Monday, February 28, 2011

"Where are you God?"

Psalm 42 (New International Version, ©2010)

 1 As the deer pants for streams of water,
   so my soul pants for you, my God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
   When can I go and meet with God?
3 My tears have been my food
   day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
   “Where is your God?”
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[d]
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.

I got a couple of prayer requests last week from a couple in our church. Their son was hit by a car while he was snow blowing his driveway. He stepped out into the road, was hit by a car, and was unconscious for awhile. He was then transported to the Hospital. The Dad was contacted, he got into a car accident, and his car was totaled. Talk about bad days. Fortunately both the dad and the son were ok. But, I can't imagine not thinking, "Where are you God?"  Worse yet, is when this happens to a Christian and the non-christian asks the same question.

That's why it's so important how Christians react when bad things happen. People outside the faith are looking. They want to see where and IF God shows up. It doesn't mean we can't cry. It doesn't mean we have to enjoy our own pain. But, we need to show that God will help us overcome. Even when we are chased by the "Hunter" we need to "pant" after God. We need to run to God and accept his grace, love and power to overcome. We can never lose hope. If we do, the unsaved will also give up.

It may not be easy to say and sometimes harder to live, but it is true in my past, it's true now, and will always be true:

"Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and God!"

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Regard the Weak!

Psalm 41 (New International Version, ©2010)

    For the director of music. A psalm of David. 1 Blessed are those who have regard for the weak;
   the LORD delivers them in times of trouble.
2 The LORD protects and preserves them—
   they are counted among the blessed in the land—
   he does not give them over to the desire of their foes.
3 The LORD sustains them on their sickbed
   and restores them from their bed of illness.

Blessed are those who have regard for the weak........ There are many GOOD people who provide relief for the weak. It could be the homeless, the poor, the jobless, those who suffer from addictions, illness, or disease. But having regard doesn't just mean providing relief. It is much deeper than that. To regard someone is to really take a long look at them. It means to hold them in a place of honor. It is not a fleeting moment of thought. When we give our financial resources to the weak, it's fleeting and only temporary. If we want to truly regard the weak, we need to develop relationships, look deep for long term cures, and to do more than just get to know a name.

If I am honest, I don't really regard the weak. There are very few people who truly regard the weakest of society.  Maybe this is the reason God blesses them so abundantly. He wants to make sure they are well treated and cared for because they are so rare. He has to preserve them because they are the ones who do the real work of the Lord.

Dear Lord, Help me to truly care for and regard the weak. Help me to dwell on them and work to give them your strength. Please Lord, forgive me for my action. Help me to honor the weak and to be there as your servant. Amen!

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Psalm 40 (New International Version, ©2010)

 6 Sacrifice and offering you did not desire—
   but my ears you have opened
   burnt offerings and sin offerings
[d] you did not require. 
7 Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—
   it is written about me in the scroll.[e]
8 I desire to do your will, my God;
   your law is within my heart.”

All through the old testament you hear about this sacrifice or that sacrifice. They sacrificed sheep, lambs, and all to wipe out their sins or to honor the Lord. But, God does not desire our sacrifice. Go does not even require them. Verse 7 tells what God is really after. He's after US! He wants us to come to him, to desire to do his will and to take his will deep into our hearts.

I haven't heard of too many people building alters and sacrificing lambs or sheep. I haven't seen too many sacrificial alters around town. But, this thought of sacrificing and giving offerings to God is just as "ritual" as ever. We go to church out of obligation. We giving our tithes grudgingly. We sacrifice our time only in small amounts. We commit to christian service only when we have to. We are going through the same ritual sacrifices they did in the Old Testament. God doesn't want these types of offerings and he doesn't require these kinds of sacrifices.

The "law" must be within our hearts. We can't serve the Lord out of obligation. We must serve, give, and sacrifice from the heart. It has to be us. We can't just do it on Sunday. We can't just do it as a monthly commitment to a ministry. We have to live and breath service to the Lord, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year for the rest of our days on this Earth. That is pleasing to God!

Friday, February 25, 2011

If you don't have anything good to say.................

Psalm 39 (New International Version, ©2010)

 1 I said, “I will watch my ways
   and keep my tongue from sin;
I will put a muzzle on my mouth
   while in the presence of the wicked.” 
2 So I remained utterly silent,
   not even saying anything good.

