On Wings Of Eagles

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Friday, August 31, 2018

Thankful for heaven

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.

Call it the “light at the end of the tunnel” effect. Isn’t it amazing how much adversity we can stand if we can see an end to it? if we see that something really positive will come out of it? if the short-term sacrifice results in long-term gain?

I am thankful for heaven, and not just heaven someday. I am thankful for heaven right now because of the sure knowledge that I am loved, forgiven, and immortal. St. Paul took a lot of abuse in his long ministry, but the bright glow ahead pulled him forward: “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). The stooped and frail elderly will stand up straight. The muscles of people with fibromyalgia will never shriek with agony again. There will be no more suffering from cancer. The blind will never again be in the dark 24/7. The deaf will hear and make music. Amputees will regain their limbs, and my friends with disabled legs will run like deer.

We don’t have to get everything now. So much of the pressure on our lives is the terror that we’re running out of time, have limited resources, and feel cheated if we don’t get all the experiences other people have. I am thankful for heaven, where time, friends, and adventures will have no limits.

After our first week there, you and I will say to each other, “Totally worth everything to be here.”

Dear Lord, we thank You for Heaven that is waiting for us. We thank You that those that have gone before us are there with You now. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Thankful for the Lord’s Supper

Matthew 26:27-28 (ESV)
27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

It’s pretty hard to be mad at people you’re eating with. There’s something about breaking bread with people that promotes intimacy, understanding, bonding, and camaraderie.

It’s no surprise that the Savior chose the warmth of the supper table for one of his most important parting gifts to his disciples and to all believers. Taking two ordinary foodstuffs found all over the world, Jesus linked the ordinary with the extraordinary, earth with heaven, and created a Sacrament. Simple bread and wine, eaten and swallowed by believers, would become the vehicles for the very body and blood that were offered on the cross in payment for the sin of the world: “He took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins’” (Matthew 26:27,28).

Baptism is intended as a one-time act, our formal adoption into God’s family. Communion is intended as a repeated activity, assuring sinners that the forgiveness of their sins is still valid. When people hear the Word of God spoken, they can always (mistakenly) assume that it is meant for others. When the body and blood are placed in their mouths, there can be no mistake about who is loved and whose sins are forgiven.

Dear Lord, thank you for being close to us and giving us this special gift of yourself. Thank You for letting us share in the special act of communion as we remember what You did for each of us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Thankful for my Bible

Matthew 4:4 (ESV)
But he answered, “It is written, 
“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
    but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

We have access to God’s wonderful Word pretty much whenever we want, in inexpensive printed editions as well as online on demand. We have not only one English translation but many. We have study Bibles, concordances, atlases, commentaries, and encyclopedias virtually and in print. From the casual attitude so many of us show toward Bible reading and Bible study, you wouldn’t conclude that we deeply respected the terrible sacrifices people made to bring us the Word.

William Tyndale dared to translate the Bible into English in the 1520s. For this he was denounced as a heretic by the bishops and his books were burned. He was betrayed and seized in Antwerp, strangled, and burned at the stake in 1536. The very best way to honor this martyr and all who suffered to bring the Bible to their people is to read it and know it as our dearest earthly treasure. Jesus used its power to fight off the devil’s temptation: “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:4).

Be a Bible reader not just to compete better at historical trivia or to do a piece of unpleasant work as a good and meritorious deed. The Bible is your lifeline to Jesus Christ. Satan will do everything in his power to cut that cord. Don’t let him. Enjoy the Word. Learn the Word. Grow in the Word. Apply the Word. Live the Word.

Dear Lord, we thank You for Your Word. Thank You for those who worked so hard to bring it to us. Help us to not just read it but to apply it to our life and live it. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Thankful for my baptism

Galatians 3:27 (ESV)
For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Some of you can remember your baptism as though it were yesterday because perhaps it was yesterday. For others it’s a faint memory of a long time ago, and for still others there’s no memory at all because it took place at a very young age. But whether your certainty of Baptism comes from personal memory or from a yellowing certificate, signed by people you dearly love, isn’t it a joy to reflect that it’s a done deal?

