Sunday, December 31, 2006

December 31, 2006

Good Morning! We are in for a windy one today from the start it would appear. The old year is blowing out as it so often does around these parts. I don’t know how many of these I have written, but today marks the 100th blog post for this devotional. What wisdom comes our way at the evening of one year and the dawning of the next? Often we think of ways to improve ourselves and make resolutions to do just that. However, we may want to think of ways to love our neighbors and fellow Americans better in this coming year. Perhaps a new car is in your budget for next year and you can afford a more gas-efficient type of vehicle or even a hybrid. If a new vehicle is out of the question, as it is for me, we might be able to reduce our driving by walking to some places or riding a bicycle. We can spread the love of Jesus by getting to know a neighbor better and sharing our faith with them. There are many ways to change our focus from one’s self to others who need the love of Jesus.
I’m rushing a bit to cut this short because it would seem the time has come and I need to get ready for church! God bless you!


Saturday, December 30, 2006

December 30, 2006

Good Morning! The sun shines um, rather dimly on the snow. We seem to have a few clouds around today. Praise the Lord for the new snowfall over the past couple of days. Yes, I do get tired of driving on the snow and ice, but you can’t have lots of snow on the yard and none on the street, it just doesn’t work that way. The past couple of weeks remind me of what I have always thought living in Minnesota in the winter would be like. In this world we get the good with the bad, or perhaps more accurately, what we prefer with that which we do not like so well. Can you imagine living with Jesus in the new Jerusalem and waking up to find a foot of beautiful snow that is not cold? There it is, just me imagining the new Earth. Someone else might ask, “Wake up? We won’t have any need to sleep in the new Earth!” Perhaps that is true, I will cheerfully admit that my dreams of Christ’s new Earth are much too colored by where I am right now. I simply cannot imagine how wonderful it will be. We trust the Lord with all that is in this life and we also trust Him with all that will be in the next. That is a lot of trusting, and that is why the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, has been sent into our hearts until Jesus returns. Thank you, Lord for your Holy Spirit who dwells in our hearts and gives us comfort, Amen.


Friday, December 29, 2006

December 29, 2006

Good Morning! The year is waning fast towards a new year of hope and resolution. Traditionally we make several resolutions at the beginning of each year. This changing of the year I will resolve to add cardio workouts to my Bowflex workouts, reduce my credit card debt, payoff my truck, keep my yard better than I did last year and to have a heart of love. What do you have in store for yourself this year? We may not achieve all of our resolutions, but I think it’s good to try each year. Resolving to improve something about our lives shows that we still love ourselves. A resolution also shows that we are not so overcome with pride that we can find no area in which we need to improve. Do not be ashamed to make those resolutions and do not be ashamed to make them public. If we fail in our resolutions, then let’s make a March resolution or even a January 31st resolution if we must. Many resolutions only last 2 weeks, so we may have to make a mid-January resolution to review our resolutions! Above all trust in the Lord and know that He loves you no matter what happens.
This year you might resolve to send those blessings, your children, to Maranatha Bible Camp for a week or two of Christian fellowship while you and the your spouse take a little trip of your own. One of the problems in the world of Islam is the early training the kids receive in hatred. Christian summer camps are a good way to teach children to love each other and those bachelors who do not keep their yard very well since they are working and going to college at the same time and… Okay, I think we know who that is; we can also support Maranatha by giving directly.

