On Wings Of Eagles

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Thursday, January 30, 2020

Perfecter of Faith

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.

Do you know what it means to "tartle"? It's a Scottish word used when, after being introduced to someone, you promptly forget that person's name. In embarrassment, Scottish people say, "Pardon my tartle!"

Some words are hard to translate from one language to another. We have a case of this with Jesus' title "pioneer and perfecter of faith." The author uses the Greek word archegos to describe Jesus's relation to our faith. The word originally meant "hero or founder of a city." Since the Greek word doesn't neatly translate into English, it is translated variously as "pioneer," "author," "originator," "guide," "initiator," or "source."

The same difficulty in translation is found with the Greek teleiotes, the second title for Jesus in relation to our faith. This word originally meant "to carry through or complete," and it is translated as "per­fecter," "completer," or "finisher."

Despite the complexity of translating this title of Jesus, the truth is simple and profound: Jesus, who initiated our faith through the power of the Holy Spirit, will remain with us until we see him face to face. He is the founder and finisher of our faith. So let's take comfort in this truth and run the good race of faith by following Jesus.

Dear Lord, we take great comfort and confidence in You as the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. Help us to follow You courageously today and every day in obedience and loving service. In the Name of Jesus, we pray, Amen.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Birthday thoughts

Isaiah 40:31 (ESV)
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.

As I finish my 58th trip around the Sun and begin my 59th trip, I continue to be amazed how I am truly blessed to have wonderful people around me. Here are a few reflections from my birthday:

– I am grateful to God for his everlasting love upon me and his unending grace that has transformed my life and taken me on an exciting life journey
– I am grateful for my Amazing Wife, my best friend, girlfriend for life, prayer warrior, teacher and much more, who continues to love no matter what, and challenges me to be a better man and desires the very best for me
– I am grateful for my amazing sons who continue to bless me with their daily lives, I am a better man and dad because of them
– I am grateful for my parents; without them I would not be where I am today
– I am grateful for my brothers, their love for me is inexplainable and they continue to challenge me to be a living example
– I am grateful for my in-laws; I am eternally grateful for the day God made me a part of their family –blessing me with another mom and dad
– I am grateful for my mentors; I continue to strive to be a better version of myself because you set the mark higher each day and you continue to believe in me and encourage me even when I do not see much value in myself
– I am grateful for all those who allow me to mentor them, they give me the opportunity to pass on my knowledge to them and challenge me daily to live an intentional life
– I am grateful for my friends who continue to love me and bring out the best in me
– I am grateful for those who have impacted my life in one way or the other, my encounter with them have left an imprint in my life and have led me down the path of living an intentional life
– I am grateful for those who have been impacted by me, I desire to live an intentional life because of the blessing it will bring to you
– I am grateful for all the opportunities I have had; I have been amazed at fact that life brings a lot of them into our paths and every decision that we make has an opportunity with it
– I am grateful for all the challenges I have faced, they have humbled me and made me a better version of myself
– I am grateful though my body is weak at times God continues to give endurance and strength (as a side note I am grateful that I made it through a year with no surgery)
– I am grateful for blessings in my life and to have the opportunity every day to put a smile on people’s face and be a blessing
– I am grateful for my country, for giving me the good foundation that I have and continue to build on
– I am grateful for this life that I live, it is not my own and I give it all up to God for the higher calling for which I continue to answer to
– I am grateful for the growth I experience on a daily basis
– I am grateful for you all as you read this and commit to living an intentional life and being a better version of yourself
– I am grateful to God and his love for me

I have been blessed beyond measure by the people God has placed around me, the places I have been, the experiences I have had and the growth I continue to see in my life. I desire to make an impact in my world and even if it’s for one person, I will be eternally grateful.

Thank you for celebrating with me!

Dear Lord, we thank You for the life that You give to each of it. Helps us each day to remember the great blessings You give to each of us. Help us to always strive to become the person you have for us to be. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Keeping pearls away from pigs

Matthew 7:6 (ESV)
Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.

I read a story about a family dog named Scooter. Scooter was a family dog, and during most of the dinner times, Scooter was confined to her doghouse. There was one exception each year. When it was dad’s birthday dinner the occasion deemed special enough that even Scooter was allowed to socialize with the family at the table. In fact, the dad even fed Scooter a piece of the prime-cut roast beef specially prepared for the occasion! Though she eagerly scarfed the roast, I’m sure Scooter failed to appreciate the fine delicacy she had been graciously given.

