Psalm 23 – a new look

The Lord is my Shepherd = That’s Relationship!
I shall not want = That’s Supply!
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures = That’s Rest!
He leadeth me beside the still waters = That’s Refreshment!
He restoreth my soul = That’s Healing!
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness = That’s Guidance!
For His name sake = That’s Purpose!
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death = That’s Testing!
I will fear no evil = That’s Protection!
For Thou art with me = That’s Faithfulness!
Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me = That’s Discipline!
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies = That’s Hope!
Thou annointest my head with oil = That’s Consecration!
My cup runneth over = That’s Abundance!
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life = That’s Blessing !
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord = That’s Security!
Forever = That’s Eternity!

Face it, the Lord is crazy about you.
 


What is most valuable . . .
Is not what we have in our lives, but . . .
WHO we have in our lives!

‘ Do not ask the Lord to guide your footsteps if you are not willing to move your feet’


separation anxiety

Lately I’ve spoken at length of sin. But let’s discuss briefly what sin does and doesn’t do to us:

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?  – Romans 8:35

The good news is that the answer is NO! Sin only separates us from God when we allow it too. How does it work then? We know that God and sin cannot be present together, for God is Holy. However, we do sin, and as many youth testified last night, many of us sin every day. Does this mean that God isn’t with us EVERY DAY????

Well, that comes back to choice: our choice. If we decide to sin everyday, then I believe that God has to be absent from us. However, if we “inadvertantly” sin, but quickly confess it, repent (turn away) and try to follow God again, then God won’t be far away from us. He’s kind of just waiting around the corner, asking to be in your life.  

The problem with sin is not so much that we do it, but that we do it regularly. Jesus showed us that living a sinless life IS possible – He did it! He was the example of how to live. He didn’t judge others, He didn’t condemn people, He didn’t hate anyone, He didn’t do what He wanted to do as a human being . . . No!

He did love everyone, He did lift everyone up, He did what God wanted Him to do.

That’s HARD! Well, not really…. What we need to do is have a change of focus.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! – 2 Corinthians 5:17

We must have a re-adjustment in our attitude and a whole new outlook in life! Take time today to pray to God, not just for forgiveness of your sins, but for a whole new focus on life. Many times when we are sinning and want to come back to God, we merely confess our sins, turn away, but then slowly revert back to our old ways of sinning (I know – because I’m just as guilty as anyone else). However, if we change our outlook, if we change our true desires in life – it may serve to take our focus off of “not sinning” to focus on “doing God’s Will.”

It’s been proven that if you try not to do something, that your mind stays focused on it, and the human body desires that which it is told it can’t have. So let’s try instead to forget the sin, (after all – God’s already forgiven you once you ask), and instead focus on doing right, focus on what God wants you to do. The old saying “WWJD?” – try it out – What Would Jesus Do?

what’s the answer?

The following riddle was written by a woman in California, USA, over 100 years ago in the late 1800’s.

God made Adam out of dust,
     But thought it best to make me first:
So I was made before the man,
     According to God’s holy plan.
My whole body God made complete,
     Without arms or hands or feet.
My ways and acts did God control,
     But in my body He placed no soul.
A living being I became,
     And Adam gave to me a name.
Then from his presence I withdrew,
     For this man Adam I never knew.All my Maker’s laws I do obey,
     And from these laws I never stray.
Thousands of me go in fear,
     But seldom on the earth appear.
Later, for a purpose God did see,
     He placed a living soul in me.
But that soul of mine God had to claim,
     And from me He took it back again.
And when this soul from me had fled,
     I was the same as when first made;
Without arms, legs, feet, or soul,
     I travel on from pole to pole.My labors are from day to night,
     And to men I once furnished light.
Thousands of people both young and old,
     Did by my death bright lights behold.
No right or wrong can I conceive;
     The Bible and its teachings I can’t believe.
The fear of death doesn’t trouble me;
     Pure happiness I will never see.
And up in Heaven I can never go,
     Nor in the grave or Hell below.
So get your Bible and read with care;
     You’ll find my name recorded there.

Think you know the answer?  Text me, and I’ll let you know if you’re correct.


