The Struggle

For some, the struggle to do what is right is a daily fight. This struggle includes making wise decisions, being considerate of others, standing up for justice, doing what God says to do, and do it well. Why is this struggle so great?

The struggle to do right is greater because it is so much easier to give in to temptation. It is easier to think and act selfishly. It is easier to cuss someone out than to think about how to say what you want to say. It is easier to go along to get along than to stand on principles aligned with God’s Word.

If the struggle to do right was easy, many people would be saved and living abundant lives. But it is so much easier for people to live unsaved, without thinking about the consequences of their action, and how what they do impacts others. Since there are so many people struggling to live–without fear, without concern about finances or what the economy will bring or what the politicians will do, we know the struggle is real, we know there are people who have yet to find peace with Jesus, who are yet unsaved.

Lord Jesus, help us in our struggles to do what is right and help others to do the same. Help us to fight the good fight of faith in You, not self. Help us to resist the devil and watch him flee from us.

Speak To Our Hearts, Lord!

Speak To Our Hearts, Lord!

So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.  The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” And the LORD said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle. At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family—from beginning to end. For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons blasphemed God, and he failed to restrain them. Therefore I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.’ ” I Samuel 3:9-14 NIV

The more carnage we see in the world, the more I wonder–are we listening to God? Or more importantly, is He speaking to us?

Though Eli was instrumental in training Samuel to serve The Lord, his sons acted in completely diabolical ways–even to disrespecting the temple by having sex with prostitutes there. Eli knew what they were doing and yet did not stop them and therefore, God warned him what would happen. His sons were killed and when Eli got the news–he also died.

I sense the death of a nation–spiritually–and though we have been warned, time and time again about not just the behavior of others, but our own, we are yet ignoring God. And when there is a spiritual death–eventually–physical death follows. Perhaps, this is the reason we see what we see across the globe, and especially in America.

Some might say, God is not speaking to “the prophets” any more and they would be on the right track. There are yet some prophets–called by God–to whom He is speaking, but more importantly, we have His Word and His Spirit to guide us in all things. Some of the “prophets” that are speaking into the lives of people are actually entertaining others “in the name of The Lord” and they are responsible for the consequences that will befall them.

What we have to understand about “righteous living” is that God holds each and every person who “claims to know Him” accountable for their own actions. We are not responsible for the actions of others–we are responsible for what God has spoken to our hearts and our obedience to His Word–individually! If every individual–born again Believer–lives The Word–not just in private or in the confines of a building–we have the power to influence others and we should. If after we share the love of God with them and encourage them to serve Him, they choose to go their own way, they are responsible for the consequences that fall upon them–not us.

I cannot speak for others, but I do believe that the time for God to speak to us and we hear and obey, is now–while we have a chance to win others to Christ–not political parties–so that we may know peace and all will receive and share His love. So, that is my prayer–for all Believers–that God will speak to our hearts–and we will hear and obey.

 

Lord, speak to our hearts, ignite our desire to obey and serve You like never before. Guide us in all that we do, allowing Holy Spirit to keep us on the right path–continuing to share Your Love and the gift we have been given through Jesus Christ–eternal life. Lord, help us to see–not just with our physical eyes, but with our spiritual eyes to know we are honoring You with all we do.

Victory In Jesus!

Victory In Jesus!

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. I John 5:1-4, 14,15 NIV

Victory–the state of knowing that we have overcome or done something exceedingly well, is a right for those who believe God and keep His Word. It is a privilege that Believers are assured of when we do things God’s Way and an expected right–according to His Word.

Every athlete–whether little league, minor league or professional league–loves victory and no one–likes to concede defeat, but in any competition–there is a winner and someone must lose.

So much of what we encounter today–all those life challenges we face–the trials that tend to overtake us when we’re weary, puts us in a position to be defeated, but we can know victory.

One of the things we have to remember is that we learn from the losses and rebound–energized, ready to take on the next challenge. For many of us–we tend to experience more defeats than victory, but victory in Jesus--knowing we can count on Him–does much to encourage our hearts and keep us going.

