Wednesday, December 24, 2014

What Can I Give?

“What can I give Him?” For days, these words have been roaming around in my head along with the rest of the line, “give Him my heart.” They were driving me crazy, because I couldn’t remember from where they came, so I had to do some research.

What I found surprised me. These words are in the last stanza of a poem written by Christina Georgina Rossetti, born December 5, 1830. Historians are not sure when Miss Rossetti penned them, but believe it was before 1872.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Wonder of The Incarnation
The countdown continues and we find ourselves rushing toward our Christmas Day finale. But, has the busyness of Christmas kept you from truly experiencing the wonder of the Incarnation – Emmanuel – God with us?

I know it’s difficult with all the shopping, baking, cleaning, and decorating, to stay focused on this amazing truth. So, let’s take a few minutes, right now, to reflect on this glorious wonder.

Incarnation, it’s such a complex word. Nevertheless, it speaks of the moment God, who is Spirit, stepped from eternity into time, into our world, becoming one of us in the person of Jesus Christ. He did this to pay the death penalty for humanity’s sin, because of His great love.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Spirit of Christmas

It’s December and the spirit of Christmas is everywhere. This is the time of year when people are concerned about being “naughty or nice” and they try live out the one portion of scripture that no one seems to oppose, peace, good will toward men.

Lately, I have been reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. If you have ever read this Christian classic, then you know Lewis talks about a knowledge that is inherent. I believe it came as the result of sin. Our first parents, Adam and Eve, disobediently ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and their eyes were opened. Where they once knew only God and purity, they instantly had an understanding of good and evil, right and wrong. Now everyone born from Adam is born with a sin nature and this knowledge. (Rom. 5:12).

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Our Greatest and Priceless Gift
The race is on! We’re streaking toward the finish line of December 25th and I’m already starting to panic. My calendar is full, the hours left are short, and I’m not quite sure I will make it.

I started out really well, with plenty of time to spare. My daughter and I braved the howling storm and sea of people on “Black Friday”. We were among the midnight crazies at Walmart, doing the all-night shopping thing. Infused with caffeine and adrenalin, we sped from one end of the store to the other and got some decent deals. However, what seemed to be suitable gift ideas in the excitement and haste of early dawn, once home, turned out to be not-so-wise choices.

For one special item, I stood in a three-hour line that snaked through several aisles. While I waited, I had an opportunity to observe the people around me. Each person was cordial, courteous, pleasant, and helpful, but completely absorbed in their own shopping needs. They came from all walks of life with many different interests. Some more affluent than others, but all were doing the very same thing. In the wee hours of the morning, when Christmas bargains were uppermost in our minds, I pondered the question, “Can they tell I’m a Christian; that for me Christmas means much more than glitz, glitter, and gifts?”

Sadly, I knew they couldn’t. My fellow shoppers had no idea I personally knew the Baby born in Bethlehem, Who grew up to die on a cross for my sin and theirs, rising from death three days later and is alive forevermore. They were oblivious to the fact that at least one stood there among them who possessed eternal life and walked the narrow way, while they wander aimlessly down the broad. A thought flashed through my mind, “Should I engage someone in conversation about Jesus and the real meaning of Christmas?” Then just as quickly, the girl behind me asked a question and the thought was gone; never to return.

Thinking back to that night, I grieve, knowing the majority of people I encountered would probably say they believe in God or that God exists. They might even say they know the Christmas story about the Baby born in a manger. But, they have no real knowledge of who He is, nor do they desire it. They merrily go about their Christmas shopping in a joyous stupor, enveloped in the “giving” spirit and tradition.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas as much as anyone. I love the decorations, get-togethers, gift-giving and receiving, music, merriment, and laughter. But, there is a sadness for me when I see how many people do not recognize that Jesus, Immanuel, was and is God, come in the flesh. He dwelt among us for a time and then became our sacrifice, dying for our sin. Jesus was born to be the Greatest Gift of all. He is the “…eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us” (I John 1:2) giving us a chance to believe and receive this “… gift of God, which is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” For, “…God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 6:23; Rom. 5:8) This Greatest and Priceless Gift is the true meaning of Christmas.

