Category Archives: Uncategorized

Relationships

Gratitude. We hear a lot about it, but we don’t see a lot of it.

Recently I picked up a friend at the airport. As I was waiting for his arrival, I stood at the top of the escalators simply watching people. The more I watched, the more I became aware of God’s beautiful gift of relationships. Jubilant cries flowed as loved one after loved one greeted, exchanged hugs, and laughter. Mothers reuniting with children; friends reconnecting; acquaintances shaking hands; and spouses embracing one another filled the room.

My friend arrived and in like fashion we greeted each other warmly. I felt a part of the atmosphere I had previously witnessed. I then felt tremendously grateful.

For a moment I just stopped and thanked my friend for our relationship. I thanked God that I had friendships in my life; that I had a spouse, children, grandchildren. God’s intent for our lives is that we connect with one another and fellowship with one another. He wants us to love and to experience being loved.

Today, stop and thank God for the people in your life. Maybe there are those you need to reach out and reconnect with because time or misunderstandings have kept you apart. Maybe you need to put aside your busyness and spend time with those who want desperately to be in your life. Maybe it is time to forgive some folks who have offended you. Whatever your life looks like right now, I know you have room for relationships. I want to challenge you to pursue opportunities of friendship with one another.

Colossians 3:12-14, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

 

 


Please Let the Waters Part

Kings 2:9-14, “After they had gone across, Elijah spoke to Elisha. He said, “Tell me. What can I do for you before I’m taken away from you?” “Please give me a double share of your spirit,” Elisha replied. 10 “You have asked me for something I can’t give you,” Elijah said. “Only the LORD can give it. But suppose you see me when I’m taken away from you. Then you will receive what you have asked for. If you don’t see me, you won’t receive it.” 11 They kept walking along and talking together. Suddenly a chariot and horses appeared. Fire was all around them. The chariot and horses came between the two men. Then Elijah went up to heaven in a strong wind. 12 Elisha saw it. He cried out to Elijah, “My father! You are like a father to me! You are the true chariots and horsemen of Israel!” Elisha didn’t see Elijah anymore. Then Elisha took hold of his own clothes and tore them apart. 13 He picked up the coat that had fallen from Elijah. He went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan River. 14 Then he struck the water with Elijah’s coat. “Where is the power of the Lord?” he asked. “Where is the power of the God of Elijah?” When Elisha struck the water, it parted to the right and to the left. He went across the river.”

The story begins in 2 Kings 2 as Elijah, the prophet, is dying. Elisha, his understudy so to speak, follows him and will not leave his side. Elisha has been with Elijah for around 13 years and sees him as a father figure. When Elijah knows his time is near, he asks Elisha what he can give him. Elisha boldly asks that Elijah’s spirit would rest upon him – a double share of his spirit. He then sees Elijah being carried into the sky by a chariot and horses. When Elijah is gone, Elisha picks up his cloak.

Earlier in the story, Elijah used the cloak to part the waters of the Jordan so that he and Elisha could get to the other side; and now, Elisha stands before the Jordan, holding the cloak, wondering.

Have you ever been in his position? Have you ever reached a  point in your life when you wanted so desperately to believe God will answer a prayer; but that doubt, that little voice inside your head, questions it?

Some of us never get past the doubt. Some of us never pick up the cloak and strike the water. When Elisha picks up the cloak of Elijah, I can imagine what he was thinking. He was thinking, “Did you God? Did you give me his spirit? Can I strike the water and the waters part under your power? Do I have what it takes?”

And as he stands before the Jordan, I’m sure he whispered, “Please God. Please let the waters part.”

He lifted the cloak and struck the water just as Elijah had earlier. The water parted and Elisha walked across on dry land.

I often wonder what would’ve happen had he tucked the cloak away and took a different path home. Would his life have been the same? We do not know because Elisha had the courage to strike the water.

Some of you need some encouragement today. Some of you are standing before God, hoping, praying, longing – but you’ve got to pick up your cloak and strike the water.

Today, I pray for encouragement and boldness to fall upon you. I pray the Lord will speak to you in a clear way. I pray you will have the courage to strike the water.


A New and Better Person

1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

One of the toughest concepts to accept is the reality of the forgiveness of God. We have all probably thought, “Did I mess up too much this time?”

There have been times in my own life when I have wondered if God could forgive me for the mistakes I had made. During that time, I spent time feeling sorry for myself and my stupidity. But, even when we have made a serious mistake; even when we have hurt someone; even when we have lied; even when we have betrayed; we have a new beginning – a “do over” in Christ.

When the kids were little and would act up, Connie gave them a chance to “do over” what they messed up. Sometimes I wish I could hit the rewind button and rephrase my words or redirect my actions. With Christ, we get a fresh start, a clean slate. He keeps no record of wrong. When we come before Him, asking for forgiveness, no matter how bad we messed up, Christ redeems us. He wipes the slate clean. In return, we change and redirect our path so that we do not find ourselves in the sin again.

Some of you may have sin in your life that you have not confessed to God.  Maybe you think it is too awful; maybe you are too ashamed to admit it; maybe you don’t want to face God. Today, go to Him in prayer so that you can begin fresh and new today. Ask Him to cleanse you of your sin. Thank Him that you can be forgiven. Then, with your fresh start, leave the sin behind you and move forward a new and better person.

