Saturday, May 30, 2015

Consider yourself

  • Do you know someone who likes to point out others' faults? They often think they are being spiritual. Truth is, they are not.

    "Don't shoot the wounded. Someday you might be one."

    Singer, Chuck Girard, sang that years ago. It is an incredible song; the lyrics are direct and powerful. Do a search and listen. It will challenge you. It may even convict you. It certainly very well expresses the heart of today's Scripture.

    I listened several times. Then I prayed.

And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right. If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of him. Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed. Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother. (2 Th 3:13-15 NIV)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Consider yourself

  • I once heard someone say to a counselor: "I just tell them like it is." The counselor responded: "That is just another way of saying that you do not care about their feelings." That was wisdom.

    Sometimes that is true. Other times, however, something true and direct must be spoken even though it has the potential to cause discomfort or division if taken the wrong way.

    More wisdom: Listen to the Holy Spirit over your own emotions. Emotions can change or mislead. God never changes; He is always true. He knows when you should speak, and when you should be silent.

Am I now your enemy because I tell you the truth? Those people are working hard to persuade you, but this is not good for you. They want to persuade you to turn against us and work hard for them. (Gal 4:16-17 ERV)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Feels Like sometimes

  • If you have been reading this message for any time now, you know that I do not hesitate to be brutally candid, even if it does not place me in a complimentary light. With that in mind, allow me to share some very private thoughts:

    There are times when I do not feel like praising God. It is not "personal"; He knows that (however, that is no excuse). There are just some days when I am just so weary from the struggle, it is an accomplishment to make it to bed. Other days, emotions are running amuck. Still others, there are more demands than hours.

    Then, I think about what Jesus did for me: His sacrifice, the blessings, His grace and mercy, my commission... And can I not at least say, "Thank you!"? I should be more disciplined. And grateful.

    I doubt that I am alone in these thoughts, so, regardless of your circumstances today, join with me and express your gratitude to the Lord for all He has done.

I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together. I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. (Psa 34:1-5 NIV)

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Something's we just accept

  • On a macro scale, we cannot determine how large the Universe is (or is becoming). On a micro scale, we cannot determine how small it is: Atomic, then subatomic, then... what beyond that? Further, we understand very little about quantum mechanics and the mysteries that realm holds. And there is more still.

    If we cannot determine the scale, boundaries, properties, and mechanics of the Universe in which we exist, how do we have the arrogance to even begin to think that we understand the Lord who created it and transcends it all?

    We MUST accept Him by faith, because truly, as David said: "...His greatness no one can fathom." That is reason to praise Him!

    A psalm of praise. Of David. I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. (Psa 145:1-3 NIV)

Monday, May 25, 2015

Happy Memorial

  • Happy Memorial Day to our U.S. readers: We honor military members, past and present. Thank you for your service and sacrifice. And honor to all the loved ones who stood for and with those who serve and served. Thank you. God Bless You. You are heroes, all.

    When the "storms" of life come, most people take a logical course of action in response such as the sailors in today's Scripture. They were behaving logically: it is what they were taught and trained to do; it made sense to them.

    However, there may be times when God has a different (and better) solution than ours. We should always check in with Him first before we take matters into our own hands.

    Point in case: God's solution for Paul and those with him did not make sense--but it was right and it saved their lives.

So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. On the fourteenth night we were still being driven across the Adriatic Sea, when about midnight the sailors sensed they were approaching land. Fearing that we would be dashed against the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight. In an attempt to escape from the ship, the sailors let the lifeboat down into the sea, pretending they were going to lower some anchors from the bow. Then Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, "Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved." So the soldiers cut the ropes that held the lifeboat and let it fall away. (Acts 27:25,27,29-32 NIV)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Fix it!

  • When we encounter a need, we sometimes (misguidedly) think that we are always supposed to "fix" it. I do not believe that. I believe that sometimes, God works through circumstances that do not need our "fixing" (interference), as in today's Scripture. Think about this:

    In Acts 3, there was a man "whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple" (v.2). Peter and John healed him (v.6-7). How many times did Jesus pass by this man... and did not heal him?

    Does the fact that Jesus did not heal him imply that He did not care? Absolutely not! It demonstrates that Jesus listened to and obeyed His Father in every situation He encountered--as should we.

Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come fearlessly into God's presence, assured of his glad welcome. So please don't despair because of what they are doing to me here. It is for you that I am suffering, so you should feel honored and encouraged. When I think of the wisdom and scope of God's plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. (Eph 3:12-15 NLT)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

A Constant

  • In my opinion (and experience), we live by our feelings, unconsciously assuming that what we feel is reality. It goes like this: When an emotion changes, we (unconsciously) think, "I feel different, therefore, things are now different. Oh no! What do I do?"

