Saturday, June 20, 2020

a good name

Proverbs 22:1
A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold."

Today's study presented this challenge, "Is having a good name a priority in your life?"

When your name comes up in conversations is it described as credible?  These days I think the dominating goal in life seems to be, "it's ok as long as I feel good".  This seems to apply to what people say, who they look up to and how they live their lives with little regard for others.  The complete opposite of how God wants us to live our lives.

We either attract people to a savior they're desperately in need of, or drive them away by how we live our lives and what our priorities area.  A good name attracts them to Christ because you're different than what the world is offering.

Everyone is currently taking offense to every opinion shared.  We now have to live terrified of making a mistake, saying anything that others may take offense to and just plain worried about saying what we really believe is true and right.

That's why it's become even more important to live so that you have a good name!  The one thing we know is true and right is a life lived in the Lord Jesus.  Even if the world doesn't think they want this - a desire for understanding eternity and the savior is deep within them and our lives can be used to make that desire a reality in their lives!

Join me in reading Psalm 112, about a good name today and let's begin to be part of the shift away from the things of this world that will never satisfy, and point them to the only fulfilling thing in this world! 

Live well today!

Friday, June 12, 2020

throw me in the sea

It's so interesting that Jonah knew exactly what the Lord was asking him to do, but still tried to run away and take a ship away from where God pointed him.  God sent a huge storm.

The story talks about all the other men on the ship throwing over cargo and asking one another to "call on their god" and ask him to reveal what is causing the storm.

When they found Jonah sleeping down below they asked him to call on his god.

Jonah knew exactly what needed to happen in order to appease God, he told the men "Throw me into the sea and the storm will cease!"   The men were hesitant to do this and kept trying to row back to shore until they finally realized doing as Jonah asked may be their only option.  So they did.

Immediately the storm stopped and the men turned to Jonah's God, the only true God, praising Him for sparing their lives.

In the past when I studied this passage I always focused on Jonah's story - how God sent a whale to get him where He had previously asked him to go.  An amazing miracle!

But this time I paid attention to the whole story and realized that the first reason God perhaps had Jonah on the ship was to introduce these lost men to Him!  Think of the story they had to tell their families and friends!!  How the minute Jonah hit the water everything was still!  

Our journey toward God is the greatest testimony we have to help us reach others for Christ!  My prayer is for a very discerning spirit to recognize what God's calling me to do with my time.  By living obediently and growing closer to Him each day, I hopefully won't ever have to be thrown into the sea to get my attention!


Tuesday, June 2, 2020

what I didn't miss

I had the opportunity a week ago to get away and spend time in NC with our daughter and son-in-law.

What I didn't miss was all the hatred being spewed in the news.  I never remember a time in my lifetime where hatred was stated with absolutely no regard for another's feelings or well being.  I never watched any of it or listened to any of it the whole time I was away.  And I have to say I feel more rested and so thankful!

This is our son-in-law with his mom Trish
working at the donut window.


This is an picture just of their event center and Market - 
there are over 400 acres of orchards and property.


What I got to experience instead was family coming together around a dream and countless hours of hard work, and I got to see that dream become reality while being surrounded by a family that ALL love the Lord!  

Refusing to watch the news however, doesn't mean I am unaware of what's taking place or all the injustice going on.  We've been told that to keep silent on the maters behind the beginning of all of this violence is wrong, and then criticized again when doing the exact opposite, voicing our opinion.  I can't imagine what the family is going through that lost their son and brother - and having it replayed over and over.  And I'm also sad for the innocent businesses that are being destroyed and robbed.  Some family businesses that have poured their finances and endless hours into - only to be lost forever.  Are these actions justified due to racism.  Of course not, I believe the opposite is true, it's probably creating even more hatred and fear between law enforcement and those breaking the law.  So what are we to do as believers?

During a commercial last night,  I caught a glance of people including law enforcement 'take a knee' in remembrance of the loss of life and it brought this verse to mind. 

Phil 2:9-11
Therefore God has highly exalted himself and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of JESUS every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father!

Can you picture that?  EVERY KNEE - good and evil - every created human being will take a knee in confession to the sovereignty of God!!!  Admitting that Jesus Christ is Lord!!

I believe what we need to do as believers is saturate ourselves in scripture and prayer for our country and watch diligently for God opportunities to make Him known to people that are desperately searching for reason and hope right now.

Ron was approached by a young man as he was doing yard work the other day who said, "I hear you're a pastor, can I ask you a few questions?"  He went on to describe his life and that he doesn't know how to decide what he should do with his life.  Ron talked to him for quite a while and suggested some materials that might help him too.  This conversation may not have happened if there wasn't fear about Covid and all the violence going on, only God knows...

So, we must show everyone around us that Jesus is the only answer, we must watch for chances to serve those who are mistreated or scared - this could be the greatest period of evangelist opportunity in our lifetime if we stand confident in Jesus!!






Wednesday, April 29, 2020

covid-19

COVID-19
Two lines from a song I heard last week just keep playing in my mind...

