Tuesday, January 31, 2012
I remember a friend telling me before I gave my life to Christ, that if I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior, it would be the start of one life and the end of another. The life of doing my will and what I wanted would die and the new life of doing God's will and surrendering to Him would begin. I'm amazed at how so many people don't understand this. They simply pray and prayer and then continue to live the exact same life they were living. But living life as a Christian is so much more than that. I've been reading some lately from the Amplified Bible and have been enjoying its richness. Acts 2:21 in the Amplified says, "And it shall be that whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord invoking, adoring, and worshiping the Lord--Christ shall be saved." And John 6:47 says, "I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, he who believes in Me who adheres to, trusts in, relies on, and has faith in Me has (now possesses) eternal life." These two verses seem to express so much more than just praying a prayer. They challenge me to truly live for Him. When I was saved my life changed 180 degrees and everyone who knew me would agree. I was no longer the same 21 year old, but a man who had chosen to let the new man live and the old me die. The only thing that was the same was that I still played tennis. But even that part of my life encountered change. A transformation took place in me. Yes it did start with a prayer, but that was only the initial starting point. From that moment on Jesus became my life and I have continued living for Him for almost 23 years. Living as a Christian is the most incredible thing that's ever happened to me. It's become my life and journey, with heaven being my destination. Pray the prayer, but then also choose to live for Him.
Monday, January 30, 2012
acking in loyalty; showing an absence of allegiance, devotion, obligation, faith, or support." In every arena of life, people will choose to walk away from something they shouldn't. Perhaps it's a marriage, a family, a relationship or something else. Unfaithfulness and disloyalty shouldn't come as a surprise to us. We see that even Jesus had people do it to Him (John 6:66) and according to the Bible, many will walk away from the faith in the days ahead (1 Tim 4:1). When I think of loyalty and faithfulness, I immediately think of Jesus. He is our example of what a Christian should look like when it comes to these two areas. Just because we live in a culture where unfaithfulness and disloyalty are common, don't fall into the culture's mold. Choose to be faithful and loyal in every area of your life, just like Jesus.
Saturday, January 28, 2012
For wisdom is better than rubies, And all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her." If you ever have an opportunity to listen to a senior, perhaps it's a family member, neighbor or a complete stranger, tune your ears to what they say out of the abundance of wisdom from their life journey.
Friday, January 27, 2012
I was looking through some old pictures last night and came across some of my wife and daughter. It's so amazing how at times a child can look like a parent. We serve such a creative God! It's hard to explain how He does it, yet He does. It's so special looking at pictures of my wife and seeing her so much in my daughter. As parents we not only pass on physical traits, but God desires us to pass on our spiritual ones too. As a Christian parent one of my major goals must be to pass onto my children a hunger and desire to serve the Lord. Obviously it's their choice, but there's a lot I can do to help them in their relationship with Him. One of the most important things a parent can do for their child is to pray for them. I don't just mean that God would watch over them, but to go so much more deeper for them. Daily we pray for our children's health, their influence, for wisdom, to be a bright light for Jesus, to live pleasing to Him and that the word of the Lord over my kids would come to pass about having "prophets and preachers in my home." I believe my kids are world changers! God has blessed me with them and I'm going to pray God's plans into reality. I challenge you to pray boldly for your children today, and don't forget what Psalm 127:3 tells us, "...children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward."
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Let your light so shine before men that they may see your moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds and recognize and honor and praise and glorify your Father Who is in heaven (AMP). Will people see Him in you today? Today is very valuable!
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
http://www.godvine.com/Police-Officer-s-Final-Act-of-Kindness-Caught-on-Tape-Before-Dying-1065.html I couldn't help but think about his kindness to this young man he'd never met, and would probably never meet again. In a very dangerous profession where officers put their lives on the line daily, living their motto, "To protect and serve" is truly how this officer lived. To me this man is a hero. He served his nation, served his community and offered a helping hand to others. From all that's been said about him, this wasn't a one time act for this man, but described his life. None of us know when our time will be up, so live today as if it's your last. From what you do today, what's the impression and imprint left on the lives of those around you? Will it be like this officer? Will kindness be one of the lasting impressions you leave? Today live out Colossians 3:12, "Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience."
