Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Vacation/Christmas


We spent Christmas in Pennsylvania with my parents. They live on a small farm in a rural area. We had a great time. We enjoyed a little snow. My daughter was able to sled ride one day. We were actually “iced in” for two days including Christmas day. We had a lot of time to relax. We played some games and worked a jigsaw puzzle.


As I reflected on the Christmas story this year, I thought about how God planned the birth of his son from the beginning of time. Even when he was creating Adam and Eve, he knew we would sin. He knew then that he would have to send Jesus into the world. He knew that Jesus would have to live as a human and then suffer and die to pay for our sins. Knowing all of that from the beginning of time makes me wonder why he created us. So as I reflect on the birth of Jesus, I am grateful that God loves me so much that He sent Jesus to be born, to live, and to die for me.
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Sunday, December 14, 2008

A weekend in review

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The hardest thing about writing a blog is thinking up a topic to write about.

I finished my graduate class. I am extremely happy that it is over. I must have been crazy signing up for a class that went into December. It has been hard to keep up at work, take care of my daughter, get ready for Christmas, and finish a class. I need to think twice about taking a class during this term again.

Our football team won the Georgia Class A State Championship yesterday. They played great. It was televised and I enjoyed watching it on TV.

My daughter has spent all weekend getting ready for finals. She only has Math tomorrow and Math is her best subject. She should be fine. Tuesday will be a lot harder. She has her Bible final and her history final on Tuesday. That's a ton of stuff to memorize. Luckily she has done well all semester so this is all review for her.

She told me the other day that she was glad that Bible was about over. She currently hates her Bible class. That really upset me. I want her to love Bible class. The truth is she likes studying the Bible, she just doesn't like the project they had to do. She also didn't like the quiz she had where she had to write out all the books of the Bible (in order). She knew them all and could recite them. She learned that when she was in AWANA as a young child. Learning how to spell them took forever. She has a form of dyslexia and so writing and spelling are real challenges for her. She studied for about 2 hours. She got a 91% on the Old Testament and a 94% on the New Testament. I told her I was very happy with that. I don't think I could score any better.

So, with this class out of the way I should have more time to think about what to write in my blog. I can also go back to reading books I want to read. That excites me. Sometimes I wonder why I am pursuing this other degree. I am losing a lot of hours out of my life that I can never get back - and for what - another degree. Do I need that degree? Will I ever use it? I guess if I knew the answers to those questions, I would know what to do.

I an just about ready for Christmas. The decorating is done; the cookies are baked; the gifts are bought and wrapped. We will be leaving town on Friday to go and spend Christmas with our families in Pennsylvania. Are you ready for Christmas? Be sure as you spend time in the hustle and bustle of getting ready for Christmas, to take some time to think about the real meaning of Christmas. Christmas is a celebration of Jesus' birth. Take a minute to re-read the Christmas story and contemplate the real meaning of this season.
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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Jesus - not just for Christmas

I love Christmas and I try to remember to keep my focus on Jesus. That means that Christmas should be like most days. I try to keep my focus on Jesus every day. Jesus isn't just someone to bring out at Christmas. He wants to walk with me every day, in everything I do.

This video says it better than I can ...


Monday, December 8, 2008

Who started this whole Christmas thing?

I don't know the author of this story - it came to me as a forward in my email box but it makes a very good point!

A woman was out Christmas shopping with her two children. After many hours of looking at row after row of toys and everything else imaginable, and after hours of hearing both her children asking for everything they saw on those many shelves, she finally made it to the elevator with her two kids. She was feeling what so many of us feel during the holiday season, overwhelming pressure to go to every party, every housewarming, taste all the holiday food and treats, get that perfect gift for every single person on our shopping list, make sure we don’t forget anyone on our card list, and the pressure of making sure we respond to everyone who sent us a card.

Finally the elevator doors opened, and there was already a crowd in the elevator. She pushed her way in and dragged her two kids in with her and all the shopping bags. When the doors closed, she couldn’t take it anymore and stated, “Whoever started this whole Christmas thing should be found, strung up, and shot.”

From the back, everyone heard a quiet, calm voice respond, “Don’t worry. We already crucified him.” For the rest of the trip down the elevator, it was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop.
Don’t forget this year to keep the one who started this whole Christmas thing in your every thought, deed, purchase, and word. If we all did it, just think how different this whole world would be. Jesus is the reason for the season!!!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Tough Situation

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My daughter needed a new blouse for a chorus concert. Of course, somehow I didn’t get that information until about 90 minutes prior to the concert. I dropped her off for her pre-concert rehearsal and went desperately looking for a black blouse. I went to a department store just down the street from the school and found 5 blouses that I thought might work. I picked up all five blouses and took them in two sizes – I wasn’t sure what would fit and what she would like. So I went to the register and checked out 10 blouses. I paid the bill with my credit card. I was in a hurry and I didn’t pay attention to how much they cost. When I got to the car I actually looked at my receipt. I noticed that somehow I was only charged for 6 blouses. It didn’t make sense because I saw the cashier scan all 10 blouses. I didn’t have time right then to figure it out so I went on to the concert. My daughter found a blouse that would work and she did a fine job in her concert. After the concert we went back to the department store. I needed to return 9 blouses that we didn’t use but my problem was going to be that my receipt only showed 6 blouses. I took all 9 in and fortunately the same salesman was still working. I explained the problem to him. He remembered us - as it was only about 90 minutes since I purchased the blouses. I explained my problem with my receipt and he couldn’t believe that only 6 blouses were on the receipt. Then he couldn’t believe that we were honest enough to bring them all back. As it turns out, the one we kept, we hadn’t even been charged for. He talked to us quite a bit while doing the return and said several times how he couldn’t believe we would bring back the clothes that we hadn’t been charged for. He said no one does something like that. He was impressed with our honesty. To tell you the truth, not returning them had never crossed my mind. My only fear was that someone would catch us with merchandise in a bag that we didn’t have a receipt for and think we were trying to steal them. I am glad I didn’t let my fear keep me from doing the right thing.

I guess what I am trying to tell you today is, do the right thing no matter what. It will surprise and bless the people around you. Do it because it is the right thing. Do it because it is what God would expect you to do. And, it will bless your socks off.
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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Remember who gave it to you

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I was listening to the radio on the way to work this morning - 104.7 The Fish - as is my habit every day. I love the Kevin and Taylor show.

They were interviewing a young guest who talked about her relationship with her Dad. She was remembering how he used to drop her off for school every morning and tell her, "Have a good day. Love, laugh, and remember who gave it to you." He was referring to the fact that every day we have is a gift from God. Don't lose sight of that when you are stressed and working hard.

A short post today. So go have a good day. Love, laugh, and remember who gave it to you!
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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Lie, Cheat, and Steal

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Lie, Cheat, and Steal? This is the name of an article in yesterday's Atlanta Journal. It describes a study that was done with a group of high school students. They surveyed almost 30,000 students in 100 randomly chosen high schools in the US. The results were amazing. In the past year, 30% of US high school students have stolen from a store, 20% stole from a friend, 23% stole something from their parents or close relative, 64% of them have cheated on a test, 38% cheated two or more times, 36% admitted to plagiarizing an assignment from the internet, and 42% said they sometimes lie to save money. While those statistics left me amazed, the next one really blew my socks off. 93% said they were satisfied with their personal ethics and character. 77% said that when it comes to doing what is right, they were better than most people they knew.

The authors of this survey said that most Americans are too blasé about ethical shortcomings among young people and in society at large. “What we need to learn from these survey results is that our moral infrastructure is unsound and in serious need of repair.”

I put this in context with the paper my daughter was writing last night about Daniel. Daniel was a young man when taken in exile. Daniel and his three friends are examples of dedication and commitment. They were determined to serve God regardless of the consequences. They did not give in to the pressures from a pagan society because they had a clear purpose in life.

Some lessons we can learn from Daniel include the idea that there is strength in real friendship. Friends can hold each other up and hold each other accountable. It is important to choose the right friends – ones that share your convictions.

Daniel’s life demonstrates that there is more to being young than making mistakes. Our first hint of Daniel’s greatness comes in his refusal to give up his convictions. He had godly habits that included a careful physical and spiritual diet. When Daniel was in captivity and they brought him his food, he asked for it to be exchanged for fruits and vegetables. He did this because the meat he was brought went against what he had been taught he was allowed to eat. He held to his convictions. His request was honored and he actually looked healthier eating the fruits and vegetables than the others who had eaten the meat. He was faithful to maintain his prayer habit even when it meant being tossed into the lion’s den. His life proved he had made the right choice.

