Saturday, May 31, 2008

3 Reasons Why You Need Jesus

"Jesus loves you! He desires to have a relationship with you, and to give you a life full of joy and purpose. Why do you need Him in your life?
  1. Because you have a past. You can't go back, but He can. The Bible says, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever." (Hebrews 13:8). He can walk into those places of sin and failure, wipe the slate clean, and give you a new beginning.
  2. Because you need a friend. Jesus knows the worst about you, yet He believes the best. Why? Because He sees you not as you are, but as you will be when He gets through with you. What a friend!
  3. Because He holds the future. Who else are you going to trust? In His hands you are safe and secure---today, tomorrow, and for all eternity. His Words says, "For I know the plans I have for you...plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen." (Jeremiah 29:11-12).

If you'd like to begin a personal relationship with Jesus today, please pray this prayer:

Lord Jesus, I invite You into my life. I believe You died for me and that Your blood pays for my sins and provides me with the gift of eternal life. By faith I receive that gift, and I acknowledge You as my Lord and Savior. Amen."

("The Word for You Today", Spring 2008, pg. 53)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Great Expectations

"The God who lives within you is limited by one thing only: your inability or unwillingness to believe in yourself. The more you believe in yourself, the more you'll be able to accomplish. And if you keep believing and expecting, you'll someday find yourself doing what you once considered impossible. Why? Because "With God all things are possible." (Mt. 19:26) It's said that if Michelangelo had consulted his doubts or his critics, he'd have painted the floor of the Sistine Chapel instead of the ceiling, and his work wouldn't be around for us to admire. The truth is, great results begin with great expectations!"

("The Word for You Today", Spring 2008, pg. 50)

I Thessalonians 5:16-24

Be joyful always, pray at all times, be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus.

Do not restrain the Holy Spirit; do not despise inspired messages. Put all things to the test: keep what is good and avoid every kind of evil.

May the God who gives us peace make you holy in every way and keep your whole being--spirit, soul, and body--free from every fault at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you will do it, because he is faithful.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


"Change only takes place when you:
  1. Decide to change.
  2. Change the way you think.
  3. Take a small step every day toward change.

God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in his grace until his task within you is finally finished. (Php. 1:6)"

("The Word for You Today", Spring 2008, pg. 50)

I Thessalonians 4:1-12, various verses

Finally, our brothers, you learned from us how you should live in order to please God... God wants you to be holy and completely free from sexual immorality... God did not call us to live in immorality, but in holiness... Make it your aim to live a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to earn your own living, just as we told you before. In this way you will win the respect of those who are not believers, and you will not have to depend on anyone for what you need.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

"Dennis Leonard writes, "Give your loved ones the dignity of making their own mistakes and learning from them. If you're always getting into someone else's business, you're not only going to burn out, you're hindering God from working in their lives...They belong to Him not you!"

Colossians 3:12-15, 23-24

You are the people of God; he loved you and chose you for his own. So then, you must clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Be tolerant with one another and forgive one another whenever any of you has a complaint against someone else. You must forgive one another just as the Lord has forgiven you. And to all these qualities add love, which binds all things together in perfect unity. The pace that Christ gives is to guide you in the decisions you make; for it is to this peace that God has called you together in the one body. And be thankful.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for men. Remember that the Lord will give you as a reward what he has kept for his people For Christ is the real Master your serve.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Walk By Faith

"Poet Patrick Overton said, "When you come to the edge of all the light you have and are about to drop off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things will happen: there will be something solid to stand on, or you'll be taught to fly." Remember, We walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7) And just when you think you've learned how to do that, you'll face a situation that requires you to learn it all over again!"

Colossians 1:21-23, 26-27, 2:6-7

At one time you were far away from God and were his enemies because of the evil things you did and thought. But now, by means of the physical death of his Son, God has made you his friends, in order to bring you, holy, pure, and faultless, into his presence. You must, of course, continue faithful on a firm and sure foundation, and must not allow yourselves to be shaken from the hope you gained when you heard the gospel.

God's plan is to make known his secret to his people, this rich and glorious secret which he has for all peoples. And the secret is that Christ in is you, which means that you will share in the glory of God.

Since you have accepted Christ Jesus as Lord, live in union with him. Keep your roots deep in him, build your lives on him, and become stronger in your faith, as you were taught. And be filled with thanksgiving.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Philippians 4:5-9, 11-13

Show a gentle attitude toward everyone. The Lord is coming soon. Don't worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart. And God's peace, which is far beyond human understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus.

In conclusion, my brothers, fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise; things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable. Put into practice what you learned and received from me, both from my words and from my actions. And the God who gives us peace will be with you.

