Sunday, March 18, 2018

Wait for God...

"I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD." - Psalm 27:13-14 
We live in "hurry up" world today. We choose "fast food" restaurants because we want quick meals. We pay the extra fee to have the faster downloads or "FIOS" for our internet activity. Patience is a rare quality in this "get it now" age. We may not wait for men but will we... wait for God?
David was confident in the Lord's goodness. Such assurance caused him to commit his life, challenges, struggles and battles into the hands of the Lord. Yet, after he committed everything to the Lord, he was left waiting. The Lord works wonders, but he does so in his time. David's son Solomon wrote years later in Ecclesiastes 3:11 "He has made everything beautiful in its time."  David may not have waited for men but he most certainly waited for God.
Are you confident in the goodness of God? Do you believe that he plans to provide for you as you follow him? Then be patient my friend. God is all about making everything beautiful in HIS TIME. You may not wait for men but for heaven's sake... wait for God. 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Just a little bit more...

"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life." - 1 Timothy 6:17-19 
In response to the question "How much money is enough?" John D. Rockefeller answered "Just a little bit more". This is the aim of many who are in pursuit of wealth. They are all about the acquisition, not so much the usage. Such a goal in life becomes an end in and of itself and everything else becomes secondary. Their whole life centers on "Just a little bit more".
The command of Paul was focused on the usage of wealth for the blessing of others. His counsel was to hope in God, do good, be generous and share. Such a life seeks to be a blessing, and when asked "How much blessing is enough?" will answer "Just a little bit more."
Has God provided for your needs? Have you acquired any amount of wealth over the years? What do you do with your monetary blessings? Are you hoarding your pennies for the days ahead or are you being a blessing to those in need? May each day be a new opportunity for blessing others "Just a little bit more".

Friday, March 16, 2018

The way we treat others...

"Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity." -  1 Timothy 5:1-2
Of all those who have darkened my office door for counseling, the problem of broken relationships has been most common. People just can't seem to get along with each other. Whether they be family members, co-workers or fellow believers at church, healthy relationships can be hard to maintain. Relational harmony begins with the way we treat one another.
The elder statesman gave wise counsel to the younger pastor when he emphasized proper treatment of age and gender. Paul knew that true community depends on mutual respect, honor and purity. It's not always "what" we say as much as it is "how" we say it. Words can heal or hurt, and as Solomon wrote in Proverbs 16:24, "Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones."  Relational harmony begins with the way we treat one another.
How do you speak to those who are older than you? For that matter how do you speak to your peers and those who are younger? The choice of words, tone of voice and body language can be a "make or break" in your relationships. Be wise and think before you speak because... Relational harmony begins with the way we treat one another.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

No pain...No gain

"Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come." - 1 Timothy 4:7-8
We bought a treadmill some years ago and located it in our home "gymnasium" along with the stationary bicycle, weight set and total gym. Like so many people today, we have been on a roller coaster of exercise programs. The reason most people find this pursuit an up and down effort is due to the hard work of training. The old adage is too true; No pain, no gain.
In many ways, times have changed very little. Paul knew of those in his day that spent great effort in physical training. He knew there was value in such activities, but not as much as training in godliness. His instruction was like a coach to an athlete as he encouraged Timothy to train himself to be godly. Godliness comes to those who are willing to do the hard work of training because... No pain, no gain.
Will you be in the gym today? Will you be training your body to look like a Roman Gladiator? Or will you simply workout to keep trim? Now, will you pour out the same effort to become like Christ? Will you schedule your time to be in the Word of God and prayer, training to be godly? Yes, training to be godly is hard work, but... No pain, no gain.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

On Course...

"Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that, if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth." - 1 Timothy 3:14-15 
Rules, rules, rules... growing up was so hard to do, with all the rules. "Don't run with scissors", "No cookies before dinner", "Wash behind your ears", "Call if you're going to be late" and the so the rules went on forever. What a relief to leave home so we could leave the rules behind. But then we found new rules at college, in the military or at the work place. Why so many rules? ... They keep us on course.
Paul was concerned and burdened for "God's household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth". He knew that certain rules of conduct were necessary for the health and effectiveness of God's household. Paul wasn't into legalism; he just wanted the church to be a spiritually strong foundation of the truth. Why so many rules? ... They keep us on course.
There is no home, business, school or army that can run smoothly or be "all that it can be" without rules. You may run from rules or fight against rules, but they are there for a purpose. Your church and its leadership are bound by the rules of Scripture to be a strong foundation of the truth. Don't fight it or keep asking "Why so many rules?"... They keep us on course!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Lift them up...

