Saturday, September 30, 2006

September 30, 2006

Good Morning! We are about to see a warm Saturday out here on the high plains. Dr. Kennedy asks “When, at the end of your life on earth, you look back over your life, what do you hope to have accomplished or experienced?” to begin his devotional for today and formerly I thought about that quite a bit. Today however, I should hope that at the end of my earthly life, if Jesus does not return first that is, I will be looking heavenward to Jesus, just as I should be doing every day right now. Don’t worry there is no disagreement, you may read his devotional at The only looking back from that point at the end of our lives will be to see what Jesus has done in our lives; for without him we can accomplish little. The awards and accolades of this world may seem impressive to us now, but in the light of eternity they pale to nothing rather quickly. Like money, awards received on earth do not go with you. I will certainly remember my friends and loved ones with fondness. However accomplishments, if they do not point people of the world to Christ, will count for nothing with me. I will be leaving them behind, bound for a better place!

God bless you this weekend!


Friday, September 29, 2006

September 29, 2006

Good Morning! Today I received a timely reminder from the Lord; it arrived in the form of Psalm 78. This psalm of Asaph recounts the history of God’s miracles to remind the people that we are to pass on the knowledge of the Lord to the next generation. Whenever we are feeling self-pity it can be good to go back and list all God has done for us. Remembering the Son of God and his miracles, especially the one that occurred on the third day, gives us a renewal of our hope and an energizing of our faith. Once again we are on the approach to commemorating the birth of Jesus upon this earth, however before then is something we need to participate in whole-heartedly. Thanksgiving, a holiday to make an extra effort to be thankful for all that God has done for each of us and for the nation as a whole.
What is on the news today? Apparently women are in danger of physical harm if they gain as little as seven pounds between pregnancies. Back in the day women’s lib claimed that society wanted women to be barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen. The movement of course sought to change that and give women careers and freedom and self-respect, none of which they were apparently allowed to have in the 60s. These days the sexual revolution has been fulfilled it seems, women can choose to do both, career and family; except that it would seem that in either choice a woman now must be slender too. Have you noticed that every choice of food these days seems to be fraught with the gravest peril? I am not saying that we should indulge ourselves, but we should remember that Jesus said that what we put into our bodies doesn’t defile us, rather that which comes out of our mouth, the words that we speak, cause us to be defiled. Physical health is all the rage these days and we should strive to be in good health, but setting our eyes upon Jesus should come first.

God bless you this weekend!


Thursday, September 28, 2006

September 28, 2006

Good Morning! This is the season of Homecomings; yes that time when high schools, colleges, and associated organizations see a crowd of old folks return to their schools for a visit. Now in the case of colleges, they are hoping the alumni bring a bunch of money, for some reason colleges can seem to spend every cent they get. Capturing the past, even if only for a weekend, will be on the minds of many during the next month. Should we seek out the past or try to relive the “good” times? During the worst of my anxiety, I often thought of moving somewhere as if to run away from the problems in my head. Moving back to Kimball, where I grew up, was one of those potential escape routes. However, I came to realize as I was driving through the streets of that town, that it would not be the same. The house that I grew up in had been sold and even extensively remodeled; many of the people that I grew up with were gone or had moved to new houses and those still in the same house would, like myself, have grown much older. A popular saying is that you can never go home again, and that is true if you are trying to go back to some earlier time in your life, especially to run away from problems. God would have us to look forward, to our home in heaven. That is our great hope and comfort. “Home” on this earth will be wherever you decide it is; wherever we set up our temporary and earthbound dwelling place. In Christ we know how temporary all of this is in the larger reality. A visit to the old school or town may be nice, but let it remind you that we are but travelers in this land, our home lies elsewhere.

Yours in Christ!


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

September 27, 2006

Good Morning once again! I came across this verse today in thinking about the difference between our time and God’s timing. “God says, "At the time I have planned,
I will bring justice against the wicked.” (Ps 75:2 NLT) We, like children or pets, often seem to be able to think only in the now sense of time. We want it now, the cause of credit card problems far and wide; we have no patience for tomorrow. A television serial might solve huge problems in thirty minutes or an hour, so we want our problems solved just as quickly. However, as God points out, things will happen at the “time I have planned”. We cannot rush God, nor should we try. You know that when a child demands to drive the family car at the tender age of 8, you should not let him or her do so. In the same way, God knows when or if we should have something that we want and God alone knows the perfect timing that is His own privilege.

May God grant us patience for tomorrow.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

September 26, 2006

Good morning! Oh that calendar! We look at it almost constantly, live by it, sweat over it, cut it up into smaller pieces, measure ourselves by it, and day dream about periods of getting away from it. The world questions which one to use; Julian, Gregorian, Jewish, Muslim, Year of this or that critter. We argue over the accuracy making little tweaks every so often, leap years every four except those ending in 00, leap seconds every so often to correct to the atomic clock, which is so expensive that it must be more accurate. I hear that scholars think a medieval monk made a mistake in calculations and Jesus might have been born in 6 BC. The Jews refuse to recognize the Messiah, so they call it BCE, before the Common Era. The world uses a calendar, that we already know is imperfect, to point out inconsistencies in the Bible. Does God really care about our calendar? I do not think so, He may get a chuckle over it from time to time as we attempt to somehow control His creation by our measure of time. However, I suspect our Father in Heaven does not worry overmuch about our calendar and timekeeping. What He does know is the time of Jesus’ return to claim the Kingship that He rightfully earned. While we keep one eye on the clock and the other on the calendar, Jesus will indeed come suddenly. Look to Christ, the view will give you peace in the world and love in your heart.

Yours in Christ!


Monday, September 25, 2006

September 25, 2006

Good Morning! It’s one of those “Oh my it’s early kind of mornings.” I have wondered from time to time just how a minister goes up to the pulpit to preach a sermon on something that in their own lives is not perfect. Jesus did warn against both the yeast of the Pharisees and about being a hypocrite.
“How can you think of saying, `Friend,* let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,' when you can't see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log from your own eye; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend's eye.” (Luke 6:42, NLT)
Would there be areas in which a minister should not preach? If perhaps a minister has trouble in the area of gambling should he or she then avoid the subject? For while we all strive to please God by living a perfect life, we also will fail at times, even those called to be ministers or missionaries. One thing to remember is that it is not our own personal message that we share, but God’s message of love and hope.
Certainly the critics of this world, and there are many, will point out every error of someone sharing the word of God. If a perfect life were required to share the Word, none of us would qualify in our own righteousness. A minister might indeed be called to give a message that speaks not only to the congregation, but to his or her own life as well. This may be more often then we might think, for in suffering comes understanding. A minister, who has fought the problem of gambling for example, might be able to give a very good message on the emotional, physical, and psychological cost of that sin. He or she may have an understanding that someone who has never been tempted in that area would lack. Actually, I would even venture to say “will have” instead of “may have” in that sentence. Now if you are called to the ministry, please don’t take that as a command to experience every kind of sin before you start because you “seek understanding”. No, it is God’s message, not the minister’s and God has understanding already.

Praise God for the wisdom to empathize with our neighbor.


Saturday, September 23, 2006

September 23, 2006

Good Morning! It’s cold, it’s wet, and it’s raining outside, la, la, doobee, do. Yes, the first day of autumn will not set any high temp records here, though we probably won’t see any snow. It seems to me that at one other time when the LWF devotional had not been updated on their web site; we had Pastor Kennedy pinch hitting and saw this same devotional. There must be a message in there for us! For you folks reading the blog, check and the devotional for Sept. 23 on William Wilberforce, as I do not post the copyrighted content on my blog (except for my own of course J ) I see today that the Washington Post is touting the fact that US combat fatalities from Iraq and Afghanistan now exceed the number of people killed on 9/11. I grieve with the families who have lost loved ones from this life in both events, however I must wonder about the wisdom of comparing the two statistics. My first reaction is “So what?” Does the fact make the sacrifice of our armed forces any less? Will it bring them back? No and no to both questions of course. Please forgive me, but I get upset when the media touts something like this as evidence of some point we are supposed to gasp over. Had Saddam in either war possessed an army or air force worth half a hoot, we would have suffered many more casualties. A hoot is of course an informal measure of quality for you intellectuals out there. Like most of you, I don’t want anyone to die over there; however wars don’t usually oblige our wishes in that respect. If you don’t believe that we are at war, let the terrorists or insurgents, whichever you like, stay in your garage for a while. Try to imagine keeping an eye out for IED’s on your commute to work every day. I thank God for the fall of Saddam and his rĂ©gime, and the continued pursuit of terrorists in far away lands. I would prefer not to suit up in body armor, hop in my armored humvee and drive to work each day. Not that an armored vehicle wouldn’t be a bad idea when driving in some of our cities at times! The war in Iraq may or may not be a sign of the end times; Jesus told us not to jump to conclusions to soon about such signs. However, it is easy to ponder the possibilities of a rebuilt Iraq/Iran and wonder about the New Babylon mentioned in the Bible…

God Bless you on this first day of Autumn!


