Thursday, January 28, 2016
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. (Psalm 51:7)
Hyssop is a plant from the Mediterranean Region used for purification and healing, even to assist the leprosy sufferers. It was the plant described in the Passover of Egypt when the hyssop plant was dipped in blood to cover the door posts of Jewish families. (Exodus 12:22) What a memory from the past yet a glimpse into the future!
Here is King David, desperately seeking cleansing from his horrendous act, but also wanting more. He desired a total cleansing, inside and out! David was seeking deliverance, an escape from the slavery of his sin, just as the Israelites escaped bondage Egyptian slavery!
Have you ever noticed the cleanliness after a fresh snow? The air is crisp. The sky is a clear, bright blue. The ground covered with a layer of pristine, fluffy, pure, white snow. This is what David sought. . . .total purification that only God could offer.
Do you seek an escape from the power of sin in your life? Do you feel the bondage it has upon your life's? His grace is still sufficient. (2 Corinthians 12:9) His blood still removes the guilt of sin. (Matthew 26:28) however, it takes a heart like David to come humbly and broken. Will you come?
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden partYou will make me to know wisdom. (Psalm 51:6)
God’s desire is for us to be one with Him. This was Jesus’ prayer for His disciples and even us in John 17:11; “that they may be one as We are.” David knew what God desires and as we know, he wanted to please God. However, like us today, he battled the sin nature within. Even Paul wrote; “But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of so which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! (Romans 7:23-24)
It's one thing to sin and not have any regrets whatsoever. However, to sin and realize we are breaking the very heart of God is a definite sign of a repentant man and one who realizes the need for a Savior. While some believe men can lose their salvation by sinning, it is clear in the New Testament that once forgiven, the Holy Spirit comes into the believer and never leaves. (John 14:16). God will continue to work in and through the believer until He perfects us. It is not of our works, but God’s. One cannot save themselves. If we could, there would be no need for the cross!
Are there doubts in your life? Do you ever feel ashamed to say you are a believer? Know that the Word assures us that the guilt of sin is a sign of belief in a perfect and loving God who offers grace and forgiveness. Not feeling the guilt of sin is a sure sign of an unsaved person. Once we lead one to Christ, discipleship is the key. Seek an accountability partner; someone a little more mature spiritually to help you through this walk. You can do it with the help of the Body!
Sunday, January 24, 2016
Saturday, January 23, 2016
She is not afraid of snow for her household, For all her household is clothed with scarlet. (Proverbs 31:21)
I often brag on my bride as she is such an example of this woman described in Proverbs 31. A help-meet to me in every area, a loving and teaching mother, a servant in her church, and most importantly, she is dedicated to her Lord. . . And she is NOT afraid of this snow! In fact, she beats me to the shoveling almost every year, calling it exercise!
So as we attack this blizzard of January 2016 in the DMV, I want to thank God for the gift He graced me with in the person of Tamara Douglas Carroll and as we shovel together, we also offer praise and prayers together to our most powerful and provisional God and Savior!
He is still on the throne and still about making every sin-stained heart white as snow! Have YOU been washed in His blood? Have YOUR sins been washed white as the new fallen snow you see upon your lawn this morning? Now is a good time to ask Him to softly fall upon YOUR heart and save YOU from and eternal, fiery, painful HELL!
If you have been saved from sin, tell a neighbor as you assist with the shoveling!
Thursday, January 21, 2016
For He says to the snow, "Fall on the earth; likewise to the gentle rain and the heavy rain of His strength. (Job 37:6)
As I ponder the treacherous weather conditions of ice and snow last evening on our streets, anticipating the blizzard of 2016 here in the DMV, I stand in awe of a Mighty God. Who are we to even approach Him? Who are we to curse the weather? Who are when we stand before a God Who holds ALL power in His hands?
I will choose to stand in awe of His power and beauty as He blankets the earth with pure snow. I will be reminded how He washed my sin-filled heart with His very own blood so I may be made pure. I will trust Him with the need of food, heat, and safety. He is perfectly capable of handling this!
I will also thank Him for allowing me a job to teach His Word to young people and also be able to remain at home, receive a paycheck, and enjoy the safety of my home and family! 🌬🌨❄️⛄️🌨❄️☃📓
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. (1Corinthians 13:4-8)
Many refer to these verses when dealing with relationships between people . . . husband and wife for instance. While these are excellent verses for a marriage and need to be practiced, may I suggest LOVE here to represent God Himself and the fact that He never fails us! Think about these words in that light for a moment or two and then thank Him!
I thank God for the LOVE He has shown me and allowed me to experience, especially through my bride!
