Saturday, November 30, 2013

How Easily Fallen - November 30, 2013

Genesis 3:8-13 (New King James Version)
8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

9 Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”

10 So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

11 And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”

12 Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”

13 And the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”


It was so easy, knowingly doing wrong. I don't think I really felt anything when I would; it seemed so harmless. Better yet, I knew no one would ever find me out most of the time. I justified the things I did in my mind and believed that as long as I wasn't hurting someone else, it was okay. I started our small, and everyone who participated with me only made it more and more desirable.

Although I had learned about God, and knew the Bible stories, God was a long way off. I did enjoy hearing about Jesus, but he was a baby in a manger, a guy with his disciples, someone they hung on a cross and who rose again at Eastertime. I went through Confirmation, and actually went through the motions, but they were very easily forgotten. Truth was, I didn't really understand what it was all about.

So it went on and on, and the little things became bigger things. The bigger things slowly caused me to slip into a life of sin, a life of compromise and experimentation. Whatever spark of goodness, was quickly put out by the desire to do the wrong. And the wrong? It quickly seared itself into me until I no longer thought I was doing wrong. How easy it was to fall so deeply and so quickly; how easy it was to betray those early commitments I had made. Maybe this sounds like your story.

It was the same thing with the man and woman that God had made. It was easy for them to so quickly betray the God who had created them; so easy to go a different way, but the little thing they did, would doom us all. And true to our nature and character, the man and woman blamed someone else when they were confronted with their sin. How easy it was to fall; how easy it was to betray the love that had been given them by God.

Photo "Glow" by lumbix2004, 11-30-2005, from stock.xchng

Friday, November 29, 2013

Making the Most of Thanks -November 29, 2013


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 it 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. In this season of thanksgiving, let us not forget our source of everything and remember to always thank Him for all that He does for us.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Be Thankful! - November 28, 2013


Colossians 3:15-17 (New International Version, ©2010)
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (New International Version, ©2010)
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.


In 1863, in the midst of our nations bloodiest conflict, President Abraham Lincoln gave the proclamation to set aside a day of Thanksgiving which has led to the Thanksgiving Day we observe. On this day, as you gather with family and friends, it is only right that we follow his admonition and give thanks to our Almighty God for the many blessings He has in His mercy and grace given to us, our families, our communities and our nation.

Let the words found in His word set us upon a foundation, where our praises and thanksgiving to God for the many benefits given to us become as constant as the beating of our hearts. Let us also be ever thankful for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who has paid the price for our redemption, which is most worthy of our thanks. Let us join with Abraham Lincoln and not forget the Source of the many things that have been given us.

Proclamation of Thanksgiving
by the President of the United States of America

The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful years and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the Source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict, while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the field of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than theretofore. Population has steadily increased notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.

In testimony wherof I have herunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

[Signed]
A. Lincoln

Provided by WallBuilders

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Nation that has Forgotten - November 27, 2013

.

Psalm 53 (New Living Translation)

1 Only fools say in their hearts,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt, and their actions are evil;
not one of them does good!

2 God looks down from heaven
on the entire human race;
he looks to see if anyone is truly wise,
if anyone seeks God.

3 But no, all have turned away;
all have become corrupt.
No one does good,
not a single one!

4 Will those who do evil never learn?
They eat up my people like bread
and wouldn’t think of praying to God.

5 Terror will grip them,
terror like they have never known before.
God will scatter the bones of your enemies.
You will put them to shame,
for God has rejected them.

6 Who will come from Mount Zion to rescue Israel?
When God restores his people,
Jacob will shout with joy,
and Israel will rejoice.


What does God think when He looks down us? Too many of us have placed God on a shelf along with our Bibles to gather dust and sit until absolutely needed. We go through our days and barely give Him a thought. Worse yet, our Nation has forgotten where we have come from.

It is sad to know that within a year of his inauguration Thomas Jefferson, who rode on horseback to church in the Capitol, used to attend services in the House of Representatives. Worship services in the House was a practice that continued until after the Civil War. Throughout his administration Jefferson permitted church services in executive branch buildings and the Gospel was also preached in the Supreme Court chambers. Today many in these same chambers of our government are openly hostile to anything that has to do with the God of the Bible.

