Friday, October 31, 2008

Who will you serve???

As we draw nearer to the elections, we get overwhelmed with political advertising and rhetoric that gets so hard to weed out the good and bad. The good thing as Christians is that we are not conformed to the images of this world, but are aliens in a strange land, right? Yes, we need to be mindful of all that is going on around us, but are also called to be separate.

As I was thinking on those things this morning, I was brought to the verse found in Joshua 24:15..."And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

As human beings, we are given the freedom to choose who we will serve. Have you made a stand in your home? Or are you wishy-washy depending on if things are going well or not? Make a stand one way or the other...I am making a stand on the final part of this verse..."as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord"...POINT BLANK!!!

That requires a lot from us...does it mean everything is always easy? NO. Will there be struggles? as long as we live in an imperfect world...YES! But, we are "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ"(Titus 2:13)...

Before I end today, we need to take another look at our verse for the week...John 3:30 "He must increase, but I must decrease." Goes right along with our passage, doesn't it? Those of you who haven't got it memorized have until Monday before it's time for our next working on it!

I pray that you have a great day and look forward to seeing many of you at our 2nd Annual Trunk or Treat tonight from 6-7:30 PM...

Please let me know if there is a special prayer request I can word on your behalf today...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Congratulations and thanks...

As much as this pains me as a New York Mets fan...congratulations to the Philadelphia Phillies on their World Series championship. With the weather situations that caused a two day delay in the finishing of game 5, it will go down as one of the most unique championship moments.

It is yet another day of being sick at home, which means another day of being bombarded by political media. I feel quite passionately about the future of our nation, but try to not use this medium as a platform for my personal opinions. My request for all who read this blog is that you TRULY pray and ask for God to give you the knowledge in choosing who to vote for. There is so much mis-information out there that we can't discern right from wrong without some help, and I know no better place to turn than the Lord.

With that said, let's take another look at our verse to memorize this week in John 3:30..."He must increase, but I must decrease." How are you doing with the verse this week? Are you thinking on it? Sharing it with others? Or, just reading it here and forgetting for the rest of the day? If we truly want to be touched by the Lord in every aspect of our lives, we must take His Word seriously and put it into our lives!!!

I also want to take a few moments to say "Thanks" to those of you who have subscribed to the journal or have been reading regularly. This has been an opportunity to share the words that God has given to me each day. If they speak to someone else, then that is just more than I could have ever expected. May all praise for everything I write or say be given to the Lord, who makes all things possible. If you would've told me a few years ago that God would be using me for His plan, I would have laughed in your face. It's like the quote I used a couple days ago..."A super man would make it look easy, but it took an ordinary man to make it look like God"...It is obvious that what God has done in my life is His doing, because I could have never accomplished what He's done on my own.

May you be blessed today and please let me know if there is a special prayer request I can word on your behalf today...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Continuing the challenge...

Okay...yesterday a challenge was put forth to one and all (myself included). I had 4 responses come to me personally, including the 2 that were directly responded to the post. Thanks to you for putting yourselves out there. This is not anything that I am going to pester you with daily. I will not email you and make sure you are keeping up with your acceptance of the challenge. This is simply a chance for us to all grow closer in our walk with our Lord and the knowledge He can give. If you haven't accepted the challenge, I hope you will take it very seriously.

That said, let's take another look at this week's verse to memorize. If you haven't read yet, it is: John 3:30..."He must increase, but I must decrease". What did this verse tell you about yourself? about God? about what you need to do? It simply states to me that God must play a bigger role in my life, while my own personal ideas take a back seat. God's ways are not my ways and my mind cannot even comprehend His wisdom. If I step back and let Him step forward in my life, His perfect will can be made evident in my walk, talk, and testimony.

I was searching YouVersion today for the word challenge in the Bible and found no references in the KJV. If you've never checked out YouVersion, take the time and check out this great reference with many different translations and a good search engine for the Bible. I went over to the Holman Christian Standard Bible and came across a passage from Psalms 57. Let's look at the KJV, verses 2 and 3..."I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me. (3) He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. Selah. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth."

To continue with the "challenge" theme, we look at how God shall save us from the reproach of him that would swallow us up. The Holman version states verse 3 as follows..."He reaches down from heaven and saves me, challenging the one who tramples me. God sends His faithful love and truth."

