Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Fall is here!

The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” (Isaiah 40:7-8 NIV)

It was really cold out yesterday. Ok,not really that cold, but relative to summer, it was downright fridges. Fall is here. At the cross country meet last night I wore a heavy sweatshirt and long sleeve shirt under that, I was still cold. This weekend we started noticing the leaves changing. Winter is just around the corner. Stephanie and I have one more vacation trip planned on VIC, then the regular ride season is over. 

I hate winter for one reason, no riding! I will endure until spring. Until then I will get in a few short rides just to help with my ride anxiety. I do enjoy this time of year because of the wondeful colors and the crispness in the air. Changing seasons are a great gift of our mighty creator. 

I may hate the onslaught of foul weather, but I praise God for his steadfast love that endures forever. Lord, please accept my deepest joy at your continuous  mercy and grace. Please Lord help me praise you in all seasons and to all people. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

She's a TEN!

You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you. (Song of Solomon 4:7 NIV)

I really don't talk much about my wonderful wife on this blog. I should! We have been married for 36 years and I can truly say they have been great. My lovely wife is a ten! She has always been an amazing wife, mother, "granny", teacher, Christian, and my very best friend. I know no one as caring and loving as she is. It's not just to me, but she genuinely cares and loves everyone she meets. I see it first hand every day with her students and I see it through all her interaction with their parents and her coworkers. 

She is my example. She embodies all the qualities I admire and strive for in my own life. I often think about how I would like to be more like her. Maybe if I hang around with her for another 36 years I might have a chance. They say everyone has their flaws. I just can't see any in my wonderful bride. Sure I might be a little blinded. But, when you live with someone for over 36 years, you are permitted to be a little biased.

Lord, my most important prayer is that you would bless Stephanie in every way imaginable. I pray you will always protect her and show your love to her every day of her life. I praise you for this wondeful gift you have provided. I do not deserve her and am humbled you have given us such a beautiful life together. Thank you Lord from the bottom of my heart.

Yet another example of his love!

The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold. Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands. May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word. (Psalm 119:72-74 NIV)

Thank you Lord. I have said Thais many times, I am blessed beyond what I deserve. It's not that I'm rich. I'm a teacher! But, I look back on what God has done in my life, I am amazingly blessed. This weekend was another example of your amazing love. 

We rode some amazing roads in southern Indiana. The thrilling ride was fully under the protection of God. A couple riding with us, had their tire come apart on the ride, yet they did not go down. We pulled into a restaurant for dinner. The driver had noticed, nearly an hour ago, his motorcycle was ridding poorly. We even stopped to put air in one of his tires. It didn't help. When we pulled in to Bubba Blues BBQ, we noticed the shredded tire. He and his wife were safe. We got the motorycycle towed home and he got home safe. It was the hand of God that came to our rescue. 

Yes, God is so good. Praise him for his protection! Praise him for the love he has for us, beyond our wildest imagination. Praise him that he still demonstrates his power directly in the middle of our lives. We love you Lord!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Keeping and Eye on you!

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. (Psalm 32:8 NIV)

Leadership is about watching over those you are leading. Wether you are watching over your employees, your church members, group members, family, or friends, a true leader try's to know hIs people and serve them. Service, that's true leadership. Sure, they give guidance, advice, and teach. But, it's the servant leader that really leads the way a God intended. 

Praise God for true leaders and the service they provide.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Learn it! Love it! Teach it!

For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel. (Ezra 7:10 NIV)

I love teaching, I also love learning, and trying new things! I see other teachers that share those same loves. I just don't know how you can get students excited about learning if you aren't. Teachers that stop learning, modifying, trying new things, or dreaming need to retire. Teachers that give up on students or want to use the same lesson plans they've used for their entire career need to rethink there career choice. You need to be a lifelong learner to build life long learners. I am so fortunate to work with teachers that love to learn along with their students. That's what makes GHS a great place to be.

Our Christian lives need to mirror those same goals. We need to be devoted to study, practicing what we study, and sharing our learning with others. That's what Ezra was modeling for his people. In my nightly devotions from the Maxwell Leadership Reading Plan by John C. Maxwell, shared this quote:

" Dwight L. Moody suggested the greatest tragedy of his day was that Christian leaders attempted to traffic in unlived truth."

