Life Along the Way

A Daily Devotional

"Two Sets Of Eyes"

image1

"For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God."

1 Corinthians 2:2-5


Its been well said that we have two sets of eyes, the eyes of faith and those of our flesh and each sees an entirely different world in front of us. I was reminded of that truth when I read a quote by Max Lucado and then I changed a word so it would read like this, "Your eyes see your sins. Your faith sees your Savior." The question today, loved one, is which set of eyes are you and I going to be seeing the world through today? Are you seeing through the eyes of your flesh that see only the limitations or are you looking through the eyes of your faith that can see the seemingly impossible? Seemingly impossible because the bible tells us that with God nothing is impossible, and by faith you can even move mountains!

As another day begins there is much ahead of each of us to do, many different roads to travel down, and choices that need to be made. How will you decide which way to go? The book of Proverbs reminds us that there is a way that seems right to a man but its end brings forth death. How then can we avoid going down the wrong paths? The bible provides the answer in one word, "FAITH", choosing to trust God and His Word and to walk by faith when we what we read in our bibles does not match up with what we see.

Remember what the writer of of the book of Hebrews declared regarding faith, "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (yet) Hebrews 11:1" Yes, loved one, we need faith to make it through the day for the bible goes on to say, "Without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He is God and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" Hebrews 11:6. The key to our faith is God, to seek Him!

So then, how do we develop the eyes of our faith and seek Him? Again the bible holds the answer for us when it says in Romans 10, "Faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the Word of God." Isn't that just like God? We develop the eyes of our faith by seeking Him and hearing the promises of God and accepting them for what they are, truth, as every word of God is truth. Who would have ever thought the way to see correctly would come to us by way of hearing? Its true, loved one, faith comes by hearing not by seeing. When we look at our lives through the eyes of our flesh we see all kinds of limitations and obstacles in our way but when we look at our lives from heavens perspective, through the eyes of our faith the barriers and the blinders are lifted.

Faith is the only sure way to travel down life's roads! Believe it or not, the bible says we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, at least all the things God has in store for us. The key then is doing exactly what Max Lucado made mention of when he penned those words, "Your eyes see your sins, your faith sees your Savior." Don't focus on your past, on your sins and on your failures, friend, focus of Jesus Christ today and see your life through His eyes! Walk in the plans He has declared that He has for you and when you do you will soon see your future more clear. Regardless of your past our even your present circumstances today you can know His peace and His presence because what will become most clear to you as you walk by faith is that you are not alone, that God Himself is with you, He's right there by your side every step of the way.

Yes, loved one, the eyes of our flesh have limitations but the eyes of our faith can see through the impossible. The eyes of faith allow us to see in the dark! The eyes of our flesh see our fears and our failures, where as the eyes of our faith see our Savior, Jesus Christ, the One who loves us and gave His life for you and me.

Focus on Jesus today, loved one, and see the world like you have never seen it before! How do we know? Because this we know for sure, we have never been this way before! Today is a brand new day, one day filled with endless possibilities and choices. The best way to travel down the many roads ahead is by faith, listening for the voice of the Lord Himself who calls for us through His Word which illuminates our paths and makes our ways straight. Oh the joy of walking by faith, using our other set of eyes that only see Jesus! Focus, focus, focus!

"For we walk by faith, not by sight."

2 Corinthians 5:7

I LOVE YOU! 

Continue reading
  212 Hits
  0 Comments
212 Hits
0 Comments

"Critical is Hypocritical"

image1

"Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer."

2 Corinthians 5:16


Reading an email from a fellow pastor the other day, he was sharing how easy it is for us to justify our lives while condemning others, forgetting the very words of Jesus when He said, "in the same measure we judge others we too will be judged with the same measure by God."

Before we came to Christ all of us lived life based on some kind of standard of measurement, a type of scale or curve, a legalistic measuring device where we compared ourselves to the lives of others for the most part to feel better about ourselves, never considering the fact we needed to be changed every bit as much as those we judge so harshly. How quickly we can forget God uses only one measuring device and that is Jesus Christ. If we want to compare lives with someone to see how we measure up, God invites us to do so by comparing ourselves to Jesus Christ.

Growing up playing sports my dad always told me, "there will be always be people better than you and some who are not, so the best thing to do always is give 100% so you can always say, 'I did my very best'." Maybe one of the reasons we find it so is easy to be critical of others is that often times in life we simply fail to give our very best? So we judge others in hope of feeling better about ourselves. Trust me, it doesn't work for long.

Jesus speaking in Matthew 7:1-5 warned about the type of view point where we focus on what others are or are not doing when He said, "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." Wow, that's a deep passage.

The mistake we can make when reading a passage like that is to say, "I have no problem judging someone regarding ___________ (you fill in the blank with the sin you feel safe judging in someone else's life)." Or maybe we will say something like, "I'm OK with God judging me in this particular area of my life because in this area of my life I am doing really good." The problem with this kind of thinking is Jesus was not talking about a particular sin, He was talking about the attitude of our heart towards others sins, period.

What Jesus is saying is that whatever measurement of judgment you and I use to judge someone else's sin is the same measurement of judgment God will use to judge our own sin. Jesus was not saying if you don't lie, it's OK to judge people harshly that do lie since you don't and therefore you could not be considered a hypocrite. Jesus was saying the exact opposite. It makes no difference what the sin is that we become critical of in other peoples lives. Jesus warns us that the standard by which we judge others will be the exact standard He will use to judge our sin one day. The moral of the story is then, be extremely cautious in our judgment of others because God will one day judge you and I with the same judgment we judge others. Ouch! If we ever found a motive to be gracious towards others, there it is.

Salvation comes to them that believe God and receive forgiveness for their sin, not those who seek to justify themselves before God. The best thing we can do when we are wrong is fess up remembering that confession is good for our soul. I think the reason Jesus stressed this point in Matthew 7 is that He knows us better than we know ourselves, and He knows if we can just find someone who we deem is a worse sinner than we are (in our own eyes) somehow we can feel better about ourselves, our habits and our hang ups. That's a temporal fix at best to a lingering and possibly an eternal one as well, loved one. The only way to fix the real problem of a judgmental or critical spirit is to first come to God and ask Him to help us remove the log from our own eye so we can see clearly to judge rightly the speck that may or may not be in our brothers eye.

Know this, everyone in this life is facing a Red Sea you might say, a situation that like we read about in Exodus 10-15 that to them looks impossible, and without the help of God it is. Try to imagine today what it was like for the children of Israel out in the wilderness, fleeing the Egyptian army that was hot on their tails after they were set free from bondage and as they fled they ended up pinned in on all sides with no escape. There were mountains on both sides, the enemy behind them and nothing but the Red Sea in front. From man's perspective the situation seemed hopeless and the people quickly turned on Moses blaming him for their predicament. It is safe to say they saw it all wrong and when we look at life and people through the eyes of our flesh we too will see it wrong and will miss every time what God is doing and what He is wanting us to do in and through and for us.

Yes loved one, "Everyone you meet and know is fighting some kind of a battle today" and the call of the Christian life is fight the good fight and to walk by faith and not by sight. Remember, without faith it is impossible to please Him but by faith we can move mountains, and not just the ones in our own lives but also the mountains in the lives of others too. Determine today to look at people through blood shot eyes, eyes like Jesus had on Calvary's Cross where He shed His cleansing blood for sinners, sinners like you and me. When we begin to see people as Jesus sees them we realize we too need Jesus every bit as much as they do and in the end we will find ourselves judging people far less and loving them much much more.

"For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again."

2 Corinthians 5:14-15

I LOVE YOU! 

Continue reading
  200 Hits
  0 Comments
200 Hits
0 Comments

"Real Peace is a Person"

image1
"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

John 14:27


I enjoy studying the Greek language as it is so unlike our English language. The Greek language is very specific, the words have specific meaning and not general definitions as we find in modern English. As an example consider in John 14 where Jesus says, "My Peace" I give to you, a peace that the world knows not of." The Greek word for peace in John is not the common definition of peace. 

The peace Jesus is speaking of is not due to the absence of something or someone in our lives. Many times in the world we think of peace as the absence of something. if we could just get out of a situation or a circumstance we would then find peace. We tend to think of peace as being the absence of something or even someone. That is temporal or situational peace but it is far from the peace Jesus spoke of. What Jesus desires for you and me, friend is lasting peace.

