On Wings Of Eagles

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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

God’s sense of humor


Job 8:21 (ESV)
He will yet fill your mouth with laughter,
    and your lips with shouting.

How can we his creatures think things are funny unless the whole idea came from God in the first place?

You have to love God’s sense of humor.  Think about God’s creation. Surely he made creatures such as the otter, dolphin, and penguin, just because they delighted Him so much. Or consider what we find in Scripture itself (keeping in mind that Scripture was inspired by God). Job 39:13-18 (a very serious book) describes the life of a stork in pretty funny terms. Verse 17 says, "For God did not endow her with wisdom or give her a share of good sense." I hope I'm never described that way!

Proverbs is a funny book at times. If you read it aloud to a group, it's difficult not to laugh. Proverbs 11:22 says, "Like a gold ring in a pig's snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion." Doesn't that give you delight on the days you feel more piggish than beautiful? You wonder if Solomon had just fought with one of his many wives when he said, "Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife" (21:9). However, my favorite proverb is 22:13, "The sluggard says, 'There is a lion outside!'" That sounds like as good excuse as any to me on days when I feel lazy. I don't recommend trying it with your though. And there's the night person's favorite verse, "If a man loudly blesses his neighbor early in the morning, it will be taken as a curse" (27:14). When I was in High school and volunteered at a camp for the summer I had a camper who quoted this to me, reminding me that not everyone wakes up cheery.

But I think Hebrews 11:12 is the funniest verse in the Bible: "Therefore there was born even of [Abraham], and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants as the stars in heaven …"

Of course God's humor is never cruel the way humans twist it to be at times. In fact, God is entirely pure and untainted, thus so is his humor. Such a God inspired the author of Proverbs to write, "A happy heart makes the face cheerful" (15:13), or seen from the opposite point of view in verse 30, "A cheerful look brings joy to the heart." Proverbs 16:24 says, "Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." Aren't you glad?

Dear Lord, we thank You for the humor You show. Help us to take the time to laugh and see the joy in life. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

We are his workmanship


Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

When God thinks about you, he sees a masterpiece. The great thing about a masterpiece is that it’s one of a kind. There is no other work like it and it’s very special to the person who created it. In the same way, to God, you matter. Your life is important and you’ve been created to do something special for God.

It’s easy to begin to compare yourself to what you see online and all around you. You can see what your friends and coworkers are doing, how they look, what they wear and what they do and feel like you don’t measure up. However, the true measure of worth is what God says about you. When you begin to see yourself the way Jesus sees you, you realize that you matter. You’ve been uniquely designed and your life is important.

Dear Lord, thank You for making us who we are.  Help us to not look at others and compare ourselves with them. Thank You that we are perfect in your eyes. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Lessons from Diamond


John 13:34-35 (ESV)
34 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. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

As I am dealing with some unknown health issues I have done a lot of thinking.  One of the things that came across my mind was how I miss Diamond.  Diamond was our pound puppy that we had to have put down in August due to her failing health and strength. As I thought about her today I thought about some of the lessons I learned from her about love.

If Diamond were to teach you about love  and life in general here is what she would say:
1. When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
2. Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride with family.
3. Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.
4. Take naps.
5. Stretch before rising.
5. Run, romp, and play daily.
6. Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
7. Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
8. On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
9. On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
10. When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
11. Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
12. Be loyal.
13. Never pretend to be something you're not.
14. If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
15. When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.

As a good friend of mine always reminds me, “Love is the answer.”  Take the time today to share the love that God has put in your heart.

Dear Lord, we thank You for all that You do for us, especially for loving us. Help us to share that love today. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Bible our compass


Psalm 119:105 (ESV)
Your word is a lamp to my feet
    and a light to my path.

During World War II, small compasses saved the lives of 27 sailors 300 miles off the coast of North Carolina. Waldemar Semenov, a retired merchant seaman, was serving as a junior engineer aboard the SS Alcoa Guide when a German submarine surfaced and opened fire on the ship. The ship was hit, caught fire, and began to sink. Semenov and his crew lowered compass-equipped lifeboats into the water and used the compasses to guide them toward the shipping lanes closer to shore. After three days, the men were rescued.

