Saturday, November 30, 2013
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. (Hebrews 13:15, 16 NIV)
Tonight in my Billy Graham devotional I read this story:
"Some time ago a lady wrote and said, “I am 65 years old. My children are all married, my husband is dead, and I am one of the loneliest people in all the world.” It was suggested to her that she find a way of sharing her religious faith and her material goods with those around her. She wrote a few weeks later and said, “I am the happiest woman in town. I have found a new joy and happiness in sharing with others.” That’s exactly what Jesus promised!"
Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season. The joy of Christmas is missed by so many people because they are lonely. Do you know someone who is lonely? I know quite a few elderly men and women who have lost their spouse? Many of these people spent a lifetime with their wives/husbands. They had grown together to be one. They had known trial and triumph. They promised to live together until the separation of death, then it happened. With that loss of a loved one, they lost a part of themselves. Now, they need the friendship of God more than ever. They lean on the strength of the almighty. In order for joy to re-enter their lives, God must fill the void. The loneliness can not be filled by people, it needs to be filled with love. Sure, lonely people can find love from other people, but they need the perfect love of Jesus. Nothing can replace it. The lonely need to find or maybe RE-find Jesus. Yes, even those who have known Jesus for years will need to rediscover his love through the Bible, Prayer, worship, and meditation. It is through that reconnecting, they will find new joy and purpose.
Loneliness doesn't just come from the loss of a spouse. Many people have never experienced the love of companionship. For them, this season is also quite difficult. They too need the love of Christ FIRST! It is not from experience that I share, it is from my heart. God does not mean us to mourn forever. He does not mean for us to be lonely. He does not intend for us to focus on what no longer is or what never has been. He wants us to center our lives on him. We are comforted by openly professing his name, doing good, serving others, and sharing our faith. Their is no time to waste, Praise God for the life he has planned for us.
Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. (John 14:19 NIV)
Sometimes I'm overwhelmed by the magic of my faith. I'm not talking about "pull the rabbit out of a hat" magic. I'm talking about the core of my faith, the death and resurrection of Jesus. The fact this happened over 2000 years ago and we still follow Christ is amazing.
The world doesn't understand. I need to help them understand. Because Jesus lives in my life, right now, November 30th, 2013, my life is blessed. I am living because of Jesus. I see so many people that breathe, they walk the earth, but they are not alive to life. They don't appreciate their daily life, they don't appreciate their families, coworkers, friends, and love. They don't appreciate the magic of a sunset or sunrise. They don't experience the REAL joy of Christmas or Thanksgiving. They live in a life without hope and promise. They don't know amazing grace except through song. The magic of my life is that Christ lives.
I am alive because Christ lives in me. His presence is magic and I praise him for loving me, even though I am a sinner. I praise him for his promise of life eternal. The great mysteries of life are solved through Christ. It's magic!
Friday, November 29, 2013
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 NIV)
I love my family and that's why I love Thanksgiving. We love each other no matter what. It's not because we have to, many families really don't love show much love for each other. I have seen so many dysfunctional families. Parents who disown children. Children that disown parents. I've seen abandon children and parents who cared only for themselves. Not my family. We enjoy being around each other. We have fun! We love each other, even though we live different lives.
It's not coincidental the Bible puts us in the middle of Gods Family. Family is meant to be just as God designed, FOREVER! We should love each other like Christ loved us. His own love is this, that while we were still sinners, he died for us. That same love should be a part of our everyday lives. We should love our families, like God loves.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6 NIV)
The holidays are anxious times for many people, not me. Our church is starting a new sermon series about family conflict. I have seen family conflict through my students, family, and friends. I know some family holidays look more like "Family Feud" than "Leave it it Beaver". I am so blessed to have a great family and I can not wait to get to spend time with them on Thanksgiving and every other day of the year. In fact, I long for retirement, not because I hate what I'm doing, but because I would love to spend more time with my family. I know some people who can't stand to be with their families and this time of year just brings strife.
I have a small message to those people who don't have the families they would hope for. Pray. My most consistent prayers are for my family. I don't pray they will change, or that they will get along. I don't pray about specific strife issues. I pray they will grow closer to Jesus. I pray that people will come into their lives to build their faith in Jesus. I pray they will be protected from evil and they will flee from it. I pray their hearts will be touched by the Holy Spirit and led in his direction, not their own. I pray they will love each other and serve each other out of that love.