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnu9Q--0vYo Be warned, it's very intense and not for the fainthearted. It's truly amazing what a person can do if if they're willing to give everything they have. If they have a goal in sight and are willing to sacrifice everything to attain that goal. As I watched this show it made me think about being a Christian. The Bible says we're also in a war and there's an obvious need to be trained and ready. Paul's words in Philippians 3:12-14 keep coming to mind and what he said, "Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." I don't think there was anything easy about what Paul endured for his commitment to Christ. Just as these soldiers pressed on, so did Paul. Often I think people believe that once a simple prayer has been prayed, that everything becomes easy and without opposition. This couldn't be farther from the truth. You have now become part of the greatest war that has ever raged. But we do win! If we will simply choose never to give up, just like those men who chose to survive the cut at Marine Recon School.
Monday, January 23, 2012
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." Wow! Overwhelming victory is ours through Jesus Christ and His love! There are times when it's easy to walk by sight and not by faith, so seeing ourselves as being more than a conqueror can be a real challenge. Yet God sees us as being more than conquerors, and what He thinks is more important to me than what I think. The Greek word used for "more than conquerors" is "hupernikao." It indicates a person who is super-victorious and wins more than an ordinary victory. This person is overpowering in achieving abundant victory through Christ Jesus. This may not be who we feel like at times, but in Christ it really is who you are. The devil can bring plenty of accusations and lies against you, but through Christ you are a mighty conqueror and overcomer! And where does all of this come from? The last part of Romans 8:37 tells us. It's through Jesus and His love for us. Love is the most powerful weapon in the universe and God Himself is love. And this very love is what fills us and makes us who we are.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." Don't let fears define who you are. All we need to do is look at verses like Romans 8:37 to see who we are. It tells us, "...we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." The phrase that's used here, "more than conquerors," comes from the Greek word "hupernikao." It refers to a person who’s super-victorious and wins more than an ordinary victory. It's someone who's overpowering in achieving abundant victory through Christ and His love. This is who we are! And this is what the HITC students have been these past two weeks. They didn't let the fear of public speaking hold them back, but instead were decisive in victory over glossophobia! Way to go HITC students. Very proud of you :)
Friday, January 20, 2012
One of the most memorable things from this year's football season is seeing how coach Chris Peterson talks with his players during a game. Whether it's Kellen Moore, Doug Martin, or any other player, they always seem to go to him. Why is this? Because he's the guy with the wisdom, plays and good fruit. It makes me think of all the incredible men and women who have spoken into my life throughout the years, helping and strengthening my walk in the Lord. Whether it was those who mentored me when I was first saved, those who took me under their wing when I was a newlywed, and those who speak into my life today. I definitely wouldn't be the man I am today without them. They strengthen my life, showing me what the Bible says, in love, and not for their gain but for mine. One of my favorite verses is Proverbs 11:14 which says, "Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety." Just like anyone else I don't want to fall, but desire to walk safely. That's why it's important for me to allow others to do this. It's incredible to me how the "life coach" or "life mentor" industry has boomed in recent years. But why has it? Simply because people see the huge benefit of others speaking into their life, wanting to help them grow and succeed. I also consider it a privilege for me to speak into the lives of others. It's been so amazing to watch those around me grow and be strengthened as they're exhorted, encouraged, edified and comforted. Thank you to all the mentors, life coaches, parents and everyone else who helps others by speaking into the lives of others, helping them grow and succeed. You are a blessing :)
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Many of you have seen images or heard about the massive cruise ship that capsized earlier this week. It's truly a miracle that this didn't become a one of the most tragic "Titanic-like" maritime disasters of all time. This definitely had nothing to do with the captain of the ship. He abandoned his ship very quickly to save his own life, thinking he would give directions from a megaphone on his life boat. I thought it was the responsibility of the ship's captain to make sure that everyone gets off safely, doing everything he can to make sure this happens. This usually implies that he would be the last one off the ship, once all passengers and staff are safe, but now this captain is in jail facing a list of many charges including manslaughter. I'm so thankful for all the fathers, mothers, teachers, pastors and others who carry huge responsibility, and yet don't abandon ship when they encounter difficulties, unlike this ship's captain. A powerful contrasting picture is that of captain "Sully" Sullenberger. He's the airline pilot who was miraculously able to land his commercial airliner safely in the Hudson River. Once he'd made sure everyone had gotten off the plane safely, he went back inside the cabin just to make sure he hadn't missed anyone, in all the commotion. This is what being a true captain is all about. It takes courage, boldness and strength to be a great leader. Next time you're around someone who has a lot of responsibility, don't forget to thank them and pray for them. And if you're a leader in some realm, be courageous! I'm thankful that Jesus didn't abandon ship when it came to us :)
