Monday, November 28, 2011

Don't Flatter me!

1 Thessalonians 2

1 You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not without results. 2 We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition. 3 For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. 4 On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. 5 You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. 6 We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority. 7 Instead, we were like young children[a] among you.

Flattery (also called adulation or blandishment) is the act of giving excessive compliments, generally for the purpose of ingratiating oneself with the subject.

It is good to say nice things about people. Paying someone a genuine compliment is not as popular as in the past. I think it is hard to accept compliments. But, it's even harder to take flattery. Flattery takes a compliment to a different level. Compliments are always nice. But compliments lose their value the more you get. I always get suspicious of someone who goes overboard saying nice things about me. The reason is simple. I'm a sinner. I'm not that great a person. So, either the person dishing out the flattery doesn't really know me or they're just doing so for their own gain.

Paul had a tough time sharing the gospel message. People were suspicious of the message. It was new and unique. The early apostles of Christ had to be careful to be as genuine as possible. People then and people now can see through the "fluff". Their motives were questioned constantly. It's not much different than today.  The message of Christ today gets quite a bit of bad publicity. So, when  people here the message, they are cautious. We need to make sure we follow the early christian example. We need to be persistent, accurate, pure in motive, honest, open, unselfish, and innocent as children. We need to follow the guiding of the Holy Spirit. We need to be humble and constantly realize WE ARE SINNERS! Remember God is your witness. He is with you every time you share the message. He is looking for a pure heart with pure motives. The message doesn't need to be sweetened to make it great. Persistence and a pure heart committed to the Lord is all you need.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Louder than Words!

1 Corinthians 14

 6 Now, brothers and sisters, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what good will I be to you, unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or word of instruction? 7 Even in the case of lifeless things that make sounds, such as the pipe or harp, how will anyone know what tune is being played unless there is a distinction in the notes? 8 Again, if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle? 9 So it is with you. Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air. 10 Undoubtedly there are all sorts of languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning. 11 If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker, and the speaker is a foreigner to me. 12 So it is with you. Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church.

I don't know a whole lot about speaking in tongues. You have to remember I'm not a biblical scholar by any definition. I understand it's quite amazing when the Holy Spirit works through someone in this way. I've not witnessed it, but am fascinated by it. But, what good is speaking in tongues if no one can understand it? What good am I if I witness to others but can't do so in a way that is understood by the lost?

Have you ever heard someone try to speak to a non-christian, but get bogged down in one cliche after another? We might as well speak in tongues. It is our mission to speak the Gospel message so others can understand and relate to our story. Our great hope is to be the catalyst for change. We can't do that unless our message is clear and understood. I think the best way to make your message clear is not with your tongue, but your actions. Sharing your story in words can be very important. Just like a picture is worth a thousand words, our actions are worth ten times that.

As we get in to this early Christmas season, make sure your actions are speaking louder than the Christmas words we share. In the season where we all hope for Peach and Goodwill, make sure YOU  actually DO it.  Speak clearly about God's Love. Speak Clearly about what Jesus has done for you. Speak Clearly about the miracles the Holy Spirit has worked in your life. But, more importantly, show that the Spirit of God is behind all your ACTIONS and is the most important part of your life!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thank You for you!

1 Thessalonians 1

 2 We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. 3 We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

I'm not sure people realize the value of positive words of encouragement. It really doesn't matter if they come from family, friends, coworkers, bosses, or strangers. Everyone appreciates when someone talks well about them. Today is Thanksgiving Day. It's a great time to tell PEOPLE how much you appreciate them. There are no rules here except to be sincere. It always helps to be as specific as you can. There's nothing wrong with saying you appreciate someone, but what about them do you appreciate? It costs you nothing but it is valued more than any gift purchased on Black Friday.

 I am Thankful for my family. Specifically, I am so thankful they all Love the Lord and have made worshipping him a big part of their family. I am so thankful God has blessed me with a wonderful wife for 33 years. She is the greatest blessing I have ever received from God. Like all of my blessings, I don't deserve her and thank God every day for her love.

I am Thankful for YOU. You help motivate me to stay in God's word. YOU help me to meditate and consider what God is saying to me. This Blog is a place where God speaks to me. I pray those of you who read these posts are also open to the voice of God. Thank YOU!