Things aren't falling apart...
They're falling into place!


The inconveniences that have occurred in my life due to this pandemic are annoying.  Some friends are positive it's strictly political, others are sure it was caused by another country, and still some think it's just a matter of the US spending money on the wrong things and not being prepared themselves.  The only conclusion I can draw safely I think, is that it is a life-threatening virus combined with other physical weakness/disease.

But it has not touched my extended family, so I've listened to the news but gone about my 'socially distancing way'.

This morning was one of those mornings when as I read updates I was overwhelmed with just a small glimpse of what this is causing regardless of origin.

Requests for prayer talked about a gentlemen with a life threatening illness that was also found to have covid-19 when scheduled for a much needed surgery.  Other family members tested positive too.

And as our Missions' Director described how completely helpless some of the foreign villages are right now that our Crossroads teams have served before  ...  no way to get food - no way to get life saving supplies, I felt deep, deep sympathy and it drove me to prayer.

I see what the Bible teaches about God's people running back to Him when troubling times occur, and that's what's been happening with me.  Every time I get overwhelmed with sorrow and go to prayer instead of worrying or complaining about anything in my life - it's proof again - tough times draw us back to the Savior.

Wouldn't you think, especially those of us who are now considered "mature believers" would just stay there - praying and worshipping and not even notice the trouble around us?  It's embarrassing to see the depths we must fall to remain in fellowship with the Lord.  It's what He designed us for.

Our country is broken - this is when believers need to be the church!  Things aren't falling apart...they'll falling into place!  This is the exact place God's needs for His plans to be complete!

We aren't physically together but have enjoyed uninterrupted teachings and worship for years -
TIME TO USE IT!

Friday, April 17, 2020

I need a hug

Today my sister and I took some groceries to my mom. 

We kept our distance from one another, but I NEED a hug! 

We spent time laughing and cleaning and surveying what she has so we can re-stock her supplies.  We watched our favorite tv show all the while staying 6 ft. apart.  I really wanted to grab my mom and hug her!

I wore my mask, washed my hands multiple times at my mom's house and my sister wiped every surface we touched while we were there with disinfectant.  We will do what our government recommends, but the minute I'm allowed to, I'm going in for a hug!!!

I'm thankful for family, and friends and my church family - but I didn't realize how much I am physically missing everyone until today - hand shakes, hugs, high-fives - ANYTHING...who thought we'd ever not be allowed to touch?

I think it's almost over, and again, I can't imagine how hopeless and lonely it would be without the Hope we find in Jesus.

Hug whoever you're allowed to hug tonight and praise the Lord for that person like never before!

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

I have to admit...

I have to admit, before this time of isolation, I was a hurrier - for the first time in a very long time He has my full attention!

Considering this time at home I think of some the phrases I've heard and ignored my whole life describing slowing down - resting...

Take time to smell the roses

Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans

The best things in life are free

Enjoy the little things because one day you may look back and realize they were the big things


As the sun hit my tulips this morning it caused me to catch my breath at their beauty.  If things were normal I probably would have rushed by.  Instead I took time to consider, why  does the almighty God care about such detail?  It caused me to praise Him and thank Him for his attention to detail in creation - things that all the hard work and hurrying around could never duplicate...

Matthew 6:38 & 39
And why are you anxious about clothing? Observe the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin.  Yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Today I encourage you to take a hard look around you - maybe go outside while we still have a glimpses of the sun (probably won't last long in Ohio!).  And worship the God that controls every detail of all of creation, including the details of your life!




Monday, April 13, 2020

now what

So...our days are filled with the following right now...  so now what?  All we hear are

warnings about face masks, gloves, staying 6 feet apart...

so far much lower numbers of people with the virus then projected....what should we believe?

separated in our own homes - I even read recently about a husband and wife staying in separate rooms of the house (yes, they get along fine)...

people are scared and now people are getting mad about not being "allowed" to return to work...

a beat up freedom
worry about losing our freedom.. it's a beat up freedom right now

people sure we'll all be forced to have embedded chips put in us (666?)

required vaccines that some are completely against

certain people supposedly taking advantage of a problem to promote their own political agenda

I could go on, and on to describe our current situation, but here is the only question we who call Jesus Lord need to consider. 

Do we really believe He is who He says He is
If so, then we also believe that the Lord needed all of this to happen in order to fulfill His plan.  He allowed it to happen...He is just as much in control now as He was when we were all enjoying the freedom to go wherever we wanted to.  Right?

Although we may all have some difficult situations to face as a result of the massive shut down, if we abide in Him - we need not worry, we should not worry but be continuously looking around asking Him what He needs us to do.

In difficulty the Gospel ALWAYS grows - we may get to see a revival like we've never seen in our lifetime! 

It may be difficult and very hard, and our freedom may not look the same - but, it's going to look exactly like Jesus needs it to look!  So, let's look constantly for any opportunity the Lord gives us to spread the hope that only a life in Him has a possibility of enjoying!  Let's look very different from the hopeless around us. 

Stay strong in Him!