Thursday, January 31, 2008

Believe and Obey - January 31, 2008

Good morning! There are two words that go hand in hand if you will in our daily walk with Christ. Believe and Obey. To grow in the Word, and to grow closer to Jesus we first believe, and then to show that belief, we obey. An example in the Word shows us a group who believed and then threw a big party because they thought Jesus was coming immediately. However, they were soon set back on the straight and narrow with a stern letter from Paul. We first believe, and then we obey. I don't think that either part is easy. The world aligns itself against our belief in Christ. Our lusts of the flesh rise up against our obedience. We do have one great advantage, the Holy Spirit in our hearts, the one named by Jesus as "the Comforter". I think that Jesus might have given the Holy Spirit many titles, but he chose the Comforter. This cannot be for His benefit and therefore must be for our own. We need a Comforter in this world. When the world throws out evidence that Christ was just a man or didn't really exist, the Holy Spirit will point out passages in the Word or even in historical literature that show Jesus is and was much more then just a man and that he did really walk the earth as a man. Trust in Jesus, the Comforter is very good at reminding us of who Jesus is, if we will listen. Our lusts of the flesh are powerful, but we are allied with the Creator of all things. Seek His peace and ask for His strength to overcome the lusts of the flesh.

Tomorrow I will be taking the day off from work to do my taxes. The day should be interesting!

God bless you all in Jesus name!


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Rebellion - January 30, 2008

Good morning! Have you ever felt a sense of rebellion? In this world, that is supposed to be "cool". To be a rebel is to have an independence that most people do not have. However, in Christ we are to be cleansed of that rebellion, although we have a bad habit of trying to pick up that old burden. I felt that sense of rebellion this morning, and I didn't like it at all. This sense of wrongness in rebellion will grow more acute as I grow in Jesus. Just as a spouse or child comes to know that he or she is in the wrong from that look, so we come to realize more quickly when we are in rebellion to the Lord. Rebellion is sin, and we know who the first rebel was and how badly he wants everyone else to rebel against God. To be in rebellion is to be turning away from God, and that does not feel "cool" to one with Christ in his heart. With the Holy Spirit in our hearts, we don't want to be independent, for that is the way to death and destruction. There will be a lot of lonely rebels in Hell. As for me, I want to be in Jesus and have Him in me, as promised to those who will believe.

Let the glory of the Lord shine in your heart today!


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

That they will know... - January 29, 2008

Good morning! Have you spent a paycheck on Girl Scout cookies yet? I haven't, but it isn't for lack of trying. In this world, the buying comes too easily, the paying is the difficult part, and after eating all those calories, we really pay! I have difficulty saying "no" to a child, and this is exactly what Jesus points out when reminding us of how much our Father in Heaven wants to give us every good thing. If God says "no" to us, we can rest assured that it is with very good reason and for our benefit.

What theme runs throughout the prophecies of Israel's destruction? I noticed it this morning in Ezekiel. Yes, the cause was their idolatry, but many prophecies of destruction end with the same thought... "and then they will know that I am the Lord." We can read much the same thing in Revelation and other books of prophecy. Then they will know, even in meting out punishment the Lord desires that we should know Him. Only as a last resort does God use punishment to get our attention. It may be difficult, or perhaps not, but thinking back to before the time we came to believe, did you often glibly think that some problem or condition was punishment from above? Movies often speak jokingly of God hating some character, but what if they have it backward. Suppose instead that a loving God earnestly sought our or their attention in times of trial or punishment. I know, from the revelation of the Holy Spirit, that many times God sought to turn my attention to Him, gently at first and then with more effort. I think we all know, both from the example of Israel and from our own experience, that it is much better to turn when God gently reminds us as opposed to waiting for more drastic action. I love the Lord Jesus! We believe in Him, let the day shine brightly in Christ!


Monday, January 28, 2008

The Unstoppable Word - January 28, 2008

Good Monday morning! The first weekend without football in several months, oh w.. I'm not going to use that woe word, it is much more serious than a weekend without football. This morning I had to wonder if the psalms were begun with early morning stretching. We seem to ask silly questions at times, alright I seem to ask silly questions at times, but we don't know for sure what the Lord used to trigger the writing of psalms or any other part of the Bible. Some of it may have begun as a journal, some as stories told around the fire in the evening, and some parts because the prophet or writer was specifically told to write it all down. Jeremiah dictated his prophecies more than once, one of the kings of Judah destroyed the first copy because he didn't like what it said. A person could set out to destroy every copy of the Bible in the world, and some have done just that, but the Word of God would live on. Many of us have read the Bible through, some have done it many times; if all the paper copies of God's Word were destroyed by some malevolent government, I suspect that all of us left would immediately begin spouting the Word by mouth, writing, and typing. God's Word cannot be suppressed, the news is simply too good to hold down. Every day a believer is risking a life to spread the Good News, often through copies of the Bible. We need to pray for them, even those we do not know about, so that the Word can spread.

By the way, why should we wait for someone to destroy copies of the Bible? Start spouting the Word now! Listen to the Spirit, read and memorize the Bible verses that touch your heart, and then repeat those words to those around you. Someone needs a pick-em-up word from God's Holy Word today, you may be in a position to start turning them around and away from the lust of the world. Use the unstoppable and powerful Word of God!

Have a great and faithful work week!


