Wednesday, January 31, 2007

January 31, 2007

Good morning! I checked and it isn’t extremely cold out this morning. The temperature may stand a chance of getting up to freezing today! Hoo, mercy, I feel like I am writing full time these days. This latest class demands a lot of writing. The only answer is to depend upon God for strength. Every day we get up and depend upon the Lord for many things. At times I will just thank the Lord for everything, because I cannot possibly name every good thing that He has done for me. During times of trouble, any of us may feel that our gratitude list would be quite short. However, if we sit down and honestly begin thanking the Lord for each blessing, small or large, we would be spending quite some time making up that list. Praise God for the one at the top of our lists, Jesus Christ!


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

January 30, 2007

Good morning, sorry, it’s still cold out! Suffering, what is it and are we doing enough of it? I know you have seen them too, the talking heads on television claiming that if you are not suffering for Christ then you aren’t doing enough for him. Is that true? We know from our Bible study that Paul suffered, the world hated him and his message of Jesus wherever he went. Paul also said that everyone had their own place in the body of Christ and that we all suffer when one suffers. Do our daily troubles, which seem to multiply as we grow older, constitute suffering for Christ? Should we avoid medical help in order to suffer more? The heathens, pagans, atheists, and secular humanists will also suffer medical maladies and mysteries as they grow older. Unlike those folks we have acknowledged that Jesus is Lord. We know that we will be raised up to new and perfect bodies that do not run down and break down. In that regard, we suffer daily since we do not yet have what we know Christ has in store for us. We also suffer in our souls for all the hurts of the world that we see around us. Is it any wonder that some, perhaps more empathetic, Christians cannot read the news every day? The mounting toll of misery in the world may be too much for them to feel in their heart. I know, somewhere out there is someone who just had a few “you should, they shouldn’t” critical suggestions. Remember, each of us has our place and talents in serving Christ. I may not feel the hurt in my soul as much as others and am able to watch the news each day. That may be so that I can watch for the signs and report them to you. No, I do not think we should avoid medical help and I do believe our daily suffering, in small ways and larger ones, brings us closer to Christ. Just remember that we cannot rush Christ, deliberately suffering more will not hasten our journey home! See your doctor regularly, work hard to maintain your body it’s the only one you will get in this lifetime. Above all, trust in the Lord Jesus Christ!

God bless you this day!


Monday, January 29, 2007

January 29, 2007

Good Morning!
Revelation 3:20 "Look! Here I stand at the door and knock. If you hear me calling and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal as friends.

Eh? We surrender to Jesus, he comes in and we sit down to dinner as friends! What is this? Who is this guy?

Imagine having a castle in medieval times, you have raised the drawbridge, dropped the portcullis, barred the gates, and manned the walls with your troops. The armies of the entire world are arrayed against you and your doom has come. However, just before the artillery begins firing, their general comes to the door and knocks. He promises mercy and asks to sit down to dinner to discuss the terms of your surrender. However, in the world we know that dinner will probably never be held. The conqueror will come as soon as the gates are opened, destroy the defenses and sack the castle. The defenders and innocents inside will be led away into slavery. Sounds quite familiar to us, doesn’t it?
Then there is this Jesus. We surrender to his knock and know the voice of our shepherd. But there is no discussion of the terms of our surrender, no armies arrayed outside the gate. He comes in and we sit down to dinner as friends. No surrender is so sweet as the one we give to Christ. The conqueror does not ransack the castle; he starts to clean up. A little here and a little there, a dark corner is washed with Son-shine. A little locked chest, a Pandora’s Box, in the darkest cellar is surrendered and broken open for the light to shine in.
In the tallest tower a new light shines, a new owner has taken control. Let your light shine for the world to see, for the armies of the world will not prevail against this new owner. Jesus Christ is Lord!


Sunday, January 28, 2007

January 28, 2007

Good Sunday morning! I am glad to be safely in the hands of the Almighty God of Heaven. The day is dawning and already the contrails of jets trace across the sky. I often wonder who it is that must fly so early on a Sunday morning; do they have access to a church service on their flight? At one time, I was one of those on some of the Sunday morning planes. We often drove to Denver in the dark of a Sunday morning, and took one of those early flights eastward to yet another Cabela’s location. That part of the past I do not care to repeat. Rushing about and measuring my own importance against the perceived importance of my job came to an end some years ago and I thank God for that. Too many people are still lost in that maze; if their job importance is diminished or their job lost, they are crushed. An important job is a blessing from God, but he does not consider us important because we hold an important job. We are precious to God just as we are. Jesus did not die on the cross to get us important jobs or the acclamation of man. We are so important to our God that he came down to earth in human form and died in our place. He, who was blameless, died with the sins of many upon him. How important do you feel now? I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel like the most important person on the earth! Serve well in your job, but don’t let it or its importance be the basis of your life in Christ.
This type of devotional comes almost always during one of my on-call weeks. We get the calls from those who simply must get on the network remotely at all hours of the day or night, their job is so important and by extension they are so important too. I just want to comfort them at those times and remind them that Jesus is important and where we will spend eternity is the question that should be asked. However, the moment is important with respect to their job, so I assist them as quickly as possible and pray for them at the same time. No, I did not get one of those late in the night or early in the morning calls, praise God for looking out for me, but the thought of our tender egos and how they can be damaged if we place too much weight on the importance of our jobs, came to mind this morning. The prayers of each of us for the other can help us all in this regard.

May God grant us all humility.


Saturday, January 27, 2007

January 27, 2007

Happy Saturday! May God bless you wonderfully today! Winter makes a return out here today; we did enjoy a couple of days in the 40’s. The parade of relatives and friends coming to see the new baby across the street has not abated, but that is perfectly understandable with a young couple and their first child. I don’t seem to have a profound insight today, perhaps we are simply to enjoy the morning in Christ. Often, if you or I will just wait for it, just hold off on charging madly about, we can find the peace that God has placed in our hearts. It’s right there; all we must do is stop and enjoy it. Relax the muscles, better and more importantly, relax the mind, you know that muscle that is always churning, wondering what it has forgotten or what we should be doing. One morning, one afternoon, even a whole day; we should perhaps just not do anything but meditate on the Lord. Eat well, play some good hymns or other Christian music, and for a while just stop thinking and worrying about all that must get done.

May God grant you his peace this day.


Friday, January 26, 2007

January 26, 2007

Good morning! We have been blessed with some nice days lately and some of the snow has melted. This winter, I don’t expect that to last however. Friday always seems to bring a bit of relief, at least for those of us on the Monday to Friday work schedule. Whatever day begins your “weekend” it is nice to sit back for a little while that morning with a cup of your favorite beverage and take the time to think. You may notice that my writing on pausing to think, or meditating, or quiet Bible study comes around every 6 weeks. I will admit to that! There is nothing quite like the hectic pace of the “on-call” week to bring peace and quiet to my mind. I am not one of those who thrive on being rushed; I am happy for those who enjoy and thrive on a hectic pace. We are all different and I am not ashamed to admit that I don’t do well in a rush and am not good at multi-tasking. That makes it all the more amazing to me that God can multi-task endlessly. He knows everyone who has ever lived and is alive now. He knows where they are right now and where they will be at the time of the judgment. He knows each and every baby that will be born between now and that great day when Jesus will return. Multi-tasking? God created the word! If anyone in their pride thinks to set themselves in God’s place; they should really give that responsibility some careful thought. I have already admitted my shortcomings in that arena, but will the world wake up and realize that only God can be God? Praise and glory to His holy name!


Thursday, January 25, 2007

January 25, 2007

Good morning! Why do we like to read the Word of God? Perhaps one reason is the unremitting news of violence and hatred in the mainstream media. The latest issue of Newsweek arrived yesterday and this morning I see an essay by a woman who felt great relief when her husband died from an auto accident, more coverage of the violence in Iraq, the kidnappings in Missouri and other places, and a roundtable interview of a bunch of actors. The world will eat it up, I wanted to go right back to the Bible. How depressing our news is these days. In this we look to the Word. What would the world think of the “peace of God which surpasses all understanding”? It doesn’t understand of course. Sometimes in writing about the news of the world, I must step back and think on that peace and let it wash over me. Even the secular folks know how depressing the news is, but they don’t do anything about it. We can spread the Good News, and is it now any wonder that Jesus called it the “Good News”! We know that the world will most likely continue to get worse and that the news may become more graphic in all of its worst aspects. Read the Word of God and rejoice in his Good News. Be a light in the darkness confessing the incredible love of Jesus. Hallelujah!


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

January 24, 2007

Good morning; and a nice one it is too! I notice in the news today that one of the first responders to the 9/11 World Trade Center attack has died in New York. It is interesting that neither the Gulf War Syndrome nor the health problems of the 9/11 workers are officially recognized. It seems there was some correlation between chemicals in Vietnam and illness also that our government did not want to recognize. Hmm, do we see a pattern developing here? Now we have this movement, spurred on by the ACLU, to have the government not recognize God or the Bible. A connection perhaps, it is difficult to tell. There is a connection though; the prince of this world does not want compassion, love, or belief in the Lord Jesus Christ to spread. Any tactic that he can use, you could say any lie that he can use, serves to divide the world. Jesus said that a house divided cannot stand, and we know this world will not stand. Jesus said that he came to bring division, but “divide and conquer” came from someone else. This power in this world does not want to see a government or corporation who will take responsibility for its mistakes, which might make people start to believe in God. He doesn’t want to see us love each other as Jesus commanded. Most definitely he does not want a government to worship God first and serve the people second. I think he is quite close to getting what he wants in our government, and that is a government that serves itself first. Perhaps I am overly pessimistic about our government. I still think America is the best nation to live in among those on the Earth. However, it is difficult not to look forward to Jesus’ return and the abolishment of sin. By that I mean that we should not look past our current situation for we are here to spread the Good News. Look forward in hope to Jesus’ second coming, but love those who are here now and participate in our government, especially with a vote.
Now that my political stumping is done for the day, don’t think that we are alone in this world. The Lord, our God, is with us constantly. We need have no worries, mate! Yes, the state of the world does seem to be getting worse on many fronts and rapidly to boot, but God is still in control of all Creation. Nothing escapes his attention and he is never busy elsewhere. Trust in the Lord and rejoice in Him.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

January 23, 2007

Good morning! When Jesus spoke of how difficult it is for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God, I thought that he may have had talents and physical attractiveness in mind also. We have all known someone who grew up as a physically attractive person. From their youth people complimented and flattered them until they were convinced of their own physical beauty. Talented people can fall into the same prideful trap. The world seems to bow at the feet of these people of talent and beauty in many cases. However, we know that God doesn’t even want this world; there will be a new heaven and earth when Jesus returns. Why would we want the world at our feet when it will be gone on that great day? Jesus also promises that from whom much is given, much will be expected. Are you blessed with talents or beauty? Don’t wait for or expect the world to bow at your feet, as the angels did when people tried to worship them, point to the Father and let them know to worship only him. All of us have beauty and talent in Christ Jesus, we must use it to worship God the Father and bring glory to his name. If a person is given nothing in this life, then it follows that God will expect nothing from them. However, I don’t believe that is ever the case. Everyone has something to use to the glory of God.
It is easy to dwell on past failures and defeats; trust in Jesus and you will not fail. Always remember that no matter what it may appear to be in this life, the final judgment rests with God. Efforts which may seem wasted from our point of view may prove otherwise when shown to us from God’s vantage point.

God bless you this day!


Monday, January 22, 2007

January 22, 2007

Good morning, we are one in the Lord! Did you ever get up in the morning to see a score that seemed a bit odd? I am speaking of one of the football games yesterday and though the exact score is not important, it is fun to try to figure out how they arrived at an unusual score with football’s odd scoring system. When you don’t see an entire game things can happen which change the final score. When Jesus died on the cross, the game appeared to be lost to the disciples and Jesus’ followers. They fled to their homes, some went back to fishing, and there may have been some who ran for days. Jesus told them exactly what would happen and they didn’t stay for the final play. Owing to the eyewitness accounts and the Scripture, we know the final score, Christ won! However, like my football game yesterday, we don’t know what happened from the time Nicodemus and Joseph placed our Lord’s body in the tomb and that glorious morning when Mary discovered the empty tomb. Suddenly the world beheld an odd score in the greatest of games. How did what appeared to be a great defeat turn into the greatest of victories? Our Lord showed himself to one or two, then more, and finally hundreds saw him alive after he had clearly been dead and buried. Our Lord is the risen Son of God, the Messiah! Jesus may tell us what happened during that time when we see him again. If he does not, I don’t think that we will mind. Just to be with Him in paradise will be more than enough.


Sunday, January 21, 2007

January 21, 2007

Good winter morning! Once more we seem to be in a snowstorm; it feels a little different to have a real winter. Snow drifts and cold temperatures, the winter conditions are just what we expect from Nebraska in January. We prayed for snow this winter and the Lord has answered in a wonderful way. I realize that some of you may want to toss something at me right now, but I do enjoy the winter… usually from inside my warm house. J
What goal is worth our effort today? In the larger picture our goals are the same; to glorify God through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, and to spread the Good News of eternal life through the Son. However, the tasks we have, the privilege of serving our Lord, is different for each of us. One might be called to speak with co-workers, one to minister in a church, one to be a healer, one to the mission field, and many other ways to serve the Lord. All of us are still here for a reason; I truly believe that God will not leave us here for one moment longer than necessary to complete His work in us. We already know that Jesus died and rose again for us; a love that could not be contained in a grave. We should also know then that a love so great will not let us suffer without cause.
Why the gloom today? I woke up with a headache, and it hasn’t gone away just yet. It is always easier to write about suffering when I am, well, suffering. These things shall pass, but it is comforting to rest in the assurance that the Lord may have sent this little bit of suffering to me for this very purpose. To write about it and to rest in his grace so that someone else might be comforted. How can my suffering reach someone else? By letting someone know that he or she is not alone in the trials of this life. In the world the sufferings are the product of chance or fate; in Christ, we know that all of this happens for a reason. Every event, each decision in our life presses on toward the goal of Christ returning in his glory. Not every thing we suffer is a punishment, most of it probably is not, and so we rise up even in suffering and sing praises to the Lord. Please know that I love you and even more God loves you. Hallelujah for the Son!


P.S. … and one might be called to write a little devotional each day, or even a bunch of best-selling novels, even on the days when it is difficult to write. Praise God for the privilege.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

January 20, 2007

Good morning, it is a fine Saturday morning on the plains of Nebraska, at least the plains that I can see from here. By the way, the weather folks predict snow showers for tonight, just thought that I would let you know that winter is still here. I heard this week that the mayor of Denver had asked for snow clearing advice from the mayor of New York. It would seem that in the past 20 years of mild winters, Denver has forgotten how to clear their streets. They are not the only ones, go out and try to buy a snow blower around these parts! The cats are amusing themselves in the living room; from the noise you would think an all out war is in progress, but only their morning play time. I have on occasion hurried out there from my writing, thinking one or the other of them in imminent danger based on the racket produced, and every time they will be looking at me as though nothing had happened. It makes you wonder if in our pleading and crying to the Lord, if perhaps he doesn’t take some of our noise with a grain of salt so to speak. Some of the problems we face do indeed take care of themselves in time. While I don’t say that we should cease praying over them, we do need to realize that waiting on the Lord is one of the answers that we will often receive. “Peace, have patience, and wait on Lord,” is advice we often see in one form or another in the Bible, God’s Word to us. It can be so very difficult to just wait on that trial to pass. The world is a forge and the Lord will heat us up from time to time. One day he will be able to see his own perfect reflection in us and then we will be ready to come home to the place he has prepared for us. Until that time, patient endurance will often be the answer we receive to some of our desperate cries and pleading. It is not for me or you to decide which times those will be so continue to bring your requests to the Lord with persistence. Have the courage to ask others to pray for you and be willing to pray for them. Share.

God bless you this weekend!


Friday, January 19, 2007

January 19, 2007

Good morning! The light and the life lives in our hearts today, may you feel the love of Jesus every day of your life. In speaking with a friend and mentor the other day, I commented that with a real winter upon us for the first time in many years the onset of spring fever in March or thereabouts could be a real monster. As far as winters go, we have been spoiled by mild winter for some 20 years, and now the adjustment to continued cold and snow on the ground may cause us to long for the springtime with a bit more, all right, a lot more intensity this year. In this same way, the trials and tribulations of this life cause us to long for the springtime of Jesus’ return to us. How much do you look forward to the Second Coming now? When the great trials come, you and I will look forward that much more, yearning toward our Lord with joy in our hearts. Daily we hear of those we love enduring the trials brought on by living in this world; accidents, medical problems, wars, famine, catastrophic events, poverty… the list can exhaust a person simply by trying to write it. Remember the promises of Jesus and place your trust in the one who makes all things new.

God bless you this day,


Thursday, January 18, 2007

January 18, 2007

Good morning! All of us have within that old sin nature a tendency to hoard and not to share. Today let us look at sharing as a part of our journey toward the Spirit-led life we now desire. We can set our mind at ease that somehow the Holy Spirit or the Good News will run out, like some kind of big tap with a limited tank. No, there is more than enough of the Holy Spirit to fill every heart who will invite him in. There is plenty of Good News, more than enough for every one. We can ask for a double helping of the Spirit of God, and he will gladly give it to us, praise God! In this life, we often must hold back from double helpings of the things we enjoy. In the Spirit we can have more and never get over-filled. We can get more of God’s love and never fear becoming burned out or jaded. Hallelujah, give us more of the love of Jesus, grant us more of the Holy Spirit! All the Lord asks is that we share. Why would that be so difficult? We point to a rich man and say that it is easy for him to be generous, he has more than enough. Exactly! It is just the same with the riches of the Holy Spirit that God has poured out upon us. Share and enjoy the wealth of the Good News of Jesus! Give all that you can of the love of Jesus and you will receive more than you can imagine in return. Dance for joy, we are rich, rich, rich! How shall we spend the wealth of the Spirit today?

Share the wealth of the Lord, feel the love of Jesus!


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

January 17, 2007

Good morning! Yup, still cold out, but at least it is colder in Fairbanks today, like it should be. I learned yesterday that the son of our friend Kevin will be entering the United States Marine Corps in July. We are proud that a young man has chosen to serve his country and pray for his parents who will be watching anxiously for his turn to serve in Iraq. There is much doubt and second guessing in America these days about our mission or purpose for having our sons and daughters in Iraq and Afghanistan. Certainly wherever our forces go in these countries, they win the peace for a short time, but they cannot stay and we don’t want them to be there forever. Once again it is proven that you cannot bring more than a temporary peace to an area where many do not want it. At home, where the support and lifeline of our sons and daughters in foreign lands must come from, we must remember the power of prayer. If God wants peace to settle like a blanket over Iraq, it can happen in a very short time. I do not know what will happen, the prophecy of future events is not my gift. However, the signs are many and I think that our presence in Iraq and the overthrow of Saddam’s regime are big steps toward the new Babylon which will arise near the end. Of course, that schedule is in God’s hands and “near the end” might mean another thousand years from now.
We must be ready every day to see Jesus coming in his glory. This can be difficult with the many cares and demands of the world, but once again it is the power of prayer that will see us through until the great day of the Lord. The fellowship of small groups of Christians, or larger groups if you prefer, helps us to remain faithful in this world. Our fellowship allows us to both give and receive comfort. Praise the name of the Lord Jesus! When all seems so cold and dark around us, the word of God will sustain us. That word is best when it is shared.
I’m rambling on a bit today, sometimes that happens. Perhaps on some days, God just wants me to talk to you through this e-mail. Praise God for the Internet.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

January 16, 2007

Good morning! We may see a high temperature in the 30’s today, what a change! However, we should be praying for many out east who are suffering through ice storms. Some days a lightness of joy comes upon me. Is there a good reason for it, with all of the bills, demands for time, and work that must get done? In the light of those things, no, but in the light of Christ, very much so! We are not as fools who ignore their obligations, but neither should we dwell upon them. Sing praises to the Lord throughout the day; songs that you know or even make up one of your own to write down for all of us to enjoy. I think the Lord enjoys our songs of praise to Him. He needs no flattery, but when we think upon our Lord and his many blessings, we are not thinking of sin and this world. Every moment spent in praising our Lord Jesus, is one less spent in the gloom of this world! Hallelujah!


Monday, January 15, 2007

January 15, 2007

Good morning, the cold is still with us today. Yes, it is still warmer in Fairbanks than it is here. Often in this life as we grow closer to Jesus, things will seem backwards from what we think we know. What about those finances? The world would teach us to hoard and invest all that we earn or at least as much as possible. Jesus told us to give away the first ten percent, a tithe, of what we earn. Eh? How do I make my money grow by giving the first 10% back to God? That’s what happens to us in Christ. We give our tithe both as a sign of our faith that God will take care of us, and to support the ministers, churches, church workers, and the worship leaders, who help us to grow and have a place to gather in worship of our Lord. Of all the commands in the Bible, tithing is the one the Lord specifically challenges us. Bring your tithe to the church and see if the blessings do not flow back to you many times over, to paraphrase the verse in the Bible. The actual verse is found in Malachi 3:10 and goes like this;
“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do," says the Lord Almighty, "I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won't have enough room to take it in! Try it! Let me prove it to you!”
Give it a try, the Lord tells us to test him in this.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

January 14, 2007

Good morning, yes it is still quite cold out here and snowy as well. I hear this morning that Dr. Kennedy suffered a heart attack on Dec. 28th and is recovering. Almost daily, if we care to see it, we are reminded of how fragile and short this life is. I do not doubt that Dr. Kennedy hoped this event would be his orders to come home to be with Jesus forever. Just as all of us hope to go home soon, he may be a bit disappointed that this was not “it”. Only a little more than a year ago we saw Dr. Rogers called home and just a couple of months ago an auto accident nearly claimed a young lady near to us. The media delights in reporting deaths worldwide of people whom we do not know on more than a daily basis; now that we live with the speed of the Internet and 24 hour news channels. Often one of the most depressing facts of this life is our powerlessness to ease the suffering of death and injury… or so it seems to the world. In Christ, we know that is not a fact at all. We have direct line to the sovereign Lord of all Creation. Any time, any place, we can pray to the Father in heaven for those we love, even the ones we do not know. The Bible tells us that the prayer of a righteous man has great power. The Bible uses “man” in this case as short for “human” so that includes all of us! “Wait a minute,” you might say, “I cannot claim to be a righteous person.” No, none of us can claim that on our own, but God imputes the righteousness of Jesus Christ to all of us, that is how we are saved. We certainly cannot arrive in heaven on our own merits, not one of us. Claim the righteousness of Christ by following him and send up those prayers for each other and those we love!

Praise God for the power of prayer!


Saturday, January 13, 2007

January 13, 2007

Good cold morning to you! I checked and winter is still very much here. Ice flows on the windows speak of some serious cold outside, but the fresh snowfall is very beautiful to look at. Praise God for the warmth of our homes today. Sorry to tell you this, but it is 10ยบ warmer in Fairbanks, AK right now. We love the people of Fairbanks even though we probably don’t know a single one of them. Love like that is something the world simply cannot understand. Oh, it will throw the word out there; a star might gush how he or she loves the fans, while the bars, fences, gates, and alarms of his or her mansion send a different message. Let the warmth of a Holy Spirit-led heart show the world what love really is. Individuals yearn to make a difference in the world, but Jesus did make a difference. He did not just talk or dream about it; he made changes unlike any person before or since. Through you and I, he can make changes to the world of one or more people. Perhaps a neighbor, a friend, a relative, or a complete stranger, any one of them can be encouraged by a smile or an honest “how are you this fine day?” Many desire an ear that will listen and a heart that will hear what they are saying. You do not have to be a bold door knocker to reach people for Christ. Jesus may have given you a talent for listening; perhaps people come to you with their problems without an invitation. Thank God for that gift and ask for his wisdom that you might ease their burden for a time until they can cast it at the foot of the cross.
It is not surprising to me that when I start writing about the love of Jesus that I feel more and more of his love myself. You just cannot give out the love of Jesus without receiving more in return. When we give of our time and money, we often hear that little whisper from the old nature about how we could be doing something else or spending the money on fun, but in giving love there is nothing for that old sin nature to counter with. Our sin nature and the devil himself cannot comprehend the love of Christ since it goes directly against pride. You cannot be full of love and pride at the same time. I speak of that pride which would have us set ourselves in God’s rightful place, the sin of the devil. You might be full of love for your child and be proud of the child’s accomplishment at the same time. The pride that says, “I am God” does not allow for love and certainly does go before the fall. There is only one God and his place is not one that any of us are qualified to stand in. God, our Father in heaven, whom none of us can ever match or replace in any way, whom none of us can truly comprehend or understand, loves us completely. Rest in that thought for today!

God loves you and so do I!


Friday, January 12, 2007

January 12, 2007

Good morning and it is cold once again. Europe may be wondering where winter is, but we have the answer to that question! Rain or shine, hot or cold, God is with us every moment of the day. This week in Bible study we discussed the very dramatic moment when God confronts the prophets of Baal who worked for that infamous woman, Jezebel. God only sent one prophet, Elijah. We remember the incident fondly because it is one moment in history where God very plainly showed great power and great gentleness and control. You will recall that the fire consumed; the sacrifice, the wood, the stones of the altar, the soil, and all of the water. Yet Elijah, King Ahab, and the people of Israel standing nearby were not harmed at all. The Baal prophets were harmed later, but that wasn’t directly from the fire. I cannot help but contrast with that one great sacrifice which occurred on the cross hundreds of years later. Jesus could have performed a similar feat while hanging on the cross and if the party most deserving of sacrifice had been consumed in fire, it would not have been the Son of God who was consumed. However, from the Bible we know that it didn’t happen that way, Jesus went quietly to his execution. He even told Peter in the garden at his arrest that he could call down 12 legions of angels to defend him, but declined to do that so that the will of the Father might be served. We owe much; we owe everything, to Jesus our Lord. The true strength of his sacrifice lies in both what he did for us and in our place, and in what he did not do that he could have done. May God be forever praised for the gentleness of Jesus our Lord.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

