Friday, August 29, 2008

08 29 08 One Logical Choice

“The Lord loves us very much.
So we haven't been completely destroyed.
His loving concern never fails.
His great love is new every morning.
Lord, how faithful you are!” (Lamentations 3:22-23 NIrV)


Jeremiah weeps over the condition of Israel. His heart is broken. Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians and only because they had rejected the authority of God. The prophet felt personal pain for the condition of a nation...his home. Yet in the midst of despair, there was room for hope, because God is a God of restoration. God remains faithful. He will not abandon those who seek Him. He is our companion in the midst of pain and hardship, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual. There is only ONE LOGICAL CHOICE when faced with insurmountable odds!

“Some trust in chariots. Some trust in horses.
But we trust in the Lord our God.” (Psalm 20:7 NIrV)


Whether we’re facing the devastation of a natural disaster, the emotional stress of a crumbling relationship, the trauma of illness or death, or the political unrest of a nation in turmoil, there is only ONE LOGICAL CHOICE. Some turn to drugs. Some turn to alcohol. Others choose irrational and unwise relationships. Many believe the emotional and arousing words of the latest motivational speaker turned social savior.

However, those who name the name of Jesus as Lord and Savior must choose to trust in He who has been there and done that for all eternity! We cannot fall for the latest quick-fix. We cannot believe the latest theory or 10-step program. We must not be duped by social movements or other gimmicks that play upon our unique values and characteristics. We must see things in eternal perspectives and with spiritual eyes. God’s values must be our values. We can’t accept anything less than God’s Truth.

It’s a struggle to honor God in the middle of deep personal or national disaster. I am still amazed at the faith of so many I have met in the Gulf Region who to this day still praise, honor, and trust in our DADDY despite all they have been through since August 29, 2005. What an example of faith! But what about you and me?

Many of us face personal tragedy today. Many of us fear the coming days for one reason or another. The U.S. is in turmoil as a nation and facing a crossroads as well. How many of us will weep not just for ourselves, but for a nation in turmoil? If we as a people will turn to God and place our trust in Him for personal and national needs how will that affect us all? I pray that a nation who claims to be under God will indeed place itself once again under His authority and His control. It begins with His people; you and me. We have ONE LOGICAL CHOICE.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

08 28 08 AN OPPORTUNITY TO PRAISE HIM

“Have mercy on me, O God! Have mercy on me!
For in you I have taken shelter.
In the shadow of your wings I take shelter
until trouble passes.” (Psalm 57:1 NET)


The weather must seem like an enemy to the folks in the Gulf Region after Hurricane Katrina. Having seen the damage and most recently the progress being made there, I myself am feeling quite helpless here in Maryland. I can only pray with my friends in New Orleans, Slidell, Covington, and other areas that the Lord will have mercy and give them the strength to endure whatever occurs. Even as I recall with amazement the faith of the people of New Orleans, I can only wonder how devastating another storm will be both physically and emotionally.

“May he send help from heaven and deliver me
from my enemies who hurl insults! (Selah)
May God send his loyal love and faithfulness!”
(Psalm 57:3 NET)


We know David spent many days fleeing from attacks, struggling emotionally with loss of friends and family, and dealing with the consequences of storms, some he created himself and from the normal circumstances of life. While we may never understand God fully, we can always believe that He is in control of all things. He has a plan for all things to work out for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His will and purposes. The storms of life produce a stronger faith; give us a greater respect for God and His sovereignty; and gives others an opportunity to come to know and experience His grace. It gives the believer AN OPPORTUNITY TO PRAISE HIM as Job did and trust DADDY to always make a way…a better way than we could imagine!

