As some of you know, I have been actively looking for a “day job” the last couple of months. I know that the Lord has something lined up for me, I just don’t know what it is or when He will provide it. But, as a friend of mine says, “He is an on-time God, yes, He is, yes, He is. He may not show up when you want Him to but He is always right on time.” I love that thought and it is one I need to remind myself of from time to time. See, I always expect things to be done according to my schedule and according to my time line and according to my expectations. And as you might have guessed, the Lord works according to His schedule and not mine. I am okay with that. I know the Lord sees the end from the beginning and He knows what is best and He knows right where I need to be. I know that God does things in His time and in His good pleasure. I like the reminder Paul gave to the church about God’s timing in Galatians 4:4 – 5,
Gal 4:4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
Paul echoed that same sentiment about God’s timing in Romans 5:5,
Rom 5:6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
In the fullness of time, at the right time, God sent His Son to be our Savior. God’s timing may not always meet our expectations or run according to our schedule but we can trust that His timing is always right. His timing is perfect. He is an on-time God, yes, He is, yes, He is. I pray that this week you will trust in the Lord and in His good and perfect timing.
Posted in Christianity, Church, faith, Galatians 4:4, God, God has a plan for you, patience, Perfect timing, Romans 5:6
Tagged Christianity, Church, faith, Galatians 4:4, God is a provider, inspirational, ministry work, Patience, Perfect timing, religion, Romans 5:6
During the beginning of the quarantine last year, I set some goals for myself. One of my goals was to improve my Spanish. I have been listening to Spanish podcasts every day, regularly reading my Spanish Bible and writing in Spanish too. This is one of the first poems I wrote in Spanish last year. So far, it’s my favorite.
Una Oracion de Alabanza
Te alabo Señor por tu gracia y tus bendiciones,
Yo sé que estás conmigo en todas las situaciones.
Eres siempre fiel y nunca me vas a abandonar,
Estas por mi lado, no importa que pasar.
Compartes tu sabiduría de tu corazón divino,
Tu palabra y tu verdad iluminan mi camino.
Te estoy agradecido por todo lo que has hecho,
Mientras te tenga, mi corazón estará satisfecho.
Siempre me bendices con fuerza, alegría y esperanza,
Tú, Señor, eres digno de recibir toda mi alabanza.
Posted in A refuge, a stronghold, Being Thankful, Christianity, Church, Count Your Blessings, faith, God has blessed me, God is worthy, Poem, poetry, prayer, Spanish
Tagged Christianity, Church, faith, God is worthy, God's Strength, Poem, poetry, praise, prayer, religion, Spanish, Thanksgiving
Last Saturday morning, I took advantage of the good weather to do a chore on my “to do” list. The flower garden in the back yard had produced a pretty good crop of clover and other small weeds in recent weeks and it needed some work. I had been putting this task off for a couple of weeks so that I could do what I considered to be more enjoyable things. But I knew the ground was still damp from recent rains and this would be a good time to pull weeds. As I was working on pulling weeds from the bases of the dormant altheas and rose bushes, I was reminded that God has a season for everything. The altheas and rose bushes look dead and lifeless right now, but God, in His time will cause them to bloom again and paint the back yard with splashes of color.
The time I spent pulling weeds turned out to be an enjoyable time after all. It served as a time in which I was reminded of God’s goodness and His faithful timing. Maybe today is a good day for you to be reminded of those things as well. Maybe today is a day in which certain things seem dormant and lifeless and you need to be reminded that things may look bad, but God in His timing, in His goodness and in His faithfulness can be trusted to bring new life and cause things to bloom again. Look to Him, trust in Him, no matter what season you may find yourself in.
As the Bible says in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “To everything there is a season…”
Posted in Christianity, Dealing with grief, Don't give up, Draw close to God, Ecclesiastes 3:11, Encouragement, faith, Perseverance, Promises
Tagged Christianity, Church, Ecclesiastes 3:11, faith, God has a plan for you, God will lead you, God's timing, good advice, inspirational, ministry work, never forsaken, religion, Trust God
Every year at Christmas time, people ask one another, “What would you like for Christmas?” As I was thinking about that very question the other day, it occurred to me that I really do have everything I want and everything I need. I have been blessed with a wonderful wife. Marta and I will be celebrating our 36th wedding anniversary in a couple of months. Over the years she has not only been very good to me, she has been very good for me. The Lord has used her to bless me and make me a better person. And we have awesome kids and grandkids. I couldn’t be any prouder of Lauren, Matt, Avery, Haley and Eric, Amanda and Theo. Our kids and grandkids really are awesome. I have just retired from a 30 year career in insurance and have some promising leads on some work to keep me busy in this next stage of my life. And we are part of a very loving and caring church family. God has been so good to me. What do I want for Christmas? I really don’t know. I already have everything I want and everything I need. I can vouch for what Paul said in Philippians 4:19:
Phil 4:19 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Out of His riches in glory in Christ, God has poured out His grace and His goodness into my life in so many ways. Through His Son, God has blessed me with eternal life and an abundant life – abundant in love, abundant in friends, abundant in every way. Now, I am not saying there haven’t but tough times. But in those tough times, God has been with me. God has truly supplied all my needs. I know that He can be trusted to supply all of your needs as well.
