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

Monday, September 26, 2016


My daughter stuffed the required UPC symbols from the package and receipt into the envelope with the refund form.  "Will it really be six weeks before this comes back?" she asked.
"Yes," I responded, "at least."

"I don't like this," she pouts.  "Why does it take so long?  I wish we could get the money faster.  This is boring."

         Hugging her, I assured her it would come, but it would require patience. 

         “But, Mom,” she said.  “I need spending money now.”

         I wonder about the signals we send our children.  Instant gratification commercials abound.  Do it today!  Get it now.  Put it on credit. We see it on TV, hear it on the radio, read it in the mail and across billboards that clutter our highways.  Even money services are advertised.  They offer money “now” for whatever it is a person wants to buy.  Just call in and they will see we get it! 

         The messages are implying everything is easy.   Like the beautiful rose, the things we want most in life are right there ready for us to take, all we have to do is reach out and grab it, yet it is so easy to get "snagged" by the thorns.  Young couples often begin their married lives deep in debt because they believe they should have “today” what their parents spent the last thirty years obtaining.  They buy a new car, new house and furniture, nice clothes and eat out often.  It doesn’t occur to them that these “things” are best acquired over time, with patience, as they can afford it without going into horrible debt.

         Credit cards make “instant gratification” very appealing.  Most are extremely easy to get and offer varied credit limits.  Once you have the credit card in hand, it’s easy to forget that unless you pay off the amount spent, at the end of the month, there is going to be a monumental interest rate applied to the balance.  Often spending habits go well beyond the means of being able to pay the bill off when it arrives.  The solution to this is often turning to another credit card.  Many families have three or more cards at once.  When one is “maxed out,” charging begins on another.  

         Our society has taught our children that status is measured in the amount of wealth displayed making the need for instant gratification an even greater desire which starts early in our children’s lives.  When children begin elementary school they immediately begin a “competition” with all the other students.  It is important they meet the standards of their peers.  They want the right kinds of shoes, coats, book bags, jeans and even hair styles!  Anything less causes even small children nearly unbearable distress and anxiety.

         This entire situation makes me think about Jacob and Esau.  Esau gave up his birthright for bread and stew of lentils.  He wanted his needs met immediately and was willing to give up something valuable for “instant gratification.”  Aren’t we, as a society, often willing to do the same thing?  We give up time with God, fellowship with other Believers, even our faith to fit in, rise on the career or social ladder and more, for something that gives us immediate gratification without ever thinking about what we are really “giving up.”  The cost is huge, if we would recognize it.

         So I challenge you to reflect on your “bread and bowl of lentils.”  Any pattern of life that goes against God, is a “bowl of lentils” if it cheats us out of our “birthright with God.”  Are we then, any different than Esau?

Monday, September 19, 2016

God Keeps His Promises

     “We’re going to the park tomorrow.  I promise!” I heard my friend say to her youngest, who kept asking if they could visit her favorite place.  “There isn’t any time today.  Aunt Susan is coming over and then it will be dinner time.  Daddy will be home soon and it just isn’t happening.”

            “Tomorrow,” however, doesn’t turn out like planned.  Janie, Ellen’s sibling ends up getting sick and spoils plans.  “But you promised!” wailed, Ellen.

            “I know and I’m sorry.  I shouldn’t have.  I didn’t know Janie was going to be sick today.  I’m hoping we can go tomorrow.”

            There have been times when I, too, have unwittingly made a promise I couldn’t keep, especially to my children.  My intentions were pure enough, but circumstances countered my plans.  Even though the word “promise” wasn’t spoken, my children took me at my word.  When plans were changed, my children were crushed because they had counted on what I said.

            But this can also happen between adults.  All too often, however, when promises are broken in this venue, adults are not so easily placated as children.  Harsh words can be spoken, explanations ignored, accusations made and relationships broken.

            I am so glad God doesn’t go back on His promises.  They are always made good!  His promises are those we can always count on.  He is true to his word, even when we doubt it like Zachariah did when he was promised a son as described in Luke 1. Zachariah’s son was John, the “messenger that prepared the way.”  God promised the world a Messiah.  His promise was fulfilled in the birth of Jesus. 