Jesus was offering us so much more when He offers to us His peace and what that means is that Jesus promised us something far better than the removal of a situation or circumstance from our lives. The peace Jesus offers us is not the absence of something but rather, a an addition of something, a presence, a someone. Like I said, in the world we become aware of peace by the absence of something but in the Lord we discover peace through a presence of someone, the very presence of God regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in.

I don't know what circumstances you may or may not be facing today, loved one, but what I do know is that true peace is not found in its removal but rather true peace is found in the Lord being in the midst of what you are going through, knowing you are not alone regardless of what you might be feeling or experiencing today. No matter what, know today that God's peace can be yours today. All we need to do to experience God's peace is to invite His presence into our situation and to know we don't need to go through anything alone.

As I was listening to one of my favorite songs by the musical group Kutless as I rode my bike along the bike path west of town I was once again reminded of God's faithfulness to me and the peace that He provides me with His presence. Peace I was reminded as I listened to the song is not situational or circumstantial, its relational. God promised me and He is promising you that He will never walk away from us and we do well to not walk away from Him. Read the words to the song today and see if you can see what I have come to enjoy. The song goes like this,

I have fallen to my knees
As I sing a lullaby of pain
I'm feeling broken in my melody
As I sing to help the tears go away

Then I remember the pledge you made to me

[CHORUS:]
I know you're always there
To hear my every prayer inside
I'm clinging to the promise of a lifetime
I hear the words you say
To never walk away from me and leave behind
The promise of a lifetime

Will you help me fall apart
Pick me up, take me in your arms
Find my way back from the storm
And you show me how to grow
Through the change

I still remember the pledge you made to me

[BRIDGE:]
I am holding on to the hope I have inside
With you I will stay through every day
Putting my understanding aside

And I am comforted

Looking back at me I know that you can see my heart is open to the promise of a lifetime. (song ends)

I don't know about you, I only know about me and what I have come to appreciate about this song is that I am reminded each and every time I hear it is that God will never walk away from me. Time does nothing to diminish His love for me as He promised that He would be there for me no matter what, through the thick and thin, even if at times my life is much more thin than thick. His love and commitment to me (and you) is not situational or circumstantial, its based upon a promise that was made and that brings me tremendous peace and comfort and I pray it brings you the same thing today too.

I like these quotes I read this past week as I was studying the topic of peace. One of my favorite finds said, "Safety consists not in the absence of danger but in the presence of God." Another one said, "Peace is not the absence of conflict; it's the absence of inner conflict." Yes, loved one, when we are at peace with God we will naturally experience the peace of God. Wherever God is, His peace is present too. My favorite thought regarding the peace of God was in the following quote that said, "God doesn't always still the storm, but He can calm the sailor." Oh how I pray that you know that today, loved one. God might and then again, He might not change your situation or circumstance but He doesn't need too because He promised something better, something more. He promised to change me and you.

Life is full of storms but God is there with you and for you, right at your side to help navigate your way safely to shore. Yes, God is more than capable of rebuking the winds and calming the seas of our struggles but the greatest work He does in our lives is when He calms the storms that rage within us. Peace, "My peace" Jesus said is what He has left for me and you. Peace is God's gift to us to be received when we let go of our worries and the fears and hold on to the one who desires to hold onto us. Yes, loved one, peace is found in His presence not His absence, not in our circumstances but in a person, in Jesus Christ. Cast all your cares upon Him today knowing He cares about you!


"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

Philippians 4:6-7

I LOVE YOU!

Continue reading
  339 Hits
  0 Comments
339 Hits
0 Comments

"The Power of Proverbs"

image1
"The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel: To know wisdom and instruction, to perceive the words of understanding, to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion-- A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel"

Proverbs 1:1-5


One of my favorite pastors describes a Proverb as, "A pithy statement that packs a powerful punch." I have books full of poems and famous proverbs that I enjoy reading from time to time as they make me think outside my little box of a brain. Here are some funny ones I was just reading.

AN OLD FARMER'S ADVICE

~ Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.
~ Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.
~ A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.
~ Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled.
~ Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.
~ Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.
~ Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.
~ It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.
~ You cannot unsay a cruel word.
~ Every path has a few puddles.
~ When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.
~ The best sermons are lived, not preached.
~ Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen anyway.
~ Don't judge folks by their relatives.
~ Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
~ Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.
~ Don't interfere with somethin' that ain't botherin' you none.
~ If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.
~ Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.
~ The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with watches you from the mirror every mornin'.
~ Always drink upstream from the herd.
~ Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.
~ Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in.
~ If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin'
somebody else's dog around.


I can imagine sitting with this old farmer dressed much like Mr. Green Jeans would be complete with a long single blade of grass on tucked to one side of his mouth as he talks. It reminds me of sitting with King Solomon when I open up the pages of the book of Proverbs in my bible. I can easily imagine sitting with the man God considered to be the wisest of all human beings that ever walked the face of the earth other than the Son of God. Just think, we have Solomon's wisdom contained within the pages of a book for us to read, to help us navigate the maze of this life at our very finger tips.

I want to encourage you to make reading the book of Proverbs a regular part of your knowledge diet, more so than any other newspaper or magazine you may subscribe too. In the book of Proverbs are timeless truths. They are just as powerful today as they were on the day they were first penned for us. Here are just a few of my favorites. Be blessed today as you read them and ponder them like a wise farmer would.

Proverbs 1:5, "A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel"

Proverbs 1:7, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction"

Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths."

Proverbs 3:11-12, "My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor detest His correction; For whom the Lord loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights."

Proverbs 6:16-19, These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren."

Proverbs 8:34-35, "Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoever finds me finds life, and obtains favor from the Lord"

Proverbs 10:12, "Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins."

Proverbs 11:22, "As a ring of gold in a swine's snout, so is a lovely woman who lacks discretion."

Proverbs 11:30, "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise."

Proverbs 12:4, "An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones."

Proverbs 12:15, "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise."

Proverbs 13:12, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life."

Proverbs 13:24, "He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly."

Proverbs 14:12, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death."

Proverbs 14:34, "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people."

Proverbs 15:1, "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."

Proverbs 16:3, "Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established."

Proverbs 17:9, "He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates friends."
Proverbs 17:17, "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity."

Proverbs 18:24, "A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."

Proverbs 20:1, "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise."

Proverbs 22:1, "A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold."

Proverbs 22:29, "Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before unknown men."

Proverbs 26:20, "Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; and where there is no talebearer, strife ceases"

Proverbs 27:17, "As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend"

Proverbs 31:6, "Give strong drink to him who is perishing, and wine to those who are bitter of heart."

Proverbs 31:10, "Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies."

Proverbs 31:30, "Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised."


There you have some of my favorite, just a sampling of the wealth of wisdom and knowledge which is yours and mine each time we eat and drink from the pages of the book of Proverbs. Enjoy them today and may they make your paths straight!

I LOVE YOU!

Continue reading
  304 Hits
  0 Comments
304 Hits
0 Comments

"The Trophy Wife"

image1

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her"


Ephesians 5:25


Being almost 60 years young I forget things a lot more easily than I use too. Yet, I remember falling in love with my wife like it was yesterday. I remember how I felt when we went out in public together and how I loved the feeling I felt knowing that she was with me. Almost 35 years later I still love that feeling. Having a trophy wife as it were is a very biblical thing and not some male chauvinist concept, as the bible says "a man who finds a wife finds a "good thing" and obtains favor from the Lord." Having a good wife gives you that same feeling that coming in first does. Another passage that comes to mind says a wife "is the "crown" (throphy) upon her husbands head" so I think its safe to say that God intended wives to be trophies in a sense, reminders of His favor and His grace in a man's life. That's why we teach the men in our church, one of the most important keys to a great marriage is for a man to marry up! Marry a woman that challenges you to be your best and who seeks to help you become all that God desires you to be and whose life and personal joy become your reward, your trophies in this life!

There is a difference between a trophy one wins in a competition and a trophy wife though. A trophy won in a competition is placed on a shelf and dusted off periodically as it is viewed from afar. A trophy wife on the other hand is to be loved and cherished, adored and cared for moment by moment, not just dusted off occasionally but washed and cleansed daily. The apostle Paul wrote in the book of Ephesians, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word". The Word of God has cleansing power and as husbands we do well to speak and read the Word to and with our wives. Its one thing to attend church together (and that's good!) but its even better to have church together where the husband leads his wife through sacrificial service and loving care.