Pray for your family. You will be amazed what God will do with those prayers. If you don't feel you have the relationship with God that you can ask him those things, you need to change that relationship right now. Your Father in Heaven wants you to be close to him, to love him and he longs to share in your life.
Praise God he has provided me with a family who loves him and loves each other!
Monday, November 25, 2013
and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:2 NIV)
I am not a perfume guy. I know some women who just love their perfume. They put a lot of money into smelling right. The most expensive perfume is listed below
1. Clive Christian No. 1 Imperial Majesty Perfume – $12,721.89 per ounce
Sunday, November 24, 2013
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16 NIV)
We are 4 days away from Thanksgiving. Many people can only think about Black Friday and Christmas. Christmas as a celebration of the birth of Jesus is a wonderul holiday. Christmas as a gift giving, shopping frenzy is depressing. The shopping days from Thanksgiving and Christmas are filled with "desires of the flesh". It is a strong statement about where we're at as a society. It's a problem that is much deeper than just shopping and over indulging. The solution to the problem is right before your eyes.
Walk by the Spirit!
We are traveling through life. We are walking and we could use a companion to make sure we travel the right direction and avoid the hazards of life. The Holy Spirit can keep us from concentrating on ourselves. We must connect with God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I need to connect continuously. I can't just do it on Sundays, just in my daily devotions, or just when I rise and when I sleep. I need to do it 24 hours a day. I fall far short of this and need to work at not ignoring the Spirit throughout my day. If I truly want to celebrate this holiday season 2013, I will work on my walk with the Spirit and ignore th desires to gratify myself!
Friday, November 22, 2013
If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13 NIV)
My family knows my favorite holiday of the year is THANKSGIVING . This year I am ticked! More and more stores are extending "Black Friday" to Thanksgiving Day. I think of Thanksgiving as a holiday with pure motives. The holiday is designed for family. It is designed for a family looking back on the past year and giving thanks. It's not about giving gifts, or getting stuff. It's not about shopping, sales, or bargains. Now that seems to be changing and it's sad. I don't want Thanksgiving to be known as the kick off for shopping craziness. The motive for the change is pure greed! Companies trying to profit and not caring about family.
We are a blessed nation. Is it too much to ask that we take one day each year to reflect on those blessings? Is it too much to ask we set aside 24 hours devoted to fellowship with our loved ones? Will there be more money to spend by adding another 12 hours to the mall hours? I can't believe people are so heartless they need to ignore this sacred time. We really need to get our priorities straight. Be thankful for our lives. Be thankful for our families. Be thankful for the love of the creator of the universe. Be thankful for the cross where Jesus sacrificed himself for our sins. Praise God for Thanksgiving Day!
Thursday, November 21, 2013
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9 NIV)
What does it mean to believe the story of Jesus? The dictionary says believe means to have a firm faith that something is true. Our belief in Jesus is not based merely on physical evidence or fact. God could have left an obvious trail to Jesus. The life of Jesus could have been covered in every culture, society, country or town. The life of Jesus could be indisputable with the right evidence. It's not. I think this is all part of the plan. God wants us to have firm faith when life is not easy. He wants us to trust him when society sees no proof he ever existed. So, our belief is firm faith.
I have a firm faith. I have seen personal evidence on a daily basis of the existence of God. My prayer life, my bible study, my worship, all add to the evidence. I don't have a photograph of Jesus in my wallet. I don't have a copy of a book he personally wrote. I haven't seen him, and I don't know anyone who has seen him. Yet, my faith is stronger today than any other day of my life.
It just takes an initial "Mustard Seed" of faith and see where it will go. You don't need to start with a form faith. When you do take that first step, you will soon develop that firm faith and realize you have all the proof you need to BELIEVE in Jesus Christ.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” (Genesis 28:15 NIV)
There is so much comfort in knowing my God will never leave my side. I know that he is not going anywhere until he has brought me home. He has promised to prepare a place for me. He guarantees it. I have nothing to fear and can enjoy life because of his promises. My heart is where it needs to be. That doesn't mean I don't make mistakes. It doesn't mean I can do whatever I want. It does mean I will overcome my mistakes and will learn from them. I will survive the evil and sin of this world, including my own. I feel his presence in my life, he makes sure of that. Praise God that he cares for me, watches over me, and walks with me every day.
