Done

Here is my devotion for this Saturday before Easter. 
1 Sam 17:47 “and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with the sword and spear. For the battle is the Lords, and he will give you into our hands.”
When the voice of sin, and the shout of the darkness around us has the people of God hiding and retreating and all seems lost. We need to remember that it was the greater Son of David that has gone out before us and won our victory. He defeated them all sin, death, and hell when he slung the stone out of His way and walked out of the tomb. So do not cower when the enemy, and sinful world taunt and boast. Laugh at them and declare…Jesus said it is finished! 

Because it IS!
I will go out and declare the battle is won by walking in the finished work of Jesus Chirst!

Father…no Daddy,

I love you. I praise you for all and what you’ve done in me and for me. You amaze me, You blow me away. Your love can not be measured it can only be experienced
Amen

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Do you Love?

Reflecting on 1 John. I’m reminded of some thing I heard Glen Kaiser say in regards to the way we act and behave toward those we should love. Here is what he said: “The way we treat the people we love the least is the way we love God the most.”
Often our lack of love toward God shows in the way we treat those we love the least, because we should love those around us especially in the Church the way God loved us, with a sacrificial love, a love that doesn’t care about how I am treated but whether or not I am honoring God, regardless of whether they are or not.
A line from one of Kaiser’s songs “Love speak” speaks volumes to me in regards to love.
Love don’t care if you slander its name
It’ll burn at the stake and bless the flame
Rises from the ashes, again and again
And keeps comin’ back for more of the same

Love speak

Rez Band

So let’s love the way we were loved!

It’s both!

 

1 John 3:18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue but in deed and truth.

I read this and couldn’t help but think about both of our political parties. The Dem’s claim to care about people and focus on the deed, the Repub’s claim to care about people so they speak what they claim is truth, however true love is both deed and truth.

They are both liars because neither truly love the people and it shows in their actions. However God shows us how to love in deed and truth through Jesus Christ our Lord. Jesus loved the people by speaking truth, healing the sick, and ultimately doing for the world what they could never do for themselves.

Reconcile them to the Father by the greatest love act any one could do. Laying down His life for us. Praise God!!!

Imagine what Christian homes would look like if each of us would take the above verse and apply it to our lives daily ! How would the gospel spread if we applied it daily to those around us! Let’s love others by speaking truth, and then doing the deeds of love.

Skip the Beer

While watching a talk show one morning, I saw country music artist Thomas Rhett singing his song “Beer with Jesus”. As I listened to the words I couldn’t help think as he sang the chorus “You don’t have to wait for the answers to the questions you are asking, because Jesus answered them already.”  Allow me to parody how this conversation might go in a question answer format.

 Q: How’d you turn the other cheek, To save a sorry soul like me?  

A: Because I love you, Listen to my  word. John 3:16 “For this is the way 36  God loved the world: He gave his one and only 37  Son, so that everyonewho believes in him will not perish 38  but have eternal life. 39  3:17 For God did not send his Soninto the world to condemn the world, 40  but that the world should be saved through him.” My love for you drove me to turn the other cheek and lay down my life and pay the penalty you deserve.

 Q: Do you hear the prayers I send?

A: Yes, I do hear them especially the ones you whisper when you don’t think any one can hear. I hear your prayers, see your tears, and long to save your soul if you would only believe in me.

 Q: What happens when life ends?

A: That’s an easy one. When you die if you have believed in me as the Lord of your life repented of your sin (Repentance is turning from your sin and walking in my ways) then you join me in heaven. If not then you are judged for your sin an sent to hell. Again hear my word: John 3:18 “The one who believes in him is not condemned. 41  The one who does not believe has been condemned42  already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only 43  Son of God”.

 Q: And when you think you’re comin’ back again?
A: I’m not telling you this. I am coming back so get your life right and be ready. Because after my return for the Church, and the 7 years of tribulation there will be no repentance and you will be eternally condemned. Mankind will be judged and punished for sin. My grace is here and now so repent and believe.

 Q: How’d you change a sinner’s heart?

A: I shed my blood and apply it to their hearts when they repent of their sin and believe in me. At that moment they become new! All of what they have done and what had been done to them is washed away and they are new creations! HAHA! Listen to my the words I spoke through Paul:  “So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away 32  – look, what is new33  has come!” 2nd Corinthians 5:17 I love doing this! It’s so much fun!

 Q: And is heaven really just beyond the stars?

A: Don’t worry about where heaven is just worry about getting there.

 Q: What’s on the other side?
A: Heaven or Hell.

 

 Q: Is mom and daddy alright?

A: They are fine, they want you to be with them here.

 

 Q: And if it ain’t no trouble tell them I said hi.
A: No trouble at all.

The end.

I’m of course making up the end, however I believe Mr Rhett would be better off to skip the beer and pick up his Bible, and so would we.

Again this is a parody of what might take place during this supposed conversation. I take a strong stance, and believe Christians should not drink because of the appearance of evil it gives.

