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Thursday, June 30, 2016

There's no secret

1 Corinthians 9:24 (ESV)
 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.

Race car driving champion Bill Vukovich won the infamous Indianapolis 500 race two times, a record of success few others have achieved. When asked about the secret of his success in the race, Vukovich simply replied, "There's no secret. You just press the accelerator to the floor and steer left."

Sometimes we have a tendency to complicate things when it comes to serving the Lord. But like race car driving, there's really no secret, just move forward and finish the race! The only thing I would change about Bill's advice is steer RIGHT!!

Are you struggling with confusion, discouragement or anxiety about things of the Lord? God is not a God of confusion, discouragement or anxiety! Let's get back to the basics today. God created us, loves us unconditionally and wants to free us from all our entanglements that we may be holy as He is holy, that we may be able to love Him with all our heart, soul, strength and mind and love our neighbor as ourselves! We're in this together, for the win!

Dear Lord, help us get back to the basics and really love those around us. Help us not make it difficult. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

"This will make it better"

John 13:34 (ESV)
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

With the Olympics just around the corner I wanted to share a story about the Seattle Special Olympics.

Nine contestants, all physically or mentally disabled, assembled at the starting line for the 100-yard dash. At the gun, they all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with a relish to run the race to the finish and win. All, that is, except one little boy who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled over a couple of times, and began to cry. The other eight heard the boy cry. They slowed down and looked back. Then they all turned around and went back -- every one of them. One girl with Down's Syndrome bent down and kissed him and said," This will make it better." Then all nine linked arms and walked together to the finish line. Everyone in the stadium stood, the cheering went on for several minutes. People who were there are still telling the story.

We believers should have this kind of love, compassion and concern for one another. In this day and age, it seems we only look out for ourselves! When we see a brother or sister in the Lord struggling, many times our first instinct is to compare and criticize. We’re quick to rebuke and run for the winning finish line alone! We can take a lesson from the kids in our story.

Let’s take a look at our actions. Perhaps we can show more love than we have been showing. If we see someone falling, let’s turn around, pick him up and help him to the finish line. May God pour out His great love out upon us as we pour it upon others today.

Dear Lord, help us stop and notice those around us that need help. Help us to be  the one that shows them love. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Look up! The Lord will steady you

Proverbs 15:15 (ESV)
All the days of the afflicted are evil,
    but the cheerful of heart has a continual feast.

Years ago, a young sailor went to sea for the first time. Not long after setting sail his ship encountered a heavy storm and the sailor was commanded to go aloft and trim the sails. About three quarters of the way up, the young sailor made the mistake of looking down. The roll of the ship combined with the tossing of the waves made for a frightening experience. The young man started to lose his balance. At that moment, an older sailor underneath him shouted, "Look up, son! Look up!" The young sailor did as he said -- he looked up, and regained his balance.

Similarly, when our focus is on the circumstances that we face, the waves of life, we can easily lose our balance and our direction. But when we change our focus and simply "look up", our internal spiritual compass fixed on the Lord will restore our stability, and enable us to finish the assignments we’ve been given and get to the top!

Are you feeling unstable today? Look up! The Lord will steady you. Heaven is your goal and God will provide the power and direction to bring you safely there!

Dear Lord, when we feel unstable help us remember to return our eyes to You. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Taking a ride with the Lord

Proverbs 15:15 (ESV)
All the days of the afflicted are evil,
    but the cheerful of heart has a continual feast.

A new driver for an interstate trucking company was having a difficult time. He found the long cross-country trips extremely tiring. The older driver who traveled with him, however, seemed to thrive on those long trips. He always seemed to look as fresh at the end of the ride as he did at the beginning.

One day, the young man asked the older what his secret was. "Well, it's really all in the way you look at it," he replied. "While you went to work this morning, I went for a ride through the country."

Our focus will determine whether life is work or a ride in the country. We are privileged to be here in this day and age. God is doing awesome things right before our eyes and He’s allowing us to take part!

