Friday, December 8, 2017

Not just food programs

“So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. They said, “We apostles should spend our time teaching the word of God, not running a food program. And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility.”
‭‭Acts of the Apostles‬ ‭6:2-3‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/act.6.2-3.nlt


I love serving the Lord. We are called to serve. But, our ultimate responsibility is to preach the Gospel message. We must maintain this balance in our ministry. We need to make sure we don't get so consumed by the servant mission that we forget to bring people to Jesus. At CMA we talk about earning the right to share the gospel through building relationships. Relationships are built through sacrificial service. But eventually we need to share the saving grace of Jesus, what it has meant in our lives and the power it brings to the world. During this Christmas season we can get lost in the moment and forget the purpose of celebrating December 25th. The birth of Jesus and God coming down to live with us is truly deserving of a celebration. But, this birth had a single purpose. The amazing birth of Jesus led to the ultimate sacrifice on the cross. 

So, yes, we need to run food programs, we need to take care of the homeless, the poor, the orphans, the widows, and the lost. That is what Jesus did and that is what we are called to do. But, we need to make sure it is clear, our purpose, our main goal is to let people know that Jesus died for them on the cross. If we confess our sins, repent and ask Jesus to be our savior, we will be saved from eternal death and live forever with Jesus in our Heavenly home.

PRAISE GOD FOR HIS POWER AND LOVE!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Be Ready!

“Peter saw his opportunity and addressed the crowd. “People of Israel,” he said, “what is so surprising about this? And why stare at us as though we had made this man walk by our own power or godliness? For it is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the God of all our ancestors—who has brought glory to his servant Jesus by doing this. This is the same Jesus whom you handed over and rejected before Pilate, despite Pilate’s decision to release him. You rejected this holy, righteous one and instead demanded the release of a murderer. You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. And we are witnesses of this fact!”
‭‭Acts of the Apostles‬ ‭3:12-15‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/act.3.12-15.nlt


How many times do I get an opportunity to share Jesus and miss it? Peter and John seized this opportunity and made the most of it. They made sure the focus was solely on Jesus and the power of their Heavenly Father. When we get a chance to share and all the sudden the spotlight is on us, how do we react? Letting God use you is not about bringing glory to you, it’s to bring glory to him. I loved this message. It was direct and clear. These two men let the spirit of the Lord shine through. They were just the vessel, the tool used by God. As our friends and neighbors know our heart for Jesus, we must make sure our message matches our walk and we need to take every opportunity to share in powerful and positive ways. We need to be prepared at all times.

Lord, open my eyes to the opportunity to be a witness to your grace, mercy, and love. Prepare my heart and my mouth to share in a way that doesn’t put me on a pedestal, but places you above everything. Destroy the pride in me and humble me when I get the opportunity. I love you Lord! Amen!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Actions = Faith?

““No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.””
‭‭Luke‬ ‭16:13‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/luk.16.13.nlt


I teach a seminar to students studying the book “Designing Your Life” . The book describes a great method for learning how to decide what to do with your life. Students are asked to build a “Life view” and a “Work view”. These two essays describe what students value in life and then they do the same thing describing what they value in work. Then they ask “Do these two views conflict?” If we value money are we willing to sacrifice family to earn that money? Is our career first over God? And regardless what we say we value, do our actions match our words?

These verses ask the same questions. Do our life actions match our faith in God? Do we say one thing and do another? As Christians we need the help of our Lord to make sure we live in a way where our faith matches our life. We must make sure our money is used as a tool for the Lord. The things we have need to be used for the good of others not just ourselves. The number one criticism of nonchristians is the pure hypocrisy of Christians. Our witness to others is more about how we live than than the words that come from our mouth. I would also say how we spend our money may speak even louder.

Dear Lord, direct our finances. Direct our lives so that they match the real message of sacrifice and love Jesus shared when he walked this earth. Amen!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Elf on the Shelf?

“But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:6‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/mat.6.6.nlt

My grandkids will be getting a surprise this morning. They have an extra pair of eyes watching them. This creepy little elf will do his best to remind us that Christmas is just around the corner and they better keep themselves OFF the naughty list.

I’m not sure what I think about this. As a kid, I knew my parents controlled the naughty/nice report to Santa. I was more worried about my dad than some cute little doll staring at me while I completed my homework. But, it’s all meant in fun and Christmas is such a fun time of the year. As a parent, manipulating your children can be fulltime entertainment,especially around Christmas.

As an adult, I am more aware of the eyes of my father watching me. I want to make sure my faith matches my actions. I need to pray,  not from a selfish attitude, but with the will of the father first on my list. I need to demonstrate God’s love and grace not to earn some type of reward or magical Christmas gift. I need to serve like Jesus served so that others will see His love and maybe, just maybe, decide to join the kingdom.

The elf on the shelf is great for young children. It reminds them that their actions have consequences. As adults, we also need to realize our actions have eternal consequences. God is watching us. He sees our actions and he sees deep into our heart. Work to please the Lord! Do his will, Love him with your hands and feet. Praise God for this wonderful life he gives us! God is watching!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Standing in the Gap

““I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, but I found no one.”
‭‭Ezekiel‬ ‭22:30‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/ezk.22.30.nlt

Much has been written about the infamous wall promised by President Trump. But walls are not new and walls are important to the protection of the people inside the country, or home. It is completely irresponsible to not take all possible action to protect yourself or your country. We need to build literal walls and virtual walls to protect our nation from those that have pledged to destroy us. I can't understand any argument against protecting ourselves. I can't understand anyone that accepts the violators of our laws with open arms. If the laws aren't fair, change them. If we keep out those innocents that need our protection then change the law, don't ignore it.

This verse struck a chord with me, especially considering the announcement of the acquittal of Kate Stinle's murderer. As a Christian I value the rule of law. I value the leadership of those willing to protect our country, my state, and my community. I need those that are willing to sacrifice themselves for the protection of all we value. Unfortunately, great leaders are so hard to find. The sadness that power breeds corruption is so evident in our leaders. I believe, maybe innocently, that their intent is good when they pursue leadership. But as they grow in power, it corrupts their vision. They forget their original calling and they no longer stand in the gap.

Can we not find great leaders that will stand in the gap for us? Is there no one out there to sacrifice their lives for our protection? Lord send them to us. We need them now!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Honor women!

“Are they ashamed of these disgusting actions? Not at all—they don’t even know how to blush! Therefore, they will lie among the slaughtered. They will be brought down when I punish them, says the Lord.”
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭8:12‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/jer.8.12.nlt

Sometimes the news is just hard to watch. The latest headlines contain a massive amount of sexual harassment charges. Our political leaders, the powerful men who are charged with representing us, can't contain themselves. They act like a bunch hormone crazed school boys experiencing girls for the first. The power has gone to their heads. I am disgusted by their actions. There is absolutely no humility in any of them. I wish we knew how to genuinely blush. I was so proud of our Vice President this past year when he talked about staying away from those temptations. Of course, the media ridiculed him ruthlessly. He has it right. We all need to take a lesson from him. Avoid opportunity to sin with all your heart and soul.

My advice,

Humble yourselves before your constituents and, more importantly, before the Lord. You obviously need to ask forgivenesss, plead for your career and show genuine disgust and sadness about what you have done. Not just because you were caught, but because you genuinely repent, you should come before the Lord begging his mercy. All of us need to promote purity in our relationships with others. As men we need to show honor and respect to women. We need to fight for them and protect them from evil. Words are cheap. Our actions will show reveal hearts. We can not tolerate any words, actions, or thoughts that do not honor women in our society. Dear Lord forgive us!


Monday, November 27, 2017

Who's your flock

“And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will guide you with knowledge and understanding.”
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭3:15‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/jer.3.15.nlt

The use of Shepherd's to talk about our faith is throughout the Bible. So many of the greats throughout history were Shepherd's. The Lord is our Shepherd. Jesus is the Good Shepherd. So it makes sense to compare our selves, to model our lives after the Shepherd's. Simple put we are to watch over, protect, and serve our flock.

