Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Listening to the Enemy!

11“Your ancestors refused to listen to this message. They stubbornly turned away and put their fingers in their ears to keep from hearing. 12They made their hearts as hard as stone, so they could not hear the instructions or the messages that the lord of Heaven’s Armies had sent them by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. That is why the lord of Heaven’s Armies was so angry with them. Zechariah 7:11-12

Many of you that follow me on social media know I am deeply involved in politics. One of my strongest values in life is being an informed voter. Yes, I am a strong conservative. I have never voted for a democrat for President of the United States. However, I have voted for many democrats for national, state, and local elections and I will never say I could not vote for a democrat. More important than WHO I vote for is the fact that I listen to the other side. So many of my Republican friends are plugging their ears this week and not willing to even listen to the Democrats at their convention. I have to say it was exciting. I also am about just listening. It is awesome that I have a place to go to follow the happenings, every speaker, without commentary. Three more nights. We need to listen to the "Enemy". We need to try to understand each other. We need to disagree without hatred. We need to seek places where we agree. We need to be one nation, UNDER GOD!
When we won't listen to the people we disagree with, I am fearful for this planet. I am also fearful for those that won't listen to the Lord speaking to their hearts. I pray their cold, hard, hearts will melt away and listen to the creator of the universe. God is not silent in this world. He is speaking loudly to anyone who will listen. He is sharing the recipe for peace and joy. He is sharing love, mercy, and grace. I can not fathom the patience the Lord has with our stubbornness. We need to fall on our knees and praise him at the same time we beg forgiveness for our division. Sit down in quietness and listen to the Lord. He will speak to you!!!!!

I love you Lord. I praise you Lord. Please heal our division. Bring us together as a nation. Bring us together to lift up the downtrodden, to rescue the lost, and care for the weak. We need you Lord Jesus. Amen!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Regardless of politics ---- We are United in Christ!

10The lord says, “Shout and rejoice, O beautiful Jerusalem, for I am coming to live among you. 11Many nations will join themselves to the lord on that day, and they, too, will be my people. I will live among you, and you will know that the lord of Heaven’s Armies sent me to you. Zechariah 2:10-11

I am so honored to be a follower of Christ and I am equally proud that being a Christian is not designed for some narrow group of people. Our faith is open to everyone. You do not have to be perfect to call yourself a follower of Christ. The message of the gospel is open to all nations, all people. We aren't all democrats. This isn't some exclusive club for republicans. All races, economic backgrounds, and political beliefs can and do serve the Lord. We can disagree with each other as long as we are united in our faith in the Lord. That opening of the faith came with the presence of Jesus Christ, among us!

I praise God for the diversity of our faith and love everyone despite our differences. There is so much in this world that divides us. I can't believe the amount of energy and effort that goes behind identifying our differences. The turmoil that is growing in our own country and certainly around the world is fed by people promoting our differences. It is nice to know there is a place we can go where we can be as one. The cross of Jesus is that place. 
I have had many "Social media" debates with friends and family. But, I want it to be clear I love those same family and friends that I vehemently disagree with. I would do anything for them and want nothing but the best for them. The heat will continue to grow as we near this next election. I just want us to remember we are all called to love each other and serve the one true God and the Lord of all. Thank You Lord!

Dear Lord, Please bring us together. There is so much hate and division in this world. We are constantly bombarded by our differences. Unite us Lord. Help us to realize we are all one under your power, your love, your mercy, and your grace. I pray that as we come to you know you that we will begin to center our lives around your love. I praise you for this wonderful life we live. Amen!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

I can't get no Satisfaction!!!!!!!

“This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: Look at what’s happening to you! You have planted much but harvest little. You eat but are not satisfied. You drink but are still thirsty. You put on clothes but cannot keep warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes!”  Haggai 1:5-6 NLT.   http://bible.com/116/hag.1.5-6.nlt

I'n not that much of a fan of the Rolling Stones. But, the song "Satisfaction" is a great representation of our American society. As in many songs the lyrics constantly repeat, "I can't get no satisfaction
I can't get no satisfaction 'Cause I try and I try and I try and I try, I can't get no, I can't get no....." Should we be satisfied? Should there come a point where we are satisfied. Should we get to the point in our lives where we are content where God has placed us, what he has provided us, and the direction we are traveling.

God has blessed me beyond my wildest imagination. I still don't feel contentment. It seems I am never satisfied. I am sure that saddens God. He gives his people everything they need and more. We are ungrateful and we always ask for more. The worldly views of our society infect me and most Christians. God wants us to be content in his arms. God wants us to rest in peace, satisfied that he will and does provide everything we need. When I was on vacation, sitting in my chair, staring above at the beautifully MASSIVE universe, I was content. When we sit quietly and reflect on our lives, the creation around us, and the gifts we have received, we can be satisfied. Praise God! Take some time, sit quietly, don't just pray the christmas list, listen to the Lord, think about all he has done. 

