Monday, August 31, 2009

Trust in God...and Wait! - August 31, 2009

Good Monday morning! The final day of August for 2009 and the Broncos lost again. Sidney lost on Friday night; so we had a bit of a losing weekend in the football arena. It's a good thing Nebraska didn't play yet. :-) I enjoyed a good trudge today; the mornings are getting on the cool side up here on the high plains. The message to me on my walk this morning? Hold on: trust in God only, not in "I". If you take a look at the Hour of Power devotional this morning, you will see that someone else got the same message.

How many times do you trust in "I"? As in "I" can do this, and "I" can change that, or if things work out, "I" will be successful. We tend to bang around that "I" word so much that we forget who "I" is trusting in when "I" throws down the plans and schemes. The Bible reminds us often to trust in God, and not in our own abilities and understanding. What is so hard about trusting in God? Waiting. When things look tough or just downright bad, we have a lot of trouble waiting on God. We seem to be wired to take off in every direction trying different ideas, and probably wasting a lot of effort and resources. I have noticed that God doesn't always reveal His plans and means to us until the event or action occurs. This is probably to keep us from mucking up the plans He has already set in motion. Can we mess up God's plans and opportunities for ourselves? Yes, God may send help and each of us has the choice to refuse it. We can miss opportunities and in general make things worse by not listening to the Holy Spirit. When we gained salvation by believing in Jesus, we didn't lose the ability to make choices. A choice gives us the opportunity to follow Jesus, or to go the wrong way. How do we find out the way God wants us to go? Prayer and quiet time with Jesus.

Enjoy the new week and share the Good News of Jesus!


Friday, August 28, 2009

Share the Week? - August 28, 2009

Good Friday morning! Yes, the day is here at last. Friday, the end of the work week for most folks; the start of another great weekend. What makes the weekend so great? The drudgery of the week of course! :-) In thinking about work, I often wonder if work must be the thing that this world makes it to be? When Adam began his first toil the cursed ground brought forth inedible thorns and weeds. Adam had to put forth the sweat of his brow in order to eat. That sounds much like what work is in these times many thousands of years later. However, we have been redeemed. The price of sin paid for by the blood of Jesus; who said, "my yoke is easy and my burden light." That sounds like our work for Jesus should be enjoyable, not something we hate. The work does still belong under a yoke though. Doing work for Jesus doesn't mean that we goof off all the time.

Work should give each of us a sense of accomplishment. Work should be something we look forward to each day, with the exception of the one set aside to worship God. Do we have to work six days for an employer then? Certainly not. You may find that you can get by on less days per week at a job and do other work on the days off. We seem to have too many employees in America right now, perhaps the time has come to share the work week in some cases. I realize that ideas of this kind might make me a wild-eyed radical in some circles. :-) Could you see sharing a job with someone? One person works 3-10 hour days and then the other person works the next three, with the shop or office closed on the seventh day. Something a little different for folks to think about today! :-0

Have a wonderful Friday in Christ Jesus!


Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Singular Great Idea - August 27, 2009

Good Thursday morning! There is some confusion in that as I took off early this morning after reading today's paper last night. For a bit after coming back from the grocery store, I was firmly convinced this day was actually Friday. Working in the cubicle world as I did back in the day, a revelation like "today's only Thursday" would have been the death knell for the day. As it is, I have one more day this week to accomplish great things in Christ! :-) So the question came to me while reading the news this morning: what can I do for all those people out of work and with exhausted jobless benefits? I can pray for all of them; but am I missing something? We all want to do something directly, but none of us have the resources to solve the problems of unemployment and impending poverty. The savings rate is up in America - certainly due to people who have jobs and money saving as much as they can right now. I'm also sure that nearly every jobless person wants to work for their living; handouts are hard to take when a person is perfectly capable of working.

Is there something I can do to put people back to work? Can I win some lottery and put the funds to use in making jobs for all those who want to work? Actually, taking care of everyone is neither my job nor our government's. We all, whether acknowledged or not, depend on God. Jesus explains in the Bible that God takes care of all of us, even the lilies of the field. It is not my job to take God's place in taking care of folks, unemployed, retired, or working hard as they may be on this day. Does God have a great idea that will put everyone back to work? Yes, I hear that He does. But like most of His great ideas, it's a God-sized idea and it will be implemented by God himself. I say "most" only in that sometimes God does give an individual one of His great ideas and allows that person to work for God's own glory. I don't have a great idea that will put everyone back to work, with perhaps one exception - turn to Jesus!

