On Wings Of Eagles

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Monday, September 30, 2019

The look of God's love

Luke 22:61 (ESV)
And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.”

Peter was one of Jesus’ closest followers. A natural leader, Peter was a doer who often spoke up and motivated others when it was time to get things done. But sometimes Peter spoke when he should have kept quiet. Brave Peter promised loyalty and then didn’t follow through. Earlier he said, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death” (Luke 22:33). But in the priest’s courtyard he denied even knowing Jesus. Still, I think Peter deserves some credit for coming around and being there that night.

While this account tells of Peter’s denial, it also shows the Savior’s love. In all that Jesus did here—allowing himself to be arrested and mocked, healing a soldier’s ear, and even looking Peter in the eye—we can see the heart of Jesus, who shows us his Father’s heart.

When we get to know Jesus, we learn—often slowly—that his way of doing things is different from ours. It is not with swords or in trying to get even with people who have hurt us. Instead, it’s the way of compassion and forgiveness.

The look and love of Jesus are a marvelous message! It was not a look of condemnation that melted Peter’s heart. It was the loving look of a Father caring for his wayward child. It was an inviting look of grace, a look that brought remorse and repentance. It was the look of the redeeming, restoring love of God.

He’s looking at us with that same redeeming love today!

Dear Lord, thank You for Your look of love, fill us today with the love you have shown. Help us to love those You put into our life with Your love. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Sunday, September 29, 2019


Luke 12:20 (ESV)
But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?

Many people fear cancer. It has been called the scourge of our times. If you received a diagnosis of cancer today, would it shake your world? Would the shadow of death be enough to make you reexamine your life’s priorities? Would it be a wake-up call?

God does not mince words with us. In Jesus’ parable of the rich fool, God speaks harshly to a busy farmer who has had a bumper crop. Savvy businessman that he was, the farmer made plans to build bigger barns, store his surplus grain, and take life easy from then on. His mind raced a hundred miles an hour, but he had no thought for God.

The Bible says, “The Lord ... is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). This means we receive lots of opportunities to turn from our selfish ways and to follow God’s way—the way to real, full life. God often nudges us and speaks with a gentle, insistent voice—but sometimes he also thunders. He calls us to repent and reorder our lives, to make him first in our lives—above success, even above family.

And there will be a day of reckoning, as Jesus points out in his parable. So let’s listen to God, urging us to follow the way of real, full life.

In your life, what kinds of priorities might need changing? Which way is God nudging you?

Dear Lord, help us to number our days, so that through Jesus we may gain a heart of wisdom. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Lesson from a cheetah and Golden Labrador puppies

John 15:15 (ESV)
No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.

I read a story about companionship at zoo in Columbus, Ohio.  I learned that cheetahs are naturally shy and anxious creatures. They are so shy, in fact, that when they get nervous, it is difficult for them even to breed— and they are becoming endangered because of it.

The zoo needed a solution to help the cheetahs, so they began pairing cheetahs with Golden Labrador puppies. Normally these animals would be enemies, but because they were introduced at a young age, the cheetahs and Labs became best friends. The dogs helped the cheetahs calm down and relax. It was fun watching them run together and put on a display.

I have been reminded over the years that if you want to go fast (like a cheetah), you go alone; but if you want to go far, you go together (as friends).

Jesus was telling his disciples something similar. If we want to go far and grow the family of God, we need to love one another just as Jesus loves us. When he calls us friends, he removes the barriers we have created and becomes our companion. We no longer need to be anxious or fearful of anyone around us. Instead, we can learn to love one another.

Dear Lord, thanks for helping us see that sometimes the people we have thought were our enemies can really be our friends. Thank You for showing us how to be a friend. Help us become that same kind of friend to others. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

The Bible has so much to teach us

Acts 17:11 (ESV)
Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

The people in Berea, as our Bible verse explains, carefully examined the Scriptures to make sure Paul’s teaching was true.

When I was younger, I liked to think I knew a lot about Scripture. I had studied, and I knew many of the important teachings of the Bible. Today I am older and hopefully a little wiser. I know now how little I knew back then, and I realize how little I still know today, after years of studying and teaching. The Bible has so much to teach us that we keep learning as we grow in faith.