Why has our Nation wandered so far away from God? Why do so many people in our country prefer to listen to the blather of those who prefer to ignore the One who helped establish this Nation? Why have we allowed them to have such influence on how we are governed and what we are allowed to do in the public square? Why do we allow our schools to teach our children half-truths about our founding fathers, and neglect the truth about the roots of our Republic? Why aren't we more involved making the dramatic changes necessary to correct the course of this Nation? What will happen if we continue to go about our daily lives and do nothing?

This Psalm of David reveals what our Father in Heaven thinks about those who care little for Him and deny His very existence. Let's be sure that we are not counted in that number. Tomorrow as you gather together with family and friends, be sure you remember the One who has blessed you with everything. Give thanks to the Provider of it all, and be sure that with a spirit of thanksgiving you make it known to everyone you know that God is the One to be honored, worshipped, praised and thanked.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Our Guiding Light - November 26, 2013


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 Light station 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.
(*from www.bigsurcalifornia.org)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Paradise Restored - November 25, 2013

Isaiah 65:17-25 (New International Version)
17 "Behold, I will create
new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
nor will they come to mind.

18 But be glad and rejoice forever
in what I will create,
for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight
and its people a joy.

19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem
and take delight in my people;
the sound of weeping and of crying
will be heard in it no more.

20 "Never again will there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not live out his years;
he who dies at a hundred
will be thought a mere youth;
he who fails to reach a hundred
will be considered accursed.

21 They will build houses and dwell in them;
they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

22 No longer will they build houses and others live in them,
or plant and others eat.
For as the days of a tree,
so will be the days of my people;
my chosen ones will long enjoy
the works of their hands.

23 They will not toil in vain
or bear children doomed to misfortune;
for they will be a people blessed by the LORD,
they and their descendants with them.

24 Before they call I will answer;
while they are still speaking I will hear.

25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox,
but dust will be the serpent's food.
They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,"
says the LORD.


When you consider what the future time will be like, you need only study references in the bible to how things will be. As much as we want to believe that we are in control of our own destiny, we really have no clue how things will really be in the future.

Someday everything will be made new, and as the Bible says, the old things will be remembered no more. God will remake the earth to be the paradise he originally intended. Before the fall of man, God created a perfect world and populated it with every creature imaginable. He then place mankind in the garden to tend it and dwell with God.

We will one day join our God in the new paradise, spending our time in worship and praise to the One who made it possible for us to be with Him once again and forevermore. Painting Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, by Wenzel Peter, c 1800

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sunday Praise! - November 24, 2013


Psalm 67 (New International Version)

1 May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face shine upon us,
Selah
2 that your ways may be known on earth,
your salvation among all nations.

3 May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you.

4 May the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you rule the peoples justly
and guide the nations of the earth.
Selah

5 May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you.

6 Then the land will yield its harvest,
and God, our God, will bless us.

7 God will bless us,
and all the ends of the earth will fear him.

As you prepare for a new week, take a moment to offer God praise. I pray that you might be blessed as you place your confidence and whatever you do with Him.

Photo: from iStockphoto, taken 6-17-2012

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Restoration - November 23, 2013

Psalm 51:1-12(New Living Translation)
1 Have mercy on me, O God,
because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
blot out the stain of my sins.
2 Wash me clean from my guilt.
Purify me from my sin.
3 For I recognize my rebellion;
it haunts me day and night.

4 Against you, and you alone, have I sinned;
I have done what is evil in your sight.
You will be proved right in what you say,
and your judgment against me is just.
5 For I was born a sinner—
yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.
6 But you desire honesty from the womb,
teaching me wisdom even there.

7 Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Oh, give me back my joy again;
you have broken me—
now let me rejoice.
9 Don’t keep looking at my sins.
Remove the stain of my guilt.

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a loyal spirit within me.
11 Do not banish me from your presence,
and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and make me willing to obey you.

If we have spent any time walking with the Lord, there is bound to be a time when we get caught up in the world. Often this results in doing something that strains our relationship with God. For many this can be a daily occurrence when our focus is on ourselves or the world, rather than what God's will is for our lives. Next thing we know, we feel detached and apart from Him, and things just don't seem right.

