On Wings Of Eagles

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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

If Only

Psalm 81:13-14 (NIV)
If my people would only listen to me,
    if Israel would only follow my ways.

“If only… I had more money.”

“If only… I had a better relationship with my family.”

“If only… I could just find the right job.

It’s not only greed. It’s not only a desire for more. It’s a complete lack of faith in God to provide all that’s good. Adam and Eve fell into that trap.

“If only… we could have our eyes opened and be like God. If only we could know evil, as well as good. If only we could enjoy something more than what God has already given.”

What more could God have given them? What more could God give us? We have from him all that we need and so much more.

Yet we are not content with him. “If only …”

If only there was a way out of this trap we have fallen into. If only God would take pity on us and forgive us for wanting more than him. If only there was a Rescuer to set us free from our foolish sin and greed and mistrust of God. If only there was a way to escape the curse of death that we have brought on ourselves.

It’s more than “if only”–it’s a rock-solid, gospel-truth promise of God: the “offspring of the woman” (Genesis 3:15) has crushed the serpent’s head for us. His name is Jesus. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

We don’t need “if onlys”. We have a gracious, forgiving Savior who is our all in all.

Dear Lord, forgive us for wanting more and failing to trust You for everything. Thank You for forgiving us and saving us through Jesus, your Son. In Him, we have all we could ever want.  In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Happiest Day of My Life

Philippians 1:21 (ESV)
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

A teacher asks her second-grade class to draw a picture of the happiest day of their lives. After they turn in their assignments, she straightens them into a pile and begins to scan through them. She pauses at one picture. The picture is of a funeral. She looks for the name at the top and calls the student up to her desk. When she asks him to explain, he tells her the happiest day of his life will be his funeral. The happiest day because he will go to heaven.

When the Christian Paul wrote “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain,” he was expressing the heart of being a Christian.

From the Bible, Christians understand and believe that they are full of sin. They see the selfishness inside themselves. They see how much they resent God commanding them to do things they don’t want to do. They realize how they really have nothing to offer God for him to look on them with favor.

They also understand and believe how much God loves them. Jesus lived a completely innocent and sin-free life. He then covered himself with all the garbage of our sin and guilt. Jesus took all the blame and all the shame we deserve. He stood still under the crushing justice of God’s anger over our sin. His sacrifice guaranteed no Christian will ever experience even an ounce of God’s justice.

Christians understand and believe that heaven is waiting for them. When they die, Jesus will welcome them into that place filled with joy and peace, where there is no sadness, and sorrows no longer exist. It’s no wonder Christians look forward to the day when they leave their pains, their aches, and their struggles behind to gain the perfect happiness of living with Jesus forever!

The same love from Jesus that fills Christians with hope also fills them with purpose. Jesus’ love leads believers to want to serve Jesus in any way and in every way they can. They live to give glory to Jesus.

I’m looking forward to my funeral. In the meantime, I thank Christ he’s given me another day to serve him.

What about you?

Dear Lord, thanks for giving us heaven. We can’t wait to be there with you! In the meantime, help us live for You, serving You with our whole life. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Freedom from loneliness

1 Kings 19:9-12 (ESV)
9 There he came to a cave and lodged in it. And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10 He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” 11 And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.

Have you ever felt alone? You were excluded from the party; you didn’t get an invite. You were stuck at home alone while everyone else hung out. Everybody else got the Snap and laughed when they got it, but your profile stays quiet. Nobody seems to want to talk or hang out. Or maybe the opposite is true. You have lots of people who want to be your friend, but you’re not close to any of them. You’re alone in the crowd; you have lots of likes and followers but you still long for a true friend. Or maybe, your faith puts you on an island, standing for God’s truth, so that you end up all alone because of your stand.

If you’ve ever felt alone, you can relate to the prophet Elijah.

Elijah had a tough job. He had to preach against the king and queen of Israel. They had introduced a false God named Baal into Israel, and they were leading thousands of people astray. Elijah preached, and he preached. Then he preached some more. But no one seemed to care. No one seemed to listen. He felt alone. In fact, he was so lonely and so overwhelmed that he at one point said, “God, I’m done. Take me home to heaven.” He wanted to die.

But God wanted him to know that he was not alone. And he wants you to know it too. There was Elijah in a cave, hundreds of miles away from everyone. But then God came. And he said, “Elijah, what are you doing here?” Elijah had run; he had tried to hide. But he could not escape God’s loving care and concern. God was right there to care about Elijah. We are never alone! God is always with us. There’s no place we can go on this earth where we will be alone. God will always be with us.

And God made sure that Elijah knew it. He came to Elijah through a whisper, through his Word. And that’s what God does for you again and again. He comes to you in his Word and declares his undying love for you. He reminds you that in baptism God has made you his own child and he will always be there. Each time you come to the Lord’s Supper he will assure you again and again of his love and forgiveness. The Lord is always with you. You are never alone. Not now. Not ever.

Dear Lord, thank You for Your love that you promise to never take away from us. Thank You for the Christian friends you have placed in our life so that we are never alone. We always have You and we always have a Christian community around us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Daily bread

Matthew 6:11 (ESV)
Give us this day our daily bread.

Martin Luther explained that daily bread is more than just the food we eat. He said, “Daily bread includes everything needed for this life, such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, home, fields, cattle, money, goods, God-fearing spouse and children, faithful servants and rulers, good government, good weather, peace, health, order, honor, true friends, good neighbors, and the like.”

The list isn’t really about the things we have. It is about the Giver of every good gift that exists in our life. All of it. All of those things that Luther mentions in his list are from our Father in heaven who is the Giver of every good thing. This list is about God and his love. He does more than promise us life in heaven with him through forgiveness won by Jesus. He gives us all our bodies need today as well! In mercy, he provides so many things that are included in daily bread even though I don’t deserve any of them.

When Jesus teaches us to pray for daily bread he wants us to recognize that all the things on this list (and more!) come from God. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17).

That’s why the list is so long. Luther couldn’t help but make the list long. In fact, he probably had to work hard to keep his list short—and Luther’s life was full of poverty and hardship. There is so much that God has given us as a gift of grace. There is much in our lives—even life itself, our bodies and souls—that are purely a gift of God’s grace to us.

Try this and you’ll see all that God has given you. Get out a piece of paper and a pen or pencil or open up a note app on your phone. And jot down your own list, a list of the things that God has given you in your life. Take the time to list all of the things that God has given you today. List at least one gift from God for every letter of the alphabet. (You have permission to use zucchini for the letter ‘Z’.) And then, take that list and say “Thank you” to the Lord.

Dear Lord, we give thanks to the You, for You are good and Your mercy endures forever.  In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Saturday, July 27, 2019


John 1:9-13 (ESV)
9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

Rejection is a natural part of our lives. You are rejected when you don’t make the team or get a call back for a second audition. You get rejected while dating and in so many other situations in life. Everyone experiences rejection in their life.

There is someone who knows what rejection feels like—Jesus. From the very start of his life and ministry, he faced rejection and ridicule. People saw the miracles he performed and expected him to be their earthly king. When Jesus made it clear that he wasn’t an earthly king, they left him. Even his own family rejected him. Some of his brothers didn’t believe he was the Son of God.

Jesus was rejected throughout his entire life. Out of love for you and me, he chose to take our place and to take our sin on himself in order to suffer the death we deserved to give us the life he earned. That’s why Jesus came. He came to be rejected by men, so that we would be accepted by God. He came to be condemned by God for our sins, so that we would be forgiven. He even came to be rejected by God, so that we would be accepted by God. Because of Jesus and his rejection, God receives us as children of God. We will not be turned away or rejected by him.

Jesus loves you! He has come to give you new life and to bring you into the family of God. Rejoice! You are an accepted child of God!

