Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Teach Your Children well!

Luke 1:14-16 (New International Version, ©2010)

14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God.

Do you remember this song?

Kids are a joy and delight in our lives. Maybe everyone doesn't feel that way every single minute of every day. But, now that I look back at those times when I had kids in my home, they were a joy and a delight. I think that's why being a Grandparent is so great. You get the chance to go through it all again and realize the joy and delight of every moment. I wonder if Zechariah really understood what he was being told. I wonder if he could grasp what it meant that he would be filled with the Holy Spirit.

As parents and grandparents we don't know what life will hold for our kids or grandkids. But, God knows. We need to be completely open to what God can do with these young lives. God has a plan for them. Our job is to make sure they are taught about God. God will do the rest. It amazes me how many kids grow up not knowing God, not knowing stories about Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Samson, Paul, and the miracles of Jesus. We don't have any guarantee that our children or grandchildren will follow the Lord. But, We give them a chance if they grow up knowing God.

Everyday of my life, I am so excited to realize that my kids and my grandkids have been taught about Jesus. I have seen God's wonderful hand in their lives and I have seen them grow closer and closer to God. That is so exciting. I see decisions they make and troubles they endure with the hope of God at their side. I am so excited that God is already more than a bunch of great stories. They see him as real and a part of their lives. I don't think my kids will bring Israel back to God, but who knows for sure. I do have hope they will bring others to know him and more importantly, they will pass this love to their kids. They are filled with the Holy Spirit and I delight in them just like Elizabeth and Zechariah delighted in their son.

Dear Lord, thank you for the great gift you have given in our children and grandchildren. Help us to teach them about you. Help us to live our lives so they see you in us. Help them to see your hand in our lives and desire for you to be in their lives. You are great and powerful. We love you and adore you. Amen!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Nothing like a good Surprise!

Luke 1:10-13 (New International Version, ©2010)

10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside. 11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John.

Can you imagine the shock of Zechariah? Here's a guy who is at the pinnacle of his life. He has just, by chance, been drawn to perform special duties for God. He was concentrating fully on the task and was so nervous.  I am sure he thought, Wow! "It doesn't get any better than this!" and then POW! It gets to the point of being unbelievable. He is no longer alone. And he is not just in the presence of another human, he is in the presence of a special messenger of God. To say he was startled and gripped with fear, is an understatement.

We serve an amazing God and I think this story tells us a lot about the character of the God of the universe. Would Zechariah have been any less excited had he found out Elizabeth was pregnant through the normal chain of events? Not at all. God did not NEED to tell the news in this manner. God was so excited about this great gift he was about to give. He just had to do it in a big way. Christmas is like that for me. As a parent, I no longer get the same excitement about receiving a Christmas present. But, when I find that special present to give to my wife or kids, that is an amazing feeling. When I finally find that perfect gift to give, I just have to make a big deal of it and I just have to make sure it is a real surprise. Then when Christmas morning comes and you see the totally surprised look, there is nothing better than that.

Isn't it great to know we serve a God who still gets excited about us. He still loves to give us gifts. He still loves to surprise us. He doesn't just bless us, he surprises us. He loves to grant us special blessings when we least expect it. He loves piling on the blessings at our lowest moment. Our Loving Father in Heaven can't get enough of us. His Love endures forever! God's amazing love and grace is the best gift of all. He knows we don't deserve it but he grants it anyway and he delights in it. You just have to get excited to receive that gift!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Casting Lots for President!

Luke 1 (New International Version, ©2010)

 8 Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, 9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.

It is amazing to think that the important task to be carried out by Zechariah was decided by "lot". For those of you who don't know what this is, it's the modern day equivalent of rolling the dice. The reason it was used was to keep this event from being decided by politics.  The ancient biblical world used this method all the time to let God speak to them and make important decisions. This act of "gambling" is quite biblical.

Proverbs 16:33
33 The lot is cast into the lap,but its every decision is from the Lord.

I recently was elected as a CMA officer -- Chaplain. It felt so uncomfortable running against a fellow CMA brother, Mike Harrold. I don't like the idea that I "Won" the election. Our former Chaplain was great at carrying out his duties. He and his wife (Cathy) are such special people. I have only known them for a short time, but I can tell you their hearts are full of God's love.  This past year they were open to the leading of the Holy Spirit and worked diligently as our Chapter's Spiritual leader. I am awed and a bit overwhelmed at being in this position for 2011. 

So, I wonder why we didn't cast lots to decide who would take the positions in our Chapter. It certainly would have been fine with me. Since we are all believers in the providence of God, maybe we should do this more often. It would certainly keep us from making poor selections. We could just leave everything up to God to decide. How refreshing would that be? I can't count the number of times I have debated with myself over and over again trying to decide which path to take in life.  I have lost many nights sleep trying to decide employment, financial, personal, or family decisions. So many times in my life I came to a fork in the road and had to decide which road to take. I know the saying is take the one less traveled. But, I'm not sure that saying is of God!

We make decisions in our daily lives completely on our own. How many of you prayed about who to vote for in the last Presidential election? Are you sure your choice was "of God"? Or, do you think your decision was influenced by your own preconceived notions? Maybe if you had cast lots, you could guarantee that it was God's choice and not your own. Wouldn't that be amazing if we left our presidential elections up to divine chance. Instead of an election day, we could have a day of prayer and meditation asking God for divine guidance. Then we would Cast Lots and the winner would be president. Would you be willing to take this chance on your important decisions?  What about deciding on a career move?, a financial move? a relationship decision? 
Reall, Casting Lots is the easy way out. The tougher approach and I think the approach God would have us choose, is to build a relationship with the him. If you grow in your knowledge of God, you will know what he thinks and will be able to make decisions based on that. Knowing God through the Bible and through Prayer is much better than casting lots to make decisions. If you truly pursue God, God won't let you down. You're decisions might not always work out as YOU plan, but I guarantee they will work out as God has planned. I'm not saying there is no place for casting lots. Like I said before, it is biblical. I'm saying that if we listen closely for the voice of God, our decisions would be much better. But, God can speak through all situations, if we are willing. If we pray about it and think it's in Gods will, maybe we could cast lots and then sit back and watch the power of God!

Dear Lord, Thank you for blessing me with my CMA family. I am honored to be their Chaplain in 2011. Please use me for your purposes. Guide me in my decisions, keep me from decisions that are out of your  will. I truly want your will in my life and need you to protect me from my own sinfulness. Thank You Lord, for your love. Thank You for caring about me! Amen!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Santa Claus doesn't always bring what you want!

Luke 1 (New International Version, ©2010)

5 In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. 6 Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. 7 But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.

We have an amazing Christmas tradition in the United States. Kids are taken to the mall or some local store, or town square, or many other countless locations at Christmas time. The sole purpose is to talk to a guy in a full white beard, with a bit of a gut, and ask him for a special gift on Christmas morning. This is quite a risky venture for parents, to say the least. What if they ask for some absolutely extravagant gift that "Santa" can't afford or maybe even have access too? Being a parent at one time in my life, I knew how important it was to "coach" your kids in what they should ask for. But, there was always a little tension when they were sitting on the "Big Guys lap".  Kids ask for the darnedest things! 

As Christians we also ask for the "Darnedest" things. We rap our extravagant requests in all sorts of righteousness and just hope that God will come through, just like Santa Claus. Well, this is not the case in this Biblical story. Zechariah and Elizabeth were "righteous in the sight of God", Zechariah was a Priest, they were faithful to God's commands, and yet God had consistently told them NO! Elizabeth wasn't asking to win the lottery. Zechariah wasn't wanting to double the profits in his small business. They weren't praying to win the Super Bowl! They were asking for a Child!  This petition of God had gone on for years with the simple answer of no. There was no explanation, no sign that they just had to wait, just the simple answer, no.

The Christmas tradition we have here in the US does a disservice to God. More often than not, Santa Claus brings us what we want.  I can't ever remember being disappointed on Christmas morning. Santa always said yes. So, if God is so much bigger and better than Santa Claus, shouldn't he say Yes, all the time, too? But God does say no and most of the time, we don't know why. We just have to take it on faith and keep trusting him .  This is so easy to say and tougher to follow through with. I wonder if I would be satisfied even to know why. Or would I just try to change Gods mind to follow my plan? With Zechariah and Elizabeth they didn't know the end of the story. They didn't know the time was not right and when the time was right, their son would help usher in the King of Kings. They didn't know why but they continued to be faithful anyways. They were rewarded in a Grand way. They got their Christmas present and so much more because they let God be God and they remained faithful followers. That's a lesson we could all learn.

Dear Lord, Thank you for your marvelous plan. Thank You for saying No when No is the right answer. Thank you for loving us so much that you sent your Son to die for our sins. That was the greatest gift we could ever ask for. Amen!

Friday, November 26, 2010


Luke 1 (New International Version, ©2010)

 1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled[a] among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

Well, My favorite Holiday -- Thanksgiving -- has passed. Now all steam ahead to Christmas. Since I have gone through the entire New Testament this year and finished early, I thought I would go back over the wonderful story of Christmas from the Book of Luke. I hope you enjoy!

The Book of Luke is probably the most complete Book of the Bible when it comes to documenting the Birth of Jesus. Luke was a Physician. He authored this book and probably the Book of Acts.  He is a very smart man and spent his whole life pursuing the story of the Messiah. He also was the nearly constant companion  of Paul. This seems appropriate because Luke was a gentile and Paul was sent to minister to the gentiles.

Luke is a man after my own heart. I have a Mathematics Degree and I love thoroughness and order. My job as Athletic Director is centered around "Order" I have schedules and lists and systems in place to make sure my life stays "In Order". I do not survive very well in chaos. I like a neat and orderly house. Stephanie just hates it when I go through the cupboards and organize everything. She can never find anything after I get done. When you know that about Luke and understand he was a very learned and logical man, you can appreciate his place as a Biblical Author. He would have gone to great lengths to make sure every one of his stories about Jesus were true and able to be verified. With such detail, it is so shocking to me that people don't just flock to Christianity. The Bible, The Story of the birth of John, and the Story of the Birth of Jesus are true. The detailed account provided by the hand of Luke with the guidance of the almighty, is a fascinating TRUE story.
We are asked to take the story of Christmas and the entire Bible on Faith. Well, I apologize, but my faith is probably not as pure as it should be. Because I am a Man who depends on logic, I am not easily swayed by taking anything by Faith. I loved teaching Geometry because it was all about Proofs. Love Proofs. Yet, Proofs and Faith seem to be at odds with each other. Clearly, the Bible constantly asks us to believe on Faith alone. In my short 50 years of life, I have done a lot of exploring and reading and I am convinced the truth of the Bible. It all makes so much sense to me. A few years back I ran across a book called "The Case for Christ" written by Lee Strobel. Lee was a former Christian skeptic and investigative journalist. He undertook a journey to disprove Christianity and the beliefs in the Bible. At the conclusion of his journey, he was strongly convinced the Bible and Christianity are true.  He is just like Luke. Lee Strobel is also a very logical and intelligent man.  There is enough proof out there to say the Bible and the story of Christmas are absolutely TRUE.

