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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Scheduled Meeting

Have you ever pondered the fact that Jesus had only one "Post Resurrection Scheduled Meeting" planned? I think I just coined that term, but it's true. Look what He tells His disciples after they left what is known as the Last Supper and headed for the Garden where Jesus will be arrested. Matthew 26:31–32: Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: “‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’” But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”

Why is it so important that Jesus gives them this instruction at this time? Jesus has told them this information before, but the hour of destiny is upon them. He needed them to have this hope to hold on to.

Three days after Jesus' death the ladies head to the tomb on that Easter morning. They find the stone rolled away and angel who spoke to them. Matthew 28:7: “Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

Why did the angel repeat Jesus’ earlier instructions? This shows the importance of this meeting, and should also gain our attention as Christ followers. When Jesus speaks we must pay attention to His words.

What "meeting" has He scheduled with you this week? Don't miss it - it can change your life.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Great is His Faithfulness

God is faithful and good all the time! Everyday when we wake up we should give praise, honor, and glory to Him. Thank you Jesus for being faithful. Thank you Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for Your great love!  
Lord, I will praise you among the nations. I will sing praises to you. - Psalm 18:49
Sing praises to God. Sing praises. Sing praises to our King. Sing praises. - Psalm 47:6


Meditate on the words today of this great hymn of our faith, "Great Is Thy Faithfulness"

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

All My Needs

Recently I was at an arcade with my grand-kids. They really know how to play those games! After they won came the big question, Which prize do you want? The whole wall was filled with toys, stuffed-animals, candy, balls, etc.. It was hard to decide.
This takes us to today's verse about the God who created and controls it all is concerned about your needs.


Look at this passage from the Message, And now I have it all—and keep getting more! The gifts you sent with Epaphroditus were more than enough, like a sweet-smelling sacrifice roasting on the altar, filling the air with fragrance, pleasing God no end. You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus. Our God and Father abounds in glory that just pours out into eternity. Yes!
A great lesson here is about focusing more on the Giver not the gift. Today spend time thanking God for His generosity and daily provision. Amen?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

It's a Good Day

According to family lore my first complete sentence was, "That makes me mad!" Seems like I've had a deep conviction of right and wrong for a long time. Or maybe like most of us I don't like it when things don't go my way. Today's verse isn't about our sense of right or wrong or happiness. It's about putting a smile on God's face.

God will lead us to the best path for our lives. This obedient action is described by David in Psalm 23, The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures: he leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul: he leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

When we get over trying to do things "our way" and start doing things "God's way" life will greatly improve.

I like the way the Message puts it, True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.

Let Jesus guide your steps, words, and thoughts.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Let God Do It

All things are possible with God. We say this in church and religious settings. Do we apply it to our everyday lives? The question would be then, "Do you really really believe God is bigger and better than: your pain, financial shortcomings, broken relationships, immorality, hurts, confusion, anger, health issues, laziness, stubbornness, addiction, and sin?" An angel tells us the answer in Luke.


The problem he was referring to was a virgin who was pregnant with God's son. There are a couple of issues here, right? 
There is another account in the Gospels about a good rich man who said he wanted to follow Christ. Jesus told him to sell all his possessions and follow Him.
 The man’s face clouded over. This was the last thing he expected to hear, and he walked off with a heavy heart. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and not about to let go.
 Looking at his disciples, Jesus said, “Do you have any idea how difficult it is for people who ‘have it all’ to enter God’s kingdom?” The disciples couldn’t believe what they were hearing, but Jesus kept on: “You can’t imagine how difficult. I’d say it’s easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye than for the rich to get into God’s kingdom.”  That set the disciples back on their heels. “Then who has any chance at all?” they asked.  Jesus was blunt: “No chance at all if you think you can pull it off by yourself. Every chance in the world if you let God do it.” - Mark 10:22-27 (Message)

The impossible? Let go and let God.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Remembering with Hope

Memorial day is more than just a long weekend or the start of summer. It exists so we can set aside time to honor all Americans who have died while in the military service. My family has fought in every war since the American Revolution. Some will be remembered today for their sacrifice. It does not matter is you have not lost someone directly to war - it matters because we are a free country. Thousands of men and women have given the ultimate sacrifce for this country. Today we honor their lives and pray for their families.

I have read the following at many funerals. Look at the words and allow them to minister to a loss that you have had. It's called, With Hope

You left us with the memory of your smile,
And nothing we can do, And nothing we can say,
Can take away the pain, The pain of losing you,
But we can cry with hope,
Cause we believe with hope,
 There’s a place by God’s grace,
 There’s a place where we’ll see your face again.

