Sunday, November 30, 2008

Rocks in the Pasture - November 30, 2008

Good Sunday morning! As the wonderful Thanksgiving weekend comes to a close, we are set to begin the last month of this year. For some unknown reason a sneeze attack has come upon me this morning. Outside its the start of winter, inside my nose thinks its time for allergy season. Who can tell what time of the year it is?

Rocks in the Pasture

One day last week, I noticed something on the side of a tire on my truck. Bending down for a closer look, it appears that a rock has at some time damaged the sidewall of one tire. I don't recall where or when, having been out in the pasture both hunting and shooting many times recently, but the damage is there. That seemed to me like a good metaphor for life on this earth. Much of the pasture of this life seems smooth as we drive through it, but the unexpected and often unseen rocks can cause damage to our vehicle. As happened with my truck, the damage may not be apparent until much later. Hidden things in this life may strike our mind at unexpected moments. Surfing the channels on television we may come across an image that we quickly switch away from, but too late we realize later that damage has been done. Internet sites can have pop ups or the so-called pop-unders that offer things that we might be better off not knowing about. Closing the window quickly, almost as a matter of habit it seems these days, only later do we realize that damage has been done.

In case we have not yet realized the fact, we have an enemy in this life. A slinking coyote lurks in the pasture we must cross. At times the enemy attacks directly and obviously, but many times the enemy just takes a nip at us as we pass. In the rush of events and information in this life, we may not notice the damage right away, and this is what the enemy hopes for. However, as in all things in this life, we have both a great hope and a faithful guardian. The Son of God, Jesus himself, has our back, to use the vernacular of the day, and He also promised to return one day. Our strength and our shield, the Lord God Almighty will see us through that huge pasture that is this life. For damage that is done, He offers healing. For hope at the end of our journey, He offers himself; a life poured out on the cross for each of us.

Praise God for the life of Jesus!


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Christmas time! - November 29, 2008

Good Saturday morning! Good news for retailers yesterday with lots of busy stores and shoppers. I am glad to hear of the trend toward cash spending; I don't think any of us need more credit card debt at this time. I went to John Deer and bought a tractor. I am ready to farm now, at least I will be as soon as I can find some 1/32nd scale seeds to plant. Sorry, but I can't afford the real tractors. Okay, so we don't need to go into that any more! :-)

Prayer requests today contain some bad news from around the world. The terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India are still bad news for a lot of people. The terrorists apparently came to several locations in the city to just kill everyone or anyone. Certainly this is a wake up call to India's security services, but we know of another, greater, wake up call to all of us. Trust only in Jesus for our time on Earth could be over in a moment. Another wake up call to retailers around the country. Is limiting the quantities of those Black Friday specials worth the life of an employee? Only the retail organizations can answer that, but I think we would all say "no". People have lost their lives in crowd reactions probably ever since the first crowd formed. A human life is very fragile; the real tragedy is losing it to something like a merchandise sale. Perhaps a wiser alternative would be to make the specials somewhat less attractive, but don't limit the quantities and then hand out rain checks during the day, more like a normal sale. We don't need to see any more clerks killed for a holiday sale.

The amount of shopping is a good sign, perhaps we can start putting this recession behind us. Christmas is a good time to move forward and to spread the good news about Jesus. And yes it is! You have put up with my Christmas carol remarks for some time now, but the Christmas season has arrived! Put on the Christmas cheer and crank up the stereo, the music of the season is on. Praise God for the celebration of the birth of His Son, Jesus Christ!

Let's hear it for Christmas!


Friday, November 28, 2008

Dependence and Gratitude - November 28, 2008

Good Friday morning! A little late today, but I am up, cleaned up, and the guests are on the way to their next visit. We enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving feast yesterday, and I hope that you did too. For those of you back at work today, I am sorry to hear that, and I hope that the rest of you are out shopping the big sales if that is what you like to do. I am doing a little cleanup and getting back to writing today. Did you take the time to give thanks yesterday? We did, and I think that made the dinner that much better.

A book on the Pinkerton's detective agency was needed to further my research and I received it this week. What is the first thing to notice? That Allan Pinkerton proclaimed himself atheist in a letter to his son. A person can be successful, even very successful, in this world without believing in Jesus. I don't think that will come as a surprise to any of us, the Bible speaks about that very point. However, success in this world is just that. What happens in the next life? What happens when the books of judgement are opened? How awful would it be to come before the Lord and report, "Lord, I was a huge success in life." Only to have the Lord ask, "But did you believe in me?" or perhaps worse, "Who are you?" Success in this world is nice, but it brings no glory to God if a person is a self-made success, or at least believes only in himself. We know very well that there are no self-made success stories; all of us depend to some degree upon someone else, usually a lot of someone elses. No infant can raise his or her own self for one thing. Joyful it is to know that our success depends upon the grace and providence of God Almighty! Knowing that God has brought us up to where we are is the first step to that simple and heartfelt expression of gratitude, "Thank you, Lord!"

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!


Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Grateful Thanksgiving - November 27, 2008

A grateful and happy Thanksgiving to you! What are we grateful about? Well, most everything! The economic news has been on the downside lately, terrorists continue to terrorize, and not everything in the world is how God would have it. However, we know who is in charge and we know the outcome of all of this... Jesus wins! We can look at what we do have to be grateful for: family, friends, a turkey dinner, a little time off work, and some fun shopping on Friday for a lot of folks are all things that we can be grateful for on this day. We also have the love of our Father in Heaven, the sacrifice of Jesus and His victory over death and the grave, and the upcoming celebration of our Lord's birth are all good reasons to be grateful. Happiness can come and go with the circumstances, but gratitude is with us always. Praise and glory to God the Father as we sit down together to express our gratitude on this Thanksgiving day!


