12/31/09

Trembling in 2010!!!

Another New Year tomorrow and, believe it or not, we have already completed the first decade of the 21st Century. Wow! Where did it go? Tonight some will sing Auld Lang Syne at the stroke of midnight or soon thereafter. It’s nostalgic, traditional, whatever. But just as Billy Crystal (as Harry) asked Sally while hearing Auld Lang Syne in the background (in the movie When Harry Met Sally), “What does this mean? All my life I ask myself what this means and I still don’t know,” so most can’t explain it, or they have some ambiguous idea. Perhaps Paul clarifies it for the Christian when he writes, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14) Whether or not there is any inkling of connection, this is a truth that ought to permeate the mind and heart of the believer as he or she enters the New Year. Certainly, when we bring together all of Scripture, Paul isn’t saying we are to forget ALL things, since we are consistently encouraged to remember what God has done in the past in ours and others lives through Christ. But there are always those dragging snares (sins) in our life that cry out for change and a new beginning; things we need to cut off and put behind us, covered by the blood of Christ, “and go on to maturity.”

Where to begin? Start with a strong reminder that the FEAR of the Lord is the BEGINNING of knowledge, and that fools despise wisdom and discipline. It is a lesson we can learn from the Magi, who eschewed King Herod’s status, power, and intention to return to him with the location of the new born King of the Jews. Instead they feared God over Herod and worshiped and feared the Babe whom they sought to find and did. Then they took a whole new direction “home”! And so can you in 2010.

“God-fearing” is not a term we hear very often to describe believers today. Yet the Bible is saturated with the command: “Fear God and keep His commandments.” The understanding of the “love” of God has been so eroded in our day that there is a fatal failure to grasp that the fear of God is a significant aspect of what loving God really means (Deuteronomy 10:12). And this is not just an Old Testament concept. It is a WHOLE Bible concept. Read Chapter 12 of Hebrews which concludes with, “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God ACCEPTABLY with reverence and awe (fear), for our God is a consuming fire.” Yet this generation and age may well be described with the phrase, “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” This is true not only for deniers and mockers of God, but even for many who profess to know or believe in Him. It is true for those who are “treading water” or even “drowning” in their “Christian” life.

Practicing the fear of God shakes apathy and spiritual lethargy to the core, which is THE prescription for those who are “dithering” with God and His Son, Jesus Christ. There will be no change, no new beginning, no going on to maturity apart from grabbing hold of what it means to fear Him. One needs to know what it means to TREMBLE (I Chron. 16:30, Jer. 5:22, Isa. 66:2, Phil. 2:12) if he or she truly desires change in the right direction. This is not a negative or errant emotion of our soul. It is true to reality and it is life-saving in the midst of death!

“My God how wonderful Thou art, Thy majesty how bright! How beautiful Thy mercy seat, in depths of burning light!”

“O how I fear Thee, living God, with deepest, tenderest fears; and worship Thee with trembling hope, and penitential tears.”

Strength for the Day.

12/28/09

The Narrow Way or a Cultural Christian?

Commentary on Matthew 7:13-14
Jesus' image of the narrow way should have made sense to his hearers (v. 13). Greek, Roman and Jewish writers often employed the image of the two paths in life, and those particularly concerned with the future judgment especially employed the image of the two ways, the narrow one leading to life and the broad one to destruction.
Some people's assurance of salvation is a delusion (Mt 7:13-14). To enter the narrow gate of the kingdom we must knock, that is, request that God make us citizens of his kingdom (vv. 7-8). The difficulty of Jesus' way includes embracing by repentance both persecution (5:10-12) and the ethics of the kingdom taught in the Sermon on the Mount.
Most Jewish people in Jesus' day were religious; respecting God and keeping his commandments were an important part of their culture. These would be the many people of whom Jesus' hearers would think when they heard him. Yet Jesus, like a few contemporaries who were particularly scrupulous, declared that most people were lost. Jesus intends his words to jar us from complacency, to consider the genuineness of our commitment to him.
One wonders how many members in our churches today assume that they are saved when in fact they treat Jesus' teachings lightly-people who give no thought to their temper, their mental chastity, their integrity and so forth during the week (compare 5:21-48), then pretend to be religious or even spiritually gifted in church. Do we have the courage to communicate Jesus' message as clearly as he meant it to be conveyed, to warn ourselves and others that it is possible for people to assume they are saved and yet be damned? Some texts in the Bible provide assurance to suffering Christians that the kingdom is theirs; this text challenges "cultural Christians," those following only Christian tradition rather than Christ himself, to realize that they need conversion.
Bible Gateway

12/10/09

Drinking from my Saucer


"The happiest people don't have the best of everything, they just make
the best of everything that they have.....

I've never made a fortune, and it's probably too late now.
But I don't worry about that much, I'm happy anyhow
And as I go along life's way,
I'm reaping better than I sowed.
I'm drinking from my saucer,
'Cause my cup has overflowed.

Haven't got a lot of riches,
and sometimes the going's tough
But I've got loving ones all around me,
and that makes me rich enough.
I thank GOD for his BLESSINGS

and the mercies HE's bestowed.
I'm drinking from my saucer,
'Cause my cup has overflowed.

I remember times when things went wrong,
My faith wore somewhat thin..
But all at once the dark clouds broke,
and the sun peeped through again.

So LORD, help me not to gripe,
about the tough rows I have hoed.
I'm drinking from my saucer,
'Cause my cup has overflowed.

If GOD gives me strength and courage,
When the way grows steep and rough.
I'll not ask for other blessings,
I'm already BLESSED enough.

And may I never be too busy,
to help others bear their loads..
Then I'll keep drinking from my saucer,
'Cause my cup has overflowed.

11/17/09

Your Desert Emotions....Joy or Hell?


“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-3

We all face trials and circumstances in our life that we would describe as pure misery and pain, physically and emotionally. “Pure joy” is the last emotion that comes to our mind when we are beset by such trials. Yet not only James, but Peter and Paul give us the same exhortation; which leads me to believe that faith is more than what we believe, it is also how we feel. Very possibly how we feel, whether joy, or sorrow, or love, or hate, or optimism or pessimism is a greater test of our faith and its authenticity than any other test. But all too often we separate how we feel in difficult trials from what we profess to believe.

Paul and Silas as the story is told in Acts 16 had been stripped and the text says “severely” flogged. They were then put into stocks in the most inner portion of the jail. They should have been groaning as I was out loud every minute or so at times during the last two days of sickness. Instead they were praying out loud and singing hymns to God. I am sure this testimony when they should have been groaning in pain led to the jailer’s conversion after the earthquake that opened all the cell doors in the jail. Paul’s and Silas’ faith produced a completely unexpected emotion in the midst of pain.

The Bible doesn’t call us to stoicism in such trials, nor to giving into the emotion normally associated with pain or stress or depression; rather, it calls us to “pure joy.” To exhibit joy when the circumstances call for the opposite emotions of sorrow, pain, stress, or misery demonstrates that our faith is real and vibrant. It is not an easy test of our faith, but James says when we exhibit the emotion that verifies our faith, it is a test which produces maturity and completeness in us as true believers. Our first inclination in any trial will be to give into the emotion most often associated with such circumstances. That is when our faith must click into gear and our emotive response be what the world would never expect. Why? Because we know Who is with us in the trial; we know what He has promised; we know our end; and we know our faith is being tested and we want to pass the test! So, consider it pure joy whenever…..

Anderson

10/2/09

Question.


In my BSF study one of the questions last week sent us to Luke 6:45 ( 45The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.) This scripture made me think of Jeremiah 17:9 ( 9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?) So, how can a good man bring good out of a deceitful heart? Is the heart still deceitful and untrustworthy even after Christ? Can we trust what our hearts tell us or are we to only trust what is seen in deeds and in actions, for ourselves and others? I would love your input.

9/21/09

Spiritual Leadership

Samuel Brengle on spiritual leadership:
“It is not won by promotion, but many prayers and tears. It is attained by confession of sin, and much heart-searching and humbling before God; by self-surrender, a courageous sacrifice of every idol, a bold uncomplaining embrace of the cross and by eternally looking unto Jesus crucified. It is not gained by seeking great things for ourselves, but like Paul, by counting those things that are gain to us as a loss for Christ. This is a great price, but it must be paid by the leader whose power is recognized and felt in heaven, on earth and in hell."

8/28/09

I'd Need a Savior

Encouraging words for my wife that didn't wake up in the best of moods this morning.

8/27/09

Strength for the Day

“When Jesus was in the house He asked His disciples, “What were you arguing about on the road?” But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest. Sitting down Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.” Mark 9:33-35

Anderson's Applications:
It is both ironic and relevant, and I had to laugh as I read it again, that this argument among the disciples took place “on the road.” For that is the very place where many (myself included) often push to be “first.” My lane slows to a halt while the other seems to be moving, so I quickly change lanes to move ahead and “lo and behold” the new lane's traffic stops as fast as I move into it. We sometimes fail to graciously yield to the driver trying to enter traffic, or follow the courtesy of every-other-car when lanes are forced to merge. From a distance away I choose the shortest lane at the toll booth, and, what do you know, something causes one car ahead to sit there while the once longer lane I avoided speeds on its way car by car. Hurrying to catch a plane at the airport I choose the escalator where the “disorganized” Americans fail to recognize the “civilized manner” of standing, or as the British say, queuing, to the right so one can hurry past. Pulling into the parking lot of a popular restaurant that takes no reservations there is the compulsion to hurry to the door as quickly as possible to get your name on the list for the next available table. My daughter recently shared her experience of trying to board an airplane in one foreign country where the customers crowded toward the door en masse pushing others aside despite the fact everyone already had assigned seats. Her description after the fact was hysterical, but the experience was not very pleasant in the moment.

While there may at times be mitigating circumstances that call for us to hurry if we can, we all must admit that there is an instinct in our nature to behave as the disciples did here in many kinds of life situations. We may not argue per say that we are the greatest, like Muhammad Ali used to “perform” for the media, but our behavior and our thought process says something akin to it. We feel our agenda is very important; more important than others around us. We sense if we do not hurry we may miss out. We take to heart the axiom that “the early bird gets the worm” for every situation, even when it means counting ourselves as more important than another. It is not an instinct that disappears when we come to know and follow Christ. It did not for the disciples; and I know myself as well and have observed many other Christians. In my own experience when I have come across a believing man or woman, who talks little of them self, graciously gives way to others, is calm and controlled when others are rushed and harried, and does not seek the place or seat of prominence in place of others, I am impressed that I am in the presence of someone who has taken the Savior’s personality to heart, described in Philippians 2, and simultaneously are always conscious of their own shortcomings; seeing their true nature.

Observing such a one, which I have found to be rare, makes a powerful impression on us. But such impressions alone are not powerful enough to transform our own character in turning away from the nature that instinctively drives our inner spirit; from the compulsion of the tyranny of the urgent in our own agenda; from the incessant prick and suggestions of the arrows of the evil one; to wearing Jesus’ attitude as our own heart and skin. This is what it means for “Christ to be formed in you.” It necessitates a fighting resolve by your spirit to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus no matter the pressures or leisure of the moment. And most of all it calls for a humility of indebtedness; what He has accomplished for you can only be reciprocated with love. Genuine love imitates Him! “We love [Him and others] because He first loved us.” (I John 4:19)

8/18/09

A Prayer


Father, I ask You to bless myself, my family, friends, relatives and those for whom I care deeply, who are reading this right now. Show us a new revelation of your love and power. Holy Spirit, I ask you to minister to our spirit at this very moment. Where there is pain, give us your peace and mercy. Where there is self-doubt, release a renewed confidence through your grace. Where there is need, I ask you to fulfill our needs. Bless our homes, families, finances, our goings and our comings. Most important Father, I ask that you give each and every one of us the power and wisdom to turn to you when it fills like the world is falling around us. You are our strong tower. In Jesus' precious name. Amen.

8/7/09

Discussing Defiance

There has to be a better way of communicating than shouting at one another.
by James Dobson, Ph.D.

Pry open the door of communication.
But how can you talk to someone who won't talk — someone whose language consists of seven phrases: I dunno. I don't care. Leave me alone. I need money. Can I have the car? My friends think you're unfair. And, I didn't do it. Prying open the door of communication with an angry adolescent can require more tact and skill than any other parenting assignment. Often, mothers and fathers act like adolescents, shouting and screaming and engaging in endless battles that leave them exhausted but without strategic advantage. There has to be a better way of communicating than shouting at one another. Let me propose an alternative.
For purposes of illustration, suppose that a 14-year-old boy named Brian has entered a period of remarkable defiance. He is breaking rules right and left and seems to hate the entire family. He becomes angry when his parents discipline him, of course, but even during tranquil times he seems to resent them for merely being there. Last Friday night he arrived home an hour beyond his curfew but refused to explain where he was or why he was late. What course of action would be best for his parents to take?
Let's assume that you are Brian's father. I would recommend that you invite him out to breakfast on a Saturday morning, leaving the rest of the family at home. It would be best if this event occurred during a relatively tranquil time, certainly not in the midst of a hassle or intergenerational battle. Admit that you have some important matters to discuss with him that can't be communicated adequately at home, but don't tip your hand before Saturday morning.
Then at the appropriate moment during breakfast, convey the following messages (or an adaptation thereof):

A. Brian, I wanted to talk to you this morning because of the changes that are taking place in you and in our home. We both know that the past few weeks have not been very pleasant. You have been angry most of the time and have become disobedient and rude. And your mother and I haven't done so well either. We've become irritable, and we've said things that we've regretted later. This is not what God wants of us as parents or of you as our son. There has to be a better way of solving our problems. That's why we're here.

B. As a place to begin, Brian, I want you to understand what is happening. You have gone into a new period of life known as adolescence. This is the final phase of childhood, and it is often a very stormy and difficult few years. Nearly everyone goes through these rough times during their early teens, and you are right on schedule. Many of the problems you face today were predictable from the day you were born, simply because growing up has never been an easy thing to do. There are even greater pressures on kids today than when we were young. I've said that to let you know this: We love you as much as we ever did, even though the past few months have been difficult in our home.

C. What is actually taking place, you see, is that you have had a taste of freedom. You are tired of being told what to do. Within certain limits, that is healthy evidence that you are growing up and becoming your own man. However, you want to be your own boss and make your own decisions without interference from anyone. Brian, you will get what you want in a very short time. You are 14 now, and you'll soon be 15 and 17 and 19. You will be grown before we know it, and your mom and I will no longer have any responsibility for you. The day is coming when you will marry whomever you wish, go to whatever school you choose, and select the profession or job that suits you. Your mother and I will not seek to make those decisions for you. We will respect your adulthood. Furthermore, Brian, the closer you get to that day, the more freedom we plan to give you. You have more privileges now than you had last year, and that trend will continue. We will soon set you free, and you will be accountable only to God and yourself.

