Sunday, August 31, 2008

Improving in the Light - August 31, 2008

Good Sunday morning! In Christ we pray earnestly for the people in the Caribbean and U.S. Gulf coast areas as the effects of Hurricane Gustav are felt. Today there are evacuations going on and people we love are enduring the upset and anxiety of yet another major hurricane.

Improving in the Light

Should we improve ourselves or simply step back and wait for the Holy Spirit to do the work? Today I thought, or it came to me, that our lives are big diamonds. Imagine that God is cutting out a big diamond from a lump of clay. When we are born again, God pulls out a big lump of clay from the mud that is this world. Inside that lump is a fabulous diamond. However, that diamond is not finished. We will not be finished into the perfect, fully-reflective image of God until we see Jesus at the end. In the meantime, our life moves along and God, the ultimate craftsman, is chipping away the dirt, filth, and clay of our former life. How does that relate to improving our self? I believe that God gives us a polishing cloth. Throughout our lives on this earth, we are to take that polishing cloth and get to work. The progress of our polishing is painfully slow. As we look at the facet of the diamond that God gives us to work on, we cannot help but see all that is wrong with it. The areas of our own life that each of us has been given to work on look very rough right now. However, God works on a different schedule than what our watch or calendar says. How often have you started out to lose weight, and a few days later looked at the calendar and asked, "Where's the progress?" It may take years for you to get down to a healthy weight, but keep on moving that polishing cloth, keep working at the task at hand. In God's perfect time, as long as we keep working on that polishing, we will see the result that God desires in our lives. Patience in effort is one of the more difficult things to learn in the Christian life. Yes, God could bring out the beautiful diamond immediately upon salvation with all facets polished to mirror brightness and the image of God completely revealed in our life. The world probably couldn't stand that person, much of it wanted Jesus gone right from the start of his ministry. Be grateful for the long, slow and perfect change that God makes in each of our lives. We are along for that ride and the destination is the very best place!

Have a happy and joyous Sunday in Christ!


Friday, August 29, 2008

The Lies We Believe - August 29, 2008

Good Morning! Ahh, just one work day (at least for me) and then we can kick back to enjoy the long weekend! I see that at least one of my neighbors has begun the weekend early. They took off last night with their camper.

The Lies We Believe

Where did this negativity, this wrongness, in my heart come from? The lies of the devil! The Bible tells that when we believe we are given a new heart that the Holy Spirit dwells within. Why then do we get up believing that our heart is all of the things that it was before? Lustful, wicked, proud, greedy, and so on? Every morning each of us should remind our own self - use a mirror if you need to - that we are loved by Jesus and that we love our selves, and then start listing what we are no longer. Say it out loud: "I am no longer lustful, proud, rude, irritable, greedy, gluttonous, and any other of the former things you need to add" Later or sooner we can move on to the things that we are now. Loving, kind, gentle, disciplined, earnest, and the other fruits of the Gospel that Jesus brings to our hearts. No more believing the lies of the devil that tell us we are no different than before!

Notice this weekend how a tree grows a strong root system in the earth in order to grow up toward the sun. In our Christian life, let us grow strong roots in Jesus, so that we may grow up toward God the Father. Touch a tree sometime and pledge once more to accept Jesus into your heart and to grow in His love. No more living in defeat when we should be celebrating the victory!

Hallelujah for the new day in Christ!


Thursday, August 28, 2008

I Don't Know! - August 28, 2008

Good Thursday morning! I feel close to God this morning! How does that happen? Why do I feel closer on one day than another? Three things I believe have much to do with this feeling. 1. Surrender - giving all of yourself to God. 2. Forgiveness - asking for and receiving the forgiveness of Christ Jesus. 3. I don't know. Eh? What happened with number 3? I mean to say, admitting that I don't know something, or more accurately, a lot of things. One of the more difficult things to do in this life is to simply admit, "I don't know". Your boss asks you questions at work, friends ask you things, and even the world will come to you to test your knowledge. You might call number 3, humility. Admitting to God that you don't know everything also acknowledges that He does. Once you admit to God that He does know everything, how can one say that he is equal to God? One angel did once upon a time and got tossed from Heaven for it! I am writing that in a light-hearted manner, but it is no joke to us down here on the Earth. Humility is the opposite of pride. Learning to admit that we don't know something not only keeps us humble intellectually, but also shows us where we can spend time in study. There is no book better for pointing out "I don't know's" than the Bible. Did Noah save any insects on the Ark? I don't know, and the answer may not be in the Bible. In that case, perhaps that is something that I don't need to worry about. I don't know all of the answers, and I have good reason to suspect that you do not either. We can take comfort in knowing one thing; that God does know everything and delights in sharing as much knowledge as we can handle at any time in our lives. I don't know everything now and I am content with that. However, what does God have for me to learn today? Time to go find out...

