Monday, October 31, 2011

Be Still and Know

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.  (Psalm 46:10 KJV)

  The psalmist gave us two exhortations that I find most difficult to follow.  One is recorded in Psalm 27:14 where it says, "Wait patiently for the Lord."  The other exhortation is found in Psalm 46:10a, "Be still and know that I am God."  

   Which of these two commands do you find harder to obey?  I know you're probably thinking, aren't they the same?  Not for me.  Here's why!  I am not normally a patient person, but waiting is easier for me than being still.  To be perfectly still means to "cease striving, be silent, and let go of your concerns."  When awakening in the morning, my mind is already racing with plans, ideas, and problems to be solved.

   I am much better at waiting on the Lord because I can do a lot of things while waiting.  I can plan, think through problems, set up schedules and meetings, talk to clients, or mow the lawn.  But to be still -- that seems next to impossible.

   How are you at being still?  Do you find it harder than waiting?  Fill your mind with all the great things you know about God, and watch the world fade away.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Underdogs Are Champions

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57)

  We have just witnessed one of the most incredible comebacks in the history of sports.  The underdog St. Louis Cardinals who were declared dead in August have won the baseball World Series.  In August they were 10 1/2 games out of first place and written off as "also rans" when an incredible miracle took place.  They picked themselves up off the floor and through intestinal fortitude, sheer grid and determination refused to be declared dead.  A great revival took place and the end result was a World Series Championship. What could be any better than that?

  Their triumph can be likened to that of the early followers of Jesus Christ.  These brave Christians were maligned, persecuted, burned at the stake, torn apart by lions, and left for dead, but they refused to give up and recant their faith in Christ.  These New Testament believers were every bit champions in their own right.  They took their place in history as Heroes of the Faith just as the Cardinals have their place in history as World Champions.

  It is a time of celebration!

Friday, October 28, 2011

I Shall Return

If I go and prepare and place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am you may be also.  (John 14:3 NASB)

U.S. military forces fought again the Japanese invasion of the Philippine islands in 1942.  The enemy forces overran the smaller American forces at Bataan, and the ensuing sixty mile Bataan death march occurred.  During this engagement President Roosevelt ordered General MacArthur and his staff to relocate to Australia.  Upon leaving his troops behind General MacArthur uttered the now famous words, "I shall return."  He fulfilled this promise to return at Leyte in 1944.

When Jesus prepared to leave his disciples and return to his Father, he too made a promise.  "If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again..."  We are waiting for this promise to be fulfilled, and we believe Jesus will keep his promise just as General MacArthur kept his.

Some of Jesus' last word to us were, "Occupy till I come."  I believe this to mean that we are to be working for the kingdom as well as waiting for its arrival.  When Jesus comes back will he find us "occupying"?

Jesus is busy today taking the materials (our acts of service) we are sending up to him to help build the mansion he has promised.  One day soon he will come back to personally escort us to our new home.  Are you ready and watching?  

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hurry Up and Wait

He asked the Lord what he should do, but the Lord refused to answer him, either by dreams or by sacred lots or by the prophets.  (1 Samuel 28:6)

   HURRY UP, AND WAIT!  How many times have I heard those exact words uttered when I was in the Navy?  No one likes to wait.  Whether it's in a long line at the super market, in a chow line, or in a doctor's office.

   King Saul failed the waiting test.  When God didn't respond to his call for help, Saul turned to a medium.  God has given strict orders not to resort to mediums and witchcraft, but Saul disobeyed.

   How often do we ask God for his will on a certain matter and then without waiting for his answer, do what we wanted to all along.  I know I've been guilty -- have you?  We need to exercise patience as did David, "I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry." (Psalm 40:1)

   Spend the next five minutes waiting on the Lord.  Tell him what is heavy on your heart, make your requests to him -- then be silent and wait.

Thought for the Day: When we are silent, God speaks.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Honoring Mothers

Honor your father and mother that you may live a long time in the land.  (Exodus 20:12 NLT)

   Why does God command us to love our mothers?

   In God's eyes--and in a small child's---a mother reveals the true nature of God.  During the growing up years, mother acts as the child's sole provider, teacher, and protector.  Whatever the difficulty, the child flees to the safety of his/her mother's arms.

   Honoring mothers is not a duty, it is a command.  God requires parents to nourish, defend, support, and instruct the children placed in their care.  In like manner, the children should support their parents in their times of weakness and old age.

   Do you have a mother's heart?  How much are you willing to sacrifice for a child in your care?  God honors mothers who have this kind of love and dedication for their offspring.  No sacrifice is too great, no pain too severe, and no service too small to give to a loving child.

