Wednesday, March 31, 2010

At Odds Once More - March 31, 2010

Good Wednesday morning! What do you think about how much you know? I often come to times when I think I know so much, but realize that I know so little. My feelings are at odds with each other in this. One thing I do know is that I must admit that I don't know quite often in this life.

Last night, I watched a show that mentioned one of those apparent contradictions in the Bible. While I am confused about the seeming contradiction, I have the humility to say that I don't know what it means and realize that I wasn't there. On the other hand, the expert on television tends to the view that anything in the Bible that is contradictory proves that the document is wrong. You see those who believe in their own intellectual power want to prove something wrong with God's word. A proof that the Bible has a mistake in it, so it seems to them, gives them the freedom to not believe in an all-knowing God. Each of us must choose to accept that we don't know everything and must trust in God, or we can choose to believe that we are smart and that anything we don't understand in the Bible must be wrong.

I don't know about you, but I think that I'll believe in God and read His Word with a humble heart.

Easter weekend is almost upon us. I have heard that the kids are out of school on Friday; no doubt some families will take off to visit other places this weekend. However, the main reason for Easter is to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus. Sunday morning is a good time to watch the sun rise and think about the morning many years ago when the Son did rise.

I hope you have a wonderful Easter weekend. Greet the morning in Christ!


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Imputed to Me?! - March 30, 2010

Good Tuesday morning! I need to feel more imputed, and so I came up with this scenario. This is one that most of us can relate to, thanks to the current recession situation.

You are standing in what is called your house, the bank's house really, looking out the front window. The walk to the front door is long; long enough for you to see the gathering of debt collectors, sheriff's deputies, and the IRS men in trench coats. You know your situation a bit too well: a million and change in debt, house payments not made for six months, and the good paying job said good bye to you about a year ago. You have no assets to speak of, nothing in the bank accounts, and not even a life insurance policy to pay off the debt should one of the deputies accidentally put you out of your misery.

Filled with shame and despair, you turn your face to Heaven and call upon the One who can help. You've always believed in yourself until now, but suddenly you realize that belief was misplaced. Jesus has been knocking on the door of your heart for years while you built this little empire of debt, and now judgement day has come. Jail time, restitution, repayment for all of eternity due to a debt you cannot begin to repay all stare at you down that long walk. You pray a simple prayer of simple faith, "Save me Lord Jesus!"

Suddenly, someone joins the group out front with a piece of paper; a court order stating that your debt has been paid! The bank president comes up to the house and lets you know that the deed to the house will be kept safe for you in the most secure place. The debt is paid, the home is yours, and all you did was call out to Jesus!

This little story is the best example I can think of to show how righteousness is imputed to us by Christ when we accept Him as Lord. The debt we face is the sin debt we owe. Not only do we not have the ability to pay it; we don't even know how to start. There is nothing in our goodness account to write promissory notes against in order to pay down our debt. We cannot get a job that pays off this debt, all the jobs we know about pay money and we already know that money doesn't follow us to the Judgement Day. Jesus paid off all that we owe. How does that feel?

Sometimes we might wonder why we didn't feel a great relief at salvation. Perhaps the answer is that we were looking in the wrong direction. We may have missed seeing that court order delivered, freeing us from years of bad debt. We may have failed to hear the banker telling us that the deed to our eternal home would now be kept safe in Heaven. We may have even failed to see how high that mountain of debt was, or realized what the penalty we faced meant by "eternity in Hell." Perhaps that feeling we missed can come now as we realize what Jesus means by "eternity in Heaven" for paying a price we could in no way pay on our own; a price given on our account out of love and a grace we can barely understand.

God bless you on this day of our Lord!


Monday, March 29, 2010

Opening a New World - March 29, 2010

Good Monday morning! A new world has opened up for us, but I am kind of late to the party. Many of you will realize that I have taken the plunge and got on Facebook. Not everyone that I have known in my life is there yet, so it is some comfort to know that I am not dead last in this little thing. However, there is some evidence that I am just a little slow in getting out there into the new world of social networking. For those of you whom I have not yet sent a friend request, I'm a gettin' there!

This Facebook thing reminds me that often a new social circle, a new world so to speak, is as close to us as a few mouse clicks on the computer. A new way to keep up with how people are doing in their lives; all the trials of life that drive them to Jesus; the good news that happens; all there for anyone to read... We might be reminded of personal data security in this new cyber-world, but do we have to live in the Internet version of the remote cave? The answer depends on who you trust I suppose.

If you trust in your own ability to provide for and protect yourself, you might want to head for that hermit cave. If on the other hand you have put your faith in Jesus, then go on out there and spread the Good News of Jesus... and the good news in your life.

Whoo, I'm glad this new world doesn't require a lot of physical labor. I'm a bit worn out this morning. Praise God for the new day!


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Slowly Moving On - March 27, 2010

Good n' Windy Saturday morning! The March winds have made their appearance already this morning. Hmm, a little peek of sunshine has made it through the clouds. Just a little reminder that God is still here with us, even when the storms of life appear to have used locked up in a cage. The Psalms of David often speak to us individually. We see in his prayers to the Lord a kindred spirit who was often in deep trouble. We may hear about his years as king of Israel, but those times were not always easy. In Psalm 56 we read a note about how David had been captured by the Philistines, Israel's mortal enemy.

Twice in the psalm, David asks the question: I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? We would do well to remember that question in our own daily walk with Christ. Each time David asked the question, he followed it with: what can mere mortals do to me? Each of us could list many things that these mere mortals could do; some of those things could make us fearful. However, we have a powerful Lord who loves us. In eternity, we have a promise to cling to - Jesus Christ.

Throughout the next couple of Sundays, we will hear sermons on that promise, and what it took for Jesus to buy that promise. Jesus rose from the grave because He first laid his life down in it. The world had its day when Jesus suffered every manner of torture and pain for our sake. We know that on the third day he rose from the grave, free of pain and sorrow, fulfilling the promise of eternal life for us in himself. We have much to look forward to. David ends his psalm with that same promise.

"For you have rescued me from death; you have kept my feet from slipping. So now I can walk in your presence, O God, in your life-giving light." Pss 56:13


Friday, March 26, 2010

That ol' Expletive - March 26, 2010

Good Friday morning! What do you use for a handy expletive in stressful situations? Often we give ourselves a pass during the moment; as in the moment we smack our thumb with a hammer or slam a finger in a car door. However, as usual with the law, the Bible makes no exceptions. There is no statement giving us the okay for using the Lord's name when it really hurts. Regarding the catheter in the emergency room, I still claim that was a quick, urgent prayer of need. Ah, just one more example of my failure to keep the law in all points at all times.

Last night, we enjoyed a quick story about using "Burt" or "Rick" as an expletive. My thought was: you assume we don't use "Burt". Heh, heh, :-) Sometimes the old habits come up in our minds. We may not use the Lord's name in vain in our speech, but what happens in our minds? Right, Jesus told us that what happens in our minds is the same as performing the sin in action. So the temptation then comes to toss it all in and go ahead and say it... As Paul might say, "Of course not!"

We are also reminded that God knows the intentions in our hearts. Old habits and that adversarial whisper in our ear can cause certain old sins to come to mind. We don't have to dwell on them, and we can quickly ask for the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit to come into our minds. We want to avoid sin at all times, but we don't always do this. Praise the Lord that Jesus didn't just die for past sins! We cannot be saved by good works, or by avoiding the bad ones, but after salvation we don't want to disappoint our heavenly Father either. There it is! What is the answer to that thought about doing anything we want because we are saved? When you love the Lord, you don't want to disappoint Him.

Many organizations, especially religious ones, pick and choose those who are "good enough" to meet their standards. We have a wonderful freedom in that we already know that none of us are good enough to meet God's standards; not before we were saved and not in our own strength even after we are saved. In Christ alone are we deemed righteous!

The week of our celebration of Jesus' resurrection begins on Sunday. Lift your head up and praise God for the new life we have in Christ!


Thursday, March 25, 2010

One More Time - March 25, 2010

Good Thursday morning! At 22° this morning we know that spring has not quite sprung just yet. In a similar fashion, we are told that we are saved and that we should be happy about it. Yet, it seems that no feeling of happiness can cut through the darkness in the world around us. Some of our friends and neighbors remain unsaved and even uninterested in the life eternal that we share. Governments still oppress our brothers in Christ and our sisters in Christ are made to be martyrs all the time. Even in a land where we have a certain freedom of religion we sometimes suffer the slings and arrows from the voice and print crowd. How are we to feel happy about this? If Christ has won the victory, where is our victory celebration?

Of course, we have never been expected to feel happy about the condition of the world. Jesus wasn't happy about what would happen before his coronation and wedding in glory. He warned the disciples that much suffering would happen before the triumphant end time. Joy is what we have received, not happiness. We have gone over this before, but I need to be reminded of it at least this one more time. The events we see in this life are often a cause for sadness, not celebration. But we do see signs of what is to come.

Take something as simple as a bite of candy. In this world, too much candy has its consequences; we know that. However, that sweet taste we enjoy is a sign of things to come in Heaven and the New Earth. Sometimes in a dark moment, just a bite or two of chocolate can help lift our spirits. We don't have to ingest several thousand calories worth to get this lift, though we are often tempted to do just that. Imagine a place and a condition where you and I could eat chocolate all day and not fear a terrible stomach ache and the inevitable weight gain we have here on Earth. Imagine that in that place we might not even feel the urge to eat all day!

Looking to the Heaven to come is a good way of reminding ourselves that God made us to experience joy and happiness, and Jesus gave us joy through the Holy Spirit. We haven't received all of that gift yet. Each and every one of us will go through some tough times before we get there. As God completes his work in us, we will know the joy of knowing Him more. We have much to learn and much to work out in our salvation before the great day of our homecoming. We have a hope in our Lord Jesus, not in what we see around us. We should feel happy about our salvation because of who has accomplished this great work. The sadness we feel in this life from the suffering we feel and see is only temporary. Though it seems at times that the sadness will reach the very bottom of our souls; Jesus has promised to take it away when the time comes.

Reach forward to the promise of Jesus; live for that great day when we will see Christ!


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Submission about Submission - March 24, 2010

Good Wednesday morning! This morning a man decided that the informality of the workplace had gone too far. This man started calling his boss by the formal, Mr. Jones, as opposed to the first name basis that had gone before. After a few conversations, the boss told him that the company policy was to use first names and to please return to that mode of address. "I think it better for the company if you have the appropriate distance from us, Mr. Jones," the man said.

To some of us, this might sound like a good idea. We grew up back in the day when to address the teacher or boss, we began with Mr. or Mrs., or the person's title such as doctor or professor. However, when it comes to what the boss wants and the company policy, suddenly we run into a problem with submission. Both Jesus and Paul told us to submit to those in authority over us, whether it is in the civil authority, the workplace, or in the church.

The man in my little example may be correct in his assessment of what is best for the company, but he is definitely not correct in his rebellion against the boss's command. Each of us may find many things wrong with our government, teachers, bosses, and even that fellow known as the pastor in our church. In America we can talk to them about the errors we perceive in them, but in Christ we are to submit first. Yes, your church may be wrong, as you see it, in saying do this or don't do that. Wonderful, submit first and then go speak with your pastor or elders about your difference of opinion.

We all have an inborn capacity to rebel. We can call this an inheritance from Adam or original sin, but we hear good advice or a direct order from those in authority, and we immediately feel the urge to rebel. Submission is something that like trust, love, patience, and other fruits of the Spirit we must learn as we grow in Christ. Submission doesn't come naturally to us, no matter what the humanists of the day try to tell us.

Lawful authority, governmental rule, pastoral teaching, and just plain ol' good advice can each bring up a feeling of rebellion in us. We might think of an exception that should apply to us, a way around the rule, or even rebel out of just plain stubbornness. I feel it almost daily it seems. Someone gives me good advice... and I feel the urge to rebel against it. Submission is not for the faint of heart; submission is for the faithful of heart. We learn to submit when and where we should as Christ gains our complete submission to Him.

You probably thought that was taken care of when you surrendered at the cross and were saved. Well, we have this little problem with wanting to grab control of our lives back from our Lord. Learn submission as you learn to love more and more each day. Jesus knows the way to our eternal home; we do not.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Out of Control? Bah, I've Never Been IN Control! - March 23, 2010

Good Tuesday morning! Have you ever had a complete schedule as recommended by the time management gurus? Any of us who worked or work for one of the big corporations has probably been in one of the scheduling classes. The idea is to get your life scheduled for highest productivity. This would explain the interest of big corporate management. The answer to all your dreams is in scheduling every minute of each day. I wonder if anyone ever schedules things like this: 0530 - power outage causes alarm to fail. 0630 - Wake up one hour late due to preceding entry. 0730 - rushing to work due to 1 & 2, have slight fender-bender with neighbor. 0800 - still waiting on police to show up for accident report. 0900 - arrive at work one hour late, boss hands me box of stuff from my former desk. 0930 - arrive back at home, toss stupid schedule in dumpster.