Thanks to God, and not to ourselves, He is all about rescue, restoration, and renewal. He wants a close relationship with us, so when we stray, God pulls us back to Him through the Holy Spirit. If you are a Christian, you know when this happens; you "get convicted" and you desire to be right with God. Because of Jesus Christ, we can be rescued from our shortcomings, restored by forgiveness and grace as His child, and renewed into fellowship with Him. All we need to do is confess, ask for His help and He will bring us back into relationship with Him.

Friday, November 22, 2013

What is a Faithful Servant? - November 22, 2013

Matthew 25:23(New International Version)
23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’


Sometimes when I meditate on what I should be writing about, I will take a phrase that comes to mind and look up the definition of the words. In hearing about Billy Graham's 95th birthday, the phrase of "good and faithful servant" as stated in the verse above was much spoken of and it made and impression on my mind that I should meditate on what that means.

The word "faithful" means:

1. strict or thorough in the performance of duty; a faithful worker
2. true to one's word, promises, vows, etc.
3. steady in allegiance or affection; loyal; constant: faithful friends
4. reliable, trusted, believed
5. adhering or true to fact, a standard, or an original; accurate: a faithful account; a faithful copy

The word "servant" means:

1. a person employed by another
2. a person in the service of another

In reading these, what comes to mind is the character and the actions necessary to serve God and others. It is the example given us by Jesus Christ, who was the living example of these definitions to those around Him. It is the attitude God has and means for us to have as we demonstrate God's love to one another.

We are to be thorough in our duty, true to our word and promises, steady in our allegiance to Christ, loyal and constant to the good news of salvation, reliable in our walk for Him, adhering to the truth of the gospel message, and a living example of our Lord to others. We are to be God's "employees" in service to Him.

What is a "faithful servant"? Yes, it is the men and woman that profess the message of salvation in Jesus Christ to the world, such as Billy Graham, and countless numbers of ministers of the gospel, Christian musicians, authors and others, but more importantly, it is the daily example of Christ of the individual that is devoted to sharing with others the love, mercy and grace of God.

It is the person that confesses their sins, and accepts the forgiveness of God, and His payment for those sins through Jesus Christ, and steps out in joy to tell others that their chains have been broken, and their burdens have been lifted, and that God's gift is available to them as well. It is you who accept Jesus as Lord, and who will walk in faith to be His enduring servant to the world around you.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

This Is Love - November 21, 2013


2 John 1:6 (New International Version)
6 And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.


We often talk about the greatness of God, about how mighty He is, and how He has redeemed us by His love through Jesus Christ. We learn that God is love, and that everything He does is out of love for mankind. God's love is the only reason for the Creation.

All that is around us was made for us; God in His love created everything for us to enjoy. Truth is though that we often abuse the love God shows for us. We have caused all kinds of turmoil and strife, and we have been very bad stewards of what He has made for us. So why does He continue to let us exist?

God is yearning for us to love Him back. His desire is that we will return the love he continuously shows us. You may say to yourself that you want to love God, but how do you do so? How do we show our God that we love Him back? It is through saying it? Is it through praying? Is it through our praise and worship? Yes, those are some of the things that we do to show our love, but we show God our love simply by being obedient to what He tells us to do.

Our obedience tells God that we care about what He has done and who He is. It demonstrates that Jesus Christ's sacrifice was worth it. Consider this: How do our children demonstrate their love for us? Yes, when they tell us we love to hear it, but when they do the things that we ask of them, without our telling them or nagging them about it, then they truly show us that they love us.

The same is true is of us. God loves to see our obedience, because when we do so, it demonstrates that we truly love Him back.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Don't Get Tired - November 20, 2013


Galatians 6:9(New King James Version)
9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

Galatians 6:9(New Century Version)
9 We must not become tired of doing good. We will receive our harvest of eternal life at the right time if we do not give up.

There are times in this life when we feel like quitting; times when the burdens and difficulties become so large that we don't think we have it in us anymore to survive. We thought that as Christians that somehow this would all be easier, that we would be insulated from the "bad" things. But we were never promised that life would be nothing but "smooth sailing", and Jesus warned us that by following Him, we would even have more trouble. Many in this world face constant persecution and some even death because of their love and service for Jesus.

Everyone goes through times of trouble, and if you aren't going through it now, you will very soon in the future. The great thing about following Jesus Christ is that in the trouble, He promises to be with us. God's plan is not that we won't have trouble, but that we will be refined and stronger for it, and that in facing our difficulties, we will be better prepared when future difficulties come. And if our trouble is because of service to Him, then He will have a place for us in eternity.