Somebody else was surely involved in helping you to that point. Some Christian friend or family member persuaded you to ask, just like the Ethiopian in his chariot asked the evangelist Philip. Or maybe your godmother held you in the family’s traditional long white christening gown. We can be thankful for these wonderful people who wanted to share their Savior with you.

Most of all we can be thankful for Christ’s priceless gift itself. “All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Galatians 3:27). Baptism is pure grace. It is 100 percent God’s doing. It isn’t magic water, of course—the power source is God’s Word working through the water, and that Word has clothed you with Christ, i.e., the holiness of Christ. It marks the day in which you were officially adopted into God’s family. Cherish that day and its significance—there’s a lot of hope and comfort there to sustain you throughout your life.

Is there someone in your life who needs this experience?

Dear Lord we thank You for the ones that went before us to share with us the need for You. Thank You for saving us.  Help us to share Your good news with someone who needs it today. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, August 27, 2018

A Sign, a Promise, a Reminder

Genesis 9:12-13 (ESV)
12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13 I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.

God gave Noah a task that seemed impossible to do, but with God’s help, Noah was able to do it. He built a massive boat, filled it with animals from all over the world, and had enough food and supplies to last the length of the trip. Noah had no idea how long the trip would be or where it would take him. He floated through the worst storm in all of history. He did this in obedience to God. He trusted God with everything, and because of this, he and his family were saved.

Have you ever thought about what would have happened if Noah didn’t obey God? We would not be here today! Noah saved the day, and God saved the world.

After being on the ark for over a year, the door was opened. Noah, his family, and all the animals stepped out onto dry land. God had given them new lives. As they ventured out, they saw something up in the sky that nobody had ever seen before. It was a beautiful arch made of different colors; it was a rainbow. This was God’s sign, and his promise to Noah and all of us that he would never destroy the earth with a flood ever again. The rainbow is a beautiful symbol of how much God loves us.

Another beautiful symbol of God’s love for us is the cross. Jesus, God’s only son, died on a wooden cross to take away the evil we are born with. When we believe in our hearts that he gave his life to save us, the bad things we have done are washed away from us. Jesus is our promise to a new life.

Noah’s obedience saved all of humanity. What can our obedience to God and His Word do?

Dear Lord, help us to be obedient to Your word that is the perfect guide for our life. Remind us when we see a rainbow to remember Noah and his obedience to You. Because of his obedience, we are here today. Let the rainbow remind me how much You love us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Don’t give up!

Psalm 20:4 (ESV)
May he grant you your heart's desire
    and fulfill all your plans!

Did you ever want to give up on something? Have you ever been asked to do something, said yes, and then thought, “I’ll never get this done!?” Let me tell you, it’s not as bad as you think. With God’s help and instruction, YOU CAN DO ALL THINGS!

We learned that God asked Noah to build a huge boat called an ark, and because Noah loved God, he built it. But when Noah found out just how big the ark was supposed to be, he probably thought, “What? Are you kidding me? God wants it how tall? Two of every animal? How do I build it? Why again, exactly?” After calming down, he heard the comforting voice of God tell him, “I’ll save you and tell you how to do everything.” What seemed impossible to Noah, God made possible. Where Noah didn’t have the knowledge, God gave him the wisdom to do it. Thankfully, Noah didn’t have to do everything. For example, God brought the animals to the ark two by two until it was full. God even closed the giant door to the ark when it started to rain. Even though it took over fifty years to build and seemed to be an impossible task to complete, Noah did it—just as God knew he would and just in time for the big flood.

If you take things one step at a time, you’ll be all done before you know it. God tells us nothing is impossible with him. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

When something seems more than you can do, do it in small steps. Take one step at a time. Even if it takes a long time, eventually it will be done.

Dear Lord, thank You for this day and whatever we do today. We know that You will help us as we give You our plans. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Good wins! Evil loses!

1 Peter 5:6 (ESV)
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.

The Bible tell us that a long time ago, before you and I were even born, everyone in the world was evil except a man named Noah. Noah was humble. He loved and worshiped God while no one else did.

