Monday, February 29, 2016

The most high God

"Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
    wisdom and power are his.
He changes times and seasons;
    he deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to the discerning.
He reveals deep and hidden things;
    he knows what lies in darkness,
    and light dwells with him."

Daniel 2

Believe it or not there is a King in heaven in charge of everything.  He rules the kingdoms of this earth.  He raises up one leader and removes another.  HE is in charge, he rules the Universe...every molecule of it.  

HE is King.

Then why are we afraid?  Why are we fighting over this politician or that one?  None of them can help us.  None of them can fix our problems.  They are just men placed there by God.  

Why are we so angry, so afraid?  Why all the frustration, the name calling?  

Is there a God in heaven or not?

If there is a God who rules then trust him.  

If there isn't then you aren't fearful enough!

I'm saddened by what I see in the Christian world as "Christians" verbalize their fears in the public forums as if a man will be our solution.  Why do we trust in man?  Even David wrote of the foolishness of trusting in the strength of men.

Like Daniel, I'm so glad there is a sovereign and he does not rule from Washington or any other city.  He rules from heaven!

One of the worst kings of all time said this about that God, words that came after God humbled him,

King Nebuchadnezzar,
To the nations and peoples of every language, who live in all the earth:
May you prosper greatly!
It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me.
How great are his signs,
    how mighty his wonders!
His kingdom is an eternal kingdom;
    his dominion endures from generation to generation.

"The Most High God"

There is a ruler over the affairs of man.

Oh that we would trust him and rest in his care.  

He is in charge of everything, even who rules this little nation of ours.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The sweet hand of God

His name is Richard.

He came by the church today looking for help.

He's an ex-con, covered in tattoos.  He's Hispanic.  He spent over a decade in prison for robbery.  He's been stabbed and beaten in prison as gangs battled each other.

Richard got out of prison 11 months ago.  He's working, rebuilding his life, but he hit a wall today and came to our church asking for help, looking for money.

The sweet hand of God was all over our encounter.  

I asked Richard if he knew the Lord. He admitted that he didn't.  

It was clear that this dear soul has had a very difficult life.

We helped him with his need.  I gave him a booklet that he told me he would read.  And he left.

What will happen next?  I have no idea.  But I'm praying for Richard that he would trust Christ as his savior, that he would hunger for God.

He didn't come here by accident.  This wasn't just a beggar looking for bread...this was someone Christ died for and the sweet hand of God blessed me with the opportunity to help him and pray for him.

Lord, save Richard.  You love him more than I could ever know.  Touch his heart, draw him to you, and with your sweet gentle hand show your grace and love for him.

And thank you for letting me be part of your amazing work!  How wonderful that you would let me pray for Richard!  Thank you.

Have it your way

Well, we have finally gotten our way, like children crying until a parent relents.  

We have asked God to get out of our lives, our choices, and our country for years.

And, he has finally given us our way.  Like silly children who don't realize what they are asking, we now have it our way.  

We, like the nation of Israel in Judges, are a nation where everyone does what is right in his own eyes, where right and wrong are personal and not universal, where God has become a personal deity who likes what I like and believes what I believe.

And so, God has turned us over to our own ways.  

In this time when right is wrong and wrong is right confusion reigns.  Morality is nearly extinct.  Personal choice has become a sacred right and life can be taken without a twinge of guilt....just don't use a gun to do it.

Have  you ever wondered what a culture would look like if insanity ruled?  Wonder no we are.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Quote of the day

Quote of the day from my quote guru, James Hughes-

"All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on." - Henry Ellis 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Total committment

I'm part of a men's group early Monday mornings.  

We're studying a book focused on the text of Romans 12.

This morning the chapter was titled,

"Total Commitment"

Honestly, as a pastor, I know there is no such thing as total commitment.  At best, at the most there are moments of commitment when I surrender all I am to God, but it's fleeting, it's like a breath....a moment to  inhale and tell God I completely surrender to him and then I exhale and go on with my day without even asking what he wants me to do.

I know of a man who has a Tesla automobile, a totally electric car, who uses it to go to Houston for meetings.  Because of the distance he has to stop half-way  and recharge the car to finish  the trip.

Commitment to God is like that, we only stop to recharge when our batteries, our souls and spirits, are empty and we need God because we can go no further on our own.  

Then, when fully charged, when  we have "totally committed" everything to God once we go to make our choices, live our lives.

I wish that we as Christians were more honest about this. We write about something no one can ever really do and those reading our work get discouraged because they know they can't do it either.

Let's be realistic.....let's be honest....commitment for us, at our very best, is like a breath, a moment of commitment, "Lord, what do you want me to do?" "What way now, Lord?" and in those prayers, in those moments we surrender to him.  It's not total, but it can become more and more a part of who we are...and isn't that the goal?

I'm not interested in total commitment, I know I will never do that, but I do want to surrender to God just as I breathe.....a moment at a time...."yes Lord, what now? Here I am, use me."

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Lord is with you

In the midst of the struggle, in times of trial it's hard to see God.  In fact, when things get hard we often ask, 

"Where are you?  Don't you see what I'm going through? Don't you care?"

This morning, as I read a portion of the book of Judges I came to this passage,

6:11 The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. 12 When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”  13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”

I love Gideon's honesty!  "If the Lord is with us then why has all this happened to us?"  Isn't that the question we ask when problems come?  And, without thinking about it, we assume that since we have difficult days the Lord must not be with us, must not be "on our side."

But let me ask a question-  If you never went through difficult days how would you ever see God's hand in your life?  Like a spoiled child you would expect everything to go your way and never really trust him, never have to ask, "where are you Lord?"