I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. (Revelation 1:18 NIV)
I have lost many sets of keys in my life. I remember one time when my daughters were very young, I lost my keys around Halloween. We looked everywhere. I had to get new keys for work, my vehicles, and for home. Around Thanksgiving we were cleaning. I was getting ready to throw out the remaining Halloween candy and guess what I found in the bag of Candy? Yep, I found my keys inside the bag of un-eaten Halloween candy. Nobody had any idea how they got there.
I'm pretty confident God would never let me hold the keys to Hades. But, I'm glad he has them. My loving and powerful God is in charge of Eternity. He has overcome death, and wants all of us to join him in Heaven. He grudgingly opens the locked gates of hell. I am so thankful that he has promised me a home with him and that he has prepared a joyous place to live forever. While I'm here on this earth, I will work to bring others with me. I will do all I can to live a life that sets an example for others. I want to lead them to the cross and the sacrifice that Christ made. I pledge to help keep the gates of Hades closed, never to open for the ones I meet!
Monday, November 18, 2013
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, (Philippians 3:20 NIV)
Today was a crazy day. We started off our day with great worship at County Line. The sermon was good, even if a little unorthodox. The message was on Gun Control. We left church and went to our oldest daughter's for Thanksgiving. They are going to Florida over Thanksgiving break. Then we came home to April like storms in the middle of November. There were tornadoes, hail, heavy rain, wind, and lots of thunder and lightning. This is typical, unpredictable, Indiana weather! It sure makes life exciting.
Life is full of unpredictable events, some good, and some bad. I like the variety, most of the time. Other times, I am looking for a boring, predictable existence. The most anticipated event of my life is my final trip to Heaven and meeting Jesus face-to-face. If I want to have stability, and predictability in my life I only have to look to God. He is the same today, yesterday, and forever. I eagerly await the time when my only priority is sitting at the feet of Jesus and worshipping him.
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. (Romans 12:1 NIV)
In my life, what sacrifices have I made for others? I have to admit I've been more about myself than others. Probably the biggest sacrifice I ever made was giving up my job as Athletic Director to go back in the classroom. I did it so I could spend more time with my family and in ministry with CMA. It took 53 years for me to finally see I had my priorities wrong. I wonder how many blessings I missed because of my selfishness. Since I made my "Sacrifice" I have been blessed abundantly. I need to think more in terms of sacrifice. What do I have to give up that's getting in the way of me serving God? What can I do in my life to set my priorities straight?
It's hard to make changes on our own. Many times we need God's direct intervention. I have been preaching for God to help me change. I want to be more compassionate, more of a servant, and more of a minister for Christ. I did this through some struggles a few years ago and God sent me back to the classroom. Those prayers and the guiding of the Holy Spirit have changed me in a great way. As we offer ourselves to God and his plan, we worship God more than when we do in anytime of our life. Pray for God to change you. Look at your weaknesses and ask God to help you overcome them. Be ready for changes. God will hear you!
Friday, November 15, 2013
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16 NIV)
This is such a tricky concept. If you read it wrong it sounds like you are supposed to brag about your good deeds in front of others. You might also read it to say make sure you do your good deeds so others will see them. I don't see either of these interpretations as being accurate.
When I walk into a dark room I turn on the light to see. Why?
I don't turn the light on so I can see the light bulb, I turn it on so I can see the room.
A lightbulb's purpose is not to bring glory to itself. It's purpose is to shine on the glory of the room. In the same way I am not letting my own light shine to give glory to myself, but give Glory to the Father. I do not do the good deeds, serve others, or worship to put the spotlight to my own selfish pride. I do those things out of a desire to bring Glory to God. My motives have to be pure and clear.
Doing good deeds and glorifying God have to go together. I need to make sure I check my motives on a regular basis. Am I a member of CMA for my own glory or Gods. Do I teach for my own purposes or for Gods? It is so easy to fall in to the trap of selfishness.
How do I keep from focusing on me? First, you need to stay in contact with God. Just one day a week isn't going to do it. Regular devotions when you rise and when you go to bed is a minimum. Prayer constantly, am/pm and many times in between are a must. Worship and fellowship with people who share your passion for God. All of these things together will help us focus our light on others, not focusing others on us. Praise God his power, grace, and mercy are given to me to help me serve in his way!
