Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap for Joy! - February 29, 2008

Good Leap Day! Today we celebrate leaping for joy in the Lord Jesus! In the secular world, Leap Day is an acknowledgment of an imperfect calendar. It seems that counting the earth's rotations does not make for a perfect year. Does that mean that God's creation is not perfect? No, but we do know that it is stained by sin, and we simply do not know how far and how deep that stain goes. As we take today to get our calendar back on track, think of the one who is perfect. When Jesus arrived on earth, the day became special as Christmas; when Jesus died, the day became special as Good Friday; and when Jesus returned from the grave, the day became special as Easter. One perfect man walked the earth for a short time many years ago. The world became a better place because of Him, but He went to prepare a perfect place for us. None but God know the timing of His return. We rest in the promise and revel in the possibility that any day could be that day. Could it be today? Could it be tomorrow? Yes and yes. Rest and wait in the ever loving embrace of our Father in Heaven.

Have a great Leap Friday!


Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hurting Parts - February 28, 2008

Good Thursday morning! Jesus is Lord! During the morning check-in, one troublesome appendage wanted to remind me that it had been hurt and that arthritis was a good possibility for today. It struck me that every day, Jesus gets up to hear the morning report from His body, that's us the Church, and hears how much we are hurting every day. As is the case in our own bodies, He has the appendages that hurt more than others and those that complain more than others. Today, I resolved to be less of a complainer. Yes, there will be mornings that I hurt more than others, and I'm sure that you know exactly what I am talking about. However, we don't have to be the squeakiest wheel in the body of Christ. Awaken to some cheerful music, get one of those light machines, or think about Jesus and His wonderful promises to us, but get up with praise in your heart and on your lips for the new day. In Christ, we have this split personality thing going on. Each of us would like to go to bed peacefully and wake up in Heaven with Jesus, but we also want to live a bit longer and spread the Good News to those living in darkness. We must wait patiently for Jesus to call us home, and in the meantime... rejoice and live in Christ!

What a wonderful Savior we have in Christ Jesus!


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Trust in God Only - February 27, 2008

Good Wednesday morning! I pray that your day starts wonderfully! Did you ever receive good news that you were not expecting? Doesn't that good news make you day a bit brighter, the week go more smoothly? We hold a great Good News, the very best Good News for a trembling world. Many times I have noticed that we live in a fearful world. People, strangers you meet, do not expect kindness like they once did. We are much more likely to be greeted with suspicion and dread than in times before. Now political pundits might think that makes me conservative, wanting to go back to the older times, but that isn't true. Christ-ones do not fit the molds offered up by the world. We want what Jesus has in store for us on that great day of His returning. Go back? Never!

There seems to be lots of bad news about our economy lately; although that isn't much of a surprise. We know already that we can only trust in our Lord. There are no powers or principalities of this earth that we can trust. Pray for our country, government, and economy. The more we trust in God, the better our nation will become.

God bless each and every one,


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Steering the Ship - February 26, 2008

Good morning! In reading Pastor Rogers' devotional this morning, I am struck by the symbolism of the helm of a ship. In the past I have written about turning the wheel over to Jesus and letting Him steer the ship. Perhaps that analogy is not quite correct. You may have been on a boat or ship before, one large enough to have a crew that is, and noticed that the Captain is in charge, but he does not actually steer. Looking at our lives in this manner, we make Jesus the Captain, but we are still steering the ship. We have the freedom to steer to port or starboard, and how fast to set the throttle. The speed of the ship is determined by the throttle and by the currents of life. As we grow in Jesus, it becomes safer to set the speed higher, but we may instead set it more slowly at times. Where does the Captain come in? We listen to His commands and steer in the direction that He tells us to go. Jesus alone knows the way to that port we seek, a home in Heaven with our Lord. Under our Captain, we may still deviate from the course from time to time, and He allows us that freedom. What happens though, is that we quickly come to realize that His way is best and His course the straightest, shortest route to our destination. Jesus points us to still waters at times and helps us to hold the wheel through the rough waters of this life. In a storm, He might tell you to go below and rest in Him. While we are responsible for holding to His course, or the consequences of trying one of our own, He is responsible for the safety of the ship and for getting us home to port. Rest assured that Jesus will bring us home; He has already reported in to His Father in Heaven that not one has been lost. What a blessed assurance!

Praise Jesus for this new day in Him!


