Friday, July 31, 2015

Warning: Political Message inside.............I love my Governor!

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.............If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.” Romans 12:2, 8 NLT (http://bible.com/116/rom.12.2,8.nlt)

It's been several months since I posted, what I believe, is a political message. I've been laying low. I want to use social media to "build up", not "tear down". Our society has turned ugly. We are posting horrendous things about people. If you kill a lion it's fair game to threaten your life. It's so ironic and ridiculous! We love to hate politicians and are down right vile if we disagree with them. So I know this post will really get the ire up on many of my Facebook friends. I don't care! 

In keeping with my commitment to purely positive posts, I want to praise my governor, the Governor of the state of Indiana. I ride by a sign every day, in my neighborhood, that says "Pence must go!" Yesterday I got to shake his hand and tell him how much I appreciate him. I was able to personally encourage him to keep fighting the good fight. We talked and I was able to observe his interaction with a group of regular Hoosiers. I am proud to have a Governor that stands for religious freedom. I'm proud to have a governor who is fiscally responsible even when it requires tough decisions. I am proud of my state. Many of my educator friends hate Governor Pence. I might not always agree with him. I'm not sure I would ever agree with every decision of any politician. I do not agree with the handKing of the State Superintendent controversy. But, I support most of his policies. He wants competition in education. Im not afraid to compete with charters or private schools. I will stack my School against anyone, we provide the best education with the best staff, anywhere. He wants teachers evaluated and paid on merit. So do I. I don't want bad teachers to get the same pay as I do and I don't want them to stay in education. I'm not afraid to be evaluated. If I need to get better, I will. If I am doing a good job, I want to be rewarded. I WANT to be paid by the quality of my teaching. He doesn't want to spend money we don't have and he wants to save money for a rainy day. He doesn't want my religion to be the focus of ridicule and persecution. To sum things up, he cares about people and that gets my vote every time.

I love that my governor is a normal, cowboy boot wearing, ride through the rain on a motorcycle, talk to a biker, then goof around with a bunch of kids, kind of guy. I love it when he can poke fun at himself and accept a compliment with genuine humility. I love it that he would shake every hand of every state police officer and praise them publicly for the job they do. This is not an evil man as teachers union leaders, liberals, gay rights activists, and special interest groups want to make him out to be. He's my governor and I like him. 

Yep, you can go ahead and start hatin right now. You can unfriend me or post your furious outrage. I choose to lift up my leaders, support them, and most importantly, pray for them every day! Praise God Indiana has been blessed with a wonderful leader. Thank you Governor Pence for your support yesterday and I pray the Holy Spirit will guide you through the rest of your life. Amen!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

No school rules!

“So it is God who decides to show mercy. We can neither choose it nor work for it.  What does all this mean? Even though the Gentiles were not trying to follow God’s standards, they were made right with God. And it was by faith that this took place. But the people of Israel, who tried so hard to get right with God by keeping the law, never succeeded. Why not? Because they were trying to get right with God by keeping the law instead of by trusting in him. They stumbled over the great rock in their path. God warned them of this in the Scriptures when he said, “I am placing a stone in Jerusalem that makes people stumble, a rock that makes them fall. But anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.””    Romans 9:16, 30-33 NLT.  (http://bible.com/116/rom.9.16,30-33.nlt)

School is just around the corner here in northeast Indiana. The first few days of school deal with letting students know the expectations, rules, and consequences. Teachers have varied approaches to dealing with students. Some give great lists of dos and don'ts. It seems they spend most of their school year trying to catch kids messing up. They seem to revel more in discipline than the learning. They favor complaint students and deal harshly with those that aren't. My policies are simple. I want a professional environment that encourages students. I want to build a positive relationship so we can both trust each other and I want to instill the love I have for learning. I don't sweat the small stuff and am open and honest with my students. I want them to do the same thing.

I am so glad God is not sitting on his throne trying to catch me breaking a list of rules. Many people think he is. Grace and mercy prove that he's not. The Bible states, over and over again, we can't earn favor with God, we can't work to earn his love. We don't have a set of rules we must live by. We just need faith and trust in God. The older I get in the faith, the more I realize I can't keep a long list of rules. I'm a sinner and I mess up. Without grace I would be dead in my faith. God offers mercy and grace for all of us, even those that have lived despicable lives of sin. All we need to do is trust in him, devote ourselves to him, and promise to live life with him. 

Praise God for his mercy and grace. I promise to trust you with everything in my life. Amen!