Thursday, November 14, 2013
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV)
Do you remember the Army AD campaign to "be all that you can be"? The whole idea is that you can't reach your potential unless you join the army. Even though it was a little presumptuous, it was a great campaign slogan.
God could have used the same slogan, but it would be true. You really can't reach your true potential with out Christ. I know some great people who are not Christians. They exhibit great skill at their jobs, or in other areas of their lives. Yet, they still haven't reached where they could.
All of us could make improvements in our lives. The greatest improvements occur when you accept Christ as your savior. Your life changes to focus on others. Your life is less about what you can get versus what you give. It's ok that you will never reach perfection. We all need to direct our lives to get better. If you don't accept Christ you are missing out on a better life, a life filled with blessings that make life amazing.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. (1 Corinthians 15:13, 14 NIV)
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. (1 Corinthians 15:20 NIV)
One event is critical above all others as central to our faith......THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST! You can't have faith without the resurrection. Death is a fact of life. The power of our creator and the love he has for us is non-existent without the death and resurrection of Christ.
This FACT is so amazing that once you accept it, you will be changed forever. It's not just for Easter, it's for every day we walk this planet. This wonderful event is not just reserved for the Son of the High God, he shares it with us. We believers will accept this great gift once we die on this earth. We will rise to be with Christ. Why would you not want that? If you are unsure about the truth of the resurrection, you better relook at your faith. You can't believe in Jesus with out trusting the truth of the empty tomb. There is plenty of documentation. It is a FACT! But, eventually it boils down to the question if you believe. I choose to believe and it has changed my life from lost to found! Praise God for the resurrection of our savior!
When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. (Luke 23:33 NIV)
How could we have gotten it so wrong? We crucified Jesus, for what? I wasn't there, but it feels like I was. Would I have made a different decision than those that drove the nails? We treated him like a criminal, why? He did nothing wrong except proclaim love. He healed the sick, fed the hungry, and loved the forgotten. It doesn't sound too much like a criminal to me. He went against society to proclaim the truth.
Do I act like Jesus? It is not popular in today's society to love Jesus. Our country is getting more anti-Christian all the time. The rights of the minority overshadow my rights to worship and to try to convince others to know Jesus. Churches are being attacked, businesses like Chik Fil a and Hobby Lobby are being attacked because of their beliefs. We are being treated like criminals. Does it sound familiar? The only thing Christians are guilty of is loving and caring for people. Just because we don't embrace or in any way endorse gay lifestyle, doesn't mean we hate gays. Just because we fight for the life of the unborn, doesn't mean we hate those who have made that decision. Some of our Christian family cross the line in their fight for the unborn. Some take the fight for marriage to the extreme. They make us look like criminais. We are not criminals.
Christians need to continue to love people and teach the truth. We can not let the truths we believe in keep us forming living unconditionally. If we are criminalized like Jesus, we need to stay the course even unto the cross! Love first and fight for truth with that same love.
Monday, November 11, 2013
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29 NIV)
You're walking down the street. A man walks toward you. The man is Jesus. Would you recognize him? You would never walk down the street and pass a friend without recognizing them. You would probably even know them from a great distance.
You say, "How could I recognize someone I've never seen?" John knew Jesus because of God. John's relationship with God is so strong he knew Jesus like he had been with him his entire life. How well do you know Jesus? Do you speak with him every day? Do you study his life?
I act like the people I hang out with and they act like me. This phenomenon occurs in all relationships. The longer I'm married the closer my wife and I think alike. The friends I spend time with influence my thinking, my speaking, and my actions. It seems to make sense to spend time with Jesus and his Father so that I can act the way they do. Building a relationship with Jesus is critical to your life here on this planet and your future in eternity. You need to get to know Jesus as you would your best friend. You need to know him so well, you would recognize him anywhere and anytime. You will change by getting closer to him.
If you really want to change your life, make it better, get closer to Jesus!
He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: (Luke 24:6 NIV)
It is said that Christianity is unique. We are the only religion where our leader died and rose again to live with us. Indeed, the resurrection is the key to our faith. I am also promised a new life. I have received new life here on Earth. I am a different person as a follower of Christ. I will also receive a new life upon leaving this earth. I can't wait to get there. My life is wonderful here, but I can't even imagine how great my life will be in eternity.
