Friday, July 22, 2016

My words

In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. 6And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself. James 3:5,6

I have spent most of the week listening to a plethora of political speeches. The Republican National Convention was held this week to finalized the nomination of Donald Trump for president and Michael Pence for vice president. I am greatly impressed with the direction of the party I have supported my entire life. The grand speeches aren't enough. The words have set the entire Republican on fire for this election. Just as the words spoken this past week can direct the future of the election, a few poorly chosen words in the next 3 or 4 months can destroy any good that was generated this week. Words are powerful tools for good or for evil and politicians live and die by the words they speak.
It's not just the politicians that need to be careful of unleashed tongue. We ALL need to show care in the product of our mouth. I'm not talking about political correctness. I have never been one to use a "political correctness" filter. I think the present administration doesn't quite understand the power of the words they speak. The words they speak in trying to protect our minority citizens have incited the same to attack our men and women in blue. Even now they are back pedaling because they realize the impact of the rhetoric. I can do much the same thing via my social media posts or ill-chosen words as I speak to my wife, my daughters, and the rest of my family. We/I could  be more sensitive to tone down the rhetoric and choose our/my words wisely. 

Lord help us to choose our words carefully. Help us to consult you and your wonderful words before we speak. Help us to serve you not just with our hands and feet, but with the words from our mouths and the words from our heart. Forgive us for the times we don't use your wisdom as we speak. As in all things we can not change without you. Fill us with your Holy Spirit Lord Jesus. Amen!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Too Proud!

“You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?”
James 2:19-20 NLT

The Presidential Candidate Donald Trump is a pretty proud man. In my opinion he is "over the top" proud. I have never heard a person so proud of themselves. The word humble is not in his vocabulary. I think that must be a prerequisite to run for the most powerful office in the world. He is not the only one. Hillary, Bernie, and each of the 16 or so Republican candidates spent most of this past year tooting their own horn. I just wish we could get a candidate to admit, "I have weaknesses or I make mistakes."

As Christians, we need to be careful to not be TOO PROUD! Yes, we believe in the creator of the universe. So many people can't say that. But faith is so much more than just belief. We can't just have faith without the actions and deeds that are results of that faith. Faith without works is not faith at all. We are not special within ourselves. We are only special, we are only GREAT, when Christ is living within us.  When Christ lives in us we start to realize how imperfect we are. We see our flaws because we see the perfectness of our savior. We feel the spirit of the Lord so much that we CAN'T just sit on the sidelines. We need to take action. We need to serve. We need to go out and tell the wonderful story of Jesus. We don't have time to be proud!

Dear Lord Jesus, I love you and stand before you with humility. I know I am flawed. I know I am weak. BUT, through the power of JESUS we are made perfect! Praise God for his love. Praise God that we are his! Thank you for the opportunity to serve! Amen!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

How's your Faith!

“But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.”
James 1:6-8 NLT

I'm back from vacation. I know what your thinking, was I on vacation from the Lord? No, certainly not. While on vacation it is difficult to write my blog due to travel and inconsistent Internet. I still spend plenty time with the Lord. But, I long for routine and am looking forward to writing again. So I'm back.

As with most people, my prayer life is up and down. There are times I am in constant prayer and other times I can't seem to make the time. Lord forgive me! Yet, even with my inconsistent prayer life, I rarely find any doubts in the power of my God. My loyalty, my faith is in the one true God. 

During my trip to the Atlantic Coast I was able to witness the extreme power of crashing waves. I saw the power and unpredictability of the churning sea. But I also got to see the power and stability of the rocky coast and the impressive protection of the lighthouse guarding the countless harbors.  Though the waves grew ever higher with the strength of the wind and tides, they could not intimidate. The harbors were safe. They were tranquil, they were calm. 

I have seen the turmoils of life. I have seen financial ruin, family medical crisis, and job uncertainty, personally. The winds have stirred the waves and the seas have been violent. My God, my savior has been the rock protecting my harbor. Jesus has been the lighthouse to help me navigate life. My loyalty has not been in doubt. My loyalty has grown. Praise God I can see his light. I can be confident nothing will hurt me. I will be sheltered in his arms. I praise God that even in my wavering prayer life, he has been there, always. My Faith is strong in the Lord. He is my rock. He is my fortress. He is my life! 

Dear Lord, Thank You for the time of rest. Now that I am back. Please guide me in preparation for another school year. Guide me in everything I do. I praise you for your grace, mercy, and strength in all things. Amen!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Man in the Mirror!

“For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.”
James 1:23-25 NLT.

Most people, including myself, look into a mirror every day, usually multiple times a day. Mirrors are everywhere. Very few restrooms are mirrorless. I'm not real sure why. Do you need to see your face as you wash your hands after using the restroom? I certainly need to watch as I shave so I don't cut myself.  I'm not shaving in a public restroom. I really don't find it necessary to see what I look like. Good or bad, I am who I am. I am more interested in how I look to others. I'm not talking about physical appearance. I'm talking about how people perceive me and my life.  My "image" is so important if I am going to bring others to Christ. This is a real problem for me. I, literally, look like a grumpy old man. YET,  I truly enjoy life. Yes, I can be too serious at times, but I love life and I love people. I want everyone to know that.

If I'm going to change the world, I need to start with the man in the mirror. It's not my physical appearance, but my attitudes, my reflection of Christ, and what he has done in my life. Those are the key things others should see. They should see Jesus in me every day, every moment during that day, through good and bad. I need to reflect Christ to those that know me well and the stranger on the street. I'm not the person I want to be. I want to continue to strive toward that goal.

Dear Lord, Help me be the person YOU want me to be. I know I am far from that goal and I know I can not change on my own. I need your help. YOU are perfect Lord, I want to reflect you to my family, friends, and even the stranger on the street. I love YOU Lord. I praise you for my wonderful life and the blessings I have been given and know what I deserve. I am humbled by your love, mercy, and grace. Amen!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Undivided Loyalty!

“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.”
James 1:5-8 NLT.

God is amazing. I'll be honest. I pray for wisdom all the time. I'm not the smartest person and sometimes I just don't "get it" as quickly as most people. Yet, I feel myself leading in ways that shock me. I hear my own words and can't believe it was ME that came up with them. Do you know what I'm talking about? Have you ever completed a task, said something, or stepped out of your comfort zone and asked "Who was that?", knowing full well it was NOT you but your Heavenly Father speaking through you?

It seems completely unfair that we should receive ANYTHING for accepting the guidance of the Holy Spirit! That's how grace works. That is exactly what happens. I have such a wonderful life. I have been in leadership positions in everything I have done. The only reason is the power of my God. The times my weaknesses show through is due to MY "humanness". When I get out of the way and let God truly control my life, amazing things happen. I see myself doing things that would not be possible through my own power. Praise God for his grace, mercy, and power in my life.

Dear Lord, I am humbled by your presence in my life. I absolutely owe everything in my life to you and your love. I honor you for the patience you have had with me. You have been with me my entire life and I have not always been open to your guidance. Forgive me. Guide me. Take me through this life with your purpose, not my own. Amen!