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he gave us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, that is, into an inheritance imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. It is reserved in heaven for you, who by God’s power are protected through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. This brings you great joy, although you may have to suffer for a short time in various trials. Such trials show the proven character of your faith, which is much more valuable than gold; gold that is tested by fire, even though it is passing away and will bring praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:3-7 NET)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

08 26 08 WORTH THE JOURNEY

“In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers. Among them were Barnabas, Simeon, and Lucius from Cyrene. Simeon was also called Niger. Another was Manaen. He had been brought up with Herod, the ruler of Galilee. Saul was among them too. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit spoke. ‘Set apart Barnabas and Saul for me,’ He said. ‘I have appointed them to do special work.’ The prophets and teachers fasted and prayed. They placed their hands on Barnabas and Saul. Then they sent them off. Barnabas and Saul were sent on their way by the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 13:1-4 NIrV)

Missionaries are called out by the Spirit of God to do a direct and specific work for the Lord. It’s a call and direction not simply experienced by the individual or family, but confirmed, identified, and encouraged by other mature believers. In this case, the church leaders (prophets and teachers) in Antioch were fasting and carrying out their duties to the church and heard from the Holy Spirit concerning Paul (Saul) and Barnabas, who had just returned from a journey into Jerusalem.

Paul and Barnabas were obviously called out by the Lord to do His work among the nations. The preachers and teachers of the Antioch church no doubt saw this and encouraged it. As a result, they identified and affirmed God’s appointment of these men by the laying on of hands. This is not just an official recognition, but so encouraging to missionaries to receive the support and encouragement of their spiritual leaders and friends. Even today, for a missionary to know he (or she) has the prayers, encouragement, and physical support of those he loves and respects goes a long way to alleviate the frustration, depression, and other attacks of the enemy while serving the Lord. Though called by God to do the work, it matters that His people not only agree with God, but are willing to invest in His work through the missionary.

At times, it seems the only friend a missionary has is Jesus, so to know he is loved, encouraged, and supported by family and friends keeps him going. When no one is saved for a long period, when God’s Word seems to be falling upon deaf ears and financial support dwindles to a trickle, it’s the prayers and support of friends that reminds the missionary “stay in the battle”!

The next time we have the opportunity to be with a missionary, let’s take time to encourage him, pray with him, and even make a sacrificial gift to the work God has called him to do. Never question the call of God’s servants, let God be the judge. Genuine committed servants won’t quit, but they do get lonely, frustrated, and even depressed at times. By the grace of God, He keeps them as He did Paul, Barnabas, George Mueller, and Hudson Taylor and many more.

I know…I have experienced the highs and lows over the past ten years as well! Yet it’s WORTH THE JOURNEY!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

08 26 08 Timing is Everything

For everything there is an appointed time, and an appropriate time for every activity on earth…”
(Ecclesiastes 3:1 NET)


We all have heard it said, “TIMING IS EVERYTHING.” When something happens and where one is when it happens can change things dramatically in one’s life. Imagine living in Europe through WWI or II. Imagine journeying alongside Moses during the crossing of the Red Sea. Imagine being Jackie Robinson, Babe Ruth, Jesse Owens, Wilt Chamberlain, or other athletes who changed their sport forever. Imagine marching alongside Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy and those who sacrificed their lives to change the face of the U.S. and its social policies. Imagine being there…and then! Timing is critical. When we live and how we live shapes our legacy. God places us in time for His purpose and for His glory. What will we do with our time here on earth? There is a time for everything and for everyone under God’s heaven! But are we in tune with God or have we tuned Him out? Are we working on His calendar or ours?

“Make the most of every opportunity. The days are evil.”
(Ephesians 5:16 NIrV)


Paul would say the same thing today that he wrote the Ephesians’ churches while in Roman custody near A.D. 60. While Ephesus was a bustling Roman province of Asia (present-day Turkey), key to Roman trade routes, and the location of the temple to the fertility goddess Diana, it was the center of Paul’s missionary outreach in Asia. So many came to know Christ, that many of the merchants and tradesmen in Ephesus saw Paul as a threat to their business of selling idols. Even in the middle of worldly influence and tolerance of lies and false teaching, the Gospel thrived through the work of Paul, Priscilla, Aquila, and others. Needless to say, they made the most of their opportunity in Ephesus. It was their time for God and God’s time for them!

