Sunday, August 31, 2014

Are you part of the harvest?

Labor Day. This is the day set aside to honor the American worker. It is celebrated by sales, malls open, cookouts and end of summer vacations. I can remember when everyone had the day off. School didn't start until after labor day. But things change, don't they? At least we don't parade our battle ready equipment around like some countries do.

There are many battles going on. Not just between nations, but between people, families, churches. The biggest battle is the one that goes on between satan and God's people. What does it mean to be a laborer in this battle? Where is the fight? For some it is in our minds as we struggle with what Paul called our inner man or old self. But what about the battle outside ourselves? Have you joined the ranks? Are you a fighter or a pacifist? Will you take a stand or take time off? Does your battle belong to the Lord? It's harvest time.

"Then Jesus went throughout all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and sickness.  When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were bewildered and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.” Mt 9:35--38

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Trust in God's Word.

Has someone ever broken a promise to you? Especially someone you felt very dear to? How did that make you feel? Did you find it hard to trust that person again? Did you project that distrust onto others?
The world may be changing, God's word is unchangeable. We are still heirs to his kingdom and his love. In him, we find refuge from all the ills of the world and it's lies and suffering. We who live in the free world are so fortunate to be living his blessings now. He remains our refuge and our strength. Let's continue to trust in him and honor his word in our lives and be thankful.
" In the same way God wanted to demonstrate more clearly to the heirs of the promise that his purpose was unchangeable, and so he intervened with an oath, so that we who have found refuge in him may find strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us through two unchangeable things, since it is impossible for God to lie." Heb 6:17-18

Friday, August 29, 2014


Jake, the new fur faced family member woke us up before dawn running around the room like a mad man. We expected this behavior when it was lightening, not just raining heavily. And pour rain it did. It was like a cloud burst. "Thank you Lord, I won't have to get up to water this morning as I has planned. Thanks so much for listening to the weather men and honoring the rain forecast. The wet soil will bring growth to the plants."
The Bible speaks of raining down righteousness. What a lovely visual. There is definitely a drought of righteousness in the world. What would happen if we suddenly experienced a cloudburst that brought salvation to all? Then I could say, "Thank you Lord for filling all of us humans with your righteousness and salvation that will bring peace to the world and the whole world will grow in your grace."
“You heavens above, rain down my righteousness;
let the clouds shower it down.
Let the earth open wide,
let salvation spring up,
let righteousness flourish with it;
I, the Lord, have created it.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Godly Fitness

 Do you know anyone who is addicted to physical fitness training? It is very important that we keep our bodies fit. It keeps our minds alert and active, too. But it is also as important that we are trained in values related to godliness? The results of our physical training end when our life ends, but the godly values we uphold take us on through the life to come. Continue to work on bodily fitness, but do not neglect godly fitness. This includes the values of loving others as God loved us, fitness of mind and spirit to read God's word, to live according to God's word and to spread God's word. What training do you need to add to your fitness routine?

"Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness;  for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come." 1 TIM 4:7-8

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What Does God Really Want?

Martha and Mary. Close friends of Jesus. One sister was a doer and one a worshipper. Yet, he loved them both. Have you ever, like Martha, compared what you do for the Lord with what others are doing? Do you wear yourself out serving on committees, teaching, volunteering. Have you had to skipped worship because you were doing work at the church, like setting up for a program? Does the church you attend constantly ask for more offering, more giving or make you feel guilty that you don't do enough? Have you ever just quit going to church because you felt you couldn't keep up? Is this what the Lord wants...more money, more of your time and talents, you over looking your other responsibilities, your feeling guilty that you should be doing more? What does the Lord really want for you?
"He has told you, O man, what is good,
and what the Lord really wants from you:
He wants you to promote justice, to be faithful,
and to live obediently before your God." Micah 6:8
How well are you doing these things?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Wait for the Lord

Like a lot of folks, I've spent some time in depression, but never enough to consider suicide. That still small voice inside seems to stop me from going deeper. Something always comes up that reminds me that life is worth living, regardless of how lousy I feel today.
I once sat on a park bench with a loaded Colt 45 between myself and an acquaintance. I don't know why she reached out to me. She had the means and the mindset and I strongly suspected she was capable of pulling the trigger. As I sat with her and listened to all her reasons, I was shaking and praying. I let her talk. When she said something that I thought sounded like a flicker of hope, I recounted it to her and tried to get her to explore that idea. We prayed together several times. Thankfully God intervened. He is always there to intervene if we will just wait for him and give thanks for his saving intervention.
"Why are you depressed, O my soul?
Why are you upset?
Wait for God!
For I will again give thanks
to my God for his saving intervention." PS 42:11

