is a living story that can bring the reader new life. It is about Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, stepping into our lives and through His sacrifice, offers us forgiveness for everything that has separated us from God. It offers us relief from our burdens, and comfort for our souls. It is about the Word of life, a good book, the Good News, that redeems us for eternity.

Photo "Woman Reading at Home" by arinas 74, 7-1-2009 from stock.xchng

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Are You Looking For Him? - January 15, 2011

1 Chronicles 28:9 (New International Version, ©2010)
9 “And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought.

If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.

Jeremiah 29:13 (English Standard Version)
13You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

We live in a world that thinks that there is little or no need for God. If you travel to other countries, especially those that are considered "affluent", such as in Europe, you will find the people overly comfortable in themselves and in their own efforts for everything that they have accomplished and acquired. Sad thing is though, that left to their own devices, it is only a matter of time before you find that the people are fairly "soul-less" and very synical about life.

In our own country, we too live in a generation that has little need for God; it is a generation that believes that they are in control of their lives and destinies. This attitude is reflected in how quickly the secular culture is trying to wipe away any sight or mention of God in public life. God has become too controversial; He makes offends people and makes them uncomfortable, and it is better to remove or ignore Him than to face Him.

I would venture to say that many of us were the same way, especially when we were young. We believed that we could do anything and we were responsible to no one but ourselves. Even though many of us grew up around godly parents and church, we still had to find out on our own that we weren't "all that". There probably were many times when we chose our own way, even when we knew it was against the things of God. But we chose to remove or ignore Him from our lives, and it took many hard knocks and dark and terrible days, before we could acknowledge our need for Him.

In the verses above, we are made aware that God knows everything about us. There is no hiding from Him. Sooner or later everyone is going to have to face Him; we are going to have to face Him. We can either accept Him and His provision of redemption for us , or we can reject Him at our own eternal peril. He is there waiting for us; it is up to us to seek Him; He will make sure that we find Him.

Photo "Peek-a-boo 1" by vivekchugh 7-18-2008 from stock.xchng

Friday, January 14, 2011

Slaves for Christ - January 14, 2011

Romans 1:1 (Common English Bible)
1 From Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus who is called to be an apostle and who is set apart for God’s good news.

Galatians 1:10 (Common English Bible)
10 Am I trying to win over human beings or God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I wouldn’t be Christ’s slave.

Nothing has produced a deeper wound in our country than our history of slavery. Even today the mention of it produces hurt and pain to those whose forefathers were in bondage. A slave is defined as "a human being who is owned as property by, and is absolutely subject to the will of, another; bondservant divested of all freedom and personal rights", or "a person who is completely dominated by some influence, habit, person, etc."

Slavery has been around almost as long as mankind has roamed the earth, as spoils of war or people placed under subjugation. In many countries around the world, including our own, people are living in misery as a slave of another.

Because of such a connotation and such a history, it is amazing that the Greek word used in the Bible, to describe the apostle's relationship to Jesus Christ, translates to mean a "slave". What does it mean to be a slave to Christ?

When we surrender our personal will to God, and we accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ's payment on the cross for our sins, we need to give ourselves to the ownership of Jesus Christ. We now need to become His possession; fully God's to be used by Him as He wills. He has paid for us and bought us with a price. We are indebted to Him for what He has done, and for what He continues to do for us.

The fact is this: if we give ourselves in servitude, to be a slave to God through Christ, we then and only then can be totally free!

Photo "Hope" by Digital A, 5-20-2008 from stock.xchng

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Chains for Christ - January 13, 2011

Philippians 1:12-14 (New International Version, ©2010)
12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.

What type of affliction are you undergoing as a believer in Jesus Christ? I would venture to say that very very few in the United States have really encountered true persecution, physical persecution, for the cause of Jesus Christ. About the most we ever have to worry about in this country is that non-believer who gives us grief at work, or that college professor that believes we come from apes. If you were truly faced with a decision of renouncing your faith in Jesus, would you stand up to the test?

One of the ministries that I link to on this blog is Voice of the Martyrs. The story of its founders Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand is a remarkable one. They were two Jewish converts to Christ who survived World War II and the rescue of Jews from the Nazis, almost giving up their lives in the process, only to be imprisoned for many years under the Communist regime in Romania. Richard was savagely beaten and tortured because he was bold enough to take a stand for God and His Christ. Their story is worth reading, and their ministry today spreads the message of the atrocities that Christians face in restricted nations.