That is what it’s like when we offer godly counsel to people who are not ready or willing to hear it. Wisdom, correction, counsel, and rebuke are as precious as pearls. Proverbs 9 tells us that godly people welcome such input. But foolish people want nothing to do with wise correction. Instead, they will tear you to pieces with arguments, resistance, or mocking.

Even though we have a responsibility to humbly correct people who are struggling with sin, Jesus urges us to discern whether a person is open to correction or counsel. If the person who needs correction is resistant to you, it is often better to step back, prayerfully ask God to soften their hearts, and wait until they are open to listening to godly wisdom. We must handle the precious gospel of Jesus with care, both giving and receiving counsel with careful discernment.

Dear Lord, thank You for having entrusted us with the precious truth of Your Word. May we receive its guidance as precious treasure, and may we share your wisdom wisely. In the Name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Who is in your boat?

Luke 8:22 (ESV)
22 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, thanks 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.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

A smile and outstretched hands

1 John 4:9 (ESV)
In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.

John Calvin noted that we are moved to repentance not by the threat of God’s law but by the promise of his grace. The threat of the law will only make us run from God, unless we know that he will receive us when we turn back to him in repentance.

I read a story told by Dr. Robert Schuller. He was invited on a mission trip to the wilds of the Amazon. A missionary had been working with a tribe that had a great fear of white people, having had little positive contact with them. Schuller and the missionary trekked further and further into the jungle with no sighting of this reclusive tribe. “Where are they?” Schuller asked. The missionary replied, “They’re all around us, but they won’t come out until they know it’s safe.”

Finally, the travelers arrived at a clearing. The missionary said, “Here’s what you have to do. Sit on the ground, stretch out your hands, and smile.” So that’s what Schuller did. For what seemed hours, he sat and smiled with outstretched hands. At last, a single native crept silently out of the jungle and shyly touched Schuller’s hand.

On the cross, God, in effect, stretched out his hands and smiled, showing that he loves us. Only the cross has the power to draw sinners out of the darkness of sin into the light of life.

Dear Lord, thank You for the invitation, through Jesus, to come out of the darkness into the light of Your love. Help us to believe that Your love is completely trustworthy. In the Name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Rejoice always

1 Thessalonians 5:16 (ESV)
Rejoice always.

Our verse for today is one of the shortest in the Bible. But what a big message these two words convey!

This verse is a command, which means joy is not optional for Christians. Joyless Christians are disobedient Christians. Not only that, this verse tells us to rejoice always. But how can we possibly do that?

The main thing to consider is the source of our joy. Sometimes we’re tempted to think that the level of our joy is directly related to the situation we are in. The more pleasant our environment, the greater our joy will be. The problem with that way of thinking is that we can’t always choose or control our circumstances. Our health may decline; we may lose our job; a loved one may pass away. What’s more, there’s no guarantee that a happy environment will always produce a happy heart. The playwright George Bernard Shaw once said there are two sources of unhappiness in life: the first is not getting what you want, and the second is getting it.

The only reliable source of joy is Jesus Christ. The external realities of our lives will change, but the internal reality of having Jesus dwell in our hearts never changes.

If we stay connected to Jesus, the command to be joyful takes care of itself.

Dear Lord, help us to see our relationship with You as the most important part of our lives, and to find joy in You despite difficult circumstances. Thank You for your faithful love. In the Name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

God's garden

Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

It’s interesting how often the Bible uses the imagery of gardening or fruitfulness to describe believers in Christ. The Old Testament prophets described God’s people as a garden or vineyard (Isaiah 5; Ezekiel 19). In the Psalms, the faithful believer is compared to a tree planted by water, yielding its fruit in season (Psalm 1).

Jesus himself spoke of the human heart being like hard soil, rocky soil, thorny soil, and good soil for the seed of God’s Word to grow in (Mark 4). He also talked about himself as a vine, and he said believers are like its branches that bear fruit (John 15).