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Woe - January 27, 2008

Good Sunday morning! Today I wondered what is this "woe", a little word that comes up fairly often in the Bible. Searching for "woe" on Blue Letter Bible ( ) I see that it occurs 106 times in 98 verses in the King James version of the Bible. What does this little word mean that God should use it so often? Webster's says that woe is; 1. great sorrow, grief, and misery, or 2. a cause of sorrow; affliction; and trouble. While this is true from the world's point of view, to me in reading some of those 98 verses it looks more like a warning of the wrath of God. Certainly that wrath results in sorrow, grief, and misery, but God speaks of "woe unto..." in almost every case.

Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity... (Isaiah 5:18)

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; (Isaiah 5:20)

Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes...(Isaiah 5:21)

If I be wicked, woe unto me... (Job 10:15)

In looking through those verses, I can see how we can substitute sorrow, grief, and misery unto... The little three letter word is a warning from God, and a sign of the impending wrath of God. Change, repent, turn to God, or woe will come to you and you kin. Such a small word, but full of terrible meaning in the Word of God. We know that at least one more warning of woe comes near the end, when an angel will cross the skies shouting for all to hear. Revelation makes it clear that no one will miss this warning, but that many will ignore it. When looking through the incidents of woe in the Old Testament, I pray for those who will hear that warning now and understand that turning to Jesus is the only answer. Woe, the word may not seem like much out of context, but I surely don't want it to come upon any of us. Praise God for His everlasting love!


Saturday, January 26, 2008

A Healing Touch - January 26, 2008

Good Saturday morning! Today, I read what God said to Ezekiel after the intial vision. Once more I read where a prophet is not just called to spread a message, but is given the tools to perform. Magical things happen in the Bible, but why are we not able to do magic? My first thought is that God reserves some things unto himself so that we do not fall into pride. If we could heal everyone in the world with a touch, any of us would immediately rush out to do just that. However, sooner or later, probably sooner, we would fall to the adulation of the world and start thinking thoughts like, "They love me, look what I have done for them!", while failing to give the glory and credit to God who granted that healing power. Pride would have taken over and destroyed us at that moment. We very keenly feel our limitations in this world. How much more do you think the Son of God felt His limitations while on this earth? It is good that we feel compassion and an earnest desire to heal suffering in this world. Pray that God will heal and that His will be done, not your will or my will. We may not see the reason for suffering right now, but God will not let anyone suffer without good reason.

I have been praying for someone's healing, a man who has suffered much on this earth. At times I feel the helplessness of not having the ability to heal when I want it to happen, and I am sure that each of you face similar situations. In a way it is good that I wish to walk over and heal this man with a touch, to ease his suffering immediately. It is also good that I don't have that power, that the power resides in God and not me. God does not succumb to pride, whereas I need the grace of the Holy Spirit to avoid pride in the least of things. Feeling down because you and I were not born with the powers of a superman? Well, praise God that we are not secure in our own super powers! All of us will do great things in Christ, but it will be under His authority and not our own. There is no sin of pride in telling God, "How Great Thou Art!"

God's blessings go with you this fine weekend!


Friday, January 25, 2008

Stand Up! - January 25, 2008

Good Morning! What difference does belief make? Try reading the opening to the book of Ezekiel in the Bible, and then any fiction book. You can find fiction books that open similarly, even the visions of Muhammad start out in a similar vein. However, when we come to believe in Jesus, we also believe His Word, the Bible. Now when Ezekiel opens with "It was July and I was 30 years old, I lived with my kin by the river near Babylon, when suddenly the heavens opened and I saw a vision of God." You realize that Ezekiel had just come of age in Jewish society, he was going about his normal business and suddenly every thing changed for him. What is interesting is that Ezekiel is not special, just a 30 year old exile living in a foreign land with his kin folk. What happens to him is very special; he has been selected to be a prophet to his people. Many fictional works have copied this opening in some shape or form, but the character will be the special one, a hidden prince or king. Ezekiel was never special in that way; he was no hidden king, only a poor exile, a captive living because the conquering king allowed him to live. We don't believe fiction books, and while the stories may delight and entertain us, they do not hold the same meaning and feeling that the opening to Ezekiel does in the Bible. "I saw a vision of God..." Wow! How great and terrifying would that be? Reading on we see that Ezekiel fell on his face. Yes, I can understand that reaction completely. What does God say though? Did He lay out Ezekiel's sins and tell him to stay on the ground? No, God says, "Stand up, I want to speak with you." I am not quoting word for word here, only what I remember from my reading. However, the point is that God doesn't speak with him while he is groveling on the ground. We should understand that God doesn't teach us and impart wisdom to us while we are groveling in the dust; He will comfort us while we are doing that and certainly our sins will cause us to do that from time to time, but God wants to speak with us as friends and as students ready to learn what the Almighty Creator has to say. Who are we that we should deserve to speak with God while standing up? Would you want to speak with those you love while they are groveling on the ground? No, we want to see their faces and teach them gently, and that attitude comes from God. When God wants to teach us His wisdom and knowledge, He wants us standing in His love.

The love of Jesus goes with you this day,


Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Last Hope - January 24, 2008

Good Thursday morning! Ezekiel starts off with a vision that will catch our attention. Even today I have difficulty envisioning the four living beings. I wonder if Ezekiel felt a strong urge to flee when he first saw this vision. We read amazing things about the four beings; lightening flashing between them, four faces so that they moved forward in any direction, and four different faces at that. What are we to make of visions such as this? Each of us has dreams, but probably not like that. The Bible foretells that one day we will start having visions and dreams as the end times approach. That will be one sign that, if God is willing, we should rush to share with each other. When the dreams and visions arrive, we can rest assured they will contain important news and information, and not only should we share them with each other, but unbelievers as well. The end times will mean that for many, their last chance to believe will be upon them. We need to love them enough to share the Good News, you or I might be some one's last and best hope in Christ Jesus!