What made all the other people so evil? Well, it all started with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve disobeyed God. Instead of following God’s directions, they did what they wanted. Then lots of time passed, and many things happened. Everyone turned away from God. They did things their own, selfish, evil way—not God’s way. Their hearts were cold because they had no love in them. Noah was the only person who lived and loved God.

God had a plan to make things better. First, he asked Noah to build an enormous boat. This boat was almost as long as two football fields and as tall as a building with three floors. The boat, which God called an ark, wasn’t large enough for all of the people in the world; it only fit Noah, his family, and two of every kind of animal in the world. Then, God told Noah, his family, and the animals to live in the ark while he washed away all the evil in the world and made it a better place.

The ark is like Jesus: It saved Noah because he believed in God. The ark also covered and protected him from destruction. It also game him a new life to start over again. When we give our heart to Jesus, we tell God we believe in Him. He loves us so much that He saves us from eternal destruction and gives us a new life that no one can take away.

Remember that Jesus saved you and loves you. Whenever you are feeling scared or hurt of the bad things of this world, you can always go to Jesus for help.

Dear Lord, thank You for saving us from the evil that is in this world. Thank You for forgiving us for our sins. Thank you for the new life You give to us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Friday, August 24, 2018

It Starts With Me Saying Yes

Isaiah 55:8-9 (ESV)
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

The Bible is full of examples of men and women who said yes to the call of God. Their journeys required faith, courage and bold obedience to God as they traveled to the places God called them to go and were transformed into the people God called them to be. In order to be the person God has called you to be, and to do all He has purposed for you to do, it starts with you saying yes and living in faithful obedience to Him.

Jesus has a plan for your life that is greater than what you are imagining right now. His plans and purposes lead to our joy and His glory, and they require us to have faith and trust in Him. He sees everything – the past, the present, and the future – and because we can barely see two steps in front of us, we need to trust that He has everything under control and that He knows exactly where He is leading us. We can put our future, our hopes, and our dreams into His hands because He is a good Father who only wants what is best for His kids.

God told Abram to get out of his hometown, He prompted Noah to build an ark, He led the Israelites out of Egypt, and He will guide you in the way you should go. Are you listening to Him? At times, where the Lord is leading us or what He is asking us to do might not make any sense, yet God sees what we can’t and knows what we don’t and because of that, we can trust that His plans are best.

Will you continue to follow Jesus even when it doesn’t make sense? Will you say yes and live in faithful obedience to Him, or will you try to reason with God and follow your own directions?

Take a look at your life and see what God asking from you, or where is He leading you to, that you need to reply with a yes even if it scares you or makes no sense?

Dear Lord, help us to start taking one step of faithful obedience after another. Help us to say yes and trust that You know what’s best for us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.  

Thursday, August 23, 2018

33 years and counting

Isaiah 40:31 (ESV)
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
    they shall walk and not faint.

We started our life together 33 years ago today.  It has been an amazing journey as we travelled through the life that God has put before us.  Becky and I have chosen Isaiah 40:31 as our life verse and have also used that verse in both of our son’s dedication.

During our 33 years we have made the Bible our manual for life. It is full of hope and wisdom that we can glean from for every situation.

As I prayed about what to write for this special devotion I was reminded of some other special verses that I think are great life verse for a marriage.

I pray that through these verses you find hope for your marriage and find strength to carry on even through the tough seasons.

1. “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” – 1 Peter 4:8
This is a great life verse for marriage because marriage is a union of two sinners. There will be times that you and your husband will fail each other, mess up, do something hurtful, and times that you will sin. It is important to remember God’s definition of love and how loving each other deeply can cover those sins and help you reconcile. Knowing this verse will remind you of the power of love!

2. “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” – Ecclesiastes 4:12
This verse is incredibly meaningful as we understand that two are better than one, but that two with God is even stronger.  The three cords represent a husband, a wife, and God. As the three form a close relationship with each other they cannot be quickly broken.

