On Wings Of Eagles

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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Renew it.

Psalm 51:10 (ESV)
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right spirit within me.

Junk mail -- those annoying letters that fill your mail box. Along with the junk comes the delightful bills, and renewal notices. Of course the junk, we can just throw away, the bills, unfortunately can't be ignored, but the renewal notices, those we're thankful to see. Without them, we'd likely forget that we need to renew our licenses, our credit cards, membership cards, whatever else. Without those renewal notices, we might go to the ATM one day and not be able to get the cash we need because our card is expired -- oops! We might be asked to show our identification and the authorities might say, "Sorry Charlie, this license is not valid - you didn't renew it!"

Sadly though, the most important things in life that need renewing, do not come with renewal notices. We will never open a piece of mail and see a notice to renew our love for our spouses, our children or our friends. But if we don't continually renew our love for them, it will eventually grow cold. We'll also never receive the most important renewal notice -- to remind us to renew our relationship with God. Our relationship with God is the most important relationship we can have. It must be renewed daily!

In Hebrew, the word "le-cha-desh" means to renew. Here you go. Here is your renewal notice. Renew your love for the ones you love today. Renew your love for the Lord. Renew your love for the things of God and for his calling upon your lives.

We all need a little renewing today. Let's ask the Lord to create in us a clean heart and renew a right spirit within us.

Dear Lord, help us to renew our love for You today and for those around us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Wannna go back to Egypt

Numbers 11:6 (ESV)
But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.

I have always been a big Keith Green fan. He sang a great song about the children of Israel in the wilderness complaining to Moses that they "".

In our verse today God had been sending Manna from heaven to feed them. You would think that the Israelites would remain in awe of how God kept raining down this special heavenly delicacy that was able to feed thousands and thousands of people. But after a while it just became commonplace, even boring. Every morning they would witness God's miraculous provision right before their very eyes, yet they wanted something else, something better!

At times, even we can get accustomed to our blessings so quickly, can't we?!

Emerson said that if the stars came out only once a year, everybody would stay up all night to behold them. But we have seen the stars so often that we don't even bother to look anymore!

Let's be sure not to take God's provisions lightly though we see them on a daily basis!

Let's examine our hearts today, and purpose to appreciate the goodness of God's provision upon our lives.

Dear Lord, thank You for blessing us today. Help us always be thankful for Your goodness. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day 2017

Psalm 104:33-34  (ESV)
33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
    I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
34 May my meditation be pleasing to him,
    for I rejoice in the Lord.

Today is Memorial Day. We remember all who died in service to our country and others who were dear to us.

There was a little boy that as he grew up the other children thought he was “slow” because he couldn’t see leaves on trees or know what a butterfly was. He always had trouble reading what was on the blackboard in his classroom. The kids made fun of him. He was never picked to be on any team. Has that ever happened to you? It’s not a nice feeling to be overlooked on purpose by your friends.
One day a visiting nurse decided to evaluate him after hearing about him. It turned out he wasn’t “slow” as others thought, he needed glasses. So this little boy began to see things he had been missing his whole life.

He was able to read the blackboard at school and Sunday school at church. His mother brought him to church as a boy. He learned personal responsibility, Christian kindness, and the goodness of God’s world through his mother.

As he grew up he always wanted to look people in the eye when he was talking to them, but with his glasses he found that difficult, he had trouble reading things to people and looking up at them. So he got contacts and learned a trick of taking one out so with one eye he could look down and read and with the other eye look up at people and see them clearly. When he would read a statement in his office he would be able to look up at the people in his office standing behind the cameras. Why were cameras in his office, he was in the Oval Office behind his desk. That little boy  was President Ronald Reagan the 40th President of the United States.

All his life Ronald Reagan enjoyed going to church, but when he became President he discovered that all the other people coming to church had to go through metal detectors. He disliked that very much. He didn’t want to make the other worshipers go through that hassle so he invited the pastor of his church and other pastors to conduct services in his house instead.
President Ronald Reagan taught us that we can be anything we want to be even when we aren’t the popular child in school. He also taught us the importance of bringing Worship into our home. If worshiping God can be routine in the White House, it’s should be routine in our house.