Today’s world is still in God’s time, despite what we might see and experience. He hasn’t taken a vacation. In fact, this world is not much different than the world Paul lived in. If anything, it may be a bit easier. While some are imprisoned for their faith in the Middle East, African, and Asian nations, we still have the freedom to preach, teach, and live out the Gospel in the U.S. and elsewhere. We have the opportunity to oppose false teachings and the defamation of our God. Yet we are intimidated by the minority. We are missing so many opportunities to change our world, meeting God’s appointed time and God’s appropriate time for us, to leave a legacy like so many others before us.

These days are indeed evil. But we must not back down and hide in the shadows. We must make the most of every opportunity! We have to be in tune with God and His timing. If we delay, the appointed time will go away and the appropriate time will no longer be fitting. We’ll miss God’s timing and perhaps our chance to leave a legacy for others to follow. TIMING IS EVERYTHING!

Monday, August 25, 2008

08 25 08 Compassion

“As he got out he saw the large crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.”
(Matthew 14:14 NET)


Webster defines compassion as a sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it (from Latin com- + pati: to bear, suffer). The Greek word used here (esplagcnisyh) in Matthew refers to be deeply moved with compassion, even to the bowels or what was referred to as heart of sincere passion, love and pity). This is the same compassion Jesus felt for a mother who lost her only son.

“When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, ‘Do not weep.’” (Luke 7:13)

He then brought her son back to life. It’s the same COMPASSION the Samaritan had for the beaten man he saw along the path (Luke 10) and the same heart-wrenching emotion the father felt toward his prodigal son in Luke 15.

How often are deeply moved, to the point of a gut-wrenching and sincere desire to alleviate someone’s pain or distress? Have we become so desensitized by all the graphic visions we see on the news and in the movies that we have become numb to the point of being passion-less? Are we willing to become personally involved in meeting needs as Jesus was? Are we willing to put aside prejudices, convenience, and comfort? Are we willing to do without so others may have some basic needs?

In our work with those at-risk, whether at-risk to lose a home, lose a child, lose a marriage, or worse, we have found very few who would abandon it all to help. The Mother Teresa’s and John Perkins’ of our day are few and far between. I have met some along the way, but many are not willing to feel such COMPASSION as to literally get sick over the many challenges, injustices, and the pain many of our children and families face today. Not many are willing to sacrifice the comforts of their life to alleviate the pain others experience.

It’s REAL! But until we face it ourselves, it remains somewhat Hollywood. Until we experience hunger pains, divorce, physical abuse, rape, unwed pregnancies, job loss, losing a home, foreclosure threats, or depression, it’s really not an experience. It’s a neighborhood problem or a community project. This has to change. It takes more than a few dollars or a few minutes a week. It takes COMPASSION…gut-wrenching, exhaustive, sweat, tears, sacrificial, and at times painful COMPASSION.

Are we willing to have the COMPASSION of Jesus, of the Samaritan, of the prodigal’s father, of the few today who are willing to invest a life to save other lives…for Christ’s sake? It’s what the CHRISTian is called to do. Paul pleaded with those to whom he wrote to be imitators of both him and Christ (1 Corinthians 4:16; 1 Cor. 11:1; Eph. 5:1). COMPASSION should underscore a believer’s life!

Friday, August 22, 2008

08 22 08 Play By The Rules

“In reply Jesus declared, ‘I tell you the truth, no-one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again’.”
(John 3:3 NIV)


Cheaters never win and winners never cheat. Well, that used to be true in sports. The good guy, the one who is committed to PLAY BY THE RULES will end up better at the outcome. I don’t believe that is the norm today. Steroid users have cheated and won in baseball and many have gotten away with record-setting performances. Football players have used steroids for years and been applauded for their massive size, tremendous strength, and super-human speed. Do I need to mention the Olympics? For decades, countries have designed illegal training methods, government-backed steroid usage, and falsified documents as to age, citizenship, and more. It’s hard to tell the winners from the losers today.