I am sure everyone has heard, "If you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all!" Well, I didn't know it was Biblical. I sometimes need a muzzle. I don't think I'm the only one. As Christians we (meaning me) sometimes think we have an obligation to point out others sins. I would say that more often than not, when we point out others faults, it's not taken well. That's true even when we're right.

We can make more of an impact if we keep our mouth shut and just let our actions do the talking. I'm not sure why I think my actions aren't enough. Maybe it's because my actions don't always match my words. Or better yet, maybe my actions don't match GOD's WORD.

Dear Lord, Keep me from sinning, especially sinning with my tongue. I know my words can do more to hurt you than any actions I could possibly take. Forgive me when my words and actions don't match. I love you Lord and don't want to keep people from knowing you! You are an awesome God and I beg your forgiveness. Amen!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I'm waiting!

Psalm 38 (New International Version, ©2010)

 13 I am like the deaf, who cannot hear,
   like the mute, who cannot speak; 
14 I have become like one who does not hear,
   whose mouth can offer no reply. 
15 LORD, I wait for you;
   you will answer, Lord my God. 

This is a key theme of my life.............Lack of Patience! As I have said many times, I pray alot. But, my patience with people and even the God in Heaven is not good. While I'm waiting on an answer, it is hard for me to keep quiet. But, if the wait is long enough, I finally run out of things to say and I am speechless with God. I finally get to the point and say, "Lord, I wait for you; you will answer, Lord my God." It seems that whenever I get to that point, it seems like the answer is just around the corner. I think that sometimes God waits for me to get to the point where I can't speak, where I finally figure out that I am not in control, then answer my prayers.

For me, waiting for God is one of the hardest things to do in my life. God DOES hear me and I know he WILL reply. He has promised to answer. He doesn't guarantee when. But, I keep wanting MY answer in MY time. Why do I think I know better? Why do I think I am more qualified than God to say when is the right time? You can look all the way back to the Garden of Eden for the answer. I am not the only one to think I know better than God!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I'm Jealous!

Psalm 37 (New International Version, ©2010)

4 Take delight in the LORD,
   and he will give you the desires of your heart.
 5 Commit your way to the LORD;
   trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
   your vindication like the noonday sun.
 7 Be still before the LORD
   and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
   when they carry out their wicked schemes.

 8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
   do not fret—it leads only to evil. 
9 For those who are evil will be destroyed,
   but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.

Maybe it's wrong to say, if it is, forgive me. Sometimes I am jealous of the Non-Christian. Is it just me, or does it seem they are the ones getting the rewards. I see people who openly defy our Lord and yet, they appear to win all the battles. I see so much suffering for those that serve the Lord and those who don't care seem like they are never affected. So, when I read these verses, I could hear God speaking straight to me.

I have to trust that God WILL reward me in amazing and wonderful ways. I just have to sit quietly and wait. (I'm not good at that!) I can't get all bent out of shape when it looks like they are winning. I can't get angry. If I give in to anger and wrath, I will be no better than them. I can't forget the promise of these verses. Our rewards are promised for Eternity, not just for this temporary moment. Trust in the Lord always!

It's so easy for me to forget the battle has already been won. Our victory is guaranteed. The appearance of Evil winning is just an illusion. Gods promises are perfect, his blessings are beyond what we can imagine, his righteous rewards will be brighter than the noon day sun. Nothing can take those ETERNAL rewards away from us. So I have to tell myself, stop with the jealousy, stop with the envy, TRUST in the LORD. We are victorious through him!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Black and White!

Psalm 36 (New International Version, ©2010)

 1 I have a message from God in my heart
   concerning the sinfulness of the wicked:
There is no fear of God
   before their eyes.

 2 In their own eyes they flatter themselves
   too much to detect or hate their sin. 
3 The words of their mouths are wicked and deceitful;
   they fail to act wisely or do good. 
4 Even on their beds they plot evil;
   they commit themselves to a sinful course
   and do not reject what is wrong.

 5 Your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens,
   your faithfulness to the skies. 
6 Your righteousness is like the highest mountains,
   your justice like the great deep.
   You, LORD, preserve both people and animals. 
7 How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
   People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. 
8 They feast on the abundance of your house;
   you give them drink from your river of delights. 
9 For with you is the fountain of life;
   in your light we see light.

What a contrast of Verses. Verses 1-4 describe the most vile and evil. Yet, with no transition whatsoever, we are talking about the great God of Love. Life is kind of like that. Life is Black and White! Good or Evil! There is no middle ground when it comes to God. You are either described by the first 4 verses or verses 5-9. You are either wicked and reject God, reject what is wrong, are deceitful, and are self-centered, or you flee to God for refuge, soak up the word and council of the Holy Spirit, are blessed by him and will live with him for eternity.

There is no middle ground. So many people think they can have it both ways. So many people don't think of themselves as evil because they haven't killed anyone, or stolen, or some other vile act. But, just the same they are sinners who reject God. It doesn't matter what the sin, we are all sinners. The only way we can make it to Eternity is by the Grace of God. You make the decision. Choose Life or Death. It's not any clearer than that!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Stumbling is Painful, not Funny!

Psalm 35 (New International Version, ©2010)

10 My whole being will exclaim, 

   “Who is like you, LORD?
You rescue the poor from those too strong for them,
   the poor and needy from those who rob them.”
 11 Ruthless witnesses come forward;
   they question me on things I know nothing about.
12 They repay me evil for good
   and leave me like one bereaved.
13 Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth
   and humbled myself with fasting.
When my prayers returned to me unanswered,
 14 I went about mourning
   as though for my friend or brother.
I bowed my head in grief
   as though weeping for my mother.
15 But when I stumbled, they gathered in glee;
   assailants gathered against me without my knowledge.
   They slandered me without ceasing.
16 Like the ungodly they maliciously mocked;[b]
   they gnashed their teeth at me.

I think all of us have laughed at someone who has fallen only to realize they were really  hurt and we had to change our tune. Some people watch NASCAR for the amazing wrecks, but when they witness someone die or get seriously injured, they have to think twice. I enjoy a good physical hard hitting game of football, but too often someone really gets hurt.

How do we react when people are hurt spiritually or mentally? How do we treat our own Christian Brothers and Sisters when they stumble and fall. Maybe someone has mistreated you when you were stumbling spiritually or mentally. These verses paint a grim picture of how ruthless we can be as sinful people. Be careful, you could be next.

Dear Lord, keep us from evil. Protect us from those who mistreat us. Help us to be loving to all. Help us to contribute to healing lives not hurting them. Treat others as we wish to be treated. Open our eyes so we can help those who need it the most. Amen!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Are you with me?

Psalm 34 (New International Version, ©2010)

 1 I will extol the LORD at all times;
   his praise will always be on my lips.
2 I will glory in the LORD;
   let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
3 Glorify the LORD with me;
   let us exalt his name together.

It is so much more fun to be together with others who Love God. I could sit at home and Glorify the Lord on my own, within the quiet confines, privately. How much fun could that be? Sometimes I meet people who say they don't need to go to church to believe in God. I agree. They can worship at home. They can do a lot without stepping a foot in a church. Yet, why would they want to? Where else can they get together to praise God and exalt his name with others who want to do the same thing. Oh, I know you can do it at concerts, camps, or other special events. I also know that "churches" can be held many places. I really call "Church" any place where we Christians gather together to praise God. But, if all I do is Praise God at special events, it's just not enough for me. I can't wait to attend Sunday services, or special events like CMA Seasons of Refreshing, or the CMA State Rally, or Trinity Fest. I just can't get enough of Praising God with others. We are all "afflicted". We all have times we just don't think we will make it. Yet, God not only wants to spend time with us, he also wants us to spend time together. We can provide support because we all share the same sinful experiences. When we just don't feel like we can Praise God on our own, it is important to be around others who can.

Find a place you can worship and praise God on a regular basis. Find a group who loves to spend time praising God and can't wait to do it all through the week. I attend services at County Line Church of God in Auburn, Indiana. The services are always just like that. We have a great time worshipping and praising  him. I also have a great group of fellow believers through the Christian Motorcyclist Association. I also have a great group of co-workers who aren't afraid to Praise God. I just can't get enough. I would feel lost JUST attending Sunday Services.

Thank You Lord for providing people I can worship with who Love you as much as I do! Amen!

Friday, February 18, 2011

It's Everywhere!