Paul writes about spiritual fruit as well—“the fruit of the Spirit.” God chose these pictures of gardening and farming to describe the life of a believer because they help us see the style of the Holy Spirit’s work in our life. The Spirit’s work in us is a process—a budding, blossoming, ripening, growing, maturing process like that of a viny plant or fruit tree. Once we belong to Jesus by faith, the Spirit begins a lifelong process of spiritual growth within us!

Dear Lord, thank You for Your Son, Jesus, who gives us life in a way like a vine supplies life to its branches. Thank You for working in us by Your Holy Spirit for Jesus sake. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The gift of hope

Proverbs 13:12 (ESV)
Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
    but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.

Is there hope? Have you ever asked parents who just buried a teenage daughter? Or a man diagnosed with cancer? Or someone in the grip of depression?

Not only is hope a basic ingredient in life; it is the hunger of every human heart. Someone said, “Keep hoping; you keep living. Stop hoping; you die—inside.”

What is the hope that enables people to go on living, even when things go terribly wrong?

For the Christian, it begins with the vision that Jesus rules the world today; Christ’s rule calls for making all things right so that everyone can live fully, as God intends. This hope leads to the passion that everyone will know God’s love and forgiveness and Jesus’ victory over sin and death. And this hope is revealed in mission—bringing the joyful light of Jesus into every dark corner of this world, especially into people’s hearts.

Jesus is “the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6). He is the one way to hope and full life!

If we know this is true, can we put this hope aside and keep it to ourselves, knowing that many will never know the way to true life and peace? That would be a strange response to the hope-filled vision, passion, and mission of Jesus himself.

Can you confess this hope: “In Christ alone my hope is found. He is my light, my strength, my song”?

Dear Lord, thank You for shining the light of Your grace into the darkness of our soul. Continue to fill us with Your hope so that we may share it with others.  In the Name of Jesus,  Amen.

Monday, January 20, 2020

He knows our deeds

Revelation 2:2 (ESV)

I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.

Do you ever feel that the work you do is unseen or at least unacknowledged? How about your service as a believer and as part of the church of Jesus? In reality, Jesus knows exactly what’s happening in church communities—he even knows them better than they know themselves.

In this personal letter to the church in Ephesus, Jesus reveals how close he is to this community of believers. He identifies himself as the One who “holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands.” In a figurative way, Jesus expresses that he holds these communities in the grip of his hand. And he walks around in the midst of these churches.

This is a picture of Jesus intentionally being close to each congregation. Jesus is so close that he knows us in all our ways.

Jesus knew the church in Ephesus, and he begins this letter with rich compliments. He says this church has been a guardian of the truth. False teachers and false teachings found no foothold there. Perseverance in the truth defined this church.

Jesus could say, “I know you, and I know all you are doing for me!” He says this about your church too. Jesus knows everyone in your church community because he holds you all in the grip of his hand and continues to walk where your church serves.

Dear Lord, forgive us if we have supposed that you confine yourself to heaven. Thank you for loving each of us and your church communities. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Friday, January 17, 2020


Psalm 23:2-3 (ESV)
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
3 He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
    for his name's sake.

Whether we’re traveling or just making it to the end of a busy week, it’s probably time for some weekend rest and relaxation. God calls us to stop and rest at least once a week, so we can take a break from our everyday work and busyness, so we can gather with his people for worship, so we can have a time of communion with God and with other believers. This helps to refresh and restore our souls.

In Psalm 23 we meet the good shepherd who cares for his sheep. A shepherd does this so that his sheep may produce an abundance of precious and useful wool. Yet sheep are not always cooperative—they are apt to devour pastureland and grub for unhealthy weeds. Sheep that graze in green pastures and drink from clean water have been led there by a good shepherd. We have a good shepherd in the person of Jesus Christ (see John 10:11-18).

We may at times feel tired and lost, and our minds or bodies may be polluted with unhealthy things. At times we may even feel forsaken by God, as David expressed in Psalm 22:1.

So we must listen to the voice of the good shepherd. Jesus will bring us to the green pastures of his Word and to the living water that only he can provide (John 4:10-14). He will bring restoration and healing to our lives.

Dear Lord, we are sorry that we have not always cared for our physical or spiritual lives the way we should. Lead us to the green pastures of Your Word and to the living water found in You, our shepherd and Savior. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

What does your heart treasure?