Thought for the Day: Godly mothers are worth their weight in gold.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Holding the Rope

  They went up on the roof and let him down through the tiles on his stretcher.  (Luke 5:19)

   Can you sense the tenacity and faith of the four friends of the paralytic man?  They refused to be deterred by the crowd.  Tearing a hole in the roof, each man held onto the rope and lowered the crippled man right in front of Jesus.

   Christian service is all about holding the rope.  When we volunteer in a hospital, gather clothes for the needy, lead a celebrate recovery therapy group, tutor a left behind child, or visit the elderly in a nursing home, we are holding the rope.

   Look for ways you can hold the rope of encouragement and service in the community where you live.  Perhaps you can organize a local jail ministry and reach out to prisoners with the gospel.  Volunteering your services to help others brings a warm sense of fulfillment, and brings meaning to your life.

Thought for the Day: The needy are waiting for someone to hold the rope.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Holding the High Ground

He raised us up and seated us with him in heavenly realms in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6b)

   Satan is a powerful enemy and a great strategist, but he has one glaring disadvantage; he does not hold the high ground and the army holding the high ground wins.

   You and I have a tremendous advantage over Satan and his armies.  First, we have Jesus as our commander-in-chief and he has never lost a battle.  Second, we are seated with Jesus in heavenly places and hold the high ground,  Third, we have the armor of God as our protection.

   Are you taking advantage of your position in Christ?  When Satan comes with his temptations what do you do?  Where do you turn for help?  Let us not forget that we are "seated with Him in heavenly places" -- we hold the high ground.

   When the enemy gets ready to pounce, simply point to Jesus and say, "I'm with Him."

Thought for the Day: Prayer is our access to the high ground.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Beauty Awaits

And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.  (Revelation 21:23 NLT)

In the rugged San Juan Mountains surrounding Ouray, Colorado, you will find Yankee Boy Basin.  This four wheel drive adventure taken after the snow melts in July rewards the adventurer with fascinating beauty and splendor.  The mountain meadows are ablaze with the color of Indian paint brush, columbines, larkspur, lupins, chiming bluebells, dwarf sunflowers, and orange sneezeweed.  The eye beholds sparkling, crystal-clear water cascading down twin waterfalls and jagged peaks that reach thousands of feet towards the heavens.

  My occasional visits to Yankee Boy Basin are a sweet reminder of the future home God is preparing for me.  What did I do to earn such a glorious home?  Nothing!  Jesus offers it as a free gift to all who are willing to repent of their sins and believe in his atoning work on Calvary.  Have you made that all important decision to trust in the Savior?  If so, then a glorious mansion is waiting for you.  If not, won't you do so today?  Jesus is waiting to receive you into his kingdom.

Thought for the Day: The only light needed in the holy city will be Jesus the Lamb.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Helping Hand

We work wearily with our own hands to earn our living.  We bless those who curse us.  We are patient with those who abuse us.  (1 Corinthians 4:12 NLT)

   What would you say is the most useful member of the human body?  Have you ever said to someone, "Will you give me a helping hand?"  The hand is truly an amazing instrument.  It protects you from falling, puts food into your mouth, ties your shoes, fixes your tie, buttons your clothes, washes your face, brushes your teeth, combs your hair, carries groceries, drives the car, etc., etc.  No wonder Paul says, "And the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you."

   The hand is mentioned 1,433 times in the Bible.  The wrist has eight bones in two rows so it can move backward and forward and over half-way around.  The thumb is set in such a way as to meet the fingers from the opposite direction.  Isn't the hand amazing?

   Our heavenly father is active in the use of his hands.  Jesus said, "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand." (John 10:29 NASV)

   How thankful I am that God never lets go of my hand.  Maybe you need someone to hold your hand.  Place your hand in the hand of Jesus and walk along with him.

Thought for the Day: God lends a helping hand to all who call upon him.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Hanging by a Handgrip

   And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God. (Romans 8:28 NLT)

   The sun rose over the hillside with its red, orange, and yellow hues reflecting on the water of the lake below.  As I sat on my balcony with coffee in hand, the thought came to me, what a beautiful morning for fishing!  How could anything spoil such a beautiful day?  Such were my thoughts, not knowing what the rest of the day would bring.

Unfortunately fishing was only in my dreams since I had promised to help a friend  put a new roof on his house.  We spent the morning putting down the roofing paper.  After lunch we noticed a slight breeze and the clouds getting darker.  We could smell rain in the wind and knew we needed to hurry to get the job done.  The sky turned an ugly green and the wind began to howl.  Our wives stood on the ground yelling, GET OFF THE ROOF.  We barely had time to flatten on the roof and grab the rafters as the storm roared over us.  Fortunaely for us we were on the downside or the wind would have blown us off the roof.  In a matter of seconds all the roofing paper was gone and scattered all over the neighborhood.  As quickly as the storm appeared it was over.  Praise the Lord for answering our quick prayers.

   Maybe some of you are hanging by a handgrip.  Circumstances are weighing you down.  You don't know where to turn.  I am so thankful that I have a God who cares and is readyi to listen to my pleas for help.  You too can turn to him.  He is always ready to listen. 

Thought for the Day: God delights in bringing good our of bad situations. 


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Great Expectations

According to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.
(Philippians 1:20 ASV)

   Life is filled with great expectations!

   My first summer job as a teenager came with great expectations.  I loved feeding the chickens, slopping the hogs, and milking the cows, but those expectations soon took a dip as I can given the job of mucking our the barnyard and hoeing the corn field. 

   Couples enter into marriage with great expectations.  The husband is looked upon as the breadwinner and the wife the homemaker.  Sometimes circumstances cause those roles to be reversed and the expectations take a nose dive.  Disillusionment can casue a strain in the relationship.  A mature approach is necessary for the marriage to suceed. 

   A similar scenario exists in our relationship with Jesus Christ.  We enter into our relationship with certain expectations.  When prayers go unanswered, or the answers given don't meet our expectations, a strain in the relationship occurs -- at least on our part.  As humans we are often changeable, but thank God He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 

Thought for the Day: Our expectations fluctuate, but not God's.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Grafted In

You did not choose me, but I chose you (John 15:16).

   Grafting requires time, patience, and careful management.  Grape vines are grafted to change varieties, or to help plants resist pests and withstand cold weather. 

   This process pictures our relationship with God in his vineyard.  By an act of redeeming grace, the gardener attached us to the vine -- his son, Jesus Christ.  Simple?  Yes, but not cheap.  Jesus paid the ultimate price for our redemption -- death on the cross. 

   Have you been grafted into the true vine?   If you have, then what are you doing to reflect the life of Jesus today?  How do I show the world that the love of Jesus resides in my heart?  This is the question that we have to answer each and every day. 

Thought for the Day: Grafting is an act of redeeming grace. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Going the Extra Mile

When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he led out his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen, and went in pursuit as far as Dan.  (Genesis 14:14 NLT)

   Have you ever considered all the people in the Bbile who went the extra mile to help someone in need?

   People like Abraham who went the extra mile to rescue his nephew Lot, Jonathan who befriended David, Rahab who hid the Jewish spies, the four friends who took the paralyzed man to Jesus, the Good Samaritan, and the Apostle Paul who interceded for Onesimus with Philemon.  Many others could be mentioned who put aside their own duties and schedules to go the extra mile. 

   When was the last time you went the extra mile for someone?  Was it a neighbor who needed their grass mowed, a friend in need of support and encouragement, a co-worker who lost his job, or a relative who lost a loved one and needed someone to stand alongside? 

   As I fly over the blue Atlantic, the Lord reminds me of the blessings received in going the extra mile in Cameroon helping to take care of nine precious three to five years olds while their parents attend a spiritual retreat.  It doesn't take much to go the extra mile.  Just a willing heart and love for others -- Jesus does the rest!

Thought for the Day: Jesus went the extra mile for us by dying on the cross for our sins. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

God's Timing

"Dear woman, that's not out problem," Jesus replied.  "Mine hour has not yet come." (John 2:4 NLT)

   During my tenure in the U.S. Navy, I played softball on the base team.  My favorite position was first base, and hitting in the cleanup spot my forte.  What's the key to becoming a solid hitter?  If you ask any hitting coach, he will tell you, "It's all about timing."  Being able to recognize the pitch and timing its delivery is the secret to successful hitting.

   Timing also plays a critical role in the believer's walk with the Lord.  Answers to prayer are dependent upon God's timing.  Making important life decisions and carrying them out requires timing.  Nothing in life can be done without some kind of timing. 

   Jesus accomplished his plan of redemption in accordance with God's timetable.  God works in your life and mine in the same way.  His timing is perfect.  He makes no mistakes.  He's never late.  No stone is left unturned. 

   Are you aware of his timing in your life?  Try to recall a time when God worked in your life according to his timetable. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

God has a Plan

We can make our plans, but God determines our steps.  (Proverbs 16:9 NLT)

   I spent the first twenty-four years of my life drifting without a helm or rudder.  No real purpose or direction.  Just following the crowd.  In September 1950, I joined the U.S. Navy to avoid being drafted into the army.  After basic training, I was shipped to Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, California.  That's where I first came in contact with the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Through the efforts of two shipmates< I came to accept Jesus as my Savior.  My life changed completely.