Dear Lord, I am thankful for my family every day, not just on Thanksgiving. Thank you for giving them a faith they put in action every day. Thank You for the Love they share and the hope they live in winning others to your kingdom. Thank You for speaking to me through your word. Thank you for the Spirit which guides my life. You are an amazing and wonderful God. You are creator and savior for all mankind. Thank you for your grace and promises for eternity!
Thank you Lord! Amen!

Monday, November 21, 2011

What's love got to do with it?

1 Corinthians 13

 1 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

This is one of the most popular chapters in the Bible. It is most popular at weddings but it seems like everyone knows it. It is such a "pretty" chapter. it leaves you feeling all "gushy" inside. OR DOES IT? In fact, this verse is pretty tough on us. It is especially tough in verses 4-7. Do you consider yourself a Loving person. Can you live up to God's description of love.  If you're not quite sure try this: Replace the word Love with the word I. I found this in an internet site and was floored by it's impact. What do you think?

4 I am patient, I am kind. I do not envy, I don't boast, I'm not proud. 5 I don't dishonor others, I'm not self-seeking, I'm not easily angered, I don't keeps no record of wrongs. 6 I do not delight in evil but rejoice with the truth. 7 I always protect, always trust, always hope, always persevere. I never fail.

I don't know about you, but I'm in trouble. With that slight modification to these verses, I realize I'm not quite the "Lover" I like to think I am.
This is quite the standard God has set for us and frankly, this is what life's about.  All the other things that we deem as important are nothing. Knowledge, wisdom, and Faith are all important parts of our life as Christians. But, GOD SAYS, without Love we have nothing. The song "what's love got to do with it" can't be further from the truth. Love has everything to do with everything. Do I really love my family? Do I really love my wife? Do I love my GOD? If we can't accept this great definition of love, we can't say we really love at all.

Now on the other hand. God perfectly reflects all these great characteristics of Love. God sets the standard. We can only dream of working toward that standard. Our choice is, will be even try. He is all those things and so much more. When we realize, GOD IS LOVE, and then realize what Love is, we can begin to share that Love with others. Love is the key. True Love, is the key.

Dear Lord, Please forgive me for not really Loving you, my family, and my friends. Lord I am blessed to have your Love. Help me to share that Love as you would have me. Help me to understand what it truly means to love. Thank you for loving me. Amen.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

God's Geometry!

Acts 28

 11 After three months we put out to sea in a ship that had wintered in the island—it was an Alexandrian ship with the figurehead of the twin gods Castor and Pollux. 12 We put in at Syracuse and stayed there three days. 13From there we set sail and arrived at Rhegium. The next day the south wind came up, and on the following day we reached Puteoli. 14 There we found some brothers and sisters who invited us to spend a week with them. And so we came to Rome.

What a trip for Paul, bouncing from port to port, being shipwrecked, hitching rides on strange ships. I always taught, as a geometry teacher, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. If you want to get from point A to point B you follow a straight line. God doesn't always follow the rules of Math.

Paul is a perfect example of a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. He didn't whine, he didn't complain, he didn't pull a "Jonah", he just went where God took him. I know from my own experience, it's not always easy to follow the path God has laid before us. The path is not like an Interstate Highway. It's more like a meandering river.  But, every part of the plan is important for the purposes of Christ. There is nothing by chance. When we are committed followers of Christ, we must relinquish control of the plan. We need to be willing to trust in the Lord to take us where he wants us to go. We might scratch our head and wonder. We might even question him. But, he is perfect. His plan for us is perfect. Geometry doesn't matter.

If we let him be in control and willingly follow where he leads, we will be on the greatest adventure ever. We will see people, places, and do things we never imagined. But, the blessings will be amazing. Praise God he is in control. Praise God he has a personal adventure planned just for me. Praise God! Praise God! Praise God!

Saturday, November 19, 2011


1 Corinthians 12

 4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
 7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,[a]and to still another the interpretation of tongues.[b] 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. 

What's your best? What is it that no one else can do like you? I'm watching IU Basketball. I am amazed at the skill level of those "kids" on the court. I am equally amazed at my pastor, Stuart Kruse, and his great ability to be able to deliver the Word of God. My wife is an amazing Special Education instructor. We all know doctors, lawyers, teachers, social workers, businessmen, moms and dads that are exceptionally gifted at what they do. It is the Spirit of God living within us that supplies our gifts. These verses emphasize over and over, these gifts come from one spirit, from one God, not a bunch of different Gods.