The truth is, even if we have a schedule in a scheduling book or computer, we don't schedule the unexpected. How would we know what to write down? Yet, we assume many things in our schedule, such as the ability to be on time for each and every event noted in the day's schedule. Jesus warned us about this when he told the people about planning to go to this other town and make lots of money. Jesus knew about the assumptions we would make now and warned us about this. We don't know from moment to moment what might or might not happen.

This is not to prevent you from trying to organize your day; I do the same on a more informal basis with my writing days. We plan our days with a prayer of thanksgiving to God and a note of "if He is willing" in our plans. In other words, we put our trust in God first, and then plan our days as best we can to the glory of God the Father. That way there is no illusion of having our own control over everything.

Have you ever had one of those dreams where everything is just wrong? I did last night, and I'll change the names to protect the innocent. To make it short, I was in downtown Sidney with just a towel around my waist. The man I know as George, sounded like George and responded like George, but wasn't George. The stores that should have been there weren't, but a restaurant that doesn't exist...was. In the restaurant, a waitress was about to give me tips on dandruff, but never did, while a woman I know as Meg, looked and talked like her, but didn't act like her. I finally got Meg to take me home in her Suburban, she has never owned one, while I looked intently for my truck. I was searching for a pickup that I had sold more than 15 years ago. In the end, Meg doesn't take me home, but drives into a Quonset and clicks the button to shut the door behind us... gulp! Did I mention that everywhere in the Sidney/not Sidney town there was snow piled up while I wandered from place to place in a towel? So much for my years of effort in organizing my mind. Obviously, your dear devotional writer is about to go wacka-wacka. Prepare the padded room; Ah'm comin' home!

The well-organized mind crew probably never tried to organize their dreams. If they claim to have organized and managed their dreams, I would call them 'liar', but what a sad state that would be for them. After that wild and out-of-whack dream, I could only laugh. Are my life and dreams out of control? Bah, I've never really been in control! For everything you or I might try to schedule, there comes a small event that we cannot control. Have you scheduled your death yet? Of course not, no man or woman knows when that will occur. Even those with a terminal diagnosis have only a vague idea, and that could turn out completely wrong. We don't have to toss our schedules out the window, you probably need to know the time of that next staff meeting, but we do need to trust in God first and let Him have a say in our schedule.

Praise God for the new day!


Monday, March 22, 2010

God Creates - March 22, 2010

Good Monday morning! Well, the health care bill passed at last. The Sunday session kind of reminds me of some corporate meetings back in the day. If you want something done your way, bring everyone in when they don't want to be there, feed them a bunch of coffee and wait until everyone is squirming in their seats to push your agenda. We can holler about this or that in the bill, but I suspect that most of us have little understanding just yet about what this health bill will mean to each of us. I'm in that boat with you; let's all agree to trust in Jesus!

Yesterday, I read in my handyman magazine about how to repair rotted wood. The first step is of course to get rid of it. That seems obvious, for once the wood is rotted there is nothing we can do about it. The next steps are the tough part. If the rotted wood was a single board, you would simply replace the board and be done. What the magazine wants to show is the tough places where only a part of the wood is rotted and to replace the entire board might involve dismantling a door, rebuilding a support wall, or some other thing that might cause your house to start falling apart. What struck me is how powerless we are in this. Once the wood rots, all we can do is cut it out and replace it with more wood or some kind of epoxy that will harden.

God could regrow the wood right in place, create new wood on the spot, or simply put the wood back to its original condition. Jesus showed this by resurrecting Lazarus, and then himself. What is beyond man's power to accomplish, Jesus does with a word. We are powerless in so much that it's hard to believe we ever counted on our own strength to save ourselves.

God created our first ancestors, gave them one simple rule about one tree, and they blew it. So God gave some more ancestors the command to got out and fill the earth; they did, but their behavior was so bad that God started again with one family. The next time, God gave a group of people the Law and sent them to the promised land. Again and again they blew it. Even God's chosen people couldn't or wouldn't keep the Law to save themselves. God sent a savior in Jesus Christ; He made it simple for us. Those who believe in Jesus are saved, those who refuse are not. Many refused to believe in Him and instead chose to have the Savior executed. You might say we blew it again.

Mankind seems to have a predisposition to fail in its own salvation; this is why God sent a Savior. God created a way and performed the action himself to grant us salvation. We as a race of people have proven time and again that we cannot save ourselves, so now we have a way. As with that old, rotted wood, we are powerless to create new life, regrow life to boot out the rotted part, or to restore our life to a sinless condition. God once again shows his power by providing a way to rebirth us into a new life. Jesus is of course the Way, the Truth and the Life. He even said so to make sure we got it.

Enjoy the start of a new week, your eternal life has begun in Christ!


Saturday, March 20, 2010

A New Spring Day! - March 20, 2010

Whoa, it's cold out there! Somehow the day of the vernal equinox chose instead to show a symptom of winter. We didn't get a lot of snow and the sun is shining this morning, I suspect spring will once again show up in the next few days. We look at the sun this morning and the longer days and say, "Spring!" We look at the temperature and the snow and wonder when winter will go away. In the same manner, Jesus came into the darkness as a great light. We look to the Son and know that a new day will soon dawn in human affairs. Some will go to their eternal reward and others to the second death. However, we can also look at the situation in the world and wonder if the Messiah really came to Earth back in the day.

Of course, the second part gives the scoffers all the ammunition they need to laugh scornfully at those who will believe. We look to the dawn, the scoffers look at the night all around them. Jesus told us plainly that many living in darkness would love the darkness and reject the light. How strong is their preference for the darkness?

I have been reading some background on cults as a matter of research. There are some signs that will appear sooner or later in a cult, sex and money. You know the playbook by now; give all your money to the person or organization, and give up sex except in the case of certain 'divine' activities or persons. It seems that in the case of each cult, the leader often starts out well and with good intentions. However, at some point there seems to be no check to the power that comes from having a bunch of folks worshipping that same leader and then things go downhill for the followers.

Another thing that the cults seem to have in common is the name change, often several, of the cult leader. Many times that name ends up being "Jesus" or "Messiah". The funny thing to us is that the real Jesus warned us that this would happen. Jesus told us plainly that everyone would know without a doubt when His glorious appearing occurs. However, he also told us that many would run after every rumor of his second coming, no matter how far-fetched! Looking at cults from the comfortable distance of a book, one cannot help but shake the head over some of the lengths that people have gone in pursuit of a rumored messiah. And then there is something they do that all of us desire at some point... relief from responsibility.

