Thursday, May 31, 2018

So why baptism?

So the eunuch answered Philip and said, “I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”  So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. (Acts 4:34-38)
So why baptism?

Baptism was important back then! No, it did not save anyone from sin nor does It today. Jesus' atoning sacrifice on the cross alone does that! Yet, the Ethiopian demanded it. Peter, Paul and even Jesus instructed believers to make disciples...repenting of sin and being baptized in obedience to the Lord as a sign or public commitment to a new life in Christ. (Acts 2:38, Acts 10:48, Acts 22:16, 1 Peter 3:21, Colossians 2:12, Galatians 3:27, Mark 16:16, Luke 3:21-22, Matthew 28:19-20)

Why do many today not emphasize baptism in regards to fellowship within the Body? I realize, in rare cases, one cannot be baptized. However, it is an act of obedience. It is a witness to a sinful world that "I belong to Christ!"

If it was important to Jesus and the Apostles, it is important to me!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Others' Gifts Are Not Threats But Assets

And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter said to him, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money!  You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.  For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity. ”Then Simon answered and said, “Pray to the Lord for me, that none of the things which you have spoken may come upon me.” (Acts 8:18-24)
 Others' gifts are not threats but assets! We may think this kind of thing never happens within our churches today, but sadly it does. Some want all the attention and all the power. Some seek position. Some seek acclaim. Some even seek the money. They do not seem to mind whom they hurt in the process . . . in fact they are so blinded by their own arrogance that they may not even know anyone is being hurt or how many are being offended!

God help us! It is a challenge to pray for others who are hurting us, especially when those we love are also hurt. When bitterness and iniquity set in, it is hard to break and at times hard to even expose. Satan is also at work and can deceive many!

Yet like Peter, as many times as I have been hurt, I pray I too do not become like Simon, but simply seek to use my gifts where they are welcomed in order to please God, not man. I do not want to become angry and bitter myself. These are trying times. God is still God.

Lord please, if it is Your will, show up now. Bind Satan!!!! Be glorified!!!!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

a time to look back and ahead . . .

Now Saul was consenting to his death. 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 lamentation over him. As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison. (Acts 8:1-3)
Going back to school after the Memorial Day Holiday is always special. It is a time to close out school, say so-long to students and families for the summer or to other schools,  celebrate victories and lament over shortcomings. It is a time to look back and ahead!

Personally too . . .

Have I allowed God full reign in my life? How has He changed me and where have I resisted His will? Have I grown as much as He would like me to grow or have I slipped back into some areas of sin?

Like Paul, I too have a "Saul" to remember. He still haunts me at times. It's still a battle of good and evil of which I pray I am allowing Good more freedom to rule in my life. That is my desire .  .  .

Lord, help to surrender more . . .all!


Friday, May 25, 2018

Embrace Suffering

And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.  And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.(Acts 5:40-42)
Worthy to suffer? Who would say that today? Keep on doing what we were told not to do at risk of punishment and even death? Maybe in in other countries, but the U.S. . .?
What love and devotion to Christ!

However, what God has set in place will occur. The question is, "Will you and I join Him?" I want to be used, but am I willing to suffer for it?

Will I EMBRACE SUFFERING?

Thursday, May 24, 2018

A Comfortable Christian?

 .  . .  . “Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!” But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men. (Acts 5:28-29)

It's easy to be Godly in church on SONday. It's not a real challenge to be Godly around CHRISTian friends. Yet what do we say and do when we are in the world and surrounded by the unsaved and unchurched?

Peter and the others refused to fit in with the Jewish leaders. The were not going to be politically correct. They did not riot or go to social media to whine and complain, they simply honored God and did the things He said to do. They did not compromise. They suffered consequences . . . yes, even death!

Are we willing to suffer the consequences of living for the Lord or have we slowly become a comfortable Christian?

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Be Very Careful . . .Do We Have No FEAR?

But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid itat the apostles’ feet.  But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things. And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried himout, and buried him. Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.  And Peter answered her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?” She said, “Yes, for so much.” Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband.  So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.(Acts 5:1-11)

Be very careful what we say to God, what we "promise", and then what we do. He is still God! Is it that we have experienced so much grace that we have no fear?

I am reminded once again that God requires more than empty promises. Forgive me Lord. Help me to honor you and respect You even in my solitude . . . especially then! Thank You SOOOOOO much for Your grace and Your salvation!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Thank you very much, but God is calling!

But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name.” So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge.  For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:17-20)
Many times we are on our own as Christ-followers. Like Peter and John, we may even find ourselves threatened to be quiet, to tone it down a bit, or even legally threatened. Serving God is never easy! Even within the Body, we can very often feel alone. These are some of those times.

Some will never understand. Others will offer good advice, albeit worldly advice. Some may say and have said, we are foolish. Yet most mean well, they just are not the ones called!

However, when God calls . . . when He convicts . . . when the burden is obvious . . . . despite the challenges . . .we gotta GO! Thank you very much, but God is calling!
 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” (Isaiah 6:8)

Will you send us along with a group of teens willing to "go"?

https://www.gofundme.com/operation-we-care-pr-relief

Monday, May 21, 2018

Jesus Makes Sense!