The world scoffs at such an idea, relegating it to the heap of "religious nut cases" and other derogatory terms. Take a good study of our history or the history of Israel. When the people turned to God, the nation prospered. I'm sure that will work on an individual basis as well. You may not become rich, but God will take care of every need.

Trust in God, believe in Jesus, and watch your outlook turn to the better!


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Musings - August 26, 2009

Good Wednesday morning! There seems to be some small confusion about the date today. Devotionals and MSNBC say it's August 26, but the website of our dear local newspaper puts the current e-edition at August 25. The cat doesn't care either way, as long as I don't use the discrepancy as an excuse to skip his morning skritch. I'm being manipulated by a couple of little, black paws right now. Aaah, fall must be approaching, the cat wants to cuddle up to me; a sure sign that the mornings are getting cooler. Speaking of cool; how cool would it be to live in a church? I looked at one yesterday, but when I saw how much it cost to heat the place each month, I realized that it would have to be cool for me to live there, perhaps even downright cold. Ouch! The pasture is pretty green right here; it might be a good time to just stay put.

Good news: employers plan on hiring full-time positions in the next year. That will be good news for some, though other reports seem to indicate that not all the positions lost will be regained in the job market. The question for this year might be: will Christmas be jolly without lots of spending and buying? For those thinking that Christmas has become too secular, this will be a good year to go easy on the presents. We like buying and giving gifts to one another, so I don't advocate stopping the practice. However, it will be much better for us to concentrate more on the gift given to all of us on that great day so long ago - the Christ child.

The cat is very affectionate today. Should I expect a cold weekend or what? Today my goal, God willing, is to get some of the many ideas I have floating around on scraps of paper and voice recordings onto or into print. Time for the neighbor's herd to be shepherded to school. Time for me to get to it myself.

God be with you,


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What's Done is Done - August 25, 2009

Good Tuesday morning! The weather out here has cooled off once again with clouds and rain to go along with it. This has been one of the nicer summers we have ever seen in this area. No doubt someone is bemoaning the lack of electrical utility revenue lost due to the lower use of air conditioners this year. I see that wind generators, not the huge ones you see traveling throughout the Midwest, but the smaller ones for one farm or home, are becoming much more available. With some of them running as much as 12 grand before installation, you probably won't seem them popping up on too many homes just yet, but it'sa comin'!

A while ago I heard the statement, euphemism, platitude; whatever you want to call it that "what's done is done." True, but I thought that we might want to add a bit more to that saying. For example; "What's done is done: Thank you Lord for the suffering I have endured!" Using this as opposed to wallowing in the pit of "I wish this or that had not happened to me" helps to heal the emotional or psychological hurts from our past. How 'bout this one: "What's done is done: praise God that I can grow right here!" This reminds us that God has brought us to this location and time. Not for the purpose of running away, but for His great plan for each of us to be fulfilled. We often look at other locations or careers as the answer to all of our current problems. While we may be called to move or change careers, God wants us to realize that HE is the answer for us right here and right now. Yes, as I am learning, that answer might be to stay put and wait for His answer to arrive. What about: "What's done is done; Praise God for the errors that teach me wisdom!" This one helps remind us that God has guided our steps and will use our past mistakes to glorify His name through our growing closer to Him. The other way is to constantly give in to self pity and regret over the missteps we all have in our past.

You have probably come up with some of your own even now. Looking back at our past is tough because our enemy wants us to remember only the bad parts; those mistakes and missteps that showed us our own imperfections in a harsh, glaring spotlight. God has a few things about your past that gleam with a different light. Perhaps the time you were able to help someone in trouble, or the time you said "I love you" just when someone needed to hear it. You have shared the Good News of Jesus Christ to others, prayed for many people, voted, paid taxes, graduated from school, served your country, and many other wonderful accomplishments in the strength of Jesus. What's done is done, and I'll bet that if you will let the Holy Spirit speak to you; He will show you some great things in your past. Can't find anything good about your past? Let God show you His greatness in your present and future! Read about the glorious New Jerusalem at the end of Revelation. Believe in Jesus and you will be there!

