Monday, August 31, 2015
Friday, August 28, 2015
We proclaim Him by instructing and teaching ALL people with ALL wisdom so that we may present EVERY person mature in Christ. Toward this goal I also labor . . . For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you, and for those in Laodicea, and for those who have not met me face to face. My goal is that their hearts, having been knit together in love, may be encouraged, and that they may have ALL the riches that assurance brings in their understanding of the knowledge of the mystery of God, namely CHRIST, in Whom are hidden ALL the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Colossians 1:28-29, 2:1-2)
Pastors, ministers, evangelists, parents, teachers . . . . This is our goal . . . This is our prayer: that the young people in our sphere of influence will come to know the FULL joy of Christ as we teach and model His word and the lifestyle He requires of His followers. We do not desire simply a knowledge of Christ, but rather ALL one can possibly know and experience concerning Jesus Christ and the life He has in store for EVERY believer.
We do not simply teach facts, but a Person, a plan, and real possibility for EVERY person we encounter to KNOW the Living and True God! However, we must also model it. We must let Him live through us. We must allow this God to live and breathe within our lives! It's not easy.
Paul calls it a STRUGGLE and a we know it as a a burden. However, it is not a heavy burden as with a load weighing us down, but a heart-felt desire to accomplish God's will in young hearts and minds. What a privilege it is to serve God and youth . . . Embrace it today!
Thursday, August 27, 2015
I told you, "You are my servant." I have chosen you and not rejected you. Don't be afraid for I am with you. Don't be frightened for I am your God. I strengthen you . . . Yes, I help you . . . Yes I uphold you . . . Yes, I uphold you with my saving right hand! . . . . For I am the Lord your God, the One who takes hold of your right hand, Who says to you, "Don't be afraid, I am helping you." . . . The oppressed and the poor lack for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched from thirst. I, the Lord God of Israel will NOT abandon them. I will makes streams flow down the slopes and produce springs in the middle of the valleys. I will turn the desert into a pool of water and the arid land into springs. I will make cedars, acacias, myrtles, and olive trees grow in the wilderness; I will make evergreens, firs, and cypresses grow together in the desert. I will do this so people will observe and recognize . . . (Isaiah 41:9-20) Awesome. . .
Our God is AWESOME! Look what He says He will do; water for the parched . . . Strong evergreens in desert lands . . . Flowering and fruit bearing trees in the woods . . .all for His glory!
What is our challenge today? Is it too hard for God? Trust Him and watch God at work!
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
To be "revived" is to be restored to life or consciousness. Oh, how I pray for myself and my fellow Christ- followers to be "revived"!
Will You not REVIVE us once more? Then Your people will rejoice in You! O Lord, show us Your loyal love! Bestow on us Your deliverance! I will listen to what God the Lord says. For He will make peace with His people, His FAITHFUL followers. Yet they must NOT return to their foolish ways.(Psalm 85:6-8)
Much like my old truck sitting at rest in my driveway, we as a Body of Christ are in need of REVIVAL! We need a "jump start", a "tune-up", maybe even a complete "overhaul"!
Our love for the lost needs to be renewed as the love Christ had when He walked the earth. Our desire for holiness must be rekindled as it was in the early Church, even in the Reformation period. Our anticipation for the return of our Savior and Lord should be that of Paul . . . yearning for a face-to-face with our Jesus. Our devotion to His Word must return to that of the Bereans as we test every Spirit and call a lie just what it is . . . a LIE!
When we return, we cannot GO BACK! To say we know Christ and to return to the darknes of the world is so very foolish, perhaps even a LIE. Do we really know the LIGHT of the WORLD if we would rather know darkness? I, like you, struggle with sin. We all do. Yet our goal must be holiness . . . righteousness . . . sin-less-ness. Let us not only PRAY for REVIVAL, but actively SEEK it.
Revive us once again , Lord!
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
He said to them, "but who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter replied, "you are the Christ, the Son of the Living God." And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 16:15-19)
Under Authority:Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. (Hebrews 13:17)
As believers, we all will find ourselves under someone's authority at every turn. We must no doubt submit to God's authoritative Word daily. We have our under-shepherds, our pastoral leaders to whom which we are accountable. We have authorities at work and government authorities as well. Yet we are also given authority to use . . . To God' s glory!
As Peter stated above, as we walk in the power of MESSIAH, we hold the power of the Living God within us. As we execute God's will over those in our care, heaven itself has already planned the outcomes. As we work and walk in God's authority, we will see His will accomplished in our areas of influence. In God's timing, His will becomes reality.