A Father's Wise Advice

“My children, listen when your father corrects you. Pay attention and learn good judgment, for I am giving you good guidance. Don’t turn away from my instructions.” Proverbs 4:1-2 NLT (http://bible.com/116/pro.4.1-2.nlt)

I'm a father of three wonderful daughters. I pray for them every night that the Lord will give them good judgment. In my 35 years as a father I've given my share of advice. I have given advice on jobs, raising kids, faith, potential moves, and fashion. Yep, they really listen to me on that one! I get frustrated when my daughters don't listen to me. I have 55 years of life experiences and I hate to see my girls repeat mistakes I have made. But, they are adults and sometimes they need to learn for themselves by making mistakes. It still frustrates me and causes me pain when I see them struggling through life's challenges. If they would just listen to me and my experiences, their lives would be so much better!

It's about this time in my thoughts that I realize I have a Heavenly Father thinking the exact same thing about me! My daughters don't always listen to my 55 years of experience, but I have no excuse for not listening to the creator of the universe. Many times I won't even go to him for advice and when I do, I often ignore it. I turn away from his instruction. Busting out on my own without Gods guidance nearly always ends in disaster. Then I sheepishly return asking for forgiveness and a way to make things right. I've never been abandoned. My God is a great father. 

Thank you Lord for not leaving me when I ignore your wonderful guidance. Please be with my girls. Give them guidance, be with them, help them when they fail, and protect them from the enemy. I love you Lord and your grace is amazing. Thank you Lord for your patience and love!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

How Loyal are you?

“Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart.”  Proverbs 3:3 NLT. http://bible.com/116/pro.3.3.nlt

I'm a loyal fan. I've been a Yankee fan, a Dolphin fan, and a Hoosier fan my entire life. I even cheer for IU football. The Yankees have had some great years and some not so great years. We have battled controversies and haters together. But, I'm not sure this verse in Proverbs is talking about loyalties to sports teams. I wish people were as loyal to God and each other as they are to their favorite teams.

We need to be loyal to God and to the people in our lives. In my own life I have not been consistently loyal to the God of the universe. My mood, life's circumstances, and the busyness of life have kept me from being a consistent LOYAL follower. In my advancing years my loyalty has grown. I have seen the faithfulness of my Heavenly Father and am embarrassed by my wavering faith over the years. 

Our faithfulness needs to extend to the people we live with throughout our daily lives. Our society does not value loyalty. The decline of marriage is the best example. Being a loyal friend, coworker, or spouse is not as easy as it seems. It takes severe give-and-take and extreme levels of selflessness. To be loyal to God, friends, and family means putting them before yourself. Loyalty is a key cornerstone to our witness as a Christian. God sets the example. He is the epitome of a loyal friend. He promises to never leave us and he has sacrificed all for us. That is what we are to do with him and others.

Lord, I am sorry for my lack of loyalty. My faithfulness over the years is not what it should have been. Forgive me for not mirroring your faithfulness with others. Help me to show others the same loyalty you share with me. I love my family, friends and coworkers. Give me the guidance to demonstrate my loyalty and that love with my words and actions. I love you Lord and praise you for this wondeful life I live. Amen!

A senseless horse or mule?

“The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.””
Psalms 32:8-9 NLT -- http://bible.com/116/psa.32.8-9.nlt

The older I get the more I can see the truth of this scripture. The Lord has guided me along the best pathway for my life. He has watched over me. He has advised me and my life is wonderful. But I have to admit I have acted much like a senseless horse or a mule through parts of my life. 

I am constantly amazed at the love and patience of my wonderful Lord. How he can stay with me while I ignore his advice, try to make my own path, and fight his direction, is beyond my understanding. Even through my own resistance he has given me a wonderful life and I can't imagine there could have been a better pathway. I always come back to the knowledge that God, the Creator of the universe, knows best. Like most people, I have to constantly remind myself that HE is in charge and he knows what is best for me. Why I keep fighting him is a mystery. 

Dear Lord, I love you and am completely humbled by your amazing love. I cherish your guidance. I am thrilled with the path you have set before me. Please, Lord, forgive me for my stubbornness. Forgive me that I have fought your perfect plan and tried to substitute my own. I ask you to continue to provide me with your wisdom and guidance. My life would be a disaster without it. I praise you and honor you with all that I am. Amen!

Friday, July 24, 2015

What I pray for!

“My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding— indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.”     Proverbs 2:1-5 NIV. http://bible.com/111/pro.2.1-5.niv

I spend a lot of time in prayer and the request for wisdom is my most popular request. Not just for myself, but I pray constantly the Lord grants wisdom and discernment to my wife, my daughters, their husbands and children, my boss, and coworkers. I pray for wisdom of my ministry partners and I pray for wisdom of people I meet in  my everyday activities of life. My prayer life has changed over the years. I have moved away from asking for "things" and I am searching for wisdom nearly every moment of my life.  I think that's why I love teaching. Sure I want my students to learn mathematic skills, but more importantly want them to love the search for wisdom. I want them to have that wisdom to deal with life's challenges and life's joys. I want them to love the search for wisdom just as much as the things that will fill their lives. Our society is blessed with so many things. We value our possessions like no other country on earth. I just want us to value wisdom more.