...I have learned to be satisfied with what I have. I know what it is to be in need and what it is to have more than enough. I have learned this secret, so that anywhere, at any time, I am content, whether I am full or hungry, whether I have too much or too little. I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Who Are You?

"Paul writes, "Everything is permissible for me -- but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me -- but I will not be mastered by anything." Paul measures his actions by the yardstick: "Is it beneficial? Does it have the potential to control me?

...You have the right to fill your mind with any kind of garbage you choose. But understand this, constant exposure to the wrong things will weaken your character, rob you of self-respect and eventually enslave you.

When it comes to replacing bad habits with good ones, only one person is going to make it happen -- you. Your character is the sum total of your everyday choices. Day by day, what you think, what you choose and what you do is who you become."

("The Word for You Today", Spring 2008, pg. 46)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Following Your Passion

"Would I rather live with the pain of risk, or the pain of regret?"

"There are many things that will catch my eye, but there are only a few that catch my heart. It is those I consider to pursue." (John Maxwell)

(Both quotes in "The Word for You Today", Spring 2008, pg. 45)

Philippians 2:3-11

Don't do anything from selfish ambition or from a cheap desire to boast, but be humble toward one another, always considering others better than yourselves. And look out for one another's interest, not just for your own. The attitude you should have is the one that Christ Jesus had:

He always had the nature of God, but he did not think that by force he should try to become equal with God.
Instead of this, of his own free will he gave up all he had, and took the nature of a servant.
He became like man and appeared in human likeness.
He was humble and walked the path of obedience all the way to death---his death on the cross.
For this reason God raised him to the highest place above and gave him the name that is greater than any other name.
And, so, in honor of the name of Jesus all beings in heaven, on earth, and in the world below will fall on their knees,
and all will openly proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Joni's Devotional

Copied from my email devotional from Joni Eareckson Tada. (Is this legal to copy?) This devotional goes right along with my most recent post and comments on the Ephesians passage on putting on the whole armor of God.

Who's the Enemy?

"Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."
-1 Peter 5:8

You've had it happen. You read a book on marriage with your spouse, set goals, make promises, and six months later the situation is the same. The same unmet expectations and hurt feelings. Your marriage could move forward if only your partner would shape up.

Or maybe it's the family. If they would just be more sensitive, more careful with the way they ask for things, you wouldn't get so down. You wouldn't feel stepped on or demoralized. If they would say "thanks" once in a while, depression would be a thing of the past.

Perhaps it's your friends. If only they would make the first move to plan a luncheon date instead of your always calling. If they would show a bit more consideration, they would be real friends.

But wait. Remember who your problem person really is. Because Christians have, in fact, only one enemy. The enemy is not your spouse. It isn't your children or your friends. The Devil is your only enemy. And he would love to keep your spouse spiritually retarded. Your kids, a bunch of selfish ingrates. Your friends, thoughtless and insensitive. This is exactly why you need to shower extra love and abundant prayer on these very people!

Remember who your support person is. Jesus Christ is your help and shield. He is the one who has called you to love your spouse, nurture your children, and lay down your life for your friends. It's the best way to defeat the Enemy in your life ... and in the lives of those you love.

Today, Lord, I ask You to enrich the lives of those whom You've placed near to me. Where there is contention, please sow Your love. Where there is disappointment, give hope. Use me to touch others with Your love.
Joni and Friends

Taken from Diamonds in the Dust. Copyright © 1993 by Joni Eareckson Tada. Used by permission. Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530

Who Am I?

Copied from Robin's Blog - "Think On This":

"Who am I?
This or the other?
Am I one person today, and tomorrow another?
Am I both at once?
A hypocrite before others,and before myself a contemptibly woebegone weakling?...
Who am I?
They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, thou knowest, O God, I am thine."~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Friday, May 16, 2008

Ephesians 6:10-17

Finally, build your strength in union with the Lord and by means of his mighty power. Put on all the armor that God gives you, so that you will be able to stand up against the Devil's evil tricks. For we are not fighting against human beings but against the wicked spiritual forces in the heavenly world, the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers of this dark age. So put on God's armor now! Then when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist the enemy's attacks; and after fighting to the end, you will still hold your ground.

So stand ready, with truth as a belt tight around your waist, with righteousness as your breastplate, and as your shoes the readiness to announce the Good News of peace. At all times carry faith as a shield; for with it you will be able to put out all the burning arrows shot by the Evil One. And accept salvation as a helmet, and the word of God as the sword which the Spirit gives you. Do all this in prayer, asking for God's help. Pray on every occasion, as the Spirit leads.