As leaders and those with authority, as we are obedient to the Lord, He works in and through us; and others will observe this and be more willing to submit to our requests. What an awesome power!
Monday, August 24, 2015
"Lord, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am. Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, and my age is as nothing before You; certainly very man at his BEST state is but a vapor . . . And now Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You. (Psalm 39:4-5,7)
We all love to look ahead to plan, dream, and prepare for the future. At times, it may be just fantasy. Other times we are setting real and attainable goals. But remember . . . . only God knows the future. He alone knows the number of days we have remaining. Only God knows the correct and most beneficial plans for our days. He made us. He formed us and named us even before we were born into this world. He designed things specifically for us to accomplish.
Does a builder build without a design? Does it make sense to go into unchartered territory without a map, GPS, or an expert guide? Would it not make sense to consult the MASTER before we make the PLAN?
In comparison to eternity, our lives are simply a vapor, a breath, a simple breeze. Are we wasting our time on useless activity or accomplishing eternal goals? What is your PLAN?
Friday, August 21, 2015
As a deer longs for streams of water, so I LONG for you O God! I THIRST for God, for the living God. . . . all day long they say to me, "Where is your God?" . . . . WAIT for God! For I will again give thanks to my God for His saving intervention. . . . By day the Lord decrees His loyal love, and by night He gives me a song , a prayer to the living God. . . . WAIT for God! (Psalm 42:1-3, 5,8,11)
Challenges, trials, shortcomings, even failures . . . We face them every day and many times they seem to outweigh the successes. How do we as Christ-followers cope? How do we face a world of un-truth with the Truth when we seem to be the butt of jokes and ridicule? When we do all we are physically able to do and yet we still fall short? When folks seem to be demanding, "Where is your God?", and there seems to be no physical evidence?
Check out the psalmist's words; LONG, THIRST, WAIT. We must so DESIRE the Lord that we are able to ignore the demands of the world. We must so THIRST for Him that our very breath, not just success at our job or in relationships, depends upon Him. We must so LONG for Him that we seek Him at every turn, with every step we make. We must learn to WAIT for His action and be content with where He wants us to be, not where we or someone else believes we should be.
Let's learn to SEEK Him, LONG for His leading, and WAIT for His approval. Ahh yes, the "Well done, good and faithful servant." Oh, how I LONG to hear that from my Daddy . . . .
Thursday, August 20, 2015
Elijah . . . Said to Ahab, "As certainly as the Lord God of Israel lives, there will be no dew or rain in the years ahead unless I give the command." The Lord told him, "leave here and travel eastward. Hide out in the Kerith Valley near the Jordan. Drink from the stream; I have already told the ravens to bring you food there." So he did as the Lord told him . . . After a while the stream dried up because there had been no rain in the land. The Lord told him, "Get up and go to Zarephath in Sidonian territory, and live there. I have already told a widow who lives there to provide for you."
This is a fairly familiar story. The prophet Elijah has been directed by God to move to another location in order to survive a drought. The directions are a bit bizarre by our standards today however. Ravens providing food . . . A poor widow supplying Elijah's needs later on? Later on the son gets sick and the widow begins to doubt God and Elijah.
What is God trying to tell Elijah . . . The widow . . . You and me? Do we realize the authority God gives to His people? Do we realize the authority He gives to each one of us as His children? Elijah was challenged to trust God.
As he shared with Ahab, I wonder what Ahab thought? "A drought in my land? This is from God?" I wonder if Elijah even pondered birds providing him food? I wonder what went through his mind and the widow's mind as he shared that God wanted her to provide? Then her son became gravely ill . . . .?
As we follow after the Lord and grow in His grace and knowledge, He will place us in challenging situations. They may not seem right, comfortable, or even practical. But we must trust God's authority and the authority He gives to each of His children. Will we be ready? Will we trust Him to do as He has said?
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Create in me a pure heart O God! Renew a resolute spirit within me! Do not reject me! Do not take your Holy Spirit away from me! Let me again experience the joy of Your deliverance! Sustain me by giving me the desire to obey! Then I will teach rebels your merciful ways, and sinners will turn to You. . . . O Lord, give me the words . . .(Psalm 51:10-15)
This morning the Lord took me to one of my favorite and most humbling sections of His Word, Psalm 51. As I am pondering meeting new students and beginning a new year of sharing His Word with middle school students, I am once again humbled and broken. How can God possible use me to teach others His Word . . . His ways?
