Living Into All the Gifts Which Come From Jesus Christ

As we enter into this season where gifts are given and received and we contemplate what to do with the gifts we receive, it would be wise for us to understand the nature of the gift of Jesus Christ. For while the gift of salvation and eternal life with our Heavenly Father is an amazing gift indeed, Jesus Christ also came and has given the power to live into Him and receive His blessings each day. Through His life, teachings and sacrifice, plus the subsequent gift of the Holy Spirit we receive the gift of power to overcome the temptations of this world and rise into a life of love, peace and fulfillment that cannot be obtained in and by this world alone. Thus let us receive and use those gifts to live into the blessed life we are created to live as well as sharing those gifts with a world so in need of receiving them.

Jesus Christ Doesn’t Compare

We hear and it is important to be cognoscente that this time of year can be mentally and spiritually tough and depressing for some. Often times that seems to be impacted by the act of comparison. That is to say a person looks around and sees others celebrating, others filled with joy and hope, others enjoying the company of friends and loved ones and then compares their life to the others and finds it lacking and becomes depressed. I think it is important that we realize that Jesus, the One whose coming we celebrate did not compare. Jesus never said He came for the rich, the famous, the good looking, the popular, the successful or even the lovable. No Jesus came for us all. He seemed especially drawn to those who felt outcast and lost. Jesus in fact warned us against comparing ourselves to others and/or coveting others’ things or lives. Jesus Christ loves each of us. We are never alone or abandoned by Him. All we have to do to receive His restorative, regenerative, rejuvenating love is to simply accept it. In whatever state we find ourselves in this season, let us resist the temptation to compare ourselves to another, instead humbly living into the gift, equally given to all of Jesus Christ.

Jesus Prayed

Jesus Christ prayed! Not just once in the garden. Let that sink in a moment. God Himself, becoming flesh, living on this earth, knew that He needed to have a deep intimate communication with His Father in heaven so He prayed consistently and constantly. He prayed so often and derived such benefit from it that His disciples noticed it and wanted to be taught how to truly pray. Now if God the Son finds prayer such a necessary, fulfilling and sustaining action, if our Savior made sure to take time to make prayer a priority, then how can we the Father’s creation approach prayer as a haphazard ritual, with questionable value to be practiced in times of great stress or dire need and at other times neglected because we can’t make the time to get around to it? This is not about feeling guilty about not praying, but about perceiving the true nature, value and power of prayer so that it becomes a cherished part of our existence. It is about connecting to and receiving the all powerful, restorative love that our Heavenly Father wants to share as we connect to Him in prayer. And oh by the way, if we’re not sure what to pray, Jesus Christ gave us the perfect way to start: “Our Father who art in heaven hallowed by thy name……….

The Blessings Inherent in Living Into the First and Greatest Commandment

When God instructs us that the first and greatest commandment is to love Him with all our heart, mind, body and soul, we must understand the commandment is not about Him needing our love. Truly it is completely the other way around. You see our Heavenly Father understands that to truly, deeply love someone, you must have a deep trust and faith in that person leading to a intimate and sustaining relationship. The more and closer we can attain that relationship with our Heavenly Father, the more open we become to receiving His blessings and living into His joy and peace. The deeper our love for the Father, the more His will supplants the cares, fears, and tribulations of this world. In loving our Heavenly Father, we unleash in ourselves through Him that power that moves mountains and is mighty to save. Yes truly it is we who gain everything when we learn to love our Heavenly Father first.

The Blessed and Uplifting Lessons Contained in the Story of the Prodigal Son

The story of the prodigal son is among the most informative and uplifting lessons in the bible. First, it tells of the mercy of our Heavenly Father in that we can return and will be restored. It is however extremely important to understand, how we return is critical. For the prodigal son was sincerely, truly repentant. He knew he had done wrong and confessed that to the Father. I’m not sure how the Father’s reaction might have been different if the son had not humbled himself and confessed his sin. Second we need to guard against being like the older son and not accepting that the Father can show love and mercy to one who repents and returns. The older brother never left the loving presence of the Father. The Father always cared for and did not let the older brother experience the famine and devastation that had gripped the land and so impacted the younger son. The Father loved them both equally. Let us not let the our pride, fear or the world keep us from humbly confessing and returning to our Heavenly Father. Let us also not let our pride and judgement keep us from loving and being truly happy for those who come or return to the Father’s grace, knowing it is not our work, but the Father’s love and grace which sustains us each day. Either way, may we feel our Heavenly Father’s protective love and mercy freely poured out for us this day

Jesus Christ Exhorts Us to Choose For This Day

Yesterday’s thought was on deciding to choose, today’s thought is about choosing for today. You see both in teaching us to pray; Jesus teaches us to pray for this day’s bread and later He specifically exhorts us to focus on today. Yet all too often we find ourselves either making decisions or choices primarily focusing on (and or worrying about) tomorrow or putting off making a choice until we see what tomorrow and then tomorrow and then tomorrow will bring. Jesus Christ is clear; today is what we have and tomorrow is known about and promised to no one except God Almighty. Therefore, don’t put off the choice to love, don’t be so certain about tomorrow that you’ll get around to doing your good deed then. Be wary of I don’t have the time today to pray or read the bible; that’s a Sunday thing. Let us choose to live and make decisions about this day and how to make it better through our service being mindful of the truth that this is really the only day we can definitively impact

Let’s Use Our God Given Ability to Choose

Choose! Decide to choose! Today, make a choice. Chose what, you ask? While a truly important question, I also believe it is vital that you and I understand that we can and should choose. You see there’s a narrative going around today that we can’t choose; because of our genes, because of a need for a job or a promotion, because of some outside factor, I was forced to do x or y, I HAD NO CHOICE! Yet when you look at our God given faculties like thought and reason, you think about our unique ability to change and adapt the environment around us, we see that our ability to choose is a fundamental attribute of our very being. So understand we can and should choose. I pray we choose wisely. I believe that prayer and study of the word can help in a choice of love, caring and justice. Also understand that ceding our power and ability to choose is a choice in and of itself. But the world rarely has our best interests in mind in any of the choices it makes. So I encourage you to use your power of choice and to do so for the greater good. And oh by the way, I thank all of those who choose to read this post today.

May You Have a Happy, Blessed Thanksgiving

If you are traveling this holiday, I pray for safe travels as well as you find your destination one where you are thankful to be there and the ones you visit are truly thankful to have you there. And if you may not be physically traveling may you spiritually and mentally travel to a place of thanksgiving, peace and tranquility where your body, mind and soul feast on the love from God and the blessings He so graciously and abundantly provides for us. May you have a blessed Thanksgiving.

Rising Above Earthly Levels Through the Powerful Level of God’s Love

Seems like lately, each day we’re hearing about, maybe even bombarded with some NEW level of X, a new level of something and that new thing and associated level is more often than not, negative; a new low. Well here’s something that is not a new level, it is at the same extreme level and has been that way since the day you and I were born and in fact has been at this same level since the beginning of time. That is our Heavenly Father’s extreme, powerful, redemptive, restorative, healing, protective, all encompassing, freely given, personal Love for each of us. Let us not let the world’s levels distract us or cause us despair in that God’s level of love will lift us above all earthly levels. In this we can truly rejoice and be thankful.

Let Us Be Thankful Gifts

Thank you! For what you ask? For you. You are a gift created by God. Thus let us go out today as gifts, giving of ourselves the love of Jesus Christ that has been freely given to us that we might be shining gifts to this need filled world.

Merry Christmas and the War on It?

Merry Christmas! Okay, I know it may seem a tad early and I want to give Thanksgiving its due. However, I’ve been seeing things on TV and social media about saying “Merry Christmas” and the “war” on Christmas and Christ and thought I’d humbly interject my “two cents” worth. First understand this, a war on Christ is nothing new. Since the beginning of time, the enemy has been against Christ and actively waging a battle to defeat Him. And from the beginning of time the enemy has lost, repeatedly been utterly defeated, especially at the cross where our eternal salvation was won by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. However, for those of us who might be tempted to shout Merry Christmas as an “in your face” kind of declaration of superiority, I would remind of the humility of Jesus Christ. One of the many problems the leaders of Jesus’ time had with Him was that He was so meek. The Messiah should be kicking the Roman tails out of Israel and setting scores with anyone over the millennia who had done the Jewish people wrong. But this self proclaimed Messiah, Jesus Christ was living and preaching service and turn the other cheek and blessed are the poor. Worst yet he was eating with sinners and healing Roman servants. Thus, we, His very creation came to be at war with Him. Yes, Merry Christmas. But Christ would not want us shouting His Name at non-believers in some righteous indignation. He would want us to sincerely pray for them, help them even if there is little to no chance they will help us or pray for us in return. That is what Jesus Christ came into this love starved world to do. To share His redeeming, restoring love to all. May you have a very Merry Christmas season as you and I spread the joy of Christ as much as we can.

 

What Does It Mean To Be Living the Dream

We hear and read a lot today about the virtue of living my dream, never give up on my dream, the secret to happiness is fulfilling my dream. Let’s think about that for a moment. If we contemplate a dream in its basic form, that is the dream that happens when we’re asleep, it is a very singular thing. No matter how close we are to someone, when we’re asleep we don’t have mutual or shared dreams. Now I know that the life dreams that we speak of are not the sleeping kind. But are we so certain that the singular nature of fulfillment of our life dreams doesn’t still have that primarily singular component to it? For example, I may dream of having a “close and loving” family which would require others to be a part of; however, am I still using primarily my definition of what “loving and caring” means to decide what fulfillment is? How flexible is my dream to allowing others to influence the definition of success or fulfillment? Is it possible to have a group dream and if so how do we go about defining and then living into it? I do find it interesting that Jesus Christ didn’t teach or even talk about living into or that ultimate fulfillment of life was centered around living out our personal dreams. In fact, He spoke more of denying oneself as it applied and applies to personal ambition in favor of service to others. Let us take care not to let the message of today sway us to a path of primarily self centered desires and behaviors. Love would have us care about others’ dreams, successes and fulfillment as much as our own.

A Vitally Important Response to Hate

8 people die and 13 injured in New York and a disgruntled parent forces his way into a California elementary school, attacks a 70 year old first grade teacher and holds her hostage while terrorizing little children. Being so close in time to Las Vegas and other horrific instances of terror and violence we must guard ourselves from becoming numb to these and just passing them off as just a natural part of our lives with a shrug of our shoulders. We should not resign ourselves and accept this deplorable hate as the new normal in our society. What extraordinary response is required to combat this extreme level of hate? We need an even greater commitment to love! I know there are some who consider that answer weak. We need to strike out in righteous hate and greater violence against the scourge in our society they would advocate. But Christ would not have us respond so. He would and does tell us that love is the greater strength. He would instruct us; yes, to hug our family and friends and tell them of our love for them. However, He would not want us to stop there. So often these people feel they are outcasts from and hated by the world they are forced to live in. Christ would have us actively seek the hurting and isolated. He wants us to interject His love and hope into their world combating Satan’s message of only hate and despair. The vigilance we need goes beyond just observing that something or someone seems off and telling the authorities but also if we see the hurting and hated, how can we bring them love. That is the very reason Christ came to earth, to show His love and sacrifice to you and me and to all His creation and the power of that love. May God Bless you with His love this and every day.

Faith in this Information Age

I believe there’s a real challenge to the concept of faith in this Information Age. You see the process goes something like this; information leads to knowledge, knowledge leads to conclusion based on “facts/evidence”. conclusion leads to proof, and proof leads to belief. Thus, in the world, I am taught to and rewarded for only believing, that is having faith in, those things that I can, or someone else has, or at least believes can be proven. But here’s the thing, over and over again, Jesus Christ, in the healing/curing/miracle process asked; do you BELIEVE I can do this or stated your faith has made you whole. Jesus did not ask do you KNOW or can you prove that I can do this. It is clear, Our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit; Their perfect plans for us, Their spiritual interactions with us, Their methodology of being, is far beyond our capacity to understand, let alone prove with our comparably very little knowledge and grasp. They All know this, thus they don’t demand that we rise to some level of proven understanding of Them. They simply ask that we believe, that we have faith in Them. May each of us humble ourselves, setting aside our deterministic tendencies to fully, faithfully live into the grace and love our Heavenly Father, through His Son Jesus Christ, with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Amen

God’s Promise to Those Who Help the Needy

“Then the righteous answered: ‘Lord when did we see you hungry and feed you or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in or needing clothes and clothe you?’ The King will reply,’I tell you the truth, whenever you did it for one of the least of these, you did it for Me.'” Matthew 26:37-40 I know that we are all very busy plus the world fills our eyes with so many things on so many devices that it can very east to overlook those in need. Yet God, Himself promises that as we see and then help those in need, we will be seen by God and rewarded

 

He Who Has the Power Over All Our Storms

Jesus slept! After a long day of preaching and healing, as a human being, Jesus needed rest. So Jesus got into a boat and went to sleep and a storm blew up and raged on, still Jesus slept. Now there are two ways to sleep through a storm. On the one hand, you can try being in denial that there is no storm. However, with that method the storm will rage on bringing whatever destruction that it may. Or you continue sleeping understanding that the storm has no power over you, that it is inconsequential compared to the power you have. The disciples could not sleep for they had no power over the storm. But upon being awakened by them, Jesus showed them His Christ, God on earth power by effortlessly calming the raging torrent. But it wasn’t just natural storms Jesus Christ had and has supreme power over. He came up against a man in the midst of a physical, mental and spiritual storm of evil and anguish. A storm so violent that it drove the man out to live among some tombs, often naked. A storm so raging that the man injured all who came within his sphere, including himself. A storm so powerful, none could control or subdue the man regardless of the number or implements brought against him. Jesus did not shy away from this storm either. Jesus faced this storm calmly, head on and as Christ quelled the storm in the man with a simple command, leaving the man calm and at peace. So today or someday we will all face storms be they natural or of human making. We will be in denial if we believe either they don’t exist or, in and of ourselves, from within, we have the ultimate power over them. But there is One who has proven He does have that ultimate power and Jesus Christ promises us He will bring His all power to bear to calm our storms and bring us His peace. In faith and love let us never hesitate to humbly, thankfully make that call.

Seeing the Connections Makes All the Difference

Good morning. Don’t you wish reading this burned as many calories as doing push-ups? So don’t misunderstand, this message is not about weight or exercise primarily, it’s about seeing connections. A recent report by the CDC on the state of weight in the US has led to some pretty dire rhetoric and actions like suing diet soft drink companies. What I don’t hear being discussed much, especially concerning adults is a thoughtful discussion about connections. Here’s what I mean, every new instance when we don’t physically move or limit our movement, adds calories that would have been burned by movement. Think about that a moment, let it sink in. Look around and consider, in your lifetime, what technology has come about that requires less action? Can we say TV remote? We don’t get up to look something up, we sit and google it or let spellcheck make the correction. I don’t have to go shop with the internet at my fingertips and if I do want old fashioned groceries, I don’t have to go up and down the aisles because one major chain will do that for me and I just drive up and pick them up. Again, I’m not being “anti” any of that. But understand every time we skip movement we add those calories. Many of these conveniences were designed to give us “extra time”. Thus we must ask ourselves, what are we doing with that time? If we’re using it in a seated, sedentary condition, we need to understand that impact, make that connection. If we’ll make that connection, have that understanding we’ll be less apt to blame others and take action. I know, these posts normally have a more overt spiritual aspect by this point but please understand, Jesus ministry was all about this; No not weight or exercise but making connections. Rarely did He start out or only focus on actions. No, instead, He focused on the heart, soul and faith that led to those actions. He made the connection. The more we attempt to follow and think like Jesus Christ, the clearer these life connections will become and the more we’ll be open to the blessings that come with the Jesus Christ connected life. Now get up and go out and do something!

Beating Ourselves as We Attempt to Beat the System

We have to be careful about our thoughts and intentions that lead to our actions and the impact of those actions. Let;s take “beating the system” for example. When we spend significant amounts of time, research, energy and effort in trying to find ways to take advantage of a loophole in a system, that is to make the system give us maximum personal gain regardless of whether the system was designed to work that way or not, we have to understand the ramification of those actions. First, understand that most of our systems (from family, to traffic, to education, business etc.) are designed to give a measure of improvement or positive outcome to all the components of the system. When I/we attempt and/or succeed in manipulating the system in a way not intended to get maximum benefit for me, the rest of the system will suffer. Often we don’t want to widely publicly disclose our process for beating the system, even if legal, because we realize if everyone did it, the system would collapse. I have to decide, am I willing part of the system or not, The challenge is that “beating the system” is far more sexy and rewarded in today’s society than working within the system to improve it for all. Bottom line, looking in the mirror, am I more comfortable seeing a selfish man willing to put an entire system at risk just for my personal gain or a person with the strength and grit to use my energy to improve the system, understanding that improvement will still benefit me as well.

