Thursday, November 26, 2015

Choose for the long run

"... “I find no basis for a charge against him. But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?” They shouted back, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!” Now Barabbas had taken part in an uprising." -- John 18:38-40
Life is all about choices. We choose our friends, our colleges, our spouses and our careers. Each of these choices ultimately determines the outcome of our future. Therefore, our choices are critical in more ways than one can imagine. Should we choose for the moment or the long run?
The day arrived when the people were given a choice between Jesus and Barabbas. The reasons for their choice may be more than meet the eye. Barabbas was a man of the world who followed the path of evil to fulfill his desires. Jesus brought the kingdom of God which called for a very different way of living. The crowd chose for the moment rather than the long run.
We begin our spiritual walk by choosing Jesus as Savior. But, do we choose his kingdom and lifestyle every day? Are you enticed by the way of the world that follows any path to fulfill its desires my friend? Or will you choose the path of Jesus that leads to eternal blessings? Be wise, and choose for the long run rather than the moment.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

His love endures forever

"Give thanks to the God of heaven. 
His love endures forever." -- Psalm 136:26
After a long journey, treacherous weather and rampant illness a small party of puritans arrived in a new land. In spite of loss and sorrow, they recognized the providential provision of God and they made the time to give thanks for his gracious care... because His love endures forever.
As the Psalmist reflects on the history of Israel, he connects every event with the covenant love of God for his people. He saw the hand of God in every step of the journey and called for praise and thanksgiving. He spoke of victories, miracles and provisions that the Lord faithfully poured out upon Israel. The years were also filled with struggles and hardships, but the Psalmist repeated the eternal truth that His love endures forever.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving my friend. Will you take time to reflect on your journey through the last twelve months? Were there struggles and hardships that seemed to overwhelm? How did you survive the storms and rocky roads along the way? You know that the Lord has been with you every day and though there may be ice on the deck, there's a fire in the hearth because... His love endures forever!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Simple Blessing

"How good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity! ... It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore." -- Psalm 133:1, 3
I well remember how wet the fairways were early in the morning. While I was in high school I would work as a golf caddy, going out on the course at 6 or 7 in the morning. The moist dew would saturate my shoes, but it would prepare the grass for a hot day a head. The morning dew is a quiet and simple blessing.
As the morning dew refreshes, so the unity among brethren blesses. It permeates the community drawing the people together as one. Differences are set aside and shared commitments are embraced. You find love and concern for one another resting on every heart and conversation. Brothers and sisters labor together as one with a common devotion to the Lord. Daily unity is a quiet and simple blessing.
Why do we carry on from day to day without the blessing of unity? In the absence of such a refreshing presence is a dry harshness that rubs us raw. To live in unity and to strive toward that end is worth every effort. As the morning dew is a welcome relief to dry grass, so our lives, families and churches will find that unity is a quiet and simple blessing.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Our Protection

"My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one." -- John 17:15
The causes that lead to military engagement are many. As a result our young men and women serve in parts of the world that place them in harm's way. They are given ballistic vests, Type III and above, having added steel, titanium, ceramic or polyethylene plates which can withstand high-powered rounds such as those from rifles. While we may desperately desire that they be safely at home, we provide them with gear that will protect.
As members of the Lord's army, we are placed on the battle field of life in the face of great evil. Knowing that we are here for a great purpose, the Lord doesn't seek for our removal. We have been sent into the battle to spread the good news of Jesus and show the world his love. Although we may be in harm's way as we serve, we have the Lord's intercession for protection.
When you are discouraged in the face of spiritual warfare, be strengthened my friend. As the evil presses in upon you with unending attacks, be assured of victory. Remember that you have the greatest "ballistic vest" in the Lord's intercession for your protection.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Our Companion

“A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me." -- John 16:32
I remember the first Christmas I spent away from home. I was at college, working full time and unable to return home for the holidays. The dorm was empty and I was alone. The feeling was haunting and one I will never forget. When circumstances leave us alone, we need a companion.
Jesus was soon leaving the disciples and he knew his path would be hard. He had planned to meet their need for comfort by promising them the coming of the Holy Spirit. But he knew that he would be left alone in his suffering for sin. Thankfully, though he would be alone, he had a companion.
When you feel all alone and overwhelmed by the situation where do you turn? Will you simply sit in a cloud of discouragement or will you consider the fact that you are never really alone? As Jesus consoled himself in the face of lost support from friends, so should we remember, our Lord is with us always... to the very end of the age.(Matthew 28:20) 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The test of time

"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you." -- John 15:16
Have you had a "Red Delicious" apple recently? I just read that this particular apple variety is the most nutritious, but for some reasons its popularity has waned. It has become a wonderful fruit that has lost its significance. How sad to be a fruit that didn't stand the test of time.
On the other hand Jesus had a higher expectation for believers. He has chosen and appointed us with a distinct purpose in mind. We are to bear fruit. Our fruit is to be spiritually healthy, God honoring and have a lasting effect in the face of eternity. We are to labor to produce fruit that will stand the test of time.
Are you satisfied with the moment and spiritual seeds? Or are you looking for the fruit that comes from proper planting, fertilizing, watering and time? Is your devotion to the Lord stagnate or productive? What are you doing today my friend to bear fruit that will stand the test of time?

Friday, November 20, 2015


"But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." -- John 14:26
I remember many prayers being said during my college days. Needs varied from money for school to wisdom for the days following graduation. But the most interesting supplications were for help in taking exams. I always wondered what we expected of the Lord; to help us to be calm and remember what we studied or did we hope he would infuse unstudied knowledge into our heads. We can only remember what we have learned.
As this is true of academics so it is of spiritual growth. While we should depend fully on the Holy Spirit to teach us spiritual truths, his ministry also includes reminding us of the words and teaching of our Lord. But, how can he possibly remind us of truth if we have not entrusted it to memory. Reading and memorizing the Word of the Lord is a clear prerequisite for spiritual knowledge and growth. We can only remember what we have learned.
Do you expect the Holy Spirit to provide you with wisdom and guidance at just the right time? What will he have to bring to your mind when needed? Is there a vault of God's Word hidden in your heart? Have you read, reread and memorized the Scriptures so the Lord can "remind" you? Remember my friend; we can only remember what we have learned.