Wednesday, February 24, 2016

We just don't know!

“Then the king instructed Zadok to take the Ark of God back into the city. “If the LORD sees fit,” David said, “he will bring me back to see the Ark and the Tabernacle again. But if he is through with me, then let him do what seems best to him.”” 2 Samuel 15:25-26 NLT

I have prayed many a prayer just like this. We really don't know what is ahead of us. I can pray personal prayers for today, tomorrow, and in the future. But, I really don't know what the Lord has in store for me. We always need to be open and honest with the Lord in our prayers. I want the Lord's will in my life more than anything. I want his will in every step I take and every word I speak. I know he doesn't NEED ME to fulfill his ultimate plans and really could call me home at any time. I'm expendable. Even so, I want to serve him more and more. I want his will more and more regardless if that will includes me. 

I love you Lord and I lift my voice that you would help me enter your gates with joy and praise. Keep me and my family safe as we serve you. Draw us closer to you. Open our hearts and eyes to see your love everywhere. You are awesome Lord and I want you to do what is best for me. I know my future is uncertain, but I do not fear that uncertainty. I rejoice in your plans. I rejoice in your love and the future you have for me, here and now and in eternity with you. Amen! 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

No drama for me!

13  A messenger soon arrived in Jerusalem to tell David, “All Israel has joined Absalom in a conspiracy against you!” 2 Samuel 15:13
I have seen a lot of drama in my life. Teenagers, are full of drama. It is one of those parts of growing up that would be nice if it never had to happen. The sad part of "drama" adults do much the same thing. David's kingdom was filled with drama. Family dysfunction, rape, murder, jealousy, and sin were everywhere in Israel during King David's reign. It is no different today.
I wish I had a cure to keep teens from battling the way they do. "He said, She said" fights, hurt feelings, and bullying are the norm with teens. It all can be directly related to our selfish society.  We are so infatuated with what people think of us, our self image. The 70's and 80's got so caught up in the "Self-esteem" craze that it has overtaken our lives. We are so sensitive to what people think of us. We should be more concerned about what GOD thinks about us. 
As I grow older, I am less concerned about what people think about me. I avoid drama at all costs. I know I have haters. I know I have people that just don't like me. I really don't care. I am too old to try to impress anyone. My 55 years of life have led me to the point where I am only concerned with pleasing MY LORD. That doesn't mean I go out of my way to offend others, but I am more prone to "tell it like it is" instead of sugar coating my message. My time is short on this Earth. I do not have time to mess around with FLUFF. I don't have time for drama. I judge my life, my worth, my decisions, through the filter of the Bible and the power of Jesus Christ. Nothing else matters. It doesn't make me perfect. It takes me on a journey to be the best I can be in the eyes of God. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Young Rebels!

Then I will teach your ways to rebels, and they will return to you. Psalms 51:13

I wouldn't call my students "rebels" but they do have a passion for doing things outside the box. I really love the way teenagers challenge the status quo. I have found they are wonderfully passionate about changing the world. They are activists. Teens have an idealistic view of what can be and believe it is within them to make it happen.
WE should all have the heart of a teenager. We should attack the world from the positive attitude that we can make a difference. Working in education and seeing the future every day, I feel like our world does have a chance. I know that is not a popular view. Many people see the next generation as filled with video games and poor attitudes. I disagree. I live with them. I spend more time with them than many of their parents and there is hope. I see compassion. I see intelligence. I see openness. I see love and kindness. I praise God every day that I have the chance to spend my life with them. 

Dear Lord, I praise you and the life I live working with young people. Continue to use me to reach these "rebels" for you. Help me to be an example for them. I want to live my life as an extension of your love, mercy, and grace. It is not within me except through your power. I praise you for your love of rebels and sinners alike! Amen!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Big Mistakes!