Posted in Abundant life, Being Blessed, Being Thankful, Christianity, Christmas, Church, faith, I am blessed, Philippians 4:19
Tagged Christianity, Christmas Presents, Church, faith, God, God's Love, Philippians 4:19, religion
“A Very Special Gift”
At Christmas, I always think about some of the favorite Christmas gifts my brother, sister and I received while growing up. Like most kids, perhaps the most memorable gifts we received were our first bicycles. That Christmas was so special it was the subject of a school paper my brother wrote in elementary school. The bicycles were gifts the year before. That year was a tough year. I remember because those were what I call the “beans and corn bread years”. Money was tight and 5 nights out of the week we ate beans and cornbread, the other 2 nights we had cornbread and beans.
I remember there was talk of a strike at the factory where my dad worked and his hours were cut way back. I didn’t fully understand all that was going on; I just remember in general knowing that money was tight. I also remember mom and dad preparing us not to expect too much for Christmas. Daddy explained it by saying the elves were going on strike too. With our expectations for toys set pretty low, you can imagine our surprise and our joy when we woke up Christmas morning to find 3 shiny new bicycles under the tree. Not only did we have bikes but we had other presents too. It was a wonderful Christmas! That’s why the next year my brother wrote a paper for school called, “Why I believe in Santa Clause.” The only argument of his paper was, “How else are you gonna get new bicycles when Daddy ain’t working and you’re broke?” That may have been the only “A” my brother ever received on a paper.
In September 2006, in the last conversation I had with my dad before he passed away, he talked about how he wished he was a better provider. I told him I thought he did fine and I reminded him about the gifts of new bicycles and plenty of other presents that year he wasn’t working. He said that was a special year for him and he shared with me how one of his older brothers provided the money for all of those presents. He said he would never forget how blessed he felt that Christmas. Those gifts were not only special to us kids, but they were very special to my dad too. A loved one intervened and offered something to my father that he could not obtain on his own.
At Christmas time, I love to think back on that story. After all those years I found out that someone came forward with a special gift at the right time. Out of a great love, someone intervened and made a wonderful difference in another’s life. And isn’t that what Christmas is all about? The bible says in Galatians 4:4 that “in the fullness of time, God sent forth His Son born of a woman so that He could redeem us.” God who so loves the world, has intervened and has given us the gift of His Son – and what a glorious gift He is! God has given us gifts we could never obtain on our own. Christ is the gift of eternal life! Christ is the gift of strength! Christ offers us the joy to make it through each day no matter what struggles we face!
We need the gift of Christ. How else are you going to make it through the night when your heart is broken and the world seems without hope? How else are you going to get out of bed and face another day when the doctor has given you a bad report and your entire body aches? How else are you going to find the confidence to tell your child that everything will be all right when you yourself have fears and doubts deep in your heart? How else are you gonna get new bicycles when Daddy ain’t working and your family is broke? God because of His great love offers all of those things to you. God offers to intervene in your circumstances this Christmas and make a wonderful difference in your life through a precious gift, the most special gift ever, the person and the presence of His Son Jesus Christ.
I love this time of year as we look forward to celebrating Christmas and the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. I also love hearing about the generosity and kindness of people at this time of year. It is a time when there are increased efforts to meet the needs of others. There are drives to provide coats for kids, food for the hungry and many other charitable activities that take place. When I hear of these acts of love and kindness, I am reminded of Paul’s words in Philippians 2:3 – 4.
Philippians 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
At Christmas, as we celebrate God’s gift of love and compassion to us through His Son, we are reminded to share gifts of love and compassion with others. May we do so abundantly. And may the generosity, goodwill and kindness shown during the Christmas season continue to be on display in the upcoming year.
