Tuesday, October 23, 2018

God is enough!

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  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 8:37-39)
The presence of God is enough!  Knowing Him and knowing He is with me, should be all I need to know in order to fulfill His tasks for my life. So why do I allow all the other distractions to keep me off task? What can I learn from Paul?

Paul experienced near death. He no doubt fought demons. He was chased down and persecuted by government authorities and armies. He was beaten and left for dead. He was imprisoned. He experienced the highest highs and lowest lows. Yet he continued to trust in God!

I in no way have or will experience these things, yet I can be encouraged by them. If this same God is for me as well, in fact if He indeed lives and breathes within me,  then I too can be victorious!

God is enough!!!!

Monday, October 22, 2018

What is Baptism?

For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,  knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.  For he who has died has been freed from sin.  Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,  knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.  Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.(Romans 6:5-11)
So what is baptism anyway? If it required? Is it needed? Is not being baptized disobedience? Churches and various doctrines differ. Obviously, baptism does not save a person from sin, or those baptized by John would have not needed a Savior and the good thief would be in hell, making Jesus a liar.

However, baptism was important enough to Jesus that He gave us these final words of instruction:

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matthew 28:18-20)
You decide. What is  baptism? Is it required? Is it disobedience if one is refusing to be baptized or if we do not require it for proper fellowship among believers?

Friday, October 19, 2018

What a Homecoming!

For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven,  if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.(2 Corinthians 5:1-8)
What a Homecoming that will be!  While many schools and even churches are celebrating homecomings these days, including where I work, there is a greater homecoming all Christ followers can look forward to one day!

Groaning each day because of the trials in this world, we know one day we will be with the Lord and all whom call Him Lord and Savior. One day it will all be worth the sacrifice, tears, struggles, rejections, questionable looks, and backbiting. To be sitting with all the saints of HIStory and fellowshipping with Jesus Himself, experiencing  the presence of God and all His glory . . .to see friends, family, and those in HIStory who made it through . . .to finally hear; "Well done"!

Now that's a HOMECOMING!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

More like Him . . . What a Character!

What a Character . . .this God I serve! How can He care so much for a sinner like me yet be so Holy? How can He have so much power yet be so Gentle? How could He have created so much yet He loves and cherishes one like me who fails daily?
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.(2 Peter 3:9)
The people of the Old Testament witnessed this patience yet viewed God as a menacing and punishing God. They quarrelled and questioned Him. We have witnessed a sacrificial God, sending Jesus to suffer and die for our sin so we do not have to suffer.  Yet we now take advantage of that and sin despite His sacrifice!

Lord, let me really feel Your character this day. Help me not only to receive Your love and patience and forgiveness, but to share it with others as well. Perhaps that will allow me to really know Your character and by sharing it, I can be more like You!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

God is EVERYTHING!

Teddy Roosevelt once said: "Children do not care how much you know until they know how much you care!"

Lots of anniversaries this year . . .This is my 40th year of serving young people. I began coaching middle school boys my senior year in high school and over the years have coached boys and girls high school basketball, grade school football, adult coed softball and even a little track. Since 1998, 20 years now, my wife and I have been serving youth and families in outreach ministry, welcoming more than 50 children and even their moms at times into our home. For the last 15 years we have been "coaching " teens after school and on weekends in life skills; etiquette, finance, relationships, academic choices and biblical instruction. This is also my 10th year teaching in CHRISTian school in the DMV.

Along the way, we have realized that we are nothing and God is everything!
My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.(James 3:1-2)
Recall Jesus' parable of the faithful and evil servant?
 Then Peter said to Him, “Lord, do You speak this parable only to us, or to all people?” And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.  . . . . For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more. (Luke 12:42-48)
 I ran across this quote this morning:
"Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun fast or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them"
I share all this morning to encourage everyone to press on despite the challenges. We will never know the entire impact of our lives until we see Jesus and He shows us. Several of the young people we have served have gone on be the first in their families to graduate from Christian schools or earn college degrees, Many have married and have children of their own. Some call us "mom" and "dad" or "coach" to this day. Every once in a while we receive that text, email, or just  a few years ago, an invite to give a "daughter " away in marriage.

After all, only what we do for Christ will last. (2 Corinthians 5:9-10)


God is indeed . . .EVERYTHING!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Who is like my God?

The Lord is high above all nations, His glory above the heavens.Who is like the Lord our God, and Who dwells on high,
Who humbles Himself to behold the things that are in the heavens and in the earth?
He raises the poor out of the dust,  and  lifts the 
needy out of the ash heap,
That He may seat him with princes— With the princes of His people.
He grants the barren woman a home, Like a joyful mother of children.
Praise the Lord!(Psalm 113:4-9)
Who is like the Lord our God? What can compare? Who has His power? Who has His authority? Who would give up even a small percentage of what God gave up to save you and me from destruction?  Who can repair the lost and lonely hearts like our God?