Let's get excited about taking a ride with the Lord today! He has great things to show us and teach us along the way!

Dear Lord, we thank You for the ride we are on called live. Help us look at the positives about it and not the negatives. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

He knows what He is doing.

Romans 8:28 (ESV)
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

In her book, Let Me Be a Woman, Elizabeth Elliot records the story of a friend who had great difficulty accepting the looks God had given her. While everyone this girl knew had grown beautiful golden hair, hers was black. And while they were all still growing, she had stopped. She grew to be only about four feet ten inches tall.

Eventually, she reached the country to which God had called her to be a missionary. One day, she stood on the wharf in Shanghai and looked around at the people to whom He had called her. "Every single one of them" she said, "had black hair. And every one of them had stopped growing when I did." She was able to look to God and exclaim, "Lord God, You know what You're doing!"

Are you struggling with something specific today? Have you been asking, "Why Lord?!" Whether we realize it or not, God knows what He's doing! We may not understand it today -- but He has known these things from the very beginning. And He really is carrying out His great plan in us! Cheer up! God is preparing His vessels for GREAT things! There's so much work to be done!

Dear Lord, help us to accept the way we are. Help us look forward to how You are going to use us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

He sees what no one else can.

Isaiah 64:8  (ESV)
But now, O Lord, you are our Father;
    we are the clay, and you are our potter;
    we are all the work of your hand.

Early in the last century, sculptor Gutzon Borglum gazed at the cliffs of South Dakota's Black Hills. As any great artist would, He saw what no one else could the sculpted faces of US presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt. After 14 years, he finally completed his project -- Mount Rushmore.

How in the world did Borglum foresee such a work of art by looking at a cliff? He envisioned what those Black Hills could become.

God is envisioning what we are to become in Him! But in order for the Him to make a beautiful monument of us, we must allow ourselves to be moldable. He wants to mold us into the image He desires -- His own! He wants to chip away at our rough edges and make us into a fine work of art, that all who see us will be awed and enriched. In the hands of a great artist, we can be created into incredible works of art that survive the ages, even after we have passed through this life into the next!

Let's become moldable in the Father's hands and make Him proud to show off what He's created!

Dear Lord, we want to be clay in Your hands. Mold us into what You have planned for us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

The sowing mailman

James 3:18  (ESV)
And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

There was a mailman, John Hand, who rode his mail truck through Los Altos Hills of California on his 50 mile route each day. The route was plain, all brown and virtually no color. One day he began to throw wild flower seeds out of the window as he drove. Today, if you travel his route in the Los Altos Hills you'll find beautiful patches of flowers throughout, blossoming in many colors.

We all travel different roads. Sadly, many of us miss wonderful opportunities to change and bring added beauty to our landscapes. In our families, at our jobs, in the world around us, God has given us opportunities to color those landscapes! It's far easier for us to complain and resign ourselves to settling for those landscapes, than it is to be the catalysts of change. From this point on, let's resolve to stop complaining about the lifelessness around us and do something about it! God has given us the power and anointing to change those landscapes!

Let's start sowing the seeds of the Gospel, the seeds of salvation and new life. Let's sow the seeds of love, joy, righteousness and all the tasty fruits of the Spirit. As we sow them throughout our daily lives, those dull, dry landscapes will begin blossom into something beautiful.

Dear Lord, give us the strength to sow seeds of Your love today. Help us make the world a better place because of Your love. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Plant the seeds

Matthew 13:23 (ESV)
As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.

If you keep a grain of wheat in your pocket, it will look exactly the same ten years from now. But place it in the right environment -- some good ground, enough water -- it will sprout into a living sheaf of grain!

Every kind of life requires its particular corresponding environment in order to achieve its full and predestined potential. It's no different with the seeds of the fruit of the Spirit in our hearts!