"I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness." - 1 Timothy 2:1-2
Some historic trivia allege that President James Buchanan was so disliked by some that his picture was stamped on the bottom of hotel chamber pots. Criticism for our presidents has been a national pass time for generations. But when did disrespect for the presidential office ever bring change to the nation? Though we may disagree with our leaders, we must choose to tear them down with criticism or lift them up in prayer.
Paul lived at a time when the Caesars ruled the world as gods. They demanded worship, but their moral and social depravity was legendary. Yet, Paul called for prayer and thanksgiving for "kings and all those in authority" without exception. While others tore the Caesars down with criticism, Paul chose to lift them up in prayer. 
We can listen to any number of political commentators today that find unending fault with our national and local leadership. The more we listen to them the more unsettled we become and nothing is changed. Yet, there is a choice for change... you can spend quality time tearing your leaders down with criticism or you can lift them up in prayer.


Knowing that intercessory prayer is our mightiest weapon and the supreme call for all Christians today, I pleadingly urge our people everywhere to pray. Believing that prayer is the greatest contribution that our people can make in this critical hour, I humbly urge that we take time to pray—to really pray. Let there be prayer at sunup, at noonday, at sundown, at midnight—all through the day. Let us all pray for our children, our youth, our aged, our pastors, our homes. Let us pray for our churches. Let us pray for ourselves, that we may not lose the word ‘concern’ out of our Christian vocabulary. Let us pray for our nation. Let us pray for those who have never known Jesus Christ and redeeming love, for moral forces everywhere, for our national leaders. Let prayer be our passion. Let prayer be our practice.

- Robert E. Lee

Monday, March 12, 2018

The Only God...

"Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen." - 1 Timothy 1:15-17 
We live in a world that focuses on self-image to a fault. You can subscribe to such magazines as "Self", "All You", "Ego" or "Me" and learn how to be the center of your universe. In this world there is no place for "sinners" or people in need of mercy. In an age of "me, me, me", there is no place for someone else to be the King eternal... the only God.
Paul was more productive in his lifetime than any CEO could ever hope. He was a highly successful leader, writer and motivator. But when Paul looked in the mirror he only saw the worst of sinners who received mercy. It could be that God chose to use this man because he had a realistic view of himself and his Lord. In humility, Paul worshiped and served the King eternal..the only God.
Have you figured out what hinders your spiritual growth the most? As you begin each day, do you freshly establish this fact: There is a God... and you're NOT him? Are you willing to face each day recognizing that you are a sinner, saved by grace and living under the merciful care of the Lord? God uses humble people who depend on him. Believers grow to unbelievable heights when they worship and serve the King eternal... the only God. 


 "For this is what the high and lofty One says— 
he who lives forever, whose name is holy: 
“I live in a high and holy place, 
but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, 
to revive the spirit of the lowly 
and to revive the heart of the contrite."

Isaiah 57:15

Sunday, March 11, 2018


"Who, then, is the man that fears the LORD? He will instruct him in the way chosen for him...  The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them." - Psalm 25:12, 14
I feared my junior high school vice principle. I wasn't afraid of him, but I feared and respected his authority. He commanded the respect of all the students; therefore there was peace and order wherever he walked. Having fear of those in authority can be overbearing or it can be reassuring. When the authority is reassuring, our fear will be rewarding.
David knew the Lord as his Shepherd, but he feared him as the LORD. He respected God as the one who was in charge and who had the wisdom and power for the job. David was reassured that when he lived in reverence of the LORD, he would find lifelong direction and daily insight from him as a result. Since the authority of David's Shepherd was reassuring, his fear was rewarding.
How do you walk before the Lord from day to day? Do you approach him frivolously or do you fear Him with the respect and reverence that he deserves? Do you serve him with confidence in his wisdom and power? When you find his authority reassuring, your fear will be rewarding.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

The Future ...

"Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest." - Proverbs 6:6-8
Picnics are great for fun, food and fellowship. We love to get together and play games, chit-chat across the table and enjoy one another's special recipes. The group may be family, friends, co-workers or church members, but we never extend an invitation to one little family. Our Uncles can come, but not the ants. But then, they don't need an invitation to show up and carry on their daily work. They attend every summer picnic possible with one thought in mind... the future. 
The Scriptures regularly call our attention to lessons from creation. God has given us many creatures from which to gain helpful insight. From the sparrows to the lilies of the field, the Lord's classroom is always open. Today we are directed to study the ant... a very little fellow who barges into our daily lives without warning. He is busy, busy, busy, with his assigned work of storing food for the needs of his family. He never procrastinates because he has one thought in mind... the future.
Many people on the other hand are notorious procrastinators. This lesson is needed for most of us every day. How well do you plan ahead? Are you prepared for the unexpected? Or do you wisely do today, what could be put off until tomorrow? The wisest move for us is to be spiritually prepared for the Lord's imminent return. As Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:15-16... "Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity..." with one thought in mind... the future.