But, the most important reason I believe so strongly in the truth of the Bible and the truth that God came to visit us in the life of Jesus Christ, is simple. The reason my logic and validity can not be questioned is also simple. I have personally experienced the Gospel message! I have witnessed the personal power of Jesus in my every day life. These experiences can not be explained away apart from the working of the Holy Spirit. Nothing could ever change my mind because no one can explain my wonderful life except through the grace of Jesus Christ. Nuff said!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Grace = Blessing

1 Corinthians 15:10 (New International Version, ©2010)

10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect.

God has blessed me abundantly beyond what I could ever even imagine. It is embarrassing to be blessed by an amazing God when you know you don't deserve it. God knows I don't deserve it and he blesses me just the same. That perfect grace is God. All of us need to realize that we have Blessings only through the Grace of our loving and powerful God!

We are, who we are because of God's Grace. He has created us from the womb all the way to this specific moment. He has planned for us to be with Family on this Thanksgiving Day! He planned for us to feast like we did today. He has plans for us that are of him. They are not created in our minds or carried out with our hands. The plans are God's. His plan is perfect. His grace is perfect. His love is perfect. His Blessings are perfect.

Does God's grace have an effect on you? Can people see that you are blessed? Can they see his plan in your life?

Today we give thanks. We eat, We laugh, and we share with each other. Don't forget God has blessed you. He alone deserves the praise and the Thanks for the blessings we have received.

Enjoy this movie from Simple Truths. Watch the whole thing and relax. Concentrate on the blessing of God and the grace which is the biggest blessing of all!

Simple Truths - We Hope You Enjoyed the movie!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

We gather together!

salm 106:47 (New International Version, ©2010)

47 Save us, LORD our God,
and gather us from the nations,
that we may give thanks to your holy name
and glory in your praise.

I love the pledge of allegiance. I know some Christians don't like it because they only pledge their allegiance to Christ. Well, I'm not going to debate it, my life belongs to my savior. But he has blessed me to live in this great country and I pledge myself to everything it stands for. "One Nation under God"

Tomorrow we gather together as friends, family, and servants of the King. A lot of families can't stand to be together. Even though they grew up together, they have grown apart. But, for the most part, we can put aside our differences for one day and just enjoy being with each other. Thanksgiving does that for me. I just want to be with family. God wants us to do the same thing. He doesn't just want us to gather together as a family. God has a bigger plan than just "One Nation". He wants us ALL to be united. I'm not talking about One Nation worldwide. I'm talking about God being worshipped in every nation. I'm talking about All of us worshipping the God of the universe while maintaining the great diversity that makes us all unique. In order for that to happen, God has to save us. In order for us to be saved we need to ask and accept his rescue. We concentrate so much on what makes us different. Maybe if families across America can put aside their differences to gather on Thanksgiving, we can put aside our differences as Republicans and Democrats, or Christians and Muslims, or Communist Nations and Democratic Nations.

Tomorrow when you sit down and are about to pray before your Thanksgiving feast, pray that we can have peace between nations or that we can have peace within those nations. Pray that we can come together to worship the one God, the God of the universe, the God who sacrificed his son to save us. God wants to gather us from every nation into his kingdom. So should we!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

You could be Larry!

Things are tough all over. The job market is still terrible. Yet, we should be thankful. We have been through the so called summer of recovery with the same lackluster economy. Yet we should be thankful. The world is a very dangerous place. Yet, we should be thankful. We have the threat of nuclear weapons from a country run by a crazy man. Yet, we should be thankful. We live in a society where we don't allow prayer at school. Yet, we should be thankful. I could go on and on but I think you get the point.

We could be so cynical and so pessimistic that we could never enjoy a day of thanks. Or, maybe we could change our attitude and realize that even through the toughest of times, we should be thankful. As Thanksgiving day approaches, just remember one thing. You could be the Turkey! Think about it. All of us are looking forward to Thanksgiving. But, the Turkey won't get to enjoy that day. In reality, he is the only one who really can't be thankful!

Here is a funny video. Larry didn't even make it to Thanksgiving Day!

Be thankful in all things. In time of plenty and in time of need, give thanks to the Lord for he is good. All the time God is good!

Philippians 4:10-12 (New International Version, ©2010)

Thanks for Their Gifts
10 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. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 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.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy X-giving!

Psalm 107 (New International Version)

 1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever........

 10 Some sat in darkness, in utter darkness,
   prisoners suffering in iron chains, 
11 because they rebelled against God’s commands
   and despised the plans of the Most High. 
12 So he subjected them to bitter labor;
   they stumbled, and there was no one to help. 
13 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
   and he saved them from their distress. 
14 He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness,
   and broke away their chains. 
15 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
   and his wonderful deeds for mankind, 
16 for he breaks down gates of bronze
   and cuts through bars of iron.