May God grant us wisdom in making our resolutions for 2007


Thursday, December 28, 2006

December 28, 2006

Good Morning! Am I the most miserable man in the world? No, I think not. Sometimes when I wake up feeling in a funk, all manner of thoughts intrude such as leaving my job, my house, and my friends, and moving to a new place. We have been over this before; Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, and he is no different in Vermont than in Nebraska, nor in Florida as in Washington. We could extend that out to countries and planets if you wish. A bit of depression always awakens that “grass is greener” fallacy. You may feel a calling from God to go somewhere else, but that is different than the feeling that all of my or our problems will be somehow less in another location. Pastor Rogers states “The most miserable man in the world is a child of God out of fellowship with God.” I think there is a message for me in that statement. I think the message is that I am not that man. Perhaps I just need to be fed since I have not had my breakfast yet, perhaps it is a passing funk that will go away, or perhaps I just need to read from the Word more this morning. Whatever the reason, we can rest in the blessed assurance that God loves each and every one of us so much that he sent Jesus to die for us. Oh yes there is something to look forward to – Resurrection Day and that great day to follow when Jesus returns to us in his glory. The sun rises on another day, but one day the Son will rise in great glory and we will go home.

God bless you this day!


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

December 27, 2006

Good Morning! Let the Glory of the Lord shine upon us this day! I may be a bit late in knowing this, but did you realize the pilot who led the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor later became a Christian missionary? If I had heard that before then I had forgotten it. The Lord works in wonderful ways. We have all enjoyed the full turn that God gives us in our hearts upon believing in Jesus, but some of those turns seem more spectacular than others. We could of course mention Saul of Tarsus in Acts, Matthew and other tax collectors in the Bible, many Romans, and everyone else who has been saved. God gives us eternal life in exchange for our old life of sin. How does that work? Only in Jesus do we find the answer to that. Certainly none of us deserve eternal life or even mercy in this life. None of the heroes in the Bible deserved mercy or grace; only through Jesus can all of that sin be set aside and forgotten by God. Yes, we should think about heaven today and every day, for that is where we are going!

Praise God for the gift of Jesus!


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

December 26, 2006

Good morning! Christmas has once again passed for the year and it’s time to get the New Year’s resolutions dusted off and ready to roll. I do not envy those with little cars trying to go to work today; our street is far from ready for them. This storm changed a lot of plans for people because we simply cannot plan for every occurrence or possibility. Changing plans always remind me of God’s unchanging plan. He is not making adjustments or tweaking the progress chart up in Heaven; his plan, laid down at the beginning, has not changed one bit. Indeed, wisdom still seeks our Lord, for he is the source of all good things in this life and the next.

God is with you always!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!
Twice already today I have heard the carol that begins with “good Christian men rejoice”. In one version they changed it to “good Christians all rejoice” While in many ways I am a Christmas conservative, in this I like the change to “all” from “men”. At one time women had no rights and were even considered property, often counting for less than a man’s cattle and mules. Jesus came to make all things new and one part of that was the raising up of women. With his birth, Jesus made Mary one of the preeminent women in all Christendom. With His ministry he raised up the Samaritan woman at the well, Mary Magdalene, the woman caught in the act of adultery and many others from sin and oppression. We see this oppression in many countries where the light of Christ has not arrived or has been suppressed; our prayers should call for Christian missionaries to bring the light to the darkness.

Praise God for the good tidings of Christmas!


Saturday, December 23, 2006

December 23, 2006

Merry Christmas! Last night I was wondering why people in cars were in such a hurry to get out on the roads and, as it turns out, get stuck in the snow. I got stuck yesterday morning in a 4-wheel drive pickup; the cars had no business even trying! Well, an understanding heart is what Jesus gives us when his light shines into those dark corners. I realized that many people have been in their houses for 2 and ½ days by last night and perhaps had no choice but to go out for some of their food staples. We really are no longer accustomed to snows like this out in these parts; many do not have a week’s worth of food and water in their home in case of something like this.
The light of world came to those living in darkness, and a powerful light He is! Stories of light and hope are shared by all of us, but perhaps this weekend I shall take the plunge and write a fresh story for you. Jesus made each of us unique, and so there must be something for me to write that isn’t a retelling of all the Christmas stories you have already heard a thousand times. One weekend, we shall see what can be done.

Have a wonderful Christmas weekend!