God has readily made available to us the seeds of success. He gives us the opportunity to live a life of much fruit! A life abounding in the fruits of love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith and self-control.

But here they are -- just seeds -- sitting in our pocket -- waiting 'til we decide to plant them and allow them to become trees of plenty in our lives.

Is your soil is fertile and ready? Let's plant some seeds today and invite the Lord to water and nourish them so that we can produce fruit one-hundred fold for the Kingdom.

Dear Lord, help us take the seeds out of our pocket and plant them in the soil You have prepared for each of us so that we may grow into the one that You have planned for us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The day of the Lord is near

Zephaniah 1:14 (ESV)
The great day of the Lord is near,
    near and hastening fast;
the sound of the day of the Lord is bitter;
    the mighty man cries aloud there.

In the 1883, Captain Sampson of the British navy witnessed one of the greatest volcanic eruptions in history which took place in Indonesia. The eruption was so powerful that its shock waves traveled around the world seven times. The volcano shot miles of debris into the atmosphere which fell to earth as far away as Madagascar - over 2000 miles distance. Captain Sampson wrote in the ship's log: "I am writing this blind in pitch darkness. We are under continual rain of pumice-stone and dust. So violent are the explosions that the ear-drums of over half my crew have been shattered ... I am convinced that the Day of Judgment has come."

These men witnessed something extraordinary, and it caused them to ponder the inevitable question -- Is this the end? What was the crew thinking and feeling as they were deafened by the massive explosions, and blinded by the clouds of smoke and ash? To them it must have been as if the sun had become like sackcloth! Did this experience change their lives? Were they now powerfully aware of how fragile life is? Did they suddenly begin to examine what their lives had consisted of up to that moment?

Imagine yourself in that boat as these events are taking place. Now picture yourself at the present moment ... are you thinking about what your life has been about, or what it is now? Are you thinking about what it could be??

We need to recognize that eruptions are already taking place, and these are the Lord's warnings to this sleeping world; warnings that His return is NEAR! We are privileged to be witnesses and participants in the most extraordinary times as the end of the age draws near. But God is looking for people who are awake, who are wise, who understand the signs of the times, and who know Him and will shine like stars in a darkening world-- will you be one of them?

Dear Lord, help us be the shining star in this dark world. Help us show Your love to those around us in all that we say and do. In The Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Make sure the captain is aboard!

Hebrews 2:10-11(KJV)
10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren.

After nearly completing his first overseas cruise, a young ensign was given an opportunity to display his capabilities at getting the ship under way. With a stream of commands, he had the decks buzzing with men and soon the ship was steaming out the channel en route to the states.

His efficiency established a new record for getting a destroyer under Way, so he was not surprised when a seaman approached him with a message from the captain. Strangely though, it was a radio message and it read: "My personal congratulations to you upon completing your underway preparation exercise according to the book and with amazing speed. In your haste, however, you have overlooked one of the unwritten rules--make sure the captain is aboard before getting under way."

We may think our lives are in order. We may have them managed them to a tee and people may wish they were us -- our businesses are prospering, our kids are doing well in school, our marriage is sweeter than ever. But if the Captain is not on board, at some point, we're going to have to head back and start again.

Let's make sure the Lord is on board our lives today. There's so much more we can do when He is!

Dear Lord, we thank You that You are our captain.  Help us each day to remember to have You on board in our life. In The Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

God Apps

Psalm 116:2 (ESV)
Because he inclined his ear to me,
    therefore I will call on him as long as I live.

When I was growing up in the 1980's we had a rotary dial phone. You put your finger in a numbered spot on a circular dialer which clicked as it returned to its place and registered the 7 or 10 numbers you selected. It took a full 10 to 20 seconds to complete a call and was really annoying if the number had a lot of 8s or 9s! Then came touch-tone phones. You pushed a button, it beeped, and you could make a call in two and a half to three seconds. Back in those days, a phone was simply an instrument to talk with someone voice to voice. Nowadays, phones are "smarter"; they are "smart" phones; and they do everything.  You can send or receive emails, text, Facebook, "Skype", play games, study French, listen to music, record love letters, pay your bills, watch movies...your phone can be the interface for your life, and it is, for many people!