In Paul’s day, the people in Berea didn’t have the Bible as we know it. They had the Hebrew Scriptures that make up the Old Testament in our Bibles today. So, to examine Paul’s teaching about Jesus as Savior (Messiah), they had to do some heavy study of Isaiah and other prophecies. I picture them pondering and having discussions at tables with scrolls unrolled—and then exclaiming, “Paul’s right—listen to this!”

Many years later, in 1618-19, a gathering of church leaders searched God’s Word as the Bereans had done. They needed to know if some teachings by other leaders were true. And their findings, known as the Canons of Dort, still help us today in stating the bedrock truths about salvation from sin. So let’s keep studying God’s word and hiding it in our heart.

Dear Lord, thank You for Your Word of truth. Help us to seek the truth and to share your good news of salvation everywhere. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, September 23, 2019

In the name of the Lord

Colossians 3:17 (ESV)
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

The other day I heard someone ask another person, "What do you do?" The person answered by saying, "Oh, I'm just a housewife." Perhaps you too have heard someone say, "I'm just a farmer," or "I'm just a secretary," or "I'm just a factory worker," or "I'm just a country preacher." In any culture we have our rankings, and our sense of worth is often measured by the work we do. The more impressive your career, the more "important" you are. Celebrities especially get lots of attention when something happens in their lives.

Thankfully the Bible does not measure our worth by how high we have climbed the social ladder or how much education we have. In today's verse we read, "Whatever you do . . . do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus." When life on earth comes to an end, what matters is not how high we climbed, but whether we were faithful to the Lord in whatever calling we pursued. What counts is whether we clothed ourselves with compassion, humility, patience, and other fruitful signs of Christ's work in our lives.

My Dad was in the Navy and worked for Ford Motor Company. He was faithful in his calling, and he served the Lord as he raised our family. Whatever he did, he did it in the name of the Lord. And that's what counts!

Dear Lord, make each one of us faithful in our calling, and help us to do all things “in the name of the Lord Jesus.” In the Name od Jesus I pray, Amen.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

We should bear fruit

Romans 2:13 (ESV)
For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.

Trying to be righteous in what we do is not the same as trying to earn salvation by aiming to be righteous. We are saved only by God’s grace. But once we realize we are saved and declared righteous through Christ, we want to live in gratitude by trying to be righteous. Both the Old and New Testaments teach that the way I live says something about who I am and how I really understand the faith journey. Jesus taught that you can tell something about a tree by the fruit it bears.

Though I may do good things, that’s not really Paul’s point here. The question is whether or not the good things I do come from a heart that belongs to Jesus. Do all the things I do reflect that my heart belongs to him?

I also do bad things, because I am still a sinner. But God wants me to have integrity; God wants my faith connected with all I think, do, and say. And God’s Spirit helps me to live that way.

God wants to shape me from the inside out. When I belong to him, that’s what I want God to do too.

Dear Lord, for the ways in which my life shows you at work in me, thank you. For the ways in which I need reshaping to better reflect you, please guide me. In your name, Amen.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Taming your tongue

James 3:8 (ESV)
But no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

Nothing gets us into more trouble than our words. Taming the tongue is the most difficult task a person will ever take on. There is just an impulse in us to say things that we will regret later. James tells us that the tongue is like a rudder that steers a large ocean liner and spark that sets off a huge forest fire. Taming the tongue requires discipline, self-control, and help from the Holy Spirit.

There doesn’t seem to be a lot of self-control when it comes to what people say, nowadays. In fact, the news is full of the rash and rude things the leaders of the world say or tweet. We’ve lost our ability to tame our tongues. The bible says “out of the mouth (read tongue) the heart speaks.” What people say is a reflection of what is truly being thought in their mind and felt in their heart.

It’s amazing how a small part of the body can cause so much havoc. James calls it a restless evil. That means it doesn’t like staying idle; it needs to be in motion. The problem is the more it is used, the more damage it becomes. Self-control is something we need to be praying for when it comes to our tongue. Left unbridled it will spew poison all over the place.

