Thursday, July 28, 2016

Do unto others

It is easy to think that how we treat each other is "down here" and
how we interact with God is "up there", as though the two were on
different levels of accountability.

Truth is: How we interact with each other matters to God. It matters
a lot! 1 John 4:20b: "For anyone who does not love his brother, whom
he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen." (NIV)

Monday, July 25, 2016


Have you heard the saying, "Prayer changes things."? It is true.

We typically expect God to change our circumstances as we want them
to be. Sometimes, however, He leaves the circumstances as they are--
and instead changes us in, by, or through the circumstances.

Not exactly an encouraging word for difficult times? I can say this
with all confidence:

In every instance where God changed me instead of my circumstances,
it worked out better in the end than the way I wanted things to be.
LORD, help!" they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from
  their distress. He spoke, and they were healed--snatched from the
  door of death. Let them praise the LORD for his great love and for
  all his wonderful deeds to them. Let them offer sacrifices of
  thanksgiving and sing joyfully about his glorious acts.
  (Psa 107:19-22 NLT)

Thursday, July 21, 2016

A Short List

Faithful: Think about what it means. How many things or people in
your life are genuinely faithful? (If you are like most, your list
will be short!)
Our LORD, you are eternal! Your word will last as long as the
  heavens. You remain faithful in every generation, and the earth you
  created will keep standing firm. (Psa 119:89-90 CEV

Don't Aim

I saw a window decal that, while humorous, implied a principle worth
considering: "Due to the high cost of ammo, no warning shots will be
fired." It brought to mind my uncle's advice: "Son, never
point a gun at anything you don't intend to shoot!"

I treat words the same way. In my opinion, words spent carelessly on
unimportant matters are a lot like random shots aimed at nothing.
And sometimes, like careless, random shots, they may hit an
unintended target something or someone and do great harm!
Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the
  place where we must worship is in Jerusalem." Jesus declared,
  "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the
  Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.  You Samaritans
  worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for
  salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come
  when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and
  truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.  God is
  spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."
  (John 4:20-24 NIV)

Link up Thru Prayer

A few thoughts about the violence in our world:

It seems as though a new wave of violence is raging across our
planet. Does it have a spiritual origin? To me, it appears too
pervasive--crossing too many cultural, religious, racial, and
political boundaries--to be coincidence.

Does someone saying, "Pray!" seems anticlimactic to you? Consider
the words of Jack Taylor in "Prayer: Life's Limitless reach":

"But there is a reach that man has been given that is limitless.
That reach is prayer! It is as infinite as God for it links the
human life to God. It is limitless in space, touching three worlds.
It touches heaven, earth, and hell simultaneously and
instantaneously. It influences God as no other endeavor. It touches
man as nothing else that we can do. It worries the devil more than
any human enterprise. The devil hates prayer because it throws the
battle to God and pits Him against the enemy with all his resources.
Prayer can be launched in an instant and at the speed of thought
hits its target! It is not confined to the laws of space. Prayer
knows no limit in time. It belongs to the principles of a
transcendent dimension. It can be set off in time, have immediate
effect, and reside forever."

So, I encourage you, for our world's sake: Pray!
 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to
  be kind to each other and to everyone else. Be joyful always; pray
  continually;  give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's
  will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Th 5:15-18 NIV)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Love thru Disagreement

If you love someone, do you have to agree on everything to continue
loving them? I do not believe so. Why do I say that? Because Jesus
loves us even when we disagree with Him--and He is our role-model.

Some people may be offended that I suggest they would disagree with
God. Before the offense sets in, consider: Sin is (as I understand
it, in its simplest definition) anything that is not in agreement
with God.

Is anyone without sin (except Jesus)? No. Then we all have been in
disagreement with God. And He still loves and accepts us.
Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, "Let us go back and visit the
  brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and
  see how they are doing." Barnabas wanted to take John, also called
  Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because
  he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in
  the work. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted
  company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, but Paul chose
  Silas and left, com-mended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord.
  (Acts 15:36-40 NIV)

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Price of expressions

The "message" in holiday retail ads says your love for someone is
demonstrated (and sometimes judged) by the expense of the gift you
give. Although I consider the blatant profiteering aspect of that
"message" loathsome, there is a principle in there somewhere.

Jesus gave His very life for us. If that indicates the quality of
His love for us (and it does), then... Wow! I cannot comprehend it.
"If you want to be my follower you must love me more than your own
  father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters--yes,
  more than your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. And
  you cannot be my disciple if you do not carry your own cross and
  follow me. (Luke 14:26-27 NLT)

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

God Or Satan

If someone claims to have power of some kind or knowledge of future
events but does not acknowledge God as the source be on high
spiritual alert!

Spiritual authority can be a very complex study, but the simplest
understanding is that there are only two sources for such power or
knowledge. So, if it does not originate from God...
All the counsel you have received has only worn you out! Let your
  astrologers come forward, those stargazers who make predictions
  month by month, let them save you from what is coming upon you.
  Surely they are like stubble; the fire will burn them up. They
  cannot even save themselves from the power of the flame. Here are no
  coals to warm anyone; here is no fire to sit by. That is all they
  can do for you these you have labored with and trafficked with
  since childhood. Each of them goes on in his error; there is not one
  that can save you. (Isa 47:13-15 NIV)

Monday, July 11, 2016

Controlled Forgiveness

Think about these things:

 To the degree that you do not forgive, you give an equivalent
 measure of control of your life to the offender for which you
 receive torment and bondage.

 To the degree that you do forgive, you give an equivalent
 measure of surrender of your life to the Lord for which you
 receive joy and freedom.
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone,
  forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your
  sins." (Mark 11:25-26 NIV)

Friday, July 8, 2016

Fight on

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to
  which you were called when you made your good confession in the
  presence of many witnesses. (1 Tim 6:12 NIV)

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Deny Deny Deny?

You are not one of his disciples, are you?" the girl at the door
  asked Peter. He replied, "I am not." It was cold, and the servants
  and officials stood around a fire they had made to keep warm. Peter
  also was standing with them, warming himself. As Simon Peter stood
  warming himself, he was asked, "You are not one of his disciples,
  are you?" He denied it, saying, "I am not." One of the high priest's
  servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off,
  challenged him, "Didn't I see you with him in the olive grove?"
  Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.
  (John 18:17-18, 25-27 NIV)

Saturday, July 2, 2016

God is Able

Many read the word "temptations" used in verse 13 in a context of
"enticements" or "solicitations". The original word, "peirasmos",
could better be translated "testings". Strong's definition begins
with "a putting to proof..."
But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no
  different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will
  keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can't stand up
  against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that
  you will not give in to it. (1 Cor 10:13 NLT)