Do we hold to our faith so strongly that whatever happens to us, we will do what God says. Such conviction will keep us one step ahead of temptation and give us wisdom in tricky situations. Live out your convictions every day and trust God to take care of you no matter what.
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Monday, December 1, 2008

I'm back !!!!

Sorry I didn't get to finish my Thanksgiving posts. Our router went down and I lost the use of the internet on my laptop.

It was an interesting Thanksgiving for us. My husband got his wisdom teeth cut out on Monday (a week ago) and he wasn't up to doing much all week. He laid around, ate soft foods, watched TV, and slept. The longer the week went on, the less patience I had. Wonder what God was trying to teach me ......... We are thankful he seems to be healing fine - slower than we'd like - but fine.

I was able to get some much needed rest. I completed most of my shopping and wrapping. My daughter made all our Christmas cookies - no... it's not too early. The time will fly over the next couple of weeks.

I have just less than two weeks left in my graduate class. I will be very thankful when this class is over. I have not enjoyed a single minute of this class and I see nothing useful about it. Perhaps that is how some of my students feel when they take some of their classes. Looks like maybe I am suppose to learn empathy for others.

Nothing too deep today. I am just very thankful to have a job to go back to. I am thankful for my family. I am thankful for the snow flakes that fell today - it seemed to put everyone in a good mood (snow doesn't come often in Georgia). I am thankful for a good staff working under me. I am thankful for life, health, and another day to walk with God.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thanksgiving Experiment Part 6

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Ten things I am thankful for:

1. Shampoo – ever try to wash your hair without it
2. Nail clippers – ever need one and not have one?
3. Football Games – I love to watch the Steelers play.
4. Hot showers
5. Flowers – I love them. My Christmas cactus is blooming right now and it is amazing.
6. Apples – we went to north GA last weekend and purchased several bushels.
7. Ice cream
8. Fire places – they are pretty and they keep you warm
9. Cable TV with a remote control – can you remember TV before cable and before remotes? I can!
10. The faithfulness of God

“Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.” (Psalm 36:5)

“great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:23b)
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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thanksgiving Experiment Part 5

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Ten things I am thankful for:

1. White boards – I hated the old chalk boards I had to use when I first started teaching
2. The students in my class – they have a way of making me smile every day
3. School lunches – I know a lot of people complain about them but I am very thankful that they are provided for me free of charge.
4. Light bulbs – when you need one, you know to be thankful that you have one
5. Quiet mornings to sleep in
6. Sunshine
7. My “best” friends – I have 3 very special friends that I have known since high school.
8. “Sales” – I love to find bargains.
9. Chinese food
10. A God who answers prayer.

"I call on you, O God, for you will answer me; give ear to me and hear my prayer. " Psalm 17:6

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Thanksgiving Experiment Part 4

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Ten things I am thankful for:

1. Fridays!
2. Weekends – and a job that is only Mon - Friday
3. Old movies and the time to watch them
4. Sweat pants – there’s nothing like them on a cold night
5. M & Ms – my favorite candy
6. Advil – when you need it, you’re thankful you have it!
7. Electricity – it was off briefly yesterday – sometimes you don’t realize what you have until you lose it
8. Candles – no real reason – I just like them
9. Garbage collectors – could you imagine life without them
10. Forgiveness

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. " (1 John 1:9)
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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thanksgiving Experiment Part 3

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Ten things I am thankful for:

1. Chocolate – the ultimate stress reliever
2. Caffeine – I really needed it to get going this morning
3. My dog – sometimes he is the only one who understands
4. The Bible – always the ultimate encourager
5. SPSS – the computer program that is helping me pass my statistics class
6. Warm clothes – it is still cold here
7. My daughter’s teachers – they are great!
8. Diet Dr. Pepper
9. Deodorant – OK, this one might take some explaining. When you work in a school, you don’t want to teach the kids coming back from PE unless they have used their deodorant!
10. Hope – my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.

“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:30-31)
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thanksgiving Experiment Part 2

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Today's list of 10 things I am thankful for:

1. Naps – I really needed one this evening!
2. The internet – a constant source of information
3. Email – I got an update from an old friend today
4. A warm home – it was about 22 degrees out this morning – and that is really cold in Atlanta. Georgia
5. A nice small car that gets good gas mileage.
6. Friends at work (Phil. 1:3 "I thank my God every time I remember you.")
7. Music – it nearly always blesses me
8. 104.7 The Fish and Kevin and Taylor in the morning – they entertain me every morning during my commute to work
9. A new washing machine – you never know how much you need something until it dies!
10. Salvation
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Psalm 100 " Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations."
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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thanksgiving Experiment

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Thanksgiving is just over a week away. Are you ready? By that, I don't mean have you bought your turkey or have you invited your guests. What I really mean is, are you preparing your heart? Are you beginning to think about the things you are thankful for?

I am going to try this Thanksgiving Experiment and we’ll see how faithful I am. I’m going to try to list 10 things every day that I am thankful for.

Here it goes for today:(first day will be easy)

I am thankful …
1. that Jesus loves me.
2. that I was raised in a Christian family.
3. for my husband. (Yes –that wonderful husband who drives me nuts from time to time. I’m sure he would tell you that I drive him crazy as well.)
4. for a wonderful daughter.
5. for a good job.
6. that my statistics class is only an 8 week course!
7. for a nice home.
8. that I live in a free country where I can still choose to worship God without persecution.
9. that I belong to a bible believing church.
10. for my church family.

This is a great exercise. Try it yourself. Think up ten new and different things to be thankful for each day from now until Thanksgiving Day.

Here's a little chorus to help you focus. It's a YouTube video but the video part only projects the words.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Jehovah-Jireh

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I’ve started this post several times and I keep on deleting it. I can’t get it to say what I want it to.

Jehovah-Jireh - The Lord will provide

When I was in college we sang a chorus entitled, “Jehovah-Jireh.”
Here are the words:

Jehovah Jireh, my Provider
His grace is sufficient for me
For me, for me!
Jehovah Jireh, my Provider
His grace is sufficient for me

My God shall provide all my needs
According to His riches in glory
He shall give His angels charge over me
Jehovah Jireh cares for me
For me, for me!
Jehovah Jireh cares for me

Jehovah Jireh, my Provider
His grace is sufficient for me
For me, for me!
Jehovah Jireh, my Provider
His grace is sufficient for me

My God shall provide all my needs
According to His riches in glory
He shall give His angels charge over me
Jehovah Jireh cares for me
For me, for me!
Jehovah Jireh cares for me

God gives us the grace we need to make it through each day. No matter what happens or what obstacles I face, no matter how many times I fall, God’s incredible grace is there to pick me up. He is there to give me hope, to deal with sickness or injury, to walk with me through every day and every circumstance. His grace is always more than adequate for every circumstance. Simply claim the promises in His Word. Trust Him to work things out.

Philippians 4:19 “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”

Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast.”

II Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I don't do what I want to do

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I had some free time this afternoon and I really needed to work on my homework for my graduate class. I’m taking a statistics course and I really don’t like it. This is really interesting since I love math. This class is more theoretical than mathematical. If it were just running the numbers, I’d be OK. Alright – I’m already off my subject….which sort of ties directly to my subject ….

Every time I went to start my homework, I got distracted by something else. A phone call, an email, a job I had been putting off for a couple of weeks, scheduling a doctor’s appointment for my daughter, etc… I just kept finding other things to do in order not to do my homework. I knew what I needed to do and yet I didn’t do it.

Does that relate at all to our Christian lives? Do you ever know what you need to do and yet do you just not do it. Do you see ways you could serve but you just don’t do it? Do you see someone you should talk to but you just don’t do it? Do you know you should read your Bible but you just don’t do it?

In Romans Chapter 7, Paul talks about this situation.
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.” (Romans 7: 15 – 20)

I don’t know about you but I can identify with Paul. My desire is to do good. I want to spend time in Bible Study and prayer. I want to be more courageous in sharing my faith. I want to be a more caring person. I want to be a better wife and mother. But when I try to do these things, sometimes I am just unable.

