Monday, December 18, 2006
Hello. It’s Me, God.
I wanted to take some time and talk to you personally. Bo is doing okay with this memory verse thing, but sometimes you need to just know some stuff straight from Me.
Trust me, he doesn’t even know I’ve done this.
So, here I am, and I’m thinking of how God would want me to handle this situation….
See? He doesn’t even know that I have taken this over. Okay, here is what I want you to know this week…
Psalm 51:10-12-“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.”
Sometimes, people are going to do things to you; wrong things. They are going to take advantage of you and use you. And worse yet, sometimes, you’re going to do it yourself.
Don’t look at me like you are all innocent. I created you. I know EXACTLY what you are capable of doing. I’ve already seen it. Bo had something happen to him and he made a choice.
He prayed to Me. At first, he started praying for everything around him to change. He wanted his wife to change; and some of the people he came into contact with in his life.
Then, I talked to him. And I brought this verse up to him. I told him that sometimes, YOU are the change that’s needed in a situation. You see, you all get so wrapped up in your own little world. You want everything to fit into your plan.
You forget about Me, and My plan. Remember; it’s not about you, it’s about Me. You gave your life over to Me; and I told you that I would take care of everything.
You don’t do it on your own. I do it through you. And you need to realize that, before you ask someone else to change, you need to see if you need some changing.
I love you. And I would NEVER, EVER tell you something just to hurt your feelings. That’s not how I work. I am here to uplift you, and help you to look more and more like my son, Jesus.
When I look at you, I see Him. And as you grow spiritually, I see more and more of Him in you. Sometimes, it seems frustrating to you. Trust Me; I can see a LOT further than you can.
Give Me a chance to help you. And most of all, don’t take what Jesus did, and just throw it aside. Help Me to get the Word out to everyone, that I love them all.
Let me change your heart; and touch you with My Spirit.
Anyway, I’m going to go now. Bo will be easing into his finale soon. I’m working on him about not being so long winded. Just remember, it’s a process.
I love you.
So anyway, I just wanted you to know what God showed me in my life, so you can maybe learn from it and grow.
God loves us; and this season is the perfect example. I hope you can touch someone else for Him this Christmas.
I don’t know if I’ll have anything next week, with it being Christmas and all. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
Be blessed in the Lord,
Monday, December 11, 2006
It’s Christmas time again in the world. Peace on Earth, goodwill toward men and all that. Do you remember when Christmas was that one time of year when the world was like what we all wanted it to be?
Do you remember? I do.
Now it has become so commercialized. Christmas comes earlier each year. And now it’s a war. It’s a war between stores; between shoppers; between people who are normally decent, sane citizens. All of a sudden, they become violent, crazed animals; seeking what they can get at the expense of those around them.
And don’t forget about the ever expanding use of the words “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”. Don’t even get me started on that. Wherever you stand on that issue, it’s sure to be on the wrong side of someone else.
Who is this season dedicated to glorify? Do we remember? No matter what the world says, or what the current, politically correct greeting is, God’s Son is the center of this time.
Is God still on the throne? Well, is He? If not, then let rampant consumerism run amok and let everyone just do whatever feels good and right. Don’t try and say that there is black and white in God’s laws; just let everything be a nice shade of gray.
But if, if God is still on the throne; at what point did He give a rip about what the world thought of Him? Is He less powerful because someone got offended at a word or group of words? Am I less His child?
No, not at all.
He knows me; he knows my trust in Him and His ways for my life. Does that mean that I am doormat for the world? By all means, NO! But there is also a verse that speaks to us, prohibiting us from getting caught up in foolishness of disputing stupid, vain things. (Nope, you have to personally ask me what it is, if you don’t know it already.)
Trust in God to make His will known. He has governed and existed WAY before we came along, and He doesn’t need us to validate His laws and statutes. He made them plain, and said they would not pass away. Heaven and Earth will go to the wayside, before His Word passes away.
God came to Earth as man. He came without sin, and lived among us. He listened to us, ate with us, slept with us. He cried with us, and for us. He watched us live and die by our own deeds. He died for us, and our sin, that we might live with Him forever.
He knows you, and He knows me. Nothing, NOTHING, in the world can take that away from us. Each day the world travels down a path of destruction. It does so of its own decision.
Our job is to take as many off the paved road leading to destruction, and get them to walk the dusty road with us to the streets of gold in Heaven.
Be God’s hands and feet this season. Be secure in the knowledge that no matter what anyone calls it, He knows your heart, and knows that you trust in Him.
Be blessed in the Lord today,
Monday, December 04, 2006
I work at the Y-12 National Nuclear Security Facility. I am a Senior Radiological Controls Technician. That’s a fancy name for the guy you see in the movies with the yellow clothes on and the Geiger counter clicking away madly.
Yes, I’ve heard all the jokes-“Do you glow at night because of all the radiation?” “How many toes do you have?” There are many, many others we all endure because of our chosen profession.
I am also what is known as the Lead (pronounced as with a long E sound-I do that for my HSM guys. Hey, I love them; but sometimes they scare me with their thought processes…) RCT. That means that I am the second-in-command.
My supervisor’s name is Jesus Christ.
Whoa there Bo! We were with you up until that point. What do you mean by that? I mean, don’t you have someone there at the site you work for?
Well, yes I do. I have someone that I am RESPONSIBLE or ACCOUNTABLE. That is our immediate supervisor. As far as Whom I work for; that is Jesus. Need proof?
Colossians 3:23-24-“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”
Okay, let’s remember something here. Sometimes, my job is NOT to introduce a new truth into our life; but to remind you of one that is already present in our lives.
We know this. We all know this. Deep, deep, deep inside, we have heard this. But it’s SO hard to put into practice, isn’t it? We want to argue and fight, and complain about what we do; and how much we DON’T get paid enough; and about how I just SHOULD NOT be made to do certain things…
We love to complain. But now read this again, and take hold of it in your life. What if you took this truth, and really, REALLY tried to act it out in your life tomorrow ALL DAY? What would that look like?
But you just don’t UNDERSTAND the boss I work under. Yes, I do; His name is Jesus; and you accepted Him into your heart when you became a believer. And when you did that, you took His yoke upon you. And when you do something in the work world, it’s for your Ultimate Boss.
Believe me; this one hurts me as well. However much it pains us, though, it’s the truth. It comes straight out of the mouth of God. And it is profitable in my life, as well as yours.
What if all Christians, for one day, took this seriously? Do you think we could change our world? I do. Can I do it on my own? Can I take this seriously, and do it; will it change the world?
It would change mine. It would change how I look at things. It would change how I reacted to the new deadline; the changed priority; the seemingly unreachable goal.
Sometimes we don’t need new stuff. Sometimes we need the old stuff dusted off and refreshed in our minds.
No matter what you do-homemaker, student, mainstream worker, CEO-this is relevant to you and your daily life. You can’t escape it; and you can’t ignore it.
Let go, and let God. Do everything just like you’re doing it for Him. It will all work it in the end.
Be blessed in the Lord,
P. S. If you try this, and you have a praise report; let me know. Give God the glory. We pass around everything else we get on e-mail. How about some personal God stuff in our little family here?
Monday, November 27, 2006
Galatians 6:2-“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." (NKJV)
In the context this verse is given, it speaks specifically to helping another Christian brother or sister bear their burdens of life. It also means to restore them from a sin (see verse 1 of the same chapter). It is one of the ultimate verses that speak to me of loving and caring for my neighbor.
