Friday, November 30, 2018

Foolishness?

Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21)
We have just enough. We may always think we need just a little more safety, a bit more assurance, some guarantees, a little extra, yet many times as CHRIST-followers we may never know if we have it until we face the battle!

However, God knows and He will supply! (Philippians 4:19) The apostles were told to go! (Luke 9:3) We may never have all we think we need, but life committed to CHRIST is, after all, a faith walk!

Trust Him . . . as foolish as it may seem. (1 Corinthians 4:10) 😀

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Don't Hold on too Tightly.

...Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come.  Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.  But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.(Hebrews 13:12-16)
This is NOT our home! I know we hear this as believers and sing about it often. But do we live it out? This life in earth is a time to learn, experience, mature, share, and yes, enjoy! But then we move on . . .don't hold on too tightly!

God has placed us here at this time and place for His purposes and for His glory. We are to experience all He allows while sharing Him with others. It's ALL for Him, not you and me! Our focus should not be what we can gain for ourselves, see for ourselves, and keep for ourselves. All of what we obtain and experience is for God's glory and to draw others to Him!

Lord, allow us to do our best to honor You with what we have in this world and to cause others to see that it is all YOU . . .then move on, head HOME! Keep our focus upon YOU!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

God wins!

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them.(Hebrews 13:8-9)
 Our present world offers a muddled view of God. In the beginning, (Genesis 1:1) God was there, Father, Son and Spirit. In John's day, Elohim was there (John 1:1). Paul reminds us that nothing has changed; same God; Father, Son, and Spirit! He is a Holy, Powerful, Perfect, Loving, Forgiving, God!

We must look beyond this present world. Of course, evil is ever present and offers more opportunities to sin. There are more people, so more evil! Satan is using all in his arsenal as his days fade. However, we must focus in this basic Truth: God is STILL God! Jesus is God! The Holy Spirit is God!

God wins! Trust Him and Him alone, not the lies and deceit being offered!


Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Clouds.....

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.(Hebrews 12:1-2)
Clouds . . . .rolling in dark and ominous packing powerful winds and rain . . . . gently swaying in over a mountain valley and enveloping the entire area in a soft white blanket of protection . . . .  systematically approaching from the ocean as one awaits from high up in an island mountainside . . . . What a picture of strength, power, protection, and yes, even drastic change!

The "cloud of witnesses" in Hebrews 12:1 represents beleievers both past and present who are examples for us to follow. Their "presence" can encourage us, strengthen us, comfort us and even cause an unexpected move in our lives. Their witness is there for us realize we too can do great things for the Lord. They faced challenges, storms, and times of disappoitment, yet they persevered.

Be encouraged! There are witnesses in our lives today, not just these examples of biblical heroes. There are parents, friends, neighbors, and fellow church members God has in place from whom we can gleen both example and advice. They offer encouragement, power, hope and protection.

Do not fight the challnges of walking with Christ . . . embrace them!


Monday, November 26, 2018

I can't . . . God can!

......who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35 Women received their dead raised to lifeagain.Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. 36 Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented 38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.39 And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, 40 God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us. (Hebrews 11:33-40)
How many times do we say, "I can't" in a day . . . a week . . . a year? Imagine if God had given up on any of the greats in Hebrews 11! Just as with Moses, Abraham, David, and others, He will not give up on us.

Many suffered for their faith even before salvation had been won by Christ upon the cross. Many more suffered after His resurrection. Now that we know what we know, let's stop doubting God so much and remember, "God can!"

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Know whom/Whom you can trust!!!!

Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil.  And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. (Romans 16:17-20)
Paul reminds us to keep a close watch on others and a close guard on our faith.
One needs to trust only a few.....

Be sure the ones we trust cling to sound biblical, apostolic doctrine. Even though Pual mentioned many as his friends and acquaintances in Romans 16, few were there for him when he most needed them (2 Timothy 4:16). . . . but God!

Love God . . . Love people, but know whom/Whom you can trust!!!! 

Monday, November 19, 2018

Hold on!

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.(Romans 15:13)
Not everything goes as planned! It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out in this world., We suffer loss of family members, weather tragedies, physician diagnoses, loss of income, and broken relationships almost daily it seems. It seems as though the more we try to honor God and do for folks, the more challenging life becomes!

Yet it it is NOT as bad as it could be . . .listen to the writer of Hebrews.
You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.(Hebrews 12:4)
His grace is still sufficient. There is still Hope in Jesus. His Spirit still reigns. He is still greater than the prince of this world. Hold on! 

Friday, November 16, 2018

Are We Properly Dressed?

And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. 12 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. 13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.(Romans 13:11-14)

 Are We Properly Dressed? 

Paul instructs to do this....do what? Put on LOVE (Romans 13:10). In a world of hate, corruption, deceit~, and false hopes, we are told to out on LOVE!

