Saturday, December 27, 2008

OUR CHILDHOOD MEMORIES OF CHRISTMAS

“And this is the way to have eternal life—
to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ,
the one you sent to earth.”
John 17:3 NLT
~~~~~~~~~~~~

Some time ago Pastor Jared asked Donna and me to briefly share our “Childhood Memories of Christmas” at our church on the First Sunday of Advent.

Since this Blog Link is emailed to many people beyond those who gather for the Second Service at WCAG, I thought, why not share our “Memories” with the rest of you. No big deal, just our “Childhood Memories of Christmas.”

Donna & I are both of German decent, and grew up on farms in SD, so our childhood memories of Christmas, not surprisingly, have similarities.
Iver’s Memories:
My earliest childhood memories of Christmas come out of the great depression of the 1930’s. I have no recollection of ever getting a Christmas toy. We never had a Christmas tree or decorations at our house. But every Christmas my Dad would bring home a block of halvah candy for the family, a tradition his parents brought from Russia. Since my Dad read aloud from his German Bible every morning, he must have read the Christmas story to us at Christmas.

My childhood Christmas memories mainly come from the Annual Christmas Eve programs at our little one room country church, which was five miles from our farm. If snow was too deep for our Model T, we would go by bobsled. Our little church was heated by a potbellied stove in the middle of the room. Gas lanterns, hanging along the walls, were our source of light.

There always was a large live Christmas tree on the platform. It had a few decorations, and burning wax candles. Under the tree were brown paper bags with nuts, candy, an apple and maybe an orange. The part I remember most about the Christmas program was how all of us Sunday School children would come to the front one by one to recite our Christmas piece, hopefully without any need for prompting. The entire program was in German, and would end with everyone joining in singing Christmas carols, which always concluded with "Schtilhe Nacht, Heilige Nacht". At this point all the children’s heads turned toward the door at the back of the church and in came Santa Claus. He passed out the treats that were under the tree – I think most all of us kids knew he was just one of the men from the church.
Donna’s Memories:
Christmas Eve at our church was always something we looked forward to. We had the usual program of recitations, songs, and the drama of the birth of Jesus with all the shepherds and wise men in their bathrobes. After the program, the Sunday School teachers gave small gifts to the children in their classes, and the ushers distributed bags of candy, nuts and fruit to each of the children.

When we got home from church my sister and I went right to bed. After we were out of the way, Mom and Dad set up the live Christmas tree, decorated it and put the gifts around it.

We were always too excited to fall asleep. So we very quietly tiptoed into our parents’ bedroom which had a heat register in the floor directly above the living room, where they were working. We were hoping to hear some clue as to what gift we might get for Christmas, but we never did.

Christmas morning we would dash downstairs to the living room to see the Christmas tree all decorated and with real burning wax candles. It was beautiful, but also rather dangerous. One Christmas an ornament caught fire, dropped down to the floor and went rolling around the tree. I was really scared, but Dad was right there and immediately took care of it.

We never had candy bars at our house, but one Christmas, there was a chocolate candy bar under the tree. By this time there were six of us kids, and we all wondered who it was for. But Mom solved the problem by cutting it into six pieces. I still remember taking very small bites to make it last as long as possible.

Our parents taught us from little on about Jesus, and Christmas was always a very happy time for our family.
Iver’s Conclusion:
These are some of our childhood memories of Christmas - Seemingly not all that “spiritual” but in that environment, Donna & I and all our 13 brothers and sisters came to know the Christ of Christmas in a personal way.

We are so thankful for the wonderful heritage that has been ours and is being passed on from generation to generation.

We trust you had a very blessed Christmas with many cherished memories to hold on to.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

SHARE THE GOOD NEWS WITH EVERYONE

“And there was the baby, lying in the manger.
After seeing him,
the shepherds told everyone
what had happened
and what the angel had said
to them about this child.”
Luke 2:16-17 NLT
~~~~~~~

After the angel and the heavenly host were gone, the shepherds knew they had to check this out. So they hurried to Bethlehem (I believe it was that same night). They found the stable where Mary and Joseph were staying, and just as the angel had said, there was the baby, lying in a manger.

This was not just another baby, this was the one whom the angel of God had announced to them. This was “The Savior, Christ The Lord”— whom the prophets had foretold would be born of a virgin. The one of whom Isaiah had said “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” 9:6 NLT What awe must have filled the shepherds’ hearts as these prophecies may have flashed through their memories! I am sure they stayed around for a while to soak in the wonder of it all.

By the time they left the manger, and started back to their flock, it must have been daylight, because they ran into people. They told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child.

As I thought about this, I began to realize we have a much fuller story to tell about Jesus, than the shepherds had. The Gospels tell us how Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people. How He taught the disciples and the crowds all that the Father taught Him. How He lived a sinless life, died on the cross for our sins and rose again from the dead. How he ascended to heaven with the promise that He would come back again to rule and reign. He sent The Holy Spirit to indwell us and make all these truths become real to us.

You see we do have a much fuller story to tell than the shepherds did. We have even greater reasons to be glorifying and praising God than they, and tell everyone that the Babe of the manger is now the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And the day is coming when every knee will bow before Him, and every tongue confess that He is Lord!

Let’s Pray-
Thank you Father, for the Good News of Christmas. BY your grace we have come to personally know the Babe as our Lord and savior. Help us to share the Good News with everyone we meet along life’s way.
Amen

If today’s promise and comments have been meaningful to you – don’t hesitate to leave a comment. (Single space gives best appearance.)