It is only by His grace that I am even here today. It is only by His grace that He even thought it acceptable to save my wretched soul. It is only by His grace that He has allowed me to see and experience the things I have in life. But to be in a position to teach others about Him . . . WOW GOD! What a challenge!
As King David realized, I must plead for His mercy all the day long because of His holiness. I must plead His blood, first over myself, before I can attempt to share with these young people. I must be led by His Spirit, not my ideas and words.
It is humbling indeed to meet these young people and realize their souls lie in the balance. They have seen and experienced so much at a young age. They have heard Truth and lies and even been told that the Truth changes from day to day. They have felt the pain of abandonment from family and friends and have been hurt and lied to so many times.
Who am I to change that? Who am I to fix that?
O God, cleanse me . . . Renew me . . . Use and re-use me. Allow be to be an agent of change to encourage and enlighten these young people. God, please allow them to see and experience You in me so they too will come to know, love, and serve You!
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Listen to advice and receive discipline, that you may become wise by the end of your life. There are many plans in a person's mind, but it is the counsel of the Lord which will stand . . . . If you stop listening to instruction my child, you will stray from the words of knowledge. (Proverbs 19:20-21, 27)
As teachers and mentors, we plan our day, our week, months, even an entire year. Though we do it with good intentions and much prayer, many times we miss deadlines, lose class and activity time, and we feel like we let so many people down . . . especially our young people. Yet God reminded me this morning that we must always be learning ourselves! The biggest lesson I am still trying to master is that God's plan always supersedes my planning!
If the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom and knowledge, that I must always remember that He is indeed my first and most wise administrator and the One to Whom I am most accountable. As I look back on my interactions with youth, I must admit the best lessons I have both learned and taught were the impromptu occurrences of everyday life; whether it be a tragedy, unexpected surprise, an off-the-wall question, or other unplanned event.
So as we plan and project the coming year keep this in mind: In all of our planning, plan to keep learning . . . from God!
Monday, August 17, 2015
Jesus said to His disciples, "Stumbling blocks are sure to come, but woe to the one THROUGH whom they come. It would be better for him to have a millstone tied around his neck and be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. Watch yourselves! If your brother sins, REBUKE HIM. If he repents, FORGIVE HIM."
Stuff happens . . . It's part of life. We live in a sin-filled world where the unexpected is expected! At times, it seems the more good we do, the more challenges we face. However, Jesus warns us here not to be the AGENT of sin. We may face trials and challenges all day long, but we must be careful not to allow it to cause us to dish it back out. Yet we simply cannot ignore the sin either.
Contrary to popular belief, yes even in the church, we are to REBUKE our fellow believers' sin ( privately and in love of course). We are to point out how they offended us in a way that will lead to REPENTANCE and definitely not make it a public spectacle (1 Corinthians 6). The REBUKE should lead to REPENTANCE, FORGIVENESS, and HEALING. As for the non-believer, our acts of forgiveness and non-combativeness might just lead to their salvation.
We who have been most hurt by sin should be the one most willing to forgive the sin. After all, what has Christ done for us? God's goal . . . Our goal . . . is reconciliation . . . Oneness . . . Communion with Him and one another!
Saturday, August 15, 2015
As parents, we can never give up on our children! Oh we may have to let them go for a while. We may have to allow them to see what they are really doing to themselves. We may have keep them at a distance. But we never totally give up. God is at work and His work in them ( and us) is not finished until He says it is done.
So he got up and went to his father. But while he was till a long way from home, his father saw him, and his heart went out to him; he ran and hugged his son and kissed him. . . So they began to celebrate. (Luke 15:20-24)
The Jewish father would never run anywhere, much less to one in sin. But even though his son made a foolish mistake and took the money and ran, dad had always kept an eye out for his wayward son. He may not have pursued after him, yet I am sure he had prayed and anticipated this day. The dad did not give up on God or the boy.
Even when our children mature, grow, and perhaps move away from our faith and family tradition, we must never give up hope. We must never lose contact. Even while the relationship between parent and child may be strained, our relationship with God our Father must remain open and active. Continue to pray. Make the most of any opportunity. Allow God to work. We as parents may be the only connection to God that they have.
Pray unceasingly and be expectant for God to work. Be ready and be receptive. Anticipate the return to home!