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Big Thank You - November 26, 2008

Good Wednesday morning and happy Thanksgiving eve to you! Drive safely today and enjoy some time with the Lord. My friend is on call this week, Thanksgiving included. I was wondering if I should tease him or just let it go? The first indication of recovery from my job loss - oops, position elimination - was in the realization that I no longer had to endure those dreaded on-call weeks. My first "thank you" to the Lord this Thanksgiving is a great big Thank You that I am no longer in my old job. That is a tough one because I miss the people that I used to see each day. Some of them I may never see again in this life, for that is the way of our mobile society. I could be wrong in that feeling too! We move on, but that doesn't mean that I won't be going from place to place sometime in the future. I must remember to be alert for old friends should that come to pass.

Thanksgiving, not the meal of course but the act of giving thanks, helps us to gain a proper perspective on what we have. Focusing on what we have lost is a very depressing and painful activity. Giving thanks for what we have brings a renewed hope and joy to our walk with Christ. Thank you Lord for all that we have in this life and all that we look forward to in the next!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thankful Gratitude - November 25, 2008

Good morning! I have noticed that one of the keys to gratitude is contentment, and that one of the keys to contentment... is gratitude! Wow, how did I arrive at this seemingly unhelpful insight? Something like this: in order to be content, it helps to start by thanking God for what we have. This exercise helps me every day. Looking at some far away "greener" pasture only brings one to thinking about what he or she does not have. However, thinking about what one has already, brings a person to thanking God for the many things that he or she already has. Many things? Some people cannot think of many things, but perhaps there is one thing that a person can build on. Sick, ill, diseased, your health is just completely shot and you are bed ridden? Then thank God that you have a bed to ride! Here is one for all of us right now... broke, job not secure, economy in the tank, and the retirement fund rapidly dwindling? Thank God for having a job, no matter how insecure it may seem, and thank Him for the little bit of money in your pocket, or bank account, or wherever it might be. Starting with gratitude for what I have, I can always come to the realization that I have much to be thankful for, and that in turn brings me contentment. If I am already content, then I can just start thanking God for everything!

A new deer season opens on Monday, black powder this time. I will see if my deer magic is still working. I must say that it worked perfectly throughout the firearm season. Yup, not one sighting of a deer in all my hunting. A friend saw one at a distance, but I couldn't see but a vague shape that might have been a deer, and it was way too far away to shoot at.

Think that the hunting/shooting thing is all bad? You might want to gander at one of the latest trends to be reported. Instead of holding the traditional drinking/stripper bachelor/bachelorette party, many folks are now going on shooting excursions. I read this in Outdoor Life yesterday in case you want to check out the article, page 18 of the December/January issue. A move away from the drunken/sexual thing is good news; let the young groom or bride keep their sexual interest on their life partner.

Be careful as many of you will be getting on the road for Thanksgiving tomorrow. The moderate fuel prices will enable many more people to go on the road this year. Pray for the safety of all travelers this weekend. And have a wonderful and thankful Thanksgiving yourself!


Monday, November 24, 2008

Best Friend - November 24, 2008

Good Monday morning! Welcome to Thanksgiving Week! Yes, I have declared the whole week a holiday. Not that anyone will listen to me; y'all have those job thingies to go to this morning, better get to it! :-) My deer magic remains in full force. I saw not one deer yesterday. I cannot even claim a miss. While sitting out in the pasture is often enough to make the day worth the trip, I also saw a bald eagle yesterday. The good thing about hunting is that I already had my binoculars with me; now to take a camera along for moments like that. Of course, I would need to get one of the new DSLR camera kits with a telephoto lens for Christmas. That sounds like something to pray for! Looks like I will need to be content with the memory. Oops, did I just put my faith back in the closet? How often we speak a wish or want, offer to pray, and then speak words of unbelief. God may tell us "no", or "wait", but the answer is often "yes" too. I am often amazed at my own pessimism when it comes to things that I want, but don't need. God gives us much more than just our basic needs, but our lack of faith could prevent many of the blessings that He has in store for us.

Good devotional from Love Worth Finding today. A friend can say painful words to us. Does that make you think of a friend that we all have access to? This friend has both painful words and comforting words to give us each day. The friend will point out our sins, even the deep down secret ones that we don't think that anyone knows about. This friend also brings the greatest message that we have ever heard. I am of course speaking of our Bible, the holy word of God. Each day we can pick up this friend and find just the right words to soothe our deepest wounds or to point out an area in our life that needs cleansing. Keep this friend close!

I pray that you have a wonderful and grateful week as we look forward to the Thanksgiving holy day.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Another Step - November 23, 2008

Good Sunday morning! A bright new day awaits us today; what will we do with it to glorify God the Father? Today also begins a week of thanksgiving for all that we have and all whom we love in God. Our Lord has done so much for us in this life and He holds safe so much that we look forward to in the next.

Of course, while I am following the way I believe the Lord would have me to go, the perfect job will come along in an advertisement. You know the one, the qualifications fit you, the location is good, and the pay is probably much more than anything that is available locally. Well, to me that is a sign that some power in this world does not want me to write. I could easily trade the false security of another job for the real, but not yet apparent, security of working for the Lord. By 'not yet apparent', I mean that I have made no money writing yet. That is all. Are we not always tempted to think that we must provide for ourselves? Another step in this life, another step of faith in Jesus.

Speaking of faith, my deer magic is still working quite well. Yesterday afternoon I spent a couple of hours keeping watch over an empty section. A hawk kept me company for a while, although I don't think that he or she cared that I was around. However, that is the joy of hunting for me, just sitting out there on a nice day and waiting patiently while watching nature. I pray and hope that you will have a wonderful Thanksgiving this week!

Praise God for all that He has blessed us with,


Saturday, November 22, 2008

New Good Habits - November 22, 2008

Good Saturday morning! No, I am not out hunting yet this morning. I still like to go to Wal-Mart, and then another store or two early on a Saturday morning. My deer magic is working full force this year; I have not seen a deer yet, much less shot at one. I shall have to use that in my novels! Faith in God gives us the ability to see opportunities where others would only see problems. Did you know the Union Pacific railroad went into bankruptcy in 1893? I didn't until doing some research yesterday for my stories. The things one can learn in a day is truly amazing. Now I just need to learn to apply myself for a full day...