3. “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” – Ephesians 4:2-3
This verse is a great reminder for marriage. If a husband and wife are humble, gentle, patient, and selfless, eager to keep the peace in their relationship, there would be a lot less fighting in the world. This verse reminds us to remain calm and do as Jesus would do.

4. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11
This verse reveals the heart of God towards humanity. These words fill our hearts will hope and faithfulness. Sometimes we want to know all the plans God has for us, but I don’t think we would be able to handle knowing all that He has for us in the future. He is strengthening us each day. This verse helps us to trust in God and trust in His timing and His plans for my future.

5. “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” – Mark 10:9
When I married my best friend, we entered into marriage believing divorce would never be an option. Don’t let anyone or anything separate your love for each other.

Hearing stories of how others cling to verses for hope and strength reminds us to trust in God no matter what season of life or marriage we are in.

Dear Lord, may we all take Your Word and use it as a guide for our life. When things come up against us help us to stand firm with Your Word. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

It Starts With Me Not Waiting

2 Timothy 4:7 (ESV)
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

For most, the thought of working hard is something we are committed to doing someday, but right now it’s not a priority. We think that when we get that dream job, that leadership position, that amount of money, then we will work hard, read the Bible more, and be generous. However, being the person God has called you to be in the future starts with you right now. Stop pressing the snooze button on your life; if you wait for tomorrow, tomorrow may never come. God wants to start working in and through your life starting now.

Rather than wait for tomorrow, we must allow God access to our lives today. There are things you can do starting today that the future version of yourself will thank you for.

Take a look at your life and see what needs to change and what daily disciplines you need to introduce in order to become all that God has called you to be, and do all that God has called you to do?

No matter your age, don’t use it as an excuse to keep hitting the snooze button on your life. Train hard so that you can say with Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).

Dear Lord, help us to fight the good fight and finish the race I a way that is pleasing and honoring to You. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

It Starts With Me Stripping Down

Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV)
1 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.

As followers of Christ, we will be able to run further faster if we don’t have sin clinging to us and weighing us down. If you want your relationship with Jesus to go to the next level then it starts with you stripping down.

There is a good reason why marathon runners look the way they do instead of looking like power-lifters or NFL players. Because they don’t carry a lot of extra weight, they are able to run further faster. While this is true physically, it is also true spiritually. Sin will cling to us and weigh us down so that we aren’t able to pursue Jesus like we could if we weren’t carrying sinful habits or bad attitudes.

If you want to pick up the pace in your pursuit of Jesus, then start by stripping off the sin that is weighing you down. This could be ending a bad relationship, talking to someone about your addiction, forgiving someone who hurt you in the past, or asking someone for forgiveness for the way you have been treating them. All of these things, whether big or small, add weight to our lives and slow us down in our pursuit of Jesus.

Can you identify one or two things in your life that are slowing you down in your pursuit of Jesus.

Sin slows you down, so strip it off! Jesus has too much in store for your life for you to be weighed down. Start running the race with endurance and keep your eyes on Jesus who is calling you forward.

Dear Lord, help us be honest with our self today and strip off those sins that are dragging us down.  Help us to shed the things that keep us from the calling You have for us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, August 20, 2018

It Starts With Me Recognizing My Worth

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (ESV)
19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

If you are tired of thinking the same ugly thoughts about yourself then know that being confident in who you are (inside and out) starts with you recognizing your worth.

Despite what society and social media tells you, your worth is not determined by how many Facebook friend or twitter followers you have, how much you weigh, or what sports team you play for. If we find our worth and identity in temporary things, then our satisfaction and joy will also be temporary. When we recognize our worth in Jesus, our satisfaction and joy is infinite because Jesus too is infinite.

Because Jesus paid the highest price for us, we no longer need to find worth in dating, appearance, popularity, or personality because we already have worth in Jesus. If you are struggling with insecurities, or are constantly striving to be more, weigh less, and do better so that you feel better about yourself, then you might not have recognized your worth in Jesus yet – or you may just need a reminder!

Think about what temporary thing(s) have you been finding your worth in instead of Jesus? Identify them and ask Jesus to help you see that your worth is in Him and not in these things.