Matthew 6:20-21 (ESV)
20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

At the deepest part of our being lies a longing. A hope. A dream. Something more important to us than anything else. Whatever it is that we treasure most, we will build our lives on it. Whether it is our job, our wealth, our standing in the community, our looks, or something else, we will go to great lengths to gain this treasure. Money and wealth are particularly dazzling treasures that hypnotize many into chasing after its false promises and empty security.

Sadly, much of what we treasure is like a mist. Some treasures are gone in an instant, and others slip away over a lifetime. But only one treasure lasts forever. Jesus wants to be the treasure of our hearts. He wants to be the unrivaled Master that we serve wholeheartedly.

The way to be free from chasing worldly treasures is through worship. In worship we treasure the infinite value of Jesus, who gave his life for us. In worship we delight in the goodness and mercy of our God. We set our hearts on the beauty of our Savior, who loved us when we were unlovable.

When our hearts treasure Jesus through prayer, meditation, song, and Scripture, we are reoriented to what is truly priceless for us. We make an investment that will last forever.

What does your heart treasure?

Dear Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth. Since you treasured us first, help us to treasure you as the Lord and Master of our lives. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

To lie or not to lie

Exodus 20:16 (ESV)
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Some people believe that lying is only a problem if you really hurt someone--or if you get caught. But God doesn't see it that way. God cares about the truth because our relationships depend on it. Like God, Christians believe that honesty is very important.

Of course, being honest is not the same as saying everything you think. If you don't like something, or you believe a comment someone made is pretty foolish, you don't necessarily have to say so. There are also times when telling the whole truth can cause too much hurt.

I remember reading about people who hid Jews from harm in World War II and lied about it when German soldiers asked them. In that situation, the effect of deception was more in line with God's intention for relationships and caring for others.

But rare exceptions shouldn't blind us to God's basic demand for honesty in relationships. If I am going to relate to you in a loving way, I need to be able to count on you for the truth. If I can't, I will feel manipulated, become suspicious, distrust your word, and eventually become alienated from you.

Lying changes more than the facts; it also changes the liar. If I lie to you, I erode our relationship, whether or not you know I lied. Lying to God does the same thing. The only difference is that God already knows.

Dear Lord, even though we may be solidly against outright lies, it's hard at times not to be deceptive. Help us to honor others with honesty and to speak the truth in love. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Our Shepherd

Psalm 23:2 English Standard Version (ESV)
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.

Deep in the psyche of God’s people is a much–loved image: God is our shepherd. To some of us it may seem a cliché? But this phrase is a brutal put–down. If God is a shepherd, that makes us sheep!

Other animals take far less care than sheep. Cattle and horses, dogs and cats have more sense when they are on their own. But sheep need the watchful eye of their owner. Sheep can’t roar like a lion or run like a deer. They can’t even play dead. All they do is stand on their spindly legs or get themselves lost. Sheep are a fitting example of our spiritual weakness and cluelessness.

So why does this image appeal to people in trendy universities, chic urban hotspots, and well–manicured suburbs? Maybe in our deepest heart we recognize our own weakness and dependence. Maybe in our sane moments we sense that God’s companionship transforms every situation. Maybe deep down we want to be carried in the arms of a shepherd.

Are you in the middle of a messy divorce or custody battle? “The Lord is my shepherd.” Is your husband sick, and there’s no hope for a cure? “The Lord is my shepherd.” Is your teenager chanting, “I hate you”? “The Lord is my shepherd.” Are you in church for the first time in 40 years, or doing devotions for the first time? Why not say it? “The Lord is my shepherd.”

Dear Lord, we try to be so independent. We ignore You, run from You, even belittle You. But we need You. Help us to lean on You. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Mona Lisa smile

John 8:9 (ESV)

But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.

I had a friend that called this the “Mona Lisa smile” story. Just as we might ask, “What was Mona Lisa mysteriously smiling about?” we may wonder, “What did Jesus mysteriously write on the ground?”

But now let’s focus on the reaction of the accusers to Jesus’ famous words: “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone …” John notes, “At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first …”

Why the older ones first? Perhaps they got the point first! As I have gotten older I have observed that older people often, though certainly not always, are more aware of their failures, more steeped in God’s grace, and therefore less judgmental. Are they more sinful than others? Probably not. Have they failed more? If so, only because they’ve lived longer. But they do, as a general rule, see their sin more clearly. Maybe it’s because they’ve tried so long to overcome the tough ones, while younger people are still confident that they can conquer their weaknesses.