Who exactly is our flock?

In my days growing up the church was talked about as the flock. That symbolism works but I would look at this a different way. The Bible talks about the flock in larger terms. For each of us, our families, friends, and coworkers are all within our flock. We are here to serve them. We are to lead them, guide them, and just love on them. To do the best job shepherding our flock we must listen to the Good Shepherd. We need to follow his direction and search for his wisdom. We need to lead by our example. We need to demonstrate unshakable love. We need to provide stability through good times and the storms that pound us on a regular basis. As leaders in the faith we need to serve as a true Shepherd. We need to love as Jesus loved us, our wonderful Good Shepherd.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Soon! Very Soon!

“Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭40:28-31‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/isa.40.28-31.nlt

I'm ready for Thanksgiving!

This is ABSOLUTELY my favorite holiday of the year!

Spending time with family is the best way to spend a holiday. Good food, good fun, are all the perfect recipe for a holiday AND this holiday is also the kickoff to the celebration of the birth of my loving savior.

Having this break from school is much needed. I need these times to renew my strength and help this weary man get much needed rest. Our society is packed with nonstop activity. We take no time to slow down and really appreciate our wonderful lives. Stephanie and I are really working to slow down in the very near future. We are working at simplification of our complicated lives. We are looking to spend time in ministry, spend time with family, and spend time with each other. We're not like God, we DO grow weary, our strength falters, and we fall to exhaustion. We need to cut out all the frivolous activities that zap our energy and fill the extra time with the Lord. We need to have time for rest, renewal, and peace.

Soon! Very Soon!

Monday, November 20, 2017

I sincerely love my wife!

“You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way.”
‭‭Song of Songs‬ ‭4:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/sng.4.7.nlt

I have the best wife in the world. Nope, I didn't get in trouble and trying to get out of the doghouse. Nope, I'm not getting ready to ask for a big Christmas present. I'm sincerely saying, with no hidden agend, God has blessed me with a great life companion. She is a faithful, loving servant of the Lord. She has sacrificed so much for her family, her students and yes, for her crazy husband. She is beautiful inside and out. I'm ashamed to say I don't let her know that enough. The great news? She has passed down that greatness to my lovely daughters and they have passed it to theirs. Her legacy of love will go on for generations. I love spending time together and am blessed to also get to work with her each day. I praise you Lord for this perfect example of your grace. I just don't deserve her.

Who have you neglected in your life? Who have you taken for granted? We are so selfish and blind to those that mean the most to us! Our schedules are so busy we forget to praise people in our lives. We also forget to praise God. We treat him like we do our wives. We ask the world and give nothing in return. When life goes poorly we blame him instead of our sinfulness and poor choices. We ignore him and take full credit when life is good. We just aren't nice and do little to defend our savior when he is attacked by others. Yep, we treat him like our spouse. Forgive me Lord!

Stephanie, I love you from the bottom of my heart. Praise God he loved me so much that he placed you in the center of my life!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Do not compromise!

“Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord. Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts. They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths. You have charged us to keep your commandments carefully. Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your decrees!”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭119:1-5‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/psa.119.1-5.nlt

There is nothing I value more than integrity. I am constantly evaluating my own actions to see if they match my faith. It saddens me when I do or say something contrary to my faith. But I constantly pursue the level of integrity that the Lord demands. We are charged to keep the commands and decrees of the Lord. It's not easy but so important. We can not expect our faith to spread if we do not have people of integrity pushing that faith.

Our world does not value integrity as much as it does power, fame, and money. We vote for politicians even after they have proven to be unethical. We give passes to the powerful that we would never give the "normal" people of our world. As Christians we need to promote the value of integrity and we need to be on the forefront in showing how it needs to be done. Search your heart, constantly. 

Lord, we need you. We need you help in showing others how to live. We need to defeat the sinful flesh and listen to your spirit at fills our hearts. Amen!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Perfect protection!

“Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy! I look to you for protection. I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings until the danger passes by.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭57:1‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/psa.57.1.nlt


Do you feel the protection of the Lord in the midst of attacks? In the middle of personal arracks it is so easy to get focused on the assault or more likely the direction the attack is coming from. That's the first place I go. My defenses go up and my natural response is to return fire. But, as I get older and rely on the Lord more, I find it easier not to respond. I find it easier to let the Lord repel the attacks. I find I am more comfortable turning inward and turning to the Lord. Although I think words CAN harm you, when you seek the spirit of the Lord for your protection, words lose their sting! 

I am thankful the Lord protects me through even the most vile situations. His perfect protection in my life is real. There are so many times I feel like lashing out but don't. Every bone of my body wants to go on the attack and then a peace settles over me, the Holy Spirit takes over and the Lord wins. Praise God for his presence in my life! His protection comes in many forms and I am more aware of it in this wonderful life he has built for me!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

No worries? Yeah right!

“The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭23:1‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/psa.23.1.nlt

It would be wrong to say I have everything I need. I have so much more than that. The Lord has provided.

So, why do I worry so much. I worry about everything. I take on the weight of the world, at times. I fret, I stew, and I mull over the future and the past. 

Why?

I really have no reason to worry. God provides everything I need and if I can keep this thought in the front of my mind, instead of worrying,  my entire life will be spent in peace. I really believe my life is hurt, intensely, by my worry and fret. Those thoughts keep me from following God's will. Those mental struggles keep me captive to my old ways and fearing new adventures. In my 57 years of life, God has provided everything I need and so much more. I have never gone without. I have always had an abundance. Most people I know have more than they need. I have NO reason to doubt he will take care of me.

Dear Lord, I am so thankful for your love. You truly have been my shepherd and have taken care of me in deep and powerful ways.  I have everything I need. Please forgive me for my worry. Forgive me that I act like you are not big enough to watch over me and my family. I re-dedicate my life to you and turn over complete control to you. I am humbled to serve you and want nothing more than to follow your will in my life Amen!




Monday, November 13, 2017

Don't sweat STUFF

“So on October 2 the wall was finished—just fifty-two days after we had begun. When our enemies and the surrounding nations heard about it, they were frightened and humiliated. They realized this work had been done with the help of our God.”
‭‭Nehemiah‬ ‭6:15-16‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/neh.6.15-16.nlt

I had a great conversation this weekend with some of my CMA Chapter leaders. I have been in their shoes. They are wanting to serve and they want more Chapter members willing to serve also. It's not that they want an army of CMA members to help. But, they see such great possibilities if they have the people to serve. I get it. If you let yourself you can really work yourself into an anxiety attack stressing about things which you have little control.

I just have two questions: Is your God big enough? And is God still in control?

We can't let Satan convince us that things are hopeless or that we are on our own. This needs to be especially true in areas of ministry and service.  I believe God has appointed CMA to service. Therefore nothing man can do will destroy it. God is in charge of our ministry and all I have to DO is listen to his call, his guidance, and his instruction to serve. If he wants our ministry small, it will be small. If he wants us overwhelmed with members, it will be done. Anything in between is possible. We just need to listen to him!

We all have anxious mementos about our lives. We worry. We fret. We dwell on things we can not control. Have we turned our lives over to the Lord? Do we trust him? In all things we need to focus on the Lord. We need to draw closer to him and make sure we are in his will. Nothing else matters.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Trafficking in unlived Truth

“This was because Ezra had determined to study and obey the Law of the Lord and to teach those decrees and regulations to the people of Israel.”
‭‭Ezra‬ ‭7:10‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/ezr.7.10.nlt



Study - Obey - Teach , that should be our mission. Ezra had it right. I read a devotion where Dwight L. Moody was credited with saying "....... the greatest tragedy of his day was that Christian leaders attempted to traffic in unlived truth." Unfortunately this is still true today. I know I'm not perfect but I am trying to live what I study. I spend some  time, nearly every day, studying and reflecting on the word of the Lord.  That means absolutely nothing if I don't actually live what I study. I can't say how much time people spend reading the Bible but I can see if they are living it and the can see if I'm doing the same thing. It might be even worse if I don't try to teach others and share my experience in living my life of Christ . 