Ultimately, wherever you get your worth from is what you are building your life on. If you want to build your life upon Jesus – the solid rock – then start by recognizing your worth is in Him. You can do this by paying more attention to what the Word of God says about you than what the world says about you.

Dear Lord, we pray that we would not base our worth on the things around us. Help us instead base our worth on what You have made us. in the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

It Starts With Me Apologizing First

Ephesians 4:25-27 (ESV)
25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil.

As Christians, we are called to live in unity and in peace. However, this is not always an easy task. Your best friend will talk about you behind your back, he may steal that girl that you were talking to, and your friends may not invite you to that party. Instead of turning on our friends and holding grudges against the people that anger us the most, we are actually told to love and forgive these people.

Matthew 5:22 says that in God's eyes being angry with someone in our hearts is the same as murdering them. By remaining angry towards someone, we give Satan a way to creep into our lives. Anger can steal our joy, take away our fun and steal our opportunities.

How can we fight to not be angry towards others? By apologizing first. Take the first step in experiencing more joy by being the first to apologize. When that one person is still causing you to be angry, you are just as much in the wrong if you continue to go to bed angry with them. No matter what they have done to you, they deserve your apology for staying mad at them.

Take a minute and think is there anyone in your life that you need to apologize to?

Dear Lord, just as we did nothing to deserve Your forgiveness help us to forgive our friends. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

It Starts With Me Letting Go

Mark 10:21-22 (ESV)
21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

Being a generous person starts with us letting go of money as our Master. While money can do many things and serve many purposes, it should not fill the role of being master of our lives – that place should be kept only for Jesus!

We’ve probably seen a swinging trapeze act in a circus (or on Facebook or on YouTube). As the trapeze artist swings on one of the bars, the goal is to eventually let go of that bar in order to grab a hold of the other trapeze bar. It is impossible to be on both trapeze bars at once. The same applies when it comes to serving Jesus as master. Money and Jesus cannot both be your master because it is impossible to serve two masters at the same time.

With Jesus as our master, we are free to tithe and to bless others with our money because our heart is not tied to it. If money is our master, then we will feel like a slave to it, we will strive to get more of it, and when we have it we won’t want to let it go.

If we want to live generously then we need to evaluate who or what is the master of our lives. We can live generous lives for the glory of God only with Jesus as our master.

Listen to God and allow Him to direct your finances. If you are blessed with a job and are earning money, then a great place to start is by tithing on a Sunday!

Dear Lord, help us to give back to You the part that is Yours. Help us be thankful with what You have given to us and to be generous with it. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Friday, August 17, 2018

It Starts With Me Handing It Over

Hebrews 10:17 (ESV)
Then he adds,“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”

When someone hurts us, we like to hold on and harbor resentment, bitterness and unforgiveness in our heart towards them. If we want to experience freedom and healing from these feelings, then it starts with us handing all of that over to Jesus.

By holding on to something that has happened in the past we feel as though we have control over it and ammunition to use against the other person (or people) involved. True freedom can come for you (and for them) when you choose to hand it over to Jesus. He is the ultimate judge and will bring justice for everyone either at the cross or in eternity.

If you are in Christ, then Jesus has forgiven you of your sins – past, present, and future – and He no longer holds them against you (Hebrews 10:17). As followers and imitators of Christ, we should give people the same grace when they sin against us. This does not mean that we pretend like it didn’t happen. We should use wisdom and discernment, and not provide people an opportunity to repetitively sin against us.

Holding a grudge against someone will only end up hurting and hindering you more. Surrendering your pain and hurt to Jesus will allow you to walk in the freedom that forgiving others makes possible!

Think of someone who you are harboring unforgiveness toward.

