Tuesday, October 31, 2006

October 31, 2006

Good Morning! Halloween morning dawns quite cold, about 13ºF if I see correctly at this time of the morning.
Our nature always wants to reassert control over our lives, even after we have given them to Christ. I know that throughout my life I have often rebelled when someone has tried to correct me, and sadly that hasn’t changed as quickly as I would like. What Jesus gives us is that ability to realize we are rebelling or have rebelled and behaved badly. We have a journey ahead of us, both in spreading the Good News and in growing in Christ. God is very economical with us, he doesn’t make us take two or three journeys to accomplish what he would have us to do, only one life to live and one journey to make. We will not have to worry about recycling or reincarnation until we “get it right”, no words of rebuke from St. Peter at the pearly gates, “Nope, you still don’t get it, go back and try again.” One life is given to us and one life was given for us at the cross. The one journey will be sufficient, but like a good cure, it may be painful along the way. The journey ends when God is satisfied with our refinement and His standards are different from what the world uses to keep score. In this journey we will help each other through prayer and encouragement. The world wants to see competition, cheer for one particular individual or team, and then declare one winner. The Christian journey would not make a very good reality show; that is the world would not judge it as good by its own crooked measuring stick. All of the contestants would be helping each other; there would be no single winner, only those who chose to not take the journey would lose. The final judge would himself be helping, encouraging, testing, and cheering on, every contestant. Above all, no one would make it to the finish line without the sacrifice of the judge’s son in that race. Yes, at the cross this race, this journey was won for all

Get up and move forward in your journey in Christ!


Monday, October 30, 2006

October 30, 2006

Good Morning! What is it to surrender? The Marines use a kind euphemism to describe it as advancing in another direction. Of course, if your group is surrounded then there is no retreat. In life we always have that choice; we can choose the world and ourselves; enjoy the pleasures of this life, make all the money we can, spend it all on whatever appears to please us, and live only for the “me”. In that kind of life a person might even live for a family, the wife and kids, be a good provider and put the kids through college. There is nothing wrong with raising a family unless you send them out without the opportunity to choose to live for Christ. With no surrender, there is no faith in Christ. In the world we place faith in ourselves, is that not what the world tells us to do? “Believe in yourself. Have confidence. A confident man is a sexy man!” and many other sayings tell us to reject Christ and have faith in ourselves. Jesus tells us that it comes down to one choice, we can believe in Him and have eternal life or we can believe in this world and die the second death. The world will try to tell you that there are many paths to success. I don’t know what you think, but if I have to die twice I cannot consider that success. There is an oft quoted saying that I like to remind myself of now and again. “Born once, die twice. Born twice, die once.” I am not sure who said it first, but it reminds me of my surrender to Christ. Every time I reach for the tiller of my life, it is good to be reminded of who is now the Captain. You might even liken Jesus to the Admiral, for he commands many ships traversing this ocean of life. Every one of them will come safely to harbor and there is no prize for getting there first. Surrender daily and have faith in your Captain; He is Lord!

God bless!


Sunday, October 29, 2006

October 29, 2006

Good Morning! The sun is about to come up and I am ready to go. Yes, my brain is still on daylight savings time, so I was awake at about 0415 this morning. We can change our clocks, but the body and brain do not adjust so quickly. What about the cost of that stress we put upon ourselves twice each year? I wonder if anyone has counted that. The time change caught someone off guard; Samantha the cat wasn’t at the door when I opened it to let her in this morning.
In a good example of that war within, the time change shows how that inner war works. The clock says that it’s one time; our brain says that it’s another. The comic drawings of a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other were not invented by someone still lost in the world. No, it came from someone in Christ who illustrated Paul’s words in a humorous manner. Do I know that for sure? Is it well researched and documented with worldly proof? No, it is only a feeling of kinship with that long ago writer named Paul, and that comic illustrator somewhere who put that same feeling in a visual format. It seems that every moment is filled with those two opposing suggestions. When we recall that the devil side is the consummate liar, we also realize that some of the choices will seem very close together or as having no appreciable difference in the end result. Don’t expect those choices to ever become simple and straightforward in all cases, but do expect to find answers in the Word of God.

Have a blessed Sunday in Christ!


Saturday, October 28, 2006

October 28, 2006

Good Morning! Enjoy your view of the sun this evening, tomorrow you will get to see an hour less of it in the evening. Yes, it’s time for the annual fall back an hour ritual in most of North America and Europe. Now I haven’t really dug into the reasoning behind Daylight Savings time, but it seems to me that unless the population tends to be more on one side of a time zone than the other, then this semiannual ritual is a wash as far as any energy savings goes. In other words if everyone on the eastern part of the time zone saves a little daylight then everyone on the western side of that same zone will make up for it by needing to use a bit more. Perhaps I am just too simple to understand their reasoning. Perhaps DST has simply become a ritual that will not go away. It seems to me that if 24 time zones more accurately reflect the time of day to our watches then 1440 would be even better! My house is now officially in the Mountain + 15 time zone, please adjust your watch accordingly when you come over. J
A good warning about the devil today from Dr. Kennedy, after all how can we stand against an enemy that doesn’t exist? The world may close one eye and claim that the enemy on that side does not exist, but that will not make it go away. If an enemy perceives the foe will not acknowledge his existence, would it be best to attack obviously by smacking the foe a good one and thus forcing acknowledgement, or would it not be craftier to allow that foe the luxury of ignorance while the enemy steals the world right out from under the foe? When Christ claimed you as his own and opened that closed eye, what did you see? Right, you looked at the world and started praying with some fervor! You were probably sorely tempted to hide your head in the robes of our Lord and not see. As you grow in Christ, I would urge you to keep up with the news and not just one source. Vote in elections after thoroughly researching and discussing the candidates and measures. Many Christians have hidden behind our Lord for too long. Look out; see what is going on around you and in the world. As Jesus said, it is getting dark and the harvest is very much ready.