Using Forgiveness As a Tool For Moving Forward

So I heard something unfortunately interesting on a news story this morning. Some incident had happened with a child at a school that the parent thought was very wrong. As part of her response, she very emotionally declared: “We need an apology so we can have closure and move on”. This is not a judgement about her or anyone else but I believe the sentiment she expressed is extremely prevalent in our society today. I may have been legitimately wronged, thus I am owed an apology and I will stand my ground, will not move an inch, until I get my satisfaction. What this means is there’s a lot of stuck people out there and if we’re not careful we can get stuck in that morass of hurt and indignation as well. Jesus Christ does not want our hearts to be in a sense of unrelenting pain and darkness. He doesn’t want us to shift our focus, to freely give our power over to someone or something else about whether we can move on, move forward and progress in our lives. Imagine for a moment what Christ’s eternal existence would be like if He had not forgiven those who who persecuted and crucified Him. Imagine millennia of bitterness, frustration and anger awaiting for an apology that would never come. It is not easy and we all want to hear those words spoken sincerely: “I am sorry, I apologize”. Yet by the example of Christ, through praying and relying on Him, if we can truly, sincerely forgive, regardless of whether the apology comes or not, then the sticky mud of hurt and anger dries up under the light of love becoming a path always forward, always upward toward our truly desired destination.

Contemplating the “Self” in Esteem

So here’s a ponder-able for today; does, and if so to what extent, does focusing on building my or helping someone else to build their self esteem cause me or them to esteem others less? Is there any danger as I look to build my feelings of value, worth and importance or trying to do that for someone else, especially a child, that I might be sending the message you’re more valuable, more worthwhile and important than most everyone else? Perhaps we might feel that it is healthy to believe of ourselves, we’re the most worthy, valuable and important because if we don’t who will? What is true is that you are esteemed by God for he created you as a distinct individual. You are esteemed by Jesus Christ because He sacrificed His very life for your individual salvation. Yet, They would also want you to realize that the same holds true for me. They do not look at Their esteem for us or how we should esteem ourselves and each other as a zero-sum proposition; that is the more I esteem myself, naturally I have to esteem you and other less and vice-versa. Are we now at a place or can we achieve getting to a place where we can see an equal amount of esteem in others as we see in ourselves?

Defining Love in a Way That Truly Matters

Let’s be careful with each other today because our world is in the process of redefining many things, one of the most concerning is love. Jesus Christ first lived and also defined love, chiefly in terms of serving others, being there for others, even laying down our lives for others out of love. Today we live in a world that defines love as something we can make by a simple, today more increasing trivial physical act that seems to be as much about self esteem and self gratification as anything else. There is an ever growing mantra that the most important love is about what our career is in “loving” what you do. Standing your ground is celebrated much more than going the extra mile for someone else, especially with no concern about reward in the end. It seems ironic that as both the population grows and the places where it is centered become even more dense, requiring an ever greater reliance on each other for a civilized existence, that our definition of love is becoming more self centered and our caring less common place. The reason that seeming acts of random kindness go “viral” these days with millions of shares and likes is that they are increasingly rare. To avoid falling into this trap we must realize that we are not the originators of nor ultimate definers of true, sustaining, unconditional love. That love is a gift from Our Heavenly Father. We can only share that love to the extent we are first in relationship to receive that love. Fortunately all it takes to be a recipient of His immeasurable love is to ask. Please let us strive to live into that relationship, receive the love and then through it, share the one true love that will actually help. Today my thought is not so much that we would take care but a request that we give care.

Two Tools for Success From Jesus Christ

So it’s Monday morning and you are or have made your plans for the day and perhaps the week. At some point you’re going to or have already taken an inventory of the things needed for your successful execution of your plan. That inventory may include tangible things like a computer program, training or specific tool. It probably also includes intangible things like your attitude or having “enough” time. It is my sincere hope that these two things are smack dab on the top of your list; love and hope. Now understand that not all love and hope are equal or beneficial. Love of money, prestige, power or fame is a love that is draining instead of sustaining and often leads to self and other destruction. Likewise, the hope not to get caught cheating, or the hope the other person competing for a promotion screws up or that you can help them screw up and then bring it to everyone’s attention is hardly a hope that will find your spirit uplifted. No, the love that sustains is the love of others that is equal to and sometimes even greater than the love of yourself. It is a love that combines with a hope that today you can make a positive difference in someone’s life. That you hope you can show an uplifting love to family, friends, coworkers and maybe even a stranger. That you will see a selfless love and unbridled hope for better as foundational tools to be applied to all you do this day and every day. In love, this is my hope for you.

 

Power in Prayer?

There’s an interesting backlash happening concerning prayer these days, especially after tragedies. It is probably understandable form the worldly perspective because calls for people to be praying have been so much more prevalent these days. Please pray for the storm victims from Harvey, Irma and Maria or please pray for the shooting victims in Las Vegas, Alexandria or some other place.  Much of backlash is around the idea that prayer has little to no impact, it is a useless endeavor and somehow those who are praying are delusional in thinking they are helping.  For those who would have those opinions and doubt the power of prayer, I would humbly ask them to listen to Steve Scalise’s return to Congress address.  Steve being someone who prayed and also felt the power of countless prayers prayed for him.  Don’t give me prayer, give me action, the critics demand.  But prayer in this case is not a noun but a verb; it is action.  What we need to remember and the world will not understand is the faith required and the power unleashed when prayer is used.  Those who advocate ceasing prayer for some other action are seeking human based, worldly solutions. Those who pray as the first action often don’t stop with prayer.  However, they (we) realize that prayer is about finding the only true solution that will last.  That is the solution that comes from our loving Heavenly Father who stands ready to bless, sustain and restore all who will come faithfully to Him and ask.

The Importance of Finding the Answers to Both What and Why?

What and Why? Philosophers, theologians, every day people have grappled with question; What is life? Though I think there is also a vital question that we might ponder to find an answer for: Why is life? Or perhaps is there a Why for my life? Am I interested in even exploring to discover that I might have or generate a Why for my life? We are created, not just to what but also to why. Why truly matters. Why is about the impact your life can have. Christ would tell us the why is inextricably connected to love; love for the Father and also equal love for His creation which means both me and all the people around me. How about it; do you have a why for your life this day?

Two Blessed Promises for Us Today

“Blessed are those who mourn for they will comforted”. “In the world you will have tribulation but take heart I have overcame the world.” Both of these proclamations were made by our Lord, Jesus Christ. What He’s telling us, reassuring us about, is that it is, on the one hand, completely appropriate to mourn and when we do will be comforted. Yet also for us to understand that this is a world where tribulations are going to happen, period; but not to live in those tribulations, not to be in constant despair or feel there is no hope. In fact one translation has Christ stating, “be of good cheer” because the world and its tribulations are not the highest power. In proclaiming that He, Jesus Christ has overcome the world, He isn’t bragging or praising Himself, but Christ is promising that through Him, we can and will overcome as well. That is the two part promise we can cling to today. To the extent we are in mourning, we will find comfort. Additionally, don’t let the hurricanes, riots, mass shootings leave you bereft of hope, plus be leery of putting your faith in the world for solutions. It is Christ who will bring us over and through the world’s tribulations, large and small, to a place of peace and yes, even joy in Him.

Evil Tries, Hates and Yet Will Lose Because Jesus Christ Loves and is Always Victorious

The enemy wants us to lose hope this morning, he wants us to fear. He wants us to believe that hate is the strongest, that he can divide us and that there is no God. Make no mistake, he is powerful and we can fall under his message of doom, hopelessness and evil if we’re not careful. But there is One who is all powerful, more powerful than the enemy. There is One who promises comfort to all who mourn. There is One who created us, who promises never to abandon us and be right beside us in our darkest hour. One who died for us so that our sins are forgiven and that even with the enemy doing his worst he can do; we are promised eternal rest with God our Heavenly Father. Pray for Las Vegas and do not judge it by its earthly nickname. Pray for the injured, the families of the lost and all those shaken by this evil event. Know the power of Jesus Christ as he comes to escort those who are transitioning from this life to their eternal rest. And LOVE! DON’T STOP LOVING! EXPAND YOUR LOVE! AND CALL UPON JESUS CHRIST! CHRIST defeated the enemy on the cross and will bring us victory with Him as well.

How Will All Know Whose We Are?

Jesus Christ makes this declaration as one of the last things He told His disciples: “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another”. Let that sink in for a moment……not that His disciples would provide miraculous healing, or feed countless thousands or start churches that over the millennia would come to number billions of members, all of which they did; but those were not the measures, those were not the tests. The true mark, insuring that they passed the test, the true sign that they were Christ’s was (and remains today) that they loved one another! Yet sadly love, except as the world would label sex, is so often an afterthought. If a thought at all. How can I love someone who says this, voted for that person, won’t stand for this but stands for that? Besides, I’m too tired, too stressed, I don’t have time for all that soft nonsense. So let’s reflect on love today. If we find our answers start more with what we love than who we love let us turn that around. If who we love is limited to only those who look, think, believe and act like us let us broaden that scope. The power to truly accomplish this does not come from or reside in us. It comes as a free gift of grace from He who died to save all of us; no matter our look, political philosophy, national origin or other divisive categories we want to use, Jesus Christ. Christ who loves us all and longs to give us the power to do the same if we will but look to Him in love and faith and ask for it. Let them know whose we are by our love.

The Understanding of Being Both Important and Humble

The interesting juxtaposition of importance and humility is something we must consider in our lives. First we were created by God and He, Himself deemed that creation very good. If that doesn’t make us important enough, then how about God, in the person of His Son Jesus Christ, giving up the perfection of heaven to come down to the imperfection of this world solely and souly to sacrifice Himself to save us from our own evil sins. Certainly that makes us the most important, self reliant, rightly self absorbed, justifiably self proud objects in the entire universe. Yet, the truth is, we were created to act in humility, to believe, love and yes OBEY; to subjugate our will to God’s will and love all His fellow created beings as we love ourselves. Vital importance and total humility rolled all into one. How do we accomplish that? Pray for it. The only way to truly combine the two is to pray for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, that then allows us to abide in Jesus Christ to live the humbly important, blessed lives we were created to live.

Is Being Down a Sin?

A lame man, lamenting he can’t get to the healing pool, a woman suffering from a medical condition 12 years desperate to reach out and touch Christ, a blind man crying out in anguish for healing and Jesus Christ healed them all. My point? In none of these examples did Jesus ask if they were “happy” or castigate them if they weren’t. Yet today there seems to be a theology out there that a person of faith should never be down or troubled in mind or spirit; that is a sin or lack of faith if a person is not walking around with a joyous happy countenance. Yet Jesus Himself proclaimed, Come unto me you who are weary with heavy burdens….Thus if you are joy filled and feeling great today, that is wonderful. Enjoy it, give thanks for it, don’t feel guilty about it but also don’t judge those who are not. If you are down or discouraged don’t believe that Christ will only come to you once you find someway to be up. Jesus Christ will come to whatever state you find yourself in and will lift you up, sustain you and/or restore you. All He asks is that you believe He is Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God who died and was resurrected to be our Savior. In whatever state you may be in today, may you seek, find and feel the blessing of Jesus Christ.

Where Our Names Need to be Found and Known

From Jesus Christ: “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven”. Today there are apps and searches that we use as we are consumed with fear and angst about where our names and information may be located and who is using it. While that is understandable, Jesus Christ reminds us that ultimately there is one place we definitely need to have our name known and that is in heaven by Our Heavenly Father. And in His Mercy and Grace we don’t have to fear the information He has, He wants and takes us just as we are. How do we get our name known? It starts with believing in and loving our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ, accepting Him as our Savior. May you find yourself rejoicing in that this day.

Glorying in Him through Whom all Successes Come

Through the Prophet Jeremiah, we hear the following exhortation from our Heavenly Father:
“Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,
Let not the mighty man glory in his might,
Not let the rich man glory in his riches,
But let them who glories, glory in this,
That he understands and knows Me,
That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgement and righteousness”
Thus I pray that you have success this day, but more than that I pray that you see that success as a blessed gift from Almighty God versus solely a result of your own efforts and talents. For the second vision is fleeting and temporary but the first vision is eternal and inexhaustible. Have a blessed day.

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Expanding Our View to See the Whole Truth

So here’s a challenging human characteristic or quirk; when and how we focus on something can cause that one thing to become all we see and perceive regardless of the bigger picture around it. For example, the headlines on most of news shows this morning cried out 2 million in Florida without power. Now understand, I’ve lived most my life on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts and have experienced many hurricanes during midst of summer with power being out for days and it is brutal so I truly sympathize with them. Yet it is my understanding that right after Irma passed, greater than 6 MILLION households/businesses were without power thus 4 million had been restored. Would it have been less impactful to announce that 4 million have had power restored and 2 million are still waiting? Here’s my point on the “how” aspect of what we focus on. This not to have “rose colored” glasses or gloss over problems, however, if the only thing we focus on is pain, whatever that pain may be; after a while, when we look around, pain will be the only thing we can ever see. So today, let’s ask ourselves; how narrow is our focus, our view of our life and the world around it and what images of truth are we missing? What necessary and real scenes should we be including that will give us the truest, most blessed whole picture of our lives?

A Prayer for Schools

A school prayer, Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father:
For our Teachers – Dear Lord pour our Your Spirit of love and patience on those who have answered Your call to shepherd Your most treasured ones and be the teachers’ light, guiding and protecting them throughout this school year
For Principals and Administrators, Dear Lord pour out Your Spirit of support, wisdom, patience and mercy with a vision of receiving and spreading Your light to teachers, parents and students for a blessed school year
For Parents – Dear Lord, pour out Your Spirit of cooperation, patience and energy upon parents that they will be an active, positive partner in the education and growth of their precious children
For Students – Dear Lord pour out a spirit of respect, inquisitiveness and obedience to these wonderful young souls that they will be willing, obedient and enthusiastic participants in their education
For All – Creator God, in charge of all things, give Your Angels charge to surround the schools and offices, the school buses and playgrounds, providing safety and peace, thwarting any and all attempts that evil would try to interject itself into the realm of education. That as we feel Your presence in this school year, Most Merciful Father, we will all strive to live into the mission and blessings You intend for us to have. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen

We must ask ourselves, what are we connecting ourselves too?

When we look at places like North Korea and Kim Jung-un or Hitler’s Germany, or even some of the fringe hate groups we have in our own country and we wonder how they happen, we see the result of unfettered, unrestrained, human nature. That is when I believe in nothing else, nothing greater than myself then I am free to define “good” and “evil” in whatever terms I want and then carry out those definitions in any manner of my choosing. In the case of these horrific dictators and institutions they are able to get others to believe solely and souly in their definitions and actions as the highest power and consequentially they unleash the carnage and destruction that ensues. The question for each of us is what are we connected to? Or in other words; what do we see and want to be a part of that is the “higher”, ultimate power for good? Is it ourselves, our political party, our country, our science, even our churches as it applies to their earthly leadership and opinion on right and wrong? If the answer to any of those is yes or any other strictly human concept then we can be putting ourselves and the world around us in grave peril. To the extent that we are willing to humble ourselves and connect to the Universal Truth, the Real and Perfect Good that we cannot attain on our own but may only live into by the grace of He who loves and created us and sacrificed His Own Being in the Person of His Son to save us; then we may be confident that we are living into the lives that daily as well as eternally matter and are connected to the Greatest Good.

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The Gift and Resource That is Love

First and foremost this is not a post that supposes to speak the mind of God or His purpose in events. I have no wisdom towards that and don’t feel called for that. What this is though is an observation about love, its power and hopefully its persistence and the lesson we can all take from it to use in our own lives. The storm named Harvey continues to bring devastation on a historic if not a biblical scale. Yet in the midst of that you see acts upon acts of selfless love. Thousands of people, lines stretching for miles of people with boats driving toward Houston to help. People giving out their personal cell phone numbers on social media inviting strangers in trouble to call for rescue. Volunteers are kneeling and drying the feet of victims and placing dry socks on their feet. Over and over again there is love. Yes we also see in the midst there is evil, 7 people have been arrested for looting. Though as is so often the case, love far exceeds hate in its power to achieve wonderful things and its importance is immeasurable even at a time of such devastation. Two things I hope for, for the rain will stop and the water will recede but the damage and toll and need for love will still be needed perhaps more than ever. Will we find it in our hearts to not grow weary of giving that love when the spotlight has passed? Second, where you are at this minute may be far from Harvey’s effects but someone close to you, perhaps a friend, a loved one but maybe a complete stranger may be going through their own personal Harvey which may be as personally disastrous to them as the flood in TX & LA is to so many. Can we be their rescuers? Can we see the need for love in their lives and by the grace of God be their lifeboat? There is no greater gift we can be or resource we can use than the love for others God has provided within each of our hearts.

What We Can Learn From Our Heavenly Father Being the Alpha and Omega

When our Heavenly Father declares “I am the Alpha and the Omega”, He is actually giving us a great teaching. He is instructing us that He is the beginning of all things as well as the ending of all things. So one of the most important things we can take from that lesson is to ask ourselves; do we start this and each day, each project or task, looking to our Heavenly Father for guidance and seeking His wisdom and vision? At the end of each day and/or at the conclusion of our efforts do we give thanks to our Heavenly Father for His blessings or genuinely repent when we have gone astray? Oh and by the way, we learn from Jesus Christ, our Heavenly Father is not just a God of beginnings and endings, He longs to be recognized as the God of every single step and moment in between. Thus let us take time to contemplate this as we start this new day.

Two Types of Eclipses and Their Impacts on Our Lives

While a natural solar eclipse is an awesome, seldom happening, perhaps once in a lifetime event to be experienced and enjoyed, we must be wary of and ever vigilant to keep from living in a daily spiritual eclipse where the cares, desire and fears of this world partially or totally block the love providing and life fulfilling Light provided by Jesus Christ. That is an evil, life shattering shadow we must escape from through humble, faith filled prayer allowing us to move into and live the blessed life we’re intended to live in the light of our Savior Jesus Christ.

The Ultimate Failure of a Hate Versus Hate Conflict

If Jesus Christ taught us nothing else, truly one of His themes throughout His entire life and ministry was and is, you can not defeat hate with a greater hate. Jesus Christ never taught about a “righteous hatred”. What we saw Charlottesville devolve into was a real world example and ultimate failure of a hate vs. hate conflict. Yes the supremacy of any person or race over another is a message that needs to be loudly and vehemently confronted and condemned whenever and wherever it raises its hate filled ugly voice. Yet there is no reason for we who deplore that message to clinch our fists in response to their clinched fists. It may get distorted by media, but these are a small, fear filled, isolated voice who desperately hopes to gain sympathy, traction and support by becoming “victims” of and then “justifiably” striking back at the forces who oppose them. But their message is evil and can be blatantly seen as such. Thus let us pray for the strength of Jesus Christ to overcome our “human nature” to fight hatred with greater hatred and the temptation to do evil to those whom would perpetrate evil against us. Let us pray for the strength and compassion of Jesus Christ to steadfastly stand against this and ever evil hatred wherever it may be, answering it with the power of love and faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus will prevail, make no mistake about that. The evil and hatred of this world thought they had silenced Him and His message of love. It took three short days for Him to prove them wrong. Have a blessed Sunday and please keep all the people in Charlottesville in our prayers.

Let Us Be Bearers of Much Fruit

Jesus Christ instructs us in John 15: “If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified that you bear much fruit…”. Thus let it be whatever we feel our task for today is, we accomplish it with the purpose of abiding in Christ while undertaking it. That our goal be producing the fruit that glorifies our Heavenly Father.

Swift to Hear and Slow to Speak

From James 1:19 we hear some wonderful advice that seems even more necessary today than when it was written some 2000 years ago. “So then my beloved brethren, let ever person be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, for the wrath of people does not produce the righteousness of God!” Thus by focusing on practicing what James preaches, let us today be about producing, as much as we are able, the righteousness of God.

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Can We Fool God????

Many are familiar with the saying: “You can fool some of the people all of the time and you can fool all the people some of the time…..”. Yet I think an ending even more powerful then the existing ending would be….but you cannot fool God any of the time! Throughout scripture it is made abundantly clear that God will see through the craftiest deceit or most contrived duplicity to the true nature of what is in our hearts. Thus if we believe that we can pray certain words or accomplish certain good acts ostensibly to do God’s will but in the deepest recesses of our hearts, our true motives are for self enrichment or our own glorification, God will see that and respond accordingly. So let it be our prayer that; through the power of the Holy Spirit, our hearts will be aligned with His, thus allowing our intentions, words and actions to be honestly for the purpose of carrying out His will. Then He who sees our true hearts will bless us, no fooling.

Hate Did Not Win Today. Love Won!

Hate did not win today. Love won! Yet we need to be truly honest with ourselves, hate exists, evil exists and when they attempt to interject themselves into a situation, it is destructive. But today, as it has ultimately been down through history, love triumphed. The love started today with a group coming together in preparation for an event that would bring money and support to charities like the Boys and Girls Clubs of Washington DC as just one example. Then hate interrupted. But when people think of love as only some soft, warm, mushy sentimental thing, not to be seen or discussed in the “real world”, look to the real hard love that was displayed today. Two courageous US Capital Police Officers in a selfless act of love, stepped forth at their own grave peril to become the target of and then take on and out the shooter. They were both significantly outgunned and they knew it but that made no difference. Other police officers, most who were strangers to the potential victims, out of love charged into the fight prepared to sacrifice their own lives. Love is only a “soft skill” or mushy feeling? Don’t you believe it. One other thing we must understand from today; while defeated this day, evil hatred was not destroyed. Sadly, in may places in this world at this very moment it is alive and well doing battle against love. Also let us not be too naïve or self righteous to be fooled into thinking we might not be led down the path to hatred. The next time someone speaks mean to you, does something unfair or hurtful to you; will, through clinched fists and teeth, you spew forth words of hate and begin plans of vengeance? We must not leave the door open or cracked to allow evil to steal in. Let us pray for the strength to return hate with mercy, harm with forgiveness and evil with love. By the Grace of Almighty God, Love won today. May His Grace continue to pour out on us that we may be champions of love as well.
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Defining Getting Ahead

Have you ever heard or perhaps used the phrase: “I just can’t seem to get ahead!”? I know I’ve both heard and have definitely used it. Normally it happens for me when something like a promotion happens but then the position is deleted or office closes. More often it is when some increase in funds happens only to subsequently have some unexpected need arise like replacing a broken appliance or unexpected medical or vet bill. Why can’t I seem to get ahead. Yet it is at those very times that, if I’m open to it, the Holy Spirit steps in provide me with a life improving lesson. No, the lesson isn’t some strategy for improving my getting ahead tactics, but a radically redefining of what “ahead” should be in the first place. Take a couple of Jesus examples: was Jesus “behind” when He was suddenly confronted with feeding over 5000 souls with extremely meager resources? Was He behind when questioned about and then facing paying unexpected taxes? Certainly Not! Jesus understood that, in living out HIs Heavenly Father’s mission, He could never be behind. There was in fact, no greater “ahead” for Jesus to attain! So the Holy Spirit asks us today: what is our definition of getting or achieving “getting ahead”? Are we measuring “ahead” in worldly terms or are we, instead, rejecting the world’s “ahead” and striving to abide in Jesus Christ and living into the promise He gave us: “How much more will your Father in Heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him” (Matthew 7:11).

Live the Day!

Did you get up and take a step?
Then walk forth with purpose.
Did you reach out with your hands?
Then embrace one in need of an embrace.
Did you open your eyes and look around?
Then seek the vision of the positive and hopeful.
Did you hear the rustling of the wind or the song of the birds?
Then listen for the sounds of love and should they seem absent, add them yourself.
Did you yawn or verbalize some other sound of waking?
Then speak words of truth, patience, wisdom, compassion, healing and most of all love.
Did you awake this morning?
Then live! Live the day that God in His generosity gave to you as a gift and make a true present out of it for you and all around you!

It is up to Us to Decide What to Do

From the book The High Velocity Edge a statement that is rather profound if we’ll take the time to truly consider it: “Ignorance is inevitable; however, it is not irreversible”. Take a moment to let that sink in.

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The Victory in Humility and Contrition

From the words of Jesus Christ:  “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”.  And from the Book of Isaiah:  “But on this one I will look, on Him who is poor and of contrite spirit”.  God speaks to us here, no matter our station in life, of being humble and understanding our brokenness and need of Him.  That we fully understand and embrace that without God, all and every effort will fail and be counted as loss.  That all victories, successes, all wisdom and any and all glory come from and through Him.  Some would say then that our demeanor should cast down and our countenance always sorrowful.  But God would ask in response:  “Why are you cast down? And why are you disquieted within you?” (Psalm 42).  For it is good and right to rejoice in the grace of the Lord.  And in abiding in Christ, we can be confident in our contrition, understanding that victories and successes will come by the blessed grace of our Heavenly Father.  Let us then sincerely bow down to Him in all things and humbly experience His lifting us up.

Avoiding Spiritual Blindness

Look around, what are you bind to? I know that seems a strange if not oxymoronic question. During Jesus’ time on this earth, He dealt with two types of blindness, the physiological, that is the bodily loss of sight as well as the spiritual type of blindness, the refusal to see that which is true. In His mercy, Jesus endeavored to heal both. Time and time again Jesus miraculously healed and brought physical sight to the blind. Jesus also attempted and is shown through the successful examples of Matthew the tax collector, Joseph of Arimethea, Mary Magdalene and Peter, He was able to cure their spiritual blindness. Yet sadly, so many others failed to have their spiritual blindness cured, instead wanting to walk in the darkness of hate and lies because they refused to acknowledge their blindness. Today, I’m afraid Jesus Christ is still waging the same fight. And we have to be very careful and humbly reflective so that we don’t find ourselves with the crippling condition of spiritual blindness. We must ask ourselves are there places in my life where I don’t see Jesus? Are their aspects of my existence that I’m so confident in that I need no interaction with the risen Lord? It is true, if we are not very careful we can become spiritually blind as well. And understand this; we can not cure this blindness by our own means. Yet take great comfort in this; Jesus Christ stands ready and willing to heal our blindness and restore our sight! All we need to do is ask. What does that restored sight look like? Well in the case of the physical, the first sight that met the eyes of the blind man, with sight now restored was the person of Jesus Christ. It is the same for the restoration of the spiritually blind; we see the true Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son of God, our Savior and the love he has for us.

Asking God for Increased Faith is Very Appropriate and Wise

When the man whom Jesus extolls to believe that Jesus can heal the man’s very sick child replies in an exasperated cry: “Lord I believe, help my unbelief!”, the man, at that very moment, is praying for an increase in faith. Now some believe that the amount of faith we have is strictly a function of our strength and will thus it is up to us to muster or conjure up increased faith if we find it lacking. However, I believe that Jesus was very clear in His teachings that it is not only appropriate but a wise thing to ask for help with that for which we find a need and in ourselves lacking. So if you find yourself in, not only a difficult situation, but also find yourself doubting the power and/or willingness, the faith that God can help with that situation, then try praying to God, asking for the increased faith, the ability to overcome the world induced doubt of God’s love and power for you and His plan to see you through it. Then feel the restorative, rejuvenating and uplifting power the Spirit given increase in faith will bring.

Divine Relationship As The Basis Of Our Prayer 

For what its worth it seems to me that we need to experience prayer not specifically in the request, confession or even conversation that takes place in the moment but in the relationship which is the basis, the underpinning of all prayers. It is in a relationship of complete faith, true humility and the deepest most all consuming love we can muster, that prayer reveals its true nature and supreme power. As such prayer is a process designed to teach us about and strengthen that relationship so that, as in Christ’s prayers, our prayers become an extension of and a blessed necessary part or our very existence through which our Heavenly Father reveals His love and pours out His sustaining Spirit upon us. Let us strive to and yes even pray for such a foundational relationship to be a basis of our prayer life.

God’s Mission in Our Quest for Meaning

From Man’s Search for Meaning by Dr. Victor E. Frankl:  “Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life to carry out or a concrete assignment which demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated. Thus, everyone’s task is as unique as is his specific opportunity to implement it”. So understand this, the mission is both concrete but more important, it is an ASSIGNMENT.  Thus as an assignment it is not a self determination, I can’t choose or produce my own mission.  The mission is assigned from the outside, from above.  So if you’re feeling insignificant, one of a faceless crowd, adrift on a life devoid of purpose, contemplate and take comfort in this; God has a unique, perfect mission and purpose for you that no one else, in all of creation or history can fulfill.  But don’t suddenly feel some sense of cosmic dread or pressure because God never intended for you to fulfill His mission for you on our own.  God stands ready to give all talents, wisdom and resources necessary to be successful in fulfilling your mission if you will just faithfully ask Him for them.

Overcoming Evil Versus Denying Its Existence

It’s not so much doing away with evil, believing there is a time, at least on this earth or in this time that evil will cease to exist.  It is actually about overcoming evil, defeating it by being a part of the Greater Good.  To do that we must understand that in and of ourselves we do not possess the Greater Good that will defeat evil.  It is only by calling upon, relying upon and acting upon the Will of our Heavenly Father that we will be able to be confident in the defeat of evil and it perpetrators.

Experiencing Life

I believe that I would rather experience a life deemed blessed by heavenly standards than a life judged good by earthly standards.

God’s Blessing Through Sound

Sound, whether the songs of the birds, the wind through the trees, the laughter of a child, a beautiful melody of notes and/or so many other pleasing aural interactions are God’s gift of blessings through the ears to our spirit.  Noise, on the other hand, is the devil’s desire to destroy the blessing.  Let us therefore strive to produce wonderfully blessed sounds of love while avoiding being an addition of the interrupting and destructive noise.

Through the Lord, No Weapon Formed Against Us Will Prosper

More words of comfort and support from our Lord through Isiah:  “No weapon formed against you will prosper, and every tongue that rises against you in judgement you shall condemn.  This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their righteousness is from me says the Lord”.  Let us go forth relying on His righteousness; in humble, fearless confidence.

An Eternal Covenant of Peace

Words of comfort and confidence from Isaiah:  “So have I sworn that I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you.  For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed but My kindness shall not depart from you nor shall My covenant of peace be removed”.  Let us feel and live into the promised covenant of peace this and every day.

The Bended Knee A True Sign of Strength

The anatomical fact is that our knees are designed to bend. Yet the world often looks at the bended or bowed knee as a sign or act of weakness. However know this, God looks upon the bended or bowed knew completely differently. The bended knee to God is a sign of righteousness and humility. It is the first true sign of strength. You may not realize it but it takes muscles both physical and spiritual to bow down before God. The reason it is the first act of strength is because we are demonstrating that we are willing to put aside, give up our personal, earthly strength to ask for and then receive His much greater heavenly, eternal strength. Thus let us truly be strong today and take a knee, bowing down in humility and obedience to receive the uplifting, strength, blessings and love from our Heavenly Father.

To Be Like God We Must First Be In God and Ask For God In Us

It seems to me that quite often it is in the summation, when Jesus is wrapping up a concept or a lesson that He states His most powerful, endearing messages: for example “Therefore, be merciful just as Your Father also is merciful” and “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” and “With men it is impossible but not with God, for with God all things are possible”. Yet in our takeaways and attempts to live our faith, we leave these parts to the end and get the concept backwards.  What I mean is we try to first have mercy, forgiveness and love on our own and by our own means hoping that if we do that more and more we will eventually become like God.  When actually we can not truly accomplish any of those without first having God in us to show us the true way to live out those things.  As Jesus advised us, we must first ask, seek, knock, praying for help of our Heavenly Father to be like Him, which Jesus, by the way, promised God will answer. Then and only then, with the help of the Father from within, can we act in true mercy, forgiveness and love to all others on the outside.  Let us put first what needs to come first, turning and relying on the strength of God in order to live into the lives He planned and shape the world as our Heavenly Father intended.

Faith Allows Us To Hear This

Faith allows us to hear these words from God: “I love you, I have this, This will be a

blessing”.  The car breaks down: I love you. I have this. This will be a blessing.  The storm damages your home, the doctor comes back with bad news, a loved one passes away; I love you. I have this. This will be a blessing.  In fact we ask for this when we ask for our daily provision, our “daily bread” and further we ask that it be provided as the Lord determines best:  “Thy will be done”. Faith allows us to be positively patient; I may not see the specific reason or blessing at this very instant but I am certain that it will come.  The world has the exact opposite perspective; Oh no, here we go again, tragedy upon tragedy, fear and despondency.  Let us pray for the faith and strength to reject the world’s view and live confidently, peacefully and yes, even joyfully expectantly into the lovingly faithful view of Jesus Christ.

Beware Drama!

Beware drama!  This world seems to love drama, it flocks to conflict. What get’s played out over and over again on our media, social and societal; is it the two people or groups calmly sitting next to each other discussing and even disagreeing with each other but letting the other side completely finish their reasoning and then taking a moment to think about what’s been said before replying? ORRRR is it the two parties angrily shouting at each other, not letting anyone get a word in without a name or insult being hurled in reply, with voices rising to a hysterical crescendo so that the words become almost unintelligible with the interaction devolving into physical conflict? Which interaction goes viral? Jesus Christ is the antithesis of drama.  When an angry crowd drug an adulterer to Him wanting to violently stone her to death, Jesus calmly knelt down and wrote in the dirt. When the Pharisees angrily shouted charges at Jesus, demanding answers, He calmly answered them then remained silent.  In agony on the cross when Jesus could have called upon legions of angels to come and rescue Him or He could have rightly called down condemnation on His tormentors, instead He forgave them.  Remember, as the moth, drawn to the flame stands a much greater chance of destruction by it, so too we face a much greater chance of our own damage should we rush to watch and/or engage in worldly drama. One of the reasons Jesus Christ came was to bring and have us share in His peace.  Let us turn from the drama of this world and enter into the Peace of Jesus Christ.

Can You Feel His Love?

Can you feel the love this morning?  Now I know that may seem like a ripoff question from an Elton John song; but really it is a question from, almost a plea from Our Heavenly Father. You see the world would have us worried, wearied, frustrated and maybe a little or a lot scared this morning.  The world wants us preoccupied and distracted from God.  But He wants us to not only know that He is pouring out His overabundant love upon us this morning but He wants us to actually experience it, really feel it. He wants us to feel the restorative ability, peace bringing, joy filling, hurt healing, and overall uplifting nature of His love.  Finally God wants us to know the freely given aspect of His love, no strings attached. So let us be open to, receive, be healed by and live into the empowering love of Our Heavenly Father; then, pass it on.

The Certainty of Disciples

Think upon the certainty of the disciples the day after the Resurrection.  They had been with Jesus, witnessed His miracles, heard His teachings, experienced His great love, watched His crucification and now personally beheld His resurrection.  In the Book of Acts we see, with the promised coming of the Holy Spirit, the boldness and confidence of their faith filled lives and the conviction of their spirits in living out the mission Christ had for them.  If we ponder it a little, should it be any different for us?  Do we not have the Word through which we can learn the same teachings and miracles of Christ?  Have we not personally experienced His love and blessings in our lives?  Do we not have also have the promise of the Holy Spirit to reside in us? Then, in the same boldness and confidence let us go forth in acts of love, blessing and faith, claiming those acts in the name of Him who we are as certain in as those first disciples is the One True Resurrected still living Son of God, Jesus Christ our Savior; bringing His light to an increasingly dark world.