Monday, August 25, 2014

Good News Monday

In the past, Monday has been referred to as Blue Monday, but it can be a very exciting day. When I was in junior high school and learning "hand work", I embroidered a set of t-towels with words describing what was expected each day of the week. Monday was "Wash Day" and the picture was a line with clothes hanging from it. What words do you use to refer to your Mondays? What task do you assign to the first day of the normal work week?
God wants every day to be spent honoring him. If his word has not been spread, how can the people believe and rejoice in him? So how will you describe and picture your Mondays? Can the word be FAITH?" Will you embroider foot prints to represent your feet going out to others? How about adding an ear for listening or a megaphone for speaking out. You might want name Monday "Good News Day.
"As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ." Romans 10:15-17

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Anger: Blessing or Curse

"He was so angry he was turning purple." "She as so angry she shook the table." "I was so angry, I could feel my blood pressure rising and I was getting a headache." "When I'm angry, I just have to throw something.""She was so angry she took her petition before the city council and got speed bumps put down to avoid another injury on that block."

Anger is an "all over" reaction. We have physical as well as emotional responses. Some of the physical responses can have serious consequences. Anger can cause us to do things we might not do such as shoot someone or break something valuable. It is one of our strongest negative emotions. Yet, it can also be motivating such as when it becomes righteous indignation and prompts us to take a positive action with greater feeling. When did your anger work for good?

God allows us to be angry,  with a warning. "Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life." Ephesians 4:26-27 Msg.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Rescued from the undertow

I was caught in an undertow. I was swimming as hard as I could to get out of it, but it seemed futile. I knew I needed to swim with the shore and saw people waving at me. Was this my time, even with all these people watching me?  Suddenly, a strong arm caught me and the person attached to the arm pushed me into a wave. Choking up water and struggling to catch my breath, I landed in shallow water steps from shore.

I had been rescued! PTL. Although exhausted, I profusely thanked the life guard and the people around me. Was it them who saved me or was it the Lord? We know the answer to that. Although the life guard  had thrown me into that wave and guided me to the shore, God had his arms around me. The life guard was just there because it was his job. He got praise from the crowd. But my praise went to the Lord who is my real life guard and rescuer.

"I’ve thrown myself headlong into your arms—
    I’m celebrating your rescue.
I’m singing at the top of my lungs,
    I’m so full of answered prayers." PS 13:5-6

Friday, August 22, 2014

I'm Sticking With Him

"I've got the joy,joy,joy,joy....Where?...down in my heart, down in my heart, down in my heart to stay." Remember this song? It's not just for the children and teens, but for us as adults as well. Often we forget that the joy from God fills our hearts and minds with love and peace. If we are feeling sad, frustrated, angry, anxious or any other of the negative emotions that come from outside ourselves, we can go to him day or night for guidance and deliverance from what holds us back and keeps us from feeling that joy in our heart. Stick with him....he's a good thing.
" Day and night I'll stick with God; I've got a good thing going and I'm not letting go. I'm happy from the inside out, and from the outside in, I'm firmly formed. " Psalm 16:8-9

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I will not be moved

Did you wake up this morning with something on your mind...something that played in your mind all night? Is this the Lord leading you? Does he Lord answer your prayers through dreams or sudden ideas that come into your mind? Honor him by standing firm and obeying what he has inspired you to do. Sometimes it seems impossible, but remember he is always with you. He is at your right hand. Go forth with gratitude and confidence in him as you do his will. Remember he gets the glory.
" I will give honor and thanks to the Lord, Who has told me what to do. Yes, even at night my mind teaches me. I have placed the Lord always in front of me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be moved." Psalm 16:7-8

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Listen to the heart

Do you listen to your heart or your mind? When I listen to my mind, I get confusing messages some time. I start hearing chatter from other people, even books I've read, movies I've watched and other distractions from the world we live in. Sometimes emotions get involved. I've found this true in matters of faith as well as other matters. So much information is out there and I get on information overload.

If I listen to my heart, the message is clear because it comes from the Lord. I pray for discernment and go to scripture for clarification. At times I seek counsel from trusted believers. I have to sit very still to hear the heart message. Too much information brings confusion. When I don't listen to my heart and respond in faith, I get into trouble. How about you?

"Keep a strong hold on your faith in Christ. May your heart always say you are right. Some people have not listened to what their hearts say. They have done what they knew was wrong. Because of this, their faith in Christ was wrecked." 1 Tim 1:19

Monday, August 18, 2014

Today's joy

As you planned your day today, did you include joyfulness? What a concept. I did not think of this until I read Philippians and came across Chapter 4 verse 4. How about you? Have you ever actually written "have a joyful day" in your day planner? Will you write it under your A or B priority list? Will it be a daily priority or as needed? Now what are the steps you will list so you can insure a joyful day today and everyday?
"Be full of joy always because you belong to the Lord. Again I say, be full of joy! Let all people see how gentle you are. The Lord is coming again soon. Do not worry. Learn to pray about everything. Give thanks to God as you ask Him for what you need. The peace of God is much greater than the human mind can understand. This peace will keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:4-7