Friday, December 22, 2006

December 22, 2006

Merry Christmas! The puddy tat wants me to stay home today, but there is one more workday left in this week. Have you ever tried typing with a cat in your lap? Perhaps you have wondered why little animals need attention from us at all. The thought came to me today that our pets may be seeking some temporary relief from the curse of sin that is upon the world. We do the same thing in pursuing happiness through television programs, movies, shows, shopping for fun, hobbies, sexual acts and fantasies, and even daydreaming. Sin tries to fool us into thinking that it has the answers, but that is lie from the master of lies. For every good or harmless hobby there is a sinful one which seems more seductive. For each pleasure given by married spouses to each other there is some sexual perversion offered by the world. Paul tells us in Romans that all of creation groans for release from the curse, and that is true of all that we see. Stars explode at the end of a violent life, the earth erupts occasionally through volcanoes and earthquakes, and even the weather often brings great violence. The signs of the curse are everywhere for us to see and all of it should point us to the great healer who came to earth to save us, Jesus Christ.

If you are traveling today, have a wonderful and very merry Christmas!


Thursday, December 21, 2006

December 20, 2006

Merry Christmas, merry white Christmas! The devotional this morning was lost in a snow bank, while I went in to work early to assist with a problem. In case you haven’t looked at the news today, we are getting a snowstorm the likes of which has not been seen out here in many years. It’s about time too! I pray that everyone drives as safely as they can and takes no unnecessary risks in this storm. We have been blessed with a big snowstorm and for those of you who don’t see it that way… I’m sorry, try to ignore me for a few days. It’s beginning to look very much like Christmas, everywhere you go… la, la, la, la! I do believe that it is time to break out the Christmas movies this afternoon.
May God bless and keep you during time!

December 21, 2006

Merry Christmas! Well, we are hung up between the City of Sidney telling us to stay home and Cabela’s telling us to try to get into work. What is one to do? Have you ever been made cranky by conflicting messages from authority figures? You want to do what is right, but two or more authorities in your life make conflicting demands or statements about what is right. Praise God that his Word has no conflicts for God is the ultimate authority on all things. There it is, the City needs time to get the roads cleared for emergency services and having another vehicle stuck on them would only make it worse, Cabela’s will have to wait. Everyone please be safe today, make the right decision about going out! Pray for those who are stranded throughout the blizzard area.

God bless you all,


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

December 19, 2006

Merry Christmas! A wonderful morning to you all, and as we are now within one week of our beloved Christmas celebration; let us pray for all those traveling to visit relatives, for those traveling for fun, and for those staying home. Some will spend Christmas in places they would rather not such as our service persons in Iraq and Afghanistan, patients in the hospital, those serving time in prison, and many others. Please pray that each of them would receive the grace of God.
It can be difficult to put in our best effort at work this week, especially on Friday. The week or part of a week leading up to Christmas is always one of my least productive periods at work. The potlucks, snack fests, and other celebrations don’t help either!
Once three wise men or kings traveled a great distance to see the Christ child; we don’t know how far they traveled or how long they were on the road. We do know they eventually found Jesus and paid homage to the new born King of Kings. This Christmas I pray that each of us would take the time to honor Jesus, our Lord and Savior, to the Glory of God the Father.


Monday, December 18, 2006

December 18, 2006

Merry Christmas! Praise unto the Lord our God! Yesterday I saw a group of women on Love Worth Finding sing Carol of the Bells, and the rendition was as close to perfect as we will find here on earth. They must have practiced that for hours. What is more they sang it a cappella, something most of us find very difficult. Sorry, the shower doesn’t count, that is an accompaniment! I have tried a little a cappella singing around the house every now and again. Don’t believe the story about the neighbor grabbing his rifle to finish off the wounded moose; it is completely unfounded. The Bible tells us to make a joyful noise unto the Lord, not a perfect one!
Speaking of perfection, we, or at least I, have often thought that I am not doing well in my Christian walk. The question would be, “compared to whom?” Don’t look at that person over there, or those people at church. Our only standard should be Jesus, and all of us will fall short. God has accepted us based on the righteousness of Jesus, not on how well we are doing. If God only made acceptance based on our own goodness, there would be a lot empty mansions in heaven since no one would be there. Trust in Jesus Christ, believe in Him and you are saved.

Hallelujah for the saving grace of Christ!


Sunday, December 17, 2006

December 17, 2006

Good Morning and Merry Christmas! The whole world trembles at the imminent coming of our Lord Jesus Christ! We shall see him soon. Our hope and our joy rest in Jesus and the promises He has given us. One promise that many looked forward to for centuries involved the many scriptures promising a savior, the Messiah. We live on the other side of that promise; Jesus has come to earth, died for our sins, and returned to take the place of honor beside our Father in Heaven. Jesus lives in our hearts, guiding, directing, and giving us the strength to endure. One day when every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord, there will be a group who cannot wait to run to Him. We shall bow with joy in our hearts and confess with praise on our tongues! Jesus is the Messiah; the Holy Spirit grants us living proof of that every moment of the day. I have schoolwork today and still cannot find it in me to be down and depressed; praise God for the glory of Christmas!



Saturday, December 16, 2006

December 16, 2006

Merry Christmas! Have you ever noticed the attacks leveled against our faith? Of course you have, it would be nearly impossible to miss them. The world searches for a chink or a small stone that it can dislodge to bring the “castle” of Christianity down. However, that is not so easy. Our belief is based upon the cornerstone of Jesus Christ. The walls of this castle are built upon the believers throughout the ages and every stone, large or small, is held together by the Holy Spirit of God. We may feel weak and not up to the task, but the attacks are not leveled against any of us alone. Jesus reported to His Father at the end that He had not lost even one of those He was given. Well, “those” are you and I; we have been found and Jesus will not lose even one.

Jesus is born,
Jesus is risen,
Jesus Lives!


Friday, December 15, 2006

December 15, 2006

Merry Christmas! “I am what I am by the Grace of God” That is good for us to remember each and every day. If you are much like me, you have trouble with being too hard on yourself, perhaps thinking down deep that you are not good enough for the kingdom of heaven. It’s true; we are not good enough, no one is! Part of that great essay in Romans goes, “For all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” (3:23, NLT) Paul continues that it does not matter who you are or what you have done. Jesus gift of salvation is perfect, just as our Lord is perfect. Therefore there is no one who cannot be saved by trusting in Jesus Christ. There is no stamp that we can see, no letter of official pardon, no feeling that we should expect (though some do experience great relief in confessing their sins), and no ring or crown that we can wear in this world. At this time God still allows the choice of not believing. When you choose to believe in Jesus, you are putting your trust in Him. Simple, straightforward, and from that point on the world and its prince will be out to get you! Praise the Lord!
The world will come at you with well-reasoned, by human standards, arguments; movies and other media, books and articles, direct personal attack, scorn, and unbelief. Newsweek has an article on the Nativity this week, but don’t expect a rousing rendition of How Great Thou Art. The article gives credit to ancient Jewish family mores as the basis for Christianity. Okay, one more time… let’s get it straight. We do not celebrate AncientJewishFamilyMoresmas, we celebrate Christmas; the root and vine of which is Christ! I agree with the article that the empty tomb is more important. However, we find it more difficult to celebrate Easter because our King died and left us to return to Heaven at that time. Yes, He did rise again and lives in our hearts, but we want to be with Him! That is why our celebration of Easter is mixed with sadness and is more difficult to celebrate and be joyous. Wow! Praise God! I have been wondering and searching for why it is so much easier to celebrate at Christmas. It seems the Holy Spirit has granted us an insight into that this morning!

Give the gift of love this Christmas!


