Monday, August 31, 2015

Beating Sunset - August 31, 2015

Ephesians 4:26-27(New International Reader's Version)
26 Scripture says, "When you are angry, do not sin."—(Psalm 4:4) Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry. 27 Don't give the devil a chance.

There is a lesson that I learned long ago that is a sure remedy for anything that ails a relationship. Yes, it would be great if we always got along in our marriages, with our children and other friends and family, but truth is that in every relationship there will be conflict.

After all, we are all selfish human beings that have a hard time with unconditional love. From time to time, all of us take people for granted, or we do things that make other people mad. This is especially true in the home. So, when that occurs how should we handle it?

The Bible is clear how we are to deal with one another. First and foremost we need to treat each other with love, even when at times the other person seems unlovable (it always turns around). Love is an action verb, so it requires that we take action, meaning that we do things and make choices on behalf of the other person. We might not like it all the time, but in the long run, our taking the initiative of the action first will ultimately resolve the situation.

Next, if you do get mad, make sure you handle the problem right away, or at least on the same day that it occurs. Any issue that does not get handled and "festers" overnight or over several days usually is a lot harder to resolve. Take the advice that is given in these verses of Ephesians; take care of the problem as soon as possible, and that means both of you. You might even have to corner that other person, persistently encouraging them to work through the disagreement.

Take on the blame even when it isn't your fault. Oh, and don't forget to apologize, because in the long run it will pay significant dividends. After all, don't you think that is how Jesus would handle it?

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sunday Praise! - August 30, 2015

Psalm 145 (New International Reader's Version)
1 I will honor you, my God the King. I will praise your name for ever and ever.

2 Every day I will praise you. I will praise your name for ever and ever.

3 Lord, you are great. You are really worthy of praise. No one can completely understand how great you are.

4 Parents will praise your works to their children. They will tell about your mighty acts.

5 They will speak about your glorious majesty. I will spend time thinking about your miracles.

6 They will speak about the powerful and wonderful things you do. I will talk about the great things you have done.

7 They will celebrate your great goodness. They will sing with joy about your holy acts.

8 The Lord is gracious. He is kind and tender. He is slow to get angry. He is full of love.

9 The Lord is good to all. He shows deep concern for everything he has made.

10 Lord, every living thing you have made will praise you. Your faithful people will praise you.

11 They will tell about your glorious kingdom. They will speak about your power.

12 Then all people will know about the mighty things you have done. They will know about the glorious majesty of your kingdom.

13 Your kingdom is a kingdom that will last forever. Your rule will continue for all time to come. The Lord is faithful and will keep all of his promises. He is loving toward everything he has made.

14 The Lord takes good care of all those who fall. He lifts up all those who feel helpless.

15 Every living thing looks to you for food. You give it to them exactly when they need it.

16 You open your hand and satisfy the needs of every living creature.

17 The Lord is right in everything he does. He is loving toward everything he has made.

18 The Lord is ready to help all those who call out to him. He helps those who really mean it when they call out to him.

19 He satisfies the needs of those who have respect for him. He hears their cry and saves them.

20 The Lord watches over all those who love him. But he will destroy all sinful people.

21 I will praise the Lord with my mouth. Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.

Photo "Enlightened Praise" by lumix2004, 7-26-2005, from stock.xchng

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Heart Matters - August 29, 2015

Proverbs 14:21 (Amplified Bible)21He who despises his neighbor sins [against God, his fellowman, and himself], but happy (blessed and fortunate) is he who is kind and merciful to the poor.

Matthew 25:37-40 (New King James Version)37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

What breaks your heart? Are you moved to tears when you see video of the devastation of an earthquake or catastrophic storm? Are you stirred into action when you see the poor and suffering in this world? Does the thought of many millions without food and shelter move you? What is our responsibility to those we are seeing? Do we focus on the world's needs or should we be more focused on the people around us? Where does our day to day labor for our own needs end and we start to work to make a difference in the lives of others?

Jesus spoke a number of times about the poor and the humble, and he kept the company of many that were hurting in his time. As we consider how we live lives dedicated to our heavenly worth, we need to keep in mind that we need to serve those that are hurting around us. God has a heart for the poor, and as His followers, we need to have the same heart that He does. We must always keep in mind, that someday we will have to give an accounting of the opportunities He gave us, to follow after His heart.

Photo from the Blog "Dreams of Arcadia"

Friday, August 28, 2015

Not Looking Back - August 28, 2015

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 alot 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 bllod. 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, August 27, 2015

Deliverance - August 27, 2015

Psalm 31(New International Version)
1 In you, LORD, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
deliver me in your righteousness.
2 Turn your ear to me,
come quickly to my rescue;
be my rock of refuge,
a strong fortress to save me.
3 Since you are my rock and my fortress,
for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
4 Keep me free from the trap that is set for me,
for you are my refuge.
5 Into your hands I commit my spirit;
deliver me, LORD, my faithful God.