Is that true for us? Are we living the way we are preaching? If I'm preaching the value of going out, building relationships with the lost, serving the poor, widows, and orphans, yet not doing it myself, what kind of leader am I? We need to live a life pleasing to God. That is our best witness to others.

Dear Lord, forgive me for my double standards. Forgive me for teaching one way and living another. Help me to not just to read and study your plan, but to live it every day. I need to learn it! Live it! And Teach it! With my words, actions, and thoughts! I pray, lord, that you will use me to further your kingdom, even through my own weakness! I love you and praise you for my wonderful life!

Causing pain

David said to God, “Was it not I who ordered the fighting men to be counted? I, the shepherd, have sinned and done wrong. These are but sheep. What have they done? Lord my God, let your hand fall on me and my family, but do not let this plague remain on your people.” (1 Chronicles 21:17 NIV)

David's plea to save his people is honorable. Although I have never faced a calamity of that magnitude, it reminds me of my family. As my girls and their families go through life, they face many joys and challenges. It's great to share their joys. When they face challenges, I feel just like David. I know their suffering will produce good. I trust God. But, I still feel their pain and would do anything to take away that pain. I have voiced my pleas to the Lord, just like David. 

I do not like to see others suffer. It is even more painful if I have caused that suffering. My actions, my sins do have consequences beyond myself. 

Lord, Forgive me for my sins and how they affect the ones I love. Forgive me for my selfishness and neglect of others. I trust you and your plans for my family. Please protect them, watch over them. Keep them from evil. Draw them closer to you everyday of their lives. Hear their prayers and grant them blessings beyond their dreams. I know you love them and praise you for your wonderful grace and mercy!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Does it sound familiar?

The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. (1 Kings 11:9 NIV)

How can someone so wise make such poor decisions? 

After reading a little bit about Solomon, I am so amazed at how far he could fall. Here was a wonderful Godly man, who set the bar for wisdom and leadership. Yet, he fell far and did it quickly! Why?

The answers could apply today just as much as in ancient times.

Solomon became self absorbed and distracted by his excesses. He started by disobeying one command that led to another, then one more, and then he couldn't stop. He let the unwise influence his life more than God. He thought he had arrived at the pinnacle of wisdom and grew increasingly complacent, bored with his knowledge and power. He sought more, more glory, more power, and more stuff. This pursuit blinded his relationship with the giver of all things.

Does it sound familiar? Does that sum up your own fall from grace? 

I can see how easy it would be to let that kind of power take over your life. Power is a drug with diminishing returns. You have to constantly seek more to get the same thrill, the same excitement. You start taking credit for your success and neglect to praise God. You start ignoring the work of others, your family, friends, and coworkers. Life becomes all about you. Once the ball is rolling, it's difficult to stop. 

Lord, please keep me focused on you and your perfect love. I praise you Lord for all things and realize t ALL I have is FROM YOU!  I deserve nothing, yet you have granted so much, a great, loving family, a wonderful life filed with meaning, and joy in all things. Praise God for his love!

How has God changed your life?

When the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relationship to the Lord, she came to test Solomon with hard questions.  How happy your people must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! (1 Kings 10:1, 8 NIV)

Last week we had some student groups debate gay marriage in our current events seminar. One group was composed of freshman boys with little or no debate skills. The other groups was composed of experienced debaters. Their experience overwhelmed the freshman boys. It was a resounding defeat. The loss was due to lack of preparation and  relying on feeling and emotion to support their cause. The winning group used research and organized arguments to support their cause. They were well prepared, professional and polished. I won't mention which sides they were taking, it really doesn't matter.

If we are going to convince others to follow Jesus, our story, our logic, our witness better be prepared,  organized, and well thought out. Eventually at some point in your Christian walk someone is going to ask you why. Why should they follow Jesus? What are you going to say? Why DO you follow Jesus? Could you share your story? Would it be convincing? How has God changed your life? 

I praise God that he has changed me and is continuing to change me for his purposes. Lord, give me the opportunities to share how you have changed me. I love you Lord and praise you for the love and grace you provide every day!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Your face needs to match your heart!

A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit. (Proverbs 15:13 NIV)

"If your happy and you know it,.........."

I rember this song from my childhood like it was yesterday. It brings a smile to my face. That's the intent of this verse. A happy heart should bring a smile to your face. You have to show the smile from inside your heart if you really want people to believe it. 

