Friday, March 29, 2019

What is "real" today?

Songs appeal to most people because they are "real"  .  .  . we are able to "relate" to the lyrics. In our world to day there is so much "fake news", "fake friends", even "fake" hair, nails, and eye color! What is "real" today?
“Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” 
Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.(Luke 22:42-44)
Well, Jesus IS "real"! He is a real as He was before time and when He came to earth. He will also be just as real when He returns! All the things of this world are simply temporary and if you will, "fake", because it will all pass away!

We must live in "eternity"! It is how Jesus lived when He walked among men. His focus was on the eternal, not the present. He endured the rejection, the hardship, the ridicule, and the pain of this life form the eternal goals . . . .  your salvation and mine!

No matter our circumstances, if we focus upon Jesus, the reality of life is not simply this earth. There is life beyond. That's "real" and we must live in such a way that our actions have eternal consequences!

Thursday, March 28, 2019

my quiet place

Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.  And Simon and those who were with Him searched for Him. When they found Him, they said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.” (Mark 1:35-37) distractions....just me and God! My quiet place is in my kitchen, way before anyone else is up. I prepare breakfast for my bride and me, coffee for myself, and I sit with my various bible readings and ponder at my tablet about what God is saying to me this new day. No, I am not in the woods, in a closet, or face down on the church altar, but I AM alone with God! It is my quiet place!

Do you have a quiet place . . . a solitary place to meet with our Lord and Savior? If Jesus had a need to alone and in  with His Father, what makes us so different? If He had to withdraw from distractions, why do we believe we can pray with TV, music, and other distractions around us?

I encourage you to set a time and place to be quiet and alone with God daily.  Whether it is early, midday, or evening, make it quiet and alone . . . just you and God!

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Worth Repeating!

“Be strong and of good courage, for you must go with this people to the land which the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall cause them to inherit it. And the LordHe is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”(Deuteronomy 31:7-8)
Worth Repeating! When the bible records things in the Old Testament, we have to research and discover if the instruction is just for those at that time, for a particular people or person, for a specific group, for everyone at all times, or perhaps for the believer today. Yet when words are repeated in the Old and New Testament we can be sure the are important worth repeating!
 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6)
God will be with His children! We can be sure of that. Yet we have a role to play. We must be courageous in an anti-God world. We cannot strive to "fit in". We have to be bold for the things of Christ and seek His ways. We cannot walk with world and expect God to walk with us.

We must have an eternal, biblical world view and be willing to stand alone . . . but with God!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Prayer, Worship, and His Word . . . Weapons of Destruction!

But I beg you that when I am present I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ . . . (2 Corinthians 10:2-5)
The enemy is Satan! It is not our politicians, our coworkers, our neighbors, or our families. No, the enemy is Satan. For the Christ follower, Satan is our enemy. He comes in all forms and from every angle, but be assured, the more we chase after Christ, the more his demons chase after us!

What are our weapons? Well, obvious we need to be armed (Ephesians 6:10-18)! But in practical terms, what weapons do we possess? We have prayer . . . fervent prayer (James 5:16). We have worship (Romans 12:1). We also have His Word (Ephesians 6:17). We must use these Weapons of Destruction daily to find victory in Christ!

Who's ready to fight?

Monday, March 25, 2019

Who 'ya gonna call?

will love You, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the Lordwho is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies.(Psalm 18:1-3)
Who 'ya gonna call? Batman? Superman? Ironman? The Avengers? Ghostbusters? There are times that even your momma and daddy won't be around to help! Believe me, I know!

Stress can kill, literally KILL people. It wears upon the heart and mind. It causes anxieties and depression. It is a leading cause of suicide of adults and children! Straw over jobs, school, sports, appointments, meetings, finances and more. Even the once fun things are now causing stress!

David knew Whom to turn! His own people tracked him down to kill him . . . the king whom he defended and even his very own son! His enemies were another story!

Yet God was his Rock and Shield....his Fortress and even his Hiding Place! God was David's defense and offense! He knew how to talk with God and rest in Him. He is after all, our FIRST priority!

Where is God on your list of whom to turn in times of trouble?
 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.(Matthew 6:31-34)

Friday, March 22, 2019

Who is my brother, my neighbor?

Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. (Philippians 2:1-4)
Christ takes very seriously how we treat one another. He stated that the way we care for one another in daily activities shows how much we care for Him ( Matthew 25:33-46). The "beatitudes" are clear what kind of character He requires of believers (Matthew 5:1-12). He was clear when He prayed to The Father concerning our oneness (John 17:20-23).

"I am third", "Me last", "Jesus/Others/You" (JOY), and WWJD are all popular sayings. Popular yes, but challenging to live out! Who is my brother, my neighbor? (Luke 10:25-37) How are we treating one another on a day to day basis?

Food for thought entering the weekend . . .

Thursday, March 21, 2019

He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner!