... speaking of which, the advice I received about keeping something at hand to write with is all too true. I filled the back of a paper place mat with notes yesterday while waiting for my burger to arrive. Bogey's (up at the golf course) has a fairly decent cheeseburger by the way. This brings me to the point today about good advice. The Bible is full of it. Good advice that is. Not just the Gospels or Proverbs, but every book and every chapter holds good advice for our benefit. The commandments were not given for God's benefit; they were given for our benefit. Solomon, the man God granted wisdom to at his own request, collected proverbs for the benefit of all of us. Jesus gave instruction through short sayings that we can remember easily in the Beatitudes, and also told us entertaining parables to drive home important points. So, why then are we so stubborn about good advice, as in the case of my sitting down to wait without my laptop, voice recorder, or at least paper to write on? I did have a pen; praise God for that!

Good habits can take time to form. In my former world involving one of those job things, I didn't want to sit down at a restaurant and think of work or jot notes about my projects at the workplace. I didn't take the time to form a habit of keeping something close by to write with. I recognize the good advice, but must pray and concentrate on forming a new good habit. The journey from our salvation to our sanctification will take a lot of forming new good habits. Only God can give us the strength and perseverance to do this over the long road we must walk. Trust in Him and work on those good habits daily!

Praise God for the wonderful weather today!


Friday, November 21, 2008

Cat Waiting? - November 21, 2008

Good Friday morning! Doesn't that just sound better than a Monday? I have been away from the normal working world for more than six weeks now, and I still feel better on a Friday morning than on a Monday. I am thinking that will change over time, but it is interesting to note.

It seems that a lot of people have decided to participate in the recession. The stock markets continue to decline as panic causes people to pull their money out of stocks. You know that in all of this are some rich folks purchasing stocks at a bargain, and they will become that much wealthier when the markets recover. Not much I can do about that panic except remind those folks that our trust should be in God alone and not in retirement funds or stock markets or presidents-elect or other worldly things.

Is the hour of Bible study paying off? I don't know yet, but this kind of activity certainly makes me feel closer to God. Note that is a feeling, not the reality. God has never left me or withdrawn some distance; only my feeling has improved through prayer and study. I have worked in singing of hymns during this hour and that seems to help too. My a capella singing is probably not what one might nominate for an opera quality recording... to put it mildly. :-) However, reading in the word, prayer, and a joyful noise (emphasis on 'noise') is a good daily worship.

My "free" cat is snoozing on an $800 Cisco router right now. I guess all the world is a potential nap spot to a cat. The cat in question is waiting her turn at my lap, but the devotional must come first. Waiting is of course relative in this case, much like my waiting on the Lord at times. Just as she will get up and put a paw on my arm to test the waters, so our waiting on God is not always the quiet and restful waiting that it should be. Do you find yourself trying to prod our Lord every now and then? Are you still there Lord? Yes, it can be very difficult to wait for an answer, advice, or even action on the part of our Lord. Rest assured! The end is coming soon. Jesus will return at the appointed time, and contrary to what we often feel, He will be on time!

Have a great and wonderful Friday in our Lord Jesus!


Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Source - November 20, 2008

Good Thursday morning! In reading Pastor Rogers' devotional this morning, I am struck by how even a small part of something can point to Jesus. In looking at a star, or at least what we think we know of one star, it might not seem that it is something that specifically points to Jesus. However, I remember, or at least we tend to assume, that Jesus was born at night, when one could see the stars spread out in the heavens. A star does something else that points to Jesus; it produces light, in other words it shines. Where does it shine? Right, in the darkness. A virus might not seem to point to Jesus, we would think of a virus as a part of the curse on this world and that is probably true. However, our body has the ability to defeat a virus; who but Jesus would have created that ability in us? Jesus spent much of his time on this earth healing the sick; we can say that all healing comes from Him and points to Him.

We can spend time thinking of most anything and sooner or later we will find that it somehow points to Jesus; if He isn't the source of a particular thing, then He is the answer to it. For example: Jesus certainly is not the source of sin, but He is most certainly the answer to it! He is not the source of darkness; He is the source of light, the answer to darkness. On and on we could go. This Thanksgiving we might take a moment to show gratitude to the source of all that is wonderful, Jesus Christ.

God bless you on this fine day!


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Believe and See - November 19, 2008

Good morning! "The truth is..." Starts many an opinion in our media these days. Tonight a PBS special will throw some more fuel on the debate over Biblical authenticity. What do you believe? If you believe in Jesus, then you believe in His word and can be content that the Bible is indeed authentic. If you do not believe in Jesus, then you should be able to find plenty of 'evidence' to support your unbelief. In school the classes often show us how much of how we view the truth through our own perceptions and preconceptions. Then came Jesus, who stated quite simply that He is the Truth. I write that with a capital "T" for just as God is far above all other gods, so the Truth of Jesus is far above all other "truths". A skeptic would of course tell me to prove it. I will never be able to prove anything to a skeptic's satisfaction for if I could, there would be no choice.

We see the choice as simple: believe in Jesus or reject Him. The world wants to have many choices. "I don't believe in Jesus, but I believe in Krishna, or voodoo, or this or that..." However, when the final judgement comes the question will be put to Jesus. "Is this one of yours?" And Jesus will welcome those who believe in Him and deny those who denied him. Is that exclusive? Well, yes. If you reject someone, you will have excluded yourself. Why does the world expect the Way to be any different? The world seems to want both the seductive pleasures of sin and a reward in Heaven for believing in whatever offers the easiest path to redemption. If God is just and Jesus is the Truth, does anyone think that when the final judgement begins that anything will do. God does not seem to be one who will say, "Okay, whatever" when the Book of Life is opened. Our names will be there or they will not, just what it says in the Bible. The world would call us exclusivist because one who does not believe is not accepted. Not quite, we know from the Bible, that those who choose not to believe will not be accepted. Excluding someone, as organizations and clubs do in the secular world, is done by others. In Christ, everyone has a choice; to believe and accept on the one hand, or to not believe and exclude one's self on the the other.

