Friday, August 30, 2019

Keep up with this world?

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling . . .Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! (Psalm 46:1-3, 10)
To keep up with this world, we need to be constantly in motion! Yet who has instructed us to keep up with this world anyway? Yes we need to be informed and "wise as serpents" in this world (Matthew 10:16), but even Jesus prayed that we would not be "of this world". (John 17:14-16) Our mind set is to be other, different, transformed! (Romans 12:1-2)

As we enter the last long weekend of summer, lets take a rest from this world . . . be still on this Labor Day weekend,  and examine just how it has trapped us and ask the Lord to show us how to get a bit closer to what He would have us to be!

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Ups and downs in life.......

For His anger is but for a momentHis favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.(Psalm 30:5)
Ahh . . . the ups and downs of life! One minute we are celebrating a baby's birth and the next day we hear of a death. One day a new job drops into our lap and suddenly another day we are laid off due to staff budget cuts. One day celebrating how God moved on a mission trip and soon after we are praying for the very same people we served to be protected from the wrath of a hurricane! Real life . . . ups and downs . . . it happens to all of us. . . saved and unsaved . . . it's life!

As Jesus was about to go to the cross, He left His friends with comforting words of assurance: hold on!
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Keep trusting the Savior . . . we who believe are overcoming and shall overcome one day!

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

there is no guarantee

 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” (Matthew 7:24-27)
Good intentions . . . . Great expectations . . . Noble plans . . . As the school year begins, many are laying out goals and plans just as many do on New Year's Day! Yet despite our best efforts, there is no guarantee that we will accomplish those plans. We live in an ever-changing and truth be told, a dangerous world! The economy may collapse quickly. Terror attacks occur daily. There is a new disease discovered. Even death may come knocking!

Yet there is a safe, secure and solid Foundation in Whom we can place not only our plans, but our lives! While unexpected and tragic things may still occur, His love and His sacrifice upon the cross secures our soul. His love will never fail and His plans are perfect for us! As we place our trust in Him alone, we are, in fact, guaranteed security, not in this life, but for eternity!



Where is your faith today? (Isaiah 58:11)

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

a faith that does not waiver!

The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
The righteous run to it and are safe.(Proverbs 18:10)
It's hurricane season and the tropics are once again churning. One thing we have experienced in the mission field is gaining friends worldwide as we have responded to disasters, especially hurricane damage, over the past fourteen years or so. 

Beginning with our work in New Orleans in response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 to recent ministry in Puerto Rico in response to Hurricane Maria, we have witnessed destruction beyond our imagination. However, in serving the people of various towns, cities, and villages, we have found a faith that does not waiver!

I am still amazed, saddened, but also encouraged at the stories from New Orleans, Columbia, SC, and Puerto Rico that were shared with us. The people have tremendous faith and trust in the Lord! Despite the situation, faith does not waiver!

Even now, as storms approach friends in the Caribbean, I ask God to protect and provide. I ask for the people to place their trust in the Lord, our Strong Tower! Also know, we are here standing with you!

Monday, August 26, 2019

It's a BOLD new way of living y'all!

Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,  by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,  not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:19-25)
It's a BOLD new way of living y'all!  We are no longer to be so dependent upon this world for our approval and success rating. Culture does not define us. People do not approve us. Society does not seem us successful anymore.

As Christ followers we are now members of an eternal community that must take advantage of our privileges granted by our Creator God, Savior and Father! We are to be united, encouraging and supportive to one another of like blood!

The worse the world becomes, the more visibly united we should become. . . but are we? We have work to do!

Friday, August 23, 2019

ONE WAY . . . ONLY JESUS

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.(John 14:6-11)
 Straight forward without confusion . . . No fancy plan or complicated method of instruction . . . One step process . . . ONLY JESUS!

In a world where there are many choices, various options and so much diversity that our heads can spin, Jesus makes it plain and simple; ONE WAY!

Jesus died once for all mankind. He made one way for all to be with God in heaven . . . HIS WAY! The world may offer various plans that fit someone else's comfort zone, but they will not work. The Creator created a way. His design . . . His plan . . . His alone! It works!

So who would you trust more; the One who designed the product or a consumer . . . the One who created the product or the ones who broke it . . . the One who planned or the one feeding off the plans?

I trust Jesus . . .He hasn't failed me yet!

Thursday, August 22, 2019

worthy of Jesus' dying

Is what I am doing worthy of Jesus' dying the way He did  . . . for me?  think about it for a minute. Is my life right now; not in the future or even what I have already accomplished . . . but right now, is what I am doing worthy of Jesus' dying a brutal death upon a cross?

Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”  And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” (Acts 9: 4-6)"
Saul's life was transformed from that moment until his death. Even his name was changed! What about you and me? What changes, if any have taken place since that day we met Jesus? We should never be the same . . .

 

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

it is God Who qualifies and equips us through His grace

We have to know our qualifications! As a Christ follower, they do not come from a diploma, certificate, membership or ID card. While we may indeed obtain the education, degree, or be properly certified to qualify for a particular position or task, it is God Who qualifies and equips us through His grace!
But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.  When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.”  So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him. (Luke 5:5-11)
Peter and friends were pretty good at fishing. They could be considered professional and qualified. Yet Jesus had other plans. He considered them fishers of men, not fish! They became pretty good at that too I might say!

Will you and I respond as they did? Will we forsake all and follow where He is leading us?

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Living our faith . . . What if?

Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.” And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.” The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!  (Matthew 8:5-10)
Though this military man was a non-Jew, he knew the power of Jesus. He had heard of and no doubt seen His works.  He believed Jesus could heal his servant. He also understood authority and the power behind one's words.