Swallowing Camels

I wonder sometimes if we aren’t swallowing camels and straining out nats.

funny-camel--lala-4

Jesus accused the religious leaders of his day of doing just that by referring to the practice of straining wine, and other drinks through linen, or another filtration median in order to strain out small insects that might make them unclean by swallowing on accident. They would tithe the smallest amount but neglect the most important, and just like them we sometimes neglect the more important things like justice, mercy, and faithfulness. Oh sure we’ll tithe, attend, and sing with gusto, but then forget to show kindness to the store employee, waitress, or gas station attendant afterwards.

My full time job requires me to work half of the Sundays in a month, and I have discovered something about my brothers and sisters in Christ. They are extremely rude and condescending to people who work on Sundays. For example One Sunday afternoon a fellow coworker received a cussing from a person whom he knew was a deacon in a local church, then was given a gospel tract by that same man a few days later.  (Gulp, Gulp, Gag! I wonder how many calories were in the camel that the dude  had just swallowed!)

Here is what I’m driving at. You can tithe, sing, and pray all you want while in church, but if you don’t truly care about the more important things like justice, mercy, and faithfulness, your slamming the door of heaven in the face of the unsaved.

Your swallowing camels.

So quit choking them down, because camels don’t taste good, and aren’t heart healthy. I know this because just like you, I’ve choked down a few myself. So may God in His grace help us to realize that we’ve got a camel in our glass.

 

Matt 23:13 “But woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You keep locking people out of the kingdom of heaven!

Matt 23:23 “Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You give a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, yet you neglect what is more important in the law—justice, mercy, and faithfulness! You should have done these things without neglecting the others. 24 Blind guides! You strain out a gnat yet swallow a camel!

 

 

Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Mt 23:13). Biblical Studies Press.

 

Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Mt 23:23–24). Biblical Studies Press.

 

Thinking differently, and acting differently.

God loves you ans has a wonderful plan for your…have you ever heard some one say a phrase like that while trying to evangelize some one else? I’ve heard it, used it, and am quite tired of it. Most people who are not Christians have heard it too.  We live in a day and age where people are skeptical of these types of catch phrases.

The other day I was in a store, and saw a gospel tract lying on a shelf. It was designed to look like a thousand dollar bill. I thought interesting, I wonder how many times that the person who left this, has left it for a tip for a waitress on a busy Sunday morning. (I know a little cynical) My point is this. We need to stop using canned, overused, and weird tricks to reach those who are not Christians.

Rather what  we need is to think and act differently when it comes to reaching those who are not yet Christians. I know some are thinking, that the old methods are the best. Well maybe they once were, but they aren’t now. As a NASCAR fan I don’t want to see my favorite driver in a car from the 1980’s running Daytona with the cars of today. It would be silly to think he would be competitive. Why do we insist on running the race for souls in such a way?

Listen, people today don’t care how much you know unless they see how much you care. So instead of sharing the gospel first, and your life second, share your life first, and weave into it how your decision to follow Christ has changed it. Ditch the presentations, and get real with them about Jesus and His saving, and changing power in your life.

Here’s an idea.

How about the next time you go to a real nice dinner you ask the server if they have a need in their life that you can pray over before your meal. Then instead of the 15-20% you should be tipping,  give 30%. That way you show you care about them physically, and spiritually.

The Sadness (saying goodbye 2)

Dementia is such a strange disease, one moment you deal with someone who is happy, another with someone who is in the midst of depression. They can be joyful one moment and angry the next. One day they know who you are, and the next they don’t. Either way the real toll is upon those who care for those with dementia.

When I go to visit Mom I usually sit where I find her, or walk the halls, as she rolls herself around in her wheelchair.  Mostly we sit in her room while she tells me a tale that has more paths than the ocean does salt. The memories and facts she has stored up in her come out in a never ending stream of what to her is reality.

The hardest part I believe lies in dealing with my Fathers death. He died in 1981 in yell county Arkansas where he is buried. Mom however doesn’t remember he has passed most of the time. At first I reminded her when she asked me where he was, but now I just say “you’ll see him soon Mom”.

For me the hard part is how much I look like him. The other sad part is that I am named after her brother who is also deceased. (Both of whom I miss!) So when I see mom she forgets who I am and I become either Dad, or Uncle Dan. It’s kind of weird, and a quite honestly a little uncomfortable.

I think we all want to be remembered for who we are, so this kind of memory loss is more upsetting than when she can’t remember facts and dates. but it goes much deeper than that. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not upset and sad all the time. As bad as I was…I’m kind of glad she forgot so much about me!

It’s just that there is something humbling about being forgotten. It reveals and exposes pride that I never knew existed. Funny how God can take a situation like this  and change me. Nothing is wasted in His hands if we take time to look and see what they hold. Looking to him is where we find hope in the hopelessness that often comes at times like this.

I am never forgotten, and when this life has passed Mom will remember me! For the hope I have is in a power greater than medical science and research. It’s in Jesus Christ! So I don’t grieve like someone who has no hope. Rather I look past where Mom is today, and look to the future coming of the one who will put a final end to dementia!

1 Cor 15:57 “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ!”