I suspect that no archaeological evidence will be a panacea for the world's unbelief. As long as there is a choice, there will be doubt. When Jesus returns in His glory, there will no longer be any doubt, but the time for choosing will also be over. You believe already, rest content in your choice and don't worry about what the world thinks it has found. I am amused that the skeptic will always holler for evidence, facts, truth, and logic... not realizing that if God provided all of these, the skeptic would no longer have a choice to believe or not to believe.

We see God because we believe in His Son Jesus; enjoy the day!


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Don't be Late! - November 18, 2008

Good morning to you! Aach! Another dental appointment this morning, not something that any
of us looks forward to. I was late for my Bible study yesterday. No big deal, I thought,
I'll just go later to get the hour of Bible study. This morning, as I got ready for a
dental appointment, I wondered about keeping an appointment with God. Why did I think that
I could be late for my appointment with God's Word? Who do we think God is that we can be
late? A couple of nights ago, the Discovery Channel had the ten rules that the Sicilian
Mafia started back in the day it was formed. One of the prime directives of this criminal
organization was that a made man would never be late to a meeting with his boss. Tardiness
shows disrespect. I made up my mind to be on time for my Bible study each morning. Too
often we seem to give ourselves a pass in some areas by saying, "God will understand".
Yes, God does understand, probably a lot better than we think, but when we have the
opportunity to show up on time, we should do so. It would be sad if we who believe in
Christ would come to think that we can be late anytime we wish, and a criminal
organization would be respectful enough to be on time.
Today I will keep my dental appointment, it's too late to back out now, but in the future
I will need to schedule appointments around my Bible study time. It's not like I have to
be at work after this appointment; that is something else to be thankful for!
Praise God for His forgiveness and understanding!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Alone? - November 17, 2008

Good Monday morning! The week is expected to have well above normal temperatures for us. We might have to endure some more news about global warming, but weeks like this are a blessing. Praise God on this great and glorious Monday! I realize that you folks who have one of those job thingies might not want to hear me going on like that, but I am making the most of my situation so please accept my apologies. :-)

Great sermons yesterday as usual! The Lord always seems to put out his best for us each and every Sunday. Do you sometimes feel that no one loves you or cares about your situation. We all have those moments and we all know they are not based upon the truth. While another person may not be right there beside you expressing love and wanting to know how you are doing, the Lord is doing just that every time you pray. We also know that other people, our brothers and sisters in Christ, are praying for us, caring about us, and loving us all of the time. We are busy people on this earth and do not always have the opportunity to express our love for one another. In some cases this can go to an extreme for people living without Jesus in their heart. These people may turn to pets or even inanimate objects. That can be a sad state of affairs in a life. We can seek out and pray for those people, drop them a nice card in the mail, or even stop by to see them. This is one area where I have been given some insight recently, and since everyone supported me so well it is good for me to pay it forward.

Thanksgiving is on the way! Folks will be traveling or hosting travelers, and we will witness gatherings of loved ones. One thing to be thankful for already is the easing of fuel prices. I am sure that some will be traveling who might not have during the summer when fuel prices were, shall we say, awful. I am glad for this and I am sure that you are too. Praise God for the blessings that He has bestowed upon us.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Right to Go On - November 16, 2008

Good Sunday morning! Have you ever viewed or heard Lee Strobel give his talk on the case for Christ? Wow, what a wonderful message! This man was an atheist when he took up the task of investigating Christianity. What he found in Jesus is the same thing that all of us have found in Him. However, Lee has been called to speak for Christ and he does a wonderful job. You can find out more at

Praise, glory, and honor to our Lord Almighty on this fine Sunday! Is the road that I am on the right one for me? I have so many ideas for writing that it would seem a terrible waste to not put them to use. In this world, we are faced with many choices. The wisdom of the world says to do this or that. In my case, the wisdom of the world is to rush out and get another job, any job, just to start earning money in the normal way again. However, a calling from God may be at odds with the conventional wisdom of the world. Faith is taking the steps down the path that God has called us to follow. Unbelief is doing what the world says when it is at odds with what we know God has said.

A sales rep from the University of Phoenix called me this past week wanting to know if I was ready to start my Master's program. Again the wisdom of the world says to go that way. However, unlike the time when a manager suggested that I go back to school in the undergraduate program, I do not have that feeling that this is what God wants me to do. The funny part was when I said "no", he said that I was just enjoying the benefits of my degree. When I said, "no", again and tried to tell him that I had in fact been laid off last month, the rep went on as though I had said just what he wanted to hear. The world can be a funny place at times. Perhaps that story isn't as funny to you; it could be a "had to be there" moment. :-)

Today I am actually taking some time to write this. Most days a half hour is enough to write the devotional, but today is one of those days when it comes out a little bit at a time. I am thinking of how much time Joseph had when thrown into prison after a false accusation to think the wrong kind of thoughts. He might have been tempted to ask God what had happened and that he did not deserve this. In unemployment, those kind of thoughts can come to us all. Actually, the Accuser will whisper those kind of thoughts to us at any time things do not go as well as we expect. I think that in a year I will look back and wonder at my self-defeating thoughts during this time. I will wonder that I ever thought that I was unemployed. The day I left Cabela's; I began writing. The amount of writing was not much at that time; certainly no book came from a few days of writing just a little each day. However, we will remember that the first steps on a new journey were taken and your support helped me through a tough time.

What gives a person such as me or you a right to spread God's holy word through whatever method or means that we feel compelled to do so? When we come to believe in Jesus, it isn't a right as much as it is a command from our Lord. Whether called to minister in song, speech, or writing, we simply cannot stop. Today there is a multitude of ways to get the word out, and a multitude working to spread the Good News. We love each other and we love to support each other in our efforts. Praise God for our brothers and sisters in Christ!

Hallelujah for the day!


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Super Automatic! - November 15, 2008

G'day mates! Welcome to another Saturday devotional. The other day I received an advertisement that contained something one just cannot ignore, the hallmark of effective advertising. I would have immediately ran out to get one, but could not quite figure out whether I could possibly live without it. The show-stopping title of this wonder of modern technology? The Super Automatic Espresso Coffee Machine - Refurbished. Wow! How can you not live without that? The hold up to my purchase was in trying to determine whether "Super Automatic" had something to do with getting a person out of bed and dressed, or simply related to the creation and manufacturing of a cup of coffee on the spot each morning.