Dear Lord, we confess that we often have rejected and rebelled against Your Word. Forgive us. Thank You for restoring us daily as Your children. We rejoice that You accept us as children of God! In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Follow Jesus With All Your Heart

Luke 9:59-62 (ESV)
59 To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 60 And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

John Hart is one of the 56 men who signed the United States’ Declaration of Independence. There were many who tried to stop him from signing this historic document. At one point, John had to make a choice between supporting his patriotic beliefs or being by the side of his dying wife and their 13 children. He forsook his family and put his signature on the document.

While his love for his nation is an admirable thing, it’s doubtful that everyone would forsake their family the way he did.

Yet, if we ever have to make a choice between following our family or following Jesus, Jesus clearly expects that we will follow him. In Jesus’ eyes, not even saying goodbye to a father was sufficient cause to delay in following Jesus.

Why? Because he knows that our families cannot save us from hell. Our families cannot pay our debt to God. Our parents cannot earn forgiveness for our sins.

But Jesus did. Jesus, in fact, is the one who keeps our families together even beyond death. His sacrificial death assures us that, though death on earth might temporarily separate us, we will be reunited with our fellow believers in heaven where we will be together forever.

Use your time with family and friends to celebrate this great gift given to us by Jesus. Gather around his Word and encourage one another with his promises so that heartfelt devotion to the Jesus who saves might be the one thing your entire family has in common.

Dear Lord, You loved us with Your whole heart. Help us to each day offer our entire life in heartfelt devotion to You. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Limitless Love

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

The thing about love is that it almost always has limits.

You might really love someone or something, but there is probably a limit to that love. You may love a certain food, but you will only pay so much for it. Perhaps you love a certain sports team, but after so many losing seasons you may just give up. Even in a marriage, one of the more infinite loves, we say our vows with, “Till death do us part.”

Even though almost every love we know has its bounds, we still crave truly limitless and unconditional love—a love without any end.

God filled our desire for limitless love by sending Jesus to win eternal life for us. God didn’t set a limit or an end to his love. With his limitless love Jesus came to live and die for us to take away our sins and to win for us a place before God forever. This love will never end.

In response to his love for us, God commands us to love one another as he has loved us.

How can we do that? We can do the kinds of things that will make sure even death will not limit our love. If you want to love your spouse, pray for and encourage their faith. If you want to love your children, make sure that they grow up in a place where their faith can be nurtured. If you want to love your neighbors, do the kinds of things that allow you to share with them the hope you have in Jesus. Helping those you love to be in the Word of Christ and to follow his commands is one of the greatest expressions of love, because it is the only thing that is truly limitless.

God loved you in the ultimate way by winning eternity for you. Go and love others by sharing that message with them.

Dear Lord, thank You for loving us so much that You sent Jesus. Help us to love with the limitless love You have shown to us. In the name of Jesus,  Amen.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Changing shape

Philippians 3:13-14 (ESV)
13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Have you ever looked in a mirror that distorts your body? Some of the mirrors make you look tall and skinny, and others make you seem short and fat. I saw a movie once that had a boy in a wheelchair came up to some mirrors. He sat there and rolled back and forth between the two mirrors. He seemed to be having such a great time. Even though he was not able to fully enjoy the effects of it, you could see the happiness in his eyes.

How could that boy be thankful for having to sit in a wheelchair for the rest of his life? Have you gone through times in life and sometimes found it hard to be thankful? When things don’t go our way, we tend to start blaming God for not providing. We may go as far as disowning God for a short time. When we do not know the outcome of our future, doubt starts to creep in and causes us to take matters into our own hands. The truth is that we do not deserve a God who gives us perfect gifts. We are lost and hopeless sinners.

Jesus never promised that being a Christian would mean freedom from problems. Our verses remind us to be thankful in all circumstances. We don’t know the plan God has for us in the future. We may even be in pain while going through a bad time in life, unable to see light at the end. We may even feel completely lost and feel abandoned by everyone, and God still tells us to give thanks! We have a reason to be glad because we have a way to handle problems. James tells us our God does not change like shifting shadows. Shadows come and go. Our God is forever. He promised to be with us forever whether walking or in a wheelchair. He knows your burdens. He will help you carry your burdens.