D. But, Brian, you must understand this message: You are not grown yet. During the past few weeks, you have wanted your mother and me to leave you alone — to let you stay out half the night if you choose, to fail in school, to carry no responsibility at home. And you have blown up whenever we have denied even your most extreme demands. The truth of the matter is, you have wanted us to grant you a 20-year-old's freedom during your 14th year, although you still expect to have your shirts ironed and your meals fixed and your bills paid. You have wanted the best of both worlds with none of the responsibilities or limitations of either. It doesn't work that way. So what are we to do? The easiest thing would be for us to let you have your way. There would be no hassles and no conflict and no more frustration. Many parents of 14-year-olds have done just that. But we must not yield to this temptation. You are not ready for complete independence, and we would be showing hatred (instead of love) for you if we surrendered at this time. We would regret our mistake for the rest of our life, and you would soon blame us too. And as you know, you have two younger sisters who are watching you very closely, who must be protected from the things you are teaching them.

E. Besides, Brian, God has given us a responsibility as parents to do what is right for you, and He is holding us accountable for the way we do that job. I want to read you an important passage from the Bible that describes a father named Eli, a priest in the temple, who did not discipline and correct his two unruly teenage sons. [Read the dramatic story from 1 Samuel 2:12-17,22-25,27-34; 3:11-14; 4:1-4 and 10-22.] It is very clear that God was angry with Eli for permitting his sons to be disrespectful and disobedient. Not only did He allow the sons to be killed in battle, but He also punished their father for not accepting his parental responsibilities.
This assignment to parents can be found throughout the Bible: Mothers and fathers are expected to train their children and discipline them when required. What I'm saying is that God will not hold us blameless if we let you behave in ways that are harmful to yourself and others. The Bible also tells parents not to overcorrect and demoralize their children. We're going to try harder to conform to that Scripture too.

F. That brings us to the question of where we go from this moment. I want to make a pledge to you, here and now: Your mother and I intend to be more sensitive to your needs and feelings than we've been in the past. We're not perfect, as you well know, and it is possible that you will feel we have been unfair at one time or another. If that occurs, you can express your views and we will listen to you. We want to keep the door of communication wide open between us. When you seek a new privilege, I'm going to ask myself this question: Is there any way I can grant this request without harming Brian or other people? If I can permit what you want in good conscience, I will do so. I will compromise and bend as far as my best judgment will let me.

G. But hear this, Brian. There will be some matters that cannot be compromised. There will be occasions when I will have to say no. And when those times come, you can expect me to stand like the Rock of Gibraltar. No amount of violence and temper tantrums and door slamming will change a thing. In fact, if you choose to fight me in those remaining areas, then I promise that you will lose big-time. Admittedly, you're too big and grown up to spank, but I can still make you uncomfortable. And that will be my goal. Believe me, Brian, I'll lie awake nights figuring out how to make you miserable. I have the courage and the determination to do my job during these last few years you are at home, and I intend to use all of my resources for this purpose, if necessary. So it's up to you. We can have a peaceful time of cooperation at home, or we can spend this last part of your childhood in unpleasantness and struggle. Either way, you will arrive home when you are told, you will carry your share of responsibility in the family, and you will continue to respect your mother and me.

H. Finally, Brian, let me emphasize the message I gave you in the beginning. We love you more than you can imagine, and we're going to remain friends during this difficult time. There is so much pain in the world today. Life involves disappointment and loss and rejection and aging and sickness and ultimately death. You haven't felt much of that discomfort yet, but you'll taste it soon enough. So with all that heartache outside our door, let's not bring more of it on ourselves. We need each other. We need you, and believe it or not, you still need us occasionally. We're going to be praying for you every day and asking the Lord to lead and guide you. I know He will answer that prayer. And that, I suppose, is what I wanted to convey to you this morning. Let's make it better from now on. Do you have things that need to be said to me?

The content of this message should be modified to fit individual circumstances and the needs of particular adolescents. And the response from the teenager will vary tremendously from person to person. An open boy or girl may reveal deep feelings at such a moment of communication, permitting a priceless time of catharsis and ventilation. On the other hand, a stubborn, defiant, proud adolescent may sit immobile with head downward. But even if your teenager remains stoic or hostile, at least the cards have been laid on the table and parental intentions have been explained.

7/30/09

I Am Thankful

FOR THE WIFE WHO SAYS IT'S HOT DOGS TONIGHT,
BECAUSE SHE IS HOME WITH ME, AND NOT OUT WITH SOMEONE ELSE.

FOR THE HUSBAND WHO IS ON THE SOFA BEING A COUCH POTATO,
BECAUSE HE IS HOME WITH ME AND NOT OUT AT THE BARS.

FOR THE TEENAGER WHO IS COMPLAINING ABOUT DOING DISHES
BECAUSE IT MEANS SHE IS AT HOME, NOT ON THE STREETS.

FOR THE TAXES I PAY BECAUSE IT MEANS I AM EMPLOYED .

FOR THE MESS TO CLEAN AFTER A PARTY
BECAUSE IT MEANS I HAVE BEEN SURROUNDED BY FRIENDS.

FOR THE CLOTHES THAT FIT A LITTLE TOO SNUG
BECAUSE IT MEANS I HAVE ENOUGH TO EAT.

FOR MY SHADOW THAT WATCHES ME WORK
BECAUSE IT MEANS I AM OUT IN THE SUNSHINE

FOR A LAWN THAT NEEDS MOWING, WINDOWS THAT NEED CLEANING, AND GUTTERS THAT NEED FIXING
BECAUSE IT MEANS I HAVE A HOME .

FOR ALL THE COMPLAINING I HEAR ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT
BECAUSE IT MEANS WE HAVE FREEDOM OF SPEECH.

FOR THE PARKING SPOT I FIND AT THE FAR END OF THE PARKING LOT
BECAUSE IT MEANS I AM CAPABLE OF WALKING
AND I HAVE BEEN BLESSED WITH TRANSPORTATION.

FOR MY HUGE HEATING BILL
BECAUSE IT MEANS I AM WARM.

FOR THE LADY BEHIND ME IN CHURCH WHO SINGS OFF KEY BECAUSE IT MEANS
I CAN HEAR.

FOR THE PILE OF LAUNDRY AND IRONING
BECAUSE IT MEANS I HAVE CLOTHES TO WEAR.

FOR WEARINESS AND ACHING MUSCLES AT THE END OF THE DAY
BECAUSE IT MEANS I HAVE BEEN CAPABLE OF WORKING HARD.

FOR THE ALARM THAT GOES OFF IN THE EARLY MORNING HOURS
BECAUSE IT MEANS I AM ALIVE.


This may be some corny email that does the rounds, but seriously think about it.

Be grateful. We have all these things when some have none.

But we all are offered GRACE and LOVE. I pray that we all take up the offer and share it.