Not so with Christ and His Kingdom. There is only one set of rules, though many think there are several plans and methods to be His child, many ways to righteousness, and several roads to heaven. Fact is, there are no compromises or short-cuts. There is no bargaining or cheating. The price has been paid. The work has already been done. The Judge’s decision has been made. Oh by the way, there is only one Judge in this event and He is not concerned with fairness! This Judge is faithful and just.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
(1 John 1:9 NIV)


To be a child of God (not simply a created being) one needs to admit they are sinners by birth (Romans 3:23); confess a personal and public belief that Jesus is indeed God and died on the cross and rose from the dead for forgiveness of that sin (Romans 10:9-10; repent of (change from, turn away from) that sin and be baptized into the Body of Christ (Acts 2:38). It’s as simple a-b-c!

“You should not be surprised when I say, 'You must all be born again.'”
(John 3:7 NIrV)


To be victorious with Christ, we must PLAY BY THE RULES…His rules. One must be born again through the atoning blood of Christ. It sounds exclusive and discriminating because it is! One God…One Creator…One Judge…One Savior…One Way…No cheating! Let’s not believe nor tolerate any more lies.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

08 21 08 Twenty-Seven Outs

“My son Timothy, I give you these teachings. They are in keeping with the prophecies that were once made about you. By following them, you can fight the good fight.” (1 Timothy 1:18 NIrV)

In a baseball game, a team must record TWENTY-SEVEN OUTS before the game is over. Each inning stays alive until the team batting makes three outs and the game consists of nine innings. No matter how badly a team is losing, they still have a chance until the 27th out is recorded! Conversely, the winning team counts down the outs until the 27th is obtained. You also may have heard the saying, “The game isn’t over until the fat lady sings;” a famous quote of the baseball legend and hall-of-famer Yogi Berra, referring to the last song of an opera.

As Paul was encouraging his young disciple Timothy, he mentioned earlier that he (Paul), though the chief of sinners (1Timothy 16:15), was granted the mercy of God to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ. Timothy had been trained from a child in the ways of the Lord and Paul encouraged him to continue that work. Though things may seem a bit challenging at times and all may seem lost, the game goes on! It isn’t over until God says it’s over in this case!

Just as there are TWENTY-SEVEN OUTS in a baseball game, four quarters in basketball and football, and a finish line in racing, God has a set time for our lives and for this world. We fight until the finish. We compete for the souls of our friends, family, and even strangers. We battle the enemies of God: humanism, hedonism, relativism, cults, and other plans of Satan to blind people from the Truth of God. It is warfare; physically and spiritually. Many times, we have no idea how large the battle really is, but we fight until either He comes for us or He comes for all who believe!

No matter what the score may seem to be, we stay in the game. We never give up, even when the crowd goes home and the cheering stops. Remember, DADDY is still on our side! He has a plan to pull out victory from defeat. He did it before: the cross and the grave are empty! We still have outs to play. The fat lady may be standing, but until she sings…

God decides the outcome. He blows the whistles. He says “Game Over”! Let’s not give up before the finish. Losers lose…winners win. Compete to win, because we do! Step up to the plate and swing for the fences. Look forward to the game-ending celebration with our Savior!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

08 20 08 Is There a Modern-Day Missionary?

Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the believers. You are faithful even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church about your love. Please help them by sending them on their way in a manner that honors God. They started on their journey to serve Jesus Christ. They didn't receive any help from those who aren't believers. So we should welcome people like them. We should work together with them for the truth.” (1 John 1:3-8 NIrV)/strong>
J. Herbert Kane (Understanding Christian Missions, 1974) gives what I consider a wonderful definition of the MODERN-DAY MISSIONARY:

"In the traditional sense the term missionary has been reserved for those who have been called by God to a full-time ministry of the Word and prayer (Acts 6:4) and who have crossed geographical and/or cultural boundaries (Acts 22:21) to preach the Gospel in those areas of the world where Jesus Christ is largely, if not entirely, unknown (Romans 15:20).”


