He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Psalm 40:3a

Monday, August 31, 2015


            I've often said I don't know how people without faith in God can survive.  How awful it would be to believe in nothing!  Or to believe there is a God but not one who is interested in my life, or who loves me, or who has the ability to offer guidance and comfort, when the world around me crumples.

I cannot grasp that some kind of explosion created the stars and galaxies around us at the perfect distance they have remained these many years.  Nor can I believe that our earth is set in our solar system perfectly by the said explosion, that allows us to live in the world as we know it.  My mind cannot grasp the idea we evolved from fish, further to monkeys and then became man.  Our bodies are so intricate, even the best scientists haven't figured everything out about it!  There are so many things that just couldn't have happened by fluke. 

            A teenage daughter of a friend passed away a year or so ago after battling cancer.  She said to her dad when things were upside down in her world and despite her pain….  “I don’t know how people who have no faith can get through tough times. It is only by God’s grace that we can get through something like this without feeling totally alone and feeling like we’re in darkness.”  She was an incredible inspiration to her father, friends and other members of her family, and even now, as those who loved her reflect on the impact she made on those who knew her.

            I believe in God as the Great Creator who loves us, cares for us and knows us beyond the realms of imagination.  But even knowing this, I find myself occasionally feeling like the disciples and have doubts.  Certainly, when Jesus was crucified they doubted what they believed.  How could Jesus die?  What happened to forever?  Still after Jesus was not in the tomb, those amazing three days after the cross, they wondered; and then even when they saw him and finally realized who he was, isn’t it entirely likely in their human-ness they weren’t, at least momentarily, doubtful they were really talking with Jesus?   There are times I doubt about who I am, what I'm supposed to do on this earth, where I'm supposed to be. 

            That's when satan wins.  That's when satan uses my human-ness against me.  That's also when, I have to rebuke satan and remind myself of Christ dying on that cross with nail scarred hands and feet.  When He died on the cross, He took my sins and gave me His righteousness.  As His child I am no longer what the world sees as just another statistic with nothing to offer or without value.  God sees me as clean and valuable, worth accomplishing something for Him.  So when I doubt myself and my abilities, aren’t I suggesting God is wrong? 

            God is real.  His promises are sound and firm. He is as real as the warm sun, the smile of a child, the wet of the rain, the beauty of the mountains and the love of his Son.  I challenge you to take time to re-connect with God.  Wash away all your doubts with His blood.  Accept His love and live in peace.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Close To God

         In the story of Abram, in Genesis 22, we are told God promised him a son and descendants as many as the stars and Abram believed.  Yet only two verses later when God promises possession of the land, Abram wanted to know how.

            In my own life, there have been times when I truly believed, with all my being, a miracle would happen but my head argued with my heart.  It wasn’t logical, and for a moment, doubts would cloud my mind. So I waited and have been blessed in ways I’d never imagined, with circumstances worked out in ways I’d never even considered!

            Sometimes the events which define my life seem no different than those of anyone else.  I have good days and bad, struggles and issues, dreams and hopes, desires and prayers.  And rarely can I tell you exactly how any one thing happened, but I can look back over the last week, weeks, months and sometimes years and say, “Oh yeah!  God did that!"  Sometimes, however, the answer will come in just an instant and from the most unlikely source.  Again, you can say nothing less than, “Oh yeah!  That was God!”

            There are times when someone will pray for a miracle from their perspective and need, while another person prays a prayer from their particular viewpoint and God designs an answer which more than satisfies both parties!  This happened to me recently and I can only say, “Oh yeah! That was God!”

Abram was close enough to God to ask, “How will I know?”  He wanted to be sure.  Isn’t it the desire of all Christians to feel such one-ness with God to be able to chat, question and discuss things with God?  Adam and Eve did this before the fall.  And even though they lost their unique relationship with Him in the Garden, because of their sin, they still were in touch with God.  So why can’t we?

We really do have this opportunity, if we recognize it.  Prayer is our connection to God.  Just as we can talk via telephone lines from one side of the world to another, prayer can carry our words from our heart to God’s—and God can respond.  However, we must be tuned in to God’s voice much like the receiver of a phone is against our ear so we hear the communication clearly. His answer can come through His voice speaking to us just as clearly as though we were talking with any other friend.  It can come through a small quiet voice into our hearts and minds.  It can come through reading His Word, through a sermon, or through other people.  The point is, if we are listening and tuned into God, we will know we have our answer and God is speaking directly to us!

            Daily conversation with God will aid our “telephone calls” with him.  To know Him is to talk with him.  To know Him is to love him.  To love Him is to be in tune with him.  So I challenge you to make a one on one connection with the Lord.  Have a conversation with Him and listen; listen to hear His voice; listen to hear what He has to say to you and draw close to Him.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Responding To The Call

             A friend of mine attends a church where there are many pastors.  The church isn’t huge, but there are men there who feel called by God to minister!  What’s really encouraging is watching these young men in action.  While there is a Senior Pastor, each of the others participate in various duties with a humble heart and excited demeanor!  They love The Lord and want to serve!

            On the other hand, I heard a conversation some time ago where one friend visited another friend’s church.  “What do you think of it,” one asked the other.

            “I like it,” she said, “but I see a lot of politics there.  I don’t know that I could make that my home church.”

            It took me a long time to understand that conversation, but during a sermon some weeks ago, I heard a pastor give a unique definition that has stuck with me and I see it as reasonably accurate!  Politics:  Poli means many and ticks……  well, they are blood sucking creatures!  We see this in our government and in some of our churches. 

            There are those who choose to use others to gain status and control.  Sometimes it is done subtly, other times not so much.  Congregations have split because of it!  Certainly our country has split many times over because of politics!  Sadly, in a church congregation when politics play a part it has nothing to do with the call from Christ to “minister.”  It’s more about self-advancement and self-glory rather than God getting the glory! 

            When we are called to do something by God, it is reason to celebrate!  People spend years, even a lifetime trying to figure out what they were sent to Earth for!  We’re each given a gift, but when we don’t recognize what God’s given us and how to use that gift for the specific mission or “calling” He has planned, we miss out on blessings and a way to glorify God!

            Jonah was given a call to go to Ninevah.  He was not pleased about the call and tried to run from the Lord.  He boarded a ship headed the opposite direction and when the storm was at it’s peak, was thrown overboard and subsequently swallowed by a great whale.  After repentance and three days in the belly of the fish, he was spewed out.  Jonah then followed the Lords direction and ministered to Ninevah.

            We all face, doubts, fears and failure like Jonah.  But when we accept the challenge before us with excitement, enthusiasm, and with a love for the Lord, we can conquer our fears because we know God is with us!  We can experience God’s blessing because we are doing His will and not our own since it isn’t about “us;” it’s about God!  It’s about doing His work we were called to do rather than self- advancement or politics!  It’s about being part of God’s family and doing the job God wants us to do.

            So I challenge you to reflect on your involvement with your church or any ministry with which you are involved.  Are you doing it to glorify God or are you “politicking?”  Are you using your “ministry” to advance your own agenda?  Or are you fearful and missing out on blessings entirely, by not following the call you’ve been given by The Lord? Service to Him is worth thinking about!

Monday, August 10, 2015

In The Beginning

          I’ve been a student of the Bible for many years, yet today when discussing the desire to draw closer to God with a close friend, he first went to Genesis 1.  I’ve read, like most everyone who has any knowledge of the Bible the Creation Story probably a hundred times or more in my lifetime.  In fact, as a child, it is scripture I could recite verbatim!  When my friend first went to this beginning chapter I was confused, until he shared his thoughts!

            On the first day God created light and darkness, day and night.  In this one act God demonstrated power, his originality, dominion, himself as Creator and Masterful Designer!  On the second day God created an expanse between the water, calling the expanse above, sky, demonstrating a definite strategy.  So in addition to his power and originality, he is planning! 

On the third day the water below and sky above came together.  God called the dry ground, land and the water that met the land, He called, sea.  He also commanded the earth produce plants, grain and seeds of it’s own kind. This was a busy day!  God saw his creation and said it was “Good!”   God’s creation is intended to carry on His designs, enabling it to last a while and assessing His creation again, says, “It is good! “

On the fourth day God again deals with light and darkness.  He creates the sun for light during the day, while creating the moon and stars for the night.  A different light than the first light!  God’s creation on day one is “Spiritual Light” because God is light, while the light on day four is for the earth.  Again, God sees  what He’s created is good!  On the fifth day God filled the waters with all kinds sea creatures and the air was filled with all kinds of birds!  He also created land animals, and told all to reproduce according to their own kinds.

