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“Walk, Run, Fly”

March 31, 2016

but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:31

I was fishing at the pier at Myrtle Beach State Park last week. No, I don’t tell you that just to make you envious. The fish weren’t biting and it was a bit cool and windy.

Since I had not much else to do, I was watching the birds. Pelicans were doing their thing by diving from high in the air into the water to snag a quick bite of fish – who were obviously not hungry themselves.  Other birds were flying or floating, just enjoying the day.

I watched one seagull heading into the wind for what seemed several minutes. His ground speed was zero. Relative to the pier, he stayed in the same spot for all that time – making no headway whatsoever.

Ay first, I thought to myself, “Well, he isn’t going anywhere.”  Then it dawned on me, at least he was flying. Eventually, he adjusted his wings and took off.

As I’ve pondered that, it occurs to me a lot of life is like that. There are days when it looks to others, and maybe even seems to us, we are making no headway at all. But, we are up, and regardless of what others see, or what we feel, we are doing what we are supposed to do. Sometimes it might take a slight adjustment in our attitude to change our altitude. At other times, we know – and God knows – we are making tremendous headway regardless of how it may look to others.

Some days we can run, and some days we do good just to walk. But, by God’s Hand and His strength, we do what we can.

The journey of life is a long one, and we’ll not always be in the air or be moving fast when we are, or when we’re on the ground. The important thing is to be moving in the direction God has for us. Then we’ll always be going in the right direction.

My prayer this week is for the comfort and assurance of His presence in your journey. Whether you are experiencing the joy of flying high at the moment or seeking strength just to make the next step.



“The Resurrection”

March 24, 2016

If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But, in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead…” – I Corinthians 15:19-20a

This week as we enter the celebration of the resurrection of Christ, let’s just refocus on that reality.

The Resurrection. A historical fact even those who hated Christ the most had to admit. He was seen by so many they couldn’t hide it. Even those who had guarded His body were bribed to say it had been stolen. But, if that were the case, they would have been put to death.

The crux of Christianity is the Savior who lives today.

The Resurrection. The source of our hope. The source of our faith.

My prayer this week is for the reality of these truths to soak in as we reflect on the reality of the Resurrection!

“Don’t Miss His Offer”

March 19, 2016

“And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus.” – Mark 10:50

Everyone has probably received those letters from Publisher’s Clearing House.

When I was young I filled out every single one of those suckers. I even ordered a few magazines.

Now, I take them and toss them in the recycle bin.

I know I’m not going to win.

There are millions of people who play and a few will win – I know that.

SOMEONE is going to open the front door and there will be a crew there with balloons and flowers and cameras and it will be grand!

BUT, it won’t be me – so at least I can be ahead by the cost of the stamp.

So many people approach God that way. They know He answers prayer – it just won’t be mine.

They know He heals – it just won’t be me.
They know He restores broken marriages – it just won’t be ours.
They know He does miracle after miracle – but it will ALWAYS be someone else.

We have to believe God CAN do miracles – we just don’t believe He WILL do them in our life.

Today in our scripture we meet a man who DID NOT feel that way. He was waiting for Jesus to come His way. He called out to Christ when he knew he was near. He threw off his cloak and ran to Jesus when He called for him.

He knew his chances were just as good as anyone else’s.

He knew if he could just get Jesus’ attention, his life would never be the same.

So are yours.

My prayer this week is that you will trust Christ with whatever burden you are under at this moment.

“Daily Dependence”

March 12, 2016

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not.” – Exodus 16:4

I was recently asked to share a defining moment in my walk with God. I’m going to share one of those with you today.

I was on a mission trip to Venezuela in 1999. My partner for the trip was a guy named Larry who thought if you spoke English loudly and slowly to the local Spanish speaking population, they could somehow understand. (That will be an important fact later in the story.) We were there for a couple weeks and during that time had been blessed with the company of our translators, cultural guides, encouragers, blessings in every way, career missionaries.

They were from the area near the capital of Caracas. We were serving in a community on the far eastern coast several hours away. During the latter part of our trip, torrential floods came to the central part of Venezuela. Roads and bridges were washing away, houses were destroyed, lives were lost – the devastation was horrible. The Mission Board called the missionaries and told them to go home or they may not be able to make it.

They left when we had two days left in Venezuela. The first night they were gone, we were invited to a celebration of our time there given by the local peop. It was a tremendous blessing. During the course of the evening, the people we knew from the church left and Larry and I needed a ride back to the hotel. A couple told the pastor from the church they would take us. I spoke painfully little Spanish at the time, and Larry, well….

It became apparent on our ride back the couple spoke painfully little English. We could not communicate. So here we are, no idea where, in a city we don’t know, with people we don’t know, and we aren’t even sure if they know where we are to go. I was certain they were good people, but if anything bad had happened we were in big time trouble.

It dawned on me in the back of that car, on a very dark night thousands of miles from home – I was totally dependent upon God in that moment. Then two other things dawned on me. First, that was not a bad place to be. Second, in fact, it was where I was all the time – I was just now realizing it in a tangible way.

The verse above is from the account of the Children of Israel wandering the wilderness. God had delivered them from slavery in Egypt, He had delivered them from Pharaoh’s army, and He is reminding them daily of His constant care and provision. They needed to be reminded daily they were dependent on Him.

So. Do. We.

My prayer this week is you will think about this truth – every day.

“The Settling Book”

March 3, 2016

“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” – Proverbs 23:7a

(The following story is true. The names were changed to protect the guilty.)

There were once two elderly, widowed sisters. We will call them Mary and Jane. Since they were both widowed and their children were grown, they spent their days together shopping and going out for the occasional meal.

They kept what they called a “settling book.” When they went to town, if Mary drove, they would write the date and the destination in the book, along with the fact Mary drove.