I praise God for the confidence of youth. It restores my hope. But I praise God too for older people who are sensitive and honest about themselves—and often less judgmental as well. It’s a sign of seasoning long under God’s grace, growing widely within his forgiveness, gently mellowing in his mercy.

Dear Lord, we pray today that whether we are young or old, we will be honest about our sin and secure about Your grace. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Working together

Romans 15:7 (ESV)
Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

If we are serious about living a life of Christian faith, we must keep in mind how our actions affect others. We cannot grow in faith all by ourselves; nor may we forget to tend to the well-being of others. Even if we have broad diversity, there can be unity when our shared focus and purpose are about loving God and neighbor. Mutual hospitality is a vital part of building unity as God’s people.

We build unity when we look out for one another. This means we are to help others out, even when it might not be convenient. Paul speaks directly to believers who are “strong,” including himself in that grouping, because those who consider themselves “strong” can easily be tempted to look down on others who are not like them.

Going even further, Paul says we are to accept one another just as Christ has accepted us. How did Christ accept each one of us? He accepted us with plenty of faults.

We have all experienced being let down by other people, and we have all been guilty of letting others down. Paul also reminds us that we are to forgive just as we have been forgiven. And he urges us to put on the virtue of love because that is what binds us together in perfect unity.

Dear Lord, we confess that our tolerance for ­others can be lacking. Unite us as your people and make us gracious ­toward others just as You have been gracious to us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Friday, January 10, 2020

God's peace through prayer

Philippians 4:7 (ESV)
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

The peace of God is one of the many blessings God promises his people who pray.

Occasionally we hear people talk about having “inner peace,” and we can get the impression that inner peace is a personality trait that some people who are calm by nature have more than others. Other times, inner peace is described as something people can develop by following a pattern of relaxing meditation techniques.

But the kind of peace Paul describes is very different. It’s not something only a few people can experience; it’s a gift that everyone can receive. And when Paul says this peace “transcends all understanding,” he indicates that it is not something we can produce by our own efforts.

Paul is describing the peace that comes from God and that guards troubled hearts. The word translated as “guard” here is a strong military term. It refers to the close supervision a Roman soldier would have over someone entrusted to his care. In fact, in Paul’s day prisoners were often chained to the Roman guards assigned to watch over them.

The picture in this verse is compelling. Our prayers connect us directly to God. The best inner peace is the kind that God alone can provide. If your heart needs that peace, ask God to give it to you. He will surely do it.

Dear Lord, thank you for giving us your peace. Thank You for assuring us that we are always protected by the power of your love. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Our weapons

2 Corinthians 10:4 (ESV)
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.

Life is full of battles. Two teams may battle it out on the football field. A person struggles to lose weight or to conquer an addiction. Businesses fight to stay afloat. Society combats racism and gender inequality. Armies engage in war. All of these battles engage particular weapons—an ace quarterback, a special diet, 12-step programs, civil rights, civil liberties, stealth weaponry.

Christ’s followers engage in battles too. As Christians, we must be careful with our choice of weapons. Paul here defends himself against false teachers who are publicly finding fault with him in order to boost their own reputations. Many of us are familiar with the weapons they used: belittling, bully­ing, gossip, false accusations. But instead of responding the same way, Paul uses the meekness and gentleness of Christ. He is not interested in defending himself; he desires to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

What is included in the arsenal we may use in God’s kingdom? Our personal testimonies can be a powerful weapon against “every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God.” Prayer is our lifeline to communicating with God, giving thanks, and understanding his will for us. And in God’s strength we use our gifts and talents in obedience to Christ. We can bring reconciliation, teach, show compassion, organize projects, serve to help others, and more—all with the love and grace that bring blessing to the world through Christ.

Dear Lord, Inspire us to be a blessing in this world by bringing the love and good news of Your kingdom to everyone we meet. In the Name of Jesus,  Amen.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Why Jesus is like SNAPCHAT

Romans 8:2 (ESV)
For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

A lot of people use Snapchat as a way to connect with their friends. You can send them a photo, video, add a caption, and send the snap off to a friend. Snapchat is a great app to use and a lot of fun.