All the promises made by God will be fulfilled.  Many already have.  We are living in the end times.  Just as God promised a Messiah, so he promised that Jesus would return.  Think of it!  We are likely living in the generation of the Rapture of the Church!  So many promises and prophesies fulfilled!

We know Israel became a nation, once again in 1948.   We know there is international conflict over Israel and that the temple is to be rebuilt.  There is much discussion about the temple.  There are claims that material is at the ready to begin!  There are wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes and all kinds of calamities worldwide, discussion about a one world monetary system, language, and “new world order.”  There are all kinds of new religions—yet even talk of a one world religion, and false teachers.

There is a knowledge explosion that can make your head spin, travel capabilities beyond one’s imagination, scoffers, a falling away—churches around the world show statistically that people have stopped attending; violence, terrorism, crime, corruption, cheating, stealing and total indecency through the general population.  God’s Word tells us all this will happen!

He also tells us we will live with him in eternity if we have accepted him as our Savior.  God doesn’t go back on his promises.  The promise of Jesus' return will be filled sooner than most think!  Are we ready?  I challenge you to reflect on your relationship with Christ.  Are you where you need to be?  Do you know Him as Lord and Savior?  Where will you spend eternity? There are only two options: heaven and hell; and one is as real as the other!

Monday, September 12, 2016

He Knows My Needs

        Our world is changing in disastrous ways every day.  Statistics are claiming that only about 70% of Americans claim to be Christian. Of the 30% remaining nearly 16% don’t believe in anything in particular, 4% are agnostic and just a bit over 3% are atheist.1
It strikes me as nothing less than amazing that if only 3% of our population is considered atheist, how it is “our world” has given those who choose to not believe in my God, the right to constrict and restrict how or where I worship, or who I choose to share my testimony with (schools, some workplaces, government buildings, etc.)!
But even as Christians or believers there are some definite differences worth noting.  I have some dear friends who don’t believe in the Trinity.  They believe in God the Father, Jesus the Son, but don’t believe the Holy Spirit should be included.  The Bible shows us in several passages, however, that the Spirit is indeed part of the God-Head. 
            In 1 Corinthians 2:11the Spirit is showing intellect.  It clearly reveals that the Spirit can think, by showing us He knows what God is thinking.  Romans 15:30 describes the Spirit having the emotion of love. 1 Corinthians 12:11 describes the Spirit as having a will.  It is He who determines what spiritual gifts you will be given.  In Matthew we are told to be “baptized in the Spirit” and John 14:26 describes him as the Counselor.  These attributes are human.  Why then should we not consider that God’s Spirit is indeed part of the God-Head?
            Scripture tells us the Spirit will reveal to us what God has prepared for us.  What a deal!  God is the Almighty Father and sits on his throne. Jesus was among us in human form and then joined his Father.  Still, we are not alone.  God, knowing the frailties of mankind knew we would need someone with us at all times for guidance, comfort, teaching, wisdom and more.  He sent us his Spirit.  He sent One that could be within us always in whatever situation we find ourselves in, whenever we reach out to Him. 
            Our relationship with The Father is dependent on interaction with Him.  We must stop and take the time to read His Living Word and listen to what He is telling us.  In this sweet time of quiet communion we are better able to stay focused on His voice and thus His instruction in whatever form it takes.
            God already knows where we are in our lives, what we are doing, how we are living, who we know or need to know and certainly what it is we need.  But it is in sharing our hearts and desires with Him, our hearts will be filled.  God is a God who wants relationship.  He wanted that from the time he created Adam.  The Bible tells us he “communed” with Adam every single day.  Adam knew him and waited for the time God would walk through his garden to spend time with him.
           After Jesus was resurrected, God sent the Holy Spirit to live within us.  It is He who leads and counsels, even as God himself.  So I challenge you to reflect on your feelings about the Holy Spirit as part of the God-Head.  Do you know Him?  Do you have interaction and communion with Him?