Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Reformation Day! - October 31, 2015


2 Timothy 3:16-17(New Living Translation)
16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.


Today is Reformation Day, the birthday of the Protestant Church. On this day in 1517, Martin Luther, a Catholic priest, wrote to Albrecht, Archbishop of Mainz and Magdeburg, protesting against the sale of indulgences. He enclosed in his letter a copy of his "Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences," which came to be known as The 95 Theses. These he nailed to the door of All Saints Church in Wittenberg, Germany, and began the events that changed the Christian world forever.

The most important theological truth that the Reformation was the belief that Scripture alone—not human traditions or the rulings of a church—held complete authority for Christians (“sola scriptura”), and that salvation was a free gift of God that could not be earned by good deeds. The Catholic church at the time was "selling salvation" and profiting from the poor by doing so. They also made sure that the Bible remained in Latin, and the common man of the day was unable to read it for himself.

As a result of the Reformation, and the work of Martin Luther, John Calvin, Ulrich Zwingli, and John Knox, the Bible was translated and printed in the language the common way, opening the way for generations and millions of people to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Alone and Exposed? - October 30, 2015

1 Peter 5:8(New International Version)
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.


Imagery is very important, because it gives us a visual understanding about what is happening. Often Satan is compared to a stalking, hunting, voracious predator intent on "eating us". Satan is the lord of the earth, banished from Heaven to prowl the earth, and He is intent on upsetting God's plan for as many people as he can. He knows that we are God's most loved possession, and because of His hatred for God, he wants us take us away from being one of God's own.

Often we give him help by putting ourselves into situations where he can trip us up. He sets his trap where we shouldn't be, and he attacks us when we are most vulnerable. Another tactic he uses is to make us feel secure in what he is offering, suddenly catching us when we have let our guard down. For many this can be when we are away from home, away from the safety of boundaries that have been set for us. For others this can be when we are out on the "Serengeti" of the world, exposing ourselves to its lusts and pleasures. And for some it can be right at home, when we open ourselves to the digital world. Whatever the situation, we are cautioned to be alert, aware of our weaknesses, and sober-minded, or clear headed.

If you don't want to get eaten, be sure you are grounded in Jesus Christ, and filled with the Holy Spirit, obedient to God at all times. Don't allow yourself to be "out in the open", alone and exposed to where Satan can most easily lure you. And finally, surround yourself with like-minded Christians, who can offer you protection and strength in numbers. Fix your mind on your Savior, and you will defeat the devil's plans.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Seeing the Light - October 29, 2015


Matthew 13:15 (New International Version, ©2011)
15 "For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them."(Isaiah 6:9,10)

2 Corinthians 4:1-6 (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 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. 6 For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.

I often wonder why it is so hard for so many people to not understand what Christ offers us. I wonder why God allowed me to finally "see the light" after living so long in darkness. I have often said, "it was as if a light bulb went on", when I realized and understood the good news of Jesus Christ. The transformation of my life started dimly at first, kind of like those old CFM bulbs that take a while to get bright, but nonetheless it illuminated the darkness I had lived in for many years, and changed me.

For many this is a difficult concept to grasp, how God can take someone who is lost and transform him into a new person. Jesus quoted Isaiah when he was describing the hardened hearts and closed mindedness of the Jewish leaders of his day, and Paul writing to the Corinthians, described this as a "veil" from Satan that "blinded the minds of those who don’t believe".

We see this today as we see a world around us doing all it can to ridicule, disparage and remove Christianity from the daily lives of people. It is easier for many to accept ridiculous New Age concepts or religions that behave contrary to civilized society, than to accept the grace and mercy of God providing mankind with a way to be redeemed from their sin. And the world does all it can to believe in anything but Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

It took awhile before the veil was lifted and God's bright and shining light revealed to me that I could be made clean, that I could be redeemed and start over again, because of the gift of Jesus. I am thankful for it, and I try to do my part in sharing Christ's love with others. As the world looks to an uncertain and dark future, I have the knowledge of the hope that gives me certainty. That knowledge is the light of the message of Jesus Christ.

