Friday, November 14, 2014

Questions to ponder

Here’s what I’ve been thinking about this week.

Have I lost sight of the holiness of God?

Have I lost sight of his wrath?

Have I lost sight of his sovereignty?

Have I lost sight of his power and majesty?

Have I lost sight of how serious he is about sin?

Have I lost sight of how much he hates evil and injustice?

He is loving and gracious but have I made him weak by only thinking about these parts of his character?

I was reading how Isaiah reacted when he was before the Lord in Isaiah 6.  He reacted with despair for his life.  He recognized God as holy and saw his own sinfulness.  Even the angels covered their faces showing reverence to God.  Perhaps we should take a hint from this before we rush into the presence of God each day.  Perhaps we need to take a new look at his holiness.

Then there is John’s reaction in Revelation 1.  It says John fell at his feet as if he were dead. 

Do we really understand who God is?  holy and righteous

Do we really understand who we are?  sinful and unworthy

Do we really understand what Jesus has done for us in saving us?  He’s created a way for us to have a relationship with this powerful, holy, majestic God.

Revelation 4:8 “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.”

Monday, November 3, 2014

Rich Young Ruler

I was thinking tonight about the story of the rich young ruler.

Mark 10:17-23

As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”

“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”

Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”

Jesus gave the rich young ruler the same choice that he gave his other disciples.  Drop everything you have and “follow me”.  While Peter and Andrew seemed to easily drop everything this man couldn’t. 

This passage says that Jesus looked at him and loved him.  Then he told him he needed to give away all his stuff.  Jesus could see that while this man was obedient, his heart was taken by material things.  It says the man couldn’t do it and went away sad.

What if he had made a different choice?  What if he had decided to give it all away and follow Jesus?  Would he have been one of the disciples?  Would his name be in the scriptures?   I wonder what opportunities he missed out on because he chose not to follow Jesus.  I wonder what plans Jesus had for him.  I wonder what his life could have been like.  Scripture doesn’t mention him again.  It is possible that he eventually followed Christ.  It is also possible that he didn’t and that he died in his sin.

What regrets do you have?  What things has God told you to do and you didn’t obey?  It is easy to criticize this man but we are all just like him. 

Make a decision starting today to live with no regrets.  Give it all to Jesus.  Trust him to take care of everything you need.  Don’t get to the end of you life and look back and think, if only I had ….

Monday, October 27, 2014


Sometimes I am sad and yet I feel like sadness isn’t acceptable for a good Christian. I feel guilty for being sad. I feel like I am supposed to bury those feelings.

A good Christian always smiles in church, right? It would be unspiritual to do anything else. Doesn’t the Bible say to rejoice in all things and doesn’t it say the joy of the Lord is my strength.

So I feel like I am supposed to rejoice even when I am sad and not to do so is a sin. But isn’t that lying? That’s superficial. That’s pretending. That’s playing games. And I’m not good at that, but I try.

I pretend to have it all together. I don’t let anyone see my sadness, my grief, my pain, my hurt, my anger. I contain it. I suppress it. I don’t let it out. I stuff it. I try not to let anyone in. No one can see the real me.

I’m not afraid of it. I just feel like I’m not supposed to have those feelings. To be sad is to be weak. The joy of the Lord is my strength and so if I just had enough faith, I’d be strong. And then I wouldn’t be sad, would I?

The truth is I am sad. I miss my best friend. I miss talking to her. I miss sharing with her. We were supposed to grow old together. I hurt deeply. I have no one to talk to. I have no one to “hang out” with. No one to make me laugh. No one really understands how close we were and what losing her did to me.

I have other things going on in my life right now that make me sad and lonely. Things that hurt. Things that break my heart. I keep those to myself as well.

So what is a good Christian woman to do about this? Sadness is unacceptable but that’s what I feel. Do I continue to pretend? Do I allow everyone around me to believe that all is well?

There’s really no one who truly wants to know anything else. We ask each other, “How are you?” but we really don’t want the truth. Sometimes people don’t even wait for you to answer. It’s really just another way to say hello.

