Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanks and Desire 11/26/2015

"But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.  For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.  If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.   But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.   For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."  1 Timothy 6:6-10

On this day we celebrate the uniquely American observance of Thanksgiving.  All over the country and in many parts of the world, families will gather together around a well set and well filled table and thank God for what they have received and what they are about to receive.  Churches may have Thanksgiving prayer services and perhaps offer meals to the less fortunate in their communities.  Friends will sit together before the game and go over lists of things for which they are thankful.  It is right and proper that we indeed give thanks to our great Benefactor and Provider, not just this day but all days.

Perhaps before the day is done, however, thoughts will turn to our plans to participate in some form of "Black Friday" shopping, which interestingly enough now begins on Thursday.  America leads the world as a consumer nation.  So much of our time, talent and treasure is geared toward obtaining stuff.  Driven by everything from personal desire to corporate greed, we literally shop until we drop for things we do not need but just want because it is the latest and greatest and the people next door have it.

Beloved there is nothing wrong with wanting nice things in and of itself.  I am reminded that God once lavished Solomon with super abundant wealth such as the world had not seen before or since.  It is important to know, though, that Solomon when given the opportunity to receive whatever he desired only asked God for wisdom with which to carry out the  work of caring for and leading His people.  Our problem can be that we lose sight of what God already richly provides (Matthew 6:31-33) in pursuit of things that can actually lead us away from Him.  This makes the desire for money and stuff potentially very dangerous.

On this day and all days, let us thank God for what He already provides as we continually seek His righteousness and His kingdom.

Increasing in faith,


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Jesus on Board 11/19/2015

"And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up.  Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, 'Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?' And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, 'Hush, be still.'  And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm."  Mark 4:37-39

Though it was an actual event (as opposed to one of the many parables Jesus had just spent a day preaching), there are arguable more profound lessons to be gleaned from this famous passage of scripture than the parables he so recently shared near the shore.

First, it is no revelation to know and understand that storms come into all of our lives.  Being a Christian neither guarantees nor implies a life free of concerns, difficulties and unfortunate circumstances.  In fact, Christ often said that the way would be perilous and fraught with challenges.

Second, when these storms come, take note of your surroundings.  No one has to tell you that you are in a storm when it arrives.  In fact, you may have to tell others.  Two important things should be noticed, however.  The first, as was the case with the apostles, is that you are in a boat.  While it is true that the storm sometimes threatens to overtake the boat,  the alternative here is that we could be in the midst of the sea without a boat, a situation that would be exponentially worse.  Second, note that the storm does not overtake the boat but that the boat is afloat.  The lesson here is that though our circumstances may rage around us and though we may feel in peril of our very lives, at that moment, we are not consumed but sustained.

Most important of all, Jesus was on board throughout the storm.  Yes he was asleep but I submit to you that it was because he was tired from doing the Father's work of caring for us all day.  More worthy of note, however, is the fact that he had no concern or fear about a storm that was raging on the earth that he made!  There was zero chance that Jesus would perish and if it was true for him in that circumstance, it was true of all of those who were with him.

Beloved, our storms can be awfully fearsome things.  We often panic, lose faith, give up hope and sometimes even want to jump out of a perfectly good floating boat.  Let us be reminded that with Jesus on board, we simply need to exchange our fear for faith.  It is Jesus and only Jesus that has truthfully said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you" Heb 13:5.  Further, know that faith conquers fear but only in proportion to its strength.  We just need to make sure that we have invited Jesus aboard the boat of our lives.

Increasing in faith,


Thursday, November 12, 2015

How Long Will You Hesitate? 11/12/2015

 "Elijah came near to all the people and said, 'How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.' But the people did not answer him a word." 1 Kings 18:21

We are all, no doubt, familiar with the famous scene of Elijah, the prophet of God, confronting the 450 pagan prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel.  Wicked king Ahab had married infamous Jezebel who not only brought her pagan religion into Israel but killed all but one hundred of God's prophets.  This systematic introduction of Baal worship, clearly supported by her husband the king, put all of the people of Israel in a position to have to make a choice: worship the One True God, worship a pagan diety or straddle the fence.

Beloved, we are faced with the same decision today.  We know God.  Many of us have known Him from our earliest years being taught through bible stories, children's prayers and our parents' example.   Along the way, however, we have also been introduced to the god of this world.  Whether it is the worship of money and the things it can buy, the lust of the eye and the flesh which is so predominant throughout society or the rejection of God through action or inaction, we all have a choice.  In Jezebel's day, not only was godlessness sanctioned by the ruling authority, it became societally imperative.  Sound familiar?

The question asked by Elijah, therefore, is still asked today: "How long will you hesitate between two opinions?"  Then, the people failed to respond as if unsure of what to say, unwilling to verbally express the choice their lives demonstrated they had chosen or silenced by guilt.  As Christians, we must constantly examine our lives to determine who our actions serve.  Joshua famously put it this way: "If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LordJoshua 24:15.

It is my fervent prayer that in the face of ever increasing external and, yes, internal negative influences that "the redeemed of the Lord say so."  Let us all stand up and be counted for God, good and righteousness.  Let us serve the Lord.

Increasing in faith,


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Coming Soon!!


It has been nearly a year since my last blog post (Devotional email to some of you).  As many of you know, it started out years ago as a Monday through Friday daily blog and continued to be for 3 years.  It even generated a book!  After that things began to slow, then trickle then stop.  Since we last spoke, my faith and work in the Lord has only grown.  In fact, it is serving in other ways that may be the biggest reason my regular writing ceased.  Every now and then, however, I'll run across a scripture or a situation and think, "I really need to get back to writing these revelations down and sharing them with the family."  Some of you (Michelle, Karen, Cheryl, Gail & Jerry) have encouraged me to resume.  I appreciate your patience, understanding and support.

I am pleased and humbled to tell you that the time has come.  I am committed to resuming the Minister's Meditation at least once a week for at least a year beginning next week.  I hope you are all still out there and still interested. :)  Be sure to share this outreach and encouragement ministry with your friends and acquaintances.  Let us glorify God together.  Who knows?  Maybe there is another book being born.

Increasing in Faith,