26When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him.27When the period of mourning was over, David sent for her and brought her to the palace, and she became one of his wives. Then she gave birth to a son. But the lord was displeased with what David had done. 2 Samuel 11:26-27

At this point in the story of David, it is hard to believe he is in the family line of our Savior Jesus Christ. But, if you look at the family tree of Jesus, it is full of sinners and people that displeased the Lord at some point in their life.. The story of David and Bathsheba is a perfect example. David lost sight of the Lord and his plan. He let his sinful nature take over, even if only for a moment. Then his life spiraled out of control. Soon after David's house began to rebel against him, the son of Jesse knew what he needed to do. He confessed his sin and repented to the Lord.
To David's credit, he recognized his sin. He recognized his mistakes. I see so many Christians not even recognize their own sins. How can we confess our sins and repent if we can't even recognize them? This is the process. It is not pretty. There are still consequences of outwardly disobeying the Lord, but our God is a loving God and he will forgive. He will continue to love us even through the "consequences". My loving Heavenly Father will not abandon me, even when I do stupid things, or when I make crazy choices against him. I am just like David. I haven't committed the same sin, but I have many things in my life I am not proud of and God has been displeased. I am humbled because in his anger he could completely destroy me, but he chooses to forgive and forget. IF I COME TO HIM ON MY KNEES and ask him to forgive, he will do it. That is grace. That is the AMAZING grace we sing about and cherish so much. 

I praise you Lord. I praise you and am completely humbled by your loving grace. I continually ask you to watch over me and my family. Not because we deserve it, but because we DON'T. I want to serve you more and more as I see your mercy and grace in my life. Forgive me when I lose sight of your plans. Forgive me when I don't serve you as I should. Thank you for not giving up on me . I am honored you are using me to further your kingdom and win hearts and lives for eternity. Amen!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

More than Words

In times of trouble, may the lord answer your cry.May the name of the God of Jacob keep you safe from all harm.2May he send you help from his sanctuaryand strengthen you from Jerusalem.3May he remember all your gifts and look favorably on your burnt offerings.Interlude 4May he grant your heart’s desires and make all your plans succeed. 5May we shout for joy when we hear of your victory and raise a victory banner in the name of our God. May the lord answer all your prayers. Psalms 20:1-5

What a wonderful prayer for today. The book of Psalms is filled with wonderful prayers and I love reading them. I have read multiple translations of the Bible. The timeless words in this book sound beautiful in all of them. I praise the Lord for the Bible. As I spend more and more time in the word of the Lord, I am always touched and it impacts my day in powerful ways. I am completely amazed a book that was written long, long ago, can still be applied to our techno-world in the 21st century.
I just do not get so many Christians that don't STUDY, daily, the word of God. I have read through the entire Bible multiple times. I don't say this to brag. I share this to implore you to try it. I have found the Bible is ACTIVE in my life in the situations I am in today. I feel blessed the Holy Spirit opens up the meanings and touches my heart how these pages can be applied in my day. I don't miss a day studying the word of the Lord. You should try it. It is a time honored, God written, foundation to our faith. 
I praise you Lord for the wonderful gift you have given in your word. I praise you that I have been touched by the words from Genesis through Revelation. Praise God for his word! Amen!

Friday, February 19, 2016

I am honored!

So David asked the lord, “Should I go out to fight the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?” 2 Samuel 5:19

My prayer life has grown over the years. I love conversation with the Lord and I have spent more time asking questions just like David. Early on in my life as a follower, I asked for things. I asked for God to follow my plans or to provide for my needs. As I have matured in my faith, I ask God to give me HIS direction. The difference is subtle and significant. I have received more and more guidance from the Holy Spirit and my life has changed because of it.

God is involved in every aspect of our lives. His powerful hand is directing us if we let him. The key is asking. I'm not going into battle with the Philistines, but I am going into a world that is hostile to followers of Christ. Christians are under attack and every move we make is scrutinized like and NFL Monday morning quarterback. So, we need to ask guidance in every moment of our lives. I pray for help in leading my students. I ask for wisdom in preparing for class, interaction with students, and dealing with issues that come up every day. I ask for guidance as we try to improve the way education is done at GHS. Every new thing the ILC Academy undertakes is a part of my prayer life FIRST. The results are shocking. I can see, in a very powerful way, the movement of the Holy Spirit in me. I can see his hand in the daily successes I see. I can not attribute any of that success to me or my wonderful skills as any gifts I have are only by God's hands. God is in charge. God is my great counselor and my confidant. He is Lord of all I do. I am honored to be his. 