If you struggle with what comes out of your mouth, it is essential that you ask God for help in this area. It might even be necessary for you to have a more mature saint come alongside you to mentor you and keep you accountable. Pray for forgiveness for the things you have said, seek to reconcile those who you have wronged, and ask for self-control in this area. You will find that this brings with it a sense of freedom you haven’t felt in a while. Taming the tongue is a mark of maturity.

Dear Lord, give us the strength that we need to tame our tongue. Give us the people in our life that can help lead and guide us in this struggle. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

The Most Powerful Muscle in Your Body

James 3:6 (ESV)
And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.

We don’t often consider it, but when we watch an athlete’s performance, we are watching an amazing symphony of a dozen human systems seamlessly working together, including the circulatory, respiratory, skeletal and muscular systems. If we just consider the muscular system, we have approximately 650 muscles performing the actions we are consciously undertaking such as walking or lifting, but also many which are constantly working unconsciously to perform tasks such as maintaining our posture or circulating blood or other materials around our body. A common question is “what is the strongest muscle in the body”?  And there isn’t one answer to this question because it depends on how you are measuring it.  According to Everyday Mysteries, the following are muscles that have been deemed the strongest based on various definitions of strength.

Eye Muscles   In 1 hour of reading the eye muscles make 10,000 coordinated movements

Gluteus Maximus - largest muscle in body keeps trunk of body in erect position

Heart - hardest working muscle pumps about 2,500 gallons of blood each day

Tongue - the hardest worker it is constantly working but never tires

 I found the above list interesting and noted that one of those muscles gets specifically mentioned in the Bible as being extremely powerful; however, as athletes, it’s probably not one that we frequently consider.  James 3: 1-12 does a wonderful job of explaining the power of the tongue.  After reading this passage you can’t help but nod your head.  It likely allows you to consider things you have said to others, or what others have said to you. James sums it up in verses 9 and 10 by saying: “9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.”

How is it that our tongue can move so quickly from producing something fragrant to producing what James calls “poison” (vs. 8)?  When I consider times where I am not doing well in this area of my life, I can generally see that there is a deeper issue going on in my life.  Our words are typically just symptoms and not root causes.  Jesus explains: “The good man brings good things out of the good treasure of his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil treasure of his heart. For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45).  While we are “new creations” (2 Corinthians 5:17), as Christians we continue to walk the journey of sanctification, where we battle our old self (Romans 7: 15-20), and the “evil” inside us usually comes out through our words.  In James 3:8, we read:   but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.  But God can tame our tongue, as long as we remain humble and invite him to continually sanctify us to become more like him.  When your tongue spews poison, be quick to repent and pray daily that your powerful tongue can instead be used to dispense medicine in a hurting world.

Dear Lord, help us to tame our tongue. Give us the strength we need so that we can bring honor to You in all that we do and say. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Training wheels

Proverbs 3:5-6 (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.

Do you remember the day you learned to ride a bike without the training wheels? The sensation of trying to balance on two wheels without toppling over. Those first tentative pedals as you gratefully felt your parent’s hand on the seat of your bike. The first fall as you tried to take off on your own. The second fall, the third… Then, finally, riding on your own.

The training wheels taught you how to balance and gave you support as you learned to pedal and steer. They helped you trust in your abilities as you learned to ride faster and faster. Yet, they were never intended to stay on forever. They were simply temporary supports as you developed the skills to ride on your own.

The Christian life is learned, much like learning to ride a bike.
As we begin growing in faith, God often gives us training wheels. We lean into community with other Christians, we study the Bible, and we learn to pray. In time, we learn to hear God’s voice and listen for his direction. As we learn to go to God for everything, we learn to rely on following where he leads. At some point, though, he wants us to take off the training wheels and learn to use what we’ve learned.

Training in faith sets us up to live more confidently as Christians
That’s the thing about training. You learn as an apprentice for a time, with the intent to learn to it on your own eventually. When our kids are little, we guide each and every step, but as they grow we push them ever closer to independence. As much as we love helping them, we know it’s our job to equip them to live on their own, making sound decisions based on the values we’ve instilled in their hearts. God does the same with us. He wants to train us and guide us, intending eventually for us to be able to make some decisions on our own.