If the joy that God fills you with doesn't make it from your heart to your face, what good is it? In education, the rule of thumb was never smile until after thanksgiving. That's crazy! I smile all the time. Well, maybe not all the time, but most of the time! I just love to have a laugh, relax, and have fun with my students. I also love to set the example that life on this earth is too short to frown all the time. It's a waste of time to frown your life away. Laughter in the classroom is a great, but that's not the only place we should be laughing. They say the family that plays together stays together. I would say the family that laughs, lasts! 

Laughing, smiling, and sharing joy are all a big part of our Christian witness to the lost. Your face needs to match the joy that Jesus has placed in your heart! Laugh, Smile, Love!

Pennies from Heaven

He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” (Genesis 15:5 NIV)

Have you ever heard of this offer:

Which would you prefer: a million dollars or a penny a day, doubled each day for thirty days? Most people want the million dollars, but they would be missing out on an additional four million dollars. 

I thought about this life lesson when reading about Abraham and Sarah. God went way beyond what they could pray for. He not only answered a resounding YES, he said they would be blessed with offspring beyond the stars. They were looking narrowly at the immediate and completely ignoring the future. God looks at the past, the present, and the future. He will answer our prayers, our moans, our dispair, with a life beyondl anything we could imagine. 

Just like our minds can't wrap our minds around doubling a penny every day for 30 days, we can't getting our minds around Gods. Wonderful blessings. 

Praise God he is wildly in love with us and he will bless us beyond the stars. Praise God he loved us ALL so much he offered his son, an act beyond my wildest imagination. Thank you Lord for your endless love and wonderful blessings. My life is amazing, not because of my own works, but your powerful hand!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Until then!

I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. (Philippians 1:23-24 NIV)

I overheard someone making a comment about their struggles in life being "better than the alternative", meaning that a life of misery is preferred over death. I have to disagree!

I certainly love my life. Being with my family is a gift I never get enough of. The idea of separation from the ones I love makes me think twice about leaving to live in eternity. Yet, the promise of glory, for eternity, with Jesus is a powerful alternative to the struggles of this life. To think of no more stress, pain, crying, sin, death, and destruction, is a great promise that draws me. I am also greatly comforted knowing my family will join me there. Each of my family members have chosen to follow Jesus. Leaving here will not be a goodbye. So, we can all look forward to Heaven with our loved ones and the King of all kings. It is glorious to picture my entire family sitting around the feet of Jesus.

Praise God for the home he builds in eternity! I look forward to that day. Until then I will continue to serve him, love life and praise his name right here where I am! 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Repitition, repitition, repitition!

“Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” (Matthew 4:15-16 NIV)

When I read my devotions last night, the author talked about how repetitive the gospel message is. He shared a story of a new pastor that shared the same sermon every week for the first three weeks at his new church. The congregation asked why, he said, "When you start living out this sermon, I'll change to a different one. This verse refers to Jesus as the light. Yep, I have heard that many times before. I probably should hear it many more times.

I world is such a dark place. There is evil everywhere and we need the light of Jesus more today than ever. As Christians it is easy to get overwhelmed by the darkness and develop an attitude of hopelessness. Have we forgotten the light that lives in our hearts? Have we/I forgotten that we have already won the victory! The light of Jesus will overcome the darkness and will reign forever. 

Our memories are as short as those of the Israelites delivered from Pharoah. We ourselves can be a light in the darkness through the light that dwells inside us. I shouldn't live life like I've been defeated. I AM VICTORIOUS through Jesus! Praise God! Let your light shine! Sy it over and over again! I am victorious through Jesus Christ! Praise God! Say it again!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

People vs Stuff

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5 NIV)

How satisfied are you? Do you have everything you need or are you constantly wanting more? What is it that you want more of? I have a bunch of stuff, but I also am blessed beyond "stuff"! I have grown content with the material blessings of my life. I find myself focusing now on gaining more relationships, more meaningful people and more of God in my life. I am so thankful and amazed how God is changing me.

Thank you Lord for always being by my side. Thank you for being patient when I have been more focused on things than people. It's not by my power, but through your spirit, that I have been changed. Life is so much better with people instead of stuff. Please continue to transform me. Use me to serve others and to help them realize life is about people! 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Somebody vs nobody

Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? ......... (1 Corinthians 1:26-31 MSG)

As an educator we often pay special tribute to the best and the brightest. This Friday we are honoring three former GHS grads who have gone on to be highly successful people. We have National Honor Society to recognize the best of the best in our current students. We have special awards and honors that all point to those standouts in our school. God is not terribly impressed with those honors. God would rather take the lowly, the nobodies and bless them abundantly. 