Monday, February 25, 2008

Reason with Him - February 25, 2008

Good Monday morning! Back to work once more... actually work has called several times this weekend so I have not been entirely "away" from work. Ah, those on-call weekends! This is my last one in college though, the time approaches. After all my complaining about the non-observance of holidays in this program, the program takes one last shot at me. Yes, Easter weekend is the final weekend of the final course. I shall do my best to celebrate the Lord's great holiday anyway. Unfortunately, the last course is all about ethics, and not quite what is taught in the Bible. Who gets credit for ethics and ethical reasoning? Why human thinkers do of course. Ethical reasoning is separate from religion; the class text states it plainly. As for me, I shall look to the Bible first and listen for the Word of the Holy Spirit in my heart. Paul stated it long ago, God has written His Word on their hearts. In speaking of those who have not yet heard the Good News, Paul told us that they already know the basics of right and wrong. It was not human thinkers who started ethics, but the Lord Himself. In classes such as this last one, I always like to remember Isaiah 1:18, "Come let us reason together, says the Lord, though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow, though they are red like crimson, the shall be like wool." The Lord knows how much we like to be thought reasonable, and He invites us to reason with Him.

Praise God for the day!


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Light in the Dark World - February 24, 2008

Good morning! In going through the list of editor's book picks on Amazon this year, I see some disturbing selections. However, I am very much against censoring any of them or telling anyone they cannot purchase any of those books. Seldom has any good come from banning a book. On the contrary, a ban will usually garner more attention as people who would normally have ignored it, suddenly are curious and want to see what has caused the ban. Many Christian apologists will read atheist books to answer questions they will receive about those works. This doesn't mean they will be converted or are losing their faith. Those who are new to the faith should not jump into reading these works as the authors can be quite persuasive. Even those who have grown in Jesus must pray and seek guidance in the reading of the worldly texts that are available.

I did read The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman, and the warnings you heard before Christmas when the movie came out, are well-founded. If you let your child read the trilogy, or read them yourself, you will want to discuss the writing with your child or your pastor. There is a lot of anti-Church, naturalistic, and humanistic symbolism. The atheistic one, Mr. Pullman, does mention God a few times in the novel, though no credit is given to the Creator as you or I would give. I have heard that the remaining two novels in the trilogy get worse in their atheistic intent. In light of the warnings and the first novel, I suspect that I will find that to be true.

The world seeks to drag us down into the pit and the prince of this world is our primary tempter and accuser. We need Jesus now more than we ever have as the world spirals down to its destruction. There is good news though, Jesus is more alive and real to many people than in the past few decades in America. Whether in small churches or in mega-churches, many will hear the inspired Word of God this morning and welcome Jesus into their hearts. It may seem dark, but there is an unquenchable light shining brightly in us.

Praise Jesus for His holy light,


Saturday, February 23, 2008

For Our Benefit - February 23, 2008

Good Saturday morning, and a bright, warm morning it is! The time has moved right on by me this morning; it is almost 1000 already. Wal-Mart has been enriched a bit by my arrival there this morning, perhaps I can give a little back to the Lord as well. The funny thing is that the Lord gives me all I need to produce this devotional or any other good work that I can do; how can I possibly give back what I didn't have on my own to begin with? :-) In many forms of belief or religion, there is a reward for work, behavior, or time spent in that religion. When we are saved, Jesus tells us quite plainly in Matthew that He has gone to prepare a place for us in His Father's mansion. There is no minimum requirement of money given, hours volunteered, time spent in meditation, or any amount of effort. Our reward awaits us without our having lifted a finger in effort. Even in keeping the Law, it seems that no law is given to benefit God at all. Eh? How does that work? When we have no other gods before our Father in Heaven, we benefit. When we avoid debasing ourselves by bowing down to some graven image, we benefit. No murder, theft, or adultery? All of us benefit from that. When we love each other God doesn't become better off, but we surely do. Loving God with all of your heart doesn't make Him bigger, better, faster, or more powerful; it makes us trust in Him more, all to our benefit. More often than not, you will see religious systems set up for the benefit of the older practitioners, some unknowable deity invented by men, or the religion itself. In Christ, everything is for our benefit, not in selfishness, but because of God's grace. All because Jesus loved each of us enough to die in our place. Kind of hard to suffer from pride in light of all that!

Praise God for His love on this fine Saturday morning!


Friday, February 22, 2008

Let the Sun Rise on Today - February 22, 2008

Good Friday morning! I am happy to be here with you on this new day. What has God done for me today? Well, let's open the 'ol mind up and take a look. I was able to get out of bed today. That may not seem like much, but there are many who will not rise this morning, some from the inability to do so and others from having passed on during the night. I fed the cats today, many in the world cannot feed themselves this morning, much less a couple of pets. I can see the dawn breaking in the east, some folks cannot see at all. The furnace is running, making the house warm, something that many would like to have during their winter and cannot afford or simply do not have. I am typing this message on a PC, not a given even in the wealthier countries. As always, I have much to be thankful for, not the least of which is a good job to go to this morning. Yes, I quite agree with you, there are some days that I am not as grateful for my job as I should be. :-) Those days of testing do make me closer to Jesus. Too many times, particularly on those tough days, we do not take the time to be grateful. The song about listing your many blessings is a good activity to engage in, and like you I sometimes get caught up in all that is wrong, forgetting what is right. Today as the sun rises in a clear sky, I didn't immediately thank God for that, I thought instead of the approaching time change and started grousing about that. Yes, why did Jesus tell us to worry only about today? One reason I just demonstrated, letting the worries of tomorrow spoil a perfectly good sunrise! It is on days like this that I wonder, "when will I ever learn?" Thank God for the healing and teaching power of Jesus!

