Thursday, November 30, 2017

Not Clones, but Disciples!

Paul,had a struggle with sin, as we all do...at least I do! Yet he did not simply give in. He constantly prayed and admitted his struggles. This is a sign of spiritual maturity!
I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.(Romans 7:21-25)
It takes a lot of work to raise a new born baby into a prepared young adult. As a father, grandfather, teen coach and teacher, I have seen all sorts of tries, failures, restarts, and successes. It is no different for our spiritual lives as well. There are far too few "mature" CHRISTIans in my opinion today. At the very least, there should be far more! Many of us still struggle with the "baby steps" of the CHRISTian walk rather than the things of a mature adult. We must do more than pray a prayer to become a committed CHRIST-follower. It takes more than having others tell us how to behave or listening to someone else's testimony. We must prepare our own food, dress ourselves, and move out of the safety of someone else's house! In other words, we must OWN our personal relationship with our Lord and Savior and not simply mimic someone else. We are no CLONES, but DISCIPLES!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Wait on it . . .

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.(1 Peter 5:6-11)
Just imagine for a moment being at the crucifixion....dejection, fear, disappointment, maybe even some sense of abandonment. Now three days later you visit an empty grave and an angel tells you, "He is not here . . . He has risen!" Then Jesus comes to visit and let's you know He is truly alive and is about to give you something and someone special . . . yet He must leave! Abandonment again? Yet what you receive gives you the power to speak in various languages and heal the sick and withstand persecution and even death . . . All for Him and because He loves you so. It is all true. His followers did just that. They had to wait for just a bit longer to really feel the impact of Christ upon their lives. Hold on . . . Jesus knows and is preparing you and me!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

No Fear in Love

When one truly knows the Lord, there is no reason to be afraid. The actual "fear" of the Lord is to have such reverence and respect for Him that we know Him so intimately that we are best of "friends". The "wrath of God" was poured out on the cross against sin and not you and me! He loves us and deeply desires a relationship,with each of us. As one who calls Him Lord, Savior and Father, the "fear" is nothing but love, admiration, honor, and respect. Those rescued by His grace are His beloved . . .it is a relationship (covenant) beyond measure . . .think about that!
Who is the man that fears the Lord? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses. He himself shall dwell in prosperity, and his descendants shall inherit the earth. The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant. (Psalm 25:12-14)

Monday, November 27, 2017

What Will be Our Response?

It's been a few days since the last post . . . With a fact-finding trip to assist the hurricane victims in Puerto Rico and Thanksgiving break with family in between. God has indeed been at work however! Despite what we saw in Puerto Rico, and it is shameful and devastating that our country could allow our people to suffer so much for so long, God is still in control. He is still God. He still cares, protects, loves and grants mercy and gives grace abundantly! He may allow horrible things to occur, yet He gives immeasurable opportunities to sacrifice and serve those in need and show His undying love. We are to be His ambassadors . . . His hands and feet . . . His "image" in a suffering world! What will we do in response? We cannot allow fear and anxiety paralyze us!
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39

Friday, November 17, 2017

Thankful for A Bold New Journey

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ. And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:3-11)
I am so very thankful for the opportunity to know Christ and then to be privileged enough to then be able to have the opportunities to share it and even teach it to young people. Nothing brings me more joy than to witness and young one accept the Christ as their Lord and Savior and actually walk it out in life! I don't deserve this opportunity nor do I ever feel properly equipped. It is His grace alone that I have so many precious opportunities to share my experiences and witness thee last twenty-five years. As my wife and I enter into a bold new journey in missions (heading up small-scale relief efforts in Puerto Rico)we now ask for your continued and fervent prayers for our safety, wisdom, and planning to continue serving God and those He leads to us. As you pray and support, you are partakers as well of His blessings!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

HOPE in a World of HOPElessness

In sports, I have learned it is never as bad nor as good as it looks. Never allow yourself to get too down or too excited. "Act like you've done it before", I have been taught and learned. Good advice for sports and life . . . right? In our CHRISTian walk, it is also good to remain level-headed. We will face many ups and downs, but CHRIST remains the constant. He is our Rock, our Anchor, our solid Foundation! Though things ARE bad and WILL get worse, we cannot allow that to cause us to give up hope, because our HOPE is CHRIST! So how do we stay so calm and keep a "peace that surpasses all understanding"? (Philippians 4:7) We MUST stay focused on God and His will!
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.(1 Peter 5:6-11)
Stay humbled my friends . . .

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Are We Properly Dressed?

