Monday, November 30, 2015
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Beware, lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For IN HIM dwells all fullness of the Godhead bodily, and you are COMPLETE in Him, Who is the Head of all principality and power.(Colossians 2:6-10
I am so thankful for the foundation that I have been given from sound biblical principles. So grateful that the Lord placed me in a fundamentally strong church with a pastor that lives out the doctrines of the bible and even despite personal differences at times, bases every decision upon these truths.
There is no room for false doctrines, worldly philosophies, or the ever-changing traditions of men! I am complete in Him as Paul writes. God has the final say no matter the struggles we go through here on earth.
As the world grows darker and even more entrapped and beguiled by Satan, those of us who stand upon Godly principles will become more and more tormented and tested. STAND. . . . STAND . . . . STAND on the foundation laid out in His Word.
Be THANKFUL He is soon to return and reward those who await His appearing. (2 Timothy 4:8)
Monday, November 23, 2015
So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church. (3 John 1:10)
John, the elder of the churches in Asia Minor, is upset that some in the church are not only refusing to show hospitality to the traveling missionaries, but they are also convincing others not to assist them, going as far as putting them out of the church! While I have not witnessed rejection to this extreme, I have been told that missionaries should support themselves, that it is the church's responsibility (not individuals), and you are not a member of our denominational allegiance/ partnership. Yet as servants of the Lord and called by Him to reach others with the Gospel, we have managed by God's grace for eighteen years!
We are so very thankful for our home church, a few local congregations (be they Baptist, Lutheran, or otherwise), and many individuals from school children through senior citizens who have partnered with us to serve thousands and bring hundreds to Christ through various outreaches and programs. Most of all, we are thankful to the Lord for calling us to serve Him, who can do far and above what we ever planned or dreamed!
Please pray for us as we plan the CHRISTmas Season and beyond. We have 11 teens we serve and we need the Lord to supply . . . We are trusting God to raise at least $1,000 before CHRISTmas to allow us to do as we have planned. You may partner with us (tax-deductible of course) through mail (TSN, Box 2305, Bowie, MD, 20718) or on line at www.tsnministries.org (PayPal). Please join God at work and team with us to draw local teens into a deeper relationship with their Father.
Sunday, November 22, 2015
It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. — Lamentations 3:26
Waiting on God brings peace, teaches patience, and builds confidence in knowing He cares!
Saturday, November 21, 2015
Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
Never keep our youth from seeking Christ and growing in Him. Set a good example of faith. Encourage them. Support them. Help them grow. Take an interest in them. Challenge them. Don't sell them short. God holds us accountable!
Friday, November 20, 2015
And we also thank God continually because, when you received the Word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the Word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. For you, brothers, became imitators of God's churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus . . . . (1 Thessalonians 2:13-14)
There is nothing like having someone say that your son or daughter is just like you. Unless, that is, they are imitating a bad habit of ours! Paul is writing to those in Thessalonica around A.D. 50 or so to commend them for following His teaching. They followed the example of the home church in Judea. They even suffered for their beliefs and their efforts to follow the Wod that they had been taught by Paul. He commended them. He was proud of them. He longed to see them again. They were his "pride and joy"!
How proud I am when I see a student I have taught follow the Word of God. How good it is to see them striving to honor Him and turn from the world's ways of living. I am even more proud when it is my own child doing his or her best to honor the Lord. It grieves me deeply when they choose otherwise!
Have I failed? Have I not set the example? Have I not done all I can to reach their hearts for Christ? What is it I could do better?
While I am reminded that even Jesus could not reach them all, I still do not want anyone to choose not to follow. I take it personally! It is not God's will that anyone be lost. That too is my desire!
Thursday, November 19, 2015
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)
I shared these words with a rambunctious group of six and seven year olds a few days ago. They made a board with various people ranging from parents, friends, siblings, teachers, and the like. There was an arrow connected to a pin which allowed the students to spin the arrow and have it land on a person. The students were to then do something nice for that person during the week. . . without seeking reward. The kids were excited to get home and do something good!
I wonder how that would work with us the remainder of the week? We all know folks who could use a smile, and helping hand, a note of thanks, maybe a slice of pizza or a cup of delicious, warm, hearty coffee. . . sorry, I digressed a bit!!!!
But seriously though, let's make a list today of people in our lives who could use a good deed and be sure to keep it quiet, whereby only our Father will know. Let's be a warm light, a dash of seasoning, a ray of SONshine in an otherwise dull, grey, ordinary day for someone who could use it.
There are plenty of opportunities to shine today for our Daddy . . . We simply have to allow His light to come out. But remember . . . Do not look for or anticipate the reward. The "well done" is awaiting one day!