Being "bright" is not a sin. But, God loves to take the lowest, the people society overlooks, to represent his kingdom to the powerful. I too have an afinity for the rejected. There are so many kids at school that are not with the "popular" , in crowd. I just love building relationships with these students. I love seeing them grow and mature as they step out into the real world. 

Praise God he loves all of us. He love the best and the brightest to the lowest of the low. He is there for all people equally, regardless of societies ranking system. Praise God for his wondeful love, kindness, and grace!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Christians should display your "Colors"!

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. (Romans 1:16 NIV)

I had a great ride yesterday with a local motorcycle club. Several of my CMA friends and I attended the Old Fort MC Ham & Bean run. It was an absolutely beautiful day.

 I love wearing my colors! For those of you not familiar with this term, motorcycle clubs wear special "back patches" on their leather vests or jackets to identify their club. As a  member it is an honor to wear your colors and you are never to treat those colors with disrespect. It's like the way we treat the American flag. In a motorcycle club you can only pledge your allegiance to one set of colors. With CMA (Christian Motorcyclists Association) our colors are even more powerful. Our colors not only identify us as members of CMA, it identifies us as Gods holy people. That Backpatch represents the gospel and the power of Jesus. If your embarrassed about the gospel you won't wear the patch. It sets you apart. It puts you on display. Your every move is watched, your life is now in a fish bowl. I love it! There is no better way to display the power of my savior for all to see. The responsibility is enormous and it really makes you examine your actions and words. 

All Christians should "display" their colors. People need to know your allegiance. They need to know how Jesus has made a difference in your life. They need to know that Gods love has changed your life. You don't need a leather motorcycle vest and Backpatch to show who you belong to. Share Gods love today!

I'm wrong!

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. (Proverbs 29:25 NIV)

"I'm wrong!" 

Those may be the most powerful, life changing, words you can ever speak. The admission of failure, the admission of guilt, the admission of sin, are great life changers. Yet, uttering this small phrase is rare. I'm not sure why. We all know that people make mistakes, nobody is perfect. Yet, it is easier to see others failures than admit our own. This is particularly true with kids, my students. 

As teachers we set ourselves up to be experts in our fields. Yes, it's important for students to have faith in our skill. However, giving the impression of perfection builds a barrier that is very difficult to overcome. In many ways the same is true of our biblical heroes. That's why God put so many "flawed" people on display in the Bible. He wants us to know perfection on Earth is in one man, only one man, his Son, Jesus Christ. All others are failed, flawed, and broken. Teachers and Christians need to open up and let all people know we are human. We make mistakes. We struggle with all the things they do. We doubt God, we get angry with God, and we don't understand his plans. We struggle with sin, divorce, addictions, and more. We need to fully expose those weaknesses to give others hope. We need to show our own vulnerability so others see the working of God in our lives. 

We hope in The Lord, not man! We don't care about ridicule and pressure from man, we only care about the thoughts of our Heavenly Father. We need people to know we serve a perfect God that understands our weaknesses and the sins in our lives. He understood that so much that he sent his son to die for our sins. His death and Ressurection provide a way to wipe out those flaws and make us perfect through his perfection. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

We've lost belief in US!

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8 NIV)

This week was the 13th anniversary of the horrific 911 attack here in the US. I remember the deep togetherness of our country afterward. Democrats, Republicans, blacks, whites, union, nonunion, people of different faiths were all standing together to fight the terrorists who would steal our freedom. 

What changed?  

We have forgotten. President Bush said it would be a long battle. We're still fighting it. As a matter of fact we've been fighting terrorists for a long time. The first I remember clearly, were the terrorist in the 1972 Olympic Games. I remember even prior to that MANY hijackings. Since then it's been a constant battle with these radical, extremists. I believe God is calling us to once again stand as a nation for what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable against those that would destroy all those things. We are called to defend the weak, the powerless, and the body of Christ. We need to do that now against radical Islamic extremists who would destroy God himself if they could. I know people don't look on war as lovely, or praiseworthy. But, God did send his people to war to defend against those who would destroy us. The battle against evil is excellent and it is praiseworthy.