God bless you this weekend!


Friday, October 27, 2006

October 27, 2006

Good Morning! The mystic ways of the Orient usually bring to mind a monk meditating, supposedly at one with his own self, others, and the world, in perfect peace and harmony. This seems very alluring to us since we seem to be in contention with ourselves, each other, and the world in general. On the other hand we might ask what that peaceful monk has produced in his lifetime; what good is it to sit in peace while the world goes to complete higgledy-piggledy. Of course, someone might come back that if everyone parked their butts on a bench and practiced peace then the world would be a better place for all. Everyone would then start fighting over who got the bench under the apple tree since everyone else would soon starve. There just aren’t any universal answers in the world, no panacea that will make everyone content, happy, and productive at the same time. Even in the Bible we read that this world will one day be tossed out so that God can create a new heaven and earth, one not stained by sin. In the world we are told to meditate and search for that inner peace; in Christ we are given peace.
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27
Christ and the world are at odds; here we see that He gives not as the world gives. You may find some peace by detaching yourself from the world as much as possible for a short period of time. However, events in the world will interrupt that peace sooner or later. Only in Christ will we find a lasting peace and it is given to us, not earned through some regimen of self-denial and physically awkward positions. Please don’t think that I mean to say that physical exercise and stretching to maintain our bodies is without merit, but rather we cannot find the peace we seek in this world through its methods. We run right into that same old rebellion; Jesus gives us his peace and the first thing we do is, “Yes, but what do I have to DO to earn it.” Accepting the gifts of Jesus, peace, love, and grace is not easy because pride compels us to go obtain these things through some act or discipline, to win some struggle and gain the prize. It goes against our worldly nature to accept those things given to us freely by God. There is no peace in the world because it hates the light of Christ. Observe, you will see it all around you, the world at war with Christ. That is why we surrender to Christ, for we know that he has already won the victory. Those who do not believe cannot see that Christ has already won and they do hate the word “surrender”!

Peace and contentment are yours through Christ Jesus!


Thursday, October 26, 2006

October 26, 2006

Good Morning! October is drawing to a close; does the world ever slow down? Praise the Lord is does not! Every turn of the globe brings us closer to that great day when Jesus will return.
“Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your law.” Today the third stanza of the 119th Psalm pleads for understanding of why God gives us his commandments. Why do we have all these rules? One of the wonderful truths that may be found is that none of these rules are for God’s benefit. Not even the rules about having no other gods before God. He does not need anything that we have or can give to Him. Worshipping God keeps us from asking for boons from a block of stone or wood. If we could see just how demeaning it is for a beloved creation of the Creator to worship a creation of a creature, such as any idol, we would surely never do it. Bowing down to a “god” chipped from a rock which God created from nothing, probably demeans the rock as well. If a rock placed on a pedestal could shake its head, it surely would do so at the sight of people bowing down before it. However, some folks have done so since the stain of sin first covered the earth. We do shake our heads when we think of the angels telling Daniel and John not to worship them, but to only worship only God. All of the rules in the Bible are for our benefit. If all people obeyed the commandment against adultery, there would be no sexually transmitted diseases in the world. Obeying the commandments is for our benefit, open my eyes to see…

17 Be good to your servant,
that I may live and obey your word.
18 Open my eyes to see
the wonderful truths in your law.
19 I am but a foreigner here on earth;
I need the guidance of your commands.
Don't hide them from me!
20 I am overwhelmed continually
with a desire for your laws.
21 You rebuke those cursed proud ones
who wander from your commands.
22 Don't let them scorn and insult me,
for I have obeyed your decrees.
23 Even princes sit and speak against me,
but I will meditate on your principles.
24 Your decrees please me;
they give me wise advice.

God bless you all!


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

October 25, 2006

Good Morning! Today the second stanza of that great Psalm, the 119th and longest, speaks to us of the solution to having a pure heart. Obey God’s Word and follow the rules therein. Yesterday we read how it is not so simple to obey and follow when the psalmist exclaimed, “Please don’t give up on me!” There are more pleas in this stanza, “I have tried my best… don’t let me wander…” We see that in our lives every day; trying our best falls far short of perfection. We need the Lord to keep us from wandering. I like the twelfth verse, “Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your principles.” Throughout our remaining years in Christ, we need to be taught. It is wonderful to become a learner again, to know that I do not know enough to be secure in my own knowledge. So much opens up to us when we come to the Lord with a mind and heart ready to learn from Him. Want to know the principles of the creation? Where better than the Creator? Want to know the principles of living like Jesus did? Where better than the one who died for our sins, Jesus the Christ? What if you want to become an attorney? What better place to start than with the commandments upon which all of our laws are based? The psalmist ends this stanza affirming that he will delight in the Lord’s principles and not forget the Word.

9 How can a young person stay pure?
By obeying your word and following its rules.
10 I have tried my best to find you-
don't let me wander from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
12 Blessed are you, O Lord;
teach me your principles.
13 I have recited aloud
all the laws you have given us.
14 I have rejoiced in your decrees
as much as in riches.
15 I will study your commandments
and reflect on your ways.
16 I will delight in your principles
and not forget your word.

Praise God for His Word!


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

October 24, 2006

Good Morning! Sometimes a rule or policy is posted in plain sight and we miss it or don’t pay attention when we should have. This happened to me yesterday and was then brought to my attention. This first stanza from Psalm 119 spoke to me about the commandments of the Lord.
1. Happy are people of integrity,
who follow the law of the Lord.
2 Happy are those who obey his decrees
and search for him with all their hearts.
3 They do not compromise with evil,
and they walk only in his paths.
4 You have charged us
to keep your commandments carefully.
5 Oh, that my actions would consistently
reflect your principles!
6 Then I will not be disgraced
when I compare my life with your commands.
7 When I learn your righteous laws,
I will thank you by living as I should!
8 I will obey your principles.
Please don't give up on me!