   Daily Bible reading revealed to me that God had a plan and purpose for my life.  I also found that following God's Plan requires a lifetime of effort.  Many crossroads and decisions have to be made.  Many doors entered and lives changed.  The road is bumpy and obstacles appear.  Mistakes are made, but overcome by the grace of God. 

   I discovered that God uses ordinary people to fulfill his plan and purpose.  He has been using my life in various ways for over fifty years to further His kingdom.  He wants to use you as well.  All he needs is a willing heart.  Are you willing to be used by the Lord? 

Thought for the Day: God will take a willing heart and make something spectacular happen for his glory.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

God's Observatory

The heavens tell the glory of God.  The skies display his marvelous craftmanship.  Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known.  (Psalm 19:1,2 NLT).

   Have you ever looked at the heavens on a clear night and observed the brilliant twinkling of the stars?  What a beautiful sight!  The Big and Little Dipper and other constellations are clearly visible.  Somehow I always feel closer to God when I'm in his observatory.

   I remember the words of the Psalmist: "He counts the stars and calls them all by name" (Psalm 147:4 NLT).  How could this be?  The very awesomeness of the task overwhelms my mind.  Then I thought, If God knows all the names of the stars surely he know my name.  With this knowledge in mind, my prayers take on a new energy, a new urgency, and a new relationship.  I am drawn closer to my Father who is in heaven, and as I set aside time throughout each day to pause and lift up my heart to him, I am refreshed and renewed in spirit. 

When was the last time you spent time in God's observatory?  Take a trip out into the country at night and spend time observing the heavens.  How many stars can you count?  Isn't it awesome that the Bible says God calls them all by name?

Thought for the Day:  The heavens reveal the vastness of God and show his handiwork.


Friday, October 7, 2011

The Multiplication Principle

Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and passed them out to the people.  Afterward he did the same with the fish.  And they all ate till they were full.  (John 6:11 NLT)

   My job as a teacher was to make sure the fourth through sixth graders knew their multiplication tables. Their mastery made the operation of division much easier.

   Jesus was a master at multiplication.  At the feeding of the 5,000, he took five loaves and two small fish and multiplied them to feed all the people until they were full.  After everyone had eaten, twelve baskets of lefovers were gathered.

   What do we learn from this miracle?  First, Jesus is the supplier and we are the distributors.  Second, people ate until they were full showing us that God's supply is not limited.  Third, they gathered the remains; nothing was wasted.  Fourth, God always supplies more than we can ask or think.  Fifth, thanks should always be given for our daily bread.

Finally, if Jesus can take a little lad's lunch and multiply it to meet the needs of over 10,000 people, just think what he could do if you gave him your life, rsesources, and talent. 

   Are you willing to trust him completely?


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

God's Mobile Home

I want the perople of Israel to build me a sacred residence where I can live among them.  (Exodus 25:8 NLT)

   For many years our family went camping in the Ozarks of Missouri.  I recall one occasion when we were camping at Table Rock lake down near Branson when a tornado came through the area.  We had no choice but to take refuge in the tent while the rain and wind beat upon us.  The next morning we found three of our railroad spikes (tent pegs) pulled out of the rock-like ground.  The tent survived the storm and so did we.

   God commissioned Moses to build him a moveable tent.  His tent was an invitation for the people to meet with him.  The entire plan for the building was given to Moses while on mount Sinai.  When the tent was finsihed and consecrated God came down and inhabited the Holy of Holies.

   For us, God has established his mobile home in our hearts.  No matter where we go, or what we do, he is always with us.  You don 't have to be in a tent or in a church because God is omnipresent -- meaning everywhere at the same time.  All you have to do is lift your eyes to Jesus and call upon his name. 

Thought for the day: God doesn't live in a mobile home park -- he's in our hearts. 


Monday, October 3, 2011

A Broken Record

"He committerd the same sins as his father before him, and his heart was not right with the Lord his God, as the heart of his ancestor David had been.  (1 Kings 15:3 NLT)

   Time after time throughout the Old Testament we read the words quoted above.  In the book of Judges we read, "Once again the Israelites did what was evil in the Lord's sight."  (Judges 2:11;3:12;4:1;6:1;10:6)  The further we read the more Judges sounds like a "broken record."

   Why are we as humans so prone to repeat the same mistakes over and over again?  Wouldn't you think we'd learn the first time how to avoid thowe pitfalls?  How do we keep from becoming a "broken record?"

   The first step is to establish a relationship with God through faith in the finished work of his Son, Jesus Christ.

   The Second step is to maintain that relationship by daily walking in close fellowship with the Lord.  Our fellowship is secured by conferssion of sin and obedience to His word.

   How are you doing in your spiritual walk?  Are you spending time in the word and prayer?  As you continue your journey guard against becoming a "broken record."