Through the cloud of tears,
I see the Father’s smile and say well done,
 And I imagine you,
 Where you most wanted to be,
Seeing all your dreams come true,
 Because now you’re home, and now you’re free,
And we have this anchor because we believe,
That everything God promised us is true,
So, we wait with hope, and we ache with hope,
We hold on with hope, we let go with hope. - Steven Curtis Chapman

Thank you Jesus for the blessing of hope. May America bless God on this day and always.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sing About It

Have you ever got a song stuck in your mind? It's usually a repetitive VBS kinda song, or one from when you were younger.  I did recently and it was really hard to stop thinking about and singing it. The good thing is that it usually wears off and you forget it again!
Then we come to today's verse about God being our song. When we accept Christ as Savior we want to tell everyone! Sing about His love and mercy. Think about His great plan for our lives.


Then at some point the enthusiasm runs out. Yes we still know in our hearts and minds, but we're not as "vocal" about our relationship. In fact we often sing the "blues" or focus on other things in the song others hear us live out.

Hmm... I think we need to start singing God praises again.

"I could sing of Your love forever..."
"I love You Lord..."
This little light of mine..."
"Amazing grace how sweet the sound..."
"On Christ the solid Rock I stand..."

What song will you sing today?

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Made Alive in Christ

The plan of salvation is clearly stated in Ephesians chapter two. It tells of man's depravity and hopelessness. But God loved us so much that He made a way to be reconciled and have hope. By His grace we are saved never by our own works. If that isn't enough great news we have verse ten.


We should want to serve and honor Christ in all we do. That's what we were created for, and the good news is that we don't have to make it up. The work that we are suppose to do has already been decided and made ready.
When we are obedient to this call we will experience the power of God in ways we could never imagine. Are you listening to His direction?

 1.As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.Ephesians 2

Friday, May 23, 2014

Darkest Valleys

One of the greatest and most used passages in the Bible is Psalm 23. My Dad memorized and repeated it when he was in the Korean war. I have heard it at almost every funeral I have attended. It has been read in countless hospital rooms. Even as the shrouds of death encircle us we take hope that God is with us.


Today may we take comfort in theses great words about God's plan for our lives, and His active involvement in it.

Psalm 23 - A psalm of David

  The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

May the people of God say amen.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Smile On

Have you ever felt lost, sad, depressed, or hopeless? The psalmist did when he wrote:

Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?
    Why are you crying the blues?
Fix my eyes on God—
    soon I’ll be praising again.
He puts a smile on my face.
    He’s my God. 
- Psalm 42:11 (Message)


When you're feeling down look up! That's where real hope and help comes from. When God puts a smile on your face you put a smile on His.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What Should I Do?

What force causes you to make choices? Society, friends, family, tradition, impulses, media, or is it just random things that cause some of our choices in life. Christ followers know that there is a greater power than all that I just named.



The great news is that Christ guides us from a heart of love! His desire is to be fully involved with every aspect of our lives. His love for us allows us to make up our own mind. 
Should we be more concerned with our freedom or our obligation to honor God?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Enter In

Have you ever been to the "Promise Land"? Now I do not mean a vacation to Israel, but that time, place, feeling, station in life, achievement, or perfect situation that you always wanted. When you "arrived" there what did you do? Moses led God's people to His land and this is what was instructed.


Sound familiar?
Love God with all you have. - Be obedient. - Serve and Honor Him - Never allow God out of your sight.

He wants us to know and grow in Him. The Lord will bless you with His grace, mercy, love, and provision. 

Seek God's place for your life. You'll never regret it - it's better than anything we can come up with on our own.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Move It

Sometimes it can feel like God isn't paying attention to us. We begin something "in His Name" and then it fails. Have you ever experience something like that? Well the disciples did - and when they asked Jesus why He said they lacked faith. Ouch! In fact Jesus went on to say they needed to pray more, and with a small amount of faith miracles can happen.


14 When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. 15 “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. 16 I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.”
17 “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” 18 Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment.
19 Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” - Matthew 17

Where do you need to apply this "here to there" lesson in your life today?

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Practice Makes Perfect

The Webster's definition of anxiety is: 
1. painful or apprehensive uneasiness of mind usually over an impending or anticipated ill 



2. an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physiological signs (as sweating, tension, and increased pulse), by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about one's capacity to cope with it
We live in an anxious world  filled with stressed out people. That's not God's plan.

Look at the verses around verse 6. 
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

God's way is always the best way. Accept His peace and give Him your worries. That is a pretty nice trade.
Thank you Jesus!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

With a Love Like That

I was recently asked to do a friend's wedding. It has been a blessing seeing them grow and mature in the Lord. It is an honor to officiate and participate in their wedding and lives. Paul loved the church, the bride of Christ. As he wrote to the church in Corinth, he did so as a Father loving his child with a great word from God.