You can e-mail this page by clicking on the envelope at the bottom of this page.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

GOOD NEWS - GREAT JOY - TO ALL PEOPLE

“I bring you good news
that will bring great joy to all people.
The Savior—
yes, the Messiah, the Lord—
has been born!”
Luke 2:10-11 NLT
~~~~~~~~

Prophets had predicted that some time in the future a Savior would be born. People were waiting and wondering for hundreds of years, “when would it ever happen?” I suppose some had lost hope and no longer expected it to literally come to pass. Most likely those who were still holding on to the promise assumed when the Messiah would be born, it would be announced to some one “important” like a prophet, priest or king.

Among the lowliest people of that time were shepherds, sheep herders, who lived with the sheep day and night. Not in their wildest dreams, would it ever have occurred to them that they would be the first to hear of the Savior’s birth.

In 1 Corinthians 1 Paul tells us why God does things like that, “Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.” 26-27 NLT. God is not prejudiced against the worldly wise and powerful, He just knows they seldom put their trust in Him. He also knows the people the world calls foolish, weak and unimportant are the very ones more apt to trust Him, so He chooses to work through them.

It’s to the lowly in heart that God reveals His greatest truths - truths of “good news,” which bring “great joy.” What could be better news for us who have broken God’s law and stand guilty before Him, than to learn that a Savior has come to erase our guilt and set us free?
“It is joy unspeakable and full of glory!” May this Advent Season find us joining the “heavenly host” singing with greater joy than ever.

“Joy to the world! The Savior reigns: Let men their songs employ; While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains Repeat the sounding joy, Repeat the sounding joy, Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.”

Let’s Pray-
Heavenly Father, we have taken Christmas for granted for so long it has lost its’ meaning. Please forgive us, and restore to us again the joy of our Savior’s birth!
Amen

If today’s promise and comments have been meaningful to you – don’t hesitate to leave a comment. (Single space gives best appearance.)

You can e-mail this page by clicking on the envelope at the bottom of this page.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

HAVING OUR NEEDS MET

“Don’t worry about these things,
saying, ‘What will we eat?
What will we drink? What will we wear?’
These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers,
but your heavenly Father
already knows all your needs.
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else,
and live righteously,
and he will give you everything you need.
Matthew 6:31-33 NLT
~~~~~~~~

In the early 1930’s the north central part of SD, where I grew up, was experiencing the “Dust Bowl.” On some of the plowed fields all the top soil blew off and piled up in drifts like snow (click on picture). Crops failed year after year. My Dad bought bailed hay from MN to feed the workhorses. All that the milk cows got were tumbleweeds. One summer two of my older brothers went to the Brownsville, TX area to shock grain. For their pay they came back with a pickup load of oats for the next spring’s planting. Those were difficult days. People thought this might be the end of the world and were talking about Jesus coming back soon.

My mother made clothes for me from other peoples worn out things. I clearly remember as a child of 4 or 5, sitting on the kitchen table watching her sew together a little jacket by hand for me to wear to church. I said to her “Mama, why are you making me this jacket – Jesus is coming back soon.” As a young child, on a simplistic level, I seemed to believe that would solve all our problems.

How is it, that the more material things we amass, the more we are inclined to put our trust in them? And when they are threatened, like now, we begin to worry and ask questions. What if we lose our health insurance? How are we going to pay the bills? ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’

Today, like in the 30’s, I am hearing people talk about the Lord’s return as the solution to the problems we are facing. That could be, but even if He doesn’t come back now, He has us covered! Jesus talking about us worrying about financial needs says, These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Worrying is out of place for us believers, because our heavenly Father has made provisions to meet all our needs.

However, these provisions are conditional. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. We don’t earn God’s provisions by working at fulfilling these conditions, we are simply opening ourselves up to Him so we can receive them.

Let’s Pray-
Thank you Father that you have our needs covered. This world has blurred our values. We often see wants as needs. Help us to seek your Kingdom above all else, live righteously, and let you determine what our needs are.
Amen

If today’s promise and comments have been meaningful to you – don’t hesitate to leave a comment. (Single space gives best appearance.)

You can e-mail this page by clicking on the envelope at the bottom of this page.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

THE EYES OF THE LORD

“The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth
in order to strengthen those
whose hearts are fully committed to him.”
2 Chronicles 16:9 NLT
~~~~~~~~
The eyes of the Lord see all that is going on throughout all of creation, they miss nothing. Not only do they see what is visible outwardly, but they also see what is invisible. They see the thoughts, motives, and intensions of all created beings both human and spiritual. There is no place possible where anything can be hidden from those supernatural holy eyes.

That is a terrifying realization for people who thought they were getting away with “secret” activities. We may be able to deceive people for a while, but not God, not for a split second. In fact He already saw the whole thing before it happened, when it was just a desire in our heart.

While the all-seeing eyes of the Lord are unsettling to people who are trying to hide something from Him, they are a wonderful comfort and encouragement to the people “whose hearts are fully committed to him.” Not only does He see what is going on in the lives of the “fully committed,” His eyes “search the whole earth in order to strengthen” them. Can you imagine, with the billions of people in this world, He specifically looks for us! Not to judge us, but to graciously help us with the strength we need. He never forgets about us. He’s never tired, never asleep, always checking on us so He can strengthen us in our weakness. None of us have a heart that is perfectly committed to him. We need his strengthening every day. May we make good use of the strength He so lovingly offers.

If you are one of those who are uneasy with the thought of an all-seeing God, there is good news for you as well. Instead of trying to hide what you feel guilty about, (which is impossible), admit it to God, ask Him to forgive you, and He will forgive!! Once forgiven, you will no longer fear His eyes. Now you welcome them because they have searched you out to give you strength to quit doing what you had been ashamed of. Good news, right?!! Take advantage of it!

Let’s Pray-
Father, your search for us finds us in our weakness, but we are so thankful you have come to strengthen us! We continually need your help with fully committing our hearts to you.
Amen


If today’s promise and comments have been meaningful to you – don’t hesitate to leave a comment. (Single space gives best appearance.)

You can e-mail this page by clicking on the envelope at the bottom of this page.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

IT IS A GOOD THING TO GIVE THANKS

It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises to the Most High.
It is good to proclaim
your unfailing love in the morning,
your faithfulness in the evening.
Psalm 92:1,2 NLT

~~~~~~

When a young child receives something and fails to express gratitude, a parent most likely will quickly encourage him with, “say thank you.” Expressing gratitude is a basic courtesy in cultures around the world.

As you are well aware, next Thursday is Thanksgiving day. Most families will get together on or near that date to have turkey and all the trimmings. While some may talk about what they are thankful for, most everyone will end up eating too much. Even if we spent the entire day sharing what we are thankful for, it would not measure up to what the Psalmist has in mind when he says, “It is good to give thanks.” He is referring to a practice that goes on day after day – as a way of life.

Relationships are strengthened where mutual gratitude is shown. When people express thanks to others, it lifts their spirits and the spirits of those whom they thank. “It is good to give thanks.”

