Friday, May 29, 2009

The Way to Free - May 29, 2009

Good Friday morning! A major holiday weekend has just passed; where are you going this weekend? Oops, I added some pressure to your life! :-) We often feel pressured to do, or to have, or to buy, or... anything and everything else you can think of in this life. Somewhere along the way, the United States became a demanding place to live. We have more than most people and yet we find no happiness in our abundance. Many of our fellow Americans will die this year from stress related causes. What's up with that? Slavery was abolished more than 100 years ago, and yet we have become almost slaved to our jobs and paychecks. Don't think that is true? Physically, you are correct, but mentally - where the stress reigns - we can easily find ourselves in jobs where much of our time is spent thinking about work, even during the night. And these are often called the "good" jobs!

As children, you and I were raised in the belief that this was and is the land of the free. We are not free from our stress, and none of us can free ourselves in our own strength. The unfortunate part of calling our nation "the land of the free" is that people think freedom is something we are somehow granted at birth. When we grow up to find that we have been born enslaved to sin, and that sin has made this world a very stress-filled place to live, we tend to become disenchanted with God. This is of course, quite unfair to God. He didn't decide to disobey and let sin loose in the world. Well, neither did you, or me, or George over on the next block! Be that as it may, the first humans, our ultimate ancestors, Adam and Eve, did make that decision. Now we are born into the result and all this stress and rushing about is where we have arrived.

Good News! God paid the price of that long ago disobedience and we now have a way to be set free! The way is in God's own Son, Jesus Christ.

Look to Jesus to pay your ransom and set you free!


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Singled Out - May 27, 2009

Good Wednesday morning! Today, I felt the call to revisit a subject that I wrote on a while back. Have you been singled out in some way? Perhaps like my sister, Kerri, or those I knew at my former workplace (including me!), you have been singled out to lose your job. In many ways we are singled out in this life, and many of those ways can be quite humiliating or frightening. We tend to look at the dark side of these events. Even in what we think would be good ways to be singled out, that of winning a lottery or some other award, we might be frightened at the prospect of a glancing blow from fame. Winning a large lottery jackpot right now might bring out a serious amount of hate mail from a lot of bitter and unemployed folks. What would you do? The entire amount wouldn't be enough to help all of the unemployed. If you won a billion dollars and gave all of it to 8 million unemployed folks, each would get a whopping $125. Enough to get by for quite some time in a third world country, but we all realize how quickly that would be spent here in our country. Could you or I be selfish enough to keep all of the money in light of so much suffering? Even though enriching a sole winner is the whole point of entering into a lottery, many would expect the winner to share.

I read about a possible world record holder in Michigan who, amid a storm of controversy, simply backed out of the public eye. Thousands of dollars and a lot of publicity were involved, but the man just walked away from it. Some of the contro-varians were accusing fakery in the potential record and while the man's action does not prove their case, it did give the boo-birds cause to claim a "see, we told you so!" The brouhaha was about a dead deer, in case I failed to mention that part. Most people at once yearn for some small amount of recognition or fame and at the same time fear that very thing. In the Bible we see many examples:

Moses was raised in the nobility of Egypt, but when it came time to return there as a man chosen by God to speak to those same folks who raised him; he stumbled and stammered in fear. "Not me, Lord. I can't speak well!" he said in hopes of avoiding the assignment. The Lord in his mercy allowed Moses to take Aaron with him and became famous anyway.

The first disciples of Jesus felt bold when they could walk with Him, but even as a group they often became terrified or could not act. As the Holy Spirit came upon them in great power, those same terrified men were often singled out and died for their faith; all after Jesus had long since departed for His well-deserved place in Heaven. Stephen may have been singled out by the Jewish authorities, but when he spoke in the Spirit, those authorities listened.

Frightening moments abound in the Bible: David was singled out to fight a giant and rule a nation; Paul was singled out to speak and write for Jesus, and Mary was singled out to bear a special a virgin; try explaining that one to your parents. None of these brave persons was truly alone as we know from our reading.

When Job was singled out for special testing, even his wife and friends turned on him. However, we later learn that God had placed his own holy confidence in Job. Our times of testing take on a different light when we realize that God has placed his confidence in each of us. He knows that in the strength of Christ, each of us can endure the testing of our faith. Did you notice that in the testing of Job he couldn't DO much? All of Job's resources on this earth were suddenly taken from him. He could not gather up his servants and sons to go fight those who had taken his livestock; he could not run to a doctor or hospital; the illness stole his strength; his friends accused him of evil, and his wife simply advised him to "curse God and die!" Wow, I'll bet Job felt singled out.

