Sunday, September 30, 2012

Surviving a Troubled World - September 30, 2012

John 14:27 New International Version (NIV)
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

John 16:33 New International Version (NIV)
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Are you restless in your spirit these days? Are you scared about what is happening around you? Does it seem that nothing is getting any better in your life? You read the papers, or posts online, or watch television and it seems that there are nothing but troubles in the world.

When it gets close to home, you really start to question what is going on with you and God. What did you do? Is there some hidden sin in your life that you don't know about? Is it something you should have done but didn't? All these questions flood your mind and spirit, and you ask God, "Why is this happening God? Why can't I get any relief? Things only seem to be getting worse and I don't know what to do about it."

For every believer the answers are different, and all you know is that you long for the embrace of Jesus and the comfort of the Holy Spirit. You long for God to tell you the answers and let you know that everything is, and will be okay between you. He has promised you that everything will work out for good, but you want to see the "good" come much more quickly.

You wait to hear that voice from Heaven tell you that "I hear you my child, and I am watching out for you!" What can you do? What will break you free from your troubles and distress? We will look at the answers over the next few days.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Saturday Praise - September 29, 2012

Psalm 33 (New King James Version)
1 Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous!
For praise from the upright is beautiful.
2 Praise the LORD with the harp;
Make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings.
3 Sing to Him a new song;
Play skillfully with a shout of joy.

4 For the word of the LORD is right,
And all His work is done in truth.
5 He loves righteousness and justice;
The earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.

6 By the word of the LORD the heavens were made,
And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.
7 He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap;[a]
He lays up the deep in storehouses.

8 Let all the earth fear the LORD;
Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
9 For He spoke, and it was done;
He commanded, and it stood fast.

10 The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect.
11 The counsel of the LORD stands forever,
The plans of His heart to all generations.
12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,
The people He has chosen as His own inheritance.

13 The LORD looks from heaven;
He sees all the sons of men.
14 From the place of His dwelling He looks
On all the inhabitants of the earth;
15 He fashions their hearts individually;
He considers all their works.

16 No king is saved by the multitude of an army;
A mighty man is not delivered by great strength.
17 A horse is a vain hope for safety;
Neither shall it deliver any by its great strength.

18 Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him,
On those who hope in His mercy,
19 To deliver their soul from death,
And to keep them alive in famine.

20 Our soul waits for the LORD;
He is our help and our shield.
21 For our heart shall rejoice in Him,
Because we have trusted in His holy name.
22 Let Your mercy, O LORD, be upon us,
Just as we hope in You.

The Sovereignty of the LORD in Creation and History. Have a good night and a blessed tomorrow.

Friday, September 28, 2012

God's Care Instructions - September 28, 2012

Psalm 37 (New International Version)
1 Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; 2 for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.

3 Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. 4 Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: 6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.

7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. 9 For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.

10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. 11 But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity.

12 The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them; 13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming.

14 The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright. 15 But their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken.

16 Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked; 17 for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the LORD upholds the righteous.

18 The blameless spend their days under the LORD’s care, and their inheritance will endure forever. 19 In times of disaster they will not wither; in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.

20 But the wicked will perish: Though the LORD’s enemies are like the flowers of the field, they will be consumed, they will go up in smoke.

21 The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously; 22 those the LORD blesses will inherit the land, but those he curses will be destroyed.

23 The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; 24 though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.

25 I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. 26 They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be a blessing.

27 Turn from evil and do good; then you will dwell in the land forever. 28 For the LORD loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones.

Wrongdoers will be completely destroyed; the offspring of the wicked will perish. 29 The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever.

30 The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak what is just. 31 The law of their God is in their hearts; their feet do not slip.

32 The wicked lie in wait for the righteous, intent on putting them to death; 33 but the LORD will not leave them in the power of the wicked or let them be condemned when brought to trial.

34 Hope in the LORD and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are destroyed, you will see it.

35 I have seen a wicked and ruthless man flourishing like a luxuriant native tree, 36 but he soon passed away and was no more; though I looked for him, he could not be found.