Wait a second, though. Who, exactly, is my neighbor?
Hmm…that’s quite a conundrum, isn’t it? Now as Christians, we are very quick to pick and choose who our neighbors are, aren’t we? We want to pick nice ones, who will bring over cookies, and swap recipes with us. We want ones who will meet at the fence line over small talk.
We want ones who live by our golden rule: “If you don’t delve too deeply into my life, then I won’t delve into yours. We’ll just be superficial and shallow. And best of all, we won’t have to say or do anything that might be considered offensive or inflammatory.”
I mean, for goodness sake, we don’t want someone in our lives that will CHALLENGE us or ENCOURAGE us to evaluate ourselves daily. Do we? Do I?
I have a new neighbor. He’s a new friend. He just moved into my neighborhood. Actually, one of our mutual friends introduced me to him. She asked me to talk to him and love on him, because he really needed to see Christ’s love.
He’s different. He’s different than ALL of my other neighbors. He isn’t a clean cut Christian man like me. He smokes. He drinks. He is not someone you would normally associate with if you saw him.
But that’s because you have never met him. See, I don’t think I have ever seen God’s finger placed on someone’s heart so deeply and so tightly since…..well, since He touched me. (There are still some people in
I mean this neighbor of mine, he knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is real and He is moving. But He has questions. And anger, and discontent, and rage, and all sorts of other negative things bottled up inside of him.
He needs a friend; a neighbor. And God had the trust to introduce him into MY life. This neighbor of mine is walking a razor edge in his life; and God trusts me to walk with him.
So, do I help him bear his burdens? Or do I insist that he get cleaned up and make himself presentable? Get his act together and come correct before I’ll talk to him about God?
Or, do I show God’s love and mercy to him, just like God did to me? Do I walk this thing out with him, and show him truth and grace wrapped in love and acceptance?
As my parents used to say to me and my siblings as we were growing up, “Remember your home training”. Don’t forget how you were raised up in this world.
My Father, God, raised me up to see that no one, NO ONE, is beyond needing Him. And no one, NO ONE, is too far beneath me to help. I am not good enough to look down my nose at ANYONE.
I was there for him last night. I’ll be there for him today. He knows that I won’t help him in anything wrong, or enable him in negative actions. But he is also learning that with trust comes acceptance. He is learning to trust me, so I need to continue to earn his trust.
Help me by praying that I will not do anything that will reproach the name of Christ. Pray that I will continue to be open and attentive to what God would have me say to him, and not what I would say. Pray that I will continue to have the opportunity to speak the truth of Christ into his life.
Help me bear this burden. And understand this; if you won’t help me, then God will find someone else who will. And you will lose a part in something so wondrous and magnificent to happen in a person’s life.
Bear this, so someone will bear yours with you. It might even be me.
Oh, and that new neighbor I have; he doesn’t live on my street. That doesn’t make a difference to you, does it?
Monday, November 20, 2006
Why is there a disconnection between what we KNOW and what we DO? Why is it so much easier to “talk the talk” than to “walk the walk”? You know what I mean don’t you? Let’s get honest about this day to day Christian walk just for a minute.
We all know what we should do; how we should be toward each other and toward those on the outside. We know we are called to be salt and light. We are called to be a guidepost for those who are in the darkness; to lead them to Jesus.
Why can we watch people dying all around us, and not be fazed by it? Why can see those who are looking for something that we KNOW we have, and hide it under a basket? How come we can go to church and strut and do all manner of things in front of the people, but we cannot make a simple sacrifice for a God who sacrificed His own Son to bring us back into reconciliation with Him?
Why can’t I just do it?
Who am I kidding, right? I’ve got it all together, don’t I? I’ve got this wonderful ministry with the verses; I’m part of the greatest ministry
Why can’t I just do it?
Where is the switch, so I can just flip it “on” and get my walk in order? Where is the path that I am missing so I can get through all this stuff and quit floundering around in life? Where am I not getting it?
Why can’t I just do it?
Matthew 11:29-30-“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for you souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Before John Deere tractors, fields were plowed with oxen. The animals were yoked together, and hitched to a plow. You had to be careful, because you didn’t want two completely different oxen yoked together.
You wanted them to work together. And when the time came, you used more experienced oxen to train younger ones on the plowing. When you plowed, you wanted nice, straight furrows for your crops; not zigzagging lines all over your fields.
Okay, so who am I yoked to right now? Wait; you mean I’m actually supposed to be yoked with Jesus? But if I’m yoked to him, then I’m most likely in training. Also, if I’m yoked to him, then…..I’m not so completely different from Him after all. I mean, you don’t want to be unequally yoked…
But if I’m not so different, and we are plowing the same field, then why is it so hard for me? Why is my burden so heavy? I wonder what I’ll see if I look back at the line I’ve been plowing…..
Exactly when did my line start trying to go crooked? Where did I go wrong?
Why can’t I just do it?
Then I look next to me, and there stands Jesus, still. Smiling at me; grinning from ear to ear. He doesn’t have to say a word. I just know that I’ve drifted and He has been there to keep my course. He doesn’t want me to go astray, but sometimes, we have to learn.
The yoke chafes when you strain against it, doesn’t it? It rubs and scrapes away at you. But when you put it on and follow the example we have been given, it’s much easier to pull.
Why can’t I just do it? Maybe I am trying too hard to do it, instead of allowing the One who works THROUGH me to do it. Maybe I’m going about this thing all wrong.
Maybe this yoke thing isn’t so bad after all.
You always get a chance to learn to plow. The fields are white with the harvest. Don’t just get disgusted with yourself and throw down your yoke. Don’t give up. Allow Jesus to pick you up, and dust you off.
Then grab that yoke, and pull with all your might, following the lead of the One who knows exactly where He wants you to go.
Hey, I’m doing it.
Be blessed in the Lord today, as He helps you plow your own field.
Monday, November 13, 2006
1 Samuel 12:23-“Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way.”
So, let’s set the stage here, shall we? Samuel has just anointed Saul as King over the Israelites. In a nutshell, the Israelites wanted to be just like all the nations around them. They wanted a King.
They ignored the fact that the LORD had taken care of there needs in
And let’s not forget that Samuel came along and spoke truth to them at a time when they really needed it. Nope, let’s just ignore all that and get us a King. We don’t want God to rule over us; we want a human King.
Oh, and if you really want to know…Samuel even told them how much of a creep that Saul would turn out being. He explained exactly how the King would use the people and put them in bondage. “We don’t care! We want a King like everyone else!”
What does it mean to you to pray for someone? What is your prayer life like right now? I know mine needs some work; I don’t ever want to be just satisfied with it.
When I read that verse during my morning devotional, it spoke something to me completely different probably than most of you. It makes me think of my prayer life in regards to the life I live in front of my God.
See, when I read it, I saw my prayer life as not only my petitions to God FOR YOU, but how I live my life IN FRONT of you. I see that the greatest prayer I can give to you is to be the open book you need to see. It shows you that Christianity is not about being perfect, it’s about being PERFECTED.
I look at that verse, and I realize that sometimes my prayer life involves telling you something at sometime that you REALLY don’t want to hear. And sometimes, you as a leader have to tell me something that I REALLY do not want to hear either. It doesn’t matter; it’s our job.
Students, sometimes we, as your small group leaders, are obligated by the Lord, to make insights into your walk that will go contrary with the path you are following at the present time. It doesn’t mean that we don’t love you; it means that we love you enough to put our relationship on the line and correct you in love.