On the flip side, I don’t want to be impatient but I am – even with the people I love the most. I don’t want to gossip but it is so easy. I don’t want to be unforgiving but it is hard when someone hurts me deeply. Like Paul, I know I shouldn’t do these things but I do them anyway.

And then I began to think that even becoming aware of this struggle is one of the marks that I am maturing in my faith. We all need to be brutally honest with ourselves about who we are. We need to recognize the war that goes on inside us. The struggle is between the flesh and the spirit.

If you read on into chapter 8, Paul talks about the Holy Spirit and the strength and power he gives you. The Holy Spirit will help you do what is right. The Holy Spirit will help you get control over areas of your life. Some of the verses that stand out to me in chapter 8 are verse 1 which tells me that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. Verse 28 which says, “ in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” Verse 37 talks about us being more than conquerors through him who loved us. And verse 39 which says that nothing can separate us from the love of God. Romans Ch 8 has to be one of the best chapters in the Bible for the believer. Click here to read it- you'll be encouraged.
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day

Veterans Day is in honor of the men and women who have served and who are serving in the United States Armed Forces. Veterans Day is a federal holiday in the US.

A little history behind Veterans Day:
World War I is known as “The Great War.” It officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919. However, fighting had ended seven months earlier when a cease fire had been called between the Allied Nations and Germany. That happened on 11/11/1918. This day is generally referred to as the end of “the war to end all wars.” In 1919, President Wilson declared November 11th to be the first commemoration of Armistice Day. In 1938, a law made the day into a federal holiday. In 1954, the name was changed to Veterans Day. (http://www1.va.gov/opa/vetsday/vetdayhistory.asp )

How do we honor or respect our Veterans? What does the word honor mean?

Honor – to esteem highly; respect; reverence; high estimation; consideration

So how are we going to honor our veterans? Let’s start with thanking one. If you know a vet, do something kind for them.

The Bible tells us that faith without works is a dead faith. Let your actions reflect your love for God. Reach out and find a vet to bless this Veterans Day.

Monday, November 10, 2008

What excites you?

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“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” (Psalm 100: 1-5)

We all have different things that make us happy - things that excite us or bring us joy. I love sports. I love to watch a good baseball or football game on TV. I get excited when my team is winning. Whether it is Big Ben Roethlisberger is throwing touchdown passes or John Smoltz is striking out batters, I’m cheering. (Guess you figured out I like the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Atlanta Braves.) I love the excitement of the game and the competition. I know the names and positions of the players. I love to talk about my teams.

These things excite me. What excites you? Does God excite you? Do you know all about Him? Do you read his word? Do you like to spend time with Him? Do you enter His gates with thanksgiving? Do you shout for joy and praise His name?

It isn’t wrong to support your favorite team. It isn’t wrong to know the players and talk about how great they are. It isn’t wrong to talk strategies and what ifs. But the real question is – do you give the same attention and dedication to the Lord that you do your favorite team? Do you look forward to your time with Him the same way you do the next “big game”?

As we are approaching Thanksgiving, let’s think about how we need to be giving thanks to him daily and praising Him – if for nothing else than the fact that He loves us.

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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Life is Short

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I started working on this on Thursday but I’ve had a hard time making time to get it finished. My thoughts still seem kind of jumbled.

Thursday morning when I got up, I was tired and I was wishing it was Friday. Then I was remembered something that I often tell my daughter, “Don’t wish your life away. Live every day to its fullest. Life is too short to lose even a single day.”

“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” (James 4:14)

Then later on that day I heard a song on the radio that confirmed this idea for me – Cinderella by Steven Curtis Chapman. The song was inspired by his daughter Maria and her sisters and is a message to all parents encouraging them to cherish every moment with their children. What he didn’t know when he wrote the song was that Maria’s life would be cut short by a tragic accident. I get teary eyed now every time I hear it play. You can play it here - http://www.albumrankings.com/showSong.php?song_id=898672

Do you comprehend the brevity of life? Have you left anything undone that you would do today if you knew you were going to die tomorrow? If so, you need to do it today. Be sure to hug your kids daily and tell them you love them. Don’t take even one day on this earth for granted because we really don’t know what the future holds.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Election is over – So Now What?

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The election is over. No matter who you voted for, Obama is our new president. Like it or not, we have to accept that and support him. Why you ask? Because we are commanded to. Take a look at Romans 13:1-7.

“Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. … Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”

All authorities are in place because God has permitted them to be there. They deserve our respect, obedience, support, and prayer.

Paul said in Acts 23:5 “Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.”

I am grateful to live in the USA. I am grateful for the freedoms I have. I am grateful that there are people who want to lead this great country. I am grateful that God has blessed this country for so long. I pray that He will bless Obama and that He will lead and guide Him. I pray that this nation will fall on their knees and seek God’s guidance.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Forgiveness is like spinach

Forgiveness is like spinach. You know it is good for you but sometimes it is hard to swallow. (This is not an original, I heard it somewhere ...)

Think about popular phrases like “Go ahead, make my day,” or, “I don’t get mad, I get even!”. These are very familiar to us. We’ve probably even thought these or said these at some point in time. Yet, they are very wrong – why?

Jesus expects us to have better attitudes than this. Revenge may seem sweet but it is not Christ-like. Remember the story of Peter when he asked Jesus how many times he should forgive someone. He thought he was being generous when he said 7. Jesus responded that we should forgive someone seventy times seven. (Matthew 18:21-22) Wow – that’s asking a lot, isn’t it?

Then there is the Lord’s Prayer which tells us we should forgive others their sins, just as we want God to forgive us our sins. (Matthew 6:12) We recite this prayer but do we really think about the words. Do we think about how we depend on God to forgive us and what would happen if He didn’t? If we really think about it, if the God of the Universe can forgive us all our sins, why can’t we forgive each other?

Then there is the passage from Romans 12:19-21 “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Why don’t we want to leave vengeance to God? Do we think he is too merciful? Don’t we want him to be merciful to us?

Do you remember the story from Matthew 18 where Jesus tells about a servant who has been forgiven a big debt by the king? Then that same servant has the chance to forgive someone else and pass on the blessing. Is that what he does? No, he demands payment and when the man can’t pay, he demands he be thrown in prison. The king finds out and is very angry and he goes and has the man thrown into prison because he couldn’t forgive others.

Forgiveness is something that I have to work on – it isn’t always easy. I need to work on it each day and one decision at a time. Try to take issues to God in prayer and ask Him to help you forgive others. Forgiveness takes perseverance and hard work but it is worth it. When I refuse to forgive, I put a barrier up between me and God. It will affect my prayer life and my service. What I am saying when I refuse to forgive someone is that what the person did to me is more important than my relationship with God.

I know that I have truly forgiven someone when God’s love can flow through me to the person who wronged me. When my decisions are not controlled by how I feel about someone else. When I am free from the pain and anger towards that person and when I am experiencing God’s peace.

Do you need to forgive someone? Is a lack of forgiveness affecting your relationship with God? Ask God to give you the desire to forgive and then the ability to do it.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Psalm 19

Psalm 19 is one of my favorites. It describes God’s law as perfect, sure, trustworthy, right, radiant, precious, and sweet. It closes with a prayer asking God to make me blameless and innocent. The final idea is that my heart and mouth would please God.

Words can be very powerful. They can build someone up or they can tear someone down. They can produce life. They can deal a hurtful blow. They can edify, exhort, or glorify.

It is one thing to ask the Lord to judge your words. It’s another to have him judge your thoughts. There are lots of thoughts that I don’t want the Lord to judge.

Take a few minutes and think about what’s in your heart. Is it something you want the Lord to judge? Will your meditations be found acceptable to God?

Psalm 19: 7 - 14 “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.

The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.

The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous.

They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb.

By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults.

Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

Friday, October 31, 2008

God's Resume

So I was thinking about the idea of dependence on God again. Why should I depend on him? Is he trustworthy?

A.W. Tozer said "God is greater than the mind itself. His greatness cannot be conceived. If we could conceive of His greatness, He would be less than the human mind which could form the conception."

Since I can’t really conceive his greatness, maybe I should look at his “track record”. When I apply for a job, companies want to know what I have done, have I made a difference, what have I accomplished…

Let’s think for a minute what could be on God’s resume.

