Sunday, January 25, 2015

Caution, greed surrounds us!

Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” (Luke 12:15 NIV)

Last night I watched "Sons of Liberty" on the History Channel. I loved it. I could see myself as a freedom fighter. As I was watching the show, I kept seeing parallels to our country today. I know many people have discounted the Tea Party, but I truly believe in order to bring this country back to the people, a rebellion has to occur. Our politicians, our corporate giants, our Wall Street leaders, are so influenced by greed, they have manipulated our democracy to suite there selfish gains. We can't rely on republicans or democrats to lead us out of our mess. They all give lip service to fighting for the middle class, yet fight it, oppress it on every side. We are in a time of powerful money. Greed rules our country, not the people. This is not confined to one party, it's not confined to one financial philosophy. The power of money is prevalent everywhere.

Just as the early founders of this nation, we must stand up for ourselves. Poverty has to be dealt with, oppressive government regulation must be stopped. Taxes should be used for proper support for the homeless, the widows, the orphans. Incentives to give must be everywhere to people, businesses, and other countries. Government needs to get out of the way of the people. We need to rise up and take back our liberty. Our rulers need to be one of us, we can't continue to turn our fate over to those of the privileged class. We must bring common sense to our legislators and leaders. We need to value life of our enemies and the lives of the innocent. We need Jesus and can't be afraid to shout it on Main Street nor should we be ostracized for that faith. 

Greed is the key to the evil in our daily lives. We can not stand by and let it destroy us.

Dear Lord, give us the strength, the perseverance, the determination to take back our freedom from the oppression of greed and the corruption of power. Lord we need you and your direction in this great land. Help us defeat the enemies of love, mercy, and grace. In your great and holy name we ask it. Amen!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

I promise

J“The Lord, the God of heaven, who brought me out of my father’s household and my native land and who spoke to me and promised me on oath, saying, ‘To your offspring I will give this land’—he will send his angel before you so that you can get a wife for my son from there. (Genesis 24:7 NIV)

Promises, promises, promises! The art of making a promise, a commitment, is non existent. Oh, people still make the promises, they just don't keep them. It's easier to say yes and not do it, than say no because you know you can't do it.

I pick on politicians about this , but they are not alone. I have seen parents lie to there kids just to get them to stop asking. I've seen employers lie to get employees to work. It's just not popular to be honest. Integrity is an art form long ago replaced with manipulation, arrogance and pride. Many times it starts with a failure or a mistake. Then instead of admitting the mistake, a lie forms and replaces the truth. Not being able to admit faults and mistakes is a gateway to dishonesty.

The most important promise we make is to love and serve Jesus. It's a commitment that has an impact through eternity. The consequences of lieing to the creator of the universe is certain death. Beyond this statement of dedication to Christ are the commitments we make to our family, friends, and coworkers. Those commitment say a lot about our Christian life. They could be the reason someone comes to Jesus or looks at us as hypocritical and never comes to know our savior. Let your yes mean yes and your no mean no. 

Simply say yes or no. Anything more than that comes from the evil one. (Matthew 5:37 GW)

Thank you Lord, I am committed to you. I love you and promise to live my life for you. I am not perfect and will also promise to continue to fight my sinful nature and admit my mistakes. I will work to serve you and set the example for those that do not know you. I love you and praise your mercy and grace. amen!

It's real!

Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up. (1 Corinthians 13:7 GW)

I just got back from traveling again. My lovely wife mentioned I have been away from her more this year than ever before in our marriage. I took a motorcycle trip around the Great Lakes by myself. I had a trip to Palm Springs by myself and now this trip to Orlando. I don't like being away. Stephanie is very understanding and patient. As a matter of fact she has always been there for me, always believing in me, always hoping the best for me, and never giving up on me. She does exactly what God wants us to do for each other. Her love is REAL!

This very famous verse from the love chapter is not just a description of God's love, it's the   standard for our relationships also. It's great for marriages, but it's also for all our relationships at work, school, and at home. It's also the most important missing link in most relationships and its absence is a great barrier to the lost. For that reason, as a Christian, I need to fullfill these needs with those that don't know Jesus. Can you imagine what would happen if we did this with EVERYONE we meet? The world is missing this abundantly positive attitude toward others. We must modify our lives to live this verse. We can't serve God without truly loving others. This is the definition of that love.

Lord, thank you for being patient, believing in me, providing hope in my life, and never giving up on me. I am humbled by your amazing love. I am blessed with an amazing wife and seeing real love through her. Please help me focus on sharing your perfect love with the ones who are close to me and the lost. I praise you and love you! Amen!

(The thoughts are my own, but they were inspired by Daily Hope with Rick Warren, "Love others the way God loves you", January 23, 2015)

Friday, January 23, 2015

Mountain views disappear

For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken,” says the LORD, who has mercy on you. (Isaiah 54:10 NLT)

I love flying. I'm heading back home tomorrow after spending the week at a conference in Orlando. So we jump on a flight to Chicago, then to Fort Wayne. I always think it's fascinating how everything looks so flat from the air, you still get a sense of some "bumps" but it looks like the mountains and hills disappear. Obviously that's not true. From the ground the mountains and hills seem so solid and permanent. Gods love is even more solid.

Regardless what we think of ourselves or what others think of us, The way God thinks about us never changes. His love endures forever. I can't change it regardless how stupid I am. So, why am I so hard on myself? Why do I spend so much time blogging or thinking how bad I am. If God says I'm alright, then why do I choose to argue with him. I guess part of the reason is how amazing his grace really is. I'm awed that he can love me eveninmy worst times. So when I talk aBout my weaknesses and the sin in my life it's because I know what a sacrifice has been made for me. Another reason I talk about those sins and failures. I don't want people to feel I'm perfect. Most people that know me know that's not true. But, the people that only know me a little might think because I am a follower of Christ, I think I'm perfect. That also is along way from the truth. I want to be real and genuine. But, when it comes to the end of the road, I know I am forgiven and completely loved by the creator of the universe. It has never been anything less than complete love. 

Lord, thank you for your wonderful, unwavering love. I need to take your lead and love myself AND others the same way. You are my rock and my redeemer. I praise you for giving me a life full of love and blessings. I know you don't love me because of anything, you just love me! 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Water under the bridge!

Surrender your heart to God, turn to him in prayer, and give up your sins— even those you do in secret. Then you won't be ashamed; you will be confident and fearless. Your troubles will go away like water beneath a bridge, and your darkest night will be brighter than noon. You will rest safe and secure, filled with hope and emptied of worry. (Job 11:13-18 CEV)

I have heard this saying hundreds of times, "That's water under the Bridge!" I hear it often when some one is trying to tell me to forget something. I never knew it was biblical. It's hard for me to forget about my faults and failures. Sometimes I have a dificult time forgiving and forgetting. I struggle forgiving myself and others. Being a Christian puts you under a microscope with others but also yourself. Because I know the power of God, I also know he knows everything about me. He knows my deepest and darkest sins. There is shame for that weakness. But this is verse states it all. I need to surrender it ALL to God. 

When I surrender to my Heavenly Father, I slept easier at night. I walk through my day with confidence and more importantly it allows me time to focus on the job at hand. If My mind is occupied with my failures and shortcomings, I can not focus on the things that really matter. Surrender!

Lord I know my sins. I praise you for removing them and giving me confidence in my weakness. You have granted this amazing gift through your son, Jesus. Thank you Lord for washing my sins away in that water that flows under the bridge. I praise you for the peace, joy, and hope you provide in the midst of the pain! Amen!