The Lord has done wonderful things for me, All of which I don't deserve. He has blessed me with family, friends, career, and fun in my life. He has led me through tragedy. He has led me through joyous celebration. He has led me through stress and calm. He has walked with me and YES spoken to me through his words. I treasure the times I have spent studying the word of the Lord. I look forward to those messages showing up in the things I do every day. I need to continue to live his word, be an example to others, and share his impact on my life. I need to follow the example of Ezra everyday.



Wednesday, November 8, 2017

We don't need it all

“In Solomon’s old age, they turned his heart to worship other gods instead of being completely faithful to the Lord his God, as his father, David, had been.”
‭‭1 Kings‬ ‭11:4‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/1ki.11.4.nlt

Why would someone that was so wise, had been blessed in so many ways, turn away from the Lord? The Lord was so active in his life, but the call of the world was greater. The power, the wealth, and the popularity convinced Solomon all he had was due to HIS greatness. He lost sight of the Lord and focused on the world.

We need to guard our hearts. As I spend time in prayer I constantly ask for wisdom. I want to make the right choices in life and I want to know the will of the Lord. Contrary to what I've said before, knowledge and wisdom are not the ultimate goal. Drawing closer to the Lord, being in his presence is my only real goal. Letting him use HIS wisdom, power, and might in my life is so much more important than having ME gain wisdom, power, and might. Most of us could not handle the type of power given to Solomon. Yet our world drives us to acquire more wealth and power to build our happiness. Everything we read and see tells us that more is better. That just isn't true. We need to be content where we are, with what we have, and where we are going. The need for more and more is not the answer. In fact, we should strip away all that we have and concentrate only on what we need. We need to simplify and get back to the basics. Just look at Solomon, he had everything, yet in the end had nothing when he lost the Lord.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Lord, we need your help!

“Solomon had answers for all her questions; nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her.”
‭‭1 Kings‬ ‭10:3‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/1ki.10.3.nlt

I love teaching kids. I have the privilege to work with students who ask a lot of questions. They are so curious and work hard at their learning. I am pretty good at math. There aren't too many times when I can't answer there questions or help them learn Math. When you start getting into other subjects like History, English, and Science, I try, but there are times when I just don't know the answer. I know the limits of my wisdom. I know my strengths.

There are so many times in life I just don't know the answer. I don't understand the thoughts that drive a man to kill 26 people worshipping the Lord. I don't understand a man planning to murder people a concert. I don't understand the need to take the life of an unborn child. I don't understand people discriminating based on faith, color of skin, or any other predetermined criteria. I don't understand how we ignore the poor and the real slaughter of people in our big cities. I want to fix these things, but I just don't know how. We need help! We can't fix these things on our own. We need the power of the Lord. We need more people to come to the Lord and ask him for wisdom and guidance. We need to bow our heads, drop to our knees, and plead for him to intervene in this wild and crazy world. Come Lord Jesus!

Dear Lord, we need you now more than ever. Please Lord make your presence known to the people of Sutherland Texas. Comfort the families, comfort this small community, comfort our country as we mourn the loss of theses people as they gathered to worship you. We need your wisdom in how to solve the issues of hate and violence in our country. We are all deeply affected and deeply saddened by this tragedy. Amen!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Life and Death

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭1:21‬ ‭NIV‬‬
http://bible.com/111/php.1.21.

Life is so simple. It's supposed to be simple. We make it so complicated. Sin makes it so complicated.  Why do I do what I do? I always need to reflect on my life. I need to examine myself to see if my actions match this simple verse. Am I living my life for Christ? Am I living my life with Christ's purpose showing through in my daily words, thoughts, and actions? My life needs to reflect Christ. If I can do this so that people see what I have, then they too will see death as gain. They will see death as a beginning not an end. But, if I don't live my life for Christ, if they see my Christian walk as hypocrisy, they will be repelled away from him. They will not see eternal life. The difference between life and death is Christ alone.

Dear Lord, Test me. Search me. Help me to see my motives and direct my life so I can truly live for you. I want to serve you and only you. Please, Lord, fill me with your plan. Fill me with your spirit so I can lead others to the cross and ultimately eternal life. Destroy the sin in my life and help me to overcome the challenges in front of me. I want to be an example for others. I want them to see you in me. Amen!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Peace in midst of attacks

““I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”
‭‭John‬ ‭14:27‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/jhn.14.27.nlt

I think it's pretty safe to say we have all been through tough times. I feel satan has been attacking me on all sides for nearly 6 months. At home, with family, at school, there have been constant attacks and trials. Yet, when I sit down at the end of each day I have felt at peace. I know the Lord is with me and I have never felt closer than I do right now. Not only do I feel at peace, I feel a real focus about where I am and where I'm going. My prayer life is stronger than ever. I feel God's presence as I meditate on his word and feel those words clearly speak to my heart. Even through life's trials I am thrilled about life and look at my future with great joy!

Dear Lord, You are amazing. You are here protecting me, loving me, and walking me every moment of my day. I do not deserve your Love. I have not earned my joy and peace. You give it freely and abundantly. I praise you Lord and can't wait to see your plans for me and my life on this Earth. Praise God I am not troubled and I am not afraid to face the day. Amen!


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Life's Short

“Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.”
‭Psalms‬ ‭90:12‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/psa.90.12.nlt

It's funny to think that life as brief. I'm at 57 years of "brief" life on this Earth. In the grand scheme of things my life is just beginning. I am excited about life in eternity. But, before I get there I still have some living to do here, right now. Even though I am further along in my life than many, I have a lot to learn. I love pursuing knowledge and gaining wisdom. I love my life because it has always been filled with purpose and my direction has been clear. Even through adversity my Lord has given me wisdom and direction. I am so blessed to know where I've been and where I am going. 

Dear Lord, I am so blessed to live for you. For 57 years, I have felt your guidance and direction. Even though my life direction has changed several times, I know you have called me to serve others and to share your love in everything I do. Lord, help me fulfill your purpose for my life, may I always be willing to follow your plan and not my own. I praise you for your patience, your mercy, and the grace you have given me. I love you Lord, Amen!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Value of a Reputation

“All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭11:39‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/heb.11.39.nlt

It's fascinating  the greats from the Bible earned their reputation because of their faith. It's not surprising because faith in our father, letting the spirit of the Lord fill us, we are bound to make better choices and earn respect from all people. As Christians our reputation is everything. We don't need to be perfect, we are going to make mistakes but we are so much better with Jesus at the center of our lives.


This world needs us to value our own reputation. We need to care deeply about how we are perceived wether it is real or imagined. Our inward and outward appearances are equally important and when we are attacked, our response is so crucial. Many times we need to hold back our temptation to defend ourselves, to lash out in anger. Sometimes silence is our best response. Sometimes it is best to say and do nothing in defense of our reputation. Other times we need to vigorously defend ourselves with all aggression and passion. How do we know when? The indwelling of the Spirit will guide our response. I personally have experienced this guidance. I believe my reputation was protected through a recent attack exclusively by my own silence. It was not me. It was the power of God.

Dear Lord, protect our reputation so we can speak fully your message. Watch over us and give us guidance while we are under attack. Feed our minds and hearts with your words and actions. Help us to react in Love so that others can come to know you through us.

Monday, October 30, 2017

We need encouragers!

“For I long to visit you so I can bring you some spiritual gift that will help you grow strong in the Lord. When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭1:11-12‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/rom.1.11-12.nlt


I long to be with my brothers and sisters in Christ. I love working with them, hearing about their challenges, and encouraging them. I value the art of encouragement more than any other skill I possess. I want to encourage my students to persevere. I want to encourage my family, friends, and ministry partners. They deserve it. As I spend time encouraging others, I am greatly encouraged. It's amazing what "positive talk" can do to everyone involved. Discouraging talk can also destroy everyone within ear shot. That's why I recommend, rather strongly, know who are your encouragers and who are open to encouragement. Avoid the negativity in others. It's harder to do that in families and work situations but for your own wellbeing you need to try. Over the past half year, I've been doing everything I can to avoid the "negative nellies" and spend time with the encouragers. I have also, for the past year, tried to post only positive posts on social media. Now, trust me, I know people can read "negativity" into anything so I'm sure my posts have not always been received as intended. People that disagree with me politically might not think of  my posts as positive. They might not appreciate my thoughts, but they are only intended to lift up those they are posted for. We need more encouragers in this world. 

Encouragement is a powerful force in the lives of people. We need to spend more time building people up and not tearing them down. Life is not a sports talk show. Life is not a news show filled with biases of politics and ideology. People are not encouraged though constant criticism and detailed analysis. People need to know you believe in them. You support them in tough times, and that you will be there for them. They just need someone to support them with a kind word. How tough can that be.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Rhoadzie's Daily Blog: I've learned a lot.

Rhoadzie's Daily Blog: I've learned a lot.: “So, friends, take a firm stand, feet on the ground and head high. Keep a tight grip on what you were taught, whether in personal conversati...

I've learned a lot.

“So, friends, take a firm stand, feet on the ground and head high. Keep a tight grip on what you were taught, whether in personal conversation or by our letter. May Jesus himself and God our Father, who reached out in love and surprised you with gifts of unending help and confidence, put a fresh heart in you, invigorate your work, enliven your speech.”
‭‭2 Thessalonians‬ ‭2:15-17‬ ‭MSG‬‬
http://bible.com/97/2th.2.15-17.msg
http://bible.com/97/2th.2.15-17.msg


It's great to know the Lord is always with us directing our steps, encouraging us, and invigorating our work. I can’t tell you the number of times these past 5 months I really wanted to give up. But the Holy Spirit has lifted me up. I have a new, quite surprising direction , which has instilled a hope missing at the end of May. While I still struggle with bouts of depression about the changes, God has been very active in his perfect love to assure me HE is in charge. I have been able to keep my head high even through the barrage of attacks. It’s not through my own will. It’s through Jesus.

I hold on to what I have been taught. Yes, I am constantly learning and my teacher is the Spirit of the Lord. I am constantly learning  by the experiences of life, a life built by my loving God. When I asked Jesus into my life at the age of 12 years old, I asked him to direct my life and he has certainly done that. I have been encouraged and given confidence each step I have taken down the path. Praise God for his powerful hand. Praise God he cares so much about me and the life I lead. 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

I've been silent!

“But Peter and John replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.””
‭‭Acts of the Apostles‬ ‭4:19-20‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/act.4.19-20.nlt


I have been pretty quiet lately, especially at school. Really I am a very contemplative person. I'm a thinker and over the past several months I have been thinking a lot about what God has planned for me in the next phase of my life. While I'm thinking, contemplating, I just want to be alone. If I avoid communication with people maybe they will just leave me alone.

Theses verses are still true. God doesn't want us to stop telling about the things he has done for us. There is a time and a place to open up the floodgates of his grace and mercy. He want us to tell our story, but sometimes we need to stop talking and listen. We need to let the spirit of the Lord speak and we need to be quiet so we can hear him. God has been speaking. A plan is forming, not from my own thoughts and desires but his. I feel the Spirit of the Lord at work. I can see the path slowly take shape before me. While I wait to see the entire picture develop, I will continue to remain silent, listening for direction, praying, and spending time away from the crowds. If you wonder what's wrong with me? Nothing is wrong. Im just waiting on the Lord! I'm in a season where I greatly look forward to the Lord speaking and I want to hear less from the world.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Patiently waiting!

“Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭27:14‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/psa.27.14.nlt

My Achilles! My vulnerability! My Pure weakness!

Patience!

 I am impatient with my family, friends, ministry, and YES, I am impatient with my wonderful Heavenly Father! I want to change everyone NOW! I want everyone to come to the Lord, NOW. I want to solve world hunger, injustice, poverty, illness, cancer, NOW! I want to retire NOW! But I know I have to be patient, Gods plans for me are perfect and sometimes they take time to bloom. I just need to wait patiently.

When it comes to patience I do not understand!

These verses help! Why? Because it shows me the Lord really understands. He understands our lack of patience. He offers us compassion when he implores us to be brave and courageous in the midst of our impatience. Life rarely progresses at a "satisfactory" pace for me! But I trust in the Lord and even though I have no patience, I can survive knowing the Lord is in charge of all things. I can endure the pain, the suffering, the sinfulness of this world because Jesus is with me! I feel his comfort. I feel his presence providing me bravery and courage. I could not survive without him. I am honored that regardless what I have done in my life, regardless of the sins I have committed or the grave mistakes I have made, he has never given up on me, HIS PATIENCE is perfect.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

I fail..... often!

“And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.”
‭‭John‬ ‭13:14-15‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/jhn.13.14-15.

 I should be more bold. I should be a better example. I should do more. I need to take all the pain and hurt of my friends and family and make it my own. Jesus did that for me. I need to be able to do it for others.

I have read and studied Jesus and his teachings my entire life. I should be better at taking his example and following it. I see his sacrifices and just haven't  made that same commitment. He has loved me, sacrificed for me, held me accountable, and kept me from destroying myself through foolish choices. Simply put, I have failed if I can't do this for others. I have the full power of Jesus at my disposal. Why can't I use it?

Dear Lord, forgive me. I'm weak and need your power, strength, grace, mercy, and peace. I pray that I can follow your example and be there for my friends and family. The world surrounds us with sin and evil. We can not overcome it f we don't place you in the center of our lives and live like you did. We need you Lord. Amen!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

"Take Courage. I am here"

“But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here! ””
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭14:27‬ ‭NLT‬‬


The older and older I get, the more I need Jesus. It's not that I DIDN'T need him when I was younger. I certainly did. But, the more life experiences I have the more I realize I can not do life alone. Trials and tribulations, unexpected tragedies, and loss can lead us to give up hope. The sin that surrounds us rips apart families, friends, and communities. We can live our life in great fear. Not with Jesus.

We, our nation, our world, and yes, little Garrett, Indiana, need the courage and hope of the presence of Jesus. We will not be overwhelmed when we turn to the Son of God. Right now, I need to remember this. I need to relive all the Jesus has done for me and all the "Life" he's gotten me through.  

Dear Lord, please make your presence known in my life and the lives of my friends and family. We need you every day as we face the sin and pain that is so prevalent in our world. I praise you for all that you have done for me. It is only your grace that has brought me thus far. Praise God for his love. Amen!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Change me

“Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at once and followed him.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭4:19-20‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/mat.4.19-20.nlt

We are all called by God to serve him. We are to serve sacrificially, leaving our old life and accepting new life through our service to him. Everything we do has lasting implications to our lives and the lives of the people around you. I need to continue to stay focused on the simple message. God loves us, he wants a relationship with us, so much so, that he sacrificed his on for us. We just need to accept that so we may be transformed into the person Jesus would have us to be.

Dear Lord, continue to change me, filling me with your spirit so I may walk in your light. I want to leave my old ways to follow only you. Change me Lord! Amen!

Monday, October 16, 2017

I'm trying

“The one thing I ask of the Lord — the thing I seek most— is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his Temple.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭27:4‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/psa.27.4.nlt

I'm trying, but life keeps distracting me!

