Friday, May 23, 2008

Sorrows for Life? - May 23, 2008

Good Friday morning! I do believe that many of us will be taking some time off for this holiday weekend. Yes, Memorial Day has arrived and it is time for a break. I see that my neighbors, at least one of them, are already on the road. I wonder how many travel plans have been cut short by the price of fuel this year? I'm taking a week off, and not going anywhere.

Jesus was known as a man of sorrows, and we can read many examples of his sorrow in the Gospel accounts. Are we then to emulate our Lord in this? Should we be the sad salts of the earth? (Ow, that was painful) I don't think that is what God would have us to do. Jesus carried our sorrows to the cross, and when He arose it was as the glorious Savior. Jesus said that he came that we might have life and have it abundantly. I do not believe that means a life of sorrows. We do have cares and we do go through times of mourning, but these times do not last. Joy should be a characteristic that people notice in us as Christ ones. Is it easy to be joyful all the time? No, perhaps even impossible. We are not expected to be joyful at all times and are even commanded to be sad when our brothers and sisters in Christ are sad. Just as we can share in each other's sorrow, so we can bring each other up once more. I pray that each of you enjoys a wonderful holiday weekend. Do what you would like to do on a holiday, short of knocking over a gas station that is, and celebrate the abundant life in Christ Jesus.

I can see a lot of walking vacations, perhaps all of us will start taking trips on foot and closer to home than in past years. We may take up the activities recommended by the health and fitness wags simply through not being able to afford fuel.

God bless you on this Memorial Day weekend!


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Strengthen and Build Up - May 22, 2008

Good morning, after a tough night. We went to bed with the wind blowing hard and a promise of rain. After the rain came, we had a period of silence. The kind of silence that wakes you up after the noise of the wind is gone. Okay, so not as well rested as I would like, I will soldier on today.

I am amazed by a passage in the Bible this morning in Luke. Jesus, speaking to Peter just before the prophecy of Peter's three denials:

"Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to have all of you, to sift you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen and build up your brothers." Luke 22:31-32

First of all the words "has asked" and who did the asking. Like the story of Job, Satan could not and cannot do what he wants to God's chosen ones. Satan had to ask, to seek permission. That should give you great comfort, and the assurance that God is in control at all times. Next, Jesus pleads in prayer for Peter, and He does the same for us now. The final piece of this is that Jesus knew that Peter would fail, but would also repent. What is our command in this? "When you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen and build up your brothers." We are to strengthen and build up our brothers and sisters in Christ. Encourage them, pray for them, and be there in their time of need... strengthening and building up our brothers!

Feeling a need for some strength and courage today? We all do at some time or other. Let us pray for each other today.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Our Mighty God - May 21, 2008

Good Wednesday morning! Sometimes I like to read Pastor Rogers' devotional first and then discuss more from what he began. Pastor Rogers is no longer with us on this earth, but through the magic of modern electronic media and storage we can read his words from years ago. I thought today, "What if you cannot see any traffic on that bridge?" Standing on the banks, trying to work up the courage, and you see no evidence that anyone has ever crossed it. What do you do then? In the case of our Lord, if you see no signs of His strength, then you aren't looking! Consider what we know of the universe. Our houses stand on little pieces of a huge planet. That planet is not one of the large planets and orbits a star that is not considered large in astronomical terms. There appear to be uncountable trillions of stars in billions of galaxies. Too much to grasp? Yeah, me too! However, staying closer to home, we see mighty mountains and rivers, all created by God. We see forests and plains of grass, animals both unique and common, plants of every description and oceans full of fish. Scientist will admit that we know very little about what inhabits the mighty oceans. What endless variety of life is found on our little planet! And we have no idea what may or may not exist out among the stars. We have but to consider the power and majesty unveiled in one thunderstorm to see the saving hand of our Creator. Try to push your house off of its foundation. No luck there? We know from experience and news reports that any thunderstorm could spawn a tornado that takes our house away. Nothing we can do would change the course of that tornado should God allow it to destroy our houses. Yet, we know and believe in a mighty God, who certainly has control of every storm at every moment. The storms will come, but our God is sovereign and we believe in Him!