This is Thanksgiving week. I love Thanksgiving. It is the best holiday of the year. I know Christmas gets all the press. It has been over run by the secular world to such an extent it's hard to recognize it. Easter is wonderful and holds such a wonderful place in the heart of all Christians. But, it too has been over run by secular society. Of course, WE all know the true purpose and regardless of how precious the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus, we know the reason for the season. 
But, Thanksgiving. There's no name issues. Have you ever heard anyone say "Happy X-giving" This great holiday doesn't get lost in how much we spend or trying to decide the perfect gift. We don't have to fight battles over innocent manger scenes, or try to explain the significance of an egg as a christian symbol.

Thanksgiving is...........well........... about being Thankful! 

We can list so many things to be thankful for. As Christians we should be so overwhelmed with thankfulness that we could never list them all. God should be the center of all our Thankfulness. God loves us so much that even when we cause our own suffering, he is there to rescue us. These verses say it all. We have put ourselves in a prison because of rebelling against God and fighting his plans for us. We try as hard as we can to take God out of everything we do. We try to take God out of Christmas. We try to take God out of Easter. We try to take God out of our daily lives. Finally, when we get tired of the suffering, we fall back to him for help. How many times have I done that? Too many to count. Yet, our amazing God, loves us. His love ENDURES forever. Why use the word ENDURE? It endures because we do everything we can to fight against that love. We go from one selfish act to another. God just keeps on loving! 

I am so thankful for a God who loves me even when I don't show him that same love. I am so thankful for a God who loves me so much that he sacrificed his only son to rescue me from my own sin. I am Thankful for a God who has blessed me so abundantly I am embarrassed by it. Thank You Lord! I will be thankful, always!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

It is what it is!

Revelation 22 (The Message)

 18-19I give fair warning to all who hear the words of the prophecy of this book: If you add to the words of this prophecy, God will add to your life the disasters written in this book; if you subtract from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will subtract your part from the Tree of Life and the Holy City that are written in this book.
 20He who testifies to all these things says it again: "I'm on my way! I'll be there soon!"
   Yes! Come, Master Jesus!
 21The grace of the Master Jesus be with all of you. Oh, Yes!

The Bible is an amazing book. Th Book of Revelation is an amazing book! Do you know how the Book of Revelation begins?

Revelation 1:1 "The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place."

This book is from God. It says it, so it is! When we get to the end of the book we are given a warning not to add or subtract from what is written here. There is always a lot of controversy about this book. Are we supposed to take it literally or is there some hidden message to be read into it? Really, the entire Bible has been subject to those same questions. After these last 4 months you have gotten to know me. I'm not a biblical scholar by any means. I am a faithful follower of Jesus Christ as the one and only Son of God. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, Born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, crucified, dead, and buried. On the 3rd day he rose from the Dead, ascended into Heaven, and sits at the right hand of God. He is coming again.  I believe in the truth that is written in the book of Revelation, literally. I don't think you can take part of the Bible as being true, literally, and then say another part is not. The Bible is God inspired and God spoken. 

2 Timothy 3 (New International Version).....15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

The Bible is critical in our faith. You can't believe in my God and not believe in the Bible. People can question it historically. People can questions it's timeline. People can question the events. They are not followers of my God. The Bible is True, it is Relevant to our Lives today and it is the inspired Word of God. It is what it is! Period! So I will simplify Faith to one thing. Do you believe the Bible? If you do, then you should be exploring the word of the creator of our universe. If you believe and call yourself a christian, how could you not have the desire to find out what God has to say. If you don't you're not a follower of God, you're in serious trouble.

Dear Lord, Thank you for thinking so much of us that you inspired the Bible. You are so great and awesome and I love to read about how you have cared for us throughout the history of this planet. I love that we can hear your voice through this wonderful book. Thank You Lord. Thank You! Amen!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

My favorite Cities!

Revelation 21 (The Message)

 1I saw Heaven and earth new-created. Gone the first Heaven, gone the first earth, gone the sea. 2I saw Holy Jerusalem, new-created, descending resplendent out of Heaven, as ready for God as a bride for her husband. 3-5I heard a voice thunder from the Throne: "Look! Look! God has moved into the neighborhood, making his home with men and women! They're his people, he's their God. He'll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good—tears gone, crying gone, pain gone—all the first order of things gone." The Enthroned continued, "Look! I'm making everything new. Write it all down—each word dependable and accurate.".....................21-27The main street of the City was pure gold, translucent as glass. But there was no sign of a Temple, for the Lord God—the Sovereign-Strong—and the Lamb are the Temple. The City doesn't need sun or moon for light. God's Glory is its light, the Lamb its lamp! The nations will walk in its light and earth's kings bring in their splendor. Its gates will never be shut by day, and there won't be any night. They'll bring the glory and honor of the nations into the City. Nothing dirty or defiled will get into the City, and no one who defiles or deceives. Only those whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life will get in.