The Christian life is learned, much like riding a bike. Sometimes, we need to remove our faith training wheels and practice what we've learned. Is it time to remove yours and put what you've learned from God into practice? God wants us to trust him and stay close, but like a good parent he also wants to train us to make good decisions
It’s not that God doesn’t want us to ask for guidance and help, but he does want us to develop the wisdom and good judgment to make some decisions on our own. He wants to set our hearts in the right direction and let us take off.

Dear Lord, thanks for the guidance that you give to each of us. Help us to take the training wheels off and use what we have learned. Keep us learning as we travel through this life. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The Power of Pizza

Luke 9:23 (ESV)
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

Generally speaking, there are three steps to making a pizza — buy the ingredients, put them into the form of a pizza and then cook it.

Consider three ingredients: onions, pepperoni and mushrooms. They all taste pretty good on their own. They are like the nuggets of wisdom that God provides us during the day, if we’re open to them.

The second step of making a pizza is putting the ingredients onto the pizza. If we take the “ingredients” of prayer and put them onto the “pizza” — ourselves — we might get a bite or two that tastes even better than the ingredients did on their own.

But it takes the third step for a pizza to become worthy of the name — it must be cooked in the oven, in a fashion that is both structured (turn to 400 degrees, for 25 minutes) and organic (how many of us calculate exactly how each pepperoni or pepper will settle into the cheese?).

Likewise, we can only grow closer to God the more time we spend with Him, in prayer styles that combine structure and our own individual path — the “oven” of prayer, if you will.

Dear Lord, we pray that we would make it a priority in our life to draw closer to You through prayer. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, September 16, 2019

3 ways your faith is like your car

Hebrews 11:1 (ESV)
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Today I had the fun of helping my son with replacing the breaks on his car. It got me to thinking about faith and my car.

Just like you drive your car often – possibly daily, even – and just like you take care of your car well…shouldn’t you treat your faith and your relationship with God in the same way? And shouldn’t your view through the lens of a Biblical worldview be the vehicle by which you travel this earth?

I want to point out three ways in which faith and cars are actually quite similar.

1. Just like a car has many parts, God has many facets to know.
In order to successfully drive a car, you have to know where key features are, like the gas pedal, the brake pedal, the gas gauge, and more. It’s the same with your relationship with God; in order to know Him well, you need to know His characteristics and attributes, and also what He has to sa.  In turn, we need to allow God to search us and know our hearts in the same way. For example, say you’re driving in the rain. You need to know where your windshield wiper switch is located so you can drive safely over wet roads. In your relationship with God, you need to know how He has handled situations with His people, so that you can trust Him fully when the going gets rough, knowing that He has outlined your path and made it straight.

2. Just like we need to prepare our car by filling it with gas to go places, we need to be spiritually equipped to handle the world around us.

We do this by engaging deeply in the study of God’s Word. We need to do this because we don’t want to be left high and dry without a defense of our faith if someone were to question it, or if they were to ask us why we believe a certain way about certain topics, like homosexuality, transsexuality, racism, and even more. We should take on David’s attitude when we store scripture in our hearts: “Your word I have hidden in my heart,that I might not sin against You”. 

This way, we’ll be more equipped to share those scriptures when the time comes.

What happens when you’re pulled over on the side of the road, panicking because you had barely enough gas to get off the highway? You call for help, of course, whether that means finding a gas station or calling a loved one. In the same way, we can call upon God whenever we’re in distress and feel that we can’t navigate a particular situation.

3. Just like we need to be aware of others around us when we drive, we need to be aware of what’s going on in the world, and what God has to say about it.

Sometimes, there are drivers on the road who disregard others around them by speeding, cutting them off on busy intersections, or generally making them feel uneasy. Should that keep us from the road, though? No; we just need to be aware of them so that if a situation should arise that they mistreat us or anyone else by being inconsiderate, we can move on our way and continue to our respective destinations safely. It’s the same way in real life; when people mistreat us, we should still continue to be nice to them, or keep ourselves safe and move on.