But think about it, if I am sad because of all the people who still walk in darkness and desperately need to see that great light, Jesus is infinitely more. How His heart must break to see the “form of godliness…” their playing at being holy.  In Isaiah 65:2 God proclaims, “All day long I have held out My hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations-” (NIV)

Yes, I realize this passage was said to Israel, confirmed and repeated in Rom. 10:21. But, God’s word is for everyone. We all are warned to “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matt. 7:13-14)

So, my challenge for you this Christmas (like you have nothing else to do) is to help someone find The Greatest and Priceless Gift and enter through that narrow gate.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

For What Are You Thankful?
Are you thankful for your family, your home, your job, your health, or countless other items?

We have so much, and in this season of Thanksgiving, we do see “thankful” people. In fact, there was a TV program Thanksgiving night called “Thank You, America”, where Robin Roberts and Jimmy Kimmel, surprised ordinary citizens who have done much to help their community and those in need. I must admit, I did not watch it. I’m only going on the Network’s advertisements.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Learning The Secret of Abundant Life

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10 NKJV)

Do you live in the knowledge and understanding of life abundant? It’s easy to quote John 10:10, and say we live it. But do we really?

When our lives are so full of activity and crazy drama, it is hard to live and believe Jesus meant this for us. We know He said it and we try to believe, but sometimes it’s just easier to feel overwhelmed and depressed, than to think, somehow we missed it.

In the chaos, we long to withdraw to the refuge of our bed and pull the covers over our head until it all goes away.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Aromatherapy By God

It’s fall! I love fall! Like many of you, it is actually my favorite time of year. The harvest, the changing leaves, fall colors, football games, cheerleading, and marching bands. There’s just a different feel to this season and, in my opinion, a special fragrance to the crisp coolness of the air. I am exhilarated and energized, ready to prepare for the long winter ahead. This is what I would call God’s own aromatherapy.

Did you know God also enjoys certain aromas?

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Gift of Friendship

It’s the time of year for parties, tailgating, and family get-togethers.

They can be large or small assemblies consisting of people with like interests, employment, age, or gender. Nevertheless, at most gatherings I’ve attended, small groupings emerge. In corners, around tables, standing or sitting, there are pockets of people, engaging in conversation. However, if the party is mixed company, I’ve noticed women seem to end up in one room, usually the kitchen, and men just naturally gravitate towards the living room, den, or man cave.

Why does this occur? It’s because, human relationships are important and friendship is a gift from God. He created us to need one another, and says through Solomon, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion…Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

When we have a decision to make, it’s nice to be able to talk it out or run it by a friend. They may
think of things we didn’t or ask questions that will make us reconsider. If we’re angry, a friend can help us see the truth of the situation and change our attitude. “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” (Proverbs 27:17)

These characteristics are true whether the group is Christian or secular. However, as believers we have an advantage.

God gives us friends and places us in groups to enhance the talents and abilities He has given. The groups and relationships, who resist envy, recognize each person as uniquely designed by God, and placed within it for edification, are the groups that will mold into a cohesive cluster and grow in love. These will bear one another's burdens, and fulfill the law of Christ. As Christ’s disciples, they will have fervent love for one another, above all things, because love covers a multitude of sins.

Nevertheless, we cannot encapsulate love or keep to ourselves. Love must reach out to someone or else it is not love. This is why our God, who is love, chose to initiate a relationship with His creation saying, "Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love... Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. (Jeremiah 31:3; John 15:13)

So, the next time you are with your friend or your group of friends, remember you are a unique creation. You bring something to this group no one else can and because of Jesus, they bring out the best in you. With these friends, you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the gospel…and…[together] you put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. (Philippians 1:27; Colossians 3:14)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Is Your Wardrobe Changing?

Indian summer is one of the most beautiful times of the year. Hues of burnt orange, vibrant gold, and rustic red mixed with the last bits of deep green, inspire feelings of warmth and passion. Beginning preparation for the long winter, our thoughts naturally turn to fall harvest. The cool crisp foods of summer give way to pot roast, soup, and of course pumpkin pie. We sip apple cider, mulled or straight, as sweatshirts and fleece become part of our wardrobe. In a seemingly effortless transition, we move from swimming pools and bathing suits to football games and jackets.

Nevertheless, it’s not an effortless transition; it requires a conscious decision. We could stay in our bathing suits and freeze, but we don’t – we change with the seasons.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Happy New Year
Are you kidding? It isn’t New Year. Well, maybe not, but September always feels like it to me. With a new school year, new church programs, etc, the lackadaisical summer has turned into a disciplined schedule. Nevertheless, September-October is the month Israel celebrates their civil New Year, called Rosh Hashanah. Israel’s New Year begins Wednesday, September 24, 2014, but for them, it’s the year 5775.

Rosh Hashanah or The Feast of Trumpets is one of the seven feasts the Lord instituted in Leviticus 23. The first feast, The Sabbath, is weekly. Three spring feasts are next, ushering in the religious New Year:  Passover/Unleavened Bread, The Feast of Firstfruits, The Feast of Weeks or Pentecost. Jesus Christ, in His first coming, spiritually fulfilled these three. The remaining three are fall feasts, ushering in the civil New Year:  The Feast of Trumpets, The Day of Atonement, and The Feast of Tabernacles are yet to be fulfilled. The gap of time between the spring feasts and the fall feasts represent this present church age. 

Into each feast, God built deep spiritual meaning and unless you know Jesus Christ as Messiah, you miss the fullness. This is where Israel is today. Some suggest this feast commemorates the day of creation and some feel it represents the binding and deliverance of Isaac.

Israel’s Feast explanations do have the feel of spirituality, but they remain empty and flawed without Christ.

So let’s examine the deeper meaning of the Feast of Trumpets. It begins on the first day of the seventh month, the month of Tishri (Leviticus 23:24). On all other months when two witnesses spot the new moon, the celebratory silver trumpets are blown. However, the new moon of Tishri is different. The shofar (ram’s horn) is blown as a symbol of calling the hearers to the ten-day, soul-searching process of repentance, culminating with Israel’s national day of repentance, the Day of Atonement – Yom Kippur.

Because Rosh Hashanah begins with the blowing of trumpets, most pre-millennial commentators see it spiritually representing the rapture of the church or the “catching away” to meet Jesus in the air.

“Behold, I tell you a mystery:  We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”(I Corinthians 15: 51-52)

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” (I Thessalonians 4:16-17)

“After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, ‘Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this’.” (Revelation 4:1)

Are there are scoffers? Of course, just as God said there would be (II Peter 3:3-4), but only because He is “longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (II Peter 3:9)

While we wait then, let’s conduct ourselves in holiness “…and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God…” (II Peter 3:11-12). If we do, people will “see our good works and glorify…[our]…Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16).

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Taken A Faith Walk Lately?

 Has there ever been a time when you felt you were just going through the motions spiritually? You pray, read your bible, go to church, and do all the things you know, as a Christian, you are supposed to do, but you’re just not feeling it? Well, welcome to “Faith Walk”.

Wasn’t it just a little while ago we were standing on that mountaintop praising God, feeling His presence and seeing His hand at work in everything? It seemed like nothing could interfere with our closeness to our Savior. Then, without realizing it, slowly things changed. Emptiness crept in. Our prayers seem to stop at the ceiling not reaching God’s ears. We’re feeling spiritual dreariness resembling this time of year. Our weather is transitioning from summer to fall, from the intense heat of the sun to overcast, damp, chilly days. Gloominess like the groaning of creation, booms in our ears. (Romans 8:22)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Are You Ready For Change?

Change is in the air – can you feel it?

A change of season approaches with cooler nights and shorter days. Our flora and fauna change – fall flowers wear deeper hues and trees sport orange, gold and red leaves. Animals grow thicker coats instinctively preparing for winter. Change is part of our world. Genesis 8:22 says, “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease.”

Nobody experienced more change than Noah and his family. The global flood changed the face of the earth. Nothing remained the same except for those on the ark. They must have felt as though they were stepping out on an alien planet. Nevertheless, Almighty God was there with His covenant and rainbow. He was their one unwavering constant who says, I am the Lord, I change not.”

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Christian Tattoos?

Two weekends ago, I had the privilege of attending the Franklin Graham Festival of Hope in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with my aunt and cousin. As volunteers, we arrived very early and the arena’s immensity stunned me. All I could say was, “Lord Jesus, fill this place with Your Spirit.”