We enter a time of testing and the first urge we have is to do something about it. We may have that option, but God may simply want us to endure the testing of our faith. To be singled out for job termination, a disease, or some other calamity is not something that any of us would choose on our own. You or I may feel singled out and alone during this time, but we would each be wrong. Since Jesus left and sent the Holy Spirit into our hearts, we have never been alone in a time of testing. The world may look dark outside, and our prospects may seem gloomy and dim, but we have the light of Jesus in us.

Reach out in prayer for the power of Jesus today,


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Don't Know the Time - May 26, 2009

Good Tuesday morning! I am back from the Memorial Day holiday, though I didn't physically leave for more than a few hours, but I am back writing to you! :-)

The beginning of Genesis, which is also the beginning of all as we know it, brought me to thinking of the end of everything as we know it. Suppose for a moment that I had a scientific announcement today. I have discovered an element called apocalyptium that has an atomic pulse that seems to be slowing down. I named this element after the apocalypse because of this apparent countdown timer. With the proper writing (big words, dull tone, etc.) I present my findings and the world goes a little nuts. The finding of some atomic countdown means nothing to God's timetable unless He wants it to mean something. When seeking for signs of the end, we all naturally want something that says "this date". However, Jesus told us very clearly that we will have no idea of the specific day when He will return. As you can see from the LWF devotional, Pastor Rogers thought of this same thing back in his day. You or I might discover six apparent things counting down to zero and all of the them together might not have anything at all to do with Jesus' return. We have an interesting thing in our human minds that rebels against simply believing Jesus when He said, "no man will know." The peace that Jesus gives allows us to believe Him, and we simply accept that some things are unknown to us in this lifetime. We know that Jesus will return; we don't know when. Live in Jesus, live in peace.

Go forth in the love of Jesus this day!


Friday, May 22, 2009

Managing Me - May 22, 2009

Good Friday morning! Ach, can I quit going to stores and just not buy anything? Even necessities seem expensive when you start worrying about money. God says don't worry about it, that voice in our ear says, "Oh, heavens! You're going down." When will all of this end?

Just so happens that no man knows the date when Jesus will return. However, God did give us a tracking number for our package. The second coming of Jesus is something that has been ordered and paid for at the cross. We don't need to worry about whether we will be able to afford it when the time comes. We don't need to worry that someone forgot to put the order in or failed to call the manufacturer. We have only to watch the tracking information. Now, it would be nice if the tracking was simple like a UPS package. Day by day we would log on the web site and watch as our package moved from place to place as it came closer to our homes. However, the signs are given throughout the Bible. We can watch as these signs appear in the news or around us. The date for Jesus next arrival has not changed since God set His countdown. We will not know the exact date until that exact date is upon us. However, we can watch as a faithful guard watches on his post.

Have you noticed the government wants to manage our lives more these days? I do like the "Bail ME out!" buttons I see around now. :-) Proposals have been floated to require all employers to have employee retirement savings taken out of paychecks, tax refunds to go into bank accounts (if the person doesn't have one, the government will open one for them.), government medical care, and other mandatory measures to manage us. Do you see now how much people will want the mark of the beast when it becomes available? Free medical care, a good job, buying and selling, assured retirement money, all sorts of things will be offered to entice people to take the mark. It isn't like people will be forced to do this thing. I often take my public library for granted; sign up for a card, books by the thousands available for free. What if one day we had to present that mark to gain access to all that we now take for granted? Those who refuse the mark of this world's power would suddenly be left out in a big way. Tough to think about. Internet, television, radio, grocery stores, electronics, electricity... all available to those inside the system, nothing for those on the outside. The reasoning will of course be that only criminals would be on the outside.