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Daily Worship

Today we gather together to worship our Lord and Savior. We will read scripture together, sing hymns and be taught. Our time together will be peaceful as we focus on our thankfulness to God for all he has done for us.It is a day of unity under God. Each day should be the same....worshipping the Lord, letting his word dwell in us, teaching and admonishing each other in wisdom, praising him in song and being grateful for our blessings. I have to pause at the phrase, teaching and admonishing each other in wisdom. Do I live these words? Do I let the peace of Christ rule in my heart each day or just on Sunday?
"And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Colossians 3:14-17

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Put on Love

Where are you going with the New Self we've been looking at? What can keep us from going back to our old inconsiderate and selfish behavior? There is one more thing we must add to our list of virtues...LOVE. Not the love we read about in steamy romance novels, but the love Christ teaches us. It's the love that knits us together and promotes unity. It's the love that encourages to live in peace. We can not have this love by ourselves. We receive it through Christ living in our hearts and giving him the power. The hard part is giving him the power. But each time we do, we experience change. Having a heart filled with love and peace can definitely be first on our gratitude list.
Have you given Christ absolute power over your heart? He will help you.
"And to all these things, you must add love. Love holds everything and everybody together and makes all these good things perfect.
Let the peace of Christ have power over your hearts. You were chosen as a part of His body. Always be thankful." Colossians 3:14-15

Friday, August 15, 2014

Forgiveness heals

"Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others."Colossians 3:13
Have you ever been around someone who always focuses on the faults of other people? Not a very pleasant person to be around. We all have our faults. Each of us can offend someone with a word or action. Isn't it better to forgive rather than hold on to the offense. When we hold on we are the one who suffers. What about God? Does he find fault with us? Do we offend him? For me the answer is yes. But God forgives my faults and offenses because of Jesus death on the cross. In return, he wants us to follow his example. If we can't do it ourselves, then he, through his Holy Spirit will help us. Many of our illnesses can be traced back to holding on to these feelings. Forgiveness heals us.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

changing our attitude and behavior

Don't you just love Colossians 3:12? If we would just focus our actions on the behaviors listed here, we would certainly live a full and joyful life. I don't mean problem free or without some pain and suffering. But we would see things in a different way and live more thankfully.

Consider each behavior: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Think: how do I apply each of these behaviors or attitudes? Choose one to apply today on someone. Do this each day for a month. What happens? You will change their life and your own.

"God has chosen you. You are holy and loved by Him. Because of this, your new life should be full of loving-pity. You should be kind to others and have no pride. Be gentle and be willing to wait for others." Colossians 3:12 (NLV)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

An Organized Closet

Since I've never been known for my organizational skills, my idea of getting dressed is to rummage through the closet and try to find something that still fits and is appropriate for where I am going. How I envy friends who have closets organized by color, style, events, etc. Or how about those friends who lay things out ahead of time, checking for missing buttons or other flaws that need to be corrected. Not me. It's grab and go.
But there is another closet that holds a better, far more useful wardrobe that is quite well organized, always fits and is without flaw. It holds fashion that never goes out of style and always fits very well in size and function. This wardrobe is a rare gift to us. Have you found yours?
" So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it." Colossians 3:12-14 The Message

Sunday, August 10, 2014

PS 46

Listening to the news is the most stressful part of my day. Rarely do we received encouragement. There are trouble spots all over the world with terrible things happening to people. Did God create us to live in fear, to dread what will happen next, to take up arms against our neighbors? How much time to do you spend praying? How much time worrying?
Instead of worrying and fearing what is coming next, he simply wants us to pray and trust in him.
"He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress." Psalm 46:10-11

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Acts 25

Imagine this! You made some statements that made a group of people uncomfortable, threatened and angry. They got so riled up that they threatened to kill you. You knew that what you said was correct and that they had added things in their charge that you had not said. You asked to be brought to court to plead your case. They had no proof, but had a very good argument against you. You only had your word. What would your defense be?

This is exactly what happened to Paul while he was spreading the gospel in Jerasulem and was taken to Cessaria to be tried in the Roman court. The problem was that the charges were not against Roman law, but the Jews were like our current political lobbyists. People believed Paul's message was true and they had no defense against it. Seems that even in Paul's day, the voice of reason and truth could be drowned out by by the power of the dangling carrot.

In America we are guaranteed Religious freedom by our constitution, but in other countries missionaries frequently face serious trials. If this happened today and you were brought before a court because you were sharing the gospel message, how would you defend your innocence? Here is what Paul said to the Roman court:  "I am now standing before Caesar's court, where I ought to be tried. I have not done any wrong to the Jews, as you yourself know very well.  If, however, I am guilty of doing anything deserving death, I do not refuse to die. But if the charges brought against me by these Jews are not true, no one has the right to hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!" (Acts 25:10-11)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


"Having received the commander's permission, Paul stood on the steps and motioned to the crowd. When they were all silent, he said to them in Aramaic: "Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense." When they heard him speak to them in Aramaic, they became quiet. Acts 21:40-22:2
How important is it to give a message in the language the other person understands? We loose a lot in a message when the other person does not really know what is being said. Unfortunately not many of us are proficient in other languages. Then we do the Charades dance to try to get them to understand or get an interpreter.
Paul was about to be stoned by an angry crowd. His life was at stake here. To be sure the crowd understood him clearly, he spoke in their familiar language. It saved his life. I think these two chapters leave us two important messages. First, when the Holy Spirit says NO, there is a reason. He was entering very dangerous territory. So when we get a warning, we need to pay close attention and be prepared. Secondly, we need to speak in a language that is understood. Listening to the Holy Spirit and understanding what is said can save our life.

Monday, August 4, 2014


When was the last time you were told not to do something, but went ahead and did it anyway? What happened? My mother had an uncanny sense when I was thinking about doing something she would not approve of. She tried her best to dissuade me, but I had a mind of my own. She didn't want me to drive home from Waco, TX to Lawrenceville, Il for Christmas break because the weather predictions were for snow and ice. A friend's boy friend was driving with me and I thought he was a competent driver on bad roads. He had driven most of the way after we hit ice in Arkansas, but needed to rest so I took over. About 20 miles from home, a semi jackknifed causing me to go into a slide which was thankfully stopped by a guardrail. The car was totaled, but only bruises for us. The reason I had a car was because I was doing my Public Health rotation in South Dallas. I was again a walking student when I returned to school. Those nudges my mother got were from the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit had been nudging Paul not to continue to Jerusalem. He was a stubborn man, seized with his calling to bring salvation to the gentiles. At several stops along the way other believers had warned him it was not safe to continue to Jerusalem. " Coming over to us, he took Paul's belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, "The Holy Spirit says, 'In this way the Jews of Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.' " When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. 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." Acts 21:11-13
Tune in tomorrow to see what happens.

Sunday, August 3, 2014


Most visits to family and friends end with the hope of a next time. But what about those that don't. It might be because of a conflict that arises, or illness and death, distance and difficulty in getting together, or personal decision to maintain the distance. Whatever the reason, people can still stay in touch thru letters, phone calls, Facebook or other forms of communication. But it isn't the same as face to face. Often times, without such communication, the bond is not continued. Yet, in some cases it lasts a life time. It is remembered through a journal account or photos.

In this account in Acts, Paul was very sad. He knew he had made enemies as well as friends on his journeys that brought folks to the Lord. The enemies were strong and his appearance might stir up  riots or other means to destroy the building up of the churches he ministered to. So it was indeed a sad departing. But he kept up with them and communicated directly to them through his beautiful letters praising their work and admonishing them as needed. We can read his heartfelt letters in the New Testament. His advice is still relevant today. Many of us have kept special letters and cards from family and friends over the years. Parting does have special meaning and I love the fact that Paul prayed with his friends before leaving. He placed them and the future in God's hands.

"When he had said this, he knelt down with all of them and prayed.  They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship" Acts 20:36-38

Saturday, August 2, 2014


What are those idols that interfere with our true worship of the Lord? What are some of those man made gods we worship? Is it a job, is it a hobby, is it an idea, is it person? We all have them. They aren't all bad by any means, but anything that takes our mind and time away from the Lord and our work for him can be an idol. Look at your life and decide what they are and get rid of them.
The Ephesians were developing a great worship center, but when it interfered with commerce, the businessmen sought to destroy it. Could this be happening today. Perhaps we are seeing it in subtle ways. What are some things that take away from worship on Sunday? Things like shopping or professional ball games? Think about this.
"Men, you know we receive a good income from this business. And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that man-made gods are no gods at all. There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited, and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty." Acts 19 25-27

Friday, August 1, 2014

Acts 18

Have you ever "come to your wits end?" You've tried and tried to convince someone of the truth and they just don't get it? They just refuse to see the light.
This happened to Paul when he went to Corinth where, while working as a tentmaker, he regularly went to the synagogue and tried to reason with the Jews, testifying that Jesus was the Messiah. "But when the Jews opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, "Your blood be on your own heads! I am clear of my responsibility. From now on I will go to the Gentiles." Acts 18:6
He remained with those who believed and were baptized. Then the Lord came to him in a vision, saying, "Do not be afraid, keep in speaking and do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you because I have many people in this city." Acts 18:9-10.
When we are willing to shake off whatever is holding us back and trust that God is in charge and be open to his plan, things happen. What do you need to shake off so God can do his thing through you?