Thursday, July 31, 2014


But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven. (Matthew 10:33 NIV)

Have you ever been embarassed about your faith? Have you ever hidden it from a crowd of non believers? I think at some point in everyone's life you have those feelings of discomfort being a Christian around nonbelievers. I'm guessing that most Christians have not outright denied Christ in public. But, I'm guessing we have all done that in subtle ways. We might not come to the defense of someone being harassed. We might have even made fun if other Christians or discounted the value of our faith. Do you still pray in open for your dinner but do pray at home? We all have times we aren't the best at standing up for our faith.

One of my favorite verses is when Joshua says 

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15 NIV)

It's a bold statement among nonbelievers. 

The older I get, the bolder I get and the less I care about what others think of me. It's taken years to get there. We live in an extreme time of "political correctness" and persecution as Christians.  We can't offend anyone without being strongly chastised. So, it's not popular to stand up for your faith. It's considered extreme when we are bold for Jesus. Yet, that is exactly our call. The end is near. We do not have a moment to waste. Hiding in weakness from disbelievers is not considered sharing the gospel.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The love of a little girl for her baby brother-- God feels the same about you!

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. (Psalm 36:5 NIV)

I saw this amazing video yesterday. A little girl has an absolute meltdown because she didn't want her baby brother to grow up. She exclaimed through great moaning and lamenting that she didn't want him to grow up because he was so cute. 

Here is the link:

Her great love and faithfulness to her baby brother just might get close to the amazing love God has for us. He longs for our relationship. He wails and cries at the rejection we show him. This psalm says it all. We serve a God that loves us so much that it reaches the infinite expanse of space. His heart is focused on us for eternity. How could you ever turn down that kind of love?

I rejoice and humbled by your love Lord. I admit I can not fathom the height and depth of that love. I love you Lord and pledge my life to you in service and grace. Thank you Lord, thank you, thank you. I deserve nothing and you have given it all for me! Amen!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

You don't have to throw your brains in the trash to follow Christ!

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14 NIV)

I am nearing the conclusion of my summer bible study about why I believe. It's been wonderful. I have to admit that, publicly, with non-believers, I haven't been very confident in my faith. It's not that I didn't trust God, I didn't doubt his existence, and I believe, but my faith has been weak. This summer I realized why? I have been listening to much to the world and their "facts" that God doesn't exist. After this study (Why I believe - Chip Ingram) I am inspired by the amount of overwhelming evidence their is to the truths of the bible, creation, Jesus, and the existence of MY God, the one, true, God. 

I am a mathematician, lover of science, and an amatueur history buff. I always felt a struggle between these three passions and my faith. Now I know, as Chip Ingram states, "You don't have to throw your brains in the trash to be a follower of Christ!" I always felt the quiet need to apologize for my faith in front of my learned colleagues. I am no expert scientist, nor historian, published mathematician, or famous theologian. But, now I know of people who are all of those things that have dug deep and come to the absolute, logical conclusion, that the Bible is accurate, and verifiably true, beyond any reasonable doubt, that evolution and the Big Bang are greater leaps of faith than my beliefs, and that historical records can back up the existence of MY GOD and the faith I subscribe. We all have faith choices to make. We believe in the God of the Bible, or we have faith in some other theory. We can deny the facts before us. But, there has never been a doubt in my life as I look at the impact MY GOD has had on my life.

I can't say it any stronger: I believe God created the Universe, he sent his Son to die for us that we may live with him forever in eternity and he has forgiven all my sins by his death on the cross. He has sent the Holy Spirit to guide and be forever present in my daily life and he has given us his Holy word to help us know of his love for us and plan for our lives. 

I KNOW it to be true!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Beyond the Christmas list prayer!

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16 NIV)

I am a prayer warrior! I love to pray. I do it on a regular basis. I can't say I don't have times where I'm not consistent. But, for the past 15 years, or so, I have prayed! The power of prayer is unbelievable to those who haven't done it. It's life changing. To approach the throne of God with your life is amazing. Every time I pray, I am filled with the knowledge of mercy and grace. Every night, every morning, I am reminded of the grace and mercy I receive through Jesus. 