I realize that when you and I look at our lives, we find it hard to believe that any of us could be a person's best hope. However, we stand not on our own record, but on the saving grace of Jesus. The grace of Jesus is available to all, no matter how sin-stained they may appear to us, and no matter how good they might appear to our eyes. When the time comes to share the Word, remember that you and I do not stand alone, and it is not our skills or abilities that save anyone. Rest in Jesus and stand on His everlasting and unchanging love in your witness. Some are called to share what they know or can do in order to gain some one's attention, but all of us are called to share what Christ has done for each of us. Ezekiel had amazing visions and the endurance to suffer some difficult tasks, this was to gain the attention of many and pass on God's messages. We are called too, somewhere, sometime, we too will need to share a message of hope and salvation. Let God lead you to that place and rejoice in Him daily.

God bless you all!


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Promises Fulfilled - January 23, 2008

Good morning. Jeremiah ends with an account of the prophecies fulfilled, just as the Lord warned them. The tales are not comfortable, and not for small children, but they do show that God is as good as His Word. That gives me comfort, for there are great, terrible, and wonderful events prophesied in Daniel, Ezekiel, Revelation, and many other books in the Bible, that have not yet come to pass. We know that much of Isaiah came to be fulfilled in the New Testament with the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. However, Isaiah also foretold many greater events that have not happened yet. We can be filled with joy in reading the promises that Jesus has for us, and thinking on the great gifts that are still being prepared for us. We must warn unbelievers about Hell, but our future is not there. Many will face judgment, but our ransom has been paid. What does the world, and I will admit to it also, often do when faced with the future. Right, we or they are troubled. Last night I read an interesting passage in John: Jesus told them to not be troubled or afraid. Now I have read over that passage before and read like the many other times that Jesus said "Don't be afraid" However, this time He said "don't be troubled" also. There must be a meaning in that, for Jesus let now idle words fall in His ministry. This saying came just before Jesus was arrested and led away to die, and so I believe this is a message to be at peace about the future and our place in Heaven. Again when read in the full context we find that to be true.

"I am leaving you with a gift-peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn't like the peace the world gives. So don't be troubled or afraid." John 14:27

What a great verse, and you can read more comforting words from Jesus about the coming of the Holy Spirit and Jesus' own return in that same passage. As usual, we remember and quote one verse and it is wonderful, reading on it only gets better.

Praise God for His great promises!


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Place for Us - January 22, 2008

Good morning! The outside air is very cold this morning and I didn't want to leave my warm bed. However, my work awaits me and I am blessed with a warm house with a furnace, at least once I get up and turn it up that is. In this life we often must put something in to get a return. To warm up the house, I must first leave the warm bed. To make money you and I must go to work and put in some effort. We hear sayings like: "nothing in life is free" and others. That is where the strangeness comes into play. Salvation is free, Jesus did all the work. So how do we reconcile that with the world? We don't and we cannot reconcile that with the world. Jesus came from outside the world to perform a miracle from inside the world. Without direct, personal help from God we would still be lost in this world. Let your joy overflow, for God took a personal hand in saving us from the crushing weight of sin in this world!

It isn't your doing, it isn't my doing, it is and was God's doing that saves us from our sins. Then there was more good news! Jesus was killed by the world, and then rose again. Just before leaving this world, He told us that a place would be prepared for us. By "for us", He said that this place would be readied to receive us when the time is right. We do not know the time, but we can rest assured in the promise. We may live for today, but we also live to be with Jesus in that holy place. Praise the name of Jesus!

Enjoy God's peace on this very cold day!


Monday, January 21, 2008

Rest - January 21, 2008

Good Monday morning! Another very cold day dawns across the plains. Did you ever ask for more strength to hold Jesus tightly and not let go? I know that I have, and that shows how easy it is to forget that Jesus holds us, and nothing can remove us from His grasp. In seeking to hold onto Him, we can make the sin of placing ourselves in the superior position. Actually, we need the strength to fore go our pride and self-dependence in order to rest in Him. Our spiritual grasp will never be strong in this life; why should we want to depend on that? The Word tells us to trust in Jesus, not in our own ability or strength. Know that you and I are held in God, and that when Jesus saves us - we are saved forever.

Rest in Jesus today,


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Do Your Duty - January 20, 2008

Good Sunday morning! Feeling somewhat like a stranger, I did manage to go to the grocery store this morning, only stopping to empty the full mailbox down the street. A little less than a week of being inside my house left me feeling a bit out of place driving around town. The cold/flu bug that is going around here is difficult to shake this year, perhaps at least partly due to the quite cold weather we have experienced this winter.

One devotional last year that I wrote, spoke of the use of Bible verses out of context. Sometimes we get a message within a message and one verse will stand out from those around it. Yesterday, it was Jeremiah 48:10 that stood out from its peers. The first nine verses in the chapter speak about Moab, and the verses from 11 - 47 speak more about Moab. However, in between those verses is this one:

"Cursed be those who refuse to do the work the Lord has given them, who hold back their swords from shedding blood!"