Dear Lord, I praise you and am honored to be your child. I ask with all sincere humility to give me direction today. Help me speak your words to support my students. Help me to plan effective lessons that will prepare students for their future. Help students to SEE you within my entire day. Keep me from taking actions against your will. If we plan something that is outside your will, may we know that and not follow through. Lord I love you and praise you for your wonderful power, mercy, and grace. I am yours! Amen!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Running Away

“But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the LORD. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the LORD by sailing to Tarshish.”
Jonah 1:3 NLT.

Did you ever run away when you were a kid? I did. I really never made it very far but I was determined to take off and leave my troubles behind. As I look back, my troubles were pretty small. As a kid, it seems like they are always big. As an adult, I have to admit, there are days I would just like to escape from it all. For me these thoughts usually coincide with the gap between Christmas and Spring Break. Yes, I long to escape to Florida, to the sugar sand beaches, the warm temperatures, and the peaceful sound of the surf. I want to escape the turmoil of every day life.

Oh Jonah, you are ME!

I have days where the battles overwhelm me. I have days where I try to change the world but it seems like I am fighting a losing battle. I want to escape. I want to run away from what God has called me to do. 

There is no running from God.  When I start feeling sorry for myself, when I start coming up with reasons NOT to fight the rising tide of evil in this world, I just need to remember GOD is in charge. I can't just turn my back on God. I can't ignore his call. I need to be his hands, his feet, his voice, in this world of darkness. If I turn my back on Jesus, who will go?  Who will serve the lost? God is calling me. He is calling you to Go. Go into the world and preach the gospel message. Don't run away!

Dear Lord, I praise you for my life. I praise you for YOUR wonderful grace and mercy. I praise you for the mercy, love, and grace only you can give. I ask your forgiveness for the times I run away from you. I ask your forgiveness for the times I have opportunities to share your love and don't. Lord, give me strength to fight the battle today and every day. Help me to fight the evil and the hate in this world. I can't do this without you. Amen!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Being ALL IN

“Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.”   Colossians 3:1-4 NLT.

The last verse of this scripture should be our entire life. I want more than anything for my life to reveal Christ to a lost and dying world. Christ needs to BE my life. Everything I am should be Christ, 24 - 7 - 365. 

Am I a half-ass Christian? (Have I gotten your attention? I often tell students that "cussing" regularly devalues its effectiveness. But, it can be powerful communication tool if used at the right time.) 

I can not expect to be a powerful witness if I am not all in. I hear so many people fade away from their faith, I see their flame die. It is impossible to lose the flame if we fill ourselves with Christ. If we leave gaps, if we keep parts of our lives separate, away from God, our witness is doomed. We die. The world dies. How much of my day do I think of Christ? Do I use the Holy Spirit to guide all the decisions I make throughout a day. Or do I just worship on Sunday? Do I spend time daily in the word of God or do I let the busyness of my schedule keep me from studying his word? Are my prayers sent multiple times during the day, just once, twice, or maybe inconsistent? We can't live our life with Christ on a part time basis.

To keep our eyes on him, we need to spend time with him. Prayer, study, fellowship, worship, rinse-and-repeat every moment, every second of our lives. Heaven is the goal but before we get there God must BE our life, we must reveal him through our actions, words, and thoughts. Our walk, our words, all need to be in agreement. There is no room for anything else.  If we can maintain the focus, be all in, we will share in the glory that is eternity and we will share that glory with a saved world.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

What can I do?

“The foundations of law and order have collapsed. What can the righteous do?” But the LORD is in his holy Temple; the LORD still rules from heaven. He watches everyone closely, examining every person on earth. The LORD examines both the righteous and the wicked. He hates those who love violence. He will rain down blazing coals and burning sulfur on the wicked, punishing them with scorching winds. For the righteous LORD loves justice. The virtuous will see his face.” -- Psalms 11:3-7 NLT --

No more truer words have been written. 

I have been following, very closely, the presidential election process including nearly all the debates. My sincere opinion matches the words of these verses. Our country's foundation of law and order have collapsed. We are sinking deeper and deeper into sin, as a nation. We are rejecting God, we are not producing leaders that fear the Lord, no one respects authority. Hate fills the news and the hearts of our diverse people. Civility is non existent. I am to the point of throwing up my hands, "What are the righteous to do?"