So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: “Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go.  But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. (Acts 3:12-15)
Jesus simply makes sense! If not for Him, all of HIStory is for naught. In fact, your life and mine are worthless! As Peter points out, Jesus was and is the focal point.

What about you? Do you believe He merely existed or is He in fact The Christ?

Have you rejected Him as well? Like the Jews, do you prefer another (Barabas)? Has the crowd (the world) noise convinced you otherwise?

Jesus makes sense . . . to me. What about you?

Friday, May 18, 2018

Apostolic Doctrine and Oneness

And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common,  and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.  So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,  praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.(Acts 2:42-47)

With so many opinions today, not just in the world, but in the church,  we are losing the oneness Christ prayed for earnestly in John 17. But even more than that, we are getting away from the basic apostolic priciples trying to please this group and that group.

Be wary of social trends and politics correctness. There is no place for it in the Body. Just the basic breaking of bread . . . genuine fellowship among believers as we remember what Christ has done . . . . sharing testimonies . . . expressing gratitude . . . communicating needs . . . reading His Word and discussing it  . . . we must get back to basics within the Body!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Seeking His Presence

I foresaw the Lord always before my face,
For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken.

Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad;

Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.

For You will not leave my soul in Hades,

Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.

You have made known to me the ways of life;

You will make me full of joy in Your presence.(Acts 2:25-28)

Thanksgiving gatherings...CHRISTmas meals...summer vacations...family reunions...

We love gatherings! We enjoy and anticipate get togethers with family, friends, even co-workers. We love to be in the presence of others.

But do we cherish and anticipate the presence of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? Do we seek that fullness of joy?

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Do YOU Know HIM?

What a Name . . . Just  One. . . He is the Christ . . . Promised . . . Anointed . . . Savior . . . Redeemed!

Say what you will, there is still only One Name by which one can be saved from sin . . . His Name is JESUS!

Do YOU know Him?
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:4) And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the Lord . . .Shall be saved.(Acts 2:21)Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”(Acts 2:38-39)

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Eyes to "See" Beyond the Physical

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees;  for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”                (1 Samuel 16:7)
Eyes to see . . . beyond the physical. That is what I want. It is how God looks at things. David was not the strongest, oldest, tallest or most battle-tested. He was simply available, coachable, humble, willing to serve. God saw straight through to the heart of David. He saw desire, dedication, drive, and the proper attitude.

Lord, may I, may we see beyond the resume, the stature, the popularity and the social status. Help us to see beyond the physical and straight to the heart of man. Help us to to see Your heart and seek Your heart's desires for our lives.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Moving on.....Trusting God!

Now the Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons.” (1 Samuel 16:1)
God's timing and His will are always perfect. As I had done my best to care for my wife and family at the home going of her mom, God still tells us that we must move on. Mom would have us to move on too . . . serving God and serving others as He has called us. But it is still hard!

God has a perfect plan  for each of His children. We do not always understand it, but we must trust God that He has it right. The out turmoil and trials, God is weaving His plan in and through us. We have no real choice but to place our trust in Him!

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. (1 Peter 4:12-13)

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Yes Ma'am!

Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way. Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.  But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.” (1 Samuel 12:23-25)
As Samuel reminded the Jewish people, He had taught them well to obey the Lord.  He reminded them that refusing to honor and obey the Lord would have consequences.

As we prepare to celebrate our mother's life at her Homegoing tomorrow, I am reminded how she lived, especially the last twenty-one years as I have come to know and love her.

She would remind us that we need to pray daily. . . we need to care for one another . . . we need to give when people need help. . . and we need to love and worship our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! If we do not, there will be consequences!

Mom is now free from this world, but we must live the legacy of sacrificial love and serve the Lord unselfishly.

Yes Ma'am!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Always Her "Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ"!


For my "other " mother, Mom, Mommy, OMA, Grandmom, Nana, Greatgrandma, Ms. Douglas, Sister Dot . . . .rest well and enjoy eternity with your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! We will see you in due time and celebrate with you and all who too call Him Savior AND Lord!
In You, O Lord, I put my trust;
Let me never be put to shame.
Deliver me in Your righteousness, and cause me to escape;
Incline Your ear to me, and save me.
Be my strong refuge,
To which I may resort continually;
You have given the commandment to save me,
For You are my rock and my fortress.
Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked,
Out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man.
For You are my hope, O Lord GOD;
You are my trust from my youth.
By You I have been upheld from birth;
You are He who took me out of my mother’s womb.
My praise shall be continually of You.
I have become as a wonder to many,
But You are my strong refuge.
Let my mouth be filled with Your praise
And with Your glory all the day.
Do not cast me off in the time of old age;
Do not forsake me when my strength fails.
10 For my enemies speak against me;
And those who lie in wait for my life take counsel together,
11 Saying, “God has forsaken him;
Pursue and take him, for there is none to deliver him.”
12 O God, do not be far from me;
O my God, make haste to help me!
13 Let them be confounded and consumed
Who are adversaries of my life;
Let them be covered with reproach and dishonor
Who seek my hurt.
14 But I will hope continually,
And will praise You yet more and more.
15 My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness
And Your salvation all the day,
For I do not know their limits.
16 I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD;
I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only.
17 O God, You have taught me from my youth;
And to this day I declare Your wondrous works.
18 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.
19 Also Your righteousness, O God, is very high,
You who have done great things;
O God, who is like You?
20 You, who have shown me great and severe troubles,
Shall revive me again,
And bring me up again from the depths of the earth.
21 You shall increase my greatness,
And comfort me on every side.
22 Also with the lute I will praise You—
And Your faithfulness, O my God!
To You I will sing with the harp,
O Holy One of Israel.
23 My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing to You,
And my soul, which You have redeemed.
24 My tongue also shall talk of Your righteousness all the day long;
For they are confounded,
For they are brought to shame
Who seek my hurt.
We will keep your legacy alive!


Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Rest Well Oma . . . Well Done Indeed!

Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:50-57)
Death, physical death MUST occur in order to experience the abundant life (John 10:10) described in the bible. Death is a natural process for all life, but even more special for the one who knows and lives for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

While death cause separation and grief here upon the earth, it brings joy and singing in heaven and for eternity for the soul being escorted to the King of kings. While we here on this side of glory don't quite understand the process, the one in the presence of their Creator God now know!

So we rejoice as well, no matter how difficult. We live on the legacy of our loved one now awaiting our homecoming. To live is Christ but to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21)

Enjoy your rest Oma! Well done Mom! Thank you for your labor of love and sacrifice. Talk to our Lord and Savior for us when you are able. We will need the help.

I am grateful that you allowed me to have your beautiful daughter and you and Dad accepted me as your own son! We are so grateful for God lending you to us and showing us how to give without taking, bend without breaking, and to live without faking!

We will see you soon. . . .eternity awaits us all who trust Him! We will continue the work . . . .

Monday, May 7, 2018

Not Just Belief, but a Life Lived....What VICTORY!!!

For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:5-11)
For the Christ-follower, not simply a believer, but a follower, not a fan, but a disciple of Christ,  death has no power. Christ has redeemed us with His blood and secured us until the day of redemption by His Spirit.

Death . . . you have no victory! Grave . . . you have no sting! We rejoice with the angels for eternal life for all who have professed belief in their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and lived a life to honor Him and bring others to know Him! (John 11:25-26)

Have you repented of your sin and allowed Christ to now live in you?

Friday, May 4, 2018

Forgive and Forget . . .God's Way

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lordhas helped us.” So the Philistines were subdued, and they did not come anymore into the territory of Israel. And the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. (1 Samuel 7:12-13)
Forgiven and Forgotten  . . . . Have we forgotten how the Lord has forgiven us time afte time? Where is our Ebenezer? God is willing to forgive us every time we come to Him, but we continue to fall back into sin, even after saying, "I'll never do that again!"

We promise to never forget . . . but we do.
We promise to never go back . . . but we do.
But God keeps His promises . . . He is longsuffering toward us. (2 Peter 3:9)

He not only forgets, but forgives!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Seek His Glory . .

Now his daughter-in-law, Phinehas’s wife, was with child, due to be delivered; and when she heard the news that the ark of God was captured, and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she bowed herself and gave birth, for her labor pains came upon her. And about the time of her death the women who stood by her said to her, “Do not fear, for you have borne a son.” But she did not answer, nor did she regard it. Then she named the child Ichabod,[c]saying, “The glory has departed from Israel!” because the ark of God had been captured and because of her father-in-law and her husband. And she said, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.” (1Samuel 4:19-22)

Ichabod.... the glory of God had departed Israel. The Ark was moved from the Holy Place to the battlefield without God's permission. DISASTER!!!!

We too can get caught up in using God for our own desires. We use His name without His permission, if you will. We enforce our will and assume it is God's will!

Just because God has done it before does not mean He will do it again or the same way again. We have to check in to the "Holy Place" now and again to be sure it is of Him and not of me!

Let's be careful. Let's be sure. We cannot allow the glory of God to leave us. . . .  but if it has,  His grace is still sufficient. Seek His glory . . . .

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Grace....Love...Sacrifice...Marriage

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.    (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

After 21 years of a grace-filled marriage.....God's grace and the grace of my wife....I cm honestly say that LOVE is all about grace, sacrifice, and commitment. LOVE is learned, matured, challenged and LOVE survives!

People don' t simply fall in LOVE. We labor in LOVE. We commit to LOVE. We mature in LOVE. We sacrifially LOVE!

LOVE was and is modeled by Christ in how He laid down all of His desires and comforts for us, the Church, His bride. (Ephesians 5:25) This is what I strive for even though I fail almost daily, but for the grace of my God and my bride! YetnI press on in LOVE!

This day is all

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Why can't people see Jesus?

So Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground.  And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel had been established as a prophet of the Lord. (1 Samuel 3:19-20)

Do people really know you and I are of God and used by God?

Are we following Him closely enough for HIM to be seen and felt?

Obviously not!

Lord, people need to recognize YOU in me. I must decrease! (John 3:30)

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! ” ...