“That is what I say to stand up for myself when people judge me. Don't we have the right to eat and drink? Don't we have the right to take a believing wife with us when we travel? The other apostles do. The Lord's brothers do. Peter does. Or are Barnabas and I the only ones who have to work for a living? Who serves as a soldier but doesn't get paid? Who plants a vineyard but doesn't eat any of its grapes? Who takes care of a flock but doesn't drink any of the milk? Do I say that from only a human point of view?
The Law says the same thing. Here is what is written in the Law of Moses. ‘Do not stop an ox from eating while it helps separate the grain from the straw.’ (Deuteronomy 25:4) Is it oxen that God is concerned about? Doesn't he say that for us? Yes, it was written for us. When a farmer plows and separates the grain, he does it because he hopes to share in the crop. We have planted spiritual seed among you. Is it too much to ask that we receive from you some of the things we need? Others have the right to receive help from you. Don't we have even more right to do so? But we didn't use that right. No, we have put up with everything. We didn't want to keep the good news of Christ from spreading.
Don't you know that those who work in the temple get their food from the temple? Don't you know that those who serve at the altar eat from what is offered on the altar? 14 In the same way, those who preach the good news should receive their living from their work. That is what the Lord has commanded.” (1 Corinthians 9:3-14 NIrV)


C. Gordon Olson (What in the World is God Doing, 2003) writes that “missions have no human conception or undertaking, no modern scheme or invention, nor mere philanthropy even of the finest kind. It did not originate in the brain or the heart of any man…Its source was the heart of God Himself…God does separate some Christians for vocational Christian ministry and expects Christians to support such people financially, whether they are pastors, evangelists, teachers, or missionaries”

“First, God has appointed apostles in the church. Second, he has appointed prophets. Third, he has appointed teachers. Then he has appointed people who do miracles and those who have gifts of healing. He also appointed those able to help others, those able to direct things, and those who can speak in different kinds of languages they had not known before.” (1Corinthians 12:28 NIrV)


“He is the One who gave some the gift to be apostles. He gave some the gift to be prophets. He gave some the gift of preaching the good news. And he gave some the gift to be pastors and teachers. He did it so that they might prepare God's people to serve. If they do, the body of Christ will be built up.” (Ephesians 4:11-12 NIrV)

Most of us have a hard time defining the MODERN-DAY MISSIONARY. I hope this helps to make things a little more clear, from other’s perspectives and from God’s Word.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

08 19 08 Things That Matter

“We know what love is because Jesus Christ gave his life for us. So we should give our lives for our brothers and sisters. Suppose someone sees a brother or sister in need and is able to help them. If he doesn't take pity on them, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, don't just talk about love. Put your love into action. Then it will truly be love.” (1 John 3:16-18 NIrV)

John writes to the believers in Asia Minor to defend the faith against the growing movement of Gnosticism, which blended Eastern mysticism and Greek dualism (matter is evil; spirit is good). As John writes (around 90A.D.) the movement is growing and by the second century there would be Gnostic gospels, epistles, and an entire theological system. If God was a spirit, how could He possibly create matter (things)? Something much lower must have created this earth! Jesus could not have really had an earthly body and suffered such pain if he were God. Imagine the things that were falsely taught as truth!

Is it so much different today? We are so tied up in legalism, prosperity preaching, and cults that we forget that the Bible is all about Jesus, not me, the church, my ministry, or the pastor! In fact, we have put so much emphasis on the physical things in life; we lack the spiritual influence and emphasis. Have we come full-circle or what?

We ask for things. We get angry at God when things don’t work out. We are angry at the government because we are paying more for things and not able to get the things we think we need, or do the things we used to do. Physical things indeed have a price tag. But none has a higher price tag than what Jesus paid on the cross!

We owe the Savior our life. We owe Him our soul. We owe Him every breath we take, yet we can never pay Him back! Today we talk and talk and talk about the things of God, yet we want them mainly for me! As John reminds us above, love is an action, not something we can earn or purchase. Love is a physical, emotional, and spiritual commitment. God is love. To truly be a Christ-follower we need to live in 24/7 love. This requires sacrifice, discipline, others–thinking, trust, and faith; faith in the person of Jesus Christ. What I have is God’s and His to give, take, or have me share with others. I neither own nor deserve anything! These are the THINGS THAT MATTER!