Stop and take a moment to thank God because you woke up this morning. Thank God for life. For each other. For friends. For parents. For house and home. For Christ and salvation. He is the satisfaction for my soul.

Dear Lord, You hold me us the palm of Your hand. Give us the faith to thank You even on the darkest days. Even when all hope seems lost, remind us to give thanks because You have washed us clean by Your blood. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019


Philippians 3:13-14 (ESV)
13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Goals can be powerful motivators. They give us something to work toward achieving. If our goal is to be healthier, we may incorporate exercise and healthier eating into our life.

When we add action steps toward those goals, they give us some clear direction for our life. For example, to get healthier, we are going to exercise three times a week and eliminate the late-night snacking. With these action steps, we now have some clear things to work on to get healthier.

As we seek our one priority, Paul sets the goal for us in his own example. His goal isn’t to be smarter in the faith. His goal isn’t to live a holier life. He certainly wants those things, but those things aren’t his goal. His goal was to get the prize of heaven.

Paul knew that a life in pursuit of heaven includes certain things. As you pursue heaven, these are things you need in your life too.

You need to be people of prayer (Look up 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). Let your heart and your mind continually be turned to the Lord in prayer.

You need to be people of the Word and of worship (Look up Psalm 1; Colossians 3:15-17; 2 Timothy 3:14-17). Let God’s Word live in your richly and deeply as you live your life for him.

You need to be in community with other Christians (Look up Hebrews 10:21-25). God has given you the community of believers to support you in your walk of faith as you pursue heaven.

Christ made you and your eternal life with him his top priority. His goal is for your life to be lived with him every day. That’s why he encourages your daily life to include time in prayer, God’s Word, and with God’s people (your faith community). Make a plan. Pray about it. Then, with God at your side, press on!

Dear Lord, we need You, Your Word, and Your people in our life. Give us the self-discipline we need to incorporate these things into our life. Give us Christian friends who will encourage us in our walk of faith. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, July 22, 2019

I am the Good Shepherd

John 10:11 (ESV)

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

Sheep are not very intelligent animals. In 2005, shepherds in Turkey watched 1,500 sheep walk off a cliff because the neighboring shepherds were not paying attention for a few minutes. Sheep are also defenseless. They don’t have horns, stripes, or speed to use as protection or for disguise. Sheep need a shepherd, because without one, they are an easy target for whatever predator gets to them first.

You also need a shepherd to guide you through life on the path to heaven. Trying to find your own path will lead to a terrible place. By nature, you won’t wander toward God but away from him. Following the crowd is dangerous too. Unless they know the true God, they are as lost as you are. You are also defenseless against the attacks of Satan. He is like a roaring lion looking to devour you. Temptation is always lurking for you, waiting to pounce like a tiger in the tall grass. Like sheep you are dumb and defenseless. Like sheep, you need a shepherd.

Thank God you don’t have an ordinary shepherd, but the Good Shepherd, Jesus. He said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.” You would have ended up in hell on your own, but Jesus laid down his life for you, his sheep, to lead you into heaven. Satan had his sharp teeth and piercing claws ready to pounce on you, but Jesus destroyed the devil on the cross. He has no power over you. He is no longer a threat to you because of Jesus.

Rest secure. Each day when you wake up ready to face everything the world is going to throw at you, remember that you have the Good Shepherd watching over you. He will lead you in paths of righteousness. He will not let any harm come to you that he will not work out for your good. Yes, Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He is YOUR good shepherd.

Dear Lord, we pray that Your will be done. Destroy the work of the devil and his demons. Stop all of those who oppose Your Gospel. As the Good Shepherd, guide and guard me. In the Name of Jesus, 

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Signed, sealed, and delivered

1 Corinthians 15:17-20 (ESV)
17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. 20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

Let us take a step back in time. The year is 1970, and Stevie Wonder is singing one of his many hits. This one is entitled “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours.“ These words especially connected with the teenage crowd since teens were starting their personal search for “the one,” the person they could call their own.