The psalmist reminded God’s people that His Word was a trustworthy “compass.” He likened it to a lamp. In that day, the flickering light cast by an olive oil lamp was only bright enough to show a traveler his next step. To the psalmist, God’s Word was such a lamp, providing enough light to illuminate the path for those pursuing God. When the psalmist was wandering in the dark on a chaotic path of life, he believed that God, through the guidance of His Word, would provide direction.

When we lose our bearings in life, we can trust our God who gives His trustworthy Word as our compass, using it to lead us into deeper fellowship with Him.

Dear Lord, it is difficult to navigate life. At times we drift, but we will trust in You. Lead us and guide us by the faithfulness and reliability of Your Word. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

The weather


Hosea 6:3 (ESV)
Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord;
    his going out is sure as the dawn;
he will come to us as the showers,
    as the spring rains that water the earth.”

One of my hobbies is to follow the weather. I have one of those personal weather stations and like to follow the temperatures, wind speed and rain.  Today as I thought about weather it got me to thinking

Wherever you live, rain is a big deal.  If we have little rain or a lot of rain within the year, the weather makes a huge impact on us.  The weather conditions command our daily attention as we graph and chart the amount of rain. We have entire television stations dedicated to the weather around the world. When a natural weather disaster hits, all other news stops to report the extent of the damage. We pay a lot of attention to the weather as we depend on this information to plan our day.

There is nothing wrong with following the weather patterns, but Hosea is stating that as surely as we acknowledge the sun and rain coming, we need to acknowledge the coming of the Lord. Jesus rebuked the people for acknowledging the signs of the weather but not acknowledging the signs of the Lord. In Luke 12:54-56, Jesus said to the crowd: "When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, 'It's going to rain,' and it does. And when the south wind blows, you say, 'It's going to be hot,' and it is. Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don't know how to interpret this present time?"


Are we sensitive to His ways? Are we in tune with His will? Do we study His Word daily for direction and guidance in our day as much as we tune into the weather? Could Jesus rebuke us today for the same things? Even though the rain seems to be later than expected some years, we do get rain. We might think that Jesus is late in His coming too. But surely He will come. If we are not acknowledging Him, He may not acknowledge us. And even if Jesus doesn't come here during our life time, it is inevitable that we will go to Him some day.

Who do you worship? Who do you serve? Just by examining your need to know the weather in comparison to your need to know the Lord should shed some light on what your priorities are. When we acknowledge the Lord in everything, we are able to interpret His signs because we become sensitive to His ways over our own. We give so much attention to the weather but Jesus truly is the ultimate Weather Man, whether we acknowledge Him or not.

Dear Lord, we thank You for all that You do for us. Help us to always take the time to acknowledge You for all the things You do for us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Friday, April 20, 2018

COMPLETING THE PROJECT MAKES THE HARD WORK WORTH IT


Romans 8:18 (ESV)
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

Over the years I have spent hours and hours woodworking, During that time I’ve come to realize how much woodworking relates to our walk with God. I’m not alone.

Today I am sharing the 10th way I’ve discovered that woodworking affirms the spiritual life.

Projects require a lot of patience. As a weekend woodworker who also has a family to love, a yard to mow, bills to pay, and other home duties, my projects often take months to complete. Most of the time I go to the shop, I begin by cleaning up so I have room to work.
Looking at a plan, you can see where you’re going and what the project will look like when it’s done. In fact, an anticipation for the project’s completion keeps you going in spite of mistakes and delays.
In the spiritual life, the plan is in the Bible and our prototype is Jesus.

       He is what we strive to become—and His return for us is THE “blessed hope” that urges us to keep going.

       We need to keep the end in mind. When the project is completed, it will all be worth it.

Like woodworking, the spiritual life is a skill and an art, not a science. The longer you do it, the better you get.

Dear Lord, help us to work on the skill of our spiritual life. Help us to become the people You have for us to be. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

NOTHING REVEALS CHARACTER LIKE STRESS.


1 Timothy 3:6,10 (ESV)
6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 10 And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless.

Over the years I have spent hours and hours woodworking, During that time I’ve come to realize how much woodworking relates to our walk with God. I’m not alone.