37 Consider the blameless, observe the upright; a future awaits those who seek peace. 38 But all sinners will be destroyed; there will be no future for the wicked.

39 The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. 40 The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.

Whenever you get something new, it normally comes with Care Instructions. These are meant so that what you have will work well, and if you care for it properly it will last a long time.

The word of God is His instructions for us to have a life pleasing to Him. It is alot like Care Instructions, meant for us to work well and have a long life, but of course it is more than that. It is the guidance of a loving Father, so that we will have what is best. Psalm 37 is just a portion of those step-by-step instructions that He gives us.

If you are in need, or knowledge of what to do, why not ask God? As the loving Father, He will take care of your every need, and He will deliver you.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Carved to Perfection - September 27, 2012

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 for what he wanted 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, September 26, 2012

He Is Good! - September 26, 2012

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 next weekend, next 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.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Shared Profession - September 25, 2012

Romans 10:9-10 (New International Version, ©2011)
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

There is a problem these days that seems to be getting worse. Because of the bombardment of media seeking our attention, the "good news" of the Gospel never makes it to the many people that never hear what we have heard. In our nation today, many are on the verge of being lost for eternity because they do not hear the life giving message of salvation found only through Jesus Christ.

I heard a good bible study based on the verses above that really hit home for me. I learned that it takes more for us to be saved than to hear the word of God. It also takes more than just believing it in our hearts and minds. If we keep it to ourselves, it has little value. We need to confess, profess our faith to others around us, which means that we need to tell others about who Jesus Christ is, and what He has done for us. We need to speak out our faith.

Does this mean that we all need to become street preachers? I don't think we are all gifted that way, but what we do need to do is make sure that everyone that knows us, knows who we are is Jesus Christ; sinful men and woman, who have been redeemed, saved, through Christ's death for our sins. They also need to know that after three days, Jesus stepped out of the grave proving who He was, and He now is in Heaven at the right hand of His Father, acting as our advocate and waiting for us. Nothing short of that will do.

If we are to call ourselves Christians, followers of Jesus Christ, we need to be about the business of letting others know. Every person you encounter if they do not know the true Jesus is perishing around you. No matter how others may dilute that message, the facts are still there. The only hope there is for eternity with God is through our Savior Jesus, and everyone needs to be told. It is through that profession of your faith that you and others will be saved.

Photo from Pastor Jonathan Lewis's Blog, 6-11-2009

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Fruit of Gentleness - September 24, 2012

Matthew 18:1-5 (New International Version, ©2010)
1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

It is interesting these days that when religions are compared, they are all are given a moral equivalence in today's society. Unfortunately, those opinions stem from the fact that many so-called followers of Christ were very far from Him. Many remember atrocities that were carried out in His name and have associated that behavior with all Christians. If you have really walked with our Lord for very long, you know that those opinions are false. Whenever you hear someone associating those things with Christians, you probably think to yourself that true followers of Jesus are far from those things.

Fact is that Jesus Christ made it very clear how we should approach the kingdom of God, with a contrite and gentle heart. He likened the attitude that we should have with the attitude of little children; gentle of spirit and character, yet wide open with possibilities, and eager to embrace the simple truth of God's love message to His people. True believers filled with the Holy Spirit exhibit the good fruit of gentleness in all things, especially those of Christ. This is true in how we treat those around us, and how we deal even with those who would chose to harm us.

The true Christians will bear all and approach all with the spirit and fruit of gentleness; in doing so, they will reflect the strength of God and will win many to Jesus Christ.

Photo "Bunny Girl" by familylife, 9-9-2007, from stock.xchng

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Janitor - September 23, 2012

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

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Saturday Praise! - September 22, 2012

Psalm 30 (New Century Version)
1 I will praise you, Lord, because you rescued me. You did not let my enemies laugh at me.

2 Lord, my God, I prayed to you, and you healed me.

3 You lifted me out of the grave; you spared me from going down to the place of the dead.

4 Sing praises to the Lord, you who belong to him; praise his holy name.

5 His anger lasts only a moment, but his kindness lasts for a lifetime.
Crying may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

6 When I felt safe, I said, "I will never fear."

7 Lord, in your kindness you made my mountain safe. But when you turned away, I was frightened.

8 I called to you, Lord, and asked you to have mercy on me.

9 I said, "What good will it do if I die or if I go down to the grave? Dust cannot praise you; it cannot speak about your truth.