You and I have felt at some point, probably even now, the burden of responsibility. Jesus tells us that his yoke is light, but we want to hold on to that burden of our responsibility, whatever it may be. The cults offer to take this responsibility from their members. Give us all your possessions and money, give us your body and time, and we will not only save you, but make all your daily decisions as well - 'poof' - freedom from responsibility!

One decision cannot be set aside though: believe in Jesus or reject Him. If you or I leave that decision up to someone else, we are sorry fools indeed. That one decision has eternal consequences and we dare not leave it up to someone else. What is our responsibility after this decision is made? If you decide to reject Jesus, then your responsibility is to save yourself... good luck with that. If you decide to believe in Jesus, then He takes responsibility for salvation and we don't have to worry about it. So don't worry about it!

Love your neighbor in prayer today,


Friday, March 19, 2010

Don't Mistake the Feeling - March 19, 2010

Good Friday morning! The expected snow is here, but it isn't too serious for us. The kids had better get up and ready for school. :-) Did you expect a feeling of relief when you were saved? Some do feel a lightening of their load, but others expect something else. If you expected a feeling when you were saved, and felt nothing, perhaps you had your expectations set wrong.

Many times in my former life in the corporate world, I ran into expectations. Often those expectations were set in a budget meeting or a project kick-off. The meeting would take place with no input from those with knowledge in the field and yet, somehow, the people in the meeting would set expectations for the cost of something. Of course, with the estimated cost based on nothing but guesses and wishful thinking, the actual cost would be much more than expected. We may be guilty of the same thing when we set expectations for some undefined feeling at salvation.

We don't know where this expectation comes from, perhaps a "health and wealth" minister gave some indication that giving your life to Jesus was a highway to a gold mine, or simply our own wishful thinking led us wrong. In any case, we can come to the cross expecting that we will gain some good feeling that will trump all the pain and suffering we have felt up to that point. The problem is Jesus didn't promise that!

The promises Jesus made to His disciples were more like: the world will hate you, but remember that it first hated me, or, don't be surprised when you are tossed out of the synagogues and brought up before the courts. When we go into salvation expecting to come out with some overall good feeling, we are ignoring some evidence. We also may be depending upon our guts for confirmation of salvation.

Happiness often depends upon the state of our internal biology. An ill feeling will not make a person happy, Christian or non-believer, nor will a rebellious colon make you feel like skipping and jumping. We want Jesus to take away all bad feelings and give us immediate good, even perfect, health when saving us from sin. That is a promise He made, but not here in this life, only in Heaven when we come home to Him. Like our pets, we want it NOW. Sorry, part of giving up your life to Jesus is in learning to wait for His timing.

The devil is going to use this to sow doubt of course. You may hear that little, nagging doubt in your spiritual ear, "How can Jesus love you if you feel so bad this morning? You must not be saved!" Don't you believe it; the promise of salvation is not based on how our guts feel on any particular evening or on our health condition at any time. Don't mistake the feeling, Jesus' gift of grace cannot be won or confirmed by how we feel. We live justified by faith in Christ Jesus!

If you got up feeling pretty darn good this morning, as I did, you should praise God, but if you got up feeling rather grumpy or sad, praise God for that too! Feelings will come and go; health may not be made perfect until we see Jesus, but our salvation is assured by Christ Himself.

Enjoy the Friday and look forward to that great day of our homecoming!


Thursday, March 18, 2010

An Undeserved Reward - March 18, 2010

Good Thursday morning! The green holiday is over; you can put that green outfit with the shorts back in the closet for another year... unless you golf of course, goofy clothing is okay on the course from what I hear. When speaking of golf that might be "coarse" of course. We have enjoyed a couple of very nice days here, the first in the 60's since last autumn I do believe. Days like this make your thoughts turn to baseball, golf, garden work, and many other outdoor things that we have missed for a while. I don't see a lot of green in the grass yet, but it's there I'm sure, and a couple of robins were in my backyard yesterday too. Spring, the season of renewal and growth. After a long winter, one can hardly help but write about the spring!

Winter begins with a special season, the celebration of Christ's birth. We then watch as the cold weather and short days make us all a bit out of sorts, a cabin fever kind of thing. However, the next season is spring and that as we know starts with Easter, or as we like to remember, Resurrection Day. We celebrate the Sunday when one person in all of history walked out of the grave on his own. I wonder if Jesus got up and greeted the dawn with a few special words on that most unique of days? A great victory had been won on the cross and now the reward awaited the victor. There is even better news ahead!

The reward Jesus won on the cross he wants to share with everyone who will believe. We did all the sin; he wants to share with all of us the reward. Does that seem fair? No, but in the undeserved kind of way, sort of along the lines of being given the World Series trophy and not playing baseball, or being awarded the keys to that nice car, but not playing in the golf tournament. We get the reward, but our side seemed to have lost the game. Not only lost, but none of us were any good at the sport - we all sinned repeatedly. Hardly the ones that should be left holding the winner's trophy.

That's the way grace works though. Not one of us is capable of winning our way to Heaven on our own. We could not meet God's perfect standard, so Jesus went out and won the championship for us. How does it feel to hold a gold medal that you don't deserve? Imagine arriving in Heaven with the winner's medal around your neck. Each of us has one with our name on it, and yet not one of us deserves it. We might even look down in shame and try to pull it off, but it won't move. Jesus walks up and says, "That is yours forever, your key to enter Heaven. My gift to you for believing in Me!"

We accepted a great gift bought at a great price. Enjoy your gift of life! Trust in Jesus to keep your gift safe and secure until you arrive to claim it.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

God's Business - March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day! While I was listening to Ken Davis give us some examples of God's humor this morning, I thought about the serious business of Jesus. Do you suppose it is a mistake to think that God and His Son are only in a serious thought? Did Jesus and the disciples only discuss the very serious cares of the world while gathered around a fire on a cool evening? Among all the very serious concerns of God such as our redemption, payment for sin, our fears over death, and other serious matters, I find that there is one thing that keeps coming up: God wants to make us smile.

Take a look at some of the many things that will put a smile on your face in Scripture:

Relief at coming home at the end of a long journey - Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us.

A good meal when we are hungry - Jesus took delight in dining with his friends and neighbors. In fact He promised that if we would answer the door, that He and God the Father would come in and dine with us as friends.

Relief from pain - God promises to remove all pain from us in the life to come; this life is only the beginning of eternity with Him!