It is great to be reminded of Christ sacrifice for us and his defeat of death. Often, I need to be reminded because the life I lead gets me so tangled up in the problems of this world. Christ rising and overcoming death gives hope and promise that we too can overcome. I need that on a daily basis.
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Get and read God ’s book: None of this is going away, this breeding, brooding evil. God has personally commanded it all. His Spirit set it in motion. God has assigned them their place, decreed their fate in detail. This is permanent— generation after generation, the same old thing. (Isaiah 34:16, 17 MSG)
I have REALLY been reading and studying the Bible for the last 13 years of my life. Even before that, all the way back to my childhood, I have been taught it's content. There is nothing like this book. If you want to know God, know his plan, know yourself, and learn about life, read the Bible. The philosophers of our time want answers to life's deepest questions. They need to look no further than the Bible.
Every day I learn something more during my study time. The word of God is a tool for life. It is to be deeply imbedded in our daily life. The Holy Spirit speaks through every chapter and verse. I thank you Lord for providing me with such a wonderful guide to having a blessed life.
Saturday, November 9, 2013
He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, (Luke 24:46 NIV)
I have a great life. If I really look closely at my 53 years, I have not suffered at all. Most of my struggles have been minuscule compared to the suffering Christ endured.
I committed my life to Christ as an early teen. Since that time, I have experienced a life filled with blessings and my micro-struggles were usually self inflicted. Even these have been minor. I praise God for the life he has given me. He has blessed me with a loving, Christ-centered wife, a family that loves The Lord, a job and coworkers who have passion for kids, great friends, financial security, and a life filled with adventure.
I am so thankful for the blessings of The Lord. I don't have a lot of experience with suffering. I know that some people do have a life filled with suffering and pain. I just can't relate. I am amazed he loves me with wonderul grace and passion. I am thankful for the suffering he did so I would not have to. Thanksgiving is still a few weeks away, but there is never a bad time to praise God and thank him for our wonderful lives. If your life is less than wonderful, what can you do to turn that around? Talk to The Lord. He will make it clear what needs to happen. It may not be anything YOU are doing. He is here for us. He wants you to call on him and he will be there for you. Your life will change. I have seen it happen so many times.
Thursday, November 7, 2013
Jesus said, “The first in importance is, ‘Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.” (Mark 12:29-31 MSG)
Last week I had a student say he had outgrown religion. That is sad. It's like they used to believe in Santa Claus and grew out of it. This faith I have is not like believing in the tooth fairy. I have also heard FAITH is for the weak minded. I guess I'm weak and stupid if society thinks I can't be intelligent and deeply follow Christ. I'm not among the intellectual elite, but I'm above average and every ounce of intelligence in my body is directed toward loving God. God is not a myth. God is real and I love him more than life itself.
This faith that I have is to some made up fantasy. The God of my faith is the creator oft he universe. He made everything and has a great desire to be with his creation. He decided to give us the choice wether we follow him or not. His amazing power is given to us in this choice. Many have rejected him, yet he loves us. He loved us so much that he sent his son to live and die with us. He died so that we might choose to live with him forever. He's real and, frankly, I have deep sorrow for anyone who outright rejects him as fantasy. They are missing out on the true joy of life and a life that extends throughout eternity.
Monday, November 4, 2013
For my part, I am going to boast about nothing but the Cross of our Master, Jesus Christ. Because of that Cross, I have been crucified in relation to the world, set free from the stifling atmosphere of pleasing others and fitting into the little patterns that they dictate............. (Galatians 6:14-16 MSG)
I'm 53 years old and I don't care!
I remember days gone by when I did everything I could to please my parents. I got older and had a family and I still wanted Mom and Dad to be proud of me. I began my professional work career and did everything to please my bosses and the company I worked for. I got more mature and jumped into education. I did everything I was asked and sacrificed my family time to serve my school. I lived for people and their praise. I lived for the approval of my peers!