These days when you get a phone -- a "smart phone", the first thing you do is to find the best “apps” for it. Thousands and thousands of apps are available, with more being created every 5 minutes. Your apps define the interface of your life.
Throughout the Scriptures there's God apps, and they're FREE -- thousands of them, every one "GUARANTEED" to be a top-level "interface" for your life! Check out the love app! [Matthew 22:37-39] Or the Spiritual Fruit App! [Galatians 5:22] Or the Unity App! [Ephesians 4:2-6] The Scriptures are just filled with apps to apply to the interface of your life!

Spend some time in God's free "App Store" today, it's just an opened Bible away! Apply God's apps to your life -- you'll be dialing into His will, purposes, power, and His infinitely interesting universe!

Dear Lord, thank You that we don’t need a phone to talk to You. Help us to always call upon Your name. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Father's Day tribute to my dad

Proverbs 22:6  (ESV)
Train up a child in the way he should go;
    even when he is old he will not depart from it.

This will be my 17th year without you but then I can still feel your presence and example to this day. I hope that you would be REALLY PROUD of me for WHAT and WHO I am now. I am extremely blessed to have a dad like you. I am extremely proud to carry your name.

My brothers and I would not be the people we are today without your guiding hands. We have achieved our dreams because of the challenges and the encouragement that you always took the time to give us. With all the amazing things you did for us the best thing that you did for us was to train us in the way of the Lord.  I want to thank you for the example you were to pray for those around us, be faithful to church, to carry our Bible, and how to love my wife and family. 

God truly blessed me with the best dad. That day in Dec of 1999 was one of the hardest of my life when I had to say good bye for a while.  You were my best friend and I wasn’t ready to say good bye. But as you told me in the final lesson you taught me is that “God is never early, and never late”. 

Dad on this Father’s day enjoy your day with our heavenly father and know that my love for you will never fade. I strive every day to be the man you taught me to be through your example.

Happy Father’s Day Dad, I love YOU! Ron Jr

Dear Lord, we thank You today for our fathers. We pray that we would learn from them the things they teach us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Take that time to hear what He's saying to us!

Psalm 46:10 (ESV)
“Be still, and know that I am God.
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth!”

"Before refrigerators, people used ice-houses to preserve their food. Ice-houses had thick walls, no windows, and a tightly fitted door. In winter, when streams and lakes were frozen, large blocks of ice were cut from the frozen waters, hauled to the ice-houses, and covered with sawdust. Often these ice-blocks would last well into the summer.

The story is told of one man lost a valuable watch while working in an ice-house. He searched diligently for it, carefully raking through the sawdust, but didn't find it. His fellow workers also looked, but their efforts, too, proved futile. A small boy who heard about the fruitless search slipped into the ice-house during the noon hour and soon emerged with the watch.

Amazed, the men asked him how he found it.

"I closed the door," the boy replied, "lay down in the sawdust, and kept very still. Soon I heard the watch ticking."

So often life can become so hectic that it becomes hard to find time to sit still and just listen to what the Lord is saying. But Jesus often secluded himself, so that He could commune intimately with His Father. In these days and in this hour it's so imperative that we spend time in our own prayer closets, so we can clearly hear what our Father is saying to us, through His still small voice. If we do, we may find some wonderful and valuable things that others have missed.

The question isn't whether God will speak, but whether we will take the time to be quiet and still enough to hear His voice. Let's be sure to take that time to hear what He's saying to us!

Dear Lord, help us be still today and listen to Your voice. Help us not be so busy we miss what You have to say. IN the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Friday, June 17, 2016

That's once

Proverbs 17:22 (ESV)
 A joyful heart is good medicine,
    but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

I came across a joke that'll surely make the ladies laugh out loud -- and you too men -- that is, if you know what's good for you, lol!