10 Lord, hear me and have mercy on me. Lord, help me."

11 You changed my sorrow into dancing. You took away my clothes of sadness, and clothed me in happiness.

12 I will sing to you and not be silent. Lord, my God, I will praise you forever.

A psalm of David. May you be blessed as you meditate and give thanks to God. Have be blessed this Sunday!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Trapped! - September 21, 2012

James 1:13-15(New International Version)
13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

We all have an inborn problem, which is the problem of giving in to temptation. Whether it is wrath, greed, laziness, pride, lust, envy, or gluttony, all of us have the problem of giving in to these vices. Why is that?

I believe that the temptations are all around us, on display day in and day out. The media today does a great job of shoving it in our faces; whether on television, or in magazines, or on billboards, it is designed to lure us in and trap us. And, because of our fallen nature, and the evil one's hate for us, we are very succeptable to getting trapped.

Some people have erected a strong defense against temptation by knowing thier weaknesses, and seeking God's help for strength. Others tend to remain weak because they don't seek God nearly enough. Thank God that He loved us enough, to provide the way out of what has us trapped.

By the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross, we have the means of release from the traps that can lead to death. Jesus has overcome our sin and has redeemed us; it is our resonsibility to accept God's gift, and once we are released, to avoid falling back into the trap.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Just Do It! - September 20, 2012

James 1:22-25(New International Reader's Version)
22 Don't just listen to the word. You fool yourselves if you do that. You must do what it says.

23 Suppose you listen to the word but don't do what it says. Then you are like a man who looks at his face in a mirror. 24 After looking at himself, he leaves. Right away he forgets what he looks like.

25 But suppose you take a good look at the perfect law that gives freedom. You keep looking at it. You don't forget what you've heard, but you do what the law says. Then you will be blessed in what you do.

These days, there are many that proclaim that they are Christians, yet they have no idea what our faith is all about. Every Sunday in many churches, congregants are exposed to the word of God in the oral reading of verses from Bible, yet many go away and forget what was said. Few spend much time "taking in" by studying it and reflecting on what God is trying to say through His word. Theirs can become a very shallow faith, and they are ill-equipped to serve God or handle what life throws at them

We need make sure that we are doing what it takes to become real doers of the word, by consistently reading and studying God's word. If you do not already have that habit, you will be amazed how much the Bible comes alive when you read it. It is a living text, breathing into you the very wisdom and knowledge of God. Each and every time you read it, something new will be revealed to you through the Holy Spirit who instructs you. The word then helps you to step out and serve those around you, instructing them in the truths of the faith.

In time, the word will be your constant companion; you will find yourself joyfully doing things that serve the message of Christ, and when you encounter life's troubles, you will recall how the Spirit has taught you to handle them. So if you don't already, get a Bible, read it, study it, meditate on it, memorize it, then take it to heart and do it. As James says in the verses above, through "just doing it" and serving others, you will be blessed by it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Getting a Heart Transplant - September 19, 2012

Luke 5:27-32;36-39(New Living Translation)
27 Later, as Jesus left the town, he saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. 28 So Levi got up, left everything, and followed him.

29 Later, Levi held a banquet in his home with Jesus as the guest of honor. Many of Levi’s fellow tax collectors and other guests also ate with them. 30 But the Pharisees and their teachers of religious law complained bitterly to Jesus’ disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with such scum?”

31 Jesus answered them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. 32 I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.”
36 Then Jesus gave them this illustration: “No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and uses it to patch an old garment. For then the new garment would be ruined, and the new patch wouldn’t even match the old garment.

37 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the new wine would burst the wineskins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. 38 New wine must be stored in new wineskins. 39 But no one who drinks the old wine seems to want the new wine. ‘The old is just fine,’ they say.”