My prayer is that we who call ourselves followers of Christ can shine that light of Jesus, and do our part in overcoming the darkness.

Photo "Creepy Basement Light" by Hortongrou,11-18-2005, from stock.xchng

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Rock of Ages - October 28, 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.

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

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Giving Freely - October 27, 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, October 26, 2015

Confident Assurrance - October 26, 2015


John 14:15-17(New International Version)
15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.


We long to hear a voice from Heaven, to tell us that God hears us, and is watching out for us. We wonder, what must we do to break free from the troubles and distress of our lives? What assures us that God is listening and working with us through our situation? What gives us the confidence that God cares about us?

If we want to always have God's favor, and know that He will work everything out for us, we need to walk in obedience; we need to live the right way. We need to follow His instructions found in His word and do what He asks us to do. As Jesus said above, our obedience, keeping His commands, shows Him that we love Him. The great thing is that God helps us to be obedient, because His Spirit convicts us when we do wrong, and guides us back to following Him.

Our love for Him, demonstrated by our obedience, guided by the Holy Spirit, will give us assurance that God is will help us work out our troubles, and it will assure us that He cares for us.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sunday Praise! - October 25, 2015

Psalm 108:1-5(New Living Translation)
1 My heart is confident in you, O God; no wonder I can sing your praises with all my heart!

2 Wake up, lyre and harp!
I will wake the dawn with my song.

3 I will thank you, Lord, among all the people. I will sing your praises among the nations.

4 For your unfailing love is higher than the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.

5 Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens.
May your glory shine over all the earth.


This is the time of each week to sing God's praises. God's desire is that we set aside a day for praise and worship, and for most Christians this has been Sunday (or in some circles Saturday). Why praise Him? He created us all, and in our day-to-day lives we can quickly lose sight of Who is the real source of everything we are and have. Let us take the time to give Him praise, and to especially give praise to Jesus for the indescribable gift He has given us: Himself, as the required sacrifice for our sins. May the Holy Spirit bring to your mind God's countless benefits that He has blessed you with.

Photo from "The Year of Living Thankfully", posted 3-3-2008, from As For Me and My Haus

Saturday, October 24, 2015

God's Ultimate Will - October 24, 2015


Philippians 2:12-13 (New International Version, ©2010)
12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

Philippians 2:12-13 (The Message)
12-13What I'm getting at, friends, is that you should simply keep on doing what you've done from the beginning. When I was living among you, you lived in responsive obedience. Now that I'm separated from you, keep it up. Better yet, redouble your efforts. Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God's energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure.


So, what is God's will? It is a question I know I will be searching for the rest of my life. God has led me to this point in my life. He chose the time and place, the occupation and circumstances, my past and my future. Everything that is "me" is under His control. His will is what I will prayerfully pursue forever. He has gifted me with a seat at His table, a place of rest at His feet. It took a long, round about way to get me here, but now I am here.

I have tried to answer what is meant by God's will, but I believe only each person can discover and answer that question. None of us is the same, and His will for each of us is different. What ties us together is our pursuit to find His will for each one of us, to pursue it, and in the end to be found acceptable for doing so. I would want nothing else but to have served at God's good pleasure, and like Paul the apostle before me, be acknowledged as a good and faithful servant.

Then again, since God is ultimately in control, He will help me complete the assignment He has laid out for me! Comforting isn't it? In the end, if we call on Him to be our Lord and Savior, He will make sure we do what He wants us to do! He will help us to do His good and perfect will.

Photo "Bible Reading" by ProLife, 9-2-2004, from stock.xchng

Friday, October 23, 2015

Making the Right Decision - October 23, 2015


Ezekiel 18:32; Ezekiel 33:11 (New International Version, ©2010)
18:32 For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!
...
33:11 Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’

Matthew 18:14 (New King James Version)
14 Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

1 Timothy 2:3-4 (New International Reader's Version)
3 That is good. It pleases God our Savior. 4 He wants everyone to be saved. He wants them to come to know the truth.