I remember the first times I prayed, beyond the emergency prayer of distress. Beyond the Christmas list prayer for "Santa Jesus". I remember getting on my knees in my living room in Elkhart, Indiana after reading a book. The book was how to grow spiritually strong kids. The focus of the book surprised me. It said the key to Jesus centered kids was a Jesus centered Dad. It said you can't bring your kids to know Jesus on a personal basis if YOU don't know him on a personal basis and even then you need the power of the creator of the universe to change your kids. We can't successfully navigate life without approaching the throne of God in confidence that he will be there and respond. Not confidence in ourselves, but confidence in him!

Your life might be in turmoil right now, pray to God. Your life might be perfect right now, pray to God. You might be blessed beyond your wildest imagination, pray to God! You may be in the deepest depression ever, pray to God. There is no reason to wait to pray! Every time is the right time. Pray! Go beyond the lists of wants, approach the throne and just enjoy the presence of God! You are invited by the Creator of the Universe to talk, scream, cry, plead, and listen. Praise a God for this wonderful blessing.
Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God (1 John 3:21 NIV)

The truth of this verse is, our hearts do condemn us. 

First I should say, there is truth. There is right and wrong. There is a plan which is perfect. God's plan is perfect AND we know in our hearts the plan. We know clearly right from wrong and we know the things that separate us from our God.

Our problem........My problem, is not listening to my heart. To often I listen to the voice of the world. To often I listen to my sinful nature and shut out the voice that comes from my heart. That voice is the direct voice of the Spirit of God. When I asked God in to my life he set permanent residence in my heart. The Holy Spirit is there speaking to me throughout my entire day. I just need to listen.

I need to learn to listen to the voice of God. I find I am a bt were listener when I focus on daily bible study, fellowship with other Christians, and prayer. If I don't do these things the voice of God is ignored, blown off, ignored. 

Set up a plan.

It takes only about 15 or 20 minutes in the morning to study the bible and pray. There are hundreds of plans set up to help you study the word. Prayer at bedtime and more study, again, takes only another 15 or 20 minutes. You have the power to draw closer to God and gain confidence in his presence. Fill your heart with the things of God and watch the magic of your salvation explode before your very eyes.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

I'm back!

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. (1 Corinthians 15:10 NIV)

Vacation is not officially over for another 9 days. However, vacation is over. Stephanie and I are home and will be back at school starting Monday to prepare for the arrival of students a week from Tuesday. We have a back to school night  this week and a lot to do! 

I am so thankful for who I am, what I do, and I praise God for his countless blessings. He has made me who I am. His grace has changed me. Although, I'm not who I want to be. I am so much more than I would be without him. I will make a bold statement, 

"You are NOT a follower of Christ if you can not see the change in your life."

God's power is amazing and has a very noticeable change in your life. It gives you a desire to do more. It gives you the desire to serve and draw even closer to the wonderful savior that died for us. It gives you a heart filled with love and forgiveness. If you can't sense those gifts and the many blessings God has granted, if you can't feel his presence in your life right now, you need to get on your knees and pray that he enter your life. Pray that he will become real in you and change you. If you are sincere, those changes will happen and the results will be amazing. Do it now!


Sunday, July 13, 2014

This is hard!

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:4 NIV)

I'm on my journey to memorize the book of Romans. I am only on verse 3. I have "memorized" the first three verses. It's a shaky start. If I'm put under pressure, I'm not sure I could do it. This is hard! It just proves how terrible my memory is. But here it is, by memory, 

          Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of   
     God, the gospel promised beforehand by his prophets through the holy scriptures regarding 
     his son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, (Romans 1:1-3)

I'm still doing my normal daily bible study, but my focus is on the book of Romans. SA James 1:4 says, I need to persevere. I believe God wants me to take on this task to write his great words on my heart and in my mind. I am determined. 

Listening to the voice of God through the scriptures does not make me a great person. It doesn't set me apart. It's taking those words and using them to change the lives of others, that's the goal. I have just come to realize, I can not change the lives of others through the scriptures if I don't KNOW THE SCRIPTURES! Knowing the scriptures beyond just studying them is a worthy goal. But using that knowledge to change lives, that is the ultimate goal! I must persevere in this challenge.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

I need to change that!

Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. (1 Corinthians 14:1 NIV)

To my embarrassment I did not know what each if the gifts of the spirit were. So here is a list I got from Bible . How many of us "eagerly desire" these gifts? I think many would pursue wisdom and knowledge. Very few would pursue gifts of prophecy, faith healings, working miracles, or any of the others.

1. The Word of Knowledge
2. The Word of Wisdom
3. The Gift of Prophecy
4. The Gift of Faith
5. The Gifts of Healings
6. The Working of Miracles
7. The Discerning of Spirits
8. Different Kinds of Tongues
9. The Interpretation of Tongues

I have been a Christian since my early teens. I have attended church, read the Bible, and attended countless Bible Studies or Church education opportunities. I have taught youth, adults, and led studies myself. Yet, I still know very little of God's word. I need to change that. In my study, I found that EVEN pastors do very little bible study outside sermon preparation. It's sad that we don't spend more time in his word. We don't make it a part of us. We aren't prepared to share God's word with the lost. I am included. I need to change that. I'm going to change that. 

I have committed to memorizing the book of Romans. I got the idea from a bible study I'm doing. I feel I need to do this to take my bible study to the next level. I feel led to make scripture more of my thought process and prepare myself to share at any moment, at any place, under any circumstances. Wish me luck!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Real stories of the power of God!

Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” (John 11:40 NIV)

I have seen the glory of God! Ok, I haven't seen a "Lazarus" brought back to life after four days of death. I have HEARD stories of people coming back to life, but never witnessed it. God's glory can be seen in many other situations. 

I have seen the glory of God through my marriage. He led me to a wonderful wife as a high school student and when no one thought it could work, he gave his blessing. The Lord brought us together and helped us stand up against those that said it could not endure. It is his glory that has forged a wonderful loving family and brought us through life's many struggles.

It's not through my power, but through the glory of God. I have a daughter that wasn't supposed to be able to walk. We were told it would be best to abort her.  Through the Glory of God, she is a beautiful woman, living on her own,( too far for her dad in my opinion), and a miracle as powerful as the resurrection of Lazarus. 

have seen the glory of God through my three daughters and the growth of their families and the trials they have faced.

I have seen the glory of God through a significant career change with months of no real salary, supporting a family, to survive and thrive in the field of education working with young people.

I have been rescued from financial ruin, of my own doing, to live a truly blessed life with no scars of the trauma and truly grew spiritually through the entire experience. That's the glory of God.

I have blown a tire on a motorcycle traveling 75 mph, been able to slow the motorcycle to a safe stop on the side of the road, by no power of my own. That's the glory of a God.

I have been blessed to be a part of ministry throughout my life and see people come to The Lord, first in Youth ministry, then in teaching adult Sunday school, and now being a member of the Christian Motorcyclist Association. All of this through the power of the glory of The Lord. 

I have countless experiences I can point directly to the glory of The Lord. I know similar stories of lives changed through the glory of God. My friends, my family, and my coworkers all have powerful stories of God's glory. I have heard stories from strangers that move me to my knees through the glory of a God. God is alive and active here and now. He has transformed me and continues to do so. I am not finished witnessing his power. I am more aware of his power now than ever before in my life. His glory, his power, his love,is real, it's active, and it's powerful! I love you Lord! Thank you for revealing your glory to me every day of my life.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

My enemy will suffer!

Let death take my enemies by surprise; let them go down alive to the realm of the dead, for evil finds lodging among them. As for me, I call to God, and the Lord saves me. (Psalm 55:15-16 NIV)

Does this verse shock you? It seems pretty harsh. I had to do some work investigating, studying its meaning because it bothered me so much. Really this is not a very good translation of the tone of this verse. It seems harsh but it's not. The wording makes it appear to be a wish by King David. It's meant to be a prediction, not a desire. 

The enemies of God are going to perish and it's not going to be pretty. Death will be sudden. There will be no turning back. It will be forever. It's a fact. You can try to sugar coat it. It's easy to feel sadness and pity for the lost. But the final choice is theirs, not ours. I serve a loving God that does not wish anyone perish, but he will not yield. The choice has been granted to each of us. That choice has dire consequences. 