Now here I am 53 years old and I don't care. I still work hard, I am constantly looking to do what's best for my family and for the kids I teach. The difference? I've stopped trying to please others and fitting into their mold. I don't care what people think of me. I ONLY care what my Heavenly Father thinks of me. Like the verse says, it's freeing to only have to please Jesus. I live my life for Jesus and his purposes. I teach for his purpose. I minister for him, I serve for him, I play for him, and I ride for him. It is for his glory and not my own. I don't much care if people like me. I don't car if they think I'm doing right, or living the way I should. I have one measure for my life and that is Jesus Christ.
because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. (2 Corinthians 4:14 NIV)
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV). So many people know of this verse from the Love Chapter. We always emphasize the Love because it is listed as the greatest. Yet, hope and faith are also critical to the life of a follower of Christ. The three are forever intertwined, so that we can not study one without the other.
Hope - As a child I would use the word hope as a question mark. My hope was a desire that realistically had no chance. "I hope I get a bike for Christmas!", "I hope my team wins." "I hope I do well on a test I didn't study for." Hope is not a question. Hope is a wonderful promise that can't get here quick enough. My hope as a 53 year old follower of Christ rests in the knowledge of his promises. The existence of my hope is an extension of my faith. I have the complete knowledge and faith in my own resurrection and eternal life. My hope is not questioning if it's going to happen, but when. My hope is an anticipation that it could occur at any moment. I look forward to my life beyond this planet. I long to be sheltered in my own room, created exclusively for me by my Heavenly Father. My hope is filled with nothing less than Jesus love and righteousness! Praise God he is Lord of all! He is Holy and has promised to take me with him!
Sunday, November 3, 2013
For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. (1 Thessalonians 5:9, 10 NIV)
To say that God is amazing is an enormous understatement. I can share 53 years of his "amazingness". The plan to send his son, have him live a human life, suffer the humiliation of crucifixion, rise in three days, and the sending of the Holy Spirit, is truly amazing.
These verses spark more thoughts of amazement. Now that I am a follower of Christ I live with him 24 hours a day, even while I sleep.
Sleeping is so important to our healthy lives. Nearly 1/3 of our lives is spent there. How we live our waking life greatly affects how we sleep. I sleep like a baby. I read my devotions, write the first draft of this blog, pray, and sleep. I'm not anyone special except to say that I'm a child of God. I have restful nights because of my Lord. I have busy days just like everyone else. This weekend has been filled with a Football game, CMA meeting, family, church, and more. I was so tired yesterday. This morning I am rested and ready to go again. I don't stress about the next day, anymore. I don't worry about the sins of my life. I don't stress about schedules, conflicts, deadlines, or other lifetime trials. I rest easy in the arms of a savior that loves me with an infinite grace. I rest easy that my entire family is under the watchful eye and powerful hand of God. I am together with Christ my entire life, even when I am resting from a busy day. Praise God for his 24 hour love!
Saturday, November 2, 2013
and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, (Revelation 1:5 NIV)
It's a couple days after Halloween. I saw a lot of fake blood. In our culture, Blood is a symbol of death and pain. So many people can't stand the sight of real blood, some even faint at the slightest amount. I'm ok with small amounts of blood, but not sure how I would react to large quantities.
Blood has a completely different meaning for Christians. God sent his son to be sacrificed for us. He could have just had him die in a simple method. Instead he sacrificed his son by humiliating him, and spilling his blood through torture and nailing to a cross. It would have been a gruesome sight to witness. I'm not sure how I would have reacted.
Since that day, blood has meant love and grace. Jesus gave us our freedom when he bled at the cross. He reconciled our sins, even though he had none. I am so thankful for his love and sacrifice for me. He took that one blood filled moment and overcame it. He rose from the dead and demonstrated the real victory over death and sin.
Friday, November 1, 2013
The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1 NIV)
I love watching old westerns. Bonanza, Gunsmoke, and other similar shows are just fun! The stagecoach was always a key symbol of the west. The stagecoach always had a strongbox to protect valuables. This portable safe was pretty secure, but it was too mobile. You always had to watch out for thieves that would steal the entire strongbox to get to the goods inside. All they had to do was steal it, take it to a secure area, and work to break it open in private.
The Lord is our stronghold. He's not like the old strongbox. You can count on him. His wisdom, grace, and love have saved us from eternal death. He is our light and once we turn our lives over to him, we have nothing to fear. We have nothing to worry about today, tomorrow, or for eternity. Praise God for his wonderful love.