Saturday, August 31, 2013

10 Commandments for Husbands . . .

I thought this may be an interesting read for the men and women over the labor day weekend. Let me know your thoughts . . .
1.Thou shalt not take thy wife for granted, but will honour and respect her as thy equal. (1 Peter 3:7) 2.Thy highest allegiance, except God, shall be to thy wife, not thy relatives, children, or friends. (Genesis 2:24) 3.Thou shalt frequently tell thy wife how important & valuable she is to thee. (Philemon 2:3; Proverbs 31:10-11) 4.Thou shalt hold thy wife's love by the same means that thou won it. (Song of Solomon 5:10-16) 5.Thou shalt actively establish family discipline with thy wife's help. (Ephesians 6:4) 6.Remember to do all the little things for thy wife when you say you will. (Matthew 5:37) 7.Keep thine eyes on thy own wife, not thy neighbors. (Proverbs 5:15-20; Job 31:1; Jeremiah 5:8) 8.Thou shalt make every effort to see things from thy wife's point of view. (Genesis 21:12) 9.Thou shalt not fail to kiss thy wife every morning. (Song of Solomon 8:1) 10.Thou shalt not be stingy with thy wife when it comes to money. (Esther 5:3)
(taken from www.bible.ca/marriage/f-10commandments-husbands-wives.htm) Now for a few random comments . . .
My wife is my helpmeet . . . my completer . . . a vital part of me . . . my equal! She alone is my priority . . . there is one priority apart from God. Everyone and everything else comes next! We must keep encouraging our wife throughout the day as to her value. Don't stop hunting . . . keep pursuing our wife! The husband must actively establish and carry out discipline . . . do it out it on the wife! We are the leaders!!! Stop looking at other women or even trying to compare. Our wife is for us and no one else! Our desire needs to be for her. Understand that God has gifted most wives with discernment over financial matters and relational issues. Trust her! Kiss your wife throughout the day and send her text messages, e-mails, even phone calls to make sure she knows you are thinking of her. It's not your money . . . it's our money!
This is not a completed work. Lord knows I struggle in many areas. But we don't stop guys. Ladies, encourage us in love as well. Most of us want to do well as a husband. We feel so dejected when we fail. It is not easy in this world to be a Christian husband. We need your help!
God bless our marriages! With His help we will succeed and show the world what Christ really can do through a Godly marriage! This is our goal . . . to honor God!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Freedom with Restrictions? Sound Confusing? Graceful Discernment . . .

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)
Christ frees one up in so many ways. It so liberating to belong to the Savior. However, so many feel as though their freedom has no restrictions . . . sound confusing? While the blood of Christ frees us from the penalties of sin, there are still some real and lingering consequences! The redeemed sinner is free to experience eternal life with the Lord, but still must pay logical consequences for the sin he or she commits. If I steal, I will have to face a judge and either pay it back or do some time. If I murder, I may be forgiven, yet I still may be sentenced to death, life in prison, or another amount of jail time. If I speed behind the wheel of an automobile, I deserve a ticket and perhaps a fine. The law on earth still has its rule over us.
Yet even the things we can legally do must be tempered with a graceful discernment as to not negatively influence others to fall into sin or away from Christ altogether.
Yes we may be free to have a glass of wine or beer, but we must be careful to respect others customs or beliefs. If a friend is an alcoholic, it would not be in the best interests of any of us to break open a six-pack for the game. If we are socializing with vegetarian friends, we may choose to order a salad or veggie plate to keep the evening going rather than a big, juicy steak. Coffee drinkers may decide to drink tea or some other beverage around those whose traditional morning drink may be tea. While we may enjoy a bit of jazz or R&B, it may be a bit offensive or tempting to immature or young believers, so we change the genre of music. Some of us may choose to never watch movies of R-ratings or below so as to set an example for those under-age or prone to wander.
Yes we have freedom in Jesus, but there are restrictions! We learn to adapt our preferences in order to win friends for the Lord and to not bring Him shame!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

So Why Do We Do What We Do?