The battle most couples face in marriage is in putting their spouse first. Preferring others better than ourselves reminds me of a cute story. I laugh every time I hear the story about the Mom fixing breakfast for her two boys, Kevin who was seven and Johnny who was four. The mother fixed pancakes and thought she would teach the boys a life lesson about love and caring for one another and what it means to prefer the other better than ones self. She put the first plate of pancakes in front of her boys to see how they would respond and immediately they both went for the plate, pulling on it and yelling at each other to let go. Mom stepped in and took the plate and said to Kevin her oldest son, "Kevin, don't you think Jesus would let his brother have the first set of pancakes?" Kevin smiled and looked up at his younger brother and politely said, "Johnny, you be Jesus" and then he immediately grabbed the plate for himself and started in on the pancakes."

The call of God in marriage and in the family home is for husbands to love their wives like Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her. You might say God is saying to husbands today, "you be Jesus for your wife". As a guy who loves adventures and sports and winning too, marriage provides me everything I can handle and more. To wake up each day and know God has called me to win my wife's heart causes me to sit and get counsel from my bible, "the playbook of life" on just how I might win her each day. Did I say, each day? Yes, friend, every day is a new day, an opportunity to experience victory no matter how bitter the defeat might have been just twenty-four hours before. Remember the mercies of God are new every morning. It's a new game you might say of today, so get back up and get in the game! You won her heart once, you can do it again. Today's a new day!

Remember, in marriage your wife is the prize, as scripture reminds us, a good wife is the trophy you are seeking to win. The good news is, every man can have a trophy wife, all he has to do is love her like Jesus loves the church (And that's impossible to do without God's help). You might be thinking, "Where do I begin?" Start by loving her like you love yourself. Put as much effort into loving her as you do into loving you. Give her the same considerations you give yourself. Instead of thinking first, "What's in it for me" think instead, "Whats in it for her?" Consider her and her needs as much as you think of your own and you will win!



The apostle Paul went on to say in the book of Ephesians, "Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband." The message to husbands is clear as it is to the wife too. To your wives, Let your husband win! Don't penalize him for trying to love you. Honor him, respect him and he will move mountains in his attempt to win you again and again. There is nothing a man wants more in marriage than a trophy wife, a woman he can look at, hold close and celebrate that she is his and he is hers.

So, whats the strategy for winning, for having that trophy wife? We just read it but in case you missed it, the winning strategy for a trophy wife is this. Husbands, love your wives and wives, respect your husbands because when we do everybody wins!


"So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself."

Ephesians 5:28


I LOVE YOU!

Continue reading
  277 Hits
  0 Comments
277 Hits
0 Comments

"Going All The Way"

image1
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her"

Ephesians 5:25


At a high school summer camp the speaker had just ended his teaching on sexual purity which usually sparks more conversations in the evening devotionals back at the cabins before bed. This time it would be no different. A young man and his girlfriend wanted to speak to their youth pastor that night most likely to confess that they had engaged in premarital sex which the bible calls fornication. As the young boy and girl sat talking with their youth pastor the assistant youth pastor was sitting in the next room listening in in hopes of learning himself how to deal with such sensitive matters.

The young couple immediately shared with their youth pastor that in fact they had been engaging in premarital sex but the tone of their confession seemed that they were proud and not remorseful. Their youth pastor sensed the pride and asked them to explain to him just exactly what they had done and the young man looked at the youth pastor as if to say, "are you stupid, I just told you we went all the way." The youth pastor said he understood what the young boy had stated but the youth pastor wanted to know what the young couple actually meant by what they said as many times when you are dealing with people, especially youth, what they say and what they mean don't necessarily line up so its best to not assume. The assistant youth leader who was listening in was thinking too that the youth pastor must be kind of dumb for asking the question in the first place. After all wasn't it obvious what they kids were talking about? After all, everyone knows what going all the way means, don't they?

The youth pastor asked them what they meant by their answer and this time the young girl spoke up and said to her youth pastor, "We are just saying that we went all the way" to which the youth pastor responded, "You think that is going all the way?" Now the young kids were confused as was the assistant youth leader listening in from the next room. The youth pastor continued. "You think that is going all the way do you? I'll tell you what going all the way is. Going all the way is my neighbors across the street from where I live. Mr. and Mrs. Taylor. They have been married for almost 60 years now and in recent years Mrs. Taylor has not been well. Every morning before the sun comes up Mr. Taylor can been seen sitting in the bay window of their home with his bible open, hands clasped, praying over his wife and her needs. When she awakes the first face she sees each morning is his waiting on her hand and foot. He prepares her meals each day and serves her and cares for her. He helps her to get up and to get dressed. He reads to her from the bible and prays with her every day. He talks to her about life, their children and grandchildren and especially the love he feels for her after all these years and how fortunate he is that she said yes to him when he asked her to marry him so many years ago.

When Mr. Taylor must go out to get groceries and his wife's medication he has one of their children come and sit with their mother as he hurries about his business so he won't be gone too long and cause his wife to worry about him. When he returns home he immediately finds her and comes to her side and whispers in her ear, "I love you, I missed you" even when he was only gone a short time." With a tone that resembled that of a southern Baptist preacher the youth pastor pounded his fist on the table in front of him and with eyes like steel he looked at this young couple and he said firmly, "That's going all the way". What you have done has not even come close. What you have done animals can do with no love at all. What began as a proud moment for two teenage kids bragging about their lack of sexual purity had turned to a moment of pure humility when they were made to consider what real love looks like and the sacrifices that true love willingly makes.

Yes, loved one, "going on all the way" is not measured in a moment but over the course of a lifetime. If you are single let me remind you today to keep yourself pure, date as if you are dating someone else's future husband or wife and if you are married, fulfill your vows. Remember the promises you made when you stood at an altar promising your love and devotion to one another and remember what you said joyfully that day, "Until death do us part". Going all the way is about lifelong commitment and devotion, unwavering dedication through thick and thin. Going on all the way is saying in effect, "I have always loved you and I always will" as going all the way is both practical and prophetical. Practical in that love is lived out in real life and in real time, day by day, in the moment and as well it is prophetical as it is a promise and a vow regarding the future, that no matter what we go through I will keep loving you and I will always be here for you until such a time as we are separated by death. That my friends is going all the way!

"'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate."

Matthew 19:5-6

I LOVE YOU!


Continue reading
  244 Hits
  0 Comments
244 Hits
0 Comments

"Sweetly Broken"

image1
"and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me."

1 Corinthians 11:24

Listening to the song, "Sweetly Broken" the words and the beat are easy to follow along with, that is in the song anyway. Real life on the other hand, now, that is hard, at times seemingly impossible. Yet we do well to remember that with God, nothing is impossible. What Jesus brings you too, He will see you through! Listening to the song "Sweetly Broken" brings to mind a story by John Collinson that serves as a great reminder of what true brokenness is and though extremely painful when we are going through it, the end result truly is sweet as we come out on the other end looking more like our Savior.

I appreciate what John Collinson wrote, "brokenness is not easy to define but can be clearly seen." I share it with those of you today who are in the process of being "sweetly broken". May your hearts be encouraged knowing the pain cannot compare to the glory that is one day going to be revealed both to you and in you!

This Is Brokenness, by John Collinson

"Sometimes it is asked what we mean by brokenness. Brokenness is not easy to define but can be clearly seen in the reactions of Jesus, especially as He approached the cross and in His crucifixion. I think it can be applied personally in this way:

WHEN to do the will of God means that even my Christian brethren will not understand, and I remember that "Neither did His brethren believe in Him" (John 7:5), and I bow my head to obey and accept the misunderstanding, THIS IS BROKENNESS.

WHEN I am misrepresented or deliberately misinterpreted, and I remember that Jesus was falsely accused but He "held His peace," (Matthew 26:63) and I bow my head to accept the accusation without trying to justify myself, THIS IS BROKENNESS.

WHEN another is preferred before me and I am deliberately passed over, and I remember that they cried, "Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas" (Luke 23:18), and I bow my head and accept rejection, THIS IS BROKENNESS.

WHEN my plans are brushed aside and I see the work of years brought to ruins by ambitions of others and I remember that Jesus allowed them to lead Him away to crucify Him (Matthew 27:31) and He accepted that place of failure, and I bow my head and accept the injustice without bitterness, THIS IS BROKENNESS.

WHEN in order to be right with my God it is necessary to take the humbling path of confession and restitution, and I remember that Jesus "made Himself of no reputation" and "humbled Himself unto death, even the death of the cross" (Philippians 2:8), and I bow my head and am ready to accept the shame of exposure, THIS IS BROKENNESS.