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
While thus occupied, as I journeyed to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, at midday, O King, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me. . . . I now send you, to open their eyes , in order to turn them from darkness to light . . . (Acts 26:12-18)
I have been attending my church's Revival this week, with some awesome worship, prayer and biblical teaching. While I have been praying for a Revivial within our church for a few years now, I also have sensed a need for the fire to be rekindled within me!We all can easily fall into the Christian routine as we go through life. . . SONday service, off to work or school, Wednesday bible study, finish the week, maybe a Friday or Saturday ministry event, than back to church on SONday. Week after week . . . month after month . . . year after year . . . But we need to go back . . . to our first Love, to when we first recieved Jesus, when He grabbed us, called us, rescued us from the pit of hell and the stench of this earth.
Can we go back today? Can we remember when Jesus called our name?
It just so happens to be my daughters's 28th birthday today and as I think of her I can't help but recall it was through her that Jesus reached me. I believed I was doing all I could . . . and I was as a single dad . . . but it was not about me or my daughter really, but it was and always is about Jesus. He knew what and WHOM I needed!
I thank God that He grabbed me when He did. Looking back, I was headed quickly in the wrong direction. My compass was off. I had the wrong road map. And today, I can look back and not only be grateful to my Savior for rescuing me, but for always being beside me to pull me back on the road!
May He take us back today . . .
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor, He has sent Me to heal the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. (Luke 4:18-19)
Time is so short. I wonder if we really realize in which days we are living. In one day recently, there were earthquakes in two regions of our world and terrorist attacks in at least four others.
My bible says that in the last days there will be nations rising against nations and wars and rumors of wars, even earthquakes in various places (Matthew 24:6-8). So many are deceived these days by the dummying-down of the Gospel. So many are afraid to offend or simply just do not know the Truth.
However, my heart is burdened for everyone, especially our youth to know the Truth. After all, who will tell others when we are gone? Pray for laborers to go into the field and embrace the harvest of souls begging for the Truth!
Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of trial in the wilderness, where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, and saw My yoke for forty years . . . (Hebrews 3:7-9, Psalm 95:7-11)
Monday, November 16, 2015
He who covers his sin will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them WILL have mercy. Happy is the man who is always reverent, but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity. (Proverbs 28:13-14)
It took me a long time in my walk with Christ to realize He has actually forgiven me. Once I admit to God that I am wrong . . . I have sinned against Him and Him alone . . . That He indeed forgives me and washes my sin whiter than snow.
I agree with God what is sin and despise it. I love everything about God. Am I perfect? No! Am I striving for it? Yes, indeed . . . but only by His Spirit that resides within me!
I detest the sin I still allow to creep into my heart . . . my life. Yet I know because of His grace, God loves me still, despite what others may say or think about me. They don't know me like my Daddy knows me!
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart . . . These O God, you will not despise. (Psalm 51:17)
Have you truly asked God to forgive your sin? Do you agree with God as to what is sin? His grace is indeed sufficient to get us through when others want to go back or stay in the past. We may not agree with every person, but we must be sure to be in agreement with God!
Sunday, November 15, 2015
If there is among you a poor man of your brethren, within any of the gates in your land, which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall NOT harden your heart nor SHUT YOUR HAND from your poor brother, but you shall OPEN YOUR HAND wide to him and willingly lend him sufficient for his need, WHATEVER HE NEEDS. . . You shall surely GIVE TO HIM, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the Lord God will bless you in ALL your works and in ALL to which you put your hand. (Deuteronomy 15:7-10)
Does anyone remember what we celebrate THANKS-GIVING? There is a really good way to give thanks to God . . . give to others,Matthew 26:11 and John 12:8 remind us that we will always have the poor among us. In fact, Jewish farmers knew this and would be instructed to set aside the outside of the farms for the poor to collect crops. But the Lord is challenging them a bit further in this command.
If our light is to SHINE (Matthew 5:16) than we are to be DIFFERENT from the others.
Most people help and than look to see who is watching and what award they can receive. In fact, many programs GIVE THE GIVERS a gift when they serve or donate. But God calls us to do it without reward and without notice. We are to give with a smile! We are to give and then feel real good about what we have done, not what we will receive.
Of course, God sees it and will reward us one day, but that is not WHY we give. We give because JESUS gave . . . He gave HIS LIFE! Therefore our lives should be known for GIVING! Think about that as the SEASON of GIVING approaches!!!