What if we today had such faith? What if we really believed in the Person of Christ and the power His words could wield in our lives. What if we were living our faith as folks did in the Gospels and the  Book of Acts? What if we expected Jesus to act in our lives and really believed it? What if we gave Him such control and authority?

How would our lives be different?

Monday, August 19, 2019

Let's be real . . .

Let's be real . . . Any believer who thinks he is doing this thing called called life all by himself is fooling himself! This life is nothing but a spiritual battle if It is anything at all! Life without Christ at the helm is worthless, no matter what we say we are.
What/Who is in our heart today? Who rules and overrules our thoughts and decisions?
If you seem like me, it is a constant 24/7 battle of the mind and heart to allow God's Spirit to rule my life. I cannot believe some times how far even my mind can wander. Yet God reels me in, corrects me, rebukes me, and sets me straight. I want Him to have full control, but the battle is real! The world's views we twisted and perverse. Right is now wrong and wrong has become acceptable as right! But not so with God. He has not changed and I must continue to allow Him to control me!
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 10:3-5)
Let's be real . . . We cannot do this alone. God the Holy Spirit must be given control for us to honor God! Excuse me self, but you are not my guide anymore. I have given God the authority to take over!

Friday, August 16, 2019

We cannot live in a protective CHRISTian bubble

All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.  Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being. Eat whatever is sold in the meat market, asking no questions for conscience’ sake;  for “the earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness.” If any of those who do not believe invites you to dinner, and you desire to go, eat whatever is set before you, asking no question for conscience’ sake. But if anyone says to you, “This was offered to idols,” do not eat it for the sake of the one who told you, and for conscience’ sake; for “the earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness.” “Conscience,” I say, not your own, but that of the other. For why is my liberty judged by another man’s conscience? But if I partake with thanks, why am I evil spoken of for the food over which I give thanks? Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.(1 Corinthians 10:23-33)
We live in a challenging world. We cannot live in a protective CHRISTian bubble, yet we also cannot do everything the world accepts as ok. However, we can be sure to all that we do with the intent to bring honor and glory to God!

God created us for such a time as this. As we Stay in his Word and know Him and His character more deeply, we can begin to act more oil Him as we walk around the world. Just as Christ lived among men and glorified the Father, we too are shown to do the same with the strength of His Spirit.

We must challenge one another and stay accountable to one another. We cannot do it alone! We must be of One accord!!!!

Thursday, August 15, 2019

ONE-ness

Back to life as summer officially closes for me. Teachers report back to school and I say "so long" to summer fun, lazy days, mission trips, late nights and sleeping in! My daily blog is back up and running. I hope you enjoy.
 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.(Ephesians 4: 1-7)
Unity . . . Togetherness . . . Common goals and objectives . . . ONE-ness.

If they is one thing I will take from this summer and especially my experience on the mission field in Puerto Rico, it is this feeling of ONE-ness. We as a Body are often divided over denominations, social issues, cultural traditions and personal preferences. We are more divided than united it seems. This is not how God planned it!

Paul pleads with us to humbly live out our calling among the Body. He challenges us to seek peace and unity within the Church family. After all, there is only One God . . . our Father and Savior, Who gave to us an ounce of faith and baptized us into His family!

It is so energizing as a believer to be able to travel to a place where the language and culture is unlike mine yet we as a people can worship, pray, and fellowship as one. When kindred spirits unite, language, food, music, and everything else is secondary. What matters is the heart . . . a heart to please God and worship Him as One!

Thank you to all in Puerto Rico who made us feel like family! The Spirit of ONE-ness, God's Spirit truly was evident. We are truly ONE family (John 17:20-23).

Friday, August 9, 2019

God wants oneness.

Abide in Me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me you can do nothing! (John 15:4-5)
Without a genuine relationship and focus upon God daily, no one can do anything! As we focus on Him, we can focus more upon others and their needs.  God wants oneness. (John 17)

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Prove the Truth!

 beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)

We are to represent Christ at all times and in any way possible to win folks for Christ. We are to represent a TRUE Christ to a dying world and PROVE His Word to be true . . . in us! Despite the barriers we face, it is the least we are to do for what Christ did for us!

We are all on the mission field daily!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

hear and understand

 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the lifewhich I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.” (Galatians 2:20-21)
  The Spirit of Christ has has used me this week in Puerto Rico to work through physical pain and continue to labor. More importantly, He has given me the patience to hear and understand with my heart. I am communicating with people even though there is a language barrier. Looking into a person's eyes as they speak and feeling their heart's passion is allowing me to understand without words!

Yet I still need His grace go work in me in order to reach more. Being all things to various people in order to reach them with the Gospel is a daily challenge. Teach me Holy Spirit! (1 Corinthians 9:19-23)

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

You are the reason for everything!

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
It is all about You Lord!  Nothing I can say.....nothing I can do will change the fact that You are the reason for everything! It can never be about me anymore! Pleas give me the desire to please You always. Help me to share You with everyone so they too may know You and all Your wondrous deeds for us!

Your will Lordl

Monday, August 5, 2019

Real Family

For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ....form it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone that believeth, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16)
After a great two days of worshipping and getting to know our new friends and family in Canonavas, PR, I am more than ever NOT ashamed of the Gospel of Christ! What a feeling to be welcomed and loved by folks we hardly know yet know already! Despite the language barrier and miles of ocean between us,  we are indeed one Body, one Spirit and one Faith . . . with one Father! (Ephesians 4:4-6)

My prayer is that we on the mainland can develop this kind of "family" within churches!

We Can't Quit!

Then He said to them,  “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”   He went a little farther and fell...