Dear Lord, help us to hand our unforgiveness over to You.  Help us to not hold on to it! Hep us to trust You to bring justice to the situations, as well as bring peace and healing to our heart. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

It Starts With Me Not Giving Up

Isaiah 41:10 (ESV)
Fear not, for I am with you;
    be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Who doesn't want to change the world? Who doesn't want to see every coworker at work give their life to the Lord or every single kid at their school give their life to Jesus? It seems simple enough. What if it were as easy as you walking into your office or school and saying, "Who wants to give their life to Jesus?" and everybody goes home a Christian. When it comes to changing the world, the first thing you're going to learn is it's really hard. You're going to have that one friend that would rather keep partying, who week after week gives you a million excuses for why they can't come to church.

The change that Jesus wants to do in them starts with you believing it and not giving up on them. When things are hard, we can trust in the promises seen in Isaiah 41:10 and Galatians 6:9. No matter how hard it seems, God is with you, and He will strengthen you and help you. God promises a harvest for those who don't give up. So maybe trying to change your office or school won't be easy, but it will be worth it. Maybe you've invited that friend 100 times, but what if they finally say yes? What if they finally give their life to Jesus? Ninety-nine times you thought you failed, and then finally you reap a harvest. If you're willing to never give up, congratulations, you just changed your office or school.

Dear Lord, place at least one person on our heart that needs You in their life. Help us to not give up on them. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

It Starts With Me Fixing My Eyes

Matthew 6:22-23 (ESV)
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

There is so much to see in this world; so many things that draw our attention. Whether it is a YouTube video, a mountain, your pet dog, or your friends doing stupid stuff. There is no telling where our eyes will end up every day or at any moment.

Genesis 4:7 says, “Sin is crouching at the door, its desire is for you but you must rule over it.” At any moment the temptation to sin can pop out in front of you, whether you were just trying to look through Instagram or walk through the mall. For this reason we must be ready to guard our eyes from anything that does not declare Jesus as Lord of our lives.

It is not sin to unexpectedly see something that you know you shouldn’t have, but it is sin to keep looking. We must have eyes that are aware of the traps of the enemy; we must have bouncing eyes. When the enemy throws something in your direct line of vision, look away. Realize the enemy's motives. He wants your life to be terrible. Do not let Satan's lies rule your life, because the “pleasure” he is leading you to is sin which leads to death.

When you have clear eyes, you will have a full heart and at that moment you can't lose.

Dear Lord, we ask You to direct our eyes throughout each and every day.  Help us to keep our eyes on the things that don’t cause us to fail. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Thoughts on surgery day

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (ESV)
17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

Today is the day that I had surgery following the suspicious nature of my post thyroid cancer follow up. None of us like to hear the word “cancer” when getting a report from the doctor. After hearing the possibility, I dove into God’s word for the comfort that I needed.  Here are some thoughts God gave me.
Cancer is so limited...it cannot cripple love. It cannot shatter hope. It cannot corrode faith. It cannot destroy peace. It cannot kill friendship. It cannot suppress memories. It cannot invade the soul. It cannot steal eternal life. It cannot conquer the spirit.

I love those words. They beautifully reflect the truth found in God's Word. Paul, facing physical challenges, could say with confidence, "We ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure" (2 Corinthians 4:7). The apostle, like you or someone you know, experienced suffering as an ever-present companion. Yet he chose to "fix his gaze on things that cannot be seen".

Paul's faith and confidence flowed from the treasure within him - God's transforming power - and the future that awaited him - eternity with Jesus. He knew that when this life was over he would be forever in God's presence, where there will be "no more death or sorrow or crying or pain" (Revelation 21:4).

When suffering comes, we can pour out our hearts to. He is with us in our pain. We can worship Him when He chooses to heal and when He chooses not to heal. But no limited thing like disease or suffering can ever separate us from His love. An ultimate healing, as Christian composer Wayne Watson puts it, lies just ahead. Today, fix your eyes on what can't be seen - what an awesome, breathtaking view!

Dear Lord, we thank You that You are in control of everything. Give us the strength to look ahead knowing that the view is awesome. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, August 13, 2018

It Starts With Me Getting Uncomfortable

Joshua 1:9 (ESV)
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Has anyone ever interrupted you in the middle of something really important? Maybe you’ve been watching the newest episode of your favorite TV show, it’s just getting good and then your mom yells for you to go take out the trash or your son or daughter want help with homework. Or you’re walking into the mall and a homeless man stops you to ask for money. It can be extremely frustrating to be inconvenienced by other people and their needs.