True wisdom only comes from the Lord and he wants to share that wisdom for those that call upon his name. Searching for wisdom needs to start with intense prayer. We ne├Ęd to "cry out loud" for understanding. We can attain that wisdom and understanding by searching for God! He alone is a treasure more valuable than life itself. I praise you Lord for your wisdom. I pray for that wisdom in every day of my life. Amen!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Look for him!

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”
Romans 1:20 NIV (http://bible.com/111/rom.1.20.niv)

Sometimes I am amazed that people can not see God. He is everywhere. I've seen him throughout all 55 years of my existence . I see him in the beauty of this planet. I see him as he has worked in the lives of my family. There have been MANY miraculous events that can only be attributed to the hand of God. But, I also see his power in my day to day life, ,my interactions with coworkers, students, family, and friends. 

My goal in life is to witness to the awesome invisible qualities of God and to bring them clearly to the lost. It's not for my glory, but it's for the salvation of the world that we must point out God's wonderful qualities, his divine nature, and his eternal power. We just need to open the eyes of those who are blinded by their owns sins. We need to open the eyes of those that are blinded by the trials and tribulations of life. They need to know the God of the universe is here for them. He IS THEIR hope and salvation. He is their deliverance from a life without purpose. If you don't see God throughout your day, maybe you aren't looking for him. Try this - pray that his presence will be revealed to you today. Then go through your day with eyes open, looking for him. I will guarantee you will be amazed. He is with you and always has been. Sometimes we just need to look for him!

Thank you Lord for the ways you reveal yourself to us everyday. I pray that I can help others see your presence and begin to develop a relationship with you. I treasure the miracles in my life along with your day to day presence in the ordinary. You are amazing and I am awed that you care some much for me. Amen!

Thank You!

“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations." Psalm 100:1-5 NIV. 
http://bible.com/111/psa.100.1-5.niv

What a wonderful passage of scripture. Thank you Lord for your songs of joy. I am so amazed with your power and strength together with your unending love. I am yours. You are my God and I start this day praising you. You have been, you are, and you will always be great and wonderful. 

I don't think we praise God enough. Most spend NO time praying to the Lord and when people do it is usually a litany of needs and wants. I know you can come to the Lord with anything, but sometimes we just need to drop the Christmas list and just spend time praising God! We need to worship God with gladness, sing songs of praise and leave the world behind. Come on followers of Jesus! Raise his name on high, exalt him to your friends, coworkers, family, ENEMIES! He deserves our love and praise. 

Dea Lord, forgive me for my neglect of your unfailing love. Forgive me for being so selfish and ignoring your greatness. I truly love you. I wake up every day the most blessed man in the world. None of my wondeful life is due to my greatness, it's all due to you. Thank you Lord forever and ever Amen!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

We can't lose hope!

“We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.”
Psalm 33:20-22 NIV (http://bible.com/111/psa.33.20-22.niv)

I've said it. I think we've all said it and have felt the hopelessness of this world. "This world is messed up and things are getting worse." Those thoughts of desperation happen for only brief moments after watching the news or reading the newspaper. That's why it's so important for me to start my day and end it with the word of the Lord. I need the hope and the joy that is in the word. 

When I read the word of God, I realize the world has survived for centuries of chaos and craziness. We are not the first civilization to deal with eroding morality, or a disconnect between the people and the leaders. We are not the first ones to deal with threats from invading armies or dealt with terrorists bent on destroying us. The bible and history itself witness to the turmoil that has plagued us from the beginning. We have overcome it all with the power of the God of the Universe.

Do not despair, our hope is completed in Jesus! I can go from complete despair to utter joy just by exploring the words of my Lord. How can you not feel the love when you read The Psalms. How can you not know of the hope of eternity when you read of Jesus overcoming death on the cross? Praise God he is with us. He loves us. We love you and praise this life, even with the turmoil, that you have given us. 




Monday, July 20, 2015

No difference between them and me?

“But then they would flatter him with their mouths, lying to him with their tongues; their hearts were not loyal to him, they were not faithful to his covenant. Yet he was merciful; he forgave their iniquities and did not destroy them. Time after time he restrained his anger and did not stir up his full wrath.”
Psalm 78:36-38 NIV

 The more things change the more they stay the same. I spent this past weekend at a secular motorcycle rally with my CMA (Christian Motrocyclists Association) brothers and sisters. I find it curious that everyone that stops by our booth or that we meet at the rally claim to believe in God. They flatter God with their mouth. But they are not loyal to him. I witnessed many actions this past weekend that go directly against the covenant with God. Yet, God is merciful. He lives theses people just as much as he does me. God doesn't see any difference between my sins, which are many, and the sins of the people I met this weekend. He restrains his anger even as his heart breaks for them just like he restrains his anger towards me and is merciful to the sins  and mistakes of my life.