I find it amazing that my God would "challenge" the one trying to trample me...that is quite a thought to take hold of, right? But, there is a premise to all that, though. In verse 2, we must call upon the Lord in reverance, knowing that every good thing comes from and through Him. If we try to do things on our own, only defeat and trials will come.

May we be "challenged" to take the Word of God into our hearts and minds today and each day hereafter. Remember this week's verse...John 3:30..."He must increase, but I must decrease". Keep that fresh in your mind...

If you haven't accepted the challenge and would like to, simply post a comment to this post below and say you're up for a challenge!!! Please let me know if there is a special prayer request I can word on your behalf today...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Are you up for a challenge???

Today, I was meeting with a friend who was asking what I am doing to draw more people to God? What goals do I have set in place? Then he asked me a tough question...what plan do you have set for memorizing scripture? Think about that...What plan do you have set for memorizing scripture? It has been somewhat hit-and-miss is what I said. I work on memorizing scripture, but haven't set a goal for how many. Well, today, I set forth the goal of one verse a week. And I am asking you to join with me.

In Psalm 119:11, it states..."Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." If we are constantly memorizing scripture and dwelling on it, we will see a difference in the way God moves and the way WE are moved.

While we were talking, I shared a verse, but went blank on the exact reference in scripture...because of that, I have placed it as this week's memory isJohn 3:30 "He must increase, but I must decrease."

Let's focus and meditate day and night upon this verse. I will highlight and remind you each day. Then, next Monday, we will start a new verse. I challenge you to take this journey with me and see what God will do through us in the coming days, weeks, months and years. If you will take this challenge with me, leave a comment below or just email me.

Let's take a step back and let Him increase today and each day from here on.

Please let me know if there is a special prayer request I can word on your behalf today...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Mighty to Save...

This morning, I have been thinking and singing the words from "Mighty to Save". Many have heard the Hillsong version, however I am putting up the video from Laura Story. I found the images a bit better than those of the Hillsong version. As you watch the video, there are 3 verses that fit perfectly with the song:

1. John 3:16..."For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

2. Zephaniah 3:17..."The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing."

3. 2 Corinthians 5:15..."And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again."

I pray that you are touched once again by the words and message of this song...

Repeat the words over to yourself today...
"Savior, He can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save, mighty to save
Forever, Author of salvation
He rose and conquered the grave, Jesus conquered the grave"

Please let me know if there is a special prayer I can word on your behalf today...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Are you hiding???

I just was reading the daily headlines on Yahoo and saw how Beyonce is going to use a new stage name, "Sasha Fierce" on her upcoming album...I have now stopped laughing, but wonder...she states that the new persona allows her to be more fun, aggressive, and outspoken. Do we need a new persona or mask to hide behind so that we can share our beliefs without fear? I remember how well Garth Brooks' venture as Chris Gaines went...or didn't go.

I would be cautious to remind you that once we are saved, we are new stated in 1 Corinthians 5:17..."Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

Maybe if we let our new creature take over, we would be more outspoken and aggressive in our sharing of the Gospel. Now, don't get me wrong...I'm not telling you to go changing your name or personality...we don't need a bunch of Mr. Spectaculars running around.

But, I also would have to state that we shouldn't be afraid to speak up without having another personality (mask) to hide behind, either. We are to put away old things, and all things are become new. May we step boldly out and put off our old self, and let Christ's likeness be seen in us!!! So, in a sense we are showing another through us, but not by donning a mask...

Let me know if there is a special prayer I can word on your behalf today...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

God doesn't need a superman...

Earlier this week, while reading one of the many devotionals I read, I was struck by a quote..."A superman would have made it look easy. It took an ordinary man to make it look like God"...That quote has gone over and over in my mind. One of the stories that was brought to my mind was of David and Goliath. It is such a great illustration of God taking the average, if not below-average in stature to bring down the powerful.

Let's just look at a few verses from 1 Samuel 17:38-40..."And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail. (39) And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it . And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them . And David put them off him. (40) And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine."

In the first of this passage we see Saul trying to get David all the possible protections for David's well-being. He covers him from head to toe with armour, brass and the mail coverings. But, David was not going to have anything to do with that. He hadn't gone through testing of the equipment. Besides, he knew the Lord would be the protection he so desperately needed.

So David took his staff and picked out some smooth stones and put them in his bag, and with sling in hand he headed toward the Philistine. Can you imagine going toward a giant with just a slingshot and five smooth stones? Think about it...Goliath is shielded head to toe with the armor that David turned away.