But, the Lord is in his holy Temple, the Lord still rules from heaven.

It is so easy to lose hope in our crazy, mixed up world. Depression and anxiety can overwhelm us to panic and fear tomorrow. But, the victory is won. Jesus conquered sin and destroyed the grave for us. There is no doubt of the outcome, God reigns for eternity. End of story. 

Dear Lord, I Praise you for the destruction of hopelessness. I praise you for joy in the midst of pain. I praise you for life that is only renewed through your powerful name. Help me, Lord Jesus to be the light of hope in a world sinking into deeper darkness. I praise you and am honored to be filled with your spirit. I am not alone. You are on the throne! Amen! 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Great News!?

“But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as God’s servant to proclaim it.”Colossians 1:23 NLT --

We received some great news last week. My daughter and her family are moving back to Indiana. Yeah! Everyone is so excited. Brian, Lindsae, and our four lovely grandkids will be within an hour. Praise God! We have been praying for this for nearly 7 years. God is amazing. 

Have you ever heard great news and then when reality sets in, you are thrown in a panic. I think that's where we are right now. Moving, schools, where to live, selling a home, temporary living arrangements and just widespread uncertainty have our heads spinning. 

Aren't we a trip! We get just what we want! God orchestrates a miracle, but we instantly lose faith that everything is going to work out. We are so weird! God is bringing the Gilbert's home. He will make it all happen. He already has the plan. He knows every step because He is God and we are not! When God answers prayer it's nto just a one time thing. He has a COMPLETE plan. He knows and is control of EVERY DETAIL. Praise God!

Dear Lord, we praise you for answered prayer. We have seen, time and time again, your amazing power. Forgive me when I limit your greatness with my narrow thinking. I trust your plan and will wait upon you Lord. I can't wait to see your power again, again, and again. You are amazing! Amen!

Saturday, February 13, 2016


“The wicked are too proud to seek God. They seem to think that God is dead. Yet they succeed in everything they do. They do not see your punishment awaiting them. They sneer at all their enemies.”    Psalms 10:4-5 NLT -

What is your definition of success? 

Merriam-Webster defines success as "the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame,"

That definition is not complete because it leads to more questions. How do you define wealth? respect? fame?  There is a stark contrast between the "world's" definition of those three words and the biblical definitions. The world would say wealth means money, respect is position of influence, and fame is notoriety. The call to Christians is to change their definitions of wealth, respect, and fame. We need to make these three keys to success Christ centered. So here are my definitions:

Wealth - Wealth is not measured by the "stuff" of our lives but by the PEOPLE in our lives. The value of human life far out weighs all the gold and silver on this planet. Achieving wealth is building lasting relationships. We can not take gold, silver, money, stuff, with us when we die. We CAN take people with us when they die. They can spend time with us in eternity. Why spend so much time acquiring  wealth when we could be spending time drawing people to Jesus. That is REAL WEALTH!

Respect - Living a life that honors God. I have so much more RESPECT for the widow who gave everything than any King, President, or Wall Street Exec. Christians around the world who stand up for their faith and pay the ultimate price for Jesus deserve our RESPECT.  Politicians, Media, and Activists, do not deserve our RESPECT when they just follow the wave of popular causes to gain power. 

Fame - Christians do not define FAME based on accumulation of superficial achievements. Christians define FAME as SERVICE to others. Fame is achieved when you serve huge numbers of people and still retain a humble heart. Mother Teresa and Billy Graham are perfect examples of people who have achieved real fame. The World only looks at popularity based on superficial achievements in sports and hollywood. I love Harrison Ford. THe world calls him famous. How do you compare his achievements compared to serving the poor or bringing millions to know Jesus. That is real fame!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Praise God

“But David said, “No, my brothers! Don’t be selfish with what the LORD has given us. He has kept us safe and helped us defeat the band of raiders that attacked us.”
1 Samuel 30:23 NLT --

I had a wonderful day yesterday. God revealed himself AGAIN! He has given me so much and I just don't deserve his infinite grace. To think how selfish I can be with all he has given is embarrassing. The Lord keeps giving and giving.

