Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Footprints

Because Jesus knew that the Father had handed all things over to him, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, he got up from the meal, removed his outer clothes, took a towel and tied it around himself. He poured water into the washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel he had wrapped around himself. Then he came to Simon Peter. Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You do not understand what I am doing now, but you will understand after these things.” Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet!” Jesus replied, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head!” Jesus replied, “The one who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean. And you disciples are clean, but not every one of you.” (John 13:3-10)
Jesus always set the example. He never simply told people what to do . . . He did it! Here he set the example of being a servant by lowering Himself to the menial task of washing feet . . . a job for the house servants of His day.
Jesus also shows us how important our feet are: where we walk or where we travel tells a lot about who we are as a person.
Are we willing to go places where He leads us? Do we pick and choose where we would like to be and who we would rather visit? Will we say, “Here I am send me!” (Isaiah 6:8)
The path our feet travel tells so much about our walk with the Lord!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Sinful Appetities . . . A Simple Choice.

See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. 17 Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done.(Hebrews 12:16-17)
Forgiveness is a wonderful thing and where would any of us be without this gift from God? However, choosing not to sin is even better and without the consequences of sin, life would be so much better! Just imagine living out God's perfect plan for our lives and receiving all of the blessings He has in store for each of us! Young people especially, please heed the advice of those of us who have made the very mistakes you are planning to undertake: choosing God's will is always best. His ways are far above our ways. Listen to wise counsel. It is better to not sin than to want to experience it for yourself! Esau lost his birthright for a simple bowl of soup! How many of us lose God's blessings because of our appetites?
Sinful appetites or a simple choice . . .
Choices we make today will shape our tomorrows to come!

Friday, July 26, 2013

I CAN See God!

. . . .since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature . . . have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator . . . who is forever praised. Amen. (Romans 1:19-25)
Are these things proof of God?
• Looking at the ocean and smelling it and hearing it . . . • Niagara Falls . . . • the sounds that trees make in the wind.... • the light in a child’s eyes . . . • Thunder and lightning ... the sunrise and sunset.
But I’m wondering if sometimes in nature you can sense an absence of God?
• or hurricane . . . • Tornado . . . • the violent side of nature . . . • damaging hail . . . • floods . . . • extreme cold and hot temperatures . . .
Are these things God?
God did this (created the world) so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being. (Acts 16:27-28)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.” (Mark 8:27-29)
Jesus is life. Jesus is grace. Jesus is your friend. We know what the Bible says, but what do YOU say? Why? Try this simple exercise today and think deeply . . . God is __________________________. Jesus is ________________________. The Holy Spirit is __________________________________. Do we agree with Peter? Does it show?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Play to Win!

In a race all the runners run. But only one gets the prize. You know that, don’t you? So run in a way that will get you the prize. All who take part in the games train hard. They do it to get a crown that will not last. But we do it to get a crown that will last forever. (1Corinthians 9:24-25)
Not enough to get there to the game . . . Not enough to just get saved as a CHRISTian! Play to WIN . . . Live to Win! Here’s what Ray Lewis said to the team in the locker room following the double overtime win in Denver last winter:
“If you don’t know David’s story about fighting Goliath, he didn’t walk up to fight him. He ran up to Goliath. He moved swiftly to make Goliath off balance before he hit him with the slingshot. This is our time. And, when we make up our minds to do things together as men, anything is possible. Nothing can stand before us. Not Goliath. Nothing. Let’s enjoy this ride. This is our time. This is Ravens time.”
What do people say about us as believers? . . . About you as young people? Trophies are nice. Awards are encouraging. However, it is what we people know about our character that really counts. It what God knows about us that matters for eternity! • We must get in the game. • We have to PLAY the game! • We have to play hard! Jesus was no wimp! He did everything with compassion and purpose.
So I am asking you to offer up your bodies to him while you are still alive. Your bodies are a holy sacrifice that is pleasing to God. When you offer your bodies to God, you are worshiping him. 2 Don’t live any longer the way this world lives. Let your way of thinking be completely changed. Then you will be able to test what God wants for you. And you will agree that what he wants is right. His plan is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2)
In the end, it’s not whether we win or lose (Lombardi Trophy). In fact, we have already won the battle if we have committed to the Lord! So it really is HOW WE PLAY THE GAME! What is being said of you today? If I ask your friends and family what would they say about you? What will be said of any of us when life is over on earth? What is God saying?
I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. (2 Timothy 4:7)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Remember the firsts . . .

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:6-7)
What are some first in life? First time on a bike . . . first time at the beach . . . first sleepover . . . first hit in a baseball game? We remembe those first and many times they rejuvenate our hearts and re-energize us to get up and move on. Remember when you first heard the Good News? Remember when you actually made a commitment to Christ? remember the joy . . . the excitement?
Go back and remember . . . .
Paul reminds Timothy to go back to his roots with his grandmother and recall how she shared the Scripture with him. Timothy needed encouragement. We do also at times. We get challenged. We get down. We need to remember when . . . It's normal to get down but do not stay there! God gives the believer power, self-discipline, and most of all love . . . love for Him and for others. His love for us overcomes anything the world can throw at us.
Live in His love today. Remember when?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Do the things I choose to do really matter?

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.(1 Corinthians 10:31-33)
I am often asked: "Does it really matter to others what I do? Does it even matter to God?" Yes . . . YES!!!! Our choices influence the way we live, how we treat others, and what others see in us. Many times, we are judged by the choices we make. In fact, the choices we make in life determine where we will spend eternity! Take TV shows for instance: We all have our favorite shows. We schedule our evenings and afternoons around them. We will record them to view when we have quality time to watch. We even discuss them on social networks.
Many times, we emulate the actors we watch and begin to desire the things we see on TV. It becomes our reality!
What would we do without the things we spend time with daily? Perhaps we would spend more time with people! Maybe we would even spend more time with the Lord! Now that's a thought! Our choices do really matter . . . to others and to God!
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.(Colossians 3:17)

Friday, July 12, 2013

It's Great to be a Kid!

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. (Matthew 18:1-4)
Wow . . . listen to the words of Jesus. Initially, Jesus says that we will not enter the kingdom of heaven unless we become like a child. So we adults need to change our mindset and think like children think. Not that we become immature and childish in the traditional sense, but that we accept things in simplicity. Children have a way of believing everything you say and believing it as fact. It's only when we grow up that we tend to question everything. You know the things kids asked when they begin to get smart . . .
"Why is the sky blue?" "Why do we have to take baths?" "Why can't eat pizza and hot dogs every day for lunch and dinner and cupcakes for breakfast?"
But the currency of the kingdom of heaven is faith. It's what moves God's heart and what the great people of God are known for. So for the first part Jesus is telling us, "have faith like a child". Jesus is not complicated! The humility of a child is very evident. It's a beautiful thing to watch. Although they may compete with each other in games and such, the humility they have without even knowing it is astounding! In the Jewish culture a child was thought of as insignificant until they were twelve years old. Now think about our youth. . .when do they begin to compare their clothes, toys, even abilities in sports . . . ten . . . twelve? Essentially, Jesus is saying act as if you were the lowest in society. Jesus often tell us to go lower if we want to be higher. Our humility in His eyes equals in direct proportion to how He exalts us. The word says over and over that our job is to humble ourselves in His sight and He exalts us.
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. (James 4:10)
It's great to be a kid . . . in God's Kingdom!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Model for Prayer

Pray like this . . .
In this manner, therefore,pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come . . . Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. (Matthew 6:9-13
) So what do we do with what is called the Model Prayer? We use it as a model not a script!! I believe God was asking us to pray on a personal level with God, not with a scripted list of words (like the Pharisees and church leaders of His day).
"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. (Matthew 6:5)
Make it personal . . . speak to your God!
Write it down . . . .
My Father . . . Daddy . . . Yu are soooo holy and perfect . . . .I really want what You want for this world . . . for my life . . and for all those around me! Please provide all I need this day because only You know what I really need! Please forgive my sins and show me how to forgive others who hurt me! I know You never tempt me, but I am tempted to do wrong by the devil and my own desires as a human being, so protect me Lord. I really need Your help! You indeed have all the power in the world and You are so very awesome! Help me to love and appreciate You more each day and to share Your love with others! Amen!!!!!
What will you say to God?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Do you know Him like that?

Who is Jesus to you personally . . . Do you know Him like that?
Consider these words . . . (John 6:51):"I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever;" (John 8:23): And He said to them, "You are from beneath; I AM from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. (John 8:12): Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I AM the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." (John 8:58): Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM." (John 10:9): "I AM the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture." (John 10:11): "I AM the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. (John 10:36): "do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'? (John 11:25): Jesus said to her, "I AM the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. (John 14:6): Jesus said to him, "I AM the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 15:1): "I AM the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. (John 19:2): Therefore the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, "Do not write, 'The King of the Jews,' but, 'He said, "I am the King of the Jews."'" (Acts 7:32): Stephen speaking of Moses' encounter at the burning bush "saying, 'I am the God of your fathers-- the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' And Moses trembled and dared not look." (Acts 9:5): And he said, "Who are You, Lord?" And the Lord said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads."
From Moses through the New Testament . . . Jesus Is the I Am . . .who is He to you?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Content with God and Others . . .Practice!

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable . . .if anything is excellent or praiseworthy . . .think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me . . .put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9)
So how do we have peace of God . . .how do we possible live in contentment as a CHRISTian in such a world? Think of what is TRUE . . . concentrate on His Truths about you and the world. Concentrate on the noble and right things about this life in comparison to our faith. Dwell upon the things that are pure and lovely rather than the disgusting and vile things this world offers. Stay focused upon the excellent and praiseworthy things we have in our lives. Oh yes, follow after Godly men and women, not those who have a form of godliness or claim to know God, yet show no real signs of a relationship! Walk then in the Spirit of God, not the spirit of this world . . . we must PRACTICE!
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law . . . (Galatians 5:22-23)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Habits are hard to break . . .

Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help. So they went to the king and spoke to him about his royal decree . . .(Daniel 5:10-12)
What kind of habits do we find ourselves engaged in each day? What things do we find ourselves doing routinely each morning . . . during the day . . . at bedtime? What can others observe from us throughout our daily routines?
Daniel had a habit of praying!
Both his friends and enemies knew Daniel could be found praying at least three times. So naturally, when he heard of the King's decree to ban worshipping anyone besides the king for the next thirty days, Daniel went to the Lord in prayer. It was what Daniel did. Even good habits are hard to break!
Daniel's enemies used his good habits against him.
What things do others know about us? Would we be accused of being a Christian? Could we possible be arrested for honoring God in public if there were such a law? Reality says that there are more eyes upon us than simply those who do not like us! Others who are seeking peace for their lives are watching. Those lost in sin are in need of the Savior we serve. God is also seeking those who are willing to stand for Him!
Habits are hard to break . . . are you and I in the habit of sticking with God . . . even when it is not popular?

Friday, July 5, 2013

Free to Choose to Follow God

Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego. But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. (Daniel 1:6-8)
We all the freedom to choose things in life. But not everything is good to have. Of our many choices, some may be unpopular . . . While it may not be sinful to be traditional, sociable, fashionable, or even popular, at times we have a bigger decision to make.
Our biggest challenge is to choose to follow God!
Daniel and his young friends were taken captive into a foreign land and trained to be leaders in this place called Babylon . . . a place of riches and opportunities if they played along. God had allowed them to be taken. Would it have been ok for them to play along and be good and obedient in order to simply survive? But Daniel met the challenge from God . . .
“Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. (Daniel 1:12-14)
This request may have cost the boys and the guard their lives. Have you ever been faced with a challenge from God? Perhaps it went against your friends opinions or was not very popular with your classmates? Whom did you choose? What happened? What do you think happens to Daniel and his friends?
At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead. To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds. . . .so they entered the king’s service. (Daniel 1:15-19)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Cost of Freedom . . .

“My brothers and sisters, you were chosen to be free. But don't use your freedom as an excuse to live in sin. Instead, serve one another in love.”(Galatians 5:13 )
What a price Christ paid for our freedom from sin! All the suffering, pain, mistreatment, embarrassment and humiliation; not to mention leaving the comforts of heaven to live in a sin-sick world and the give Himself over to such treatment…for His enemies…we sinners! Yes, he did it all for me, for you, and for anyone who will humble oneself and call on Jesus to save them from sin. In our recent history, many people have also sacrificed much for the freedoms we celebrate and often take for granted. Countless numbers of men and women have sacrificed their bodies and lives for our freedom in wars all over the world.
But it is not just the soldiers.
President Lincoln sacrificed his reputation and ultimately his life along with others in order to abolish the horror of slavery. A gentle lady by the name of Ms. Rosa Parks was tired and needed to sit down on a bus in Mobile, Alabama in 1955. Dr. Martin Luther King took up the charge for the freedoms of all citizens and eventually paid the ultimate price for those freedoms. Many lost their lives during the struggles of the late 1960’s in the cities throughout the U.S., including Senator Bobby Kennedy. These folks did not use their freedoms to sin or the lack of freedoms to inflict harm either. They chose a gentle yet persuasive manner to bring to light the transgressions of our society and were willing to pay whatever price necessary to bring about change. They did not back down to political pressure, verbal threats, or physical harm.
We are challenged by God’s Word to stand firm and unmovable.(1 Corinthians 15:58 )
We are told that God will go with us through the valleys (Psalm 23:4 )and just as He did with Daniel and his friends (Daniel 3:26-27 ), He will bring us through fiery trials and the fiercest enemies.
We have the liberty to sin, run, or hide. Yet, we as believers have the freedom and boldness to stand.
Do not be afraid to get involved. Do not be afraid to be called politically incorrect, unpopular, or strange! After all, we are a called out and peculiar people. (1 Peter 2:9 ) Call sin what it is . . . in love so others will come to know the Savior!
Stand my brothers and sisters in the liberty of God’s grace and mercy. Stand boldly clothed in the full armor of God. (Ephesians 6:10-18 ) Stand by faith. Stand on His promises. Stand together! Will we pay THE COST OF FREEDOM today? Yes, we can and yes, we will!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Solid or Shaky Ground?

Those who do what is right are guided by their honest lives. But those who aren’t faithful are destroyed by their trickery.(Proverbs 11:3)
What do you remember about the earthquake August 23, 2011? Surprised? Shaken? Worried? We are surprised or shaken by things we do not expect. At times, this world shakes us. many people do not know where to turn when family gets sick ofr friends treat us badly. We place all our hope in the world, friends, or family.
But remember, the devil seeks to steal, kill, destroy . . . all through trickery! (John 10:10)He comes like a thief . . . trying to surprise or trick us.
We who know the Lord need to be guded by His promises and His words. We cannot be tricked by Satan!
Let's ask ourselves . . .
Are we guided by our beliefs in the Word of God and how God has been faithful to us, or will we give in to the lies of Satan? What stands between us and God today? What are we believing? Are we being tricked or believing the truth?
Are we standing on solid or shaky ground?

Just so You Know

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign:  Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear  a Son, and shall call His name  Immanuel. (Is...