Have a great weekend in our Lord Jesus!


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Getting Dark - February 21, 2008

Good morning! I am trying to find everyone on the list again... more of those troubles with spam notices. The final course has begun! The end of college looms ever closer. This class covers ethics and critical thinking. The college "take" on ethics will be interesting as compared to Jesus' commandments on ethics as told in the Sermon on the Mount. The class texts are not anti-religion, but neither are they written by believers from what I read so far. That to me is more dangerous than the blatant anti-religion humanist texts. The more skilled and cunning the lie is, the more others might be taken in by it. We do know that the world will become very secular in the last days. Signs are everywhere around us, and I don't think that I need to point them all out to you. I think that all of us can feel the end approaching, even those in the secular world. We see the rise in the value of the Euro, perhaps a sign that the new empire of Rome is returning to power. I say "perhaps", but I feel more urgency than that. The season grows late, great events are happening, and the speed of life grows ever more hectic. Do you remember the old, "please allow 6 - 8 weeks for shipping"? You don't see that very often any more; we expect same or next day shipping with delivery to our homes in a few days at most. For a fee, you can have some things delivered to your house on the same day. Through the Internet, I can have a gift delivered to Joe Bob in Miami this afternoon. Incredible speed is possible these days.

Whoops, I said that I didn't need to point out all the signs and then dove right into listing some. :-) Must be the late night I had yesterday. You may note that I am running about an hour late today. I couldn't sleep in as much as I would have liked, even to the point of waking up on time. Pastor Rogers used to say that "it is getting gloriously dark [in the world of today]" I like to remember that when I read the news reports and editorials these days. It may be getting dark in the world, but the Light of the World is in my heart.

Praise God for His Holy Light!


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Healing and Forgiving Lord - February 20, 2008

Good morning! Do you ever stop and take an analytical look at what you or others have done for as long as you can remember? This morning I began doing that for no apparent reason. Questioning the status quo is something that happens to many of us, and it is not always a bad thing. Certainly unchecked questioning and experimentation with a group of people or properties that you are responsible for should not be undertaken and could cause serious harm. However, questioning and seeking counsel may bring something to light that is actually harming yourself or others. It was not that long ago that doctors were handing out prescriptions for anti-depressants with unchecked enthusiasm, and the patients were getting younger and younger. Suddenly, it seemed, some tragedies started to appear and someone else began questioning whether such a habit was good for anyone, much less toddlers and babies. Almost no drug is a panacea, but many have been prescribed that way. I am picking on doctors and drugs as an example, but there may be habits that you or I have that are harmful to our own selves and that may need rethinking.

As I grow in Christ, it seems that my mind is opening to new possibilities. I know that the intellectual establishment would claim credit, after all I have been in college for three+ years, but that is only part of the overall improvement. Much opening of my thoughts has also come from writing this devotional each day, and from studying the Bible morning and night on a daily basis. Introspection has also provided new ground for rearranging old thoughts and habits. I have often wondered what meditation is, having never seen a satisfactory explanation, and I now think that thinking and concentrating internally, without the roiling cloud of emotion, has much to do with meditating. Another part of meditation is thinking, even arguing in your inner dialog, on God and Jesus. Listening is a third part, not empty-minded openness to any influence, but listening for the encouraging, correcting, uplifting, and need I say - loving - voice of God brings the very best in wisdom. Like any skill, meditation takes practice, as does studying the Word of God and analytical introspection of our thoughts and desires. Practice never sounds like much fun, and it isn't always fun to come face to face with an urgent desire to sin, the calling of the flesh. However, like medicine, if we can't name the disease, it is much harder to confront it. Let Jesus lead you and me to confront and renounce those sins. We will be better for it and Jesus is ever ready to forgive and heal. Read the Gospels and see how many times they speak of His healing and forgiving, and they were all people just like you and me, sins and problems by the score.

Praise God for the healing and forgiving promise of our Lord Jesus!


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Faith in Jesus - February 19, 2008

Good Tuesday morning! Rough day yesterday, but that doesn't mean that today will be the same. Each morning we get up in faith, go out in faith, and come home in faith. You can be secular about it and say that we believe our house will still be there, that we will still have a job, or some other temporal belief. On the other hand, we can go forth believing in Jesus, in His sovereign power and grace, and in His saving Good News for all to hear. Better yet, we can have faith that God is taking care of all of the above! We can go to work thanking the Lord that our workplace still stands and that our life will show His glory, and we can come home believing that God has a house set aside for us both here on earth and in His home in Heaven.