The key David not only said he had faith in God, but he put it into action! Step out and get in the midst of the battle. You aren't armed with just five smooth stones, but the whole armor of God! You say you have faith...PROVE IT!!!

Remember the quote..."A superman would have made it look easy. It took an ordinary man to make it look like God"...

Please let me know if there is a special prayer I can word on your behalf today...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Heart of Our Worship

Okay, bear with me for a few moments...the last couple months, there has been something bothering me. Now, please don't think I am coming down on worship leaders everywhere, or even questioning their motives. I just personally think we need to watch how we portray what we are doing in our worship services and how it comes across to others. One of my favorite blogs has a thing every week called Sunday Setlists...Like I said, I am not taking aim at them. It is a great way of seeing how other ministers are arranging services and worshipping corporately. My beef is that it "sounds" more like a performance of man than a worship of God. I don't want my worship to be a "setlist" of music to entertain. I guess the whole "setlist" problem mainly comes from my DJ days. My prayer is that we will come back to the heart of true worship...where it's not about us at all! There, I got that off my chest, whew! Now, I feel better...

Okay, so for today's passage, we look to Psalm 5:7-9..."But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple. (8) Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face. (9) For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue."

Here, David is asking for God's overall guidance in his life. We should look at verse 7 when we come to His house to worship Him. We should come in lowness of spirit...humbly...praising His great mercy upon us!!! Let's corporately ask the Lord to lead our steps today. I am challenging you to come with me on this journey...

Lord, lead us in your righteousness, because our enemies in this world are looking to trip us daily. Light our paths before us where you want us to go...Let us see the folly of the words they speak that don't ring true...Let us see the heart of them, that we may not be fooled by their smooth talk...Keep us strong, even though they tell us what our flesh longs to hear...Thank you, Lord for your faithfulness and mercy...We deserve none of it!!!

Thank you for letting me share my heart with you today. I pray that we can all think about what worship is meant to be. Like I've quoted "The Heart of Worship" before..."It's all about you...Jesus"...

Please let me know if there is a special prayer I can word on your behalf today...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Be profitable...

Isn't it funny how God speaks the same words to us over and over to get things across to us? Over the last couple days, I have been reading through scriptures and keep being brought back to this particular passage. Yesterday morning, in Sunday School we spoke about the "comfort zone" we are in in the church setting and then the morning sermon actually began in the early parts of the chapter and the passage was brought to my mind once again. The passage for today comes from Hebrews 13:13-17..."Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. (14) For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. (15) By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. (16) But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. (17) Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you."

We are called to step out of our comfort zones and reach those who are outside of the safe walls. And, it doesn't say to reach only to those who openly want to hear about it says to bear reproach. We are not bearing reproach for the sake of dealing with pain, but rather for our Lord, who bore the ultimate reproach.

We are also reminded that while we are here, the things are only for a season. We seek a city to come that "continues" or lasts forever. That is why we should set our sights and affections on things above. By our Lord, we should offer up our praise, sacrificially. That means letting go of ourselves and letting everything we have, everything we do, and everything we say honor Him. I can see the marquee sign of a church that stuck in my mind..."Let Go and Let God"...can't put it any simpler than that.

It continues in verse 16 with not forgetting to do good and communicate...that means sharing the testimony of what HE has done...for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. Do you consider your good deeds and conversation as a sacrifice? I thought about that. If we aren't giving up something it's not really a sacrifice, is it? If we take the credit, we should be careful. Read Daniel chapter 4...King Nebuchadnezzar was very proud of the kingdom he himself had made with his own hands, after his dreams were told him by Daniel. He thought he was "all that" and had to be brought down a notch or two to come to a realization and give God the glory. It's not any fun having to go through trials and struggles to learn where the glory goes, but sometimes is necessary. If we are giving glory and "sacrificing" receiving the praise, God will be pleased.

And finally, this one can be tough...submit yourselves and obey them that have rule over you. This is another sacrifice we must make. This is not only concerned with work, either. We must keep our avenues of accountability and responsibility in order. We also have people set out to keep "watch" over us in places of authority. They should be able to look at our work and be joyful, not grieving the time together. The final line puts it well..."for that is unprofitable to you". It is unprofitable for us to leave a "bad taste" in people's minds when they think back on us.

So, get out of your comfort good and share what God has done...submit yourself and obey authority...for it is profitable for you.

Please let me know if there is a special prayer request I can word on your behalf today...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Your Life is Hid in Christ...