As Paul spoke of the "armor of God", he was referring to the battle pieces worn by the soldiers. Yet today we don't quite get it since our warriors have much different weapons and armor. However, we do have Jesus! He is our ultimate protection and our confidence in daily battles. Despite the ridicule we may face as believers, we have the Truth within our very core which allows us press on in life. Despite the lies we hear and experience in this world, we have the holiness of God guarding our hearts ❤️ from defection. Our thought s can remain on Him because we have a belief that goes beyond reason and scientific jargon. We have a defense shield all around in the person of the Holy Spirit which deflects the imaginations of this world. Finally, we still have His Word which will remain long into eternity after this world has met its last days.
The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.(Romans 13:12-14)
Thus we are "clothed in Christ". We are wrapped up in His strong and protective arms and covered by His eternal, enduring, and enveloping sacrificial blood. We are protected by His loving heart and provided for by His powerful Spirit. As we "walk" in His Spirit we find protection, peace, provision, and power! Are properly dressed today?

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Living for Jesus in Our Microwave World

It's simple when God gives us a direct "yes" or "no" isn't it? While we may not like His answer (and sometimes we even are bold enough to disagree) at least we know! But what about when God says "wait" or "not quite yet"? What if He says "hold on, my grace will be sufficient enough right now". (2 Corinthians 12:9) Waiting is indeed difficult, especially in today's "microwave world". When we have the means to obtain what God has told us to wait for . . . that's challenging! When we see others prosper and we struggle . . . that's challenging. When others seem to flaunt it in our faces, even though innocently and unknowingly, man . . . that's a challenge! Yet David's words ring so,true:
Teach me Your way, O Lord, and lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies. Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries; For false witnesses have risen against me, and such as breathe out violence. I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord! (Psalm 27:11-14)
Remember, people are watching. They want to see faith in action and they need to see faith in action. You or I just may be the one to give others the courage to wait upon the Lord!
For a long time Israel has been without the true God, without a teaching priest, and without law; but when in their trouble they turned to the Lord God of Israel, and sought Him, He was found by them. And in those times there was no peace to the one who went out, nor to the one who came in, but great turmoil was on all the inhabitants of the lands. So nation was destroyed by nation, and city by city, for God troubled them with every adversity. But you, be strong and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded!” (2 Chronicles 15:3-7)

Monday, November 13, 2017

It's Me, not God!

We quickly forget the good ness of God. One day we can be basking in the goodness of God and. . . . . BAM 💥 . . . we are knocked for a loop and we cry out "My God, why have you forsaken me?"(Matthew 27:46) What happens to us and our faith? Is it in God or the situation? Satan loves to quickly divert our attention to our situation and away from God. We need to remain focused upon the cross. Even Jesus turned to the scriptures to remain focused as He breathed his final breaths. He quoted David in His most trying time upon the earth. As He took our sin, He felt the separation from God. In our case, we CHOOSE sin and separate ourselves from God's protection. We too, however, can learn from the one after God's own heart . . .
But You, O Lord, do not be far from Me; O My Strength, hasten to help Me! Deliver Me from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dog. Save Me from the lion’s mouth and from the horns of the wild oxen! You have answered Me. (Psalm 22:19-21)
In the very Psalm whereby David felt abandoned, he quickly refocused and knew God would be with him. May you and I be so quick to recognize it is we who abandon God and not the other way around. (Romans 5:8)

Friday, November 10, 2017

Remember "when"

"I remember when . . . ." Isn't it great to look back and remember "when"? I remember when I scored the winning basket back in eighth grade. I remember when we had such a great time on vacation. I remember when my favorite team won the championship. I clearly remember the day that I received the phone call that my mom had passed away just over a year ago while on a mission trip in New Orleans. Memories can many times get us through trying moments and they can even help us to gain victory when we are struggling in the present. Do we have memories of how God has brought us through a particular circumstance . . . an illness, a disaster, a family death? God is faithful and ever-present . . . all-knowing and full of grace, mercy, strength, and consolation. In Him we have victory over any and all circumstances. Sometimes we simply need to think back . . . . Can you remember "when"?
So it was, when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hurried and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth. So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. But there was no sword in the hand of David. Therefore David ran and stood over the Philistine, took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it.(1 Samuel 17:48-51)
We have been, we are now, and we remain blessed if we keep our trust in Him. Take note:
And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.(Matthew 5:1-10)
We are indeed blessed . . . HAPPY . . . if we simply remember WHAT God has done and WHO He still is, despite what we may be experiencing.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Difference

FEAR . . .Hard to describe yet very real. It can happen in an instant or build up over days and weeks...even years. It can cause some to withdraw, some to run, and some to commit horrific acts. Then others can simply stand boldly and not only face FEAR head-on, but attack that FEAR and conquer it. What is the difference? Rather, WHO is the difference? Listen to this . . .
Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. But the boat was now in the middle of the sea,tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.(Matthew 14:22-31)
So we call ourselves "children of God" and "saved" . . . let's walk in FEAR no more! Now this should give courage . . .
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,(Isaiah 43:1-2)
Now can we see the difference?