Studies at the U of California at Davis as well as other studies find overwhelming evidence that gratitude has a profound positive effect on peoples’ lives. “Gratitude journals” – in which people write down each day a short list of things they are thankful for – have become a popular practice and have proven even helpful for people to come out of depression. “It is good to give thanks.”

Now if it is a good thing to thank each other and to think about things we are grateful for - how much better and how much greater the benefits if our thanks are also directed to the LORD. . . Most High! Thanking and praising God throughout the day for His unfailing love and faithfulness needs to be our goal. He wants us to continually PRACTICE AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE. Paul would add Even In Times Like These, “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT It is good to give thanks to the Lord!

Let’s Pray-
Heavenly Father, forgive us for grumbling about the glass being half empty when we should be thanking you that it is half full. Your blessings are endless! Grant us eyes to see them, and a heart that expresses gratitude for them!
Amen


If today’s promise and comments have been meaningful to you – don’t hesitate to leave a comment. (Single space gives best appearance.)

You can e-mail this page by clicking on the envelope at the bottom of this page.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

IF MY PEOPLE WILL HUMBLE THEMSELVES

If my people who are called by my name
will humble themselves and pray and seek my face
and turn from their wicked ways,
I will hear from heaven
and will forgive their sins and restore their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14 NLT
~~~~~~~

Our nation is facing huge, serious economic and moral challenges at this time. We need help. Help that goes beyond anything a political administration can provide. We need divine help!

Today’s scripture promise gives us instruction as to how we can obtain the help we so desperately need. The promise starts out with “If” which makes it a conditional promise. Some conditions must first be met before it can be fulfilled. These conditions are not directed to the general public but specifically to believers, God’s people; “my people who are called by my name.”

The first condition God’s people are called upon to meet is to humble themselves and pray.” The clear implication is, their pride and self-sufficiency stands in the way of God restoring their land. We need to admit that our need is beyond human help and start crying out to God in prayer - telling Him what our needs are and asking Him for help.

But God requires more of us than just making requests of Him. He says “seek my face;” by which I believe He is calling us into an intimate relationship with Him where we become aware of His purity and holiness. In such intimacy, we also become painfully aware of impurities in our lives. Sins we have ignored or even made excuses for in the past, but now we see them in all their wickedness.

This brings us to the final condition in today’s promise which is God’s call to His people to “turn from their wicked ways.” This is a call to repentance – a 180° turn from our sin. We see the moral decay throughout our land and we grumble and complain – “Isn’t this awful! What is this world coming to? These people need to repent!” But God says: “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”

Let’s Pray-
Dear Father, please help us as your Church to repent. As you promise, in your mercy, hear from heaven and forgive our sins and restore our land.”
In Jesus name,
Amen

If today’s promise and comments have been meaningful to you – don’t hesitate to leave a comment. (Single space gives best appearance.)

You can e-mail this page by clicking on the envelope at the bottom of this page.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

NOTHING CAN SEPARATE US FROM CHRIST’S LOVE!!

“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love?
Does it mean he no longer loves us
if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted,
or hungry, or destitute,
or in danger, or threatened with death? . . .
No, despite all these things,
overwhelming victory is ours
through Christ, who loved us."
Romans 8:35,37 NLT
~~~~~~~


Our President Elect will face difficult challenges when he takes office in January! Financial trouble is effecting families, communities, states, and nations around the world. Alan Greenspan is calling our present financial problem a 100 year “Credit Tsunami.” Other economists are predicting a “Great depression” like that of the 1930’s when some people ended up hungry and destitute. As a young boy I remember my father going to the county court house to pick up boxes of food - “Government Relief.” It is possible that some of us, or people we know, could end up looking for help at a “food pantry.” Financial uncertainties can threaten our peace of mind, but no amount of financial trouble can ever separate us from Christ’s love!

Natural Calamity can strike in all sorts of ways – hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, etc. Man-made calamities are becoming increasingly possible. Terrorists are committed to doing us harm. 9/11 may have been just a hint of what they have in mind. Dirty bombs, poisoning food and water supplies and spreading disease are possibilities. Even the most unimaginable calamity could never separate us from Christ’s love!

Christians around the world are being persecuted in greater numbers today than ever before. Even in the US conservative Christians are made fun of and are treated disrespectfully by the liberal media. Some politicians as well, are openly anti-Christian, like New York Senator Charles Schumer who stated "Candidates with deeply held Christian beliefs are unfit and disqualified from serving as a Federal Judge." That kind of prejudice and contempt is on the increase. If some day it would come to the point (God forbid) that we were in danger of imprisonment and torture and even threatened with death for our faith; would that mean God no longer loves us? No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.” NOTHING CAN SEPARATE US FROM CHRIST’S LOVE!! HALLELUJAH!!!

Let’s Pray-
Father, thank you for the security you provide for us in Christ’s love.
Today we choose not to give in to worry or fear, instead we choose to wholeheartedly place our trust in the promises of your Word.
Amen

If today’s promise and comments have been meaningful to you – don’t hesitate to leave a comment. (Single space gives best appearance.)

You can e-mail this page by clicking on the envelope at the bottom of this page.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

GOD IS ULTIMATLEY IN CONTROL

“Praise the name of God forever and ever,
for he has all wisdom and power.
He controls the course of world events;
he removes kings and sets up other kings.”
Daniel 2:20,21 NLT
~~~~~

My name is Iver Walker, and I approve this message.

Our National elections are finally coming up next Tuesday. As citizens of a democracy, we get to vote for the candidates of our choice, which is an awesome privilege and responsibility. How can we be sure we are choosing to support the right person or issue? Our personal desires are probably not a flawless guide.

In our scripture today Daniel is praising God, because “God has all wisdom and power.” He doesn't have blind spots as we do. He knows what will best serve His ultimate purpose for us. It’s important to seek God’s wisdom, which goes beyond the wisdom of this world, because choices have consequences! While we have the freedom to choose, God is the one who is ultimately in control and determines what the consequences will be. Take for example Proverbs 14:34 “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” If people choose to do what is right according to God’s Word, God will in time exalt that nation. However, if people choose to make choices contrary to His Word, it will, sooner or later, bring disgrace upon them. Choices can bring blessing or judgment, depending on how they line up with God’s standards.

For years people in the US and abroad chose to live by the mind set “I want it all, and I want it now!” The consequences came crashing in upon us recently reminding us that, “God controls the course of world events” as Daniel tells us. Just because God is in control doesn’t mean everything will be hunky-dory. It depends on the choices we make.


As we cast our vote on Tuesday, God will see that vote, to be sure, whether we are with the majority or minority. In this we can be confident; ultimately our sovereign God is in control, “He removes kings and sets up other kings.” He decides whether a nation will be exalted or experience disgrace.


Let’s Pray-
Father, as a nation we are at major crossroads. Please don’t give us what we deserve, rather by your grace grant us your mercy! May your people, and others along with them, cast votes that will lead toward righteousness and away from disgrace. Hear us oh Lord, we need you!! Amen

“HOW OFTEN DO YOU PRAY FOR OUR NATION?” Click the response which best fits you. The POLL appears at the upper right side of this Blog, - Please cast your vote.
If today’s promise and comments have been meaningful to you – don’t hesitate to leave a comment. (Single space gives best appearance.)

You can e-mail this page by clicking on the envelope at the bottom of this page.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

THE OFFER OF FORGIVENESS

“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord.
Though your sins are like scarlet,
I will make them as white as snow.
Though they are red like crimson,
I will make them as white as wool”.
Isaiah 1:18 NLT
~~~~~~