I love Garrett. That's the town I live in. They have done a great job making the downtown look great. In the summer time we have a great group of people who take care of the flowers lining Randolph street (our main street). Trees have been planted, most of the buildings are well taken care of, the local ford dealership has recently redone its building, and several other buildings have been recently remodeled. Most of our store fronts actually have businesses which is not true for most "Main Streets" in America. We have our "bad" areas of town. I'm not talking about the people, I'm talking about the buildings. But, we have some beautiful churches, some great parks and, even though I'm biased, our school and grounds are first rate. Our School is working through the process of planning a new school building. I am so excited because the process is getting closer to reality. I am so thankful I live in a community where people care about our town. It's not Heaven, but it's pretty great!
Think about the best town you've ever been in. during my Motorcycle trips, I have been in some great towns. I love Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Washington D.C. is a great place. McKenzie's family just came back from visiting New York City and they loved it. Stephanie and I loved Thunder Bay, Ontario. It has some fantastic views of Lake Superior and was really pretty. A lot of people love Las Vegas. I hope some day to visit San Francisco. I hear it is great! But, none of these places are anything close to what we will see when we get to heaven. In my travels, I have never seen streets of pure gold, translucent as glass. I can't wait to witness this. I have never seen a city that was completely "Brand New" with no blemishes or "Bad Areas". Won't that be amazing? I can't wait to feel the peace, to have no fear, to have no more tears, no more tension or stress. I can't wait to not have a care in the world. i can't wait to be able to relax in the loving arms of God! Thank you Lord for your promises! Thank You Lord for the City that awaits those who believe! Amen!

Friday, November 19, 2010

See you there!

Revelation 20 (The Message)

 11-15I saw a Great White Throne and the One Enthroned. Nothing could stand before or against the Presence, nothing in Heaven, nothing on earth. And then I saw all the dead, great and small, standing there—before the Throne! And books were opened. Then another book was opened: the Book of Life. The dead were judged by what was written in the books, by the way they had lived. Sea released its dead, Death and Hell turned in their dead. Each man and woman was judged by the way he or she had lived. Then Death and Hell were hurled into Lake Fire. This is the second death—Lake Fire. Anyone whose name was not found inscribed in the Book of Life was hurled into Lake Fire.

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I will never be in the Who's Who in America but I have my name written in the Book Of LIfe. I anxiously await the eternal life I am promised sitting with the one on the throne. I hope to see all of you there!

Dear Lord, I thank you for setting up this future for us. I can not wait to reach my Heavenly home. Please give me the strength and wisdom to spread your word to those who do not know you. Please help me to share your plan and to help those in my community come to know you and find their names in the Book of Life. Amen!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sometimes I don't feel like it!

Revelation 19 (The Message)

5From the Throne came a shout, a command: Praise our God, all you his servants, All you who fear him, small and great!6-8Then I heard the sound of massed choirs, the sound of a mighty cataract, the sound of strong thunder: Hallelujah! The Master reigns, our God, the Sovereign-Strong! Let us celebrate, let us rejoice, let us give him the glory! 

Sometimes I just don't feel like Praising God! I know it's not right. If I were a good solid Christian, I wouldn't feel this way. But, I'm just being truthful. I'm sure if most of us were honest, you would say you have felt the same way at some point of your life. I'm sure you have had days when you didn't feel like praising God. Sometimes I don't feel like celebrating and I don't feel like rejoicing. Just like I know I shouldn't sin, Just like I know I should love my enemies, Just like I should forgive others, I should be able to Praise God at all times. As servants of God, we are commanded to Praise him.  We shouldn't just go through the paces, we should praise him with the sound of cataracts and rolling thunder. We should praise him with the sound of a massed choir. God is in control, God is sovereign and reigns in Heaven and on Earth. Regardless what we go through in our daily lives, he is in control. Nothing will change that. I should be able to rise above the daily grind, but I don't always do that. 

I might be way off base here. But, I think God understands. He knows who we are and understands our struggles. He is a forgiving and loving God. He is there and with us even when our humanness gets in the way of Praising Him. David went through the same thing as written in the book of Psalms.

 Psalm 42:4-6 4 These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One[a] with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng. 5 Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.6 My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.

I know I don't deserve it, but his mercy and grace are enough to forgive me even when i don't feel like praising him.  He understands my wailing and my dark times. He wants to turn them into dancing, singing, and praising. He wants to turn my silence into Praising. 

Psalm 30:11-12 11 You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, 12 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. LORD my God, I will praise you forever.

Doesn't this also mean he understands that I WILL go through times when I just don't feel like praising him, times when i AM silent? 

Dear Lord, I am at your mercy. I know I should Praise you through all things. Yet, I don't. Please forgive me and give me your strength and mercy when I am weak. Thank You Lord for loving me even when I don't deserve it. Amen!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Don't destroy the Moose Head!

Revelation 18 (The Message)

 11-17"The traders will cry and carry on because the bottom dropped out of business, no more market for their goods: gold, silver, precious gems, pearls; fabrics of fine linen, purple, silk, scarlet; perfumed wood and vessels of ivory, precious woods, bronze, iron, and marble; cinnamon and spice, incense, myrrh, and frankincense; wine and oil, flour and wheat; cattle, sheep, horses, and chariots. And slaves—their terrible traffic in human lives.

   Everything you've lived for, gone!
      All delicate and delectable luxury, lost!
      Not a scrap, not a thread to be found!