6 I hate those who cling to worthless idols;
as for me, I trust in the LORD.
7 I will be glad and rejoice in your love,
for you saw my affliction
and knew the anguish of my soul.
8 You have not given me into the hands of the enemy
but have set my feet in a spacious place.

9 Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am in distress;
my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
my soul and body with grief.
10 My life is consumed by anguish
and my years by groaning;
my strength fails because of my affliction,
and my bones grow weak.
11 Because of all my enemies,
I am the utter contempt of my neighbors
and an object of dread to my closest friends—
those who see me on the street flee from me.
12 I am forgotten as though I were dead;
I have become like broken pottery.
13 For I hear many whispering,
“Terror on every side!”
They conspire against me
and plot to take my life.

14 But I trust in you, LORD;
I say, “You are my God.”
15 My times are in your hands;
deliver me from the hands of my enemies,
from those who pursue me.
16 Let your face shine on your servant;
save me in your unfailing love.
17 Let me not be put to shame, LORD,
for I have cried out to you;
but let the wicked be put to shame
and be silent in the realm of the dead.
18 Let their lying lips be silenced,
for with pride and contempt
they speak arrogantly against the righteous.

19 How abundant are the good things
that you have stored up for those who fear you,
that you bestow in the sight of all,
on those who take refuge in you.
20 In the shelter of your presence you hide them
from all human intrigues;
you keep them safe in your dwelling
from accusing tongues.

21 Praise be to the LORD,
for he showed me the wonders of his love
when I was in a city under siege.
22 In my alarm I said,
“I am cut off from your sight!”
Yet you heard my cry for mercy
when I called to you for help.

23 Love the LORD, all his faithful people!
The LORD preserves those who are true to him,
but the proud he pays back in full.
24 Be strong and take heart,
all you who hope in the LORD.

There are times in our lives when we are in utter despair; times when we are at our lowest. It is at those times that we really need to be delivered from our distress. From the depths we long for One who can lift us up, and One who can relieve us from the anguish that we are in. It is at those times that we need to commit it all to God and leave it all in His hands. Those are the times when we need to have total trust, and lay it all out before Him; God will deliver you.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Maintaining Purity - August 26, 2015

2 Corinthians 7:1 (New International Reader's Version)
1 Dear friends, we have these promises from God. So let us make ourselves pure from everything that pollutes our bodies and spirits. Let us be completely holy. We want to honor God.

Much is being written these days about the number of young people leaving the church after they leave home. The author of one such book, Generation Ex-Christian: Why Young Adults Are Leaving the Faith. . .and How to Bring Them Back,Drew Dyck said in an interview "I think there has been a lot of evidence that they are dropping religion at a greater rate than the younger adults of yesteryear," said Drew Dyck.

In his book Dyck examines the reasons for this through interviews he conducts. Reasons can be varied, from those who leave because of a negative experience, to those who rebel, and those who just get bored and drift away. There has also been other research from everyone from Focus on the Family to Pew Research that seems to concur with this significant falling away of our young people.

I am concerned for Christian youth of today, because today there is more pressure from the world around them than ever before in the past. Once they are out of our care and the safer surroundings of a church family or youth group, they are like "lambs thrown to the wolves". The god of this world will do all he can to trip up everyone of God's children he can. Many of us need only to look in the mirror to identify someone who has gone through this. So what do we do to help them from becoming another statistic?

First, our youth must know without a doubt what they believe. They need to be able to standup for it, and to defend it. As there parents, we need to know what they do believe, and if their is doubt, help to point them to someone that can help them work through those doubts (Of course we need to be sure of what we believe first). They can only be strong against opposition if they do this.

Next, once they leave the home, they have to have a lifeline back to their church and their family of believers. This may mean that your church or its youth group leaders need to be actively connecting with these youth on a regular basis, providing a resource upon which they can depend on. Nothing makes a young person more vulnerable than when they feel that they are alone.

Knowing what they will be held accountable to when they are in the world is the next step. The passage above makes it clear what God expects from them and us. There are many passages in the Bible that help support this. Find them yourself, then pass them on to your kids.

I believe many young people fall away because their parents have in the way they live. Many times the "empty-nest" syndrome drives once church-going parents to themselves fall into leading lifestyles that result in break up and divorce. Our bad examples forces our young adults to question their own personal faith, and many times the results are catastrophic. Get you own "house of faith" in order before you expect your kids to.

Finally, before your young person leaves home, discuss what will happen when they do go away. Be very honest and clear that what the world offers is not what they have been accustomed to. They need to know how to face things such as relationships, drinking, drugs and sex. Don't be afraid to talk about it, and yes, its okay to be honest about your past mistakes. Nothing is more important than to know that God can restore broken people, just in case they do mess up.

Photo "Water 4" by NKZS, 8-21-2008, from stock.xchng

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tough Love - August 25, 2015

Hebrews 12:7-11(New Living Translation)
7 As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? 8 If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. 9 Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever?