How many times do we end up repeating the same mistakes–doing what didn’t work the first time–hoping it will work if we just keep plodding through the messes we make in life?

When we’re trying to persuade others–how much sense does it make to keep repeating the same hyperbolic phrases that have no substance and indeed has a tendency to make us look foolish?

The only thing that bears repeating to anyone is the love of God, dwelling within us–gets us through any challenge that life offers. Constantly reminding people of The Word of God–provides them with fuel to ignite the stamina within to keep going and going and going–until victory is won.

When we know and understand The Word–we know that perfect love–unconditional love for all–casts out fear–leaving no place for it to dwell. The love of God overflowing from our hearts onto all we know, creating a pathway of love that infects all who tread upon it–guarantees the victory–that all can enjoy.

Beloved of Christ–Brothers and Sisters in The Lord–let us continue to love, showing others by our example how love wins the day, uprooting hatred and fear, supplanting it with love–so we may all join in the victory dance in Jesus!

Learning To Rest!

Learning To Rest!

For though I might desire to boast, I will not be a fool; for I will speak the truth. But I refrain, lest anyone should think of me above what he sees me to be or hears from me. And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:6-9 NKJV

There are so many things that happen to us in life that are simply not in our control. Some of our life events cause us to be over anxious and frenetic and some have even caused people to seek escape from the problems by committing suicide–which is never the answer, for then we leave those behind to handle those things we refused to face.

Let’s face it–life happens–to everyone, some of it good, some bad, some absolutely horrible, but when we are in Christ, we can rest–assured of His grace and mercy--and know He will work it out for our good.

So when the world is careening out of its orbit–we don’t have to sway into fray–we can lean entirely on God’s Word, the firm foundation of our faith and weather any storm that comes our way. In life–storms come and they go–and we have shelter in the arms of our Lord! Nothing the enemy does--no fiery dart shall ever thwart God’s plans for our lives and if we only Believe.

Believe that He is our comforter when we need to be comforted.

Believe that He is our healer when sickness and disease attempt to make us fearful.

Believe that He is our Father who gives good gifts.

Believe that He is our provider and He will take care of us.

Believe that He is Alpha and Omega–the first and last–and He has us covered with the blood of Jesus.

Believe that when we are weakened by the trials of this world–He strengthens us to endure until the end.

Where does our help come from? Our help comes from The Lord! And when we know that He watches over us–we can rest in the knowledge that He knows all about our troubles and concerns and we can rest in Him–never fearful or over anxious about anything or about what anyone may do.

Now–shake off those feelings of dread or fear or anxiety and enter into His peace and rest–troubled no more by those things we cannot control. For if we can control some things, we should control them and thank God for the wisdom He bestows upon us from on high!

Give Thanks!

Give Thanks!

Give thanks to the LORD and proclaim his greatness.
Let the whole world know what he has done.

Sing to him; yes, sing his praises.
Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds. I Chronicles 16:8,9 NLT

PRAISE REPORT!

Every year, the Harper Woods Band Boosters hosts a wonderful event at the high school. This year, we celebrated hosting our 22nd Band-O-Rama!

This was my second year coordinating the event and though not everything was smooth sailing, we still had a wonderful day. God provided us with just the right weather to be outdoors–with sunshine and cool temperatures.

The community provided us with assistance from former band boosters which included the CFO of the school district and his wife, Kohl employees who volunteered and a number of students.

We enjoyed watching great band performances from local schools that ranged from 50 band members to over 200 and it was delightful!

Since this is our biggest fundraiser of the year, we try to make this event as profitable as possible, but reasonable enough for all to enjoy great food and I was told–repeatedly–that our grill master “was the bomb.”

Considering the fact that we never know what the weather will be from year to year when we plan this event, I can say–unashamedly–that I stayed in communication with my Daddy–I prayed for good weather, for cooperation with others, and participation from other schools and for everything to be the success He would have it to be. God never disappoints us when we know all things work for our good.