Stephanie and I have been praying 7 years for a family matter. Yesterday, out of nowhere, the prayer was answered. I am speechless. My savior has a wonderful plan. I don't always understand. Who am I? Why do I think I have a better plan? My God is faithful and everyone should know my God. So today I shout with joy. Today I celebrate my God.

I just don't understand how people can ignore his power and greatness. They are blinded by the lies of the enemy. Everyone sees his greatness but they don't know how that "greatness" happens. God loves all of us and he is begging for a relationship with you. He doesn't NEED it. He wants it. Unfortunately, they know only the lack of hope in this upside down world. They know only the turmoil, stress, and pain of a life without God. When I have days like today, it empowers me to work even harder for the Lord. I don't want to be the only person to have days like today. I don't want to be the only one that knows eternity. I have to share this joy or I will explode. PRAISE GOD! PRAISE GOD! PRAISE GOD!

Dear Lord, I can only sing your praises. I can only shout your greatness. You alone Lord are my strength, my deliverer, and my loving Heavenly Father. To say Thank You is hollow. It does not do justice to your love. I PRAISE YOUR HOLY NAME! AMEN!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Valentines Day - just one day!

Sing praises to the lord who reigns in Jerusalem.
Tell the world about his unforgettable deeds. Psalms 9:11

My life is full of unforgettable deeds by the Lord. How can I ever put in to words his wonderful presence in my life. I gave my life to Christ as a young teen at a summer church camp. My faith has steadily grown over the 42 years since that date and my God has been faithful. 
One of the most significant events that happened in the early days of my faith was the gift of my wife, Stephanie. I am so amazed at God's hand in our lives. He brought us together. No one, including our families, believed in us. God brought us together at the young age of 15 years old. We have been together for 40 years and married for 38 of those years. It is not through anything wonderful we or I have done. It is God and his powerful mercy and grace. Now that we have gone through life together raising 3 wonderful girls, we are alone with each other. We still laugh and thoroughly enjoy each others presence just like the first weeks and months of our friendship. We work together, we travel together, we share life together and I could not be a happier man.
Valentines Day is coming and young people think of unique expressions of Love. They spend time buying just the right gift or the perfect card. They plan the perfect evening and spare no expense.  I just think of the wonderful gift God has given me and my joy overwhelms me. To many people February 14th is a magical date. That one day is so insignificant in the grand scheme of my wonderful life. It's just one day in the wonderful life I have had with my wonderful life.  I praise God for all the other wonderful days we have spent together and the many more that are ahead of us.

Dear Lord, I praise you for the wonderful works I have seen in my life. Lord Jesus, I am eternally grateful for my wife Stephanie and the love we have shared for 40 years. I am humbled that you cared so much for me that you sent such a wonderful partner. My life is special because of her and I know that gift is from you and you alone. I deserve none of the great deeds you have done for me. I deserve none of the LOVE I have received. I Praise YOU now and always! Amen!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Family stuff

“Love the LORD, all you godly ones! For the LORD protects those who are loyal to him, but he harshly punishes the arrogant. So be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the LORD!”
Psalms 31:23-24 NLT

I love my daughters and their families. We are close. There is never a night where we do not talk via FaceTime, social media, texting, or attending events. For the most par,  I know what goes on in their lives. So, I always have "stuff" to pray for. Right now is no different. As they travel through life and deal with jobs, kids, finances, busyness, health, and faith, I want so much to just jump in and fix everything for them. The older I get I realize that's just not going to happen. I want to be the rescuer. I want to solve the problems and end the trials. I can't. My only alternative, it should be my first choice, is to pray. I need to pray without ceasing for my family. I hope and plea for the Lord to hear me.

I'm not God, but I get the sense he feels the same about me.  He loves me and wants to swoop in and fix everything. He has determined since the very first days of life on this planet, to love us and give us free will. It pains him to see our chaotic lives, but he lets us deal with what we have created. He will help, he will support, he will fix things, only when called upon by his children. He will protect those who are loyal to him. 

My message to my kids: BE strong and courageous. Put your hope in the Lord.  I will forever Pray for you and the "stuff" of your life. I pray, not just for the stuff of your lives, but that you will draw closer to the care and protection of the Savior of the World. You are my great Love and I know the only way to truly protect you is through the arms of Jesus. 