JESUS CHRIST IS RISEN!!!!

Drink in the Joy
Experience the Peace
Realize the Redemption
Give glory to the Grace
Celebrate the Victory over death
Bask in and be determined to share the Love
JESUS CHRIST IS RISEN!!!!!!
OUR SAVIOR LIVES!!!!!
A blessed and happy Easter to you

May You Have a Blessed Good Friday

He came down to experience our life
He came down to set us free
He came down to be our light
He came down to take our place
He came down to die that we might truly live
He came down not just for them back then
He came down because He loves you and me
Jesus Christ came down for love, the same love He has for us this very day.
May you have a blessed Good Friday

Food and Drink Indeed

Jesus said to all who would come to Him, these words in John: “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed and My blood is drink indeed”. Jesus promises that as we do this in the Spirit, we abide in Him and He will abide in us. So was we reflect on the upcoming sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our lives and our salvation, to consider finding a place of worship today or tonight with a Maundy Thursday Service where we can commemorate the Last Supper of Christ and renew our abiding in Him. May you have a blessed Maundy Thursday

Let Us Go and be B.I.G.

It is time for us to go B.I.G.  It is time for us to do B.I.G. things to be in a B.I.G. way.  Now understand that B.I.G. is Being In God.  Conversely being and doing B.I.G. has nothing to do with the largeness, monetarily enriching or notoriety bringing aspect that the world measures. No a B.I.G. thing may happen, may perhaps only transpire between you and one other person or thing. The ultimate, blessed reward comes from knowing that God knows it happened. Thus to do B.I.G. things we must do and show love, especially to those whom the world declares unlovable. We do B.I.G. things with humility, wanting to lift others up and glorify God more than seeking to lift ourselves up and gain our own glory.  We forgive B.I.G. We faithfully believe, pray and heal B.I.G. We rescue, sacrifice and give B.I.G. Finally, the ultimate goal is that we are becoming B.I.G.  Two things to focus on; first, let us be constantly looking for ways to be B.I.G. and second, there is nothing too small to be B.I.G.  Have a great B.I.G. blessed Monday and week.
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Rest Assured

Rest Assured

Let Us Not Become Warped

I find something eerily pertinent in this quote from the bible:  “Your wisdom and your knowledge have warped you and you have said in your heart, ‘I am’ and there is no one else besides me”. This quote comes from Isaiah 48:10 and in it, God is referring to the Babylonians.  Yet I can see a correlation to our own time. You see it is not knowledge in and of itself that is bad; but, we can allow the attainment of it to warp us. If we humble ourselves, recognizing both that our Heavenly Father is the source of our wisdom and knowledge and that it is a gift from Him that we are to use in love to uplift all, then acquiring of and utilization of the knowledge will be a blessing. Conversely, if we are prideful, believing that our attaining of wisdom and knowledge is solely by our own means and thus raising us to an equal level with God or worse yet, giving us the sense that there is no God at all, then we become warped.  Our knowledge is then often used for evil purposes that leads to our destruction. Wisdom is not in fearing knowledge, but in acknowledging and respecting He by whom our knowledge comes and being obedient to His plans for the use of that knowledge.
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Prayer, Obligation or Desire?

Here’s a couple of questions for us. First, do we pray on a regular basis? Hopefully the answer to that question is yes. So if we pray on a regular basis do we approach it as an obligation or a desire? If we see prayer as an obligation, like how society sees paying taxes, then more than likely that approach will minimize the effectiveness and blessings from our prayers. Quite often with obligations we put them off as long as we can, just go through the motions to get through them and primarily focus on ourselves in the execution of them. Yet if prayer is actually a desire of ours, something we truly want to do then our approach is likely to be quite different. We will make it a priority. We will make time to pray. More than just time, we will focus our energy on being present and intentional in our communication with our Creator, Heavenly Father. We will see value in the experience and blessing in the opportunity. We will not rush through it on our way to the next more important thing, but understand that it, because of Who we are interacting with, is the foundation for most all things. How we approach the need for and the execution of our prayer life will definitely impact its effectiveness. Let us strive not to look at it as some taxing obligation.

Judgement versus Salvation, Turmoil versus Rest

In Jesus’ own words: “I did not come to judge the world but to save it” and “Do you suppose that I came to bring peace on earth? I tell you not at all but rather division” also “Come unto Me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest”. Is Jesus being contradictory here? No, not at all. Jesus Christ is separating the worldly from the spiritual; the faithful from the disbeliever. Jesus is clear, not everyone will believe in Him, not even in the same family. That will cause earthly conflict, turmoil and division because of Him. Yet for those who do faithfully believe, the will be saved by His grace and can find a true and everlasting peaceful rest. Thus in placing Jesus Christ first, we can through Him, overcome the division and turmoil of this world and find rest and harmony as well.

Blessings in the New and the Same

Stop! Let us stop for a moment. New day: thank you Lord. New week; thank you Lord. New month; thank you Lord. Same caring, blessing and most of all, loving Heavenly Father, who gave His only Son that we might be able to come and have a perfect relationship with Him, thank you Lord. Now with that perspective, that foundation, let us go forth.

The Blessed Reason For This Season

In Isaiah 44 we read what this season is all about, what our Lord God really wants, what His actions, the shedding of His Blood and sacrifice of His body was meant to bring about. Isaiah 44:22: “I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions and like a cloud, your sins. Return to me for I have redeemed you.”

Feeling the Presence of the Lord our God

As my heart rises to meet the golden rays of the new day’s sun
I have felt the presence of the Lord our God
As my soul soars to catch the eagle on the wing
I have felt the presence of the Lord our God
As I have been touched by the love beaming from the eyes of my child
I have felt the presence of the Lord our God
At the promise of reuniting with a cherished loved one as they pass from this life to the next
I have felt the presence of the Lord our God
In the loved filled arms of a loved one’s embrace
I have felt the presence of the Lord our God
In love always love, peace everlasting peace, joy unquenchable joy
May we all feel the presence of the Lord our God

God Using His Power to Fulfill His Will and Bring Us Victory

This Lenten season as we contemplate God’s salvation plan through Jesus Christ, perhaps we can find some solace in seeing the full power of God and who He uses to fulfill His plan. Take the Romans for example; they play a critical role in the beginning and near the end. To fulfill prophecy and scripture, Jesus had to be born in the City of David, Bethlehem.  How did God see to it that Joseph and Mary would be there?  God had Caesar Augustus issue a decree for a census requiring people to be counted in their city of origin which was for Joseph, you guessed it, Bethlehem.  Near the end, Jesus took all sin upon Himself to be the perfect sacrifice then had to die, again enter the Romans.  Now understand in neither case did the Romans realize or believe that they were carrying out God’s will but that is irrelevant.  God can and will use any and all of His creation to see His plan fulfilled.  So for us that means it doesn’t matter the size or strength of the forces seemingly arrayed against us.  God may very well use those very forces to bless us and bring us victory whether they want to or not.

Blessed Words of Hope, Redemption and Love

Today we have these words from Isaiah 43 that I hope are words that bring hope, confidence, peace and most importantly a sense of being loved so we can in turn share and spread that love.  God says to us through Isaiah:  “Thus says the Lord who created you, fear not for I have redeemed you.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.  They shall not overflow you.  When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned.  For I am your God, your Savior.  and I have loved you.  Fear not, I am with you.”

Being Careful Not to be Counted as One of This Generation

Adultery is the act of being in a promised special intimate relationship with one, yet breaking that promise and having that same relationship with another. Jesus accuses an entire generation and in fact defines faith adultery as seeking some sign before or as a requirement to actually believe, to enter into that special, faithfully intimate relationship only with Him. Yet Jesus did promise a sign and that was the sign of Jonah. Additionally, He also fulfilled that sign, dying for our sins and then rising again on the third day. As we reflect this Lenten Season on our relationship with Jesus Christ, we would be wise to look at our thoughts, words and deeds in answering this questions: Is the Easter sign of Jesus Christ enough for us today to be fully committed in faith, or are we seeking after additional signs or worse yet, trusting in earthly signs to direct who and what we have faith in? We are pretty quick as a society to look past the commitment of adultery. We live in great eternal peril should we believe our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit share that same perspective.

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The Lessons of God in Each New Season; In Each New Day

Yesterday the thought was about the changing of the season. Today let us understand that this Spring is, in God’s perfect plan, a new season. We tend to think in terms of four seasons that just repeat themselves over and over. Rarely do we say Spring 2017 is here. Thus often, we can be tempted to miss the newness and the growth potential God has for us in each new season. Through God’s Grace, He longs to use each new season, in fact, each new day to teach us about His perfect plan for us and the blessings contained in those plans. So let us not see this season or even this day as simply a repeat of yesterday or, last spring. In Abraham, Moses, Ruth, David, Mary and Jesus Christ’s disciples, we see how God used all the seasons of their lives to grow them into the saints He desired them to be. God will do nothing less for you and I if we will be faithfully open to the blessed lessons He wishes to teach us this and each new season.

The God of All Blessed Seasons

On this first full day of Spring we are reminded of this lesson of certainty, that seasons do change. Also that seasons change, not based upon the whim or plan of man, but through the overall perfect plan of He who is in ultimate control, our Heavenly Father. Now it is true that in a day’s time, not all the flowers suddenly bloomed or the temperatures became warm. There is patience involved in seeing the unfolding of the new season. But rest assured, inevitably those changes will come, no human or other power can stop them. Thus should you feel stuck in a season of darkness, despair and/or desperation that you in your power have not been able to change, reach out in prayer and faith to Almighty God asking Him to change your season. Then watch and experience the God of all seasons; natural, mental and spiritual as He comes in His love to change your season to one of peace, blessings and joy.

“Through” Means Exactly That!

So many people know and love the 23rd Psalm. Though I think there is one thing that might get overlooked in all that blessed imagery and that is the word “through”. For David writes: “though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death….”. Thus he makes it clear that it, the valley, may be a place we might find ourselves in during a journey but we are not meant to stay there. The valley is a temporary place, though even if we find ourselves there we are not to fear the evil of it, but we certainly should not be taking up permanent residence there. So should we feel that we are stuck in that place, let us call upon the strength of our Merciful Heavenly Father, through the Holy Spirit being confident He will not only show us the path out of the valley to the green pastures but supply us the blessings and the strength to make the journey

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Really Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day

On this St. Patrick’s Day it might be wise to remember and ponder these two things. First, prior to being a missionary in Ireland, Patrick had been kidnapped and held in Ireland for over six years until he escaped. Second, he felt that he received a mission from God to forgive and return to Ireland to bring Christianity to the Irish people. So far from being a reason to have a party and drink green beer (no judgement here for I have done that a time or two), who is God calling for you and I to forgive this day and where does He want us to go to share His message? Have a blessed and safe St. Patrick’s Day

Reach Out for Help and Blessings

Take great comfort from these words from Isaiah in Chapter 41: “For I the Lord, your God, will hold your right hand. Saying to you: ‘Fear not, I will help you'”. Thus let us make sure that we willingly, faithfully and expectantly reach out to God, giving Him our hand to hold onto lest we miss out on the help and blessings He promises and longs to give to us

The Ultimate Resource

I wonder how we would answer this question, both in words and how we live our lives: Is God just a resource, albeit a good one, but one resource amongst many, like eating healthy, exercising, having a budget etc. for living a successful life? Or conversely, is God the foundation of every resource in our lives, the only true First Resource upon which any and all aspects of our lives are framed and lived? It is not just an academic, rhetorical or irrelevant question. For I believe it is an extremely important question to ask ourselves because the answer will determine both whether we have a truly successful life now and for all eternity. Let us place God as the One True Perfect Resource

Shopping With God

Do not fear but in faithful confidence go shopping with Our Heavenly Father this day for He has blessedly wonderful things in store for you.

The Large and the Small; God Desires it All

Let us ponder this for a moment, the same God tells us these things; that the very hairs on our head are numbered and we can also move mountains. What those two different statements tells us is that there is nothing, no detail too small, too insignificant for it to matter to Him. By the same token there is nothing too large, no obstacle too great, no challenge too difficult that God can not allow us to overcome it. Thus, because He desires us to, let us bring it all to Him; including that which may seem small and insignificant as well as that which may seem overwhelmingly large. Know that God, through His mercy, grace and love will see us successfully and blessedly through all

Means or Ends, What Matters More?

Jesus Christ, both through His teachings, but especially how He lived His life, reminds us that the ends will never work, will never really satisfy unless supported by the appropriate means. In other words, values do matter. In fact, values matter more than results. Yet also take heart in this, we are not left to our own strength, our own desire to have and live out the correct means, the appropriate values. Jesus promised the blessing of the indwelling of no less than God Himself in the person of the Holy Spirit to come and be with us, instruct us, comfort us, fight along side and for us against a world where ends, at any cost, are only what matters.

Our Actions and Reactions to “Being Wronged”

The difficult and at times troubling reality is that there will be times when those around us, even and especially loved ones will let us down. It is at those times we should look to the example of Jesus Christ in our response. For first He had to go out and call His disciples, they didn’t come flocking to follow Him. Then once they did commit to following Him, they argued about who was the greatest, one rebuked Him and told Him He was wrong. The entire group fell asleep when He really needed their support and in His darkest hour, they all fled Him and left Him alone to His fate. One even betrayed Him. What was Jesus Christ’s response to these actions? Did He judge and condemn them? Did He banish them from His sight? Did He was His hands of them? Not Hardly; instead of washing His hands of them; He took a bowl, knelt down before them and personally washed their feet. Then He instructed them, and through them us as well, that if we are to be true followers of Him, we should be able to do the same. That is something we need to consider in this world of getting even and getting back at those we think have wronged us. We should reflect on Jesus Christ’s example as we contemplate our actions and reactons to those, God in His infinite wisdom, has placed around us.

Receive a Blessing, Be a Blessing, Share a Blessing and Live Blessed

Take time for a blessing today. Take a walk in the sunshine or at least fresh air, take in the budding trees, the spring flowers, the beauty and blessing of God’s creation. Take a moment to savor a scrumptiously delicious meal. Be a blessing as well by giving a smile, perhaps a hug, a kind word, a generous ear and/or an I love you, to someone in need. Pray. Reach up to the Creator God who willingly calls Himself our Heavenly Father. Receive a blessings, be a blessing, share a blessing and experience your life as the blessing it was intended to be.

Jesus Christ Came That Our Lives Would Know Abundance

Without doubt or hesitation but with confidence and thanksgiving let us live into the declaration and promise made for and to us by Jesus Christ: “I have come that you may have life, and that you may have it more abundantly”. Let us not be fearful or hesitant in seeking after that abundant life for Jesus also promised that those who seek for and through Him, will find.

Let Us Call on Jesus Christ to Calm Our Storms

“Peace, be still!” With these three words Jesus Christ took power of major earthly processes and powers, over the processes of weather, storms, winds and waves and the powerful impact they were having on the small boat, completely negating and silencing them. And why did Jesus speak these words, to display this power; as some flashy display of His might to bring glory to Himself? Hardly, Jesus acted because His disciples pleaded with Him to. Now scripture tells us that Jesus had been asleep so one supposes that the experienced fishermen on the boat had tried all in their power to make it through the storm before waking Jesus; but to no avail. Friends, Jesus Christ has the same power today for you and I. Whatever earthly or spiritually evil storms the enemy is throwing against us, Jesus Christ can silence them and bring calm into our lives. Finally, we don’t have to wait until we’ve exhausted all our ideas and efforts to call upon Him. Call on Him today in faith and Jesus Christ will surely, mercifully answer

Through Jesus Christ, Life is Not About Escaping

When Jesus Christ invites us, almost pleads with us to come unto Him, it is not an invitation to escape from the world but rather a beckoning to overcome the world through Him just as He did. He is not a vehicle that we use to flee from fear and hatred but the only true resource to triumphantly crush fear and hatred through peace, joy and most importantly love. So let us come to a full embrace of Jesus Christ where we find that life is not something to try and find an escape from, it is a gift to be fully lived into. Blessings to you this day and week.

Relax and Be At Peace God Is In Control

In Ecclesiastes Solomon declares: “And there is nothing new under the sun”. If we are open to it we find comfort and solace in this statement. For seemingly new problems and challenges are arising constantly; new threats and troubles bombard us from all around. So if you’re feeling majorly stressed out; take a walk outside, find a budding tree or a new flower and let them reassure you that all is a part of a cycle, there’s nothing truly new. And the most comforting aspect of this comes from the realization that God is at the head and controller of those and all cycles. God is ultimately in control and His love and power will see you and I through. He’s done it before. He promises to do it again.

Showing Respect for God by Showing Respect for Each Other

Respect. One might wonder with how we are interacting with each other, face-to-face, on social media, the language we use, the volume and anger of our rhetoric; just how much we respect the lives of others around us and perhaps even life itself. It starts with how we respect ourselves. How the language we use with ourselves the actions we take that impact our physical, mental and spiritual health shows self respect. Yet if we respect ourselves how can we quickly turn and disrespect those around us? God created each of us and in His eyes we are equal. If we proclaim a belief in Him then we are taught to respect and love those whom He created. So today as we think to speak or before we click post or share on our various media sites, does our communication demonstrate respect? Let us remember that disagreement is not an entitlement to or reason for disrespect.