I don't know about you, but the last couple weeks my email inbox has been filled with political emails of folks overly concerned about our pending elections. Now, don't get me wrong, we are in a very crucial point of our history, but are we letting our concerns about the election outweigh our concerns for the lost? A lot of Christians I know are only talking about Obama this, McCain that...Palin...Biden...I don't think any of them has a reason to replace our conversation of Christ.

So, as I was looking through scripture today, I came upon the following passage and thought we could cover it today...Colossians 3:1-4..."If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. (2) Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. (3) For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. (4) When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory."

We, as Christians, are assured be risen with Christ one day and need to keep our minds saturated with things above, rather than things here below. I am not real big into poitics, though I follow the news and major notes online. We are assured to be taken care of...I figure if the missionaries in the far corners of the earth are protected by God's hand, we in America are gonna be okay, too. I know it's not as simple as that...I do have signs in my yard for the ones I'll be voting for, but I am not losing sleep over the market crashing, presidential race, or a plummeting dollar value.

Also, there are things in this world that point to the soon return of Jesus. If you read through the Bible, it tells of the signs of the end times...kinda looks familiar, doesn't it? The signs are there and we must realize that like verse 3 states, to this world we are dead, and our life is hid with Christ. We should all find comfort in knowing the Lord will return, but we need to be ready!

With the signs all around us, we should be working that much harder to reach others...time is short, but the people needing the Truth are many! Yes, when Christ returns we will return with Him to heaven, but think of the person/people you know that don't know Him...does it break your heart???can you feel their pain??? Think of the friends you share a laugh with, do they know Christ??? Share your testimony with them...they need to know.

With all the rumblings and grumblings on Wall Street and Capitol Hill, isn't it great to know that you have a Father in heaven watching over you, who's "got your back" so to speak? Wouldn't your friends like to have that assurance, comfort, and peace? Don't let your foolish pride get in the way of reaching out to people who are searching for hope!

Please let me know if there is a special prayer I can word on your behalf today!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day...Poverty

I received notice that today is "Blog Action Day 2008" and thought I would look for scripture that deals with poverty and the poor. While our family were missionaries to the Sioux Indians in South Dakota, I saw poverty first-hand. It is an ugly thing that is not always caused by laziness. Sometimes, it is caused by any number of things from location, life decisions, etc. We as Christians are called to reach out and help the poor and oppressed. I would like to hear from you today as your feelings about what poverty means to you, what can be done, or a situation of someone you know who lives in poverty.

"He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor." - Proverbs 14:31...This is very simply put...we are not to oppress the poor...we gain nothing from bringing others down...from holding them back...if we are to honor our Lord, we will have mercy on the poor. That doesn't mean saying "I'll pray for you" and going our way, but to reach out and help them where they are.

"If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother:" - Deuteronomy 15:7...Once again, we are instructed to help out those in need...don't harden your heart...don't shut your hand from them either...reach out with love one to it states don't withhold from thy poor brother.

"If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury." - Exodus 22:25...Don't give out of what you will get in return. Give of the kindness of your heart. Usury in Webster's dictionary is defined as "interest". Don't expect payment with interest...if you know they are unable to re-pay, why would you also expect payment with interest? Why do we only give when we think the opportunity for re-payment exists? That's not showing true love, is it? Realize when I point a finger, I have more pointing back at me...

And, for my final verse, I came across..."Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich." - Proverbs 28:6...Would you rather be poor and have a close relationship with the Lord? Or would you rather have riches below, that will wither and waste away?

Be mindful of your charity and outreach today...not only to those who can do something for you financially...give and it shall be given unto you...don't give expecting in return, there is no glory in that...

May we reach the lost, hungry, and impoverished every day...Please let me know if there is a special prayer I can word on your behalf today...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

And Keep Thy Word...

This morning as I have been doing some reading around the blogosphere, I am troubled by a few things. I realize as "worship leaders", we are to be working to produce the best possible product to lead, but are we putting the focus on the right things? I have read how several are worried about keeping guitarists, pianists, drummers, and vocalists happy. That is not what worship is about,'s about giving our best to Him, regardless if we hear our voice loud enough, there's feedback, etc. Don't get me wrong, I am as picky as the next guy, but we can't allow technical issues to take the focus off who we are singing, playing, or drumming to.

My scripture passage today comes from Psalm 119:17-22..."Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word. (18) Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. (19) I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me. (20) My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times. (21) Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments. (22) Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept thy testimonies."