We have lost our way. We are giving in too much to the power of evil. The line we draw in the sand is constantly moving in retreat. We must stop and take a stand, we must put aside our differences, not only to get along, but to support each other through rough times and to defeat evil. We can not do it divided. We are divided and do not come together to solve raven though least controversial problems. We are polarized, we are mean to each other, vindictive, and hateful. 

We need to come together. We need to think on things that are noble, true, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. It has to state now!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

"I'm Not giving up on you!"

And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the Lord has said, even among the survivors whom the Lord calls. (Joel 2:32 NIV)

I have the great joy working with teenagers. I don't always get the best and the brightest. I love getting these kind of kids. I love taking the kids no one else wants, helpings them see some success, and watching them thrive. It brings so much joy to my heart to see them work hard. I have found, in over twenty years in education, if you can get kids to believe, they can do anything. Most unsuccessful students have a terrible self-esteem. They often have no friends, are socially awkward, and have very little in the way of parental support and leadership. So, when you give them that support and unending patience, they will grow in leaps and bounds.
The key is letting them know you will never give up on them. The you must follow through. Most poor performing students don't want to fail. They have no hope. They have no way out. My job is to give hope to teenagers.

God never gives up on us. He will accept us into his kingdom even until the last days. He will accept us like the prodigal son. He provides hope and a way to eternal life. He will treat me like one of my special students. He won't give up and will be with me forever. That kind of grace is just the grace I want to show others. Praise God for his grace, love, and patience with me. I don't deserve it, but he doesn't care! He loves me anyway. He will never change.

My power

That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10 NIV)

I'm kind of addicted to power. I love the power of a motorcycle. The acceleration can nearly pull you off the seat. I love to race off from a stoplight challenging an unaware motorists it a drag race. But, that power is only temporary. I can't continue to accelerate endlessly. I don't get that same exhilaration at a constant speed or decelerating to a stop. 

Power is temporary. Throughout my life I have been powerless, most people do face the lack of power at some point in life. We are powerless when we face cancer, illness, death of loved ones, loss of jobs, family strife, or a multitude of other calamities. We will face people who challenge us, insult us, and maybe persecute us. During all of these times of weakness, we can be strong. My savior, Jesus Christ, makes me strong through the worst times. Through weakness, I always turn to my powerful God, he builds me up, he strengthens me, he provides the power. I feel so sorry for those that don't feel they can turn to God. I feel sorry for those that don't feel that exhilaration and surge of his love through trials. 

Praise God, he is my constant power and strength. He is my rock, my redeemer, and my friend.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

What's your role?

People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.” (Mark 7:37 NIV)

I love being a husband, father, gramps, teacher, CMA president, and friend. I strongly believe the God of all creation has put me here to fill those roles. He assigns each of us roles and tasks to complete while we walk this earth. Some choose to ignore his call and try to go their own way. They want control. Others drift aimlessly because they do not hear. When we finally accept our role, then cherish that role, we thrive!

Jesus was given the most important role ever to be assigned by God, he was assigned the duty to save the world. He masterfully fulfilled that role and continues to be our savior. We may not fulfill our roles like Jesus, but we can strive to reach that pinnacle. We can strive to listen, act, and follow his wonderful plan. We can have a wonderful, fulfilling, impact on this world if we just heed his call. We need to listen to his direction in filling all of our roles. We need to stay in constant communication to adapt those roles to the life we see every day.

 Yes, I cherish the assignments God has given me. I praise him for his guidance, his love, and his wisdom in tackling every day life. I praise you for all things and honor you for entrusting me with a multitude of glorious roles to serve my family, friends, and community. Thank you Lord!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Mano a Mano!

