The other day I found myself reading once again the words that the Lord gives to Joshua as he is about to take over the leadership of God’s people after the death of Moses. Although Joshua was mentored by Moses and has been groomed for this new role, he is no doubt a bit anxious. God takes Joshua aside for instructions and a pep talk.

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

As God is giving Joshua his commission He takes the time to encourage Joshua and exhorts him to go forward knowing that he will be equipped and empowered for the task set before him. Joshua will not walk alone or work alone for God will be with him. I know those words strengthened and encouraged Joshua and I can attest that those same words have also served to strengthen and encourage me at various times in my life. I am certain they have benefited many others as well. As I was reflecting on these words the other day I was reminded by looking at the previous verse of the major way we can acquire the strength and courage that is promised and provided by God. In verse 8 God tells Joshua that he should not let God’s word depart from his mouth. God instructs Joshua to meditate on it day and night and do according to all that is written in it “for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.”

Knowing God’s word helps us to know His will. And doing His will helps keep us close to Him. And when we are close to Him, we have no need to tremble or be dismayed. I pray that you will have a good week. I pray that you will be able to spend time with the Lord in His word and that you will know His will. And as you carry out His will I pray that you will be assured that He is with you. I pray that you will be strong and courageous.

Posted in Christianity, Church, Don't give up, faith, God, God's Strength, Joshua 1:9, Joshua takes over for Moses, prayer, religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Heart of God

Some people know the word of God but not the heart of God.

I was thinking the other day how that would be a good phrase to just put on Facebook and leave for contemplation. Eh, not my style. It is great to know God’s word. It tells us of God’s nature and our nature. It tells us how we have separated ourselves from a holy God by our sin but how a holy God is also merciful and in His love has offered us forgiveness and redemption through His Son Jesus Christ. His word instructs us on all these things and tells us how we can live with Him for eternity and how we should live for Him now.

We are to reflect God’s heart of God and His love should be present in all of our interactions. The Bible says in 1 John 4:20 “If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.”

Yes, God’s word tells us to walk in love. Period. No need to try and qualify it. We are to walk in love when we minister, when we work and when we play; whenever we do anything. Walking in love does not mean we have to walk in compromise; it simply means we walk in kindness and compassion even when we disagree. “By this will all men know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.”

We can do our best to follow God’s word and do many things in His name but Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13 if we don’t have love “it profits nothing.” And there are things that God has for all of us to do. There are callings He has placed on our lives no matter what our different vocations may be. There is a manner in which He desires for us to live. And certainly He wants us to know His word and live by His word to the best of our ability. And most certainly He wants us to walk in love because that reflects His heart. It just seems to me that knowing His word and knowing His heart should always go hand in hand.

Posted in 1 Corinthians 13:3, 1 John 4:20, Christianity, Church, faith, God, God's Love, God's Word, Just God, Love your brother, religion, Walk in Love | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tuned Up and Tuned In

I have been practicing the guitar now for a couple of years. I don’t know that I am at the point yet where I would say that “I am playing it” but I play at it and I practice regularly. The dogs no longer leave the room when they see me pick one up. I think that’s a good sign. I bought a new one recently. It is a classical style with nylon strings because I have wanted to learn some finger picking and other types of songs. Practice is going pretty well. Every time I get ready to practice, no matter which guitar it is, I always tune the strings. Some days they don’t need any tuning, some days they need just a little, and still others they seem to be off quite a bit. It really depends on the environment and the temperature. The other day when I was tuning one of the guitars, it reminded me how I need tuned up and tuned in the Lord every day. I got to thinking about David’s words in Psalm 119:

Psalm 119:9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word.

God’s word is the best way for me to stay tuned in to God’s will. It is the best way for me to walk in His ways and to line myself up time and time again with a standard that is pleasing to Him. And though there are some days when I am a little more off-key than others, I find that I need to be in tune with God’s thoughts and standards every day. Staying tuned up and tuned in helps me to work like I am designed to work and sound like I was created to sound. Now, if I could only master barre chords.

Posted in Christianity, Church, faith, God's Standards, God's Word, good advice, Psalm 119:9, reading the Bible, Walking with God | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Going Out and Coming In

I was at work the other day and someone from another department came by looking for a coworker who had been in a meeting all morning. “I think he’s still in that meeting,” someone said. Another person piped up, “I never knew he left.” And still another added, “I never knew he came back!” No one knew where he was, when he left or came back. The exchange reminded me of the Psalm 121:8:

Psalm 121:8 The LORD keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.

Our locations can change pretty quickly sometimes. And other times, not so much. Sometimes we find ourselves in meetings that seem like they will never end. And sometimes others may lose track of where we are. Sometimes even we may not know where we are. But the Lord is always aware of our location. He never loses track. He is aware of our going out in and our coming in. Not just now but forever.

