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Promises

Friday, June 22nd, 2018

It used to be a handshake was enough.

The old saying was, “Your word is your bond.”

Every once in a while we will hear someone say, “I know you. You’re good for it.”

Or you might hear someone say, “You gave me your word and that is good enough for me.”

How great it would be if we could honestly say, “A promise made is a promise kept.”

In our day and age we are more likely to hear, “I’m getting me a lawyer!” We live in a litigious society and more and more people are breaking their word than keeping it.  Promises are a bedrock of any society. No telling what will become of ours.

The theme of promises weaves its way through the pages of Scripture-both of those who keep them and those who break them. My Scripture for this weekend is a lengthy one: Joshua 10:1-12:24. It is a litany of promises. Promises made to God. Promises made from God. Promises made to others. The obvious application will be how we, as followers of Christ, should keep the promises we make. There will be a couple key thoughts I will share with the folks Sunday. I’ll share them with you this upcoming week. Meanwhile, I always ask for prayers from you. I ask you to pray a little extra for this weekend. Thanks

Direction

Thursday, June 21st, 2018

Your viewpoint will often affect what you do. For example here are two pictures from my morning ride today. I got up, showered, dressed then sat down to do my Quiet Time (which involves my New Morning Mercies). Before I started I checked the weather on my phone and it wasn’t supposed to rain until 9:00. That was a change from when i went to bed (supposed to start at 3:00). So I did my Quiet Time, gathered my cycling clothes, came to the office to enter my devotion, then got dressed for a ride. Below are 2 pictures from my ride:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The one on the left is a cropped selfie looking behind me. The one on the right is looking ahead of me. I rode anyway hoping the weather man (for once) was right.  I was going in the direction of picture #2. Even if he wasn’t right, I knew I could find shelter pretty quickly on my route or if I dared…make a dash for the office. I turned around at the 10 mile mark, rode another mile and a half and saw this:

Yeah, that was rain. Fortunately, it was more south of where I was riding. I’m glad I did not let the appearance of rain stop me from my ride. My blogging friend, Martha, wrote about directions here.  I’m reminded of the Scriptures in several different places:

“The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? Psalm 27:1

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105

It is vitally important that we get our directions for the day from the correct source. I like to start my day in the Word. Today, may the Father be your guide. May His Word be your direction.

Did I get rained on? Well…there was a spit or two (rain not a driver) but it didn’t go any further. When I was done with my 20 miles, the only “wet” was my sweat. Now…time for a nap. 🙂

Pretending

Friday, June 15th, 2018

If you have ever watched Lord of the Rings there is a scene where Frodo and Sam pretended to be Orcs by wearing the armor and “face mask/helmet” and marching with them. Eventually they were exposed and it took some quick thinking to escape.

Pretending to be someone we aren’t is not new. We learned how to do that in childhood. Maybe we were the “good child” because everyone expected us to be. Then again, maybe we were the “evil child!” 🙂

As men we are often expected to act a certain way. In my era (yeah that’s a long time ago) it was the rough and tumble man, the Marlboro man (even though he died of cancer from smoking). We had an image to uphold. We were taught that men had to make their own way in the world. So we learned to walk by sight. Even in our Christian journey we were taught the cold, hard facts and not to deviate from them. No emotions were allowed. Not only was that wrong, but it taught us something else: walk by sight.

The story of Joshua and the Gibeonites in Joshua 9 is a story of walking by sight and not by faith. After the lesson of Ai it would seem rather strange that Joshua would get caught again for almost the same error. But here it is in black and white. Is he any different than me and you? I think not…at least for me.

Sunday is Father’s Day, a perfect day to challenge men with walking by faith and not by sight. I hope you will be celebrating FD in some way with a “man” in your life-husband, father, grandfather, uncle, son, friend. May I ask while you are celebrating that you take time to say a prayer for me as I preach and the folks as they listen? Thanks.

MoreVacationThoughts

Tuesday, June 12th, 2018

As I stated in my last post, while on vacation I continued to read and write (journal). The following are from a book called Everyone Always by Bob Goff.

“Those who are becoming love don’t throw people off roofs; they lower people through them instead.”