Throughout the Old Testament, we see that God says, "then they will know that I am the Lord" This often follows a prophecy of destruction and war, meaning the losing side of war. If we don't come to know the Lord in peace, He will make His presence known through conquest. The prophecies of the Old Testament are quite similar to those of the New Testament. Does that surprise anyone? No, for we know that our God has not changed. Only the grace of Jesus gives us life. Praise God for the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus! Much of the earth does not know the tread of war right now, but the signs show that the end is near. We do not threaten anyone, but we would have them to wake up and see that Jesus loves them... before the worst begins.

May God have mercy on us all,


Monday, February 18, 2008

Thank You - February 18, 2008

Good morning. The time is a bit earlier than usual today; I have a couple of switches to install early this morning. I asked today for a message of gratitude for you. Each morning I like to start off the devotional with a prayer asking for a message of love, faith, and hope to send out. However, today, after a night of odd dreams, I asked for a message of gratitude. Terrors may come in the night, anxieties by day, but our Lord remains constant. The night is not dark to Him; the day holds no worries. Thank you, Lord, for loving us and granting us the many things that you have given us in our lives. Thank you for your Holy Spirit in our hearts and for the food on our tables. Thank you for the love that rains down upon us and reigns over us. Thank you for our nation and the many people who pray to you and glorify your name each day. Thank you, Lord, for saving us from damnation and the folly of unbelief. Thank you for our brothers and sisters in Christ all over the world. Most especially, we thank you for the imminent return of our Lord Jesus, may your name be praised on our lips and in our hearts each day.

Hallelujah, our Lord reigns!


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Seven Fingers - February 17, 2008

Good snowy, Sunday morning! We are having a bit of a blow here; snow and wind that are quite heavy at times. Is it a full-fledged blizzard or just another passing storm? Only time will tell. This morning the image of the seven-fingered hand came to me again... sorry, it just happens. This image is from the Jim Carrey film, "Bruce Almighty". The scene occurs as Bruce is testing "God" by having the Creator, portrayed by Morgan Freeman, tell how many fingers Bruce is holding up behind his back. When Bruce tries to trick "God" by changing the number at the last moment, "God" responds by adding a couple of extra fingers to Bruce's hand. While we know that God does not give us little magic tricks to shore up our faith, we do sometimes wish that God would add a couple of extra fingers to everyone's hand to make his presence known beyond all doubt. However, would it really be beyond all doubt? We know that unbelief can be very stubborn in mankind. I could see everyone waking up with seven digits on their left hand one morning. Just like the parable of the seeds; some would believe, some would believe for a short time and then fall away, some would believe and then be convinced to not believe by the wisdom of the world, and some would harden their hearts and never believe. You could even imagine a reporter on the networks, with all seven fingers wiggling under the desk, letting everyone know the latest scientific theory for the appearance of the two extra fingers with a completely straight face.

We don't need magic tricks for our faith, we only need to look upon the one our faith is based on, Jesus Christ. We look upon Him by reading the Word of God, found in our Bibles. We look upon Him when we do good works in faith. And we look upon Him when we stop trusting in the world and believe in Jesus. One day we will look upon our Savior with our own eyes, but we don't know when that will happen. Faith, the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

The clouds are breaking up and the sun may shine soon, probably not a blizzard this time. :-)


Congratulations to Kosovo today. I see on that the nation has declared its independence on this day.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Just Know - February 16, 2008

Good Saturday morning! I hope some of you have a nice President's Day weekend, perhaps a getaway or a visit to relatives. Working at Cabela's for the past 18 President's Days, I forget that this is a holiday much of the time. Monday, I will probably stop to get the mail before I remember that it is a holiday. Somehow the world will rumble on, another holiday into the past. Whatever happened to Holy Days? Were there once days set aside to be holy to God? Yes indeed, and some places and people still celebrate them. Sometimes we look at Israel and wonder about the "secular" people over there, all the time ignoring the secular life all around us. In this cursed world, we cannot always avoid working on a holy day, not even on Sundays. Some have shift work, others simply have a rotating duty that falls upon the day. Jesus pointed out to the Pharisees the fact that priests worked on the Sabbath; something the holier-than-thou Pharisees seemed to ignore in their accusations. Does working on a Sunday or holy day condemn us? For an answer to that, we only need to turn to Romans and find that section around chapter 8 where Paul tells us that nothing can separate us from God's love. I often feel that I have become separated from God's love, usually this coincides with some illness or flu bug going around. Going back to this passage reminds me that feelings are not trustworthy guides to God's love. Faith is the guide we need. Read about God's enduring love, and just KNOW that He loves me and you without fail, no matter what condition or place we find ourselves in.

'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus!