Thursday, December 14, 2006

December 14, 2006

Merry Christmas! It is easy for us to look for perfection in everything. A child runs up after scoring the winning touchdown and the Dad says, “That was nice, but you should have…” We look at a great painting and point out some little flaw. Like eternity, perfection is in our minds; we know intuitively what it is but cannot see it anywhere around us. Our eyes are attuned to spotting differences: the one soldier out of line just a tad, the one crooked hat on the marching band member, the one blemish on that beautiful face, or the tiny spot on a paint job. Differences and imperfections are all around us. Perhaps worst of all, we demand it from ourselves and our heroes. A pastor is caught in some sin and fired from the church; a believer sins and the world judges him or her hypocrite; nowhere, it seems, is that standard of perfection kept perfect. It wasn’t in vain that Jesus told us to forgive seventy times seven times; the stain of sin covers all except the Son. Praise God for the one example of perfection who died for our sins, Jesus. One good reason to return often to the scriptures is to see our example of perfection in action and to read his words. We will not find perfection in those around us or in ourselves, so stop trying to correct every little thing you see. For surely once your or my standard is achieved, someone else’s is surely ruined. Only in Jesus is the standard of perfection maintained and we are too imperfect to see it all. One day… one day, we will see our perfect Lord in Heaven! Hallelujah!

God bless you,


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

December 13, 2006

Merry Christmas! Often in my mind the song phrase, “Let the glory of the Lord shine above us…” will run over and over. What is that all about anyway? This morning I am thinking that one meaning is that our Lord is glorified when we act above our human nature through His grace. Without the saving grace of Jesus, we would not do many of the things we do to the glory of God the Father. Tithing? It is human nature to hoard everything to ourselves, whether it is the money or what we purchase with it. Speaking, writing, or sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ? Human nature would have us remain in the herd to not be noticed by the wolves and lions roaming about seeking to devour whom they may. In the Grace of Jesus we begin to share in our own way the Gospel, and then as we grow we share in God’s way and set aside our own way. The glory of the Lord shines above us when we act in the ways that Jesus showed us during his time on the Earth. We can glorify Him at this time of the year by celebrating Christmas for what it is; a celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior in Bethlehem. Indeed may the glory of the Lord shine above us at all times of the year, but perhaps at Christmas the secular world is paying more attention than usual. Somewhere there is an unsaved person ready to listen to some Good News. Give to them the gift that shines above us, Jesus, the Glory of God the Father.

Praise God for His gift to us!


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

December 12, 2006

Good morning and Merry Christmas! What is grace to me? In the days of yore, or perhaps only about 20 years ago, when I was well on my way as an intellectual wanna-be, I knew Christianity from the restrictions. Don’t do this; you can’t do that, etc. Number one on the list, Grace is not a list of “don’ts and can’ts.” Number two on the list, Grace is not a prescribed list of chants. The monks and monasteries had their purpose, but God would not have all of us lock ourselves away from the world and chant endlessly. Number 3, Grace is not a loud rant. I do not believe that Jesus would have hoisted a placard and yelled into a bullhorn. Isaiah 1:18 says “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (KJV) Jesus reached out to even the Pharisees with reason and patience. Number 4, Grace does not condemn. We have the Law to point out our sins, and there are many in all of us. Grace sets us free by removing the chains of sin, not to do as we please, but rather to glorify God with our good works. Lastly, Grace sets us free from this world and welcomes us home in Jesus. When God sends out the call, whether it be the small voice calling one of us personally, or the loud shout signifying the end for all; we will come home to Jesus through Grace.