Psalm 33 (New International Version, ©2010)

2 Praise the LORD with the harp;
   make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.
3 Sing to him a new song;
   play skillfully, and shout for joy. 4 For the word of the LORD is right and true;
   he is faithful in all he does.
5 The LORD loves righteousness and justice;
   the earth is full of his unfailing love.

Sometimes I can really get down on this Earth and the sinful people that inhabit it. (Of course I am also one of those people) We can find  overwhelming proof of the sinfulness of the human race. But, "The Earth is full of his unfailing love."

When things seem hopeless and you find yourself longing for your heavenly home, just remember God's love is everywhere. Sometimes our vision can look right past it, but it is there. You might be surprised where you see and when you find it. God is good and when you least expect it, his love shows up.

We have a choice to make. We can live with the gloom and heartache in our souls or we can live with God's love. His love can overshadow all sin, all gloom, and all the evil that surrounds us. Praise God he loves us so much!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Air Conditioning? In February?

Psalm 32 (New International Version, ©2010)

 3 When I kept silent,
   my bones wasted away
   through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night
   your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped
   as in the heat of summer.
 5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you
   and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess
   my transgressions to the LORD.”
And you forgave
   the guilt of my sin.

It finally warmed up here in Indiana. We got to a whopping 55 degrees today. Compared to -7 degrees, that is balmy. I long for the heat of summer. I long for 90+ temps and Motorcycle Trips! I don't think the severe cold has the same effect of draining you like heat does. For one thing, we don't really spend a lot of time in the severe cold, but we do the heat. Summer heat can really drain you and working out in it can take everything out of you. It's like you have a two ton Elephant on your back. Our sin is the same way!

The sin in our lives is physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. We make it worse by holding it within us. When we do that, it feels just like working outside on a 95 degree day with 100% humidity. The only way to get relief is to acknowledge your sin, stop trying to cover it up, and Confess to the Lord. When we do those things, it is just like sitting in an air conditioned room, sipping on a cold Iced Tea. God want us to open up to him. He is waiting to provide the relief. He is waiting to free us from the chains and the guilt. Go to him now!

Dear Lord, Forgive me for my sins. I know they are many. Please take the guilt, take the pain, and heal my heart, soul, and mind. Thank You Lord for your grace. Thank you for providing the perfect relief. Amen! 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Terror on Every side!

Psalm 31 (New International Version, ©2010)

11 Because of all my enemies,
   I am the utter contempt of my neighbors
and an object of dread to my closest friends—
   those who see me on the street flee from me. 
12 I am forgotten as though I were dead;
   I have become like broken pottery. 
13 For I hear many whispering,
   “Terror on every side!”
They conspire against me
   and plot to take my life.

I have great neighbors. We always seem to watch out for each other. If someone is gone, the other will make sure they keep an eye on things. They are people I can count on. That's why these verses are kind of strange. I can't think of hating my neighbors so much that I had to avoid them or that I dreaded being around my closest friends. I have never felt that when people see me, they flee! (Maybe they do and I just don't recognize it!)

But you can surely get the feeling from these verses of a person who is an island. They are a person who is isolated from the rest of the world and have nowhere to turn. There are times in our lives that we feel utterly alone and that we have no friends. Even our best friends avoid us. Our enemies surround us and we feel like we are invisible to the people we live with. So many people feel like broken pottery, useless and completely unrepairable.

For those who feel like that, or who have lived that way. There is hope. Hope comes from none other than the creator of the universe. God Loves you and wants you to know you are never isolated, you are never alone with him. He is there for you and will always be that way regardless how the people around you act. Thank you Lord, I Love you!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Comfort is OK!

Psalm 30 (New International Version, ©2010)

 8 To you, LORD, I called;
   to the Lord I cried for mercy: 
9 “What is gained if I am silenced,
   if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
   Will it proclaim your faithfulness? 
10 Hear, LORD, and be merciful to me;
   LORD, be my help.”

 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.

Today was "Shorts Day" at school. We are having spirit days to celebrate our girls basketball team going to Regionals and one of our wrestlers going to the State Finals. I just love wearing shorts to work, even when the February temperatures are below freezing. I am so comfortable wearing shorts. It just affects my whole day. It is not very professional looking so I don't get to wear them very often. When school is out in the summer time and I come in, I get to be comfortable and wear shorts. The next best option is jeans. The faculty and staff have "Jeans Days" on Fridays. That is also a great day of comfort. It just seems like such a relaxing day and school atmosphere when we can dress in comfort.