I have often wondered and about the billions of people on this planet that are "lost". By lost I mean that they either don't know or have rejected that the only way of salvation is through Jesus Christ. Many in this world would dispute that, but the fact is that once you have studied the Bible, and every other religious text, only Jesus claims to be the full representation and the only way to God.

Once I fully grasp what He was offering, what Jesus did on the cross by sacrificing himself for my sins became very clear to me. The more I studied the Bible and the Old Testament sacrificial system, the more I read how God's people would wander from Him despite His provision and love, the more it became obvious that mankind needed a permanent solution to his sinfulness and waywardness.

God, through His love, grace, mercy and sovereign will, determined that He would have to be the One to redeem His people. Just like a good parent would rather take the punishment or the pain inflicted on their children, God decided that He needed to take it upon Himself to resolve man's problem of sin by taking on the just punishment that sin would require. No other religious teaching has God doing the work to bring man to Himself. The sole requirement is for us to freely believe and accept it.

If you are still not a Christian, God has given you the "free will" to choose His way of rescue. He has known you from the beginning and He knows when your life will end. For all of us, our time on this earth is short. He will not let you or anyone get away from His holiness and justice. Someday we will all have to reconcile our account with Him. Better to do it in this life, by accepting His free gift of salvation, than have to stand in judgment in the after life.

If you were called to stand before Him without Jesus Christ, would your good works outweigh your bad ones on the scales of justice? When the gavel comes down at your judgment, where you will spend eternity?

2 Peter 3:9 (New Century Version)
9 The Lord is not slow in doing what he promised—the way some people understand slowness. But God is being patient with you. He does not want anyone to be lost, but he wants all people to change their hearts and lives.

Photo "Hammer to Fall" by gmarcelo, 12-4-2006, from stock.xchng

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Withholding Good - October 22, 2015


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.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Is Christianity a Religion? - October 21, 2015

1 John 4 (New International Version)
1Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

4You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. 6We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

There are many beliefs these days that masquerade as "religions". If you were to research a count of religions, you would find that there are 20 major religions and hundreds and even thousands of belief and spiritual systems called religions. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a religion can be "the service or worship of God or the supernatural; a commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance; a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs and practices; a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor or faith".

Many believe that Christianity is a religion, but I would beg to differ. Yes, the observance of Christianity may meet the definition of a religion as defined above, but true Christianity, the faith that Jesus Christ and His closest followers believed in is not a religion. It is a relationship, an intimate union between God and His people, that is found only in the acceptance of, and the surrender to the gift that God has provided in Jesus. God redeemed His people through the work of Jesus on the cross, and them proved that Jesus was God by raising Him from the dead, and ascending into Heaven, where He waits for us to join Him.

We can only have a relationship with God if we believe this, and when we do, the third person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit, resides with us and gives us knowledge about God. The Spirit gives us the intimacy and comfort that is supplied by God. Sounds a bit complicated, but John makes it simple in the text above when he says, "This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God.

That should make it pretty easy, because any belief that denies Jesus as the Savior of the world is not from God. If you believe something else, why not give Jesus as chance? Pick up a Bible, pray for God to give you wisdom and discernment, and study about the One who did many wondrous things that had controlled the Universe; read about the One who died for your sins; and read about the One who stepped out of the tomb and into Heaven. It is a story that everyone sometime in their life will have to believe or reject. Make sure you put in the effort to make an informed decision.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

His Retirement Plan - October 20, 2015


Proverbs 27:23-27 (Amplified Bible)
23Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and look well to your herds;

24For riches are not forever; does a crown endure to all generations?

25When the hay is gone, the tender grass shows itself, and herbs of the mountain are gathered in,

26The lambs will be for your clothing, and the goats [will furnish you] the price of a field.

27And there will be goats' milk enough for your food, for the food of your household, and for the maintenance of your maids.


When you first read these verses in Proverbs, it may seem a bit confusing. It deals with things that involves farming and raising animals, and you may ask yourself, "what does it have to do with me?". As is with many topics in the Bible, these passages were written many centuries ago and are associated with the culture of that time, but if you examine it closely and apply the ideas to today, these truths from God begin to make a lot of sense. His wisdom is timeless, when you understand what is being said and use the principles for in your life today.