God bless you on this fine morning,


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Let the Spirit Guide - May 20, 2008

Good Tuesday morning! Every day can be a good day in the Lord, if only we will step aside in our zeal to make ourselves conform to some worldly image. We find it all too easy to believe what the world says that we should be, some idealized image of beauty, wealth, prosperity, and health. In place of that, we need to look at God's Word and read there what image to strive toward. In the Word, we find that the image of perfection is Jesus. Do you find it strange that no one sculpted or painted an image of Jesus? No, and neither do I. The fact that no image exists is that Jesus would not want us to miss the mark by trying to physically look like him. Like the Israelites in Moses' time who started worshipping a bronze image of a snake, we should not seek some physical image to make ourselves into. We should seek to become more like Jesus with each passing moment. However, in that we will never succeed in our own effort! So why the stress? We have all heard the saying, and I need to repeat it often for myself... Let go, and let Jesus! We are striving toward a mark, we are led by the Spirit, and we must let go of the world's image of perfection. Emotionally, physically, and spiritually, let the Holy Spirit guide you to where you should be.

Praise the Name of Jesus on this fine morning!


Monday, May 19, 2008

Where is my Security?! - May 19, 2008

Good Monday morning. I wonder if there was any intent in making the first part of the day, "morning", so similar to a sad emotional state, "mourning". Some days that even seems appropriate... like Mondays! Yes, it's back to work time for most of us, the glorious freedom of the weekend is over once more.

Where's my security?!

Today I read an advertisement/editorial about yet another personal defense course. As usual with these products, the editorial part of the advertisement takes note of the dangers portrayed in the first part of the DVD-based course. A carjacking is played by actors in order to get a person in the proper mood for spending money on personal defense. The object is to get a person to put his faith, and money, into personal security training and such things as weapons. While martial arts training, weapons training, and practicing all of these things can be a notable skill, the real security in this world comes from someone outside the world. In the Bible we learn that God is our strength and our shield. This writing came from no less than the king of Israel, David, a man with some skill in weapons and fighting himself. David commanded armies and yet still put his faith in God, and not in his armies and fighting ability.

Looking at the world, we see many things to fear. Looking at God, we see the all-powerful Creator of all things. We fear when we look in the wrong direction! I am guilty of this, the same as many others are, and you may be too. The world is a fearful place; the people are full of fear, and governments fear. We need to look to our strength and shield, God, in order to have faith, and not fear, while we walk through this life. Like any skill worth knowing, this faith will take constant practice. Faith does not overcome fear in one day, but through diligent application. Start learning a new life skill today!

God will watch over you on this great day!


Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Theory of the Moment - May 18, 2008

Good Sunday morning! The bright light of late spring shines upon the flowers, just as the bright light of Jesus shines upon each of us.

The Theory of the Moment
In my search for the truth about the many situations, and my reaction to them, that come upon me each day, I form theories about why or for what purpose these happen. One day or week, I may have a certain conclusion or theory about why something has happened or why I feel the way I do at some moment. The next day or week, my theory may be discarded in favor of some other conclusion. Jesus tells us that those who seek shall find. To me, in the context of my thoughts and feelings, this means that the theory of the moment may not be the correct one. The self-pitying theories are probably the worst and least likely to be correct. The anxious theories are the ones that most need to be disproved and banished from my thoughts. However, every theory, right or wrong, is a part of the process of my seeking. I suspect that some of my theories can only be set correct by the inspiration or even direct intercession of the Holy Spirit. The wonderful thing is that this intercession happens quite often. Through reading the books and listening to the sermons of Christian ministers and counselors I find some answers, and through the Bible I find many more answers. Friends, my brothes and sisters in Christ, also bring inspiration and comfort. Since the theory of the moment is so often wrong, I am glad for the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life.

May the presence of the Holy Spirit of God fill your life on this great day in the Lord,


Saturday, May 17, 2008

What a Day may Bring - May 17, 2008

Ah, another Saturday morning, a day of working and relaxing at my own pace... I hope! We do not know what the day will bring, we can only enjoy the moment. When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the donkey's colt, I think that He did enjoy the moment, but was soon saddened by the sight of Jerusalem and the knowledge of the many who would not believe within that great city. Moment by moment we enjoy and then are sad. In this world sadness follows joy which follows sadness. Love brings togetherness, but also parting, and then reunion. A great day is followed by a miserable day, or a day of relaxation comes after one of intense emotion. All of these things could also happen to us in a single day!