It is always interesting to read about the type of people Jesus chose to be His disciples. In picking the guys who would eventually take His teachings through out the known world, He picked a bunch of un-important guys that where nothing special, and worst of all He picked a guy that was one of the most hated in the Jewish society of the day, a tax-collector. Why didn't He go to the religious leaders of the day to proclaim His message?

It is important to know that in that day, the Jewish leaders were fairly entrenched in their religious traditions, and they had elevated themselves so high above the regular people that they had become stubbornly hard-hearted to anything new in terms of God. They had shut out the spirit of God's message through His word, in favor of following the practices of men. That is what Jesus was trying to say in speaking of new wine in old wineskins. One couldn't just patch up the old wornout wineskin, the hearts of the Jewish leaders, to receive the new wine of Jesus message. New wineskins in the form the hearts of ordinary men were needed to receive the true "heart" of the message of Jesus.

The same is true today. You cannot receive the message of the truths form Jesus Christ unless you have a change of heart; a heart transplant so to speak. A cold stony heart will never warm up enough to take in God's life-saving message. Only the new, receptive heart of can receive it. It is eager for God's word, made tender through humility and contrition. Only a heart that has surrendered itself to God can ever take in His word. Jesus Christ message is meant for new wineskins, and unless you transplant your old stony one, you will deny His gift of grace and mercy.

The world needs God, but it will only see Him if it is receptive to the word and message of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Only in Him can we be saved.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The War Within - September 18, 2012

Romans 7:15-25(GOD’S WORD Translation)
15I don’t realize what I’m doing. I don’t do what I want to do. Instead, I do what I hate. 16I don’t do what I want to do, but I agree that God’s standards are good. 17So I am no longer the one who is doing the things I hate, but sin that lives in me is doing them.

18I know that nothing good lives in me; that is, nothing good lives in my corrupt nature. Although I have the desire to do what is right, I don’t do it. 19I don’t do the good I want to do. Instead, I do the evil that I don’t want to do. 20Now, when I do what I don’t want to do, I am no longer the one who is doing it. Sin that lives in me is doing it.

21So I’ve discovered this truth: Evil is present with me even when I want to do what God’s standards say is good. 22I take pleasure in God’s standards in my inner being. 23However, I see a different standard at work throughout my body. It is at war with the standards my mind sets and tries to take me captive to sin’s standards which still exist throughout my body. 24What a miserable person I am! Who will rescue me from my dying body?

25I thank God that our Lord Jesus Christ rescues me! So I am obedient to God’s standards with my mind, but I am obedient to sin’s standards with my corrupt nature.

It is a constant dilemma, and if we are a Christian the conflict that goes on is even worse. We are "fallen" creatures, and because of it we are helpless to the war within. We have the desire to be good, yet many times we fall into being bad, and then our guilt drives us to being good again, only to fall into being bad, and the cycle goes on day in and day out. It is the consequence of the traps that have been set for us by the evil one.

God in His grace and mercy would rather that we constantly and consistantly go in one direction; that is the direction of obedience. Thanks to His living Word, Jesus, and written word, the Bible, we have a guide to battle the war within. It gives us the standard set by the law, yet because of what Jesus did on our behalf as payment for our sins, we can know that with Him we can find forgiveness for our sin.

Knowing that we are forgiven changes our heart to desire to be obedient, and strengthens us to no longer sin. Not that we won't fall or be drawn back into sin, but when we do, we have a loving Father that is anxious for us to confess our wrongdoing and come back to Him. The written word has many stories of how God restores the sinner by providing the means of redemption.

Yes, we will continue to have the war within as the Apostle Paul had, but the path back to God becomes much easier because Jesus has provided the "wretched man" the way back home. He has rescued us and we need to give Him our devotion and obedience for doing so.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Blocking God's Way - September 17, 2012

Deuteronomy 31:8(New International Version)
8 The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

I am sure that many of you are football fans, and in football, "blocking is a legal move occurring when one player obstructs another player's path with his body. The purpose of blocking is to prevent defensive players tackling the ball carrier, or to protect the quarterback while attempting to pass or hand-off the ball"*. A football team usually rises or falls depending on their ability to block the defensive players, keeping them from getting the quarterback or the ball-carrier.