Relax, this has not happened yet. Enjoy the day. However, we might want to think about warning those around us that a storm is coming. What a thought for a Friday! I may not know the date, but I can guess there is about a 1 in 7 chance that Jesus will return on a Friday. People buy lottery tickets believing in odds far worse than that. :-)

God bless you this fine weekend; the Memorial Day weekend is coming soon! about 8 hours or less depending upon when you can sneak out! :-)


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Satisfied or Content? - May 21, 2009

Good Thursday morning! We are back to spring weather after a taste of July for the past three days. President Obama is going to speak in a few minutes, so I will try to get something sent out. The question today is: are you content where you are? First, we need to figure out just what this contentment thing is. I don't think that it means you and I are to be satisfied with where we are spiritually or physically. If I am completely satisfied with my house, I will never work to improve it. If I am satisfied with my body, I won't work to improve that either. Contentment doesn't seem to be satisfaction. If you are satisfied with where you are financially, why continue going to work? In your profession you will done learning when you become satisfied with your knowledge. So what is contentment?

Webster's says: content: happy enough with what one has or is; not desiring something more or different; satisfied. Oops, what happened with that last word there? Hmm, my cat is satisfied with an old slipper to play with. However, should a mouse run across the floor while he is playing with the slipper, he would no longer be satisfied with the slipper. To me he is not content. The difference to me, perhaps not to Webster's, would be that if he were truly content with the slipper, the mouse could stop, do a short tap dance, and the cat would continue enjoying the slipper. Webster's might say that the cat was content with the slipper, but now will only be content with the mouse. In that case, it seems that contentment would be a pursuit, not a state.

So, can we be content with where we are in Christ, but not satisfied with our current state? Whoops, the President's live feed just got whacked. So, back to the matter at hand. We realize that the work in us is not yet finished. Temptations come and sometimes we fall into sin. We should never be satisfied with that. However, we are content with where we are now because we have faith that God will complete the work in us. Put it this way, I am content with where Christ has me now, but I am not always satisfied with my own efforts. There, I seem to have at once set myself against the authority on American English, and mucked up an explanation. Okay, so not every devotional can be a figurative home run.

God bless and keep you!


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Needs - May 20, 2009

Good Wednesday morning! What do you need today? A few things will come to mind right away: food, clothing, get the kids up, feed the mutt, water, money for lunch, etc. However, Jesus told us not to worry about those things. What is it that we need in this life? The same thing Jesus pointed out during his trial in the desert - to know the Word of God. The Word is both Jesus himself, and the words God put down in the Bible. To know Jesus better each day is a need that takes precedence over our common physical needs. We need to know the Word and we need to study the word of God. We need to love Jesus as He loves us. We need to love our neighbors as ourselves. We need to love God with all of our heart, spirit, mind, and strength. The needs of the day can seem overwhelming when we think of our physical and mental lives. Jesus told us to seek our spiritual needs first, the kingdom of God and its righteousness, and all those other needs will be met. In this life we tend to seek after the immediate physical needs first, they do tend to yammer at as pretty loud, but Jesus told us to fear not!

Have a great day in Christ Jesus!


Monday, May 18, 2009

Coming 'round Again - May 18, 2009

Good Monday morning! I feel as though I have been out of touch with things for too long. The morning routine upset by a mere hard drive failure on one PC. Hmmm, could be that I need to be less dependent on the one machine. :-) I think the main thing is the comfort of the chair and ergonomic keyboard in my home office. Finding all of my old Internet bookmarks... now that will be the interesting thing. :-) The better news is that my PC now runs much better with years of clutter lost in the transition to the new drive.

Sometimes our lives could use a cleaning. We can't order a new brain or memory and do a swap, but we can do some things to help "clean out" our lives and memories. I'm not talking about some new gene therapy or a drug, but a cleansing by the Holy Spirit. As usual, we want to do something for the Lord, and we must take a back seat and let Him do the driving. You and I cannot go through our minds and review the files. Eww, delete that; that was a fun memory, keep that; that next one is too painful, but the lesson was good, keep that in protected memory, etc. No, we don't have that ability. The painful memories will stay and come to mind at times, often when we don't want them to. While we are called to stand firmly on the fundamentals of our faith, we are not told to go back to the start. Think about it; God put a lot of effort into getting you and I to this place where we are now. He is not likely to encourage our growth by yanking us out by the roots and starting over. Though the view may seem frightening right now, trust in God to bring you to the place where He wants you to arrive.

Deja vu! I feel like I have written something very like this before. I won't worry about it too much though. I realize that God must repeat things to me fairly often in order to get the point written on my heart. My Christian faith seems to be a journey of a few steps forward and then a step or two back. I also realize that the step or two back is usually my own fault. Learning to trust takes time and effort. Praise God for his patience with me.