The day may bring the return of Christ, or it may be just another day in the life.. we do not know. Sitting here in my chair, I cannot say for sure what will or will not happen in the next few moments. I can state what is likely based upon past experience, and I can guess what might happen. However, I do not know that a meteorite will not flatten my house, or that the Publisher's Clearing House van will not pull up outside. Neither of those things is very likely! Oops, I just leaned back into the sun coming in the window and now I can't see anything. Ha, blinded by the obvious! The nice morning is turning a bit windy already; it looks like our friend the wind will be with us today.

In all of this unpredictability and doubt, we do have one anchor in whom to trust, Jesus, who loves us dearly. Cling to Him in His Word, the Bible, and cling to Him in spiritual communion. Through all that life throws at us, the Rock is there for us in every way.

God bless and keep you this day,


Friday, May 16, 2008

Never Late - May 16, 2008

Good morning on this fine Friday. Praise the Lord for the glory of the new day! A box just fell over in the living room, the cat must be getting up and about this morning. Do things go "bump" in the night in my house? Yes, and all day too. Any spooks in this house would be upstaged by the cats. The arrival of spring seems to get a lot of animals and people out and moving, and we are no different. Walkers, riders, and runners flood the streets, kids are out playing, and birds return from down south. To those of you living farther south, this may seem kind of late to be writing about the arrival of spring, and even for us it is a bit late this year. It wasn't but a couple of weeks ago that I was writing about a blizzard! Late or not, the seasons do arrive. The same may be said about the second coming of Christ, but that same would be wrong. Our Lord is never late, everything He did the first time in this world was done at the perfect time, and everything to come will arrive at the perfect time. Our perception of time is subject to emotions and situations. God's perception of time does not change like ours does. We need not worry that Jesus will be late.

I pray that you will enjoy a wonderful and restful weekend. Enjoy your work today!


Thursday, May 15, 2008

No Fear, Rejoice in Christ! - May 15, 2008

Good Thursday morning! The clouds are moving in very quickly this morning, probably a sign of rain today. The question today is: what have you or I to fear when the Creator of all the universe loves us? The fears and phobias of this world are many. The media inundates us with stories of weather tragedies, accidents, deaths, wars, battles, and crimes; perhaps thinking that the more we fear, the more of their product we will pay for through subscription or advertising. The media moguls may have a point, for people can and do become news junkies. With all of the bad news, where is the good news outlet? Is there some media outlet that will tell us that 6+ billion people did not die today, or that several million babies were born to blessed parents all over the world today? No, we are left to realize that for ourselves. However, one source of good news does stand out from all the bad news of the world; the Bible. The Good News of Jesus is available to all who will listen and hear the Word of God. Any of us can read about all the terrible things that happened to Jesus at the end of His life so many years ago, but the news does not stop there! Reading on we find that Jesus rose again! Hundreds of eye witnesses saw, heard, and touched Him after the world had executed Him. How is that possible? Whatever made the creation think that the Creator would allow His own Son to die forever?

Rejoice, for Jesus has risen again and He is Lord!


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The World's Roar - May 14, 2008

Does the world's roar make you cringe and quake? The noise of the modern world, the roar if you will, can make any and all of us feel afraid. You may live in a city where the noise of traffic and sirens awakens you each morning, or you may live in a rural area where the demands of the workday make you tired just by thinking about them. While the lusts of the flesh have not changed since Adam and Eve first ate of the forbidden fruit, the fearsome noise of the world has grown great. Imagine a person from Jesus' time dropped into the world right now. That person's first experience with cars, trucks, jet engines, and the other things that we take for granted each day, would be the most terrifying experience of that ancient person's life. Our bodies and brains haven't changed as much as we might like to think from those bygone days, and the noise and roar of modern life puts a tremendous stress on us. The world's roar does make all of us afraid, though we may not realize it. The peace of Jesus is needed more than ever as we near the end times. Seek His peace in prayer and meditation; enjoy some quiet time with our Lord today.

God bless you all in the name of Jesus!


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Persistence for Justice - May 13, 2008

Good morning! The clouds have brought us some rain once more, though I slept through it. Did the rain fall on the just and the unjust as we read in the Bible? And which side are each of us on. Hopefully the just. However, do we need to hope, or do we have assurance of our justness? According to the Bible, we are justified by faith in Jesus Christ, there is no need to wonder which side we are on. Jesus has already taken care of justifying us to God through His sacrifice on the cross.

