Verse of the Day – 2 Peter 1:3

“His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”

2 Peter 1:3 (NRSV)
Prodigal Thoughts: If you are reading this, you were created in the image of the Almighty God. He has created you to bring glory and honor to Him, but He doesn’t just give you a purpose in life and let you figure it out. He has given you EVERYTHING needed for life and to live out the example of godliness. When did He do that? Through the knowledge of Him. The deeper we go in relationship with Him, He unlocks His wisdom and knowledge so we can do what it is we are called to do. I know that some of us have some fairly heavy hearts and prayers are needed as you have shared with me. You may not feel like you’ve got this, but you know what? God DOES!
Prayer for today: I pray that we would remember that just as God created us, He knows us. He grieves with us. He rejoices with us. Also, I pray that we would truly know that He is with us…right now and always. That we are never alone, even when we feel that we are.
If you need prayer, please reply and I will pray for you. If you would like to talk about this verse or have questions, I’m always open for your feedback.
May God comfort you and be your source of peace today…

Wesley’s Covenant Prayer

I am no longer my own, but Yours. Put me to what You will, rank me with whom You will. Put me to doing, put me to suffering. Let me be employed by You or laid aside for You. Exalted for You or brought low for You. Let me be full, let me be empty. Let me have all things, let me have nothing. I freely and whole-heartedly yeild all things to Your pleasure and disposal.

And now, O Glorious and blessed God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, You are mine and I am Yours. So be it! And the covenant which I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.

Amen!

Verse of the Day – Romans 3:22-23

“the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ. For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God;”

Romans 3:22-23 (NRSV)
Prodigal Thoughts: I used to hear this verse “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” and I wondered how I would ever be good enough for God. All I could think of was that I would never be as good as God ever wanted me to be. I mean, I am one messed up bag of dirt with hangups and human nature tendencies. Even if I tried harder, I would still fail. Oh, but I didn’t understand what was being said here. You see, God understands our struggles and our weaknesses. He knows that if we try to be or act better of our own strength and wisdom, we will surely fail. That’s because we absolutely need Christ. We are on a journey of being made new. Yes, there is a moment when we take that submissive step and invite Christ into our lives, but it doesn’t stop there, at least, it shouldn’t. It isn’t about the eternal benefit of being a follower of Christ. There is SO MUCH more life to live between now and when we draw our last breaths. Each day, as we lay down our own lives and pick up the cross of Christ, we are taking steps to being made whole in Him. We are daily being sanctified (set apart and being made holy) through our relationship with God and our life-example of Christlikeness. So, you see, it IS possible. God wouldn’t set us up for failure. What kind of sick twisted parent would do that to a beloved child? No, He just knows that we need His leadership and guidance. His empowerment through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. THIS!!…is THE Good News!
Prayer for today: I pray that we would be comforted in our weakness, knowing that we are desperately relying on God, the Father Almighty. But through our obedience and surrender to His will, He will make us holy and redeem our lives, just as He did for His son, Jesus.
If you need prayer, please reply and I will pray for you. If you would like to talk about this verse or have questions, I’m always open for your feedback.
May God’s grace rest on you…

Verse of the Day – Luke 6:36


“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

Luke 6:36 (NRSV)

Prodigal Thoughts: Merriam-Webster defines mercy as: Compassion shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one’s power OR Compassionate treatment of those in distress. Are we slow to pass judgement on those who offend us? For the most part, social media answers that question with an emphatic NO!!! Do we offer compassion to those who have no way of paying us back? This isn’t just a matter of somewhat overlooking offenses. This is showing kindness when the rest of the world would “go for the jugular.” Are we so caught up in our hurried lives that we don’t see others around us that could use some kindness? Here are some thoughts. Invite and pay for a meal for someone that couldn’t pay you back for no other reason than to get to know them more. When you pass by someone in military/law enforcement/first responder in uniform, thank them for what they do. When you see someone at the gas pump next to you and their windshield is dirty, offer to clean it for them. It doesn’t have to cost us money to show mercy. It may be our time or talents that we share, but show mercy to others. When/If they ask why you would want to do these things, just let them know that you wanted to serve them as Christ does. If you know how it feels to be in their position, let them know that. That one small gesture might just be the only time that day that is full of hope and kindness.