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
to yield to the power, control, or possession of another." For most other things, surrender is not a great thing, but when it comes to being a Christian, it's the only thing. Why is it so difficult for people to surrender? Maybe it's a trust issue, pride or perhaps just not knowing how to? When I was saved it was very obvious to me that surrender is what the Lord desired of me. Coming from a lifestyle where I did what I wanted and self was the goal of everything, surrender was a very different direction for me. I held onto the promise of 2 Corinthians 5:17 which says, "This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!" As a Christian my old ways of doing things and who I used to be are no longer who I am now. I am a new creation (person) in Jesus. After serving the Lord for more than 22 years, surrender is the best choice I ever made. Will you surrender yourself to Him today? Check out the lyrics to this great old hymn at this website... http://cyberhymnal.org/htm/i/s/isurrend.htm
Monday, January 16, 2012
And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these." These verses are rich, challenging and serious. It's easy for us to say we love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, but really, do we? Now it's not my place to say whether someone does or doesn't do this, that's between them and the Lord. But seriously, do my actions, words, attitudes and thoughts make this obvious to others? And how about the second part? Do I love my neighbor (anyone around me) as myself? Do I love them as Christ loved them? Treat them how Christ treated them? Or treat them how I want to be treated? When you think about these two commands from Christ, they are impossible for anyone to do unless they truly have encountered salvation through Christ. These two commands go against everything that culture tells us. But those who've been truly born again will find that these two commands become our desire. When Jesus is your Lord and Savior, you surrender everything about you and live for Him, and living out these two commandments become our joy.
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Today I have the privilege of officiating a funeral service for a lady I know loved the Lord with all her heart. Funerals where the person was a Christian are always much easier to do, because there's no guesswork as to where they are right now. One of the things I'm going to share about at today's service involves a simple dash (-). It's the dash that stands in-between the date someone was born and the date they passed away. If only that little dash could talk. It represents everything that's been done in a person's life. Who they were, how they lived, and everything they did. Just think about this for a moment. If you were to die today, what would your dash represent? What would your legacy have been? How will you be remembered by others? Whose lives will you have touched? Life is short and no-one knows when their days here on earth will be up. Each day you live should count and have purpose. Spend time with those you love. Cherish the special things. Live every day as if it's your last, because one day that day will come. Today has significance when it comes to your dash, so make it count. It's not too late to start writing or re-writing your dash :) As today I remember someone's passing, I can never forget what 1 Corinthians 15:54-55 says, "Death is swallowed up in victory, O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?"
Friday, January 13, 2012
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Have you ever noticed how many people don't have a problem with being dishonest or not telling the truth? Whether it's outright lies, bending the truth or even exaggerating, the Bible is very clear about us as Christians being truthful. Proverbs 12:22 clearly tells us, "Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who deal truthfully are His delight." Yet in our culture we often see high ranking politicians, mega sports stars, big time entertainers, spouses, children, employers, employees, government officials, and so on, lying and being dishonest. One reason for this is that people often believe lying is easier to do than telling the truth. Yet this clearly contradicts what is said throughout the Bible. Proverbs 6 lists several things the Lord hates; things that are an abomination to Him. Looking closely we see that "lying lips" is one of the things listed. As Christians we're called to be truthful. Jesus Himself is even called the Truth. Everyday we have lots of opportunities to be truthful or not. We must make the choice to be people of truth. Recognizing one of the greatest things missing in our culture is truth and honesty, can you imagine what would happen if everyone stopped lying and started being truthful? It would have such an immense impact! Today we must make the choice to tell the truth. Not hearsay, partial truth or bending it a little, but to be completely truthful. That's the choice I've made. Will you join me?
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing.." I want to remain in Him and Him in me for the rest of my life. Is Christianity simply about knowledge or living out what you know because of who lives inside of you?