This is probably a very simple illustration of what God does for those who follow Him. In this verse in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy, Moses just before his death, proclaimed to Joshua and the nation of Israel that God would go before them into the Promised Land. God had led them out of Egypt and through the desert for 40 years, and now the people were ready to follow God's lead, and the time was right to enter the land God had promised them.

To get great "blocking" from God, we need to first humble ourselves and submit to His authority. We need to also accept the gift of salvation He has given us through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Only then can He lead us, because our hearts will be ready to be obedient to Him. We need to be sure though that we don't behave like the nation of Israel and fight Him with a stubborn will. If so, we can be sure that we won't get much closer to the "goal line" that God has prepared for us.

*"Blocking" according to Wikepedia

Photo of SCSU back Adam Luckey carries the ball with blocking help from Cory Anderson-Norblom during the Wayne State game (All photos courtesy of Neil Andersen).

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Heart of Praise! - September 16, 2012

Psalm 150(New Living Translation)
1 Praise the Lord!

Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heaven!
2 Praise him for his mighty works;
praise his unequaled greatness!
3 Praise him with a blast of the ram’s horn;
praise him with the lyre and harp!
4 Praise him with the tambourine and dancing;
praise him with strings and flutes!
5 Praise him with a clash of cymbals;
praise him with loud clanging cymbals.
6 Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord!

Praise the Lord!

When times are difficult and tough, there is always something to be thankful for. I have also found that if we approach our difficulty with praise and thanksgiving, then it is much easier to overcome the obstacle in front of us. To "move mountains" and to overcome what many are experiencing, let's approach this Thanksgiving with continuous praise and giving thanks to our God.

Start today by listing what you are thankful for in this year. Over the next few days, we will daily lift up praise to our Lord and King. Today, I give thanks for the salvation that God has given us through His mercy and grace. I thank Him for Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior who continually reminds me through the Holy Spirit of His love for me.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Saturday Praise! - September 15, 2012

Psalm 66(New Century Version)
1 Everything on earth, shout with joy to God!
2 Sing about his glory!
Make his praise glorious!
3 Say to God, "Your works are amazing!
Because your power is great,
your enemies fall before you.
4 All the earth worships you
and sings praises to you.
They sing praises to your name."


5 Come and see what God has done,
the amazing things he has done for people.
6 He turned the sea into dry land.
The people crossed the river on foot.
So let us rejoice because of what he did.
7 He rules forever with his power.
He keeps his eye on the nations,
so people should not turn against him.


8 You people, praise our God;
loudly sing his praise.
9 He protects our lives
and does not let us be defeated.
10 God, you have tested us;
you have purified us like silver.
11 You let us be trapped
and put a heavy load on us.
12 You let our enemies walk on our heads.
We went through fire and flood,
but you brought us to a place with good things.

13 I will come to your Temple with burnt offerings.
I will give you what I promised,
14 things I promised when I was in trouble.
15 I will bring you offerings of fat animals,
and I will offer sheep, bulls, and goats.


16 All of you who fear God, come and listen,
and I will tell you what he has done for me.
17 I cried out to him with my mouth
and praised him with my tongue.
18 If I had known of any sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened to me.
19 But God has listened;
he has heard my prayer.
20 Praise God,
who did not ignore my prayer
or hold back his love from me.

If you were to construct a song of praise to God, what would it be? Would it be as the one above, telling what God had done for you? Would you lift up praise for what He has given you, and how He has worked in your life? Would it tell all how He has saved you from your sins, or your difficulty? Would it praise Him for the blessings you have received? What words would you sing to Him? How could others be blessed by your testimony of praise?

I know that most of us do not think of how we worship and praise the Lord. Sure, we may participate in Sunday services, and for many of us in churches with contemporary, we may be moved to lift our hands and lift praises in song, but how do we really personally praise God? Have you ever really thought how your psalm of praise would read? Would it faithfully speak about what God has placed in your heart?