Yesterday’s incident brought to mind the question of those who don’t know God’s laws. Perhaps the 10 Commandments have not been posted on their City Hall or the Bible has never been seen in their part of the world. Are they held accountable on Judgment Day for the Law? The Bible tells us that they are indeed for the laws of the Lord have been written on their hearts. Even those who have never seen the 10 Commandments know that they should not commit murder, or bear false witness, or steal. When you set a nice burger on your table and turn away to grab the salt shaker from the cupboard, what might a dog do with that opportunity? Yes, a dog who has not been taught obedience might take the opportunity to snatch your burger. How does the dog go about the act of theft though? You have probably seen a dog in the act of theft at some time. Does the dog gracefully sit in the chair and eat as though it belongs there? No, unless it has been shown otherwise or accumulated enough evidence through experience, it will snatch the burger and flee. Even a dog knows that you didn’t set the burger there with the intention of giving it to him.
I like the last verse; it would seem that even thousands of years ago this psalmist had trouble with obedience. He or she prayed to the Lord, “Please don’t give up on me!” Amen to that.

God will not give up on us!


Monday, October 23, 2006

October 23, 2006

Good morning! How much do you believe? Whenever I try to answer that question in my own mind doubts come from much of my worldly learning. I have been warned that what is true in Christ would be thought of as foolish by the world, but do the doubts have to come from my own inner dialog? I realize today that this conflict is the same that Paul experienced almost 2,000 years ago. Some things haven’t changed yet, and will not until our Lord arrives to claim us. What this conflict in my heart does for me is that it gives me understanding into what would make someone uncomfortable in the presence of the Word of God. The world will feel that I am putting its toes in the fire when writing about the things we know of Jesus. In the world the schools teach us about the natural process of conception in human beings. So naturally, when I think of what happened to Mary my worldly knowledge fights against that and causes me to doubt. However, when I believe that God created the heavens and the earth from nothing, how hard can it be to believe in conception by the Holy Spirit? What trouble is the manipulation of a few chromosomes to the Lord of all Creation? You and I believe more than we think during those times of doubt and stress.
Have your sins been forgiven? When I think of the answer to this I cannot help but to burst into a smile. I need to remember the grace of God more often during each day. All of my sins are forgiven in Christ. It is a glorious thing to have your sins forgiven. The world would likely take that as a license instead of liberation, and some early Christians did just that, but in the love of Christ we know better. Liberation from the chains of sin allows us to serve the cause of Christ and to spread the word to a non-believing world. Having trouble with the difference between license and liberation? Jesus told the Samaritan woman, “Your sins are forgiven, go and sin no more.” That is liberation. Had he said that her sins were forgiven and to go and do whatever she pleased, that would have been a license to sin. However, Jesus did not and would not have said such a thing since we are promised in John 3:17 that the Son came to save the world, not to boot it off the cliff of sin.

God bless you this day!


Sunday, October 22, 2006

October 22, 2006

It is a nice frosty morning today, praise the Lord! The sun is rising far to the south these days; the northern folks would tell us to be grateful the sun comes up at all during this time of the year. Please forgive any gaffs in the typing today, Samantha the cat wants to help with the devotional for some reason.
Our churches always seem to be short of money because there are so many needs in any community. A congregation might protest if the church started buying big screen TV’s for all the poor folks in a town, but I haven’t heard of a case like that yet. Usually the Food Bank here in Sidney is begging for donations when winter starts, with the exception of canned vegetables, thank you! I am amused by the seeming choosiness of those who would turn away any kind of food at all when depending upon donations to do their good work. However, I am reminded of the disasters in Oklahoma one year when donations of used clothing poured in from all over the country. Yes, many people lost everything, but the old clothing became a logistical nightmare for the relief workers. When a relief or charitable organization asks for cash only, people can get their noses in snit, “Cash only? Well I never…” Jesus always told us to look at it from the other point of view. Cash is easy to handle and with it the organization is able to buy exactly what is needed. Charities and churches should never be looked upon as a dumping ground for old stuff we don’t want. If our church holds a rummage sale to raise funds, and no one buys our old stuff, we should at the very least offer to take it back.
How many times has that devious little voice in your mind mentioned some donation of stuff and suggested it be a part of your tithe? That voice can be a mean one, really hitting your sensitive spots at the wrong time. We cannot always have things the way we want, and that voice is always there to make some quite hair-raising suggestions at times. Perhaps it’s just my little voice and not yours that offers those very bad suggestions; I don’t know for sure what happens in your mind. Tithing is very important for churches and other Christian organizations, strive to be as generous as that widow woman and her two mites.

God loves you!


Saturday, October 21, 2006

October 21, 2006

Good morning! It must be Saturday, praise God for the day! It would be difficult to get around mentioning the big game out here today, Texas at Nebraska. Though you may not believe it, life will go on in Nebraska, no matter how the team performs in the game. Back in the day when most of us would have been serfs, cheering the home team meant something more life altering. If the “team” lost, the opposing team got to set fire to your village, loot everything of value and carry the virgins back home with them. The survivors usually faced starvation or at the very least a long walk to poverty in some other village. Today, unless you foolishly bet your savings on the outcome, we do not face danger to life and home when our team loses the big one, but we do still like to see them win.
I see some of the media has taken to predicting a Democratic Party victory in Congress already. Elections have a way of surprising the media, perhaps since so many of their predictions are based on wishful thinking; I suspect that we should probably wait for the outcome to report the results.
Setting aside the faith and confidence you have in yourself and then trusting in God completely can be a difficult process. I say process since it may be the journey of a lifetime. One of the blessings of growing older is in realizing that you cannot trust in your body, no matter how much you work it out. There are so many things on this earth that can bring us down that I don’t even need to list them all, no doubt many popped into your head even as you read this. We place our faith in God, because he loves us and because when the trials come they prove how weak we really are in this world. There are giants and mountains aplenty in this world, we cannot conquer them all on our own or even together. However, with our faith in Christ Jesus, you and I can conquer any giant or climb any mountain.
In time we can either have confidence in our own abilities and be beaten down by one giant that is too big or one mountain that is too high, or we can put our faith in Jesus and climb over every giant and mountain until he welcomes us home. Did you ever stop to realize that without Jesus, we would probably expend what little strength we had climbing the wrong mountain? Some of the mountains in this life are meant to be looked at; trust in God to show you the mountains he has prepared for you alone.

