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.

Remember Those Who Gave Their Lives!

Remember how short my life is,
how empty and futile this human existence!

No one can live forever; all will die.
No one can escape the power of the grave. Psalm 89:47-48 NIV

The psalmist (Ethan) makes a statement that while not intended for us in the 21st century, is nevertheless applicable to all at all times, especially those who lives have been lost in wars.

Freedom–from men and bondage of ideologies–comes with a price and that price is the lives of all who dare to fight for freedom.

Today, is the day that we should remember all those who have given their lives in wars, that those of us remaining may know freedom and learn to live in peace. However, where there is no peace, there will always be strife and where there is strife, wars simmer until they explode into battles that end–with many of us missing and remembering loved ones, who did what we could not or would not do–continue the fight for freedom.

This is the time to remember those who were willing to die in wars for freedom that we might live in peace.

The Revolutionary War–freedom from the dictates of England.

The Civil War–economic liberty and trade between the states and the liberation of slaves from taskmasters who did not understand humane compassion.

World Wars I and II–assisting those on foreign shores in order to maintain the freedom of America.

Korean and Vietnam Wars–attempts to liberate others so they would not be subject to dictators who only thought about themselves.

All the Battles in the Middle East–that are yet on-going–providing an avenue for people to live their lives according to their beliefs and not the dictates of others.

Some of the wars were necessary, and some questionable, but the fact that many men and women chose to give their lives to protect the freedoms we enjoy in this country, makes the day worth remembering them and inspiring us to never lose sight of what America and Americans stand for–liberty and freedom for all. Remember those who died for us to have freedom and then think about what we do with our lives–with purpose.

Let us all work to restore peace in this land and not make their deaths, futile and serving no purpose, honoring all and respecting all as God would have us to do.

Just Believe!

Just Believe!

Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.”So Jesus went with him. A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years.She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.  When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.”Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.  At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ” But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it.Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth.  He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?” Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. Mark 5:22-37 NIV

There is so much that can be said about this passage of scripture, but I will limit myself to just a few points.

If we believe, we request with the understanding that our request will be honored.  Jairus believed, said it, and made his request of Jesus.

The woman with the illness–heard about Jesus and knew that if she could just touch his clothes she would be healed and she was. Her faith moved her to doing what she believed would happen.

And when the doubters–those who didn’t have any faith in Jesus–came and told Jairus that it was too late for Jesus to do anything about his daughter, Jesus just looked at him and told him not to be afraid, but to just believe.

After speaking to Jairus, even though a crowd was following Him, Jesus did not allow the doubters and haters to complete the trip to Jairus house.

What do we learn from this? Our faith must be so strong that we ignore the doubters and haters and simply believe God (not just in Him)–knowing that whatever we request of Him, if our faith is immovable, He will do it.

Jairus believed Jesus would heal his daughter even after they told him she was dead.

After hearing about Jesus, the woman believed she would be healed if she just touched His clothes.

What are you believing God for right now? Do you believe or are just faking it to make it? Make your request known to God and believe–never doubting–and watch Him work in your life! Instead of faking it–faith it–never allowing the haters to change your mind about what you know God can and will do.

Getting beyond the passages listed above–we know that even though the child had died, when Jesus touched her she rose from her sleep. Now, imagine how disheartened Jairus might have been, but yet retained his faith that Jesus would save his daughter. His faith and belief in Jesus led to his daughter rising and living again.

It is our faith–not God’s–that moves Him into responding to our requests. We simply just believe!

So, let’s get The Word out–promoting Jesus–so all will have opportunity to hear about Him, build their faith, and believe He will respond to our needs.

Robots Don’t Whine!

Have you seen the latest editorial regarding the increase of the minimum wages?

Sometimes, before we start whining and complaining, we need to think about the repercussions of “getting what we want!”

While there was a national clamor to increase the minimum wage–especially for fast food workers to $15/per hour, not many gave a great deal of thought as to what the end results would be. And in case you didn’t think about it, let me provide you with a bit of an overview.

If workers receive $15/hour, how much of an increase will we see for the cost of a hamburger and fries?

And in Chicago (and possibly other cities), if a robot replaces the human worker, who really benefits from the wage increases?

Robots (or any other mechanical means) do not whine or complain.

Robots don’t come in late on a daily basis.

Robots don’t need medical benefits.

Robots don’t need vacation time.

And perhaps more importantly, robots don’t have an attitude (they’re not grumpy or out of sorts–don’t have bad days).

So, now which you rather have in the business of serving you? A robot or a disgruntled human being? It’s something to think about!

Personally, I love the interaction between us mere mortals, but I’m not paying through the nose for a hamburger. I’ll do more grocery shopping.

The Beauty of Holiness!

The Beauty of Holiness!

For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
But the LORD made the heavens.

Honor and majesty are before Him;
Strength and gladness are in His place.

Give to the LORD, O families of the peoples,
Give to the LORD glory and strength.

Give to the LORD the glory due His name;
Bring an offering, and come before Him.
Oh, worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness!

Tremble before Him, all the earth.
The world also is firmly established,
It shall not be moved.

Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;
And let them say among the nations, “The LORD reigns.”

                                                          1 Chronicles 16:26-31 NKJV

There are many ways that people–we mere mortals–define beauty in the earth realm. We determine who is beautiful by physical features, bone structure, waistlines, hair length, height and weight. That’s what we do. But real beauty in people should be a measurement of a person’s heart and what they do for others, without seeking recognition for anything they do. 