Today I am sharing the 9th way I’ve discovered that woodworking affirms the spiritual life.

Wood has personality. But it’s often hidden until you cut it, bend it, or stress it. Many times I’ve made cuts on the band saw or table saw and the wood instantly cupped, curled, split, or warped. I never would have known it until I cut it.

I’ve discovered that people can look really good, stable, and godly until life offers its challenges.

       Short tempers, worry, panic, and bitter spirits reveal that the surface we show isn’t what’s in our hearts.

       When stress reveals the flaws in your character, see these incidents as God’s way of graciously showing you who you really are—so that you see your need to obey a God who can fashion you into a masterpiece.

Also, in the same way we have to let green wood cure for a good year (or it will warp when you use it), young leaders need time to mature. There is no kiln that hurries up leader preparation.

Dear Lord, we pray that we would allow You to fashion us into what You have for us to be.  Help us to not rush the process of maturing. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

STAYING SAFE REQUIRES A CONSTANT AWARENESS OF WHAT CAN HURT YOU.


Ephesians 6:11, 13 (ESV)
11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand
13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

Over the years I have spent hours and hours woodworking, During that time I’ve come to realize how much woodworking relates to our walk with God. I’m not alone.

Today I am sharing the 8th way I’ve discovered that woodworking affirms the spiritual life.

One day at a woodworking store I shook hands with a man who had no thumb. It felt really strange. When I asked him about it, he had two words: “Table saw.” A chill ran through my body.

I’m happy to say I still have all ten digits and both of my eyeballs. That’s because after a couple of close calls I have a healthy respect for what can hurt me.

       I plan my work and I don’t make cuts if I’m not sure I can’t make them safely. More than once before making a cut, I’ve turned off the saw and said, “Nope. It’s just not worth the risk.”

       I wear safety glasses.

       I usually pray for safety each time I begin working in the shop.
Are you aware of what can hurt you spiritually?

       When you’re in temptation, you need to walk away, knowing the sin is just not worth it (Galatians 6:7-8).

       Remember that you have an enemy and you are in a war. Satan wants to destroy your life and your witness. “Be on the alert,” Peter urges us. “Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

       The Lord has provided “the full armor of God” for us to put on each day (Ephesians 6:11, 13).

Dear Lord, help us to be aware of the evil one and how he wants to harm us. Thank You that with Your power we can defeat him. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

ANTICIPATING IMPERFECT CONDITIONS FREES YOU TO ENJOY THE EXPERIENCE


Colossians 1:21-22 (ESV)
21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him.

Over the years I have spent hours and hours woodworking, During that time I’ve come to realize how much woodworking relates to our walk with God. I’m not alone.
Today I am sharing the 7th way I’ve discovered that woodworking affirms the spiritual life.

I’ve installed built-in cabinets in our kitchen. Much to my disappointment, I’ve discovered that “the perfectly square corner” doesn’t exist. The framers got it close—and you can’t tell by eye—but nothing is perfect. When I began to allow for that, my work wasn’t as frustrating. And you know what? The results were just fine.
Very little in life is square.

       If you don’t allow for imperfections in your family, in your friends, and in your job, you’ll drive yourself nuts with “how it ought to be.”
       The sooner we quit looking for this life to be the perfect place (according to our own standard), the sooner we free ourselves to enjoy life and to extend grace and forgiveness to others.

After all, we accept our own imperfections, don’t we? What’s more, God accepts us as we are in Christ. We should extend that same grace to others.

Dear Lord, we thank You and praise You for the Grace You have showed toward us. Help us do the same to those around us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, April 16, 2018

IT’S ESSENTIAL TO HAVE A STANDARD BY WHICH TO MEASURE.



Leviticus 19:35-36 (ESV)
35 “You shall do no wrong in judgment, in measures of length or weight or quantity. 36 You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin: I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.

Over the years I have spent hours and hours woodworking, During that time I’ve come to realize how much woodworking relates to our walk with God. I’m not alone.

Today I am sharing the 6th way I’ve discovered that woodworking affirms the spiritual life.

An inch is an inch, and it will always be an inch. I’m not sure where the original ruler is, but all tape measures today are based on that standard. In fact, they are all perfect to the degree that they reflect the original. An inch measures the same in Florida as it does in Alaska.