And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.” Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:5-10)
Imagine Jesus today if you will; talking among a group of Muslim at at coffee shop, sharing lunch at a local fast food chain with a gay couple, even perhaps free-stylin some hip-hop rap with young folks at a local school cafeteria! Oh my, He's hanging out with sinners!

How do we react to folks who do not look like us, do not dress like us, do not practice our faith or speak like us? After all, they do sin like us and can be saved like us by Jesus Christ . . . but not without us!

Jesus came to seek and save those that are lost in sin; the Jew, the Greek, the black, the white, the male the female, the young the old, the Muslim, the homosexual, the SINNER!

What are we afraid of . . . others being saved from sin and gaining a relationship with our Lord and Savior as well?  You and I have work to do my freinds!

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

To My Mentor and Friend . . . Thank You . . .I Will See You Soon!

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.......You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am.  If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.(John 13:3-5,13-15)
 To My Mentor and Friend . . . Thank You . . .I Will See You Soon! As our church family celebrates the life of one of the most humble men I will ever know, I dedicate my morning devotion to Deacon Robert Wingfield, Jr today.

Thank you Deac for your untiring efforts to get me out of the car and into the church some twenty-six years ago. To you and a few others I owe eternal gratitude for bringing me to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! Thank you for showing me how to polish the church pews and vacuum the carpets with my mother-in-law Dot Douglas, whom you must be discussing things with today! Thank you for spending Friday nights with our single fathers bible study group when we most needed you and Jesus. Thank you for allowing me to scrub toilets, mop floors and paint the school walls with you one summer when my family was in need of income. Thank you for being a consistent supporter of our ministry in prayer, encouragement and finances since God called my wife and I to serve. Thank you for showing me how to serve with grace and strength!

The sun (SON) has risen for you and the night has turned into day. You never played church, you represented all that the Body of Christ should be! All you did for Christ is embedded into our hearts and written down in heaven's books! As you would say, "Hallelujah sweet Jesus!"

Well done my friend! Now, finally, you can rest and let us do the work . . . . Only what we do for Christ for last!!!! (Colossians 3:23)

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

It is not about the church, but the WORD!

Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.  But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.” (John 4:21-26)
It is not about the church, but the WORD! I had a conversation with my wife today about where we are headed as a Church Body and I am more convinced than ever that I am either a conservative liberal or a liberal conservative! Sound confusing? Yeah . . . me too!

I see a Church that is blending into the world way too much. I see Christ-followers who follow more closely with the world than the Word. Yet I also understand the need to reach the world with the Word!

I don't buy into the suit and tie on SONday but I love traditional hymns and practices. I also enjoy Christ-centered rap and R&B. The big pompous gatherings and fancy celebrations are ok, but I prefer the small coffee shop/couple-of-guys talks. Big loud youth nights are the thing today, yet I enjoy a conversation with a few kids that starts out with "Who is the G.O.A.T in sports?" and ends up with "Who is the real, eternal, true G.O.A.T.?"!

Caught in between is not so bad. I can relate to quite a few this way. Yet my goal is to have us all relate to CHRIST in Spirit and in Truth! 

It is the WHO and why, not the how, or where . . . .thoughts?

Monday, March 18, 2019

Do it out of love!

And when they had received it, they complained against the landowner,  saying, ‘These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.’ But he answered one of them and said, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?’  So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.” Matthew 20: 11-16)
 We all have heard athletes and other professionals say they do what they do because they love what they do. It not so much the pay, the prestige, or the rewards, but the love for what one does. That is the kind of teammate, coworker, and friend I want! Do it out of love, not compensation. This gets results!!!!

God calls us to the same attitude as a Christ- follower. We should not be serving Him for the reward, or the pay, or the applause here on earth, but we do it all to the glory of God, so others may want to know Him as well. (Matthew 5:16)  Joy comes in the serving. While promotions are nice and popularity is not bad in itself, knowing one has brought joy to God Almighty and others to salvation is beyond anything this world offers. It has eternal consequences!

Stay focused. Do not allow others' success in the world cause us to faint. It may look as evil is winning and our work is in vain . . . not so! God sees. God knows. God is still at work and still on the throne! (Philippians 1:6)

Friday, March 15, 2019

Celebrate that too!!!

As we enter into the weekend, many might be wearing green, eating Irish foods, and even lifting a Guiness or more toasting the "Luck-O-the Irish". But please note there is a more serious and true side to the day, March 17, and the man, Patrick.
Patrick, as you can read in the link below was an Englishman taken into slavery to Ireland at sixteen. Raised in a CHRISTian home, he did not seek Christ until after this occasion. He escaped back to England and began a life of service to Christ, eventually travelling back to Ireland to win even his former owners to Christ.

Have fun this weekend sure. However, remember that Patrick and all the Irish are much more than green hats and ties, beer, whiskey and pots of gold. We are serious about our faith in God . . . Celebrate that too!!!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

God always adds up!