The harsh feelings we have toward our enemies are normal. But, we can not forget the directions Jesus gives us. We are to love our enemy. Justice will be served. The end will be harsh. God will deal with their sins just like he will deal with ours. Until that time, we are to love them as much as we can, protect ourselves, and protect the message of Christ. Judgment will come!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Serve - Endure - Sacrifice

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, (Philippians 3:10 NIV)

Being an educator, my first thoughts of this verse is ACADEMIC. To know Christ I need to study him, his life, and his messages through the a Bible. Obviously, I need to do that. KNOWING Christ is so much more than studying him. We need to take that knowledge and live it. That really is the struggle. How can I become like Jesus, participate in his sufferings, even unto death. When I think of the suffering of Christ I go right to the Cross. The Cross is the ultimate sacrifice. Not many of us will be in a position to die for someone else. So what does Jesus life mean for us? What are we to do to become like him in his death.

Sacrificial living is the best way to become like Christ in death. Knowing the power of the resurrection should give us strength to overcome the persecution of living a life sharing the gospel message. Participating in his sufferings means serving others when it is not best for us. We can live a daily life that reflects the knowledge of Christ. We need to sacrifice our comfortable lives and share the message openly, we need to prepare ourselves to battle against the powerful opponents of our message and never give in, never surrender.

Being like Christ is an ultimate goal that, frankly, I'm a long way from achieving. I need to continually remind myself how I can live like Christ in THIS particular moment, in THIS particular place. If I'm ever asked  to sacrifice my life, I will. Until then, I will pursue a daily life that serves, endures, and sacrifices for the message of Christ.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

What's important to know?

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace (Ephesians 1:7 NIV)

I'm in the midst of another video bible study called "Why I believe" by Chip Ingram. It is refreshing to go through the key parts of my faith and understand why I believe what I believe. I just finished the 5th of the 12 videos and it confirmed the infalibilty of the Bible as the direct word of God. The ACTUAL proof of the historical acuracy of the Bible is huge. The belief beyond a shadow of doubt of the existence, death, and Ressurection of Jesus is wonderful. I have believed by faith and didn't realize how much evidence there is. 

Is that really important?

Yes, it's important. We need to arm ourselves with all knowledge for sharing the gospel. I can't get enough information about the word of God, how it's affected others, and yes, the historical details. You never know when that information may be used. However, I have found the most important tool for witnessing is the impact of faith on my own life. What is my story? I need to be clear and have as much detail on the value of Jesus Christ in my life. If I can't point to the value of my faith, what good is it at all?

So the "study" we should always be involved in answers one simple question. How has my life been impacted by faith in Jesus? We all need to be searching for that answer, refining it, editing it, and sharing it with everyone who will listen.

Dear Lord Jesus, prepare me for sharing my faith with the lost. Help me to be open to share my own sinfulness. Help me to listen to your guiding in sharing that faith. May I always be prepared to share with all the information necessary including the historical facts, truths of your word, and stories of your impact on the lives of real people. All we want is to bring the lost to you. Amen!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

I'm a thief!

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10 NIV)

Have you ever stolen anything? I'm going to confess. I have stolen before. I remember going to the store,  as a little kid, and sticking a pack of gum in my pocket. I'm not proud of it. It was a very selfish act on my part. I never forgot the guilt I had. I couldn't even enjoy it. I knew my mom and dad would know I stole it if they saw me chewing gum. They knew I didn't have any money to buy gum. Then I was worried my breath would give me away. It was a valuable lesson. I never stole again.

A thief is selfish. A thief wants to take and give nothing in return. Someone who enjoys or feels compelled to steal convinces themselves they deserve more, they have been cheated by society and they should be compensated. Many times they convince themselves it's ok to even kill someone in order to get what they want. Even if you've never been a "thief" I'm sure you have had feelings of selfishness or entitlement. Our entire society is in a battle over the idea of entitlement and sharing wealth. There is a battle between the haves and have-nots. It may be harsh, but the have-nots are trying to steal from the haves. They want to take and give nothing in return. The haves don't want to be forced to give. While I agree no one should be forced to give, we should all give like Jesus. If we could change the hearts of men of wealth, the haves would freely give to the have-nots. 