Have a great day in Christ Jesus!


Friday, May 15, 2009

Distractions - May 15, 2009

Good Friday morning!

I expect that some folks will be going camping this weekend, but we also have graduations going on and some schools will be calling it good for the school year very soon. Children will soon be roaming the streets and yards of your town. Put the water balloon down; there's no "season" on kids. Tossing water balloons is a childish distraction at best anyway. Distractions... can't live with 'em, can't just get rid of 'em; to paraphrase an old joke. Life is filled with distractions. Some are good for us, such as setting your work aside for a week or two during the summer and going camping. Others are not so good, such as flirting with that cute gal when you should be working or discussing that cute guy when you should be paying attention to the lecture. We have many potential distractions in this life, and some of them can lead us away from God. We all know that some movies are not good for us to see. The same can be said about most other media that we have access to; even some books are not good for us to read. Discernment in this can be difficult to learn. We must learn from the Holy Spirit what we should or should not allow in our lives.

One thing that most people don't want to give up to follow Jesus is the latest movie, show, or magazine that they enjoy with their friends. The latest movie can be a very social experience, both in viewing it and in discussing it with friends or coworkers. Once the Holy Spirit comes into our hearts, we can easily see that many of the latest shows or movies would be bad for us to see. Images can endure for years, even our entire lives, and there is a danger in this. Those images can intrude later in a serious moment when we don't need them to appear.

A distraction has just arrived in the form of two cats. They are doing their morning scrapping...right on the table where I'm trying to write. Some distractions are not of our own making. We do not and cannot control everything in this life. Praise the Lord that He is in charge!

God bless you!


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Learning to be Grateful - May 14, 2009

Good Thursday morning! Whee, the house got a bit cool last night, and I didn't even leave a window open. Mid-May and we still came close to the freezing mark early this morning. I believe we had the same temperature as Nome, AK when I got up today. Just when you think spring has arrived... :-)

Do you want to be more like Jesus? We all do once we come to believe in Him. One way to begin the journey is to develop our gratitude. Have you ever been thanked by a wild animal? No, me neither; the attitude of gratitude is just not in them. While we are not wild animals, we still must learn to be grateful. The difficult part of that is not in being grateful for the good things. Most anyone can find gratitude when a rich uncle drops a few million bucks on 'em. We need to learn gratitude when a serious trouble comes our way. Now, we are not expected to run out into the streets shouting out our gratitude for tragedy. If a tornado flattens your town, you might meet with more than a concerned look if you run out shouting "Yay, all our homes were flattened!" Someone might be moved to flatten you in that case. We are not fools running around thanking God for deaths and illness in our lives or in those close to us. However, we do learn to be grateful for the trials that come our way, for God's providence, for life and joy and peace in Christ, and for the growth in our faith that comes from our pain and sorrow. We also learn to be grateful for each other, and that is not always easy. :-) We do sometimes make it difficult for another person to be grateful for us. Perhaps that's only me that does that. :-)

Take a moment to reflect on your journey in Christ today. I think you may find that He has brought you further than you might think!


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Heaven and Hell - May 13, 2009

Good Wednesday morning! Are you tempted to judge yourself and others by the world's standards? You or I may not be on one of the little pedestals of power, money, fame, intellect, or athletic ability that the world values so highly. We look out at the world with its celebrities and rulers standing on their little ladders and we are tempted to want the same things. However, in looking at the little ladders we miss the grand staircase towering above all. You know which one it is; we sometimes call it Jacob's Ladder from the account in Genesis. Angels use it for their business upon the earth, but we too can climb that ladder. How do we start on the way to Heaven? By believing in the one who called himself the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Jesus stands at the bottom of that great staircase to Heaven, waiting and hoping that all will come to Him. If there is anything that makes our Lord sad, it is when someone decides to reject Him forever. The world tends to trivialize Hell, but Jesus knows what awaits those who will not believe.

Yet another movie about hell and damnation will arrive soon. However, you and I need not be afraid. We cannot curse each other to Hell, only God can send both body and soul to hell as it stated in the Bible. Jesus tells us to love one another. Cursing someone like that would of course be quite the opposite of love. How hateful to curse someone to hell. It's sad to me that someone would even think of that, much less make a movie out of it. Think of the pride that would go into that curse. Thinking that you could send someone to Hell makes you their judge. The Bible seems to have someone else in mind for that position. Making that curse also implies that you are above having another person do the same thing to you. Again, the Bible has only one person living the perfect, sinless life here on earth, and it ain't you or me!

There is much to be sad and angry about that is going on right now. However, there is also much to be joyful about. The Good News is spreading around the world. I believe the great revival of this century has already begun. Pray for all of us who believe in Christ Jesus. The glorious appearing of Jesus comes soon!

Enjoy the appearance of spring today. Take a moment or two to look around at the green of this season.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Friend for Life - May 12, 2009

Good Tuesday morning! We have these cloudy things around this morning, but morning it is - like it or don't. I have a PC to fix today; it would be nice to have my writing rig back in action. Obstacles - in this life we know they will appear in our path. However, we also know that this life is no longer ours and the path is now the Way. Does an obstacle appear to be a mountain in your path? Jesus knows the way over that mountain. Does the obstacle look like a huge, dark valley before you? Jesus knows the way into and out of that valley and He will lead us through. You might be like me this morning, the obstacles appear to be both a mountain and a valley... and an enemy army, and a fire-breathing dragon, and a brick wall, and perhaps even a raging horde of zombie cannibals... all at once! Aiieee, what is a person to do in this life?

Wait a minute, the peace of God comes upon us. Zombie cannibals are by definition only a danger to members of their own kind (that's why they're raging!); the brick wall has a set of stairs leading over it; fire-breathing dragons went out of style centuries ago; the enemy army is in confusion; and while you and I may not be able to see the path leading through the dark valley and over the high mountain, we do have a wonderful and charming guide to take us to the promised land! Our guide doesn't say go here and do this all the time, He says "follow me" and "walk with me", and promises to give us life abundantly. All of our problems are but little pebbles in His path. He may allow some of those problems to hurt us for a time, but our Guide is always in control. In the end, we may go quietly in our beds or not, but Jesus will be there with us for every step of the journey. Who wouldn't want a lifetime friend to walk with in this dark life? Take the hand of Jesus, turn away from your troubles and look only at Him!

Great God in Heaven, please let us live only in you and for your glory!


Monday, May 11, 2009

A Message in Common - May 11, 2009

Good Monday morning! Today has begun on the cool side, but we are looking for some nice weather this week. Of course one must watch out for typing "mice" instead of "nice". I'm not sure what mice weather would entail, but only the cats would be looking forward to it. I guess mice weather would be better than ice weather... maybe. 

Do you hear words of encouragement from your minister lately? I have often marveled at how the Holy Spirit speaks to many ministers at once. On any Sunday, ministers separated by hundreds or thousands of miles might speak on similar topics and the same Bible verses. When you throw in the recorded television and radio broadcasts, the evidence points to more than coincidence. In times of trial, we will often find God speaking out through His ministers and witnesses through the Holy Spirit. If you hop from church to church (or channel to channel) and all the messages sound the same, it could be that God wants you to hear that message. Better yet, hear and obey the message. 

Graduations will be upon us soon. Frightening times for those leaving college and high school. Jobs are in short supply and many are out of work at this time. Starting a new career may be impossible for even the top graduates. What better time to let them know about faith in God? Some may have to take jobs they might consider beneath their education. I seem to recall a certain person giving up his place in Heaven to work as a servant and die for those he created. We may not be capable of performing all tasks or jobs, but nothing should be considered beneath any of us. 

Oops, there goes the Easter bunny! Perhaps just a regular cottontail rabbit, but it's nice to see him or her in my yard. 

Have a wonderful day in the love of Jesus!


Saturday, May 09, 2009

Confusion - May 9, 2009

Good Saturday morning! Sad tales of the West today on my show; massacres is the subject for this morning's episode. One thing I have noticed in reading about the Old West is that you cannot pick tales of heroism and finding a paradise in which to work and live in peace. Those tales do exist, but along with those tales one must also read the other tales of people at their worst, at least to have complete research. Whether in war or simply for survival, I do notice that vengeance is one of the main reasons given for the massacres. Do we have to wonder why the Lord reserves vengeance to himself?  

More fun in the morning! Why is it easier to believe some theory than to believe that the instrument made to take some measurement has a basic flaw? Not sure, but it keeps us wondering. We have the capacity to look and wonder, either with our senses or in our minds. If we keep in mind the Creator of all this, no problem. However, people continue to look away from God for answers. This adds more confusion to the confusion we already have. Could it be possible that someone wants to sow confusion? Very possible, for lies can pile upon lies until we are so confused we don't know what to believe. Certainly this amount of confusion would serve the interests of a power that some do not want to admit exists. 

Praise the Lord for simplicity! To expand on what Paul points out in Ephesians 4: there is only one God, one Spirit, one Lord Jesus, one of you, one of me, and one decision to make - do you or I believe in Jesus or not? We do, and while you or I might wonder about the infinite vastness of space. How does that help the people around us? Two straightforward commands will alleviate this confusion. Love God with all you heart, mind, strength, and spirit; and love your neighbor as yourself. We don't have to avoid science or wondering, but we must remember that creation has a Creator. 

What a glorious day for work in Jesus! 


Thursday, May 07, 2009

Called to Stand - May 7, 2009

Good Thursday morning! The visit with the dentist is over for this week and I am grateful for that! I see that the winner of the Miss USA contest is getting far less media exposure (pun intended) than the runner up this year. In case you have been busy lately, Miss California took a stand in support of traditional marriage in her interview on stage. Of course, the media has done the "ooh, how intolerant!" thing...and you can see it coming. Yup, racy photo has surfaced. We seem to be doing the same ol' song and dance. Taking a public stand against most secular groups will incite a reaction. Some groups are more vocal than others, some are among the media favorites, and someday you or I may have to take a public stand for what we believe in. Yes, each of us takes a stand every day for Christ, but how many of us have done it on national television? 

One day any or all of us might be in the public eye for a time. For some that is an exciting thought, for most of us it brings fear and dread. Celebrity or fame is a tough road to walk, but it can also bring tremendous opportunities to take a stand for Christ. The question of how to handle a situation like that is what gives most of us the shakes. Today we face a possibility of exposure that is far greater than at any time in history. Want to run for public office? You might find opponents digging up photos or videos you didn't even realize existed. Want to become famous? Better watch everything you ever said from birth; someone will dig up a person from your past with embarrassing things to say about you. In fact, if you decide to run for public office, you might want to just say something controversial on both sides of a popular topic. That way you have the contradiction and the intolerance of both views right up front. Might as well get it out of the way so to speak. :-) 

Jesus gave us guidance on this. He told the disciples that they would be hauled before the courts and not to worry about what to say at those times. Stephen faced the Sanhedrin, the equivalent for us of being called before Congress. The Holy Spirit spoke through Stephen in such a powerful manner and with such words that his face glowed until no one could stand to look at him. We don't have to worry or dread a public moment. However, there is preparation that can be done. Memorize verses from the Bible. The exercise is not only enlightening, but good for our witness. Think of memorized Bible verses as stocking your Christian too belt with tools. Do you want to show up for the job with an empty tool belt? Think that you can't memorize Bible verses? Start with John 11:35 in the King James version of the Bible. "Jesus wept." I think you can memorize that one. :-) "But what good is that verse?" you might ask. Wouldn't quoting that verse alone cause immediate questions? Engaging the curiosity of a non-believer is a good way to get started. Of course most folks would want to know why Jesus wept, and then we can tell them.

Enjoy the day in Christ Jesus!


Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Power in Prayer - May 6, 2009

Good Wednesday morning! The cat is telling me something, but as usual I have no idea what he is saying. A lack of communication caused by a language barrier can be a frustrating thing. God took care of that for the first missionaries through an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We celebrate this at Pentecost. Perhaps we could use a dose of those tongues this year. Tomorrow is a national day of prayer. I tried to find it on even one of my calendars, but had no success. However, though secular calendars may ignore it, that day is upon us once more. What a wonderful day to pray and/or fast for a worldwide revival! Imagine the power of millions of Christians praying for the same things on one day. 

Did you realize that the "power of millions" in this case is no greater than the power of one? When we speak of power in prayer, we speak of the power of God. You might think that your prayers are at times useless. However, that is not the case. The power of prayer is not in the power of the one praying, nor in the power of many people praying. The power of prayer is in the power of God's answer; the power of God himself! We live in that same power, but we are not powerful in our own strength. We are powerful in the strength of Christ. 

And now, having stared outside for a few minutes, I am having trouble reading the computer screen. A bright, sunny day this morning to be sure! :-) I am glad to be here with you on this fine day in Christ Jesus! Spend a few moments thanking God for your brothers and sisters in Christ. 


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Walking in the Spirit - May 5, 2009

Good Tuesday morning! This morning, Pastor Rogers' devotional begins with Romans 8:1; now in reading that, why do I get the impression there's a choice in there? I read the part about walking in the spirit, and I must wonder; have I been walking in the spirit?  However the point is, whatever made me think there was a choice involved in the matter?  At some point in the past, I chose to believe in Jesus Christ.  Paul is not writing that I now have a choice between walking in the spirit not walking in the spirit; he is simply stating that I do walk in the Spirit.  A few weeks ago, in our Bible study on Philippians we came to the verse wherein Paul expressed his confidence that God would complete the good work begun in us, correction...the good work that God began in us.  I suppose my answer is: since God is completing his work in me, I do not have a choice whether I will follow after the spirit.  Through the work of the Holy Spirit, I will learn to follow the Spirit. Now there will be times that I follow my lustful desires.  I am still in this world, and that is part of the testing and trials we will endure throughout this life.  However once I chose Jesus - He had already chosen me - the work will be completed in me whether I think I'm following after the Spirit or not. My perceptions and feelings are too mercurial to trust. I wake up feeling good and think "I must be living in the Spirit!"; I wake up feeling a bit rough and think that I must have done something wrong. That is why God takes care of this precious work and doesn't leave it up to our feelings and effort. :-)

Sometimes in reading the Bible verses, we tend to think we have a choice in something where we do not.  It comes back to that old "good enough", as in; am I good enough to follow the spirit?  However, it is not my own work within me, try though I might to improve myself, that will save me and make me holy, rather it is God's work within me that will save me and make me holy.  I am saved by the blood of Jesus Christ and not saved by my own effort. It is interesting to note that if I think I am good enough, I am immediately lost in pride.  Praise God that we are saved in him and not in our own effort.

Trust completely in the love of Jesus! 


Monday, May 04, 2009

Transcriptional Typing? - May 4, 2009

Good Monday morning!  This morning, I am coming to you from a voice transcription program.  A question was asked of me in a new Bible study lesson.  I was asked to list all the sources of light that I could recall.  At first this seems rather simple.  We can easily recall: flashlights, night lights, electric lights, nuclear reactions, fire, fish that glow, some chemical reactions, and of course, the sun and stars.  Visible light is our friend in this world; we see better in the daytime because of the way our eyes were designed.  During the night we seek sources of artificial light to make it as much like the daytime light as we can.  However, when it is truly dark, and we are without sources of artificial light.  We are often afraid and lost.

As is usually the case in my Bible studies, the author would like to make a point about the light of Jesus.  The question that usually comes up is: how do we see the light of Jesus?the secular person might very well.  Look for something like visible light.  After all, the Bible says they can read that the light shines in the darkness.  It would be easy to ask the question: If Jesus' light shines in the darkness, why do I still walk into telephone poles when trying to walk in darkness? if the light of Jesus doesn't help us to walk safely when it is dark out, what good is it?

In the natural world, we think first of the visible light that helps us so much.  The light that Jesus is and speaks of, is the light we need to see him. A physical journey into night requires a flashlight or candle to help us see the way. In the same way, a spiritual journey requires a light to help us see the way to Jesus. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, and he is the light that shines upon himself.  Our spiritual journey begins with salvation.  We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus, but in order to know him more, we need a light in the darkness. Along with that light, we also need a guide.  Imagine having a flashlight and setting out on a journey through the woods.  The flashlight shows you the woods, but you have no idea which direction to take. In every direction, all you see are trees; one looking very much like all of the others. Without a guide, you would not know where the destination lies. The same thing goes in our spiritual journey. Not only does Jesus provide the light to make the journey, he also walks with us, showing us the way to himself.

Wow, that was a bit painful. I feel a bit like Paul now: With my own hands I type this last part. My thought to speaking doesn't work quite as well as my thought to typing. I have been typing since my sophomore typing class way back... we'll just say a long time ago. I am only just beginning the voice transcription method, which will require more practice. 

Have a wonderful Monday in Christ Jesus!