I love the Lord with all my heart. I seek him and desire him more now than ever before. But I let my life get in the way of truly delighting in him and meditating on his word. So many distractions keep me from serving him continuously. It's me! It's Satan distracting me! It's my lack of focus that keeps me away from the father.

I want to serve the Lord with my life. I want his glory to be seen through me and his love to radiate from my words, my thoughts, and my actions. When those three things are not in tune with the Lord, I miss out on his wonderful blessings. It saddens me when I fall short. I know the gravity of it all. It could mean someone dies an eternal death if I don't serve, if I don't share the message, if I don't help them reach out to Jesus.

Dear Lord, I love you and praise you. I am honored that you have given me a week away to rest and relax. I need to stay focused on you through the distractions of a busy week. I need to stay focused on bringing others to you and eternal life. Thank you Lord for walking with me each day and loving me despite my failures and weaknesses. Amen!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

We have it all

“And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭9:8‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/2co.9.8.nlt

Another morning getting coffee ready for my biker friends. It's been a great weekend of service. That's why I love the ministry of CMA. The weekend started off with a vendor needing my generator. I also provided his gas. He really needed it. He and his wife slept in their car. They were around 70 years old and I found out through our conversations they were hurting for money. When a storm was predicted we all pitched in to help them tear down their booth quickly. It was fun to see people helping people.

During the day we were asked to pray for a baby born at 25 weeks. We serve! That's what Jesus wants us to do. We have everything we need and more. He just wants us to share all we have and share his message of love. We are getting ready to host a devotion this morning for the campers. They asked us to. God is good and he is blessing this ministry. I praise him every day for the opportunity.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Just me and a Barn Owl

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you.”
‭‭John‬ ‭14:16‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/jhn.14.16.nlt

I am all set up this morning with fresh coffee ready,  serving at a Biker Event for ABATE of Indiana Region Zero.  It's pretty quiet right now. I'm all alone except for a barn owl hooting to break up the silence. I love the times of quiet . I don't get much quiet,  alone time. But as I sit here reading my bible I'm taken by the thought that I'm never really alone. Sitting in the stillness of this new day I am very aware of the presence of the Lord, the Holy Spirit, filling my heart. The truth is, that same spirit, is with me even in the chaos of a full day at school or a motorcycle event. I just don't take the time to feel his presence. That's a shame.

I need to be more aware of the presence of the Lord. If I wait until the quiet of a morning when it's just me and a barn owl, I am missing out on the many blessings that come through the Lord. I need to be aware of his guiding in tough decisions, his love through service and the joy that is missing in this world. The joy, the peace, It's all there but we are so busy it passes us by. Forgive me Lord for ignoring your presence in every moment of my life. I say I need thee every hour, but don't even take a second to feel your presence. Forgive me Lord. Amen!

Friday, October 6, 2017

I know Jesus

“We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life.”
‭‭1 John‬ ‭1:1‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/1jn.1.1.nlt

Have you ever dreamed about what it would have been like walking with Jesus? To see him, to hear him preach, to just be in his presence. This majestic verse makes me jealous of the first disciples. Yet, I can tell you, personally, that Jesus is just as real, just as active, today as he was when he walked this earth.

 I know Jesus. He knows me.

Sure, I haven't been able to grab his hand, see his smile, or walk with him in the physical sense but I feel him just the same. I can see his gentle guidance in my life. His direction and wisdom are present in some of my decisions. When I look back at what I have done, I can see twists and turns in the direction of my life that are not just luck, coincidence, or by some brilliant plan I have devised. They are only by the hand of God.

I praise the Lord for his real presence in my life and the active role he plays. I love you Lord! I want nothing more than to serve you and bring others to this same relationship.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Isolation

“Early the next morning Jesus went out to an isolated place. The crowds searched everywhere for him, and when they finally found him, they begged him not to leave them.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭4:42‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/luk.4.42.nlt

Sometimes the demands on our time is overwhelming. The world, the country, we live in is a demanding place. It's hard to get a break, a time to just spend with God. Jesus is our example. He found time. I need to find time. I try to do that each morning and each evening. It's hard to stay focused on God during that time. The thoughts of my day, the present news headlines, family stresses, all distract from my time with the Lord. Isolating ourselves from this world to focus on connecting with Jesus is critical to serving the kingdom.

My non-teaching friends have always given me a hard time about all my vacations. I don't apologize for those times. Mentally and spiritually, I need time away. Even the weekends provide time away. I use my motorcycle as an escape. I use cutting my lawn as an escape. I even find myself taking mini breaks often throughout my day to refocus on the Lord. If you don't find time to spend with the Lord, on a regular basis, how can we learn his heart and his will for our lives.

Life is demanding. We can't do "life" effectively without time away. That time away should be centered around Jesus. We need time to pray, study the word of the Lord, and reconnect with our savior. I praise the Lord for the times I have to escape. They are a blessing and I will never take them for granted.

Monday, October 2, 2017

The Battle is on! Rise up men and women of God!

“Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:21‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/rom.12.21.

It just has to stop!

The hate in this world has to stop! But we can't stop it without the perfect love of Jesus. It's not going to come from a president, political party, government, or activist. We can only stop the hate with revival in this land. We need to focus on the word of the Lord, deep, consistent, continual prayer, and true worship. 

We are trying to stem the tide of evil with human power, weak, sinful, human will power. It's not working. We need to bow to Jesus and honor him, well above any patriotic salute, or symbolic flag. We need to kneel before the cross and beg God to spare us from ourselves.

Christians need to forget politics and start preaching the love that surpasses all understanding. We need to pray for our enemies and love them more than we love ourselves. We need to stop dividing and start uniting the world under the cross. We need to go out and use our hands and feet to take real Love to a hurt and dying world. It's not good enough to spout Christian rhetoric. We have to put our words into action. The world can not survive with this much hate. Rise up men and women of God! The battle for the way, the truth, and the life is on!

Prayer

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”
‭‭James‬ ‭5:16‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/jas.5.16.nlt

I'm not perfect. I'm a sinner like everyone else. I need prayer, just like everyone else. Will you pray for me? How many times have you told someone you would pray for them and didn't. Prayer is such a powerful tool and produces such great results here today. The suffering in this world is great but it is not so great that it can not be defeated by the powerful prayer of the righteous.

I am thankful for my time of prayer and have been amazed by the miracle answers to those prayers. It doesn't make me amazing, it makes my Lord amazing. Please join me in ferevent prayer for my family, friends, our nation and the world. We call on the Lord to heal us, to bring us together, to love each other. This world is a broken and dark place. We need the love of Jesus every day. We need his power of healing. We need his grace and mercy to fill our lives.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Praise God I'm a teacher!

“Whatever you do, do well. For when you go to the grave, there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom.”
‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭9:10‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/ecc.9.10.nlt

This is a joyous verse. No work, no 5:30am mornings, no stress from coworkers, deadlines, extra hours, sweat, or toil. Heaven is going to be wonderful. It doesn't mean we slack until the day we arrive on the golden streets. On the contrary, until that day, you need to take advantage of the position God has given you and do it to the best of your ability.


I have one goal in my teaching, helping kids. I teach math but I really could care less about the content, (that sometimes gets me in trouble). I care about building relations with kids. I want them to know I care, I want them to know my sacrificial love, and my dedication to them and their future. It's not about tests, standards, or curriculum. God has honored my time as a teacher. He has blessed me beyond anything I could ask for. I don't have too many years left in the profession, but I will make the best of it. The political wing of education wants this to be about a test score. They want me to put linear equations above anything else. I am confident that I need to teach responsibility, caring, compassion, honesty, work ethic, and countless other character traits over any math topic. I refuse to put imaginary numbers over preparing kids for a future of  taking care of a family, loving each other, and serving others.

