Help in the Here and Now

I talked and prayed with someone in a parking lot recently who is going through a very busy season in their life and in their ministry.  We discussed some options they may have which will help them do all that they need to do.  We also talked about the encouragement we find in God’s word where God promises to help us do all that He has ordained for us to do.  One of the verses we discussed was 1 Thessalonians 15:58.  Paul reminds the church that Christ, who died for our sins and rose again will someday return and those who have trusted Him will be with Him forever.  There will be no more death and we will share in the ultimate victory.

Paul then encourages the church to not give up now by saying in verse 58, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.”  I love the  encouragement we find in God’s word.  And I love the fact that in Christ, we have hope for the hereafter and help in the here and now.

Posted in 1 Corinthians 15:58, busy schedule, can't go on, faith, God will help you, Help from God, Hope in Christ, ministry work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Don’t Get Lost!

“I really think we should have taken that exit a few miles back.”  It was the third call in about 5 minutes that I received from my son-in-law Matt as we drove to Destin, Florida.  We had already been driving for more than 11 hours and had just about an hour left.  Matt had Lauren and the girls in his car and I had Marta and Eric and Amanda in mine.  I did my best to assure him.  I told him, “I’ve got this!  We are right on track.  I rechecked the GPS app I’m using and we’re good.”  He said, “Okay” and hung up but he really didn’t sound convinced.  And I can’t say that I blame him.  I am directionally challenged and I get lost pretty easily when driving in unfamiliar places.  Members of my family and members of the church can all share stories about misadventures and missed exits that happened when they followed me on the road.  But for the last few years I have been using a GPS app on my phone and it has helped immensely.  It lines out your route, notifies you of potential hazards and gets you back on track if you do take a wrong turn.

With the extra guidance and direction we were able to make it safely to our destination.  After a couple of days in Destin, we caravanned into town for some shopping and some dinner.  I felt comfortable enough with the town that I did not use my GPS on the way back to the condo after dinner.  Mistake.  I took a few wrong turns and an early exit on the way back.  My son-in-law Matt did not follow me this time and he and the girls beat us back to the condo by several minutes.  When we finally arrived, Marta asked our six year old granddaughter Haley, “How come you beat us back and didn’t get lost?”  Haley quickly replied, “Cause we didn’t follow you!”  From the mouths of babes.

The whole thing reminds me of what the Bible says in 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’s good counsel.  It’s good because I find that all of us can be directionally challenged in life sometimes.  We all need God to direct our path, to warn us of potential hazards and get us back on track when we take a wrong turn.  God wants to lead us and guide us.  He wants to keep us on the right path.  And He will do it if we let Him.

Posted in Christianity, Church, faith, God has a plan for you, God will help you, God will lead you, Proverbs 3:5 - 6 | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It Will Be a Great Place!

Before long we will be going on our family vacation.  I can hardly wait!  We will be going to the Emerald Cost in Florida; a place we have never been before.  I hear it is beautiful, the water is clear and the sand on the beach is sparkling white.  Sure sounds beautiful.  In advance of our trip, Marta has been doing some research and learning about some different things that we might see and do while we are there – dolphin tours, beach parties, swimming pools and time with the family.  Like I said, I can hardly wait.  While I don’t think I can fully imagine what to expect until we get there, I am glad we will be informed ahead of time so that we can be ready to hit the ground running.

Somebody told me the other day that area is just like heaven.  And while I know they were just using an expression to describe the beauty of that area, it got me to thinking about what the real heaven will be like.  I know it is hard for my mind to fully comprehend it because Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 2:9 “Eye has not seen and ear has not heard nor has it entered into the heart of man, all the things which God has prepared for those who love him.”  It will be beautiful and glorious!   And while I know we cannot fully imagine what to expect until we get there, we can do some studying and research up front.  Christ says He is going to prepare a dwelling place for His followers, a place with streets of gold and other beautiful sights.   One of my favorite verses about what to expect is in Revelation 21:4

Rev 21:4  and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” 5 And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”

No tears, no death, no pain and no sorrow – all things will be new.  I like the sound of that and I am glad the Lord is preparing a place for me so that where He is, someday I will be too.   And I will get to go there, not because of anything I have done but because of what Christ has done for me.