What Solomon is talking about in this wisdom given to him by God, concerns our personal or family finances. Here we are encouraged to always examine our financial state of affairs, and our position in our work for the future. It warns that just because we have been able to earn and build up wealth at one time, doesn't mean that it will last forever. We must diligently pay attention to what we have been blessed with and saved, making sure it is invested wisely. If we will do so, we will reap the rewards of our diligence by having provision in our later years.

Monday, October 19, 2015

How to Wait - October 19, 2015


Psalm 27:14(New King James Version)
14 Wait on the LORD;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!

Galatians 4:4-5(New Living Translation)
4 But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. 5 God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.


We are a very busy society, used to things happening at a fast pace. Every aspect of life around us is busy, and because of this we have become increasingly in patient with everything. Nothing can happen soon enough, and we want everything done yesterday. Because of this tendency that has ingrained itself in our lives, we have to have a solution to our problems and difficulties instantly. We can't wait for things to work themselves out; we want it fixed now!

One of the biggest lessons we need to learn in our Christian lives is "how to wait". When Adam and Eve fell, we would have expected that God would turn around immediately and quickly resolve the issue. Unfortunately, if that would have happened, we might not be here today. He worked through the generations and accomplished our salvation at just the right time; His time. God's timetable is not our timetable, and He will accomplish things in the time and manner that He sees fit.

I know that it is easy to be impatient during times of trouble, wanting God to take it away, but what we need to be asking is for God to teach us during those times. We need to learn to wait on the Lord, understanding that in His time He will set things right. In doing so, we will learn that our present circumstances are just temporary and that when we trust in God, He will work every situation out for our good.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Sunday Praise! - October 18, 2015


1 Chronicles 16:1-11;31-36 (New International Version)1 They brought the ark of God and set it inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and they presented burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before God.

2 After David had finished sacrificing the burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD.

3 Then he gave a loaf of bread, a cake of dates and a cake of raisins to each Israelite man and woman.

4 He appointed some of the Levites to minister before the ark of the LORD, to extol, thank, and praise the LORD, the God of Israel: 5 Asaph was the chief, and next to him in rank were Zechariah, then Jaaziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Mattithiah, Eliab, Benaiah, Obed-Edom and Jeiel. They were to play the lyres and harps, Asaph was to sound the cymbals, 6 and Benaiah and Jahaziel the priests were to blow the trumpets regularly before the ark of the covenant of God.

7 That day David first appointed Asaph and his associates to give praise to the LORD in this manner:

8 Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.
9 Sing to him, sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts.
10 Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.
11 Look to the LORD and his strength;
seek his face always.
...
31 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let them say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!”
32 Let the sea resound, and all that is in it;
let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them!
33 Let the trees of the forest sing,
let them sing for joy before the LORD,
for he comes to judge the earth.

34 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
35 Cry out, “Save us, God our Savior;
gather us and deliver us from the nations,
that we may give thanks to your holy name,
and glory in your praise.”
36 Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting.

Then all the people said “Amen” and “Praise the LORD.”

When do you find yourself praising God? For your children and family, do you give Him praise? For the job He has given you and the opportunity to meet you financial needs, do you give Him praise? For the wonderful things around you day in and day out, do you give Him praise? For all that He continues to bless you with, do you give Him praise?

In the midst of heartache and pain, do you give Him praise? When you loose your job, do you give Him praise? When money is tight and you don't know where to turn, do you give Him praise? When you lose a loved one, do you give Him praise? In spite of all the hardship you might encounter, do you give Him praise?

We are to give God praise no matter the circumstances, because in praising Him no matter what, you surrender to His will for your life. You acknowledge that He is in control, and that He will work everything ultimately for your good. Through the example of Jesus Christ, and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, you know that God works through the best in life and the worst. He redeems you from the world, and He is always worthy of our praise.

Photo from Daily Devotional Post, 9-14-2010, praisecleveland.com

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Enthusiastic for God - October 17, 2015

 
Revelation 3:19 (The Message)
19"The people I love, I call to account—prod and correct and guide so that they'll live at their best. Up on your feet, then! About face! Run after God!