When I've read these verses in the past, I've always concentrated on the variety of gifts people have. But, what do all these gifts say about God. What kind of God has all of these GREAT attributes? We always look at the majesty of the Mountains, the beauty of a sunset, the vastness of the universe, to describe the awesomeness of God. We use the miracles of our daily lives to describe his power. What about the diversity he has created in us? The seemingly infinite gifts that God has granted, say so much more about my God than the gifts say about us.  

We are created in the image of God. His character and his image is reflected in the gifts we all have and so much more. My God is an awesome God. Think about that great pastor, counselor, teacher, lawyer, athlete, mom, dad, friend, co-worker, social worker, business owner, politician, nurse, doctor, soldier, fireman, policeman, scientist, and more. All of those GREATS together are just a hint at what God is. How can you not worship a great God like that?! He is God. He is Great! There is no other!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I told you so!

Acts 27

 21 After they had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. 22 But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. 23Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me 24 and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ 25 So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. 26Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.”

Ok, I have to admit. I think this is a little funny. Paul was a prisoner on this ship and he warned the crew that they shouldn't sail. All of the sudden they got stuck in a Hurricane, a "Noreaster". I am sure when he told them "I told you so" it went over like a lead balloon. SO now, with the storm raging, he's providing great words of courage and comfort, except the last sentence. They are going to crash! Yet, he's just not sure where!

I hate it when someone tells you "I told you so". But, I really enjoy telling someone else! Am I the only one who thinks that way? But, there is one time I would love to share those words. When we all get to Heaven, I am looking forward to saying "I told you so" to all those who are there with my help. That will be a glorious time indeed. But, I sure don't want to share that sentiment with those who will NOT be there with me. How can I prove to them, RIGHT NOW, the reality of eternal life through Christ. The only way to attain it is through the Son of God. The  only goal I have in life is to take all of you with me to paradise. I want all my family there. I want all my friends. I even want all my enemies! 

Lord, give me the words, give me the opportunities, give me the boldness to share with others. Help me to convince them of the wonderful life you have prepared for them both HERE and in ETERNITY! I am your vessel, your hands and your feet. Amen!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What do you take for granted?

1 Corinthians 11

 27 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.

Communion is one of my favorite worship activities. Yes, I said WORSHIP. Our church does not take communion every week. I know some do and I'm not going to be critical of those traditions. But, personally, I like taking communion on a less frequent basis. As in all things, I have a tendency to take them for granted if they occur regularly. I can give you several examples: I take it for granted that I have a place to eat and sleep each night. I take it for granted that I have a steady paycheck. I take it for granted that I have a fantastic wife who loves me and treats me like a King. (Not the treatment I deserve) I take for granted the free country I live in. I take for granted I can worship in the way I choose and take communion without the penalty of death. I take for granted many, many things in my life. What do you take for granted in your life?

Sometimes, when I take communion it's easy to treat lightly what it truly means.   It is easy to take for granted what Jesus did for me.

Communion is to remind me what Jesus did for me on the cross. It has been handed down for centuries from Jesus himself. Yet, I can't say I have always treated it with the dignity it deserves. The thought of Jesus being crucified for my sins, the thought of him dying a senseless death because of me, brings me to my knees, praying for forgiveness. It's when I lose sight of that reality, that I don't treat the worship of communion as it should. 

Please forgive me Lord, for taking YOU for granted. Please forgive me for the times I am more worried about Sunday Lunch or the Sunday Football games than taking communion with dignity and respect. Lord you have freed me from sin by you selfless, grace-filled, act. You are God and yet you gave up your life for me. Forgive me. I Love you with all my heart! Amen!

Monday, November 14, 2011

You can pay me now or pay me later.