Seeing a friend - Jesus has not only promised to be our friend, but has sent us many Christian friends in this life. He commanded us to love one another; hard to do that with a frown.

A pleasant surprise, even if a bit hair-raising - Jesus "popped" in on his followers after rising from the dead. The writer made sure to mention that the door was locked when Jesus appeared to them. Which brings us to...

Humor. Jesus could have opened the door, locked or not, and walked in like a normal person though he was far from normal. The angel didn't have to speak to Moses from a burning bush; the donkey in Numbers could have kept quiet, and the Lord didn't have to give ducks a quack. Humor makes us smile and is all around us. I think that a big part of God's business is to make us smile. Whether it is in our daily life or in that eternal smile we will have when He brings us home to be with Him forever, God brings a smile to our faces. No more tears, no more fears, just uncounted years of laughing and smiling with Jesus as we glorify God the Father!

Have a smile in Jesus' name this morning!


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Sea Change - March 16, 2010

Good Tuesday morning! What causes us to move one way or another? Often we are pushed this way and that by events and feelings... or is that the whole story? As we come to know Jesus better in this life, we begin to see the guiding hand of our Creator behind the seemingly random happenings and coincidences in our lives. Paul reminded us that all things work together for the good of those who love God. Nothing is the out of control randomness that characterizes life without Jesus. What some will see as a tragedy in my life, I will choose to see as an opportunity for God's glory. What some will see as a terrible event in your life, you will choose to be grateful to God for another chance to show His grace.

We have the choice! This freedom can only come from God. Each day will bring us new opportunities for His glory and a renewing of our faith. Trials will come upon us, but do we ever stop to think that continuing trials are but one example of God's love for us? That in the sequence of trials we can see God's assurance that He will bring us home to Him in just the right condition? We certainly should!

Our course in this life is against the prevailing wind of the world. Hitting that wind head on in your own strength will wear down the strongest of us. God will direct your course and lend you His strength to make the decisions you need to come home to Him. Some of the things that happen in this life may seem to have no reason; a sea change may seem to come to your life from out of nowhere. However, we know that God is in charge and He is eternally faithful. Enjoy the ride! God is bringing us home.


Monday, March 15, 2010

See what we want to See - March 15, 2010

Good Monday morning! Ohhh, it's the first time change Monday of the year. Did you spring up this morning ready to hit the road to work? I can't promise the quality of writing will be up to the norm this week; that time change thing always seems to hit much harder than the wags on the news would have me believe. I like the new show they have on CBS about the big boss going undercover with the serfs. We all like it when the CEO comes down to do actual work, and of course an all day physical job will be much harder on someone accustomed to sitting in a conference room all day. We do seem to like it when the boss gets his hands dirty like we do every day. So why does the world have a problem with Jesus?

It seems that having the Son of God come down to Earth and get his hands dirty would be the story to top all stories! However, many people still don't want to hear it. Perhaps it was because Jesus didn't make it a secret that He walked among us. A heavenly host announced his birth, prophets received word of his arrival, and his parents were visited by angels. Jesus even stated plainly that He was the Son of God. No mystery and no secrets, believe or don't was the choice.

We like the undercover boss because we are in the know as they say. The big boss is there with dirty hands and someone is going to misbehave as the restaurant manager was caught doing; or someone will bare their soul and the big boss can step in with help from above. Even if the big boss told some of those folks right on the spot that he was the boss, many would not believe him. We think of the suit, the nice office, the private conference room, and of course the big paycheck, to set apart the CEO from everyone else. We don't think of the CEO mucking out horse stalls, or washing dishes, or any of the other menial jobs we might be doing or have done to earn a living.

By the way, the CEO of my company is here right now helping me type the write words for this morning... oops, that's right words, that part is my fault. Must be the pressure of the boss looking over my shoulder! Actually, it was the "boss" who gave me the idea by posing the question: If we like to see the boss down here with us, why did so many refuse to believe when the King of kings came to Earth? I don't know why myself, because I very much like the fact that Jesus came to Earth and died for my sins. Perhaps if Jesus whisked everyone up to Heaven in a big limo and told them who He was one more time? No, because if they won't believe the miracles and the words He spoke in the Bible, they would probably find an excuse to not believe in Him sitting on the throne of Heaven too. John saw it and I think he described what he saw quite well in Revelation. We can read the story from an eyewitness, and still many will not believe.

Like the show Undercover Boss, we tend to see what we want to see. Jesus spoke plainly and revealed himself in person; some saw him for who he said he was, others saw after he rose from the dead, and others refused to believe entirely. A change of clothing, a couple of days without shaving, and people cannot see the CEO, but just another new guy to the job. You know that somewhere the CEO's picture has adorned a company newsletter, or a photo on an office wall, but somehow the connection isn't made. A little bit of deception and the big boss gets an honest look at the rank and file in his company. Jesus said, I am here, it's me, God, in person, and many didn't want to see who was right there in front of them. We don't get to see the Boss of bosses, to twist a phrase for modern times, face to face like they did back in Jesus' time, but He left us a nice little note: "Blessed are they who do not see, and still believe!"

Have a great Monday as we struggle to wake up this morning!


Saturday, March 13, 2010

I'll Fly Away - March 13, 2010

Good Saturday morning! The title of many songs, sermons, and the occasional devotional, I'll Fly Away brings to us a feeling of relief, and of going to a place where the pain is over and Jesus reigns. Why do we want to fly away from here so much? That's an easy one to answer, we are faced with pain and suffering for much of our time spent here. We may not be under direct persecution for our faith at the moment, but we still face aging, disease, injury, and the aches and pains of daily life. If any of us happen to be pain free at the moment, we can always turn on the news to see tales of suffering and death from around the globe. An hour with the news and you would wonder why anyone wouldn't want to fly away.

Of course there is something worse than flying away.... we have to wait for it! Like the best Christmas present that we are not allowed to open, we cannot speed up the time of our departure. We have work to do here and God's promise will come in God's own perfect time. Speaking of waiting, why is that some are called early? Why didn't my friend Mike have to wait? Have you ever had the thought that someone close to you was needed in Heaven? It came to me one morning in the shower, where much of my thinking goes on, that those called early in life might be needed by God for a big project in Heaven.

The thought makes some sense even here on Earth. What do you do in a big project when the workload becomes too much for the team? Right, you pull in more people. Jesus went to prepare a place for us almost 2,000 years ago. Do you suppose that those who have departed this earth have a place on that project team? I think so, and when thinking that way the departure of our loved ones becomes a bit easier to understand. Why is Mike gone? God needed him to work on the New Jerusalem. Why haven't you or I gone yet? Our part of the big project hasn't yet begun up there.