So, this morning, I’m a bit tired, but grateful–for all who contributed to this success and for meeting some really wonderful people to whom I am indebted to love for the rest of my life.

Our God is an awesome God and I know–as long as we continue to please Him–He will hear and answer prayer.

I’m thanking Him for giving me strength to endure and courage to persist in doing all things well and hearing and answering our prayers.

Giving thanks for all He has done, is doing and will do for all who love Him and live according to His Word.

 

This Is The Day!

This Is The Day!

This is the day the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it. Save now, I pray, O LORD; O LORD, I pray, send now prosperity. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We have blessed you from the house of the LORD. Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Psalm 118:24-26, 28 NKJV

Every day, Lord, You are God

Every day, Lord, We will bless Your Name

Every day, Lord, We give You thanks and praise

Every day, Lord, We will rejoice and be glad

Every day, Lord, We will Trust and Obey

Every day, Lord, We will live according to Your Word

Every day, Lord, We will love like You love–unconditionally

Every day, Lord, We will bless others as You have blessed us

Not just this day, but Every Day, You Have Blessed us

And we magnify You and praise Your Name Forevermore!

Don’t Let Rumors Discourage!

Don’t Let Rumors Discourage!

Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies found out that I had finished rebuilding the wall and that no gaps remained—though we had not yet set up the doors in the gates. So Sanballat and Geshem sent a message asking me to meet them at one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But I realized they were plotting to harm me, so I replied by sending this message to them: “I am engaged in a great work, so I can’t come. Why should I stop working to come and meet with you?” Four times they sent the same message, and each time I gave the same reply. The fifth time, Sanballat’s servant came with an open letter in his hand, and this is what it said: “There is a rumor among the surrounding nations, and Geshem tells me it is true, that you and the Jews are planning to rebel and that is why you are building the wall. According to his reports, you plan to be their king. He also reports that you have appointed prophets in Jerusalem to proclaim about you, ‘Look! There is a king in Judah!’ “You can be very sure that this report will get back to the king, so I suggest that you come and talk it over with me.” I replied, “There is no truth in any part of your story. You are making up the whole thing.” They were just trying to intimidate us, imagining that they could discourage us and stop the work. So I continued the work with even greater determination. Nehemiah 6:1-9 NIV

POLITICS ALERT!

While reading this I realized that though there are few things that change over the course of history, not many things change. Way back then, we see the “politics” of people who don’t know God and how they attempt to deceive those who do.

What’s the best way to ignite emotions in people? Starting rumors to make them fearful. And in this election cycle, we see how rumors can and have ignited emotions in people like never before. We see one candidate being castigated for lying about one thing or another over what previous positions entailed and yet the other candidate lies every time they open their mouth on a daily basis and the words they use at rallies do nothing other than increase racial tensions and bigotry.

What is more amazing to me is that those listening to the republican nominee actually believe everything he says without having factual evidence of his telling the truth, but they are quick to spread the rumors in an effort to denigrate the other candidate.

How do I know? A number of supporters apparently repeat what they consider part of the script from the playbook of destruction–their philosophy–if you repeat enough, it becomes true. In reading articles about the election and the comments made, many copy and paste the same lies in every post. And for evidence they point to biased news media articles and the Internet. I guess they believed the lie, “if it’s on the Internet, it has to be true. But then they also believe whatever is on YouTube because they’re not aware of the fact that videos can be manipulated by those with agendas to destroy.

For the record–let me say this: the experts who have investigated Hillary Clinton have debunked every allegation that exists.  Therefore, there is no need for anyone to repeat those allegations about her being corrupt, a murderer (delusional thinking), and a liar (except for the fact that all politicians lie about their promises). Benghazi–investigated and resolved (understanding of military protocols help to understand this). The emails–investigated and resolved. The Clinton Foundation–investigated and there is NOTHING CORRUPT about it. There is no pay-to play aspect of what they do–they accept donations to help others. This is just rumors to undermine the candidate, while ignoring the blatant remarks of Trump.