Posted in Be Prepared, Christianity, Church, faith, Know Christ, Paid for our sins, What is Heaven Like | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Have to Watch My Language

I had to apologize to my youngest granddaughter the other day for my language.  Let me explain.   Haley, who is in kindergarten, came over while we were dog sitting their dogs.  They get along fine with our two dogs, so it is not a problem.  But on this particular morning, while Haley and I were in the living room watching cartoons, her dogs, my dogs and probably the neighbor’s dogs kept barking and barking and barking.  One of them was the ringleader and he started off a new round of barking every couple of minutes.  Finally, after shushing the dogs for the umpteenth time, I turned to Haley and said, “That dog is acting like a fool.”  I quickly added, “Now don’t tell anybody I called him a fool.”  Haley said, “I won’t.  Because I won’t say the ‘F’ word.”  “The F word?” I asked.  Haley replied, “Yes.  That word begins with the letter F and we are not supposed to say it.”  I told her she was right, I apologized for my language and let her know I wouldn’t say it again.   The incident left me contemplating the fact that my 6 year old granddaughter’s standards in regard to language were higher than my own.

I was also reminded that Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount that the one who in anger calls his brother a fool has committed murder in his heart.  The words we use as we talk to others and talk about others speak volumes about the condition of our heart.  Paul said in Ephesians 4:29 “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”  I am so glad that my granddaughters are learning to use words that edify and build others up.  I am so glad they are using words of grace.

Posted in Christianity, Church, Controlling our words, Ephesians 4:29, faith, God, grandchildren, Matthew 5:22, the F word | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pulling Weeds

The girls came over the other day and they helped me weed the garden.  It was a good time to do it; the sun was going down soon and the garden was in the shade.  They pulled out several little sprigs of clover and runners of Bermuda grass that were in a place they shouldn’t be.  They even helped me pull one really big weed that had grown in the corner of the garden hidden from sight by some hedges.  Hidden that is, until it grew even taller than the hedges in front of it.  We had to go get some gloves so they could pull it without getting stickers in their hand.  Once its roots finally turned loose, the girls held it up and that weed was taller than me.  We talked about how weeds are like problems.  It’s a lot better to take care of them and get rid of them while they are still small.  Left unchecked, they can soon get out of control.

It is that same way with our physical health, our financial health and is especially so in regard to our spiritual health.  In 2 Corinthians 13:5 Paul reminds the church to “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!”  Paul wants believers to remember that on their own, untended and left to their own devices that weeds will spring up.  We need to examine ourselves, our lives, our attitudes and our behaviors to see if we are walking according to the way and the will of the Lord.  We are to prayerfully check in the corners and look in the hidden places of our hearts and uproot those things that should not be there.  I like how David asked for God’s help with this task in Psalm 139:23 – 24

Psa 139:23  Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; 24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.

We should be so grateful that we receive God’s help in regard to this task.  We should be grateful for family and friends who encourage us and edify us in regard to our faith.  We should be grateful for those who help us pull weeds.

Posted in 2 Corinthians 13:5, accountability partners, Christianity, Church, doing the right thing, Don't give up, faith, God will help you | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Love Endures

I was talking to a man the other day at the senior living center who told me that this year he and his wife would have celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary.  He spoke of the wonderful times they enjoyed together throughout the years.  He said the secret to a long marriage was two simple words… “Yes dear.”  We both laughed and then he went on to say the secret was really three words…  “I love you.”   I have visited with widows, widowers and various couples at the center who all speak to the importance and significance of those words.  All of them have born witness to the fact that loving one another through good times and bad times is the key to a successful and happy marriage.  When talking with those who may be reflecting on the love of a spouse who has already passed or when visiting with those whose spouse is still by their side, I am reminded of the great truth of 1 Corinthians 13:7

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Posted in 1 Corinthians 13:7, A Long Happy Marriage, Being Blessed, Being Thankful, Christianity, Church, faith, God's Love, God's Strength, growing older, Love Endures | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Know I’m Blessed

I was sitting here today in my office at home, reflecting on this morning’s service, praying and thanking the Lord for all of His blessings that He has poured out in my life.  One of the greatest things He has done for me has been to provide me with a wife who loves me, who loves our family and who has helped me grow in regard to my faith.  For over 33 years she has been by my side, loving me, helping me with ministry, and being my best friend.  As I was reflecting on the way the Lord has used her to bless me, I was reminded of some words from Proverbs 31.  Solomon speaking of an excellent wife’s love for her husband says in verse 12:

Prov 31:12   She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

I am so grateful the Lord brought us together.  Marta has been so good to me and so good for me.  I know how much she loves me and I hope she knows how much I love her.

Posted in Being Blessed, Being Thankful, Christianity, Church, faith, God Loves Me, Proverbs 31:12 | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment