Weekly Study Guide

As a minister I believe the only true way to study is to look at verses in the context of which they were written.   These HJD messages and the scriptures are done for that purpose.  Each verse listed is a link to the whole chapter.  Simply click on the verse and you will be taken to the whole chapter for further reading.  I chose the translation “The Message” as it is in the language of today so we can relate.  I encourage you to study with passion each verse in many translations.   Enjoy and I pray this blesses you over and over.

Perry


September 1, 2019

YOU CAN’T EARN IT!

The burden can be heavy.  The pressure we put on ourselves, trying to live up to  the name of Jesus, is overwhelming at times.  We struggle daily with believing we have to earn our way into his arms, by what we say and do.  Religion teaches that.  As I wore my HJD shirt I noticed she had on a shirt that said “freedom from religion”.  My thought was… I have that too.  I have Jesus Christ!!  We worry about if we are living up to his love… because the world says, nothing is free.  Jesus love is!  You simply need to love him back.  Stop trying to earn his love by what you say… by what you do…  He doesn’t work that way.  He forgave the very men who hung him on the cross.  Don’t you think he will love you too!

 

Ephesians 2:4-5

It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.

James 2:26

The same with Rahab, the Jericho harlot. Wasn’t her action in hiding God’s spies and helping them escape—that seamless unity of believing and doing—what counted with God? The very moment you separate body and spirit, you end up with a corpse. Separate faith and works and you get the same thing: a corpse.

Romans 3:22

But in our time something new has been added. What Moses and the prophets witnessed to all those years has happened. The God-setting-things-right that we read about has become Jesus-setting-things-right for us. And not only for us, but for everyone who believes in him. For there is no difference between us and them in this. Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:17-18

Yet the rescuing gift is not exactly parallel to the death-dealing sin. If one man’s sin put crowds of people at the dead-end abyss of separation from God, just think what God’s gift poured through one man, Jesus Christ, will do! There’s no comparison between that death-dealing sin and this generous, life-giving gift. The verdict on that one sin was the death sentence; the verdict on the many sins that followed was this wonderful life sentence. If death got the upper hand through one man’s wrongdoing, can you imagine the breathtaking recovery life makes, sovereign life, in those who grasp with both hands this wildly extravagant life-gift, this grand setting-everything-right, that the one man Jesus Christ provides?
18-19Here it is in a nutshell: Just as one person did it wrong and got us in all this trouble with sin and death, another person did it right and got us out of it. But more than just getting us out of trouble, he got us into life! One man said no to God and put many people in the wrong; one man said yes to God and put many in the right.
Romans 10:9
It’s the word of faith that welcomes God to go to work and set things right for us. This is the core of our preaching. Say the welcoming word to God—“Jesus is my Master”—embracing, body and soul, God’s work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead. That’s it. You’re not “doing” anything; you’re simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you. That’s salvation. With your whole being you embrace God setting things right, and then you say it, right out loud: “God has set everything right between him and me!”

Acts 4:12

With that, Peter, full of the Holy Spirit, let loose: “Rulers and leaders of the people, if we have been brought to trial today for helping a sick man, put under investigation regarding this healing, I’ll be completely frank with you—we have nothing to hide. By the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the One you killed on a cross, the One God raised from the dead, by means of his name this man stands before you healthy and whole. Jesus is ‘the stone you masons threw out, which is now the cornerstone.’ Salvation comes no other way; no other name has been or will be given to us by which we can be saved, only this one.”


August 25, 2019

BROKEN CHAINS!

Forty days.  A long time with no food.  Satan asked “make bread from stones”.  Jesus said no I want but one thing.  Satan said “being Gods son you can do what you want and your father will save you”.  Jesus said I want but one thing.  In desperation, satan foreseeing the cross simply said, “give loyalty to me and all this earth can be yours”.  Our Lord at a time of weakness and physical exhaustion stood before the evil one and wanted but one thing.  Our freedom!  He chose, out of deep love, to give up food.  To give up comfort.  To give up life.  He took the chains of sin that weighed so heavy on us and broke them for me… For you…  What an amazing Savior!!  

 

Matthew 4:1-11

Next Jesus was taken into the wild by the Spirit for the Test. The Devil was ready to give it. Jesus prepared for the Test by fasting forty days and forty nights. That left him, of course, in a state of extreme hunger, which the Devil took advantage of in the first test: “Since you are God’s Son, speak the word that will turn these stones into loaves of bread.”
Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: “It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth.”
For the second test the Devil took him to the Holy City. He sat him on top of the Temple and said, “Since you are God’s Son, jump.” The Devil goaded him by quoting Psalm 91: “He has placed you in the care of angels. They will catch you so that you won’t so much as stub your toe on a stone.”
Jesus countered with another citation from Deuteronomy: “Don’t you dare test the Lord your God.”
For the third test, the Devil took him to the peak of a huge mountain. He gestured expansively, pointing out all the earth’s kingdoms, how glorious they all were. Then he said, “They’re yours—lock, stock, and barrel. Just go down on your knees and worship me, and they’re yours.”
10Jesus’ refusal was curt: “Beat it, Satan!” He backed his rebuke with a third quotation from Deuteronomy: “Worship the Lord your God, and only him. Serve him with absolute single-heartedness.”
The Test was over. The Devil left. And in his place, angels! Angels came and took care of Jesus’ needs.

Philippians 2:3-4

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

John 15:13

“I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.

Titus 2:14

God’s readiness to give and forgive is now public. Salvation’s available for everyone! We’re being shown how to turn our backs on a godless, indulgent life, and how to take on a God-filled, God-honoring life. This new life is starting right now, and is whetting our appetites for the glorious day when our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, appears. He offered himself as a sacrifice to free us from a dark, rebellious life into this good, pure life, making us a people he can be proud of, energetic in goodness.

 


August 18, 2019

COME LORD COME!

Do you sometimes feel so weary.  Over the brokenness of this world.  That you hope and pray the Lord will return?  There are days… as I try to show the love of my Savior and the patience of my King that I must hit my knees.  I pray on those days for his return.  For him to come and set it right.  For him to come and with those amazing arms… wrap me in the love that only he can offer.  For him to give me the peace that can only be found in his presence.  Then he talks… then he tugs… then he gives me the strength to show his love… his arms… his peace to others until he returns.

Come Lord Come!!  We can’t wait to see you!

Philippians 4:6-7

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

John 16:33

Jesus answered them, “Do you finally believe? In fact, you’re about to make a run for it—saving your own skins and abandoning me. But I’m not abandoned. The Father is with me. I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.”

John 14:16-17

“If you love me, show it by doing what I’ve told you. I will talk to the Father, and he’ll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth. The godless world can’t take him in because it doesn’t have eyes to see him, doesn’t know what to look for. But you know him already because he has been staying with you, and will even be in you!

John 14:25-27

“I’m telling you these things while I’m still living with you. The Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all the things I have told you. I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s my parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.

Revelation 22:20

He who testifies to all these things says it again: “I’m on my way! I’ll be there soon!”
Yes! Come, Master Jesus!

August 11, 2019

WALK THE TALK!

To hear Chris Tomlin sing about our Savior brings tears. To stand in the middle of Red Rocks in Colorado, as we embraced his music, brought even more emotion.  As the concert ended, I looked at the trash left by all those that call themselves “Children of God”…  I was embarrassed.  As Christ followers we are to show his light, love and good works to everyone on this earth.  We are to be his  example for all to see.  As Christians we need to be above reproach.  We need to remember that not a day goes by that we are not representing him to the rest of the world.  Live each day knowing that God is aware and remembering that others may judge our Lord by watching us.  I don’t know about you…  but I want to make him proud.

2 Corinthians 8:21

For we have regard for what is honorable [and above suspicion], not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.

Hebrews 13:18

Keep praying for us, for we are convinced that we have a good conscience, seeking to conduct ourselves honorably [that is, with moral courage and personal integrity] in all things. 19And I urge all of you to pray earnestly, so that I may be restored to you soon.