The reality is that whether you are married or single, you have someone you can call your own. There is no denying that a person who dies in your place exemplifies love. Therefore, if a person denied that love exists, they are denying an undeniable truth. The same logic applies, if someone denies that Christ rose from death, the empty tomb and hundreds of witnesses of his resurrection would prove the opposite. The resurrection signed, sealed, and delivered the fact that God is alive and sin is dead! Here’s God’s promise to you: Your past no longer dictates your future with him. We often can’t hold the pieces of our life together, so God sent his son to make us whole again, redeemed, restored, and forgiven. Christ’s resurrection is his final signature for mankind that his total victory over sin, death, and Satan was completely accomplished. He shows you his hands and feet and body broken for you. He says, “I’m yours, and you now belong to me.”

How do you know that you truly are forgiven? Look in the empty tomb! Look at the living Jesus! It’s the proof you need—signed, sealed, delivered!

Dear Lord, thank You for giving us all the proof we need in Your holy Word that Christ came out of his tomb while our sins stayed buried. Help us to live our life today reflecting that undeniable truth! In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

50th anniversary of the moon walk, We can worship God anywhere

John 15:5 (ESV)
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

The launch of Apollo 11 on July 16, 1969, resulted in astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin stepping foot on the moon on July 20 and famously placing an American flag on the moon’s surface.

Armstrong delivered the famous line, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” as he stepped onto the moon’s surface in one of the most significant scientific achievements in history.

Discovery and exploration, Nettles noted, can lead to a greater amazement and worship of God.

“As we gain more understanding, we, as Christians, should stand in even greater awe and have a deeper sense of not understanding our world,” Nettles said. “To put it another way, as Christians we need to realize that the more we learn, the greater the number of things that we don’t know. That’s because the mysteries of God are unfathomable, but we can have deep joy in that thought.”

In addition to the importance of the moon landing as exploration of the created world, Christians also can view it as an opportunity to worship God both for what He has allowed mankind to discover and for who He is.

An act of worship related to the moon landing involves one of the Apollo 11 astronauts.

Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin paused for a moment to take communion on the lunar module around two hours before stepping onto the moon.  Aldrin took communion while reading the words of Jesus from John 15, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

This moment of Aldrin thanking and worshiping God, is a great example to all Christians that no matter where we are we can praise and honor our God.
 Where are you today that you can worship and praise our God?

Dear Lord we thank You for the world that You have given to us. Help us to remember that no matter where we are, we can praise You. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Google maps and Following God's Plan For Your Life

Proverbs 3:5-7 (ESV)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.
7 Be not wise in your own eyes;
    fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.

I want you to imagine for a moment that you were in a new town and you didn’t know your way around. Let’s say that you’ve got a smart phone, and you know that you’ve got Google Maps on the phone. You know that Google maps can give you turn by turn instructions on how to get to your destination.

The interesting thing about your Google maps on your phone is that it is up to you to use it. You can keep your phone in your pocket and never use it and wind up lost. If you don’t ever consult the directions, or look to see where to go on the map, you won’t get to where you want to go. You’ve got to consult something smarter than you…Google Maps to help you get to your destination.

The same is true in life. Whatever path you take in life, you’ll find success in that by letting God lead. Success is consulting God on each turn, like you would Google Maps on your phone to help you get to your destination and to get which way to go.

So to be successful in life, we need to do what today’s verse says and let God lead your life. Don’t run around life without direction and lost. Find success in your endeavors by letting God lead. Seek God’s direction in the decisions you make…include Him in what you do.

Self- sufficiency & self dependence have been the ruin of man-kind since Adam. The grand sin of the human race is their continual endeavor to live independently of God – Adam Clarke
Just like Adam said, living independently of God, just doesn’t work. It doesn’t bring happiness or fulfillment. When you try to live your life in your own strength and ability you will always fail, be unhappy or feel like something is missing.

The foundation for happiness and success in your life is knowing Jesus and letting him lead in your life. As you go through life, as you make decisions and as you make choices for your future, consult God in everything you do, and you’ll find true success!

Dear Lord, we thank You that You are here to lead us in our life. Help us to make the right decisions and choices in our life. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Who are you copying?

Hebrews 6:12 (KJV)
That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Most actors who play the part of a real-life person will study to get into character of the person they are playing. For example, a professional actor who would represent Abraham Lincoln would study his life by reading books to get all the facts of his life. Then they might read his writings to get an idea of how he thought. In other words, they study the person to understand them to the point that they almost become like him in order to “act the part” .

This word “ followers”  indicates acting or copying someone. Like the good actor who studies and tries to mimic the person he is depicting, we are told to do that too. Who are we to mimic or copy?

The Bible says those who spiritually are our leaders. Those who have faith and character and have stood up morally in hard times. Jesus certainly is that leader to want to replicate. Your pastor or a leader at your church might be such a person.

Study them and listen to what they say. Study what they do in difficult situations. The more you study good examples of godly people, you will begin to talk like them and act like them. In fact, we are told to do that! Study how they treat their other people. Study what they do under pressure. You can learn to follow or replicate them.

If you follow many celebrities of today, you will see they are in trouble with the law and their relationships don’t often last. These are not the people you want to follow because you don’t want the failure they have experienced in your life.

True heroes may not be on television- they may be in your church or in your own home.

Dear Lord, show me the people around us that have your promises and blessings so me may learn from them. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

What We Learn About God from The Force

Ephesians 6:10  (ESV)

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.

A long time ago in a movie theater far, far away… I went to see the original Star Wars movie. I was a young kid at the time, but in retrospect it has become one of my most cherished memories. Up until the unveiling of this film, the whole genre of fantasy/science-fiction/adventure was a veritable wasteland of cheesy endeavors that made you want a refund.

Ah, but in Star Wars we have an opening scene with a rebel ship being pursued and fired upon by an Imperial Battle Cruiser, and from that moment on, your eyes and senses are glued to this fantastic universe where good battles evil in the context of The Force.

“There is a God and there is a good and bad side.”—George Lucas
Then, 38 years later (like I said…a long time ago), one of the biggest movie release perhaps in the history of the celluloid industry is The Force Awakens. A whole new generation of Star Wars aficionados will be generated, and we will anxiously anticipate the final two installments of this immortal series.

But in the meantime, have you ever thought about what we can learn about God from The Force? Many may quickly dismiss even considering this possibility, but I would like to offer a few thoughts that might alter that perception.

First, if you look deep enough into the dialogue of the series, there are some really cool parallels with Biblical truth. For example:

Luke Skywalker: May The Force be with you.
The Bible: May the Lord be with you.

Obi-Wan: The Force will be with you…always
Jesus: And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20).

Watching and reflecting on Star Wars through the years, and particularly focusing on the constant and abiding presence of The Force has been an ongoing reminder of the great truth that God will never leave us or forsake us.

Still, there are some stark and significant differences. One of these is the personal nature of the God of the Bible vs. the impersonal nature of The Force. By this I mean that it is one thing to be comforted by a Force that “surrounds us and binds us together,” but it is a much greater and more profound thing to know that our Triune God indwells our hearts through the Holy Spirit, and because of that, we are never abandoned or alone in this world.

Our Triune God indwells our hearts and because of that, we are never alone in this world.
And speaking of dark and light, that is the other critical reality that the Star Wars series has brought to center stage. That’s why George Lucas made this statement: “All I was trying to say in a very simple and straightforward way is that there is a God and there is a good and bad side. One of his motivations in making the Star Wars series was to counter the pervasive morally relativistic thinking of that generation—which obviously is still alive and well.

And the Bible makes it very clear that there is a “good side and bad side” as well, and you are either engaged in one or the other at all times. Check out Jesus’ words to the Apostle Paul on the road to Damascus:

“I’m sending you off to open the eyes of the outsiders so they can see the difference between dark and light, and choose light, see the difference between Satan and God, and choose God. I’m sending you off to present my offer of sins forgiven, and a place in the family, inviting them into the company of those who begin real living by believing in me” (Acts 26:17-18, The Message).

