Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Tuesday's Thoughts

1 Peter 5:6-7: “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (NKJV)

I had originally planned to share some post-Thanksgiving thoughts today but the Spirit would not given me the liberty to follow my plan. I am burdened this morning concerning the needs of so many people. I am reminded about these needs on a daily basis and the previous words are not meant to complain or cast any aspersions on the people that I engage in conversation. I consider myself an intercessor and intercessors are called and challenged to pray for the needs of others. I am thankful that God has given me the opportunity to pray for the needs of others. I am writing these words to remind each of you that the needs people are facing are real and the people facing these needs are real. Let me also add that many of these individuals enjoy a "healthy" relationship with Christ. 

But I also believe that the Spirit presented me with this "familiar" passage of scripture that renewed my hope and I believe the Word will be used to renew your hope in the midst of your daily challenges. Each of us need hope in some area of our life. Each of us are looking to God in some specific areas of our lives. Each of us have requests/needs that are very heavy on our heart day after day. I don't think that a heavy or concerned heart testifies that we don't have faith. I believe it testifies and reminds us that we are human beings and that we do not have the answer and that we are not able to solve the problem. 

DO NOT ALLOW THE FAMILIARITY OF THIS SCRIPTURE IN 1 PETER 5 KEEP YOU FROM HEARING THE POWERFUL PROMISE THAT GOD OFFERS US!!! He (God) reminds us and He (God) invites us to cast all of our cares upon Him. He even tells us the reason that that we can take this step of faith. HE CARES FOR YOU AND ME!!! 

Now it is my (your) responsibility to take the appropriate steps and take the appropriate actions by doing what God has invited us to do. I encourage you to join with me in bringing all of our cares/worries/anxieties/fears/battles/struggles/heartache/heartbreak/disillusionment/frustration/dis-appointment in ourselves as well as others/etc. and cast them upon Him. I feel better already and I am sure that you will feel that same sense of relief and strength.

PS: This post is dedicated to our special friend who is facing surgery tomorrow as well as any other individual who may be facing an unique challenge today or tomorrow. Blessings on all of you!!!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Cyber Monday Challenge

Colossians 2:6-7, As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. (NKJV)

We have turned the calendar on Thanksgiving and we are moving full steam ahead toward Christmas. Although I must say that many of us have seen the "signs" of Christmas since September or October. It seems the modern American business culture is always prepared to offer us the best deal or the best price on the latest toy, technical gadget, style of clothes, new automobile, truck or SUV, etc. that humanity has ever seen. The sad part of my previous statement is in the fact that many of us will fall prey to this tactic because we believe that these "possessions" will either bring happiness to us or to someone that we love. And in some cases these deals are meant to cause both the purchaser of the gift as well as the recipient of the gift receive great pleasure and happiness from this purchase. But let's be honest with each other for a moment. Isn't it true that even the greatest measure of satisfaction is only temporary at its very best? Over a period of time and with the use of the gift or even the non-use of the gift the glitter and the glitz that accompanied the gift has soon disappeared.

Do not jump to any conclusion about this post before you read the full content. I am not the reincarnation of Mr. Scrooge. I share gifts with family and friends. I enjoy receiving gifts from my family and friends. I enjoy the "celebration" of Christmas but I am concerned how easily the meaning of Christmas is lost in all of the pretty paper, elegant decorations, wonderful sales and even the events of Christmas. 

It seems that each year we have to fight a little harder and pay even closer attention to our desire to keep the birth of Christ, the Savior of the world as the central theme of the celebration. Our schedules have already began to be filled with many events which are very wholesome and very enjoyable. I plan on enjoying these events but I realize that they will only provide me a temporary respite from the challenges of daily life. Life will continue after the food has been devoured. Life will continue once the smiles and laughter have subsided. Life will continue once the last guest has departed. And life will continue once the lights have been turned out. Let me add that I believe that God can use the above mentioned events as a "mental vacation" from the challenges of life. 

But the Apostle Paul reminded the Colossians that because they had received Christ they were given the opportunity to "walk in Him." Oh the joy of knowing that "we are in Christ and that Christ is in us." This is not just a temporary reprieve but it is an eternal promise. Enjoy your walk in Christ during the upcoming days of your life.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving Greetings

Today's blog post will be different. I am going to share the letter that I sent to our church family today. The Spirit dealt with my heart this week concerning the need to focus on the things that are important and not to allow the unimportant events of life to capture all of my time. Each of us consistently talk about how quickly our life is disappearing. A day soon becomes a week; a week becomes a month; a month becomes a year and the years soon become a life time. I want to recognize those "good" moments as well as those "God" moments that have taken place during my time on planet Earth. My life is passing quickly but I am truly thankful for all of those wonderful people that God has placed in my life. I trust the following words cause you to stop, think and take action concerning the blessings that have come from God!!

Good morning on this day before Thanksgiving!! 

Ann and I wanted to take this opportunity and use this means to let you know that you are in our thoughts and prayers today. You have played a significant role in our lives and we are truly thankful that God has allowed our paths of life to intersect with each other. We pray that God will bless and encourage you as you celebrate with your family and friends on Thursday
Ann is planning a wonderful meal for tomorrow and I am looking forward to that very much. But let me remind you that the food you eat will not be as important as the people who are present to share the meal with you. We need to remember the important things and that is a challenge in this modern day and time. Status, occupation, possessions, finances, and selfishness is very evident in today's modern culture. But all of that "stuff" (Bro. Kenny's word of reminder) is only temporary and will disappear quickly enough. But love for one another and love to one another will endure the trials, battles, struggles and challenges of life. Take a moment tomorrow, look around the room and thank God for the wonderful people that God has placed in your life. Many of those special people will not be able to share a meal with you but they are deeply embedded in your memory bank. Take a few minutes and travel down the road of your memories and allow God to encourage and strengthen you.  I understand that life has given us memories of difficult moments but life has also given us many wonderful memories in which our lives were enriched by those people that God had deposited in our journey through life.
I wanted to share a passage of scripture with you. This Word of God has been speaking to me for the past few days and I felt that it could more appropriately express the feelings that we have in our heart for you and the impact that you have made in our lives. These words come from a prayer of thanksgiving through the pen of the Apostle Paul.
Philippians 1:3-11,  Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy,  for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now.  And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.  So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. You share with me the special favor of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News.  God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus.  I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.  10 For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return.  11 May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God. (NLT)

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Pre-Thanksgiving Scriptures

I truly enjoy sharing my heart with you through the various posts in which I share my thoughts, ideas, and inspiration. In many ways these moments of sharing open up a small window to what I sense God doing in my personal life. I truly desire to be a servant of God that maintains a desire to please God and a servant that continually seeks to learn more about the heart of the Master that I am serving. I am not offended at the word "Master" and the word "servant." I am truly THANKFUL that God has called me to serve Him and I am determined to offer my best to the Lord on a daily basis.

I feel led to share these scripture passages with you this morning. I truly believe that the Word of God will speak life to us and the Word of God will bring the revelation of Truth to our hearts. His Word will direct our steps and His Word will light our path. The Word of God will also cause us to remember those principles that the enemy seeks to erase and remove from our spiritual memory bank. Take a moment and ponder on these scriptures and ask the Spirit to reveal what God is desires to say to you today.

Philippians 4:4-7, "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

Psalm 103:1-5, “Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (NKJV)

Psalm 150:1-6, Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty firmament! Praise Him for His mighty acts; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness! Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; Praise Him with the lute and harp! Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes! Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!(NKJV)


Friday, November 18, 2016

Humor on Friday

Proverbs 17:22: A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.(NJKV)
Psalm 126:2-3, Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them. The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.(NKJV)
I believe this is the first time that I have made an intentional attempt to share some humor on this blog. I have been accused of being too serious on several occasions in my life and that I need to "loosen up" and relax. I will attempt that today via this blog. I really enjoy having fun and even laughing from time to time. I can remember times in my life that I truly needed what I have heard referenced as a "belly laugh." That term described a laugh that came from deep within our soul and it served as a temporary reprieve from the challenges of daily life. 
I truly sensed the Spirit dealing with my heart that someone today may need the "stress reliever" that a little humor may bring. The passages that I have shared today remind us of the importance to allow things that are merry and things that can bring laughter to our lives to play an important role in our lives. This is a very stressful world in which we live under daily pressures to succeed, to be productive at our job and to fulfill our responsibilities on a consistent basis. Let's face it; all of us need some "stress relief" from time to time. Here is my attempt to bring a smile to your face today. 
A dear sister in Christ who attends our local church shared this story with me a few days ago. You may have already read it or heard it but take a moment and allow your mind to drift away from your daily routine and allow yourselves a "laughter break."
A woman had just returned to her home from an evening of church services , when she was startled by an intruder. She caught the man in the act of robbing her home of its valuables and yelled: 'Stop! Acts 2:38!' (Repent and be Baptized, in the name of Jesus Christ , so that your sins may be forgiven.) The burglar stopped in his tracks. The woman calmly called the police and explained what she had done. As the officer cuffed the man to take him in, he asked the burglar: 'Why did you just stand there? All the old lady did was yell a scripture to you.' 'Scripture?' replied the burglar.. 'She said she had an Axe and Two 38s!' Send this to someone who needs a laugh today and remember: Knowing scripture can save your life - in more ways than one!


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Thoughts on Thursday

First, I want to share some thoughts of Adrian Rogers. I read them this morning in one of my devotional readings. They corelated with a discussion that we had in a Discipleship class last night. I wanted you to read Pastor Roger's insights and then I will share some of the conversation from last night. 

Proverbs 27:1, “Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.I read some research by psychologist William Morriston who reported that 94% of the 3,000 persons he surveyed were enduring today in order to get to tomorrow. Do you know anyone like that? Perhaps you are one of those. Tomorrow, you’re going on vacation. Tomorrow, you’re going to get the house cleaned. Tomorrow, you’re going to start your diet. Tomorrow, you’re going to balance your checkbook. Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow. The only problem is...tomorrow never arrives. When it gets here, it is today. And today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday. It is always today. Act accordingly!" (Adrian Rogers)

Our Christian Education Director recently concluded leading us in a study of the Book of Esther. We have been following up the study with times of discussion in which we talk about the application of truth to our individual lives. I believe the Bible only reaches its full effectiveness in our lives when we take the action of applying the truth to our lives. I believe that there are times that we allow the truth to "fall through the cracks" in our lives because we fail to live it out on a DAILY BASIS.

One of the students raised the possibility that we become so concerned with the future that we fail to take notice of today (I am paraphrasing her words but I do think that summarizes the thought that was presented to us.). Each of us have been so worried about tomorrow that we were ineffective in our daily walk of life. Fear, concern, worry, playing the "what if game" can bring a state of "paralysis" to our lives. Some of us live for all the "big moments" so much that we miss the daily opportunities that God places in front of us. This is not an "anti-planning" or an "anti-being prepared" blog. But it is my attempt to remind us that we can look so far down the road that we fail to enjoy the journey that God has directed for our lives. 

Yes, there was a time in which the purpose of Esther's life was revealed when she was able to stand in the gap for her people. BUT to reach that point she had to live her daily life to the best of her ability. Is it possible that the "great" days of our lives are the culmination of all of the faithful days that we have lived? In the Bible Cornelius was told that his "prayers had been heard and that his alms had been remembered in the sight of God." (Acts 10:31)


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Thoughts on Tuesday

Philippians 4:6-7, Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.(NKJV)

I am thankful that God has provided us a "spiritual vehicle" that assists us in our navigation of the challenging times in which we are living. I am honest when I declare that I am very much concerned about the challenges that we are facing in America. There is such an undercurrent of "restlessness" in our nation. I am sure that many of the people who are experiencing this restlessness have what they surmise to be a "reasonable" explanation for their anxiety and they may even use this explanation to defend their actions or even their lack of action. I am not attempting to speak for them but I am writing today to speak for myself.

I am thankful that God has initiated the process that we call prayer and supplication. I will be honest and say that the enemy of our soul has done everything in his power to eliminate the understanding of prayer and supplication within the family of God. Many of us are familiar with the terms "Prayer Warriors or Intercessors." I define these brothers and sisters in Christ as individuals of various ages who feel a burden to pray for the needs of others. These are spiritual people who recognize the spiritual warfare that is taking place and they make a willful decision to engage our adversary through intercessory prayer and supplication. I personally know many of these individuals who are choosing this "lifestyle" of prayer because they recognize the victories that can be won through the intervention of the Lord God Almighty!!! 

I believe that during these times of prayer and supplication that God replaces our anxiousness, restlessness, fear, etc. with His "peace which surpasses all understanding." I understand and have identified some of the strategies of the enemy but I still believe that Christ is our Peace and that He is fully capable of bringing rest to this generation. I refuse to give up on the work of God being completed in this day and time in which we are living. I fully understand that there is a great battle between good and evil. I am not blind to this point of attack. I see it at work on a daily basis in America as a nation but I also see the effects in the lives of people that I am called to serve.