We refer to the books of the Bible as the “canon.”
       It’s a word from the Hebrew term, qaneh, which means a “reed” used as a standard of measure (Ezekiel 42:16).
       The early Christian church referred to books of the Bible as canonical.

The Word of God is our standard. It is our measuring tape that says an inch is an inch. And it makes it clear when we do and don’t measure up to God’s standard (Romans 3:23).

Frequently I have to check the measuring tape on my table saw to make sure it is dead-on accurate. Why? Because repeated cuts with an inaccurate measure will eventually yield a project that’s way off. The same is true of our lives.

The Word of God is perfect—and so are our copies of the Bible to the degree that they reflect the original manuscripts. When we measure our lives and decisions based on the unchanging standard of truth, our lives head in the right direction. But even a slight deviation can lead us down the wrong path.

Dear Lord, thank You for the Bible that we can use to measure our life. Help us to stay in our Word so that we can measure our life in a way that is pleasing to You. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.  

Sunday, April 15, 2018

MISTAKES ALWAYS TEACH YOU, AND THEY RARELY RUIN THE PIECE


Psalm 37:24 (ESV)
Though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,
    for the Lord upholds his hand.

Over the years I have spent hours and hours woodworking, During that time I’ve come to realize how much woodworking relates to our walk with God. I’m not alone.

Today I am sharing the 5th way I’ve discovered that woodworking affirms the spiritual life.

“Measure twice and cut once,” the old saying goes. I have a friend who likes to joke, “I cut it three times and it’s still too short!” Mistakes cost time and money. They can also change your language in the workshop.

But mistakes are only wasted if you don’t learn from them. This principle is true in life as well. Some of the best lessons have come through failure.

I have a friend who says “Experience is an excellent substitute teacher to instruction ignored.”

I know every flaw in every project I’ve made. My wife always reminds me that I am the only one that knows. If I choose to, I can focus in on those blemishes and miss the fact that the finished product is still a functional and attractive piece of furniture. Imperfections up close don’t keep the piece from being effectively used or from looking beautiful.

We are flawed individuals. Yet God still powerfully uses us in spite of our imperfections. What’s more, He thinks we’re beautiful because when He sees us He sees the holiness of His Son, Jesus.

Dear Lord, we thank You that You can take our imperfections and use them. Help us to not dwell on the mistakes we make but instead learn from them. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

FOLLOWING A PLAN GETS YOU WHERE YOU WANT TO GO WITH GREATER SUCCESS.


1 Timothy 2:3-4 (ESV)
3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Over the years I have spent hours and hours woodworking, During that time I’ve come to realize how much woodworking relates to our walk with God. I’m not alone.
Over a span of 10 days I am going to share 10 ways I’ve discovered that woodworking goes along with our spiritual life. Today I am sharing the 4th way I’ve discovered that woodworking affirms the spiritual life.

Some woodworkers like to wing it. No plans—just turn on the saw and let her rip. That’s great if your goal is sawdust.

But for me, I’ve found it’s best to follow a plan. If it’s a custom piece, my wife will draw the plan. At other times, I’ll follow a plan I’ve bought, borrowed or seen on YouTube.  When I fail to follow a plan, it doesn’t turn out as well, it takes longer, it costs more, I waste wood, and I make more mistakes. If you’re on a budget, trial and error isn’t the ideal way to do woodworking.

The plan for the spiritual life is laid out in the Bible. When we wing it, follow no plan, we usually end up with sawdust to show for our lives. God’s will for your life is clearly laid out in Scripture. It’s best to stick with the plan.

Dear Lord, thank You that You have laid out the plan You have for us in Your Word. Help to study daily so that we will know what we should do along the way. IN the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Friday, April 13, 2018

YOU CAN DO A LOT MORE THAN YOU THINK WITH THE LITTLE YOU HAVE.


Matthew 14:17-19 (ESV)
17 They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” 18 And he said, “Bring them here to me.” 19 Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.

Over the years I have spent hours and hours woodworking, During that time I’ve come to realize how much woodworking relates to our walk with God. I’m not alone.