We seem to have a thing for grandiose titles and usually those titles are unsubstantiated at best and often undeserved. One bright spot in the tendency to heap titles upon something can be found in Isaiah when the future Messiah is prophesied. The Messiah, whom we know to be Jesus, will be known as Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. We can scan through the Bible and find many more, but in Jesus alone do all the titles rest on their right and proper owner. As we start the holiday season, remember to give glory and praise to the one who makes all things new, Jesus Christ. Thanksgiving is a good way to start the holiday season as we gather together to express our gratitude for all that God has given to us.

Thank you, Lord, for all that we have in your providence today!


Friday, November 14, 2008

Listen Too! - November 14, 2008

Good Friday morning! Deer season opens tomorrow, don't travel out in the country without your safety orange on for the next week or so. Most of the time when someone asks, "are you like Jesus?" I have to say "yes, but not enough..." Do you pray like Jesus? Yes, but not enough. Do you mourn over sin like Jesus? Yes, but not enough. On and on it goes. Will I ever be completely like Jesus? Only if He makes me so. I cannot do this on my own for I will never know when the goal has been achieved, if it is even possible. We work hard during the race to come to Jesus, but the real work is done to us. The Holy Spirit makes us and molds us to be like Jesus over the course of a lifetime. The work is simply too important to leave to each of us on our own.

Today, as you go about your work or play, try to pray as often as you can. Last night in our Bible study group we learned more about prayer and discussed our feelings and thoughts about it. I think we all agreed that we could do more of it and do it more effectively. Once more we find an area that we must trust in the Holy Spirit to guide us, but Jesus also gave us a model to follow in Matthew 6. Use the Lord's Prayer to remind you of how to pray, but don't forsake the constant conversation with God that can happen any time in our lives. God has a great many interesting things to say to each of us, be sure to listen too!

God bless you on this breezy Friday!


Thursday, November 13, 2008

No Problem with That - November 13, 2008

Good Thursday morning! A very warm morning it is too, but that will most likely change soon. Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Have you given any thought to your list of things to be grateful for? That sounds like a good project for me this coming weekend. There is so much to be thankful for that I may have trouble finding a good place to stop! One thing to start with: I am glad the Father in Heaven sent to us a Savior. As Gentiles we would have nowhere to go. The Jewish people were given the Law, a system of sacrifices, and many prophecies to look forward to. The Gentiles had nothing but a pantheon or two. A man once said that we have a God shaped hole in all of us. That may explain why the Gentiles of yesterday had so many deities; something had to be invented to fill that hole. However, we don't need to worry about that any more. God himself came down in the form of a little baby born in Bethlehem in Judea some 2,000 years ago. Now lots of old stories speak of gods having sons, but did any of those sons laid down his life for the salvation of all? Many lies start in mockery of one truth. Jesus told us that He is the Truth. Simple choice once more: believe in Him and accept Him as the Truth, or don't believe and lump him in with a bunch of other religions. You and I have chosen to believe in Jesus, and we are now at odds with the world's intellectual reasoning. I have no problem with that, and I suspect that you don't either. Let us move forward in the love of Jesus today.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Get on with It! - November 12, 2008

Good Wednesday morning! The sun is shining this morning and the temperature is not that bad. Last night I decided that I needed to get back to some structure in my life. A day can easily slide away from you without some kind of scheduling. Now that God has put me in this position, I don't want to give up all the advantages of self-employment, but at the same time... the days are moving on. Jesus reminded us that we all must be quickly about the work God has assigned us to do. One of those structures is that I want to be sure that this gets out by 0800 on the weekdays, especially for those of you who like to read it before starting the workday. The next structure will be an hour of Bible study before I do any writing. This was something that I tried a few years ago on a two week vacation. Each day a one hour Bible study, just me, my Bible, and God. That effort paid off rather well when I tried it before and I have always dreamed of getting back to that. So, no excuse to not have my Bible study each morning!

Don't get me wrong in this; I do not want to get back into the attitude that I need to "go to work" each day. However, I do have work to be doing and that needs some structure, a steady effort to accomplish goals. To me this is a kind of encouragement from the Holy Spirit. Something bad occurs in life, there it is, a month later the time for mourning the old life is done and it is now time to move on into the new life. Do not try to apply a month to someone who has lost a loved one to a tragedy. When Mike was gone in the accident some ten years ago, I did not get over that on any set schedule. That kind of loss goes by each person and situation, and is something in which we must listen closely to the Holy Spirit in helping someone to get through. Saying "get over it" to someone who has lost a loved one only works in movie scripts, but this is something that I believe is important to say to someone in my position with the loss of employment. It's been a month, get over it and get on with the new life! :-) I like it when the Holy Spirit taps me on the shoulder and says, "Okay, that's enough, get on with this new thing I want you to do."

God's blessings are falling on us like leaves today!


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Something New - November 11, 2008

Good Tuesday morning! A snow day! Yes, the snow is coming down very nicely here on the high plains; we have a couple of inches of snow on the ground and no wind, an unusual day to be sure. I shall be watching as the neighbors get out and drive to work this morning; I hope they can remember that a job is a blessing!

We know from the Bible that Jesus makes all things new, but does He also make something good from something bad? We read that at some point the very bad, the devil and his legions, will be thrown into the lake of fire forever. Does that mean that all bad will simply be thrown away? If that were true, we would all be lost forever and Jesus' sacrifice a complete waste of time and effort. However, we can read that Jesus specializes in rescuing what is bad and making it into something very good. Saul on the road to Damascus, Stephen in front of the court, and all Christians everywhere, are examples of God making what is bad into something good. You and I are examples, and so is everyone who believes in Jesus. Events in our lives serve as personal examples of changing the bad into something wonderful. The problem comes when we view a current situation as something permanent. This is very easy for us to do. Believing in Jesus means that we must wait on His timing and have faith that whatever we are suffering right now will turn into something good for us. Throw that bad away? There wouldn't be anything left! Our Lord has a renewing skill that is unmatched in all of creation; enjoy the results of His changes in your life as something wonderful is made from what was bad.