And sometimes, as an adult, we have to be corrected by the Lord through someone else as well. Do we take correction well? The answer for most of us is a resounding “NO!”
But, far be it from me that I sin against God. Far be it from me to see you doing something destructive or negative and not open my heart to you and pray for you. Far be it from me to take the things God gives you for me, and throw them to the side like garbage.
See, I think (and this is just my opinion) that sometimes the prayer is the petition, and sometimes the prayer is admonition or example. I have a responsibility, as a Christian, to not only not cause you to stumble with my actions; but to speak truth into your life and actions, as well.
I know that someone may believe that I am talking out of both sides of my mouth. You know what? That’s okay. I can only speak to you my convictions, and use what God is telling me.
Let’s make a deal. If you think I need correction, then don’t sin against the Lord; teach me the good and the right way, as the Lord speaks to your heart. And I’ll do the same for you. We need to show each other love so that the world will see what we have and want it. If we are no different than everyone around us, what good is what we have?
Let’s pray for one another, without ceasing; however that manifests itself.
Be blessed in the Lord today,
Monday, November 06, 2006
Who do we serve? A more important question at this time may be who do YOU serve? Do you serve a god of stone, wood, or metal? Do you serve a god of money, power, and greed? Or do you serve a God of limitless compassion, mercy, grace, and peace? Who do you serve?
If you listen to or read the news this week, you know this question is coming into sharp focus. I really believe that with this election year, and everything else occurring we are at a crossroads in our country’s history.
The story of the evangelical leader allegedly falling into sexual immorality mirrors the downturn of our society. It shines the light onto our mission and mission field. Many will look on this as an indicator of failure of Christians to live up to the standards God has set for us. They will see it as one more reason for them NOT to accept God as their Savior. I mean, after all, we (Christians) are no different than the lost, are we?
But is that true? What sets us apart? What is our driving force and passion?
Last night, I was with a group of freshman boys in small group. It was particularly trying at one point, and I asked them a question I have asked my own small group. Why are you here? What are doing at this service tonight?
I got the pat answer, “Learn about God, grow closer to Him…” blah, blah, blah. My boys will tell you, don’t blow smoke. When I ask in small group, I expect honesty, not what you think I want to hear. It was interesting to hear their answers.
So, I’ll ask you-why are you here? What is it that you are doing? Who are you doing it for? Are you doing it for the man God has elevated to leadership over you local fellowship of believers, or are you doing it for God Himself?
I’ll tell you this, I love Pastor Chris Stephens. I love the way he interacts with the members, and how he has a heart for his ministry. I love the High School Ministry. And I love the students. But I don’t do what I do there, or here, because of my love for him.
I do it because of my love for Him.
Joshua 24:15-“And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. BUT AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE, WE WILL SERVE THE LORD.” (The emphasis here is mine.)
I don’t do what I do for Pastor Chris, because if the truth is told, he is only a man. I do what I do because of He who died for my sins and rose again. (Don’t tell Chris, he still thinks he’s Super Pastor…I don’t want to hurt his feelings.)
If you are crushed because a man of God falls, it’s okay. We are supposed to hurt when others hurt. But don’t let it dissuade you from your service. Don’t let another human determine if or how you will serve the Living God.
Last night, Larry Llanusa said something that really struck me. He basically said that we need to be careful about using someone else as a crutch or a reason for our NOT serving. We need to determine that we serve a mighty, awesome God. We need to examine our lives if one person can turn us aside from doing what God has called us to do.
Many of you reading this may or may not be doing anything to serve God. Why not? I can get mad, upset, crazy, or angry about it. I can even say, “Well God, if they are not going to serve, why should I?”
Or, I can remember that as for me and my house, I choose to serve the Lord. I can make a conscious decision to do what God has not only empowered me to do, but given me a heart to do, and do it to the best of my abilities.
In football, there are a lot more people on the team than play in a game situation normally. Some are there, and they never see an active play in a game their entire career. It doesn’t mean that they aren’t on the team, or that they don’t play a role.
They have a choice as to how they take what they have been dealt. They can either make the best of it, and realize they are on a team; or moan their fate and make everyone around them miserable.
You’re on the team, if you’ve accepted Christ. You have a part to play in the game. Some have big parts, so have not so big parts. But if everyone who has a part plays, the whole team wins.
Who do you serve? Why do you serve? Think about it hard. It could be the biggest decision you make in your life next to accepting Christ.
Be blessed in the Lord.
Monday, October 30, 2006
And I know you love me. How do I know? You show me.
Did you notice that? I didn’t say, “You tell me.” I said, “You show me.” You show me in things that you do, that aren’t required, but are just part of your nature.
Last night, at EPIC (our high school ministry, for those who don’t worship where I do), love was poured out on me. But one way was really special. I had someone care enough to ask me if I was okay, but it seemed like I was pulling back from them.
You say, “Huh?” Me, I almost cried. I did. This person touched me in a way that I can’t describe. See, I had kind of been pulling away, giving this person and their significant other space. I had done it because it seemed like they had been avoiding me, so I didn’t want to crowd them, in case I had done something to offend.
So anyway, we talked about it. And they were really worried that I was going to pull out or back out of the ministry. Truth be told, the HSM youth keep me going. If I were to be really up front, they are close to unconditional love as I have seen this side of my Father in Heaven.
Some of you who have teens may disagree with me. Heck, I tend to disagree with me at times. But you know what? It’s okay, because this is me. You see, deep inside, we all want to know that we are loved and accepted no matter what we do.
My teens know that I love them. I chastise them, I berate them, I challenge them, and I reward them. I offer to be there for them, and I try and back it up. I make time for them, when no time is available, or when it will be to my detriment. I make time. And you know what they give me in return?
I get the chance to be a part of their life.
Who do you love? Who knows that you love them? Who knows that you are there?
John 13:35- “By this ALL will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
We NEED to love each other. When the world looks at the Christian church, I think they see a lot of things. But I wonder if they see love. If we can’t love one another, how can we love a dying world?
My adult small group is awesome. They love us as well. We haven’t been in a while. (I know there are alarms going off in people’s heads right now. This is between me and my small group. And I have talked with my leaders.)
Even though we haven’t been in a while, I know they are there for me. I know they still love me. Not because they call to check on us, or quiz us or anything. I know because of their heart. They love me, and they are patient. You know what they are doing? They are walking with me and beside me. They are traveling that dusty road with me, so I won’t be alone. And I love them for it.
Do you know love? Do you know how to be loved? I believe that if you can’t first be loved, you can’t love on ANYONE else. If you can’t be loved on and nurtured, then I believe you can’t be that love to someone else.
If God can’t love on you, how can you love on someone else? If you can’t love God, who is the basis and meaning of love, how can you love on the person you work with, or go to school with?
Our society has reduced love to an emotion; to a word. It’s placed love in a box. We have taken love to be something that you can just turn on and off, like a light switch. Love isn’t like that at all.
Love is something you have to work at with all your might. And if you don’t want to work at it for others, it will show in your walk. And one day, you might find yourself wondering why you are all alone in the dark. You won’t see the candles of those who were trying to walk with you, because you blew them out whenever they came close.
You can even block the love of Jesus in your life. You can refuse to accept it. It’s there, a free gift. All you have to do is reach out and grab it. Once you do, things should never, ever be the same.
