May 3 Get in or Get Out!

Psalm 9:10 (NIV)
10 Those who know your name trust in you,  for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

Do you trust Him? That is the ultimate question. Many people call themselves Christians but it is supposed to go deeper than a name. It is supposed to mean that you have put your faith and trust in Christ and what He has done on the cross. It is not a knowledge of Christ that qualifies you. You must invite Him into your heart and let Him run your life.

Rev. Dr. Dana Allin preached a sermon at our church. He told the wheel barrow story. It goes like this. A man strung a cable across Niagara Falls, a very large waterfall. The first day, he walked that tightrope across the falls to everyone’s surprise and delight. The next day, he returned with a unicycle which he rode across the falls and back. The crowd went wild. Yet the next day, this man showed up with a wheel barrow filled with potatoes. Yup, he walked across and back. This was unbelievable! The crowd was cheering wildly. The man put up his hand to quiet the crowd and then he spoke. He asked the crowd if they thought he could walk across the falls and back again with a person in the wheel barrow? There was a rousing yes from the crowd! The man said “Great, I need a volunteer!”

Are you willing to get in the wheel barrow? Or are you just one of the crowd who will cheer the tightrope walker on as he goes but you’re not ready to into the wheel barrow? Making the commitment has eternal benefits. Don’t just watch and hope. Open the door to your heart. Ask Him in! Let Him fill your heart and your life with more blessings than you can ask or imagine. Get in! The rewards are beyond all you can ask or imagine!

Who are we that You are mindful of us? Lord, Thank You for all Your blessings. Who can fathom Your love for us? Even though we cannot grasp that magnitude of love, we can accept it into our lives. By Your Spirit, help us to open our hearts to You now and light the way for others. In Jesus name we pray.

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May 2 Don’t just do something, Stand there!

Psalm 46:10 (NKJV)
10 Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!

That’s not right, is it? Isn’t it supposed to be “Don’t just stand there, do something!”? Our society teaches us to be active and aggressive in seeking our goals. We make lists and check things off as they are done. In fact, our dental team pushes ahead to see all the students and alumni during four full working days we have in La Entrada. There is urgency in our work. If we don’t finish, will these kids get the care they need before our next yearly visit. The North American culture teaches us to push for more. Is that always best? Is it what God wants? Isn’t it all about relationships?

During his earthly ministry, Jesus came to the home of Lazarus, Martha and Mary. Martha was very concerned about showing proper hospitality to Jesus and all those who came to see him. She opened her home to Jesus. It does not tell us how many were there but Mary was concerned that all would go well. Would there be enough food? Wine? Is the house clean enough? Jean always says that. Is the house clean enough? Aren’t the guests there for a different reason than the cleanliness of your house? In fact, aren’t they there to see and hear Jesus?

Martha comes to Jesus to complain that Mary is not helping. She wants Jesus to tell Mary to get up and help her! In Luke 10, He says 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” So Jesus says no to asking Mary to help with the preparations! Huh! Doesn’t Jesus think Martha’s work is important? What has Mary chosen?

Mary has chosen to sit at Jesus feet and learn from Him. Mary has chosen a relationship with the Christ. Mary recognized who Jesus was and is and she wants a relationship with Him. What about Martha? Wasn’t hospitality important in that culture as well as ours? Sure! But what is most important? Mary chose the relationship. Shouldn’t you? In this time when we tend to focus on the task at hand, ask the Holy Spirit to remind you about the person in front of you. They are not only a patient, they are a child of God as are you. God designed us to be in relationship. Let us sit at the Lord’s feet and learn from him. He will not always be available.  “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” Yes, Jesus cares! But His plan is different than yours. He wants you to love one another and get to know each other better. Open your eyes to Jesus plan for your life! He knows best!

Father, thank You for leading us places You would have us go. Your plans are always best. Give us patience to let You work all things for our good. Help us rest in your peace and enjoy the journey. In Jesus name I pray!

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May 1 Don’t Be Afraid

Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Are you ever anxious? Whenever I travel, I am always anxious about the trip. Did I remember everything? Will there be any issues? Will I arrive safely? My mind can develop a thousand things that could go wrong. As I am maturing in my faith journey, I am learning to let go and let God. I am dropping the worries and enjoying the journey more. When I worry, I cannot enjoy the people I meet. I am focused on what can go wrong.

Each time we approach another challenge of getting the job done, I ask you to think about relationships. There is a fine line between completing the task to which you are called and building the Kingdom. God is more concerned about relationships than task completion. I learned this years back when I went on a summer mission trip. The Site Leader told me he had plenty of contractors who could finish the job. It was our job to build relationships with the people we came to help.

I can be very task oriented. I focus in on what needs to be done and forget the people around me except those who can help complete the task. I lose opportunities to get to know people better and share the journey with them. I don’t make memories. Do you find yourself in that boat? Are you so focused on the task and its completion that you don’t build relationships?

Our team is here in La Entrada, Honduras for eight days to see 200-250 kids and staff for their yearly dental checkups. Our time is limited and the need is great! Upon what should we focus? If we are not careful, we can lose sight of the real mission which is to spread the love of Jesus to the ends of the earth. It just so happens that, at this time, the vehicle by which we get this opportunity is dental checkups at Hearts for Honduras School. Remember that the first graders have never seen a dentist before and are afraid. You see, we are all afraid of something. Let us go to God with our fears and He will give us the peace that passes all understanding.

Lord Jesus, please calm our fears. We are all afraid of something. Remind us, by Your Holy Spirit, that we have nothing to fear for You go before us preparing the way and walk with us to give us courage. Help us to focus on You and the people You love. Help us to be thankful for the time we have here in Honduras or anywhere else to build the Kingdom by spreading the Gospel of love. In Your name we pray. Amen!

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April 30 Jesus Came to Serve!

Luke 19:10 (NKJV)
10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Why did Jesus come to earth? Isaiah said the government would be upon His shoulders. Israel expected the Christ to be a conquering King who would expel the Romans and take over Israel. He was to “Make Israel Great Again!” Don’t the people serve the king? The King of Kings came, instead, to serve the people. He came to seek and save that which was lost.

Who are the lost? I saw a tattoo which said “Not all who wander are lost.” Are the lost all men who refused to ask directions? It’s not a “that” but a “those” who were lost. This speaks of those who are far away from God. There are different ways to be lost. Being lost could be without education. Being lost could be without hope. Being lost could be those without hope. Jesus spoke about the Kingdom of Heaven being near. He gave many analogies to explain His Kingdom but the people of His day sought and earthly kingdom. Jesus came to bring hope and grace. He took a towel and washed the feet of His disciples and asked them and us to do likewise. We are here to serve.

Although we are serving here by providing dental checkups, our service brings hope. It is a sign that each child and person matters. By caring for students, staff and alumni, we are instilling hope. Grace abounds because Jesus shines out through us. Jesus gave each of us the glory of God. When we serve, that glory illuminates our corner of the world. And our corner is not just Liberty Corner. It extends to Honduras as well. We, too came to serve! In His name!

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April 29 It’s not my job!

Hebrews 13:1-3 (NKJV)
13 Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. Remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated—since you yourselves are in the body also.

Working together with people we don’t know to serve others is a divine opportunity. Our team travels thousands of miles to La Entrada, Honduras where we gather with old friends and new team members. We are all there to serve the children of La Entrada in the name of Christ. With that in mind, we are all brothers and sisters in Christ.