In Acts 10, Peter is in the middle of praying and is interrupted by two men who are coming to ask him to travel from Joppa to Caesarea. The Lord tells Peter to go with these men on a 30-mile journey to another city. If you ask me, Peter was extremely interrupted and inconvenienced. Not only was Peter interrupted, but also was asked to travel 30 miles to another city for no reason other than they asked him to. Peter did not show anger. He did not get frustrated with God or the men that approached him. Instead, Peter stood up, pushed his needs to the side and started his way to Caesarea.

At the end of Acts 10, Peter has finally made it to Caesarea. You can imagine that after walking 30 miles, he is tired and exhausted, but Peter continues to share the Gospel with all of the people that are present. Because Peter did what was uncomfortable, many came to know Jesus and start a relationship with him.

Being a Christian isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes being a Christian means pushing everything on your agenda to the side to talk to that friend that’s having a bad day. Peter didn’t know the great outcome of traveling to Caesarea. Neither do we always know the great that will come out of getting uncomfortable. A moment of being uncomfortable for you could lead to life change for someone else.

Is your comfort more important than helping someone else?

Dear Lord, we ask that You would give us more opportunities to go out of our way.  Help us to take those uncomfortable opportunities when they arise and shine for You. In The Name of Jesus, Amen.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

It Starts With Me Inviting Them.

Matthew 28:19-20 (ESV)
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Because Jesus promised to build His Church and has given us the Holy Spirit to empower us, we can have confidence and boldness when inviting people to church!

Most people would not attend a party they aren’t invited to. This applies to church too. While we know that the doors are always open and everyone is invited, most of the time people won’t feel comfortable coming unless someone has invited them. This is where we play our part. People hear the gospel and encounter Jesus at church, and because of this, evangelism starts with me inviting them!

We interact with hundreds of different people every week. The person who serves you at a restaurant, your coworkers, your teachers, your classmates, and your family all need Jesus. Inviting the person wrapping our burrito can be an uncomfortable moment for all involved, but when we invite people to church we are giving them an opportunity to hear and respond to the message of Jesus because church is a place where Jesus is celebrated and the gospel is preached. You don’t need a masters in theology, you simply need to be bold enough to let them know they are invited!

Imagine whose salvation is on the other side of an invitation from you? You might be afraid of them turning you down, but that’s OK. You have nothing to lose and they have everything to gain – it’s worth the ask!

Take a few minutes and ask Jesus to give you the boldness to invite someone to church. Also ask Him to soften their hearts so that when they hear the message of Jesus they would be saved.

Dear Lord, give us the boldness to invite someone to church.  We pray that their heart will be softened and ready to hear about Your great love. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

It Starts With Me Looking Up

1 Corinthians 7:35 (ESV)
35 I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.

Our generation has great potential to reach and impact the world around us but this won’t happen as long as our eyes are looking down – fixed to our phones, our shoes, ourselves. If you want to make a difference in your family, at work, your school, your sports team and the world, then it starts with you looking up.

Technology is a great thing. It allows us to communicate with people all over the world at any moment. Imagine if we didn’t have the gift of technology and we had to communicate without it. Because we have such easy access to technology, it can quickly become a distraction. Instead of our eyes and hearts being focused on the people around us and on the opportunities, God gives us, we can become infatuated with our phones and spend most of our time scrolling timelines.

While Jesus faced many potential distractions (storms, hunger, critics, lack of sleep, betrayal, etc.), He didn’t allow these distractions to draw His attention away from what God had called Him to do or from the people God had called Him to minister to. With our eyes looking up, we will see more clearly the people God has brought into our lives who we can show the love of Jesus to. Only with our eyes looking up will we be able to bring change to the world as we recognize and respond to the people that God has put on our path.

Take the time to make a plan to prevent yourself being distracted by things that distract us from Jesus.

Jesus wants to use your life to impact and influence the world around you so start looking up!