I love you. Never, ever forget that. I’m here for you, whenever you need me. Be love to someone today. You’ll be glad you did.
Be blessed in the Lord today.
Monday, October 23, 2006
I’ve been reading about Moses, and the children of Israel. If you’ve never read that, I suggest that you take some time and go through the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible, written by Moses). He was one powerful man; but he also was kind of overwhelmed.
God’s chosen people, the ones He had revealed Himself to through all manner of miracles, signs and wonders were, for lack of a better term, knuckleheads. They had a clear path before them, laid out by the God of all the universe and they got overwhelmed at every turn. They lost sight of Who they were following, and Who released them from Pharaoh’s grip.
I would like to think that sometimes, when the people were the most obstinate, the most ornery, that Moses would just not know quite what to do about them. The Bible shows that he got so frustrated with their selfish, stiff necked attitude.
I realize that I seem to be drifting here. But in my head all this fits together. Moses took a lot of their complaining to heart, and that showed in his fit of rebellion at Kadesh, during the exodus (Numbers 20). He was fed up with the people and their rebellious, whiny ways. Moses got angry, because he couldn’t understand WHY the people were so obstinate toward their God.
He was instructed to speak to a rock, in the name of the LORD, and bring forth water. He was told specifically what to do.
He hit it. Hard. Twice.
Now, don’t get me wrong; in his place I would have done the same thing. I would have probably accidentally knocked someone in the head as well. And look what it got him; he was denied access to the Promised Land he had been leading the people toward.
Bo, is there a point?
Yes, but I don’t think this is for anyone here. Sometimes, it’s just about following and doing. Sometimes it’s just about realizing that, no matter what, God is God is God and nothing or no one is going to change it. Sometimes, it’s just about doing what God says, and not worrying about if it makes sense. Sometimes it just means not letting your emotions get in the way.
Deuteronomy 10:12-13-“And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good?”
God tells me to fear (respect; worship; hold in reverent awe) Him; to walk in the path He has set for me, and to keep His commandments because they are good for me.
So, I gave you this whole big story, to tell you this; it’s not about me having something I think is meaningful to tell you. Sometimes, it’s just about me telling you that God just wants me to continue doing this. He wants me to continue to walk this road with Him, doing what He tells me to do and not to worry about what any of you think.
Sometimes, you’ll get it. Sometimes someone else will. Sometimes, you’re just along for the ride. But God is faithful, and He can and will give you something for your time.
I’m not equating any of you with the Israelites. I’m telling you that sometimes, I’m just instructed to do this, to show you that confusion can reign in all of us. We all have a point, I think, where we wonder what it is about the cloud and the pillar of fire that is not making an impression.
Keep going; keep plugging along the path God has set out for you. That’s your only job. The rest of it is on Him. As the bombing group leader from the movie Star Wars said, “Stay on target.”
If I could give you anything from this, it would be the plea to stay tight with God. IF you do what He says, when He says, how He says, you will zero in on truth in your life. So I think, instead of knocking my head against the wall in frustration at what I can’t tell you; I’ll just continue to tell you what I can.
Be blessed in the Lord today.
Monday, October 16, 2006
Oh, it’s okay! Don’t panic. I watch over you every night when you sleep. You know what else? I watch over you when you toss and turn, as well. And when you think that you are all alone, and trying your best not to think about all the things going on in the world around you; I’m there, too.
I wait on you to call on Me. I get up and rush to your side, knowing in My heart that THIS is the day you are going to call on Me. But I also know you well enough to know that you may not quite be there, yet. So, I wait.
It’s not that I am trying to bother you; I just want what’s best for you. I would NEVER want you to think that I am just badgering you or trying to be an annoyance. I want you to come to Me on your own; not because of something I did.
Oh, that brings me to something else. It’s about that feeling you may have right now. That’s NOT My fault. It is the part of Me that has lived in you every day since you asked Me into your life. It’s the Holy Spirit. You can call Him what you like…Holy Spirit, Holy Ghost, whatever. Just know that He lives in you now.
He sees what you do in secret, and He tells Me. He is the One who is kind of prodding you. He is just there to remind you that We want to be your all in all. We want to be the Ones you look to in times of trouble.
Oh, He’s not going to just take over your body and MAKE you do anything; He’s going to remind you of the relationship we used to have. He’s there to remind you that you really can’t do this on your own, but We will help you and live in you, enabling you to do anything We need you to accomplish.
The people around you will tell you that I’m not looking out for you. They’ll tell you that they have all the answers and that you don’t need to look any further than your own selfish desires. Can I just be honest with you and tell you that is baloney? It’s not just baloney; it’s the whole sandwich on a platter. It’s served up to you looking all fresh and fancy, but it’s still only a baloney sandwich.
And then, I put people in your path. I give you friends and others who speak what I put into them, to give you a word of encouragement. I try and let you know that I am still talking to you. Sometimes, you listen to Me. But most of the time, you just ignore Me.
Let Me tell you something about Myself. It’s found in My love letter that I wrote just for you. I want you to think about it today.
Psalm 86:15-“But You, O LORD, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.”
Do you see that? I am full of compassion. I am not the God of fear and loathing, as I am sometimes portrayed. I love you, no matter what the world tells you about Me.
Oh, and one more thing I’d like to get off My chest. It’s about when I ask you to do something for Me. When I do, and it seems like it implodes; that’s not My doing. There could be one of two things at work in that particular situation.
(1) You didn’t do what I asked you. Or more importantly, you are doing it, but you didn’t do it THE WAY I asked. Mostly when this happens, it’s because when you see My plan, you think it takes WAY too long. So, you think you can HELP Me out. I have an idea-don’t do it. When I give you something, and a plan to do it, trust in Me. Stick with My way, even if it seems like there is a better way to do it. Remember that whole omniscience thing? I own the rights to that.
(2) You have someone who really, REALLY hates the relationship you and I have together. If he sees that you are really trying to do something that I have asked of you, and you are doing it the way I asked of you, he gets scared. He knows that it won’t fail. So, he expends a LOT of energy trying to make it seem like you are failing. So, if that happens, here is what you do-talk to Me. If it’s WHAT I want you to do, and HOW I want you to do it, I’ll tell you. I’ll make sure you know you are on the right path.
Well, that’s about it for now. Just remember that I love you very much. I would never do anything to hurt you. And I don’t make you jump through hoops just to prove you love me, either.
You and I are cool. I just wanted you to know that today. I love you very much. Thanks.
Be blessed in the Lord today and always,
Monday, October 09, 2006
School’s in session. Let’s have a lesson, shall we?
Omniscient- Having complete or unlimited knowledge, awareness, or understanding; perceiving all things.
Omnipresent- Being present everywhere at the same time.
Omnipotent- Having unlimited, universal, infinite power, authority, or force; all-powerful.
These are the attributes of our God. This is Who He is. So, with that being said, I have a question for you. It’s a very simple one.
Why do you think that ANYTHING you do catches our God off balance?
Come on; let’s get this out in the open. We all think it at one time or another. We do something and we think, “Okay, God is really going to be mad at me this time! He’s never going to listen to me again!”
Wrong! Wrong, wrong, wrong!!!
God is God. He cannot change with the weather; or with the breezes, or because He just feels like changing. He is an unchanging rock; the source of our salvation.
Stop elevating yourself to some super sinner status. You know exactly what I mean. The “I am just a dirty old sinner, and I have done so much wrong in my life, there is no WAY God could forgive me for this one.”