 


God’s Words to Us

2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;”

I often hear people speak of the inconsistencies of the Bible. Most of these people are only reading portions of it or a few verses and claiming a fallacy. The beautiful part of the writers of scripture is God allowed them to express His teachings in various ways. The Bible, when read in its entirety, has no inconsistencies. Every part fits together, chapter after chapter; verse after verse; word after word. Some stories are told in duplicate but by different writers. We find this in the New Testament. While Matthew and John may have been at the same events with Jesus, they tell the stories of Him in different ways. But isn’t that human nature? Does anyone tell a story the exact same way?

It really doesn’t matter who wrote the words to paper; because, the Bible is the documented Word of God. His Spirit did the talking and He used different men to write it down. We can trust in every word of the Bible for it is God’s words to us. The Bible is the greatest instructional writing for our lives ever written. The Word is alive and can be used by us to navigate how we are supposed to live. Make the Bible an important part of your every day.


Why Believe?

The other day I spoke with a young man who is lost. Having grown up in the church, somewhere around his college years he bought into a worldly view of God and Christ and the Holy Spirit. None of it made sense to him any longer. Score one temporarily for Satan; but remember, Christ always goes after His lost sheep.

You may be contemplating the same things. Maybe you’ve decided Christ isn’t for you or maybe you’ve never even considered Him for your life. Well, I’d like to share with you just some of the promises Jesus Christ offers us when we make the choice to follow Him.

“The perks” of being a believer.

1. Your life, as insignificant as it may seem to you in a world of billions of other people, has meaning, has a purpose, and is loved and adored by the One who created you.

2. You will be given eternal life. The Bible tells us Heaven is a beautiful place.

3. God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit will be with you always.

4. The peace and joy you will experience in knowing Him will not be understandable; but you will know it is there.

5. The people around you will be blessed because of the impact you will have on them.

6. Favor will fall on your life. He will bless your life.

7. He will guide you through every storm, trial, and struggle, and never leave your side.

8. You will become a new and different person.

9. You will be redeemed.

10. Death cannot take you.

John 3:16-17, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.”

Find Christ – find meaning.


Hard to View Our Choices

1 Samuel 15:10-11,”Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel: 11 ‘I regret that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.’” Samuel was angry, and he cried out to the Lord all that night.”

Regret is painful. I do not know anyone who does not have regrets in some form or another. “If I had just taken a different path…if I had not spoken those words…if I had studied harder…if I had not gone that day.” Regret for humans is a belief that if we had not done something, the outcome would be different. Regret for God is not the same.

In this scripture it appears the all-knowing, supreme being of God made an error or a bad decision. We all know that God knows the beginning and the end. He holds our future in His hands. Nothing surprises God; but by our definition of regret, this scripture might make us wonder.

God’s decisions are made perfectly and righteously; however, it doesn’t say He enjoys seeing the trials and struggles we have because of those decisions. It was probably disheartening for God, to see the actions of Saul; even though He knew those actions before Saul ever made them.

Remember, when Jesus faced Pilot, He had no doubts as to what would happen. He knew the pain He would endure. He knew the anguish; but, He went through it anyway because of His deep love for us.

God, knowing how Saul would turn-out, chose him to be king anyway. 1 Samuel 15:29, “He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind.”

God, the Glory of Israel, does not change his mind – He isn’t like us in that regard. What is difficult for Him is seeing the result of the decisions that He made; because of His great love for us, it is hard to watch us mess up. It’s hard to view our choices.

There’s also more to glean from this scripture. When we are disobedient to God, as Saul was, we hurt Him. Many times we don’t think about that. We are caught in the middle of sin and are either trying to hide it from God (impossible) or repenting of it. Either way, we are so self-absorb in our doings, we fail to realize what we are doing to our Savior.

Today, take some time to thank Him for the love He has for you. Apologize for hurting Him with your sin. Rejoice in knowing the depth of love God has for you. Spread that love to those you encounter today.


Not Her Past

Luke 7:37-38, “A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.”

Misjudgment. It happens routinely and unfortunately daily in our lives. We judge people based on their past. In this scripture Mary Magdalene, a woman with quite a sordid past, anoints Jesus’ feet with a very expensive perfume. People who witness the gesture find that it is wrong – erotic in nature – inappropriate. The Pharisees can’t understand Jesus even allowing a former prostitute and demon possessed woman to touch Him.

The Pharisee comments to Peter about Mary indicating his astonishment that Jesus would even allow “this kind of woman” near him. Jesus hears the conversation and asks Peter, “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”

“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.” Luke 7:41-43

When Mary rubs the perfume on Jesus’ feet, He does not see a prostitute. He does not see the stain of sins. When Mary rubs the perfume on His feet, Jesus sees her heart – not her past.

Some of you are dealing with sin you do not believe Jesus can forgive. It is difficult to talk with Him about it because you are so ashamed. Not only is He willing to forgive – He is willing to forget. Today, talk to God about the sin in your life. Put it in your past and move on to a glorious future in Christ.