Revelation 3:19 (Amplified Bible)
19Those whom I [dearly and tenderly] love, I tell their faults and convict and convince and reprove and chasten [I discipline and instruct them]. So be enthusiastic and in earnest and burning with zeal and repent [changing your mind and attitude].

How do people know that you are a Christian? Has it changed your behavior? Do you have a Christian face and a worldly face? Do you walk your talk? Do you "run" your talk? Are you charging ahead in faith knowing that God loves you and is in control? Are you enthusiastic about being a follower of Jesus Christ? Do you "wear your faith on your sleeve"? Is your faith contagious, spreading to all who come in contact with you? Do those most close to you reflect your behavior and faith?

You need to continually be asking yourself these questions and many more. God keeps a check on your obedience, but the best way to walk in obedience is by being continually zealous for God. The more you exhibit your faith in public, the less you will be tempted to doing wrong. As Christ's ambassador you are less likely to fall into sin, because you know that in doing so you minimize His sacrifice on the cross on your behalf.

So, the best recipe for staying straight and disciplined for God is to go all out in zeal, joy and enthusiasm, demonstrating for all those around you in whom you have placed your faith.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Rock Salt - October 16, 2015

Matthew 5:13(New International Version)
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

For many centuries salt has been one of the most important commodities in the world. It has been used for preserving foods, for currency, for balancing the blood, for adding taste to foods, and many other things. Our world and our bodies could not function without salt. In fact four-fifths of the world is covered in oceans that are full of salt; it adds to our lives in countless ways.

Jesus used this very important compound to speak of how followers of God need to be engaged in the world around them, while being different from the world. As Christians, this is the directive we need to follow, engaging others by living Christ-like lives, and making a difference in the world around them.

If we fail to be any different from those in the world, then we can no longer represent the difference that Jesus brings into people's lives. We will lose our ability to help bring effective change in people's lives that only belief in Jesus will. He is the Savior of the world, and a person's acceptance of His work on the cross as payment for personal sins changes lives.

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, don't lose your effectiveness by becoming a part of the world and diluting your witness. Instead, stand upon the Rock who is mighty to save, and be living examples of Christ.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Not Looking Back - October 15, 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 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 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.



Wednesday, October 14, 2015

His Peace - October 14, 2015

John 14:27(New King James Version)
27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

John 14:27(New Living Translation)
27 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.


One would think that with everything going on these days that it would be almost be impossible not to get stressed out. There are many people that are un-employed, that were recently laid off, that are stretched out financially, that suffer from an illness, that have trouble in their relationships, etc. There are many things that are leading to sleepless nights and days of hopelessness. But that shouldn't be!

Not that the "stuff" of life shouldn't be stressful, but in Jesus Christ, we are not to look at the troubles in life in such stressful and desperate terms. I know it is hard to understand while you are in the middle of it, but God does love and care for you. He doesn't want you to spend each and every day worrying about the next. That is not how He planned for us to live.

Jesus was among His disciples in the Upper Room just before His crucifixion when He said these word. Knowing what was in front of HIm and in store for the friends He loved, He sought to calm their anxious hearts by giving them the gift of His peace. The peace He gives is the truth that as long as we are a disciple of Jesus Christ, not matter what happens to us, He will be with us, and He will take care of us throughout eternity.

Hard to believe, but the peace that Jesus leaves us is that our salvation in Him trumps anything in this world. One day we will die; that is a fact that we can't escape, but in Jesus though we die in the body, we will live forever with Him in soul and spirit.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Continuing Education - October 13, 2015

Psalm 119:33-40 (New International Version)
h He
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.

Psalm 119:33-40 (The Message)

33-40 God, teach me lessons for living
so I can stay the course.
Give me insight so I can do what you tell me—
my whole life one long, obedient response.
Guide me down the road of your commandments;
I love traveling this freeway!
Give me a bent for your words of wisdom,
and not for piling up loot.
Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets,
invigorate me on the pilgrim way.
Affirm your promises to me—
promises made to all who fear you.
Deflect the harsh words of my critics—
but what you say is always so good.
See how hungry I am for your counsel;
preserve my life through your righteous ways!