Whatever you are going through right now, don't give up. God has a plan for your life, and He will help you as you go through it.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Critical People - November 19, 2013


Luke 6:41-42 (New Century Version)
41 "Why do you notice the little piece of dust in your friend's eye, but you don't notice the big piece of wood in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your friend, 'Friend, let me take that little piece of dust out of your eye' when you cannot see that big piece of wood in your own eye! You hypocrite! First, take the wood out of your own eye. Then you will see clearly to take the dust out of your friend's eye.

Are you a critical person? I mean do you find fault with those around you? Do you always see a better way that someone else could be doing something? Do you tend to be a little judgmental with those closest to you? All of these questions pertain to the person that is hyper-critical; that person that is always finding fault with others.

I really believe Jesus was talking about a matter of the "heart and soul" when he made these comments about finding fault with others. In fact he pointed out that usually the person finding fault will pick at the most insignificant thing, while they have a huge problem themselves. What Jesus is pointing out is that unless we are without fault, we should not be pointing out the faults in others.

Often those that are hyper-critical are not looking at the other person in love. If you are exhibiting the true love of Christ, the kind he showed us by dying for our faults, you will see past the faults and problems of others and see the good in them. If you have the "heart and soul" of Jesus, you will build people up and overcome their fault with your overwhelming love. Jesus saw past our significant problems and faults and gave himself to us anyway. Isn't it time we did the same?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Withholding Good - November 18, 2013


Proverbs 3:27 (New Living Translation)
27 Do not withhold good from those who deserve it
when it’s in your power to help them.

Galatians 5:14 (New International Reader's Version)
14 The whole law can be found in a single command. "Love your neighbor as you love yourself."—(Leviticus 19:18)

Galatians 6:2,9-10 (New Living Translation)
2 Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.
...
9 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. 10 Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.


Much is made these days of being independent and taking care of yourself, but as a society, I think that we have grown quite callous in taking care of others. Too often we look on the plight of those who are hurting and say to ourselves, "It's not my problem. I have enough on my plate to worry about." This is especially true with our young people. They are more apt to do something to "save the whales" or some other over-exaggerated and over-hyped environmental cause, than they are willing to help their fellow man.

For a Christian and follower of Jesus Christ, this is totally opposite of what we are called to do. We are called to love those around us better than as we love ourselves. That means to go out of our way to help someone in need. This is counter to our culture, but we need to start being living examples of the "hands and feet" of Jesus, and we need to pass on this example to our children and others around us.

I even take this a step further when I reflect on the proverb alone. I believe that we "withhold good" by not telling others that they are perishing; that they are lost to their sins without Christ. As we go through our daily lives as living, earthly, examples of the "faith that is within us", be sure that we let those we help know, that it is not in our own power that we do these things we do, but it is because of the power of God that is within us.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunday Praise! - November 17, 2013


Psalm 98 (New International Version)

1 Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done marvelous things;
his right hand and his holy arm
have worked salvation for him.

2 The LORD has made his salvation known
and revealed his righteousness to the nations.

3 He has remembered his love
and his faithfulness to the house of Israel;
all the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God.

4 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth,
burst into jubilant song with music;

5 make music to the LORD with the harp,
with the harp and the sound of singing,

6 with trumpets and the blast of the ram's horn—
shout for joy before the LORD, the King.

7 Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it.

8 Let the rivers clap their hands,
Let the mountains sing together for joy;

9 let them sing before the LORD,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples with equity.


After you have enjoyed a beautiful weekend and as you prepare for your new week, let us be mindful of God who has given us everything. Let us pause to give Him glory and praise. Have a great week!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

His Cost, Our Privilege - November 16, 2013

Romans 5:1-2(New Living Translation)
1 Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.

2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

We live in a world that boasts in its material wealth. No matter where you go on this planet, the desire is the same, the pursuit of riches. Many sacrifice everything to have it all, and to live a life of luxury. For many the urge is so strong that they will do anything for it, and there are countless examples of the price of privilege. The cost for some can mean their very lives both in the present and for eternity.