Thank you Lord for your renewing ways!


Monday, November 10, 2008

No Work at All! - November 10, 2008

Good Monday morning! I pray that you have a wonderful day in Christ... and at work too, if that is your privilege! It has not been that long ago that I don't remember what it was like to get up on a Monday morning and groan about having to go back to work for another week of fun and labor. Some of you may be in your dream job; you get up on Monday and cannot wait to arrive at work. I had not achieved that at my former workplace and that may be an indication that I should have been looking at another career. Well, praise the Lord that I am doing that now! Of course, you or I may enjoy doing something very much, as I did with cabling and computer networking, and yet be beaten down by the demands of a workplace. You may be in your dream career, but in the wrong company or location too. We have been over this before, but it never gets old - Trust in Jesus to guide your footsteps!

Today is also the 233rd birthday of the United States Marine Corps; just a bit older than I am, but not much. I notice that many places would have us remember the veterans who have given their lives for their country tomorrow. That is fine too, but remember that Veteran's Day is set aside for all veterans; Memorial Day is for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. I think that I have to straighten this out with someone every year. Remember to thank a veteran (or perhaps a lot of veterans) for his or her service to our country tomorrow. I'll see if I can round up a list of veterans tomorrow to get you on the right path.

Each morning I try to remember to bow my head in prayer before writing the devotional, asking the Lord to guide my fingersteps if you will. Sometimes He will remind me of a need or concern that needs to be brought up, other times I am simply told to "get to it." Either way the privilege and joy of writing this cannot always be expressed in words. One of the ways that our Lord guides our steps is in the joy we get from doing something. Some get it from a verbal ministry, others from a singing, and others in the various ways we have to serve the Lord. I have touched on this point before, but today it seemed good to bring it up again. You may find that joy in your work, or in some cases like Burt's, in doing nothing at all! Actually, that is what most people think a writer does... no work at all. I find that to be true! When compared to the physical work that many folks perform on a daily basis, writing is something enjoyable and easy on the body. I cannot call what I do "work" any longer! Praise God for the opportunities He brings to us in this life and the next.

Praise and Glory to God our Father!


Sunday, November 09, 2008

More Than You Think It Is - November 9, 2008

Good Sunday morning! May God bless you this fine day.

More than You Think it Is.

One of the main criticisms of becoming a Christian is that a person would have to give up everything they like to do. If these activities involve sin, then yes, you probably will want to give them up to live for Jesus. However, giving up prostitution, or pornography, or other sinful activities does not mean giving up sex. As you can see, the first two are actually perversions of the latter; much like all sin is a perversion of what God created as right and good. Adultery is a perversion of marriage, theft is a perversion of working to earn a living, and many other examples. A life in Christ is not sitting around all day memorizing scripture and being quiet, not that some of that wouldn't do us some good, but no one really wants to do that all the time. Life in Christ is more than you might think it is. How would the Word spread if all Christians were quiet all day?

Music is another area where the world thinks that we fall short. However, just like with sexual sin, what seems provocative and desirable in music may not be what is good for us to hear. The arguments about whether popular music spawns violence, drug use, and sexual sin have gone round after round with no clear victor. On the other hand, Christian music is by no means dull and the artists are every bit as talented as those the world holds up as icons, or I guess that would be "idols" these days. Whether you like country, old time gospel, heavy metal, rock, or even rap; someone is making new albums glorifying God in one of these genres. Life in Christ is more than you think it is.

Entertainment: who wants to go to a movie with no sex, drug use, gratuitous violence, foul language, or flagrant boozing? Apparently a lot of people do. Christian themed and moral movies have done very well in the marketplace. Few would argue that the Sound of Music is a classic; the Narnia movies have done well; and of course we cannot forget The Passion of the Christ which many have seen. The last movie is very violent, but that is because the event itself was very violent. All of these also prove that screenplays can be written without profanity and still make good money, if that is all the writer, producer, etc. is worried about. I do like to watch a movie in which I do not have to worry about hearing our Lord's name used in vain. I am sure that you could come up with many more examples of movies that are entertaining without using objectionable material.

Examples could keep us here all day. The point is to realize that the images of dull life, either here or in the afterlife, are wrong. Jesus came that we might have life more abundantly, not to take all the fun out of life. A person may think that he has to give up things to live for Christ, but what he will find is that he wants to give up those things for a better life in Christ. We all fear the unknown, but life in Christ is a progressive discovery of the unknown, hardly dull, and certainly better than the fear and uncertainty of life in the world.

Praise the Lord for a new life in Him!


Saturday, November 08, 2008

Selfish Asking? - November 8, 2008

Good morning on this fine Saturday! We love the Lord Jesus and are glad to welcome Him into our hearts each and every day. The weather out in these parts is supposed to be a bit more mild today. I hear that things got pretty bad up in South Dakota this week. How great is our Lord! A new day dawns for the seizing of new opportunities; go out and live. As for me, that old garage sale continues today, but everything short of the cleanup should be done by noon.

How great is your faith today? Have you tried asking for something in Jesus name, and had the faith to put it into action? When Jesus says "anything", does He really mean that we can ask for anything in His name? Actually, I am sure He means exactly what He says. However, the limitations of what we might ask Him become clear when we come to reverence the name of Jesus and trust in Him completely. Suddenly we may find that the things we might have asked for before becoming saved are not the things that we would ask for in His name now. While a secular person might throw out the name of Jesus like they do in movies and television shows these days, their lack of belief will prevent the name of Jesus working as some sort of magic charm. When a person comes to believe in Jesus, the asking in His name becomes an act of faith and a cherished privilege. We will ask as our Lord Jesus asked, not my will but thine O Lord! Does it work to ask in the name of Jesus? Yes, it most certainly does. It is not that we can't ask for some things in Jesus name, it's more that we won't ask and take the name of Jesus lightly.

