Monday, October 21, 2019

We Can't Quit!

Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.” He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:38-39)
Jesus Christ experienced hematohidrosis while praying in the garden of Gethsemane before his crucification as mentioned by Luke; “and being in anguish he prayed more earnestly and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” (Luke 22:44) Yes . . . to the point of sweating blood . . . Jesus was obviously stressed, anguished and even perhaps fearful of what was to come! Yet Jesus would not quit! He turned to God in prayer . . .

Where do we turn when stressed, anguished and to the point of giving up? To whom (Whom) do we turn? Some choose drugs . . . some sex . . . some alcohol . . . some binge watch shows . . . others turn to food. As believers we need to choose to turn to the One Who knows our troubles and cares for us more than anyone else. (1 Peter 5:7) If Jesus had to turn to the Father, why don't we?

“Now, therefore,” says the Lord“Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning." So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness . . .(Joel 2:12-13)

Friday, October 18, 2019

Humble Community

I must admit, I am hurting today . . . not for myself but for those who feel that they have no voice, can't speak up, aren't valued and in despair! In fact, many closest to me . . . family, young friends and students I teach . . . hold on, Jesus hears and cares!
Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.  No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry I speak as to wise men; judge for yourselves what I say.  The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?  For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.(1 Corinthians 10:12-17)
As a universal Body of Christ, as a CHRIST-centered family, as a CHRISTian school, even as  an individual CHRISTian, we are nothing without Christ! We are no better than anyone else. We humbly serve one another and care for one another, building up rather than tearing down. We are only as effective as our weakest link!
 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. (Romans 12:3)
Jesus came to seek and to save, to serve and not to be served . . . . Look it up!

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Don't Miss This!

Don't miss this!
Then Jesus said to them, All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written:‘I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.” Peter answered and said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.”Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” And so said all the disciples. (Matthew 26:31-35)
All means all!  I've missed this when reading so Many times that Peter would deny Jesus. Yet in closer reading, Jesus told His followers that all of the twelve would deny Him! Then they all agreed that none of them would!

It is an eye-opener for me! It wasn't all on Peter! His story is then one God wanted us to know, but in deeper reading we see ALL the apostles denied Him at some point! This also encourages me! Even as I deny Him with my thoughts and actions at times, I. Can be sue He will forgive me and restore me as He did Peter. (John 21:15-25) As I honestly and heartily repent (1 John 1:9) He promises to forgive and restore me! Just as the Apostles went on to live a sacrificial life for Christ, there is hope for me . . . and you! Don't miss this folks!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Praise the Lord!

Praise the LordPraise the Lord, O my soul! While I live I will praise the LordI will sing praises to my God while I have my being. Do not put your trust in princes,  nor in a son of a man, in whom there is no help. His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; In that very day his plans perish. Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God, Who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; Who keeps truth forever. Who executes justice for the oppressed, Who gives food to the hungry. The Lord gives freedom to the prisoners. The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; The Lord raises those who are bowed down; The Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the strangers; He relieves the fatherless and widow; But the way of the wicked He turns upside down. The Lord shall reign forever—Your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the Lord! (Psalm 146: 1-10)
Very seldom do I quote an entire book of scripture in my journaling, but these verses not only caught my eye but my heart! Just read the words and realize just how good . . . how awesome . . .  how mighty . . . how gracious . . . how loving God is!

I can only say very simply, "Praise the Lord! "

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Agitate! Agitate! Agitate

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control , to perseverance godliness to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness loveFor if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to perseverance for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth.  Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you . . . .(2 Peter 1:5-13)
Peter is nearing his death . . .yes even death upon a cross as Jesus predicted.  (John 21:18-19) One thing he wanted to be sure of was that those whom he taught were truly saved and growing in their faith. I now understand that burden!

As a husband, dad, grandfather, coach, mentor, and teacher, I am many times challenged with the thought that those under me don't quite get it. While we are never quite sure of another's faith, I am constantly reminding those around me to continue to grow and show growth. As Peter wrote that we grow in virtue (righteousness, integrity) knowledge, self-control, kindness, and love, our relationship with Christ is evident and active!

Just weeks before Frederick Douglass died, a young black man asked him for his best advice. Douglass’s response? “Agitate! Agitate! Agitate!” A lot like Peter, Mr. Douglass kept things stirred up! We cannot allow our faith to grow stale! 

Some of the last words of both Peter and Mr. Douglass were to keep things moving and improving 

Great advice indeed!

Monday, October 14, 2019

Open the eyes of my heart Lord!

I was reminded this weekend, at our high school football game, at home, and once again at church on SONday the reason why God has me where He does and facing the challenges I face . . . it is all for Him, His glory, and those He places in my path. Open the eyes of my heart Lord! 

Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,  whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on themFor we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake.  For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. . . .Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,  while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (1Corinthians 4:1-6, 16-19)

Friday, October 11, 2019

I am so glad God holds on!