WHEN others take unfair advantage of my being a Christian and, treat my belongings as public property, and I remember "they stripped Him… and parted His garments, casting lots" (Matthew 27:28,35), and I bow my head and accept "joyfully the spoiling of my goods" for His sake, THIS IS BROKENNESS.

WHEN one acts towards me in an unforgivable way, and I remember that when He was crucified Jesus prayed, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34), and I bow my head and accept any behavior towards me as permitted by my loving Father, THIS IS BROKENNESS.

WHEN people expect the impossible of me and more than time or human strength can give, and I remember that Jesus said, "This is My body which is given for you…" (Luke 22:19), and I repent of my self-indulgence and lack of self-giving for others, THIS IS BROKENNESS."

What an awesome God we serve! And to think, loved one, He bids us to follow Him if we dare, to deny ourselves and pick up our Cross and follow Him daily on the road of brokenness, not to brokenness. The end result of brokenness is wholeness, holiness and when the Lord is done with us, it will be glorious, like nothing we ever imagined or thought was even possible. It is by far the road less traveled, the narrow and difficult way but oh the joy to know how we will look at the end of our journey, a reflection of the One whose image we were created in and for from the beginning. There really is nothing like being sweetly broken, loved one, nothing worthy this side of heaven that we can even compare. To God alone be the glory for the great things He has done and is doing in you! Don't forget, you are His masterpiece, He's not through with you yet!


"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

Matthew 11:28-30

I LOVE YOU!


Continue reading
  353 Hits
  0 Comments
353 Hits
0 Comments

"Are Your Ears Burning?"

image1
"Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers."

Ephesians 4:29

Being over fifty I read a quote that now has special meaning in my life since I have lived longer than the time I have left on this earth. The quote said, "Aspire to Inspire before you expire" and it should be in the top 10 of everyone's bucket list. You know, the list of things you desire to do before you kick the bucket. It's a great reminder as well as motivation to focus our efforts and energy on building others up because we never know when the time will come when we won't get the chance again.

Gossip might have an appetizing taste, but once digested easily turns the stomach sour. The enemy of our soul seeks to tear us down and is why God's desire is that we build one another up. It was Mark Twain who once said, "I can go almost three months on one good compliment." Over come evil with good today, loved one, and keep Proverbs 18:21 in mind when you speak, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit."

I LOVE YOU! 

Continue reading
  231 Hits
  0 Comments
231 Hits
0 Comments

"70 x 70 = God's Kind of Love"

image1
"When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, "Perhaps Joseph will hate us, and may actually repay us for all the evil which we did to him." So they sent messengers to Joseph, saying, "Before your father died he commanded, saying, 'Thus you shall say to Joseph: "I beg you, please forgive the trespass of your brothers and their sin; for they did evil to you." ' Now, please, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of your father." And Joseph wept when they spoke to him. Then his brothers also went and fell down before his face, and they said, "Behold, we are your servants." Joseph said to them, "Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? "But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. "Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones." And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them."

Genesis 50:15-21

Forgiveness is something that when it is offered completely baffles the human mind. It's almost beyond our ability to comprehend because we know we are undeserving of it. We have all been at one time or another where Joseph's brothers are here in Genesis. We have wronged somebody and they have forgiven us but the relationship is still strained in a sense due to our inability to believe we are truly forgiven, because we know how our own mind works. 

It's been said of American's, "We are not a people who truly forgive, we simply forget." We have a tendency to even say at times we have forgiven someone only to bring up the offense again at a later date. Joseph's brothers are assuming that is the case here. They have this suspicion that their brother will finally be able to "get even" with them now that their father has died. They must be thinking Joseph was just delaying his gratification of vengeance on them all these years? Why, because that's what they would have done. Like many people, they harbor ill in their heart and then lie in wait for a more opportune time. Sad but true!

Joseph is a portrait of grace and how we should all respond when others treat us unfairly. It has been said that when we forgive we stop trying to play God. I like that analogy. God is the judge, the only righteous judge, who, if He gave us what we all deserve, we'd be in hell right now. But the bible says in Ephesians 4:32, "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." When you and I forgive one another we release others from our own personal judgment. That doesn't mean the person isn't guilty, it just means I am not going to stand in judgment over them because that's God's job and besides, I know how much God has forgiven me. 

Our problem at times is, "we judge other people by their actions, and we judge ourselves by our intentions." Its been well said, "Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die". How soon we forget that forgiving others sets the prisoner free, and that prisoner is you and me! Yes, friend, Jesus response to Peter in Matthew 18:21-22 is best, Matthew 18:21-22, "Then Peter came to Him and said, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven." Remember, loved one, those who love much have been forgiven much.


"Come now, and let us reason together," Says the Lord, "Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool."

Isaiah 1:18

I LOVE YOU!


Continue reading
  228 Hits
  0 Comments
228 Hits
0 Comments

"The Chosen One"

image1
"Blessed is the man You choose, And cause to approach You, That he may dwell in Your courts. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Of Your holy temple."

Psalm 65:4

There is not much in this life that compares to being chosen. Be it on a team in a pick up game of kickball as a child, a school prom in high school, and your hand in marriage as an adult. Beyond affirming our self esteem being chosen says we have worth, that we matter to someone.

Here in Psalm 65 we read how the Psalmist is fully aware of the blessings of being chosen of God, to be picked to come into His presence. He writes that when God causes us to approach Him we don't want to leave and the reason is because its in His presence that we find satisfaction just being there.

I remember when my mom passed away and how within just a few hours of her passing I found myself standing in the living room of her home and feeling a sense of her presence just being surrounded by her things. In talking with my oldest sister I discovered she felt the same way. If you have ever really loved someone then you know that empty feeling you get as you part ways. Their absence from you creates a longing within you. The psalmist here simply acknowledges that truth.

The good news today, loved one, is we have more than an invitation from God to draw close to Him. God compels those whom He chooses to approach Him. Like a fish caught on a line, the love of God reels us in until we are right there by His side. And once we are there, though He sets us free to go, we choose to stay. Love you might say has a hold on us that needs nothing else to secure us to God.

Let God's love get a hold of you today, don't pull away but rather let His love draw you close. Let Psalm 65 speak to you, let it remind you that every thing God touches blooms and produces an abundant harvest. No matter where you find yourself today the good news of the gospel is one day the Messiah will walk the earth again and when He does, those with whom He has chosen will walk with Him too, enjoying seed time and harvest. It will be like a beautiful spring day everyday! Just like His presence, beauty will surround you!

Celebrate Jesus today, celebrate the fact that He is coming again, that our Beloved is coming again, He is coming for us soon! All of creation is joining in the celebration in recognition of the fact just like the song sings, "Oh how He loves us, oh how He loves you, oh how He loves me, oh how He loves you and me!"

"As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love."

John 15:9

I LOVE YOU!


Continue reading
  242 Hits
  0 Comments
242 Hits
0 Comments

"The Blessedness of Brokenness"

image1
"And Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, "This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn nor weep." For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law."

Nehemiah 8:9


We read in the book of Nehemiah that the people wept when they heard the Word of the Lord. It just goes to show us how tender their hearts were to the Word of the Lord. They stood in honor at its reading and they lifted their hands up to the Lord in worship. The people were literally standing in awe.

I remember watching the movie, "The Passion of the Christ" for the first time and like most people I too was moved to tears. Yet my tears were not brought on by the reading of God's law in the movie, but rather, I was in a sense (though it is was a movie) able to see the Word with my own eyes. The tears I shed had nothing to do with the reading of the law. I cried because of the fresh realization and revelation of God's grace in my life. Unlike the Pharisee's who were known as moralist's, Jesus was perfect in every way but what people remember the Lord for most is His forgiveness and His compassion towards sinners.

I cried because I am so aware of the fact that I am a lawbreaker, a sinner and because of that Jesus Christ willingly came from heaven to earth and died in my place on the Cross. I cried as I was reminded He died not just because of me but in love He died for me. Not only is that love but it is personal! The thought of God's love being personal overwhelms me every time I think about it, and I pray it does you too! 

To watch if only on a movie screen the inhumane treatment that the Lord endured on the Cross because of my sin just overwhelms me when I watch the movie "The Passion of the Christ". I can't help but mourn, I want to mourn, I need to mourn my sin. Yet, the reason I mourn most is because I know the Word of God and that it teaches me that Jesus died for me. Without the Word, its just human emotion, but because of God's Word, I am drawn to repentance.