Have you ever thought about the fact that Jesus is a lot like Snapchat? No, Jesus isn’t an app or a way to communicate with your friends, but we can learn about Jesus from Snapchat.

Once a snap is sent, it can be viewed for a limited amount of time. Then the snap deletes. Its never seen again. This is a lot like what Jesus did for us on the cross. Our sin was a barrier to get to God. We couldn’t come to God on the basis of our works, because any sin, no matter how small keeps us from knowing God. What we needed was a solution to our sin. The solution was Jesus.

Jesus was able to delete sin, permanently. Once we ask Jesus to forgive us of our sins, they’re gone, deleted once and for all. Just like the snaps in snapchat. They can’t be viewed again once they’re deleted. And that’s what Jesus did for us. He deleted the sin out of our lives by dying on the cross. His death and resurrection caused the sin problem to be destroyed. When we accept Jesus in our lives, all our sins are deleted. They’re gone. We can go to God as if sin never existed in our lives.
So the next time you use snapchat, let it be a reminder to you of how Jesus was and is the solution to sin.

Dear Lord, we thank You for the forgiveness of our sins. We thank You that once you forgive of us our sin they are gone forever. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, January 6, 2020


Luke 9:12 (ESV)
Now the day began to wear away, and the twelve came and said to him, “Send the crowd away to go into the surrounding villages and countryside to find lodging and get provisions, for we are here in a desolate place.”

The story of Jesus feeding a crowd of thousands of people weaves together themes from throughout his ministry. These include compassion, power over creation, the ability to sustain life, and involving others in responding to human needs. We also see God’s grace and providence intertwine as Jesus sends the disciples out “to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.”

It is important to realize that the people who heard the gospel and who were healed and fed were not saved and sanctified saints; they were not fully committed disciples who were ready to follow Jesus. Yet when Jesus saw their hurts and needs, he responded with love, knowing that many of them would abandon and even turn against him later. Even so, Jesus was moved with compassion, seeing their need. In the same way, he has compassion today when he sees the hurts and needs of anyone created in the image of God.

We have daily opportunities to come alongside the people around us. It could mean dropping by the hospital or the nursing home for a visit. Perhaps it involves cooking a meal for someone. Maybe it includes simply listening to another person’s story. When we seek to provide what Jesus ­offers, we reflect a beautiful picture of God’s compassion and care for others.

Dear Lord, help us to see the needs of others not as interruptions to our day, but rather as opportunities to reflect the love of Christ for people who need it. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Sharing love

Romans 12:11 (ESV)
Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.

In the book The Great Divorce, C. S. Lewis takes readers on an imaginary tour of heaven and hell. At one point in heaven, “Sarah Smith” passes by, receiving great honor from many heavenly beings. She received no earthy accolades but was a simple woman who lived in a simple home and showed deep love to every person and every creature she met. Sarah Smith had great spiritual fervor.

There was a man that was asked a few months after his wife committed suicide how he made it, his answer was “It was because of the support system that he had that held him up.” These are some of the behaviors I believe the apostle Paul was talking about when he called us to keep our spiritual fervor:

People listened non judgmentally.

They prayed faithfully.

They understood that grief is not a sign of weakness or lack of faith, but the price of love.

They encouraged him to eat, exercise, and sleep well.

They remained aware of his vulnerability and the uniqueness of each person’s trials.

Loving someone whose life and experiences are very different from our own takes energy, time, and effort. Our spiritual fervor can wane when it costs more of our time or money or energy than we expect. But, in God’s strength, fervent love listens, encourages, and seeks to understand.

Dear Lord, sometimes we tire of loving others. Make our love be a reflection of Your unending love for us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Can we ever bargain with God?

Genesis 18:32 (ESV)
Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.”

Can we ever bargain with God? In this passage God tells Abraham about his plans for Sodom and Gomorrah. Maybe Abraham is concerned about his nephew Lot, who has moved with his family into Sodom (see Genesis 13:12; 19:1-2). Abraham's heart likely beats faster as he thinks about God's possible judgment. What if there are righteous people there?

Abraham asks God if he will spare the city if there are fifty righteous people there. Then he lowers the number to forty-five and then to forty, thirty, twenty, and ten. It sounds a lot like bargaining that was commonly done in the marketplace--and yet God answers patiently without changing his plans to check things out (see 18:21).