God WANTS to bless you. God WANTS to love on you. God WANTS to be there with you throughout your trials and tribulations. The only thing stopping Him is US.
Romans 8:1- “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”
We must walk according to the Spirit. When we walk in the Spirit, we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. They will come upon us, and try and overtake us, but they will not control us.
We are new creations. We are NEW!
I have some Starbuck’s stainless steel coffee mugs. (Yes, I said that as I have several. Don’t ask. I like them.) I buy them and they are all pretty when they are brand new. Then I start using them. Eventually, I drop it or bang it against it something or any number of different things that can happen in the course of a day.
Sometimes, it puts a significant ding in the cup. But it’s still a Starbuck’s coffee mug. It still holds my coffee, and keeps it warm for me; with or without the dent.
When people look at my cup, they see the dents. I see points of character. I see traits that make this cup my own.
Sometimes, when we look in the mirror, we see ourselves as the sum of the decisions, good or bad, that we have made up until that point in our lives.
When God looks at us, however, He sees Jesus. That is, IF we have accepted Him as our Lord AND Savior; the boss of our lives. God wants what is best for us; Jesus is that best. The Holy Spirit helps to guide us in that direction.
Stop second guessing God. Stop wondering if this is the day that God stops loving you. Stop wondering if the God of the Universe, who incidentally doesn’t owe you a thing, is really mad at you right now.
Just because you don’t hear Him, doesn’t mean He’s not there. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. Sometimes, He quiets the storm. And sometimes, He quiets YOU. And when you are quiet, you will take notice. You will notice that the storm is raging all around you, but it’s NOT touching you.
It may look like it is, but looks can be deceiving. God is NOT a man that He should lie to you.
Now then, do something for me. Tell the voice that is speaking negative thoughts into your ear the memory verse. If he keeps talking, keep telling him. If he gets louder, you get louder.
You know who that voice is, don’t you? And do you know what will happen if you continue to tell that spirit what God has said about you?
It will feel a gentle tap on its shoulder. It will turn around, and there will be a huge guardian angel, straight from the throne room of Heaven. And the One who sent this angel will have a message for the spirit talking bad about His child.
And there will be much weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Smile; trust me, it WILL be funny to watch.
Be blessed in the Lord,
Monday, October 02, 2006
Hey, good morning to You! How are You doing?
I’m good. I was just kind of wondering about you. We haven’t talked in a while. I wanted to see how you were doing.
Well, I’m okay. You know it’s just been really busy around here.
Well, yeah, I know you think so. That’s kind of what I wanted to talk to you about.
Well, You know how it is…remember about John’s dad?
Yeah, and I really appreciate you being there for him and all, but, about us…
Yeah, that was kind of tough, but I made it. And I did see You that day; I even talked about it.
That’s true, but you know, I like it better when we talk…
And remember, right after that, Becky had that flare-up. She had to go on the steroid treatment again. You KNOW how that is!
Well, yes, I do. But don’t you think that if we could maybe talk more….
And then, I’ve got all this stuff people want me to do at church, and the small group, I haven’t been there in a while, and everyone is so busy. It’s hard to schedule that without keeping Kaitlyn and Sammy up late. And You know how that is, don’t You?
But see, that’s what I’m trying to talk to you about. You used to get up early and talk to me, before your day started.
I know, I know. But it’s just that it’s so EARLY. I am so busy that I just don’t know; I don’t know that I can fit that in to my schedule any more.
Yeah, You know how it is? I’ve got this responsibility at work, and I am working 10 hour days. By the time I get there it turns out to be more like an 11 or 12 hour one. I need that extra few minutes of sleep.
But don’t you remember when you used to give Me that time?
Well, I know; but I’m getting by right now. It’s okay.
Yeah, it’s okay. I’m okay. I’m keeping it between the lines.
Well, I miss talking to you. I just wanted….
Well, hey! I miss talking to You as well. It’s okay. We’ll get together and have some quality time when I can, okay?
Look, I really have to go now. But it’s been really good talking to You. (click).
I just wanted to tell you something. But I guess it can wait until you are ready to hear it.
Is this how your quiet time with God has been lately? Be honest. Sometimes we think we can just glide along on our own, using God as a spiritual band-aid. We keep Him locked down, until something breaks loose in our life. Then, we are ALL over Him; wondering where He’s been.
Sometimes, it’s not about Him, it’s about me.
Revelation 3:20- “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”
God has been talking to me for a while now; I’ve just been too busy to listen. And I can’t turn on a dime and immediately do better; but I can start today fresh and new. And with His help...I can do anything. And so can you, but you have to make a fresh start.
You know, the thing about a band-aid is that it just covers up a wound. It doesn’t actually heal it.
Stop settling for a covering, and let the Healer do His work. He’s waiting.
Be blessed in the Lord today.
Monday, September 25, 2006
I watched a man die yesterday.
I know some of you think that’s probably a crappy, dramatic way to start this, but it’s true. I accompanied my best friend yesterday to the hospital, and watched his father die.
He (the father) had Lou Gehrig’s disease. I have included a web link so you can find out for yourself, if you like. (http://www.alsa.org/als/what.cfm?CFID=2758565&CFTOKEN=4355432 ). He was bedridden for the last couple of years and couldn’t even talk. He communicated through blinking and eye movement.
Sunday, they took him off the ventilator. There I was, with my friend, as he watched them disconnect his father from the life support. It was the only way he was still alive. But he was conscious and alert to what was going on.
He wanted to go. He had communicated that to his son. He wanted to go. He didn’t want to live like that, and he had made it known, even before he was bedridden.
There was his family, and me. I felt like an intruder; like the odd man out. But no one made me feel out of place. I was there for my best friend, and that was enough for them. His Mom was taken care of by everyone else; they left me to support my friend.
I held him as he held his father. I comforted him as he spent his last, fleeting moments with the man who had raised him. And then, God walked into the room.
How do I know? I saw it in his dad’s eyes.
I don’t mean a smile like you have to sort of hold your head in the light and look at it a certain way smile. I mean a beatific, wonderful cheek to cheek smile that filled the whole room. It was a smile that warms you right down to your marrow.
And at that point, I knew Jesus was there, welcoming him into the fold. He didn’t go terrified, with a panicked look on his face; he slid gracefully into death, escorted by the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.
2 Corinthians 5:8- “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.”
I’m crying now. Not because I’m sad, but because I’m hopeful.
I can’t wait until those gathered around me see the smile on my face as I am escorted into the presence of the Lord. As He takes me into the throne room I have heard so much about, and been comforted from so many times, and introduces me personally to His Dad.
I can’t wait until I too, stand face to face with the Person who didn’t make me feel like an intruder. He didn’t want me to be the odd man out. He wanted me to feel like family.
So He let His Son leave His home, and come here to be with me. He dropped everything, and everyone, and said, “It is okay, go take care of him. Be his friend, so he doesn’t have to go through this alone.”
We are NOT alone.
And we don’t have to be scared of dying. We have a path that has been set forth before us; a beautiful path; a path lined with gold. A path that leads us straight to Heaven.
We sometimes forget that death is NOT the end. It’s the beginning of a GREAT eternity.
Hey Satan, stick that in your pipe and smoke it.
Be blessed in the Lord,
Monday, September 18, 2006
See, I had this great dialogue about how God was talking to me. He was going to tell me about all these e-mails I receive from people about Him. You know the ones, where at the end of the e-mail they “challenge” you to send it to everyone in your address book. And if you don’t, you MUST be ashamed of Him.
He was going to tell me how I couldn’t possibly be His child, because I refused to continue the chain of sending those e-mails. I broke the chain, and so now, I had to beg forgiveness.
The only thing is, I don’t believe in that kind of stuff. If my faith is to be judged by passing on an e-mail and inferring that if I don’t it means I am ashamed of Christ….whoa boy! Do you want to be judged like that?
So, here I am, getting ready to do this.
You should know, I have a kind of…ritual…I do when I am going to send out the weekly verse. I usually start up my e-mail program and have it running in the background, while I type. It’s just something I do.
Anyway, I get this urge to see what I have received. And I got an e-mail from God. Here is what it said:
John 3:16 God so loved the world that he gave his only forgoten son that
whoever beleves in him shal not parish but have ever lasting life and
thats my favorite memory verse. Thank you for your memory verse. Love, Sammy
Yeah, I know, it says it’s from Sammy (my 8 year old) but it’s really from God. You see, I just recently allowed my two youngest daughters to set up an e-mail account. And I just added them on to my e-mail list, so they would at least receive something.
And this is what I got in return, something special from God. You see, I don’t put anything in my e-mails about sending them on to someone to prove you love Jesus. I don’t challenge you like that, because it’s not me, and it would be wrong on my account.
Now don’t get me wrong, if you want to send those e-mails on, and you feel led to do so, by all means do so. But what if someone who receives it is new in the faith, or isn’t comfortable sending something like that to everyone in their address book?
What if you have caused someone to doubt, because they don’t feel right about it? I know it’s an extreme case, but the Bible talks about it a lot. Remember, if eating meat in front of someone causes them to stumble, don’t do it?
Romans 1:16-17- “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.’”
All I’m doing is asking you to be careful what you ask of others. I ask you to send these on to others, not to prove you love Jesus, or are a super Christian or anything like that. I don’t need it, because this is a God thing, and God will prosper it and spread it like I said before (remember Isaiah 55:11). Pass them along IF YOU THINK that someone else will learn something about our great God through my experiences and my stumbles.
My daughter showed me that I am doing well by training her up in the way she should go. I didn’t beat her up with it; she learns by watching.
Lots of people learn lots of things about our Christian walk by watching. They don’t get it from e-mails, or chain letters, or fancy poems or anything like that. They learn about our God by watching us, and seeing how we deal with the same world they live in.
Please don’t get upset with me. You have a perfect right to delete all these e-mails that you want. Trust me; it won’t hurt me in the least. I’m doing what God (through Jim and Linda Jenkins) asked me to start. They didn’t tell me that if I didn’t, God would be disappointed in me. They asked me to use a talent I have for God.
But don’t equate someone’s walk with passing this, or anything like it, on to others. We are told to go out into the world and preach the Gospel, not e-mail it to everyone in our Contacts list. Take what you learn here, and go out and touch someone else in your circle of friends; someone that I can’t touch or reach.
Be there for someone; allow them to watch your example. Let them see firsthand and experience the love and power of an awesome God. Otherwise, it’s just a lot of words.
Oh, by the way; if you don’t send this to 10 other people in your address book, your life will be crappy for 777 years and God will look down His nose at you. You’ll be ashamed and shunned for the rest of your life and have to marry someone with a wart on his/her/its nose.
Okay, maybe not. But God will still love you, no matter what you do with this.
Be free AND blessed in the Lord,
Monday, September 11, 2006
Do you know what that means? It means that character is a virtue or trait that comes out of you when no one is looking or when you THINK no one is around.
Character is integrity, honor, sacrifice, and a whole lot of other things rolled into one word. It is something that you have, and something you exhibit.
I usually don’t do this, but I am specifically directing this one at the high school ministry, especially our students. Each one of you has a mission and a goal to see that those who are lost and dying around you come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
How do I know? Simple, a LOT of you told me, or another small group leader. You make these big pleas and speeches about how you want your friend’s lives to be changed by Jesus Christ.
How about yours? How about showing them through your life? (Now adults don’t look down your collective noses at the youth, either. We have REALLY dropped the ball when it comes to character at times, haven’t we? So don’t just tune out until the verse comes up.)
So students, what do your friends see when they look at you? “Well Bo, I talk to them and try and get them to come to church and they just won’t come! I don’t know why they won’t listen to me!”
I’ve got some news for you, and some of you won’t like it. I fully believe that I may make some people mad with this like never before. But it MUST be said, for we are in the last days. We are seeing the throes of what must happen before Jesus shows up one day for His Bride, the Church. And we MUST be ready.
So anyway, as I was saying; I know why your friends aren’t listening. Do you want to know?
MySpace, Xanga, Facebook; whatever else is out there. Go and take a look.
“Oh that is just great, Bo! You’re just going to beat up on us because we have a __________ page!” Nope, it’s quite the contrary. I am going to take you task for the PICTURE you present to the people who come to your page and visit. I am taking you to task for the things people see/hear/do when they come to your page(s). I am taking you to task for the things your friends see when they are with you, and your small group leader is not there.
What do your friends see when they come to your pages? What do your pages represent to them? I have a MySpace, it’s located at http://www.myspace.com/dabigdogbo . (At least for now I do. I don’t know if I’ll be keeping it.) Go there if you want. I’m not ashamed. I try and present a positive message and something that connects me to the youth I am trying to be a friend and a mentor with.
If there is something there that would cause someone to stumble, I would take it off-IMMEDIATELY! I wouldn’t want one of the students to get something bad from me, because that would be my fault for leading them astray. (I know that some of you are going to go to my page now, and critique every little thing. That’s okay, as long as you are doing it IN LOVE!!!!)
It’s all about what you want people to know. I want them to know that Jesus has changed my life. He is the ultimate Rock. He is the Foundation that I need to build my life upon.
We are going to take a test, now. But don’t worry, there are multiple choices. You know, you get more than one answer. You can pick anyone you would like to choose.
1 Peter 1:16- “ …because it is written, ‘Be holy for I am holy.’”
Leviticus 11:44-“For I am the LORD your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy. Neither shall you defile yourselves with any creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
Leviticus 11:45-“For I am the LORD who brings you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.”
Leviticus 19:2-“Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them, ‘You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.’”
Pick one. I don’t care which one. And then, look at your life. Are you holy, as the LORD your God has set you apart to be holy? Are you?
God has called us to a holy life. A lot of you students have a calling on your life to reach out to those who are around you. How you do it is completely up to you. But, how you do it DIRECTLY affects how successful you are going to be in the long run.
One last thing, if anyone is still here. This is not an indictment of the internet, MySpace, Xanga, or anyplace else. These things are like anything else; they are tools. A tool can do NOTHING on its own. It can only be used by someone in one of two ways-the right one, or the wrong one.
Don’t take from this that I think these sites are bad. But be careful what you put out there for general consumption by the masses. Remember Who called you out of the darkness into the light.
I’m sorry this is so long, but I felt it needed to be said. I hope you take it with the love which was intended.
Be blessed in the Lord,
Monday, September 04, 2006
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David…..I promise.
Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, Paul, Andrew, Thomas….I promise.
Pain, suffering, persecutions, death….I promise.
What have you been promised? What did God say to you when you accepted His offer of salvation?
Better yet, HAVE you accepted His offer? Or are you still looking around to see if there is something better?
All those people listed above received a promise of something better when they gave their life over to God. Some of them didn’t see the promise in their lifetime, but it didn’t mean that He who promised wasn’t faithful.