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
For none of us lives to himself and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, if we live or die, we are the Lord's. . . . For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ . . . (Romans 14:8-10)
Our lives are not our own. We all have heard that before I am sure. But even as we go into a work week after celebrating the life of Rev. Dr. King ( don't forget the REVEREND part!), it is a good reminder to us all to realize we are not living unto ourselves! Not only are we laying the groundwork for our young people to come, but we are living for the Lord. Every thought, every plan, every action, is in front of our Lord's eyes.
Rev. King could have chosen to follow the lead of others in the 1960's. Rather, he chose to change things in a more Christ-like manner. He chose to love all people and seek freedoms for all those who were oppressed and discriminated. He valued all life. Above all, he valued the Lord.
What would life be like today if we lived and breathed every moment to to please our Savior rather than being politically or ethnically correct? How differently would we treat others if we saw ourselves in their eyes? How differently would we view ourselves if we knew what others thought of us? How many more would know Christ if His character flowed from us?
Sunday, January 17, 2016
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me. (Psalm 51:5)
David understood the sin nature of man. None of us are righteous, not one! (Romans 3:10) However, he did not use as an excuse for sin or and excuse to sin. He knew he was flawed! One thing we must do when we come to God is to realize Who He is and who we are not! Though we are now able to come boldly before the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16) we still must come humbly!
David communicated with the Lord. He sought him with fervor. He knew the Old Testament laws which required a life for a life. He knew he was doomed without the grace of God! Because of our sin nature, only the blood of Jesus can make us one with Him. Once we confess that we are indeed sinners and in need of a Savior the Holy Spirit, Whom Jesus promised, (John 14:16) will reside within us and guide us into righteous living. However, we must still choose to give Him control. We may be saved sinners, but we are still very capable of sinning!
When we honestly identify the weak areas of our lives, we can see the temptation coming. Acknowledging weaknesses will make us stronger in our walk with Christ. May I encourage you to to write out below a list of two or three weak areas and then pray not only about them, but for the Lord to send someone to assist you in your walk. We are not meant to be alone
Saturday, January 16, 2016
Against You and You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight . . .that You may be found just when You speak and blameless when You judge. (Psalm 51:4)
How often do we understand the pain we cause our Father? We may experience the tears of a parent, a spouse, or even a friend. We see and feel the agony and hurt we cause others with our sinful actions. The guilt wears upon us until we apologize. Even then, we still experience the hurt from time to time.
However, because we do not see God, we tend to dismiss the hurt we cause Him. . .but this is our Father, our Daddy, our Abba! (Romans 8:15) Once we can develop our relationship with our Father to an intimate and personal level, we can not only the feel the pain of our sin but also the joy of our obedience!
I am learning to see myself through a father’s eyes after over twenty-eight years of fatherhood. It’s about time, don't you think? Seriously though, just as it hurts when one of my children may offend me (and not even care to repent), I now understand just a portion of the pain I must cause my heavenly Father. But David knew . . . He knew that God held him in the palm of His hand; to crush or to comfort.
How do you see yourself before a Mighty God? Is your relationship secure? Think upon His love for you and me and how we treat Him. This is personal!
Friday, January 15, 2016
For I acknowledged my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. (Psalm 51:3)
David acknowledged his sin. Webster would define it as accepted or admitted. How many of us know we have sinned, but refuse to openly admit it or accept it . . .even when speaking with God? David did not say that Bathsheba should not have been out bathing. He did not blame Uriah for not protecting her. Neither did he say, “I’m just a man!” One who is chasing after the heart of God realizes that he cannot hide anything from Him!
Admitting and confessing our sin brings us into the proper fellowship or relationship with God. Though we may be eternally saved, sin causes a break in fellowship, much like a child being put in time-out. The child still belongs to his parents, but there is a divide caused by the transgression. Yet even after the admittance and apology, there are still consequences that can last a long time, even for a lifetime. Even in my own life, I can now understand why things have been the way they have been. Some decisions, some actions have caused me to be disqualified from some areas of God’s service. Therefore, my sin is always before me. This is not always a bad thing though, as I am often reminded of the consequences of my sin and the result it can have upon my family and service for Christ.
Is there a sin that is always before you? Have you confessed it? If so, allow it to keep you from future sin. Turn evil to good. Slap the devil right in his face and tell him that sin has been driven as far as the east is from the west! (Psalm 103:12) You (we) are moving on!
Thursday, January 14, 2016
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. (Psalm 51:2)
King David is faced with a murder charge. He has had an illicit affair with another man’s wife. Bathsheba became pregnant. David plotted to have her husband sent home to be with her, to lay with his wife. However, he was loyal to his King and refused to sleep with his wife when his fellow soldiers were battling. David then sent this man, Uriah, a general in his army, to the front lines (2 Samuel 11-12) to be killed in an attempt to cover his sin.