Here, David is praying for God to provide abundantly for him, that he may abide while keeping the Word of God in his life. He is also asking that God open his eyes, that he would see the great things of the law. We no longer are under the law in the same respect as the Old Testament, but should still glory in the statutes set before us for Christian life.

One of our deacons here is always reminding me about the next verse's words...we are not of this earth...don't let things here get to you! I will next skip over a bit to verse 21 where the proud are rebuked and cursed for getting their own selves in the way of the commandments. This is a hard one to keep our minds upon. When a person is put on a pedestal, after a while they seem to think they deserve it, if they don't have the right perspective. I speak from being there personally. My prayer each day is that I am mindful that I must decrease and He must increase (John 3:30).

Finally, in verse 22, if we keep our eyes focused can ask God to remove the trials and contempt we face for we have kept His testimonies. This is not to say that everything will be great all the time and trials will never come, but that God will remove those feelings from our hearts.

Let's pray that we may focus our eyes upon the Lord in our times of praise and worship. Like the words from "The Heart of Worship" state so eloquently..."it's all about's all about You, Jesus..."

Let me know if I can word a special prayer on your behalf today...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Your work shall be revealed by fire...

I know many of you have been hearing about the Block Party we had this past Saturday. i am going to be using some of what happened there as illustration of today's passage which comes from 1 Corinthians 3:13-15..."Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. (14) If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. (15) If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire."

Our works will be seen as it is...revealed by fire. True testing of our thoughts and intents. If they are built upon self, it shall burn like wood, hay, and stubble and nothing will be left to show. If works are built upon the Lord and His teachings, there shall be a reward. As it states here, our works being consumed doesn't alienate us from the Father, but it does keep us from gaining crowns and rewards.

The Block Party from this past Saturday was a definite symbol of a work based upon the Lord. It was a time of giving of ourselves for others. We saw an estimate of 1200 people in the three hours we were open. We fed around 900 hot plate lunches. We were also able to send nearly 300 bags of groceries home with families. One thing I found amazing was that when we ran out of bagged groceries, we didn't just say "sorry, we're out", but took people's names and phone numbers, so we can make up a bag for them this week.

It took all of us working together to accomplish a great work for the Lord. We will get together again later this week to bag another 63 bags of groceries that will be given out. That's a testament to our church's love and care for the community we serve in.

Another awesome sight was the youth standing with folks in the food line and sharing testimonies and the Word of God to others that they didn't know. Our prayer table was packed the entire time, as well. So many hurting people are living around us these days. In the 3 short hours, we had nearly 100 people stop and ask for prayer for hurting loved ones, salvation, and life's troubles. Too many times, we are afraid we will offend by asking people if we can pray for them, but it's obvious they are looking for someone to reach out and care.

This is not a post to collectively pat ourselves on the back, but rather a statement that people are searching for genuine love and care. If we are willing to reach out to them where they need it, they will open up to what we can offer them through the love of Jesus Christ. I pray that this will be a boost to your Spirit today...the fire is burning in many of our hearts here at Emmanuel.

The work has just begun...the Block Party is an outreach, but it's not where the outreach ends, but rather where it begins. Now, we must visit, call, and show the love of Christ to those who so desperately need it.

Join with us and look for an opportunity to share with those that are searching...right around you. They aren't hiding...look in their can see it...and if you are doing the works...for God's glory...crowns and rewards will be yours to lay at the feet of the Lord...

Let me know if there is a special prayer I can word on your behalf today...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Bagging Some Groceries...

A picture from our evening of bagging groceries for giveaway on Saturday at Block Party. Turned out to be a great day of sharing God's love! More info to come in the upcoming days!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Sowing seeds...

As we prepare for our upcoming Block Party, I came across this section of scripture. It came from our PowerUP devotional book for today. This section talks about us giving cheerfully. Many only equate giving with money, but it also includes our time, among other things.

Today's passage is from 2 Corinthians 9:6-10..."But this I say , He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give ; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things , may abound to every good work: 9 (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. 10 Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)"

The word today is a calling to give with all you hold nothing back...I think of the song "Live Like You Were Dying"...give like it's your last chance...because it may be the last chance for someone to hear. We should look at our outreach like a field...haven't you noticed that God uses the "harvest" as a way to look at reaching the lost. If we only sow seeds in a small section of our field or garden, would we expect to harvest plentifully from the entire section of property? Duh- no! So, why would we only reach out to a few and expect great returns for God's kingdom?