Have a wonderful weekend in Christ Jesus!


Friday, October 20, 2006

October 20, 2006

Good Morning! A little late today; I enjoyed one of those late night installations this morning. Well, I wake up to find reports of Kim Jung Il apologizing for nuclear tests and the Cardinals going to the MLB World Series, can the day get any stranger than it has begun? Perhaps the Dow will hit 13,000 just to prove to me how strange a day can become. Why are some days perceived as better or worse, stranger or more same than the usual; whatever the usual might be? For one thing, God sends trials to remind us of our dependence upon Him. We are not only saved by grace through faith, but we live by faith as well. In Hebrews, the author gives us the answer to the question a child might ask. “The Son reflects God’s own glory, and everything about Him represents God exactly. He sustains the universe by mighty power of His command. After He died to cleanse us from the stain of sin, he sat down in the place of honour at the right hand of the majestic God of heaven.” (Heb 1:3, NLT) That question is “What holds up the earth?” We are dependent upon God for more than we realize most of the time. The stars and planets did not appear by accident; the Lord of creation put them in their places and keeps them where He will. Even the little things like a virus are controlled by our Lord. A virus is dependent upon a host to reproduce. If a virus becomes so toxic that it kills its hosts before it has time to spread to others, it will cease to exist. I read about one plague back in jolly old England that did just that. If God had not designed in that limitation, none of us would be around today. Often we walk through a day in ignorance of how close the entire universe might be to flying apart, destroying every life form in it. We simply don’t know these things. What are we to do about it? Nothing at all, this area is under God’s control and if there is nothing we can do about it there is certainly nothing to be gained by worrying over it. We can live by faith or we can live in ignorance.

God be with you this weekend!


Thursday, October 19, 2006

October 19, 2006

Good Morning! Whoo, a cool one last night, hope you weren’t out in it. I see the political process is under full swing, even out in our end of the state. However, it probably has been for some time, since I don’t get out a whole lot.
I suspect the reason we tend to think Christianity is a have no fun kind of place would be due to the seduction of the worldly delights that we used to partake in. It seemed fun to get drunk, laugh, and be foolish. One sure way to tell the difference between the joy of Christ and the foolishness of drunken revelry is to sit in a room sober with a bunch of drunken folks. It isn’t so pretty from that point of view; you wonder what a person ever saw in such a thing. All other types of sin that seemed fun before, take on a different hue in the light of Christ. A killjoy? No, we simply are changed to a different point of view and we find the joy that Christ gives in unexpected places. Perhaps a gift to a children’s ministry hurts you financially and would make a businessperson wince, but you get a great joy from that gift. You might find yourself taking delight in what the world calls “clean” humor. Most of all you may find joy in reading the Bible that you never saw before, thinking it a chore for do-gooders in your past life. One thing I have found is the season of Christmas and not from any expectation of “lots of loot” as Calvin might say, but just from the joy in me and surrounding me during this time. I am sure that you can quote me many more examples of the joy in Christ that the world does not know about. Feel free to share them with us.

Seize the joy of knowing Jesus better each day!


October 18, 2006

Good Morning, there is snow on the ground! Every snowfall feels like a renewal of the world to me. However, we cannot cover up the sins of this world with a little snow. Like the rainbow, a nice snowfall serves as a reminder of God’s promise that one day this world that is stained by sin will be made anew. Does it seem as though God is counting the revolutions of this planet until he reaches some unimaginable number? “Whew, 140 gazillion revolutions, I thought it would never get there! Next time I’m making a faster planet…” No, set your mind at ease, our God is not limited to or bound in any way to the way we check off the days in his creation. The prophets and Jesus himself often told of both near and far future events in the same paragraph just as if God saw it all at once. I think that is true, God sees all of creation from start to finish, Genesis to Revelation, laid out before him, no gaps, no unknowns. How then can we presume to have freewill? Perhaps time is simply a journey that we all must take through a course that we cannot see. If we give our life to Jesus, then he guides us along the right path to come back to him. Those who cling to their own life in the world will walk a path that seems straight to them, but that continues straight to destruction and the second death. Now someone in the world who reads that last statement might think that we somehow wish that upon them with a feeling of superiority, ready with an “I told you so.” God wants all to be saved and we grow to want the same thing as our walk with Jesus becomes closer by the day. “As we know Jesus better, his divine power gives us everything we need for living a godly life. (2 Peter 1:3, NLT)
May your walk in Christ glorify Him more each day.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

