“God loves a cheerful giver” 2 Corinthians 9:7

Rick sipped his coffee absent mindedly, staring off into the distance. It was obvious to Paul that his friend was carrying a burden so he silently prayed before he spoke. God’s wisdom was needed here, not his own.

“ Ok, what is it my friend? Something is troubling you.”

“I’ve put my family into a financial hole, Paul. I wanted to be obedient to God by giving sacrificially and everything fell apart. It’s terrible.”

“What are you talking about, Rick?”

“I went to a meeting with some friends who said I could revolutionize my walk of faith in God by hearing what the speaker had to say. And the guy was an incredible speaker. A true man of faith. He was sharing from his new book and video series, “Give ‘Til It Hurts!; Make God Happy.”

“To be truthful, Paul, I have been struggling with my giving and felt I needed a shot in the arm, something to open my eyes and set me on the right path to giving generously.”

“Why do I feel you’ve left some part out, Rick?”

Rick looked at the floor silently for a few seconds before answering, “I figured that God would bless me in return if I gave more.”

“Bless you in return?”

“Harry, the guy who wrote the book, explained that God is just waiting for Christians to give more so He can release the unlimited blessings from Heaven. He said we can’t outgive God. He gave examples of people who reverse tithe; give 90% and keep ten. And he is one of those people. He said that God is in charge of life and He can bring abundance to us if we are willing to show our faith and love for Him by giving sacrificially.

“I got excited and bought his book and video series right then.”

“How much?”

“Only $295.”

“Did you have the cash?”

Once again, Rick’s eye’s found the floor. “Actually I didn’t but they took cards.” Then he looked at Paul. “It’s a good investment!”

“And how has your life changed, Rick? Has God blessed you for giving sacrificially and buying the book and video series?

Silence as Rick stared at his cooling coffee.

“Considering that God displayed his incredible love for mankind by sending Jesus to be brutalized and murdered on the cross, do you really think that he is waiting for us to give him piles of money as a means of getting bigger piles in return? Surely you cannot believe that God is all about giving us stuff; cars, houses, boats, more clothes, and lots of money.

“If we follow the logic found in Harry’s book and videos, then we should take boxes of his books and videos to the uttermost regions of the world so those people could also be “blessed” by God…if they give sacrificially first.”

“Do you suppose that during the 40 days Jesus was teaching his disciples after His resurrection it was all about giving to get back from God? God wants to make us more Christ-like, not richer. In 1 Timothy 6:10 Paul said, “For loving money leads to all kinds of evil, and some men in the struggle to be rich have lost their faith and caused themselves untold agonies of mind.”

Rick gasped as he understood this verse described what had happened to him.

“Let’s look at some verses about giving in the New Testament, Rick. God always provides the needed balance in our lives, according to His Word.

Luke 21:3-4 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.”

Acts 10:4 “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have been received by God as an offering!”

“Notice here that both prayers and gifts are considered an offering to God.”

2 Corinthians 8:12-14 If you are really eager to give, then it isn’t important how much you have to give. God wants you to give what you have, not what you haven’t. Of course, I don’t mean that those who receive your gifts should have an easy time of it at your expense, but you should divide with them. Right now you have plenty and can help them; then at some other time they can share with you when you need it. In this way, each will have as much as he needs.

2 Corinthians 9:7-8 You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” And God will generously provide all you need.

Philippians 4:18-20 At the moment I have all I need—and more! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me with Epaphroditus. They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God. And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Now all glory to God our Father forever and ever! Amen.

Matthew 6:19-21 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”

“Where is our treasure, Rick; In the world or with our Savior Jesus Christ? God is not saying, ‘I hope Rick gives lots of money away so I can give him lots more.’ The widow who gave everything was not sitting gleefully in her home afterwards, waiting for a camel loaded with stuff to appear at her doorstep. She gave out of her love for God. That was between her and God. Her treasure was in worshipping God with her offering.


Trust God–No Matter What!


“We have been made right in God’s sight by faith…” Romans 5:1

Bethel Church sat on a quiet road on twelve acres of well-tended land. Across the parking lot was a very nice parsonage. There were six primary families who had the vision for Bethel and saw to it that their vision became a reality. In the process, they confused building the church with “owning” the church.

As the head elder Bud would say, “We have the responsibility to keep an eye on the pastor just to make certain sure he don’t go down any wrong trails.” They took their jobs very seriously. So far six pastors failed to make the grade. A seventh was about to find the door out.