Posted in Christianity, Church, Coming In, faith, God, God Knows, Going Out, Psalm 121:8, religion, The Lord Knows our Location | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Great is Thy Faithfulness

There is a wonderful hymn called “Great is Thy Faithfulness” which is a beautiful song to sing, to hear and to use to worship our God who is indeed great in His faithfulness. That song has been on my mind this week. It is based on a verse that comes from Lamentations chapter 3. In that passage Jeremiah the prophet is considering the difficult times he and the people of God are facing. He is tired, his spirit is downcast and he is feeling that an overwhelming task has been placed in front of him. Jeremiah is strengthened as he reflects on the nature of the God he serves. He says in Lamentations 3:21

Lam 3:21 This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. 22 It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness.

Jeremiah knows that the Lord is faithful. Jeremiah knows that God’s mercy and compassion will not fail. He knows that God will meet all of his needs. He understands that every morning begins a brand new day which gives him yet another opportunity to enjoy the fellowship and the love of God – no matter what circumstances he faces. Jeremiah’s reflections on God are right and true. They are the kind that people write songs about.

“Morning by morning new mercies I see. All I have needed Thy hand hath provided; great is Thy Faithfulness Lord unto me.”

Posted in Being Thankful, can't go on, Christianity, Church, faith, God, Lamentations 3:22, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Volunteering and Helping Out

The past few days I have been working with some friends from work as we help with a St. Bernard Project to rebuild a home in the San Marcos area. The home was destroyed by one of the floods we experienced in the central Texas area during the last year. The St. Bernard Project is a non-profit organization established in March 2006 to rebuild homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina within the St. Bernard Parish located in Southeast Louisiana. The organization has rebuilt over 800 homes nationwide, including 600 in New Orleans since it was founded by Liz McCartney and Zack Rosenburg. If you would like to learn more about their work or make a donation to their organization, check them out online or on their Facebook page.

This week I have been working on taping and floating drywall. Or at least I have been working at it. It is not as easy as our site leader Aaron makes it look, but thankfully, he is a patient man. We started our first day by sanding down and smoothing out some previous attempts at taping and floating by the prior group of volunteers on the scene. Our task was to smooth out the rough edges and any deep grooves or other blemishes and imperfections that had been left. Once the sanding and smoothing was done, it was our turn to apply some mud. After a few hours I felt like I had the technique down pretty well. I was finally getting more on the walls than on my shoes. The next day when I was back at the home, our assignment for the morning was to sand down the areas we did the day before and smooth them out and then apply another layer of mud. I took my sanding block and headed to the laundry room where I had been working the previous afternoon. No need for anybody else to pull a muscle by having to sand too hard I thought or get a crick in their neck by shaking their head when they saw the results of my “taping and floating” from the day before. But when I walked into the room, I was pleasantly surprised. The wall looked pretty good. I hardly saw any grooves or blemishes….until I opened the blinds on the window to let in more light. Oh my! Maybe I should have opened the blinds yesterday when I was applying the mud! This was going to take quite a bit of sanding.

As I was working on sanding the laundry room, one of the SBP team members came in and started helping me. She didn’t looked shocked at what she saw on that wall, she didn’t shake her head as she looked at all that needed to be fixed and she didn’t mutter any obscenities under her breath. She just started helping. That was probably the thing I have liked most about this project, the people with SBP and the folks that I work with. Everyone just wants to help. It is good to know that there are still so many around today who want to do just that. Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 4:9 “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion.”

Yes, the people involved with the St. Bernard Project really want to work together to lift others up; they really want to help. They want to help families get back into their homes. They want to help communities. And they want to help others by extending the opportunity to join in and lend a hand. It’s been a good week. I look forward to volunteering again real soon. Until next time, stay strong in the faith.

Posted in Christianity, Church, doing the right thing, Ecclesiastes 4:9, faith, God, St. Bernard Project, Volunteer Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Praying For Others

I have various friends who are going through some difficult times right now. They could use some extra prayers. I know that when I have experienced tough seasons and difficult times, I have been strengthened by the prayers and kind words from my friends. In Ephesians chapter 6 as Paul closes out his teaching on spiritual warfare and “putting on the armor of God” he exhorts believers to pray for one another. In Ephesians 6:18 he says, “Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.” Paul knows that God hears and responds to our prayers. Paul knows that prayer can strengthen and encourage others. Paul knows that prayers lifted up to God make a difference. I know this too and I ask you to pray for my friends.

Posted in Christianity, Ephesians 6:18, faith, God, God's Grace, God's Peace, inspirational, Intercessory Prayer, prayer, Praying for Others, religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments