June 18, 2017
I was reminded this week of an interesting verse from the Bible: “Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.” Ecclesiastes 11:4 (These words were penned by Solomon, who though he was the richest and wisest man on earth, had undertaken a pursuit to discover life’s meaning. It’s a great read.) So what is he getting at? I believe what he is saying is that there will always be a reason not to do what needs to be done. There are never “perfect” conditions.
Often times we fail to do what we know to be the right thing, because the timings not right, the settings not right, our attitudes not right… An endless list of what’s not right will always prevent us from doing what is right. What is the last thing that God has prompted you to do: give, forgive, serve, pray, confess, let go? Have you done it? Let me encourage you to stop waiting on “perfect conditions”, and act. James 4:17 reminds us: “Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.” (NLT) Pretty strong words.
Have a great week!
June 11, 2017
During the month of June we are reading the book of Philippians together as a church, as we seek to live, love and lead like Christ. Of course it takes more than reading God’s Word to see change take place in our lives, there has to be a responding to God’s Word. Sometimes I use a simple tool called S.P.E.A.K to help me to interact and respond with the Scripture that I am reading:
Sin to Confess: Does what I’m reading convict me of a sin or shortcoming in my life that I need to confess and address?
Promise or Praise: Is the passage I’m reading revealing a promise from God I need to claim, or praise I need to offer?
Example to follow: Is the Bible reading showing me an example that I need to imitate, or an example I need to avoid?
Attitude to adjust: Attitude shapes our actions! As I’m reading the Bible, are there attitudes that I need to embrace (e.g. forgiveness, humility, etc.)
Knowledge to apply: The Bible is a book of profound wisdom, relevant to every facet of our lives. As you read search for what is to be learned.
As you sit down to read God’s Word this week (Philippians 2), begin with a simple prayer: God, would you speak to me, and help me to respond to you.
Enjoy the Journey!
May 14, 2017
Happy Mother’s Day! What would our world and lives be like without the sacrificial love of moms? If your mom, or someone who has been like a mom to you, is still part of your life, I hope you will celebrate them today and throughout the year. I shared the following thoughts several months ago, and felt like they were especially appropriate as we celebrate Mothers today.
I was reading Luke 1 this week, and was impressed by the faith of Elizabeth and Mary, who would become the moms of John the Baptist and Jesus. In Elizabeth, we have an elderly woman who can’t have a child because her “time” is past, and in Mary, we have a young betrothed bride who can’t have a child because her “time” has yet to come. They both become pregnant and their worlds, and ours, are changed forever!
Have you ever discovered that God’s timing and plans can differ from your own? We get everything worked out, and then we invite God to show up- when we’re ready. And if God happens to show up early or late, well we can become everything from annoyed to angry. What I love about Elizabeth and Mary is that when their plans were delayed or interrupted by God’s plans, they embraced it. They celebrated. They were available. They gave thanks, and they praised God. (Mom’s are awesome!)
The reality is, God’s timing is perfect. We may not always see it that way, but God is never late, and he is never early. If God’s “schedule” has you waiting, wondering or worrying, let me encourage you to let go. God says: “At the time I have decided, my words will come true. You can trust what I say about the future.” (Habakkuk 2:3 CEV) Exhale. Rest. Trust Him!
Enjoy the Journey!
April 16, 2017
CHRIST IS RISEN! These three words, and the truth they proclaim, change everything. When these words began to spread that first Easter morning, sorrow turned to joy, fear gave way to faith, and crucifixion was overcome by resurrection.
An email I received last week offered these very true words: “It has been said that graveyards remind us of the brevity of life. Jesus’ resurrection reminds us of the brevity of death. His death and resurrection offer us endless hope instead of a hopeless end.”
HE IS RISEN INDEED!
“He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see…” –Matthew 28:6 NIV
April 9, 2017
“The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” (Lamentations 3:22-23 NLT) As we start a new week, be encouraged by God’s love and mercy that never.
Today begins what is most commonly known in the Christian world as “Holy Week”. The events of this week are recorded in John 12-20, and I’d strongly encourage you to read this passage of Scripture, and reflect on the words and ways of Jesus Christ. In these chapters we see Jesus praised and applauded, ridiculed and rejected, executed and resurrected. It was a week unlike any other before or since. It was a week that changed the world and change eternity, and in the midst of it all Jesus never stopped loving.
In the days leading up to this week, Jesus knew the suffering that awaited him, but instead of avoiding it, he moved toward it. In fact the Bible says Jesus “steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem”. (Luke 9:51 KJV) What compelled Jesus to be so resolved? It was a desire to honor his heavenly Father, fulfill his purpose, and demonstrate love and forgiveness to others.
As we reflect on the sacrifice of Christ this week, a good question to consider is what do you have your face set toward? Whatever it is, may we seek to follow the example of Christ, and be compelled by a desire to honor God and love others.
April 2, 2017
I have found myself missing my kids a bit more than usual of late. (I know that God has my family just where he wants us, but sometimes I wish we could be in one country instead of what will soon be four.) This has me looking even more forward to our son’s wedding in July, when we will all be together again. Having things to look forward to is good, it’s just waiting for them to arrive that can be a challenge.
Sometimes I want God to speed things up a bit, and not only give me what I want, but give it to me now. Looking forward is good, as it fills us with hope, but waiting is necessary as well, because it keeps us in the moment. Heaven is one of those things that can seem a long way off. Paul wrote, “The Spirit makes us sure about what we will be in the future. But now we groan silently, while we wait for God to show that we are his children.” (Romans 8:23 NCV)
Whatever you find yourself longing to receive from God in the future, don’t forget the waiting on God that is required in the present.
February 19, 2017
These last ten days of our 40 days of Good News focus, we will be reading together the Gospel of John. John was known as the “beloved disciple”, as his relationship with Jesus was especially close. It is a very different and intimate portrayal of Christ, and a great read.
As I read the first chapter of John, I’m struck by all the introductions taking place that point people to Jesus. John the Baptist pointed Andrew to Jesus, and the first thing Andrew does is to introduce his brother Peter. Later Jesus encounters Philip, and the first thing Philip does is to find his friend Nathanael to say: “you’ve got to come and meet this guy named Jesus…” (John 1:35-49)
Do you see yourself as someone whose life points others to Christ? I know sometimes we can get hung up on sharing our faith, thinking that’s a “private thing”, or “who am I to talk about God”, but God wants to use us through the natural course of relationship and life to point others to Christ. It might be as simple as an invitation to church, telling someone you are praying for them, or responding with unusual love and kindness.
As people cross your paths this week, and conversations come up, be mindful of how you might point someone toward Christ. God wants to use you!
January 29, 2017
It has been four weeks since we ushered in the New Year, and it’s hard to believe the fist of 2017’s twelve months is almost gone. So how are you doing with your new years resolutions and goals? As I mentioned on January 1, resolutions can be a lot like having children: They’re fun to make, but hard to maintain
I want to encourage you that whatever goals or changes you are looking to pursue this year, that you’ll be intentional about knowing Christ, and making him known. The apostle Paul wrote: “Athletes work hard to win a crown that cannot last, but we do it for a crown that will last forever. I don’t run without a goal…” (1 Corinthians 9:25-26 CEV) What are you aiming for this year in your relationship with God? Perhaps the following will help give some definition to your resolutions…
Give: Whether it’s your time, talents, or resources, giving gets to the heart of God.
Obey: Faith without action isn’t faith at all. Do what God is prompting you to do.
Acknowledge God: Invite God to be a part of every part of life, and see him there.
Love well: Be generous in demonstrating love to God and others…it’s what counts.
Have a great week!
January 8, 2017
Have you ever entered into a situation, or relationship, or some new undertaking, expecting one thing and getting another? Probably all of us, right. In Mark 9 (one of my favorite chapters in the Bible), we see this very thing happen to Jesus. He comes up to a crowd of commotion. He asks what’s going on, and the disciples tell him they are trying to help this father’s son, but can’t. Listen to Jesus response: “You people don’t have any faith! How much longer must I be with you? Why do I have to put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” (Mark 9:19 CEV)
Seems like a rather “un-Jesus” like response, but I think it was largely due to unmet expectations. It’s clear Jesus was disappointed, however, his response didn’t end there. He went on to encourage the father, heal the boy, and teach the disciples. His love never wavered.
If, like me, you’ve had to deal with unmet expectations of late, let me encourage you to move on from the disappointment, discouragement, or frustration it might have brought. If we stay in that frame of mind, we are only going to miss the opportunities we’ll have to love, serve, and grow. Remember the Bible promises
“that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NASB) Even unmet expectations.
Have a great week!
December 11, 2016
So my only daughter is getting married in five days! (There’s a sentence that I’ve never written before.) I am really excited about this life change, as God has answered our prayers of 23 years to provide Emily with a godly man, from a strong Christian heritage. To be honest though, it took me a little time to get to a place of excitement. At first I found myself wanting to be overly protective. I mean who is this guy? Then I moved through a bit of a jealousy phase, as I felt rivaled for my daughter’s attention and affection. Then I came around to seeing that this union is a gift from God to be received and celebrated.
Not sure what the moral of this “story” is, but I just felt like sharing a bit of my journey with you. I do appreciate so much your prayers for my family and me in these days. I am also grateful that our heavenly Father is protective of us, and even jealous for us. He is also the giver of good gifts. My prayer is that each of us will know and experience God in these ways.
Have a great week!