God bless!


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Work to Do - August 27, 2008

Good morning! Early one day, late the next. Yes, Tuesday turned out to be a very long day for me. Praise God for work to do and the work that is to come. It may seem strange to celebrate something that we don't always want to get up and go to. I am talking about work. Yes, your workplace may not be ideal, that is for Heaven, and you may not like your bosses or all of your coworkers. However, I have seldom seen anyone less happy than a person or family out of work. God gave us work to not only make a living, but to learn, grow, and to feel better about ourselves. Occasionally, I have to put in a long day, one that extends into the night, but overall my job is much better than many in this world. I shall miss it when the time comes to move into another career.

What a wonderful day we have in Christ Jesus! I wonder how my life would feel if I didn't believe in Christ? I suspect that I would be subject to much more despair and dread. Every time someone mentioned Hell, I might feel a chill or a fright, or worse feel that I had been a "good" person and that God would never condemn me over others who seemed "bad". Sort of like that fellow in the Bible who thanked God that he wasn't like other men. Jesus told us that fellow did not leave justified in the eyes of heaven. The sad part is, that fellow went home in ignorance of his condition and eventual destination. I am glad that throughout my life someone has always been there to say, "You are a sinner and in need of salvation! Jesus is the Way!" Too often we forget to thank God for all those messengers. May God bless every one of them on this day.

Praise God for the new day and the new opportunities!


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Harmless Karma - August 26, 2008

Good morning! I need to get in early again this morning, and in light of that I am a little early in writing to you. This morning I saw a reference to karma. I suspect that most people use karma in place of "luck", but in either case they seek something harmless. A person can have good karma or bad karma, but either is based upon one's actions, thus giving the person some sense of control. What the world doesn't like about God is that he cannot be controlled by our actions, he is very personal, and he is not harmless. God makes the world, and those who believe in it, uncomfortable and frightened. Without the saving grace of Jesus, one cannot see the love of God. Without the love of God, all that a person sees is the judgment coming ever closer. You and I may have trouble imagining what it is like to not know God's love, we see examples of his gentle hand in our lives every day. We know that God is not harmless, but we also know his gentleness and loving kindness. Karma is impersonal and imaginary; God is very personal and not based upon our imagination. This makes the world tremble. We know that our savior will soon return to complete his work in us and take us up to be with him. What did karma or luck ever do for us?

Praise God for our very personal Savior, Jesus Christ!


Monday, August 25, 2008

Time Flying By - August 25, 2008

Good Monday morning! The devotional from Love Worth Finding didn't arrive yet this morning, and so I will share one from Pastor Schuller from the Hour of Power. We seem to be in a weather pattern of unsettled lately. Sunny for an hour, then cloudy, then sunny again. However, we haven't received any rain from the clouds going by. I am grateful for the cool mornings that this time of the year brings. I need to get movin' this morning, but of course nothing comes to mind for writing. It seems that writing a devotional is not something that can be pushed or rushed. I tend to think that if I could just get to the point where writing is the only thing I do... However, I am fooling myself in this. Life in this world is sometimes likened to a treadmill, lots of activity and sweat, but no real progress overall. In some ways that may be true, but in Christ we know that we are going somewhere. The point about making writing the only thing though is that it will never be the only thing. The various chores around the house, the errands out of the house, and the demands upon my time will never cease in this lifetime, whatever my career field may be at that moment. Time, the terrible goad and burden we share in this world. Never enough of it at one moment, too much of it at another. Do you suppose Jesus had this in mind when he told us that His yoke is easy and His burden is light? I believe that is at least part of it. He also reminded us that time is short and that we must be about the work that God has given to us. During his life Jesus too felt the press of time in this world. Be anxious for nothing! Your savior knows what time it is and will get you where you need to go. I like to remind myself of that when it seems that time weighs most heavily on me. As Paul told us...

Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say rejoice!


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Doing Nothing? - August 24, 2008

Good Sunday morning! What started as another bright, sunny day has changed into an overcast, cool day. My sun tea is not warming as I expected it to. If only my vision extended to over the horizon, I could have seen the clouds coming and adjusted my plans. Well, our vision does not extend out that far, and yet we often question the one whose vision does see that far and beyond. Sometimes after questioning God, I have to wonder "who am I to question the omniscient Creator?" We do have the opportunity to ask "why?" and often the Lord will answer that question to us, though he certainly owes us nothing. How great and wonderful is our God! We can question and wonder about His plans for us and for the world, and then receive answers directly and through His holy Word. Many religions would stand agape at a person questioning the deity. However, we do not have a religion, we have a relationship with God who loves us. The world is tired of hearing it, but say it again. We have a relationship with a loving God. We love our Lord Jesus and He died to save us from our sin. Hallelujah to the God Most High!