Is it not amazing to what great lengths we will go to not only justify our sin, but to cover it, despite who may be hurt or even blamed for our sin? I think back to the excuses I have made and the innocent people I have implicated in order to make myself look good. Men, we blame our spouses for visiting porn sites or for engaging in extra-marital relationships. Women will put the blame on her husband for sharing intimate details of her marriage with a male co-worker who seems caring and sincerely concerned. As parents, we blame our jobs on the lack of attention to our children. Excuses . . . Excuses . . . Excuses!
Like with David, we need to be confronted with our sin. Nathan told David, “You are the one!” Yet what I love about David is his response. “I have sinned against the Lord”. (2 Samuel 12:13) No excuses. No blame. Where could he . . . Where can we run from God? (Psalm 139:7)
Obviously, David learned from his relationship with God when he wrote
these word these words!
I am the sinner. I did the deed. It was me Lord. But the cool thing here is that God knew David’s heart. He had already forgiven him. He would not die. Nathan assured him of this. (2 Samuel 12:13) Though the consequences would be devastating, God would keep His promises to David. We must admit our sin as soon as possible. Accept the consequences. However, we must move on in His grace. Do not wallow in the sin or the pity. Leave it all behind and step into the plans God still has in store. Despite the criticism, the accusations, and the ridicule, move forward.
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your loving kindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. (Psalm 51:1)
We sin daily. Yes, especially those of us who serve within the church in various forms of leadership or other service positions. The problem is that we justify the sin or pass it off without much though because we believe we have it under control. You see, we know it is sin, we even confess it, but it still controls us. Like David, many times we need to have someone confront us. We all need a Nathan in our lives. Mine is my bride. She does not play games with sin. She is truly my help meet.
And the Lord God said, " It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him. (Genesis 2:18)
When we sin . . . as soon as we realize we have sinned, we need to confess it to the Lord and to those we have harmed. There is no need to tell everybody! The one who is after the heart of God realizes the pain our sin causes God and others. We must seek quick forgiveness and His mercy. God desires for us to be in complete fellowship with Him. One day, one hour, one minute away from Him can be deadly. Don't wait for someone to call us out. However, if and when they do, praise God for them and confess right away. Turn from the sin and if you can't do it alone, seek the help you need. There are genuine people who care!
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He will not hear. (Isaiah 59:1-2)
No blame shifting . . . No he said/she said. . . No pointing fingers. It's me, it's me standing in the need of prayer!
Many times we place the blame of our sin on others. The devil may tempt us, but we choose to sin. People may push our buttons, but we allow those buttons to be exposed. Like Paul, we do what we do not want to do and do not do what we should do! (Romans 7:15-20)
As we struggle through this life, let's call it what it is . . . our sin can change everything about a day.
Let's take personal responsibility and come to grips with our condition and trust a God who stands ready and willing to step in where we fall short. Let's set the example and humbly fall to our knees and seek His grace and walk in His strength!
Put that armor on soldier!
Monday, January 11, 2016
It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes. All the nations surround me, but in the name of the Lord I will destroy them. (Psalm 118:8-10)
This psalm, generally ascribed to David, was Martin Luther's favorite psalm, according to C. H. Spurgeon. As many of the reformers were out on trial and put to death, Luther prayed earnestly before the Lord. David too leaned heavily upon the Lord through personal trials, family struggles, and battles for his own life against fierce armies.
Who do you and I really trust today? Are we putting our faith in political leaders, our retirement funds, our personal efforts to secure our present possessions and future plans? While it is wise to make plans, we must know who holds the future.
Are you secure?
Friday, January 8, 2016
Therefore, behold, I will allure her, will bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfort to her. I will give her vineyards from there . . . And I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy; then I will say to those who were not My people, " You are My people!" And they shall say, "You are my God!" (Hosea 2:14-15, 23)
The story of Hosea and Gomer is one of disappointment and failures for sure. Imagine marrying, having children, and finding out your bride was nothing less than a prostitute! Now imagine God requiring you to chase her down and rescue her and love her anyway . . . despite her infidelity, your disgrace, and more. Well, is that not you and me in relation to God? We fail Him so often. We deny Him almost daily. We cheat on Him with our worldly lusts and habits. Yet He calls out to us. He promises grace, forgiveness, and an unshakeable love.
Oh, He is my God! What a God . . . What a Savior! Listen for His voice. He is calling admits the noise and confusion. He allures us with His patient love and affection for each of us.
Are we willing to seek Him and take refuge in Him? He is still a Rock, a Fortress, a Hiding Place and a God of Restoration.