I find the story of the poor widow who sought justice from a judge who did not believe, an unjust judge, to be a valuable lesson. She brought her case before him until he grew tired of seeing her and granted her justice just to be rid of her. Jesus told us to learn a lesson from this unjust judge who still made a just decision due to a widow's persistence. However, note that she believed in justice through her faith. We might be tempted to pray for something that is not good for us with persistence and expect God to answer with a "yes". As we learn persistence in prayer and grow in our faith in Jesus, we will not ask for things that God does not want us to have. Trust in the Holy Spirit of God to bring you persistence in prayer and a generous, faithful heart.

Let the light of Jesus shine through us today!


Monday, May 12, 2008

Last Minute Decision - May 12, 2008

Good Monday morning! I read in Luke today about the day when the Son of Man will be revealed. One interesting point is that Jesus said that if one is working on the roof, he must not go down into the house to pack. That is interesting to me in that it seems even up to the last moment, we will still have that choice, Jesus or this world. What saddens me is that some may "go down to pack" when they should be praising the name of Jesus. To me it doesn't seem like a difficult choice, but I have not arrived at that moment yet. I wonder in this day of instant messaging and email, how many would want to go back for their laptop? Foolishness we would call it, but similar things happen all the time in earthly disasters. We must not cling to the things of this earth, and how easy that is to do! Some may have good intentions in that last day, thinking to leave a note giving their possessions to a loved one whom they suspect will not be taken up. Jesus says not to try that. Later, in one of Paul's messages from our Lord, Jesus sets our mind at ease regarding this decision. Those of us who have already decided will be caught up in an instant. That is comforting to know. We need not fear our own wavering at that last moment.

Let the glory of the Lord shine!


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day 2008

Happy Mother's Day! This is the Sunday each year that we set aside to celebrate our mothers. All of us had a human female who bore us to infancy. However, not everyone is blessed with a mother. The circumstances of this world sometimes take mothers away in childbirth or cause mothers to abandon babies. We may not always appreciate our mothers as well as they deserve, but ask a person raised as an orphan and I suspect that you will get a different perspective on what it is to be raised by a loving, Christ-centered, mother in this dark world. Often we can take for granted that which we have always had in our lives. A rich person might take money for granted until they are broke or poor. A person with a job for many years might take work for granted until suddenly they are retired or laid off. Most of us do not have the point of view of an orphan and so tend to take our mothers for granted. Through it all, Mom has always been there for us. That is why it is so important to have at least one day each year set aside to remind us of all that our mothers have done for us in this life. We should do it every day, but the cares and concerns of this life divide us. Husbands and wives come along and then children, jobs, and all the other demands of this life get in the way of appreciating those we love, but who may live in another town far away. Take time today to pray for and express appreciation for your mother to God. Prayer will bless you mother much more than anything you can give physically in this world. However, that does not mean that a note of love and appreciation is not welcome.

From me to my mother on this beautiful Sunday, thank you for being there for me, and I love you Mom!


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Abundant Life - May 10, 2008

Good Saturday morning! Is there a good reason for eating breakfast before taking off on errands on a Saturday morning? Yes, evidence would suggest that sitting down to a good breakfast might aid in memory skills and the other mental disciplines necessary for operating well in the modern world. We don't need to go into specifics here, but suffice it to say that an extra trip or two was made by someone this morning. Now, I am safely at home and the wind and rain is beginning.

I am grateful that Luke was able to return to work yesterday. An extended time away from work can be difficult for all those involved in the matter. We prayed and in time our prayers were answered to the glory of God the Father. I think the first time that any of us suffers an unexpected injury or illness we have a confidence problem. Our health is suddenly more fragile both in body and mind, and even more than that we realize just how fragile this life can be. In a way we are grateful that this life will soon come to an end, but I don't think that any of us wants to leave behind loved ones. So we have that Christian conflict, I am ready to go home to Jesus and yet we still have a fear of the process of dying. Even Billy Graham, one whom we would consider a giant of the faith, had concerns about the process, though like us, he was sure of the outcome. Don't be ashamed of your fear of dying, Jesus came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. Part of that abundant life is, I think, a desire to go peacefully into the next life without pain or suffering. While "soon" may or may not be on your list of desired characteristics for dying, quickly is another one that comes to mind. We do fear an extended decline, even though that is what most of us will have as the years go by. I feel the decline at 45, and I'm sure that others feel it more or less at their present age.