No Exuses

Scriptural Basis:
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the end of the world.” Psalm 19:1-4

“…what may be known about God is plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” Romans 1:18b-20

Anderson's Applications:
As a college sophomore I spent part of a summer on the beaches of southern California witnessing to and discussing the gospel and matters of religion with a whole variety of individuals enjoying a day in the sun. It wasn’t very difficult to initiate conversation. Many were interested in talking about life and death and life beyond the grave. But when the person of Jesus Christ and the claims of the gospel entered the discussion invariably the question would arise: “How can Jesus Christ be the only way to heaven and salvation when there are “millions” around the world who have never even heard His name?” That was the summer of 1966, and again this week in 2009 a 90 year old gentleman expressed the same thought to me. I have heard the same “question” countless times in the intervening 43 years. It is normally introduced as a question, but it becomes quite clear that the person speaking already has their answer; which is apparently reason enough for them to reject the claims of Christ and the Bible.

Perhaps the largest religious poll ever taken in America on religion was begun in 2007 and completed in 2008 by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. Of those who claimed to be Christian (76 % of America says it is), that is, those who say they made some profession to believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, an astounding 52% said that at least some non-Christian faiths can also lead to eternal life, while 65% agreed that many other religions can lead to salvation and its reward. By what authority do they presume to make this claim? Certainly not on the authority of the Scriptures! One would have to do great violence to the text and the unanimity of its authors to support such an opinion. Consequently, their “authority” has to arise from their own reasoning persuaded by a personal sense of “fairness” and their personally conceived idea of who God is, quite apart from His own revelation. It isn’t “fair” they say for Jesus Christ to be the only way of salvation when there are so many religions in the world and so many people who have not had the opportunity, as far as they perceive, to find out about Jesus. Yet the Bible declares that men everywhere throughout the world in every age are without excuse. It says that what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. But they suppress the truth even as it presents itself to their senses and their own consciences.

The question is, if the creation that all human beings may observe and contemplate tells us that God is, and even what He is like, how does man proceed to the knowledge of God’s special revelation, His Word, which culminates in His Son, Jesus: who He is, why He came, what He did, and that He alone is the perfect, visible expression of God? I can, of course, answer this for myself, from my own experience. I can answer it about others who have given similar testimony of their own experiences. But I cannot answer for the many I have no knowledge about, either from ages past or from far-flung parts of the globe. Nor can anyone say with any certainty that the faceless multitudes have had no opportunity to know Him, whom to know is life eternal. I must rest on the veracity of the Scriptures and the character of the God who made the universe and revealed Himself in his own fashion to His creatures. Just as He inexplicably provided a lamb at the appropriate moment for Abraham, or ordered the movement of the planets in the heavens to arrest the attention and faith of the Magi from a distant land, or by any myriad of ways in which He chose to reveal Himself, His message, and His Son apart from the written Word of God, so God is able to make Himself known where the Bible or a Christian messenger is not readily available.

In any case it is foolishness to reject the truth yourself because of mere perception, unsubstantiated perception, that there are multitudes who have no opportunity to learn of the God who created them and the world, and sent His One and Only Son for the purpose of man's salvation. Each individual must answer for him or herself, and not flee personal accountability on the lame excuse that nameless others have not been accorded fairness or justice. Leave that with the God of the universe, while you respond personally to the evidence God has paraded before your own eyes and heart. You know what it is; and if you conveniently forget or ignore it now, you will be reminded of it at the Judgment. "Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers." Psalm 1:1

by Stephen Leonard

7/23/09

Do You See It?


Jesus said: “Consider the ravens: they do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable are you than birds…Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.” Luke 12:24 and 27

When is the last time you stopped to watch a bird doing its thing or scrutinized a flower and the unique beauty which sets it apart from all the other flowers you have ever seen with your own eyes? When did you last take the time to observe something in the creation and purposefully think about what it is, how it works, how it came to be, and what its glory is? Is life so demanding, pressured and fast that to even contemplate doing that seems to you somewhat wasteful of your time and priorities? At first glance this instruction from the “Master-builder and Creator” appears to be solely aimed at an antidote for worry and anxiety, something all of us know quite well. In fact we know such “burdens” better than the Creation in which we live. Jesus’ method to teach us what life ought to be reaffirms a principle we find throughout Scripture: the Creation is not just there to provide a place in which to eat and drink, live and die. It is there to reveal its Creator, lead us to increasing knowledge of who He is and who we are, and elicit from us wonder, awe and praise of Him who has brought it all into existence and holds it together.

Our capacity to do exactly what Jesus commands of us sets us above the rest of the Creation. We were not created to be like the “brute beasts of the field” whom He has placed us over as rulers. We each have been given the capacity to CONSIDER the world in which we live and the things we find in it. Doing so is not a waste of time or a frivolous exercise in Jesus’ eyes. It is necessary to the knowledge of God and His Son, whom to know is real life; life that does not come to an end. God chose to reveal Himself to us through two "maps," both of which are focused in His Son: the Creation and the Scriptures. “For by Him (Jesus Christ) all things were created; things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:16-17) The whole point of Psalm 8 is that when we accurately consider the world in which we have been placed we come to understand who we are, that He cares for us, and because of our observation we are brought to exclaim with joy, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” (Psalm 8:1 and 9) This is the benefit and resulting joy of taking time to observe, consider, and delight in His creation. We must read and do His Word. But we must also consider and glory in what He has made for our joy and knowledge, especially the knowledge of Him!

The revelation of the Gospel in the Scriptures is necessary to an understanding of sin and salvation in Christ; why He had to die, and rise from the grave. But it is the Creation which necessarily complements the Scriptures to display the awesome beauty and love and glory of the character of God in His Son. He has created all this that you might see and experience, consider and learn, how much He thinks of and cares for you! Read Proverbs 8:27-36 and you will see exactly this. Here you see the merger of both the Creation and His instructions aimed by the Spirit of God at your eyes and your heart in order that you might find Him, and in finding Him, find life! (vs. 35) But notice also verse 36: “Whoever fails to find me (in Creation and in the Scriptures) harms himself; all who hate me (that is, ignore me) love death.”

Its summer; you have few excuses like the cold, the rain, the snow, or whatever. Get outside; walk, observe, think, praise, and delight...to this specific end: that you might know, love, and enjoy Him more!

By Leonard

7/8/09

The Speeding Ticket

Jack took a long look at his speedometer before slowing down: 73 in a 55 zone. Fourth time in as many months. How could a guy get caught so often? When his car had slowed to 10 miles an hour,Jack pulled over, but only partially.Let the cop worry about the potential traffic hazard. Maybe some other car will tweak his backside with a mirror.The cop was stepping out of his car, the big pad in hand.

Bob? Bob from Church?
Jack sunk farther into his trench coat. This was worse than the coming ticket.
A cop catching a guy from his own church. A guy who happened to be a little eager
to get home after a long day at the office.
A guy he was about to play golf with tomorrow.

Jumping out of the car,
he approached a man he saw every Sunday,
a man he'd never seen in uniform
'Hi, Bob. Fancy meeting you like this.'
'Hello, Jack.' No smile
'Guess you caught me red-handed
in a rush to see my wife and kids.'
'Yeah, I guess.' Bob seemed uncertain.
Good......
'I've seen some long days at the office lately.
I'm afraid I bent the rules a bit -just this once.'
Jack toed at a pebble on the pavement.
'Diane said something about roast beef and potatoes tonight.
Know what I mean?'
'I know what you mean. I also know that you have a reputation in our precinct '
Ouch.
This was not going in the right direction.
Time to change tactics.
'What'd you clock me at?'
Seventy. Would you sit back in your car please?' 'Now wait a minute here, Bob, I checked as soon as I saw you, I was barely nudging 65.' The lie seemed to come easier with every ticket.
Please, Jack, in the car'
Flustered, Jack hunched himself through the still-open door. Slamming it shut, he stared at the dashboard.
He was in no rush to open the window.
The minutes ticked by.
Bob scribbled away on the pad.
Why hadn't he asked for a driver's license?
Whatever the reason, it would be a month of Sundays before Jack ever sat near this cop again.
A tap on the door jerked his head to the left. There was Bob, a folded paper in hand, Jack rolled down the window a mere two inches, just enough room for Bob to pass him the slip. 'Thanks.'
Jack could not quite keep the sneer out of his voice.
Bob returned to his police car without a word.
Jack watched his retreat in the mirror.
Jack unfolded the sheet of paper.
How much was this one going to cost?
Wait a minute.
What was this? Some kind of joke?
Certainly not a ticket. Jack began to read:

'Dear Jack, Once upon a time I had a daughter.
She was six when killed by a car. You guessed it - a speeding driver. A fine and three months in jail, and the man was free. Free to hug his daughters, all three of them, I only had one, and I'm going to have to wait until Heaven before I can ever hug her again.
A thousand times I've tried to forgive that man. A thousand times I thought I had. Maybe I did, but I need to do it again. Even now, Pray for me. And be careful, Jack, my son is all I have left.'

Jack turned around in time to see Bob's car pull away and head down the road. Jack watched until it disappeared. A full 15 minutes later, he too, pulled away and drove slowly home, praying for forgiveness and hugging a surprised wife and kids when he arrived. Life is precious. Handle with care. Drive safely and carefully. Remember, cars are not the only things recalled by their maker. Funny how you can send a thousand jokes through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the sanctity of life, people think twice about sharing. Funny how when you go to forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it to them.

Pass this on, you may save a life. Maybe not, but we'll never know if we don't try. May today there be peace within you. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. I believe that friends are quiet angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.'

6/29/09

Life For Christ

“Only one life ‘twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.”

God knows each day ordained for you, and the moment of your death, while you do not. Live today for what you are willing to die for, and do not concern yourself with when it will come. It will come soon enough!!

(Psalm 139)
1 O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.
5 You hem me in—behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, [a] you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,"
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to [b] me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake,
I am still with you.
19 If only you would slay the wicked, O God!
Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD,
and abhor those who rise up against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

What Did "I" Do

Sometimes we wonder, 'What did I do to deserve this?' or 'Why did God have to do this to me?' Here is a wonderful explanation! A daughter is telling her Mother how everything is going wrong, she's failing algebra, her boyfriend broke up with her and her best friend is moving away. Meanwhile, her Mother is baking a cake and asks her daughter if she would like a snack, and the daughter says, 'Absolutely Mom, I love your cake.'

'Here, have some cooking oil,' her Mother offers. 'Yuck' says her daughter.

'How about a couple raw eggs?' 'Gross, Mom!'

'Would you like some flour then?

Or maybe baking soda?'

'Mom, those are all yucky!'

To which the mother replies: 'Yes , all those things seem bad all by themselves. But when they are put together in the right way, they make a wonderfully delicious cake! '

God works the same way. Many times we wonder why He would let us go through such bad and difficult times. But God knows that when He puts these things all in His order, they always work for good!

We just have to trust Him and, eventually, they will all make something wonderful! God is crazy about you. He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning. Whenever you want to talk, He'll listen. He can live anywhere in the universe, and He chose your heart..

6/8/09

Psalm 4

Trust in God for Deliverance from Enemies

Give ear to my words, O LORD;
give heed to my sighing.
Listen to the sound of my cry,
my King and my God,
for to you I pray.
O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice;
in the morning I plead my case to you, and watch.
For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;
evil will not sojourn with you.
The boastful will not stand before your eyes;
you hate all evildoers.
You destroy those who speak lies;
the LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful.
But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love,
will enter your house,
I will bow down toward your holy temple
in awe of you.
Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness
because of my enemies;
make your way straight before me.
For there is no truth in their mouths;
their hearts are destruction;
their throats are open graves;
they flatter with their tongues.
Make them bear their guilt, O God;
let them fall by their own counsels;
because of their many transgressions cast them out,
for they have rebelled against you.
But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
so that those who love your name may exult in you.
For you bless the righteous, O LORD;
you cover them with favor as with a shield.

4/7/09

I Got Tagged

Sue over at, http://myroadasitravelit.blogspot.com/, tagged me on "What are my passions". So here goes;
1.Christ
2.Healthy marriage
3.My kids
4.Motorcycles....even though mine bit me Sunday and my wife wants me to sell it
5.Hunting....Work has kept me from doing that for the last 3 years but not this year
6.Cooking
7.Laying on the couch and watching golf until I fall asleep, with no kids around.
8.Staying in nice hotels.
9.Doing woodwork.
10.Doing nothing at times.
11.My cats, Killer and Molly.

4/3/09

On My Mind Today - Lord Have Thine Own Way

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me, I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway!
Fill with Thy Spirit ’till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me.

3/31/09

My Therapy


This is what I call therapy!!!!!

3/19/09

The Stranger

This is very interesting and not the ending I had expected!!!!
A few years after I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small Texas town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around from then on.
As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. In my young mind, he had a special niche. My parents were complementary instructors: Mom taught me good
from evil, and Dad taught me to obey. But the stranger...he was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures, mysteries and comedies.
If I wanted to know anything about politics, history or science, he always knew the answers about the past, understood the present and even seemed able to predict
the future! He took my family to the first major league ball game. He made me laugh, and he made me cry. The stranger never stopped talking, but Dad didn't seem to mind.
Sometimes, Mom would get up quietly while the rest of us were shushing each other to listen to what he had to say, and she would go to the kitchen for peace and quiet. (I
wonder now if she ever prayed for the stranger to leave.)
Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but the stranger never felt obligated to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our home...Not from us, our friends or any visitors. Our longtime visitor, however, got away with four-letter words that burned my ears and made my dad squirm and my mother
blush. My Dad didn't permit the liberal use of alcohol. But the stranger encouraged us to try it on a regular basis. He made cigarettes look cool, cigars manly and pipes
distinguished.
He talked freely (much too freely!) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing.
I now know that my early concepts about relationships were influenced strongly by the stranger.
Time after time, he opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked... And NEVER asked to leave.
More than fifty years have passed since the stranger moved in with our family. He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he was at first. Still, if you could walk into my parents' den today, you would still find him sitting over in his corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures.
His name ? . . .

We just call him "TV."

He has a wife now....We call her 'Computer.'

3/17/09

Dental Hygiene

I need the name of a good dentist. That's some grill she's got going.

3/16/09

Sin In A Leader


I’ve been really bothered lately about something that I would like to share with the one or two people that actually read this blog.

Not only am I the so called “spiritual leader” in my home, I am also a children’s leader at BSF, 5th and 6th graders, and in children’s ministry at my home church. So, what’s the problem?

I haven’t been feeling like the leader that God desires from me.