Do you know Him?

I can't not talk about Him! For Him to reach down and call my name to be among His children is beyond awesome! To think Jesus went through all He did for me? What a glorious and unselfish God to save me from destruction . . . to save me from myself!

All I can do is commit to serve Him, despite my failings. I will always fall short (Romans 3:23). Yet His promise is to save me! (Romans 10:9-10) He will stay with me and work through me until the end. (Philippians 1:6) For this, I will proclaim His name and never be ashamed! (Romans 1:16)

He is my God....no need for anyone or anything else!

Monday, October 15, 2018

Always on Guard


will lift up my eyes to the hills—From whence comes my help?

My help comes from the Lord
Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore. (Psalm 121)

God is always on guard! He never slacks. He is always watching, caring, providing,  preserving, keeping! Who else can we say does such? Parents will let us down. Children will disappoint. Spouses may forget from time to time. Friends will hurt us. Even our dog will fall sleep on us! But not my God!

He never needs a nap. His eyes do not wander. He doesn't lose focus......unless we decide to turn our backs on Him! Yet even then, He awaits our return with an offer of grace, forgiveness and restoration. (1 John 1:9)

There is no one and no thing like my God! He is always on guard!  

Friday, October 12, 2018

Image is everything?

For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works and that my soul knows very well.

My frame was not hidden from You ,
When I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed .
And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them. (Psalm 139:13-16)
Alwys trying to look like someone else or  be someone else. . . Hair like hers, clothes like him, shoes like that or cars like that. Image is eveything in this world! Ahh, but if  we could live as God intended:
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Matthew 6:33)
Seek the image God has designed for each of us. Live out His purpose! Do His will. Seek to be like Him and His image. As the psalmist wrote, God designed us before there were even days for us to live! He made us unique. Why try to be someone we are not and be frustrated trying to accomplish what we were not designed to do?

In the grand puzzle, we are all a unique piece.  Just where we fit in is God' s design. No two pieces alike. What would our churches, our families, our world be like if we all would live how God designed? God's image is everything!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Welcoming or Repulsive Sense (Scents)

 Lord, I cry out to You; Make haste to me! Give ear to my voice when I cry out to You. Let my prayer be set before You as incense,
The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips. Do not incline my heart to any evil thing, To practice wicked works with men who work iniquity; And do not let me eat of their delicacies. (PSALM 141:1-4)
Many of our homes and offices are filled with plleasant scents from flowers, melts, or oils. Some burn candles and even use scented house filters. The aromas can be welcoming or repulsive, depending upon the person.

I can call to mind even now the smell of a funeral home . . . nice but not inviting. However, the salty ocean breeze or calm mountain morning rain seems rather inviting right now!  Saturdays in my home are rather special as I awake to the smell of fresh coffee brewing as my wife has risen early to prepare my first cup! It is usually placed right at my nightsatnd as I take in the soothing yet awakening aroma! Ahhh!

Welcoming or Repulsive? But what does God sense (scents) from us daily? Are our prayers a sweet aroma up to heaven? Are our words to others like a field of fresh lavender? Are our attitudes like the morning dew? Is our life likened to a cool breeze off the ocean on a hot summer day?  Or are we repulsive to the Lord?

Want are we offering? (Romans 12:1-2)

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Body?


Behold, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord who by night stand in the house of the Lord!

Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, a
nd bless the LordThe Lord who made heaven and earth. Bless you from Zion! (Psalm 134:1-3)
This final song of ascent was sung to the Levites (priests) as the Jewish worshippers heading up to Zion to worship. They travelled together, encouraging one another, praying to their God, depending upon one another and their God, excited to gather among fellow worshippers to honor and extol a God Who defended, provided,  corrected, directed, and led them in battle.

Together . . . Unified . . . Worship . . . Dependent  upon God and not themselves . . .what an example of The Body!

What has happened? We today are self-centered, distant, disconnected, greedy, independent and arrogant. We need no one but ourselvs. We seldom give cheerfully but out of guilt and duty. We are not willing to sacrifice unless we have extra time or money.

The Body today is weakening. We are sick and struggling. We need each others support and encouragement. We are in need of our God's direction and care. We need His correction and direction. But where are we headed? Have we lost focus upon Zion?

God alone provides what we need and not ourselves. Take time today to realize how much we depend upon our God, our Savior, for all we have!

Head to Zion with praise and thanksgiving all you servants of the Lord!

God is enough!

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.    For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels...