Thursday, August 31, 2023
Wednesday, August 30, 2023
"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world--the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life--is not from the Father but is from the world." 1 John 2:15-16 (ESV)
During the time of quarantine, I really started thinking about the "stuff" of life. When all I could do was sit in my home, I had plenty of chances to look around at all the belongings that it is filled with. I am a very sentimental type of person so there are things that mean a lot to me, such as the cedar chest and a few other items that my father made by hand long before I was born. I also have a set of three little angels that were given to me by a lady that I loved dearly. "Billye's Angels", as I refer to them, are in a place in my living room where I can see them all the time. Because they were a gift from her and she has now gone on to Heaven, they are important to me.
During this time as well, I had plenty of time to watch television and I began to pay attention to the programs and advertisements that I was viewing regularly. I realized that most of what is shown are things that, years ago, would never have been deemed appropriate or acceptable. Sex, alcohol, drugs, violence, and children disrespecting parents are only a few of the topics. But, by beginning to include these things little by little, programmers slowly got us used to seeing them and now they are rampant. Game shows appeal to our greed. "Win money!" "Win a new car!" So called "reality programs" pit people against each other and we find ourselves caught up in unlikely scenarios and rooting for one person over another.
Have you noticed how many movies are being released that center around pure evil? These films, most with an "R" rating, glorify the enemy with storylines dealing with the occult, witchcraft and spiritual darkness. There was a time when there would have been a public outcry over this subject matter. We would have forbidden our children from seeing them, but now, there are even parents who take their children with them when they to go to view. Then we wonder why these young souls are skeptical of a real place called "Hell".
This world is not our home. We were created to love God and to worship Him. How it must grieve Him to see us spending our time concentrating on how to collect and protect material items that will pass away or filling our minds with ungodly ideas created to drive our desires or to numb our awareness of evil. What we think is harmless is actually deadly because it removes our focus from the Lord.
There is a song entitled "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus" that says, "Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace." Brothers and sisters, we need to return to Jesus. Rather than sitting in front of the television all time, we need to have our Bibles open and be sharing the love of the Father with those around us. These are the things that make an eternal difference and lay up treasures in Heaven.
I know it is difficult to stay completely away from the trappings this world. But we have to keep a clear perspective on what we are exposing ourselves to. If we do not guard our hearts and minds from the enemy, no one else will either. May you have a safe and joyful week. God bless!
Tuesday, August 29, 2023
Monday, August 28, 2023
Sunday, August 27, 2023
In the midst of a world fraught with challenges and uncertainties, we humbly come before You, acknowledging our own weaknesses and shortcomings. Your word reminds us of the path we ought to tread, the path of righteousness and unwavering devotion to Your will. We confess that at times, we have strayed from this path, enticed by our own desires and misled by worldly distractions. Forgive us, Lord, for our disobedience, and grant us the grace to turn our hearts back to You.
Saturday, August 26, 2023
Friday, August 25, 2023
Thursday, August 24, 2023
My heart exulteth in Jehovah;My horn is exalted in Jehovah;My mouth is enlarged over mine enemies;Because I rejoice in thy salvation.There is none holy as Jehovah;For there is none besides thee,Neither is there any rock like our God.Talk no more so exceeding proudly;Let not arrogancy come out of your mouth;For Jehovah is a God of knowledge,And by him actions are weighed.The bows of the mighty men are broken;And they that stumbled are girded with strength.They that were full have hired out themselves for bread;And they that were hungry have ceased to hunger:Yea, the barren hath borne seven;And she that hath many children languisheth.Jehovah killeth, and maketh alive:He bringeth down to Sheol, and bringeth up.Jehovah maketh poor, and maketh rich:He bringeth low, he also lifteth up.He raiseth up the poor out of the dust,He lifteth up the needy from the dunghill,To make them sit with princes,And inherit the throne of glory:For the pillars of the earth are Jehovah’s,And he hath set the world upon them.He will keep the feet of his holy ones;But the wicked shall be put to silence in darkness;For by strength shall no man prevail.They that strive with Jehovah shall be broken to pieces;Against them will he thunder in heaven:Jehovah will judge the ends of the earth;And he will give strength unto his king,And exalt the horn of his anointed.