After receiving our assignments, people began filling the seats. Soon the entertainment started with music of every genre, mostly appealing to the younger crowd. There was Rap, Grunge, Alternative, etc, and for us ole-folk, earplugs.

What a joy to see the kids having such a great time moving to the music of these Christian artists and then intently listening to their testimony. Each artist gave details of their life and the lies they believed until someone introduced them to Jesus. And as He does with everyone who calls upon His name to repent, believe, and receive Him as Savior and Lord, Jesus turned their lives around. They are new creations, who now sing for Him. Each evening, Jesus Christ was lifted up, Almighty God was glorified, and Franklin Graham had not yet taken the stage.

Reports of seven hundred teens going forward on Saturday night blew us all away. Adults and teens alike came forward to speak with counselors Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Nevertheless, with events like this, I’m always concerned about sincerity. To this day, I pray every seeker found Jesus, their conversion was true, and the seed of the Word of God fell on good soil, so the enemy cannot snatch it.

However, sitting at breakfast on Sunday morning my cousin posed a question. She said, “Each artist and musician seemed tattooed to the hilt. How does that jive with Scripture when it says, “You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the Lord.” (Leviticus 19:28)
Tattoos -
Remembering the tattoos I observed, clearly, these artists acquired this “ink” after they came to know Jesus. The only thing that came to mind was how Paul said in I Corinthians 9:22, “…I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” Paul was saying he tried to fit in, so those to whom he witnessed would hear the gospel and not reject it, because of his appearance.

I wondered would the tattooed crowd listen to me if I tried to witness? Probably not. But, would they listen to someone sporting tattoos? Possibly.

I didn’t have a good answer, but I knew someone who would. Therefore, I asked the Lord, “Since it seems like disobedience, how does one justify a tattoo when obtained after salvation?”

Incidentally, as I read the miscellaneous laws in Leviticus 19, I found some very curious, especially verse 27. This verse before the mention of tattoos says, “You shall not shave around the sides of your head, nor shall you disfigure the edges of your beard."

But, a clean-shaven man with shorter hair is appealing in our culture.

So, since I’m still waiting for a clear answer from the Lord, I will pose the question to you. What are your opinions about tattoos and how do we reconcile these verses with the world in which we live?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Lord of Hosts Is His Name

On a warm summer night, darkness creates a quiet calmness. Chipping tree frogs and crickets break the silence and distant stars sparkle like diamonds on black velvet. “The heavens declare the glory of God…” says the Psalmist, and my breath catches, suddenly comprehending how small I am and how great is our God!

In these moments, I understand King David’s proclamation, “Who am I, O Lord God? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far? And yet this was a small thing in Your sight, O Lord God… So let Your name be magnified forever saying The Lord of hosts is the God of Israel…”  Jeremiah agrees, “Thus says the Lord, who gives the sun for a light by day, the ordinances of the moon and stars for a light by night…the Lord of hosts is His name.”

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Has God Made You Laugh?

       Have there been things in your life you never thought would take place, because you prayed and prayed, but nothing changed? When you began this quest, did you cling to Psalm 37:4’s promise of when we delight in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our heart, only to realize His answer was no or not now? Did you pout and get angry or take matters into your own hands? Did your solution backfire or did you finally accept things as they were?

       Imagine Sarah, Abraham’s wife, would answer with a resounding “Yes”, considering the years of praying for God to open her womb. Each month her prayer and anticipation, just to experience great disappointment and pain when conception did not take place. Month after month, year after year, the same thing; after a while it can make you a bit numb and desperate. Finally, as a last resort, Sarah suggested something despicable; something I believe, she would never have agreed to under any other circumstances. It was a huge sacrifice, but she could see no other way for God to fulfill His promise. Sarah gave her Egyptian handmaid, Hagar, to Abraham “…to be his wife…So he went in to Hagar, and she conceived.”

       Up to this point, no one knew whose body had malfunctioned. Now there was no doubt, When Hagar “… saw that she had conceived, her mistress [Sarah] became despised in her eyes.” (Gen. 16) Sarah thought this solution would make her happy, but it didn’t. It only caused more pain.

       However, after fourteen more years of waiting, God did something so wonderful, so amazing, that she just had to laugh. At ninety years old, “…Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken…Now Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. And Sarah said, ‘God has made me laugh, and all who hear will laugh with me.’” (Gen. 21:1-6) Sarah prayed and trusted God (Heb. 11:11), but I think she was as shocked as anyone was, when it actually happened. That is why all she could do was laugh.

       Now, back to your unanswered prayer. God had a set time for the miracle He promised Sarah and He has a set time for you. For me, it was twenty-three years. God’s promise came in the Jr. High school parking lot while I was praying and waiting to see if my daughter, Lorrie, had made it for seventh grade cheerleader. I was so nervous waiting, so I opened my little NIV Bible. God gave Psalm 1:3 as a promise, “He [she] is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” When Lorrie came out wearing her cheerleading uniform, I thanked and praised for His fulfilled promise.

       However, as life goes, this joy was short lived. Many struggles ensued over the years and the fruit seemed stifled in her life. But, with intermittent tears, I kept praying and believing, especially during our knock-down, drag-out fights. During that time, I’ve watched how He has helped her grow not only into a beautiful wife and mother, but in Him. I was completely satisfied, the desires of my heart realized, and I wouldn’t have asked for more.

       But, we have a God “…Who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think…” (Eph. 3:20)

       And, God wasn’t finished with Lorrie. She had more fruit to bear. So, a few years ago, after volunteering at her children’s Elementary School, Lorrie decided she wanted to be a Teacher’s Aide.  Researching the subject, Lorrie found she must pass a test to become licensed, before she could apply at any school.

       My reaction? I tried to talk her out of it and when that didn’t work, I started to pray, “Lord, change her mind!” However, God immediately rebuked me saying, “Do you think I can’t do this?” Shame-faced I said, “No Lord, I know all things are possible with You. Help me to trust.” He then reminded me of that day in the parking lot and confirmed, this was Lorrie’s set time.

       Through one miraculous event after another, I have watched God’s hand with utter amazement and I just have to laugh. On the day of Lorrie’s ParaPro Assessment Test, He gave me Joel 2:25, “I will restore the years the…locusts have eaten…” She passed with flying-colors, got licensed, finger printed, and hired.

       God is at work in your life too. Keep praying, trusting, and watching for His amazing hand.
He will make you laugh!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

What's Gonna Get You Through?

     Sometimes I feel as though I’m dog-paddling in the water of life, just barely keeping my head above the surface. Do you ever feel this way?

     If so, then you know how hard it is to maintain our closeness with God. But we must, because He is the Source of our strength (Psalm 27:1). He will bring us through.

     In this time of treading water, I need the hope and transformation Ezekiel 47:1-12 conveys:

Sunday, August 3, 2014

A Letter of Christ
In this very busy digital age, we have all but lost the art of letter writing. Gone are the days of the eloquent handwritten letter with its etiquette and style. But here to stay are emails, text messages, Facebook, Twitter, and all the others.
Amedeo Momo Simonetti

For years, personal letters became keepsakes; tangible and identifiable items straight from the heart of a loved one, perhaps many miles from home. Just by observing the handwriting, the reader could recognize the writer and almost feel their presence. And no matter how many times they reread the letter, the feeling was the same.

I realize it is much faster to shoot out an email, post on Facebook, tweet, or text, and receive almost immediate gratification, but it’s not the same. Our busyness and time constraints necessitate this mode of communication. Yet, when someone does take the time to hand-write a letter or card, it somehow feels more special and so do we.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Let's Break Free - Part 3

The blinding stream of light swept across the courtyard. It wouldn’t return for another five minutes, I had it timed perfectly. Lying flat on my belly, head raised, forearms in position and toes dug in, I began an army-crawl across the compound. Inching toward a hole in the wall, something grabbed my ankle chains. I kicked to break free, but to no avail. Pain shot through my arms as I lugged my body toward that hole. Freedom was twenty yards away, but this thing held me back. With each pull forward, I’d be yanked back two.

“Let me go!” I whisper-shouted.

“No way!” it cackled.

“I’m not guilty! I’m innocent I tell you. I must break free!”

“You can’t, you will never be free!”