I have times in my life when I am so relaxed and comfortable. I have times when things are going well and there is no crisis. These times don't happen often but they are very welcome and do happen regularly. I think these times are gifts from God.  It is just like removing your "sackcloth" and being clothed in joy. Sackcloth was not like a burlap sack as I vision. It was really an article of clothing made of coarse goat hair and it was uncomfortable. It usually was worn as a symbol of mourning and/or penitence. David is praising God for taking away his mourning, for taking away his discomfort and replacing it with joy.

We hear so much about how God is present through troubled times and how our faith grows during trials. It's true. But, I also think God can use great times to help us feel his presence and to just relax and enjoy the life he gives.

Dear Lord, Thank you so much for Joy in my life. Thank You for providing times of comfort, relaxation, and peace. You are an awesome God! Amen!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Ascribe -- Credit 1st!

Psalm 29 (New International Version, ©2010).

 1 Ascribe to the LORD, you heavenly beings,
   ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. 
2 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
   worship the LORD in the splendor of his
[a] holiness.

How many of you know the definition of "Ascribe"? I can tell you I did not REALLY know until I just looked it up. i had an idea, but now I can really relate to these verses. Ascribe means -- give credit!

"Give Credit to the Lord, you heavenly beings, Give Credit to the Lord glory and strength. Give Credit to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness."

Our girls basketball team just one the first round of a big tournament game. We outscored the opponents, 195-85 in 3 games. When everyone stepped out onto the floor, I had so many people come up and congratulate me. I felt so awkward about this. I did not make a shot, or steal the ball, or block a shot, or get an assist, or shoot a free throw. I really had nothing to do with the team winning this game. Oh, sure I am the Athletic Director, I think I help put these kids in position to win, but when it comes down to really contributing, I am just like anyone else. I don't do any more than the fan in the stands. I don't deserve any reward, We should be aware of that and focus the "Credit" on the proper people.

We should give God credit where it is due. We really have control of nothing. God is in control to everything. He deserves all the glory, honor, praise, and credit. God sets back and let's us take all the credit for the good in our lives, but we always give him credit for all the bad things. But, when all is said and done, God deserves all the credit. He has a plan and he is executing that plan every day of our lives. He loves us and deserves all! Thanks Lord!

Ascribe to the Lord, that which is his!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Two Faces!

Psalm 28 (New International Version, ©2010)

 3 Do not drag me away with the wicked,
   with those who do evil,
who speak cordially with their neighbors
   but harbor malice in their hearts. 

4 Repay them for their deeds
   and for their evil work;
repay them for what their hands have done
   and bring back on them what they deserve.

I much prefer people who are blunt and straight to the point. I just can't deal with people who are two-sided. On one side they treat you like their best buddy and when your back is turned, they are the first ones to criticize and ridicule you. David agrees with me. Sometimes, we forget we are to love our neighbors. We can't love them to their face and stab them when they turn their back.

Do you have two faces? Do I? I try hard not to do this, but if I look back over my life, I know I have been guilty of this sin. "If you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all." This should be true to all us at all times. This is true when the person is in front of you and is also true when they are nowhere to be found. The worst part about this, I'm not sure we do a good job of covering up our true feelings and I think that eventually we will be found out. There is nothing that destroys a Christian testimony than not being real. Nothing is worse than being a two faced, back stabber. How do you feel about those who are "fake"? How much do you trust them? How long does it take to restore that trust?

Dear Lord, Please Lord, help me be the person you want me to be. Help me to be true to who you have made me to be, even when it is easier not to. Help me to truly love my neighbors and treat them "cordially" at all times. We are your witnesses, we are your hands, feet, and voice to a sinful world. Help us to be an example of Love, not hate, not bitterness, and not evil. Amen!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

One thing!

Psalm 27 (New International Version, ©2010)

 4 One thing I ask from the LORD,
   this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD 

   all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the LORD
   and to seek him in his temple.
5 For in the day of trouble
   he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
   and set me high upon a rock.