The reading of God's Word brings us to moments of bitter sweetness. The joy of salvation is like honey on our lips yet the judgment that will befall those who reject Jesus Christ as Savior should cause our stomachs to turn. Wasn't it apostle John in Revelation 10:9-10 who was instructed, "So I went to the angel and said to him, "Give me the little book." And he said to me, "Take and eat it; and it will make your stomach bitter, but it will be as sweet as honey in your mouth." Then I took the little book out of the angel's hand and ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth. But when I had eaten it, my stomach became bitter."

When I read the Word of God and understand that it was my sin and your sin that Christ had to die for my heart aches, yet at the same time my heart rejoices at the knowledge that Jesus would love me and you so much that He would die for us. That's the sweet part, that's the Good News of the Gospel, beloved; Jesus Christ came and laid down His perfect life for a sinner like me and a sinner like you. We have reason to rejoice today knowing our sins are forgiven because of Jesus Christ. 

Don't just mourn your sins today, loved one, rather, rejoice instead that you be or that you are Born Again, that your name is written in heaven! If you aren't a Christian and you read this today know that God mourns for you and as those who love Jesus do too. Yes, friend, God mourns as do believers all around the world for those who have not (YET) experienced the love of God found in Jesus Christ.

We mourn because we don't want people to miss heaven. I like a bumper sticker I saw that said, "Friends Don't; Let Friends Miss Heaven." Yet, maybe we mourn the most knowing that once we too were lost in the world and we know so well the emptiness of a life without Christ that we want nothing more than to see this world reconciled to God through the Word of God that became flesh, our Lord Jesus Christ! We want everyone we meet to enjoy heaven one day. 

Is your life is full of tears today because this world has left you broken and empty? If so, I beg you by the mercies of God to give your life to God as a living sacrifice. Surrender your heart to Jesus and give Him your sorrow and allow Him to exchange it for joy, lasting joy! Allow God to turn your brokenness into blessing! He can, He does, and He will!

"I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance."

Luke 15:7

I LOVE YOU!


Continue reading
  277 Hits
  0 Comments
277 Hits
0 Comments

"Lifestyles of the Rich in Faith"

image1
"Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted."

Galatians 6:1

The message is pretty straight forward in the book of Galatians. Legalism is witnessed by self preservation where as love is witnessed by self sacrifice. The churches Paul is writing to personally in the book of Galatians had started off good in the Christian journey like many of us, as they started off by faith but now they are seeking to be justified by the works of the law which Paul reminds them will unfortunately nullify salvation by grace as grace can only be received by faith apart from works. You can't work for God's gift of salvation.

What the apostle Paul was seeking to communicate regarding the importance of God's grace is that "Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God's grace. Your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God's grace." Everyone needs grace! In fact, every chapter in the book of Galatians is about grace, God's amazing grace!

In chapter six verse one the apostle Paul gives the mature believer an assignment when he writes, "Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted." The word "trespass" means a person "steps in it" as it were, they are caught in their sin like a trap. The word "Trespass" is a passive verb in the Greek language. This isn't the same attitude regarding "sin as a practice" like we read of regarding the works of the flesh back in Galatians 5:21, "that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." Paul writes in Galatians 5:21 that those people who make sin a regular practice in their life we aren't even to have anything to do with them for what does light have with darkness. 

This person here in chapter six is a brother or sister who has become "over taken" or trapped by their sin. They didn't set out to get stuck in their sin but unfortunately they have…and they need our help! Hebrews 12:1 puts it like this, "Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us." 

Though the sin that so easily entangles us is not premeditated, it is still our fault. No one can say when he is tempted that God made them do it. What God does do is in every temptation is to make a way of escape so we are without excuse. God is always there to help us walk in victory. 1 Corinthians 10:13 makes it perfectly clear, "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it."

Yes, loved one, you and I who would consider ourselves to be "spiritual" or "mature" in Christ and bearing the fruit of His Spirit in our lives have a responsibility to get involved as the word, "Restore" in the Greek language is an imperative, meaning it is a command. We who are spiritual are commanded to leave the ninety nine as it were and go and help them, to get involved in getting them out of their sin even if that means getting our own feet dirty remembering, "Jesus said to him, "He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you" (John 13:10).

Keep in mind the word "to restore" means to "mend" as in repairing a fishing net. Its laborious and tedious work but its necessary. To restore can also mean to "set straight" as in setting a broken bone. You don't want just anyone to set a broken bone. You want someone who is gentle yet firm to do so. You want someone who is spiritually mature to minimize the pain if possible.

So, here is the million dollar question today we should ask ourselves. How do we know if we are spiritual or mature in the Fatih? Is there fruit evidenced in your life like we read of in Galatians chapter five? Is your life marked by the fact that you are walking with Jesus and He is producing in you the fruit of His Spirit, "Galatians 5:22-23, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." 

Go back to Galatians chapter six verse one as it goes on to say, "in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted." When a mature person is dealing with the sin of another person they will do so in a spirit of gentleness which translated means, "Meekness under control". It means when we need to confront others who are stuck in sin to do so humbly knowing we could just as easily get stuck ourselves if not for the grace of God. 

Our humility stems from our awareness that our conversation is going to be painful as we seek to mend and set things straight. The apostle Paul writes in a nut shell, "Be humble lest you stumble." Never underestimate your own ability to blow it and to get stuck in sin! Because we can so easily offended when someone confronts us in our sin we often say of that person, "they are judging me". In reality we are not judging someone with whom we are willing to go to and talk to in private and get involved in their sin, in their mess with the desire to get involved and help them out of it. Its actually the very opposite.

Here is what a judgmental person does, this is what the Pharisees and the Judaizers Paul was confronting did. "You form an opinion about someone and do nothing about it." This person "talks the talk" but fails to "walk the walk". Its easy to talk about people, but to actually get involved in their lives takes love and time. The legalistic talks about people, they gossip about the person but they do so with no intention of getting involved and helping them get "unstuck". They will talk negative about the person all the while keeping their distance.  

Here is something we all can do the next time a judgmental gossip seeks to draw you into their sin by gossiping about others. Ask these two questions

1. Are you helping them? Ask the person gossiping. I hear what you are saying but let me ask you a question. What are you doing to help them get out of their sin? Is what you are saying right now easing their load or are you adding to their burden? We all know the loving thing to do is get involved. Thats what love does. It gets involved where the judgmental person, the legalist and the Pharisee just talk and point out whats wrong.

Heres another question you can ask the person gossiping to you about someone else.

2. What is your telling me doing to help them? Is what you are saying to me right now doing anything at all to help them? If not, all you are doing is gossiping and you should stop, you should ask God to forgive you. (What you are doing is modeling for them the right way to help a person get out of sin. Recognize they have stepped in it). 

Are you aware that one of the reasons people gossip is because they are lazy? Its true. The reason we gossip based on Galatians 6 is we don't want to get involved as getting involved means doing something. People who gossip don't really care, so as we gossip we are trying to convince ourselves we don't need to get involved or shouldn't get involved when other people are caught in sin though the Scriptures command us to get involved and help the person out. We all know the loving thing to do is to leave the ninety nine as it were and go after the one.

Galatians 6:1 teaches us the best way to avoid falling into sin is to stay focused on helping others get out of theirs. When our eyes are on ourselves we can get easily trapped in sin as we are not paying attention to whats going on around us. But when our eyes are fixed on Jesus and we are seeking to help other people who are in need of help getting unstuck from their sin we are too busy to get drawn away. 

Yes, loved one, the best way to enjoy the lifestyle of the rich in faith is to look for opportunity to help someone else today, to prefer others better than ourselves and to look for someone who is stuck in sin and help them find a way to get out. After all, isn't that what Jesus came to do for me and you? 

"For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost."

Matthew 18:11

I LOVE YOU!


Continue reading
  298 Hits
  0 Comments
298 Hits
0 Comments

"Green With Envy, Ripe For Trouble"

image1
"But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; My steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the boastful, When I saw the prosperity of the wicked."

Psalm 73:2-3

Have you ever been envious of someone who seemed to have it better than you? If we are honest we all have at one time or another in life. Its human, but its also dangerous if left unchecked. In Psalm 73 we read the story of Asaph who in verse 2 says he "almost stumbled" which is to say he almost gave up on his faith in God because he was watching the wicked prosper who had no relationship with God, nor any desire whatsoever to walk in obedience to His statutes. Asaph, looked at those around him who were prospering though they were wicked and he became discouraged. He began to think "whats the use of living right and honoring God with my life if everybody else is doing just fine without even thinking about God?"