Friday, February 15, 2008

Signs - February 15, 2008

Good Friday morning! Sad tidings today, Tyre has fallen. You are correct, that did happen thousands of years ago. In the Bible we find an interesting historical record of Tyre and it's trading. When the Lord sends a prophecy through Ezekiel, He lists the trade goods and places where each comes from. What an interesting historical record is shown in a prophecy of doom for an unrepentant city. Like Nineveh, Tyre would be destroyed, never to be raised again. We can visit the ruins of both cities, at least we can think about it since the ruins of Nineveh are in modern day Iran. However, the list of cities that God said will not be rebuilt has remained accurate to this day. And did we expect any less from God? The same might hold true for cities and towns in any other country that decides to worship something other than God. Work, production, sex, money, vengeance, entertainment, sports... the list goes on and on of other things and people the world worships in place of God. These days there is a movement to worship nature and a sect to worship this, and another to worship that, and the most intolerant of all religions is the one that is open to all. Yes, the world is an upside down and confused place.

All around I see the signs of the coming division. Many are turning toward the light in small groups and in mega-churches, and yet many others are fleeing the light. We tire of bad choices at the voting booth, surveys show that some countries actually want a dictator or king, governments everywhere seem to be models of inefficiency and corruption, does any of this point to the coming of Antichrist? Probably it does. We need to be spreading the Good News, because the world needs it very badly in this age. Without Jesus, the world is in a frightening state and frightened people do not behave very well. Let the Comforter come, while there is still time.

God bless you on this fine Friday!


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's! - February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day! Gentlemen, your wives and sweethearts expect some sign of our affection today, try not to blow it. ;-) I shall watch from the sidelines today as an interested observer. I will judge the gifts and rate them on a scale of 1 to 10... just kidding, how would I know what gets the ladies' attention best? :-) However, I did see an advertisement from an auto parts place that said, "Nothing says love like a stainless steel exhaust!" I may not have the advantage of experience, but I'm thinking that is probably not what most of the ladies are expecting today. Yes, that gift does have practical advantages, no weight gain, long lasting, and in some cases, necessary, but somehow a bunch of metal tubing underneath her vehicle may not be quite the expression of love that she is hoping for today.

While you or I may not have a Valentine today, we are loved by Jesus. That love I would not trade for anything, and I'm sure you wouldn't either. Praise God for the love of Jesus, our Lord and our greatest friend!


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Hollow Gestures - February 13, 2008

Good Wednesday morning to you. I found out this morning that the last living WWI veteran is a Buckles, that's with an "s", and he is 107 years old. In order to help memorialize the service of the WWI vets, someone has invited him on a national tour... at 107! Yikes, I'm not sure any of us will be up to a national tour at the ripe old age of 107. That sounds like the old, "we'll invite him to be nice, but he won't show at his age." Do we perform gestures of good will? Signs that we will do something, but have no intention of actually being called upon or having our gesture accepted. I think the Lord will not be fooled by that kind of hollow faith action. My faith will be tested soon. Is that a yawning, deep gulf before me, or a beautiful vista of possibility? My faith that the Lord has called me to write will require action, in the form of practice and in sending off manuscripts to publishers. Many people have thought to write, only to have their manuscript gather dust in a trunk. It is not enough to have faith and no action. We are saved by faith, but we don't want to just stop there do we? No, or as Paul would say, "of course not!" We want to grow in the faith, and as James reminds us, that requires action. Holding your hand up half-hearted in church with "please don't pick me" on your mind is a gesture of good will. Jesus told us to let our yes be yes and our no be no. We do not have to volunteer at every opportunity, even in church you and I are allowed to say "no". At your workplace, as it is in mine, I am sure they like to keep the plate overflowing. I am often overwhelmed at how much there is to do in our group and it never stops coming. God does not give us too much and sometimes it is up to us to let someone know that you cannot be there on Saturday, or that you will be attending your child's recital instead of some church function. I am not saying that we should say no to everything, but you do have a choice and, no, we are not condemned for missing a church function. Hmm, the sky is getting bright and I still need to get ready for work. One more sign of the life to which I am called, no dropping the devotional to run off to work!

Patience in the Lord, let it flow in me and you this day.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Accepting the Gift - February 12, 2008

Good Tuesday morning! Today Pastor Rogers asked us to admit our sin before God and to admit that we are lost without Him. Does that seem hard to you? At one time it was quite difficult for me. Bowing before the Lord to admit that we are lost sheep is not an easy step. Salvation is easy and yet not so easy. The sin that caused Lucifer to be cast out of Heaven, pride, is that which makes it so difficult to accept the free gift of grace. Everyone, and you can see this in other religions, wants to have some regimen to perform or some Herculean task to accomplish, in order to earn their salvation. That grace and the saving of our life for all eternity could be freely given and accepted is alien to our earthly nature. However, in believing in Christ, we know that earthly nature is riddled with the holes of darkness caused by the curse, sin loosed on the world. While we do good works by putting action to faith in our Christian walk, to become a Christian requires and accepts no effort on our part, we can only accept that free gift.