There are many wonderful things that we can experience in this world, but three faith, hope, and love come to the top. As I experience life (in other words "as I age") I agree wholeheartedly with Paul's summation of life. 
You don't have to get married to consider these words of love found in 1 Corinthians 13:
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.  When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.  For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Praise God today for His great love offered so freely to us through Jesus.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Keep on Talking

 Are you ever afraid to share your faith? You have a lot of company. The Apostle Paul who normally was fearless must of had a doubt when the Lord spoke to him.
One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” - Acts 18:9-10


Joshua had doubts in His ability to lead God's people in to the Promise land. God said to him, No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.  Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.  Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” - Joshua 1

His response - So Joshua ordered the officers of the people: “Go through the camp and tell the people, ‘Get your provisions ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you for your own.’”

Keep your focus on God. He will give you the words to say, and directions on where to go.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Do You See What God Sees?

Sometimes when we look in the mirror all we do is focus on the imperfections. Everything from puffy eyes, bad hair, lines, blemishes, and wild grey hairs. Next time you look don't be distracted. Look at the beauty and awesome design God placed on you! 


We are all made unique and awesome in God's eyes. When it comes down to it that's what is of most importance. 
What does God see when He looks at you? Are you praising Him for it?
You have searched me, Lordand you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,  too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me  and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you;  the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. - David in Psalm 139

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Real Rest

Do you need a nap? Probably we could all benefit from some extra rest. Instead of following God's plan we drink more coffee, soda, "energy drinks", and get jacked up on sugar. Then we wonder why we feel burned out! Jesus makes us the best offer! 

Give to Him your burdens and cares. He is faithful and lives up to His promises.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” - Jesus

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Bridges

It's funny how many of us say we can't memorize anything, but when someone starts a song from our past we instantly recall the words. It happens to me when I read Scripture as well. I know that the song writer probably wasn't thinking the same thing, but in my brain a connection is made. Remember these words?
When you're weary, feeling small
When tears are in your eyes, well I will dry them all
I'm on your side, when times get rough
And friends just can't be found
When you're down and out
When you're on the streets, yes
When evening falls so hard
Well, I will comfort you, well, I will comfort you
I'll take your part when darkness comes
And pains is all around
Just like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
I think of this verse:


Jesus will help us through those "troubled waters" of life. We should try to be there for our friends during bad times. That might bring them comfort, but only Christ can bring healing and restoration. he is "the Bridge" back to a right relation with God. 
Here is a version of Paul Simon's song by Michael W Smith:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCkgP9qU8fo  

Monday, May 12, 2014

Way To Go!

Everyone likes to hear, "Great job - well done!". It is a common denominator among any culture I've experienced. People like to be encouraged and acknowledge for their accomplishments. No one deserves more praise than the Lord. We were made for worship - worshiping God.


Yes it is true that He doesn't need to be told He's doing a good job, but He will receive it! How have you praised God recently? 

The psalmist continues, Teach me your way, Lord,
    that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart,
    that I may fear your name.
12 
I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart;
    I will glorify your name forever.
13 
For great is your love toward me;
    you have delivered me from the depths,
    from the realm of the dead.Psalm 86:11-13

Apply God's Word to your day.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Jesus on Your Mind

I love today's verse about "keep on keeping on"! It is a great reminder to keep our focus upward on Christ and not to our left and right. Easy to say hard to do, right? We are instructed to not to give up doing the right things - obedience to our calling as Christ followers.


Here are are some ideas that have helped me:

1. Wake up and go to sleep everyday with Jesus on your mind.
2. Pray constantly to do His will.
3. Surround yourself with positive encouraging fellow believers.
4. Remember it isn't about you (it's about God)
5. Practice hospitality, grace, and mercy with those around you.
6. Remember the victories! (journaling is great)
7. Ask God to forgive you when you mess up (and forgive yourself as well).

Rejoice in the Lord today - it will help you focus.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

In the City

All you have to do is visit a big city, the ocean, or sit on top of a mountain to feel pretty small. This can play on your perspective of your significance in life. 
This must of been the feeling behind the Eagles song, In the City: 
Somewhere out there on that horizon 

                                 Out beyond the neon lights 
                        I know there must be somethin' better 
                           but there's nowhere else in sight 
It's survival in the city 
When you live from day to day 
City streets don't have much pity 
When you're down, that's where you'll stay 
In the city, oh, oh. 
In the city 
I was born here in the city 
With my back against the wall 
Nothing grows, and life ain't very pretty 
No one's there to catch you when you fall 
Somewhere out on that horizon 
Faraway from the neon sky 
I know there must be somethin' better 
And I can't stay another night 
In the city, oh, oh.  In the city


Feeling small and insignificant is depressing, so be encouraged by today's verse!


Rejoice that you have been bought with a price. Jesus thought you are valuable enough to die for., and by faith you can find hope and significance in this world and the one to come. Praying for patience or being patient enough to pray is very hard sometime. Remember who you are talking to - it can change everything.

Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.  Romans 12:9-13 (Message)