January 11, 2007

Good morning! Glorious and great is our Lord Jesus, may his name ever be praised! One of the qualities most sought after in a mate in this lifetime is dependability. We also look for that same quality in our friends and co-workers. One thing you do not want to hear in the back channels of gossip is that someone, whom you are counting on, is not dependable. This is simply another way of saying faithful. It would be even worse to be the one who everyone else warns others about concerning your dependability or faithfulness. In this life, we may have too many jobs or tasks assigned to us, or have taken on too many projects, leaving us victim to that charge of being the one who cannot get the job done. One of the most difficult things to do in this position is to say “help me!” In Christ we are given a heart that wants very much to be dependable and faithful; you might say that our heart is now full of faith! Your boss may not know that you have been overwhelmed unless you tell him or her how extensive the problem has become for you. Now this is not a tactic to “dump work” on others, but rather when you have so many tasks or projects that you do not know which way to turn and feel yourself spinning in place accomplishing nothing, it is past time to let your boss know that something is wrong. I received advice to that effect which, once taken, brought the extent of the problem to light and allowed our team to make adjustments before it became catastrophe.
At one time this kind of advice would have run against the grain of my pride. However, Jesus takes our learned heart and gives us the heart of a learner. Now I would rather treasure the advice of those who know or have been given special insight by God. This is not to say that we stop thinking in Jesus, but that we learn and weigh carefully the advice we receive against the scriptures and our own learning. The accumulation of knowledge is good for us if, and only if, we seek Jesus first. For as Paul says, “...and if I knew all the mysteries of the future, and if I knew everything about everything, but didn’t love others, what good would I be?” Knowing Jesus better and having a close relationship with him is the key to learning how to love. Loving others helps us to listen to them and to consider carefully their advice.
Before we knew Jesus, we were but blind sheep going this way and that. However, in Christ our eyes and ears are opened to the sharing of our insight with each other. Praise God for the love of Christ and his Christ-ones!


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

January 10, 2007

Good morning! I must go in a bit early today, so I will use that as an excuse for any nonsensical words or phrases that might appear in today’s writing. I have heard that 2 – 4 a.m. is one of the times of deepest sleep in the daily cycle, which might explain the arrival of first babies, cat burglars, and drunken driving problems that all occur about that time. For me it just means that it will be difficult to stay awake for a while and then I will be ready to sleep at 6:00 p.m. Disruptions to the daily routine in some areas can make us out of sorts for the day. Did you ever wonder about the timelessness of God? He is not limited by daylight and darkness, the need for sleep or rest, or that thing on the wall ticking away our life. We pray to God constantly, even if we are awakened early in the morning. However, try that with a friend or e-mail pal in China or Japan right now. No answer? Your friend may be snoozing through the Asian version of the late show. We no longer need to wait for a priest to make the weekly sacrifice, nor do we need to make an appointment on Outlook or with an executive secretary; God is listening no matter what time or date it is in our lives. The Holy Spirit is ready to converse with you or me throughout the day and night. While we should schedule or take time to get away to a quiet place and pray, we can also pray any time or all of the time. God has the ultimate open door policy!

Send a note of thanks to God some time today!


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

January 9, 2007

Good morning! Last night I read in John about the discovery of the empty tomb where they had laid the body of our Lord. John 20:7 struck me as worthy of some discussion. “…while the cloth that had covered Jesus' head was folded up and lying to the side.” Imagine awakening in the morning, it is dark, you’re sleepy, and some inconsiderate lout has wrapped a cloth around your head. It would be a cause for some alarm and you would of course grab the cloth off of your head and fling it to the side. However, the disciples arriving at the tomb see the head cloth from Jesus body folded and off to the side. What does that say to us?
For one thing I see that our risen Lord did not rush; he folded the cloth as one might do who awakens very relaxed, knowing the cloth is there and is not a cause for panic. Another point is the absence of daylight. We read that Mary of Magdala arrived very early in the morning; which is to say that Jesus arose in the dark. Our Lord could perceive his location in the dark tomb and the environment about him. I don’t say “see” since we, in our worldly state, would need light to see how to fold a cloth and place it to the side. Jesus did not need light from the Sun or Moon to move around in the dark tomb. From this I would reason that Jesus did not awaken in a panic, flinging off the grave clothes and bonking his head on the ceiling as you and I would surely have done upon awakening in a dark tomb. Therefore, since we know that Jesus died at the cross from the witness of the professional soldiers, the Romans stationed at the place of execution. We also know that Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus carefully placed his body in the tomb and rolled a stone across the entrance. This does not point to a man awakening from a sleep, but a dead body coming back to life by the power of God. Jesus left the tomb in the proper time with rush and no fuss. And what about that 75 pounds of embalming ointment, myrrh and aloe, Joe and Nick used to cover our Lord. When Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene, the Bible does not say that he appeared naked and dripping with embalming ointment. Mary did not say, “Teacher! I’m glad to see you, but you could really use a bath.” No, our Lord’s glorious presence did not appear marred by the lingering effects of what had gone before.
Later, Jesus appeared to Thomas, the doubting one, and commanded him to place his hand in the wound in Jesus’ side and to believe. So we also see that Jesus returned, not with scars of a healed injury, but with the actual wounds in place. However, in this life a wound such as Jesus suffered would leave one of us gasping on the ground in shock, and we most certainly would not invite someone to stick their hand in it! Our Lord did not bleed after his resurrection, nor did he heal the proof of his death on the cross, yet he lived. This cannot be explained in our human, worldly terms. I believe it is exactly what was promised in prophecy and by our Lord himself, a miracle of Creation changing proportions. All of the Old Testament points to the Messiah, all of the New Testament springs from the Messiah. The resurrection of our Lord is the miracle around which everything changed forever.