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth." One of the things I began thinking about from this verse was spending eternity with the Lord in heaven, and how time won't really matter. When we talk about eternity, time will no longer be of any significance. Webster's Dictionary defines eternity as, "Infinite time; an endless or immeasurable period of time." It's funny how we can live on earth for 70-100 or so years, with time being a major factor in our lives. Yet when it comes to eternity, time will really have no significance. What a complete difference it will be for us. What a nice change it will be, not having to live according to time's ball and chain.
Monday, January 9, 2012
God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to Him for protection." What words of comfort and encouragement. The Lord is our mighty shield and all I have to do is trust in Him. When you can go throughout your day knowing the Lord is your shield and protector, it's so amazing and brings such confidence. It doesn't matter what things come your way today, the Lord is your powerful shield and protector. Whatever strategy or tactics the enemy tries to use against you, simply hide in behind your impenetrable shield, the Lord. Psalm 18 is such a passage of strength to all Christians and continues in verses 35-36 by saying, "You have given me your shield of victory. Your right hand supports me; Your help has made me great. You have made a wide path for my feet to keep them from slipping." What peace, comfort and encouragement the Lord brings. I encourage you to read Psalm 18 today :)
Saturday, January 7, 2012
Friday, January 6, 2012
Unless the Lord had helped me, I would soon have settled in the silence of the grave. I cried out, “I am slipping!” but your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me. When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer." These are such encouraging verses. The Lord is our Helper, our Support, our Comforter, and the reason for our hope and joy. Maybe today you find yourself in a difficult situation where you don't see answers, or a way out. Don't be discouraged, hopeless, or want to give up! Run to the Lord and don't take your eyes off Him. Run the race with endurance and hope in the Lord. He's not going to leave you or forsake you, because He loves you :)
Thursday, January 5, 2012
Have you ever stopped to think how blessed we really are? We are very blessed! And all of the glory for this goes to the Lord, because He's my provider. He's the One I trust in with all my heart, for everything. One of the amazing things about the Lord is when it comes to the needs in my life, according to Matthew 6:8, is that He "...knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!" I have to tell you about something that happened recently to me. My son plays a lot of tennis (I wonder where he gets that from?) He's pretty tough on his shoes, and not only that, he's growing like crazy. I'm sure those of you who have a teenage son understand. Tennis shoes were something that he was going to need soon. Last week I went into a local thrift store (from a post last week you know I love thrift stores) and there on the shelf were two pairs of brand new Adidas tennis shoes. But these weren't any old shoes. They were the top of the line Adidas tennis shoe which you can order online today for $110, yet they were thrift store priced :) One pair of these shoes is half a size big and the other pair is a full size bigger than what he wears now. As you can imagine my son is pretty thankful for the Lord's provision. He knows there's no way we could buy a pair of these for full price, yet he also knows the Lord is able to provide things in a way that only He can. I know that sometimes we can pray for things and not see immediate results. However, never give up! God does things according to His timetable. Whether it's a simple pair of tennis shoes, or something much bigger, bring it before the Lord. He knows :) God is able to do the miraculous!
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the Lord." This couldn't be more true for me :) I truly found a treasure and throughout our twenty years have received so much favor from the Lord. Most married people would agree that a good marriage takes hard work and requires much love and sacrifice to make it last. This will include things (I've given just a few) such as dying to self, listening ears, a willingness to forgive, always choosing to believe the best and a foundation that's firmly founded on Christ Himself. Marriage is such an incredible thing God designed, and His idea wasn't for it simply to be a peace treaty between two parties. I recently told my wife, "Going out on dates is fun, but I feel like every moment is a date with you." Marriage is incredible! There's something about the Lord bringing two people together in marriage and releasing them to do His will. It's both amazing and powerful! I thank Katherine, my beautiful wife of the past twenty years, for being a Proverbs 31 woman and such a blessing to me. Through both the good times and the challenging, there has never been another option for us other than making our marriage honor the Lord and blossom. I so look forward to many more years of marriage and growing old with the woman of my dreams. I love you sweetheart :)
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMrz6UjQ8Cg. Don't forget what the Lord told Samuel when he came to anoint the king in 1 Samuel 16:7, "Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." When it comes to people, never base things simply on what you see, because often there's a treasure to be found in them :)
Monday, January 2, 2012
But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us."