October 17, 2006

Good Morning! Does it seem to you that the world has gone a little haywire lately? Celebrities travel thousands of miles to adopt a third world orphan when the cost of their travel alone might feed hundreds. The longer our military occupies Iraq and Afghanistan, the worse the news seems to become each day. Another congressional scandal here, a political scandal in Israel, some countries where political scandal is so commonplace that no one bothers to report the events. Women without babies murdering pregnant women and stealing the baby from their womb. Shootings in schools and workplaces. Ghastly sentence fragments in my devotionals. Okay, maybe the last one is not reason to fly to the hills just yet; however, while leaping to the conclusion that the time is now might be premature, ignoring the signs might be just as bad or worse. We realize that every generation has seen signs of the end times, and that ours may be no different with respect to knowing that glorious day when Jesus comes back to this world. But this also just might be the signs leading to the final tribulation. We probably shouldn’t strap on a placard with “repent, the time is at hand” stenciled on it and walk the town square, but we should be praying for and spreading the message to those around us. Even the secular folks will admit that something is not entirely right in the world these days. Do you trust our modern medicine, our government, the company you work for, your retirement funds, or even your family? Any or all of them can be gone virtually overnight; just read Job if you need further proof. Our money, of all things, actually has it correct; “In God We Trust”. Atheists may want to remove it, secularists may ignore it, but as for you and I, we believe!

God bless you,


Monday, October 16, 2006

October 16, 2006

Good Morning! Autumn moves along; does this one seem cooler than usual to you?
The happiness the world is searching for seems to be simply relief from itself. The world would be happy with no war, no discrimination, no health problems, and prosperity for all. Happiness for all usually comes down to getting relief from their current situation. We can certainly see where that comes from! However, unlike the world, we know that relief only comes in Christ Jesus. This does not mean that we are going to receive that relief immediately here on earth. We are relieved of the burden of our sins even though the accuser may replay them for us through those mental images that pop into our minds or through the long memories of others. We are relieved of the burden of guilt; though once again we may squirm over the hot coals of bad memories or be raked over those same coals by another person. We are relieved of the burden of the future; though we may continue trying to wrestle control back from our Lord. We are relieved of loneliness; though we may not always be with some other person. We are relieved of earthly ambition; though we may still desire to succeed in our workplace and receive human accolades. In Christ we are relieved of many burdens that we may stubbornly cling to from our old life. A minister once gave the illustration that we throw our burdens at the foot of the cross, praise Jesus for his infinite mercy, and then gather our burdens back up and take off into life once more. How often does that come true?
We can lay those burdens down and work on our character. However, most of the work will be done by the Holy Spirit as we face the trials and temptations with the everlasting and renewing strength of Christ Jesus. We may stumble on that road for our freedom of choice remains with us even now. Every time we fall, we will be picked up, dusted off, and set back on the path. Falling may not feel good, even though the temptation is seductive, and those hurts can pile up more of those burdens for us. Put the thoughts the accuser whispers in your mental ear away; look only to Jesus. If you need help finding him, check out the entire New Testament and if that isn’t enough go to the Old Testament, both testaments point to the Messiah!

May God’s peace give you another wonderful week!


Saturday, October 14, 2006

October 14, 2006

Praise the Lord! I read a psalm today that started and ended with that very phrase, and how appropriate that is for us. We should begin and end everything we do with praise for our Lord. Since we are speaking of reading, I also read that school shootings are rare and that we should not worry about our children. Well, I don’t know about you, but I don’t even have any children and I am of the opinion that school shootings have become all too common. What can possibly be the reason for this? I don’t recall reading or hearing about any school shootings when I was younger; it seems to be a phenomenon of the 1990’s and later. However, that may be a mistaken impression. Perhaps someone whose memory stretches farther back than mine can help us with that. Some would have us believe the ACLU is to blame, including Dr. Kennedy. Removing prayer from schools may not help matters, but if there is no prayer or belief in the home then prayer in school may not have much effect. However, let us not belittle the effect of prayer at any time. We can certainly encourage our children (and ourselves) to have an active prayer life in their minds throughout the day. Jesus told us to go into our closet and shut the door to pray. I would submit that we do not need to pray publicly to show our faith and belief in God. So many of us want to DO something to assure ourselves of salvation; remember the rich young man who came running up to Jesus and bowed at his feet? He asked, “What must I DO to receive eternal life?” James later tells us to show our faith by doing good works, but to receive the gift of eternal life we simply believe in Jesus. That is difficult for us to grasp, “Yes I believe, but what must I do?” No, the first step is to believe and as you look at grace by faith, you come to realize that simply believing in Jesus is at odds with the world and that believing is not so easy in all things. When the world questions our faith, usually implying that only simpletons would fall for this or that, we must rest in the strength of our Lord.
Intellectuals in the world will have many very convincing arguments, and the evidence to support them, attempting to put our faith in the realm of simple-mindedness or foolishness. Jesus told us the world would do this, so we should not be surprised. The demands of your life; working, raising children, perhaps attending night classes, and learning each day from the Word of God, will probably be about as much as your poor mind can stand. Certainly I have found this to be true, and I don’t have the kids part to worry about. All that I don’t know about God’s creation does indeed make me feel simple, and praise God for that! Jesus thanked God for giving knowledge of the Word to those who are simple and hiding it from those who think themselves wise. As we grow in faith, we will see examples of that time after time in the media and in classes. Secular humanists are very intellectual in the worldly sense and very smug in their “knowledge”. Praise God for showing me each day just how much I do not yet know and praise God for sending his Son to show us the way to himself.
One good step to reduce school shootings might be to assure our children that they are in fact beloved creations of an almighty God. The schools try to tell them that they are the results of evolution from some cosmic accident; it is not to wonder why the little ‘uns have self-esteem problems.

Praise the Lord!