What Asaph was struggling with was the perception of the lack of problems the wicked seemingly have in this life. All Asaph saw was their prosperity, he saw all the stuff those around him were accumulating, the pleasures of life they seemed to be enjoying. But, what he couldn't see was what was going on inside the wicked's heart and soul, the unrest that lies beneath the surface of perception. He couldn't see the worry and the stress, the sleepless nights and the fear that one day it could all be gone. 

Sadly, Asaph began to suffer himself from comparison which is the thief of joy. In his envy Asaph forgot the old saying, "who you really are is who you are when no one is looking." The Bible tells us man looks at the outward appearance but God looks upon the heart. Envy is always proof our eyes are on the wrong things in life, that we are counting other people's blessings instead of our own.

Envy causes us to take our eyes off God and when that happens, when we become green with envy, and ripe for problems! Fortunately for Asaph he turned his eyes back to God, but not before he dealt honestly with his own feelings. Where many people get tripped up on when it comes to envy is, feelings are real but not necessarily true. Look at the transparency in Asaph's struggle as he writes, "Behold, these are the ungodly, Who are always at ease; They increase in riches. Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain, And washed my hands in innocence. For all day long I have been plagued, And chastened every morning. If I had said, "I will speak thus," Behold, I would have been untrue to the generation of Your children. When I thought how to understand this, It was too painful for me" (Psalm 73:12-16). Envy is painful because its self consuming. Asaph was honest about his envy and the pain it was causing him. 

So what happened that turned it around for Asaph? What did he do to get his heart in the right place again? Psalm 73:17 tells us, "Until I went into the sanctuary of God; Then I understood their end." Asaph went to church! He went into the sanctuary of God and worshipped. Asaph got his eyes back on the Lord and when he did God put things in their proper perspective with regard to this life and the life to come. Asaph realized the wicked enjoy pleasure for a very limited amount of time. Asaph was reminded that life is eternal and that there is a price to pay for sin, as its wages are always death. The more Asaph focused on God and an eternal perspective the pain and suffering of his current situation became more bearable as he realized it was only temporal and the best for him and all the children of God is still yet to be!

Asaph's perspective changed from looking at God through the lens of suffering to seeing suffering through the lens of God. God puts everything into perspective when we get our eyes off ourselves and on Him. That is why the writer of Hebrews exhorts us, "Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:1-2).

The best way then to avoid envy is to focus our attention on God, and on His Word, to maintain an eternal perspective about life. Asaph did what I hope you and I would do too when life lets us down and we are disappointed. Asaph didn't seek God less, but instead he sought God more! Asaph didn't pull back and isolate himself from God and others in his pain which is our natural tendency​. Instead, he reached up and he reached out even more! 

Asaph got with and around God's people, he worshipped and sang praises to God and as he did God put Asaph's pain into its proper place, in the hands of his loving God. God didn't remove Asaph's pain, He simply used it to transform Asaph's life into a life of worship! May God do the same to you and I too as we go through this life and learn to deal with hurt and heartache, loss and sorrow. Look to Jesus and learn how to view suffering through the lens of a telescope instead of a microscope. Keep the big picture in mind today by focusing on our big God, casting all your cares upon Him because He cares about you!


"A sound heart is life to the body, But envy is rottenness to the bones."

Proverbs 14:30


I LOVE YOU!


Continue reading
  270 Hits
  0 Comments
270 Hits
0 Comments

"My Wish For You"

image1

"How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You."

Psalm 139:17-18

Studying through the Psalms this morning I am reminded of a few things that I wish to remind you with the hope that it leaves you standing in awe of our God today, almost speechless when you consider His thoughts about you.

As we study Psalm 139 we are quickly made aware that God is omniscient, to say He knows everything. God knows everything about you. He knows the good, the bad and the ugly of each of our lives and the good news of the Gospel is He still loves us! Psalm 139:1-5 teaches us, "O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me." Ponder that today loved one, God knows you and cares about you. I guess you could say you are always on His mind. I don't know how that makes you feel but I am comforted knowing my God is interested in me. Look what the Psalmist wrote in Psalm 139:6, "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it."

It only gets better. Don't forget that God is omnipresent too, which means God is everywhere. He is always present, and that you are never alone! Imagine how it must have been for the Psalmist to know from personal experience the words he penned in Psalm 139:7-10, "Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me." My wish for you today is that you are very much aware of God's omnipresence in your own life, after all, it's His gift to you!

If we only understood that God is omniscient and omnipresent most of us would be satisfied the rest of our lives by the fact that the God of heaven is mindful of us individually and that He is there for us but it doesn't end there. There is more! God is also omnipotent which is to say He is all powerful. There is none like Him, God has no rival as He stands alone separate from all creation. Notice verses 13 through 16 in Psalm 139 and the power of God, "For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them." To think God has the power to simply speak the word and it is done. Talk about words being powerful!

For many the character of God is understood in His omniscience, omnipresence and His omnipotence and yet there is still more. Today, my wish for you is that you come to know God is obeisant too! By obeisant I mean, God stoops, He bows down. Have you ever been walking along and noticed something small on the ground and you stop and bow down to get a closer look and to examine it and give whatever it is your fullest attention? Thats what God does. He bows down not just to notice us but to care for us too. Yes, loved one, my wish for you today is that you are just as overwhelmed by the loving personal care of God for you as the Psalmist was in Psalm 139:17-18, "How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You."

Next time you go to the beach reach down as you are walking along the shore and take up just a single handful of sand and try to count the number of grains. My wish for you in that moment is that it just blows your mind to think God thinks of you more than all the sand on every shore line in the entire universe. Most of us are comforted when someone says to us, "I have been thinking about you" or "You have been on my mind a lot lately." Yet, here in Psalm 139 the Psalmist can hardly comprehend the staggering love and care of our God.

Yes, loved one, my wish for you today is that at the deepest level of your being it sinks in that even before God created the heavens and the earth, He was thinking of you! And not only was He thinking of you then, He is thinking of you now, still today, and as if to say, I think about you even more than all the sand on every sea shore! Wow! Now you know why the Psalmist replied, "It is too wonderful for me."

"Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it."

Psalm 139:6

I LOVE YOU!


Continue reading
  285 Hits
  0 Comments
285 Hits
0 Comments

"I Lost My Keys Again"

image1
"And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand. I and My Father are one."

John 10:28-30 (NKJV)

I receive a lot of faith based email daily with offers on everything from free trips to the Holy Land that all have an * somewhere near the word FREE that means the trip isn't really free at all. I receive offers for free books of all types, many of them offering advice on how to grow our church into the thousands "in no time" at all which actually do at least make me laugh upon reading the promo as the ad cannot be deemed false advertisement as it does specifically say, "in no time at all" which in reality is saying its not going to happen as the term "no time at all" means just that. 

Yet, the bait that gets me most of the time because of the way my brain works, or doesn't work, are the ads that say,  "7 Keys To (You fill in the blank)." I think most of us spend a great deal of time throughout our lives looking for so called keys to a better life so I'm a sucker when it comes to being offered keys to anything.

I wish there was a key that made everything work in life, I'd even be ok if it required a few keys. Yet, what I have learned so far in my 58 years of existence is that a key that works for one person might not work so well for another. I guess thats why most of us carry key rings. I will confess I have keys on my key ring that I have no idea what they go too but Im afraid to discard them thinking as soon as I do I'll discover I need it. 

Of this I am certain. If the success of this life was based on using the right keys all the time, me and a whole slew of people are in trouble due to the fact we misplace our keys on a regular basis. Can you imagine what it would be like if God the Father had sent His only begotten Son Jesus to the earth and handed an actual key to everyone who placed their hope and trust in Jesus and said, "Here is your key to eternal life, don't lose it." Most of us would have lived the rest of our lives in fear knowing that we would eventually lose that key. Thats why I am thankful that my salvation and yours is not based on us holding onto a key but rather knowing that it is God Himself who is holding onto us! We are safe because we are in God's hands and not the other way around.

Yesterday morning I was sharing in our Victorious Living bible study about the grace of God and how it changes our lives. We all walked away so encouraged knowing that our salvation is an act of God's grace as Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us plainly, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." There are no keys to lose when it comes to our salvation. It is a gift from God! 