Ponder the resurrection today during a spare moment.


Monday, January 08, 2007

January 8, 2007

Good morning! Praise the Lord and give thanks for his blessings. Lately, in preparing for a literature class, I have been reading some of the written works of the colonists of North America. I am glad to see that many of them give thanks to God for their new home, often in spite of severe hardship. What is interesting to me is the account of Anne Hutchinson and her trial. We hear the Covenant of Grace ministered often these days and may perhaps assume that it has always been so among Christians. However, that is not true of the Puritan communities in early America. Anne Hutchinson received a sentence of excommunication from those same communities and eventually died in an Indian attack. At that time she enjoyed the distinction of being a woman who disagreed with a bunch of male ministers. Looking back from our present time, we would also say that she enjoyed the distinction of being right and those who sent her packing as wrong.
The Puritan communities endured many hardships in the early days and the Covenant of Works may have been a strategy for survival. However, that would show a lack of trust in God to provide for their needs. Anne Hutchinson also enjoyed the blessing of a very sharp intellect and this may also have intimidated the men of that time, just as it could even now. It is possible that now or in the future we too may be persecuted by those we call friends and neighbors. If we receive persecution because we follow Jesus, then praise God for our being counted worthy to receive it!

Walk with Jesus today!


Sunday, January 07, 2007

January 7, 2007

Good morning, praise God at the dawning of a new day! Why does it seem that we need to be reminded, often, of who it is we belong to and how we are not limited by our own strength? The old sin nature wages war on the new nature granted to us by Christ. Throughout our lives we will have that negative reinforcement thrust upon us at the most inopportune times. When does that sin nature tell you that you are going to trip over your tongue and blow it? Right before you are to go on stage to make a presentation or speech of course. When does the sin nature tell you that you can’t do a task? Right before you begin working on it and certainly right before it is due. Procrastination is probably nothing more than the sin nature telling you not to start because you are sure to fail. In Christ nothing could be further from the truth! You may not succeed on the first try and you may have to practice for years to become proficient at your chosen task, but Jesus will strengthen you to complete the task and complete it well.
All of us have our work, our tasks, assigned by God to accomplish during our lifetime. The first task is usually finding out what the other tasks are! We may not know what our final task is until the end; God may not burden us with that knowledge. Can you imagine being saved at 22 years of age, just out of college and ready to take on life, and God sends an angel with a list of the tasks you must accomplish in this life. That list might overwhelm you or it might underwhelm you, to make up a word for today. You might stagger under the weight of the burden or be stopped short with a “Is this all?” on your lips. In either case, Jesus holds our list and lets us know through the Word of God that we are not to do our work alone. Jesus and you or I will do the work of God; none of us can accomplish anything on our own. Indeed, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” Philippians 4:13


Saturday, January 06, 2007

January 6, 2007

Good morning! What is the acclaim of humans? It is a fickle, dishonest, and even a dangerous thing. We have seen media darlings driven to extremes by the attention of the public. We have seen dictators plumb the depths of depravity through their own exalted position. What drives them to this extreme? The public adoration of a person, the disobedience of God’s commandment “Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” is what causes a person to become what they should not be, a person conquered by pride. In the New Testament we see Jesus acclaimed by the people of Jerusalem as he rides into the city on a donkey’s colt. That same week the fickleness of public acclaim is shown in many, perhaps all, of those same people crying out for his crucifixion. Less than a week and they wanted to kill the one they had acclaimed as Messiah. We also know the modern world can point no fingers. In place of God, the modern world would have politicians, CEOs, athletes, television and movie stars, rock stars, and in some cases, even those dictators. Many of these people have real talent, and there is nothing wrong with that, but to worship them is sin. Many of these people, which the world would honor or acclaim, represent some of the worst of our sinful nature. A movie star may represent vanity and lust, politicians are expected to lie and disparage their opponent, CEOs are known for their greed, athletes for their pride, rock stars for their excess of all kinds, and of course we seldom hear of a benevolent dictator. Our worship is a privilege in this life and the next, and it should only be given to God, our Father in heaven, as Jesus commanded us to do. If we believe in Jesus, we will do what he told us to do, love God with all of our heart, our soul, our mind, and our strength.
God has given us a great gift, our love and worship, and they are intertwined. We can bestow our love upon this world, worshipping those things the world loves, and die with it; or we can love and worship God, and live with his Son in the place he has gone to prepare for us. Does that choice seem so difficult now?

God loves you! Remind yourself of that several times today.


Friday, January 05, 2007

January 5, 2007

Good morning, let the glory of the Lord shine upon us! Cats and dogs are much like children in their knowledge of time. Everything is now. Sometimes we might envy them as we worry about tomorrow; knowing well that Jesus told us not to do that. We have been given human brains to think with and a soul to fly above the small worries of the day. Turning our eyes to Jesus allows our soul to fly above the mud and muck of daily life. Thinking of Jesus allows our brain to rest from the constant noise of the time on earth. By noise I mean the sensory overload we experience much too often in life. If you live in a household with a spouse and several children you know even better than I about the sensory overload of life. Work places have become notorious for demanding too much in too little time from all of us. Driving somewhere is no longer a good way to relax; the amount of traffic and the price of vehicles and fuel has given us more worries. Relax with a good movie? You will probably see someone or something blown up, crashed, wrecked, shot, or otherwise hurt or destroyed. Where is the answer to all of this? Jesus and the Word of God is the answer to life’s pressure. Take the time to read in the Word daily. Spare some time at work for a walk outside with a friend. Breathe deep and meditate on Jesus for a few minutes. If your work day is like a barn flattened by a tornado, shelled by an artillery battery, and then run over by a train, you might want to try some more Jesus in your day. We can gain the comfort of the Holy Spirit at any time, simply by asking.