It seems to me that a few people reading “THIS WEEK’S WORD FROM GOD” are struggling with guilt over their sinful past. They have had a problem believing that God will ever forgive their sin. There are times when they are able to bury the guilt for a while, but it keeps coming back again and again.

Are you one of those people I am referring to? Then today’s scripture is meant especially for you. The Lord’s invitation to you is “Come now, let’s settle this.” You don’t need to continue in your guilt and misery. No matter how terrible your sin has been. Jesus paid for it all when He died on the cross and rose again! And on those grounds God can justly promise, “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.” Indeed, “If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” I John 1:9 NLT. Call out to God right now. Admit your sin to Him, and ask Him to forgive you. You can trust Him to keep His promise. He will forgive you!!


There are endless examples in scripture and in everyday life of God forgiving every sort of sin no matter how vile – every kind of thievery, sexual abuses of all sorts, dishonesty, adultery, murder, etc., etc. The list is endless, and it includes the very sin or sins you suffer guilt over. “Listen! We are here to proclaim that through this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins. Everyone who believes in him is declared right with God.” Acts 13:38,39 NLT

Most of you (350+ people) who are reading these words this week know that your sins are forgiven. You have settled that matter with the Lord and are enjoying the peace He gives. Would you please take a moment right now and pray for those who are still struggling.

Let’s Pray-
Father, thank you for loving us enough to sacrifice your sinless Son on the cross to pay for everyone’s sins. May doubters humbly acknowledge their sin today and find faith to believe that you have washed them whiter than snow. We ask it in Jesus name.
Amen


“HOW OFTEN DO YOU PRAY FOR OUR NATION?” Click the response which best fits you. The POLL appears at the upper right side of this Blog, - Please cast your vote.

If today’s promise and comments have been meaningful to you – don’t hesitate to leave a comment. (Single space gives best appearance.)

You can e-mail this page by clicking on the envelope at the bottom of this page.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

IN THE GRIP OF THE FATHER'S HAND

The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives.
Though they stumble, they will never fall,
for the Lord holds them by the hand.
Psalm 37:23-24 NLT
~~~~~~~

This scripture brings to mind a young child walking through unfamiliar territory with his father. He has never gone this way before. Being young and inexperienced he doesn’t know the possible dangers that need to be avoided. But there is no fear in his heart because he is with his father and he knows his father loves him. What’s more, his father has a hold of his hand.

The father delights in every detail of his child’s life. He rejoices over him as he watches him grow and become more and more like him - even beginning to walk and talk like him. If his child were holding onto the father’s hand he could very easily lose his grip stumbling, and injure himself in a fall. The father knowing that is very likely to happen makes sure that he has a firm grip on his child’s hand.

Does this illustration have anything to say to us concerning our walk with the Lord? It speaks to my heart. First off, it assures me that the Lord will direct my steps because He desires His best for my life. Secondly, it lets me know that I am loved by my heavenly Father, who takes delight in me! How absolutely incredible!! Thirdly, He knows if it depended on me holding on to His hand I would not only stumble, but fall and destroy myself. He is not going to let that happen to His child in whom He takes delight. So to keep us secure He takes hold of our hand. We need not fear, He will not lose His grip!!


Let’s Pray-
Father, I am eternally grateful for your unconditional love! There is nothing as comforting as the firm grip of your hand on mine. I know you will not let me fall.
Amen

“HOW OFTEN DO YOU PRAY FOR OUR NATION?” Click the response which best fits you. The POLL appears at the upper right side of this Blog, - Please cast your vote.


If today’s promise and comments have been meaningful to you – don’t hesitate to leave a comment. (Single space gives best appearance.)


You can e-mail this page by clicking on the envelope at the bottom of this page.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

TREASURE IS SECURE IN HEAVEN

Don’t store up treasures here on earth,
where moths eat them and rust destroys them,
and where thieves break in and steal.
Store your treasures in heaven,
where moths and rust cannot destroy,
and thieves do not break in and steal.
Wherever your treasure is,
there the desires of your heart will also be.
Matthew 6:19-21 NLT
~~~~~~~

What has been happening with the economy lately is sending shock waves around the world. We thought we had planned well for the “golden years,” now we are not so sure. Most everyone with any kind of retirement plan has seen their “nest egg” painfully shrink. Moths and rust are doing their destructive work, and thieves are stealing what we have been counting on. Worry is a natural reaction.

In the last few decades many people have been able to live “lavishly” (a relative term – seldom do we see ourselves as living lavishly). At the same time many people have stored up treasure on earth way beyond what they would normally need. Saving and planning for our future needs is the right thing to do. However, it is important to realize “where our treasure is, there the desires of our hearts will also be.” Nothing we store up here on earth, or spend on ourselves, will end up as heavenly treasure.

Jesus asks, “Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things? . . . Don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things. These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. Luke 12:25,26,29-33 NLT

Paul says, “Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future.” I Timothy 6:17-19 NLT

It may seem untimely to be talking about helping the poor when our savings are shrinking daily. But it may be just what we need to conquer our self-pity and add to our heavenly treasure at the same time. After all, Jesus told us “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35 NLT

Let’s Pray-
Oh Father, we have been so self-centered. The desires of our hearts have been so earth bound. Please forgive us! Help us to store up treasure in heaven by sharing our earthly treasure with the poor and needy. We ask this in Jesus’ name.
Amen

“HOW OFTEN DO YOU PRAY FOR OUR NATION?” Click the response which best fits you. The POLL appears at the upper right side of this Blog, - Please cast your vote.