We will fly away one day, either to meet Jesus in the clouds of glory or to meet Jesus in Heaven. One way and one day, you will fly away from here.

Have a wonderful Saturday!


Friday, March 12, 2010

Turning to God - March 12, 2010

Good Friday morning! The sun is shining this morning, a new day has come! Last night we spoke just briefly on how trouble brings us to God. This morning, I found this verse in Hosea, actually, I should say that I was led to this verse by the Holy Spirit to give God the glory. I cannot take credit for knowing to go to Hosea 5:15. After listing Israel's sins and their coming punishment, God has this to say: "Then I will return to my place until they admit their guilt and turn to me. For as soon as trouble comes, they will earnestly search for me." We find that to be true in our own lives; when things are going well, we tend to forget to give thanks and seek God. Trouble comes, and "boom" we are right there on our knees, praying to God and seeking His face.

Troubles will come to test us and purify our faith, but maybe we should seek God during the good times so that He doesn't have to send trouble to get our attention! In Hosea 6:6, the Lord continues with: "I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings." The Israelites it seems were depending upon the sacrifices to give them absolution after the sin. God wants us to take the active part first, to show love, mercy, and seek Him before the sin. Even after the sin though, God would have us first turn to Him.

The Israelites of Hosea's time had one huge problem that repeats throughout the verses - idolatry. After a lengthy catalog of idolatry and other sins, Hosea ends with a message from the Lord about healing. In repentance, we will find healing in our Lord. In Hosea 14:8 the Lord gives one final call: "O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me."

We often fail to trust in the Lord in some area of our lives; we manifest this in our worry. The Lord reminds us as He reminded Israel long ago, "I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me." We'll end today with the next verse 14:9 - Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

"Who are You?" - March 11, 2010

Good Thursday morning! Winter has returned to the area after a couple days of rain, but it isn't supposed to stay long. Alrighty, book recommendation for this week: Making Rounds with Oscar by David Dosa. Take a trip to your local bookstore or library, and give this little book a try. The story is a good one. The question might be: would God send a cat to act as a kind of death angel? My answer is, "He might!" We don't know all the ways that God can work in our lives. Trying to say that we do know how God works will only make us wrong once again. The cat in the story makes for an interesting investigation, but the book is more about dementia and what happens to the families involved in this terrible disease. Heartbreaking stories to be sure.

The question comes up in the stories, as it surely does in many sufferings in this world; why does God allow this? The choice was made by Adam and Eve, and we and all creation have suffered the effects of that rebellion. We will often have to answer that question in this life. Why does God allow this or that? Of course, we know that the curse we live under is from the rebellion against God when Adam and Eve disobeyed their one restriction in a place called Eden. God doesn't want everyone to suffer from disease and injury; Jesus spent much of his time healing and teaching in his ministry. Compassion for us was then and is now one of Jesus' main characteristics.

Our ultimate ancestors rebelled and God could have left them to die in the wilderness. Think of how much Adam and Eve had to learn very quickly to make it in this fallen world; had God left them alone to face this world we surely wouldn't be here today. Perhaps the curse we see and suffer is used by God to show us how much He cares for us. We turn to God more in our suffering than in any other condition. Having a mother or father ask "who are you?" after knowing them all of your life would certainly count as suffering. I notice that in the stories of dementia, often the suffering parent will recognize a child, but not the spouse who has been with them much longer. Eventually, the person suffering dementia won't recognize anyone and the person is lost to them while still living.

One of our great fears in this life is the loss of control. We might be helped in this if we realize now that God is in control and not each of us. For a quick lesson in that, try to control a cat for a day. No, whether we realize it or not, we aren't in control even now. Trusting in God when a parent or even a long-time friend has completely lost all control is tough, but we are reminded that all things work together for the good of those who love God.

Seize the day in Christ Jesus!


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Your Hands - March 10, 2010

Good Wednesday morning! I have heard this wonderful song quite a few times on MyBridge, and it seemed like a good idea to borrow the title for today. An event might lead us to throw ourselves into God's hands, meaning that we have no control over the event and must trust in God to see us through. We might even let a person go into God's hands as that person has gone beyond our control and can only come back to Jesus in God's hands. We depend much on God's hands, even though we may not realize it. We tend to think that to be saved we must cling tightly to God's hands and never let go.

I have used that image before, but we tend to go back to it. We think that by clinging tightly we are somehow going to save ourselves, but what if at the end... we accidentally let go just a bit? Of course, it isn't our grip on God's hands that saves us, never was and never will be. God's mighty hands are all around us and it is His grip, not our own, that brings us safely to His heavenly home at the end. We owe a lot to God's hands: the creation of the earth and the wonder of the heavens; the new day each morning; our health and welfare; but most of all to the sacrifice those hands endured on the cross at Calvary. We owe our very lives to those hands that saved us as a part of God's wonderful plan.

Hands can also be used for the wrong purposes, such as leaving rude comments on a blog. I deleted a comment of that type yesterday after running it through Google's translation site. We don't need to see that kind of thing, but we do need to pray for those hands that typed it. We can pray that person comes to know Jesus not as a target for the world's scorn, but as the loving, healing, saving Lord of creation. One of the great privileges of the love of Christ is to pray for someone who thinks he or she is funny, when the true need is for the saving grace of Jesus. I forgive you.


Tuesday, March 09, 2010

It's No Surprise - March 9, 2010

Good Tuesday morning! Is it a surprise the morning came once more? We often come to a nasty surprise in this life. When we do, are the first words to mind a question like: what am I gonna do now? We often look up to the sky asking things like: where do I go now? What do I need to do? How am I going to fix this? How will I make it? A word that those questions have in common is the problem... I. Do you think that anything takes God by surprise?

Did God look at the newly created Earth and wonder how that got there? No, He looked at His creation and said, "It is good." Did God look down on Noah floating around on the ark, slap his heavenly forehead and ask, "Where did all that water come from?" Nope, God knew what He was going to do and warned Noah to start abuildin' that ark. God knew what Jesus would endure on the cross and that Peter would deny His only Son three times. God knew when you and I would be born and that decision we would make yesterday. He also knows which way you or I will decide tomorrow, and if there will even be a tomorrow as we expect it. Whatever catches you and I by surprise, it's no surprise to God.