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Let's Break Free - Part 2

American Flags -
As we begin our second week of breaking free, consider your initial reaction to the thought of a physical, emotional, or spiritual prison. Did you think it too harsh an analogy, or did you have an epiphany and say, “Yes, that’s exactly the way I feel”?

Last time, we focused on physical prisons constructed of materials beyond our control. This time, we are discussing an emotional penitentiary built by someone else:  A verbally abusive spouse, a domineering friend or family member, a child’s drug addiction, etc.

Many factors can cause emotional incarceration and we may feel these are also beyond our control, but are they? Although we cannot really control another person, or how they treat us, we can do something about our reaction and emotions. So, what can we do?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Let's Break Free - Part 1

American Flags -
Freedom is one of our most prize possessions. As American citizens, we talk about it, sing about it, and we love our military for keeping us free.

However, in our personal lives we may not be free at all. Many things can hold us captive. They may be physical, emotional, or spiritual. Nevertheless, we end up feeling as though we live in prison.

But, what type of prison?

Friday, July 4, 2014

Independence Needs Dependence

Spirit of 76 -

On July 2, 1776, in a secretive meeting set in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence proposed in June 1776, by Richard Henry Lee. A committee of five men, with Thomas Jefferson as primary writer, compiled a document known to us as the Declaration of Independence.

According to, What Jefferson did was to summarize this philosophy [of individual liberty] in "self-evident truths" and set forth a list of grievances against the King in order to justify before the world the breaking of ties between the colonies and the mother country.”

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Blessed Are The Fruit Bearers

Washington Monument -
Since our Nation’s 238th Birthday approaches and we see activists and militants rising, I had thought to write about the coming persecution. However, in my study, the Lord showed me something I never knew.

Reading the Sermon on the Mount passage in Matthew 5, because verses 11 and 12 deal with persecution, it suddenly occurred to me, I always saw these as separate people. In my mind, the poor in spirit, the mourner, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the peacemakers, and the persecuted, were each unique and distinct. I thought we just needed to find which mold we fit into and that was that.

Because Matthew was set in a time before the crucifixion of Christ, I didn’t realize the poor in spirit, the meek, the merciful, etc. become this way by the power of His Holy Spirit. These are attributes of Christ; qualities we cannot sustain on our own.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

It Isn't Easy Being Green

The slogan “Go Green” has been around for quite a few years and our Muppet friend, Kermit the Frog, is incredibly proud. Going “Green” is so popular, hotels are even using it as a way to reduce their amenities. When conversations turn to environmental issues, it seems there is an urgency and fear associated with saving the planet.

Celebrities, campaign ads, commercials, newspapers, and magazines all call for us to step up and do our part. We must right the wrongs done to earth and it’s atmosphere or else life as we know it will disappear. We are enticed by hybrid car and home improvement tax breaks and our tax dollars fund government-sponsored ecosystem research.   Not that I am against being good stewards of God’s creation over which we were given dominion, but why such desperation?

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Waiting On The Lord

How do we WAIT on the Lord? How do we stay strong, steadfast, and keep the faith when our prayers seemingly go unanswered?

In the beginning we pray with strong faith, believing it is God’s will. We expect to see an answer and faithfully watch for His hand to work. When things begin to happen, we grab-on to the possibility that it is at this time and in this way Almighty God is answering with a resounding YES! Excitement builds as we anticipate life finally going our way. But a gnawing inside says, “Be careful, maybe you’re reading too much into the situation.”  Immediately you stuff that thought and chalk it up to a lack of faith. After all, “nothing is impossible with God,” and “He is able” to answer this prayer. It’s not a selfish prayer or something contrary to God’s word. No, it’s a good prayer, a need, and God’s word says He supplies our needs, so why the concern?

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Where He Leads, I Will Follow

Traditionally, June is the month for graduation and weddings, each individual or couple setting out on a new experience. The high school graduate out from under the rule and reign of mom and dad can, if they so choose, get a job and move out on their own. Some will work through the summer to save money for the new adventure of college.  On the other hand, marriage is also a new frontier. Most have only observed marriage, whether modeled in the home or on television. Still, they all set out on this journey into the unknown.

So, what might you be attempting this summer that you have never done before, or what would you like to do, but are fearful?

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