A small-town couple was celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary and their long, loving relationship had long been the talk of the town. For this special occasion, a local newspaper reporter paid them a visit to inquire as to the secret of their happy marriage.

"Well," explained the husband, "it really all goes back to our honeymoon. We visited the Grand Canyon and took a trip down to the bottom of the canyon by pack mule. We hadn't gone too far when my wife's mule stumbled. My wife quietly said 'That's once.' We proceeded a little farther when the mule stumbled again. Once more my wife quietly spoke: 'That's twice.' We hadn't gone a half-mile when the mule stumbled a third time. My wife promptly removed a revolver from her purse, hopped down off the beast, and shot the mule dead. I began to protest over her treatment of the mule when she looked at me and quietly said, 'That's once.'''

I hope you liked that. Now, I've heard that children laugh 300 to 400 times a day while we adults laugh only a mere 15! Believe it or not, experts say that laughing aids digestion, lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones, increases muscle flexion, boosts the immune system, triggers the release of endorphins which are the body's natural painkillers, heals broken relationships and produces a general sense of well-being!

Let's not take everything so very seriously! Let's start laughing at ourselves a little, and laughing at our enemy's attempts to keep us burdened and oppressed! God has our victory --always! And there's so much work to be done!

Dear Lord, help us to be so filled with joy that laughter burst forth out of us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Great catastrophe, ultimate beauty.

Romans 8:28 (ESV)
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

The Grand Canyon Park bookstore operated by the National Park Service found itself in the midst of some controversy a few years ago when they were selling a book written by creationists much to the ire of the National Center for Science Education.

The book detailed how the Grand Canyon could have been formed from a “catastrophic” event – a catastrophe such as the flood of Noah’s day. Imagine that, it may have been a catastrophe that created such beauty!

Nearly 2000 years ago, the disciples witnessed a catastrophe -- the crucifixion of our Lord. But the Lord used this tragedy to redeem all mankind. This great catastrophe was turned to ultimate beauty.

Each of us has experienced tragedy in our lives. Inevitably the question arises -- Why? Let’s be encouraged by one of God’s most beautiful masterpieces. The Lord can turn our great catastrophes into great beauty -- into great victory!

Let’s turn to the Lord with our catastrophes. He can turn the most difficult tragedy into an incredible work of art!

Dear Lord, we thank You that even in catastrophes You can bring great things. Help us look for the good in thing rather than the bad. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Will your torch be burning when you finish?

Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

In the Greek Olympic Games of old, a unique race was run. The winner was not the runner who finished first --- it was the runner who finished with his torch still lit!

There are times in our lives when we feel like we just can't continue in the race. These are precisely the times when the enemy loves to assault us to the point of breaking and torment us saying "You'll never make it to the finish line, you may as well just quit now". This is the time we need to cling on to God's promises! The Lord will soon reward our diligence for all our toiling here in this world. Paul said, "Let us not grow weary in well doing for in due season we shall reap if we do not faint".

Let's allow God's wonderful promises to strengthen and comfort us in each circumstance so that we can run the race --- not to finish first, but to run together, side by side --- the flame of our torch reaching the finish line blazing brightly with fire for Him!

Dear Lord, help us run the race You have before us in a manner that the torch of Your love will shine through us. In The Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Twenty dollar bill

Luke 12:6-7 (ESV)
6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.

I read a story that I wanted to share. A well-known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20 bill. In the room of two hundred, he asked, "Who would like this $20 bill?" Hands immediately started going up.

"I am going to give this $20 bill to one of you but first, let me do this." He proceeded to crumple the dollar bill up. He then asked, "Who still wants it?" Still hands were up in the air.

"Well," he replied, "What if I do this?" And he dropped it on the ground, spit on it and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty. "Still want it now?" Surprisingly, hands still didn't go down.

"My friends, I think we've all learned a valuable lesson here. No matter what I did to this money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was worth twenty whole dollars no matter what I did to it."

"Often in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, spit upon and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are worthless.

But here's the kicker. No matter what has happened, we will never lose value in God's eyes. To Him, dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, we are still priceless. The worth of our lives does not come in who we are but by whose we are! Let's give our lives back to the Lord today, our disappointments, our suffering, our feelings of worthlessness. He is the God of healing. He has made us clean and worthy of our calling in Him!

Dear Lord, thank You that we are valuable no matter the condition we are in. Help us never feel worthless. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, June 13, 2016

It's easy to follow the crowd

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (ESV)
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 's Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

During the 1990's in an NCAA Division II national championship cross-country race in California, a bizarre twist of events took place. Mike Delcavo and 127 of the best runners in the country were battling for glory over the 10,000 meter course. About three miles into the race, Delvaco was somewhere in the middle of the pack, when he realized that the runners had made a wrong turn. So he yelled out, "You're going the wrong way," but they didn't listen. Only 4 others followed Mike when he turned in the right direction...and suddenly, he found himself in the lead.

However that lasted only about a mile, since Mike and the runners who followed him soon reunited with the larger pack who, having gone the wrong way, actually shaved about a half a mile off the course, and were now in the lead again. The final blow came when, because so many of the runners had gone the wrong way, the officials changed the official course route to accommodate their error. So when Mike Delcavo finally crossed the finish line, he was number 103 overall.

At the end of the race, some of Delcavo's competitors "thought it was funny that he went the right way."

In our mixed up world, when everybody is wrong, then wrong becomes right. However, in the world to come there is only one Judge and He will not change the correct course regardless of how many or how few actually run it. His rewards will be based on our having stayed the true course.

It's easy to follow the crowd. But it takes courage and conviction to follow wholeheartedly after God. Sometimes it can get lonely running your race, wondering where the crowd is going, and even whether you, yourself are on the right road. But keep running with the Lord. And when the race is over and you have finished your course, may the He say to you, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant!"

Dear Lord, give us the courage to run the race before us even when everyone else is going the wrong way. Help us be faithful. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Let's not neglect the little things

Matthew 25:21 (ESV) 
His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’

As a graduate of Moody Bible Institute I love reading the writings of D. L Moody. He once said, "A good many are kept out of the service of Christ, deprived of the luxury of working for God, because they are trying to do some great thing. Let us be willing to do little things. And let us remember that nothing is small in which God is the source."

The Lord is always looking for opportunities to promote us - to take us to a higher calling. The problem is that we're often so busy trying to promote ourselves that He can't get a word in edgewise!

Let's not neglect the little things God has put in our path to do. Help clean the church once a week, bless that neighbor or family member God has put on our heart, take the time to share the gospel with a coworker. Those little things will eventually lead to bigger things -- don't you doubt it! There's so much work to be done!

Dear Lord help us not neglect the things You put in our path no matter how small or big. We thank You for being faithful. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

It made a difference to that one!

Luke 19:17  (ESV)
And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant!  Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’

I am sure you have heard this story before but it has such a good lesson for each of us I wanted to use it today.

A young man once went to the beach. There, he saw miles and miles of starfish washed up on the sand. “If these starfish stay out here during the heat of the day,” he thought, “they'll die.” So he began picking up a starfish at a time as he walked and throwing them back into the ocean.

An elderly man also walking along the shore approached him and said, “Do you mind if I ask young man, what are you doing?” “I'm throwing these poor starfish back into the ocean so they don't die in the hot sun,” the youth replied. “But what difference can you really make,” said the old man, “Look at this beach -- there are thousands, maybe millions, of starfish here!”

The young man chuckled as he threw yet another starfish into the sea. “Well -- it made a difference to that one!”

“Faithful in a very little”, the Word of God says! It is faithfulness in the little things that the Lord rewards mightily!

The world is like those millions drying out in the hot sun – and we have reach out to those the Lord has put in our path! If we all do our share, the job will get accomplished! There's so much work to be done!

Dear Lord, help us be the one to reach out to those that are drying out in the sun. Use us to reach them today. In the Name, of Jesus, Amen. 

Friday, June 10, 2016

Are you like the moon?

Psalm 139:23-24  (ESV)
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
    Try me and know my thoughts!
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting!

I recently read a story about a rather pompous-looking Sunday School teacher who was endeavoring to impress upon a class of boys the importance of living the Christian life. 'Why do you think people call me a Christian?' the man asked. After a moment's pause, one youngster said, 'Maybe it's because they don't know you.'

I don't know if this is a true story -- but I'm sure we've all experienced hypocrisy in our own lives. Mark Twain said "We're all like the moon, we have a dark side we don't want anyone to see".

Hypocrisy is a dangerous thing. It has turned a many away from the Lord to search elsewhere for answers. It can ruin an entire generation and more after them. But we have the opportunity to change those generations for the good of God's kingdom! Those of us who know and love God must never stop allowing Him to search our "dark sides" so that we can more effectively be used as vessels to lead the hungry multitudes to Him.

Let's ask the Lord to search our hearts today and uproot the things that need uprooting. Let's give our all to God again. There's so much work to be done!

Dear Lord, we want to give our hearts completely to You today. Help to turn away from the things the pull us away from You. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

One step at a time

Psalm 25:4-5 (ESV)
4 Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
    teach me your paths.
5 Lead me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are the God of my salvation;
    for you I wait all the day long.

A father asked his son to carry a letter from their camp to the village. He pointed out a trail over which the lad had never gone before. “All right Dad, but I don’t see how that path will ever reach the town,” said the boy. “Well son, I'll tell you how. Do you see that big tree down the path?” asked the father. “Oh, yes, I see that far.” “Well, when you get there by the tree, you’ll see the trail a little farther ahead -- and farther down you'll see another big tree -- and when you reach that one you'll be closer and so on until you get within sight of the houses of the village.”

In the same way, I believe God wants to reveal the way for each one of us on our trails toward Him, one tree at a time. Sometimes we're convinced we need to see the end of our path, so that we can be reassured that there's something good down there, or that we're going in the right direction, or that we'll be able to see if it gets dark.

We all know firsthand how it feels to walk in the darkness here in the Land and not know where the end will be -- and often how we'll have the strength and sustenance to get there. It's not easy to move forward and trust that God will light the path ahead and point us in the way we should go. But the fact is that it is a crucial step toward our growth and maturity in the Lord and we all need to get to there.

Dear Lord, help us to make this journey one step at a time. Looking to You for the guidance that we need.  In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A dull ax

Ecclesiastes 10:10 (ESV)
If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge,
    he must use more strength,
    but wisdom helps one to succeed.

I did a lot of camping when in High School with our Christian Service Brigade group. When out camping one of the jobs we would have was to collect firewood. Many times this would require that we chop the wood with an ax. Our leaders took the time to teach us to sharpen the ax before we started.  They would tell us a dull ax meant harder work chopping through fallen trees. The sharper the ax the less effort and energy required for the task. We learned early on in our camping experience to sharpen our ax before venturing into the woods, because it saved us a lot of time and energy.

Not only did our leaders teach us a lesson about chopping the wood they taught us a lesson about life. How many of us are exerting so much energy for the Kingdom, but are working with dull axes? We need to sharpen our spiritual lives, get focused in prayer and spend deep time in the Word. Then, when we are "out in the woods", working for the Kingdom our effectiveness will be greatly multiplied because our axes are sharp!

We need to not get so busy that your ax becomes dull. Remember that your devotion to the Lord and His word will sharpen your spiritual life, especially before you start the day. Prioritize your devotional life and watch how your "edge" will cut through the problems, obstacles and difficult situations, like a hot knife through butter!