The clouds and grey of the morning have fallen upon my outlook; let us think instead of life and living for the day. God has given us healing, and we know that by how much time Jesus spent in healing during His ministry about 2,000 years ago. We are lead through the dark valleys in order to help others with our understanding and strength in Christ Jesus. Oh yes, there is indeed abundant life during our time in this life, and our end will not come before the time that God has set. Have courage and faith in Jesus as you enjoy the abundant life that He has promised!

Have a wonderful weekend in Christ!


Friday, May 09, 2008

Start with His Lordship - May 9, 2008

Good Friday morning! We enjoyed a good rain yesterday afternoon, something to get the spring plants going. More rain is due over the next couple of days, which will not make the boating crowd happy. However, as a non-boater myself, it is difficult to be too broken up over some much needed rain. One thing that comes to mind today is the tremendous variety of hobbies and activities that exist in the world today, and that doesn't include the many different activities that we call "work". How do we discern what is truly important from all of the complexity of modern life? Jesus will lead the way for those who believe in Him, For those who do not believe, how will they see Jesus to start with? One way is through the media, but more important is our own example. Do you go home on Friday letting your coworkers know that you just can't wait to see what the pastor has for a message on Sunday? Are your kids excited to see Sunday School arrive?

The ending of the work week is about all that we hope for each week. What a depressing thought that is! For another work week soon arrives and the cycle begins anew. What a wonderful testimony it would be for all of us as Christians to obviously look forward to each work week, each church service, each chance to worship God, and every opportunity to spread the Good News. This is not an easy change in attitude and demeanor. I am with you in just making it to the end of each work week. We should pray for each other in this. For the glory of our Lord, spend time praying that we can improve our attitude about this life. We should all be living in victory, not in a downcast, defeated, and depressed manner that shows the world's victory over us. Jesus is Lord! Let us rejoice in that fact.

May God grant us peace and joy in this life and the next!


Thursday, May 08, 2008

God's Word - May 8, 2008

Good Thursday morning! It is nice to see some spring rain showers come our way. Last night, I began a new study of the Gospel of John, and this morning I read once more the story of the prodigal son. At any other time, you or I could read of the very beginning of Creation, or the about the times to come soon when Jesus will return. We might read the tales of David's heroics and sins, or Solomon's great wisdom and how the Queen of Sheba came to learn at his courts. In all of the world there is not a book like the Bible, and yet in all of the world there may well be no more common book than the Bible. Under the repression of North Korea you might find a carefully guarded copy of the Bible, or on the bedside of an unbeliever in America, you might find a dusty copy laying unused. The greatest libraries in the world contain at least one copy, and the smallest libraries in homes may contain a copy. What is this work of literature that so inspires believers and so incites the non-believer? To a believer the Bible is the very word of God, and to a non-believer it is the target of their most vicious attacks. The Bible, the Word, by its own admission it is sharper than a two-edged sword dividing the world into two distinct sides. A believer in Christ will read His Word daily, a non-believer will ignore or attack the Word in an effort to stamp out the darkness in their own soul. To the believer a precious light in a dark world, to the unbeliever an ancient darkness in their enlightened world. One side holds the truth and one side holds to a lie; which side are we to choose? And there is the center of the matter. We do have one precious right given to us by God himself, the right to choose.

What happens when you or I choose to believe in Christ and accept the Bible as His holy Word? To me, the Bible begins to make sense, to answer questions, and to set a peace in my heart that the world cannot steal. Love pours from its pages, God's patience is manifest in the many sins of Israel, trust replaces fear, and hope displaces despair in the words of Jesus and the teachings of the prophets and apostles. A light shines where darkness once ruled, understanding of God's great plan becomes more clear with each reading, and I gain great comfort in times of pain and striving in this world. The Bible has been proven historically accurate repeatedly, withstanding attack after attack by the intellectual community. Yet, the Word still hurts those who refuse to believe. Taking a step from the darkness to the light is difficult, be patient with those who do not yet believe, and be earnest in prayer for them.

May God's Word go with you on this day,


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

I Don't Mind! - May 7, 2008

Good morning! In reading Pastor Rogers' devotional this morning, I can only say, "left out again!" Yes, the devotionals about marriage often leave us single folk out in the cold. However, I realize that every devotional and sermon is not going to be about me or pointed at me. There may be hundreds or thousands of people in a congregation, and a minister may choose to preach only about a small group on any given Sunday. God leads us, and that means all who believe in His Son, to minister in ways that are specific or broad depending upon God's own great plan. Today, I felt the finger of God pointing at dark corners of my life, and the message is... that I didn't mind!

