Friday, July 26, 2013

Blessed to be in the kingdom of God

Luke 6:20-23 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said:“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.“Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets. 
What really matters?  As Jesus sits down his disciples to talk to them about what is important, the Kingdom of God matters first.  (cf. Mt. 6:33)  We are to seek it, hunger for it, thirst for it, even suffer for it. .  When we do, He promises we will find it, and with it we will find all it has to offer, in this life, and the life to come.  Truly blessed are those who belong to the kingdom of God.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

What about us???

Matthew 19:23-26 And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 
The disciples are disturbed.  is this some game of "Seek and Hide", where we are to seek the Kingdom of God, but He makes it hart to find or obtain?   No.  enter God's grace.  It is only by His grace that we are able to find His kingdom.  It is not hidden from view; in fact, His Kingdom was standing before them.  We are the ones who make it difficult; we are the ones who hide from Him.  He keeps His promises.  If we seek Him first... everything else falls in place, and we find ourselves in His kingdom.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Because He's God...

Matthew 6:31-34 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. 
There's that little, big word.... "but."  This popular verse, verse 33 is quoted, alluded to, and even sung    over and over again.  It is such a core truth: seek the eternal, the will of God, what is really important, first, and the temporal will fall into place.  That is set in contrast to what we usually do: we worry.  When God rules and reigns in our hearts and lives, when He has His rightful place, we won't worry.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Looking for rain... looking for love...

 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48 ESV)
So, seeing as today the weather affects much of what is planned... I looked at the weather.  For 8am, it says zero chance of rain, while, the water pours down outside.  And the chance this afternoon is only 60%... of scattered showers.   God does not scatter; He dumps his love upon us.  He is not looking for rain; He is looking for love - our love poured out.  Let's give Him what He's looking for.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Hope for each new day... even the hot ones!

 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
  his mercies never come to an end;
 they are new every morning;
  great is your faithfulness.
 “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
  “therefore I will hope in him.”

(Lamentations 3:22-24 ESV)
As I talk to people, read their posts, and watch the news, I know that many are struggling with the heat. It's hard to even want to get up in the morning to face another hot day.  But just as their is hope in sight for the weather to break, there is hope in our hearts found in the Lord for each new day, especially today.  May we find our hope and our reason to live today in Him.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Why do you do what you do?

II CORINTHIANS 9:6,7: The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
When we were in West Virginia last week, we all spent long, hot days working hard in what we were doing.  Why? What motivated us? Why do we do whatever we do "for the Lord?"  Whatever we give - our time, resources, energy - do we give it voluntarily, lovingly, cheerfully, out of gratitude for Who He is and what He has done for us?  Or do we do it for brownie points, to absolve our guilt, or "because we have to?" God LOVES a cheerful giver. That's the point; that's what He's looking for.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


I PETER 3:15       but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect
At the mid-point of our missions trip last week, we stopped for some self-evaluation.  Are we doing what we do out of respect and reverence for Christ?  If so, it will show in our respect for others.  We cannot go to an area and act like "look what we're doing for you."  We need to humbly serve as Christ did, not looking down or people's predicament or problems.  We must also honor and respect our fellow servants.  We are in this together.  Out of reverence for God, may we show respect to everyone we meet today.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Living as if today matters...

Psalm 127:1-2 Unless the Lord builds the house,those who build it labor in vain.Unless the Lord watches over the city,the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up earlyand go late to rest,eating the bread of anxious toil;for he gives to his beloved sleep. 
The challenge we were given as we finished our missions trip last week was to live life as if it matters - to continue to invest in people.  We are not to ask God to bless our lives, but to ask what He is doing and join in.  Then we will know that our lives matter, that we are making a difference.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Always a timely reminder...

 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:5-8 ESV)
This was our passage to start our day last Monday on our Missions Trip to Clay, WV.  May this call to serve as He served be on our hearts and minds at the beginning of every week, every day.  And may it result in a resounding rejoicing that "Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father"(v.11)

Friday, July 12, 2013


Passage of the day:
  I will bless the LORD at all times;
  his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
 My soul makes its boast in the LORD;
  let the humble hear and be glad.
 Oh, magnify the LORD with me,
  and let us exalt his name together!

(Psalm 34:1-3 ESV)
The Day is not over, but it should only get better.  Not only did we finish the two projects, we had a great lunch by our hosts and got back before the big rainstorm.  There will be many praises tonight at our wrap-up service. 