And he made the Sea of cast bronze, ten cubits from one brim to the other; it was completely round. Its height was five cubits, and a line of thirty cubits measured its circumference. (1 Kings 7:23)
Happy "pi day"! While some simply celebrate as a math instructor or just one who loves pie, I find it interesting as a bible instructor and Christ follower that the bible again is tremendously accurate! Even though I am challenged by math to say the least, God always adds up!

Click on link below. Without embarrassing myself with numbers, you will see that in (1 Kings 7:23) and (2 Chronicles 4:2) measurements are given for circumference. While not exactly equal to our present day 3.14......we find the archaic measuring procedures simply led to rounding.

Go God!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Racial, Spacial, or Facial Profiling

The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” (John 1:43-46)
 Racial, Spacial or Facial Profiling . . . It was an issue in Jesus' day and still is today. Many today are wrongly accused or wrongly assumed because of skin color, hairstyle, facial hair, and stature. Folks are profiled by zip code or family name. Entire cultures are labeled at times. All wrong and sinful . . .

We all hear of tragedy after tragedy of people racially profiled by skin color. I recently heard a testimony from a very popular TV reality show what that he was once mistaken for homeless because of his long hair, shaggy beard, and jeans. . . yet he is one of most dedicated CHRISTians I  know. . . facially profiled!

Nazareth comes from the Hebrew meaning "branch". Jesus was the righteous branch (Jeremiah 23:5-6) of David. He was the Nazarene! Yet despite the prophesies, Nathaniel did as many do and simply went by popular culture and believed the label, rather than the Truth.

We must be wary as believers to not buy into the present day culture and biases. Look past color, dress, hairstyle and language. Dismiss stereotypes.

Nathaniel nearly missed the Savior! What are we missing by falling into this trap? It is nothing but SIN!!!!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Men everywhere need to repent

God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things.  And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings,  so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;  for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’  Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising. Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent...(Acts 17:24-30)

Man, I wish Paul could come and address our political leaders, community, and churches today! As he addressed the political and cultural leader's of Greece, he addresses us today!

In very simple terms, he is telling us it is not about our buildings, our stairs or our pedigree. We are all from one man, Adam, and God is the One to Whom we owe our worship. Men everywhere need to repent . . . sooner rather than later! Time is short!!!

Monday, March 11, 2019

A Day of Thanksgiving.....Born Again to Live Forever with Christ

The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked came against me teat up my flesh, My enemies and foes, They stumbled and fell. Though an army may encamp against me, My heart shall not fear; Though war may rise against me, In this I will be confident. One thing I have desired of the LordThat will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LordAnd to inquire in His temple. For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock. And now my head shall be [c]lifted up above my enemies all around me; Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LordHear, O Lordwhen I cry with my voice! Have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When You said, “Seek My face,” My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.” Do not hide Your face from me; Do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; Do not leave me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation. When my father and my mother forsake me, Then the Lord will take care of me. Teach me Your way, O LordAnd 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 LordBe of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord! (Psalm 27:1-14)

 A Day of Thanksgiving.....Born Again to Live  Forever with Christ . . .while every day is a day of thanksgiving when one is in Christ, today is a reminder that being born is one thing, but being BORN AGAIN is truly sorry celebrating!

Once born into the Kingdom of God, a life becomes alive! It is as if God breathes His Holy Spirit into one's life as He did with Adam. Adam became a living soul.

It's how I feel since being born again in the summer of 1992. My life became goals, new plans, new career, new purpose. It has been a journey since; ups and downs, wins and losses, disappointments and celebrations, deaths and births. Yet through it all, the last 27 years have been the best because my sights are now on pleasing the Lord and not people! I may celebrate today, but I look forward to the grand celebration in eternity! Everything else pales in comparison! God alone deserves the credit!!!

Friday, March 8, 2019

let not many of you become teachers

Talk, talk, talk. Talk shows . . . Talking heads . . . You Tube channels . . . Podcasts . . . yes, even Blogs! Lots of advice and lots of instruction . . . .
My brethren, let not many of you become teachersknowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.
See how great a forest a little fire kindles!  And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.  Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh. (James 3:1-12)

Teachers be warned! Yet not simply those in the classroom, but parents, mentors, coaches, ministry leaders, pastors, those in leadership positions, be warned as well. In fact, anyone with influence, we all have some sort of teaching influence, be warned! What comes out of our mouths can destroy an entire forest or build up whole communities!

Young people, or anyone in a student capacity, cling to the words of those they look up to and respect. James reminds us that we are held to a stricter judgment. Scary thought . . . . .

It would behoove us to remember and practice more of James' instruction:
So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath . . . (James 1:19)
We could all do a bit less talking and more listening . . . to the Lord and to our children (students).

Storms and Faith

Jesus got into a boat. His disciples followed him.  Suddenly a terrible storm came up on the lake. The waves crashed over the boat. But Jesu...