An interesting message, and related to the verses around it, but yet not related. This verse brings some light into past darkness for me, and I would think for many veterans in every time and place. One of the big "things" that we remember from the Vietnam War era, was that of conscientious objectors. These were those persons drafted into the armed services, but that refused to fire a weapon at their fellow man. What this verse says to me, is that if we are called to serve in the armed forces, or even law enforcement, and we then refuse to shed blood in our duty, God will not be pleased. That is interesting and probably raises all manner of conflicting thoughts in all of us. We know that many of the stories in the Old Testament speak of tremendous violence. We also remember that Jesus did not come to bring peace on his first trip. The Second Coming will usher in a period of peace and prosperity, but not before more violence occurs.

All this violence! What does that mean when we look at the Sermon on the Mount? There is no conflict; the Sermon addressed personal ethics. Certainly we are not to grab our sword and go whack our neighbor. However, in a time of war we may be called upon to take up the sword to defend our nation. That may seem like a fine distinction to make at first. However, in the case of murder, the person must decide that on their own. In the case of serving your country, the person does not plan to take life. Police officers do not go on duty hoping to shoot someone, and few yearn for peace more than persons in the military, but each may have to employ a weapon with deadly force in the pursuit of their duty.

Heavy thoughts this morning to be sure, but it seems that the military personnel serving in Iraq and Afghanistan are sometimes forgotten for long periods. We do need to remember that they are over there defending our country and doing a difficult job. Pray for them daily and that peace will come to the Middle East.

God bless you and your families!


Saturday, January 19, 2008

Angels - January 19, 2008

Good Saturday morning! A title often used in Jeremiah and other places in the Old Testament is "The Lord of Heaven's Armies". Today, I couldn't help but wonder who makes up those armies. Anyone who has served in the military on this earth knows that armies and navies are made up of individuals, like you and me. Does that mean that heaven's armies are made up of believers who have died from this earth, or are they angels, cherubim, and seraphim? Are all angels the same? Do they all have the same abilities and authority? Only a few angels are named in the Scriptures, Michael and Gabriel are two that I can recall. When Peter takes out his sword in the Garden at Jesus' arrest, he is told by Jesus that twelve legions of angels could appear at His command. Do those angels have names or are they multi-purpose angels? We do not know the answers to all of these questions, and may not know until we see Jesus in Heaven. What we do know is that true angels of the Lord do not want any personal glory. If any do appear bearing messages in the Scriptures, they often say, after "don't be afraid", to worship only the Lord.

Pondering angels can be a fun Saturday activity, and I need to dig into the scriptures to find out more about them. An activity of this type is where a good Bible companion study, concordance, and dictionary can come in handy. There are many whom God has called to spend their lives studying the Scripture to produce these works that will help you and I in our Bible studies. I suggest that we make use of the service that God has provided and get some of these tools for our study.

Have a wonderful Saturday in Christ Jesus!


Friday, January 18, 2008

Who's Who? - January 18, 2008

Good morning! I am still recovering from this quite nasty cold thing that has a hold of me. Today's devotional from Pastor Rogers is one of my favorite. Most of us could probably make the "Who's Not" list, and it always gives me a chuckle to read that one. I remember the "Who's Who among..." lists that came out, for all I know they are still published. I didn't make the one for seniors in high school, or college, or any other Who's Who that I know of. My life has been just plain interesting without that and I suspect there are more interesting adventures in store for me. If I ever do make a "Who's Who" list, please forgive me, I can only say "It wasn't my fault!"

Reading today in Jeremiah, I came across a lengthy prophecy against Moab. The Lord had much to say against this people, but at the very end a couple of lines stand out. The Lord promises to restore a remnant of Moab. Just like that, after pages of testimony and judgment against Moab, there is a promise to restore the remnant. We don't know who this remnant was, perhaps a family devoted to God in spite of the idol worship all around them, or even a town who still believed in God. However it came about, and unlike other nations who were totally destroyed, someone in Moab was not forgotten by God. We can take comfort in the fact that God does not forget even one faithful person, no matter how surrounded by idolatry that person may be. Remain faithful and trust in the Creator of all. The Lamb's Book of Life contains the only Who's Who list that really matters!

God bless you this fine Friday,


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Built on Sand - January 17, 2008

Good morning! The air is cold outside this morning, and I am still fighting a cold inside. Speaking of fighting, the Lord does not seem to be overly concerned with what the military calls operational security. I read in Jeremiah this morning the prophecy to the Egyptians about their coming battles with the Babylonians. Nebuchadnezzar might have wished for surprise when he attacked Egypt, but the Lord speaking through Jeremiah, spelled out everything. As I am sure that Neb' came to realize, when the Creator of all promises victory there is no need to worry about keeping anything secret. We know that the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar did roll over the Egyptians and the last worldly hope of the Judeans was washed away like the sand on the beach. Do you suppose Jesus had this example in mind when telling us to build our hopes upon the Lord and not to be like the foolish man who built his house on the sand? The Judeans had been warned several times to trust only in the Lord and to return to Him. They trusted in the Egyptians, we can only wonder why, and they too were flattened by Nebuchadnezzar's armies. Neb was described by God as "my servant, Nebuchadnezzar" That is not a good sign when the Lord is speaking about your enemies on this earth! Yes, if the Lord is referring to a nation's enemies as His servants, that nation may want to be taking a good look at their relationship with God, because something isn't right. There are things in America that are not right at this time, we too might receive prophetic warnings if we don't continue to trust in God and obey Him.

