Thursday, May 31, 2012

Who Is Jesus? - May 31, 2012

Colossians 1:15-17 (New International Reader's Version)
15 Christ is the exact likeness of God, who can't be seen. He is first, and he is over all of creation. 16 All things were created by him. He created everything in heaven and on earth. He created everything that can be seen and everything that can't be seen. He created kings, powers, rulers and authorities. Everything was created by him and for him. 17 Before anything was created, he was already there. He holds everything together.


Have you ever been asked to explain why you believe in Jesus Christ? Have you been put to the test by others as to who Jesus is, and whether or not he is really God? There are many cults that exist today that call that fact into question. Some call themselves Christian, yet they deny the fundamental fact that Jesus is not just a mere human but God himself. Then there are other religions that say that Jesus is nothing more than a good moral teacher, attempting to place Christianity on the same level as any other religion. So, how can you know in whom you have placed your faith?

These questions and opinions about Jesus are not a new. In fact these same controversies have been alive and well since the beginning. One of the fiercest critics and persecutors of Christians actually persued believers in the 1st Century, imprisoning and even killing some of them. He felt that Christians were perverting the Jewish faith and following after a false Jew ish Messiah that had long since died. He was so fierce in his persecution that he had gained a reputation as a zealot for the Jewich faith, and he was so relentless that the young Christian community feared him.

Yet, this high-ranking Jewish official was confronted by the living Jesus Christ, and was so changed by his conversion that he became the author responsible for much of the writing of the New Testament of the Bible. In fact he became even more zealous for the cause of Christ than he ever was for the Jewish faith. You know this man as Saul of Tarsus, who after his conversion became Paul. How was Paul so profoundly changed? It is because through his encounter with Jesus, he realized who Jesus really was. In Paul's letter to the church in Colosse, the Book of Colossians, we catch a glimpse of who Jesus Christ really is.

If you are unsure of what you believe about Jesus, be sure that you study each and every word in the passage above. It presents a characterization of Jesus Christ that is so profound, that you either believe it or you don't. You either believe tha He is God or you don't. Just be sure you know and are able to defend what you believe.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

He Is With You - May 30, 2012

Joshua 1:9 (New Living Translation)
9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Acts 18:9-10 (English Standard Version)
9And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, "Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, 10 for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people."

Once we have found eternal salvation by believing in Jesus Christ, it becomes necessary that we tell as many people as we can. Problem is though many of us feel like we are going it alone, when we take a step of faith and decide to serve God. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Those of us who do believe only do so because God has rescued us for His purposes (John 6:44). God draws everyone, but many harden their hearts to His call. That is why He uses the witness and example of simple men and woman to be His "hands and feet", causing those who may not have heeded God's call to be drawn to the living examples of Jesus. Sharing the truth in love while extended a helping hand is very difficult to resist.

God goes before you preparing the way, by preparing the ground(the hearts of people)before you, and He goes goes behind you protecting you while you are in His service. His call is for us to go and do, following the call that He has placed within your spirit. Once you are truly "saved" it is diffcult to ignore that call. Don't worry and don't fear stepping out,just GO, because God will always be with you.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Playing Peek-a-boo - May 29, 2012

Proverbs 5:21-23 (New International Reader's Version)
21 The Lord watches a man's ways. He studies all of his paths.

22 A sinner is trapped by his own evil acts. He is held tight by the ropes of his sins. 23 He will die because he refused to be corrected. His sins will capture him because he was very foolish.

Job 31:4;34:21(New International Reader's Version)
4 Doesn't God see how I live? Doesn't he count every step I take?
...
21 "His eyes see how people live. He watches every step they take."

Jeremiah 16:17(New International Reader's Version)
17 My eyes see everything these people do. What they do is not hidden from me. I always see their sin.

Hosea 7:2(New International Reader's Version)
2 But they do not realize that I remember all of the evil things they do. Their sins pile up and cover them. I am always aware of those sins.

John 3:19-21 (GOD’S WORD Translation)
19This is why people are condemned: The light came into the world. Yet, people loved the dark rather than the light because their actions were evil. 20People who do what is wrong hate the light and don’t come to the light. They don’t want their actions to be exposed. 21But people who do what is true come to the light so that the things they do for God may be clearly seen.


All of us that have had young children have played the game of "peek-a-boo" with them. Nothing is cuter than our little loved one covering their eyes to hide from you, only to move their hands and suddenly seeing you, when you say "I see you". In their young minds they are hidden from you and you cannot see them, but in actuality you are there the entire time, seeing everything that they do.

As little children this game is fun, and it is just as fun for us as we play it with them. But as adults, this game is not so fun anymore. As lost human beings, we try to hide many of the bad things we do, thinking that no one is watching us. We fool oursleves into believing that we can live like "hell" and get away with it. Sooner or later though, all of our sins will catch up with us. God sees everything we do, and eventually He will expose everything to the light of day.

The wonderful thing about God is that even though we try to hide our sins there is no need, because God has already provided us with a way to "come clean" and bring everything into His light. If you find yourself trying to hide from God, come into the light of His mercy and grace through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. You will find that there is no reason to hide from Him ever again.

Monday, May 28, 2012

In Memory of Memorial Day - May 28, 2012

John 15:13 (New International Version)
13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

For many of us the true meaning and depth of someone giving their life on our behlaf is too hard to comprehend. Only those who have lost a loved one in the service to this country can understand the true sacrifice given. Most of those who have died in our nation's wars have done so willingly, through enlistment or as a volunteer. They were willing to step up to defend the Nation, their homes, and their families.

Two millenia ago another stepped up to voluntarily give their life on our behalf. He was willing to go be crucified on a Roman cross, so that the penalty for all sins, past, present and future would be paid in full. Jesus Christ should be given the thanks, respect and honor He is due, and accept His gift to us. We need to come to Him with grateful hearts and never forget His sacrifice.

As we reflect on this day, we need to never forget the sacrifice that all those who have given up their lives have made for us. We need to not forget to give them the respect and honor that they are due, and we need to be the caretakers of those that they have left behind. They and their families have truly followed the path of Christ in what they have given to us to secure our freedom.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Getting Closer to God - May 27, 2012

Luke 15:13-20 (New International Version)
13"Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

17"When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.' 20So he got up and went to his father.

"But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him."

Acts 2:38-39 (New American Standard Bible)
38Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

39"For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself."

Ephesians 2:13 (New American Standard Bible)
13But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.


There was a time in our lives that we stood far away from God. We made the conscious decision to go our own way. We chose to jump into the "world" with both feet and indulge ourselves in everything it had to offer. In choosing our own way we exposed ourselves to the good and the bad. In doing so, we drove ourselves further and further from God, falling deeper and deeper into the "pit" of sin and trouble that we dug. We soon found ourselves in the same desparate situation as the younger son above.

The portion of the parable found above and told by Jesus is meant to tell us about the heart and attitude of God. When we read, "while he was still a long way off...", we understand how God really feels about us. He sees us when we are far from Him and a "long way off", and because of His desire that none of us would perish, He sent Jesus Christ to stand in the gap for us by dying on the cross in our place.

Jesus bridges that gap, that canyon, the chasm that we create through our sin, that separates us from the Father. With his outstretched arms he reaches out to us, and He is our ultimate Savior that draws us close to God. You might be in this very situation. You might feel like you are far away from God. This doesn't mean that you have to stay there. Like the younger son, you need to come to your senses.

No matter what you have done, your Father in heaven is waiting to "throw His arms" around you. Make that decision today and accept the gift of salvation given through Jesus Christ.

Painting by MURILLO, Bartolomé Esteban, Return of the Prodigal Son, 1667-70

Saturday Praise - May 26, 2012

Psalm 106:1-5 (New International Version)
1 Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

2 Who can proclaim the mighty acts of the LORD or fully declare his praise? 3 Blessed are they who maintain justice, who constantly do what is right.

4 Remember me, O LORD, when you show favor to your people, come to my aid when you save them, 5 that I may enjoy the prosperity of your chosen ones, tthat I may share in the joy of your nation and join your inheritance in giving praise.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Good Company - May 25, 2012

Revelation 7:9-12 (New Century Version)
9 After the vision of these things I looked, and there was a great number of people, so many that no one could count them. They were from every nation, tribe, people, and language of the earth. They were all standing before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.

10 They were shouting in a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb."11 All the angels were standing around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures. They all bowed down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,12 saying, "Amen! Praise, glory, wisdom, thanks, honor, power, and strength belong to our God forever and ever. Amen!"


This is probably something that you may not think too much about, but it is something that is important that you have assurance of. I don't think any of us will want to be caught surprised on this one, because someday all of us will be counted by the company we are associated with during our lifetimes. For some, this has changed over time, especially if you have surrendered your life to Jesus Christ. For others, it may still be a question you have yet to answer in your heart. Unfortunately for some, it is something that is of little importance.

There is an American Gospel Hymn that highlights the answer and desire in every Christian heart. That desire is to someday be with Jesus, to be counted among "good company". As a believer we look forward to that day as is noted in these lyrics to "Oh When the Saints Go Marching In":

We are trav'ling in the footsteps
Of those who've gone before,
And we'll all be reunited,
On a new and sunlit shore.

Oh, when the saints go marching in,
Oh, when the saints go marching in,
Lord, how I want to be in that number,
When the saints go marching in.

And when the sun refuse to shine,
And when the sun refuse to shine,
Lord, how I want to be in that number,
When the sun refuse to shine.
...
Oh, when the trumpet sounds its call,
Oh, when the trumpet sounds its call,
Lord, how I want to be in that number,
When the trumpet sounds its call.

Some say this world of trouble
Is the only one we need,
But I'm waiting for that morning,
When the new world is revealed.

Oh When the new world is revealed,
Oh When the new world is revealed,
Lord, how I want to be in that number,
When the new world is revealed.

Oh, when the saints go marching in,
Oh, when the saints go marching in,
Lord, how I want to be in that number,
When the saints go marching in.


The above passage is one of two places in the Book of Revelation where the apostle John details seeing the great multitude in the presence of Jesus in heaven. It tells us that someday people from every tribe and nation will be before the throne, worshiping and praising God. This is the question that has to be answered in every human heart, because the answer is of eternal importance, will you be counted among that number, when the saints go marching in?

Painting Revelation 7:9-12 (New Century Version)
9 After the vision of these things I looked, and there was a great number of people, so many that no one could count them. They were from every nation, tribe, people, and language of the earth. They were all standing before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.

10 They were shouting in a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb."11 All the angels were standing around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures. They all bowed down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,12 saying, "Amen! Praise, glory, wisdom, thanks, honor, power, and strength belong to our God forever and ever. Amen!"


This is probably something that you may not think too much about, but it is something that is important that you have assurance of. I don't think any of us will want to be caught surprised on this one, because someday all of us will be counted by the company we are associated with during our lifetimes. For some, this has changed over time, especially if you have surrendered your life to Jesus Christ. For others, it may still be a question you have yet to answer in your heart. Unfortunately for some, it is something that is of little importance.

There is an American Gospel Hymn that highlights the answer and desire in every Christian heart. That desire is to someday be with Jesus, to be counted among "good company". As a believer we look forward to that day as is noted in these lyrics to "Oh When the Saints Go Marching In":

We are trav'ling in the footsteps
Of those who've gone before,
And we'll all be reunited,
On a new and sunlit shore.

Oh, when the saints go marching in,
Oh, when the saints go marching in,
Lord, how I want to be in that number,
When the saints go marching in.

And when the sun refuse to shine,
And when the sun refuse to shine,
Lord, how I want to be in that number,
When the sun refuse to shine.
...
Oh, when the trumpet sounds its call,
Oh, when the trumpet sounds its call,
Lord, how I want to be in that number,
When the trumpet sounds its call.

Some say this world of trouble
Is the only one we need,
But I'm waiting for that morning,
When the new world is revealed.

Oh When the new world is revealed,
Oh When the new world is revealed,
Lord, how I want to be in that number,
When the new world is revealed.

Oh, when the saints go marching in,
Oh, when the saints go marching in,
Lord, how I want to be in that number,
When the saints go marching in.


The above passage is one of two places in the Book of Revelation where the apostle John details seeing the great multitude in the presence of Jesus in heaven. It tells us that someday people from every tribe and nation will be before the throne, worshiping and praising God. This is the question that has to be answered in every human heart, because the answer is of eternal importance, will you be counted among that number, when the saints go marching in?

Painting Revelation 7:9-12 (New Century Version)
9 After the vision of these things I looked, and there was a great number of people, so many that no one could count them. They were from every nation, tribe, people, and language of the earth. They were all standing before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.

10 They were shouting in a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb."11 All the angels were standing around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures. They all bowed down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,12 saying, "Amen! Praise, glory, wisdom, thanks, honor, power, and strength belong to our God forever and ever. Amen!"


This is probably something that you may not think too much about, but it is something that is important that you have assurance of. I don't think any of us will want to be caught surprised on this one, because someday all of us will be counted by the company we are associated with during our lifetimes. For some, this has changed over time, especially if you have surrendered your life to Jesus Christ. For others, it may still be a question you have yet to answer in your heart. Unfortunately for some, it is something that is of little importance.

There is an American Gospel Hymn that highlights the answer and desire in every Christian heart. That desire is to someday be with Jesus, to be counted among "good company". As a believer we look forward to that day as is noted in these lyrics to "Oh When the Saints Go Marching In":

We are trav'ling in the footsteps
Of those who've gone before,
And we'll all be reunited,
On a new and sunlit shore.

Oh, when the saints go marching in,
Oh, when the saints go marching in,
Lord, how I want to be in that number,
When the saints go marching in.

And when the sun refuse to shine,
And when the sun refuse to shine,
Lord, how I want to be in that number,
When the sun refuse to shine.
...
Oh, when the trumpet sounds its call,
Oh, when the trumpet sounds its call,
Lord, how I want to be in that number,
When the trumpet sounds its call.

Some say this world of trouble
Is the only one we need,
But I'm waiting for that morning,
When the new world is revealed.

Oh When the new world is revealed,
Oh When the new world is revealed,
Lord, how I want to be in that number,
When the new world is revealed.

Oh, when the saints go marching in,
Oh, when the saints go marching in,
Lord, how I want to be in that number,
When the saints go marching in.


The above passage is one of two places in the Book of Revelation where the apostle John details seeing the great multitude in the presence of Jesus in heaven. It tells us that someday people from every tribe and nation will be before the throne, worshiping and praising God. This is the question that has to be answered in every human heart, because the answer is of eternal importance, will you be counted among that number, when the saints go marching in?

Painting of "All Saints Day", by Frangelico, 1430

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Overcoming Dehydration - May 24, 2012

Isaiah 55:1-2 (New International Version)
1 "Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.

2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.

John 4:13-14 (New Century Version)
13 Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give will never be thirsty. The water I give will become a spring of water gushing up inside that person, giving eternal life."

Revelation 21:6-7 (New Living Translation)
6 And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. 7 All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.


It is only the end of May, and it is already getting hot. Add the humidity and the heat "penetrates to the bone". Prolonged exposure to the hot sun causes us to lose body fluids and can result in dehydration. Our bodies overcomes this drive to replace the loss of fluids by giving us a craving, thirst. Continued heat and exposure, and our thirst can become unquenchable.

We experience this same kind of unquenchable thirst when we are seeking God. All human beings have an emptiness inside, a thirst, that has to be filled with something. Most often we try to quench this thirst with temporary, external things. Or we believe it can be quenched through our works or actions as is found in many religions. We think that this emptiness can be filled by going through certain "holy" rituals, but unless we are filled from the inside, we will never be saisfied.

In Isaiah God invites all who are thirsty to freely come to the waters. Jesus picked up this same theme when he offered the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well "living water". He offered her water that would fill her from the inside out and produce a spring that would continue to fill her. And Jesus makes this same offer to all that come to Him, and he will quench their spiritual thirst.

What fill us with from the wellspring of living water that leads to eternal life? It is Jesus Christ through the presence of the Holy Spirit, that will continue to freely fill us, when we accept the free gift of salvation that God offers us through His mercy and grace. When you become spiritually dehydrated from the heat you encounter from the fires of life, come drink from the living water God offers and never be thirsty again.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

It's All About God - May 23, 2012

Genesis 1:1 (New International Version)
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Psalm 90:2 (New International Version)
2 Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

Psalm 102:25 (GOD’S WORD Translation)
25Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth. Even the heavens are the works of your hands.

Isaiah 40:26 (New International Version)
26 Lift your eyes and look to the heavens:

Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.

Acts 17:24 (New International Reader's Version)
24 "He is the God who made the world. He also made everything in it. He is the Lord of heaven and earth. He doesn't live in temples built by hands.

It is all about God. What we believe in terms of medicine, science, social issues, evolution, climate change, religion, terrorism, all has to do with how we define God. How we practice a religion, and how it affects our worldview, all has to do with God. Even whether or not you are an atheist depends on God.

All major decisions that we make concerning how we treat each other has to do with what we think about God. What we think and believe, how we approach life and relationships, how we live our lives, and how we approach death all has to do with God.

Before you can ever make a determination of what you believe, before you can have faith, before you can hope for eternal existance, you have to make a decision of who God is. You cannot defend any of the most important issues in life that you will be faced with unless you have a firm foundation concerning God.

Do you know and can you defend what you believe about God? Nothing else is more important to determine in your life than who God is, what He has done, and how He has settled the issue of your life after death. Who is God for you? If you can't answer that question, it is time you did.

Romans 1:20 (New International Version)
20For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Praying It In - May 22, 2012

1 Samuel 2:1-10 (New International Version)
1 Then Hannah prayed and said:
"My heart rejoices in the LORD;
in the LORD my horn(strength) is lifted high.
My mouth boasts over my enemies,
for I delight in your deliverance.
2 "There is no one holy like the LORD;
there is no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.

3 "Do not keep talking so proudly
or let your mouth speak such arrogance,
for the LORD is a God who knows,
and by him deeds are weighed.

4 "The bows of the warriors are broken,
but those who stumbled are armed with strength.

5 Those who were full hire themselves out for food,
but those who were hungry hunger no more.
She who was barren has borne seven children,
but she who has had many sons pines away.

6 "The LORD brings death and makes alive;
he brings down to the grave and raises up.

7 The LORD sends poverty and wealth;
he humbles and he exalts.

8 He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
he seats them with princes
and has them inherit a throne of honor.
"For the foundations of the earth are the LORD's;
upon them he has set the world.

9 He will guard the feet of his saints,
but the wicked will be silenced in darkness.
"It is not by strength that one prevails;

10 those who oppose the LORD will be shattered.
He will thunder against them from heaven;
the LORD will judge the ends of the earth.
"He will give strength to his king
and exalt the horn(strength)of his anointed."


Have you ever been in a difficult situation that day after day, month after month, continued on without a favorable outcome? You may have sought God in prayer and cried out to Him for relief, but the situation continued without God's help. After awhile, you grew so tired of your trouble that you raised your voice in anguish, wondering why the Lord had forgotten you. You began to doubt that God would ever help, and you may have resigned yourself to the fact that maybe God had closed His ears to your plea, and that nothing would ever change.

In the Book of 1Samuel in the Bible, Hannah found herself in that same situation. She was the favored second wife of her husband, but for some reason she was unable to bear any children. In those days, a woman's value in society many times determined by her ability to bear her husband sons. In Hannah's case, she had to stand by in shame while year after year the other wife had child after child for her husband.

Instead of giving up, Hannah appealed to a higher authority. She poured her heart out to God and He remembered her plea:

10 In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD. 11 And she made a vow, saying, "O LORD Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant's misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head."
...
20 So in the course of time Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, "Because I asked the LORD for him."- 1 Samuel 1:10-11;20(New International Version)


In thanksgiving for God remembering her plea, Hannah lifted up the prayer posted above. She gives God all of the glory for remembering His humble servant, and she characterizes the goodness of God as she prays.

If you have been troubled for along time with a difficult situation, don't give up hope, learn a lesson from Hannah. Lift your heart to the Lord and "pray it in". God hears and loves you, and in His perfect timing He will bring you relief from your trouble. He knows the beginning from the end and He will remember your plea. Be patient and always lift Him up in praise, and when your difficulty comes to an end, be sure to give Him the glory, praise and thanks that He is due.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Nobody Knows - May 21, 2012

Matthew 24:36-44 (GOD’S WORD Translation)
36“No one knows when that day or hour will come. Even the angels in heaven and the Son don’t know. Only the Father knows.

37“When the Son of Man comes again, it will be exactly like the days of Noah. 38In the days before the flood, people were eating, drinking, and getting married until the day that Noah went into the ship. 39They were not aware of what was happening until the flood came and swept all of them away. That is how it will be when the Son of Man comes again.

40“At that time two men will be working in the field. One will be taken, and the other one will be left. 41Two women will be working at a mill. One will be taken, and the other one will be left.

42“Therefore, be alert, because you don’t know on what day your Lord will return. 43You realize that if a homeowner had known at what time of the night a thief was coming, he would have stayed awake. He would not have let the thief break into his house.

44Therefore, you, too, must be ready because the Son of Man will return when you least expect him.

There are people out there that believe that the END OF THE WORLD will be at the end of the Mayan calendar; December 21, 2012. There has been talk about that particluar day for a long time. Many have been planning for what they will do before that day in 2012, in fact they even made a movie by that name, and if you watch the History Channel and other such stations, the coming Apocalypse is big news. But, I am afraid that many people will be sadly disappointed when they celebrate a New Year 2013.

What is bad about all of this hype about the world's end is that many people sincerely believe it, and they are so sure of those who preach it that they give them everything for the cause of telling people. Is it a wonder that many of those who preach they know the actual day of Christ's coming are worth millions? I am sure that they may be sincere, but if they know anything about the Bible, they would know these words of Jesus Christ, where, when asked when the end would come, He told His disciples that only God the Father knew.

No man will be able to predict the end. It will come "like a thief in the night", when we least expect it. So what is the message? As Jesus was clear to say, we need to be ready!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Truly Blessed - May 20, 2012

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.
Selah

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.
Selah

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.
Selah

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!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Saturday Praise! - May 19, 2012

Psalm 47 (New International Version)
1 Clap your hands, all you nations;
shout to God with cries of joy.

2 For the LORD Most High is awesome,
the great King over all the earth.
3 He subdued nations under us,
peoples under our feet.
4 He chose our inheritance for us,
the pride of Jacob, whom he loved.

5 God has ascended amid shouts of joy,
the LORD amid the sounding of trumpets.
6 Sing praises to God, sing praises;
sing praises to our King, sing praises.
7 For God is the King of all the earth;
sing to him a psalm of praise.

8 God reigns over the nations;
God is seated on his holy throne.
9 The nobles of the nations assemble
as the people of the God of Abraham,
for the kings of the earth belong to God;
he is greatly exalted.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Green Pastures, Still Waters - May 18, 2012

Psalm 23 (New King James Version)
A Psalm of David.
1 The LORD is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD
Forever.


Probably one of the most popular and favorite Psalms of David is the 23rd Psalm. It carries deep meaning for many of us, and in my own life it has brought many moments of comfort. The best interpretation of these verses is our own, because for each of us it has its own meaning. If you haven't for some time, read and meditate on these words, lift your heart to God and see what how He will lead you through this time.

Photo from "Green Jeans Soggy Bottoms", posted 2-19-2010 on TruthWorths.com

This is a repost of a previous blog; I pray that it is a blessing to you.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Giving Our Best - May 17, 2012


2 Peter 1:3-7 (New International Reader's Version)
3 God's power has given us everything we need to lead a godly life. All of that has come to us because we know the One who chose us. He chose us because of his own glory and goodness.

4 He has also given us his very great and valuable promises. He did it so you could share in his nature. He also did it so you could escape from the evil in the world. That evil is caused by sinful longings.

5 So you should try very hard to add goodness to your faith. To goodness, add knowledge. 6 To knowledge, add the ability to control yourselves. To the ability to control yourselves, add the strength to keep going. To the strength to keep going, add godliness. 7 To godliness, add kindness to believers. And to kindness to believers, add love.


As a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, we should be continually be giving our best in gratitude for what He has done for us. What is giving our best? The second letter attributed to the apostle and eye-witness of Jesus's earthly presence, Peter, touches on this in verses 5-7.

Our best is offered in how we live out our faith in Jesus Christ, and this is lived out in our goodness to others, our hunger to know God more, how we control our earthly desires, our endurance in the face of difficulty and persecution, our behavior and character before God, in how we treat fellow believers we serve with, and most importantly how we demonstrate love to all.

I have found that in times of trial and distress, the closer I get to Him, the more confident I am in the future. And the more confident I am in the future with God's help, the more I am able to serve others for Him. I have resolved to listen more to His voice in my heart, to turn from doing things my own way, and to follow His leading in all things. I have learned that in the race called life, I need to always try and give God my best.

Photo of Olympic and world champion Jeremy Wariner, by Gene Cherry,Eugene, OR, July 5, 2008 - Reuters

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

As Jesus Sees It - May 16, 2012

Luke 18:9-14 (New International Version)
9To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable:

10"Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'

13"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'

14"I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

Romans 14:10-13 (New Century Version)
10 So why do you judge your brothers or sisters in Christ? And why do you think you are better than they are? We will all stand before God to be judged, 11 because it is written in the Scriptures:

" 'As surely as I live,' says the Lord,
'Everyone will bow before me;
everyone will say that I am God.' " — Isaiah 45:23
12 So each of us will have to answer to God.

13 For that reason we should stop judging each other. We must make up our minds not to do anything that will make another Christian sin.


We can easily fall into that trap were we start seeing ourselves in comparison to others around us, those who are believers and those who are not. When we do, it becomes easy for us to make judgments that we shouldn't be making.

How often have we considered a person in our church that was vying for that spot we wanted in leadership, only to think that they were not as qualified as us? Or, how often do we see people from other churches and wonder "are they really saved"? And when we see someone that seems a bit too worldly, do we look at them with compassion, or do we look at them in disgust because they don't believe as we do, or behave as we do?

What we should be doing is seeing ourselves before God as we are, fallen and fallible people saved by the grace of Jesus Christ. We need to come before our God humbly and helplessly in want of His mercy. What impacts me the most about the example Jesus set for us is how he approached everything with humility. Here was God and Creator of the universe, and yet he chose to clothe himself in human flesh and spend his life as a servant to others.

If we are to call ourselves Christains, followers of Christ, we need to be sure that we clearly follow His example of the greatest and highest good, that of the humble servant. As we are told above, we will someday sit in judgement for what we have done in these earthly bodies. No, not to be judged as to whether or not we will saved, but we will be judged for what we did in humble service to Jesus. So when we see other people, we need to be sure that we see them through the eyes of Jesus. and see everyone as he does.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Taming the Tongue - May 15, 2012

Proverbs 12:14,17-19,22-23 (New International Version)
14 From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things as surely as the work of his hands rewards him.
...
17 A truthful witness gives honest testimony, but a false witness tells lies.

18 Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

19 Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.
...
22 The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful.

23 A prudent man keeps his knowledge to himself, but the heart of fools blurts out folly.

Proverbs 21:23 (New International Reader's Version)23 Anyone who is careful about what he says
keeps himself out of trouble.

James 3:9-10 (New Century Version)
9 We use our tongues to praise our Lord and Father, but then we curse people, whom God made like himself.10 Praises and curses come from the same mouth! My brothers and sisters, this should not happen.

How many relationships have been ruined by the tongue? There are very few of us that have not been damamged in some way from words that have been spoken, whether in anger or deceit. The damage doesn't just end with the individual. There have been entire societies and peoples that have been destroyed by lies and falsehoods that have stirred others to do the most horrible crimes against others. Even today the work of "lying lips" throughout our society, in the media, the government, and schools to name a few, wreaks havoc across many many lives.

Unfortunately, it is often difficult to correct the wrongs of the tongue after it is too late, but we all can do our part before it is. In our personal lives, we need to always be aware that what we say can damage those we love and bring harm to a friend. Always be on guard, whether we are at work or at play, that what we say is making an impact on someone. In the society around us, we need to always hold those around us accountable for what they say. And when it comes to those who govern, teach or are otherwise in authority over us or our families, we need be sure that they are either accountable for what they say, or they are asked to find a different vocation.

Study the verses above. Meditate on them and consider how what you say carries a lot of weight in how you conduct your daily life. Counter act the evil and lying words, with the good and truthful words of love and concern. Get involved in the lives of your children and be aware of what they are being told. Get involved in your schools and communities, and make sure that everything is always filtered through the truth. Make sure that you are always truthful and caring as well, and remember that God is always aware of the words you say.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Baby Steps - May 14, 2012

Proverbs 20:24 (New Living Translation)
24 The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?

Psalm 37:23(New International Version)
23 If the LORD delights in a man's way, he makes his steps firm;

Psalm 39:4 (New Living Translation)
4 “Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered— how fleeting my life is.

Psalm 90:12 (New International Reader's Version)
12 Teach us to realize how short our lives are. Then our hearts will become wise.

Jeremiah 10:23(New International Version)
23 I know, O LORD, that a man's life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps.

I talk to a lot of people, and especially in this economy, more and more people are frustrated with the whole system. You work harder and longer, and you make less and everything costs more. You hear more and more media types and think that the whole system is rigged against the little guy, or for that matter if you are a big guy the system is against you as well!

God has wonderful news for us, especially if you believe in Him and His word. You and I don't have to worry about any of this! He has it all under control. You see with God in control, why not just go along for the ride? Did you catch that first Proverb, where it says, "why try to understand everything along the way?" I really cling to verses in the Bible like the ones above. Our time on earth is so very short that we shouldn't be concerned and frustrated with the process of living.

What is the solution? Give it all back to Him. Let God take charge of your life and He will "direct your steps". How you ask? Start out with seeking Him in prayer. Get into His word and ask Him to guide you through it, showing you what is going on. Pray for His wisdom and His understanding. And, if you do not already know about His Son Jesus, who gave it all so that you could be forgiven and be with Him forever, ask to get to know Him.

Yes, this life isn't easy and often frustrating, and yes, we feel like a baby taking our first steps much of the time, but if you ask for God to guide you, it sure will be much easier and in the end you will know your destination.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

In Honor of Mothers - May 13, 2012

Proverbs 31:1,10-31 (New Living Translation)
1 The sayings of King Lemuel contain this message, which his mother taught him.
...
10 Who can find a virtuous and capable wife(and mother)? She is more precious than rubies.11 Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. 12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.

13 She finds wool and flax and busily spins it. 14 She is like a merchant’s ship,bringing her food from afar.

15 She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.

16 She goes to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard. 17 She is energetic and strong, a hard worker.

18 She makes sure her dealings are profitable; her lamp burns late into the night.

19 Her hands are busy spinning thread,her fingers twisting fiber. 20 She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy.

21 She has no fear of winter for her household, for everyone has warm clothes. 22 She makes her own bedspreads. She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.

23 Her husband is well known at the city gates, where he sits with the other civic leaders. 24 She makes belted linen garments and sashes to sell to the merchants.

25 She is clothed with strength and dignity,and she laughs without fear of the future. 26 When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.

27 She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness.

28 Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her:

29 “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!”

30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. 31 Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.

As we wind down this weekend, and Mother's Day, lets take time to reflect on the mothers in our lives and give them the praise and honor that they are due. They do a thankless job raising children in a very difficult world, yet all of us who follow the Lord can probably thank our moms for reflecting the heart of God and the love of Jesus to us.

Personally, to my dear wife and the mother of our beautiful family, I would like to thank her for always living out the example of the Proverbs 31:10-31 woman that is shown to us in the verses above. I pray that she knows how much we all love her, and that we show her our love daily. To my mother, I would like to thank her for her love, and teaching me how to be a good son.

Let us all not only honor the mothers in our lives on this day, but throughout the year. If you are a mom, I pray that God blesses you and rewards you for the sacrifice, devotion and caring you always give us.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Saturday Praise! - May 12, 2012

Psalm 92(New International Version)
1 It is good to praise the Lord
and make music to your name, O Most High,
2 proclaiming your love in the morning
and your faithfulness at night,
3 to the music of the ten-stringed lyre
and the melody of the harp.
4 For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord;
I sing for joy at what your hands have done.
5 How great are your works, Lord,
how profound your thoughts!
6 Senseless people do not know,
fools do not understand,
7 that though the wicked spring up like grass
and all evildoers flourish,
they will be destroyed forever.
8 But you, Lord, are forever exalted.

9 For surely your enemies , Lord,
surely your enemies will perish;
all evildoers will be scattered.
10 You have exalted my horn like that of a wild ox;
fine oils have been poured on me.
11 My eyes have seen the defeat of my adversaries;
my ears have heard the rout of my wicked foes.
12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
13 planted in the house of the Lord,
they will flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They will still bear fruit in old age,
they will stay fresh and green,
15 proclaiming, “The Lord is upright;
he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him. ”

Friday, May 11, 2012

When God Speaks - May 11, 2012

Isaiah 44 (Amplified Bible)A Revelation to the Prophet Isaiah from God, 2700 years ago.

1YET NOW hear, O Jacob, My servant and Israel, whom I have chosen.
2Thus says the Lord, Who made you and formed you from the womb, Who will help you: Fear not, O Jacob, My servant, and you Jeshurun [the upright one--applied to Israel as a type of the Messiah], whom I have chosen.

3For I will pour water upon him who is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground. I will pour My Spirit upon your offspring, and My blessing upon your descendants.(John 7:37-39 NIV)

4And they shall spring up among the grass like willows or poplars by the watercourses.

5One will say, I am the Lord's; and another will call himself by the name of Jacob; and another will write [even brand or tattoo] upon his hand, I am the Lord's, and surname himself by the [honorable] name of Israel.

6Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: I am the First and I am the Last besides Me there is no God.(Revelation 22:13 NIV)
Do you realize that this is Jesus speaking through an Old Testament prophet?


We are indeed living in exceptional times. No one can say that they have ever experienced times like these before. I really feel that we need to listen to God's word for explanations and answers for how we should handle what we are going through as a Nation and as individuals.

The verse by verse dissection and interpolation is from the Amplified Bible. They do a great job of helping us understand the meaning behind the text. I would encourage you to take a few minutes in a quite place, pray for understanding, and read and reflect on what God is saying.

You will be amazed how clearly you hear His message to us today. I will take the liberty of adding my thoughts in a few places. Oh by the way, be sure to follow the bible reference links I have added and read the accompanying passages as well. This post is a bit long, but the excercise and reading will be worth it.

7Who is like Me? Let him [stand and] proclaim it, declare it, and set [his proofs] in order before Me, since I made and established the people of antiquity. [Who has announced from of old] the things that are coming? Then let them declare yet future things.

8Fear not, nor be afraid [in the coming violent upheavals]; have I not told it to you from of old and declared it? And you are My witnesses! Is there a God besides Me? There is no [other] Rock(Matthew 16:13-20 NIRV); I know not any.


God speaks with His own authority; He alone determines and knows all things!

9All who make graven idols are confusion, chaos, and worthlessness. Their objects (idols) in which they delight do not profit them, and their own witnesses (worshipers) do not see or know, so that they are put to shame.

10Who is [such a fool as] to fashion a god or cast a graven image that is profitable for nothing?

11Behold, all his fellows shall be put to shame, and the craftsmen, [how can they make a god?] they are but men. Let them all be gathered together, let them stand forth; they shall be terrified, they shall be put to shame together.

God now is describing those today who run after the "idols" in their lives and do not seek Him.

12The ironsmith sharpens and uses a chisel and works it over the coals; he shapes [the core of the idol] with hammers and forges it with his strong arm. He becomes hungry and his strength fails; he drinks no water and is faint.

13The carpenter stretches out a line, he marks it out with a pencil or red ocher; he fashions [an idol] with planes and marks it out with the compasses; and he shapes it to have the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, that it may dwell in a house.

14He hews for himself cedars, and takes the holm tree and the oak and lets them grow strong for himself among the trees of the forest; he plants a fir tree or an ash, and the rain nourishes it.

15Then it becomes fuel for a man to burn; a part of it he takes and warms himself, yes, he kindles a fire and bakes bread. [Then out of the remainder, the leavings] he also makes a god and worships it! He [with his own hands] makes it into a graven image and falls down and worships it!

16He burns part of the wood in the fire; with part of it he [cooks and] eats flesh, he roasts meat and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, Aha! I am warm, I have seen the fire!

17And from what is left [of the log] he makes a god, his graven idol. He falls down to it, he worships it and prays to it and says, Deliver me, for you are my god!

That is just like us human beings! We fashion "idols" for ourselves of a job, or possessions, or money, or relationships, etc., without realizing that all we are and all we receive is only because of God. He has made all things and He alone determines our path.

18They do not know or understand, for their eyes God has let become besmeared so that they cannot see, and their minds as well so that they cannot understand.

19And no one considers in his mind, nor has he knowledge and understanding [enough] to say [to himself], I have burned part of this log in the fire, and also I have baked bread on its coals and have roasted meat and eaten it. And shall I make the remainder of it into an abomination [the very essence of what is disgusting, detestable, and shamefully vile in the eyes of a jealous God]? Shall I fall down and worship the stock of a tree [a block of wood without consciousness or life]?

20That kind of man feeds on ashes [and finds his satisfaction in ashes]! A deluded mind has led him astray, so that he cannot release and save himself, or ask, Is not [this thing I am holding] in my right hand a lie?

Because we fail to recognize that God has given all to us, we unwittingly take credit and assume that what we have and do is because of our own efforts, and we rely on ourselves at our own peril.

21Remember these things [earnestly], O Jacob, O Israel, for you are My servant! I formed you, you are My servant; O Israel, you shall not be forgotten by Me.

22I have blotted out like a thick cloud your transgressions, and like a cloud your sins. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.

The New Living Translation says it this way,"I have swept away your sins like a cloud. I have scattered your offenses like the morning mist. Oh, return to me, for I have paid the price to set you free.” Do you realize what you are reading here? Here is a prophecy about what Jesus would come to earth and do for us 700 years in the future from this writing. This is amazing stuff!

23Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done it; shout, you depths of the earth; break forth into singing, you mountains, O forest and every tree in it! For the Lord has redeemed Jacob, and He glorifies Himself in Israel.

24Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, and He Who formed you from the womb: I am the Lord, Who made all things, Who alone stretched out the heavens, Who spread out the earth by Myself [who was with Me]?--

25[I am the Lord] Who frustrates the signs and confounds the omens [upon which the false prophets' forecasts of the future are based] of the [boasting] liars and makes fools of diviners, Who turns the wise backward and makes their knowledge foolishness,(1 Corinthians 1:20 NIV)

26[The Lord] Who confirms the word of His servant and performs the counsel of His messengers, Who says of Jerusalem, She shall [again] be inhabited, and of the cities of Judah, They shall [again] be built, and I will raise up their ruins,

27Who says to the deep, Be dry, and I will dry up your rivers,

28Who says of Cyrus, He is My shepherd (ruler), and he shall perform all My pleasure and fulfill all My purpose--even saying of Jerusalem, She shall [again] be built, and of the temple, Your foundation shall [again] be laid.

This is another prophecy of the Jews returning to Jerusalem at some future time, and the rebuilding of the Temple. ...The words are God's closing salutation and His statement that He alone is in charge of the affairs of mankind and He will determine all things.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Coming Redemption - May 10, 2012

Psalm 71:23 (New International Version)
23 My lips will shout for joy
when I sing praise to you—
I, whom you have redeemed.

Luke 1:67-79 (New International Version)
Zechariah's Song
67His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:

68"Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has come and has redeemed his people.
69He has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David
70(as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),
71salvation from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us—
72to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant,
73the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
74to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,
and to enable us to serve him without fear
75in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

76And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
77to give his people the knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins,
78because of the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
79to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace."


If you are a Christian, do you realize what you have been given? Do you know what has been done on behalf of you and countless of others that have called on the name of Jesus Christ? We have been redeemed from the "pit" and we need to give praise to the One who has given us this "indescribable gift". Zechariah through the power of the Spirit of God, sang a song of praise for the birth of his son, and foretold the coming of the Redeemer of mankind, and gave a song of praise for what He had done.

Very soon we will be called with a shout and blast of the trumpet, and we need to be focused on telling all we know. Like John the Baptist, we need to proclaim the soon coming of our Lord Jesus for His redeemed, His bride, the church. Even those who do not believe can sense a change in the world around them. We need to prepare the hearts of all who will listen for that glorious day. Who will you talk to? A neighbor? A relative or friend?

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29 (New King James Version)

Photo of Christ the Redeemed-The symbol of the city of Rio de Janeiro and one of the Seven New Wonders of the modern world.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Redefining Wickedness - May 9, 2012

Psalm 10 (New Living Translation)
1 O Lord, why do you stand so far away?
Why do you hide when I am in trouble?

2 The wicked arrogantly hunt down the poor.
Let them be caught in the evil they plan for others.
3 For they brag about their evil desires;
they praise the greedy and curse the Lord.

4 The wicked are too proud to seek God.
They seem to think that God is dead.
5 Yet they succeed in everything they do.
They do not see your punishment awaiting them.
They sneer at all their enemies.
6 They think, “Nothing bad will ever happen to us!
We will be free of trouble forever!”

7 Their mouths are full of cursing, lies, and threats.
Trouble and evil are on the tips of their tongues.
8 They lurk in ambush in the villages,
waiting to murder innocent people.
They are always searching for helpless victims.

9 Like lions crouched in hiding,
they wait to pounce on the helpless.
Like hunters they capture the helpless
and drag them away in nets.

10 Their helpless victims are crushed;
they fall beneath the strength of the wicked.
11 The wicked think, “God isn’t watching us!
He has closed his eyes and won’t even see what we do!”

12 Arise, O Lord!
Punish the wicked, O God!
Do not ignore the helpless!

13 Why do the wicked get away with despising God?
They think, “God will never call us to account.”
14 But you see the trouble and grief they cause.
You take note of it and punish them.
The helpless put their trust in you.
You defend the orphans.

15 Break the arms of these wicked, evil people!
Go after them until the last one is destroyed.
16 The Lord is king forever and ever!
The godless nations will vanish from the land.

17 Lord, you know the hopes of the helpless.
Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them.
18 You will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed,
so mere people can no longer terrify them.

If you ever need to describe the wicked, the psalm above does a good job of it. The wicked are always in opposition to the good. Even so, wickedness is still attractive to the world. Look out onto the landscape we call the world today.

Do you realize how many things that once were considered wicked are now accepted as normal and good? If you oppose such things that once were seen as wicked, you now become the one who is considered wicked yourself. The world is upside down; it has redefined what is wicked, but that is to be expected in a world ruled by Satan. What seems as a recent event for us is one that has been repeated generation after generation.

God will eventually bring about justice because this ultimately is His world. He is patient in bringing about justice, only because He loves each and everyone of us, and He is waiting for all who are to come to Him to do so. Our responsibility is to make sure that we end up on His side, and that we bring as many people to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as we can.

Illustration: Gustave Doré - Dante Alighieri - Inferno - Plate 10 (Canto III - Charon herds the sinners onto his boat); 1857

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Saying Please and Thank You - May 8, 2012

Hebrews 12:28-29 (New International Reader's Version)
28 We are receiving a kingdom that can't be shaken. So let us be thankful. Then we can worship God in a way that pleases him. We will worship him with deep respect and wonder. 29 Our "God is like a fire that burns everything up."—(Deuteronomy 4:24)

Hebrews 12:28-29 (The Message)
28-29Do you see what we've got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God. For God is not an indifferent bystander. He's actively cleaning house, torching all that needs to burn, and he won't quit until it's all cleansed. God himself is Fire!


When we were growing up we learned to say please and thank you whenever we wanted or were given something. It was probably one of the very first gestures we learned, and it is something we passed on to our own children. These days, although saying please and thank you may have fallen out of favor for some, it is still a gesture that is very much appreciated and and is seen as being the proper way of treating another. As a parent, we love it when our children learn to always say please and thank you whenever the situation warrants it.

How much more is it important for our God to be asked and thanked in the proper way. I think we often forget that God has personality and feelings in the same way we do. We need to remember the reality that He has created us after His own image. God is all about proper relationship, as can be seen by how the Father relates to the Son, who in turn relates to the Holy Spirit, who relates back to the Father, and they all relate to one another. It is a difficult idea and relationship for us to fathom, but if we closely study the Word that He has given us, we can clearly see the relationship of the Godhead.

Our God loves to hear us ask Him for anything and thank Him for everything. We need to have a relationship with God that is as real as a parent relates to a child; a relationship that understands that He wants to relate to us. Just as an earthly parent, He enjoys our asking for things as much as He enjoys giving us good things.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Always Giving Him Glory - May 7, 2012

Psalm 89:1-18 (New Century Version)
1 I will always sing about the Lord's love;
I will tell of his loyalty from now on.

2 I will say, "Your love continues forever;
your loyalty goes on and on like the sky."

3 You said, "I made an agreement with the man of my choice;
I made a promise to my servant David.

4 I told him, 'I will make your family continue forever.
Your kingdom will go on and on.' "
Selah

5 Lord, the heavens praise you for your miracles
and for your loyalty in the meeting of your holy ones.

6 Who in heaven is equal to the Lord?
None of the angels is like the Lord.

7 When the holy ones meet, it is God they fear.
He is more frightening than all who surround him.

8 Lord God All-Powerful, who is like you?
Lord, you are powerful and completely trustworthy.

9 You rule the mighty sea
and calm the stormy waves.

10 You crushed the sea monster Rahab;
by your power you scattered your enemies.

11 The skies and the earth belong to you.
You made the world and everything in it.

12 You created the north and the south.
Mount Tabor and Mount Hermon sing for joy at your name.

13 Your arm has great power.
Your hand is strong; your right hand is lifted up.

14 Your kingdom is built on what is right and fair.
Love and truth are in all you do.

15 Happy are the people who know how to praise you.
Lord, let them live in the light of your presence.

16 In your name they rejoice
and continually praise your goodness.

17 You are their glorious strength,
and in your kindness you honor our king.

18 Our king, our shield, belongs to the Lord,
to the Holy One of Israel.


As we learn how to overcome our difficulties by giving God glory, we need to always remember that we can never give Him too much glory. The amazing thing about this is that as we continuously focus on giving God praise and glory, and as we daily commit the problem to God, not only is it easier for us to go through, but you will notice that we conquer the situation much more quickly. As the psalmist above tells us:

15 Happy are the people who know how to praise you. Lord, let them live in the light of your presence. 16 In your name they rejoice and continually praise your goodness.

We need to develop a habit of utilizing this strategy of in everything we do, and also us it through every problem we encounter. Once we do, our lives will be more focused on serving God, and we will find our difficulties will be much less important. Our joy will show through in everything we do, and our new witness will be an attraction to others.

Photo of Sani Emmanuel: Giving glory to God!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Persistent Prayer - May 6, 2012

Luke 18:1-8 (New Living Translation)
1 One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up. 2 “There was a judge in a certain city,” he said, “who neither feared God nor cared about people. 3 A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, ‘Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.’ 4 The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people, 5 but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’”

6 Then the Lord said, “Learn a lesson from this unjust judge. 7 Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?”


In the passage above, Jesus illustrated through a parable the importance of persistent prayer. The ppoint here is that none of our prayers gets unanswered. We may not feel that way sometime, and there are times when we feel that God has abandoned us, but God does answer in the time that will benefit His children most.

There are circumstances that may hinder your prayers. If you are in sin and non-repentant, God will not listen to your prayers. Notice that I didn't say that He will not "hear" your prayers, because He is aware of everything, even your sinful state. If you will humble yourself, and ask Him for forgiveness, it will open up the line of communication.

What we pay for does have to be in His will for us. If we are frivolous in our prayers, or we are asking for things that are not within His plan for us, God will not gives us what we ask for. We need to always pray for wisdom and make sure we seek His will in our requests.

There are times when the answer you get is NO. Yes, we don't get everything we pray for, for God did not promise us everything when we came to Jesus. He did promise that he would meet all of our needs. In fact, as we mature in our Christian faith, we will ask for personal things much less frequently. If we focus on the needs of others and try to meet those needs, we will find that the very things we might have wanted we will get.

The New Testament talks alot about prayer, and this parable is just one example. Bottom line is this, we need to pray about everything all the time, because this is how we communicate with God. Jesus extended his love to us, now it is our turn to love Him back.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Saturday Praise! - May 5, 2012

Psalm 42(New International Version)
1 As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.

2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?

3 My tears have been my food
day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”

4 These things I remember
as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
under the protection of the Mighty One
with shouts of joy and praise
among the festive throng.

5 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

6 My soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
the heights of Hermon —from Mount Mizar.

7 Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.

8 By day the Lord directs his love,
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life.

9 I say to God my Rock,
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?”

10 My bones suffer mortal agony
as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”

11 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Inside Baseball - May 4, 2012

Psalm 16:8 (New International Version)
8 I have set the LORD always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.

I have learned that life throws you alot of curve balls, to use a baseball term. No matter what day it is, most of them end up with some sort of problem to deal with. As a Christian, you may have thought that life would be very idyllic. You may have thought that nothing would go wrong. Truth is our Savior promised us that we would encounter trouble, especially for following Him. What are we to do?

This verse from the Book of Psalm is a great place to start. As this verse says, I have learned to always put God first in all things. I approach each day, committing myself to God and His purposes. I try to grab onto wisdom from His word, to give me the guidance and support to make it through the day, and to overcome anything that is thrown at me. In other words, "I have set the Lord always before me".

With God on the field with you, as the lead off batter, I can be sure that I will be a winner in the game of life. Commit your day to Him and you will find yourself winning at life as well.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

National Day of Prayer 2012 - May 3, 2012

Psalm 33:12(New International Reader's Version)
12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.
Blessed are the people he chose to be his own.

Today, with barely a wimper from any media outlet is the National Day of Prayer. It is a day set aside that our Nation supposedly sets aside to call the citizens to pray for the country and where we are at this point in human history. Yet this day of prayer, and prayer in general is often forgotten and treated as just another day.

The National Day of Prayer tradition predates the founding of the United States of America, evidenced by the Continental Congress’ proclamation in 1775 setting aside a day of prayer. In 1952, Congress established an annual day of prayer and, in 1988, that law was amended, designating the National Day of Prayer as the first Thursday in May.

"On May 1st, President Obama signed this year’s Presidential Proclamation officially recognizing Thursday, May 3rd, 2012, as the 61st Annual National Day of Prayer. In his proclamation, he calls upon individuals –“ to pray for guidance, grace, and protection for our great Nation as we address the challenges of our time.” As we join together and ask with humility, may God Almighty, in His great and abundant mercy, grant this request.*"

Where are you today? Where are you in terms of your prayer life? Our loving God wants to hear from us, and He promises in His word that "14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." 2Chronicles 7:14(KJV)

Today please make time to pray for our Nation. Pray for wisdom for our leaders and compassion for our people. Pray for that life will once again be considered sacred, and that the things of God will prevail in our Nation. Pray that we will remain that shining light of help to all of those who desire liberty and freedom, and pray that the "Light of Hope", our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ will be embraced by all.

* From NEWS RELEASE – May 2, 2012,Dion Elmore,Director Public Relations, The National Day of Prayer Task Force

Photo "Let Us Pray" Posted by DFO, May 3, 2012

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Cold-Hearted - May 2, 2012


Matthew 24:10-12 (New Living Translation)
10 And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other. 11 And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people. 12 Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold.

Romans 1:20-21,29-32(New International Reader's Version)
20 Ever since the world was created it has been possible to see the qualities of God that are not seen. I'm talking about his eternal power and about the fact that he is God. Those things can be seen in what he has made. So people have no excuse for what they do.

21 They knew God. But they didn't honor him as God. They didn't thank him. Their thinking became worthless. Their foolish hearts became dark.
...
29 They are full of every kind of sin, evil and ungodliness. They want more than they need. They commit murder. They want what belongs to other people. They fight and cheat. They hate others. They say mean things about other people. 30 They tell lies about them. They hate God. They are rude and proud. They brag. They think of new ways to do evil. They don't obey their parents. 31 They are foolish. They can't be trusted. They are not loving and kind.

32 They know that God's commands are right. They know that those who do evil things should die. But they continue to do those very things. They also approve of others who do them.

Each and every day we read headlines and hear of stories of cold-hearted the society has grown around us. Young women are no longer safe, young men care less about their responsibilities, what was once inappropriate is now mainstream, and what was once wholesome is now a joke. We read of tolerance for things that devalue human life and morals, and anything pertaining to Christianity and faith is now deemed harmful and archaic.

It is amazing that the Bible is always so very clear about what is going on. Those of you reading this, that grew up when I did know that we weren't exactly angels, but we knew what was right and wrong, and we knew about being respectful to adults and each other, and being gentlemen and young ladies, and about consequences. We knew how to protect those weaker than us, and helping those less fortunate, and serving one another.

Why has this happened? What's going on? Is it because progressives in our society think they have a better way than the old-fashioned biblical values of the many generations before and since our founding? Is it because our nation has decided that God has no place in public education and that modern scholars know how to teach about morals better? Is it because education about human realtionships was been taken out of the hands of mothers and fathers, and been given to teachers and health clinics?

Is it because our children have now learned that right and wrong is relative, and what's wrong for you may not necessarily be wrong for the other guy? Is it because mothers and fathers now only have to look after their own personal interests, because now they only have to be accountable to themselves? Is it because it is now "my body" and "my rights" and having it "my way"? Is it because all that is important is money, and prestige, and position, and possessions, and politics, and power?

Is it because when you talk about God, "you can't be serious,...what God"? Or, "Jesus? Who's He?" Is it because, "Church? You got to be kidding me! Why should I go to Church?" Is it because, "We have football, or soccer, or swimming, or ice skating, or basketball, or ...golf"? And "There is no such thing as heaven, or a hell, or judgment"? Or, "You worship your way and I will worship my way!"

What is my answer to all this? The answer can be found in Psalm 37:39-40:39 The Lord saves those who do what is right. He is their place of safety when trouble comes. 40 The Lord helps them and saves them. He saves them from sinful people because they go to him for safety.