In the same way, we need to be aware of our own actions when it comes to others around us. We don’t need to be in such a hurry as to completely disregard the needs and safety of others. We need to reach out to help if and when we can, just as the Good Samaritan helped a complete stranger and his polar opposite. So, when others show mercy to and are considerate towards us, we should do as Jesus tells His followers: “Go and do likewise”.

At the end of the day, if we treat our faith in God like we treat our cars – checking up on it to make sure it’s well cared for and equipped for the road ahead – we will be able to travel the pathway God has given us, not only with confidence that He is guiding us, but with Him as the focus and forefront of our minds and hearts.

Dear Lord, we thank You for faith we have. We pray that we would work on allowing it to grow stronger and stronger each day. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Don't just bring it - read it

2 Timothy 2:15 (ESV)
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

It’s easy to bring a Bible to school or work. But we should also use this event to challenge ourselves personally about whether we are making a daily habit of studying God’s Word. Many students and families have very busy schedules. But are we making time for the Bible between all our activities?  Here is an email that’s been making the rounds and cuts to the core of the issue:

Ever wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cell phone?

What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets?

What if we flipped through it several times a day?

What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?

What if we used it to receive messages from the text?

What if we treated it like we couldn’t live without it?

What if we gave it to friends as gifts?

What if we used it when we traveled?

What if we used it in case of emergency?

This is something to make you go….hmm…where is my Bible?

Oh, and one more thing. Unlike our cell phone, we don’t have to worry about our Bible being
disconnected, because Jesus already paid the bill. Makes you stop and think, “Where are my priorities?”.

Have there been times when you’ve panicked over your missing cell phone? By comparison, do we have the same reaction when we lose our Bible? What do you think is meant by the statement, “we don’t have to worry about our Bible being disconnected, because Jesus already paid the bill”?

Dear Lord, we pray that we would make our Bible important in our life. Help us always take the time to study it and apply it to our life. In the Name Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Every moment matters

1 Corinthians 10:31 (ESV)
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

What does it even matter? It’s just Algebra. Like you’re ever going to use Algebra in your life! Then again, what’s the point of any of your classes? Dependent and independent clauses? Give me a break!

The same goes for your job. You get paid so little to ask, “Would you like fries with that?” And this certainly isn’t your future career. Who cares if you slack off a bit to eat up the time clock? What does it matter?

Well, actually it does matter. A lot. Every moment does.

Satan wants nothing more than for us to think that every moment of our lives is meaningless. If he can convince us of this, soon he’ll convince us to indulge in a selfish laziness in those moments—an attitude of, “What does this matter if I don’t like it or it doesn’t benefit me?” But as soon as he has you trapped in thoughts of meaningless monotony, he will then push for the death blow of you doubting God and his purpose for your life. “If these moments don’t matter, what do I matter? If I don’t matter, what kind of God is he anyways?”

The apostle Paul reminds us in this verse that the opposite is true. Actually, every single moment of your life matters. Why? Because you mattered to God. God came for you. God lived for you. God died for you. God rose for you. Jesus gave everything of his life for yours as he washed you and bought you with his blood. He did so in order to make you a prized possession of our God—his own dear child.

Knowing this value your life has to our God means that every moment of your life also has value, because every moment is an opportunity—an opportunity to live to the praise and glory of a God who has loved you so much.

So do your quadratic equations and do them well. Flip burgers with all you’ve got. Take notes with all the intellect you’ve been given. Compete and perform with every ounce of strength and ability. In fact, live every moment now and into the future with your best and to the fullest. And know that when you do, it matters. It matters because you are glorifying your Savior God.

Dear Lord, fill us with the joy of Your love found in Christ so that our heart spills over with thankful living for You and Your glory. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

All we need to do is trust Him

Luke 8:22 (ESV)
One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out.

Many of the disciples were ex­peri­enced fishermen on the Sea of Galilee. They had often weathered sudden squalls and treacherous waves. They knew that storms could come out of nowhere. So when Jesus suggested rowing to the other side of the lake, they knew they had to be ready for anything.