The grace of God goes with you this day,


Monday, December 11, 2006

December 11, 2006

Good morning, two weeks until Christmas Day! Listening to Christmas songs on the radio, Holly on XM 103, I am occasionally rewarded with a real gem. In her rendition of O Christmas Tree, Aretha Franklin pauses to remind us of the real reason for Christmas, the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. That should be done far more often by those who claim to be blessed. Often you will see the stars in the media acknowledge that they are blessed with a great talent, usually leaving us to guess whom they were blessed by. Some state it as though they received their blessing in some form of baby lottery and thus they owe nothing in return. The reasoning is that they did not choose to be blessed with a talent for singing, acting, or whatever, and thus they are only sharing with others to the best of their ability and gaining all they can along the way.
Jesus assures us that they have their reward. I believe that God likes to see gratitude for all of our blessings, and the more we thank Him for, the more we discover that we are blessed in so many ways. Listing our blessings is a great way to realize just how grateful we should be, and our writing or typing fingers will wear out before we can list every blessing!
Well, another piece of bad news for the 97% of people in the country who celebrate Christmas. The Sea-Tac or Seattle-Tacoma airport has decided to remove the nine Christmas trees and decorations celebrating Christmas rather than place a large Jewish menorah on display. A rabbi threatened to sue if they did not comply, and so they removed the trees. Too often we are ruled by a small percentage through the bludgeon of attorney’s fees. “They’ve darkened the hall instead of turning the lights up,” the rabbi’s lawyer, Harvey Grad said, “There is a concern here that the Jewish community will be portrayed as the Grinch.”
Not the Jewish community, but perhaps a certain rabbi… Just for that, the Christmas trees will come out in my home tonight! Praise God that we can still celebrate the birth of our Lord at home!


Sunday, December 10, 2006

December 10, 2006

Good morning, the sun is just about to rise on another fine Sunday. Christmas is but two weeks from tomorrow. I know that most of us will look forward to at least some time off during Christmas and New Year’s Day; spending time with family, friends, and most importantly, worshipping the birth of our Lord Jesus. I watched a show last night about Christmas lights and the great lengths to which some will go in lighting their house. I watched about half of the show before going to bed; assuming that they would save the best for the finale, I must assume that house has somewhat in excess of several million lights. Houses in Richmond, VA took up about half of the show, including one with more than 500,000 lights. The question that occurs to me about those very impressive displays is: does the owner remember the meaning or the source of Christmas? It isn’t Santamas, it’s Christmas and the reason for Christmas is Christ. I am glad they put so much effort into their celebration of Christmas, but I am concerned that they might lose sight of what is truly important about this Holy Day.
Thank you God for sending us a savior on Christmas Day!


Saturday, December 09, 2006

December 9, 2006

Good Morning! Christmas is just over 2 weeks away; are you ready for it? I realize that by this time we are often overwhelmed by the commercial aspect of Christmas. The sales, promotions, secular songs, pageants, and parades take their toll, and if you’re like me you might start to feel just a little unclean. Perhaps that is why I yearn so much for a fresh snowfall on Christmas Eve. A clean slate, if you will, to purify the world around us. There is only one way to fight this seasonal depressing of the spirit and that is to focus on why we celebrate Christmas in the first place, Jesus. The world has taken St. Nicholas and made a cartoon character out of him, but the birth of our Lord stands firm as the first great event of Jesus’ time upon this earth in human form. Angels announced it, a star in the heavens pointed to it, and prophecies predicted it hundreds and even thousands of years before it happened. We get to enjoy a strong reminder of it each and every year. Sometimes we say that Jesus’ death on the cross was the final event, but that isn’t quite right. We can say that it was the final event of his first life, but He rose again and will return to us one day. Do you need a refreshing change from the commercialism of this season? Find it in the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ in Bethlehem and in our heart. The love of our Lord outshines every other light that we see.

Praise God for Christmas!


Friday, December 08, 2006

December 8, 2006

Good Morning! Sometimes you have to wonder about even the best intentions of some folks. Yesterday I read that the ASPCA says that you should never put your cat out at less than 20°F, they simply are not made for the cold. My quite obviously made for the cold furball promptly gave her best “nuts to them” gesture by sitting on the ice of my pond for a spell. God created all things to suit his own purpose. We need not fear that we are inadequate for the tasks he has in store for us. We certainly are inadequate; we don’t need to fear what we already know! However, as someone once said, “I can do anything with God, that God can do alone.” God did not need Mary to give birth to Jesus; He could have created the baby Jesus, manger and all, right on the spot. God does not need us, but he graciously allows us a role in the building of his kingdom. That role will be individually and uniquely suited to just you; no one else can fill it. Hold your head up and go forth with confidence in a mighty God; the world awaits your arrival!

Have a blessed day in Jesus!