If you are a licensed practitioner in the State of Texas, whether it is for real estate, jurist prudence, nursing or other, you have to do 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.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Sunday Praise! - October 11, 2015



















Psalm 145 (New International Version)
A psalm of praise. Of David.

1 I will exalt you, my God the King;
I will praise your name for ever and ever.

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

3 Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.

4 One generation will commend your works to another;
they will tell of your mighty acts.

5 They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and I will meditate on your wonderful works.

6 They will tell of the power of your awesome works,
and I will proclaim your great deeds.

7 They will celebrate your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your righteousness.

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

9 The LORD is good to all;
he has compassion on all he has made.

10 All you have made will praise you, O LORD;
your saints will extol you.

11 They will tell of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might,

12 so that all men may know of your mighty acts
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.

13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
The LORD is faithful to all his promises
and loving toward all he has made.

14 The LORD upholds all those who fall
and lifts up all who are bowed down.

15 The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food at the proper time.

16 You open your hand
and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways
and loving toward all he has made.

18 The LORD is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.

19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cry and saves them.

20 The LORD watches over all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.

21 My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD.
Let every creature praise his holy name
for ever and ever.


We really neglect God sometimes. Although we may attend church, study the Bible, and spend a few minutes in prayer, we often find ourselves spending very little time in thanksgiving and praise. God has created us to love, and in turn He enjoys our praises. As a parent enjoys a thank you and demonstration of love from their children, our God desires the unexpected adoration of those created in His image.

As we prepare for a new week, let us begin it with praise for our God who supplies all we need. During the week, try to begin each one worshiping and praising Him. The entire week might just turn out a bit better. God bless you and yours in the upcoming days.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Overcoming Bitterness - October 10, 2015


Psalm 73:12-28(GOD’S WORD Translation)
12Look how wicked they are!
They never have a worry.
They grow more and more wealthy.

13I’ve received no reward for keeping my life pure and washing my hands of any blame.


14I’m plagued with problems all day long, and every morning my punishment begins again.



15If I had said, “I will continue to talk like that,”
I would have betrayed God’s people. 16But when I tried to understand this,
it was too difficult for me.


17Only when I came into God’s holy place
did I finally understand what would happen to them.

18You put them in slippery places
and make them fall into ruin.
19They are suddenly destroyed.
They are completely swept away by terror!
20As someone gets rid of a dream when he wakes up,
so you, O Lord, get rid of the thought of them
when you wake up.

21When my heart was filled with bitterness
and my mind was seized with envy,
22I was stupid, and I did not understand.
I was like a dumb animal in your presence.

23Yet, I am always with you.
You hold on to my right hand.
24With your advice you guide me,
and in the end you will take me to glory.

25As long as I have you,
I don’t need anyone else in heaven or on earth.
26My body and mind may waste away,
but God remains the foundation of my life
and my inheritance forever.
27Without a doubt, those who are far from you will die.
You destroy all who are unfaithful to you.

28Being united with God is my highest good.
I have made the Almighty Lord my refuge
so that I may report everything that he has done.

There are many good people out there that are doing their best to follow Jesus Christ, yet it seems that they can't catch a break during tough times. When things are tough it is hard not to get bitter. We tend to get angry with God in that bitterness, when we see those that do evil prosper. After asking God, "why me?", we wonder why He let's those who are against Him get all the breaks in this world.

If you are doing your best, trying to follow Jesus and it just hasn't gotten any easier for you, remember that God does want you to prosper. He is just working out His plan in your life. Fine gold or silver are at their finest when the impurities have been driven out. Steel is only at its strongest when it endures the hottest of temperatures. The trials you are going through have a purpose, and those who seemingly laugh at your faithfulness to God will receive their just reward.

Don't lose heart! He will carry you through this, and at the end of your struggle, you will see His plan and experience His joy.