God bless,


Monday, August 24, 2009

The Lesson Learned - August 24, 2009

Good Monday morning! Another week is upon us as we wind down the month of August. Masterfully stating the obvious is as good a way as any to begin the devotional for this morning. :-) I see a notice for yet another class action lawsuit in my mailbox. I think just living qualifies a person for at least of these in their lifetime. I'm sure a few more are lurking out there somewhere for me. Sometimes we deliberately join a class, such as purchasing a particular appliance or stock; other times we become members of a class without realizing it, as in going to a grocery store regularly. Each time we may find ourselves as party to some sort of class action lawsuit. The story usually goes that a person does nothing and someday a small check or gift card may be in the mail. The real winner in these suits is often a legal firm specializing in class action lawsuits. I have even written about these suits before, probably just after another in the seemingly endless stream of notices has arrived in the mail. I suspect that a hermit living in the remote mountains of Idaho would receive at least one notice of legal action each year filed on his behalf.

Back around 2001 or so, I picked a few stocks in my area of expertise. Of course, all of them failed miserably in the dot-com, tech stock bust that occurred. Fortunately, as I have come to realize in the blizzard of class action suits, I am not to blame! In every case, the company or CEO is to blame for misleading me into taking a risk on the stock. Funny, I thought stocks were risky when I bought them. Hmm, should have realized it was the dern CEO's fault all this time... However, given the choice, I would rather learn my lesson. If I accept that my mistakes are always someone's fault other than my own, I will jump in and make the same mistakes all over again. I joined the class of stock market investors, tried to pick stocks, failed at it miserably, and lost money. Big deal, that's the stock market.

One day, all people, will be told to join a class. This class will have many advantages that we take for granted these days such as: buying groceries in a supermarket, losing money in the stock market, paying a mechanic to fix our vehicles, purchasing fuel for transportation, or even supporting a wildly expensive hobby like all of those I've ever attempted. We know about this coming one-world system of government and commerce because God has warned us in advance. The only catch to this very organized, and no doubt prosperous, system will be that a person must bow down before the image of the Beast. The world may scoff at such a prophecy right now, but come it will just like all the others fulfilled in the Bible. Imagine how easy it would be to pass a law stating that all users of popular Internet auction and e-commerce sites must be registered by scanning their mark. Doesn't seem too far fetched at all...

Trust only in God,


Friday, August 21, 2009

The Word is Best - August 21, 2009

Good Friday morning! The kids around here will be looking forward to their first weekend during the school year; other schools in the area will be starting up on Monday. I read the Hour of Power devotional this morning with an attitude: it's just a bunch of Bible verses, how lazy can a person get when writing a devotional? Of course, that other voice, you know that one that seems to be much wiser than me, gave me a reminder that God's Word is exactly what is needed in most cases.

You don't need me to tell you that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, if you read John 14:6, but you might need to be reminded of this verse from time to time by your brother in Christ. Jesus gave us many wonderful stories and quotes, but with a few exceptions we do not memorize the four gospels. One exception that I am thinking of was Fanny Crosby, the blind hymn writer, who memorized large portions of the Bible. With a little commentary, a bit of lead in, a Bible verse can also make a great finish to a personal story. You and I may enjoy devotionals from other Christians, but we enjoy and need the Word of God. At times the Word of God alone is just what is needed during a time of darkness in our lives. Perhaps you don't need a love letter from me today, but a love letter from God himself might just fit the need; read the Gospel of John - God's love letter to all of us.

Devotionals are good for encouragement, sharing the love of Jesus, spreading the Good News, and for letting others know that someone cares enough to write, but God has already done all of this in His own perfect way. You will find this in the Bible, the inspired Word of God! Devotionals are great, but none can ever take the place of God's own Word.

Have a wonderful Friday in Christ Jesus!


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Losing It - August 19, 2009

Good early Wednesday morning! Some mornings I wake up at the "usual" time from back in the day. Old habits don't want to let go of a person. Did you know that the same feel-good pathway that cocaine can create in the brain is present with many of the fast or processed food creations we eat now? The sugar-fat-salt combinations that are pushed at the various eating places can cause us to become addicted. Think of how many times you say something like: "I really loove that snikflapperdoodle at Gonzo's, you really need to try one!" A reward pathway has been formed in your brain. This in turn makes you want to come back for more and more. Interesting news to start your that donut! :-)

Interesting devotional from LWF today; how do you stack up in all three areas? Did you feel, like I did, that you are neither happy, nor healthy, nor holy? The first thought to follow that was that I should not sell Jesus short! Greater is He that is within me than he that is in the world, to recall a verse that we should remember often. The work of the Holy Spirit may seem slow at times. You and I may even feel that we haven't changed from as far back as we can remember. The whispers of the devil will point out all the areas in your life where you and I have failed. However, the Holy Spirit is going to point out all the area in which He has succeeded! The first and most basic thing: we cannot lose the salvation that has been bought and paid for with the blood of Jesus!