Dear Lord, help us to keep our spiritual life sharp. Help us to stay in Your word so that we may learn the lessons You have for us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

A lesson from a wet Golden Retriever

Galatians 6:9 (ESV)
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

As I let Max our Golden Retriever in the house after enjoying his play time in the rain produced by Tropical Storm Colin it reminded me of a story I read a while back.

An old mountaineer and his wife were sitting in front of the fireplace one evening just whiling away the time. After a long silence, the wife said: "Jed, I think it's raining. Go outside and check, will ya?"

The old mountaineer continued to gaze into the fire for a second, sighed, then said, "Aw Ma, why don't we just call in the dog and see if he's wet."

We have a tendency to get lazy sometimes, don't we?

John Wesley traveled 250,000 miles on horseback, averaging twenty miles a day for forty years. He preached 4,000 sermons, produced 400 books, and learned ten languages. At age eighty-three, he was annoyed that he could not write more than fifteen hours a day without hurting his eyes. At age eighty-six, he felt ashamed he could not preach more than twice a day. He complained in his diary that there was an increasing tendency to lie in bed until 5:30 in the morning.

Let's get up and do something for God today! There's so much work to be done!!

Dear Lord, we pray today that we would not be lazy. Help us to get up and do great things for You today. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Are you missing the big picture?

Psalm 127:1 (ESV)
Unless the Lord builds the house,
    those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
    the watchman stays awake in vain.

In December 1903, after many attempts, the Wright brothers were successful in getting their “flying machine” off the ground. Thrilled, they telegraphed this message to their sister Katherine: “We have actually flown 120 feet. Will be home for Christmas.” Katherine hurried to the editor of the local newspaper and showed him the message. He glanced at it and said, “How nice. The boys will be home for Christmas.”

He totally missed the BIG news – this was the first any human had flown!!

How often do we miss the big picture of what God is doing? We’re so busy running around with the daily grind, sometimes even within our ministries, that we forget the amazing plan that we’re a part of! There is so much work to be done. We must make sure that we are daily getting focused on what God would have us do! Otherwise we labor in vain!

Let's rejoice in the fact that God has an awesome plan in which He has called us to participate, and ask Him for wisdom concerning what He would have us do today.

Dear Lord, we thank You for the awesome plan You have for each of us. Help us not miss the big picture today. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

We are weaklings in need of a great God.

Jeremiah 17:5 (ESV)
Thus says the Lord:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
    and makes flesh his strength,
    whose heart turns away from the Lord.

A young woman at a textile mill in rural Texas was new on the job. A flaming red warning sign on her sewing machine read “If Your Thread Becomes Tangled, Call the Foreman Immediately."

After working diligently for an hour or two, suddenly the young worker’s thread became tangled. Fearing the foreman’s reaction at such an early mistake, she thought, “I’ll just quickly straighten this out myself.” Though she tried desperately to untangle the thread, the situation only worsened. Finally, she had no choice but to call the foreman. As soon as he arrived, the foreman could tell that the young worker had tried to do some of her own maneuverings before calling him. “I did the best I could,” she said. “No you didn’t,” the foreman replied. “To do the best, you should have called me. Now this sewing machine will need to be repaired. If this happens again, you will be fired.”

I have many times tried to do somethings on my own strength. I exhaust myself trying before becomes clear that I just can’t do it without my Great Foreman. Thankfully, He hasn’t fired me yet!

If we rely on our own strength, really, it is a form of idol worship. We exalt our own strength above the Lord’s. This is unacceptable to a Holy and All-Powerful God. Even our greatest efforts cannot compare with how much more effectively a job can get done if we would only call upon His Name!

We are weaklings in need of a great God. We cannot do anything without Him.

Dear Lord, help us not try to do things on our own. Help us to first call upon Your name knowing that You are the master of all things. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.