One thing that I have noticed in asking for things in Jesus name; if the request is selfish, I cannot use the name of Jesus to ask for it. You might try this for yourself. We might be able to ask in a flippant manner, "Lord, I could sure use a million bucks," but when it comes to using the name of Jesus... suddenly the magnitude of our selfishness becomes apparent. Faith helps us to realize the difference between can't and won't in our asking. We can make selfish requests in Jesus name, He said to ask for anything, but when it comes right down to it, we won't. Holding the name of Jesus in reverence does wonders for stopping those old selfish requests. Praise the name of our Lord Jesus!


Friday, November 07, 2008

Endurance - November 7, 2008

Good Friday morning! We endured a very windy day yesterday with lots of things flying through the air. The church and my house share something physical in common, both lost some shingles yesterday. The two places share much more than that in common... the love of Jesus lives in both places!

How difficult is it to endure? A couple of years ago, we had the privilege of watching the Colorado Rockies baseball team go on an amazing run to end their season. Unfortunately, their train ran out of steam in the World Series and almost as quickly as they rose, they were gone. That team can give you some idea of how difficult it is to endure to the end. If we depend upon our own strength, we may enjoy an amazing run of victories, some in this world do, but will we be able to endure to the end? About the most anyone can hope for is to endure to retirement. We need a greater strength to endure to the end of this life, and we are not even under a time of severe physical persecution like many are and have been in the past. Just getting through this life is difficult enough. Without the strength of our Lord and Savior, we are lost indeed. Trust in Jesus to bring you through to the end of this life and the beginning of the new life.

May God bless you in a special way on this Friday!

Your friend in Christ,


Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Life of Jesus! - November 6, 2008

Good Thursday morning! Wow, we have one of those winter winds going today, and one of those get up because the wind is making too much noise to sleep mornings. Of course on the other side of the house, where the wind noise isn't so bad, I want to fall asleep in the chair. Some days the weather just doesn't make it easy to get going. Some days, I cannot account for a feeling of optimism, possibility, and joy when I have no earthly reason for feeling this way. Where does this feeling come from? In Christ, the answer is obvious, we have joy, peace, and optimism because Jesus wants us to have life abundantly. In the world, they would commission some expensive, double-blind, psychological, psychosomatic, post-modernistic, brain study to find some gene or chemical to account for an unreasonable feeling of optimism. You know that study would probably be able to find something too. The pressure of a 30 gazillion dollar grant might have something to do with it. Wouldn't you want to produce a result if someone gave you a bunch of loot to find the answer? :-) In either case, the start of the answer lies in what or whom we believe in. The perfect choice remains: believe in Jesus and you will find Him; believe in the world and you will find answers there too. We and the world will disagree on which answers are right and true, but that is the crux of the issue.

The verse that I am studying contains the assertion by Jesus, "I am the way, the truth, and the life..." At one time the world, and the powers therein, tried to flat out deny that. The Pharisees and other religious leaders would try to stone Jesus after a statement like that, and they did eventually succeed in crucifying Him when He allowed it. Later, the world decided that flat out denial would not work as well as a more subtle lie. The world would now have us fall for just one little word change in that wonderful statement. Instead of "the", as in the Way, the world would have us read it as, "a way, a truth, and a life." and then forget about the part where no one can come to the Father except through Jesus. If Jesus is only a way then there are other ways. Ways that the world would have us tolerate as equally valid. If Jesus is only a truth, then.. well you can see where that is going. However, we know that Jesus never gave options where eternal life is concerned. He is not one of many ways, or one of many truths, but the way, the truth, and the life, and let us never forget that very important second part, "no one can come to the Father except through me." When we say that we are followers of the Way, that grows from John 14:6. We could also state that we are followers of the Truth, or followers of the Life, or even all three. Today, we like to simplify it to: we are followers of Jesus.

In Christ we are not salesmen offering options to gain a customer, "Well, if that one is too expensive, you might try this one over here. It is an easier way, with only part of the truth, and the payments won't be as high as the premium model." No, we can only offer one way and one truth to eternal life in Christ. The great thing is that the cost is something anyone can afford: Jesus already paid it! No payments, no terms, no variable interest rate, no contract... your eternal life has already been purchased by the blood of Christ. One might say, "Yeah, I can live with that..." Actually, you can't live without it!

Praise God for the life of our Lord Jesus!


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A New President - November 5, 2008

Good Wednesday morning! Enjoy the fact that you are alive for an historic morning. We have a new President-elect for the next term. How will our choice affect each of us? I don't know. However, I think just the act of electing some new officials during a tough economic time can bring renewed hope and optimism to everyone. You or I may not have voted for the winner of this election, perhaps none of your candidates won any office, but we do have a stake in the future of this country. I am glad to see record voter turnouts in many locations reported today. People are still interested in this country! My question: will the new President, after he takes office next year, lead us to become a Christian nation once more? I'm not holding my breath, but I will be praying for him and the other leaders of our nation. One thing is for certain, 50 years ago no one would have expected to say a name like "Obama" and the title "President of the United States" in the same paragraph, much less as the same person. We have come a long way baby!

Now you might wonder why I seem to be celebrating. After all I did vote for the Republican candidate, mostly because the Constitution Party does not seem to be very serious in their effort, and my candidate lost the election. He didn't lose Nebraska, but we aren't electing the President of Nebraska. :-) I think that I am celebrating because of the economic situation. There is the possibility that this choice could make things worse than they are now, but I don't believe so. It seems to me that the office of the President has much less of an effect on the economy than many would have us think. A big change in government, as we will have at the start of next year, brings a sense of hope to those with the true power to affect the economy, consumers. That's us, folks. I don't think that everyone will rush out to spend all of their money, but this Christmas will probably see a few more gifts than might have otherwise been purchased had we elected more of the same.

The devotional is on the political side today, but I think that is what most of us will have on our minds this morning. This is a very interesting morning to be sure! Praise God that He is still in charge, no matter who we elect to what office. We voted, we have made our choice, God bless our next President!