In the seas of life, we grow to learn that storms can sneak up on us. A bill out of nowhere can take a bite out of your pay­check. A parent suddenly be­comes ill, and you become a caregiver. A child’s bad decision can lead to a day in court and a prison sentence. Such storms cause our anxiety to rise to dangerous levels. We look for help from someone to calm us down, fix the problem, and restore life to the way it was.

The disciples never stopped to think what it meant to have Jesus in the boat with them. And, to them, he wasn’t doing anything! But, of course, he was sleeping—not worrying or getting frantic about the storm. The disciples spent so much energy trying to save themselves from the storm on their own power that they forgot to be still and recognize that Jesus is God, who had their lives in his hands. Jesus was in their boat. All they needed to do was trust in him.

You and I cannot control the sudden storms of life. That’s the way life is. But Jesus is with us. And that’s the best thing.

Dear Lord, thank You for being in our boat. Your resting does not mean inaction; it reminds us to place all our anxieties on you because you care for us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Turn down the volume

1 Kings 19:11-12 (ESV)
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.

How do you relax after a long day? Where do you go when you are frustrated, stressed out, or needing answers? Do you lounge around in front of the TV or get on your smartphone or laptop?

Life, nowadays, moves so fast. Facebook, smartphones, and instant internet access have been dominating the world. People are constantly on the move going about their business at lightning speeds. Or they are wasting the days away keeping preoccupied.

Driving with the intent of only getting to where they’re going as soon as possible.

Walking and texting.

Netflix all night.

Sleeping till noon and then wasting the rest of the day.

Listening to music and while working.

God’s voice isn’t in any of that. The world is so deafening that it is hard the hear God speak.

There needs to be a time for it to be just us and God. We need to turn down the volume and tune out the world sometimes so we are able to hear what God is saying.

It’s hard when everything seems to desire our attentions: work, homework, deadlines, friends, Facebook, texts … But there are times where you need to fight for you time with God. It’s so important.

Hearing God is much harder when everything is literally at the push of a button. If the answer we are looking for is not there, we easily press another button to get an answer we like. We more often look for the answers we want to hear that look for the right answer because we are too impatient to slow down enough to hear God’s still small voice.

We need to eliminate the distractions, dig into God’s word, and turn down the volume.

Dear Lord, help us to turn down the volume. We pray that we would eliminate the distractions in our life so that we can hear Your voice as You speak to us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Is your faith gluten free

Hebrews 12:1 (ESV)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

 I have a question. What does gluten have to do with Jesus? As we look at it we can see that the analogy works really well in analyzing our relationship with God.

When someone is gluten sensitive, there are certain things they have to avoid otherwise the wheat protein becomes very harmful to their body – and sometimes depending on the sensitivity, deadly.

Whether it’s a crumb or a whole pizza, the effect on their body is the same. The body is not tolerant of any amount and reacts through a painful process of the deteriorating of the intestine lining……This is starting to sound like sin, isn’t it?

In the Christian walk, there are certain activities (sins) we have to avoid in order to keep ourselves healthy and connected with Christ.

Let’s bring it back to the crumb and pizza thought. It doesn’t matter if you’ve only had one judgmental thought pass through your head your entire life (Matthew 7:1-2) or if you’ve murdered a bunch of people (Romans 3:10) the sin, no matter how great or small, “contaminates” the whole body, just as gluten, no matter the amount, affects the digestive system in the same way.

Our spiritual health is painfully affected by our sin – and just as the gluten strips the intestines of its lining, so does sin strip our hearts of unity with Jesus.

So what am I getting at and why am I talking about gluten?

I want you to take a look at your life: What is the “gluten” that is poisoning your relationship with God?

What can you remove from your life to give you a healthy connection with Him?

When someone is gluten intolerant, they avoid gluten at all costs knowing the consequences. Do you?

Do you avoid sin at all costs or do you play with it, not caring of the effect it will have on you?

Dear Lord, we pray that we would take a look at our life and see what is the “gluten” in our life and we would avoid it. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Selfies and digging deeper

Luke 6:48 (ESV)
He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.