Have you ever wondered what you would wish for if you discovered a magic Genie in a Bottle?  I can't say I've spent a lot of time dwelling on this, but it can be fun to think about.  Most people think about asking for money or material things. Some people will think about asking for world peace, or an end to world hunger. I know what David would ask. Psalm 27:4 tells you what he would ask for. "Let me spend my life with you." There is really nothing better than being in the presence of the Lord. As a matter of fact, I'm not sure we really have any idea what it will be like. We just have to believe that it will be like nothing we have ever experienced.  But, we should have this as our only request. All other things are really unimportant. The troubles of this world, the worries of this day, the brokenness, the stress, the pain, all mean nothing when we focus on the goal. When we focus on the final outcome, we can better deal with this life.

Dear Lord, We want nothing more than to be in your presence. We ask you Lord for the grace that permits us to seek you in your heavenly place! Please Lord hear our request. Amen!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Our House!

Psalm 26 (New International Version, ©2010)

 8 LORD, I love the house where you live,
   the place where your glory dwells. 

9 Do not take away my soul along with sinners,
   my life with those who are bloodthirsty,
10 in whose hands are wicked schemes,
   whose right hands are full of bribes.
11 I lead a blameless life;
   deliver me and be merciful to me.
 12 My feet stand on level ground;
   in the great congregation I will praise the LORD.

Steph and I love our house. It is a great place where we can relax and recuperate from our hectic lives. God has provided us with our home. We have just about everything here we could ever hope for. But, we both think our "Home on the Lake" was the best home we ever owned.

It is as peaceful a place we have ever lived. It is located on the end of a cul-de-sac jutting out on a point in a small lake. The lake has a very low speed limit for boats and is very quiet. I just loved sitting out on the pier and quietly enjoying the fishing (I never really cared about catching anything!) During the winter when the snow blanketed the frozen lake it was just like a piece of heaven sitting in front of the fireplace. When the geese arrived and departed every year I always enjoyed the show.

We don't own the home anymore. We sold it to our daughter and her husband. SO, we still get to go there once in a while. It certainly is one of our favorite places to visit. We still call it our house!

God's home is infinitely more peaceful. God has prepared a place just for us. If you add all the things you love about your home and then multiply it 1 million times, you still won't get an idea about what he has prepared for us. God loves us so much that he will soon rescue us from this life. We are just living in a temporary home, until the new place is ready for us. I can not wait to get to experience this place. It makes it even better to know that my family will be there with me. I hope that all of you will join me too!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

No mistakes!

Psalm 25 (New International Version, ©2010)

 1 In you, LORD my God,
   I put my trust.
 2 I trust in you;
   do not let me be put to shame, 
   nor let my enemies triumph over me.
3 No one who hopes in you
   will ever be put to shame,
but shame will come on those
   who are treacherous without cause.

The life of an Athletic Director is all about making sure no mistakes are made. I am absolutely paranoid about making mistakes. I have checklists for nearly everything. My memory it terrible. Before every basketball game I go over a checklist of about 40 items from all the workers, to ordering Chick Filet sandwiches. I rely heavily on my wonderful secretary to keep me from messing up. We are a great team. She bails me out so many times.

 I never relax for an event until the workers, teams and officials arrive.

About 4 years ago, I had a track starter not show up. I tried to call him earlier that week and even earlier the day of the meet. No answer. The meet was scheduled to start at 5pm. At 4:45, no starter. I went into panic mode. The IHSAA says you can't start a meet without a licensed starter. I started calling every starter in northern Indiana. I finally got in touch with a new starter who was on his way home from work. He said he didn't even have a starter pistol. I did. He agreed to come. He got there at about 5:30pm, in a suit and tie. He had never started a meet and had just got his license. I told him I would help him. The meet went off wonderfully. Most people had no idea about my terror!

As a Christian, I should be the same way. I should do everything possible to keep from sin. I should be so worried about the example. I, like David, should be worried about being put to shame. Instead, we take sin so lightly. We are quick to ask forgiveness and not so quick to work at preventing the sin in our lives. We certainly can't do it on our own. We need "check lists" (the Bible) to help us stay on the path. We need constant communication with our creator in order to fight the battle in our hearts. The great news.......God still loves us. He is pained by our sin, but he doesn't give up on us even when we make mistakes.

Thanks God for your patience and your grace. Amen!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

One Owner!