Posted in Christianity, Christmas, faith, God, God Cares for You, God's Grace, inspirational, love one another, Love the Lord, Love your brother, Luke 2:14, Philippians 2:3 - 4
Tagged Christianity, Church, faith, Goodwill, inspirational, love one another, Luke 2:14, ministry work, Philippians 2:3 - 4, religion, sharing your faith
At the end of the year, I will be retiring from the insurance claims job I have been working at for over 30 years. Our company has offered some of us old-timers the opportunity to take advantage of an early retirement. It’s early in the sense that I am old enough to draw my pension but I’m too young to stop working. But that’s okay, I like to work. So, I have taken advantage of their offer and I have been applying for full-time chaplain jobs. Apparently, I have not yet applied for the job the Lord wants me to have because I am still looking. The whole job seeking process has served to remind me to trust in the Lord and wait on His timing. If you know me very well, then you know that waiting is not what I do best. But currently, that is what I am doing. As I have been waiting, I have been focusing on one of my wife’s favorite Bible verses, Isaiah 40:31.
Isaiah 40:31 Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.
I love that Bible verse. I love the promise that if we wait on the Lord, He will renew us and strengthen us. Some translations say “those who trust in the Lord.” And yet other translations say “those who hope” in the Lord. Each translation is accurate as the word Isaiah uses is one that speaks of trusting, waiting and looking forward with hope and assurance to what the Lord God is going to do. It is true. We can know and trust that if we look to Him, He will give us strength, He will give us the power to endure.
This has been a different and difficult year in many ways for many people. I pray that each of you will look to the Lord and allow Him to comfort you and strengthen you. I pray that you will continue to place your hope and your trust in Him.
Posted in A refuge, Christianity, Church, diligence, Draw close to God, God will help you, God's Strength, Isaiah 40:31, religion
Tagged Christianity, Church, faith, God has a plan for you, God's Strength, Hope in Christ, Isaiah 40:31, Patience, religion, running the race well, spiritual growth, Trust God, Wait for the Lord
In this world, it can be so easy for us to place our faith, our trust, our hope on the things of this world. Because we have been raised in this world and conditioned by it, we can easily become enamored with the power, prestige and wealth which are so highly prized in this world. We can unknowingly find ourselves seeking after, embracing and trying to cling to the things of this world at all costs. And the cost can be high. It can cost us our reputation and our relationships with others. Worst of all, placing our confidence in the things of the world indicates that we are not placing our trust in the Lord. Yes, the Lord can work through human institutions. Yes, He can use the power, prestige and wealth of this world for His glory. He can be trusted to work in the midst of all things – wins and losses, triumphs and tribulations. God is sovereign. He can be trusted. For that reason, our confidence, our faith, our trust is to be in Him.
Posted in A refuge, a stronghold, Build Upon the Rock, Christianity, Church, faith, Faith during hard times, Psalm 20:7
Tagged Christianity, Church, faith, faith in hard times, God, God has a plan for you, good advice, Psalm 20:7, religion
This week I have been reflecting on one of my favorite Bible verses, Jeremiah 17:7-8. In this passage, Jeremiah is speaking to the nation of Judah.
Jeremiah 17:7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD and whose trust is the LORD. 8 “For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.”
I love this reminder from Jeremiah about the importance of trusting God and relying on Him. As I read it, I am reminded that trusting God does not mean a person will never have to endure tough times. Seasons of drought and oppressive heat will come. All of us will experience some harsh circumstances and some hard times in this world from time to time. Difficult seasons will come. But if we trust in the Lord, we won’t just experience those difficult seasons, we will endure them. We will be as a tree planted by the water. We will continue to be sustained. We will be nourished. The Lord will be our constant source of hope and help. The Lord will help us to endure and He will empower us to continue bearing fruit. What a wonderful promise we have. What a wonderful Lord we serve.
Posted in bad weather, can't go on, Christianity, Church, diligence, Don't give up, faith, God will help you, God's Strength, trust in the Lord
Tagged Christianity, Church, don't give up, faith, God is a provider, God will help you, God's Strength, Jeremiah 17:7, ministry work, never forsaken, religion, trust in the Lord
Anytime you face a change of plans or a fork in the road on life’s journey, here is a great Bible verse to keep in mind:
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
That is good advice in times of uncertainty or change. You can trust the Lord to lead you and guide you, if you let Him. As a matter of fact, that is good advice at all times. Look to the Lord, lean on Him, trust in Him and He will guide your path.
Posted in Be Flexible, Christianity, Church, Don't give up, Draw close to God, faith, Faith during hard times, Proverbs 3:5-6
Tagged Christianity, Church, don't give up, faith, God has a plan for you, inspirational, Proverbs 3:5 - 6, religion