Yes, many questions and to some of you they may seem redundant, but I feel it is important that we personally praise the God who has created us, sustained us, and given us everything, including salvation from our sins through Jesus Christ. Our praises are our way of showing God that we love, honor, and revere Him. He has done more than we can imagine, and He continues doing so with each breath we take.

Think about it; meditate on it. Sit down and create your own psalm, or song of worship. Write down what God has done for you and let it be your prayer and song of worship to Him.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Wisdom Fool's Dispise - September 14, 2012

Proverbs 1:7(New American Standard Bible)
7The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 9:10(Amplified Bible)
10The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning (the chief and choice part) of Wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight and understanding.

Job 28:28(New International Version)
28 And he said to the human race, “The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.”

Revelation 14:7(New International Version)
7 He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.”

There are many out there in the world that refuse to "bow the knee" to Jesus Christ. They pursue the lusts of the world and arrogantly snub anything having to do with Christianity. They have disdain for anyone that has a relationship with Jesus, and they would rather ridicule others than to admit their own sinfulness.

This is especially true for young adults that have gone through the brainwashing of today's colleges and are now establishing themselves in their careers and lives. They may have even had introductions to church and "religion", thinking that is what Christianity was all about. These days they would rather have nothing to do with it. They are having too much fun partying and living the "good life", and they have no need for God.

There will come a time in everyone's life when they will have to face up to their sinfulness, because in a 100 years from now, everyone reading this will probably be dead. Believe it or not, we don't end up as nothing but dirt once we die, as the world would hope we would believe. We are eternal creatures and one day everyone will stand before God to be judged for what they have done in this life.

If you believe that your judged by your good outweighing your bad, just exactly when have you done enough to tip the scale in your favor? If you believe that your better than rapists and murderers and that God will take that into account, how do you know He will? Some believe that being an ostrich and sticking their heads in the sand will make it all go away are in for a real surprise. And others, that may feel that by being "religious and spiritual" will gain God's favor, have to know when they have done enough.

All of these things may seem right, but in the end they lead to destruction. We can never do enough to gain God's favor and forgiveness, because just a single act of disobedience condemns us forever. Only by accepting His gift of salvation through Jesus Christ can we ever be redeemed. Doesn't sound politically correct, but it is the truth. The sooner the foolish in this world figure that out, the better off they will be.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Endless Love - September 13, 2012

Ephesians 3:14-19(New Living Translation)
14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.

16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.

19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

For us living in modern society, it is hard to fathom how much God really loves us. He is unseen and intangible, so our understanding of His love is based on faith; our trust in His word and the example He gave us of Himself, Jesus Christ. Love for us in human terms has only one equal, that of our love for our children. It is that relationship that we can understand the unconditional love of God.

Sure, there are times that our relationship with our children is strained, but in most cases this is a love that endures, that is endless, from birth until death. Their is little else more important to us than our children, and for most of us, we would give our very lives to for them. In fact, for most of us, our very lives revolves around our children, and anything that happens to them can affect us deeply.

How could our Creator prove to us that He deeply loved us? In the Old Testament, God's love was spoken of, but not very easily encountered. Thank God that He stepped out of Heaven, and through Jesus Christ, who walked in flesh and blood, the love of God was demonstrated in His earthly ministry, and ultimately in His sacrifice on the cross for our sins. In that single act, just as we would die for our children, God gave His life so that we could live with Him for eternity.

Now that is endless Love!...If you are longing to experience the love of God, accept the gift that He offers. Jesus Christ has paid the price for everything sinful that you have done and will do; release yourself from the bondage of those sins, and allow yourself to be embraced by His love.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Who Is He? - September 12, 2012

Amos 5:8(New International Version)
8 He who made the Pleiades and Orion,
who turns midnight into dawn
and darkens day into night,
who calls for the waters of the sea
and pours them out over the face of the land—
the LORD is his name.

Since mankind has been on the earth they have gazed into the heavens and wondered, "Who is He?" Who is He that made the heavens and the very earth on which we stand? Who turns the night into day and back again? Who cycles time through the seasons as the earth changes before our eyes, turning everything into Winter, causing the world to grow cold and lifeless, and yet before we know it brings it back to life again? Who causes the tides to ebb and flow, and cause the sea to rage, before it calms into gentle laps upon the sand?