10 For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. 11 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

During difficult times, we may not think of it as discipline, but if you are a Christian, God allows us to go through times of "Tough Love". Although it is not easy to go through, God has promised us that it is for our ultimate good. He wants to conform us to the image of Christ, and these situations are for smoothing out our rough edges.

The good news is that God does this because we are His children, and He likens it to a loving Father disciplining his child. It will not last long, and God will never leave or forsake you during the process. At the end of it our children expect a hug and comfort, and God has promised us the same thing. He has a harvest of blessing waiting for us at the end of the hardship.

Photo from Scurrilous Pamphleteer, posted 3-19-11

Monday, August 24, 2015

Keeping It Simple - August 24, 2015

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 much 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.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday Praise! - August 23, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, August 22, 2015

He Is the Rock - August 22, 2015

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.

Psalm 62:2(New International Version)
2 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

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
*Details from Wikepedia, The Free Encyclopedia, Rock of Ages (Christian Hymn)
**Rock of Ages by Augustus M. Toplady

Friday, August 21, 2015

Daily Dependence - August 21, 2015

Luke 11:2-3 (New International Reader's Version)
2 Jesus said to them, "When you pray, this is what you should say.

"Father, may your name be honored. May your kingdom come.

3 Give us each day our daily bread."

When you get up in the morning, what are your first thoughts? Do you thank God for giving you another day here in earth? Do you ask Him to bless the day? Do you ask Him to guide you throughout the day, and to protect your family? Asking for your "daily bread" is probably way down on the list of firsts to pray for in the morning, yet to Jesus, as recorded here in the New Testament book of Luke, this request comes first after praising the Father's holiness and praying for the coming kingdom of God.

I believe that the point that Jesus was trying to make to His disciples is that their first focus of prayer after worship should be one of total dependence. This simple statement says much. It proclaims that they are dependent on God to provide them everything. It is a statement of surrender. For us it might be, "God please make sure that there is food on our table". It acknowledges your daily dependence on Him for everything we have and everything we do.

In the Western world, we are fairly independent. From an early age, we think that what we obtain comes from our own efforts. We forget that God was the One who gave us life and the ability to achieve and attain whatever we have. This is true for all of us. Rarely do we recognize that He gives us all things. Rarely are we totally dependent on God for all of our material needs. Spiritual maybe, but not for how we "make a living" and provide for our families. This is probably more true for men than women, but when was the last time you thanked God for your haircut or manicure?

Usually the only time we truly depend on God for the material is when we lose our job in some way. Then, and sometimes only then, do we lift up prayers to heaven and plea for His deliverance from that situation. I want to get like Paul, who while being chained to Roman guards in prison could still say this:

12 "I know what it's like not to have what I need. I also know what it's like to have more than I need. I have learned the secret of being content no matter what happens. I am content whether I am well fed or hungry. I am content whether I have more than enough or not enough. 13 I can do everything by the power of Christ. He gives me strength." Philippians 4:12-13 (NIV)

I would pray that all of us would be totally dependent on God for everything. I pray that we don't have to learn the lesson the hard way by having to do without. I pray that we would all acknowledge where all that we have comes from, and I pray that we may pass this knowledge of our daily dependence on God, to those who come after us.

About the photo: In 1918 in the town of Bovey, Minnesota Eric Enstorm took a photo of Charles Wilden sitting at a small table in prayer. As soon as the negative was developed, Enstrom was sure he had something special... a picture that seemed to say, This man doesn't have much of earthly goods, but he has more than most people because he has a thankful heart. Today Enstrom's picture GRACE, is known and loved throughout the world. Also known as Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread and as The Old Man Praying At The Dinner Table. ...Information and art can be obtained from

Thursday, August 20, 2015

How to Succeed - August 20, 2015

Psalm 1 (GOD’S WORD Translation)

1Blessed is the person who does not follow the advice of wicked people, take the path of sinners, or join the company of mockers. 2Rather, he delights in the teachings of the Lord and reflects on his teachings day and night.

3He is like a tree planted beside streams— a tree that produces fruit in season and whose leaves do not wither. He succeeds in everything he does.

4Wicked people are not like that. Instead, they are like husks that the wind blows away. 5That is why wicked people will not be able to stand in the judgment and sinners will not be able to stand where righteous people gather.

6The Lord knows the way of righteous people, but the way of wicked people will end.

It is hard for me to believe that more people do not embrace the promises of God. It is probably because so many resist even to read and study the word of God found in the Bible. You may ask yourself, what are they afraid of? I believe it is because they are afraid to face up to their own personal sin.

When you look in the mirror, whether you are a believer or not, and if you are in sin, it will be hard for your to be comfortable with yourself. The Bible is such a mirror. When you read and study its teachings, it will reflect the good and the bad of your life; it reveals sin, and it rewards righteousness.

If you do not do so on a regular basis, it is time you picked up a Bible and started spending time reading and studying it. You will soon find that it will bring blessings into your life through the change of your mind and spirit, and you too will succeed in everything you do.