Hospitality was important in middle eastern cultures. It is still important today. Entertaining strangers you may serve angels. We don’t know each other but we serve in the name of the Lord.

In many work places, some take the attitude that “it is not their job” to do some menial task. Some people take the attitude that they are important and should not have to do the little things. It is the little things that really matter. Anyone is willing to do a job that offers recognition and fame. Not our team! Our team knows that we come to serve; not to be served. When we work with those God calls us to serve, the reward is from Him. He gives us peace and satisfaction. He blesses our work in the lives of the children. Where else can you go and make such a difference? Kids from this school have gone on to do great things!

Lord, thank You for giving us this opportunity to glorify You in the things we say and the things we do. Loving Your people is our job. Help us to see each person as Your gift to us. Just as You did not come to be served, help us to serve in Your name! In Your name we pray.

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April 28 Whom shall I send?

Psalm 90:17 (ESV)17 Let the favor] of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands; yes, establish the work of our hands!

Why did you volunteer to go the Honduras? Did you think it would be a nice vacation or time away? Have you asked anyone who has been on the trip before what it was like. Most of us have been here before. This is my fourth trip. I can tell you it is very hard work with some 10 hour days. We have seen as many as 250 patients in five working days and setup and torn down the dental clinic. This is no job for wimps. Add to that the heat and intermittent electricity and you do not have the ideal working conditions. So why would anyone of sound mind want to go on this mission? Because the righteous shall bear fruit.

Our purpose in life is to glorify God and serve others. 1 Peter 4:10-11 says, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms… so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.” Serving is a form of worship, a way to express gratitude for what Jesus has done for us, and to share the love and grace we’ve been given. When I complete a hard day’s work, I am tired. In Honduras, I am also sweaty. However, there is a sense of satisfaction that comes from having served others that is hard to put into words. It fills a need in our soul. We were designed to work and deliver deeds of service. Our team members each have different gifts and talents we use. The using of these gifts brings glory to the Giver. Our Creator is praised and glorified by the work of our hands in service to others.

What about the people who cannot go with us on the trip? One of the things Cam Witt, our team leader, encourages us to do is to ask friends and family to sponsor us in our efforts. By getting sponsors, we are giving opportunity for someone who cannot go on the trip to participate in God’s work to His glory. If you are a sponsor, God bless you! You too are doing His work. You are part of the team!

It is all about Grace. In this opportunity, God’s grace toward us translates into our passing on the grace we received to others. We see this when we arrive as hundreds of kids show up on Saturday to greet us. The smiles on their faces and the gleam in their eyes coupled with the hugs they give show their appreciation. The are mirrors of the love god has given us which we pass on to those we serve. And how about those with whom we serve? I love to go because I will be together with friends in Christ again this side of heaven. Love abounds from every corner and person. Jose Lino is the Caretaker of the property. But during our service week, he takes care of us. He comes by to make sure we have what we need to complete our mission. I’m pretty good with words but they cannot explain the feeling of serving God’s people. So, here we are again Lord. Thank You for bringing us here safely and giving us another chance to glorify You. In Jesus name!

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Sticks and Stones………

Proverbs 18:21 (NIV)
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Do you remember the nursery rhyme “Sticks and stones can break your bones but words will never hurt you.” I am living proof that is just not so! Old wounds die hard. It all depends on from whom the negative words come. When it is your family that is critical, it hurts beyond anything a stick or stone could do.

We saw the movie “I Can Only Imagine” today. It is based on the story of Bart Millard’s life with an abusive father. His father was both physically and verbally abusive. He told Bart to forget his dreams. I maintain that physical abuse does less damage than emotional abuse. The damage heals in less time than verbal abuse. A broken bone will heal in a few months. Emotional wounds may never heal. What things have people said to you? What have they done to you? Are you going to let your past determine your future? Rather than listening to the negative things the world tells you, listen to Jesus and what He says about you! You are fearfully and wonderfully made in His image and likeness.

What about what you say to others? Be kinder than necessary! Kindness turns away anger. I went through a course called Every Man a Warrior. One of the topics is fatherhood. There are three pillars of being a father. The third is “The words you speak to a child will determine his or her destiny.” What words are you speaking to your children? To your co-workers? To your spouse? Are they words of affirmation? Do you tell them they can do anything? Do you encourage them?

What about dreams? Are they a waste of time like Bart’s father said? Do you know what the greatest nation in the world is? It is the imagination. Nothing ever worthwhile was ever accomplished without someone conceiving it in their mind. More likely, the Spirit inspired ideas. God will give you the desires of your heart.  He feeds me things through my subconscious mind. If you can dream it, you can do it with His help. So keep dreaming. Now you know where the dreams are from.

Father, thank you that you always work all things for our good. Help us find the good is the tough situations. Help us to heal from our wounds. Moreover, help us to use what we go through to give us empathy which will allow us to ease the suffering of others. No pain is wasted when You are in the middle. Please remain in the middle and work through us to love others as we love ourselves. In Jesus name we pray.

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What did I just step in?

Romans 8:28 (NIV)
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

I can’t believe I just did that. I took Milo, our dog, for a walk in the front yard and, you guessed it. I stepped in something I shouldn’t have. Uggggh! I should have been watching where I was going. This is my own fault. Too late now!

Bad things happen to good people. Jesus said that “in this world, you will have trouble. But fear not, for I have overcome the world.” I thought God was supposed to work all things for my good. I do love Him. Why would he let bad things happen to me? Why does He let bad things happen in the world? Isn’t He supposed to work everything for our good. Bad attitude, huh? Wait until you hear what happened next!

OK, so I stepped in it and now there is the matter of cleaning my shoe, right? So I take the shoe and head downstairs to the basement sink. I grab the brush and look for the spray cleaner. But now, the sprayer won’t work. I look around for some way to get the cleaner onto the bottom of my shoe. My day is not going well! I’ve got you know what on my shoe and things seem to be against me cleaning it off. What gives?

Now, I am getting annoyed. I have somewhere to go and stuff on my shoe. While I am looking around for a solution, I see something curious laying on the floor. I decide to take a closer look. I reach down to pick up this piece of paper. Guess what? It was a check for $350 that had fallen down the stairs! Can you believe it? A check laying on the basement floor. And the only reason I found it is because I got you know what on my shoe. I’m unhappy because of poop on my shoe. How is it possible that it helps me find a $350 check? Because God works all things for the good of those who love Him! Talk about stepping in you know what and coming up smelling like a rose. God loves me. He loves you too!

Father, thank You that You always work things for my good. It amazes me how You work these things out. Thank you for blessing us beyond all we can ask or imagine. You are an awesome and loving God.


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I prayed and he still died!

Isaiah 14:12-17 (NKJV) The Fall of Lucifer
12 “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! 13 For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ 15 Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit. 16 “Those who see you will gaze at you, And consider you, saying: Is this the man who made the earth tremble, Who shook kingdoms, 17 Who made the world as a wilderness And destroyed its cities, Who did not open the house of his prisoners?’

I’ve been accused of praying dangerous prayers. It’s true. I pray for healing for people with stage four cancer and they died anyway. Why is that? Why didn’t God answer my prayers. Am I not righteous enough? He said I was the righteousness of God in Christ. Am I too much of a sinner? Does my friend not deserve to live? What did we do wrong? Why is this happening?