In this world we can lose everything that we have gained, including that extra weight we don't need. Some things are lost without effort due to deterioration, age, theft, or plain ol' absentmindedness, while others require much effort - like that weight thing. We know that anything we purchase can be lost; that may even be one of our big worries after making the purchase. However, you and I did not purchase our salvation; we can only accept the free gift of grace through faith in Christ Jesus. We can be lost before our Lord finds us; but we cannot lose what Jesus gives and keeps safe for us, our place with Him in Heaven. A bit of wisdom there for those who think they can earn their way to Heaven through giving away lots o' loot. If you can buy, earn, grab, or steal it; you can also lose it!

Be at peace; you may not see all the results of Jesus' work within you, but He does not fail.


More Troubles - August 20, 2009

Good Thursday morning! Aiigh! I missed it yesterday; school started without me! Ah well, I think I can live with that. :-) I thought that Pastor Schuller's devotional looked pretty good today. We fear change; often without checking first to see whether the change will be good or bad for us. We all start out as sinners, the Bible says so in no uncertain terms. Obviously to enjoy the presence of God there must be a change. A change for the better, though it may be painful at times.

On the other hand, getting fired, laid-off, terminated from our respective jobs doesn't seem like a good change and we rightly fear it. Is the fear justified though? Tuesday morning at our weekly prayer breakfast, we got on the subject of people we know losing their jobs, an all too common subject in the past year or so. Some of us have gone or are going through that very same change even as I write, myself included. What do we tell those who have lost their means of making a living? Those folks need to know the same thing that I did: God is in control, trust in Him! I can tell you that I still have to remind myself of that fact. We prayed that no one else would lose their jobs, but we also know that didn't happen. So here is your chance and my chance to be there for someone in a time of need. I don't know all the names, probably never will, but between all of us we should be able to help with the emotional pain of those we do hear about.

Going through a major life change, especially one that is thrust upon you, is very difficult. I don't know what I would have done without Jesus, and my friends and loved ones. I can only imagine how difficult it would be for those who believe in only themselves. If you know someone, get out there and see what you can do for them. It helps a lot just to talk to someone; you can take that from me. :-)

Pray for those going through the big changes today. Trust in God!


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

God Loves You Here and Now - August 18, 2009

Good Tuesday morning! The light of day comes and we tend to forget the promises made to God in the darkness. In thinking about my main character in one book, I wondered how often you, me, or anyone makes promises in our fear and then forgets those promises when the darkness is lifted in God's mercy. In many cases, God doesn't need everyone to fulfill his or her promise of a mission to the Congo. These days it could be that God has more missionaries from the Congo to send out than a need for more to go in. Often the promises in the dark we make only come from what we think God needs. God may have us forget a promise because he needs one or all of us to be right where he has each of us already. If God took up every promise made in the dark, who would stay to form the lifelong friendships that help us grow closer to our brothers and sisters in Christ? What happens when all those fulfilling promises in far away lands suddenly have another dark night? Would you have to promise to have a mission trip back to your home town?

Some will be called to travel to other towns and lands, but I suspect that what most of us need to promise in the dark times is to learn to trust in God. Complete trust in our Lord does not come automatically or instantly. When the wind howls, the darkness descends, and your life looks like a lost cause, make a promise to learn to trust in God. We may come at it from different directions; from the "why am I here?" to the "I'm scared to be here right now!" If God has brought you to Nowheresville, trust that He has a godly reason for you to be there. If God has brought you to the bottom of a dreadful valley, trust that He will show you the route to climb back up to His mountain.

When God brought the Israelites into the wilderness, many of them despaired and wanted to go back to Egypt. I can only imagine the astonishment in Heaven when God told the angels that His people wanted to go back to slavery. After all the examples of God's might shown in their escape, their faith wavered and the people looked away from God. We can easily be in that same frame of mind - looking back and failing to trust in God. Learn from the stories in the Old Testament. God has never and will never fail in His promises. If you are called to go far away, trust in God. If you are called to stay put, trust in God. Both calls have the potential for much anxiety if we look at the darkness and take our eyes off of our God.

God loves you and me, here and now, today and tomorrow; trust in Him!