I have met and known some really beautiful people–but they wouldn’t measure up to the world’s definition because of their facial features or other physical flaws. I measure their beauty because of their compassion and diligence in always seeking ways to help others and putting themselves in the background for all they do.

No matter how I measure or assess beauty or anyone else–true beauty is found in how we live for The Lord and that is in holiness.

Holiness–is living according to The Word–it is not how a person looks or dresses. Unfortunately, there are groups of people who think that holiness is represented in being uncomfortable in clothing, covering hair or faces, being meek and subordinate, positions for praying, songs sung in worship and none of that matters if The Word of God is not the blueprint for how one lives.

We worship God in the beauty of holiness by living for Him. It is a lifestyle that promotes who He is, not who we are.

How we dress is not a concern for God unless we are immodest in what we wear that brings more attention to us than Him. He looks upon the heart of a person, not their outward appearance. Since this is how He looks at us, perhaps we should do the same and stop looking at the outward person, but assessing their heart by what they do. For out of the abundance of the heart–the mouth speaks. And what we say, is a good indicator of what we do.

Today and every day, let’s learn to appreciate the real beauty in others by the evidence we see of what’s in their heart, not in their appearance.

Being Thankful!

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:12-17 NIV

When we understand how God does things–not necessarily how we do them–and remember to thank Him for all things, He never lets us down.

Many are the plans of man, but only what God has planned will work. I see that so often in my own life that I know I should never be concerned about anything and what the end result will be. But human nature–such as it is–always leans upon one’s own understanding of how things should be instead of allowing God to guide. However, when we know–He’s in charge–and allow Holy Spirit to speak to us–and we listen–all things really do work for the good of those who love The Lord.

When we allow The Word of God to guide us in all things–loving one another, showing compassion towards all, providing all things honest in the sight of all–as His chosen people, we see His results for all we do.

For the past year, I have served in a volunteer capacity with our school’s Band Boosters as the treasurer. With the help of the past treasurer–who is a real jewel and treasure all by herself–we managed to do all we needed to do and enjoy success with our fundraisers. Last night was the culminating event–a celebratory banquet–recognizing the accomplishments of our school bands and honoring those to whom honor is due. Though we had a rocky start in the planning, God showed us the way and the event was a delight for all who came.

I am usually not a pessimist–more a realist–and I wasn’t sure how things were going to turn out, but I decided to trust God and I said, “Whatever You want it to be, Lord, that’s what it will be.” And it was! I am so grateful and thankful to be His and for His love!

Sometimes, we miss the practicality of applying The Word to our lives and as a result, we miss receiving God’s best in our lives. Moments like last night, remind me that we should always apply The Word to our lives in all situations and there is nothing–absolutely nothing–we could ever experience, plan or do that is not covered in The Word.

Glory to God! What a blessing to rest in His peace and know joy in the midst of confusion of chaos and uncertainty, He is right there! Thanking God for all things–whether I understand them or not.

We Will Not Fear Mere Mortals!

Let those who fear the LORD say: “His love endures forever.”When hard pressed, I cried to the LORD; he brought me into a spacious place. The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? The LORD is with me; he is my helper. I look in triumph on my enemies. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in humans.  It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes. Psalm 118:4-9 NIV

Do we have a reverential fear (respect and honor) for the Lord? If we do, why do we concern ourselves–operating in fear–over what men might do?

In spite of all the dire predictions associated with–everything–our economy, climate change, global threats from terrorists, and our nightmarish presidential campaigns, we can–if we know The Lord–be at peace!

When the psalmist understood that nothing a mere mortal did compared with what The Lord will do, he made a decision and proclaimed, “The Lord is with me and He is my helper!”

Do we dare proclaim the same? We do when we know it’s true. The Lord is with us and He is our helper. The Lord, our God, who created all that was ever created is the same and He is our provider. The Lord will not abandon us nor leave us without a way of escape from evil. The Lord will take care of those who obey Him!

I don’t know about you, but right now, I’m proclaiming I have no reason to fear what foolish mortals may do. I am surrounded by angels assigned to me and nothing the enemy has planned will come to light. No weapon formed against me shall prosper and includes any attempts by the enemy to influence negative thinking about any circumstance that arises in my life. I am proclaiming that with The Lord going before me (daily) He is more than enough to protect me from anyone or anything.

What about you? Is your faith sustained in the One who can do all things well and cannot fail?

If our faith–relentless and steadfast–is in Jesus–we have no need to fear mere mortals who are like us--imperfect in all their ways and put on their pants–one leg at a time.

Jesus is the way, the light and the truth and no mere mortal can ever compare to Him!


As For Me and My House!

But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”Then the people answered, “Far be it from us to forsake the LORD to serve other gods!  It was the LORD our God himself who brought us and our parents up out of Egypt, from that land of slavery, and performed those great signs before our eyes. He protected us on our entire journey and among all the nations through which we traveled. If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, he will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you, after he has been good to you.” Joshua 24:15-18, 20 NIV

Looking at Joshua’s adamant stance regarding serving The Lord, we should be reminded of how God functions through those who truly love Him.

If we serve other gods–whether people or things–we cannot love God of all Creation. Not once has a “thing” ever created anything. All the things that people worship are made by the hands of man. And man–has never created anything from nothing. All man has invented was with all that had already been created. It doesn’t take much to invent when materials are already accessible. But show me–one thing–created from nothing by the hands of man.

Since not one thing has ever been created by man, my household will serve The Lord.

I pray all will read Joshua’s experiences with God and God’s promises to Him and make a determination to serve Him and Him alone. When we seek Him for answers and direction, He will provide them–for His glory, not our own.

To God be all glory and majesty forever and ever.