Tonight, I watched a movie that Jean got me for Christmas called Miracles From Heaven. A little girl became seriously ill and her mom lost her faith in the process. People from her Church told her they must have some unrepentant sin that was causing God to judge them and bringing this illness on this little girl. Can you imagine that? God does not punish us with illness. Could there be another source of the trouble?

Joseph Prince spoke about three Cherubim, the highest of all angels. Two of them are Michael and Gabriel and they guard the Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies. This is the place where the Presence of the Lord exists. Who do you think the third one is? His name was Lucifer, son of the morning. But he, because of his pride, fell from grace. He is no longer in heaven but lives to terrorize this world as Satan. 1 Peter 5:8 (NKJV) says Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Does that make you think? We all walk around patting ourselves on the back when things go well and blaming God when they don’t.

We don’t grow in good times, we grow in adversity. Yes, it is true. God could stop bad things from happening but he loves us too much to prevent our growth. No matter what happens, He will work it out for your good. Our biggest issue is forgetting the source of our troubles; Satan. He has come to steal and to kill and to destroy. Nothing good comes from him. Be sober! Your adversary is on the move looking for whom he may devour. Don’t run from God when bad things happen. Run to Him. He is your refuge. Faith only becomes strong in trials! I pray that you are never tested but when you are, that your faith will stand in the test. In Jesus name I pray for you.

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Lead, Follow or Get out of the Way!

Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)
10 Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

Are you making bad decisions? I know I do. Like Paul, I know what I am supposed to do but rarely do that. I usually procrastinate. Decisions are tough things. Not making a decision is a decision but usually does not have the desired results. For many people, there is much fear in making the wrong decision. I believe the wrong decision is better than no decision. No decision is the wrong decision because it is a decision of default.

Lee Iacocca is the one who said “lead, follow or get out of the way”. As the bombastic leader of Chrysler Corporation, he took over a company that was failing because of poor or non-existent decision making. There was no innovation. The leadership team was stuck in the past. Lee took the helm and turned the company around. Do you think he made a lot of good decisions? Was he afraid? Are you afraid? Why? Do you know who you are and whose you are?

You are a child of the Most High God (CMHG). As such, He cares about you more than you know. In Isaiah, God Himself tells you that He is your God. He says He is with you. He promises He will strengthen you, help you and uphold you with His righteous right hand! He is with you. Why be afraid? Your destiny awaits. Will you hesitate to make a decision that could take you to where God has planned for you to go! Everything you need, He has already given you. Thank Him! So go ahead, include the Spirit’s lead but make a decision. Always pray over that which you face and be still asking for guidance. God will give you a peace about the situation or another idea if it is not what He wants for you.

As we approach another year, there are blessing out there for you that God wants you to have. Be bold and step into your destiny. Fear not for He is with you!

Father, thank You that You are always with us. Help us to hear Your voice and take the steps You have destined. Thank You that You will richly bless us in the coming year from Your bounty. In Jesus name we pray.

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The Least of These

Luke 19:9-10 (NKJV)
And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; 10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Jesus said he came to seek and save the lost. To whom was he referring? Is it you? In Jesus’ day, He went to the least of these. He avoided the religious leaders and those of influence and went to the fisherman, tax collectors and women. He saw people that others avoided or didn’t even see. Compassion was His strong suit. He had eyes that see more than the surface. As the Son of God, He saw the heart. Sometimes the heart contains sadness. Not all is always good.

I saw a sign that said “Not all who wander are lost”. So who are the lost? Is it the homeless person hanging out in the doorway or those in prison? It is not always the poor who are lost. There are many who have all the material things they want but they are alone and unhappy. As I look around, I see much sadness in people’s eyes. Many of the people sitting in the pews of our churches are lost as well. Not everyone has accepted the free offer of Grace. They struggle with the “worthiness” question. They don’t say yes to grace because, in their minds, they don’t deserve it and cannot accept. The doubters are those who are lost. These are the ones Jesus also came to save. His Grace is for everyone. It is a free gift but no gift is a gift until it is received! How are you at receiving? Are you going to play the worthiness card on me? Or are you willing to accept? Go ahead! You don’t need to continue wandering. Jesus is calling out to you! He wants you to be full of joy. He offers you His peace which passes all understanding. He’s coming for you!

Thank You Lord for coming for all of us. At this time, we celebrate the arrival of the One who changed everything. Thank You that we will never be the same in Jesus name.


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Psalm 9:10 (NIV)   10 Those who know your name trust in you,
for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

Do you trust Him? That is the ultimate question. Many people call themselves Christians but it is supposed to go deeper than a name. It is supposed to mean that you have put your faith and trust in Christ and what He has done on the cross. It is not a knowledge of Christ that qualifies you. You must invite Him into your heart and let Him run your life.

Rev. Dr. Dana Allin preached a sermon at our church. He told the wheel barrow story. It goes like this.

A man strung a cable across Niagara Falls. The first day, he walked that tightrope across the falls to everyone’s surprise and delight. The next day, he returned with a unicycle which he rode across the falls and back. The crowd went wild. Yet the next day, this man showed up with a wheel barrow filled with potatoes. Yup, he walked across and back. This was unbelievable! The crowd was cheering wildly. The man put up his hand to quiet the crowd and then he spoke. He asked the crowd if they thought he could walk across the falls and back again with a person in the wheel barrow? There was a rousing yes from the crowd! The man said “Great, I need a volunteer!”

Are you willing to get in the wheel barrow? Or are you just one of the crowd who will cheer the tightrope walker on as he goes but you’re not ready to into the wheel barrow? Making the commitment has eternal benefits. Don’t just watch and hope. Open the door to your heart. Ask Him in! Let Him fill your heart and your life with more blessings than you can ask or imagine. Get in!

Who are we that You are mindful of us? Lord, Thank You for all Your blessings. Who can fathom Your love for us? Even though we cannot grasp that magnitude of love, we can accept it into our lives. By Your Spirit, help us to open our hearts to You now. In Jesus name we pray.

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Keeping it all together!

Acts 2:46   Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart,

The Body of Christ is made up of many parts. How do you keep it all together? As the body, we are supposed to take care of one another. The first disciples met daily in the Temple and ate together. They stuck together! When you stay together like this, the division of the enemy has trouble finding its way in to your heart. You strengthen one another. You remind one another to keep up your shield.

In my Church, we are facing some difficult times. Our Pastor has resigned because he is moving to another Church. This creates uncertainty of the future and a lot of work to find another Pastor. Nature hates a vacuum or void. Human nature needs to fill a void. We cannot leave things to chance. How will we handle this time?

Who do you think should guide and fulfill the future? Is it you? Have you always made the best decisions? Looking back, are there no regrets in your life? No “coulda, shoulda woulda”? I cannot say that. I have made bad decisions because I have not sought the guidance of the Lord. At this point, I am no longer willing to buy anything unless I absolutely must have it. Not so in my Spiritual life. I know Who I want and go to Him.

Are we on our own? Is our future hanging in the balance of luck? Not hardly. You are part of God’s family. He has a plan for our lives; a plan to prosper us and not to harm us! So instead of relying on our own intellect, why not look to the Lord? Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) says Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Let’s trust in Him and allow Him to lead and guide us. His plan is always better.

