Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Give God a chance

  • Sometimes the pain, disappointment, and loss in your life can feel overwhelming. I understand. (If you know even a little of my story, you know I speak from experience when I say, "I understand.".)

    From that precious and costly experience I say to you: Regardless of what has happened, God can heal, restore, and renew joy again.

    I know how that statement can sound when you are in pain and grief. I know how it can feel impossible to ever know joy again. I also know that it is true because I have experienced it.

    And because I have, I do not doubt that God will do it for you. The process begins with your faith to believe and willingness to ask. For me, it took some time (and a lot of trust along the way)--but it happened. It can happen for you too.

A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. (John 16:21-24 NIV)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Responses are key

  • When someone asks me a question in a demanding manner, my first thought is, "Who are you to ask in such a way?"

    Answering a demand could, in some contexts, be an acknowledgment of a person's authority. Do they actually have the authority to demand in the first place? Maybe so, maybe no...

    Jesus recognized this and His response is a model for us. In some cases, the best answer is no answer. How to know? Begin by praying for wisdom and discernment.

They demanded, "By whose authority did you drive out the merchants from the Temple? Who gave you such authority?" "Let me ask you a question first," he replied. "Did John's baptism come from heaven, or was it merely human?" They talked it over among themselves. "If we say it was from heaven, he will ask why we didn't believe him. But if we say it was merely human, the people will stone us, because they are convinced he was a prophet." Finally they replied, "We don't know." And Jesus responded, "Then I won't answer your question either." (Luke 20:2-8 NLT)

Friday, September 26, 2014

Lost in Love

  • We had an opportunity to "live" this yesterday. Sometimes it takes a little while to get over the initial shock when something (like a direct spiritual challenge) happens.

    More important is what you do when you come back to your spiritual senses. Like getting slapped in the face: It takes a moment to recover, but by then, the culprit had better be running...

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear, even if earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge! (Psa 46:1-3 NLT)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

He Knows what's Best

  • I have learned that God always answered my prayers--though I did not always like the answer. He did not promise to answer them as I asked (demanded), but as a good parent, He always did what was best.

    I now trust that He will always hear and answer my prayers and He will always do what is best. That is what I ask Him for now. 
    I learned that I can trust Him even with that.

    You can too.

So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me." When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" (John 11:41-43 NIV)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


  • I believe our relationship with God works like this: He has a purpose for us: a calling, a commission, or a task. He does not require us to produce the results. He only requires us to believe Him and do what He asks in faith.

    What my grandfather did: Sowed seed and trusted the process.

    What we should do: Obey God and trust the results to Him.

Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap. Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not your hands be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well. (Eccl 11:4, 6 NIV)

Monday, September 22, 2014


  • We spend a lot of time and energy doing a lot of things for... what?

    Will any of the things we do today last beyond this lifetime?

    These questions are worth considering. The seasons are changing: Fall 2014 begins today. Another year is passing.

    Our lives have seasons too. Consider these questions before another life-season changes. Will you join me in today's prayer?

I also tried to find meaning by building huge homes for myself and by planting beautiful vineyards. I made gardens and parks, filling them with all kinds of fruit trees. I built reservoirs to collect the water to irrigate my many flourishing groves. Anything I wanted, I took. I did not restrain myself from any joy. I even found great pleasure in hard work, an additional reward for all my labors. But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless. It was like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere. (Eccl 2:4-11 NLT)

Friday, September 19, 2014

He's a Promise Keeper

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. (Heb 10:19-23 NIV)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Be careful of who you listen to

Do not be trapped into following their example in worshiping their gods. Do not say, 'How do these nations worship their gods? I want to follow their example.' You must not do this to the LORD your God. These nations have committed many detestable acts that the LORD hates, all in the name of their gods. They have even burned their sons and daughters as sacrifices to their gods. Carefully obey all the commands I give you. Do not add to them or subtract from them. (Deu 12:30-32 NLT)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Using wisdom

  • Yesterday's message was about the spoken word and its significance. Today's message is also about what we say, albeit from a different perspective.

For the Scriptures say, "If you want a happy life and good days, keep your tongue from speaking evil, and keep your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Work hard at living in peace with others. The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil." (1 Pet 3:10-12 NLT)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Just words?

  • I had a conversation with a family member last night about words and their significance. I believe our words carry and express great spiritual authority; that is why they are important--so important that Jesus said we are accountable for even the careless ones.

    Think about these things:

  • At the time of creation, God did not think, "Let there be light." He SAID it--and light became. His words carried His authority and everything He commanded happened as He said.

  • We have no record of Jesus praying silently or observing a "moment of silence". In every instance recorded, He spoke when He prayed as He healed, delivered, performed miracles, and taught.

    God is aware of the significance and authority of His spoken words. We should too because we are created in His image.

The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned." (Mat 12:35-37 NIV)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Real Love

  • From today's Scripture: "All the others care only for themselves..."

    I know from experience the pain and damage such a one can cause. I also know from experience that having one who loves truly, selflessly, and honestly will change your life.

    My Father and Mother selfless love changed my life. I shudder to think what I would have been without them and the love they modeled for a little boy who needed to see what real love looked and felt like.

    This too I know from experience: Regardless of whether you have the former or latter in your life and regardless of what has happened to you, you can be the one that makes a difference in someone's life.

If the Lord Jesus is willing, I hope to send Timothy to you soon. Then when he comes back, he can cheer me up by telling me how you are getting along. I have no one else like Timothy, who genuinely cares about your welfare. All the others care only for themselves and not for what matters to Jesus Christ. But you know how Timothy has proved himself. Like a son with his father, he has helped me in preaching the Good News. (Phil 2:19-22 NLT)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Take Heed to Learning

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope--the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. (Titus 2:11-14 NIV)

Thursday, September 11, 2014


  • My understanding, faith--the "God kind"--is more than an intellectual assent or just saying words. Example: You believe you will be alive in an hour (barring some unforeseen event) because you are alive now. It is not something you think about; you just accept it to be true.

    IMHO: We have to know that God will do what He promised just like we know we are alive now and will be in an hour. When we reach that expression of faith and that level of knowing, things will happen.

    Am I there yet? Not as I would like to be... but I'm working on it.

I am in pain and distress; may your salvation, O God, protect me. I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. This will please the LORD more than an ox, more than a bull with its horns and hoofs. (Psa 69:29-31 NIV)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


  • In the dynamics of relationships, there is a concept known as "emotional separation": Those in the relationship may still be together physically but have pulled away from each other emotionally. If not addressed, more serious problems can follow.

    Have you ever thought about your emotional interaction with God? After all, it is a relationship and it requires effort on our part to maintain--just as any other relationship worth having.

It is the Spirit who gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But some of you don't believe me." (For Jesus knew from the beginning who didn't believe, and he knew who would betray him.) Then he said, "That is what I meant when I said that people can't come to me unless the Father brings them to me." At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him. Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, "Are you going to leave, too?" Simon Peter replied, "Lord, to whom would we go? You alone have the words that give eternal life. (John 6:63-68 NLT)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Free yourself!

  • I think that being able to forgive and pray for those who have hurt us is an "acid test" of our relationship with God and our trust and belief in what He says.

    It is difficult to do--perhaps the most difficult thing you may EVER do. For me, it is impossible without God's help.

    I remember when I could not; I remember the torment of the great pain certain people caused and the "life cost" of it. It took a lot of hard "learning" before I could let it all go, trust Him, and forgive them.

    I learned that it really did come down to my relationship with Him.

    What do you think?

Now Moses was more humble than any other person on earth. I speak to him face to face, directly and not in riddles! He sees the LORD as he is. Should you not be afraid to criticize him?" The LORD was furious with them, and he departed. As the cloud moved from above the Tabernacle, Miriam suddenly became white as snow with leprosy. When Aaron saw what had happened, he cried out to Moses, "Oh, my lord! Please don't punish us for this sin we have so foolishly committed. Don't let her be like a stillborn baby, already decayed at birth." So Moses cried out to the LORD, "Heal her, O God, I beg you!" (Num 12:3,8-13 NLT)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Love is better

  • I have spent a lot of time in reflection on my life and the pain I have experienced. I discovered that much of what I did was to avoid pain in some way. I believe we all do it more (and in more ways) than we realize.

    Examples: Pleasing someone or seeking their approval to avoid the pain of rejection. Seeking financial security to avoid the pain of poverty. A relationship to avoid the pain of loneliness.

    Of course, the better motive is love. Think on these things in context of your relationship with God. 

Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. (Gal 1:10-12 NIV)