Friday, March 9, 2018

On a mission...

"There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us to his home and for three days entertained us hospitably. His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him. When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured." - Acts 28:7-8
When we set out on a trip, we're focused on our destination. Flat tires, detours and illnesses are just inconveniences that are quickly dealt with so we can move on. The thought of stopping and smelling the roses or slowing down to give a helping hand is often rejected because...We're on a mission.
Paul was on a journey and the trip had been rough. The need to regroup and move on was great. But, Paul was willing to take time to get involved in other people's troubles. His needs were put aside to show the love of Jesus to someone else. Paul's life and ministry was reaching people everywhere for Jesus. Trips and troubles were never more important than people. Every day, Paul was on a mission.
What is your destination today? Are you going someplace exotic? Somewhere exciting and challenging? Is your plan more important than those you meet along the way? Is your ministry for Jesus always down the road and in the future? Take time to show the love of Jesus to those you meet day to day. Because people all around you need the Lord, you too are on a mission.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Grace...or Worship?

"After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat." - Acts 27:35
Jonathan Edwards would lead his family in a prayer of gratitude before and after every meal. George Muller of Bristol would lead the orphan children in a prayer of thanksgiving and faith before meals, where the food was yet to arrive. As the crucifixion approached, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it saying "Take and eat, this is my body" (Matthew 26:26). Saying grace is far more than a Christian obligation, it's a moment of worship.
Paul and an entire crew of storm worn sailors were about to eat some bread. It wasn't a feast and it wasn't a celebration. With the surrounding events so discouraging and threatening, appetites were long gone. Yet, Paul encouraged them to eat for strength and as they prepared to eat, he gave thanks. With the mess they were in, one might wonder why he would express gratitude. Grace isn't just being grateful for good and plentiful food it's... a moment of worship.
Do you take time to  give thanks before your meal wherever you are? Do you give thanks in the restaurant? Do you pray over your sandwich at work? How about your cereal in the morning when you are alone? Is your prayer an obligatory "Thanks", or in light of God's presence and provision is it... a moment of worship?

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

He hurts...

"... In my obsession against them, I even went to foreign cities to persecute them...“Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ “‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied." - Acts 26:11, 15
When someone offends my wife, I am offended. In most cases, when family members are troubled the whole family is troubled. But, the most painful experience is for mothers and dads when their children are hurt. It is true that most parents would rather suffer instead of their sons and daughters. When children hurt... parents hurt.
The experience of Paul on the road to Damascus was revealing in many ways. The church is the bride of Christ and we are the children of God as well. The relationship is deep and sealed in his blood. We are the apple of his eye and those who trouble the church trouble the Lord. The Lord put it simply, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting" The Lord takes persecution and offenses personally because... When God's children hurt... he hurts.
When you go to worship this week, remember, the church is the family of God. The thought is wonderful in many ways, but it also puts us on the spot. Take care in how you speak about your brothers and sisters. Be cautious in you criticisms of the Assembly of God's people. Be kind to the bride and the groom will be pleased because... When God's children hurt... he hurts.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Showing the way..

"Instead, they had some points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a dead man named Jesus who Paul claimed was alive. I was at a loss how to investigate such matters; so I asked if he would be willing to go to Jerusalem and stand trial there on these charges." - Acts 25:19-20
I've been using a computer on a daily basis for about nineteen years. As time has passed, I have become reasonably skilled in using this great tool. Occasionally, I am called upon to explain the features of some Bible software to a newbie. The results are often quite frustrating. They don't understand the basics and it takes great patience to show them the way.
This Bible reading provides a similar revelation of the unbeliever's mind toward the Gospel. After all was explained, Festus was at a loss. He understood Paul's claim that Jesus was alive, but he failed to see the significance. In the end, it all seemed to be religious "mumbo jumbo". Festus needed someone who would, with great patience show him the way.
Have you grown weary of that "someone" who just doesn't get it? Have you given the gospel to them time and again and they are still confused? Prayer is imperative, but patience is critical as well. The gospel may seem so simple to you, after knowing the Lord for many years. But the unbeliever needs someone who will take the time and patiently show them the way.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Time waits...???