An emergency meeting had been called to discuss the pastor. A young believer sat in the meeting, astounded by the petty, ridiculous accusations leveled at the pastor. He knew him to be a man of love; a man who guided his young life to trust in the Lord. With tear-filled eyes he stood and reminded the people of God’s desire for believers to walk in love, to practice forgiveness and pray for healing. Instead, one of the founding fathers smiled and said, “Well son, we know you mean well but you’re young yet. Some day you will understand. Now let’s have the vote so we can start looking for a new pastor.”

The next morning, the pastor called the young man over for coffee and a little help in preparing for the move.

Laying his hand on his Bible the pastor said, “Son, God’s Word will never fail or let us down. He has seen to it that the answers to all our problems can be found on these pages. Let me show you an important section in the book of Romans.”

Romans 5:1-2  Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

“What a wonderful set of promises. You will notice that it does not say anything about having perfect conditions or a place of prominence. These promises are based on our decision to believe in Jesus Christ; in spite of any problems we might have. And they have nothing to do with our performance. Notice the word undeserved!

Romans 5:3-5  We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Matthew 6:9-15  Pray like this:  Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one. If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

“Here is a powerful prayer given to us by Jesus Himself. Look at what he says about forgiveness, ‘forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven…’ As we pray this, we are agreeing with God to put a condition on our forgiveness. We are saying, forgive me in the same way I forgive others who have sinned against me. You see how it plays out? If we don’t forgive others He can’t forgive us. Now that is a place I do not want to be in with God.

“So, when I consider these verses, I have no choice but to believe that God was not taken by surprise when our tenure here was cut short and that he still has another place for us to go. What he considers most important is how I react to this trial. Do I allow Him to change me by this or do I stomp off mad, pouting in a corner somewhere?”

James 1:2-4  Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

Matthew 5:11-12  God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.

­2 Corinthians 12:9-10 Therefore, I have cheerfully made up my mind to be proud of my weaknesses, because they mean a deeper experience of the power of Christ. I can even enjoy weaknesses, suffering, privations, persecutions and difficulties for Christ’s sake. For my very weakness makes me strong in him.

“Son, I fully believe all the words that God has placed in our Bible and I have placed my life in His hands. I understand your feelings of hurt and outrage over what happened to me but you’ve got to go to His word and see what He says about life. The Bible is not buffet style, where we pick and choose which verses we consider important or relevant for today. If you want to follow the Lord, you must give it all up to Him. Believe me, you will never regret it. Never.”

Forgetting The Past


Weekly Bible Study
Forgetting The Past
July 29, 2015

“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.” Philippians 3: 13

. To be successful, a runner must forget what is behind and strain toward
the finish line, using every bit of strategy and strength. Even more so in
the Christian life, we must forget the disappointments, failures, broken
relationships, trauma, deceit, false accusations, and lies of the past.
Architects, engineers, electricians, photographers, boat captains, etc
must all focus on what lies ahead, ready to deal with obstacles or
barriers that may arise. Constantly looking backward will at least delay
and possibly create disaster. Mistakes or failures are normal elements in
our lives that refine our character which can give birth to forgiveness and
reliance on God.

But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts his hand to the plow and then looks
behind him is useless for the kingdom of God
.” Luke 9:62

Let us leave behind the elementary teaching about Christ and go forward
to adult understanding
. Heb. 6: 1

Yet, my brothers, I do not consider myself to have “arrived”, spiritually, nor
do I consider myself already perfect. But I keep going on, grasping ever
more firmly that purpose for which Christ grasped me. My brothers, I do
not consider myself to have fully grasped it even now. But I do concentrate
on this: I leave the past behind and with hands outstretched
to whatever
lies ahead I go straight for the goal; my reward–the honor of being called
by God in Christ
. Phil. 3: 13-14

Once we decide to “forget what is behind,” we must arm ourselves with
the armor of God because the enemy of our soul will attack with
hundreds of scenarios in which we’ve been badly treated, accused of
wrongdoing, or lied about. What shall we do in these cases? Nothing!
Praise God for false accusations and character attacks. If these attacks
are false, we will be aligned with our loving Savior who when falsely
accused, did not defend Himself.

He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led
to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before
its shearers,
so He did not open His mouth. Isaiah 53:7

And while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He
uttered no threats, but kept entrustinq Himself to Him who judges
righteously .
.. 1 Peter 2:23

So call out to God. Believe in His awesome power to overcome all the weapons of the enemy. Place your life in His hands and trust that He will ultimately deliver you from all sin and destruction because He said so. Remember what He told the thief on the cross, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” Luke 23:43

Dead In Christ Will Rise


“Therefore I will protect you from the time of Great Tribulation” ~Rev 3:10

“Do you know the next great event on God’s prophetic calendar?” Chris asked his friend, Evan.