Number 2 in Pastor Kenneth Copeland's five steps to enter into God's rest.... sit down, if you knew what to do, it wouldn't be a trial. I like that; a big part of any problem or trial is that we don't know where to go or what to do. The Lord wants us to pause for a moment, come to Him, and He will let us know what to do or not do. Some trials will involve us simply not doing anything though we may want to very badly. Don't believe that? Think about the times you wanted to speak out in anger and are now glad that you didn't, or worse, regretting that you did. I have done it before and I pray that I will obey next time and keep my mouth shut when the Lord puts it upon my heart to keep quiet. One thing that we do not regret, and that is the saving grace of Jesus. No matter how we may stumble in sin or embarrass ourselves in public, we are forgiven in Christ.

Praise God for the new day!


Saturday, August 23, 2008

No Gold Medals - August 23, 2008

Good Saturday morning! The Lord has blessed me with a working Internet connection this morning! I suppose the talk of Michael Phelps will die down in a day or two. Not! When Mark Spitz did his thing back in '72, I was but a sprout and people still work that into articles and conversation to this day. I remember the hoopla over that accomplishment and Mr. Phelps has exceeded even that. Compare that with those we consider to be heroes of the faith, and count how many gold medals they won. Only a few were even concerned with the physical tests that the Olympics pose. Certainly King David would have won a medal or two had he competed as a young man, and Samson might have set all-time records in strength events, but most of our Bible heroes were not men of great physical strength or surpassing athletic skill. No, most of our faith heroes were much like you and I, just people. I am reminded that more than a few of our faith heroes were not even men. Today, we would call that a sexist omission and hoist the author up a feminist flagpole. However, back in the Bible days, women were often included in the tally of a man's possessions, usually after the cows, goats, and sheep. I am glad that Jesus changed that by raising up women in honor.

Men, women, or children, our Bible heroes may or may not have excelled in athletic contests, but all of them are venerated for one thing... their faith in Jesus. Many only looked forward to the coming of Messiah, but many others sprang from the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus to spread the Good News while enduring tremendous hardship. We have all of them to thank for their life's stories that show us how we too can be saved and grow in Christ. I like the stories of their character flaws and mistakes; those stories remind me that Jesus loves us all, just as we are.

Praise God for the joy of knowing Jesus!


Friday, August 22, 2008

Director of Spiritual Development - August 22, 2008

Good Friday morning! ...and we're back. May God have mercy on us today. Do you find yourself asking forgiveness from God often? I certainly do. It seems that when compared with Christ's glorious standard I fall woefully short. The question comes to mind that if I have been saved, why am I not more like Christ now? How easy it is to ask critical questions of our Lord! The truth is that we are no longer in charge of our spiritual development. How far along the way we have come is not up to us. How could it be when we do not even know how to get there on our own? Every time we try to make it on our own, we will find that our progress is not up to even our own standard, much less the standard we see in Christ. When we catalog our own sins, we are concentrating on the wrong target. The Bible tells us to look to Jesus, not at our own sin or performance. It seems that on my worst days, I find that I have once again tried to elect myself as director of spiritual development. Of course my performance is bad all around when I try to do that! It is difficult to "let go and let God", after all we have to give up that pride that is trying to strangle our Christian growth. However, each of us can give up that pride and let Jesus direct our spiritual growth. Jesus not only knows the way, He is the Way.

Have a great weekend in Jesus!


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Glory Unending - August 20, 2008

Good morning! The cooler (and darker) mornings should remind us that we are moving into the last third of summer for this year. Of course, school is a not-so-subtle reminder to all those who must endure the hours in a classroom. Last night I thought of endings. Have you ever felt sadness over the end of a book series, a favorite author retiring, the finale of a favorite television series, or some other ending? It happens so often on this earth that we have a saying about how all good things must end. When we endure a trial, we even remind ourselves that: "this too shall pass." All around us are endings. I thought that a big part of the greatness of God and Heaven is that...God and Heaven do not end! We face some sort of ending in so many things. Some endings make us sad and some make us glad, but the end does arrive sooner or later. Eternity does not compute in my limited, human mind, but not ending, that makes a splash somewhere in my psyche. Listening to one of my favorite songs last night, I checked the display on the CD player and realized that the song is a very short one by today's standards. Imagine a wonderful song that does not end; you will hear more than one in heaven! Imagine a book that just keeps getting better and better, with no ending in sight. That will be our story in Heaven with Christ Jesus. Praise God for His glory unending!

Enjoy a wonderful day in Christ!