If today’s promise and comments have been meaningful to you – don’t hesitate to leave a comment. (Single space gives best appearance.)

You can e-mail this page by clicking on the envelope at the bottom of this page.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

GOD IS ALWAYS WITH US

Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
Isaiah 43:1-2 NLT
~~~~~
When God created us, He made us social beings that need others to interact with. And that is especially important when we find ourselves going through difficult times. Today’s scripture passage tells us how God has made provision for such times. We belong to Him not only because we are part of His creation, but even more so because He has ransomed us – He bought us to be His personal possession. And now He calls us by our name and assures us, “You are mine - I will be with you.” No matter what we go through in this life, we are never alone!

Having this personal relationship with Him doesn’t mean that we are exempt from difficult and scary times. His command, “Do not be afraid” shows us that He wants us to focus on His promise instead of on what strikes fear into our hearts. He will be with us in every situation no matter how threatening it may be. He will not allow His ransomed ones to be destroyed.

When we are in deep waters way over our head and our feet can’t touch bottom anymore, He will be there with us, holding us up and bringing us to solid ground - all the while calling us by name and reminding us that we belong to Him. In rivers of difficulty with strong currents about to pull us under, His assuring promise is “I will be with you . . . you will not drown.” We are not alone in the struggle. Even in the midst of the fire of oppression when we go through fiery trials, He is with us like the fourth man in the fiery furnace.

Deep watersrivers of difficulty and fire of oppression are allowed in our lives not to harm but to strengthen and purify us. Remember His word to us is, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. . . I will be with you.”

Let’s Pray-
Father, help us not to give in to fear when in threatening times. Grant us grace to rest in your promise that you will be with us through every experience. Help us to know that you cause everything to work together for the good of those who love you and are called according to your purpose.
Amen

“HOW OFTEN DO YOU PRAY FOR OUR NATION?” Click the response which best fits you. The POLL appears at the upper right side of this Blog, - Please cast your vote.
If today’s promise and comments have been meaningful to you – don’t hesitate to leave a comment. (Single space gives best appearance.)

You can e-mail this page by clicking on the envelope at the bottom of this page.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

GREAT IS THY FAITHFULESS

I praise your name
for your unfailing love and faithfulness;
for your promises are backed
by all the honor of your name.
Psalm 138:2 NLT
~~~~~~~~

I started singing scriptures songs and praise and worship choruses over 30 years ago. They have stimulated my faith and helped me express love and appreciation to God for His mercy and grace. But I also love the old hymns of the Church. My most favored of all is “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” by T. O. Chisholm. You know the familiar refrain: “Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see; All I have needed Thy hand hath provided, Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!”

I became aware of that reality over 58 years ago and I still praise His name for His unfailing love and faithfulness. Today’s scripture reminds us that God’s promises can be counted on without reservation because they are “backed by all the honor of His name.” God will never go back on His word for that would bring dishonor to His name. In fact it is impossible for Him to be unfaithful and still be God! Being faithful is His nature. As the hymn says, “There is no shadow of turning with Thee; Thou changest not, Thy passions they fail not; As Thou hast been Thou forever will be.”

How blessed we are to have "Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth, His own dear presence to cheer and to guide; Strength for today and bright hope tomorrow, Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside."

Let’s Pray-
Lord, I praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness. You keeping your promises brings honor to your name and after all that’s what it’s all about – the honor of your name!
Thank you, Lord.

“HOW OFTEN DO YOU PRAY FOR OUR NATION?” Click the response which best fits you. The POLL appears at the upper right side of this Blog, - Please cast your vote.


If today’s promise and comments have been meaningful to you – don’t hesitate to leave a comment. (Single space gives best appearance.)

You can e-mail this page by clicking on the envelope at the bottom of this page.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

HOW TO MAKE THE RIGHT DECISION

Trust in the LORD with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT
~~~~~~~

When we are confronted with making decisions, our normal inclination is to assume that we can handle it on our own, even when there are major unknowns involved. I guess it may be a bit of pride in us that motivates us to do that sort of thing. If I read this week’s Scripture right - that’s depending on my own understanding, which I shouldn’t be doing. Our understanding is so limited – the Lord’s is unlimited - so the wise thing for us to do would be to try and find out what His will is in the matter.

There are many decisions we make from day to day which aren’t that consequential. But if the decision could have serious effects on our life or the lives of others, we really need to check it out with the Lord. I think most of us know how to do that. It’s just a matter of doing it. We need to pray about it with an open mind – find out what His Word has to say on the issue – be willing to set aside our will where it conflicts with His.


If we honestly desire to know His will and trust Him wholeheartedly, He will show us the way we should take. It may take a while and we may vacillate between doubt and trust. But once we trust Him wholeheartedly, we will have peace and we will know we are on the right path.

Let’s Pray-
Father, forgive us for “going it on our own” so much of the time. Help us to seek your will in all we do. And when you show us the way, grant us grace to trust you with all our heart!
Amen


“HOW OFTEN DO YOU PRAY FOR OUR NATION?” Click the response which best fits you. The POLL appears at the upper right side of this Blog, - Please cast your vote.


If today’s promise and comments have been meaningful to you – don’t hesitate to leave a comment. (Single space gives best appearance.)

You can e-mail this page by clicking on the envelope at the bottom of this page.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

PRAY FOR CIVIL LEADERS


I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people.
Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf,
and give thanks for them.

Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority
so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives
marked by godliness and dignity.

This is good and pleases God our Savior.
I Timothy 2:1-3 NLT
~~~~~~~

During political elections, and for that matter most other times as well, it is common to speak disparagingly of political leaders and aspiring politicians, especially those of the “other” party. Political discussions can get downright nasty to the point of destroying friendships. As Christians we need to guard against falling into that sort of attitude. “For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.” Romans 13:1 NLT

No candidate or elected official is going to be perfect, measured by God's standards. They will have some policies and values with which we do not agree. And even the people we feel the most comfortable with most likely do not fully measure up. So as we chose for whom to cast our vote, it will come down to choosing the lesser of two evils. This requires that we be informed concerning the candidate’s stand and what biblical principles have to say on the issues. Instead of belittling and maligning candidates or elected officials, whether local, state or national, we need to treat them with respect, even those with whom we differ.