Photo "Tree at end of Summer" by bertythul, 8-23-10, from stock.xchng

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

In Good Company - August 19, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Inside Baseball - August 18, 2015

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

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

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

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

Photo from Disney Baseball Tournament! Disney Sun & Surf Baseball Bash over Memorial Day Weekend at ESPN Wide World of Sports

Monday, August 17, 2015

One Like Us - August 17, 2015

John 11:35 (New International Version)
35Jesus wept.

The verse in John above is the shortest verse in our Bible, yet these two words are some of the most important. They show the compassion our Lord and Savior had for mankind as he walked the earth, and it is an example to us of how God feels about His people today. The incident above highlighted Jesus's seeing the grief expressed at the death of his friend Lazarus. and even though He knew that the incident would lead to one of his greatest miracles, raising his friend from the dead, he was moved by the emotions of those around him.

We have a Savior that has experienced our emotions, struggles and pain; One who is just like us in many ways. He cares so deeply for us that he has shed his blood to prove it to us. If you find yourself alone and in need of understanding, if you are broken to the point of anguish, reach out to the One who knows you. Reach out to the One who offers you salvation and freedom for your soul. The only One who can bring you comfort and peace in the midst of your troubles.

Psalm 103:13-14 (New Living Translation)
13 The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him.

14 For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sunday Praise! - August 16, 2015

Psalm 146 (New International Version, ©2011)
1 Praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD, my soul.

2 I will praise the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
3 Do not put your trust in princes,
in human beings, who cannot save.
4 When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
on that very day their plans come to nothing.
5 Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD their God.

6 He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them—
he remains faithful forever.
7 He upholds the cause of the oppressed
and gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets prisoners free,
8 the LORD gives sight to the blind,
the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down,
the LORD loves the righteous.
9 The LORD watches over the foreigner
and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.

10 The LORD reigns forever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.

Praise the LORD.

Photo "Praise the Lord" by Ronibro, 11-16-2006, from stock.xchng

Saturday, August 15, 2015

God Always Makes a Way - August 15, 2015

Genesis 3:15 (Amplified Bible)
15And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her Offspring; He will bruise and tread your head underfoot, and you will lie in wait and bruise His heel.

It was a terrible choice that brought with it fear and shook them to their very souls, and in that fear they knew that they would have to hide in shame for what they had done. It seemed harmless in the moment, but it had really changed everything. No longer would they have the closeness of their loving God as they had in the Garden. The man and woman hid themselves and what was once holy and without blemish, was now ugly and stained in sin.

The peace and tranquility in the Garden had been shattered; a holy and just God could no longer be with His creation. The one who had led them astray for the moment had gotten his way; he had brought down the most precious object of God's love and joy. He had brought them to his level and they had turned away from God. Something had to be done and God would have to be the One to do it.

God would have to provide a Way, and as He dealt out the consequence of the treachery of Satan and the punishment of the disobedience of mankind, He foretold the answer that only He could provide. There would be a time of reckoning where the woman would bear the Way, and although for a time Satan would gloat over his victory, the only Way would soon prevail.

The same is true for our lives. Although Satan may drag us into the pit, God is always there to pull us up. Nothing is too bad that it cannot be overcome by the precious blood of Jesus. His sacrifice on our behalf assures us that God will restore us into His favor. All we need to do is accept his Way; all we need to do is accept Jesus as our Savior, and allow Him to be the lord of our life.

Photo "Double Strike" by Canadakick, 4-26-2008, from stock.xchng

Friday, August 14, 2015

How Do You Spell Relief? - August 14, 2015

Psalm 55:1-2,16-17,22 (New International Reader's Version)1 God, listen to my prayer. Pay attention to my cry for help. 2 Hear me and answer me. My thoughts upset me. I'm very troubled. 16 But I call out to God. And the Lord saves me. 17 Evening, morning and noon I groan and cry out. And he hears my voice. 22 Turn your worries over to the Lord. He will keep you going. He will never let godly people fall.

How do you spell relief when you are having difficulties and having a difficult time? Yesterday we discussed how Jesus carries us and teaches us during these times. This is not something new to God. Since He created this planet and everything in it, He has cared for His creation. He especially has cared for us, whom He created in His own image.

I love how the Bible carries its message across 1400 years of writings from men that were inspired by the Holy Spirit of God. In these verses of Psalms, written by David several hundred years before Jesus walked the planet, David appeals to God for relief from the difficulties that he was experiencing from King Saul.

King Saul was the first king of Israel, but he had lost favor with God. Because of this God had appointed David to be the next ruler of His people, Israel. Although David respected God's King Saul greatly, Saul was jealous in losing the favor of God, and jealous that God and the people had begun to favor David. This Psalm was written as an appeal to God for help.