Father, we thank You that You are always close at hand to guide us. Help us to hear Your voice. Lead us in the way we should go. Bring to us the leader You want for us. In Jesus name we pray.

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How Do You Say Goodbye? July 1, 2017

Lamentations 3:22-26 (NKJV)
22 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. 24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!” 25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him. 26 It is good that one should hope and wait quietly For the salvation of the Lord.

Today, I lament. I lost my Mom at 11:00 am. She had pneumonia and was in the hospital for a few days. The staff thought she was getting better and this was a shock. I didn’t get to say goodbye. According to the nurses, her heart slowed and slowed until it stopped. It seemed as Mom has had enough. She did not seem to have her usual spark. If you knew Trudy, you know the spark I mean. If you didn’t know her, I am sorry for your loss. They say pneumonia is the friend of the elderly.


Trudy was feisty and bold! Trudy was larger than life. Everyone knew her! Sound familiar? Let’s talk about that. Who was it that taught me to care about people? Who was it that taught me to notice people so you can care about them? Mom used to take me to bring groceries to the Rosenbaums because they could not shop for themselves. My Mom called people if she hadn’t seen them for a while to make sure they were alright. Mom said I’ll send the kid over. Many people offer charity. Mom got her hands dirty doing the work. Praise God she taught me some wonderful things.


My Mom and I never got along well but she sure did teach me a lot of things. She was like sandpaper, rubbing off all my rough edges and I didn’t like it at the time. She knew how to push each and every button I have. She even pushed buttons I didn’t know existed. Sometimes, she said some very hurtful things and we would stop talking for a while. I needed a cooling off period. But she made me the man I am today. I like what she’s done with the place. It is comfortable, warm and friendly. Many people feel safe and loved in the presence Trudy has created in her youngest son. Or at least, so they say. Parents plant seeds in their children. I like the garden Trudy has planted. God has given the increase. May He continue to mold me more to His liking and Trudy’s pleasure. She is gone but not forgotten.


A friend asked if there is anything he could do. My response is Smile! What is God saying to Trudy now? Well done thou good and faithful servant. I asked you to raise the next generation sharing my love and compassion and you have done well. She taught me to value others. She taught me to love and care for people. She taught me it was my job to care and how and why to do it.


It is my loss that troubles me now. Right now, it’s all about me and what I am feeling. Trudy forget to clean out the selfishness before she left. I don’t mind telling you, I feel bad! However, I do not grieve as one who has no hope. But this too shall pass. Also, I am concerned about Mom’s future. I am not sure of her salvation since, to the best of my knowledge, she has not accepted Christ. So I went looking in the Old Testament for comfort. I want Mom to be with my Dad who adores her. I also want her to be there waiting for me (selfish again) so we can pick up the argument where we left off. I want to know she is well and, maybe, finally happy. Years ago, a friend shared something with me. It was her belief that Jesus comes to each of us at the time of our passing giving us one last chance to go with Him. Glorious Father, have mercy on my Mom and show her Your salvation. Ask her one more time. Father, Your word says Your compassions fail not and Your faithfulness is great. I put my hope and trust in You. I thank You that You are caring for my beloved Trudy! Into Your hands I commend her spirit. Amen!


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Armed and Dangerous

Daniel 3

16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us[c] from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

I’m a dangerous man. I’ve got a Bible and I am not afraid to use it! I pray dangerous prayers. I will boldly pray for healing. Someone once said that my prayers are dangerous. What if I pray for healing the person doesn’t get well? What if I don’t pray for their healing? Will that help them? If I pray for healing and their illness gets worse, am I a failure at praying?

Sometimes we pray for healing when God has a resurrection in mind. Their healing may not come in this life. Should I give in to the enemy and not pray at all? After all, what good will it do? The Scripture says the prayers of a righteous man avails much. Maybe I am not righteous enough? Maybe that is why God did not answer my prayer in the way I wanted. Or did He? You see, I usually add an addendum. Four words: “Thy will be done!” I believe God knows best! When I pray, I ask for what I think is best but know God’s plan is really the way to go.

I have a friend with stage 4 cancer. He is a believer! The cancer is all over and spreading. I take him to some of his appointments and we speak frankly. What if he does not make it? Our conversation is about the truth. We plan for contingencies. Things are not looking good. But we do not speak as those who do not have hope. For I was not given a spirit of timidity but of boldness. I boldly ask for his healing. I am going to launch an all out campaign of fervent prayer. I will P.U.S.H (Pray Until Something Happens)! It is my nature to push. So Lord, watch out. I am going to keep bugging you for the healing of my friend. I will pray without ceasing. Since I am righteous by the blood of the Lamb, I know You will hear and listen to those prayers. I will come into Your presence again and again with this petition. Please heal him! But even if You don’t my hope is You alone. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were tested and replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

You see, I am not just a man of faith when things are going my way. I walk with my Lord wherever He leads. Good time and bad, Jesus is my Lord and Savior. It is all up to Him. He will deliver me. Who will deliver you?

Father, I thank you for each day and each person I meet. Your grace is unfathomable. Nevertheless, I come to Your throne boldly asking for more. I ask for the healing of my friend. I know You can do all things. As Your servant, I ask for this one thing. While I remain steadfast in my faith, I boldly pray for a healing now. In Jesus name I pray.

Mercyme  Even If:

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Which GPS Will You Follow?

Proverbs 3: 5-6
Trust in the Lord and lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all your ways, and He will make your paths straight.

Which GPS will you follow? The GPS on the dash or the God Positioning System? I guess it depends on whether you are thinking about the short term or long term destination. If you want to know how to get to Westville for a meeting, you can use the one on the dash. However, if you want to get to health, happiness, prosperity and a sense of accomplishment, you want to go with God.

Proverbs tells us that God is the true source of wisdom and understanding. We cannot trust our own instincts or knowledge to lead us to our destiny. In fact, you cannot put “destiny” into the GPS and expect it to take you anywhere. It does not know the destiny God has planned for you.

I was heading to Westville, NJ to attend a Work as Worship conference. I had an idea where it was because I looked it up on Google maps to see how long the trip would take. As I was leaving my street, the GPS told me to turn left and I, of course, turned right. Men don’t follow directions well. Recalculating! Someday it is going to scream at me saying “you never listen to me!” Since I was in familiar surroundings, I decided on the way I should go and leaned on my own understanding. But when we got to South Jersey, I had no idea which way to go. I had to trust the GPS to get me to my destination. I had to lean on the device made and programmed to get me to my destination, the Work as Worship conference. If I had made the turns I thought were best, I might not have made it to the conference.

Isn’t life like that too? When you are in familiar territory, often you know the best way to go. Most of us stay in familiar territory. But what if God wants to do a new thing and take us somewhere different? Most of us don’t like change. We become anxious. We want to resist anything new and different. What if we go the wrong way? What if there were a GPS that could guide us through those uncharted waters? There is! The God Positioning System, our Lord, will guide us into the new things He has in store for us. He has awesome plans for each of his children. His plan is not for you to be ill, addicted, broke, stuck and in debt. It is just the opposite. He wants the best for you. You are His masterpiece; fearfully and wonderfully made! But you must trust Him.