Dear Lord, we pray that we would let You shape us to be what You want us to be. Help us to worship you not only in Your house but in ours too. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Thank you for the sacrifice

John 8:36  (ESV)
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

This week I finally got around to getting my flag pole fixed so I can proudly fly my American flag again.  It helps remind me the freedoms we have because of the sacrifice many have made to insure our freedoms. This week we celebrate a very special holiday, Memorial Day. Memorial Day is a day on which we stop to remember and to honor the men and women who died in military service while fighting to defend the cause of freedom.

We enjoy a lot of freedom in our country. We are free to attend church and worship, we are free to choose what we want to be when we grow up, we are free to choose where we want to live, we are free to choose most of the things that affect our daily lives. Yes, we enjoy our freedom, but that freedom wasn't free. Many courageous men and women gave their lives to pay the price for the freedom that you and I enjoy.  These are the ones that we honor this week as we celebrate Memorial Day.

Yes, we enjoy a lot of freedom, but the greatest freedom that we have is the freedom that we have in Christ Jesus. The Bible teaches that the penalty for sin is death, but you and I have been set free from this penalty. We have been set free because Jesus paid the penalty. The Bible tells us that Jesus died to set us free from the penalty of sin. Instead of death, we have been given eternal life. This freedom wasn't free, Jesus paid the price.

This week as we celebrate Memorial Day, let us remember to stop and thank God for those who have paid the price for our freedom. Let us also remember to thank God for Jesus, who has set us free from the penalty for sin, because he was willing to pay the price.

Dear Lord, thank you for the freedom that we enjoy. We are thankful for those who paid the price for that freedom, but even more important, we thank you for the freedom we have because Jesus was willing to pay the penalty for our sin. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

We need each other

Philippians 2:2 (ESV)
Complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.

If you look at the ant you will find that they dwell in colonies.  Each colony consists of approximately 60,000 - 90,000 ants -- they really can't prosper on their own.   They need each other.  How does a colony of that many ants to work together?   The only reason it works is that they operate in unity.  Each ant shares the same purpose, the same goal, and the same aim.

Just as ants can't prosper on their own, neither can we as believers.  As ants need each other, so do God's children.  We need to dwell together as they do.  The way we dwell together is by sharing the same purpose.  We don't have to agree on when the tribulation or rapture is going to happen.  Those are all secondary things.   But we do have to be intent on the same purpose, to glorify God and spread His Word, to love God and each other.  Let's aim to accomplish the task that God has set before us and  God will be faithful bless our colony!

We can't let the ants put God's people to shame! Stay encouraged and focused on the ultimate goal!

Dear Lord, help us to have the purpose to glorify You and spread Your word to those around us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Do you want a second wind?

Luke 11:13  (ESV)
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!

Early in the 1800's, Evangelist Charles Finney wrote about how God gave him mighty infillings of the Holy Spirit. He said, "[These infillings] went through me, as it seemed, body and soul. I immediately found myself endued with such power from on high that a few words dropped here and there to individuals were the means of their immediate conversion. My words seemed to fasten like barbed arrows in the souls of men. They cut like a sword. They broke the heart like a hammer. Multitudes can attest to this...Sometimes I would find myself in a great measure empty of this power. I would go and visit, and find that I made no saving impression. I would exhort and pray with the same results. I would they set apart a day for private fasting and prayer...after humbling myself and crying out for help, the power would return upon me with all its freshness. This has been the experience of my life."

Charles Finney set apart time to pray and fast for a "fresh anointing" from time to time!

In the late 1800's, evangelist D.L Moody stated, "I believe firmly that the moment our hearts are emptied of pride and selfishness and ambition and everything that is contrary to God's law, the Holy Spirit will fill every corner of our hearts. But if we are full of pride and conceit and ambition and the world, there is no room for the Spirit of God. We must be emptied before we can be filled."

Do you want a second wind? Then let's get right with the Lord today. Let's set aside some time to get before Him and empty ourselves of the world's influences and our selfish ways that we might be filled with His power and anointing! Let's seek his face -- in doing so, we'll find our refreshment!

Dear Lord, help us empty ourselves of the world’s influences and our selfish ways and let You completely fill us with Your power. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

God may have a different purpose

Psalm 3:8 (ESV)
Salvation belongs to the Lord;
    your blessing be on your people!

Jesus told His disciples to go into the deep waters and let down their nets for fish. When they did, their nets were filled up with fish to the point of breaking. Being fishermen and businessmen, they may have been tempted to start doing business. I mean, think about how much they could make!

But God had a different purpose. The disciples' occupation as fishermen was just a vehicle for God to demonstrate His great power and love. He wasn't blessing them with fish so that they would get excited about fishing -- He was blessing them with fish so that they could get their eyes off their fishing and on to the greater call He had for them! Thankfully, they left the fishing business and went off with the Lord to do great and mighty things.

Too many of us are wrapped up in fish. We seek the Lord for His blessings, prosperity, and success. But true discipleship is focusing not on the blessings of the Lord, but on the Lord of the blessings!

We can rejoice in our blessings, but let's not dwell on them! Let's set our eyes on the Lord and the calling He has for us. When He sees that we have pure and willing hearts, He will be faithful to use us to accomplish His glorious plan!

Dear Lord, help us to rejoice in the blessings that we get but keep our focus on You.  In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Emptying ourselves

Ephesians 3:16-19  (ESV)
16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

As a graduate of Moody Bible Institute I love to read and share some of his sermon illustrations. In one sermon, D.L. Moody held up a glass and asked, "How can I get the air out of this glass?" One man shouted, "Suck it out with a pump!" Moody replied, "That would create a vacuum and shatter the glass." After numerous other suggestions Moody smiled, took out a pitcher of water, and filled the glass. "There," he said, "all the air is now removed."

He used this simple demonstration to explain that living a victorious life is not accomplished by "sucking out a sin here and there," but by being filled with the Holy Spirit.

Later, he said, "I believe firmly that the moment our hearts are emptied of pride and selfishness and ambition and everything that is contrary to God's law, the Holy Spirit will fill every corner of our hearts. But if we are full of pride and conceit and ambition and the world, there is no room for the Spirit of God. We must be emptied before we can be filled."

Let's begin emptying ourselves today! We need to be filled with God's Spirit so that we can be empowered to do great things!

Dear Lord, let us allow Your Holy Spirit to fill us completely today so that it pushes out the things that dishonor You. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Focus on the victories

1 John 5:4  (ESV)
For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

Growing up I used to watch the  ABC Sports. I can still remember the opening line -- “The thrill of victory or the agony of defeat!” One of the greatest prophets of the Bible, Elijah, experienced his share of victories -- but he also knew that sudden feeling of defeat. If you recall, Elijah was on Mount Carmel, the only prophet of the Lord standing against four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal. (2 Kings 18) When it was all said and done, Elijah was absolutely victorious! But wouldn't you know that in the next chapter, we find Elijah under a juniper tree saying -- “Lord take my life!” (2 Kings 19:4)

We’re so quick to forget the victories that the Lord has given us, aren’t we? There are countless examples of great men of God who struggled this way. If they can go from victory to defeat so easily, how much more are we susceptible to the same attacks of the enemy? We must remember that this is precisely what they are -- attacks of the enemy upon our lives -- attempting to draw our attention away from all that God has done.

If you are finding yourself in the midst of a valley -- try focusing on the victories the Lord has already displayed in your life. And more importantly, focus on the power of victory you can walk with today!

Dear Lord, as we struggle today we pray that we would focus on the many great things that You have done for us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

When God calls pray

Matthew 18:19-20 (ESV)
19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

His nightmares began each day when he awoke. James Stegalls was nineteen. He was in Vietnam. Though he carried a small Gideon New Testament in his shirt pocket, he couldn't bring himself to read it. His buddies were cut down around him, terror was building within him, and God seemed far away. His twentieth birthday passed, then his twenty-first. At last, he felt he couldn't go on.

On February 26, 1968, he prayed for it all to end, and his heart told him he would die before dusk. Sure enough, his base came under attack that day and Jim heard a rocket coming straight toward him. Three seconds to live, he told himself, then two, then...

A friend shoved him into a grease pit, and he waited for the rocket to explode, but there was only surreal silence. The fuse malfunctioned.

For five hours James knelt in that pit, and finally his quivering hand reached into his shirt pocket and took out his Testament. Beginning with Matthew, he continued through the first 18 chapters.

"When I read Matthew 18:19-20," he said, "I somehow knew things would be alright."

Long after Jim returned home, as he visited his wife's grandmother, Mrs. Harris, she told him a night years before when she had awakened in terror. Knowing Jim was in Vietnam, she had sensed he was in trouble. She began praying for God to spare his life. Unable to kneel because of arthritis, she lay prone on the floor, praying and reading her Bible all night.

Just before dawn she read Matthew 18:19-20. Then she immediately called her Sunday school teacher, who got out of bed and went to Mrs. Harris' house where together they claimed the Lord's promise as they prayed for Jim until reassured by God's peace.

Having told Jim the story, Mrs. Harris opened her Bible to show him where she had marked the passage. In the margin were the words -- "Jim, February 26, 1968."

I don't think we are nearly aware enough of how crucial our prayers are for the lost and hurting. Sometimes we don't get to see the fruit, but God hears and answers our prayers! Don't be discouraged today -- keep lifting your voice in intercession and expect great things!

Dear Lord, help us to band together and pray. When You prompt us help us to listen and pray, even if we don’t know what about You know. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Lord is our strength

Proverbs 16:18 (ESV)
Pride goes before destruction,
    and a haughty spirit before a fall.

Anyone who has traveled to Edinburgh, Scotland has probably seen the Edinburgh castle. It is a tower of seemingly insurmountable strength. However, long ago that castle was attacked and seized.

One place in the fortress was protected by its steepness and impregnability, they thought, so no guards were posted there. But at an obvious weak spot was where the most guards were stationed. Wouldn't you know that at an opportune time, the attacking army sent a small band up that unguarded slope and surprised the garrison into surrender. Where the castle was strong, there it was weak.

In his autobiography, Benjamin Franklin wrote: "There is perhaps no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive. Even if I could conceive that I had completely overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility".

I guess the even best of us struggle with pride in our lives -- wait, come to think of it -- it's most likely the best of us that struggle with pride the most!

The enemy of our souls would like nothing more than to cause us to stumble -- especially in the areas we feel most secure!! We need to be on guard. Let's never put our hope in our own strengths, or anyone else's for that matter. We must remind ourselves continuously that it is the Lord who is our strength, and He alone.

Dear Lord, help us to put our hope in you today.  Help us not try to do it on our own. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

No matter how broken

John 1:12 (ESV)
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

The word for builder in Hebrew is "bo-neh". It is also translated repairer. When our Messiah came 2000 years ago, He came to repair lives -- to do a complete restoration of all that is broken in this world. Interestingly, the Hebrew words for son, "ben" and daughter, "baht" both also come from the word "bo-neh".

Perhaps you are a son or daughter from a "broken" family. Jesus came to give you power to be restored to a family which can never be broken.....His family. Receiving Him and believing on His Name gives you a new identity as a son or daughter. You become a son or daughter of God. The sorrows of your family life here may endure for a season, but....

No matter how broken that family or your life in this world has been, the Lord God has made a way for you to be completely restored and repaired through the resurrection life of His Son. Receiving this resurrection life through faith adopts you immediately into a new family whose destiny is eternally perfect loving relationship. This is a miracle which may seem too good to be true, yet the deep longing in each of us for loving family life was placed there by God, and He did it because He fully intended to fulfill that longing, more than any of us can yet imagine.

Dear Lord, help us be the loving family member to someone today. Show us who we can love today. In the Name of Jesus.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Be a bit more tenacious

Proverbs 28:1 (ESV)
The wicked flee when no one pursues,
    but the righteous are bold as a lion.

During his first year of graduate study at the University of California at Berkeley, George B. Dantzig arrived late for a statistics class. He saw two problems on the blackboard. Assuming they were homework, he copied them and a few days later turned in his solutions. One Sunday morning six weeks afterward, the professor appeared at Dantzig's door, waving a manuscript. It turned out that the professor had merely written two examples of unsolvable problems on the blackboard. The manuscript was Dantzig's work readied for publication. George Dantzig later became known as the father of linear programming.

Had this guy gotten to class little earlier to hear the professor say that these problems "couldn't be solved", sadly, he might have never even have tried to solve them -- probably like all the other students in the class. We humans give up way too easily -- someone says it can't be done and we don't give it a second thought! We often view the word never in a negative light but God is calling us to GREAT things and to be bold for Him.

We need to be a bit more tenacious as believers. Is there something you feel God is calling you to do but others have been less than encouraging? Go for it! Be bold! Don't let others dictate what you should or shouldn't be doing -- leave that to the Lord!

Dear Lord, help us to be bold today. Help us not give up when things are tough but instead keep moving forward with Your strength. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Climb the mountain

Matthew 14:23 (ESV)
And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone.

There were times that Jesus separated himself from the multitudes -- and there are times when we need to separate ourselves from our lives and ministry, and spend some time with our Lord.

I love how Jesus climbed a mountain. It made me think of an interesting analogy. Picture the shape of a mountain. It starts out wide at the bottom -- the higher we climb, the narrower it becomes -- and the more we must stay close to the center. As we go even higher yet, there's less room to move to the left or the right -- and there's less and less ground that can be compromised -- the more focused we need to be and the less we can afford to be distracted. The higher we go, the less room we have to fool around!

Whatever you may be dealing with, you may just need to separate yourself and climb up to spend time with the Lord -- get centered on Him and focused on what He's calling you to.

God wants us to learn to climb to the top and focus all of our lives on His will! Let's take some time and try it!

Dear Lord, help us climb the mountain so that we can be centered on You. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Give your time

2 Corinthians 9:7 (ESV)
Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

A wise man once said, "There's nothing more powerful than the heart of a volunteer".  As you read in the Webster dictionary a volunteer is one who renders a service or receives a conveyance or transfer of property without giving valuable consideration.

It's so easy to get into the mindset that serving God is a chore, it's our job, our duty -- we give valuable consideration to our giving. The fact of the matter is that God loves a cheerful giver. He loves a volunteer. As we think of that verse, the first thing that comes to our mind is monetary giving, but God wants us to cheerfully volunteer every good thing He has so mercifully allowed us to have –- things we often take for granted -- our time, our energy, our abilities, our talents, our homes, our cars, our families –- all that we have – all that He has cheerfully given to us!

Let's make a point to volunteer some of these things to the Lord this week. Let’s begin to bless the Lord and those around us!

Dear Lord, help us see the opportunities that we have around us that we can volunteer our time to help others. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

We have a big God

John 4:23 (ESV)
But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.

President Franklin Roosevelt used to attend church in Washington. One day somebody phoned the church and asked, "Do you expect the President to be in church this Sunday?" The rector answered, "That I cannot promise. But we can expect God to be here, and we fancy that will be incentive enough for a reasonably large audience." What if we overheard that the President of the United States was coming to our next worship service? We'd probably be very excited, invite all our family and friends and get there early enough to get a front row seat!

If that's what we'd do for the President, how much more excited should we be every week when someone far greater is expected to attend? The King of the Universe! Be excited about going to worship services. Let nothing stop you. Expect God to be there and He will speak things to your heart, great and mighty things you may not know!

Dear Lord, help us be excited each Sunday that we are going to see You at church. Help us invite all our family and friends to join us in worshiping You. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Give thanks

Ephesians 5:20 (ESV)
Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

An old Chinese legend tells of a group of elderly, cultured gentlemen who met often to exchange wisdom and drink tea. Each host tried to find the finest and most costly varieties, to create exotic blends that would arouse the admiration of his guests. When the most venerable and respected of the group entertained, he served his tea with unprecedented ceremony, measuring the leaves from a golden box. The assembled epicures praised this exquisite tea. The host smiled and said, "The tea you have found so delightful is the same tea our peasants drink. I hope it will be a reminder to all that the good things in life are not necessarily the rarest or the most costly.

No, the good things in life are right in front of our faces and we so often neglect to see them for how very precious they are – our redemption in Jesus, our spouses, our children, our parents and extended family, our brothers and sisters in the Lord, our wonderful five senses, the talents and abilities He's given us – and so much more!

Let's thank God for all the precious things he's given us and let's cherish them as so! We have so much!

Dear lord, we want to thank You for all the things that You have done for us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day 2017

Philippians 2:1-4 (ESV)
1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Here is a mother’s day poem written in the early 1900’s:

M is for the Many things she gave me,
O means only that she's growing Old.
T is for the Tears she shed to save me,
H is for her Heart of purest gold.
E is for her Eyes with love light shining,
R means Right and Right she'll always be.

Put them all together, they spell MOTHER.
A word that means the world to me.

God created families and gave mothers a unique place in that unit. We can love, give of ourselves, cook, clean, wash clothes, put Band-Aids on scrapes … be the first one up in the morning or the last one down at night. They juggle a lot of things including raising children, working at jobs, managing a home, and sometimes finding time for themselves.

Each day is a new beginning of what lies before them. They have destiny, purpose, and the power to do and be all that they are called to be. Nothing can stop them but themselves. As mothers, they need to find the strength to face each day knowing that God loves them.

Our children need that unselfish love of a mother. Long life is promised to all who show honor to them. Mothers make up a crucial part of our lives. So whether it is a Hallmark card, dinner out, hug, or a kiss on the cheek, we should show we care. It is so important to give our love to these dedicated women in our lives and don’t take them for granted.

Dear Lord, we thank You for our mom today. We pray that You would protect and guide her in all that she does. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Dare to care like Jesus

2 Corinthians 13:5-6  (ESV)
5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! 6 I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test

I read an interesting story by Leslie B. Flynn in her book Dare to Care Like Jesus.

A Christian baroness, living in the highlands of Nairobi, Kenya, told of a young national who was employed as her houseboy. After three months he asked the baroness to give him a letter of reference to a friendly sheik some miles away. The baroness, not wishing the houseboy to leave just when he had learned the routine of the household, offered to increase his pay. The lad replied that he was not leaving for higher pay. Rather, he had decided he would become either a Christian or a Muslim. This was why he had come to work for the baroness for three months. He had wished to see how Christians acted. Now he wanted to work for three months for the sheik to observe the ways of the Muslims. Then he would decide which way of life he would follow. The baroness was stunned as she recalled her many blemishes in her dealings with the houseboy. She could only exclaim, "Why didn't you tell me at the beginning!"

I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news but the minute we label ourselves "Christian", we must know that people will be watching us everywhere we go. This does not mean that we have to be perfect (although that is what the world often expects to see)! But what it means is that we have to be daily walking in repentance, frequently examining our behaviors and motives, and praying for God's deliverance from all the ways we fall short. We must be bettering ourselves for the Kingdom every single day! Yes, it must be the main focus in our lives!

None of us have arrived. Let's make it a point to be in daily, or even hourly contact with the Lord, asking Him to restore our hearts and minds for His sake and for the sake of all who are watching!

Dear Lord, help us to stay in contact with You through prayer and studying Your Word the Bible. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Keep sowing the seeds

Galatians 6:8-9 (ESV)
8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

A young man who had been raised as an atheist was training to be an Olympic diver. The only religious influence in his life came from his outspoken Christian friend. The young diver never really paid much attention to his friend's sermons, but he heard them often.

One night the diver went to the indoor pool at the college he attended. The lights were all off, but as the pool had big skylights and the moon was bright, there was plenty of light to practice by. The young man climbed up to the highest diving board.

As he turned his back to the pool, on the edge of the board and extended his arms out, he saw his shadow on the wall. The shadow of his body was in the shape of a cross. Suddenly, he felt a strange feeling, like someone was speaking to him. Instead of diving, he knelt down and finally asked God to come into his life.

As the young man stood in deep reverence before the Lord, a maintenance man walked in and turned on the lights. The pool had been drained for repairs.

Mm. Sometimes we get frustrated. It seems like our words are falling on deaf ears and that our loved ones will never see the truth. But we never know how God is working in those for whom we've been praying. He often has a plan we know nothing about!

Let's not be discouraged when we don't see the fruit right away. God knows the day and the hour and He will be faithful to follow through. Keep praying. Keep sharing. Keep sowing the seed!

Dear Lord, help us to not get discouraged as we share our faith with those around us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Get excited about taking a ride with the Lord today

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 You are taking us on today. Help us look at the things in our life as part of the adventure that You have for us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Is the captain on board?

Hebrews 2:10-11 (ESV)
10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11 For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers.

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.

Dear Lord, help us to always no matter how busy we are to make sure You are on-board in our lives leading and guiding us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Don't lose heart

Matthew 5:11-12 (ESV)
11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

An ancient story is told of the Queen of Sheba. She sent two wreaths of roses to Solomon, one real and one artificial, to test his reputed wisdom. She defied him to detect the genuine from the artificial. Solomon at once directed that some bees be brought into the room and of course, they immediately flew to the real flowers and thought nothing of the counterfeit.