Saturday, November 14, 2015
For He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children; that the generation to come might know them, the children who would be born, that they may arise and declare them to their children, that they may set their hope in God, and not forget the words of God, but keep His commandments; and may not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generations generation that did NOT set its heart aright, and whose spirit was NOT faithful to God.(Psalm 78:5-9)
As one who has been working with young people for more than thirty years, the last eighteen in direct youth ministry and counseling, I can honestly say that with every passing year comes a dummying-down of TRUTH and more and more tolerance of whatever the culture decides is ACCEPTABLE.
God is specific about what is TRUTH and what is fabricated. His TRUTH endures from generation to generation. His WORD will be the only thing surviving this world . . .because it is not of this world! Every generation seems to get worse and worse, more and more rebellious as the psalmist Asaph wrote. Their hearts are not right with God. Their spirit is not aligned properly with His TRUTHS.
So who is to blame? Is it society . . . the schools . . . their peers . . . NO! God is clear: It is the fathers' responsibility to teach and model what is right. He is spiritually responsible for his household. It is the mothers' job to nurture the children and care for the home. While that ideal is not always present in today's homes, the roles are still needed. Parents, CHRISTian parents, must be accountable to God.
We have to take our roles seriously before God, not society. We cannot cave in to acceptable ways of culture and politically correct models of parenting. God requires much more. He requires TRUTH! Are we perfect? No. Should we strive to be? Yes! We stay on our faces before God. We repent when we have failed. We never give up. We never give in. We fight . . . We fight . . . We fight!
The battle is not ours, it is THE LORD'S!
Friday, November 13, 2015
At that time, a great persecution arose against the church, which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, EXCEPT the apostles. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great Lamentations over him. As for Paul, he made havoc of the church . . .therefore, those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the Word. (Acts 8:1-4)
Facing havoc lately? Join the club! Yet, despite the persecution, despite the struggles, despite the opposition, never stop sharing the Word. Satan may send roadblocks, but the map still points to Christ and we must stay focused on His will for each of us!
Do NOT allow Satan and his darts and arrows to make us quit. Stay in the fight. Notice the words above read that despite things, the Word was still being taught and lived out!
Thursday, November 12, 2015
Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright. (Proverbs 20:11)
Do not rebuke and older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity. . . Let the elders who rule be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in word and doctrine . . . (1 Timothy 5:1-2,17)
Just a few thoughts today: what is God saying about respect / authority in these passages? Are we carrying these guidelines out in our lives?
God's Word is still His Word!
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
You therefore, must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. . . Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things. (2 Timothy 2:4-7)
I cannot imagine what it must be like on the battlefield . . . Rocket fire . . . Planes dropping bombs . . . Enemies around every corner and under every bush . . . Separated from loved ones . . . Not even knowing who the enemy may be at times . . . Never knowing if today may be my last day on earth . . . It must be as if the worst reality show is just that, REALITY!!!! I so respect those who have served and are serving us today to keep us free to live as we do.
What a sacrifice . . . to lay down ones life not simply for family and friends, but for total strangers and even at times for the freedom of the very nation in which they are fighting! While I may face battles here on earth, I know my victory is won by the blood of Jesus and His resurrection power over life and death!
Yes, today I honor those who have battled and sacrificed to keep us free, but most importantly, I honor the One who frees me from sin eternally! Glad to be in His army . . . The Army of One!
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Confess your trespasses to one another, and PRAY for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man available much. (James 5:16)
Christian fellowship is so unique. It is an awesome experience to be with a stranger, one you just met, yet you can sense a kinship and a feeling of belonging. It is not as evident locally as it is when I travel however. I believe we take for granted the bond available in our local fellowships and within our personal circles.
We should yearn for times to pray with one another, encourage one another, admit our failings to one another, and to challenge one another. It should not have to wait for a church revival or a mission trip a year in the making! If it is in God's Word and written from Jesus' brother as well . . . maybe we should heed the instruction!
Seek out a brother or sister and check in with our Father . . . . together . . . . today! (Psalm 133:1)
Monday, November 9, 2015
This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart . . . But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the TRUTH is in Jesus: that you PUT OFF, concerning your former conduct, the OLD MAN that grows corrupt according to deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you out on the NEW MAN which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:17-25)
If we do not feed a dog, it will die eventually! This is the best analogy to sin I can imagine. If I keep feeding into my old ungodly desires, they will thrive. I will continue to sin over and over again. Even though I am saved, I will not experience the fellowship and blessings of living a holy and God-honoring life.
If I choose Godly activity, pure thoughts, friends who will hold me accountable, I can't help but become more like the man God wants me to be. Feed the old, sinful lifestyle, or the lifestyle God desires for me? Though Jesus did the work for my salvation, there are still choices I must make!
Saturday, November 7, 2015
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:6-8)
We hear it all the time and in Christian circles, we say it and sing it: It's not about me . . . It's about Jesus and others. But how well are we living it? How many times do you and I feel slighted when someone else gets the attention? How often do we worry over things out of our control? How many times do we "set our religion aside" and lose control over ridiculous matters? How often do we take our focus off of God and focus too much on this world and its matters?
We all have sinned and we are still sinning . . . Not an excuse, but a reminder how much you and I need Jesus . . . How much more we need to grow in His grace and mercy. Lord help us today to repent of failing you and others and help us Holy Spirit to allow You to reign and rule within us so others may see You and not "me"!
Friday, November 6, 2015
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile you and persecute you, and say ALL kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. REJOICE and BE EXCEEDINGLY GLAD, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:10-12)
Happy . . . Yes, HAPPY are those of us who may be criticized, admonished, falsely accused, even reprimanded for doing our best to carry out the will of God in our lives. I don't know about you, but I have had my share, since first accepting the call from my Savior some twenty- two years ago. It seems the closer I get to the Lord, the more I try to line up with His will, the more the critics line up . . . from family, close friends, you name it. However, I have these words from Jesus and some very stable Christ-followers to keep me HAPPY!
We, you and I, must keep them in mind when we feel so low and helpless. The fight IS worth the effort. I keep saying to myself, " Someone is listening, if not only God!" I must remember that I am living for Him alone at times and only what I do for Christ will last. Many times, my love for Him will be misconstrued as hate for this world and those in it. In time, everyone will understand. I just wish it was sooner rather than later . . .
And let us NOT GROW WEARY while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we DO NOT LOSE HEART. (Galatians 6:9)
Thursday, November 5, 2015
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)
Be careful. Be wise. Don't be foolish and think Satan and his demons are not concerned with you. The more we attempt to honor the Lord, the more we commit to serve Him and to seek others to win for Christ, the more diligent Satan becomes to attack us. However, he does not attack in obvious ways. He still wears a disguise.
An innocent face . . . A gentle nudge . . . A minute here or there . . . A slight diversion . . . A moment of weakness . . . A brief lack of focus . . .
Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (1 Peter 5:8)
This is a still a dangerous world. We must protect one another . . . support one another . . . encourage one another . . . PRAY for and with one another. We do not want any one to lost nor do we want to be Satan's next meal!
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only ONE receives the prize? Run in such a way that you might obtain it. . . Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I FIGHT: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)
Running . . . . Running . . . RUNNING . . . RUNNING . . .
Do you find the days becoming weeks and weeks becoming months and months becoming years? Just running aimlessly or at the very least running and not accomplishing much if nothing at all? It can get that way in this world . . . even while doing good things! Paul encourages us to be disciplined. Set boundaries. Set small goals that can lead to bigger goals.
Daily goals . . . Weekly goals . . . Yearly goals . . . Five-year plans and life-long strategies. God has a plan for each of His children but He will not plan it out. It takes deliberate praying, counseling, planning, laboring, and also times of resting . . .yes, RESTING!
My pastor often reminds us all . . . Failing to plan is planning to fail. Have a plan and write it down; for you and all to see. (Habakkuk 2:2)
Tuesday, November 3, 2015
But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the Word of God deceitfully, but manifestation of the Truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. (2 Corinthians 4:2)
Paul often has to write to defend himself to those who doubt his calling, but he never has to defend God! There are times in our lives when people may remind of of who we used to be. They may point out our sin in light of our faith in Christ. They may pull some Scripture out of context in order to attempt to condemn us. However, we must remain true to the Word and the what He has us to do. We know all about sin and its traps. We know how powerful it can be . . . how cunning . . .how deceitful. We also realize we still sin!
So we must remain faithful in all of our dealings . . . for Christ's sake and for the opportunity to lead even those who torment us to our Savior. It's what God knows about us that matters. Stay strong . . . Stay faithful . . . Stay under the power of His Spirit!
Monday, November 2, 2015
And Moses built and altar and called its name, The Lord is my banner (Yahweh-Nissi), for he said, "Because the Lord has sworn: the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation. (Exodus 17:15-16)
As Moses hands remained lifted, the Israel forces were successful. As he remained focused and looking "up" he and all of Irael were favored by God. It is no different today. While the Amalekites cannot be identified specifically today as a nation, we can identify the enemies within us as individuals.
We must face the cynics and critics of our beliefs with love, kindness, forgiveness, and generous its. We cannot allow false accusations to tarnish our character and integrity. Sarcastic taunts and illogical responses do not respond to reason.
And never forget to keep focus on Jehovah-Nissi, the One who fights for us and with us!
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