May we each purpose in our hearts to give, not because we have to...not because others are watching...but because we want to. God loves a cheerful giver. Be glad to give your time. Our Block Party is a great outreach to our neighborhood and city. We see it grow each and every year. This year's promises to be bigger than ever, especially due to economic conditions. It takes the concentrated efforts of a large group. It's not easy, but the rewards are great!

I am amazed to be part of a group of committed folks who are willing to pitch in wherever needed. We will meet tonight to bag up groceries to give away to those in need. We look to bag somewhere between 300-400 bags this evening. That means that many will have to take time out of their Friday night to come help...and they will, cheerfully!

In verse 8, God promises to allow His grace to abound, that we will be able to continue on. He will give us the strength, if we are willing to put forth some effort! Jesus went out and reached out to folks...gave to the poor and ministered to people's needs. We are called to do much the same: ministering bread for food, multiply the seed we sow (the Gospel), and the fruits of our righteousness will be increased.

Think on these things today...sow the seeds of kindness and charity bountifully...give of yourself willingly, time and money...sow more seed (reach out)...and God will increase the fruit of your righteousness...

Please let me know if there is a special prayer I can word on your behalf today.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Resurrect the dead!!!

Thursdays are my day off and today is one I don't particularly look forward to...going to dentist after lunch for a root canal and an extraction. Two of my favorite things, like you, I'm sure. I was thinking about writing about the passage where Paul spoke of doing the things he didn't want to do, but came across this passage instead and was reminded it's not about what I have to say...

The scripture today comes from Philippians 3:8-11..."Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, (9) And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: (10) That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; (11) If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead."

When people hear about Christ and being a Christian, many times they think about the things they have to give up...along those same lines, many times we are concerned with what others are still doing a bit too much ourselves. God hasn't told us to clean up to follow Him, but rather give ourselves and let Him do the cleaning. We are still given the free will, which is a blessing and a curse. We only give up what we are willing...and we often hold back and don't allow God to have all of us. If you're like me, it takes reaching a low point to let Him take full and utter control. I, like Paul, now look back at what I gave up as dung for lack of a better PC word.

We are also to be found IN HIM, because like it says we have no righteousness of our own. Paul was teaching to those who were still trying to prove themselves by the law, rather than by faith. They were being hassled by Judaizers who were condemning their every move, trying to make them fall. Thanks be to God for his grace that we live by, rather than falling short of the law...because if you offend the law in the smallest part, you were guilty of the whole, remember?

In verse 10, Paul strives to know the you strive to know the Lord, or do you just want to use Him for your personal gains? Really think about that one...when was the last time you prayed just to talk to Him??? When was the last time you just opened up your heart to Him??? When was the last time you prayed before your Bible reading and truly asked for Him to speak to you??? This is where we can all say we fall short, but we can strive everyday to improve our relationship, that we may conform to the image of Christ in our lives.

We should strive to be more like Christ, that others may see Him. Then, through us they can be lead by faith into a relationship with Him. Then, through the salvation given, we have a part in resurrecting a dead soul into life everlasting. That's a miracle that can still occur even in these troubled times we live in. Who says miracles don't happen?!?!

So, today...put things in perspective...glory in the losses we have, that we could win found in Him...strive to know Him conformed to His likeness...and resurrect the dead souls (unsaved) you come in contact with...

Please let me know if there is a prayer I can word on your behalf today...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Who will be great among you???

In our devotional journals we are working on during our PowerUP campaign, today was covering Mark 10:35-45. My mind has been on what was spoken in this text. I will be looking at the latter part of this passage, beginning in verse 42..."But Jesus called them to him , and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. (43) But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: (44) And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. (45) For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many."

Leading up to this passage, the apostles were angry about James and John asking to set at the right and left hand of Jesus. I'm not sure whether from them not thinking of asking first, or what. However, Jesus changes the subject quickly and moves beyond it.

Jesus begins talking about the way rulers are set up above others in our human way of doing things. The rulers exercise lordship over the "regulars". The "great ones" exercise authority over them, as well.

But for Christians, it doesn't work that way. Those who are chosen to be great are ministers...and he who will be the chiefest, will be a servant to all. These words are especially meaningful to me. The pastor I serve under leads the congregation by example. He truly has a servant's heart. If there is something to be done, you can guarantee he is there with sleeves rolled up. Do we serve in such a way, or are we waiting to be served? Remember, those who are servants to all will be the most highly exalted...