Monday, August 17, 2009

Caught Late! - August 17, 2009

Good Monday morning! I'm late today... whoohoo! Little trip to Safeway to start the day, a little bit of breakfast and news, and the next thing you know... 0800 has past. Time catches us whether we watch the clock or not. That is why Jesus warned us more than once in Revelation that He is coming soon. The final trumpet will sound and catch much of the world in complete surprise. We, on the other hand, are told to be watchful. While no one will know the exact day or date of Jesus' return, the Bible does give signs to watch for. Read in Thessalonians and Revelation about the events that must happen. Jesus himself gave us clues to watch for as well in Matthew 24. Though at times it may seem that God would have us wait and wait, only to be caught in shock and awe like the world will be, we find in our Bible study that is not true. Without revealing His perfect time to us, God has given us much to watch for in the coming times and signs that have already been completed, such as the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. Some days the coming of Jesus seems far away, but like my 8:00am deadline, the time will arrive without warning if we don't watch!

Have a great day in Christ Jesus!


Friday, August 14, 2009

God Needs Me - August 14, 2009

Good Friday morning! I smell school in the air! Believe it or don't, school begins this coming Wednesday around these parts. As always, that seems kind of early to me. August 19th? Yikes, where did the summer go? Labor Day comes late this year, the kids will have to endure like, 2 1/2 weeks of school before the first 3-day break. I feel for the poor little bairns! I know: "Why do you feel for them, you've been on break since last October 7th?" True, but I remember the anxiety of summer's end and the dread of going back for another year of school. I think home schooling is the answer. Then you can set summer vacation from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Heh, heh, I'm full of advice for parents...having never been one myself! :-)

In reading the Hour of Power devotional today, I had to wonder if "needs" is the right word? Does God need us? I don't know that the all-powerful God needs us to do anything for Him. But I am glad that He allows me to write for Him. I am glad that He wants me to write for Him. Perhaps I should look at "need" as not that He cannot do it himself, but that He prefers that I do the things He wants me to do, and that those tasks are for His glory and my improvement. The cat here can scratch his own head if he wants to, but he prefers that I do it. You might say that he needs me to do it to strengthen the bond between us. In that we can see how God needs us to do things for Him. He wants to strengthen the bond between us!

God could do many things for each of us. You could wake up 50lbs lighter tomorrow, or healed of all diseases and hurts. God could even pray for you and turn the pages of a Bible. However, would any of that strengthen the bond between God and us? Working for something over the long haul brings us closer and closer to God. That may be why our sanctification takes a lifetime. You and I are a work of God in progress. Feel the love of being a special project of the Creator himself! You are God's special work of art! :-)

Thank you Lord, for caring enough to make me special!


Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Savior Comes? - August 13, 2009

Good Thursday morning! I am glad to be here writing for you! We are in another two or three day heat wave, it may hit 96 today. No complaints about this summer; the Lord has blessed us with good rainfall and little heat. Speaking of good/bad, I read this morning that the government's CARS program is not doing good by everyone. Used car dealers, used parts users, and charities are all being hurt by the program. It seems that the government cannot provide a panacea for our troubles. Have you seen the reports of emotional outbursts at health care reform meetings? Not everyone wants the government to put its big boots on top of the health care industry; others want the same boots to stomp down hard. Another issue with no easy answers. I think most of us have one concern with the health care industry... what about me? Those with insurance have noted the rising deductions and out-of-pocket costs, those without wonder if one medical problem will wipe out every cent and stitch we own. How does someone without Jesus in his heart stand the strain of this?

We can easily tell that God's will is not being done in all that we read and see in the news these days. Thinking back to the years that I tried to get by on my own, I often wonder how I managed. Of course, now that I can look back with the Holy Spirit in my heart, I know that God looked after all of us even when we tried to ignore Him. At the moment, the world is held safely by God. However, many still look for a savior they can touch and feel. The prince of this world will be allowed to respond to that search in the near future when the Anti-Christ comes on the scene. You might look at the Anti-Christ and his minions as the final piece of evidence against those who will refuse to believe in Jesus. The real savior has come to earth, gone to the grave, and returned; if a person refuses to believe in Him, that person will have no defense or defender when the false messiah comes. We can easily see the many problems in the world today. Imagine how easy it would be to believe in someone who showed up and began solving those same problems quickly, efficiently, and charismatically! Such a person might put on a front of humility and compassion to sway millions to his side.

As more problems come to light in this life, the more people on this earth will come to realize their need for a savior. As always, they are going to have a choice. Let us work to make sure they are fully aware of choosing Jesus as the only way to eternal life!

God bless and keep you this day,


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Bus Approaches! - August 12, 2009

Good Wednesday morning! Do you miss someone from the past? I suspect that all of us have someone who has gone to be with Jesus or has simply dropped out of contact due to the shifting currents in the river of life. We might think; "Should I write? He probably remembers me as that goon from back in the day." I know that I lost some contact info from my work PC; my own fault, I knew better than to keep it there. :-) The question today is: do you write, e-mail, or call those that you do have contact information for and see on a regular basis? Sometimes we tend to assume too much. "He or she knows that I'm okay 'cuz they haven't heard anything to the contrary." The fact that you haven't made the local, or worse - national, news because of some tragedy is only some consolation.

Just a short time ago we were much more dependent upon letters to communicate. Imagine how many anxious thoughts could go through a loved ones mind if you only wrote twice a year. Today we have e-mail and other forms of electronic communication. Drop someone a quick note to let them know you care. We don't have to start out a loving message with: "You're a sinner and your doom approaches!" This is often what the world tells its own that Christians will do. That doesn't sound like good news to me, and it wouldn't to our long lost friends either. Would you tell a loved one standing on the road that he is a pedestrian and a speeding bus approaches? No, you would reach out to pull him out of the way. Praise God that our Lord is more merciful than a speeding bus! We can gently point out the peril of a loved ones position without fear that he or she will be mowed down immediately upon realizing their own mortality. How much good could we do if every time we tried to share Jesus with someone a bus ran them down? One thing we can know about our sovereign Lord; if we are to deliver the message, the friend will have the time to hear it. But we must not delay, the figurative bus is indeed coming!

Glad to hear that all of you with jobs are much more productive and doing it for much less money! Congratulations, employers all over the country will get bonuses for getting you to do more while earning less! :-) I won't charge you for the sarcasm since you've probably given so much of yourself to your employer this year. I am sad for my former teammates though; I think you and I could both see that is what would happen, and now government figures have confirmed it. I sound very Dilbert-ish, but a few lay-offs and the remaining workers scurry around like frightened rats trying to keep their jobs. As a former corporate slave, I have only one piece of advice: trust in God and not in any earthly employer. I wonder if Scott Adams needs any help? I could use my years of experience in a large corporation in writing Dilbert strips. :-)

God bless you on this fine day,


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Bring Glory to God - August 11, 2009

Good Tuesday morning! Have you ever tried to push something along in your life? You know that God has great plans for you. However, you don't know exactly how the plans will be fulfilled, and so you start pushing where God says to wait. We know that is called impatience and even disobedience. Yet we still catch ourselves doing such things while letting other areas, the ones where God says "do", slide. How did we ever get into such a horrible condition? Of course, the answer is sin; that rebellion against God begun way back when Eve first reached for that forbidden fruit. We feel the pull away from God that Adam first felt when God first asked "why are you hiding back there?" What did Adam do when his sin could not be hidden from God? He pointed his finger away from himself, "it wasn't my fault!" We feel that pull too.

Jesus told us to be at peace and then gave us his peace as well. This peace comes from knowing that even when we mess it all up by doing what we shouldn't and not doing what we should, God forgives us by the grace of Jesus Christ. You may be tempted to just do nothing when faced with the possibility of messing it all up, but that only covers half the problem. The sin of not doing what we know that we should be doing cannot be solved by doing nothing. Jesus told us that we must each be quickly about doing the work assigned to us. Learn or find out what your assignment is, and get to it! Bring glory to God our Father!


Monday, August 10, 2009

Who Saves? - August 10, 2009

Good Monday morning! Football season began last night with the Hall of Fame game out in Ohio. School season begins very soon too. The start of school brings back the "faith vs. reason" argument as some like to call it. That complaint the world has that someone who chooses to believe in Jesus cannot be a scientist or have an "open" mind. A while back I may have mentioned a book by Dr. Francis Collins, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief. The debate is starting up again as Dr. Collins is the nominee by President Obama to be director of the National Institutes of Health. The argument, as so often happens, is framed to sound bad for the believer. The argument is not that faith and reason cannot coexist in the same person, but that we who believe in Jesus are at odds with the world's wisdom. So what is this world's wisdom that we oppose?