As we enjoyed The Force Awakens I hope you realize that we have a God who is with us…always. And we fight in an intense battle between darkness and light. So as you step out of the theater or turn the DVD off, step into the very real story line that makes a very real difference both for now and into eternity!

Dear Lord, we thank You for the fact that You will never leave us and as we fight the battle that is before us, You give us the strength.  In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Why Fit In When You Were Born To Stand Out?”

Romans 12:2 (ESV)
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

I am sure you have heard those well-known words of Dr. Seuss many times before, but have you ever thought about their meaning?

Those famous words of Dr. Seuss are a perfect motto for Christians in today’s world. With all the temptations and peer pressure of everyday life, we often try to base our definition of right and wrong by those around us instead of God’s word. We do this because we want to fit in with the crowd.

However, fitting in with the crowd is not what God has called us to do. Followers of Christ should not follow the ways of the world, but instead they should follow the ways of Christ. Doing this will not always be an easy task, you may feel rejected at times when you stand up for your faith and do what the Bible says is right. You may feel like an outsider when you don’t participate in things you know are wrong but your friends do them anyway.

There is a long list of things that the world can make you feel different for, but what is important to remember is that if you have put your faith in Christ, you are not of this world.

John 15:18-19 says, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”

It may seem like “standing out” in the world comes with a lot of unnecessary problems, but those problems will seem like nothing compared to the incredible rewards you will receive when you follow Christ’s example.

Matthew 7:13-14 says, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate that leads to life, and only a few find it.” We must continuously choose to make Christ-like decisions such as spreading kind words instead of swearing, or standing up for someone being bullied, even if it could lead to you getting made fun of as well.

Many people choose the easy way out…they will do what the crowds do.

Most people will follow their friend’s example without truly thinking about what Christ would think of their actions. However, as the verse above says, doing this will only put you on a path of destruction. Choosing to take the narrow road and follow in Christ’s footsteps may come with multiple obstacles to overcome, but Christ will be with you and ready to help every step of the way so that you can stay on the path that leads you to eternal life with Him.

Dear Lord, give u the strength and courage to take the narrow way.  Help us to follow in Your footsteps. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Be still and know I am God

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

We are so busy with our lives: working, school, friends, family, sports and tons of other stuff….which we try to cram into a 16 hour period.

Sometimes it can feel like we’re so busy that we hardly have time to breathe!
Most of the time, we’re busy with so many activities that we don’t have time to hear God.

Today’s verse challenged me and is worth re reading  Psalms 46:10: “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

When we have a few minutes to spare, do we fill them with Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or texting someone? Usually.

Not only do these things take up our time, but they can easily lead us to dwell on ungodly thoughts. While we can learn from our mistakes, often those mistakes knock us down and hurt us.

A better way to learn and grow strong is to have God show us where we need to change.
God is always wanting to speak to us, guide us, and encourage us. And many times, we forget to let God do that.

Lately God has been showing me how to be still and let Him guide me.
Not just to sit still, but to trust Him more and more and to keep my eyes on Him because He has a plan for me.

If we don’t keep our eyes on the Lord, we won’t have a solid relationship with Him.

So let’s slow down and let God speak into our lives by taking time to read God’s Word and let it correct us and show us the best way to live. Let us meditate on it.

Psalms 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.”

God wants us to live a plentiful life. He knows what’s best for us and that is why He has given us His Word.

Trusting God is all about not leaning on our own understanding but His. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

So my Challenge is: Let’s take time to be still and just listen to God. Instead of going to Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc when we are bored, consider taking ten, twenty, or thirty minutes alone with God.

 “God is a rewarder of those who earnestly seek Him.” – Hebrews 11:6b

Dear Lord, we thank You for Your word. We pray that we would take the time to spend time alone with You so that we will see what You have for us.  In the Name of Jesus,  Amen.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Prayer – What’s the big deal?