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17 NIV)
This verse is perfectly fitting for today. For those not familiar with the saying "Mano a Mano" here is the actual definition and origination:
                    It is "mano a mano," sometimes hyphenated (as in "mano-a-mano") not "mano e        mano" or "mano Y mano" or any other other spellings. Literally, it does mean "hand to hand" and was originally used to describe bullfights where two (usually superstar) matadors were competing against each other (for audience admiration and applause) as well as against the bulls. 
                      Present day, it's basically a Spanish saying for "man to man."
I received an email last week from someone involved with Kairos which is a prison ministry. This man was asking if my Christian Motorcyclist Association Chapter would be willing to mentor a soon to be released Christian prisoner, help find him an accepting church, and give him a place to pray with Christian men who would hold him accountable. 
I am really praying about this and how God might use me. This man has committed his life to Christ nearly 2 years ago. Now he is ready to be released and will face many challenges. Please pray for me. Pray that I will be open to this great need and pray that God will use me to help this man face the challenges he will be facing. 
Men need men. Christian men need Christian men. We need time away from women, Mano a Mano. We need to challenge each other, build each other up, and hold each other accountable. I value, more than I can describe, the men in my life. That doesn't lessen the relationship I have with my wife. It sharpens that relationship. Yes, my relationship with the women in my life is better because I have a group of men to share with on a regular basis. Thank you Lord for the wonderful men in my life. I praise you for these relationships and ask you to bless them. Thank you for love and grace I experience every time we meet.

The Spectacular!

So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, (John 11:6 NIV)

Do you remember Willy Wonka? Every kid in that chocolate factory wanted their own way and they wanted it now! It sounds a lot like our prayers. We use all the right words. We have the best intentions. But, when it comes to prayer we want answers NOW and the answers better be yes! But, my loving Heavenly Father knows best. Sometimes he waits so his glory will be even MORE spectacular. Such is this situation with Lazarus. He didn't just want to heal someone, he wanted to raise them from the dead. 

My God is amazing. His love for us is just as amazing as the miracles he performs. We don't always know what he is up to, but we can be sure his love will shine through that plan. Praise and glory to the God who has brought me through this wonderful life. I have seen his glory. I have seen his grace and I have seen his mercy. Thank you Lord for going beyond the mundane to perform the spectacular for your people!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

I don't just hangout with Christians!

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26 NIV)

I had a wonderful day yesterday. My CMA, Christian Motorcyclist Association, chapter had a ride to Tony Packos in Toledo, Ohio. We had 19 which included a group from a secular motorcycle club. We had a great time ministering. From the outside it might have looked like we were just having normal fun, but we were ministering, 

I'm not criticizing other ministries when I say I just don't believe in "in your face" evangelism. I'm sure some door to door ministries, or street evangelists, can be effective, I'm just not led to do that. I love just being normal and letting my actions witness. I love hanging out with people who have the same passions I do for motorcycles. We DO have other common bonds, we are all sinners who have rejected God, If you don't have some common bond, it's tough to share your savior with them. It is important for people to trust you first. They need to know you are not judgemental. They need to know you are not condemning them and you can accept them just where they are. Kind of sound like God? They need to know you are not perfect and that a god still accepts you inspire of that. It takes time and patience to minister with grace and love. I want all the people to see God within me. If they can spend enough time with me to see that I also am imperfect, flawed, and sinful, yet deeply loved by God, maybe they will want the same thing.

I don't JUST hangout with Christians, I want to hangout with people that don't know God and his son Jesus Christ like I do. Praise God for the joy of building lasting relationships with each other and the possibility that those relationships lead to a faith in my savior!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Not "consumed"!

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV)

Every morning is new - I don't know about you, but very morning feels like such a new life for me. I sit quietly and greatly enjoy the solitude with my coffee and newspaper. I have time to reflect on my life, decisions, and what the day holds. It's simple, but I also look back and see the consequences or the results of my life. It envariably leads me to thoughts of how wonderful a God has been in my life. I have not been "consumed" and a God has never failed! 

Praise God for his love is forever, his unending protection and grace are a beautiful gift. I look forward to another wonderful day, the people, experiences, and challenges of daily life. Use me Lord, for your purposes, give comfort to those that are going through trials, heal those facing cancer, and relieve to stresses of family strife. Lead me to those people that need the love of Jesus and let me be a light in their life!

Thursday, September 4, 2014


Cush was the father of Nimrod, who became a mighty warrior on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; that is why it is said, “Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the Lord.” (Genesis 10:8-9 NIV)

The name of Nimrod does not bring great thoughts to my mind. In today's vocabulary it's not a flattering term. But, did you know there are two definitions:

  1. 1.
    a skillful hunter.
  2. 2.
    NORTH AMERICANinformal
    an inept person.

    I've never heard this before until I read my devotion last night. (
    21 day extract of the Once-A-Day Devotional for Men for everyday inspiration) ,Nimrod was a powerfully skilled warrior and hunter. The bible doesn't say much about him beyond these verses, but they say enough. 