Who is it who's creative genius caused Orion to watch over the night sky, and who has flung every star into its place, yet cares for the smallest of His creatures? Who is He who has given Himself to us in the person of Jesus, who cared enough to rescue us from our own failure and sin? Who is He who want to someday bring us to Himself to love us throughout eternity?

If you haven't answered that question for yourself, look up into the sky tonight and wonder as men have since long ago, and then discover the answer; it is the Lord.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A 9/11 Reminder - September 11, 2012

Proverbs 14:12(New King James Version)
12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.

John 10:10(New King James Version)
10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Today marks 11 years, since that terrible day on a beautiful September morning when Islamic Fundamentalists horrifically destroyed thousands of lives and changed the world forever. Many would choose to forget the fact that this was a "religiously" motivated act. For the perpetrators, it was their ultimate desire to sacrifice themselves in service to their god, and they felt they were right in doing so.

This verse in Proverbs was especially poignant to me, and very appropriate to what is going on with mankind today. As in those days, there are many who are doing terrible things in the name of their god and their religion. Then their are many who since those days could care less about God and want nothing to do with Him; for them they believe there is always tomorrow. In their minds they feel that what they are doing is right, but where will it lead them in the future? On that day 11 years ago, Satan sought to take down everyone he could; he sought to drive fear into the hearts of as many as he could. His goal is to have as many as he can follow him.

Unfortunately many have followed his path. But I say God is far greater, and His purpose is to turn the hearts of the people back to Him. He wants us not to know that the only security we can have in this life is through Jesus Christ. As was shown by that day, our tomorrow is not guaranteed; a single insane act can end it all for each and everyone of us. We would be well served to ask ourselves, what we will do with Jesus Christ today, while we still have the chance to answer.

Photo "Ground Zero Cross", credits to Getty Images

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Symphony of Life - September 10, 2012

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, September 9, 2012

The Secret Treasure - September 9, 2012

Matthew 13:44(NIV)44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

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.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Saturday Praise - September 8, 2012

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.

Photo from Breckenridge Mountain, Summer 2009

Friday, September 7, 2012

In Chains for Christ - September 7, 2012

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

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Lasting Benefits - September 6, 2012

1 John 3:21-24 (New King James Version)
21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. 22 And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. 23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.

For years I have heard from non-believers that they won't become Christians because there are too many do's and don'ts. Many see the "religion" of Christianity through the lens of what they have heard, not what they have learned. How many times have you heard the excuse for not believing is that the Bible is full of contradictions, and if you ask them if they have ever read it they just stare?

We do not chase after a "religion" to believe in, but a relationship to have. The next time you are confronted with this situation with a non- believer, why not share the "lasting benefits" that you have received through believing? Let them know that you follow the do's and don'ts not because you have to, but in gratitude because you want to. Share the fact that the love of God is easy to obtain; they just need to call on the name of Jesus. He will help them do the rest through the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Right living assures us that God will bless us, and when we follow His commands, He lays the world before us. What else gives you anything you ask for just for believing?

Photo "Happy" by Godoflite, 7-10-2009, from stock.xchng

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

In Defense of Zion - September 5, 2012

Psalm 129(New International Reader's Version)

1 Here is what Israel should say:

Many times my enemies have beaten me down ever since I was a young nation.

2 Many times my enemies have beaten me down ever since I was a young nation, but they haven't won the battle.

3 They have made deep wounds in my back. It looks like a field a farmer has plowed.

4 The Lord does what is right. Sinners had tied me up with ropes. But the Lord has set me free.

5 May all those who hate Zion be driven back in shame.

6 May they be like grass that grows on the roof of a house. It dries up before it can grow.

7 There isn't enough of it to fill a person's hand. There isn't enough to tie up and carry away.

8 May no one who passes by say to those who hate Zion, "May the blessing of the Lord be on you. We bless you in the name of the Lord."