Acts 2

 28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”
 29 Paul replied, “Short time or long—I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”

This Fram Oil Filter commercial is a classic. Sludge builds up in the hearts of those who don't know Christ. That sludge can do damage to the heart. It takes patience to clean the heart, rebuild some parts, and replace others. Sometimes the damage is overwhelming and time is the only thing that will help. Don't give up. You can't just use one approach. You can't just think that changing the oil will cure the problem. Sin causes a lot of damage. It takes time to clear that damage and heal the heart. Lives need rebuilt and old destructive habits need replaced. That's why the believer should never give up on anyone. Sometimes it just takes time. Never give up!

The real problem, though, is not giving up. Most of the time, the real problem is getting started. We need to get off the couch and SHARE the gospel. Sure many will not accept it immediately. Some will out-right reject it, at first. The sin in their lives is like the sludge in an engine. It does serious damage and can take time to thoroughly clean. 

Building a relationship with non-believers is the best place to begin the change. We can share the gospel with our actions, not just our words. We also need to be in constant prayer for those we encounter. We need to pray for opportunities to share. We need to pray for the heart to be open to the message of the gospel. Then we just need time and patience to wait for the Lord to work. We can't fix things like a 60 second commercial. Everyone will face Christ for the final judgement. If we choose Christ now, the bill has been paid for by Christ. If we choose to wait, we might not get the chance. Engine failure will be eminent without Christ.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Deer Encounters!

1 Corinthians 10

 11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation[c] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted[d] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,[e] he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

It's the middle of November and I had the great joy of riding "Harley" in two parades on Saturday for Veterans Day. THe weather was a little chilly in the morning, but it was wonderful most of the day. The riding days for 2011 are certainly numbered. We may not have many left. It also happens to be deer hunting season. November and December are peak deer accident season. While riding on Saturday, I couldn't help but think about the possibility.

My closest encounter with a Deer was about 7 years ago. I had my Goldwing and went to a sectional girls soccer game. On my way back, along Hwy 18, I saw farmers taking out corn in fields on both sides of the road. Suddenly, I also saw a big buck flee from the corn field into my path. It all happened so quickly. The deer saw me and I saw him CLOSE UP! He put his two front hooves straight down to brake himself (about 6 inches from my leg). I went to accelerate and veer to the left. He slowed just enough to let me by, as he jumped over my saddel bags and rear trunk. He snapped off my rear antenna and took the paint off the top of the trunk. I just kept on going, shaking but safe!

One of the best safety tips for riding Harley is: Keep alert! Always be alert for a potential accident and prepare an escape route. You should know what's behind you, in front of you and coming from each side. You have to plan an escape route for every situation. You need to constanly think what will I do if????? God provided for my safety that night. He gave me a way out and I was kept safe. He will do the same when it comes to temptation. you are not going to encounter something God isn't prepared for. He will always be in control and have an escape route for you. All you have to do is rely on him. If you truly claim him as the Lord of your life, you will have nothing to fear. He will see you through every crisis. Rely on him!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

People never forget and rarely forgive.

Acts 25

 6 After spending eight or ten days with them, Festus went down to Caesarea. The next day he convened the court and ordered that Paul be brought before him. 7 When Paul came in, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him. They brought many serious charges against him, but they could not prove them.
 8 Then Paul made his defense: “I have done nothing wrong against the Jewish law or against the temple or against Caesar.”

Paul was ruthlessly attacked by the Jewish leaders. It sure sounds alot like politics in America. When someone in America decides to run for major political office, they better be ready for the storm. Several great candidates including our own Governor Mitch Daniels have decided to forgo the strain because of their families.  I can understand that. No one is perfect, we all have "skeletons in our closet." It would be great if we could honestly air those and move forward. But, that just can't happen, especially in politics. It should but it can't. You can't explain your life of sin before Christ. It takes too much time and our society is too interested in 10 second sound bites. 

Even if you're not guilty, no one wants to know about it. In our country we take pride in innocent until proven guilty. That certainly holds true in criminal trials. But, in every day life, it's far from true. In politics, it's guilty until proven innocent. You are guilty on the front page and you're cleared on the back page.

It's time our country has compassion for people who genuinely make mistakes and are sorry for those errors in judgment. We need to be able to forgive and move on. Even more so are those who are ASSUMED to be guilty and are not. Those who accuse are not held to the same scrutiny as those accused. We need to leave room for the sinner in all of us. I am not like Paul, I have made mistakes in my life. Mistakes I'm not proud of. Yet, they are buried in my past. I don't want or need to bring them up. God has forgiven me and he has forgotten. People never forget and rarely forgive. Paul didn't even need to hide his sin, but it didn't free him from the attacks. 