As you go through your day, reflect on these words from David. For relief of what may worry you today, turn them over to God in prayer.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Hear My Plea - August 13, 2015

Psalm 17(New Living Translation)
A prayer of David.
1 O Lord, hear my plea for justice.
Listen to my cry for help.
Pay attention to my prayer,
for it comes from honest lips.
2 Declare me innocent,
for you see those who do right.
3 You have tested my thoughts and examined my heart in the night.
You have scrutinized me and found nothing wrong.
I am determined not to sin in what I say.
4 I have followed your commands,
which keep me from following cruel and evil people.
5 My steps have stayed on your path;
I have not wavered from following you.

6 I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God.
Bend down and listen as I pray.
7 Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways.
By your mighty power you rescue
those who seek refuge from their enemies.
8 Guard me as you would guard your own eyes.
Hide me in the shadow of your wings.
9 Protect me from wicked people who attack me,
from murderous enemies who surround me.
10 They are without pity.
Listen to their boasting!
11 They track me down and surround me,
watching for the chance to throw me to the ground.
12 They are like hungry lions, eager to tear me apart—
like young lions hiding in ambush.

13 Arise, O Lord!
Stand against them, and bring them to their knees!
Rescue me from the wicked with your sword!
14 By the power of your hand, O Lord,
destroy those who look to this world for their reward.
But satisfy the hunger of your treasured ones.
May their children have plenty,
leaving an inheritance for their descendants.
15 Because I am righteous, I will see you.
When I awake, I will see you face to face and be satisfied.

When you feel down and out and at the end of your rope, surrender your problems to God and He will bring you relief. Our Bible is rich with the pleas of God's people for His help. When we have a relationship with Jesus Christ, we have someone who intimately cares for us and who knows our needs. He has gone through what we have and far worse, and He understands when we cry out. He will stand up when we are down, and at the end of our troubles, God will be there with us.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Hope for the Weary - August 12, 2015

Micah 4:1-4(New International Version)
1 In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and peoples will stream to it.

2 Many nations will come and say,

“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
to the temple of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths.”

The law will go out from Zion,
the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

3 He will judge between many peoples
and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.

4 Everyone will sit under their own vine
and under their own fig tree,
and no one will make them afraid,
for the LORD Almighty has spoken.

Life has its challenges; let's face it, it is hard to live this life, and it is especially hard to be good in doing it. In fact, without the Spirit of God it is impossible. Each and every day things happen in our lives that test us, and we experience things that hurt us deeply.

We lose loved ones, we lose our jobs, we encounter difficult relationships, or rebellious children; these are the things of life, and they make us long for a better future. We grow tired in the difficulty and we cry out for relief from the hurt and the pain. We may wonder where God is in all of this.

Although at times we may want to give up, and we are so weary that we can't take it anymore, we need to look to God as our hope of something better. He sent us His Son Jesus to walk among us and to pay for our shortcomings, so that one day we could be with Him. He walked in our shoes to show us that there is something better to look forward to.

Believe me my friends, I know it is hard, and I know you can't stand anymore, but never lose your hope in the One who loves you. He has promised you a hope and a future, though for a little while you must go through difficulty in this world. Jesus Christ will set things right, and if we call on Him as Savior and Lord, we will find relief for our grief and pain.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

True Satisfaction - August 11, 2015

Psalm 49(New Living Translation)
1 Listen to this, all you people!
Pay attention, everyone in the world!
2 High and low,
rich and poor—listen!
3 For my words are wise,
and my thoughts are filled with insight.
4 I listen carefully to many proverbs
and solve riddles with inspiration from a harp.
5 Why should I fear when trouble comes,
when enemies surround me?
6 They trust in their wealth
and boast of great riches.
7 Yet they cannot redeem themselves from death
by paying a ransom to God.
8 Redemption does not come so easily,
for no one can ever pay enough
9 to live forever
and never see the grave.

10 Those who are wise must finally die,
just like the foolish and senseless,
leaving all their wealth behind.
11 The grave is their eternal home,
where they will stay forever.
They may name their estates after themselves,
12 but their fame will not last.
They will die, just like animals.
13 This is the fate of fools,
though they are remembered as being wise.


14 Like sheep, they are led to the grave,
where death will be their shepherd.
In the morning the godly will rule over them.
Their bodies will rot in the grave,
far from their grand estates.
15 But as for me, God will redeem my life.
He will snatch me from the power of the grave.


16 So don’t be dismayed when the wicked grow rich
and their homes become ever more splendid.
17 For when they die, they take nothing with them.
Their wealth will not follow them into the grave.
18 In this life they consider themselves fortunate
and are applauded for their success.
19 But they will die like all before them
and never again see the light of day.
20 People who boast of their wealth don’t understand;
they will die, just like animals.

Do you long after the riches of this world? Are your pursuits after those things that money buys? Is your first aim in life to do all you can to obtain wealth? Do you believe that in doing those things you will have satisfaction? Has God been relegated to a small corner of your life as you pursue after these things? Do we hunger more for power, wealth and riches than for the love and satisfaction found only in God?