God said He would do it, and they believed. That was the end of the story for them; period. They had a promise from the Almighty; the Creator of the universe.
He had entered into a bargain of sorts with people whom He didn’t owe ANYTHING. He told them that if they gave their lives over to Him, to use, that He would bless them mightily. And they did it gladly.
Me, I get mad when I get my paycheck and it’s gone before I even know how much has been deposited. I get upset when things don’t go my way and fit into the perfect, logical box I have created for my life. Each piece should fit just so, and make a wonderful picture.
Isaiah 55:11-“So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”
Did you get that? His Word shall accomplish what He pleases, not what I want. My desires may coincide with His, but not always. At that point, the Word is accomplishing His Will, not my own.
When I got saved, I met God right at my dinner table. It was a night in January, 1997. He appeared to me, in the midst of turmoil, pain and heartache in my family. I was at a turning point of my life that night. I truly believe that I would not have lived much longer had He not visited me that evening.
Of all the things He said to me that night, one has always stuck with me. Jesus looked at me and said, “You have done it your way for so long, and it hasn’t worked. Do you want to try My way now? I promise it won’t always be easy, but it will be worth it.”
Sometimes, I forget that small part of the conversation. But it comes back, and reminds me that He promised it would be worth it. God promised that it would be worth it.
So, I may not see it in my lifetime. My wife may not see it in her lifetime. My kids may not see it in their lifetime. But that doesn’t mean that God has welched on His promise. It means that God is God, and the life I live is used to accomplish His will, not my own.
Today, I have been reminded of that fact.
And now, so have you.
Be blessed in the Lord,
Monday, August 28, 2006
Who are you and what do you do?
In the context of this e-mail, most of you are going to tell me that you are a child of God, and your job is to spread the Good News of the gospel.
What about when you close it up? What happens when you go back out into the world? I’ll tell you what happens to most of us; we back off. The fire goes out.
One of my favorite worship songs is “Undignified”. Most of you probably know it.
“I will dance, I will sing, to be mad for my King,
Nothing Lord is hindering, this passion in my soul.”
But stuff is hindering our passion, isn’t it? We can sing about being passionate, but when the rubber meets the road it’s a different story.
We had Mark Cahill speak at our church this past weekend. If you don’t know him, he is a powerful speaker and an on-fire evangelist. He is all about spreading God’s word to a lost and dying world. He is passionate about it.
“I will dance, I will sing, to be mad for my King,
Nothing Lord is hindering, this passion in my soul.”
I went to Wal-Mart yesterday with a friend of mine. I had a pocket full of cards I was going to give out to the Family Fun Night we are having at our church. I was ready.
And then, I got there.
Do you know how much easier it is in your mind to do something, than to actually go out in the world and do it? See, in your mind, the conditions are perfect, and no one looks at you like you have leprosy. They don’t act like you are trying to take something from them, or sell them the newest craze on the market.
“And I’ll become even more undignified than this,
Some may say its foolishness.
And I’ll become even more undignified than this,
Leave my pride by my side.”
It’s out of my comfort zone. Oh, I can bare myself in this e-mail, to some of you that I barely know. I can and intend to pass them out at work. But to just go somewhere like that, and pass them out to COMPLETE AND TOTAL STRANGERS, that was scary.
But it’s about getting people in to our group going to Heaven.
See, I know God. I have my fear of God already in place. I’m not scared of Him, but I am in awe of Him. I hold my proper respect of Him and know my place next to the Creator of all mankind.
But a lot of the people I saw at Wal-Mart, they may not be in our group. They may face a judgmental, righteous God and go to Hell for their sins. And I had a ticket in my pocket to start them on the road to meet their salvation.
The first one I handed out was really hard. The next was harder. By the third one, I promise, I literally heard the devil yelling at me telling me to stop because these people were going to go management and tell them I was harassing people.
The next ones were couples who I would just walk by and they would say hello, and I would say hi back. And then I would hand them a card and invite them.
Then I started focusing on the families I saw. I would give them to parents and kids who were walking around, doing their Sunday shopping. Those were easier to give out. The voice in my head wasn’t as loud; or maybe I was just not paying that much attention to it.
I gave out a lot less than I had hoped, but more than the devil wanted me to give. Some of them may show up. I hope to see them, and then discuss with them what will happen after the day is over; after everything is over.
I want them to know my God. If I don’t tell them about Him, they may not have a chance to get to know Him. So don’t be scared. Don’t let the people around us go without knowledge and awe of God. Don’t let any “fools” be left alone. They need to know that we are going to pour out the good news of the gospel into their life whenever we get the chance.
Come on, let’s get a little undignified.
Be blessed in the Lord,
Monday, August 21, 2006
Sounds dumb, doesn’t it?
So I’ve been praying to God about my job. I really dislike where I work. I know, I know, we can’t all win the lottery. It’s just all the intangibles that go on; it makes it so hard some days to even come in. I dislike being there for my 40 hours; imagine how I felt working overtime last week. But I promised my wife that if it came my way, I would work, because we can really use the money to pay off some old bills from our time on the road.
I had three separate incidents each evening that I worked. And each came from people that I didn’t consider great spiritual advisers. I wouldn’t even hazard a guess that these people could have helped me to discover a truth about God, based on the way they lived their lives.
God is like that, though. He takes something you would not consider, and opens the world to you.
So, I worked over Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. And each day, I learned from someone that you have a choice to make about contentment. One friend told me that if I feel like I’m stuck here, that I will never make it. He told me not to feel marooned, but to feel like I made a better choice. I chose to do the best thing for me and my family.
Saturday and Sunday, I learned that the grass is not always necessarily greener on the other side of the fence. I learned that if God wants me on that side, He will provide a gate. I don’t have to keep trying to jump over it, and thinking that I have missed something.
Hebrews 13:5- “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you. ‘”
He said Himself that He has never left me. Just because I am not the poster child I feel I should be for God’s children, doesn’t mean that He has abandoned me.
As I said earlier, the people who helped me to these realizations are not necessarily ones you would look at as having that kind of wisdom. But I thanked each of them for reminding me that God did not put me at my workplace to be miserable. He placed me there to be a witness.
You are where you are at this time to be a witness. For my students at your individual schools, or my adult friends at your workplace, we all are called to be witnesses.
What is God telling you? What wisdom is He trying to speak into your life? I’ll tell you one thing, God is speaking to you, whether you believe it or not. He is trying to get you to listen to Him.
Oh, and one more thing. Don’t let the look of the messenger throw you off. If you think God won’t speak through someone unexpected, remember the story about Balaam and the donkey (Numbers 22). If God will use a donkey to speak to someone, He’ll pretty much use anyone as far as I’m concerned.
Be blessed in the Lord,
Monday, August 14, 2006
One half of a calendar year.
That’s how long you have supported me.
That’s how long we’ve been together.
I didn’t think I’d make it this far, honestly. I truthfully figured that I would have put my foot in my mouth and made a bunch of enemies long before this point happened.
I know someone is going, “So what, six months. What’s the big deal?” The deal is that I am still putting “pen to paper” so to speak. I am still putting my thoughts and ideas out there for everyone else to criticize or relate to or just ponder.
I’m still here. And I’ll admit, after the year I have had so far, I’m a little tired. It’s not a physical tiredness (mostly). It’s just an emotional tiredness.
