Monday, February 27, 2017

Monday's Musings

Good afternoon from Louisville! Today I choose to celebrate a Risen Savior that is actively involved in my life and my personal journey through this world. These words from a song came into my mind as I am typing these words; "I have a friend in Jesus, He is everything to me..." Aren't you glad that you and I can lay claim to the the fact that Jesus Christ is our friend as well as our personal Savior?

March 1st is Ash Wednesday. This day signifies the beginning of Lent. Lent in my opinion becomes a wonderful opportunity for each of us to evaluate, appreciate and use these 40 days to examine OUR PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD!! I know that it is easier to take an in-depth look at the lives of others but Lent calls us (me) to take an in-depth look at our lives as individual believers. I can very easily examine your life and point out areas that I believe needs either changing or improvement. But will I be this honest with myself as opposed to being that honest and open with you about your walk with Christ?

This post is not meant to criticize or scrutinize anyone's relationship with God. I should have began this post with this disclaimer. "Realize that I sincerely and truly believe that God is calling EACH ONE OF US TO A MORE INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM!! In my opinion far too many believers are settling for a surface relationship with God rather than an intimate, life changing encounter with Jesus Christ. Is my relationship with Christ passive or active? Am I seeking to develop my relationship with God or have I grown content with the status quo of my relationship?This is not about making you and I doubt our salvation but it is about challenging us to enter into that "abundant life" that Jesus spoke about in John 10." 

Prayer for Lent: "Dear God, let our lives be lived in a manner that reveals the fact that our walk with Christ is more than just an assortment of religious words that we have learned to memorize!!"

1 John 3:18, "My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth." (NKJV)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Monday's Musings, Part 2

I will will begin with these same words of Jesus that I shared yesterday. Matthew 22:37, "Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ (Emphasis Added)

I continue to be challenged with this question, "Is my love for Jesus Christ defined as being casual or is it defined as being passionate." I am writing these words from a heart of introspection and not a heart that is simply seeking affirmation from others. It is good to know what others think of our journey with Christ but it is far important to know what God thinks of our Christian journey. Does God see me as a passionate follower of His or does He see me as a casual follower of Him? Is it possible that my words can say one thing but my actions can portray another perspective? 

I do not want to sound harsh, critical or judgmental when I ask you to think with me concerning these concerns of mine. I am just convinced that I am going to need a deeper, stronger, and more passionate relationship with God as we continue to move forward into the future. We are unsure of the future events but there are two facts that we do know is real; we know that God will be present and we also know that the enemy of our soul will do all in his power of overthrow our faith. I am determined to reach into the armory of God's weaponry and receive the weapons I need to defeat, rebuke, resist and overcome the strategies of the enemy that will rise against me. 

I encourage you to take the time and notice the word "with" in the words of Jesus. Jesus did not use the word "when"; He used the word "with." I believe that far too many believers are using the word "when" in reference to their passionate love for God. I will love Him "when" my life is not as hectic as it is now. I will love God "when" I have gotten my life in order and taken care of certain sins or activities that I am practicing. I will love God "when" it is easier and there is not as much going on in my life. I will love God "when" it is more convenient and I am not as busy with life. I will love God "when" I have gotten a better job or once I have gotten married. I will serve God "when" the timing is right. It is just not the right time for me to get involved in all of this "God stuff and church stuff..."

I could continue writing these sentences all day. I have heard many "reasons" over the years as to the reason why people do not have time for God in their lives. I understand that life is challenging. Take a moment and look at the people in the Bible who chose to follow God. Their lives were also full of challenges, struggles and decisions that they had to make. Yet they found the strength, courage, resolve and passion to pursue their relationship with God. 

Jesus' life on earth was not a "bed of roses" yet He persevered until the final day when He LAID DOWN HIS LIFE ON THE CROSS FOR YOU AND FOR ME!! Was His death convenient? Was His death easy? Did He wait for a better day or a day with less stress or challenges? It was the Love that Christ possessed for humanity that led Him to the cross to die for our sins. I am determined to follow my Savior!! I am determined to love my Savior!! I am determined to serve my Savior to the best of my ability!! I am determined to love God to the best of my ability!!!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Monday's Musings

Sunday afternoon, Sunday evening and Monday morning are times of reflection for me regarding the services on Sunday. This may vary from Pastor to Pastor but most of us have those moments in which we have a time of introspection and we look back on the words or thoughts that we shared with the congregation that we were addressing. I am always asking myself this question, "Did I convey God's message to His people?" It is very easy to share statistics, ideas, plans, scriptures and even amusing stories BUT DID I SPEAK FROM AND WITH THE HEART OF GOD TO HIS PEOPLE? I must be able to answer that question correctly in my mind or it becomes a long week of second guessing myself!!

This morning I have taken those moments of reflection a little deeper into my past weeks of preaching. I have taken some time to look back at the first eight (8) Sunday's of preaching and I have reached a conclusion. I believe that this has been a period of time in which God has "reawakened" my heart to the need of developing a hunger, passion, desire, craving, searching, pursuing, longing, etc. for a deeper walk with Christ. Yesterday the words casual and passionate began to rise in my heart and be spoken out loud to our congregation. I said these words yesterday and I still believe them today; "Far too many Christians are taking a causal approach to their relationship with God rather than a passionate approach to their relationship with God." 

A casual approach to Christ is far easier and certainly less intrusive. Let's face this issue head on, we don't enjoy those situations in life that call for an intrusion in our body such as: needles, blood tests, surgery, and any other intrusive procedures. We may even ask the question, "Dr., do you have any medicine that will correct this problem rather than a surgical procedure?" Isn't it safe to say that our "soul" has a tendency to resist the intrusion of the Spirit when He challenges us to lay aside the sins and weights that so easily slows down our journey with God? It is a lot easier to drop back into casual than it is to pay the price of full surrender to Christ during these crucial encounters with God. I was asking God earlier this morning to help me move from casual to passionate and I am asking God to awaken the family of God and lead each of us from casual to passionate.

I will leave you with these words of Jesus. Matthew 22:37, "Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ (Emphasis Added)

To be Continued...

Thursday, February 16, 2017

God's Love

I can not believe that it has been a week since I have written on the blog. I am sure that each of you are like me as I recognize the quick passing of time. We hear words such as; "Where did the week go? My, how time flies!! There are not enough hours in the day any more." Each of these statements and many more remind us of this truth; "Time waits for no one." I must do what I can do in service to God with the knowledge that life is a vapor and that it does vanish quickly. I do not use those words to discourage you or to cast a cloud of fear on your day but we must live our lives with the knowledge that we do possess an expiration date for our journey on earth. I want to be found faithful and obedient to our Heavenly Father.

I would like to share a portion of a recent weekly letter than I send to our local congregation. I use this weekly letter as a means to "sow a Gospel seed" as well as remind them of the need to pursue fulfilling their opportunities to serve God. I trust and pray that you will be blessed, encouraged, challenged and strengthened,

You were in my thoughts and prayers this morning. I find great comfort and strength in the knowledge that someone is praying for me. That is one of the unique attributes of the family of God that is so often overlooked except during the time of trials or challenges. But I am trying to remind myself on a daily basis that I have brothers and sisters in Christ who are under girding me with prayer. I would encourage you to add that same reminder to your process of thought.

Tuesday (February 14th) as you well know was Valentine's Day. This day can be a challenge as well as a blessing to various individuals in our church body. The challenges of life are not always filled with good memories "BUT THERE IS ONE THING THAT REMAINS, HIS LOVE (GOD'S LOVE) NEVER FAILS AND IT IT NEVER RUNS OUT." There is no expiration date to God's Love. Humanity may fail us and even forget us but God has promised never to leave us regardless of the circumstances that we may face.

I truly believe that God desires each of us to accept and receive His love. I also believe that God desires for us to pursue His love. Parents can remember the joy and excitement of your child uttering the words "Mamma" or "Daddy." Parents can remember the thrill of entering their child's presence and the child lifting up their arms toward them full of anticipation that you (the parent) would pick them up and carry them in their arms. Our Heavenly Father loves hearing His name called (His Word teaches us to call on Him) and He desires to share our "load of life." But it is up to each of us to respond to His love.