I pray that you have a wonderful day in Christ Jesus!


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Let it Go - January 16, 2008

Good morning. Today I will do something nice for everyone by staying away from them. Yes sir, it's cold time here in my household and this is one of those things that are not nice to share with others. Today I read the second installment of the Lord's message to those Judeans who decided to kidnap Jeremiah and bring him along for the trip to Egypt. As we have come to expect, with no repentance, the prophecy of disaster remained the same for those people. This example turns out to be one of the worst times of rebellion for the Israelites. This group not only intended to continue in their idolatry, but after hearing from the Lord one more time to lay aside their idolatry and worship only the Lord; they quite plainly stated their intention to continue their rebellious ways. A dark chapter in the history of Israel, telling God flat out that they did not need him. We must learn from this example. Oh, I don't expect that any of us have told the Lord to get lost in plain language, but it can be easy to try to retain control over one area of our life, in effect telling the Lord to not touch it. We are called to give up everything in our life, and only then will we find true life in Christ Jesus. Where in your life is the Holy Spirit putting His finger on a spot that remains unrepentant? We have been trained to be self-reliant in this life, giving up our efforts can be difficult. I know that if I give up my effort in one area, the Lord will provide another area to put my effort to better use. We need not fear that stepping out of the way of the Lord will leave us with nothing to do!

Praise God for the work and the Word!


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Accepting the Love - January 15, 2008

Good morning! It got me, yup, that old bug going around finally got ahold of me. I shall stay home today to get over it.

Today I read about Jeremiah's message to the remnant in Judah. They came to him, asked him to pray to God for them, and vowed to obey whatever the Lord told them. However, later in the book, we find that this group had no intention of obeying the Lord. Wow, coming to the Lord with a vow on their lips and a lie in their heart! It doesn't seem very wise to us, yet look carefully at your life and you and I may find the same kind of behavior somewhere. All through the story of the early Israelites we often read examples of what not to do, and we marvel at their disobedience and punishment. Later we read about them doing something similar, usually idolatry, and suffering for it yet again. We marvel and ask, "How could they?" and turn away from a close, and uncomfortable, examination of our own disobedience.

When we do finally face our own sin and disobedience, we find reason to marvel even more as the love of the Lord Jesus then becomes greater in our hearts. How could He love us in the condition that we often find ourselves, that of disobedient sinners? Jesus died on the cross for all those sins, we need not hold onto them. Bring them to the cross and leave them there. None of us are perfect, all are born sinners and all of us need forgiveness and God's grace. None who ask will be turned away by Jesus. His great love conquers the bad feelings of remorse, and brings us to a new day in this life. That day begins with the realization that we have been given eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ!

Share God's joy and blessings with those around you today!


Monday, January 14, 2008

Our plans and His plans - January 14, 2008

Good Monday morning! Ah yes, the best laid plans and so on... My weekend of homework did not work out so well. That old on-call stuff caused me a lot of grief this weekend. There are times when our plans just do not happen, and we must then make adjustments. Jesus pointed this out to us by reminding us to keep God in our mind when planning something. Should I think that it was God's will that I not get my school work done this weekend? No, I don't think so. This would be a sign of the sin-stained world that we live in. Plans just don't always work out for us.

This morning I read a message from God to Ebed-melech the Ethiopian. "Because you trusted me, I will preserve your life and keep you safe. I, the Lord, have spoken!' (Jer 39:18) What does that remind you of? Yes, it sure looks like the blueprint for salvation. Read John 3:16 and note the similarity. Jesus stated quite plainly that He had come to fulfill the Law and the prophets. His plan of salvation exists to save us and that plan was prepared long before Jesus set foot upon the earth. This plan will not fail, it has the backing of the Father in Heaven and the sacrifice and resurrection of our Lord Jesus to seal the outcome. While our plans may fail, His plans do not and will not fail.

Praise God for His great plan of salvation!


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Fingering my Heart - January 13, 2008

Good Sunday morning! The day is bright and sunny outside, but still on the cold side. Lately, I have felt the Holy Spirit fingering sore spots in my heart. This is not a bad thing, but it does hurt. In our pride we want to think that we are doing well in our Christian walk. A natural inclination of pride is to try to tell the Lord, "look what I have done!" We know intellectually from our Bible reading that all human effort is pointless in the end, and that only God can save us. I am not saying that working to buy a home, feed yourself and your family, and giving to charity is pointless work, but in the end none of that can save us. Many will come before the throne of God and be sent away, all the while saying, "but Lord, look what I did for you!" Do you tithe every week, taking care to give even ten percent of the herbs of your garden? The Pharisees did, and Jesus had nothing but harsh words for them.

What I am trying to point out in this is not that tithing or giving, or doing good is wrong, quite the contrary, but that thinking that I or you or anyone else can do something for God, or to save ourselves, leads to pride. God does not need my help, but I need His help every moment of the day. God grants me the ability to work, to earn money, to give generously, to help others, and the many other things that I can do. How is it that I should have any pride when all that I can do comes from God? Yet that pride sneaks up and I have found myself coming up again and again with plans to improve myself. "I gotta do this and that, and then life will be perfect." The first thing to do will be to step back out of the way of the Holy Spirit and let God shine His light on the real problem. After that the blessing will come when the symptoms go away through the light chasing away the darkness that causes those symptoms. This is deep, and will probably take some time, perhaps the remainder of my life on this earth, before the work is complete.