Jesus came to rock the world’s system of doing things. His way is still the only way. Some are still trying to teach, preach, and live their way and believe they are getting away with it. John would simply say this: stop misleading and start living the truth. This is what Jesus did! He knew where His reward was…do we?

Monday, August 18, 2008

08 18 08 Trust…Even In The Shadows!

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”
(Psalm 91:1 NIV)


The Lord’s shadow is a covering and a protection for those who trust Him, even in the most trying of circumstances. We can feel His peace beyond understanding when all hell seems to breaking loose. Even when everyone else around seems to be losing control and even losing their religion, we can stand firm and trust that our God has it all under His control.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
(Psalm 23:4 NIV)


From the same root Hebrew word lu tsel, here shadow means the utter darkness…deepest darkness…even death. Shadows of life can bring us under the deepest of sorrows. We can experience some very dark hours, especially as we experience the death of a loved one, the sudden death of a child, or the careless murder of a promising young life. We can allow the shadows of death to weigh us down, or we can allow God’s Shadow to encourage, protect, and comfort us. What will we allow in our lives? How will we choose to go through the shadows? We can walk with our Comforter in peace or go it alone feeling uneasy and in doubt. Be assured the shadows will come, yet His Shadow is always available to those who believe.

We can TRUST…EVEN IN THE SHADOWS! It’s a choice we’ll all be faced with in life.

Friday, August 15, 2008

08 15 08 Back to….Where We First Believed

“Jesus answered them, ‘Do you now believe?’”
(John 16:31 NKJV)


As the summer winds down we are all faced with a reality: BACK TO something. BACK TO school…BACK TO work…BACK TO the regular grind…back to life…back to reality. But I remember an old favorite of the great song writer Andrae Crouch; Take Me Back.
FEEL THAT I'M SO FAR FROM YOU LORD,
BUT STILL I HEAR YOU CALLING ME;
THOSE SIMPLE THINGS THAT I ONCE KNEW,
THE MEMORIES ARE DRAWING ME.
I MUST CONFESS, LORD I'VE BEEN BLESSED
BUT YET MY SOUL'S NOT SATISFIED.
RENEW MY FAITH, RESTORE MY JOY
AND DRY MY WEEPING EYES.

TAKE ME BACK, TAKE ME BACK DEAR LORD
TO THE PLACE WHERE I FIRST BELIEVED YOU.
TAKE ME BACK, TAKE ME BACK DEAR LORD
WHERE I FIRST BELIEVED.


We all want to go back in a way. BACK TO when there were no problems. BACK TO when things seemed so innocent and free. Now things seem so complicated and at times out of control. How will we ever get BACK TO that day WHERE WE FIRST BELIEVED; when we felt at peace, free, and clean? It’s a simple as that first day; with a humble and repentant heart and a genuine thirst for the simplicity of the Savior. Vacation takes us away, but from what? The summer months bring relief from the cold dreary winter, but for how long? A few weeks away from school seems to be just a countdown for the year to come.

What we need is to go BACK TO WHERE WE FIRST BELIEVED and stay there! Then and only then will life in today’s reality make sense! We need to be in constant tune to His voice. Memories of how He got us through then need to push us as we go through today. We are so blessed and yet we want more….we are not satisfied.

So let’s get more…more faith…more trust…more sacrifice…more prayer…more obedience…more Jesus!

Oh dear Lord, take us back and keep us there; BACK TO THE PLACE WHERE WE FIRST BELIEVED…at the cross!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

08 14 08 Meekness…not Weakness

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5 NIV)

Many, even in the church, think that to be meek is to be weak. But the opposite is true. What the Bible is talking about is a powerful virtue. Strong enough to be gentle comes close to defining MEEKNESS. Power under control is another way to picture MEEKNESS. True MEEKNESS is best seen in Christ. He was submissive, never resisting or disputing the will of God. His absolute trust in the Father enabled Him to show compassion, courage, and self-sacrifice even in the most hostile situation. Now let's apply this to ourselves. When we are meek, we will bear insults without lashing out in proud resentment or retaliation. We'll thank God in every circumstance, while using every circumstance, good or bad, as an occasion to submit to Him. MEEKNESS would be WEAKNESS if it meant yielding to sin. But because it stems from goodness and godliness, it is a great strength.