I told you early on about my friend, Dan. He had a vision one time of being on a cork with a cross stuck in the middle of it. He was in the middle of a storm ravaged sea; the waves and the intensity were astounding. But the cork never went under. Oh, it tips from side to side, but it never goes under.
Sometimes, God quiets the storm. Sometimes, God sits out the storm huddled on the cork with you.
Galatians 6:9- “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”
Thanks for sticking in here with me through all the twists and turns our lives have taken. Thanks for the encouragement you have given me to keep at this, because you need it. You need someone to be real in your life, to be in the trenches with you. Thanks for letting me remind you that you are not alone in this thing called life.
Thanks for not letting me give up, or give in. Sometimes, it hurts. Sometimes you say things to me, making me wonder why I’m worried about the little things in my life, compared to the mountains some of you are facing.
Thanks for sticking in this with me. Thanks for bringing your friends, your co-workers, your families along for the ride. Thanks for being there with me, walking along the road that God is constructing for us. (That’s for you, Jim!)
Let’s continue to go this walk, together. And let’s bring as many people along for the ride as we can. Remember, it’s not just about us anymore. If I can help you walk, or be an encouragement, let me know. Or, if you just want a shoulder to lean on; someone to cry with, or just someone to hang with you through a rough patch, let me know that as well.
You deserve it; you stuck with me. Let’s finish the race.
Be blessed in the Lord,
Monday, August 07, 2006
Psalm 86:6-7- “Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications. In the day of my trouble I will call upon You, for You will answer me.”
You are faithful. Why? Why do you continue to hold me and pick me up? I don’t understand.
You tell me that when I get in trouble, to call on You and You WILL answer. Why? I’ll tell you Lord, most of the trouble I get into is on my own. It’s because of my pride, or my mouth or my arrogance in thinking I can do it on my own.
You are pure, clean, and holy. Sometimes, I’m like a pig rooting in its own slop.
It makes me crazy trying to understand. I need Your help to learn, and grow. But most of all, I need You to help me to stop, stop, STOP questioning.
Why do You love me? Because You do.
Why did You save me? Because You love me.
Why do You protect me? To save me from myself.
Thank you, Lord. It’s been a long time since You and I have REALLY talked. I have left my schedule, and dropped You down on my list of priorities. I have allowed an invader to siphon my time and energy from You, for the sake of ______________.
I can’t change on my own. You did it for me before, and You will do it again-I know. You promised that if I called on You, You would answer.
Hey Lord, could You get that? It’s Your phone….it’s me.
Be blessed in the Lord,
Monday, July 31, 2006
“Well, what was I supposed to do? It’s sitting right there in front of me…”
“I couldn’t help myself…”
“Well, God made it; so that makes it okay, right?”
“The devil made me do it.”
It comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, and voices. It is something that is all around us and permeates our daily life. We have all kinds of excuses like those listed above, and a thousand others. We use smokescreens and slight of hand trying to justify our own desires and wants.
But in the end, it’s all just smoke and mirrors. God said that we would be tempted. He said that times would come that would test our mettle; test our devotion to Him and His word.
1 Corinthians 10:13- “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
What does that mean to you? To me, it means that sometimes, God removes the hedge. Sometimes, God allows us to be tempted; and it is not our right to question why. (Read Job to see that.)
We need to just have faith and trust in Him and His word. We need to remember that He loves us deeply and would never, ever, EVER do anything to hurt us. He is perfect, and He seeks our perfection.
Temptation comes along, and instead of confronting it with the Word (as Jesus did in the desert), we want to fight it tooth and nail. We want to make war with it and wrestle it to the ground. There’s an old saying, “If you wrestle with a pig, both of you will get dirty and the pig likes it.”
When we wrestle our temptations, the enemy likes it. I think it’s because it takes our eyes off the prize. We forget our purpose and Whose child we really are.
What are you wrestling with today? I’m wrestling with my job. I’m wrestling with my wife’s illness. I need to step back and glorify Him and what He has done in my life to make me stronger, instead of whining and crying and complaining.
What about you? What temptation have you not spoken words of life to today? What in your life has taken the focus off of God? Put your life in perspective, and re-align your priorities. Put Him back into the center. Come back to heart of worship; remember your first love.
Be blessed in the Lord,
Monday, July 24, 2006
Do you ever feel like you are all alone with what you are going through? Like no one else is going to understand and empathize with you? As Christians, we can feel like that quite a bit.
This verse is going to hit some of us right where it hurts, because we are taught by the world not to look for this at all. You'll know when you read it.
James 1:2-4- "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."
What are we taught NOT to do by the world? We are told to NOT pray for patience. We don't want to do anything that causes us to go through trials. Trials suck.
We just want everything to be hunky-dory. We want God to teach us how to live; we just don't want it to hurt. We don't want to go through pain. Nope, just bypass that kind of stuff, God.
How many of you, as a child, learned the hard about not sticking a penny in a light socket? How about not sticking your tongue to something metal in the dead of winter? How many times have you rolled the dice about not getting caught speeding?
Patience is defined as "tolerance of delay or incompetence." Sometimes we have to be tolerant of others incompetence. Other times, we require others to be tolerant of our own. I think we fall in the second category more than we care to admit.
Patience is not taught; it's learned. It's a resource you never really learn to use until you are put in situations that require it. And God is exceedingly efficient at helping us to learn patience. Why? Why does God want us to learn to exercise patience?
Honestly, I don't know. We'll know when we see Him in the hereafter. But I think it's to help us get along with each other down here. See, if I realize that EVERYONE may be going through a trial of some sort, I'll be a bit more understanding of them and their situation. I'll be able to look beyond my petty feelings, and see the pain they may be going through. I'll see them through the eyes of God.
And maybe, just maybe, they'll see my example, and learn from it. They'll say, "Wow, if God can do that for him/her, I know He can help me." And if I see it, then I'll know that God has not left me alone with all my troubles.
It's kind of flippant, but God loves us. And sometimes, He loves us enough to allow things to come our way which seem terrible and horrible for a time, but bring us out the other side as better people.
What can we, your brothers and sisters in Christ, help you through today?
Be blessed in the Lord,
Monday, July 17, 2006
You know what? I don’t care how tired you are of hearing it. I love it when God takes something I do, and uses it in a way that I think is just neat.
As I was describing earlier, I had another Bible verse in mind. But, horror of horrors, I had already done that verse. I mean, I had the whole thing written out in my mind. I had the epic start, the build-up to the verse, and then the colossal finish.
Great, just great; now what do I do?
As some of you may know, I have verses written out on index cards in preparation for memorizing them by repetition. I had the card for the verse I was going to use today, and another verse that I just heard the word, “Wait.”
The first one was the verse I was already planning on using. (I'm NOT going to tell you the verse.) I then read the second card and it made me laugh.
Isaiah 65:24-“It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.”
I don’t get it, Bo? What’s so neat about that?
Before I had realized that I had already used that verse, God had given me another. And He had a plan about how to use it.
How are your plans progressing? How are you faring in this thing called life? Do you know that God already has an answer, even before you speak the problem?
You’ll notice that in the verse, God says, “…before they call...” and “…while they are still speaking…” That doesn’t mean God knows what we need before we need it (which He does) and He will just give it to us. It means that God still wants us to verbalize (prayer) and glorify (speak), even when we don’t think it will work.
It means to be patient and devoted in prayer, knowing that God will answer it because of Who He is, and how He feels about us.
Trust in Him to do the right thing, at the right time.
Be blessed in the Lord,