Why is Abraham so bold to talk this way to God? Because he trusts God. Abraham asks, "Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?" Abraham's questions are based on his trust that God will do right.

Do we ever try to bargain with God? If so, is it based on trust in the Lord, or on our own perception of what's right? Note that Abraham not only makes his requests from the foundation of trust; he also makes these requests for others. Are there any situations today that are like Sodom's? Let's remember that sinners can still repent and become righteous through Jesus. Are we ready to ask for their salvation?

Dear Lord, may our world turn to You. Help us to see others with compassion and to ask for their salvation. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Joy, Peace, Hope

Romans 15:13 (ESV)
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

May God fill you with joy, peace, and overflowing hope.

Joy, which is much deeper than our common idea of happiness, is rooted in God and allows us to rejoice in his goodness even in the darkest of situations.

Peace is more than the absence of conflict. God’s peace involves resting in the Lord and Savior who will make things right in spite of all the brokenness in our world.

Hope is the believer’s confident expectation that all of God’s promises and plans will be fulfilled, and it includes working with God now in all that he is doing in our lives and in this world. Overflowing hope not only fills us but abundantly flows from us and inspires others, by the power of God’s Spirit working in us.

All three find their source in the one true God. He is the one at work restoring and redeeming. God guarantees our future. Hope is rooted in the faithfulness of the Father, the saving work of Jesus, and the power and presence of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives.

God is at work, and we are called to trust and follow his lead. We place our confidence in God, waiting and relying on him. This calls us to draw near to God, believe his Word, and follow his Spirit. The key to entering the New Year with joy, peace, and overflowing hope is to enter it with the God of hope.

Dear Lord, fill us with hope and help us to walk with You each day. By your Spirit, fill us with overflowing hope in the coming year. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, January 2, 2020


1 Chronicles 16:34 (ESV)
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    for his steadfast love endures forever!

Gratitude is good for us. Even science has proven it. The physician and researcher Hans Seyle, who extensively studied the negative effects of stress on humans, concluded that the best antidote to stress is gratitude. Of course, there’s much more to it than what science can name, because gratitude is rooted in God. Out of the groundswell of God’s goodness gratitude grows.

In ancient Israel, King David’s whole being responded to God’s goodness. In this song of praise we see that David’s gratitude springs from God’s creational activity. Our first evidences of God’s goodness are in creation. David calls for the heavens to rejoice and the earth to be glad. He invites the sea to resound, the fields to be jubilant, and the trees of the forest to sing for joy. Why? Because the world is firmly established. In the beginning God acted with goodness in establishing this world, and God continues to sustain it by his costly grace. It’s been said that if the essence of God is goodness and grace, the essence of God’s people is gratitude.

When we take time to recall God’s goodness and grace, our hearts tune in to the grateful melody all creation sings. So let’s join the sea and fields and trees today and sing for joy!

Dear Lord, we lift our hearts to You in gratitude for this beautiful world You have made. Thank You for all You have done for us. We give thanks in the name of Jesus, through whom we have received grace upon grace. In the Name of Jesus,  Amen.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Happy New Year 2020

Romans 7:18 (ESV)
For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.

It’s the start of a new year and gyms all across America will see a spike in new memberships.  Why?  New Year’s resolutions.  Nearly every top ten list includes the following resolutions: getting in shape, losing weight, or quitting smoking.  Unfortunately, most of these resolutions don’t last.  Just wait until mid-February and you’ll have a much easier time finding a parking space at the gym.

We can to do the same thing as we follow Jesus.  We can make big promises about the great things we plan to do for Him.  We can try to impress Him with our performance.  In the process we can forget two important facts:

God’s love for us is dependent on His grace and not our performance.  Scripture makes this very clear in Romans 5:8- God demonstrates his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  God’s love for us was settled by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.
This life is not about what we can do for God, but what He can do in and through us.  God does not need us (see Acts 17:25), but He still desires to use imperfect instruments like us to accomplish His God-sized purposes.
As we enter the new year, the question we do not need to be asking is what can I do for God?  The better question is this: What does God desire to accomplish in and through me this year?

Dear Lord, we thank You for the new year. We pray that this year we would seek your desire for our life. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.