“Burning down others’ opinions doesn’t make us right. It makes us arsonists.”

“God doesn’t just give us promises; He give us each other.”

“Be. Not. Afraid. These words have exactly as much power as we give them in our lives. People who are becoming love experience the same uncertainties we all do. They just stop letting fear call the shots.”

” ‘Love one another.’ What is simple often isn’t easy; what is easy often doesn’t last.”

I’m not done reading or journaling with Bob’s book. But as you can see there are some good thoughts contained in it. I’ve continued reading; I just need to catch up with my pen.  Bob is the author of Love Does. He is also a lawyer. I would trust him to represent me.  🙂

Heard in a sermon preached on 6/3:

“Why is it we think God can only walk within the bounds of our reason?”

“If God could create water, what’s the big deal about Him walking on it?”

Some food for your thought today. Any  of these strike you?

VacationThoughts

Sunday, June 10th, 2018

While on vacation this past week, I continued reading and writing. I’d like to share some of what I read:

“Passion is a popular word choice among individuals  expressing strong commitment. The reality is ‘passion’ without action is meaningless…God doesn’t call us to big words. He calls us to big actions that point others to Him.”  (Quote from Godspeed-Ride On! #5)

“That’s why the Christian should not fear death. With Jesus, death is not the end. With Jesus and His crucifixion, death, in fact, is dead!” (Quoted from Godspeed– #6)

“‘All circumstances’ doesn’t leave us much room for interpretation. God knows what He is doing and giving thanks in ‘all’ is a practical, meaningful way of handing things over to Him.” (Godspeed-#7)

Back on May 22 a friend and I went to see a movie called “Godspeed.”  It was a true story of two men who did the RAAM (Race Across America) as a two man team.  You can see more about it here. They came out with a devotional book based on their experience and what God taught them as they trained and as they raced. The quotes here come from Days 5-6-7 of that devotion.

The quotes were meaningful to me. Which one did you like?

 

Mulligan

Friday, June 8th, 2018

If you have ever played golf with a “duffer” you will have heard the word “Mulligan” used. There is quite a history behind the term. You can go to GriffGolf.com to learn more. But it is named after a person and is a term used to offer someone a “free pass” on a bad shot.  History says it came as a result of a bad first shot and it was called a “correction shot” by David Mulligan.

The story I will be preaching on Sunday needs a mulligan. The words “sin in the camp” has such an ugly ring but in this case it is true. If you are familiar with the story of Israel’s defeat at the hands of a city named Ai, you are probably also aware of the reason they lost. “Sin in the camp” is a good way to put it.

But there is more. The preparation for going to war against Ai also showed two other things:

  1. The Israelites were too self-confident.
  2. They definitely had a lack of prayer.

The application to our lives is easy to see. I’ll also be spending some time on what led Achan to do what he did.  It definitely was an eye-opener for me, as well as a gut-check on my attitude toward the enemy. I’d appreciate your prayers for all involved-myself and the audience.  Also, our worship leader is on vacation so prayers would be much appreciated for those who are filling in.

Cowardice

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018

A coward is defined as “a person who lacks courage in facing danger, difficulty, opposition, pain, etc.; a timid or easily intimidated person.”

Cowardice manifests itself in a variety of ways, as you know. I’m not going to list them. Fear is huge in many peoples’ lives but I don’t necessarily want to lump all fear in the same dump as being a coward.

I despise the use of “anonymous.” Letters to the editor are not printed if they are not signed by name. No blog I know of allows anonymous comments. I have received my fair share of anonymous letters and notes and until I learned that it was a coward who wrote them, they bothered me. Greatly. I mean, I would spend waste hours trying to figure out who wrote it dependent on the subject matter.  I would lose sleep over it, wondering who didn’t like me? (That was one of my great big weaknesses…always wanting to be liked by everyone).

I have already told you what I think of people who write anonymous letters (see highlighted words above). I received an anonymous text from someone recently. It came from someone not in my contacts and when I texted back and asked, “This is who?” I received no response. Yeah…cowardice. The text was not about me (for once). It was sent to me about someone else at the urging of a third party. Talk about being complicit to unbiblical actions!! How do I know? I went to the person whom it was about and that person was able to tell me. Frankly, I deleted it as unwanted junk.