Friday, October 13, 2006

October 13, 2006

Good Morning! Triskaidekaphobia’s beware, today is your favorite day, Friday the 13th! Do you realize that to this day hi-rise buildings do not have a 13th floor to satisfy superstition? The funny thing is that even numbering the 13th floor “14” doesn’t change the fact that it is the 13th floor; and no building to my knowledge has fallen down simply due to numbering a floor “13”. Major league baseball players, arguably among the most overpaid people on the planet, are famous (or infamous) for their superstitions. I wonder how CEO’s rank in terms of superstitions? Okay, enough of poking fun at the great and mighty for today!
Yesterday I spoke of including God in our plans for the future. Today, something in a similar vein is what I call the arrogance of man. You have seen headlines in the media about the Greenhouse Effect, or from a few years back the possibility of depopulating our planet through a huge nuclear weapons exchange. Another crackpot idea would be to use rockets to shift the earth’s orbit just a little bit to cool down the planet. Aside from making the Acme Rocket Company extremely rich, it is unlikely that such an idea could be worked out successfully. The Titanic, “unsinkable”… wham! Blub, blub, blub, many lives lost in a great tragedy of an arrogant species. Many are the ideas of man for changing God’s creation; remember the one about stopping aging through genetic manipulation? All of these ideas may be possible under one big assumption. That assumption is that God will not take a direct hand in preventing the action someone desires. Set aside the outrageous for now and consider the little things we do each and every day. God allows us a lot of freedom in doing everyday kind of tasks and in choosing what to do for a living and hobbies. Of course, above all other choices, we can choose to believe in his Son or not. However, life under the influence of original sin causes us to lose much of the freedom granted to us. Many of the tasks you perform each day have to do with caring for our body or that of a loved one. Got a pet? Yes, we can freely choose to have one or not, but once in the house that pet will have needs to be met also. Many are the toils of this world that we would cheerfully set aside if we could. Who among us would not seriously consider putting aside the aging of our bodies while in the prime of life, if we could? Declining health? You bet, sign me up! However, the condition of sin in the world causes decay, rottenness, and destruction. In this world, many think that they are free, while in truth they are under the slavery of sin. In spite of what the secular humanists would have us believe, we simply cannot set them aside in this world. Only through Jesus can we be set free of that slavery in this life. Only in Jesus can any of us one day find true freedom, and that may be at the end of a long life of slow decay in our human bodies.

The peace of Jesus be with you,


Thursday, October 12, 2006

October 12, 2006

Good Morning! Once in a while I am reminded of how much I do not know. Yesterday proved that point once again; I planned to complete some work during the night at one of our sites. However, I could not know that one; a sinus headache such as I had not felt in years lay waiting for me later that day, 2) the manager of the site had not been informed in a timely manner, and perhaps most of all 3) much of the work could be done in normal business hours and I was trying to play the late-night hero. I am still out of it today, but the time spent prostrate has given me the chance to form a new plan; this time prefaced with a “God willing” which is what our Lord told us to do when making plans. So far I have seen little evidence that God has called me to be the type of prophet who foretells events; in any case it is unlikely that such knowledge would be of benefit to me personally since those promises are already written down in the Bible. The point is that we should ask God first when making plans; even at our work place. We simply cannot know what may lie around the next corner in our lives. What do I believe? I believe in the Lord, Jesus Christ. That he came to this earth in human form under a heavenly sign that even pagans could see. That the words which he spoke were unlike any heard before and that those same words resonate with us to this day. I believe that Jesus took our sins to the cross, where he died in fulfillment of what God the Father asked of him and that on the third day he rose again. I believe that even now Jesus is returning soon to redeem the lost from the earth and that we should strive to always be ready for him.
God’s grace be with you,

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

October 11, 2006

Good Morning! Back in the day there lived groups who thought to make themselves suffer. You have probably seen them characterized in movies or books. However, I think all of us now realize that hurting yourself is not the way to salvation. How would loving others as you love yourself fit in with whipping your own body? Are you or I guilty of whipping ourselves mentally though? Living in guilt, blaming your own shortcomings for any negative event, wallowing in self pity; is all of that really much different from the flagellants of yesterday? We may disagree with the sugar-coated message of the “God will make you rich” ministers, but they have one thing right, we are to live in victory! Learn from your mistakes and move on in the glow of faith in our Lord Jesus. Not every negative event in your life is punishment from God; many bad things are simply the result of sin in this world. Does a loving father continually beat his child? No, he does correct his child, and those times can be uncomfortable or painful. However, we should never leap to the conclusion that all suffering is punishment. I suspect when we get to heaven and have the opportunity to ask God about certain events in our life - that is assuming we will even worry about our old lives at that point – we will find that many which we thought came about as the result of our actions, were not related to us personally at all. People will do hateful things to any of us, once our faith and the light of Jesus in our lives becomes apparent. We do live in a blessed country; the simple act of being on this devotional list might land you in jail and in torment in many parts of the world. Let us give a prayer of thanksgiving today for our nation.

God be praised!


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

October 10, 2006

Good morning! What time is it? Now is the time. I’ll start tomorrow. When is the perfect time? His/her life was too short. Many expressions, and I’m sure you can think of many yourself, deal with time and duration. Mozart created an incredible repertoire of music in a short life, some actors are treasured for the few movies they made in a short life, but one short life stands above all others, that of our Lord Jesus. He didn’t begin his ministry until he came of age, approximately 30 years old for a man of that time. He was crucified only a short time later. I have heard that he ministered somewhat over 3 years, and I would guess 42 months. The reason I guess that number is the use of it in the Bible. The tribulation is divided into two sections of 42 months. In this great creation that we are in, God has set numbers which seem to be constant and significant. You will recognize such numbers as 3, 7, 40 (days and nights), 12, 144 (thousand), and that infamous, 666. All numbers used with great significance in the Bible. So was Jesus’ life and ministry cut short or too short? No, I suspect the duration of his stay on the earth was like everything God does; it was just right! Four is known in the Bible as the Earth number; four cardinal directions, four seasons, four elements (earth, air, fire, water), and other occurrences of the number. So the Lord gave us 4 gospels to save the earth. Next the letters of the apostle Paul, a man who was turned 180° from his chosen path. 3 the number of the Trinity, times 6 the number of imperfection or Saul, times 10 the number of wholeness of completion, equals 180 a man named Saul turned around to become Paul. God does everything perfectly; and we can rest in the fact that Jesus’ life was not cut short, but was lived and ended perfectly, and he rose again, perfectly.