Many times in God's word we are warned against worldly pursuits. We are told that by doing so we can never find satisfaction and happiness. Any of us who have spent a little time on this planet knows that this is true. No matter how much we seek after the world and its riches, there is never enough and we can never be satisfied. In God's economy, worldly wealth is fleeting and soon fades away, but He gives us supernatural wealth in Jesus that can sustain and satisfy us for eternity.

Only by seeking God first and foremost in our lives can we ever be truly satisfied, and He tells us as long as we put Him first, He will take care of everything else we need. Only in Him can we be rescued from the world and given satisfaction that lasts.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Our Hope - August 10, 2015

Isaiah 26:2-8(GOD’S WORD Translation)
2Open the gates, and let the righteous nation come in, the nation that remains faithful. 3With perfect peace you will protect those whose minds cannot be changed, because they trust you.

4Trust the Lord always, because the Lord, the Lord alone, is an everlasting rock. 5He has brought down those who live high in the towering city. He levels it. He levels it to the ground and throws it into the dust. 6Feet trample it, the feet of the oppressed,the footsteps of the poor.

7The path of the righteous is level. O Upright One, you make the road of the righteous smooth. 8Certainly, we wait with hope for you, O Lord, as we follow the path of your guiding principles. We want to remember you and your name.

When you really get down to it, there isn't much you can do for yourself in this world. Yes, we might brag that we are self-made, or that we have done this or that for ourselves, but God is the one who has made all things possible; believe it or not.

He gives everyone every opportunity to follow Him, but not everyone will do so. For those who do, He will make the way easy, though at times it may seem very rough. If we wait and place all of our hope in Him, He will lead us where we should go.

Trust in the Lord, because He, and He alone lasts forever.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Sacrifice of Praise - August 9, 2015

Hebrews 13:15-16(New International Version)
15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

What is our greatest reason for being here? Why has God placed us on this planet, in this country, at this time? What is the meaning of our lives? Is it the pursuit of riches or fame? Is it to live out our days and enjoy life as much as possible? What is our true mission in life?

If you have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, God has made that all possible, and His instruction for us is to tell as many people as we can about Him. From the moment of our birth, God's ultimate goal for our lives was to be a living, breathing, telling witness to the love of Jesus. It is a Divine Assignment that everyone who calls themselves a Christian is to undertake.

It brings God pleasure when He sees us living out our assignment, forsaking everything else in life to give it all up for Him. It pleases Him when we boldly take on our assignment and tell everyone we know about the love and sacrifice of Jesus. So, as long as we have breath we need to be about praising God and telling about our lives with Jesus. Anything less than that is a waste of what God has equipped and appointed us to do.

Photo from The Family International, Photo Gallery: Relief-Disaster

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Be Patient - August 8, 2015

Psalm 37:7 (New International Version)
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.

James 5:7-8 (New International Reader's Version)
7 Brothers and sisters, be patient until the Lord comes. See how the farmer waits for the land to produce its rich crop. See how patient he is for the fall and spring rains. 8 You too must be patient. You must stand firm. The Lord will soon come back.

We live in a very busy world. Our lives are full of busyness, and most everything we do has an urgency to it. To compound things, we are in a constant state of activity and communication, receiving texts, cellphone calls, e-mails, messages, and tweets. In all the busyness and activity we rarely take a few minutes to take a breath and relax. We usually want everything done yesterday, and today is not soon enough. The world becomes a place of anxiety and stress; no wonder many suffer from burn out!

Just because we are Christians, doesn't mean that we are immune from this. Many of us get caught up in the activity of the church, and just in case we have left a few minutes in our day, we quickly fill it up with the "good" work of our faith. In fact, many pastors and leaders of the church suffer from the same burn out as the world does. Soon the life of the church is just as busy, anxious and stressful as the world.

We are in such a hurry to do everything we think that God wants done, that we also get impatient because Jesus hasn't come back yet to bring relief! In the Book of James, we are called to live a life of patience, especially in waiting for Christ's return. We are called to act as the farmer does, who waits months after his labor of planting before the rains come and his crop begins to grow. In everything we do, we need to approach it with patience, knowing that He is in control of all things.

Since we already know what is going to happen, we should live lives that reflect patience, yet eager anticipation that our Savior will soon come back for us. If your life is full of busyness, why not take the deep breath of the Holy Spirit and wait on the Lord?

Friday, August 7, 2015

Our Mediator - August 7, 2015

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.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Nowhere to Hide - August 6, 2015

Jeremiah 23:23-24(New King James Version)
23 “ Am I a God near at hand,” says the LORD,

“ And not a God afar off?

24 Can anyone hide himself in secret places,
So I shall not see him?” says the LORD;

“ Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the LORD.

Jeremiah 23:23-24(GOD’S WORD Translation)
23“I am a God who is near. I am also a God who is far away,” declares the Lord.

24“No one can hide so that I can’t see him,” declares the Lord.“I fill heaven and earth!” declares the Lord.