If they stopped for a burger, if Jane paid, that was entered in the book. The next time, they would consult the book to see whose turn it was to drive, or pay, or incur any type of expense.

This “settling book” was used to make sure the balance sheet was kept equal.

This may sound silly, but a lot of people go through life doing the same thing. When asked about their hope of eternity, they describe what amounts to appearing before God with their “settling book” showing more good than bad deeds.

Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, tells us that to think evil thoughts is as bad as the action itself. This isn’t to give us permission to go ahead and do it if you thought it, but to teach us that none of us are as good as we may think, just because we don’t do every evil thing we think of.

God’s Word assures us no one’s settling book, would come out in our favor. So, He offers the gift of forgiveness by His amazing grace through faith in the fact His son, Jesus, has settled our debt once and for all.

My prayer is you will trust God’s grace through the sacrifice of Christ to settle your debt.

“Do It With Joy”

February 25, 2016

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” – Colossians 3:23

Y’all know two of my passions are running and my dog Murphy. Combine these two, and the day just got better. As a matter of fact, the only one who enjoys that combination more than I is Murphy himself.

He waits for me to give the signal, and takes off like he has been shot from a cannon.  Even though we usually run the same routes, he acts like it is just the greatest thing. He bounds over hedgerows, chases squirrels and birds, explores, and generally just has a big time with great enthusiasm.

As I watched him the other day, I realized how much joy it brings me to watch him go all out. Whether it is chasing a squirrel, playing with a stick, or just running along, he acts like there is not one single thing he’d rather be doing.

Then it dawned on me, that’s how God expects to approach life. Certainly the “missional” things we do as a part of our calling as Christians are to be approached with enthusiasm; but the verse above (and several others), remind us it is to be that way in EVERY thing we do.

So often we let routine, boredom, and drudgery creep in to steal our joy and passion for life. There is no one to blame for that but ourselves. No one can control your attitude but you. As the old saying goes, we can’t control the wind, but we can adjust our sails.

It’s a brand new day, make it a great one by doing everything as if unto God.

My prayer is for the joy and enthusiasm of the Lord to fill every aspect of your life.

“Be Still…and Know”

February 24, 2016

“Be still and know that I am God….” Psalm 46:10

Robinson Crusoe. Gilligan’s Island. Cast Away. Survivor.

What do these have in common? They are all stories about people stranded, often alone, and isolated. In a certain sense, we’ve all been there – at times surrounded by people. In some cases, we are physically close to loved ones, but there is a great disconnect which leaves us with an empty spot inside, a longing which just won’t go away.

In all of these stories, and in our own, we find out a lot about ourselves. The characters in these stories (including our own) find there are things we never thought they/we could do, but they/we figure out a way. There are other things which they/we discover we will never be able to accomplish on our own.

The verse above calls us to do two things. Get still. And, know. Knowing implies something has been learned. So, don’t waste those alone times. Don’t let the lessons from isolation get by you. Those empty spots can only be filled by God and His great grace.

My prayer is we will indeed be still… and know.

Pay attention please!

February 20, 2016

“ But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” – Luke 11:28 

Have you ever been with someone who was more into their phone, or other electronic device, to listen to you?

It may have been over a meal as they texted someone else, checking their Facebook, or just talking to someone else on the phone.

It is so frustrating when that happens. Aside from being rude, it makes you feel as if your company isn’t enough. They are communicating your presence is not as important as the one they are texting, Tweeting, or any number of people on the Facebook scene.

We hate to be the “victim” of such behavior; however, do we not do the same thing to God? How many times are we too busy to talk or hear from Him? Even times we set aside to read His word or pray, do we not get distracted and think about other things?

The verse above reminds us we are blessed when we take time to hear from Him. And who doesn’t want a blessing?!

My prayer this week is that you will pause, and be blessed, as your read His word -and keep it.

“NIV Bible for Teen Girls”

September 18, 2015

The “NIV Bible for Teen Girls” has devotional entries and background information which make it a very helpful study tool and guide for spiritual growth.

The study notes are on pages listed as “Growing in Faith, Hope and Love.” These are written by a variety of female authors on such topics as; “Listening to Lies,” “Heading for Disaster,” “Better than You Know Yourself,” and “Fluttering Hearts.”

Each book has an introduction with background information and there is a synopsis of the life and story of the women of the Bible.

There are many verses highlighted as “Promises of God,” to encourage scripture memorization.

The concordance is fairly comprehensive for a Bible of this kind.

I do not have a teenage daughter or granddaughter, but I plan to pass this along to a young lady at church and would recommend it for someone who is looking for an NIV for a teenage girl.

Thomas Nelson provides a free copy of these books for review through their “Booklook Blogger” Program ; however, I am (obviously) not required to give a positive review of the book.

“The Carnelian Legacy” by Cheryl Koevoet 

September 7, 2015

This book is a romance, not an adventure novel.

That being said, romance is not my genre. This book was a suggested by BookLookBloggers when I ordered another, which was indeed an adventure. So, please keep that in mind as you read this review, which is not all that flattering.

The formula for this book has been done and redone, girl meets boy, girl falls for boy, different boy enters the picture and there is the tension between them. This is set in an imaginary place called Carnelia, and the two guys are from differing sides of a political dynasty, but the setting could be the Antebellum South, Colonial America, etc.

It is surprising the whole population of Carnelia isn’t suffering from malaria, as it appears to rain there every day; however, the moon comes out at night.

There is a bit of a twist at the end but it is fanciful and may be just the kind of thing you would like if you read romance novels.

Thomas Nelson provides a free copy of these books for review through their “Booklook Blogger” Program ; however, I am (obviously) not required to give a positive review of the book.