Most people that believe in Jesus as their Savior and Lord readily accept the fact of God's grace being the initial means of our salvation. Its sustaining it that begins to trip a lot of people up as many think that after God saves us its somehow up to us to fane the flame of our salvation and keep ourselves in right standing with God by the things we do or in many cases don't do. To those in this category its no longer Jesus + nothing = salvation but rather Jesus + works = salvation. That belief system has existed as long as there has been a devil, as the enemy of our soul does not want you and I to ever know or accept that Jesus sacrificial death upon the Cross was sufficient to pay the price for our sins and purchase our lives back to God.

Satan never wants you and to read the words Jesus spoke to the apostle Paul and receive them for yourself because he knows on that day you and I will quit trying to find the right keys to life and to abundant living that is based on us doing anything and rather we will begin to rest the same way the apostle Paul did when he accepted the words Jesus spoke, "And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me" 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV). In other words, the apostle Pauls eyes had been open not only to God's saving grace but to His sustaining grace! We are saved by Gods grace and we are sustained by His grace too! No keys to lose as grace is the key!

Grace changes everything and not only are we saved by grace and kept by grace, we are comforted in hope regarding our future by the grace of God too! Listen to the apostle Paul's words he wrote to the church in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, "But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words." The apostle Paul is reminding the church God's grace doesn't not only save us and sustain us but His grace comforts us by reminding us one day Jesus is coming back to gather us up to take us home to be with Him. Heres where God's grace becomes most evident.

The church in Thessalonica was worried that their loved ones who had died before Jesus return to earth would miss out on the Rapture because they were dead. For some reason the church thought only those alive would be Raptured and so they were saddened to think they would not be reunited with their loved ones who had preceded them in death. Paul wrote these Holy Spirit inspired words to comfort them about God's amazing grace. 

Nothing proves God's grace more than a person who is dead being brought back to life as I am pretty sure most of us can figure out that people who are deceased are no longer capable of holding onto or turning a key to anything. People who are dead have to entrust themselves to the 100% complete care of another person which is exactly what the apostle Paul wanted the church to know and understand. Those who have placed their hope and trust in Jesus in this life by the grace of God will be raised to life by this same grace when the Lord returns to gather us all up to be with Him to enjoy the life that is to come!  

Grace, grace, grace, nothing but Gods grace will save us, sustain us and raise up to life from the dead. Remember this loved one, Jesus + Nothing = Salvation. Rest today in what Jesus has done for you, is doing now for you and what He has promised He will do in the future for you. Open up your bible today and let the Word of God speak to you and reveal to you, God is in control. He's got this! He always has and always will! We can trust Him. No keys to hold onto or lose! Jesus has the keys safely in His hands! Whoohoo! 

"I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death."

Revelation 1:18 (NKJV)

I LOVE YOU!


Continue reading
  265 Hits
  0 Comments
265 Hits
0 Comments

"Do Good"

image1
"While we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith."

Galatians 6:10


As we meditate on this instruction taken from verse in the book of Galatians this morning, use the following "Do Good's" to help you show God's love to others you come in contact with today. 

Most have heard the acrostic for the BIBLE, "Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth." We say basic for the simple reason the apostle John wrote, "And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name" John 20:30-31. What John is saying is not enough books could be written to fully explain all that Jesus has done since He has been active since before the foundation of the world ever was. But, the good news of the Gospel is, we have plenty enough instruction in the Word of God to show us how to be saved and experience eternal life as well how to walk in victory in this life as we walk with Jesus in His victory each day.

Because the Bible is the living Word of God its always current, always relevant to the world around us. The Bible is a historical document as well as a prophetic one. Contained within the pages of our bible are both promises to receive and commands to do and situations to avoid. Studying through the book of Galatians we discover chapters 5 and 6 laying out for the believer practical application, things we can begin to do today to put the Bible into practice by the grace of God. When I think about lists like the one below I am reminded, "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."

Galatians 6:10 teaches, "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith." What are some ways we can do good for our brothers and sisters in Christ?

"Do Good" in letting people know you care. Proverbs 12:25 (NASB) reminds us that, "Anxiety in a man's heart weighs it down, But a good word makes it glad." Proverbs 18:21 (NASB) goes on to say, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit." Its much easier to tear people down than it is to build them up. Do to others what you would have them do to you. Look for the good in others, as hard as it may be to find, look for it. Believe it or not, we all find what we are looking for in others. Ask God to help you express care through your words to them personally and about them when speaking with others.

"Do Good" by showing your care by your actions. Go the extra mile and get involved in others lives, especially when they need help. We all need a hand at some point in life and most people don't forget those who were there when no one else showed up. Isn't that what Jesus said to do? Matthew 5:41-42, "Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. "Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you."

"Do Good" to others by showing your love for them by being patient with them. One thing that is becoming more and more clear with each passing year, people quit way to soon. Be it marriages, friendships, jobs, churches, projects, new hobbies or interests. I think most of us would agree, we need more patience. Ask God to help you be patient with people, and not just patient as an act of tolerance but rather patient in love.

"Do Good" by being grateful for people. Appreciate the people God has placed in your life. Thank them personally, publicly, with words and on paper, in a personal note or a card. And know handwritten notes are the best! A grateful heart is the pathway by which every other blessing God bestows on His children comes from. Never underestimate the power of a thankful heart.

"Do Good" being generous to others. Start by tipping those that serve you. Honor and bless them for blessing you. Bless those who can't bless you in return. Are you aware you can't out give God? The more we seek to bless those we come in contact with the more blessed of the Lord we will be. We are so much more in tune with our Savior when we give sacrificially. 1 Timothy 6:17-18 reminds us, "Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share."

"Do Good" to others by being sensitive to the feelings of others. Ask God to help you listen to others. God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason. "Be quick to listen and slow to speak" the Bible reminds us! A friend just recently taught me that you can't have an agenda with people you are curious about. Think about it. In communicating with others we are often waiting for them to pause so we can speak. We often times are not even listening to them speak as while they are speaking we are formulating our own response. Sadly what that proves is we tend to go into many conversations with an agenda and trust me, its hard to listen when you have an agenda. On the other hand sit down with someone you are interested in and we become all ears. One key to inter personal relationships is to stay interested in other people knowing as you do you will learn to hear their heart.

"Do Good" by remaining loyal to the people God has placed in your life. Practice forgiveness by practicing intercession. You can't stay angry at someone you are committed to praying for. We cant control what people say about us but we have 100% control of what we say regarding them.

Dwight L. Moody once said, "The world has yet to see what God can do with a man fully consecrated to him. By God's help, I aim to be that man." 

Make it your aim today loved one, as I make it mine too! Lets surrender ourselves completely to the Lords will holding nothing back and see what a difference a single devoted life can make in this world. Lets determine today to put the Word of God into practice.

​I LOVE YOU!

Continue reading
  301 Hits
  0 Comments
301 Hits
0 Comments

"How Long is Long Enough?"

image1
"To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven"

Ecclesiastes 3:1


Wouldn't it be great if love were like a going to the Golden Corral? Unlimited selections to choose from, pick only those things you like. But would that really be love? Is love more than just the freedom to choose? The Bible's definition of love isn't loosely defined, go with your feelings or just follow your heart, do whatever makes you feel good. No, on the contrary, scripture says that love, "bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails" (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

But how can we love those we find it hard to love? Is it possible to love the unloveable? The answer is 'yes' but God's love isn't easy and doesn't come without a struggle. Even Jesus love was put to the test again and again by those He came in contact. In Mark's gospel we read a story where it appears Jesus is frustrated by the unbelief of the scribes and the multitude who followed Him as He went from place to place. In Mark 9:19 Jesus responds to a scribe who had brought his son with a mute spirit to the disciples for healing but they were unable to heal the man's son. Jesus said, "O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me."

I don't know about you but I am comforted knowing Jesus dealt with the same struggles in interpersonal relationships just like me and you. Its been well said, "The ministry would be great if it wasn't for the people". Obviously not all the people, just some of the people. Jesus asked the crowd gathered before Him that day a great question, "How long shall I bear with you?" The short answer is, "long enough". God is love and His love never fails and the proof of Jesus love is revealed for all the world to see on the Cross of Calvary. How long did Jesus bear with them that day and with us even now? All the way to the end! John 13:1 paints for us a beautiful word picture as it were, "Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end."

