Monday, August 29, 2016

Dark Times

Things have happened in my life that seemed very bad at the time:
Much devastation; great pain; overwhelming loss. Very dark times. At
the time, I did not understand them or what God was doing in them.

I now understand that He worked in every one for my good--and I do
mean every one. I am a better man today because of them. It took a
long time to come to that understanding for some of those things.

In dark times, you will be tempted to make your own light. Don't:
Trust God in the darkness (Isa 50:10-11). When the time is right,
I believe you will understand, just as I did.
Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your
  prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has
  happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. (Phil 1:18b-19 NIV)

Thursday, August 25, 2016


Have you ever wondered why God gave such specific instructions for
the construction of a portable structure? I marvel at the detail; it
truly is amazing.

Today's message is not an answer, but rather, a perspective. If God
cared so much about a structure, how much more must He care about
our lives? I believe each one of us is made "according to plans".
"Make the tabernacle with ten curtains of finely twisted linen and
  blue, purple and scarlet yarn, with cherubim worked into them by a
  skilled craftsman. All the curtains are to be the same size--twenty-
  eight cubits long and four cubits wide. Join five of the curtains
  together, and do the same with the other five. (Exo 26:1-3 NIV)

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

How strongly do you Believe?

What do you really believe about Jesus? About His Resurrection?
About Scripture? Do you ever think about it or talk about it?

Here is a test: Do you believe what you believe strongly enough to
tell someone else (or even admit to yourself) what you believe?
While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the
  city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened.
  When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan,
  they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, "You are
  to say, 'His disciples came during the night and stole him away
  while we were asleep.' If this report gets to the governor, we will
  satisfy him and keep you out of trouble." So the soldiers took the
  money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been
  widely circulated among the Jews to this very day. (Mat 28:11-15 NIV)

Monday, August 22, 2016

God Can

Do you feel trapped in your circumstances as though you were locked
behind prison doors? God can open those doors. In Paul's case, He
did it via an earthquake. The foundations of the prison were shaken!
Scary? Certainly--but it opened the doors and broke the chains!

Can God shake the foundations of the circumstances that have held
you captive? No doubt. What will it take for you? I do not know--
but brace yourself and trust Him when the "shaking" begins.
Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of
  the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and
  everybody's chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw
  the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill
  himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul
  shouted, "Don't harm yourself! We are all here!" The jailer called
  for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He
  then brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"
  (Acts 16:26-30 NIV)

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Faith the Action Word

You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith
  alone. In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered
  righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and
  sent them off in a different direction? As the body without the
  spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. (James 2:24-26 NIV)

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Overcome it

Gravity is a universal law of physics. And then, there are forces
that can overcome gravity, e.g., aerodynamics (how airplanes fly).

When people fail to keep promises, you experience great loss or
failure, etc., the resulting feelings are real. Just as aerodynamics
overcome gravity, there are forces that can overcome feelings, e.g.,
faith in God's love, presence, and promises.

You do not always feel Him or feel the promises "working". Sometimes
you even feel alone and defeated. However, if faith was based on
feelings, it could not overcome feelings, could it?

"But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered,
  each to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not
  alone, for my Father is with me. "I have told you these things, so
  that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble.
  But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:32-33 NIV)

Thursday, August 11, 2016

In God's Will

We all want to be in God's will. We want Him to use us. We want to
fulfill the plan and purpose He has for our lives. Sounds good.

OK. So... what if He really does that? What would it look like? It
may (will likely) require changes, inconveniences, and a risk of
being misunderstood. Read Zechariah's story in Luke 1.

For myself, I consistently and aggressively ask God to "Do whatever
you need to do..." because I know that whatever the requirement, the
reward will be far greater. But then, it is not even about the
reward; it is about the relationship.
Once when Zechariah's division was on duty and he was serving as
  priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of
  the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense.
  And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled
  worshipers were praying outside. Then an angel of the Lord appeared
  to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When
  Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear.
  (Luke 1:8-12 NIV)

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Who can you trust

It has been said, "Don't believe everything you hear." John also
said the same in 1 John 4:1. Sadly, not everyone is honest.

"Who can I trust?" is an essential question for relationships,
business, politics, and even in church. Who indeed? Trust God first.
He knows, well, everything--and everything about everyone!

The closer we grow in relationship with Him, the clearer we can
perceive His mind and will. Then, we can better recognize His
opinion of someone or something.

That is called discernment--and we can ask Him for it.
They fully intend to topple him from his lofty place; they take
  delight in lies. With their mouths they bless, but in their hearts
  they curse. Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from
  him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will
  not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my
  mighty rock, my refuge. (Psa 62:4-7 NIV)

Friday, August 5, 2016


Every day we live, we make choices: We interact with others or not;
we maintain relationships--or neglect them; we allow good things in
our lives or evil; we think on things that are life-giving or
destructive. (And that list can go on and on.)

Each decision-point is an opportunity to affirm, deny, or compromise
our integrity, morals, and faith. And each affects our future
because no decision stands alone: One leads to another, to another,
to another...
I will set before my eyes no vile thing. The deeds of faithless men
  I hate; they will not cling to me. Men of perverse  heart shall be
  far from me; I will have nothing to do with evil. (Psa 101:3-4 NIV)

Tuesday, August 2, 2016


Why?" is an important question, one of the most important we can
ask. Some "Why?" questions only God can answer. Sometimes He chooses
to be silent--which I believe reveals our spiritual maturity.

Common responses include offense, panic, anger, disappointment, and
the like. A mature response of faith is to trust that He has a very
good reason for His silence, that His reason is always for our good,
and that He will reveal the answer when we need it or can accept it.
 The LORD took hold of me, and I was carried away by the Spirit of
  the LORD to a valley filled with bones. He led me around among the
  old, dry bones that covered the valley floor. They were scattered
  everywhere across the ground. Then he asked me, "Son of man, can
  these bones become living people again?" "O Sovereign LORD," I
  replied, "you alone know the answer to that." (Ezek 37:1-3 NLT)

Monday, August 1, 2016

Right where God can use you

Ever wondered if you were really useful to God, or why He allowed
someone to do something you did not get to do even though you were
qualified? We have all probably had similar thoughts at some point.

It is our nature that we tend to have a very self-focused view even
of the kingdom of God. We easily forget that it is a "team effort".

We win if the team wins--and the team has already won!
For when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos,"
  are you not mere men? What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul?
  Only servants, through whom you came to believe--as the Lord has
  assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it,
  but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is
  anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants
  and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded
  according to his own labor. For we are God's fellow workers; you are
  God's field, God's building. (1 Cor 3:4-9 NIV)