This world is ruthless. We can only survive with the power of a Savior who is full of grace and love. God forgives and forgets. He is there for us, through guilt and innocence.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


1 Corinthians 9

 19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 

Tomorrow is Veterans Day. The greatest freedom I have is the freedom to worship the Lord Jesus Christ. This freedom has been earned with the blood of service men all over the world. I know we spend a lot of time talking about defending democracy and I am proud to be a part of this country. On Tuesday, I spent time going to the voting booth just to vote for Mayor. But, the freedom I cherish the most is more precious than the right to vote. The freedom I can't live without is the freedom to OPENLY develop my relationship with Christ and to encourage others to do the same. THERE IS NO FREEDOM GREATER! It is a freedom worth dying for. 

The veterans in our military deserve to be honored, not just tomorrow, but every day because they have unselfishly defended my right to love the Lord. We should use our freedoms to share the Gospel with as many as we can. We should cash in this freedom and become slaves to the message of Christ. What good is this freedom if we don't use it for the kingdom. 

Tomorrow do two things. First honor our veterans in a special way. Do it like you have never done it before. Personally thank them for your freedom. The Second thing you need to do is share that freedom by sharing the gospel message with someone who needs it. You have the freedom to share. Don't waste it!

Praise God for our Troops!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

How can you fear that?

Acts 24

 24 Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus. 25 As Paul talked about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.” 26 At the same time he was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe, so he sent for him frequently and talked with him.

Doesn't it seem odd that the presentation of the Gospel can generate fear in someone with the power of Felix? In the Bible, one of the most popular sayings is "to fear the Lord". Many of the early Christians, in the Bible, talk about "death is gain." Stephen was stoned to death for his belief. We are asked to sacrifice, give up stuff, and deny ourselves. An unbeliever could easily become "scared" by all of this. SO, it doesn't surprise me that Felix was fearful. In his mind he has a lot to lose by turning his life to Christ.

I have been a Christian for nearly 40 years. I can honestly say I have never felt it a sacrifice following Christ. As a matter of fact, I have been embarrassingly blessed by God. I have been blessed WAY beyond what I deserve. But, the greatest reward is the guarantee that I will live forever in paradise with Jesus. What kind of sacrifice is that. If you view following Christ from the "Worlds Perspective" you are certainly going to be disappointed. The sinner can't see God and they can't see the rewards either. 

Worshipping God, life everlasting, no pain, no suffering, no sorrow. How can you fear that? 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Are you smart enough to Love God?

1 Corinthians 8

2 Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. 3 But whoever loves God is known by God.
I am really fond of the show "Are you smarter than a 5th grader?" I believe most people think they are smarter than a 5th grader. Notice I said think. It always amazed me how difficult some of those questions are. But, I was also surprised how many guests didn't know the simplest questions. My favorite was: What country, located directly north of the United States, shares a border with the US. The contestant had to have help. Oh Boy! Do you know people who think they know everything? "know-it-alls" I am sure we can all think of someone. Some people pursue wealth and others pursue knowledge. I wish they would pursue God with the same passion.
We are not as smart as we like to think we are. When it comes to things of God, his plans for us, and his desires, we always think we know more than God. Sometimes, I act like I know as much as God. It's obvious that's not anywhere near true. I can't remember the last time I created anything like a universe! I can't remember the last time I controlled the course of human events, or healed anyone. 

I am not God. You are not God. We are not God. There is only one God and his knowledge is infinite. His Love is forever. God doesn't want us to try to be as smart as he is. He doesn't care what we know. All he cares is that we love him. Love is better than any knowledge we could think of acquiring. Being known by God and loving him is more important than any knowledge we could gain. Stop trying to be God. Instead try just loving him and see how smart you really can be. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Grade your ministry!

Acts 23

10The dispute became so violent that the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them. He ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force and bring him into the barracks.
 11 The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.” 12 The next morning some Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. 13 More than forty men were involved in this plot.

You can tell Paul was really making an impact in the world, why? Because he was so vigorously challenged by others. He was opposed on so many different levels, from so many different groups of people, because he was being so effective. Yet, he never backed down from the challenge. He not only survived this threat of death, he thrived throughout. I know that God was pleased with his ministry. I would give his ministry excellent marks. In terms of school I would say he deserves an "A".