This week’s Scripture says we are to pray for all in authority – that would mean regardless whether they promote godly policies or not. We are to intercede for them and ask God to help them “so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.” That sort of “support” is good and pleases God.

Let’s Pray-
Father, thank you, that we are blessed with a government instead of anarchy. We pray that it would please you to grant us leaders who govern righteously. Help us to do our part to bring that about.
Amen

“HOW OFTEN DO YOU PRAY FOR OUR NATION?” Click the response which best fits you. The POLL appears at the upper right side of this Blog, - Please cast your vote.


If today’s promise and comments have been meaningful to you – don’t hesitate to leave a comment. (Single space gives best appearance.)

You can e-mail this page by clicking on the envelope at the bottom of this page.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

THE LORD LOOKS AT THE HEART


The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them.
People judge by outward appearance,
but the Lord looks at the heart.

1 Samuel 16:7 NLT
~~~~~~~~


During the opening ceremonies of the Olympics in Beijing, a 9-year-old girl named Lin Miaoke sang a ballad to a packed stadium and a billion television viewers. But the voice coming out of our TV sets wasn’t hers. It belonged to a 7-year-old girl named Yang Peiyi. “The reason was for the national interest,” said Chen Qigang, general music designer of the opening ceremonies. “The child on camera should be flawless in image, internal feeling and expression.” The girl with the lovely voice had crooked teeth and a plain face - that barred her from performing before the cameras.

There is something within us that is repulsed by that. Yet, how many of us judge our outward appearance as being inferior in one way or another – we are too tall or too short - some part of our body is either too big or too small – something is not the right shape or is unattractive compared to other people. Some of those features come from our genes, and it’s just who we are. Taking care of ourselves and looking our best pleases God, but He is more concerned how we look on the inside. People have a tendency to judge others by outward appearance, and that can be very deceptive. But God’s focus is on our heart, which reveals our character.

Let’s Pray –
Father, forgive us when we fall for the temptation of thinking that you short changed us when you passed out good looks. Thank you for making us beautiful on the inside through Jesus, in whose name we pray.
Amen


“HOW OFTEN DO YOU PRAY FOR OUR NATION?” Click the response which best fits you. The POLL appears at the upper right side of this Blog, - Please cast your vote.


If today’s promise and comments have been meaningful to you – don’t hesitate to leave a comment. (Single space gives best appearance.)

You can e-mail this page by clicking on the envelope at the bottom of this page.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

PHYSICAL & SPIRITUAL EXERCISE


Physical training is good,
but training for godliness is much better,
promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.
1 Timothy 4:8 NLT
~~~~~~~~~~~

The 2008 Olympics are history. All of us were impressed with the feats of Michael Phelps. Eight gold medals in swimming - WOW! It is absolutely amazing what a gifted person can accomplish by faithfully following a good training program.

Most people, including me, could improve their physical fitness and mental alertness through proper and disciplined exercise. Paul told Timothy, “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8 NLT

Not to belittle the achievements of medal winning Olympians, they are an inspiration to millions of people around the world. They are good examples of prolonged disciplined hard work to reach a set goal. But if the goal is physical achievement, the benefits will only be temporal. However, if the goal is Godliness, prolonged disciplined hard work will yield better results. Working at becoming more like God enables us to experience God’s best here and now even in the midst of trials and hardships. In fact it may be through those very trials and hardships that God enables us to become more like Him. The more Godlike our lives are, the more His purposes for us will be fulfilled here on earth and eventually in heaven. It seems to me it would really be wise for us to commit the rest of our lives to disciplined exercise in Godliness.


Let’s Pray-
Father, help us to work at being as physically fit as we are able. We want to take good care of the body you have given us. But even more we ask for your grace to work hard at becoming more like you. We desire your best for us now and throughout eternity.
Amen


“HOW OFTEN DO YOU PRAY FOR OUR NATION?” Click the response which best fits you. The POLL appears at the upper right side of this Blog, - Please cast your vote.





If today’s promise and comments have been meaningful to you – don’t hesitate to leave a comment. (Single space gives best appearance.)

You can e-mail this page by clicking on the envelope at the bottom of this page.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

TELL OTHERS WHAT GOD HAS DONE


Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever.
Has the Lord redeemed you?
Then speak out!
Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies.
Psalm 107:1-2 NLT
~~~~~~~~~~~~

I am sure you would agree that God is good. We are aware of his goodness not only because it is repeatedly recorded in the scriptures, but also because we have become increasingly aware of it as we walk with the Lord. Even before we surrendered our lives to God, we had dim glimpses of his love and goodness. But since we put our trust in Christ as our savior, we see his goodness and love all around - all the time.

Remember what joy and excitement filled our life when we first became a Christian? We couldn’t stop telling others about it. It may take a bit more of an effort today, but we need to keep telling what God has done and is doing in our lives. “All of you set free by God, tell the world! Tell how he freed you from oppression.”(a)

Testimonies take on all sorts of shapes and forms. Few of my parents’ generation of German-Russian immigrants had any formal education of any kind. But in church services when given the opportunity to give a testimony concerning their salvation, they would speak up – even though it was the same story word for word every time. One could not deny their genuine gratefulness for what the Lord had done.

Most all of us have given and do share testimonies of what God has done and is doing in our lives. Testimonies can be short or long – simple or formal – the important factor is that they give glory to God. Several weeks ago while reading Terry Hoggard’s blog - “Connections” - I learned of a form of testimony of which I had never heard before. I thought it was so meaningful that I am including it here. You can watch the testimonies on video by clicking on the underlined link called
Cardboard Testimonies.

Let’s Pray –
Father, thank you for the joy it brings us when we testify about your goodness, and the faith and praise it prompts in those who hear. Forgive us for allowing the enemy to seal our lips - you have set us free from his power. Help us to live in that freedom and tell the world about what you have done.
We ask this in Jesus name,
Amen


Footnotes:
(a) Psalm 107:2 The Message,


“AT WHAT AGE WERE YOU BORN AGAIN?” Click your age bracket. The POLL appears at the upper right side of this Blog, - Please cast your vote.


If today’s promise and comments have been meaningful to you – don’t hesitate to leave a comment. (Single space gives best appearance.)

You can e-mail this page by clicking on the envelope at the bottom of this page.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

ALL MAY CHANGE, BUT JESUS NEVER

Jesus Christ is the same
yesterday, today, and forever.
Hebrews 13:8 NLT

~~~~~~~~~~

We live in a changing world. Most of us don’t live in the state, let alone the community we grew up in. Remember the first time you went back after you had been gone for many years? You couldn’t believe how the place had changed. While some landmarks were the same – but so much had changed, it really wasn’t the same place. It wasn’t like “old times.”

