Archive for April, 2015

  

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (Ephesians‬ ‭6‬:‭13‬ NIV)

In his book, The Blue and the Gray, James Robertson shares a story about a cowardly Confederate Chaplain:

“We got into a little row with the Yankees a few days ago and our parson, deeming, no doubt, that discretion was the better part of valor, took to his heels when the shells commenced flying and I have not seen him since. A New England officer who had witnessed the same misbehavior insisted that ‘undue susceptibility to cannon fever were ample grounds for the disqualification of a chaplain.'”

Standing our ground can be tough to do. While we may not face a barrage of Civil War cannons, we do face public pressure, peer sentiment, and relational confrontations. The last thing God needs is cowards on the front line, caving in to popular opinion or flat-out false beliefs in order to save face or keep a church pew filled! The right thing will always be the right thing, regardless of pop culture’s windblown preferences!

Being brave isn’t always easy, so let God help you. He gives you the strength to do it, the backing to stand with you, and the healing of the heart afterwards. But caving in to cowardice will always lead to heartache! Stand your ground! You are loved today! 

  

“By justice a king gives a country stability, but those who are greedy for bribes tear it down.” (Proverbs‬ ‭29‬:‭4‬ NIV)

As I sat in a surgical waiting room yesterday, I was entranced by the chaos I saw breaking out on the television. Baltimore was being torn apart at the seams. With recent accusations of people dying because of police brutality, it has caused much tension and rioting in different parts of the nation. While I am a firm supporter of our Brothers in Blue, I do know that there are some loose guns and low morals in certain segments of authority, albeit a small number in my opinion. Yet, just one rotten apple can mess up things for the rest. 

When leadership is bad, it tends to corrupt whatever it touches. Yet when it is good, it seeks to uplift those it oversees. But if godly people aren’t voting or lifting up our nation in prayer, how can we expect right or righteous things to take place? Evil does certainly reign when good people do nothing, especially in places of authority!

Take time to lift up our nation’s tumult to God. Pray for your national, state, and civic leaders, as well as the community you are in. And ask God to intervene and shutdown the anger and rioting we are seeing. Bad things followed by bad things will never lead to good things. Lord, let your love be felt in our nation today! 

  

“Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you…” (Ephesians‬ ‭3‬:‭2‬ NIV)

Police officer Elgin Daniel was born to be a policeman. While attending Andrew College in Cuthberg, GA, Elgin discovered a passion for law enforcement and joined the DeKalb County Police Department where he served 26 years before retiring as a lieutenant. Then in 2010, he took a position with the Henry County Police Department. But in November of 2012, Elgin was tragically killed in the line of duty, doing what he was born to do, protecting and serving his fellow man.

Some people seem to be a natural fit for certain occupations or callings, like they were made for it. The Apostle Paul shares with the church family in Ephesus that he was made to teach them about Jesus. God gave him exactly what he needed to help not only the Ephesian believers, but also you and I a long time later! He, too, eventually died doing what he was born to do. 

What about you? What were you made for? To please yourself or to give God glory by helping others, much like Elgin and Paul? Take time this weekend to do some soul searching. You’ll find life much more enjoyable when you’re doing what you were born to do: Serving God & Helping Others! You are loved! 

  

The shepherds are senseless and do not inquire of the Lord; so they do not prosper and all their flock is scattered.” (Jeremiah‬ ‭10‬:‭21‬ NIV)

Peter Wagner once surveyed 572 pastors across America regarding their prayer lives and found that, on average, they prayed about 22 minutes each day. About 57% prayed less than 20 minutes, 34% prayed more than 20 minutes, but only 9% prayed more than an hour. The conclusion: While there are many reasons that a church doesn’t grow – location, sacred cows, poor facilities, etc. – but perhaps the greatest reason is prayerlessness!

The great missionary Hudson Taylor once remarked, “The power of prayer has never been fully tried in any church. If we want to see the mighty wonders of divine grace and power, instead of weakness and disappointment, the whole church must accept God’s standing challenge: ‘Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.'” (Jeremiah‬ ‭33‬:‭3‬ KJV)

Don’t go another day without assessing your prayer life and making changes. No one has ever “prayed too much”! Take time today and see the difference! You are loved! 

  

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew‬ ‭7‬:‭7‬ NIV)

“You find anything good?” I had taken a field trip group of elementary kids to a crystal mine to dig for crystals and Quartz. I looked up at the little inquirer, with his muddy boots and bucket, telling him that I had found a few good pieces. “Sure doesn’t look like a good place”, he said as he turned and walked off. I looked around me, seeing all kinds of good crystal specimens. Had he stayed in my area, he could’ve loaded up!

Sometimes when we look around at life and don’t see what we’re wanting to see, we simply accept that it is what it is and won’t change. And yet prayer truly changes everything! Just as the best crystals had to be dug out of the deep dirt, some things in life have to be “mined” with prayer, digging and sitting on our knees until we find the answer we are searching for. 

As I washed off my excellent crystal finds last night at my house, I couldn’t help but think of that little guy and the lesson he taught me. My life may not look like much at the moment, but prayer can truly change things. Spend time doing it today! You are loved! 

  

My days are like the evening shadow; I wither away like grass. But you, Lord, sit enthroned forever; your renown endures through all generations. You will arise and have compassion on Zion, for it is time to show favor to her; the appointed time has come.” (Psalm‬ ‭102‬:‭11-13‬ NIV)

As we sat in the car, you could feel the agony in the atmosphere. “Robert” no longer cared what anyone, even God, thought about him. His addiction meant more to him that family or career. That abandonment moment would last for several years, leaving many scars. Yet, could he change?

The scripture paints a picture of a man in deep dejection, loneliness, despair. He feels his life is ebbing away like the evening shadows and there’s so little time left for him. He says, “I’m withering away like grass.” Have you ever felt like that? And what do you do if you ever feel like that? 

Robert’s life eventually turned around, but only after great prices were paid. Do what the psalmist did instead. He looked away from himself, his own situation, he lifted up his eyes to the Lord and he saw the Lord by faith, on His throne, and he realized that the Lord doesn’t change with our situations and circumstances. The Lord is always on His throne! He never abdicates; He’s always in total control! Rest in His care and control! You are loved! 

  

As for me, if I am bereaved, I am bereaved.” (Genesis‬ ‭43‬:‭14‬ NIV)

Ronald Heifetz, professor at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, likes to say that if you make one real decision in your life, that’s more than most people. Taking a real risk? Well, that’s just a rarity. And that’s the point about faith: If there wasn’t a mix of fear and failure, it would be called security!

Tim Westergren, founder of Pandora Radio, describes his leap of faith this way:

“In the winter of 2001, Pandora was out of money. We had a choice: cut our losses and throw in the towel or find a way to keep going. We decided to keep the company alive and start deferring salaries. Ultimately, over 50 people deferred almost $1.5 million over the course of two years (a practice that is illegal in California). When we were finally rescued by an investment in 2004, I had maxed-out 11 credit cards.” Today, Pandora’s net worth is over $900 million!

Israel’s patriarch, Jacob, had to come to the end of himself and step out towards Egypt. The result? He found his lost son and saved his family. What would happen if you obediently stepped out in faith towards God, even if it meant giving up all you had? If God is behind it, you’ll find more than you were prepared to lose! You are loved today! Take the leap!