Psalm 24 (New International Version, ©2010)

 1 The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it,
   the world, and all who live in it; 
2 for he founded it on the seas
   and established it on the waters.

 3 Who may ascend the mountain of the LORD?
   Who may stand in his holy place? 
4 The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
   who does not trust in an idol
   or swear by a false god.

One owner! In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth. He created it, but he didn't give it away. God created us. and we are his. Just because he has given us free will to decide our future, doesn't mean he has given us away. He holds us accountable for our choices and we may even be punished for eternity. But, we are still his. The world is his. 

So many of us think we own our homes, our cars, our MOTORCYCLES, our clothes, our money, whatever! But HE OWNS it. There is not enough room in this world for two owners. There is not enough room in this world for two GODS! There is only one God and he owns it all. Yet, God, through his grace, allows us to climb his mountain. He allows us to dwell with him in his holy place. He lets us use his creation. He will bless us if we choose to live within his conditions. We must work for him, love, and trust only in him. If we do this, he shares his creation in wonderful and fabulous ways. God is the owner but he is so generous with his stuff! 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Where do you live?

Psalm 23 (New International Version, ©2010)

6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
   all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD

This is the capstone of the great verses known as the 23rd Psalm. It is the summary of everything David was trying to tell us. Gods blessings and his mercy will be with us forever. It doesn't matter what's going on in our lives, God is going to be with us. He is not going to change. He will give us blessings and he will forgive us through the good, the bad, and the ugliness of our lives. As followers of Christ, we will have the great privilege of dwelling with the creator of the universe. This is our reward. We're not just going to visit. We won't be his servant. We won't just be there for an extended stay. We will DWELL with him forever. You may think your dwelling is here on the Earth. But, those of us who follow Christ, are only living here temporarily. So, where do you LIVE? Let's go live with God. Let's leave this "vacation" spot and finally go home where we REALLY live!

So, there you have it. God is with us today. He is with us tomorrow and he will be with us forever. Not only is he with us, he loves to be with us. Not only does he loves to be with us, he loves to be good to us. Not only is he good to us, he wants to spend time with us all the time. He wants us to live with him forever. He doesn't have to, but he does. Hopefully, we can look back at our lives and see all of that goodness, love, and mercy. I know I can.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

In your Face!

Psalm 23 (New International Version, ©2010)

 1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
 3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
   for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
   through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
   for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
   they comfort me.
 5 You prepare a table before me 
   in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
   my cup overflows. 

With all the fighting and war in this world, it is hard to think of our troops sitting down for a feast while Al-Qui'da looks on. This would be like our troops in Afghanistan sitting down for Thanksgiving dinner in the middle of the battlefield. It's not going to happen because we would not have enough confidence we could defend them. Do you have confidence that God could defend you while you were sitting down to a feast in the presence of your enemies?  You should.

We're not just talking about any feast. We're talking about a feast where YOU are the honored guest. How do you think your enemies would react if they had to sit and watch you get honored at a feast? It's probably as much "in your face" as you can get. Most of your enemies couldn't contain themselves. They would have to attack, even if they were greatly outnumbered. But, if they had to do this in the presence of the creator of the universe, I am sure they would show more restraint. They wouldn't be allowed to touch a hair on your head.

Our God loves us so much, cares for so much that our enemies don't stand a chance. The more we are tormented, the more we are rejected, the more we are isolated, by our enemies, the more honor, blessings, and grace we receive. The love of our God is strange to our enemies. It is a mystery to those who do not know him, but we know and we praise him for that love. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Walk don't Run!

Psalm 23 (New International Version, ©2010)

4 Even though I walk
   through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
   for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
   they comfort me.

This passage of scripture has comforted more people over the years. It has been quoted (along with the rest of Psalm 23) at countless funerals. God has provided this scripture, through David, for the purpose of comfort.

If I were writing this scripture, I might have changed it to this: "Even while I am running through the darkest valley, I will be afraid of everything until I remember you are with me." I can't imagine WALKING through a valley of darkness. Just visualize walking through a cemetery all alone at night. Could you walk? Not me!

I wish my faith was stronger. I wish I could confidently "Walk" through trials in my life. But, I am more likely to run like a wild man from my trials. That's where the rod and the staff come into play. A shepherds rod and staff served two purposes. One was for defense, but the other purpose was for "discipline". Believe it or not, sheep don't always go where they are supposed to. (neither do we) Sometimes they need some more aggressive guidance. How true that is about me? Yes, even that is comforting. Once I have committed my life to the Lord and lean on him for direction, he will do it. Sometimes that rod and staff hurt. But, they are necessary. Our Shepherd will take whatever means necessary to keep us on the right path and he will do whatever he can to protect us from evil. He does it so we can walk through life with confidence, even through the toughest of trials and tribulations.

God is with us. He loves us. He is our comfort. He carries a powerful rod and staff, but he loves us like no one else can. Amen to that! 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ahhhhh, Refreshed!

Psalm 23 (New International Version, ©2010)

 1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
 3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
   for his name’s sake. 

I am always amazed at what God speaks to me as I look closer at his word.  This verse is a good example.I have always thought about this in relationship to verse 2. I have taken it to read "He refreshes by BODY", but it really says "He refreshes my soul." Why would my soul need refreshed? The answer is simple. When I sin, and I do often, my soul needs refreshed. The next line goes along with it also. He "guides" me down the right paths.

It should be clear that we are going to sin. We are going to make poor choices. We are going to "veer" off the right path. But, the grace of God is there to guide us back to where we need to be and he will refresh our soul. He will help us to get rid of the guilt and get rid of the after affects of the sin. He is there for us. Their is no time limit in these verses. He is ALWAYS there when we want to be refreshed. He is always there to offer his wisdom and guidance. We just have to accept it and it is done.

Ask him. You will be refreshed.

Dear Lord, Thank you for being there for me. I know I am a sinner and yet you still wait to bail me out. You wait to refresh my soul and you are there to get me back on the right path. You are an amazing God. Amen!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A life of Peace!

Psalm 23:1,2 (New International Version, ©2010)

 1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, 

Right now it's hard to imagine anything green or quiet waters. With all the snow, wind, and freezing rain we've had for the last couple of days, I almost forget what green grass looks like. The only quiet water I've seen the last month is frozen. But, let's use our imagination and look forward to spring when the grass truly does live and turns a beautiful green.

If you really think about Psalm 23:2, it's quite a statement. I have always looked at this verse as the vision of tranquility. We have a beautiful, quiet pasture and gentle waters nearby. The scene is calming and relaxing. But, there is more to it. If you look at it from the perspective of a sheep it's a little odd. Sheep are not smart animals. Most of the time they think of one thing, eating. So if a shepherd can get his sheep to lie down in green pastures, he's accomplished something. I'm pretty sure the sheep will eat that beautiful green grass if they aren't already completely satisfied.

With the Lord as our Shepherd, we need to put our complete trust in him. We need to realize that he will provide us all that we need. When we get to the point where we can trust that, we can relax and rest. We can enjoy peace even in the midst of an out of control, crazy life. We need to get to the place where we can be satisfied with the life God has given us, before we can experience the tranquility of God's presence.

Dear Lord, Help me to be able to relax and enjoy your presence. Help Me to relax, lie down in green pastures, and enjoy my life. Thank You Lord for your love, grace, and patience. Amen!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I lack nothing!

Psalm 23 (New International Version, ©2010)

 1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 

I'm sitting here in the midst of the Blizzard of 2011 and thinking how Lucky I am. We are getting bombarded by snow, wind, and ice tonight and it's not supposed to stop for at least another 12 hours. Yet, I am sitting watching TV, blogging, and relaxing in the comfort of my own home. I just had a great meal prepared by my wonderful wife. I am warm, dry, have electricity, running water, and have to say I truly "lack nothing".

I can attribute my blessings to one thing. "The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing!" God provides everything for those who love him. I didn't say they get everything the want, that's different. When I "lack nothing" that means anything worth having, I have. I do not have a million dollars, but I have enough.  I did not have steak tonight, but I had a great meal. I do not live in a mansion, but it is more than sufficient. I don't have a high impact job, but I am fulfilled with what I do.

God knows our needs. He not only supplies those, but he goes beyond the needs and blesses us abundantly. How lucky I am to be counted a follower of the creator of the universe.

Dear Lord, Thank you for the blessings you have granted. Thank You for caring so much about me that you gave your life to save me. Thank You for wanting the best for me and for caring about my life. You are an awesome and powerful Shepherd and I am privileged to be a member of your flock.