1 Peter 2:9

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a [special] people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies [the wonderful deeds and virtues and perfections] of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people [at all], but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Titus 2:12

It teaches us to reject ungodliness and worldly (immoral) desires, and to live sensible, upright, and godly lives [with a purpose that reflect spiritual maturity] in this present age, awaiting and confidently expecting the [fulfillment of our] blessed hope and the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who [willingly] gave Himself [to be crucified] on our behalf to redeem us and purchase our freedom from all wickedness, and to purify for Himself a chosen and very special people to be His own possession, who are enthusiastic for doing what is good.

Colossians 1:10

For this reason, since the day we heard about it, we have not stopped praying for you, asking [specifically] that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom [with insight into His purposes], and in understanding [of spiritual things], so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord [displaying admirable character, moral courage, and personal integrity], to [fully] please Him in all things, bearing fruit in every good work and steadily growing in the knowledge of God [with deeper faith, clearer insight and fervent love for His precepts]; [we pray that you may be] strengthened and invigorated with all power, according to His glorious might, to attain every kind of endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints (God’s people) in the Light.

 


August 4, 2019

HUMAN TRAIN!

Some come.  Some go.  Some stay.  Some wonder.  Some produce love.  Some cause sadness.  Some bless.  Some burden.  God directs and summons others into our lives.  God leads us down paths… with people… in an effort to teach, to direct, to lead, to produce wisdom in our lives.  We touch others hearts as they touch ours.  We influence others and they influence us.  No matter what direction or path it leads you down one thing is for sure.  It always leads directly to our Savior.  This human train is always moving.  Its up to us to jump on and enjoy the ride. 

Matthew 5:14-16

“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

Hebrews 13:15-16

So let’s go outside, where Jesus is, where the action is—not trying to be privileged insiders, but taking our share in the abuse of Jesus. This “insider world” is not our home. We have our eyes peeled for the City about to come. Let’s take our place outside with Jesus, no longer pouring out the sacrificial blood of animals but pouring out sacrificial praises from our lips to God in Jesus’ name. Make sure you don’t take things for granted and go slack in working for the common good; share what you have with others. God takes particular pleasure in acts of worship—a different kind of “sacrifice”—that take place in kitchen and workplace and on the streets.

Romans 12:15-16

Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.

Galatians 5:13

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?


July 28, 2019

THE GREATEST OF THESE!

Love such an amazing word and yet so hard for people to say.  Why do we always relate love only to the relationship between husband and wife or family members?  Are we not called, by our Savior, to love everyone we encounter?  Are we not to practice PHILIA love to other humans and friends regardless of who they are?  As I hug people I tell them of the love I have for them.  A love that Christ showed to everyone and thru the Holy Spirit I try to show.  It amazes me that so many struggle with that term and still others think it to be inappropriate.  Our true state of being and the center of our existence is a place of love.  “The greatest of these is love.”  Obviously to God not much else matters.

1 Corinthians 13:13

But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

Romans 12:10

Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.

John 13:34-35

“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”

1 John 4:7-10

My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God.

Mark 12:28-34

One of the religion scholars came up. Hearing the lively exchanges of question and answer and seeing how sharp Jesus was in his answers, he put in his question: “Which is most important of all the commandments?”
Jesus said, “The first in importance is, ‘Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.”
The religion scholar said, “A wonderful answer, Teacher! So lucid and accurate—that God is one and there is no other. And loving him with all passion and intelligence and energy, and loving others as well as you love yourself. Why, that’s better than all offerings and sacrifices put together!”
When Jesus realized how insightful he was, he said, “You’re almost there, right on the border of God’s kingdom.”
After that, no one else dared ask a question.

 


July 21, 2019

YOUR WILL NOT MINE!

Do you every wonder if the way you spend your time is pleasing to God?  Lately I have been puzzled by the way I spend my time.  Everything we do in life should serve one purpose.  To bring glory to him.  If your involved in ministry, is it for your glory or his?  If you belong to a club is it to make you feel better or is it to glorify our Father?  If you have a hobby is it to make you happy or to make our Savior happy?  Many times I find myself boasting in my ministry instead of his glory.  Many times I find myself addicted to the self fulfillment of service instead of his love.  I pray that he will fill our hearts with an over abundance of his love… his glory…  his presence…  Then I can truly say “ your will in every part of my life and never mine”!  

 

James 4:4-6

You adulteresses [disloyal sinners—flirting with the world and breaking your vow to God]! Do you not know that being the world’s friend [that is, loving the things of the world] is being God’s enemy? So whoever chooses to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

1 Corinthians 10:31

So eat your meals heartily, not worrying about what others say about you—you’re eating to God’s glory, after all, not to please them. As a matter of fact, do everything that way, heartily and freely to God’s glory. At the same time, don’t be callous in your exercise of freedom, thoughtlessly stepping on the toes of those who aren’t as free as you are. I try my best to be considerate of everyone’s feelings in all these matters; I hope you will be, too.

Romans 8:28

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

John 3:30

“That’s why my cup is running over. This is the assigned moment for him to move into the center, while I slip off to the sidelines.

1 Corinthians 6:20

You were bought with a price [you were actually purchased with the precious blood of Jesus and made His own]. So then, honor and glorify God with your body.

Matthew 5:16

Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good deeds and moral excellence, and [recognize and honor and] glorify your Father who is in heaven.


July 14, 2019

ALL WE NEED IS CHRIST!

As I was watching a movie this week it reminded me of how often we battle against each other.    I thought of the time in the book of Mark, when the disciples were arguing over which one was Jesus’s favorite.  They were arguing at the very time he was trying to teach them love… humility… and kindness. We compete on so many levels. We compete over money. Over status.  Over lifestyle. Over power.  I even see us competing over religion.  We think that because we go to a certain church or follow a certain religion we are more spiritual than the next.  We think that our level of happiness is in correlation to our position in life.  When will we simply listen to our Savior when he said “I am the way, the truth, and the life”.   We need to stop and realize that Christ is all we need!!

Mark 9:34

The silence was deafening—they had been arguing with one another over who among them was greatest.

Philippians 2:3

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

Psalm 37:4-14

Get insurance with God and do a good deed,
settle down and stick to your last.
Keep company with God,
get in on the best.
Open up before God, keep nothing back;
he’ll do whatever needs to be done:
He’ll validate your life in the clear light of day
and stamp you with approval at high noon.
Quiet down before God,
be prayerful before him.
Don’t bother with those who climb the ladder,
who elbow their way to the top.
Bridle your anger, trash your wrath,
cool your pipes—it only makes things worse.
Before long the crooks will be bankrupt;
God-investors will soon own the store.
Before you know it, the wicked will have had it;
you’ll stare at his once famous place and—nothing!
Down-to-earth people will move in and take over,
relishing a huge bonanza.
Bad guys have it in for the good guys,
obsessed with doing them in.
But God isn’t losing any sleep; to him
they’re a joke with no punch line.

Romans 15:13

So reach out and welcome one another to God’s glory. Jesus did it; now you do it! Jesus, staying true to God’s purposes, reached out in a special way to the Jewish insiders so that the old ancestral promises would come true for them. As a result, the non-Jewish outsiders have been able to experience mercy and to show appreciation to God. Just think of all the Scriptures that will come true in what we do!


June 30, 2019

DON’T LOSE SIGHT!

I write the messages he puts on my heart.  I spend each morning with a prayer of thanksgiving for his grace…  for the blessings he so richly pours on my head.  As I reflect on the prayers… the writings… do I truly understand the level of favor I have.   We go from day to day taking so much for granted.  We don’t give a second thought to so many of the comforts we abide in.  I then see a home that is made of cardboard and wire.  I see people who stand in the rain looking for a simple dollar for food or shelter.  Father forgive me for losing sight of all you have done and will do for me.  Forgive me for losing sight of the riches and love you so freely put in my life and on my heart.  Father I ask that you put  people in my life that I can pass it on to.  I want them to see the glory of you and your love.

James 4:13-17

And now I have a word for you who brashly announce, “Today—at the latest, tomorrow—we’re off to such and such a city for the year. We’re going to start a business and make a lot of money.” You don’t know the first thing about tomorrow. You’re nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing. Instead, make it a habit to say, “If the Master wills it and we’re still alive, we’ll do this or that.”
16-17As it is, you are full of your grandiose selves. All such vaunting self-importance is evil. In fact, if you know the right thing to do and don’t do it, that, for you, is evil.
Ephesians 5:20
Don’t drink too much wine. That cheapens your life. Drink the Spirit of God, huge draughts of him. Sing hymns instead of drinking songs! Sing songs from your heart to Christ. Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God the Father in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ.
Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another.