Created the World
Flooded the world but saved Noah and his family
Talked to Moses from a burning bush
Sent the Plagues on Egypt
Parted the Red Sea
Knocked down the walls of Jericho
Took Elijah straight to heaven without having to die first
Rescued Daniel from the Lions’ Den
Caused the sun to stand still for a day
Caused a virgin to have a child
Raised Lazarus from the dead
Conversion of Saul
Resurrection of Jesus

I’m sure I have left some off the list. What else would you put on God’s resume?

With this kind of “track record,” I would say this is someone you can depend on and trust.

He is the God of the Universe and yet He is personally interested in each of us. He loves each of us. He holds us in the palm of his hand. He knows the number of hairs on our head. He wants to be an integral part of our lives? Are you interested?

Psalm 91
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.
If you make the Most High your dwelling-- even the Lord, who is my refuge –
then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
Because he loves me," says the Lord, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation."

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Total Dependence

As I thought some more about my last post, I came up with the idea that it is really all about dependence on God. You either totally depend on him, or you don’t depend on him at all. You can’t do it half way.

As you go through your day, acknowledge that you can’t do it, but God can. Put your dependence totally on God. Ask him for his strength, wisdom, and goodness – not your own. Place yourself totally in the hands of the Savior and ask him to carry you through your day. If things are going well, don’t forget that it is God who strengthens you. It is God that provides you with the ability to do your work. It is God who gives you favor. It is God who opens doors for you. It isn’t about you, it’s about Jesus. It is God who deserves all the honor and glory. Be sure to give him the praise!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The New 23rd

One of the reasons I enjoyed this video was because of the way it worded Psalm 23. Sometimes a passage of Scripture can be so familiar to me that I recite it without thinking about the meaning of the words. This video caused me to once again think about the words to Psalm 23.



When you really think about Psalm 23, isn’t it silly to worry?

The Lord is my shepherd, I’ll never get this report done and my life will be ruined.

The Lord is my shepherd and I’ll never pass this test and I’ll fail this class.

The Lord is my shepherd and my family will starve to death because my spouse is unemployed.

It doesn’t go quite like that. It is the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want. We may be caught in difficult circumstances but that doesn't change who God is or what he has promised.

It is impossible to say, “I will fear no evil for I am a strong and powerful person.” No matter how powerful you are, there is always something or someone that could do you harm. Accidents and illness can affect anyone at any time. Verse 4 doesn’t say that – it says the exact opposite. I will fear no evil, for you are with me. With the Lord as your shepherd, you can face anything, any problem, any difficulty, any sorrow, any suffering. Not only can you face these obstacles but you can face them with confidence. That confidence comes from the fact that the God of the Universe goes with you through it all.

Psalm 23 “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”

Friday, October 24, 2008

Are you an encourager?

Have you ever known someone who really believed in you? Someone who spoke words of encouragement and praise - the kind of person, who made you feel special, made you feel like you could accomplish anything. Paul describes this in Ephesians 4:29 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

Life is full of problems. I’ve had my share this week. I am the technology director at a private K-12 school outside of Atlanta, GA. We fully embrace technology and use it regularly for just about everything. This week, we got blacklisted by several email providers, our web site went down, and our school information system went down. Our firewall was working great – except it blocking us from accessing our own sites! All in all, a bad week for us here in the tech department.

Now I get to choose how I am going to let all that affect me. Am I going to start complaining to everyone I see? Am I going to “yell” at the guys in my department? Or, am I going to be a positive person? Am I going to look for ways to encourage the guys on my team? None of what happened this week is their fault – they just had to deal with it and get things fixed. It is my job to speak positively and be an encourager.

I am blessed to have a wonderful 15 year-old daughter. One of the things that makes her special is her faith and her walk with God. Even at 15, we still have a prayer time together every night before she goes to bed. She prays about her school work – as a normal high school student would. But, she also prays for her friends, kids at school who are sick, and every night we pray that God will show us how to be a blessing in someone else’s life tomorrow. We are convinced that God wants to use us to bless others around our school.

How are you encouraging others? Are you a positive influence in the lives of others? Does your attitude cause others to want to be with you or run from you? Pray about who you might encourage and then do it.


Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone (1 Thessalonians 5:14).

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if any-thing is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things (Philippians 4:8).

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Grasp the love of God

Ephesians 3:17 - 19 "so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."

Nothing too deep today. Just thinking how very much Jesus loves me. It is hard to grasp that kind of unconditional, everlasting, free love.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Mary and Martha

Jeremiah 9: 23-34 "This is what the Lord says: "Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight," declares the Lord."

Do you understand the Lord and know Him? Do you know the difference between working in the ministry and serving the Lord? You could be doing the same activities but the difference would be attitude and perspective.

I am very busy but is it all necessary? I've thought about the story of Mary and Martha that comes from Luke 10. Mary sat at Jesus' feet and listened to him speak. Her eyes and heart were fixed on Him. Her heart was open to His voice. Martha was very worried about taking care of all the work and preparations. She was so consumed with what needed to be done; she missed the point of Jesus' visit.

I am like Mary in that I long to sit at Jesus' feet but the daily demands of this life make it hard. I am like Martha in that I love Jesus and really want to serve him, yet I struggle with weariness. This is a hard thing to balance. I often feel like I’m not godly enough, not loving enough, and not doing enough.

What I need to learn is that I am satisfied only as I rest in Him. As I rest in Him, I actually strengthen my service and I do it with less stress and more joy.


Luke 10:38-42 "As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself ? Tell her to help me!" "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Thoughts on Hope

Romans 5:1 – 6 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. .Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.” (bold mine)

Faith and hope are great tools in our walk with God. It is by our faith that we have access to God. It is by faith that we accept his promises. It is through faith that we have peace with God and the hope of eternal life. Standing on our faith in God as we go through trials will produce hope in our lives. This hope comes to us from God. This hope strengthens us and helps us continue to walk in Christ.

Hope is not to be confused with wish or desire. Hope has a much stronger meaning. Biblical hope is a confidence that I have, as a Christian, in my Savior. A Christian’s hope is bold, strong, and true. Hope is not something I can see with my eyes. My hope in the Lord is a promise of a future in heaven with the Lord. My hope in the Lord is a gift from God. A gift that is so wonderful it is hard to grasp its meaning.

My hope is build on nothing less,
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ Name.

In this uncertain time we are living in, I was thinking how glad I am that my hope does not rest on my finances or wealth, but in Jesus.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

God has given me everything I need ....

2 Peter 1 :3 “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness.”

I was thinking today about who God is and how much He loves me. He has given me everything I need. He is wonderful, strong, powerful, just, gracious, long suffering, wise, merciful, compassionate. In light of who He is, I am nothing. My righteousness is like filthy rags before Him, and yet He loves me and accepts me. He gives me everything I need for life. I simply need to accept it and be thankful.


Friday, October 17, 2008

Spiritual Steroids

I wrote previously about my encounter with the poison ivy. Well, I ended up going to the doctor and getting some medicine. The doctor put me on a steroid to clear up the poison ivy. I think a side effect of the medicine has been an increase in my appetite. I can’t seem to get enough to eat. I don’t need that side effect so it’s a good thing that the medicine is only for five days.

What I was thinking of today was I wished there was a pill I could take that would make me hunger for God’s Word the way the steroid has made me hunger for physical food.

How do I create an Appetite for God?
I cannot maintain a strong, healthy appetite for God unless I give myself totally to Him – without reservation, with a singleness of mind and will. To do this I have to make a decisive, deliberate surrender of myself to God. Paul said we need to “offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:1)

I need to meet with God regularly. Get started and make it a habit. Studies have shown that if you do something consistently for 30 days, it becomes a learned behavior – a habit. To hunger after God is to purposefully set aside time to meet with Him, to read His Word, and to pray.

Be obedient – My sinful nature can give me lots of reasons why I shouldn’t obey the plainly written Word of God. But, as a Christian, I am called to walk in the Spirit, not to walk after the flesh. By walking in the light, I will enjoy uninterrupted fellowship with God and maintain a spiritual appetite.

Pray honestly - A.W. Tozer once wrote that the only prayers that God responds to are honest prayers. There is so much phoniness in much of our praying because we ourselves are living a phony life.

Be humble before God. My devotional time is a time for gut wrenching honesty. Humble myself before Him. It’s a time for confessing my shortcomings, my lack of passion for God, my careless words, my bad attitudes, my lack of zeal and purpose. It is a time to quit pretending. It is a time to be transparent.