Over a span of 10 days I am going to share 10 ways I’ve discovered that woodworking goes along with our spiritual life. Today I am sharing the 3rd way I’ve discovered that woodworking affirms the spiritual life.

My subscriptions to Woodworking magazines  sometimes frustrate me when I read these professionals with what seems like everything I don’t have. (Including lots of time.) Every woodworker has his or her eye on the next tool.

But I’ve discovered that with patience and ingenuity, you can do a whole lot with a good table saw and a router. There is almost always more than one way to do something.

Jesus’ point when He multiplied the fish and loaves—and when He sent out the disciples with nothing for their journey—was to teach them that He provides for their lack (Matt. 14:17-19; Luke 9:3).

The spiritual life is full of lack (that’s on purpose). You will always have less than it seems you need. But you can do a lot with a little if you take it to Jesus and trust Him to multiply it.

Dear Lord, help us to not worry about the lack of things we have but instead use what You have given us. Help us be creative with what we have. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

GOOD TOOLS SAVE YOU TIME AND GIVE YOU BETTER RESULTS.


Isaiah 44:12  (ESV)
The ironsmith takes a cutting tool and works it over the coals. He fashions it with hammers and works it with his strong arm. He becomes hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water and is faint.

Over the years I have spent hours and hours  woodworking, During that time I’ve come to realize how much woodworking relates to our walk with God. I’m not alone.

Over a span of 10 days I am going to share 10 ways I’ve discovered that woodworking goes along with our spiritual life. Today I am sharing the 2nd way I’ve discovered that woodworking affirms the spiritual life.

I began building things out of wood with my dad. I used mostly hand tools and then one Christmas my wife got me a tablesaw. (What do you know? I can cut a straight board!) Good tools save you time, keep you accurate, and make the experience more fun. For the workshop, I recommend beginning with a good table saw, a router, and an orbital sander (there’s no end to this list, by the way, there is always one more tool that you will need).

In the same way, you need good tools in the spiritual life. Good Bible study tools are a worthy investment that will help you understand the Bible better and pave the way for proper application. As far as priority, I recommend:

       A good study Bible. Be sure you study a translation, not a paraphrase. Some great examples are the New American Standard Version, the New Living Translation, the English Standard Version (the Kindle Version is currently free), and the New International Version (the 1984 edition).

       An exhaustive concordance. This tool allows you to look up and study any word in the Bible. These days, it’s easy to use a good computer program like Accordance (Mac) or Logos (PC), because these allow more complex searches. If you want a physical concordance, I recommend the NASB Exhaustive Concordance or NIV Exhaustive Concordance.

       A good atlas. One of the reasons I’m so passionate about Bible lands is that it has given me more understanding of Scripture than even Greek or Hebrew. I have listed my recommended atlases in another post.
There is no greater investment in your spiritual life and understanding of the Bible.

Dear Lord, help us to use the tools around us to study Your Word. Help us to understand what we study and apply it to our life. I the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

YOU WILL HAVE TO CUT CROSS GRAIN, SO STAY SHARP.


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.

Over the years I have spent hours and hours  woodworking, During that time I’ve come to realize how much woodworking relates to our walk with God. I’m not alone..

Over a span of 10 days I am going to share 10 ways I’ve discovered that woodworking goes along with our spiritual life. Today I am sharing the 1st way I’ve discovered that woodworking affirms the spiritual life.

Cutting wood in the same direction as its grain grows is easy and makes clean cuts. But cutting cross grain is tough. You need a sharp blade, or it’s messy.

In a culture that’s cross grain to Christianity, we have to stay sharp in order to stay effective. I love the metaphor Solomon gives:
If the axe is dull and he does not sharpen its edge, then he must exert more strength. Wisdom has the advantage of giving success. —Ecclesiastes 10:10

Taking time to sharpen your “tools” in the spiritual life makes work more efficient. That includes your daily relationship with God, and it may even include additional training in areas of theology, apologetics, or Bible knowledge.

Dear Lord, help us to take the time to keep our tools sharp so that our spiritual life is more efficient. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Today just for fun


Genesis 1:1 (ESV)
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

On the first day, God created the dog and said: "Sit all day by the door of your house and bark at anyone who comes in or walks past. For this, I will give you a life span of twenty years."

