Saturday, January 28, 2017

It's simple!

“One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭27:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

 I live a crazy life. I am busy. I am on a "kick" to simplify my life. It's not as easy to do as it is to say. My relationship with God needs to be the most important, dominant part of my life,  not family,  not work, not ministry, not vacations, not motorcycles, not any of these , are as important as my relationship with God.

We all need to slow down. We move to fast and we miss so many moments with God. Oh to spend quiet time with my Lord. Oh to spend time resting at his feet. I long to spend time in his word. I cherish times of prayer, and I value every waking moment I am given for his purposes. This is the only thing I seek. Praise God for his patience with me. Praise God for his simple plan for my life. Praise God!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Less stuff!

“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭9:8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I have everything I need.

Can you say that?

I can truly say I have been blessed abundantly. Sure some of those blessings are "things" of life. I  really have way more than I really need. In actuality, as Stephanie and I near retirement, we are preparing for a major downsize. If you've ever seen the tiny house revolution, we are heading that way. We want to become full time RVers. Even being able to think about it is a blessing. People look at us like we are crazy. Simplifying my life is a serious goal. Focusing on God instead of wealth, materialism, and me, that is my goal.

These verses don't mean "If I'm good enough God will give me all I want!" It's through our blessings that we serve others, not ourselves. Downsizing doesn't make me a better Christian. If in abundance or without, I serve others, then I will be blessed. The more I enjoy serving the less I want and the more satisfied I am. As my focus turns to others, the more I start to see the true blessings beyond the "stuff" of my life.

God has always provided everything I need. He has blessed me through a grace I will never truly understand. The more I am blessed the more I want to share my blessings with others. Praise God from whom all blessings  flow.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Who I look up to!

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”—John 14:16

I had such a fun time last night. It was officially "boys night out". It started with pizza king and ended with an hour at the shooting range with 7 men I have great respect for. I love these guys. We are friends, coworkers, and brothers. I trust them deeply and value there opinions on God, life, and work. When I need advice I know I can count on them and we look at life the same way. It is great to have people in your life you can look up to, laugh with, and escape with. I am blessed. 

When God sent the Holy Spirit his intent was to send a friend, a Godly leader that would be like these men in my life. We are not left alone to solve life's problems. We are not alone to fight our battles and we are not alone through our suffering. 

We need to rely upon our earthly friends and mentors. But we also need to embrace life with our Heavenly father and the spirit of truth that surrounds our life. I praise God for the counselor he sent to us. I feel his presence every day of my life. I am blessed by the wisdom I receive from the wonderful friendship with the Holy Spirit.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

It's lonely at the top!

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”—John 14:16

I am so amazed at the barrage of criticisms leveled at our leaders. It starts with political leaders, but includes sports coaches, CEOs, pastors, and nearly all levels of leadership. It is so easy to judge and critique others actions, decisions, or leadership style. It is "normal" to play Monday morning quarterback with politics, schools, businesses, and ministries. It saddens me that Christians are some of the worst critics. 


Stop judging! Start praying, support and serve our leadership  in this country and those that lead us through our daily lives. Support your boss! Support your church leadership, support your company. Leave the judgment and constant attacks to someone else. Encourage them and help them be successful in any way you can. Hoping for their failure and fighting their leadership is not good for anyone. 

Dear Lord, I pray for our leaders. I pray for our president and his cabinet, that they would be filled with your wisdom and compassion for the people of this country. I pray for the leadership of my school that their heart for kids would direct all of their decisions. I pray for my church and its pastor. Keep them safe and focused on your message. I love you Lord and know you have not called me to judge others but to love them with all my heart. I praise you for this wonderful life and the amazing day you have in store for me this day. Amen!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Pledge: Stop debating on Social Media

“Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭9:35-36‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I'm addicted to social media. I love politics and news, I can't get enough. But, in 2017, I have pledged to stop debating people on social media. So far so good. I have compassion for people. My only desire is they know Jesus. How can I tell them about Jesus if we have a political barrier between us? I will never be able to force someone to change their minds. My only hope is to show, by example, the love of Jesus. 

Stop debating and arguing about "stuff" on social media. Use that tool to show God's love. If it is not uplifting and supportive, don't post it. I have passed up multiple opportunities to continue the rhetoric from the election. I haven't changed my views, I'm just not going to build a wall between me and those that I disagree with. Show compassion, work to serve, love, and honor others, just like Jesus!

Monday, January 16, 2017

My prayer

“For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭5:8-9‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The time is almost here. Inauguration Day, the day this wonderful country smoothly transitions power from one leader to another. We are told live as people of light and I want to celebrate this event with prayer.

We all know how contentious this election has been. Our country is divided, but Christians can not be divided. We all know God is in charge. We know the ultimate victory has been won. The battles of this earth are meaningless. But, we can pray for the people. We can pray for our leaders. So today I do that. I ask you to join me in genuine, heartfelt prayer for Donald J Trump.

Dear Lord, I am humbled by your presence in my life. You have allowed me to live in, maybe,  the greatest country on this planet. Friday we swear in our 45th president. We know that he only has power you grant. He has no knowledge, no wisdom of his own. Fill him Lord, with your love, mercy, and grace. Give him a clear mind with one purpose, to unite our country under you.  Let the Holy Spirit rest on his shoulders, guiding him through these next four years. May he feel the needs of the poor, the disenfranchised, and the lost. May his actions serve the needs of all Americans. Give him the strength that brings about a world peace. Help him to avoid war and conflict whenever possible. Help him to lead our military with your wisdom and when they are called to serve to watch over them. Protect our new president and his family from those who are blinded by anger and hate. Help him to choose his words carefully as to not anger those who are enemies while still maintaining strength and resolve to do what is right. Lord speak to him. Help him to be aware of your presence and help him to draw closer to you every day he serves this great country. We love you Lord and are honored to be your servant. Amen!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Grow up!

“Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:14-16‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I bet each of you can think of some adult that has never grown up. You know the type of person I'm talking about. Nothing is serious to them. Life is lived in the moment, they care only about themselves and they seem to destroy every relationship they have. They also are tossed around by every new thing that catches their eye. They lie, steal and cheat anyone. These "mature" adults act more like toddlers and kids than adults.

As a faithful follower of Jesus, we also need to grow up! We need to keep our focus on Jesus and not follow worship fads and temporary doctrine. We need to know the word of God and not count on others for our faith. We need to actively seek God, not as Santa Clais, giving gifts to anyone and everyone. We need to treat our ministry, our witness, solid and confident. We need to go through life with more than  playing as our focus. We need to help and serve others instead of us being fed with selfish motivation. We need to grow up in our faith!

When we are growing we are living when we stop growing we are dying. Praise God for life and growth in our faith!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Resolve to eliminate hostility!

“For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:14-16‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I am appalled by the video released showing the torture of a man just outside of Chicago. We are on a path that needs to end. If we can't live in peace within our own country where we share a common heritage and share the same ideals and dreams, how can we expect peace to thrive on this planet. 

We have to put and end to it now!

If Christ can bring the Jews and gentiles together, he can bring demorcats and republicans together, black and white, rich and poor, Muslim and Christian. He can bring us all together. 

How will it start?

You. You are the key. I just listened to a wonderful message from Trey Gowdy. One key point, "who has ever been convinced to change their views because of and insult." Can I ridicule you into following Christ? Can I make a liberal conservative by calling them names? Of course not! We have to stop the HOSTILITY! Make this your New Years Resolution! Do it on social media. How about resolving to not post anything hostile on facebook? How about committing to being a positive role model, lifting up people. I know it will be hard! I will be tempted to post that sarcastic post or that political slam. I'm not out to agree with everything you say. I'm still going to share my views. But will you join me in lifting up people and not all the hostility? As far as I am in control, I pledge to be positive with my life in as many ways as possible. I will love my neighbor as myself.

Please Lord help us. Do we remember that when all else fails? Love is the answer! Remind me Lord!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

But God!

But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:4-6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The absolute bedrock of what I believe is in these verses. In our society it is not popular to take a stand, to draw a line between good and evil. We are taught there is no such thing as black and white, good and bad, right and wrong. My faith is billed as one of many ways to God. But, God, here in these verses, gives us one way to be saved. He gives us the narrow way. We must accept Jesus. We must accept we are sinners. We must accept the only path to eternal life is through the power of God's grace.

We do not deserve eternal life. We have sinned and we are sinners. Who amongst you have not denied God? Which one of you have not tried to control your own life instead of letting God? We have all rejected God's plans. We ignore the path before us to pursue greed, self interest, and pleasure. Since the beginning of time we are all, like me, sinners. Our sins have killed us. There is nothing we can do to recover from what we have done. But God, through Jesus sets us in the heavenly realms to be with him forever. It is only through Jesus death, for sins he did not commit, that we are saved and given eternity!

Praise God for his perfect love!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Your inheritance!

“I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭1:18‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I'm working on a bible study of the book of Ephesians by J.D. Greear. He pointed out something in this verse I've never noticed. We / I am the glorious "inheritance" 0f God. How special is that? Did you know tha God values you more than anything else?

I'm not sure my kids will ever have a wonderful inheritance. Steph and I don't have any hidden wealth to pass down. All we have are some sentimental momento's. Our kids will treasure those things we leave them like I treasure the little things I have inherited. I have a Bible from my grandfather and Steph has a special cake plate left to her by her grandma. We value these trinkets for their meaning and not their financial value. But, to God, we are the best inheritance he could ever have. Isn't that strange? God can have anything . How can you give him something when he already has everything? Ah But, God doesn't have everything. The one thing he hopes to have, the one thing that could make his eternal life complete, is to have YOU as his inheritance. There is no guarantee but he dreams of having YOU as his inheritance. He values us more than gold, silver, and any other riches. You are his greatest prize. Praise God he loves us so much.

My hope is in the constant, eternal love of my Heavenly Father. It is humbling to know he cares so much that WE are his treasure. Praise God we are his! 

Monday, January 2, 2017

What are you praying for in 2017?

“I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭1:16-18‬ ‭NLT‬‬

It's that time of year to make New Years Resolutions. The time for breaking them will follow next week!   I have a "goal". My blood sugar has been high for several months. My weight has gone up and I am committed to eat better. For a guy that loves ice cream, that is a daunting task. More important than my weight loss goal is my commitment to prayer in 2017. More specifically, "What am I praying for this year?"

These verses from Ephesians are a great place to start. My prayer is that my family and friends grow more in their knowledge of God. I pray they will draw closer to the creator of all things. I want them to worship more, study his word more, yes, pray more, and serve more. I want them to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit like never before. I could pray for jobs, homes, finances, relationships, health, or many other specific things. Praying they grow closer to God takes care of everything that could come throughout 2017. My wife, daughters, son in laws, grandkids, coworkers, and my friends all need to grow in their knowledge of Jesus. It's not that I am not proud of them, many are my rock and great examples of faithful followers. I know the upcoming 363 days will bring many challenges and battles. I know they can not survive without the power of the almighty God when the storms hit. I know their joy will never be complete without Jesus.  We need Jesus more everyday.

What are you praying for? It's so much more important than any New Years resolution and has eternal benefits in the lives of those you love. To steal a holiday phrase, "It's the gift that keeps on giving!" Lord Jesus, hear our prayers. Come to us, reveal yourself to us, now and forever more. Amen!