Trust the GPS when you don’t know where you are going. It speaks clearly. Turn right in 0.2 miles! God’s voice is not so clear. How do I know what God is saying? How can I hear His voice? It is true that God’s voice can be a gentle whisper. It often is. For me, God reveals Himself through my subconscious mind most of the time. Although, He did speak to me once when I was in Honduras. He asked me to “trust Him”. But most often, I get a sense of peace about something and will be led to a Scripture verse that confirms the thought I am having. Many times, I formulate a plan after praying for guidance and then put I in my Bible. I ask God if He has changes He wants to make to the plan. If I don’t hear anything and still have a peace about it, I go ahead after a few days. It is always better to ask for God’s input in your plans than deciding on your own and asking Him to bless what you have decided. Trust Him to get you to the right destination; the destination He has planned for you. It will always be better.

Lord, thank You that Your wisdom and guidance are always available to us if we just ask! Be with us on our journey and give us Your peace when we enter unfamiliar territory. Thank You that You have awesome plans for us that will bless us beyond all we could ask or imagine. In your name we pray!

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What is your Final Destination?

Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Zig Ziglar told a story about flying and the pilot coming on the intercom telling the passengers that they are about to reach their final destination. He got scared and asked the flight attendant to ask the pilot if he could make this their next to final destination. Zig still had things he needed to do! What about you? What is your final destination? Mine is heaven with my Lord and Savior. He has given me peace in knowing where I am going. Do you have confidence?

Paul tells us need not to worry! He tells us to go to God and ask for blessings. Paul knew that God longs to bless us. We don’t deserve His grace but He offers it anyway. With God on our side, there is no reason to be anxious. He will provide all our needs and prepare a way for us to reach our destiny. We can live in peace. This is not just being calm. This peace goes deep. It is a sense that everything will be OK no matter what comes against us. John 16: (NKJV) says 33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Isn’t that the way you want to live? How great would it be to know that you have nothing to worry about? You can live in peace knowing the Lord has made a way for you through the valley of the shadow of death to the table He has prepared for you on the other side. Keep walking and receive the blessings your Heavenly Father has stored up for you. Oh yeah; remember to be thankful! God loves grateful people. He loves you!

Thank You Father that You love us so much that You prepare a way for us to reach great things in Your name. Allay our fears and help us to live in peace and joy. You guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus. Grant us Your peace which passes all understanding. In Your name we pray.

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What, me worry?

Matthew 6:25-34 Do Not Worry
25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

There was a comic book character from Mad Magazine called Alfred E. Newman whose tag line is “What, me worry?” as if there was nothing to worry about. It also seemed to me he had a lack of caring and just went with things with no concern. That is not a way you really want to live. There are true concerns but you cannot be overwhelmed by them.

I took a friend to the airport this morning early. He told me he is an “anxious” flyer and did not sleep very well at all last night. Many of us are anxious about something, aren’t we? What is it that makes you worry? Is it really a concern or is your mind exaggerating the situation? When we let our minds race, they tend to go toward the negative. The accuser wants to distract you and lead you away from trusting God! Worry is a waste of the imagination.

When we worry, we show a lack of trust in God and His provision. Matthew 6:33 says we are to “seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto us.” If we trust in Him, we need only do our best in what He calls us to do and He will take care of the rest. We do need to do our part in following the direction of the Holy Spirit but we tend to think it is all our doing. The all surpassing power comes from God and not from us. We should seek Him and His kingdom and let His power work in and through us to accomplish the divine destiny He has in store for us.

Father, thank You that we can trust You! Help us not to worry but, rather look for the lesson You are trying to teach us. Remind us that You have a plan for our good. Remind us that we can trust you! In Jesus name we pray.

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Live! What are you afraid of?

Philippians 1:19-
19 For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 20 according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell.

To live is Christ and to die is gain! Our Lord wants us to live before we die! How should we live? A word came to mind that interferes. The word is apprehension. What will people thing? There are many people I know who live in apprehension. Whatever comes their way, they think about what could go wrong. You know people who will first offer reasons why something won’t work. Well what if it does work? The only way you will know is if you try. And if you don’t try, you will never know.

“Many people die with their music still in them. Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it time runs out.” ― Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. Are you holding back for no apparent reason except fear. Fear is an acronym for false evidence appearing real. If you are apprehensive, you will never reach your destiny. God has a plan for you that involves you doing great things. What is your music? What song can you sing? What has your Heavenly Father planned for you? Know it will be great.

Father, thank You that You have great plans for us. Teach us to trust You and take some chances. We can’t be magnificent if we are always holding back in fear. Your love is perfect and perfect love drives out fear. Help us to live as You would have us live and love as You would have us love. In Jesus name!

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Which will You Choose?

Deuteronomy 28 (NKJV) Selected
Blessings on Obedience  “Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God:
“Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.
“Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out……
“The Lord will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand, and He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
“The Lord will establish you as a holy people to Himself….. 10 Then all peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord…..You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. 13 And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them……
Curses on Disobedience
15 “But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:
16 “Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the country…..

What will you choose? Do you want health, happiness and prosperity? Can you obey all the Commandments of the Lord? I know I cannot. As we enter into a new year, what do you want for yourself? The Lord promises He will bless you beyond all you can ask or imagine. And He who promises is faithful. Isn’t it time you put your faith and trust in Him? This is your year! What will you choose to do knowing The Lord God Almighty is with you?

Some of my friends say that this is the prosperity Gospel is not true. They make fun of those who preach a blessed life. Being blessed does not mean you will not have any issues.  I am not into the Prosperity Gospel. I am into the Grace Gospel. When you follow the Lord, He will bless you more than you can ask or imagine. He longs to bless you. Will you receive what He offers?

Malachi 3 says “9You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. 10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.” He promises more than you can hold!

So as a new year begins, what plans will you make? Will you consult the Lord when making those plans? Too many times, we make plans without consulting Him and then we ask Him to bless the plans. Don’t do things backwards. Invite the Lord into your plans. Proverbs 16:9 says “A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.” Will you let the Lord direct your steps? I hope so! I am asking him to direct mine. Can I pray that for you too?

Lord, thank you for bringing us to this day and this year. You said You would always be with us. Be with us in our plans. Let Your plans be the ones we follow for your plans will prosper us. Make this new year all it can be, In Jesus name we pray.

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The Lion of Judah

Ruth 4:13-22 (NKJV) Selected Verses – Descendants of Boaz and Ruth
13 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife; and when he went in to her, the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son……” 16 Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her bosom, and became a nurse to him……. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David. 18 Now this is the genealogy of Perez: Perez begot Hezron; 19 Hezron begot Ram, and Ram begot Amminadab; 20 Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon 21 Salmon begot Boaz, and Boaz begot Obed; 22 Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David.

My brother would say “who would have thunk it?” Who would have thunk the Lord God would use the son of a prostitute to deliver the Line of David and on to the Savior of the world. In Matthew 1:3-6, we learn that Rahab the prostitute from Jericho was the mother of Boaz. One of Jesus names is “The Lion of Judah.” That is because He is a descendant of Jacob’s (Israel) son Judah, the leader of one of the twelve Tribes. Judah’s life was equally dysfunctional as he had a son through his daughter-in-law named Perez through whom the line of Jesus was created. The Lord can and will use any situation, no matter how bad it seems, to create His will for good. The Bible is full of foolish people whom the Lord redeemed anyway!