Love God. . . Love others. Simple instructions but oh so hard to live out!

It is hard to love when hurt. It is hard to love when misunderstood. It is hard to love when not appreciated. It is hard to love when hated! Yet we do as Christ did and still does. . . We LOVE!

Put on LOVE. . . in the form of prayer, service, sacrifice and forgiveness. (Luke 23:34) Now get dressed and go LOVE on someone!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Trust the Process


Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth,
Before the difficult days come,
And the years draw near when you say,
“I have no pleasure in them” (Ecclesiates 12:1)
 Trust the process.... it a message we hear in sports, work, relationships, and yes in our faith. It is a prices with a definite starting point. As with most things, the younger we are when we begin the process, the better we will be at it later in life.

It's no different with our faith. Start young, when life has little challenges. As you learn to lean up in God for the little things, when bib challenges come, you will know how to call upon Him and trust Him!

As life goes in and challenges grow, faith also grows! Keep growing .  . . . . .(Hebrews 6:1). Keep it moving!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

It makes CHRISTian sense!


Cast your bread upon the waters,
For you will find it after many days.

Give a serving to seven, and also to eight,

For you do not know what evil will be on the earth.(Ecclesiastes 11:1)
We have all read it before: we reap what we sow! Give today and it will return to you tomorrow. If we share what we have when we have it, when we need it it will be available to us.

It makes common sense, right? More importantly, it makes CHRISTian sense! After all, we own nothing in this world. It ALL belongs to God! Why in the world are we trying to hold on to everything we have, thinking we own it? Why are we always trying to get more?

  Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you. (Luke 6:38)
As we approach another giving season, let's make it just that....a GIVING season. It may just become a lifestyle . . . .

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Thankful? Really? Why?


There are many plans in a man’s heart,
Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand. (Proverbs 19:21)
So it's time to plan and prepare for Thanksgiving and the coming CHRISTmas Season....Family, food, friends, football....memories! 

Thankful? Really? Why? Things have not gone my way lately! Yet this morning, these scriptures were brought to my heart.....
 A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.         (Proverbs 16:9) 
...we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces [b]perseverance; and perseverance, [c]character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us (Romans 5:3-5)
Over the past two years my family has experienced a lot of unplanned things....vehicle breakdowns, emergency home repairs, sudden loss off income, emergency room visits, and the passing of our mothers. But God remains faithful. Listen to these words from Paul...
 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose...(Romans 8:26-28)
We do not always know the WHY.  Yet we always knowm the WHO! God really does know best. I am thankful He has been to tomorrow and back! What can happen that God does not know about anyway? The question is, "Do I trust Him?"

I trust Him with my life and my family! Despite the setbacks, we trust Him and know He is with us. In whom else can I possibly place my trust? That's why I am thankful!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Parenting: God"s Plans or Our Plans?

Hear, O Israel: [b]The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.(Deuteronomy 6:4-9)
 Parents . . .Dads especially, we need to be constantly speaking about, representing, focused upon and demanding accountability to the Lord! Morning, noon, night and in between, we are to be in communication with the Lord and being sure our kids hear and see it! It is our responsibility from God! It is not the youth pastor, bible teacher, Sunday school teacher, or senior Pastor's responsibility. They can only enhance what is taught and modelled at home.

Dreams and plans are good, but only if they're based upon Godly wisdom. (Ecclesiastes 5: 7) We as parents spend  countless hours planning and preparing our children for their futures. Many times they are our short-circuited plans that we want them to acccomplish. Other times they are plans to be financially successful.

But . . . are our plans God's plans for our children?

Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.(Proverbs 22:6)

Be sure our plans are God's plans, especially for our children. First teach and model the things of God. Then seek God's design for them as you explore their physical and spiritual gifts. Then seek God's wisdom as to future plans of education, training, relationships, and placement as to a  career God has for them.

You see, we are merely stewards of our children. They are lent to us. They belong to God to live out His dreams, not ours!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

The spirit of the times or The Spirit of God?


Do not speak in the hearing of a fool,
For he will despise the wisdom of your words.                                              Do not remove the ancient landmark,                                                                 Nor enter the fields of the fatherless; (Proverbs 23:9-19) 
We live in a changing society. Inventions over the past fifty years or so have drastically changed how we navigate life.  House phones, car phones, pagers, large computers and word processors to a hand-held computer/phone/camera/secretary/personal assistant! Our cars can now start, stop, and park for us! People will text a person sitting right next to them!

What I learned in school is no longer the way it is. Is Pluto still a planet? New math....I never got old math! Yes, even boundaries of nations have changed! There is no more U.S.S.R. The names of the cities in the Middle East have changed. You better get a new map too....oh no, there is always Google Maps and GPS!

