Monday, December 1, 2014

To: Us with love; From: The Lord All Powerful

God sent us the best Christmas present ever! No doubt in the commercialization of Christmas and the questions that surround the actual date of the celebration, we can loose the real opportunity we have to recognize that God sent us the greatest gift in Jesus to give us an opportunity to have a real relationship with Him. It's on this understanding that I will take a few moments to highlight the gift of God to us.

"A child has been born to us; God has given a son to us. He will be responsible for leading the people. His name will be Wonderful Counselor, Powerful God, Father Who Lives Forever, Prince of Peace. Power and peace will be in his kingdom and will continue to grow forever. He will rule as king on David's throne and over David's kingdom. He will make it strong by ruling with justice and goodness from now on and forever. The Lord All-Powerful will do this because of his strong love for his people." Isaiah 9:6-7 (NLT)

God has sent "to us" a great gift. This gift is the Prince of Peace! This peace will be in his kingdom and will continue to grow forever. We recognize that the Kingdom would be established in the hearts of men and women who would follow Christ. Thus, this peace is to rule and grow in us. Wow - a gift that keeps on giving and growing!

We may feel like that peace is not residing or resonating in our lives. We may wonder where is that peace. It may seem we have an unopened gift. We may need a better understanding of how to open God's Peace package.

I offer to us today the consideration of how to open this peace in our lives. Here is a simple journey to opening this gift...
  • don't worry about anything
  • pray about everything
  • tell God what you need
  • thank Him for all He's done.
This may seem all too elementary. Some times we skip right over that things we need to do in an attempt to find a magic moment. It really is this simple to open the gift of peace.

"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience  God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

To experience God's peace, a peace that exceeds our understanding, we must not worry about anything, pray about everything, tell God what we need and thank Him for all He's done. This peace will guard our hearts and minds as we live in Christ. WOW!

As you may exchange and open gifts during this Christmas season, my prayer for you is to open the greatest gift God has given to you - the Prince of Peace!

Friday, January 24, 2014

And it begins

Mark 14:36, “‘…Father,’ he said, ‘everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.’”

This prayer of Jesus is one of the most profound prayers ever offered. He was struggling through the moment, knowing what was coming. Overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death, He prayed – knowing - His friends were sleeping, one would betray Him any moment, His friends would deny Him, His country would reject Him, He would be tortured, He would take on the sin of the world, and in some manner, He would be separated from the Father. Any one of these could have been reason enough to quit His journey. Yet He settled it before it would happen when He prayed – Yet not what I will, but what You will.

Settle it now. Begin an intentional journey of growth to be like Jesus – to love God and others as He does. Develop a made-up mind. Pray like Jesus – yet not what I will, but what You will. He will empower you for your journey.

His plans for you are far better than you could ever imagine. Trust Him in the journey. Not only will you be overwhelmed with joy but many others will be impacted too. Your destiny is changing. Go with Him! And it begins…


Mark 9:23, “‘If you can?’ said Jesus. ‘Everything is possible for him who believes.’”

Some journeys are longer than others. This is a short one designed to get you on a longer one. Hopefully that longer one will get you on many more to come. Our hope is that you never stop growing spiritually. That’s His hope too.

In this story in Mark 9 when Jesus is asked if He can help, He seems to take exception to the question. They did not realize whom they were talking to. They asked for pity, and He had power. The possibilities with God’s power is in the realm of impossibilities for us. So everything is possible for him who believes.

We cannot redeem ourselves. We cannot change ourselves to be what God wants us to be. We must have His help. Spiritual growth is dependent on God’s Spirit working in our lives daily. He is working for us not against us. He will help us.

Our part is to just do it. Do what He gives us to do to grow. Our next step is ask Him what to do. He may direct you to a Bible passage, a plan for growth or someone to walk with you. So, just do it. It will become possible!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

What does your journey look like?

Mark 8:34, “Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’”

Jesus is expecting His followers to follow Him. He paints a precise picture. This 21-day journey is intended to reveal specific expectations Jesus has given us. It is not an exhaustive list, but is a foundational one.

Jesus speaks of hypocrites – those who act like something they are really not, - “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men. You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.” Mark 7:6-7.

Our goal in this journey is to be real - real with God; real with one another and real with ourselves. We should take the challenge to plan for intentional growth following this 21-day journey over the course of this year. Set a plan in order to read the Bible through this year. Evaluate your life spiritually and target areas for growth. Find someone to be accountable to, just like the disciples were accountable to each other and to Jesus.

 Are you ready for this? Map it out.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

You're it!

Mark 1:17-18. “…Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.’ At once they left their nets and followed him.”

The disciples were immediately responsive to the call Jesus issued them. Jesus intended to train them to lead others as He led them. He was clear about that from the beginning – I will make you fishers of men.

As a part of their training Jesus sent them out to communicate the good news to others with the expectation of bringing others to faith in Christ. He was just as clear on how to present this gospel. In Luke 10, Jesus told them to pray blessing first, then build a relationship perhaps over a meal, then meet any “felt” needs (like praying for healing), and then proclaim the Kingdom.

If the way is paved with prayer, friendship and service, most anyone would be ready to hear about the hope we have in Him. It would create an openness to receive what we have to say and a desire to have the same.

Jesus is intentional in all He does. We should be the same: Praying, building relationships and meeting needs with the intent of leading someone to faith in Christ. Who are you praying for? What pre-Christian are you building relationship with and meeting needs for? It’s our turn!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Billboard

John 21:19. “…Then he said to him, ‘Follow me!’”

After spending over three years with Peter, Jesus tells him the same thing He told him when they first started their journey together. Peter had learned a lot during the three years, but during the time Jesus may have needed him the most, he ran another direction. So Jesus restores him to fellowship after the resurrection and reminds him of the simple call He gave him at first – follow me!

Jesus had a plan for Peter to represent Him in word and action. Jesus believed in Peter as he believes in us today. He wants us to live His story in word and action. Peter got it. This is confirmed when he wrote in his letter, “Live such good lives among your neighbors that…they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us.” 1 Peter 2:12. And then he wrote, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” 1 Peter 3:15.

Have we got it? Do our actions speak as loud as or louder than our words? Are we living with such good deeds and hope that others ask about us?  We can honor Him and attract others with what we say and do! We can do this if our actions and words - Follow Him!

Monday, January 20, 2014

the story God is writing

Luke 19:5-6, “When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.’ So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.”

Zac was just trying to watch the parade. Because of his physical size, he could not see over the crowd. He climbed a tree for a better view. Little did he know he would get a personal moment with the Son of God.

We all seem to stumble onto moments with God that forever change our lives. We just need help, maybe even enough to cry out for it. He hears and here comes the parade. We really had no idea of what it would mean to encounter the King. He certainly is like no other king we have ever heard about. This King, born in a stable, will stay at our house.

We are a story that God is writing. When we recognize another moment of our life is a God story, we should write it down and share it with someone. These stories have incredible impact in the lives of others. As they hear them, faith is awakened and they begin to ask Him to help them too. These God stories will give others encouragement and empowerment. What is God writing about you?