How many selfies do you think you take a day? A few weeks ago, I read about a girl that took her iPod and took over 100 selfies one night just because she was bored. That’s a lot of selfies! Selfies are a fun way to show all your friends the great hair day you’re having or the awesome place you’re visiting on social media.

When we take a selfie and post it, we let the world know what we’re up to. Whether we’ve just tried the new coffee shop on the corner, or decided to dye our hair red, the selfie shows who we are and what we are doing to the online world. Selfies are a lot like the Bible should be in our lives. The Bible should be showing us who we are and what we are to be doing.

The Bible shows us who we really are. If we need a self-esteem boost, the Bible shows us our great worth to God. (1 Cor 6:20) If we are afraid, the Bible shows us that we are bold. (Proverbs 28:1) If we feel we can’t make it, the Bible shows us we can. (Phil 4:13) Just like a selfie, the Bible shows us who we are. We might not feel like we’re worth much, are bold, or that we can make it, but our feelings don’t matter. What matters is what is true, and the truth is found in God’s word. God’s word shows us who we are.

God’s word also shows us what we are doing. Reading the Bible can open your eyes to habits that you need to get rid of, or things in your life that need to change. We should be constantly striving to be more like God. So when we see a habit or attitude in our life that doesn’t line up with the Bible, we need to change that habit or attitude.

So the next time you snap a selfie or pick up your Bible let it be a reminder of how important the word of God is. God’s word is powerful and can change our thoughts and actions if we let it. Challenge yourself today to go deeper into God’s word and let His words transform you.

Dear Lord, we pray that we would dig deeper into You Word. Help us to let Your word change us in a mighty way. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

You are being watched

Matthew 5:16 (ESV)
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Alyssa, who is 6 and just learning to read, often saw her parents and grandparents reading their Bibles in the morning. Early one day, she woke up before everyone else. Grandma found her sitting on the couch, with her Bible and a devotional booklet on her lap. She wanted to follow the example of spending time with God at the beginning of the day.

Timothy, a young pastor, faced heavy responsibilities in the church at Ephesus—training believers, leading in worship, countering false doctrine. The older, experienced apostle Paul gave him instruction on leading the church in these areas, but he also mentioned the importance of personal conduct. He said, “Be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Tim. 4:12).

Paul challenged Timothy: “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine” (v.16). If he paid attention to his own spiritual life and to solid doctrine, he would be a godly example to the church family.

We all have others who are observing us. Even little Alyssa has younger siblings watching her. Let’s live our lives in such a way that those who follow our example will help others in their walk with God.

Dear Lord, help us live a godly life of faith and love and purity So those who follow what we do Will grow in their maturity. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

God's big family

1 Timothy 4:12 (ESV)
Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.

After high school, Darrell Blizzard left the orphanage where he grew up to join the US Army Air Corps. World War II was in full swing, and soon he faced responsibilities usually given to older and more experienced men. He told a reporter years later that a four-mule plow team was the biggest thing he’d driven before he became the pilot of a four-engine B-17. Now in his late eighties, he said, “We were all just kids flying those things.”

In the Bible, we find accounts of many people who followed God courageously when they were young. In a situation of corrupt spiritual leadership, “Samuel ministered before the Lord, even as a child” (1 Sam. 2:18). David faced the giant Goliath in spite of being told, “You are not able to go against this Philistine . . . for you are a youth” (17:33). Mary, the mother of Jesus, was most likely very young when she was told she would bear the Son of God. She responded to the angel’s announcement by saying, “Let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). Paul told the young pastor Timothy, “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers” (1 Tim. 4:12).

God values each one in His family. In His strength, the young can be bold in their faith, while those who are older can encourage those who are “just kids.”

Dear Lord, we thank You that we are part of Your family. Help us to take the time to encourage each other as we each grow to become the people You want us to be. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Hurricane thought

Daniel 3:15 (ESV)
Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?”