Prioritize Prayer

Prioritize prayer. Please don’t believe that you’re too busy or that you’ll get around to it sometime later. Please don’t feel that it isn’t really important, relevant or worse yet that it doesn’t really work. Don’t think it is only a Sunday or church thing. Right now the All Powerful Creator of this world longs to connect with you, to listen to you, to help you, to show love to you. Give Him a chance. If you’re not sure what to say or where to start, try using Our Father who art in heaven……… Please pray. You need it, we need it. You’ll be glad you did

The Most Human Cry There Is!

The most human cry there is. Jesus Christ promised us in Mark: “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes”. In John, Jesus Christ proclaims: “I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also and greater works than these he will do”. Then, faced with that question from Jesus about what do we believe comes a response that is both hopeful and anguished: “Lord I believe, help my unbelief!”. For in that reply in Mark, we hear the summation of our human condition. I do believe. I have hope in my belief but I also know, in my fallen condition that my belief is not perfect. I know I do doubt. So I know that I desperately need the Lord to help my with and in my unbelief. Thus if you are finding yourself in a place of need, of despair and anguish, with seemingly nowhere to turn, believe in Jesus Christ. Call out to Jesus Christ for both help in the situation plus also a more perfect belief knowing that He will blessedly answer both. Oh by the way, the man who cried out about needing help with his unbelief, Jesus miraculously answered his prayer and healed his son.

Jesus Christ Calls to Us; Never Quit!

Never give up! Never give in! Plus understand this, we have a player-coach-Savior named Jesus Christ who knows each of His players by name and loves each player, has been here and played the game of life perfectly, knows all the winning plays and is not only undefeated but promises to each of us, if we’ll but abide in Him, we will not be defeated as well.  How can we be sure that Jesus Christ is all in for us?  He died for you and I and our sins to prove His Father’s love and His point.

In Communication as in Life, the Power of Finding That Common Reference Point

Effective communication often starts and is facilitated by finding some aspect of common understanding. Imagine for a moment that you’re trying to communicate with someone who only speaks a different language; to get anywhere, you’d need to find some common reference point. Additionally to find that common reference point, you’d more than likely start out with relatively simple aspects/concepts and build from there. Too often today even if we’re speaking the same language, our communication attempts fall frustratingly short of bringing about the results that move us forward partly because we assume we are starting from a point of common understanding. Whether with/in business, family and/or friends, if you’re finding your communication efforts are not having the desired effects, take some time to reflect on: to what extent have you and the other party(ies) achieved some simple, basic level of common framework, context and/or identified reference point. With that strong foundation in place, your communication can go forth to build amazingly powerful relationships and successes.  May God Bless you this day and all your communications.

The Damaging Impact of the World View

Snow blindness is a temporary loss of vision that comes when unprotected eyes are exposed to harsh sunlight being reflected off a shiny surface like snow. Though temporary, it can be debilitating and painful. There is another type of blindness the can also be debilitating and painful which if we’re not careful might become permanent as well. That blindness is “world blindness”. That blindness occurs when the images of this world like hatred, greed, violence, lying, distrust and selfishness blind us to the blessings, promise and love that this life has to offer. In both cases, to ward off the blindness, the eyes need to be protected. For snow blindness, a good pair of sunglasses and limiting the amount of exposure will do the trick. For “world blindness” the protection comes from prayer, studying the word and fellowship with others who will share love and messages that uplift. As with snow blindness, limiting your exposure to the negativity of this world’s messages can also help. Hoping your vision of the blessings and promises of this life comes into sharp focus this day

Handling the Groanings of Life

It is understandable that we might look around at this world or even ourselves and groan at times. In fact, we read in Romans 8:26 “the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered”. Our challenge is to not let groanings grow into a despondency that saps our strength of faith. One way to keep that from happening is to focus and reflect on what is said in Hebrews 4:15: “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses but was in all points tempted as we are yet without sin”. This same High Priest, Jesus Christ promises peace and rest for us and proclaimed that we can be of good cheer in that He has overcome this world and through Him, in faith, we will overcome as well. Thus to the extent we find ourselves discouraged or despondent today, let us shift our focus from the state of this world to the love, power and grace of this world’s Savior, Jesus Christ

Being In and Expressing Our Anger?

There are many voices raised these days in harshness and in anger which some might even term “righteous anger”. Yet I think we would be wise to hear and reflect on what the Word teaches us about being in and expressing our anger. “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and evil speaking be put away from you” (Ephesians 4:31). “And whoever says to his brother…..but says You Fool! shall be in danger of hell fire” (Jesus teaching in Matthew 5:22). Finally “A soft answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger” (Proverbs 15:1) Thus today, let us be masters over our tongue and speech, being quick to think but slow to speak, insuring our words are used to be a bridge between and mend divides not cause or deepen them

Be Careful Concerning Distractions

This day can often be a day filled with distractions and busyness. So from Psalm 40, let us hear the following so we may keep our focus: “Blessed is the person who makes the Lord their trust” and “Let all who seek You rejoice in You”, and finally “Yet the Lord thinks upon me. You are my help and my deliverer”. May this note find you having a blessed weekend

My Approach to This Day?

What shall I consider my job or my tasks for this day to be? Perhaps some insight and inspiration from Paul will help: “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore as we have opportunity, let us do good to all” (Galatians 6:9.10) May today you find your heart not lost and your harvest bountiful.

By Our Generosity We Will Stand!

From Isaiah we read: “but a generous person devises generous things and by their generosity they shall stand” (Isaiah 32:8) So in what way can we show generosity today? And remember this, it’s not just or even primarily about money. We can be generous with our time, our patience and/or our forgiveness. We can be generous as a listener and we can always be more generous with our love. Finally, as it applies to our desire to be generous, let us heed the exhortation of Paul in 2 Corinthians: “let us each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver. So may it be that we feel the blessed love of God as we go forth this day with cheerful generosity.

LOVE! The Appropriate Response to Fear

We hear it quite often these days that we live in a time of great fear. We hear that people are afraid of terrorism, of losing their rights, of the warming of the earth, of not having enough (fill in the blank), afraid of, of, of. Often we believe that to overcome fear requires strength; strength in numbers, strength in arms, strength in knowledge, strength in power. But through the Holy Spirit, John in his letter writes, John 1, 4:18, “There is no fear in love but perfect love casts out fear”. Thus let our response to fear, both the fear we feel inside as well as the fears of others, be love. As well through faithful prayer and supplication let us be striving to perfect our love through Jesus Christ that we may boldly go forth in fearless love to bring peace, joy and light to this fear filled world

Having Spiritual 20/20

From the Word, two thoughts about vision: “The lamp of the body is the eyes. When your eye is good, your whole body is full of light” (Luke 11:34). “Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things” (Psalm 119:37). Today we will almost constantly be using our eyes; we will look, gaze, stare, glance, look over, look past and yes even be blind to. However, let us not allow the world to dictate to us the objects of and for our vision. Let our eyes not go wandering after the visions of what is valuable in this world. Instead, let us use our eyes to seek, find and constantly fixate on the Light provided from above. Knowing as we lovingly gaze on the Light of Jesus Christ not only will our path be illuminated with blessings and strength, but also through Christ, we can be a beacon of His Light to guide others as well

Being Mindful How We Plan 

Let us be mindful as we launch into this week as through the prophet Isaiah we read: “Woe to the rebellious children who take counsel but nor from Me and who devise plans but not of My Spirit. Yet we also hear in Proverbs: “Commit your works to the Lord and your thoughts will be established”. Therefore, let us seek counsel through prayer and study of the Word what we should do and commit those plans to the Lord and reap the blessings and benefits He will establish for each of us.

Ice Can Teach Us A Valuable Lesson 

Ice, that is the ice that covers roads and sidewalks can be a great teacher, equalizer and bringer of humility. For the ice cares nothing about someone’s stature, economic standing or perceived level of power. It teaches us through the notion that it has a certain slick nature to it which requires a certain pace and response to that nature. We learn the humbling lesson that no matter who we are, no matter what we drive, if we attempt to operate in a manner that disregards that nature, damage is very likely to result regardless of our actions or desires. Similarly, God has a perfect plan that has an attached nature or characteristics to it. If we proceed within the parameters of those characteristics then our journey will be a blessed one. However, it is when we are not humble and attempt to provide our own nature, move at our own pace, disregard the perfect parameters God has put in place, we are bound to experience slips and slides toward our own destruction. Fortunately, even at those times, God stands ready to answer our call, rescue us from the situation, and placed us back on the perfect path of His blessed plan for us. 

Christ Wants That We Should Be Love

It is clear from how Christ lived and the things He taught, Christ wants us to be love. Now mind you it not to simply be in love with a person, a job or a thing, but to be love. Why? For one because of what love is and what it is not. If we are love we are not fearful or anxious, are not envious or prideful, are not angry or vengeful. We are generous. We are and spread light. Because love conquers all, we are victorious. One more thing, Christ knows that we can not be love on our own. We have to be in Christ to be love and he openly invites us to be in Him. So we need to ask ourselves as we go through the day; when we’re driving, at work, at home, with friends or family, on the internet or Facebook, whatever and wherever, at this moment am I love? The more that we can answer yes, the more we’re living the life as it is intended

From 1 Thessalonians A Blueprint for Action

“….comfort the faint hearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all……always pursue what is good for both yourselves and for all”  May it be that we look for opportunities and act on those opportunities to live out these exhortations this day.  Peace, grace, joy and especially love to you this day.  Amen

Don’t Do It!

Don’t do it!  You may be tempted but don’t do it.  The presents have been opened, the wrapping paper and decorations are being returned to their place of storage.  Loved ones may have or are in the process of heading home.  The every day routine may be settling back in.  But do not relegate Christ’s gift of love and salvation to one certain day or time of year.  Don’t let His light of love for you become a dimming ember.  Don’t allow the processes and concerns of this world to steal the peace and joy that Christ came to this earth share.  Live the gift.  Love the gift.  Share the gift that is Jesus Christ.

Happy New Year and New You!

To love is to abide in Christ and to abide in Christ is to love. It is more than any year’s resolution. It is a way of living, a state of being. It is the state and the only state by which the joy, peace, freedom and power of Jesus Christ will be experienced. Thus through the Grace of our Heavenly Father, by the gift of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, may each day going forward in all the days, months, and years to come find you receiving in and living out the love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Happy New Year!

A Blessed Certainty in A Time of Change

This sure seems to be a time of and sometimes drastic change.  Sometimes the change is daily; yesterday it was near 70 degrees and today it will be in the 40’s.  Sometimes the change is more far reaching like a new president or the death of someone famous or a cherished loved one. With all this swirling change around us, sometimes we may be inclined to lament that there is nothing sure to hold onto.  It is at those times especially, to remember this; the God of the universe, the Creator of all things loves you personally.  That will never change. And He promises that His love will sustain you no matter what else might change.  Even our sin can not drive His love away. How can we be sure? Even with us being sinners, in perfect love our Heavenly Father sent His Son, Jesus Christ to sacrifice Himself for our salvation.  Thus be at peace knowing that can and will never change.

Timing is Everything

Timing is everything.  A celestial event had to be planned in a distant past for its light to arrive to mark the blessed birth.  The migration of the sheep, leading the shepherds had to be just then.  Simeon had to be at the temple that very day to witness the presentation of Our Heavenly Father’s, Christ.  None of these things were coincidences or happenings of random chance.  In the same way, you being here today, where you are, who you are is no simple twist of fate or cosmic roll of the dice.  You are a key part of God’s eternal perfect plan.  His Will, will be done.  It’s by acknowledging His plan and humbly living into it, that we will reap the planned blessings and experience His love to the fullest.

The Heavenly Host is Still Singing

As they have done from that first night over 2000 years ago, the heavenly host still sing the praises of Christ’s coming to earth for our salvation.  May His Joy and Peace reign in us.  Merry Christmas!

The Myth and Its Danger of Self-reliance

Here’s our conundrum (not God’s), the more we buy into the myth of self-reliance the less we ask and rely on God.  Consequently, the less we ask of God, the more we impede His blessings.  Understand, He will not forsake us. However, He won’t reward our prideful, self destructive behavior either.  Thus, let us be humble and ask of and rely upon our Heavenly Father, in faith and gratitude and experience all the blessings He has in store for us.

Joy to the World!

Joy to the world, God came down to earth as a baby to live among us!  Joy to the world, God came to earth as fully human to know and share our experiences! Joy to the world, God sacrificed Himself that we might live! Joy to the world, God rose again and now resides in power in heaven!  Joy to the world the Lord has come!  The Lord loves you.  The Lord will keep you.  Joy to your and the world!

Considering Is and Should

It might be wise to consider the concepts of is and should. That is to say that life IS happening. We are having experiences. We also believe or at least hope that these life experiences SHOULD have certain outcomes we want. It is when the actual SHOULD doesn’t match our desired SHOULD that we can feel frustrated and forlorn. So let us consider God in his process. To the extent that we can see God in the IS we will understand that He is directing the SHOULD even if we might have desired a different outcome. It is by seeing God in our IS’s and SHOULD’s that we may find peace and live in joy this and each day.

Living In This Mindset, This Soulset

Let us strive to awaken and start each day with this mindset, this soulset. The Creator, Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, cares for you and I by name. This omniscient, omnipresent God loves you and I by name. The King above all kings is going to take care and provide for you and I based on our individual needs. Let us have unwavering faith in this; in our God. Think about the peace and love we can feel, share and spread in living out that faith.

We Can Have Joy This Day

Have joy today! Why and How when the world seems to be in such a state? Because the Lord is come! Because the Savior reigns! Because He rules the world with truth and grace! Please notice the tense and action of this carol is in the present. Jesus Christ is come today 11/28/2016. Jesus Christ does reign in 11/28/2016. Jesus Christ does have in His rule truth and grace for you and I this very Monday. So let us not only repeat but fully live into the sounding joy!

Being Thankful

As we enter into this celebratory time of and for Thanksgiving, I believe we would be wise to contemplate from whence being thankful comes? I believe the basis for being thankful is love. If love is not present then being thankful, especially when attached to a festival/holiday becomes more of an obligation than desire, let me find the correct words and/or the acceptable object to meet my mandatory/expected expression of gratitude. Is it any wonder that this time of year can seem hollow and lack meaning? Thus let it be our goal to seek, find and then spread a love that not only we but those around us can be truly, deeply, enrichingly thankful for. May you have a blessed, happy and love filled Thanksgiving

Love

Love. It can not be mentioned too much, thought about too much, sought after too much, given too much, received too much,, Love was and is the essence of and permeates every action of Jesus Christ. To love, He told us, is the greatest commandment. Thus love should be our focus. To love like Christ, impartially, overwhelmingly, with dedication and intention until the love we receive from God permeates every fiber of our being, is the foundation of every thought and every action, until spreading God’s love becomes as natural to us as taking a breath of air. Have a lovely, loved filled day.

Handling Fear Through the Psalms

For those who may find themselves in a feeling of fear and/or despair, regardless of the reason, listen to the Psalmist and take heart: “Whenever I am afraid I will trust in You. In God I will put my trust, I will not fear. What can flesh do to me? (Psalm 56) and, “You crown the year with Your goodness and Your paths drip with abundance.” (Psalm 65) Finally, “He brings out those who are bound into prosperity” (Psalm 68). Know that you are not forgotten or left behind. The Very God of Creation knows you by name and will not be slow to hear, protect and restore you when you cry out to Him.

Putting “First Things First”

We are told and surely it is a wise thing to “Put first things first”; ah, but then the fun begins. What “things” are those which should be placed first? Also, who gets to make the decision on what goes first; spouse/significant other, children, boss, friends, parents/relatives, you, God???? If you find yourself stressed or confused/frustrated with this concept, take heart, the Bible offers words of wisdom. For Jesus Christ tells us to seek first the Kingdom of God. Paul also reminds us that although there are a great many virtues, faith, hope among them; that it is love which we should place first for it is the greatest. We must also understand that this is our choice to make. Oh it is true we may cede this decision to another; but, in being honest with ourselves we must admit that we give it away versus it being taken from us. Put the Kingdom of God first. Put love first. In doing so watch the blessings that will flow forth from that.

Alignment Voting

Take a deep breath IN……and……Out. Now, at some point, take a moment to pray, to connect to the One True and Eternal Seat of Perfect, Loving Power. Try to block out all the worldly noise and angst allowing an alignment of your spirit to His Spirit. Then go vote in confidence and peace however you feel led. Again IN……and…..OUT. Have a blessed voting day.

Should You Find Yourself Anxious

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6,7 This is especially true today if there is anxiety about an election or let’s say it getting darker so much earlier. For the true seat of power is the Heavenly Throne in which God will always sit, never to lose an election or be overthrown. Likewise, His light never fades regardless of the season or time of year. No darkness will overcome it.

Seeking Beauty for Ourselves While Being the Beauty for Others

Find some beauty, something beautiful today. We are being bombarded by images of ugliness and derision and if we’re not careful, we may fall into the trap of seeing those images as the norm. Yet beauty not only exists but is extremely prevalent and surrounds us at every moment if we will but be open and searching for it. And one more aspect to consider, in addition to finding beauty can you and I be the beauty or at least contribute to the beauty for those around us. Seek the beauty, be the beauty.