Dear Lord, You know the trials and stresses facing my kids. I ask you to use your power, grace, and strength to grant them wisdom and direct them in the path YOU have laid out for them. Watch over them. Protect them from the enemy and bless their lives. I love you and worship only you, today, and every day. Amen!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Be nice!

“Who else would let his enemy get away when he had him in his power? May the LORD reward you well for the kindness you have shown me today.”
1 Samuel 24:19 NLT

Kindness is a lost art. People just aren't kind to each other and those that DO share the love, many times, have ulterior motives. Why can't we just be nice to each other? We need to make a vow to love our enemies, our friends, our coworkers, and certainly our families. The current Presidential candidates could learn this simple principle. I think it speaks about our "hate" when you look at who most Republicans are supporting and who is not getting support. They just can't focus on issues. They have to spend their valuable campaign time bashing and attacking each other.

We need to learn kindness. I see hate and judgment all the time. It's not just the students. I see plenty adults hating. If you disagree with someone, you hate them. That should NEVER be true. As Christians we have not been great role models when it comes to kindness. For the most part, we are kind to fellow Christians, although I have seen this breakdown also. But, we definitely don't share a lot of kindness with those we disagree with. We need to learn ways to love and disagree at the exact same time. How can we expect to share God's love with the lost if we do not FIRST share kindness?

Dear Lord, help me to be kind. Help me to share your love with the unloveable. Help me to represent the true love you have for my community regardless who they are. Lord, anyone can love those that love them. We need to follow your example and love those that DO NOT love us. We can't do this without you. Help us to look past the differences and see the real people inside. I love you Lord. I praise you for being kind to us and not hating when you could hate us. Your grace is perfect. Amen!

Monday, February 8, 2016

God's not Dead

“I will praise you forever, O God, for what you have done. I will trust in your good name in the presence of your faithful people.”
Psalms 52:9 NLT

Gods name is being smeared. It is happening all over the world. He is described as weak, narrow minded, loveless, and many other vicious comments. But, the most hurtful and destructive are the comments, "God's Dead". Politicians, anti-Christian rhetoric, cultural shifts from following Biblical values, and hate are all the center of attacks on the Lord.  I'm here to tell you, he's not dead! His power, mercy, grace, and forgiveness are as strong as ever. His love for all of us is pure and real. My Heavenly Father can handle the attacks. He can deal with the rejection. He has intentionally given us a choice to make. IT pains him. We can choose him or not. It's that simple. He continues to love those that hate him or discount him. But, the consequences are eternal.

Dear Lord, I love you so much and I honor your name above all names. I am a prime example of your grace and mercy. I am 55 years old and can point to several events where YOU have saved me from myself and others. I praise you for everything you have done in my life. Give me the strength and the words to share your love with everyone today and everyday. Amen!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Guns vs the Bible

“But LORD, you laugh at them. You scoff at all the hostile nations.”
Psalms 59:8 NLT

We are at war. Not only is the battle between good and evil men, there is a joint battle in the heavenly realm. ISIS, these Muslim extremists, are a part of satan's army. They are trying with all there efforts to topple Christianity, as we know it, with the backing of the dark forces. They are not the only ones siding with the enemy. Many "POLITICAL ACTIVISTS" are also being used by the deceiver to do his work. There is so much hate in the world and attacks against followers of Christ. So, yes, we are at war and even though I know the ultimate victory is in Jesus, I will do everything to protect my family. God has put me in a place where I can protect my wife, my daughters, and their families. Yes, I have the power of prayer. Yes, I have the power of the word of God. Now I also have a handgun.

Since just after Christmas I own a powerful tool for protection and now I'm learning how to use it. Slowly I am improving my ability to use it effectively. I did not purchase a gun to leave it sitting in some drawer hoping I could use it effectively when trouble comes. I will carry it. I will be ready to take action not just to protect myself and my family, but also other innocents caught in the turmoil of our society. I have a huge responsibility to make sure I am trained properly and use as much restraint as possible in the use of this new tool for safety. 

The Bible is just like my handgun! I know that my bother some people. But, the Bible, the word of my Lord, divinely written, is my protection. More powerful than any two edged sword and certainly more powerful than my handgun. There are many similarities between the word of God and my weapon of choice. So many people purchase Bibles and then they just sit as some decoration in the living room or get stored on some book shelf. It is a tool of eternal value. For the past 15 years, I have been diving into the word of God. I have been a Christian for over 40 years. The first part of my walk with the Lord, I read the Bible on occasion, but never really STUDIED it. Now that I spend more and more time in  the word, the more I am prepared for the troubles that are sure to come. I have my glock and I value it's power. I believe that the Lord wants us to use all means necessary to protect ourselves and others. But, there is nothing like the power of the Word of God. I trust in it to fight for me in the battle between Good and Evil. I have seen it's truth come to life in my life. It is not just a book, it is the word of God and useful to guide me in the direction of my life. IT IS MY PROTECTOR!

Dear Lord, I praise you for the word you have provided us. You alone, Lord,  are in control of all of my life. I completely trust you and your power. I praise you for the protection you provide. Watch over me as I try to protect my own family and friends from the enemies we meet everyday. I praise you for providing ALL the tools to keep us safe as we travel this life. Amen!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Power Corrupts

“When Saul realized that the LORD was with David and how much his daughter Michal loved him, Saul became even more afraid of him, and he remained David’s enemy for the rest of his life.”
1 Samuel 18:28-29 NLT

I love seeing others succeed. I get no greater pleasure than to see my students thrive. I also really get "pumped" when I see people overcome obstacles. Watching someone struggle pains me deeply, but that can totally change if they defeat the barriers and come out victorious. So, I just don't understand the thoughts of Saul. He's a man of God. When he sees someone else chosen by God, over him, his ugly jealousy swings into action. He was not happy being out of the spotlight.

So many of us, myself included, love to lead. But if leading turns into the desire for power, things can get ugly. Much of our culture centers around the acquisition of power and as the old saying goes "power corrupts". I see all of these candidates on the political stage running for President, and wonder what they will REALLY be like running our country. I might be naive, but I think most people that start in politics do so with a great heart. They truly want to do good. As they see success, pride gets in the way. Pride feeds the desire for more adulation and they seek more power. As they seek more power their confidence and arrogance grows. Eventually they forget their beginnings. They trample on the people they love the most.

I don't want to be like Saul. He forgot his humble beginnings and being chosen by God. His power and position got to him. He could not celebrate the new successes of David. If I ever get to the point where I can not praise the accomplishments of others, even if they are at my expense, I have failed. My job is to support new leadership. My job is to help new leadership grow so they can eventually replace me. That's my job.

Dear Lord, I love you and celebrate all that you have given me. I know it is from you and not through my own power and strength. Help me, Lord, to always have joy for others and their accomplishments. Help me to support new leaders, encourage them, and provide quiet guidance to assure their success. Thank you Lord for all the joy in my life and the presence of your love, mercy, and grace. Amen!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

There is a way

““Don’t be ridiculous!” Saul replied. “There’s no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win! You’re only a boy, and he’s been a man of war since his youth.”

David replied to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.”
1 Samuel 17:33, 45 NLT,45.nlt

Our faith is so weak. We limit ourselves and our Father in Heaven. I am amazed at the power of Jesus that most never see. We live lives limited by artificial barriers, barriers constructed only in our minds. We serve a small God, not because of who he is, but who we say he is. 

I have been through personal financial problems, family medical crisis, turmoil in jobs,  and doubts from others. For those that don't know Jesus, they might think I am quite a great person to be able to handle it all. If I listen to them, my chest might expand in selfish pride.  I even hear doubts from my own brothers and sisters in the Faith.  My fellow followers that know the power of Jesus can be just as bad at limiting the size of my God. But I know that all I am, all that I have over come, all that I will face.............. IS BECAUSE OF CHRIST IN ME! My own witness directs me straight to Jesus. I am amazed by his power and might. MY GOD IS HUGE! He can and has overcome all of the GIANTS in my life. I no longer limit my God. People can make fun of my FAITH. They can ridicule and even persecute me for following Christ, but I know that even with a small pebble, I can defeat the evils in my life. Praise GOD for accepting me, loving me, and protecting me from all evil and sin in my life. 

IF you are facing trouble, turmoil, stress, and complete uncertainty in your life, THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY TO FACE THE GIANTS! You must completely turn everything over to Jesus. He has an ARMY that will be by your side and even in you defenseless, hopeless, state, he will guarantee certain victory. There is a way and it is through JESUS! Don't believe me, try it, and you will see the POWER!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Ask, Listen, Obey

“But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams. Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the command of the LORD, he has rejected you as king.””
1 Samuel 15:22-23 NLT.

It should be pretty simple to follow the Lord. He doesn't demand much. He really just wants us to be obedient. He doesn't want our money and he doesn't want our sacrifice. He wants obedience. He wants us to shed our stubbornness. He wants us to serve and obey. 

I see so many people not only avoiding, ignoring God, they outright rebel against the creator of the universe. The anti-God crowd is growing and becoming more vocal. It is becoming politically correct to bash Christianity and bully the faithful. It makes it more difficult to obey knowing we will be convicted by non-Christians. 

WE who call our selves followers of Christ need to strengthen our defenses. That is not going to be done by our own design. WE can only protect ourselves by turning to our Heavenly Father. We need to LISTEN! WE need to seek his voice. We need to seek his power. We need to accept the commands and the path laid before us. In order to win the battle on this planet, we don't need more "burnt offerings" or more "sacrifices" we need obedience through all situations. We are in a battle for the souls of our communities and we can not back down to the "politically correct". We need to ask, listen, and obey. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Smelly Oil

“Then Samuel took a flask of olive oil and poured it over Saul’s head. He kissed Saul and said, “I am doing this because the LORD has appointed you to be the ruler over Israel, his special possession.”
1 Samuel 10:1 NLT --

This verse made me think of my CMA state leadership meeting on Saturday. We had officer training to prepare for the year. It is a great time to get together with my fellow CMAers to learn from each other. At the end of the day, each officer from our 24 chapters were anointed with oil and were prayed over for the coming year. I loved the ceremony and it was powerful. But, I have to admit, the oil smell was overpowering and soon afterward I had to wipe it off. It made me chuckle think about Saul also being anointed. I wonder if he wiped it off.

The oil is a great symbol of God's overpowering strength and power in my life. I am so thrilled to be marked as one of his children. I am humbled that he has chosen me and the ministry of CMA to deliver his message to the lost. I really don't care about the smell. I care that the smelly oil means I have Jesus with me throughout all I do. God chose Saul for the special position of leadership to lead his nation. He chose me for my ministry with CMA and he has chosen you for your special ministry. Do you know what it is? Ask, listen, act on his call. He has a job for you. He will anoint you and send you out. You just have to answer the call. It is ridiculous if you do not have a specific ministry. God has chosen each of us to go out and spread the gospel. If you don't feel that is true about you, your not listening to the Holy Spirit. You need to bow down and ask the creator of the universe to reveal your ministry. He will do it. Pursue that ministry, act on his voice. 

Dear Lord, I am committed to you and the mission of letting everyone know of your love and grace. I am honored to be anointed for you. Forgive me for not always serving with passion and power. I love you and serve only you. Amen!

Monday, February 1, 2016

My Plan is NOT Best!

But though I have rescued you from your misery and distress, you have rejected your God today and have said, ‘No, we want a king instead!’ Now, therefore, present yourselves before the lord by tribes and clans.” 
1 Samuel 10:19

SO often God gives us what we want and not what we need. When we spend our prayer lives asking for stuff, over and over again, God answers. Even though he knows it's not best for us, many times,  he says yes.

I am more cautious in my aging years of "wisdom" not be be so specific with my prayer requests. I am more about praying for people and relationships than stuff. God knows what is best for me and my life. I have to trust him and his plan. MY PLAN IS NOT BEST. 

Dear Lord, I love you and trust you with all of my being. I trust you with the care of my wife and family. I love you and trust you with my career and my coworkers. I trust you that you will guide me in my work with teens. I trust you with my ministry at CMA. I trust you with it all. Thank you for your patience with me. I love you and honor you! I praise you for the life you have given me and the path you have placed before me. Amen!