Yet as the writer of Proverbs reminds us, be careful how we speak, think and change things. His has set things in place spiritually! Don't give in to political or cultural correctness. Be wary! Don't be blown around by every new thought or word ( Ephesians 4:14). Stick with the foundational Truths (Hebrews 6:19). Know what and Who you know!

There is the spirit of the times and the Spirit of God . . . Whom or what is moving us?

 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.  But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them..... (2 Timothy 3:13-14)

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Why take chances?


The lot is cast into the lap,
But its every decision is from the Lord.(Proverbs 16:33)
Gambling is such an attraction in our society today. It is a huge money-maker for our government, though we seldom know where the money ends up! It is also a disater for families and individuals as folks gamble away needed funds on sports, casinos, and lotteries. All for that big PAYDAY!

We even do it with our life decisions. Though we know what God really wants us to do and how we should act, we gamble with our decisions and hope God will bless them. Sometimes we even hope He is looking then other way! Wishful thinking . . .

Why take chances? Just follow His guide. We have all we need! Read what Peter wrote:

His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, we by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.             
 (2 Peter 1:3-4)

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Election Day 2018

The preparations of the heart belong to man,But the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.  All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,But the Lord weighs the spirits.  Commit your works to the LordAnd your thoughts will be established. (Proverbs 16:1-3)
Election Day 2018....there is a while lot of rhetoric and argument going around these "mid-term" elections and how one party can change the balance or one election could change the course of the country. Really? Obviously the politicians and pundants don't know Who I know! 

We think we know what is best and we plan our actions out. We make decisions and we vote for this or that. However, God still decides and allows what He will allow! We simply make sure we are honoring Him with our lives and the decisions we make!

Thank God for free will. Yet we are accountable for every choice we make . . . yes even our vote! We may not choose the victor, but God will get the victory! In the mean time, I trust Him with the outcome and pray my thoughts and actions become more like His as time goes.
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.  As it is written: “He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.” (2  Corinthians 9:8-9)

Monday, November 5, 2018

Do I trust Him enough?


When He prepared the heavens, I was there,
When He drew a circle on the face of the deep,

When He established the clouds above,

When He strengthened the fountains of the deep,

When He assigned to the sea its limit,

So that the waters would not transgress His command,
When He marked out the foundations of the earth,

Then I was beside Him as a master craftsman...(Proverbs 8:27-30)
Wisdom (in this case The Word, Jesus) has always been present. From The beginning (John 1:1), Jesus was present, designing and speaking forth the earth and all of creation. He is STILL here. He is still Wisdom!

I need Him. I need His wisdom. I need His guidance. I need Him to do what I cannot do! When God seems absent it is I who must seek Him. His eye is on the sparrow. He watches me! Do I trust Him enough?

 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6) 
 https://youtu.be/va5I6MOF-8M

Friday, November 2, 2018

striving to be found faithful....

My son, do not forget my law,
But let your heart keep my commands;

For length of days and long life

And peace they will add to you.

Let not mercy and truth forsake you;

Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart,

And so find favor and high esteem

In the sight of God and man.(Proverbs 3:1-4)
Loyalty....commitment....truth....faithfulness...

It comes from the heart. It flows out into everything one touches and eveyone around should sense it.

Whether it is a sports team, family, job, health, or beliefs. If one is committed and faithful, it will show! I pray that people know to Whom/whom I am loyal.  I absolutely love my wife and am so grateful for all she means to me. I must do better to show it though. I will defend my children to a fault. I commit to my jb and its requirements, no matter the struggle at times. As for my Ravens and Orioles, no matter how bad or how good, well, my closet is full of purple, orange and black! It's a Baltimore thing!!!

But seriously, I try my best to be loyal, committed, and faithful. Since being saved in 1992, I have attempted to grow in my devotion and knowledge to and about Christ. He is my everything. I would really be in danger, if not dead, without Him. I have had to turn my back on a lot of people and a lot of things I love because of my life and devotion to my Lord and Savior. He means that much!!! Though I fail daily, I am striving to be found faithful....

Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.  Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.                       (1 Corinthians 1:1-2)

Thursday, November 1, 2018

yearning to serve God

To give prudence to the simple,
To the young man knowledge and discretion—

A wise man will hear and increase learning,

And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,

To understand a proverb and an enigma,

The words of the wise and their riddles
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:4-7)
To hear from God and learn from God one must be with God! We cannot become more like Him as days go by if we spend less and less time with Him.  Spending time in His Word, doing things He would have us to do, worshipping as He would have us to worship, sacrificing for others, learning from others . . .

We need to busy with the things of God, not the things of this world! What is keeping us from God and being more like Him?

Here is a challenge:
Make a list of what we do all week, from the time we awake until the time we go off to sleep. 
Now go through the list and examine all the things we did and decide what helped us grow in our faith and what made us grow in our character to be more like God. 
 
 

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! ” ...