So eat and drink and do everything else for the glory of God. Don’t do anything that causes another person to trip and fall. It doesn’t matter if that person is a Jew or a Greek or a member of God’s church. Follow my example. I try to please everyone in every way. I’m not looking out for what is good for me. I’m looking out for the interests of others. I do it so that they might be saved.(1 Corinthians 10:31-33)
Paul is telling us that as Christians, we are not bound by laws and other restrictions. We are bound however, to love . . . love God and love people. Our motive is that in all we do, we do it to glorify God and to draw others to Him. I am often reminded of the many mission trips of which I have been blessed to be a participant. I have witnessed many different cultures and lifestyles unlike my own, At one time, I would have tried to correct someone for doing things wrong; the wrong songs or the wrong activities. Yet I have come to realize that I was one wrong in trying to change a person's culture. God is the one who has encouraged cultural differences. That is the beauty of the Christian Body! We are one Body with many various voices, talents, and faces. What counts is how we live for the One we worship more than how we worship.
As we learn to respect the various cultural differences between so many of us, we come to see the beauty of God and His creation.
I often use the example of a morning drink. I LOVE coffee. So does the Lord I have come to find out; Holy Grounds (Exodus 3:5)the book of HE-brews for example. However, while in the Caribbean Islands on a mission trip, I learned that one sweetens coffee with a thick creamy milk and brown sugar cane rather than our coffee creamer and sugar or sugar substitute. I loved the new taste! If I were travel to England, I assume I would be drinking Earl Grey tea over morning devotions rather than a strong cup of Folger's Black Silk. I went to a jazz club in New Orleans with a pastor there while on a mission assignment . . . not my normal venue to discuss spiritual matters, but great to grow as friends! You see, I want the other person to feel comfortable with me so when we do share the Gospel, we will have a basic trust among each other. While I never want to do something to cause one to sin, I also must be wary of doing things to hinder friendships and possible partnerships in Christ. Criticizing cultural practices can be deadly. What we don't know about others can hurt us. We need to study people and be open to how the Lord can develop friendships. We have so much freedom in Christ! However, it is freedom from sin, not freedom to sin! Be careful . . .
As some good friends have taught me: Love God with all you got, love people 'til you drop.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

We are under attack . . .

Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord . . . To you, Lord, I call, for fire has devoured the pastures in the wilderness and flames have burned up all the trees of the field. Even the wild animals pant for you; the streams of water have dried up and fire has devoured the pastures in the wilderness.(Joel 1:14-20)
These are challenging times indeed, at least for me and my family! What about you? If you are not personally challenged, at least you may know of others who are suffering hardship. If not others, what about our nation, the world? People are in need . . .families are breaking down . . . neighborhoods are in turmoil . . . nations on the brink of destruction. Do you recall Tuesday, September 11, 2001? Everyone was calling upon God for answers. Why? How? What next? Is this the end? No real answers came. We still don't really know why or how. We never know what next. What we do know is that God does know!
The following Sunday churches were packed. People sought God. But only for a short while . . .
Does it take a monumental terrorists' attack for a world, even simply a community or family to seek God? I don't know about you, but I am earnestly seeking Him today for my somewhat menial needs. My needs may be small compared to the world, but to me and my family, they are monumental and only God can meet our needs!
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)

Monday, August 19, 2013

He will . . . but when?

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. (James 1:2-9)
We all have heard these verses many times. We also like to quote them to others when they are going through!
But this is for me . . . maybe even you today. I have been facing some big challenges they past few weeks and only God can answer the questions and provide the answers. I am qualified, experienced, and ready to serve, yet for some reason things are not working out. It is a trial indeed. I don't quite understand.
Others have disappointed me as well. However, this is not their problem. it is my challenge! It is maturing my faith for sure. I am trusting God. Yet I also doubt myself. My desire is to stay planted on His promises and watch Him come through, so He gets the glory and He alone!
I know He will, just don't know when . . .