I never read this passage of scripture without recalling the time our youngest son preached from this passage at East Brainerd Church of the Nazarene in Chattanooga, TN, back in the early 1990's. I believe if he had opportunity to cross over from this life into the next and could truly experience the evil forces at work, he could preach this once again with such conviction and passion that those who heard him could not doubt there are two forces at work in our world.

It appears that satan's forces are winning...they certainly are deceiving many, including those who have been Christians. We know that in the end Christ will reign supreme, and only those who have claimed Him as their Savior will truly taste the victory. I wish those caught in the bondage of living for selfish pleasures could truly see they have sold their souls to the devil and there is never a better day ahead for them. Today is the best day they will have. The chains of bondage are drawn tighter and tighter until there is no escape.

I pray the Jesus Christ will break those chains that bind the ones I love and set them free to be the giant of a person that they were created to be! Battles in the kingdom of God will be lost if they do not step into their leadership roles and press on toward the goal of ultimate victory over evil and eternal damnation.

I pray for more warriors for God's side to come forth and take their stand. It's a serious world, with a very serious outcome. I can no longer stay silent. Time is short. Only what is done for God will make an eternal difference. For my children and my grandchildren I pray for victory over the forces of evil...that God's angels will protect them from the Evil One. May those who come behind me find me faithful!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ephesians 4:1-3

Live a life that measures up to the standard God set when he called you. Be always humble, gentle, and patient. Show your love by being tolerant with one another. Do your best to preserve the unity which the Spirit gives by means of the peace that binds you together.

Ephesians 2:9-10

For it is by God's grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God's gift, so no one can boast about it. God has made us what we are, and in our union with Christ Jesus he has created us for a life of good deeds, which he has already prepared for us to do.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Galatians 5:13 - 6:10, various verses

As for you, my brothers, you were called to be free. But do not let this freedom become an excuse for letting your physical desires control you. Instead, let love make you serve one another. For the whole Law is summed up in one commandment: 'Love your neighbor as you love yourself.'

What I say is this: let the Spirit direct your lives, and you will not satisfy the desires of the human nature. For what our human nature wants is opposed to what the Spirit wants, and what the Spirit wants is opposed to what our human nature wants.

But the Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control There is no law against such things as these. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have put to death their human nature with all its passions and desires. The Spirit has given us life; he must also control our lives. We must not be proud or irritate one another or be jealous of one another.

Do not deceive yourselves; no one makes a fool of God. A person will reap exactly what he plants. If he plants in the field of his natural desires, from it he will gather the harvest of death; if plants in the field of the Spirit, from the Spirit he will gather the harvest of eternal life. So let us not become tired of doing good; for if we do not give up, the time will come when we will reap the harvest. So then, as often as we have the chance, we should do good to everyone, and especially to those who belong to our family in the faith.

(My life verse is Galatians 5:13...the first verse in this passage.)


"Weariness can cause you to lose perspective and make decisions based on what's convenient, rather than what's good for you in the long term. Remember the H.A.L.T. sign: when you're Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired you're vulnerable, and you'll make bad decisions."

("The Word for You Today", Spring 2008, pg. 39)

Sunday, May 4, 2008


"Having a steadfast purpose simplifies life. It defines what you do and what you don't do. It becomes the standard you use to evaluate which activities are essential and which aren't. Without purpose you've no real foundation on which to base your decisions, allocate your time, and use your resources. You tend to make choices based on circumstances, pressures, and your mood at the moment. When you don't know your purpose you try to do too much, and that causes stress and conflict. It's impossible to do everything people want you to do; you have just enough time to do God's will. If you can't get it all done, you're trying to do more than God intended. A steadfast purpose makes your lifestyle simpler and your schedule saner. And it leads to peace of mind: You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast. (Isaiah 26:3)"

("The Word for You Today", Spring 2008, pg. 37)

Friday, May 2, 2008

Galatians 2:19-21

I have been put to death with Christ on his cross, so that it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. This life that I live now, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave his life for me. I refuse to reject the grace of God.

"I am crucified with Christ, therefore I no longer live,
Jesus Christ now lives in me...
I am crucified with Christ, therefore I no longer live,
Jesus Christ now lives in me!"

(chorus that runs through my head now and then...also, verses and chorus are basis of one of my recent sermons...given at Vicksburg Community Easter Lenten Service 2007 and Chapman Memorial Church of the Nazarene Wednesday night service, fall 2007)

Thursday, May 1, 2008


"Your character is the sum total of your habits."

("The Word for You Today", Spring 2008, pg. 36)

Galatians 1:4-5

In order to set us free from this present evil age, Christ gave himself for our sins, in obedience to the will of our God and Father. To God be the glory forever and ever! Amen.

Thank you, Jesus!