The dog said: "That's a long time to be barking. How about only ten years and I'll give you back the other ten?"

So God agreed with the dog.


On the second day, God created the monkey and said: "Entertain people, Do tricks, and make them laugh. For this, I'll give you a twenty-year life span."

The monkey said: "Monkey tricks for twenty years? That's a pretty long time to perform. How about I give you back ten like the dog did?"

And God agreed with the monkey.

On the third day, God created the cow and said: "You must go into the field with the farmer all day long and suffer under the sun, have calves, and give milk to support the farmer's family. For this, I will give you a life span of sixty years."

The cow said: "That's kind of a tough life you want me to live for sixty years. How about twenty and I'll give back the other forty?"

And God agreed again.

On the fourth day, God created man and said: "Eat, sleep, play, marry and enjoy your life. For this, I'll give you twenty years." But man said: "Only twenty years? Could you possibly give me my twenty, the forty the cow gave back, the ten the monkey gave back, and the ten the dog gave back; that makes eighty, okay?"

"Okay," said God, "You asked for it."

So that is why the first twenty years we eat, sleep, play and enjoy ourselves. For the next forty years we slave in the sun to support our family. For the next ten years, we do monkey tricks to entertain the grandchildren. And for the last ten years, we sit on the front porch and bark at everyone.

And that's how life is explained through God's creation.

Dear Lord, we thank You that we can laugh and have fun in our life. Help us to share Your joy with those around us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Biopsy and waiting


Lamentations 3:25 (ESV)
The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
    to the soul who seeks him.

Today I had a biopsy on some growths my doctor found in my neck.  The procedure is done and now I wait for the results. Waiting has never been a strong point f mine.  As I pray I sometimes  see God answer my prayers right away. I'm excited, thankful and ready to tell everyone about His goodness. Then, there are those other times when my prayers linger and miracles seem far away. As time creeps on, my doubts creep in.

I used to think waiting on God to answer my prayers was like playing a game. Who would last the longest? Would I continue to ask, plead and persevere? Or would I give up first because I was tired of waiting? Or maybe God would give me what I wanted because He was tired of hearing all my whining and complaining.

If my prayers were answered quickly, I'd give Jesus a quick spiritual high-five, shout Hallelujah! and then move on to my next request. But, if time went on and my miracle didn't show up, I'd get discouraged and frustrated. My waiting turned to worry. My perseverance shifted to pouting.

Lord, why haven't You answered my prayers? What are You waiting for? Can't You see me struggling? You're taking too long and I just don't understand why.

I began to think God might be holding out on me. Maybe He really didn't care about me. Or, maybe my circumstances weren't important enough to Him.

But as I grew in my relationship with the Lord and learned to understand His character, my attitude changed. I realized how much God loves me and knows the desires tucked deep inside my heart. He promises to meet my needs and His miracles are not a thing of the past.

If you've asked God for answers but find yourself waiting longer than you planned, take a moment now to thank Him in advance for His answer. Trust that He is working behind the scenes on your behalf. Don't give up. Look forward in hope and expectancy for Him to respond and remember that the Lord is good to those who seek Him.

Dear Lord, we thank You that You are a God of answers even when we don’t understand the timing and sometimes the answer. Help us to trust You fully. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.  

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Lessons form your dog


Revelation 5:14 (ESV)
And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

Your dog can teach you to love God more. Look into your puppy's eyes. He might have something to say.

Four lessons you can learn from my pooch:

Loyalty
Celebration
Protection
Affection

We are all pound puppies. Scraggly, sinful, smelly and in need of rescue. God looked down at our “waggely” tails, wet noses, and flea-filled fur. He released from our captive cages, vaccinated us from sin, and adopted us into His family. Mutts no more. He even gave us pedigree-papers we can present at the Pearly Gates.

We can learn a lot about loving God from our furry friends.

Loyalty. Your doggy sits at your feet, follows you everywhere you go, and sleeps at the foot of your bed.

God deserves no less from us. Clinging close to Him is what we were designed to do. Believe in Him. Rely upon Him. Never, never leave His side.