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Trust

In you, Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness. Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. Keep me free from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hands I commit my spirit; deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.(Psalm 31:1-5)
Our money still has the slogan written upon it, "In God we trust" We all well know this is not the belief of many Americans, much less our government. In fact, we do not even trust God with the money on which the slogan is contained! "It's my money and I want it now!" is the more popular slogan!
So where is our trust?
David writes on many occasions concerning his trust in God. Throughout his life he had no one but God to turn to. God was his Rock, his Salvation, his Refuge, his Fortress, his Hope.
This is my prayer as I face today, tomorrow and the future: God be all I need and all I desire! I want what You want!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Nothing at All

Even more, I consider everything to be nothing compared to knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. To know him is the best thing of all. Because of him I have lost everything. But I consider all of it to be garbage so I can get to know Christ. I want to be joined to him.(Philippians 3:8-9)
All that we can accomplish is really nothing at all if it is not in the will of God and for His glory. I have reached a point in life where I want His will, but it is so hard to wait for it or even to realize it when I am in it. The world is so screwed up that each day becomes a challenge. Family, jobs, finances, educational needs . . . so many opportunities to honor God . . . or to ignore Him!
We have to s l o w d o w n and be careful to include God and His Word in each and every decision. If we do not, the smallest decision can and will become our greatest problem!
The challenges of this world should cause the believer to concentrate on His Word and bring every decision under the grid of the Bible. No matter what others may think, even our fellow believers, we must be so careful. I have given up so much for Christ and it seems at times as if I have nothing.
The world will judge me by its standards when it comes to credit ratings, salary, and possessions. I am a nobody. God judges the heart however. My desire is to please Him despite the world! I am His child!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Use Me!

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:37-38)
Our minimal service unto the Lord is our life. (Romans 12:1-2) This is the basic offering. This is how we witness to the world. Our life is an open book to reveal the power of God. May God use each of us to serve Him in the way in which He has gifted us. I am ready!
Here am I . . . send me! (Isaiah 6:8)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Will We Just Let God be God?

He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”(Matthew 17:20-21)
A mustard seed is very small yet grows into a tremendous shade tree. Likewise, with just a bit of faith, we too can accomplish great things if we only allow God to be God! If we believe he created the world, why do not allow Him to rule over our world? If we believe He will care for us more than He does the rest of His creation, then why do we think we have so much control? If He is God, we must trust Him to be God in our lives!
. . .without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)
, http://www.photographybypolly.co.uk/copyright/floraandfauna/mustard_trees.jpg

Friday, August 9, 2013

Colors of Life; A Poem . . .

Gold reminds us of the perfected love not found in this world;(John 3:16) Yet Darkness tells us of a heart so soiled.(Romans 3:23) Red gives meaning to God's love so deep;(Hebrews 9:22) Cleansing the hearts of those who weep. (Romans 10:9-10) The blues of the ocean waters tell baptism's place; (Acts 2:38) While the green reminds us to grow in His grace!(1 John 1:9)
Do YOU know Jesus?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Skating on Thin Ice

“But the tax collector stood not very far away. He would not even look up to heaven. He beat his chest and said, ‘God, have mercy on me. I am a sinner.’ (Luke 18:13)
The popular Gospel song from a while back goes like this . . . . We fall down but we get up . . . We fall down but we get up . . . For a saint is just a sinner who fell down and got up!
But is it that simple?
Genuine repentance pleads with the Lord to forgive and deliver from the burden of sin and the fear of judgment and hell. It is the attitude of the publican who, fearful of even looking toward heaven, smote his breast and cried, "God, be merciful to me, the sinner!" (Luke 18:13). Repentance is not merely behavior reform. But because true repentance involves a change of heart and purpose, it inevitably results in a change of behavior. (John MacArthur)
Like the young boy or girl who wanders out on the ice on an early winter morning, the next step could be disaster for us. We are one step away from sin and plunging into icy waters way over our heads. Much like the winter ice, sin’s consequences are many times hidden under the false security of no one ever finding out. Yet one more step and the covering cracks and we find ourselves sprawling for something to grab onto in order to keep from going under! However, the skater on the ice rink has no danger of falling through the ice . . . he or she knows there is a solid foundation below. He falls, but pushes back up. Many times we may hit the ground hard, but our foundation of faith allows us to get back up again! Eventually we stay up on our feet longer and longer. We begin to get used to each step and feel comfortable on the ice. We are stable and confident to go on . . . even faster! The foundation must be secure before we take any steps! The heart must be right . . .
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Different Than the Rest