Praise God the Almighty,


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day - November 4, 2008

Good morning! Not much going on here today; just another boring day. Oh wait! We get to elect a president and quite a few other political yahoos today. I turned in my votes yesterday, but many people will line up to cast their ballots in one of the more interesting elections in many years. There is little question that much of the media has its eye on on one candidate, a media darling so to speak. We shall see whether he becomes president or the other guy does. I do fear that the economy will weigh heavily on the Republican party, although that is a bit wrong as the Democratic party has held a majority in Congress. If anything, both parties are as much to blame as the other. However, we know that Congress is a bunch of folks, while the Executive branch is represented by one man. We shall have to see how today's elections turn out. Pray that God guides the voters today.

Today, the challenge of studying one Bible verse for a week began in my morning Bible study. I will keep track of the revelations given me by the Holy Spirit and pass them on to you. The verse that I chose is John 14:6 in case you want to read the it for yourself. If you don't remember that verse right away, you will when you read it.

What do we need to remember today? God is still in charge. Yes, no matter who gets elected to what office in our government, God is still sovereign. Trust in Jesus, and vote to the best of your ability.

Whee! Great day in the mornin'! I had to go get some music going and a hot drink. I think that stormy weather is approaching. Both cats and myself were snoozing there for a bit. I need to wake up and finish this. Praise the Lord for the many ideas that are coming to me. Getting out and walking each morning does help the creativity and communication. I hope and pray that your day is going as well as mine is! On the other hand, it is hard to accomplish much while snoozing the day away. :-)

God bless you on this election day!


Monday, November 03, 2008

Arriving Soon! - November 3, 2008

Good Monday morning! I am glad to be here writing this morning, and what a nice morning it is too! I hope that you have made plans to vote, or have voted already if that is possible in your area. My ballot is ready to go this morning and will be taken to the County Clerk's office in about an hour. This morning, I read in Revelation where we shall reign in heaven with Jesus. On earth, to reign is to have responsibility for some amount of land, buildings, and people. How then can all of us reign? The first thing to do is admit, "I don't know," but that is what the Bible says and that is what I will believe. Perhaps we will have a joyous responsibility in heaven, the opportunity to build something, projects to work on, or some other tasks... again, I don't know. What we do know is that the leaves of the trees along the river of life will be used to heal the nations. That sounds like a lot of healing to me, and I think we can all agree that much is needed. The new president, and congress, will have much to do next year and the following years of his and their terms. I pray that these men and women are up to the challenge.

Pastor Rogers' devotional asks a pointed question today: what would you want to be caught doing when Jesus returns? I was thinking about this just the other day, and the answer is simply, writing! I would like to be caught in the act of writing a devotional or other work that glorifies God upon the return of Jesus. The odds are good that many of us will be caught sleeping in the physical sense when Jesus returns. We spend about a third of each day sleeping, which leaves a good chance that some of us will be snoozing when the Lord returns. However, wouldn't it be great to be "caught" with a song of praise, a word of evangelism, a kind word on your lips, or writing to the glory of God when Jesus returns? Praise God for the return of Jesus to this earth!

"See, I am coming soon, and my reward is with me, to repay all according to their deeds." Revelation 22:12


Sunday, November 02, 2008

Don't Participate! - November 2, 2008

Good Sunday morning! The other times when we thought our football team couldn't get much worse were kind of put to shame last night. The team literally threw away the game in the opening minutes. This year's game will not go down as a well-played match in this long time rivalry, at least on the Nebraska side of things. The Husker fans were yelling for mercy in the first quarter; the road back will be a bit longer than we might have hoped. Oww!

In more serious matters, the Hour of Power has a problem. I do not know exactly what it is, but I am very concerned. I remember how wonderful it seemed when Robert A. Schuller was made senior pastor and began his ministry in earnest. The messages were very personal and Jesus seemed more front and center than ever. Now the founding pastor, Robert H. Schuller has for all appearances booted out his son and is changing the ministry to guest ministers. I cannot say what is going on out there in California, but it seems that proclaiming unity while having such a glaring schism is not a little hypocritical. I am not privy to their discussions, only to what I can see on television and in the media. However, as a faithful attendee each Sunday, I can say that this does not look good to me. Don't rush to judgments at this time. I will try to keep you informed as I learn more about this.

Lest we forget that God is always present. The guest minister had received a letter from one of his congregation who stated, "Yes, there is a recession, but my family has decided not to participate." I like that; we all need to get together and decide not to participate in this recession. Trust in the Lord first and not the media with its tales of how bad things are.

The sale went not exactly as I expected yesterday. Not one person showed up, none, zero, not a single person. Something about the ad didn't come across right, though it looked clear to me, or the day after Halloween is not good for a sale or something, but I shall have to try again next weekend. The truck will have to stay outside for another week.

God is with you and I during these tough times, enjoy the blessings!


Saturday, November 01, 2008

In God we Trust - November 1, 2008

Good morning in Christ Jesus! The first day of the big sale went well yesterday; now to see how this morning goes. Election day arrives next Tuesday. Are you ready for the vote? Perhaps you are ready for it to just be over. Yes, the political hubbub can get very annoying. Contrary to the media, I did not see any political costumes last night, and there were some very good costumes. However, the passing of Halloween means that we are into the last two months of the year!

Today I feel that old rush, the one very similar to having to be at work. I need to be ready to start the sale at 0800, and I am up early to get ready. One of the major blessings in my new life is in having the time to write the devotional without the rush. This reminder of that old life is not at all comfortable. In this life we sometimes need a reminder of just how good we have it! I believe that writing for a living suits me much better than the corporate world. I am still receiving many suggestions for jobs. It seems that some of my former coworkers don't think that writing is a viable career. While I may not leave the house to get to work, I assure them that I have a lot of work to do. "Uh huh, but what will you do for a job?" Is usually what comes next. Ah, sometimes the world will not understand what God calls us to do.

Do you feel a calling to do something else? It takes a lot of courage to step out of our old life or career in a time of recession. I like to remind the Lord a lot these days of how much I am entrusting to Him. The response is always the same, "don't be afraid, trust in Me." That is very comforting to me. The world tells us to trust in a job, but we know better. The world tells us to trust in government, every political candidate says, "trust in me!", but we know better than that too. Trust in God, or as our coins say, "In God we Trust." Hallelujah for the day!