I believe a time may come in this country where faithful Christians will be faced with the same trials and persecution that is faced by our brothers and sisters around the world today. If you are a true Christian, you know that the rhetoric coming out of the media and other places today is already setting the stage. Our faith is probably the most ostracized in the world today; all because a Jewish carpenter, who claimed himself God in the flesh, traveled the roads of the Middle East, healing the sick and comforting the afflicted, gave up his life as a sacrifice on our behalf, and then proved who he was by getting up out of the grave a few days later.

A time is coming when we will be imprisoned, put in chains, for believing in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. Will we be able,...will you be able to stand up to the test?

Photo by juliaf, 3-27-2007, from stock.xchng

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Helping Hand - January 12, 2011

Galatians 6:2 (New International Version, ©2010)
2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

It has been a tough couple of years in this country. Many have lost jobs and are unemployed. For others, financial pressures has broken up families. The number of people on some type of government assistance is the highest ever, highlighted by the fact that over 45 million are on food-stamps alone. Food pantries are empty and shelters are full. Those who have lost their homes is the worst since the Great Depression, and there are more homeless on our nation's streets than ever before.

To add to this, there is growing spiritual poverty in our country as well. More and more people are lost and have no where to turn to relieve the stresses and pressure of their lives. Depression, anxiety, addiction, compulsive behaviors (over-eating, excessive gambling, spending, etc.) and substance abuse are also soaring. The times are hard but the relief is close to everyone.

It is times like these that the church of Jesus Christ can be at its finest. As believers, we are to be the "hands and feet" of Jesus. We are to be those who provide help and assistance, along with the hope and grace that are available through a commitment to God's gift of Jesus. Our eyes need to be open to opportunities to help, and our hands need to be open to share in the blessings that God has given us.

If someone you know is in need of a helping hand, now is the time for you to be what you have been called to in Christ. Now is the time for you to pick up your brother or sister and let them see Jesus through you.

Photo "Baby's Hand", 6-22-2008 from

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Time for Praise! - January 11, 2011

Psalm 121 (New International Version, ©2010)
A song of ascents.
1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

Even though it is early in the year, it is always time to give the Lord praise! God is working in all of our lives, and we need to remember to thank Him for it. He is the only One we can truly depend on, no matter the circumstances. He will truly "watch over your life". All you need to do is make sure that you let Him!

Photo from Breckenridge Mountain, Summer 2009

Monday, January 10, 2011

God's Great Treasure - January 10, 2011

Philippians 4:12-13 (GOD’S WORD Translation)
12I know how to live in poverty or prosperity. No matter what the situation, I’ve learned the secret of how to live when I’m full or when I’m hungry, when I have too much or when I have too little. 13I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me.

We live our entire lives hunting for treasure, that secret stash that will relieve us from every burden. When we were young, I am sure all of us day dreamed of being pirates searching for buried riches, and as we grew older, we thought long and hard about how we could grab that "brass ring" and become wealthy and successful. When you ask teenagers what their goal is for going to school and college, most say it is to make a lot of money, and sadly that has become the goal for most of us as we have grown up.

Treasure, riches, wealth, money, none of these things are bad, as a matter a fact, very little could be done in this world without having them. I would venture to say that many good things for God's kingdom have been done by those who have possessed these things. But the truly great treasure of life does not have much value if you were to ask those in the world. In God's currency though, it is a valuable treasure.

God' great treasure, His secret to true wealth and extraordinary living is Jesus Christ. He is that "pearl of great price" that if we have him in our life, we will have everything we will ever need. You see, through the acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, our eternal future is set. We really need nothing further from because living in and for Jesus is truly the way for us to live.

If your are in need of true treasure, if you want to learn how to live no matter your circumstances, surrender yourself to Jesus and He will take care of the rest of our needs.

Photo "Treasure Trove 3" by bjearwicke, January 8, 2008.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Our Lighthouse - January 9, 2011

Hebrews 12:1-3 (New International Reader's Version)
1 A huge cloud of witnesses is all around us. So let us throw off everything that stands in our way. Let us throw off any sin that holds on to us so tightly. Let us keep on running the race marked out for us.

2 Let us keep looking to Jesus. He is the author of faith. He also makes it perfect. He paid no attention to the shame of the cross. He suffered there because of the joy he was looking forward to. Then he sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

3 He put up with attacks from sinners. So think about him. Then you won't get tired. You won't lose hope.

Jutting out into the Pacific Ocean from the spectacular Big Sur Coast, the Point Sur Lightstation stands as a silent sentinel to a by-gone era. Point Sur, a National Historic Landmark, is the only complete turn-of-the-century light station open to the public in California. From 1899 until 1974, families lived and worked in the buildings atop Point Sur. Today Point Sur is a ghost town. The unique stone lighthouse still guides ships with its light, though it is now totally automated.*

There are many out there searching for a beacon in the distance that they can focus their attention onto. We all need to be guided by something; for some it is the love of this world and the pleasures it has to offer; others look to fame and fortune in their talent, or work, or career; still some look to "religion" thinking that a certain manner of behavior or works will rescue them from the difficulties they face. Unfortunately, all of these will only make a shipwreck of the person's life.

Just as the lighthouse in the photo above has led many a ship's Captain to steer away from trouble and the hazards of the California coast, Jesus Christ is the beacon that leads us to a place of hope and trust. For the lost, He is the light shining in the distance that points to safe waters. For the believer, He is the faithful point that never moves, allowing us to always have a guiding light onto which we can focus our lives. With Him there are no shipwrecks, because He not only is the light, but also the Captain of our ship of life.

In this new year, if you have become lost in the sea of trouble we call life, look to the shore for the lighthouse of hope. Look to Jesus who will guide you safely into the safe waters of God's love.

Photo of Point Sur taken by me on a trip to Carmel,CA in 2007.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Serving Others - January 8, 2011

1 Peter 4:10 (New International Version, ©2010)
10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

What is your reaction when you see the guys at the street corners with signs in their hand stating, "Broke", "Hungry", "Homeless", "Need Food", "Please Help", ..."God Bless"? Are you afraid of them? Do you roll up your windows and lock your car doors? How about the people on the street looking for a handout? Do you walk around them looking the other way, or stare onto the sidewalk? Does it matter if the one who is begging is an adult or a child? What breaks your heart more? Does it break your heart at all?

Most of us if we see a sight like this react to it one way or the other. What we do and how we react is what is important. I believe God provides these people in our lives. For each of us it becomes a test of whether or not our faith has flesh and blood; whether or not we will truly live out what we are taught. Jesus was compelled to help those who were in need; I can't recall a situation in the gospels where he did not act out of compassion for the hurting.

As those who call on his name as our Lord, we must do the same. If we are not compelled to do something to help our fellow man, we need to check our Christian pulse. I pray that all of our hearts will always be prompted by the Holy Spirit to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and to serve all of those who are in need of a touch from the Savior.

Photo by rubenshito, "Little girl and the beggar", August 28, 2007.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Transitions - January 7, 2011

Psalm 25:12-13 (GOD’S WORD Translation)
12Who, then, is this person that fears the Lord? He is the one whom the Lord will teach which path to choose. 13He will enjoy good things in life, and his descendants will inherit the land.

There are times in life when we are faced with a transition, a "fork in the road". It may be because of a job loss, or a divorce, or the death of a family member or good friend, or it may be because we have found ourselves at a dead-end. No matter the reason, all of us will come to a place where we will have to choose a different direction to go; a transition that we will have to go through.

I have known this first hand. There comes a time when one thing ends and it is time to choose another. We're faced with trepidation, uncertainty and fear, and we do not want to make the wrong decision for ourselves, or in my case, for the family. It can almost be debilitating. We can become "frozen" in our tracks, not knowing what to do. And in the end, we resign ourselves that we have to go through the transition; the change; down a different path.

When faced with this situation, what do you do? If we are believers, we can thank God that He is there to help us. We can be glad that He never changes and He will "never leave us or forsake us". God has our best interest at heart, and He will not lead us to down the wrong path. The journey might not be the smoothest, but in the end, we know that He has decided our destination. He will make sure that we will get there in one piece. Now that is a promise that you can hold on to!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Heavenly Focused - January 6, 2011

Colossians 3:1-4 (New Living Translation)
1 Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. 3 For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.