Praise God for the perfect life of Jesus!


Monday, October 09, 2006

October 9, 2006

Good Morning! Rain, possible snow, cool weather, I do enjoy the fall! This whole week looks to be a cool one too! Today’s devotional from Pastor Rogers is a good one for all of us. Those of us who have struggled with poor physical condition for most of our lives know that dramatic changes in a short period, though we may desire them, just don’t happen. The methods developed to “cheat” such as liposuction and other surgeries can be quite dangerous, though certainly the change can indeed be dramatic. Praise God there is no way to “cheat” on gaining a closer relationship with Jesus. We must go off by ourselves at times to read the Word and seek understanding, join small groups for Bible study to gain additional insights, and attend worship services to glorify God. All of it works together towards our spiritual toning and trimming. Toning in that as we understand some, we will be given more and our spiritual muscles will grow. Trimming in that we will desire to get rid of those things which are not good for us to think upon, view, read, watch, etc. Come to think of it, my media collections could use some trimming, there are DVD’s in my house that don’t need to be here. That would be a good first step this week for me. What might you need to cast a critical eye upon in your life? Let us pray for God’s wisdom in this.

God bless!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

October 8, 2006

Good Morning! Hallelujah, praise the name of God forevermore! What challenges we face each and every day; why even getting up in the morning is a challenge. Yet in Jesus we overcome many obstacles on a daily basis. Everywhere you look in the media there will be someone telling you to do more of this, that, or the other thing. We are continually challenged as Christians, but once in a while we all need to hear a “Good job!” Today, I decided to do just that. Every day you get up to do something; whether it is five days or more of working, going to church, cleaning house, feeding a family, volunteer work, and many other demands on your time and energy. If you have never suffered a serious illness or traumatic injury, you may not realize just how much energy and effort it takes to go through a single work day. We should all thank the Lord for the strength we have to carry on each day and give each other a ‘good job!’ for getting the job done each day. Today, I thank God for giving us the strength to carry on, and thank you to each of you for doing your job, earning a living, feeding your family, and glorifying the name of God. In Christ we gain the strength to do that job that we do, but Jesus doesn’t drag us out of bed, he says to “follow me” and that requires us to put in our own effort in his great work. A commendation to each of you for getting up and doing those things each day that God has given you the task of getting done. You deserve it.

Praise the name of Jesus!


Saturday, October 07, 2006

October 7, 2007

Good Morning! My goodness there seems to be many questions flying about our government these days. I have cautioned before about reading too much into the signs in the Middle East right now. However, one cannot help but wonder about something… What if a person would show up on the political scene, perhaps representing the UN, and have enough credibility in the Arab world to form a new government that in one fell swoop; united Islamists, made peace with Israel, and stabilized the region enough to send all US troops home? How much intellectual and psychological credit would that person have throughout the world? While this particular set of signs that we are seeing right now may not be the final signs leading to the seven years we are looking for, the opportunity for the coming one world ruler seems to be growing with each passing day. Imagine, if you will, that the number of combat fatalities in Iraq has reached the point where everyone in the US knows someone who has lost a family member or spouse. The war has become immediate to everyone and does not appear be any closer to creating the stable, peaceful democracy that we have been promised. Then that person appears and promises that our loved ones will be home by Christmas. Not only that but this person puts an immediate stop to the insurgent activity, the Al Qaeda leader in Iraq shows up in the media and pledges his support of this new figure. Our government is grateful, we are happy to see the troops coming home, oil prices drop, stocks go up and the good times roll. How easy would it be for such a person to then humbly suggest the one world government? Sound farfetched? I read in the news where many are fasting through Ramadan to show solidarity with Muslims; it would appear that the one world religion will take care of itself.

Trust in God, believe in Jesus, and spread the Good News… we need all three these days.


Friday, October 06, 2006

October 6, 2006

Good Morning! I like that, reading for quality, not quantity. Too often we take pride in reading through several chapters each night in order to fulfill some goal of quantity. Reading the Bible through several hundred times will not grant you entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven. God does not measure in the same way that we do; his measuring stick would probably be unrecognizable in our present form. For example, here is one part of one verse that speaks volumes to us; Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid. Just trust me.” (Mark 5:36, NLT) Our Lord said that to Jarius when the crowd of mourners inside of his house laughed when Jesus came to heal the man’s daughter. However, those few words from Jesus resonate through 2000 years of history; “Don’t be afraid. Just trust me.” We need to remember them in times of joy and in times of trouble. Throughout all of that time, man has built fortresses, armies, navies, personal weapons, machines, and shelters of all types, trying to protect one person or a group of people. None are sufficient without faith in God. Think about how many times someone has claimed some sort of permanence in something humans have created. The Titanic, Rome, some “impregnable” fortress? None have stood the test of time; even the earth will be replaced with a new one. Our fears are often even less permanent, usually gone with the morning light. “Don’t be afraid. Just trust me.” One part of one verse, and Jesus said so much to us.


Thursday, October 05, 2006

October 5, 2006

Good Morning! It has been suggested to me many times that daily Bible reading is essential to the Christian faith… then it was suggested that reading the Bible both in the morning and at night would be of great benefit. Is the next step then morning, noon, and night? Maybe, and it certainly can’t hurt, only help. The explanation for this is found in the Gospel of Mark where Jesus tells his disciples about understanding.

