Thursday, April 30, 2015

Complete Trust

  • Sometimes we read Scripture and the symbolism seems to have no relevance to our everyday lives. The words we read can feel sterile, disconnected from the demands of life and stresses we face and feel.

    But are they really?

    Consider the "valley of the shadow of death" in today's Scripture. Some people equate it to the loss of a loved one or a serious illness. I believe that it can also be a profound loss of joy or hope, a failed relationship, a lost job, a depressive episode, or a deep, dark pit you emotionally stumble into when circumstances are overwhelming.

    Now, think about what is your "valley"--and read Psalm 23 again.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (Psa 23:4-6 NIV)

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Standing Alone

  • Sometimes doing what is right is easy; it can make you a hero. Other times, however, you must stand alone, be misunderstood, and risk painful rejection--even from people who care about you.

    It comes down to a decision. Whether intentional or unaware, we all have a choice at every decision point. We can either do what is right before God, even if it means being rejected by others or facing personal loss in some way, or, we can attempt to please others or avoid loss, rejection, or pain--even if it means offending God.

    An example is what you just read. Hard, direct words? Yes. Even harsh? To some. Will some readers be offended or reject what I said (and reject me in the process)? Potentially.

    Was it what I believe God would have me say? (You know the answer.)

When Jesus entered the ruler's house and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd, he said, "Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep." But they laughed at him. After the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up. News of this spread through all that region. (Mat 9:23-26 NIV)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Call and be Delivered

Many are saying of me, "God will not deliver him." But you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head. To the LORD I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill. I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me. I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side. (Psa 3:2-6 NIV)

Monday, April 27, 2015

Be careful

  • Some people want to see God's judgment fall. They may think a person, a category of people, or an entire nation deserves judgment.

    Personal opinion: That is not our determination to make!

    Do you know anyone like that? I do. I vividly remember that person's harsh, hateful, condemning words, praying for God's punishment on someone. And I still shudder when I think about it because I really do not believe they in the least comprehended what they were doing.

    When God said that vengeance belonged to Him, He meant it.

When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened. But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry. (Jonah 3:10-4:1 NIV)

Friday, April 24, 2015


  • The day before Yesterday, about feelings I said: "...we should make efforts to control how we respond to them." So, how does one do that? I can tell you what I understand and make every effort to do:

    When I feel something like worry or fear in a situation, I recognize that I am at a decision point: I can believe what I see and feel, or, I can choose to believe what God said--if that conflicts with what I see and feel. The decision is to believe one over the other.

    It helps to make that decision pre-crisis, as David expressed in these verses. Then, when a crisis occurs, your decision will be whether or not to hold to what you have already decided.

    (From experience I can tell you: that is far easier than trying to determine what to do at the point of crisis.) 

    Does that help?

We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the LORD grant all your requests. Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed; he answers him from his holy heaven with the saving power of his right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. (Psa 20:5-7 NIV)

Thursday, April 23, 2015


  • "If we really understood why we do what we do, we would not do a lot of what we do."

As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! 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. (Gal 1:9-10 NIV)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


  • Today's message deals with being "real". So, let's be.

    We feel many things when we are going through "stuff"; we can feel grief, frustration, conflict, depression, confusion, and so much more. It is normal, and contrary to what I have heard taught or implied, experiencing such feelings is not a failure of faith.

    That said, I believe that while we cannot always prevent conflicting feelings, aside from a physical or emotional illness or condition, we should make efforts to control how we respond to them.

    The principle in today's message helps me keep feelings in perspective, to some degree at least. I am not saying that it invalidates or lessens what I feel, nor should it be a pollyannish way of responding.

    Real feelings must first be admitted; only then can they be dealt with. But keeping them in perspective of what Jesus has done for us is, for me, a crucial and essential step in the overcoming process.

But Jesus remains a priest forever; his priesthood will never end. Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save everyone who comes to God through him. He lives forever to plead with God on their behalf. He does not need to offer sacrifices every day like the other high priests. They did this for their own sins first and then for the sins of the people. But Jesus did this once for all when he sacrificed himself on the cross. (Heb 7:24-25,27 NLT)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Matrix

  • Choice. The problem is choice." - Neo, The Matrix Reloaded, Wachowski Brothers, 2003

    I liked the movie but I disagree with Neo: I believe choice is an opportunity--the greatest given to humanity by God. However, the consequences of a person's choice could be a problem... You think?

    (A look back: This Today's Seed was sent 16 years ago today.)

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 6:23 NIV)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

God knows best

  • When you ask God for something and you do not get what you asked for, do you feel that He did not answer your prayer? Do you feel neglected, or perhaps even rejected?

    Today's message deals with one reason the answer we want may not come. But then, there can be many.

    The bottom line is that God is going to do "what is best for you even when it is not what you think you need or want at the moment". As for me, I am glad it is that way; I had rather trust His judgment over my own any day.

You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4:2-3 NIV)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

God has the answer

  • "Once more...": two short words that imply much! Do you sometimes feel as though you are fighting the same battles over and over?

    David asked God for direction--even when he faced a enemy he had faced before. He did not assume that the same solution would apply.

    I believe that God always has a solution. I also believe that our greatest challenges are understanding it and being obedient to it.

Once more the Philistines came up and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim; so David inquired of the LORD, and he answered, "Do not go straight up, but circle around behind them and attack them in front of the balsam trees. As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, move quickly, because that will mean the LORD has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army." So David did as the LORD commanded him, and he struck down the Philistines all the way from Gibeon to Gezer. (2 Sam 5:22-25 NIV)

Friday, April 10, 2015

Let God do what he does

Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat--for he grants sleep to those he loves. (Psa 127:1-2 NIV)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Try the Spirit By The Spirit

  • I have learned that many people who claim to speak for God or about Him are not speaking by Him or on His authority. Sometimes they are speaking only of themselves. And other times... worse.

    God does speak through people, and He uses people to impart wisdom, information, and other things we need to hear. Such "words" have been a lifeline for me in many trying times in my life.

    But in everything, use wisdom and discernment, and do not accept something just because someone associates God's name with it--and that includes what I am saying here.

One day as we were going down to the place of prayer, we met a demon- possessed slave girl. She was a fortune-teller who earned a lot of money for her masters. She followed along behind us shouting, "These men are servants of the Most High God, and they have come to tell you how to be saved." This went on day after day until Paul got so exasperated that he turned and spoke to the demon within her. "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her," he said. And instantly it left her. (Acts 16:16-18NLT)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Normal to Grow

  • "Growth is the only evidence of life." - John Henry Newman

He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. (Isa 53:2-4 NIV)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Do Good

  • Do you know that how we treat people really matters to God?

    In Matthew 25:40, Jesus said essentially that what we do for them, we do for Him. Think about the implication of that!

    Do not let an opportunity slip by to do something good for someone. One of those opportunities could manifest any moment now...

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. (Heb 6:10-12 NIV)

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Some Things Are a Necessity

  • I have talked to people who turned away from God because of a corrupt minister, false teacher, or a hypocrite in church.

    What if they said to you: "I am not going to drink water because it is not perfectly clean; there may be contaminates in it."? You would (rightfully) think they were "off".

    But isn't it the same principle? I think so. You cannot physically survive without water. You cannot spiritually survive without God.

    Do spiritually what you would do physically: filter out the trash and drink deeply--of the pure living water that God gives.

If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain. (1 Tim 6:3-6 NIV)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Making the right connection

  • When an electrical connection is made, power is transferred.

    When a people-connection is made, something is transferred too.

    Use wisdom in the connections you make so the right stuff will be transferred. Who you choose as a friend is important to you. It is also important to God because it affects you--and He cares about you.

Don't be friends with people who become angry easily. Don't stay around quick-tempered people. If you do, you may learn to be like them. Then you will have the same problems they do. (Pro 22:24-25 ERV)