The Cross demonstrates the unfailing love of God as Jesus loved His own to the end! I so appreciate what Max Lucado wrote regarding how long Jesus bears with us or as some translations say, "put up" with us. "Long enough for every sin to soak in my sinless soul so that heaven will turn in horror until my swollen lips pronounce the final transaction– "It is finished." How long? Until it kills me." The love of God never fails us and Jesus life, death and resurrection prove it. How long should we "put up" with one another you might be thinking? Since it was Jesus Himself who said in John 13:34, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another". The short answer regarding how long we should "put up" with one another then is simple, not a minute longer than Jesus would.

"By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

John 13:35

I LOVE YOU!


Continue reading
  264 Hits
  0 Comments
264 Hits
0 Comments

"You Can Do Hard Things"

image1
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me".

Philippians 4:13


When you study the life of the apostle Paul you read about an ordinary man who did extraordinary feats because of the power of God working in and through him. I'm sure there were times when Paul amazed himself at what God could do through his life. If I were a betting man, I'd bet that you can do more than you are currently doing now too in pretty much every area of life. About the only way any of us can do more than we are right now is if we had someone there to help us, to motivate us, to keep us accountable and to push us beyond what we think is possible and to cheer us on when we don't think we can take another step. That's why God has given us His Spirit to live within us.

The Holy Spirit isn't just in this world to comfort us, loved one, He is here you might say as our personal trainer. Yet, unlike a good coach or personal trainer the Holy Spirit knows perfectly our strengths and our weaknesses and knows exactly how hard to push and when so as to maximize our performance in life. He is with us to give us the strength to run the race and not just finish it but to help us finish our race well. God is with us every step of the way and He is the first one at the finish line to greet us when we are done!

Below is a true story that goes to show you what we are capable of even when we might think we aren't prepared for whatever it is that we are about to face in this life. Read the true story of one amazing woman,

"At age 42, in beautiful downtown Cleveland, Georgene Johnson ran a marathon by accident (all 26 miles, 385 yards of it). She lined up with the wrong group at the starting line. Not the 10K group, where she belonged. But the 26 mile group, where she didn't. It wasn't until the four mile mark that she realized her mistake. So she just kept going, finishing the race in four hours and four minutes.

But it's what she said later (by way of explanation) that has stayed with me since. Said Georgene:

"This isn't the race I trained for. This isn't the race I entered. But, for better or worse, this is the race I'm in."

Talk about a humble perspective. She understood in her running a marathon what you and I would do well to grasp about life. The bible makes very clear though we might plan our lives out perfectly, yet none go exactly according to plan. God ordains the steps of our lives and He leads us into situations and circumstances that cause us to trust in Him and not rest in our own ability. God doesn't allow such circumstances to harm us but rather to shape us, to build our faith and to learn how to walk with God and to trust His plan.

Georgene learned that day how to go beyond herself and to keep going even when everything in her wanted to give up and quit. Is there anything you have given up on, loved one, something that you need to finish? Maybe a project that is waiting for you, maybe a relationship that has been neglected and is in desperate need of repairing. It seems in this life we often give up and quit way too soon. We give up on marriages, on people, on jobs, you name it, when life gets too hard for us we quit.

Let Georgene's testimony encourage you today like it does me, loved one. You can do a lot more than you are doing now if only you would draw your strength and courage from someone other than yourself. The apostle Paul figured it out as so many others have throughout time. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Don't quit, don't give up, keep going and like Georgene you too will discover you have what it takes to finish your race and finish well!

Georgene stayed in her race because she had people running along side pushing her, encouraging her and exhorting her to not quit, to keep going. She had someone to hand her a cup of water to refresh her and provide the energy to persevere along the route. We have someone in our life too, beloved of God, you and I have the Spirit of God living in us, and He is with us running along side of us to help us run the race that is before us. Listen for His voice today, comforting you and challenging you at the same time, helping you run with endurance so that one day like the apostle Paul could say of his life, you and I can say of our lives too,

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing"

2 Timothy 4:7-8

I LOVE YOU!


Continue reading
  257 Hits
  0 Comments
257 Hits
0 Comments

"A New Day Is Coming"

image1

"He who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming quickly." Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!"

Revelation 22:20


Reading Revelation 22:20 I am reminded that today could be the day when the trumpet sounds in 1 Thessalonians 4 and we are taken up to be with the Lord forever. For centuries now the saints have cried out, "Maranatha, Maranatha", which means, "Come quickly Lord Jesus" living their lives each day with this blessed hope., the hope that our Savior would come and rescue us and take us home. Heaven is heaven because Jesus is there just as Hell is Hell because Jesus isn't there. Yes, loved one, home is where God is! 

Today could be the day, beloved of Jesus, today just might be the day! Think about it, meditate on it and let captivate both your heart and soul. There is a new day coming, it might just be today when all the former things will be wiped away and all things will be made new. I enjoy this song titled, "New Day" by Celine Dion. May the lyrics encourage you with the hope that today could be the day!

I was waiting for so long
For a miracle to come
Everyone told me to be strong
Hold on and don't shed a tear

Through the darkness and good times
I knew I'd make it through
And the world thought I had it all
But I was waiting for you

Hush, love

I see a light in the sky
Oh, it's almost blinding me
I can't believe
I've been touched by an angel with love
Let the rain come down and wash away my tears
Let it fill my soul and drown my fears
Let it shatter the walls for a new, new sun
A new day has...come

Where it was dark now there's light
Where there was pain now there's joy
Where there was weakness, I found my strength
All in the eyes of a boy

Hush, love

I see a light in the sky
Oh, it's almost blinding me
I can't believe
I've been touched by an angel with love
Let the rain come down and wash away my tears
Let it fill my soul and drown my fears
Let it shatter the walls for a new, new sun
A new day has...come

A new day has...come
Ohhh, a light... OOh


"For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words."

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

I LOVE YOU!


Continue reading
  245 Hits
  0 Comments
245 Hits
0 Comments

Grief Is A Love Word

image1
"And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart."

Genesis 6:6

Memorial weekend is a difficult time for many around the world who have lost a loved one as each year the families must relive their loss. Regardless of the tributes, the pain remains. One day of recognition can't fill the void of the remaining 364 days. On Memorial Day as a nation we choose to grieve together so no one has to grieve alone. Yet, its good to know that God grieves with us each and every time we do.

Notice in Genesis 6:6, God Himself "grieved." Are you aware that grief is a love word? You can be "angry" or "disappointed" with someone or some thing without loving. But you only grieve when love gets frustrated. Frustrated? Yes, loved one, when we have a hope or dream, a desire that goes unrealized we experience some level, a measure of frustration along with our grief.

Life is a paradox in many ways. Regardless of what some might think or say, life includes many regrets along the way. It has to since we are finite beings with a limited amount of time at our disposal. We can't turn back the hands of time. There always will be things left unsaid and undone in this life leaving us to wish for just one more day, and why living with an eternal perspective is the only way to navigate the stormy seas we all must face. Thank God that one day He will wipe away every tear from our eyes, as all the painful experiences of this life will be gone with a single touch of our Saviors hand.

Death is a part of this life and though it is our final enemy I rejoice that it has been defeated. Knowing Jesus conquered death on Calvary's Cross allows those of us who grieve the loss of loved ones to do so with hope. Unlike the world around us without Christ, we who are in Christ have the hope that we will see our loved ones again one day, just not today, and that is why grief is a love frustrated. I so get that.

There is no need to get over the loss of a loved one as God uses life and loss to shape us into who we are and who we become. Our lives are nothing more than the sum total of all our parts, and every person we encounter, every circumstance of life is an ingredient that God uses for His glory and our good. Sweet or bitter, hard or easy, good or bad, life and death, "all things work together for good to them that love God and who are called according to His purposes."

If we understood everything that happens to us in this life or could figure it all out we would either be God or have no need for Him and that is why we are left to trust His sovereign will when life hurts. Don't forget, answers to our why questions are nothing more than substitutions for trust. Everything that happens to us must first pass through the filter of God's love.

The good news today is we are never alone in our hurt and pain as suffering and sorrow are well known to our Lord. No one has suffered like God Himself and still God draws near to the broken hearted and comforts us in our afflictions so that we know He is near. Don't let your pain push you away from God, loved one, allow it to draw you near to God knowing He is there for you and promises that He will be there with you every step of the way. His promise is the promise of a lifetime.

When you see people in pain and overcome by sorrow don't pull away, draw near and allow God to use you remembering the words of the apostle Paul who said in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."


"Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."

Galatians 6:2

I LOVE YOU!


Continue reading
  234 Hits
  0 Comments
234 Hits
0 Comments