Yesterday, Thursday was a great day in many ways.  Besides another good day of NO RAIN on the work site, allowing us to move forward, Anthony, the father at our new site found out he has a job beginning tonight! An answer to prayer.  Secondly, MANY people came out to the community picnic we sponsored, received gifts, and heard the gospel.  Thirdly, at this picnic, we were able to see the daughter of Dorma, the woman whose house we worked on last year.  Though Dorma has passed away this last year, her daughter sought us out to share her appreciation.  God is moving in Clay!
Ready now for a great last day!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


This is our team with the Townsend Family(far right), whom we have had the privilege to serve. Today is our day off and Val's birthday.  May we be a blessing to her and everyone we meet!


 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.  (1 Thessalonians 5:14, 15 ESV)
The Word of the day was "Encouraging", as we sought to be a blessing to our family and one another. Overall it was a good one.
Today was another hot day on the roof.  The back porch crew finished and the roof is on.  Just a little more trim and finishing, (and another roof to move on to. )  Tomorrow is "Free Day".  We don't know what to do with ourselves!

Monday, July 8, 2013


 So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’” (Luke 17:10 ESV)
This was our challenge this evening after a great, hard day of work in the heat.  Our group worked with a great family and couple of men on a roof and a back porch/set of stairs.  We prayed and the rain stayed away.  We were able to accomplish much.  Great time of worship, and getting to know some other believers from across the country.  Great to see our church people doing so well!  We appreciate your prayers!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Not Running Aimlessly

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
Most of us do not physically run just for the sake of running.  I know I don't.  I need a reason, a purpose, a goal.  Such is the life of following Christ.  It is not just "running with the crowd."  It is not just something to do for fun.  It is purposeful, with a goal in view.  It is to become more like Him; to aim to please Him, to discover what His wonderful purpose for me it - to glorify Him.  May we not lose sight of the prize.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Consider HIM...

Hebrews 12:3-4 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 
We usually stop reading after verse 2.  We are running the race of faith, surrounded by faithful supporters, looking to the ONE who has gone on before.  What are we thinking as we run?   What will keep us moving toward the prize, the goal?  HIM, the one who shed His blood for us.  He keeps us going; He helps us not grow weary and give up.  Today, take some time to consider HIM.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Band of Brothers...

Mark 3:13-14 And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. And he appointed twelve whom he also named apostles so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach 
Jesus practiced what He preached.  He told (and continues to tell) us that we need one another.  Though He was doing this primarily for His apostles, so they would see and hear what they needed to know, He was also doing it as an example.  As we follow after Him as His disciples, we need to gather around us others, brothers and sisters in Christ, who will help us stay on course and who will encourage us in the race toward Him.  United we stand, and run. Divided we trip and fall.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A sure way to trip and fall...

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.(Philippians 3:12-14 ESV)
As we run the race of faith (Hebrews 12), we need to avoid anything that would trip us up and keep us from finishing well.  One of the ways good runners avoid this is not looking back.  If I look back, I lose my pace, and may give someone close an advantage.  If I look back and see I'm way ahead, I may try to coast, and again, be overcome.  As we look back in our lives, we can trip ourselves up in either direction: We can be so laden in guilt, which Christ has already handled, that we wallow in self-defeat.  Or, we can see where we were, and where we have come, and become over-confident and think we can cruise on in, only to be blind-sided by sin.  May we keep looking forward today, with our eyes fixed on Jesus, our Savior, Lord and hope.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Dealing with the Devil daily...

 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written,
 “‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
  but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

(Matthew 4:1-4 ESV))
We are all well-aware of how God shows us something new and fresh, even when we look at a passage for the twenty-seventh time.  Such it is here with me.  What sticks out today is that Jesus dealt with Satan in His time and way.  He made him wait for forty days while He got ready, being strengthened in His time with the Father, going over His memory verses.  We often fail to do that. We are not ready for the day, and the temptations it brings (and it will...).  We forget and we fail.  May we say today:  "Not today Satan! (or tomorrow for that matter.)  God is with me, and He's told me what to say."

Monday, July 1, 2013

Running Renewed...

 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
(Hebrews 12:1, 2 ESV)

The year is half over -it's flying by, and there is so much to do!  Will we ever catch up?  Not to worry.  We are not alone - we are surrounded by a crowd of encouragers, and we are not running in this life aimlessly.  We are looking to Jesus.  Besides that, we have the Holy Spirit within to renew our strength and courage.  So let's hurdle that hurriedness, sidestep that sin, and run the race renewed and joyful, looking to Him.