Within just one week, I recently (Summer 2008) was blessed to sit under the teaching of my most loved and respected preachers. Beginning on a Sunday while vacationing with old friends, I heard that God can still shake up the world and things around us if we‘ll worship through the trial as Paul and Silas. (Acts 16) Then I listened to my pastor on-line (I was still away with family) and I received the challenge to stay in the battle despite circumstances and to lean on my faith and the power of the Holy Spirit to cause my family to say, “There’s no place like home”. (Mark 10). Then I received an e-mail from a dear friend who reminded me that his sermon the following Sunday would be on the topic of God’s discipline and judgment, yet how much hope that gives a believer. God indeed chastens those whom He loves! Finally, on Wednesday evening I was instructed from Luke 19 just how much Jesus was in total control of the situation, despite knowing the immediate future included His crucifixion. Jesus was quick to remind those around Him that those who reject the Savior will one day receive God’s wrath. (Luke 19:41-44)

It’s amazing how the Spirit works through Godly men and women as they follow His lead. All during my vacation I was experiencing the awesome power, gentleness, and beauty of my DADDY in His people and His creation. Then I returned home to hear the messages of His power, His Spirit, His meekness, His grace, and even His coming again!

I took this as a strong reminder from the Lord that He is still on the throne despite my circumstances and as I trust Him, He’ll work it all out according to His will. It’s just a matter of my trust; my faith in Him! I have the power that raised my Jesus in my possession in the person of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). Yet I must yield to Him with MEEKNESS for Him to use me properly. This may seem like WEAKNESS at times to the world, but that’s ok with me! I choose to stay in the battle!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

08 13 08 To See His Beauty!

“Ever since the world was created it has been possible to see the qualities of God that are not seen. I'm talking about his eternal power and about the fact that he is God. Those things can be seen in what he has made. So people have no excuse for what they do.” (Romans 1:20 NIrV)

Paul writes that ever since the creation of man, we have been able to see the magnificent grandeur of His qualities in nature alone. We see His power in the roar of the oceans, the howling wind on a cold winter night, even in the fierce thunder and lighting in a summer storm. We see His beauty in the flowers, the snow-sapped mountains and in the wonderful colors of animals, insects, birds, fish and more. We sense His love in the crisp clear breeze in the fall morning, the first snowflake of winter, or cool refreshing waters in the summer heat. We can almost see His purity and holiness in the fresh fallen snow upon the fields.

When faced with challenges and tragedy, we often hear someone say “Where is God in all of this?” He is always right in the midst of it all! Just look around. Even in the midst of the deepest tragedy…He is there! Circumstances change minute by minute, but DADDY remains faithful, powerful, beautiful, graceful, and holy!

Whenever we feel He is not near to us, it’s because we have damaged the relationship. We have abandoned our first love for our chosen lusts or other pleasures. We have run off to please ourselves. But He is always there waiting…calling…caring; we simply need to look around and run to His embrace.

TO SEE HIS BEAUTY is to wake up to a sunrise; to hear the gentle rain upon the rooftop; to experience the roaring waves pass back and forth from the ocean depths to the shore. To feel His grace is to humbly call upon His name. Whether it’s at midnight, in the early morning, or in the middle of the work day; He is there!

Look around…call out His name…

DADDY…FATHER…PAPA…MY GOD and SAVIOR:
I can see You in the beauty of Your creation. I can feel you in the gentle breeze.
I need Your embrace…Your grace…Your power.
Cleanse me…Fill me…Use me.
Let people see You in me as I see You in all that surrounds me.
Allow this body, Your creation, to reflect Your glory just as nature does.
Let it be done to for Your honor and to bring others to know You more deeply!

one stable foundation,

Then  as He went out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, see what manner of stones and what buildings  are here! ” ...