The world would have us believe that humans are basically good with a few bad tendencies. The Bible on the other hand says: " for all have sinned and fallen short of God's glorious standard" (Rom 3:23), and, "the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it?" (Jer 17:9) The world also believes that many things can save us all, including: science, philosophy, being nice to each other, education, philanthropy, government, and other things of the world. Jesus told us that He alone is the Way. We are at odds with the world's reason; so can a believer function as a scientist? You bet. Who wants to know more about God's creation than one who believes that God did in fact create it? Faith in God gives us the desire to know more about the Creation we see all around us. Faith in Jesus allows us to be saved; not by our own action but by what Jesus has done for us. We choose to believe in God, not from any lack of intelligence or education, but because of His great love for us. No one runs around saying "the world saves!", but I do hear many wonderful voices saying "Jesus saves!"

Have a great day in Christ!


Friday, August 07, 2009

Too Much Senses? - August 7, 2009

Good Friday morning! I'm thinking it has been a while since we just had fun on a Friday morning devotional so I will try to bring some today. We have wondered at times what Hell would be like or who would end up there. We know that those who refuse to believe in Jesus will end up there, but what is it like? One hint comes in Luke 16 with the story of the rich man and the beggar, also named Lazarus. The rich man ends up in Hell and Lazarus is taken by angels to Heaven. But, what amuses me about this story is the first request by the rich man to Father Abraham. Is it "please get me out of here"? or even what we would hope, "I repent, please save me!"? Nope, the first request is to send Lazarus to Hell with a drop of water to cool the rich man's tongue. You may shake your head over this; I certainly did. We might expect a fervent desire to repent among those in Hell, but according to Jesus' story, they will still want service...right where they sit!

The cat is sniffing the air. I read that my feline has a smell ability that is 30 times better than mine. When I think of the smells that waft through here from time to time, I have to wonder: how ever does he endure that? Sometimes we wish for better senses, but would you really want hearing so good that you heard everything your neighbors said about you? Would you want to have vision good enough to gaze around town and see everyone as they are getting up in the morning? Yikes! Perhaps one step toward contentment in Jesus is to realize that everything we want may not be what is best for us. :-)

What if you could see tomorrow? This sounds like the opening to an old Twilight Zone script. A man, not like other men... this one, Robert Jamison by name, could see tomorrow. He used his ability to gain great wealth... until he saw his death coming the next day. Robert Jamison rushed about trying to enjoy all that he could enjoy, to buy everything he could buy... and then he died the next day... of exhaustion. :-) We'll let God worry about tomorrow; have a great weekend in Christ.


Thursday, August 06, 2009

Checking In from Clownyland! - August 6, 2009

Good Thursday morning! I think our weather prognosticators were only off by about 20 degrees on the high yesterday, no big deal. Since it was to the cooler side of their predicted high temp, we'll take it. :-) Today we want to think about checking in. I know that in the corporate world you could use a lot less checking in. You have to track your time spent on jobs or projects, your time spent at work, time spent at this or that location, and then account for every penny spent too. In the family you check in with your spouse or parents, and if friends don't check in once in a while, you tend to start wondering. Even in our faith we are expected to check in each day with Bible reading and prayer. Of course the government wants to know where you are too. Too much checking in? Perhaps in the corporate world, but the remainder of our checking in is for our own benefit and to prevent worry.

In hiking or backpacking, especially in wilderness areas, a hiker is advised, and in some cases required, to post a plan; much like a flight plan for pilots. The hiker checks in with family, friends, or rangers to let people know that the party is alright. The benefit to this is that in missing a check in or two, the wheels of help start turning much more quickly. A person who rages against the restrictions of periodic check ins may not be missed until well after help is rendered moot by death. We might call that person a fool... and then do something very similar ourselves!

Letting a loved one know that you or I are taking a trip and giving them our approximate plans is courteous and wise. They worry less, and we get to send quick messages such as, "made it to Clownyland, plan to leave at 0600 tomorrow for the Clown Hall of Fame ceremony, love, Bozo." My parents are doing that very thing right now. (The checking in part, not the clown thing) I do it in a similar way by writing this devotional each day. (The clown part, not the checking in thing! ;-) The Clown Hall of Fame is in Wisconsin, by the way. I drove past it once or twice in the old location. It has since been moved to Milwaukee, i.e. "the city"; which makes sense as we know the city is where all the clowns live and work anyway. :-) Back in the days of traveling to cable stores and such, I didn't always check in as often as I should. One boss was okay with it, but others got very much bent out of shape if I didn't constantly (it seemed) update them on progress or problems. The funny-interesting thing is that at the time I was not good at checking in with God either.