Abide in Christ continually – Practice the Presence of Christ
To learn to abide in Christ is one of the keys to a life of power and fruitfulness. To abide in Christ is to exchange my weaknesses for His strength; to exchange my inability for His ability; to exchange my self-reliance for his all-sufficiency; to exchange my independence for His power. I’ve heard of it being called “practicing the presence of Christ in your life.” I like the word practice. I need to continue to work on it, practice it, develop that attitude in my life.

Remember Jesus promised, " Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Praise is a Lifestyle

Psalm 150: 1-6 “Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.”

David said in Psalms 34:1 “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth”. Praise is not a moment but it is a lifestyle.

God alone is worthy of our devotion, praise and worship. He is our Creator, and we are commanded to praise and worship Him. Psalm 96:9 says, "Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth." Psalm 29:2 says, "Give unto the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness."

A.W. Tozer said, "Without worship, we go about miserable." God doesn't want us to be miserable -- He has a perfect plan for our lives. He has done so many things to show us that He loves us and doesn't want us to be miserable. He wants us to have hope for a future with Him --he wants us to have eternal life in heaven with Him. A life of praise and worship fills our deepest needs, and amazingly, it also brings great joy to God. Zephaniah 3:17 states, "The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."

There are some people who think that praise and worship can only happen at church. Or, that it can only happen when they are singing songs. It is much more than that. It is a condition of your heart. It is a willingness to exalt God and yield to His will. Worship is an expression of love and awe to the God of the universe – to the God that gives us more than we deserve. You are called to worship God with every action, every breath, every day of your life. God is holy, loving, and worthy of our worship and praise.

Praise is a lifestyle. Make it your lifestyle.

"Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." (Deut. 6:5)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Timing is Everything

We were coming back from PA Monday night and hit traffic inside the GA line. Pretty soon we were at a standstill. We shut the engine off and sat there for 30 minutes while they cleared an accident somewhere up in front of us. We talked and were patient. We were tired but no one got upset. Finally, we arrived home. Our normal 12 hour trip took 13.5 hours that day. We had hit traffic, construction, and then the accident. We unpacked and went to bed.

The next morning, I got up and left for work. My husband called me later that morning to tell me that the car wouldn't start and that he would have to miss work and get it towed to a garage. I couldn't believe it. That was the car we had just made our long trip in. That was the car that we had shut off in traffic the night before. How crazy was it that now it wouldn't start?

We believe that God protected us that night and got us home. We believe God knows all things and is in charge of all things. We don't believe in coincidences or chance. Our God is a God of details. He knew that a sensor was about to go bad in our engine -- don't ask me what that means. He permitted us to get home before allowing that to happen. We are counting our blessings and praising God for his protection!

Luke 12:7 "Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Poison Ivy

We have recently purchased some ground in Pennsylvania. We hope to someday build a house there and move. It is 12.5 acres of beautiful woods, and a trout stream. We enjoyed some time there this past weekend. We hiked, fed the fish, talked, and planned. Somehow, somewhere, we got into something bad - without any notice or warning we were in poison ivy. In fact, I still might not know that we were in it – if I didn’t itch from head to toe. We had no idea that we had come into contact with this poison.

This reminds me that not a day goes by that we don’t step out into our day with a plan to accomplish our goals. We may set out to do good things, to help others, to be a servant. What we don’t realize is that temptation and sin are just around the corner. They are looking for us to grab hold of us. They want to spread their poison all over our lives. They want to take us away from what we had set out to do.

We need to know how to recognize sin and run from it. Just as I never saw the poison ivy but now get to pay the consequences for getting into it, so it is with sin. Watch out for sin and run from it. Even a minor brush with sin will leave its mark on you.

"Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart" (2 Timothy 2:22).

Friday, October 10, 2008

What’s your foundation?

Matthew 7:24-27
"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."

There are so many things that can take time away from your life. My big one is work. Work occupies most of my waking moments. I rarely have time for recreation. I rarely have time for fun. I still try hard to carve time out of my day though for my relationship with God, because that is what my life is supposed to be founded on. I’m not talking about just doing the “fun Christian stuff," like extra activities at church. If all you do is go socialize at church events, that’s not really building your foundation. You need to be in a church that teaches the Word, but it doesn’t stop there. Until you personally take that Word and apply it to your life, it does very little good. Make sure your relationship with God is deep, not superficial. Read the Word; think about it; mediate on it; apply it to your life. Be quick to pray in all sorts of situations. This will continually transform your life. This is building your life on the solid rock. When the hard times of life come; you’ll be ready.

No matter who you are, the storms of life will come. They may come in the form of financial storms, medical storms, relational storms, or some other kind of storm. Whatever your storm, if your foundation is not on the rock (Jesus), your life will come apart. If the foundation of your life is money, it will fall. If the foundation of your life is work, it will fall. If the foundation of your life is sports, it will fall. If the foundation of your life is material possessions, it will fall. If the foundation of your life is pride, it will fall. If the foundation of your life is Jesus Christ, it will not fall, but it will endure all storms. Jesus will hold you together, strengthen you, and give you a way to survive all the storms that life may throw at you.

With Jesus as your foundation you will find the love that will make you thankful for people in your life, you will be forgiving to the people in your life, you will have the strength to weather the storms of this life but you will also have the hope of an eternal life.

Jesus is the best thing that has ever happened to any of us, and I pray that we will build our life on him. Life is full of ups and downs, but nothing is as fun, exciting, and adventurous as living life with Jesus. Just try him and you will see. Have a great day and life with Jesus!

** I’ll be out of town and away from my blog until about Tuesday.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Mad at God

I heard the following quote on a TV show last night and it made me think ...

"You can't be mad at God and at the same time not believe He exists."

You have to believe in Him in order to be mad at Him.

Is it okay to be mad at God?

I think it is OK to go ahead and be mad at God but remember that it isn't going to do much good. God is in control and we are not. We cannot twist God's arm and make Him do something. He will do things in his own way and in his own time. We may not understand all that is happening now but remember that God is not confined to time. He can see the beginning and the end. He knows what is best for us. God does want us to be honest. As I read the Psalms, I see lots of times where David was mad at God. Anger is an honest emotion. Be respectful in your anger but also be honest. Keep seeking Him and keep in the Word. God will help you through your anger.

As I look at some of the "Giants" of the faith, many of them were angry with God at one some point in time.

Abraham dickered with God over Sodom.
Jacob wrestled with God.
Jonah ran away from God (and then, even after getting on the right path, was angry at God for drying up his gourd).

If you are angry with God, you're up there with the best of them.

Job 5:17-18 "Blessed is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal."

Monday, October 6, 2008

Dwell in His Presence

Thoughts for the day

Dwell in His presence by faith, and gaze upon His beauty.

Psalm 27:4 “One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.”

Psalm 61:4 “I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.”

Psalm 23:6 “Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Psalm 63:2 “I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.”

Psalm 15:1-2 “Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart.”

Psalm 24:4-5 “He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. He will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God his Savior.”

Psalm 84:2 “My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.”

Psalm 84:10 “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere.”

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Thoughts on God's Will

1 John 2:17 “The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.”

How can I know God’s will?

Does God’s Word contain an answer to your question? Search the scriptures and try to find the answer.

2 Timothy 2:15 “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”

If you find your answer in Scripture then it is a matter of obedience.

What if there is no direct answer in Scripture?

Philippians 2:12 “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”

Pray for an answer and be willing to accept the answer God sends. Try to determine if the thing you are praying about is necessary. Is it really important? If you didn’t get it or do it, would anything suffer? Will it take your eyes off of Jesus? Will it be a “weight” in your life? Will it make it hard for you to “finish the race.”

Hebrews 12:1-3 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

Will it matter or make a difference in your life? If I do this thing, will it make a difference in me? If so, will the difference make me closer to God? Will it matter 5 years from now? How about 20 years from now? Does it matter in light of eternity?

Pray for wisdom and discernment. Don’t rationalize – be honest with yourself. Don’t follow the idea of “do it now and ask for forgiveness later.” That’s abusing the grace God has extended to you.

James 1:22 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

God’s will never contradicts His word.
God’s will never goes against His nature.
It is God’s will for us to be saved.
It is God’s will for us to be obedient.
It is God’s will for us to study the Word.
It is God’s will for us to build each other up.
It is God’s will for us to grow closer to him.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Wasting Time

How much time do we waste by insisting on our own ways instead of God’s ways? He tells us over and over again that he is with us. In fact the name ‘Immanuel’ means ‘God with us’. Matthew 28:20 says, “I am with you always.” Then what is the problem – our stubbornness, our wills.

There is a difference between knowing the truth, talking about the truth, studying the truth, and letting the truth touch your life in such a way that you surrender your life to the truth. If he is already with us all the time, then we just need to let go of our defenses and submit to His will.

God is infinitely kind but He is still God and he demands that we come to Him on his terms. We have to humble ourselves and accept His way of living. We have to repent of our sin and change our behavior.

Understand who it is you are dealing with. This is the God of the universe. He wants us to come to Him humbled, grateful and obedient. When we do, we will know that “at his right hand there are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11)

So no more wasting time. Surrender and get on with enjoying his pleasures.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Walk by faith

I had a Jeremy Camp song going through my head today.

“Walk by Faith”

Will I believe you when you say
Your hand will guide my every way
Will I receive the words You say
Every moment of every day

Well I will walk by faith
Even when I cannot see
because this broken road
Prepares Your will for me

Help me to RID my endless fears
You've been so faithful for all my years
With the one breath You make me new
Your grace covers all I do

“We live by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)

Many people claim to believe in God, but do they really have faith in Him? It is easy to say that you believe there is a God and that Jesus exists. It’s a whole other thing to really trust him. Are you willing to go where he wants you to go and do what he wants you to do? Do you trust him with everything that happens every day?

Faith is what links us to every promise from God. It is what brings us blessings. By faith, I mean a living and active faith, not a dead faith. There is a lot of difference between those two. You can know everything there is to know about God and that won’t save you. It takes faith to believe God and then act. If you really do believe, you will act.

Hebrews says “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” True faith takes what God says without any conditions. In order to know what God says, we have to spend time in His word. It is there that we learn who God is, who we are, and what God has prepared for us.

Faith in God is having confidence that God is who he says he is and that he will fulfill all His promises and bring salvation to you. You have to say, “If God said it, I believe it.” You can’t just believe some things, you have to believe all things are possible with God. (Matt 19:26)

Problems will come and our faith will be tested. We then have to choose whether we will act in our own strength or trust in God to see us through. Don’t be afraid to fail. We all fail at times; it is part of learning how to walk. Just get up, and move on, and learn from your failure.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Pace of Life

I was driving up I-85 on my way home tonight and I noticed all the cars were going 70 mph (or more). I couldn’t even see what was happening around me. It reminded me of my life. My life sometimes seems like a blur. I get up, go to work, come home, work at home, go to bed, get up and start all over again. There is very little change to my routine – other than going to one of my daughter’s softball games occasionally. Life is incredibly fast-paced, complex, pressured, and pressurizing. I am typically strained, burdened and breathless. My life is duty driven and I am going full speed just to keep caught up with everything I have to do. Rarely is there ever time for anything I want to do.

I wish I could just take a time out. I wish I could escape. What God wants me to know is that he loves me and that he is there with me through it all. I don’t believe that this is the life he would want for me. The rat race tends to take my focus off of him. I get caught up with deadlines, to do lists, budgets, meetings, etc.. and that makes it hard to remember that God is with me every moment of every day.

“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.” Psalm 62:5

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Little things matter

I had an interesting phone call at work this week. As the technology director, I manage a fairly substantial technology budget. Included in my budget is the purchase of toner for all the printers on campus. We spend thousands of dollars every year on toner. I have spent quite a bit of time over the last couple of years getting prices on toner and selecting a providing company. I received a phone call this week from another toner company wanted to win our business. He told me that they had a superior product and competitive pricing. He asked what color printer we used frequently and I told him. He quoted me a “set” of toner (one of each color). I quickly calculated what that toner would cost me from my current company and I told him that his price was about $100 more that what I was currently paying. I said I was sorry but I couldn’t justify paying more. He then said he since he really wanted to earn my business he would do me a great deal. He said if I would take four sets of his toner at a certain price, he would throw in a Nintendo Wii Game system. He said he could even ship the Wii to my home address and the toner to my school address. When I checked the price, it was going to cost my school about $400 more money than I was currently paying. I again told him that it would be unethical for me to do that. He indicated that this was standard practice for all their new customers. He didn’t seem to see anything wrong with it. He was very pushy. I was equally resistant as there is no way I was going to ruin my reputation and Christian testimony over a Wii game system. In the end, I had to firmly say,” No, thank you,” and hang up on him. I wondered how many people gave in to his pressure and then regretted it later. I wondered how many people do things like this and cost their companies money and then enjoy the perks themselves.

I need to do all I can to avoid all appearances of evil. (1 Thes 5:22) I need to do all I can to do the right thing all the time. I need to protect my witness. One wrong choice can ruin a lot. I have a lot of people depending on me to make right decisions. Remember - little things matter.

God wants me to seek him first, to trust him, to obey him, and to do things that will help point others to him.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Jesus Loves Me……

I grew up singing Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. As I look on my life, I wonder, is it really that easy. Is that really the foundational truth of life? It’s not about my love for Jesus; it’s about his love for me.

Psalm 107:43 tells us, “Whoever is wise, let him….consider the great love of the Lord.” I need to understand that pure, strong, foundational love. God desires for me to come close to him. He wants me to “grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3: 18 – 19)

God loves me. That is a part of who He is. His only requirement for me is that I believe and accept his love for me. I am to take his offer of salvation seriously. He doesn’t want anyone to perish but he desires for all to have eternal life. (2 Peter 3:9)

It is because of his great love that we were made alive in Christ. It is by his grace that we are saved. (Ephesians 2: 4-5)

His love surrounds me. (Ps 32:10) His love supports me. (Ps 94:18) His love is unfailing. (Psalm 13:5) His love stands firm forever. (Ps 89:2)

“You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you.” (Psalm 86:5)

(1 John 3:1 KJV) “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God” Behold it – look at it, study it, think about it, to watch it, to see with attention.

Study the One who loved you so much He gave his life for you. Jesus loves me – that really is what it is all about.

“May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love.” (Thessalonians 3:5)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Random thoughts on Faith

2 Corinthians 13:5 “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.“

1 Corinthians 16:13 “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith;“

Galatians 2:20 “I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Colossians 2:6 “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him,”

Hebrews 11:1 “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

Faith is having the kind of trust and confidence in God and in Christ that leads you to commit your life to him.

Faith in God must be from the heart. It is not merely intellectual. It is spiritual. "For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (Romans 10:10)

Faith causes you to know in your heart before you see with your eyes. "For we walk by faith, not by sight." (2Cor 5.7)

To live in faith means to do and say what you believe is right, without doubting.

"The just shall live by faith" (Romans 1:17). We must live by faith in order to be considered by God "righteous”.

Why must we believe God? Hebrews 11:6 says, "But without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him."

"Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17). Constant attention to the Word of God produces faith

For faith to be real, it demands obedience. James 2:26 “so faith without deeds is dead.”

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Don't quit

This might not be the best writing. I’m still trying to piece together my thoughts on this subject.

I was thinking today about how lucky I am to be a part of a Christian ministry. I’ve been teaching in Christian schools since 1987. I really feel like it is my calling. I believe in Christian education. I have seen kids' lives changed. I’ve seen kids I’ve taught go into the ministry. I’ve seen kids I’ve taught go to the mission field. I’ve seen kids I’ve taught go on to successful businesses and marriages and then send their kids to Christian school. I’ve even seen one of my former students grow up to serve on the school board of a Christian school I taught at. But, I’ve had moments, like everyone else in ministry, where I’ve just felt like chucking it all. I wondered - was it really worth it?

As I was reading through 2 Corinthians chapters 2 and 3, I was reminded of some things. Ch 2:14-17 talk about the power of the ministry. Paul contrasts the beginning of the chapter with the end when he says “But thanks be to God …” When we are living for Christ, we are a sweet aroma. This aroma is sometimes differently received. To the saved, we are an encouragement. To the unsaved, we are the smell of the death they have chosen.

It is important that we live for Christ. It is important that people see this in our lives. If we are saved and don’t live like it, we are making light of everything Christ has done for us. If we try to make people happy instead of challenged or we hold back truth, then we are cheapening the ministry and everything that Christ died for.

Then in Chapter 3:1– 3, Paul talked about the people of ministry. He talked about the people he had led to Christ as being his recommendation to others. They validated his ministry. He was saying take a look at their changed lives and you can see the power of God. So the natural question is – where are my recommendations? Are there people I have been working with whose lives are changed because of my ministry? My influence on them might not have been leading them to Christ but it might have been encouraging them in their faith, encouraging them to make a right decision, encouraging them to be truthful, encouraging them to treat others correctly, encouraging them towards a deeper commitment, etc...

Paul continues in Chapter 3: 4–6 talking about who can meet the demands of the ministry? Only as we trust Christ to work in and through us, can we meet the expectations and demands that are placed on us. Our competence comes from God. What’s the need of the hour…….people dedicated to Christ who really believe that God can and will do what he promises. Where are we going to get these people? Our best hope is the next generation of young people.

Chapter 4 starts out with the idea that it is only through God’s mercy that we have a ministry. When God calls you to a ministry, he supplies you with the strength you need to carry it out. So, if I ever feel like quitting, I need to remember that I have given my life for the most meaningful mission on earth. With God’s help and strength, I can carry on and continue to impact the next generation for the cause of Christ.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Renaming God

I read an article on the Internet that got me thinking. This is from a news article from August 2007. Here is a quote from the web site: (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20279326/)

“A Roman Catholic Bishop in the Netherlands has proposed people of all faiths refer to God as Allah to foster understanding, stoking an already heated debate on religious tolerance in a country with one million Muslims. … Allah is a very beautiful word for God. Shouldn't we all say that from now on we will name God Allah? ... What does God care what we call him? It is our problem."

My first reaction was that of anger. Who does he think he is to rename God! How arrogant! This is just wrong! Then I thought I wonder how God feels….

Names in Biblical times were very important. They revealed a person’s character. As we read through Scripture we can see the importance of names. God has revealed to us his many names. Each name reveals more about who he is. His names represent his attributes, or his nature. It is important to know the names of God. AND none of them is Allah! I think God would be really offended for us to have the nerve to try to give him another name. And, not just any name, but the name of a false god. How different is this from Aaron and the Israelites building the golden calf?
Some of God’s names from Scripture are:
  • El Shaddai - God Almighty or The God Who is All Sufficient
  • Adonai Jehovah – The Lord our Sovereign
  • Jehovah- Lord; The Self-Existent One, I AM WHO I AM
  • Jehovah-Jireh - The Lord our Provider
  • Jehovah-Ropheka - The Lord our Healer
  • Jehovah-Nissi - The Lord Our Banner
  • Jehovah-M’Kaddesh - The Lord Who Sanctifies
  • Jehovah-Shalom – The Lord Our Peace
  • Jehovah Elohim – The Eternal Creator
  • Jehovah-Tsidkenu - The Lord Our Righteousness
  • Jehovah-Rohi - The Lord Our Shepherd
  • Jehovah-Shammah - The Lord is Present
  • Jehovah-Sabaoth - The Lord of Hosts
  • Jehovah-Hoseenu – The Lord our Maker
  • Jehovah-Eloheenu – The Lord our God
  • El Elyon- The Lord Most High
  • Yeshua - Savior
  • El-Olam – The Everlasting God
  • El-Gibhor - Mighty God
I am not about religious tolerance. I worship the one true God and I will not try to give Him a new name. He doesn’t need me to do that. If you choose to worship Allah, that’s fine. Call yourself a Muslim and go to a mosque.

I think some of the underlying meaning is that false idea that it doesn’t matter what God you worship as long as you worship one. Buddha, Allah, Mohammed, Harre Chrishna, Jesus Christ – they aren’t all the same. Only one of them is a part of the trinity. only one of them is the Son of God. Only one of them chose to live here on earth as a man, die for my sins, and then rise from the dead. Only one offers me eternal life for trusting him. I choose Jesus.

Friday, September 19, 2008

What if God took a day off .....

I get migraine headaches. In order to get over them, I have to take medicine and lie down in a dark quiet place for at least 24 hours. I had one yesterday and into today. As I lay in my dark quiet bed, I thought about a few things. One particular idea was what if God took a day off? What would the world be like? What would happen to us?

What if God said, “Hey guys! I’m checking out for a few days. You’ll have to fend for yourselves.” Sometimes we forget everything that God does for us and everything we wouldn’t have if he took even one day off.

Here’s a few things that God does: (Psalm 104)
· He makes springs pour water.
· He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate-- bringing forth food from the earth
· He brings darkness, and it becomes night

Think about what would happen if the sun didn’t rise. Everything would freeze to death. Or if the water quit flowing, everything would die. Our very existence depends on God being there every day. God controls all of nature ……. earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunami’s, hurricanes. “He looks at the earth, and it trembles; He touches the mountains, and they smoke.”

He sends the rain and snow. He makes the wind blow. And when he chooses to, he causes them all to stop.

What an awesome God we worship. He created all things and he sustains all things. Whether we acknowledge him or not, we couldn’t make it through even one day without him. I am so glad that God doesn’t take a day off.

Want to think about this some more, read through Psalm 104.

Dear Mr. Obama

I'm going to get political on you today. Take a look at this YouTube video. This was done by a soldier who returned from Iraq last year.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TG4fe9GlWS8

I think it says it all.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Bible Class - Good Idea or Bad Idea

My daughter attends a Christian school and is taking an Old Testament class. She is busy memorizing all kinds of things - names, places, events. She is able to recite family trees in the Old Testament. She knows all about the Old Testament covenants. She asked me to help her study tonight for a big test tomorrow. I was amazed at all the stuff she knows. She knows more than I do and she has enjoyed learning it. My prayer is that she wll remember this information for the long term. When I think of the opportunities that she has had in Christian school, I realize how lucky she is. I never had those opportunities as a child. I pray that she will continue to trust the Lord and follow him her entire life.

I have been asked if I think making kids study the Bible as an academic subject turns them off on religion or in their desire to follow Christ. I'd have to say the opposite has happened with our child. She loves learning more about the Lord and she loves studying the Word. She has been fascinated to learn how all the facts in the Old Testament are tying together. There are probably some children who get turned off by having to study all these things. However, for the child who really loves the Lord, this is actually fun and exciting.

So, do I think all schools should have Bible classes? I'm not sure. You should make sure that the Scriptures are taught correctly and you should have a teacher who loves the Lord and can make the Scriptures exciting and fun. They must be taught as absolute truth, not stories. Everything from Genesis to Revelation is there for a reason and it all ties together and it all points you to Christ.

However, the flip side of that argument is that anytime someone is reading the Word of God, it can speak to them -- Even if the teacher is doing a bad job. The Bible can make it's own impact on lives and it doesn't need or depend on us to teach it correctly.

FYI - In 2006, "Georgia became the first state in memory to offer funds for high school electives on the Old and New Testaments using the Bible as the core text. " In these courses, the Bible is being studied as an historical document and literary piece. This is the opposite of the philosophy in our Christian school where the Bible class is required and the Bible is treated as the inspired inerrant Word of God.

So, what do you think? Should Christian schools force kids to study the Bible? What if they don't like it or don't want to study it? Should it be an elective in the public school? If so, how do you determine who can teach it and what they can teach about it?

Hebrews 4:12 "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. "

Isaiah 55:11 "so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."


The Case for Teaching The Bible -
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1601845,00.html

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Seek Him

Matthew 6: 33 "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."

To seek means to go in search of, to look for, to try to discover, to ask for, request, to try to acquire or to gain, or go to or towards.

I am to seek the Lord. I am to go in search of Him. I am to try to discover what life is like with Him. I am to try to find out what He wants me to do. I am to continue to seek Him. I seek him in order to have a relationship with him. I am to seek Him first – above all else. He should be my first priority.

I am not to be a bystander in my relationship with Christ. God tells me to do stuff and he expects me to do it. He calls me to action. He demands responsibility. I am to seek Him. God is not obligated to do anything as a result, but in his mercy, he can be counted on to respond in love towards me. If I pray, he will hear me. If I repent, he will forgive me. If I am humble, God will give me grace. If I ask Christ into my heart, he will come in and will save me. He is full of mercy, goodness, and grace but expects me to turn to Him in obedience in order to receive it.