Photo from "OVERCOMING THE OBSTACLES TO YOUR VISION", by Coach Dan Foster, posted 3-9-2011

Friday, October 9, 2015

Living Water - October 9, 2015

John 7:37-39(New Living Translation)
37 On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! 38 Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” 39 (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)


When you are truly saved and know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, you will certainly know it. That is when the Holy Spirit of God comes to live within you and your joy and excitement about following Jesus will flow from you like a river of water. That is what Jesus meant in the verses above. You can't help but talk about the change He has made in your life.

Yes, there are times of difficulty and stress in our walk with Him, but there are far more times when our life in Him will flow to all that surround us. If you haven't yet, why not taste the living water today?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Wise Ant - October 8, 2015

 
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 is 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.

It is up to us, to not only follow the admonition of these verses from the Bible, but to also be sure that we pass them on as instruction for our children and those who come after us.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Persistent Prayer - October 7, 2015

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Waking By Faith - October 6, 2015

2 Corinthians 5:7(New King James Version)
7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.

Romans 8:24(New American Standard Bible)
24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?

Hebrews 11:1(New International Version)
1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.


These days its really difficult to know what is going on. Every day we are reminded by one thing or another that these are tough times, and it seems as if they will never end. You wonder at times if God is paying attention to your difficulty, and you wonder what you may have done wrong. Why does it have to be so hard? What can you do to overcome what your going through?

If you are a Christian, it's times like these that you can really get close to Jesus, because He has walked through some of the same things we have. What can give us confidence that things will be better is that He has gone through every type of emotion that we have. He knows how we feel.

It's at times like these that you need to understand that blessing comes from having faith, total trust, that although you cannot see what will happen, God will take care of you. Yes, you don't know how what your going through will end, but God does. He has given you His promise that He will never leave or forsake you(Hebrews 13:5), and that everything that you go through will be for your own good(Romans 8:28).

Because of His promises you can have confidence, that although you cannot see where you are going, He is leading you where you are supposed to go. He knows what you need, and He is into the details. So what should you do? Totally trust God. Seek Him continually in prayer and ask Him to help you in leaving the results to Him. It is only in total faith and trust that you can truly be at peace in all that happens around you.

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Righteous Judge - October 5, 2015

Isaiah 11:1-5 (New International Version, ©2010)
1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.

2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him — the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD — 3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.

He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; 4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy,with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.

5 Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.


2 Corinthians 5:10 (New International Version, ©2010)
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.


What does it mean to be "fair"? The dictionary would define it as "free from bias, dishonesty, or injustice". Unfortunately that is impossible with man. Unless every judge subjects themselves to the exact same moral authority and law, there will never be judgements that adhere to the definition.

To complicate it even further, now we are faced with several types of law; there is "natural law" given by the God of the Bible, there is "legal positivism" that is defined by the culture, then there is "Sharia law" supposedly given by Allah through the Islamic holy books, and others. With so many different types of law, justice varies from one to another, and in many cases, these laws are not "fair".

For instance, there is Saeed Abedini, a Christian pastor in Iran who has been sentenced to death for supposedly having converted to the Christian faith from having been born a Muslim. In fact in most Islamic nations, it is punishable by death to practice any other religion other than Islam (so much for being a religion of peace). Converts to Christianity usually practice their faith in secret, for fear of being caught and executed. Now according to Sharia, that is a "just and fair" punishment, but in any other rational society and under any other law that punishment is ridiculous and irrational.

The prophet Isaiah points us to "the coming" of the righteous judge, who will give out justice fairly and without bias. He will treat all with fairness and honesty. Only God can do that. Fallen mankind is incapable for doing so, because their hearts are corrupt and immoral. They judge based on their own needs, interests and attitudes. That is what had been so wonderful about the laws in our United States. They had been drawn together with the God of the Bible in mind, and I believe by men empowered by the Holy Spirit, to create an exceptional nation.

Someday soon, each and everyone, those before us and after us, will stand before the righteous judge. He will judge all of the nations, and give out justice that is deserved. If we are judged by what we deserve, we all would perish, but because our judge has come first as our Lord and Savior, and has offered himself as payment for our wrongdoing. Accept God's gift to you before you have to stand before Him in judgment.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Sunday Praise! - October 4, 2015

Psalm 75 (New International Reader's Version)
1 God, we give thanks to you.
We give thanks because your Name is near.
People talk about the wonderful things you have done.
2 You say, "I choose the appointed time to judge people.
And I judge them fairly.
3 When the earth and all of its people tremble,
I keep everything from falling to pieces.