Dear Lord, You are wonderful. Please forgive me that I do not realize I have all that I need. Forgive me for not being content with your gifts and many blessings. I am at peace with who I am. I am content in you. You are an amazing and powerful God. It really amazes me, Lord, that you have the power to place the stars in the sky and still take the time to be with me. I am humbled and honored! Amen!

Friday, July 22, 2016

My words

In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. 6And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself. James 3:5,6

I have spent most of the week listening to a plethora of political speeches. The Republican National Convention was held this week to finalized the nomination of Donald Trump for president and Michael Pence for vice president. I am greatly impressed with the direction of the party I have supported my entire life. The grand speeches aren't enough. The words have set the entire Republican on fire for this election. Just as the words spoken this past week can direct the future of the election, a few poorly chosen words in the next 3 or 4 months can destroy any good that was generated this week. Words are powerful tools for good or for evil and politicians live and die by the words they speak.
It's not just the politicians that need to be careful of unleashed tongue. We ALL need to show care in the product of our mouth. I'm not talking about political correctness. I have never been one to use a "political correctness" filter. I think the present administration doesn't quite understand the power of the words they speak. The words they speak in trying to protect our minority citizens have incited the same to attack our men and women in blue. Even now they are back pedaling because they realize the impact of the rhetoric. I can do much the same thing via my social media posts or ill-chosen words as I speak to my wife, my daughters, and the rest of my family. We/I could  be more sensitive to tone down the rhetoric and choose our/my words wisely. 

Lord help us to choose our words carefully. Help us to consult you and your wonderful words before we speak. Help us to serve you not just with our hands and feet, but with the words from our mouths and the words from our heart. Forgive us for the times we don't use your wisdom as we speak. As in all things we can not change without you. Fill us with your Holy Spirit Lord Jesus. Amen!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Too Proud!

“You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?”
James 2:19-20 NLT

The Presidential Candidate Donald Trump is a pretty proud man. In my opinion he is "over the top" proud. I have never heard a person so proud of themselves. The word humble is not in his vocabulary. I think that must be a prerequisite to run for the most powerful office in the world. He is not the only one. Hillary, Bernie, and each of the 16 or so Republican candidates spent most of this past year tooting their own horn. I just wish we could get a candidate to admit, "I have weaknesses or I make mistakes."

As Christians, we need to be careful to not be TOO PROUD! Yes, we believe in the creator of the universe. So many people can't say that. But faith is so much more than just belief. We can't just have faith without the actions and deeds that are results of that faith. Faith without works is not faith at all. We are not special within ourselves. We are only special, we are only GREAT, when Christ is living within us.  When Christ lives in us we start to realize how imperfect we are. We see our flaws because we see the perfectness of our savior. We feel the spirit of the Lord so much that we CAN'T just sit on the sidelines. We need to take action. We need to serve. We need to go out and tell the wonderful story of Jesus. We don't have time to be proud!

Dear Lord Jesus, I love you and stand before you with humility. I know I am flawed. I know I am weak. BUT, through the power of JESUS we are made perfect! Praise God for his love. Praise God that we are his! Thank you for the opportunity to serve! Amen!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

How's your Faith!

“But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.”
James 1:6-8 NLT

I'm back from vacation. I know what your thinking, was I on vacation from the Lord? No, certainly not. While on vacation it is difficult to write my blog due to travel and inconsistent Internet. I still spend plenty time with the Lord. But, I long for routine and am looking forward to writing again. So I'm back.

As with most people, my prayer life is up and down. There are times I am in constant prayer and other times I can't seem to make the time. Lord forgive me! Yet, even with my inconsistent prayer life, I rarely find any doubts in the power of my God. My loyalty, my faith is in the one true God. 

During my trip to the Atlantic Coast I was able to witness the extreme power of crashing waves. I saw the power and unpredictability of the churning sea. But I also got to see the power and stability of the rocky coast and the impressive protection of the lighthouse guarding the countless harbors.  Though the waves grew ever higher with the strength of the wind and tides, they could not intimidate. The harbors were safe. They were tranquil, they were calm. 

I have seen the turmoils of life. I have seen financial ruin, family medical crisis, and job uncertainty, personally. The winds have stirred the waves and the seas have been violent. My God, my savior has been the rock protecting my harbor. Jesus has been the lighthouse to help me navigate life. My loyalty has not been in doubt. My loyalty has grown. Praise God I can see his light. I can be confident nothing will hurt me. I will be sheltered in his arms. I praise God that even in my wavering prayer life, he has been there, always. My Faith is strong in the Lord. He is my rock. He is my fortress. He is my life! 

Dear Lord, Thank You for the time of rest. Now that I am back. Please guide me in preparation for another school year. Guide me in everything I do. I praise you for your grace, mercy, and strength in all things. Amen!