Prayer for today: I pray that we would slow down and pray that God would use you to serve others. Take the time to notice those around you to see if there is a way you can serve them through Christ. I pray that the heart of God would be warmed by our kindness and acknowledgement of others for His sake.

If you need prayer, please reply and I will pray for you. If you would like to talk about this verse or have questions, I’m always open for your feedback.

God’s grace on you..

Grace, Grace, God’s Grace

It isn’t always easy to see the best in other people.  Especially when they have been close friends and then they jab you with some truth.  It’s difficult to swallow.  But you honestly can’t be mad at someone for pointing out something that is true about yourself or your character.  I mean, after all, no matter if your friend is truly trying to help you, then that is why they are calling you out on this sin or character flaw.

 

Enter God’s grace…

 

Sure it would be easy just to ignore what your friend is saying to you.  You could ignore it or just skirt around the issue.  You could always follow the example of an ostrich and stick your head in the ground (either proverbially or literally).  But what good comes of that?

 

None!


I know that the closer you come to someone else, the more you will rub each other the wrong way.  Marriage does the same thing.  It isn’t easy.  I mean, you can get frustrated at each other or even mad and angry… but you share a bed together.  It isn’t enough to just sleep as close to the edge of the bed so you don’t touch your spouse.  I mean, that is pretty childish, right?  I can just hear it… 

 

You hurt my feelings because you said that I leave my wet towels on the floor!  Well, I don’t want to be your friend anymore!”   LAME!!!!

Get off your stinkin’ high horse!  Here is some news for all of us (self included):

 

YOU!  ARE!  MESSED!  UP!!!!

 

There is nothing good about ANY of us.  We were created and due to the fall of man, we are screwed up.  We HAVE to have a Savior!  Jesus is the only Way.

 

God put you with that friend and with that spouse to purposefully rub you the wrong way.  Why?  Well, the book of James lays it out pretty well:

[Paraphrased] ‘Count yourself blessed when you go through some really bad rough patches.  Those rough patches are there to buff out the junk and pop out the dents in your heart and the way you interact with others.  Now, God didn’t make junk, but we do a good job of junking up ourselves.  If we follow Jesus, we will face rough patches…they HAVE to happen so you will be a bright and shining light for all the world to see.  And they won’t see you…they’ll see the One who made you.’

 

Until next time, my ponderers!

 

MTP

Coming out of the closet…

No.  There is no “coming out of the closet” announcement here.  It’s just that I’ve been thinking about worship a lot here recently.  It is more than just music or other creative arts.  There are so many things that worship is, and then again what worship should NOT be.  The Bible references a closet when you pray.  Just an FYI…Your closet doesn’t have to be an actual closet.  It is just a place where you can get away and be with God. 

Jesus seemed to find places up on mountains to pray and spend time with God.  Or anywhere away from the rest of the crowd.  As followers of Christ’s example, we are to do the same.  Spend time with God, that is. 

So what is your routine? 

Early in the morning?  Late at night? 
Coffee shops?  Couch at home?
Bible and journal?  Devotional and note pad?
Silence?  iPod with a Jesus-Mix?

So where do YOU go?  What does your “Quiet Time” look like?  What do you do during your time alone with God?  How long do you usually set aside?

Feel free to comment.  I’d love to know more about what this looks like for you…

 

 

MTP

 

Forest for the trees…

It is all too often than I tell myself, “Today is another red letter day.”  Another day where I admit that there is nothing good about me…nothing.  I try to start the day off right, but something trips me up and the next thing I know, I have fallen over my face and have landed on my backside.  I envision myself looking around like I’m not really sure what just happened, but not only my pride is bruised, but so is my bottom.  I stand up.  Dust myself off.  And when I to go take another step, I fall right back down.  Why does this keep happening?  I mean, I can do all things through Christ, right?  I expect myself to get an impossible amount of tasks done and then feel like a failure when I don’t accomplish the impossible. 