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Worship God - August 19, 2008

Good Tuesday morning! Whoops! School started yesterday in Sidney. I still expect it to start one week before Labor Day, but times have changed a bit. I wonder how long until they just forget summer break entirely. I would pray for the kids at that point; everyone needs a break from work and study at times. Not too long ago, BASF had a series of commercials that you may remember. These commercials used a similar line repeatedly to make a point about the manufacturer. "We don't make x product, we make it go faster..." In our Christian faith we worship our Lord Jesus and His Father in Heaven. However, non-believers tend to confuse things. We have at times been called cross worshippers. No doubt a play on words involved there too. Well we do not worship the cross, nor do we worship in an angry state of mind. Using a simliar line: we don't worship the cross; we worship the one who died for our sins on the cross. We don't worship the empty tomb; we worship the one who rose on the third day. We don't worship the Sea of Galilee; we worship the one who walked across it. We do not worship the Via Dolorosa; we worship the one who carried his cross on that street.

Many times in history, we and others have been tempted to worship objects. The lance head that pierced the side of Jesus, fragments of apostles' bones, pieces of the cross, the shroud of Turin, and many other objects have caused the gullible to waste money and even the devout to fall in worship. However, we are not to worship objects or idols. Even angels tell us to worship only God. If we are not to worship angelic beings, then we certainly shouldn't be worshipping objects of wood, cloth, and other earthly materials. Be careful what you bow down to! We might think it funny, but I could see a child in many households, asked what their father worships, saying: "My daddy worships God." And then grabbing a crucifix off the wall saying, "and this is God!". We do not need objects between us and God, and we do not need to manufacture representations of God or Jesus. Worship in your heart, in whatever position you feel called, and pray to God for wisdom in this matter.

God loves you!


Monday, August 18, 2008

Shed the Dread - August 18, 2008

Good Monday morning! What a marvelous and cool weekend we enjoyed in the middle of August. That's right, August has moved past the center and like a giant maelstrom is sucking the little kids toward school. I can almost hear the shrieks and moans. Parents may view the end of summer in a different light. How long, I wonder, did some of us dread the start of a school year? Thinking back, way back, to some of those summers, I wonder if I didn't ruin a few days with dread when each day should have been taken as a precious gift. Jesus told us that the worries of today are enough for the day, but we often don't obey our Lord in this. Dread is a real fun killer.

Some kids eagerly anticipated the start of a new school year; strange kids abound in most every community. Those kids probably couldn't wait for the days of summer to get over. I was the opposite. I wonder who enjoyed their summer more? Yes, probably those who looked forward to school instead of dreading the coming of the new school year. Dread is a close relative of fear. We destroy a lot of happiness in our lives by dreading something that has not yet arrived. This area is another in which we can strive to grow in our lives. Looking to Jesus and setting aside dread is a worthwhile pursuit. We do need the help and strength of Jesus in learning to put aside the dread in our lives. Learning to trust in Jesus completely is not easy. However, you and I can do all things through Christ who strengthens us!

To God be the glory,


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Fear vs. Assurance - August 17, 2008

Good Sunday morning! Great and mighty is our God! Wow, I am getting the message today saying "Don't be afraid!". The message is clear and strong... and so difficult to obey. What fears do we face today? The economy, fuel prices, debts, credit, taxes, governments, events, natural disasters, too many people, too few people, and all of our own personal fears: darkness, heights, spiders, snakes, humiliation... the listing could go on for days. All of these fears are under the sovereign power of our God. We do not need to worry over them. Is this a difficult area to obey in our lives? You bet it is. Why do you think our Lord repeated the command and assurance so many times in the Bible! Don't be afraid, trust in me, don't worry about these things, live in Christ, Jesus loves you - and many other variations on the theme abound in God's Word. We have so many fears and worries in our lives and Jesus wants to relieve us of all of them. However, we tend to cling to those fears like old friends, when in fact they are our worst enemies. Read in the Word and remind yourself daily that we have nothing to fear with Christ in our lives. Why daily? Well, how often do you remind yourself of what you are afraid of? Yes, me too. Every day I must set the assurances of Christ against the fears of the day. One day those assurances will trump every fear of mine forever. What a glorious day that will be!

God bless you,


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Cruelty Increases? - August 16, 2008

Good Saturday morning! Still wet and cool out here today. In 2 Timothy, Paul has a short note to Timothy about the end times. At first read, we might think that we have heard similar things before in our Bible reading. However, this paragraph stands out as one that is very personal. The reading becomes very personal to you and me as we read some rather frightening words. This small section speaks of how evil some will become in the end times. We have been subjected to one or two persons laughing at or making fun of some personal defect or abnormality that we all have, but what if everyone was suddenly very cruel to us? What if your best friend sold your life to someone for monetary gain? All of these images from prophecy are only to remind us of who we place our trust in. Jesus will not allow us to be persecuted needlessly. Nor will our Lord leave us without the strength to overcome fear and speak boldly in a place of persecution. In our own strength, the world appears as a frightening and overwhelming place. However, we do not face the world alone, not now and not in the future. Jesus walks with us and in us daily. Never alone is a great place to be in this world. God has blessed us all!


Friday, August 15, 2008

Really late posting - August 15, 2008

Good Friday morning! We are starting the day wet on this Friday. Wet outside, sneezing inside. The allergy plants know their time is short and are putting forth extra effort to make me miserable. I would thank them individually if only I knew which ones they were. I would call it the RoundUp® award of effort.

Speaking of how long... how long do we have? Lately it seems there has been a rash of deaths in an age range that we tend to think of as relatively young in this time. If a person avoids highway accidents or war in their 20's, we often expect them to make it to 80 or 90 years old. I suspect that this is one of those statistical fallacies that happen in our perceptions. The average life expectancy is still in the 72 - 78 year range, meaning that as we approach that age it will indeed seem that people are dropping all around us. We do not know how long we have on this world. In Christ we know that it takes as long as it takes for God to be ready for us in Heaven. Until that time arrives, we must be about the work that God has given us on this earth. We have exactly the number of days we need to complete our own individual mission for God's kingdom. Praise God for each day and every opportunity to share what He has done for each of us.

I pray that you will enjoy a wonderful weekend of worship and relaxation. Have a great Friday in Christ Jesus!


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Dreads and Regrets - August 14, 2008

Whooee! A nice breeze with 53° temp and we are feeling the coolness this morning. After the hot days of July and early August, the change in the weather is very nice. Many things or tasks in this life are not among those that we enjoy or look forward to. As always, during the last few days of August, before school starts, I find it easy to write about things we dread. Quickly following thoughts of "the dreads" might come thoughts of times when we would do something better than we did in the past. Do you ever feel under attack when this happens? You should! There is nothing our adversary would like better than to see all followers of Christ wallowing in regrets and dread. Put it aside and remember that Jesus makes all things new. You and I cannot go back and do some period of our lives over and dreading upcoming events will not make them easier. All the events in your life, good or bad, brought you to the point of giving over your life to Jesus. So in place of looking with regret upon some moment, look at it as necessary to make you place your trust in the One who can make all things new. Look for the opportunity to spread the Good News in upcoming tasks or events. Do you need coaching in this? Yes, me too. Praise God for the Holy Spirit who excels at giving us the spirit of power and boldness.

Make the day a special one in Christ Jesus!


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Learning in the Word - August 13, 2008

Good morning! A cool breeze caused a shiver this morning; a reminder that it will not be long until the windows are closed at night. Yes, the start of school draws closer once more. I received the first saleskid last night. Saleskid? That would make you think of a small child, but this was a young man, a senior in high school if I am not mistaken, and the child of a brother in Christ. This morning, that meeting last night made me think of the 1970's, the decade when I grew from a child not remembering much about the culture, to a young man. The latter half of the decade I remember a great deal about, particularly in regard to music, movies, television shows and what I was doing. Most of my memories center around "me", and this is not too surprising since I have found it difficult to remember events in which I did not take part. This is where learning comes into play. We do not remember Jesus' life on this earth, we learn about his life and death on the cross. We cannot remember what Noah saw in his life, but we can learn about it in God's Word. The study of the Bible brings us wisdom and knowledge. Knowledge about life and decisions in ancient times, and wisdom to see that their options, to sin or not to sin, are very much the same as what we face today.

God sent us a bunch of stories about a bunch of folks who are long dead. One story stands out from the bunch in that the protagonist is not long dead. We learn from the stories and live for the One. As we grow older, particularly in our teenage years, we grow from remembering little to remembering much. However, as our experiences accumulate, we also run into limitations in our brain capacity. Stories run together until we may find that in comparing memories with a sister, brother, parent, or old friend, that a particular incident is not remembered quite the same by all parties involved. This may very well be why God caused some of those old time folks to write down their eyewitness experiences. Without the guidance of the Holy Spirit upon Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John how might the stories of Jesus have changed over the years? Paul's letters teach us much about coming to Christ and salvation. Later Paul instructs us through his letters to others about living the Christian life and evangelizing. Finally, one of the more amazing parts of the Bible, we learn prophecies from the past about events that have not yet happened. This really sets the believers apart from the non-believers. A believer can look forward with eager anticipation to the coming events, a non-believer is frightened by the predicted events or dismisses them out of hand. Praise God for the Word that teaches! Just as the clouds have rolled in very quickly today, so the coming of Jesus will come upon us. Let us rejoice!

Rest in God's peace this day,


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

We Love You, Lord - August 12, 2008

We love you Lord

In the beginning, you created a perfect universe for us.
A long time ago, you sent your Son to die for our sins on the cross.
In the now, you live in us and bring us closer to you each day.
At the end, you Son will return for us in great power and glory.

We are grateful, Lord, for your care of each one of us and our loved ones.
We love you, Lord, for all that you do and have done for us.
We love you, Lord, because Jesus lives again, our hope in a dark world.
We love you, Lord, you didn't abandon us after the fall.
We love you, Lord, for the forgiveness found in Christ Jesus.
We love you, Lord, in your glorious creation.
We love you, Lord, for the light of your love in a world of struggle and pain.

Thank you, Lord, in the dawn of a new day in Christ Jesus!


Monday, August 11, 2008

Glory to God - August 11, 2008

Good morning, Lord! We are glad that you are here with each of us today. The beautiful sunrise reminds us of your promise to return one day and take us home with you. The soft blue of the sky reminds us to love one another, and the brilliant orange on the clouds shows your love for us. What a glorious day in Christ Jesus!

The Olympics are well underway once more. It is difficult to not talk about something that everyone else, at least in the media, is talking about. Just as we are called to do something in this life, so are the athletes from around the world called to perform in their respective sports. We can admire their physical talents and skills, but their calling is not our calling. You and I may never see a gold medal for our performance in this world. However, Christ has promised something much better in the next world. We also know that accolades and honors in this world can be used to bring glory to God the Father. The world came up with evolution in an attempt to shift the glory away from God. We know from the promises in the Bible that God will one day be glorified forever by those who believe in Him. How we look forward to hearing the angelic choir, and joining in with our own song of praise. Let the glory of the Lord rise above us on this fine Monday morning!

God bless you,


Sunday, August 10, 2008

How Much? - August 10, 2008

Good morning...again. I have enjoyed one of those weekends. You know the ones. You expect a relaxing weekend at home, but for one reason or another you get woke up each night. I don't even get the luxury of blaming work, only circumstance. Last night an alarm went off in my home; an event guaranteed to bring me close to actual levitation. The alarm only rang twice that I can recall, but I could find no reason for the alarm and couldn't even tell which one might have done the alarming. I know the who, as in who was alarmed, but not the why. As in the night before (Saturday morning) I read a book for a couple of hours or more, and tried to calm down enough to go back to sleep. The night before, I had even less reason for waking up, but felt refreshed at 0230 when I woke up. I made it to Wal-Mart at 0500 and Safeway at 0600, something even the Army doesn't manage. All this means that I am writing in a state of "punchy" this morning. Praise God for coffee. Yes, you're right... I drink decaf. I can still praise God for coffee though. :-)

Today, we might ask God, "How much is enough?" We have probably done it before, usually in a moment of trial or stress. Sometimes we just want to know how much more we might have to endure in this life. I suspect that none of us have ever received a quantifiable answer to that. Only Jesus knew exactly what was required of him, and he suffered because of that knowledge. You and I probably do not want to know what is left for us in this life of trial and refinement. The knowledge would most likely cause a great despair to overcome us. How much is enough? Whatever God sends in this life is not only enough, but is in just the right amount. God gives us His strength to endure what comes in this life. Many times I have heard it said, and even written it myself, that we must come to the end of ourselves to find life in Christ. I still believe this was true for me and I am blessed because of it. When problems seem to overwhelm our own strength, that is when we find the strength from God in each of us to go on, to endure to the end. Jesus reminds us that "I will never leave you nor forsake you..." That is a strengthening promise if ever I heard one! So how much is enough? However much it takes to bring us to complete faith in Christ.

God loves you and so do I!


Saturday, August 09, 2008

The End is the Beginning - August 9, 2008

Good Saturday morning! I was honestly at a loss this morning. When checking my inbox, the LWF devotional had not arrived. I like to read the words from Pastor Rogers before starting my own writing. Sometimes I write in concert with his subject and other times I feel led to write on another area of our Christian life. I am glad that Pastor Rogers had the time to write many of these devotionals before he was called home a couple of years ago. Anyway, I had asked myself what I would do without the LWF devotional to start off the day and the answer was of course, trust in God! At that moment the LWF devotional appeared in my inbox. Amazing? No, as I come to know the Lord better, that kind of thing is more normal than a non-believer could ever realize. To the glory of God the Father, once more into the writing dear friends!