God loves you and wants to bring you closer to Him!


Friday, January 11, 2008

Keeping Watch - January 11, 2008

Good Friday morning! That first full work week of the year is about to pass on by. Do you understand all that the Bible has to teach? I know that I do not, and I suspect that none on this earth have all the answers or wisdom from the Bible learned. This week I began reading an article about finding God in our hearts. The article tells us to watch, to step back from our turbulent thoughts and just watch. This method is at the heart of therapy for the mind. Journaling, keeping a diary, and noting the thoughts that cause trouble are methods of keeping watch on our minds. Watching involves both guarding against those bad thoughts and observing the effects of thoughts on our mind and body. It is too easy for me to plunge into a daydream where I imagine a very pressure-filled situation and then find the effects of anxiety coursing through my body. How did I get to that point? By not watching, and getting caught up in a destructive maelstrom of thoughts.

We may not realize at the time that we are doing this to our own self. Reading a book, even the Bible, on what to do in a situation is different from experiencing the situation first hand. Jesus and Paul both warned us to keep watch. As in anything that is difficult to do, we must practice and learn. Keeping watch on our mind and thoughts will improve with practice. That practice must come in the quiet times when the thoughts are not already too far gone into depression or anxiety. We may wonder why we are told to practice meditation, or finding a quiet place with God, every day. As with any learned skill, each of us will improve over time and become proficient at finding a quite place with our Lord, even in the midst of an intense storm of thoughts.

I pray that each of us will have time and take the time to have a wonderful and quiet weekend. God bless you!


Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Ripples of Sin - January 10, 2008

Good morning! You may notice a bit of tardiness in the devotional this morning. Yes, one more late night change intrudes into the morning routine. Even though a minor change, it still required me to stay up late. Last night we started into the study of Jonah, a short book in the Bible, but full of wisdom. Who among us cannot identify with Jonah? God called him to a mission in a far away city, exactly what many of us feared when giving our lives to Christ, and Jonah fled in the other direction. Last night I said that one of the reasons Jonah fled was fear. Perhaps that was part of it, but it certainly wasn't fear of travel. Jonah went to Joppa and bought passage on a ship to Tarshish. For those of us in the modern world that is now called Spain. In what we would call a small ship, or a large boat, Jonah took a great risk in undertaking a sea voyage of that length. Ships didn't always make it back to port in those days. At times we might fear a thing that is perfectly safe for us in the protection of God, and be unafraid where we should be. Jonah fled from the protection of God, and nearly caused the entire ship to be lost at sea.

The pastor pointed out to us how Jonah's story shows that many might suffer for one man's sin. A family could suffer when one of them disobeys God, a town might suffer from the sexual sin of one man and one woman, and a nation might suffer from the sins of only a part of the population. Sin is that way, it causes ripples of suffering to spread from the center. We should consider this carefully when in danger of falling to temptation. I have not considered it enough, I will confess that right now. Even the heathens decry the selfishness of today, and as Christians we should never be an example of selfish behavior.

Praise God for the power of His grace!


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

What is your path? - January 9, 2008

Good morning, the light of a new day arrives once more! God's way is not our way. That may cause some to stop and wonder if my train stopped a bit short of the station. However, I will stand by that statement because the Bible confirms it. God's ways are as far above the ways of man as the heavens are above the earth. You may have read a statement very much like that in the Bible. I thought of this during my morning reading. In this world, children and adults are pressured to become something. Everyone seems to want their child to be a this or a that, to hold some title or job throughout their lives. God may not want a person to be one thing throughout his or her life, or He may want them to start at a young age and become the best they can be at one job only. We cannot say what our children will grow up to become and as adults we may not find only one career that suits us for 50 years. This world likes its molds; he is this, she is that, you are a plumber, and I am a blacksmith, and we must be that for our entire life. It is quite possible that any of us may find that our calling has changed in this life. The Lord may want a person to give up a particular career and take up a different plow for the remainder of his or her time on this earth.

You may have read the books about finding your perfect career that use a parachute as their metaphor. I chose the plow to illustrate that what may seem to be an image of drudgery, walking behind a plow, is not for the person called to be a farmer. What to you or I might seem a life of drudgery, is a life of joy for the one called to that career. If you feel great stress each day at work, it is possible that the Lord wants you to be doing something else. I use "possible" in the sense that you or I may also be going through a time of testing and that we will come out the other side with a renewed sense of joy in our current career. No one but God has all of the answers for another person. Prayer is the place to start if you feel that you are not in the right place in your life. Seek God's guidance in His Word and in prayer. Speak with trusted counselors and weigh their advice in prayer and meditation in the Lord. As always this advice goes for me too.

Trust in the Lord with your life, and as our friends down under like to say, "no worries, mate!"


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Time Passing Quickly - January 8, 2008

Good Tuesday morning to you! We seem to have missed out on the snow this time, but more is on the way. Today begins my final eleven weeks of school, and that is a view to the end that is not so unimaginably long, a season of school. Time seems to bend and flex each day, week, minute, or year. From one side it appears to be very long, but looking back to the past, time appears very short and to run by very quickly. However, the distant past again seems different from our past. Ours is very quick, the distant past is very long, a span that is unimaginable to us. Time might seem slower through some periods of the past and faster at others. Our lives contain those same periods, and yet every day is the same length. A person might take a notebook and try to track and plan that time; this may help them to have a sense of control. However, that time still passes and whether that person is more effective or not, the time is still gone quickly. During a time of great stress or danger, the time may seem to slow down, but in fact that time is still going by in a rush.