2 Corinthians 4:15

We’re not keeping this quiet, not on your life. Just like the psalmist who wrote, “I believed it, so I said it,” we say what we believe. And what we believe is that the One who raised up the Master Jesus will just as certainly raise us up with you, alive. Every detail works to your advantage and to God’s glory: more and more grace, more and more people, more and more praise!


 

June 23, 2019

 

 

 

 

HUMAN AND DIVINE!

Why does everything have to be either human or divine? Are we not made in his image?  We believe that being human means we have to earn our way to being divine.  Are we not already divine by the holy spirit? Then why do we work so hard to earn his love?  Don’t we already have it simply by being his children?  We are conditioned by this world into thinking that we have to earn everything.  That nothing is free.  His love is…  His redemption is…Being divine is a product of his glory.  Of his spirit.  Not a product of our doing but of his.  “I came to save you from glory to glory!”

2 Corinthians 3:16-18

Whenever, though, they turn to face God as Moses did, God removes the veil and there they are—face-to-face! They suddenly recognize that God is a living, personal presence, not a piece of chiseled stone. And when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation is recognized as obsolete. We’re free of it! All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.


June 16, 2019

DON’T LOSE SIGHT!

I write the messages he puts on my heart.  I spend each morning with a prayer of thanksgiving for his grace…  for the blessings he so richly pours on my head.  As I reflect on the prayers… the writings… do I truly understand the level of favor I have.   We go from day to day taking so much for granted.  We don’t give a second thought to so many of the comforts we abide in.  I then see a home that is made of cardboard and wire.  I see people who stand in the rain looking for a simple dollar for food or shelter.  Father forgive me for losing sight of all you have done and will do for me.  Forgive me for losing sight of the riches and love you so freely put in my life and on my heart.  Father I ask that you put  people in my life that I can pass it on to.  I want them to see the glory of you and your love.

James 4:13-17

And now I have a word for you who brashly announce, “Today—at the latest, tomorrow—we’re off to such and such a city for the year. We’re going to start a business and make a lot of money.” You don’t know the first thing about tomorrow. You’re nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing. Instead, make it a habit to say, “If the Master wills it and we’re still alive, we’ll do this or that.”
As it is, you are full of your grandiose selves. All such vaunting self-importance is evil. In fact, if you know the right thing to do and don’t do it, that, for you, is evil.

June 9, 2019

WHERE IS YOUR HEART?

Where do you find your heart?  When you lay down, is your heart on worldly matters or our Savior?  I see stickers “I heart my dog” – “I heart my state” – “I heart my country”.  I see people who plan their whole lives around a celebrity as if that person can bring salvation. Still  I see others that put their hope and happiness in worldly riches.  As good as those may be, Christ wants our whole heart, mind, and spirit.  Daily I love my wife so much that I don’t see how it could get any deeper.  Then my heart reminds me,  as important as she is to me,  Jesus stands so far above.  Would you give up family… state… country… and yourself for him?   So where do you find your heart?  Where your heart lies so lies your eternity! 

 

Mark 12:30

Jesus said, “The first in importance is, ‘Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.”


 

June 2, 2019

GOD HAS THE ANSWERS!

He was simply serving our food.As I told him we were about to go to God I asked him if there was anything we could pray about.  At that moment heartbreak covered his face.The tears started to flow as he asked that we pray for his 25 year marriage that was in trouble.As I spoke that prayer I thought of all the hurt… all the heartache… all the pain that so many of us live with daily.We are all the same.Everyone has an issue.Everyone has a story. Everyone is searching for answers in a broken world.I assured him that we would continue to pray.We would keep him in our heart and that God can fix his marriage in the blink of an eye.That hope. That assurance. That faith. God and only God has the answers.We need only to ask.

1 Timothy 2:1-3

The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live.

Ephesians 3:20

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

Colossians 1:9-11

Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.

2 Corinthians 1:8-11

We don’t want you in the dark, friends, about how hard it was when all this came down on us in Asia province. It was so bad we didn’t think we were going to make it. We felt like we’d been sent to death row, that it was all over for us. As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened. Instead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it, we were forced to trust God totally—not a bad idea since he’s the God who raises the dead! And he did it, rescued us from certain doom. And he’ll do it again, rescuing us as many times as we need rescuing. You and your prayers are part of the rescue operation—I don’t want you in the dark about that either. I can see your faces even now, lifted in praise for God’s deliverance of us, a rescue in which your prayers played such a crucial part.

Ephesians 6:18

Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensableweapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

Romans 8:26-27

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

John 14:13

“Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you can’t believe that, believe what you see—these works. The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing. You can count on it. From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I’ll do it. That’s how the Father will be seen for who he is in the Son. I mean it. Whatever you request in this way, I’ll do.

1 Thessalonians 5:17

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.


May 26, 2019

 

 

 

 

NO MATTER THE COST!

As I handed him a blanket and some money I could see the dirt.I could smell the days on the street.I could sense the loneliness. As I drove away I thought of all the homeless people I have helped but not one time have I offered a hug.I told them of the love of Jesus but have I shown it? Then I pictured Jesus washing the feet of his apostles.I pictured him on his knees wiping away days of dirt and filth. There is no way to know how long it had been since the man I helped had felt a human touch. Experienced a loving hug. Christ calls us to move beyond comfort and into a unbridled love. It’s time to put aside pride and offer Christ love to everyone. No matter the cost.

John 13:14-17

Then he said, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You address me as ‘Teacher’ and ‘Master,’ and rightly so. That is what I am. So if I, the Master and Teacher, washed your feet, you must now wash each other’s feet. I’ve laid down a pattern for you. What I’ve done, you do. I’m only pointing out the obvious. A servant is not ranked above his master; an employee doesn’t give orders to the employer. If you understand what I’m telling you, act like it—and live a blessed life.

Mark 10:45

Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not to be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for many who are held hostage.”

1 John 4:11-12

My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love!


May 19, 2019

BEHIND US!

HATE…  Such a strong word that seems to be everywhere.  I see hate between people over ethnicity.  Hate between people over political differences.  Hate  because you believe different than I do.  I see hate because your life style doesn’t agree with mine… or your sexual preferences I don’t agree with.  Enough!!!  Our Savior, our King, our Lord, our Jesus, came to destroy hate.  He rose from the grave to prove that hate has no place in this world.  He rose to show us all that love can shine a light that destroys the dark.  Love can shine a light that puts satan and the hate he produces right where it  belongs.

BEHIND US!!!!

Romans 12:9

Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.

Colossians 3:12-14

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.

Ephesians 4:29-31

Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.
Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted.
Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.
1 John 2:9-11
Anyone who claims to live in God’s light and hates a brother or sister is still in the dark. It’s the person who loves brother and sister who dwells in God’s light and doesn’t block the light from others. But whoever hates is still in the dark, stumbles around in the dark, doesn’t know which end is up, blinded by the darkness.

John 13:34-35

“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”

Luke 6:27

“To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.


May 12, 2019

WHEN GOD SHOWS UP!!

I went because I love the people who run it.  I was simply providing music not looking for anything special.  Just being helpful.  Then it happened…  God showed up with one of his angels.  An angel in the form of a four year old blind girl leading a little horse.  Such a small petite frame but she filled the arena with joy and blessing beyond measure.  As on cue and by Gods hand a song started “Ordinary Miracle”.  The tears started to flow as I thought of what this little girl has had to endure.  Tears because I take to much for granted.  Each day we experience “ordinary miracles” that we don’t even notice.  But if you keep your eyes open, and look with your heart, God will show up.  He will bring an extra special miracle with him and it could change your life.  It has for me.

Psalm 28:7, 69:30

Blessed be God
he heard me praying.
He proved he’s on my side;
I’ve thrown my lot in with him.
Now I’m jumping for joy,
and shouting and singing my thanks to him.
Let me shout God’s name with a praising song,
Let me tell his greatness in a prayer of thanks.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.