    How we ever got from skillful hunter to inept person, I will never understand. But, isn't it like the world to twist something wonderful and powerful into something of a joke. We have to be careful listening to the many voices of the world. It's hard, but we need to have deaf ears in terms of the worlds view of right and wrong, value and worth. 

    I see this all the time at school. Your typical geek, awkward, unfashionable, unpopular kid is bombarded by messages that tear them down. Little do they know that in a few short years, the things valued by high school students won't amount to a hill of beans. Letting the world define you is a  never a good idea. If you want to really know your value, your worth, you just need to look to Jesus. He died for you, that should say everything about how much he values you. He lives for you and wants the best for you. He adores you. You are more valuable than precious gold or jewels. He is the only voice to listen to.

    School can really be a rough time for many kids. We should do everything we can to make sure that doesn't happen. We need to lift up those that are crushed by the world. We need to support them and we need to pray for them. Praise a God there are people who care!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Yep, I've changed!

The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ— God’s righteousness. (Philippians 3:7-9 MSG)

I love this scripture from the message. It made me think about how I have changed throughout my life, how God has changed me! I have wasted so much of my life pursuing "credentials" which is just a fancy word for pursuing "power and prestige". It is also another way of saying my priorities have always been mixed up. I've always been trying to climb the ladder, get more stuff, nicer homes, and a "better" life. I claimed I was doing it for my family when I was really doing it for myself.  I kept rules in an attempt to please God, yet I ignored him, except on Sunday. In that time of my life, I had my own righteousness. I was in control!

Yep, I've changed.

Now I realize, and not a moment too soon, that all I ever needed was in Christ. All the things that used to be important aren't even an after thought. My prayers aren't for things anymore. They're not for jobs, or promotions. They're not for money or financial strife. They're not for the success of my kids. Now my prayers are full of praise and glory for a God that loves me even when I don't deserve it. My prayers are about my family's relationship with the God of the universe. My prayers are to plead for the souls of the lost, the poor, and those that have lost hope. It's no longer about me, it's about God, his glory, and his kingdom. I have realized I can never have real righteousness apart from God and I don't WANT to be in control. I want God to be in control.

Yep, I've changed! And I praise God for the work he is doing in me!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

You have to admire the Apple!

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV)

It's one of my favorite times of the year. We are harvesting apples! I love apples in nearly every conceivable way. I love cherries, oranges, blueberries, and nearly every kind of fruit. But, you have to admire the versatility of the apple. Cobblers, pies, with peanut butter, Carmel, brown sugar, apple sauce, cider, juice, peeled, raw, in cookies, and turnovers. I'm sure I'm forgetting something. Of course you could have another great conversation about the best type. Macintosh, golden delicious, Granny Smith, and more all have their own wondeful taste. Yes, it is a wonderful time of the year.

It takes an entire season to make a good apple. The fruit can't be picked too early nor too late. Great apples come from years of growth in the tree. This wonderful list of "fruits of the spirit" also take time to develop. They are the result of turning your life to Christ and letting him mold you so that you can bear this fruit. I am seeing these fruit more and more as I grow older. I'm not ready for harvest but they are ripening. I am thankful God is patient with me and cares for me while the fruit grows. I am thankful to see the fruit in others shared with me. Praise God the harvest draws near! I love you Lord! 

Monday, September 1, 2014

God made work and it was good!

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. (Genesis 2:15 NIV)

I learned something new today. God made work BEFORE the fall of Adam and Eve. He gave them the garden of Eden and then gave them a job. The job got a lot tougher after the fall, but work was created by God and it was good. So why is it so many people dread work? 

I'm not one of them! 

God created my job specifically for me. He intended for me to teach and enjoy it. 

Yesterday was Labor Day and what do we do? We cancel work to spend time playing or relaxing. I enjoyed the day off, but I really do love my "job". When I'm not there I miss it. I miss my students, I miss the fun, YES, fun we have learning. I see retirement approaching quickly, but does that mean I'll be done working? The answer is unequivocally NO. I will take my pension and just change my focus. I will work, I'll let God decide where!

I am blessed with a wonderful career that doesn't seem like work. I am blessed with great administrators, great colleagues, a great environment and a wonderful community! It's not work when you enjoy it as much as I do. Praise God for the joy of working!