The sixth day brought the creation of man in His image, male and female!  Man was given dominion over all the earth, blessed, told to multiply and subdue the earth!  Think of it!  We humans, God’s creation were given total authority over all living things in the sea, on the land and the birds of the air!  He gave us herbs, fruits, vegetation and meat from the animals to eat.  Here God’s goal is clear!  He has planned for an enduring creation!   God again, assessed his work and saw that it was good! 

Finally on the seventh day, God rested from his work and made the day Holy.  In his originality, his creativity, through his awesome power, and demonstrating his sovereignty, God looked at His work and said, “It is complete! It is done! And it is good!”

We were created by a Master Designer and given amazing gifts of sustenance and authority over the earth, and He said, “It is good!”  Why then are we so quick to defile our bodies with sin like evil thoughts, pride, deceit, covetousness, blasphemy, theft, and all other wickedness?  Satan is as real today as he was the day he deceived Eve in the Garden. 

God demonstrated his power every day of the week.  He worked six days and rested on the seventh.  Isn’t this how we should live our lives?  Shouldn’t the six days of the week be our work for the Lord, while living Christ-like lives, so others can see?  And then on the seventh, like God, rest, worship the God that He is, and fellowship with other believers?   This was God’s design and it’s time we recognize it!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Imitating The Father

          In a discussion with a friend this week I thought about my personal need and desire to know Christ more.  Oh, I study---a variety of different formats, texts, and I search scripture, but I am often left with more questions than I have answers!  One thing I’m certain about is salvation by grace and it only comes through Jesus Christ.  Still the idea of “working out my salvation with fear and trembling while learning obedience to God,” kind of threw me!   But there it was in Philippians 2:12, telling me to do just that!

            I’ve always believed Salvation is a gift!  ---a free gift if a person will repent, ask Christ to be His Savior and then turn away from his sins.  So why do I have to “work” at it? As I researched this thought further, I discovered it has to do with taking responsibility for every thought and action that opposes the ways and Word of God.  We are expected to recognize and replace untruths with God’s truth.  This is being obedient as we work toward being Christ-like!

            It’s interesting to watch little children emulate parents or grandparents.  Our one little grand daughter caused us to chuckle more than once as she did her best to mimic every move her Grandaddy did! If he crossed his feet, she did.  If he was reading a book, she read a book.  If his hand was on his hip, she did her best to imitate the stance.  I think that’s what “working out our salvation” must mean!  We are to do our very best to imitate Christ in every area of our lives; whether it’s speech, attitudes, behaviors, thoughts and certainly actions!  As we press forward in our effort to be Christ-like, we are indeed working out our salvation, because we are being obedient to His teaching.

            This isn’t always easy in our instant gratification, materialistic world.  When you add the wiles, deception, and underhanded ways satan uses to twist and manipulate information, thought processes, and situations to his benefit, trying to imitate Christ can be challenging.  It sets us apart from our non-believing family and friends.  It means we have to make choices that create splits in relationships as we are called to stand up for what’s right.

            I was in conversation today, about how our world is changing and how important it is to be part of a strong body of Christ as our world challenges us to stand up or blend in.  Caving in and “blending” is going to be easy if we aren’t part of a unified body.  So as we “work” actively in pursuing obedience while having a “healthy fear” of disobeying Christ, then we can positively grow and mature in our faith!

            Satan continually bombards us with his twisted manipulating lies.  We must be spiritually prepared to rebuke him, and it takes work, just like it would take work to get any degree from college!  It takes planning, and deliberately setting a time apart from everything else to spend time in study and communication with the Greatest Teacher that has ever lived:  with God!

            So I challenge you!  Dig into God’s Word!  Prepare you heart and mind with the knowledge and spiritual understanding that can only come from God.  We are in a war; a spiritual war and the stakes are high.  Eternity is on the horizon.  Do you know where you will spend it?