There are many in our world, that think that they can live their lives as they'd like without any repercussions. They constantly comment that they have plenty of time left to think about their future, and that they will think about God when they need to. You also hear them comment on their personal behavior and have the false assumption that God can't really see them, or that He isn't paying attention to them. What they say that what they do in private is their own business, and what He doesn't see won't matter in the long run.

Truth is though, God sees everything! He is omnipresent, meaning that He is everywhere at the same time. We may not see or "feel" His presence, but He is there. When Jesus Christ stepped into the world, He made this fact known when He told his disciples,“And remember that I am always with you until the end of time.”(Matthew 28:20b)Once we accept Christ as Savior and Lord, the Holy Spirit takes up residence within us, to guide and impart godly wisdom upon us. Once He is within us, there is no place to hide. Everything we do is under His caring eye.

Since God already knows everything about you, why not bring it out in the open? He sees your secrets, so why not turn them over to Him? Why not surrender and confess all that has you in bondage? Through Jesus Christ, you have been redeemed and He has taken your punishment upon Himself. If you still are waiting to turn your life over to Him, there will be a day that everything about your life will be layed out before God and judged. On that day, there truly will be nowhere to hide.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Blinded Minds - August 5, 2015

2 Corinthians 4:1-5 (New Living Translation)
1 Therefore, since God in his mercy has given us this new way, we never give up. 2 We reject all shameful deeds and underhanded methods. We don’t try to trick anyone or distort the word of God. We tell the truth before God, and all who are honest know this.

3 If the Good News (The Gospel) we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. 4 Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.

5 You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake.

This is not an easy subject. Sometime it is really difficult. What I am saying is as much as people try to believe in the God of the Bible, and to accept the gift of Jesus' sacrificial death on the cross for mankind's sins, it is a tall order for people who are unbelievers to suddenly give up their skepticism and become believers. Why is this?

The main reason is that the lifestyle that is promoted by the world and the values it espouses blinds people to the wickedness in which they are trapped in. That is what is meant by "Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe". It is as if they are blind-sighted, meaning that although they are looking for the truth; they can't really see it because of the way they are living. Our world has been so blinded by what is called "relativism"("what is right for one person may not necessarily be right for another", "that's true for you but not for me"),that absolute truth and what is morally right and wrong has been distorted, "veiled", from those who are perishing, dying in their sins.

My making the statement that people are "dying in their sins" is considered very controversial in our culture today. Why? Just a few decades ago, especially in the United States, moral absolutes were very easy to identify, and everyone was measured against a Judeo-Christian standard of right and wrong. But because of the failure of Christians to become engaged in the culture during the last several decades, this worship of relativism slowly crept in and the belief in God's absolute truth began to be diminished, until today these Judeo-Christian values are in danger of being eliminated from our culture. We may even see a day when upholding and speaking out for these values in our country will be considered a crime, as it is in many countries in this world.

A good way to test this theory about the erosion of values can be found by watching the Turner Movie Channel. On it you will find screenings of movies from the 1930's,1940's and 1950's. Compare those movies to those made today. The values portrayed by Hollywood then are not the values portrayed by Hollywood today.

And you need only look into the lives of most popular actors of today, and you will see the "fall-out" this has caused in their lives. It has also caused massive fall-out in the lives of those who mimic their lifestyle. Today you also see these same problems creeping into the lives of our politicians, professional athletes, and other "famous" people that the culture idolizes.

I would probably be safe in saying that the majority of people would not want to see their children or grandchildren exhibiting these lifestyles or behaviors, whether they are believers or not. Today's cultural values, exhibited on television and in the movies, in our schools and halls of government, are not those that will ultimately sustain our culture.

This is my message. If you are a Christian and you believe in the plan of God, you need to become engaged first in what you believe and then get engaged in the culture. Take this research and study into "What Do You Believe" and answer that question for yourself. Pick up the references and your Bible and become solid in your faith. Know what you should know.

If you are a non-believer, you need to take a close look at yourself and see if the life you are leading is really one that you can be proud of on your deathbed. Hate to sound morbid, but a hundred years from now everyone reading this will physically be in the same situation, but not necessarily in the same place. You have an opportunity to get your life on the right path; the path God has laid out first for your salvation and then for your lifestyle.

As Paul says it in his letter to the Corinthians,"You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake." Turn your life over to Jesus Christ today.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Abundant Living - August 4, 2015

Luke 6:38 (New American Standard Bible)
38"Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure--pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return."

Luke 6:38 (New Century Version)
38 Give, and you will receive. You will be given much. Pressed down, shaken together, and running over, it will spill into your lap. The way you give to others is the way God will give to you."

Mark 4:24 (New Century Version)
24 "Think carefully about what you hear. The way you give to others is the way God will give to you, but God will give you even more.

Much has been said about giving these days, but for the believer the act of giving takes on a very spiritual meaning. God is aware of everything we do, and the attitude of our hearts during the act that we are doing. He seeks for us to have a generous heart, giving of ourselves in generosity, and with that same generosity it will be returned to us by God. Don't get me wrong, I am not talking just about material possessions or money.