“The tribulation?”

“Actually this event occurs just before the tribulation.”

“I guess I’m not sure. I often get the end times stuff mixed up.”

“The next big prophetic event is…The Rapture!”

“To tell you the truth, I am a little foggy on how that is supposed to work, Chris. Can you fill me in. Oh, and should I worry about being left behind?”

“I can give you the ultimate test to see if you will be included in the rapture (if it happens before you die). Answer this question for me and we will know for sure: the Bible says, in Romans 10:13, “For whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” Evan, have you called upon the name of the Lord to save you?”

“Yes. I have. I most certainly have.”

“Then you will not be left behind; plain and simple.”

“Praise God. That is a relief. So, go ahead, tell me about the Rapture.”

“Let me quote Mark Hitchcock’s book, 101 Answers To The Most Asked Questions About The End Times

The Rapture is that future event when Jesus Christ will descend from heaven and, in a moment of time, resurrect the bodies of departed believers, transform the bodies of living believers immediately into His glorious presence, and then escort them to heaven to live with Him forever. The Rapture is the blessed hope of the church.”

“When is this supposed to happen?”

“That is the question for all the ages, Evan. Only God knows the date and time. So we are to look with expectancy…anticipating that any moment we might hear the mighty shout and trumpet blast calling us home.”

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 5:1-2

And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.

We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words.

When is all this going to happen? I really don’t need to say anything about that, dear brothers, for you know perfectly well that no one knows. That day of the Lord will come unexpectedly like a thief in the night.

1 Corinthians 15:50-58 I tell you this, my brothers: an earthly body made of flesh and blood cannot get into God’s Kingdom. These perishable bodies of ours are not the right kind to live forever.

But I am telling you this strange and wonderful secret: we shall not all die, but we shall all be given new bodies! It will all happen in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For there will be a trumpet blast from the sky, and all the Christians who have died will suddenly become alive, with new bodies that will never, never die; and then we who are still alive shall suddenly have new bodies too. For our earthly bodies, the ones we have now that can die, must be transformed into heavenly bodies that cannot perish but will live forever.

When this happens, then at last this Scripture will come true—“Death is swallowed up in victory.” O death, where then your victory? Where then your sting? For sin—the sting that causes death—will all be gone; and the law, which reveals our sins, will no longer be our judge. How we thank God for all of this! It is he who makes us victorious through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So, my dear brothers, since future victory is sure, be strong and steady, always abounding in the Lord’s work, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever wasted as it would be if there were no resurrection.

“Life in these mortal bodies often brings conflict, sadness, sorrow, uncertainty and discouragement, Evan, which is why verse 18 in 1 Thessalonians, above, is so crucial: So comfort and encourage each other with these words! When a friend, a fellow believer, is at rock-bottom, encourage them with these words! We cannot hear them too often and need the powerful, life-changing assurance God’s word brings to our souls. Therefore, comfort and encourage each other with these words!”

Read Revelation, chapter 20

Problems Bring Answers


“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials” Rom. 5:3

“What I always feared has happened to me. What I dreaded has come true,” said Michael to his class. “I’ve read those words of Job many times over the years and, for the most part, felt a slight sympathy or a bit of empathy for Job. But now, I can say with certainty, I am in that situation. And guess what? I am devastated! I am at my wits end. No longer do I have the luxury to cast a glance at Job’s literary problems and feel superior. This is my life. It’s personal. My life has fallen apart, just like those buildings we’ve seen on TV, imploding in place, falling in clouds of exploding sparks and smoke, down upon itself in a heap of rubble. That is my life. In ruins.”

No one spoke. Tears ran down Michael’s face as he stood dejected, feeling lost and alone. Defeated. And now, in silence, he felt worse, wondering why he had shared honestly about his failings. Answers seemed to elude the class just as they did Michael.

“What does God have to say about your problems, Michael?” Said Carl. “Have you given all this to the Lord? Surely God has an answer!”

“I don’t understand, Carl. These are my problems, I created the mess. Why should I look to God to bail me out? That seems hypocritical to me…running to God like a little kid, begging for His supernatural help. I didn’t ask Him when I made all the bad decisions.”