Friday, August 14, 2015
They brought a blind man to Jesus and asked Him to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and brought him outside the village then He spit on his eyes, placed His hands on his eyes and asked, "Do you see anything?" Regaining his sight, he said, " I see people, but they look like trees walking." Then Jesus placed His hands on the man's eyes again. And he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. (Mark 8:22-25)
Some things God can choose to do right away. Many times, His healing comes over time and as we grow in faith. Many times the healing is for not only the one in need, but for all to see and experience the power of God. Just allow me to tell you this: God can still heal and He works not only simply through His power, but still through the faith and prayers of His children!
Is it a physical pain? Maybe it is emotional stress or the misunderstanding between friends or family? It may even be a need for spiritual strength and a renewal of the faith we once had!
Whatever the need, call upon the Savior. Come to Him. Plead with Him. Cry out to Him. Hold onto Him. Don't let go of Him. Allow Him to work and let others know . . . God is still God!!!!
Thursday, August 13, 2015
"I have come to bring FIRE on the earth and how I wish it were already kindled! . . . . Do you think I have come to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! For from now on there will be five in one household divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother . . . When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, 'A rainstorm is coming,' and it does. . . . how can you not know how to interpret the present time"?
Jesus was a bit upset and puzzled at why the pot had not already been stirred. Why were folks not on fire for His Kingdom to come? You think He may still be a bit frustrated with His followers? While we are still seeking peace and prosperity today, Jesus said nearly 2,000 years ago that would be more and more division as His Kingdom came to be. All we have to do is examine our personal lives and see it is true today. We do not even have to watch the news or read it on line. Our families are torn over morals and guidelines. Children are rebelling against the traditional and proven ways of raising children. Parents are giving in to peer pressure and becoming more and more child centered, allowing schools and communities to raise their young ones. Society is upside down and our government is being ruled by the inmates. Can we not see the storm coming? Is it not already here?
We can do all we want to try to sugar-coat the situation. Things will NOT get any better, but worse. We need to live in a state of emergency if we care about those who will seemingly be left behind. We cannot be bothered by offending someone if we live and breathe for Christ. Do we want the Lord to return or what? What are we doing to hasten His coming?
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
A person who has friends may be harmed by them, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24)
As I wander through social media pages and talk with many folks (youth especially) I often hear and see the term BFF. . . BEST FRIENDS FOREVER. Well, for me best means just that, BEST. So how many friends can actually be one's BEST FRIEND?
For me, I can probably count my close friends on one hand. For various reasons, my decision to live for the Lord, working several jobs, and my personal choices both good and bad have all contributed to my small circle of friends. Situations that have come my way in life have caused others to back away. Challenges and struggles in life show true character and commitment.
At times I have unknowingly offended others. Other times I have simply neglected folks while being focused on me and my issues. There were also times when I have simply been hurt and decided I was better off without a relationship. Again, good or bad, these choices have shaped my life and friendships. While I may be friendly to many, I am very much a loner and fine with being alone. I am not saying this is right . . . It's just me! I am striving to repair and renew relationships by showing myself friendly more often.
However, even I need a friend now and then. Yes, I have my Jesus, but I still need Jesus with skin on now and then! Oh how I thank God for the few I can count upon to be here for me! You know who you are by now . . .
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Preach the message, be ready whether it is convenient or not, reprove, rebuke, exhort with complete patience and instruction. For there will will be a time when people will not tolerate sound teaching. . . You however, be self controlled in all things, endure hardships, do and evangelist's work, fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:2-5)
I am so excited to begin another year of mentoring youth in the area! Whether in the classroom or as we travel about on our personal ministry to youth, God has placed us in a position to reach the youth for Christ. We must live a life that is consistent with God's Word to be believable, but we must also show the youth enough care and compassion to listen to them, so they have a desire to listen to us.
Jesus had compassion for the lost, the needy, the confused. He was open to the children, even rebuking His own disciples when they tried to keep them away. Our youth are not "problems" or " inconvenient" but rather gifts from the Lord. They are the "seeds" by which we "multiply and fill the earth". I am not a perfect parent, teacher, or mentor, but with His grace and guidance, I will try to reach even just one more. It's my gift, my passion, my life . . . Please pray for me!
Saturday, August 8, 2015
I urge that requests, prayers, intercessions, and thanks be offered on behalf of ALL people . . . that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life in all Godliness and dignity. Such prayer for ALL is good and welcomed before God our Savior, since He wants ALL people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the TRUTH. For there is ONE God and ONE intermediary between God and humanity, JESUS CHRIST . . . For this I was appointed a preacher and apostle . . . and a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and TRUTH. So I want the men to pray in EVERY place, lifting up HOLY hands without anger or dispute. (1 Timothy 2:1-8)
There is ONE God and ONE way to Him . . . Through JESUS alone. Once we come to this knowledge and accept Him as our Lord and Savior, He gives us specific ROLES in which we serve Him. While many feel as though there are many ways to God, there is only one . . . God has reached down to man via the cross of CHRIST. While many want to choose how to serve Him, He in fact gifts us in ways to serve Him and the people of God.
We must know the RULES and know our ROLES in order for the Body of Christ to function properly and for the unknowing public to clearly see God at work.
If we are confused, how can we expect the world to understand.
Friday, August 7, 2015
As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and that as the last He will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I WILL see God, Whom I WILL see for myself, and Whom my own eyes WILL behold, and not another. . . . So that you may know that there is a judgment. (Job 19:25-29)
After spending the morning watching the sun rise over the ocean, I am even the more convinced that MY REDEEMER LIVES! Just standing in awe of His movements, His precise actions, His meticulous painting of the landscape . . . Oh yes, HE LIVES! From a light drizzle over the damp sand beneath my feet to the bursting through of the sun's majestic rays upon the ocean's waves . . . Oh yes, HE LIVES! From the moon going back into its hiding place as the sun takes its place in our skies . . . Oh yes, HE LIVES! The powerful waves breaking upon the shore yet rolling back towards the depths of the ocean . . . Oh yes, HE LIVES!
HE LIVES . . . HE LIVES . . . HE LIVES . . . Does He live within you? It is our decision to make, but there is a judgment for those who choose not to beleieve . . .
Thursday, August 6, 2015
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christand are following a DIFFERENT gospel . . . not that really is ANOTHER gospel . . . wanting to distort the Gospel of Christ. . . let him be condemned to hell! Am I know trying to gain the approval of people, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ . . . the Gospel I preached is not of HUMAN origin. . . . I received it by a revelation of Jesus Christ. (Galatians 1:6-12)
Way too many so-called Christ followers are being led by a false gospel even today. They are chasing prosperity, entertainment, and happiness rather than reality, discipleship, commitment, and holiness. True shepherds and ministers of God's word are led by God and living for God. They will not allow lies to infiltrate the Church of Jesus Christ. If we allow the lies into our homes and into our children's lives, we are opening doors for Satan to destroy our legacy.
We are not to be a friend of this world. We are not to give in to this society and be politically correct. We are to realize that God's word is from God and not man. We must not only believe it, but live it and teach it!
We are not of this world, but God's family and we need to honor our Father!
Wednesday, August 5, 2015
When the head steward tasted the water that had been turned to wine, not knowing where it came from, he said . . . "You have kept the good wine until now." . . . . Jesus did this as the first of His miraculous signs . . . . In this way He revealed His glory . . . . So He made a whip of chords and drove them (money changers) out of the temple courts . . . . "Do not make my Father's house a marketplace!". . . . The Jewish leaders responded, "What sign can you show us, since you are doing all these things?" Jesus replied, "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up again.". . . . Many people believed in His name because they saw the miraculous signs He was doing. But Jesus would not entrust Himself to them, because He knew all people. . . . for He knew what was in man. (John 2:9-25)
Even today, we ask for signs . . . We want God to "do things". As if being God is not enough . . . our life is not enough . . . His everyday work is not enough in nature, in our children, in our very breath. Do we believe just because He does things or because HE IS?
So many of us give up or God or our churches because things don't go the way we want them to go. Like John reminds us in his words above, Jesus knows what is in man!
What is in you and me? Is God not enough?
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and dearly loved, clothed and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if someone happens to have a complaint against anyone else. . . And to all these virtues add love, which is the perfect bond. . . Let the peace of Christ be in control of your heart . . . Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and exhorting one another . . . Whatever you are doing, work at it with enthusiasm, AS TO THE LORD, and not for people. (Colossians 3:12-23)
Everyone likes to call themselves a "child of God" yet few act in such a way. Paul instructs us what a child of God acts like above. As in his writings in Galatians 5:22-23, if we are God's child, we are to represent Him daily . . . in ALL we do! No matter how the waves of life hit us, we are to STAND and not be beaten down and set adrift.
Set a firm foundation and hunker down. Storms are always near.
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