Lessons From Falling Leaves

From the leaves on the trees, this time of year, we can see this valuable lesson, there can be great beauty in transitions. Yet in contemplating this lesson we must focus on a vital key difference. At the end of their transition, leaves fall to the ground. At the end of our transition from this life to the next, by the Grace of God Almighty, through the sacrificial death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we will rise to be in eternal union with our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and all believers who have gone before us. I hope that you’re having a blessed Fall season

Have a God Blessed Good Day

Let’s consider this today, God knows you by name.  God loves you personally, by name. God wants you to have a good day.  Above any circumstances and any other persons, God has the power to make a good day happen.  Go have a God given, blessed good day.

What is Truth

Pilot asks an extremely essential question to Jesus when he asks: What is truth?  There was Pilot’s worldly truth that he had all the power over Jesus, over the Jewish Nation, that the Romans were the supreme, all powerful force of and for all time.  Then you have Jesus Christ’s eternal, real truth; that Pilot had no power except that which had been granted him by God Almighty and only granted to Pilot to fulfill God’s perfect plan of salvation.  We are faced with the same choice today; to believe the worldly, false truth (otherwise known as a lie) of our own self-power, self sufficiency and ultimately our own mastery of our destiny and salvation.  Or, we can humble ourselves and believe Jesus Christ’s accurate truth that all true power, including our destiny and salvation, resides in and emanates from our Loving Heavenly Father who longs to reveal His truth of love and grace to us by being in a blessed relationship with us.  So which truth will we decide to believe and live by?

Choosing Priorities

We have a choice today.  We get to choose what we set as our priorities for today.  Put God first? Abide in Christ? Why would we do that?  Well for one thing we can not truly put God first, abide in Jesus Christ and not have love as our primary focus.  So what is a better focus for us today; our ambition, our pride, our fear, our wealth, our lusts, our power, our physical appearance? Can any of those truly be better for us than focusing on love?  Like it or not it is our decision to make.  I pray we make it wisely, this day and every day.  Have a loving day.

Values Matter

“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul”  (Mark 9:36) “From within, out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit….”  (Mark 7:21)  There’s been a considerable amount of talk recently that issues are what matter and not values; that what a person says about some aspect of society is more important than their fundamental beliefs that shape what they say.  It seems that Jesus Christ would see it differently.  Enron, Wells Fargo, Burney Madoff, the killing of 29 miners at the Big Branch mine, were all at the core of it, failures in values, not a difference of focus on issues.  Issues change and focusing on them is expedient.  Values remain and much more often than issues, dictate the nature and appropriateness of our actions.

Beware Anger

“Don’t be quick to get angry because anger is typical of fools” (Ecclesiastes 7:9) “But I say whoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of judgement” (Matthew 5:22) I’ve heard a lot of talk about anger and being angry lately.  It seems we’re an angry society, we’re doing this, saying that because we are angry as if that is justification for our words and deeds.   Yet scripture and psychologists agree and warn us that the decisions we make, the actions we take in the midst of anger are questionable at best but more likely dangerous with disastrous outcomes.  We must ask ourselves: Are we angry?  If the answer is yes then we should refrain from making any decisions until we can move past our anger.  Think on this, how many decisions made in anger have you regretted? Then ask, how many decisions made from love have you regretted?  Let us insure that we pick the most appropriate state.

In Jesus Christ the Storm is Not the Norm

In Jesus Christ the storm in not the norm. Especially for those who experienced the storm over the day and a half last weekend (and I know some are still experiencing the aftermath) please take note of the weather, not just today, but this week and even longer; the peaceful, tranquil nature of it. If we’re open to it, nature may be showing us a great spiritual truth, that although storms indeed will come, the storm is not the norm but peace is the norm. Likewise, Christ promised us, not that storms in this life won’t come, in fact just the opposite. However, if we abide in Him, He promises through the gift of His peace, we can be calm through any storm, knowing Christ will never let us founder or be washed away by the tribulations and tirades of this world. May you find peace this and each day.

Make Prayer a Priority of Preparation

It is an interesting thing that when preparations are urged for hurricanes or natural disasters things like food, evacuation plan, gas, batteries, important papers and more are mentioned and I agree with all that. What so often gets left out is prayer. So often requests for prayer only come after the disaster has passed. Yet it seems that prayer is equally if not more vitally important before hand, showing the faith to believe God is in control and reaching out to Him before may end up drastically changing the tone of needed prayer after. So let us be in prayer for all those who, not only have already felt the brunt of Hurricane Matthew, but for those who are seemingly in its path.

Find Times and Reasons to Use This Phrase

“I thank God for……….” is one of the most important, valuable and powerful statements we can make. Let’s find reasons to and times to use it very frequently.  I am thankful for everyone who reads this post.  Have a blessed day.

Beware Focusing on Predictions

There are a cacophony of predictions out there; some about the weather, elections, the price of things, number of jobs, stock market, temperature of the planet, the length of life and on and on. Many of these predictions portend dire and fear inducing consequences. Yet remember these are all human generated. Christ warned us against focusing on them. Instead, know that our Heavenly Father made today and sits over it on His throne is the only sure thing. Thus let today and the love He has for us today be our focus.

Do Not Fear Conspiracies 

From the book of Isaiah, words as pertinent and applicable today as they were when written, thousands of years ago:  “Do not say ‘A Conspiracy’ concerning all that people call a conspiracy, nor be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.  The Lord of Hosts, Him you should hallow.  He will be your sanctuary. And I will hope in Him.  (Isaiah 8:12, 14, 16) May you have a day free from fear.

More Than Okay

At times, and especially when times get hard, we oft times use the phrase in comfort:  “It will be okay”.  Yet Jesus Christ wants us to know that in and through Him, it is never just okay.  He wants us to know that in and through Him, especially in the tough times, He is right there with us bringing, blessings, strength, peace and yes, even joy through the love He so freely shares with us.  The world settles for okay; but for Jesus Christ, standing at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, okay is never good enough.  He died in our place to make that point.  Call upon Him and have a blessed day.

Valueless Pursuit

So this may be too personal and as such I apologize, though I believe there may be some gospel foundation for it. It seems to me that our “struggle” with money has less to do with the volume we have versus the inordinate importance, focus and yes, sometimes fear we daily live by in our pursuit of more, our tremendous struggle to never relinquish any of what we have and our sense of worth based on the success of those two actions. It is important to remember that in bowing down to the golden calf, our ancestors were worshiping a powerless creation of their own making. We must be extremely careful that we have not created a modern day equivalent in the symbol $. God knows our lives, our very souls are more valuable to Him than that. In fact He died for us to make that very point. Have a blessed day.

What If?????

So, would our thoughts about the mosquito change at all if we became aware that in the few drops of blood she’s stealing, is a cell that was destined to become cancerous and spread, disastrously throughout our body but now has been removed by that mosquito?  No don’t get me wrong, I’m not defending or touting the wonders of the mosquito.  I only mean to point out how God in His infinite wisdom and power uses all things to work His will and His blessings whether we know and understand it or not!  Thus let us be thankful to God in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, through the revelation of the Holy Spirit.  Have a blessed day.

Blessings In The Calm As Well As The Storm

As we see today, storms pass.  Yet there may be some clean up to be done and that is true whether the storm is a physical or personal one.  So we’d be wise to remember this; first, to be thankful for the passing of the storm and the calm that follows.  Second, no matter how horrific or powerful, how overwhelming the storm seemed as we were in the midst of it, we were never alone.  We were and are never helpless against the onslaught of this world.  At our side was and is One Jesus Christ, who in love and power, will see us through every storm and through whom, no storm will ever defeat us.  May you have a blessed day.

Blessed Are The Poor…..

In the very first beatitude, Jesus Christ seems to make it very clear; God will never love our money.  God will never love us for our money.  To be blessed, we need to be needy, be needful, feel truly poor without Him, regardless of what is in our financial accounts.  Thus, based on our thoughts, our strivings and our behavior; where are we putting the greatest effort?  Our accounts in the earthly realm or our Heavenly Kingdom and Heavenly Father relationship?  Which will enrich us more?

Fear and Love?

I believe that there is much to learn and emulate from the disciples’ reaction to Jesus in Mark 4:41.  For you see, when they witnessed Jesus Christ calm the raging wind and make smooth the tumultuous sea they were awestruck and fearful at His power.  Yet they also still loved Him.  Likewise, I believe, it is appropriate for us, God’s creation to be awestruck and fearful at the immeasurable power of our Almighty Heavenly Father.  At the same time, we must remember that our Heavenly Father wields that power in perfect love, unceasing mercy and everlasting forgiveness.  How do we know? While He has the power to raise from the dead, the one He chose to sacrifice for our salvation was not one of His own creation but His Only Begotten Son.  Therefore, let us be made both fearful and totally loving of the Father, through the Son by the Holy Spirit.  Have a blessed day.

A Question of Purpose?

So today’s question concerns purpose.  First, do we believe, have faith in, that God has a specific plan to which he has, with equally specific intent, placed you and I here to fulfill?  Or are we the product of a biological process allowing us the freedom to derive our own plan, purpose and destiny?  If we believe the former, then to what extent is the complete revelation, the total understanding of that purpose important?  You see it seems to me that Peter once saw his purpose as a fisherman, Saul (only later to become Paul when his purpose changed) saw his purpose as the destroyer of Christ’s new churches, Mary saw her purpose as a daughter, eventual wife and even mother but through conventional earthly processes.  However, through Jesus Christ, each was shown a new, greater and more blessed purpose.  So be certain that you have a God given purpose.  Yet don’t be too concerned about completely defining, confidently understanding what that purpose is.  Rather, let us be completely in Christ, being open to the leading of the Holy Spirit, to be directed to and down the path of Our Heavenly Father’s choosing, knowing the blessings that path will bring.

How Are You? Asks The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit

How are you? Understand I ask, not as some meaningless platitude or casual greeting. I ask because I care. Yet we all know that regardless of your answer and my desire, my ability and resources to effect much of a difference are limited. But understand this, there is another, actually a team of others who are asking you, by name, that very same question. They are the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They too ask because they also care deeply about you. Plus, be assured of this, their love knows no bounds, their resources are infinite and inexhaustible and they stand ready willing and able, regardless of your answer, to work with you to make it better. So make sure you take the time to answer them in full truth and candor. Then be ready to experience that they will stop at nothing, even death on a cross to make it better.

Seeing God in Life’s Transitions

Transitions, evening to morning, summer to fall, earthly to eternal, not only take place under the watchful Eye of God, but are an important part of His perfect plan. Thus it is for us to see God in our life’s transitions so we may experience the blessings He has planned for us through them.

A Cherished and Blessed Freedom

So if you’d indulge me in voicing a different perspective or maybe a different angle on the issue. For to me, the foundational aspect is not whether a person stands or doesn’t stand for the playing of our National Anthem. What I find of greater importance, what I truly cherish about this nation, is that we have the freedom to make that decision in the first place. That at the core of our national values, should someone exercise their freedom in way I disagree with (which I do in this case) that they have the given freedom to do so without fear of legal or directed retaliation from the state. Of course we should not lose sight of this, that this freedom, along with the others, has been and continues to be purchased and paid for by the very high price of sweat, tears and the very blood of those wonderful men and women who have placed others before self in service to this great country. That is why I think it is even more impactful for those who, in humility, gratefulness and pride, choose to stand for the playing of the National Anthem of this great but not perfect country, because we do so, not out of obeying some law or fear of not standing, but from the cherished freedom to stand to make that statement for all to see. Thanks for your indulgence and hope you have a great day.

A Prayer for Teachers

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father as Moses taught Joshua, Samuel taught David, Paul taught Timothy, and Your Most Precious Son, Jesus Christ, taught His disciples, You have made known the importance You place on the act of teaching and the value You see in those whom perform that function. So it is that we pray for all those who now step forward to take on the extremely challenging task of teaching the young ones You hold so dear. Pour out Your Spirit of patience and openness upon all, including teachers, administrators, parents and students. Patience and trust to see that all and especially the teachers are working diligently with the success of the student as their overarching goal. Openness to the aspect that different ideas can work, that experience is a benefit, and one size or idea does not fit all. Pour out Your Spirit of desire and respect upon the students, Most Merciful Father, that the students’ desire would be to learn and obtain the life knowledge which will carry them with the swiftness and depth down the paths You have put forth for them. Respect that they would treat their teachers appropriately, listening and absorbing the lessons so generously given. Surround each school, each school bus, with Your angels to see all safely through the school day. Finally, Dear Father testify to and strengthen each teacher, that they may know the pleasure that You have for those who faithfully heed and carry out this most noble calling. That Your will be done in the education of these young treasures we pray in the Name of Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

The Soul and the World

It would be wise for us to understand that the “world” has no soul.  Yes there is “worldly” focus, rationale, feelings and desires leading to “worldly” behaviors.  The soul, our spirit is a gift from Our Heavenly Father, freely breathed into us as part of our creation.  Thus there will be times and they may come often where we will find the worldly in conflict with our God given spirit.  It is at those times we need to rely on, through prayer and the merciful guidance of the Holy Spirit, on the connection between the created and the Creator’s Spirit, to discern the blessed path to take.

Let’s Make Sure We’re Not Living Half Baked Lives

All the necessary ingredients are there, freely supplied by Our Heavenly Father.  There’s faith, hope, generosity, courage, mercy, humility, forgiveness and most of all love.  Let us not leave these ingredients wasting away on the shelves of our lives; but instead, by combining them together in the crucible of our souls and baking them with the heat of our hearts, let us produce a delicacy of life not only immensely satisfying in our own consumption, but also generously shared with a hope and love starved world.  Have a blessed and happy baking day.

Our Proper State of Being

In directives Jesus Christ gave to us for living He said: Be of good cheer, Be at peace, Be not anxious about, Be not fearful, Be in faith, Be in love with Me AND one another. He did not recommend: Be doubtful, Be despondent, Be anxious about, Be hateful of. Understand He who gave us those first words, came to us, lived with us, died for us AND Jesus Christ was not speaking His own words but the Word of Our Heavenly Father who sits on the All Powerful Throne who has the love and power through the Holy Spirit to bring about the peace, good cheer, blessings and most of all love, regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in today. Which BEing resonates with you this day? I pray you have a blessed day.

Words We Need to Hear From our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

Let these words from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ sink into your very soul: You are loved! You are forgiven! You are loved for all eternity! Is there anything more we need hear??? Have a blessed day.

Christ Teaching Us to Put First Things First

In the Gospel of Mark, when Jesus Christ first forgives the paralyzed man’s sins and then heals his paralyzed legs, Christ is demonstrating what is the most important and teaching us to do the same.  While we often find ourselves praying and being concerned about things like physical health, finances, occupations, and human relationships; Christ would have us focus first on the health and our relationship with God.  It is through our relationship with Our Heavenly, leading to strong spiritual health, that we are subsequently prepared to appropriately receive and handle the blessings God desires to shower upon us.

Connecting Hope to God Through Prayer

Hope is the energy supply of life as food is the energy supply of the heart.  Yet imagine taking the time and energy to prepare a wonderful, heart healthy meal and then never eat it.  All that effort and energy would be wasted.  Hope is like that if we don’t take the time to connect our life’s hopes to God through prayer.  It is in taking the time and effort to connect our life’s hopes to God’s Perfect Will, that our lives are filled with the blessed assurance of hope fulfilled.  May we take the time and effort to make that connection this and every day.  Peace and Blessings to you in the name of Jesus Christ.

Those Who Mourn Will be Comforted

One of the most powerful proclamations, that also comes with a promise, that Jesus Christ made was: “Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted”. So should you find that you are in a place of mourning this day be confident of this, Our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ as well as the entirety of the rest of the Heavenly Host stand ready to surround you with blessed, redeeming/restorative love and strength this day. May it be that you experience their Peace, Strength and Love intended for you this day

Going Forward in Knowledge

Good afternoon, blessed afternoon. Noah knew it. Moses knew it, David, Ruth, Daniel and Mary knew it. Especially Jesus Christ knew and knows it. God is on His throne. God is ultimately in control. Being certain of that, each of the aforementioned people lived their lives in faith, hope and loving obedience in service to God as well as those people around them even during seemingly perilous times. God IS on His throne. God IS still ultimately in control today. Thus let us not live fearful, hesitant, downtrodden lives. Instead let us be full of faith and hope, going forward without worldly fear. Let us resolve to generously serve and love all whom God, in His magnificent and perfect judgement has decided to bring across our path today. Knowing that by the Grace of Almighty God we will be triumphant

The Fruitful Search for Peace

Peace does exist but we have to be very intentional about where we look to find it. If we look to the world, its institutions, its processes, and/or its promises, our search will bear little fruit and much frustration. If, however, we turn in faith to our Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ His Son, then a sustaining, all encompassing peace will be freely given and poured out upon us. Choose peace. Choose our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Pray you have a peace filled day.

Like Jesus Christ, Let Us Extend Our Hands in and of Love

Let us not grow tired of, nor be slow in reaching out our hand of help, friendship and love to others; especially those who are hurting, neglected or downtrodden as well as to those who are simply different from ourselves. It is true that our extended hand may get slapped away by some. Yet let us be like Jesus Christ, who, even though His hands bear the scars of hatred, never ceases to reach out with His hands in love to all who are in need.