“As far as I know, Michael, the Bible has answers to all our problems whether we asked for them or not. We’ve all read and talked about these things in this class many times. Now it’s time to see how God works in our lives when it is really difficult. He wants you and all of us, to make Him a partner in our lives; every day.

“Let’s read about this in Romans 5:1-11…Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

6 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. 7 Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. 9 And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. 10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

“Carl, I enjoy reading the Bible just like you but I don’t get how I can see direct answers to my problems in these verses. Something written more than two thousand years ago, translated over and over is great, I agree. But where is my answer today, in America?”

“Michael, either you believe the Bible, and I mean all of it, or you don’t. This is not up for grabs.”

Again a silence filled the classroom. Michael got red as Carl stared at him. “This is a moment of truth, Michael. Is the Bible God’s Word to you?” And then, looking to others in the class, Carl said, “And what of us? Do we firmly believe the Bible is God’s Word, His holy Word? If we do then answers and behaviors can be found within as we are guided by the Holy Spirit each time we read these pages.

“Look at verse three, Michael. God says…we can rejoice when we fall into problems and trials because they help us develop endurance. This is God’s word for us right now, today, in America. If I read no further I know that my problems and trials help me develop endurance. And, I should rejoice! Not just put up with them but rejoice. Do I? Do we? Not usually. If I’m not hearing God then I am not listening and probably not following the directions He has laid out in His Word. How many times do I rejoice during trials and problems, hoping to develop endurance and see God’s leading in my life?”

“If we read no further and purposed in our hearts to rejoice at problems and trials our lives would radically change forever. God has given us all we need. We just need to act on what He’s given us.”

Sinking Deep


June 18, 2015
I’ve been disappointed with myself lately. Keeping track, as I often do, of the failures, uncompleted tasks, unfulfilled promises, and feelings of inadequacy that build daily. Struggling to keep my head above the waters of lethargy and self-flagellation, I noticed a barely discernible voice in the background of my mind. Little by little, as I set aside the insurmountable mountain of disappointment that I saw before me the voice seemed louder and more distinct. It was a hymn we sang in the Baptist church. Focusing on the voice, the hymn’s melody grew louder and very familiar. And now the words followed. Let me see, how did it go? I hummed a few bars to myself and then they were there…

I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore,
Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more,
But the Master of the sea, heard my despairing cry,
From the waters lifted me, now safe am I.
Love lifted me! Love lifted me!
When nothing else could help
Love lifted me!
All my heart to Him I give, ever to Him I’ll cling
In His blessed presence live, ever His praises sing,
Love so mighty and so true, merits my soul’s best songs,
Faithful, loving service too, to Him belongs.

Yes, of course, Love Lifted Me by Rowe and Smith. This wonderful hymn, written in 1912 was based on Matthew 14 where Jesus calls Peter to walk on water with Him. At first Peter steps out of the boat gliding on top of the waves, joyfully heading toward Jesus. But then his doubt and fear demand an explanation. Peter sinks, calling out to Jesus, “Save me, Lord!”

That’s me, I realized. At first I step out of the boat of fear, uncertainty, doubt, and failure, looking steadfastly at Jesus, walking on water. And then what happens? Do I grow weary with the effort? Believe the lies of satan? Desire to feed my flesh? Or do I become something far worse and even less palatable to God. . .lukewarm!

That’s it. I’ve become lukewarm toward my Savior, the loving God who saved me from eternal damnation and gave me the hope of a jubilant eternity with Him. I’ve treated the One who has infused me with His Holy Spirit as though He were a buddy. “Hey, thanks God for my salvation. Really great. And before this day is over, I promise to make time for you. Well, gotta go, Lord, I slept in this morning and I don’t want to be late for work.”

Considering my loathsome behavior sends me spiraling down into those negative feelings I began with here. But I needn’t stay there. God’s grace breathes fresh hope into my soul. In the words of the hymnal, But the Master of the sea, heard my despairing cry…Love lifted me!
It was as if He grabbed my shoulders and shook me into reality. I blinked a few times as His Word, like a Wall Street banner, scrolled past my mind’s eye.

1. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 2 Corinthians 4:16
2. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10
3. Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Ephesians 6:10, 11
4. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13, 14
5. Don’t worry about anything whatever; tell God every detail of your needs in earnest and thankful prayer, and the peace of God, which transcends human understanding, will keep constant guard over your hearts and minds as they rest in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6, 7

And then the fog of guilt and self-pity was gone. My mind was clear. His Word had given me hope and balance. I was filled with new resolve, thankful for God’s eternal, everlasting love as one final Scripture gave me the day’s sailing orders: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.” Proverbs 3:5-8

Now with a fresh cup of coffee and new resolve to acknowledge Him in all my ways, I sense His healing and refreshment already at work.