"As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.”" - Acts 24:25
"Please get back to me when it's convenient". You have heard or said this polite and considerate statement from time to time. When is it ever convenient to deal with uncomfortable situations? In most cases we just have to make the time to deal with matters and hope for the best. Time waits for no man.
Paul brought Felix the message of salvation and "judgment to come". As always, Paul was thorough and most convincing in his discourse. The pressure of conviction upon Felix became so great that he said, "That's enough for now!" God's Word will always bring truth to bear and then we are pressed for decision. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation." (2 Corinthians 6:2) There is no other convenient time because... Time waits for no man.
Have you put off the message of God's saving grace in Christ? Do you think there will be a more convenient time?  When God speaks to your heart, the time to respond is now, not later. Remember... Time waits for no man. 

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Shepherd IN life...

"The LORD is my shepherd..." - Psalm 23:1
As a pastor I have performed funerals beyond number. Whether the loved one was a devout believer or rarely attended church, this passage is the reading of choice. In the hours of death, these words are of great comfort for those who grieve. But, the ultimate question concerning the departed is; was the LORD their Shepherd in life?
David expressed his life relationship with the LORD as his Shepherd. The entire psalm takes one through a daily faith walk. It all begins with the present tense of "is". The Lord "is" to be the Shepherd we follow in life, if he "will" be the Shepherd who receives us in eternity. Everyone wants a Shepherd in death, but is he their Shepherd in life?
Will you need the shepherd care of the Lord sometime in the future? Will you request this wonderful Psalm to be read during your last hours of life? Every comfort for your tomorrows begin with the "is" of today. The Lord will be your Shepherd in death, only if he "is" your Shepherd in life. 


“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—
and I lay down my life for the sheep. 
- John 10:14-15

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Take Courage!

"The dispute became so violent that the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them. He ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force and bring him into the barracks. The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”" - Acts 23:10-11
Of the 102 passengers that boarded the Mayflower in 1620, 37 were members of the separatist Leiden congregation seeking freedom of worship in the new world. They were willing to take a most dangerous journey for the hope of religious freedom. For those believers, seeking and serving God freely was worth any sacrifice, so they chose to set sail and... Take courage!
Paul was faced with opposition and persecution time and again. There were times when his very life was endangered. Yet, the Lord was always faithful to come along side to encourage him as needed. Paul knew that God had much for him to accomplish and the path would not be easy, but he pressed on with the Lord's message ringing in his heart... Take Courage!
The Lord has a purpose and plan for every believer, but it may not be easy. Paul wrote Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:12... "In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted".  Your path may be difficult at times but the Lord will stand near to encourage you. The Pilgrims found freedom and you will achieve God's task if you will just press on and... Take Courage! 

Friday, March 2, 2018

Called by God...

“Then he said: ‘The God of our fathers has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. You will be his witness to all men of what you have seen and heard." - Acts 22:14-15
Who are you? Many people would answer that question by stating their profession. Their career is their identity. There are bankers, lawyers, physicians, contractors, hairdressers and then there are ministers. But, should the minister be listed in the same way as other careers? The minister is a calling, and it runs deeper and wider than any career. When careers have come and gone, those who have been chosen to "witness to all men of what they have seen and heard" continue to be ministers... called by God.
Paul was chosen to know God's will, see the Lord and hear his words. He was set apart to bear witness of these things for a lifetime. His calling was quite simple; listen, learn, live and light the way for others as a minister of Christ. Paul might have said that his profession, career or identity was being a tent-maker. But, when Paul put aside the tools of his daily trade, he continued to be a minister... called by God.
Who are you? Are you a policeman, fireman, soldier, designer or software programmer? After you have answered that question, who are you in light of God's calling and giftedness? "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses..." (Acts 1:8) Every believer is chosen of God to listen, learn, live and light the way for others. To a certain degree every believer is a minister... called by God.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Without question...

"Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.”" - Acts 21:13-14 
We have seen a few of our young men spend numerous tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Every time they would leave for a new tour we would have great concern for their safety. The truth is; no one wants to see their loved ones go into the danger zone. But our young men and women who have chosen to serve their country go where they are called... without question.
The Christian life to which we are called is warfare. There are some battles that are more demanding than others, but Paul was ready to serve the Lord, anywhere at any cost. He was deeply loved and no one wanted to see him exposed to danger, but when his Commander and Chief called Paul obeyed... without question.
Has the Lord been calling you to new challenges lately? Have there been dear loved ones that are worried for your "welfare"? Have they expressed emotional concern and tried to discourage you? Take a lesson from Paul and obey your Masters call. May "The Lord's will be done."... without question. 


 "Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed,
 “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.
 Yet not as I will, but as you will.”" 
- Matthew 26:39