Have you made a lot of mistakes? Do you think your life is beyond redemption? Are you hopeless? Well there is Hope and His name is Jesus! In the story of Ruth, the Lord took a Moabite woman and the son of a prostitute and used them to save the entire world! Through their great grandson David, the throne of Israel was established forever as the Lord had promised. He told David that his throne would be eternal and many generations later, He seated Jesus on that throne. God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Our Savior was born through the line of David. This is truly a love story! Redemption is given you through the Son of God; the descendant of Ruth. This is no ordinary story. It is the story of God’s love for you. Lift your face to your Redeemer and walk in His grace. In Jesus name I pray!



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The Big Picture – Everything Matters!

Ruth 3:16-18 (NIV)

16 When Ruth came to her mother-in-law, Naomi asked, “How did it go, my daughter?” Then she told her everything Boaz had done for her 17 and added, “He gave me these six measures of barley, saying, ‘Don’t go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed.’” 18 Then Naomi said, “Wait, my daughter, until you find out what happens. For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today.”

Naomi wanted a good future for her daughter-in-law Ruth and sent her to Boaz. Ruth had asked Boaz for his protection for herself and Naomi. This would mean that Boaz would take her as his wife and bring her into his household. We are not told if Boaz had a wife or family at that time. However, God had a plan and was going to work it through Boaz, the son of Salmon and Rahab.

I see the world and God’s plan as a tapestry. We mostly see the ugly hanging threads of the back. God sees the front of the tapestry; He sees what we can become. He knows the beginning from the end and weaves His plan through frail and flawed humans for our ultimate good. No one is beyond his reach; you cannot fall too far for the Lord to reach you and draw you back to him. The Lord can and will use any situation, no matter how bad, to create His will for good. The Bible is full of foolish people whom the Lord redeemed anyway!

The meeting went well! Ruth requested Boaz’ protection and he granted her request although there were some complications. Boaz was willing to redeem Ruth and Naomi by purchasing the land which belonged to Elimelek keeping it in the family. By this, he also agreed to take Ruth as his wife. God had brought Ruth into the field of Boaz to glean because He wanted Boaz to see and meet her. There are no accidents! Now, He was working His plan for the bloodline that, through King David, would yield the Christ. My study Bible says “God often uses little decisions to carry out His big plan.” The choice of which field seemed little by itself but it is what got Boaz to notice Ruth. What decisions are you making daily that will influence the future of the world? Maybe you don’t see your choices as so significant but they are. It is said that integrity is doing the right thing even when you think no one is looking. What choices are you making? Are they insignificant? That may have been what Ruth thought. Your choices are important. Listen for God’s still small voice and follow His plan and you will be blessed in all your ways.

Father God, who are we that You are mindful of us; that You care for us? We go through our days thinking that we do not matter but nothing could be further from the truth. Each of us matters to You! Guide us in Your ways that we may fulfill the destiny You have planned for us. There is nowhere we can go that we are out of Your reach. Take hold of us today, protect us and lead us where You would have us go. In Jesus name we pray!

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Do the Right Thing!

Ruth 3:9-13 (NIV)
“Who are you?” he [Boaz] asked. “I am your servant Ruth,” she said. “Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a guardian-redeemer of our family.” 10 “The Lord bless you, my daughter,” he replied. “This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor. 11 And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character. 12 Although it is true that I am a guardian-redeemer of our family, there is another who is more closely related than I. 13 Stay here for the night, and in the morning if he wants to do his duty as your guardian-redeemer, good; let him redeem you. But if he is not willing, as surely as the Lord lives I will do it. Lie here until morning.”

In those days, a woman had no protection if she was not covered by a man. She could not own property, she could not appear as a witness in court and she basically had no standing on her own. It was also the custom for men related to them to step up as a kinsman-redeemer so the family land and property could remain in the family. If the husband died before he had a son, the kinsman-redeemer would marry her to provide her with a son to carry on their family name. This was serious business. Also, it was a big responsibility for the redeemer. He had to be sure he could afford the extra responsibility. On top of all of that, would he want to be associated to this woman?

Ruth went to Boaz asking for his protection. She asked him to “spread the corner of your garment over me….” Boaz was impressed with Ruth. All the people of his town knew she was a woman of noble character. How could he refuse such a wonderful person? When you do the right things long enough, people will notice. Stay with it and work as if unto the Lord.

Living according to God’s will and ways is important but not always easy. When you do what He asks, He promises to bless you. In fact, He was willing to come into this world and give it all for you! Talk about a Redeemer. He not only gives you a place to live, He gives you a new life. So why not ask Him to spread the corner of His garment over you? His offer is there for the asking.

Thank You Lord that You are always willing to redeem us from whatever situation we find ourselves. Thank You for Your great love which knows no bounds. Greater love has no one than this. That He would lay down His life for His friends! Thank You that You call us friends. In Your name we pray and praise!

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Who is your Redeemer?

Ruth 2:19-23 (NIV)

19 Her mother-in-law asked her, “Where did you glean today? Where did you work? Blessed be the man who took notice of you!”  Then Ruth told her mother-in-law about the one at whose place she had been working. “The name of the man I worked with today is Boaz,” she said. 20 “The Lord bless him!” Naomi said to her daughter-in-law. “He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead.” She added, “That man is our close relative; he is one of our guardian-redeemers.” 21 Then Ruth the Moabite said, “He even said to me, ‘Stay with my workers until they finish harvesting all my grain.’” 22 Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, “It will be good for you, my daughter, to go with the women who work for him, because in someone else’s field you might be harmed.” 23 So Ruth stayed close to the women of Boaz to glean until the barley and wheat harvests were finished. And she lived with her mother-in-law.

Who is looking out for you? Sometimes, it feels like it is you against the world when nothing is going right. Have you ever had a time like that? I have. Lately, there are more things to do than time in which to do them. I am one who likes to say yes to everything but I cannot do it all. My brothers in Christ have been concerned for me that I am spreading myself too thin. And it is true. I have limited bandwidth and things I had not foreseen have been added to my plate. Brandon came to live with us one year ago yesterday. Let’s just say that was not my plan but God’s! 2 Corinthians 4:7-11 (NIV) says But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. There is a lot against us but there is someone incredible who is for us. So who is your kinsman-redeemer? Mine is my Father in Heaven!

Ruth followed Naomi back to Bethlehem when neither of them knew how they would survive. They had nothing. Ruth was following the harvesters picking up what they missed hoping to have enough to eat that night. Ruth had adopted the faith of Naomi. They were destitute but hopeful. And God was with them each step of the way. He led Ruth to Boaz’ field. He showed Boaz her inner beauty. The Lord works everything for the good of those who love Him. Naomi loved the Lord. Her faith rubbed off on to Ruth. That love continued through them to David to Jesus to you! God loves you! Stop to take that in. For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. That is how important you are. Your Redeemer lives! Now, you can live in Him!

Father, thank You that You are our Redeemer! No matter the challenges we face, you are there for us. Thank You that You call us Your children and, as a good Father, You are there to pick us up when we fall. Soften the falls for us. And, by Your Spirit, guide us in Your ways. In Jesus name we pray.

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Welcome to the Family!

Ruth 1:16-18 (NIV)
16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.