Jesus offers the ultimate gift, eternal life, for free. He gets nothing in return. He makes no demands. We don't have to earn it. Other religions have a rewards system. You get an equal amount to what you give. Our faith is unique. Jesus died for us without even asking if we wanted him to. He died after living a perfect life so that we may have life and have it to the full. We just have to accept the gift. A thief has ulterior motives. You can't trust a thief. The world is a most formidable thief. It's deceptive. You can't steal joy, peace, happiness, security. You can't build wealth for yourself through destroying others. You can only get those things through Jesus. We need to share that message to everyone. The world needs to know Jesus. The thief needs to know Jesus.

Fantasy Island

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV)

Do you remember the TV show "Fantasy Island"? Tatoo is well know for his line, "De Plane! De Plane!", when the weekly visitors came to live out their fantasies. To have to admit, I watched the show. Looking back, it was a pretty strange show. So many people are caught up in "fantasy". The premise of most popular video games are centered fantasy. We are fascinated by "reality tv" when in fact it's closer to fantasy than reality. Our lives are run like an episode of Fantasy Island. We aren't very realistic about our friendships, jobs, marriages, and even God. We expect our politicians to fix all our woes with the signing of a bill or enactment of some legislation. We expect God to do the same when we pray to him. We really don't understand the heart of our Lord. Case in point:

Stephanie and I prayed before we left on vacation. We prayed for protection, safety, relaxation, and time away from the hustle and bustle of our lives. The first night Stephanie fractured her elbow. We had to come home. I was greatly dissappointed, I still am. So, did God not answer my prayer? My vision, my fantasy, of what vacation would look like didn't happen. God had different plans. He could have been protecting us in ways I'll never understand. The reality is I have turned my life over to Jesus. I have given him full authority to lead me, daily, weekly, monthly, and for the rest of my life. I can't take that back just because God's plan doesn't fit my fantasy. I'm not happy about canceling a vacation in the works for the past 6 months, but I trust the Creator of the universe knows more than I do. His plans are perfect. 

I don't understand God. It's not realistic for me to believe I could fully understand him. My faith does not require me to understand. My faith requires me to trust God and to let him lead me through life. My fantasies have no power over the realities of a savior that loves me and knows what is best for me and my life. Praise God for his love for me, his protection, and his grace are wonderful. Amen!

Friday, July 4, 2014

"One Nation Under God..." Say it!

For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live. (1 Corinthians 8:5-6 NIV)

I'm a social media junky. I love staying in touch with family, people that think the same as I do, and hearing opposing points of view. That's America! We are free to disagree, we do it without guns and civil war. We don't need a separate homeland for democrats and republicans. We are one nation. We are not perfect, but we do stand above the rest. We lookout for the weak, the minority, and the mistreated. We are one nation, but I'm worried about Gods place in the USA. 

Last night I was on Facebook, today is Independence Day, and I have seen many great posts celebrating our nation. One post caught my eye. It was Red Skelton, reading the Pledge of Allegiance. He stopped throughout to explain each word. It was awesome. Then he got to the part about being One Nation UNDER GOD! He left this part out. It may be the most important line in the entire pledge. Why are people so against even saying, God? It pains me that we so blatantly remove God from our country. Without God we are in severe trouble. I am worried. A Godless society will quickly deteriorate to a lawless society where anything goes. Chaos will result. 

It is the 4th of July. We must be thankful for the country God has provided. We need to be in constant prayer for our Nation, our leaders, and our defenders. We need to ask God to continue to bless us. Give us a heart to spread freedom through Christ. As Christians we must fight, yes fight, to keep God in the center of our country. You can't sit the fence on this one. You are either for or against him! You need to take that fight to the nation and don't ask down until we get God in the center of the USA!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

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

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

I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me. The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. (Psalm 118:1, 13, 14 NIV)

Vacation has begun. We left around noon yesterday and made our way to the heart of New York, near Canandaigua. Don't ask how to pronounce it. Beautiful day, great ride! However, Stephanie was helping set up camp, fell, hit her head and hurt her arm I'm worried because she never let's me know what kind of REAL pain she's in. You would think after nearly 36 years of marriage I would be able to tell! I will have to rely on the healing power of Jesus. We are on the way to the ER in Syracuse, NY to fix her up. The Lord will help us! He always has and he always will. He is my rock and my salvation from all things. This is no exception.