Time may seem to mock our efforts, but we know that God is in control of all things. Time does not pass our God by, nor does it slip up on Him. A new year may stretch out before us like infinity, but God knows every moment of it. God knows the moment of Jesus' return, and the moment when the next conception will occur. He knows the starting and ending time of the next great war, even if that next war is held at Armageddon. And most importantly, God knows the moment that each of us will arrive in Heaven. Trust in God, our Lord for all time and who is sovereign. Let Heaven and Nature sing!

May your joy be complete this great day of the Lord!


Monday, January 07, 2008

Trust - January 7, 2008

Good morning! This morning I thought of trust. The Lord commands our trust in Him. Why do you think this is? The one sin that comes up repeatedly in the Old Testament is idolatry. This seems to anger the Lord faster than any other sin. The first commandment bans idolatry, and so does the second, and even the third commands us to keep the name of the Lord holy by not taking His name in vain. Bowing down to an idol shows that we don't trust in the Lord. The people of Israel and Judah heard it from the prophets, trust in the Lord, obey only Him. However, they continued to revert back to their idol worshipping ways and eventually the nations were lost. It appears from my Bible study in the Old Testament that we are called to trust and obey God above all else. A person will rebel against someone he does not trust, therefore obedience shows our trust in God.

The fourth commandment tells us to rest on the Sabbath and keep it holy. That too shows trust in God. Some of us think that we must work every day. "Things will fall apart without me if I don't go in on Sunday!" I have been guilty too, thinking that my writing practice, which will begin in earnest very soon, must take place on Sunday. It does not, and I need to trust in the Lord. We seem to take trust too lightly these days, much like the world takes the Lord's name too lightly. Trusting in someone that you cannot see, hear, or feel in the physical sense is difficult. Yet the very things that we can see, hear, and touch are those things that we know are not trustworthy, and that God has told us explicitly cannot be trusted. The sun, moon, and stars will not always be here, the Earth will pass away, even people and governments will pass from scene at some point. The list of things that we cannot trust can go on for pages, but we don't need to go over all of them. There is only one being to place our trust and hope in, God the Father and Jesus His Son. Jesus said it to His disciples, "You trust in God, now trust in me." and later "I and the Father are one." Placing our trust in God acknowledges Him as our God, the Creator who loves us and sent His Son to die for us. The world may tell us to trust in retirement funds, or governments, or a hoard of money and stuff, but we know that all of that will pass away, sometimes in a moment it seems.

Trust in the one true God,


Sunday, January 06, 2008

Believe - January 6, 2008

Good Sunday morning! What a glorious day in the Lord!


Jeremiah received a message, go to the king's ambassadors in Jerusalem wearing an ox yoke and tell them to submit to Nebuchadnezzar and then they would be allowed to stay in their land as slaves. At that same time there were false prophets in the land telling those same people that no one could conquer the Holy Land. We know from history that Nebuchadnezzar's armies did conquer and they destroyed Judah. The choice those people faced is the same as ours is today. Believe in Christ and be saved, or don't believe and you are already doomed.

Noah chose to believe God's message. He built an ark according to the Lord's specifications, and then he and his family entered into the ark and were saved. Jonah chose to run from God's command, but later repented and told the sailors to toss him overboard into a storm. Such a thing preceded certain death at that time, being tossed into a stormy sea was not a way to an extended life. However, the sailors and Jonah believed, and as soon as Jonah hit the water, the storm stopped and Jonah was swallowed by a large fish. Later Jonah was spat out by the fish and he took the Lord's message to Nineveh where a great revival took place. John wrote many incredible things down. He did not fear the judgement of the world, but believed in Jesus both during his time traveling with Jesus and in the great revelation given to him late in life. Tradition has it that John died of old age, the only disciple to do that. The other disciples believed and followed Jesus, and spread the Good News to the ends of the earth. A choice has been made; will we speak, write, sing, preach, share, and live the Good News of Jesus Christ? Yes, we will and may His name be forever praised!

God bless you on this fine Sunday morning. Believe, pray, and live!


Saturday, January 05, 2008

Foretelling? - January 5, 2008

Good Saturday morning. The clouds have moved in this morning, but I don't think we are expecting any snow today. The warm temperatures of the past couple of days have cleared the main streets of snow and ice. I told the cat that she might have some grass to walk on this weekend, but I may be wrong about that as there is still quite a bit of snow around. Did you ever try to foretell even the smallest thing, only to find that you do not have the gift of prophecy in that way? We are not given every gift of the Spirit individually. Instead, each of us has a gift, perhaps more than one, to share with believers and non-believers in our walk with Christ. These days it is easy to automatically dismiss a prophetic gift, there have been so many false prophets in our world. However, the Bible does remind us that in the last days the prophetic dreams and visions will return in force. That will be one sign to look forward to in those days.