I have to admit that I do not like difficult days any more than anyone else, but as I read the Bible I see that God does his best work when all my other options are gone, when all I have is Him.

Do you realize God is with you even in the furnace, even in the boat as the waters wash over the side, even when all hope is gone...God is with you?

God is with me.  This morning that thought makes me aware of something vital for my faith- no matter what happens, no matter what I face I'm not alone.  

The God who loves me and made me is with me.  In the storm I can rest in him.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016


This topic has been written about more than nearly any other...this topic of anxiety.  Anxiety is our best indicator that we are not in control of our lives.  Our hearts and minds race with anxiety telling us things are out of control, that the world is inching towards chaos.  Fear and anxiety rage in our culture.  Volumes rise, tempers flare, anger and fear produce conflict.  All of it comes from a deep sense of a world out of my control....a world that isn't safe....and anxiety rises as the fear of our own pain and discomfort increase.

Anxiety causes sleepless night, broken families, angry outbursts, irrational reactions to little things that normally would mean nothing.  

Anxiety says to us, YOU ARE NOT IN CONTROL!  

And our fears rise.

If you aren't a Christian you have good reason to be anxious.  There is no one to go to for help.  You are on your own!  That reality causes anxiety beyond words for anyone thinking about all that is spinning out of control around us.

If you are a Christian and still anxious you have forgotten one important truth-  you belong to the God who IS in control of everything and he loves you.  In the night, last night, I had to have this talk with myself as I lay in bed anxious over everything.  (It's amazing how many things you can worry about all at once.)  

This morning, as I'm working through my own anxieties, I got a text from a friend, 

"Be anxious for nothing!"  

That was it.  God working through another believer to deal with my fears and remind me of one of the most important passages dealing with anxiety in the bible.  Here it is,

"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."  Phil 4:6-7
How did my friend know I needed this?  
He didn't, but God did and his text is a reminder that God is in charge of my life, my needs, my provisions, my days ahead.  
Anxiety is me telling God, "I DON'T TRUST YOU!"  
I know I can't indulge that response.  God has always taken care of us.  He has always provided.  So, like David in Psalms, I have to remember and remind myself of how God has so wonderfully met all our needs all these years.
As David asks several times in Psalms 42 and 43 I must ask,
"Why, my soul, are you downcast?

    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God."

My savior and my God.  The God who made the stars and the galaxies, the God who holds them all together, THAT God will take care of me.

Now, my anxious heart, put your trust in God for I will yet praise him!  

Thursday, February 04, 2016


Do you know who Samuel Seymour was?

I didn't.

I recently saw a clip from the old television show called, "I've got a secret."  It was a show from the 1950's to early 1960's where a panel of celebrities tried to guess the secret of the guest.

Samuel was a guest on this show in 1956.

As the questions unfolded his secret came out.  

As a five year old child Samuel was in Ford Theater on April 14, 1865 and he witnessed the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

It was captivating to watch this 90+ year old man tell his eyewitness account of the events.  

He saw it!  He was there!

Some might say that the events of that night never happened, but Samuel would reply, "Oh yes they did!  I was there, I saw them!"

Eyewitness accounts are powerful.  

We depend on them in a court of law.

When I'm told by someone that they saw an event
I listen.  

What did you see?

Eyewitness accounts are our highest authority for history.

As I read a passage in 2 Peter this morning I came to these words,

 "For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.  For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was  made to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased”— and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain." 

Tell me more Peter....don't you want him to keep talking about this?

What did you see? What did you hear? He was an eyewitness!  He saw Jesus Christ glorified! 

He was there.

And he was one of hundreds who saw Jesus, talked to him, witnessed his execution and saw him alive three days later.  

A friend of mine is a pilot and he looks for ways to tell his story.  As a pilot he can't "evangelize" but he can tell his co-workers what happened in his life and he does.  He's an eyewitness of how God has changed his life, how God has shown himself real in his life and marriage.

As I thought about Peter and his own story I wondered how "What's my line" would have been different if Peter was the guest.  Imagine him telling them,  "I really saw Jesus raised from the dead!  It was amazing!"  

The testimony of someone who was an eyewitness changes everything.  It really happened, I saw it!

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Morning prayer

Good morning Father. 

That's how I begin the day as I leave the house each morning and look up at the stars.

Thank you for the day.

And so begins our converstations for the day ahead.  I know I'm fortunate to know God.  So many around me don't even notice him, don't seem to care, but he's my Father.  Each day he provides for us.  Each moment he's thinking about me.  Every hour he's working in my life....even if I can't see what he's doing.

Use me today.  Let my life glorify you as I encounter others.

I honestly don't know when that's happening.  I pray it's true, but I can't see what God is doing in the life of the other person, what they are hearing, what needs they have....and so I pray for God to do what I cannot.

Help me to see what you are doing around me.

I don't see spiritual things well.  Frankly, I'm pretty blind to what is happening in the realms of God around me.  I live in a physical world, a world of flesh and blood, light and dark, love and anger.  I see so little.

Father, in some way, let me be part of your eternal work in the lives of those I encounter.

Everyone I meet....literally everyone is an eternal being making eternal choices even when they think it's all about life here.  The choice to lie has results beyond the moment.  The desires of lust affect more than we know.  I need to remember that eternal souls are all around me....and many of them are dead men walking, blind men stumbling.  I need to remember how broken we all are as we bump into each other.

Lord, today, make me aware of you and the work you want me to be part of.  Help me to see your hand as I walk through the moments, the lives, the encounters of 24 hours that have eternal impact.

Here I am, Lord, use me.