Why does He who knows our every thought want us to check in with Him anyway? The best explanation I heard is that God, the creator and ruler of the universe, is intensely interested in hearing from you and me. Each day, God wants a personal time with each of us to simply talk to Him. I don't believe that God worries about us, but that He worries for us. When we don't talk to Him on a personal level each day, God worries for our spiritual well-being. Put yourself in the frame of having God sitting right beside or in front of you leaning on every word. He wants to know how your day went, what is bothering you, all the things you are grateful for, who you feel called to pray for, and even your worries about the economy, terrorists, wars, weather, and the dog. God wants to hear it all! Some of the great men and women of the Bible complained bitterly in their prayers to God. Their "check in" began with something like, "Lord, I gotta beef with you!" God is not afraid of how you and I feel. Let Him know everything! Check in with God and listen to His healing words.


Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Out of Sorts - August 5, 2009

Good Wednesday morning! I didn't have my usual _____! You can fill in the blank with whatever you want, but we all might have those mornings, evenings...entire days, where we didn't or don't have our usual something. Perhaps you wake up to a cup of coffee and the automatic brewer didn't work this morning, or maybe the radio station changed programming formats on you overnight. Whatever the cause, sometimes we feel out of sorts because we didn't get our usual. I know from back in the day that getting up late or receiving an early morning phone call could make a whole day off in ways that ranged from the obvious to the subtle. We tend to take comfort from the constants in life.

This life is so complex that to make every day completely different would probably drive most of us over the edge. I don't have to make any wild guesses to say that most of us do similar things to start most days. We like our mornings to have at least a bit of routine to them. The noise from the wind has the cat out of sorts this morning; he doesn't know whether to go or stay, or even which side of the desk to park on. Whatever is making us out of sorts on a given day does not have the staying power that Christ has in our hearts. Jesus knew that in this chaotic world we would need something stable. He is known as the cornerstone, the head of the church, the rock of our faith, the Almighty One, and other terms of strength, stability, and permanence. God the Father rules from heaven and we learn from the Bible that He does not change having been perfect from the beginning. Want to start the day consistently? Look to the Savior and live in Him.

Have a great Wednesday in Christ Jesus,


Monday, August 03, 2009

The Lies We Fear; the Promise He Made - August 3, 2009

Good Monday morning! August has arrived and the summer-fall things will start soon. Football, school, cooler nights, hunting, shorter days, will all come to visit us as the year wanes. At the beginning of August it's still summer with all the good and bad things that go with that. We have enjoyed a cool summer, but the next few days look more like normal summer temps for us.

While sitting in my chair in my house, I thought of that as an analogy for the way we want Jesus in our lives. Jesus told us that he stands at the door and knocks. If a person answers the door, then He and the Father will come in and dine with that person. I have always liked that verse and certainly would want to answer the door literally should Christ arrive at my front door, but of course Jesus is speaking of our salvation. When we are first saved we invite Jesus in and give him the best chair. Somewhere along the way though, we often start to move Jesus around in our lives. We don't trust him as we ought to and try to take back control. Soon we may find that we have seated Jesus not as the honored guest, but on a bar stool by the door with his coat draped over the back to facilitate a quick exit should we not want him to be seen. We know this is wrong, but sometimes we don't think of it.

The one who would be Lord and nothing else, is seated out back and we only come to him when we want help with something. Our house will only be right when Jesus is seated as the head of the household. The funny thing is that we fear seating a dictator as the head of our household when Jesus simply wants to sit as our friend. As our friend, He sends the Counselor into our hearts. Jesus doesn't want to enslave us, He wants to guide us. We fear giving control to an overseer, but the one who comes is the gentle teacher and shepherd. How do we always get this so wrong?

Lies, of course! We want to invite Jesus into our lives and the enemy whispers, "He's gonna be mean." We fear pain and discomfort, so the enemy whispers, "that Jesus is gonna send you to a far country you've never heard of... and they don't even have toilets there!" What did Jesus promise though? "My yoke is easy and my burden is light; He who loses his life for my sake will find it; I have come that they might have life and have it more abundantly!" And of course that big one - "...that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life."

Let's worry less about what Jesus might or won't do, and think more on the promises He set down in His own Word!

Enjoy the love of Jesus this week!