Yesterday, I wondered if we do not have it easy, and are not able to realize it. We have the Holy Spirit in our hearts and, although we do have our fears and doubts, we do not know what it is like to be truly alone in this world. The Bible also speaks of a time when the Comforter will be withdrawn from the world. I think anyone on earth will know when that happens. I pray that all of us are taken out before that time, because that does not sound like a good thing! Jesus called the Holy Spirit "the Comforter" and that must be exactly what the Spirit does for us. For that reason, I think that those left here on this earth will know when the Comforter is no longer present. Frightening? You bet it is, and I don't think that we can imagine just how bad that feeling and knowledge would be. One example would be Jesus crying out on the cross, "Why have you forsaken me?" This is the same man who did not cry out through all of the terrible torture heaped upon him by the world. Yes, not having the Holy Spirit in this world should fill us with dread. Be comforted now and let that knowledge drive us to spread the Good News while the harvest is still ready in the field.

Hold tight to the Spirit of God in your heart today!


Friday, January 04, 2008

Certainty - January 4, 2008

Good morning! The first Friday of the new year, and it is very welcome too! After a vacation it always takes a bit to get back into the work week thing. I am glad to see this work week come to a close... in case you hadn't picked up on that already. Our cold spell finally broke yesterday and the snow will be going away over the next couple of days. However, winter has barely begun and I am certain there will be more snow and cold yet this season. At least as certain as one can be on this earth.

With so much uncertainty, we can lean on the solid rock of our faith, Jesus Christ, to give us our sure hope for life eternal. When Jesus walked with the disciples, they did not go hungry, either physically or spiritually. We have that same assurance and need only to believe in Him.

I don't seem to have much to say this morning, and so it is time to be quiet!

Have a wonderful Friday in Christ Jesus!


Thursday, January 03, 2008

Setting Goals - January 3, 2008

Good Thursday morning! The glory of God shines through us on this fine day. Goals, the favorite subject of a new year. At work and in our personal life we are encouraged and even commanded to set goals. Usually the personal goals are encouraged and the work ones are commanded. Some of us have trouble because we set unattainable goals, too ambitious or too difficult. This can cause us to give up in defeat. Like a bad estimate from management, the goal is where the problem lies and not the attaining of it. A person might set a goal of walking to the moon. If that is simply a measure of miles walked in a lifetime, then that goal is fine. However, if the person means to actually walk from Earth to its satellite moon, through space, that would be a goal that probably won't happen anytime soon. We were not created with the ability to walk away from the Earth's gravitational field and cross the airless void between the planets and moons. Our goals for the month, year, or longer, must be realistic and attainable. Some goals may need the help of friends to attain. We may need encouragement or even someone to walk with us in reaching for a goal. Opening a business on your own has some advantages, but it may be good to look into starting with a partner.

Pastor Rogers left some good words of advice on goal setting for us and there are other sources of knowledge on goal setting. Setting bad goals is discouraging, setting good goals is encouraging. We need the wisdom of our Lord when setting our goals for the year and our lifetime. "Where do you want to be in five years?" is a favorite question of managers and bosses. That is also a good question for our Christian walk. Where do we want to be five, ten, or twenty years from now? Those questions can be very difficult to answer. At the age of 25, I can recall that I did not know where I wanted to be at 30, 35, and 45 years of age. At that age, I know that I was not asking God to reveal His plan for my life, and that probably had a great deal to do with why I did not know where I was headed in life.

It may take some time for you to discover your purpose in life. I pray that you will discover, if you have not already, through God's guidance, His will and purpose for your life.

Have a wonderful day in Christ Jesus!


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Starting a New Year - January 2, 2008

Good Morning! Today many of us begin the new working year, though it will probably seem little different from the old one. Jesus brought us the new covenant, and every moment we are renewed in Christ. Daily we ask for forgiveness, and daily God lifts us up and puts aside the sins from before, even the ones we bring up over and over. Starting a new year is a good time to put aside the sins of the past. We should learn from them and desire to never sin again, but forget the guilt and shame. Those sins are forgiven.

You will notice that this was dispatched at the regular time this morning, and yes, I too will be returning to work today. There is much to be grateful for at the dawning of this new year. Resolutions will occur and be put into action or discarded as we deem necessary, a new chapter will open in Bible study next week, and there will be someone new in our lives. Somewhere and at some time during this year, a new person or persons will come into our lives. What shall we tell them by our actions and words? At the very least, I want he or she to know that my life has been given over to Christ. I think a good start will be in a friendly greeting each morning. I know this can be difficult at work, but that is one good resolution for this new year. I bet keeping that one will help me as much as it does the other person.

May God keep you in His love this new day!


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Year's Day - January 1, 2008

Happy New Year! Did you stay up past or until midnight to see the new year in? I did not, and I probably won't next New Year's eve. The new year looks much better in the light of a brand new day. This morning, I couldn't help but think that someone would be having a parade, and it finally and belatedly came to me that this is the day of the Tournament of Roses parade in California. Yes, I am not always swift of thought first thing in the morning. This is why I like to eat breakfast and do some exercise before trying to write the devotional in the morning. Should I take the opportunity to jump out of bed and run to the computer first thing, the devotional may have more than a few strange thoughts bounce through from time to time.

This new year, what will it bring for me? I do resolve to start my writing practice in earnest. This is due to the fact that I have 11 weeks of college left, which starts next Tuesday. Yes, that means that more time can be devoted to the many things that I have put aside to complete my degree. Way back in the day, or more than three years ago, this devotional started going out to just a few folks at the Cabela's corporate HQ. My vision is to work on the spam issue so that everyone who wants to receive this can do so. When college ends, I also want to put more research into the devotionals, and that includes adding more Bible study in small groups. I do apologize, but you will hear more about the college course work coming to a close this year. It has been a long and tiring journey!

God bless you this fine new year!