So I say this to all my readers: please, if you must pass along something take ownership. Cowards send anonymous tips, emails, texts, letters, or voice mail. If it important enough for you to pass on, it is important enough for you to put your John Henry to it. And oh yeah…try the Biblical approach. Go to the person of whom something is being said. I do believe the Bible speaks about gossip and passing along information, be it true or false. Try considering reading Ephesians 4: 25, 29, and 31.

There. I’ve said my piece. And I sign my name to it.

Holy

Sunday, May 20th, 2018

Every day I live I am reminded of Isaiah’s words in chapter 6: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips, for my eyes have seen the king, the Lord of hosts!”

What could possibly have gotten Isaiah so worked up and so “slain” that he admits to having unclean lips and living in the midst of unclean people? Only one thing really:

He. caught. a. glimpse. of. the. holiness. of. God.

It must have been an earth-shattering sight for him. A “take me to my knees” sight. A “rock my world” sight. Words fail me when trying to find the words to describe it. This sort of thing happened once to me. I was on a much-needed personal retreat of 4 days of fasting and praying. I needed to clear some things in my head, but more importantly, in my heart.  I was walking the property I was staying at and praying when I found myself on my knees. Overwhelmed and overcome by the weight of it all. For once I felt like I was standing in God’s presence. So began my journey out of legalism and into freedom. But it all started with catching a glimpse of God’s holiness. I didn’t froth at the mouth. I didn’t convulse. I didn’t have any ecstatic experience. I was just overwhelmed.

Here is a song I’d like you to listen to. It is long (a little over 9 minutes) because it is a medly of two songs. They are both good alone. Combined they are powerful. Hope you enjoy. More: I hope it brings you a reality of God’s holiness and helps you focus this week on Him.

Commander

Friday, May 18th, 2018

General Norman Schwarzkopf was known as “Stormin’ Norman.”  In preparation for this week’s sermon I read several articles on his military life throughout Vietnam, Operation Desert Shield, and Operation Desert Storm. He definitely has earned the title “great military commander.” In fact, he might pass muster as one of, if not the greatest military mind of his generation. He was very quotable as well:

“It doesn’t take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle.”

“True courage is being afraid, and going ahead and doing your job anyhow.”

And one more (and this is off the topic of leadership): “I’ve managed to convince my wife that somewhere in the Bible it says, ‘Man cannot have too many shotguns and fishing poles.’ ”  🙂

While he stands out as a great military mind and hero, we are studying one right now: Joshua. It takes a leader-a good one- to take over from a leader and be successful. Moses had led the people of Israel for 40 years, but he was now dead and had left the leadership reins in Joshua’s capable hands. He was now the Commander-in-Charge. No, that is not a misprint. Joshua knew the Commander-in-Chief was God.

This Sunday I’m going to take a look at Joshua’s track record (where he proved himself) and then ultimately show that his real power came from his willingness to submit to God in a faith-defining moment (Joshua 5:13-17).  Prayers for this weekend would be much appreciated. Thanks ahead of time.

Sides

Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

“The ink is black, the page is white…” so sang Three Dog Night. (I will not forgive you if you haven’t heard of them).

“A child is black, a child is white…” (Same song as above, just different dance)

Innocent.  Guilty.

Fire.  Ice

Rock music.  Country music (cough cough). Or is the real music vs non-music? 🙂

Wisdom. Fool.

Yin. Yang.

Two sides.

Two sides to every story. Wise to remember that. Being friends with someone puts that ability in danger, especially when one is louder than the other. Or mud is being slung. Or lies being told. Ugly, ugly, ugly. Maintaining a rational view and seeing both sides is often hard…and gets more difficult as the situation escalates.  It is natural to see only one side or to take sides. Anger kicks in. A sense of justice kicks in. A desire to strike out heightens.

But the Bible speaks about wisdom and words of wisdom. “The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.” Pr.10:11.

“There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment.” Pr.12:18-19

“Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.” Pr.17:27

There are two sides to every story. In every aspect of life. Choose wisely if you must. Otherwise, stay calm and don’t be swayed by lies.