God knows my heart. I can be honest with him. I don’t have to pretend with him and it wouldn’t do any good because he knows the truth. That’s where I go. That’s where I pour out my heart. And then I wait. I wait for him to encourage me, lift me up, strengthen me, and get me going again. Time after time he does exactly that. He is faithful.

“Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your heart to him.” Psalm 62:8

Sunday, October 12, 2014


Courage was not something I thought I needed to learn and yet God has taught me a lot about it this year.  I’ve faced a lot of challenges, trials, pain, confusion, and more.  I had no choice – they were thrust upon me.  They seemed mountainous at times.  And, the enemy was right there in the midst of it all, amplifying my feelings of loss, fear, hurt.

The body of Christ is important when going through these kinds of trials. God created us with the ability to encourage and lift each other up .  We need to make sure we are doing that.

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

Proverbs 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

We find strength when we stand together.  As the enemy continues his assault, turn to people you know can pray and let them help you.

James 5:16 “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”

As I faced days, weeks, and even months of hurt and pain, I called on the Lord for courage to face my circumstances.  In the midst of the battle, God was right there beside me.  He provided the strength and courage that I desperately needed to keep going.  The courage that He taught me increased my faith and trust in Him.

The pain, confusion, loneliness that I experienced remained for months and I still feel it at times.  I pray daily for guidance, desperately asking God to show me what to do.  I pray for healing for my heart.  I pray for direction, wisdom, and just the strength to get through each day.

Psalm 28:7  “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.”

Sometimes I get impatient, wanting to see some answers to my prayers.  I can’t rush God.  I can’t get ahead of His plan no matter how hard I try.  During these times of impatience, God made it known to me that He was working and that I needed to trust and wait on Him. This was not what I wanted to hear, but was what I needed to hear.  He is at work. He is fulfilling His plan.

Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God”

God is working, even when I can’t see it.  I needed to learn to trust and have faith. That takes courage.  I needed to learn courage because it takes courage to follow Him and Him alone.

Joshua 1:9  “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."

Finally, seven months later, I’m starting to see a crack of light in the darkness.  I needed to come to the place where all I wanted was God and all I needed was God.  He is completely sufficient for all my needs. 

2 Corinthians 12:9  “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”

God continues to give me just a little more light.  The problem that caused the heartache and pain still exists but I am learning to walk in faith trusting God with each step.  I have learned courage and grown in my faith.  I am trusting God more each day.  I am thankful for the journey, despite the pain.  He has brought me to a place where I know that all my needs are being met by Him; all my strength is being provided by Him.

Acts 17:28 “For in him we live and move and have our being.”

Remembering things I’ve thought about in recent days …

"suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope”  Romans 5:3-4

"“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

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

“But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.”   Isaiah 40:31 

Friday, October 3, 2014

A challenge is before me …

A few things I’ve been thinking through as I am feeling challenged this week to begin a new project.

My life is not a series of random events. My family background, education, and life experiences—even the most painful ones—all equip me to do some work that no one else can do.

Ephesians 2:10  “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do“

God knew me before I even existed.

Psalm 139:13  “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.”

God will use all my life events, even the painful ones, for my good and His glory.

Romans 8:28  “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” 

God will finish what He started in me.

Romans 8:29-30  “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.  And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”

Philippians 1:6  “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

At some point in the future, if I complete this project, I will let you all know what it was… 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


“I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it.  I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”    Philippians 4:10-13

Paul writes here about having no needs.  He has wants, but no needs.  Why – because he has Christ.  In Christ, I have no need for anything.  Can I handle that idea?

He goes on in verse 19 and says that God will supply all his needs according to his riches in glory.

We live in a world where contentment is hard to find.  If you don’t believe that, look at how many people stood in line for days to get the new iPhone 6.  4 million were sold in the first 24 hours!  Those weren’t needs – those were wants.

We (as Americans) are abundantly blessed and have everything a person can imagine and yet we are bored and frustrated.  Why – because things don’t bring happiness or contentment.

Paul says he learned to be content.  Contentment is not a natural thing.  We have to learn contentment.  We have to come to the realization that God is better than life.  Sounds a little like something Paul said in Philippians 1:21 “To live is Christ, to die is gain.”  Or how about what David wrote in Psalm 63:3 “Your steadfast love is better than life.”