In Pastor Rogers story, I always try to remember that the man could have refused and told the king that he wanted to serve out his sentence. However, you do not refuse a command of the king, and our King forgives our sentence of death. Do not refuse the command of the King by wallowing in the old sin! Accept the new life in Christ and share the Good News. What a glorious day it is in Christ Jesus!


Monday, February 11, 2008

Read the Bible - February 11, 2008

Good morning! It is Monday once more and time to go back to the work week. I think the major purpose of the work week is to remind us of how great the weekend is. Some might disagree with me, perhaps they would say something like making a living, earning loot or some such. Each to his or her own opinion. The work week also means that I write the devotional with an eye toward the clock, and that part I do not like.

This morning in my Bible reading, I was reminded once more of how graphic the Bible can be, and I am referring to sexually graphic. I am glad the Bible doesn't soften the blow of its words. We need to be jabbed now and again with graphic images to remind us of our need for God in our lives. Just as pain and trials remind us of our need for God, we need the occasional, "Yikes, that sounds too much like me!" to bring our view back to Jesus. Sex is not marriage, but it is a part of marriage. The Bible speaks to us as adults in Christ and we need not be squeemish about the graphic images. Read all of the Bible and learn to love God with all of your heart, body, and soul.

Praise God for His mercy and grace!


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Patience - February 10, 2008

Good Sunday morning to you! The weather folks predicted a warm day, but it sure is cold out and the clouds do not promise a sunny day. Have you ever mentioned something at work, perhaps to get it off your chest so to speak, and then had your coworkers make you sorry that you ever said anything? I suspect that all of us have enjoyed, sorry, endured that experience. As I grow closer to Christ, I also grow closer to Christians and would rather have their company than that of my secular coworkers. However, not only am I placed in my job to earn a living at this time, I also love my coworkers and want them to know the saving power of Jesus like I do. All of us will feel this separation from the world, even as we love them and yearn for their salvation. I would imagine that Jesus felt this most intensly during his time on earth. Why else would he care enough to even speak with the wicked teachers of the law in his time? Jesus knew they would eventually reject him for their own knowledge and love of the world, and yet he continued to explain, argue, and to pray for them. We may look at the Pharisees in the Bible and wonder that they did not recognize their Messiah, but for some period in our lives we were no better. As Jesus was patient with them, he is patient with us, and we can be patient with our coworkers and friends. Pray for your coworkers daily, just as your friends in Christ pray for you each day.
Let the glory of the Lord shine!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Witness of Jesus - February 9, 2008

Good Saturday morning! I like Pastor Rogers' devotional message today. It would be so easy to run away and hide when presented with a note like that. No doubt the Accuser helped that person to gain that information. However, we are not witnessing about ourselves and our past sins; we witness about the sinless life and redeeming death of our Lord Jesus Christ! Like no other figure in history, religious or secular, our Lord rose from the grave to give a holy witness of his life-giving power. The mercy of the Father is gracefully given to us if we believe in the Son.

Wouldn't it be great if a congregation learned to forgive instead of being so quick to fire off their mouths? What if the next time a minister was caught in sin, he confessed, and then the entire congregation got up to confess their own sin, and then every one forgave every other one in that church. Wouldn't that be a wonderful change to what we hear in the media? That would be a wonderful witness to the world of the forgiveness of sins in our lives. I remember a story about a man from Nazareth who drew in the dirt while the accusers asked about stoning a woman caught in adultery. That man told the accusers that the one without sin could throw the first stone. In time, only the woman and the one without sin was left there. That one forgave the woman and threw no stones. We are to follow the example of our Savior. Remember that the next time a minister or church leader is caught in sin. Stones can fly from mouths as well as from hands; let us not forget the forgiveness we each have received from God.

God loves you and so do I,


Friday, February 08, 2008

Shining a Light - February 8, 2008

Good Friday morning! Have you ever looked outside at night and noticed some light far away that you do not see during the day? Against the darkness, a small light can be seen for a long distance. Finding that light, it may surprise you how far away it is. Does this mean that the darkness is good because it makes the light shine further or appear brighter? No, in the same way that we would not want to be sick to show how well a medicine works. The world is both ill and in darkness. Our light may not seem very bright to us when we focus our own strength. However, it isn't our own light, but the light of Jesus shining through us. While bathed in that light, we cannot tell just how bright that light is to someone standing in the darkness. The light of Jesus shining through us is more than just bright to those in the darkness, it actually hurts them. Remember back to before you were saved. Do you remember how a minister, that is assuming you could stand to be in a church, would speak and put a verbal finger on those sore spots? I remember not wanting to attend church because it dumped a load of guilt on me each week and I didn't need that additional stress. Once I accepted Jesus into my heart, that stress went away and the guilt was left at the cross. Now there is an entity that likes to remind me of that guilt and shame, but focusing on Jesus takes care of that rascal! Standing in the darkness, the light of Jesus shining through those who believe is bright and painful to their hearts. There will be resistance to that light, just as you and I felt at one time. Please don't stop spreading the Good News with your own special talent and ability. God will use you and I to speak to and shine that light on those stuck in the dark.

Have a great Friday in Christ Jesus!


Thursday, February 07, 2008

Strange Instructions - February 7, 2008

Good morning! Last night we studied a prophet that is often ignored in among the smaller prophets in the Bible, Hosea. The unusual, very unusual, thing about Hosea is that he was told by God to marry a prostitute or adulterous woman. The modern equivalent would be for one of the mega-church pastors to be told to marry a porn star. Church organizations are very quick to fire a minister these days, perhaps thinking that they must be the perfect ideal of pastor hood. We know in our own hearts this is not true, and yet we expect it from a minister. However, back to Hosea. He had no doubts in his mind about his wife; the Lord had already told him that his wife would be unfaithful. So unfaithful that some of his kids would be fathered by other men. Imagine what Hosea might say to our daydreams of marrying some famous or promiscuous person? I suspect it would he would think us a bit daft, out of our minds, loony, and other signs of a severe mental deficiency. He married in obedience to God; we need to do the same. However, marrying a promiscuous spouse is probably not in our calling. Pastors everywhere have probably counseled a young man or woman when they thought themselves very much in love with a potential spouse and blinded to very obvious promiscuity. At any age, we can have trouble listening to advice. Advice on marriage can be critical in our lives, but obeying God is more critical than that. No, I have not been called to marry a porn star or adulterous woman; rest easy on that! I do feel called to mention obedience, both for myself and for others. Sometimes God's instructions may seem strange to us, and we must then trust in His purpose and plan for our lives. Certainly Hosea may have felt a few doubts about his instructions, and yet he obeyed to the letter, even to the naming of his children.

God bless and keep you this day,


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Vote! - February 6, 2008

Good morning! A lot of vote counting went on last night, we may lose a few presidential candidates from yesterday's voting. As in independent, I just get to watch the primaries. It doesn't look like the Democrats can decide between two candidates, that could make it difficult for them. I on the other hand know exactly who I want to be leader of the free world... Jesus! Yup, I grow weary of the voting for candidates that are far less than ideal. Let's have the Lord Jesus as our leader. Wouldn't that be great? One day Jesus will return as King, but for now we must do our best to choose a leader. The very fact that someone wants the job of President is usually a warning sign to us. How do you vote for one among the many that are clamoring for the job, all of them far less than our ideal for the office holder? There may never be an ideal candidate. Think back upon your past or my past and see what might be drug out into the very worst of lights by a political rival. Isn't it great that God will not remember that when our judgement time arrives? We can seek and receive forgiveness. The political candidates must do the best they can in a very unforgiving world. After the choices are narrowed down a bit, I may write some things to consider in this forum. The choice of President is one of our more important rights in this country, not voting is not behaving responsibly.


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Presumption? - February 5, 2008

Good morning! We have a new blanket of snow to make our world a little brighter this morning. That pure, white blanket only covers over all the dirt. In Christ we seek more than a white covering, we seek and find cleansing of the heart. When we receive the grace of Jesus, the sin is not covered over with a thin coating of whitewash, but is completely blotted out. If God does not remember our sin, then the sin is no longer there!

One might ask how I, a sinner, could presume to write words of love and encouragement to others. What gives me the right to do this for you? Looking at the Bible, we see the words of many writers, all of whom sinned before God at some point in their lives. In those words we see a picture and testimony of the Word. Jesus spoke many words in his short ministry, but he wrote none. That gives nonbelievers a lot of trouble. How is it that Jesus wrote no words, yet wrote the entire Bible? We know that He worked through sinners, just like you and I. Sinners who received God's grace and trusted in Him to guide their hands as they wrote the Word that the Holy Spirit wrote on their hearts. Only through Christ Jesus can you or I share the Word with those in such great need of it. My own qualifications would fall short of those needed to speak with authority on the Word.

Paul is perhaps the greatest example of trusting in God to write to others. As Saul, he actively persecuted the early Church, seeking to destroy it utterly. Paul's conversion is one of the more dramatic stories in the Bible. From his conversion came a wealth of truth and wisdom that he wrote to churches and to all of us even in this day. Paul would be the first to tell us living in this day that he deserved no place in God's kingdom. Through our own qualifications, none of us deserve a place in the kingdom, and none would see it except by the grace of Christ Jesus. How do I presume to write to you? I trust in the Lord Jesus, just like every believer who has ever written, sung, or spoke their testimony of Jesus, the Son of the Living God.

God loves you and so do I. Have peace in Christ Jesus this day!