Thursday, December 07, 2006

December 7, 2006

Good morning! I gave some thought this morning, after praying for some people in need, on healing and how it has changed since Jesus healed many in his time on earth. The question foremost in my mind had to do with a seeming lack of the miraculous these days. When Jesus, and later his apostles, healed the person, that person was made whole. Lame beggars jumped up, Lazarus came forth in his grave clothes, and blind men could see perfectly. Why not now? Are we like the people of Nazareth where Jesus could do little due to their unbelief? Perhaps there is much of that in the unbelief of secular humanism, which is popular among intellectuals and those who would be intellectual, in our land today. Perhaps we simply don’t see the miracles around us or in far away lands. Many reporters will travel thousands of miles and endure hardship to photograph or televise the suffering of war or genocide. Almost none will do the same for miracles of healing in Africa. However, one reason that we may not experience that instant healing may lie in the healing of time. We have a lot going on in our minds these days. When we yearn for the simpler times of old, we are not calling the people of those times simple, but rather that circumstances did not place the burdens upon them that we face now. What an extended hospital stay will give you is a lot of time to think. The myriad worries of this world become simplified as the healing and recovery processes take center stage for many days. Gratitude pours forth to God as the healing continues in the body and mind. The miracles are still here among us, rest assured of that. During these hectic times it is a miracle to have a week, a month, or even more to heal and praise God.

May God keep you in peace today!


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

December 6, 2006

Good morning and a very merry Christmas to you! As I progress further in yet another class, I am reminded of how difficult and how joyous this life is. We know that our next life will be much better because Jesus told us so. Will we work and build things in the next life? Perhaps we will; if building or constructing something is joyous to you in this life, it will be more so when Jesus returns! On the other hand, in a perfect place with God with us in the New Jerusalem, we may feel no compulsion to build. Some mornings while writing this devotional I like to think on Heaven and Jesus our Lord. What will it be like? And of course, how soon can we go there? We all look forward to our life with Christ. That may be the real blessing in times of pain and difficulty; the joy of depending upon our Lord and Savior, and the yearning towards our heavenly home.

May the Holy Spirit of our Lord be with you this day.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

December 5, 2006

Good Morning! I once observed an older woman in a wheelchair having bandages changed on her lower legs. She cried and moaned from the pain of it each time the dressings had to be changed. The hospital staff had lost patience with her and no longer believed that she experienced the pain, but wanted only the attention from her outburst. Now I did not see the entire play from the beginning so don’t rush to blame the hospital staff. People do get addicted to the attention and can play the drama queen so to speak. However, now that it is some years later, I have often wondered what it is in our minds that makes it so difficult to believe that someone is suffering. Part of it is that most pain is fleeting, God created us with the ability to recover and heal, up to a point, on our own. Another part is that we cannot literally experience the pain of another person. A doctor, or nurse, who could empathize completely with a patient, but only for brief and controlled moments, would be a true force of healing. Jesus came to earth for 33 – 35 years with compassion so great that thousands received healing during his brief ministry. The Bible tells us that he often worked late into the night or without sleep to heal the many that came to him. The next time we see someone in pain, let’s give them the benefit of our love and believe them, even if it is the seventy times seven-th time they have cried out for us.

God bless you!

Monday, December 04, 2006

December 4, 2006

Good Morning! The great celebration of our Lord’s birth draws closer for this year. Praise the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ! The first gift given at Christmas time more than 2000 years ago allowed us to be given another and greater gift, that of grace. The time of Jesus doesn’t seem that long ago to me. Every day I can read from the Gospels and the Holy Spirit reminds me daily of grace through faith. 2000 years are spanned every time I sit down to read from the Word. Unlike a dry and dusty account of an ancient civilization or person, the Bible does not seem ancient. The Old Testament points to Christ and the New Testament springs from Him; it simply doesn’t seem as though 2000 years have passed since Christ walked the earth. There is a place outside of Jerusalem where Christ’s body lay for a couple of days. To me there is no reason to build a shrine there, no reason to make a pilgrimage, for as the angels announced to the women on that great day, Jesus is not there. He is here with us today!