As a misty sort of rain falls outside, I woke up early to read more of book 5 in the Left Behind series. I do enjoy those books, but not so much as my Bible reading. It should come as no surprise that as we grow in our faith, we discover more meaning in God's Word and come to enjoy the reading more and more. At times we find ourselves chastised by the Word, but more often we find comfort, compassion, and a wonderful love coming from those hallowed pages. We are with Paul through trials and triumphs, we ride into battle with King David, and we learn from the wisdom of Solomon in the Word of God. However, above all we learn from and come to trust in Jesus, the subject of God's Word from beginning to end. A non-believer might tremble in fear while reading Revelation or Daniel, but we find comfort and a great joy in what the future will bring. While the world might point an accusing finger at us over the joy we find in Revelation, it is not the prophecies of death and mayhem that we revel in, but the promise of our Lord's return. Not one of us wishes harm to come to others, believers or non-believers, only that our Lord Jesus will return to us and take us home to be with Him forever. The ending of the Word is the beginning of eternal life in Christ! May God be forever praised.

Have a wonderful and joyful weekend!


Friday, August 08, 2008

Show a Little Gratitude - August 8, 2008

Good Friday morning! Wow, Friday arrived very quickly this week. Today, I feel the soreness that comes from a job well done yesterday. I led a team on an early trip to a remote site and we worked hard all day accomplishing much that needed to be done. Now, as the leader of that little expedition, my responsibility is to show some gratitude for all that hard work. Often we notice that our leaders forget that same gratitude. However, how our earthly leaders behave, especially if in a bad way, may not be something that we should imitate. If you or I work for an ungrateful leader, we can still bring glory to God by showing gratitude when placed in a position of leadership. As I think that some areas of my own workplace are deficient in showing gratitude, I take every opportunity to show that God has changed me for the better by showing gratitude to teammates. My first assignment for today is to get in early and submit my team for an award. The fact that I worked with them and feel the soreness today is my own reward. God has blessed us by giving a good feeling when accomplishing a difficult task. It just feels good to work hard to the glory of God the Father.

I pray that you will enjoy a wonderful and relaxing weekend!


Thursday, August 07, 2008

Grateful for Everyone - August 7, 2008

Good morning! Today I am up with the sprinklers. Yes, that is a strange thing to say, but in looking around the neighborhood this morning, I see sprinklers running almost everywhere. I think most people like to set their timers to water before they get up for a shower, a convenience to be sure. In the first part of Timothy, Paul tells Timothy to pray for everyone and to be thankful for them. Wait a minute, be thankful for everyone? Even that... fill in the blank. We all have persons with whom we do not get along well. We also may look with disgust on certain personalities we see on television. However, the command from God goes out to us as well. Be thankful for everyone. One day each of us may face persecution of some type for believing in Christ. We are to be thankful for our persecutors too. This is a difficult task for most of us. I don't even need to think hard to recall several examples of persons who have treated me wrong. Giving God thanks for those persons seems an alien concept. Yes, and to our worldly thinking it does seem strange to be grateful for those who hurt us. However, Jesus brought new thinking into our lives and gratitude for everyone may be the first step toward loving everyone. Loving is the first step toward reaching out to them in sharing our faith in Jesus. And we know that everyone in these difficult times could use some love and hope in Christ Jesus.

Praise God for the new day and our renewed hope in Christ!


Wednesday, August 06, 2008

A Little Good News - August 6, 2008

Good morning on this great day in Christ! This,, interesting discovery reminded me of the prophecy that signs and wonders would appear in the heavens before the end times. There is nothing ominous in this discovery, quite the opposite in fact. I would certainly call this a wonder, but what will the world call it? Wonder or simply an interesting astronomical phenomena, that is the choice that each of us must make. We speak a lot of choices in our Christian discourse, for that is what it all comes down to, our choices. At some point in their lives, some people have chosen to believe in Jesus and accept the wonderful free gifts that He brings to their lives. I believe in Jesus and I believe that as more and more of us come to know Jesus as Lord, there will be a great revival happening around the world. The Good News is spreading daily around the world and we have a part to play in the great events going on around us. Let the glory of the Lord shine through us this day!

God bless you as you live in Christ today!


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Word - August 5, 2008

Good morning in Christ Jesus! We are up and ready to begin the new day. I do believe that allergy season is in full swing around these parts; the sudden increase in sneeze attacks is what tipped me off. The signs may be subtle, but I pick up on them eventually. Speaking of signs, do you ponder on the Bible as a whole from time to time? The world would have us believe that something is lost with each Bible translation, that words in the ancient tongues do not translate well to the present. The problem with that is in forgetting, or not believing, whose word the Bible is. If you believe in God, then you have no problem believing that God guides each and every faith-based translation of the Bible texts. Each version says exactly what God wants it to say. If you do not believe in God, then of course you will be able to find all manner of excuses, sorry, evidence, that the words are not exactly right. If a person chooses not to believe then it will not matter what the Word says, for it will not speak to the heart as it does to a believer. However, with faith and belief in Jesus comes a wealth of life changing Word from God himself. How we do love the Word of God, both in the flesh as Jesus of Nazareth, and in the printed form in our Bibles. The Bible, bestseller and words from the Comforter, a Christian's hope and crutch in the time of need, and a powerful sword of truth in the hands of those who will believe. Do not doubt or deny the power of the Word. Love and cherish Him who spoke the Word.