4 To the proud I say, 'Don't brag anymore.'
To sinners I say, 'Don't show off your power.
5 Don't show it off against me.
Don't speak with your noses in the air.' "
6 No one from east or west or north or south
can act as judge.

7 God is the One who judges.
He says to one person, "You are guilty."
To another he says, "You are not guilty."
8 In the hand of the Lord is a cup.
It is full of wine mixed with spices.
It is the wine of his anger.
He pours it out. All of the evil people on earth
drink it down to the very last drop.

9 I will speak about this forever.
I will sing praise to the God of Jacob.
10 God will destroy the power of all sinful people.
But he will make godly people more powerful.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Motion Sickness - October 3, 2015


Colossians 2:20-23(New Century Version)
20 Since you died with Christ and were made free from the ruling spirits of the world, why do you act as if you still belong to this world by following rules like these:

21 "Don't handle this," "Don't taste that," "Don't even touch that thing"?

22 These rules refer to earthly things that are gone as soon as they are used. They are only human commands and teachings. 23 They seem to be wise, but they are only part of a human religion. They make people pretend not to be proud and make them punish their bodies, but they do not really control the evil desires of the sinful self.

Many people go through the motions in trying to be religious. Other than Christianity, most of the other religions require people to do something in order to gain favor with God. These "works-based" systems of faith all think that if we only will do certain things then we might make it to heaven or some equivalent. The problem with this is, "how do you know that you have done enough before you die to win God's favor?

What if you do many good things, but happen to do something bad on your deathbed; will you make it to heaven, or is that not enough? One religion even perverts this to make zealous followers believe if they kill themselves in the name of that religion and take those they hate with them, that they will gain salvation. How does their god, if he is supposed to be merciful, accept that suicide or the killing of others as justified? How nuts is that?

What you have here is many people "going through the motions" and claiming by doing so that they are making themselves acceptable to God. Even some so-called Christians give themselves "motion sickness" trying to do all they can to please God. What a waste of time and energy! Don't they realize that all the our God requires is the acceptance of the work that has already been done? Don't they know that Jesus Christ did the work and paid the price with His own life to make us right with God?

The only way to lead a godly, faithful life is to accept Jesus Christ as Savior. Once we do, the Holy Spirit indwells us and helps us to live righteous lives. Our own efforts are futile, unless they are directed by God. He will never let His own fall(Romans 8:38-39); He alone provides us what is necessary to make it to Heaven. Nothing that we do on our own will save us. Knowing that fact, why not abandon going through the motions and accept God's plan for you?

Friday, October 2, 2015

Rescue, Restoration and Renewal - October 2, 2015

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.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

I am Blessed! - October 1, 2015


Psalm 1(New International Version)

1 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,


2 but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night.


3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.


4 Not so the wicked! They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.


5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

6 For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.


I am blessed! God has given me so much, a wonderful wife, great children, grandsons, fantastic friends, a family that loves me, a way to keep food on the table, a roof over our heads, a Savior who loved me enough to die for me, and a Savior who stepped out of the grave to give me a hope of life eternal. What more could I ever ask for? My God is an awesome God, and is deserving and worthy of the highest praise!

Why am I blessed? It is not something I have done, and it isn't something I could ever do for myself. God rescued me from a life that could never be worthy of a loving God, and He set me upon a rock, the rock that is Jesus Christ.  As is speculated, Solomon saw this in his own life, and he shared that in this Psalm as a continuation of wisdom in the Proverbs he compiled.

This psalm is for all those who walk this earth; it points us to how we can respond to receive the blessings of God, and what may happen if we don't. In this another year of my life, I implore all of you to surrender your lives to my loving Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the root, the foundation, the provider, the author and the giver of all of my blessings, and He will give you your hearts desires if you will only ask.