The first question in our mind at some surprise in our life shouldn't include an "I", but a "we". Every trial we have faced thus far in our lives has been faced with Jesus by our side, the Holy Spirit inside, and God above. You and I have faced nothing alone in Christ. As Pastor Adrian Rogers often said, "The Holy Trinity never meets in emergency session!" Perhaps there is one "I" we can include in our first thought and prayer: "This has caught me by surprise, Lord, but I know that we will get through this as I follow your lead."

We are often surprised, that is the nature of our limited view of what's coming down the road. God is never surprised; He sees the entire road right down to its ending at the gates of Heaven. Trust in Him and live in Him.

Have a wonderful new day in Jesus!


Monday, March 08, 2010

An Automatic Setting - March 8, 2010

Good Monday morning! Well, Ms. Bullock won the Oscar for Blindside. Who would've thought? Actually, both viewers of the movie and prognosticators of the Oscars alike seemed to think her the favorite this year. Sometimes the underdog does not win and the favorite takes home the trophy. I took a snow picture a couple of weeks ago in my new/old hobby. Today, I can get a rain picture of the same scene! I call it my new/old hobby because I owned a Yashica 35mm film camera way back in the 80's. The newer DSLRs are quite the feat of technical wizardry. Fortunately for us new/old beginners they come with an automatic setting that helps us get started. Wouldn't such a thing be great for starting out our life in Christ?

Suppose the new Christian came with an "auto" button to get us all started. The automatic program would turn up the love not only for God, but for strangers and people we don't even like. The program could have a higher trust setting so that when God sends us to a friend's house, we would be ready to let Him speak through us and lead us to witness gently and effectively. Speaking of being ready, the setting on our natural rebellion and fear would be cranked way down right off the bat. No need to be hampered by those things. The anger that occurs in all of us? Turn that puppy down too, and make it more selective so that we get angry only at the right times and in the righteous way. So many things could be made so much easier in the transition from sinner to saint!

However, as any serious photographer will tell me, the automatic setting is no way to get those stunning shots that knowledge, practice, training, and more practice can develop (pun intended) in the serious professional photographer. The Holy Spirit comes to the new Christian and begins the change process in the best way; God's way. We may still have anger problems, or a struggle with a particular sin, or even doubts about our salvation at times. Pastor Doug gave us 10 Biblical ways to cure anger yesterday, but none of them come to us automatically. We must work at it and trust God to lead us. The Holy Spirit doesn't use an "auto" setting on us because you and I are unique creations of a loving God. We get His full attention and care; no quick and easy automatic settings are involved!

Praise God for the new day!


Saturday, March 06, 2010

Is the Argument Worth It? - March 6, 2010

Good Saturday morning! A person can see that it did in fact snow last night, but that same person would have a tough time measuring how much snow fell. I think all of us are looking forward to spring, as even the normally temperate areas of the country saw snow and cold this year. So should we join in the argument on global warming? The question might be: is the argument worth it?

Often we jump into an argument with both feet before we stop to think if the argument is worth our time and effort, let alone that seldom does anyone 'win' an argument. People like to argue about a lot of things. Is poker gambling or a sport? If you know nothing about the game, you might be just throwing your money into a pot and wishing for a positive result; sounds like gambling. However, those who study and practice would argue that the cards you get are only a small part of the game. Reading the opponents moves and personal quirks, or tells, is the real skill in the sport.

We will be presented with many opportunities to argue in this life; some will be worth our time, others need to be left alone. We may be called to defend God's Word, the Bible. We know this as apologetics and it means anything but being 'sorry'. Creation is a part of God's Word and certainly worth defending with our best effort. Salvation through faith in Christ is another argument we must make to this dark world. We don't have to be an accomplished debater or wizard of logic to argue the Good News. We simply start with our testimony.

Have a fun-filled and joyous weekend in Christ!


Friday, March 05, 2010

Innocent by Reason of Calvary - March 5, 2010

Good Friday morning! The temp felt warm, but to my surprise it's wet and warm this morning. We have felt the touch of rain early this morning; a precursor to more cold and snow or the first touch of spring? We'll have to watch the day unfold for the answer to that question. Last night during our life group Bible study a phrase occurred to me as we studied grace and justification: innocent by reason of Calvary.

A few years ago, for that matter it's probably still on the television shows, innocent by reason of insanity caused a bit of stir in the courts as a phrase that meant someone got away with a crime. Perhaps someone successfully used that to get a client released from a charge, but the phrase came into the popular culture meaning that a criminal committed the crime, usually murder, and used that defense to walk away free. However, I find it unlikely that many courts would fall for that. Most likely the person judged insane would be committed to the care of a psychiatric hospital for quite some time, if not for life. What if there was a defense that freed one completely of the punishment for a crime?

Whatever happens in the world, there is a defense that can SAVE a person from eternal punishment. We are all guilty before we even have a chance to defend ourselves. Born of Adam, we bear the stain of sin on our lives. That may seem unfair until you hear that someone else has already borne the punishment for our sin. Now how unfair is it? We can escape the punishment we deserve for our sin by accepting what Jesus offers in grace - freedom from the penalty of sin. The person who believes in Jesus, is declared righteous and innocent of all charges.

How can He do this? To satisfy the judgement of the judge, Christ would have to pay the penalty himself. He did. The Judge, God, declared the judgement of sin satisfied by the death of His Son on the cross. The innocent paid the penalty for the guilty. This is not something we should ever forget. The unfairness of original sin was paid for by a complete injustice done to the one man who had no stain of sin upon him. Not only is original sin covered, but all those little sins that you and I did commit, the ones no one knows about, those sins were paid for too. The court has declared us innocent by reason of Calvary!

Eternal life is ours by an act we had nothing to do with! We can't take credit or boast of our good performance, the entire payment was made by Jesus. It seems too simple for this world, and indeed the lie has been told that each of us can build our own bridge across the great divide by good works. Sorry, what would you use to support those 'good work' planks of yours when you have no access to the other side?

I write metaphorically, but imagine trying to build a bridge with no contact, no touching, of the other side allowed? No ropes, for the other side is Heaven, and no sin-stained materials or bridge-builders are allowed to touch the sinless shores of Heaven. We might want to just take the bridge already spanning that great chasm. The one Jesus declared in John 14:6 when he told us that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Somewhere along that narrow bridge, Jesus is going to clean off that stain of sin; He has already removed the penalty for it. Walk the narrow way with Him; let Jesus cleanse us of all unrighteousness.

Have a wonderful Friday in Christ!