I am constantly amazed how the typical Christian is so judgemental and ranks their sins as insignificant while the sins of others are extreme. Yet, that is not biblical under any interpretation. We destroy our witness, we destroy our faith when we  become the judge of  others. Our commission, the great commission says nothing about judging. One of my CMA brothers this weekend said, How can we expect the lost to act like the saved?. That is so true. God does not expect us to change BEFORE we accept him. Once we accept him, then we WILL be changed from the power of our savior. So this weekend I met a lot of sinners just like me. The only difference is they have not made the decision to let Jesus begin the process to change their lives. He is waiting on them. He is merciful and slow to anger. His love for us is unimaginable and beyond any other love we have had. I am humbled that while I was still a sinner, he loved me! Praise God for that love!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Leviticus? really?

“But he shall not defile himself, being a chief man among his people, to profane himself.  Thou shalt sanctify him therefore; for he offereth the bread of thy God: he shall be holy unto thee: for I the Lord, which sanctify you, am holy.” Leviticus 21:4, 8 KJV

I have been spending some time in the Old Testament, I am now in Leviticus. It has been painful. So, last night I did some research. I googled, "Why should we read Leviticus!" This book is not without controversy. The comments about sexual relations can be very devisive in today's society. It also has some very strange rituals and sacrifices. They weren't strange when God spoke them, but since Jesus, our view of sacrifices has changed. I can't say this new knowledge of this book has greatly increased my enjoyment of its reading, but I appreciate its value.

If reading Leviticus has taught me anything it is the complexity of my wonderful God. I appreciate so much how he loves me and how involved he is in the details of my life.  Through history God has always wanted to spend time with us. He has taken extreme measures from living in a tent and having daily talks with his priests up to sending his son, Jesus. The laws, rituals, and lifes guidelines in Leviticus were not placed there to limit those entering the kingdom. They were added to make our lives the best they could be right here, right now. It's interesting these laws were not out in place before the deliverance from slavery. They came afterward. They were not prerequisites to getting what the Israelites wanted, they were gifted to them by a loving God.

Lord, I know I have screwed up life the way you would have me life it. I have often ignored your direction and plans for my life. I know I have missed countless blessings because of my sinfullness. But, I thank you for not giving up on my and I Thank you Lord for loving me and caring so deeply about my life! I praise you for your word, all of it! Amen!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Summer is fading fast!

“The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.”
Psalms 37:23 NLT

I went into school yesterday after 3 weeks on vacation. It was great! I know that's a little weird for most of you. I love my summer trips and the joys of relaxing over a campfire, falling asleep to the sounds of crickets, and seeing this beautiful creation the Lord has blessed us with. But, the ministry God has given in the form of being a school teacher or working with CMA is the greater blessing. My trips help refocus my mind and heart on my mission at hand. God delights in both sides of my life. He loves my work and shares his joy through my "play". He delights in my daily missions and the challenges of my long term ministry. He directs my steps in all aspects of this life I live. Thank you Lord! 

I am so excited that God delights himself on the details of my life. Even through my sinfulness and the mistakes I make every day, he loves me and is deeply involved with every little aspect of my daily walk. I praise you Lord for my life. I praise you Lord for the opportunities to serve and to minister. I love you Lord and I owe it all to you. Amen!




Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Lord is Great!

But may all who search for you be filled with joy and gladness in you. May those who love your salvation repeatedly shout, “The LORD is great!” As for me, since I am poor and needy, let the Lord keep me in his thoughts. You are my helper and my savior. O my God, do not delay. (Psalms 40:16-17 NLT)


The Lord is great! 

I couldn't shout this loud enough or often enough. I don't know why, but the Lord continues to bless me most abundantly. My lovely wife and I just returned from a 19 day vacation. It was glorious. It started out with 13 days out west with 4 of our grandkids and ended with a short trip east for Stephanie and I. We were blessed with safety, relaxation, adventure, and an absolutely wonderful time. God is great! He is so wonderful even when we don't deserve it. 

It may sound a lot like bragging. I'm not. I just need everyone to know that all the great things of my life are from above. We all have great things we can "brag" about. We have a choice to either take credit for ourselves or give credit to the one who deserves it. I have never done anything in my life that can not be directly attributed to the God of this universe. Once I realized it, I just couldn't  keep from sharing it with the world.

The Lord is truly great and I need to shout it from the mountain tops!