So it is with us as believers. When we find ourselves overwhelmed, surrounded, being attacked from every side with the bees of revile and persecution, it simply means they recognize that we are the real deal! Our beautiful aroma attracts those scary bees but the Lord, in the end, "Where, oh bees, is your sting?"

Rejoice when the bees come around! Don't lose heart! God has the victory!

Dear Lord, help our lives be a sweet aroma to You.  Help us not be afraid of the things around us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Put God first

Proverbs 22:3  (ESV)
The prudent sees danger and hides himself,
    but the simple go on and suffer for it.

I have had a lot of time to think since I started this 17 day medical adventure. One of the topics that I keep asking myself is what I think might happen in the near future and how I should prepare.

John Calvin says "When the light of divine providence has once shone upon a godly man, he is then relieved and set free not only from the extreme anxiety and fear that were pressing him before, but from every care ... Ignorance of providence is the ultimate misery; the highest blessedness lies in knowing it ... It gives incredible freedom from worry about the future."

It's great to be wise and prepare for the days ahead -- saving, storing, wisely investing. But I think there is a much more important preparation we often forget -- it is to make certain that the Lord FIRST in our life and make sure we are trusting in Him alone. So that when these trials and tribulations come upon us, we'll know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we rest securely in His hands!

As you think about the future always remember to put God FIRST.

Dear Lord, as we struggle through the thins of life help us never forget to focus in You and put You first.  In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

No weapon formed against you shall prosper

Isaiah 54:17 (ESV)
No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed,
    and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord
    and their vindication from me, declares the Lord.

As we each struggle with the thing surround us that happen every day here is a good reminder that God is still at work.

A missionary in the New Hebrides Islands described his experience with God's divine angelic protection. Hostile natives surrounded his mission headquarters one night, desiring to kill him and his wife and burn the place down. All through that terror filled night, they prayed that God would deliver them from this evil. When daylight came they were amazed to see the natives leave, looking frustrated.

One year later, the chief of that tribe gave his life to the Lord. Remembering what had happened that terrible night, the missionary asked the chief what had kept him and his men from burning down the house that night. The chief replied in surprise, "Well, he said, all those men were there with you! “What do you mean?” asked the missionary, "There were no men there, just my wife and I." The chief argued that the tribe had seen many men standing guard -- hundreds of big men in shining garments with drawn swords in their hands. They seemed to circle the house, so they were afraid to attack.

Fear not! You are engraved on the palm of His hand! Thousands may fall at your side but you shall not be harmed. You are loved and cherished, and no weapon formed against you shall prosper!

Dear Lord, we thank You for the power of prayer. Help us to pray believing that You will accomplish what You will for us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

He ain't got no teeth

James 4:7 (ESV)
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Carl Armerding wrote a funny story in Moody Monthly, about his experience at the zoo. "As I stood there," he said, "an attendant entered the cage through a door on the opposite side. He had nothing in his hands but a broom. Carefully closing the door, he proceeded to sweep the floor of the cage." He observed that the worker had no weapon to ward off an attack by the beast. In fact, when he got to the corner of the cage where the wildcat was lying, he poked the animal with the broom. The wildcat hissed at him and then lay down in another corner of the enclosure. Armerding remarked to the attendant, "You certainly are a brave man." "No, I ain't brave," he replied as he continued to sweep. "Well, then, that cat must be tame." "No," came the reply, "he ain't tame." "If you aren’t brave and the wildcat isn't tame, then I can't understand why he doesn't attack you." Armerding said the man chuckled, then replied with an air of confidence, "Mister, he's old -- and he ain't got no teeth."

Such is the devil in our lives when we realize that God is for us! We should be like the attendant. He knew that cat couldn’t hurt a fly. Satan will make a big ruckus, fussing and growling all he wants but we need to keep our eyes focused on our Lord.

Are you being growled at today? The enemy would love nothing more than to make us feel powerless against him -- but "he ain't got no teeth" next to our Lord! Let's turn to God and put our trust in Him. If God is for us, who can be against us?!

Dear Lord, we thank You that the Devil has no teeth against us. Give us the strength and courage to stand against him. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.