I have gone “back home” many times over the years to visit family. So often things looked different and the family had become smaller. Over the past fifty some years, my parents and all of my seven brothers and sisters have gone to be with the Lord. However, I still have a number of nieces and nephews and a cousin to visit when I go “back home.”

Donna took me to her High School Reunion several years ago. I had never been to one before, and to my amazement, they were all old people! Dah!! I guess I also had gotten older.

Besides places and people getting older, a lot of other things have changed as well. Values have changed. Some practices that were unthinkable several decades ago have become politically correct. Since sin has entered into this world, natural things deteriorate and die. People in their fallen state, separated from God, are going their own way – away from God and His standards and changing for the worse.

Of course, change in and of its self isn’t bad. Some change is good and indeed necessary when it is a change to comply with God’s ways. A major change took place in our lives when we were born again. And we continue to need to change in order to become more like Jesus. He has been perfect from all eternity. He has always been the one and only way to the Father – He is now and always will be. He has always been Savior and Lord – is now and always will be. He has always been God - is now and always will be. Like the written Word of God, Jesus, the Living Word of God, never changes. We can fully trust Him with body, mind and soul both now and forever.

In 1890 Albert B. Simpson wrote:

“Yesterday, today, forever,
Jesus is the same.
All may change, but Jesus never!
Glory to His Name!
Glory to His Name!
Glory to His Name!
All may change, but Jesus never!
Glory to His Name!
James H. Burke set it to the music we are familiar with.

Let’s Pray-
Father, we can never thank you enough for the assurance that our Savior is always the same, no matter what we are going through. We choose to rest in His unchanging love and grace!
Amen

“AT WHAT AGE WERE YOU BORN AGAIN?” Click your age bracket. The POLL appears at the upper right side of this Blog, - Please cast your vote.

If today’s promise and comments have been meaningful to you – don’t hesitate to leave a comment. (Single space gives best appearance.)

You can e-mail this page by clicking on the envelope at the bottom of this page.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

WINNING THE PRIZE

Let us strip off every weight that slows us down,
especially the sin that so easily trips us up.
And let us run with endurance the race
God has set before us.
Hebrews 12:1 NLT


Legend has it that Hercules founded the Olympics – the date is unknown. The first year written records were kept of the Olympic Games was in 779 BC. Coroebus won the first and only event – a 210 yard run (which he ran naked) making him the first Olympic champion in recorded history. The Games grew and were played every four years for nearly 1200 years. In 393 AD Theodosius, a Christian Roman Emperor abolished the Games because of their pagan influences. They were started again in the year of 1896 in Athens, Greece, due largely to the work of a French aristocrat by the name of Pierre de Coubertin.

The 2008 Summer Olympics started in Beijing China this weekend and have been all the hype for some time now. Two hundred and four nations have sent their best to compete in the various events. Athletes have been focusing their entire lives for years to be the very best in their field. Some will win the Gold, Silver or Bronze. Most will not win a prize other than the honor of having represented their country at the Olympics.

Sporting events were big in the Apostle Paul's day. He often used sporting analogies in his writings, such as runners, boxers, wrestlers, and trophies, etc. He saw the Christian life as a race - a race where the finish line is not crossed until we are with Jesus. He admonishes us to be disciplined and train hard to develop spiritual endurance.(a) There is no substitute for endurance training – it takes time in the Word and prayer – listening to the Spirit’s prompting, and repenting when we have been disobedient.

It is not uncommon to see people make a good start in the Christian life, being cheered on by believers around them and believers who have gone on to be with the Lord. But as the race becomes more difficult they may slow up or even wander off the track. The writer of Hebrews says, “Since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up”.(b)

So dear friends, let’s peel off the stuff that wears us down spiritually, or may cause us to stumble and fall. Let’s refocus our eyes on Jesus, and with a steady pace run the race set before us - so that when we cross the finish line we will hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into my joy.” What a prize that will be! - Infinitely better than any Olympic Gold.


Let’s Pray-
Father, we need your help with keeping our eyes on Jesus. We are so easily distracted. Please show us what is slowing down our pace in the race, and help us to get rid of it promptly.
We ask it in Jesus name.
Amen


Footnote:
(a) 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 NLT, (b) Hebrews 12:1-3, NLT,


“AT WHAT AGE WERE YOU BORN AGAIN?” Click your age bracket. The NEW POLL appears at the upper right side of this Blog, - Please cast your vote.


If today’s promise and comments have been meaningful to you – don’t hesitate to leave a comment. (Single space gives best appearance.)

You can e-mail this page by clicking on the envelope at the bottom of this page.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

UNDER HIS WINGS

He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises
are your armor and protection.
Psalm 91:4 NLT


We raised chickens on the SD farm where I grew up. They freely roamed wherever they wanted to during the day and then spent the night in the chicken coop where most of them also laid their eggs. But often there would be one or two hens that would be missing for about three weeks or so and then show up with a brood of little chicks. They had laid their eggs in the weeds somewhere and hatched them. Little chicks out in the open were in danger of hawks. But when the mother hen spotted the hawk she would sound an alarm and the little chicks would come running to hide under her wings. This is a symbol of God’s protection for His children, and is used repeatedly in His Word.

The first reference to coming under God’s wings for protection is found in the book of Ruth when she said to Naomi, “Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.”(a) Boaz, who later became Ruth’s husband says to Ruth, “May the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully for what you have done.”(b) Coming under God’s wings is a choice we make; it is not something that happens automatically. When we put our faith and trust in the Lord, we come under His wings.

David, seeking God’s protection, prayed, “Guard me as you would guard your own eyes. Hide me in the shadow of your wings.”(c) “How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.”(d) “Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy! I look to you for protection. I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings until the danger passes by.”(e) “Let me live forever in your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of your wings!”(f) “Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.”(g)

The Lord’s promise is that “He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.”(h) He invites us, indeed calls us, to come under the shelter of His wings. With tears Jesus said to Jerusalem “How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me.”(i) May we not be like the children of Jerusalem, but respond to our Lord’s loving desire to cover us with His wings, where we will be perfectly safe.

Join me in this old familiar hymn:

Under His wings I am safely abiding,
Though the night deepens and tempests are wild,
Still I can trust Him; I know He will keep me,
He has redeemed me, and I am His child.
Refrain:
Under His wings, under His wings,
Who from His love can sever?
Under His wings my soul shall abide,
Safely abide forever.
Refrain:
Under His wings, what a refuge in sorrow!
How the heart yearningly turns to His rest!
Often when earth has no balm for my healing,
There I find comfort, and there I am blessed.
Refrain:
Under His wings, oh, what precious enjoyment!
There will I hide till life’s trials are o’er;
Sheltered, protected, no evil can harm me,
Resting in Jesus, I’m safe evermore.(j)

Footnotes:
(a)Ruth 1:16, (b) Ruth 2:12, (c) Psalm 17:8, (d) Psalm 36:7 NIV, (e) Psalm 57:1, (f) Psalm 61:4, (g) Psalm 63:7, (h) Psalm 91:4, (i) Matthew 23:37, (j) William O. Cushing.
All unmarked references are NLT.


“AT WHAT AGE WERE YOU BORN AGAIN?” Click your age bracket. The NEW POLL appears at the upper right side of this Blog, - Please cast your vote.
If today’s promise and comments have been meaningful to you – don’t hesitate to leave a comment. (Single space gives best appearance.)

You can e-mail this page by clicking on the envelope at the bottom of this page.









Saturday, July 26, 2008

TRUSTING GOD FOR THE VICTORY

I wait quietly before God,
for my victory comes from him.
He alone is my rock
and my salvation, my fortress
where I will never be shaken.
Psalm 62:1,2 NLT



When life flows along without too many struggles, we tend to feel that we have things pretty well under control. We don’t realize how many times the Lord has guarded us from struggles we weren’t even aware of. And in our childish self-confidence we took credit for life flowing along smoothly.

On the other hand, most of us have lived long enough to have gone through our share of hard and painful experiences. Hard times the Lord allowed us to go through so He could work His good purposes in us. And as we recall those times, we have to admit that He gave us the victory time after time.

So why should we allow fear to paralyze us now when we are confronted with new threats? Like David we must remind ourselves - victory comes from God. Our part is to trustingly wait before Him. He alone is our rock and our salvation, our fortress where we will never be shaken.(a) When we are confronted with frightening situations, we need to remind ourselves how faithful He has been in the past and trust Him to be the same in this situation.



Let’s Pray -
Father, you are aware of the struggles some people are having today. I ask that you would make today’s Scripture come alive to them. Grant them the grace to believe that their victory comes from you as they quietly rest before you.
Amen


Footnote:
(a) Psalm 62:2 NLT



“AT WHAT AGE WERE YOU BORN AGAIN?” Click your age bracket. The POLL appears at the upper right side of this Blog, - Please cast your vote.


If today’s promise and comments have been meaningful to you – don’t hesitate to leave a comment. (Single space gives best appearance.)

You can e-mail this page by clicking on the envelope at the bottom of this page.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

THREE KINDS OF PEACE


You will keep in perfect peace
all who trust in you,
all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
Isaiah 26:3 NLT


Basically there are three kinds of peace. The absence or cessation of war or hostility, Peace with God, and The peace of God.

The absence or cessation of war or hostility - When newspapers or TV news programs talk about peace, they most likely are referring to the end of hostilities between opposing organizations or countries. In today’s world it seems there are more hostilities breaking out than ending. Yet I would assume that peace is a common human desire - peace to live where and how we want to. But therein lies the problem. Our wants and the wants of others will be in conflict with each other unless we live by the same rules and values. That is true whether we are talking about nations, organizations or individuals. The Bible says, “What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?”(a) Again it says, “Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.”(b)

Peace with God – It’s insane to be opposed to God! He is the creator of heaven and earth and every living thing. He knows everything there is to know. He has absolute power. He makes the rules and enforces them. God has never been our enemy. He has never been against us, it’s we who have been against Him and need to make peace with Him. By opposing Him we bring destruction on ourselves. But if we surrender to Him and are reconciled to Him through Christ, it brings us life eternal! “If our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son.”(c) By surrendering to the Lordship of Jesus as our Savior allows us to experience the third kind of peace.

The peace of God - God’s peace is “perfect.” It lacks nothing. It is full and complete. It never fails. It is not affected by outward circumstances. It is always the same, like God, it never changes. It is always “perfect.” The peace of God is so far beyond human ability to understand that we will never comprehend it this side of heaven.(e) But by God’s grace we can experience it! Isaiah, speaking of God, says, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!”(f) Instead of worrying about the things that are beyond our control, our responsibility is to fix our thoughts on the Lord and trust Him in every situation. I can just hear Satan whisper, “Oh, but that’s so hard!” We must not listen to him. Rather cry out to the Lord for help and choose to obey Him. Whether all is going well or tragedy has struck - whether we are in health or in sickness – in prosperity or financial need – success or in failure – family peace or conflict. If we do our part with His help, without question God will do His part and “keep us in His perfect peace.”

Let’s Pray-
Dear Lord, as we focus our attention on you - grant us the grace to trust you totally!
“Peace! Peace! Wonderful peace,
Coming down from the Father above;
Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray,
In fathomless billows of love.”(g)
Amen

Footnotes:
(a) James 4:1 NLT, (b) Romans 12:17-18 NLT, (c) Romans 5:10 NLT, (d) Colossians 1:22 NLT, (e) Philippians 4:7 KJV, (f) Isaiah 26:3 NLT, (g) W. G. Cooper,


“AT WHAT AGE WERE YOU BORN AGAIN?” Click your age bracket. The NEW POLL appears at the upper right side of this Blog, - Please cast your vote.

If today’s promise and comments have been meaningful to you – don’t hesitate to leave a comment. (Single space gives best appearance.)

You can e-mail this page by clicking on the envelope at the bottom of this page.