Romans 15:13

Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!

Colossians 3:15

Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.


May 5, 2019

WHAT GOD WANTS TO HEAR!

The presence of God is not a place to bypass your emotions but a place to process them! Are you angry… tell our Savior.  Are you disappointed… tell our Lord.  Are you worried… tell our Maker.  Do you feel like complaining… tell God about your complaint.  You simply can not fight the battles of your heart with your mind.  Regardless of who you are the devil has strongholds in your thoughts.  Inside your head… your mind will battle with your spirit.   You can only fight those strongholds with your mouth by pouring it out to the one who understands.  So when you pray let God know your needs.  Shout, whisper, or talk as a friend but let your mouth say what God so longs to hear.

 

Philippians 4:6-7

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

James 5:13-15

Are you hurting? Pray. Do you feel great? Sing. Are you sick? Call the church leaders together to pray and anoint you with oil in the name of the Master. Believing-prayer will heal you, and Jesus will put you on your feet. And if you’ve sinned, you’ll be forgiven—healed inside and out.

Mark 11:22-25

Jesus was matter-of-fact: “Embrace this God-life. Really embrace it, and nothing will be too much for you. This mountain, for instance: Just say, ‘Go jump in the lake’—no shuffling or shilly-shallying—and it’s as good as done. That’s why I urge you to pray for absolutely everything, ranging from small to large. Include everything as you embrace this God-life, and you’ll get God’s everything. And when you assume the posture of prayer, remember that it’s not all asking. If you have anything against someone, forgive—only then will your heavenly Father be inclined to also wipe your slate clean of sins.”

John 16:31-33

Jesus answered them, “Do you finally believe? In fact, you’re about to make a run for it—saving your own skins and abandoning me. But I’m not abandoned. The Father is with me. I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.”

 

 


April 28, 2019

YADAH!

I see people looking excited that a Texas team was in the final four.  They wear jerseys.  They cheer endlessly.  I see Tiger Woods throw his hands in the air over the victory he worked so hard for.   Then I ponder… don’t we have a victory thru Christ, that more than anything, should cause us to throw up hands in praise to him?  Should we not cheer daily of his love and grace he so freely pours out to us?  The Hebrew language uses seven words for worship.  Everyone of them involves celebration for our Lord with shouts…  hands raised and a holy roar.  We certainly should cheer when our team wins.  We certainly shouldn’t hesitate to throw our hands in the air for someones accomplishments. However… more important we should praise with shouts and hands raised for the love of our Savior and his amazing, incredible, grace.

Psalms 67:3

God, mark us with grace
and blessing! Smile!
The whole country will see how you work,
all the godless nations see how you save.
God! Let people thank and enjoy you.
Let all people thank and enjoy you.
Let all far-flung people become happy
and shout their happiness because
You judge them fair and square,
you tend the far-flung peoples.
God! Let people thank and enjoy you.
Let all people thank and enjoy you.
Earth, display your exuberance!
You mark us with blessing, O God, our God.
You mark us with blessing, O God.
Earth’s four corners—honor him!
Psalm 134:2
Come, bless God,
all you servants of God!
You priests of God, posted to the nightwatch
in God’s shrine,
Lift your praising hands to the Holy Place,
and bless God.
In turn, may God of Zion bless you—
God who made heaven and earth!

April 21, 2019

HE HAS RISEN!

HE HAS RISEN!! Really?  How can this be?  I knew he was special… I saw him perform so many miracles but to bring himself back to life?  It must be a mistake, it simply can’t be.  Then Thomas saw him.  “See my hands Thomas. Touch the hole in my side.  Believe…Thomas, because I love you”.  I try so hard to imagine what that was like.   To see Jesus again.  To hold his hand.  To place my hand on his side and feel the scar.  To know he did that for me out of a deeper love than my soul can comprehend.  I try so hard to picture that in my mind.  Then he reminds my heart that one day, he will allow me to do what Thomas did… to hold his hand, touch his side, to caress his feet.   All I have to do is believe.  Hallelujah!!!!

 

John 20:27

Then he focused his attention on Thomas. “Take your finger and examine my hands. Take your hand and stick it in my side. Don’t be unbelieving. Believe.”

James 1:5-8

If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.

Mathew 11:4-6

Jesus told them, “Go back and tell John what’s going on:
The blind see,
The lame walk,
Lepers are cleansed,
The deaf hear,
The dead are raised,
The wretched of the earth learn that God is on their side.
“Is this what you were expecting? Then count yourselves most blessed!”
When John’s disciples left to report, Jesus started talking to the crowd about John. “What did you expect when you went out to see him in the wild? A weekend camper? Hardly. What then? A sheik in silk pajamas? Not in the wilderness, not by a long shot. What then? A prophet? That’s right, a prophet! Probably the best prophet you’ll ever hear. He is the prophet that Malachi announced when he wrote, ‘I’m sending my prophet ahead of you, to make the road smooth for you.’

John 20:24-29

But Thomas, sometimes called the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, “We saw the Master.”
But he said, “Unless I see the nail holes in his hands, put my finger in the nail holes, and stick my hand in his side, I won’t believe it.”
Eight days later, his disciples were again in the room. This time Thomas was with them. Jesus came through the locked doors, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.”
Then he focused his attention on Thomas. “Take your finger and examine my hands. Take your hand and stick it in my side. Don’t be unbelieving. Believe.”
Thomas said, “My Master! My God!”
Jesus said, “So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing.”

 

 


April 19, 2019

OH HOW HE LOVES US!

I keep seeing him carrying the cross!  It brings such a burden to my heart as I picture it. Imagine lifting a crosstie on your shoulder.  Imagine doing that after your back was beaten to the point that muscle, ribs and tendons were exposed. Imagine the burning in your muscles as you were beaten while you endured the weight of that splitter filled, rough carved cross.  Imagine that large piece of wood hitting against the thorns fastened to your head.  Imagine fatigue from no rest and endless loss of blood.  Now look deep… imagine enduring all of this when you know you did nothing wrong. It’s hard to imagine a love that strong.  OH HOW HE LOVES US!

 

 


April 18, 2019

CRUSHING ANQUISH!

He had seen several crucifixions. He had walked past and witnessed the cruelty of the cross.  He saw how it looked… he had heard the suffering… he observed the agony.

 Our Savior knew what was coming.

 On this night in 33AD our Jesus felt unrelenting stress. He felt crushing anguish.  As he cried out “daddy” blood poured from his brow. The human side of him wanted his father to take the pain away. The heavenly side of him knew the answer was “no”.   Next time you feel anguish. Next time you feel hurt. Know that God has a reason and a plan. He does for us as he did for his son.    

SALVATION.

Matthew 26:31-46

Then Jesus told them, “Before the night’s over, you’re going to fall to pieces because of what happens to me. There is a Scripture that says,
I’ll strike the shepherd;
helter-skelter the sheep will be scattered.
But after I am raised up, I, your Shepherd, will go ahead of you, leading the way to Galilee.”
Peter broke in, “Even if everyone else falls to pieces on account of you, I won’t.”
“Don’t be so sure,” Jesus said. “This very night, before the rooster crows up the dawn, you will deny me three times.”
Peter protested, “Even if I had to die with you, I would never deny you.” All the others said the same thing.
Then Jesus went with them to a garden called Gethsemane and told his disciples, “Stay here while I go over there and pray.” Taking along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he plunged into an agonizing sorrow. Then he said, “This sorrow is crushing my life out. Stay here and keep vigil with me.”

Romans 8:28-29

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.
God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun.

1 Peter 1:6-7

I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.

James 1:2-4,12

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.


April 14, 2019

NO ORDINARY JEW!

He had seen so many crucified but none had been beaten so badly.  Wounds so deep.  Thorns so sharp.  Hatred so intense.  This centurion had hardened his heart because there had been so many.  But this one was different.  This one seemed to endure the pain with a purpose.  Then it happened.  Middle of the day.  Full darkness.  Darkness void of any stars.  Ground shook and someone yelled “the temple curtain has torn”.  Then thru the darkness he heard the scream “ father I give you my spirit”.  He pondered as he stood looking at this man on the cross.  This was not just another crucifixion.  This was no ordinary jewish carpenter.  This jew was talking to God.  This Galilean was talking to his father.  Jesus was talking to God so that we can talk to him too. 

                                                     WHAT AN AMAZING SAVIOR!!!

Mark 15: 38-39 (MSG)

The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died,15:39 Some manuscripts saw that he died with such a cry he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”

Matthew 27: 51-54 (MSG)

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

Luke 23: 44 – 49 (MSG)

By now it was noon. The whole earth became dark, the darkness lasting three hours—a total blackout. The Temple curtain split right down the middle. Jesus called loudly, “Father, I place my life in your hands!” Then he breathed his last.
When the captain there saw what happened, he honored God: “This man was innocent! A good man, and innocent!”
All who had come around as spectators to watch the show, when they saw what actually happened, were overcome with grief and headed home. Those who knew Jesus well, along with the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a respectful distance and kept vigil.

April 7, 2019

AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS!

So I’ve spent this week in prayer and concentration on the cross and the mystery that is the life of Jesus.  As I meditate on the six hours… on the moment he committed his life to his father… it causes such a bag of mixed emotion.  At that moment, in that instant, it didn’t matter what your beliefs are.  It didn’t matter where you came from.  It didn’t matter how strong or how weak your faith is.  All that mattered was the pure outpouring of his incredible love.  All that mattered at the foot of his cross was and is the fact that out of deep love he died for you.  That love was and is for everyone.  He deserves our love and complete self in reverence for those six hours.

 

Ephesians 2:16 (MSG)

Christ brought us together through his death on the cross. The Cross got us to embrace, and that was the end of the hostility. Christ came and preached peace to you outsiders and peace to us insiders. He treated us as equals, and so made us equals. Through him we both share the same Spirit and have equal access to the Father.

 

1 John 4:7-10 (MSG)

My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God.

1 Peter 2:21-25 (MSG)

This is the kind of life you’ve been invited into, the kind of life Christ lived. He suffered everything that came his way so you would know that it could be done, and also know how to do it, step-by-step.
He never did one thing wrong,
Not once said anything amiss.
They called him every name in the book and he said nothing back. He suffered in silence, content to let God set things right. He used his servant body to carry our sins to the Cross so we could be rid of sin, free to live the right way. His wounds became your healing. You were lost sheep with no idea who you were or where you were going. Now you’re named and kept for good by the Shepherd of your souls.

1 Peter 3:18 (MSG)

It’s better to suffer for doing good, if that’s what God wants, than to be punished for doing bad. That’s what Christ did definitively: suffered because of others’ sins, the Righteous One for the unrighteous ones. He went through it all—was put to death and then made alive—to bring us to God.

 


March 31, 2019

TEACH ME PATIENCE!

Why do we look for answers with impatience?  Why do we struggle with faith not knowing for sure in our hearts that he will show up?  We worry… we get impatient… we want our way, in our time.  We look to our own understanding with no regard to his ways… his time.  We make our plans without regard to his plan or asking for his guidance.  The world has taught us to want it now.  He teaches us to be faithful and trust.   Holy spirit guide me in his ways…  in his time… that my faith may be strong.  Allow me to have an unwavering spirit as I wait patiently on him and his answers.  Lead me Oh Lord!!

 

Galatians 5:16-18 (MSG)

My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence?

Romans 5:3 (MSG)

There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!

Psalms 37:7 (MSG)

Quiet down before God,
be prayerful before him.
Don’t bother with those who climb the ladder,
who elbow their way to the top.
I can already hear one of you agreeing by saying, “Sounds good. You take care of the faith department, I’ll handle the works department.”
Not so fast. You can no more show me your works apart from your faith than I can show you my faith apart from my works. Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove.
Hebrews 11:39 (MSG)
Not one of these people, even though their lives of faith were exemplary, got their hands on what was promised. God had a better plan for us: that their faith and our faith would come together to make one completed whole, their lives of faith not complete apart from ours.

March 24, 2019

GOD HAS NO LIMITS!

Why do we insist on putting God in a box so we can understand?  When thoughts of God take us out of our comfort zone we rationalize his ways… his power… his infinite wisdom.  We try so hard to put him into terms that make sense to us.  I don’t truly understand how gravity works but I trust it.  This week I was interviewed by a science show about the formation of the world we live in.  Is it so hard to believe that the theories of the scientific world and God can coexist?  Could God not have formed the earth in a manner as to prove science and also be true to his word?  I for one will never put limits on our father and his power.  It’s not my worry to prove it one way or another.  It is simply my honor to love and trust him.

 

Colossians 1:16-17 (MSG)

We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body.
He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he’s there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.

1 Corinthians 2:12-16 (MSG)

The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along. Who ever knows what you’re thinking and planning except you yourself? The same with God—except that he not only knows what he’s thinking, but he lets us in on it. God offers a full report on the gifts of life and salvation that he is giving us. We don’t have to rely on the world’s guesses and opinions. We didn’t learn this by reading books or going to school; we learned it from God, who taught us person-to-person through Jesus, and we’re passing it on to you in the same firsthand, personal way.
The unspiritual self, just as it is by nature, can’t receive the gifts of God’s Spirit. There’s no capacity for them. They seem like so much silliness. Spirit can be known only by spirit—God’s Spirit and our spirits in open communion. Spiritually alive, we have access to everything God’s Spirit is doing, and can’t be judged by unspiritual critics. Isaiah’s question, “Is there anyone around who knows God’s Spirit, anyone who knows what he is doing?” has been answered: Christ knows, and we have Christ’s Spirit.

Proverbs 3:5 (MSG)

Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he’s the one who will keep you on track.

John 14:1 (MSG)

Don’t let this throw you. You trust God, don’t you? Trust me. There is plenty of room for you in my Father’s home. If that weren’t so, would I have told you that I’m on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I’m on my way to get your room ready, I’ll come back and get you so you can live where I live. And you already know the road I’m taking.”

 


March 17, 2019

IT’S ABOUT LOVE!

His question was “how often do you read your bible and when do you pray”?  As I ministered to his needs my simple answer was “What does it matter”?  God does not want us to keep a check list or a time table on how often we do things.  We are not making points simply by reading the word or praying for so long everyday.  As followers we have to start living and be lead in the Holy Spirit.  When we set up laws and lists. When we place demands on ourselves with regards to obedience then it becomes more about work and less about love.  It should more about love and less about rules.  Deep love for him will lead you to his word and to his side.  Not to list and record keeping.

Luke 20: 46 – 47 (MSG)

With everybody listening, Jesus spoke to his disciples. “Watch out for the religion scholars. They love to walk around in academic gowns, preen in the radiance of public flattery, bask in prominent positions, sit at the head table at every church function. And all the time they are exploiting the weak and helpless. The longer their prayers, the worse they get. But they’ll pay for it in the end.”

Galatians 5:18 (MSG)

My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence?

Galatians 5:22-25 (MSG)

But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.
Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified.
Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.
1 Corinthians 16:14 (MSG)
Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you’ve got, be resolute, and love without stopping.
Would you do me a favor, friends, and give special recognition to the family of Stephanas? You know, they were among the first converts in Greece, and they’ve put themselves out, serving Christians ever since then. I want you to honor and look up to people like that: companions and workers who show us how to do it, giving us something to aspire to.

 


March 10, 2019

DEEPER AND DEEPER!

Deeper and deeper.  I never knew that as I studied and prayed more each day that I would see his face… I would look into his eyes… his heart.  Now MY heart is not mine to keep but wholly his.  As a common man I fear that he will lose faith in me.  That he will see the ugliness of my sin and turn away.  Then I return to his face, his eyes, his heart.  I look to the promises of his word and I remember that I am in his hands.  I remember his deep abiding grace. His love.  I remember I am the lost sheep he so desperately longs for. What an amazing Savior!!

Philippians 4:23 (MSG)

Receive and experience the amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, deep, deep within yourselves.

Colossians 3:3 (MSG)

Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.

1 John 2:28 (MSG)

And now, children, stay with Christ. Live deeply in Christ. Then we’ll be ready for him when he appears, ready to receive him with open arms, with no cause for red-faced guilt or lame excuses when he arrives.

Luke 15:4 (MSG)

“Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it? When found, you can be sure you would put it across your shoulders, rejoicing, and when you got home call in your friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Celebrate with me! I’ve found my lost sheep!’ Count on it—there’s more joy in heaven over one sinner’s rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue.

2 Corinthians 4:5  (MSG)

Remember, our Message is not about ourselves; we’re proclaiming Jesus Christ, the Master. All we are is messengers, errand runners from Jesus for you. It started when God said, “Light up the darkness!” and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful.


March 3rd, 2019

WHERE IS HOPE?

Where do you find your hope?  I listened from afar and I could tell she was upset and worried. As she helped with my purchase I simply asked “I know you have a struggle how can I pray for you?”  She told me of her brain illness as she started to cry.  I told her I would pray and that God could heal her if it be his will.  I could tell her hope hung on that truth.  Hope… such an important word and emotion.  A part of our heart that allows us to live thru another day.  Hope comes from God.  Hope comes from Christ and his promises.  Hope comes from the resurrection.  Without hope the human spirit dies.  Without Jesus the same is true.  This sweet lady needs to hold on to both.  I think maybe we all should.

Hebrews 6:19 (MSG)

We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us, in the order of Melchizedek.

Matthew 11:28-29 (MSG)

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

John 14:26-27 (MSG)

I’m telling you these things while I’m still living with you. The Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all the things I have told you. I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s my parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (MSG)

All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too.


February 24, 2019

GOD IN EVERYTHING!

Where do you see God?  I use to only feel and see him is certain situations… in certain places.  I have come to realize he is everywhere.  In the music we listen to.  In the trees… in the clouds… in every part of the world around us.  He is in the  smallest of insects to the largest of animals.  He is in the smiles… the frowns… of every person we see.  He shines in everything we experience, or feel.  He made everything and is a part of each person no matter where, no matter who.  We were made in his image so that our soul and spirit will know him. Regardless of whether we acknowledge it or not.  Delight in that assurance.

Colossians 1:17 (MSG)

We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body.

Acts 17:27 (MSG)

“The God who made the world and everything in it, this Master of sky and land, doesn’t live in custom-made shrines or need the human race to run errands for him, as if he couldn’t take care of himself. He makes the creatures; the creatures don’t make him. Starting from scratch, he made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark but actually find him. He doesn’t play hide-and-seek with us. He’s not remote; he’s near. We live and move in him, can’t get away from him! One of your poets said it well: ‘We’re the God-created.’ Well, if we are the God-created, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to think we could hire a sculptor to chisel a god out of stone for us, does it?

Joshua 1:9 (MSG)

And don’t for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed. Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.”

And don’t for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed. Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.”

Matthew 28:20 (MSG)

Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”

1 Corinthians 3:16 (MSG)

You realize, don’t you, that you are the temple of God, and God himself is present in you? No one will get by with vandalizing God’s temple, you can be sure of that. God’s temple is sacred—and you, remember, are the temple.
18-20Don’t fool yourself. Don’t think that you can be wise merely by being up-to-date with the times. Be God’s fool—that’s the path to true wisdom. What the world calls smart, God calls stupid. It’s written in Scripture,

February 17, 2019

DEFINING YOURSELF!

His question, that I have been asked a hundred times in my life was simply: “what do you do”?  How many of us would have the courage to answer: “I worship God every chance I get and I share his story with everyone”! Just like always we judge our lives and others based on what we do for a living.  Just like always I answered as everyone does by telling him how I earn money.  If we are going to live authentic lives. Lives of worship to Jesus. Lives of service to others. Don’t you think its time to move beyond our daily tasks?  Time to move beyond defining ourselves by what we do and define ourselves by the one who made us.

Ephesians 1:11 (MSG)

It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.

Romans 8:15 (MSG)

This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!

1 Corinthians 10:31 (MSG)

So eat your meals heartily, not worrying about what others say about you—you’re eating to God’s glory, after all, not to please them. As a matter of fact, do everything that way, heartily and freely to God’s glory. At the same time, don’t be callous in your exercise of freedom, thoughtlessly stepping on the toes of those who aren’t as free as you are. I try my best to be considerate of everyone’s feelings in all these matters; I hope you will be, too.

1 Peter 4:10-11 (MSG)

Everything in the world is about to be wrapped up, so take nothing for granted. Stay wide-awake in prayer. Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything—encores to the end of time. Oh, yes!

Galatians 5:13-26 (MSG)

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?

 


November 9th,  2017

LET GO AND LET GOD!

I watched as she ran around the store with a look of despair.  She was simply a customer but her stress level was unmeasurable.  I wondered, as I silently prayed for her, if she ever knows peace? Does she ever let go and let God?  Do any of us?  So many times I have tried to let go and let God but I always have a plan B.  If we have a plan B are we truly trusting our father?   Why do we feel as though we always have to be in control?  Why do we always believe that things should go smoothly?  Trust…such a small word but so important.  We need to completely let go and let God.  He expects us to trust him with everything.  When we do, we will find that he has been carrying us, when we didn’t even realize it.

Philippians 4:6-8

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

Luke 12:22-26

He continued this subject with his disciples. “Don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or if the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your inner life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the ravens, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, carefree in the care of God. And you count far more.

Romans 15:13

Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!

Psalm 118:6-7

Pushed to the wall, I called to God;
from the wide open spaces, he answered.
God’s now at my side and I’m not afraid;
who would dare lay a hand on me?
God’s my strong champion;
I flick off my enemies like flies.
Far better to take refuge in God
than trust in people;
Far better to take refuge in God
than trust in celebrities.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all.
Run to God! Run from evil!

 

1 Corinthians 12:4

God’s various gifts are handed out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. God’s various ministries are carried out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. God’s various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God himself is behind it all. Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! The variety is wonderful:

Acts 10:34

Peter fairly exploded with his good news: “It’s God’s own truth, nothing could be plainer: God plays no favorites! It makes no difference who you are or where you’re from—if you want God and are ready to do as he says, the door is open. The Message he sent to the children of Israel—that through Jesus Christ everything is being put together again—well, he’s doing it everywhere, among everyone.

Ephesians 5:1

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


October 29th, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

HE WILL FIND US!

I couldn’t take my eyes from them.As I watched my grandkids play in the park I felt uneasy at the thought of them being lost or taken.So much so that nothing else mattered at the time.Them being with me and their safety was all that concerned me.Then I thought of how Jesus feels about his children that are lost.How he must worry and be consumed with grief.I think of how much it must tear at his heart and how at times it is all that matters to him.If my children were lost I would do anything, ANYTHING, to get them back.So would and did our Savior-Its called The Cross!!

 

Luke 15:1-3

By this time a lot of men and women of doubtful reputation were hanging around Jesus, listening intently. The Pharisees and religion scholars were not pleased, not at all pleased. They growled, “He takes in sinners and eats meals with them, treating them like old friends.” Their grumbling triggered this story.
“Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it? When found, you can be sure you would put it across your shoulders, rejoicing, and when you got home call in your friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Celebrate with me! I’ve found my lost sheep!’ Count on it—there’s more joy in heaven over one sinner’s rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue.

Jeremiah 29:11-14

This is God’s Word on the subject: “As soon as Babylon’s seventy years are up and not a day before, I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.
“When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen.
“When you come looking for me, you’ll find me.
Then he said, “There was once a man who had two sons. The younger said to his father, ‘Father, I want right now what’s coming to me.’
“So the father divided the property between them. It wasn’t long before the younger son packed his bags and left for a distant country. There, undisciplined and dissipated, he wasted everything he had. After he had gone through all his money, there was a bad famine all through that country and he began to hurt. He signed on with a citizen there who assigned him to his fields to slop the pigs. He was so hungry he would have eaten the corn-cobs in the pig slop, but no one would give him any.
“That brought him to his senses. He said, ‘All those farmhands working for my father sit down to three meals a day, and here I am starving to death. I’m going back to my father. I’ll say to him, Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son. Take me on as a hired hand.’ He got right up and went home to his father.
“When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him. The son started his speech: ‘Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son ever again.’
“But the father wasn’t listening. He was calling to the servants, ‘Quick. Bring a clean set of clothes and dress him. Put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then get a grain-fed heifer and roast it. We’re going to feast! We’re going to have a wonderful time! My son is here—given up for dead and now alive! Given up for lost and now found!’ And they began to have a wonderful time.
“All this time his older son was out in the field. When the day’s work was done he came in. As he approached the house, he heard the music and dancing. Calling over one of the houseboys, he asked what was going on. He told him, ‘Your brother came home. Your father has ordered a feast—barbecued beef!—because he has him home safe and sound.’
“The older brother stalked off in an angry sulk and refused to join in. His father came out and tried to talk to him, but he wouldn’t listen. The son said, ‘Look how many years I’ve stayed here serving you, never giving you one moment of grief, but have you ever thrown a party for me and my friends? Then this son of yours who has thrown away your money on whores shows up and you go all out with a feast!’
31-32“His father said, ‘Son, you don’t understand. You’re with me all the time, and everything that is mine is yours—but this is a wonderful time, and we had to celebrate. This brother of yours was dead, and he’s alive! He was lost, and he’s found!’”

Luke 15:8-10

“Or imagine a woman who has ten coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and scour the house, looking in every nook and cranny until she finds it? And when she finds it you can be sure she’ll call her friends and neighbors: ‘Celebrate with me! I found my lost coin!’ Count on it—that’s the kind of party God’s angels throw every time one lost soul turns to God.”

 


 


October 29th, 2017

KNOWING ME IS NOT ENOUGH!

But Lord I studied your scripture daily.  I know you did son… but where is the love?  I attended your worship weekly.  I know you did… but where is the love?  But I gave more than my share of your money.  I know… but where is the love?  I worked in your fields to help.  I know… but where is the love.  None of that matters without pure, unbridled love for others. Like I give to you.  Did you do all of that simply because you love ME? That’s easy!  More important did you love my flock as much, if not more, than you loved yourself?  Without unmeasurable love for all of my children the rest is without meaning.  Why is it so hard to pass on what I freely give to you?

 

John 13:34-35

Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”

Matthew 22:27-39

When the Pharisees heard how he had bested the Sadducees, they gathered their forces for an assault. One of their religion scholars spoke for them, posing a question they hoped would show him up: “Teacher, which command in God’s Law is the most important?”
Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”

1 John 4:20

God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.
We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.
If anyone boasts, “I love God,” and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both.

THE PACKAGE!

As I walked teary eyed out of a five hundred year old church in Chile I encounter a courtyard full of street entertainers wanting money to perform. I immediately thought of the money changers that Christ lashed out at. Then I wondered what he thinks of all the pretentious things we do in his name. How we build large churches to attract souls but then offer little love. We fill them with beautiful things but we offer no acceptance. We make sure everything is just right but we don’t show the compassion of the one whom we built it for. The lost and hungry simply want bread, no matter the package.

October 8th, 2017

Matthew 21:12

Jesus went straight to the Temple and threw out everyone who had set up shop, buying and selling. He kicked over the tables of loan sharks and the stalls of dove merchants. He quoted this text:
My house was designated a house of prayer;
You have made it a hangout for thieves.
Now there was room for the blind and crippled to get in. They came to Jesus and he healed them.

Philippians 2:1-3

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

Matthew 14:13-21

When Jesus got the news, he slipped away by boat to an out-of-the-way place by himself. But unsuccessfully—someone saw him and the word got around. Soon a lot of people from the nearby villages walked around the lake to where he was. When he saw them coming, he was overcome with pity and healed their sick.
15Toward evening the disciples approached him. “We’re out in the country and it’s getting late. Dismiss the people so they can go to the villages and get some supper.”
16But Jesus said, “There is no need to dismiss them. You give them supper.”
17“All we have are five loaves of bread and two fish,” they said.
18-21Jesus said, “Bring them here.” Then he had the people sit on the grass. He took the five loaves and two fish, lifted his face to heaven in prayer, blessed, broke, and gave the bread to the disciples. The disciples then gave the food to the congregation. They all ate their fill. They gathered twelve baskets of leftovers. About five thousand were fed.

October 1st, 2017

HUMBLE YOURSELF!

As I stand beside the ocean in Chile I feel so incredibly small.  Do you ever think that God made such grandeur in the oceans… the mountains… as a way to humble us? As a way to say don’t feel more important than you really are. We are to humble ourselves to each other. We are to humble ourselves before God. As we do, we will be made bigger in every way, where it counts the most.  In his kingdom.

 

 

Matthew 23:12

“Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you’ll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.

Romans 12:3

I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.

James 4:10

So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.

 


THROW AWAY THE BOX!

Everything about Jesus life says… step out of your comfort zone.  His virgin birth.  His resurrection. Everything in-between.  He knew no box and taught us to think differently. When others were saying hate, he was saying love.  When others wanted to fight, he said love your enemy. Do you think Peter, John and James felt comfortable when a total stranger asked them to follow?  If we are to follow… to serve, we have to throw away the box and love the unlovable.  We have to throw away the box and forgive, the unforgivable.   We have to look beyond the surface and see the heart.  We can do it but only with the spirit.  The spirit of Christ that lives within us.

September 24th, 2017

1 John 2:15-17

Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.

Colossians 3:2

So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from hisperspective.

1 Corinthians 2:13

The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along. Who ever knows what you’re thinking and planning except you yourself? The same with God—except that he not only knows what he’s thinking, but he lets us in on it. God offers a full report on the gifts of life and salvation that he is giving us. We don’t have to rely on the world’s guesses and opinions. We didn’t learn this by reading books or going to school; we learned it from God, who taught us person-to-person through Jesus, and we’re passing it on to you in the same firsthand, personal way.

 


September 17th, 2017

SEE JESUS IN HIS CHILDREN!

So many times I close my eyes and I see his face.  As I pray I see the face of our Savior.  As I focus on his word I see his heart.  Then I open my eyes and I realize… I see his face in  my beautiful wife.  I see his face in my children.  I see his face in the homeless person on the corner.  I see his face in my friends and the people I work with.  We were made in his image for the purpose of showing his love… his compassion to the world.  As we share his love with those we encounter.  As we share his compassion with others,  we will be changed into what he intended us to be

Colossians 3:10    Don’t lie to one another. You’re done with that old life. It’s like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you’ve stripped off and put in the fire. Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete. Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing. From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ.

Galatians 4:19   It is a good thing to be ardent in doing good, but not just when I am in your presence. Can’t you continue the same concern for both my person and my message when I am away from you that you had when I was with you? Do you know how I feel right now, and will feel until Christ’s life becomes visible in your lives? Like a mother in the pain of childbirth. Oh, I keep wishing that I was with you. Then I wouldn’t be reduced to this blunt, letter-writing language out of sheer frustration.

Romans 12:2     So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

2 Corinthians 5:17     Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.

 


September 10th, 2017

HAUNTING IMAGE!!

There is an image that haunts me at times and today was one of those days.  When this image controls my thoughts I can’t stop the tears.  I can’t stop the pain.  They spat on him.  My Jesus. The one whom I love more than anyone was spat on.  They beat him beyond recognition.  The one whom I love was beaten.  They thrust thorns into his scalp.  The one whom I love winced in pain at the thorns.  They drove nails thru his wrist, his feet.  The one I love cried out in pain because of the nails.  I cry because I can’t bare the image without hurt.  Without pain and tears.  I cry because when I say they, I really mean me.  The one I love the most endured for me.  For you.  Forgive us Lord!!!   What an amazing Savior!!

 

1 Peter 2:8-25     Welcome to the living Stone, the source of life. The workmen took one look and threw it out; God set it in the place of honor. Present yourselves as building stones for the construction of a sanctuary vibrant with life, in which you’ll serve as holy priests offering Christ-approved lives up to God.

1 Peter 4:1     Since Jesus went through everything you’re going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you’ll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.

1 Peter 4:12-14     Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.

John 15:18 – 19     “If you find the godless world is hating you, remember it got its start hating me. If you lived on the world’s terms, the world would love you as one of its own. But since I picked you to live on God’s terms and no longer on the world’s terms, the world is going to hate you.