Envy Leads to Strife

We’ve heard it said that we are not to covet.  In fact it is the tenth commandment.  But a little envy is okay isn’t it?  We must be very careful in that our desiring to have, yearning to have often starts with our being discontented with ourselves and our place in life and then wanting what another has.  The danger is twofold.  First, we only see their world through our own eyes without seeing their true reality and trials.  Secondly, we often find ourselves less than grateful for the blessings, graciously bestowed upon us.  Thus let us strive to keep envy far from us.

Patience is a Virtue but Must Be Used to Be Virtuous

“Patience is a virtue.” No I am not claiming that I originated that saying in that the virtues of patience are extolled often in scripture, but it is one I wholeheartedly agree with. Yet a couple things, first, patience, like any virtue, is only of value if it is actually used. Second, again like any other virtue, utilizing patience benefits both the person receiving the patience AS WELL AS the person providing the patience. Both have lower blood pressure, less anxiety and less drama. So give being a little more patient a try today.

A Respite From the Heat

As our Heavenly Father has provided us with things like water, shade and shelter to ward off and protect us from the ravages of excessive heat, He has also supplied us with the protections of faith, hope and love to stave off the ravages of hate despair and hopelessness.  Today let us use these protections for ourselves and spread their use to protect others.

A Great Reason to TGIF

The main reason for us to give thanks for Friday (and the other six days as well) is that God is on His throne and reigns over all, Jesus Christ came to be and now lives as our Savior and we have the gift of the Holy Spirit within us to guide us. It is in that knowledge that we can go forth in hope and faith that in the name of Jesus Christ, we well do great things. Have an awesome weekend

Pray! Please Pray!

Pray! Please pray! Take time to pray.  We will not, can not defeat the evil of hate on our own.  We must connect to the Highest Power of love to overcome the prince of evil of this world. Connecting to God and, through Him, resisting the urge to hate is the only path forward.

Wisdom From Ecclesiastes

From Ecclesiastes 2:24  “Nothing is better for a man than he should eat and drink and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor.  This also I saw from the Hand of God

Have You Ever Gone on a Blessing Hunt?

Okay try this experiment but only do this if you’re not driving or otherwise engaged in hazardous activity. STOP! Silence and clear your mind. Take a look around you. Now tell me what you see. Do you see life? Do you see people who are fed? Do you see people conversing and perhaps even a smile or two? Where you are right now, do you see a lack of active war, combat or violence? If you see any of those things then you are witnessing blessings. Wait, I know the world is going to disagree. So I’m going to give you permission to use a phrase your parents may have told you not to. Tell the world to SHUT UP! That is to say, if you’re open to looking for and seeing them, blessings are happening all around you. Two more things; are we thankful for the blessings we encounter? And if someone else was looking around, would they see and/or count us as a blessing? Have a blessed Wednesday.

A 4th of July Prayer

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, thank you that You gave me the blessing living in this great country of the United States of America.  Thank you for the all those of faith who came before me with their service and sacrifice to You as well as for this country allowing me to now experience this profound freedom and blessings I have today.  Forgive me, Most Merciful Heavenly Father,  for the times that I have either taken for granted or selfleshly attempted to exploit this freedom for my own personal gain and fallen short of being Your beacons of love, service and justice for and to the rest of the world.  Thank You that You continue to bless us even with our faults.  Watch over each of us and pour Your Spirit out upon us that we would strive to use the liberty and blessings You have so lavishly provided to lift up the fallen and downtrodden in truth, justice and most importantly love,  thus living out the mission and plan that You have for us individually and collectively as this country.  That by Your Mercy and Grace we would be a nation under You, Oh God and through you show mercy and grace to all Your creation with the goal of easing all suffering and bringing praise to Your Most Holy Name.  We pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen

Two Revolutions That Shook the World to Celebrate

As we prepare to remember and celebrate one revolution let us not forget a much older revolution which started with 12 people when their leader died and rose again. Both revolutions shook the world but only the first one has eternal consequences. One of the overriding desires of our founding fathers was that we have the liberty to celebrate Christ’s revolution, should we desire to do so along with our country’s revolution. Let’s take them up on that.

There’s Independence to Celebrate and Independence to Run From

Ah the 4th of July weekend.  That time each year when we celebrate the values of freedom, justice and equality on which this great nation was founded and which has served us faithfully across the centuries.  However, in our zeal to celebrate our independence, we must not rush to, or desire to be independent from the One True Higher Power; our Heavenly Father.  To be faithful to Him assures our victory and to desire to be independent from Him brings about our defeat and destruction.  A happy, safe and blessed 4th of July Holiday to you and yours.

What Doe Is it Mean to be Rendering?

When Jesus asks about the image on a piece of money and, because of the image, makes a distinction between what should be rendered and to whom, He is talking about much more than money.  He, is in fact, making a clear distinction between being tied to our earthly made things versus understanding that we, ourselves are actually made in an image of Someone greater than ourselves and should be rendering ourselves to Him, that is God, Our Heavenly Father.  That rendering means we should be loving instead of hating, forgiving instead of condemning and showing mercy instead of judging.

We Should Ask Ourselves; Are We Walkers or Jumpers?

Have you ever noticed this about Jesus Christ; He never jumped. He did not jump to conclusions or jump to judgement, He was not inclined to jump to accusation and never jumped out of anger and/or fear. Instead Jesus was very deliberate. Even when it came to being on water; He walked. He walked into cities and towns. He walked into homes. He walked into temples and even walked into the wilderness. He walked to find and reach us where we are. Finally, He walked to His own death to save us. Now doing something like jumping into a pool is a fun and fine thing. Yet perhaps if we spent more time walking with others instead of jumping at them using Christ as our example; well maybe, just maybe we’d find our movements and actions more fruitful as well as blessed.

Words of Wisdom from Proverbs 30

“Give me neither poverty nor riches.  Feed me with the food alloted to me lest I be full and deny You….or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.

If There is Tribulation, How to Have Good Cheer or Peace?

Jesus Christ is very clear, we will have tribulations……..period. Thus here’s our choice, do we focus on the tribulation, even if we’re trying to solve or move past it, elevating it to the most important aspect of our life? If we do that, it is very probable that cheer and peace will flee. On the other hand, we can choose to focus on Christ, on His power, His intellect, His plan, His love and His promise that because He has overcome the world, that through Him, even with tribulation, we can be of good cheer, we can have peace, knowing that, again, through Him we will overcome as well. I pray that we make the choice of cheer and peace this day.

A Dad’s Take on Father’s Day

Okay Dads, if you’ll indulge me a little as we are celebrated this day about how we need to also celebrate others. What and Why?
1. That there is someone else who came into our life with love, trust and faith in us who would combine with us to bring about a wonderful new life.
2. That we were given the awesome gift and opportunity to love, guide and shape another human being(s) into seeing and seeking their fullest potential
3. That we have been so rewarded by the gifts of love and genuine whole hearted effort to achieve a personhood for whom we can see the fruits of our labor.
You see, being a father is not a sacrifice it is the most wonderful blessing imaginable. So it is only a true and right thing to do that as we receive such wonderful thoughts and deeds; that we, in all humility and love, pledge ourselves to be ever increasingly thankful, generous and loving for the amazingly incredible gift of fatherhood

Thinking, Pondering, Current Times?; Don’t Forget Prayer to Avoid Fretting

This may seem like a time that screams out for thinking, pondering and yes, perhaps even fretting. However if we will be diligent in starting with, sometime in the middle and ending in prayer during our thinking and pondering, then we will be blessed in grace mercy and love with little to no need for fretting.

Love Will Conquer But Also Needs To Be Spread

It is very true that love will conquer all. However, love is like lamp hid under a bushel or salt left sitting in its shaker, in that unless love is spread, it is of diminished value. The world is in great need of you and I spreading that love today.

Words of Comfort and Blessing

Rejoice! Again I say Rejoice. In the world you will have tribulation but BE OF GOOD CHEER, I have overcome the world. My peace I GIVE TO YOU…let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid!

Talk May Indeed Be Cheap but Silence Can Be Very Expensive

While I certainly understand the sentiment underlying the phrase: “Talk is cheap”; we must understand that the lack of talk or deafening silence can be incredibly expensive.  Jesus Christ so often saw value in taking the time to talk to His creation; even those who did not believe in Him or were His enemies. May we be like Christ and invest our time in talking with respect and love to others around us.

Revisiting or Visiting the Basic Premise

Sometime we just have to revisit or, if we’ve never done so, visit for the first time the premise that God Almighty is, and has the power to be, totally in control or He does not.  It’s a simple as that.  If we say, yes He does; then let us accept His power, submit to His plan, fully realizing that it is His plan, thus reaping the benefits, blessings and love that come with His control.  If we say no then we must rely on our own power, our own plan, submitting to nothing else and hoping we have enough power and that our plan is wise enough to see it happen.  It is solely and souly our decision to make. I pray we make the correct one.

Humility or Humiliation? Our Response to Being in the Presence of God and His Word

Humility or Humiliation? Unfortunately most anything around the concept of “humble” seems to have little value in today’s world. However, understand this, to feel humility is a choice that you and I make. Whereas to feel humiliation is to feel something that is thrust upon us by some outside force. So here’s the all important question that we must contemplate concerning being in the presence of Almighty God or when we read or hear preached the perfect Word of Jesus Christ, do we have an overwhelming feeling of humility or, instead, do we feel an overpowering sense of humiliation? How we answer that question will significantly determine our acceptance of Their Love, Grace and Blessings in our live

Prayers Needed For Those Who Take Up Their Cross and Voluntarily Enter Into Harms Way For You and I

Requesting prayers as yesterday was not a good day for the stateside military. Now please understand that I don’t mean to minimize the additional risk that those who are deployed to a combat zone face. Yet yesterday shows us with such tragic clarity that the phrase “in harms way”; for our service men and women, also law enforcement and firefighters is not so much about a location as it is the inherent duties they take on every day that they put on that uniform to serve and protect you and I. So pray for the injured and the families of the lost at Ft Hood. Pray for the Blue Angels and the family of the Marine pilot killed. Pray a prayer of thanksgiving that the Thunderbird pilot who safely escaped his crash. Pray prayers of thanksgiving and for safety for all those who voluntarily put themselves in harms way for us.

Jesus Christ Never Plans to Leave You In The Same State He Met You

While it is a great truth that Jesus Christ will come and meet you where you are, understand it is never His plan to leave you there. For Christ longs to lift you up, heal you up, love you up to the wonderful person you were created to be in Him. Thus we must make sure that we don’t just have an encounter with our Risen Lord but live in a relationship with Him so that we may become who we are truly meant to be.

In the Name of God Let Us Be Their Living Legacy

As we go forth this Tuesday after Memorial Day let us be of this mind. Let us be determined to think thoughts, take actions, have a spirit that not only honors, but will improve and shape this great country and through it the entire world to be the better place that God intended it to be and the fallen sacrificed for. Let us strive to make this their legacy.

Honoring Those Who Sacrificed on Memorial Day

It would do us good to contemplate and act on the hope infused in the act of those who gave as Lincoln so eloquently spoke it: their last full measure of devotion. For you see the hope is twofold. First ,that their sacrifice would not have to be shared by those fighting next to them and those who would come afterward; that their sacrifice would be sufficient. Second, that the nation they so honorably sacrificed for would carry on the ideals of freedom, equality, love for one’s neighbor as themselves, making their sacrifice one not in vain. As we might guess, Christ said it best when He proclaimed, there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for another. So it is this day if we truly want to honor, sincerely want to commemorate their sacrifice, honestly want to support the families impacted by the sacrifice of ones so dear, we must do more than just remember. We must pledge to live into and share that love with the mission of hope that in so doing, we may decrease or even remove the necessity for other men and women who serve our great nation to give that ultimate sacrifice.May you have a blessed Memorial Day. Remembering again the words of Christ that for those who mourn this day, they will be comforted.

Remember the Importance of Inviting God

Let us remember today, regardless of activity, work or recreation, travelling or staying at home, socializing or in isolation, especially this weekend memorializing or commemorating, whatever and wherever we might be, inviting God to be with us there will bring blessings, peace and love.

Whether Led or Driven, I am Blessed

I must confess that sometimes God leads me, but sometimes, when I am slow, God must drive me to the destination that His plan has for me.  Yet I declare whether willingly led or reluctantly, stubbornly driven, I am blessed and thankful for His loving guidance.

How God Would Like us to See and Use “Your”

Have you ever really looked at the word “your”? Ever really contemplated it while your throwing out phrases like “your problem”, “your failure” or “your trouble”? You see, if you look closely, “your” is built by taking the word “our” and sticking a “y” in front of it! HMMMMMM Is it possible that actually the word your has some implied connectivity to it? Just maybe, when I’m pointing my one finger at you and saying your, I should be reflecting on the other fingers on my own hand that are pointing back at me? Is there some aspect of our failure, our trouble, our problem; in your? Now understand the same holds true for “your success”, “your riches”, etc. It seems to me that it is about the shared nature of our reality. When God urges us, nay; commands us to love one another in the good and the bad, He is truly desiring that we be in the nature of seeing the “our” in your. Your thoughts?

The Paradox of Becoming Large by Being Small

Today I long to feel small.  Now understand that I don’t mean insignificant.  I mean I desire to connect with the Living God in all His immensity, all His grandeur, the very Creator of the universe and all within it. How could I not feel small.  Yet, in His mercy, He will lift me up in the greatness of His love and save me by His immeasurable grace. I would rather be small in Him than be the largest of the large in this world without Him.

As Nature Teaches us, The Son Will Vanquish Gloom

Alas, understand this, gloom outside is a function of meteorology. Gloom on the inside is a function of spirituality. Both have a conceptual similarity when it comes to dispersing the gloom. For the sun will eventually burn through and dissipate the outside gloom while calling on and relying on the Son, Jesus Christ will vanquish all signs of internal gloom. Thus try and not let the outside overwhelm the inside by calling on the Son and letting Him shine through

We Need to See Jesus Christ as More Than Just a Historic Figure

It is vitally important that we understand and live into the fact that Jesus Christ, our Savior is very much alive today. I think too often He’s thought of and even revered as some iconic historical figure like a Lincoln, Washington or Gandhi. Thus the cross becomes a statue to admire but it and He who hung from it have little relevance in today’s world. Yet, nothing could be further from the truth. As Christ lives today, so does His wisdom, His power and most importantly His Love, making Him and His message as equally relevant and needed today as it was 2000 years ago

Becoming Engaged Through God in the Changes in Our Lives

When we find ourselves in the midst of life’s changes we are faced with the choice of having to accept the change in a begrudging way or want the change in an engaging way. Thus I turn to the Word for guidance and find that wonderful, guiding message in Roman’s 8: “And we KNOW that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose”. May we decide to want to be engaged in faith as God moves in our lives.

A Thought/Soul Experiment

Einstein the great physicist and mathematician was known for what were called “thought” experiments. These weren’t just thoughts of whimsy because once he thought them, he researched and followed through with them until he came to a conclusion. Some if not most of his notable breakthroughs started in this way. So I have “thought” and/or “soul” experiment for us today. What would it be like to express to God and really mean it: “God because of You and through You, I have enough, thank You”? That’s it; again, to not only say it but truly believe it. There is a second part. If we can’t express that; what is it going to take for us to get there? How much more “enough” do we need?

Christ Tells and Shows us the Power of Fellowship

“Again I say to you that if two agree on earth concerning anything they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. Matthew 18:19. This shows the power and wisdom of coming together in fellowship. Thus let us find that trusted “another” , come together and agree on something,spiritually needed and then take it to our Heavenly Father.in the name of Jesus Christ. And if you’re having trouble finding that someone leave me a reply and I’ll fellowship with you.

Christ Things First versus First Things First

The wise goal is not to put “first things first” for that will allow things like worldly fears, responsibilities and even pleasures to have a higher priority than Christ. That is the “Martha” way. Let us be wise and follow the “Mary” way which is to put “Christ things first” (Luke 10:38). It is then that we can truly live into, with confidence, the passage in Romans that reads “All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose”

Don’t Let Your Tank Get or Stay Empty

Feelings of fear, despondency, despair and hopelessness are sure signs that our spiritual tank is nearing “E”. Stop to refill with prayer and scripture. Read the blessed promises of the 23rd Psalm, John 3:16, Matthew 11:28 and Romans 8:37-39. Should your tank be near “F”, don’t be afraid to share love and compassion knowing that Christ’s supply of each is inexhaustible. Either way, know Jesus Christ stands always ready to restore, refresh and sustain all believe and call upon His Holy Name.

God’s Love the Gift that Needs Regifting

The truth is that the Gift of God’s Love is the only gift that not only is it appropriate for but, is actually designed to be, can only be adequately utilized if it is regifted. And in all honesty it doesn’t even need to be rewraped

Caring is a God Given Gift

Of all the ” I don’t…….” statements, probably the most damaging is I don’t care. It’s also the statement that is completely under our control. Caring is a God given gift but the rewards can only be felt if used. So care, care about someone. Care about the world around you. Care about your dreams and aspirations. Care about yourself. Say: ” I care”

Understanding That “This Day…” is Also a Gift

It would be wise and fruitful for us to understand that when we pray:  “Give us this day……” that “this day” is as much a gift as the petitions which follow it.  Thus let us strive to live and love into “this day” as the gift that Our Heavenly intended it to be.