Our giving can take many forms. Let's say that you spend your time serving in a homeless shelter or helping with the children in Sunday School. This is a gift of your time and service. After it is done and you reflect on it, don't you receive as much if not more benefit from your act and gift of serving others?

God wants us to live in abundance. He wants us to have it all. He demonstrated that to us by giving us the greatest gift of all; His Son Jesus Christ as the payment for our sins. In light of that, abundance in living is achieved through the transformation of our hearts, where we freely give everything in thanks and gratitude to God for His unquestionable love. Freely give because of what you have been freely given.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Life Is Short - August 3, 2015

Psalm 39:4-6 (GOD’S WORD Translation)

4“Teach me, O Lord, about the end of my life.
Teach me about the number of days I have left
so that I may know how temporary my life is.

5Indeed, you have made the length of my days only a few inches.
My life span is nothing compared to yours.
Certainly, everyone alive is like a whisper in the wind.


6Each person who walks around is like a shadow.
They are busy for no reason.
They accumulate riches without knowing who will get them.”

James 4:13-14 (New International Reader's Version)

13 Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city. We will spend a year there. We will buy and sell and make money." 14 You don't even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? It is a mist that appears for a little while. Then it disappears.

I don't have to remind anyone that life is short. In one moment it could all end for any of us; in one moment it will be either the best of times or too late. We only have one chance in this life to make sure that we have taken care of what comes after. Jesus gave us the way when He said He was "the truth, and the way and the life".

We do not know this side of heaven why things happen the way they do. The most important thing we can do is to prepare ourselves and those around us for the inevitable. Have you given your life to Jesus? Have you surrendered yourself and accepted His gift of salvation? The time to do so is now, be it is too late.

Photo "Mist on Pike's Peak" by myarrito, Summer 2009.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Sunday Praise! - August 2, 2015

Jude 1:24-25(New Living Translation)
24 Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault.

25 All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.

Each and every time we begin a new week, we need to make sure that our attitude and our focus is right. Too many of us just dive into the week and approach it as just another routine Monday. We end up doing this week after week, losing any sense of purpose and direction. Soon we wonder what this is all for, we become dejected, bored and ungrateful for what we have.

Instead we need to approach each new week with a heart of praise to God for what He has done, and in anticipation for what He is laying before us. We need to be consistently thankful for His interaction and direction in each of our days, and we need to give praise, as well as commit ourselves to Him, before each new day. Soon we will reap a bounty of joy and accomplishment, seeing His hand working in our daily lives.

No matter what you are going through, or what you are looking forward to into your new week, take a few minutes, lift your heart in praise and thanksgiving, and give your new day, your new week to Him. Make it your goal to bring Him praise, glory and honor through your actions each and every day.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

That Amazing Grace - August 1, 2015

1 Timothy 1:14-16(New Living Translation)
14 Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was! He filled me with the faith and love that come from Christ Jesus.

15 This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all.

16 But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.

One of my favorite hymns (and it turns out my favorite movies) is "Amazing Grace". The words of this hymn were penned by John Newton July 24, 1725 – December 21, 1807), who was an English sailor and later in his life, Anglican clergyman. His story is one of conversion, repentance, and how a relationship with Jesus Christ made a significant impact on his life, that took him from being a sailor and Captain of a slave ship to being a minister, hymn writer and abolitionist. Published in 1779, it is "amazing" that even in secular venues, the hymn has received widespread acceptance. The words point to how through Jesus our once wretched state can be transformed by embracing God's love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness; it is the story of redemption.

I can really identify with both Paul, as he writes of his salvation in Christ, as well as John Newton. I too can claim the mantel of once "being even the worst of sinners", because I too was brought from the depths of my worldly and sinful self to a life worth living in Jesus Christ. Not that I am perfect, but I have a far clearer understanding of where I was and where I am going. God "grabbed a hold of me", and I will never be the same. Yes, I do have struggles like everybody else, and I do feel overwhelmed and defeated at times, but knowing that the Creator of the Universe guides my steps and has secured my eternal future gives me confidence that every day will be better than the one before.

I know that there are some out there that read my blog, that do not have a true knowledge of Jesus Christ. There are also those that may be cynical about so-called "religion", that probably think I have "gone off the deep end". My word to you all is get to know the real thing; get to know who Jesus Christ really is. Not the sterilized, wimpy version that is ridiculed by the world and the media of our day, but the real man's man who was not afraid to stand up to the evil in His day. Who willingly was ridiculed, beaten, abused, and then carried His means of execution to the place where He was put to death, all for our sakes. Who later stepped out of the tomb in which He was laid, walked among the living for over 40 days, and later returned to Heaven where He is today. Really check it out for yourself; you don't have a right to ridicule Him until you have.

Yes, Jesus does SAVE, and to me that is "Amazing Grace"!

Photo of John Newton from the movie Amazing Grace, 2006