Before coming to believe in Jesus, not simply intellectually, but spiritually - with the heart you might say - I would go to church or listen to a minister on television or radio, and writhe in guilt. Soon, I would use the excuse that I already felt guilty and didn't need the added stress of yet another minister pointing out my shortcomings. Well, how things do change! Now in quiet prayer, I gladly welcome the message about those dark areas in my thought life. Lust, greed, gluttony, vanity, pride... I could list all the so-called deadly sins and even work up variations, and I am sure that each of us could nod our heads in honest agreement. We have all had sinful thoughts in our hearts, probably every day of our lives. Those thoughts do not have to linger in our minds and hearts, Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to clean house, and praise God for that! Yes, it would still be an embarrassment to have my worst thoughts played out on a giant screen for the public to view. The only thing to do in a moment like that is to point to Jesus and say, "He has forgiven me!" What the world thinks does not matter, the world will not judge us at the end. Only the grace and mercy of Jesus matters and that is given to those who will believe. John 3:16 says "whoever believes", and that means anyone and everyone who believes, has eternal life.

Praise God for eternal life in Christ Jesus!


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Spring? - May 6, 2008

Good Tuesday morning to you! The sun shines brightly already this morning as spring has arrived in more than just a date on the calendar. The bush is budding outside the window, the green is showing in lawns... and bugs are everywhere. Oh well, we can't have everything perfect in this world. I get excited thinking about the new heaven and new earth that Jesus will bring at the end. What will that be like? Spring without the skeeters, summer without the heat, winter without the cold? I simply don't know what that new earth will be like. Everything I try to imagine seems based upon what I know on this earth. Perhaps there will be twenty distinct seasons in a year, but will we even count years as we know them now? Will plants grow and be tended, or will the plants be tended by lions? Pondering these things makes for a fun exercise, but God has reserved His surprise for us. In the time before that great day of Jesus' return, we do have Good News to share. There is salvation from sin in this world and it comes through Jesus, our Lord. No one must wait to be saved, it can happen now, wherever the person is, and in whatever situation the person may find him or her self. Praise God for His infinite grace and mercy. The ax of judgement once rested on all of us, but now we are forgiven and saved in the blood of Christ.

Take the Good News with you on this fine day,


Monday, May 05, 2008

Perseverance - May 5, 2008

Good Monday morning. We are starting the day on a joyous note! I see that Pastor Rogers' Bible links are active this morning, I hope this doesn't trigger any spam filters. Spam filters are a never-ending fight in getting the devotional to you each morning, and that brings to mind something that I have lacked from time to time: perseverance. In the Bible, we also see it addressed as endurance. Both are appropriate in our Christian life. Like exercising, walking with Jesus and as Paul illustrates in Philippians, running the race, requires endurance or perseverance. As always in anything worth doing, quitting is easy. It would be easy to get up each morning and not put in the effort to write this devotional, and the same goes with walking, riding a bike, running, or any other form of exercise. However, not writing each morning would deprive me of a satisfying and joyful start to the day. Not exercising... we all know well the effects of that. Good habits require perseverance to form, bad habits come easily, and that is the way of things in this cursed world. I think the smell of our effort is sweet to God, and like the great leader that He is, He puts far more effort than we do into our salvation and development as saints. As Paul exhorts us to do, we should never stop training and running the race that brings us closer to Jesus with each passing moment. One day we will cross that finish line and be together in Christ's glory. Look on this world with renewed hope and faith in Christ Jesus today!

God loves each and every one of you, enjoy it!


Sunday, May 04, 2008

The Good Old Days - May 4, 2008

Good Sunday morning! The weather is more seasonal outside today and promises a fine spring day. I hope you are having a wonderful weekend in Christ Jesus.

The Good Old Days

I know that you have heard that expression before, things were better back in the day, or those were the good old days, and many other expressions of nostalgia. You or I have probably been guilty of speaking or yearning for something like that at times. When I started online courses, I occasionally thought how much better it might be if I went back to the school I left twenty-something years ago. However, I know that it would not have been the same and I am glad that I didn't try to go back to a traditional college. I have also thought of moving back to the town that I was raised in, but again, things are not the same there. Most of my friends and all of my family have moved away from there. Time has passed and we need to learn to be content with what God has sent to us today. If we are honest, we will look back and find the same fears and doubts back in the "good old days" as we have today, only now we have a new savior and a renewed faith. Let us all move forward in Christ and show His glory to the world.