Thursday, March 04, 2010

I Don't Know! - March 4, 2010

Good Thursday morning! We came to a tough verse to understand in our Bible study last night, we didn't come up with the definitive, all of us agree, no question about it, answer either. If scholars have debated the meaning of a verse for decades and centuries, perhaps we weren't meant to understand it yet.

One thing that deep and lifelong study of the Bible, or any other subject for that matter, might generate in us is the pride of knowledge. God may have put a few verses into the Bible to make sure that those who study faithfully will also have a reason to remember that, as the song says, God is God and I am not. It's alright to come to a verse in the Bible and admit, "I don't know!"

We may not gain a message, meaning or encouragement from every verse of every book in the Bible. Some verses may have been meant only for a group of folks from back in the day; other verses may not become clear until the event happens, or until Jesus returns. Not to worry though, it's perfectly alright to ask God about those verses we don't understand too. That may be another reason for those tough verses; that we remember to leave our own understanding at the door and come to God seeking for His understanding.

Isn't it wonderful how Bible study encourages more Bible study? We have yet to fully plumb the depths or measure the height of the knowledge and wisdom found in God's Word!

Have a great day in Christ


Wednesday, March 03, 2010

A Better Name - March 3, 2010

Good Wednesday morning! Yesterday morning for our prayer breakfast, we fell into talking about the end times. We like to do this as Christians, and its easy for a moment to forget the present in light of Jesus' second coming. One of the names that I used as an example in our discussion was 'the United Nations of Bob' for lack of a better term. This reminds me of why I'm better suited to write for the Lord, at least from my limited point of view. In writing, I can come up with something like that and then take a moment to come up with a better name. In speech we don't always get a second chance. A minister prepares his sermon ahead of time so that the stupid things come up in rehearsal or outlining, and not in the Sunday morning sermon.

In our lives, we will run into times when we need to give our witness right on the spot, out loud and in person. We may not get a second chance with the same person to take back any words we speak. However, we can prepare our testimony and have been encouraged to do so. We don't want to harm the name of Christian because of our love for the root and vine of that word, Christ. A prepared testimony can help us to glorify the name of our Lord.

What about your name? When we lived in sin, people came to know us by a certain name. Sometimes we might think that a name change might be in order after we give our lives to Jesus. He gave Simon the name of Peter, and Saul the name of Paul, do we rate a name change in there somewhere? Yes, but we haven't arrived at that point yet. In Revelation, we learn that not only does our Lord Jesus have a name which is above every other name, but that we too will have His name written upon our foreheads.

On this Earth, we see the name of Christ misused and abused. The name of Christian, or Christ-one, means different things to many. In the New Earth, the name of Christ that only He knows will be holy and undefiled. We need not worry about harming that name for it will be written upon each of us. Can you imagine the thrill and honor of saying the name of Christ that has never been spoken in vain? What a wonderful God we have and what a hope we have in Jesus!


Tuesday, March 02, 2010

A'int Got Enough Room - March 2, 2010

Good Tuesday morning! Most of the flat spaces in this house are available to the cats, but I do hold the kitchen counters off limits. In every other case, the cats will jump up wherever they can, if they can see at least some of what's going on up there. This morning, the Capt looked at one particular spot, but couldn't see enough room to leap. Flat spaces in the house also tend to collect things that I don't want to carry with me. Cats will of course try to look before they leap as the old saying goes. Then we have Jesus.

We hear about the Word, the life-saving Way, and the awe-inspiring Wonder of Jesus, but we want to look at things up on that high shelf. We don't want to just leap up there. Jesus told his disciples to count the cost of following Him, and tried to tell them about what was ahead for those following Him. One time He even said that they would forget what He had warned them about, but then remember that He had told them when it happened. That sounds so like us, doesn't it?

We try to count the cost, and we try to look up there where Jesus is leading us. We hear our Lord say, "Trust me!" Then we try to look just one more time before following Him up the narrow way. We have to learn to trust in our Lord completely. We always want to read the completion as the start.

Eh? "Completion as the start?" Paul told us that he had learned to be content in all situations. Fine, we say, but we read it as "have always been content in all situations." Paul didn't gain his contentment at salvation, never to worry about things ever again. Paul learned to be content. That means he did the same as all learners. He looked at where he was and came to the conclusion that he had much to learn; then he began the step by step journey toward contentment in all situations. Trusting in Jesus requires that same learning, as does love, patience, kindness, and the many other fruits of the Spirit.

The first steps of learning are always humbling. We look at Paul's contentment and look at our constant whining, and wonder if we will ever learn to be content in all situations. Don't be fooled by the lies of the adversary. No doubt the Holy Spirit has brought you far in your journey toward Heaven. I am sure that even at the end Paul was assaulted by thoughts, whispers in the spiritual ear, about how things could be better. When we believe in Jesus, we will gain the attention of the adversary and his minions. Take the opportunity to learn complete trust in Jesus. When the hot lies of the devil poke at you, call out to the Lord! There is enough room in His heart for all of us!


Monday, March 01, 2010

Thank You for the Blessings - March 1, 2010

Good morning on this first day of March! The weather may still say, "winter", but the calendar says March and that means spring is not far away. We try to accomplish many good works, and sometimes we catch ourselves expecting a reward for those works. Jesus told us that our reward awaits in Heaven. So where do all these good things come from in our lives, if they aren't rewards? We like to call them blessings.

You might have an old car that doesn't usually start without certain words that we won't repeat here. You go out one morning and - vrrooom! - off you go to work. Perhaps you don't consider the destination a blessing, but the car started this morning! Perhaps you have an old PC that takes 'practically forever' to boot up in the morning, but today the old computer boots up just fine and even your e-mail program is ready to go for you. Maybe you have a body or a buddy that just doesn't motivate and energize like it once did. Today the old thing is up and at 'em, ready to start the day. What a blessing! We need to take the time to thank God for those blessings.

Our reward awaits us in Heaven, but the blessings are here now! Some days we might have to look harder than others for those blessings. Recently we haven't had to look hard at all to realize what a blessing it is that our town or city isn't being shaken by an earthquake; we've heard much about a couple of big ones lately. This morning my heat pump decided to act up again, possibly due to the power blip we had last night. The blessing is that I can reset the thing, power it up again and we have heat in the house! I did apologize to the cats for letting it get so cold. Another blessing is that I have electrical power to heat the house. I didn't have to make a fire with my kitchen table.

In my research, I found that back in the day, many a family might survive the winter, but be short a few pieces of cherished furniture come springtime. We don't have to do that any longer and what a blessing that is! Yes, we can afford to take the time to thank our Lord for the many blessings we have in this lifetime. Too many blessings to list here, but let's get started!