But by the faith and because of the grace and mercy of God, we can obtain the undeserved privilege of spending our present and our eternity in the presence and favor of God. Where as privilege in the world's terms requires work and cost on our part, because of Jesus Christ we can obtain it for free. It costs us nothing, but it cost God everything. Thank God that He loved us enough that He would pay such a great price for our benefit.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Alive and Active Word - November 15, 2013

Hebrews 4:12(New International Version)
12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.


Have you ever been "pierced" by the word of God? Have you ever read or heard a passage that cut you to the heart and guilt welled up inside of you? Have you ever heard a sermon when the pastor's message seemed to be about what you were going through at the moment? Have you ever read a Bible passage multiple times, yet this time in seemed to come alive and answer a question you were thinking about?

All of these experiences with the word of God are how the Holy Spirit of God communicates with us. That is why it is said that the word of God is "alive and active", or "living and breathing". There is no equal to what the Bible can reveal and tell you. What is important though is that you have accepted God's gift of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Only then can it truly come alive to you.

There is no other religious text that can compare. To test this, especially if you are already a Christian, just pick one up and start reading through it. Then, pick up an Bible and start reading through it. You will notice that there is a difference. The Bible speaks to you, even though it was written by many different authors, over thousands of years, almost two thousand years ago. In reading it, God's word speaks to you as if He is writing directly to you.

Thank God for His marvelous love letter to us, and that God for the living Word of God, Jesus Christ, who has made it all possible.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Overcoming Life's Difficulties - November 14, 2013

Isaiah 40:28-31(GOD’S WORD Translation) 28Don’t you know? Haven’t you heard?
The eternal God, the Lord,
the Creator of the ends of the earth,
doesn’t grow tired or become weary.
His understanding is beyond reach.

29He gives strength to those who grow tired
and increases the strength of those who are weak.
30Even young people grow tired and become weary,
and young men will stumble and fall.

31Yet, the strength of those who wait
with hope in the Lord will be renewed.
They will soar on wings like eagles.
They will run and won’t become weary.
They will walk and won’t grow tired.

Watch an eagle in flight as it soars upon the thermals and it looks effortless. The eagle just soars and glides and rarely flaps its wings except to lift itself onto another thermal. It can do this for long periods of time without growing tired. It is a beautiful thing to watch.

The prophet Isaiah, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, likened walking with the Lord as "soaring on wings like eagles". When we choose to follow Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior of our lives, our living in this present age can become somewhat effortless as well. Not that we do not encounter difficulty, but God gives us the strength to rise above our circumstances.

We need to place our hope in the Lord in all that we do, and wait on Him to take care of all our difficulties. When we do, we will obtain the endurance to weather whatever we are confronted with, and truly "soar like an eagle".

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Continuing Education - November 13, 2013

Psalm 119:33-40 (New International Version)

33 Teach me, O LORD, to follow your decrees;
then I will keep them to the end.

34 Give me understanding, and I will keep your law
and obey it with all my heart.

35 Direct me in the path of your commands,
for there I find delight.

36 Turn my heart toward your statutes
and not toward selfish gain.

37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to your word.

38 Fulfill your promise to your servant,
so that you may be feared.

39 Take away the disgrace I dread,
for your laws are good.

40 How I long for your precepts!
Preserve my life in your righteousness.

If you are a licensed practitioner in the State of Texas, whether it is for real estate, law, medicine, nursing or other licensed profession, you have to take continuing education to be able to keep up your license to practice your vocation. It assures the public that the person that is serving them is up to date on all things new and the latest trends, technology and knowledge of their craft.

What does this have to do with the Bible passage above you may ask? The faithful priest who penned this psalm shares with us his heart for seeking more learning and guidance from God. He asks God for teaching, insight, guidance, and desire for the wisdom and counsel of God, and he asks God to keep him from focusing on the wrong things, whether it be material things or criticism. He wants to have a divine education on all things of God.

As we get older we should be getting wiser. This is true of worldly things, and it needs to true of Godly things as well. It doesn't matter if you are a new believer or have followed Jesus Christ for many many years. We need to always be passionately seeking a divine education from God. He loves us and enjoys directing us and giving us wisdom. This is easily proven. How many times have you read a Bible verse that means something to you, only to read it again much later and it has a totally new and deeper meaning?