The Bible says that adoption is a special thing because it is not reversible. In fact, God adopts us as sons and daughters when we accept Him into our hearts. It is usual for parents to adopt children but it can be the other way around. There is also the concept of adopting new ideas or a way of life. That is what Ruth did here. She adopted a new way of life. Her marriage into Naomi’s family exposed her to a new way of life and taught her about the Living God. She was not willing to give that up. She faced uncertainty and great obstacles in a return to Bethlehem. While it was Naomi’s home, Ruth would be an outsider; a foreign woman and could be ostracized. It was not a bright future but she had faith in the God of Naomi!

In the story, Naomi was trying to convince Ruth and Orpah to return to their family homes as she returned to Bethlehem. Orpah thought it made sense, kissed Naomi goodbye and left. Ruth seemed to have too much invested. Ruth wanted to be a part of the people of the Living God. She wanted to adopt the ways of Israel and live with God through Naomi’s people.

On Friday, I got to attend an adoption proceeding for a friend’s family. They were adding a son to their family. I had been through this when we adopted Clayton. A representative of the State of New Jersey asked my friends, the adopting parents, many questions about themselves, their family and the young man being adopted. She did not leave things to chance and did not operate by faith. His future had to be protected. Ruth did not have all the facts. Her future was uncertain. Yet she believed that the future would be good because she knew the God of Israel was a good God who would take care of her. How about you? Do you believe God has a good plan for you? Do you trust Him and His plan for you? Would you be willing to travel to another country where you knew no one? We can learn much from Ruth. She was willing to risk it all on the good reputation of the God of Israel. He had done miraculous things for His people and continues to this day. You can trust Him! Ruth did! And for her faith, the Lord God gave her Obed who had Jesse who had David who would be the best king of Israel. And from David’s line, came Jesus, the Christ. What if Ruth had not gone with Naomi? But, praise God, she went. In fact, her God is our God! We have her example to follow.

Lord God, thank You that You are our God too! Thank you that you made a way for us to follow. Through Ruth and her faith, you made the way for our redemption. You are a good God with a good plan. Help us to live out the plan you have for us. In Jesus name we pray!

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Day 13 Forgiveness!

Genesis 33:1-4
Jacob looked up and there was Esau, coming with his four hundred men; so he divided the children among Leah, Rachel and the two female servants. He put the female servants and their children in front, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph in the rear. He himself went on ahead and bowed down to the ground seven times as he approached his brother. But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept.

As we said, Jacob did not have the best character. He had cheated Esau twice and now, he was returning to Canaan as the Lord had directed him. Now, he had to face the music so to speak. Esau was coming out to meet him and had four hundred men with him. It is not looking good. Jacob is afraid of a slaughter as Esau had promised to kill him years ago. Only now, he has wives and children who are in danger. Jacob has divided his family and prepared for the worst. Now, all that was left was to humble himself before Esau and take his chances. But, in the back of his mind, Jacob remembers the promise of God to bless him. And so, he approached Esau. He himself went on ahead and bowed down to the ground seven times as he approached his brother. Esau had put the past behind him. He embraced Jacob and kissed him. It had been a long time since they were together. Apparently, God had been kind to Esau as well. Esau forgave Jacob and even offered to accompany him to Canaan. The old wound had been healed.

Forgiveness is important in life. Where would we be if God had not forgiven us as He continues to do to this day. Forgiveness frees the person giving it more so than the perpetrator. If you don’t forgive, bitterness will build up in you. Bitterness is like acid and acid destroys the vessel which contains it. Matthew 6:15  (NIV) says “15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Esau could have harbored his bitterness all those years but it would have eaten him up inside. No one wants to live that way. What about you? Has someone done you wrong? Are you planning your revenge? It isn’t worth it. It will eat you up alive! Let the Lord be your vindicator. Let it go.

Jacob remembered the promise God had made to his father and grandfather to bless them and their descendants and make a great nation of them. That promise extended to Jacob as well. Now God continued to make good on the promise. Just as He blessed Jacob in Paddan Aram, He blessed him with favor with his brother Esau. Remember, God works all things for the good of those who love Him.

Father, thank You for the many blessings You pour out on us each day. Thank You for things seen and unseen in our lives from the goodness of Your bounty. Thank You that You work all things for our good even though it appears otherwise at times. And most of all, thank You for forgiveness that You offer us and that we can and should offer each other. In Your name we pray.

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Day 12 Bait and Switch

Genesis 32 (NIV) Selected Verses
I have cattle and donkeys, sheep and goats, male and female servants. Now I am sending this message to my lord, that I may find favor in your eyes.’”
When the messengers returned to Jacob, they said, “We went to your brother Esau, and now he is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him.”12 But you have said, ‘I will surely make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted.’”

Jacob had acquired a lot of wealth through his usual tricks while he was in Haran with his uncle Laban. Jacob was, as his name indicated, a deceiver. He tricked Esau twice. First, he tricked him out of his birthright as firstborn and then, he posed as Esau to steal his father’s blessing. Esau threatened revenge by killing Jacob. It was not a pretty picture. Here we see Jacob trying to placate Esau upon Jacob’s return to Canaan. He sends messengers ahead to test the waters or rather, the level of Esau’s anger. It seems Esau was coming to meet him with 400 men. It was not looking good for Jacob. Not only was he a deceiver but he was also a coward. He sent the women and children ahead and he followed behind. He was the last to cross the Jordan River into Canaan. He spent the night by himself on the east side of the Jordan river and met an interesting person. The Angel of the Lord wrestled with him that night.

By all rights, Esau would have been justified retaining his anger toward Jacob. Jacob was a bad man! He was a liar and a cheater and a coward. And from him, God created a nation called His Chosen people. Here is proof that God can bring good out of bad! In spite of all the bad things he had done, Jacob still relied on the promises of God. He was bold. As we will see, God kept the promise he made to Abraham, to Isaac and now, to Jacob! God even reminded them of the Promise.

It is incredible what the Lord our God can do even with poor quality material. God took Jacob and refined him into Israel. You see, when God changes you, He changes you completely from the inside out.  28 Then the man [the Angel of the Lord] said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.” I did say Jacob was bold. Now, he has wrestled with God and prevailed. He said he would not let go until the man blessed him. The angel blessed him there. The Children of Israel (Jacob) became the nation that God used to reveal Himself to the entire world. What can He do with you if you will let Him? Can you be a blessing to the whole world too? Why not follow God and see?

Lord, do a mighty work in us too as You have done in the past. Teach us to walk in Your ways so we may bring glory to You. Change us into the image of your Son. In Jesus name we pray.

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Day 11 Tomorrow, there will be a test!

Genesis 22 (NIV) Selected Verses
Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”…. Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”…. 12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he[the Lord] said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”…. 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”

Do you remember those dreaded words when you were in school? Tomorrow, there is going to be a test. For you, it was not earth-shattering because all you had to do was study. For Abraham, it meant the loss of his only son and heir! There was a lot at stake.

Abram (that’s what he was called in those days) had waited twenty-four years for his promised child. That child was now sixteen years old and God is asking Abraham to sacrifice him on some mountain. What did Abraham do? He loaded his donkey and set out on the journey as God requested. What would you have done? Would you pass the test? Did you study?