I love going outdoors after a Spring thunderstorm, when the sun is just peering from behind the darkened clouds. The air is slightly cooled and smells of a an indescribable freshness. The most beautiful thing that you usually see is a rainbow. It reminds me of these verses in Genesis, when God was speaking to Noah:12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth." Genesis 9:12-13(NIV)

A rainbow in the sky reminds us that God is there, watching over us. There is nothing within the control of man that can ever duplicate the majesty of this display. It lets us know that God's power in the Universe is far greater than we can imagine, and it is a reminder that someday, if we have accepted His gift of redemption through Jesus Christ, we can be with Him.

If you are a committed believer in Christ, you are no longer a child of the world. Since you have been bought for a price, through the precious blood of Jesus, you should no longer be focused on the things of the world. Instead your focus needs to be on the things of heaven. Yes, the cares of the world and the opposition of the evil one distract us from what we should be thinking about, but if you will dilligently focus, the Holy Spirit will help you overcome this.

Why should we do this? Someday, everything will be revealed when Jesus Christ returns for those He loves. When He does, we will be able to reap the benefits of the commitments and sacrifices we have made for Him by focusing and following His commands. If you look around the world today, we really have nothing to lose, and eveything to gain. If you have not done so, make this year the one that you surrender everything to Him.

Photo from Strandhill,Ireland 6/17/2010 credits to

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

God's Agenda - January 5, 2011

Isaiah 1:16-17 (New Century Version)
16"Wash yourselves and make yourselves clean.
Stop doing the evil things I see you do.
Stop doing wrong.

17 Learn to do good. Seek justice.
Punish those who hurt others.
Help the orphans.
Stand up for the rights of widows."

In the Old Testament of the Bible, we often read how the Israelites did "detestable" things. Although they were God's chosen people, they often fell into the sinful lifestyle of the peoples they were surrounded by. In order to make themselves right with God, He would often admonished them in Scripture. He hoped that they would return to Him and follow His agenda for them, by changing their ways and seeking after the ways of God.

We too often neglect the desires of God and seek after our own way of doing things. If you have lived for anytime on this earth, you know that taking God's path is usually not your first priority, but His will is that we too will seek after Him and follow His ways. But for us, God has taken it a step further, by washing us in the blood of Jesus Christ, and making it possible through the power of the Holy Spirit to follow after Him.

Out of thanks for His mercy and grace, we need to prepare ourselves to do the things that come close to God's heart. We need to first accept the washing He offers us, and then extend His justice and mercy to the world around us. In this new year, we need to make sure that we are following His agenda rather than our own.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

He Cares For You! - January 4, 2011

1 Peter 5:6-7 (New King James Version)
6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

On December 18, 1999, a satellite named Terra was rocketed from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, into the heavens to take a good long look at the planet we live on. The "Terra" (formerly called EOS AM-1) satellite is the flagship of NASA’s Earth Science Missions. Terra was the first EOS (Earth Observing System) platform and provides global data on the state of the atmosphere, land, and oceans, as well as their interactions with solar radiation and with one another.*

Every morning Terra flies in a near-polar, sunsynchronous orbit that descends across the equator. She has been a witness to many events on the earth; just in 2010 alone she sent back pictures of the big feeze in Great Britian, the ash plume of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull, the oil spill from the BP drilling rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, tropical storm Megi in the Phillipines, and most recently the mid-December blizzard in Minnesota that collapsed the Minneapolis Metrodome roof.

It is when you see and image of earth like this that you realize just how small you are. Looking at this image of North America, can you imagine how tiny you are wherever you live? But you are still there; every morning as the satellite passes over head, in some way she is observing you as you go about your routine. It is humbling to think that what a satellite can do, our God in heaven can do on an even greater and grander scale. Not only is he seeing you, but everything in the universe that He has created.

With that in mind, now read the Bible verse from 1 Peter. When faced with the "awesomeness" of God, why would you act with anything other than humility. Yet the apostle Peter says that if you humble yourself before Him, He will exalt you, lift you up, "show you off as one of His" at the right time. Then we are told to leave everything to Him, because despite the fact that you are a tiny little spec in the picture, He cares for you!

Wow! Now if you will keep this in mind as you live through this year, it will surely give you the right perspective, and leave you feeling really special!

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17 (New International Version, ©2010)

Photo from NASA's Terra Satellite; * additional facts can be found by following this link from

Monday, January 3, 2011

Stop Wandering! - January 3, 2011

Numbers 32:13 (New King James Version)
13 So the LORD’s anger was aroused against Israel, and He made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation that had done evil in the sight of the LORD was gone.

They were a complaining and often times contentious people, yet God had a special place for the Israrelites. He had made a promise many generations before that He would give them a land that would be exclusively theirs, reserved for God' chosen people. Moses had led them out of bondage and slavery, and after they miraculously crossed the Red Sea, in to the Sinai Desert.

Normally the trip from Egypt to what is now Israel, would have only taken two or three months, at a slow pace with families and livestock, but because of the sin, unbelief and lack of trust of the people, they turned it into a 40 year experience. They fought the leadership of Moses at every turn, and no matter how God demonstrated His power to them, they still chose their own way instead of God's. The people were not ready to receive the gift of the land God had promised them, and they would not be able to "taste" God's goodness until those who sinned against God were purged from their midst.

Have you spent alot of time wandering in your personal desert? Has your life led you through many "desert" experiences, trials and troubles that seemingly never end? Has it been because of your sin, unbelief and lack of trust in God? Have you oftentimes chsoen your own way even when God has demostarted HIs power to you? God will let you wander through the "desert" of life until your heart has been changed and you are prepared to receive His free gift His of grace and mercy.

Thanks to Jesus Christ's work on the cross, you can leave the desert and "taste" God's goodness in the "promised land". What it will take is for you to admit and confess your sin, change the unbelieving and sinful attitude of your heart, and surrender yourself to His leadership in faith.

If you have not done so yet in the New Year, now is the time to follow God's leading out of the desert.

photo compliments of

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Keeping an Account of Our Days - January 2, 2011

Psalm 90:12 (New International Version, ©2010)
12 Teach us to number our days,that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Although we have just started a new year, I am sure you will agree that days and time pass by very quickly. When we were children, a year would seemingly take a long time, because if we were 10, 1 year would be a 1/10 of our existence. At 50, 1 year is a 1/50, and 1/50 is alot smaller than a 1/10, and in the case of time, seemingly faster.

After today, we only have 363 days left in this year to do the important things we are called to do before we pass from this earth. What has God placed on your heart to do this year? If you don't know yet, you need to take some time with your Bible, pen and paper. In mediation and prayer, first commit the new year to Him, and then seek His wisdom in what you are to do.

God has big plans for you this year! Don't waste a single day of them not knowing what they are!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

He Goes Ahead of You - January 1, 2011

Deuteronomy 31:7-8 (New Century Version)
7 Then Moses called Joshua and said to him in front of the people, "Be strong and brave, because you will lead these people into the land the Lord promised to give their ancestors, and help them take it as their own.

8 The Lord himself will go before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forget you. Don't be afraid and don't worry."

Moses was near the end of his life, and at the end of leading the people, and Joshua was ready to lead the Israelites into the land that God had promised them. The had been many years or trials and testing, life and death, meditation and preparation. Now they all looked anxiously into the land and wondered what was in store for them. They did not know what to expect, only that there would be one day at a time ahead of them. Moses shared with Joshua a promise from God that is in italics above.

We too stand ahead of a brand new year, 2011, not knowing what to expect, buy knowing that we need to approach it one day at a time. If we are a follower of Christ, we are given this promise of encouragement. We can know that God will go before us in everything we do. He will be in the good times and the bad, in the joy and the sadness. Jesus reaches out to us an promises His comfort through the Holy Spirit.

As for me the future is uncertain, but I cling to this promise of God as I look to growing the things God has blessed me with. Perhaps He will allow me to realize dreams that I have had for sometime in work and in serving others, and perhaps it will mean that I will be seeking a new vocation all together. I will seek His guidance and will try to listen as He speaks to me. I would ask for everyone's prayers as I seek His direction for my life and work.

What about this blog? Lord willing, I will try some new things and pass on some new wisdom that He see fit to bless me with. I pray that you can be blessed as I continue into this new year. Happy New Year, and may He bless and guide you as you journey through it.

My distant photo of Mount of the Holy Cross and the valleys below from Vail Mountain, Summer 2009.