Through my last fast He reveled to me that there are areas of sin in my life that are keeping me from receiving the Holy Spirit in its fullest capacity. One cannot be a spiritual leader of any kind without the FULL indwelling of the Holy Spirit and sin will keep that from happening every time. I recognize those areas, some of which I knew of but chose not to stop. I plan on stopping those that I am aware of and I will continually pray that He reveals to me those that I cannot see. The sins that I am aware of is not consistent with what you should see in a person that professes to be a Christian. Continuing to sin the same sin over and over is keeping me from the intimate relationship with God that I desire, that He desires, and is keeping Him from using me to my fullest potential, for His glory.

The personality of the spiritual leader influences others because it is penetrated, saturated and empowered by the Holy Spirit. As the leader gives control of his life to the Spirit, the Spirit’s powers flows through him to others.

Spiritual leadership requires superior power, which can never be generated by the self. There is no such thing as a self-made spiritual leader. A true leader influences others spiritually only because the Spirit works in and through him to a greater degree than those he leads.

Samuel Brengle, a gifted leader who served for many years in the Salvation Army, outlined the road to spiritual authority and leadership:

“It is not won by promotion, but many prayers and tears. It is attained by confession of sin, and much heart-searching and humbling before God; by self-surrender, a courageous sacrifice of every idol, a bold uncomplaining embrace of the cross and by eternally looking unto Jesus crucified. It is not gained by seeking great things for ourselves, but like Paul, by counting those things that are gain to us as a loss for Christ. This is a great price, but it must be paid by the leader whose power is recognized and felt in heaven, on earth and in hell."

3/12/09

God Did It With A Nail


A man dies and goes to heaven. St. Peter meets him at the Pearly Gates and says, 'Here's how it works. You need 100 points to make it into heaven. You tell me all the good things you've done, and I give you a certain number of points for each item, depending on how good it was. When you reach 100 points, you get in.'

'Okay,' the man says, 'I was married to the same woman for 50 years and never cheated on her, even in my heart.'

'That's wonderful,' says St.. Peter, 'that's worth two points!'

'Two points?!' he says.

'Well, I attended church all my life and supported its ministry with my tithe and service.'

'Terrific!' says St. Peter.. 'That's certainly worth a point.'

'One point!?!!'

'I started a soup kitchen in my city and worked in a shelter for homeless veterans.'

'Fantastic, that's good for two more points,' he says.

' Two points!?!!

'Exasperated, the man cries. 'At this rate the only way I'll get into heaven is by the grace of God.'

' Bingo ! 100 points ! Come on in!'

We often try to fix problems with WD-40 and duct tape.

God did it with a nail.

AMEN?

Trust in the LORD!!!!

Today, everywhere we look, we see “a whole lot of shakin’ goin on!” The economy is shaking; as are institutions, corporations, and government; jobs are shaky; the culture, marriages and families are shaking; whether you are personally or not, many people are being shaken by the circumstances unfolding in their personal world. If any words well describe what we are witnessing today in the world, and in the core foundation of people’s lives, they are the words, “shifting sand.” Certainty is in short supply, producing increasing anxiety; “What’s going to happen to me and my family?” On some the “shoe has already dropped”; out of work, home foreclosed, retirement wiped out, savings gone, net worth halved or worse; and that is “just” the “economic shoe.” What about the “shifting sand of the culture”: addictions more rampant and seemingly unbreakable; anger and rebellion among children and teenagers; pornography like the proverbial fog creeping through windows of the eye and under doors of hearts; terrorism, crime, and security concerns abounding; relationships and marriages suffering earthquake tremors and devastation; depression, disease, injustice, frustration are taking their toll.

If you have gotten this far, your countenance has probably fallen. You are probably thinking, “How is this going to give me STRENGTH for my day?”

One of the things for which I am most grateful, especially since I am technologically challenged in a technological world, are reset buttons. I wish every “gadget” had one; a button you simply push once you foul up your “gadget,” and poof, its back to normal. Unfortunately, not every “techno-gadget” has one. But reset buttons remind me of a truth C.S. Lewis wrote in one of his letters regarding “trust in God.” He said, “Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done.” For those who think, “I tried trusting in God in the past, and look where it got me”; or “I try to trust in God, but why am I still being shaken like a leaf blowing in the wind?” several concerns come to mind. What exactly does the Bible ask us to do when it commands “trust in God?” And, am I using my “reset button” every day; renewing my trust in the Lord in the midst of each day’s troubles, circumstances, and battles; and even in the midst of those rare uneventful and perfectly good days.

I read the other day the statement, “Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ,” which is also to say, “Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of God.” You cannot trust in God unless you have an accurate idea of who He is. Knowledge of the Scriptures is in appallingly short supply in today’s Christian world. Is it any wonder then that “trust in God” is not being practiced, and many professing Christians are shaking or being shaken right along with the unbelieving world? A brief study in any Scripture concordance of the phrase “trust in God” or “trust in the Lord” reveals that trusting in the Lord involves ALL of the following: fearing the Lord, honoring the Lord as holy, obeying His commands, knowing who He is, doing good, trusting in His word, taking refuge in Him, doing so with all your heart, trusting in quietness and not whining, trusting with joy and peace in your spirit. On the negative side “trusting in the Lord” means NOT trusting in gold, riches, wealth, lies, deceptive words, chariots and horses (or, modern weapons of war), extortion or stolen goods, princes or presidents, fortified cities, your own deeds, other people, or even, and especially, yourself!

There are specific verses in Scripture supporting each of these descriptions of what it means “to trust” or “not trust” in the Lord. I fear that even with this being the most published Bible verse in the world; “In God we trust,” is printed on every American coin and paper bill which are being printed like they were going out of style (TRILLIONS apparently doesn’t mean much anymore to many people); we have grown numb to what trust in the Lord means and cease in practice to renew it day by day with a focused heart.

Yet, for those who learn and experience what it is to trust in the Lord, He will surround you, just as the mountains surround Jerusalem, both now and forevermore.

“Fear not I am with you, O be not dismayed; for I am your God, and will still give you aid; I’ll strengthen you, help you, and cause you to stand, upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.”

3/2/09

Guidance

Dancing With God

When I meditated on the word Guidance,
I kept seeing 'dance' at the end of the word.
I remember reading that doing God's will is a lot like dancing.
When two people try to lead, nothing feels right.
The movement doesn't flow with the music,
and everything is quite uncomfortable and jerky.
When one person realizes that, and lets the other lead,
both bodies begin to flow with the music.
One gives gentle cues, perhaps with a nudge to the back
or by pressing Lightly in one direction or another.
It's as if two become one body, moving beautifully.
The dance takes surrender, willingness,
and attentiveness from one person
and gentle guidance and skill from the other.
My eyes drew back to the word Guidance.
When I saw 'G': I thought of God, followed by 'u' and 'i'.
'God, 'u' and 'i' dance.' God, you, and I dance.
As I lowered my head, I became willing to trust
that I would get guidance about my life.
Once again, I became willing to let God lead.
My prayer for you today is that God's blessings
and mercies are upon you on this day and everyday.
May you abide in God, as God abides in you.
Dance together with God, trusting God to lead
and to guide you through each season of your life.
If God has done anything for you in your life,
please share this message with someone else.
There is no cost but a lot of rewards;
so let's continue to pray for one another.
And I Hope You Dance !

2/12/09

A Kept Woman, or a Kept Man?



Most probably no one relishes being known as a “kept woman,” or even a “kept man.” In modern vernacular the terminology has its negative connotation and usage; yet this is exactly who you are in Christ, and for which a believer ought to be daily and passionately grateful!

Actively expressing personal gratitude to the One who keeps us, rests in understanding not only what you know and see with your eyes concerning your life, but also in what you do NOT see! Unfortunately, because our eyes are not ably focused on the whole reality of our life and world, gratitude neither shapes nor penetrates our daily thoughts and actions as it should. We take so much for granted, or we are simply oblivious, or we do not believe what He tells us. If our response is any one of these three, our faith is woefully deficient and needs “stirring up.” If in our spiritual journey we are sincerely intent on ascending “toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 3:14) the purpose of these Psalms of Ascents, we must learn and live more thoroughly the truth of Psalm 121: the Lord is my keeper!

The real world picture of Job 1, exposing the Accuser for our benefit, is not peculiar to Job’s life. Satan is every believer’s constant accuser. And while Job’s trials are not exactly mirrored in every life, God’s Word does not give you one iota of confidence that Satan is not pursuing these same ends with each one of us; and doing it yesterday and today. Do you really know all that happened in your life today or last week? Or only what you saw with your eyes? Did you see the “stalking lion” by your path? (I Peter 5:8) Did you feel the heat of the “flaming, poison darts” as they just missed your chest? (Ephesians 6:16) Did you hear the Accuser’s lies on the tongue of a “friend?” (Matthew 16:23) Who kept the oncoming car from swerving into your lane; a “head-on” is always a few feet away. Who quelled the cancer germ from getting a foothold in your body? Who shielded your eyes from seeing something that could have led to an act of devastation in your life or marriage? Did you see through the masquerader who, “dressed” as “an angel of light,” almost got away with his subterfuge? (2 Corinthians 11:14) I just feel he, she, they, it, are so nice! There is much we miss of all that transpires in our personal world!

It is not that we do not know the nature of the battlefield (ala Psalm 120), but apart from vigorous faith we do not see or anticipate everything in our path; even with faith we do not always see how the spiritual battle rages. So much is hidden from our eyes, precisely that we might exercise the gift of faith. And mercifully, that we might not be cowed by fear every step of the journey, (when is the next shoe going to drop?), The Keeper of our souls is not silent. He is there, and He is not asleep! Even when we might think He slumbers. But then we do not always know, except when he chooses to make us aware, when He keeps us from evil. We know He has and He is and He will, because He tells us so; and we are still here; and we woke up this morning to another day.

It is a great loss in your life if you do not glory each day in personalizing the comfort of Psalm 121. It helps to substitute “my” for “your” and “me” for “you” throughout all 8 verses. You do not always need to know when He or His servants (angels) “keep” you. You just need to know and acknowledge that He does! It is enough!

by Stephen Leonard

2/5/09

What Do You Focus On?


Have you ever wondered how those ice skaters can gracefully spin in one spot at an enormous speed and not fall down? This is how they do just that. Before they begin their spin they pick a spot to focus on and as they begin to spin, every time they make a revolution they snap their head around and find that focal point. If they ever loose that focal point they spin out of control until they fall on their butts.

Our world keeps us spinning, sometimes slowly, sometimes with enormous speed. So what is our focal point that keeps us on our feet? Christ! If we take our eyes off of Him we will spin out of control until we fall. Sometimes we fall hard, real hard. Sometimes we take innocent people down with us. Either way, we will fall.

We must keep our eyes focused on our Lord no matter how slow or fast we spin or we are in great danger of falling and falling hard.

When an ice skater falls they may get physically injured. When we fall we are spiritually injured, or worse, we may trample on the Son of God. Even insult the Spirit of grace.

Psalm 25:15
My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only he will release my feet from the snare.

Psalm 123:1
I lift up my eyes to you, to you whose throne is in heaven.

Psalm 141:8
But my eyes are fixed on you, O Sovereign LORD; in you I take refuge—do not give me over to death.

2/4/09

Do We Not Fear Him?

I find myself at a loss for words when I read this passage.

Hebrews 10:26-31
26 For if we deliberately sin after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a terrifying expectation of judgment, and the fury of a fire about to consume the adversaries. 28 If anyone disregards Moses' law, he dies without mercy, based on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think one will deserve who has trampled on the Son of God, regarded as profane the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know the One who has said, Vengeance belongs to Me, I will repay, and again, The Lord will judge His people. 31 It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God!


Why do I continue to satisfy my earthly desires against His warnings? Why do I continue to do the things that I know He hates instead of doing the things that I know He loves? Even when I feel convicted, I do it anyway.

What does that make me? And don't say human! I am suppose to have new life in Him.

Romans 6:4
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.


Father,
Forgive me for the ways that I have deliberately sinned against you and the Spirit of grace. I know that I am a sinner and I always will be this side of the Holy Place, but to do unholy things with the knowledge of the truth is a disgrace to my LORD. Forgive me LORD, and give me the strength to be holy in all that I do so that I may bring glory to you, the Father. This I pray, for I am blessed to be a blessing.
In Jesus' name, Amen

2/3/09

God Says So...So Listen To Him




You say: 'It's impossible'
God says: All things are possible (Luke 18:27)

You say: 'I'm too tired'
God says: I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28-30)

You say: 'Nobody really loves me'
God says: I love you (John 3:1 6 & John 3:34 )

You say: 'I can't go on'
God says: My grace is sufficient (II Corinthians 12:9 & Psalm 91:15)

You say: 'I can't figure things out'
God says: I will direct your steps (Proverbs 3:5- 6)

You say: 'I can't do it'
God says: You can do all things (Philippians 4:13)

You say: 'I'm not able'
God says: I am able (II Corinthians 9:8)

You say: 'It's not worth it'
God says: It will be worth it (Roman 8:28 )

You say: 'I can't forgive myself'
God says: I Forgive you (I John 1:9 & Romans 8:1)

You say: 'I can't manage'
God says: I will supply all your needs (Philippians 4:19)

You say: 'I'm afraid'
God says: I have not given you a spirit of fear (II Timothy 1:7)

You say: 'I'm always worried and frustrated'
God says: Cast all your cares on ME (I Peter 5:7)

You say: 'I'm not smart enough'
God says: I give you wisdom (I Corinthians 1:30)

You say: 'I feel all alone'
God says: I will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)

1/30/09

Fridays Songs

Praise You In The Storm


Word Of God Speak

1/21/09

Our Pets

I'm not much of a dog person, actually I don't like them at all, but I thought that this dog is something special and worth sharing.
The K9 above is Brutus, a military K9 at McChord. He's huge - part Boxer and part British Bull Mastiff and tops the scales at 200 lbs. His handler took the picture. Brutus is running toward me because he knows I have some Milk Bone treats, so he's slobbering away! I had to duck around a tree just before he got to me in case he couldn't stop, but he did. Brutus won the Congressional Medal of Honor last year from his tour in Iraq . His handler and four other soldiers were taken hostage by insurgents. Brutus and his handler communicate by sign language and he gave Brutus the signal that meant 'go away but come back and find me'. The Iraqis paid no attention to Brutus. He came back later and quietly took out one guard at one door and another guard at another door. He then jumped against one of the doors repeatedly (the guys were being held in an old warehouse) until it opened. He went in and untied his handler and they all escaped. He's the first K9 to receive this honor. If he knows you're ok, he's a big old lug and wants to sit in your lap. Enjoys the company of cats.

K-9 Congressional Medal of Honor Winner

Thought you'd find this interesting. Talk about animal intelligence and bonding with humans! Remember that they can't do a lot of things for themselves and that they depend on you to make their life a quality life!

A PET'S TEN COMMANDMENTS.........

1. My life is likely to last 10-15 years. Any separation from you is likely to be painful.
2. Give me time to understand what you want of me.
3. Place your trust in me. It is crucial for my well-being.
4. Don't be angry with me for long and don't lock me up as punishment. You have your work, your friends, your entertainment, but I have only you.
5. Talk to me. Even if I don't understand your words, I do understand your voice when speaking to me.
6. Be aware that however you treat me, I will never forget it.
7. Before you hit me, before you strike me, remember that I could hurt you, and yet, I choose not to bite you.
8 . Before you scold me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I'm not getting the right food, I have been in the sun too long, or my heart might be getting old or weak.
9. Please take care of me when I grow old. You too, will grow old.
10. On the ultimate difficult journey, go with me please. Never say you can't bear to watch. Don't make me face this alone. Everything is easier for me if you are there, because I love you so.

~Take a moment today to thank God for your pets. Enjoy and take good care of them. Life would be a much duller, less joyful experience without God's critters

1/12/09

Our Lamb



Mary had a little Lamb,
His fleece was white as snow.
And everywhere that Mary went,
The Lamb was sure to go.

He followed her to school each day,
T'wasn't even in the rule.
It made the children laugh and play,
To have The Lamb at school..

And then the rules all changed one day,
Illegal it became
To bring The Lamb of God to school,
Or even speak His Name!

Every day got worse and worse,
And days turned into years.
Instead of hearing children laugh,
We heard gun shots and tears.

What must we do to stop the crime,
That's in our schools today?
Let 's let The Lamb come back to school,
And teach our kids to pray!

Time...How Much Do You Think You Have Left?


A man came home from work late, tired and irritated, to find his 5-year old son waiting for him at the door.

SON: 'Daddy, may I ask you a question?'

DAD: 'Yeah sure, what it is?' replied the man.

SON: 'Daddy, how much do you make an hour?'

DAD: 'That's none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?' the man said angrily.

SON: 'I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?'

DAD: 'If you must know, I make $50 an hour.'

SON: 'Oh,' the little boy replied, with his head down.

SON: 'Daddy, may I please borrow $25?'

The father was furious, 'If the only reason you asked that is so you can borrow some money to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why you are being so selfish. I don't work hard everyday for such childish frivolities.'

The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door.

The man sat down and started to get even angrier about the little boy's questions. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money?

After about an hour or so, the man had calmed down , and started to think:

Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $25.00 and he really didn't ask for money very often The man went to the door of the little boy's room and opened the door.

'Are you asleep, son?' He asked.

'No daddy, I'm awake,' replied the boy.

'I've been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier' said the man. 'It's been a long day and I took out my aggravation on you. Here's the $25 you asked for.'

The little boy sat straight up, smiling. 'Oh, thank you daddy!' he yelled. Then, reaching under his pillow he pulled out some crumpled up bills.

The man saw that the boy already had money, started to get angry again.

The little boy slowly counted out his money, and then looked up at his father.

'Why do you want more money if you already have some?' the father grumbled.

'Because I didn't have enough, but now I do,' the little boy replied.

'Daddy, I have $50 now. Can I buy an hour of your time? Please come home early tomorrow. I would like to have dinner with you.'

The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little son, and he begged for his forgiveness.

It's just a short reminder to all of you working so hard in life. We should not let time slip through our fingers without having spent some time with those who really matter to us, those close to our hearts. Do remember to share that $50 worth of your time with someone you love.

If we die tomorrow, the company that we are working for could easily replace us in a matter of hours. But the family & friends we leave behind will feel the loss for the rest of their lives.

A lesson to myself!!!

1/9/09

BUSTED!!!!!!

I finally got to take a break at work and guess what? One of my "workers" thought it would be funny to document it. I told her that if the "higher powers" ever saw these she would be unemployed. Oh, and she better not use these photos to blackmail me for a raise.


1/8/09

Strength For The Day


Isn't It Time To Emphasize the Uniqueness of Jesus?

Scriptural Basis:

“Let it be known to you and to all the people… that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, this man is standing before you. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” The Apostle Peter, Acts 4:10-12

Christianity Today-Online polled its readers last week on what theme they thought the magazine should address most in 2009. The choices were evangelism, catechesis (the church’s teaching responsibility), the uniqueness of Jesus Christ, abortion, and persecution. 1822 readers responded to the poll, and the winner by 11% over 2nd place (35% overall) was “the uniqueness of Jesus Christ.” Undoubtedly some of these themes overlap and all of them have an importance and urgency to them, but why is “the uniqueness of Jesus Christ” a theme worthy of theirs or anyone’s greatest attention?

Simply, because the message of the whole Bible from Genesis to Revelation never fails to emphasize it! Jesus declared it over and over that it might get through our thick skulls. None of the other themes have any validity, relevance or authority if Jesus, the One who commands us to do something about these themes, is not who He says He is. Paul declares Jesus’ essential uniqueness and exclusive place in our salvation, as well as the only reason for the existence of the universe, when he wrote to the Colossians, “by [Jesus Christ] all things hold together.” (1:17)

“All things” refers to more than the created, material universe. It also means society, civilization, justice, goodness and truth; everything that exists. Jesus Christ not only brought all things into being, but He holds it all together; including the mouths that denounce Him with obscenities, the hands that perpetrate every type of evil, the minds that devise lies and fraud to their own aggrandizement, the proponents of each and every other religion who in their man-made idolatry seek to nullify Him in subverting the truth, which He is. After all He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6)

The second reason to emphasize Jesus’ uniqueness in 2009 is that apparently, if you believe recent polls, a remarkable number of professing Christians, even Evangelicals, have caved to the intimidation of being considered intolerant and a bigot to admit they believe that Jesus, as He Himself testified, is the ONE and ONLY way to salvation. Who is at fault here; pastors, ill-taught, ignorant Christians, pervasive pluralism in our culture, seeker-friendly churches offending no one while teaching and preaching “mush?” I recently read over Christmas that 70% of Britons today do not believe in the historicity of the account of Jesus’ birth. This is the nation of John Wesley, George Whitefield, and Charles Spurgeon.

Yet America is hard on Britain’s heels. A non-vague, specific poll by the Pew Research organization this past summer produced results that 54% of professing Christians in America who attended church at least weekly believed that Jesus was NOT the ONLY way to salvation. There were other paths that were equally valid. 37% of white Evangelicals admitted they believed this; 75% of mainline Protestants; and 85% of non-Hispanic white Catholics.

Let me ask a question; would you rather be called a bigot and intolerant by an ignorant world now; or told by Jesus at the most important time in your life, “Depart from me, I never knew you?”

May the theme of the Apostle Paul’s life also be yours in 2009: “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ, for it is the power of salvation for everyone who believes.” (Romans 1:16) And if that is your confession, may you also be ready to “always give an answer for the faith which is in you,” when someone asks, how can you believe Jesus is the ONLY way to salvation?

“Heavenly Father, I know I will be tested in this; give me courageous, steadfast faith to confess Jesus before men, that He might confess me before Your presence in the courts of Heaven. Amen.”

by Stephen Leonard