Unbelieving Believers!


If believers, those who take Jesus as their savior, would actually live the words of Jesus, words of hope, grace, mercy, change that are given to us in the bible, we would be different people. People who can actually leave their past behind. Leave their guilt behind. Leave their failures behind. The Bible says, “Behold you are a new creation, creature, life…all the old things are passed away.” And yet, we live as though those words were never spoken to us.

It is like receiving a beautifully wrapped gift in a splendid box. We carefully unwrap the lavish paper, open the box and exclaim with joy our surprise and happiness with the gift (whether to be worn or used). A few days later, it is still in the box, sitting in a place of honor in the house. Every time we pass by, we stop to admire our gift. We smile and reflect on the giver and how wonderful and thoughtful it was.

A few years later, when we move to another state, the gift remains in the box to be admired. Years pass and we continue to look upon the box and remember the giver and the act of love. But we never take the gift out of the box and use it. We never experience how it might change our lives.

When we die, our relatives pack everything up, including the gift, intact in its box, and take them to the Homeless Shelter, knowing how we loved to give to others.

Weakness Brings Strength



May 20, 2015

“For the joy of the Lord is your strength!” Nehemiah 8:10

Charles became a Christian several years before his 30th birthday and was satisfied it was a good decision. However, since then, he has struggled with bad choices and a mediocre employment record and spiritual stagnation. He needed help.

Attendance at church had fallen for him as he seemed to wander like the Israelites in the desert. Then a friend he saw at a coffee shop invited Charles to a small Bible study for men. “I love our church,” he said, “but I discovered that a men’s Bible study group gives me an opportunity to identify with other men as we share openly and pray for each other. Give it a try,” he said, “we are free to share whatever is on our minds and God seems to speak to all of us. I’ve discovered that I’m not the only guy with problems.”

His first Bible study covered how men attempt to solve all problems themselves, looking for satisfaction in their perceived strength. It pierced Charles’ heart. It described his struggles perfectly. He’d forgotten, or never learned, that God desires men to be vulnerable and weak according to the World’s standards, to allow their real strength, which comes from God, to be our guide.

Isaiah 40:28-31 Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary.
      No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
      They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. NLT

Jeremiah 9:23-24 This is what the Lord says “Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom,
or the powerful boast in their power, or the rich boast in their riches. But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth  and that I delight in these things. I, the Lord, have spoken! NLT

1 Corinthians 1:26-31 Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.

God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin. Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.” NLT

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 So tremendous, however, were the revelations that God gave me that, in order to prevent my becoming absurdly conceited, I was given a physical handicap—one of Satan’s angels—to harass me and effectually stop any conceit. Three times I begged the Lord for it to leave me, but his reply has been, “My grace is enough for you: for where there is weakness, my power is shown the more completely.” Therefore, I have cheerfully made up my mind to be proud of my weaknesses, because they mean a deeper experience of the power of Christ. I can even enjoy weaknesses, suffering, privations, persecutions and difficulties for Christ’s sake. For my very weakness makes me strong in him. J.B. Phillips

1 Corinthians 1:18-25 The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. As the Scriptures say, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.”

So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. 

So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense. But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength. NLT

After a few studies, Charles realized that most of what he’d learned about how to be a man was incorrect. He had focused on the heroic, self-made man image which always gave him feelings of failure and inadequacy. Focusing on the Lord gave him the assurance of God’s peace that passes all understanding. Now he was truly strong!

New Each Day

Mexican sunrise


May 13, 2015

“His mercies never end. They are new every morning” Lamentations 3:22

There’s always hope! No matter what happens. Each day with the Lord welcomes us with new hope, and a fresh start. All is forgiven, washed clean by the everlasting blood of the Lamb. The past is just that…past. When you feel low, worthless or totally sinful that is the perfect time to call out to the Lord and repent anew of your sins. He has already forgiven you and wants you to walk in that forgiveness. The blood of Jesus, flowing down Calvary’s cross was shed literally for each person in the world. His sacrifice gives us new life. If we refuse to accept his sacrifice then what hope is there? If I am feeling low then I am not asking God to change my attitude. He promises peace. Accept that offer.

· 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

· Romans 6:4 “For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.”

· Galatians 6:15 “Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation.”