Unlike most natural disasters, hurricanes you can see coming long in advance.  Days before a hurricane hits land, coastal residents still begin to talk about precautions, just in case it hit’s their community.  “Should we get some extra jugs of water and some extra batteries?”   As the weather forecasters narrow the prediction to a smaller area, there’s more talk.  “Should we board up the windows or move things inside the house?”  Finally the discussion turns to evacuation. “Maybe we should go to your mom’s for a few days.”  But hurricanes are unpredictable.  The hurricane might land somewhere unexpected or it could putters out in the cold waters of the Atlantic.  So here you are at a friends house miles away from home, after spending hundreds of dollars on supplies to board up your house and the hurricane didn’t show up.  Are you beginning to think “Maybe that hurricane wasn’t such a big deal after all?”  How do you know if you didn’t see it?

The Bible tells us of three young men that were waiting for a powerful force to come into their lives.  Three young Jewish men were ordered to die by the Babylonian King because they would not bow down and pray to his gods.  Daniel 3:15 tells us the King ordered the men to be thrown into a fiery furnace saying “What God will be able to rescue you from my hands?”  These were good Jewish boys that knew God rescued the Israelites from Egypt and David from Goliath.  But if it’d been me, I might begin to wonder if God was really able to rescue me.  It’s like wondering if a hurricane that didn’t show up was really that powerful all along.

But these three young men had deep and profound faiths.  The young men say “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it… but even if He does not… we will not serve your gods.”  Their faith in the Lord did not rely on Him rescuing them, even if rescue was the desire of their hearts.   Does your faith depend on God’s rescue?

At times it feels that things like grief, cancer, barrenness, addiction, or past traumas are taunting us like the king taunted the young men “What God will be able to rescue you from my hands?”  I will tell you what God- the Lord God Almighty who is a mighty rescuer.  He sent His Son to rescue you by dying on the cross conquering not only sin but death.   Think of that.  There is nothing, not even death that will keep you from the loving arms of Jesus.

If you are living today in a fiery furnace remember this: God is more than able to rescue you from your suffering but even if He does not, you are still victorious in Jesus.  All believers are victorious through the cross.  Victory is already won!

Dear Lord, we pray for safety in front of the storms of live. Help us to completely trust You in each step along the way. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Singing in the storm

Psalm 13:5-6 (ESV)
5 But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
    my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
6 I will sing to the Lord,
    because he has dealt bountifully with me.

The Psalmist expresses his praise in the context of asking God for deliverance from his enemies. His trust results in rejoicing which then results in singing God’s praises.

A simple peasant girl from the countryside in China has used her musical creativity to encourage the house church movement all across China and touch the lives of millions of believers.

Xiao Min was born in a village in Henan Province in central China and has experienced much persecution. Though only receiving a junior high level education, she has been able to compose over 1,270 different hymns—both music and lyrics—that are sung by the Chinese churches in China and now throughout the world. They are known as the Canaan Hymns. Amazing creativity for a young lady with no musical training!

Xiao Min shares that twenty years ago many believers were arrested by the Chinese government. At that time, she prayed to the Lord asking if she could also be arrested and suffer together with these fellow believers. Soon after, she was indeed arrested and sent to prison. She says that she wasn’t scared at all.

One summer day in prison when it was extremely hot she requested the guard to let everyone wash their hair. But she received a rude response telling her to ask the Lord Jesus to wash their hair for them. She used this discouraging response as an inspiration to write hymn number 56, “Lord, We Know Deeply” in the Canaan Hymns series.

In this hymn, Xiao Min sings:

Lord we know deeply that in every moment Your love never, never diminishes.

Lord we know deeply that in every moment, our only friend is You.

Our hearts long for You, our hearts long for You,

Because You’re the first in millions, no one can be compared with You,

No one can be compared with you.”

Not only was Xiao Min arrested because of her faith, she was also persecuted by her family members. But she still testified to them that God healed her sinusitis and that He is her Savior. She concludes, “Even though we experience suffering, the Lord Jesus gives us strength.” Her strength enables her to sing to the Lord in the face of all difficulties.

Dear Lord, thank You for the grace You give us to be able to vocalize our trust, joy and praise of You. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.