    There is truth that is transcendent of our feelings. Emotions change. Truth does not. In John 18:38, Pilate asked Jesus: "What is truth?" Truth is God's eternal, unchanging Word: It does not change, regardless of what we think, feel, or believe.

    So, regardless of circumstances or what you feel right now, read the Scripture below and let it sink in: This is true! Let the unchanging Truth of God's Word influence your feelings and your life today.

I lift up my eyes to the hills--where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip--he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you--the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm--he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. (Psa 121 NIV)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


  • I like words. I suppose you could say that I am a "word enthusiast". I believe David was too, judging from his writing.

    From today's Scripture, the words "miry depths" even sound as bad as that place is, don't they? They are quite descriptive of the place we can find ourselves sometimes.

    Have you been there? Are you there? Candidly, there have been times when it felt like that was my home address. Tough times.

    I discovered that God still loved me, even in the "miry depths", regardless of how I got there. He remained with me in the "miry depths"--even in the worst of times. Because of that, I now have confidence that He will be there, even if I visit "101 Miry Depths" again (emphasis on "visit"!). 

    I believe it is so for you too. Do you?

I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God. You know my folly, O God; my guilt is not hidden from you. But I pray to you, O LORD, in the time of your favor; in your great love, O God, answer me with your sure salvation. Answer me, O LORD, out of the goodness of your love; in your great mercy turn to me. (Psa 69:2,3,5,13,16 NIV)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Seek God not a Organization

  • I find it disturbing when people talk more about the organization than they do God, because in my opinion, the organizations exist only to provide a connection for fellowship and a structure for worship, teaching, and evangelism. They are not a purpose in and of themselves without the Lord. (Or did I misunderstand something?)

    "Forget the bass." It's all about the Lord. Seek Him wholeheartedly.

This is what Hezekiah did throughout Judah, doing what was good and right and faithful before the LORD his God. In everything that he undertook in the service of God's temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered. (2 Chr 31:20-21 NIV)

Monday, May 11, 2015

God is Good

    God is always good. People are not.
    People are sometimes mean. God is not.
  • Did I miss anything?

To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul. I trust in you, my God! Do not let me be disgraced, or let my enemies rejoice in my defeat. No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced, but disgrace comes to those who try to deceive others. Show me the path where I should walk, O LORD; point out the right road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you. (Psa 25:1-5 NLT) 

Friday, May 8, 2015


  • An illusionist (a.k.a. magician) distracts you from what is really happening and keeps your attention on what you think is happening. Then, when the act is over, you wonder what happened.

    We have an enemy that often does the same thing. Don't be deceived.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Cor 10:3-5 NIV)

Thursday, May 7, 2015


  • It has been said: "The only constant is change." Truly, there are few things in our lives that do not change, and even fewer things (or people) we can absolutely depend on.

    Most of the time, we "deal with it". However...

    There are times when we need to know that there is something we can depend on that will not change and that cannot be changed, something that is real, true, and genuine, and something that is greater than us.

    There is something. Someone. He has never changed--and never will: His Word is eternal. We can depend on that. We can depend on Him.

Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures. Your laws endure to this day, for all things serve you. If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life. (Psa 119:89-93 NIV)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

You are replaceable

  • The people in Luke 19:37-40 were doing something very important: They were fulfilling specific prophecy. Important as they were for that time and place, however, they were not indispensable.

    I have a stone sitting on my bookcase. It is brown, small, smooth, and looks a lot like a baked russet potato. Nothing remarkable. Very common-looking. It even survived the fire in 2012 because... well... it is a rock.

    It is there for a reason: It is to remind me that a rock could take my place if I do not fulfill my purpose in God, maintain my relationship with Him, and praise Him with a grateful heart.

    God's purpose will be accomplished, with or without us. Personally, I prefer "with".

When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!" "I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out." (Luke 19:37-40 NIV)

Monday, May 4, 2015

Feelings of neglect

  • Have you experienced this: In the most difficult times, people seem to disappear? Friends are not available. Calls are not returned. Even loved ones are too busy, stay away, or do not care or listen.

    Been there. There now. Likely will be again. It is "life". It hurts. David experienced it. Jesus too. We are no exception.

    It does feel good to be understood, however, someone's understanding cannot really fix a problem. It can help how or what you feel or understand about a problem, but it is seldom a real solution.

    On the other hand, God knows and understands every difficulty you face--and He can make a difference. And in my experience, He usually starts making the difference in me first, and then in the circumstances only when I am ready--ready from His perspective, that is.

I am weak and utterly crushed; I cry out in distress because of my heart's anguish. Lord, all my longings are before you, and my groaning is not hidden from you. My heart pounds, my strength fails me, even the gleam in my eye is gone. As for my friends and my neighbors, they stand aloof from my distress; even my close relatives stand at a distance. (Psa 38:8-11 ISV)

Friday, May 1, 2015

Live in confidence

I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. (Psa 16:8-11 NIV)