 


September 5th, 2017

GOD’S TIMING!

I often wonder about the timing of God.  A thousand years is of a day to him.  How can we ever come to understand that concept.  We pray and we want it to happen today.  We pray and we want it to happen our way.  There are times we need to knock down the walls of our mind and open our hearts to the wonder that is our father.  We have to understand that his timing is best and his way is best.  Then at other moments, because he loves us so, he will operate on our time, in our way.  Simply to let us know how deep his affection is.  To simply say, I understand, I care, and I am always here.  What an unbelievable God

 

2 Peter 3:8     Don’t overlook the obvious here, friends. With God, one day is as good as a thousand years, a thousand years as a day. God isn’t late with his promise as some measure lateness. He is restraining himself on account of you, holding back the End because he doesn’t want anyone lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change.

Acts 1:7     He told them, “You don’t get to know the time. Timing is the Father’s business. What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.”

Romans 8:28     Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

Galations 6:9      So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.

Proverbs 3:5 – 6     Trust God from the bottom of your heart;  don’t try to figure out everything on your own.  Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;  he’s the one who will keep you on track.  Don’t assume that you know it all.  Run to God! Run from evil!  Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life!


August 29th, 2017

DO WE HAVE TO CLEAN THE FISH?

Why do we have trouble meeting people right where they are?  It seems we want to clean the fish before we catch them.   Jesus, on the other hand, meets us in the midst of our dirt and filth .  He takes us for who we are, then when the time is right,  he enters our soul, and changes our being.  He fills our heart with his love and walks with us thru the fire, the storm.  He holds us in his arms and comforts without judgement. Without condemnation.  Without accountability.  He looks us in the eye and without hesitation says, don’t worry about your dirt. Don’t be concerned with your sin.  I’ve got this because I love you!!   What an amazing Savior!!

 

Luke 7:36-50     One of the Pharisees asked him over for a meal. He went to the Pharisee’s house and sat down at the dinner table. Just then a woman of the village, the town harlot, having learned that Jesus was a guest in the home of the Pharisee, came with a bottle of very expensive perfume and stood at his feet, weeping, raining tears on his feet. Letting down her hair, she dried his feet, kissed them, and anointed them with the perfume. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man was the prophet I thought he was, he would have known what kind of woman this is who is falling all over him.”   ———  He ignored them and said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

Ephesians 2     It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.

Matthew 7:1     “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.

Matthew 11:28     “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Romans 12:10     Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.

 


IMAGINE JESUS PAIN!

Have you ever wondered what it feels like to be spat on?  Can you even imagine what it feels like to be beaten to the point that your muscles are torn and bone is exposed. Do you know what it feels like to have thorns thrust into your head. To have your beard ripped out by hand. Imagine the pain of having large nails driven thru the bones in your wrist and the bones of your feet. Picture not being able to catch your breath not even for a minute.   Now imagine that you knew it was coming this Friday and you can’t stop it because you love to deeply.   He had not a second thought because he loves us that much!

August 29, 2017

Mark 15: 1-40      At dawn’s first light, the high priests, with the religious leaders and scholars, arranged a conference with the entire Jewish Council. After tying Jesus securely, they took him out and presented him to Pilate.    But Jesus, with a loud cry, gave his last breath. At that moment the Temple curtain ripped right down the middle. When the Roman captain standing guard in front of him saw that he had quit breathing, he said, “This has to be the Son of God!”

John 3:16    “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.

 


August 29th, 2017

SLOW DOWN – SHOW LOVE!

I saw him on a corner in Fort Worth.  He couldn’t have been more than 18 yrs old, dirty, ragged, and begging for money.  It’s been almost a week and he still stays on my heart and I pray for him daily.  I was in to big a hurry to stop and help him.  I pray God forgives me for that.  Seeing him has left a huge hole in my heart as it always does.  What happened? What put him there? Where is his future?Luke 10:25 is the story of the good samaritan.  Love your neighbor as yourself  This young man is my neighbor and a child of God and I didn’t take the time to love him.  I pray I am never that busy again and I pray the same for you!!.  Never neglect loving someone, no matter who they are!!

 

Luke 10:25 – 37   Just then a religion scholar stood up with a question to test Jesus. “Teacher, what do I need to do to get eternal life?” He answered, “What’s written in God’s Law? How do you interpret it?”He said, “That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence—and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself.” “Good answer!” said Jesus. “Do it and you’ll live.” Looking for a loophole, he asked, “And just how would you define ‘neighbor’?” Jesus answered by telling a story. “There was once a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead. Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the other side. Then a Levite religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man. “A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable. In the morning he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill—I’ll pay you on my way back.’ “What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?” “The one who treated him kindly,” the religion scholar responded.  Jesus said, “Go and do the same.”

John 13:34   “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”

Galations 5:13   It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?

 


CHRIST SEES THE HEART!

This week, as I visited a young man in jail that I mentor, I thought of how easy it is to let Satan enter our thoughts.  It is so easy for us to think that because we count our life style as correct we are better than others.  Then my heart thought of how Christ sees me.  He looks beyond the disappointments.  He looks beyond the mistakes.  He looks beyond the daily sin and peers straight into my heart.  He looks to see if I have compassion for those that are different then me.  He looks to see if I have forgiveness.  He looks to see if I have empathy and love for others.  He sees us all as his children and loves us equally.  I can’t wait to sit at Jesus’s feet, along with the young man I visited in jail, and feel the warmth of his embrace and hear him say “I am proud of you

August 29, 2017

1 Timothy 1:14-16       But I was treated mercifully because I didn’t know what I was doing—didn’t know Who I was doing it against! Grace mixed with faith and love poured over me and into me. And all because of Jesus. I’m so grateful to Christ Jesus for making me adequate to do this work. He went out on a limb, you know, in trusting me with this ministry. The only credentials I brought to it were invective and witch hunts and arrogance. But I was treated mercifully because I didn’t know what I was doing—didn’t know Who I was doing it against! Grace mixed with faith and love poured over me and into me. And all because of Jesus. Here’s a word you can take to heart and depend on: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. I’m proof—Public Sinner Number One—of someone who could never have made it apart from sheer mercy. And now he shows me off—evidence of his endless patience—to those who are right on the edge of trusting him forever. Deep honor and bright glory to the King of All Time— One God, Immortal, Invisible, ever and always. Oh, yes! I’m passing this work on to you, my son Timothy. The prophetic word that was directed to you prepared us for this. All those prayers are coming together now so you will do this well, fearless in your struggle, keeping a firm grip on your faith and on yourself. After all, this is a fight we’re in. Here’s a word you can take to heart and depend on: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. I’m proof—Public Sinner Number One—of someone who could never have made it apart from sheer mercy. And now he shows me off—evidence of his endless patience—to those who are right on the edge of trusting him forever. Deep honor and bright glory to the King of All Time— One God, Immortal, Invisible, ever and always. Oh, yes! I’m passing this work on to you, my son Timothy. The prophetic word that was directed to you prepared us for this. All those prayers are coming together now so you will do this well, fearless in your struggle, keeping a firm grip on your faith and on yourself. After all, this is a fight we’re in. Here’s a word you can take to heart and depend on: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. I’m proof—Public Sinner Number One—of someone who could never have made it apart from sheer mercy. And now he shows me off—evidence of his endless patience—to those who are right on the edge of trusting him forever. 

Galations 5:24-26      Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified.  Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.

2 Corinthians 5:21        ‘How? you ask. In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.’

Romans 8:1      ‘With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death. With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.’


BE THE LIGHT!

We were chosen and made by God to be the object of his love and affection. It seems that mankind has trampled on and squandered that most precious gift. In the midst of all the darkness we are surrounded by we need to be a people who will not be bound by satan’s follies. We need to be a people who will not lose faith in a world that seems so lost. As Christ believers we must be the brightest shining light in what seems like so much darkness.

August 29th,  2017

 

Matthew 5:14 – 16       “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

1 Peter 2:9     But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.

1 John 3:1      What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are. But that’s also why the world doesn’t recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he’s up to.

Galations 5:22 – 23      ‘But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified.’