Friday, September 22, 2006

September 22, 2006

Good Morning! Autumn begins tomorrow, be sure to get out and enjoy the last day of summer… it’s supposed to be cloudy, cool, and rainy out here, with wind. Okay, so sometimes the seasons don’t produce exactly the kind of days that we think they should. We will just have to trust Jesus when he promises a new Earth.
This week I have been writing on giving; today I will write about spending. I am not sure about you, but I for one am much too good at spending. This is a temptation we all face in this capitalistic society. Credit cards and loans can be a useful tool, but are often a terrible temptation. Through the use of marketing, advertising, and television shows and movies, we tend to get the impression that our credit card available balance is money. It is not, it is a high-interest, short-term loan. The card issuers have become very good at what they do; keeping many people virtually enslaved to their plastic. Like guns, baseball bats, wrenches, hammers, knives, and other objects which can turn from helpful tool to device of harm and torture, we must be careful and cautious in the use of credit cards. Perhaps we should even have a Credit Card safety course in schools!
What about that 90% though, should we give every last penny to the church? Once again I will emphasize that this is between you and God. That said, what are some things that you might not think about? You work somewhere, or at least you probably should be if you are able. At that place, your company is probably interested in selling goods or services to someone else. You are a believer in Christ Jesus, and you want to provide for your family. How would you feel if everyone stopped buying from your company in order to give every penny of their earnings to the church? The paychecks would quickly stop coming and our economy would certainly collapse. Should a believer, who works at some maker of what many consider a shameless luxury item, stop working at such a place? I don’t think so; it is quite possible that just as God has called some of us to work for Cabela’s, that God might have also called a believer in Italy to work for Ferrari or Lamborghini. In our human point of view, we cannot be sure that God would not call someone to work for the maker of almost any product.
In the area of spending, I can offer this advice. If you have given your tithe, if you are saving at least some amount for emergencies and “rainy” days, and if you and those you are responsible for are taken care of financially. Then you can do what you want with your money. God may call you to fund a gift of a few dollars or a few million dollars to a charity; this is between you and Him. God may not give an answer, this assumes you pray before making a big purchasing decision, and it may be for you to decide. What if you are a person of means as they say and you can more than afford that speedboat or luxury automobile? Go right ahead and enjoy them, someone far away will be able to work and provide for their family. There is always a caution and here it comes…Don’t you worship it! Let me try a few Foxworthy’s today since it’s a Friday.

If you stroke that fancy car more than you stroke your wife (or husband).
You might be in some trouble with God.

If you think about that luxury car or fancy speedboat more than you think about God.
You could be in some trouble with God.

If you covet whatever Joe has down the street, you will be in trouble with the 10th commandment.

If your garage is on fire and you rush to save your Ferrari before making sure the family is safe,
You might be in trouble with God.

Perhaps I need some work in that area, but I still believe that your spending above the 10% tithe is between you and God. You might have just as much fun with something costing far less than that luxury item that catches your eye and be able to give the difference of what you would have spent to a charity. You might even find that it makes you feel much better to have a sensible car and some treasure in heaven. Materialism is dangerous to us and so is dying with a big pile of money. Sitting on a pile of money is uncomfortable and so is sitting on a fancy chair you cannot afford and are still paying for. Jesus told us that He is the way; follow Him and you will find your way to financial responsibility. And don’t worry about what the other person has, we are not competing against each other, Jesus has prizes for all who believe in Him.


Thursday, September 21, 2006

September 21, 2006

A belated good morning to you, the late night bugaboos of on call duty struck once again late last night and, technically, early this morning. I am getting up and moving about finally. Today we wanted to talk about giving every last cent to the church. Jesus told the rich young man, sometimes called the rich young ruler, to go and sell everything he had and give the money to the poor. The brand new church in Jerusalem gave everything they had into the community pot and shared an early experiment in communism without the state you might say. However, that didn’t work out so well for them financially; Paul had to take up a collection from the other early churches to help out the Jerusalem church. Christ lived without money during his ministry, yet once again we seem to have hit that which Jesus told us about. What is impossible for man is possible with God.
In the military, the big green provider met all of our basic needs; clothing, shelter, and food. No agency or person will do that for you in the civilian world when you are able to work and earn your own way, nor should they do so. In Christ we do not have to worry about our basic needs; God provides a job and first, the ability to work. The job you have at any given time may not be your ideal career choice, but you can provide for yourself. God also tells us many times not to be afraid, and I believe this pertains to our financial situation the same as any other situation we face in this life. So back to it, if we do not have to worry about our basic needs, should we then give every spare cent to the church, or charity, good causes etc. I can tell you from personal experience that charities and some of the national television ministries are like little baby birds, never satisfied. Their little mouths are open every time you go to the mail box, and those phone calls, yeesh! I assure you that you can give every spare cent to those organizations and they will not say “thank you” and leave you alone. Also from personal experience, some churches preach tithing often, some do not. That seems to go on a case by case or denominational basis.
I do not believe that Jesus was speaking to all Christians when he told the rich young man to sell everything and give the proceeds to the poor. That instance highlighted Jesus understanding of our deepest problems; which in that case, the young man needed to give up his wealth and follow Jesus in person. I do not believe that Jesus would have us work, buy only the bare minimum to survive while living in a tent and give every spare cent away. For one thing, we need to support our government with taxes. That is one organization that knows how to spend money in a big way, I am a complete amateur compared to that outfit! I do believe that Jesus would have us to give the first 10% in tithing as a minimum, you or I may be called at times or all of the time to give a larger percentage. I do not believe in faith organizations, of any type, calling upon their congregation to exceed Jesus’ tithe and demand more than 10%. What is the guideline then for every spare cent? I believe wholeheartedly that this is personal between you and the Lord.
I can hear it now, someone out there is jumping up from the computer, “what?! He’s gonna wimp out with an answer like that?”
That is just the point! In this I believe that the Lord would have me to tell you, go to Him for that answer, it’s PERSONAL between you or me and God. So tomorrow I promised to answer, “should you buy a speedboat?” This too will be personal between you and God, however I will put forth some things to think about that you might not have considered… stay tuned!

Love the Lord Jesus!


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

September 20, 2006

Good Morning! This week we have been talking about giving, but are we promised prosperity in this life? Prosperous or prosperity is one of those words with subjective connotations; it means different things to various people. One might think that prosperous is having his bills paid each month, while another might think that only billionaires can be considered prosperous. The dictionary, as you might expect, leaves the word open to these interpretations:
Prosperous: 1. conducive to success. 2. a. attended with or marked by good fortune. b. attended with or marked by economic well-being.
People are going to attach different meaning to economic well-being and good fortune is open to anyone’s point of view. We in Christ do not believe in good fortune, but in the beneficence of our Lord. We believe that every good thing comes from Him, and not from the capricious fortune of the world. More on that subject another day. We should be careful about the promises of prosperity from the pulpit if we believe that prosperity equals riches on earth. We should be content, as Paul was, no matter what our situation. That doesn’t mean that we are not allowed to work hard for a better financial situation, but that no matter what our finances we should be content in the Lord. Some people work very hard and have little; others work smart, but still end up with little, and some seem to do no work at all and yet are quite well off. It seems to me then that there is a disconnection between what the Lord considers a good thing for us, and what the world considers a good thing. The world would have us thing that if you do good, you will be rewarded from above and be wealthy too. This is strange since there also seems to be nothing the world likes more than to see the wealthy receive their “comeuppance” and be made poor. We may not be wealthy in this world; in fact we will probably not be made wealthy. We can be content and we must trust in the Lord for all things. Not strangely at all, doing the latter brings on the former! When we give our cares and concerns to the Lord, we are content.

May God grant you his peace.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

September 19, 2006

Good Morning! Today we speak of tithing. How much it enough? How much is too much? Can there be too little? Jesus gave us one directive in this, a tenth part to God. A lady in California did what many of us have fallen for, got in to deep with the credit cards and then had a medical problem. In the worst of her debt, when bankruptcy seemed imminent, she began a different approach. 10-10-80, that is 10 percent to God, 10 percent in savings, 80 percent for everything else. It took time and some humbling phone calls to creditors, but she eventually came to financial independence. That is tough, but we should be responsible with our money. Where does that responsibility begin? Tithing. God does not need our money, perish that thought right away. God wants our obedience for our sake. By discipline we become better servants of God, and that can begin with steady tithing. Now a bit of warning; some ministers on the telly might tell you that by tithing you will get 10 or 100 times as much back in return, meaning cash for cash. Looking in the Gospels, I don’t see that Jesus promised us cash for cash, but rather treasure in heaven for our giving. You might be blessed with more prosperity in return, but look at it this way… would you rather have cash now, even though you may need it badly, or have treasure in heaven that lasts forever? Treasure here on earth can be easily lost, stolen, or destroyed, we cannot take it with us when we die and it does us no good in eternity. Give it up now, you will regain it many times over in Christ!

To God be the Glory!