How effective am I in my ministry? Does the enemy view me as much of a threat? What grade would I be given?  I'm ashamed to say that my ministry is not as effective as it should be. I have not always stepped up to the challenge of the ministry I have been selected. I think it would be generous to get a grade of "D". I'm not proud of that. I need to do more for the Kingdom. 

Dear Lord, Please forgive me my ineffectiveness. Please forgive me for not giving everything I have toward spreading your Gospel. Give me the strength to do your will. Help me to be your hands and feet in this world. I love you and I want to be effective for you. Help me to grow in your wisdom and your love. Amen!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thanks Steph, you're amazing!

1 Corinthians 7

 10 To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. 11 But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.

I can't imagine not being married to my great wife. I'm not just saying that for bonus points. (LOL!) Stephanie and I have been married for over 33 years. I can truly say we have never even considered separating or divorcing. It hasn't even been a "hint" of a thought. Not that we haven't had our disagreements, we have. Not that our lives have been a Utopia, it hasn't. But we made a commitment to each other. We Love each other and have grown together. Our lives have been an adventure ordained by God and it's God that has kept us together.

I just don't understand how people can make commitments and then just discard them so easily. Divorce and separation are more the norm than the exception in our society. When things don't go well, when rough patches come up, it is easy to just give up and start over. It's easy to just walk away. Waling away and giving up seldom solves the problem. I have noticed that the rougher my life gets, the more I value my great wife. Marriage is hard work. It's give and take. It's a joint venture between two people who love each other and say they are willing to work to follow through with the lifetime commitment. 

Those that have stuck with it, reap rewards that are amazing. I Love my wife and enjoy handling the challenges we face together. I can't imagine going through life without her. Thank you God for blessing me with a wonderful wife. Thank Steph, you're amazing!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Acts 22
 14 “Then he said: ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. 15 You will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.

What are you waiting for! Get up,get going! Even Christians, sometimes, need a swift kick in the rear end to get them working for the Lord. Yet, we are chosen by God to go into all the worl to preach the gospel message. It is easy to get comfortable and just wait on Gods power to do all the work. Sometimes we don't take action due to laziness. Other times we are paralyzed with fear. When we hear a call from the Lord, we have nothing to fear and we should be very motivated. God is waiting for us to take action and we need to get out of our funk and go forward.

Ministering, witnessing, evangelizing, and serving are not easy. Our sinfulness and the world get in the way of us taking action. We need God to help us take action. We need his spirit to motivate us to march forward in his name. Some will be called to serve in foreign mission, some in churches, others in schools, hospitals, and still others in the factory. We aree called to go, but we are also called to take action for him. What are you waiting for?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

1 Corinthians 6

 1 If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people? 2 Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! 4 Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, do you ask for a ruling from those whose way of life is scorned in the church? 5 I say this to shame you.

I have been reading this scripture for the last three days trying to let it speak to me. It hasn't until now. Even now, it is off base from the point Paul is trying to make. But, the spirit moves in mysterious ways.

Who do you have to confide in? Do you have someone you go to for WISE counsel? I used to go to my Dad. He was a great Pastor and wise father. I have had close friends over the years that I have been able to open up to and seek counsel. But, at this point in my life I really don't have anyone. I'm not talking about a spouse, that's a different kind of counsel. A husband and wife are so close to each other, (or should be), that they start thinking exactly the same. It's like going to yourself for advice. You need someone else. You need someone more objective and separated from the circumstances. It is important to have a close CHRISTIAN friend to go to for wisdom. You can't just pick anyone. They have to be filled with the spirit and centered on the Lord. They need to be studyers of the word and open to Gods leading. Almost sounds impossible to find doesn't it. Makes me miss my Dad even more than ever.

Lord send me someone to counsel with. All Christians need that someone. But wait! Thank YOU for being there for me in lieu of a human counselor. You are the great counselor. Why would I need anyone else but you? I thank you for being the great listener. Thank you for prompting me to follow the wise path. Thank you for never giving up on me and not giving me what I deserve. Praise God for your wisdom, power, love and WISE COUNSEL!