The problem?  I rely too much on myself.

When I schedule things to do, I often schedule too much .  When I say that I will complete a task, I don’t consider the other 55 things I have going on at the same time.  Why?  I guess I am just trying to be helpful.  I am trying to take stress off of other people.  I get so bogged down that I can’t do what I am supposed to do.  Worship God through serving others.  Have you ever been so busy serving others that you couldn’t serve others? 

Martha had the same problem.  She ran around getting things ready to eat and cleaning and preparing instead of serving Jesus by just spending time with Him.  Mary had it right.  She waited on Jesus.  Probably brought him water to wash with but then just sat with him…and listened.  She just enjoyed the relationship.  Now, we don’t know what Jesus said to Mary, but we do know what He said to Martha.  He basically said “Mary is doing the right thing.  She is just spending time with me and getting to know Me.  But, you?  You are running around in the kitchen and missing the whole reason I am here.” 

But wait!!!  There is a difference!  Have you ever been to a restaurant?  Sure you have!  The people that serve you are called “waiters.”  So I don’t really think that waiting on God means that you just sit on the couch and not do anything in the meantime.  If you are praying toward God’s call in your life, then start serving.  It may be something small, like volunteering to clean the toilets at church a few times a month.  Or maybe you could volunteer at a soup kitchen one weekend a month.  You don’t have to fill your schedule with ministry because if you are too busy when God calls, then he may very well pass you by.  Back to the restaurant…  A waiter’s job is to make sure that you have everything that you need.  I good waiter will be able to see a need and meet it without causing the table conversation to be disturbed.  Refill the tea glasses, bring straws and extra napkins, drop by and make your presence known and represent the establishment professionally.  We are to be much the same.  Do those things that you can clearly see need to be done.  When the time comes for the check, offer to clean up (the table) and pass along the ticket (the truth).  So what is your tip? Your “thank you” for actively waiting?  Easy, your rewards are being stored up in Heaven.  Crowns and jewels and fine metals for you to later lay at Jesus feet. 

So my goal is this.  Take this plate that I’ve filled up so much and begin to empty it off.  Lose the things that are not put there by Jesus.  Put the relationship first and the works second.  Maybe if I am building the relationship with Jesus, HE will show me what needs to be done.  Maybe?  There is no question about that. 

 

So if you are a plate-filler.  STOP!!!  Set down you agenda.  Sit down with Jesus and let Him show you how and who to serve.  It might surprise you that you have more time and are more fulfilled in life…not to mention blessed.

 

MTP

Long-time, No Sea…

There is something amazing about the sun, sand and the water.  The salt in the air.  The birds pecking around for bread or crackers (certainly no Alka-Seltzer!!!).  Life is just a little less stressful.  It’s the time to put technology away and just enjoy one another.  Play board games or roll around in the sand.  Pretend you are being chased by the waves or just laugh as you build a sand castle and see a much younger you in the eyes of your children.  Yep…there is something about the beach.

 

Well, that is where my family is headed right now.  Yep, they are all headed down to relax in the sun.  Enjoy good beach food, get sand in their shorts and get a little more tan (or at least more freckles).  For two of our kids (the youngest two) this will be their first foray into the beach scene.  The last time our eldest went, she was nearly one year old…so now that she is nearly five, it is pretty safe to say that it has been a long time. 