Thank you Lord for your holy Word on this wonderful day.


Monday, August 04, 2008

Celebrate the New Week - August 4, 2008

Good Monday morning! Today is the imaginatively entitled "Civic Holiday" in Canada. Although we are not celebrating any specific day here in the U.S., I couldn't help but think that everyday there is a celebration going on somewhere on this big planet. The celebration might be the birth of a child, or a wedding, or even a national event commemoration. An event of international scope takes place this Friday when the Olympics begin in China. However, what do we celebrate each and every day of the year? That's right, the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Some days that celebration is a bit muted, a low-key affair. The body may hurt from injury or disease, the mind may be depressed by bad news, or we may just feel far from our Lord on a particular day. Other days we may celebrate the Good News with overflowing joy and blessing as trials are endured and overcome. From small victories to the final victory when Christ returns, we have joy and grace in our Lord! Take a moment this morning to reflect on the victories that God has given you through His Son on this day.

Have a wonderful week in Christ!


Sunday, August 03, 2008

Struggles - August 3, 2008

Good Sunday morning! How goes the struggle with you today? I know that as believers in Christ Jesus, you are facing some struggle on this day. Perhaps more than one, but I know that whether the volume is muted or turned on full, your struggle will confront you every day. Am I possessed of some pipeline to knowledge about each of you? No, I simply know that as each of us lives to believe and trust in Jesus we will be at odds with the world and its prince. We cannot avoid it without giving up our faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Messiah. Jesus will not let us go, and we don't want to be let go. Therefore, your struggle and my struggle will continue throughout this lifetime. Does that make you want to give up? To go back to bed? No, we also know that in this great struggle we are borne up by the love and power of God Almighty. The life of struggle is capped by a great promise. Whoever believes in Him shall have everlasting life. We read it in John 3:16, a verse that comes up many times in our lives. However, in times of struggle and trial, we need to remember that promise and trust in the one who made that promise. Who loved the world so much? For God loved the world so much that He gave His Son... A promise sealed with God's own Son, Jesus. Life may be a struggle, but life everlasting with Jesus is a reward beyond our imagining. Hallelujah to the Son!

Have a wonderful Sunday in Jesus!


Saturday, August 02, 2008

Tidbits - August 2, 2008

Good Saturday morning! Time for a couple of garage sales this morning, both have promised books for sale. Some interesting tidbits in the news today. An overly clean house may up the risk of bowel disease. Okay, just looking around the office here shows that I should be safe from that risk. A sports star was asked what happiness was and responded with "ice cream". I thought that was a very good analogy for happiness. Ice cream is good, but it satisfies only briefly before you want more. When the heat is turned up, ice cream melts and runs away. Ice cream only endures under stringent conditions (cold), and is not very nutritious. The sugar in ice cream makes you feel good, but again only briefly. Also too much of it can be bad for you. Contrast all that with the joy that Christ Jesus gives to us! Joy is present through good times and bad, it endures through all manner of terrible or benign conditions, and it is not dependent upon circumstances. Joy can easily be shared without dividing what you have, unlike ice cream which if shared will leave you with less than you started with. Happiness in this world, like ice cream, will come and go with your circumstance. Joy endures until we see Jesus, when our joy will be made complete. Enjoy the day!

God bless you on this fine, hot Saturday!


Friday, August 01, 2008

Discipline - August 1, 2008

Good Friday morning! It surely seems easier to say a cheerful "good morning!" on a Friday. August begins today, the children can look forward to school starting up toward the end of this month. Of course, "look forward" might be a positive spin for some as not all children will be overjoyed to return to the confines of school. The "confines" we speak of generally involve some form of discipline. Sitting in class, doing homework, listening instead of daydreaming, and reading what someone else would have us to learn, all involve something that is by nature alien to us, discipline. In the adult world, work is the most common form of external discipline. School and work are often fun, but are also often not so much fun and our rebellious nature fights against the discipline required in both activities. However, Jesus commanded us to become disciples and to make disciples of all the nations. Disciple - discipline, see the resemblance? Our inborn nature, that spirit of rebellion doesn't like to hear things like that. We want to do what we want to do. Sadly that spirit of rebellion in us, the lusts of the flesh by another name, do not know what is best for us. That is where daily Bible reading can help guide us to the right path. Instruction and obedience are not easy for us, but we can depend upon the strength of our Lord Jesus to bring us closer to Him through discipline and learning. Praise God for the opportunities we have in this life!

Enjoy the privilege of learning in Christ!