What do you live for? Do you have some special keepsake or little treasure that you can't live without? Do you have some special trinket that holds a place of honor in your house? Stephanie and I went up to Shipshewana his past weekend. We wandered around several of the little shops. One of the most fascinating was the antique dealer.  I love shows like American Pickers and Antique Road Show. It is amazing to me how many little trinkets we think are really valuable. My mom used to have this set of mixing bowls that nested in each other. They were different colors and glass. I saw a set at the antique shop worth $60. I couldn't believe it. Stephanie said her mom had the same set. I will guarantee that my mom didn't pay $60 for them back in the early 60's. Somehow, they have lived long enough to be worth something. I saw some pretty cool stuff (junk to some). They had everything in this place. Antique toys, guns, glassware, tools, clothes, books, furniture. You name it, they had it.  The coolest thing I saw was a HUGE Moose Head! It would look great in my garage! Stephanie said no. The price was a little high, $3500.00. I think I could have negotiated a lower price. LOL! If you think about it, we all need to look around our house right now and try to figure out what's going to be worth something.  Then we should save it for a very long time. It could be worth big bucks some day.
But, eventually all of this stuff will be gone. All of our goods, gold, silver, precious gems, pearls, fabrics, antiques, electronics and all material things will be gone. God's even going to destroy that Moose Head! No Lord, Not the Moose Head! How else do you think God can get our attention? Have you ever tried to pull a kid away from his favorite TV show or his favorite XBox game. They are often mesmerized by them. The house could burn down all around them and they wouldn't notice until the TV got destroyed. We are just like that. We have so much stuff in our lives. We have so many things that are precious to us.  Many of these items mean more than our relationship with God. So, can you blame our creator? He has to destroy everything so we have one more chance to change. If he takes everything our of our line of sight, maybe we will focus on him. It's really a shame that it has to go to that extreme. But, you have to agree, he really doesn't have a choice. I may not own a giant Moose Head, but I own a lot of stuff that may seem valuable to me. To God, it just gets in the way of our relationship. Sorry Lord!

Dear Lord, Please forgive me for putting my STUFF ahead of you. Forgive me for "worshipping" those things instead of you. You are the creator of all things. We should put the creator in front of the created! You are an awesome and gracious God. I will worship you! Amen!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

It hurts when you get punched in the face!

Revelation 17 (The Message)

 9-11"But don't drop your guard. Use your head. 

One of the greatest movie fight scenes ever. Rocky I. You gotta love this.

The most amazing thing about this fight video is how terrible the boxing is. I guess, in order to get the dramatic bloody scene, you need to let your guard down.  It is wild that both of these fighters forgot the number one rule of boxing. Don't let your guard down! The reason this is so important is obvious. It hurts when you get punched in the face! When you keep your guard up, you protect your face from pain.  If you pay attention closely, the announcer says how Rocky is so tired he can't keep his guard up. He looked exhausted, but he sure was able to punch pretty hard.  In my mind, if you keep your guard up and make your opponent use all his energy landing punches to your gloves instead of your face, you will win. As a benefit, you won't get as bloody and the pain is a lot less. Just a thought!

A lot of us live life the same way as these "Dumb Fighters". We forget the number one rule: Keep your Guard up! Use your head!"  We are supposed to question things that go on in our daily lives. I always believe if it looks like a deal to good to be true, it probably is. If we're not sure if it's a sin, it probably is. If we aren't sure its "OF GOD" it's probably not.  When you're a fighter it is just common sense to protect yourself. In life you also need to protect yourself. Who or What from? How about temptation and evil for starters. ".....Lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil...." So how do we do this? I believe God says put on the full armor to protect ourselves.

Ephesians 6 (New International Version) 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.  

Don't go through life getting hit in the face. It hurts. Go through life using everything you can to protect yourself from the evils you will see every day! Pray to God, Study his word, Beg his forgiveness for your sins, Listen to his guidance, and Worship him like there is no tomorrow! If we put on the full armor of God, we're going to save ourselves a lot of pain and suffering.  Ultimately, we will save ourselves from death!

Dear Lord, I know I am so dumb sometimes. I put myself through so much needless pain. I know it grieves you to see me hurt. Help me to rely on you and the Full armor you've provided for us. Thank you  for your patience. Please keep us form temptation and Deliver us from evil. In your great name we Pray. Amen!

Monday, November 15, 2010

I feel the pain!

Revelation 16 (The Message)

 1 I heard a shout of command from the Temple to the Seven Angels: "Begin! Pour out the seven bowls of God's wrath on earth!" 2The first Angel stepped up and poured his bowl out on earth: Loathsome, stinking sores erupted on all who had taken the mark of the Beast and worshiped its image.3The second Angel poured his bowl on the sea: The sea coagulated into blood, and everything in it died.4-7The third Angel poured his bowl on rivers and springs: The waters turned to blood. I heard the Angel of Waters say, Righteous you are, and your judgments are righteous, The Is, The Was, The Holy. They poured out the blood of saints and prophets so you've given them blood to drink— they've gotten what they deserve! Just then I heard the Altar chime in, Yes, O God, the Sovereign-Strong! Your judgments are true and just!8-9The fourth Angel poured his bowl on the sun: Fire blazed from the sun and scorched men and women. Burned and blistered, they cursed God's Name, the God behind these disasters. They refused to repent, refused to honor God.10-11The fifth Angel poured his bowl on the throne of the Beast: Its kingdom fell into sudden eclipse. Mad with pain, men and women bit and chewed their tongues, cursed the God-of-Heaven for their torment and sores, and refused to repent and change their ways.12-14The sixth Angel poured his bowl on the great Euphrates River: It dried up to nothing. The dry riverbed became a fine roadbed for the kings from the East. From the mouths of the Dragon, the Beast, and the False Prophet I saw three foul demons crawl out—they looked like frogs. These are demon spirits performing signs. They're after the kings of the whole world to get them gathered for battle on the Great Day of God, the Sovereign-Strong.15"Keep watch! I come unannounced, like a thief. You're blessed if, awake and dressed, you're ready for me. Too bad if you're found running through the streets, naked and ashamed."16The frog-demons gathered the kings together at the place called in Hebrew Armageddon.17-21The seventh Angel poured his bowl into the air: From the Throne in the Temple came a shout, "Done!" followed by lightning flashes and shouts, thunder crashes and a colossal earthquake—a huge and devastating earthquake, never an earthquake like it since time began. The Great City split three ways, the cities of the nations toppled to ruin. Great Babylon had to drink the wine of God's raging anger—God remembered to give her the cup! Every island fled and not a mountain was to be found. Hailstones weighing a ton plummeted, crushing and smashing men and women as they cursed God for the hail, the epic disaster of hail.