Until our dying day, if we stay close to God and His teaching, we will constantly be learning new and different things that will prepare us for our eternal lives with Him. Belief in Jesus Christ is only the first step; our divinely inspired education is meant to complete the process of getting us ready for the afterlife. Focus on Him by meditating on the verses from this section of the psalm. Ask God to teach you, give you, direct you and turn you in the same way the priest asks for above, and He will give you the continuing education you need to properly follow Him.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Our Mediator - November 12, 2013

1 Timothy 2:5-6(New Living Translation)
5 For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. 6 He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time.


In the world of business the resolution of contract disputes is a huge concern. In most contracts, in order to avoid lengthy court battles and the spending of huge attorney's fees, a provision is made that the first attempt at resolving any dispute will be through mediation. Agreeing to mediation provides protection for both parties in case a dispute arises, and it allows for the resolution of a conflict for the least amount of difficulty and cost.

Typically both parties will agree to allow a mediator, a neutral party who assists in negotiations and conflict resolution, to be the one to reconcile any dispute. In mediation, and if both have agreed to and accepted mediation as the resolution in any conflict, both parties must abide by the final decision of the mediator. The mediator's word is the final authority, and if payment is required of either party, it has to be paid.

If on the other hand, the parties fail to accept and agree to mediation in their initial contract agreement, they will subject themselves to resolving any dispute in a court of law. This may end up costing the offending party, a heavy price in the attempt to placate the injured party. It is a difficult place to be, if one has to stand on their own and suffer the consequences of any injury that may have been done. Many have had their reputations and lives ruined as a result of not agreeing to the protection of mediation.

Through God's grace, He has provided us with a Mediator to resolve our dispute with God. Our sin has separated us from God and has caused us to be in dispute, created conflict, with Him. Nothing that we do on our own can resolve the conflict, because we are a party to our dispute with God. Jesus Christ has taken on the responsibility of mediating our conflict with our righteous God.

Our dispute, our conflict with God due to the offense of our sin, has been resolved by Christ's mediation. Through His death on the cross, the payment that is required for our sin against God has been made by the Mediator Himself! He has been given the final authority in the matter and His decision is final. Nothing can be done to alter the decision as long as we have accepted it, and agreed to Jesus Christ as our Mediator.

If you have not accepted God's offer of mediation, you will have to stand alone in God's court of judgment and suffer whatever decision is rendered. Why not accept Jesus Christ and assure that your will have a Mediator when you stand before God? Why not accept His payment in full for what you have done and will ever do as the offending party? Now is the right time for you to accept the decision and His provision as the resolution to your conflict with God.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Fearing God - November 11, 2013


Psalm 119:73-80 (New International Version)

73 Your hands made me and formed me;
give me understanding to learn your commands.

74 May those who fear you rejoice when they see me,
for I have put my hope in your word.

75 I know, O LORD, that your laws are righteous,
and in faithfulness you have afflicted me.

76 May your unfailing love be my comfort,
according to your promise to your servant.

77 Let your compassion come to me that I may live,
for your law is my delight.

78 May the arrogant be put to shame for wronging me without cause;
but I will meditate on your precepts.

79 May those who fear you turn to me,
those who understand your statutes.

80 May my heart be blameless toward your decrees,
that I may not be put to shame.


Healthy fear of God is a good thing for you. Realizing that their is a Supreme Being that could end it all for you in any moment, gives you a healthy appreciation for Him. The best earthly pattern for this is a loving Father. As children you know your Dad loves you and you love and respect your Dad, but you also know, usually from experience, that if you disobey him, you will suffer the consequences. That doesn't mean that the love is no longer there, it just means that you know that not matter what he will love you, but you will get "correction" if you deserve it.

Our priest appeals to those who "fear" God to look to him and his example of how to follow God. He points out that the word of God is the guidance that is needed to have a healthy understanding and respect for God. God loves us, and He has given us His word for us to learn about Hid nature. We are fortunate that God is not a vengeful God, seeking justice for wrongdoing, no matter what. If so, we would all have perished long ago.

Our God has compassion and mercy for those who love, respect, and "fear" Him. He not only wants us to know that we need to be obedient to Him and follow His ways, but He also hopes that we will see examples of His love in those who follow Him and call on Him. We can be assured that our fear of Him will translate into our salvation, because in His love He has provided everything for our good.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sunday Praise! - November 10, 2013

Psalm 147 (New Living Translation)

1 Praise the Lord!

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

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

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

Praise the Lord!