Jehovah Nissi, lead us. Jehovah Jireh, please provide. Jehovah Shalom, please bring us Your peace and give us rest and comfort!
Thursday, January 7, 2016
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)
I realize I am no world-renown theologian and God still has much work to do in me yet, but one thing I have learned and strive to do; honor authority. Though my parents are aged and losing their mental faculties, I desire to honor, obey, respect and sometimes tolerate them. I do my best to come in line with those God has put over me from my former postal supervisors to present school administrators. I strive to obey civil laws and ordinances and learn from and come under the instruction of my Pastor/Shepherd and other educated and experienced CHRIST-followers. Some my age, some older, some younger, but nonetheless put over me by God so I must come under their (His) authority.
The same holds true for those of us in authority: We must wield that authority under God with, grace, wisdom, and confidence! Knowing we are accountable to God for how we lead, we must first be humbled under God's leadership and then confidently lead. Many of us hold the future before us daily; young people yearning for guidance and examples of which to follow.
We are here for such a time as this . . . Lead!
Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. . . and you are complete in Himwhich is the head of all principality and power. (Colossians 2:8-10)
One way to heaven. It is simply not a truth, but THE Truth. The way is through a man, not a lifestyle. It was provided by a person, not a program.
Many have claimed and will claim there are other ways to an eternal relationship with God. Some even say there is no eternity at all.
Common sense says there is more . . . There has to be more!
Do YOU really believe the words written in the Bible?
Tuesday, January 5, 2016
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into this world. . . You are of God little children, and have overcome them, because He Who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world. Therefore, they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God . . . (1 John 4:1-6)
Lots of voices . . . Lots of opinions . . . Lots of new ways.
One God . . . One Spirit . . . One faith . . . ONE!
Despite the changes we are experiencing and the less popular the Word and ways of God become; As for me and my house (Joshua 24:15). . . my choice is God . . . the ONE and ONLY God!
Monday, January 4, 2016
Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. . . This people I have formed for Myself, they shall declare My praise. (Isaiah 43:18-19, 21)
Isaiah writes these words to direct the Jewish people and remind them of their God. He encourages them to not focus on their failures of the past but to trust the God who has always been faithful.
Yet even as they are reminded, God still says His people failed Him. Their offereings were not proper and their sins horrific. He offered grace but to no avail. Israel would be dealt with by Almighty God.
Will we make the same mistakes of last year? Will we go back to the same patterns of failure? God is offering us grace and a fresh start as well.
Let's learn from our past and surge forward in His grace and in obedience! Let's allow our lives to declare the praises of our God!
Saturday, January 2, 2016
But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased . . . . (Hebrews 13:16)
We don't always want to make sacrifices . . . that's why they are called just that . . . sacrifices! We make the decision to do something while giving up something we prefer.
We would rather be at the gym than painting the house. We would rather be at the beach than cutting the lawn. We would rather be watching football than a romantic movie. We would rather be sleeping in than serving at church. We would rather be . . . .
The life of a true believer is one of SACRIFICES. Our life decisions reflect our love for the Lord. While it is needed to say "no" at times, it should never be for a reason born out of laziness or selfishness.
As Pastor Andy Stanley advises in his book, we must choose to cheat things in life every day, but do not cheat the things that matter. My faith in God, my family, my health all matter to me above other things. My first ministry is my family. These things I cannot cheat. Everything else takes a back seat.
Do I always make the right decision? No . . . but is working on me!
Friday, January 1, 2016
I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart and watch to see what He will say to me and what I will answer when I am corrected. Then the Lord answered me and said, "Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak and it will not be a lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. . . But the just live by his faith." (Habakkuk 2:1-4)
Many have given up hope and are simply living out their days. While the bible does tell us things will get worse and not better, we must still be on the mission of living for God and being aware of His workings so we can properly respond.
The prophet is setting himself on the watch to observe and seek the Lord's direction. He is not engrossed in the public media, the culture, or political back and forth. He is seeking God and anticipating His direction. Once he receives it, he is to write it down clearly for all to see and observe.
Our lives are our texts today. No matter what we say or write, our actions must speak plainly to others and lead them to the will of God. But do we know His will?
Many are deceived by our culture today . . . even our CHRISTian culture. We have not been very good examples of a people seeking to please God and anticipating His return. We too are caught up in the world and have been blinded by its dark light.
It's a new year but still the same God.
Will we commit to take watch and be a beacon for His Light? Will we make the commitment to be real with Him and those around us? For others to read us, we must be an open book! May we closely follow the path God has set before us in 2016 and may He cause many to follow with us.
Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, ...
Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of ...
What a great perspective on missions! As we prepare to leave for Puerto Rico, be reminded we also have been serving teens, families, schools...