 

The last time I was able to go was when Lovely and I went down to the beach about 20 months ago for a little three day Christmas trip thanks to my in-laws.  It was a wonderful Christmas present and one that I will not soon forget.  I remember that Lovely was approaching the half way point of pregnancy with Hosie.  It was a meager trip since I had just been laid off from a job, but we enjoyed conversation, laughing, reflecting, and anticipation of what was to come.  The trip also came with a little heartache.  We usually take a trip to the beach to remember our two children who passed away.  We just spend some time on the beach to pray and thank God for their little lives.  Pray over our children that we have here and express our longing to all be together again.  Again, just a time of remembrance.  We wiped our tears and said our goodbyes until the next time.  This time…

 

Well, this time I am unable to go…this saddens me a great deal.  But I know that God is faithful.  So I sit at my cubical and daydream of the perfect sunset.  A low tide and the sun reflecting across the rippling waters.  The seagulls singing and the sounds of live music in the distance.  I’ll imagine the sand between my toes, the wind in my…uh, beard, and the warmth of the setting sun on my sun-kissed face.  And I will say my prayers, weep with my Lovely (though miles apart) and remember those little ones that God gave only a brief life to here on earth, but holds them in His mighty right hand.  I will thank God that He answers prayers and that His will is for our future.  I’ll then take a long walk in my mind’s eye down the beachfront and look forward to God’s plan and the future.  Breathe in the fresh ocean air and drift away and imagine building sand castles and playing in the water.  Enjoying my family in the rest and relaxation that I desire to enjoy. 

 

Until next time…  Hug the ones you love for we are not promised tomorrow. 

 

 

MTP

A lesson in dress..

I was reflecting on where I was a week ago…
=
I had just returned from walking to Subway at the bottom of the hill.  I didn’t think it is really all that far away, nearly a half of a mile.  The walk down there was pleasant and breezy.  The sun was shining, but the wealth of trees offered shade sporadically along the way.   Of course it was pretty much all downhill so it was kind of nice.  Knees ached a little but that is just what they do these days.

 

Then I arrived at the “Eat Fresh” store.  I purchased my lunch and ate it. 

 

And then pursued my way back to the office…again, nearly a half mile away…not. too. far.

 

However, there were a few things I did not consider…my wardrobe, the weather, and my weight.

 

I hadn’t worn the most walking appropriate attire.  Some Dr. Marten dress shoes, black dress pants, and a long sleeve dress shirt (with sleeve rolled up, of course).  The first leg of the journey was pretty much okay…just had to dodge traffic on the main stretch of road leading to the office complex.  By the time I reached this point, I had a small amount of perspiration on my bald head, a little tension in my lower back, and was breathing a little laboriously. 

 

At the three-quarter mark (passing the most intense part which was a bit of a hill) I was soaked.  Between the heat index, the extra weight that I carry, and my wardrobe, I was drenched.  The head index was probably near 114 degrees (literally) and here I was, a fatty trying to walk to an “Eat Fresh” store and trying to save gas.  Not good!!  I was sucking in wind, had sweated through both my undershirt and dress shirt, knees were burning hot with pain, and my jalapeño peppers were barking with each step I took. 

 

By the time I reached the door, I was dripping with sweat.  It was dripping off of my beard, nose, eyebrows…I could have rung out my undershirt for sure.  I just took about 5 minutes and sat with my desk fan on high and tried to cool off a bit.

 

I wasn’t dressed to walk in that weather.  I wasn’t prepared for that small journey. 

 

I think we do that in a lot of ways.  Our intentions are good, but we don’t put on the right kind of clothes.  I’m not talking about brands or styles.  I’m talking about putting on Christ.  I put on heavy fabrics and dress shoes.  I should have known that I would not have the van that day and tried to wear something that would have been more feasible for me to make that little trek.  Spiritually, we try to carry all of the weight of the world on our shoulders.  We weigh our feet down with sin or traditions or religion.  Cast that crap off!  God says that his yoke is easy and his burden is light.  It is easy to carry. 

 

So in the morning, think about what you have to do.  And begin praying!  Ask that God would prepare you and cloth you in his glory…his righteousness.  And then, walk in it.  It’s funny that some of the lessons I learn are so simple.  I am thankful for each one.