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Talking to Myself

Do you ever talk to yourself? It's ok you know, especially when it's scripture! Many times we need to remind ourselves of the promises of God and how He has always been there for us, despite the people around us or the circumstances surrounding us. Take a listen to David's reminders here in Psalm 103. . . .
Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.(Psalm 103:1-5)
He has forgiven sin. He heals illness. He redeems from a life of destruction. He covers us with love and mercy. He grants us grace we never could deserve. He provides us with every good and perfect thing we ever will need. He "keeps" us! He has and He still does and will always do these things. Don't you forget it!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Expect the Unexpected . . . From God

Unexpected God "stuff". . . It happens when we expect the unexpected from God! Unexpected conversations, unexpected meetings, unexpected experiences . . . at the grocery store . . . with a person unlike you or me . . . an emergency room conversation . . . even a casual social media interaction . . . If we keep our focus upon God He will bring many unexpected things into focus . . . things we would have never seen otherwise. Watch out for God! He is working all around us if we will only EXPECT the UNEXPECTED!
For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do EXEEDINGLY ABUNDANTLY ABOVE ALL that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:14-21)
Get ready!

Monday, November 6, 2017

REBOOT

Just reboot the computer! Many times, this will fix a problem with the desktop, laptop, I-Pad, etc. Simply turn it off and turn it back on again. It s helpful in our walk with Christ (and others by the way) to simply sit back, take a minute to assess the situation, and REBOOT! After all, our initial journey with Christ begins with a REBIRTH, right? (John 3:3) It is always a good thing to think back on that beginning. Where were we when Jesus finally was able to reach us? Why then? What were we going through? Why did He make sense then? How did we drift so far away? Have we become ashamed? Have we become comfortable? Have we fit in too well with our friends, our school, our job, our world?
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ,for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)
Let's not get too safe or comfortable in this world. It is very easy to slide into the cozy covers and drift off to sleep spiritually. Never forget where we came from, deep in sin. Remember our calling from Christ! Keep things simple. . . .
Go thereforeand make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.(Matthew 28:19-20)
Time to REBOOT?

Friday, November 3, 2017

Do We Actually CARE?

Somebody shared with me! Twenty-five years ago, someone shared with my five year old daughter about the realities and necesssities of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. All my life of going to church and private school and it never dawned on me, Jesus wants a PERSONAL relationship with me, not simply a visit now or then or an emergency prayer request. I am so glad someone actually CARED for us enough to share Christ with us. He has changed my life for enternity!!! Do WE actually CARE that much today? Many of you have known Christ since childhood. I met Him personally when I was thirty-three. So what have we done since? Have we shared Him with others? Do others matter as much as we do? What if no one had shared with us? What if someone's eternity depends upon our actions?
O God, You have taught me from my youth; And to this day I declare Your wondrous works. Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to THIS generation, Your power to everyone who is to come.(Psalm 71:17-18)
DO WE ACTUALLY CARE?

Thursday, November 2, 2017

A Nation of Heart Generators!

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)
One candle...one flashlight...one spotlight on a cell phone...what amazing change these simple items can bring to a home when electricity has gone out. While one light does wonders, imagine what a home generator would do! It's the same with our faith and sharing it. It is something special when we experience one coming to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Hearing a person admit they are without hope in their sin and to ask Christ to forgive them and accept His Spirit to reside within them and be granted eternal life with Christ is truly awesome and unforgettable. As many times as I have prayed with individuals, each time it moves my heart. I have even been known to "sweat from my eyeballs" at times!😪😂 Are we always so moved with compassion for the lost?(Matthew 9:36) In fact, the Bible tells us that angels rejoice when a lost soul comes to know Christ. (Luke 15:10) But what if more would share? What if it wasn't just on a mission trip or a neighborhood outreach? What if it was every CHRISTians desire to have a passion for the lost? What if each of our lifestyles projected the love and forgiveness offered in Christ? What if we were a nation of "flashlights" or "heart generators" for the Lord?

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

An OPEN Relationship is Good!

We adapt and adjust according to where we may be and whom we may be with at certain times. While we remain "who" we are, we act and interact differently with with different people. But what about how we communicate Jesus. Do we only acknowledge Him around those whom we know follow Him or are we as excited to speak about Him around anyone we engage? Being "open" about our relationship with the Savior may just "open" others up to meeting Him! Having an "open" relationship with the Lord exposes Him to those who otherwise would never meet Him. As missionaries, my wife and I travel often for ministry and it is natural to share our beliefs. However, it is not as easy doing so at the grocery store, at the gas station, or at the gym. It seems as though we have to "remember" to mention the Lord at times. Many times we think back and say, "I blew it! I should have shared about Christ with that person." Please pray that I may be even more bold to not only live for Christ, but also to share Him naturally more often . . . People need to know!
Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.(Colossians 4:2-6)

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! ” ...