· Romans 3:21-25 “But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.”

Most of us have a constant struggle with sin but God has provided the antidote that never fails. An antidote that we can claim by faith in Jesus Christ, fortified with God’s promises.

· “Romans 7:24-25 “Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.”

· Romans 8:1-2; 9-17 “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.”

· Philippians 3:7-14 “The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God’s righteousness. I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it. I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.” (The Message)

Jesus willingly subjected Himself to the pain of death to free us from the penalty and control of sin. If you have accepted that love and forgiveness then each day is a new day… guided by the Holy Spirit, directed by the Lord Jesus.

Bible Translation


Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?” Job 38:4

Even though we are Believers and followers of Christ, we seem to have the gift of selective application as we read the Bible (forgetting it is the Word of God). Our selective approach of application and understanding has been termed “Buffet Christianity.” This is a version of Christianity that allows us to pick and choose what we apply to our lives rather than attempting to immerse ourselves fully into His Word by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Buffet Christianity allows the reader to decide which verses are applicable to their life and which are allegorical or historical or, perhaps, applicable to specific people of a different time and place. The buffet approach gives the reader the power to challenge God’s word, picking and choosing which verses are “for today.”

The most obvious danger in this approach to reading the Bible is the reader becomes a version of God, deciding that they have the authority to eliminate or water down the precious word of God, passed down to us through the centuries with the guidance of God Himself. Buffet Christianity leads to little gods who freely retranslate the Bible into ideas that are more convenient or less challenging. Imagine thinking that we can decide which Bible verses are pertinent to our lives rather than asking God to give us wisdom and understanding as we read His Holy Word.

2 Timothy 3:14-16  Yet you must go on steadily in all those things that you have learned and which you know are true. Remember from what sort of people your knowledge has come, and how from early childhood your mind has been familiar with the holy scriptures, which can open the mind to the salvation which comes through believing in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the faith and correcting error, for re-setting the direction of a man’s life and training him in good living. The scriptures are the comprehensive equipment of the man of God and fit him fully for all branches of his work. (Phillips)

The Bible is not a collection of stories, fables, myths, or merely human ideas about God. It is not just a human book. Through the Holy Spirit God revealed his person and plan to godly men who wrote down God’s message for his people. This process is known as inspiration. The writers wrote from their own personal, historical, and cultural contexts. But even though they used their own minds, talents, language, and style, they wrote what God wanted them to write. Scripture is completely trustworthy because God was in control of its writing, and its words are entirely authoritative for our faith and lives. (Life Application Bible Notes © Tyndale House)

2 Peter 1:19-21  So we have seen and proved that what the prophets said came true. You will do well to pay close attention to everything they have written, for, like lights shining into dark corners, their words help us to understand many things that otherwise would be dark and difficult. But when you consider the wonderful truth of the prophets’ words, then the light will dawn in your souls and Christ the Morning Star will shine in your hearts.For no prophecy recorded in Scripture was ever thought up by the prophet himself. It was the Holy Spirit within these godly men who gave them true messages from God. (TLB)

Romans 15:2-4  Even if we believe that it makes no difference to the Lord whether we do these things, still we cannot just go ahead and do them to please ourselves; for we must bear the “burden” of being considerate of the doubts and fears of others—of those who feel these things are wrong. Let’s please the other fellow, not ourselves, and do what is for his good and thus build him up in the Lord. Christ didn’t please himself. As the Psalmist said, “He came for the very purpose of suffering under the insults of those who were against the Lord.” These things that were written in the Scriptures so long ago are to teach us patience and to encourage us so that we will look forward expectantly to the time when God will conquer sin and death. (TLB)

Job 38:4-11  “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much. Do you know how its dimensions were determined, and who did the surveying? What supports its foundations, and who laid its cornerstone as the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?

“Who decreed the boundaries of the seas when they gushed from the depths? Who clothed them with clouds and thick darkness and barred them by limiting their shores, and said, ‘Thus far and no farther shall you come, and here shall your proud waves stop’?”  (TLB)

If enough people agree on an idea it eventually becomes established as truth. Many of these so-called truths are actually myths, superstitions and outright lies. But, as we have all experienced in life, sayings learned from childhood establish themselves as fact in our minds.

Consider the Bible. Do you think of it as fact or fable? Is it absolute truth or partial truth with scatterings of myth for variety. Either you believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God or you do not. There is no middle ground; no neutral territory. By faith in God, the Bible becomes absolute truth leading us to forgiveness of sins and eternal life with God.