 

Until next time,

 

MTP

Fear – The Great Motivator

So the news has been full of stories the past few weeks.  From the attacks in Norway to Amy Winehouse’s death to the Debt Debates for the US. Then there is the down-grade of the US credit rating to the riots in London. Of course there has been plenty more, but those are just a few.  So what does it all mean?  People hurting and killing others for basically no reason.  A young person dealing with her own demons ends her life.  A government spends more money than it makes.  I think it actually ties in to the other. 

I’ve heard a quote that says that “Fear is a great motivator.”  I’m not sure where I heard it, but the truth is that fear is real.  Fear is what caused people to make a run on the banks back in the Great Depression.  Fear is often what leads to war (fear from further attacks and wanting to protect).  It creates a fight or flight response.  In any matter, fear can make drastic changes in someone’s life…create HUGE milestones. 

 

I try to be as even-tempered as possible.  It doesn’t always work out that way, but I do try.  I try not to get my drawers bunched up…but just take one day at a time and let God take charge.  Again…I try to do this.

 

I have had plenty of times where this happened in the past.  Choosing a bad job instead of confronting someone.  Listening to an outside influence instead of letting God speak to me and leading me.  Leaving a great job because I was afraid to say “No.”  Believing that if I loved someone, then I had to do what they said when it was obviously the wrong thing.  The most difficult part is when you realize that your fight or flight decision has hurt people emotionally and you have to continually work to fix it…like for years. 

 

God lets us make our own decisions.  If we call on Him, he will guide us and instruct us, BUT it is still our choice.  He is NOT surprised by what we decide.  He knows before He guides and instructs.  He knew when He created you what today would hold for you.  Jesus was the same.  He faced the cross with no fear…He knew what He had to go through.  He saw the end before He even went through with it.  Jesus faced the fear and fought.  He didn’t run away.  In fact, when the soldiers came to arrest Him and the disciples tried to fight them off, Jesus calmed them and even healed a soldier’s ear that had be cut off in the struggle.  He walked to them.  He didn’t fight. 

WAIT!!!!

 

You mean Jesus didn’t have a fight or flight response?  Nah.  He knew that the fight was to come.  He had to fight and win over death and the grave.  That would be his fight.

 

The thing I can relate it to the closest is the training that the men and women of the military, police, first-responders and those that are trained to serve.  Trained to put their lives on the line every day.  It doesn’t mean that they aren’t afraid when something happens.  It just means that they know what they have to do.  They know their purpose and they aren’t going to back out when fear comes their way.  They are trained for weeks and months.  They go through scenarios that help to prepare them for the mental war that must be fought.  After all, the mental war is often times more difficult.  The fear, then becomes respect, knowledge, familiarity with what is happening.  Split-second decisions are often what make the difference.  Will I stand and fight?  Will I try to seek shelter?

 

God is the same way.  While the Hebrews in the Old Testament feared God (and rightfully so since He would open up the earth and swallow people).  The New Covenant brought on by Jesus’ work on the cross changed the game.  We should know and respect and love God.  He is our Creator and Sustainer.  We should respect God so much that we would draw closer to Him.  “To know is to love?”  Without a relationship, the Christian life will be based on fear.  Maybe you got saved or have told you need to be saved and get “Fire Insurance” or maybe you went to one of those Halloween “Judgment” nights and had the Hell scared out of you.  Well, that isn’t enough. 

God WANTS a relationship with you.  He wants to know you.  He wants to let you know that He is for you and not against you.  He isn’t a pissed-off teenager that has a magnifying glass and sitting over the ant hill…just waiting for you to come out and watch you burn. 

 

GOD LOVES YOU!!!!!!!!!!

So.  Face your fear of God.  Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, open up the Bible and get to know the one who saved you from Hell. 

 

military boots.JPG

If you don’t know how to start, let me know.  I’ll help you face your fears.  Just strap on your boots and let’s get to it.

 

MTP