1 Thessalonians 5:17 (ESV)
Pray without ceasing.

I came across this quote that inspired me to think more seriously about prayer. “If we don’t consistently fall on our face in prayer, we shouldn’t be surprised when we consistently fall on our face in sin.”

Prayer is a pretty cool tool.  Most Christians pray before meals and some before going to bed as a routine.  But why does Paul say in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 that we should “pray without ceasing”?

Well, the easy answer is because God said so, and that is a very good reason!
But it isn’t the only one.

To start off, prayer is a humbling action.  By praying, we acknowledge that we need help.

It’s yet another way to acknowledge that God is sufficient to fulfill our every need.
We pray to confess our sins and ask for forgiveness.
We pray to thank God for our blessings and to ask for guidance.
All of the different reasons that we pray ultimately come back to one central idea—we need God’s help, and that’s awesome!

Also, as with any human relationship, communication is very important.  Through prayer, we can literally talk to God and He can even give us feedback!  How amazing is that??

However, this great privilege comes with a great responsibility.  While we are supposed to “pray without ceasing,” we are also supposed to be careful what we say.

In the Old Testament, the High Priest could only enter the Holy of Holies once a year and had to do so with extreme caution and reverence.  He would enter the presence of God and if there were sins that he was trying to hide or sins that hadn’t repented of, he would die.

So while it may seem like an easy thing to say a quick, mindless prayer before bedtime or when you’re really hungry, it is nothing to be taken lightly.

Prayer is a powerful tool which God has given us to help combat the powers of this dark world.  While we are told to pray constantly, our prayers should also be serious.  Developing a solid prayer life may be one of the most important steps someone could take after accepting God’s grace. 

The bottom line is that our lives are meant to give God glory and prayer is just one more way that we can do that.  Prayer not only helps us grow closer to God but also is an avenue to see Him work in your life.

Dear Lord, we thank You for all that You do for us. We especially thank You that we can come to You in prayer. Thanks for listening to us and help us to listen to what You have to say to us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

When No One is There for You

Philippians 4:8 (ESV)
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Depression, I believe is always lurking around the corner for most people.

We hide behind our own personal pleasures to distract us from what lies ahead. I have heard a friend of mine once say “I could never be in depression because I am too happy.” If “being happy” is the only thing keeping you from depression, then what do you think will happen when you reach a part of your life where happiness is depleted?

I feel like many people think that to stay out of depression we need something in our lives to fix it, like a loved one or focusing on things that make us happy. I know this all too well.

I think it’s easy to get a twisted perspective about happiness, especially in this American culture we live in. We are accepted into our culture if we are self-focused and prideful. We feel like we are invincible and then reality hits us in the face.

The truth is, life will be hard at times and there is a big possibility that when life hits you and you don’t have your happiness meter filled up, that no one will be there to pick you up.

So what do we do? We realize that we have been looking to worldly things to pick us up and not looking to God. He has never left us or forsaken us. Even though these dark times hurt they are so beneficial. They force us to have total reliance on God and no one else. People are so scared of hardships in their life. They avoid them at all costs, but the truth is they will come and it will be hard, so how will we deal with it?

It comes down to a choice.

These dark times in our life will inevitably come and when they do we can choose to deal with them the right way or let them rule over us.

The biggest truth that I could give you is that we do not need happiness to live a God glorifying life. We can always choose to have joy in the fact that we do not have to rely on our own happiness to live, but that we can find satisfaction in Christ. If we look at life with this kind of perspective we change our lifestyle. We see things differently. We should become selfless to our desires and focus on God’s desires. This way of thinking has been so instrumentally to my walk with God I hope that this can be an encouragement to anyone who is dealing with depression or a dark spot in their life. Depressing times will come, they will be hard, but we still have a choice. The choice to rely on God for our joy gets easier and easier the closer you get to Him.

Dear Lord, we want to make the choice to rely on You. Help us to grab on to the joy that only You can give. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.