Monday, February 04, 2008

Undefeated - February 4, 2008

Good Monday morning! How often do we see one team billed as some kind of juggernaut, only to watch them falter and stumble? Human teams are stoppable, no matter how talented they may seem. Congratulations to the New York Giants on their victory. Do you think that game will matter next year? Certainly it will be mentioned in the sports media for a while, but there will be another Super Bowl about this time next year. In all of history there are not many singular events; the Creation was one, the great flood of Noah another, and that ending battle that we call Armageddon. The events of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection stand out on their own, and will not be repeated. God's great works do not need to be played again next year, or next century. The sacrifice of Jesus happened once and is good for all time; that victory is permanent.

Last night we didn't get to see a football team leave the stadium at 19-0. What would Jesus record be over sin? Think of how many times each day you are tempted, and how many times you or I lose! Jesus grew up in a town, much like ours, and I am sure he faced all the temptations of growing up. Girls became women as he grew to manhood. An older kid probably offered him some kind of stimulant as kids often do. Jesus probably had to take a stand against theft more than once. All of these things, these temptations, were present in his life and he did not sin once. That is a record that boggles my mind. So what is my record or your record? Perfect, just as our Savior in Heaven is perfect. I am not saying that we do not sin, you and I both know that wouldn't be true. However, our record is the record of our Savior, Christ Jesus. He did not lose one of us, and that means that our record is perfect too! Saved by the Blood of the Lamb! I feel like a team that should lose 100-0, but suddenly someone says, "wait, our quarterback isn't here!" And Jesus then walks on to the field, undefeated and unbeatable, our Savior and friend.

Rest in that thought for today.


Sunday, February 03, 2008

Rambling... February 3, 2008

Good Sunday morning! I do need to get my school reports done before the big game this afternoon. Taxes are ready for filing too. This time of the year can get busy as we take care of the things we need to do before spring and summer. Some of you may be planning vacations, others may eagerly await some time outside in warmer weather. I plan to finish my class work. Yes, I couldn't resist throwing that in there too. The day looks bright and warm from my window, but the lack of melting I see speaks to a different story, cold. The thermometer says that it is just above freezing outside and it's almost 1100. Big elections coming up this week for the primary contenders. By Wednesday we will have a good idea of who our choices will be for President in the general election. Wonderful messages this morning in the church services, I hope that you were able to see one or more of them. Time is short, we need to get our Good News as much as possible these days. I pray that each of you enjoys a wonderful day of rest in Christ Jesus, even if you have duties or work to perform. Rest in our Lord today.


Saturday, February 02, 2008

No More Wishes - February 2, 2008

Good Saturday morning, and it's Groundhog Day too! Actually, I don't think that I will plan the remainder of my winter on what some furry rodents do or don't do today. What happens if the one you are watching gets up late today? "Oh, poo! I was supposed to be up at 0800 to see if my shadow appeared. It's too cold out, I'll do it tomorrow." Depending on a furry rodent does seem a bit foolish, much like wishing for things. Last night, I received a question that asked what three things I would ask for given three wishes. It suddenly came to me that since coming to Jesus, I had stopped wishing at some point. I don't mean that I do not have dreams and desires such as a college degree, marriage, kids, and other things that we all dream of, but the idle wishing that I once did like, "I wish I had a million dollars, or I wish I was married to [actress, singer, etc] Where did that go? I suspect that without realizing it, the Holy Spirit has guided me to put my faith in God and not in idle wishes to the air. Those who trust in themselves or the chances of the world will end their lives with regrets, "Well, I didn't get most of my wishes and it's almost over now." We, on the other hand, have all of the best things ahead of us in Christ. We don't need to wish for Heaven, Christ has already promised us a place in His Father's house, even now He is there preparing it for each of us. We don't need to wish for a million dollars, Jesus has promised us the riches of Heaven.

Praise God for the Promise!


Friday, February 01, 2008

It will happen - February 1, 2008

Good Friday morning! Yes, I am enjoying the day off from work by getting up very slowly and being late in most everything. Today I must also load TurboTax, dig out the records and collect the statements for filing of the taxes. Not a light job by any means! The cats are glad to have me at home, but that's their opinion. In Ezekiel where did we get to? Today, I can tell you that I read the part where the Lord changes a proverb for the people of Judah. They had been using one that doesn't sound very good, "The days pass and the prophecies don't happen". However, that is rebellion toward the Lord if ever I saw it in print. The Lord sends Ezekiel a message for those people that says no more delays, the prophecies will start coming to pass right now. I am paraphrasing a bit, but the point still holds that just because a prophecy has not happened yet, we should never start thinking that it will never happen. The Lord answers them in this attitude also by saying, "I am the Lord, if I say it, it will happen." Short and to the point. We look forward with eager anticipation to the day when Jesus will return for us, and since the Lord said it, we can take it to heart, it will happen. Doubts will be whispered in our mind, or shouted at us from an unbelieving world, but we have the Word of the Lord to comfort us.

Praise God for His Holy Word!