As things go from bad to worse in the Middle East, and as the Obama Administration stealthily distances the U.S. from supporting Israel, I thought it would be good to review what's going on. In the U.N. the Palestinians are calling for their own seperate state; I for one believe that that would be the beginiing of the end for Israel, rather than a new Palestinian state. The truth is that this issue has been kept alive by those who hate the Jews for decades, and they are their true goal is the destruction of Israel. You need only look at the the seal for their U.N. Mission to realize their actual intent. It does not include two states, but one country of Palestine.

Many would say, good for them because Isreal has occupied them for years. But this issue has been co-opted by the media for as long as I can remember. Many of the seeds of the modern-day conflict were planted in this area of the Middle East by the British before and after they defeated Turkey in World War I; and it is important for everyone to study this issue on the British Mandate for Palestine before siding with either party in this conflict. The truth is that Israel has been under attack by its Arab neighbors since the U.N. declared it a nation in 1947, and the lands they now "occupy" are a result of the wars they fought against Arab attacks in the 1967 War, the Six Day War, and in the 1972 War, the Yom Kippur War.

Telling Israel just to give it back to those who attacked them is like telling the United States to give California and the Southwestern U.S. back to Mexico; I am sure we would do that. It is also like having the British give Northern Ireland back to the Ireland. Only Israel has been hounded for decades to yield to those who wish to destory it, and for some reason the world relishes in doing so. God long ago knew that this tiny piece of land would be a source of trouble, and He mentioned it many times throughout His word. Our responsibilty as Christians is to first know the facts about the History of Israel, and then to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

As we mark this situation, that has eerie parallels to what is written in Bible prophecy, let us pray that God in His divine wisdom will bring peace to this part of the world, and let us never give up urging our Nation to always support this island of democracy in the Middle East.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Removing God from our Nation - September 4, 2012

Proverbs 14:34 (New International Version)
34 Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.

Proverbs 14:34 (New Living Translation)
34 Godliness makes a nation great, but sin is a disgrace to any people.

Proverbs 15:3 (New International Version)
3 The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.

Hebrews 4:13 (New Living Translation)
13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.

How far we have fallen, where our trust and reliance on God has become a a curse for some, a joke for many, and a mere motto for others. For decades many in this Nation have been turning their backs on God, removing Him from schools and public places, and cloaking their contempt for Him in the false argument of political correctness. We have seen the removal of the Ten Commandments from the courthouses of our Nation, and the word today was that any mention of God was removed from the Democratic Platform for the 2012 election, while support for abortion and same-sex marriage were prominently included.

These days, those who cherish their belief and hope in God, and who are standing for righteous values are fighting at every turn, from the bombardment of atheists, the ACLU, progressive politicians, ignorant school districts, and false religions. It is scary to think that if things do not change course, that we may someday see Him banished from the very Nation that was founded on His principles. In the years ahead, we may find our children and grandchildren living in a country that no longer allows the free and open worship of God to be excercised by its citizens.

What many in this country forget is that God is God. He will not be shoved into a backroom; "He will not be mocked". We discard Him from our Nation's public life at our own peril. God will hold everyone in this country accountable for the sins of the people. Once He lifts His divine hand of protection from this land, we will never be the same. We are the great country we are, not because of the people, but because God in His grace and mercy has allowed us to be so.

We need to recognize that God set the course of events that led to the great country we are. We need know that He expects us to carry actively stand for the national righteousness that can only be found in honoring and following Him. Pray for those in authority that they will learn from the wisdom of the past, learn from the wisdom of God, and take heed from the warnings found in these few verses. This election year, let us do our part, and with the help of God, we will save this Nation for the generations that come after us.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Guided by the Light - September 3, 2012

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.

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.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Faithful Stewards - September 2, 2012

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.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Saturday Praise! - September 1, 2012

Psalm 103 (New International Version, ©2010)
1 Praise the LORD, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

2 Praise the LORD, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

6 The LORD works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.

7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:

8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.

9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

13 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.

15 The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.

17 But from everlasting to everlasting
the LORD’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.

19 The LORD has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.

20 Praise the LORD, you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
who obey his word.

21 Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts,
you his servants who do his will.

22 Praise the LORD, all his works
everywhere in his dominion.

Praise the LORD, my soul.