22 "Everything that is now hidden or secret will eventually be brought to light. 23 Anyone who is willing to hear should listen and understand! 24 And be sure to pay attention to what you hear. The more you do this, the more you will understand-and even more, besides. 25 To those who are open to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But to those who are not listening, even what they have will be taken away from them." (Mark 4:22-25, NLT)

Jesus gives us understanding in this passage about why we need daily, even twice daily, Bible reading; it is to understand more! That is why the Bible is the one book that you can read over and over gaining further understanding each time. I have heard people say that “Yes, I have read the Christian Bible, it was interesting, but kind of dull (preachy, boring, etc)” You might even know someone who has said something like that. The Bible is also one of the most quoted works in many languages. However, it is so much more than that, and in the same passage Jesus explains why some people, even after reading through the Bible, just don’t seem to understand. What little understanding they had is taken away when they refuse to hear.
When Jesus tells us in the Bible to “listen”, he is telling us to study the Bible with an open heart to gain understanding. This life is tough, there is no question about that, even the pagans understand that fact; we need the Bible to remind us of our great hope and strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ our Lord. There is a devotional out there entitled “New Every Day” and that is exactly correct. It seems that every time I read the Bible, even the passages that I am very familiar with, I gain new understanding and Jesus said that it would be that way.

Yours in Christ Jesus!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

October 4, 2006

Good Morning! We have been given the opportunity to show our attitude towards service here at our workplace. All exempt employees at the Corporate HQ must serve 3 consecutive days at the Retail store or Distribution Center this holiday season. Will we do our best to serve our employer or will we cry and moan about it every step of the way? It is never easy to do something you don’t want to do, especially when it is sprung upon you and mandatory. In serving our employer, and thus serving the Lord, we do not always get to choose between two things that we want to do, sometimes neither choice may be to our liking. Of course in this country at least, we can always choose to end our employment. However, unless you feel that this is an opportunity from God to move on to something else, you may be disobedient and rebellious in taking that step. Sometimes God does use the dreaded lay-off to let a person know that it is time to move on; to give us another opportunity to glorify his name. Usually, a short tasking that we may view in a bad light is but another test which we can use to show our love for the Lord and those things which he has put over us in this world. As for the people here, some will endure the task as an indignity, some will try to escape with some reason or other, some will endure in good cheer, others will prepare physically and mentally to enjoy the break from their normal jobs, and some of us will make up our minds to glorify God by putting in our best effort, no matter what the task at hand. We always have a choice; at times we may need some help to realize the options that are available.

Service with a smile, to God be the Glory!


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

October 3, 2006

Good Morning! Today is another great day in the Lord! What do we choose to believe? Last night, just as a finished my prayers, a cool breeze picked up, like a cleansing wave. Now some in the world might say coincidence, but I choose to believe differently. The world might say just a lucky break that a cold front arrived at just that time, 2100 to the second. In the world, yes it might seem that way. When we choose to believe, only then do we realize that God made all of creation and set in motion the events to have that weather front arrive at just that moment in time to give at least one believer a little reminder that God is always here and always listening. The world might use such terms as gullible, rube, simple, stupid, and others, in Christ we know better and we seek to spread the good news. Simple, I’ll take that one, simple faith in Jesus. Some still claim that we must choose between good and evil; that this will determine our fate or karma. However, in Christ we beg to differ, the choice is between God through faith in his Son, or faith in ourselves. At some point all believers come to realize that faith in our own self or humanity is the road to destruction, only in Christ can our hope be fulfilled. Only in Christ is life eternal. Those who choose who choose to believe in one or more of the many things the world offers; secular humanism, Darwinism, the UN, churches of various types, etc; really have chosen to believe in their self knowledge or wisdom. Jesus said that whoever lays down their life for his sake shall regain it and that you must give up your own life to follow him. The opposite goes for those who reject him, they choose to cling to their own life and believe only in themselves. The choice is not good or evil; the choice is Jesus or not, there are no other alternatives.

God loves you!


Monday, October 02, 2006

October 2, 2006

Good Morning! Today is a new beginning to the work week, make the most of it! I watched more of the health and prosperity ministry yesterday and it does strike me as dangerous. What happens if a non-believer sees only this one show; the one chance to get a message to them. What they see is God will make you rich. Prosperity may come to a Christian as the world defines the term, but what we are promised is peace. Jesus says in John 14:27
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
That much we are promised by our Lord. So whether we have much or we have little, we always have the Lord’s peace. Some believers may be wealthy and some may not. Some may constantly battle disease and illness, while others enjoy consistent good health. I realize that the Lord wants us to have every good thing, but wealth may not be a good thing in all cases. I agree on one hand about banishing the negative thinking, part of following Jesus, and keeping our minds centered upon Him. I worry that a message of prosperity is too subjective to the world; that is the world will make the leap that prosperity equals rich, that God will shower us with money for believing in His Son. Part of the problem is in that I agree that God wants us to be prosperous, but that might mean that we are content and do quite well on a little, much like Paul. I suppose that in the end, I want my riches to be in Heaven.

May God be with you this week.


Sunday, October 01, 2006

October 1, 2006

Good morning! The first day of the week, Sunday, is here once again. As we worship God the father this day, we prepare to serve him at our respective workplaces throughout the week. The good news is that Jesus has risen, let the day begin! Today also begins October and once again the year is waning once more. Sitting here in the bright sunshine, a cat stealing the slipper off my foot, a feeling of peace comes over. Sunday mornings are good for that and for listening to the Lord’s ministers. There are days when I don’t feel called to bring up some controversial topic, then I remember that anything centered on Jesus will be controversial. It seems somehow ironic that if I bring up the subject of the peace that Jesus gives us, someone will take offence. “Life is a struggle, there is no peace,” they might say. Yes, that is true, in Christ we realize that more than most, however it makes no sense to be upset over it all the time, why not accept the peace of Jesus our Lord? Praise God for peace and the still waters.