The final verse puts it all together clearly..."For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." Jesus didn't come to be lavished upon with praise, adoration, fanfare and the like...he came to minister to and give His life as a ransom for many.

Be a servant, and you shall be exalted...will you strive for that kind of greatness???

Let me know if there is a special prayer I can word on your behalf today...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Unto Thee, O Lord...

Sunday evening, we sang the chorus "Unto Thee, O Lord" as one of our opening worship songs. It has been in my head ever since, and I thought it wold be a good place to start in the passage this morning.

Psalm 25:1-5..."Unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. (2) O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me. (3) Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause. (4) Shew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths. (5) Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day."

This passage is a prayer from David, giving himself fully to God, and asking God for boldness and strength. He asks for God to let him not be ashamed and for protection against his enemies. Do you ask for God's strength to cover you when you are going through troubled times? Do you place your trust in Him alone?

Here David shows us to let go of our selfish desires and ask for God's hand to lead. He also asks for others to not be ashamed while they wait upon the Lord. I believe he is speaking of not only those in biblical times, but also the future, which is us...and he even asks for shame upon those who sin without reason, just to sin. Do you ask to feel guilt or shame when you sin??? I don't know about you, but it comes without asking in my life. I think David's prayer is still reaching me today!!!

Next, we find a passage that many of us have me your ways and teach me your path...sometimes, we say it so much that it is just stated without meaning, but when we put ourselves into it God can show us great and mighty things...

And finally, we need to ask for God's leading and teachings DAILY, because He is the God of our salvation and we should wait on Him all the day...

Lift your soul to Him in not be ashamed...He will protect you from your enemies...ask for His guidance...and teaching...and wait upon Him...He will guide you in the way that you should walk...

Please let me know if there is a special prayer i can word on your behalf today...

Monday, October 6, 2008

Don't grow weary...

Hebrews 12:1-3..."Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us , and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, (2) Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (3) For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds."

I believe this passage can be a refuge for a weary, worn-out Christian who is at their wit's end...We can be comforted by knowing there are others around us who are withstanding the same temptations and trials we face daily. Christian love also means to have compassion one for another...a part of that is reaching out and being there to help. If we've been there, that is a part of our testimony to share.

We also need to get away from the sins that are our personal weaknesses...whatever it may be, get as far from as possible. I have learned that to be recovered from our sins, we must avoid the opportunity to fall back into them.

Looking to Jesus gives us hope in the "down-and-out" times we struggle through. So many times, we are looking at others who aren't struggling when we throw our greatest pity parties...but if our eyes are focused on the cross, our troubles will pale in comparison. Consider what He went through for you!!! And it was because of you and me that He suffered and died on the a little strife here below starts to lose its sting a bit doesn't it?

Realize you're not in this alone...others face trials...we all have sins we struggle with...avoid them...keep your eyes on Jesus...and you will avoid weariness of mind and body!

Please let me know if there is a special prayer I can word on your behalf today...

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Exalted in due time...

Today, the verse about the devil walking about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour has been on my mind. We have been walking through neighborhoods, passing out flyers for our upcoming Block Party. I kept thinking about how the devil is seeking to trip us up and keep us from sowing seeds of kindness, that we may reap no harvest. I want to take a look at the passage that contains the verse afore mentioned: 1 Peter 5:6-10..."Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: (7) Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. (8) Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (9) Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. (10) But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you."

We start off being reminded to keep things in perspective...humble yourselves under the hand of God and HE will exalt you in due time...not when we deem it, but rather in His perfect time!!! Also, be mindful, that may not occur here as in earthly treasure...would you rather receive crowns above, that you can place at His feet, giving Him glory...which is definitely against our human nature to even think that!

Continuing on, we are to cast all our cares upon Him, because He cares for us. This is one of those hard-to-grasp statements...He cares for me...kinda like He calls me is that possible??? The Maker of heaven and earth wants to hear from me and likes my story...Say that last sentence out loud...made you smile, didn't it? Well, it's true!!!

Verse 8 reminds us to be careful and don't lose sight of our adversary, the devil. He is always looking for a way to make us fall...slow us down...ruin our testimony...get any victory in our life that he can. That is another reason why our time in prayer and the Word (daily) is such a must!!! Any opening we allow, he is ready to jump on...