While it is awesome to know I am a child of The King, and have a place reserved in eternity with the Creator, I also struggle daily with sin, its guilt, loneliness, depression, failures, rejection, physical pain, heartache and the loss of loved ones. Yes, I follow Jesus and love Him eternally and He loves me, yet life in the physical realm continues, until He says it is over! So there are struggles . . . so what do we do?

We lean upon Jesus and His words . . . it's all we have at times!
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,  nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.(Romans 8:38-39)

I am so glad God holds on! Like those in the past who schemed (Jacob), failed in relationships (Samaritan woman), rebelled (Jonah), womanized (Samson, Solomon), got drunk (Noah), murdered (Moses, Paul), even had sexual addictions (Rahab, David), I too fail. What about you?

Don't give up. Don't give in! Trust God at His Word . . .
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? (Romans 8:31-35)
If Paul could trust Him, I will!  I am so glad God holds on!

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Would we tell Jesus "No"?

Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.” 
Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!" 
Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, “You are not all clean.”  So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you?  You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am.  If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. (John 13:7-17)
Peter said, No way Jesus . . . . You won't wash my feet! Peter did not understand. He was about to be washed clean from sin . . . from head to toe through the sacrifice of Jesus, but he did not understand the sign Christ was representing that night before supper.

Many times we disregard the sage wisdom of those over us because it doesn't make sense now! I remember my parents saying something like, "You'll understand one day". How true! Now I am saying that today, to many young people who look at me like I am crazy!😯😰😱😦😨😟

But like the older Joseph figured out, (Genesis 50:20) God is working things out in His timing. When God's plans don't make sense and when those over us don't quite make sense to us, trust God and obey! After all, He put them over us! (Romans 13:1)

Would we tell Him "No!"?

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Now that you know......but why?

Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” (Matthew 7:24-27)
Now that you know what to do . . . know why you DO IT! As I disciple young folks, my main concern is what they are doing with the knowledge they are accumulating and why. Many are seeking futures and careers and have them planned out already . . . NFL, MLB, NBA, law, medical field, business owners, technology gurus, etc. While this all well and good and commendable, I am deeply concerned about their whys more than their whats!

Why do they want to be what they are planning and chasing? Foundational truths in one's life motivate people to pursue things. If I believe money will provide all I need in life, then I will run acts the dollar. If I believe my success and stature is based on whom I associate with, then I will pursue those of influence. Yet if I truly believe my value is rooted in what God knows of me and has planned for me, then my desire will be to seek Him and His plans (Matthew 6:33).

You see, for a CHRISTian, the motivation is why I do things, not what I do! Whether I am a doctor, lawyer, teacher, pro athlete, graphic designer, or mechanic, my desire is to please God. This is the foundation for why I wake up every day and why He wakes me up! No matter what I face daily, me desire is to please the One who made me! I cannot allow the ups and downs of this world rock my foundation!

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Trust and believe

Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass. (Psalm 37:5)
Trust, or faith is total dependency upon a person or thing. In the Old Testament, total trust as placed in a Savior to come, by faith (Hebrews 11). While Jesus was on this earth, people placed their total trust in Him to heal, fix, and even raise the dead!
 They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.”Jesus wept.  Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!” And some of them said, “Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?” Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it.  Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:34-40)
We are instructed by John to believe in the Savior Who is to come! He wrote about Jesus and His miracles for just that reason . . . that we may  believe and live!
 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book;  but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. (John 20:30-31)
Will you take Him at His word or must He raise the dead? He will you know! 
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.                    (1Thessalonians 4:16-17)

Monday, October 7, 2019

Flirting with Disaster!

What kind of friend will you choose?
Wise . . . .
She cries out from the highest places of the city,

“Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!”

As for him who lacks understanding, she says to him,

“Come, eat of my bread a
nd drink of the wine I have mixed.Forsake foolishness and live, And go in the way of understanding........
or Foolish . . . .
 “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here”; And as for him who lacks understanding, she says to him: “Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant." But he does not know that the dead are there, That her guests are in the depths of hell.
Many today are flirting with disaster! I was reminded of these words just yesterday (SONday) via my pastor. (It's ok to steal a Word by the way, when it can help others stay on track!)

Lady Wisdom cries out in our cities, towns, schools and churches but often is drained out by Lady Folly! Solomon lays out the pros and cons for his son here in Proverbs. In life we come to a fork in the road. There are two ladies soliciting our attention today. We MUST make choices; good or evil, right or wrong, wise or foolish! We can listen to good Godly advice or try the world's way, which always leads to spiritual failure. Oh, you might make money, gain fame, and win trophies, but what does it get you spiritually . . . eternally?

 New Testament writer Matthew put it like this from Jesus: "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."(Matthew 6:24)
In summary, here it is again from Solomon: There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.(Proverbs 14:12) 

Are you flirting with disaster?

We Can't Quit!

Then He said to them,  “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”   He went a little farther and fell...