Dear Lord, help us to look up to You. Help us to recognize the things that distract us from You. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Friday, August 10, 2018

It Starts With Me Having 20 Seconds Of Courage

Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV)
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Telling a stranger about Jesus, your family about the Gauntlet, or your friends about Fuse can be an awkward experience for anyone. But evangelism starts with us just having 20 seconds of courage.

In the movie We Bought a Zoo, Benjamin Mee – played by Matt Damon – says to his son, “You know, sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage. Just literally 20 seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.”

As you have probably have realized by now, your heart beats quicker and your palms get sweaty when an opportunity for evangelism presents itself. This is normal! So instead of looking for an escape route, embrace the awkwardness and go for it. On the other side of this conversation could be someone’s eternal salvation.

It’s not up to us to save people; Jesus saves, we get to tell people about it. The message of Jesus living a perfect life, dying on a cross, and rising again has been ‘entrusted to us’ by God (2 Corinthians 5:19-20).
Have 20 seconds of courage today and either take the opportunity of evangelism when it presents itself, or spend 20 seconds inviting someone to church. Trust the Bible that something great will happen because of your courage!

Evangelism isn’t for the experts. It starts with me, and it starts with you!

Dear Lord, give us that 20 seconds of courage today. Help us to rely on You and go for it when the opportunity is before us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

It Starts With Me Loving My Family

2 Corinthians 5:20 (ESV)
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

Want your family to love Jesus like you do? Then it starts with you loving your family.

Most people could name at least one person in their family who does not have a relationship with Jesus (if not more). Whether you are the first person in your family to believe in Jesus, or one among many, we each have an opportunity to show the love of Jesus to our family members, including our crazy Aunt Thelma.

As Christians, we are called “ambassadors for Christ”. This means that we are representatives of Jesus to our coworkers, school friends, bowling team or other sports teams, our Facebook followers, and to our families. We cannot excuse ourselves from the great task of showing our family the love and kindness that Jesus has shown us. Our moms, dads, brothers, sisters, and crazy aunts and uncles need Jesus just as much as we do. You have a great opportunity and responsibility to show your family not only how much Jesus loves them, but also how much Jesus has changed your life.

It won’t always be easy, but in every situation and conversation you can choose to be an ambassador for Christ and show your family the same love, grace, forgiveness, and mercy that He has shown you. While they may never cross paths with another Jesus follower, God has put YOU in their world not by accident, but on purpose, with a purpose and for a purpose.

Take up the challenge of representing Christ to your family today!

Dear Lord we pray for opportunities to show our family the love of Jesus today. Give us patience and compassion to continue loving them as Jesus does. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

It Starts With Me Setting Boundaries

Titus 2:11-14 (ESV)
11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

Let’s commit to set physical boundaries long before we get into a relationship. By knowing where you stand and what God has called you to do, you’ll be stronger and less likely to give into temptation when it comes.

It’s easy to decide you want to commit to purity. It’s way harder to follow through. Ambiguity is one of the leading causes of moral failure - you don’t make the right decision because you haven’t decided what the right decision is! A lot of us don’t take the time to process how we feel or what God has told us is within His will for us physically. It’s no wonder that when we’re in tempting situations, we cave.

Without knowing your own boundaries, it’s easy to blame the other person for ‘pushing your boundaries’ or ‘doing more than you would have wanted.’ Instead of making excuses, it’s time to own your purity. Decide how God wants you to live and be bold! Share your thoughts with your husband, wife, boyfriend or girlfriend early on and build accountability within your relationship, as well as with other trusted friends. Don’t wait until you’ve gone too far and feel guilty to determine your boundaries. Don’t wait until you hit the other person’s boundaries. Take initiative to protect both your purity and your significant other’s purity. Your relationship with Jesus and your ability to hear His voice will grow stronger when you realize that purity starts with you.

Pray that Jesus would give you a heart for purity and that you would truly desire to live your life His way and enjoy obeying Him.

Dear Lord, we pray that we would keep strong boundaries in our relationships. Help us to protect the ones that we love. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.