Verse 9 continues to tell us to resist the temptations of the devil and be stedfast in your faith...knowing that the same tests occur to our brothers and sisters in Christ. This is another place to point back to verse 7...cast all your cares upon him (the Lord)

Then in the final verse of our passage today, notice that through our suffering (for a while), God will strengthen, settle, establish, and in the end perfect us...Be of good cheer, the trials only last for a short season...If you're going through a trial and the night seems as dark as it can possibly be, remember...the darkest hour means dawn is just in sight.

Please let me know if there is a special prayer I can word on your behalf today...

Friday, October 3, 2008

Move mountains...

Mark 11:22-26..."And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. (23) For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. (24) Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. (25) And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. (26) But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses."

This is a bold passage...Jesus states at the beginning to have faith in God. He continues on that with faith, not doubt, in your heart you can literally move mountains. If we believe what we ask for, it shall come. It states that what we desire when we pray, if we believe we shall receive. Would you ever try to get one over on God in prayer? I mean, would you actually ask for something you know that He wouldn't have for you? Just to clarify, God's interests in our lives must be best suited for Him to give what we ask for...once again, the heart is brought up in this context.

Another point is that to be forgiven, we must forgive. If we are holding off on forgiveness of others, how can the Lord forgive us. Is there someone who has done wrong to you? Have they asked your forgiveness, but you turned them away? Was it just too bad??? too hurtful??? too wrong??? What could be so wrong as to send God's Son to die on the cross??? To whom much is forgiven, much forgiveness is required. Just remember that our sins being forgiven cost God His only begotten Son. That makes the petty hurts and even the big ones seem much smaller.

So, from the passage today...forgive others...pray in faith, believing...and you can move a mountain TODAY!!!

Please let me know if there is a special prayer I can word on your behalf...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Have mercy upon us...

Psalm 123..."Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens. (2) Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God, until that he have mercy upon us. (3) Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us: for we are exceedingly filled with contempt. (4) Our soul is exceedingly filled with the scorning of those that are at ease, and with the contempt of the proud."

This is a cry of a humble, broken man who has been broken by the world and his own sinful nature. Are you acknowledging to God how sinful and willfully disobedient you are? Do we look to God as if we have wronged Him and are waiting for His mercy on us? If we lift our eyes to heaven and confess our sin and cry out for mercy, He is willing and able to give it. As we shared yesterday, your heart tells you how vain, corrupt, and sinful you are. When we sin as Christians, there is guilt that we will feel. If you have no feeling of guilt, either you have become callous by sin or you never have truly believed.

Are you broken by the hurt this world dishes out? I like how the Amplified Bible states the final verse (4)..."Our life is exceedingly filled with the scorning and scoffing of those who are at ease and with the contempt of the proud (irresponsible tyrants who disregard God's law)." If you are not feeling the scorn and scoffing from this world, maybe that's a sign you are walking too closely with them. When we walk in the paths of the wicked, they have no reason to bother us.

If you are being worn down by your sin and the scorning of this world, lift your eyes and cry out to the Lord for His mercy and strength...if you feel no guilt in sin, pray for the Lord to break your will...if you've never put your faith in Jesus, don't wait another minute...

Let me know if there is a special prayer I can word on your behalf today...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

That's My King!!!

If you want to know why I feel so passionately about Jesus, click on the play button and sit back...That's my king! This video was created by Igniter Media and can be purchased here.

Confidence toward God...

1 John 3:21-24..."Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. (22) And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. (23) And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. (24) And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us."

I find this passage quite self-explanatory...if our hearts don't condemn us, we are confident toward God. Simply put, we have a confidence to ask anything we will, because we are asking with pure motives. Our heart lets us know where we truly are spiritually. You can put on a good front for friends, loved ones, church members...but you can't lie to your heart. As it continues in verse 22, we receive what we ask for because we keep His commandments. Once again, if we're not keeping His commandments, our heart will know, we won't be confident to ask...and so on.

In verse 23, we find commandments that have been given to us...believe on the name of Jesus Christ...and love one another. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? Seems to be a theme God is using...yesterday, today...maybe tomorrow, who knows? Love one another...

Finally, in verse 24 if we keep His commandments, we dwell in Him and He in us. And we will know that He dwells in us by the Spirit which has been given to us. Walk in that Spirit today...keep his commandments, ask with confidence, and you will receive what you ask...

I ask you to say a prayer for an 8-year-old girl in our church having open heart surgery today...please lift Sammy to the Lord in your prayers. Also, let me know if there is a special prayer I can word on your behalf blessed!