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

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Rock of Ages - November 9, 2013


Deuteronomy 32:4(New International Version)4 He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.

2 Samuel 22:47(New International Version)
47 “The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be my God, the Rock, my Savior!

Psalm 18:2(New Living Translation)
2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior;
my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
He is my shield, the power that saves me,
and my place of safety.

One of the best loved hymns of all time is Rock of Ages. "Traditionally, it is held that Rev. Toplady drew his inspiration from an incident in the gorge of Burrington Combe in the Mendip Hills in England. Toplady, a preacher in the nearby village of Blagdon, was travelling along the gorge when he was caught in a storm. Finding shelter in a gap in the gorge, he was struck by the title and scribbled down the initial lyrics on a playing card."*

When I was young I remember many funerals where I heard this hymn played, and I am sure many of you have that same memory. The hymn provided comfort to those who were grieving that their loved one would be received by their Savior and sheltered from the sting of death. It also gave hope to those who attended that they too would have that same protection from the fear of their own death, because of the atoning work of Jesus Christ crucified of Calvary's rock. In the words, we are reminded that we come to the cross empty-handed, and because of Christ's work alone, can we be saved.

God truly is a sheltering rock, under which we can receive protection from the storms of life that come upon us. We can do nothing to secure that protection, and in Christ Jesus we too can claim these words as our own:

"While I draw this fleeting breath,
When my eyes shall close in death,
When I rise to worlds unknown,
And behold Thee on Thy throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee."**

Photo "Rock of Ages" by Phil Thomson, order print from redbubble.com
*Details from Wikepedia, The Free Encyclopedia, Rock of Ages (Christian Hymn)
**Rock of Ages by Augustus M. Toplady

Friday, November 8, 2013

Not Looking Back - November 8, 2013


Philippians 3:13-14(New Living Translation)
13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.


All of us know people that constantly dwell in the past. No matter what happens, they are always dredging up what happened in the past as the reason for it. This is especially true if that person encounters failure; something in the past is always the cause. Instead of accepting responsibility and moving on they remain stuck in the past and never move forward into the future.

On the other hand, there are those who look to the past and the days gone by as the good times. That is so true of society these days. Many well-meaning Christians talk much about how it used to be rather than working to change things today. The problem with looking back in this case is that complacency sets in; that's because we think that it will never be as good as the past, so why even try to change things?

Both of these situations may be true for all of us at one time or another. There are times when we get so tired of fighting the difficulties of today, that we would rather just stay in the past and recall better days. We get ourselves stuck and the resulting complacency can really tie us down. Sooner than later we can so deep in the pit that it takes a huge effort to climb out, and without God it might be almost impossible.

We can't spend our lives looking in the rearview mirror. God wants us to forget the past, because what is done is done. That is what salvation is all about. In Jesus Christ we have the opportunity to have our past washed away in His precious blood. No longer do we have to carry the burden of the bad that we have done, but we can look forward to the future that God has in store, a blessed future here and now, and for eternity.



Thursday, November 7, 2013

Worshipping Like the Ant - November 7, 2013

Proverbs 6:6-11;10:4;13:4 (New International Reader's Version)
6 You people who don't want to work, think about the ant! Consider its ways and be wise! 7 It has no commander. It has no leader or ruler. 8 But it stores up its food in summer. It gathers its food at harvest time.

9 You lazy people, how long will you lie there? When will you get up from your sleep? 10 You might sleep a little or take a little nap. You might even fold your hands and rest.

11 Then you would be poor, as if someone had robbed you. You would have little, as if someone had stolen from you.
...
Proverbs 10:4
4 Hands that don't want to work make you poor. But hands that work hard bring wealth to you.
...
Proverbs 13:4
4 People who refuse to work want things and get nothing. But the longings of people who work hard are completely satisfied.

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 (New International Version) 11Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, 12so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

It is clear in the passages above that God does not like people that are lazy, although being a little lazy is probably the favorite pastime of teenagers. He has made us to work, which began with Adam in the garden. The different verses above call us to work diligently and to avoid laziness.