See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil…

“the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.” –
2 Thessalonians 3:3

As I read this Scripture, I was reminded of those monkeys with their hands over their ears, eyes, and mouths. But really, this Scripture is not regarding evil as an “action,” rather it’s speaking of the devil.

Some people don’t really consider that the devil is a real being, a fallen angel. But he is real! And unfortunately for Christians, he continues to come after us. But this Scripture reminds us that the Lord will protect us and deliver us and that He will strengthen us!

Some days it seems really hard to cope – but these are just days that the devil is working overtime to get to us. It’s our choice whether we decide to give in or not. Think about it for a second, how many days are you sad or down when there is truly no “good” reason to feel that way. Maybe something didn’t turn out like you wanted, or maybe you got a less than perfect grade on something. Ok, so it didn’t work the way you wanted, but is that any reason to be sad? Maybe you feel a little disappointed, but PRAISE GOD that something worse didn’t happen.

It reminds me of the day that a nice farmer offered a room to a guest passing through town one night. That night, he entertained the guest, offered him room and board. The same night, the farmer had a cow pass away. Should he be depressed? He could have lost much more . . . Think about the story of Job in the Bible, he lost so much, to include many family members and possessions galore. Yet, Job recovered and fought off the devil and evil thoughts.

So, if you’re a little down today, cheer up! As my wife once told me before we started dating “Cheer Up or Else!” The Lord will protect you! Don’t allow the devil to think that he’s got some pull on you.

10 things you won’t hear at church

Things you never hear in church . . .
10. I was so enthralled, I never noticed your sermon went 25 minutes over time.
9. Personally I find witnessing much more enjoyable than golf.
8. I’ve decided to give our church the $500 a month I used to send to TV evangelists.
7. I’d like to  volunteer to be the permanent teacher for the Jr High Sunday School class.
6. I love it when we sing hymns I’ve never heard before!
5. Forget the denominational minimum salary, let’s pay our pastor so he can live like we do.
4. Since we’re all here, let’s start the service early.
3. Nothing inspires me and strengthens my commitment like our annual stewardship campaign.
2. Hey! It’s my turn to sit in the front pew.
1. Pastor, we’d like to send you to a Bible Conference in the Bahamas.

 



it’s time!

Ecclesiastes 3

 1 There is a time for everything,
       and a season for every activity under heaven: 

2 a time to be born and a time to die,
       a time to plant and a time to uproot,

 3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
       a time to tear down and a time to build,

 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
       a time to mourn and a time to dance,

 5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
       a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

 6 a time to search and a time to give up,
       a time to keep and a time to throw away,

 7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
       a time to be silent and a time to speak

8 a time to love and a time to hate,
       a time for war and a time for peace . . .

Today’s time was to finally figure out why my blog went out at 5 pm in the evening and not earlier in the day . . . ? Well, it’s solved, I found the correct setting, and IF I changed everything correctly, you should be receiving this around 11 AM today.

So, why this Scripture, why today (other than the timeliness of it? . . . ha ha?) Well, it really struck me that often times we all (including me) question God:  Why God? Why now? Why not ____ ? (you fill in the blank). Well, the problem with these questions is that we are asking why not “our will.” God wants us to desire His Will. He has a perfect time for everything.

Sometimes we think we just can’t take another day. We wonder WHY has this ever happened to me, especially now? Well, don’t stress over it, it’s all in God’s plan in HIS time. So allow God to work out His plan, and PRAISE God that He has a “time for everything.”

As verse 4 states:

 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
       a time to mourn and a time to dance,

Soon enough – our time to laugh and dance will be here and we can all celebrate (and if you dance anything like me, you’ll like like a moron doing it – but at least you’ll be joyful).

Have a great day! (now that you have that goofy picture of me dancing in your head 🙂

can Jesus really help us?

We read throughout the Bible that God can help us. I think we all believe in it too. But unfortunately, we all get caught up in believing that God just doesn’t understand. Why is that?