May God grant you His peace.


Thursday, January 04, 2007

January 4, 2007

Good morning!
“I know very well how foolish the message of the cross sounds to those who are on the road to destruction. But we who are being saved recognize this message as the very power of God.” (1Cor 1:18, NLT)
From the moment the Good News went out to the world there were intellectuals ready to pounce on it. When we hear a new idea, which does not agree with what we “know”, it will sound alien or stupid in our ears. Our hearts and minds are opened to the teaching of Jesus when we accept and believe on him as Lord. That same mind of ours will also become less credulous toward the ideas and beliefs of the world at large. In this manner a Christ-one, a Christian, is indeed intolerant. Our Lord told us that He is the way and the truth; therefore we are intolerant of the many “ways” the world presents to deceive many people and the relativistic “truths” the world says are equally credible. The world would have us love all “ways” as equal to our own, but that isn’t what Jesus said to us. The world would have us be tolerant of those who are different from us; no problem, Jesus told us to love our neighbors as ourselves. The world would also have us to keep quiet and not spread the Good News lest it offend someone of another belief. Sorry, Christ told us to take his message to everyone in every corner of the earth. The prince of this world would have people remain ignorant of the Good News. That prince will use everything in his arsenal to prevent the Good News from being heard.
Have you ever witnessed to a doctor, someone with an MD after their name? Many believe already, but what about that one who says “I have never seen a miraculous healing.” Who does that sound like? Remember the 1st Century Jewish religious leaders and the “show us a sign”? Would that doctor believe even if he or she did see what could only be a miracle of healing? If the doctor had already rejected the Good News then more than likely he or she will find some rationalization to prevent his or her belief. Another case of a hardened heart or mind is that of the learned person. A learned person is anyone who already knows all there is to know in their own opinion. At that point they can be taught nothing and will cheerfully point out the flaws, as perceived by their own intellect, in your witness.
It can be difficult to minister to a scornful, laughing world. However, Jesus met the world’s scorn and unbelief first; he will give us the strength to endure to the end and gain the victory. Praise God for the way, the truth and the life, our Lord Jesus Christ!


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

January 3, 2007

Good morning! May the everlasting grace of our Lord Jesus surround you with love on this fine day. I read some small part of the writings of Anne Bradstreet the other day, including the poem she wrote after her house burned to the ground one night. Praising God after a tragedy may be one of the more difficult things to do in this life. However, it is from the tragedy of our old life that Christ ransomed us. Tragic events in our life, though painful, can remind us always of the one who died for us. Is there a time for sorrow? Most certainly and Jesus will be right there grieving with us at those times. The Good News is that Jesus will bring us through those times to the shores of that blessed land which he has prepared for us to the glory of God, the Father. Times will come when we may not feel that the great day of Jesus will ever arrive, not unlike a child prior to Christmas. We may not look back from that day, but if we did we would certainly realize that Jesus meant what he said, “…Yes, I am coming soon!” (Revelation 22:20, NLT)

Amen! Come Lord Jesus!


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

January 2, 2007

Good Morning! The New Year really begins for many of us today as we struggle to get back into that daily routine. Others will get back into the routine tomorrow when the kids return to school. Yes, I must return both to class and to work today; praise God for that! I had the privilege of listening to two wonderful testimonies on Sunday in church. That is one thing that I cannot recall ever happening on the television church services. I have learned much from watching 3 or 4 sermons each week, but it seemed to me that something was missing. That missing part is the personal interaction, the give and take we get from fellowship with other Christians. Yes, the Lord can teach us through television or radio ministries, local ministries, and most importantly, directly from His Word. However, I was told the time had come for me to get back into the live services and Bible studies right here in my own town.

God is with us in this new year; reach out to our Lord always.


Monday, January 01, 2007

January 1, 2007

Happy New Year! We will be hit with many New Year messages in the coming days, mostly from places hoping that you will spend some of your hard-earned money at their place of business. The holidays are coming to a close one more time and it does cause me a bit of a sad feeling each year. Holidays and celebrations here on earth always come to an end, as do the difficult times, but one day we will see the beginning of a never ending celebration. Jesus will return to create a new kingdom. As this New Year begins, we should resolve to spread the good news to everyone on earth. Yes, it will be difficult for any of us to visit more than 6 billion people in one year, perhaps even impossible. Therefore we will need to work together and trust in God. Does it seem that all tasks are just too big for us? It does to me. Even with the technical wonder of e-mail and the Internet, it just doesn’t seem possible to get the word out to 6 or 7 billion persons on the planet. However, that is happening through the many Christian television programs, Internet sites, e-mail devotionals (hey!), and radio programs. Everyone will have access to the Word of God at some point in the near future. 2007 could be the year that Christ returns! Every year since the middle of the 1st century someone has said “this could be the year!” and that is still true. We don’t know when Christ our Lord will return, we just know it will be soon. Never give up hope and rest secure in our faith, the Lord Jesus Christ is coming quickly!

I pray that you have a wonderful year in 2007; God will bless you in a wonderful way!