God bless you on this fine day,


Saturday, May 03, 2008

Conflict in the World - May 3, 2008

Good Saturday morning! The bright sunshine belies the cold outside. Yes, May 3 may have a record low this morning. I am struck by the tremendous conflict in me today. On the one hand, I want to hug everyone and tell them that all will be made right if they will only believe in Jesus. On the other hand, I am put off by the scorn and defensive reactions of so many in this world. I fear crowds and being caught somewhere that I cannot get out of, and yet I want to comfort them and make them feel good. Well, that's a good description of our life in Jesus and in this world. All of us, I think, have feelings and thoughts along those same paths. We want to help, and we suffer rejection. Hug the wrong person at work and say "God loves you and so do I!", and you might lose your job. On the other hand, you just might make that person's day and cause them to turn to Jesus and be saved. In this world we will experience conflict, both external and internal. You might look at it as if having no conflict in this world would mean that you are not saved. The Devil will not tempt and try to destroy those who are in no danger of believing in Jesus. God tests us because He loves us and wants us to become more like His Son. The Devil tries to destroy and discourage us, and we are beset with sufferings because he hates us. So, if we are undergoing trials and sufferings... then rejoice, we are saved in Christ Jesus!

Hallelujah to the King of kings!


Friday, May 02, 2008

May Snow! - May 2, 2008

Good Friday morning! Wow, what a change in the weather. We are enjoying a spring blizzard this morning, lots of wind and some snow. Is it shameful to pray for a snow day? I don't think so, work is what it is, and we do not have to be overjoyed to go every day. What a birthday present a nice snow day would be. Yes, today is my forty-fifth birthday, praise God I made it this far!

The wind during the past two nights has made me a bit sleep deprived today. My house has many good features, but the wind does make it noisy and difficult to sleep. Vinyl siding: great to look at, miserably noisy in the wind. Back in the old days, a storm like this would just blow through the soddies and houses, literally through. Do we trust in our houses to save us from the weather these days? Perhaps a bit more than in the past, but we still place our faith in God above all. It wouldn't take much more wind to put our lives in some danger. A loss of power, and I speak no words of omen here, could still leave our homes in danger of freezing. However, in Christ we need have no fears for our safety. Yes, injuries and accidents will occur in some of our lives, but we don't need to fear those events. Is it a coincidence that I speak of such things on a day like this? No, the roads are slick, the visibility is poor, and some schools are too frightened of words to close for the day. There may be some accidents in this weather. Trust in Christ and keep the kids home if you feel that you should.

Jesus loves you!


Thursday, May 01, 2008

Silence is Easy - May 1, 2008

Good morning and welcome to the first day of May, sometimes known as May Day. Yes, fully one-third of the year has passed into history. Today, I looked back upon the year and wonder if I missed any opportunities by consuming valuable time in worry. At times it may seem best to keep our problems and worries inside our own minds, but that may not be the best solution. Silence is easy, but sharing carries a risk of scorn. We fear that scorn though we know from Jesus that we should not. Silence is easy, but sharing takes the burden down to the cross. Share your worries with Jesus and He may lead you to share with friends and loved ones. We all face problems and worries. Sharing with each other may shed new light on those worries,,, they may shrivel in that light.

I have in the past worried about what someone else might think or say. Sharing with a trusted friend in Christ has often shown my worries to be at best only partially true and often flat out wrong. None of us can ever predict what another person will say or do with 100% accuracy; we are all human and surprise each other often. The worries about conflict with others, condemnation from a boss, or a lack of compassion from friends often do not come to pass and turn out to be nothing but empty worries. Those empty worries are self-destructive. If an imagined worry does come to pass, we have then endured it twice, once for real and once in our imagination. Did the imagining do any good? Most likely it did not! Trust only in Jesus, and not in those worries.

Today, for some odd reason, the thought came to me that we cannot lose a contest in Jesus. If you win, take a lottery for example, then God has granted a great blessing to you financially and that is for the best. If you lose a contest, say a team competition, then God has a great blessing in store for you and His way is always the best. Did you get less of a raise than you thought you should, or perhaps no raise at all this year? God has something great in store for you! Did you receive a much greater raise than you expected? Then use it responsibly and to the glory of God the Father!

Praise God for the blessings He gives!