Jean and I have no biological children. We adopted Clayton after 34 years of marriage. Maybe we should have changed his name to Isaac for a laugh (Isaac means laughter). He became our one and only son. It seems God had a different plan for us. The thing to remember is that God always has a plan for our good. I don’t understand why we could not have our own children other than His plan for us to love someone else’s child. We are now on the way to adopting Clayton’s half brother Brandon. You see, God has a plan. What about His plan for your life? Scripture tells you it is a plan to prosper you; a plan for your good to give you hope and a future. Do you believe Him? Do you trust Him? Look back at the times of your life when things really weren’t going that well. Didn’t it all work out for the best in the end? We were forced out of a Church in which, as it turned out, we did not belong. God had a better place for us! When I am objective and look back, I can see that, in every instance, God has brought me through to better things. He has prepared a table for me in the presence of my enemies.

Abram believed God and was willing to do as God requested. It was credited to him as righteousness. Will you follow Abram’s lead? If you do, God will also be your shield and your great reward! He is with you as He was with Abraham. He will help you pass the test!

Lord God, You said You would never leave nor forsake us and you never have. Sometimes, You ask more of us than we think we can do. Show us how we can walk in Your power and do all things with You as our power, shield and great reward. Thank You that You have blessed us all through Abraham. In Jesus name we pray!

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Day 10 What’s in a name?

Genesis 17 (NIV) Selected Verses
Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you………15 God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. 16 I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”

What’s in a name? Throughout history, names have meant something. Take my name for instance. Robert, From the Germanic name Hrodebert meaning “bright fame”, derived from the Germanic elements hrod “fame” and berahat “bright”. The Normans introduced this name to Britain, where it replaced the Old English cognate Hreodbeorht. I don’t know if my parents knew that when they named me. For those who know me personally, it is a pretty good fit. I am well known and certainly not quiet. So why would God change Abram and Sarai’s names. Because we see people as they are; but God sees them as they can and will be! He has a plan.

God just visited Abram and told him that the promise of child was about to come true after twenty-four years of waiting. God keeps His promises. In fact, the Lord was reviewing His promises to Abram and his descendants. The change of name is confirmation of the change in parental status. Sarah means lady princess for God said she would be the mother of kings. He who promises is faithful!

What is your name? What would happen if you called yourself worthy, holy, righteous or redeemed? God does! Jesus came so that you may have life and have it more abundantly. What do you call yourself? Most people carry names that others have given them that are not complimentary. Forget what people say about you. Focus on what God says. He calls you a masterpiece! Look yourself in the mirror in the mornings and speak blessing into your life by agreeing with God. He even sends His angels to guard you in all your ways. His promises to Abraham extend to all who come after which means you! Change your name. Choose something that reflects who God destined you to be. He calls you His beloved!

Father God, I cannot even express the joy of knowing we are Your beloved. Thank You for Your faithfulness. Your promise to Abraham still extends to us today. We are still parties to your everlasting covenant today by the blood of the Lamb. We are Holy, Righteous and Redeemed as You promised so many years ago. In Jesus name.

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Day 9 Pass it on!

Genesis 15:1-6 (NIV)
After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision:

“Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”
But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.” Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

Who will be your heir? What will you leave them? People want to know that their life has meaning. When you sit alone in a quiet time, you want to know that you made a difference in the world. You want to be remembered. Are you making memories with the people you know and love? Do you leave strangers with a smile on their face? Are you making a difference?


At this point in his life Abram had heard the call of God and the Promise of God. The Promise was that God would make him a great nation, bless him, make his name great and make him a blessing (Genesis 12:1-4). He promised Abram a child and an heir for Abram was childless. It was 24 years before that promise was fulfilled. Abram heard God’s promise but saw no evidence of it coming to fruition. And yet, he believed God and who credited it to him as righteousness. Pastor Steve Janssen said “God is never late; we may just be too early! How good are you at waiting?

Jean and I have no biological children. When we first got married, we decided we would wait a few years before having children allowing us time to grow together first. A few years became five years and then ten years and then thirty-four years before Clayton arrived. The requests for grandchildren were relentless. And our heir, Clayton, was OPK (Other People’s Kids). God’s plan for us was to love children who needed parents. God had a plan and it was a good plan. It was just not what Jean or I would have imagined. We have had six Foster children, adopted one so far and we are working on the next adoption of Brandon. I don’t think our descendants will be as numerous as the stars but I want each to shine their light brightly into the dark areas of this world. I want to pass on hope, love, grace, mercy and compassion.

Zig Ziglar said “people need love most usually when they deserve it the least.” We had one of those days yesterday. Someone was acting very poorly and deserved discipline. The reason for the behavior is not fully known but the result was a meltdown. I remained mostly calm but did lose my temper a little. That is not the legacy I wanted to leave. I want to love it into people. I want to love them when they are most unlovable! I want to love them even when they claim to hate me. My friend Jamie once told me you are not doing your best as a parent until your kids tell you they hate you. Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV) saysTrain up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. God tells you how you should live and act in His book. That is what you should pass on to the next generation. Show the fruits of the Spirit and teach them to the next generation. Pass it on!

Lord, help us to live a life that brings glory to You and blessing to others. Help us to teach, inspire and encourage. In Jesus name we pray!

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Day 8 Road Trip!

Genesis 12:1-4 (NIV) The Call of Abram
12 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you;
I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran.

There is a movie called Road Trip in which four friends embark on a road trip to retrieve an tape mistakenly mailed to a female friend and all the adventure that goes along with the journey. Also, men are noted for not asking directions. Wouldn’t you even want to know the destination?

Our father in the faith, Abraham, just went. He knew neither the reason, direction nor destination. In fact, there is no indication that he knew much about the God who spoke to him. Nothing in the Bible tells us of a relationship or knowledge of God or even how God contacted Abram. That’s what he was called in those days, Arbam. A man of seventy-five packs his stuff, grabs his family and sets off into the sunset on the request of whom? How did he know it was God? In fact, at that time, there were many gods. Why listen to this one? Who does that? Would you go? I would be afraid. Firstly, Abram is hearing voices. Yet it clearly says “So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot[his nephew] went with him.”

I went by myself to Indiana last April for a friend’s wedding. I had never been there before and I was going for three days. I serviced the car, looked up the directions, packed my things and set out. I knew where I was going. I knew who I would see when I arrived. Thanks to Google Maps, I knew the way. I have traveled before so I am used to driving. I did not pack all my possessions and family for a relocation. I knew I would be there for several days and return home! There was very little faith involved. Can you imagine the faith of Abraham? Hebrews 11:8 (NIV) says By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. This was credited to him as righteousness! Oh that I could have that level of faith.

I am learning to trust the Lord more and more. How do I know it is Him speaking to me? I have only heard His voice once when I was in Honduras but you just know. When you find yourself having knowledge of something so far beyond your understanding, it is from the Lord. Another way is when it just won’t go away. I try to ignore some of the callings I get. I pretend I didn’t hear it and it just gets louder. There is a nagging sense on the inside that you cannot get past. He is calling. Where is He calling you to go? What does He want you to do? It will become clear. I find that God brings people to my mind at unusual times. When someone comes to mind out of the blue, I have learned to call them. It may be for my benefit but it may be for theirs! Listen for the still small Voice! Let Him lead. You will like the journey.

Lord, thank You for Your call. At the time, it may not seem good to us in our many plans. Show us Your plans instead. Help us to walk in Your ways in faith. We know You are working all things for our good. Let us not resist and just enjoy the journey in Your presence. And may we be blessed by the journey. In Jesus name we pray!

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