Some Things Are Meant to be Shared

Ever tried to hug yourself? Now, I’m not talking a virtual, or spiritual, being kind to yourself kind of thing but wrapping your arms around yourself. Or how about this try shaking hands with yourself. Seem kind of awkward? Well here’s the thing some expressions of support, gestures of friendship, actions of love, are primarily meant to be, have their greatest meaning, when they are shared. So do yourself and someone else a favor today; share a hug, extend and shake a hand in friendship. Feel the blessings that come with sharing of those gestures.

This Foolish  Worldly Message Must Be Combated

Psalm 14 tells us “A fool says in his heart there is no God”. Unfortunately, that this idea is an idea that is spreading is no joke. Thus it is all the more important that we live wisely communicating boldly and in a loving manner, both in our speech and our lives that there is the God who created and loves all of us and that is the God we serve.

Abiding in Christ, There is No “Better Than You”

It seems a principle message of Jesus Christ that in life we can and should strive to be better yet dropping entirely the “than you” after the “better”. In other words if the aim of our “better” is not to assist others in being better then it has little to no value. Let us be open in helping others and being helped to be and do better.

Our Choice Tells A Lot About Who We Follow: To Bless or To Curse

Today God will give us an opportunity to bless someone.  Today, Satan will give us an opportunity to curse someone.  The world will know who it is we follow by which choice we make.  Take the time today to receive a blessing by being a blessing to someone in need.

A Prayer

Amongst others, let this be our prayer: 
Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, 
Lead me that I may lead, 
Guide me that I may guide, 
Humble me that I may show humility,
Heal me that I may be a healer,
Grant me peace that I may become a peacemaker,
Most of all love me that I may share and spread Your love, 
In the name of our Risen Lord, Jesus Christ we pray. Amen

No Matter the Depth of the Dark, The Light is Coming

The gospels tell us that as Christ hung on the cross, a darkness spread across the land.  One can only imagine that to the disciples and Jesus’ Mother Mary, the darkness seemed that much darker and never ending.  Yet it did end.  Darkness always ends.  By the power of love, light triumphs over darkness and Jesus Christ rises again.  It has always been thus.  Even in the very beginning, God commanded: “Let there be light” and it came.  So if you find yourself in a place of darkness be assured of the fact and look to Light that will surely come.  If you find that you are basking in the Light, become a mirror, a beacon to shine His Light into an increasingly Light starved world.

What We Can Take Away From Christ’s Sacrifice on the Cross

What Jesus Christ demonstrates by His sacrifice on the cross is just how much He is willing to endure, how much He is willing to forgive, how much He is willing to love each of us. No matter the depth of our despair. He is right there to lift us up. And should we find ourselves at some blessed height of wonderful grace, it is Christ who has brought us there. Thus regardless of the depth or height we find ourselves in today, remember the prayer that Jesus, Himself prayed to His Father for each of us; “that the love with which You loved Me may be in them and I in them”. May you have a blessed, loved filled Good Friday

Be Neither Confounded or Bewildered but Be Assured in Jesus Christ!

It is possible that as we experience events in this world and witness the world’s response to those events we may find ourselves confused and bewildered. Yet as we prepare for Easter this Sunday, I am encouraged and emboldened by one of the last promises that Jesus Christ made to His followers. Jesus promised: “Most assuredly I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also”. Thus let us go forth assuredly that believing in Jesus Christ, we can heal, we can bring peace, we can sooth the hurt, we can spread the Father’s message of love and redemption and we can bring love. Be not confused nor confounded but be committed to and be in Jesus Christ and experience the wonders we, through Him can bring to this world.

Is This All There Is?

Down through the ages, philosophers and the common people alike have asked the question: Is this all there is? And the answers down through the ages fill volumes. Yet the answer is amazingly simple. If by “this” you mean God, then the answer is simply yes! The challenging part is “this” being God makes “This” beyond our ability to define or completely comprehend. The most we can and should do is to accept that “This” is not only all there is but all that is needed and then accept and be thankful for the love and blessings that come through This.

Jesus Christ and Easter Shows us That Evil Will Be Defeated

We wake today seeing the evil prince of this world using his tools of hatred, separation, fear and hopelessness to reek havoc and death. While we grieve with the Belgians we must first not fall into the temptation to use those same tools but strengthen our resolve to rely on and use the tools of God; faith, love, hope and the coming together to defeat this evil. And do not despair, through Jesus Christ, whose power over the evil of death we celebrate this Sunday, this evil will be defeated.

Spring and Creation

As we turn our thoughts to the coming of spring, I think it’s important for each of us to remember and understand that we are a part of God’s creation.  Creation did not happen because of or for us and simply for our pleasure.  Thus we should be humble, respectful and very careful about how we care for His creation.  Which especially pertains to how we care for each other.  May you have a glorious, blessing filled Easter and Spring Season.

The Danger in Anger

You may not have noticed that the word danger is made up of the word anger with a “d” attached. Jesus Christ taught us that we indeed are in danger of judgement when we have anger with each other. The antidote for anger is forgiveness and love

Our Form based on His Function

It is said that in terms of design, form follows function. If God’s design, His function for us is to be all about love; first receiving His love and then in turn, returning His love to Him and sharing His love with others, then what form should our lives take to carry out this function? Let us strive to form our lives to function as vessels of as well as distributors of His love.

The True Seat of Power

Let us remember this and rejoice, there is only one throne, one seat of power that truly matters and it is occupied by the All Powerful, All Loving, God Almighty now and for evermore.

From Whence Does My Hope and Help Come From?

Praise the Lord! Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for His help, whose hope is in the Lord God.  Psalm 146  Be confident, have joy and be a peace today knowing even if you are having problems, Our Creator Lord God is right at your side to be your help and sustainer.

Do You Find That You Are an Observer or Participant?

The challenge with being an observer is that it normally requires a certain amount of distance and disengagement.  Whereas a participant can be right in the middle and totally engaged.  Let’s try to be more a participant and less an observer in our lives and our relationships, especially as it pertains to love.

Achieving Greatness

Achieving greatness is the process by which you step out in faith in Jesus Christ and attempt/succeed in doing what you and/or the world thinks is impossible.

When We See the Cross do We Have a Vision of Christ?

Sight is merely the physical process of light entering in through the eyes, being processed into neural inputs and becoming images in the brain.  Vision is an entirely different process.  Vision is the process of adding context and meaning to those images, hopefully allowing us to make wise, impactful choices concerning our actions and behaviors based on those images.  Sight without vision is a particularly dangerous type of blindness.  Thus when we see the cross to we get the vision of Christ’s sacrifice, love and redemptive plan for us.  Do we have a vision of Christ that impacts how we see and love others?  Does our vision of Christ bring light into our world that we in turn radiate out to all others?  Let us strive to have that loving vision of Christ and then see the impact it makes to the world around us.

Neither  Going it Alone or Leaving Others to Go Alone

When things get tough it may well be that the tough get going, however the going is easier if the tough have someone to go along with them. If you see someone going through tough times, reach out today to lend a hand.

Come In Out of the Cold and Into the Warmth of Jesus Christ

Have you ever been sitting outside on an extremely sunny bright day and although the air is very chilly, the heat and brightness of sun makes you feel warm? That is how the warmth and light of the Son, Jesus Christ feels. The world around us may very well be filled with the cold of hate and despair but we can still bask in the heat of Christ’s brilliant love. Come out of the cold today and come into the ever present eternal light and warmth of Jesus Christ.

The Benefits of Having Specific Faith

Notice Jesus Christ does not ask where is your hope?  Instead He asks where is your faith?  In that question He is asking do you or how much do you believe in Me; Me as the Son of God who loves you and came to save you?  So let us be purposeful and specific in our faith.  We have faith, in Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of Our Heavenly Father, truly God come to earth.  We truly and completely believe in Him and His perfect, all powerful love that will keep and sustain us through any and every earthly trial and then usher us into the presence of Our Heavenly Father for all eternity.

What Moving Toward True Comfort and Contentment Looks Like

It is not as important that I am comfortable and content when I see myself as it is that I can see the Hand and Spirit of God in my life, moving me to a place where He is comfortable and content with me and I am comfortable and content being in Him

What God Teaches Us Through Nature About the Storms of Life

God uses nature to teach us a great many things about life.  Take storms for example, in nature storms will come and whether we attempt to or not, we can not control them.  Yet by the Grace of God they pass.  He will see us through them.  Also in nature the times of peace and calm far outnumber the times of storm.  Thus the lesson for life is that we may find ourselves today in the midst of a personal storm and that storm may seem never ending.  Maybe that is because we are trying to control it ourselves.  Let us learn from nature and give control to Almighty God who will dissipate the storm and bring us to a place of His intended peace.

Let Us Stay Focused on the Only Vision that Truly Matters

With everything that is swirling around us today it is easy to lose focus, to allow the things of this world, like some cosmic fog, to hide from our vision what is truly important.  What we need to see is that we were created for just this; to receive the Love of Our Heavenly Father and in turn share it with others around us whomever they may be.  Thus let it be our true desire, our primary goal, this and everyday to lock our focus on that and receive all the blessings that vision has in store for us.

Allow the Light of Jesus Christ to Disperse Your Gloom

Gloom is as much a state of the spirit as it is an aspect of meteorology. Should you find yourself in a state of gloominess today then pray for the Light of Jesus Christ to come and disperse the dark chill, replacing it with His Warm Light of love, hope and peace.

What Difference Does Using “This” versus “Our” Make in Our Lives, Love or Faith?

Question for today; do you tend to use “this” more; as in this country, this company, or this family or do you tend to use our; as in our country, company or family in discussing things you are a part of? Matter? Well “this” is just a way of delineating one thing from another. Whereas “our” denotes connection, engagement, a level of ownership and responsibility. This country is in trouble. Ahh who cares, someone will fix it. Our country, our company, our family is in trouble. Then I need to be engaged, I need to be determined, I’m taking some responsibility to turn it around. I wonder if there was less “this” and more “our” whether we’d see a difference in our days and in our lives?

Jesus Christ Will Stop at Nothing and Nothing Can Stop Jesus Christ From Getting to You Where You Are

Feeling stuck?  Feeling like there is a storm raging around you and you’re being battered by the waves? Jesus Christ will stop at nothing, He will literally walk across the waves to come where you are, in the midst of the storm.  Once there He will calm your storm and bring peace.  Have faith to look for Him.  Have faith to call to Him.  For He is there.

How Blame Stops Us

Assigning blame is about justifying the phrase “I can’t (or won’t) until you do_______ (fill in the blank). It is the recipe for disaster in any organization, from families to business and yes even government. The phrase to use instead is “Help me understand so that we can_________” One leads to stagnation the other to movement.

The Power of Using Your Love This Day

Do you know what you can do with your love today? You can heal a broken heart, fill an empty spirit, lift a fallen hope. All these things and more are possible with and through your love today but only if you will take the time to share it. TGIF

Do We Feel That Fatherly Relationship with Our Heavenly Father?

So we say “Our Heavenly Father” and based on God’s own words we are correct in doing so. But do we actually feel and experience that relationship? Do we feel the daily overpowering love He has for us? Do we truly trust His perfect plan and His power to see it implemented for each of us? Do we truly, deeply, sincerely, have hearts filled with love for Him? They say you can’t pick your relatives but in this case they’re wrong; dead wrong. God does choose. Our Heavenly Father chose you!

See if This Will Help With Your Day

I’ll start and you finish but you can’t stop until you reach Amen.  “Our Father, who are in heaven, Hallowed by Thy Name………”

His Peace Through  Our Storms of Life

Though storms may swirl around us, Christ promises us peace for Christ was blunt in telling us that there will be trouble in our days. Yet He is even more reassuring in promising that as long as we remain In Him, He has overcome any and all trouble and will do the same for us. So whatever storm(s), be they physical, mental and/or spiritual that you are faced with today, be in Christ and let His Love and Peace carry you through your storm to be in a place of blessed peace.

Celebrating the Day After

Here’s the challenge with the focus of and celebrating “special” days whether they be Valentines Day, Mother’s/Father’s Day, Christmas, Easter and even birthdays; there’s always the day afterwards. It’s as if the world is telling us: “You’ve had your special day” and now it’s back to the grind and drudgery of living, of focusing solely on me, the world, or perhaps yourself. But truthfully, is your valentine any less precious today than they were yesterday? Do we want them to feel that way? Christ tells us He is in each day and His Love and Support are in the forefront or each day. Thus there is nothing wrong with celebrating special days but if we’re open to it and look for them, there are plenty of reasons each day to celebrate. Happy Day After Valentine’s Day

Warding Off the Coldness of Bitterness in Our Lives

While walking around in single digit temps this morning, the phrase “bitter cold” came to mind. Interesting that I’ve never heard it said to be “bitter hot”. I believe that is because bitterness is associated with the discomfort of deep numbing cold. It is the same way in our lives and our heart. Bitterness often comes from a coldness in our heart towards some person or something.and it makes our life very uncomfortable if not painful. Thus, like we apply layers of clothing to ward off the outside bitter cold, let us clothe our heart in layers of love, starting with God’s love, that we may ward off and/or banish the inward bitterness in our life. May you stay safe, warm and blessed this weekend.

It Takes Experiencing God’s Love to Truly Know God’s Love

We can stand inside watch the tree limbs move, see the leaves tumble across the yard and deduce, know that the wind is blowing. Yet we will never experience actually experience the wind, know its true nature until we step outside into its presence. Likewise, we can read about God’s love, watch it impact other’s lives, and believe that it exists but we will never experience it until we step out in faith and prayer and seek to come into His presence. It is only then will the true nature and power of the His love be revealed. Let us take that first step or continue taking those steps today.

Love is the Basis for Movement

Trying to have a deeper, long lasting, more fulfilling relationship with God, or anyone else for that matter without love, is like trying to walk around the block on a treadmill.  You may expend copious amounts of time and effort but in the end, when you step off the treadmill, you will find you have not moved one inch toward your destination.  Let love be the foundation of your relationships and watch it propel you to the place you want to be with them.

Proper Focus of Repentance

Repentance is not so much focused on the guilt of what was done wrong but on the sincere acknowledging of the wrong and then the true, faithful desire to do what is right and better. Prayers for a blessed Ash Wednesday.

Let Our Heavenly Father’s Love Wash Over You

Know today without any shred of doubt that you are loved, deeply and intimately at this very moment by the Creator God of all things, Our Heavenly Father. Be in that love allowing it to wash over you, cleansing you and replacing all fear with blessed peace.

Thoughts on Wisdom in Winning and Losing

Whether we win or lose, the wise remember that there will always be a “next step”. For while winners may justifiably celebrate they must remember their win is in the past and thus ask what’s next. Conversely a loss does not make one a loser so they must ask what did we learn and move forward. Either way the real truth is, win or lose, there are reasons to be thankful to Almighty God for His eternal, sustaining presence in all of our attempts.

Thought on Self Esteem and Self Respect

We would be wise to learn and/or remember that esteeming and respecting one’s self has nothing to do with esteeming and respecting any other person less.

Embrace and Submit to God’s Power, Love and Plan for You

If you find some frustration or you are dismayed that one day it is 70 degrees outside and the next day it’s snowing and we have absolutely know power to impact it, try looking at it this way and take heart. For there is nothing random about it. This shows the power of Almighty God who has a perfect plan and reason for each day including the weather. Likewise, each day, God has a perfect plan for each of us and the power to make it happen. It is for us to relinquish our desire for total self control and determination and accept the blessings of God’s love, control and plan. Happy Friday to you all.

Learning About Prayer

So unless I’d taken a trig class, if someone said “cosign” to me I would only think it had something to do with a loan. But to understand how cosine (the math term) works you have to have studied trigonometry. Effective prayer is similar. We all have different ideas about how to and what prayer is all about. Yet to use prayer as Our Heavenly Father intends takes study in His word as well as faithful practice. Prayer, as Our Lord intends it, is one of the most powerful spiritual life tools we have.

Seeing Our Father’s Love

When you see Our Heavenly Father paint the morning sky in brilliance and beauty, He is merely showing the lengths and depth of love He is willing to share. This day be His canvas allowing Him to paint His love into your life in that way you become His masterpiece.

His Light Will Shine Through

As no earthly cloud can completely block the light of the sun, it is also true that no earthly distress or darkness can block the Power and Love of the Son come to earth. Thus let us go forward in confidence and peace in the Light of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Antidote to the World’s Chaos

As the world spins, seemingly out of control, remember this: There is no chaos in Heaven, there is no chaos with God. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Go forth, not in fear, but in His blessing today.

Anger is Poison

Anger is like poison to the heart, mind and soul with loving, forgiveness the only true antidote. If you find yourself low on that go to Him who has it for all of us in endless supply. He will be glad to give you a refill.

Life is More Than Mere Existance

I hear the statement life’s too short to……….but what I’ve found is that life can seem, or at least the days can seem pretty darned long if we can’t find something to enjoy, something to be grateful for, something to feed our souls. Don’t just exist; excel!

What is the Meaning of True Value

We must be extremely careful lest we fall into the trap of measuring value primarily based on financial gain. Thus seeing little to no value in a spectacular sunrise, the bright smile of a child or the warm embrace of a loved one.

Drama versus Passion

Being dramatic is about acting. Being passionate is about living. It is up to us to determine which way we want to approach things.

How do You See Challenges?

Challenges and problems, like clouds can seem solid enough to not only obscure our vision but keep us from soaring to the heights of our dreams. Let us then adopt the perspective of the pilot who sees clouds as nothing more than wispy, barely consequential factors to be dealt with as he/she travels on to fulfill their destiny.

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