God is better than anything this world has to offer.  He is better than life itself.

I pray that God will not let anything in this life satisfy me and that He will help me find my satisfaction in Him alone.  True satisfaction and contentment comes when I abide in Christ.

I need to remember that all I have belongs to God and allow Him to use it as He sees fit.  If He chooses to take something from my life, then rejoice in that.  If He chooses to bless me with things or finances, then not only rejoice but find a way to use it for the furthering of the kingdom. 

I need to trust God no matter what happens because He has promised to provide all I need.  Circumstances of life don’t really matter when I realize that God is sovereign and that He loves me. 

Live my life for Him.  Live my life with Him.  Live my life in Him.  He loves me and he will sustain me and get me through any and all circumstances that life can throw my way.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Pour It Out

“But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you.”   Philippians 2:17 

The Lord woke me up with this verse the other night.  I’ve been thinking about it now for a couple of days and here are a couple of ideas.

Paul’s life was being poured out as a sacrifice for the Lord’s work.  He gave up all that was important to him in order to serve God.  (he speaks about this later in Philippians: his background, his religious heritage, his accomplishments – he says he counted all those things as “loss”)  Instead of doing things that might bring earthly pleasure, his whole life was an offering for the Lord.

My life will be poured out regardless of what I choose to do.  Time is fleeting.  Life is a vapor.  Weeks and years fly by – how did I get to be 53?  What am I spending my life for?  pursuits of happiness?  eternal significance? 

Choose wisely how you will spend your time.  Don’t spend your life – invest it for eternity.  Do things that will make a difference. 

“Faith in God’s promises frees us to risk and to find in our own experiences that it is better to lose our life than to waste it.  Therefore, it is right to risk for the cause of Christ.  It is right to engage the enemy and say “May the Lord do what seems good to him.”  (Joab in 2 Samuel 10)   It is right to serve the people of God, and say, “If I perish, I perish!”  (Esther 4)   It is right to stand before the fiery furnace of affliction and refuse to bow down to the gods of this world.  (Daniel 3)   This is the road that leads to fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore.  At the end of every other road – secure and risk-free – we will put our face in our hands and say, “I wasted it”” 
~ Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper

“Only one life, ’twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.”  ~ C.T.Studd

What are you pouring your life out for?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Mission Trip – Part 9

A big thanks to our host family!

home     ruth



The People’s Tabernacle of Worship fixed us a farewell breakfast.

 bfast2    bfast6

We concluded our time with prayer and worship.



We took a quick side trip into Philadelphia to visit the Hope Pregnancy Center – a mission our church supports each year.


We saw God open doors for ministry and He used us in people’s lives all week but he also changed us.  We will never be the same………

For more pictures, you can see our church web site at

Mission Trip – Part 8

We started every day with devotions together out on the deck.

 devo1     devo2

We traveled into Brooklyn for the Tuesday night Prayer Service at the Brooklyn Tabernacle.





We took a quick trip into New York City to see the 911 memorial.



Pleas see the next post at

Mission Trip – Part 7

Community Outreach - Sidewalk Service at the People's Tabernacle of Worship

 out2     out4

 out8     out9

 out11     out15

out16     out14

out-c     out17

Please see the next post at

Mission Trip – Part 6

7th Day Adventist Church - Food Pantry

We packed the blue sacks with non-perishables and the blacks sacks with meat.
The people were required to attend a church service prior to receiving their food.

 7th1     7th4

 7th10     7th-c


Please see the next post at

Mission Trip – Part 5

People’s Tabernacle of Worship - We moved furniture, organized cupboards, helped with demolition and clean-up.

pt1    pt1a

pt3     pt2

pt8     pt6


This will be a beautiful sanctuary when they are done with the renovations.

 pt12     pt11

Please see the next post at

Mission Trip – part 4

Pastor Crispen and his wife prepare 60 meals for the homeless each day.

Crispen0    Crispen2

ready-c   Crispen6

Crispen12   Crispen13

Crispen11   Crispen4

 Crispen15   tammy-makes-a-friend

Please see the next post at