I doubt that too many non-christians know or have read this part of the Bible. As a matter of fact, I think most Christians avoid reading this part of the Bible. It's painful to read. When we finally get to the point where God unleashes the 7 disasters, it hurts. The seven disasters are not for followers. The disasters are meant for those who have refused to follow and rejected the God of the universe. So why do I hurt so bad when i read this? Well................  I know people who will suffer through the pain of these disasters. I am in pain for them. I can't even imagine the pain that will be suffered those who reject Christ. I have friends who don't have a relationship with Christ. I have family members who are not committed to him. There is nowhere immune to the disasters. The Earth, the Seas, the Rivers and Springs, the Air. The disasters will be colossal. Only God! It is typical for people to blame God for disasters, especially these disasters. God is behind them, but he has given all of us the opportunity to avoid the pain and suffering. Jesus Death on the Cross gave us the opportunity of eternal protection. For those who reject that protection, I feel the pain. 
You still have time. Those of you reading this who have not committed yourselves to the saving grace of Jesus Christ, you still have time. Don't wait. Repent. Change your ways. No longer curse God. But, bow to his power. God is giving you the time. Don't wait until the final words are spoken, "It is Done!" It is so easy to say it's not going to happen to me. It's easy to say this won't happen. So you could take the risk that it's not. You could take the chance that these disasters are nothing more than Science Fiction. What if they are real? They are! Don't wait to find out!

Dear Lord, Save us! Amen!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Harps to Disasters!

Revelation 15 (The Message)

 1 I saw another Sign in Heaven, huge and breathtaking: seven Angels with seven disasters. These are the final disasters, the wrap-up of God's wrath. 2-4I saw something like a sea made of glass, the glass all shot through with fire. Carrying harps of God, triumphant over the Beast, its image, and the number of its name, the saved ones stood on the sea of glass. They sang the Song of Moses, servant of God; they sang the Song of the Lamb: 

The Bible is full of contrasts.  Here you see 7 Angels who were "breathtaking" and yet these 7 Angels were carrying 7 disasters.   You have Harps, Songs and a sea of glass and you have death and destruction. Our lives are much the same way. 

God has given us some wonderful amazing gifts and blessings. He has provided us with the great opportunity of eternal life. Yet, even with these beautiful gifts, the world is full of sin, death, destruction, evil, and pain. 
If God had his way there wouldn't be such a contrast. The contrast is not God's choice, it's ours. The sin in our lives has brought us to such a difference between us and what God has designed. The contrast is so distinct that God had to provide a special way for us to get back to him. The contrast is completely eliminated through Jesus. 

Dear Lord,  Thank you for rescuing us from Sin. We know that we have not followed your plan. We have done so much to separate ourselves from your greatness. Yet, you have never given up on us. Thank You Lord for sending your Son to bring us back to you. Thank you for loving us even when we don't deserve it. Thank You Lord! Amen!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Preach it Grandpa!

Revelation 14 (The Message)

 6-7I saw another Angel soaring in Middle-Heaven. He had an Eternal Message to preach to all who were still on earth, every nation and tribe, every tongue and people. He preached in a loud voice, "Fear God and give him glory! His hour of judgment has come! Worship the Maker of Heaven and earth, salt sea and fresh water!"

MY Grandfather Lawrence Lewis was a Church of God preacher. He was a great preacher.  I love my pastors I have now. I loved to hear my Dad preach. Each preacher I've heard has had a special, individual way  to present the message of God. For some reason, I thought of my Grandpa Lewis when i read this passage from Revelation. The best memories I have of my Grandpa Lewis preaching was from Smithfield CHurch of God. For those of you who haven't been to Smithfield, and not many have, it's a little stop sign near Muncie, Indiana. Smithfield also is the home of Wapahani High School. My Grandfather had such a powerful presence in the pulpit. He was a rather tall man and he had such a confidence in his preaching. When we visited Grandpa, we attended church on Sunday Morning, Sunday Night, Wednesday night and Thursday night, and on many other occasions. Even when i was tired and napped in the church Pew, Grandpa's preaching had an impact. I don't remember one of his sermons, but I remember the message he always spoke:  "Fear God and give him glory! His hour of judgment has come! Worship the Maker of Heaven and earth, salt sea and fresh water!" He could have been a Biblical writer. His message was always straight from the Bible. 
Even though I don't remember a specific sermon, I remember his most important sermon. I remember the sermon he lived every day of his life. He was a true servant of God. He never had a lot of wealth and I'm not sure he ever owned a home. But, he was rich and he was filled with the spirit of God. He was a preacher by trade and a true disciple with his life. I hope to continue that tradition with my family. We should all be the same type of servant he was. Thanks Grandpa for your example and love of God!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Loud Mouths!