Think about the idea that the God of the universe, the God who created everything, the God who is everywhere all the time, the God who knows all things equally well, the God who knows every detail of my life, he knows my every dream --- that God hears me when I pray and responds when I seek Him.

That idea amazes me. Think about it and see if it amazes you, too. Then go out and seek him …

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Friendship

I was thinking about how blessed I am to be surrounded by Christian friends. I work in a Christian environment. I have many friends at work. I also have some other great friends. It is great to have somone with whom you can be real. You don't have to pretend everything is wonderful, when it isn't. A friend encourages, shares, and speaks the truth in love.

The friendship between David and Jonathan is known for devotion, trust, and love. Jesus and his disciples were friends. He encouraged them but he also confronted them when they needed it.

For a friendship to be "godly", it has to be centered on God and his truth. Keeping Christ at the center will enable us to endure for a lifetime.

Encourage your friends in godly ways. If a friend is struggling, stand with him/her. If a friend is doing well, celebrate with him/her.

During difficult times, remind each other of God's faithfulness and love.

Never forget to thank God for the wonderful friends in your life. They are a blessing.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Humble Yourself and Give Thanks - even if you don't want to ...

Pride, arrogance, greed and selfishness are rampant today. We are conditioned to look out for ourselves and fight for what we think we are entitled to. More emphasis is placed on self-fulfillment than morality and our children are taught that it's more important to feel good than to do good. We don’t live in an environment that is conducive to humility and/or thankfulness.

James tells us to humble ourselves. Paul tells us to give thanks in all circumstances.

I had a particularly hard day today. It was hard to give thanks. It was hard to be humble. I started to think about how do you “be humble”. You actually have to humble yourself in order to be humble. You have to give thanks in order to be thankful. It is what you choose to do, not what you feel. And it is often not what you want to do. If you make humbling yourself and being thankful a part of your daily routine, eventually it will become a part of your personality. It will just happen when you least expect it and you won’t even have to think about it.

Start today. Humble yourself before God and tell him you will do whatever he wants you to do. Give thanks for all the good things in your life. “Count your blessings.”

James 4:10 “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”

1 Thessalonians 5:18 “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus”

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Salt and Light

I gave some more thought to my post from Tuesday. I agree that the church should be trying to attract more younger people. However, we cannot forget that we are to be "salt and light" to the world. We shouldn't change just to attract more people or please others. We are to stand apart and be different. If changing allows us to reach more people for Christ and doesn't contradict Scripture, then we should consider that change. However, we should never compromise our testimony just to attract more people. We also need to consider the idea of doing something just because that's the way we've always done it, isn't a good reason.

Salt - is used as a preservative. It adds flavor and enjoyment to food. We are to be salt to the world. We are to preserve biblical truth but at the same time we are to enjoy life.

Light is used to expose darkness. It is also a symbol of truth. It is a symbol of guidance - you can't make your way through the darkness without light. We are to be light to the world.

We need to remember the message and do what we need to do to deliver the message. We should speak the truth in love but we should speak the truth. That doesn't mean screaming at people that they are going to hell but it also doesn't mean avoiding the subject.

Our testimony needs to be personal and attractive. It needs to draw people to Jesus. We draw people with blameless lives, gracious speech, scriptural insights, and practical usefulness. The gospel will do its own work if we just tell it the way it is.


Matthew 5: 13 - 15
"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.

Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house."

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

They Like Jesus But Not the Church

I didn’t intend this blog to become a book review site but I have read some good books lately. Right now I am reading They Like Jesus But Not the Church: insights from emerging generations by Dan Kimball. I find it an interesting book. I don’t necessarily agree with all of his points but he does make me think. He decided that it was too easy for him (as a pastor) to get caught up in his own little Christian subculture and ignore the unchurched. He decided to start going to the local coffee shop (he lives in California) to work on his research and sermons. There he was able to build some relationships with the “regulars” and he was able to ask them some questions. He defines emerging generations as people in their late teens to early thirties. He chose this age group because he sees them as the largest missing segment from the church.

“Three-fourths of today’s high school graduates leave the church as soon as their parents stop making them go.”

Some basic ideas about this emerging generation:
  • They don’t have a basic understanding of the Bible.
  • They don’t have one God as the predominant God to worship.
  • They are open to all kinds of faiths and mixtures of faiths.
  • They no longer believe that Christian ministers are the “good guys”.
  • They are interested in Jesus. They like and respect him.
  • They are suspicious of organized religion.
  • They would not go to church to seek God or spiritual growth but they would see these things on their own.
  • They don’t want to be told how to pray, dress, think, or act.
  • They see church as “religious Simon Says”.
  • They see the church as driven by its own social and political agenda.
  • They want to express their ideas but feel left out of all areas of leadership.

I’m only about 1/3 of the way through the book so perhaps I’ll have more to share in a few days.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Sara Palin video

I don't usually share my political thoughts. One of the criticisms of the church from outsiders is that we have a political agenda.

However, I want to share a video clip of Sara Palin speaking in her home church in Wasilla, Alaska. This clip is about 15 minutes but well worth your time. She makes it very clear that she is a Christian.

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1766638341

You'll need to click the play button and be sure your sound is turned on. It may take a few seconds to load.

Feel free to let me know what you think.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Exhausted

It has been a long week and I am exhausted. I need strength and rest.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matt 11:28

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty." Psalm 91:1

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Law of Exposure

This also comes from John Ortberg's book, If You Want to Walk On Water, You've Got To Get Out of the Boat.

"The law of exposure - Your mind will think most about what it is most exposed to. What repeatedly enters your mind, eventually shapes your mind, and will ultimately express itself in what you do and who you become."

It amazes me to see how many people think they can live as they want and that they can avoid this law. They think they can read anything they want and it won't affect them. They think they can watch bad images or listen to nasty music and it won't affect them. Scientists are just now proving what the Bible has said all along. If we input junk into our mind, we will output junk in our actions.

Isaiah says, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind has stayed on thee."

Paul tells us in Philippians chapter 4 to think on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy.

In 2 Corinthians 10:5 we are told "take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

If I really want to become more like Christ and grow in my Christian faith, then I need to focus my mind on thoughts that will help produce those qualities in my life.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Go Water Walking

I've been reading John Ortberg's book If You Want to Walk On Water, You've Got To Get Out of the Boat. It is a study on Matthew 14:25- 32. The disciples were on a boat on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus came walking out on the water to meet them. They were scared and thought it was a ghost. Jesus told them not to be afraid. Peter answered and said," Lord if it is you, command me to come to you on the water." Jesus told him to come and so Peter stepped out of the boat and walked on the water towards Jesus. Then Peter noticed the wind and the waves and started to sink. He cried out to Jesus to save him and Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. Jesus asked Peter, why did you doubt?

There are lots of things that come to mind when you read this story. Peter was the only one who asked to walk out to Jesus. He was the only one with the faith and courage to step out of the boat. It was a big step of faith to leave the security of the boat and walk on water. It is a picture of what you can do with God's help that you can't do alone. Jesus told him to come and he did. He didn't stop to weigh his options or ask questions. He simply stepped out in faith and obedience.

God asks an ordinary person to engage in an act of extraordinary trust - getting out of the boat.
There is always fear in a situation like this.
There is always reassurance - God promises his presence.
There is always a decision - you must decide for yourself - no one is making you go.
There is always a changed life.

Obedience is no guarantee of being spared adversity. The waves and wind didn't stop when Peter stepped out.

What is your boat? It is anything that represents safety and security to you apart from God.

When you walk on water, you have to keep your eyes on Jesus. What are the wind and waves in your life that take your focus off of Jesus?

Accept fear as the price of growth. The decision to grow always involves a choice between comfort and risk. To be a follower of Jesus, you must renounce comfort as the ultimate value of your life.

It was Peter's willingness to risk failure that helped him to grow.

There are good reasons to get out of the boat. The water is where Jesus is. Peter didn't ask for a guarantee - just an opportunity. The disciples who stayed on the boat treasured safety over growth.

I found myself feeling sorry for Peter. He was the only one who had the faith to ask and then to obey. Yet, Jesus rebuked him for doubting. When they got into the boat, everyone worshipped Jesus and they knew He was the Son of God. I wanted to know why Jesus didn't ask the others where their faith was, why they didn't ask to come to him ....... Perhaps that's just my question.

Are you sitting in the boat, or getting out to go water walking ........