Sunday, December 03, 2006

December 3, 2006

Good Morning! Believe and you will receive the everlasting grace of the Son of God! The two criminals crucified with Jesus had one last chance to receive salvation; one believed, and the other did not. It was very simple, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom,” the believer said. We do not know what kind of life this man had led, whether he was a criminal from his earliest days or merely named criminal from one desperate act near the end of his life. We don’t even know his name, only that he accepted the Lord and gave us one last lesson while Jesus still lived his earthly life. Simply believe on the Son of God. The Lamb of God soon gave up his earthly life, only to rise again on the third day in his glorious new life. The Lion of the tribe of Judah soon ascended into Heaven to claim his seat by the Father. The world now stands upon the edge of eternity, and that Lion is about to roar. We see some of the signs already; when the Lion roars, it will be the last call for all who will believe and it will go forth with great power. Praise God the time is near! Jesus will return to claim the kingship of a new Heaven and a new Earth.

Give glory unto God!


Saturday, December 02, 2006

December 2, 2006

Good morning! Some quiet time, what a luxury. I am thinking that is one thing that I do not schedule enough in my days. Not time to watch a movie with loud noises and explosions, that isn’t quiet time. No, I need to set aside a time when I contemplate God and His grace, and nothing else. A man said earlier this week that pressure is put upon us by others and by the demands of our job, and that stress is put upon us by our own worries about those demands and other things. Jesus tells us to not be caught worrying at the time of His return in Luke 21:34;
"Watch out! Don't let me find you living in careless ease and drunkenness, and filled with the worries of this life.”

It is easy to understand the part about “living in careless ease and drunkenness,” but Jesus also warned us not to be “filled with the worries of this life.” It is so easy to be caught up daily in those worries. Wealthy folks pay accountants, counselors, and office and domestic staff to worry about all of the matters we must deal with in this life. It certainly is not easy to budget time, money, and resources in this life and also manage all of the cares and responsibilities. I read in a magazine essay this week about a banker turned pastor. His wife wrote the essay and mentioned the problems that keep her husband awake on many nights. We should not have this problem, but that doesn’t stop it from occurring. Even when pastors tell us to give all our cares and worries to Jesus, they may not find it so easy to do so! There are some cares so large that perhaps we should “pray and walk away”. By that I mean that we pray earnestly to Jesus for strength and a resolution, and then we drop the matter. Let us ponder this some more tomorrow. One of my responsibilities today has crept up on me…

God loves you and so do I!


Friday, December 01, 2006

December 1, 2006

Good Morning! The stories of miraculous healing are wonderful to hear; I am always glad to read about the hand of God still at work in our world. We do not pray in vain and our faith is based on the truth of God. Does someone you know hear about miracles performed in healing and reject them as tales for the credulous? The Holy Spirit of God is not in any way diminished by time or space. The Kingdom of God is not an ala carte menu from which we pick only what we like. If someone, stranger or friend, is healed in a miraculous way there is only one thing to say, “Praise God!” Pray diligently for those who are sick, in body or soul, for our prayers are answered by a mighty and loving God.
Please don’t believe that you are some special case; that healing is for everyone else and that you were created only to suffer your entire life. Jesus came that we might have life and have it more abundantly; he does not want us to suffer, though he will allow it to help us to grow or to glorify the Father in Heaven. Sometimes we pity ourselves in our suffering and think that it is a permanent condition. You may suffer something all of your earthly life, but there will be healing when we see Jesus and that suffering will not be without reason. If by reason of my suffering a little or a lot, one person is saved by Jesus, then it is more than worth it. Jesus thought it was worth it to suffer the punishment deserved by all of us, and by his suffering we are all redeemed in the eyes of God. No we are not made to suffer; we are made for the glory of God!
In suffering or in sorrow, in joy and in gladness, we praise the name of our Lord!