Revelation 13 (The Message)

 5-8The Beast had a loud mouth, boastful and blasphemous. It could do anything it wanted for forty-two months. It yelled blasphemies against God, blasphemed his Name, blasphemed his Church, especially those already dwelling with God in Heaven. It was permitted to make war on God's holy people and conquer them. It held absolute sway over all tribes and peoples, tongues and races. Everyone on earth whose name was not written from the world's foundation in the slaughtered Lamb's Book of Life will worship the Beast.9-10Are you listening to this? They've made their bed; now they must lie in it. 

Every sporting event has them. Every school has them. You will know exactly what I'm talking about. THE LOUD MOUTH! I have attended and hosted hundreds  of Sporting Events from the elementary/youth level all the way up to Professional Level. You know what I'm talking about when I say some people have big mouths. Their are people you could hear in the middle of a Tornado. Their are people who have a voice that just bellows above the noise of the rest of the crowd.

I was at a jv football game this year at another school.  The home team was destroying the visiting team. The home team had a loud mouth!  Out of the general quiet of the home crowd, I heard this loud mouth yell at the top of his lungs "C'mon White, Keep it going!" I heard complete silence and then a huge roar of laughter. (For those of you who are athletically challenged, he was, inadvertently, cheering for the visiting football team. They were wearing white! Not only did this guy yell at the team, he also yelled at his son the whole game. He would sometimes yell positive support, but most of the time he would hell negatively. He would often berate his own son quite boisterously, in front of the crowd. Everyone could hear him. As an Athletic Administrator, I was so glad it wasn't one of my fans. It was a small amount of justice that this guy's loud mouth finally got him in trouble.

The "Beast" is also in for a big surprise. He is ranting against Heaven, God, and God's people. He is proud, boisterous, bold, and boastful. But, his loud mouth is going to catch up to him. Just when he thinks he is in the clear and he is the ruler of the world, the final judgement will occur. We are much the same way. We are so bold in our boasting. We are so proud of our accomplishments. We are proud of our money, our homes, our inventions, our athletic ability, and our successes. How much of it did we do on our own? Is their anything created that is not a gift from God. We are nothing, yet we build ourselves to be equal to God. If we don't change, If we don't realize the gifts we've been given and the gift giver, we will perish. Just like the Beast, "They've made their bed; now they must lie in it."  

Dear Lord, Forgive us our loud, boastful voices. We know that all gifts and all power come from you. We are nothing without the gifts you have granted. Thank You for those gifts. Thank you for caring for us, loving us so much that you sent your son to save us! If I boast of anything I should boast of that. If I am boisterous about anything I should be bold and boisterous about you! Amen!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tail of the Dragon

Revelation 12 (The Message)

 3-4And then another Sign alongside the first: a huge and fiery Dragon! It had seven heads and ten horns, a crown on each of the seven heads. With one flick of its tail it knocked a third of the Stars from the sky and dumped them on earth. The Dragon crouched before the Woman in childbirth, poised to eat up the Child when it came............7-12War broke out in Heaven. Michael and his Angels fought the Dragon. The Dragon and his Angels fought back, but were no match for Michael. They were cleared out of Heaven, not a sign of them left. The great Dragon—ancient Serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, the one who led the whole earth astray—thrown out, and all his Angels thrown out with him, thrown down to earth.

Motorcyclist call it the "Tail of the Dragon". Cagers (four wheel vehicle riders) call it Highway 129. The Dragon is the most popular motorcycle and sports car roads in the United States. The short 11 mile trip from Deals Gap on the North Carolina, Tennessee Border is filled with 318 curves. It is a challenge to ride or drive. I was so fortunate to be able to ride this adventurous stretch of highway. Here is a couple of pictures of Steph and I on the Dragon:

If you want to get the real feel of the Dragon -- here is a video of a guy riding a yellow Goldwing on the curves. This guy is crazy and a great rider! He makes it look so easy.

Goldwing on the Dragon!

The Tail of the Dragon is very dangerous stretch of highway. People that ride or drive this usually do so in a way that is well beyond their experience level.  Most people, attempt to slay the dragon by "Driving on the Edge" for this short 11 miles. Since 1995 12 people have lost their lives on this winding mountain road. I know this road is nothing like a real dragon. But, many riders treat this road just like they do the Dragon of Revelation 12. They feel like they can't be hurt, they feel like the dangers aren't real, and they are different than everyone else, they can handle it. Trust me, the Dragon mentioned in this Chapter is just as real as the dangers on Highway 129. People try to challenge the Dragon we know as Satan, just like many riders ride Highway 129. Most people don't take sin and Satan seriously. They feel like the danger is not real. They don't have the experience or proper skill to defeat him.

We are powerless against sin. We are powerless to defeat Satan on our own. God has an Army. He has the power and the weapons to defeat this Dragon. He kicked him from Heaven and he will once and for all defeat him in the last battle. We need to rely on the Power of Jesus Christ and the Power of God's Army of Angels to keep us safe and protect us from evil. Constantly Pray for his protection. We need to approach every turn and every Esse of the Highway of Life with God as our Driver. He will take us on this wild ride of Life. He will protect us and never let us die! When you take the turns of HWY 129 too fast and you lose control, you can die. When you live life with the backing of God's army, you will also die.

Dear Lord, Thank you for your love. Thank You for protecting us from evil. You are awesome and powerful and we praise you. We worship you with our lives. Amen!