“Now He can help those who are tempted, because He Himself was tempted and suffered.” – Hebrews 2:18

Now this Scripture alone may not be that comforting to us, because it doesn’t mention what Jesus had to endure. Well, let’s just step back for a second and see what He did endure:

“Then the Spirit led Jesus into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After spending forty (40) days and nights without food, Jesus was hungry. Then the devil came to Him and said, ‘If you are God’s Son, order these stones to turn into bread.’ ” – Matthew 4:1-3

Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to miss  a meal. In fact, I get a little irritable when I’m hungry. Here, Jesus went 40 days and nights without food. Think He was a little hungry? Have you ever gone just one day without eating? It’s sooo hard! I believe that if I was in Jesus’ shoes, I would have made some food to eat . . . somehow.

But Jesus said NO! He would not allow Himself to be tempted. Why? He wanted to show us an example of NOT giving in to the devil. Not giving in to temptation. Yes, He suffered, He was tempted, but He did NOT give in to temptation. He was still obedient to God.

He served as an example for us. We can trust Him! We can rely on Him. We can truly ask Him to help us and He will. He may not answer our prayers the way we think they should be answered, but His plan is much more divine and perfect, where our ideas are limited and probably don’t consider the true problem we are having.

Allow God today to solve your problems. He is ready and listening.

“He hears us whenever we ask Him; and since we know this is true, we know also that He gives us what we ask from Him.” – 1 John 5:15


is that . . . ?

Is that . . . what I think it is?

A nurse on the pediatric ward, before listening to the little ones’ chests, would plug the stethoscope into their ears and let them listen to their own heart. Their eyes would always light up with awe, but she never got a response equal to four-year old David’s comment.
Gently she tucked the stethoscope into his ears and placed the disk over his heart.  ‘Listen’, she said…’What do you suppose that is?’
He drew his eyebrows together in a puzzled line and looked up as if lost in the mystery of the strange tap – tap -tapping deep in his chest. Then his face broke out in a wondrous grin and he asked, 
‘Is that Jesus knocking?’ 

I don’t know what you believe, but the Bible tells us:

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in – Revelation 3:20

Maybe, just maybe, that is Jesus knocking, every beat of the day, inside our bodies, reminding us that He is only a heart’s distance away. Are you willing to open the door to your heart and let Jesus come in?

God created choice

4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created. . . . 
the LORD God made the earth and the heavens- . . . the LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.  8 Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. . . .15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” – Genesis 2:4-17

In the very beginning, God created LIFE. Just following life, God created CHOICE. When he placed man on earth, he gave man the opportunity to name all of the animals, and gave him Free Will. God told Adam about the trees in the Garden of Eden, but allowed man to make a choice over whether to eat from them or not. The command God gave was to NOT eat “from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”

God still gives us choices EVERY DAY! It is those choices that determine our destiny. Some choose to follow their own way. They struggle with life, don’t understand why they are under stress and why “bad” things happen to them. Others choose God.  They are under stress too, but devout Christians understand that “bad” things happen to help strengthen their faith and help them help others through their hard times.

As I continue reading up in preparation for VBS this week, I find that the truth behind this passage is not so much about God’s “creation,” but about the invention of CHOICE that God gave us. We need to remember, however, that these choices were not given without guidance. God gave us the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20, so that we might have some direction in life. He gave us CHOICE to see how we would react. We all know that our actions determine consequences. And many times we say “I’m prepared to accept the consequences.” Yet, HOW can we be prepared to accept the consequences when we truly don’t understand how drastic the consequences are?

If we choose sin, the Bible is very clear on the consequences

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death.

Is that sin that YOU want, really worth dying for? Not in a literal sense, but in a truly physical sense?

about lying . . .

A clergyman was walking down the street when he came upon a group of about a dozen boys, all of them between 10 and 12 years of age.

The group surrounded a dog. Concerned lest the boys were hurting the dog,the clergyman went over and asked “What are you doing with that dog?”

One of the boys replied, “This dog is just an old neighborhood stray. We all want him, but only one of us can take him home. So we’ve decided that whichever one of us can tell the biggest lie will get to keep the dog.”

Of course, the reverend was taken aback. “You boys shouldn’t be having a contest telling lies!” he exclaimed. He then launched into a ten minute sermon against lying,
beginning, “Don’t you boys know it’s a sin to lie,” and ending with, “Why, when I was your age, I never told a lie.”

There was dead silence for about a minute.

Just as the reverend was beginning to think he’d gotten through to them, the smallest boy gave a deep sigh and said: “Oh..All right, he won…give him the dog.”