Will we take time to respond to God's love today?

Thursday, February 9, 2017


2 Thessalonians 1:3, We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other,(NKJV)

Today's passage of scripture reveals three (3) wonderful Biblical principles that Paul declares as he writes this letter to the church in Thessalonica. 

1) He boldly declares that he is thankful for his brothers and sisters in Christ!! This thankfulness is not just a once in a while attitude but it is something that is in and on his heart on a continual basis. This local community of believers have made a difference in his life and he is expressing his thankfulness for the role that this congregation has played in his life. I was reminded of the number of people that have made a difference in our lives through the years of our journey of life on Earth. I took a moment and thanked God for those special people who took the time and continue to take the time to invest in our lives through their friendship, love, support and encouragement. I encourage you to thank God for these individuals today and you may even feel led to contact them in some manner and thank them for the difference that they have made in your life. 

2) Paul recognized the fact that their "faith was growing exceedingly." It is a blessing to see the spiritual development of the relationship of our brothers and sisters in Christ. We look back and remember our time as well as their time in the "spiritual nursery" and now we see their faith growing (flourishing) and maturing. I believe that Paul was thankful and appreciative of the fact that these brothers and sisters in Christ were not content to remain "babes in Christ" but they were determined to pursue a developing, maturing, growing relationship with Jesus Christ!! Is that your (my) desire today or have I (we) grown content with the spiritual status quo?

3) Paul also recognized the fact that the love for one another was more than mere words but their words have taken on action and their action of love was being lived out on a daily basis. Oh the joy and peace that comes from walking into a local community of believers where love abounds and where genuine care and concern is evident on a daily basis. Paul identified this activity of love as "continually increasing" (NLT). This love was more than "window dressing" and it was more than a "performance." It was genuine and it flowed from hearts that was connected with the Love of God and the Love of God was being practiced on a daily basis toward one another. Let us continue to love one another so that the world can identify us as a genuine and sincere follower of Jesus Christ!!! 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Offering Praise

It is a wonderful day to be able to offer praises to our God. Each day brings various blessings into our lives but there are those special days in our lives in which God provides marvelous and powerful answers to prayer. Each of us have lived through those days in which we have identified the revelation of the presence of God in the midst of the difficulties of life. Each of us has lived through those days in which our faith led us to look beyond our load of cares, struggles, trials, battles, etc. and look directly into the promises of God that are found written in His Word. 

My wife and I have had many of those afore mentioned days in which we were facing various struggles both personally as well as ministerially but the presence of God knew our location and He was aware of our situation. But He did not leave us without hope or without comfort. Rather He chose to come along side of us at that particular moment and provide the strength, courage, vision, answer, etc. that we needed. It is during those moments that an extra burst of praise would come rushing out of our soul and heart. We would discover ourselves lifting our voices with words such as "Thank You Jesus, Hallelujah, Praise God, God You are worthy of our praise, etc." Yesterday during prayer I was reminded of three specific times in our lives in which God's plan was completely opposite of the opinion of man. NOTE: There have been MANY OCCASIONS in which God has worked in our lives but God took me down memory lane to revisit those specific events in  our lives. I believe He chose that route so that He could remind me that "Life is not over until He says it is over." FYI: We received an answer to prayer on Monday after Ann underwent a medical procedure. Let me remind you once more that GOD DOES ANSWER PRAYER!!!

I would encourage you today to ask God to remind you of specific events in your life in which God revealed Himself in a miraculous manner. Take those reminders and turn them into a offering of praise. The Spirit placed these words in my heart this morning, "Is it possible that we ask for much yet we offer very little praise in return? I am determined to reverse that course in my life. 

Four (4) different times in Psalm 107 David makes this request to those who would hear his song of praise; “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” (Emphasis Added) Will you be one of those individuals that David is referencing in this passage of scripture? God is waiting to hear His people lift their voices of praise even in the midst of our difficulties!!! 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Spiritual Development

1 Peter 2:5, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.(NKJV) (Emphasis Added)

Last evening's Discipleship Class is on my mind and in my spirit this morning. We have been discussing our need to draw closer to God which will bring us into the continuing development of our relationship with Him. I truly believe that there are far too many Christians who are not seriously pursing the development of their relationship with Christ. They have grown content, satisfied, and static in their journey with Christ. 

Doctors are encouraging people to resist the temptation to become a "couch potato." Doctors are encouraging their patients to be active so that their body will continue to function appropriately. Walking is one of the tools that the health community is promoting to assist these Doctors in getting people "off the couch" and into a routine of exercise. Some have accepted this effort while others have resisted this effort. Why is that taking place across our community? I have a simple answer; the couch is far more comfortable than exercise. Exercise requires effort. Sitting or laying on a couch requires very little effort. Exercise requires discipline. Sitting or laying on a couch just requires forming a habit or a routine. Exercise moves us out of our comfort zone. Sitting or laying on the couch becomes our comfort zone.

Each of us needs to ask ourselves this question. "How would I rate my "spiritual exercise" on a scale of 1-10?" This question is not meant to criticize anyone but IT IS MEANT TO CHALLENGE EACH OF US TO REALIZE THAT WE MUST BECOME DISCIPLINED IN OUR WALK WITH CHRIST!! The enemy of our soul wants us to remain on the "couch" and not respond to the call of "spiritual development." I believe that each of us needs to make spiritual development a top priority in our lives.

I am praying that 2017 will be a year of SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT in each of our lives. Can you imagine the difference in our individual lives as well as the "corporate church" if each of us set a goal to become more like Christ this year? I am persuaded that a mighty awakening would take place in our communities as people encountered a group of Christians who were determined to reflect the love of God in the midst of the challenges that we are facing. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017


It has been a few days since I shared a portion of my heart with you. I still rejoice when I remember that God is actually interested in my life and those situations that are taking place in my life. Doesn't that knowledge and understanding bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your spirit? In the midst of my daily challenges and opportunities to serve my fellow man I can sense the presence of God at work in my heart. 

But here is a question that continues to trouble my soul both as an individual Christian as well as a Minister of the Gospel. Why do so many of us struggle to obey God and do what is right? A secondary question also comes to light in regards to this concern. Why do we allow the obstacles, excuses, challenges, trials, etc. that satan places in our lives so easily turn our hearts and lives away from God and His work in our hearts? The Word of God teaches us that the enemy certainly desires to "knock us off course" but that God has promised guidance and direction for those who trust in the promises that God has shared with us through His Word. 

I believe that this generation of believers are being challenged to "dig deep" and rediscover and even reestablish the foundation upon which we are building our lives. We need to remind ourselves that Christ is the Rock on which we build our lives and all other foundations are weak and will soon disintegrate under the spiritual attacks that we face in our daily lives. 

We must stop being indecisive when it comes to our relationship with God. We chose to go into debt on houses, cars, recreational vehicles and in some cases even vacations. Yet we find it so difficult to fully surrender our lives to Christ. We will commit to a 30 year mortgage on a house and a six year loan on a vehicle yet find it challenging to make a definite commitment to serve Christ as we know that we should. None of the above mentioned actions are sinful to say the least but they are used to remind you that EACH OF US CAN MAKE DECISIONS that require commitment. We commit to these decisions without knowing the future. We do this because we view these items as useful, beneficial and a good investment.

I feel that same way about my relationship with Christ, It is beneficial to me as I travel down the road of life and it will be beneficial to me when I travel the last mile of my road of life. I thought of a song that I have sang through the years of my journey with Christ. "I have decided to follow Jesus, I have decided to follow Jesus, I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back! No turning back..." I encourage you to make that same decision today. 

Luke 11:27-28, And it happened, as He spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!” 28 But He said, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” (NKJV)
Luke 11:27-28, As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” 28 He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” (NIV)