Twice–with his own words–Trump has suggested that someone should take Hillary out (kill her)–with justification or excuse for what he said. Plotting to kill someone is a crime. “Maybe the second-amendment people will do something about her” (after the election). “Her security team should disarm and see what happens to her.”

He has woefully misrepresented the Black Community by saying things like–“they’re in the worst shape, ever, ever, ever.” He obviously missed his history classes and forgot about slavery and the Jim Crow Laws and the fight for Civil Rights (we still don’t have). His influence at his rallies even have some believing that President Obama is the cause of racism. A lady(his campaign chair–Kathy Miller) was interviewed in Ohio recently and said that, “while I was growing up in the 60s, racism didn’t exist.” My response to that was, she had to be living in a cave or a tunnel with no connection to the outside world to believe that. Racism in this country has always existed and until people see “all people” as human beings rather than judging them by their skin tones, it will continue to exist.

Update: After writing this blog this morning, I discovered that Kathy Miller has resigned her position with the Trump campaign.

I’ve gotten fired up just thinking about how rumors destroy–but then, isn’t that the enemy’s job–to destroy? It has been how he (Satan) operates from the beginning and will be until the end of mankind. We simply have to be smart enough to recognize his handiwork–designed to destroy and work to provide truth to all willing to hear it.

WE NEED TO DO SOME RESEARCH FOR OURSELVES–FROM CREDIBLE SOURCES AND SEEK GOD’S WISDOM IN ALL THINGS. If we just listen to the candidates–without a biased ear–we’ll know who should be president of this already great America. Don’t let the rumors discourage continued work to make it even better.

 

What God Expects!

What God Expects!

“And now, you priests, this warning is for you. If you do not listen, and if you do not resolve to honor my name,” says the LORD Almighty, “I will send a curse on you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have already cursed them, because you have not resolved to honor me. “Because of you I will rebuke your descendants; I will smear on your faces the dung from your festival sacrifices, and you will be carried off with it. And you will know that I have sent you this warning so that my covenant with Levi may continue,” says the LORD Almighty.“My covenant was with him, a covenant of life and peace, and I gave them to him; this called for reverence and he revered me and stood in awe of my name. True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin. “For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, because he is the messenger of the LORD Almighty and people seek instruction from his mouth. But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble; you have violated the covenant with Levi,” says the LORD Almighty. Malachi 2:1-8 NIV [Read all for clarity]

The most important leadership to whom we should trust is the leadership in the church. From this point forward–all other leaders are measured–by The Word of God.

Simply put–when the church–the body of Christ–corporately, gets its act together, the world will become a better place.  Why? When people are “grounded in The Word” they take what they know and understand into all areas of their lives–from keeping peace, harmony and order in their home to the highest place of government. When we know God, we do what is right at all times, for all people.

With that premise in mind, we can safely conclude (by what we see) that we have strayed far from God’s Word in our daily living and as a result–chaos and confusion reign–in the hearts of men/women and all across the land.

When the prophet Malachi was admonishing the priests who had let the temple far into disrepair, he was also warning all who followed–those of us right now–that when we don’t do what God expects us to do–He takes a hands-off approach to us. When we do what He expects–we are blessed and when we don’t–the curses fall upon us and since God is not a respecter of persons–the blesses fall upon all who obey and the curses fall upon all who disobey. As Children of The Most–Believers should understand when we are blessed, we are to be a blessing to others–for when we are cursed–the curse also falls upon others.

Throughout biblical accounts of history we see how entire nations either rose to greatness or fell in despair because of the leadership–those in positions of authority and entrusted to guide the people according to God’s Ways, and not their own. When the leadership was obedient–all the people were blessed and rejoiced and when the leadership ignored God–all the people suffered and wailed in despair and hopelessness.

We have to know God in order to hear God and when we hear God, we must obey God–not those who have agendas that do not lead to a nation being blessed.

This is what God expects from those who are in leadership positions!