Praise God for the pleasure of being a teacher. I wouldn't change anything about my 20 plus years in education. I can't remember a single lesson that I taught, but I sure remember the students  that crossed my door each day. I could care less about the adults I've met in education. It's the students that make each day worth getting up each morning. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Recovery

“And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:5‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/rom.5.5.nlt

I have been disappointed in a lot of things lately. There are personal issues weighing me down. I'm not upset about the resolution, just that it had to be resolved at all. But, I'm moving forward and my hope is stronger than ever. It all comes back to God's love for me. The loss inside is being completely filled with the Spirit of the Lord. I'm healing, slowly but surely, I'm healing from the pain.

Our lives are filled with choices. We can choose to wallow in the pain and suffering or we can push out those pains with the Spirit of the Lord. That Spirit fills us with love. That Spirit fills us with peace and joy. God loves us so much he sent his son to die for us. He also sent his Spirit that we might have peace here on this earth even through life's trials and tribulations. Praise God! Praise God! Praise God!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

WORLD WAR III IS HERE!

““My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭55:8-9‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/isa.55.8-9.nlt

What's going on in your life? Reading the headlines you would swear the world is ending. There is a reason people are predicting the end is near. The division in our country, the hate, the inequities, corruption, lies, deceit, and evil is everywhere. It would be easy to give up, lose hope and forget, God is still sovereign and Jesus is still the savior of the world. We have not been abandoned and we are not alone.

With all the trouble in this world it is easy to feel defeated. But our God is victorious. Yes, it's easy to say "This doesn't feel much like a win!" But, God has meant for this day to be used for his purposes. We could give up or we could be emboldened to preach the gospel. When the world is facing despair they are ready for Jesus. He is the answer and he is the peace they are all looking for. Everyone, even the lost, don't seek turmoil. The protestors in our society all want a better life. They want joy. They don't want hate. I support THAT goal. They are looking for the same rest, peace, and joy we are. But they are not going to find it without Jesus. They seek it in drugs. They seek it in alcohol. They seek it in professional sports, entertainment, causes, and protests. But they will find nothing satisfies until they meet Jesus.

Let's step up our efforts. Let's use every tool, every weapon in the arsenal to bring people to the feet of Jesus. Now more than ever we desperately need the savior of the world. As Christians we need to shout his love from the mountain tops. We need to LIVE HIS LOVE. We need everyone to be comfortable bowing to the messiah and standing against evil. We need the troops to deploy! The battle for the world has begun? World War III, the battle for the soul she of the lost is here. Victory occurs with Jesus leading the charge!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Confidence

“So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭10:35-36‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/heb.10.35-36.nlt

There have been many times in my life that my confidence has been shaken. When people tear you down , en masse, that can happen. Fortunately, I have never lost confidence in the Lord.  I know of my own sinfulness and I have plenty of shortcomings. God ignores all of that and cheers me on through every phase of my life. He wants me to endure the criticism. He wants me to be patient, to wait on him and his plans. He wants me to live life with no doubt in the gift of eternity. I can tell you I know I am walking with God on the path he has laid before me. I am confident he is with me and guiding my words, thoughts, and deeds. No, I'm not perfect. God designed everything about me and loves me deeply. He knows my strengths, my weaknesses, and my sins. He knows my heart and he believes in me. In the eyes of the Lord, I am perfect.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Hate Defeated........ at least for the day!

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.” (The seven lamps represent the eyes of the Lord that search all around the world.)”
‭‭Zechariah‬ ‭4:10‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/zec.4.10.nlt

Today we had a wonderful motorcycle event. We rode to prevent Childhood Bullying and Suicide Prevention. The event has been in the works for a few years. Through the dedication of a group of stubborn bikers, it grew!

I praise God that he continues to use a crusty, rag-tag, group of bikers to speak out against hate. Our world is fueled by hate. Hate knows no boundaries. It is seen across political parties, ethnic and racial lines, economic means, and in every country around the world. Yes, even some of my fellow Christians display hateful rhetoric toward those that they disagree with. The world is darkened and getting darker due to HATE.

But for today, a group of societal misfits (of which I am one), stood up to hate. We rode on a blistering hot day to bring hope. We supported a mom who has endured 20 months of a life long sentence in her suffering due to the loss of her son to suicide. We heard from victims of bullying and we got to pray for hope. God is with us. He wants the love of Jesus Christ to permeate our communities, literally. His perfect love, his grace, his mercy is the only real answer to hate.

What started out small has grown, not by our own power or will, but by the power and will of the creator of the universe. We can't let today's event end! We, all of us, need to lead this world by our example. Hate needs to be defeated! It will no longer be welcome in our homes, in our communities, in our social media, and more importantly, it needs to be defeated in our own hearts. Jesus Christ is the only way to conquer hate! Accept him now, accept his love completely, push the hate out by his presence! Amen!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Avoiding the Enemy

“So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭10:22-25‬ ‭MSG‬‬
http://bible.com/97/heb.10.22-25.msg


Sometimes I don't feel very presentable either inside or out. There are also times I just want to avoid people. I don't think I'm the only one who has these feelings. One thing I know for sure, I can't bring people to know Jesus if I crawl into a corner and hide.

God is coming soon, I feel it. I haven't selected September 23rd like some, but the time, the Big Day, is drawing near. If I truly want to bring others to join me in paradise, I need to stop avoiding my enemies. A life of solitude isn't going to change things. It sounds so simple. For me, it is my constant battle. I admit,  I hold a grudge. It's not the get even and wish bad things would happen kind of grudge. It's avoid them like the plague kind of grudge. I just don't want to spend time with people that have persecuted me, or attacked my character, or misunderstood my motives and actions. It's a lot easier to crawl into a hole and hide. I need the power and strength of the Lord to overcome those feelings. Time is short. All Christians need to get out there and spread the good news. We need to overcome our feelings about the enemy and share our love.

Dear Lord, help us. We know you have called us to share the Love of Jesus. But life isn't easy. There are just some people it's difficult to love. I need your help to continue to take the gospel message to everyone. I need your spirit to fill me with hope. I need your words and actions to be my words and actions. Lord help us now and until your coming! We love you! Amen!

Monday, September 18, 2017

My Encore Career?

“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.””
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭28:18-20‬ ‭NIV‬‬
http://bible.com/111/mat.28.18-20.niv

I really have to apologize to my pastor. My mind was drifting today in the morning worship. No it's not that I was hungry and thinking of lunch. No, I wasn't contemplating my football teams game or the work week ahead of me. It's not that the sermon wasn't enlightening, it really was. As a matter of fact, it is the reason I was drifting into deep thought. I have heard these verses, "The Great Commission" hundreds, maybe thousands of times before. But today, the spirit of the Lord, placed a deep thought to take action on those verses, like never before.

For the past several months, since the end of May, I have really been contemplating retirement. Yes, I'm still at least three years away, but the Lord has been pushing me mentally in preparation of that day. Up until May, I really hadn't thought too much about retiring. I joked about it but I never really thought about it. I love working each day with my students. They are not the issue. But, for the past 4 months the Lord has been speaking to me to start looking at my ENCORE career, that career after retirement. The sermon today pushed me even further in that process.

I am starting to pursue the possibility of earning a masters in ministry. It's really early, but I have heard the call more than once in my life. Now it is undeniable and I need to seriously pursue this possibility. Only the Lord knows where this might end. Praise God for his mysterious, marvelous plan for my life.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Sin is Sin

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:5-6‬ ‭KJV‬‬
http://bible.com/1/pro.3.5-6.kjv


I do trust in the Lord and yes there are many things in my life I do not understand. I try every day to acknowledge him because I have seen miraculous signs that he is at work in my life. Right now is no different.

My heart is changing. I am changing. An example:

I have gone to the "Boogie" for years. The Boogie is a secular motorcycle Rally in southern Indiana. It is one huge party. Nearly every form of sin takes place at this event. Drugs, alcohol, sex, are celebrated and the group collectively thumbs their nose, and worse, at God. They are searching for fun and a care free life that has no boundaries. As a CMAer, I have been called to serve this group of sinners. In my early years of attending this event, I considered myself as BETTER than them. I served but I did so from some "Crystal Palace" of righteousness. I was proud of who I was and appalled by what I saw around me. As I have attended and worked this event, my heart has changed. I have seen this group of "sinners" through the eyes of my Heavenly Father. My eyes are no longer shocked by what I see. It's not that I am dulled by the repetition of the sins.  My eyes see these wonderful children of God through a deep sadness. I am saddened for them. They are trying so hard to fill their life with joy. But, they just can't seem to find it. They are blind to the love surrounding them. They are missing out and my heart is saddened they can't see the great joy in front of them.

I see them just like my Heavenly Father sees me. You see, I'm not much different than the Boogie Faithful. I might not sin like they do, but I have thumbed my nose at the creator of the universe plenty of times. I have been a slave to my sin. Yes, my father has seen me through his own eyes of sadness. The Lord does not see the difference between my sin and the sin of this group of bikers. He is greatly saddened when I separate myself from him. He deeply loves me and wants, desires a relationship with me. When I reject him, in any way, he is saddened. I'm sorry Lord.

I humbly bow before my savior. I beg his forgiveness for my sin and for rejecting him in so many ways throughout my life. I pledge to serve him and pursue his plan for my life. I do not need to know everything. I only need to be open to the path he has set before me. I only need to take the next step along his road as he joins me in everything I do.Praise God he is with me!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Topsy-turvy

“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength. But you would have none of it.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:15‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/isa.30.15.nlt

Our country is in turmoil. Recently, the turmoil is the result of back to back natural disasters. Prior to that you can add racial unrest, political division, and terrorism to the list of tumultous issues we are facing as a nation. I truly believe the only way to make our way through these crisis points is the amazing power of Jesus.


This world is turned upside down. I really mean that literally. Men wanting to be women. Women wanting to be men. Hate has replaced love. We legally kill millions of babies. We pay our sports heroes more than our  military heroes. We want our government to fix all our problems yet hate to pay taxes. We want to save the planet but care little about saving each other. We preach tolerance unless we disagree. Yes, our planet is a wreck, it's a topsy-turvy life we lead.

God has given us the solution to our problems. But, we won't listen. We refuse to turn to him. We refuse to lift our eyes to him. Even through the turmoil and persecution of his followers, the love of Jesus stands strong. He will not give up on you. The storms of life do not keep him from desiring you. They do not keep him from standing up for you in your time of need.  In my own life, the storms have been completely silenced by the power of Jesus. He is my ever present help in times of trouble. Praise a God for his Love, power, and strength. Amen!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Amazing Hope

“So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭6:18‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/heb.6.18.


I had a wonderful weekend. Nearly 500 of my CMA family got together to celebrate our ministry and 30 years of State Rallys. It was a time of celebration, it was a time of worship, and it was a time of great fellowship. CMA Indiana is a force for the kingdom and I am motivated to  step up my commitment to bring the lost to know the Lord. I was inspired by what my fellow CMAers are doing and what God is doing across our state. 

This annual weekend event always reminds me of the glorious promises of our Lord. I trust in the Lord always. I trust in him for his amazing hope. That even in the midst of uncertainty, we rest on his promises. He is with us. He will protect us and he will give us a vision of the hope that lies before us. Praise God ! 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Get off the SUPER-HIGHWAY of Life!

“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭11:28-29‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/mat.11.28-29.nlt

Stephanie and I have been camping nearly every weekend. Camping is an escape. It helps us remove all the clutter in our lives and enjoy some peace.  We don't take a tv with us and "device" time is limited. We actually take time to be with each other and there is a lot of downtime. It's awesome!

God wants us to slow down. He wants our lives to include ample amounts of rest. He wants to remove our burdens, even for a short time so we can be strong in our faith and our witness. The most common theme I hear from students, coworkers, and ministry partners is I AM TIRED. I know I am a hypocrit when I say this.

WE ALL NEED TO FIND SOME TIME TO SLOW DOWN AND RELAX!

God wants us to rest. We just have to accept it from him. So many times WE refuse to accept the rest he is giving us. We miss the opportunities and we miss the blessings that come from just finding some time to relax and SLOW DOWN. Our souls can not function with our rest just like our minds and bodies need rest. It might not be camping. It might be riding your motorcycle. (I took a long quiet, ME ONLY, ride this past Saturday before returning to the campground) It might be reading a good book, studying the Bible or listening to some fantastic Christian music (Try Third Day!) BUT find some way to step back, relax, and get off the superhighway of life. Your family, friends, and coworkers will certainly appreciate it.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

I'm not going back!

“To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭61:3‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/isa.61.3.nlt

I have been in mourning over the past 3 months. No it's not the death of a loved one, it's not the typical loss.  But, I have been in mourning over a situation. Slowly I am healing. I have not gained back what I lost but I have been able to move forward. I'm not going back. I don't want to obsess over things not of God. My thoughts, my outlook has changed. I am now focused on the future and the mighty plans God has for Stephanie and I. I know it sounds weird to some, but I believe it has all been part of Gods plan. Yes, I needed to go through this loss, this pain, so I would look at the future through a different lens. We are three years away from retirement and plans need to be put in place to transition to our "Encore Careers".

God is preparing us for a new life and our minds will take time to make that shift. God knows it and he knows we probably wouldn't even think about it unless prompted. I just love how God uses our normal, regular, daily happenings to guide our thoughts and actions. I love how he uses people, even our enemies to fulfill his plan for me. People wish me ill, want my destruction, get thrill out of my failures, but God uses all of that for his glory. He is such a force in my life. I just don't understand how people survive without the power of Jesus and the filling of the Holy Spirit. The clarity of purpose, the plan, can only be explained by Jesus. 

If you are unsure about life. If things don't make sense. If you don't have purpose or clear direction in your life. Turn to Jesus. His wisdom is perfect and when you ask him in to your life, he will fill you with that exact wisdom. I know this from my very own, personal life experiences. This is not just some made up 2000 year old religion. I know because my life can not be explained any other way. Don't look back. Look straight ahead, see your future and the amazing adventure God has in store for you!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Mutual destruction Of my enemy.

“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 ‭17:45‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/1sa.17.45.nlt


I have never confronted a giant or someone that wants to kill me. I do have enemies and I do have people bent on destroying me, my reputation, and my message. I am not afraid of my enemies, but I sure don't have the confidence of David.

My normal response is not to shrink back in fear, but to back off in disgust, in sadness, or in reflection. When I am unjustly persecuted and I realize there is no hope of reconciliation, I just let it go. I don't defend myself and I don't recoil in attack. I'm not always sure that's the best approach. Sometimes I just want to attack, to lash out, to punish those that persecute me. That is also not a good idea either. My biggest concern is how will my "lashing out" affect my witness and my ability to serve others. If my attacks in any way destroy Gods plan for my life, if it grows into hate, I need to stop and just let it go. David was led by the Lord to defend his people. I honor that and if called to do so, I will not shrink in fear. I will use the spear and the sword, or maybe the sling and the stone. But I think too often people attack their enemy and that attack is NOT in the Lords plan.

Out of anything I've learned in my life, it's to let go and move on. I could attack and reap mutual destruction of my enemies. It doesn't help me and certainly doesn't help my enemy. I can "turn the other cheek." What I can do is to continue to serve the Lord, to do what he has called me to do and to keep my eyes fixed on him. His love sustains me. His love defends me and in the end I know I win because I get to live in eternity.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

I know myself. I need it.

“Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:26‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/mat.6.26.nlt

God knows exactly what I need and he provides it at exactly the right time. I have seen it. I am witness to his perfect timing and provision. I have been a follower of Christ for 45 years and I can tell you, directly, of the faithfulness of my Lord. When I am at my lowest point emotionally, spiritually, or physically, God shows up. He never lets me suffer beyond what I can endure. Yes, he allows some pain and suffering in my life. I know myself. I need that pain and suffering so I turn to him. I need a constant reminder to rely on the power of the creator to overcome the evil in this world.

God has provided for all my needs. No matter what your situation, God will do the same for you. God's love is with you. When you turn to him, he will be there. I can not imagine, I don't want to imagine,  leading a life without God in the center. There is so much hate. There is so much evil in this world. We are surrounded by a sinful and fallen world. We can't survive on our own. It won't be our political leaders, it won't be our community, our family, or our friends, that will save us. God is the answer. We will thrive, not just survive, the more we rely on Jesus. I pray you will turn to him, now. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Search for the ONE!

“We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭10:5‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/2co.10.5.nlt


The number of obstacles placed before people to keep them from knowing God is overwhelming. Satan is working full time to keep us quiet and to harden the hearts of the lost. It seems our cause is hopeless. The media finds all our faults and makes them into today's headlines. Right now Joel Osteen is being attacked. I don't know the truth, but I know the world is watching and even the wrongful perception is hurting our message. Every sinful thought and ineffective deed is used against the gospel message. Barrier pop up everywhere when we take even the slightest step of the path of our Christian walk. We need to continue to destroy those barriers. The more obstacles thrown at us, the more we need to increase our efforts. The more we are persecuted, the more we are isolated from the worldview, the more bold we need to be to share the message of Christ. Our lives need to reflect the love of Jesus. We need to speak the word but our actions need to match our words. We need the power of Jesus to guide us and lead the battle before us.

No matter the hopelessness of our world, we need to search for the one, the one person open to the love of our savior. My whole life is about bringing EVEN One person to the love of Jesus. Sure it would be wonderful save hundreds, thousands, or more, but we need to start with just one. 

Dear Lord, forgive me for my ineffectiveness and letting my own impure thoughts get in the way of bringing people to know you. Give me strength of purpose. Give me your power to overcome satans onbstacles so I can bring others to know you. I love you Lord and want nothing more than to serve you with my life. Amen!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

He didn't do it.

“For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:21‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/2co.5.21.nlt

When you make a mistake that affects someone else, you need to make it right. I wish this were the norm. Many people can't even get to the point of admitting a mistake. They certainly don't have it in themselves to correct it. Saying your sorry is just the beginning of the conversation. Healing begins when we say we are sorry, for both people. We are responsible for the pain of others through our sinfulness. We can't just let that pain remain. We need to do more than just say we are sorry in order for complete healing to occur. We need to show by our actions the depth of our sorrow.

With Christ he accepted the punishment for something he didn't do. We did it and he suffered for it. We can try but we can't even make it right. Christ doesn't care that we make it right. He accepted it before we even thought about accepting responsibility for our sin. We are made right through Christ. I am thankful. I know my sin has deeply hurt my loving Heavenly Father. I beg his forgiveness and he discards that sin like a filthy rag. Praise God for his wonderful love and the forgiveness he gives me throughout my life.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Another Year Older!

“And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God,”
‭‭Titus‬ ‭2:12‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/tit.2.12.nlt

Well, I'm a year older. Birthdays are amazing. It always humbles me to hear from those that care about me and sometimes I hear from people who just pretend to care. But, I'm blessed either way. As a matter of fact, I am not too worried about those people that wish me happy birthday out of some type of social obligation. I love them anyway. I know from the proof of their lives the other 364 days how much they care.

It's great how God changes our heart through out our lives if we let him. I have done some crazy things in my life that I'm not proud of. I've treated family and friends poorly, fallen from grace, and let my sinfulness rule my life. But God is helping me turn from those sinful activities and really continues to fill me with a desire to serve him. I am completely devoted to him. I am trying to live in this evil world with his wisdom and his righteousness inside me. I'm trying. I'm not there yet, but I'm on my way. When I let his love take over, thats when life really gets fun. I feel freed from having to do dumb things. I am free to live life without being affected by the negative , hateful, selfish, sinful people that impact my life. Praise God! Praise God! Praise God!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Lewis & Clark

““But forget all that— it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭43:18-19‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/isa.43.18-19.nlt


It's easy to forget what God has done in my life. I have traveled this Earth for 57 years and I have seen his mighty hand throughout my life. But, it's nothing compared to the future and what he is about to do. He's leading me to something new. I can't wait.

In my Design Your Life Seminar, I shared an example about Lewis & Clark. We forget they didn't have a map of where they were going. There were no maps of the great northwest. The only thing they knew was a direction and a desire for adventure to "See what was out there". They carved a pathway through the wilderness, found food, made friends, and explored. All the while they kept heading Northwest. Oh, to be an explorer like that.

I have no idea where I am going to be in three years, or five, or ten. I do know which direction I'm going. I'm following Jesus. He is my "Native Guide". He is my constant companion and we are on a wonderful adventure. The last few months have brought about change in my life. My passions are in flux. The important things of the past seem less important now. God is directing my attention elsewhere, the path is opening in a new direction. Praise God! I can see. The change has already begun!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

I have a weird thought!

“And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:5‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/rom.5.5.nlt

I often get some weird thoughts. I want to blame the Holy Spirit who lives inside me. I'm not sure that's always fair! LOL! But maybe right now........


I am sure we can all agree "There is an abundance of hate in this world!" I have to admit my anger rises when I think of certain people in my life. It even rises to an unhealthy level. I think I'm not to hating anyone, but none the less, I do feel anything but love for some in my circle of influence. I hate that about myself and, thus, my weird thought.

Do I really Love myself?

I have noticed in my 57 years of life, I am a pretty harsh critic. I rarely cut my self any "slack". Yes, there are many times I look back and hate what I've done and hate what I've said. Yes, I often hate myself. God knows everything about me. He knows all my stupid mistakes, my sinfulness, and my hate. Yet, he still loves me beyond measure. He fills me with his love to push out the hate inside me. Even as a declared follower, I resist the filling of my life with his love.

How can I love others if I don't even love myself? How can I serve others until I fill myself with the word and heart of God? The world hates others because it doesn't even know how to love itself. We think people are mean to each other, the abuse we give ourselves is infinitely more severe. Lord help me love myself. Help me to honor the presence you have in my heart by serving only you.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Ok, Ok, I'm working on it!

“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless.”
‭Philippians‬ ‭2:13-16‬ ‭NLT‬‬
http://bible.com/116/php.2.13-16.nlt


Ok, Ok, I get it! I'm working on it! Twice in the last week my daily devotions have centered around being thankful and NOT complaining. I really am trying. For those that have been around me, THAT is the reason for my silence. I stand by the solid theory, "If you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all." I have taken that approach to social media since December and since the end of May, I have been quieter face to face as well. Every once in a while I just can't hold it in and I rant. For the past 3 months there have been fewer and fewer rants.

Praise God he is helping me! I am spending much more time listening, praying, and biting my tongue. When I feel a "blurt" rising to the surface, it takes all of my own energy and the power of God to swallow my words. I have chosen this path for several reasons. First, no one listens anyway. Second, many times my leadership skills end up dividing more than uniting. In my opinion, when I speak, I am greatly misunderstood. When I don't speak, people still misunderstand me, but I don't give them fuel to feed their vision. Lastly and most important, I am afraid my boldness, my personality, might get in the way of someone getting to know Christ. The last thing I ever want to do is to build a case against Christ because of my words.

I am learning to be quiet and just lead from behind. I have always thought my boldness and my aggressive, tell it like it is attitude, was an asset. Not anymore. God is pushing me to be a better leader. I feel his presence and praise him 100%, no complaint, no grumbling, and a lot more silence. I LOVE YOU LORD!