Celebration. My Dog Diamond would practically leap out of her skin when I return home. When I would retrieve my mail from the street which takes less than a minute she would act like I had been gone for eons. Jubilant jumping, licking, wriggling and barking accompany her glee at my return.
Do you rejoice in God’s presence? Are you glad to spend time with Him? Celebrate your Heavenly Father with a grateful heart.

Protection. Even a Chihuahua will vigilantly guard his Master; fiercely growling and howling his tiny head off. The squirt has no idea that even a child could squish his bony body with a sneaker. Dogs zealously guard their owners. They patrol the yard, circling the perimeter, listening intently for the slightest unfamiliar sound. If a stranger approaches, they yap incessantly to keep danger at bay.
Do you guard God’s Name and His holiness? Or do you sit idly by and let a corrupt society continue to contaminate and defame His Name? Love Him enough to hate evil.

Affection. Our Diamond would go to anyone that came to visit her and be ready to be snuggled. She would lick my hand and strokes my leg with her paw, gazing at me with adoring brown eyes. Just like cuddly Diamond, worship is our expression of affection toward God.

The most common word in the New Testament for “worship” is proskuneo. This word occurs 60 times in the New Testament, 57 of which are in the four gospels, Acts, and Revelation.  It originally carried with it the idea of subjects falling down to kiss the ground before a king or kiss their feet.  The literal definition means “to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand, to fawn or crouch to, homage (do reverence to, adore): worship.” The elders in heaven worship as God intended:
Lick His Hand in worship today. Lie in the lap of His presence without hurrying away.  Give your pup an extra pet today. Learn to love God from your furry friend.

Dear Lord, we thank You for the pets that You have given to us. Help us to learn the lessons from them of Loyalty, Celebration, Protection and Affection.   Help us to love You like you deserve this week. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

We must not fear our opponents


2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV)
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and

Every once in a while we encounter an opponent in competition who, by all accounts, is unbeatable, and it prompts fear in our team. Some opponents seem to grow larger and larger as we approach game day. The media reports and general word-of-mouth discussions depict them as giants. How should we approach such an opponent?

Your opponents on the athletic field are worthy of your respect. They are not, however, worthy of fear! The work of God’s Spirit within us does not bring fear. It brings courage.

Instead of fear, God has given us:
• Power—not just physical power, but power that comes from deep within.
• Love—not an emotional attraction to someone, but a powerful force that desires the highest good for those around us. Concern and sacrifice for teammates, coaches, and family—that’s real love.
• Sound judgment—not just doing well in school, but having a mental soundness that is related to doing the right things and accurately assessing the truth.

As we approach competition, we must not fear our opponents, but exercise power, love, and soundness of mind in a day of greatness in competition.

Dear Lord, give us the strength and courage we need to face oury opponents. Help us to see them through Your eyes and not our own. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Be Like Dogs, Not Snakes


1 Corinthians 1:9 (ESV)
God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

When we hear the word “snake,” most of us recoil with fear. Granted, there are some people in the world who are genuine snake lovers, but for most of us, we simply don’t like snakes, and for good reason. Snakes are sneaky and many of them are dangerous. We don’t trust them. Truth be told, though, snakes probably don’t like us just as much as we don’t like them.

On the other hand, when we hear “dog,” most of us, unless we’ve had a bad encounter, get warm and fuzzy feelings inside. We like dogs. After all, most dogs are fun, kind, and gentle. But owners of dogs also know that they’re faithful animals.

We all want friends that are more like dogs than snakes. We want friends who can be trusted, who are faithful, and who are loyal. We don’t want friends who talk bad about us behind our backs, who let us down, and who are never there for us when we need them the most.

God wants us to be faithful people!

How Do we Do This?

Spend time reading about and reflecting on God’s faithfulness.
Ask yourself the following questions. How has God been faithful to me? What kinds of qualities does God have that I want in my own life in order to become more faithful?
Write out some practical ways that you can be more faithful.
Thank God for His faithfulness in your life and then ask Him to help you be more faithful.

As you reflect on the fruit of faithfulness, remember that God wants us to be like dogs, not snakes! He wants us to be people who are faithful.

Dear Lord, help us to be faithful. Help us to be more like Dogs and not snakes. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.