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.(1 Peter 2:9-10)
SLO NO MO! Now we have a fast snail! This is an oxymoron if there ever was one! The newest in animated movies is Turbo, a snail who dreams of being the greatest racer in the world. He dreams of being like his hero: five-time Indianapolis 500 champ, Guy Gagne. His obsession with speed and all things fast has made him an oddity and outsider in the world of snails. Turbo is a fast snail in a world of s l o w n e s s ! Let’s look at the salmon as well. Once they have fully matured, they will swim back to their original stream or river where they re-adapt to the fresh water and swim back up the stream to reach their spawning grounds. Sometimes this means swimming up rugged rivers with miles of rapids and even waterfalls to leap. Once they get back to their natal stream, they breed and lay their eggs. The salmon’s life is constantly changing and rearranging, but following God’s design for the salmon! • Are we bold enough to be different? • Will we accept that God has called us to be OUT-standing? • Will we be willing to go against the grain?
Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.(1 Peter 9:12)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Cloudy With a Chance of WHAT????

Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high. Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof an opening one cubit high all around. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks. I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you . . . (Genesis 6:11-18)
You all saw the movie . . . food raining down from the skies! Think about Noah’s day: no one had ever seen rain! Why the ark old man? Are you crazy? Then came the floods from every angle upon the earth!
. . .as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:“I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way” . . .“a voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’” And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 1:2-8)
The Savior has arrived! Get ready! He is coming! John the Baptist said it and many refused to accept the fact. We hear it today and many are refusing to accept Him on His terms . . . or think they can wait . . .
“Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. (Revelation 22:12-14)

Monday, August 5, 2013

NO FLAVOR

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16)
Name your favorite foods . . . . Why do you like them so much? Now, name your favorite things you add to food . . . • Ketchup • Mustard • Hot sauce • Pepper • SALT
Why do we add these things? FLAVOR!!!!
A believer must be attractive . . . appealing . . . tasteful to others! We cannot be bland, boring, and vanilla. We must be a spotlight to the dark world! How can we do this . . . pray, plan, practice! • Pray for opportunities an stay in His Word daily. • Make a plan to reach at least one person a week and keep a list. • Put it into practice . . . yes PRACTICE!
Add a little flavor to this boring world . . . spice it up!!!!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Get Your Head on Straight

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
Hats are soooo popular today. Much like shoes, people wear them and at times have never played the sport or know the names they represent. Styles like Snapback, New Era, 59fifty, Reebok, Hurley, Nike, Adidas Zephyr, Mitchell & Ness, etc. • We wear them backwards, sideways, tilted back and inside out. • They are worn for style, for color, or for popularity . . . or to cover bad hair or in my case . . . NO HAIR! • Head coverings are essential for fashion today. Yet some wear them for safety . . . baseball players, football players, hockey players, lacrosse, and jockeys all wear helmets along with construction workers, miners, and other professions.
Many times, the headgear makes the person and other times it protects the person!
But listen to what Paul tells us: Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms . . . Take the HELMET OF SALVATION and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:10-17) Every piece of armor the Roman soldier wore had a purpose. The helmet kept the head protected from arrows from above. It reminds us to keep our minds protected. How we think usually dictates our actions. We must be thinking with God . . . making decision based upon His will for us. This world will bring all sorts of temptations and troubles. We have decisions to make. Is your head protected?
GET YOUR HEAD ON STRAIGHT!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Not A Fan!

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” (Luke 10:27-28)
• What would you do if you had a chance to have lunch with RGIII? • What if you received an invitation to dine with the president and his wife? • Do we get as excited at the chance to talk with God?
What is a fan . . .a FANatic?
Webster defines it as an enthusiastic devotee (as of a sport or a performing art) usually as a spectator. There is the key word . . . a spectator! Think of the game you last watched or attended . . . I am NOT a fan of Jesus Christ! He did not go through all He encountered for me to be His fan . . . a spectator . . . one to sit on the sidelines and cheer! I am His follower . . . His disciple! I want people to see Him when they see me!
The words from Luke 10 above do not describe a FAN, but a devoted follower and an active participant!
• So can we still enjoy sports and still love God? • Can we still follow a favorite movie star or singer and still love God? • Can we love others and love God? Of course . . . but God must be first . . . above all . . . motivating us in whatever else we do!
Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:14-15)

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! ” ...