It is important for especially the men reading this that you work to provide for family and as the passage in 1 Thessalonians says, "to work with your hands ...so that you will not be dependent on anybody." The pursuit of a God-given vocation in my opinion is a way that we worship the God who created us to do it.

When we fully use the gifts and talents that we are blessed with for the benefit of our families and others around us, then we are truly worshiping the God who made us. I truly believe that we will spend eternity doing some kind of work for the Lord, and what we do now with all our heart, has much to do with what we will do for eternity.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Perishable - November 6, 2013

Isaiah 51:6 (New International Version)
6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
look at the earth beneath;
the heavens will vanish like smoke,
the earth will wear out like a garment
and its inhabitants die like flies.
But my salvation will last forever,
my righteousness will never fail.


It is difficult imagining what God is like. We haven't seen Him, yet billions believe in Him. How else would all of what is around us exist? Big Bang? No, I don't think so. Chance? That means having nothing times nothing equals something. The math doesn't support that one. No one can explain our existence without God. Many deny that, and they spend a lifetime trying to prove it, but they never will. True to form, the scoffers will do anything but believe in God. Must be what they have to face up to.

God has proven Himself by what is around us. The magnificence of His creation, from the smallest of organisms to the expanse of the universe, is proof enough. Yet for the wonder of what is around us, it will all come to an end someday. Everything perishes(Now that, the scoffers do agree on). Everything dies; everything decays. With that prospect in the future of all of us, what then? Do we pass into nothingness? Many would hope so, but those with real hope in Jesus Christ know differently.

As the prophet Isaiah tells us with the words of God, everything will pass away, except God and His salvation. He provides the Way and will never fail His creation. So the next time you look into the heavens, and contemplate your existence, make sure that you have accepted God's salvation and have taken His Way. That will never pass away.

Photo from ultraorange.net

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Simple Life - November 5, 2013

Proverbs 30:7-9(New International Version)
7 “Two things I ask of you, LORD;
do not refuse me before I die:

8 Keep falsehood("vanity"KJV) and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.

9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.


One of my fondest memories was from my college days. Twice during that time I spent about a month traveling through Europe by myself. I wouldn't say I was "roughing" it, but I had very little in terms of money and things, and yet I had some of the best times of my life. I saw a lot and learned how the world outside of the U.S. works. I met a number of great people and made relationships that have lasted over the years.

As I read these verses in Proverbs it reminds me of those times. Those times of simple living can be the best times, because you are dependent on God for most of what you have and do. You realize that because of His grace, you have just enough for today. There is much to be said about the simple life; it is a life that keeps you humble and yet can fill you with joy.

This should also be our prayer, that God doesn't give us so much that we become arrogant and turn our backs on Him, and yet too little that we sin against Him in pursuit of meeting our basic needs. We should pray that He grants us the simple and humble life, so that our focus will be on Him and not the things of the world.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Getting Under Control - November 4, 2013

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? Place your trust in the One who made you; Jesus Christ offers you the confidence that He has it all under control.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sunday Praise! - November 3, 2013

Psalm 95:1-7(New Living Translation)

1 Come, let us sing to the Lord!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come to him with thanksgiving.
Let us sing psalms of praise to him.
3 For the Lord is a great God,
a great King above all gods.
4 He holds in his hands the depths of the earth
and the mightiest mountains.
5 The sea belongs to him, for he made it.
His hands formed the dry land, too.

6 Come, let us worship and bow down.
Let us kneel before the Lord our maker,
7 for he is our God.
We are the people he watches over,
the flock under his care.

If only you would listen to his voice today!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

A Good Book - November 2, 2013

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

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


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

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

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

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

Friday, November 1, 2013

Hope Understood - November 1, 2013

Ephesians 1:18(New Century Version)
18 I pray also that you will have greater understanding in your heart so you will know the hope to which he has called us and that you will know how rich and glorious are the blessings God has promised his holy people.

In this fast and furious world, we seldom take a moment to pause and remember what God has in store for us. We get so focused on our daily lives that we fail to remember that this is only a short stop on our way to eternity. This is a place for us to learn and serve, because we will all have specific things to do in Heaven. Our objective is to gain understanding of the hope that God has for us, that is the hope of a future with Him.

Give thanks to Him that He has given us the gift of salvation, and that He has loved us enough to want us with Him forever.