Wednesday, August 23, 2023
"For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16 (NLT)
In the yearly television special, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Charlie Brown is sent to choose a Christmas tree for the play that the children are to perform in school. He and Linus go to a tree lot that is filled with all types of large, beautiful trees. When Charlie Brown sees a small, scraggly twig of a tree that has obviously been passed over by other customers, he decides that it needs a home. Although warned by his companion that the other children will not be happy, Charlie Brown sees in this little tree something of value and happily presents it to a group of children who immediately express their displeasure. Not only do they find fault with the tree, but also with Charlie Brown. Sadly, he carries it away. When he arrives home, he hangs an ornament on it and the tree promptly falls to the side. Assuming he has killed it, Charlie hangs his head and leaves. Led by Linus who wraps his beloved blanket around its base, the other children decorate the little tree and it becomes beautiful. Linus declares that it wasn't a bad little tree, it just needed a little love.
Many people go through times in their life when they feel that they are of no value. This can lead to isolation from others, depression and even suicide. God created us to be social creatures. We all want to fit in, to be accepted and to feel that our presence is desired. A good example of this is when as children we are told to choose teams for a sport. Two people are chosen as team "captains" and the other children wait to hear which team they are chosen to be on. As the names are called, inevitably someone is chosen last. Were you ever that person? How did it feel?
When I was a student in college, one of my professors did an experiment using this same scenario. He chose two people to choose teams. He did not indicate what activity the teams were for. As they went through the process of selection, eventually there were two people left unchosen. I was one of them. Having experienced this throughout my school years, all the emotions came flooding back and it was all I could do not to run from the room. In that moment I began questioning why I was not good enough to be chosen and to wonder why I was of no value. I don't remember what the experiment was for but, even after all these years, I still remember how I felt in that moment.
Scripture is full of reassurance that we are loved by our heavenly Father beyond measure but, in my opinion, John 3:16 is the best. Almighty God, who is lacking in nothing, has no need of anything or anyone, chose to create us, then, out of His amazing love, He chose to redeem us by sending His one and only Son to die for our sins to make it possible for us to share eternity in His presence. These beautiful words include us all. No one is singled out or excluded. He does not love some of us more than others or find more value in one than someone else.
I don't know what you are experiencing today. I hope that you are doing well and feeling loved and valued by those around you. If not, I urge to you pick up your Bible and start reading. Start with the book of John where you will encounter today's verse and you will begin to feel like that little tree. As you read you will feel like a warm blanket is being wrapped around you and you will see the value the Lord finds in you. People are imperfect in perception, however your Creator knows all the qualities He placed in you for His purposes and knows your thoughts and emotions intimately. Allow His Word to bathe you in the knowledge that His love for you is complete. If you are like me, you will be overwhelmed by what you find. God bless.
Tuesday, August 22, 2023
Monday, August 21, 2023
Sunday, August 20, 2023
Grant us the courage to cultivate a culture of honor, just as Emily did. May our lives be a testament to the transformative power of authentic conversations and supportive relationships. Help us stand strong against the pressures of society that seek to normalize what You deem as impurity.
Like Alex, guide us with practical steps to navigate the complexities of our modern age. Let our boundaries be a shield against the currents that pull us away from You. May our mindfulness guide our thoughts, aligning them with Your purposes.
We acknowledge the battle that lies ahead, as Paul advised Timothy. It's a fight that requires endurance and resilience. But we find solace in the heavenly prize that remains ever before us. Help us keep our eyes fixed on that eternal reward, unwavering in our pursuit of honor and purity.
In the symphony of life, let our choices compose melodies that glorify You. With hearts humbled by Your grace, we offer this prayer, asking for the strength to honor You with our bodies, both now and always.
We often overlook the profound truth that our bodies are more than vessels – they are temples, vessels sanctified by the presence of the divine. The words of 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 echo through the corridors of time, reminding us that within our very being, an indwelling of the sacred occurs. Imagine, for a moment, the sanctity that envelops ancient temples, where the divine was encountered and revered. In much the same way, our bodies become conduits for a transcendent encounter, a space where the Creator's breath intertwines with our existence. This metaphor, often concealed beneath the fabric of our consciousness, unfurls itself to reveal an awe-inspiring reality: each heartbeat, each breath, resonates with the rhythm of the divine. As stewards of these temples, we embark on a journey of understanding, seeking to align our choices and actions with the reverence such a sacred dwelling demands. The recognition of our bodies as sanctuaries invites us to contemplate the ways in which our thoughts, actions, and interactions reflect the sanctity bestowed upon us. It challenges us to redefine the contours of our decisions, conscious that the sacredness within us extends to the world around us.
Saturday, August 19, 2023
Friday, August 18, 2023
Thursday, August 17, 2023
Wednesday, August 16, 2023
"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31 (NIV)
There is a lovely song that I have heard children's choirs sing. It is called "Rise and Shine" and the last verse says, "Rise and shine and give God the glory, glory Children of the Lord." What a delightful thing to hear coming from the mouths of young ones. I hope they allow it to dwell in their hearts all the days of their lives. Its a simple song, but, oh, what an incredible lesson!
Each week, when I write this message, I hope it is clear, I hope people read it and understand it, I hope there is nothing that can be misconstrued and I hope it touches the heart of anyone who needs for it to. Mostly, though, my prayer is that the Lord would be glorified.
I have loved my Savior since the first time I was taken to church by Betty Allen in Amarillo, Texas, sometime in the early 1960's. Mrs. Allen, a neighbor, had brought a film about the Gospel from her church for our family to view in our home. It wasn't like today where you can just pop a DVD in a player, or tune to a YouTube channel. No, she had to bring the reels and a movie projector. It was cumbersome and took some time, but she believed my family was worth it. Sometime after that night, she asked if she could take me to church with her and that began my journey with Jesus.
As I have grown in my relationship with Him over the years, I have become more and more aware of the fact that, indeed, I am a sinner and I need a Savior. The fact that when He was nailed to that cross it was because of MY sins breaks my heart. The thought of Him crucified and shedding His precious blood is almost more than I can take. How could I ever turn away from that kind of love?
Folks, I am not a preacher. I have never had the aim of delivering a sermon. When I write, I write from the heart and I share what I believe I am being led to share, including this time. I try very hard to make sure that what I write is in line with the Scriptures as I never want to misrepresent God's Word. I believe that the Bible is God inspired and is true from the beginning to the end. Basically, as I heard a preacher say once long ago, "If God said it, I believe it, and that settles it."
The Good News is for everyone. It doesn't matter what race, nationality, educational level, gender or any other difference between persons. We are all created in the image of the Almighty and He loved us enough to allow His only Son to die a cruel death upon that cross in punishment for the sins mankind has committed or will commit. Jesus Christ was laid in a tomb and rose again on the third day, conquering death once and for all for those who repent and believe, and was raised to Heaven where He intercedes for us today. One day, we do not know when, He will return again and every knee shall bow before Him.
If I were to die tonight, my hope is that I would be found obedient in sharing His story and that someone, somewhere heard or read what I had to say and turned their face toward Him. And, I pray, that whenever that moment comes for me, as it will for each of us, that my very last breath would be used to glorify my Father in Heaven.
May you be overcome by His grace and mercy as you go through this week.
Tuesday, August 15, 2023
I know that thou canst do all things,And that no purpose of thine can be restrained.Who is this that hideth counsel without knowledge?Therefore have I uttered that which I understood not,Things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak;I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.I had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear;But now mine eye seeth thee:Wherefore I abhor myself,And repent in dust and ashes.